Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Pressies: Calendars

In Art on November 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

Beautiful Cornwall calendar by Natasha Chambers I love the block and pastel colours, movement and vibrancy.

Rounded birds calendar by Sam Harris

Intricately detailed, British Wildlife calendar by Night Owl.

Circus wall planner, by Nicky Snow

Perpetual Treehouse Calendar, by Sukie (found at Liberty)

Liberty Calendar – ‘Featuring beautiful new and old images of the store, samples of traditional Liberty prints and images of Liberty’s iconic founder, Arthur.’ – Pretty Liberty. As an aside, love the name Arthur.


Guest Post: Tom Cox

In Guest Post on November 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Picture from The Guardian

Tom Cox is the author of six books, the most recent of which are Under The Paw: Confessions Of A Cat Man and Talk To The Tail: More Adventures In Cat Ownership And Beyond.

I am a member of a gym, but I don’t actually use the gym, just the pool. I find the idea of a gym boring. I also worry that if I walk in there I’ll not know what to do, be pegged quite quickly as a foppish impostor, or break something expensive. I find the idea of swimming boring too, but it’s a kind of boring I feel more comfortable with. I like wearing tight-fitting 30 waist flares, and, unlike when I was 24, I do not have the luxury of being able to stay rake thin whilst consuming skiploads of pizza and beer and getting my sole exercise by trying to dance like Mark Wahlberg does in Boogie Nights. I also like crisps. Really like them, to the extent that I fear, without them, my life would be considerably less rich in texture, and I’d become a dullard. If I had to choose between giving up sex or crisps, I’d obviously give up crisps. Nonetheless, they’re important – especially during times when I’m single. This is why I swim. Sometimes it’s fun, and meditative, and I see interesting things as I do it. Today I witnessed a man clinically use his small child’s swimming ability to win the swooning affection of two young women. Another man asked me if I was called Wolfie. I said no, despite myself.

A lot of odd things have happened at the pool in the last week but I think my favourite was yesterday when the bloke who looked like former Olympic swimming champion Mark Spitz got into the pool next to me, flexed his arms, tied his wristband around his special pro swimmer water bottle, rubbed his fingers through his hair, spent two minutes adjusting his goggles, then proceeded to flap up the lane in front of me like a massive flamboyant bird.

Conversation in gym changing room. Youth one: “All right, Rob? What you here for today, mate? Kick boxing?” Youth two: “Nah, most times I just come here for a shower these days, to be honest.”

When I’m in the swimming pool changing room, I’m like most people: I keep my head down, my business to myself, and my turning circle tight. That said, when someone is standing three feet away from me, blowdrying himself, I can’t help but notice. I’m a little grazed by the experience, but I think I’ll recover. I fear the accompanying questions, however, will continue for some time. What is wrong with a simple towel? Is texture that important to him, and why? Does he use product? When did this start? Was it something his parents taught him, and which just kind of stuck? I, and many others, will probably never know the answers.

Heard man in changing room today say “I’m not being funny but I’m not being funny.” My guess is that he was, in fact, being funny.

Last night, I watched the latest series of Mad Men, in which Don Draper, the main character, swims a lot. Don is a proper, old-fashioned no-nonsense early 1960s man, and, after he swims, he always seems to GET THINGS DONE. In much the same way, I will be intending to GET THINGS DONE after my swim today. One thing I hope to GET DONE is “buy new zip for cardigan”.

They played that Duffy song at the pool again today, and I hid underwater until it was over. I can block out many things at the gym: the splashing of men who swim with the same arrogance with which they drive their BMWs, my rather childish irritation at the posey woman who makes her arms go in weird shapes when she does crawl, the shouting of hyperactive children. The sound of a Dusty Springfield dying, however, seems to be beyond my powers of patience. I can’t imagine another scenario where I will be quite so glad for the sweet embrace of ‘Street Tough’ by The Rebel MC And Double Trouble.

Like anyone who’s been to countless gigs in his life, I have a large experience of ticket touts. Gym touts, however, are a new experience. Today as I was getting changed after swimming, two young men with darting, pisshole eyes approached me and asked me if I would like to “buy” a free voucher they had received for the gym sunbed. I didn’t want to be quick to judge, but they didn’t seem, from first impressions, the kind of people I could see myself having a strong and mutually loyal future friendship with. I couldn’t see them enjoying my house parties or local pub quiz, and, seeing as I was clad only in my underpants at the time, and a little thrown off balance, I decided to stick to a simple “No thanks”. I felt a little violated, to be honest. Yet there was simultaneously another part of me that had wished I had been completely naked at the time of their asking. Maybe I could have done a few squat thrusts and press-ups, as I explained in very slow, laborious detail exactly why I would rather eat my own furniture than go on any sunbed, let alone pay for a free voucher for one. Then, just as they were turning to go, I could have said “No, actually, I’ve changed my mind!” and offered to pay for the voucher using my three-quarters empty bottle of shampoo and an old, inkless pen I’ve been meaning to throw out of my gym bag for two months. Maybe we could have brokered a deal after all, and the man who blowdries himself could have joined in on the negotiations, whilst blowdrying.

I’m always a little bit scared when people talk to me in steam rooms. I think it’s because I get worried they might be a ghost.

Today I wrote a song in my head. It’s called ‘Dear Angry Naked Man, Cursing About Your Gym Locker Not Closing: Please Do Not Try To Make Me An Accomplice In Your Pointless Rage’. It’s about the angry naked man I saw today cursing about his gym locker not closing and trying to make me an accomplice in his pointless rage.

I’m thinking about changing the photo on my gym card membership. I’m not sure it’s any longer consistent with my personal branding, or the real “deeper” me.

To the man sitting on the high ledge in the steam room today, whose crotch I came within about two inches of touching, as I sat down: I am sorry. It was very dark, and so were you.

This morning as I swam, bright sunlight streamed in through the windows. I took a break between lengths, leaned back, and admired the pretty patterns it made on the water, and how it lit up a blood-caked plaster that floated along in front of my face.

It’s been months since I’ve seen the man who blowdries himself now. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I slightly miss him. In other news, the gym are currently having a major crack down on the dangerously prevalent condition of “dirt leg” amongst members. Or at least, I’m assuming that’s why the cleaner sprayed my legs with disinfectant through the gap under the door while I was in the shower. Still – it is nice to know the facilities are being kept clean, particularly after some of the stories I have heard about the other, public pool up the road. I also suppose if some people view swimming as “exercise salad”, many of them might view shower-based urination as its accompanying vinaigrette.

Guest Post: Olivia Purvis on scarf style

In Fashion on November 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm
Olivia Purvis Lionheart Magazine

If there’s one accessory not to leave the house without this winter, it’s the scarf. ‘Self explanatory!’ I hear you scream, but if I’m being completely frank, the scarf, or more-so the tartan pensioner scarf, is usually hugely taken for granted in both terms of durability, practicality and as a down right fashion statement. As soon as my calendar hits mid-October, and the leaves begin to fall I know it’s time for it to make an appearance. Now, usually I’m not a huge fan of accessorising. When it comes to the winter months, I can undeniably be a bit of a lazy dresser (can’t we all)- no diamond wrist cuffs or collar necklaces here, just a chunky knit and some comfy jeans- comfy and practical. However, this is where our friend the scarf comes in, transforming an outfit in a casual sweep, a la a French actress, non?

Last week, surprisingly my dear scarf made an appearance on my blog, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of compliments I received on it. Never did I realise what a statement it could make, nor how it brought an otherwise plain outfit to life. Comments included, ‘amazing scarf’, ‘big fan of your scarf’ and ‘love the scarf’- and there was me thinking my 50p bargain was just a winter woolly!

Additionally, the charm of a scarf is that they can usually be found for less than a pound! Think local charity shops, or if you’re feeling a little indulgent Marks & Spencer, but usually there are bargains to be had, and by the looks of things some of the A-List have already caught on, best hop to the shops!

Hope you’re well!



Lionheart meets…

In News on November 9, 2011 at 5:17 pm

For a while now, I’ve been excited over a meeting. I’ve kept quiet about it, as if it was to go well, it would change Lionheart’s future and that kind of thing makes my heart go boom, boom. It’s all about that crucial belief, when you have people that believe in your product – MAGAZINE – then it’s possibly one of the best feelings – ever. This little section of my imagination, my dream, coming together in a collection of brilliant pages, means quite a lot to me. Well, you know… a HUGE amount. I love it. The support that I have received from everyone that has already pre purchased the magazine, all of my followers on twitter/facebook and this blog, as well as the boutiques and record shops that will sell it, all of them have shown me the BELIEF!

From a large superstore, that belief is not only amazing, it’s also a bit of a game changer. So, I was jumping around with joy a few months ago when I contacted the Waitrose magazine buyer and she responded within an hour, saying she thought the magazine sounded and looked ‘fab’. I have always thought that Waitrose is the perfect place for Lionheart Magazine, its emphasis on quality, homely feel and interest in people, growth and independent suppliers appeals to me hugely. Not to mention its stylish, pretty shops that have me meandering around for far longer than it takes to buy a croissant.

For the last week, I have been thinking about this meeting, whilst sorting out the final parts of Lionheart Magazine Issue No.1. Yesterday I put a file together with the pages of the magazine, printed and ready for THE BIG print next week. I also made a little package: Montezuma’s Chilli Dark Chocolate – Inspired from afar, brave to make and produced in Sussex, where I am from. A Fairtrade Lion finger puppet – Crafty. As well as some organic strawberry, lion and mouse biscuits – team work, the lion and the mouse working together. Then some of my business cards, Lionheart Magazine: It will make you feel peachy good. All wrapped with a lace bow and in an envelope I had kept addressed to me, at ‘Lionheart’ – because it was one of the first and it was exciting. It was also yellow, my favourite colour, and I wanted to have as much luck as I could. Let me say, that I like to take little packages to people and have always baked cakes at every internship and job, written cards and plastered lions where I can. I do hope people will remember the lion, of course.

Anyway, I went armed with magazines, a massive file, the gift and an unnecessarily thick coat. I drove the hundred miles to their office, meandered around their packed car park, then found a space and sat tight for ten minutes. You can imagine. I went into their offices and waited with men from Mars, Rachel’s Organic and other large companies. “Lionheart Magazine, could you go upstairs please.” Sounded nice!

We discussed the magazine. I went through the pages, the market, inspiration and style. It clearly fits with the Waitrose ethos, stylish, beautiful, inspiring and wholesome. They normally go through distributors, BUT the buyer said in JANUARY, I could have Lionheart Magazine IN WAITROSE. I know! However, I will have to go along to individual Waitrose stores, around the country and speak to them about selling the magazine. I will be helped with this and there are various methods to get its profile raised. At the moment, my costs are very high per issue as my print run is not enormous, but the future should make it a beautifully beneficial partnership. I LOVE that Lionheart will be somewhere within reach for people to buy and keep.

Really, really good news – happy about this! Thank you Waitrose! Belief!

Now, I have to ask – I think I am going to do a mini tour with Lionheart Magazine, popping into Boutiques and cafes around the country. Maybe do little meet ups, like my focus groups. If you know of a Waitrose store near you that would benefit from some Lionheart, please let me know. I would love to hear what you think!

It’s so close now! xoxo

Guest Post: Animals of London

In Creative Writing on November 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

by Jessica Furseth

It’s a Cat Power sort of morning: soft, grey and sleepy. The clouds
lie low over London even though it’s almost noon. The bodies on the
underground are not quite awake, “can you tell, can you tell,” Cat
croons in my ear, as I find a free corner to lean on. “There is
something better, you know there always is,” sings Cat, restlessly. I
step out of the station and onto the bridge, taking a moment to look
while I lean against the railings. The damp hangs heavy over the river
and the chill creeps up around my ankles. I love this city, I really
do, but she drives a hard bargain. Today London is a wet dog I want to
leave out on the porch.

My woollens are drying slowly, draped out flat on towels on my living
room floor. Winter is coming and we are responding to it: my cardigans
are washed and my winter coat is clean. Today I’m polishing my boots,
rubbing wax into the cracks against the water. Soon they will be
resting in a greasy line, ready for the rain. The bed has been moved
away from the window and the blankets are stacked; I’m braced. I’m a
flower child, stretching towards the light, grateful for the smallest
gust of warm air. Then the cold and dark sets in and we suddenly
realise we that aren’t stardust, we are animals. It feels like there’s
something to learn there, but I’m not sure what it is.


In Blog on November 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Both by Maison Scotch
I am currently not in bits. But sometimes when you feel like you’re in bits, you forget the bits that make you whole and who/what you want in this one shot life. This can make the world seem like a smashed kaleidoscope, within a wave machine, in pool of those bowing to their successes. Mix in a little bit of bad news, or even tragedy and everything can become simply black. The nausea goes and you can only feel your heart beating, deafening all your thoughts.

Once, a long time ago I felt I was thoroughly admist the quarter life crisis and it was awful. My life was actually very good, but the crisis I had planted on myself, because I wasn’t doing enough and wasn’t where I wanted to be, was frankly, ridiculous. The only thing that was awful, holding me back and making me hark on when a drop of red wine touched my lips was my own self confidence and fear of doing what I wanted to do. There’s no point blaming the world, the plans you made when you were 12/16/21, or the fact you’re within a ‘quarter life’. Step OUT of the ridiculous bubble and live your life. I was told this and I told myself.

So here I am, on the brink of printing the magazine, embracing all the bits that make me happy. Even if they are very small. Like a small pumpkin. Which incidentally, does make me happy. Here follow some good, current ‘bits’.

This film is called The Future, it is out on November 4th. Miranda July’s follow up to Me, You and Everyone We Know. Relevant to the above and featuring a cat.

Pretty Dress (Topshop)

Bank bits

Lahloo Pantry Green Tea + Manuka Honey Latte

Veg box

Mini Pumpkin!