Those of you who follow this blog will know I have documented my views of London in Lockdown since March 2020. London has been my source of inspiration since setting up my label way back when, but of course I never expected to see London during a pandemic: eerily quiet, empty, shut down, dystopian.
For us Londoners, local walks have been an opportunity to see London bare, an architectural backdrop without the crowds.
And just when I presumed this London landscape which was now becoming my familiar ‘new normal’ February 2021 arrived with heavy snow swiftly followed by a frost so deep I can’t recall ever seeing London like this.
Regents Park was frozen, with seagulls perched on the icy lake and ducks wondering along the frozen canal.
The reflection of the sun on the ice made for some beautiful metallic hues, so much so that it inspired my ‘After the Frost’ collection.
But…there was also warmth and happiness it came with music and Salsa right in the middle of the park, who would have thought? A nod to colour and life after the frost
Two weeks into 2021 and London has started the New Year with a lockdown. It’s hard to imagine London empty and shut down. I hope these photos from Bank , down to the Thames and onwards to Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kensington capture the emptiness and beauty of this silent capital city.
For all the trials and difficult times I’m sticking with with ‘Hope’. Stay safe, well and creative, the days are getting longer, we’re on track for better times.
From the Norfolk Broads to the Norfolk Coast and up to Sheringham Forest, escaping London the weekend prior to the 2nd lockdown was the perfect getaway.
On what turned out to be a wild , blustery, winter weekend, complete with Covid restrictions, the solitude of Hickling Broad and Marshes felt like stepping into an Edward Seago landscape. The unique thatched boathouses on the canals, reminiscent of a children’s fantasy novel.
The picturesque village of Horning on the River Bure was empty, but the busy canal was still the place to watch the boats float by.
The ancient coastal fishing town of Cromer, famous for it’s fresh crab and fish & chips, picture postcard beautiful and full of charm. strolling along the beach and long wooden pier made me feel like i’d stepped straight into a Constable painting.
The winds were so strong that gate keeper at Sheringham Park advised the forest observation point was closed, not that it would deter me from a long walk, especially as this park was landscaped by Humphry Repton . Repton was known for creating new, free flowing landscapes with no barriers between the gardens and natural surroundings. he also said Sheringham was the favourite of the gardens he created and I have to say it is breathtaking.
Not to be missed, rain, wind or shine! The coastal views are amazing as is the clearing and views leading to Sheringham Hall .
I’m sure that for many other small business owners like myself , life since the first Covid lockdown in March has been a daily challenge with the unknown. I realise I’ve been so ‘consumed’ with my effort to keep going and to find a strategy to see the business through Lockdown and beyond,that I’ve taken no ‘time out’ to do some of the most fundamental things that have been my core inspiration. Little did I know when I took off the last 2 weekends in October that my luck was in, lockdown is back as of November. I was fortunate to re-charge my batteries on time.
For my first inspirational weekend off , I ventured out of London to the Chiltern Hills for some autumnal inspiration. ‘Catching’ colours as I call it.
I always choose my new season colour palette from nature, match the images to my desired Pantones and start forming my range
Living in the suburbs of London, I have always been aware of where my closest green spaces are. I invariably expect them to be a park, framed with metal railings and hopefully some big trees. Some kind of water feature like a small lake would be a huge bonus. Hampstead Heath was the only wild-ish green space to which I felt I had relatively easy access… until now.
Having had the time to walk around where I live in the recent months, I have discovered Dollis Brook and its walking route known as the Dollis Valley Greenwalk. Unbelievably, the walk is 16km long and stretches all the way from Hampstead Heath to Moat Mount in Mill Hill. Sections of it are like a regular park with trimmed grass and playgrounds, and sections of it are wide, wild and like escaping to the countryside.
I love to be nosey and see how the allotments change in colour and density across the year.
The days may be getting shorter, and the weather a little greyer, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this little bit of the countryside on my doorstep will change with the seasons. My wellies are ready!
Out exploring?? meet The Essential Borough bag!
If you’re out exploring with camera and/or phone then you need to meet our Essential Borough Bag ,a bag that is so perfect for outdoor exploring, you won’t need anything else!
There are two compartments to keep your belongings separate, whether you’re carrying a compact camera or your everyday essentials, you’ll be surprised how much you can fit in this stylish little cross-body. One side also features our card holder pockets so you don’t even need a full wallet if you want to travel light.
UK Staycations are not ones for guaranteed good weather… anything but. With that in mind they are still time away, they have their own charm and during Covid times at least you are guaranteed to get out of the house and explore.
The view from my desk has changed considerably, as it has for most people over the last few months. Whether you’ve finally got into the swing of working from home, are noticing and appreciating birdsong with new ears, or slowly going back to work at the office, we thought we’d let you know what the NM Team got up to up to whilst in lockdown.
As a close-knit team, it has been strange not to see each other every day. We have however, been enjoying keeping up to date on how we are filling our time at home. Here are just a few of the gems which I thought were worth sharing
Nadia, as most of you may know, is a keen gardener. Finally, she has a bit of extra time to tend to the previously “overgrown jungle” (her words, not mine). There is now space for some new plants plus there are big plans for the ever growing vegetable patch, just in case the lockdown returns. That’s forward planning for you!
Karla, our jewellery designer, has been keeping busy with a crochet project… which was first started a mere six years ago. Between starting and finishing this project, she did have a baby who is now six and modelling the blanket for us, so understandable why it’s taken so long.
Andrea’s multi tasking
Andrea has definitely been a busy bee, making scrubs bags for her local GP as well as trying out new recipes.. such as raspberry cake . Among all this activity Andrea’s daily walks are of course accompanied by little Lulu, looking as cute as ever.
Sawako’s colouring in
As for myself, a lot of cleaning has been going on but I don’t think anyone wants to see the inside of my sock drawer, as pristine as it is. One thing I have found relaxing and completely absorbing is colouring in. Yes, the kind you used to do as a child, but some creative people thought to make some intricate colouring books for adults. This book had been given to me as a present and was sitting on my shelf for a few years. Now I am at last beginning to fill the pages with colour without feeling guilty for spending time on something that seems a bit frivolous. It is just as fun as when I was a child, and I am just as keen to buy the most expensive colouring pencils now, except this time it is not my mum who has to pay for them.
During the lockdown, one of the most satisfying things I have done is to give some proper attention to my house plants. I had been noticing little plantlets popping up in the soil of one plant in particular, and I hadn’t found time to care for them properly until now. There was the added issue of not being able to get my hands on any compost for a while.
Having grown up in a house filled with plants I always hoped I had inherited the green finger gene. As soon as I moved into my own place, I was excited to fill every windowsill with pots, and have over the last few years, learned a few dos and don’ts of house plant keeping.
My biggest success so far is my beloved pancake plant – a pilea peperomioides. A quick look online proves what a popular and Instagram-worthy houseplant this is. The satisfyingly round, glossy leaves and easy-care make this a particular favourite with fellow Millennial plant parents.
The mother plant that I’ve had for around two years.
Once your plant starts to sprout little plantlets, it is easy to propagate them. Carefully, cut through the root under the soil and plop the plant into a small jar of water.
The little plant can be put straight into a new pot of soil, but I like seeing this stage of the growth. It is so satisfying to see the roots develop, and I feel like I’m doing my own little science experiment.
Here are some I made earlier. At the beginning of the year I also had a few sprouts that I’d removed and they are doing nicely. One of these babies was supposed to go to a friend who I will hopefully get to see soon.
Windowsill space is getting tight around here. Any takers for a new pancake plant?
Hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday weekend!
Whether it be Easter, Passover, or just another weekend in quarantine, it’s difficult to be away from friends and family. I am currently quarantined with my parents, which is about as harmonious as a gaggle of 4 year olds playing the recorder, but I am missing my friends and colleagues quite significantly.
What I am most grateful for is that this is happening in 2020, and not during the days of dial up internet and Nokias (though honestly, an unbeatable phone, it could get run over by a tractor and survive). In some ways, I think I’ve spent more time with my people than I would have normally. A little too much probably.
I’ve had movie nights on Netflix Party, played trivia and drawing games on Houseparty, lost at multiple pub quizzes, and baked cinnamon rolls with a friend. I didn’t get to eat any of the cinnamon rolls so it was really quite the tease, but at least the intentions were good.
I read somewhere that instead of calling it “lockdown” or “distancing,” we’re meant to call it “cocooning,” in order to relieve stress the harsher words induce. I’m not sure if the wordplay works, but I’ve found that spending quality, dedicated time with people I care about has made this time so much better.
I’m physically distancing, but I’m more social than ever.
I hope wherever you are, you’re surrounded by people, even if not in person.
Bonus pic of me and my best friend engrossed in a very candid chat.
I hope you are well! Was wondering whether you’re interested in doing the jewellery for this….
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with costume designer Claire Lynch on a couple of films as well as series 8 of Call the Midwife. Her briefs to me are brief, but I am now familiar with her passion for costume and her eye for detail , so we have a great understanding.
For this shoot I was given 3 images taken from the original 1965 Vogue shoot of the YSL ‘Mondrian dresses’ , the accessories were really entirely up to us to create and design at our studio.
‘Escaping’ to 60’s fashion is my happy place in any case, so it was a task my team and I relished.
We focused primarily on two aspects which were geometry and colour. However, instead of echoing the square and rectangular silhouettes we chose circles and curves with geometrical pattern inlays. And then of course there are those extra large 60’s pearl drop earrings, possibly too heavy for a night out but work perfectly on a shoot.
It took a total of 6 months from brief to development to shoot to publication. Having seen the ‘behind the scenes pics’ the hardest thing was keeping quiet about it, but we did.
We can finally shout about, what a perfectly beautiful cover and shoot!