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 .
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.
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.
“The dictates of work are as compelling for a woman as for a man”
Sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, has been an inspiration throughout my life. An all-time favourite of my mother, I was introduced to her work at a young age and grew up with it. Initially fascinated by her smooth tactile textures and by her abstract yet natural forms, I later discovered her remarkable strengths as a woman and artist.
“Ideas come with a rush in a place like that & I feel that forms will become concrete at great speed.”
(Barbara Hepworth, The Sculptor in the Studio/Sophie Bowness)
St Ives was battered by gale force winds on the day of my visit, so strong as to make it impossible to walk along the waterfront, it was eerily quiet and deserted bar the noise of the wind battering the rooftops and whistling down the narrow cobbled alleyways of St Ives. I had the fortune of experiencing Trewyn studios and garden entirely on my own, apart from a large tabby cat, happily asleep next to the door.
The BaH Collection is a deeply personal homage to Barabara Hepworth’s work, studio and her many attributes which I have found so inspiring:
Ambition, determination, clarity of shape and form, balance and the ability to translate female physical experiences into her art.
“The BaH collections aesthetics and colours are drawn from this journey, minimal and clean I hope they encapsulate my interpretation of Barbara Hepworth whose enduring legacy continues to be as remarkable both as a female trailblazer and as an artist.”
When shooting our blog post in Paris a couple of weeks back, the fire at Notre Dame could not be imagined. It would be impossible for us to post this blog without reflecting on this.
Notre Dame is said to be Paris’s most visited and beloved monument, surpassing both the Eifel Tower and the Louvre. Having weathered many a storm since construction on it started in 1163, no one would have thought that 850 years later Notre Dame’s main spire and roof would be ravaged by a massive fire.
The world now watches as France and Parisians start the difficult task of establishing the full extent of the damage and work towards rebuilding its finest monument.
We will take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and relaxed Easter- recharge, spend time with family and friends, eat chocolate 😊 We leave you with photos of an overcast but beautiful Paris.
“I was immediately drawn to both these painting because of their meticulous detail and soft, subtle, earthy colour pallet. Having researched them the story of how and why they came to be, really resonated with me”
Eliot Hodgkin painted ‘Undergrowth’ in London during his days off while serving as an air-raid warden
‘What I want to paint are the things that have been seen so often that people no longer notice them.’
‘Two Plants’ by Lucien Freud took 3 years to complete. He describes it as ‘lots of little portraits of leaves’, adding ‘I wanted it to have a really biological feeling of things growing and fading and leaves coming up and others dying’.
Blush,Beige, Yellow, Green and Tan are the key colours for the Undergrowth collection with pops of blue and orange.
The Nadia Minkoff flower logo has been reinterpreted as a 3D Origami flower adding softness and optimism “my interpretation of things growing and fading”
“what I would describe as ‘undergrowth’ is definitely shaping the world we live in, for better or for worse both politically and culturally. Fashion as we know always draws from art and is often a political statement. For all the unrest and uncertainty, I was determined to make My Nadia Minkoff London summer 2019 collection a positive one, all about the beauty in noticing things that we no longer notice”
Artisan made from the finest leathers, in small batches and with Zero waste, much time and thought is invested into each and every bag “at Nadia Minkoff London we think about the things you see and the things you don’t, anything to make sure that your journey with our bag is a better one”
“Howard Hodgkin’s powerful use of colour as well as his painted frames ,removing standard borders and boundaries, encouraged me to step out of my colour palette ‘comfort zone’ and produce a vibrant range of multi coloured, multi textured handbags.”
Often described as a ‘slow artist’ in his early years, his paintings despite their apparent fluidity and spontaneity, took years if not months to complete.
“the whole idea of slow appeals to me greatly, at a time when society wants everything immediate, at the press of a button and increasingly faster I take comfort in the whole ‘slow’ movement. Our UK made Fitzrovia bags are exactly that: one at a time, slow, refined, tactile. I love them, not just visually or from a wearable point of view but because I know how much care has been invested in making each and every one”