Sunday, 22 April 2012

Guest Post: Country Mice In The Big Smoke!

Good morning! Today's post is a guest post, giving Rosie a well-earned day off and me a chance to sat hello! My name's Amy and Rosie is one of my oldest friends. I blog at Hey, Nice Cardigan... (I dedicated a post to my lovely friend here the other week) and help Rosie out a bit with the busy business of running her business (too many 'businesses' is there? Nah!).

Since we are both currently stay-at-home mums (my first boy was born a week before her second last year) we hang out with our babies a lot these days . While we see each other pretty regularly, it is very unusual for us to do anything without our little boys in tow, so our recent inspiration gathering trip to London was the biggest treat! 

 We both live in Bedfordshire these days, and love our small towns and relatively quiet countryside location. However, in our past lives (read: before children!) we both used to spend quite a lot of time in London, for work and for fun, so we were shocked at how much we felt like a pair of country mice in the big city when we stepped off the train!

London is such an incredible city and there is so much inspiration just waiting in every shop window, museum and street scene. We were officially going to see the David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy (now closed), but we found design inspiration everywhere we went. I was designated official photographer since I am a tragic iPhone photography addict! Rosie and I thought you might like to share some of the lovely things we saw on our travels.

The photo above is from the exhibition, a little sneaky since I'm not sure whether they allowed photography in the gallery... These images were all created by Hockney on an iPad. I was really inspired by the way that he has embraced this new technology so readily, while many artists might dismiss it as not being a valid artistic medium. The paintings and photo montages were so beautiful, I absolutely love his use of colour and it was a rare treat to be able to see Hockney's iconic Californian paintings along with his recent works inspired by his Yorkshire home.

These pictures show a rather less highbrow side to our trip, the shops! The shop displays in central London are like miniature works of art in themselves, and so inspiring. This spring's pretty pastel trend really can be seen everywhere you look at the moment, and I love these fresh feminine shades, they feel so fresh and springy.

We both had a TINY splurge in Anthropologie, which is really one of the loveliest shops there is ad has only come over to the UK from the USA a couple of years ago. Helpfully - or expensively! - it is a one stop shop for everything you would ever need to live the Anthro lifestyle, from clothing to homewares. We both bought some pretty door handles in the sale as a small gesture towards this in our own homes! It is really worth a visit just to look at the beautiful shop.

 We had always planned to go to Liberty as part of our trip, so that Rosie could do a bit of research in their stationery department. If you have never been, Liberty is the most amazing shop, not only because it sells beautiful fabric, fashion, home wares and all sorts of pretty things, but for the building itself. From their website: "Liberty is one of the last great emporiums for innovative and eclectic design. Situated in the heart of London since 1875, it remains to this day the destination of choice for the savvy and sophisticated shopper."

It is such an iconic London shop, and a little like visiting a beautiful National Trust house that also happens to sell amazing design. My Mum, who has taught textiles and art and design for most of her life, has always loved Liberty, and taken us since my sisters and I were little girls so it is always a special place to go for me.

The queues for the Hockney exhibition were pretty ridiculous, but luckily we had advance tickets so we got to bypass the long wait and go straight in. Before I had my baby I worked in museums and went to lots of exhibitions but it had been a long time since I last went to a big show like this in London. The museums and galleries are so fantastic, I can never believe that you can just get on a train and go and see these incredible works of art and historic artefacts, many of them for free. Although it seems distant sometimes, in fact we only live an hour's train ride out of London, and we are so lucky to have this vibrant, beautiful city practically on our doorstep.

Having children is wonderful, but it takes over your life and changes it forever, and it can seem incredible the freedom that you took for granted before they came along. It was so good for us two mummies to have a day to remember those old days and have a bit of "me time" to catch up properly and get inspired.

Its been great to meet you and share our trip, I'm hoping Rosie will have me back some time! I also have a not-so-secret secret plan to convince her to collaborate on a tutorial or two to share some of her amazing floristry skills - blogging buddies are the best!

Have a great Sunday,

Amy Xxx

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