Thursday, 15 August 2013

Chloe James Lifestyle

Is the fabulous Lifestyle emporium of Donna Nichol and Maria Allen, stocking fashion and accessories, interior accessories and furniture, art and gifts from candles to cufflinks over two floors.

Launched in 2010 it can be found at No.12 High Street, St Albans and is open seven days a week throughout the year – a challenge not for softies! :>

In their own words:

"Whilst Donna had always dreamt of owning a shop, Maria took a little bit of persuasion - however, coffee and cake was all it took!" 
Both ladies have a creative background - Donna in fashion buying and Maria in print design.


Both love interiors, fashion and design and wanted to create something “unique and exciting” in St Albans. This passion is apparent both online and in person!

Elegant and sharp, I have been impressed by the energy and activity of these two ladies! :> 
To be a customer of theirs is a treat! – a look at their Facebook page or a Google search and you find dedication to be admired!… They launch their seasonal fashion purchases with style you can share through special events and fashion shows, they are unrivalled in their approach to the Indie Retail Campaign.

Housed “in a charming Tudor building, complete with steep stairs and wonky walls." "Two floors of gorgeous fashion, unusual gifts and stylish interiors" await you!" Customers can enjoy browsing hundreds of beautiful items!” They also do mail order!

You can expect to find jewellery by Alex Monroe and fashion by Almost Famous rubbing shoulders with Day Birger et Mikkelson Home, Szalay Chairs, The Cutlery Commission, fabulous mirrors, Urban Bird Light Shades and Thierry Poncelet prints! 

 Above: Alex Monroe Pendants

  Cushions from Day Birger et Mikkelson Home 


One of the lovely mirrors available with a Thierry Poncelet print in the reflection to the left

Maria with Urban Bird Exotic Flora Light Shades
I am looking forward to the results of a recent shoot they did including some of their home accessories for Autumn my shades included!

Twitter: @ChloeJamesStore

Unsurprisingingly you can find this stylish emporium on Hertfordshire's 

 A few quick questions answered by Donna:

Favourite quick cuisine or recipe book? Nigella Express & a Thai beef salad from an old mag that blows your head off but is incredibly fresh & tasty!

Favourite movie? Chocolat with Juliette Binoche

Favourite song? Too many to mention! Everything from The The to Alt J, to the Arctic Monkeys!

When not buying & retailing what is your favourite thing to do? I like to run (very slowly), cook, garden, read novels and interiors mags &
occasionally bake!

One of your Favourite style era's when not in the present! Probably the 1950s - I like the glamour mixed with the feeling of social change.

Above: Chloe James Shop Window

Favourite architect or fashion designer? Don't really have a favourite but love the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona.

 Gaudi Architecture in Barcelona

Above One of the Szalay chairs at Chloe James Lifestyle with textiles from Uzbekistan

I am delighted to have Chloe James Lifestyle as my stockist in St Albans, Hertfordshire, be sure to stop by for a visit!



Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Jane Mcintyre Design

Jane Mcintyre Design on Southgate Street, Winchester was unveiled this year by interior designer Jane Mcintyre. 

Jane provides two floors of beautiful and sort after high quality interior accessories, bed linens, lighting, clothing, gifts, furniture, art, fixtures, tableware sourced from around the globe that you will struggle to find else where.

The likes of Bella Notte Linens from the US and Astier De Villatte tableware from France! As pictured here in the shop...

Also ibride – I was most impressed by the ibride cabinet at Jane’s – I had only ever seen their trays in the press or at Liberty.

Jane inimitably styles and fuses her finds to create an inviting and evocative interior in which to shop and browse. You are likely to fall in love and want to maintain regular sojourns to Jane’s romantic place! 
Jewellery by Lily Gardner

Jane and her staff are of great assistance as required. Visitors really are fortunate to have her on hand, how often do you meet both an interior designer and retailer in one sitting!

This rare combination sets her shop and services apart. To find out more try a visit to Jane’s Website

where Jane spends a little time introducing her skills in engaging with a customer brief and revealing her passion through a very unintimidating approach to Interior Design

I enjoyed one or two posts, March for e.g. where Jane is required to tackle the necessaries of plumbing and clearing a listed site before making it beautiful!

Snapshots of some of Jane’s projects and Jane’s shop are available on the home page of her site with links together with a round up of latest projects.

Above:'Exotic Flora' Light Shade by Urban Bird Design, 'Exotic Flora' Wallpaper will be arriving to Jane's soon!

Above: 'Popora' Photo Scarf by Lily Gardner

Jane has been a designer, for the last 20 years.

I asked Jane one or two questions for fun as follows:

Favourite quick cuisine or recipe book? 

Nigella Lawson "Nigella Express"

because she gives you a store-cupboard basics shopping list then allows you to  marinade food in a freezer bag and stick it in the fridge until you remember to cook it.  She is brilliant at short cuts, my type of cook!

Favourite movie?  Gone With the Wind, almost know it word for word,  closely followed by every version of Wuthering Heights, though hard to beat the original with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon.

Above: Actress Vivien Leigh in 'Gone with The Wind'

Favourite song? When I Fall in Love by Nat King Cole and everything by Elvis.
Would most like to meet? Elvis Presley

1 or 2 future plans... To finally finish my house and then conquer the world of design.

When not designing & retailing what is your favourite thing to do?  Be outdoors with my dogs and horses.

One of your favourite style era's when not in the present! Prairie style,for clothes and buildings. (Eternal cowgirl!)

Favourite architect or fashion designer? English architect Edwin Lutyens, one or two examples of whose work can be seen below, he worked with the Sitwells and is famous for his landmark scheme in New Delhi...

Above: Edwin Lutyens, one or two examples of his work.

But this is not the end of the story, Jane’s interest in historic buildings and the preserve of history and it’s relationship to interior design are perhaps what informs the journey from the New Forest to Winchester for Jane.

Also an interest in what follows once you have a space and this careful and skilled measure and placement of decoration, furnishing and immersing in order to transform a place and space in to a home you value. 

I am delighted to have Jane as my Winchester stockist. 
Visit Jane’s shop & get talking! :>

Monday, 22 July 2013

Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search

The Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search is, as the title suggests a worldwide opportunity to compete for two years representation by Lilla's leading Art Agency! The competition also features a judging panel of highly credible professionals who commission or deal with art and illustration and it's many applications in the Global market place! SO yes it's a HOT one! :>

I have submitted my piece for the first round today :> It was to respond to a live brief from Paperchase for a 7x5" journal cover with the theme 'Playground', a few pointers were suggested through a tiny mood board and brief - playground apparatus such as monkey bars, tyre swing, horse on a spring but the execution was left entirely to us to show our stuff! :> Here's hoping!

I had found a great blog post on some playgrounds via Pinterest from the 80's in Singapore and an interview with the designer, I was inspired by the iconic designs and colour.

The original blog post can be found at - it's a great read and there are some amazing blueprints of elevations for the designs and further photos - I would like to visit them!
The interview is also written by someone who had experience as a child playing in the playgrounds and they are excited about meeting the designer who created the places they loved!

50 are selected to be sent a second professional level brief then the panel select 5 and 1 is selected via public vote in September. I am sure there will be many many submissions and some great and diverse work, the finalist is announced in October 2013!

More information can be found on Lilla's website

You can also check out the GTS Facebook page for regular updates

The piece of work I submitted was also informed by having a child myself and the experience of how they approach making art, what interests them, how they play and respond to things, we certainly have alot of visits to playgrounds! So you put all the many elements in to a nutshell and come up with your submission drafts and then your final piece!

Urban Bird has a facebook page too!
Stay tune for two forthcoming blog posts about two of my stockists! :>

Friday, 28 June 2013

We had plenty of anticipation building in the run up to May 2013 with Launchpad at Pulse, Earl's Court our second ever trade fair! There is alot of email traffic about many aspects to what you can make of your presence at a show! :>

We chose to focus on light shades which has been our main product area since the business launched!
We operate on quite a bespoke level this matches the holistic and personal approach that generally underpins anything I do!!!!

I am delighted to say that our Exotic Floral range of shades was a big hit and we have some great new stockists that I am keen to work with and promote. We also had a great response from visitors who took photos of the shades for the daily Pinterest board run by Clarion and Global Colour's Mix Mag Competition via Twitter our shade designs complemented one of their trends 'Pattern Overload' and colour palettes for the S/S 2013 season.

It is shop indie day next month - the 4th July so you can promote and support independent shops by taking part. Independent shops normally exist without the infastructure, marketing and resources of a large brand so it can be tougher!

But it can be tough on any level and is highly competitive - if you have premises that cost you have to make the best use of them which is why we can shop and do most things within the high street chains and supermarkets but I do think if we only had these we would miss the character, diversity, convenience & selection the independent shops can deliver! There are so many skills at work in retail and many levels on which it operates!

I am hoping to bring a few indies to the for through my blog - my new stockists so that when visiting different parts of the country with family and friends you can enjoy some Urban Bird Lightshade spotting!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Fab New Arrivals at the Pop Up!

Winchester Pop Up Design Shop 2012/2013

Opening on November 1st 2012 we had a brilliant lead up to Christmas, kept busy with suppliers (all our designers & designer makers!) and customers. Lots of compliments and support that encouraged us to extend until February 2013.

We are approaching our final week and I just wanted to share a few photos of some of the FAB! work that has arrived to put us in the mood for Valentine's day!

We have some exclusive Valentine's pieces from creative knitted textile's designer Deryn Relph. Some may have seen Deryn's work in Living Etc this month, Deryn's 'mini hotties' were also mentioned in the Independent good gift guide in December, we sold out and have a few more now as the weather calls for a little something useful and beautiful to keep warm!

We also have a few exclusive 'hearts & kisses' versions as pictured! Perfect for giving anyone a hug in a giftNot to mention the pom pom trimmed cushion versions!

I was delighted to meet Illustrator Sam Pierpoint this week and we have a fab piece of her original art work - a 3D heart of course, Sam has also produced prints and cards of this glorious piece in stock at the Pop Up!

Sharon Cluett's word friendly cards have been enjoyed by many and her Valentine's expressions have made passersby gulp and go for it!
Seen above with Zukru toys in all the colours I certainly love to finish on a high!

Edinburgh's Carla Edwards has sent some fun & delicious looking resin pieces above!

Embossed & screen printed leather from one of our favourite pop up jewelers Rowenna Harrison, with ceramicist Lucy Foakes specially commissioned Tea Pots :>

More above from Deryn, me & a glimpse of some beautiful gold embossed kid leather purses from April Mawhinney of Little Red Designs

Examples of our international contributor(! we generally have one or two to add to the mix of home grown high talent!) Anne Black from Copenhagen in a collaboration with fashion designer Miss Dotty.

You may have spotted one or two beautiful bikes from Tokyo Bike UK, there has been plenty of cooing over those these past few months and one or two cycling off in style!

Come and visit us before Feb 16th & see for yourself!