concrete jungle

It’s been a week.  A brilliant, exhausting week in this concrete jungle of a playground.  I know some of you are going to ask where we stayed and what we did (just as I quizzed those who have recently played here).  So I’ve made a word cloud in the shape of a (type of) skyscraper with our list but – of course – you can email directly if you want more details.

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And it wouldn’t be my blog post without photography.  I hung the AMAZING new Olympus Pen F around my neck and off we walked…

new york life of yablon

new york life of yablon

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new york life of yablonnew york life of yablon

 new york life of yablon

new york life of yablon

For more images of our NYC adventure – follow me on Instagram.

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a Scandi-inspired brunch for kikki.K

It all started around the big white table at Push.   A few of us were chit chatting about kikki.K and their new homeware range Svenska Hem Sma Stunder. As with so much of their stunning wares, there’s a strong Scandi-vibe coming through from Kristina, the founder.

beetroot, blood orange, apple and ginger juice prepared by Building Feasts for kikki.K and served in their glass water bottle

beetroot, blood orange, apple and ginger juice prepared by Building Feasts for kikki.K and served in their glass water bottle

Scandi-inspired living is more than just ‘a thing’. The super cool Nordic theme has infiltrated our cookbooks, interiors, entertaining, literature, art… and it’s best appreciated up close. Intimate. In someone’s private living space.

Building Feasts' beautiful home

Building Feasts’ beautiful home

I immediately thought of Building Feasts. Half American, designer by profession, entertaining kitchen guru by nature – there’s no denying a strong influence of something absolutely Swedish in her stunning (self-designed) home. And right there and then (without speaking to her first), a Scandi-inspired brunch for kikki.K and a particular bunch of in-tune influencers was born.

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from left: Poppy, Sophie, Vikki and Nathan

Building Feasts with her baked oats

Building Feasts with her baked oats

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Building Feasts demo’d gravadlax with dill and mustard sauce on rye – served on kikki.K’s wooden tray

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Most of the curated guest list have written their own version of the Building Feasts’ cooking demo, the menu we consumed and their thoughts on the new kikki.K homeware. Some have even included recipes (so dig deep) while others have mentioned that they might never need eat again.

I’m busy negotiating another version of the events. Do shout if you’d like to be on the guest list.

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MEET: Jessica de Lotz + her jewels

It is so VERY rare that I come face-to-face with the daughter of an antiquarian book dealer.  Someone who might understand just how it felt growing up surrounded by dusty, stained dust jackets, appreciating literary treasures with ‘age tan’ and original leather boards all while living permanently amongst box upon box of out-of-print, high value relics.

Jessica de Lotz shop kentish town

But recently, when catching up with that friend with a jewelDAR Esther Coren, she suggested nipping into the new jewellery workshop/shop at the end of her road, I did indeed find Jessica de Lotz, the daughter of a bookseller.

Jessica de Lotz + Esther Coren

Jessica de Lotz + Esther Coren

Local to the neighbourhood, Jessica chose Kentish Town as the location for her first shop and then went on to design her retail space so that the workbench is visible from the shop floor…  a genius move bearing in mind just how personal all her designs feel.

Jessica de Lotz

Once over the threshold, I was right in there – drooling, photographing and quizzing this minx of a girl in her room of quirky antiques and alluring jewels:

How long has your shop now been open?  For just over a month now – early days? but I’ve had such an overwhelmingly positive response so far.

there wasn't one ring I didn't want... but there was one ring I HAD to have...

there wasn’t one ring I didn’t want… but there was one ring I HAD to have…

match box obsession

What has been the most surprising thing you have learnt as a shop owner?  It requires a whole new level of responsibility! It’s like having a baby but without the sleepless nights. I have to either be looking after the shop or find cover for it – we’re open 6 days a week! I’m learning to delegate more now so I’m not always playing shop girl and juggling workshop pixie too! I’m working towards more of a work/life balance since we opened, but want my core focus to continue being designing and crafting pieces.

Jessica de Lotz workshop

I adore your nod to nostalgia. Tell us more about your love for the old.  My father was an antiquarian bookseller so I was brought up surrounded by beautiful old books that he lovingly looked after (and sold) so an appreciation of antiques was engrained in me from day one.

Jessica de Lotz + esther coren

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How important is design in your everyday life?  I know that when I see or hold something I admire, it makes me very happy. It all just depends on how you channel what you see and, as I appreciate quite detailed and intricate things, this then translates into what I make.

Who inspires you and why?  My mum inspires me. Just you meet her and you would be too! She is a miracle.

Jessica de Lotz shop

If not jewellery, what? Nursing or something that involves talking to people more to help them.?

 Vinyl or digi download?  radio actually.

Book or e-reader?  Book.

Where would we find you seeking me-time?  In a yoga studio or wandering around Spitalfields market. I go every Thursday morning. It fuels me creatively to get out and look around.

Biggest dream in the world?  For my parents and family to always be with me.

Jessica de Lotz

What would you tell your younger self?  I was chronically shy until my GCSEs and hated public performances so I’d say, ‘Go for it. It’s important to do things that scare you. Oh and to stick with a musical instrument and persevere!’

Piece you most enjoyed making for a customer?  I enjoyed the process of making the collaborative piece with Peroni – I had to design something that represented my interpretation of ‘100 years of Italian Style.’ I made a bike bell bracelet which then transforms into a bike bell ring. I travelled to Rome on my own to be inspired and visited wonderful flea markets and artisan studios. The end result felt very ‘me’ and Peroni were a very fun team to work with.

Where to next?  The shop has just been nominated by ES magazine as one of 50 best boutiques in London so I’m chuffed about that. I then have an exciting collaboration with Frame Chain launching soon? and another quite unusual project in the pipeline. It’s early days but I’m really excited about it.

Jessica de Lotz

Please drop by Jessica’s shop but DON’T blame me when you want (literally) everything in there.  {Including something old and rather rare.}

49 Fortess Road, Kentish Town

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MEET: Daisy Emerson + her wall painting

If you love words (half as much as I do) then you might well also love the way they’re written. Fonts, typeface, typography are all The Wordie’s porn. Perhaps it’s the way one  letter is much more visible than the others, or that the word itself jumps off the page OR, in Daisy’s case, the huge white wall it is up against.

Daisy Emerson

Either way, I’ve been keen to meet her for a while. Because Daisy Emerson’s true love of hand lettering is one that I envy. That and her extraordinary talent of large scale typographic murals and stunning wall art which make her more than simply ‘one to watch’ on Instagram. With signature pastel colours mixed with some seriously brilliant metallic, her work is often laid out on metal or wood – as well as the blank wall.  So, last week, I nipped over to her studio, currently located in Whitechapel, to find out more about her work:

What got you going first in the world of typography?  I’ve always been drawn to letters and words, I’m not sure why but I just have. When I was younger I would often doodle at school and write words down a lot. I remember having an almost obsessive habit with writing my name down over and over again when I was little, often over everything including walls and most surfaces. I was always quite good at replicating most different kinds of handwriting too, I like lots of different letterforms I guess.

daisy emerson

Which letter is hardest to draw?  I’m not sure there is a hardest one but all can be challenging in their own way, it totally depends on the style of lettering or the font I think…

Do you dream in colour?  I think so, I definitely dream a lot….I have very vivid dreams so I would like to say they’re colourful. I’m often excited by colour especially the colours I like such as pinks, pastels, metallics. This is odd as I only ever used to work in monochrome until the past year or two…perhaps the monochrome was a reflection of the way I dress as I love to wear mostly black and white but I’m embracing colour more and more every day in my artwork.

Daisy Emerson

Sometimes a client will ask for a specific colour scheme and initially you won’t be too excited by it but it can turn out to look really good, it’s nice when that happens as it gives you scope to explore more colour for the next piece of work. For example I would never think to use yellow but I’m now coming round to it after recently using it on a sign writing job.

What do you love/hate about your work?  I love the process of seeing an idea come to life from initial concept to finished piece….I hate that I still have anxiety about how each piece will turn out.

Daisy Emerson

Which was the most demanding job you have been committed to date?  I’m not sure there’s been a single most demanding job but there’s been a few outside jobs I can think of…..up a ladder or scaffold, in the cold and windy weather! Sometimes that’s tough as you’re on a deadline and the elements are against you.

When not painting and drawing, what do you do to plan your work?  I often look to blogs for inspiration and I’m always trying to do smaller study pieces whether it be a quick painted word on a scrap piece of wood. This is good for content as well as practise.

Is there a lot of research and inspiration hunting needed?  Sometimes there is a lot of research needed if a client asks for something specific, often enough they will come with their own reference but it’s always nice to seek out more. I like finding new inspiration, whether it be a specific hue of colour or an amazing font I’ve seen.

Who would you love to work with – corporate or artist?  I guess anyone who was up for giving me pretty much free reign on a big wall! It’s always great to work with other sign writers on the bigger jobs, it makes it much more fun.

Which is your favourite part of London?  I like Soho and Carnaby, I use to work around there in several creative agencies, but I don’t get as much opportunity to visit the West End these days as I’m based in East London.

Daisy Emerson

Where would we find you chilling at the weekends?  Probably around Old Spitalfields Market, I like to go to Columbia Road flower market on a Sunday or perhaps a walk around various places in Hackney or Shoreditch local to me, I spend some of my time in Shoreditch House as it gets me out of my home studio when I get cabin fever.

Which artists inspire you?  There’s a huge amount of different people I follow on Instagram which are always inspiring, I don’t just follow other sign writers or lettering artists, I love photography, I follow a lot of fashion, interior and lifestyle bloggers also, it’s nice to take inspiration from all different kinds of creatively.

Where do you paint shop?  I always go to Stuart R. Stevenson in Clerkenwell, it’s a family run art supplies shop and it has absolutely everything you could ever imagine, it’s floor to ceiling of paints, brushes, crafts, everything really – I could spend a long time in there. It’s where I buy all of my sign writing enamel, I also go to Handover in Dalston for sign writing brushes – I’ve always loved a good art shop.

Daisy’s clients include Carnaby, Fudge Hair, John Lewis, Google and more recently Facebook. The work she creates for brands brings spaces, walls and windows to life.

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