Out. Of. Office.

Every since the Smalls were out of their nappies, and in between our notorious family travels, I’ve tried really hard to keep working through out the long summer holidays. But as any working mum will tell you endless weeks of juggling are ANYTHING but a holiday. Dashing from one hectic summer camp to another, bridged by lost-in-translation au pairs and thrown into the arms of those trusty, on standby grandparents… it can all be a bit stressful. Plus it can be hard to keep your (slightly guilty) mind on the job in hand.

So this year, before these small people are teenagers who specifically won’t want to hang out with me, I’m planning to do that thing that no freelancer ever does. I’m going to decline work. Briefed with the idea of real escapism, my gang and I are already busy planning how we might fill our days – writing journals, exploring our coastline, camping somewhere remote, learning to cook and sail, youtube-taught DIY art projects, a ton of book reading, a cross-generation yoga class, experimenting with photography and (of course) scoop upon scoop of ice-cream.

life of yablon summer 2016

And so my message here is simple: get in touch if you’re at a loose end and want to join us in our recreation squad, challenge us with plenty of projects and creative ideas OR just pop over for a big cup of tea but please don’t get in touch offering me THAT killer project… because no can do before September.

PS  as you might have worked out, I don’t send most of my blog posts to your in-boxes anymore. You see, in-box littering is a REAL crime and so I decided a while ago to refrain from mass mailing and discretely-ish post my updates on the blog.  That way you can control your Life of Yablon intake… but do check in over the summer to see what we’re getting up to.

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a bar of soap.

Brace yourself. I’m about to talk about soap. A bar of soap, to be exact.

egg white soap

It screams mundane – doesn’t it? Except that this bar of soap is anything but.

Technically, a skin cleanser, the Lanolin-Agg-Tval Egg White Facial Soap even doubles up as a mask. Lather it up and leave it on your face for 5 minutes… and the effects are impressive:  smoother skin, brighter complexion and tighter but moisturised.

Lanolin-Agg-Tval Swedish Eggwhite Soap

The use of egg whites in skincare is an age-old trick. In fact, in Sweden, local women have been using a beaten up egg white for years to tighten pores, remove excess oil and get rid of dead skin.

This bar includes moisturizing lanolin, rosewater, and chamomile flower oil. And it’s hardly surprising that this bathroom-worthy packaging is a favorite of the Queen of Sweden. And now my bar of soap has your attention.

Lanolin-Agg-Tval Swedish Eggwhite Soap

Lanolin-Agg-Tval Swedish Eggwhite Soap

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Filed under beauty, Exclusive to website, shopping

HOLGA. beautifully unpredictable.

When is a camera literally ONLY a toy? And taking pictures simply a game… or actually is this the very point?

The Holga is proper toy-territory. Firstly it quite honestly feels just like a throwaway toy camera. It’s as light as a feather, a little crazy looking and not at all expensive. Add to this no batteries, no flash and 100% lack of image visibility, shooting with this thing is more like pinning a tail on a donkey.

Holga + prints

With a fixed focus, the Holga takes 120 medium format film – I chose the Kodak Portra 400 because of its strong colours which, in the new toy, would produce soft focus loveliness and some all natural skin tones. I couldn’t wait to experiment with leaking light and slow shutters.

Holga 120 review

But sadly, throw away is exactly what they did. A little history for you all, as I didn’t know a thing about how the Holga came to no longer be. That is, until I had one in my mitts.

The plastic camera was first designed in China in the early ’80s and very quickly went on to develop a global cult following. However, last December a Chinese factory spokesperson announced that “…all Holga tooling has already been thrown away and there is nothing available for sale.”

Yet another casualty of the (beastly) digital age? Or had this little gem served its artistic purpose?

Actually there is a BIG reason we should know more about this kooky camera which uses square 120 film. Together with the Diana, many photographers feel that the Holga is responsible for cultivating a wholly new photographic aesthetic. All those technical flaws* which you can’t help but produce in each photo became a desirable part of the image we were all looking for.

Holga 120 review

Plus mobile photography wasn’t as easy as it is today with our big screens and MEGApixels, so the solution to create these ‘arty pics’ was to use Hipstamatic (remember that?) and then Instagram to filter our photos in such a way that the poor quality appeared deliberate.

*Exaggerated colors, heavy vignetting, light leaks — YUP – all these digital edits are hallmarks of the Holga.

So my advice?  Snap one up before they’re nothing but a distant memory. And, anyway, unpredictability is surprisingly refreshing in our ultra controlled digital world.

(my Holga came from West End Cameras as they are super knowledgeable and cheaper than Amazon.)


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Re-inventing the old…

…because, deep down, that’s what we’re all yearning for. We want the old to be re-launched today but we want it to be better and sleeker.



If you haven’t heard of the Impossible Project, you’ll be blown away but these genius people. The team there has recently released their I-1 and it’s the first new camera system in over 20 years for the original instant format. That’s Polaroid to you/me.

Impossible Project Camera

I couldn’t wait to get my mitts on one. Sold on the design, I watched endless YouYube films before pressing the BUY ME NOW button.

I-1 with its app

The I-1 has its own app too so you can use remote trigger, double exposure, self-timer and even a manual mode to modify settings such as shutter speed and aperture.

If you’re an instagram follower who also has a thing for photography, you’ll have stalked the #filmisnotdead hashtag.  Joining in the nostalgic conversation is one thing but actually combining it with digital control and stunning construction is that bit more special. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been practicing with my new toy and, I have to admit, although it’s a little trial and error (which of course isn’t a cheap hobby) I’m mighty impressed with the fancy ring flash and a USB chargable battery, so – it seems – the Polaroid days are long gone.

I-1 Analogue camera

I read somewhere that precious and unpredictable is the way film photography should appreciated – and that’s exactly how I’m embracing my I-1.

PS A massive Susannah Conway fan, I love the way she uses Polaroid in every day life.  Check out her thoughts here for some ‘instant’ inspiration.


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