Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hygge Love

 

Cosy: Giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation – so says the Oxford Dictionary.. and I am inclined to agree with it. Although, it goes a little deeper for me. Cosy is my way of life.. a mantra.. and should really be my middle name.

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Mira! Look!

DFS MIRA I love this sofa. I love it I love it I love it. ‘Where’s it from?’ I hear you ask?

DFS MIRA AND LOOK AT THIS CHAIR! I want it. I want this chair and that sofa and that cushion.

Where do you think it’s from?

DFS MIRA

DFS MIRA

 

The new Mira Range manages to combine the two big shot trends that experts (not Poppy) are predicting for 2014; greys and pastel shades. The design mixes a sleek, contemporary shape with bold fabric and pretty button detail, which adds a subtle vintage feel… *sigh*

Every sofa is handmade to order too, so each one will have a lovely, unique feel.. DFS MIRA

The Mira range is designed and made with love by skilled craftsmen, with over 44 years experience, from that place where this gorgeous stuff is from…

DFS MIRA

Oh, sorry. Didn’t I say where?

DFS. That’s where.

Close your mouth Michael,  you are not a codfish.

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Mother’s Day Blooms
(and a lovely discount code)

Debenhams Flowers for Mother's Day

Miss Piggy Roses for Poppy

Sometimes nothing else will do for Mother’s Day. I love my mum, (hello mum – you’re the best mum ever ever ever) I love flowers, my mum loves flowers and pretty much everyone I know loves flowers. What you might not know is that some of the most beautiful flowers are hiding in Pretty Flower Land… at Debenhams.

Debenhams have lots of different bouquets you can snap up for Mother’s Day, including Antique Carnations, Memory Lane and Athena Roses, fragrant freesias and lilys..  and they all come beautifully wrapped and delivered in a very pretty box, so your mum will be the envy of all the neighbours before they even know what’s nestling inside..

Debenhams Flowers for Mother's Day

Many of the bouquets come with other lovely treats, such as  pretty mugs, bottles of wine and heavenly Sanctuary Spa products.. which is what I received with my beautiful Miss Piggy Roses…

There are also gorgeous orchids available and plant boxes laden with daffodils or hyacinths …

Debenhams Mother's Day Flowers

Pink hyacinths heart box – £19.99

The very good news is that I have a magic code, which when entered at check out, a whopping 15% will miraculously vanish from the price.

The code is: MDBLOG15 and it is valid until this Friday, March 28th.

It never ceases to amaze me how much joy and happiness pretty fresh flowers can bring… especially when one didn’t buy them for oneself.

Have a very happy Mother’s Day everyone, let’s make it the squeeziest (hugs) one yet.

 

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Mother’s Day Flowers from Debenhams

 

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Book Club: ‘Life After Life’
by Kate Atkinson

photo 1

Last month, we all read ‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion and I was thrilled with the number of you that took part! Folk from all over the UK (Cornwall, London, Scotland etc.) took part in our online discussions, as well as the author himself in Australia! It was such a treat to have him with us and the discussions were super.. although we all got a little distracted by all the ‘selfies’ being tweeted…

I’m very pleased to announce that our next book is ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson. (You can pick up a copy over here.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * *  20% off for Poppy Loves Book Club Members! * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

If you are local to Notting Hill, the fabulous independent bookshop and café Book and Kitchen are offering 20% discount to all members of my book club. If you haven’t received your book club card yet, just drop me a line at poppyloves1@gmail.com,  and I’ll arrange to get one to you.

Life-After-Life-1

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Join me on Wednesday, April 23rd at 7.30pm in The Refectory at The Duke of Wellington pub on Portobello road, for book chat dins, tea and cake. We talk books, life and anything else you fancy. Don’t panic – there will still also be an online discussion if you can’t scoot over to Notting Hill!  Also, please don’t worry if you can’t make either of these events – there’ll be plenty of opportunity to comment and share your thoughts afterwards in the Facebook group and here on my blog too.
The Refectory at The Duke of Wellington Pub

The Refectory at The Duke of Wellington Pub

To join this discussion, in real life or online, please see below.

In the meantime, please do invite your friends to Poppy Loves’ Book Club – it’s growing rapidly and is proving to be lots of fun! Thank you for signing up – it’s great to have you on board.

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Book Description

Winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and shortlisted for the Women’s Prize, Kate Atkinson’s acclaimed new novel, about a woman who lives her life over and over again through the most turbulent events of the 20th century, including the London Blitz.

Kate Atkinson

“Kate Atkinson’s new novel is a box of delights. Ingenious in construction, indefatigably entertaining, it grips the reader’s imagination on the first page and never lets go. If you wish to be moved and astonished, read it. And if you want to give a dazzling present, buy it for your friends.” (Hilary Mantel)

“There aren’t enough breathless adjectives to describe Life After Life: Dazzling, witty, moving, joyful, mournful, profound. Wildly inventive, deeply felt. Hilarious. Humane. Simply put: it’s ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS I’VE READ THIS CENTURY.” (Gillian Flynn,no1 New York Times author of Gone Girl, and Sharp Objects)

“Truly brilliant…Think of Audrey Niffenegger’s The TimeTraveler’s Wife or David Nicholl’s One Day…[or] Martin Amis’s Times Arrow, his rewinding of the Holocaust that was shortlisted for the Booker. Life After Life should have the popular success of the former and deserves to win prizes, too. It has that kind of thrill to it, of an already much-loved novelist taking a leap, and breaking through to the next level…This is a rare book that you want, Ursula-like, to start again the minute you have finished.” (Helen Rumbelow The Times)

“What makes Atkinson an exceptional writer – and this is her most ambitious and most gripping work to date – is that she does so with an emotional delicacy and understanding that transcend experiment or playfulness. Life After Life gives us a heroine whose fictional underpinning is permanently exposed, whose artificial status is never in doubt; and yet one who feels painfully, horribly real to us.” (Alex Clark Guardian)

“Merging family saga with a fluid sense of time and an extraordinarily vivid sense of history at its most human level. A dizzying and dazzling tour de force.” (Amber Pearson Daily Mail)

The Duke of Wellington
179 Portobello Road
London
Q11 2ED
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Sing for Your Supper
– Ana Silvera –

ANA-SILVERA5_KateKearaPelen

Welcome to Sing For Your Supper – the cosiest gig you’ll ever stumble across. A monthly gig in my kitchen, among my pots and pans.

I’m working with the brilliant Karousel Music Collective to bring you the very best in songwriting and musicianship, straight from my kitchen, into yours. (If you happen to be watching this in your kitchen.) Described as ‘a bedroll and campfire of the soul for great artistes, songwriters, musicians and independent music industry professionals both UK based and beyond,’ Karousel Music Collective have tapped into something rather unique and I’m so pleased to be working with them.

But now, may I introduce the beautiful Ana Silvera

‘Stunning.. a gorgeous album that mixes operatic and folk elements with magical storytelling’ The Guardian

She arrived at my flat with her guitar, we chatted, shared stories and had a wonderful day. Read on for lots more about Ana, what she listens to when she cooks and what Time Out  say about her.. (it’s good. It’s really good.)

Here she is, singing for her supper, in Poppy’s kitchen. (Do watch to the end, it always makes me laugh…)

Ana Silvera, ‘Letter From New York’

 

The last couple of years have been phenomenal  for the extraordinary, multi-talented artist Ana Silvera. She released her debut album ‘The Aviary’ through Karamel Music to great praise. Recorded in New York with Maxim Moston (Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright) and produced by Brad Albetta (Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson) in New York and Ray Singer (Peter Sarstedt, Japan) in London, the album prompted critics to pen words such as ‘utterly beguiling’, ‘dark and delicious’, ‘stunning’, ‘a joy’, ‘magical’, ‘gorgeous’ and ‘a genius composer’. Songs of deeply personal experiences sit alongside tales of romance and tragedy, with drama, complexity, darkness and exuberance all found within.

Ana was also invited to perform her seven part song cycle ‘Oracles’ at the 2012 Reverb Festival at London’s Roundhouse and at The Sage, Gateshead. Composed both as a creative reaction and as an expression of grief to the death of her brother Daniel, the songs were sung alongside the thirty strong Estonian Television Girls Choir. Yet to be recorded, Oracles was also nominated for an award at the prestigious tenth anniversary BASCA ceremony (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors), held in London on December 3rd at Goldsmiths’ Hall.

The sold out shows – both streamed by The Guardian website – also featured Imogen Heap and the Holst Choir with Ana, Imogen and the two choirs all singing ‘Letter From New York’ taken from The Aviary’, as a finale.

‘Melodies that just won’t leave you alone, and a voice that tugs at your heart’
Late Junction, BBC Radio 3

‘Silvera’s voice.. has a Björk-like spontaneity – an ability to be gritty and fragile one minute, warm, rich and ripe the next’ Arts Desk

‘A stunning, beautiful and genius composer’ Camden New Journal

‘An emerging star singer/multi-instrumentalist making waves here and in the US, winning acclaim for her recent ‘Oracles’ composition’ Time Out

Currently, Ana is living in Copenhagen working on her next record and several other projects including a collaboration with the Royal Ballet.

Meet Ana Silvera…

 

What’s your favourite supper?

“I have a lovely friend in Copenhagen who spent a lot of time in Thailand, and learnt how to make the most delicious dishes. Vegetable curry with about fifteen different spices all hand-ground; massive piles of shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chilli, nam pla, tamarind juice,…they’re my favourite flavours. When I lived in Berlin, there was also an Vietnamese restaurant called Monsieur Vuong (I believe it’s still there) that made an incredible spicy shrimp salad with glass noodles and hazelnuts. I’d always have a pineapple and coconut juice alongside it. I still dream of those meals…one day I’ll go back!”

What’s your favourite London eaterie?

“My favourite eatery is Lanka Cake Shop and Tea Salon, just off Finchley Road, which is run by Masayuki Hara and his wife Mina. Masa, from Japan, is a master pastry chef who makes the best cakes I’ve ever tasted – and I’ve tasted a lot of cake in my time. Strangely, Masa says he likes steak better than cake, but I guess cake must seem like a bit of a bus man’s holiday to him by now.

There have been days when I’ve felt totally miserable, and then wandered into Lanka and my day has been transformed by the soothing atmosphere, the impeccable service but most of all by.. the cakes! One bite of the pear and almond slice, the lemon tart or the croissant bread and butter pudding alongside some select black or jasmine tea, and all is well once again with the world.”

What’s your cooking soundtrack?

“Funk accompanied by a large glass of wine (my chef role-model is vintage Keith Floyd). Throwing tabasco around: Earth, Wind and Fire; chopping the carrots: Sly and the Family Stone. As much as I love cooking, rather like going to the gym there are tedious and sometimes even painful moments (any kind of grating is pretty dull, hand-grinding spices is hard on the forearm, slicing onions, ouch), so you need a bit of cheer and a soulful groove to make it through.”

ana

www.AnaSilvera.com

Sing for your Supper will be returning next month, when Thom Byles will be singing in my kitchen…

Have a wonderful weekend all,

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If you’d like to get involved with Sing for Your Supper, just contact the Karousel Music Collective here.

Ben Katzler of Head Photographic directed this film. If you’d like to contact him for any snapping or shooting, you can reach him here.

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Macintyre Coffee, Hoxton

Macintyre Coffee The creative genius behind Tinder and Sparks recommended this place to me, so I knew it was going to be good. He has excellent taste in coffee. He also has excellent taste in jumpers… But standing on Hoxton Street, peering at my Google Maps, I was baffled. I knew I was right where Macintyre Coffee should be, but all I could see was a hole in the wall, which seemed to lead to some kind of airy, industrial workspace… Oh.

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Hair & Graces: John Macpherson

John Macpherson

Who knew. Who knew that hiding under the Westway in a light-drenched studio, with a beautiful chocolate brown doey eyed dog, is the genius that is John Macpherson. Not me. I had no idea.

John Macpherson John Macpherson John Macpherson John Macpherson

John told me he was from South Africa. “But you have a Scottish accent,” said I. (Poppy.) “Yes,” said John. “I was born in Scotland and then we moved to South Africa. But I kept the accent.” And he really has – I’d never have guessed he’d started his career in Johannesburg and stayed there for so long.

He worked his bottom off and managed to fly up through the ranks of the hairdressing world and worked in some of South Africa’s most exciting and prestigious salons.

John Macpherson John Macpherson John Macpherson

He moved to London in 1998 where he quickly built up a private clientele, preening, primping, colouring and styling some of the most fashionable and famous heads in town; Kings of Leon, Courtney Love, Harvey Weinstein, David Bailey, Poppy Loves… let me just pick those names off the floor…

He then decided to go freelance, which was when he met Tamara Mellon, fashion entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Jimmy Choo. She quickly snapped up John as her personal hair stylist and he was soon jetting around the world with her. Tamara, who John credits with having a massive influence on him, introduced him to a number of her chums and it wasn’t long before word started to spread about his super sonic hair dressing skills.

I learnt all of this while he blow-dried my hair into some kind of magic I’d never seen before. So swooshy. So swishy. Glamour Poppy – that’s me.

John Macpherson

Primped Poppy

John Macpherson

John used some Redken and Pureology magic on my locks…

John now hones his snazzy creative skills doing session work for music companies (ooooooh) fashion labels (ahhhhh) and high-end fashion magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair. Marie Claire etc..  Thinking about it now, he must be exhausted.

John Macpherson John Macpherson John Macpherson

 

He zooms all over the world with his amazing celebrity clients and amidst all of this, still manages to run his private warehouse studio in the heart of Notting Hill, off Portobello. Which, incidentally is a 5 minute walk from me. *High fives herself*

And. On top of all of this. He is a Really. Really. Lovely. Man.

Hair and Grace – it’s John all over.

 

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 www.johnnyhairlondon.com

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Knitters wanted for penguin pullovers

Penguin

Oiled penguin in a knitted wool jumper – Phillip Island Nature Parks

The Penguin Foundation in Australia has a global callout for knitters to make pullovers for penguins in rehab. Global means all of us. And if you can knit, that means you.

Penguins caught in oil spills need the little jumpers to keep warm and to stop them from trying to clean the toxic oil off with their beaks.

The Penguin Foundation also distributes the jumpers to other wildlife rescue centres where needed.

You can download more information about how to knit for penguins, including the knitting pattern and where to send the finished product here.

I’m off to find my knitting needles. (I apologise now to the penguin that will be wearing the jumper I knit, but it’s the thought that counts, no?)

 

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MADE: DECKER CUSHION

MADE: DECKER CUSHION I love cushions. Cushions and teaspoons and butter knives. But mostly, cushions. And it’s not always easy to find a good, squishy, sink-into-the-sofa cushion with a stonking design without forking out lots of lolly. So, you can understand my whoops of delight when I found this mazin squishy-is-my-middle-name Decker cushion from MADE.

MADE: DECKER CUSHION

I think the solider print manages to appeal to both grown ups and kiddiwinks. It looks gorgeous in my cosy living room and is my new go-to cushion for when I need to get horizontal to watch The Great British Sewing Bee (am I the ONLY ONE watching this that has no idea what they’re all talking about?!) as not only is it extremely comfy,  it’s also BIG (50cm x 50cm.) Likewise, the print would work brilliantly in a nursery for a little nipper.

MADE: DECKER CUSHION

If you haven’t heard of MADE, they are a bit swish and clever. They do things differently. They believe the high street and expensive designer brands give consumers a raw deal. They know that everyone in the retail process takes a cut, from agents to landlords and we – the discerning customer – pay for that cut. (Rahhhh!! Booooo Hissss!!)  So MADE are making a stand. They are taking on the high street to offer us original furniture design (and cushions!) at affordable prices. Which is why my gorgeous Decker Cushion costs £39, instead of the £75 you’d expect to pay on the high street for the same thing.

I have had so many compliments on my cushion, I’ve had to install a tracking device, for fear of someone stuffing it up their jumper and legging it.

You know who you are.

 

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Decker Cushion from MADE

 

 

 

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Heal’s: The Windsor Rocker
by Katie Walker

Do you know who Katie Walker is? She’s the clever award winning lass, what designed Prince George’s High Chair. So, assuming The Royal Family don’t make these decisions lightly, she must really know what she’s doing.

Katie clearly felt that bigger bottoms deserved to sit on her creations, (although, I cannot vouch for the size of Prince George’s bottom) and so set about creating the beautiful Windsor Rocker, which you can see above. (Can you be sent to the gallows for talking about a Prince’s bottom?) (I’ve done it twice now.)

This beautiful creation is inspired by traditional Windsor chair-making techniques. I had no idea what these were either, so let me elaborate. The chair features the trademark spindles of the Windsor style and an ash frame, which is steam-bent to create a lovely, flowing design.

I love that the wood (where possible) is from sustainable sources and is grown locally to where the chairs are made in the heart of England – it makes me feel like singing Land of Hope and Glory…  And just to make sure you’re not getting a dud, each chair is personally inspected by Katie Walker herself, before being placed in a protective cotton bag ready to whizz off to the customer.

One final thing – the seat of the rocker has a gentle, shaped recess (good for all bottoms, prince or no prince) offering the ultimate comfort when one is rocking out. 

The only snag is that it will set you back a mere £2295. But I reckon, if I pop round to Queenie’s with some booties for her grandson, she might buy me one for Crimbo.

No?

(Can you go to the gallows for bribing royals?)

 

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Blogging tools:
calendar hooks & events
March 2014

Getting inspiration for new blog posts can be tricky – we’ve all been there… staring at the wall… gazing glumly into a mug of tea…

I find having a hook in the calendar, to anchor my writing can be extremely helpful –  if you’ve never tried it, may I recommend it. It’s good. (Not as good as Gingernuts in tea, but still good.) (Nothing is as good as Gingernuts in tea.)

Here are my UK calendar hooks for March, for you to grab onto, be inspired by and enjoy writing about. I promise to be be earlier for April – I got a bit waylaid this month, what with The Big Blogging Rebrand and all… please feel free to comment with any others you know of and I’ll add them on.

Oh, and while I have you here,  I have recently started my own calendar here on my blog. If you have any events you’d like to add, (classes, gigs, workshops etc) then please do so here. It’s free, you know.

Pip pip.

 

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MARCH 2014

PANCAKE DAY

4th March

BRITISH PIE WEEK

4th-10th March

NATIONAL BUTCHER’S WEEK

4th-10th March

SLEEP AWARENESS WEEK

4th-10th March”

WORLD BOOK DAY

7th March

NATIONAL DOODLE DAY

7th March

NATIONAL GENEALOGY DAY

8th March

NATIONAL NAPPING DAY

10th March

NO SMOKING DAY

12th March

BAGPIPE DAY

15th March

NATIONAL PUPPY DAY

23rd March

MOTHER’S DAY

March 30th

NATIONAL STATIONERY WEEK

31st March – 6th April

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The Folio Prize Fiction Festival, 2014

Folio Have you heard of The Folio Prize? I hadn’t, but I’m  extremely glad I found out about it and thought I’d share with you.

The Folio Prize is the first British prize to celebrate English fiction from every country, in every genre, in every form. Brilliant.

Sponsored by The Folio Society, (publishers of very, very beautiful books – you know the ones, with the gorgeous hardback covers) the prize has created an Academy of the world’s most eminent writers and critics to seek out and share the very best novels and short stories of our time.

Folio

In the weekend leading up to the first prize announcement, The Folio Society and The British Library (LOVE The British Library) are hosting a festival involving the Folio Prize 2014 judges – Lavinia Greenlaw, Michael Chabon, Sarah Hall, Nam Le, Pankaj Mishra – alongside shortlisted authors and members of the Folio Prize Academy, who will come together for a  natter (it’s down as a ‘discussion’) about the art of storytelling.

Together the Folio judges and guest Academicians (ho yes, I used that word) will examine how each element is essential to those books that stimulate and stay with us… and I suspect there will be some things that pop up and surprise us all…

Here are the listings, some of which are free and all of which will be held at The British Library (address below.)

Hope to see you there!

 

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Saturday 8 March

Event: On Voice: Lavinia Greenlaw, Ali Smith, George Saunders and Erica Wagner in conversation. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 11.30am – 12.45pm
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: On Place: Nam Le, Sebastian Faulks, Amity Gaige and James Walton in conversation.Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 13.45 – 15.00
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: On Reading Women: Tessa Hadley, Frances Wilson and Suzi Feay. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 15.30 – 16.30
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Sunday 9 March

Event: On Genre and Form: Michael Chabon, Mark Haddon, Eimear McBride and Stephanie Merritt in conversation. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 11.30 – 12.45
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: Reading Room: Rachel Kushner and Anne Carson. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 12.00 – 13.00
Tickets: FREE
More info & bookings

Event: On Structure: Sarah Hall, A.S. Byatt, Sergio De La Pava and Sam Leith in conversation.Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 13.45 – 15.00
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: Reading Room: Amity Gaige and Jane Gardam. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 14.15 – 15.15
Tickets: FREE
More info & bookings

Event: On Context: Pankaj Mishra, Rachel Kushner, Andrew O’Hagan and Rachel Cooke in conversation. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 15.30 – 16.30
Tickets: £8 /£6 over 60s /£5
More info & bookings

Event: Reading Room: George Saunders, Eimear McBride and Sergio de la Pava. Part of The Folio Prize Fiction Festival
Time: 15.45 – 16.45
Tickets: FREE
More info & bookings

 

 

The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB

 

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Bling it up: Wholesome Bling Watches

Wholesome Bling I am always so pleased to be able to toot the horn for a dinky and independent business. So here I am. Tooting.

Wholesome Bling began their business in a shed. An actual blue shed, in East London.

Wholesome Bling

Wholesome Bling

‘Twas in this shed the clever chaps began developing and making their watches with their signature silky fabric straps, which you can now find in an array of designs from peacocks, skulls, flowers and flies… the flies design happen to be my favourite.

They take their straps very seriously indeed. They are all hand-stitched and the fabric, (silk, cotton etc) is cut and hand-pasted into each and every Wholesome Bling dial, so no two watches are the same…

Wholesome Bling

 

Each Wholesome Bling watch comes wrapped in a gorgeous little jam jar too, so they make super duper gifts… you can view the whole range here.

Wholesome Bling

The best bit of all? They are not as pricey as you might expect. With my flies design watch coming in at £22, (or £24 for a large one) I might raid the piggy bank and still have enough left over to have couple of different ones up my sleeve.

So to speak.

Toot.

 

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