Posts Tagged ‘Green and Glossy’

Green Dreams…

Monday, September 10th, 2012


One of the first presents I ever bought my husband was a copy of Shelter.  This book provided finger-pointing visuals for daydreams of freedom, space and fantastical houses.  As a child I was mesmerised by a programme where a family lived in subterranean house, with a lawn for a roof: they were invisible to the passing eye, but warm, content and cosy.  Aged 7, my Christmas gift first edition Gnomes book from a Dutch dwelling uncle, by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet, with it’s detailed cataloguing of a life long-lived (gnomes lives for a casual 500 years), fed into this theme.

Gnome House - Interior.

Books you have as a child form so much of our imagination: their visual patterns taking shape in our open minds.  This patchwork of Hobbit houses, gnome dwellings and off-grid living, weaved an eco counter-point to London living.


While pregnant, I watched Grand Designs on repeat: the Sussex woodsman’s cottage built entirely from sustainable resources, such as straw bales and locally cut wood, is so utterly charming, that I couldn’t help but be seduced by Ben Laws’ self-built beauty.

Woodmans Cottage - Sussex

Cut to this week and my husband’s imagination (albeit the man whose carpentry is somewhat ‘lop-sided’, bless) has been re-sparked with ideas to build a house in the countryside and I realise that these daydreams still hold their currency of charm.  As the government are moving to open up the greenbelt to building, though the thought of this does worry me, after sunny days in Kent and Hertfordshire this week, I feel the magic of this dream still.

Stand and Deliver! My Interview with Dr Noki for the newly fabulously revamped Esthetica Review.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

My dear friends Jessie Brinton and Margot Bowman (bravo on that first from St Martins Margot!), have rejigged, rebranded and reinvigorated Esthetica into something quite, quite beautiful.  I feel proud to be a part of the new world order.

When the glamour of glamping is all in the eye of the beholder…. My recent piece for 2dm’s blogazine

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Tamara Cincik / Cornwall Ecopod

Stylist Tamara Cincik for our series on the summer adventures of 2DM’s artists.

Memories of our wedding where we spent 3 peaceful nights in a Romany caravan in a Suffolk field close to where we were married at the ridiculously pretty Wingfield Barns, inspired me in a turn of thought where I thought how marvellous, yet utterly golden-tinged it would be if, instead of leaving England for the continent, we went West to Cornwall and Devon…

Jeremy, my husband was less convinced of the merits of this, but after 3 days of 30ºC heat in the city, I remained utterly adamant about the merits of the trip, as our baby boy ‘Dukey’ had been very unsettled by the balmy nights. So I booked 3 nights in a gypsy caravan in Devon, to be followed by 3 nights in an eco-pod in Cornwall.

3 nights in Devon translated to 30 minutes. We collected our Sainsburys online delivery food shop, changed the baby’s nappy and after looking at a picturesque scene of dog hair, stinging nettles and pig manure, realised that this was not the place to be with a 3 month old baby. So we scarpered. The owner kindly offered us a house rental, but we were a bit scared to accept.

Taking refuge in Totnes, a lovely riverbank supper: our first night out with Dukey, was slightly overshadowed by a sojourn in what can only be described as Fawlty Towers without the tweedy styling. Totnes’ answer to Basil had been busy with the laminator: we counted perhaps 15 signs, 2 containing poetry about toilet habits, if I use the term poetry loosely, in a bedroom the size of which is more apt for a bathroom than a room for 3.  Space is obviously at a premium in Devon, as it wasn’t cheap; who knew Totnes is the new Knightsbridge?

The ecopod I had booked in Cornwall’s owners were very sweet in allowing us to bring forward our stay and we drove down through Exmoor the next morning – a place so beautiful it still feels rawly elemental.

The , Atlantic Surf Pods are set in land on a farm, over the road from the sea, close to Bude. Think Teletubbiesmeets The Hobbit: they are well designed, clean, cute and offering good quality barbecue and cooking facilities. All was lovely, the only thing I would say is going off-grid with a 3 month old takes verve and guts in the sunshine, in thunder and lightening, I think it is kind of nuts!

We agreed that had we paid for the nanny all week and had a few beauty/massage treatments – ie enjoyed a London staycation – for the same amount of money spent, we would have been left feeling less exhausted.  A new mother’s back is sore on another level and all I can add is, ladies with babies should go more luxe than home on holiday, not less.

I take total responsibilty for the choice in holiday made: I guess it takes time for a new mother to work out where her old life ends, and her new one starts…

On the plus side, we visited two gorgeous Cornish places of verdant gorgeousness: The The Eden Project and The Lost Gardens of Heligan which I would totally recommend each for their individual visions of this green and pleasant land. And the clifftop evening with old friends who had spent the week surfing and staying in a field above the sea for the princely sum of £5 per night, overlooking the Atlantic; where we had a makeshift bbq-ed supper, albeit under 5 layers, was perhaps not a glorious sunset, but fun and epic in its beauty nonetheless.

Tamara Cincik


69b Broadway Market.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Merryn and I at her new store.

Shop Window at 69b.

Merryn Leslie is an old friend of mine: we first met when she was my Fashion Editor point of contact at i-D magazine; swiftly we became close and have been ever since, through the many incarnations of the next decade +: motherhood for her, marriage for me and now poetically we are both expecting baby boys within days of each other next month.  Throughout her latest pregnancy, Merryn has gutted, designed and set up her beautiful new store 69b ( on Broadway Market in Hackney, filled with a fantastic edit of the best in sustainable fashion.

Having last week, styled a shoot using ethical fashion and finding that a lot of what is on offer is sadly sometimes lacking in the design department, looking at her tightly edited rails of beautiful pieces, I can confirm that Merryn’s skill as a fashion stylist has translated superbly into her new role as sustainable fashion buyer and merchandiser.

All for sale!

Merryn talking me through the collections.

The orange cupboard displays beautiful one-off vintage and modern sourced jewellery.


69b covers two floors: including jeans and changing room downstairs

Merryn and I at 69b.

I feel very proud of Merryn: to create a shop like 69b is fantastically fore-sighted: to do so through the tribulations of pregnancy and motherhood combined, I think is genius.  The collections are comprehensively edited, combined with the odd vintage-luxe find, creating a store which feels light and spacious, yet actually contains a myriad of fashion choices, underlaid with the added bonus of their sustainable credentials: ie perfect for a spot of guilt-free shopping!

HRH Dukey’s Baby Shower at 123 Bethnal Green Road

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

A list of deliciousness available at Dukey's Baby Shower

Last Sunday I hosted Dukey’s Baby Shower at the newly opened Bunker Cafe, at 123 Bethnal Green Road ( a shop whose products are all sustainably sourced from within the boundaries of the M25.  What I loved about the store, when I came to Amelia’s book launch there last month, is the way it combines a simple use of space with quirky eccentricities.  Plus designers sold there include some old friends, such as JJ aka Noki, which adds another layer of familiar cuteness to the equation.

The Bunker Cafe pre-celebrations: prepped for the baby shower

My lovely god daughter Zoe came down for the weekend on an exeat from her school in Taunton to take up the mantle of face painting artistry; while Mark commuted between shows at Covent Garden for balloon animal-making duty (plus a rather ‘creative’ balloon neopolitan ice cream, as well as randomly sized swords, which was perhaps more than a sleight of hand!..).

Zoe, brush in hand.

Mark displaying his skills.

Face Painting Art Direction: note how the result matches the outfit - genius!

The staff at The Bunker Cafe were lovely: providing a carb-fest high tea of scones and victoria sponge, combined with Siam’s super-duper triple layered home-made carrot cake. The result: a relaxed soporific haze of smiles and contented stomachs; while mini-munchkins compared their face painted results, enjoyed a spot of colouring book wizardry and fought each other with balloon-shaped swords.

Eddie and Rocco as Spidermen.

Jeremy arrived for the last hour; displaying if ever we needed reminding our divergent tastes in wardrobe!

All smiles from Dukey's Glamour Aunties!

Mum aka Grandma!

As the countdown to motherhood rushes on unabated: part exciting, part scary; this was a really special afternoon, filled with kindness and smiles. Pregnancy can be isolating and I am sure so can early motherhood, it was then, all the more lovely to spend time with friends, basking in a golden glow of love and kindness.  We were bought some fantastically gorgeous gifts, Dukey (our nickname for the bump) will clearly be the best-dressed baby in town!

Tea, cake and art: a delightful Friday afternoon ritual!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Last Friday, I went along to Amelia’s book launch at the lovely Bunker basement soon to be opened cafe at 123 Bethnal Green Road with Siam and of course, my permanent guest of honour, ‘Dukey’ the 6 month bump (currently showing his flair for rugby high kicks while I type!).

Amelia is someone I have known since she assisted my old friend and fellow Watford evacuee (though she went back!), Lou Winwood.  She then took the brave step to launch her own magazine: which after 5 years as a biennial print publication, is going online, while she concentrates on book publishing and other projects.  Her last book I remember poring over in a bookshop on Broadway Market, so I was keen to see what was on offer this time, with ‘Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration’, a book of illustrations by new artists of sustainable fashion designs.

123 was a bit of a revelation ( like a Georgian house, where winding wooden staircases led to rooms filled with old friends’ designs: JJ’s Noki collections feature heavily, alongside other designers with a sustainability slant, including the lovely Kenna (hairdresser extraordinare of my wedding day locks) even more lovely girlfriend Aimee McWilliams’ designs. 123’s stock is sourced purely from the M25 radius.  I felt amongst friends; Siam felt partial to a good shop, which suited me as I sat in a lovely leather chair, surveying the room and edited her choices from my new ad hoc throne.

Meanwhile downstairs in the Bunker Cafe there was much merriment to be had.  As someone whose first home economics lesson at her rather aspirational girls’ school was how to bake a victoria sponge, prepare the cucumber sandwiches and correctly lay a tea tray, for the English lady’s ritual that is high tea, I have never been one to shy away from that gathering of the clan, that genteel art, which is afternoon tea and conversation.  Girls in brightly coloured tights, with sleek hennaed hair, or patterned frocks, pinned with antique brooches, drawing pad in hand, offered to paint our portraits, while we sipped Pukka teas and surveyed the mountains of miniature gilt edged scones, which we could diy coat with lashings of jam and cream, laid out on vintage china.  This, I thought was my kind of party.

Jenny Robins ( painted my portrait, I was amazed that she could paint without seeming to mark her corners.  Here I am, doing what all expectant mothers seem to do: hug their precious bump, aah!

Impressive I think and a marvellous aide-memoire for when he is born, of what pregnancy was like.  Siam’s portrait was a fabulously glamorous rendition of her 1940s aka a Nana Golda Goorwich-inspired outfit, velvet turban et al!

It was such a charming sparkly way to spend a Friday afternoon, the bubble of which was certainly not burst when I surveyed the treasures incarnate in the goody bag (thank you Amelia!): I defy any woman to not smile with delight (and possibly squeal) when presented with gifts including Dr Hauschka products, Tatty Devine treasures, magazines and more.  This ocean of beneficent goodwill carried me forth to buy my husband bagels on Brick Lane, drive back to North London listening to Pulp and into the weekend with a sense that all is right, nice and proper in the world – just as it should be after an afternoon tea soiree!

I was interviewed last week by the very charming gin lady for her online glossy green magazine

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

A Conversation With An Ethical Stylist

I admire a person who can create and transform the aesthetic appeal of a scene with some clever styling, so when I came across Tamara Cincik, the high profile stylist with a conscience, I couldn’t resist getting to know her. We met up at the Botanical Fine-dining restaurant Saf to talk about style, social change and her regular gardening escapes to her North London allotment.

“Am I really a rebel?” Tamara asks. Yes, is the short answer. We spent a couple of hours together chewing over all sorts of social issues and Tamara is clearly an independent thinker who likes to act on her beliefs (the true meaning of rebel). I discover she’s a vegan, an active supporter of Afghanaid, and has recently been appointed Faculty Style Expert at The School Of Life. Who knows what I’d uncover if I enjoyed more time with her. In the meanwhile, this is Tamara Cincik’s story.

Having graduated from UCL with a BA Honours degree in English Literature, Tamara fell in love and found herself on “one of those mad journeys” hanging out in Goa.  Then she got a call from her mother. Back home in the UK, she had the opportunity to become a fashion stylist’s assistant.

Over the coming years, she found herself working for the leading fashion editors of the time… Debbi Mason, Anna Cockburn, Venetia Scott, Cathy Casterine, Monica Dolfini, David Bradshaw and Marcus Von Ackermann to name a few. “It was an exciting time to be in the industry, as the world looked to English magazines for style ideas. But the industry has changed a lot. There were only four or five stylists working back to back in those days. Nowadays, everyone wants to be a stylist or work in the media.”

Even so, and not wanting to bite the hand that feeds her (Tamara still gets regular mainstream styling commissions), this conscientious stylist is now looking to work with more ethical labels. Already she has styled shows for Noki, a notoriously left-field avant-gardist designer with a conscience as well as for Bora Aksu who is working with People Tree on an exclusive capsule collection.

Who are your favourite ethical labels? “Rani Jones excites me the most!”.  This line of inquiry however leads us to a somewhat sad, albeit correct conclusion: There are not enough exciting ethical fashion brands in existence. According to Tamara “There’s a style gap. Unless we showcase a larger and more diverse range of styles, ethical fashion won’t take off.” Where is the fashion industry right now on this eco issue? Tamara is emphatic “It’s a timebomb ready to go off”. We find ourselves pondering on what this shift may look like and how to induce such a huge shift in the first place…

So why does all this matter so much to Tamara? “I’ve always had a strong connection with the earth. I suppose that’s why I enjoy my allotment so much. Last weekend I pulled up some turnips and picked some cabbage for my roast dinner. It doesn’t get much better than that!”.

As our conversation moves forward, I find one element troubling me. Are the current ethical design labels willing, or able, to take on talented people like Tamara to show off their work? With tiny or non-existent marketing budgets, I mostly feel the ethical niche of the fashion industry will not, or can not, do so. Yet unless eco labels show off their work with the skillful aesthetic and mood that a skilled stylist like Tamara can achieve, will ethical style ever catch the imagination of the fashionable masses?

Time will tell.

To find out more about Tamara, to view her stylist portfolio, read her blog and much more.