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Last week saw the end of London Design Festival…and what an amazing week it was! From cutting edge quirky designs displayed at Tent and Design Junction, a more international stage at 100% Design and lavish high end products at Decorex, there was something to please everyone.

I went along with luxury lifestyle flashsales website, ACHICA to get ideas for emerging interior trends and discovered cork and wool were a couple of the materials that were being used in larger furniture pieces such as stools and pendants. Other popular themes included witty wallpaper, geometric forms, and textured lighting. Check out also the fuller figured ‘Venus’ lady who charges up your iPad. Awesome.

At last… a brand that has used their label space for an ethical ‘made in Britain’ halo-stamp. I have been banging on about how label space should be used for feel-good ethical messages for years - and I am very happy to see that the Mary Portas effect is being stitched into the production of JOY’s clothing products. I am, in fact, overjoyed!

My pooch has been illustrated to the wall at work.
Very cute thanks @Jo Bird!

Now an interesting little fact… Shih Tzu from Tibet have a recorded history going back 1,000 years. As in many cultures, the people of this remote land kept dogs in a domestic environment. They kept large fierce dogs that were used for guarding, then there were small shaggy dogs used as companions and as watchdogs to alert the larger dogs, ancestors of or near to modern Shih Tzu. It has been said that the small dogs or Lion Dogs were kept in monasteries throughout Tibet, they were trained to turn the prayer wheels as part of a daily ritual. 


Went to the Anna Karenina Premiere this eve. Gosh the costumes were theatrical, though I didn’t feel much electric passion between the characters - the set AND the music were quite stunning.The EveStandard gave it a disappointing 2/5 **… I still prefer Phantom OTO & Moulin Rouge but don’t get me wrong, it was a great experience and I am still gonna be first in line for the Les Mis Premiere.


Read Blue Hive's Blog if you have a spare 8 mins...


It has been over two years since Blue Hive was launched and we finally decided to jazz up our meeting room space. We have commissioned Jo Bird a.k.a Caz Swanne to give each meeting room its own individual identity based on the Cluedo board game. We have a lounge, a dining room, a study, a billiard room, a library and finally a kitchen (this is the creative space where we stir-up ideas). I decided to interview & photograph Caz while she was doodling away to find out about her experiences and inspirations.

So how did you get first started in the oh-so-competitive field of illustration?

Well, I studied Illustration at Kingston University straight out of school; I always knew that I wanted to work in art and illustration seemed more commercially viable and accessible than fine art. After graduating, I went to work for a visualizing agency called Three Blind Mice where I learnt about the sales and marketing sectors of the industry. I was project managing the creative when in fact; all I really wanted to do was BE a creative. So in the end, it was JELLY LONDON that gave me my big break and starting representing me. It actually was only about two years ago that I gained the confidence and acquired the clients to be able to fully freelance for a living.

Great decision, and I bet you’ve never looked back since! But how did you manage to find your own style and stand out from the rest of the doodlers?

Well, funnily enough, I have two styles. When I left uni I felt I had too much of a house-style which was most probably the influence of my tutors; you truly find your style when you start experimenting. I had to find my own feet at Three Blind Mice, there I picked up lots of computer tips from the other artists which has really influenced my Miss Swanne style, (which is more graphic design focused) over the hand drawn qualities of my Jo Bird style; which I am doodling onto your meeting room walls as we speak!

Ok, so obviously I am biased but I do prefer the hand-drawn uniqueness of doodles as opposed to computer arts, combining the two is the most fascinating thing for me though. Everyone see’s things differently I suppose, speaking of different opinions, what is your process when working with clients?

My process is straight forward, this sets illustration apart from art, I like to think that I am the pencil in the clients’ hand allowing their idea to express itself. After the initial briefing with the client where we will discuss their key requirements and expectations of the creative, I always take some time to consider and give the brief my own input, at which point I will produce a rough pencil draft. The clients will of course feed back their comments, which will lead to more roughs before I go into the final line work and add color. The Blue Hive project is a little different as it is allowing me more creative freedom and allowing me to art direct which is refreshing and most of all, it’s fun

Glad to hear that, certainly looks like you adore what you do. How do you promote yourself

There are two ways; I rely heavily on my fabulous agent Hulya, who is a marketing wiz! But privately I have the standard fare of marketing tools at my disposal, these include, business cards, a website made by my friend who is a graphic designer, Chris Kentish, he used word press, which means I can update my portfolio all by myself. Of course I have a online persona and use a face book fan page, twitter and my food blog, My poor old printed folio hasn’t been through the front door in quite a while, its amazing how much online marketing has taken off!

Good for Blue Hive, digital is exciting. What has been your absolute favorite assignment to date?

Easy. Blue Hive. Without a doubt.

Hmmm… Ok then. And what do you enjoy most about working as an illustrator?

It’s fun because I get the chance to create stuff that’s unique but also I love a challenge. I get a real kick out of seeing my finished work published and knowing other people will see it too. I was in a Harrod’s magazine recently and my most recent Miss Swanne commission can be seen in TOWIE’s ident for Surf! It’s well reem!

Brilliant! I love that little dog on the washing line; very playful. How do you maintain the work – play balancing act?

When I have a job, I give it 100% of course, its go-go-go. You do however, have to learn to enjoy the down time as an illustrator because you are not consistently busy. I find it gives me the perfect chance to catch up with my six nephews and my little niece; they are all under the age of four at the moment so it’s a special time for family.

So do you ever get those annoying creative slumps and what is your quick-fix?

Cry. Phone a friend. Start Again.

And what has been inspiring you lately?

The thought that I might win a blog competition to go to Japan. Take me to TOKYO!

Nice, next question is easy. Do you have a favorite color?

Easy answer, yellow.

Any advice for others who are trying to pursue creative goals?

Yes, don’t give up! Determination is key. If you want it badly enough, someone will give you your lucky break. Keep going. I have had jobs take a wrong turn, and lost some altogether, but essentially illustration is what I need to be doing with my life, so, in the end, you just keep creating.

Interesting, thanks for reminding me!
Charlotte Mary Rose

Check out photos on the blog post on ACHICA Living - ‘7 hot looks for your home’ - fresh up from the ACHICA press day that we held at the OXO Towers. Snap!
Les raisins de France!

Skipped Notting Hill Carnival for a Bank Holiday Trip sur la Cable Car - just by that silly, white tent today. It was fun. Queue was short, tapped in with my Oyster and flew across the river courtesy of Emirates… landing in the puddle that is Royal Victoria Docks. There is actually stuff there now, (well-kind of). Anyway, do it… it’s fun!

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”

Bob Marley
Took a portrait of the wonderfully, whimsical & quirky writer, Charlotte R this evening.

Subject: Whimsical insights into the life and mind of a dangerously average woman. She lives in London, she’s getting married next year and can’t quite believe her luck. She also rather enjoys talking about herself in the third person. 
Location: London Bridge
Tipple: English Breakfast Tea & a Pineapple Juice

Check out her blog already.

New Hivers Ahoy!

Online social platform for sustainability, Caydoo, held their awards evening last week to celebrate their ‘London’s Picture of Sustainability’ competition. Presented by DJ Neil Fox (aka ‘Foxy’ for the Capital Radio listeners of the 90s), the winner was a photo of Fred! Local allotment owner and strawberry picker who had was snapped just as he ‘popped up from behind a bush of nectarines’. You can see the finalists on a Guardian gallery here

Fly Gal

Loving these gorgeous women butterfly! ‘Psyche‘ by German photographer Carsten Witte represents the whole kaleidoscope of varying aspects of female beauty – from airiness and vivacity to sensuality.