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Resort Florals

22 Nov

After an autumn of leather-capped sleeves and all things grey, I’m currently longing for florals, which might explain why I’ve fallen head over heels for Valentino’s Resort 2014 Collection.

Resort collections have always seemed so romantic to me – designed especially for that spring cruise or trip to your private tropical island – and these magical, feminine dresses with bold embroidery and colourful florals make me want to fly away, pronto.

Sadly way out of my budget,  but we can all dream, right? Perhaps it’s time to for us Pick Me Up girls to have another go at recreating a catwalk look.

x Loulou


A Passionate Affair

14 Nov

Move over lemon curd, there is a new preserve in town. We’re not sure how it happened, after the first slice of toast topped with The Bay Tree Passion Fruit Curd, Pick Me Up thought hmm this is nice, but then the second quickly followed…and the third… and then there may have been some spooning directly from the jar to mouth and then sponge cakes had to be made purely so the king of curds could be folded through cream and sandwiched in the middle…sigh.  Passion Fruit Curd + Pick Me Up = True Love Forever.

But then the jar was empty.

Dark times followed.

A quest for a new jar sent Pick Me Up to Devon. Yes, Devon*, and all was right with the world again. It is amazing, but you probably wouldn’t like it. Especially not in the middle of a sponge cake. Or even folded through whipped cream and mixed with broken meringues.


*Ok this was not the sole reason for the trip to Devon. But nearly.


21 Oct

Have I mentioned I love pineapples? My collection of pineapple necklaces is growing at a frightening rate. But they make me happy…

X Loulou

Leather-capped Sleeves

12 Sep

I’m not usually one for autumn – all the sensible boots and muted colour spins me into a case of the SADs – but this year I’ve embraced the season, leather-capped sleeves and all. Celine paved the leather way with this beautiful pleated skirt and the high street followed – I now boast a leather skirt, grey, leather-sleeved dress from M&S, and you can’t get an H&M t-shirt these days without a healthy dose of leather trimming. Zara have always done a mean line in leather jackets and, right now, this quilted number is the one I’m after…

x Loulou

Bookshelf Porn

6 Sep

Inspired by the incredible images on Bookshelf Porn, Grace rearranged some of Pick Me Up’s books.  A couple of us work in the industry and are very fortunate to have access to a stream of new free reading material.  The turnover in books is pretty high, as we all like passing on a good read or sending on to charity shops the titles that don’t quite make it in to the permanent collection.  What I find interesting is how much we all appreciate books as physical objects: not only do they give a room a comforting homely feel (and hours can be spent rainbowing them) but they bear physical traces of our lives – one very faded and slightly battered copy of One Day by David Nicholls has made it round a friendship group, has grains of sand from various beach holidays embedded in the spine and slightly crinkly patches toward the end where someone spilt a drink (definitely not tearstains).

I’ve spotted the book I’ll be reading next in this photo (if I can resist the overpowering urge to bathe in the nostalgia of rereading Harry Potter, that is)


Narwhal & Co: The Beginning

5 Sep

pick me up - NarwhalandCo Eiffel TowerBeing pretty handy with a scalpel is something I never thought I’d discover myself to be.  I’d had some previous attempts at papercutting which I was quite happy with so when it came to coming up with a wedding present for my beautiful friend Beth and her lovely husband Nick, I thought I would create something personal and hopefully pretty. Nick proposed to Beth halfway up a mountain overlooking a castle, so I used that image along with their initials, the wedding date and clinking champagne glasses in my design. I first cut it out on some vintage sheet music.

pick me up - NarwhalAndCo papercut

I liked the embellishment the music added to the design but in the end decided on a vintage map of the town in which they met in order to add another personal layer to their story. And so started my obsession…

I love rescuing old things and giving them a new life and have always been fascinated by maps. Combining this with the great story telling tradition of papercutting (Hans Christian Anderson would fold and cut a sheet of paper as he told a story to unveil a pattern of the characters and images from the story at its denouement) seemed only natural. Scouring charity shops and carboot sales is strangely addictive and I have amassed a stack of maps with stories to tell. Friends and family have been long suffering recipients of handmade presents and so it seems only fair to give them a break and set my sights on pastures new. I’m keeping my ambitions modestly global (ahem) and have set up shop on etsy. Narwhal & Co stocks hand cut papercuts on vintage maps, books and sheet music. Greetings cards and art pieces are being added daily.

pick me up - NarwhalAndCo literary lovers

My shop name sprang from a Pick Me Up obsession with Narwhals and their magical tusks (another post, I think).

Do stop by


When Life Gives You Lemons

12 Jul


At Pick Me Up we love a bit of women power. Watching the incredible mini series Mildred Pierce strarring Kate Winslett (who we’ve frankly loved ever since seeing Titanic at an impressionable age), got us a more than a little inspired. Ok Mildred has more than her fair share of troubles to contend with (cheating husband, bratty daughter, dying daughter, another cheating husband, the Depression, a corporate coup…) but she finds out what she is good at and enjoys and builds a successful business from the ground up. So she might not end up rich with a happy family at the end but her talent and resourcefulness remains. And the lemon meringue pies look amazing. So we are taking our life lemons and making some pie (and fresh lemonade).




23 May

wpid-20130522_145254Advance tickets are sold out but you can still turn up early, queue and be rewarded with a same day ticket to the incredible David Bowie Is show at the V&A. Boy is it worth the wait. Head sets play you music and voiceovers triggered by proximity to the exhibits as you wander around the packed exhibition so that the experience is as immersive and over the top as Bowie’s work. The head sets also make for the odd amusing scene as visitors forget themselves in their own little Bowie world – a middle aged man obliviously belting out ‘Ground control to Major Tom…’ was met with smiles by everyone. The exhibition is a smorgasboard of the influences on, early incarnations and many metamorphoses of Bowie. I spent two hours wandering round and could have spent a lot longer. The double height screen-packed room is particularly transfixing – how can a museum recreate the spine-tingling power exceptional performers have? The V&A have got as close as possible with the clever combination of costumes, lights and footage innovatively deployed here. The span of generations I saw visiting the exhibition underlines quite how relevant and transcending Bowie still is. Go!


Colour Blocking in Pisa

21 May



An imposingly dark rain cloud was no match for me this weekend in Pisa, when I scared it away with some powerful primary colour blocking. The sun soon reappeared in time for aperitivo.

x Loulou

Lamb Tagine

3 Mar

Yesterday, by a twist of fate – a diverted bus journey followed by a long walk home – we spotted this beautiful tagine sitting in the window of a charity shop and took it home with us. This afternoon, Grace and I picked out a recipe to christen the tagine with – slow cooked lamb with preserved lemons, green olives and ras el hanout.

Grace did the preparation: browning diced lamb in a pan with a chopped onion, garlic cloves, ground ginger, turmeric and ras el hanout. Then I was up (I took over so that Grace could dedicate her full attention to the North London Derby). I transferred the lamb into the tagine, added the flesh of a preserved lemon, topped it up with water and placed it in the oven on a very low heat for two hours. The conical shape of the lid is designed to keep all the moisture in and so, like a stew or casserole, the longer you cook a tagine, the better, as the lamb gets more and more tender and the flavours become more and more intense. After two hours, I added the skin of the preserved lemon, a little more water, and a handful of green olives, and returned the tagine to the oven for another hour or so.

When the returning football fans could wait no longer and the kitchen was filled with the most delicious smells, we served the tagine on a bed of couscous, topped with a little parsley, with a green salad on the side.

x Loulou

La Dolce Vita

3 Mar



Saturday morning, and when we finally all made our way into the kitchen for a much-needed cup of tea – Loulou telling us all about the event she’d been to the night before, Ellie and I sadly contemplating an empty bottle of retsina and asking each other ‘why?’ – my conversation turned, as it has with probably boring regularity of late, to the recent Dolce and Gabbana show at Milan fashion week. Obviously I wasn’t there; I’ve just been poring over the photos on, and I can barely express how much I love it. I’ve thought Dolce and Gabbana wonderful for a long time, adoring the Fifties shapes and the heritage and intelligence that goes into their clothes, and here all that is combined with gorgeous medieval opulence.

Anyway, my rhapsodising soon turned into ‘dressing up Dolce and Gabbana style!’ and here is the result:


Vintage skirt, Miso top, KG shoes, knock-off sunglasses my mum brought back for me from Turkey (if you look closely you can read ‘Rayben’ on the lens), most likely Accessorize necklace, YSL lipstick, bed hair my own.

New Look top, H&M dress, Clarks shoes, treasured pineapple necklace, Benefit benetint lip tint. Chambord, model’s own.

Grace x

Letterpress Printing

27 Feb

Letterpress printing is having a bit of a moment.  Championed by some of my favourite bloggers (Jordan Ferney at Oh Happy Day, I’m looking at you) beautiful fonts are everywhere. After falling in love with this Pause and Wonder print by Aardvark, discovered in the V&A shop, and not a little inspired by the ideals it champions, I decided to give letterpress printing a whirl. A one day course at Ink Spot Press in Brighton saw me using wood and metal type to lay out basic card designs and print off small runs (with varying levels of success).

In this age of instant information overload and disposability there is something charming about cards and posters produced in a slower more measured fashion. Laying out type takes time, forces consideration of the content and space around. That said, I got overexcited by the fonts on offer (over 180 cases of type) as my icing card shows.


I’ve a way to go to learn the elegance of restraint. Remembering where all the letters had come from when it was time to tidy up was a real struggle.


On Bitter Winds and Cosy Ears

22 Feb


In the face of frosty February, more than a few Pick Me Ups are needed to keep us smiling and cosy. Solving the hair-up hat dilema that gets us down this time of year is this vintage style knitted headband from the talented fingers of Pick Me Up’s Grace.  As the living room steadily fills with balls of beautifully coloured wool and parcels reveal more new needles (who knew there were so many different types of needle?), we are slightly concerned that Grace has become a knit-nut but, if the result is unique cosy hats, headbands and scarves all round, I think we’ll live happily with this vice.

Clickety clack


Christmas Crafting

19 Dec

pick me up - christmas decorationDays of Christmas crafting in the Pick Me Up household. Fueled by lebkuchen and accompanied by cheesy christmas tunes on the radio, biscuits were baked, hats knitted and decorations fashioned. I pursued a papercut theme with christmas cards and clay  decorations in the same rabbit and bird designs.

pick me up - christmas craftingAfter rolling out air-dry clay I cut out my designs using a scalpel, a couple of days drying out and they were ready to paint with acrylic and seal with a spray matt varnish.

Family and friends are long accustomed to receiving homemade (or should that be bespoke) presents from me so I’ll not ‘disappoint’ them this year.


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