This week I had breakfast with Grace Lightman, and we spoke all about what she is up to at the moment and it was super.Grace sings, really rather beautifully and in the last couple of years has gone from being the lead singer in a band to becoming a solo artist, writing her own songs. I have a great admiration for anyone who can sing (I can't) and also for people who make a decision to pursue a career in something they truly love, that really makes them happy.Grace's voice is exquisite, and incredibly moving - and the music she is creating, her voice and the music, combined with her lyrics, is very poignant, conjuring up a sense of melancholy with a rather dreamy twist to it (listen to Black is the Colour). It is absolutely beautiful, there is really no other way to describe it.Grace currently has silver hair, and with her big alluring green eyes, and kooky black and white outfits, when you meet her, you just know she is someone. What I like about Grace is that she is very down to earth, she is passionate about what she does, she is confident, and she's a hard worker. I have seen her perform, and she captivating, but actually you also kind of want her as your best friend. She is fun and sassy, and very open to new ideas and has a wonderful imagination. You couldn't put her in any sort of box, but perhaps that is the perfected art of a performer. And performing is what she loves most - when she performs 'the whole world stops', for her it is 'the ultimate state of being' - and it is something, she told me, she just couldn't live without.So after leaving a band 3 years ago, Grace realised that she needed to not only sing music, but also create it - up until this point she had only ever performed. She began to be mentored by a song writer, spending two years learning to write songs, and meeting her current writing partner, Patrick along the way. Grace and Patrick write their songs in the deepest countryside on a farm, in a room full of pianos, with chickens in the farmyard outside. I love the image of Grace with her silver hair, and super outfits writing music on a farm - a chicken even features (accidentally) on one of the tracks.Grace and Patrick have hit on something incredibly special and ever since have been building an album, writing to a specific sound and visual palette - of which the first release is Vapour Trails. Grace describes her music and image as sounding, and looking like the Twilight Zone. We are thinking vintage sci-fi from the seventies, and I love this, for me it conjures up the image of old school sci-fi, in black, white, and silver, with lovelorn extraterrestrials lost in time and space.Grace will be releasing her first official single soon from this album, and has shot a video for this, directed by the film director Alex Lightman, who also happens to be her brother. I am so excited to see it.And in the meantime if you would like a taster, Grace recently played a gig which was music directed by her writing partner Patrick - the line up was San Felu, Waylor and Grace Lightman. This was her first gig with a full band, and she also sung one song with each of the other bands, I suggest you have a little listen it's all wonderful:Vapour Trails - Grace LightmanSanctuary Blues - San Felu feat. Grace LightmanHungover - Waylor with Grace LightmanSo excited for your single and video release Grace, it's going to be be magnificent!Alice xxxwww.gracelightman.comFacebook page: Grace LightmanPhotos by Dmitry Serostanov
For the past couple of weeks I have been helping Sophie and Hope out with prep for the launch of their company, 48 London.And it has been super 😊.The website is now launched www.48london.com and the enquiries are already flooding in 📞📱💻. If you are in need of some seriously professional lifestyle management 🙋 and want to become a member 👸 they would love to know 😉😘48 London is essentially a boutique luxury concierge company - once you are a member these girls 👩👧 will sort out everything you need sorting - an epic blow dry 💇, a consultation with your favourite designer 💃, finding the perfect party planner 🎂, a dog walker 🐶, booking a spot in the best spinning class in London 🚴 - they can arrange it for you - the world really is your oyster 😃. They are offering personal shopping 👗👙and lifestyle management ✏️📱, with a focus on well being 🌳❤️💆 - this isn't just an efficient service, it is one in which your health, body and mind are considered in all decisions and recommendations.The ethos behind the company is based on a love of beautiful products 👛, a flair for fashion 👠 and style 💃, a understanding that it is the small details in life that can make or break your day 📝, and the belief that good looks and a calm demeanour 👩 start from within - happy mind, happy body.What they are offering is super because you get to personally work with Hope or Sophie and you know their recommendations are top notch 👌.The thing is Sophie and Hope are not just super savvy and really on it 👸👸, they are both incredibly nice, easy to work with and lots of fun. They've worked in the personal shopping / lifestyle management industry for over 26 years, they know their stuff, and they know all the best people 👍. Sophie is a young mum, with a beautiful daughter 👪, and one of the most welcoming people I've met, and Hope always has the best outfits on, with immaculate hair and make-up 💅and has a great love for Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker 👯🎶 which can only be a good thing.I have been lucky enough to work with them in the most exciting stage - the launch of the website, and the company officially. This has involved all sorts, from website copy writing✏️ , setting up emails💻, and social mediaing 📱 They have fed me many delicious things 🍫🍰(until I gave up sugar 🍨❌, that was too sad), and we have generally had a riotous time 💃💫.I am very excited for what is to come, and really do have a look at the their website, if only to see the fab photos 😍.Alice firstname.lastname@example.org
This week I had lunch 🍛with Rosie which was delightful. We chose the King's 👑 Road as she borrows a rather fun office space there (I suspect full of other cool entrepreneurs 👧👦 , I am rather jealous!). I was at school with Rosie, and about a year and half ago she decided to quit her super job in advertising 💯 and start her own company making lamps 💡 @rosanna_lonsdale.Rosie is one of these incredibly positive 👩 people, and is always genuinely interested in what you have been getting up to - she always asks the good questions, the ones other people forget to ask and you always feel very at ease in her company. So after a quick catch up (blogging ✏️, different career paths 📷 and, of course, love life💕 😉) we got down to lamps 💡💡.Rosie started making her marvellous lamps 💡 a year and a half ago, and her business is now in full swing. She uses a decorating technique passed down to her by her Grandmother 👵which I think is rather nice. And she hand paints 🎨 all the lamps 💡 herself 👩, it was fascinating hearing her talk about this process.She starts with a glass vase which she hand paints 🎨 and decorates from the inside. The technique she uses is called Decalcomania, and each vase requires 3 layers of lacquer 💧 and 3 layers of paint 🎨 in order to achieve the perfect finish ✨. She hand ✋ paints 🎨 each vase herself and it is amazing the time ⏰ and energy 👩 that goes into this very delicate process, particularly as every layer has to dry before another can be applied. It took her a while to find the best paint 🎨 and lacquer 💧combination (there are all sorts) - and the final result is fantastic, the lamps 💡 have a really wonderful lustre 💎.Once the 6 layers of paint and lacquer 🎨💧have dried, brass bases 🔆 are added, and they are all wired 🔌 up with electrics, so that they can be plugged into the wall etc (this part of the process hadn't even occurred to me, I was concentrating so much on how pretty they look 😍). Rosie really focuses on the details, each lamp is fitted with a proper brass base 🔆 and a silk cord wire 🎐 , certainly not something easy to come by at a reasonable price 💰 anymore.She also provides the lampshades 🔔, which are silk, with silk linings and are all handmade in England. You can have empire shape - gathered (more traditional) or rolled (modern) - these are simple and very elegant, and sit perfectly with the beautiful bases they are standing on. She is also planning on introducing ikat 💈patterned lampshades, so if you are looking for a bit more pizzazz 💥 in your lampshade, this will soon be an option.Most exciting for me are the designs 💕🌴. Rosie has an excellent eye and the designs are fresh, and fun, but not too invasive. She started with flamingoes, and has branched out into zebras 🐎, humming birds 🐦, banana leaves 🍌🌴 and chillis among others - 9 designs in all. You could quite happily have any of these charming lamps 💕💡 on your bedside table and I think they would fit happily into both a traditional interior and a more contemporary one. She also makes plain coloured 💙💛 lamps 💡(a particular favourite of mine is the coral orange 🍊), so if you are not a pattern person these are the perfect option.The really nice thing is that she does bespoke projects, so if you are wanting a lamp to match the colour tone of a newly decorated room 🔵, she is happy to do this for you. Or if for instance there is an animal 🐩 that is particularly special to your, this works too (we might have to be encouraging a dachshund lamp soon Rosie 🐶😉).It was so intriguing to hear her talk about her lamps 💡💡, and starting her own business. The whole process, from painting 🎨the lamps, to sourcing the parts 🔆, deciding on the designs 🌴, to selling 👩 all takes a huge amount of dedication and I am so impressed. It is no mean feat to get a business up and running yourself, with such success so early on.Her first sale last year was at our old school 🏤 annual christmas 🌲 fair, and I love the idea of all the girls 👧 and their mothers 🙎eyeing up Rosie's superb lamps 👌💡💕. I hope every school girl is demanding a Rosanna Lonsdale lamp 💡 for Christmas 🎅 this year!Alice xxwww.rosannalonsdale.com @rosanna_lonsdalewww.rosannalonsdale.comPhotos by: Katrina Lawson Johnston
Today I am veering from the path slightly, and will give you a detailed update of my weekend activities tomorrow.And instead, I am going back to Peter, musician and writer, who I met up with on Wednesday and to me, in my unemployed status is a breath of fresh air - I think he only asked me once how my job search is going, and instead very kindly allowed me to ask him all sorts of questions about what he gets up to. For the record, he is completely not 'all over the shop' but he does love to use the expression 😉..So as I am writing this I am listening to Peter Charles Franklin Vaughan’s album 'The Road that leads to Love leads back out again', which is incredibly heart warming.Peter creates his own music - always melody first, lyrics second, and describes his music as 'traditionally folk'. He has recently written a song about the Thames and I really enjoyed listening to his explanation of this process. The song evolved first by creating a melody on the guitar, playing with chords and rhythm, trying to recall the sound of an English river - a recent reading of Jerome K. Jerome's 'Three Men in a Boat' was part of this inspiration. This led to further research on the Thames, and the incorporation of place names along 'The Devil's Highway' a Roman Road that ran from the bridgehead of the Thames. To Peter it is important that his music will 'translate infinitely' - it can be understood by everyone, and he always incorporates metaphors and adds an element of humour to his lyrics.I am not a particularly musical person, although I do enjoy listening (and dancing!) to music a lot, and it was really wonderful to hear Peter speak so eloquently about his process.Peter sings and plays guitar and has started performing his own music with a band - he is thinking of calling it 'Peter Vaughan & sons'. He also currently plays bass for both Lou E and Dregas. For Peter, performing live is an adrenaline rush, a chance to show off, and to make people listen to him - because if you can't say it in a song, when can you say it. I think it is incredibly exciting that he has spent the time teaching himself to create, write, and perform his own music. He only took up guitar aged 16 after hearing a friend play 'House of the Rising Sun'.Peter also writes, and recently won a prize for a short story 'Real Love' which I have just read. It is incredibly poignant, a love letter to friends, and has a Kerouac-esque feel to it. To me it is a quiet, but powerful homage to a new generation of artists, musicians and writers, united by a a deep, abiding friendship and mutual respect for each others endeavours. He himself is very well read, Hemingway, Nabokov and Orwell were mentioned as people who have inspired him, along with the Albert Camus quote ' A novel is never anything, but a philosophy put into images'. We also spoke about Orwell's six rules on writing - I learnt rather a lot!We spoke about a few other things including dressing up - Peter likes to be able to laugh at his own appearance and is often changing his hair style, narcissism - he sees himself as a narcissist; his first tattoo - a memento for being part of the shoot for the band Formation's new single 'Love'. He really enjoys hosting and cooking for people (he is a vegan) and finally that he would like Daniel Day-Lewis to play him in a film about his life.Peter is one of these people who is entirely himself, and does not make any compromises. He speaks very eloquently about things that absorb him, and he is always interested in your point of view. For me it is really exciting to speak to someone who is wholeheartedly pursuing their passion, has veered from the unconventional career path, completely taken it in their stride and I am very excited for what is to come next 😊
I went to see Rebecca Campbell’s delightful new exhibition – Bewitched. Bedazzled. Bewildered at the Jonathan Cooper Park Walk Gallery, comprised of 24 paintings inspired by her recent trip to India.The influence of India can be seen in many of her previous works, however this is the first time India has been the central theme to a collection. Inspiration is drawn from the detail and colours of Mughal miniatures in particular, along with her experience of travelling in India, first in her early twenties and a more recent trip.Rebecca’s works are captivating, the exquisite detail in her paintings is perfectly offset by the beautiful composition. Particularly striking is ‘The Champion of Love’ with the painting decisively split into two halves – the bright red contrasting with the serene grey. There is often a sense of mystery and fun in her works - the palace submerged in water in ‘Hitching a Lift’, and you are often drawn in by an alluring detail such as the tiger sleeping peacefully indoors in ‘Inner Sanctum’.Although the paintings are often filled with detail, they emanate a sense of calm – everything is just as it should be, at that specific moment. It is a enchanting exhibition, and the paintings are even more bewitching when seen in the original. The exhibition is on until the 27th September at the Jonathan Cooper Park Walk Gallery.
'The Champion of Love'
'Hitching a Lift'
Top Image: Jacket: Vintage Joseph; Ribbon: MaCulloch & Wallis. Painting: 'Festival of Light' by Rebecca Campbell.Rebecca Campbell Paintings: The Champion of Love, Hitching a Lift, Inner Sanctum, Vindaloo - images all courtesy of Jonathan Cooper, Park Walk Gallery.www.rebeccacampbell.co.uk