Finishing Touches

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After spending two weeks in Austria researching with my Columbo G hat on, today is my first day back home. I love being among my familiar things again. It’s a nice feeling isn’t it?

Just this morning in my kitchen, the simple act of boiling an egg felt so lovely. Please don’t think I’ve gone into hausfrau overdrive. Believe me, I haven’t. But there’s nothing like having the right utensil for the simplest thing. It gives you that warm glow of satisfaction, it makes the smallest cooking task (I know I’m stretching the term here with a soft boiled egg) easier and more enjoyable. And if you’re anything like me, more often than not the most you get out of preparing a lovely meal is the joy of using lovely utensils and a sense of tremendous relief that you’ve managed to cook anything at all.

Not so long ago, I didn’t consider my kitchen utensils much, but bit by bit I realised that a few little things made me feel more connected to my kitchen. My pink Labour and Wait enamel pot was just the beginning…. so let me come clean here about my love of Labour and Wait where I bought it…

x 1 – I have a crazy love for anything that comes close to being kitchen related. If I so much as see a chopping board, I start to swoon. So imagine when someone in Labour and Wait says… ‘this is a ceramic blackbird pie funnel which allows steam to escape while you bake a pie!!!’ It’s all I can do to stop myself from keeling over.

xx 2 – I also have a crazy love for wool blankets and quality notebooks and pencils, I think it’s more the feeling I get when I curl up against soft wool or run the outside bit of my hand (I don’t know what it’s called) against lovely new notepaper.

xxx 3 – If I were asked to Goddess-ify a kitchen I’d definitely include a huge wooden table, lots of cookbooks full of beautiful images and many, many things from Labour and Wait. Oh my, but it has to be one of my favourite London stores.

xxxx 4 – I’m crazy about Labour and Wait’s buyers. Owners Rachel Wythe-Moran and Simon Watkins spend such a long time sourcing each piece that it’s more like a well curated gallery of well designed objects than a traditional hardware store. Oh and the prices are also really, really good which is nice for a change.

xxxxx 5 – I have a crazy love for their useful basics, from brushes and brooms to enamel pots and pans, classic stationery, industrial lighting and vintage Welsh blankets (I know I mentioned them already didn’t I?)

xxxxxx 6 – I love the packaging on their products (especially the old glass bottles of cologne and candles and toothpaste etc.) And the way they wrap everything so beautifully (they even sell long Japanese paper cutting scissors which lets you cut wrapping paper in a snip.

xxxxxxx 7 – And have I told you about my longing for the rope knot doorstop??? It so needs to come home with me. It’s very nautical, speaking of which….

xxxxxxxx 8 – Have I mentioned their Breton tops??? I haven’t. The secret here is the teenage sizes are a better fit than the adult ones (on me at least) and cost a fraction of the adult price.

Does it seem like I’m getting carried away with all the x’s in this post? It does right? You’re right. But they’re kisses for all the lovely things that are thankfully affordable.

Okay, off I go. Have a super day and let me know if ever you visit this beautiful store, it’s oh so full of goodness. Big hugs!

Labour and Wait, 85 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ Tel: +44 (0)20 7729 6253

Leather forecast

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I’m in Austria and have just checked WordPress… Ooooooops!

Tuesday 7th, 1.21p.m. 1 new comment awaiting approval: Helena says…

‘Please, please write more! I love this blog but please you don’t write enough! I check it every day! Hx’

In response. Helena thank you. Maybe I should write daily. But I didn’t think that ANYONE would want to read about what I get up to EVERY SINGLE day here. Does it warrant a blog post? And to be honest I didn’t really think that anyone would even care.

So look away NOW if you bore easily.

Where to start… for the past few days I’ve been in Austria’s Viva-Mayr researching skin problems and cures for my next Goddess book. Apparently a clean inside is a good starting point to great looking skin. The research included a colonic (I know you can get one of these anywhere but it’s part of a bigger programme.) It was my first. It was tough. I’d never had a colonic before.

So OK I’ll give you this one Helena… maybe there was something to report. OK YOU WIN!

So…… Helana 1   Gisèle 0

Wednesday  8th, 1.17p.m. 1 new comment awaiting approval: Hattie says…

‘Please, please write more! I know you are very busy but this blog is amazing and I love it! Please write about anything! It can be what you wore today or what you ate for breakfast it would all interest me! I am desperate for more Goddess-y-ness! Please write more!’

In response, Hattie, I ‘got’ a soft boiled egg for breakfast and a cup of green tea. Nothing else to report here except I’ve had two dreams about chocolate Lindt Bunnies (the big ones). And there isn’t much fashion (it’s in deepest Austria and the guests here usually dress for swimming), but I’ve discovered slowly, that both the Austrians here and their foreign guests lead utterly fascinating lives.

So…… Hattie 1   Gisèle 0 (I’m crap at this game).

Thursday 9th, June 2.00a.m.,

I’m sitting in my room now ignoring the ‘lights out at 10pm’ curfew. Huge rainfall has forced me to stay indoors all day. So I haven’t had a run. Oh no… life can be SO CRUEL. You think I’m blissed out? Nuh uh! I geared myself up to be the best detox specimen that Austria had ever had. But I’m no good to them, I crave lattes, pizzas, macaroons and huge creamy cakes too much.

And then…


You’re all probably asleep at this stage, I’m staring at my bag in my room and thinking hang on there just one minute… should I just grab it and make a run for it. I have to tell you about this amazing new bag I found in London to take on this trip. (I’ve just checked and I’ve photos on my laptop from when I bought it.)

Helena isn’t this more like it…. to talk about USEFUL stuff…. Things like what questions to ask yourself when buying a bag… ‘Are the straps long enough?’ ‘Does it sit right against the body?’ ‘Are the handles too wide, too long, too narrow?’ ‘Does the hardware look wrong?’ ‘Is the colour the right shade?’ ‘Does it look like a bucket?’ ‘Is it heavy on my arm in a good way?’

Um how can the word heavy on my arm ever be followed with the words in a good way? Yes, this is the conversation which rattled about in my head when browsing for a new bag at London based designer Mimi Berry‘s Cheshire Street store (just off Brick Lane) last week.

Founded in 2001 by Mimi Berry after she graduated Central Saint Martins, this British leather goods brand offers a level of craftsmanship and understated design that equals that of many of the fashion industries most prestigious names.

No. Not good enough yet says Helena. Keep going G…..

OK look at the satchels, the totes, the sleek weekend bags, the ice-cream coloured cute clutches, the sweet purses and the separate collection for men. Did I tell you about my Mimi Berry GOLD leather oyster card holder? I love it! And my new Mimi Berry silver leather bag? Mimi uses the best quality Italian leather and her price point is fair and genuine. And best of all look at the gold leather dog collar she made for her dog Dora. Isn’t it chic! Wouldn’t every puppy want one of these?

So voilà, here’s my last few days in a nutshell. When I think back to the care tips that Mimi Berry gave me for my new leather bag  in her store ‘Nourish it constantly with the right things and it will take more wear and tear and the skin will wear in beautifully’ it wasn’t far off what I’m learning about skincare here at Viva -Mayr.

So taking time now to wish you all a night filled with chocolate dreams. And also to plant maybe a little seed about where to shop when you’re next looking for something completely British, utterly honest and beautifully crafted.

And of course, to promise you Helena/Hattie that I’ll post more here for you!!! Ooookay, big, big, big hugs until tomorrow!