art shops are so inspiring

one of my all time favourite shops in london, l. cornelissen stocks art materials, but not just like your regular art shop,  its a specialist in all types of mediums, from inks, to watercolours, to gouache etc….  there are bottles, jars, tins, tubes of everything that you would ever need.  the problem is that i dont even know what you use most of the things for!  its definitely a place for inspiring your creativity – i bought some lovely pastels, in their gorgeous boxes, you feel that they are themselves an art piece and  will try them out in the large choice of sketch books that they have in stock.  what a brilliant present to buy somebody interested in art, a starter kit in drawing or painting  with a lovely notebook – perfect for any young teenager or for someone to inspire them to start drawing!

I recently discovered another lovely shop – art shops seem to be curiousity shops that you can spend hours in – Stuart  Stevenson on Clerkenwell Road. 

I have only ever bought online from them, but Jackson’s art shop has a good choice too. 

Great Art has a wide range of ready made linen oil canvasses as well as all the usual art materials, plus its opposite my favourite Vietnamese restaurant. 

i recently joined a Chinese painting class and started painting these flowers – you just need a roll of rice paper, a couple of good brushes and a bottle of ink;  watercolours are easy to do too, you dont need much space, you just need a brush and a few colours and water ……  I find a need a class to get me started – I always have good intentions, but actually joining a class really makes you get up and have a go!

l. cornelissen

it must be one of my favourite shops in london, l. cornelissen stocks art materials, but not just like your regular art shop,  its a specialist in all types of mediums, from inks, to watercolours, to gouache etc….  there are bottles, jars, tins, tubes of everything that you would ever need.  the problem is that i didnt even know what you used most of the things for!  its definitely a place for inspiring your creativity – i have decided to buy some calligraphy pens with the beautiful shades of sepia ink (in gorgeous bottles of course) and try them out in the beautiful sketch books that they stock.  what a brilliant present to buy somebody interested in art, a starter kit in drawing or painting  with a lovely notebook – perfect for any young teenager or budding artist!

here is my watercolour of a pot of daffodils.

daffodil_0007 watercolour_daffodil_0006

my top 10 gift ideas

what to buy each year becomes a dilemma – here is my list of what usually works for most of the family.

1. everyman  cinema vouchers – i get the older one a ritzy cinema membership as she lives in brixton,  2. tate or v & a membership or any gallery subscription – older kids seem to have preferred the Barbican and now you can get the museums association membership that i wrote about a few days ago , 3. ticket to the theatre, maybe somewhere unusual like Wiltons or Sam Wanamaker theatre, 4. daunts book voucher, 5. anything from aesop, ten or beauty mart for those teenage girls, 6.  anything from the wonderful art shop cornelissen 7.  food gifts from la fromagerie, 8.  jewellery from sweet pea or Peppi Taylor, 9.  ceramics from the new craftsmen or fliff carr, 10. candles from cire trudon and one extra that i would love –  a course in ceramics or mandarin or watercolour – there are so many courses on offer at city lit and the neighbouring adult colleges.

Robert and Alfie’s favourite shop for classic  men’s clothes with style,  visit  J.Simons  shop on chiltern street –  it brings together a handpicked selection of American, Continental and British brands, classic loafers, harrington jackets, jeans and even includes a few vintage pieces – perfect if you want to find your male partner or friend a gift.  i love the pendleton shirts!  you go in there wishing that they did the same things in womens sizes.

struggling to find presents for men, go along to the aesop shop in soho – their products are all plant based, high quality and specially made to benefit the skin and absolutely smell beautiful. last year i bought a foaming shaving balm for my husband with a steel dish for him to whip up the foam with his brush – he is very old fashioned and still likes to wet shave.  a lot of men hate bits and pieces, collective memoirs, so finding something to buy them  can become a bit of a challenge.  a guess this means that you have a limited list;   here are a few places that i know robert will always be pleased to receive from  -any products from  kiehls,  scarves and silk handkerchieves frompeckham rye, vintage books and out of print books  from the numerous antiquarian book shops on cecil court, poetry books from  daunts, I still think that they have the best choice of books, and the re issues of classics such as Agatha Christie and Dickens are so beautifully presented that they can be the start of a collection, travel notebooks from smythsons – you can even have your own initials embossed on the beautiful leather covers, margaret howell for vases and accessories, rapha for absolutely anything cycling, brooks for classic cycling bags,chapmans for classic bags.

alfie has now gone from the great basic uniqulo boxers to the supremely quality cotton boxers from sunspel – their cotton is just lovely.  tidy street store has a selection of sunspel items, as well as lots of lovely other gift ideas, including candles by tom dixon.

30_glisten-dress_1890

cornelissen

one of my all time favourite shops in london, l. cornelissen stocks art materials, but not just like your regular art shop,  its a specialist in all types of mediums, from inks, to watercolours, to gouache etc….  there are bottles, jars, tins, tubes of everything that you would ever need.  the problem is that i dont even know what you use most of the things for!  its definitely a place for inspiring your creativity – i bought some lovely pastels, in their gorgeous boxes, you feel that they are themselves an art piece and  will try them out in the large choice of sketch books that they have in stock.  what a brilliant present to buy somebody interested in art, a starter kit in drawing or painting  with a lovely notebook – perfect for any young teenager!

i recently joined a watercolour class and started painting these flowers – these were the flowers that were in my mother’s day bunches.  watercolours are easy to do, you dont need much space, you just need a brush and a few colours and water…..

watercolour_daffodils_0008 peonies_0005 watercolour_poppies_0004 watercolour_anenomes_0002

writing cards

its very sad but as our parents get older, it gets increasingly more difficult to chat to them on the phone, so i have decided to send more cards and letters – at least they can open them and read them in their own time.   my first daughter’s grandfather is in a home in devon, miles away, has hard of hearing so can’t manage the phone, and my poor mother’s stroke took away her speech, leaving her with disphraysia – so communicating is very difficult.  i use my cards as notelets – such an old fashioned notion in a world of emails and mobiles.

my favourite pens to write with at the moment are faber castell pitt artist pens in sepia and  the pilot G-Tec-C4, also in sepia.  there is something lovely about sepia – not too dark, not too bright.   you can get them both in cass art – another one of my favourite shops – not as inspiring as cornelissen, but great for students on a budget.

i have just added some new designs – mainly flowers as they seem the most popular – just in time for mother’s day.  i’ve also added some words to a few cards – just for a change.

87.iris 88.orchid 85.venice_windows 86.deep_red_rose 81.single_white_rose 83.plum_astrantia 84.multi_astrantia 82,white_bud_rose 89.deep_blue_sea