Rennie Mackintosh

On my trip to Glasgow (mentioned yesterday), we had a sliver of time free before needing to head to the airport on Sunday morning. We got brunch, and then made our way to the University, with the intention of going to the Mackintosh house. The trams weren’t running due to maintenance, so it took us a little longer to get there (although did mean that we only paid a pound each for the journey – winning), and by the time we made it, probably not via the most efficient route, and slightly weighed down by our luggage, it didn’t seem worth the entrance fee (£5 per person at time of writing) to get twenty minutes looking around. We ended up at the Hunterian Museum instead – free and varied, but more on that another day.

The Mackintosh house is definitely still on my “to-visit” list, whenever I’m next back in the city. Why? Well, because Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh produced so much iconic work that is such a big influence on my taste in interiors and architecture – I mentioned the Everard’s Printing Works in my post about Broad Street, Bristol, but didn’t see fit to mention the butterflies it gives me every time I lay eyes on it. It’s not hard to see the Art Nouveau influence on the work (and not just in the lettering).



Growing up, a house that I lived in for four years had a cast-iron fireplace that featured decorative panels very similar to these ones designed by Margaret. I also had the version of  Grimms’ Fairy Tales illustrated by Kay Nielsen (featuring this astonishingly beautiful piece, Twelve Dancing Princesses). The way real-world elements of the designs (e.g. humans, trees) are forced into geometric shapes has always fascinated me.


Home Design Resourses

I had a subscription to Self Build Magazine for a year.
The website has lots of resources for people self-building (of course – the clue is in the name), but a lot of the elements can be used for smaller projects – for example, kitchen design in the Beginners Guides. You need a login but I think it’s free to sign up & everything.

Broad Street, Bristol

In a part of Bristol that tends to be referred to as “Saint Nick’s” (after the street, church and most particularly the indoor and covered markets named after said saint), there is a road called Broad Street. It’s not that broad – in fact, it’s about as broad (and only slightly longer) than Small Street, which runs parallel.

It’s a funny old road. Starting at the end you can reasonably reach by car, there’s the Registry Office on the corner. It’s lovely on the outside and surprisingly grand on the inside. Continuing, you pass a few coffee shops and wedding-related shops (tailoring & alterations etc.), and a hotel called “The Grand Hotel”, which is moderately grand. Further on, there’s a real institution of Bristol, a pub called Hort’s, that boasts the city’s only “cinema in a pub”. Then, Maximillion’s (another institution – you can check their website to see which roasts they have on each day…) and Bristol Guildhall (which houses solicitors), and if you’re still going by this point, you either have a specific destination in mind, or are lost, because from here it’s a very funny sort of road indeed.

There’s a Belgian beer pub called Strawberry Thief which looks to be in a living room, and some ugly concrete office buildings (this area of Bristol in particular was hit quite badly in the war, which has led to some real mish-mash of architecture). And then. Oh, then. You get this view. Actually, even at this point it still doesn’t seem like much. But this part of the road, which is technically not a dead end (but may as well be), is a treasure trove of strange and wonderful buildings.

To your right: Everard’s Printing Works, now just a facade for DirectLineGroup’s offices. It is the largest decorative facade of its kind in Britain, according to Wikipedia. It’s gorgeous, and has a lot of history.

To your left: Bristol’s Palestine Museum & Cultural Centre, which has a bulging glass facade and used to be the Embassy.

Straight ahead: Saint John on the Wall church, which has plenty of history of its own, but in particular, the passageway underneath the tower used to be one of the gates of Bristol and features statues of Bristol’s supposed founders Brennus and Belinus. There’s also a fountain in the wall as this was one of the main conduits before everyone had running water. You can look around inside on streetview HERE!


Why the longplay face?

A guy called Steven Lear is doing a bunch of film-based re-imaginings of classic album covers (particularly vinyl releases), and posting them on Instagram etc.

The subjects mirror his own interests  (as you’d expect from a project like this), and as such there is a lot of Star Wars referencing there.

His own website is HERE, and you can order prints there. Payment through PayPal etc.

He had a special offer on recently,  and I got one print plus P&P for £20 instead of £25. I went for Massive AT-AT, because I LOVE Blue Lines, and I love what he’s done with this design.

We’ve not gotten ourselves a frame for it yet but I am so excited to get it on the wall. The print is very decent quality and has a slightly matt finish.

Cities: Skylines

You can tell a lot about someone from the way they play The Sims: architect vs interior designer vs anthropologist (vs micro economist…).

As a lifelong”architect & interior designer” type, I can accept the suggestion that I prefer to control digital bricks, mortar & paint than simulated characters because they’re more reliable (no surprising adultery because you left a chair on Free Will Mode, either).

And so I, of course, hurried to buy Simcity as soon as it came out. I did enjoy it, but (like a lot of people), kept bumping up against the edges if what was possible within the game. Limited control of the terrain made city designs more controlled by the location than I’d have liked.

Later, my other half bought us Cities: Skylines, and it blew my tiny little city-designing mind. A wealth of objects come pre-designed & selectable (eg intersections) that make the game far less dependent on how long you’re willing to fight a snap-to-grid function. Different modes help see the city a different levels, to spot weaknesses or opportunities… or just to enjoy your creation 🙂

And that’s before you get onto user-created content!

Waste not, want not

Years back, I watched the video embedded in this article, and was instantly enthralled.

Once you hit “order”, from that moment, there is a pizza box in the world that’s ending up in the bin (hopefully the recycling). Now, if you’re eating a whole pizza, out of the box, that’s that. But if you’re sharing and/or can’t eat over the box, you’re likely to need plates. And if there’s leftovers, they’ll need something to go in, in the fridge. By putting perforations in the box, you allow the delivery box to fulfil these roles too. No plates, no tubs, no extra washing up. And that box still ends up in the same bin at the end of it all.

As the article points out, you can achieve similar results by taking to your pizza boxes with a sharp implement. But be safe with knives, y’all.

A coat for all seasons

I live in the UK, which means that my outfits need to adapt to the possibility of rain, at any time of year. As such, I have Opinions About Coats (as does everyone I know).

Just over 2 years ago, I was perusing the sale rails when, across the way (in shiny non-sale), a yellow coat started singing to me. Metaphorically (although it was powerful enough, it may as well have been literal). Seasalt’s Seafolly coat in mustard, to be exact.

It’s lightweight, breathable, waterproof, and has zip, popper AND toggle fastening. Two large-ish pockets on front and a hood with drawstring. It is as practical as a coat can be without being “hiking wear” (or a Barbour).

And yet, none of that is why I bought it on that day I saw it. I put it on and instantly felt like Madeline, a trawlerman and a sunflower. The first size I tried fit perfectly, it looked good with the skinny jeans and calf-high brown boots I was living in at the time. It was everything I didn’t know I was looking for.

Back to present day: it has survived heavy use and a few washes. I need to re-waterproof it now but it’s still holding up. Over a jumper, it’s perfect for autumn, but it’s still light enough that I can bundle up in a scarf with it, too. The pockets are full of old receipts and sweet wrappers. It is my coat, and it has been good to me.