A Grand Day Out…… Exploring Scotland

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Sounding  a bit like “Wallace and Gromit” but it really was a “grand day out”. When the Scotrail operator changed I managed to snap up a couple of free rail tickets.  Given the choice of destinations I picked Stonehaven on account of its open air swimming pool. And vague recollections of very good fish and chips. It proved to be a good choice. Easily manageable in a day , not too far to walk from the station to the pool or town centre and with more to do than we managed to fit in on one visit.

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This year the pool  has opened for its 81st season but in the 90s it was threatened with closure and I remember having signed a petition to save it. Fortunately the campaign was successful and the pool has gone from strength to strength ever since , supported by a very active community team. They give it a lick of paint over the winter and it was looking beautifully colourful.

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What sets this pool apart is that it is a heated seawater pool. And they are now thin on the ground. I have to wonder why, as the water was so much nicer to swim in than the normal chlorine smelling pools.

The weather was a little changeable but we braved the elements and , though the water was apparently a little cooler than normal, it was perfectly fine. I think during the school holidays and on very sunny days it will be much busier but I still wouldn’t hesitate to return.

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There is a poolside  cafe – we sampled  delicious freshly cooked  scampi , as well as a warming cup of hot chocolate later on. In summer there is plenty room to sit outside and soak up the sunshine.

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I’d done a bit of research before leaving home and it also turns out that Stonehaven has an ice cream parlour of some repute called Aunty Bettys. Well, they know a thing or two about icecream ! Quite an unusual collection of flavours alongside the traditional ones – apparently Scottish Tablet and Butterscotch are amongst the most popular ones. If you choose to have “toppings” your ice cream will come bedecked in sugary decorations – and it makes quite an impression. Alongside the ice cream counter is a very well stocked old fashioned sweetie shop.

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Travelling by train was perfectly feasible, with direct routes from Edinburgh. Now I’m looking to see where else might make a great day trip.

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Uppercase Magazine

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Oh the excitment !

I've been a fan of Uppercase magazine for quite a long time. Yes, its expensive, whether you buy loose copies or subscribe direct, but it is beautifully curated and visually delicious – no matter what the theme. I used to buy the magazine by issue at a local bookshop, but what really helps the magazine to survive and thrive is the subscriber base. And so after I heard Janine Vangool, creator of the magazine, give a talk at Hello Etsy in the Netherlands I just had to subscribe.

If you'd like to hear her , then here is a link. (I couldn’t link directly to her speech – this takes you to the collection of various Etsy videos – you are looking for Hello Etsy 2012 )
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So fast forward another little while and I happened to spot that one of the requests for submissions was based on “What colour means to you” – in whichever way that could be interpreted. I couldn’t resist sending something in – and hurray – it was accepted. So if you have a copy of issue 22 see if you can find my little snippet.

To whet your appetite, or introduce you if you haven’t come across Uppercase before, here is a trailer for this issue. If you want to subscribe you can do so here and hopefully the little secret code “roygbiv” is still current and will give you a $15 discount.

 

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I am cooking up some changes and new things at StarryBlueSky / Rhiannon Connelly over the next while – if you’d like to make sure you are in the loop then I’d invite you to subscribe to my studio newsletter – you can do that here , or at the top of the sidebar on the right.

Pepe Heykoop Paper Vase Cover

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This is another discovery from the Amsterdam trip. I saw these a few times in Amsterdam and then managed to pick one up during the Woonbeurs. Unlike some foldable vases this one is a bit more stable because it is not actually a vase, rather a paper cover that you can fold and adjust to suit the bottle or container that you put inside , holding the flowers.

The design is quite ingenious ( and it won a 2013 Interior innovation award ). The sleeve which is made of a tactile laminated card has been scored and prefolded numerous times allowing you to squeeze and adjust the shape. Once in place it creates a very striking mix of geometric patterns. I chose a green one but you can also get it in black , white or grey. It comes complete with an mailing envelope of similar card and a leaflet explaining how

What makes this item more special is the story behind it. Pepe has set up this project together with the Tiny Miracle Foundation, which his cousin founded. Their idea is to help a community of around 700 people who live on the streets in Mumbai to escape poverty by helping with healthcare,education and jobs. You can see a video of how the vase works and something about how they are made here. You can find out more about the Foundation here.

VTWONEN & Jurianne Matter Instagram Contest

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Another follow on from Meet The Blogger in Amsterdam – we were lucky enough to get rather lovely goodie bags at the end of the event. There were a lot of fun or useful items in there , but I was especially delighted to get one of Jurianne Matter’s new paper garlands. I’ve been a fan of her work for a long time (and have written about her work before here ) – so this was a real treat.

In addition VTWonen decided to run an Instagram contest to see how this range could be photographed. Well, that was a challenge I couldn’t resist and I submitted the three images here. Lucky me, they chose the first picture as one of their five winners. Thank you VTwonen – you were already one of my favourite magazines – now I like you even more !

If you use Instagram you can find me at @rhiannonmc – you can also follow what VTwonen post at @vtwonen.

You can find out more about Jurianne at her website – and if you are in the UK then the amazing lighting shop Radiance is one place to find her work.

And today is the last day to take advantage of the free shipping on my new cushion range. There some already waiting to go to the post office.

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Amsterdam Woonbeurs 2013 – Meet the Blogger Part 2

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The Meet The Blogger event was deliberately timed to allow us to visit the Woonbeurs on the second day and I think that made the trip even more interesting for those of us who had travelled some distance. This big interior fair which is also open to the public is hosted by Sanoma media who are the publishers of most of the well loved Dutch interior magazines.

As a kind of "press" in the modern world the bloggers were allowed to attend the press launch and hear what the organiser of the fair had to say about current trends and the ways in which the consumer finds out about these things in this digital age.

After that we were off to the VTWonen space as they were one of the main sponsors of Meet The Blogger.

Regular readers of each magazine would have found it quite easy to identify which magazine had created which space inside the fair as they did stay quite true to their print personas.

Of all the magazines VTWonen had made the most ambitious use of their space, creating a huge shaker inspired barn – in only 4 days. It was not so much a liveable space as a hive of activity, with the kitchen area set up to make pizzas, the bath room area turned into an old fashioned barbershop and also an artisanal workshop area. I was very impressed with the girls who were casting ceramic items and even firing them in an onsite kiln. They really embraced the shaker custom of using a lot of pegs and hanging items.

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101 Woonideen had a very brightly coloured area with lots of little alcoves and details. As well as a huge table for some hands on cutting and pasting of moodboards.

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Ariadne at Home is a magazine I read less frequently as I find it just a tiny wee bit too pastel tinted for my taste -but I have to say that their house was a very calming and relaxed space. I could definitely imagine moving in there – so time to review some of my thoughts about interior colours.
Alongside these structures many of the well known Dutch brands had stands showing their latest designs or colours and it was good to get an impression of what is current in the Netherlands.

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All in all it was a very enjoyable day rounding off Meet The Blogger and a good way to get a taste of Dutch interior trends .

Day 19 – Berlin Hive 13 – What Did Other Bloggers think ?

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I thought it would be nice to do a little round up of some of the other impressions of the Hive Conference. A lot of the blogs posted have been in German, so I’ve made my selection from the English ones.

Stephanie, from NeonGroen, who I’ve followed on Instagram for a little while has done a very visual round up

Judith from Joelix has mixed images with her favourite quotes from the presentations.

Gudy from Eclectic Trends has written an account of the one workshop that I was really sorry I missed – styling and photography by Dietlind Wolf . ( Although, you can’t be two places at once and I didn’t regret hearing Katrina from Zero the One talk about video making and making a difference.)

I enjoyed chatting with Melanie who is from the UK but now lives in Denmark. She had the great idea of posting an Instagram pic of what she would be wearing each day. That made it very easy to spot her – I’ve filed that idea for future reference. Here’s what she had to say .

Jillian in Italy was another post with great visuals – look out for the map of Europe that had all our business cards pinned to it by the end of the weekend.

Desiree from VosgesParis was a speaker and her topic was “Monetize your Blog” – she has very kindly put her presentation on this post.

And finally a post from Silkie from the gorgeous Rosehip Stationery company. She was the only one who made it over from the London Bloggers Group after a fire at Heathrow put a spanner in the works for some others.

THe Hive are planning a shorter event in Copenhagen in the autumn and then plan to repeat the event next year in Berlin.

Day 13 – The Hive Berlin

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This last weekend I was in Berlin to go to The Hive blogging conference . It was really great to finally meet in person many people that I’ve “met” from various online courses or platforms as well as see old friends again .

A lot of inspiring talks too – some highlights were hearing Emily Meyer talk about how she started her business Tea Collection and Marlous Snijder who gave us a peek behind the scenes into what it took to launch her online magazine Oh Marie.

A few years ago I decided to make a real effort to attend at least a couple of events a year – some big like this one , others small cosy courses – but both invaluable for staying in touch with the big wide world. It has paid off in so many ways to get out of my studio – I really recommend it.

( As a footnote , one of the reminders from the conference was to keep your image size consistent – but on my travels, posting from phone or iPad this is not working correctly – need to find how to resolve that .)