Monday, 12 July 2010


MTFS has gone crabbing......See you soon.x

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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Romper Stomper

Amidst our peripatetic touring about town, the biscuit and I have spotted several of the 260 elephants forming the Elephant Family’s brightly coloured ‘Elephant Parade’

We caught sight of the first Elephant on High street Kensington, not long after its colourful coat had dried and were fortunate enough to chat to one of the Elephant Family fundraisers, who is clearly very passionate about the cause. She explained that the Asian Elephant population has shrunk by 90% in the last 100 years and could easily vanish altogether if we don’t make an effort to help.

Organisers of the parade, which runs until the 29th June, are hoping to raise up to £2million by auctioning off the colourful Elephant sculptures( painted by high profile artists and designers including  Alice Temperly, Lulu Guinness, Marc Quinn, Nicky Haslam, Sir Terence Conran, Matthew Williamson,  Patrick Hughes and John Rocha). You even have the opportunity to meet the artists behind these beautiful sculptures on the 22nd May.
 For more details and to down load the 'Elephant Parade' map, click on the link below

Saturday, 8 May 2010

MTFS goes window shopping

MTFS have brushed off their wellies and hit the pavement in search of London’s most inspiring and imaginative shop windows.The first breathtaking display to catch our eye was at the heavenly ilovegorgeous boutique in Notting Hill.

Talented artist, window dresser and RCA alumni,Mary Mathieson, drew inspiration from ilg’s upcoming Spring/Summer range to create her ethereal window display.With a colourful, ribbon draped Maypole as its focal point, the display is somewhat ‘ English springtime meets Miss Havishum’; owing to its delightful ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed corner, complete with rustic chairs, antique dolls and miniature wooden and china tea sets.
Before weaving her magic, Mary discusses ideas with ilg designers Lucy Enfield and Sophie Worthington to create the colour, mood and general feel of the display. Of the clothes themselves, Mary says “There is a strong feeling of nostalgia, romance and narrative in the clothes but they are unique in that they are also quite cool and fashionable without being really predictable so it is always great fun getting all the props and materials together”.
Mary’s sleep cum work space is filled with ribbons, buttons, fabric, lace, leather and any other useful curiosities, bequeathed to her by her mother and grandmother ( both having worked in the family textile/shoemaking business in the 50’s). Mary then sources any additional materials required from Barnett Lawson Trimmings in London’s West End, to complete her magnificent works of art.

ilovegorgeous  arrived on London’s fashionable Ledbruy Rd, Notting Hill in 2008, offering unique, timeless garments to suit both mini and tweenie fashionistas alike. By teaming vintage textiles with a classic design and a touch of a contemporary twist, ilg has marked a firm presence in London’s fashion scene. The boutique now has a healthy following of West London Yummy Mummies, including the likes of Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, Claudia Schiffer, Elle Macpherson, Sam Taylor – Wood, Thandie Newton....and MTFS!

52Ledbury Rd
0207 229 5855

Mary Mathieson

Friday, 30 April 2010

The girl with the crocheted shawl

Impressed with the vast number of knee- high style-setters scaling the streets of London each day, MTFS thought it would be a serious sartorial crime not to share some of these three foot clothes ponies in a weekly column...

Starting this week with five year old Alex, who's eclectic,whimsical style is very befitting of a West London girl about town.
Alex says her mother lets her dress herself each morning and that she even has a special draw just low enough for her to scour for her favourite pieces.

Alex, pictured above, has teamed crocheted Noa Noa shawl with vintage silk Nixie dress, High Street leggings and champagne leather Poloni sandals.

Noa- Noa
Nixie Clothing

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A fine balance

Nothing restores mind body and soul more than immersing oneself in the inherent surrounds of nature; that said,the natural world must also be given credit for fueling one's creative instincts. This sentiment has been so eloquently immortalised by famed British sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, in one of her many published quotes:
“In the contemplation of Nature we are perpetually renewed, our sense of mystery and our imagination is kept alive, and rightly understood, it gives us the power to project into a plastic medium some universal or abstract vision of beauty.”
And indeed this became all the more apparent to me whilst traversing the coastal route from Penzance to Mounts Bay on a recent mini-break to the Cornish South Coast. In fact, without realising it, I was experiencing what M Scott Peck, M.D. would only describe as a true moment of ‘flow’*.

Flow soon teamed up with serendipity in a refreshingly vibrant gallery called Avalon, where I was treated to such a tremendous display of locally created artifacts that I scarcely knew where to start. I quickly realised that 'the arts' was fundamental to framework of the Cornish coast on witnessing an elderly pensioner enter the gallery cradling a backpack full of canvases, followed closely by my encounter with a smart looking painting suspended above a rubbish bin entitled, ‘Don’t be a Sinner, be a Binner’, created by a nine year old competition winner. I had read in my traveller’s pocket guide that the Cornish coast has long since been a haven for artists owing to its unique light, so it came as no surprise that both young and old residents alike would enjoy this rewarding pastime.
After making my rather humble purchase of a small Perspex bird brooch (which would inevitably end up on the biscuit’s lapel), I retraced my steps back to Penzance, determined to learn more about local virtuoso,Barbara Hepworth.

It was pure unadultered joy to visit Trewyn studios, the place where Barbara Hepworth had not only created her last works but also where she had lived for the latter part of her life with fellow sculptor, Ben Nicholson, until her death in May 1975. It was obvious that she was intensely inspired by her St Ives home - she famously wrote that "Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic". Drawing on inspiration from her idyllic surroundings, she was able to develop her iconic pierced sculptures which were to become her signature style.
The gallery itself is a truly unique space, in that it is split into three distinct subdivisions – the upstairs area, which houses mostly smaller wood and stone works; the surrounding leafy gardens, home to some of Hepworth’s most imposing bronze sculptures and the downstairs studio, where a selection of half completed sculptures sit amongst dusty tools, wooden furniture and various other curiosities; all remaining just as they had 30 years ago. It is tragically ironic that the very place that Hepworth was drawn to for its soporific surrounds is the very place that would lay waste to this magnificently talented woman (the artist died in a fire at her studios in May 1975) and a travesty that the world has lost such a remarkable British talent.

Eager to return to this light infused artist's Mecca, I have already begun mapping out my next pilgrimage, with a possible detour to the nearest local art supplier in the hope that I too shall be inspired to put brush to canvas.

*Footnote :Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.

Photo credit:

Monday, 29 March 2010

Oh Merde, what a piece!

Since my days as an apron tugging, food slinging tiny tot, I admit to having somewhat of a slight fascination with excrement, or, dare I say it, poo! * So, when I heard about 1998 Turner prize winner, Chris Olfili current exhibition at the Tate Britain, I was more than a little intrigued and could not let the opportunity to see elephant dung, slung against oils, pass me by.

Olfili, who has been on the British art scene since the early nineties, is best known for his layering technique; employing the use of various mediums,( paper clippings, glitter and, apparently, elephant dung) to create his pieces. More recently however,(since having moved to Trinidad in 2005) his works represent a current fascination with traditional Trinidad mythology.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed Olfili's Exhibition - with its explosive palette and vibrant brush technique (reminiscent of modern aboriginal art pioneer Emily Kame Kngwarreye). The dung, however, did not complete the painting; yes, it created a buzz and prompted mixed reactions from gallery punters, but to me the paintings would have been a stand- alone success, without the chewed up spat out vegetable matter.....but then there is the issue of where to place 300kilograms of redundant excrement!*

The Chris Olfili exhibition runs until 16 May at the Tate Britain

*Foot note - My sister, who also shares a healthy attitude towards BMs, wrote a multi - award winning short-film titled Boomerang, about a particularly smelly turd that just didn't want to go away!

*Foot note2: The average daily waste from an elephant in the wild is close to 300kilograms!


Monday, 15 March 2010

Special delivery service

Despite her latent disabilities, my mother is a real green thumb and spends much of her day pottering about her plant speckled courtyard, toiling away at her horticultural hobby. My mother is also an avid reader and, as you may have gathered from previous MTFS posts, is completely bonkers about textiles (particularly cushion covers and more-so, handbags made from cushion covers!) So, to the average punter, it would seem blindingly obvious that one must shower her with gardening utensils, autobiographies and re-worked cushion covers. I might add, however, that she currently resides 8921 nautical miles away, which does somewhat limit options.....that was until, quite by accident, I discovered the ingenious Postcarden, which has taken all the anguish out of how to say ‘Happy Birthday’ in a thoughtful, novel and not to mention carbon neutralising way!

The Postcarden is a pop up card and miniature garden all in one. All it requires is a sprinkling of seeds, a sprinkling of water and just a little sprinkling of patience before, voila! you have the sweetest little patch of green you have ever laid your eyes on. There are currently three variations to choose from – Allotment, City or Botanical – I have opted for the traditional Botanical, and the biscuit no doubt will choose City......which can only mean one thing - it's out with 'Postman Pat' and in with the watering can!

Feast your eyes on the miniature living card in motion by clicking link below!

Orders can be made through their website

Available in Australia through

Monday, 8 March 2010

I heart Anthropologie

What do you get when you mix eclectic design, clever tailoring, eye catching interior and eco-friendliness to boot? You get none other than the sexy new girl on an upmarket Piccadilly block!

As I made my way along London’s Regent Street, I was a little concerned that my pre-conceived expectations surrounding this offbeat, design buff’s dream store would have me yearning even more for an ‘Eden’ biome equivalent of the design world; But much to my exquisite surprise, the all alluring microsphere that is Anthropologie exceeded all expectations to the extent that I found myself smiling full-heartedly towards the security guard (that me- thinks is actually an off-duty art curator) who, in return offered a smile and nod, whilst moving aside, enabling me to capture the glorious 'living wall' lining one side of the shop’s upper levels (consisting of 14 different plant types and fed by the building’s own rooftop rainwater) would have then been a serious crime, had I not captured the three stunning Magpie chandeliers  hovering above; all of which have been assembled using reclaimed and recycled materials, ranging from bottle tops to Barbie bottoms ( I later discovered that everyone’s favourite president admired them so much that he purchased one for a near steal at $4,800, for his two daughters’ bedroom) .

With a few minutes to spare, I rushed down to the lower level of this three storey treasure – trove, and whipped around the peripheries hoping to scoop it all up in one large gulp. Feeling giddy with excitement, I lurched form corner to corner and spun my head in all directions, fearing I’d miss some tiny spec of the interiors section that curiously, (and ingeniously) displays all it’s eye candy in large crates of puy lentils.

Anthropologie is a drug that I doubt has any veritable cure.....

158 Regent St

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Two pieces of silver...and gold and turquoise

In the wake of some rather unfortunate events that occurred a few years back, my knee-jerk reaction was to charge in to every self – help section of every book store on every High Street this side of the river. My bedside mountain of books resembled ‘Hogglewick’s’ new age best sellers list of the decade. Dare to say I was more confused than an egg - laying cow in a chicken coop....however, Mr Oliver James you did have some very good points and Matthieu Ricard., I salute you!

Ironically, however, the very place that I made a bolt from some 20 years ago is the very place that brought peace, insight, solitude and space for thought – as I write this I am astonished that I find myself confessing that it is the Roman Catholic Church that this very spiritually sloppy, prodigal daughter is referring to. I hasten to add that although my actual attendance over the past two decades has been way below par, I continued to pray to St Anthony when having misplaced an item and regularly said hello (and still do) to my dear Aunt Audrey who, on the day of her funeral, had the good grace to turn James Taylor’s ‘You’ve got a Friend’ on the CD player as I wept inconsolably into the bathtub.

Having now established my presence in the local Catholic community, I hesitate to a jolt each time I pass the confessional box, partly because it’s so intriguing, like some cavernous Opus Deim hideout, and partly because all my mortal wrong doings, however trivial, come seething to the fore. I am yet to gather up the fortitude to confess to Fr Michael in his ascetic tardis, I am boldly spilling the beans on my Judas-like secret here in cyberspace in the hope that GOD will tune in to MTFS’s frequency and grant forgiveness along with issuing a few token Hail Mary’s.

“Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been 7 304.84398 days since my last confession and.....I sold not just any dog, but the family dog off for a pair of Yves Saint Laurent Earrings" – ouch!

Yes, it’s bad and Wise man Solomon would have been writhing in his grave.....but there is so much more to the story which makes it all the more forgivable – the dog hated living with our family, in fact she hated it so much that she took a kamikaze leap through the fly screen on to a very hard surface outside, leaving a cartoon cut-out of her figure. So, in a win-win scenario, I was instructed by my ever-industrious mother, to march over to the nearby neighbours (where said dog had been retreating to each day), with two pieces of paper in hand: one being an endorsement of the dog’s pedigree bloodline and the other, an offer too good for any pedigree dog-loving family to refuse. In return I was to receive a cut in the takings; the rest was my mother’s to spend on a pair of exquisite YSL earrings that would take pride of place on the ‘Mother of the Groom’s’ delicate ears at a wedding that would ironically take place in a park opposite the aforementioned dog’s new digs. The guilt of that act has wafted in and out of my consciousness in sporadic waves over the years...but now finally, I can lay it to rest.


Photo credit:

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Close - knit frock

As a fashion conscious teenager with a penchant for 'haute couture' (but seriously lacking the funds to feed my desires), much of my leisure time was spent scouring my mother‘s bedroom closet looking for my next fix. Each time I entered the Narnia - like world that lay beyond, I knew I’d return with either a magnificent Oscar De La Renta gown, a beautifully tailored Liberty print skirt or maybe a colourful piece by local designer, Rae Ganim.Sometimes my teenage sleepover compradres inadvertently became accomplices in these sartorial clandestine adventures – I had not yet 'discovered' boys; in any event their pimply, gangly frames were no match for the sleek lines, silky textures and colourful fabrics that filled not one but two wardrobes in our family home ( the spare bedroom closet was enlisted to accommodate any overflow of items).*
One frock in particular rests fondly in my memory – A chic and sophisticated V necked knitted Missoni piece with geometric designs that somehow all matched up perfectly; it even had a matching belt. I admired the colour, texture and neatness of the gown but never once questioned its heritage.

On learning recently that the Missoni family had publicly opened their home in Sumirago for the first time in three generations, as part of their S/S 10 launch, I was intrigued and wanted to vicariously enter their dreamlike designer environs. Flicking through the pages in ‘Pop’ magazine, it was comforting to see that the Missonis appeared like any other close-knit family (albeit a famous and wealthy one) enjoying each other's company in a relaxed and unassuming manner. Even after peering more closely at the pages I was convinced that their smiles and warmth were genuine. I closed the magazine satisfied that a well loved and remembered frock was born out of love, depth, beauty and family.

*Foot note: Several years later,upon my mother’s tastes changing rather dramatically, the spare bedroom closet resumed its original purpose. Her collection of salubrious gowns were gallantly bestowed upon well deserved friends, family and opportunity shops.Instead, she developed a die hard system (with her comrade Daph), of turning doilies into ponchos, table cloths in to dresses and pillowcases in to handbags that we all wanted to get our hands on!

Photo credit:

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Scarf of sentiment

Chinese philosopher Confucius once said “We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.” This sentiment was distinctly evident in the hours following this week's untimely passing of talented fashion designer Alexander McQeen. The enigmatic designer tragically took his own life just days after the passing of his own mother. Despite the heaviness that lingered in the air surrounding his Old Bond St store and the draping of black cloth over mannequins in his shop window, McQueen followers found solace in the purchase of his iconic skull scarf (scarf sales at his Liberty concession rose 14 fold the day following the designer’s death). Whether as a tribute to a tortured 21st century artist or seeking comfort in the scarf’s lustrous texture, one cannot help but note the symbolic nature of such a gesture – the soft lines of the smooth silk peppered with macabre skull figures.I too hope to join the parade of mourners if not by purchasing his scarf then by visiting his monument on Old Bond St.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

I MOOF therefore I am

The biscuit has skipped out of town for a few weeks, so I have taken the opportunity to indulge in a new found passion - it does slightly tick the more unusual box, but no, it’s not vexilollogy or train is the visually and tactilely (yes, this is a word ) all consuming world of felt. Most commonly mistaken as a tool for introducing toddlers to shapes and colours, felt is so much more than this. I recently spent a whole evening mesmerised by an array of felt covered cushions on a home decorating website which culminated in my investing in one very comfy little felt covered treasure.I have even tried to sex it up by giving it a gen Y style acronym - MOOFING. To possess something that is 'MOOF' is to behold a soft, colourful and sometimes functional treasure that is Made Out Of Felt.

The half baked bunny above is my very own rudimentary interpretation of MOOFing (sans ears and belt).I do strive to improve my moofing skills and with time I hope to one day create a nifty felt 'shopper' which I might just team up with a pair of felt lined ear muffs.

Dumpling Dynasty Bunny making kits are available from deliciously eclectic on-line shop Wu & Wu

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A tapestry called Florence

In 1971 American singer- songwriter Carole King released the single ‘Tapestry’, which became a number one worldwide hit. Meanwhile, in Sydney, Australia, the real life tapestry of Florence Broadhurst was unfurling in an unpredictable and colourful manner. At the time of her death in 1977 (which to this day remains a mystery), the stupendously talented wallpaper designer had seen many re-incarnations in her professional life.Starting out as singer, performer, artist and then as dress salon proprietor (under the alias of Madame Pellier), she went on to leave her enduring legacy by designing wallpaper in "the only studio of its kind in the world".
Could it be that Florence was revealing her internal landscape to the world through her bold designs?
It is only now that I contemplate the possibility of my favourite Broadhust designs being a story book of sorts. Her iconic ‘Horses stampede’ may well have been designed after a wild night of passion between the sheets in which her son had been conceived. The recurrent bird themed prints were clearly her untamed soul yearning to transcend the banal and everyday.....and it is so obvious to me now that her popular ’Japanese floral’ design was devised in a moment of sentiment while reminiscing her days spent touring the Orient.

Whatever the meaning behind Florence’s designs, there is no denying her talent and eye for marrying colour with design.

Florence Broadhurst prints are available through custodians 'Signature Prints'

Monday, 8 February 2010

Blue and Green make Aquamarine

The biscuit is a very insightful little being - it is she who has truly educated me on the palette of primary colours and their more complex little cousins, secondary colours. I have had many a chaotically constructed water colour creation bestowed upon me by the biscuit. In lesson one I was instructed to squidge my finger into the pot of green paint, then splodge it into the blue one and voila! Pure magic, a spectacular Aegean blue masterpiece before your very eyes...
This brings me to two very important pieces of advice that were handed down to me by my mother as an awkward tweenie
1.’Always be true to yourself’ – Be True i.e. don’t tell a lie because GOD is watching, To yourself i.e. To Me!
2. A skirt isn’t always a skirt if it’s a dress
From the moment I received these two nuggets of wisdom, I thought I’d be OK throughout life’s rumpled rollercoaster of ups and downs (NB. On my 16th Birthday I also received a copy of ‘The Prophet’ and a poster called ‘Desiderata’ which had some handy and helpful tips and answers to some of my prepubescent insecurities especially Para 3 see exerpt below)

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

It has only very recently occurred to me how very helpful those two little pearls have been to me.
In fact, had I not been wearing a skirt as a dress as recently as Christmas day 2009, I would have been wearing none other than my underwear!
Which brings me back to the purpose of these ramblings, they are a very long nod to colour, style and my mother, who is certainly the pearl in the heart of my oyster and who’s strong sense of colour, texture and style have been the most wonderful heirloom a daughter and granddaughter could inherit.