All The Jazz

apples and pears kitchen tidy

I have a confession to make. I am an apple snob. Always have been, always will be. I remember the horrid little apples that were always in the Children’s Day goodie bag. I used to give them away and I am thankful that I am never to see those awful Washington apples again.

The problem with apples that don’t quite make the mark is the powder-like texture. Crunchiness is crucial to deliciousness in apples.

Pink Lady apples were a favourite for awhile but are now in second place to the snazzily named Jazz apples. Initially only sold in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s now offer them with a 1/3 off promotion, which means these crunchy, juicy apples are now available at a friendly-to-the-pocket price. Both Jazz and Pink Lady varieties not only taste great but look very rosy.

With the temperatures rising and dropping, I have been eating quite a lot of apples. I’ve enjoyed biting into a Jazz apple when it’s sunny and finding a pot of Zuivelhoeve yoghurt with apple and cinnamon compote very heartwarming and soothing with temperatures have dropped. This yoghurt is so delicious that upon discovering it, I have appointed myself as an apple and cinnamon yoghurt evangelist.

yellow apple shoes


When I think of quite ordinary fruits like apples and pears, I think of how simple and inspiring these fruits are in design. From the yellow apples on my black patent shoes to my Orla Kiely grey pear print duvet cover. I remember obsessing over a pear pendant that was sold on day-lab but they’ve stopped shipping internationally, I was unable to buy it. I looked at the site today again and found some other lovely apple and pear necklaces.



As a fan of wearing fruity jewellery, I admit that fruits as inspiration work best as kitchen products. I love Yoyo Ceramics‘ kitchen tidy. Sold as a pair of an apple and a pear, they are available in four colours and will brighten anyone’s kitchen or even dressing table.


Luckily for me, working for Orla Kiely means being surrounded by print. The pear print is a favourite and I often reach out for the green apples and pears mug to have my coffee in and it pleases me ever so much, each time.


Let’s start from the very beginning…

About a year ago, on my regular browse on day-lab, I fell in love with these vintage jumbo initial pins. This time last jumboini12year, day-lab still shipped internationally, but there were no “A”s or “Q”s or even “K”s. I continued to check, almost obsessively to see if perhaps one day, Amy would find more of these dead stock and upload them on her site. Instead of finding the correct letters in this style, the site was updated with more varieties of initial jewellery. And still to no avail. There was nothing in these letters. It suddenly felt like I was playing a very bad game of scrabble. Speaking of which I did buy some scrabble tile earrings from Brick Lane ages ago and was pleased that “A” and “Q” made up 11 points on their own.

I remember my mum buying my dad embroidered hankies with the letter “Q” in the corner. They were just so classy and made a special gift for the gentleman, that is my dad.

I guess those hankies had something to do with my need to get my hands on something similar.  I had a flash of genius. I was going to save a search on Ebay for initial. So for awhile now, I have been getting daily results for initials. Unfortunately this has resulted in some pretty ugly pieces of jewellery, and mostly in the letters that I wanted.

In October, I was in Paris for work. The apartment in Montmartre is next to the best junk shop in the world. Outside the window display is filled with heads of dolls, leather partridge pins in French colours. This shop as my friends had predicted had my name all over it. I spent a good hour and more in this teeny-tiny shop, the size of a medium bathroom. I found some gifts for everyone and myself! I walked out with wooden blocks of letters in beautiful fonts, a plastic red sailboat brooch (which I have unfortunately lost- boo) and a vintage thin gold leather belt (which is already falling apart 2 months on).  I spent much of that hour looking through a tiny box that was filled with vintage initial brooches. And again, no chance pour moi.  A feeling of stubborness came over me and I decided to buy a “Y”. I was going to tell people that it is not always about the initial, but also the end. My name ends with “Y”, so this brooch is mine.  I convinced myself that I was more than qualified to be wearing a “Y”.

I stopped looking.


And on Saturday, we went to Broadway Market to get some brunch. It was a gorgeous day with a clear blue sky. And something caught my eye. And there amongst the beautiful bird hairbands and pearl brooches that were being sold by Jessie Chorley and Buddug lay some pretty decent-sized initials. A quick scan and I found them. Quite easily my new favourite earrings.

I went to bed yesterday satisfied with my weekend find and listened to Serge Gainsbourg’s Initiales B.B.

The joie in ordinary objects

It was a rare weekend treat for me to have one of the weekend days staying in. I thought that my summer-long hiatus from the kitchen was to come to an end. I was going to rediscover the joys of cooking and baking. I looked at some recipes and decided to bake some muffins (choco-banana and pecan) and cupcakes (carrot with orange frosting).

And always, when baking I would use the little egg whisk that I inherited from Sarah when she moved to NY.

This little egg whisk is by Joie. They design some cute little kitchen utensils and gadgets. I love how giving character to ordinary objects can colour an otherwise mundane job. I was reminded of the little bins we spotted on the way to the Spice Market in Istanbul. Or the little bird clothes pegs  and swallow paperclips I’d spotted on Day-Lab. I looked at my elephant watering can sitting by the fireplace and am reminded that even gardening can be design-oriented.

I can’t think of an easier way to encourage people not to litter. And I can’t think of a better way to make staying in such a pleasure.