Last week on a snowy day in London, I headed to London hairdresser Blue Tit salon in Dalston to have my hair styled. Unlike my usual vintage curls or messy mum hair we were going for something a little different. Inspired by the Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at The National Gallery, we were creating a Pre-Raphaelite inspired look.

William Holman Hunt, Il Dolce Far Niente, 1866, Oil on canvas, Private collection © Photo courtesy of the owner

William Holman Hunt, Il Dolce Far Niente, 1866, Oil on canvas, Private collection © Photo courtesy of the owner

The exhibition itself is incredible and of course one of the things that really stands out in Pre-Raphaelite art is the beautiful romantic hair. Blue Tit London recently collaborated with the gallery to create a photo shoot which pays homage to the beautiful paintings on display within the exhibition.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

The one advantage to how long and thick my hair is at the moment, is that it was perfect for creating this kind of look. When I arrived at the gorgeous salon, I was greeted by Declan who would be styling my hair. We discussed some ideas and decided to go for some big curls. He wanted to create something that was wearable with some Pre-Raphaelite inspiration.

It took a couple of hours to curl all my hair – there really is a lot of it! The end result was amazing.

Here we fluffed the hair up a bit more for a slightly more Pre-Raphaelite take on the look. It was such a fun way to spend the afternoon and I absolutely loved the salon. Declan was amazing and really took his time to create a look that we both loved. It’s definitely made me want to go back and get a cut and colour done very soon!

William Holman HuntThe Lady of Shalott, about 1886-1905© Manchester City Galleries/Bridgeman ImagesThe salon is absolutely gorgeous and every time I’ve walked past it, I’ve admired the decor. As well as the Dalston branch they have salons in quite a few locations across London. I really enjoyed looking at all the pictures on the wall. It was such a nice environment to sit for a couple of hours and relax, while Declan worked on my hair.

Here’s my resident art historian Matthew, with a little bit more information about the exhibition – The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed in 1848 when a group of young artists, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, were looking for a new and fresh inspiration for their art. Instead of looking to the 16th-century Renaissance artist Raphael, who was held up as the ideal model for artists to follow, they were inspired by older medieval and early Renaissance art. This exhibition puts one of their favourite old paintings, Jan van Eyck’s 1434 ‘Arnolfini Portrait’ in the centre, and shows how it influenced the ambitious young Pre-Raphaelite artists.

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni (?) Arnolfini and his Wife and ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ , 1434, National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni (?) Arnolfini and his Wife and ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ , 1434, National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

It’s brilliant to see one of the National Gallery’s most famous paintings surrounded by the Pre-Raphaelite’s works. You can see how they loved the Arnolfini Portrait’s beautiful colours and perfect attention to detail. A painting that was hundreds of years old inspired these Victorian artists to create art that was bold and revolutionary. They loved features like its mysterious round mirror and even had replicas of it in their homes. Van Eyck’s serious portrait was the inspiration for the Pre-Raphaelite’s beautiful women from medieval legend.

Today, the Pre-Raphaelite paintings themselves are now all more than a century old, but they are still beautiful, vivid and fascinating. Just as the Pre-Raphaelites were inspired by Van Eyck, we can be inspired by them for our art, our homes and our style.

Hurry along to catch this exhibition before it closes on 2nd April, and see what inspiration you can find.

Find out more about the exhibition on the National Gallery website

Find out more about Blue Tit London on their website

Thank you to Matthew Storey for contributing to this post. Matthew is a curator and art historian with a specialism in historic art and decorative art. You can read a couple of other posts by him here and here


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I have always loved pancakes, eating them, making them and sharing them. I love classic crepes, scotch pancakes and American style. When it comes to toppings there loads I like too. I’ve been making pancakes since I was about 12 and have lots of happy memories of making them for my family. Now I have kids I enjoy making them even more. I usually have 3 or 4 pans on the go and love showing off my flipping skills! As you can imagine I absolutely love Shrove Tuesday.

Pancake toppingsTraditionally Shrove Tuesday marks the beginning of lent and the start of fasting, pancakes are a great way to use up leftover milk, eggs and flour.

Pancake toppingsI started the festivities this weekend by making some American style pancakes for the kids. I used this recipe, which makes lovely fluffy pancakes. Everyone in my house likes different toppings. I like to smother mine in maple syrup or some classic sugar and lemon. Jessica likes lots of Nutella and Lila likes a bit of everything!

cinnamon pancakeI like trying different flavours. I made this one by sprinkling a little cinnamon into the batter and drizzling the pancakes with honey.

Cinnamon pancakeI also like to make chocolate chip pancakes by adding chocolate chips to the batter in the pan. These go down really well with the kids.

Chocolate chip pancakeThese are delicious served with some fresh fruit and a cup of tea. If you want to be really indulgent, I think a squirt of cream would go down a treat with these too.

choc chip pancakeToday I’m planning to make some classic pancakes with the girls and maybe even try a few savoury options. I’ll posting them on my Insta Stories so keep a look out for more pancake fun. What are your favourite pancake types, toppings and flavours?

For more foodie treat check out my Baking section.


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So we’re already a few days into February and so far this year has been pretty good. I wanted to take a bit of time at the end or beginning of each month to see how I’m getting on with my goals and to catch up a bit. I also want to photograph more of my vintage dresses, so thought this was a good opportunity to show you another dress from my collection.

At the beginning of January I talked about my goals for 2018. A month into the year and on the whole I’m doing pretty well with them. My first goal was to look after myself more. I’ve still been getting reasonably early nights. There were a few where I stayed up a bit too late watching TV with Rob, but I’m back to getting 8 hours now and it makes such a big difference.

I’ve also been going to the gym as much as possible and have been to Yoga, Pilates and Spin as well as swimming and working out. I’ve also been for plenty of lovely long walks and I’ve especially enjoyed these. I’ve been looking up interesting walking routes and have really enjoyed getting away from it all and exploring new places. Fresh air and exercise really do work wonders. I didn’t feel that great this week and going for a long walk with Rob really made me feel better.

I’ve also been better at pacing myself and haven’t done more work than I can manage. This is the thing I’ve found the hardest. By nature I’m a workaholic, but only doing what I can manage and reining in my goals a bit has been very good for me. I do want to do a bit more blogging though and I have just bought a lot of new stock for my Etsy and I can’t wait to get that listed very soon.

I’ve done quite a few nice things in my home over the last month, especially in Lila’s room. I still have a bit of finishing off to do, but expect a blog post on that pretty soon. I also have a few DIY posts planned, so watch this space (you may be watching for a while)!

And thats about it for my goals so far this year. Have you set yourself any goals? How are you getting on with them? How has 2018 been for you so far?

The dress I’m wearing in this post is another vintage Swirl dress. You can read about one of my other ones and find out a bit more about Swirl dresses in my post from last year. I’m wearing it with a flower garland from H&M, some vintage bangles and shoes from Hotter. The dress is a little small on me, but I’ve kept it for a while as I like it so much. This is one I’ll eventually part with, as I don’t like keeping things that don’t get worn and appreciated enough.

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For someone who has a lot of clothes, I actually find shopping quite tedious. Especially when I’m looking for something specific. There’s nothing worse than having to trawl through lots of different websites trying to find that perfect item of clothing. I was recently introduced to a site called Octer, which aims to make the experience a little easier. Octer is a shopping site which includes items from hundreds of different online and high street retailers. It’s a great tool if you want to search lots of different shops for one item.

Octer Cath Kidston Skirt Enid Collins Bag and Miss L Fire ShoesAs someone who doesn’t shop on the high street that often, I have very specific tastes, so it was a really quick way to find something that would work with the rest of my wardrobe. I’m a bit obsessed with skirts at the moment, so that was the first thing I looked for on the Octer site. I was able to specify my price range and them browsed through until I spotted something I loved. It wasn’t long before I spotted this gorgeous pencil print skirt from Cath Kidston and I knew it was the one.

Octer ReviewI really enjoyed being able to look through so many different options and I discovered a few brands that I wouldn’t otherwise have thought to look at. The site is so easy to use and once you’ve found the item you want, it takes you through to the retailers website so you can purchase the item. I’m going to a ball later in the year and I need a dress to wear and I’ve already used Octer to scout out a few options.

Octer OOTDThe site doesn’t just cover women’s clothing it also has mens and children’s wear as well as beauty products, technology and interior items listed, so it’s a great one stop shop for everything you need. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to an online department store. I’d really recommend giving it a go, if like me you want to save time on shopping. Find out more on the Octer website.

I wore my new skirt with a top from Collectif, a vintage Enid Collins bag and Miss L Fire shoes.

*Thank you to Octor for paying for my skirt, all opinions as always are my own. 

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Antiques are something I’ve always had a huge love for. Since I was little and used to spend time in my Grandmas’s shop or look at all the lovely furniture and decorative items in their home. The past is a great place to look for beautiful things. This week I attended the preview evening of the Olympia Art and Antiques Fair. The fair brings together the most prestigious antiques dealers with the very finest products. Items on display range from early 20th century pieces all the way back to incredible ancient pieces, which are so old it’s a treat just to be able to look at them.

Olympia Art and Antiques Gold Cherub StatueDealers bring only their very finest pieces and as such prices range from the hundreds to many thousands of pounds. Even if you are not in the market for buying, I’d recommend a visit just to bask in all the beautiful treasures on display. I only had just over an hour to look round and I’d recommend allowing a lot more time as there is just so much to see. I thought I’d share a few of my favourite pieces from the show…

Olympia Art and Antiques Art Deco PosterA detail from an art deco poster from Duveen Art and Antiques.

Olympia Art and Antiques fair Patricia Lester 70s 80s Vintage dressA vintage Patricia Lester Dress from Midwinter Antiques.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair Cherub with TrumpetOne of a pair of gorgeous antique cherubs.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair French Art Deco Bronze FigurineA stunning French 1925 art deco bronze figurine from Solo Antiques.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair Ancient Egyptian HeadAn Egyptian face from Art Ancient.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair Art Deco Bronze FigurineA bronze art deco figurine from Jeroem Markies Art Deco.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair Monk StatueA lovely painted wooden monk statue.

Olympia art and Antiques Art Deco Red Poppy Glass PotA stunning 1900 French vintage glass vase from Solo Antiques.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair Art Deco Chairs and SideboardA wonderful pair of chairs from Justin Evershed-Martin.

Olympia Art and Antiques Art Deco Inlaid Wooden DeskAn exquisite wooden inlaid dressing table from Justin Evershed-Martin.

Olympia Art and Antiques Table FootballA football table from Hatchwell Antiques.

Olympia Art and Antiques Deco Bronze SculptureA 1928 ‘Rocket Girl’ bronze sculpture from Solo Antiques.

Olympia Art and Antiques fair Ancient Coin HoardA wonderful coin hoard from Art Ancient.

Olympia Art and Antiques Religious StatueA carved Christ statue from Pearse Lukies Antiques.

Olympia Art and Antiques Crochet AnimalsOne of several amazing crocheted animals from Anthony Fell.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair Blue and White ChinaA huge selection on blue and white porcelain from Sue Norman.

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair Careless Talk Costs Lives PosterWW2 posters from Manning Fine Art. This dealer also has the original Keep Calm and Carry on Poster, which has such an interesting background. I’m going to be writing a separate post on it, in the near future so keep your eyes peeled.

This is such a tiny selection of the wonderful things on display. It really is an amazing treasure trove of beautiful things waiting to find new homes. One day when I own my own stately home, I’ll be coming here for my furniture and antiques!

The fair runs until 3rd July at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London.

Find more details on The Art and Antiques Fair website.

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