claire’s little black book…page 1

Not as exciting as it seems I’m afraid, but now and again I will let you lovely people into some little secret bits and bobs from my little black book.

Today has been a black book day, as we visited one of my favourite places in the south, Lewes.

Now, many of you will know Lewes, as every year it is the location for the most incredibly massive, diverse (and dangerous) bonfire celebrations. Bonfire societies are linked to different areas of the town, and compete for the biggest and best parades, displays and bonfires themselves.

If you have not visited this wonderful little town before, please do, both on bonfire night (where you will be scared out of your wits by people dressed as pirates and other things running through the streets with burning barrels and lines of firecrackers going off by their ears), and at any other time in the year. They are very different animals, and both are fantastic.

Anyway, back to the black book. Lewes is by no means a secret place, but as a designer who loves old stuff, it is a place of dreams. Crammed full of antiques and collectables, bits from France, rescued from old factories, it is all here, including a smattering of organic foodie places. It is my idea of heaven.

But there are two places of particular interest to those who do not have bottomless pockets, and like random things.
The first is Lewes Flea Market. Based in a converted church (methodist I think) there are stalls a plenty full of great things. I fell in love with a very old battered brass sink and inset drainer tray today, but could not think of anywhere to put it myself, or what client I could convince that this was the piece that would change their life. Still, someone will find it and love it.
The second is Lewes Antiques Centre. This is a series of stalls in a four or five storey building, with furniture, statues, garden bits and anything you can think of spilling from the floors. My tip? Head for the basement. It smells musky, is dark, and always cold, so not many people go down there. But if you do, you can unearth some real treasures, at bargain prices.

The galvanised tubs in our recent show garden came from the depths of the basement, for a bargain £15, as did our antique mussel collectors basket (a snip at £20), and some old spoons we used as hooks.

So – visit Lewes, and take a leaf out of my black book – visit the church, then head downhill and end up down stairs (metaphorically speaking if course).
Laters all xxx

random, but I like it.

Found this picture today from when I went to Hampton Court Palace flower show this year.
I love it.
If I had the space and money (or a client with space and money, and a sense of humour) I’d have it.
And yes, it is a sculpture of a full size, vaulting skeleton. Fantastic.

do something. please

welcome to rant #1. the do something please rant.

Now, we are all told to ‘be greener’ ‘save the planet’ ‘be responsible’ and even though I do preach these things myself (and practice them as far as possible) it can be tricky.

I have caught myself with a takeaway coffee cup and really battled with myself whether to throw it in the street bin after I have finished it. Is this a bit mental? I suppose what is more mental is that most of the time I transport the frothy, leaking mass back home, to rinse it out and put the cardboard cup in my recycling. and yes, it has leaked in my bag, which I then have to clean out, and wipe brown froth off everything.

I’m an environmental mentalist.

I even pick up rubbish outside of my house and put it in my recycling bin.

But, being responsible comes in many guises, and we should not beat ourselves up about not having a solar panel on our roof or wind farm in our back garden. Little things add up.

And, to my delight I have found a fantastic website by the people who brought you ‘change the world 9-5’ a lovely little book should you ever find it. is a fantastic list of stuff we can all do to get things happening. Sign up, create your own list, and tick the wee boxes everytime you do something. very satisfying – just like that sheet with stars on you had at school for when you did a good thing…

Yes, there are the usual green actions you can track, like turning down your thermostat (couldn’t do this one, as our house has no heating anyway – we just put on more jumpers…), recycle everything and support small and local businesses, but what I LOVE is that there are other good things that you can do easily but we JUST DON’T DO MUCH ANYMORE.

#101 – make someone smile, #97 – say thanks, #77 – show empathy, #73 – leave work at least one a week on time, #60 – remember peoples names. You get the picture. Easy stuff that we were brought up to do and yet some of us have forgotten.

But, the one I love is #82 – ‘aspire not to have more, but to be more’.

Food for thought. So – visit the lovely people at, and see what you can do to get things moving.

Oh, and #98 – spread the word.

laters all

from small seeds…

well. welcome to my new little blog…hopefully this will be a space where you can follow what the practice is up to, going to do or just done. It will also be an area for eco discussion – new stuff we’ve found, good stuff, bad stuff and everything in between. I’m known for my rants, and I’m sure there will be a few on here… comments welcome.

more stuff to follow when I understand what the hell I am doing…

laters all – cj