Exploring OXO Tower Wharf

Chances are, that if you've ever wondered around South Bank, at some point you'd have looked up at that old looking building with letter-shaped windows, and wondered what OXO means.

Well, the Oxo Tower has a rather interesting story, in fact: back in the 20's, the building was acquired by a meat company (producers of the "Oxo cubes"). The company wanted to feature the name of their product on the building façade in the shape of illuminated sign, but because this type of advertisement wasn't allowed back in the day, they came up with the idea of having letter shaped windows to circumvent the restriction. How clever?!

And now, the tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in South Bank, so much so that the wharf where it's located is named after it.

Although the tower is closed to the public, thanks to Coin Street and We Blog Design, an handful of us was able to have a private tour and climb up to the very top and enjoy a different view of the river banks.

The way up the tower is quite steep and uneven, and for me, also being moderately afraid of heights, it was was quite challenging at times, but definitely worth it. It was such a privilege and an incredible experience!

After taking in the beautiful view from the top of the tower, we had some time to wander around and discover some of the little design shops that have home in the Wharf.

What is most unique about this area, is that there's a concentration of special retail-workshops for contemporary designers, which means they don't only have a shopfront, but are also able to work on their products without leaving the shop; this gave them the perfect opportunity to hold workshops to involve the customers into the creative process, and also share the story behind their creations.

Although all the shops are worth a visit, two of my favourites are Wagumi and Snowden Flood.

Wagumi; You may know I have a soft spot for East Asian culture, espacially anything Japanese, so Wagumi is a little heaven for me. All their product are imported directly from Japan, and they make their mission to assist small producers, and to bring new life to traditional aesthetics and mediums.

Snowden Flood; Of course I had to mention this lovely shop! Snowden's shop offers a range of products designed in house, and by new and emerging designers, making it the perfect spot to look for more unique gifts and souvenirs (and cards and prints!).

All the shops are really varied: you can find 3D printed jewellery or crads and stationery, authentic japanese pottery and handmade textiles. So, if you're ever around South Bank, definitely take some time to explore the Wharf, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you're curious, as most of the shop owners will gladly chat with you and tell you more about what they make.

DId you know about Oxo Tower Wharf? ☺

Ζ’. xx

Stationery Spotlight: Katie Leamon

I'm an hardcore fan of small businesses, even more so when they have an inspirational story behind them.

Katie Leamon's cards & stationery are now stocked in lots of stores across the UK (and internationally), but it all began in a cosy studio space Katie took up with her brother Tom back in 2010. Despite the huge success, however, her products are still curated and unique in a way you can only get when the designer is involved in every step of the production (and I mean that quite literally since some the cards are even hand printed in house!).

Back in September, with the creative contributions of her brother, Katie launched the KIN Collection, a collaboration that brings together Katie's signature typography and pastel hues, and Tom's bold brushstrokes.

The combination of the two make amazing cards, wrapping papers, and sketchbooks.

I particularly love the contrast between the vibrant, eccentric envelopes and the delicate, golden foiled cards β™₯ Gorgeous!

My favourite bit from the collection, however, must be the notebooks. It was love at first sight because - just look at that cover and the black edges - what's not to love!? But what's even better, it's that inside you get an even amount of lined, grid and blank pages.

Katie's brand is right up there with all the small businesses that inspire me, and I'm sure you'll see more of it around here.

Have you ever heard of it? & do you have a fave cards and stationery brand? You know I'm always looking for suggestions ;)

Ζ’. x

Beautiful Cards for a Good Cause

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a few cards by jotpaperco in my feed before. I love all of their cards, but even more than that, I love how they created their brand from the ground up and are now able to design and create their products in their very own studio and have them stocked in lots of cool shops all around London.

They're a huge inspiration of mine, and when they came up with this project, I just had to share it with you all.

Dan and Becks have brought out two cards with a new design called Arlo's Snowflake, in dedication to baby Arlo, their nephew, who sadly passed away just a few days after being born.

Not only the cards are beautiful as all of their other cards, but they also help a wonderful cause which is raising money towards the new NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) that is being built at the L&D hospital to provide better care and treatment for lots of premature and ill babies.

I know this is quite different from what I usually post here, but I'm sure lots of you will be buying Christmas cards soon, so maybe please consider getting one or two of these and help support this charity in memory of Arlo.

You can find more info on the cards + charity here, as well as links to get the cards.

Thank you so much for reading β™₯

Ζ’. x

This post is not sponsored in any way, on the contrary, I made a small contribution to the cause myself, as it's something that really touched my heart. Even if you don't need cards, or can't donate to the charity but still feel like it'd be worth contribuiting to, please consider sharing this with someone who might be interested in doing so β™₯

// photo credits: Β© jot

Redesigning My Blog Icons

Like any other four or five months, a few days ago I felt the urge of sprucing things up a bit in my blog. I didn't want to make any major change, so I decided to start off by cleaning up the sidebar.

If you've been around for a while, you may remember the icons I used to have in the sidebar under the 'navigation' tab. I drew them back in 2014 and still kind liked the handmade feel to them, but I was starting to feel like they were quite 'messy' and it was bothering me a little.

The line weight was different for almost every icon, and moreover, being all the same colour it was hard to read them at first glance (and also, let's not forget that the font I used was atrocious). Overall, I just thought I could do better than that.

For the new icons, I wanted to keep the same designs but make them cleaner by redrawing them completely in Illustrator.
The first and most obvious change is the colour palette. It went from a simple black and white design on a solid background to a 3 colours design on white.
There's no particular reason behind the colours I picked, besides being chosen to compliment my 'signature' pastel blue shade.

I decided to make a couple of changes as far as the categories go: I scrapped the 'review' category, which wasn't very pertinent anymore, and substituted it with a 'London' category, which is definitely more relevant now. The second change was to update the 'personal' category icon with something I think expresses it a little bit better.
I also changed the font with a new one I made using my handwriting.

For the same reasons, in addition to that, I decided to change my social icons to make everything flow better together, but in this case I kept the old hand-drawn logos and changed the background to a different shape, sticking to the new pastel palette.

What do you think? ☺ I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new designs!
Ζ’. xx

Introducing My New Collection of Notebooks

I'm so excited to finally release into the wild Etsy world, a new little product I've been had in the works for a while now: notebooks!
Personally, I'm someone who's constatly buying notebooks, as I like to keep many at a time - each for a different purpose - so it was only natural that it would have come a day when I'd finally design my own.

I wanted to keep the design quite simple but still have it to be eye catching, so I went for a colour block kind of style. Of course, me being me, I had to include flowers in the mix - bacause as you may know, I'm an hardcore flower fan!

The notebooks are available individually or in a set, and come in three different colours: cherry red, blue, and gold, and they all feature different flower designs.

I would love to hear what you think of them! β™₯
If you'd like to have a closer look, they're now up in my Etsy shop.

Ζ’. xx
P.S. Any notebook order before the end of the month will receive a cheeky freebie ☺

Screen Printing Workshop at Top Drawer

 β–² Lexington Print in copper and black by Daniel Heath at #LiveTheStory at Top Drawer

β–² Lexington Print in copper and black by Daniel Heath at #LiveTheStory at Top Drawer

I said it before but I'll say it again: screen printing is awesome. Even more so when done live by such a talented artist as Daniel Heath, who demonstrated the technique using his new Lexington design, featuring large art deco windows.

 β–² Daniel Heath introducing screen-printing

β–² Daniel Heath introducing screen-printing

The workshop was held at Top Drawer, and In The Window kindly invited some bloggers along to learn about Daniel's process of making his handmade wallpaper prints and to try it first hand.
In fact, that's exactly what In the Window is all about: connecting designers and makers with a community of design enthusiasts so that they can discover and experience not only the process, but also the story behind the finished products.

 β–² Tasha & I having a go at pulling the print

β–² Tasha & I having a go at pulling the print

Seeing an artist at work is really something else, and being able to learn and ask questions about the design and making process was such a valuable experience. I definitely left the workshop way more inspired and motivated to make the dream of having my own little studio come true someday. A girl can dream, right?

Tasha also vlogged the event, so you can have a look at that too if you like ☺ (there's also lots of stationery eye candy in the video, so be prepared to be in awe).

If you could see anyone at work and learn from them, who would that be?

Ζ’. x

// Β© All photos courtesy of In The Window

Stationery Spotlight: Chase and Wonder

A few days back I received this lovely bundle of goodies from a UK based shop called Chase and Wonder.
You know how much I love discovering new stationery brands, and this one was a wonderful surprise especially because it's quite different from the ones I usually gravitate towards.

They stock quite a few ranges of designs, but all the cards have a very distinctive style - whether it's punny glittery cards, or neon-colored, fancy animal ones.

Something really inspiring about Chase and Wonder, is that they use mostly traditional techniques (such as screen printing, one of my latest obsessions) to make their goodies, which, in my opinion, adds so much value to their products, and makes you really appreciate not only the design but also the care and effort that went into it.

The also stock lovely giftware, like this vintage print purse, and monogram pin badge cards! How clever is that? All the letters are equally beautiful and carefully designed, and if you're anything like me, you will probably want one or two for yourself.

If you have a look at their website, let me know which one is your fave design! Mine is probably all the animal ones ☺
Ζ’. x

PS: just so you know, I had no obligations whatsoever to post about this - I honestly love their products, and thought it would be a shame not to share them with you all!

End-of-Summer Sale in my Etsy Shop

Summer is coming to an end, and I don't know about you, but I'm so ready for the sweater weather to hit again! However, this summer was pretty eventful and enjoyable, so to celebrate, I'm having a 3x2 sale in my Etsy shop

You can get a free card when you buy 2 (or multiple of) cards, all you need to do is add a note to your order telling me which extra card you’d like, or I will happily pick one at random for you!
The offer also extends to sticker sheets and postcards, so why don't you have a look and see if anything interests you? ☺

Much love,
Ζ’. x