I love IKEA. One day I hope to live in IKEA and have 8 bedrooms to choose a different one every night to sleep in. The staff would tuck me in and I could live on meatballs.

IKEA have been in the UK for 30 years, Happy Birthday IKEA 🎉🎂 They are throwing a massive house party with a different decade on each floor designed exactly how your front room would have looked then. The 80s has chequered wallpaper, on the 90s floor there is blue WKD and Magic Eye books as well as a Nintendo you can play Mario Kart on. The 00s is all about feature wall and up another flight of stairs is The Future with a mirror you can chat to and a light changing wall. It’s so clever and if you are in London town between now and Saturday during the day, go and have a look. There are parties there each night though of course they sold out in about 8 seconds. I DJed there last night in the noughties room and if you want your own little party, I’ve done you a playlist of 00s bangers I played. Get someone to flash the dimmer switch, eat a Twiglet and you’ve got the greatest Friday night of all time.

Here’s the official IKEA House Party video with my face talking about about it all:

The IKEA Marketplace is the bit right at the end with all the plates and fake flowers and it’s one of my favourite places on earth. I usually spend three hours in there choosing candles, fake roses, soft toys, placemats and flamingo glasses (I shrieked when I found those) Sometimes I have to walk through quickly before I get drawn in, if I see a pink fork that’s it. Last time I only went to IKEA for a bathroom mirror and I came out with 18 cushions.

My current favourite IKEA piece is one of their armchairs. I think an armchair is a the sign of success. You’ve made it when you’ve got an armchair to eat a bit of Victoria sponge on or read unbothered because no one can sit next to you. The BENARP is colour of a tomato and I’m thinking of exchanging my bed for it. I also got very excited about this entire living room until I realised it was doll’s furniture.

House parties are the best because you can have nice drinks, full access to a fridge and if it’s your own house you can go to bed. Here are a few of my house party thoughts…

  • Lighting: Don’t underestimate a dimmer switch. Also a few lamps around the place. By the time I get to a party I will have almost definitely split something down myself so low lighting is terrific to disguise this.
  • Music: Music is obviously vital, but so is volume. I love talking and there is nothing worse than you’re in the middle of a brilliant anecdote and the music is too loud. I have been known to ask to turn the music down at parties and I’m a DJ. Everyone hates you for a minute and then they go, “oh this is so nice, I love this song and I can talk to this man I fancy.”
  • Food: Food is controversial at a party. My sister doesn’t believe in food at parties, I believe in food everywhere. But it should never be left out too long. Soft crisps, houmous with a skin on it and a olive going crinkly is just not ok. The best policy is eat it or get rid of it. Or better, serve some little canapé things. Take them round, make people eat them (they’ll want to) and then finish the last ones off yourself, DONE.
  • People: The bottom line is you need people to have a party but make it quality and not quantity. One of the best parties I ever had was with three other people. Get everyone to bring someone but tell them they have to be brilliant. In fact they should tell you a brilliant fact about that person before they’re allowed in invite them.

xxox

If you follow my instagram you will have seen me getting very excited about these phenomenal glittery clutch bags from SoS15. In fact I have already put them into The Museum, in an earlier blog post The Best Clutch Bags on Earth.

A few weeks ago I got a lovely message on instagram from a lady called Saundra. Saundra said she’s a fan of my radio show (day MADE) and she would like to make me a clutch bag. You can imagine my delight. I think I actually squealed. Saundra makes all her bags by hand and they are amazing. Every single one is smothered in glitter and it’s proper covering of glitter as well, not just an apologetic smattering. She also does pop art eyes with big lashes and others with huge lips. She’ll make you one with your name on it or your postcode and has just done a commission for some peacock feathered bridesmaids clutches which are to die for.

Saundra has become such a lovely friend since then and I was delighted to travel down to her workshop in Crystal Palace where we drank a lot of tea, chatted and made one of her signature bags.

Saundra hand makes all of her bags in her studio in South London and is proud to be a British company who sources all her materials from within the UK. We made an “All about You” clutch bag and drank a lot of tea while we did it. You can buy SOS15 products from Saundra’s store,  as well as Not on the High Street.

xxox

Sammy and I have never met but we’ve adored each other from afar for a long time. I love her instagram, she loves Jules and Sarah the Podcast. I love her bright yellow hair and the pictures of her baby girl eating a cucumber in the bath and she bought my “Stand Up for Love” t shirt after I posted eating a crumpet in it at Field Day. We’re friends, we’ve just never had a G&T together.

Instagram is full of these glorious relationships. I’ve met people to work with, I’ve found events, clothes, homewares I wouldn’t otherwise know about and I’ve got my own little community of people I love but I’ve never met. One of the reasons I love this hotbed of instafriends is because I am obsessed with how people spend their time. I love knowing when they get up, what they eat, when they read, what they do of an evening. I feel like I work, watch First Dates, eat, have a bath and go to bed so if anyone finds the time to do anything apart from that I’m all over it.

When Sammy posted her incredible lobster “that shit cray” needlework on instagram I was in awe. I also wondered “how does she do it?!” Sammy is one of those amazing people who runs a teenage magazine, does massive celebrity interviews, has her daughter (the divine Daphne) makes amazing vagina cupcakes, has a cat, finds the best vintage tops and always has perfect eyeliner flicks. And now needlepoint that is on point. I barely have time to watch Dr Foster.

I told her it was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and she said she would make me one and she has. She also asked if it would go into The Museum of Sarah and I said it would go front and centre on it’s own plinth and that’s exactly where it is.

She’s completely inspired me and tonight, I’m going to my first quilting class.

xoxx

So here we are, the start of September. The greatest time of the year. The conkers in vinegar, back in socks, new shoes fresh start. I live for Autumn. In fact it’s the only thing that gets me through summer. For most of August I stomp round with a hot stringy fringe and a single line of sweat down the middle of my back and tell myself it will all be over soon. I’ll be able to wear faux fur and jeans and a coat again, just hold out until September. The weather will change, the nights will draw in and I can wear slippers all of the time. I can get the blankets back out and start all over again. Have a lovely clean slate and turn a brand new fresh clean page.

There is nothing, not even jaffa cakes, that I love quite so much as notebooks.  A brand new notebook is entirely thrilling. The smell of the fresh sheets, the feel of the spine breaking, deciding it’s purpose before ravaging it for the first time. The first time pen meets paper I could actually moan. There is no questions one of the greatest passionate affairs of my life is with notebooks. I currently own 308. Some are stuffed with notes and postcards and marked with spilt tea. Others have just a few first pages of writing and some are still pristine in their packet, waiting for their time to come. I have notebooks for lists, for diaries, for reflections, for plans to come, for self care, for more lists and records. I have a pad dedicated entirely to planting herbs I don’t own and a 2015 planner than I only half used and can’t bear to throw out. I have pads designed for To Do lists, for monthly projections and for weekly food plans. I am the only person I know who still relies entirely on a Filofax to tell me where I need to be and when.

Now, I have recently rediscovered the joy of pencils. I find there is something very classy about a graceful HB freshly sharpened. Nothing feels like you’ve got your shit together like the fine clean point of a pencil. I also like the thought that you can go back and rub something out later on, pretend it never happened. Apparently, during the space race, the Americans spent months developing a special pen where the ink could defy gravity to stay on the page. The Russians used a pencil. I don’t know how true this story is but it’s glorious isn’t it.

In 2013 Emily Winter started a one woman revolution in a tiny village on the chilly North East coast of Scotland. She declared, in her dining room, that she would single handedly “Bring Back the Pencil.” Partridge and Bell was born and since then single mum Emily has dedicated herself to stamping words, by hand, onto pretty painted pencils.

She says she wanted to create pencils which really mean something to their owner, like a good quote or an in joke, just something that “will make you laugh every time you glance down.” I cannot convey my delight about owning a pencil with “What Would June Do?” stamped on it. June is my mother and a constant source of hilarity to me. She has become a star of Jules and Sarah the Podcast and my instagram stories. WWJD wouldn’t mean much to most people but to me and the podcast listeners, it’s the greatest thing on earth. Of course inspiration for what to stamp on a pencil can come at any moment, so Emily says she is “never without a notebook so I can jot down ideas.” This has led to a whole range of personalised embossed notebooks in all colours and fonts, which are all to die for.

I first discovered Nikki Strange Ltd at a Not on the High Street Christmas event. I threw myself at her tropical print Wellness Planner and have followed her ever since. Nikki uses watercolours and inks to design all her prints at her Hackney studio and she specialises “in whimsical, travel inspired prints.” Well she had me at whimsical.

As well as terrific planners, Nikki Strange also make the most delicious travel and make up bags as well as coasters, art prints, phone cases, pocket mirrors and obviously lovely notebooks of various sizes. There is also a wedding section which includes dreamy Will you be my Bridesmaid? cards and notebooks, worth sending out whether you’re getting married or not. All their products are made in the UK using independent manufacturers, a sentence which brings me so much joy I let out a small squeal. Things that make Nikki happy are dog walks, grapefruit gin, cinnamon winter spiced candles, bed picnics, Tori Amos and rose gold glitter. Nikki and I would get on VERY well.

Finally I want to mention again one of my favourite shops in London, We Built This City on Carnaby Street. I went in yesterday to buy an art print of a deconstructed fry up (sure) for my brother’s birthday. The shop now has two floors selling incredible prints, cards and various other things you didn’t know you needed. A full size white porcelain crown and a Princess Diana perspex necklace must both get a special mention. Upstairs I had a good rifle through their sale box where I happened upon this Natalie Lea Owen illustrated Camden lock notebook. “A bargain!” I thought and “I live near there!” so I bought it immediately. Natalie is a surface pattern designer (which is a very fun title) who started her own brand in 2015 with some help from The Prince’s Trust. Natalie designs everything in her London studio and all of her products and printed and manufactured in the UK. Lovely. She’s also very chic and her products are sold in Fenwicks and Museum of London.

A notebook can be a fresh start, a best friend and just a damn fine accessory. Whatever the rest of 2017 has got for you, make sure you’re armed with one and quite honestly, there is nothing you can’t do.

xxox

“Dream more, learn more, care more and be more” Dolly Parton

Inspiration comes usually while I’m in the shower. During the course of a good wash I can have 34 life changing, brilliant ideas for articles, outfits, dinners, tv documentaries, my own talk show and ways to get thin. I emerge clean, damp and ready to change the world. But then I have to do my make up, eat, send an email, put something on instagram, eat again and watch Corrie, so many of these ideas don’t get any further than the bath mat. Despite having the same hours in the day as Obama, I just can’t action all of them. Being inspired is easy, staying inspired is not.

Sometimes you need a bit of extra guidance. A bit of something to reinvigorate you. To pick you up and get you going again. Yes there are quotes and affirmations everywhere, but sometimes I need more. I need the big guns. I want direct advice from someone incredible, untouchable, a legend. I want to know, What would Dolly Parton Do?

Now I love a bit of a book. And by “bit of a book” I mean those books that are usually sold by the till in places that aren’t book shops.  A small and fun book. A “look at this” book. A “oh that’s funny, she’ll love that” book. I can’t resist them. They make excellent presents which is why most of the ones I own were given to me. Currently on my shelf I can see “Everything is Going to Be OK,” “Get Sh*t Done,” and one of my favourites “F*ck That: An Honest Meditation.”

However, there are two little books on my shelf that I flick through more than any other. They are packed full of inspirational goodness and are part of the Pocket Wisdom series, Both were presents and both are excellent women: Pocket Iris Wisdom and Pocket Dolly Wisdom.

Iris Apfel is a businesswoman, interior designer and fashion icon.  If you haven’t seen the film Iris please and go and watch it on Netflix now.  I can’t remember how I found out about Iris Apfel but I think it was after watching the Channel 4 documentary “Fabulous Fashionistas.” This followed six ladies with an average age of 80 who all have an incredible sense of style. They are all empowered and wonderful and ridiculously inspiring. I’ve watched that documentary about 14 times so was hungry for something else and that’s how I found Iris.

Iris is no nonsense, she’s a fierce New Yorker and has no time for bullshit.

“I think it’s an awful thing to look like everybody else”

“Caviar is my drug of choice”

“If your hair is done properly and you’re wearing good shoes, you can get away with anything”

🙌🏻

Like everyone else, my sister Lorna and I love Dolly Parton. Her kindness, her humour, her hair, there is nothing I can write here to describe the majesty of Dolly.

It was a glorious Sunday afternoon at Glastonbury. I wore a candy striped dress and we drank red wine and danced at the Pyramid Stage singing Jolene and hearing Dolly tell us she was so happy to be there. It was so big and emotional and the wine and I started to cry.  I turned round to see another girl crying, I said “I don’t know why I’m crying!” she said she didn’t know either and we laughed.

When Lorna moved to Buenos Aires for two years she gave me this little book so I’d always have Dolly to turn to when she wasn’t there. Which made me cry again.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose”

“When I was with Andy Warhol, I thought ‘God his wig looks cheaper than mine!’”

You can also have other pocket wisdoms from David Bowie, Kanye West, Coco Chanel and even Michelle Obama. All of them are available from Wordery.

“You only have one trip, you might as well enjoy it” Iris Apfel

xxox