Anyone who comes from a large family will tell you some tall tales. It's an art to exaggerate and mock and tease in a loveable way. There's really no one better than your own family to tell it how it is to live with you and top it off with herbs and spices. We don't think there's anyone better than Stevie Georgiou from Georgiou's World to really tell you what it is like to grow up with both Cypriot and British culture.
We at Cotton and Pearl love to people watch all cultures and we think summer is the best time for this sport; so roll out the hammam, get your Cotton and Pearl hamper out, sit back, listen and watch, most of the time the funniest people don't even know how funny they really are.
We’ve been fans of Stevie for a while now as we fully relate to his comedy, and so you can imagine how happy we were to accidently bump into him while on a family visit to Cyprus. We had travelled there for family reasons and on our last day, exhausted and deflated we saw Stevie and had to have a chat. He agreed to answer some questions for our blog so we hope you’ll love reading this and check out his facebook page later.
Where do you think your humour comes from or are you just a great people watcher?
I’ve always been quite observant as a child, really, from a very young age I used to be extremely quiet for hours and then whatever my mind soaked in, I’d later release it all out in one big bang which is always a dangerous move. I have a bad habit of opening Pandora’s box. Yes it has got me into trouble a numerous amount of times, but that my dear friend, is Stevie for you!
In family life it's very easy to get frustrated, with different generations and different ways of living, we can get cross with one another but you seem to find the funny side to things many of us find infuriating, how do you stay cool?
I’ve been in so many situations where family get you frustrated, and believe me, living in Cyprus takes it to a whole new level! In England you can hide, and even live away from your family if you like, but in Cyprus, you have no choice what so ever. That basically means there’s no way out but to accept it for what it is, and whatever stupidity is said, goes in one ear and straight out the other, my love!
Apart from home where the best place to people watch?
There’s two places where I can’t stop people watching; clubs and the London Tube. Every time I travel to London, I could sit on the tube for hours and just look at the amount of diverse people that I’m surrounded by. Also, clubs are a funny one...because I have a bad habit of narrating life, I end up making a night out sound like a National Geographic Documentary.
You have been doing a new travel series recently with your friend, what has been the most inspiring place that you have been to in Cyprus?
Yes indeed we have! We are currently in the process of planning a lot more trips and activities, we just need a couple of days off work and off we pop. Probably Avakas Gorge in Paphos is an amazing place (you think you’re in Thailand). Giant boulders, dodgy birds and wildlife...accompanied by an amazing waterfall with running water all-round the canyon, beautiful!
Have you got a favourite from our Hammam towel range?
I’ve checked out the website and there’s some really nice towels for the summer actually! I might have to order the Peshtemal beach towel...you know, the one with all the colours on...that’ll be perfect for a Mackenzy Saturday!
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If you're planning a visit to Cyprus it's worth looking at
In my life, I have been lucky enough to meet more than one James Bond character. Two such characters own the amazing The Vintage Watch Company in the Burlington Arcade, London. It is of course all a cover, because no one really knows where they are after hours.
The dynamic duo are father and son, John & David, they have their own Ms Moneypenny, John's daughter Sara. Discretion is their speciality and a good job too, as their watches have gone to some of the most well know people in the world.
David has two beautiful sons who, you guessed it, have been trained as mini Bonds.
Father's Day at their household is, as you can imagine, filled with the most beautiful dads, who are so family orientated, it's a dream.
So how did it all begin......
John, how did you get into vintage watches?
Nearly 25 years ago now, I sold my business and was looking for something to occupy my time. The opportunity came to place some watches with a friend in an antiques centre in Bond Street. He sold jewellery and antique silver and I was given a small counter to play with. At first I started with a number of vintage watch brands, including Rolex, Omega and Longines but it became clear very early on that the demand and interest was all around Rolex. I began to think how special it would be if I could focus entirely on one brand and try and showcase as many vintage pieces as possible. After a few years my daughter Sara joined me and we began to expand within the antique centre itself, eventually taking our own unit dedicated entirely to vintage Rolex watches.
John, which watch would you feature for Father's Day this year?
I always feature a Rolex from the person's year of birth as the most amazing and sentimental gift for anyone. For a man, as we have so little available in jewellery, I would say this is the most amazing gift.
John, it's a big step to ask your children to work with you how did you all decide to do this?
I didn't really ask any of them!!! It all rather fell into place as the years went on.
Sara joined early on and allowed me the flexibility to be in and out of the shop which for me was too restraining day after day.
David worked for a long time doing other things. His passion lay always in retail and he had worked for a number of years for Paul Smith. He even kept his Saturday job there whilst he worked in an office Monday to Friday.
It doesn't work for all families, but if you can all get on then I think the combination is a very powerful one as ultimately you are all very heavily focused on the same goals and share in the benefits of your hard work.
David, so how is it working with Big Bond and Moneypenny?
Well Moneypenny has a lot of time off tending to her young family and we try and keep big Bond to very restricted hours.
David, would you like your boys to continue the family business eventually?
I suppose it's a lovely dream but ultimately they must, as I did, start work in the real world first. They must have a boss that gives them instructions, stress, deadlines, normal exposure to working life. I think entering a family business without any "other world" experience is a very dangerous and closeted thing to do.
David, which of your Vintage watches would you like to see in a Bond film ?
Well Rolex always was Bond's choice of watch from Dr No in 1962 right the way through the 1970s... I would like to see it resurface in much the same way Aston Martin has and to feature some of the old vintage pieces in a film would be amazing.
John and David, you're obviously very close what would you say makes this happen in a father / son relationship?
I would say my father is more like a best friend and I think this is the key to our success. He is firm, he is tough and he does run the shop as if he had a staff of 1,000 people. For him it is all about the basics and this gives me immense discipline. I am not allowed to buy whatever I like without reconciling what I have spent and equally he insists on making sure the mundane is running smoothly before we even entertain any elaborate ventures. His motto is and has always been, "look after the stock and the stock will look after you...". Keep the shop and the stock glisteningly clean, make sure everything is tested and ready to go, don't rest on your laurels.
John and David, how are you spending Father's Day?
We don't know yet, but if we are all around then we will inevitably be together at some point during the day. We don't need to have fancy meals or arrangements in place... As long as we are all together, that is enough!
David & John, what's your work life balance strategy?
We both struggle at this one... For us, when the shop is open generally we need to be around as it is a very unique store and ultimately you never know when someone is likely to turn up. On Sunday's we have a rest and once a year we holiday together so we actually have a relationship that is with the children/grandchildren away from the business and in a relaxed atmosphere.
David and John, what words of wisdom would you give your boys?
Ours are simple words of wisdom. As we said before, "look after your stock and it will look after you", and "don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today".
David and John, what would you like from Cotton and Pearl this Father's Day?
John - anything relaxing...
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When you’ve spent over a decade working in the city you get programmed to always think of the city when you want to plan a night out or want to catch up with a friend in an interesting space that is both inspiring and trendy. We would often visit the latest bar, try out great cocktail spots, street markets and pop up restaurants during the week; and I loved it. Since quitting the day job I must admit that I’ve felt a little in limbo for a couple of years and have been recently rediscovering the area I grew up in. It’s been refreshing to find some great new places that bring the same vibe that I missed so much and to discover a warm community feeling in these independent spaces in Southgate and North London more widely.
Running our business remotely and around young children and commitments, we are often on the road throughout the day. We meet people, drop off orders at the post office, collaborate with other small businesses we love and naturally gravitate to local coffee shops where the coffee is good and the Wi-Fi is strong; and of course, it wasn’t long before we fell in love with Claud W Dennis in Southgate. For the record, the coffee at Claud W Dennis is excellent, as they use Monmouth. It’s a triple origin coffee and brings together the best flavours of both North and South America. When we talk to the owners, brothers, Joseph and Franco, they beam with excitement over their choice of bean. Quite rightly so, it’s a high-profile, quality coffee, and they serve it with pride in Southgate.
Last week we popped in to Claud’s for a Cotton and Pearl meeting and while we were there, Franco invited us to their live jazz night that takes place every Thursday. It’s normally quite difficult for us to get out during the week with work and other commitments but we put a bit of blusher on and went along and we really loved it. The atmosphere in the evening is relaxed and chilled. Joseph and Franco are so welcoming and they make fantastic cocktails so that's already a reason to return. Mum had an incredible Espresso Martini and I ordered my fave, a Gin and Tonic. They had an excellent pianist that evening and we listened to him with admiration. Mum and I rarely have a chance to go out just the two of us and just be together in the moment and I loved it. As I looked around, there were friends laughing, couples talking and, us, just enjoying the evening together in this intimate space that exudes cool. The attention to detail within the reclaimed décor has you looking around and transports you to days gone by while you listen to jazz and talk the night away. We both said it was a refreshing break from the norm and it was so very needed.
We were so impressed with our cocktails that we asked Franco for some top tips to share with all you cocktail enthusiast’s (yep, we’re very thoughtful in that way).
Franco says, to make the perfect espresso martini you need three essential elements:
- The quality of the alcohol. We use Ketel One Vodka as our main spirit which is the top choice of many London cocktail bars.
- You need a great shot of espresso. As a speciality coffee shop, we pride ourselves in creating a consistently rich but smooth tasting espresso, thick, almost syrup like, filled with nutty and chocolatey notes.
- A great smile and a swift hand whilst rocking that cocktail shaker will help to create that all-important thick iconic crema for the 3-bean garnishing to rest upon.
Live jazz takes place every Thursday from 18:30-21:00
Standing at our stall at the Mind, Body, Soul festival last year, I’d just had the most fabulous henna on my arm and turned to Mum and said, I’d really love to wear a bindi (anyone will tell you I’ve been fascinated and have loved Indian culture since I was tiny). At that exact moment, this hugely charismatic woman appeared in front of us beaming with a beautiful and infectious smile and of course, she was wearing a beautiful bindi. Mum and I both shrieked at the same time ‘we want a bindi, where can we get one from? To which this fascinating woman whipped two from her bag and placed them on us perfectly. ‘Hi, I’m Stella’; and from that moment we knew we were going to become friends. Stella, has recently launched Tribal Spirit, a really interesting concept, and we took some time to chat with her about her beautiful venture of tribal dance and her metallic tribal tattoos that we think are just perfect as an accessory to wear at a festival. We also have some excellent tips from her for the festival season in the UK this summer.
Can you recommend the best festivals in the UK for Yoga and Wellbeing?
There are so many fabulous festivals in the UK during the lead up to and in the summer months, but by far the best are Soul Circus and FloVibe, both focus on not just Yoga but also wellness, beauty, holistic treatments and wellbeing, with talks and workshops on many interesting yoga and wellbeing topics.
The Om Yoga shows in Glasgow, Manchester and London are also excellent shows to attend to really get to see the growth of the wellbeing and yoga industry, with some of the best Yoga instructors and practitioners in the country showcasing the myriad of classes available.
Top tips for experiencing your first Wellbeing Festival
If you are just visiting a festival for the day then take a few additional items of clothing in case it rains. The first Soul Circus it rained all day on and off for two whole days. I still loved being there and was pleased I took a few wraps and a light waterproof jacket.
Go with an open mind, try lots of different classes and workshops, get stuck in, participate and allow yourself to be face painted, Tribal marked, be covered in glitter and if you want to dress to impress wear bright colours and crazy outfits.
You have paid for a day or weekend ticket so immerse yourself into everything.
Take extra cash to buy the delicious food and drink offerings and there are always stalls that sell fabulous items of clothing, yoga and home accessories.
Why the Tribal Feather? What does it symbolise?
I always knew that I wanted to start my own little business and after attending a Yoga Teacher and Trance Dance Training with Shiva Rea in Malibu last year I came home with a fabulous idea and ready to plan a way forward to make my passion of Dance a reality.
I love to dance and love the outdoors so Tribal Spirit evolved. The name encompasses all things Tribal and the mission is to help people find their spirit in dance. My events are mostly outside, in a forest, beach, woodland, boho garden setting and people come to dance to a playlist of global music and live drums. There is no choreography, rather guidance to movement.
Once I had the name, I had to design a logo. The gold feather symbolises flight and freedom, the circles around the feather in my logo symbolise movement, circular and spiral movement. I encourage my tribe to 'Melt into Motion'.
I love metallic tattoos so I sourced a manufacturer with the feather and here we are.
Tips for keeping your gold tattoo looking gorgeous.
The tattoo will stay on your arm for at least two weeks (it may fade in between this period). Do not put oil based creams on it or it will rub off. You can shower, swim and exercise with them on, they will not go away.
I hope you will love wearing these beautiful Tribal Spirit Tattoos as much as I do. x
Grab your feather tattoo now
We’ve always been fans of natural remedies and since pregnancy and becoming Mamas we have worked hard to cut out chemicals from our daily routine, to shop consciously and to understand more about what we are putting on and inside our bodies. It’s been a real learning curve to discover how many 'trusted brands' that were part of our daily skincare routine included so many unnecessary and harmful ingredients. The marketing tricks in labels also can be misleading and confusing which doesn't help us (the consumer) to make choices. That’s why we love collaborating with other small businesses and we like to buy from those who can tell you exactly what’s inside the bottle.
Naturally, we took an interest in discovering more about Isla Apothecary. We first met Kate (founder of Isla Apothecary) at the Mind Body Soul exhibition last year, and we have kept in touch since. Kate started the business on her own after experimenting years ago with natural, raw ingredients and concocting simple recipes in the hope of soothing some persistent skin maladies. She told us about how she suffered with sensitive skin and got to the point where she just wanted to go back to basics and say ‘no’ to complicated regimens. Kate started using natural ingredients and essential oils in skincare and realised that self-care is an experience in itself and one that she doesn’t believe can be matched by synthetic alternatives. We can relate to this so much and the joy of discovering a simpler routine. To celebrate the launch of our collaboration combo (Jasmine sunset radiance body oil and our fabulous black and white hammam towel), we interviewed Kate to give you a ‘spotlight on the maker’ and some great tips to prepare you for summer.
Tell us about Jasmine sunset radiance body oil
When I started thinking about the business in 2014, I was in high experimentation mode and there was one oil in particular that I really wanted to create something with, and that was mastic. It’s been a personal favourite for years and an aroma that gets me every time. It’s so intensely unique and I wanted to share it. I blended it with another favourite, Jasmine, and this blend formed the base for what was to become Jasmine Sunset Radiance Body Oil. This product is also a little playful, and ideal for the summer months as it gives the skin a subtle colour boost from copper mica’s light reflecting particles, and lightly scents it with the smell of summer.
What tips do you have for using the Jasmine sunset radiance in the summer and what are your top tips for ensuring your skin stays hydrated and beautiful during the summer months
I would recommend using it after a day in the sun. Fresh out of the shower and after exfoliating, slather all over the body to receive the skin soothing properties of passionflower and marula oils and to add a little colour boost.
My top tips for taking care of our skin in the summer when temperatures are extreme or fluctuating is to a) drink lots of water (of course) b) exfoliate to eliminate flaky skin and encourage skin renewal and c) moisturise. The key is to maintain consistency. I have noticed how much more resilient my skin is since I started using natural products to exfoliate (there are three in the Isla Apothecary range) and plant oils to moisturise.
What medicinal plants do you grow at home? What are your most trusted natural remedies
The usual Rosemary and Lavender, and we have six beautiful olive trees (very Greek ha!) I literally use Rosemary for everything, and that may explain why it’s in a number of the products in the range. The medicinal, herbaceous oils are really the ones I love and repeatedly go to as they are just so adaptable, and aromatherapeutically pleasing to me. Other remedies include salt baths, especially Epsom salts for achey bones. And lately, I have been using a Passiflora tincture, and have been incorporating hydrosols widely – for the skin, hair, bath and mood.
Apart from the hammam towels, what's your favourite gift on Cotton and Pearl and why
Oooh this is a tough question! I love the fact you have a ‘Me Time’ section on the site by the way! Everything of which I love, especially the eye pillows! The gift of self-care, whether to yourself or from another is beautiful.
It's Mother's Day soon and I have been given the absolute pleasure of writing about a wonderful young mum and the creator of the most beautiful shoes, jewellery and now stationary, by Emmy London.
Emmy Scarterfield and I only met in the flesh very recently but my connection with her brand (and obsession with her shoes) is well over 8 years old. We've chosen to write about her as we had no idea that she not only designs and makes the most beautiful shoes but is also a mum to beautiful twin girls.
When she sent back her answers to our questions I was struck by the links and coincidences between her life and mine. Her family were tailors and she grew up listening to her mum sewing into the night. My Dad was a tailor and my mum a seamstress. I grew up around sewing and tailoring and now my sister's children see her at the machine sewing for our little business and making delights for her own children. We all also spent time in Somerset and are north Londoners with a love of Hampstead Heath and Highgate. I've loved getting to know more about the Emmy London and I hope you will too.
Emmy is such a beautiful name, how did your mother come to choose it?
Ah thank you! It’s a name that has grown on me for sure. When I was young I wished for a normal, run of the mill name! My great, great, great Grandfather, Charles Digby Harrod was the founder of Harrods in Knightsbridge, Emmy is a Harrod name.
How have you found developing your business alongside being a busy mum?
Working for yourself in my opinion is the best scenario to be a working mum if you can, you create your own pressure and priorities so you don’t have to justify to anyone why you choose to go to the school nativity over an important business meeting. Having that freedom suits me perfectly and although the lines of work and home are constantly merged, I do spend a good amount of time with my girls just doing mum stuff with them.
Who, or what influenced your style?
I’ve always really been quite classic, love navy and am addicted to cashmere. I guess my family have really influenced me, particularly my grandparents who were tailors - they had really high standards and loved immaculate coordination.
Did you always want to design shoes? How did you get started?
I have always been obsessed with shoes from an early age, I grew up in Somerset close to Clarks and right next door to Mulberry so leather goods and shoes were second nature. One of my earliest memories is from when I was about two, I put wooden building blocks in my socks to create high heels, I loved the clip cloppy sound they made. My passion was born right there and has never faded.
You are now designing jewellery and stationary too, did you ever think you would be doing that? How are you finding it?
I love both jewellery and stationary. I didn’t ever think I’d be lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be honest. It was very unexpected but am thoroughly enjoying expanding our offer and particularly the jewellery feels very much like a natural addition to the shoes and accessories.
Your wonderfully nostalgic style tells me a story, are there stories behind each piece you design? How does one of your designs start?
Each shoe style does tell a story, there are too many to go into detail but often starts with a place, feeling or experience. I have a shoe that started in my imagination as an umbrella, a whole collection inspired by a holiday we had in the Italian lakes and several details inspired from going through my granny’s attic.
What is the best thing about being a mum for you?
For me being a mum is everything, it didn’t come easily to me at all and there were dark times when I thought it wasn’t going to happen. It makes me whole and fulfilled to an extent that I knew nothing else would. My girls are by far my best creation ever.
Did you go through your mum's wardrobe as a little girl? What did you like most about it?
My mum was very model like, she made a lot of her own clothes. Once we were in bed I could often hear her machine going, it always amazed me how she could create these amazing dresses from our kitchen table and look so elegant in them.
What did you learn from your mum?
To cherish the simple things in life, nurturing good food, fresh air, swimming in the sea and time to think. Both my parents are not pushy at all, not driven by ambition or money in any way, so despite being proud of what I’ve created I know they’d be equally delighted with a great crop of carrots I’d grown from seed. It’s a great feeling not have that pressure to impress.
What do you want your girls to remember about growing up with you?
I hope they remember their childhood for the times we make stuff together, go for walks, chat in bed, make up songs and our camping holidays.
How do you spend Mother's Day?
Probably a walk on the Heath, then a Sunday roast at our local cozy pub in Highgate and treat myself to a large glass of Malbec.
What item from our Mother's Day edit would you most like to give or receive and why?
I would love to receive the Ivalo Water Carafe, I drink lots of water so I think this would look pretty chic on my desk.
Mums are a wonderful invention I told a young girl recently, they give you everything and want very little back.
Love to all you mums, have a wonderful Mother's Day.
Follow Emmy London on Instagram @emmyshoes
Shop Emmy London http://www.emmylondon.com/
Photo of Emmy Scarterfield and her girls, photo credit: Dickie Higgins
Photo of Emmy London shoes, photo credit: Claire Graham
Whatever you do today and in the future, be sure to be true to yourself and to love yourself. By teaching our children that we are all equal and that they are all equally important, irrespective of size, shape or intelligence, we are paving the way to more equality. So today on International Women’s Day I will cuddle my kids, get my son to help make the dinner and sit down with my daughter to do some maths. And I might even bake a cake while I get my old man to bake some bread. Have a great day y’all and remember to be you and stay quirky, happy and cool.
Building Bloqs was set up in 2012 as a not for profit studio space by a group of craftspeople who had grown increasingly frustrated at repeatedly being turfed out of good studio space. What they have created on this dilapidated Edmonton trading estate is a real breath of fresh air (something that's hard to come by in London on most days). By becoming a Building Bloqs member, craftspeople and makers can hire woodwork, metalwork, paint, CNC router, laser-cutting machine, and sewing studios on a pay as you go basis and the rate can be reduced if the area is needed for longer periods. Each studio area includes all the equipment needed for the specific activity and there are honesty shop type stores on site should you run out of glue, solder or thread. There's even an excellent café on site and members' work is promoted by Building Bloqs through events and social media.
When we visited we were given the grand tour by Al (one of the co-founders) and Andrew. They were so passionate about the project and told us about the community that they are helping to create. They also told us that they will be moving to new larger premises with better facilities in the next year as part of the wider redevelopment of the area. So, if you're a maker in need of studio space, check them out. Or if you are in the market for handmade innovative designs in a wide range of mediums, have a look at their directory. We're really excited about collaborating with the team to bring you new products really soon.