Seattle Public Library


Friday, September 28, 2012

Wishing I was back in Seattle on holiday again today.

As a book person and someone who visits a lot of libraries through my work, I knew that I had to pay a visit to Seattle Public Library when I was there.

I'm often struck by older library buildings - their history, coupled with the many ancient books they house, gives me something akin to mental goosebumps - Carnegie libraries are always a treat and of course New York Public Library stands out. But there's something so exciting and invigorating about newer libraries, designed with modern technologies, creative atmospheres, and a spirit of exploration in mind.

Seattle Public Library (designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas) is all of those things. I walked up the escalators (reminiscent for me of Tate Modern) and stared in awe and no small amount of terror down from the 10th floor to the view of the ground floor below.

It's a library filled with light and space that left me totally mesmerized.

Totokaelo: The Store


Monday, September 24, 2012

After admiring them from afar for a long time, I was pretty excited to learn that Totokaelo (who I wrote about last month) have an actual brick and mortar store in Seattle.

It was a given that I stop by to check it out on our recent trip (which already feels like a million years ago - sigh face). If you're from Seattle or happen to be visiting, it's in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood (geniously sandwiched between Elliot Bay Books and Oddfellows) and as minimalist and full of amazing goodies as their website.

I found a row of striped tops and dresses that brought me a worrying level of excitement and the wall of shoes and boots is a sight to behold. If I could be personally outfitted from any one shop - along with my house - this would be it. It's almost too perfect.

Top picture from Totokaelo's website; others taken on my phone.



One of my very favourite ways to eat is like this: buy a big baguette or other hunk-a-chunk loaf of crusty bread; pull out olive oil and sea salt; a few kinds of cheeses and cured meats; some fresh salad; olives; and a bottle of wine.

Picnics are fun but as the weather turns, I prefer doing this in the comfort of my own home, sitting round the coffee table on the living room floor. Salty, snack-y goodness.

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Stamford Brook Road


Friday, September 21, 2012

This home, designed by the architects Powell Tuck Associates, sits on Stamford Brook Road in West London. There's so much to love here, from the exposed brick throughout, to the huge windows providing all. that. light.

Other favourites: those wooden ceiling beams; the kitchen dining set; and that pink piece of art.

It's on the market for £3,800,000. Who wants to go in with me?

Weather app


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Finally, the weather app we've all been waiting for. Keeps things nice and simple, don't you think?

{Hat tip to Kate Smith.}

Summer Wind Down


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have a tendency to get maniacally irritated when people wish away time. Or more specifically, when they wish away the summer. Summer is, by far, my favourite season. When you come from a grey and rainy country where the temperature remains within the same small range for most of the year and rarely does the summer wow, you get a little fixated on sunshine and warmth.

When I moved to Austin I was in literal and genuine awe at how consistently blue-skied and sunny it was (never mind the blistering heat). Similarly, in Minneapolis, even though seasons are much more prevalent, I'm still bowled over by the number of days we get that are neither cloudy, nor wet.

All this to say, since living in the States, I've fallen hard for the full months of summer we're afforded and all the outdoor fun they allow for. All those bike rides, lake swims and beers on the patio just make the season so appealing.

So it irks me when come late August/early September people start talking about pumpkin recipes and wooly scarves and boots. I love Autumn as much as the next person (and what a ridiculously gorgeous season it is here) but me? I am a lifelong member of the Equinox Club.

I get that Labor Day has always signaled the end of summer for people who grew up here but as everyone else welcomes the coming cooler temperatures with open arms you might find me clutching to the last days (4 more to go!) of summer - spending as many minutes out on my front porch reading a book as possible. The more bike rides we can squeeze in the better. And if it's even close to warm enough I will be out in the lake, like a lunatic, unwilling to let summer escape from my tight grip.

This hat


Monday, September 17, 2012

This hat is everything I could hope and wish for: the close fit; the amazing charcoal and white design; and that subtle, sweet and fun bobble. It's love.

And! And! Now that I have short hair, hat-hair doesn't faze me at all. BAM.

Vintage Library Ads


Friday, September 14, 2012

How cool is the drama of these vintage library ads? The colour and mid-century design is endearing too, but really, it's the enthusiasm that gets me. (The third one reminds me of myself and my older sister, who taught me to read when I was three. I know.)

How You Know It's Love


We spent a sunny, warm afternoon in Seattle lounging on our friends' front porch in Capitol Hill, doing a crossword, playing catch in the street, and cooing over a very sweet, very brand-new baby.

Later, as we made our way back down through Capitol Hill, I started to get food on the brain just a little. My friend started to talk about ice cream. And just like that, we saw the orange facade of a 50s-looking walk-up burger joint appear out of nowhere.

I practically stormed the counter in my excitement and ordered a cheeseburger ($1.50!) (!), fries, and a strawberry milkshake. It reminded me of the few occasions I was allowed to visit McDonald's as a child and yet it was so much better than that: thin burger patties with grilled onions in sweet, pliable buns; hot, salty, crispy-thin fries; and a perfect strawberry shake. All enjoyed standing right outside in the warm sun. IT WAS SO DELICIOUS. It deserves all caps.

(Side note: anyone else like to dip their fries into their strawberry shake? I thought I was the only person on the planet to do this until I met Dan. That's how you know it's love.)

As I shared our find on instagram, locals bombarded me with the info that Dick's is in fact a Seattle institution that's been open since 1954 - that this place should have been on my must-visit list to begin with. Who doesn't love a bit of smug with their shake?

The Elliott Bay Book Company


Thursday, September 13, 2012

We spent a long, glorious stretch of time in The Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle last Friday, after a particularly mammoth breakfast at Skillet Diner, up the hill.

This bookstore is absolutely magical: the lovely wooden floors, high ceilings, and skylights let light pour in and settle in the most wonderful way. The book selection was incredible with every title in the loveliest addition possible - great cover art abounded.

They have a cool-as-can-be magazine section with every quarterly you've ever wanted to get your grubby mitts on for sale, a cookery book section that my dreams are made from, and their "required reading" shelf had so many titles on my "to-read" list I felt nerd validation in the extreme. Smitten.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm back from Seattle and one of the best trips I've been on in a long time. Our friends' beautiful wedding in Snohomish was the icing on the cake to our other adventures.

On the day of our friends' wedding, I had several hours all to myself as the boys went off to do groomsmen-y things. I practically bounded from my bed at an unearthly hour, thrilled to pieces with the opportunity to do some solo-wandering. It's one of my very favourite things to do when I travel.

Somehow I've ended up in Oddfellows Cafe in Capitol Hill more times than seems fitting for a person who's only visited this city three times. The vibe is laid back and full of charm. Its high ceilings, huge exposed brick walls, and tons of natural light, coupled with beautiful wood floors and homey wooden tables are perfectly matched with the rustic comfort food.

I've been here for cocktails and I've been here for lunch but neither of those visits was as wonderful as arriving at 9.30am on a Saturday, a half hour before the weekend brunch rush began, to eat granola, fruit and honeyed yoghurt, drink coffee, and read my book.

Do you mind dining alone? I don't do it all the time but it's something I actually really cherish. I love not feeling compelled to speak, instead just very slowly enjoying eating whatever is in front of me, and people-watching to my heart's content. My little table against the wall at Oddfellows was the perfect spot for it.

Mixtape | Seattle


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I'm heading to Seattle tomorrow and such a trip demands a new playlist. We're heading out for the wedding of some lovely friends. Hopefully in between all the wedding fun there'll be good food, coffee, much exploring, and the seeeeaaaaa. I love to be by the sea.

♫ Mixtape: Seattle | Spotify

1. Big Things - Fiction
2. Rhiannon - Fleetwood Mac
3. It's Real - Real Estate
4. Undertow - Warpaint
5. Flowers in Your Hair - The Lumineers
6. Truth - Alexander
7. Best Night - The War On Drugs
8. Lost - Frank Ocean
9. Love Cubed - Volta Bureau
10. Midnight City - M83
11. How Do I Know - Here We Go Magic

Laslett House


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Laslett House was designed by the architect Trevor Dannatt for the English historian and Cambridge professor Peter Laslett, in 1958. These photos capture so beautifully how authentically the house has been kept, with gorgeous mid-century modern furnishings that appear not to have changed since '58. (And wow to the kelly green, salmon pink, and royal blue furnishings that pop up throughout.)

Via Plastolux.



Monday, September 3, 2012

I am a wee bit obsessed with potted plants. We have a few dotted around the house but I'd love more. Nothing seems to freshen things up like greenery. For years we didn't have any and now I can't imagine living without them. Simple clay pots are my fave though I'd love to be the kind of crafty lady to hang some like the ones below. So awesome.


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