Well I don’t know about you, but the days and weeks are stretching into what feel like unknown voids of time as we navigate through 2021. Not that I want to begin this blog post on a woeful note, I really don’t. In fact I want to tell you all the (small) positive things I’ve been up to since we last spoke, and the little joys of lockdown I’ve (forcefully) willed myself to appreciate. Its been an introverted start to 2021 for sure. BUT I’ve managed to keep myself busy.
We currently live in a rental, which is a beautiful home, and whilst I know we aren’t here long term, I still want to make it look and feel like us for the time that we’re here. Its circa 1930s, with high ceilings and bay windows, with the added bonus of picture rail in almost every room. You may or may not have guessed from previous posts and my Insta, that I love art. I have a wide taste and will happily spend hours hanging, rehanging, arranging & re-arranging art around my home. So much so that I actually prefer utilising picture rails in a house, as its less wasteful and/or damaging to the walls compared to using hanging strips or good old nails. So this week I finally unpacked all of our art from its bubblewrap, wired and hung them in a gallery wall in our stairwell. With the height of the stairwell, it turns out I’ve ended up spending a small fortune on picture wire. I’m further along with up-cycling the single wardrobe I bought for £10 back in December, off of FaceBook Sales. An absolute bargain. After disappearing down further Pinterest rabbit holes (you know how it goes) I decided I wanted to add detailing to the front with beading. As much as I love my wardrobe (which by the way, looks like a coffin when laid down. Lovely) it has rather a plain door. After a quick trip to the local builders merchants and using my best persuasive skills on the husband, we (he) attached the beading in my chosen design to the door. You can check out my handy work on my Insta here.
Another mini adventure I’ve been on this week is hunting down replacement bedside tables for our guest room. We’d been using a pair of IKEA Hemnes bedside cupboards that have lifted/bubbled on top from glasses-sans-coaster for some time, and frankly looking really quite shit. Well I finally caved and proceeded to hunt through FaceBook Sales for a pair of IKEA Malm bedside drawers. They’re my favourite Ikea bedside item. Much to my luck I found a pair for sale less than a mile away which I was able to pick up for £20, and the seller even threw in ANOTHER pair of the same drawers in a darker stain FOR FREE. So now I have 4 Malm bedside drawers, more drawers than you could shake a stick at. So anyway, I cleaned them up and swapped in my lovely Malm drawers. Did you know that IKEA have launched a Buy Back campaign whereby they buy your old Ikea furniture? The aim is to encourage customers to take old and unwanted furniture back to store where they’ll receive vouchers up to 50% of the original purchase price, depending on the item’s condition. These second-hand products will then be sold in the As-Is Area of stores (previously known as Bargain Corner), with anything that cannot be resold, recycled. An online quotation tool will determine the value of voucher given for items depending on answers to five short questions on topics such as product category and condition. And there’s an added bonus – refund vouchers will not have expiry dates so you’re able to purchase new items only when you really need them. Another fantastic initiative from IKEA.
So as you can see, I’ve been a bit of an indoor cat this week. The weather has been as expected – wet and windy, so we haven’t ventured out much. However as I sit at the computer to write this week’s blog post, outside it’s glorious sunshine and blue skies. I’m still going strong on my caffeine-free January (woop!) although I must say that I have relapsed somewhat on the sugar-free side of things… firstly I’ve drunk copies amounts of wine, and secondly I’ve displayed zero restraint when faced with the incredible creations coming out of Electric Bakery which we walk the dogs past most days. But you know what? We all deserve to do/eat/drink whatever gets us through these shit times right now. So if like me, you’ve fallen off the wagon you created for yourself on January 1st, forgive yourself and let it go. Amen.
Anyway, back to the reason you’re here. These past few months, heck, this past year, I’ve found solace in the power of music. Whether to wallow in self-pity, bring about a better mood, or simply to dance around the kitchen whilst feeling rather bloody drunk for no good reason, music can have a profound impact on our state of emotions and headspace. I’ve been obsessed with music for as long as I can remember. Its gotten me through some really tough, and equally wonderful times – teenage angst, first loves, break-ups, friendships, and best of all, my marriage. In my home, there is always music on. Therefore I’ve curated a music lovers gift list which I hope you enjoy perusing, even just as something to do on a Sunday morning whilst you drink your coffee (mmm coffee…bring on Feb 1st). And if you don’t see anything that floats your boat, take this short break of escapism as inspiration to press play on your favourite album.
For music fans, vinyl covers are expressive of a period, a particular time in our lives. Many are works of art and have become as iconic as the music they stand for. Both a trip down memory lane and a study in the evolution of cover art, this is a sweeping look at an under-appreciated art form. A perfect coffee table addition.
A double-use product. Not only does it emit a wonderful cosy glow, but also syncs with your other Sonos products to play your Best of Britney playlist. Available in 2 colours, we have the white version in our bedroom and have programmed it to wake us up in the mornings with our fave radio station. Super sleek and stylish, this fabulous collaboration by Ikea X Sonos is worth a purchase.
Lets face it, reading is certainly one activity that we can all do in abundance at the moment. It might seem weird at first to give someone a book whose title alludes to illicit activity in a disgusting club toilet, but Meet Me in the Bathroom tells the story of the rebirth of the New York rock scene in the artist’s own words – featuring interviews with The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, and Vampire Weekend.
Rough Trade: Vinyl
You can find pretty much any artist on Rough Trade, so whatever your music lover’s taste you’ll be able to find something for successful gifting. Vinyl will never go out of fashion in my opinion. It has defied technology and remains an important outlet for creatives. Not only for the music, but for the wondrous world of sleeve design. You’ll enjoy displaying vinyl as artwork in their own right, just as much as playing them.
I appreciate that Dylan can divide opinions. For some he is the Beethoven of a generation. For others, he’s “Bob-who?” I’m safely planted in camp no.1 when it comes to Bob Dylan. Which leads me to include this fab Risograph print. Available in A3 from Hannah Bigley Illustration, a freelance illustrator, designer and printmaker based in the UK.
Seeing as I’ve included vinyl in this gift list, it’s only fitting I include a record player, or turntable as the cool kids call it. After researching different models on the market, I’ve landed on this little gem. For the price, I doubt there’s better out there. Good build, and great sound, with a very decent cartridge/stylus. Yes, you can find record players at Urban Outfitters, but apart from ticking the ‘instagram-able’ box, they are not worth spending a penny on if you plan on actually playing vinyl (and enjoying what you hear). United by a passion for music and movies, Richer Sounds are extremely knowledgable, and fanatical about great sound. If this particular model doesn’t float your boat, these guys will be more than happy to discuss which product is best for you or your giftee.
Small but perfectly formed. This Now Playing wall mount is subtle, cute, and functional. Record covers are a sign of our life and times. Like the music on the discs, they address such issues as love, life, death, fashion, and rebellion. Available in a few colour options, this trinket that you didn’t know you needed, will elevate your home Hi-Fi set-up.
This epic Lady Musicians t’shirt pays homage to just a few iconic frontwomen. The perfect gift for music fans, design features Kate Bush, Dusty Springfield, Grace Jones, Nina Simone, Cher, Patti Smith, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox.
I mentioned the QC35 in last weeks’ blog post, however I feel they’re worth a mention here. They aren’t called Quiet Comfort for nothing, these headphones are so comfortable you could be forgiven for forgetting you’re wearing them. With excellent sound quality, they are an ideal gift for the music lover in your life. Equally great for blocking out screaming kids in lockdown 3.0. You’re welcome.
Fox & Velvet Grand Piano Print from £19.95
Totally retro, this grand piano giclée print makes a beautiful and thoughtful music gift, that will make a vibrant addition to any home. The contrasting orange background with the black and white of the piano makes this print sure to stand out.
Vinyl Record Album Frame £11.99
If you’d rather gift vinyl as artwork or homeware pieces, or you’ve inherited vinyl from your mum and dad and don’t fancy spending out on a turntable, consider purchasing a quality frame for it to sit snugly & safely within. Create the perfect gallery wall of your favourite albums, because lets face it, some are too pretty to hide.
Debbie Harry Tee £20
Queen of the bees. this Blondie tee ticks 2 boxes for me, 1. its got our babe Debbie H on, and 2. it features leopard print. Win win. I’m extremely picky when it comes to band tees, there is A LOT of shite out there – cheap AF, poorly formatted t-shirts which come in sizes not fitting as they should – mens regular, ALL DAY LONG.