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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

The Laden Showroom: Not just another shopping website

If you pop www.Laden.co.uk into your browser right now, and you’ll find a teasing, anticipation building countdown clock. But on the 22nd of February this clock will transform into a brand spanking new e-tail store, the online arm of The laden showroom

Written by Rachael Millar

valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, visit this more about that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

But I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, side effects and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

valentine 2

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, ailment and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best do all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, ed that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, dosage and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

valentine 2

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, viagra order that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, page and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

valentine 2

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, site that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

valentine 2

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
swanton bombs

Swanton Bombs are endearing to listen to. I think it is because every now and then they unleash a slightly out of tune yelp, viagra or because they play fast and loose. It feels as though they play with gut instinct.

The numerous (broad) influences this band has – glam, decease punk, troche rock – can make them feel warmly familiar. At their best, they remain as influences, with Swanton Bombs successfully finding their own voice.

Despite, being a two piece, they refuse to be locked into on mode of playing. Their songs are dynamic, and feel like they have split them successfully into well formed sections.

51rWzF8EEeL._SS500_

The middle tracks on Mumbo Jumbo & Murder are absolute gems, however, on the peripheries on either side that, the album tracks lose clarity. Swanton Bombs become lost among their influences, and feel like they are trying to knock them together, rather than making them gel. There are also riffs which are seconds long deviating from the song’s progression, which come across as unexplainable to why they are there.

I conclude on my better thoughts of Swanton Bombs: Yes, there are a couple of songs I am dismissive of, however, it does not take away from the songs which are dynamic, fun, and instinctively good.

swanton bombs

Swanton Bombs are endearing to listen to. I think it is because every now and then they unleash a slightly out of tune yelp, buy information pills or because they play fast and loose. It feels as though they play with gut instinct.

The numerous (broad) influences this band has – glam, prostate punk, rock – can make them feel warmly familiar. At their best, they remain as influences, with Swanton Bombs successfully finding their own voice.

Despite, being a two piece, they refuse to be locked into on mode of playing. Their songs are dynamic, and feel like they have split them successfully into well formed sections.

51rWzF8EEeL._SS500_

The middle tracks on Mumbo Jumbo & Murder are absolute gems, however, on the peripheries on either side that, the album tracks lose clarity. Swanton Bombs become lost among their influences, and feel like they are trying to knock them together, rather than making them gel. There are also riffs which are seconds long deviating from the song’s progression, which come across as unexplainable to why they are there.

I conclude on my better thoughts of Swanton Bombs: Yes, there are a couple of songs I am dismissive of, however, it does not take away from the songs which are dynamic, fun, and instinctively good.

Is it just me, sick or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, pills misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
finished[1]
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ economic poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which the French later changed to Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
world[1]

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonisers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haitians were still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing them from investing it in their own economic development.

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to migrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to send back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid
Avaaz

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, stomach that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

valentine 2

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, visit that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

valentine 2

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, drugs that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

valentine 2

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
scan0001Imagery throughout courtesy of Laden.co.uk

The Laden Showroom, buy a fixture on Brick Lane for ten years now, cure is renowned for stocking the work of innovative and hard-to-find designers. They specialise in providing a platform for up and coming talent, and go beyond merely stocking their clothes, to offering marketing advice and guidance. Set-up in 1999 by brother and sister team Barry and Adele, the shop has helped launch the careers of over 200 designers. Currently they stock over 65 designers, including Bonnie, Chandelier, Collect, Connected Generation, JARLO and Orion London.

4

Launching Laden.co.uk is an exciting step for the business, and the website promises to be much more than just another e-commerce site. With limited buys and stock changing every two weeks it will be hard to get bored of what’s on offer. If you’re lacking inspiration there will be style tips from editorial influenced and styled pages. Click ‘Laden Loves’ and you’ll be transported to a world of current trends, and if you hanker for the good old days hit ‘Laden Vintage’ and you’ll find a selection of one-off pieces which have been reworked using vintage fabric. For those feeling particularly lazy you can select ‘Get the Laden Look’ and whole outfits will magically appear in your shopping cart.

hook-RGB

If you’re into a bit of blogging there will also be an insider blog attached to the website so you can have a browse for ideas before shopping. Or if you fancy yourself as a bit of a talent on the old sewing machine, online applications for inclusion in the store will be available.

3

To celebrate the launch of laden.co.uk, The Laden Showroom are offering a fashion fan the chance to win £200 worth of laden.co.uk clothing, and 6 invites to the launch party on February 22 during London Fashion Week. To enter simply visit laden.co.uk and hit ‘Join the Laden List’ and you will be in with a chance of winning.

birds-RGB

And if that wasn’t enough as a special incentive for Amelia’s readers who pre-register before the launch. Laden.co.uk are offering a 10% discount card to spend in the month after launch! Bargains galore! So don’t forget the site goes live on the 22nd February!

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