Currently viewing the tag: "Design"

I love a quirky bag, bright cushion or fab piece of art. Our home morphs throughout the year to accommodate whatever I bring home/ buy, dig out of the cupboard or create.

Sometimes it’s all cool neutrals.

Sometimes floral.

And sometimes it’s really out there…

Inspired by my love of all things out there and my super-cool son and cousins, here are 7 fab finds of all things gypsy and day of the dead:

Loud and Proud!

Loud and Proud!

Fab finds

From the top (left to right)

1.Skull cushions from Gypsiana2. Mexican Cantina Bags from Holy Kitsch3. Iron Heart Hook from Holy Kitsch4. Floral sugar skull brooch from Ella Mobbs5. Selection of cushions from Gypsiana6. Glazed ceramic skull from Holy Kitch 7.  Fleur Diamond Cross from Fenton and Fenton Enjoy xx

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I am basking in the glow of a daydream come true. After years of sewing /creating for my own pleasure and for my little tribe, I decided to take the plunge and start a boutique design label. Featuring fab frocks, sunny sun dresses, cool shorts, super cute totes, brooches…and a whole lot more, This Grand Life, the label became a reality.
This weekend I braved The Finders Keepers market in sunny Sydney, and it was…wonderful, terrifying and inspirational all at the same time. Within minutes of opening, my nerves disappeared, and I didn’t stop smiling all day.

Hello from Finders Keepers!

Have you got a daydream? A dream trip? A great idea?

Enjoy xx

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A fab party frock from my new collection for This Grand Life...

A fab party frock from my new collection for This Grand Life…

I am super excited about this. No surprise really as I tend to get super excited about a lot of things (that would be that Pollyanna streak).

Spurred on by my family and friends I am in the process of designing and making a collection of fab frocks, gorgeous gear for little boys, sweet teeny baby gear and some other lovely treasures.

I have thought about doing something like this for years, but with working (I have a career in science), raising my little tribe (as gorgeous and wonderful as they are, four kids takes up a LOT of time) and trying to be a half-way lovely partner (thanks for the patience Big A), well there was not a whole lot of time left. For me. Or for a new project.

Or so I thought!

A few months ago I made the decision to start making the time, because this was important to me.

Turns out it was pretty easy once I made the commitment.  I have cut down internet time, tv time and streamlined things on the home-front).

So today, I am happy to announce I am now well and truly into it, and have been busily designing, making, photographing…

Stay tuned, photos and details will be posted here and on my Facebook page (duck over to this side—–> of my page to click ‘like’).

Have you got a project on the go or are you still waiting for the ‘right’ time?

Enjoy xx

Do you need to choose one career? For life?

Do you need to choose one career? For life?

Is there such a thing as a career for life or only having one career any longer?

Or have times have changed?

I think times have changed, and society has started to move on. Despite this, there are still some of us who are still a little attached to the idea that we need to choose the right career right away.

No second chances. 

No changing tact.

Don’t even get me started on exams.

Whenever I read about the pressure of final exams, I think what’s the big deal?

I mean do we really still believe that one lot of exams is the be all and end all?

That how you perform during that one period of your life sets the course for the next six to seven decades?

Think about that for a moment.

Six to seven decades, 60 or 70 years.  Life is no longer a matter of choosing a job, then working hard at that one job for 30-40 years, then retiring.

Society has moved on.

Did you know it’s now more common to have several careers, parallel careers, portfolio careers, there’s now a bespoke or ‘choose-your-own’  tailored approach.

It’s the approach I have adopted, science-based corporate career, freelance writing, and now design (yes, one quirky, This Grand Life online store coming your way). So that would make me a Mother/Partner/Scientist/Writer/Designer/Business Owner.

Everyone has the right to choose or not. Love maths and being creative? No problem, do a commerce/arts degree, then take your pick!

How about you? Have chosen a career and stuck with it?  Or are you more of a ‘choose your own adventure type’?  Or did life step in the way of your grand plans, and take you on a different path?

Enjoy xx

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Today J is for Jigsaw, and is a fab excuse to celebrate my love for puzzles and problems. Here are a couple of our faves…

Jigsaw gold! Owls (via Dwell), and Jungle Animals and Horse Riding (via Djeco)

Hopefully, I have passed on my love of solving puzzles to the tribe. Given their love of jigsaws I am pretty sure I am on my way.

I think completing a jigsaw puzzle can teach my tribe a whole lot of valuable lessons, problem-solving, perseverance, getting satisfaction from completing a task, team work, the list goes on…

Earlier this year, whilst holed up in Chateau Leckie (our lovely old rambling house in not so sunny France) during a cold snap, we replenished our supply of jigsaws. It was the prefect activity for the whole tribe to while away a few hours without getting cabin fever. Even my lovely Mum got into the spirit, and completed this gorgeous (yet very tricky) masterpiece.

Mona Lisa jigsaw gold @ This Grand Life

 Do you love jigsaws?

Enjoy xx


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Today is one of my favorite topics…imagination!  A perfect fit for my contribution to the #amonthof series, as I am a HUGE fan of imagination.

the power of imagination via Einstein (via

I find it fascinating watching my little tribe use their imaginations, and how carried away they can get…

Today is a perfect illustration.

Little L discovered (imagined) that there was a rat living in her bedroom.  He was a friendly cuddly rat though, and she was pretty sure he was living happily amongst her teddies and dolls.

Captain Jack and Flashdance became so caught up in the story, they ran off to get torches and ‘bait’ to catch the rat, so they could send the furry little fellow off to a more rat-friendly place.  Which of course was a sewer.

So armed with ‘sewer colored bait’, a bucket filled with rat water (to make the rat feel like he was going to his more homely sewer) and some high-tech catching gear (buckets, blankets to keep him warm, etc), they headed into Little L’s room. They also created some nifty ‘wanted posters’ (check them out below…

I is for Imagination: Furry Rat Wanted Posters by This Grand Life

The great rat relocation went on for most of this morning, with the whole tribe searching high and low, chatting about how happy the rat would be in his new home, how they would probably make a great team if we ever found another rat (imaginary of course)…

I am in total awe of how powerful their imaginations were, and it was great inspiration for the whole tribe.

Enjoy xx

PS we did for a brief moment, consider that there may be a real rat, so a quick search was done, then concluded when Little L informed us that the rat was actually magic and also invisible… Phew!


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E is for Eccentric. Nicki Minaj via

Today for the #amonthof series, I chose E is for Eccentric! Why? Well, because in our house we embrace the odd, celebrate the kooky and try to make sure our littlest peeps are marching (or dancing) to the beat of their own drum.

No mean feat.

It’s really hard to embrace eccentricity when one of your tribe (Little L – aged 3)  has decided today it would be best to front up to the world dressed as a kooky pop star (thank you Nicki Minaj), complete with pink hair, tutu and tiger sneakers. The slightly-overly-concerned-parent part of me thinks, God, what will people think?  Am I setting her up for piercings at 5, and tattoos at 12? Not that there is anything wrong with either of those life choices, but…not on my little cehrub…just yet.  

Then I think, what if she is the next Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga, and to her this is normal, and feels right? I read here, that Lady Gaga always felt different, and wanted to be creative. Who am I to curtail any of that freedom of expression?  Ok, so I am her mother, but really will pink hairspray and a tutu set her on a path to rack and ruin? 

Probably not, and in the meantime, she gets to express her own kooky style…

Do you embrace the eccentric?

Enjoy xx

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B is for botanical inspiration: #amonthof

Day 2 of the #amonthof project is the letter B, and for me that leads me to B is for botanical inspiration. Nature is a constant source of inspiration for me, birds, trees, textures on bark the list goes on.  If you want inspiration for colour schemes look no further!

Above are a few of my favorites at the moment, textured bark from Acacias and Melaleucas, pine trees (well it is December after all) and this brilliant thistle wallpaper from Timorous Beasties.

Enjoy xx


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Finding a fab presents for kids, can be plain overwhelming!

Check out any toy department and you are met with a sensory of overload of plastic, characters (what is the deal with Lalaloopsy anyway?), and computer games…

Then there is the fast-moving pace of what is cool.  Does anyone remember care bears and cabbage patch kids now?

So where to start?  We have come up a couple of ideas to inspire you… (see the fab pics above – from the top – left to right). Click on the clickety clicks if you see something you love!

  1. Areaware Cubebot. It’s a robot, who can breakdance, and just plain cool!  Actually I think Big A would love one…
  2. Calafant treehouse. My tribe had loads of fun with one of these last Christmas, hours of fun painting, decorating and then playing with your new creation.
  3. Dreams for your boys print by Almond tree frames. I love this framed print for little boys or adventurous girls
  4. How about a Teepee for the backyard or bedroom?
  5. A crazy kaleidoscope to while away the hours
  6. Early rider bike, a cool way to hit the streets
  7. Classic tunes from Rockabye Baby.  How can you go past Radiohead? This range of cds are a perfect way to introduce your favorite little people to your favorite tunes.

What is on your Christmas list this year for kids?

Enjoy xx

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Loosing your street-cred? Walk this way…

Crocs…urghhhhhh!  A few weeks ago I posted I was struggling with a love them/ hate them dilemma on Facebook. Love the practicality and easy peasy on/off features, detest the ugly, clumpy plastic look.

Enter HUGE response!

Who would have known that my lovely friends felt so strongly, about, well, shoes!  Big ugly plasticky type shoes at that.

It all stemmed from me making the BIG decision, to allow my tribe to wear crocs.  To say I am not a fan is an understatement. I put crocs right up there with ‘character’ ties (Bugs Bunny on a tie does not equal cool), and bum-bags.

Seriously NOT cool.

Despite this, I gave in, surrendered my street-cred and each of the tribe now owns and sports a pair of those ugly suckers. Likewise on the character t-shirts front (which I put in the same vein as character ties). I mean why would anyone want to BRAND their child?  Yet, take a peek in the tribes wardrobes and you will find Ben 10, Barbie, Ironman, whatever is hot at the moment plastered across a t-shirt.  My only concession is that they can only wear them as pyjama shirts.  Small victories my friends, and also me clutching at the last shreds of my street-cred.

Have you surrendered your fashion-cred since growing up/having a tribe of your own?

Enjoy xx

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