Friday, 1 August 2014


Wishing you all 'bon weekend' with a few of my favourite things from this week online:
  • The BBC dropped by the National Temperance Hospital too...  I wrote about it here 
  • This is the comment that has most outraged me and many other women this week.

Much love, VZJ x

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

INSPIRED BY: Dorothy Annan

Dorothy Annan (1908 – 1983) was a painter, potter and muralist. Her paintings are in many of the national collections.

I stumbled across Dorothy Annan’s work in the form of her mural now located at Barbican, formerly adorning the outside of the telephone exchange in Fleet House on Farringdon Street.

I felt compelled to touch the mural, there are many different textures pressed into the forty tiles which make up each of the nine panels of the mural that represents the ‘white heat of British technology’ at the time they were commissioned by the Ministry of Public Works in 1960.

Dorothy Annan undertook detailed research before beginning the mural, visiting the telephone exchange and taking detailed notes and sketches. The nine frames reflect the theme of ‘communication’; you can pick out radio aerials and telegraph poles, for example.

Admittedly, the muted colours and abstract nature of the mural are totally up my street, so to speak. But more than that, the mural was created at such a vibrant, forward-looking time in the UK that it is interesting to imagine what Dorothy Annan thought the future held at the time of creating this artwork; was she filled with excitement for the possibilities this new technology could hold for the future, or was she uncertain about the pace of change, wary of circuit boards taking over the world of then and now.

I implore you to stop by and see this deservedly rescued mural which apparently cost the princely sum of £300. SO worth it! In their new home they are an English Heritage Grade II listed, which will hopefully protect them for generations to come.

Monday, 28 July 2014


Brutalism, anyone? Yes please. I visited the Barbican estate at the weekend, shamefully the first time I had visited, it will definitely not be the last.

The Barbican is a housing estate which encompasses, an arts centre (comprising two theatres, a concert hall, a library, an art gallery, three cinemas, a conservatory, offices, restaurant, shops and foyers), City of London School for Girls, YMCA and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. All but the arts centre (which followed in 1982) were built between 1965 – 1776.

The site was bombed flat during the Second World War, a target of regular bombing as part of the Blitz campaign. Following the war there was concern that the number of residents had dwindled very significantly. What was a very old part of London, the site is on the northern edge of what was once Roman Londinium, you can see parts of the old London Wall on and around the estate, became very new when work on the development began.

In 2001 the Barbican complex became a Grade Two Listed Building and a site of special architectural interest. I know many would disagree and deem it an eyesore, but I wholeheartedly disagree. It is beautiful, powerful and created an impact on my mind and body.

It feels super solid when you are walking the ‘highways’ between blocks, here to stay. The barreled balconies create lips into the courtyard which at its centre flows water out of a large ‘pipe’ through the length of the courtyard, fountains pitched in between. I defy anyone to visit and not breathe out a quiet ‘wow’ at this site from above.

On the sunny Saturday that I visited the courtyard had a good hum of people having tea, a spot of dinner and just hanging out with friends or family. Some had been to the library, others like me had been to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, and some they had just come to be here and meet their friends.

Needless to say, the Barbican made a deep impression on me. I love the impactful architecture, the sure-footedness of it. It is beautiful to my eye and I know long to live there! What do you think? A fan of brutalism? Or not? 

Sunday, 27 July 2014


drinking // green tea

eating // porridge with coconut oil and banana - I do not know why I haven't tried this combo before,  delicious!

doing // giving myself permission to just wander around my beautiful sun-shining city

creating // long journal entries

listening // Commonwealth Games coverage - I love (watching) a bit of sport and spirit

I hope you are having a beautiful weekend friends.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

INSPIRED BY: Jean-Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier has an exhibition at the Barbican. When I heard, I HAD to go. It's taken me a while, but today I went and oh my days was it worth it.

A lot of the mannequins had faces projected on them; they spoke, blinked and moved their eyes to follow you. Most fun was the Jean Paul mannequin where he welcomes you to the exhibition.

It is a massively creative display of intricate, outlandish and downright spectacular couture, photographs and artwork. I was blown away by the detailing... 

There is a nod to Britain as the birth place of the punk movement, I say a nod, I mean a MASSIVE mohawk. This lady, I think, definitely approved...

Some of Jean Paul Gaultier's muses throughout his career...

I loved the creativity, juxtaposition and irony of the photographs taken of his collections. I was particularly drawn to the photograph below...

My respect for Jean Paul Gaultier as an artist and designer grew exponentially through seeing this exhibition. I was genuinely speechless for long stretches of time, staring mouth agape and glittering eyes. It was a wonderful hour or so, I know it sounds like I am gushing, I suppose I am, but in a very sincere way, I promise. It was an AMAZING exhibition.

They very refreshingly encourage you to take photographs (without the flash) of the exhibition. I apologise for the bad quality photographs, I only took my old iphone as I didn't anticipate being permitted to take any photographs. My bad!

Anyone who knows me knows that I do casual pretty much all the time, hey, I like to be comfy! This was my 'Oh my days, I WANT THIS' outfit...

Sorry, what? My dress is staring at you? I think you must be mistaken....

Anyway, what are you waiting for? Whack on your tartan kilt, blue and white stripey top, pull on your DMs and get down there!

It is genuinely VERY highly recommended and only open until 25th August, so hurry!

Sunday, 20 July 2014


drinking // green tea with jasmine

eating // salmon, green beans, mange tout, peas and tomatoes (in the dining hall in the photo above)

doing // people watching and sketching at the V&A

creating // my interpretations of William Morris prints

listening // Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of - still EPIC

I hope you are having a chilled one too. Love.

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Hello, hello, I'm sorry it's been a while, I had second thoughts about blogging, but then I had third, fourth and fifth thoughts and decided I have nothing to loose, so I am back.

Today I went on a jolly in my own beautiful and dirty city of London. I love exploring like a tourist every so often, and I am lucky that my city is big enough that I ALWAYS find new treasure. Today's exploration began at Warren Street tube for no real reason other than I decided to get off the tube then on a whim. Today my eye was drawn to architecture for the most part, shall we get started?

One building, four purposes....

I headed down a side road for this gem...

Then I stumbled upon the London Temperance Hospital, which is a derelict hospital, purported to be haunted and pretty cool, though my photos do not do it justice, I just really wish I could have persuaded the security guard to let me in for a walk around, he was having none of it, really NONE OF IT.

The London Temperance Hospital (later renamed The National Temperance Hospital), opened in 1873 with a board of twelve abstainers. At that time alcohol was prescribed as medicine and frequently consumed by patients, doctors and nurses. It went on to open a children's wing and during World War Two became a '1A Casualty Station'. The hospital as a building closed in the 1980's when it was used as a nursing school. Some of the archives were found in the basement and are available to read here, and you can see a few more photos here.

Continuing northwards, I saw some cool blocks of flats...

And then, I came across this oddity/gem. I researched it a little bit when I got home, and it is the old Carreras cigarette factory, built in 1926. Though most of the detailing is lost now, it was a great example of early twentieth century Egyptian revival architecture. It was also one of the first buildings to install air conditioning.

A sweet window sill that I spotted...

This epic-ness was atop a boarded up house in Camden.

So, I got hungry and thirsty and ate a whole days worth of calories in one sitting displayed below. Ha!

I got myself some green when I hopped into Regent's Park and walked barefoot in the grass because it makes me feel good. They have really pretty formal gardens too here...

Then I sat on a bench and this cool dude came up to me....

I headed out of the park and down Baker Street, on to Oxford Street, indulged in a little retail therapy, sorry, what?! Yes, still unable to control that urge, there would have been shoes too had a sales assistant not been so scarce that I had a moment to pause and think. Then into Berkeley Square where I happened upon this glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. It lights up at night too! It's there until December, if you fancy a peek.

My legs were tiring, so I decided to call it a day and got the bus home. I had a beautiful day as a tourist in my own city. I am a south-of-the-river girl, so getting a little north in my life was pretty cool. Not that I will ever change 'sides' but still, London is amazing wherever you are on the compass.