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5 May 2016

Feeling Homey with Uncommon Goods



Something I haven't mentioned on this blog before is how me and my manfriend, Dan, are currently saving to buy a house/flat/shed/whatever we can afford in London (stop the front page). We've been together just shy of 8 years and I really want a place that is ours. As a bit of a DIY diva, for every flat we've rented I've dreamed about how we could improve it. This normally involves tearing down false walls, ripping up carpet and painting walls. Basically if you can't do it in a rented property, I want to do it. Unfortunately, I don't think our landlord would be too impressed if I went all DIY SOS (daytime tv anyone) on the flat. So we've made do and tried to make it our own while shaking off that university home style. You know what that is. Uni style is basically when you amass an array of mismatch items that just don't go together, pint glasses from your local appear in your cupboards (stop it guys you're breaking the 10 commandments) and things you find when you're drunk suddenly become wall art in your living room (aka the foam finger of this post, excuse the terrible photography, highway signs and magazine cuttings bluetacked to your wall). 

Recently we've been having a lot of dinner parties and having people round (if any potential future guests are thinking of bringing a gift to our next dinner party see here) so I've been conducting my usual spring clean, and throwing out all the old uni homeware and replacing it with a more adult, collected but still kooky (I sound like my mum) Scandinavia theme. It was about this time that Uncommon Goods, a Brooklyn based company that sells designer, handcrafted and unique homeware and gifts, contacted me and asked if I'd like to include some of their items in our flat update. Would I? That's rhetorical, of course I would. Dan has essentially banned me from buying anything house related (to which I have not listened to at all) under the guise of what if it doesn't go in the new house? What if we spend our whole lives saving for a house and we never get one or the new wardrobe we desperately need because our current one is falling apart, what if that happens?  Anyway back to the point, Dan said no to buying stuff but if I'm being sent it does that count? I quickly justified to myself that it was a no, and said sure thing to Tom from Uncommon Goods, keeping Dan fully in the dark till it arrived and I asked him to pick something up from the post office. 

The gig was up when he picked up the parcel covered with some cool branding for Uncommon Goods promoting their charity scheme (they've donated over $1 million to charities worldwide!) and saying it had travelled all the way from Brooklyn in the USA. Rumbled, I quickly unpackaged it to reveal a variety of homely items to which he replied 'only you would ask for glasses with cats on'. I disagree, I think there's a huge market out there for cat-themed goods and it's not just cat ladies it's guys do (although saying it's not just ladies have you seen this cat lipstick by Paul and Joe???? I'm in love). Uncommon Goods  sell more than just unique and hand-crafted products, they're selling goods that fundamentally are ecofriendly, and free from animal and human cruelty. In a world which is, unfortunately, still full of shops selling products created with pollution, slave labour and animal cruelty, I guess the question is why aren't you buying from Uncommon Goods. Essentially it's a way to feel good about shopping. Not only are you buying items you love, you've also helping to support charities that help sexual abuse survivors, provide victims of war with the means to provide for themselves and save the forests all in one purchase (how many people can say that!). 



So what did I get to help the world? Well I'm glad you asked. Let's start in the kitchen (I feel an MTV Cribs coming on!). Uncommon Goods have a huge kitchen, bar and dining range (don't trust me, see it here), there were so many nice items that I stalked online. Uncommon Goods actually sell internationally, which is obviously great for me as I'm a London lady, based in the UK. Unfortunately for custom reasons there are somethings they just can't post out to the UK. So if you're in the USA make sure you snap up this agate cheese set, this humongous tub of sprinkles (I want these sprinkles, you there, friendly US reader, send them to me please?) and these crackled glass coasters. Anyway this utensil carousel by Joseph Joseph was my distract-Dan-by-getting-something-practical-and-much-needed item (phew that's a lot of hyphens). 

Since Dan and I both went to different uni's then moved into a 6 person flat share in London before moving in together on our lonesomes, we have collated quite the mismatch collection of kitchen items. It actually drives me mad. Which sounds pathetic but there we go. The first thing I'm going to buy when we buy our first house, aside from you know a house and a wardrobe (see rant above), is a complete set of saucepans. Copper ones because I love the bling. When I saw Uncommon Goods stocked Joseph Joseph kitchenware I got super excited (yeah I get way too excited about kitchens and what? They produce food...and I love food...if that wasn't clear) and saw an opportunity to rid myself of the mismatched metal/plastic/wooden utensils that haunt MY SOUL/kitchen with this bright and modern utensil carousel by Joseph Joseph. I think this utensil carousel has single handedly improved the look of our very small (it's three cupboards, an oven and a sink small) kitchen, it's tied it all our insanely bright kitchen accents (mostly red and neon green) in one spin of the utensil's carousel. BIG FAN. Plus it distracted Dan from the other items in the box. Ultimate win.




Despite loving our light and bright flat, the one thing I really want when we buy our own place is a bigger kitchen. It doesn't have to be in a separate room to the living room but it'd be nice if it was big enough to, you know, swing a cat or have a toaster (this is no joke we literally have no room for a toaster and a kettle, sacrifices and tea had to be made). Having minimal cupboard space, the main issue Dan has with me is my love for glass and bar ware...not helped by Uncommon Goods extensive selection (see here). Damn, I'm late for my meeting...

My name's Flick and I'm a glassware addict. 

I have so many gorgeous glasses, these green wine glasses from my mum were an absolute bargain at a boot fair for £5, I also have some super fancy cocktail spotty glasses my besties got me for my birthday and then there's my new Cat Tao Glasses by Patricia Carlin from Uncommon Goods (fellow cat lovers buy them here). These are my favourite. I'm not saying that because Uncommon Goods are making me say it against my will, I'm declaring my never ending love for these cat drinking glasses independently. I was so happy when Uncommon Goods sent me these, they're currently sitting on our open shelving unit (nobody puts cat glasses in the cupboard). Obviously the main pull for me is that the glasses have cats on. I love cats, I want to co-inhabit a home with one (reason we're buying a house #216). And I'm not going to lie, the fact that on one side they have the good cat being all fab and friendly, and then the bad-ass crazy cat on the other side is hissing, scratching and just generally being all independent feline. When my friend Kimi came over from Germany to stay at the weekend and I, as a good host must, got her a drink from a cat glass (only the closest of friends are permitted to use them) she said 'this might sound weird but it feels great drinking out of this glass' (it doesn't sound weird at all Kim, not sure why I direct quoted you on that but there you go). Kim wasn't talking about the yin and yang she was experiencing from the cat tao glass, the glass itself is incredible quality; it's really nicely shaped and the weight is great. Oh my God, get me into glassware anonymous pronto, I'm having a relapse!! While I'm relapsing I might as well show you these gold painted subway tumblers, these gin and tonic tall glasses, and these gorgeous petal wine glasses also from Uncommon Goods. Sorry not sorry.




The look of love is in the Octopuses eyes...or so says my new Sea of Love print by Jacqueline Schmidt from Uncommon Goods (see here). Dan and I are big DIY-ers, mostly because doing it yourself is almost always cheaper. However, there's one thing we hugely disagree on when it comes to DIY and that is art. I've always been very creative and to an extent this blog has been an outlook for that compared to my everyday job (I'm a biochemist, I know, you're all surprised but it's true. Me, kooky Flick, read biochemistry) but before I went to uni I had a place at an Art School which I had to turn down. I don't regret the choices I made, I've got a job with a great company that I really enjoy but I have missed all the painting, sketching and creating that I haven't really made time for since going down the biochem route. However, recently I've started sketching again and mucking about with calligraphy (mostly writing Star Wars and Lord of the Rings quotes, see here and here). You're wondering how Dan and I disagreeing about DIY is related to my sad-violin-art-school-that-never-was story (enough with the hyphens!). I'm going to tell you now. Basically, because me and Dan have been together since when I was famed to be the next Picasso, when I say I like a print he says 'don't buy it draw it yourself'. Two problems, one, my skills are no where near as good as they used to be and I think he believes I can draw better than I can, and, two, I don't like covering the house in my sketches. The odd one or two I draw I might be like yeah I love that let's put it up, but I like other people's art on my walls, which makes it more expensive, and leads back to Dan's argument.

Anyway. Moving on. Do you follow Jaime's blog Angloyankophile? It's basically my dream blog. Home decor meets food. If you're not reading it yet you should. In one of Jaime's posts (this one) there's this trio of whale paintings. I have drooled over this trio for ages, every time I see it on her instagram I stalk pinterest for similar prints for days. When I was looking around Uncommon Gifts website, I saw this Sea of Love print and I felt the same drooly stupor coming along. Isn't it beautiful? I love the black and white sketches of each of the marine animals. Being from the Falklands, I've always had a pull to the sea, I'm a little water baby. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the shore, seeing a killer whale while my mum was diving, so I'm pretty thrilled to have a print with a killer whale slap bang in the middle. I love and fear the sea in equal measure, and by fearing the sea I mean being afraid and in awe (in equal measure) of sharks so this print is perfect for me. Coincidentally I blame my shark love/fear relationship almost entirely on Shark Week and the shark attack videos they show, not cool guys, you ruined my favourite animal.The artist of Sea of Love, Jacqueline Schmidt, has got another print called Mates for Life, also on Uncommon Goods (see here), which is just the sweetest thing. I mean, who knew termites mated for life?

And now, almost four years on, our flat is finally feeling less student shabby and more eclectic chic. Let's end on a high, queue cat glasses.
 
 
So I guess you US readers are wondering what my address is so you can send me the sprinkles. I'm a bit confused myself because I've been all over the place these last couple of weeks. The week before last we went to Edinburgh to meet up with some friends from university. It was a great week, filled with lots of food and cake (hello love crumbs...check out love crumbs now), and Innis and Fun (sorry Gunn, I mean the beer). My friend Kimi then came and stayed in London for an extra few days, I'd love to say we did touristy things but really we just sat around watching Pitch Perfect and Star Wars. Just to jump in, how much do you love the new Star Wars movie. I'm in love with Rey and Finn, and BB-8, I may have bought it last weekend and watched it twice in a day..and again yesterday...that may or may not have happened (it did). Then last weekend, I went to Brighton with my besties, which was amazing! I'm super looking forward to just chilling out this weekend though and taking some time to relax. I'm an extrovert who needs to constantly see people, but I think last week pushed even my limits. That said I'm probably going to forget all the running around of last week and go away again at the weekend, but hey that's what weekends are made for, right? What are your plans? It's going to be 25 degrees Celsius people, make plans, get outside, eat some ice cream. Or, alternatively, stay inside and eat ice cream. That works. In fact, I'm all for being an ice cream introvert this weekend, care to join me?
 
Thanks to Tom who works for Uncommon Goods for sending me my new Joseph Joseph utensil carousel that's brightening my kitchen up nicely, cat tao glasses (I LOVE THEM...in case you didn't get that from this post) and beautiful Sea of Love framed print. And special thanks to Uncommon Goods for the goods and, you know, saving the world! All opinions are from yours truly!