Posts tagged book review
Happy By Design: How to create a happy healthy home
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I read this book in a single sitting recently on a day when I was good for nothing but lying on the sofa with a stinking summer cold. It was quite a tonic with it’s gentle optimism and suggestions of how to make your home a happier place. That’s something surely everyone aspires to, especially with our busy lives full of work.

Encompassing lifestyle choices as well as design and decorating advice, Victoria Harrison takes the reader on a meander through mindfulness in the home, from tending houseplants to engaging in conversation and the simple pleasure of looking after a pet. There is some good old fashioned advice that greenery, the presence of light and the absence of clutter make for favourable living conditions. What makes this more compelling than opinion or anecdote alone though is the inclusion of easy to digest research - from NASA scientists, no less! There is also sage colour advice from Farrow & Ball’s international colour consultant Joe Studholme on how best to introduce that most joyful of colours, yellow.

All senses have been considered in writing this lovely little book with ideas on using scent, music, art and the optimal ways to consistently achieve nourishing sleep. The overall tone is informative and avoids being instructive which makes it a lovely gift for anyone setting up their first home or in need of cheering up with a few easy tweaks to their interiors. I’ll certainly be referring back to my copy now and then, like a manual for good living. 

Order a copy from your local independent bookshop or online here!

How To Live With A Designer Without Killing Them - Book Review
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My sense of self preservation is strong. So for Christmas, I gave my partner a copy of ‘How To Live With a Designer Without Killing Them’. Written by Alan Long, creative director at a London design consultancy, after his wife kept telling their friends how awful he was to live with, I knew it was going to be essential reading for our household. As Long points out, we designers are not ordinary people. 

It has been useful to read the particular ways in which we are extraordinary (read: really quite annoying). I chuckled, chortled then cringed at every page, in recognition of my possessing almost all the classic 'designery' traits that apparently drive other people mad (back in my Scenic days my assistant would often roll her eyes and say "Oh Zo, you're so designery")!

I can’t say I’ll ever change my ways, but at least I now know which ways offend, and my partner knows that these ways are, frankly, innate. There are no scientifically proven, tried and tested methods suggested for coping with the stress of cohabiting with a designer in this book. Instead, our best and (mostly) worst qualities are clearly defined, and illustrated with lovely sketches. For example, perfectionism in arranging and organising things; cooking according to the most aesthetically pleasing colour palette rather than the actual recipe (especially frustrating for the scientist looking over my shoulder); obsessive use of pencils, an unnatural love of Apple products and extreme hatred for the font Comic Sans.

Identifying our idiosyncrasies in this way may help us reign in our pedantry from time to time and encourage acceptance and tolerance from others. Here’s hoping!

‘How To Live With a Designer Without Killing Them’ is available from Amazon priced £7.99