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journal
MAIN STORY AW18
Every now and then we lend other like minded brands some of our shoes for their look book shoots and not only do I love unisex brand Main Story  for my own boys but Sue who creates it is also a good friend, so of course we agreed to lend her a few pairs. Our shoes make the perfect compliment to her soft jersey styles, beautiful muted colours and subtle geometric prints for boys and girls. And more than anything being friends I love seeing our collections worn together. Here's a snap shot of their new AW collection, worn with Magpie Boots, Jackdaw Boots in Red & Nude and our special edition fluffy shearling  Achilles shoes, shot by Chieska Fortune Smith. 
into the wild
It's been a good while since we met up with friends Amy & Ivor (makers of the most lovely, soft leather baby moccasins) but finally we got it together for an adventure in the Ashdown Forest, home of Winnie the Pooh. 
 
A long walk through the woods firing pinecone grenades, den building, exploring the ferns and wild purple heathers, and the highlight for the little ones of finding the tiniest frog which only the youngest were brave enough to hold. If you've never been to the Ashdown Forest then put it on your list of places to go for an adventure with the kids.
 
camping
We went camping for the weekend. Friends keep asking us if we had fun and the honest answer is the boys had fun. Us I'm not so sure. It's quite stressful trying to load everything for the 4 of us for the weekend into a tiny car, putting up a tent neither of us knows how to put up, and all the rest of the joys that camping brings. Thankfully the torrential downpour started shortly after the tent was up and we had made dinner on the campfire as I'm not sure the boys would have coped if we couldn't toast marshmallows. Trapped inside the tent as a stream of water made it's way across the floor the boys read Transformers comics to each other with the head torch, their excitement not dwindling. Luckily the rain calmed down and we could head out for a walk in the dark, attempting to spot an owl or some bats. We saw neither.
  
Day two and things were already much better. The sun was shining, we'd all survived the night with varying degrees of sleep, the tent didn't leak and more than that it was Connors birthday. Hurray! Opening birthday cards and pressies in the tent he was as happy as Larry and it made all the stress of the previous day worth while. The boys did some secret ninja training, a little bit of football, more marshamallows, and that evening we did manage another night walk through the woods. This time we took the bat detector with us and heard the distinctive sound of bats. As Connor put it, we were not alone!  
 
  
Breaking it down into simple terms the boys just want to sleep outside in a tent, light a fire, toast marshmallows, run around outside and go for a night time walk with torches. Simple right?! I'm sure I can manage that once a year. Tom I'm not so sure. 
  
 
  • 10
  • fay murphy
10
So, my little boy turned 10. Double digits!! Waah.
 
I'm not sure where the time has gone as it felt like just yesterday that he arrived but 10 whole years have passed and he's growing into a lovely young guy. Inquisitive mind, distinctive sense of humour, sensitive soul, creative flair, all rolled into one handsome dude. That's Connor. 
 
We celebrated his birthday doing all his favourite things: camping, riding steam trains at his favourite railway, toasting marshmallows, cake at nannas and bat detecting in the evening. What could be better?! 
 

 

Castles in the sand
Last year we didn't stop at all. No breaks. By Christmas I was hanging on by a thread so this year I decided we needed to make a real effort to stop and take a proper break. So, to celebrate shoemaker Toms birthday we went to Morocco for a few days - with no kids. Yippee! 
 
A fly by visit to Marrakesh to see the YSL musuem & Majorelle gardens (see previous post) then off to the coastal town of Essouira. A chilled out hippy-ish town with traditional fishermen, fort (where they filmed Game of Thromes for anyone who's a fan), beach and plenty of kite surfers.
 
We stayed in the old medina in the most beautiful of houses: Dar Emma. A cool, contemporary take on traditional moroccan living. The house revolves around a central stairwell with no roof so it's open all the way to the sky, keeping the place cool and airy. Simple living and I've come back wanting to tile our whole house with pattern and colour. 

 

The medina is a maze of small streets, full of interesting shops and bazaars and wild cats, it would be easy to get lost. Thankfully we had a Mohammed to show us around a little and to help get our bearings through the maze of the medina. With no cars allowed it's relatively relaxed and although there's a little bit of hustle bustle it's pretty chilled out really. For a taste of Morocco without the hastle I'd highly recommend it. Knowing myself and in the interests of not bringing back a whole load of stuff to our little house we only took hand luggage but if we ever do get a house of our own then this is the place to come and find some interesting homewares, starting with traditional Moroccan rugs! Such a nice few days breather and a chance to take life at a slower pace. We'll definitely be back.
 

 

Majorelle Blue
We've talked about going to Morocco for a while now, since I read about the YSL museum and Majorelle gardens I specifically wanted to go there. If you get the chance to go then for sure you have to do it as the gardens are so so nice. Apart from all the selfie takers the gardens are super tranquil, the cacti, bamboo and other plants impressive and the colours just gorgeous. You can't help but come away totally in love with the famous Majorelle blue, yellow pots and terracotta dustiness which reminds you you're in Morocco. 
 
  
As for the museum, I'll be honest I was a little disappointed. I mean the building is super nice and what was displayed was interesting but there could've/should've been more. I wanted to leave totally bowled over and inspired by Yves Saint Laurent and his work and although it was interesting one room of his clothing wasn't enough. I wanted more. 
 
Connor goes to work
As some of you know I work freelance for a luxury British designer most of the week, designing their women's shoe collection. The boys are pretty curious as I head out to London super early in the morning and come back around bedtime or after they're asleep so during the week the majority of my time is spent there rather than at home. Connor has been asking for a while if he could come into work with me for the day so finally I decided to do it. Give him a chance to see where I work, what I do and to let him have a go at designing a shoe on the computer for himself. I'm so glad I did it as he had the best day and was SO proud of what he'd done.
 
He's pretty good at drawing anyway so I figured he'd like to try his hand at cad. He drew his sneaker by hand, we scanned it in and then I showed him how to use Illustrator to draw the lines and we transferred it to Photoshop so he could colour it in. The same process I use on a daily basis to draw and colour up my designs. Considering he's only 9, never used either of these two programs before or drawn anything on the computer, to say I was impressed is an understatement! I know shoe designers who've been working in the industry for 20 years who still can't cad their designs on the computer so hats off to Connor. such a success he's already asking when he cam come back again and he wants to design a shoe which will really be in the collection! 
 

in the workshop

It's not often that me and the boys are at the workshop. If we are it's usually a quick drop off and pick up but last weekend we all decamped to the workshop late afternoon to work on a little film. We foolishly thought it would be easy to film Tom making the shoes and talking about shoemaking for a minute or two but 3 hours later and with the boys completely run out of patience and good behaviour it was time to call it a day. Quite a lot of laughs were had in the process and it was nice for us all to hang out in the workshop for once but I'm not in a hurry for there to be a next time. Here's a few snaps from our afternoon and some goings on in the workshop including gold Wren boots and fluffy Buzzard shoes...

  • Italia
  • fay murphy
Italia
Tom and I have been in Italy this past week working on some pretty exciting things and if everything works out we'll be making some big changes to the way we work next season. We've been visiting the Marche region of Italy which is a specialised shoemaking area nestled in some purely beautiful countryside, a stones throw from the beach. Each village or town is built on the top of a hill and each supplier we visited had the most incredible view. If you have to go work somewhere in Italy you could do much worse than a few days in Marche. 
 
So, what have we been doing there? well, for a long time now we have been talking about and investigating the idea of making some of our ready to wear styles with a factory. As we grow the workload of making our production is too much for one man to do alone, not to mention the time spent ordering and shipping every single component from across Europe to the UK. I also know that more often than not we make 1 size run of our styles and when that's gone, it's gone and we don't always have what you're looking for in stock. So, the plan is to work with a small family run factory in Italy to make some of our favourite and classic styles so that we have better stock availability and also so that we don't run our shoemaker Tom into the ground! Last year we did a lot of research in Spain and Portugal and even started working on a project with a factory in Spain but it didn't work out. Fingers crossed that we have found a great little factory in Italy to make our beautiful children's shoes, and who knows we maybe even found one for the long awaited womens collection... exciting times! watch this space for more news in the next few months...

 

Hastings
It's been a while since we had a proper day as a family so spending Sunday morning checking out the contemporary new pier at Hastings was some long overdue family time. 
A pier for the community the design is modern, the wide open space is refreshing and calming while the dull greyness of the wood blends into the grey skies. Through the telescopes we watched the lifeboat return to shore and sailing boats gliding out at sea. Inside the main structure we found a fun exhibit of Automata which kept the boys busy for a while. A quick blast in the photo booth, Shea only just sneaked into shot even though he was pulling his best photo face! 
Looking forward to visit again in summertime and to play and explore the rockpools on the shore below. 
Connor wears Magpie Boots and Shea wears Achilles in Emerald Leo 

 

 

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