a chat with an artisan | Sophie Sellu of Grain and Knot


Do you have the desire for beautiful well made products…? I have. Buy less but better? Maybe because it is something I agree with whole heartedly. Having inherited many items from my Dad and grandparents I know those that I appreciate the most are the ones that have been well made and mostly have stood the test of time (although some of the less well preserved items are equally as treasured.) Often they are handmade rather than mass produced and have the character and individuality that only hands can define.

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the making of Harriet Pink


the making of Harriet Pink | Humphrey and Grace

Ok so sewing is my favourite ‘thing’. Ever. I absolutely adore turning cloth and trimmings into something. If I had oodles of free time you would most likely find me making something or other, I don’t mind whether it is clothing, furnishings, accessories or in this case a stuffed toy. Today I am not sharing a tutorial, no instructions nor tips, just a little photo diary of a gift for my niece of a doll called Harriet Pink… Read More


this thing called slow living


this thing called slow living | humphrey and grace

Have you noticed that this thing called slow living is everywhere? I don’t know about you but I come across this phrase or an adaptation of it so often. In a magazine, on social media or even in conversation with a friend. In an age of busy we seem to be seeking a simpler life, a pause button, a moment of calm. I’ve been pondering for a while what slow living means to me and how on earth to find the time to slow down at all because it seems that my daily life didn’t get the message that I would like to sit a while.

I am sure there are no rules and that ‘slow’ is open to interpretation, yet I can’t help but associate it with a mental image of chair sitting while gazing out of the window watching the wildlife in the garden. This is not entirely my style… For a while I wondered whether slow living was an indulgence for those who don’t have the constant companionship of a very chatty three year old until it occurred to me that maybe I am confusing slow with quiet and we could all learn a lot from a chatty three year old. By which I mean she stops and notices everything. She has no concept of time and is certainly incapable of rushing. When she finds pleasure in something she will repeat it indefinitely, whether that be stacking wooden blocks to knock them over, picking daisies from the lawn to cram into her favourite plastic cup or rolling down the slope in our garden again and again. And again. Perhaps for me this thing called slow living is not necessarily about sitting in a chair but more about taking pleasure in the simple things…

And so what I have concluded, for the moment at least, is that ‘slow’ is something to be deliberately chosen and slotted in to ‘busy’. Taking pleasure in the moment rather than planning the next. Slowing the thought process perhaps? I’m not sure but definitely a conscious decision to pause a while. Quite literally stopping to smell the roses, to admire the view, to enjoy the simplest of things in a way long forgotten as time and task take over. I choose to drive the road that takes me past the sea rather than the shortest route because that vast expanse of water makes me happy. I don’t mind if its flat calm out there or a raging beast, the sea makes me feel alive. So I’ll take my time and watch and think of nothing much other than the sound it makes and the smell of sea air.

My deliberate plan over the six weeks school holiday is to spend time with each of my children just being with them and enjoying the moments while they are still happy to spend them with me because they are growing up far too quickly. I don’t want to look back and feel I didn’t make the most of those moments when they are busy doing nothing much. Yes I do believe we can learn a lot about slow living from these little people.

Even as I write this I am aware of the contradictions, I am writing on my laptop rather than switching off… Anna is watching the television while reading a book (aren’t all three year olds good at multi tasking?!) Millie is plugged in to her music and Ed is out on an activity camp. Tony is trying as hard as he can, and without much success, to gather enthusiasm for a trip out. There is a list of things to do longer than I care to think about and I should be rushing around getting ready for the new week but do you know what? I am enjoying sitting here at the dining room table sharing my thoughts listening to the gentle music of childrens television in duet with Anna’s constant narrative and everyone is happy. I shouldn’t underestimate the value of calm and happy. Perhaps for now this is what slow living means to me. Maybe I’ll go and pop the kettle on…

Julia x

this thing called slow living | humphrey and grace


a chat with an artisan | Jono Smart


cups by Jono Smart

I don’t know about you but I am fascinated by the cleverness of artisans and creative folk. That raw materials can be transformed into things of beauty and functionality is something I have always been drawn to. A creative pull. I have had the idea in the back of my mind since I started this blog to chat with creative folk and find out what makes them tick. You may or may not know I sew, anything and everything from furnishings to frocks. I find changing a roll of cloth into a functional thing is oh so satisfying. (I’ll share my story another time, for now I’m sharing Jono’s.) Read More


elderflower cordial recipe


elderflower cordial

Have you noticed the elderflower blossom? Its everywhere, in full bloom and looking beautiful. One of the flowers of the moment, I have been (not so) patiently waiting for the tree and the end of my garden to flower abundantly enough for me to make some elderflower cordial.

Recipes are easy to come by and contain only a few ingredients and a couple of easy steps so after a little research I have adapted a mix of recipes (merged is perhaps a better word) and used the following… Read More