Monday, 9 April 2012

Iconic design and another cake thrown in!

Yesterday was an indoors kind of was much of the weekend. I spent a large part of Friday and Saturday, as usual, with a paint brush in my hand, tidying up the walls in the kitchen, conservatory and playroom. It was a very therapeutic task. The lower walls were showing tell tale signs....finger prints and scuff marks... of small children racing around the house with abandon, on trikes and hobby horses! In more than one place our son had penned his 'tag' in white board pen. Every now and then I have a blitz and clean up their acts!

Our daughter arrived back from her ski-ing trip yesterday. Phew! I'm always relieved when she is back, especially when she then regales me with stories of black runs and ski-ing directly under the lifts!! She is 8! Ignorance is most definitely bliss...on my part, that is!

Anyway. We have a family gathering today and so, not for the first time over the past couple of weeks, we made a cake! I thought we'd make a cake rather than buying individual eggs for nieces and nephews, who, on the whole, are old enough now to forsake chocolate eggs. (I have decided! Maybe I should have consulted them first....)

Whilst I was baking the cake I was listening to the radio and a discussion about the Union Jack as an iconic design. I'm surprised the cake turned out ok because it was a really interesting discussion and my attention was definitely more toward the radio than the cake mix. There was lots of debate about the over use of the flag in design and whether the contributors felt that, once the Jubilee and the Olympics were over, whether our passion for the flag would still remain. Opinion was mixed. The discussion centred around the negative connotations of the flag...the Empire, racism, the questionable use as 'inappropriate' symbolism in popular culture, that sort of thing. The positives were the flag representing national unity...though there was some debate about whether it was actually a fair representation of 'unity'... 'should the Welsh Dragon be incorporated?' being one of the many questions. 

Apparently supermarkets have fast run low on stocks of any of their Union Jack branded items....paper plates, napkins, bunting, bun cases, red and blue food colouring...the list is endless. Rather sadly (possibly), I did buy the last 2 packs of bun cases on the supermarket shelf that day, just in case! Maybe I can flog them on Ebay...

When it came to the use of the flag as a design statement, the discussion was, in my view, surprisingly lacking. Everyone agreed that it was a good design. The architect, George Clarke, is a fan, and commented that he felt the flag fad would see beyond the Jubilee and the games because of its popularity in interior accessories, think Vivienne Westwood wall hangings, Jan Constantine cushions etc.

I share this view. I actually don't look at the design as a symbol of national identity to be honest. Discussing it with my husband, he took the opposite view. He appreciates the design element, but does not like the negative associations...what he believes is often misplaced/misused national pride etc. I just think, simple and straightforward, that it is a good piece of design...a great combination of colour and shapes rather than a pledge to Queen and Country, in the same way that, as a design statement, I love the stars and stripes flag....Ralph Lauren, Lexington etc. As a design, it is bold yet simple and makes the perfect accessory. Yes. It can be over done, but the odd nod to it here and there looks great!

In the absence of a budget permitting Ralph Lauren, I look to Emma Bridgewater and Lexington for my hits. The jug below is Bridgewater, a present from a good friend. The tray was £8.00 from John Lewis, or log directly onto the Emma Bridgewater website for a host of Union Jack themed accessories. I also have a tea caddy (£8). Just enough to not make the house look like collectors corner! The throw is Ralph Lauren and the cushion, Lexington £39. See also Jan Constantine and Vivienne Westwood.

Cole and Son Union Jack wallpaper by Vivienne Westwood £139 at  Heal's

Emma Bridgewater from £8.00

Ralph Lauren throw £225

Lexington cushion £39

I hope you have all had a great Easter!


  1. Cannot believe your daughter does black runs at 8 Lottie - Wow !
    Those Union Jack picks are great - I especially love the first one.



  2. I know. I don't like to think about it! She is now officially a better skier than me!! Hope you had a good Easter.

    Lottie x