My Graham & Green Desk

This desk was a wedding gift from my parents.

After getting married, we left my husband's bachelor pad (hallelujah) and moved into an unfurnished flat. 

Getting to pick out exactly what we wanted to go in our home was a dream.  

My parents wanted to give us a 'home' gift, and I had my eye on this desk from Graham and Green. My dad is really into the idea of heirlooms and I think he thought it would be a nice thing to pass down to future generations.  

Made in India, it is inlaid with mother of pearl. The three drawers contain my correspondence cards, stationery and letters.

I just discovered bar of soap in there. So it’s apparently also where my bar of soap lives too. 

I finally understand why my mum went crazy when I put down mugs directly on the piano.

Strange coincidence, but my old piano teacher Liane, gave me some lovely marble coasters. 

I never get tired of looking at this desk. The pictures I've taken don't really capture just how beautiful it looks in the sunshine.  

Did you ever feel like you’d be a better student with a  new pencil case? Or sleep better in new sheets? Or run faster with new trainers? I feel like I’ll be a better writer at this desk.

It's more of a console table than a desk, so it's not very deep but I haven't found this to be a problem. 

It has a matching stool (you have to buy that separately) but I like a chair with a back so I bought a Kartell ghost chair instead which is serving me well. The only downside is that you can't lean back two-legs-high-school-style on it.

Ordering was straightforward, delivery was free and the guy who delivered it took it upstairs for me. It was packaged really well, which sounds like a weird thing to say but it felt like the packing people also believed that this desk was a queen of a desk and should be handled with care. 

Buy the desk chair.

There are a few Graham and Green stores in London. I've only ever been to the one in Notting Hill.

It's definitely the most interesting shop in the neighbourhood and would recommend a visit there, followed by a pizza from The Grocer next door. 

GRAHAM AND GREEN Notting Hill

4 Elgin Crescent,
London,
W11 2HX

www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Throwback Thursday: Wallis Simpson's Cartier bracelet

This bracelet was a gift from Edward VIII to Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he gave up the throne.

Made by Cartier, it has nine gem-set crosses, each signifying (and engraved with) important moments in their lives between 1933 to 1934.

It was put up for auction in 2010 and sold for £601,250.

Their marriage is commemorated on one of the crosses.

One cross is engraved with the message: "God save the King For Wallis". This refers to an assassination attempt on Edward (known as David to Wallis).

I’m not sure I’d want a permanent reminder of the time someone tried to kill my husband, but as he survived it, I suppose that makes him seem invincible. But apparently his would-be assassin had a tendency to throw the guns at his targets rather than pulling the trigger.

Another cross bears the message "The Kings Cross". This marks the time in 1936 that, after an argument between the couple, Simpson flagged down a taxi and said "King's Cross" to the driver. "I'm sorry lady," he replied. 

I like this bracelet. I mean, it’s not exactly my taste, but I like what it represents: real people with real feelings wanting to remember.

Wallis Simpson gift | Laughing Heart

Knives (and spoons) as gifts: investigating the superstition.

 

Giving a knife as a gift is supposed to be symbolic of cutting the ties of friendship.

People have been known to give a coin to the giver in return so that it technically isn’t a gift.

It occurred to me that I’ve been given three knives in my life which, after typing that, sounds like three too many.

I believe enough time has passed for me to conclusively state whether knives foretell the demise of a friendship.

1. Kukri

laughing heart gifts | knives

This Nepalese knife was a gift from my friend Ben (who also features here)

Ben lived in Kathmandu for a couple of years. I asked him why he bought it, expecting to hear some profound reasoning but he just said that it was one of the finer generic gifts from Nepal. He added: ‘I used one to cleave bubble wrap from a mattress and it was one of the most pleasurably visceral experiences of my life.’

State of our friendship: Solid.

2. Robert Welch steak knives

 These were a wedding gift from a school friend.

State of our friendship: Very poor. At the wedding, the individual got so drunk that the got caught up in my dress, tore it and photobombed pictures of me with my family. There are some actions that fall into the category of unforgivable. On reflection, perhaps there are only two:  treating a wedding reception like a night at the student union is one. Ripping someone’s wedding dress is another.

3. Cake knife

A wedding gift from friends of my husband’s parents.

State of our friendship: Unchanged. Our friendship level has remained completely constant because we rarely see the couple. Also, cake knives aren't designed to have the hewing strength, of say, a meat cleaver, so if knives are a symbol of cutting off a relationship then it would be a very soft friendship for a cake knife to do damage.

Conclusion

My findings are mixed. I conclude that you shouldn't worry about it. If you want to give a knife, give a knife.

Hopefully your friendship is stronger than superstition but if you want to ask for a penny in return, go for it but just make sure you do it in a safe environment where your intentions cannot be misconstrued (i.e. don’t brandish a knife and demand cash).

Before purchasing a knife, consider a spoon. An elderly couple (in their nineties) who live in the village where I grew up and have known me since I was a baby, gave me a Welsh love spoon when I got married. It’s lovely.

While typing this, I realise that our friendship has been the longest lasting of them all.


Wedding gifts & British brands

We went to Italy last weekend to celebrate the marriage of my husband’s university friend.

Dolce, Gabbana and Tornatorne made it a long-term ambition of mine to attend an Italian wedding. I had a vision of myself in a full-skirted lace midi-dress twirling down a narrow street. Thanks to a dress on sale from Whistles, I made it happen. 

When we got married, the happy couple gave us some Lisa Corti table linen (similar below) which is awesome. You can’t find it in London, the colours are bright and beautiful. It showed that they put in some thought.

I was informed by my husband that there was ‘no way’ the couple would have a gift list. So I spent hours coming up with ideas for gifts that were made in the UK. The bar was set high.

After a good few hours of brainstorming, I visited their wedding website and discovered that they did have a gift list (contributions to their honeymoon).

So that my ideas aren’t wasted, here are my top five British brands:

SMYTHSON

This 125-year-old luxury brand was favoured by Winston Churchill, Sigmund Freud and the Maharajahs of India. The products are elegantly designed and well-made. Gift options are abundant: from leather-backed notebooks to jewellery boxes, all in beautiful colours, 

WEDGWOOD

I remember learning about Josiah Wedgwood in history class and thinking that this would be as interested in ceramics as I'd ever be. How times have changed. Wedgwood isn't just about blue and white china. The recent collaboration with Jasper Conran is supreme and worth marvelling over. The plates from the Butterfly Bloom collect (pictured below) are also awesome. 

JOHNSONS OF ELGIN

I dare anyone to find a better Cashmere shop. 

CHAPEL DOWN

The UK isn't generally known for it's sparkling wine but it should be. Award-winning Chapel Down is based in Kent and produces sparkling and white wines, beer and cider. The CEO says on their website: 'I passionately believe that there is no point in just trying to be the best. We have to be the only people who can do what we do.'  

LIBERTYS OF LONDON

Liberty prints are unique. I can't find out if they produce table linen, but I'm sure it wouldn't be a big job to buy and hem some of their material to make a statement tablescape. The range is enormous. The range of styles and colours is vast.

What brands would you recommend? Comment below!

Check out my Best of British Pinterest board.