Six of the best: Easter eggs for designers

A festive look at the egg-shaped designs that show how artists, designers and architects have been influenced by what the chicken laid….

egg-chair-01-15150841321: The Egg Chair. Smooth, rounded oval at the back, opening into a winged, organic armchair that nestles the occupant: Arne Jacobsen designed Egg™ Chair  in 1958, as part of a commission for the SAS Royal Copenhagen Hotel in Denmark. It’s still produced in Denmark, by the original manufacturer, Fritz Hansen

solar egg2: Bigert & Bergström  created this sculptural chamber in the form of an egg-shaped sauna that has been installed at Luossabacken in Kiruna, northern Sweden

3: This floating egg  floating egg by Stephen Turner  was a collaborative  project between the artist, Space Place & Urban Design (SPUD) and architects PAD Studio to show how the arts can engage with environmental issues, generate new perspectives and how collaborative working between a range of professionals can facilitate this


4: The ultimate in giving back to nature, (below) these egg-shaped biodegradable burial pods allow burial spaces to be transformed from desolate graveyards into lush memorial forests. Made by Italian firm Capsula Mundi



egg lights

5: The divine Gregg table lamp by Foscarini, in satinized free-blown glass, available in three sizes. An organic, elegant and familiar shape that does not use pure geometry as its point of reference

6: Intelligent architecture by James Law, this futuristic egg-shaped structure, called Cybertecture Egg, in Mumbai is a perfect example of the blend of iconic architecture, environmental design, intelligent systems engineering. The building was commissioned by Vijay Associate (Wadhwa Developers)

cyber egg


Five top tips to beat dark thoughts

“A great cause of the night is lack of the sun….”*

Our latest in the series of mindfulness offers Five Top Tips to beat dark thoughts….

1: Relaxing with candles, gentle music and soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts can help to draw out toxins through the pores and aid a good night’s sleep. It can also help to dispel dark thoughts. The bathroom here is a Fidget design at the Cedar Manor Hotel 

Coach House suite bathroom small

2: Have an adventure. A change is as good as a rest. Go away somewhere, maybe just for a weekend or a month or more. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are taking yourself out of your normal environment and you are totally immersed in exploring somewhere new. If money is tight, stay with family or friends and maybe even reconnect with old pals. Adventures can be small ones, you don’t have to climb every mountain.

3: Become a dancing queen or king. Even just watching that sequence will lift the spirits. It’s fun, enjoyable and exercise. You could take up classes in salsa or tango, or just dance around the kitchen while cooking dinner.

4: Try writing it out of your system. I tried a creative writing workshop for the first time, and the different ways in which we applied each exercise proved to be excellent at focusing the mind and making me think in a different way. The quality and creativity that I produced at just a one-day day workshop was amazing. And follow the most inspiring wordsmith @RobGMacfarlane on Twitter for his word of the day

5: But do seek help if things are getting too much. If you have never had depressive symptoms before, you don’t necessarily understand what’s going on. If you feel overwhelmed, helpless, despair, can’t think straight, can’t make decisions, can’t be bothered, feel anti-social, tearful, think introspectively a lot and feel low, then you should go and talk to your GP.

*Shakespeare: As You Like It





This above all: to thine own self be true*


This week we look at the conflicting demands of technology that are a barrier to mindful living

Is your phone is constantly, pinging, whistling and demanding your attention, day and night? This is very distracting and not good for your brain, as it is constantly being bombarded with ‘splinters’ of information, some of which is utter drivel and quite frankly useless bits of information.

Manage your tech interactions and take control by switching the sound alerts to silent for the various social media sites. Then you simply allocate specific times of the day to dip in and have a look. This applies to emails too, in order to improve your productivity, personally or in business. Set your boundaries, be committed and manage it properly.

bath text

Sometimes you need to switch off the tech altogether. Phones, iPads, computers and TVs are all visually and audibly stimulating. They should be switched off at least an hour before bed, to let the brain calm and get off to sleep, particularly for kids. It’s recommended that children should only be on tech for a maximum of two hours a day. It is also suggested that we should not sleep with tech on the bedside, due to radio waves interfering with the brain waves and development. Research is under way on this but why not choose to be on the safe side. If you use for phone as an alarm, put it outside your bedroom door, or in another room, and buy an alarm clock.

Poor memory? Foggy brain? About to say something…and ‘poof’ it’s gone? This is because your brain is overloaded and simply doesn’t need to remember non-essential things. It can also be age or menopause related. If you are concerned about this go and talk to your GP.

Otherwise, learn the value of the –to-do list. If you are struggling to remember things, use to do lists on your phone or a small note pad.

But if you don’t manage to be perfect, don’t beat yourself up. Research, understand and make changes. Stuff in life happens. Official stats say that one in four of us will suffer a mental health event at some point in our lives.  But we are more aware of it and have a better understanding, which can only be good for everyone.

If you still feel your job is stressful, then remember that life is not a rehearsal, and we are only on this planet once. Do yourself a huge favour and consider making a change. This can be very scary but can literally be life changing, put a spring in your step, the love back in life and you may be a much nicer person to be around. Life is too short.

Maybe it’s time to give something back? Ever wonder why you feel good when you have helped someone? That’s because the endorphin release in your brain is massive. So volunteering for a good cause or helping some needy people, can have huge feelgood benefits. It’s also contagious. If you help, then people like to help in return.

And instead of staring at a screen….relax in front of a fire, watch the flames and listen to the crackles. If you don’t have a real fire, go find one in a cosy pub and relax. This is great mindfulness.




“Our bodies are our gardens…”*

This week’s post about mindfulness takes a walk into the garden

There are all sorts of theories behind “grounding”. I occasionally go out into my garden and walk on the wet or dewy grass, because I like how it feels on my feet, I think about it and enjoy the sensation, just walking around the garden. This is mindfulness.

walking on grass

Be happy in yourself. Why do some people feel they have to ‘prove’ themselves, be demonstrable, confrontational or point the finger? When you are asked something or perhaps even be criticised, be confident in your own conviction, rather than argue back feeling like you have to raise a point. Simply reply with ‘Yes, I’m happy with what we are doing/ the decision I have made/ where I am at…’ etc… This can both defuse a situation and also say, in a polite way, it’s none of their business anyway.

Play music. Anything you love and makes you feel good, though preferably something upbeat or calming, (not thrash metal, then), even when you’re in the garden or hanging out the washing. Just as helpful, try listening to a podcast, a story or interesting talk show, or an audio book. This can be a very positive experience.

But a note of caution: avoid sound overload. Don’t have multiple sounds, music, tech, iPads, TV all going at the same time, easier said than done when you have kids. Contemporary open plan living is very social, but needs to have noise boundaries. So for everyone’s sake, don’t overload the brain with clashing music and noise. Manage it in a calm way, by allocating kids to other rooms and / or implementing time frames.

And don’t forget to laugh! Just by laughing more endorphins are released, so naturally it’s good for combating stress and rebuilding neurones. Laughing is contagious. Research shows that in work areas where employees laugh and enjoy play time, productivity increases, defensiveness decreases and teamwork improves.

*”Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.” Iago, in Shakespeare’s Othello