I'm here, it's true, I survived Legoland. Only just mind.
Anyway, where were we? One of my readers spotted Jacky Ginge having a look at Pretty Pastel Style and asked me what I think of it.
What about what I think of it? says Jacky Ginge. I think it's none too cosy to sleep on, shift it, please.
I have Selina Lake's other books (Bazaar Style, Romantic Style, Homespun Style) so was pretty excited about this one. I haven't quite finished reading it yet. I think this latest tome was one to which I was most looking forward because well, pastels and pretty is right up my street, I think.
What became clear when I started reading the book is that this is about pastels with a twist. Take the front cover, those maroony cushions and the touches of 1970's brown (something you'll either love or hate).
(Jacky Ginger will not get away from that book!)
That sort of style is what I think this book is aiming at, pastels with shots of other basically non-pretty-pastel colours.
Fairly soon, the book lets us know that it wants to encourage us to "create unexpected combinations" and team pastels with "rich textures and contrasting accents of super-bright colour". There is the suggestion that "electric blue or neon pink work particularly well against chalky pastels". Hmmm. That was a bit of a surprise.
Some of the writing in the early chapters of the book, referring to "sugar sweet pastels", alarmed me ; oh dear, I thought, they're right up my street! There's talk of "saccharine visions", we're told to "...stay the cool side of sweet"... "keep the look sharp, rather than sugary"... "forget rooms dressed entirely in sugary shades and lacking edge"... "prevent pastel overkill". The schemes suggested in these chapters were valid but could have been better, more positively, expressed in my opinion. I felt like the author was having a go at me for liking pretty pastels. Hold on, isn't that what the book's called?! Maybe we differ on what constitutes "pretty pastels"?
I will be honest and say I love this book for its images and not for its words. I make myself read them, rather than just treating this book as a coffee table purchase, but I don't feel I learn anything from the words in these books. To me, they feel like filling and so much of it is not rocket science; "Another innovative approach to pastels is to use them as accents in a mainly white scheme" (page 14). Innovative?
Golly, I don't like to be negative (but I am a Northerner and straight with it). So let's get on to the positive stuff now we've got the negative out of the way. And you know, it's not to say I didn't find things to please me in Pretty Pastel Style because the majority of the images do actually go in for the "pretty" approach to pastels. I particularly loved the images shot in the home of Nicky Grace (above and below).
I am familiar with the images from Yvonne of Yvestown's fabulous home but very happy to see them here in their quality-printed glory. The internet is great but you can't beat having a real book in your hands, can you, especially a heavily visual one like this (Kindle is fine for trashy novels)?
Do you know what I think my problem is with this book? It's that it's called "Pretty Pastel Style". In parts, that's exactly what this book is about, especially in many of the pictures which I like, but on the other hand, there's been an effort to be different with the injection of neon and the non-pastel shades.
I'm not sure I think the words always go with the pictures and I will stick my neck out and say I don't think they go with the book's title. Why put down "candy colours" in chapter two when we are shown just that in images elsewhere in the book? I wonder if these issues stem from the fact that this book is produced by a team, a stylist choosing the images, a writer for the words.
Perhaps they should have called it "Modern Pastel Style" or similar. It's not to say I don't like '70s brown, maroon or lime green but they are not what I would term "pretty".
As these sorts of books go, I guess my own preference is for books like those in the "Perfect English" series (eg. Perfect English Cottage by Ros Byam Shaw, fab author, one of my fave books. I wrote about it here.). They allow me to see the homes and read about their owners, I can make my own mind up about the style and how to recreate or adapt it should I wish. That's just me.
I wonder what impression I've given with this book, Pretty Pastel Style? I am glad I have bought it and I know I will enjoy going back to look at most of the photos which give me inspiration and eye-candy pleasure. I have seen a few reviews and comments on other blogs and funnily, enough, one lady loved the cover and the fact it was not "sugar sweet" so there you go. Remember, all this waffle is just my honest opinion. I don't doubt I'll be first in the queue for Selina Lake's next book, something to do with neon maybe! (I also will be reporting back to you from her fair on Friday).
You know one reason why I started doing this book review (other than to answer somebody's question in my usual long-winded way) was to show you something I've made inspired by the book. So there you go, that's a good thing about it! I think that will have to wait for another day though, time marches on alarmingly.
Now on to other business! The matchbox tweeter. Thank you so much for all your entries, I've tried to delete mistaken multiples etc to get a fair number for the draw. Sorry it seems some of you have had trouble commenting, it seems comments were actually there even when it looked to commenters that they weren't as some comments were left several times (eg. 6! Oh the popularity!). Sorry your time was wasted as a result.
It may have been a Blogger-generated glitch (please note angry lady, this is not within my control, please vent your frustration in their direction!) I wonder if you've noticed the message which pops up after you've left a comment, which is that comments are "moderated". This means I do read each comment to make sure it is not advertising or spam before it is published, I don't otherwise delete, so you will not see your comment appear straight away.
So, of the 115 entries, the random thingy has done its work and chosen... number 101.
If my dodgy counting is correct, that makes Josie-Mary the winner. Please get in touch with your details and the birdy shall fly away.
Toodle pip, back to the chores. X
P.S. I have sorted the no-reply blogger thingy (by clicking on the down arrow next to my profile pic in the top right of the screen, choose "Blogger Profile" then "Edit Profile" and check the box next to "Show my email address"), thanks for the advice. So now if I leave you a comment on your blog, you have my email address. Please know, I am not offended if you do not reply again.