To celebrate our third birthday, we’ve asked a few of our favourite friends some rapid-fire questions to gain insight into their at-home lives. These fabulous females have been with R+J since we first opened our doors and we couldn’t love them more.
Deborah Brett, fashion, home and lifestyle creative
Favourite memory of a 'set' table as a child and what did it include?
Christmas Eve in Germany at my grandmother’s house. A long table for 25 covered in a crisp white linen tablecloth, pewter chargers with hand knitted crochet doilies, blue and white ‘Zwiebel Muster’ china by Meissen with matching serving dishes. Crystal cutlery holders with silver cutlery with my grandmother’s initials engraved on them. Fresh pine sprigs laid in between. And my job would always be to write and decorate the placecards.
Are you a keepsake-er or a recycler?
I’m definitely a mixture of both! I love treasuring the pieces I’ve inherited from my mother and grandmother. I have the chargers, crocheted doilies and china but I also love re using the ribbon on christmas crackers to decorate my napkins or spray painting fruit to decorate and add flair to a table.
I don’t just decorate a table with flowers. I love to add food that you can nibble on throughout the meal. From chocolate espresso beans to grapes and figs. Or I love using pots of herbs on a table rather than flowers. The scent is heaven.
Lisa Mehydene, edit58
Desert Island meal?
I think about this often (well, my last meal!), so as I’m on a desert island (and not death row😬), let’s go with burrata and peaches to start, whole lobster with fries and a side of Mac and cheese for main, and my mum's strawberry pavlova for desert island dessert. No swimming for me afterwards.
Are you a list maker on paper or a mobile note-taker?
I’m both, actually. Daily to do list always on paper, but ad hoc notes made on my phone when out and about. And, like a teenage girl, I sometimes scribble on the back of my hand too.
On your wishlist?
Right now….a two week holiday to a Greek island with family and friends from around the world. Not asking for much…..failing that, a navy wool coat from Raey to see me through the British winter.
A hand-woven basket or hand-woven rug?
Rug! As much as I love a basket, rugs really are such special pieces and last a lifetime. They make a home and are to me, artworks for your floor.
Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, Design, Interiors, Product, Wellness & Tablescape nut
Favourite part of receiving post? Do you encourage your
kiddos to lead the way of future letter-writers?
I absolutely love receiving post especially handwritten letters. Nothing excites me more than seeing my name written on an envelope through the post. I love the old world ritual of opening my letters with a paper knife. I never ever throw hand written letters to me so much so I pin them to my wall or store them in beautiful marbled boxes in my bedroom.
My children have their own stationery lovingly designed by R&J and it’s so playful and chic that it encourages them to write often.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
A book called Breath by James Nestor. It’s changed my Life.
Name a colour that you couldn't live without.
If you could write a letter and receive a reply from anyone (dead or alive) who would you write to and why?
It would actually be from my grandfather (my fathers father) he passed away when I was 8. He was an extraordinary man and I wish I had the opportunity to spend more time with him and learn from all his incredible experiences. He was a visionary and married my grandmother defying the caste system back in India in early 1950’s.
Henrietta Martindale, calligrapher
Have you ever sent a love letter?
Many. I’m a love bug and I like to share how I feel with people. My grandparents fell in love through writing letters to one another during the war, and became engaged having never met. It’s a thing. It’s in the genes.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?
A cherry blossom. Comes alive in the spring, blossoms in the sunshine and happily chills out through the winter.
Would you rather have the ability to be invisible or have the power to fly?
This is hard. I’m really nosey and love the minutiae of other people’s lives so the option to spy? Yes please. However, I don't think I’d be able to resist the power to fly. To swoop and soar, to breathe the cleanest air and see the beauty of the world at 100 miles an hour
What is your star sign?
Laura Fantacci, Wardrobe ICONS co-founder
When was the last time you 'set' a table with menu cards or placecards and what was the occasion for?
Over the past year, as things have slowed down, I haven’t been able to entertain as regularly as I’d like to! However, I did set a table for Valentine’s Day breakfast as a celebration of love, with the kids included. It was during lockdown, on a bleak London day and I wanted to create an opportunity for a cheerful, gorgeous table set with placecards and menu cards and flowers. It was all a bit over the top and a bit kitsch, but it really injected some fun into the day. Then in the evening, my husband and I created a make-shift table for two, using a small bistro table from the garden, placed in our sitting room by the bay window, to pretend we were out celebrating at a restaurant. It was a lovely way to perk up ourselves.
Anywhere you have been abroad that sells fabulous stationery?
This summer, I went to Venice to visit my grandmother and as I was exploring the city by foot, I came across this beautiful family run stationery shop, housing all things paper of course! They make the most beautiful marble paper adorning everything from pen pots to photo frames and notecards. I brought a few photo frames home to remember our beautiful summer spent in Italy.
Another favourite are the fabulous trays made by The Lacquer Company to house all of my pen pots and notecards. A Brit fave and an Italian one!
What is something that you always bring back from Italy to London?
Well, I can never just bring ONE thing! Starting with a big chunk of parmesan cheese. It’s that much cheaper and that much better, so we always bring back a nice amount! I’m an avid collector of the typical splatter prints ceramics that are typical of Florence, that have a white base and a green splatter. Every time I go back, I must gather up a few more bowls or plates to complete my little set I’m building up over the years, and I will only use in the garden in the summer. I’m a huge fan of Santa Maria Novella products and adore their little scented drawer liners that smell divine. I buy a few for myself as well as a few for friends as small presents.
Most coveted wardrobe wonder?
This will have to be my Burberry trench coat. Living in the UK, the coat is the thing I wear the most, as sad as that is! I bought it for myself which was a bit of an accomplishment as it’s not a cheap item. I bought it to celebrate my 38th birthday and I love how it instantly makes me feel put together no matter what I’m wearing beneath. It’s such a powerful piece of clothing and one we talk about constantly at Wardrobe Icons.
MEET THE TEAM
Because we couldn't miss out on the fun...
Jennifer Grant, creative director
If you could only eat in one restaurant for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Hands down, my forever fave restaurant has to be Balthazar (in London or NYC), as they serve the best breakfast as well as lunch/dinner, not to mention divine french fries. When they arrived in London, I was pregnant with my first son and I simply couldn't wait for them to open their doors to satisfy my cravings for American-style fries.
Annabel Stoddart, studio manager
Go to dinner party menu?
The dinners I find have gone down the best are the ones where I can get ahead and relax with my friends. I love to do Asian food as so much of the prep can be done before anyone arrives leaving me to spend more time chatting and drinking! Starter would be vietnamese summer rolls with a spicy dipping sauce. Main would be Prawn noodle salad (in the summer) or Pho (in the winter) and pudding has to be baked peaches with little balls of vanilla icecream (bought or made) which are rolled in toasted desiccated coconut - dream combination!
Lizzi Tyrer. designer
If you could be the original designer of one corporate logo, which one would you select?
I can’t say I’m too enamoured with a lot of corporate logos but as an enthusiastic letterer and lover of red I’d have to go with Coca Cola. It’s between that and General Electric.