Design at // Aless's house


Aless Baylis is an illustrator and print designer living and working in Brighton. Her playful designs currently adorn children's clothing for companies such as Ted Baker and Debenhams, and she's been working on an illustrated alphabet in Spanish; you can check out some of the letters on her Instagram page. We recently had a snoop around the house she shares with her equally stylish boyfriend Mauro.

Aless studied fashion design at Bournemouth Arts Institute, but decided to make the move into print for fashion after realising clothing design wasn't really for her. Her first proper job in illustration was for Winchester-based studio Peagreen, a surface pattern design company focusing on illustration and design for clothing. Aless says, 'I ended up working for them for 2 and a half years (...) it was by far the best job I've ever had.'

Aless and Mauro's home is an eclectic mix of unique trinkets collected on various holidays and visits to craft markets, as well as splashes of colour, from their pink sofa to the yellow mirror frame in the bathroom. Aless says, 'we didn't really have a specific style for our home, we just wanted it to be colourful and fun. I love having bits of neon here and there, and lots of prints and illustrations.' 

Aless is currently obsessed with Smallwild, creator of tiny ceramic animal pendants, and Charlotte Mei whose smiley toast models have been knocking us sideways with cute for the past year or so. When asked how to describe her own work in three words, Aless quite rightly went for 'so flippin' cute!' You can see some examples of her work below.


You can find Aless's work online, on Instagram, and on Twitter.

Profile // The Pigeon Hole


Name: The Pigeon Hole

Owners: Holly and George

Age: 2 years (approx.)

Location: Camberwell

Background: About 4 years ago, friends Holly and George decided to open a cafe. Both hailing from creative careers - Holly in arts education, George in prop and set design - the cafe was always going to be stylish, individual, and with a lot of handmade elements.

'The romantic idea of owning a small independent cafe that worked closely with the community we both lived in and provided us a space to design and build from scratch was something very appealing,' says Holly. 'We both already had a love for cooking but it was through the process of setting up the cafe that we became incredibly excited and passionate about all the local artisan produce that lay on our doorstep.' 

After a blindingly successful Kickstarter campaign and almost a year of searching for the perfect location, The Pigeon Hole opened in June 2014. It's since become a local favourite, serving a range of locally produced food and drink - think Volcano Coffee from West Norwood, pastries from Christopher's in Herne Hill, and sumptuous cakes from Smash Bang Dollop in Crystal Palace - as well as hosting film nights, jewellery workshops, life drawing classes, and guest chef supper clubs.

Why go there?: Aside from the delicious food, The Pigeon Hole has an incredibly relaxed atmosphere that makes any visit a pleasure. The decor is simple but memorable - exposed ply wood edging, second hand lamp shades, and a range of mid-century furniture, all of which is for sale. As Holly explains, 'the design of the cafe is and has always been a very important part of the its atmosphere and we try and subtly change the design of the space with the seasons, creating softer furnishings and cosier table placements in the colder months and cleaner lines and brighter colours in the warmer months.'

The cafe also supports local artists and makers with a rotating exhibition on the walls and hand crafted products to buy. With the newly pedestrianised area outside the cafe, The Pigeon Hole will be the place to relax this summer.

What they say: 'We wanted to achieve a space that people felt at home in.'

What we say: 'Home in. It's awesome.' 


You can find The Pigeon Hole online, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Visit the cafe at 2 Datchelor Place, Camberwell SE5 7AP.

Profile // The Turpentine


Name: The Turpentine

Owner(s): Jude, Alice & Amber

Age: 2 years

Location: Brixton

Background: The Turpentine began as a series of craft markets in south London. You might remember the excellent 'Turpentine Takeover' events held at Living and the Effra Social in Brixton - a cool mix of handmade design talent, workshops and music. When a shop on Coldharbour Lane became available, it was the perfect opportunity for co-founders Amber, Alice and Jude to put their creative mark on the area.

Why go there?: The shop is full of incredible design talent. From hand printed cards and prints to jewellery (including The Turpentine's own range of wood-metal necklaces and earrings), homeware, textiles, and accessories, it's the perfect place to find a gift, or to pick up a unique piece of design for yourself. You can also flex your inner creative at one of the many Turpentine workshops. There are one-off classes and longer courses to suit a variety of creative curiosities; painting, jewellery making, and the ever popular 'drink & draw' sessions are but a few of the available and constantly evolving options. Expect more in the way of collaborative classes in the future, held in tandem with UK designers like i am acrylic.

What they say: "[The Turpentine] is about celebrating creativity."

What we say: It's the turps. 


You can find The Turpentine online, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Or visit the shop at 433 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LN.

Interview // Charles of Lloyd


The first thing that attracted me to textiles and homeware brand Charles of Lloyd (COL) was the riotous use of colour. I’m a sucker for a bright pattern, and COL has these in spades whether as recognisable imagery (think blue kiwi fruit on a spotty orange background) or as abstract pattern.  

Company founder-designer Charlotte Lloyd started her creative career in fashion - working with independent brands and licensing. However, she says the choice to focus on homeware rather than fashion when starting her own independent business was an active choice. As she puts it, she ‘needed to feel curious about something again’. She says, 'I had always loved textiles and print. The overall choice I actually made was to choose pattern as a focus rather than homeware alone. I had a good hard look around and knew I wanted more creativity in my world and something that did not limit me to just one product category. Pattern design and implementation was a medium that seemed to allow much more freedom - whether for homeware, lifestyle accessories or potentially fashion in the future, the themes and trends created have the potential to be applied to any medium.' 

Charlotte launched her latest collection - The Factor 30 Range - at Pulse in 2014, which is where I first met her. The collection is bold and bright with a definite tropical undertone, repeating paint-brushed pineapple prints and an abundance of oranges and yellows. What intrigues me every time I meet someone with a creative independent business is how they manage to maintain firstly a sense of brand identity without saturating their stock with the same ideas, and how they keep up their creative inspiration, the momentum to create. 

I ask Charlotte where she finds her inspiration. ‘If you asked me this question yearly it would change each time. I discover fabulous people daily that inspire me and influence my choices and path. This year I discovered the work of Sonia Delaunay through the Tate Modern expo and found it so awesome. I think the main motivator was seeing how a lady (especially of that era) really trusted her gut and explored so many different mediums. I would also say icons like Iris Apfel who is a NY style legend in her 90s. Again its more her attitude and approach to design and style that I found so captivating. Both of them really enforce how special staying curious is and to be comfortable with your own journey. 

‘I think I am really drawn to inspiring attitudes at the moment rather than people's direct work. It's people’s stories and journeys that are really keeping me engaged in the early stages of my journey and business.’ 

And it is a journey. Well into her second year as an independent maker and business owner, Charlotte says it hasn’t always been easy - the leap of faith it takes to invest both financially and emotionally in something so personal can be daunting. But the rewards, however simple seeming, can be so great. 

‘Money comes and goes in life but the joy of making things and creating is true sole food […] The most rewarding element has been when people simply buy things or leave nice comments. I don’t think there is anything more flattering than someone endorsing something you have made. It’s the interaction with customers at markets, in stores and through social media that really makes it so fulfilling!’

Last year saw COL trying out some of the growing number of designer—maker markets in and around London, a great way to meet fellow makers and discover new trends and techniques. But there’s plenty to keep Charlotte busy in 2016 - COL is continuing to thrive with new bricks and mortar stockists, as well as a potential women’s workwear capsule collection with a fellow designer. COL also has a collaboration with Swoon Editions being released any moment, with the company using one of the bright Factor 30 designs on a chair. And Charlotte herself is also trying her hand at upholstery, something that will only increase her creative potential. Her aim is to have Charles of Lloyd act as ‘an umbrella for lots of new avenues and to be producing things that get people pumped!’ We can't wait to see where her journey takes her.


You can find Charles of Lloyd online, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Remember to check out our exclusive COL tea towel giveaway on our Instagram!

Design at // my home


One of the reasons I wanted to start the L O I S blog was to show off the awesome creative talent behind some of the brands and designs I enjoy looking at. The subconscious tagline was always intended to be 'for people who like stuff that looks good'. But I also believe that there is creativity, inspiration and things that 'look good' in the every day things we see and especially, in the collections of things gathered together by people in their homes and places of work.

With that in mind, I've decided to start a hopefully regular feature focusing on the things I see and like the look of in the various places I go. There's no agenda to it, just pictures to enjoy looking at.

First up: my home.

Interview // The Bakemonger


‘I do not use fondant icing […] It’s kind of a rule that I don’t touch it.’ These are the defiant words of Helen Bakunowicz - aka The Bakemonger - a cake maker so unique in style and quality it’s hard not to agree with her strident views on sugar paste. When Helen makes a cake, it’s a deeply creative process often involving weeks of research and testing. From ombre dying dried fruit to rice paper origami, the techniques used to create a Bakemonger original yield incredible results that resemble more fine art sculpture than edible treat.

But edible they necessarily are. ‘My focus has always been that [the cakes] have to taste great as well, and you have to be able to eat everything’, Helen explains. ‘I started colouring [dehydrated fruit] naturally. The fruit looked like petals and looked beautiful as a decorative, edible thing. I experimented with those and how they could be moulded and twinned […] I’m always fiddling around with things to create different textures.’

Helen trained as a textile designer at Brighton University and went into print design and trend and colour forecasting after graduating in 2001. It was while working on trend mood boards that were becoming more and more dominated by foodie visuals that she realised she might be slightly obsessed. Speaking about her move into baking, Helen says, ‘It’s such a creative sector. Something made me want to push boundaries a little more.’ She soon realised that the techniques she was using were very different from anything already out there: ‘I layer up flavour the same way that I layered up yarns and colours previously [and] I think it’s really important that it’s abstract.’

Being creative is obviously hugely important to Helen. Discussing her process and motivation, she says, ‘Not having patisserie training but having the creative background is quite an interesting mix. It’s nice to be the maker again; you’re basically talking about other peoples’ creativity with trend forecasting. [Now] it almost feels like I’m back at university because I’m making again. [Cake is] an actual thing that you hand over, and cake is always happy, something that people share. Sometimes the fashion industry doesn’t work like that.’

I first discovered The Bakemonger through Instagram. What struck me while poring over the images of cascading dried pear slices and bold geometric chocolate shards was how on earth these cakes were actually made. Luckily, Helen has started a Concept page on her website to give a little background into some of her creations. She believes that while we are visually saturated with images on platforms and sites like Instagram, ‘people are really interested in how you make something, and the thinking behind it.’ 

She says, ‘I really value and respect the prices of things that are made by other makers […] because I know where it’s come from; it’s not from Ikea, it’s worth it.’

Helen’s current creative crush is another local maker from her home town of Frome, Elizabeth Barry who works with porcelain and has recently started making jewellery. Helen explains, ‘She’s taken a classic material and she’s using it in a very different way. It’s the unexpected, but not in a crass way; she’s managed to create something that’s classic and contemporary at the same time.’ Words that could easily be used to describe the way in which Helen herself works.

I ask Helen what we can expect from The Bakemonger in the coming months. As well as hunting new premises for her business - currently run from her kitchen - she has been approached by Harrod’s to put on a 3 month branded pop up in their patisserie section, something she sees as a ‘great opportunity’. In the meantime, she continues to take commissions, and supplies a small number of cakes to Caro, a lifestyle shop and cafe in Bruton, Somerset, as well as taking part in the Frome Independent market on the first Sunday of every month (March - December).


You can find The Bakemonger online, on Instagram, and on Twitter.