Whether it is the adverts for the Chelsea Flower Show starting to show up everywhere, or trays of seedlings and tomato plants at the supermarket, gardening season is well and truly upon us. Unless, of course, you don’t have a garden. But even then all’s not lost because – as we learnt recently – you’d be amazed at the scope of veg that you can grow from your windowsill. And if there was ever a way of better living in small spaces (which we’re all about here at Boxman), then having your own city-centre veg patch is surely it.
Spring is in the air and if you’ve ventured out into a park in the last few days, or are lucky enough to have a lovely London garden, you’ve probably noticed the first bees of the year, too.
Board games are back, in case you didn’t know. Sure, those perennial favourites like Cluedo and Snakes & Ladders may forever hold a place in our hearts, but this new wave of board games are considerably more interesting, so if you’re the kind of person whose blood pressure rises simply upon hearing the word, ‘Monopoly’ (and I’m with you on that one – writing it here necessitated a brief tea break to steady myself), please don’t switch off just yet.
London’s well known as being one of the world’s great Design Cities, and while it’s synonymous with the kinds of brands and labels that are truly international in scope, increasingly it’s also a great place to find up and coming designers, many of whom create incredibly innovative and unique things, often quite literally from their bedrooms. Hannah Bass is an interior designer-turned needlepoint designer who designs and runs her eponymous company selling needlepoint kits featuring stylized city maps on cushion covers from her home. We were obviously intrigued to chat about being your own boss, working from home and keeping a good work/ life balance.
Lego opened its latest mega-store in Leicester Square last week, and at 914 square metres and over two floors, it is indeed a very sizable affair. Visitors can marvel at a life-size Underground carriage, Big Ben with a fully-functional clock (naturally) and all the Danish building blocks you can shake a stick at. Mega-Lego is hardly a new concept to London – a huge, 10 metre tall Christmas tree constructed from the stuff was on display a few years back in St Pancras station, so naturally we wondered what other London-inspired creations might be out there and also (because we have storage on the brain) how you keep those bricks under control. Although the company itself was founded in 1932, it wasn’t until 1949 that the first interlocking bricks that we now associate with Lego started being produced. It’s rare to find a toy with such longevity and perhaps rarer still to find…
Japan’s unique blend of time-honoured tradition, trailblazing modernity and the capacity to incorporate both into daily life has a lot to do with why so many visitors find it so beguiling. In popular culture, certain trends, characters, books, movies and (yes) foodstuffs have gained such a following they’ve spawned an entire sub-culture. The term ‘Wapanese’, from the English ‘want to be Japanese’ is a perfect example, as is the devotion with which those Wapanese often cultivate their Wapaneseness.
It’s easy to view air pollution as something that happens somewhere else, but it’s a genuine issue for us Londoners. As recently as last year, The Guardian published a story claiming that nearly 9,500 premature deaths each year are caused by the pollution in the London air, reported to be the dirtiest in Europe. We don’t mean to be alarmist, but that certainly gave us pause for thought. But, you may be asking, surely the air indoors is better? Um, wishful thinking, we’re afraid. Indoor air pollution is a mixed bag of threatening air particles and pollutants that have either drifted in from outside or been invited in with new furniture or household cleaners and then recirculated in our air conditioning. It’s easy to hang your head and try to dismiss these things on the basis that there’s nothing much we can do individually, but amazingly there is a very simple…
If you’re a musician yearning to record that ground-breaking album that you know will change the world (or at least propel your name into musical conversation) the good news is that you really don’t need the keys to Abbey Road in order to make it a reality. The equipment available to the modern home recording studio is many times more powerful than the old four-track that The Beatles recorded Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on.
What do you do when you’re a passionate cook, but have an area approximately the size of a postage stamp to do your cooking? Miriam Nice, food writer and London-based foodie, has taken a rather a novel approach to the art of cooking in a less-than-comprehensively kitted out kitchen: contemplating what to do when you don’t have one at all.
The London Design Festival, held annually in September, never fails to showcase the best and most innovative new design here in London and the UK. While it’s always exciting to see what’s new and what’s cutting edge, there are certain pieces of design which are so iconic they are as as intertwined into British life as the Queen, tea or joining a queue just because it’s there and it would be rude not to.
Everybody’s seen them: the flats where communal areas have thriftily been omitted in favour of squeezing in another bedroom or two and increasing the rent. If bedrooms are supposed to be for sleeping, where are the people who inhabit those compact spaces supposed to do their living? This week, we’ve been thinking about one of the most efficient space-saving and multitasking bits of furniture: the wallbed.
As regular readers will know, we’re all about better living in London’s small spaces. This week our roving reporter, Em Kuntze, set out for the Old Kent Rd Brewery to discover how a hobby that started in a bedroom is fast becoming a way to make a living.