Do it yourself

DIY isn’t one of my strongpoints. It never has been really. With a father and brother both brilliant with their hands there just wasn’t much handiwork skills left in the gene pool for me.

But I do try, and there are times when I feel a vague sense of satisfaction or even smugness when a shelf stays up or a hugely complex wardrobe doesn’t fall to bits. I have to admit I do get myself into a bit of a state when DIY looms: mood descends and I have to mentally prepare.

Over the years, I have developed tried and tested strategies to help me deal with the traumatic experience that is DIY or more accurately, Ikea flat pack furniture:

1. Send wife and children out for a few hours to make sure long-lasting damage isn’t done to the marriage or childhood trauma is caused.

2. Ensure power drill is fully charged and all kit is within easy reach to guard against garage trips in freezing cold.

3. Close all windows to protect neighbours from highly creative, industrial strength foul language.

4. Soothing music in the background to aid concentration.

5. Open windows and turn off central heating otherwise you’ll sweat like a racehorse.

What I’ve found in recent years is that it’s not actually as bad as you think it’s going to be. In truth, the Ikea instructions are actually pretty good and my top tip is to get everything out of the bags first and check them against the instructions. What I don’t like though is if you have a spare screw or a dowel (little wood thingy) – am I meant to have one left over? Is it if I lose one or have I missed some vital instruction?

It’s a minefield, building a bed made from aluminium tubing or a bookcase from MDF, I can tell you.

And the instructions! I have learnt to follow them faithfully and dutifully, even if it goes against my (rather poor I admit) DIY instincts. On top of this, the Ikea instructions contain no words…but they have evolved over time into this highly efficient, pictogram-led, super manual. The trick here is not to look too far ahead, take one page at a time. Carefully study the positioning of the holes and reference these to the real thing – they don’t always correspond 100%, but press on regardless, checking everything as you go.

I cannot honestly say I feel a sense of pride at the end of a DIY flat pack construction exercise, more a sense of relief that the thing has been successfully put together and hopefulness it’ll stand the rigours of use without collapsing or the ridicule of family members. I recall speaking with a friend years ago who actually enjoyed DIY and felt a real sense of achievement and I have to say that he might have been speaking Venusian, so alien is the concept of screwdrivers and satisfaction.

Either way, I write this post in the smug afterglow of a moderately successful erection – only a broken bone and three completely new swearwords invented, which I count as a success.

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

I came across this rather wonderfully conceived store on Creative Review‘s blog – a regular place of inspiration for me. Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is actually a real store in London and part of an art project, designed by We Made This. You may have seen this earlier this week when I tweeted it – but it’s well worth a more detailed look.

It’s a lot of fun, visually beautiful and very wittily put together. The products actually look real and I daredn’t think what’s contained in the packaging…

Great copywriting

Just to prove that the art of copywriting is not dead, here’s some outstanding examples of how words can still carry an ad in this day and age of cutting edge technology and social media.

M&C Saatchi prove that good ad copy can not only answer the brief, but also deliver the goods with customers and also bag lots of gongs in the process.

Damn, they’re good. And remember, all you young creatives out there – it’s ALL about ideas.



The best Star Wars movie

The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie.

Even the hardcore fans can’t disagree with that assertion.

In the meantime, here’s a brilliant shot of Han and Chewie talking about the Kessel Run.


Well, my life is finally complete. A first class stamp with one of my all time heroes on it – Captain Scarlet.

And on top of that, they are lenticular – if you wiggle them, they look like they’re moving.

I’ll have to do a full on post about stamp collecting and my relationship with my dad through the lens of Stanley Gibbons (who sell stamps by the way). In the meantime, enjoy these beauties.


Dear Santa

Those of you who know me reasonably well will know that I’m ludicrously proud of my ability to identify typefaces.

So when I spotted this little stocking filler, it filled me with glee.

I think I’ll have to leave a print-out strategically on the coffee table in the hope Santa picks up the hint…

Globus Organics

Absolutely loving this beautifully simple packaging design for Globus Organics. Elegant and striking, with a real confidence to just ‘be’.

I love it so much I want to buy everything and that’s the reason my wife doesn’t let me loose in shops with fabulous packaging. I’m a complete sucker for amazing design.


I’ve never grown a proper tache before.

Sure, I toyed with silly facial hair in the nineties – who didn’t experiment with a goatee or extended sideburns?

But Movember has given me the opportunity to grow some real man hair under the excellent cover of raising money for men’s charities.

What do you think so far?