Soul Food Studio


Going Backwards to go Forwards: Rediscovering the Joy of Writing with a Fountain Pen

Crafts, Interior, StylingAmanda Russell

With their generous flow of ink and near instant drying, my addiction to gel pens stretches back over many years. But, I miss using a fountain pen, the right nib brings the feeling it’s possible to write for miles. On a few occasions I have seriously tried to get back into using them, however I felt replacing empty gel pens for cartridges in landfill was neither sustainable nor tackling the root of the problem.

As an interior stylist, the constant flow of ‘bits’ through my life swiftly leads to an ugly build up and an urgent need to declutter. While tacking my accumulations of clutter in the studio, I inevitably uncovered my stash of old fountain pens. The question of what to do with them skated across my mind, closing the box and running away seemed attractive. A jumble of different makes, brings the inconvenient headache of both sourcing and storing a broad selection of refill cartridges, making fountain pens a complicated option to adopt.


Lining up my cache of pens reminded me of the joy I have using them. Rather than ditching them I felt tackling the problem of keeping them charged with ink was worth one more shot. A recently invaluable discovery is Cult Pens, who stock a wide range of writing supplies and deliver speedily. I had a buzz of excitement as I ordered ink and reservoirs for the pens, a small change was about to become a reality on my journey towards a more sustainable life.

Making the swap back to using a fountain pen feels like a big win. There’s the aesthetic pleasure of holding a pen coupled with the delight of welcoming back an old friend, Waterman’s turquoise ink, in its design icon, quirky shaped bottle, that’s tip able for easy fill. A moment of peaceful reflection is brought to Sunday evening as I round up my pens, ready to fill for the week ahead. And incase of emergencies there’s always a few cartridges in a tin ready waiting in my bag.

If you like this post check out my post on Plastic Free Kitchen


Star Light Canvas

CraftsAmanda Russell

As if you need to be reminded of the star you are, who could resist making a bright starry statement like this? A really simple project, with just a couple of halogen lighting chains, a canvas and emulsion paint my glittery star project will brighten up any room.


You will need-

Emulsion paint

2x Halogen Lighting chain

Paint brush


Masking tape

Electrical screw driver


1.Paint the canvas with pink matt emulsion paint

2. Draw a large star on a piece of paper then cut out, stick to the reverse of the canvas with a line of masking tape along each straight edge.

3. Work out where you want to have the lights, I had about three along each straight edge and one on each point end.

4. Start making the holes to push the lights through. With one hand supporting the front of the canvas press the bradawl through the masking tape on the reverse and make a pilot hole, next enlarge the hole with the screwdriver, don’t make it too large the light is held in by it. Press the light from the back through the hole to lodge just around the collar of the fitting. Continue round the star with the lights.

5. Hang the canvas up using Command hooks. Do not leave lights on when unattended.


Before putting the lights into the canvas decide where you want the cables to come out, mine was at the lower edge. I worked out the middle of the total number of light positions on the canvas, this was where I inserted the light at the end of the light chain.

If you like this post check out my post on making your own Christmas decorations 

Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek, Book Review

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell

Here’s an inspiring book that recently landed on my desk, Making Concrete Pots, Bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek. On a quick flick through with it’s attractively styled images and easy to see there’s a wealth of projects to get stuck into. Top of my list is a two-tone decorative bowl, but with summer fast approaching a fire bowl would be great and then there’s a cheese board that can double up as a sharing platter when the family’s together.

There are step-by-step instructions for all the very doable projects, the most taxing aspect is carrying home the bag of concrete mix. A look around your house or a trip to the pound store or supermarket is sure to come up with solutions for molds or you can get casting using sand. The project top of my list is the garden planter, currently succulents are on everyone’s agenda and the texture of the grey concrete against the chalky blue of the fleshy leaves would be perfect. 

With 35 projects to choose from, I’ll be returning to this informative book every time I want inspiration. A must for anyone wanting clear step by instructions for making highly desirable, simple, contemporary concrete makes for the home and garden.

Making Concrete Pots, Bowls, & Platters by Hester van Overbeek,

Published by CICO Books (£12.99)

Photography by James Gardiner © CICO Books

If you like this post make sure you read my book review of 'My Tiny Indoor Garden'

Book Review - IN THE MOOD FOR COLOUR Perfect palettes for creative interiors by Hans Blomquist

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell

We’ve been stuck in a neutral colour rut for so long, how can I resist the lure of this book title In the Mood for Colour by Hans Blomquist, everyones all time favourite interior stylist, art director who recounts his story of colour, which is a major interest for me. To find all this rolled into one generous tome means well established books at the top of my extensive must have list have been bumped off in favour of this colourful newbie.

The book opens with A World Full of Colour, a lush mosaic of mainly polychrome images from around the world, its grid format is very familiar to Instagram users. It is then divided into chapters, Dark, Pale, Natural, Soft and Bold. Each chapter is layered with a visual feast of colour images illustrating ways to bring colour into interiors. Running through both text and images the constant message to remember is 'designed by nature' when using colour in interiors. In order to grow your confidence combining different hues, take note of  the many ways nature successfully combines colour. This is a personal account of his relationship with colour, his response to the different colours is engaging and effervescent particularly when he discusses how his mood responds to different combinations. 

The eclectic schemes illustrating ways to use colour are summed up with delightful names like Pistachio, Duck Egg and Faded Denim, hinting at a layered experience that engages all the senses. The double page spread, Rose, Powder, Petal, like a mood board, uses a variety of illustrations, paint, fabrics and flowers, with the main image demonstrating how to layer up with style and confidence. 

With its wealth of eye candy still lifes and dreamy compositions it’s an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to find ways to launch into the colour zone and on their way to creating confident colourful interiors. In the Mood for Colour is now my go to volume for inspiration. I’ve worked on many rewarding projects where colour has been pivotal. As lead colour expert on an innovative government research project, colour was used to show how environment affects children learning. Further projects have used colour to develop rooms for teanage cancer care as well as psychotherapists consulting rooms.

IN THE MOOD FOR COLOUR Perfect palettes for creative interiors

Hans Blomquist

Published by Ryland Peters & Small £19.99

If you like this post check out my post on 'The Flower Farmers Year'