Onward And Upward!

Well good morning to you! I am afraid dear reader that things at While Darcey Sleeps towers are in disarray! I’ve been suffering with some numbness in my hands which I have just found out will only be partially treated by some physio.

I’m sure you can imagine that hasn’t put me in the best mindset for writing a cheery blog! However it has put me in the mood to look back at my achievements and the posts on this blog, this will be more than enough motivation to help me keep going. here are some of the important  bits from the past year…….

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We spent a lot of time in Chinatown, mostly eating and buying cute stuff.

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I spent a lot of amazing time with the management board of my company.

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We were often tempted by the lovely shops in London!


The management board conducted a lot of research into bluebells!


I painted……..a lot!

And sewed…..a lot!

I marvelled at the strength of the human spirit.

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I protested (just a little bit).


I laughed and cried when Bob won.


and I stopped doing that!

But best of all I spent time with you guys and I am lifted every time I see how many of you visit my corner of cyber space.

So, Monday afternoon I have an emergency rheumatologist appointment after which I will be pulling my socks up, stiffening my lip and as Beyonce says “getting back to business”, and a proper blog post will be yours next week.


Karen xx



Dreary,Disinterested and Dim!

Morning treacles! Mr Darcey Sleeps had a birthday this week, this automatically means a trip to London in our house, he got to choose the activity and took us off to see the exhibition of Elton Johns photography exhibition – The radical eye.

Off to the Tate Modern we went, situated on the south bank of the Thames, which was not looking its best due to some impressively dreary weather……

the Tate Modern is an old power station, and is really imposing especially when you get up close…….

Once inside you find yourself in the Turbine hall, this house quite spectacular works on a mammoth scale, this one (which was being repaired at the time) was a giants version of the old magnetic fishing game………

Once we had oohed and aahed over the turbine exhibit it was off to the exhibition. Elton  John has an extensive photography collection including this iconic image by Man Ray…….


I think we can all agree that this is a cracking image, the composition and subject matter meeting in the most spectacular way.

However this is where me and the exhibition stopped seeing eye to eye, me the person who lives a completely visual life was…….bored! I don’t really know why, I could understand why the pictures were significant and why you would collect them but they didn’t light my fire. Maybe it was because they were all in black and white I just don’t know.

Feeling a little deflated we took a walk over the millennium bridge and took photos of the stunning views, including the new Globe theatre………

And St Pauls cathedral perfectly framed at the other end of the bridge……


A ride in a black cab with a fairly homocidal driver (we gently hit a Deliveroo driver and then cut in front of another cab which descended into a brisk argument with a barely veiled threat of violence) took us to Chinatown which was still wearing its `New Year finery……….

The birthday boy was in the mood for Dim Sum, all those tasty rolls, packages and dumplings! we had a fab meal here…….

As always we concluded with a bit of shopping in the chinese supermarkets and also the Japan Centre just round the corner in Shaftesbury Avenue.

I bought a fab book called Hello  Tokyo………..

Its full of cute ideas for the home and every other aspect of your life, expect to see some makes soon.

so it only remains to say what I should’ve said last week…



Karen xxx


A Birthday Trip To The Mother ship!

Hello darlings! did you miss me? it felt seriously weird not to talk to you last week, butI was (cue the music) Partying like its my birthday!

As you probably know I reside in the lovely county of Sussex, which is great but I am definitely a Londoner still in my heart, so at the slightest excuse we escape back to the “smoke”.

On this birthday themed mission I had three goals:  go to Selfridges and buy some Ellis Faas make up, go to Liberty and visit their haberdashery and end up at the restaurant Dirty Bones. Here is what went down……..


You know something good is going to happen when you see these doors (thanks to my American friends for sending us Mr Selfridge) but this time the main event were the Shakespeare themed windows, have a look at these…..

I love this quote and this shop is certainly full of devilish temptation!

After walking round cooing and aahing at the lovely stuff on offer I bought a milk chocolate mascara, a lovely medium brown eyeshadow and a super red lipstick for the winter ( yes I’m having another go at red lips!) here they are……..

Purchases made it was off to Liberty, now if you are not familiar with it, this is a London institution built in the 1890s and then majorly renovated in 1924 using the timber from two ships (yes, ships!) the HMS Impregnable and the HMS Hindustan, have a look what they did with all that wood……….

Aint it something! sadly haberdashery was a little disappointing, it used to be much more eclectic and was a little Rowan dominated for me, but hey ho, a tea cake in there cafe sorted me out!

Where do you go if you have just eaten a tea cake? to dinner of course! Off to a new one for us in this lovely hideaway called Kingly court……..


Apologies for the light but this was one of those particularly grey London days!

Dirty Bones is on the second floor…….


Look how quick I can move when there is a burger at the end of it!! Dirty Bones turned out to be a runaway hit, my burger came with black treacle bacon and Gorgonzola cheese and was placed on the coolest table ever !!……


Yup, it was a pinball machine!

I didn’t take any food pictures, it always feels a bit intrusive and unless you catch it straight away don’t bother! no one wants to see half eaten food!

Sadly it was then time to go home, pain, impending bankruptcy and worry about the parents dealing with their furry grandkids had caught up with us but not before we caught one last picture…………


Yes its Stella McCartney, which always makes me think of the Absolutely Fabulous episode where Edina stands outside and screams “Stella!” give it  a look on YouTube! we all shouted but she didn’t come out!

Next week there may be a little video for you -if I can wrap my head round the technicalities!!

Have a cracking week poppets


Karen xxx


It’s Not Easy Being A Robot!

Hola! I thought I would give this mornings greeting an Olympic feel! Do you remember I was off to a comic con a couple of weeks ago? Well it didn’t quite go according to plan.. I now know that I was sickening for this bout of bronchitis and didn’t feel up to it so I sent darling daughter with her dad, they had a whale of a time and here is what they saw……

The London Film and Comic Con was held in Olympia, our roving reporters went on opening day which you can see was fairly quiet.

As they entered they found my new car……

Isn’t it beautiful? And that number plate means it’s road legal- just right for the super market!

One of the exhibits I really wanted to see was this….

The actual Harley Quinn costume from the movie Suicide Squad.

Husband then made himself part of the action….

And once he started he couldn’t stop….

It was at this point that he was genuinely mistaken for George Lucas the director! I can kind of see it, if I squint!

A big part of Comic Cons is cosplay (or dressing up to you and me), and this was taken to the next level with a cosplay dating game, hosted by Batman of course………

There was a Harley Quinn of course……..

And this chap………

He made an attempt on the stairs to the stage …and fell backwards! He was saved by some mere mortals and manhandled to the stage.

Finally, another bat mobile…..

This one not quite as shiney as the other and more appropriate for off roading I think?

And now…drum roll please….I have a giveaway! In my very first post on this blog I shared with you my experience of what used to be called a nervous breakdown, in that post I told you about my bag that says ” I’ve lost the key to my imagination and can’t start my unicorn” it really summed up how I felt at the time.

Well, now that I have had my unicorn back for a while I thought you could name her for me!


to help you out as you can see from the picture she is sassy, wears a little too much make up and loves everybody – sound like anyone you know? so to win this embroidery comment with your choice of unicorn name here on the blog or on our Facebook or Instagram pages, closing date is 28.8.16.

Good luck and have a magical week!



Project Calm Photo Walk

Hello you gorgeous people! I have a visual treat for you today, last week I took delivery of this lovely book-a-zine……….image

It is chock full of things to do that help you relax-not yoga and meditation so much (although they are in there) more about different creative things you can do.

The idea that really resonated with me was a photo walk, documenting a walk that you do everyday or one that is a complete one-off. As I’m still not a 100% I went with my usual dog walk. So, first I gathered my team……..

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Cute! and off we went, I haven’t documented the few meters it takes me to get to the woods, but here is its rather grand gateway………
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This is an ancient woodland dating back many hundreds of years, although its being nibbled away by recent building developments I still feel very privileged to have it on my doorstep, so off we go!

First, along the path that runs parallel to the railway….

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At the end of this path is a huge mound that the dogs love to run up and down to give me heart failure……..

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Once my nerves are settled its off across the fields………..

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At the end of this field is a huge oak tree that must be at least 100 years old (can you see the houses just behind)……..

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Off up the hill to what I thought was a bomb crater but I am reliably informed its earthworks from the 40’s when my house was built, either way it is magical looking as the water is always black looking………

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Needless to say I don’t feel the need to follow the dogs down that hill!

After a few twists and turns we end up here, crossing one of the two main streams……

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Then the path takes us pass the local school…….

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This primary school really makes the most of their situation and the children attend forest school, have treasure hunts and reading sessions all in the wood.

The dogs make the most of the surroundings and climb the occasional tree……

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I know I always bug you with the first bluebell sighting, but this path uncovered this beauty……

When all the others are out it scents this part of our walk beautifully.

This next path has my favourite view in any kind of weather…….

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I’m not a church going girl but it always reminds me of walking into a church, something about the light filtering through the trees looks like stained glass to me.

I’m not sure who built this little meeting place but the dogs love it…….

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And then its time to head for home, over the second river and up the hill….

I think the picture walk was a great exercise, it helped me focus and decide which things might interest you and in doing so I kind of saw the woods with fresh eyes. I will definitely do another one, maybe in a couple of weeks when I am going to the V and A museum for a sketching class!

Have a fabby week






How To Make A Bag Out Of Bluebells!

Hello loves! It’s no secret that I am absolutely nuts for the bluebells that carpet the woods at this time of year, I have taken roughly a bazillion pictures (yes I’ve counted), here is just one…..

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In the past I have tried to prolong their magic by wearing Jo Malone’s gorgeous Wild Bluebell fragrance ( http://www.jomalone.co.uk), I have brought bluebells in from our garden……

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The colour is without compare and how gorgeous is that little flower bridge? I am so lucky to have given it a home when my mother in law downsized.

This year I have decided I will try and paint a proper picture of them, I will be exhibiting again this year at our local arts festival and I think a picture of our local woods will go down well. I am determined not to rush and I will use all the proper grown up techniques…

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Not much to see and actually now residing in the bin, I wasn’t sufficiently happy with my washes so instead of painting something else I will try and try again!

So then, pretty much as it does every day, my mind turned to handbags, I have tried to find a really pretty backpack, these are my favourite at the moment but only if they have handbag style top handles so that I can carry it conventionally or on my back if needed, I started to see a bluebell coloured, satin backpack with zips and decoration in the green of their stems…

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Again I’m going to take my time with this, I need it to be the most perfect shade of blue and the right zips etc. Of course then my mind started seeing the perfect tote in rose coloured fabric…….

I’m blaming this lack of focus on my bluebell induced mania! Hopefully I will have some of the picture to show you soon, follow me on Instagram for the most up to date images!

Have a cracking week





Faux fur, Faux leather And A Genuine Hot Dog

Hello loves! well, the darling husband has a birthday this weekend so we took ourselves off to London so that he could visit his favourite comic shop which is handily in Berwick street, home to all the best fabric shops!it was a perfect opportunity to buy some fabric for a Mollie Makes project (more later).

As we were strolling down I spyed this……

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Yes a wildly gyrating Queenie, i’d love to know what she thought!

Into the fantastic Berwick Street cloth shop, I think the windows give you an idea of what is to be found in this stuffed to the brim gem of a shop……

I found these two to make this project……

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The good news is I have enough fabric to make a couple, so they will eventually be in the Etsy shop and the icing on the cake was meeting a lovely man called Vasilis who teaches at the London College of Art! He showed me some gorgeous gowns his students had made, he will be emailing these too me but is leaving soon for India- when I have them I will give you a bonus post!

A quick pop in the art shop and then to Gosh comics for the birthday boy, something awful happened inside dear reader, I bought stuff!…………


I am obsessed with Harley Quin and the Suicide Squad characters and will be pimping my car out in her colours. I have no reasonable explanation for the manga book..

By this time we were famished and as my husband and by default daughter are partially german we went to Herman Ze German, that is not an awful stereotypical faux pas on my part, its called that! these hot dogs are the real Mccoy imported from the black forest. I have no idea why, but I took no photos of the food, instead here’s the lovely interior…

I had a veggie wurst and sauerkraut which is a superfood according to the Hemsley sisters, not sure how they would feel about the cheesy chips..

Finally, a tired walk down to chinatown, we popped into M and M world but I can’t show you what I bought as its a birthday present for my little bro’.

we popped to our favourite supermarket, for the essentials……………

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And a peek at the brand new gate, how gorgeous is this……

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If you fancy any of these delights heres your links:





Have a lovely week.





Lewes? It’s A Cracker!!

Around this time of year, you may find that the Sussex town of Lewes will appear on the national news. That’s because it ithe UKs largest Bonfire celebration,  regularly attracting tens of thousands of visitors!


It is also a regular on antique programmes like Bargain Hunt, they are usually in the flea market which was unexpectedly closed on our visit……


However the Lorenz family went to Lewes last weekend for chocolate! We were off to the marvellous eccentricity that is Bonne Bouche……


This is quite literally a chocolate box of a shop, so tiny that three people would fill it, but filled with chocolates that are a cut above the high street. It’s owner Mrs Syrett used to run the chocolate department of Fortnum and Masons and has probably forgotten more about confectionery than her competitors have ever known.


She accepts no cards but you are welcome to write a cheque! Sadly, Mrs Syrett lost her husband a few weeks ago, in light of this we didn’t take any photos inside and I stood outside with the dogs while Neil shopped. Being the marvellous woman that she is Mrs Syrett bought me out a whiskey truffle! This is old fashioned quality product delivered with grace and charm. We bought everything from Mojitos to Millionaires Shortbread!

We then had a little walk round soaking up the history of Lewes….


Some of the buildings date back to the 1400s….


The castle sits quietly behind the high street….


The views from the high street are breathtaking……..


And as we returned to the car park we discovered this picture, this is Thomas Paine…..

image image

So if are ever in Sussex, have a trip to Lewes and definitely Bonne Bouche, there should have been pictures of the chocolates but we ate them!

Have you got a favourite place to visit? I’d love to know!


Karen xxx

Art , Beauty, And A Spangly Mini!

The family Lorenz took itself of to London this with a simple mission of buying ourselves something pretty! We also wanted to give Carys a pre-results stress buster. Here is what I bought.

First, I into Selfridges for some Charlotte Tilbury eye crayons…….


I needed a new Bronzed Garnet, I didn’t need an Amethyst Aphrodisiac but couldn’t resist it’s green eye enhancing powers!

Across the road to Marks and Spencer as they stock the marvellous new perfume range – Shay and Blue, I have had a tester of their salt caramel scent and really wanted more…..


Just £30 for 30 ml and there are a range of lovely single note scents to choose from.

What followed was a hike to Hermann Ze German for a genuine German hot dog, it was well worth the walk to Soho, but I completely forgot to snap it!

Refreshed and rested, we dropped in to Cass Art for supplies, again I had things I needed, like paper and paint but these watercolour markers fell in to my bag as well…..


I then succumbed to a bag for life from there that featured a particular colour and on the flip side detailed paintings that feature this colour…….


After we allowed my husband some time in the comic shop, we finished off in Beyond Retro, as always stuffed to the brim with vintage clothes, I bought this……….


Don’t panic I shall not be wearing this sequinned miin! But I will hopefully be turning it into a bag, if I get my act together it will be a tutorial.

Finally, I have the best of news that I wanted to shout from the rooftops but was banned from doing so- my dear daughter got 9 As and 2Bs in her GCSEs!!! This kid has spent e last few months tied to her desk so I am so happy she has been rewarded.

I have to run to an MRI now so…

Shakey kisses Continue reading Art , Beauty, And A Spangly Mini!

Victoria and Albert 4 Ever

Last week we took ourselves off to Alexander McQueen at the V&A for the second time, don’t worry I’m not about to bore you by waxing lyrical about his genius again, but I feel that we need to discuss how marvellous the Victoria and Albert museum is, and how I’m of the opinion that we need a bit more decoration in our lives!

But first how about this….


There was a little family of ducks living on the shallow pool that provides the centrepiece to the courtyard! A decidedly unhappy member of staff was tasked to ensure their safety, and was doing a brilliant job, I did have video but I can’t get it to load, grrrrr!

First we went to the restaurant and sat in the Gamble room, tiled and with painted ceilings and stained glass it is beyond gorgeous…..


And around its ceiling it has the following inscription “There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and make his soul enjoy the food of his labour”. Well my soul certainly enjoyed the food.

And so we went on a leisurely stroll through several different rooms, flitting from century to century and between the continents……

imageThis was a chair from a maharaja in India, it is gold-plated and heavily engraved.

We went to a series of rooms featuring items from Britain through the ages, this 16th century glove was breathtakingly detailed….


I was amazed by the detail in this mirror from the 1700 s…….


Onward to my favourite section the fashion room and this Chanel jumpsuit had me contemplating the likely success of a smash and grab…..


It was completely sequined and considering it was made in 1936 looked entirely wearable.

Another classics in this room was this Dior suit……


This was an example of Dior’s new look, a reaction to the austerity of the Second World War it used metres and metres of fabric.

Unfortunately I have lost the details of these shoes but I have to share this photo because they are so marvellously bonkers……


And as time was marching on we finished in the Immediate Collection, the name confused me but it is actually very obvious, these are items that are very modern but are significant enough to be collected, here’s an example:nude shoes…..


And then this Louis Vuitton, ice cream inspired bag……




Finally, the down right sinister ……


A 3D printed gun!

As we walked it really struck me that society has decided that clean lines and lack of any decoration is the way to go, our homes are neutral hued and always decorated with a view to resale. Clothes are short on embroidery or embellishments.

I have decided to rebel, slowly, I have bought some flamingo wall paper for my lounge, baby steps!

What do you think? are you a minimalist or like me yearning to be a maximalist!