Monday, 6 September 2010

Even celebs love 'My Enemy, My Friend'! - Catch Up With Whats Been Going On..

Well a lot has been going on over the last few weeks and although I cannot fit it all in this little blog box, I will try and share with you as much as possible.

I am very excited because I got to meet a few of the Big Brother housemates yesterday at a charity event. Albeit, in my pyjamas! (long story as to why I was in my pyjamas but let me tell you it was embarrassing!)

I'm a big fan of Big Brother because I love people watching. I found this years one extremely entertaining because there were so many great characters, as well as one of the most genuine characters I think we've ever seen on reality TV - Josie. I dont think I've come across one person who doesn't like Josie; her accent, her modesty and just how unbelievably genuine she is.

I also got to meet the lovely Govan on my travels and Sam Pepper was present too, causing havok as usual - gotta love him! Govan and my dog, Milo had a little love affair and fell in love, by the time I had to take Milo home he wouldn't leave Govan to get in the car - he doesnt do this with anyone so Govan must be special! I've promised them that they can see each other again!

Some of the housemates took an interest in my book :) yay! And I've uploaded a picture of Josie and Sam Pepper holding it. Josie and Govan started reading theirs yesterday so I look forward to hearing their views on it.

It has only been 4 months since the book was published but it takes a long time to get the word out there. PR is a tough job these days with so many books being published but luckily I am starting to get a steady following from people all over the world which makes me so happy. I have received emails from USA, Australia, Eastern Europe, Israel and South Africa. It is also starting to make its way into the world of celebrity and I have had a few requests from actors, singers and people in the media to send them the book. Lets hope that this carries on and my story continues to get out there. Dont forget if you'd like to order a copy just go to Amazon and type in 'My Enemy My Friend' or Lauren Vaknine.

There is a very important message that I am trying to send out with this book, and that is to help children with childhood illnesses to deal with their illnesses emotionally from as early on as possible. My resentment towards my illness led me to a very bad place and it took me a long time to find my way back. I still have arthritis but I work at it every single day through homeopathy, meditation, positive thinking, affirmations and power of the mind. I do not take any conventional medication because I believe that everything starts and ends in the mind - our minds are capable of anything. It is my aim to help children with childhood illnesses - and their families - to deal with their illnesses and get emotional help from early on.

I have had meetings at the Houses of Parliament and I am trying, along with MP David Amess, to pass a bill whereby families of children with all childhood illnesses get offered counselling from diagnosis onwards. I believe this can prevent many peoples lives from ending up going down the wrong path simply because emotionally they cannot deal with the strain of their illness.

Next week is the official re-naming of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. It is going to be called the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine. The hospital have kindly invited me along to attend the evening where all patrons and members, including Twiggy and hopefully Prince Charles will be in attendance. Prince Charles kindly asked for a copy of my book a few months ago so hopefully I will finally be able to ask him what he thought of it. We hope that the new name for the hospital will attract more people, people who may not know about homeopathy but trust the term 'integrated medicine'. The hospital does of course offer so much more than just homeopathy. It is a hospital for people who choose not to use, or whose bodies do not accept conventional medicines and would like to take the alternative route. I would recommend it to any person with any illness. It has helped me more than I can express.

Speaking of homeopathy, another piece of news I would like to share is that I have officially been named Trustee for the British Homeopathic Association and I am so excited to get started with them.

Lastly, I would like to wish all my fellow Jews a happy, healthy and prosperous new year filled with only love, light and positivity. And to all those of you who are not Jewish, I wish these blessings to you too.

Love, light and positivity always,

Lauren xx

My Buying Behaviour

Lets talk about buying behaviour, what makes us buy furtniture where we buy it? I buy my furniture from where ever I see something I like! I do find that the best places to pick up unique pieces are abroad because the cultures are so different that you are bound to pick up one of a kind pieces. I have a lot of family in South Africa so whenever I go there I pick up another 'jungle looking' piece. Wooden animal pieces like giraffes are the nicest and they sit nicely against a neutral background and wooden floor to give it a little something extra. If I wasn’t so against animal skins and furs I'd pick up a Springbok rug as I think they look beautiful, but I wouldn’t buy fur.

The great thing about being an interior designer is that I always have so many ideas but I couldnt possibly redecorate my own house with every new idea, so I get to explore them with clients' projects. It always seems that the minute I finish decorating, I already have so many new ideas and would like to start all over again! My buying evolves by what is around me I guess, and what inspires me at the time. I was talking about nature inspired design in the last blog, and that is what inspired the bedroom of my last design. After studying Feng Shui, I did learn that having nature inspired design can ground you and is good for the bedroom which is why I decided on Cole and Son's Woods wallpaper. I also have a little water feature in my garden which I love! The way in which I shop always evolves because I am constantly finding new places to shop. I love finding new furniture or fabric shops and sometimes I'll go on a little road trip just to see a certain shop I've heard if it interests me.

I do think that the media have influenced our buying styles because I subscribe to a few of the Home magazines and if I see certain things I like in them I might go and have a look myself or check them out on the internet. The magazines and internet give me inspiration and teach me about new places that I may not have heard of. They also keep you up to date with exhibitions or design days that are good to know about.
I think the way you shop also changes depending on how much money you have. Most people buy the majority of their furniture at IKEA, and don’t get me wrong, you can do IKEA right if you try and they have some lovely pieces! But if you can afford to spend a bit more, not only can you travel more and pick up pieces abroad, you are also able to explore a bit further and look in shops you may not have looked at before - this definately makes a difference. Unfortunately, good furniture can be very expensive but there are ways of mixing new, expensive pieces with pieces from IKEA and old, antique or vintage finds. I still shop in flea markets and antique fairs and have found my most beautiful pieces from there. I like occasional chairs and like to buy them antique and re upholster them in a unique fabric, something like Designers Guild, Osborne & Little or Sanderson.

New Home Trends

What I like about new home trends at the moment is that you can literally pick an era of time and incorporate that into your design. Every decade really had their own style that is so easily identified, and I think we have now got to a point where, when people look back on 2010, there will be no set design, it will be a lot of different decor styles infused together. At the 2009 exhibitions, we saw a lot of 50's and 60's inspired furniture, but with its own twist.

I have also noticed a strong revival of Art Deco which was first introduced in the 1920's and was then revived in the 80's but this time, though it remains elegant and classy, it has a slight 60's twist to it which makes it fun! A fabulous example of this is furniture made by a wonderful Portugese company called Boca Do Lobo. Their 'soho' cabinet is a perfect example of modern eclecticism. It uses drawers in different shapes and colours. Their Guggenheim drinks cabinet is one of the most beautiful pieces of furniture I've ever seen (picture below somewhere in a previous blog) in its Zebrano wood. I connect with them because their styles are so mixed yet so contemporary at the same time - they are definately creating 'furniture of the future'.

There is a lot of nature inspired furniture, fabric and wallpapers about this year too. Cake stands with tiers held together by steel dragonflies (check out, Cole & Son's Woods wallpaper and many other fabric and wallpaper companies using leaves, trees, animals and many other designs inspired by nature. In an age where we are trying to live more 'green', this is really appealing. It is also very grounding to have a home that has many natural aspects including water features, which Feng Shui believes brings wealth into the house.

Seletti are another company who I think make beautiful modern furniture with a twist, check out their website and have a look at the Assemblage Tricot cabinet and their 'Trip' collection. While on the subject of modern furniture makers with a twist, I think Johnny Egg is the one to look out for innovation. His 'Twisted' and 'Oscar' side tables are one of a kind.
One more company I really admire for their creativity are Andrew Martin. They really revived the 'Best of British' design schemes this year with their Beatles cushions and all things Union Jack!

A New Home

I started to wonder, if I could design my perfect house in my head what would it look like? I discovered that it is a very fun game to play so here goes: Firstly, the heart of the home, the kitchen. I have always liked traditional English type kitchens and I love fresh whites with blues. There was a Kitchens and Bathrooms supplement with Homes and Gardens magazine a while ago and they showed a kitchen made by Smallbones of Devizes (who I think are the best people for kitchens). It was my ideal kitchen; the colours, the space, the design - all of it. I would have white cabinets all around with an Aga, possibly a funky colour one or it could be white with different coloured polka dots on it. There would be a galley island in the middle with pots and pans hanging from the top - traditional English style. There would be a breakfast area with a table which would have a white table and chairs covered with blue and white fabric. There would be white shutters and the kitchen would over look the garden. The blind would match the fabric over the chairs and in another corner there would be space for a few shelves and a sofa and large armchair - on the shelves I'd have funky objects and there would be union jack cushions on the custom made upholstered sofas. Instead of following tradition with the blue and white bone china everywhere, I think I would go a bit more colourful - still classic styles - with the crockery. I saw these gorgeous mugs and plates in John Lewis so those would be on show in a cabinet that had glass windows. Also a toaster with polka dots maybe to match the Aga.

The living area would ideally be set down a few steps from the dining area in a separate room to the kitchen. I like the idea of having sofas a few steps down so you feel like you're low down. I think I'd use muted grey colours with splash's of other colour. Roche Bobois have beautiful furniture for living and dining rooms. I love their Veranda dining chairs (though I cannot seem to source a picture) so would probably use those around a more classic looking table - as much as I love the Saarinen table, I feel it is too modern. My living area that is down a few steps would probably have a slight art deco feel to it, but still relaxed.

I would also like to have a separate sitting room on a higher floor which has a glass ceiling. It would be a meditation and chillout room. Low sofas and cushions of all different colours all over the room, possibly Moroccan style, with insence sticks and chillout music playing. The ceiling of that room would all be glass and one large window that looks out to the view would also be all glass, with the option to close a blind, or a fabric curtain that matches the cushions.

My bedroom would be decorated from start to finish with Graham and Green furniture and a bed from 'And so to bed'. Deep golds and beiges, to keep it neutral and calm, with one of G&Gs gorgeous cabinets and a lovely chandelier and heavy drapes. A nice silk wallpaper would work there too and if I had the option, the bed would be facing a large glass window where you could see out to the greenery. Being close to nature always makes me feel more relaxed and grounded and is good for meditation.

My Indirect Sources of Inspiration for Home Furnishing & Design

Hey everyone, this is an interesting topic I think, because inspiration for home furnishing and design can come from absolutely anywhere! I always see houses in films and think 'ooh i love that' or 'no, not for me'. For instance, I'm sure you've all seen Home Alone... weird example I know, but I love that house! It’s so homely and is a real family home. I love the reds and greens, its a house that will always look fab but especially at Christmas! The key words I would use to describe the inspiration for a house like that is ‘burnt toast’. I can just imagine the smell of nearly burnt toast and fresh coffee wafting up the stairs from the kitchen, making it even more homely and appealing. The deep reds, greens, neutrals and different use of fabrics give it a really warm feel too.

My favourite era for interior design is the Georgian era. Not only did they decorate the interiors really beautifully - less grand than the Victorians but still plush with neutral colours - the structure of the houses were highly attractive.
Speaking of the Victorians though, Buckingham Palace was finished during the reign of Queen Victoria and she moved in not long after her coronation. It is a really stunning palace, very grand of course, being a palace, but the colours, textures and furniture are things I really love. Although I wouldn’t necessarily design a whole project like Buckingham palace, I would take aspects of it and add those. For example, the rugs are designs we still use today, and I would use the sofas with the same frame but maybe upholster them in a more modern fabric. Although I do feel that the modern, minimalistic look of the 90s and 00s are leaving us, making way for a revival of 20's and 80's art deco and incorporating the grandeur of Victorian and Georgian times.

Speaking of Art Deco, I LOVE IT!!!! I don’t think there is anything quite like the glamour of the 1920s. The glamour of the 1920’s was mirrored in every aspect of life from interiors and fashion to gangsters and Hollywood. Elegance and decadence are key words that spring to mind to describe this era and if i could, I would design every project with art deco aspects!

Another place I get inspiration from is fashion designers, like Vivienne Westwood. Her unique quirky style is basically saying 'I don’t conform to any rules, I will mix and match what I like as per my mood' and I love this! Just like interiors, why can’t we take vintage 20s or 50s pieces of furniture and mix them with a modern wallpaper or fabric?? It’s the best way to design in my opinion. I have a book called 'Fashion Designers at Home' and it is the most wonderful book. It shows you the houses of 21 fashion designers from Dolce and Gabbana to Elie Saab. Their interiors really reflect their personalities and their fashion which is great and I have managed to get great inspiration from there.

My favourite glamourpuss of all time is Grace Kelly. I recently went to the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum of all Grace Kelly’s clothes including jewellery. By looking at her style, you can really pick up some inspiration for design, especially seeing as she ended up being a princess living in a palace in Monaco. She is the quintessential fairytale bride!

Lastly, there are some beautiful restaurants out there, especially in London. I love Sketch in Conduit Street, really quirky design I recently went to Wales and went to a beautiful restaurant that was within a revamped barn. Very country-like! So as you can see, my tastes vary from glam to country, but as long as I’m getting inspiration for design it doesn’t matter where it comes from  x

My sources of inspiration for home furnishing

I haven't written a design blog for a while so thought I'd get a few out there. In this one I'll talk about my favourite hotspots for buying home furnishings.

Being an interior designer, there are lots of shops and brands I have discovered along the way, but if I had to choose 3 favourite ones they would be as follows:
Designers Guild:
They are based in Kings Road in Chelsea (London) and they make the most incredible fabrics and wallpapers. Tricia Guild is the very talented lady who started it and she has lots of books to give inspiration. Their fabrics make great use of colour and texture and can be used for all types of moods, rooms or spaces. I used mostly Designers Guild fabrics in my Squint custom made sofa. It was made patchwork style and looked fab. I decorated a house where we really wanted the upstairs hallway to be beautiful and not just a boring place you pass through so we used a gorgeous Designers Guild wallpaper.

The second place I love to shop for homeware is Anthropologie in Regent Street. They have the most wonderful pieces of homeware, especially kitchen stuff. I recently bought a set of tea towels (completely overpriced for tea towels and most people wouldn’t appreciate it but they are just gorgeous!). It is a set of 3 towels. The first one says 'They met and fell in love', the second one says 'They got married', and the 3rd one says 'They lived happily ever after'. I will upload a pic so you can see how sweet they are. I also bought some gorgeous colourful plates and table cloths there. The table cloths are great for garden tables and really cheer up al fresco dining in the summer. (We don’t get much summer in London so its good to make the most of it when its here!)

Another place I love to shop is Cheslea Harbour Design Centre They have 70 showrooms under one roof and over 120 brands. Very expensive but oh so beautiful. They place itself is just designed so beautifully and is so peaceful to spend a day there mooching around. If ever there was a way to wind down, Chelsea Harbour is it for me! Some of my favourite showrooms there include Baker Furniture, which is quite 'classic English gentleman' style. I also absolutely love love love Porta Romana for lighting. Donghia and Fox Linton also have great pieces and fabrics.

1 last favourite to add to the list: It shouldn’t always be about expensive, overpriced furniture and fabrics. Being creative with design also means finding one off vintage or antique pieces at flea markets, antique fairs or antique shops. Alfies Antique Market is wonderful for some great buys, as is Spitalfields Market where there is a great shop called Elemental. After Noah in Islington has some great buys and Decorexi (also in Islington) is somewhere I think I have shopped at for nearly every project I have worked on!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Think it... and it will BE!

Well it has been an extremely busy few weeks, which I have to say I am most grateful for. After a few weeks of feeling down in the dumps about things just not happening as quickly as I would have liked, I went back to Israel for a week with the family for a big family function out there. I managed to clear my head and find the 'positive Lauren' that everyone is used to seeing. When I came back I decided I had been extremely slack with my positive thinking, power of the mind exercises and affirmations. Then a series of bizarre things started to happen and signs were coming up all over the place.

I went to buy a book for a friend of mine for her birthday - I would have bought it on Amazon but got back from Israel 2 days before her birthday and didnt have time to order it so I went to WH Smith. While I was there looking in the 'Self Development' section for a book called 'Journey of Souls' which I know Kate would have loved, a book that Ive seen before but has never really appealed to me kept 'jumping out at me'. It was called 'The Power Of Now'. Those sort of titles along with things like 'I Can Make You Thin' and other equally generic titles have never appealed to be but I felt like this book was looking at me! I didnt buy it, and also didnt have time to buy Kates present as I couldnt find the book I was looking for and I was running late for a meeting. I went to my meeting and in between that one and a meeting about my book cover, I went back to WH Smith to look for Kate's book again thinking that maybe I by-passed it because my mind was on being late. Again, 'Journey Of Souls' was no where to be found but I kept noticing this one copy of 'The Power Of Now'. I thought nothing of it and put it down to the fact that the cover was my favourite colour - turqoise blue - and I left.

While in the meeting with my wonderful and uber talented 'team creative' for my book cover, my stylist - Stevie Sollinger - started speaking to me about how the parts of the book that interested her most were the bits to do with how I used the power of the mind to beat Arthritis. I told her that I'd been a bit down recently and kind of lost some of that positivity, to which she replied, "You must read The 'Power Of Now', it changed my life".

I couldnt believe it - this book that kept jumping out at me, had jumped out for a reason - I was meant to read it. Stevie told me how the concept behind the book and doing constant affirmations had turned her life into exactly what she wanted it to be and from that moment on I felt a surge of positivity which hasnt left me since. Being the kind of positive person that I am and having overcome major situations through the power of my mind, I was surprised at myself for feeling so negative but sometimes you just need a little kick up the backside by another believer in fate and positive energy to get you in gear again. I started doing my affirmations again that night and lo and behold - everything started to happen literally the next day!

I finally got the funding I needed to get the book published which means it is going to be available to buy in 6 weeks! We are looking at the 2nd week of April but I will be sure to keep you updated! We are shooting the book cover this coming Tuesday which also happens to be my birthday and its all very exciting :)

Aside from the great book news, the Science & Technology Commitee of the government have been trying to take homeopathy off of the NHS and close the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital - which is the place that has helped me so much - because they say there is no proof it works. I am living proof. So the hospital have asked me to do all their press for it and I have had a week full of doing TV, newspaper and radio interviews and its been great to get my point across.

All good things are leading to other good things and I have such wonderful people around me helping me every step of the way... Life is great all because I BELIEVED it could be!.... and YOU can do it too.

I'll keep you posted on book details but in the meantime..
Love, light and peace..

Lauren V xxx

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Life in the World Unseen

Good morning world... sorry I haven't written in over a week - a very dear family friend unfortunately passed away on Friday. She was my mums best friend and my sister and I grew up with her girls. Anita was only 51 when she passed, and it was all because of complications from an operation that she didnt want to have. I won't go into detail but it has brought up again - which is what usually happens in these situations - the subject of life after death.

When a loved one has passed away, it is very interesting to see how each of the family members deals with it differently. Some cry uncontrollably, some ask lots of questions for reassurance and clarification that that persons life had meaning, some show no emotion whatsoever and some shy away in denial, not believing that this attrocity could possibly have happened to their loved one.

One thing seems constant though, and that is the need to believe that the person they loved for so many years hasn't just been buried 6 feet under and that is the end, but that somehow she is out there somewhere, in a better place where there is no pain, hurt or bad feelings.

My mum and I used to belong to a spiritualist circle, as did my grandparents many years ago. My mum has always felt a very strong connection to spirit and so have I from the age of about 7 when I started healing. During hard times in my life I learned how to meditate and channel my thoughts and after my nanna died I had some very strange experiences indeed which led us to the spiritualist circle. There we learned a lot about spirit - how they communicate with us and why they do it.

From there on I set about searching for clarification myself and the answers I got were all too real. I did in fact make contact with spirit and I found out some wonderful things, but what I could not find out was where they really were... This is the question that baffled me for years. Yes I always believed in Heaven but how real was it? and WHAT was it? I saw many mediums but never really got that answer I was looking for until I came across the book 'Life in the World Unseen' by Anthony Borgia. It is a hugely in depth description of where you go when you die, dictated by a spirit to a medium who wrote it all down. You can read it online here:

The other thing that helped me a lot were 2 books in particular by Dr Brian Weiss. 'Many Minds Many Masters' and 'Only Love is Real'. I felt for a long time that I was looking for real reassurance that after we die we go somewhere and we don't lose the people we love. Dr Brian Weiss was a hypnotist - originally trained very conventionally and was not at all into life after death - who began regressing his patients into past lives unintentionally. Through regressing many patients he realised that anxieties and illnesses we have in this life may well have come due to events we did not deal with in past lives. All his patients also noticed that people they were seeing in these past lives were people that were still in their present lives. What that gave me was clarification that we all have 'soul families'. People who you feel strong connections with in this life, whether it be family members or very good friends, may well have been with you in past lives and will probably be with you in your next lives.

At the moment I am trying to console my friend who has lost her mum at only 25 years old and these are the only things I can tell her that I feel will make her feel just that little bit better. For her to believe that her mum is still out there, looking over her and to know that she will see her again is one of the only things that will get her through this hard time.

People ask many questions at times like these and though I do not know all the answers, I truly believe that the answers I have learned for some of them are the only explinations. One of the most common questions is 'Why do people die so young when they have everything to live for?' The life we are living now is just a blip, a blink of the eye in a spirit world and our souls choose to come into our bodies to learn lessons. Our souls/spirits have to progress and we can only do this by learning the meaning of life. By making mistakes and learning from them and by being good people. Because of this many people ask 'If we choose to come back then why would people choose to go into the life of a starving child in Africa? Or a child of an abusive family?' The answer for this is simple. As souls we can only progress to the next level by experiencing situations that make us learn. We have to learn compassion, understanding, selflesness and many more emotions and we can only learn these things by being in bad situations. If the world was perfect and we never had to strive for anything we'd never learn any lessons. I believe this is the reason we choose to come back.

Many people do not believe in any of this and each person is entitled to his own opinion, but I believe that these positive thoughts and beliefs give hope to people who have lost love ones and if it gives hope, how can it be a bad thing to believe in?

If you are looking for hope or reassurance, give those books a go and see what you think of them. Dr Brian Weiss books can be purchased from Amazon and Life in the World Unseen can be read online by clicking on the link I posted above.

The native American people were a group of very spiritual people who believed in spirit life. I will leave you with a beautiful prayer of theirs which I found through Sara Leslie, a wonderful medium:

I give you this one thought to keep
I am with you still - I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am diamond glints of snow
I am sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift,uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled ...f...light
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not think of me as gone -
I am with you still - in each new DAWN

Saturday, 9 January 2010

My Lovely Nanny

Happy Saturday everyone!
Recently, the Government were talking about taking The Holocaust out of the school curriculum as it may offend Muslims... luckily for every sane person in the country, the campaigns against this won and The Holocaust will not be taken out of the curriculum. It got me thinking though, in ten or fifteen years from now, there will be no World War II survivers left, no one who was there to tell us the stories first hand and that is such a shame. I am only 25, but I want to make sure that I know all of the stories and I want to one day pass them onto my children too.. I hope others of my generation feel the same as I think it is so important to keep the legacies of all these wonderful fighters going.

A few weeks ago I was sat with a friend of my parents whose father was one of the Schindler Jew's (if you don't know what Im talking about I urge you to see the film Schindlers List as soon as possible!). Unfortunately, he died a few months ago but his son knew all of the stories and was only too happy to relay them all to me. I found the stories fascinating - the day to day struggles they endured in the Ghetto and the concentration camps were beyond anything you and I can imagine, yet they had such strength and determination to survive. Every story from every Holocaust surviver has depth and meaning and no matter which films you watch or books you read, by doing so, you are helping to keep the legacy of not only the last few survivers alive, but also the legacy of the more than 6 million who died during the war.

After hearing Arie's story, I started thinking about my own grandparents and their war stories. Luckily for me, I was a very inquizitive child, so I managed to get many war stories out of my grandparents. Fortunately, my maternal grandparents were from the East End of London and there they lived during World War II. This meant a lot less anguish (and anti-semitism) than those Jews who lived in Eastern Europe, but they too saw their fair share of destruction, mainly caused by air raid bombs.

During the war, my nanny - Julie - worked as an accounts clerk for the war firemen in County Hall while my poppa - Davie - was shipped off to India for four years. With their men shipped off to fight all over the world for the British army, it was not just the Eastern Europeans who came out of the war with fascinating stories...

My nanny passed away nearly 6 years ago but she left behind her a wonderful legacy. A story of love, loss and sacrifice, and thanks to the pictures she has left behind and the research I have managed to do over the past few years with the help of my mum, my second book will be about the wonderfully gripping account of what it was like for the women who were left behind during one of the most brutal wars in human history.

I have posted pictures of my Nanny throughout the years and I hope you enjoy them!
The pictures are as follows: Julie in her uniform, Julie at a dinner party during the war, my Poppa acting silly as usual with my Nanny and her sister by his side, a family holiday with Nanny, Poppa, my mum - Marsha and my uncle - Harry, on holiday with the family and some friends and one photo of my mum and Nanny about 2 years before she died.

My nanny was one of the most wonderful, caring, generous people I have ever met and my life was blessed for having her in it for a remarkable twenty years. Julie Zeegan deserves to be remembered.

I hope you enjoyed this brief insight into my grandparents lives and I will keep you updated on the progress of the book which I promise will be a gripping, nail biting tale of life in the East End of London during World War II.

Have a great weekend.. keep smiling and loving!

Love always,
Lauren V xoxox

Friday, 8 January 2010

White goes with everything!

Though I like to think of myself as Miss Positive, I have a positive and negative view on the topic I am about to discuss... THE SNOW! Lets start with the moan to get it out the way... here goes: Why oh why is it so impossible for this country to function when it snows? I would understand if this was Hawaii and we were not at all used to snow of any form at any time of year, but most years it snows at some point or another in Britain so why are they not prepared for it when it comes?? The forcast had been predicting snow for a week, so the councils had all that time to prepare themselves with grit and all the other things they needed to avoid disaster but lo and behold, Wednesday arrives and it was no longer just 'Wednesday' it was 'Snow Day'. Schools were off, people didnt go to work and lots of companies closed early... Credit to John Lewis who closed all their stores on Wednesday evening at 4pm to let their staff get home early - I thought that was very noble of them. Now, what happens in countries like Sweden knowing that it snows a vast amount during the winter?? Nothing, the country keeps going because they are prepared and they have ways to make sure the snow doesnt affect how the country is run... so why can England not adopt these methods??? How many more years of people getting stuck in their cars for 12 hours and elderly people not being able to get food is it going to take until the government do something?? Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot that Gordon Brown had much more important things to worry about other than the welfare of the country... that is, he had to worry about his party arranging a secret ballot to choose a new Prime Minister, as well as sorting out this damn expenses row that has gone on for far too long. Basically, all of the MP's' time is going on sorting out what the MP's are doing... so who is caring about the attrocities that are occuring right before our eyes?? ASBO thugs beating up a woman and her disabled son as she gets in her car, terrorists preaching hate for the western world, claiming that they want to 'bomb us all', meanwhile there is nothing we can do about them because of 'freedom of speech' and their damn 'human rights', and poor farmers loosing thousands of pounds as their produce goes off because they have no way of getting through the snow to transport their produce to market. Er, hello... Gordon Brown... anyone there?!?!? We dont care whether you stay or elect someone else, or pass over to David Cameron (which would be my choice) just do the job you were put here to do and look after the bloody country! Oh, and heres an idea for our ever so observant councils... how about gritting the roads BEFORE the snow starts - seeing as it has been forcast - instead of waiting UNTIL it starts, therefore causing chaos on the roads as the snow clogs up the roads and makes it even harder for the gritters to get by, which in turn causes hours of traffic. Ok rant over!

Onto the POSITIVE... SNOW IS PRETTY!!! :) and white goes with everything doesnt it?!? I have posted a few pictures of me and Milo in the park yesterday because the usual dreary park down my road just looked like a winter wonderland. It was beautiful and made me wonder whether I was in Kenilworth park or Narnia! I love the way the snow sits on the branches of the trees so that half the branch looks white... The cold weather also meant that the lake in the park had iced over. I looked at the ducks which Milo usually chases wondering if they were cold or not.. they had congregated within the one area of broken ice where the water was visible. Poor ducks! Milo seems to like the snow when he gets the chance to run around in the park. Hes so small that when the snow is so deep, it goes right to the tops of his little legs!

Another nice thing about the snow is people seem to be so much nicer! People on the roads have been really considerate of one another, driving slowly and carefully (apart from the odd boy racer) which I really appreciated. I have seen on the news that in smaller communities where many people cannot get supplies they need, neighbours have been helping each other out and owners of family businesses have been opening their shops and taking food and water to elderly people. It is nice to see that in some communities people still care about their neighbours. I dont see that much in London though! My mum kindly took some soup that she made to the old man that lives opposite us whose wife died a few months ago - Im sure he appreciated it. And speaking about neighbours, the boys a few doors down from me have built an ACTUAL igloo! I will get a picture of it and post it as soon as I can. I am so impressed!

Right, Im off to kiss my puppy until he cant take it anymore and then get ready for a big Jewish friday night dinner...

Have a great weekend, keep smiling and loving - love makes the world go around! (yes yes money helps too but what would the world be without love??)

Lots of love,
Lauren V xoxox

Thursday, 7 January 2010


This was a design blog i wrote in September:

Yesterday I took myself along to Decorex 2009 - as I do every year - and I was amazed at the wonders I saw this year so I thought I would share it with you.

In design, one style can tend last for years on end, but as we approach 2010 I feel that design is changing majorly. The reason I think this is because there are so many styles evolving or returning at one time. For me, this is perfect as I think that the most beautiful interiors incorporate different looks mixed together in a tastefull way. In order to bring character and presence to your home you must choose pieces that have those same qualities.

The main styles I came across were as follows:
Style Number 1:
Firstly, a strong revival of art deco. Art deco was first introduced in the 1920's and then revived again during the 80's but this time, though it remains elegant and classy, it has a slight 60's twist to it that makes it just that little bit more fun. A classic example of this is furniture by a fabulous Portugese furniture company I met called Boca Do Lobo. Check out their website at and click on Limited Edition to see their most fantastic zebrano wood drinks cabinet among other beautifully made creations.

The great thing about art deco for 2010 is that you can customise it to your own individual taste. It can be incorporated into a moody colour scheme if you prefer deep, moody colours like warm dark greys and blues - which looks sharp, classy and masculine for this scheme - or if you are a fan of brighter colours, you can inject some colour into the scheme by making the most of the gorgeous fabrics that are available at the moment. My favourite fabric companies - such as Harlequin, Cole & Son, Kate Forman and Sanderson - are still stocking beautiful fabrics and wallpapers, but I also came across some new companies to whom I've taken a liking.

Impala are a company that have created a new texture altogether. From far away it looks like leather or suede, to touch, it could be suede or moleskin but it is in fact made from a mixture of fabrics including cotton and polyester. It is near impossible to get dirty. The wipe of a baby wipe will get rid of a red wine spill. Perfect for a family home as it is beautiful and luxurious yet durable.

Other great fabric and wallpaper companies I came across were Interior Design Wall Coverings and Thibaut. Both companies, and in fact most of the fabric companies this year, were showcasing a new (but also revived) style of nature within design, which brings me to my next style:

Style Number 2:
This year we are seeing a lot of nature inspired furniture and fabrics. Cole & Son's 'Woods' wallpaper - which is true to its name by being prints of trees in a wood - was actually made in the 50's but has become a lot more popular this year. We are seeing prints of leaves, trees, birds and even bugs on a lot of fabrics and wallpapers and even the furniture is organically inspired. Ann Coston accessories were a perfect example of this. Her table placements, being napkin holders, cutlery holders, cake stands and other items were all held in place by silver dragonflies, butterflies and other bugs. They are all made from real siver and exotic shells.

Style number 3:
Best of British! Need I say more?? Retro, funky, colourful and eclectic. You only need to take a look at Andrew Martins Beatles fabric to get the gist. An image of the 4 Beatles members printed on a hard linen fabric which could line a chair or small sofa. Add to this union jacks, strong reds, blues and sprinkling of white with a collection of rock star photographs framed on the wall and Bob's your uncle!

There were so many more amazing companies at Decorex this year and so much more beautiful furniture that I would love to spend hours and hours talking about but it would surely take you all too long to read so I will leave you with this information about all the exciting design that you will be seeing around this coming year.

Dont forget to get in contact with if you want to revamp your home with a brand new look. 2010 is the time to do it as great design is at its peak! Check out my previous projects at

Much love, keep smiling - and remember, a beautiful, peaceful surrounding, means a beautiful, peaceful mind :)


CBB or Celebrity Big Brother.. or.. they could also try calling it 'i've slept with a celebrity big brother' because half of the people in that house are in there because of relationships they've been in with famous people - not because they have done anything significant themselves. Saying that, I have not been so into big brother since series 3 of normal big brother when Jade (RIP) was in it. Ever since then its been slightly mundane and repetative. I am hooked on this, the last season for some reason though.

My verdict on the housemates (because I cannot call all of them celebrities):
Vinne: I'm absolutely loving Vinnie Jones - he always reminded me of Dave, a good friend of mine - and I want him to win for sure. Hes real, down to earth, a hard worker and theres no bull**** with him. Much love for him!
Stephanie: : Not too sure about her yet. I am all for having a 'real' actress in there, especially someone who has something to talk about other than footballers, boob jobs and Jordan but she seems a little condescending and Im not a fan of that.. lets see if she grows on me.
Dane : What a sap... sorry Dane, but everyday you remind me more and more of a wet fish!
Sov : Love her or hate her?? Lady Sovereign.. hmm, by the looks of it she has come to realise what a chav she was and doesnt even like her alter ego anymore. She actually seems ok, quite down to earth and not as annoying as I thought she would be. Still waiting to see some intellegence come out of it though...
Katia : Im all for girls being 'one of the boys' but being a slight prudish myself, Im not really into her farting all the time. She'd been in there for 1 day when she let one rip on purpose. Its a bit of a turn off, i mean, any guys actually find that attractive?? which leads me to...
Jonas : Seems to want to talk about farting for at least 40% of the day. not quite sure what thats all about. maybe hes trying to justify farting so that he can fart to his hearts content when he needs to. Eugh, that bedroom must stink! He is also in love with Katia by the way! But she has a boyfriend so lets see what happens there!
Heidi : for someone with such a strong character she is a bit quiet. but it seems as though she really regrets her past and it haunts her. Stephanie thinks she is a 'good business woman', she just made some wrong choices to start. I hope she comes out of her shell a bit. If there are going to be any arguments it will definately start with her... maybe with Steven..
Steven : Dont get me wrong, religion is great and I am a lover of God myself but i dont believe in preaching. he could be a bit more subtle with his bible bashing i would say... a bit annoying and it seems as though the housemates are also getting annoyed with him.
Alex : WHO CARES!?!? A fame hungry, cross dressing cage fighter with a squashed face. is there anything else to say?
Nicola : She actually seems ok, a bit thick maybe, but inquizitive all the same and that is important. I also think she is quite pretty.

OK, if I could choose 10 celebrities to spend a month in the big brother house, they would be:
Russell Brand
Stephen Fry
Ray Winstone
Perez Hilton
Tom Cruise
Amy Winehouse
Merly Streep
Lil Kim
Nicole Richie
Princess Beatrice

I think thats a great mix! What are your views?? Comment and let me know.. Happy Thursday people... its a great day! the day of Greys Anatonmy, Eastenders and the day that the Jewish Chronicle is printed and posted around the whole of North London so nosey Jewish girls like me can turn straight to the 'Social and Personal' pages to see who got engaged! Like I said, happy Thursday! Oh and if you're on twitter, follow me.. mislaurenv

Love life, keep smiling!

Lauren V xoxox

Welcome to Living with Lauren V!

As I sit here eating my extremely delicious barley soup that Marge (nickname for my mum) made last night to warm us all up during the coldest winter in 100 years, I decided it's time to start writing a blog. Thing is, I have so much going on in my life all the time that I feel I should now start sharing!

Living with Lauren is just gonna be an insight into my life... things Im doing, things I like, things I dislike and generally whats going on in the life of Lauren V. So for those of you who dont know, I am a radio presenter and interior designer, and I have also just finished writing a book called 'My Enemy, My Friend' - which will hopefully be published by the beginning of March.

I opened my own interior design business 2 years ago after working professionally for another company for 2 years and travelling all over the world with them. You can check out my interior design website at (JayLa is the name of my company - Jay for Julie - my late nanna, and La for Lauren - duh!) Before studying interior design, I was at performing arts school. I liked to think I was a bit of a thespian... I studied and performed some great plays from Arthur Miller to Diane Samuels and Shakespeare. I did a couple of movies and tv bits which led me to presenting. It all just kind of fell into place and I have now been a radio presenter for 2 years on Westside Radio. So you can follow my struggle of trying to break into the mainstream.. I will keep you updated on my progress at all times! Right now I have been in and out of meetings with 2 different commercial stations for a few months, so we will see who decides first that they desperately need me and cant live without me!! You can listen to all my demos at

In the meantime I am designing houses and loving it - but hating AudoCad. Cad is the computer programme where you can create floor plans and drawings of houses. For me it takes all the fun out of being an interior designer but in this day and age we all gotta keep up to speed with the latest technology! boo hoo...

The book I just wrote is about my life growing up with Arthritis and how I overcame it to live a normal life... I got offered a publishing deal (after a lot of work!) but they didnt want to give me the control I wanted... after all, I've put my heart and soul into this book so I want it to end up the way I have always envisaged it. So I am opening my own publishing house at the moment and I am going to publish it myself. This of course needs funds - so I have applied for a grant from the Princes Trust. I am waiting to hear back from them at the moment but as soon as I get the grant Im ready to go. I have a lovely editor who is working with me called Jane and a wonderful lady called Suzi is helping me with the layout and the book cover. Once the book has been published, 50p of each copy will go to my charity - which is also being put together as we speak (I told you I have a lot going on!) I want the money to go to where I personally feel it is needed so I had to open my own charity to do this as none of the other Arthritis charities have the same ideas as me. Again, I'll keep you updated!

I promise the blogs to follow will be a lot more interesting! This one was just to give you an insight into my life so that when I start talking about things in blogs to come, you dont wonder what the hell I am talking about!

In my opinion, the key to life is love and positive thinking - so I will leave you with this thought:
'Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be' - you can be whatever you want - as long as you believe in it!

Love life, keep smiling :)
Lauren V xoxox