To the Land of the Troll & Back Again.

As many of our readers know, I’ve just returned from a few days in Copenhagen and Malmo… (I’m really so lucky!)

I love to go on these trips.   It’s a hurricane of preparations before we leave, arranging for the children’s care, a housesitter, Teemo’s care (Thank you so much, Cristi!) and of course, someone to mind the store and help our ladies on my regular days.  (And again, the wonderful Cristi…  Really, what would I do without you?)

However, despite the cost, time, hassle and stress – it’s worth it.  Thanks to the far reaching gaze of the internet we can know visit cities virtually, using google maps and other tools, so we can see the architecture, the colours, and the layout of the place… but it’s not the same experience.

On these trips I find so much inspiration, and I never fail to reset my aesthetic standards.  It puts to rest any thought of compromise, and makes me want to try harder, find better products, present them more beautifully, and provide a better experience for Tartooful’s customers.

…But the real secret is, it’s the tiny details that inspire me.  The grand avenues, legendary flagship stores and extraordinary architecture are gorgeous, and absolutely give me joy.  However, it’s the simple gesture that elevates the everyday to the divine that never fails to truly inspire me.  For example, in the photo at right, the curves, combined with the subtle and perfect range of tone on tone on tone absolutely sings to me.  If I turned and looked the other way, the view was an astonishing formal garden and palace, but this is the photo I wanted.

To see the everyday life and tiny details of a place, I love to simply walk.  I’ll pore over the map in the morning, get a feel for the overall layout of a place and set myself a few possible objectives.  Beyond that, I simply walk.  And walk.  And Walk.

I meander the streets, popping into odd courtyards, pausing in little parks, sipping coffee where the locals do and asking friendly shop keepers where they think I should wander next.  It’s so much more interesting off the the beaten track.

We stayed at the Fox hotel, a project in which artists create a complete art environment in each room.  There are many similar projects around the world now, but this one retains its credibility as an original idea, with strong artistic independence and integrity.  Our room was spare and minimalist, inspired by raw and unfinished feel of a construction site, or an abandoned industrial area.  Despite the description, it was serene, light filled and comfortable – and came at a very reasonable price compared to the more typical chain hotels.

Greg & I were amazed by the simple and bold lines of the new Royal Library.  So very Scandinavian, with it’s black form against the clear blue sky, and such perfect landscape architecture framing it, giving it the breathing room it needs in the heart of the city.

…But when we meandered the tiny, limestone gravel lined pathways to find the oldest section of the library, we found a traditional European garden, with ancient pillars filled with flowers, a crumbling fountain, flowering fruit trees and this charming cottage.

…So my feet are a little bruised, and my trusty, comfy camper boots are a little scuffed, but my creative soul is recharged, and I can’t wait to pour all my creative energy into Tartooful!

Stay tuned, as in my next post I’ll tell you all about my experience of Trollbeads in it’s home city of Copenhagen…


Roadtrip Kit…

With so many of you getting ready to travel this holiday season, we thought it was a good time to offer a few suggestions for a kit of functional luxuries to help you feel at home while on the road…

Start with a perfect shave kit:  these ones are made by Vancouver’s own RedFlag Design.  They are sewn from rugged recycled sailcloth that has been overdyed in a myriad of soft grey blues.  Each unique piece is beautifully finished with well made zippers, hand knotted pulls and functional leather tabs.  Best of all, this clever design louvers open with more contents, but folds neatly back on itself when emptied, to take up a minmum of precious suitcase space.

You’re particular about your bathroom luxuries at home, so why settle for nasty drugstore brands when you need a lift the most?  At Tartooful we have lots of beautiful treats for all your senses… Pretty new resin toothbrushes by Alan Stuart of New York, each one tucked in a reusable travel container… Gourmet Marvis toothpaste from Florence, and of course  lotions, soaps, travel candles and lip balms by Tokyo Milk.  (Airplanes are such dry places… keep your hand lotion and lip balm close…)

Now that your cosmetic kit is packed, you’ll want to think about your carry-on luggage.  Ideally it should be a bag that is flexible enough to be your “everything” bag once you reach your destination as well… I like to suggest Astrosatchel’s Medium Tote as a great travel bag.  It’s compact enough to be a handbag on your trip, is open plan to accommodate all sorts of unexpected finds, very secure and very comfortable, with it’s wide adjustable strap.  This bag is feather light – just the thing when every ounce counts!  I would also suggest that a wallet by Astrosatchel is ideal for travel: durable, secure, easily stores multiple currencies, coins, cards galore and even space for your passport.  Naturally, these designs are as beautiful as they are functional – very tartooful.

(photo courtesy of

Now, all you need is a book to keep you company… Don’t settle for an overpriced bodice ripper at the airport – instead stop into our neighbours at 32 books and pick something simply wonderful.  You’ll be supporting a local independent bookseller and will find something so much better.

Bon Voyage…