Last week, I was given the opportunity to fly to Birmingham, England to be with my family for my Grandmother's funeral. My father is from Birmingham and we've had the good fortune to visit many times (although never enough!) with my family who lives there and now in Wrexham, Wales. My grandmother lived to an amazing 99 years old! She out-paced 2 pacemakers and kept her sharp-as-a-tack wit to the very end. While this occasion was tinged with some sadness, the heavy emotion recognizing the end of an era was more present. We visited her house for the last time, and I said goodbye to her wonderful terraced garden, which was her pride and joy. We had such a lovely time there having tea outside on metal chairs, and I recall my mother needlepointing to pass the time while we ate sausage rolls, sponge cake and drank lemonade (the English kind, which is really more like lemon-lime soda of the US) because we didn't like tea yet. She made that small house a home for 70 years. Amazing.
While the comings and goings of funeral and eating arrangements kept us quite busy, we did manage to make it to the local mall on Sunday for a bit of shopping. I made a point to visit one of my favorite stores, Marks & Spencer and made more than a few purchases of shortbread, candy and other goodies for my kids at home. Another reason I like to shop, and it's actually more compelling to me than the actual purchasing of items, is to look at the package designs. I was enamored with this tea packaging and had to geek out with my iPhone.
Oh, how I love the simplicity of the fruit and flower shapes, the beautiful and bright colors and the texture created by the rough printed style. And the fonts. And the composition and proportion of the illustration to the product name. Love. It. All.
Another favorite store is PaperChase. Do we have these in the states? I feel like I've seen the name before, but it could be at surface design conventions like Surtex. I had to use great powers of restraint not to get myself into a stationery frenzy. There just wasn't enough room in my extra suitcase for all the stuff I wanted to get from there! I ended up purchasing some stickers and things for the kids. I would have liked to purchase their wrapping paper, and some seriously adorable lunch boxes. And the only reason I decided against buying the lunch boxes was because I would have been a crazy mom every time my kids took one to school.