The Summer Reset
January might be the time when we traditionally make plans for the future and resolve to do things differently, but for me August is also a time when I start thinking ahead and setting goals for the rest of the year. I worked in higher education for many years so I've never really quite got out of the habit of thinking in academic years rather than calendar years.
Everyone seems to have their out of office on in August so work deadlines tend to temporarily ease up for a few weeks. Not all of us will be spending the entire month lying by the side of a pool in Tuscany though, so it's an ideal time to take care of some of those really important things you've been meaning to do all year but somehow never got around to. I'm talking about planning ahead, creating a new strategy or visual identity for your brand, catching up with jobs around the house, experimenting with a different creative process without the constraints of client briefs and deadlines, or perhaps even learning a new skill. When you are self employed and constantly checking in on social media it's hard to switch off, so for me it's really important to try to schedule in some creative time to allow myself space to develop my ideas and reflect on where I want to head next. Because if I've learned one thing in eight years of blogging it's that you constantly need to adapt and change as things evolve and new styles of working emerge.
So when iittala got in touch and invited me to style some of their pieces to reset the table and do things a little differently I got a little carried away and started thinking about how taking a fresh approach to a simple everyday activity like setting the table could act as a prompt for taking a new approach to other things too.
I already have several iittala pieces at home and what I've always loved about them is that even though the different collections are all quite distinct in style, colour and pattern they somehow mix and match perfectly with each other. These dotted blue pieces from the Teema collection by Kaj Franck sit perfectly alongside other designs more recently introduced to the iittala range, like this pleated napkin and platter from the iittala x Issey Miyake collection.
You definitely don't need to stick to just one matching set of tableware when setting the table, nor do you need to discard pieces you already have when you feel like trying something new. Sometimes it's good to mix things up a little and these new iittala pieces will work beautifully alongside my existing collection of tableware. I'll be able to use the blue Teema plates and bowls next to my blue and white antique china as well as some simple minimal white pieces I also own, and the Kasthelmi tumblers will go perfectly with my Timo Sarpaneva glasses (a treasured vintage find and no longer available, but I did find these on 1st dibs).
I've also been having lots of fun experimenting with the Issey Miyake napkins. These turn mealtimes into a playful origami session, encouraging you to pause to enjoy the moment and explore different pleating and folding techniques to come up with different configurations.
There are no rules when it comes to resetting the table and I've learned that there are no rules when it comes to what you should be doing with your blog, your Instagram feed or your business either. But rather than sticking with the same thing sometimes it's a good idea to take a little time out, mix things up a bit and experiment with something new. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to ditch the old. Instead think about how you can introduce new ideas and ways of working while recognising past achievements and still retaining the more established elements of your brand.
Over the rest of the summer I'm planning to set aside some time to explore new ideas, rethink routines and rituals and be more creative and playful in my approach to my work. Sometimes we all need to remind ourselves of where we are, what we've achieved so far and what's most important to us. August feels likes a good time to pause and take stock of all those things, and finding time to enjoy the simple daily routine of gathering around the table with friends and family is as good a place as any to start.