Name: Deborah Beau
Location: South of France
Children: Dylan (almost 15), Savannah (8), Miles (6)
Online Home: Kickcan & Conkers
Yorkshire native Deborah lives in a village in the South of France with her husband and three kids. Blogging allows her to express her great love of art and home decor while demonstrating a gift for finding beautiful things in thrift shops, on Etsy, pretty much everywhere. Frequent updates provide a steady stream of eye candy for readers with an appetite for the vintage, quirky and charming.
Deborah was kind enough to take some time to answer a few of our questions.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
Kickcan & Conkers went live in June 2009. 1,500 posts later, I have to admit that blogging has been a life-changing experience for me. In my early forties, I decided that it was time to rediscover my creative self and basically "be me." I have a background in theatre and many years of technical translation under my belt but I am passionate about art and thrifting and have always been good at finding things. I started my blog to gain web presence before opening a small online shop selling modern and vintage gems for kids and the young at heart. K&C has been so successful that I've had to postpone the launch, but I've had plenty of time to find exactly what I want to sell, so watch out - it's gonna be good!
Tell us about the blog and your favorite subject matter.
Over time Kickcan & Conkers (two street games I played growing up in England) has evolved into a kids' design blog, although not solely aimed at parents or professionals in the kids' industry. I like to think there's a child in all of us! I try to vary my posts, showcasing unusual handmade products, quite a lot of vintage things, art and illustration, craft projects, animation and snippets of our bilingual, bicultural family life in the South of France. I don't have a favourite subject matter, but I really enjoy and pride myself on finding and sharing original work from around the world.
What blogs do you read and where do you find inspiration?
Gosh, I had no idea there was such a plethora of wonderful blogs out there until I started Kickcan & Conkers! There are so many creative, ingenious people, I get such a buzz from it all. I read a lot of European blogs like Vintage for Kids, Ribambelles & Ribambins, Pirouette and a new favourite authored by Marie Mrnavkova, but I keep an eye on what's happening all over.
I try very hard to live in the present, not always as easy as it sounds. I have always been inspired by the little things in life, a child's drawing, a kind gesture, nature, the changing of the seasons, colours, cloud formations… and frequently share photos and thoughts on these subjects on my blog. We live in the country and have a very large garden full of olive trees, there's always something to inspire me!
What have been some of your favorite items that you have featured on your blog?
I always feature things that I genuinely love. I have discovered and grown to appreciate the world of children's photography, thanks to talented bloggers like Chou, and definitely have a preference for vintage and handmade items. Jou Jou's wooden toys, Yumiko Froehlich's story dice, Eupalina's wooden house set and Nechepurenka's creations and styling are all perfect examples of the kind of thing I really love. I am very fond of handmade art dolls, Hillery Rebeka Sproat, Jessica Quinn and Ryoko Ishii all come to mind here, and have nothing but admiration for those that recycle and go out of their way to create with paper, cardboard, salvaged wood, etc.. One of my absolute faves has to be this Russian family that I discovered and helped bring into the limelight last year. I love their blog and all the videos they make with their children.
You are a very prolific blogger and find so many beautiful objects. Which standouts have found their way into your home?
Yes, you're right, I post three or four times a day. I have acquired an international readership and I try to make sure that there's something new online when my followers wake up around the world. I aim to keep my blog fresh, stimulating and inspiring.
My husband and I have been married twenty years this year and seem to have acquired a lot of stuff. We moved two years ago and are still renovating our home. Minimalism is my new mantra (must be my age!), I can't cope with clutter anymore so we are paring down and going for the clean white/grey look. I tend to fall for little decorative things, mainly for my children: Jenni's dolls and cushions, Débora Figueiredo 's collages, Carole Daprey's designs, Studio Violet's posters, Famille Summerbelle's cut-out prints and books like Christophe Niemann's Subway or Gilbert Legrand's Le Grand Show des Petites Choses. I don't think I'm going to be able to resist Kavka Design's shop when it opens!
Give us a sense of how your kids' rooms are decorated.
Well, like I said, we are in the process of renovating a house in the country. When we moved in it was like stepping into a 70s time warp, wall-to-wall-to-ceiling wallpaper, if you please. We've done all the major work like modifying the structure, installing a heat pump, changing the insulation (everything will be as green as possible) and now we've started the fun part of decorating!
Savannah and Miles are sharing a bedroom for the moment and Dylan will eventually have his own teen space downstairs. It's all a bit makeshift at present, but as you can imagine, there are lots of vintage bits and bobs everywhere.
In addition to your blog, you are an active microblogger on Twitter and Tumblr. How do you use those platforms and how does your activity there tie into K&C?
Yes, I'm on Flickr and Facebook too! I started my Tumblr because K&C was gradually becoming more kid-oriented and I wanted somewhere to share all my other vintage, design, photography and illustration finds. I'm a visual person and I'm very curious. My Tumblr is slightly different but complementary. Twitter gives me another voice, allows me to chat to my blogging pals in real time. I enjoy sharing links that I know I won't post on my Tumblr or blog, and I like the solidarity of the Twitter community. Thanks to these three platforms I have been able to build a strong identity for Kickcan & Conkers, now I have to finish my shop!
And we can't wait for the shop. Thanks, Deborah!
(Images: Kickcan & Conkers)