September 1, 2020

As the summer weather gives way to autumn, we join Kyle Harman-Turner, Writer and Executive Creative Director and Rebecca Neglia Childrenswear Designer - on a day trip in a Defender escaping Zoom calls getting inspired by antique hunting in a Leicestershire field.

Over to Kyle and Rebecca...

“The Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho, once said; “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.”

It’s so true. The meetings that make our lives too predictable are lethal. The Zoom calls day after day are lethal. The seemingly bottomless email chains are lethal.

In recent years, our phones and laptops have fuelled this idea of familiarity. Search engines now learn what we like and simply regurgitate more of the same. If we buy an item, we’re suggested to buy ten more that are just like it. If we listen to a music track, we’re given suggestions that sound similar. If we follow an account on social media, we’re encouraged to follow other people, just like the last.

The result is a closed circle of influence. A shut door to the outside world of new or surprising inspiration points. We decided it was time to get out of our London bubble to explore life outside the circular noose of the M25.

You see, both myself Kyle and my fiancé Rebecca work in creative industries. A mix of advertising, writing and fashion. So, feeling inspired by the world around us is not just a luxury, but an essential part of our daily jobs.

When the global pandemic first struck, it brought us closer, allowing us to spend more quality time together as a family, especially with our gorgeous two-year-old daughter Ettie. However, after a while, the routine of the indoors has now become uninspiring at best and challenging on our mental wellbeing at worst. (There are only so many repeated episodes of Peppa Pig that any family can take.)

In the long term, the very idea of the indoors just isn’t sustainable. “In” is uninspiring. “In” is the same. “In” cements a closed mind. It was time to break the cycle. To purposefully make a plan against routine.

Like many people at the moment, we explored our options within the UK, from camping to Cornwall. But rather than take one extended break, we settled on a series of different day trips across the remainder of the year. A few each month, so that we always have something in the diary to break up the routine. The first, was a Thursday visit to Newark Antiques Market, Europe’s largest outdoor gathering of sellers.

On the drive up in the brand new Land Rover Defender, there was an accident on the A1 into Newark. Rather than sit in a queue of spiralling traffic, we simply turned off the ‘motorways’ option on the sat nav and were taken off on an adventure around small villages, hidden histories and dirt paths. We took in castles that we would have otherwise missed and quaint shops that would have gone unseen. Taking the other path actually worked out better.

On arrival at Newark, there’s always that buzz for the start of a treasure hunt. The same one we all recognise from Easter egg hunts as children. These markets are such a brilliant intersection of life. We love the collision of eras, ideas, and styles. A 1970’s mannequin stares across at a 1920’s leather pommel horse. A Renaissance garden statue of Jesus sits back on an art deco armchair. Our minds, that have been enclosed by the four walls of our home, suddenly bloom open to new ideas again. Both the people that you meet and the things that they sell are so wonderfully unstructured and unpredictable. The search for treasures amongst the jumble makes us feel alive.

We travelled home with a wildly unpredictable boot of bounty. Stuff that we were never searching for but fell in love with. Things that add depth and inspiration to our home. A 1960’s lamp from Germany, a hand-carved figure from India and a number of beautiful florist’s display tins and planters from France. The latter was from a woman who enthused about her trips driving all over France, from one flea market to another, where she had encountered a retiring florist, selling off a lifetime of items.

These treasures, that we’ve brought back into our daily bubble, now serve as a reminder of the inspiration that exists out there. Just days later, a new business opportunity arises for me to work with an exciting and ambitious new flower brand. I passionately tell them about my time at Newark and show them the florist’s items that we brought home. The inspiration trip comes full circle, proving that Paulo was right; adventure isn’t dangerous, it’s routine that we should be worried about.“