Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

September 24th, 2014

Loves, Likes, Bits & Bobs – Back to school

The days are getting shorter and the air is getting cooler… It can only mean one thing: Autumn is upon us. Schools are back, Freshers’ Week is over (for most!) and days spent in classrooms, lecture halls and the library are the norm again. I always enjoyed this time of year, probably because I’m a stationery fiend (Choosing Keeping and Present and Correct have to be two of my favourite London-based stationery purveyors) – it’s always nice to start afresh and use a new pen on the first page of a pristine notebook.

For me, learning goes beyond the traditional academic sense and doesn’t stop after school. I’m always looking for ways of developing in other areas, like attending illustration courses at my old art college (see previous blog post here and my Instagram for examples of my illustrations). Take a look at my top ‘back to school’ (college, uni etc.!) loves, likes, bits and bobs.

1. Origami note sets

Rachel Khoo Lollipop Design stationery origami notecards

Absolutely love these Japanese-inspired origami note sets: fun, functional and beautifully designed – perfect for making lists or you could even use them as alternative letter paper, I know I’d be happy to receive one in the post. These note sets come in lots of other designs too (I particularly like the watermelon one!). They are the work of Lollipop Designs, a London-based design studio led by designer Rachel le Mesurier who has also lent her beautiful designs to some well-known brands, including Tea Pigs.

2. Jersey Pottery jar

Rachel Khoo - Jersey Pottery Sardine Run

Usually I’d just use any old jar to stash my pens, paintbrushes, rulers etc. in, but sometimes it’s good to spoil yourself and this hand-crafted Sardine Run’ jar by Jersey Pottery beauty is worth it.

3. Breakin’ Convention

Rachel Khoo breakin-convention-2015

Regular readers will know I love hip hop and have been dancing on and off for years! A few years ago, I attended the first ever Breakin’ Convention event at Saddler’s Well – it was a lot of fun. The convention is attended by hip hop and street dance crews, choreographers and individuals from all over the world and consists of a range of workshops and classes. It’s a great way to push yourself, develop some new skills and take part in a bit of healthy competition while having some fun. If you’re a budding dancer or choreographer and fancy performing next year, make sure you sign up for next year’s event now (deadline for applications is December!).

4. Packed lunch inspiration (via Bon Appetit)

Rachel Khoo Back-to-School-Grilled-Cheese

If you read my most recent flavour of the month post (and my Evening Standard column), you may have realised I have a bit of a soft spot for grilled cheese. Really like this lunchbox grilled cheese idea from Bon Appetit, with tomato soup on the side to dip each piece in – yum! Definitely one to try to make you the envy of the office / classroom. The rest of the lunchbox ideas are fab too.

5. Recycled notepads

Rachel Khoo Rhino notepad

A good notepad is essential whether you’re at primary school or university, actually it’s essential no matter the age (I never leave home without one – never know when I might need to jot an idea down or sketch something). Rhino notepads are a classic and this one is made from recycled materials with a percentage of money raised from each sale going towards the ‘Save the Rhino’ campaign, which is a nice touch.

6. Simple storage ideas (via Etsy)

Rachel Khoo Etsy pegboard

Keeping everything organised is no mean feat (take a look at previous posts about smart storage here and here), but this pegboard from Etsy is a winner in my book. Not only does it look nice, but it’s also fully customisable meaning you can change it up whenever you fancy. In the spirit of learning and trying new things, this how-to video from Martha Stewart shows how to make your own peg board from scratch.

7. Backpack inspiration

Rachel Khoo Instagram backpack

Once seen as solely practical, backpacks are definitely having their moment. Functional and perfect for the school / college / uni / work journey, it’s no wonder. Really love my new Sandqvist one, which is with me in Japan (make sure you’re following my #khooinjapan adventures on Instagram and Twitter!), where I’m exploring, researching and learning as much as possible about Japanese food, cooking and culture as I can in two weeks.

8. School meals are back

Rachel Khoo Independent school food plan

School meals are back in schools across the UK, thanks to the School Food Plan set up by LEON co-founders Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent – and I couldn’t be happier about this. Cooking is now back on the curriculum too, which can only be a good thing for kids everywhere – take a look at the School Food Plan’s blog for inspiration and news about how the roll-out is going. School girl Martha Payne writes the Never Seconds blog, check it out for a taste of what school meals look like around the world – I particularly like the sound of the school lunch competition held in Japan each year, what a great idea!

9. TEDxTeen comes to London

TEDxTeen London 2014

Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation is bringing its highly successful TEDxTeen to London this October. The event is taking place at the O2 in Greenwich and brings together a whole host of influential speakers and workshops, from writers and engineers to students. It’s sure to be an inspiring, immersive and educational day – if I fell into the 16-21 bracket I would definitely be there!

10. Intermarché transforms ‘ugly’ fruit and veg

Reducing food waste and being more sustainable in our choices is definitely something worth educating ourselves on. And the Inglorious fruits and vegetables campaign from French supermarket chain Intermarché is doing just that, by taking fruits and vegetables that would normally not be sold and turning them into off-the-shelf products such as soupe de carottes moches  (ugly carrot soup). Such a brilliant idea, not just because it’s helping to reduce food waste but because it’s teaching people where food comes from and that it’s still okay to eat even if it’s ‘ugly’. Would love to see this happening in the UK.

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2 thoughts on “Loves, Likes, Bits & Bobs – Back to school

  1. Hi Rachel,

    This is my favorite time of year as well. Something mysterious yet beautiful about the fall that has always captivated me. I really enjoyed your entries about school, although I was never really a good student, every year I wanted to start fresh which (and make it the year where things would turn around) always included new pens and notebooks for the challenge. Love hip hop as well especially early 90’s rap. (Tribe called quest, De la soul, …mostly the jazzy stuff but definayely listened to everything. Just learned about you not too long ago and you have a really cool style. Hope your travels in japan are going well.

    New fan from Miami,
    All the best,

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