Boys Room Update....

Apologies as this post has been a long time coming!! But finally I have managed to finish it! So here it is the explanation for a mini makeover in my sons room....

I've never been one for a nursery look with characters for a couple of reasons.  Primarily I find it hard to accept big themes, Disney characters, or stereotypical pink for girls, blue for boys, but also having triplets and the sheer expense of 3 times over I would rather invest in the long haul and make simple changes as and when the time came.

Until recently my little boy Joe who's 8 has had the exact same room since we moved in when he was 2! The only change I made during this time was to upgrade his cot bed to a single size bed, so naturally the bedding changed but I actually bought the same covers but in the single version as opposed to 'cot bed'.  If I'm being really honest he could've gone on a bit longer with this look as it wasn't insulting to his age, and still quite sweet (and lord knows the time is flying by so quickly I want to keep them as young as possible for as long as possible! Please tell me this isn't just me?! 

Anyway as his sisters had moved into sharing a room together recently he made a throw away comment totally pulling on the 'mothers guilt'  heart strings  'but i don't have anyone to share with!' So naturally I jump straight to it with a little revamp - I can't have one feeling more fussed over than the other!! Trials and tribulations of being a multiple mum! If only the room was big enough I'd put them all in together like this...

image from pinterest

image from pinterest

How cute?! If I had the room I definitely would have done this, it would certainly make my life easier!!

Anyhow not long after I started my blog, I wrote a post about updating his room, but I hadn't quite gotten around to it.  Click here if you fancy a read.

So when I raised the subject again, he said he wanted a world map, incidentally I had wanted to do this originally but the cost was very expensive.  As luck would have it though one of my favourite Instagrammers had recently added a mural to her study from B&Q.  So I hot footed it there before it sold out!

Lisa Dawson's study

Lisa Dawson's study

As the mural was not quite long enough to cover the whole of one wall in Joe's room I had to settle on just the chimney breast, despite half of America missing, for me it satisfied the look I was hoping to achieve!!! The mural covers 2.32m high and 3.15m wide so a fair sized wall will be covered with this unless you have super high ceilings or a longer wall like me.  It comes in 4 pieces that are easy to put up with general paste, and no special tools are required! 

B&Q world map mural - available  here

B&Q world map mural - available here

As Joe was getting something not too fussy, something that definitely wasn't going to cost the earth and needed to be done on my one day off, I simply changed a couple of soft furnishing details such as the bedding, lamps and added a desk.  This was his one request! I had originally fancied a scandi inspired desk from Ikea but in keeping with the brief and budget, I opted for a laptop table again from Ikea that fits the bill perfectly!  All in all it is amazing what you can achieve by simply shaking things up slightly.  Here is the finished article.

Joe's room makeover

Joe's room makeover

And if you fancy purchasing any of the items featured, just click the links!

1. Bedding - H&M limited availability online but available in store

2. World map mural - B&Q

3. Wall Art - Mon Pote

4. Desk - Ikea

5. Eames chair - Fusion Living

6.Rug - Ikea

7. Cushion - M&S similar here

8 Lamp - Habitat


He's pretty pleased with it as am I for managing to complete the mini makeover during the school day so I could surprise him when he got home.  As I had a couple of items, such as the chair, cushion and wall sticker, I managed to update his room for under £200.

Now onto the girls!!......

What do you think? 




Panelling Obsession....

Panelling has always been on my radar, but it seems to be having a moment and it's only fuelling my obsession with it.  Traditionally used in Period homes, its now popping up in Cafe's and Bars, and even the most humble of abode's.  The interest it adds to a room, the feature it creates and the endless style options that can completely alter the entire look! I draw only one conclusion..... I need it somewhere! So my attentions have turned to our snug.  Its a room we use a lot, its an extension of our kitchen, where the children watch TV, use the computer for homework or generally play. It is also a bit of a cut through room from the front door to the kitchen so it has a fair bit of traffic passing through.  This little room has to work hard.   It's longer than it is wide so by the time the furniture is placed it creates a slim rectangular space, where you walk straight through the middle.  Which makes it a fairly bland space, or blank canvas if you're more of an optimist! It does have a couple of redeeming features though and that's the double sided log burner and a lovely deep sash window. 

The idea is to put the panelling along the largest wall as it will be the first thing you see as you enter the room.  This is the wall that is also looked at the most because it has the log burner housed in the chimney breast and the little desk area is in one alcove and the media unit in the other alcove.  In the past I have tried wallpaper, but since adding the Merci tin tile paper to my kitchen, as well as Library wallpaper in the lounge, I'm In danger of becoming the 'feature wall' cliché!  Now I know this is another feature wall of sorts but in my justification its completely fine as it's not wallpaper!!  

Now all that is left is for me to decide what look I want to create?? I think I'm favouring the Jacobean square style panelling, that seems to have become synonymous with the term wood panelling.  Although I am little torn between this and the look of the V groove Tongue and Groove, a slightly more contemporary twist to the more cottagey original bead of T&G. 

As always I turn to Pinterest for my inspiration....

Or Tongue and Groove? Will it add enough texture to the wall?

Equally just by adding beading to the wall I can frame sections of the wall....

Inspired?  Any of the above looks can be achieved by using pre designed panels that can be fitted yourselves or by a professional.  Companies such as The English Panelling Company have drool worthy designs and the finish is tip top.   I will be attempting a DIY version of the chosen look simply as it comes down to budget.  My wall is a big wall so the most cost effective approach for me is to add batons to the wall and paint them out.  Ultimately I and hoping to achieve a finish of similar standards to that of the pre designed panels so watch this space! 

Have you tried a DIY method? If so hints and tips are always welcome, please feel free to leave them in the comments!


Last Minute Valentine Ideas....

Valentine's Day comes around every year and I get a little feeling of excitement, a bit like I do if my birthday is on its way!! Why I have no idea because we never celebrate it, in fact I quote "Why would we celebrate bloody Valentine's day, it's a load of old tosh!!" My husband - ever the romantic! 

So as Valentine's day approaches I still get that feeling of anticipation will I get a card?  Will I get dinner cooked for me?! Futile hopes I tell you! So this year I have resorted to self gifting!! 

I have been after one of these gems for ages! It arrived last week and is entitled 'Lovebirds' - Quite apt I thought! This pressie received an almighty laugh from Owen (can you tell he thinks my choice of decor is hilarious sometimes?) Thankfully he doesn't protest too much! Although there's no accounting for taste!

Anyway here is the little beauty

Ibride have the coolest selection of images printed on trays.  A brilliant way of displaying art in a different way.

Ida Tray #4

Ida Tray #4

Left Ida Tray #6, Right Ida Tray #1, Middle Ida Tray #3  All available   Tin Design

Left Ida Tray #6, Right Ida Tray #1, Middle Ida Tray #3

All available  Tin Design

@athomewith _daisy  Has the most amazing gallery wall of Ibride trays! Total love!

@athomewith _daisy Has the most amazing gallery wall of Ibride trays! Total love!

@_lisa_dawson_ has the long Galerie de Portraits of women hung as a trio. Also available at  Tin design

@_lisa_dawson_ has the long Galerie de Portraits of women hung as a trio. Also available at Tin design

But enough about me and my self gifting! Here is a round up of gifts that I think will hit the spot perfectly.

Top row - '1970'  Candle Black Musk & Patchouli Bella Freud  £40 Net a Porter // Selection of blooms from £1.50, Kos Vase £10.00 both Wyld Home

Middle row - Chanel Rouge essential £20.00 John Lewis // Cashmere socks £35.00 The White Company //  Neon Heart £60 Violet & Thistle // Personalised 'hugs necklace' £95 Chambers & Beau

Bottom row - 'Hopeless Romantic' Print £110 House Curious // 'love' coat rack £38.00 Rockett St George // Hot Lips Cushion £55.00 Astella Hrela

If you're reading this blog chances are you are as mad on Interiors as I am, so maybe the 'FOUR STEPS TO NO RULES INTERIOR COOL' Styling Workshop hosted at the homes of the renowned Instagrammers Lisa Dawson and Dee Campling.  Click here to sign up. The next available date is the 11th March at Dee's house in Cheltenham.


Otherwise if you're anything like us and don't really celebrate (in our case, at all, hence the self gifting!) then maybe a more understated gesture is the way forward! Slutty Chocolate Brownies! Providing you're not doing sugar free February that is!! 

Or Creme Egg brownies in our house for the benefit of my 8yr olds!  Courtesy of: I heart Katie Cakes

Or Creme Egg brownies in our house for the benefit of my 8yr olds!

Courtesy of: I heart Katie Cakes

Click here for full recipe.

Happy Valentine's all! 




It doesn't always have to be perfect....

You know when you open a magazine and they have the curated style shots, then a few pages later it gives you the details of where you can purchase each item.  The rooms are magazine worthy, but some how a little bit too over styled, a little bit too perfect.

Now anyone who know's me well will testify my dislike for anything 'matchy' 'matchy'.  From what I wear to my home.  A look that could have easily been picked straight out of the nearest high street catalogue can be a bit contrived and not totally personal to you.  Everything co-ordinated, with matching colours and finishes, is just a bit dull.  By mixing things up with your furniture pieces, such as side tables, sofas and soft furnishings, and throwing in an heirloom or something a bit left field, like a random colour, something with a bit of humour or something a little bit battered.  It creates interest, layers and gives your room soul.

I would also argue by furnishing your room a bit at a time and letting it evolve organically means you will naturally achieve a look that is less polished.  Now that doesn't mean compromising on style.  What i'm trying to achieve is a slightly less perfect finish.  No matter what your budget, this rule applies to everyone!

You can achieve the less than perfect look in a number of ways.  For instance using mismatched lamps, or side tables.  An antique mirror (that doesn't even have to be antique) The Range or Dunelm have a really great budget selection from Art Deco to Baroque inspired.  Mixing up the cushions on the sofa, even if they aren't vintage will add a less matching feel. A mash up of florals, geometrics, checks and plain are a great combination in varying scales. Adding a single odd chair, It maybe a vintage one, an old favourite, tattered leather, or a faded linen.  Things with age and patina stop your room looking too done.

In our house I've put up an aged tin tile wallpaper in the kitchen, that has exactly the effect I mean. It looks a bit battered, in fact a friend thought, I was actually redecorating as the plaster was peeling!! But it does make everyone want to touch it when they see it! Everything else in this room is fairly polished.  Porcelain floor tiles, gloss kitchen.  It definitely needed something that was a bit rough looking!

    Merci Tin Tile wallpaper    Vintage chest - Similar  here    Oversized clock - Similar  here


Merci Tin Tile wallpaper

Vintage chest - Similar here

Oversized clock - Similar here

The other end of the room is our dining area.  It has a really old heavily distressed wooden table and an old Parker Knoll nursing chair that was given to me by my mother in law. She wanted me to have something comfortable to sit in for the unrelenting feeding that was about to ensue! (3 babies very premature, feeding at different times for an hour at a time means non stop feeding! But that's a story for another time!)  It has been recovered but still has the fabric from when it was in the girls' nursery. Its a very cream light fabric that is now fraying and obviously cleaned in spots where the fabric has faded, probably from flung food and felt pens, but that's exactly why we love it.  Its precious because it was given to me, but it's not too precious you can't throw yourself into it or worry about small fingers adding a chocolatey stain to it!  Likewise, I don't expect you to take off your shoes or reach for a coaster for your mug.  At chez moi its all about feeling comfortable, and if that means not removing your shoes that's ok with me!

My dining area

My dining area

Some of my favourite instagrammers certainly know how to mix up their interiors, and if you've read my blog before you'll have heard me mention these guys - I just can't get enough! If you don't follow already, I highly recommend you do! 

Hilary & Flo - This newly refurbished kitchen has a wonderful eclectic mixture of concrete worktops, tin tiles cladding the island and vintage apotharcary chest.

Hilary & Flo - This newly refurbished kitchen has a wonderful eclectic mixture of concrete worktops, tin tiles cladding the island and vintage apotharcary chest.

Kerry Lockwood  - Displaying that fabulously aged kitchen bench and 50's machinist stools.

Kerry Lockwood - Displaying that fabulously aged kitchen bench and 50's machinist stools.

Abigail Ahern  - Lots of friction with the concrete floor, brick wall and the kitchen bench against the smooth surface of the leather tub chair, glass table and tulip chairs 

Abigail Ahern - Lots of friction with the concrete floor, brick wall and the kitchen bench against the smooth surface of the leather tub chair, glass table and tulip chairs 

Cowboy Kate  - Incredible distressed wall, achieved with layering paint and gold leaf.

Cowboy Kate - Incredible distressed wall, achieved with layering paint and gold leaf.

Alexandravrennes  - The poochies clearly love the cosiness 

Alexandravrennes - The poochies clearly love the cosiness 

If you fancy further reading on the beauty of imperfection try either of these books.   

Perfect Imperfect by Karen McCartney & Sharyn Cairns

In Detail - Hans Blomquist

Life Unstyled - Emily Henson


Happy reading!

Pantone Colour of 2017

So the Pantone Colour of 2017 is Green! Some colour phobes may gasp in horror at this choice, but it may not come as a surprise to many.  Last year saw an introduction to the green trend albeit in the addition of house plants,  but this shot of vibrant colour can be used in many guises. Fear not if you fancy a dabble but don't want to fully commit there are other alternatives....

whilst your first thought may be 'how do I live with this colour' or incorporate it into your scheme, there are a multitude of ways in which  you can be inspired.  Green is a positive colour amidst all the uncertainty of last year, without getting too political we can think of it as a fresh approach to adding a bit of zing to our scheme's and with spring just around the corner it seems apt to share with you some of the best images I've found to help you visualise this new colour.

Colour is not just for walls

Having a switch up doesn't always mean dragging out the roller and making a dramatic change in your home, you can add more transient pieces such as refreshing furniture with a lick of green.  Again it doesn't necessarily have to be this very citrus green.  You dont need to be a slave to a trend.  Interiors are meant to be an extension of yourselves and a place to incorporate more of your personality.  This means choosing a tone that you're comfortable with.  

Or you could go for soft furnishings in a green colourway.  Whether that be a wallpaper covering, armchair, or curtains.  If you're feeling a little braver you could commit to a stair covering, like one of my favourite instagrammers - Erica Davies. How amazing is this Roger Oates runner? I'm totally green with envy! 

Images via Pinterest

The resurgence of the humble house plant last year doesn't seem to be waning just yet. I wrote a post on the Jungle Trend last year, click here to read it.  But what better way to bring the outside in and use the transformative decoration of actual greenery! From small succulents to larger palms, fiddle fig trees to full on wall to wall! 

Another favourite Instagrammer alert! Bianca  @frenchforpineapple

Another favourite Instagrammer alert! Bianca @frenchforpineapple

Dark colours aren't going anywhere

Don't worry if you've just caught up with interiors moving to moodier more intimate colours and and already we're onto something new, fear not, the dark trend isn't going anywhere! In fact we will probably only see more of it over the coming year as the high street catch up and offer more choice to compliment our darker homes.  Green and jewel colours can sit perfectly well together and in fact, they are a match made in heaven! But if subtle is more your thing try the darker sage colours out on walls or kitchen cabinets.

Find any green touches that have made you think? I'll leave you with my latest addition of green in my home.  This is my daughters room that needed a little freshen up.  She chose this colour which is in fact called Dix Blue but has a very green tinge to it.  Admittedly this is my tenuous link to the colour of the year  but I would definitely like to explore it more myself! 

Walls - Dix Blue by  Farrow and Ball   Bed -  Ikea   Cushions - Cath Kidston old season, similar  here    Animal head - Similar  here

Walls - Dix Blue by Farrow and Ball

Bed - Ikea

Cushions - Cath Kidston old season, similar here 

Animal head - Similar here

Abigail Ahern Raven Lamp -  Abigail Ahern for Debenhams   Palm Leaf cushion - H&M Similar  here    Sheepskin -  Cowboykate   Artwork -  Out There Interiors   Festoon lights -  Lights for fun

Abigail Ahern Raven Lamp - Abigail Ahern for Debenhams

Palm Leaf cushion - H&M Similar here 

Sheepskin - Cowboykate

Artwork - Out There Interiors

Festoon lights - Lights for fun

More greenery!  Belly basket -  olli Ella   Gold lamp - Tk Maxx similar  here   Zebra vase -  Hilary & Flo   Artwork -  New Icons of Print    Cowhide - Ebay similar  here

More greenery!

Belly basket - olli Ella

Gold lamp - Tk Maxx similar here

Zebra vase - Hilary & Flo

Artwork - New Icons of Print

Cowhide - Ebay similar here

As always you can leave me a comment or get in touch via any of the media buttons at the top!

Have a good evening x 

Come To The Darkside

Autumn is here, one of the prettiest seasons, a time we start to wrap up, hunker down and get cosy of an evening.  so I thought i'd take the opportunity to tout to you about the moody colours that are so on trend at the moment and see if I can inspire you to reach for the roller!

Its during the Autumn and Winter months that dark interiors really come into their own, they cosy up a room no end with the fire going and the candles flickering, always with a throw or sheepskin to hand and its the time of year I fully take advantage of a night in.  

Rewind a year and a large part of my house was still white.  If you look back at my 'home tour' pictures you'll see a white fairly minimal decor.  I loved this, I lived with it for five years quite contentedly until I got an itch to just paint it dark like my living room.  This is a room we snuggle down in at night and it really does have a cosseting feeling.  So I just plucked up the courage and went with it, taking a risk and it really has transformed our space.  Colours that I wouldn't normally have be drawn to before really shout and compliment a dark colour scheme.  Jewel colours, in teal and mustard, mulberry and magneta, even olive and orange! There really is no limit but the trick is to just be brave. I am definitely still experimenting (but I think that's just me, I will never be finished!)  

Everywhere you look lately, bars, restaurants, real homes are taking the plunge and creating some magnificent dark spaces.  Coincidently Dulux announced recently the colour of 2017 is Denim Drift described as a versatile grey/blue that can take on different characteristics depending  on where it's used.  

Dulux colour for 2017 - Denim Drift

Dulux colour for 2017 - Denim Drift

There is masses of inspiration out there on Instagram and Pinterest.  If you're tempted but nervous try following some of these tips

  • Start small - Paint an alcove or chimney breast, place a lamp in front of it together with a few bits such as a vase, artwork, trinket and watch how everything has much more impact. Even cheap charity shop finds look expensive.
  • It will bring your walls 'in' but that's the idea! Your room won't obvious alter in size but by painting them in a darker colour and bringing the walls in you create a cosier feel.
  • Layer up - Add as many textures as you can.  Throws, cushions in varying textures, velvet with leather, a wool rug placed on a wood floor.  Constantly creating friction in your room will add interest. 
  • Mirrors are most definitely your friend.  Mirrors throw light around a room, add depth, reflect and shimmer, which in turn gives you a bit of glamour! Who doesn't want glamour?
  • Play with scale.  The larger the items the more impact they will have on your room.  Don't worry if your room is small, more larger items as opposed to lots of smaller items will look so much better and give the illusion of space

These delectable images from Pinterest perfectly demonstrate how sophisticated your interiors can look with a splash of dark paint.

Tempted to have a dabble?  Here's my pick of dark and jewel coloured pieces to help create the cosy dream....

Teal tones

Teal tones

Gold oversized Anglepoise - Hurn & Hurn

Paradise print - Typo

Aztec rug - Similar La Redoute

Elsa Wingback Chair - Graham & Green 

Suki round cushion - Marks and Spencer

Inchrya, Worsted, Vardo - Farrow & Ball

Mulberry tones

Mulberry tones

Isla Sofa in mulberry -

Ida Tray - Tin Design

Mulberry Red paint - Abigail Ahern

Table lamp - Graham & Green

Pineapple cushion - H&M home

Persian style rug - Marks and Spencer

Orange tones

Orange tones

Alvie Table lamp -  Pooky

Paint - Denim Drift by Dulux

Sofa - Pudding sofa in Burnt orange plush velvet by Loaf

'Modesty is overated' Art - Abigail Ahern

Feather Juju - Rockett St George similar here

Hope i've given you an insight to styling it dark, and inspired you to bit a touch braver.  If you fancy browsing real rooms styled dark check out the #styleitdark on instagram there are some amazing entries and the hosts themselves @artynads, @jazzierere, @cowboykate have plenty for you to gander at!

Wallpaper Heaven....

After a summer break, I'm back with a list as long as my arm, with a number of jobs that I want to get done over the coming season.  For me each season brings a little shake up, swapping things around to make things a bit cosier, bringing in the logs (although there's no danger of them being used at the moment as we're experiencing some hideous muggy weather!) But first on the list is a little wallpapering, and a mini kitchen update part deux!

For many years I have quite honestly drooled over this wallpaper and have wanted to use it somewhere.  Although I could never quite decide where to put it and when I thought I had finally decided, the realisation that I needed 3 rolls of this bad boy, meant I had to go back to the drawing board due to my inability to justify so much on 3 rolls of wallpaper!  However I'm hoping the old adage 'best things come to those who wait' is especially true of my most recent revelation.  Now to stop all the mystic, i'm talking about Merci tin tile wallpaper 01 to be specific, and whilst I know I am super late to the party, I have loved it for so long I'm banking on still loving it long after it's up! 

Merci Tin Tile 01

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that earlier this year I painted my very white kitchen dark grey.  It's  a colour I have elsewhere in the house so thought it would be a winner in the kitchen.  I have lived with it now for a few months but its not quite, dare I say it...dark enough! So to partially avoid the gasps of horror of going 'off black' I am going to break it up with the divine wallpaper.  So the order has been placed with one of my favourite on-line boutiques Tin Design, and whilst I wait with bated breath for its arrival I shall be whipping out the roller on the other walls. 

I have mentioned Tin Design briefly in my previous post as one of my go to shops, so naturally they were my first port of call.  Tara and Trudy are the ladies behind the Tin brand. They are two friends from Leigh on Sea that have a very clever eye for design and stock quirky homewares not found on the high street.  I particularly love the way they support local artisans by showcasing their work, giving us a chance to purchase some cool art, photography or something hand made that isn't found everywhere and unique to our homes.  So besides the very cool pieces on offer their wallpaper certainly has a lot to shout about too, whatever vibe you're after, I'm certain they have something to cover it, pardon the pun! From geometrics and jungle prints, driftwood and marble to murals and pixelated Geisha.  

Some of the coolest papers don't you agree? In fact the Jungle Palm by Cole and Son nearly had me this morning.  Flashing up an image on my phone just as I was about to press 'confirm order' on my longed for Tin Tile choice - fickle fiend that I am! But I stuck to my guns and instead I decide to drag out my H&M Home Palm print cushion just to scratch that itch! 

My top wallpapering tips....

This list is by no means exhaustive, just a few fairly obvious points but nonetheless things i've learnt along the way!

  • Order all of your paper at once as the rolls are numbered by batches. They may vary slightly from batch to batch and if you run out and have to order more there could be a slight variation in colour. Wallpaper calculator

  • Hide alignment mistakes by painting a one inch band around the top of the wall where the wall meets the ceiling.  Especially important if you are papering over a dark wall with a lighter paper like I will be. This way you achieve a more seemingly neat finish if the paper fails to align exactly at the top.

  • Gather all your tools prior to starting a job - don't be stuck up a ladder and fumbling around for your tools, ensuring your piece is up and bubble free is imperative and you only have a short window to make sure this is possible.  

  • Sharpen your tools. Scissors, stanley blade. Whatever your preference, don't ruin your beautiful paper with jagged edges!

  • Use a plumb bob or level to ensure your paper is straight, Even new walls are never straight! It is a must on your first piece, and check and double check as it could be a few pieces in before you notice its on the wonk! 

  • Once you've pasted your piece to the wall, be quick to align it to the piece next to it, smooth out any lumps and bumps, wiping away any excess adhesive with a damp sponge from the ceiling above, skirting boards and the paper itself. Be sure to rinse the sponge regularly before you continue.

More inspiring images of what can be achieved with the wallpaper available at Tin.

All of Tin's wallpaper is available as a sample, so you can see it in the flesh before you buy.  From experience I can certainly vouch for a more expensive paper.  It is not only easier to hang, often papering the wall as opposed to the paper itself (this especially helps people like me, who are by far experts!) but the quality is apparent as soon as its up.  The thickness of wallpaper means the overall effect is smooth and luxurious.  This is also why its taken me so long to commit.  I do fully appreciate its an investment piece, but for me it's something worth waiting for.  

I hope you agree! I will of course post the finished wall once it's up. If you fancy browsing Tin Design for any of their cool pieces click here 

Wishing you all a fab weekend and please hashtag #mywallpaperheaven to showcase your adorned walls!



Insta-Fam Wares....

WARNING - Instagram side effects:

  • The inability to part with your phone for more than five minutes
  • Loss of 4G or battery life will give you palpitations
  • You don't care that styling the perfect shot makes you look stupid
  • Feeds your unhealthy obsession with interiors 
  • Skint!

Clearly i'm joking but we're all at it, for some its Facebook, Pinterest or Netflix, mine is Instagram! Although I can't deny I'm quite partial to a Netflix session whilst browsing Pinterest too.  Just be careful how you combine the obsessions. Recently I 'hashtagged' a picture 'netflixandchill' much to my husbands amusement as this implies something very different to how it was meant!! I was talking in the literal sense (quickly hits the edit button on the said picture!) likewise getting your head around the emoji's is another masterclass, says she who once gave someone the finger instead of the pointing index finger! #mortified both times!

Anyway I digress, I love it is what i'm trying to say. Its full of like minded people with similar tastes and interests that are there willing to inspire, and advise you, often with well meant banter thrown in.  What I didn't bank on however was the wealth of hugely creative people that sell their wares via Instagram or through their website linked to their account.  This way of purchasing accessories for your home whether it's something as small as a wee vase, a piece of art or something much larger such as an item of furniture, means you get something unique, not seen everywhere, and above all an incredibly personal service. I either have purchased from some of these shops or have my eye on one or two things! So here they are some of my favourite Instagram sellers.... 

Pati Robins Photography

Pati is a photographer capturing the emotions of people she shoots. Her shots are raw and heartfelt and a lot of her spare time is devoted to working with military veterans and their charities.  Her home itself is a an explosion of inspiration as she renovates and updates her adapted home, there is certainly no compromise on style or practicality here.

Below are some of may favourite images of Pati's 

Violet & Thistle

Jane from Violet & Thistle was probably one of the first shops I purchased items from.  She was also one of the first to offer her opinion and advice together with pictures of her home when I was deliberating how dark to go on my walls in my kitchen. What did I tell you? Its personal service with a bit extra! Her shop sells a wide range of quirky homewares from light boxes to copper planters and really cool kids accessories too.  I purchased a marble chopping board and gold sequin belly basket, that was soon nabbed by my daughter for her dolls! So amongst other things here are a few of my favourite bits Violet & Thistle have to offer.

Cowboy Kate

I first found Kate whilst browsing Instagram one night and immediately fell in love with her brave use of dark colours in her beautiful home.  Its over 400 years old and often referred to as "The Ranch'. It has been decorated with a bohemian eclectic vibe and you could lose hours just browsing her feed!  Kate sells Rare-breed Sheepskins that she has hand picked herself.  They are superbly unique, thick and an amazing addition to any home.  I have a few but need, yes need more! Here are some of my favs currently for sale - but be quick they go like hot cakes!

Plastic Vintage

Dani started her painting venture when she was looking for affordable art to fill her beautiful home.  Her collections are abstract statement pieces created to compliment your home scheme. The canvases are textured pieces with the clever use of acrylics, spray paint, gels and gloss paints.  Dani also makes custom lampshades, and letter framed prints.  Go and check her out if you haven't  already she is one clever lady!

Tin Design

Tin Design is run by Tara and Trudy.  Both have a wealth of experience with the Interior Design industry and professional styling. Their shop is the epitome of cool, selling quirky home accessories as well as eclectic lighting and artisan pieces not available on the high street.  Their passion for interior design is apparent in their own homes too with white walls and black ceilings, its all to die for.  I am a big fan of my nami brass pot purchased from them and certainly plan to buy a few other items on my never ending wish list.



Astella Hrela

Astella Hrela  is an Interior Designer and shop owner selling really cool faux flowers and plants. You know how much I love a faux or two.  Other pieces include a great selection of rugs and textiles and recent additions of black pottery perfect for casual entertaining.  Her feed skips between her main home and country home and it certainly looks like the coolest country pad i've ever seen! I purchased the funkiest task lamp from her when she popped a flash sale on Instagram so snapped this little beauty up for a song! See it here

So there we go, just a snippet of beautiful things available and as you can see from some of my top picks, any of those items purchased from some of the best independent sellers would give your home an edge and personality.  Writing this post has certainly not helped as my long list of desirables has just doubled! But I can't get enough! Love them all!

Have you shopped with these guys, do you have any other quirky independent sellers you love that you'd like to share? If so please pop them in the comments below, i'd love to check them out!

Have a great weekend!


The Jungle Trend Continues....

Earlier this year saw the Jungle trend hit our stores.  Faux greenery is suddenly everywhere as well as the real thing, if you're green fingured then I suggest you go down this route as some of the faux plants out there despite looking so real are a pay day splurge! However which ever way you hang, you can get in on this look for a simple update that won't cost the earth.

I have to admit that my home in parts is taking on a seventies revival with dark walls, jewel colour greens and lots of foliage! In part it's the greenery that I love so much that's urging me to take my walls a few shades darker - or black as my husband says.  I say chalky matt charcoal - "tomayto -tomahto!"

I've talked about my love for a faux plant in the past but I have generally stuck to flowers.  However recently some of my favourite stores have stocked up on the most luscious ferns, and I have felt obliged to give them a go! Now I don't pretend I am very green fingered but spurred on by the appearance of a plant in the home and how it can bring a corner to life (how ironic when we're talking fakes) I thought I'd snap up a few real ones to pop in the mix.  Same rule applies to most things, especially your wardrobe, the high/low mix is what gives your room edge and interest!  Homebase, B&Q and Ikea all have a great selection of Cacti, Aloe Vera, Mother in Laws Tongue and Palms. Prices starting as little as £4.  So having bought a few on the promise they practically defy death my real life plants are surviving well with a weekly water and feed with the ever faithful Baby Bio. On the fake front The Range, Homesense and Asda have come up trumps recently for eucalyptus and succulents as well as my usual haunts Rockett St George, Abigail Ahern and Astella Hrela (the giant Agave plant is immense!)

Just to demonstrate how effective plant life can be I have rounded up a small selection of my favourite images below taken from some of my most inspiring Instagram feeds

These guys love a plant or two and style them to perfection.  How could you not love Nadia's cosy veranda and that bursting Fatsia or the giant Swiss cheese plant in Kate's house, the pop of the copper hanging basket and the Spider Plant at Kerry's or the Silver Birch in Dee's kitchen!

Get in on the jungalow style.... 

Clockwise from top left....  1. Palm table lamp £149 -  R  ockett St George   2 Beni Ourain style rug from £48.75 -  La redoute    3. Faux Boston Fern £14 -  Rockett St George   4. Fern print Cushion £79 -  House of Hackney

Clockwise from top left....

1. Palm table lamp £149 - Rockett St George

2 Beni Ourain style rug from £48.75 - La redoute

3. Faux Boston Fern £14 - Rockett St George

4. Fern print Cushion £79 - House of Hackney

Fancy a little bit of jungle in your home? Explore the #Jungalowstyle for more inspiration.

Have a great day

Boho Luxe In A One Stop Shop....

So I visited the new Abigail Ahern store.  Wow is all I can really say.  The new store is so much more than I expected.  A botanical bar custom made from birch trunks brimming with the most amazing faux blooms, to a selection of coffee table worthy books and new stock only available in store - its that exclusive!

So when I had the opportunity to dash to London to visit the new Abigail Ahern store, to say I was excited is an understatement.  Despite the flash flooding that had caused utter chaos on the roads into London that day together with the madness that was the start of the Glastonbury. Revellers flocking in their droves only to be sat in their cars for hours on end threatened to scupper my plans, I had a mild panic but decided to drive so far and catch the train the rest of the way. Nothing was stopping me taking complete advantage of the babysitters organised to pick the kids up from school and a day of guilt free indulgence.

I have followed Abigail Ahern for many years and have always loved her penchant for moody hues, but more so recently since she has gone completely head over heels (literally) with her faux blooms.  The end of last year saw her West End shop opening in Heels, London, purely dedicated to her flowers.  Which is how I first fell for her style.  I adore flowers and buy them for myself more than I should.  I've never been a fan of silk naff fake flowers you get so when Abigail's blooms started getting some press I started following her.  I would say her recent change in style is still true to her way of decorating but has evolved into jungle fever.  Imagine giant Banana Leaf plants and Cacti the size of an average person and you get the idea.  So when I stepped into her new store her I felt as though I had been transported into the coolest hideaway ever.  Everywhere you looked amazing oversized chandeliers and vases were over flowing with all her flowers and evergreens.  Giant mirrors, artwork and her own paint range adorned the walls.  The floor was the coolest distressed wood effect decking and her furniture was scattered in vignettes all around.  I wouldn't advocate a one stop shop as a rule.  I love to mix old with new, inherited items with some clever upcycling and generally piecing together all your loved treasures.  However I defy anyone to step into that store and not want to buy a list of things as long as your arm! The eclectic mix of everything in store is totally swoonworthy, In terms of giving you a retail experience Abigail and her team have totally hit the jackpot.  You just want to buy something and everything which as a retailer I guess is the whole point entirely.  

I came away after perusing for an age, helped by the lovely staff totally inspired to move everything around at home, and keep adding more to my home! More definitely has more impact! The floor has definitely been bookmarked for its texture and durability.  If it can be used in a retail space with large amounts of footfall surely it can cope with my little rabble?!  So whilst I really did love almost everything in store here's an edit for you.

 A pick of my favourite pieces....

AA hanging succulent - available in store

AA hanging succulent - available in store

A few of my favourite items from the edit have been on my wish list for a while but a lot of it is from the new range.  The new marble tableware and huge teak platters available online and in store  are a nice addition and definitely pieces to treasure and would easily add a wow factor to your table. If you follow @abigailahern on Instagram you would have seen some new furniture.  The store showcased the new wooden furniture which included neat sofas, tall side tables and trunks, but due to the exclusivity and the nature of the handmade product they are only available in store. 

Its recently been announced that AA is going global and you can see why, the interior inspiration is like nothing else out there 'jaw on the floor' interiors, pushing  your comfort zone into inspiring you to create a space where nowhere else compares, and best of luck with it all I say!

Have you visited yet? If you are in the vicinity sometime in the near future it is definitely worth a visit. The experience is so much better than just shopping online!  


Scent Your Home Naturally And Bring Down your Stress Levels....

How amazing is it to walk into your home and instantly smell that comforting familiar scent? A fresh smelling home not only makes it feel cleaner (even if you haven't run the hoover around for a week) but it has been said that a good smelling home can help us de-stress. 

There's something about a fresh smelling home that feels like heaven, a bit like the power of clean bedlinen, but the artificial scents out there don't always cut the mustard. Thankfully there are much less harsh ways of scenting your home naturally with many household items readily available.  Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to promote a calm mind, and the essential oils such as lavender, rose, orange, bergamot and sandlewood to name a few have been shown to relieve anxiety, stress and depression.  Hence when it comes to scenting my home my first go to is a candle.  Like many of us I love the glow and ambience the glimmering light provides. 

They come in all shapes and sizes with differing price tags depending on your budget.  The cheaper candles certainly have their place, I bulk buy tea lights for this reason, pop them in a little votive or a simple jam jar, and you've got instant mood enhancers.  But if you are looking to scent the house to high heaven then its the candles that are made naturally with beeswax and soy with added essential oils are the ones to lift your senses and offer benefits to your health and help to protect the environment too. With longer, cleaner burning times than the more common paraffin wax alternatives, they also offer better value for money.

Here are some of my favourite high end scents that could be on your next birthday list!

Rachel Vosper boutique

Rachel Vosper boutique

Rachel Vosper is one of the UK's leading Candle Chandlers with a boutique based in the heart of London. The boutique offers a unique candle collection which has been designed and made exclusively by Rachel and her team. The collection is ever changing throughout the season and new and inspiring designs and scents are frequently added.

They even offer a bespoke candle service where you can choose from the extensive library of scents and vessels in which to mould your candle.  Better still take a course and make your own. Held in the heart of Belgravia the taster candle making course will give you the basic skills to create a candle in an etched glass container along with a selection of fragranced decorations; all of which you will be able to take with you at the end of the course. Otherwise candles start at £36 and £24 for a refill for a 2 wick candle in a glass jar.  

Jo Malone candles

Jo Malone candles

Good old Jo Malone.  Match your home scent with your perfume.  I love the fact that these candles smell exactly the same as the perfume scent.  Whether they are in candle form, room diffuser or room and linen spray.  The cohesive collection can be layered just as your perfume can be to create that personal scent for your space.  Choose something uplifting like Grapefruit for the Kitchen and Pomegranate Noir for cosy nights. With over 20 candles currently available on line from the original to the intense range and the newly added range that includes Lavender and Lovage, there is sure to be something that takes your fancy. These are also high end and start at £39.  

Daylesford  candles are always a favourite.  They make great gifts as they're not overly priced for the quality and the smells linger long after the lid has been replaced.  A lifestyle stored based in Kingham Gloucestershire. I bought a candle when I first visited and have been hooked ever since.  They are available in the two sizes but in my opinion the larger is better value for money.  Whilst I would drive the hour and a half  to enjoy the fabulous restaurant and farm shop, the complete foodie that I am,  that doesn't happen often so I buy mine from Ocado where they often have the larger size on offer for £18. This link offers £15 off your first shop and free delivery. 

But they don't always have to cost the earth.  Tk Maxx often have a great selection of naturally made candles. Parks is one of my favourite brands from them and i'm currently burning the Wild Fig, Cassis and Orange Blossom.  You can of course buy these on line from Parks London and at full price they are £30 for a 1 wick candle, but I always pick mine up for £6.99.  Tk Maxx has also launched online so take a peek (by clicking on the link above) you may be able to pick up a bargain there too. 

St Eval are a luxury candle company based in Cornwall.  In a nutshell their candles are unique, beautifully fragranced and inspired by nature. Based on a traditional working farm (the farm is mixed arable and livestock), environmental issues are equally important to them. These candles are more reasonably priced but its the story that appeals to me.   My absolute favourite is the Bay and Rosemary.  I buy these in both the tins and tea lights. Starting at £5.30 for a pack of 9 tea lights.  The scent even from a little tealight lingers and smells utterly divine.

Moving away from candles, something that I was introduced to a few years ago on a day with Abigail Ahern. It was a brilliant Design Masterclass that she holds regularly at her house. This is incidentally where my love for dark interiors went full throttle and I soon became a total dark side convert!  Throughout the day she will impart her knowledge gained from being in the biz as she calls it and is super generous with her hints and tips, plus a tour of her beautiful pad - I loved it so much I would go again, so if you've heard  of it and fancy it I couldn't recommend it more.  Whilst I was there she told us about Santa Maria Novella.  

Santa Maria Novella was established in 1612 and is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. They produce not only beauty products but the most intense Pot Pourri, room fragrances and scents for wardrobes and drawers.  

 The Pot Pourri has been produced in their workshops for over three centuries. The mixture of buds, leaves and flower petals collected from the florentine hills is soaked in essence and aged in large terracotta pots. When poured at home the mixture is still wet and wonderfully pungent.  It will still smell up to a year later in that very pot!  I purchased mine over the phone from the store in Piccadilly Arcade, London. I did pay a fair bit for delivery so it was worth buying two bags, but despite giving a large wrapped jar to someone as a moving in gift I still have 3/4 of a bag left two years on.  I'm off to Florence next month so am definitely planning on visiting the store to stock up, its infectiously good.

Alternatively using my store cupboard from time to time allows me to scent my rooms, quickly and cheaply....


  • Bring to simmering point a small pan of water, add cinnamon sticks and orange slices.  Leave to cool and the smell will emanate throughout your kitchen and downstairs. I use this if i've cooked something particularly pungent!
  • Add a few drops of essential oils to some water and decant to a small spray bottle.  You can then use this as a room freshener, linen spray or pillow spray, particularly if you use lavender - my version of This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray!
  • A friend has also recommended room fresheners using baking soda and essential oils.  Simply pierce a few holes into the lid of a mason jar.  Fill will 1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda and few drops of an essential oil.  Secure the lid and place the jar anywhere you want to refresh.  

Lastly a bunch of flowers can lift a space and your spirits, I just love a bunch and if you follow me on Instagram you will see that I regularly buy them for myself, in fact they are part of the weekly food shop! If you buy in season they can always be a very reasonable, but better still if you have green fingers and can pick them from your garden I have total admiration! 

Do you have any tips to scent your home, or any products that you want to tell me about? 





Achieving A Seaside Look That Isn't Twee....

We are currently involved with a build of a seaside home. Which is incredibly exciting and we can't wait to enjoy long weekends and holidays there.  It has been a long process of trying to find a house in our chosen location that didn't involve a complete renovation and that was in budget - it didn't exsist! So by adjusting our requirements slightly we have found a new build. This wouldn't be our usual preference but given the mileage between us and the holiday home it was a sensible choice, and as we have been involved from the slab up, we have chosen all the fixtures and fittings, so it's basically the fun bits of a renovation with the comfort of a developer managing the rest. We are now at the part where its needs all the finishing touches and as it's by the sea I want something to reflect that, something different from home but definitely not a 'seaside theme' . Instead I want a calm interior with a little bit of classsic and easy living thrown in for good measure.  That doesn't involve blue and white stripes, wooden bird statues and lifeboat rings!

The project itself is based in the heart of a small village with everything you could want or need on your doorstep. This in itself is a novelty for us as at home we have to jump in the car to get anywhere. The site is that of an old filling station so not very big, our house is only one of six.  Its based in an area covered by the National Parks so development is very stringent, resulting in the very sympathetic build that is very in keeping with the local area.  So whilst I was keen to inject a feeling of 'holiday mode' as soon as you enter I really didn't want it to be a cliche.

Instead I took inspiration from this beautiful picture.  Our colour palette is soft greens and blues, with touches of grey and white. I found a print called Antarctica from an artist on Instagram, Sissan Richardt which I was instantly drawn to, and as I had already started upcycyling tables and chairs the scheme seem to fall into place.  As I haven't started installing bits just yet, I have that slightly anxious feeling wondering whether it will all work but I get that with any scheme and as always once the basics are in place the other bits evolve organically. I don't want to choose every last finishing touch as there would be no fun finding room for something we may find when on holiday, and the endless heart shaped pebbles that my daughters loved to find!

Antarctica Sissan Richardt 

Antarctica Sissan Richardt 

The backdrop is basically very soft grey walls. Ammonite by Farrow and Ball seemed to fit the bill and compliments the hallway which has been painted with Pavilion Gray. With a white washed wood floor and very pale grey/green kitchen units from Howdens the open plan space will be finished simply with up cycled table and chairs and a French Connection sofa with few soft sheep skins to boot. Its not able to accommodate much more than that but as long as we can gather around a big table for long breakfasts and board games, or snuggle on the sofa for a film in front of the fire we're very happy.  

Here's my inspiration....

Here's what we have so far....

Shop the look....

  1. Rare breed Sheepskin - Cowboy Kate available from Instagram @cowboykate
  2. Antarctica print - Sissan Richardt Art Rebels
  3. Bamboo Pendants - Violet and Thistle
  4. Wood Burner - Similar at  Chilli Penguin
  5. Tiles - Topps Tiles
  6. Kitchen Units - Greenwich Shaker Grey kitchen units
  7. Country style kitchen table - Ours is old but this one is similar Loaf Baker Boy
  8. Paint used - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, Provence

Over the next few months this project will be coming to completion and available via Air bnb.  Its nestled in the heart of Newport in North Pembrokeshire and has a vast amount of Pembrokeshire coastline and immaculate beaches to enjoy and explore.  In the meantime take a look at my Pinterest board to see more of my inspiration. There is also more details of the property here.

As always let me know what you think have a great evening all x



5 Tips To Colour Confidence....

If you have no idea where to start when choosing a colour for your walls the simplest advice I can give is to go with your gut.  I've said it before but its true.  Don't get caught up on the details like how much natural light you get, whether the room is south facing or not, just decorate and use your intuition and rely on your instincts, pick colours that suit your personality.  Only you can do this.  When you start to tell people your plans you'll be bombarded with cliches such as "ooh thats a cold colour" or "too dark" Which funnily enough, I get a lot! Or things like blue and green should never be seen! Remember that one? When you start decorating for yourself, all of a sudden you get something unique and personal to you.  It doesn't have to suit everyone as thankfully not everyone has to live with you but to aid you a little i've listed 5 things worth remembering....

Start with something you already have or are planning to introduce to your new scheme.  It could be a piece of furniture big or small, or an artwork print , a view even.  This can be the basis of your design.  By using a particular colour on all four walls or by repeating it through soft furnishings such blinds, curtains and cushions. 

Be brave! What do you want your place to say about you? To start with, decorating with colour can seem really daunting - I know because my house was completely white from head to toe when we first moved in, and taking the leap to paint it a very bold colour takes guts and a lot of talking to yourself! Colour also behaves differently to white walls.  White walls don't seem to alter from the differing lights at various times of the day, or react with other colours put with it. Bold colours do however make your things stand out more, all of a sudden a cheap item looks so much more expensive, things look grander and more curated.  Admittedly taking the leap and painting in a bold colour does take a lot of what I like to call 'faffing' (a favourite pastime I might add) but I feel the need to tell you this before you jump in and then feel disappointed.  If I'm being completely truthful this is how I felt initially, after painting most of my downstairs very dark.  It isn't what I envisaged, but that's because it does need a bit of attention. So don't be down hearted is what i'm saying. Take your time, experiment with it and have faith that your instincts were right! 

Use colour in unexpected places, behind shelves or bookcases. Inside kitchen cupboards, in nooks or alcoves the impact the splashes of colour has in these spaces is amazing - it all adds to the element of intrigue and interest.

Don't forget to introduce colour with your smaller items. Your cushions, vases or objects, books, crockery or greenery. Little pools of colour everywhere draw your eyes around a room, especially if these little splashes are curated in vignettes. 

Lastly Pattern.  I have talked about pattern and the uplifting effect it has on a room before, but it really does create a layer that completely takes a room to another level.  Pattern finishes your scheme like the icing on a cake.

I love this picture above.  Who says you can't paint a child's room dark?! 

A tip once you have chosen your colour scheme is to use your chosen colours in various forms throughout your home to create a feeling of cohesion. Particularly if you have a fairly open plan downstairs like I do, just taking one or two colours from one room to the next, ties them together without looking the same or being too obvious.

Hope you're feeling inspired to get your brush out for the obligatory DIY bank holiday! Don't forget be BRAVE! Let me know how you get on!

Transforming Your Kitchen For Less.....

It is said that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses - probably because they are the most expensive rooms to replace.  If you have inherited a kitchen from your previous owners or have grown a bit tired of your current kitchen, just by changing a few key things you can give your kitchen a total makeover without having to remortgage the house!

The kitchen is most definitely the hub of my home and if it wasn't a total reflection of me I couldn't stand it! That may sound like a diva statement but I spend a lot of time in it, I love to cook, so whether I am cooking for the family or an occasion of some sort (any excuse really) it would be my priority to change it if I had inherited something that wasn't quite to my taste.

For me I like the kitchen to be an extension of the rest of the house, of course it is, but what I aim to achieve is to make it look less 'kitcheny' and for it to be just as cosy as any other room and somewhere you'll want to linger longer than it takes to boil the kettle.  To achieve this I would add cushions to dining chairs, rugs, lamps on worktops, and artwork.  All these things make my kitchen homely and and I couldn't live without them, but you really don't need a palatial space to fit all of this in.  The rug could be a slim runner or a sheepskin, which I have taken to placing near my oven recently.  The artwork could be as small as a couple of postcards, children's drawings or special cards you want to keep, just secure them with some funky tape. The lamp could be in the form of fairy lights if you can't possibly spare the work surface space.  Equally some flex with a cool eddison bulb could be wall hung out of the way by wrapping it around a shelf bracket.  All these ideas help make your space much more interesting.

Now If your kitchen is a complete disaster I can completely understand you wanting to rip it out and start again.  When we moved into our previous home there was no kitchen and with a tight budget we installed an ikea one for £1200 including the appliances and a solid oak worktop.  This wasn't even a small kitchen but we were clever about what we put in.  No wall units, and no fancy inner bits and larders, as great as all these extras are, they do very quickly add to the overall cost. If I was in the market for a new kitchen and had a tight or modest budget, I would still employ this same high/low method. Choose where you would like to spend and where you would like to save.  For me a budget cupboard would suffice with a more expensive worktop.  A standard sink bowl but with a smart tap.  These are all personal choices but by thinking about mixing high and low items your overall effect will be that of a more bespoke kitchen without the bespoke price tag.  

But for many there maybe a whole number of reasons why you don't rip out the kitchen and start again.  Maybe you've stretched yourselves to the limit to buy the house, maybe you have grand plans to knock a few walls down or extend in the near future to give you a much larger kitchen/diner and living space so justifying a new kitchen for the the time being becomes difficult. Or are you renting and need to inject a bit of yourself into the space until your circumstances change.

Firstly I would say start with the budget as there are a whole host of options, you can spend tens of thousands or just a few hundred pounds.  Decide what you have to spend and work backwards.  What grates on you the most and allocate your budget where its most needed.

The cupboards for instance could get a makeover in the way of new doors.  If your carcasses are in good shape it's a great way to alter the style of your doors and ultimately give your kitchen a different look entirely.  Alternatively painting your doors is another good option.  There are many companies that paint them for you either in situ or by taking them away, great if you feel it's a job too big for you to tackle, all you have  to do is decide on the finish.

The door handles can be replaced with something more to your liking.  Even if the new ones are a completely different shape to the existing ones, it's nothing a little bit of filler can't solve before painting.  There is a vast choice of hardware for doors.  Anything from traditional cups and knobs to leather pulls.  Again budget maybe an issue.  If you're lusting after the copper cup, why not purchase an inexpensive alternative and spray paint them?

Remove wall cupboards.  What I hear you cry! Get rid of all the extra storage!! Honestly its a total game changer! I love open shelving and find you can fit just as much on a few shelves as you would a deep drawer or standard cupboard.  If you opt for the shelves it gives you endless styling opportunities too, plants the odd photo, your Granny's fine china - endless!  Or maybe that's just me?!

Change the work surface.  By upgrading to a natural product you will add instant luxe to your budget makeover.  Stores such as Ikea and Ebay offer real wood options and off cuts of stone for a fraction of what you can pay. If you have someone handy with DIY why not try a concrete work surface? I would love a polished concrete top.  I've seen some very clever DIY alternatives on Pinterest.

Update your splash backs. If you're looking to re tile an area, look for discontinuing lines.  An alternative to the very popular metro tile is the plain white square tile.  The ever popular metro tiles were pushing our budget for a recent project so by tiling the square tile in a brick formation and using a dark grout I have the same effect but for 13p a tile!

Lastly I would say style your kitchen like you would any other room.  Keep only worktop worthy items on show! Store the mundane away and if you need extra storage or work surface consider a movable island or butchers block.  A stacked shelving system filled with crates, baskets storing your mundane items will instantly give your space that not so 'kitcheny' feel!

Have these images inspired you to make a change in your kitchen or given you ideas for a potential project? As always likes, and comments always welcome.

Have a great evening folks

How To Make a Great First Impression....

First impressions are everything. Whether you have a small porch, a hallway (lucky you!) or are stepping straight into your living room, there are creative ways in which you can be organised and hide or display the everyday paraphernalia needed when dashing out of the house. It is possible to create a functional entryway and still make a winning first impression in what is probably the smallest space in your entire home.  

This little space has to work super hard, its the last thing you see when you leave the house and the first thing to greet you and visitors when you open the front door so why not make it great.

Carving out an area no matter what you currently have is definitely the key to managing a home with kids.  Anyone with school age children will sympathise, the chaos that is the school run, getting out of the house is no mean feat. The packed lunches, PE kits, book bags, homework and art master pieces alone are enough to create a mini Everest at the foot of your front door if not organised well. 

Firstly, assess your situation.  Do you have an under stairs cupboard in your hallway or entry way that accommodates your coats, boot and bags? If not consider how many people are likely to be unloading at the front door, and every season comes with its own gear, therefore plan at this stage, do you need a hook or two for everyone?  A set of peg hooks over a bench would accommodate a number of coats and bags as well as offering a seat when struggling to get shoes on or off.  Maybe a set of vintage school lockers, or a old armoire if you have the space.  If not foldaway pegs, such as the Bjarnum folding wall hooks from Ikea are a great option. Spray paint them to tie them in with your decor as silver may look a bit too functional (and it can't always be about function!).  I am about to spray paint some in copper to make them look a bit cooler next to my off black walls.  When opened these little hooks can hold multiple items and fold away when not in use. These can be installed at different heights, encouraging all the family to hang their stuff, even the tiddlers. 

Aim for functional beauty.  As a very wise man once said 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" William Morris.  Try to choose items that make you happy - this is never to underestimated! When you use it everyday, see it morning and night, the items need to work well.  If that beautiful coat stand topples every time you fling a coat at it, it will irritate you beyond belief, get rid and choose something that strikes a balance between beauty and function.

Shoe storage is your best friend.  The number of shoes in our house could give Clarkes a run for their money.  With the unsettled weather we are blessed with, its very likely we'll have flip flops and wellies on the go at the same time, therefore everyone gets a basket each. But these baskets are edited regularly.  The shoes used less often are sent to the wardrobe upstairs and the shoes that are needed quickly are stored in the basket.  You may find a welly rack useful, a small metal bin in summer for the lighter shoes or a full on shoe storage system.  Decide what shoes will live where and buy something suitable.

The hallway rug is integral to your happiness. I'm not joking.  All of us have had moments in our lives that test our courage and grit and taking children into a house with cream carpet is one of them! As it happens i'm fairly carpet phobic as it is so I have wood and tiles.  Easy to maintain and mop up the muddy footprints.  I do however need rugs to offset the practical floor, some of my favourites include Jute & Sisal, they add texture to any room.  They are eco friendly because they are constructed of natural fibres and compliment any decor.  Persian rugs are eye-wateringly expensive but so beautiful! There is a reason Persians are around for decades and still command insane prices  - they last and last. Darker shades hide the dirt well and one with a high knot density will be higher in price but can withstand cat claws, dogs digging for imaginary bones and most feral children.  Kilim rugs are also made to endure and offer the exotic feel of Persian rugs but are much kinder to the purse strings if you are looking for an alternative.

Creating a command centre in your entryway will save the mild panic stations when you are late and can't find the car keys.  A small shelf or slim console if  you have the room will do the job perfectly.  I don't actually have room for either of these so I have adapted a window ledge to do the job.  A small metal plant pot means all of our keys are in one place along with phone chargers or anything else we might need on our way out.

Once you have incorporated all of the essential items it's time to add a little fun.  Remember this is the first place people see when they arrive at your home so give them a glimpse of the treat that is to come.  Often hallways  and entryways are neglected because they are passed through so quickly.  But by adding a bit of personality in the way of colour on the walls (a place to be brave and experiment I say as you are unlikely to linger for long periods of time).  A vase with your favourite flowers or a few inspirational quotes, whatever floats your boat - incorporate it in some way.  It will make the difference when you arrive home after a hard day to see an organised space with a few of your favourite bits around you. 

What do you think? Do you have any clever storage solutions? As always let me know what you think.

Have a great weekend all!

Conquering the Eclectic Look....

I live by a simple rule - if I love it, I buy it.  Which means I get a home that's full of things I love.  Don't get me wrong there have been losses, when my better judgment says 'but you don't need it' then I spend an unhealthy amount of time mourning the fact I didn't buy it and its now gone!  But achieving this look is not always easy to master, it takes time as it can't always be bought at once and If i'm not careful an eclectic look can appear a bit of a mish mash, or a right hot mess.  Naturally I'm not a person for clutter but I am far from a minimalist, so I walk the unsteady line of making our space look cosy (my utmost priority at all times) clear and orderly but not for it not to look like i've forgotten to finish decorating either.  Therefore there are a few tips that help me with the eclectic look.

If like me you like a lot of different styles its sometimes difficult to achieve cohesion. I love a statement piece but too many of them and I am in danger of spoiling the look of each item and making the space look haphazard and like I really have just thrown it all together.  Subsequently in any room that has a statement piece or two there should be lots of other items that are not so statement worthy but doing just as an important job. Vases and tealight votives, books and inconspicuous lamps will all add to your layering but don't need to shout out. 

Finding a common theme also helps with bringing an individual look together, that could more obviously be in the form of a style or era that you may favour but are not a slave to. Or a colour tying everything together.  Equally a choice of material such as a wood finish may bring together completely different items.  Any one of these things unifies your space and leaves you free to place your much loved things together even if they do range from Rococo to Mid-century. 

Adding items in numbers say in two's or three's will naturally start to tie a look together. For instance I love a dining table with different chairs.  I have a bench and and 5 other chairs, two pairs and an odd more statement chair that sits at the end.  This way it looks relaxed without looking chaotic, because I have more than one that's the same.

Soft furnishings such as cushions and rugs really help a space look connected, as does a touch of black.  Just a small amount of black, whether that's a lampshade, vase, bookends or stool can all help to ground the colour scheme and give it depth.  These items are so hard working they are like the cement in any room, keeping it all together.

Lastly, if you choose to decorate in this way there will be a few mistakes, I can definitely vouch for that. There will be lots of moving of furniture and pictures from room to room, there's a running joke in our house that If its not bolted to the floor...... It takes time to get it right but its so much more fun than choosing a look for a catalogue, and as they say 'best things come to those who wait'

I love all of these images and they are all super mis-matched but all have a common theme, from repeated items of furniture, colours or shapes that make them work despite having lots of different styles in one room.

How do you decorate? Remember it takes time and is a series of trials but that's part of the fun.  Take a look at my pinterest boards for more inspiration. 

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!

Garden lovin'....

Whilst our weather decides whether it's Winter, Spring or four seasons in one day, at this time of year my thoughts always turn to the garden.  Wanting to throw open the doors and 'air' the house. I look pitifully at the devastation of my beds left by the rain and the wind, and let me be honest, sheer neglect over the winter and I think I really need to  dig those over and get some seeds in! I've already missed the boat with the 'earlies' - main crop of spuds it is this year then!   I dream about a space that will almost take care of itself (whilst I would love a rambling garden with interest at every spot and something drawing the eye elsewhere, that's just not going to happen! I am too time poor and lacking in knowledge!) 

I can however do the basics, keep on top of the lawn, ours seems to need mowing once a week during the summer, sweep the paths, weed the beds,  jet wash the patio and this year the shed and playhouse need some TLC.  Lastly fill a few pots with bedding plants and wait for them to blossom.  Ultimately I want the garden to be another room during the warmer months, some where to drink my morning cuppa, or whip up a quick meal for some al fresco dining, and enjoy a glass of something cold in the evening.  I want the ambience to be just as cosy outside as I would have inside the house, therefore I need fairy lights or festoon lights hung, sheepskins and throws to ward off the chill after the sun goes down and an outdoor kitchen.....we are still talking about dream gardens aren't we? I am a real foodie so in my dream garden there would be the said outdoor kitchen, raised beds with an abundance of veg and pots overflowing with fresh herbs.  The beds of veg and pots of herbs I can manage but the outdoor kitchen.....well, we still have a knackered old BBQ that my husband insists is fine, despite the fact we have had it for over a decade and It has a missing wheel so requires propping up! 'It still works' he declares each year and to be fair he is probably right, for the amount of nice weather and impromptu BBQ opportunities we get here, although it doesn't stop me throwing every conceivable idea at him in the hope of convincing him we need that Green Egg cooker!

Here is my inspiration

To achieve any of these looks, it isn't difficult.  You can drag a few things outside that you would normally use inside.  A lamp, a few scatter rugs, cushions from the sofa and candles.  All equal instant ambience.  You don't need a large space or even a patio as the above picture proves, just a few home comforts and good company.

Shop the look:

  1. Teardrop Wicker Chair - Living it up
  2. Sheepskin - Cowboy Kate
  3. Festoon lights - Lights4Fun
  4. Green Egg Cooker - Big Green Egg 
  5. Fire Brazier - Cox & Cox
  6. Vago Tub Chair - Ikea 
  7. Battery Lampshade - Cox & Cox

The sleeting has stopped and the sun is finally out and the garden is being mowed as I finish this, I should get out and dig over a bed ready for some spuds!

As always let me know what you think.  Have a good evening all!


5 Things Every Bathroom Must Have....

It may seem a bit weird but style a bathroom like any other room! No longer does it need to be a sterile space that you just dash into morning and night. With these 5 must haves you'll turn your space from a room of total function to somewhere you'll want to stop and linger that little longer

These must haves can easily be stolen from other rooms and don't need to cost you anything to make a few changes and make your bathroom special.

First off somewhere to perch.  Whether you are bathing the children, pampering yourself or chatting to a significant other.  A chair is so handy.  It can be anything from a little milking stool or if you have the space opt for something more elaborate, why not curl up with a book whilst your bath is running? Sounds like heaven to me (i'll get my kicks where I can these days!)

Definitely put in some soft furnishings. Put up drapes or a blind, a rug even as opposed to a bath mat.  It completely softens the space and instantly makes it feel more like a room than a bathroom.  Curtains or billowing voiles are definitely going to be a bit controversial but again if you have the space - why not? Uber glam.

Pictures, artwork or oversized mirrors all look amazing in a bathroom. Again these help to elevate your space from somewhere functional to much more inviting.  There are no rules and endless options. You could hang your family photographs, or a favourite  painting or drawing or a vintage sign. One of my favourites was by Rockett St George and read 'First Class Waiting Room', a cool bit of wit for the bathroom. Sadly no longer sold but similar available here. Equally an oversized mirror or chandelier will add serious glam points. Obviously a large chandelier can't be hung in a wet zone but away from splash areas it will work beautifully. 

Plants can also be an amazing addition to your bathroom.  If like me you are not terribly green fingered the bathroom seems to like plants that don't require too much maintenance! Winner! Some of the best plants for bathrooms are Snake plants otherwise known as Mother in Laws tongue.  These are very on trend too at the moment along with any other cacti or succulent. Ferns, these tropical plants love the humidity and because of their big bushy shape add interest to your bathroom. Bamboo is a very useful zen like plant that could not only act as a screening if you're trying to hide something possibly a little more functional but requires very little water. Lastly not forgetting the comeback kid, the 80's Spider plant. This hardworking little plant is great for removing chemicals like formaldehyde commonly found in cleaning products and carbon monoxide from the air. Others might include Aloe Vera, Peace Lilly's, Orchids and Ivy. Another big trend at the moment is the hanging planter, pop your trailing ivy in macrame hanging basket - a total nod to the 70's. As a child we had a lemon geranium plant in the bathroom which gave off the loveliest of scents when you rubbed it's leaves or brushed past it.

Lastly candlelight. No soak would be complete without a few candles lit for ambience and relaxation.  Again no need to splash out.  If you want to burn your favourite Jo Malone, do, the smell will linger all through upstairs but equally a few tea lights in jars will give off the same warm glow. If you are looking to renovate a bathroom I would highly recommend a dimmer switch for your spot lights. Super practical not only when you are looking to relax in the tub but I have found very useful for taking little ones to the toilet at night without waking the whole house.

But whatever your style preference you can add any or all of these additions and still keep it paired back or go all out to full on glamorous. If something doesn't work, move it out and try something else! That's design, nothing is fixed, mix it up as often as you like.

Head over to the 'House Tour' section to see some of my bathroom pictures and have a nose around whilst you're there.

Have a great weekend all and don't forget that long overdue soak x




Kitchen Makeover....

Welcome to the dark side! For any of you lovely readers who follow me on social media you will know I have been busy with a revamp.  Our kitchen needed a little coat of paint, but not one to do things by half i've gone dark!  I have always loved a dark colour in a room, i've said it before I find it really relaxing.  So when we moved into our house the first thing to do in our living room was to paint it dark.  This was however a natural progression from one wall as I had to ease everyone in gently! Eventually I covered all 3 walls with Farrow and Ball Downpipe and a faux book wallpaper on the back wall.  This has the exact effect we wanted.  It is a room we only use at night and it didn't get a huge amount of natural light so the effect of the dark paint has given it a bit of drama.

This was a couple of years ago now and its something I have wanted to try in our kitchen diner to see if it has the same cosy effect. This is however our largest room and gets a huge amount of natural light.  Great for some but I wanted it dark! Therefore to compensate I was going to choose an off black colour, but having tested large sections I worried it may have been too dark, so I settled on my go to grey - Downpipe.

The first coat that went on was the dark undercoat, which never has the the look you imagine as the finished article obviously! It was at this point that my wobbles set in.  What am I doing??  You see my trouble is I also adore a light bright almost Scandinavian style, lots of texture and layers, even gallery style - stark white walls and dark floors. I feel this also carries a certain sense of drama, in fact it hadn't dawned on me until fairly recently how much I am drawn to a monochrome palette, at least not until I was forced to look at my home and where and how I had used colour - sparingly in case you are wondering!

Anyway,  spurred on by the most inspiring homes on instagram I charged on. Its now finished and I shall spend the next few days faffing and fluffing things up until I am happy - and even then no doubt things will be moved or painted! 

These were my inspiration pictures taken from Pinterest

And this is how it turned out....

Still lots of bits and pieces to be replaced, or moved, somehow the pieces that were in their original places don't quite look the same now its dark or maybe that's because it was so different.  You can see some of the before pics here to see how much of a transformation it is.  My only thoughts would be whether I should have gone with my original choice? Dare is say it's too light? The first picture was taken at night when the kitchen obviously takes on a different mood and colour,  as you can see it looks almost black - and I love it! Who knows there maybe a kitchen makeover part 2! The serial decorator strikes again! 

Let me know what you think! Have you been tempted to the dark side?

The Ultimate Guide to Organising....The Marie Kondo Way

Now that school has resumed I am on a mission to clear the house.  This happens after most prolonged half term breaks as the mess and clutter gathers in every corner, wardrobes are stuffed to bursting with every conceivable clothing item thrown into the bottom as a result of the four outfit changes a day.  All weapons and figures can be found in the oddest of places and the lego...owch the lego, as anyone who has stepped on the stuff well knows that it needs to be contained, preferably in a large box that your children can throw it all into once they've finished their masterpieces!

So my thoughts turn to something i've read recently and although sounds fairly ruthless. It makes a lot of sense and definitely resonates with my tidy space tidy mind theory.  I'm talking about the The Marie Kondo method. Have you heard of it?  Its the method that has taken hold in the US and here. People 'kondo-ing' their lives and waxing lyrical about the benefits of this almost evangelical method of organising and what it can bring to your life and not just your home.

Who is she? Well Marie Kondo is an Japanese Organisational Consultant and Author of the New York Times bestseller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up : The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organsing. The 'Konmari' method as its called takes tidying to a whole new level, promising if you declutter your home you will never have to do it again!. She tackles oranising your space by category as opposed to a room by room approach.  So popular is this phenomenon kondo has no repeat business and still has a 3 month waiting list.  Everybody wants to be 'kondo'd'.  This lifestyle phenomenon aims to  help readers clear their clutter and enjoy the magic of their tidy home and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire!

Now i'm not sure i'm sold completely but I am definitely intrigued.  The basic principles being; take all of your things and ask yourself, does this spark joy? If not, it needs to go. Then once you have your most joy giving items, give them a home so that they are visible, within reach and then put them back.  This means ultimately you will never have to tidy or de-clutter again.

Start with clothes as these often have emotionally charged connotations, 'I met my husband in this', 'I paid a lot for it', 'I bought it to wear when I reach my target weight', and so on. She talks you though her patented folding system as she believes that clothes feel more loved when folded this way (this includes socks, apparently they don't like to be bundled up!) No danger of that in this house as we have an ever growing pile of odds, that I can't bear to 'bunch' until I have found its sole mate! 

Sort by Category: Clothes, Books and Paperwork as opposed to room by room. Sorting room by room is said to allow for a little bit of everything to be in each room, and not confined to one place.

After discarding all of the items that you find do not spark joy then give what you are left with a home. No fancy storage systems as the Kondo method believes this encourages hoarding, simple is better, in fact she loves a shoe box! The idea being it should be as easy to put away as it is to find it later. Sold?

I have demonstrated the folding method with one of my sons t-shirts and one of the lonesome socks!

The Marie Kondo Folding method


So if you are feeling inspired and spurred on by the thought of a home organised to within an inch of its life you can get Marie's book here.  I'm not sure I can forgo my love for a pretty storage basket but simplifying things definitely appeals to me therefore my Amazon Prime order should arrive tomorrow! Wait until I start asking the children if a particular toy sparks enough joy to make it a keeper!

Has anyone tried 'Kondo-ing' their lives and found it as cathartic as its reputation is said to be?