Category Archives: Interiors

Home Notes for November

Home Notes for November

The nights are dark and the heating’s on – it’s time to hibernate. Hygge, cosy – call it what you like. November calls for comfort and warmth. 

I’m slowly adding lots of comforting touches to my home. Candles are hugely important and lighting them in the evening is a nice little ritual. This woodland animal candle by Sainsbury’s is very pretty.

Sainsbury's woodland animal candle

I’ve also stocked up on this set of three robin candles which have a light, festive scent. Once they’re burnt out, I’ll use them for tea lights. You can split the set up and use for secret Santa or teacher presents come Christmas.

Robin candles by Sainsbury's

Once upon a time, I only bought plain white bed linen. Then I discovered the inexpensive designs by George Home. They’re an affordable way to give your bedroom a seasonal update – and, considering the price, they feel surprisingly good. This year, I’ve chosen this Scandi-inspired wintry set.

Scandi inspired winter bedding by George Home

I love choosing seasonal flowers. This month I’m buying a lot of eucalyptus. Its subtle colour and elegant leaves not only look beautiful, they also smell amazing. Arrange a big bunch in a jar…

Big bunch of Eucalyptus

Or mix in with other flowers for smaller displays…

Carnations and eucalyptus

What else am I loving this month? Dunelm currently has some beautiful – but affordable – homewares. Here are my favourites…

Dunelm A/W17

Hare bedding, £25-£33 / Oak Leaf cushion, £18 / Set of four woodland plates, £10 / Gorse cushion, £14

What does your home look like in November?

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Home Notes for September

Home Notes for September

A change in the seasons always makes me want to spruce up my house. I like to add little seasonal touches, but also to shift things around and continue my never-ending mission to declutter our lives. September is such an inspiring time and I’ve been focusing on creating a nurturing sense of warmth and comfort – plus, creating inspiring new work spaces for the whole family.

Home Notes for September

We’ve bought the boys new desks for their bedrooms, which means that our old crafting table has now become our kitchen table. The space the craft table occupied by the window has become a cosy seating area.

Home Notes for September

I’ve been dreaming of beautiful scandi-style chairs for a while, and, in a moment of inspiration, I remembered the Poang chair I’d banished to the loft about five years ago. I’m glad I kept it as it fills the space perfectly, and I’d forgotten just how comfortable it was. It used be the nursing chair when the boys were babies, and it’s a bit grubby, so I’ve added a new sheepskin and throws to pretty it up.

Home Notes for September

We’ve also added a small footstool by Maison du Monde (love their stuff!) which at £35.99 was a fantastically affordable way to get the scandi-look I wanted, on a budget. A new IKEA floor lamp and a side table from Aldi complete the look. It is now everyone’s favourite corner of the house and I’m constantly competing with cats and small boys as to who gets the honour of sitting there.

Pearson's of Chesterfield pots

Another favourite find this month is a trio of retro stoneware pots by Pearson’s of Chesterfield. I guess they’re from the seventies and I love the designs on them. They’re perfect for a baby spider plant or a bunch of autumn blooms. I picked mine up for £1 each from a charity stall, but there are lots on eBay too.

What else have I spotted lately?

I really love the new cosy cushion collection at White Stuff. This is my favourite.

Plum cushion by White Stuff

I have also just discovered the wonderful work of Brie Harrison. This dahlia print is particularly lovely.

Have you made any changes to your house this month? Or a favourite find? I’d love to hear about it! 

 

Home Notes for July

Garden flowers

Regular readers will know that I don’t live in a show home. Far from it. Our period terrace is rough round the edges – it has pretty corners, but it also has very grubby corners. I struggle to take photos of it in its entirety. Because of that, I’m not always the best interiors blogger. However, I do love my home and every month I like to share what we’ve been up to and what’s on my interiors radar. It’s my little bit of imperfect perfection.

Home Notes for July: the bloggers desk

This month I’ve been enjoying curating the space I work in. My clever husband read last month’s Home Notes post and bought me this Jacqueline Colley screen print for my birthday. It now sits above my desk and I love looking up at it while I work.

Home notes for July: Jacqueline Colley screen print

We’re also gradually filling our newly painted hall with new pictures. Another clever birthday present from my husband, is this framed vintage tea-towel. We’ve had it for years and have always talked about having it framed. Finally, it’s up!

Fresh Milk's Gotta Lotta Bottle tea towel

Another favourite this month is this beautifully scented candle by Arum London. I really love candles on summer evenings – lighting them feels very therapeutic. The luxurious combination of jasmine and mint is perfect for summer – even when it’s not lit it fills the room with its gorgeous scent.

Arum London Jasmine and Mint candle

My garden is blooming (as are the weeds) and there’s an abundance of lovely flowers to bring in the house. Picking them and arranging them is one of life’s simple pleasures. I love this little banner from Weald Store, which sits beautifully alongside my posies.

Home Notes for July: garden flowers

So, what am I longing for? Top of the list is a freshly painted bedroom. I’m also edging closer to buying some much-needed kitchen chairs to replace our old ones (which are permanently sticky and stained after the toddler years). These Habitat chairs are my currently at the top of my list.

Habitat dining chairs

Disclosure: Arum London kindly sent me a complimentary candle of my choice. 

 

 

Home Notes for June

June mantelpiece

Every summer I fall in love with my home all over again. 

As the days get warmer it takes on a new lease of life. A fresh personality. Every time I throw open a door or window a bit of magic happens. It’s like the house is stretching out its limbs and letting out a big breath it’s been holding for months.

David Austin rose, the Albrighton Rambler

I’m spending more and more time outdoors and the garden feels like an extension of the house. We worked hard last year – planting roses and putting up a new shed. This year the hard work is paying dividends. The rambling roses are well and truly rambling and make me smile each time I pass. As do my cats, who are certainly adding a whole new element to the garden this year.

Cat on a fence post

I’ve planted a section of summer plants, including cosmos, sweet peas, nigella and dahlias – which are starting to bloom alongside my established plants.

My garden in June

I can’t wait to see how everything changes and develops over the summer.

My garden in June

Indoors, we’re enjoying our newly painted hall and landing – and we’re very slowly hanging our pictures back up. It’s taking ages because we’re having new things framed, old things re-framed and generally re-jigging things. Which takes forever, but is very satisfying.

Re-framing pictures

Remember those bits of wrapping paper I mentioned a couple of months ago? I ordered them, and they’re framed and ready to go. They work brilliantly in the frames from IKEA and totally prove that interesting pictures don’t have to cost the earth.

Framed wrapping paper

A word of warning though. The IKEA frames are very flimsy. They’re fine with a £3 piece of wrapping paper, but I wouldn’t trust them with anything really special. We’re sending those things off to be framed by a local professional – which is actually less expensive than you’d think. Especially when you consider the quality of bespoke frames. For us, we’re usually talking about £30-£50 per picture.

Lighter, brighter days are also inspiring me to re-arrange things that have sat still for far too long. Last week I cleared all the clutter from the mantel piece in our study, and replaced it with a simple, seasonal display. The result is refreshing, which is what I need in the room where I sit and write.

Peonies in a marmalade jar

What’s been on my interiors radar this month?

First up, this beautiful screen print by Jacqueline Coley. I’ve been admiring it for a while and I’d like it very much!

Image by Jacqueline Coley

I have also fallen in love with this fluffy chair from Maison du Monde. There’s a matching bench too.

Image by Mason du Monde

What are your home notes this month?

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How to be a hothouse flower: your guide to the tropical trend

Tropical trend by H&M

Image c/o H&M

The tropical trend is huge right now.  Look carefully and you’ll see it everywhere – on cushions, prints and even trousers!

Worried it’s all a bit naff? Think again. The time around the tropical trend is very grown up. It’s all leafy palms, rich greens, hot house flowers and luxurious gold accessories.

More of a wallflower than a hot house flower? Here’s my easy guide to all things tropical. 

The great thing about new trends is that you don’t have to completely immerse yourself in them (unless you want to). You might not want your living room to look like a rainforest, but how about giving it a subtle update with bright botanical prints? Choose a few inexpensive, key pieces and you can instantly update the feel of your home.

Let’s begin in the living room. Textiles, especially cushions, are a great place to start. H&M Home have a fabulous range of tropical cushion covers at the moment. I don’t think you need to look anywhere else! To keep things feeling relaxed, mix your bright cushions with neutral throws and simple jute rugs and baskets.

Tropical cushion covers

Clockwise, from top left: Tropical leaf, £8.99 / Banana print, £8.99 / Monkey, £8.99 / Green leaf, £3.99 – all by H&M

Once you’ve got a few cushions, add a touch of (affordable) luxury with gold accessories and even a cheeky parrot or two. One new piece on its own will look a bit lost. Choose a few objects to create a fresh story within your room.

Tropical accessories

Ceramic parrot jar, £29.99, Rockett St George / Wine rack, £45, Oliver Bonas / Pineapple candle in a jar, £4.99, H&M / Photo holders, £7.50, Oliver Bonas

The next step is houseplants – preferably several! Try creating a little jungle in one corner of the room using beautiful palms in pots and baskets. Or, if you want something faux, there’s a great selection of everlasting plants out there. But remember, something real will always make your room look and feel better. Real plants actually filter the air, and most don’t need too much care beyond the occasional water – promise! I never need much of an excuse to add another to my collection.

Faux plant, £7.99, New Look / Large gold planter, £17.99, H&M / Large silver planter, £17.99, H&M / Faux pineapple leaf plant, £5.99, New Look

The bedroom is also a wonderful place to embrace the tropical trend. Try bright bed linen, which is an inexpensive way to transport your room (temporarily) to the tropics. Again, keep things grounded with natural baskets and rugs.

Tropical Bedroom

Duvet cover, £19.99, H&M / Sea grass Basket, £19, Oliver Bonas / Candle holder, £12.99, H&M / Jute rug, £34.99, H&M

What do you think of the tropical trend? Love it loathe it? 

The Eames plastic chair: exploring a design classic with Lionshome

Eames chairs by Vitra

Image source: https://www.vitra.com/

The Eames plastic chair is a design classic. It’s been in production since 1950 and looks just as fresh and exciting now as it did back then. 

According to its designer, Charles Eames: “Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose”.

He certainly achieved that with his classic plastic chair, which effortlessly combines practicality and style. The plastic seat is designed to mould itself to your shape, yet the elegant little legs keep it looking light and graceful.

Image source: https://www.vitra.com/

In recent years I’ve fallen in love with the mid-century look. It still feels fresh and exciting, yet it’s simple enough to sit well alongside designs from other periods. In my house I combine an original Ercol sideboard and a mid-century inspired sofa with bits of simple furniture from the nineteenth century and even IKEA. It’s a mix that works.

But I’m yet to own an Eames plastic chair. 

Like all design classics, the Eames chair, has inspired lots of imitations. Imitation is the best form of flattery – especially if it means that those of us with smaller budgets also get to enjoy a little bit of design history in our homes.

Where do you start to find one? With so many Eames-inspired plastic chairs out there it’s hard to know where to start looking. Which is where a site like Lionshome is incredibly helpful. Type ‘Eames chair’ into their search and they’ll instantly curate a collection for you to choose from. So much easier than trawling though lots of magazines and web searches.

When I typed in Eames plastic chairs, the first thing I found were the real things. The original design by Charles Eames, manufactured by Vitra, who’ve been making them since the fifties. They’re still being made to the same design. It’s been tweaked a little – the original fibre-glass reinforced polyester resin has been replaced with modern polypropylene – but it’s still essentially the same.

It can be yours, admittedly for quite a hefty price tag of between £300-400. For one chair.

Luckily, there are a lot of Eames-inspired alternatives out there for less than £100. The Lionshome site gathers them together so you can choose between the classic original and the cheaper versions, like this one (£57.50):

Eames-inspired chair

Or you could try one with metal legs (£57.50):

Eames inspired chair

Do you love Eames-inspired chairs? Would you choose the original (and probably best) or something more affordable?

This post was written in collaboration with Lionshome Home and Living. All words and ideas are my own. 

 

Decorating your home for Easter

Easter styling for your home

Easter is such a lovely time of year. I’m hopping with excitement like a little bunny.

Whatever your beliefs, we can all join in the celebration of new beginnings. Fill your house with the sights and scents of spring – anything from some flowering bulbs, or a pretty egg-tree. Then gather some friends and family and share delicious food and a bit of light-hearted fun. No one is ever too old to enjoy an egg hunt, are they?

Here are three easy ways to decorate your home this Easter

Bulbs in jar

Buy some potted bulbs. Take them out of their pots, divide and carefully wash the long roots to remove all the soil. This is great activity for little hands, who’ll find the long roots really fascinating.

bulb roots

Place in a jam jar or a vase with a little water. Don’t submerge the bulb, you just need a little bit of water for the roots. The bulbs have everything they need inside them and will continue to flower!

Easter styling for your home

Pretty posies in unusual pots

Make your spring flowers really shine by arranging them in interesting old china – like a pretty teacup or an old mug. An easy trick to achieve a really pretty, balanced arrangement is to create a grid with tape. I used washi tape as it’s more gentle on old china.

Easter styling for your home

It makes it much easier to create an even display that won’t fall over!

Easter styling for your home

An Egg tree

It’s an Easter classic that everyone should have a go at. Gather some twigs, ideally with green shoots or blossom on them. Casually arrange in a pot or vase and hang little decorations on the ‘branches’. Pussy willow also works brilliantly. Mine usually look a bit lopsided, but it wouldn’t be the same without one!

Easter styling for your home

Easter styling for your home

What are your favourite ways to decorate your home at Easter? I’d love to hear them in the comments! 

Home Notes for March

Tea and cake

Can you believe we’re half way through March? Neither can I. We’re officially in springtime now and the days are getting longer, lighter and warmer. I’ve got lots going on in my home this month. Not much of it is very photogenic, but it’s all very exciting! 

Project hallway is well under way. The decorator is here right now painting the hall and landing a light blue-grey. You may remember that our hall is dark and narrow. The old paint was a very dingy cream – far too yellow for such a gloomy space. I can’t wait to share the finished results with you.

I’m particularly excited about hanging the pictures back up. We’ve had the same boring arrangement ever since we’ve moved in, and I’m looking forward to shaking things up with lots of colour. I want people to immediately see our family’s personality as soon as they come in the front door. I’ll be rearranging pictures from elsewhere in the house and framing some new things.

One new purchase is this lovely little print by Jeff Josephine. I love the pop of yellow, which will go so well with the new paint.

Jeff Josephine print

I’ve also invested in these amazing bits of wrapping paper from Willow and Stone. They’re poster size and they’re going to look great in big frames.

Cavallini wrapping paper

I’m also on the hunt for a good mirror. I’m quite tempted to create a Trompe L’oiel effect with a window-frame style mirror like this one by OKA. What do you think?

And while we’re on the subject of windows, has anyone else noticed how filthy theirs are? Those lighter, brighter days are making me realise just how dirty everything is. Cleaning the front windows is on my list of things to do this week. I’m not much good at doing all my spring cleaning in one go. I’ll do things pretty slowly, and might get it done by Christmas (if I’m lucky!). It’s the thought that counts, right?

Tulips

And finally, my favourite flowers this month are tulips. They’re such a fun flower and are pretty affordable at the moment. They may not last for as long as other flowers but they evolve in a really interesting way – from prim little buds to big blowsy, droopy blooms. They even manage to look pretty good  when most of the petals have fallen over the table.

What’s happening in your house this month? Are you bust spring cleaning, or decorating?

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Get creative with IKEA picture ledges

IKEA picture ledge

I love arranging things. And re-arranging them. Faffing about with flowers and pretty things makes me happy. I like the idea of an ever-changing seasonal display. A bit like one of those inspiring pegboards, but with a bit more versatility.

On a recent trip to IKEA I decided to invest in a few picture ledges – enough to fill a wall. They’re less bulky than traditional shelves, cost only £4.50 each and look amazing placed one above the other.

IKEA picture ledge

They’re just perfect for little vases of flowers and bits and bobs. My favourite way to use them is to display my most beautiful books face out – you can tell I used to be a bookseller, can’t you?

IKEA picture ledge

I have mine in our study, but they’d also look great in a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen. The possibilities are endless!

Do you have some IKEA picture ledges? How do you use yours?

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Our sitting room: a modern vintage update

Last month I wrote about some changes I was planning for our sitting room. I’m now delighted to be able to show you the results.

What did we want to achieve? Two things. James wanted to set up a better sound system. I wanted to freshen the room up, whilst retaining its cosiness. Over the last month we’ve made some simple but effective changes. Surprisingly , there’s been no paint involved, and relatively little expense or mess.

Here’s what we’ve done…

Ercol sideboard

We’ve moved our TV to the other side of the door – which is a better place to to see it from both sofas. It used to stand on a dark console table. We’ve swapped that for a vintage Ercol sideboard, which was in our study.

Ercol sideboard

It fits the space perfectly and has lots of space inside it for the DVD player, CD player and amplifier. Two new (to us) speakers now sit on top of the sideboard . We’ve invested in a Google Chromecast Audio to allow us to stream music from Spotify through the amplifier and speakers.

We’ve acquired a new Habitat coffee table. My parents invested in this great design a while ago, but weren’t using it anymore. It’s a large, classic table in solid oak and has really changed the way the room looks. Usually we have a vintage blanket box. Interestingly, a bigger coffee table has made the room feel much larger. It’s no longer available, but I’d imagine you might find one on eBay.

Ikea coffee table

The antique table which used to hold TV is now tucked between the two sofas. I was a little worried that the dark wood would clash with the mid-century-style wooden furniture, but  I think the room can take it. This fabulous lamp (£29) is a great buy from IKEA.

Antique console table

Soft sheepskins and a new throw make the sofas feel cosy and welcoming. Layering everything up feels luxurious – essential when the weather feels this grim! The sheepskins are faux and cost £10 each from Ikea.

Cosy sheepskins

The sheepskins are faux and cost £10 each from Ikea.

This gorgeous red blanket is £28 from the National Trust:

National Trust blanket

We also invested in a new, coppery lampshade from IKEA (£25).

IKEA copper lampshade\

The room feels more modern, but hasn’t lost the cosy, vintage feel. Our furniture has moved from the nineteenth century to the twentieth – and the technology has finally reached the twenty-first. The palette still includes my favourite greys and yellows, but now with hints of red and copper. I love it. 

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