Friday, 30 December 2011

Home office organising


I have plans for 2012. Not grand plans, but a small business idea I would like to begin slowly developing, and so I felt the urge to get my home office in order.

As with a lot of things in life it's necessary to make space for new things, and it's such a therapeutic process for the mind and spirit. If your environment is tidy you feel more in control of your life.


I looked for a little lite-inspiration on pinterest as usual and came up with some beautiful, bright, clean office spaces. For a working space at home it's important for me to have visual inspiration, lots of creative storage solutions and colour.

In all these examples I loved the mixture of personality, function and organisation that gave them all such unique style; like the signature Hermes orange in the first, with the graphic framed photos and industrial steel desk, juxtaposed with the distinctly feminine flowers.

Images from Domino magazine photo-stream and apartment.therapy via pinterest.










As I didn't have any money to spend on accessories I cleared some of the clutter and turned some of the storage boxes around so the files appeared tidier, I also covered the printer with an old cardboard storage box [cutting a suitable hole for the power lead], to hide the printer and give me more useful surface space.

I added more inspiration space with the addition of a picture-line [a bit like a washing line but with space to hang pictures rather than pants : D ].

The finishing touch was some accents of bright colour from some stationary tidies from TK Maxx, really cheap but a great way to add a bold splash of colour.

Do you have any organising tricks and tips? I feel better able to tackle my new project - wish me luck!

x
Before


After






Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry Christmas


It has been a busy few months, but one of my resolutions for the new year will be to begin blogging again - hope to see you then!

x

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Handwritten sample sale

I miss sample sales! I don't mind admitting that one of the many advantages of my previous job was access to amazing sample sales of fabulous fashion booty. Of course this was also one of the many dichotomies too - we were peddling a designer lifestyle that we actually couldn't afford unless it was heavily subsidised by the designers themselves.

If you can find out when the sample sales are - they are a great way of getting beautiful clothes at discounted prices.

This looks like a great one this weekend:

Handwritten by Tanya Sarne is having a sample sale starting this Friday till Sunday. The collection is a firm favourite at Liberty and has 220 stockists worldwide. Tanya created GHOST and Handwritten is her new collection. www.handwrittenuk.com
The sale will feature Handwritten’s most recent and past stunning collections including dresses, jumpers, cardigans, jackets, knits, leather and accessories.

1-3 Middle Row
London
W10 5AT

2nd – 4th December 11am – 7pm.




Sunday, 27 November 2011

Not running but almost...


After a far-too-long absence I'm back blogging. I'm sorry I've been away for so long!

I remember blogging a while ago about feeling torn between the real world and the on-line world, so you can imagine where my energies have been focused the last 2 months.

I've actually begun doing a little bit of free-lance work again after almost 4 years of 'maternity leave'. I also edited the winter edition of a free-magazine with some local friends. You can have a look at the new issue here if you're interested: http://issuu.com/chatterboxsheffield/docs/winter2011_pdf1_. This took a huge amount of time and energy as we have also been involved with some charity fund-raising for a local children's hospice: http://www.bluebellwood.org/.

The upshot of all this has been that my blog has suffered and as any person living and working today - I just wish there were more hours in the day as I've missed it.

One thing I have managed to make time for over the last few months is exercise. I have always said 'I'm not a runner'. People who went running were committed, serious and had time that I always felt I didn't have, but after running a 5k in June and then my first 10k in October I'm finally coming around to the idea that I can find some enjoyment and escape in running.

A good friend has recently begun a battle with breast-cancer. She is dealing with it so bravely and with such humour and honesty, but her battle has compounded my thoughts that we should never take our health for granted. Some mornings it is so difficult to pull on my sweats and step outside the door into the cold, grey morning, but it is one of the many things in life you never regret doing - just regret not doing.

Exercise has given me more energy to deal with the day and changed my figure after having a child and enjoying cakes far too much, so I think I will carry on - afterall it only takes a half an hour in the morning, who can't manage that?!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Cushion love!

After my last post, I realised I'd missed out one of my great collections; cushions.

Now my other-half struggles with this one too [as you can tell we don't see eye to eye on alot of things!]. He doesn't see the aesthetic or actual comfort appeal of another over-stuffed cushion on the sofa / bed, but I just think - well, you can't have too much of a good thing, right?!

A cushion is a really cheap, easy way of adding a new colour accent to a room, it creates more warmth, comfort and in the right fabric, glamour!

My latest find was a bargain from TK Maxx but like alot of my TK-finds looks alot more expensive. The yellow accent picks up on my new yellow chair, and the purple references the coloured light fitting in the room.


This picture from Pottery Barn shows just how clashing coloured cushions can create a really striking effect in a room.


So I thought I'd share some of my favourite cushions - some are affordable, and some are pure fantasy, but they would all make a really striking statement in a room!

Clare Nicolson for notonthehighstreet.com


Ben de Lisi for Debenhams, £23


Lizzie Allen black cabs cushion at Liberty, £79


Marrimekko at Heals, £55

Alice Temperley for The Rug Company, £495 [yes really! For a cushion - I know!]





Pinterest and scrapbooking









I am a prodigious collector.
Magazines, coffee table books, recipes, pictures of pretty houses, glassware, vintage kitchenalia the list is endless. In particular I'm a scrapbooker, any pages from style and fashion magazines that I find inspiring get stuffed into a small white drawer to be eventually glued into a scrapbook. What I will ever do with all these bits of paper I'm still not sure.

Pinterest is the on-line equivalent of a pinboard [you can see the link to my boards down the right hand column of my blog]. I can now collect images on my pinterest board in exactly the same way that I stuff the tear sheets from my magazines into my drawer, only it feels much more organised [and is out of sight of my other-half - thank goodness!].

It can become incredibly addictive as you follow other people's boards and try to keep yours up-to-date. I've also discovered a new love of DIY and kids crafting thanks to some of the people I'm following, who have the cutest ideas and links to share.

If you're waiting for an invite let me know as I had to get my invitation through the lovely Tesca of the brilliant blog Casa and Co.

Here are some of my recent favourite pins:

I pin lots of great interiors ideas, details, moods or colours I love. I thought this art work was just beautiful with the modern style furniture very simple, but very pretty. Pinned from LONNY mag.



Quirky vintage inspired ideas always catch my eye. This is such a simple idea but so effective, those soft pastel, ice-cream shades look perfect together. Pinned from cupcakesandcashmere.com.


Our latest project with the house is a new bathroom, so I'm loving collecting lots of inspiration for new suites, tiles and cute details. Pinned from moredesignplease.com.


Of course I have lots of fashion and style pinboards, including work by some of my old colleagues and friends. This picture was by William Garrett for Red magazine. Love. x



Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Noah's story corner


I am a great fan of reinvention - I think everything can be reworked and recycled for a new or different purpose. Of course I'm also referring to myself! My new life has taken a little getting used to, but I think it fits me quite well now.

So I was very pleased with my old nursing chair that I recently had recovered. It is very expensive getting furniture reupholstered professionally, but I think the results are worth it. I stupidly forgot to take a picture of the chair before so you'll have to imagine a very shabby faded grey floral fabric looking very worn in places. I'm sure Rachel Ashwell would have loved it as it was, but I wanted a statement piece for the living room, something a little more striking and bold, so went with the yellow and smoky grey piping.

I was inspired by the living room of J Crew creative director Jenna Lyons, whose home has been featured in all the stylish interiors magazines and blogs, like Domino and Living Etc. Her gorgeous butter yellow sofa looks really striking against the cool grey walls of her sitting room.




Pictures from aphrochic

The new chair sits well in Noah's little reading corner and is just the right height for him [and Woody!].







Sunday, 28 August 2011

Stylish thrifting: Bootsale bargains

I've written about my addiction for bargain hunting before. There's nothing more satisfying than routing through a charity shop, car boot sale or flea market and discovering something pretty, useful or [finger's crossed] actually worth real money!

It's rare to find something special and worth money, although last year I discovered an original water colour painting by a celebrated Yorkshire artist - it was signed and I quickly googled his name on my phone and found out it's value before I bought it for £5. I sold it later in the week on ebay for £50 [even the buyer got a real bargain!].

So I thought it would be fun to share some of my finds, and offer a few little tips to get the most from a Sunday morning outing.

Today's bargains weren't quite as exciting as the watercolour, but fun none-the-less.

The Beatrix Potter books were 25p each - Noah has a little collection that is expanding slowly. The Cath Kidston book is brand new, never opened and was £3. The Romo fabric is from the latest collection, it was an end of roll from a local interior designers and would retail for £45 per metre. The small section, enough to make a cushion, was just 20p.




The beautiful Donna Hay recipe book was 50p, and the vintage jelly mould was £1.



A small selection of Gap and H&M clothes for Noah were 50p each.


Tips:
  • Get to any yard sale or boot sale early to find the best things. But avoid rummaging while people are setting up, it's frustrating for them and for you.
  • Always take change and small amounts of notes, hopefully you will be spending pennies rather than pounds.
  • Look for boot sales and table top sales in the best areas in your local paper. Schools often have fund-raising sales, and it may seem obvious but the better the area the better the things that are going to be on sale [the same rule applies to charity shops].
  • take plenty of bags for carrying your items home.
  • If possible go without your kids or pets in tow, they will distract you, and will constantly be asking if you can buy them the Thomas Tank/Ben 10/ vintage weapons[kidding!].
  • Always take measurements of items you may be looking for with you - it's possible to find blinds / curtain poles / rugs etc. but unless you know your area you'll be throwing money away.
  • Be prepared to look under stalls and in boxes to find hidden gems.
  • Beware of walking away if you really want an item - chances are it won't be there when you come back.
  • With clothing, look for quality brands and fabrics and don't be afraid to haggle if you buy multiple items. The best clothing to look for if you're a parent is for your kids, as children grow so fast, chances are winter coats, summer shorts, smart shirts etc. will only have been worn for a few months before they grow out of them.
  • Don't be afraid to look at the sellers, chances are if you find someone who looks like your kind of person they will have similar taste.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Friday, 26 August 2011

Designers at Debenhams inspiration

Our home is a very neutral space. White has always featured as a backdrop for our collection of things, but recently I've been craving more colour in our house.

The Designers at Debenhams range seems to be getting stronger each season and I particularly love the home selection in store at the moment, it includes really vibrant and quirky bedding, cushions, ceramics and glassware that all has a really nice luxury quality.

Here are some of my favourite pieces from the Matthew Williamson and Ben de Lisi collections, but it's definitely worth having a look at the website as there is a sale going on at the moment.

Bedspread, £112.00 in sale


Cushion, £20.00 in the sale

Bird candlestick, £18.50

Mug, £6.00


Pompom cushion, £22.00

Ella dog mug, £6.00

Noah cushion, £30.00



Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Chatsworth gardens - inspiration

Noah and I spent a lovely day at Chatsworth House with friends today. Noah chased around the maze, and dug in the sandpit in the children's play park while I took in as much inspiration as I could from the incredible gardens.

I am trying my hand for the first time at gardening, with very mixed results. This year I tried the low-maintenance approach and threw lots of wild flower seeds on the muddy earth. Some of the seeds took and have given us some beautiful displays of pretty colour, whilst others ended up in a brown-tinged, tangled mess [although the bees loved them regardless!]. I also bought lots of smaller plants from the regular boot-sales we go to, again with mixed results. A honey-suckle that I planted near the bottom of the garden has withered, while the lavenders I bought for a couple of pounds seem to be doing really well in the pots to the front.

And so I'm hoping next year to have a more planned approach, and to try my hand at some edibles. Any tips for growing in the cooler North of England would be greatly appreciated. We have created a new seating area after demolishing an over-sized out-house, and I've enjoyed making up some new pots to fill the area with colour next spring.

Gardening is a very alien thing for me in as far as I'm used to making, doing and creating things with immediate results. My photography, blogging, design and styling are all activities that you can get immediate pleasure from - they are all equally visual, but you don't have to wait for the rewards. So now I am learning the art of waiting [ironic as Noah is having to learn the same skill at the same time]. A beautiful, well-structured garden takes years, sometimes decades of nurturing and careful planning which can be incredibly frustrating, but all the more satisfying for the wait - not a bad life-lesson to learn for no money!







For anyone interested in these pictures, they are achieved with my ipod and an app called instagram. It is really good fun and has lots of different vintage photography effects that you can try out. They really remind me of going through my Mum and Dad's old box of photographs in the lost - something we'll really miss when it's gone - it's not quite the same with digital.




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