Friday, 28 December 2012

New Year Post

How was your christmas? I hope you had a lovely break with family and friends, and your tummy isn't too full from too many chocolates and christmas pudding, although isn't that the idea of Christmas?!

I'm taking a break from family festivities while I wait in for a plumber to fix a leak in our hallway - not the best present to return home to after a few days away for the holidays, but a small damp patch in the hall is minor compared to some people in the South of England who have suffered awful flooding over the last few weeks in this, the wettest year we've had on record. 

So I thought I'd take the time reflect on the year just gone and the one ahead, what does it mean for the Style Notebook, Karma and for me personally? Simple Style and Karma will certainly be continuing in 2013 - I'd love your input if you think there's anything I'm not covering or something you'd like to see more of please let me know. My days are spent entertaining a 4 year old so sometimes I need a little extra inspiration ; D x The blog has been part of a constant journey for me which started here at Karma and Cupcakes 4 years ago and continues through the readers and blogging friends who get in touch every week via Simple Style Notebook, hopefully this year I'll have time to be in contact with you all more as Noah will be starting school in September, a big step in our small family. 

I'm also starting a new chapter this year which will take me on a thrilling new path as I'm studying and training to become a yoga teacher, something that has always been a goal since I began practicing 15 years ago as a 21 year old starting out in London.

I read a quote today on Pinterest that struck a real chord at this particularly significant time of year and resonates with me.

Isn't that great? Of course I hope that whatever you're doing you're very content and happy, but if you're not, well what's stopping you? Of course this can apply to your wardrobe as much to your life, with the new year and new beginnings in mind take a moment to look through your clothes and check that they reflect who you are right at this moment and not the person you were 10 years ago. Make sure your clothes grow and change with you and your life, and I hope that 2013 is full of startling discoveries and wonderful surprises.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Instagram in Colour

I've rediscovered  my love of Instagram recently. I've found myself snapping away and sharing my pictures on Twitter and Facebook - so how inspiring is Nichole Robertson's book Paris in Color, based on her hugely successful blog, Little Brown Pen

Inspired by Nichole's book I've pulled together some of my Instagram pictures into colour collages.

Are  you on Instagram? Who do you like to follow?

Study in Red

Study inWhite

Study inYellow

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Laura Amiss on Etsy

I hope you're looking forward to Christmas like we are. Noah is 4 now so definitely at the age where he understands very well about what is to come. Snow would be a bonus for him, but I think the anticipation of his list for Father Christmas is enough to get him in the spirit!

We are at a more awkward age when it comes to presents, am I right? So here is a really lovely simple idea for a great gift. My new favourite Etsy artist is Laura Amiss based in The Netherlands, I was lucky to receive her Paris print for my birthday [shown below] and have in mind to collect a few to dot around our house of the places we've visited over the years.

So pretty and easy to frame at home with a simple Ikea frame.

Scarlet and Violet London

Fresh flowers in our home feel like such a luxury. I'm drawn to beautiful, rustic posies that look like they've been pulled from the garden that morning - bright, vivid colours or muted, watery pastels I don't mind as long as they look natural.

A recent discovery in our local library confirmed my love of pretty, wild arrangements and lead me to make a discovery on a trip to London.

Vic Brotherson's book Vintage Flowers is a joy - the art direction, interiors styling and floral arrangements are all beautifully designed and give a real flavour of Brotherson's approach to floral styling. Vintage vases, botanical pictures, antique vessels are thoughtfully curated to give lots of inspiration for amateurs like me [although if I sneak anymore jam jars and old jugs into our house I'm sure my husband will have words!].

I was in London recently for a brief Christmas shopping trip so decided on a whim to go to Vic's shop, Scarlet and Violet in Kensal Rise. It felt a little bit like a pilgrimage out of town but was well worth the journey as the shop was over flowing with all the props and flowers that stuff the pages of the book.

They very kindly let me take some pictures so I thought I would share them here with you. If you're in London, the shop is well worth a visit or for a special occasion you could always order some flowers, and for those out of town or elsewhere around the world you could always ask for the book as an early christmas present.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Weekend Project: Children's Headboard

I'm in a restless mood at the moment. My other half keeps coming home to books rearranged, furniture moved and knick knacks changed around. I'm not sure what this is a sign of, but it feels a little unsettling [for both of us I'm sure], one positive however is that I'm finally getting round to all those small jobs that have been in the back of my mind for months. I've had in mind to make a couple of headboards for some time inspired by this brilliant post on Young House Love

For our spare room I have in mind a sumptuous velvet board with thick wadding to laze against.For Noah's room I thought I would try it out first with a simple design in bright stripes, perfect for his room.

The board was cut to measure in Homebase and cost approximately £9, the wadding was from Dunhelm and cost £2, the fabric was a roll end from Ikea so cost just £5 and the velcro tape for secure the ends was £1.50. I used sticky back velcro and safety pins to fasten the fabric to the board so it can easily be removed and washed, the Young House version is a lot more durable I think.

Total cost was £17.50, and there was enough fabric left over to make a cushion cover too. I only made it quite low for Noah but for the guest room plan to make it much deeper.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Weekend Project: Bedside Table

Our home is full of second hand furniture we've picked up through the years. Some of it is left as-is to look happily vintage, whilst some of it gets painted and the handles changed [Zara Home and Anthropologie have the best selection of handles]. 

The furniture in Noah's room is painted white and this little unit fitted perfectly with his scheme once I'd painted it and changed the handles. It needed a sand down before painting, I prefer the look of a matt finish but it depends entirely on your taste. The yellow paint was a small pot I'd picked up on a discounted shelf in the sales. These smaller pots can be useful and I'll pick up a pot if I see it for a few pounds. The box files are from Ikea and happily now store Noah's collection of comics and magazines.

Do you customise your furniture, and how successful are your projects? 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Abbey's House

Abbey's house is a real contrast with whites, creams and taupes creating a serene almost Scandinavian-style. The details are all textured, worn, but feel loved. It is a light airy space that is comfortable but very stylish. Like Liz, Abbey is still working on the house, taking time to find the right pieces that are both enduring and compliment what they already have.

Abbey has a very clear style philosophy that everything should feel authentic, there are no faux-designer pieces just simple functional design and heart-stopping vintage one-offs, like the stunning glass cabinet in the kitchen.

Friends with beautiful houses: Liz's Kitchen

Over the summer I visited friends down South that I'd not seen in far too long. It's so hard keeping up with friends when distance and time seems to be so against you, but the journey to visit is always worth while and we caught up on how our lives had changed, but also how much we are still the same people in so many ways and that despite the long time apart it only felt like 2 minutes.

It was also a treat to see how their homes have grown as they have over the years. Liz's home is a beautiful arts and crafts style house which they have lovingly restored over several years. The kitchen is the main room to be completed and is full of beautiful details and vintage finds.

Heart details carved in the wooden banisters and shutters, and gorgeous wooden features in the kitchen and hallway. I love the terracotta brick floor in the kitchen and warm wooden work tops that make their home feel so cosy and inviting.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Happy Friday!

Something to make you smile on a Friday - wishing you all a wonderful weekend. x

Image via The Daily Bunny

Monday, 10 September 2012

Summer time and the living is easy...

Over the summer I had a lovely email from Vanessa asking about how I edit my pictures, adding text and formatting so thought I'd share this little one with you.

This is such a cool effect on this picture of Noah and is a total cheat - I shot with the sun low in the sky and slightly behind Noah to get that really pretty back-lit look, it's such a great time of day to take pictures of the kids, but I actually added the bokeh afterwards. I added a layer and blended the image to get the finished effect and followed the following simple tutorial on Photoshop via Chatty Tuesdays: How to get the bokeh look.

The type was then added as another layer in Photoshop, but if you don't have Photoshop don't panic you can use really good free programmes from the internet like Pixlr. Hope that's useful for some of you holiday pictures.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A study in pink at Clumber Park

Noah and I spent a really fun day at a local nature park. Clumber Park is close by Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, and as you can imagine for such a historic park there is lots to explore. 

Ancient trees were perfect for climbing, woody mazes inside giant rhododendrons ideal for hiding, and we got lost meandering the winding paths around the giant lake. But my favourite place was the walled garden. A beautiful example of a classic English country garden, bursting with jewel coloured flowers and trees heavy with bulbous fruit.

I'm always drawn to the flowers, like the bumble bee busying itself, and today I photographed the pinks in every hue. 

Noah enjoyed a special trail they had for the holidays to find gnomes and fairies hidden amongst the plants. We didn't even mind the rain when it came as it was so warm.

A perfect day; what are your favourite gardens to explore with the kids?

Friday, 10 August 2012


It is summer holiday time here in the UK. Noah has almost 8 weeks of holiday from pre-school, classes and playgroups so we are getting out and getting away [hence my complete absence from the blogs!!]. We have spent hours catching over-sized crabs on the beach, rode miniature trains, boats and rides in the park, put countless 2p pieces into the gaudy slot machines at the seaside and camped in a small 2 man tent in a field with chickens pecking about outside. 

There is a different tiredness in the summertime; not the lethargy and weariness of winter as the nights draw in and comfort is found in a blanket and a cup of warming chocolate, but the exhaustion of too much sunshine, fresh air blowing the proverbial cobwebs and walking for hours on the beach just to get the last few moments of warm air on our skin.

So apologies for going MIA, I'm making the most of the days with Noah and the lazy, hazy nights, come September we'll be back in the old routine I'm sure. 

I hope wherever you are you're enjoying a little sunshine too. x

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Olympic inspiration

Yesterday I was lucky to go to the tennis at the Olympics with my Dad, we had a brilliant day and he told me on the way home that he could tick one of the things off his 'bucket list' - go to Wimbledon - fantastic. 

Inspired by the achievements of all the athletes and my Dad's small accomplishment I thought I'd post a little reminder to all my readers...something to bear in mind if you're thinking about doing anything 'someday'...

Monday, 23 July 2012

Breakfast time

The sun has finally come out and breakfast is my favourite time of the day. We have a North facing garden so we have to grab the sunshine when we can and 6.30am is the perfect time to catch the sun [one of the few bonuses of having a toddler who wakes at 5.30!!].

The garden is constantly evolving - we have added a pond where 2 frogs have decided to take up residence, Noah has a large play area which is brilliant when friends visit, and an under-used chimanea keeps us warm late into the evening.

This summer I've tried my hand at growing sweet peas for the first time. I stuff them in jam jars and sit them on the kitchen window-sill, a wonderful reminder of the heady smells of summer.

Where do you eat your breakfast in the summer? And what does your garden look like this time of year? 

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