I have made no secret of my love of the outdoors, and of gardening! I would love a cut flower garden so that I could grow and enjoy flowers all year round! This is an achievable goal, if I plan it properly! Maybe one day, if we have a bigger garden, I’ll be able to fulfil that dream!
In the meantime I’m having to remain content with bringing flowers into the home as often as I can. I’m also embracing the recent trend for all things botanical in home decor ranges!
Nature inspired prints and accessories are everywhere, and it’s a trend I love! I’m not overly confident with big and bold prints, so have been searching for some more delicate floral accessories…
Living on the Wild Side
John Spedan Lewis (Mr ‘John Lewis’ himself!) purchased Leckford Estate in 1929 and it remained his home throughout his life. John Lewis and Waitrose have farmed continuously at the estate for over 87 years. The estate produces the very best quality food, with the sole aim of working in harmony with the environment.
in addition, the Longstock Park Water Gardens were added to the estate in 1942, and since then the gardens have been nurtured and developed to become famous water gardens. John Spedan Lewis spent much of his later life in these gardens and whilst the gardens remain true to his time, the landscape has evolved so that it remains a vibrant, tranquil and beautiful place to visit.
The fresh, airy and colourful surroundings are captured in the new Leckford Country Collection, a fresh and updated take on classic florals. The colours are inspired by flowers – neutrals, darks and brights working seamlessly together in a modern delightful way.
So to sum up, I’m a complete convert and tempted by both the Leckford tableware and Longstock home furnishings too! I can feel a shopping trip coming on!
What does it take to build your very own planet? Orson is about to find out… He takes:
A cup full of rocks
A dash of water
A sprinkling of metal
A lot of nothingness
A big bang …
And before long, BOOM! He has it – a tiny planet with rings around it, right there in his bedroom!
Up, Up and Away
Up,Up and Away is a heart-warming story about life’s possibilities and disappointments with an uplifting ending that will resonate with all fans of Oliver Jeffers’ work. For it seems that BUILDING a planet is the easy bit; taking care of it is a different thing altogether. Over time, Orson realises that his planet needs to be free and that sometimes you have to let go of the things that you love the most …
The author, Tom McLaughlin, is the author and illustrator of the fabulous books The Story Machine and The Cloudspotter, and his third book, Up, Up and Away does not disappoint. As with his previous books, it shows off Tom’s incredible talent and unique style of drawing and storytelling. I always enjoy the understated gentleness of Tom McLaughlin’s work. He always approaches challenging or sensitive issues with gentleness and positivity. Another uplifting read and which we’ll enjoy returning to again and again.
Many thanks to Bloomsbury Books for sending me a copy of Up,Up and Away to review.
I do love fresh bedding! There are many evenings when I literally can’t wait to slip into bed, especially if I’ve had a hectic day! I always think that one of the best things about returning home from a holiday or weekend away is getting to sleep in your own comfy bed again, surrounded by familiar objects.
Slipping into a freshly made bed is guaranteed to provide comfort, soothe the mind, and help with a restful night’s sleep – whatever kind of day you’ve had!
The Joy of Fresh Bedding and Bed Sheets
Here are a few top tips I’ve picked up to ensure I keep my bed feeling fresh and inviting…
Invest in the best mattress you can afford. A mattress with proper support will mean that you automatically sleep better and avoid potential back and hip discomfort. If you can’t afford a new mattress then add a mattress topper to increase comfort and transform the way your bed feels.
Duvets and Pillows
Spend some time searching for the right duvets and pillows, there are so many types to choose from! A little research and a good deal of prodding and testing in shops is essential to find what works for you in terms of support and comfort! I’ve already extolled the virtues of my climate control duvet from Slumberdown, and I wouldn’t be without it now!
Buying new bed sheets or simply changing them is akin to giving yourself an instant present! Smooth, fresh, clean sheets; combined with ambient lighting and a good book/magazine can help your day end on a brighter and more relaxing note. Email
There are lots of options for bed sheets, from Egyptian cotton, to brushed cotton flannel and linen. Choose the one that feels best on your skin and be willing to experiment! I love the colours of the Egyptian Cotton bedsheets which can be found at Yorkshire Linen.
A throw adds a touch of softness to the foot of the bed, and can be especially useful when you’re sitting up in bed to read on a chilly night! You can also swap throws according to the season to give your bed and bedlinen an instant fresh update!
A Few Treats…
If you have wooden or laminate flooring, invest in a soft bedside rug. Comfort is essential when you need to get up in the night or early morning, and there’s nothing nicer than stepping onto a soft, warm rug!
Keep some extra pillows on hand! Extra pillows can be used to ‘dress’ your bed once it’s made for the day, but they’re great when you want to read in bed too! Use a spare seat or basket to store your extra pillows during the night, before climbing into bed. I love Cox and Cox Occasional Chairs, and dream of buying their Grey Woven Tub Chair for my bedroom!
Finally, dust and declutter your room. You need to relax free from distractions, and the area around your bed should only feature what you want close at hand while you’re in bed!
Your bed really can be a please of retreat and relaxation! What are your ideas for fresh bedding and a relaxing bed and bedroom? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!
With spring in full bloom (or should that be blossom?!) and the nights getting shorter, thoughts inevitably turn to sitting in the garden of an evening.
From dusk until late evening, it’s easy to transform your garden or patio with the right lighting. Here are a few ideas which will help spark your imagination to plan that perfectly lit summer garden. As they are solar lights they don’t require an electrician or a big budget either!
Inexpensive Solar Garden and Patio Lighting Ideas
Solar String Lights
For quick and instant appeal, nothing can beat the soft chic light of solar café-style lights strung overhead, and they are so inexpensive, you can use them generously for very little expense. They work draped around conservatories, sheds and outhouses – or strung across a defined area.
Available in various shapes, sizes and lengths, they are a great way to sprinkle a little light across your outdoor spaces. Smaller string lights, like these by Sarah Raven, work beautifully too!
Solar landscape lighting can ramp up the ambience of your garden or patio. Generally not enough to light up an outdoor space on their own, solar stake lights and solar crooks work well in conjunction with string lights. Use bushes, a patio or a pathway to provide the focus for your solar stake and crook lights.
Decorative Solar Lights
Decorative solar lights, including colourful blown glass lights and decorative lanterns, are often not as bright as solar path lights. However, used in clusters and groups they can provide a warm ambient glow and create a stylish decoration for your garden areas.
Solar Spot Lights
The brightest solar lights available are spotlights, and some can provide light roughly equivalent to a 40-watt bulb. Motion-sensing solar spotlights can be placed in the garden, with the beam of light directed at a tree or landscape feature.
Finally, remember all solar lights are powered by the sun! Whatever style you choose, they must be placed in an area that receives full sun — preferably eight or more hours per day.
Solar lights are on my shopping list for this year! I have had lots of inspiration from Ethical Superstore – do take a look!
Do you use outdoor solar lighting? Which styles do you use? I’d love to hear your ideas and tips in the comments section below! You can also visit my Pinterest board for more styling ideas.
Spring has finally arrived (even if the weather still seems a little undecided on certain days!) and I’m on a mission to get ahead with our garden this year.
We’ve already had a major tidy of certain areas, and our garden path, patio and flower beds are looking much neater and tidier. I’ve moved a few plants around and tidied and moved some of our pots too! At the moment it’s so far so good!
Town and Country Garden Style
Gardening, especially at the beginning of the gardening year, can be physically tiring and challenging. I’m now on a mission to get fitter and keep on top of the weeds! A few tools of the trade really help me too! So here’s my guide to some super stylish yet very practical garden aids…
1. Garden Gloves
Town and Country aim to bring the very best in style, quality and performance. As well as talking to their customers about what they want from certain products, they look to the fashion arena for inspiration. They keep a close eye on the latest trends in colours, patterns and designs. Their garden gloves are the best I’ve used, and I’m a big fan of their Master Gardener gloves, which I have in several colours!
They offer protection against thorns and other sharp objects and have an excellent grip both in wet and dry conditions. The outstanding fit and snug wrist means there is no loss of touch. Therefore, they are now officially ranked the UK’s best selling gardening glove – with one pair sold every minute.
2. Garden Tidy
I absolutely love their Limited Edition Garden Tidy. It is ideal for collecting grass cuttings, weeds and other garden waste. It pops up to full size (69cm high by 58 cm diameter with a capacity of 182 litres) and folds flat for easy storage. As a result, it is light and easy to carry, even though it is made from a tough water-resistant material. I now use it all the time and wouldn’t be without it!
3. Master Gardener Bypass Secateur
No gardener can be without a good pair of secateurs! These chrome plated carbon steel blades have a comfort grip handle for ease of use, with built in safety catch. They easily cut branches and stems up to 2cm thick.
4. Eva Cloggies
Perfect for when you want to pop out into the garden for a few minutes but don’t want to get fully changed into your wellies! I love these cloggies, perfect cushioning, comfort and surprisingly lightweight!
A special thank you to Town and Country who kindly sent me their Garden Tidy for review.
I love March, it’s the first month in a new year when I really get a sense of spring’s imminent arrival! Everything seems to come into life, and new interests and hobbies seem so much more attractive as the days get longer and slightly warmer!
My children both love books, and whilst they have old favourites which they return to again and again, it’s lovely to inject a few new titles into their reading repertoire at this time of year.
Bloomsbury Children’s Books – New Titles Spring 2017
Bloomsbury Children’s Books have some great new titles which I thought I’d share with you…
The Naughty Naughty Baddies
Once there were four Naughty, Naughty Baddies. And each one was as naughty as the next. When Four suggests a cunning plan to STEAL all the spots off the Queen’s Little Doggy Woof-Woof, they all grin fiendishly and chuckle evilly! What will the Queen do? Will the Naughty, Naughty Baddies get away with it? This is a very funny and deliciously naughty story from the bestselling pen of Mark Sperring and the bestselling brush of David Tazzyman.
The Butterfly Dance
Caterpillars Dotty and Stripe do everything together. They play, they eat leaves and do all sorts of caterpiller-y things, and then one day, after spinning themselves into snuggly cocoons, they wake up as beautiful butterflies! But soon they realise that, for the first time ever, they look different. Should Dotty only play with butterflies that look like her? And Stripe only play with butterflies that look like him?
The Butterfly Dance is a stunningly illustrated story about friendship and and being happy with who you are, from the author/illustrator of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted The Dawn Chorus.
We’re Going on an Egg Hunt – Activity Book
Can you find all the Easter eggs and help the Easter Bunnies get through the maze to escape from the wolf? Join in the fun with the Easter Bunnies and shout ‘Hooray for Easter Day!’ This super activity book is bursting with colouring, puzzles, games and over 100 lovely stickers.
Based on the bestselling We’re Going on an Egg Hunt, the little ones will have plenty to keep them occupied over the Easter holidays. Laura Hughes’ beautiful illustrations jump off the pages of this adorable activity book.
A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting
Do you dream of seeing some real, live bears? Then this essential guide to bear spotting, filled with offbeat humor and quirky illustrations, is for you! It’s now out in paperback too!
In this perfect read-aloud, a young aspiring bear spotter ventures into bear country . . . But coming face-to-face with the furry creatures themselves, whether black or brown, can be dangerous, and our protagonist–accompanied by a trusty teddy bear–might need to use some unconventional means to stay out of trouble and avoid being (gulp!) eaten.
This book has been a family favourite since we received the Hardback copy last year!
I Don’t Want Curly Hair
NO! I do not want this BIG CURLY HAIR!
It’s messy and silly and just plain unfair.
All Curly Haired Girl has ever wanted is straight and luscious locks, but when she meets a little girl with the smoothest, silkiest hair, who says all she’s ever wanted is spirally, squiggly hair, they are BOTH confused!
A hilarious tale about loving what we have. And hair, lots and lots of hair.
I Don’t Want Curly Hair! is glorious new picture book for little people who always want what they can’t have! From the brilliant Laura Ellen Anderson – illustrator of the bestselling Witch Wars series. This book is visually stunning and the striking illustrations and colour palette used throughout are gorgeous!
Henry and the Yeti
Another superbly and simply illustrated picture book! Henry is sure yetis do exist, and he sets off on an expedition to find one. He has packed everything he needs, including a camera to take photos for evidence. But can he find a yeti? And will anyone believe him when he returns home?
A funny story about believing in yourself (and yetis) from a bestselling illustrator who has turned author too. (Titles include The Witch’s Children and Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs.) Children will love the twist ending in particular.
A special thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing who kindly sent me copies of the above books for review.
Mother’s day is fast approaching! For todays post, I thought I’d take some gift inspiration from my favourite shop – The White Company.
Mother’s Day Gift Edit – The White Company
I love the paired down elegance of all their ranges, but thought I’d focus on gifts for Mums who love their home and enjoy a little home styling too!
Small Captured Glass Lantern
These glass lanterns were the first thing to catch my eye. Handmade in India, this striking glass and iron-framed hurricane is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Perfect for holding a pillar candle, place on your dining table, garden path or by your front door with their collection of Large Captured Glass Lanterns, too.
Organic Mercury Tealight Holder
This lovely tealight holder features has the hugely popular mercury finish. Countless brush strokes are used to enhance the glimmering aesthetic when a tealight is lit inside. This will look beautiful on any dressing table or coffee table!
The White Company Rose Candle comes in a white porcelain holder, which gives a soft-diffused light. The candle comes with a matching white porcelain lid to protect the candle when not in use, and to keep the fragrance pure. A gift box detailed with beautiful hand-drawn illustrations will accompany your purchase of this lovely candle! Perfect for adding some dreamy scented fragrance around the home, and creating a soft ambient light.
Silver Easel Photo Frame
White Company frames are plated with 1 micron of silver plating – twice the amount that’s typically used! A tarnish-free finish is applied, so they hardly ever need cleaning. A thick card mount really sets off any photo, and the frame comes in a silver-foiled gift box.
Small Bottle Vase – Natural
Finally, this bottle vase gift idea is handmade in the UK by an individual artisan, and is truly special. Crafted from neutral-coloured stoneware clay, each unique bottle-shaped design showcases slight variation. Finished with a robust British glaze and fired under extra-high temperatures, one vase takes three days to create. This small and dainty vase holds a single bud or delicate sprigs from the garden. It looks pretty when styled on the bedside table, dressing table, coffee table and beyond.
NB: All opinions and selections are my own, and no products or payments were received.
How do you go about approaching a new interior design project or update? I tend to start with magazines, catalogues and my Pinterest account… All offer plenty of design inspiration, and from there I can identify a style or colour scheme I like… It’s then about sourcing the right products, whether they’re paints, carpets, furniture or accessories…
Nothing beats seeing those items for real, rather than online, and so shopping for items and seeing if they look as good as they appear online is essential for me. I visited South Aylesford Retail Park last weekend, and it had everything I wanted within easy walking distance! It’s great for big design projects (kitchen, bedrooms etc…) and also for simple seasonal re-vamps…
SS17 at South Aylesford Retail Park
My visit last weekend was all about seasonal re-vamps, and it was fascinating to see the new SS17 trends at South Aylesford Retail Park. There were plenty of creamy and chalky paint shades, perfect for a spring boost!
I always think that the first impression you have of a property is the most important. A first view of a house is a little bit like a first handshake, it sets the scene! The inside of the property is more like a equivalent to the human voice, it’s where the initial impression deepens and character emerges!
Whether you are trying to sell your house, or just ready for a spring refresh, achieving some instant curb appeal isn’t as hard as you’d imagine!
Here are a few quick and easy top tips for adding curb appeal to any property…
How To Add Instant Curb Appeal
Clean and Tidy
1. Keep your front door in immaculate condition. It might benefit from a new coat of paint or simply a good clean, but a shiny and well-maintained front door always creates a good impression. Don’t forget to clean and polish door fixtures and fittings too!
2. Clean all hardware surrounding your door – postboxes and outdoor lights all look better for a polish!
3. Make sure that if you have a front garden you have a clearly defined path with easy access to your property. Now is a great time to trim bushes and tidy plants before they start to flowers and spring into life! Ensure paths are swept and that the last of the winter leaves and debris has been swept up.
4. Create an instant garden beside your door. We have a deep blue plant pot (rather large!) which has an azalea planted in it. It’s glorious in May and June and remains a healthy green bush for the rest of the summer. We keep it watered and give the glazed pot a wipe from time to time, but other than that it’s very low maintenance!
Everyone loves to see a little greenery and planters can look really attractive. Choose something which suits the style of your property – from urban chic to country cottage! You can buy ready planted pots from local garden centres and window boxes too.
5. Install some outdoor lighting to give your home a welcoming appeal. If you aren’t able to use lights which require wiring, install some solar fixtures as an easier alternative! Solar lights are not as bright or as reliable as fully wired lights. They do, however, come in a great selection of shapes and sizes and can often be moved around to create different effects.
6. Make sure that the front exterior to your house looks well-maintained. Check gutters and pipes to see if they need a clean or replacing. Consider an exterior face-lift with a fresh coat of paint if your home is looking a little tired and dated.
Spring is the perfect time to give your house some curb appeal! Do you have any projects in mind? I’d love to hear from you!
Last week I actually ventured into our shed… It was the first time in ages, and I was struck by what a cool space it is! It’s bright and has some lovely light coming through the window! At present it’s full of our children’s garden toys, and a few odds-and-ends which I’m never sure where to store!
It’s a Shed Thing
We do, however, have grand plans for our shed, once we’ve worked out a few logistics! Storage issues seem to be a big theme for my life (and this blog!), but I’m determined to crack them and turn our shed into something a little more creative! Ideally I’d love a small summer playroom and relaxing space for the family. With this in mind I thought I’d share some cool shed design tips with you… After all, it’s good to dream!
Declutter and Clean
As spring approaches, now is a great time to start some decluttering. Garden sheds invariably turn into dumping grounds for all things damp and dirty. They can quickly become the domain of the garden spider! Spring is a great time to reclaim the shed as your outside room and it’s best to begin with a sweep, declutter and a spring clean!
Painting Interior and Exterior
We have already made a start, and painted the exterior of our shed a lovely pale green shade from Cuprinol called Willow. The inside walls are painted white. The white paint has made a huge difference to the light, and it works as a perfect backdrop for whatever you decide to use your shed for!
Sheds are invariably small spaces, so consider how you use the space along either side, leaving enough space in the middle to move from the front to the back of the shed. It’s a bonus if you can create adequate storage space under shelves and units too! If your shed is going to be a space for children as well as adults, make sure everything is easy to put away and keep tidy!
If designed correctly, there is no reason why your shed can’t become an additional room – ready to use throughout the year. As with all rooms, think about practical flooring, lighting and heating. This will make a great difference to the feel of the room, and also to how often you are able to use it!
I can’t wait to start on our shed (again!) this spring, and will keep you posted!
Do you have a cool shed? How do you organise it? Or maybe you too have a dream shed in mind… I’d love to hear from you!
It’s that time of the year (well, almost!) when spring cleaning starts to become a priority! I generally declutter prior to a spring clean, and this week I’m tackling our master bedroom. My wardrobe appears to be groaning with the amount of clothes hanging in it. I also have a huge number of things piled in the bottom of it!
Yesterday I went through all our clothes and had a declutter. I work on the principle that if you haven’t worn an item of clothing in one season, you are unlikely to the following year! Sometimes there are one or two exceptions to this rule, but generally I try to be a little ruthless!
Curver Storage Solutions
Having sorted through clothes, I moved on to the bottom of the wardrobe… Firstly, I opted for a complete re-organisation, and found new homes for many of the random things I’d been keeping there! Rolls of wrapping paper and gift bags have found a new home, and I’m determined not to buy anymore until existing supplies are used up! Other items needed to go back into the wardrobe, and I wanted some storage boxes to keep them tidy…
Whilst searching, I found the brilliant and stylish Curver brand. Design and innovation have always been the core values of Curver, established in 1949. Curver always seems to be ahead of the market, launching new stylish user-friendly products.
They have lots of great ranges, and I was drawn to their Knit range and My Style range. Their Neo range is cool too, especially if you are looking for something original and funky for a child’s room…
I’ve opted for the Medium and Small Faux Rattan Storage Tubs in Grey, and now have a super organised chic wardrobe.
Storage boxes don’t have to compromise on style, and I couldn’t be happier with my purchases! I’m wondering where in the house to go next for my decluttering and cleaning mission!
NB: This is not a sponsored post and no products or payments were received.
I must admit that when it comes to being green fingered, I’m not always that lucky! I have much more success in my garden than I do inside my home! Having said that, I love houseplants! They are having a real revival at present and there are many super stylish ways to show them off!
For today’s blog post I thought I’d share with you some houseplant design inspiration. There are some amazingly creative ideas out there, and I’m keen to try a few myself!
Designs on Houseplants
My Pinterest board provides lots of inspiration, but here are a few of my favourite highlights…
Create a Small Vignette
I’ve previously extolled the virtues of creating small and interesting vignettes, and houseplants work well too! Grouping houseplants looks really effective and is beneficial to the plants, too. Keeping plants in close proximity to each other boosts humidity. This helps the plants stay healthier and thrive a bit longer between watering.
Vertical gardens are becoming increasingly popular both inside and out! They are perfect if you are looking to add a wall feature. Palettes and old cupboard draws work well as they can be filled with various mosses, air plants and succulents. Air plants are the simplest and easiest, because they require no soil. Succulents require very little soil, so using shallow containers isn’t an issue! To maintain the plants simply spray with water as required!
Ladders can achieve a similar effect when propped up against a wall.
Terrariums come in many shapes, sizes and styles. You can hang them or buy a table-top design.That’s what makes them great plant containers for just about any space. They also look super chic and can work in any interior design scheme, from country cottage to urban chic!
Add A Little Detail
Whatever plants you choose or use, you want to show them off to their best advantage.This means thinking not only about where you display your plants to their best advantage, but also what you put them in! Containers come in all different shapes, sizes and colours – don’t be afraid to experiment and find something which suits the plant and the location it’s in! Even terracotta pots can look quirky and interesting!
Whatever you choose, and however you display it, have a little fun! And remember, houseplants are great for purifying and refreshing the air we breathe. They are also great for balancing humidity and improving concentration!