A short while ago I wrote about my decision to use an interior designer to help with our master bedroom update. We’re not the sort of family who would ever have considered this, and yet we’ve had our consultation and are now on the way to planning a whole new look for our master bedroom!
Interior designers generally have a selection of packages to choose from and the options can sometimes be very reasonably priced – so here are a few ideas to help you decide whether hiring one is right for you, and how you can expect to benefit if you do! The golden rule is to decide what you want help with and make this your focus.
5 Ways To Use An Interior Designer
1. Room Layout
A fresh pair of eyes is always welcome, and if you have a room with multiple doors, alcoves or an oddly shaped room, then an interior designer can discuss these options with you, make a floor plan if necessary and help you achieve the best possible layout.
Our master bedroom has a slightly unusual, almost ‘L-Shaped’ floor space, complete with 3 alcoves! We were confident with the bedroom layout (and it was lovely to be told we had our layout right!), but we were struggling with creating a separate office area and it was here we needed the help! Simple tips like moving our desk, creating shelving in an alcove and re-hanging a door the other way around made such a difference!
We are intending to replace our bedroom furniture, and wanted some advice on this. An interior designer can offer support on how to use existing pieces or how to start anew. For us the advice was simple, replace and have less furniture but slightly bigger in size. We’re now looking at a larger wardrobe and chest of drawers which will still fit in the designated spaces but offer us so much more storage! Why didn’t we think of this!
3. Mood Boards
This was probably the area I struggled with most! With so many styles and colour schemes to choose from I had no idea where to start. Our designer looked around our house, asked lots of relevant questions and discussed our tastes and then came up with two options. We liked them both but realised as we looked at her mood boards that whilst she had kept to our brief we were ready to challenge ourselves.
Designing our Master Bedroom
We have rejected the neutrals and calming greens in favour of white, yellow and silver grey – a choice we’d never have made without her mood boards! We have since gone back to her (at her own suggestion!) with our colour ideas and wait to see the result!
If you need carpenters, electricians and decorators then ask your designer, he or she will be able to recommend some and liaise with them to ensure you get the service and look you require!
As part of the mood boards, we’ve been given access to home décor ranges from a whole host of different online, high street and bespoke suppliers. Some we thought might be out of our budget but aren’t, and some we’ve never heard of but have now happily ‘discovered’!
To sum up, there is much to be gained from expert opinion – a fresh pair of eyes, a fresh approach and a host of design experience can do wonders to clarify your preferences and firmly set you on the path to achieving your perfect home, whatever your budget!
Have you started an interior design project? If so, I’d love to hear from you and see if you agree with my 5 ways to use an interior designer!
When Bloomsbury Books sent me a copy of Introducing Teddy, complete with a multicoloured bow tie, I was immediately intrigued! The key to this delightfully written and illustrated picture book lies with the attached advice which stated that the best way to wear a bow tie is however you like!
Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton: A Review
Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends who do everything together. Whether it’s riding a bike, playing in the tree house, having a tea party or all of the above, every day holds something fun to do together…
A story about friendship…
One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can’t figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: ‘In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.’ And Errol says, ‘I don’t care if you’re a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.’
Error reacts with kindness, acceptance and warmth – all he wants is for his beloved bear to be happy! This truly is a sweet and gentle story essentially about being true to yourself and being a good friend!
Being true to yourself…
Yes, Introducing Teddy is about a transgender bear, but it is written in such a way that it can be used to simply tell a story about friendship and being true to yourself, or it can provide a gentle way to enter into a discussion with younger children about gender identity.
I look forward to reading more from Jessica Walton!
Since I launched the #thisperfectmoment hashtag I’ve been busy looking at some of the beautiful images appearing on my Instagram feed! Thank you to all those of you who’ve started to join in!
This Perfect Moment May 2016
It’s lovely to see the variety of images and I’ve found it really difficult to choose my favourites! To make my selection easier I decided to keep with a theme, so the two favourite images I’ve chosen this month reflect the gorgeous purple and mauve colours of May, from beautiful larkspur to the magnificent wisteria which has been appearing all over Instagram! I’m all in favour of a bit of Instagram wisteria hysteria!
Wisteria is a remarkably important flower in Chinese art and Feng Shui and has distinct symbolism in Buddhism. Wisteria is a symbol of humility and reflection in Shin Buddhism. The Jodo Shinshu sect uses two intertwined, upside-down wisteria flowers as its crest.
Cascades of Wisteria
Thank you @oandystudio and @bognorpete for using the #thisperfectmoment hashtag – they are simply beautiful images!
I look forward to seeing what June brings and the perfect moments we’ll all be sharing! I’ll be back next month with some more favourites! In the meantime do keep sharing and tagging your photos!
The arrival of late spring and early summer always seems to herald a renewed determination to give our house a spring clean and freshen up the rooms with some new accessories! We’ve now begun our project to redecorate our master bedroom and I will shortly be sharing an update with you following a recent visit from our interior designer. It was an inspiring visit and whilst we wait to begin this project (we’re using a decorator for ‘phase one’ and are currently having to wait for him to start) I’ve been wondering what we can do to freshen up our kitchen too!
We have a modern shaker style kitchen with pale wooden doors and sleek steel handles, and I’m thinking of updating it with some new coloured accessories.
Summer Kitchen Style: A Touch of Teal
I am especially tempted by teal since I saw the new Teal Range Cooker from Everhot. It’s an amazing colour and the chrome handles give it a really contemporary feel. This is definitely a real statement piece and one of these cookers which will happily sit on my wish list! It’s retro and yet very contemporary, and wouldn’t be out of place on the stylish set of The Great British Bake Off!
Everhot’s handbuilt cookers are the most energy efficient heat storage ranges on the market, and they use less than half the energy of an equivalent comparable range cooker. Everhot cookers gently warm a kitchen using electricity, so they’re quick to switch on or off, easy to install and well suited to running off solar or other forms of renewable energy.
I can’t see us being able to get one of these for a while, but I’m consoling myself with contemplating purchasing a few teal accessories to go some way to achieving the look! I love this teal range from Le Creuset, it’s beautiful and would be very long lasting!
Beautiful Le Creuset!
I also love this beautiful decorative bowl from Ziggi Ziggi, it would look stunning as it catches the light on a kitchen work surface or kitchen windowsill!
Beautiful glass bowl…
The thing to remember with coloured accessories is ‘less is more’. There is no doubt that this cooker would be the statement piece in any kitchen. I would be tempted to keep the units and tiles a very neutral yet complimentary cream, and just add a few accessories to compliment the teal. Regard the teal as your accent colour and aim to have three additional pieces in different parts of the kitchen which are also teal, any more and the colour palette could become too confusing to the eye. The aim of an accent colour is to look intentional and draw the eye around the room. Don’t forget an accent color isn’t limited to small accessories, it can also be used on upholstery, painted furniture, and art.
Have you made plans to update your kitchen or use accent colours? I’d love to hear about your summer kitchen style!
NB – This is not a paid for or sponsored post, and all opinions are my own.
As a family we do our fair share of travelling. We have family in South Wales and our children are used to long car journeys of anything between 3 and 5 hours duration. In all fairness both children have got so used to the longer journeys that they they’re great travellers and make very little fuss when we leave home and embark on a new journey.
This year we will be undertaking a very long journey as we travel from Kent to South West France. We have already been planning our journey and looking at suitable places we can stop at, without having to make our journey too much longer than it already is! The children are excited, we are excited and yet there is still the realisation that this will be a very long journey for them, their longest to date!
In Car Entertainment for Children
I have been planning what we can pack and take on the journey to keep them occupied, and thought I’d share a few idea with you as to what we’ve found useful in the past… The criteria is fairly straightforward for all our holiday packing, nothing too messy or too bulky!
Both my children love to write, doodle and draw, so a couple of note books as well as colouring books are a must! I also love these crayons which come in one long stick, I found them recently in a party shop and wish I’d made a note of the name – something along the lines of ‘poppit’ crayons possibly?! They save space and can be put into the side pocket of the car door without any trouble!
Plenty of options to keep busy!
A comic often gets included as they have stories, activities and drawing included, so that adds to the variety too! Collectors Cards (whatever is the current favourite!) or Tops Trumps are always winners, especially if it’s a new set! An information book which can be dipped into time and time again always works well too! Snacks are a must, it’s surprising how a snack and a drink can break up the journey and ease restlessness! Nothing too sticky or messy though, dry snacks and sweets are so much easier!
Amazon Fire Tablet
Plenty of options!
Finally, the new Amazon Fire Tablet has to be a must this summer! I think it will appear with every traveller and in every rucksack imaginable! It has a super 7″ IPS display, and we loved the new colours – especially the bright orange Tangerine one – no arguing in the car about whether it was for my son or daughter!
It has thousands of apps, games and in-app items which are actually free, and Prime members (I wouldn’t be without my Amazon Prime account!) can stream thousands of Prime video titles, access over 800,000 book titles, thousands of audiobooks and over a million songs. There is also free unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with Fire devices.
The tablets cost £49.99 but you can now pay £10 extra to double the internal storage from 8GB to 16GB. Now if that doesn’t help our journey along then I don’t know what will!
What would you pack for your in car entertainment for children during a long journey, I’d love to hear from you!
NB – This is not a paid for or sponsored post, and all opinions on the Amazon Fire Tablet are my own.
One of the very first gifts my husband bought me was a Filofax diary. I still have, and cherish, the deep chocolate brown cover and the well thumbed pages which contained every detail of my day-to-day existence when we first met – appointments, contact telephone numbers, addresses and important notes for the days and weeks ahead, all stored with great care and precision!
I am still very much a ‘list person’ and could not imagine ever being without a printed diary and notebook, there is simply something so satisfying about writing things down and ticking them off on my numerous and never-ending ‘to-do’ lists! Equally, I now cannot imagine life without my iPad, which also goes everywhere with me and has become a constant point of reference for my ‘online life’.
Clearer Thinking – Filofax Tablet Cases
When I was kindly sent a Filofax Tablet Case I was, quite simply, thrilled! Here was everything I needed and wanted in one super stylish, fashionable and functional case!
Filofax Tablet Cases
I am now the proud owner of a Finsbury zip iPad 2/3/4 Tablet Case, and I couldn’t be happier. The case has the filofax quality I’ve come to expect, with beautiful hand finished leather cover and a handy pen holder.
Filofax are masters of their craft and their organisers always make me feel super efficient from the moment I hold them! The craftsmanship of my new case makes me want to do it justice, and so (for a little while at least) I know I will rush less and take my time neatly filling in everything on the pristine diary and notebook pages.
Stylish and Practical
I also love the 360 degree rotatable iPad 2/3/4 holder, which folds open to enable multiple viewing positions – perfect for when i’m catching up on blog posts and keeping up to date with social media. As a busy working mum, photographer and blogger this really has everything I wanted, and makes both my digital life and paper organisation so much easier. I am also in love with the beautiful raspberry colour!
My goal for 2016 was to simplify my life, focus on my priorities and become more organised! I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to achieve this than with a gorgeous Filofax Tablet Cases!
I recently wrote a post on using hashtags on Instagram, and it got me thinking about the wonderful Instagram community which I’m a member of! There have recently been some updates and algorithm changes to Instagram, and these have understandably brought anxiety to those who love this social media platform as much as I do! I really hope that they won’t spoil Instagram and take away from our enjoyment of this wonderful social media platform – I’m remaining optimistic!
This Perfect Moment
Instagram’s clean new look is a winner for me, I love it and the newly designed icons look so much more contemporary. I’m still not sure about the forthcoming changes to our Instagram feeds (and more importantly how these are displayed), and so want to make sure we all find ways to continue to see and interact with each others feeds…
A hashtag for Instagram
Today I’m launching my own Muff and Teacake hashtag – #thisperfectmoment and hope lots of my followers will use it with me. It would be lovely to see lots of #thisperfectmoment hashtags popping up all over Instagram, and I can quickly search the feed using this hashtag during the week.
I’ve chosen it as it suits my own feed, and so many of the feeds I love to follow! Whether it’s a beautiful flower, a landscape, a special moment with family and friends, or a project you’re working on, I hope you will use and share your #thisperfectmoment hastags!
As it takes off I hope to share with you some of my favourite images and feature the Instagram account of my favourite image each month on my blog here! I’m hoping there will be lots to choose from and I’ll be spoilt for choice!
What will you submit for this perfect moment? I can’t wait to see!
Happy Monday and happy Instagram tagging!
Some time ago I wrote a post on the benefits of Pinterest for me as a Mum. Today I thought I’d share some insights on how you can use Pinterest to build a business, grow your blog or launch a startup freelancer or self-employed business.
Using Pinterest to Build a Business
I’m a complete Pinterest addict, and pin regularly on my Muff and Teacake profile! As well as being lots of fun, using Pinterest to build a business is very effective, and there are some simple steps you can follow to make Pinterest work for you professionally…
Pinterest for businesses
1. Use a Hover Pin it Button
To drive referral traffic from Pinterest, your blog or business website images have to find their way onto Pinterest. There are various widgets/plugins which provide you with a ‘Pin It button’ which appears over images on your blog when another user mouses over them. This works well on laptops and computers but be aware that the buttons cannot be used on touch screens.
2. Pin Your Images
Pin your own images from your website or blog onto your Pinterest account, don’t just wait for others to find them! Once you have pinned them you can still revisit them at a later date and pin onto other boards too. By doing so people who like your images may click and go through to your website or blog, thus giving you even more traffic. You don’t want your account to look like ‘spam’, so make sure you pin from other accounts as well as pinning directly from your website.
3. Establish Relationships with Other Pinners
Building up relationships is so important on social media platforms. Liking and commenting on other pins and pinners accounts is the best way to engage with others, get them to pin from your boards and like your boards too! If there is a particular company you want to work with, engage with their boards and pins on Pinterest.
4. Be Creative
Make your boards as creative and visually appealing as you can. Think carefully about your choice of cover images for all of your boards and try to give your account a style or ‘feel’ using specific colours or types of images. I also place similar boards together so someone looking through my profile will see more than one board they want to follow.
Try to ensure your pins are vertical in orientation and have a good description to accompany them, this makes them instantly more attractive to pinners. Pinned images with text on them also work well if you want to increase the volume of re-pins.
Develop your interaction with others by creating a group board and invite some of your followers to pin to your board. Whilst others can contribute to the board, as the creator, you will be the only person able to change the board’s title and description. You can also remove pinners and any inappropriate pins from the board.
There are various ways you can promote certain boards and pins. Generally the first three boards on your profile should be the ones you want to promote at any given time. They will be the first boards someone will see when they look at your profile.
Pinterest Analytics is an amazing tool! You can find average daily and monthly impressions and views, alongside top Pin impressions – and lots more too! A very useful tool to help you plan how to grow your followers (by developing and promoting your most popular pins and boards), plus all the information you might need for sending out Media Packs etc…
I hope this helps! If you are using Pinterest to build a business, let me know! I’d love to hear from you!
In my next post I’ll be discussing promoted pins!
One of the lovely things about blogging with Riverhill Himalayan Gardens is having an excuse to visit frequently and watch the seasons continually unfold! Riverhill is an amazing location, and having blogged about some of their forthcoming events I had to pop down and see their bluebell festival myself!
Bluebell Heaven at Riverhill Gardens
A beautiful home…
My children had an extra day off from school last week (their school was closed as it was being used as a polling station), so we decided to head to Riverhill for a morning of fun! We arrived as the gardens were opening and it was peaceful, quiet and the early morning light was simply beautiful!
Into the woods…
After a quick drink and snack in their café we decided to head straight for the woodland walks and hoped we’d still be able to catch a little bluebell magic! We weren’t disappointed, and although the bluebells had probably been at their best a week or two before, we were quickly rewarded with glorious carpets of colour which were simply breath-taking!
So much to see and do!
There is always so much to see at Riverhill, and there was also plenty of blossom to admire, an absolutely stunning magnolia by the walled garden, and a very tantalising glimpse of some of the many rhododendrons starting to come into flower! We’re already planning our next visit, which might involve a little Yeti spotting! We’re big fans of the yeti, ever since we read Yeti and the Bird!
The walled garden at Riverhill is one of our favourite areas, and during their season they have some wonderful performances there. The next one is Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and the ‘beautifully British and bonkers’ cycling Handlebards will be performing in The Walled Garden itself. Tickets are £15 for adults and £10 for children, you can purchase tickets here.
People possibly forget that Riverhill is a truly spectacular venue for theatre and music, possibly one of the most unique venues in Kent.
Have you visited Riverhill? If you have I’d love to hear from you! I’ll be sharing more Riverhill photos on my Instagram feed – Muff and Teacake.
Today I wanted to stop by and introduce a fantastic new subscription idea from my lovely ‘Instabuddy’ Lucy!
I have been following Lucy for several years on Instagram and was fascinated when I saw her growing love of crochet has now been used to launch a fantastic new subscription concept!
Introducing CROCHYAY Boxes
Fancy getting a box posted through your door every month packed full of lovely crochet treats, exclusive patterns and projects to crochet along with?
Projects to inspire…
Here’s what Lucy has to say…
It’s taken months of hard work but we’re finally live and ready to bring CROCHYAY boxes to your door. Monthly crochet subscription boxes bringing you unique patterns each month, crochet goodies and lots of other freebies.
We have some FABULOUS crochet designers lined up with some very exciting projects for you to crochet along with. We’ve even teamed up with Sun Jellies to offer our first 50 subscribers a FREE retro Jelly Bag perfect for storing your wool.
Sign up to our newsletter to make sure you are the first to hear when subscriptions open for our first CROCHYAY Box.
It’s a fantastic idea and Lucy is busy gathering lots of fabulous patterns and goodies, why not leave your email address and she will let you know when subscription opens for her first CROCHYAY Box.
Great gift idea!
As well as the monthly subscription, you can also order a single box, a one year subscription and a birthday box!
Good luck with your venture Lucy, it’s fantastic!
‘Thank you for my new book Mummy! Can we read it tonight?’ That was the immediate reaction from my seven year old son when I opened a parcel from Bloomsbury Publishers and pulled out a copy of Captain Pug!
It must say something about the visual appeal of this book that my son instantly thought it had been purchased specifically for him, and wanted to make sure it was part of his bedtime reading session that night!
He has a huge selection of books, and the gorgeous bookends we bought for him are gradually getting further and further apart, so a new and instant favourite is quite special!
To be truthful, I was as delighted to receive this book as my son was! I have thought for some time that there is still a gap in the market to be filled when it comes to providing books for children who are independent readers but are not quite ready for the challenge of chapter books. My son loves reading and is past the ‘early reader’ stage but in order to maintain that enjoyment of reading I often feel the need to provide books which act as a bridge between the simpler structured books his school provided and more challenging chapter books.
Captain Pug by Laura James: A Review
We have previously enjoyed the series of Claude books, and Captain Pug falls neatly into that book bracket… The text provides some challenge, but the illustrations are very powerful, anintegral part of the book and presented in a beautiful, bold limited colour palette. They are a real joy and capture the fun and adventure of the story. Pug’s expressions are captivating and there lots of details in the background to draw the reader in as Pug moves from one ‘incident’ to another.
This story is essentially about Pug’s seafaring adventure with Lady Miranda, his passion for jam tarts (which my son loved!) and his fear of the water!
Captain Pug is the first book in a glorious new illustrated series, and we can’t wait for the next instalment!
There has never been anything like it! One camera has literally taken the blogging world by storm, and now every blogger wants an Olympus PEN, not least because this stylish camera has become THE camera for bloggers! But does it live up to all the hype? I’ve been doing my research online, with Olympus and via blogger friends!
I’m not an official expert on cameras, but my journey as a photographer and blogger has been immense, and I feel I’ve come a long way since one of my earliest posts on photography for bloggers! So, here goes…
5 Reasons an Olympus PEN is the camera for Bloggers
The Olympus PEN’s built-in Wifi connectivity and synchronising phone App mean that it literally takes seconds to post your photos on Instagram and Twitter. If you are on WordPress, as I am, you can also import pictures straight into a WordPress app, writing and building your next blog post as you go, completely on your phone. You can (how cool is this…) also adjust your settings to take square shots on your PEN, ready for posting to Instagram.
Designed for bloggers!
The Olympus PEN isn’t a compact camera, but it’s light weight and compact size make it very so easy for you to carry it around with you in your bag, much easier than a hefty DSLR!
There is no denying that this camera has bags of style and is photographed by bloggers almost as much as it is used by them! It’s become the ultimate styling prop for flatlays, largely due to its chic and retro (but very ‘contemporary’) style! The cream/white version of the camera seems to be by far the most popular!
The Olympus PEN has a flip down screen, so clever, and absolutely perfect for selfies and videos!
If you want to find out more about this amazing camera, then you can view the product description here.
So, is it the ultimate camera? I would argue that if you want absolute quality you will never beat a full-frame DSLR, but I do believe that the Olympus PEN is an amazing camera and does everything a busy blogger wants, whilst producing fantastic images!
Two words of caution though… A camera (any camera) is only as good as the lenses you use with it, so make sure you invest in a couple of really good lenses! I’ll be posting some lens recommendations in another post shortly!
Secondly, the flip down screen does make me a bit apprehensive, you do need to be careful with this and I strongly recommend you buy a good quality camera strap and bag, this camera isn’t as robust as a DSLR and it needs careful protection.
Have any of you bought or used the Olympus Pen EPL-7? If so, what did you think of it?
NB – This is not a paid for or sponsored post, and all opinions on the Olympus PEN are my own.