A few weeks ago I mentioned having commissioned custom made fronts to fit an Ikea Besta sideboard we had recently purchased. Well my beautiful doors, tops and sides arrived, they fit like a dream and are beyond any pre conceived ideas that we had before they arrived.I am so pleased that I found Custom Fronts, not only that they are UK based but I support their sustainable, hand crafted, design led ethos. The attention to detail is exceptional, I have a bespoke piece of furniture for the fraction of the cost of a designer brand but with huge eco credentials.During the process of choosing the finishes and final dimensions for my cupboard doors, I had a chat to Ian and Rachel, the husband and wife team behind the brand and asked a few questions about how Custom Fronts came about, the sustainability behind the craft and where they see the business going in the future, this is what they told me.“We wanted to re-invent how kitchens and furniture should be. We don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. We want to offer something extraordinarily simple, yet extraordinarily difficult to find. Kitchens and furniture that are beautiful, sustainable, made locally, design-led, AND affordable. No-one else seemed to be doing it. Why couldn’t we? We come from humble backgrounds, and don’t have deep pockets. But we love art, design, creativity, the planet…and there are many more like us. We know it’s not just those who can afford it that want beautiful and healthy design in their homes!
Green, it’s definitely the time of year to be celebrating this versatile colour, the hedgerows and gardens are bursting with it and boy does it make you feel fresh and alive.
I know you are normally used to me promoting the more monochrome of colour palettes but I do have a soft spot for green as does the interior world too at the moment, the botanical trend doesn’t seem to be on the wane at all.
Whether you go all out with wild wallpapers and clashing junglesque soft furnishings or introduce a softer olive toned paint to refresh a wall, Farrow and Ball and Little Greene are good places to go, or cover your sofa in an emerald green velvet it’s totally up to you.
The answer may not be in decoration at all but bringing the outside in, filling a space with plants of varying shades and sizes. Creating a little green haven all of your own in pots and containers rather than paints and fabrics. If you aren’t too successful in keeping these green babies alive then take a look at Rose & Grey faux botanical range, you’d be hard pressed to kill any of these. There are also some rather good books currently out to help you achieve this look.
I do like a deep green especially when used well for instance in a kitchen, pair it with a hint of warm copper or gold. Be sure you like strong schemes though, you may tire of this quickly, maybe, maybe not. Rich deep hues bring a sense of grown-upness to a room don’t you think?
Adding a pale green tile to a bright bathroom works equally well, or paint to base of the bath in a vibrant verdigris, which is easily updated without huge expense when you fancy a change.
Then again it may just come down to a new chair and a plus green cushion or a fresh linen duvet set to transform your space, I dare say once you start adding these little touches you’ll get hooked and that paint brush won’t be far away from getting in on the action too.
Of course I have dedicated green inspired boards on pinterest, who doesn’t!
I think you are all well aware by now that I like to champion independent brands that not only supply stylish well made products for your home but also ones that have huge ethical clout. So this week I would like to introduce you to Happy + Co.
Their philosophy is that happiness starts at home, this transfers into everything they do and into each design that they produce.
“All our products are designed to be noticed but, above all, to be loved”
I couldn’t put it better myself, I have kindly been sent two Happy + Co cushions that blend wonderfully on my grey wool sofa. Who doesn’t love a good cushion? They finish a room, making a seat inviting and a bed that you want to curl up on. These large steel grey pebble cushions are made from 100% recycled cotton, the texture is fabulous, so tactile but soft to the touch and they come with a feather cushion pad too. Many more designs caught my eye, the midnight black Bondi and Palm Beach designs are so fresh with a hint of Scandinavian chic all of which would add a playful touch to a monochrome scheme.
Happy + Co design their homeware products to be different, bringing a splash of happiness to the room they reside in. A lot of time and effort is put into getting to know each and every single one of their suppliers. To make sure that the products and designs are of the highest quality they visit the suppliers regularly to guarantee that everyone is happy.
Little things make a big difference and that is exactly what this innovative brand achieve, for each product that they sell 10% of the profit is invested in their Farm in Cambodia. This investment provides employment for young men and women, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables for the whole community.
Happy + Co have a perfect and simple collection of products, cushions, table linen, bedding and the most super stylish furniture covered in their distinctive fabric. A little bit of something for everyone, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t love them as much as I, so lets spread a little bit of happiness with this outstanding brand.
- With thanks to Happy + Co for the cushions featured in this post.
An artist, her studio, old acquaintances and new friendships forged, a day to remember, one that brought happiness, joy and a moment of feeling I belonged.
Art to me is an emotion in many of its raw states and that is exactly what Jessica Zoob captures in her extraordinary pieces. I have been an admirer of her work for many a year so to be able to see the collections so close was a huge highlight and worth my trip to Sussex. The connections I make doing what I do take me down new paths. I never quite know what corner I am going to turn next and it’s very exhilarating, just like one of Jessica’s paintings.
Talking to Jessica about her new work was fascinating, the largest to date that spans 7 canvasses and 14 metres in length. It portrays pure happiness, the fluid lines, the luminosity of the colour palette made me think of sunshine and warmth, a moment in life where euphoria exists. As with all her works, you as a viewer capture elements of your own imagination: an emotion felt, a loved landscape that grounds you, the sea or city where you are, and find them within the painting to transport you to that place. Exactly what I feel art should do, it should make you question, ponder a thought, come to your own conclusion.
I know that not many of us can afford large pieces of original art work but Jessica’s pieces cross over into the interior world perfectly. She is working on screen printing her work onto metals such as steel and copper which I found fascinating. Art works within their own right but lend themselves perfectly as splash backs in a kitchen or bathroom or installations in a contemporary setting. She also has collaborated with fabric company Romo to produce the Black Edition Jessica Zoob ‘Desire’ collection of fabrics. The transition from canvas to fabric, works so very well, digitally printed onto linens, velvets and wall coverings.
Being able to wander freely in this wonderful light filled studio, chatting with friends, glass of champagne in one hand, camera in the other was an experience I will treasure for many years to come.
(Keep a look out over on my instagram account for a give away of one of Jessica’s prints that you can win in the next couple of weeks)
- Jessica is opening her studio this weekend 6+7 May and again on the 20+21 May 11-5pm so you too can view her latest collection and take in the beauty of the pieces in the most tranquil of settings in East Sussex (Banff Farm, Upper Clayhill, BN8 5RR)
I do love it when Spring finally comes around and you can start introducing new items to your capsule wardrobe, start packing away the bigger bulkier jumpers and boots to make way for new pieces.
I’m not one for having lots and lots of handbags or shoes for that matter but I do like a considered collection that will take me from season to season. My new addition this Spring is this fabulously buttery leather large zip top Hobo bag by Radley. It is simply the perfect choice to take me into Summer.
Monochrome is definitely my thing as I think you are all aware so the natural colour of the leather works very well for me and compliments my wardrobe brilliantly, the pudding lane bag’s slouchy style simply goes with everything. Not to big or too small, it fits all my daily essentials in with room to spare but the handy zip around base means you can make it bigger or smaller depending on how you want to use it. Another super feature that I always find handy is an internal zipped pocket and two slip pockets, perfect for your mobile so it doesn’t get lost and scratched at the bottom of your bag. It also has a nifty slip pocket on the front too, great for access to things you may need to get to in a hurry rather than having to unzip the top and scrabble around for them.
Needless to say this beautiful bag has been everywhere with me over the Easter break, days out visiting National Trust properties and a short break away in our caravan. It is so very simple and stylish, the laid back style is certainly my look and it is excellently made. The padded strap is just the right length, there is nothing worse than a strap that is either too short that you can’t wear it on your shoulder or too long that you can’t carry it by your side. The latter option is normally the way after a while because everyone else seems to give me things to carry as I’m always the one with the bag! I’m sure one of my arms is longer than the other.
So if you are at the point of updating your wardrobe from Autumn/Winter to Spring/Summer then I think this would be a perfect choice for you to check out. I know mine will be going everywhere with me.
We’ve had a wonderful Easter weekend but I’m lucky that the holidays are not quite over for me until next week. So I thought I’d have a little on-line break for a few days this week, I am escaping for the first time this year in our little caravan for some R&R, fresh air, sleep and no wifi!
Because I can’t bring myself to not post anything at all, I shall leave you with this small offering today and I’ll be back next week with a fabulous post featuring Radley London.
PS. I had the honour of featuring on the Linenbeauty blog this week, taking part in their A Simple Path series, talking about doing more with less, a perfect read for a slow weekend.
- Images via pinterest
The Easter weekend is finally upon us and I’m really ready for a break, time to spend with the family and thoroughly enjoy these long lazy days of the Spring holiday.
This week I’ve been decorating my daughters bedroom and its been rather a mammoth task when every single surface needed painting but I finally put down the paint brushes yesterday, now the fun part happens putting it all back together. I did manage to take a few pictures in there whilst it’s completely empty as the light was so perfect.
That aside with it being Easter we like nothing more than being together as a family, one of the most important things that we do typically on a Sunday is to prepare a slow cooked meal that we take our time over. Enjoying the process of cooking something delicious and hearty with fresh ingredients. To make it even more special I like to dress the table, nothing over the top or ostentatious but homely and seasonal. It makes the enjoyment of sharing the meal even more pleasurable, to stay around the table that little bit longer talking and laughing together.
I think you are all well aware that I simply adore linen in all it’s forms, there is nothing nicer than a linen tablecloth and napkins to create the perfect backdrop for any occasion. The tablecloth and napkins I have used are from LinenMe, their pure linen has a gentle drape and is so soft due to the prewashing process, it is perfect for the look I like when setting a table for those easy gatherings.
Not only do Linen Me supply the most luxurious hand made table linen they have all the other bases covered too, from the softest bedlinen to hukaback towels for the bathroom. This family run business takes great pride in producing the highest quality linens for us to cherish and become an integral part of our every day lives.
I certainly couldn’t have a home that didn’t have linen in it, so versatile yet hard working nothing else really compares for giving your home that perfect lived in look.
- With thanks to LinenMe for supplying the linen that features in this post
The pendant light trend does not seem to be diminishing and I am very pleased about that. I’m not one for a myriad of spotlights in the ceiling, I like to create a focal point to a room and low hung pendant lights definitely do just that.
When Heal’s got in touch to see if I’d like to review one of their current seasons lights I jumped at the chance. The Cora pendant is designed exclusively for Heal’s combining different elements of metal and glass creating a sleek modern piece of lighting that would compliment many a different room scheme. At the centre of the pendant hangs a perforated solid brushed copper shade that is cocooned by a smoke tinted glass cylinder. These two elements create a rather stunning effect when lit, the light is diffused through the copper shade and is softened further by the tinted glass creating a warm glow that isn’t harsh. A perfect light for any room, especially a bedroom or living area where you don’t want the light to be too bright or over powering.
At first I wasn’t so sure about the copper, a metal that I know is very popular at the moment in interiors but I was pleasantly surprised when the light arrived. Due to the level of high quality materials used the copper isn’t at all bright and brassy like some cheaper high street alternatives. I do feel you can go a bit overboard with too many copper elements in a scheme but if you keep it limited to a few pieces it will stand the test of time and this light is no exception.
I have had fun styling it up in different ways in my home, and I think it will in the end be hung in my bedroom. I’m also impressed by the length of flex, there’s nothing worse than the stingy bit of flex often provided with pendant lights. This light has plenty and with the desire to have pendant lights hung low it makes it the perfect light to have slung across the ceiling to create a fun display, using hooks to hold the light in position.
So yes I would highly recommend the Cora light as a simple modern well designed piece of lighting for the home. To me it’s the icing on the cake to a well dressed room, be it the statement piece in a minimal white scheme or the contrasting edge that blends into a space featuring bold prints and pattern.
- With thanks to Heal’s for providing the Cora pendant light for the purpose of this review.
In my line of work I am very grateful to come across and make friends with some simply wonderful online homeware stores, Oggetto being one of them.
The products and store speak for themselves, their ethos being that of enriching life with well crafted products for everyday use and that is certainly what they do. Founders Helen and Charlie Camm both having backgrounds in creative industries wanted to create a lifestyle store that is carefully curated featuring simple, functional and thoughtfully designed products that can be used everyday, making your house a home.
Oggetto is an Italian word meaning object and from their Dorset base they certainly do provide you with beautiful objects that hold craftsmanship, longevity and quality to the fore all made by small producers in the UK and around the world.
By investing in a piece from Oggetto you are not just buying a useful item, you are also investing in a way of life, a handmade product that is slightly unique with an understated aesthetic that you can not replicate on the high street.
The store is very simple and easy to browse with well thought out categories that make it very easy to find what you are looking for. From the kitchen to the bathroom every room is covered. Their new pared back Chesil furniture collection made from oak and steel is inspired by the 18 mile beach off the Dorset coast and is a perfect addition to the store. I treated myself to one of the ceramic storage jars. I have been after a new vessel to store our teabags in for a while and this is just the right design that fits seamlessly into my kitchen. I am also rather taken with the contemporary Scandinavian designed coffee brewing products, the dark sleek look would make the ritual of preparing the first cup on a morning even more pleasurable.
From artisan ceramics to beautiful Tunisian Fouta towels for bathing, handwoven seagrass lampshades to Destination Travel journals for cool city breaks this is one mighty fine store that I think you all need to explore. I am so happy I found them and I think that you will be too.
- With thanks to Oggetto for providing the images for this piece
I have been on the hunt for new bedside tables for a long while, I didn’t realise how difficult it could be narrowing down what I wanted from the look I had in my head to the reality of finding it in the big wide world. The choice is rather vast from the expensive designer versions right down to flat pack.
This year I’ve wanted to shake my style up a bit, obviously I don’t have the funds to change every piece of furniture in my home but I can make small changes that create a big impact. I am very much seduced by clean lines, sleek, pale and modern pieces that enhance and make a space feel bigger. So I’ve been throwing things out with gusto and boy does it feel good. Our old bedsides were the first things to go, I wanted white gloss, sounds strange maybe considering I have a French antique bed but I just knew it would work with the grey walls and simple bedding.
So I started to investigate, I first looked at the Componibili cabinet by Kartell but to be honest I found them a bit flimsy and with not enough storage for the price. Heals did a perfect version of what I was after but again the price was just out of my reach, so I turned to Ikea, yes I know Ikea! I have never bought any furniture from them before and I was pleasantly surprised. I found exactly the right bedside table in white gloss similar in style to the Heals version but at a fraction of the cost. Yes I know they are self build but if you take your time and construct them correctly are just fabulous. They are sleek and minimal with two large drawers to keep all my everyday bits and bobs in leaving the top free from clutter. I am now an Ikea convert, you will have to watch this space to see what I am doing in my lounge with Ikea sideboard carcasses and fixtures from a Swedish company called Superfront.
Anyhow I digress, whether you are after large and chunky, minimal and sleek there are so many variations of bedside table to suit your taste, needs and budget. I’ve picked out a few of my favourites for this post but you can also browse my Pinterest board for more inspiration.
Sometimes I feel a little lost, this is when I try very hard to not feel guilty for stopping for a while. Putting the phone down and turning it off, not going near the laptop and to tell myself it doesn’t matter that I’ve stepped away from the technology for a moment. I get a bit frustrated with myself that I can’t muster good ideas or create good images for instagram but I also get a bit scared that what if it never comes back; what if I’ve peaked.
I do try very hard to be mindful, working through some of the knots I’ve got my head into, I spend a lot of time reading indulging in my favourite magazines and interior books hoping that a spark will appear. Taking time away from the screens is good but I do let myself browse through Pinterest, a happy place where colour and images bring moments of joy. Putting together mood boards that reflect what I’m seeing and feeling helps too.
So today this post features some of these boards; calming images in colour palettes that I find inspiring at the moment helping me to work through my anxieties a little and hopefully a little spark will be reignited once more.
- All images from here
I have long been a huge admirer of the lifestyle brand TOAST, their clothes are modern and functional but thoughtful pieces for women and are always a part of my capsule wardrobe. Their ability to promote a more mindful way of living is expressed through their beautifully curated clothing and home wares, all with a considered stillness of style that I adore.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Harrogate store to take photographs of the art installation Circular Openings, 2016. Emulsion paint on canvas by Nic Pehkonen, that featured in the shop window throughout February. Each store had a different piece displayed for The Work of the Heart project, 11 artists were chosen to feature their work in each of the 11 stores across the country. It was wonderful seeing Nic’s piece so close, the detail and markings were remarkable and to have my images featured on TOAST Travels was equally as thrilling.
I couldn’t leave the store without having a good browse of the new SS17 Early Spring collection, so many versatile items to choose from all complimenting each other perfectly. This collection has “easy drawstring shapes and textural volume in yarn-dyed linens, ticking stripes and quiet checks. Slate blues, grey chambrays and parchment” a statement summing up my style, so of course I came away with a new dress that will take me through the season. A timeless stripe linen shirt dress that is now a firm favourite, comfortable yet versatile just the way I like to dress.
As I don’t get to visit the TOAST stores that often it’s always a ‘YAY’ kind of day when one of their delicious brochures arrives. I always make time to sit with a coffee and slowly go through them to read the thoughtful articles and look at the pared back styled images. It’s such a treat knowing that there is a brand out there that speaks for so many of us, bringing us that sense of belonging and style. Simple moments of thoughtfulness and a reflection of how we want to live our lives.
I applaud you TOAST.
- with thanks to TOAST for providing some of the images for use in this post
I think sometimes we all crave a weekend away. I love spending time with my family no matter where we are but making a little trip every now and then lifts the spirits, so that is exactly what we did. It is a bit of a rare occurrence that we ever stay in a hotel as we normally spend time away from home in our lovely caravan but this weekend was a bit different.
We rose very early and drove for hours to get to Ruby’s birthday treat, a surprise we’ve had to keep under our hats for months. Our daughter is a big Harry Potter fan so there was no question that we had to visit Warner Bros studios sooner or later, not only did she love it I did too. For any film fan it is a must, the level of detail had me in awe all the way round, we spent hours and hours pouring over every little nuance, if any of you are thinking of making the trip I would whole heartedly urge you to go.
Then it was my turn to be treated, I have heard of The Crown Inn Amersham for a while now off the back of its high standard of accommodation and stunning paired back interior. Another reason being I am a great admirer of Ilse Crawford who redesigned the look of the rooms, so I was intrigued to see and stay in these beautiful welcoming lodgings. With Amersham only being a half hour drive from Watford it made perfect sense to drive into the sumptuous Buckinghamshire countryside to elongate our getaway.
Our room was just perfect, the little details made it feel like home from home, a sheepskin covered Ercol chair, soft linens, Jacob’s wool blanket and large cushions to relax on. The little touches of a bright red Robert’s radio and telephone lifted the perfectly wonderful muted interior and having a standard lamp to light the space was just lovely.
The food in both the well designed restaurant and breakfast room were impeccable, we really couldn’t have asked for more, it felt like staying more at a large family home than a hotel. Each space is designed to perfection in a modern rustic style that I favour very much and I really didn’t want to leave.
We were very lucky that the weather decided to behave and gave us some long over due sunshine whilst we were away. Crisp mornings with no-coat-wearing temperatures which was a huge bonus as I hate packing too much when only away for one night. I like to layer my outfits I’m not a big coat wearer to be honest but I always have scarves to hand, I find they finish off an outfit to perfection especially one that is transitional through the seasons. I was so pleased I chose to wear my airy cashmere shawl from Nihao Planet. I seem to not be without it at the moment. This beautifully soft lightweight shawl compliments everything in my wardrobe. It is so luxuriously delicate you almost forget you are wearing it but keeps you warm as well as looking good. To be honest this delicious shawl didn’t stray that far from my side the whole time we were away. I draped it around myself curled up in the chair to read a while before our evening meal and the same again in the morning whilst I enjoyed a pour over coffee from the comfort of the soft bed. I wore it whilst talking a stroll around Amersham high street enjoying the warmth of the sun and on the long journey home.
I was slightly sad that our adventure had come to an end as I had been looking forward to it so very much but I am now determined to make an effort to have more weekends away from home like this one. To enjoy a little bit of luxury and home comforts in simple surroundings. Experiences appreciated together as a family are definitely what it’s all about. These moments in time that enrich our lives for the better and of course not forgetting to take my cashmere shawl with me was indeed a gift!
- With thanks to Nihao Planet for pursuing the passion for designer quality, versatile and affordable lifestyle products, creating a simple style for day to day life.
I have a passion for beautiful well made homewares, simple hand crafted items that not only are useful but beautifully tactile and are a hard working addition to my home. Over the past year or so I have been consolidating our possessions to create a well rounded selection that not only pleases us but makes us feel good about how they were made and where they came from.
I happened to make friends with Emily Mathieson, a former travel editor for The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and Red and also the founder of Aerende (a-ren-day) through instagram. A visual place where like minded folk can connect and support each other on a daily basis. It has been a privilege to watch this young online store grow and flourish as it should, selling beautiful products for your home all made in the UK by people facing social challenges. It is a special place where you will find a well curated range of carefully crafted products created by makers who are unable to access or maintain conventional employment.
One of the reasons behind Emily taking this journey was through the lack of high-quality options in the ethical interiors sector. Starting her on a journey to create a model for considerate, socially valuable shopping that does not compromise on quality or style.
Aerende is an old English word meaning care and was chosen to reflect our commitment to heritage skills and British-made items. Emily believes in the power of consumers to affect social change as do I. The tag of ‘life-improving homewares’ reflects the commitment to sourcing unique, limited-edition products that not only will bring joy, beauty and utility to Aerende customers but a sense of purpose, pride and revenue to the talented makers, via the charities and social enterprises that support them.
I think you all know by now my love of ceramics and the selection that Aerende supply are simply beautiful. They are made in a pottery called The Grange in Gloucestershire through the national charity Camphill Village Trust who help people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs to live meaningful lives in supported communities.
Everything you see and purchase from the soy candles through to the natural wool blankets are made by someone facing social challenges. Linens hand finished by women refugees who have survived trafficking, soy wax candles made in Wales by people with learning difficulties, hand carved wooden spoons by adults with mental health issues.
I think in the current climate that we are currently living in we all need to make small changes, ones that will make a difference and by supporting a business like Aerende is a very good place to start. To show solidarity, support and unite, banishing stigma and prejudice with every purchase. Not only are we helping a cause that I am deeply passionate about we are coming together as a people to create happiness and strength with those who need it most. The homewares in this wonderful store will make your home that little bit more unique and special.
- With thanks to Aerende for which this post would not be possible
I like the way my living room flows at the moment but this could change in the future as I’ve been seduced by the new mid century modern collection from Rose & Grey. Elegance is definitely a word you would use to describe this very well curated set of furniture.
The pared back designs are far from being a new concept, on the contrary, they are a timeless classic based on a mid century Polish design by Jozef Chierowski in 1962. This new up to date version was discovered at a trade fair last year and are still manufactured in Poland by 366 Concept who have stayed true to the original designs but made them more feasible for our lives today. Rose & Grey knew instantly that they had to stock them and are currently one of only 2 stockists in the UK.
These versatile pieces of furniture are chameleon like and adapt into many interior schemes whether you go for the full ensemble of the two seater, chairs and coffee table or an individual piece which will blend seamlessly with your existing furniture.
The two different designs blend together well so can be mixed and matched with ease. The Jozef Chierowski 366 range is available as a two seater, easy chair and rocking chair. The H .Lis Fox design comes as an easy chair, a rocking chair and a foot stool. Both ranges have a selection of coffee tables to compliment their style.
These beautiful pieces of furniture are all new and made to order within a 4 -6 week time frame in a stunning selection of fabrics from denim, velvet or my favourite wool in a myriad of colours. For those wanting to make a splash there is a choice of bright chilli pepper red and sky blue but for the more discerning are the more muted tones of classic grey and black wool. Another way to make a splash is to mix and match the colour ways creating an interesting focal point in your room.
The sleek wooden frames give the pieces elegance, rather than their bulky fabric cousins. The design lets light flow around the room; you are able to see underneath each piece revealing the floor, which creates the sense of more space.
I most certainly have my eye on the H. Lis Fox rocking chair in grey black wool, it would work in my living room rather well and I also know it would be fought over to who was going to sit in it first!
- With thanks to Rose & Grey for providing the promotional images for this post