G&T Time with a Twist

Just because the Summer is in its last throws of decadence it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy these heady warm evenings just that little longer with a few G&T’s on the terrace.

I try to keep the Summer vibe going as long as I possibly can before I give in to the Autumnal pull but for now there is nothing nicer than creating a cool drink after a long day at work and taking the time to enjoy each sip.

I was asked by Diageo to give some of their classic cocktail recipes a try from the myriad of choices on thebar.com website but my eye was drawn to simplicity and the elderflower G&T.  Firstly as it’s my husbands tipple of choice and secondly we made our own elderflower cordial this year so I thought this would be a winning combination and very simple to do.  No messing about as long as there is ice in the freezer and a lime in the fruit bowl you can mix a delicate and delicious cocktail in seconds.

The elderflower cordial lifts the gin and tonic with it’s floral notes enhancing the vibrant botanicals and highlighting the subtle juniper aroma, adding a squeeze of lime finishes it off to perfection.  I can honestly say this combination is becoming one of my firm favourites.

As it’s the bank holiday weekend some of you may be entertaining, having friends over for a BBQ, or a cocktail party of your own in the garden.  There are some super Summer cocktail recipes to try at thebar.com with simple step by step instructions and lists of ingredients to help you create the perfect tipple of your choice, what could be easier.

So I raise my G&T filled glass to you and I hope you all have a super long weekend with a few cocktails thrown in for good measure.

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  • This post was written in conjunction with Diageo with many thanks

 

Holiday Moodboards

While I’m away I thought I’d fill a page with beautiful inspiration that I have collated over the months.  A happy moment that I get great pleasure from putting colour and form together to make cohesive mood boards that bring joy.

These boards have a summer vibe from perfect natural sunkissed tones to a refreshing hint of lush green. Summer frocks, al fresco dining, shadows, holiday home inspiration.  All conjuring up time away relaxing, unwinding just being in that moment.  Thank you Summer you are worth waiting for.

Whether you are on holiday yourself or planning to go, take time out to enjoy each precious moment.  Have a lovely weekend everyone.

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Take A Break

The next few weeks I am going to be away, downing tools hooking up Agatha the caravan and hitting the road for some seriously needed rest and relaxation.

 

The summer frocks and sandals are packed the green fields of our campsites are waiting.  New and exciting destinations are longing to be explored, the days to be played out in front of us.

No rush, no worries, simple living at it’s best. As long as I have a cold glass of wine and a good book to indulge in once back at our van, sat outside in my deckchair bathed in the glow of our new festoon lights until the sun goes down I shall be one happy girl.

See you all on the other side, if you follow me on instagram come and see what I’ll be getting up to over the next few weeks, it will be full of holiday moments.

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Images Source ~ 2, 3, 4 & 5 (1 & 6 are my own)

 

Bedside Matters

There is something lovely about curling up under the sheets with a cup of tea and a good book.  Even better if your book is bathed in a soft glow, not too harsh but gentle enough to light the room while aiding relaxation.

I like the contrast of these industrial table lamps against my antique French bed.  Mixing things up a bit by putting contrasting things together refreshes a space and I think these work very well.  The cool marble stand with the added touch of copper against the grey walls, pale bedding and grain sack cushion unites the paired back scheme perfectly.

The fabulous MiniSun filament bulb is a revelation, not only is it one of the first LED bulbs to replicate that of an Edison style filament but is ultra energy saving only using 3W.  It gives off a warm ambient glow that is perfect for a bedroom.

With thanks to Iconic Lights for making my favourite room in the house even more hard to leave than it already was.

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Gather.Harvest.Feast

A couple of weeks ago I spent a wonderful Saturday in the great outdoors.  I helped set up a great event that hopefully will become more of a permanent fixture through the coming months.  The meaning behind Gather.Harvest.Feast to me is an appreciation of the seasons, taking time to enjoy the nature around me, the food I can forage and create, the seasonality of natural home grown flowers to fill my home.

Jen has written it in a far more eloquent way that I ever could below;

“Gather. Harvest. Feast. is a collaborative project between creative bloggers, writers, photographers and artists.  It is our way of celebrating the seasons through nature, food and flowers. We want to spend time in our beautiful landscape,  learn new skills and enjoy the wealth of produce our Northern part of the country has to offer. 

Our aim is to make new connections, seek inspiration and gain knowledge from one another. We will be holding workshops in floristry, foraging, traditional crafts, photography and natural skincare. 

We hope to meet once every season, with picnics, lunches and days out and all in locations that showcase our beautiful North. Our plans are to incorporate family friendly events too. 

Together we will gather, together we will harvest and together we will feast.”

It was a day filled with friendship, laughter and learning, being surrounded by nature in every sense. We didn’t need the sun to shine we made our own sunshine through the home grown flowers we arranged, the mocktails that were made with foraged seasonal ingredients and the natural skin care we blended using natural plant extract and essential oils.

Days like these cement the belief I have in a better world, that each and every one of us can create a healthier place to be by simply living in a more considered way that help us to achieve a balanced beautiful life.

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With  many thanks to Jen, Clarey, BeckyLiz and Sarah for friendship, flowers, mocktails, detailed botanical artwork and the most wonderful bath oil (top note of blood orange, who knew!)

 

Best Laid Plans

I was supposed to be full of vigour and write a post about my wonderful day at Manor Garden to celebrate our first foray with Gather Harvest Feast but life has put a spanner in the works.  Not a horrible spanner by any stretch of the imagination simply time poor when it comes to having a moment to put my thoughts down articulately.

Ruby my very cool, strong, clever, funny, wonderful little girl is leaving Primary School today, a big thing in any child’s life and this week has been filled with proms, assemblies, performances, late nights and tired eyes. So I have decided to postpone my Gather Harvest Feast musings but I will tease you with a few images to whet your appetite hoping you will return next week.  If you can’t wait until then Jen has written a beautiful post on Little Birdie about what the day meant to her.

See you next week….

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The Lifestyle Atelier

Please let me introduce to you & MEAD a beautifully curated new on line store run by a very dear friend of mine Susannah Mead.  It takes courage and conviction to go it alone in the world of on line retail but I think that this lifestyle atelier has got the balance of product and lightness of touch just right.

The store is set out in specific rooms, each space designed to bring each room of your home a new sense of style. Pieces that you just can’t resist from smaller items such as utilitarian enamelware to luxurious hand made, loving sourced table linens and exquisite silk shawls hand dyed and block printed with finesse.

Susannah wanted to bring the essence of our coast line to the fore. She’s passionate about the North East Coast the sea and all it’s elements play a big part in how the shop feels.  She also wanted to showcase the delights of artisans meticulously and passionately creating each of their pieces with care and attention.

In Susannah’s words “&Mead simply put is me – a collaboration of the practical necessity, vintage provenance and most of all the childlike whimsy and fanciful dreaming we all deserve.”

 

I am very careful now about what I buy for my home, I have de-cluttered and pared back over the last few months.  My  goal is to source well made pieces for my home that I will cherish for a very long time and everything in curated rooms of &MEAD have exactly that ethos behind each item.  I treated myself to a lovely versatile zinc pot to hold a gifted succulent but it’s uses in the years to come are many.

I do hope you go and browse this lovely store, I promise you, you will not be disappointed and hopefully will purchase an heirloom for the future.

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Summer Breeze

After a difficult week and a head full of lacklustre I have found it hard to even open the laptop to write, share, connect at all. Even the weather hasn’t played ball.

I’m sitting writing this with Wimbledon on in the background, a summer staple that takes my mind away to other places for a while.  Whilst trying to find words for my post I keep looking out of the open patio door at my washing blowing in the breeze, a sight I do enjoy immensely, even more so when the rain has been more of a permanent fixture of late than sunshine.

Anyway I digress, this brings me onto why I’m waffling on about our summer weather and washing, The Linen Works kindly sent some of their newly launched washing range to try.  I am all for sustainability and try very hard to make a conscious effort to use the right cleaning products in my home that are environmentally friendly and naturally sourced.

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linen laundry bag white duck egg dot stamped

Our range has been meticulously developed using ethically safe ingredients that are both kind to the skin and environmentally responsible. Delicately fragranced with essential oils with notes of Bergamot infused with meadow flowers, vanilla and patchouli.

Made in the UK with naturally derived raw materials, effective, biodegradable and hypoallergenic. Does not contain chlorine, optical brighteners, synthetic perfumes or phosphates.”

The Linen Works laundry collection is not only packaged with flair but also works beautifully well, the fragrance is delicate and the end result is a laundry basket full of soft clean washing.  I do rather like ironing too I’m not sure I should admit to that!   Using linen water is quite a luxury but oh my the iron glided over my linen with ease.

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arles tea towels charcoal raspberry navy hook[1]

There is nothing like climbing into a freshly made bed on an evening and after using this lovely range of laundry products it made it even more pleasurable and aided restful sleep.

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*  With thanks to The Linen Works for supplying the Laundry Products and the use of images 5, 6, 8 & 9

 

 

Relax with Plum & Ashby

There’s nothing nicer than after a long day to run a bath filled with the scent of summer to sooth away those knotty thoughts in your mind and body. I adore having a soak in the tub a simple pleasure and recently made even better by Plum & Ashby and their contemporary bath & body range.

Not only does their range smell delicious but it comes in the most stylish packaging with a nod to old apothecary bottles.  Deep amber toned glass and screw topped clear vessels which when not in use will make your bathroom shelf evoke that of a stylish store.

The heady scent of lavender is one of my favourites especially at this time of year, I have lavender hedges that line my garden paths and doorways, when you brush past the air is filled with it’s aroma and I simply love it.  So of course I couldn’t resist the temptation of the Green Fig and Lavender hand and body wash and Lavender bath essence.

My new bathroom companion Green Fig and Lavender wash is being used daily, made with natural essential oils it cleanses and moisturises without over dying my skin, a mini pamper every day is good for ones soul.  For those bathing moments I described at the beginning of the post you really can’t surpass this wonderful moisturising bath essence.  With the calming lavender notes and soothing tones of marigold helping relaxation, pour a small amount to running water when drawing a bath and completely unwind. The essence is also made with all natural ingredients including coconut and lavender oil.  I find that taking a bath in the evening helps me sleep better too especially with these subtle scents that calm the senses.

Not only do Plum & Ashby provide you with the complete bathing experience they also supply super wash bags for you to store their products in too so you can take them on weekends away and holidays so you always have that little bit of luxury where ever you go.

I’m having a few days away with the girls this weekend and guess what will be coming with me in my over night bag!

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Seasonal British Best

This week is British Flowers Week and to celebrate this I was asked by Four Walls to spend £50 on seasonal home grown blooms.  I didn’t hesitate to take up this challenge, I knew exactly where to go and was overwhelmed by the flower explosion in a bucket that arrived.

I simply can’t not have flowers in the house, they complete a room, I get a bit grumpy if I don’t have jug filled with colourful stems even if it’s just a jam jar with one stem cut from the garden.  I try very hard to buy seasonal flowers and foliage when I can but this can be tricky.  I most certainly buy British where ever possible and at this time of year forage the hedge rows.  This sadly is in serious decline today as much as 90% of our flowers are imported.

Things are changing if you choose to look, the flower revolution is gaining pace, small growers wanting to produce home grown in an eco friendly sustainable way.  Bringing old varieties back and creating stunning displays with flowers that are grown at the correct time of year.  Yes summer blooms may be fleeting but oh my they are beautiful.

I am a very lucky lady to call the family behind Manor Garden friends and knew that Clarey would come up trumps when I asked her to fill a bucket for me for this post.  The walled garden is situated in beautiful country side by the banks of the River Tees and is truly magical; their passion for home grown seasonal flowers is infectious.

To be honest when I came to arrange the flowers I didn’t know where to start, I’m no Simon Lycett!  The arrangement just as it was was so very beautiful, full of delphiniums, foxgloves, alliums, cat mint, aquilegia, astrantia, roses, peonies, thistles, daisies, snap dragons, scabious, corn flowers and the list goes on.  The heady scent was and still is intoxcating, I can honestly say I can’t remember the smell of flowers being so strong but so very right and just how it should be.  After sitting for a while a little bewildered I calmed down and decided on different colour ways and heights to go in chosen vessels so I could place them in various spaces and rooms of the house.  I also decided I needed to keep a big bucket full of wonder as I probably won’t see anything like this in my living room again for a long while.

British Flower week should be celebrated and shouted about from the roof tops not only for this week but all year round.  Do a bit of research and you’ll be amazed at who you will find tucked away down a country lane, people who are creating pockets of magic in the flower world.

I shall be back at Manor Garden in a few weeks helping with a wonderful gathering of like minded souls.  Spending a day in the walled garden creating our own flower arrangements from the cutting garden, having a go at making a skin care using botanical and herbal ingredients and generally enjoying being surrounded by nature, good food, friendship and laughter.

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With thanks to Four Walls for the generous gift making these floral arrangements possible.

 

Minimal but with Meaning

Over the last year I feel that I have finally found my space, I have an inner peace in all aspects of my life, knowing that I am who I am and truly comfortable within my own skin.  It’s taken a while but hey, and YES I have off days but who doesn’t?  When it comes down to how I look, dress, feel on a daily basis I’m doing ok.   I have a capsule wardrobe, I love having a crazy haircut  (being free of hair dye rocks) and also having the confidence to have 3 tattoos that hold great meaning and symmetry to me.

Which brings me onto Lines & Current. Through the magic of instagram and my latest inking of a closed circle, I met Rebekah the owner of L&C; a down-right amazing lady.  We sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to pursuing simplicity in our everyday lives, how we live with minimal clutter in the home, to our minds and wardrobes creating an overall well being.

Simplicity is most definitely the key word in the ethos behind Lines & Current. The on line store is beautifully clear, perfect minimal pieces of jewellery that I find compelling.  I’m not one for bling and never have been, but I do like an statement piece to finish an outfit and ODIN is just that, sublime.  I can wear it with everything, it sits high and proud but with an air of delicateness that really appeals to me.

Funnily enough, meeting Rebekah and being able to wear ODIN truly makes my circle complete, everything fits into place as I said at the beginning of this post.  I am one now, strong, content, peaceful, life is good.

I highly recommend that you go and check out the other Lines & Current collections too, the sunglasses are some of the best I’ve worn in a long time, light weight with a classic edge that I haven’t taken off since the sun started shining (probably because Ruby wants to steal them too!)

SignatureThis post was written in collaboration with Lines & Current all words and opinions are my own.

Industrial to Scandinavian Chic

Sometimes you really don’t want to trawl around salvage fairs and reclamation yards to find that perfect piece of furniture.  You may also be time poor, working long hours so are unable to part with those precious down time days reinventing and recycling.  There is a solution however, you can still get that little something different, out of the ordinary, cool.

I have recently come across PIB Home a simple, smart one stop store online, this sleak site is based in France and focuses on high end design with a twist.  PIB categorises in three distinct styles, industrial, Scandinavian and Boho Shabby Chic, each section showcasing these looks perfectly.  No need to trawl through pages and pages of chairs or tables to find the one you are looking for, if you want industrial seating or a pared back classic Nordic  side table then you simply click on that specific category and browse a capsule collection.

I was very taken with the industrial lighting and the Sensilä bench both would work wonderfully well in a modern setting.  Why not mix and match you’d be surprised how much Industrial and Scandinavian design compliment each other if done well.  The contrast is good between both genres.  For instance, take the cool concrete of an industrial loft floor and add a metal chair covered with a warm wool or a sheepskin throw.  A well placed ceramic vase on a glazed surface to rusty metal placed next to bare unpolished wood.  Choose the right textures but don’t over do it, too many different surfaces may overwhelm the space and create clutter. Remember a balance of a few selected pieces and you can’t go far wrong.

I have a love of both looks and one day I will be able to use more of each design ethos in my own home but for now I will collate and sort each style into mood boards for reference and inspiration.

Image 1~5 from here, images 6~9 from here

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All The Stripes

Dare I say that it’s rather near the time we dust off the garden furniture and bring out the deckchairs for those sunny moments captured in the garden or nearby sandy beach.  I was honoured when Hen & Hammock recently got in touch regarding their superb deckchair fabric.  I’d never really given the fabric itself much thought if I’m honest, I have a vintage deckchair that comes with me on holiday in Agatha our caravan so writing a post about the sublime striped cloth that eptomises all our childhood seaside holiday memories was a great challenge.

Yes to start with I did the obvious and covered a wooden deckchair frame  kindly sent by Hen & Hammock.   All that is needed are some sturdy upholstery pins and 1.5 metres of fabric.   Such a simple and easy way to update an old frame with a worn out cover or to simply start from scratch like I have and create a new chair.

There is a myriad of multi coloured striped canvas to choose from, each fabric is designed to be the right width for a deck chair and to have sufficient strength to support a person’s body weight.  It is traditionally woven entirely from cotton, although some material includes a polythene warp to make it more weather resistant for those unexpected rain showers.

The Beachcomber fabric I have used goes perfectly with the cool colours I chose to decorate our holiday home on wheels.  It’s simple lines of blues, mauves and a hint of lemon make for a very inviting seat to while away the hours in dappled sunlight.  This specific fabric is woven in south west France by Henry and Françoise Quinta here’s a little bit about their story.

Henri and Françoise are the saviours of the textile industry in south west France. They bought the last surviving mill in the early 1990’s, and since then have set about transforming the business with the vibrant colours that the Catalan region is famous for; vibrant oranges, golds and blues, that shout sun, sand and sea.

All the fabrics are woven on traditional looms that involve a considerable amount of skill and craftsmanship. The weft and warp yarns are each crossed by hand to produce a very high quality deckchair fabric. These are the fabrics that Henri and Françoise cherished in the youth, with a contemporary twist that ensures they are more popular today than ever.”

What I also like about this woven canvas is the versatility of it, you can buy deckchair fabric by the metre so other items can be made to use outdoors or in the home.  Why not use it as a bright table runner or bath mat that will make you smile in the morning.  I used the left over fabric to make a cushion with, pairing the stripes with a plain linen hemp.  It makes the perfect head rest when lounging in the chair.

So don’t think that deckchairs are just the ones you hire when you visit the beach, the choice of fabrics are endless so get making your own, so simple, so fun, so effective.

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  • With thanks the Hen & Hammock for gifting the Beachcomber fabric and wooden frame.

 

 

The Sun Shone on Ripley

Ripley is a small country village on the outskirts of Harrogate in Yorkshire but to me Ripley means Arthur Swallows Decorative Home and Salvage Show.  I love it when May comes around, the anticipation of walking through the gates, colourful flags and bunting swaying in the breeze, canvas arcades packed to the rafters with beautifully styled wares.  The excitement builds, wondering who I will see and what treasure I will find and last weekend was no exception.

The traders were of a very high standard this year, businesses that hone their craft superbly well, whose stands are a pleasure to browse around and to forge new friendships with.  Chris Holmes is always a joy to visit such a knowledgeable man, if only I had the space for an antique wooden fairground unicorn!

When it comes to buying I have an eye for certain items, a certain look that I know when I’ve found the perfect piece. Once home it blends into my interior perfectly, so I make a bee line for specific traders I know will have those items on my required list.  Lucy from Lucy Vintage Lifestyle has the best brocante stock around, P.C. Pirates specialise in reclaimed vintage and industrial furniture, Millington & Hope well I just wanted everything.  I made friends with new traders this year especially Monkey and Bird, their display was exquisite with a touch of quirky that I love so very much. It was also wonderful to find that Gaille Skinner came to Ripley, her linen is out of this world, my last purchase from her has now been fashioned into a Roman blind in my newly decorated kitchen.

Along with sumptuous linen, a perfectly chippy foxed glazed French mirror was sourced and an antique dough trough (I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect sized one for years) so the finishing touches to my space are now complete.

If you missed this fair not to worry for the first time this year Arthur Swallows will be holding another Decorative Home and Salvage fair at Ripley this coming September from the 9th ~11th one to definitely add to the must do list.

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Curate & Display

I have just redecorated my kitchen.  It was the perfect time to make a few changes as over the years your tastes do change.  I’ve amassed rather a lot of stuff in the last decade and I’m now coming through the other side and decluttering (a lot!)  I’m not a minimalist but I wanted things to be neater and more streamlined to compliment the stunning colour by Farrow & Ball that we chose to adorn the walls and ceiling.

I do like displaying items that are useful and get used on a daily basis, I thought that these wire pigeon holes fitted the bill perfectly.  They aren’t too heavy but compliment the wall colour but let light flow through them so don’t restrict the space.  I’ve had them stashed in my garage for a year now knowing that I would find a good home for them one day.  I bought them from the ever so wonderful Millington & Hope I can never resist a purchase or two when I see them at Ripley (which is taking place this weekend).

I think storage is essential in any home especially the kitchen but why hide it all away, it’s nice to see your every day pieces displayed on open shelves.  It’s also good to think beyond the normal bog standard fitted kitchen set up, be imaginative with materials to create a unique not from the high street look to make your space truly individual.

From apple crates to old railway carriage shelves, scaffolding planks to armoires the world is your oyster as they say. Don’t go for the conventional, think outside the box and enjoy the space you live in. If you need more inspiration go take a look at my pinboard that focuses on individual ideas.

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Image 1 & 2 my own, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12