Let in the Light

It’s Summer and there is nothing nicer than throwing open the doors and windows to the garden letting in a warm breeze and dappled light.  I’m lucky that I have French doors but I don’t like their design, the frames are dark and PVC as are all my window frames.  The light reduction it causes due to heavy frames is quite remarkable.  We replaced both our entrance doors last year for bespoke alternatives and it has made a huge difference to the light in the hallway and kitchen.

We dream of self building one day, creating a contemporary light filled home with large floor to ceiling windows, open spaces leading from room to room letting in maximum light but with all the right green credentials making the house self sufficient when it comes to energy saving.

For now that is still a long way off so we are considering updating our nasty frames for better version to maximise the light and stop the heat escaping.  Maybe a side extension to create more precious space off the kitchen with skylights to focus the light over that specific area.  It’s remarkable what choice you have today when it comes to updating your windows, Roofwindows.co.uk are a super place to start with a huge range of innovative well priced windows by Solstro to choose from with an excellent advice service on hand so you make the correct decision.

Another great way of maximising light in a small dark space is internal glazing, replacing heavy wooden doors with glass ones, if privacy is an issue frosted window film is a great alternative than etched glass.  Painting your walls in paler colour tones helps lift the space,  placing mirrors opposite a window also bounces light perfectly.  Even down to choosing lightweight fabrics rather than heavy drapes when dressing your windows or maybe if you are lucky and not overlooked perhaps no curtains at all.

For now I shall keep saving to replace my brown PVC horrors and keep dreaming of my white, bright contemporary house with floor to ceiling windows!

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13

 

Dining in Black // Also Home

When dining goes dark, I have fallen head over heals for dark ceramic dinner plates they just make your culinary efforts sing.  Also Home recently got in touch with me to see if I could coordinate some of their dining range with flowers.  My eye was instantly caught by their matt black glazed  Kuro Scandanese (Scandinavian & Japanese) inspired ceramics.  They are the perfect blend of simplicity and natural design that is often found in  Scandinavia and Japan.   The very nature of the way these ceramics are made is the very ethos behind Also Home and all their products. Every item is beautifully made in natural and tactile materials, the pared back Kuro collection focuses on shape and form to create these simple hand-crafted style ceramics.

The soft matt black glaze of these tactile plates work beautifully placed on soft slubby linen, surrounded by pale Summer stems.  I’m not one for brights as you all well know but I am quite partial to pale pastel seasonal blooms.  I don’t think any table setting is complete without a floral display be it in a big full vase or jam jars dotted down the centre of the table.  I felt that the plates needed to do the talking so gently laid a few simple selected stems with an easy knotted napkin.  The rest of the flowers I placed in different sized vintage bottles to soften the look.

To make the setting complete I used a unique pressed bamboo lacquerware bowl in matt black, the contrast of the lacquered outside to the smooth pale pressed bamboo inside is stunning.  I don’t think any salad could look bad in one of these artisan made bowls.

Also Home are a wonderful brand who believe in uniqueness, quality and individuality.  Every item is designed and sourced to support talented artisans across the world.  The unique nature of each piece has real beauty in its simplicity, every home needs a little bit of their simple well crafted style to create an truly inspiring interior.

  • With thanks to Also Home for the plates and bowl that are featured in this post

Iconic Lights // Lighting the Scandinavian Way

Lighting can be a tricky to get right and the costs can add up if you don’t get it first time.  So it’s great when you come across brands like Iconic Lights who not only have cutting edge designs featured on line but they come at the fraction of the cost of the designer alternatives.  Don’t think because the price is lower the quality is as well; far from it.  I have many lights at home by them and I’m utterly impressed.

I’ve been having a shake up at home, paring back and changing elements to make it more streamlined so the next thing on the list was the lighting in our spare room/dressing room/everything else space.  I’m very much into Scandinavian design, the choice from Iconic Lights is just superb, I chose the adjustable Roscoe floor lamp and as it is exactly right for my room.  I like the fact that I can move it about without having to have a surface to place it on, also the lamp head is adjustable so you can have it positioned just where you need the light to be.  Not only is it practical it is rather stylish too,  the simple design is perfect, compact and I’m super pleased with it.

With any Scandinavian design you will find quality, style and simplicity everything the Scandinavians are renowned for.   The range by Iconic Lights include their own in house designs of which the Roscoe is one along with reproductions of iconic designs by leading Scandinavian designers such as Verner Pantan, Poul Henningsen, Poul Christiansen and Holger Strom.

Not only do Iconic Lights have an amazing range of lights they also source the very best in bulbs with the latest energy efficient technologies.  Their range is constantly developing and expanding making it easier to find the right bulb for the right lamp.  The MiniSun range is brilliant, you can get an array of  filament bulb styles but using the latest LED technology.  Not only can you incorporate a unique design into your home it’s also cost effective, eco friendly and reduces your carbon footprint significantly.

To give you some lighting inspiration I have a Pinterest board dedicated to just that, find the style and then go take a look at Iconic Lights I’m sure you’ll find what you are looking for and have a healthier bank balance at the end too.

  • With thanks to Iconic Lights for supplying the Roscoe Floor Lamp for the purpose of this post.

 

 

Room to Grow with Rooi

My little or should I say not so little girl turned 12 this year and she decided that her bedroom needed a make over.  She wanted to create a space that she  could hang out in, a more grown up room that reflects her taste and style as she grows into a young woman.

She was adamant that she wanted a black wall, painted floorboards and a desk.  Not to hard for me to get my head around at all,  quite straight forward and easy to put the look she wanted together.   Of course I used Farrow and Ball for the paint, new compact furniture with excellent storage from Ikea which has made a huge difference and created more floor space than before.  The key that brings the scheme together is a beautiful monochrome rug from Rose and Grey, it is amazing how just that one piece completes the space to perfection.   I’m so pleased with the result, it’s worked very well considering it’s the smallest room in the house and she is now spending far more time in there just relaxing and enjoying her space.   I have a dedicated Pinterest board filled with cool ideas for kids spaces.

Creating a more grown up space has been fun but it’s the little elements of carefully selected accessories that make it personal to her.  Gone are the dolls and cuddly toys that have now being replaced by  funky stationery, scented candles and clever technology.  We are trying to steer Ruby into appreciating good quality design not amassing lots of stuff, that’s where Rooi come in.  Their philosophy states that when they select a product, they ask three questions. Does it say something? Does it delight the senses? Does it make us happy? If the answer is yes, it finds a place on their carefully selected online store full of stylish contemporary home wares that have an element of fun about them too.

Rooi was the perfect place to go to add those finishing touches to her space, fabulous notebooks and pens with quirky eye catching designs by Ban.do . She loves nothing more than using new but different beauty products, I’m quite jealous of her hand cream collection especially this one by Meraki a Danish skin and body care brand inspired by Scandinavian aesthetics. The simple design of their products work so very well.  Their scented soy bean candles come perfectly packaged too,  with fabulous names like sandcastles & sunset.  Her room is filled with the delicate scent of coconut and tropical fruit, perfect for balmy summer evenings curled up in her newly created reading nook writing stories in her quirky notebooks, listening to her tunes streamed through her funky blue tooth speaker.

I think I want to be a teenager again or maybe I just need to treat myself to some stylish accessories from Rooi too.

  • with thanks to Rooi for gifting the products used in this post.

Working with Wool // Solidwool

Wool a natural commodity,  a sustainable resource, one that is plentiful but so very much underused and under valued.  Can you believe that one sheep’s fleece commands a shockingly low price of 40p.  This is where Solidwool come in, this innovative brand are championing a new way of working with wool in a diverse and contemporary environment.   They are modern day manufacturers of a by product of sheep farming, turning it from something unwanted into something beautiful and unique.

The items designed and made by  Solidwool can be considered in place of Injection Moulded Plastics and fibreglass. Wool is used as the reinforcement, bio-resins as the binder. Their manufacturing methods are designed to have the lowest environmental impact that they can.

The Hembury collection is simple, clean lined and practical, a design with longevity in mind, a range of everyday products for the home or creative space.  With a chair to sit on, a table to rest your book and coffee on and placemats to make your dining table more stylish the collection is just right.  The beauty of the wooden legs of the chair and table contrasting with the dark smooth Solidwool top are a master stroke, tactility in the utility with sustainable values.

I spoke to Hannah, one half of the Solidwool team and asked her about their vision for the business, where it started and where they see their vision going in the future.

About Solidwool

We started Solidwool to find a new way of working with wool, in the hope that we could bring some wool manufacturing back to our home town, create fulfilling jobs for ourselves and maybe a small team of people.

We were inspired by our home town and an old industry in decline. Buckfastleigh was once a thriving part of the woollen industry but it had grown quiet since the key manufacturing had left.

We learnt that the coarse wool from hill-farmed sheep had dramatically lost its value in recent years. Historically used in the UK carpet industry, the demand had declined and the wool was now considered worthless, a by-product of sheep farming.

So we started to play, to turn the way we have always worked with wool on it’s head. To take the unwanted and make it beautiful, give it value once again.  The end result is what has become Solidwool.  A strong, beautiful and unique composite material. Think of it like fibreglass, but with wool.

The Hembury Collection came from this. We had a material and wanted to create a product to showcase the material.

Currently, we use wool from the Herdwick breed of sheep. This wool is wiry, dark and hard. An itchy scratchy type of wool. It’s also one of the lowest value British wools. Once a major part of a shepherd’s income, the wool sells for about 30-40p per kg. It costs more to shear the sheep than they get back in sales.  When used in our products the Herdwick wool is beautiful. It produces a dark grey composite with the lighter guard hairs standing out.

What’s Next

At the beginning of the year we moved into a new factory space in the centre of Buckfastleigh, in one of the old disused woollen mill buildings. The space is amazing, light and airy. We’ve been busy fitting the space out in a manner fit for a modern manufacturing company, whilst working out what that is!  For us, 2017 is about working on the next generation of Solidwool technology. Really getting to grips with understanding the material and its capacity. Once we have done this we will be expanding our range of furniture.

We also hope to begin sourcing our own wool direct from farmers. Currently we source wool that has gone through the British Wool Marketing Board auction system. This system works, but buying direct from farmers, enables us to be more transparent about our supply chain. It also means we can pay above market price for the wool we source. Giving part of the value we create back to source.

We are also playing with lighter wools, such as the Scotch Blackface sheep on Dartmoor. It is another lower value wool, but can be used with a coloured resin to create a material which is very similar in appearance to coloured fibreglass.

So if you are on the hunt for a unique piece of contemporary furniture with a sustainable twist then please do take a look at Solidwool.  Just think how cool your kitchen table will look surrounded by the Hembury chairs, I know I am!

  • With thanks to Solidwool for providing the images for this post

Custom Fronts // Scandi Ply Chic

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!

 We had a number of questions that we felt the interiors world just didn’t have answers to. So we decided to answer these ourselves.
Why can’t high-end design be inclusive, not exclusive?
Why shouldn’t beautiful, sustainable AND affordable design be available to everyone?
How do even high-end manufacturers get away with making their products from toxic MDF and other unsustainable materials?
Why must everything be wastefully spray painted with toxic paints, or wrapped in laminate and vinyls?
Scandinavian birch plywood is THE ideal materials for kitchens – why are so few using it?
Why should those without deep pockets have to settle for bland, shoddy products without beauty and creativity?
Why is everyone playing it safe?
 We felt perfectly placed to provide these answers.  We have the skills, we had the vision.    But we felt scared, unsure…did other people have these questions too?  Did other people want what we wanted? We still don’t know for sure.  But we did know that we didn’t want to play it safe.  We wanted to take a risk.  Sometimes you have to trust your gut, so we went for it!
 We love nature and beauty.  We use gorgeous FSC certified birch plywood or bamboo for all of our products.  Birch plywood is fast-growing and abundant meaning it is easily replenishable.  It is low-toxic, and because it consists of several very thin layers of birch ply together, immensely less wasteful than solid wood.  Beautiful bamboo is incredibly fast-growing, has a fascinating grain structure and is another perfect material.  All our wood veneers are native species from FSC certified suppliers.
We use ultra low toxic and durable paint, an American brand “Mythic”.   You could drink it, although I wouldn’t advise it!  It’s not a fashionable brand, they don’t shout about themselves but we know this is the best on the market.
We make everything ourselves in our workshop in Sussex, we want to be proud of what we make with a simple, timeless aesthetic but also push the boundaries a little, we like using interesting colour palettes, woods and metal finishes.  It might surprise customers, but we won’t say “yes” to everything.  We have strong environmental and design principles and everything we do stays true to that.  We won’t spray paint – it’s wasteful, usually toxic, and lacks the subtle texture and crafted look of hand painted.  We will never use MDF and particle board.  We won’t use tropical hard woods.
 We have so many plans.  Our only problem is time, not ideas!  Our plans are to introduce our own bespoke furniture, Custom shelves, Custom tables, Custom stools, with very interesting “customisable” options of course.
 We will also be moving to a beautiful rural workshop only 50 miles from London over the summer where we will have a showroom, we’d love you to come and say hello.  It is just across the road from one of the most beautiful riverside walks in Sussex, which handily ends up at a scenic pub where you can enjoy a lovely pub lunch, a perfect day out.
And finally there is the possibility of a collaboration with a fascinating design firm so watch this space.”
 Take it from me the finish is exceptional and I’m bursting with pride that I now own a Custom Fronts cabinet, I don’t think it will be long before I hear of many more of you owning a slice of of Scandi Ply delight too, or how long it will take before I want to update my kitchen!!
* with thanks to Custom Fronts for providing images for this post.  Taken by Sarah Weal and styled by Emma Harris

Happy + Co

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.

 

Spring Blossom with Radley

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.

  • With thanks to Radley for gifting this Hobo Bag for the purpose of this post

LinenMe

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

 

 

 

 

Pendant Light Trend with Heal’s

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.

 

 

 

Oggetto // Simple Crafted Honest

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

 

 

A Weekend Away

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.

Aerende // Style with Meaning

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.

aerende-bed-linen

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.

aerende-cathedral-screen-print-mantle-piece

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Another couple of great articles featuring Emily and Aerende are here and here, the more we shout, the louder we get, the more chance we have of getting heard.

  • With thanks to Aerende for which this post would not be possible

 

 

 

 

A Mid Century Modern Collection

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Monochrome Wonders

I do love a good rug, large and pleasing to the eye bringing everything in the room together making it all gel, I think that a room can look a bit lost without one.  It also has to be soft under your feet, one that you can sink your toes into and relax after a long day.

If I were to be asked to choose one rug to own for the rest of my days I definitely know which one would win.  The Beni Ourain rug has my heart, the beautiful hand made monochrome hatch designs are perfect and timeless. The very nature of the black and white design seamlessly blend with a myriad of styled interiors, minimal and contemporary through to maximalist colourful eclectic spaces.

I’ve had the great pleasure of being able to sample one of these stunning rugs as an introducion to Tate & Darby who officially launch their on line store this Summer but are open for business if anything catches your eye.

Henny Tate and Kirsty Darby are passionate about rugs, well not any old rug but ones that they source from Morocco.  They fell in love with the brightly coloured versions of the usually more muted Beni Ourain rugs on a trip to Marrakech.  They brought a few home to sell at a pop up shop they had organised, the rugs sold so well that they went back for more and so the idea for the Tate & Darby was born.

They both have backgrounds in design and the decorative arts and have found that buying and designing rugs satisfies that creative urge and fits around their busy family lives very well.

All of the Tate & Darby Beni Ourain rugs are hand made in 100% wool by womens co-operatives in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.  Each rug tells a story by the person who made it,  they are perhaps the most beautiful, comfortable and practical rugs around, Henny and Kirsty still marvel at the work that goes into them. Every effort is made to keep their business as sustainable as possible, they don’t want to leave a footprint but do want to encourage a hand print.

Henny and Kirsty believe that a rug has a way of transforming a space, creating atmosphere and by reworking traditional designs into contemporary styles make them all the more accessible for our homes. Tate & Darby offer a bespoke service too, if you can’t quite find the right look they are more than happy to help and of course they love to chat rugs!

One of the things I love about these artisan rugs is their versatility, most of us think of the Beni Ourain being that of a black and white weave but the bright neon colour ways that Tate & Darby offer are so very different and extremely versatile. I know there’s a certain young lady in my house that would kill for a neon pink version in her bedroom!

So now you don’t have to book a flight, hotel and go to Morocco to barter for that sought after rug as Tate & Darby have done all the hard work for you.

  •  With thanks to Tate & Darby for the loan of this stunning rug for the purpose of this post