Make Waste Beautiful with Brabantia

We all need them so why does your household waste bin need to be ugly and something you want to hide?

I’m not lucky enough to have an integral bin hidden away in a fitted cupboard and I didn’t want a nasty cheap looking bin to sit lurking in the corner of my ktichen so I chose something that was aesthetically pleasing and large enough that it only needs emptying once a week.  As a family we try very hard when it comes to waste management, everything is sorted and recycled to the best of our ability, plastic waste has been reduced hugely but sometimes you still need the dustbin for things that just can’t be recycled.

Brabantia waste bins are leaders in modern, contemporary, sustainable waste bins that come in all shapes and sizes but most they all are design led and technologically savvy.   I have my eye firmly on the Bo Touch bin which not only combines beautiful design credentials with easy waste separation with clever removable inner buckets to keep everything in its place.  It is designed to fit perfectly against a wall and with its stylish legs you can clean around it with no hassle.  The plus side is that the design is modern and contemporary coming in a range of colours that make it hard to resist.

Their newIcon pedal bin is greener than ever, these sustainable bins are made of 40% recycled materials and after use 98% of the bin and packaging is recycable how amazing is that.  Not only is this fabulous pedal bin nice to look at it’s green credentials are punching above their weight.  On top of all that for every newIcon pedal bin purchased you will be supporting The Ocean Cleanup helping towards its mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

After choosing the handsomest waste bin to compliment your style and taste you have to empty and clean it, this is one of those jobs you and your spouse bicker about right, who’s turn is it this week!    Instead of using harsh chemical laden concoctions why not use natural ingredients to keep everything clean and smelling rather pleasant.  Bicarbonate of soda removes unpleasant odours.  A spray infused with distilled vinegar and lemon will keep your bin sparkly and clean with no impact on the environment what so ever.

So next time you think a bin is just a bin think again, lets make waste beautiful.

Jx

Images 2, 4 & 6, all others taken my myself or Brabantia

 

Well Being For You and Your Skin // La Eva

Being mindful of how you are living and taking care of your self come hand in hand.  We as a family have been making big changes over many years to be better in our every day lives, reducing waste, being careful in what we buy and where from ,creating a balance that we are comfortable with.  Now I am focusing on my well being through daily exercise and looking after not only what goes in my body but what goes on it.  I am very lucky that what I do brings me into contact with some fascinating people and today I would like to introduce you to LA-EVA who are definitely transforming the way I am going to nourish and look after my skin.

LA-EVA  a juxtaposition of lae.va meaning left of centre and e:va the female name meaning life, living one, mother of life or full of life.  A natural evolution from specialising in cold process soap making in an artisan studio on the edge of a saw mill in Oxfordshire, owner Louise gradually worked on exploring palettes of scents and the care and attention needed to create something beautiful using natural raw ingredients.  Building relationships with farmers, suppliers and the Soil Association along the way.

By bringing in new elements, blending them with inspiration and collaborations with artists works who’s ethereal textured paintings now decorate the amber glass bottles that LA-EVA produce.  Through this creativity ideas were generated and a careful range of products has emerged, beautiful, organic, universal units of well being. All inspired by sensory experiences and a deep love of art.

I couldn’t put it more perfectly than this quote.

‘LA-EVA stems from a spirit of joie de vivre, builds on artisan roots, and aligns naturally with the organic movementLA-EVA comes together where the senses meet skincare, where luxury is aligned with simplicity and where body & mind are treated as one.’

Not only are the bottles extremely beautiful to look at the elixir inside them is wondrous.  I have had the pleasure to sample the Rosēum wash and lotion along with the Jasmīna oil or liquid gold as my friend describes it.  Both scents are intoxicating, you don’t rush when using them, you slow down, breath and enjoy the process of applying these lotions to your skin.  The integrity of caring for yourself and your overall well being in the knowledge that you are also caring for others and the planet is rather a wonderful thing.

The combination of wash and lotion work so well together, the wash leaving your skin deeply, naturally cleansed and the lotion to soften and hydrate the skin nourishing you with the gentle hue orfrose geranium and citrus notes of petitgrain fusing with warm clove awakening the senses.

I think my favourite is the lightweight oil, I never thought oil would work so well but it soaks into your skin leaving behind its wonderful more masculine scent of jasmine, green thyme and warming black pepper.  It is an amber bottle of joy that has many uses, not only hydrating the skin of your face and body but also can be used to nourish dry hair and nails.  Liquid gold indeed, with many talents.

There are two other scents in the collection, Blū which comes in wash and lotion has woody, smoky undertones of cedar and vetivert fused with the herbaceous aroma of chamomile blue a soothing combination offering peace and clarity.   Spīce is the scent available in shampoo and conditioner, with vitalising ginger blending with amber tones of patchouli and the warming aroma of cinnamon leaf, an invigorating treat for your hair and scalp.

The philosophy behind LA-EVA is simple, that delight can be found in everyday experiences and self care.  Their products are units of well being and recognise that they link body and mind via a sensory pathway.

I wholeheartedly agree with everything LA-EVA are achieving and urge you to take a look and try some of their beautiful, organic, universal units of well being, you’ll thank me for it.

Jx

  • with thanks to LA-EVA for gifting the products that made this post possible.

 

 

Sweet Pea Joy with The Real Flower Company

We are well into the swing of Spring now after the longest Winter I can remember.  The warmth is is slowly starting to make its presence felt and the garden is starting to shoot up at a phenomenal speed in all their fresh green glory.  One of my go to flowers that I plant every year is sweet peas, their delicate beauty and scent can’t be beaten.

When The Real Flower Company got in touch wanting to send me a stunning bouquet of their finest English scented sweet peas I jumped at the chance as it will be many a month before I can cut and display any that I grow.  Their sweet peas are grown on a farm near Chichester, West Sussex.  During Spring and early Summer English scented sweet peas are abundantly incorporated into their bouquets.  I can honestly say I’ve never had a display of such scented flowers before, it is intoxicating. The combination of the heavenly scented ivory sweet peas and wonderfully fragrant lavender is a treat for the senses.  Amongst these two subtle favourites, mint, ivy and other seasonal herbs bring that extra layer, creating not only a beautiful display but making the room smell delicious.

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the images for this post, it was a treat opening the signature green box and untying the floppy satin ribbon then playing about with how to display them.  I like a bouquet to look a bit wild so once I removed the binding and trimmed the stems it was fun messing the order up a little bit so the lavender and herbs trailed over the edge of the jug I chose.

The passion behind The Real Flower Company is a simple one, to bring beautiful, natural, scented flowers and foliage back into the market that seems to have lost its way when it comes to real flowers, alongside promoting their sustainability and provenance.  They are passionate about sent and  carefully curate a collection of the worlds finest scented rose and flower varieties.  They know the provenance of each and every one of their flowers as they grow them all themselves at their base in the South Downs National Park in Hampshire.  All their blooms are grown as nature intended with respect for wildlife, the environment and full of scent.  Did you know that currently many cut flowers on the market have been genetically modified to have their scent gene removed and only 12% of the cut flowers sold in the UK are grown here.  Quite a shocking statistic that The Real Flower Company are trying to rectify.

So go on I think we all deserve to treat ourselves to beautiful home grown flowers knowing that we are contributing to bringing back scent and varieties that have been lost through mass production over the years.  There is simply nothing better than a display of blooms to cheer one’s soul at this time of the year.

Jx

 

 

 

The Wood House

Every now and then you come across a store that stops you in your tracks.  This happened to me earlier this year when I discovered The Wood House.  The owner Kirstie and I struck up a friendship through good old instagram, we have many things in common especially the love of interiors and clothes!

So if you haven’t come across this delicious store through social media or the internet then let me introduce you, I know like me you are not going to be able to resist.  Welcome to The Wood House the on line store where you can find beautifully curated home and lifestyle goods all with a natural hand crafted touch in a simple colour palette that makes me want to purchase every single thing.

I asked Kirstie how The Wood House came to be and this was her reply.

“For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for interiors, architecture and generally lovely things.

I studied interiors for a while and thought that my career would at some point take me into it in some shape or form.

I opened a little shop in Somerset fifteen years ago selling fireplaces and wood burners and it was always a dream to offer an interior design service. Having a busy life with a shop and children this never really came to fruition so I continued living my dream through renovating our 16th century home and helping friends with their home interiors.

This really has brought me to where I am now and in November I decided to make my dream happen and open a little on line store selling a selection beautifully curated home and lifestyle goods.

The wood house is evolving all the time and naturally progressed into selling mainly products that are natural and hand crafted with muted tones throughout.

I buy what I love and would have in my own home which makes buying for the wood house a real pleasure.”

What resonates with me the most is Kirstie only buys items that she loves and would have and use in her own home, knowing everything is curated with thought is something I admire and one of the reasons why each product compliments the next so very well all in the tones and colour palette that I adore, soft muted calming hues.  Also as you all know by now I am passionate about hand crafted sustainable pieces for my home and each and everyone that you can purchase from The Wood House is just that.  From the natural skin care products such as Grown Alchemist and Magic Organic Apothecary to candles by The Nomad Society through to hand made raw clay glazed beakers hand made in small batches in Wales, The Tea Lab teas and organic chocolate to cutting garden seed packets by Grace Alexander.  There are stunning textural handwoven hemp rugs to chunky knit lambswool throws and cushions to reclaimed unique one off pieces. Once you have created your haven of peace and calm you can even purchase tranquil reading material such as In Clover and Cereal magazine.

I am lucky enough to have been sent a care package of sorts filled with all the things I love and will treasure, hand cream, tea, beaker, seeds, In Clover magazine and a sample of the delicious chocolate.  They would all make perfect gifts for the ones you love, who cherish the simpler kinder way of life, those who make time to slow down and nourish by surrounding ourselves with beautiful things that fulfil our everyday.

So please do call in and say hi to The Wood House, its a rather lovely place to browse for a while, new stock is arriving all the time and the owner is just fabulous.

Jx

  • With thanks to The Wood House for gifting the pieces for this post.  You can find them on instagram here or click on the link above to take you to the store.

 

 

 

Ingenious Wallpaper

I  never thought I would be tempted by wallpaper but this may be about to change.  Technology and designs are improving at a very fast rate, there is so much choice out there it is quite mind boggling.   To create a space that is so striking and seamless that you can’t tell if its art work or wallpaper is quite remarkable.

When Walls Republic got in touch wondering if I would be interested in using some of their samples I jumped at the chance.  It gave me food for thought when it comes to decorating.  To add texture and pattern to a room through papering a wall is something I usually steer clear of but I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of these samples to the point if I were to have to choose I’d have great difficulty.

To be able to create an effect of say bare bricks, chipped wood panels or galvanised tiles into a room in your home rather than it being exclusive to modern rustic loft spaces or industrial warehouse.  Or a large mural that you probably would only see in a gallery space is quite revolutionary for interior design.

Alas I didn’t have enough of these stunning wallpapers to decorate a wall with but large samples do have there uses.  They make for wonderful backdrops for flat lay photography as the designs are so striking.  Also with these being large samples you can definitely get a feel for which design you would prefer to chose before investing in many rolls and not liking the end result.  Taping panels to the wall you want to paper and assessing is just the same as painting tester squares when choosing paint colours.  The same principles apply as to how the light changes in the room you want to paper,  which wall and how many do you want to cover and does the colours blend well with the current furniture and accessories.

Coming back to the designs on the samples I have had fun using them this week, I feel in love with the marble effect pieces, so rich and luxurious with an added dollop of glamour, the sample worked wonderfully well behind my bed.  Designed using tactile inks with its many natural tones and shades within the precious elements this collection allowed the freedom to add bold colour combinations, such as burnt orange and taupe which highlight the metallic and mica touches for greater depth and dimension.

So if you are thinking of having a shake up and adding some extra something to your home why not consider wallpaper, apparently it is the hottest trend for 2018 and who am I to disagree!

Jx

  • with thanks to Walls Republic for gifting the wallpaper samples.  All products are only available in the US and Canada.  Wallpaper Direct is a similar alternative for the UK, Europe and Australia

 

 

 

To Iluminate // Talking Lights

Lighting is such an important part of any interior and can sometimes get over looked until the last minute, especially where sockets and switches need to be positioned.  If I had the choice to redesign my home then these important items would be redressed first I can tell you.

I like a mixture of lighting to create ambiance in a space, there’s nothing worse than a bright ceiling light being the only option.  Central ceiling lights can become a rather attractive feature if you are clever and are able to use a dimmer switch to soften the intensity.  To distribute your lights around a room means you can use them as task lighting when you need them, such as a floor lamp placed next to the chair you read in or an unusual table lamp to stand on a sideboard to add a soft warm glow when curled up watching the television.

I’m quite into sleek modern lamps at the moment too, beautiful structures that look like pieces of art rather than a light, especially wall hung lights with adjustable arms, sleek and modern definite statement pieces. I do like a bare filament bulb too and most of my ceiling lights where I have them are bulbs hung from long lengths of cord.  The brilliance of this in my house is that none of the ceiling roses are central so I can hook the lights where I want them.

There are more and more lighting companies online now filled with amazing choices of any light you can imagine, especially focusing on LED and energy saving bulbs.  Lights.co.uk have some rather brilliant designer minimalist designs that really caught my eye like the Bullea white hanging light by Teamitalia a pair suspended over a dining table makes for a striking statement.

Whether you are a traditionalist when it  comes to lights or one to embrace the modern sleek minimalist look then I hope that I’ve inspired you a little enough to make a few changes in your own home.

Follow my pinterest board for more statement designs below.

Jx

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10

 

Say it with Flowers // Wreaths

This beautiful book was kindly sent to me from Katie and Terri who are the duo behind WORM London.  This is their first publication and I hope not the last.  Filled with inspiration to create fresh, foraged and dried floral arrangements based on wreaths.

The simple steps guide you through the equipment you will need and the different wreath structures you can use.  All the projects in the book are relaxed and simply constructed and there are no rules, it is a base to have fun and create beautiful displays that reflect the seasons.  Within each chapter of  fresh, foraged, dried and festive there are many arrangements you can indulge in from wild spring wreaths to rustic wall hangings that will bring joy.

What I love about this book is the imagery: so fresh, vibrant, simple and inspiring it is a wonderful addition to have in my collection and will be read over and over.

Wreaths is now available to buy from all good bookshops and online.   It is a must buy if, like me, your home feels empty without flowers.

Jx

 

 

 

 

Bathing in Style with Rowen & Wren

Every once in a while a company that you love launch a new product range and oh my Rowen & Wren have stylishly excelled with their new bathroom collection.   From hand crafted bathroom furniture, soft waffle towels and textiles, stripped back utilitarian fittings all designed in a rustic but restrained palette that will bringing a calm and restorative feel to your bathing experience.  The range of finishes and hues will fit in any setting from classic to contemporary interiors.

I simply love the linen waffle towels the colour palette of pale grey, shingle grey and tea rose compliment the collection perfectly and the sheer crumpled softness of the bath and hand towels is heavenly.  They work wonderfully in my monochrome paired back home, there is nothing nicer than wrapping yourself up after a lovely soak in linen, its a wonderful indulgence.  To make that soak in the tub that little bit special being able to use A S Apothecary products tops it all off.  I’m very much a believer in hand made naturally produced skin care products as you well know and these are beautiful for healing and rejuvenating without using nasty chemicals or plastics.  The mint and charcoal soap not only smells divine but sits stylishly in the Bilton soap dish a perfect match.

What I find most appealing about Rowen &  Wren is their eye for thoughtful design effortlessly bringing products together that sit well in every environment be it classic or modern.  Each piece has a grace about it, beautiful and distinctive and well crafted in muted colours that I find calming and peaceful.   A life more beautifully lived, their ethos behind each collection shines through.  Each piece individually chosen to tell a story in your home, an effortless combination of classic and modern meaning everything will sit comfortably be it in a country retreat or a city pad.

For me its the tones of each piece that make it all sit so well together from their soft natural bed linen to the clean contemporary lines of the furniture to the simple table ware, everything flows and has a purpose.

Everyone needs a touch of Rowen & Wren in their homes, they have kindly given me a 10% discount code TEAWITHRUBY for all my readers which is valid for a month.  Just enter the code at checkout to bring that added touch of effortless calm and sophistication to your interiors.

Jx
* with thanks to Rowen & Wren who gifted the bathroom products for the purpose of this post.

Healing Wonder // Magic Organic Apothecary

This post is a dream for me to write, hand on heart I use a MOA product every single day be it the magic of green balm or the soothing qualities of the fortifying green bath soak.   I don’t know why I haven’t written about this wonderful brand before as it’s been in my bathroom cabinet for quite a few years now.  I definitely need to be shouting rather loudly about it as I most certainly couldn’t be without it and I think if you don’t already know about MOA then you most certainly should.

It all starts with the humble herb yarrow or it’s Latin name Achillea Millefolium, I grow it in my garden but it can be found up and down the land growing in hedgerows all across the country.  This simple but beautiful plant holds amazing properties for healing and repair that go back centuries   It is steeped in history and folklore for it’s healing powers but has been slightly over looked in modern day skin care, until now.

I talked to Charlie the owner of MOA about how it all started and what plans she has for the future.

It all began after my first child Jemima was born, she suffered with horrible eczema as a toddler and so I started to look into the petrochemicals being prescribed and began to realise the scary long term effects of using these creams on a daily basis. Although I was lucky enough to have been brought up with home cooked meals, becoming a mum had opened my eyes to a more healthy plant based diet and I was more conscious about what we put in, and on our bodies and what to avoid!

I inherited a love of gardening and plants from my Father and Grandmother and had become really interested in herbology and was introduced to a humble herb named yarrow (Achillea Millefollium), this powerful, ancient healing herb has so many properties and I was astonished to find that very few skincare products contained this miraculous ingredient, despite being a favourite amongst many herbalists.  I was also particularly charmed and inspired by the wealth of magical folklore surrounding our plants and flowers. I draw all the illustrations and design the packaging and have always been fascinated by myths and magic and so these old tales have become an important part of the MOA brand. I am constantly inspired by nature and I love being outdoors appreciating the shifts in seasons and all the different flora and fauna that emerge throughout the year.

Our original product, The Green Balm harnesses the powers of our hero herb yarrow – Achillea Millefolium, it takes its Latin name from Greek hero Achilles, who legend has it, used it to heal his soldiers wounds after battle.  With its simple nourishing base and tea tree, nature’s powerful antiseptic, it creates a powerful healing synergy and can be applied to soothe a lengthy list of skin complaints from eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, bruises, minor burns and it also makes a wonderfully balancing facial cleanser, ideal for acne and problematic skin.  My whole family use it for everything at home, we have pots all around the house!  In the beginning I worked alongside a herbalist to create our organic Green Balm, but now I have gained more experience, I start the initial formulations at home and bounce ideas off my small team and my family.  The yarrow is grown at an organic farm in Somerset, which is where I grew up, I try and get down there to sow the seeds as I love the creative process of making a product from start to finish.

We already have new ideas in development for 2018, I am impatient to get them out there, but the process is so long and we are all so busy juggling the rest of the business, so it takes time.  All our newer products are all vegan and we are also looking at ways of becoming more eco, using less plastic and recycling our bottles somehow. So looking forward to revealing our next product launching this April”

I like to take care of my skin and my evening routine involves MOA, to relax and de stress I always take a bath using either the fortifying green bath potion or the dreamy mineral soak.  When I need to focus on my breath and relax my limbs then green bath potion is my preferred choice.  The heady scent of peppermint and detoxifying fennel help enormously, this revitalising herbal blend makes your skin tingle and is also brilliant if you are feeling a little under the weather.   If I’m wanting to wind down ready for a good nights sleep then the therapeutic qualities of a salt bath using the mineral soak is perfect.  The scent of lavender oil eases your mind and the antiseptic lemon peel gently brightens the skin.

 

I finish off treating myself to Hello Sunshine an energising zesty body oil hydrating and purifying my skin, the citrus sweet notes of antibacterial lemongrass and marjoram essential oils awaken the senses, kick-starting circulation providing essential minerals, antioxidants and vitamins to protect and tone.  It truly is sunshine in a bottle and makes me feel fabulous.

Of course green balm gets used for everything especially on a daily basis for keeping my hands and feet soft and subtle.  Ruby my daughter uses it as facial cleanser which helps enormously with her teenage skin.  I’m also starting to use Aphrodite facial oil to help ward off premature ageing especially my neck and to smooth fine lines around my eye giving my skin a radiant glow.

So yes I would be totally lost without my MOA products they make my skin feel alive.  Plus the added gravitas of the products being cruelty free by carefully selecting organic and botanical ingredients that improve overall well being.  Also creating mindful and conscious packaging using recycled board and vegetable inks for printing, everything that I hold dear in my every day life.

If you love MOA as much as I do or want to give it a try Charlie has generously given me a discount code for my readers to use to get 25% off all products until 30th April using TEA25 at checkout.  Let’s start the green balm revolution together!

Jx

  • With thanks to MOA for gifting products for the purpose of this post.

 

Let The Light In // Curtains & Blinds

Curtains and blinds are quite an investment when it comes to dressing each window of your home but worth the thought and effort put into getting it just right.  I would love to be able to have a large expanse of windows where I could leave them bare with an out reaching view of fields and hills but unfortunately I don’t have that, I have small windows and neighbours who may not appreciate seeing into our house when taking a bath!

I’m not one for fussy colourful curtains, although they may create a cosy feel, I find them a little restrictive. I like soft linen draping beautifully, Roman blinds and muslin to screen but let in the light. All my window dressings are there to mask the windows as well as being practical for the space. A clever trick to make a room look bigger is to keep the colour palette of walls and window dressing similar, soft calming colours and simple clean lines work to perfection.

If curtains are too bulky but you still need to keep the heat in or distribution of light to diffuse bright glare then blinds are the perfect option, we all love sunshine streaming into our homes but don’t like the consequences of furniture fading and perishing.  There are a myriad of options out there, the technology is rather mind boggling.  Did you know that you can get remote control blinds that you can set to rise and fall according to the daily sunrise and sunset.  Also to be able to remotely control the blinds via your mobile or tablet so great when you are away from home.  These blinds would work brilliantly on windows that are high up that you can’t reach to draw manually.

It depends on how much light you like to disperse into a room throughout the day, I like waking with the sun so have chosen to have fine linen curtains in the bedroom to let in that dappled glow but I know that black out linings are rather popular for those who struggle to sleep or work shifts.

 

When it comes to bathrooms it’s more about privacy that controlling the light.  Sheer fine muslin or a simple blind works brilliantly, keeping the space clean and bright with minimal fuss, especially with this being a highly humid environment you need something that is easy to keep clean.

Kitchens are similar to bathrooms,  you need that extra bit of privacy but over  fussy curtains don’t work especially near sinks or cookers, they hold cooking smells and can get grimy very quickly.  Cafe shutters are a good option but  simple adjustable blinds are equally viable.

There are many minimal styles to choose from but I’m sure the right one is out there for you.  I hope that these tips and looks have inspired and will help if you are quibbling about how to dress your windows at home, well it may have reduced the choice just a little bit!

Jx

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 131415 & 16

 

 

Can You Have Too Many Bags? // Village England

The answer to the above is absolutely not!!  Especially if you own a Village England variety, you really do want them all.  I like a bag that is big enough to cope with all my stuff but one that is equally stylish but will stand the test of time.  Nothing too faddy or in your face but with a touch of quirkiness that compliments my personality, if that makes sense.   It can be a tricky business choosing the right bag especially a very well made one that isn’t cheap and nasty.

Village England are quite unique, their core values are ones of sustainability, striving for better in this age of consumerism and mass production.  They use the most amazing full grain natural leather, luxuriously tactile and buttery but exceedingly hard wearing.  Simple designs that are quite timeless and effortless to wear, all expertly crafted to the highest standard.  Also clever touches such as pockets on the inside and beautiful heavyweight cotton sateen lining, details like this make all the difference.

What is most important to them is not just the bags but the people behind the brand through the design to the leatherworkers who craft the final product, all manufactured in impeccably ethical surroundings by partners who share their core values.  The vision is to be able to trace every bag to the farm it came from, which is an ongoing process that I am sure will be met along with the commitment to improving the health of the UK leatherworking industry too.

Along with their wonderful ethics Village England bags are rather beautiful, yes I definitely agree that a bag can be beautiful, I have a Belthorn and it makes me smile every time I leave the house and has courted quite a few compliments whilst out and about with me too.  It’s the finer details that I love about these bags, from the subtle clasps and fastenings to the small detailed difference throughout each design.  The capsule collections work very well so you can choose a bag the suits you and the purpose it is intended for rather easily.  The colour ways of the leather are stunning too obviously my go to black has a wonderful sheen right through to sumptuous reds and vivid royal blues.

Last year saw Village England launch new categories such as a fine selection of jewellery, purses, pouches and interchangeable straps to work alongside the leather goods.  Also the introduction of a canvas tote bag that is a collaboration with the women’s charity ABC Nepal.  Each bag is made by a woman who has been a victim of trafficking and exploitation who are now vocationally trained in sewing and fabric work by the marvellous team at ABC.  All profits from the sale of each tote goes to ABC Nepal, you will also find the name of the bags maker written on a card attached to the bag.   All these things add up to making a big difference.

So next time you are thinking of investing in a new bag please do take a look at Village England, they come highly recommended by myself on so many levels.  It’s good to know a bag isn’t just a fashion accessory it is so much more.

Jx

  • with thanks to Village England for gifting the Belthorn for the purpose of this post

The Perfect Night Sleep with Leesa

I think you all know by now that I love my bed. I like being asleep, I like sitting with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning waking up slowly, and on a weekend spend hours sat there watching the clouds out of the window or reading books.  So yes I really really do love my bed.

I’m quite lucky when it comes to sleep simply because I can get to sleep very quickly and stay asleep most of the night for at least 7-8 hours; annoying right?   I do think that routine is a big factor. I stop work at 6pm, eat a healthy home cooked meal most evenings, relax and unwind in a warm bath, ignore all technology in the evenings and often read a while before sleep, usually I’ll be in bed before 10pm and never have mobiles or laptops in the room.  Simple things really that are conducive to switching off and relaxing before bed.   I’m also a stickler for preparing for the next day, clothes ready and everything tidy so there is no running around like a crazy thing in the morning!

All this aside you can do all of the above and still not get a good night sleep if your mattress is wrong, get that bit right too and slumber is guaranteed.  Our old mattress was getting up to its recommended change date of 8 years (it was still in good condition so we donated it to the British Heart Foundation rather than put it in landfill).   I have heard many good things about the Leesa mattress not only on the comfort front but their environmental credentials too, so was rather excited to give it a whirl to see if it makes any difference to my sleeping.

Firstly can I tell you when the box arrived I was quite astounded that something that will go on your bed can possibly fit into it.  It’s a lot easier carrying a box up stairs than negotiating every corner and trying not to cause any damage to the house or yourself in the process.  Positioning the compressed roll is quick and easy then it’s the fun bit, slicing open the packaging and watching the Leesa mattress appear before your eyes, truly amazing.  I made a little video for you to see how darn easy it really is.

Now for the techy bit which is also rather fascinating. The Leesa mattress was designed to help you get a better night’s sleep, what makes it different from others on the market is the top layer of Avena foam.  It is a responsive material that allows airflow through the mattress for a cooler night’s sleep and provides just the right amount of bounce for freedom of movement.  There are two more layers in the unique combination of foam that make up these mattresses. Joining the Avena are memory foam and support foam which adapts to your body providing optimum support and comfort.  All the mattresses are also made in the UK and not shipped in from abroad.

The next important factor and another reason I wanted to get involved with Leesa is their ethical programme.  If you are not happy with your purchase the mattress can be returned within a 100 day period and will be donated to a local charity.  Their One-Ten programme also donates one mattress from every 10 sold and the One Earth programme sees a tree planted for every mattress sold to help off set their carbon footprint.   All of this is exceptionally close to my heart and highly commended.

So after all that information the big question, did I sleep well?   The answer is a rather resounding yes.  I can’t tell you how comfortable it is, you feel like you are lying on a cloud that supports every curve, not an ache anywhere when I woke in the morning.  The down side is that you really don’t want to get up when the alarm goes off its simply too good!

Jx

  • with thanks to Leesa for providing the mattress for the purpose of this post

 

Unique & Handmade

I think you are all aware now that I like to find those special one of kind companies to shout about, ones that hold dear to what I believe in, how I like to shop and that I love to recommend to the similarly minded folk who are my readers.

I have recently been introduced to Emma & Louise. This on line store is exactly what I have just been talking about. Bringing an inspirational collection of carefully selected hand crafted objects for the home and selected fashion accessories, all made in the UK by talented female designers and craftswomen.  From jewellery to storage, throws to handbags, tableware to stationery, every item loving created to bring an extra dimension for you and your home to cherish.

This wonderfully unique store is based on creativity, the creativity of women who’s beautiful hand crafted original pieces fill the site offering distinctive gifts that should enrich your homes.  Each craftswoman has her own unique identity but each one supportive of the other, together in one authentic marketplace.

Emma & Louise is passionate about creating a true community of talented artisans.  Each product you will find in the store has a story, the details behind the maker and the inspiration behind the items crafted, making each piece unique and personal, not something mass marketed and soul-less.  I love the thought, when I reach for my mug to make coffee first thing in the morning, of the hands that have sculpted this wonderful piece of clay into the vessel I cherish drinking from each day, or the candle that I light on an evening giving off its distinctive scent and who loving poured the wax into each glass jar.

The beautiful pieces featured in my post today conjured up winter for me.  The simple pleasures of these colder months to make a pot of tea, serve it in a hand made ceramic mug, place it all on a serving board, light the heavenly scented candle and curl up with a book whiling away a happy hour in sheer contentment.  Taking the time to appreciate each piece, the tactile nature of the cup in your hand, the smoothness of the wood and the intoxicating aroma of the candle.  All simple pleasures that need to be enjoyed.

I’ve been a fan of Join for some time, made in small batches in a garden studio in East London.  Pebble is an intoxicating candle a blend of bergamot and black pepper, inspired by childhood memories of skimming stones on a Cornish beach.  I simply love the masculine aroma it exudes, my favourite kind.

I am so pleased I found Pottery West on Emma & Louise, ceramics being a weakness of mine. These guys make the most exquisite pieces, small batch and wheel thrown with an emphasis on simple, ergonomic form and tactile functional glazes.  Their sheer earthiness is stunning, the Brut pourer and large Brut mug are now used every day and bring a smile of joy.

One can never have too many wooden boards, they are eternally useful for many things, this walnut serving board is no exception.  Made from a single piece of walnut hand carved by Rosie Brewer in Devon.  Each board is different, carved and sized by hand making it even more special when placed as a centre piece on your table.

I do hope that you can find the time to explore this truly unique store, helping you find that perfect gift or treat for yourself and to find out a little bit behind the women who make these simply authentic hand made pieces for you and your home.

Jx

  • With thanks to Emma & Louise who provided the items for this post

 

Lighting the Way with Kovac Family

My passion for simple design is growing constantly along with sourcing brands that hold sustainability within their hands to create wonderful products that move forward with technology but keeping their integrity and ethos focused on the environment around them.

I can’t deny that I have been an admirer of Kovac Family for a very long time, such simple elegance in everything that they do.  The Sweden based multidisciplinary company is run by Camilla and Christopher Kovac, designing and running their business as environmentally friendly as they possibly can.  All their products are made in Sweden using sustainable materials and sold exclusively in their showroom and online store.

Their ambition is to create products that have the smallest impact possible on the environment by sourcing the materials needed and producing them locally.  The challenge was to be able to create something using a minimum amount of certified environmentally friendly materials as possible and also have the capacity to be easily recycled.

Their collection is simply called Numbers, each product named after the number of parts used to construct each form, yes as simple as that!   The inspiration behind it all comes from nature itself, the question asked is, how can we make this better in all aspects to improve the every day life and our environment, a question we should find ourselves asking every single day.

The versatility of these stunning lights is wonderful, the shape mimicking that of a shell can be placed anywhere, as well as hung creating a focal point where ever it is positioned.  They come with either 3 or 5 metres of cord giving you plenty of options to drape and hang to perfection.  I had great fun placing this stunning Ebonized Oak 25Lamp around my home, I think it’s final resting place with be hanging low over my kitchen table creating a delicate pool of light and added wow factor.

14Lamp is the new design, smaller than the 25Lamp but perfectly formed and still as striking, they would look fabulous hung low as bedside lights, hmmm now there’s an idea!

Each light be it oak, ash, waxed, striped, dip dyed, freckled or whitened comes delivered flat packed in a box smaller than one you would get a pizza in!   You ingeniously fold out the pieces to create the iconic shape, total genius.  Such simplicity in it’s beauty, bringing sustainability to our homes with clever design is something we should all strive for.

Jx

  • with many thanks to Kovac Family for the Ebonised Oak 25Lamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Considered Home

For a long time now as a family we have made a conscious decision to improve the way we live, taking into account every aspect of our daily life.  It takes no time at all to assess the every day things we do and make small changes to be more sustainable in our homes.

Arhaus featured a tip of mine in one of their infographics, quite proudly I could have given quite a few but this is the one I chose.

Arhaus are leading the way in sustainability striving to make the home wares industry more environmentally friendly for all as you can see above.  They make many of their products with organic fabrics and materials, including their earth-friendly sectionals.

So how can we make a difference, I say start small and build from there, the impact of just changing your your light bulbs to energy efficient ones has a massive effect, they don’t need to be utilitarian looking either the technology out there today is amazing, all my light bulbs are low energy led squirrel cage designed so look fabulous and use hardly any electricity.  As a family we made a choice to use a green energy company to supply our gas and electricity, they source all of their electricity from renewable sources and off-set the carbon emissions from the gas they provide.  We also have a smart meter which helps us keep track of the energy we are using.   Another great tip is to time yourself in the shower, it’s amazing how much water you can be saved by using what you need rather than squandering it.

When it comes to cleaning and washing think about the products you are using,  I use eco-friendly ones even down to my washing powder, no harmful chemicals involved at all.  I don’t have a tumble drier either, clothes dried outside in the fresh air is the best way, just takes a little more time but uses no energy other than what nature provides.  On those inclement days clothes airers in doors do just fine.

As a consumer try and think about the ethical benefits of all the items you buy for yourself and your home, even down to the clothes you wear, the bedding you sleep in, the towels you dry yourself on, the paint you use for your walls, the furniture you choose to have in your home.  Each and every one  of these small things add up to a larger picture, it’s not rocket science but a little time and effort can help change things for the better.  There are many wonderful companies out there today that are trying very hard to make a difference to how we live putting a great emphasis  on ethical values.  It’s the little changes we make that will most certainly have the biggest impact in the future.

I could go on and on, going into greater depth on each subject but for now, change your light bulbs, sleep in linen sheets, don’t use too much water in the shower and stop using that tumble drier!

Jx

  • Images 5, 7 & 9

 

 

%d bloggers like this: