Autumn I Think I Love You

Its time to get the house ready for Autumn, make those little changes to bring this season into full flow.   I always think I’m going to struggle with the transition but I never do, I secretly love the misty dew filled mornings and the russet red sunsets that you simply don’t get at any other time of the year.  One thing I’m not so keen on is the darker mornings I do struggle to get out of my cosy cocoon when its still pitch black outside.

The upside to Autumn is its bounty and the ability to cuddle up under blankets, light candles whilst soaking in the bath, wear soft bed socks or slippers, prepare warming stews and soups,the list is endless.   Also getting outside to kick the fallen leaves all crunchy and golden under foot, breath in the air and hint of wood smoke from folks fires, coming home to mugs of hot chocolate or home made crumble made from this seasons wind falls.

Over the years I’ve collected some beautiful handmade, organic throws and blankets that I keep close to hand at this time of year to wrap around me when it gets chill.  There’s always one at the end of the bed should it be needed.  I stock pile beeswax candles through the summer to use in Autumn, alongside the scented sustainable ones that I love too.   I have different sets of linen bedding for this time of the year, darker hues are added over the bright white I prefer in the warmer months.

I also love to decorate the house with Autumnal bounty, foraged branches stems of golden bracken or seed heeds from the garden.  Pumpkins bought from our local farm shop grown in the fields close by which all last for weeks and weeks always add to the overall display right up until Christmas.

None of this costs the earth, most of it is time taken to create something rather fabulous from nature.  Trying to invest in pieces that will stand the test of time rather than buying wastefully.  These are a few of my favourite independent places to go to get all the wonderful things I have mentioned above that have integrity and meaning for a well balanced home.

The Future Kept | where I go to stock up on beeswax candles along with other treats.  This is a delicious store full to the brim of beautiful handmade blankets, ceramics, candles and soaps, perfect slow reading material and many many more sustainable products for your home.

Aerende | I support Emily’s store with all my heart, all the ethical products in this wonderful store are good, life improving home wares at their very best.  All made by people in the UK facing social challenges.  If you are going to buy one thing this season I would highly recommend taking a look.

The Wood House |  Another one of my favourite stores who stock muted pared back home wares, I recently treated myself to some handmade coffee beakers made by Ali Herbert that will be treasured for many years.  I also get quite a lot of my favourite magazine publications from here too. I love to keep a stock to read at this time of year, curled up by the fire.

Of course I can’t forget my favourite makers of scented candles Nomad Society and Essence + Alchemy both equally fabulous, the intoxicating scents that both these brands produce are heavenly and create wonderful candles that work especially well at this time of the year, all ethically sourced and ecologically friendly, no nasty chemicals.

I am now counting down the days until the holidays and our Autumn escape to the the Lake District to feast on the splendour of this magical season finding natures inspiration at every turn.

I hope you enjoy Autumn as much as I do but I am curious do you get your house ready like I do when the seasons change?

Jx

Images 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Natural Way to Paint // Bauwerk Colour

When it comes to decorating I like to try out new ways of doing so, exploring new ideas and colours, mixing it up a little rather than playing safe.  I have been a huge admirer of Bauwerk Colour for a long time, first seeing them in Hans Blomquist’s book In the Mood for Colour so it has been a privilege to be able use their paint in a room in my house.  Being able to introduce new environmentally friendly products into my home is becoming increasingly important to me and if I can then pass on this knowledge to others then I’ll be overjoyed.

It was a little daunting using this paint as it is totally different to what I’m used to. When you open the tub the consistency is like water but if you follow the instructions carefully it’s not so scary after all, it’s rather easy and very therapeutic.  I found my rhythm and the walls were covered in no time.  It was strange painting walls with a large brush but sweeping strokes are needed to get the effect you want.  Because the paint is made with clay, minerals and natural pigments it dries quite quickly so you can’t got back and go over where you have been which took a while to get used to. You just keep going with your strokes, not worrying whether you’ve missed a bit, this will get covered on your next application.  As long as you don’t load your brush too much and make each application stretch as far as you can the process is rather simple. Also keep stirring the paint to stop the pigment settling, you just can tell when you need to do this.

Once I got used to the whole process three coats were applied quickly and the finished effect is rather fabulous.  Yes you can see the brush strokes but that is part of it’s charm, it gives your walls depth and texture and I absolutely love it.  A friend on instagram said once I use Bauwerk I will never look back and I think she is right!   It has totally transformed the room, watching it change colour with the light is quite magical. I find myself drawn to this space to sit for a while and take it in, it was a room I hardly noticed before.

The joy of Bauwerk is their vision and ethos being able to produce modern lime paint in harmony with nature, they source the finest pigments to develop the most beautiful colour palette in collaborations with superb stylists such as Hans Blomquist and Lynda Gardener.   Established in 2000 in Australia they now supply in Europe which is great for us.

The environmental benefits from using Bauwerk paints are exemplary, here is why.

“We make our paints, following our belief that buildings and homes should not be disconnected from the materials they are built from. To create paints that are natural, that work with and are part of a building or home.

Especially important to us, is our environment, our paints are beautiful, do not harm the environment in their manufacture and disposal, and most importantly do not harm our health.

Bauwerk lime paints are made from natural materials which is different from being a conventional low or zero VOC paint-which just means it is made from plastics but with one toxic part removed leaving all the rest.

Our paints work differently, working with nature we make them with clay, minerals and beautiful natural pigments. You can paint without fumes, wash-up and disposal is safe and non-polluting, we leave no toxic chemicals in the environment in the production of our paints.

We use 100% green power in our production.”

If we can make our homes more natural without causing harm to our environment but in turn creating beautiful places to live in then I highly recommend investing in wonderful companies like Bauwerk.

Jx

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.

 

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.

aerende-handmade-wool-blanket-linen-cushion

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.

earthenware-dinner-set-closeup

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.

aerende-handmade-soap-with-figs

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.

aerende-stoneware-plate-with-blossom

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