A Simple Christmas with Rowen & Wren

It is universally known that I adore Christmas, I don’t peak too early but I do like adding little bits and bobs here and there throughout the month of December, more of a celebration of Winter than the festival itself.  I decided a few years ago to go simple, pare back the baubles and let fairy lights and nature be the stars of the show, along with a few hand made, natural decorations that quietly shine without being too ostentatious.

One of my go to places to source those extra beautiful items are Rowen & Wren, their capsule Christmas collection is just that, hand selected pieces that bring the festive season together in harmony, from champagne flutes to  their antiqued brass Christmas tree stand, a delicious array of candle holders, stunning folk wrapping paper and brass bell garlands.  You will find everything you need to create that home spun simplicity with ease, from table to tree and everything in between.

My tree will be looking resplendent in their tree stand again this year, an investment piece that will be used for many years to come, with recycled glass baubles taking pride of place on the tree’s branches exuding hand made charm.  The table will be set using elder wood slice place mats to add that rustic feel to my table, making my black plates and cutlery stand out amongst the many candles and pine foliage.

I’m even simplifying my wreaths this year, I’m going to use the Benni brass wreath rings, Scandinavian in style with added touches of greenery bound around to create a subtle but effective look to my front door.  On the plus side once the festivities are over I will be able to remove the foliage to compost and use the rings over and over again.

Once all the decorations are in place, the wreath on the door and the lights are all twinkling, I’ll be able to curl up on my sofa after a lovely soak and keep my feet warm wearing the softest alpaca socks by Tom Lane.  There is nothing nicer than lounging around over the holidays in a dressing gown and socks, book and mug of hot chocolate not too far away.  I can feel my shoulders dropping at the thought of it and my feet will thank me for it too.

I know its a couple of weeks away but I simply can’t wait, I’m desperately looking forward to Christmas this year and I hope that, with a little help from Rowen & Wren: a 10% discount code TEAWITHRUBY to use at the checkout valid for a month, so will you.


  • With thanks to Rowen & Wren for gifting the products for the purpose of the post

Stepping into September

As we gently drift into the month of September I feel at ease with myself.  The last few weeks of August I always get a little melancholic and at odds with saying goodbye to warmer days and not quite ready for what’s to come with the changing seasons.  Then September arrives and the calmness arrives with it, I’m not one for the back to school thing, I don’t have it as kind of a substitute for New Year.  I like to slowly embrace this beautiful month’s qualities and really look at my surroundings not rush headlong into Autumn and have it all done and dusted within a matter of weeks and onto dare I say it Christmas.

Before I became a Mum I can honestly say September was my favourite month, we always holidayed at this time of year and we knew that it was definitely the perfect month for us to marry (15 years on the 27th if you are interested) now as the years pass it has changed a little what with true ‘back to school’ feelings but now that has passed we can take stock and relish in the weeks to come and all it has to offer.

Cooler mornings but still with a little warmth to stand outside in the garden warming your hands on a cup of coffee in the soft light of sunrise looking at the dew dropped spider webs and the rich warm colours of the flower beds.  It’s also the time of year that the garden starts really giving back the fruits of your labour, ripe plums, juicy apples and seed heads to decorate your home.  Foraging for blackberries, sloes and elderberries to make delicious jams and cordials and of course crumbles, September just wouldn’t be right with out blackberry and apple crumble.

Nature has a wonderful way of finding itself in our homes, Autumn is a season where we add softer elements to our interiors, warmer knits and chunky throws in rich, deep colours that replicate what we see when we look out of the window.  I simply love slowly adding these layers to our home, bringing in other touches such as scented earthy toned candles for when the nights draw in.  Snugly blankets to cuddle up in after a long hot soak in the tub.  You think of handmade tactile ceramics and textiles far more at this time of year and I couldn’t be happier.

So here I am welcoming early Autumn with open arms, I’m ready for you and all your splendour.


Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9 all others my own


Cabin Escapes

Winter mood, makes me turn to all my wonderful interior books that are filled with homes that encapsulate the cabin vibe, Scandinavian style at its cosiest.  This time of year makes me want to disappear into the woods to my fictional cabin and weather out these darker months before Spring returns in a cocooned state of happiness.

I wonder if like me you feel exactly the same, piling up the blankets and throws, snuggling up in your chunky knit jumpers and warmest slippers creating that little bit of cabin style in your own home.  So settle yourself down and dream with me. Bring on all the wood, texture, sheepskins, blankets, tactile concrete, picture windows with cushion-strewn seats and the obligatory log burner with neatly stacked log pile.

Simple pleasures of a layered bed to sleep in, a warm inviting bathroom to thaw out in after being outside in the forest, the squishiest sofa to curl up in with a warming mug of hot chocolate to indulge in and more wood, more and more!

The best publications to give you that cabin high and ones that I turn to at this time of year are Elle Decoration Country and The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark,  let’s escape together.


Images ~ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11


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.

Bedside Matters

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

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

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

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


Salvage Hunt

So it arrived, the first salvage hunt of the season an early rise and a 2 hour car journey to Lincoln to peruse the wonders that is the Arthur Swallows Fair Antiques and Home show, one of the largest shows you could possibly visit.   A bit daunting you may think if it’s your first time there, stalls as far as the eye can see, punctuated with the biggest articulated lorries that have travelled from far and wide from all over Europe; full to the brim with masses of stock from industrial lighting to scaffolding planks and everything else in between.

Sadly the weather gods weren’t on our side, it was a bit grey and a bit wet but that didn’t dampen the spirits.  I focused on the detail as taking images in not so good conditions is rather tricky!   You can also find yourself overwhelmed by the size of Lincoln so it’s good to go micro and really look to see what is available around you.

The textures, colours, different media, from metals to wood to glass to utterly bonkers, you name it you can find it here.  It is a superb show if you are home renovating, there is everything you could possibly want or need to give your home a quirky individual look.  Just having a little imagination goes a long way and the sellers are always there to help.

Some of the smaller items that caught my eye were an array of beautiful Indian antiques on a pitch, their hand carved printing blocks displayed in large marble bowls were wonderful.  Also the diverse collection of original paint rollers from Romania, the inspiration behind the new trend of updating walls and fabrics using the modern equivalent.

Did I come home with any purchases?  Of course I did, I can’t resist, just like a child in a sweet shop.  Another beautiful slubby linen sheet acquired from the lovely Gaille Skinner from France, her stand is sublime, finding out from Gaille about the history of the linen I bought was fascinating.  I have a kitchen decorating project starting in a few weeks and this will make the perfect Roman blind the defused light it will create will be magnificent.

Also another very large board, it is amazing that I only bought one as the choice was phenomenal, the Dutch contingent never fail to have the best wooden goods.  I came away with another peg rail too, it is now painted to match the other one in my spare room, so I have symmetry and a place to hang the vintage deck chair waiting for summer.  The large board on the other hand will be a multi functioning piece from using it on the kitchen table when having a feast to using it as a board over the bath when having a leisurely soak; it fits perfectly and holds everything you could possible need whilst relaxing.

The last item purchased was a flax comb.  Why I hear you ask, well I have no idea I just like them.  I’ve been on the hunt for a while for a good one and the Eastern European sellers didn’t let me down.  What I shall do with it now is still in the air, they do look wonderful as a piece of wall art so, maybe.



Building Blocks


We have a dream, one that is getting bigger and bigger, that my husband and I can’t stop thinking about.  We want simplicity in our lives, we want space, we want land, we want to self build.  A dream that may take us 10 years to put into action but there’s nothing like making plans for the future.

We have always been avid watchers of Grand Designs but the reality of doing it ourselves now doesn’t seem so ridiculous.  We have lived in our tiny house for 12 years and don’t plan on moving up the chain until we can find the right plot and build ourselves.  We don’t want grand and palatial we want sustainable and economical, open plan space, no renovations or knocking down to start again, just a field an architect and a designed home that fits us perfectly.


The beautiful editions of Modern Rustic by Country Living have filled my belly with fire.  Everything about these books is stunningly wonderful, they make me gasp as I turn each page.  From the traditional elements to the handmade, to the artisans and the overall good design, all with the same ethos that embodies how we feel about how we want to live.

Building Blocks

Simplicity is key so the architecture has to represent this, I came across Dualchas and I found exactly what we are after, box like structures with every element I crave: the cladding, the big windows, the concrete.

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Inside needs to be streamlined, handmade; a clean space in which I can fill with my more rustic pieces, who says a modern box needs to be minimalist.  It will have storage, lots of it to hide away the mundane to highlight the pieces you want on show.  A big must for us is a log burner a heat source that can warm the whole house.

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We want to be able to blend contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship using items and furniture from places such as British Standard, Folk at Home, The Wood Pigeon, Millington & Hope.  Tactile fabrics, linens, blankets, woven rugs, wood, hemp cushions the list is endless but very calming.

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All images ~ Modern & Rustic Pinterest Board

Until the day arrives for our new space to be a reality, I shall keep collating images, buying books for inspiration and trying to live our simple life within our own four walls that we habit now.  I think we are managing mighty fine for now but there’s no harm in having a life plan is there?