Real Rooms: A Yellow Cow Parsley Attic Bedroom

This post is brought to you in association with The Secret Linen Store. Scroll down for an exclusive reader offer at the end of the post!

So… about that guest room I mentioned last week… here we are!

Let’s just take a moment to go back to how it was when we moved in… (I hate ruining good ‘after’ post’s with ‘before’ pictures, but it has to be done…)


We actually lived up here in this room, in this state, for 4 months from December to April this year, while our bedroom was being knocked through into the dressing room. Aside from the awful retro wardrobes and stale carpet, it’s a lovely room with high vaulted ceilings as it’s in the attic. The plan was to create a room for my mum to stay. It’s really a regular guest room right now, but when I go back to work, mum will be looking after Bea 2 days a week and I wanted her to have a proper retreat as she’s doing us such a big favour. The plan is to make a bit of a ‘suite’ with a sitting and TV area (as yet not complete,) along with the bed. The L-shaped room lends itself to being segregated like this but as when we started the project I was about 36 weeks pregnant, we focused on the bedroom side of things.

We stripped out all the fitted wardrobes and shelves, stripped the wallpaper (lovely wood chip and anaglypta,) moved a radiator and some plugs, fitted a new double glazed window and had it replastered. Then we decorated and recarpeted. We chose a white we have used in the past (Sail White by Crown) which is a very slightly warmer shade of white that just avoids looking stark. We use fit in our previous hallway where it was also paired with this Cole and Son Cow Parsley wallpaper. (Click the links in this paragraph for Instagram’s of our progress.)

We papered our old hallway down one side in this wallpaper and happened to have a roll left over. As it’s such a sunny light and bright room, it seemed obvious to use it up here, but unfortunately due to the height of the wall we chose to do we had to buy an extra roll. Still, I’m glad we did.

Furniture wise we were on a serious, totally-out-of-money-doing-up-the-kitchen budget and went to IKEA for the bed. The besides are our old ones (also IKEA but no longer available in this style, from the Hemnes range.) We also added an antique wardrobe that we bought from our house’s previous owners, which my sister and Pete lugged upstairs when I was heavily pregnant and no longer allowed to lift stuff – I’m so happy with it in this room. I think every room should have something old in it, in a house of this age it just makes things look more natural. I stacked my vintage globetrotters on top to finish it off.

The curtains are in Sanderson Home fabric, called Angel Ferns and were a bit of a steal from John Lewis – one of their display curtains I bought and took apart for the old house spare room, they have been re-made again for this room although they still need taking up a little more, as you can see here.

 Lets get back to the bed. You guys know how I like to style a bed and I think that’s really important in a guest room – to make it cosy and inviting. I try to do that by choosing complementary linens, piling the pillows high, making sure the linen is ironed and then adding cushions and throws. The Secret Linen Store came to my rescue here and dressed the bed in their Dotty coffee cream bedding set.

Paired with the tiny stripe coffee cream fitted sheet, it adds to the layered patterns and textures look I was going for. The bedding has a subtle soft sheen and a lovely weight to it and I particularly liked the contrast of the coffee dots on cream in the pillow and reversed pattern of cream on coffee for the duvet. With the 260 thread count, the whole set looks invitingly rich.

For finishing touches, I layered up a cushion made with scraps from the curtains and a textured yellow and linen John Lewis cushion. The lights are from our old room with Graham and Green shades; The drawer handles are Anthropologie, as are the two candles on the left hand bedside. I wanted to layer lots of textures and patterns in this room. It’s a tricky thing to do but I’m pretty pleased with how it has turned out.

Now onto that special offer! The Secret Linen Store are offering 12% off to Florence Finds readers until December 31st 2014. Simply use the offer code WELCOMEFF12 at check out!

I hope you like it readers. I’m really happy with how it has turned out, particularly as many of the items in the room were pulled together from other rooms and previous projects; The bedding just adds that finishing touch. I can certainly promise you won’t be disappointed if you treat yourself to some of their bed linen to finish off one of your projects.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Disclaimer: The Secret Linen Store provided the Dotty coffee cream bedding set and tiny stripe coffee cream fitted sheet for review. If we didn’t like it, you wouldn’t be hearing about it here!

What to Wear: On the Beach (when you just had a baby)

When I was pregnant I put on 2 stone. Not bad going at the time I thought, considering I certainly didn’t deprive myself and everybody tells you about how much of it is not just baby but placenta, fluid and the rest (I’m sure my boobs weighed an extra few pounds each…!) Post baby I lost 1 stone in the first 3 weeks, then it appeared the second stone wanted to come to Florida with me and was staying put.

At 3 months post birth, I wasn’t feeling too bad about it. Sure, if I looked at myself too long in the mirror I wasn’t that keen on my new shape, but equally, I was too busy and too realistic to expect anything else. Nor did I have any interest in dieting in those early weeks of breast feeding in case it affected the quality of my milk for Bea. That left me with a small problem. What on earth do you wear on the beach when you have just had a baby and are not feeling as confident as you usually would?

It wasn’t just about my weight, but the huge breast feeding boobs I was now lugging around, and although the stretch marks I had are largely faded, I didn’t want to show them off and add to any insecurities I had, or get them in the sun for that matter as that could have added to any lasting scarring. So I looked for a high waisted, bra-sized bikini (I really hate swimsuits as I get too hot in them) and headed to figleaves.com

Happily they had several high waisted styles and even strapless styles like I chose that are made for BIG boobs. Throw in a floaty sheer shirt for hanging round the pool and my maternity shorts (my itsy bits pre-baby cut-offs were just not going to cut it,) and I was sorted.

I wanted to share this mainly to suggest the bikini style I went for and recommend Figleaves (I bought a few styles, including a fold down bikini too that was nice but not quite as stylish, and their delivery/returns service was fab,) but also because there are lots of bloggers on the internet pinging back into shape post baby, which is great if you happen to be one of the lucky few who do the same. But if you’re not, then I wanted to show you how it really is and how you can feel good still in that amazing body that just made a baby, and one day will look like it never did.

Love,
Rebecca.
xo

Inspiration: Guest room style…

Before Bea was born and whilst we were having our kitchen finished we suddenly decided we should tackle one of the attic rooms, as we didn’t have a guest room for grandparents to stay if needed; (because my sister is still living with us… more on that another time!) At the time it was the LAST thing we needed but it made sense as we had all the tradesmen on site. The rooms didn’t need *too* much spending on it, (in comparison to the other rooms) but it did turn into a bit of a last minute headache. In fact we were putting curtain poles up and finishing the decor the day before I went in for my C-section.

I was going to share it with you yesterday but instead it will be coming on Monday along with a special offer for readers. In the meantime I thought I would share some images I’ve been collecting for guest room inspiration. As we have a couple of spare rooms I’ve been looking for ways to decorate them that are cheap and cheerful, whilst appealing to my personal sense of style.


Attic Bedroom // Iron bed in attic room // Simple sloped ceiling room

Because the room is on the top floor, there are sloping but high ceilings and so I’ve been able to look at cosy attic rooms that will directly translate into our homes style. I’ve also been attracted to simple pared back furniture and accessories – something that would be impossible to maintain in our own room with all the junk, magazines, clothes and cosmetic stuff we have around, but perfect for a mostly empty room.


Simple display shelf // Copper and colour mix bedding

My own bedroom is planned as a relaxing and calming space, with more than a hint of hotel chic and luxe appeal, so these are very different styles. They are styles I love none-the-less and it’s nice to be able to play around with something different that you don’t need to commit to in the same way, as you don’t look at a guest room everyday.


DIY headboard // Vintage modern room

And at this time of year, is it only me who wants to create a ski cabin or scandi vibe with faux furs, fairy lights and black, red and grey accents?


Nordic Bedroom

So readers, does anything inspire you here? Have you got a spare room and how have you decorated it? Did you think about who would be staying in it when you did?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. See more guest room ideas on my Pinterest Guest Rooms board and my bedroom here.

 

Save or Splurge? Winter Weather Boots

November is flying by and already I’m thinking about my next capsule wardrobe. As I said I would update it in December I’ve already been looking at some warmer updates and evaluating how well certain pieces worked for me, what did and didn’t get used etc. One of the (few) things I promised myself I would buy was some warm, flat winter boots for walking in the cold and potential snow and I was particularly drawn to the new water resistant, (and they do some waterproof) UGG boots as mine have seen better days. They would be perfect for my lifestyle right now.


F&F double buckle boots £25 (Suede version £35) // UGG Sutter £240

Then I happened to spot a very similar pair in Tesco which looked pretty good for the very reasonable price tag. If I’m honest I’m inclined to splurge on this particular item as I know they will be in my wardrobe for years to come and do me good service, but if you want a quick update or are needing to spread the pennies thin right now, these could be the answer!

What do you think readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Bea’s first holiday // Flying with a baby (3 months)

Way before Bea was born my mum suggested a family holiday to celebrate a significant birthday. I was nervous about the thought of taking a baby away so young, for so many reasons, but had always vowed if I was going to have children, I wouldn’t change my life drastically, so I had to finally put my money where my mouth is. We just got back yesterday from Florida and managed to navigate the 8+ hour flight each way, including a night flight on our return and the 5 hour time difference so I thought I would share a little bit of what helped us.

Firstly, Bea is an easy baby and sleeps well which helped immensely, although I have to say it actually was the thing that worried me the most. Before she was born I thought, what’s the difference between sitting in my front room bouncing her, feeding her and getting her down for naps, to doing it on an aeroplane? I didn’t worry about jet lag as I figured she wouldn’t have a routine anyway at 14 weeks when we left. It turns out she did and we were just getting a pattern of sleeping from between 7.30 to 8.30ish until a dream feed, then through the night. I had no idea how to negotiate the jet lag for her. Secondly, we flew with Virgin Atlantic, choosing a direct flight to Orlando, as although it was further from our destination, we figured she would sleep in the car on route to the villa, and we wouldn’t have to haul our stuff and a potentially fractious baby through an airport transfer. In the end she was so good, I wouldn’t worry about doing a transfer at all in future.

Bea was almost 15 weeks when we left so I didn’t find packing too bad at all. I had bought summer clothes for her before she was born which she never fitted because she was so small, so we had plenty of warm weather stuff. Going to America made things much easier as did staying in a villa – I packed only enough nappies for the journey there and the next day, then bought more in the supermarket along with cotton wool for nappy changing. We only took a select few rattles etc for distraction, her bath time toiletries, a multitude of muslins and bedding for incase it was chilly at night.

Virgin allowed us to take a pushchair and a car seat as part of our baggage allowance so I bought a generic car seat cover (iSafe Universal Car Seat Travel Bag) to protect it and the Uppababy Vista Travel bag. This wasn’t cheap but comes with the guarantee that if the travel system is damaged in transit, they will rectify any damage. I’d thoroughly recommend it as it not only protects and stows the contents but it’s easy to pull around, with handles and wheels in all the right places. (Look out for the full review on the Uppababy coming soon…) We also used the bassinet part of the Uppababy as her crib to sleep in while we were away, and the full coverage was perfect for keeping her out of the sun when we pushed her around too. Lastly, we also took the wrap sling on the plane and walking on the beach with a (last minute purchase) hat as it kept her well covered from the sun again. We paid extra to fly with Virgin and direct but I don’t think it was worth it in retrospect. The flight flew by we were so busy with her and we only got a bassinet on the way out for her to sleep in – we were basically awake all night for fear of smothering her on the return leg because we couldn’t put her down safely. We had been assured that whilst not guaranteed, the sky cots are allocated on basis of need and there was unlikely to be 12 babies younger than Bea on board, but apparently those with disabilities got all the seats as a priority.

For the outbound flight I packed 3 baby gros and vests, (in case of poo-splosions etc!), 8 nappies, wipes, nappy bags, a blanket, 2 toys, 2 dummies, 2 muslins, plus my own mini toiletry bag for flying (with lip balm, hand cream, toothbrush and paste and alco-gel in case of needing to clean my hands without a sink!) and purse. Pete carried my magazine etc. All of this might seem a lot of detail but I agonised about what to take, where she would sleep etc in the run up, so I hope this helps someone. Oh, and a spare top in case of vomit related incidents, dribble bibs those disposable change mats I mentioned – perfect for a mid-transatlantic nappy leak in the worlds smallest changing facilities.

I decided on the outbound journey I would try to extend her normal daily routine of an hour or so awake, followed by a nap, beyond her normal bedtime until it was the right time at our destination. The flight was easy enough, although harder than I anticipated. Bea didn’t react to the white noise of the plane, in fact it seemed to wake her rather than soothe her, so she only slept for a few 30 minute stretches throughout the 8.5h flight and had a couple of fractious periods due to tiredness as a result, but on the whole she was great. We landed at about 4.30pm local time, which as 8.30pm our time. She was completely flat out as a result so I woke her, fed her and tried to keep her awake until we got in the car later. I let her sleep the 2 hour drive to the villa, then woke her as if it was her normal dream feed.

The first night she slept until 5.30am, the same the next, then almost 7am, and day by day she slowly readjusted. Other than in the afternoon on the first day when she was really unsettled and crying when we realised it was bed time for her body clock and she was exhausted, she adjusted brilliantly, going to bed earlier in the evening than usual which suited us anyway for eating out and the early waking for a few days didn’t bother us either as we were jet lagged and waking early too!

We’re still going through the aftermath of the return flight. It was a night fight, departing at 7.30pm and I figured I would feed her to sleep on the way up and not wake her for a dream feed, and get her up at the other end as though it was a normal day. We were slightly scuppered as we didn’t get allocated a baby bed for her which meant we both sat awake all night holding her. She was blissfully unaware and after a few startles and wakes at the beginning of the flight, very quickly soothed by feeding, she slept all the way through until we got in the taxi to go home. That was partly because it was 4am Florida time when we landed here at 8am, but I applied the same principles as the outward journey, although I felt like I was torturing her when she wouldn’t wake up. She napped throughout the day as usual (other than a very long one yesterday morning when we also had a cheeky snooze,) and will no doubt go to bed later than usual for a couple of nights as she adjusts back into her usual routine. I’m actually going to use it as an opportunity to get her into a bedtime routine and napping schedule for the first time ever. I’ll keep you posted in the comments later ;)

The holiday itself was worth any minor tiredness we suffered getting there and back. Bea had her first trip to the beach, her first dip in the sea, went swimming in the pool most days and got to play with Daddy every day! :D To be honest the hardest part was keeping her out of the sun which we managed by either using the wrap and a hat, or taking the bassinet on the beach and not going to the beach until the sun was pretty low.

If you’ve got any questions about anything I have missed out, or if you’ve got any great tips for travelling with a small baby please do share them. To be honest, I really don’t think travelling with a baby is much of a challenge compared with a toddler or active older baby, but as with everything new about having a baby, it can be a really daunting prospect. It’s never as bad as you think and it’s worth every moment of family time in the sun!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Five on Friday…

Being on holiday has given me the luxury of a lot more reading time lately and today I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite finds (and reads) this week.

Ikea’s new Stocksund Sofa looks sooooo much more expensive than it actually is from £515. It’s a brilliant budget savvy buy, particularly if you think you need a new sofa for Christmas guests! I particularly love the red!

Love the simplicity of this copper wall clock (from Made.com, £29) with it’s clean lines and on trend copper finish.

As the hype about Ebola continues to grow this map was a startling reminder of how out of perspective things are getting. It is still frightening and tragic that the spread could be better contained by simple hygiene and protective measures though. You can donate to the Red Cross Ebola Outbreak appeal here.

Love these free fonts inspired by space and Astrology. You know how I love my star signs!

I laughed aloud when I came across The Day The Crayons Quit recently. It’s a book for slightly older children, maybe 4-5 and up but its a perfect present for Christmas – very witty!

Happy weekend!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Meet & Greet: Esme

This morning I’m re-introducing Esme, our Family Lifestyle contributor. I’m always interested in how mums make everything we do on a day to day basis work for them and their particular set of circumstances, so I’m looking forward to hearing more from Esme and her family in the coming months! Look out for her newest post tomorrow…

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a busy working mum to an energetic, constantly hungry, car-obsessed toddler called Freddie and wife to Tom. I love reading on the train to work, eating good food and enjoying a glass of wine with friends. I like to consider myself organised, but I can’t deny I’m a worrier.

At the moment my life is about trying to find some balance, but toning down the being away every weekend/having friends over/exploring and discovering new restaurants and galleries that it used to be about and instead cherishing simple family time. I find that pretty exciting in itself.

What are you going to be writing about?

My posts are all about ‘family lifestyle’: what works for us as a family with a toddler, ideas for days out and my thoughts on making busy family lives a bit easier. I’m learning as I go and sharing everything I learn.

What is your weekday/weekend uniform?

During the week at work I stick to simple and smart-ish dresses, or a pretty top, navy ankle-length trousers and ballet pumps. At the weekend, I’m all about comfy, but flattering jersey dresses, jeans with a bright top and chunky necklaces and shoes I can run around the garden in. I’m not afraid to wear a proper waterproof for damp park sessions, but I also love any opportunity to wear red lipstick and heels.

Favourite Food?

Pasta, always. I often say to my husband that I it would take a long time for me to get sick of pasta at every meal.

Holiday destination recommendation?

Capri, Italy. We went on our honeymoon and whenever I need to think about my happy place, I imagine myself sitting by the pool with a glass of fresh lemon water and the perfect blue sky.

Can’t live without Beauty product?

I’m not one for expensive products, but I cannot live without Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser.

Last book I read…

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

What does your perfect weekend look like?

It would involve a lie-in, a good run, going out for lunch with all the friends we don’t see enough, a National Trust trip (with cake), an evening on the sofa with a new box set and my husband, and getting to the end of the To Do list. I would get to relax, laugh with Freddie and feel refreshed.

Love, Esme.

Find Esme on her blog Esme Wins or on Twitter @Real_Married

Monday Must-Have: Fall for nails…

After years of painting my nails in rotation, one colour off, another on, I haven’t painted them at all since I had Bea. I could find time, but I wonder how they would stand up to the constant hand washing I now do and half of me almost feels like gaudy nails don’t fit against her perfect brand new skin. However, I’m starting to crave seasonal rich jewel like tones, muddy autumnal shades and new textures like this leather effect polish. Here are some of the colours I’m coveting right now…


Ciate Fashionista Sister (Black Purple shimmer) // Essie Wrapped in Rubies // Topshop Nail polish in Exhibit
Essie Snake it up Snake effect metallic blue/grey // Topshop Matte metallic nails in Scream // Nails Inc Alexa (Black) Leather polish
Nails Inc Fouberts Place // Deborah Lippmann Laughin’ to the bank // Essie Armed and Ready

What nail colour are you wearing or wanting right now?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I love how unexpected the khaki looks. I’ve never gone for green before but I’m really into it right now.

Found: The Nursery Paint Company

When we were preparing for Bea’s arrival I decided against a moses basket in favour of a swinging crib for our room and were lucky enough to be given one just like the one I was going to buy. I had however planned to buy a white one and this was a natural wood crib so I decided to paint it. Because it was going to be so close to her head and all around her while she slept, I decided to look into baby-safe paints and was recommended The Nursery Paint Company .


The finished crib in ‘Twinkle’ by The Nursery Paint Company

Their paints are VOC free and made from natural soya beans so there’s no nasty vapours being released around the baby, and they are all toy grade paints – meaning they are safe to be chewed. They also happen to be antibacterial and have a good range of colours, including a few greys which pleased me. ;)

The paint was beautiful to use and whilst not cheap, went a very long way. I thought those of you looking for baby safe paints might like to take a look…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

3 months with Bea

Bea’s 3 month milestone has been and gone, and again so much has changed in a few short weeks. I write these posts for my own records but also as I imagine many of you will identify with the changes and perhaps have advice or stories you want to share, so please do pitch in in the comments box below.

This last month has been bittersweet for the first time. As Bea gets older she becomes so much more alert and more fun. Her smiles are consistent now and the beam I get in the mornings or when I get her up after a nap makes my heart burst. A few people have commented about the way she looks at me, describing it as ‘adoration’ and when she was younger I didn’t really get it, thinking she couldn’t love me back but recently it’s like there really is a bond between us, from her side too.

The bittersweet part is that already I see her stopping doing little things that she has grown out of. She used to make an ‘O’ with her mouth, almost a pucker, which I called ‘kissy lips’ and caused me to cover her in kisses, which she doesn’t do now. Her grasp reflex is gone and that gorgeous back arch and bum out thing babies do when you pick them up from deep sleep is so very rare now. However, now she holds my finger out of free will, calls out for my attention and seems to notice the whole world instead of things close to her. Sounds startle her and she looks to them, she follows me with her gaze out of the room and notices when I come back in, and has officially found her voice. Several times a day she really gets going with shouts and ahh’s and ooohh conversations which are so much fun.

Her sleep at night is still great and she has slept through every night since the beginning of last month, but other difficulties have emerged. Now she sucks her thumb to sooth herself, the car seat is becoming enemy #1 as she can’t get her arm round the wide infant straps to get her thumb into her mouth, leading me after a long journey in the back or the car with my finger in her mouth and other times when I was driving and couldn’t loan a finger, to resort to a dummy.

We seem to be floundering a bit with naps too at times… we had long episodes of crying around the 8-10 weeks mark in the day before she would nap and I realised fairly quickly I was totally missing her sleep cues, so she became overtired and couldn’t sleep. Once I got them and got her down* as soon as she showed signs of tiredness, everything got better and she would sleep within minutes. (*When I say get her down, she falls asleep in my arms 9 times out of 10, apart from the odd occasion I have put her down and turned back round to find her asleep, which never works when I purposely try it.) I used advice from the EASY routine to help me get to this point and she was sleeping for roughly an hour, after around an hours awake time, 4 times a day. More recently however things aren’t going as well, with her not sleeping until about 1.5hours after she last woke up and then she often wakes around 30-40 minutes into the nap but then seems ready for another short one soon after. I feel that we should be moving towards condensing these catnaps into a longer morning nap and 2 afternoon naps but I don’t know how to extend her nap times. I also know she is capable of putting herself to sleep if caught at the right point but can’t reliably put her down to sleep* by herself at all. (*With the exception of after her dream feed at night, when she goes to sleep herself as soon as the light goes out, if she wakes at all.)

Half of me thinks does it matter while she is small? and how sad I’ll be when she doesn’t fall asleep in my arms, but the other half is so frustrated at pacing the floor trying to get her off when she’s clearly over tired and my back is aching after a long day without Pete, that I wish we could improve things. Her napping is also the only time I have to get things done and I’ve realised those precious minutes make me feel so much better able to handle her when she’s awake too.

It’s a minor niggle though when she really is still the best. thing. ever. We go swimming to a baby swim class once a week and have started doing a mum and baby post-natal yoga class so we have classes 3 days a week now. The days we don’t can be hard, as they coincide with Pete being gone until 7 or 8pm – a very long time on an unsettled day, but they also let me get house jobs done and see friends or just do nothing. Which sometimes, is just what you need to do.

Have you got any advice on getting a good nap routine going with your little one? I was recommended the Ferber book, but at this stage I can’t justify letting her cry for even short periods or mentally square it with my personal comfort zone. What do you think readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo