The white stuff…

Since we moved there are a lot of empty spaces in our house and although new furniture is more for ahem, finished rooms, I do find myself browsing for various pieces. Right now my focus is on the nursery and I’m working on a mood board to share with you soon but in the meantime, I want a sideboard for baby’s room. Long low and white with a hint of midcentury modern about it and equally at home against a patterned wall or in a serene airy space.

  1. Dumont buffet, West Elm £599
  2. Hemnes 8 drawer chest of drawers, IKEA £180
  3. 6 drawer Ercol chest, The White Company £945
  4. Milton 3 drawer sideboard, M&S £549
  5. Bess sideboard, Dwell £399

Whether this is a good idea or not I’m not sure, and I’m imagining putting a changing table top onto of this piece so I’m not necessarily looking for something so low as some of these are, but I love the elongated look and think drawers may well suit baby storage better with shelves for toys or books? I also like that in the future this would work well repurposed in another room.

Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and your favourites from my selection…


Feeling Blue…

Despite the fact that our new kitchen is still several weeks off being usable, I have already found myself thinking about the finishing touches. Aside from the pretty things, on a more practical level I want to add to our current dinner service.

We currently have 2 sets of plates and bowls, our wedding set of Sophie Conran for Portmerion table and serve ware in a ten person setting, and a bog standard square white set for 4 that was from John Lewis. The idea is that we use the set of four day to day so the wedding set doesn’t get hammered, but so we don’t end up saving the Portmerion for absolute best if there are ever more than just the two of us, we get out the good stuff.

Restoration tableware, John Lewis // Indigo Dinner plate, M&S // Indigo serving bowl, M&S // Lascari Stoneware, Anthropologie //Coastal Tableware, John Lewis // 12 Piece lombard dining set, M&S // Denby Bloom Stoneware, Debenhams //Jardin des Plants dinnerware, Anthropologie

In reality, with Francesca being with us, we have used the Portmerion a lot more and it has made me realise that when we are a family of 3, with regular visitors, we are going to need more of the everyday stuff to avoid using the Sophie Conan every day. I prefer seeing my food against white plates, but because our island eating area will be white I like the idea of a bit of contrast. Given my current obsession with blue, I thought a slim blue rimmed set would be nice. There are so many blue and white sets around right now however that a pick and mix, mix and match would be easy to do if you were so inclined and very stylish.

So readers, what do you think? Are you fans of white plates or do you like a bit of contrast on your dinner table?


Spring nesting…

Coral Paisley Jacquard bedspread – Zara Home

I’ve always been a fan of white bedding but at this time of year I’m always drawn to the pretty brights available in bedding sets. Everywhere I turn the patterns and prints are spectacular, especially the range of glorious florals that make perfect spring-summer sleeping sense.

I thought I would round up some of my favourites and see what you guys think?

Clockwise from tope L: Peach Georgette bedding set, Matthew Williamson at Debenhams // Overscale floral bedset, M&S // Alimar (pink floral) bedding from Debenhams // Summer Floral Bedset, M&S // Charlottenburg, Designers Guild // Wild Coast bedlinen, M&S

Of course, it requires quite a neutral room to pull off such a block statement of colour and pattern but if you already have that in place then it is such a cost effective way to update your space and make a massive impact. I’m particularly drawn to the blues I’m seeing in various prints…

Clockwise from tope L: Scion Shibori bedlinen from John Lewis // Bluebellgray abstract petals bedding from John Lewis // Blue Chroma bedlinen, Sheridan at Debenhams // Asilah blue bedlinen, Debenhams

What do you think readers? Are you tempted or are you still sticking with white?


Decorate with Flowers: Reviewed

At this time of year as spring blooms come into stores I’m always looking to brighten up the house with fresh flowers. Add to that the instantaneous transforming effect they have on any space means I’m using them more than ever at the moment to improve some of our work-in-progress rooms. As a result I was delighted to be asked to review and share with you the new book by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, Decorate with Flowers.

Now, I am an absolute sucker for a coffee table book and this one is so pretty it is definitely deserving of the title. The photography is beautiful, the colours and the flowers are super pretty and the best thing about it is that the ideas are accessible.

There’s no stuffy flower arranging tutorial here, just loads of simple ideas for displaying fresh flowers in your home and inspiration for using many items you might already have as containers. It’s a fresh look at flowers.

Holly and Leslie have used the homes of some famous bloggers (like that of Victoria Smith of SFGirlbyBay shown above,) and some of the photography is studio shot, along with some simple DIY’s the help you make the most of your blooms.

I loved the book – every thing from the design and photography to the friendly accessible tone and easy to implement ideas. It’s definitely worth treating yourself to and would make a gorgeous Mothers Day gift too.

To order Decorate with Flowers at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG109.

I hope you like it readers!


*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Decorate with Flowers by Holly Becker & Leslie Shewring, published by Jacqui Small @JacquiSmallPub

Spotted: Ikea [Brakig]

Todays find is almost so good that I didn’t want to share it. With my serious double lust over geometrics and pastels, I was in near heaven when I saw the new (limited edition) Brakig collection by IKEA. The result of a collaboration between IKEA and ArtRebels, it’s bang on trend.

The range is only available in-store (Boo!) which is good news in some ways as my immediate thought was that it would instantly become ubiquitous and I’d be so disappointed. The range is wide with everything from storage boxes and trays to textiles, furniture and wallpaper.

Image via DoorSixteen

Did I mention the wallpaper? I’m currently considering a geometric design for one of our bedrooms and its not a million miles away from the Brakig white background multi-triangle design. I won’t say how much the design I was coveting is per roll, but I will tell you that IKEA’s version is yours for five whole english pounds. And whilst it doesn’t look handprinted, it isn’t thin or flimsy or shiny either.

Image via AnyaAdores. Triangle print wallpaper available in white or black, and geometric print pale coral or grey.

I’m now wondering if I should have snapped some up – I certainly didn’t realise it was limited edition or in-store only at the time. But then, there’s always a reason to go to IKEA right?


Renovation Ruminations: Bright hallway ideas

As we’re currently getting the knock through done to our bedroom (into the dressing room) part of our house is resembling something of a building site. In order to avoid thinking about it I’m doing the sensible thing and fantasising about part of our house that I really dislike (decor-wise) and really want to change, but don’t have any plans to do so for probably a year or more. (We have already blocked up a doorway in the hall and have yet to move another, so there is no point decorating before that is done.)

Our hall has great bones but an old fashioned wallpaper below the dado rail and an abundance of cream paint. The floor is half decent as its one saving grace, along with the pretty bannister spindles. I’m envisaging a bright and light white painted hallway with a blue and white patterned modern wallpaper for practicality below the dado and lots of super bright accents.

I want to create a space that is bright, modern and welcoming with tons of personality and family friendly too. I just wish we could do it sooner!

What do you think readers?


Other rooms we have planned:
The Living room
The master bedroom
Kitchen plans part 1 and part 2

Spotted: Nkuku

A little while back a friend on Facebook shared the link to nkuku, a lovely online home store with lots of tempting home accessories and some salvage chic furniture. Funnily enough, when I was away in Wales 10 days ago I found lots of pretty things to buy in a house shop in Hay-on-Wye, and happened to notice that they were all from nkuku too. It must have been fate…

One of the biggest lessons I learned over the last few years whilst doing up the last house was that as lovely as it is to decorate, it’s the finishing touches that make a room look ‘done’. It’s my resolution to not scrimp on those details this time around so I’ll definitely be taking a look at nkuku.

What do you think readers? Up your street?


Reviewed: Annie Sloan Paints… and a dresser makeover

Apologies for the delay today readers. I’ve got one or two things going on at the moment and this weekend so I’m leaving you with this post until Monday when we’ll be back as usual. :) I’ve got a little DIY before and after that I’ve been waiting to photograph in the light for ages. I hope you like it!

When we bought our house we also made a donation to charity in exchange for three pieces of furniture. An Edwardian gentlemans wardrobe, a modern bathroom cabinet and this little dresser. It was in a bedroom when we bought it, but I decided it would be great in the kitchen and would provide much needed extra storage. I decided to paint it grey (my planned kitchen shade and general favourite colour) and add some quirky Anthropologie knobs for a fun touch.

I decided to use Annie Sloan paint (in Paris Grey) as I tried it at the Ruby Rhino workshop with Hannah that I attended last summer and it’s famous for requiring no sanding or priming – just slap it on and it covers all manner of sins… more on that in a moment.

First of all I sanded the top and drawer fronts of the dresser with a DeWalt detail sander (thanks to Alice for the recommendation on that!) to remove the brown varnish and reveal the paler underlying wood for a rustic hand-finished look.

Next I taped off the mirror edges and the top panel and started painting.

So onto the paint. I’ll be honest, it was probably the most difficult paint I have ever used to work with! (I would normally choose an eggshell with a coat of primer underneath on a project like this.) It’s tremendously thick and dries extremely fast so it’s very hard not to get brush marks in your work. I later chatted with Hannah and she reminded me you can water it down and I would definitely do the same next time – to the consistency of double cream. After the second coat I ended up sanding a couple of more ridged area’s before applying the wax. You can leave it unwaxed for a chalky finish but I wanted to seal it as the chalk finish tends to scuff. You first smooth the wax on, then buff it off until smooth with a separate cloth.

I waxed the top and drawers too which brought the wood out in a lovely rich sheen, slightly darker than the very pale sanded finish but quite similar.

I chose a selection of woodland inspired knobs from Anthropolgie to continue the rustic theme and voila, a made-over dresser!

Have you got any pieces of furniture you’re thinking of making over or updating? I’m always looking for projects like this to feature, so do send them in to :)


All that glitters…

Just recently I’m having an irrational obsession with gold. Gold glasses, gold objet’s, gold trays, coasters, prints. There’s nothing that isn’t better when gilded.

Fortunately, there must be a few people who agree with me as I’ve seen some beautiful gold table and glassware in the shops for Christmas, perfect for adding sparkle to your Christmas table, or gifting to your favourite girlfriend. Here are my favourites…

Gold glimmer champagne saucers £24, Next // Golden Leaf wine glass £7.50 M&S // Metallic spot mugs £7.50 M&S // Limited edition gold letter mug £8 Anthropologie // Gold rim glass £12 Anthropologie // Gold Cutlery, Zara Home // Hammered Golden Coasters £19 Zara Home

Personally, I’m hoping for those spotted mugs and gold coasters in my stocking this year ;)

What do you think readers, are you loving gold right now too?


Manchester’s Independent Interiors Show

The day after we moved house, I was invited to attend the Independent Interiors Show at 2022NQ in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and as we were pretty sick of the moving stress and raring to get going with planning the new house, we decided to take the afternoon off unpacking and pop down. I expected more decorative stuff and that was the majority, but there was some really great independent designers and unique ideas on offer. I decided I’d do a little round up of my favourites to share with you all – they’re all worth a click through and look at.

Hannah Nunn Wallpaper £69/10m
I’m tired of seeing the same papers on everybodies wall, and these delicate yet modern deisgns from Laser cut lighting designer Hannah Nunn, are fresh and pretty.
Jorja Wilkinson Design – 60′s influenced design with a fresh modern palette and striking pattern repeats. Table wear, fabric, cushions, lampshades and mugs.
I loved the colours in these quirky designsand made my first house purchase buying a mixed set of coasters! (4 Coasters £15)
Inspirit Deco ‘Urban furniture and accessories made for industrial components’.
I found InSpirit on Etsy when I was looking for industrial garment rails. Initially an interior design service, they then expanded into often-requested industrial furniture.
Liz Foster Designs – Contemporary applique textiles with nostalgic phrases (Cushion £50)
I like the hand-made but modern feel to these cushions, with a strong British vibe.
ScandiNord – Contemporary lighting and neon signs (Vita Eos pendant shade £73)
I love a good neon sign and the selection of Scandi inspired lighting was well priced from this curator.
Claire Murray Designs – Organically inspired wallpaper in neutral shades (£75/roll)
My favourite of the lot, Claire’s wallpaper was striking in both form and colour. From fungi inspired neutral patterns to a whispy feather-like multi colour design, the quality was outstanding and I loved how different they were.

So readers, I hope you see or find something you like here. Happy Monday :)