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

#JanuaryJoy – Plan a trip

Last year was Pete’s 30th and as part of that I planned a weekend away at the end of January to The Drawing Room in the Elan Valley (just click the links to read more.) I’ve heard people say in the past that having something to look forward to in January helps you to get through the month and last year it was such a pick me up that we’ve decided to do the same again.

Even if you don’t go away in January, just looking for and planning a trip is fun and helps take your mind off the dreary weather. As we’re heading into mid January now and even I am feeling a trace of the blues, it’s definitely time to start planning and bring back the #JanuaryJoy!


Image credit

I was going to tell you about one of my recent trips today, but thought I would save that for February. Instead I’m going to share my travel plans for the year and who knows, I might be reflecting back on that in another 12 months. This New Year’s eve, Pete pulled out a dog-eared bit of paper he had found on which we had written our travel plans for 2012. We had listed the months and filled in all the things we already had planned, like friends weddings and then pencilled in a few trips we wanted to take. Our plans included the trip we took to The Drawing Room, Yosemite and Vegas, and skiing, all of which we managed. We were dreaming big and also listed trips to Mexico to see the ruins, a South Africa/Safari trip and a mini break in Madrid that didn’t get done. It was fun to look back and see what we did but I also felt a bit disappointed that we hadn’t planned those bigger trips.

So this year we have our annual ski-ing trip planned, and the getaway I mentioned at the end of the month. We have a family trip planned in Cornwall in August and the potential for a trip to Spain in May. That’s three weeks holiday gone already and I’m no closer to planning a life-list trip. Right now I’m all about the trips that children in future may make difficult (if only for the short term.) I’ve been enthralled by Africa on TV this last week and always wanted to see big cats up close, so this year’s goal is to plan a trip to Africa. I want to see South Africa, go on safari and explore what looks like a naturally stunning country. I’d love to hear any tips or recommendations you have?

So, what are your travel plans this year and are you planning any trips right now? Do you have a fail safe January pick-me-up?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS If you are looking for a recommended weekend break closer to home…

Real Rooms: Bex’s Study ‘refresh’

This afternoon it’s an office make-over for a newly married couple, which cleverly combines the colour of the moment grey, with holiday ‘finds’ and subtle splashes of orange. I love how it has all come together and I’m looking forward to hearing what you all think of it!

Take it away Bex!

This room was a bit of a dumping ground for a long time since moving in here three years ago, even more so with all of the ‘wedding stuff’ we had to store (boxed vases being the bulkiest items). We never really used this room to its full potential, especially given its good size. It had always had a daybed for extra guests, (useful when both sets of parents came to stay) and a desk for Nik’s computer, bookcases for all his textbooks and notes while he was still a student and a wardrobe which contained overflow from my own, oops, and some fancy dress items! The room was then added to with coats, wellies, boxes of things waiting to be sorted, a very underused exercise bike (aren’t they all!) and all the other bits and bobs we unceremoniously shoved in there whenever we had to tidy up the rest of the flat if guests were coming. It also housed my collection of framed prints that I used to sell at craft & design fairs around Scotland but have recently had little time for. (These have been re-homed for sale in a local cafe.)

All of the above resulted in this ‘before’ monstrosity…


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

Surprisingly, the plan to tackle this room was something I decided on honeymoon, where I was inspired to re-decorate using some of our African souvenirs as a starting point. This spurred me on through the boring sorting and organising of all that stuff as I started to think of how we could make the room useful and look nice, somewhere we would actually like spending time. It actually became the perfect project to keep me busy after all the wedding frenzy of the months before!

We had a few items from our honeymoon which gave me the basis of what kind of style we wanted, including framing some of my own pictures taken on safari, so I started a Pinterest board for ideas and colour schemes (which inspired the grey walls/white furniture plan). We decided we wanted a modern room with white furniture to match the existing Hemnes Daybed and to set if all off against grey walls. We didn’t want to go too dark on the walls as the window is tucked into a corner and we didn’t want it to end up ‘dingy’. Moving the mirrored wardrobe helped to reflect some of the light back into the room rather than being wasted in the corner. We decided on a Valspar colour, Windswept, from B&Q. Since the room has been finished, I have also made a Pinterest board detailing some of the items in it and where they were from if you like the look of anything.

So here is the ‘after’ with our stripped back room…


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

I tried not to go for green accents again, as in most of our other rooms, so we decided to mix it up a bit more and we had a multi-coloured painting from the Masai market in Nairobi. We also purchased a Masai beaded necklace so I thought I would incorporate more orange into the room with some sunset pictures.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

Luckily the orange colour worked well as most of the African safari pictures had an orange tint to them anyway. I really liked the thought of having them all black and white but decided to make it a bit different by leaving three of them in colour.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

The frames were Neilson frames from Hobbycraft and were £17.99 each so it was pretty pricey all together but I’m really pleased with the overall result! Mounting and printing them ourselves saved money so it was approx £174 in total. I love the fact they look good but also remind us of our amazing time on safari on honeymoon.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

The cushions were from M&S, The White Company (15% off thanks to FF!) and Slumber Slumber. Nik sold most of his old books and recycled his notes so we could downsize in the bookcase department. We replaced 3 bookcases just one from Ikea and filled the bottom shelves with cupboards to try to make it look less square and boxy, and to hide some of the uglier books. I took the old lime green file boxes my Mum had donated when she moved and painted them grey with left over wall paint.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

The unusual string balls were bought by the side of the road in Nairobi and were the main inspiration for re-doing the room. Nik’s conditions when agreeing to buy three was that we had to know where we would put them and I convinced him on my ‘African honeymoon study’ idea. They’re supposed to be light-shades but I just removed the metal hangings from inside as I liked the way they were hung from the trees in bunches like this in Kenya.


All images courtesy of Bex Photo

I finally got round to framing our degrees and diplomas to keep them safe and out of the way. We didn’t want them to be too ‘in your face’ so we hung them high up along the ceiling. In retrospect I wish we had stuck the map a little lower but it’s difficult to judge when one of you is holding up a huge sheet of plastic to the wall.

The amazing map of the world wall sticker is also from notonthehighstreet.com and came with coloured dots to mark the places we’ve been. We now want to try and go to more places in the middle of the big black areas to make the dots more obvious and spread out – probably not the usual way to choose places to travel to but it could be fun! We’ve mostly stuck to the coast before due to our love of scuba diving but would love to try travelling in more different places in the future.

I hope you’ll agree it was quite a transformation! We now spend so much more time in there, I particularly love my new snug corner on the daybed where I can curl up under my knitted throw with a good book while Nik’s working on his computer.

I have been dying to share this with the Florence Findettes because I need a little help. We have decided to keep and display our large apothecary jars we used at our wedding but have no idea what, if anything, to put in them. Please help!

Great job Bex – I particularly love how you have managed to make all this things I always want to buy on holiday that then look out of place in cold grey england work so well together, particularly the safari photos and cohesive splashes of orange. The map is a great way to nod to the travel theme in a chic way and I love your certificates placed so high like that – genius idea!

Do leave Bex a comment if there’s something you like or if you want to ask her anything, I’m sure she’ll be around to help you out!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS You can find Bex at her blog The Olive Dragonfly and on twitter @OliveDragonfly. You can also see more of Bex’s stunning photography on her photography website: Bex Photo.

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