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?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

#JanuaryJoy: Treat Yourself…


Givenchy Antigona bag at Net-A-Porter// Valentino Rockstuds // De La Espada Lounge chair by Matthew Hilton for Heals

So, pay day has either been, or is coming (and can’t come quick enough!) and after a long, dark, grim month I think it’s time to treat yourself. However, I know from reading your comments here, talking about budgets and houses, that the majority of people reading really aren’t in a position to treat themselves. When I was turning over the concept of a treat in my mind, I first of all thought of the age old bag v shoes dilemma every woman is supposed to have. And then I thought, I wonder how many of use would choose to splurge on something for the house instead if you unexpectedly had some money left over, or wanted to mark a big achievement. I know a year or two ago I’d have been straight to the front of the handbag department queue, but give me a bit of spare cash now and I’ll be looking for something for the house without a doubt.

But then when I really think of a treat, I don’t necessarily think of expensive things, it’s the little things and the money can’t buy experience that I really long for. Time to myself with Pete, uninterrupted time in each others company. A long bath with a large glass of ice cold wine and a stack of magazines. A long luxurious lie in followed by breakfast in bed and those magazines again. Blue skies and sunshine warming my skin. Freshly painted nails. A spa facial with a friend…

So, today I have 2 questions for you…

1. For a monetary treat… Shoes, bag or home stuff?
2. For your actual treat as January comes to an end, what do you really want most?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. I very almost wrote a fashion post today… Lots of that to come in February :)

#JanuaryJoy: Plan to revamp your garden

This weekend saw me out in my new garden for the first time. I’m characteristically so fed up of the doom and gloom in January that I want to get outside a lot. So far I have been waiting to see if any bulbs would sprout up in the garden heralding spring but there were a fair few leaves around so I decided to get out and rake them up, and after finding that there were in fact no bulbs to be seen, a quick trip to B&Q rectified that with trays of primroses and ready to grow bulbs.


Image credit: Lawson Photography

I am chomping at the bit to get the new garden planned and am bursting with ideas but waiting on the devastation that will be unleashed when we start the work to the kitchen and outdoor deck area. Adding to that we plan to knock down the double garage and create a dining area there, so 75% of the garden will be changed. As a result, I thought today would be a good time to share some pictures of my old garden, something I have never shared on the blog before and to also tell you that the old house is featured in this months Good Homes magazines – on the shelves now!

I was contacted early last year by a freelance journalist who suggested I send in my home to a magazine but I was a bit slow in getting my act together. Fast forward almost 6 months later and I realised that we were running out of time and it would be a lovely momento of a house I have been very happy in. Laura and Peter Lawson kindly agreed to come round and shoot the house and Good Homes said they were interested. I’m so happy with the images and I’ll be sharing more here soon but in the meantime do go and buy the magazine – I have to confess, I’m not a regular Good Homes reader but I was thrilled to be featured in the ‘Bold & Bright’ issue and felt it couldn’t have been more suited to my style – I’ve got so much inspiration for the new house from it already!

Anyway, back to the garden!


Image credit: Lawson Photography

When we moved in the garden was a typical terraced concrete yard with some bizarre attempt at decking outside the back doors that covered about ⅔ of the ground and was edged by stair bannister railing! One of my biggest priorities coming from a flat was to create an outside area and so we paid a handyman £100 to come with a pickaxe and bash up the concrete and take away the decking. Best £100 I think I have ever spent!


Image credit: Lawson Photography

One of the things I loved about the garden was that it was walled, which worked to our advantage in the summer as the walls held and radiated the suns heat back in to the garden, long after it had sunk beneath the houses behind. However the walls also created pockets of deep shade that needed careful planting. We couldn’t maintain a lawn in that space (nor could we store a lawnmower!) so we opted for gravel with a patio for outdoor entertaining.


Image credit: Lawson Photography

The patio flags came from a local builders yard and came in packs that made a 2m square patio area. We bought 2 and instead of arranging them squarely created an irregular edge and used a few spares to make a stepping stone path to the back gate. After the concrete came up we were left with an uneven mud pit and spent a weekend levelling it, creating some planting beds around the edges with a victorian style rope edging tile, underlaying the gravel area with weed proof membrane, laying the patio and making 2 steps down from the house.


Image credit: Lawson Photography

After that the planting was a work in progress. It started off with a lot of flowers and some favourite shrubs but found the flowers high maintenance in such a dry garden (made worse by them being close to the wall,) and some of the shrubs grew too big. Over time I chose different plants – shrubs like the hydrangea which provided summer colour without leaving a hole in the border come winter, montbretia (crocosmia) for structure and an olive tree suited to the warm dry conditions. I also made the most of the walls but growing clematis, climbing roses and a rampant clematis montana around them. It ended up pretty wild but felt like a little oasis.



Image credit: Lawson Photography

I added the final touches just last summer, rearranging the furniture to move our bench (a wedding gift from my mum) to create more seating on the patio, added the festoon lights (from IKEA) and some cushions (from Next) a bird box with a copper roof from Homesense and my favourite succulent, also from IKEA.


Image credit: Lawson Photography

The back gate was our only bug bear as it was practically rotting off the hinges but we opted not to replace it before we moved as we didn’t use the exit onto the alley anyway. As the plants overgrew it I liked to think it gave a bit of a secret garden appearance :)

So readers, I would love to hear about your garden improvements and any changes you have planned for this year. If there’s anything you want advise on, feel free to ask!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Found: OUT THERE INTERIORS

A new home interiors brand was recently brought to my attention that I thought I would share today, OutThereInteriors.com. At the moment particularly I’m always looking for new sources of furniture and decorative items for my home, but even the old faithfuls can get samey and of course I’m on the look out for a budget bargain, so I was pleased to see an eclectic mix of pieces there with some at very good prices. There are also several ‘in the style of’ items that you may have seen elsewhere, that are at much lower prices. (As with all designer reproductions, make sure you check the dimensions thoroughly if you’re looking for a good ‘copy’.)

Here’s my pick of the best items – the range is diverse with everything from mirrored furniture to shabby chic armoires and retro sign lighting.


Copper hammered light £49 // Vegas Alphabet lights £295 // Arrow wall light £35 // American Flag wall hanging £55 // Turquoise jewellery cabinet £35 // White dressing mirror £195 // Embossed silver Chest of Drawers £255 // Tall factory stool £110 // White Chair with wooden legs £79 // Fifties style bedside £220 // Glass topped driftwood table £754

I’ve tried to show a broad selection of items here to illustrate the breadth of styles available. Out There Interiors is well worth a browse if you have an item in mind or if you are just browsing for something different.

Let me know if you see something you like readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Finding Inspiration for Interiors…

Last week, Anna left this comment on my post about statement lighting. I had spent that day doing a phone interview with a journalist about my interiors choices for the old house, (more on that soon!) and a lot of her questions got me thinking. When this question also came up it made me think there might be a blog post in that! So here’s Anna’s question…

Hi Rebecca,

Please can I ask you, where do you find your inspiration for interiors? We moved into our house last November. We so far have had a new kitchen and new windows and doors and whilst these aren’t small jobs I’m still struggling with the interiors.

I think from me, I am worried about getting it wrong.. so everything ends up looking really similar and quite neutral and quite boring!

How do you work out whether or not statement pieces were working your rooms? How do you decide on a colour scheme? When you are decorating the new room where do you start?

I really hope your blog explores these questions of the next few months with your new house! I am super excited to see what you do with the new house so I can get some inspiration and also not be afraid to try new things!

Good luck with everything!!
Ax

So lets break Anna’s question up into three…

How do you work out whether or not statement pieces were working your rooms?

As a general rule of thumb, I would say that any room can only handle 1 or two ‘statement pieces. That might be a feature light (like these that prompted Anna’s question,) something that is a really bright colour like a yellow armchair, or a large piece of art. A patterned wall paper would also fit this category…

I think to decide if you like something, you have to live with it. For example when I bought the flamingo print, I wasn’t sure – it felt like he was staring at me all the time! But after a day or two, I got used to it and loved it. With my film lamp, that was easier as I knew I wanted one for a while, and when I found it at a great price, I knew just the corner where it would go. If you’re nervous about splashing out and not liking it, just make sure you love the piece itself, if you do then you’ll make it work, even if it’s not where you imagined it originally.

How do you decide on a colour scheme?

Let’s take my old lounge as an example here… First off we painted the room grey and kept all our neutral sofas and dark wood furniture. When I realised the room needed an injection of colour, I found Eric (the flamingo) and the pink worked so well against the grey that I ran with it. There was already blue in the room (the blinds were edged with a blue/brown shot silk and the club chair was a similar blue/brown fabric) so I chose that as another accent colour. I wanted lots of brights, so with the addition of the little yellow bird and the Russian dolls, yellow became the third ‘colour’.

Ideally what you want to be looking for when you are accessorising are things that aren’t just block colours either, (unless you’re going for a very modern look perhaps.) For example, the flamingo has shades of red in the pink feathers and the yellow Russian dolls pick that up in their painted detail, tying the two together.

I also noticed once I had completed that side of the room, centring around the flamingo print that the room became a room of two halves. The other side with the sofa was very similar to how it used to be with no colour splashes and didn’t look right. So I switched the cushions for a selection of blue toned designs and then stumbled across the pink lampshade that finished this DIY and finally we were done!

When you are decorating the new room where do you start?
The easy answer would be anywhere, but the sensible item would be the big ticket items. For example, if you have a blue sofa you could use that as a starting point. In general, for the sake of longevity, people choose neutral large pieces so they can decorate around them a few times before they have to start again with new ones, but if you know you love a colour then I’d say go for it and don’t be afraid to extend what we consider neutrals to be. Neutral doesn’t have to be boring beige, widen the spectrum with greys, taupes, mocha, putty or stretch outside the traditional neutrals to charcoal, navy or khaki.

I have a neutral sofa, so I start decorating with other ideas. Eric started the lounge decor, our dining room was inspired by the smoky blue edged mirror and the blue/grey accents came from there, including the curtains and the smoked blue light fitting.

You could also start with something you already have of course and it might be something really small – a kitchen might be inspired by the pattern on a favourite mug, or a lounge by a fab print you like for the curtains. Just go back to the advice about about finding a colour palette and accent colours and you will pull it all together.

Lastly, don’t fight your natural style. Anna mentions everything being ‘quite neutral’ as though it’s a bad thing when that can be just as much of a style as my own love of colour. However given the fact you follows it with ‘and quite boring’, I guess you want to jazz it up Anna!

I hope that helps Anna and I’d love to hear if any of you agree or disagree with my advice or if any of you have anything to add…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Statement Standards

Of course since I knew where we were moving, my mind has been all about interiors. In our old house we had pretty much filled everywhere we could and couldn’t justify a single extra item, but now we have several extra rooms to fill and I’m in my element.


Navy Tripod lamp £99 Alfred tripod lamp £149 // Chicago floor lamp £179

One of the pieces I love most that we brought with us (and that gets a lot of comments) is the film light that we had in the dining room – it’s gone into the new dining room too. It was bought from Home Sense, one of my favourite shops, but their online presence is terrible so when I found these statement standard lamps at Made.com, I had to share them.

Each of these has a different style and feel, and they are all well priced considering the impact they will have in a room.

I’ll write more about Made.com soon, but in the mean time, have you purchased anything from there?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Apologies for the late post – truth is, I intended to write about the house, but I can’t find my camera cable to download the photo’s! Bear with me!

The Spring Series: Create the Perfect Sanctuary

After having so much fun with January Joy it feels like another series is in order, this time for Spring. Right now I’m at that in-between phase when spring is most definitely in the air and I’m looking forward to spring fashions, beauty, trends and that positive feeling that lighter nights bring. However, while sub-zero temperatures persist and it’s that little bit too early to opt for shorts or sandals, I’m working on that spring feeling from the comfort of inside my own home.

I always long for a brighter colour palette inside during the spring and summer months and with a neutral interior it’s easy to pick and change the accessories for an instant update. Here are some of my favourite picks to brighten up your home for spring along with my top tips for creating the perfect sanctuary at home.

1. While there’s still a chill in the air, exchange your winter throws for a brightly coloured lighter layer to cosy up in.

2. Chose a couple of bright accessories for a pop of colour to mix in amongst your usual accent pieces. (Yellow elephant cushion, Mint green pendant, Pink plant pots)

3. Nothing says spring like fresh bed linen. Go for an on-trend geometric in a zingy spring shade for an instant mood lift.

4. Pick out new plates to brighten up your every day table.

5. It’s not quite time to abandon flickering candle light, but choose a fresh spring scent in a jar you can reuse for it’s colour and pattern later.

Do you make any changes in your home for spring each year, or are you planning any this year?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Pastel Pretty


Pink room // Mixed pink patterns bedroom

I would say that when it comes to colour I have a fairly clear style. Give me bright, and lots of it. Although that would clearly be overwhelming in decor form, for the everyday backdrop to my life, I’m often drawn to more soothing palettes, more recently adding pops of colour to my neutral grey home.


Pastel room with copper accents // Blush velvet cushions

What I didn’t expect was to find myself drawn to were subtle pastel shades. For me, they hark back to the eighties, when every well decorated house had each room in a different shade of Dulux ‘A hint of’, in cornflower blue, and similar insipid shades.


Pink ottoman

Just before Christmas however, I noticed a trend in the interiors images I was pinning. Soft shades of blush, rose and shell pink, with muted tones and textural elements drew me in with their elegant yet modern feel.


Sugar pastels // Pink and green kitchen

Alongside a predominance of pinks, restful greens appeared and my favourites combined greys and rich metallic shades of brass and copper too.


Sage green kitchen

As it is such a departure from my usual style, I thought I would share some of my favourite examples of this new trend and see what you thought. Can you see pastel shades in your home?


Minty dining room

Let me know if you’re inspired by these images or if in fact you have already decorated in pastel shades?

Love
Rebecca
xo

Interior Inspiration: Emerald City


Image Credit

It’s safe to say, green has never been top of my choice of colours for decorating. Yet the striking nature of most green interiors means that I have been mesmerised by some of the rooms I have collected here to inspire you today.


1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Historically, green conjures up period interiors, beautiful stately homes and cosy country log piles. If you’ve got enough light (or want to work with a lack of it instead of fight it,) green can look elegant and even magical.


1 // 2 // 3

A complete contrast however is the modern look. Emerald looks amazing in a black and white setting of mixed with patterns and prints blended in fabrics and accents like this pendant light shade.


Image credit

I fell in love with this tropical room with a colonial feel, brass accents and that lush velvet sofa against a backdrop of greenery.


1 // 2 // 3 // 4

I think my favourite way to see emerald however is as a stand alone accent in a room. A piece of art maybe, luxurious fabrics or painted statement pieces of furniture.

I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to decorate in this shade… green isn’t a colour on my usual decorating palette, but the images are inspiring none the less. Have I inspired you today?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Florence’s Gift Guide #5: Beautiful Books

It’s official. I’m a book addict, but my favourites to receive as gifts are cookery and interiors books, the kind of coffee table beauties that are full of gorgeous imagery and inspiration. As many of these books are cheaply available online for around the £10 mark, I decided to forgoe a stocking filler gift guide and round up my favourite recipe and decor books that I’ll be giving and would like to receive this Christmas.

For Foodies…

  • I’m ALWAYS looking for recipe books that lean towards sharing food. I love having friends over but rarely make fussy food prefering big plate options, and one pot solutions that everyone can dig into. Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi looks like just such a book and is causing a real stir in the Christmas market this year so it’s on my lust-list.
  • I only discovered the Great British Bake Off this season and got totally addicted. Everyone loves Mary but it’s Paul’s critique and exacting standards that made me want this book. Paul Hollywood, How to Bake
  • I spotted this book on the shelf in the Bertinet Bakery in Bath. I mean, how could you not notice that stunning front cover image? I suspect this would be of the variety of cookery books that I buy mainly for the beautiful imagery, however there are many recipes that look do-able for the keen baker or wannabe pastry chef. Pastry, Richard Bertinet
  • If you’re a regular in the food section at book stores you might have seen Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros, an equally stunning book to this more recent release. I hesitated to buy her books before, fearing I wouldn’t want to attempt the recipes, instead just staring at the pictures, however this book focuses on Italian food – my favourite. Tessa now lives in Tuscany so my mouth waters at even the thought of what this book may contain and it’s more than pretty enough to display too. Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros.
  • Lastly, not pretty (what happened with this cover I don’t know as the styling of his books is usually fantastic,) and rather omnipresent this Christmas is Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals. I have several Jamie Oliver books and they are without doubt the most relied upon and turned to books in my kitchen. For that reason this has to be a no brainer. Although I’ve heard 15 minutes is more than optimistic for some of the recipes and omits time-consuming prep, I know it would contain recipes that would become staples in my home.

For interiors addicts…

  • First up, Decorate Workshop: A Creative 8 Step Process for Transforming Your Home by Holly Becker. Holly’s second book, this one rather than telling you what to put in your decor projects, advises on how to approach re-decorating and designing your home. Many people struggle to translate inspiration into an actual room and this book shows you how.
  • American Modern, Thomas O’Brien. This book isn’t one you’ll find on the bestseller lists, but it was given to me by a friend and remains my favourite interiors book. With a thorough insight into many American homes in their entirety, I am always inspired when I flick through it’s pages.
  • Another older choice but still relevant, Domino: the Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy, is perfect for the coffee table but full of inspiration. I bought a special edition Domino magazine whilst away and just loved the approach to design, decor and styling so have renewed interest in this book which is on this years Christmas list :)
  • If you have a friend who has just bought their first home or is in the midst of renovation project, Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love: is a great book. Full of DIY ideas from super bloggers Sherry and John Petersik who have documented their own renovations on the synonymous blog.

Readers, I would love for you to share any thoughts on my selection – do you own any of these books and are they a good gift choice or do you have any other suggestions to add to my list? Are you also coveting any of them?

Love,
Rebecca
xo