Dream Destination: The Laura Ashley Hotel

Often when I’m planning a trip away, one of my criteria when booking the hotel is that I love the interiors. I take pride in my home so when I go away I want the place I’m staying to be just as restful or inspiring. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Laura Ashley and so when I heard that they had opened a new boutique Manor Hotel in Elstree, Hertfordshire, I wanted to share it with you all.


Premium signature suite

The hotel has an exclusive restaurant, terrace bar area and 49 bedrooms, which I had to admit were the feature that caught my eye. For a relaxing break, often I enjoy just unwinding in my hotel room, catching up on TV or taking a long bath and of course getting ready for an evening out, so the luxurious interiors created by Laura Ashley using their own range of home furnishings and decor were right up my street.

Not only that, but there’s some serious interior decor inspiration for those of you looking to create some boutique hotel chic in your own bedroom for that relaxing feeling every day. I loved looking at these and seeing how Laura Ashley have interpreted their designs into real rooms.

For a bit of Laura Ashley luxury however, you can book a room from £150 (and the property will also host weddings.) Just log onto www.lauraashleyhotels.com

What do you think readers? Those rooms look so inviting!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Real Room Revamp: Before

I’m sure many of you think that I live in a pristine house, tastefully decorated throughout. Although I’m very proud of my living/dinging area and bedroom, other rooms either lack that finishing touch to make them look pulled together and stylish, or are too messy to ever look good. Our spare room fits both categories.

When we moved into this house we did a few minor cosmetic jobs that cost little and then got distracted by our engagement and wedding. After that the house came second to travelling and now we’re at that stage where we’ll be moving in the not too distant future so any updates need to be budget friendly. The spare room gained from one of the early updates and we decorated with one of my favourite patterns at the time, Laura Ashley’s Oriental Garden wallpaper in Duck egg blue. The bed was donated to us by my Mum and we picked out a country style chest of drawers and wardrobe from good old IKEA. With the addition of toning bedding, a small duck egg lampshade and a wool throw, it seemed pretty good at the time.

My tastes have evolved dramatically since then, now the blue on cream on blue seems far too matchy match for my taste, there isn’t enough colour and It looks a bit neglected and unfinished to my eye. Add to that the fact that it is most often used by either our cats as an all-day snooze spot or us as a laundry room and general dumping ground and it is seriously lacking in some love.

Here comes the challenge. I’ll admit it, I am terrible when it comes to making the best of what I have, preferring to ditch it all and start again. However that is what I’m going to have to do here, to stay in budget and just avoid waste in general. It’s not going to be a true budget make-over, but I’m hoping to keep costs down, if only by waiting for the sales for some items. We are hosting my sister come August as she relocates to Manchester while she looks for a place of her own so it’s a great prompt for a massive clear out and kick up the behind to truly finish off the room. I thought it would make a great couple of posts, not only to show you what I have done but show you what I think could be improved in the existing decor.

So what am I planning to do?

  1. The room has never had curtains that I’m happy with. These ones were discounted Laura Ashley fabric and a vain attempt to bring a different colour palette into the room that totally failed. In an effort to save money I skimped on length when the room would have looked way more luxurious and ‘done’ had they been full length.
  2. We have already bought over head lamps for behind the bed, something we had planned to do for years. Because of the wardrobe position a side table is unfortunately unable to fit so at least this will provide directional light that can be controlled from the bed rather than having to get up and switch off the main light.
  3. I’m toying with the idea of covering the wicker bedhead and footer panels. I’ve never loved the wicker and think it would look softer, plus a longer panel at the foot of the bed would hide the multitude of things stuffed under the bed.
  4. We have never bought cushions for the bed as it seemed a waste when money was tighter but I think it contributes to the room appearing unfinished and un-lived in, so they are on the list.
  5. This is one of the few rooms that we haven’t re-carpeted as it gets little use, and that wont be something we’ll change but I may add to it with a patterned rug to brighten the space.
  6. The wall running alongside the bed really needs something. I just don’t know what. I’m leaning towards a gallery wall-esque arrangement of pictures, but I need to avoid anything that can be knocked off the wall by a sudden sit-up-in-bed manoeuvre by any visitors.
  7. The chair currently in situ was rescued from a skip and painted by me but never upholstered. Turns out it should have stayed in the skip as no amount of fixing can make it sturdy and anyone who sits on it takes their life in their hands. I’m debating the need for a small dressing table/desk and chair in here but they would have to be seriously thrifty finds.
So, have you got any ideas?
Come back this afternoon and I’ll share both of the moodboards I have put together for my propsed make-over and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Love,
Rebecca
xo

Florence’s Gift Guide #5

Welcome back and Hip Hip Hooray, it’s time for my favourite gift guide… for Home Lovers. I would snap each and every thing up on this list for myself if I could so if that’s not seal of approval enough for you all, then I don’t know what is. To narrow it down slightly however, I am seriously lusting after that gold chevron stripe tray and am going to need the Design Sponge at Home book in my life this Christmas. I’ve waited long enough!

  • Any stylish home lover simply has to have this… Design Sponge at Home
  • Super stylish but generic enough for a female secret santa, Pure White Unscented Voitives (set of six) – The White Company
  • Gold chevron Zag tray – Up in the Air Somewhere (US)
  • A Cosy winter checked throw – Laura Ashley
  • Everybody loves a scented candle and I personally love the Christmas ones but christmas day is a little late to unwrap one I feel so go for this fresh fig one. (As a lover of expensive scented candles I think The White Company ones are a great compromise on price but still an authentic scent.) – *Save 15% & Free Delivery at the moment!
  • A lot of these items may seem like slightly off the wall gifts, but as anyone who is doing a house up will know, money often runs out when it comes to accessorising. Quirky home owners will love these botanical wide life cushions from Dwell, or who would have thought this stylish deer could be found in M&S?
  • I couldn’t leave this cute little white owl behind when I was shopping in M&S earlier this week and at £5 it’s a seasonal bargain for those people you need a tiny present for but want to keep it stylish.
  • Brown Dog door stop – Laura Ashley
  • A subscription to my favourite interiors magazine… Living Etc.

What do you think readers? Added any of these to your lust list?

Come back this afternoon as it’s a three post Thursday and we’ve got a very special and stylish treat in store for you all :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Florence’s Gift Guide #4

This morning for the fourth Florence’s Gift Guide, I’m tackling one of my favourite things to buy – kitchen goodies! Everyone knows someone who considers themselves a whizz in the kitchen and often, the kitchen is where people feel they can’t really splash out or spend money on frivolous finishing touches. I often see gorgeous items that I really want to buy for people so this was an easy one for me :)

  • I bought this for my sister last year and think it looks super smart on a kitchen worktop or table displaying your latest creations! Laura Ashley Cake stand with dome.
  • Do you know someone who collects Le Creuset but can’t afford to add to their collection? These are super cute and affordable at £20 – Le Creuset Preserve Jar – John Lewis
  • Perfect for a new couple or first married Christmas gift… White Heart serving bowl – The White Company
  • I love drinking bubbles and often take them to friends houses to celebrate little achievements or milestones, but not everyone has lovely champagne flutes. Marks and Spencers has several fabulous rages of glassware at the moment – well worth a look even for your own home! Champagne Flutes – M&S
  • For those who want to splash out there’s nothing better than the Candy Apple Red KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer – John Lewis
  • Warm somebody up with this tactile cable knit textured tea set – Cable Knit tea set – BHS
  • Because everyone needs one ad this is scandi-style at it best: Red Biscuit tin – M&S
  • Also available in white, I love the witty take on this ceramic Silver Milk Carton – NOTHS.com

Have you found anything here to help with your Christmas get shopping? Or is there something I have missed? Come back at 11 for the next gift guide – for home lovers, or check out the past gift guides for men, Etsy Gifts, and the girls.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Real Rooms – A Living Room Makeover

This morning, I am VERY excited. This post marks the start of one of the things that gets me really excited about Florence Finds… the opportunity to share other people’s Real Rooms. The idea is, you send in before and after pictures of your decoration, renovations and make-overs to inspire our lovely readers with your interiors style. There’s no right or wrong – I’d like to see a real variety of interiors and houses or flats on Florence’s pages, but today’s post couldn’t be more appropriate for the time of year.

Laura Lawson sent in the images of their recent living room makeover and I don’t mind saying I’d like to de-camp there for one winter weekend spent lolling in front of that fire. It’s so cosy!

Thanks Laura!

Before…
We bought our house in April 2010 and have been plodding along with its makeover ever since. It’s the first house we’ve owned, and I can’t tell you how excited we get about DIY and making things exactly how we want them! The living room in its former life was a rather dark, carpeted room with a mahogany door and window frame. It’s rather on the teeny side too so squeezing furniture in was going to be a bit of a nightmare.

After…
Step one was to banish the mahogany forever with a splash of Farrow and Ball’s ‘Cooking Apple Green’ (obsessed with it). Next, the old carpet came up to be replaced with some lovely oak wood flooring; the artex (shudder) was smoothed out by a genius plasterer and the walls were given a coat of antique cream. A lovely blank canvas, now what?!

There would be no point trying to make this room bright/airy/minimalist/tidy. We live in a cottage, we like its pokiness, so decided to embrace it! When we talked about our ideas for the living room we landed upon this theme – “the kind of room that you walk in and instantly want a nap”.

So here it is, our cosy, warm lounge full of stuff we love. Somewhere to put our feet up and snuggle. We succeeded in our mission by the way, I fall asleep in here all the time.

I love my Penguin classics!
A lot of photography books (of course!), and a vintage photographer stamp.

We found this fire companion set at a local traditional ironmongers.
Nothing beats a real fire and cashmere socks!


Now a word of warning to those wishing to embark on a land of real fires; they need attention, and if you haven’t used it for a year and it needs a good sweep you may accidentally set your chimney on fire (just a little) and need to call the fire brigade. What a dramatic end to our Florence Finds living room photo shoot; I need a lie down and a cocoa.

  • Sofas, coffee table, TV table, rug: Next. Bookcases: Ikea.
  • Lamp: Laura Ashley
  • Reconditioned telephone: Pedlars.
  • Tub of coasters from a souq in Morocco.
  • The best slippers ever: Ugg
  • Pretty pictures. ’Beneath it all’ by Todd White and an unnamed piece by a student.
  • Photo albums (containing our wedding prints): Jessops.
  • Speakers: Monitor Audio.
  • Tie backs: Laura Ashley.
  • Light: John Lewis.
  • Throw: Laura Ashley.
  • Candle: ‘Nectarine blossom and honey’ Jo Malone.

Super snug – I love.

So, Have you got a Real Renovation to share, a make over or DIY project? If you’d like to share it with our readers, please send in your images and a short write up, including the details of your featured items, to hello@florencefinds.com.

Please drop Laura a comment if you love her renovation, I for one am after those penguin classics… oh, and the cashmere socks please.

Love,
Rebecca.
xo

Shed some Light on it…

Well good afternoon! After all the excitement of this morning’s launch, lets settle down to some of the fabulous finds you can expect on a regular basis. We’re getting straight to the good stuff (or some of my favourites at least!) …Interiors.

I enjoy lighting so much that instead of over indulging and having rather too many lamps and statement lights, I am caught in a quandry of indecisiveness. Our dining room has been the subject of much ‘lighting’ discussion, many a walk around a lighting department and 5 years on, we are still with the same pendant shade. ( – a tin punched lantern bought in the souks of Marrakesh but now slightly rusty. Nice.)

Today, I thought I’d do a round up of task lighting, inspired by this stunning salvage look creation (Teak and Brushed Aluminium desk lamp) from Cox and Cox. You might have seen it adorning the front of their Autumn catalogue. As I searched I found quite a few, including a bargain from Laura Ashley with a similar look and some very utilitarian clamping lights from Plumo


*Teak and Brushed Aluminium desk lampCox and Cox, Cream enamel and wood lamp – Laura Ashley, Utilitarian Clamp light – Plumo.

Of course, no round up of task lighting is complete without the design classic that is the Anglepoise. The 1227 is the one I’m referring to, but I love equally the slightly retro, jewel bright glass shaded 1228. It’s inspired many a reproduction and you can even get a similar look from stores like Ikea.


*Blue Work Lamp – Ikea, Anglepoise 1227 in Cream – John Lewis, Anglepoise 1228 (with blue shade) – John Lewis.

I do rather like a bit of a retro feel to a desk lamp, and the blue one below has an air of late fifties design about it. Traditional lamps don’t look out of place even on a modern desk (Ikea coming up trumps here again) and this white lamp would be just as at home in a sleek all-white scheme as a rustic home office in the garden shed.


*Penelope Task Lamp in Slate – John Lewis, Hector Table lamp – Baileys, Nickel work Lamp – Ikea.

King of Quirk, Graham and Green make a couple of bobby dazzlers if you want something really different.


*Teacup desk lamp and Reclaimed Tap lamp

Not given your desk lamp a second thought? Or have you got a special piece to share? Drop a comment in the box and do let us know!

Love,
Rebecca.
xo

Spotted: Teacups Table Lamps

I love a bit of quirk appeal and it seems the high street has finally caught on! Both Laura Ashley (left) and BHS (right) have come up with the goods today with a humorous take on the standard table lamp base. Both in white, if you wanted to make them even more ‘stand out’ I think they would contrast brilliantly with a bright (maybe neon?) graphic shade and make a brilliant conversation piece. You won’t be able to bear to hide them away in a corner!

Get them before they’re gone – the Laura Ashley one is down from £110 to £55 in the sale!

Love,
Rebecca.
xo