Recommended: Wilderness Festival

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

Today the very lovely and stylish Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams is taking over the blog with her review of Wilderness Festival. If you happen to be a festival aficionado or just like to see how other people get their groove on, then you’re in the right place as this particular one looks EPIC…

I seem to be the only 30-something in the land never to have attended a music festival. Madness I know, particularly given the fact that I plan events for a living. But all that has now changed and last weekend I popped my festival cherry with the one dubbed ‘Poshstock’ otherwise known as Wilderness Festival.

Held in a tranquil lakeside setting in the Oxfordshire countryside, this festival, I imagine, is the antithesis to all other festivals. Magnificent curiosities abound and you would never find yourself short of something to do at Wilderness, from the sumptuous wood-fired hot tubs lining a lake filled with brave swimmers, to the gourmet banquets and food trucks galore and the plethora of workshops, talks, activities and live music taking place across the weekend. It’s a culture-seekers delight, a little too try hard at times, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

My attendance at the festival was a totally last minute affair, I was gifted the tickets just last Monday by clients of mine as a thank-you for planning their own festival wedding, and by Thursday we had packed up the car and headed South. This spontaneous adventure meant we were attending with a totally open-mind and lack of preconception about what was in store. It also meant we’d well and truly missed the boat when it came to trying any of the fantastic activities in offer, everything from the yoga sessions, to the hot tubs to the gourmet banquets was fully booked and despite asking at the elusive ‘info tent’ on arrival the only way we could get in was to keep calling back 10-minutes after each thing was due to start to see if there’d been any no shows, needless to say we opted out of that kind of to-ing and fro-ing.

It was slightly disappointing to not be able to try these things out and I think we’d have had a very different and more rounded experience had we been able to sample a little more, but we still had a great time and saw a lot. Here’s some of my highlights and observations about the festival for those thinking of going next year…..

WILD SWIMMING & WOOD FIRED HOT TUBS

Perhaps something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime is wild swimming, the lake was pretty much always full of swimmers in the daytime, with many taking their pew along the lakeside to catch some rays (whilst the sun was out that is). It was reminiscent of childhood summer holidays in the alps and you couldn’t help but to feel adventurous and carefree even if not partaking in the swimming yourself.

Although we didn’t manage to enjoy the hot tubs at Wilderness we have seen these in action having booked the very same ones for our clients festival wedding earlier in August. By Bathing under the Sky, these beauties are divine and pure luxury, the staff are superbly attentive and really what better way to spoil yourself than in a hot tub in a beautiful forest, champers in hand?

FOOD AND DRINK

Wilderness is without a doubt a foodies delight and we were spoilt for choice when it came down to dining. From the breakfast trucks in the camping area we enjoyed toast, bacon rolls, tea and freshly brewed coffee. For a slightly more relaxing breakfast we headed to the Sanctuary to a lovely little pop-up restaurant (name eludes me) with red and white checked tablecloths enjoying Huevas Rancheros and a chilled coconut water, delish.

There was such a vast selection of food trucks serving a multitude of foods: burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, curry, smoothies, ice-cream, fish and chips, paella, duck, lobster rolls, tacos, you name it you probably could have found it. For lunch I opted for a freedom Gyoza box from Rainbo which included a chicken and miso Gyoza with fresh slaw and edamame beans…..delicious, healthy and colourful. We also tried the wood-fired pizzas from Pizza Tabun which were so delicious we ended up back there again the next day. The food at Moro looked delicious too.

Drinks-wise there were a few bars onsite serving the standard spirit and mixer, priced around £5, we sampled a glass or two of the wine also but soon gave up as it was revolting AND warm. We were also a little disappointed by HIX as it looked fantastic and I’d heard great things, they had a cute outdoor chill-out section under a canopy with vintage furniture that looked so inviting, so we thought we’d enjoy a bottle of champagne and watch the afternoon unfold in front of us from the comfort of their lounge. Unfortunately though they didn’t offer ice buckets or any facility to chill it for us once purchased so we gave up and headed back to the Laurent Perrier Champagne Orangery for the second time since we’d arrived. This place was a little slice of refinement in the otherwise madness of the festival. I enjoy getting down and dirty at an event but sometimes you just want a cold drink and a comfortable seat.

Another favourite was the Zubrowka Bison grass vodka pop-up, a welcome respite from the rain on Friday evening with delicious cocktails, plus some pretty cool styling. Moro provided us with delicious white vermouth cocktails, refreshing and zingy.

FASHION

I could have sat for hours people-watching, everyone made such an effort with their outfits, even the kids with their face paints and funny tails. The festival themed each day with Altered States Friday, Disco Renaissance Saturday and the Cosmos on Sunday. And so ensued an explosion of glitter, sequins, spandex and feathers, with a few masks thrown in for good measure. Personally with little time to prepare it was a case of whatever we could get our hands on so I dug deep into my closet and picked out a few outfits, diy-ing a disco cape from some party decor I had knocking about my studio and buying a glittery cat mask online. Although we could have just turned up and headed to the various vintage and dressing up emporiums (so many) and found some outlandish outfits to wear.

I had a wander round a few and ogled the shiny delights on offer: Secret Emporium was like a party within the party and where I had my face painted by In Your Dreams, Rosa Bloom had some divine feathery and sequinned capes, Violets Box had a fab selection of outfits too.

It was clear this festival was a fashionista’s paradise and we saw so many fashion bloggers and fashion media strutting their stuff with plenty of street-style photographers snapping the action too. My only advice when it comes to dressing is to take lots of layers and flat shoes only, I ended up wearing mainly cut-off denim shorts with bodies and a variety of cover-ups, my anorak quite a lot as the rain was so sporadic and my hunter wellies.

THE DECOR

As a wedding and event planner I am always looking at how brands style and market themselves at events so for me it was like an being in an aladdin’s cave of inspiration. Colourful bunting as far as the eye could see and cute little styled spaces to interact with.


Some of my favourites included the Mulberry craft tent (annoyingly booked up all weekend so I didn’t actually get inside) and the Accessorize tent which had a cool wishing tree with colour-dipped feathers. I also saw lots of fashionable ladies walking around the site with their gold Mulberry balloons and branded picnic hampers, only to find out later that Cara Delevingne had been there to host a private picnic – my invite had clearly got lost in the post.



And as mentioned above the Zubrowka space with its forest-inspired teepee and 3-D paper art installation hanging from the ceiling was definitely one of my favourites and the most thought through design-wise, it looked like a mystical magical space that had literally grown amongst the woodland.

The Laurent-Perrier tent also looked beautiful with a gorgeous string installation over the bar – but I had already spied this on pictures from a previous year so was surprised they’d not done something fresh.


Oh how I’d love to design one of these spaces one day….brands take note.

ENTERTAINMENT

The music side of things, I felt, was quite average, and this comes from someone with hardly a passing interest in current music. It did seem that this element really took a back seat to everything else going on and I rarely saw the stages fill up with the kind of crowds we’ve all seen at the likes of Glastonbury et al. We watched a couple of sets on the main stage but couldn’t even tell you who.



For us the highlights were the late night revelry acts in Pandemonium, an amphitheatre in the valley which came alive at night. We had such a blast dancing our masked faces off to Horse Meat Disco, Greg Wilson and Futureboogie, the sound and lighting was immense topped off by a theatrical acrobatic performance by The Box. The Styx stage was another cool highlight, held on a carousel, as was the burning of the effigy which we watched from Pandemonium. Finally the hidden gem we found was the Artful Badger tent, a tiny space with fabulous music.

ACCOMMODATION

And now for the more practical elements which is where I feel Wilderness fell a little short of the mark and I guess this is the events organiser in me that has little tolerance for poor organisation.

With your ticket you also get access to general camping which allows you to pitch a tent in the main campsite. It has a few different sections including a Quiet Camp for those who actually want to sleep, a Family camp for those with kiddies and the free-for-all general area. There are food trucks close-by this area, plenty of toilets, showers etc and also the big green lockers should you wish to keep things secure (which are actually tiny and just fit your phone and wallet in them ), but definitely worth paying £25 for a weekend pass as you can also charge your phone in them.

This is where my experience was marred slightly with an unfortunate incident occurring on the Friday morning when we were abruptly awoken by a team of security guards telling us to move our tent as we’d pitched in a fire lane, along with about 100 other tents. Annoyingly when we’d arrived Thursday evening, after our 5-hour drive it was pretty dark, there were no maps and limited signage to direct you where to go. The campsites seemed pretty full and and were spilling out into the area we ended up camping in. We checked with the stewards and security manning these areas and we’re told it was fine to camp there so felt pretty irate when told we had to move the next day, particularly as the campsites were full to bursting by this point. Several hours later we’d managed to pack up, repitch the tent and unpack again but it left a pretty sour taste in the mouth. We actually ended up in the Quiet Camp which was anything but, the stewards tried to keep noise levels to a minimum but failed miserably resulting in quite a few sleepless nights.

Overall the camping facilities seemed to be badly organised and we heard many people complaining about it over the weekend, it seemed they had not anticipated the capacity with some reporting 30,000 people this year compared to 15,000 last year. If I attend again then I’ll definitely be glamping or staying offsite.

TOILETS AND SHOWER FACILITIES

This was the part I was dreading the most but I needn’t have been concerned, there was an abundance of toilet areas both in the main arena and across the campsite and I never once had to use my own loo-roll as they never ran out. The queues were pretty much non-existent apart from key points in the day, mainly mornings and early evening as everyone started to get a little inebriated but even then I never queued for longer than 5 minutes.

The showers were clean and HOT, but annoyingly were only working one out of the four times we tried to use them on both the Friday and Saturday. I imagine we were probably cleaner than most festival goers having showered and washed whilst there, but still, if you promise hot showers at least make sure they are working!!

MAPS AND SIGNAGE

Again another element that needs improving, finding your way around is difficult and no-one knows what’s going on when you ask them. You don’t get any kind of map when you arrive and have to pay £8 for a programme containing one which then doesn’t tell you the various food trucks on offer so for me was a waste of time.

It would have been much better with large maps dotted around the site or at least having something online that you can print yourself and /or work things out before you get there.

Despite all the above it was an incredible first festival experience and even though I was terribly sleep-deprived and had to pack up our tent in the midst of a hurricane I look back now with only fond memories of my experience. Roll on next year, who’s with me?

Michelle x

You can find Michelle at www.pocketfulofdreams.co.uk, an experienced events organiser planning individual and spectacular weddings and parties for clients across the UK and Europe.

#Januaryjoy: Try a new trend

With one eye already on spring I almost rescheduled this post but with the rotten weather we have been having it’s totally appropriate right now. This post also perfectly epitomises the sentiment behind todays prompt. Despite the use of the word trend, this one was more about trying something new for you, plus I always love Michelle’s fashion posts so lets get adventurous! – Rebecca

The fur collar or shawl is an item that has been on my wardrobe wishlist for a few years but I hadn’t got round to actually buying one before now. And it’s not strictly a ‘new trend’ in that in that it’s not nodding to the forthcoming Spring season but it is hot right now and perfect for adding a little winter season luxe to any outfit. Given recent years we’re likely to see the chilly weather lasting right through to March so still plenty of time to get your wear out of them.


atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com // Sydney Sadick
Faux fur is a really versatile accessory that can take an ordinary outfit up a notch or two in the luxe style stakes, not to mention adding a little warmth. I’m definitely a layers person when it comes to winter dressing and need the option of de-robing a few if I end up somewhere hot after walking outside in the cool air. With a fun fur collar added to my outfit I can change it up by having it just over my outerwear or looking equally as good over a t-shirt or sweater.


nowfashion.com // sarahklassen.com
I’m also really loving the colourful options available right now for adding that extra dimension to an outfit, burgundy and deepest blues being my favourites.


theyallhateus.com // cheetahisthenewblack.com

My top 6 faux fur collar picks…..

Fur roundup, faux fur collar, bloggers, fashion bloggers, florence finds, pocketful of dreams, michelle kelly

1. Adrienne Landau £122 2. ASOS Pink £24 3. Topshop Nude £25
4. Topshop Black £25 5. Monsoon Marjorie £29 6. UrbanCode Grey £43.99


SHOP THE STYLE – Find even more fur collar finds here.

I went for the black collar from Topshop and literally have not taken it off all Christmas. So findettes, what current or next season trends are you coveting or trying out right now?

Michelle xx

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#January Joy: Plan some clean eats

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

I’ve said it before I’m a planner at heart and the one element this has had the greatest impact on our home life is with meal planning.

We make all our meals from scratch at home as we’re both keen cooks and like to stay relatively healthy but time is always against us. We’ve often had those occasions of arriving home from work starving hungry, looking in the fridge and realising we had no food in or worse still, having food but not being able to come up with a single recipe that would work with the ingredients we had. Resulting in much tetchiness and stomping around the kitchen until our growling stomachs were relieved.

To bring a little more harmony to the home I decided to take matters in hand and took this meal planning task by the balls. I spent a few evenings trawling the net for recipe ideas that met a few criteria:

  1. Quick to prepare and cook, no-one wants to spend 3 hours marinading meat or stirring a pot when they get home from work
  2. Uses seasonal ingredients
  3. Is relatively healthy, clean food with plenty of veg
  4. Not too much stodge
  5. A combination of accompaniments- so rice, potatoes, pasta and noodles being our main go-to’s – I often forgo these but cook some up for the other half or he feels he’s being starved to death
  6. A combination of meats and fish dishes to give us some variation in our diet
We narrowed down a hitlist of meal ideas testing out a few new recipes to see if we liked them and if not adapted them to our own tastes. We now keep our hitlist written down in the kitchen and it includes around 30-40 different meal ideas to supplement our standard go-to’s of stir fry’s and pasta with something!. We settle on a two-week meal plan and buy groceries according to what’s on the plan. Refreshing it again at the end of the two weeks and doing another shop – we’ve recently been doing this online and now we have a favourites file on there it’s making the shop much quicker and simpler too.
Doing things this way does mean we know in advance what we’re going to be eating each day which can sometimes take the joy out of cooking and sometimes we’ll get home and really not fancy what’s on tonights plan so we’ll swop things around. But in the main we try and stick to it.
It also means we throw far less food away as every item we buy has been designated to a meal. Of course this is the goal, in reality it doesn’t always go to plan but I can hand on heart say I throw away probably 1/10th of the food I used to.
As the seasons change I review my meal ideas hitlist and look for new ones that fit better seasonally and then I simply bookmark the recipes on my phone or iPad so I can really quickly find them when I get home, or I email them to the other half to let him know he’s ‘cooking tonight’. It may seem a little like military planning but seriously it has made such a difference to our daily routine that I hardly even think about it now, meaning I have more time for the good stuff in life, like long lazy bubble baths, cuddling under a blanket with the latest edition of Red mag, or scoffing chocolates as we work our way through the Netflix library.
In the interests of sharing here’s my current list and associated recipes in case you’re in need of a little inspiration yourself:
CHICKEN
BEEF
LAMB
PORK
FISH
Some of these are not so speedy but as they tend to be more oven/casserole based I will either make a few up at weekends and freeze so it’s just a case of reheating or sticking them in the oven in the morning (with a timer set to switch it off of course!) so they are ready when I get home.
If you have any seasonal meal ideas to share please do pop us some links in the comments box, always room for adding new ideas.

Michelle xx

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Christmas Gift Guide #5: The Mini Me’s

Today I’m moving onto the mini-me’s. It can be hard to buy for the little ones and that old cliche about the cardboard box being more interesting than the present really does ring true. I also find that toys veer far too much down the plastic-fantastic route and try my best to steer well clear of those, preferring instead to buy choices I know the parents of any little one will love just as much as the little one themselves, if not more.

Christmas Gift Guide, Kids Gifts, Childrens Gifts, Kiddies, Little Ones, Christmas, Festive, Gifts, Pocketful of Dreams

What do you think readers, do you have little ones to buy for? What are your top tips and finds this year?
Michelle xx

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Christmas Gift Guide #4: The Stylish Homemaker

For those of you who are last minute shopping, we have a slew of gift guides this week for you and a couple of festive treats from my contributors. Hold onto your Santa hats!

Although I love the festive feeling of towns all dressed up in their twinkly lights, I must admit I have a real aversion to shopping when it’s incredibly busy. Brings me out in a cold sweat. So I tend to do the bulk of my shopping online from the comfort of my own home.

And with a really varied range of people to buy for this year my finds are quite an eclectic mix, so I’ve split them into a few gift guides which Rebecca is kindly sharing with you readers throughout the week.

First up is the stylish homemaker… we all have a friend who loves her home and gets excited about paint and wallpaper samples, well these are the perfect gifts for her (or him!). This one was pretty easy for me to put together as it’s basically everything I already want.

Gift Guide, homemaker, gifts for home, christmas, pocketful of dreams, christmas gifts, gift ideas

  • 1. Magazine buying always feels like such an indulgent luxury so what could be better than having this drop through your letterbox every month? A subscription actually works out much more cost-effective too. Living etc Magazine Subscription Gift Pack (12 issues)
  • 2. I love the intricate design of this Morse-Code Love Blanket by HollyBerry (how can you not buy one for Christmas with that name?)
  • 3. If you’re going to give scented candles then why not make sure they’re the best… Tom Dixon Scented Candle Gift Set I can see these making great desk pots once the candle has burned away
  • 4. The neon trend shows no signs of slowing down and these are a quirky little gift that won’t break the bank but will definitely impress Seletti – Neon Art Neon Letters Numbers and Shapes
  • 5. It may be practical but oh how pretty is it? Seletti Cutting Board
  • 6. This has long been on my list and I’m hoping will be under my own tree this Christmas Decorating with Style Abigail Ahern
  • 7. This may seem like an off choice of present but seriously I would love it if someone bought me these, they’re hard to track down and it’s one of those items I covet and never get round to buying Heals Plumen Bulbs. A stocking filler perhaps?
  • 8. Sipsmith Damson Vodka 50cl and 9. Kosta Boda Tumblers Of course these have to be given together, perhaps with a little handwritten recipe for a delicious Damson Vodka cocktail
  • 10. Ceramic Letter Hook another unexpected stocking filler that’s cute and original
  • 11. We Love Karou Mug sipping a morning coffee in these is guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone’s face
  • 12. And of course they could only sit atop these Artek Siena Coasters. Gorgeous!

 

Michelle xx

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Recommended: Lion + Pheasant, Shrewsbury

Last weekend we took a trip away to Mid-Wales for the other half’s birthday, staying at the Drawing Room in the Elan Valley (on Rebecca’s recommendation) over the Friday and Saturday evening’s. As it’s somewhat of a tradition for us to head out for Sunday lunch somewhere new at least twice a month we wanted to add this into our weekend somehow. We have tried almost every decent gastro-pub across Lancashire and Cheshire in our quest for the best Sunday Lunch, so after reading with interest in Red magazine about the Lion and Pheasant in Shrewsbury we added in a short stop on our way home to the Ribble Valley.

And boy are we glad we did!

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The Lion + Pheasant, a pub with 22 rooms and a Mr & Mrs Smith property, is a stunning conversion from coaching inn to stylish townhouse with a scandi-chic meets colonial New England interior. The Farrow and Ball-esque grey painted walls sit perfectly alongside pale oak and flagstone flooring with mismatched wooden furniture and industrial tolix chairs and stools creating a stylish yet laidback space. From the entrance on Wyle Cop we were greeted by a light and bright open-plan bar and reception area, where there is a wide variety of seating on offer from long dining tables to sofa’s and comfortable little nooks for two. Every aspect of the interior feels well thought-out with many clever designer touches that I loved, like the mason jar lighting over the bar area and the simple Christmas decor of holly branches in clear glass vases.  The hotel was actually remodelled by Rachael Chidlow of Paul Keogh Architects who is related to the owner and it is quite evident there has been a professional design-hand at work here.

We chose to dine in the buzzy bar area instead of the more formal split-level restaurant space upstairs, inviting as it was dressed with crisp white linens and gleaming glassware. We had a lovely long table to ourselves tucked away in a corner by the bar offering some privacy but still feeling part of the action. There’s also an inglenook, open-log fireplace in the bar area, perfect for enjoying a mulled wine (or three!) on long, lazy winter-days.

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Images by: Steve de Jetley Marks via Mr & Mrs Smith

The cocktail list was incredibly enticing, with seasonal variations of the classics on offer, I plumped for a Pear and Port fizz whilst the other half stuck with his standard Peroni. Despite arriving over an hour early for our reservation the staff could not have been more helpful and accommodating, seating us straight away.

Head chef Matthew Strefford has been awarded two AA rosettes for his outstanding and innovative dishes. We plumped for the traditional Sunday lunch menu and I wished we’d not spent the last two days stuffing our faces so I could try the full 3-courses on offer. The Mr opted for a root vegetable soup with creme fraiche, served with a basket of different breads which I helped him to mop up, the soup was perfectly spiced with the delicate creme fraiche and chives adding an unexpected yet delightful twist. We also both chose the Rib of Beef next with all the trimmings which included perfectly fluffy roast potatoes, caramelised whole carrots and parsnips with a delicious meaty gravy and of course crisp yorkshire puddings. The meat was served pink, which our waitress checked was okay for us, and it literally melted in the mouth. One of the best Sunday roasts I’ve tasted in a while – also on offer was belly of pork and turkey (given the proximity to Christmas). The wine list was extensive with both standard, purse-friendly options through to the more extravagant. A glass or two of cassis-rich Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect partner to our lunch.

The dessert choices were mouthwatering to say the least with treacle tart, orange cake and many other delights on offer. Our waitress insisted we could still order after resting for a while, despite the fact the kitchen stopped service at 3.00pm and it was now some way past that – another little tick in the goodbooks and so refreshing against other establishments and their ridiculous ‘rules that cannot be bent’. Alas it was not to be I’m afraid, I just could not fit it in….a reason to go back if ever there was one! The other half however had room for more and chose a cheeseboard which came with 6 delicious cheeses, a variety of artisan crackers, celery, walnuts and a slab of quince, all served up on a wooden cheeseboard and cleverly delivered to our table with two plates so we could share. And I can confirm every bit as delicious as the other two courses, I managed to squeeze in a few mouthfuls, much to the Mr’s disgust (hates sharing food!).

As a pub with rooms these guys have hit the nail on the head, combining superbly warm hospitality with delicious, flavoursome food and stylish yet unpretentious surroundings.

Also try….
Whilst there we had a little walk around Shrewsbury itself, meandering the olde worlde streets filled with independent boutiques and historic buildings. Unfortunately for us most of the shops were shut but I quite quickly determined this was a place I could easily spend hours having a good old browse. Some of the shops that caught my eye included:

  • Urban Folk - Hidden down an alleyway off Wyle Cop is this really quirky and creative shop with design-led gifts and accessories
  • Rustic and White - a beautiful French Vintage shop, selling home accessories @RusticandWhite
  • Vintage Shrewsbury - A shop that celebrates good ‘old-fashioned’ design
  • Appleyards Fine Foods - Located on Wyle Cop – luckily for us this one WAS open and it’s fair to say I was like a kid in a candy shop. A totally traditional deli packed to the rafters with gourmet fine foods. We stocked up on stinky cheeses for Christmas.

It’s fair to say we fell a little in love with our short visit to Shrewsbury and the Lion and Pheasant and will definitely be adding it to our hitlist of places to visit again to stay for a weekend in the future.

So readers have you been here? or do you have other recommendations of similar places to try across the UK?

Michelle xx

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Home Updates: The Pocketful of Dreams Creative Studio

Good morning readers! Now the weather has cooled down just a touch I’m feeling more productive and thinking about my home again so I was super excited when Michelle (remember her advice on Getting Organised for the New Year during #JanuaryJoy?) sent her office renovation in to share. I don’t think I have ever seen anything so pretty as those gold polka dots! 

At the beginning of the year I vowed to do two things: get organised and clear out the clutter. I went full guns blazing into my #projectorganise and have since found I have a renewed love for my home.

My studio is an attic room at home and was my first victim with a much-needed update. Several (I’m talking about 10 here folks) bin bags, a few clever storage solutions and some pretty new decor pieces later it’s finally starting to feel more like ‘me’. A space where I enjoy spending long days, working away on design concepts for my clients whilst the sun streams through my overhead window.

I also love the fact that as it is a true blank canvas with the crisp white walls and neutral carpet I can pretty much update it whenever I want with some really simple additions. Here’s what I’ve been adding lately:

NEW TRESTLE DESK – WITH DIPPED PINK LEGS

Ikea is my trusty go-to for relatively cheap office furniture, they always have something that will do the job whilst not breaking the bank. Plus it always works for me having a clean base to work with. So I purchased a new desk that allowed me a choice of tops and legs. I opted for a white gloss finish top and the most basic of their trestle legs range as they just look much nicer than the poles they offer. As they come in a standard grey metal I thought I’d add a little POD magic to them and first sprayed them white, then sprayed the ends in a hot pink for a dipped look.

To add a further splash of colour I have edged the desk with a turquoise blue washi tape and really love how these accents now start to define the space.

Those little blue pots adorning my desk are actually candle-holders but I prefer them to having huge pen pots on my desk and means I can get more in them. The John Lewis lamp that was kindly donated to me adds the perfect task lighting whilst still looking stylish.

INSPIRATION BOARDS

I am constantly gathering inspiration and like to have oodles of it surrounding me whilst I’m working on particular projects so I’ve kept my purse-friendly corkboard (previously a hideous red with pine frame) and simply given it a lick of pale grey paint so it blends into the space better. For the things I don’t want to stick pins into (like photographs) I use my Rockett St George magnetic memo board or rip up a piece of washi tape and use the wall behind my desk instead.

STORAGE SOLUTIONS

As a wedding planner my events kit is constantly growing and contains all manner of tools from scissors, hammers and screwdrivers to little packets of pins, pegs and sticky dots. I have to be prepared and I also have to have things to hand quickly to ensure a seamless set-up.

Recently my kit had grown a little out of control so I began looking for a tool belt that would double up as both office storage as well as to use at events. And wouldn’t you just know it, I stumbled across this lovely little pink canvas storage from H&M homewares (only available online or in London currently).

That’s where I got the perfectly cute aqua bow-tie hooks from as well, they did do a hot pink version but I found it a little too harsh for this space so have yet to use them. I have lined a few of the hooks up along one wall to store both my kit and other items like my trusty alphabet bags canvas bags.

A GOLD POLKA DOT WALL

The final piece of the puzzle and the element that makes me squeal every time I enter the studio is my gold polka dot wall. This is actually a party backdrop I came up with for a client event that’s translated so well into an interiors feature too. The high-gloss polka dots are low-tac stickers so they don’t damage walls and can be easily removed. If you fancy bagging something similar yourself head over to our Etsy Party Boutique as we’re now offering polka dot wall kits to buy.

So there you have it, a few relatively simple and inexpensive updates to my home studio space that I feel have really transformed it. What do you think folks, do you have any ideas to share for clever storage solutions or easy ways to add a little colour to an otherwise blank space?

Michelle xx

Michelle is one half of a creative-duo of event planners, specialising in creative and wow-factor weddings at Pocketful of Dreams. You can find her on twitter, instagram and pinterest.

#JanuaryJoy – Have a Clear Out

Today, Michelle is here to talk about her ‘get organised’ plans for 2013. She has got a handy guide to how she tackled her wardrobe clear out that I think you’ll all find useful. I know I always find my wardrobe daunting. ‘Will I wear it again?’ and ‘It feels to wasteful to throw things away…’ but if you’re to have a streamlined wardrobe being ruthless is essential. Take it away Michelle!


Image Credit

I’ll admit that when it comes to clothing I hate to throw anything away, yep my name is Michelle and I’m a hoarder. The problem became so out of hand when I had filled the entire wardrobe spaces across two bedrooms (3 double hanging spaces, and 15 drawers, yikes!) along with several more suitcases bursting at their seams in the attic space too. This came to light when my partner moved into my home and was genuinely horrified at the amount of ‘stuff’ I had that just did not see the light of day.

His continual nagging reasoning eventually resonated, I finally got that there’s no point keeping clothing that didn’t fit or was even remotely stylish anymore. It was time for a clear-out. Now along with my fear of letting go of anything in case I one day need it again, I also loathe waste and would rather sell my clothes on than just bin them. So when I have had a clear-out before I’ve simply moved the items from wardrobe to bin-liners in the vain hope I’ll miraculously find an extra 3-million hours to list everything on ebay and make enough money to treat myself to next seasons must-haves. #neverhappens. I simply end up with more clutter catching dust in the attic.

It was time to be radical, to let go and think with my head not my heart so I set aside a full day to have a proper clearout. I got rid of all those old clothes filling up my wardrobes and I made sure the things I use as part of my daily getting-ready routine were easy to locate and had a dedicated space.

The original day I set aside to do it actually turned into two but it’s time well spent in my eyes and boy am I glad I did it now. Over one month in and my bedroom is still exactly as it was when I finished the clear-out, totally zen and totally organised. The time it takes me to get ready each day has halved (yes that’s right HALF the time – just goes to show how long I spent ‘looking’ for stuff) and I’ve started to enjoy getting dressed again, co-ordinating my outfits and actually wearing more than a handful of core items.

So in the interests of sharing here’s my tips for having your own clear-out:

Put some loud music on – it will keep you going at a quick pace rather than getting distracted by all the things you’re unearthing
Start with a clean slate – pull out everything and pile it onto the bed, start with clothes, then move onto shoes, accessories and lastly your make-up/beauty items
Create three piles:

  1. The things you both LOVE and make you feel GREAT – these are the keepers
  2. The things you LOVE and want to keep but they need repairing or altering – you have to get these done right away or they’ll sit in your wardrobe for another 12-months
  3. The things that you’re not 100% sure about, items that don’t fit or have really seen better days – these have to go so get the bin bags ready!

Now be strict and keep only those items you really LOVE and WOULD/COULD wear. There’s no point keeping something you love but the fit being awkward, or the colour doesn’t really suit you, or you’re just waiting for something to go with it. If you have an excuse why you’ve not worn it then bin it. Keep in mind at all times, how those clothes make you feel, because really who wants to wear anything that doesn’t make you feel 100% great?

  • Decide which wardrobe and drawer space is best for each type of clothing, from hanging to drawers and shelving. Put items you need daily access to, like work clothes, in the main hanging spaces and those worn less often in drawers or on shelves.
  • When hanging your clothes back in the wardrobe try colour-coding them so they are easy to find when you’re pairing outfits together. I hang from light to dark shades with all my tops, shirts, blouses etc in the top hanging space and bulkier jackets, cardigans etc at the bottom. My trousers and skirts have a small wardrobe all of their own, jeans get folded up and put on shelves and everything else goes in the drawers
  • I know it’s a pain but try to iron your clothes too before they get put away, they will get slightly creased again but I find it’s easy enough to run a hot hairdryer over slightly creased clothes (or just hang them in the bathroom while you shower) than it is to get the iron and ironing board out every day. Also take the time to put them all the right way around on the hanger, you wouldn’t buy from a shop that had creased, inside out clothing on display would you? You want to feel good when getting dressed, it’s all about creating an enjoyable experience.

  • Utilise drawer dividers for things like jewellery and underwear, Ikea do some really cheap ones and they really do help to keep things neat and tidy
  • Anything that isn’t going to be worn for months (ie really seasonal items) should be packed away into suitcases for storing
  • Keep shoes in their boxes if you can as it maintains them for much longer. To help you find what’s lurking inside each box take a snapshot of each pair and stick it to the side of the box (I just used my phone to do it then printed on the home computer and stuck them on with tape, I would have preferred a polaroid but I don’t have one).

  • If you have a dressing table don’t be tempted to fill the surface with ‘stuff’ it may look pretty but I guarantee it will look chaotic after a week of rushed getting ready, instead try to keep everything in drawers. Keep only the items you use on a daily basis on your table and have them organised in pretty pots (mine are Cox and Cox candle votives) and use a nice tray for any flat items (like blusher and bronzer) that won’t go in a pot. Create separate compartments in the drawer space using plastic pots so you can group things like hairgrips, bobbles, nail products etc (mine are old business card holders reused)
  • Skincare products I find are better in the bathroom as they are part of my washing/showering routine

I quickly realised last year that I can’t continue the way I had been doing and a certain level of strict organisation was needed for my sanity. So I’ve started #ProjectOrganise and will be blogging, tweeting and instagramming about my progress over the course of 2013.

Please do join in, there’s nothing better than knowing we’re all in it together, if you have any time-management tips, or little aspects you also feel the need to tackle then drop us a comment and we’ll make sure it’s considered in a future post.

When our time is so precious it’s little steps like this that make all the difference. Every. Second. Counts and no-one wants to waste time hunting under the bed for their mascara every morning.

Michelle
Pocketful of Dreams

{Pocketful of Dreams are creative event designers, passionate about creating breathtaking experiences. They design, style and deliver unique weddings and events tailored to your own personal story.}

Blogging Laid Bare #5: Photoshop tutorials – What’s in the Tool Box?

For the last couple of months, the Blogging Laid Bare series has covered several different topics that bloggers may find useful, whether you’re just starting out or want to make your existing blog a bit snazzier, slicker or generally all round fabulous. In the past I have done a Photoshop templates tutorial for bloggers wanting to present their pictures in a smarter way or for use in mood boards, but if that left you a bit scared faced with tackling photoshop, then this week’s post is especially for you, or anyone who isn’t sure they’re using photoshop software correctly.

Continuing the collaboration, this week’s Blogging Laid Bare post is over at Pocketful of Dreams where Michelle has put together a basic (although I’d argue it’s pretty flipping comprehensive – well done Michelle!) guide to Photoshop tools, and what they do.

Just click the image to go straight to the post on Pocketful of Dreams.

Other blog posts in the ‘Blogging Laid Bare‘ series:

I hope you find is useful and as always, let us know if there’s something else you would like to see covered, we’ve got a lot up our sleeves for this series ;)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Come back at 2pm for this afternoon’s post as usual!

Blogging Laid Bare #3: Blog Design

Those of you who are regulars here will already know that I have tooted a certain trumpet before, that of the lovely Michelle over at Pocketful of Dreams. I have long admired Michelle’s style and skills when it comes to creativity design and business professionalism. She is hands down one of the most talented people I came across when I was a part of the wedding industry. However, the qualities I admire even more than those I have already mentioned are what has lead me to collaborate with her today. For me, aside from the day to day priority of bringing twice daily quality content to my readers, blogging is about learning new skills in design, the technicalities behind blogging and the business side of it. Building relationships, networking, supporting other bloggers and collaborating should be a big part of it, but whilst others pay lip service to the idea, there is a fair bit of competition behind-the-blogging-scenes (not all of it healthy,) and Michelle is one of the few people to fully embrace the idea of working together, honestly and openly.


Image courtesy of Pocketful of Dreams, from ‘Blogging Laid Bare: New Blogging tips series in conjunction with Florence Finds

Helping other bloggers with things I struggled with is something I wanted to do for while before starting the Blogging Laid Bare Series and during one of many discussions with Michelle it became apparent that she felt the same. It was obvious that this was something we could do together. So today, Michelle is continuing the series with a post about blog design, something I love and feel quite passionately about, so I was delighted to contribute and see that she has referenced a couple of the Florence Finds design elements as examples too.

If you want to catch up on the series, I’ve already covered:

…and you can read Michelles introduction to the series here.


Image courtesy of Pocketful of Dreams, (using illustrations by Antoinette Fleur, a young French fashion illustrator.)

In the mean time, head on over to Pocketful of Dreams and catch the latest installment:

  • BLOGGING LAID BARE #3: DESIGN

Look out for more in the series!

Love,
Rebecca
xo