Wednesday, 22 April 2015

White space

It all started with Honeybee.  She was always attracted to warm bright colours, what honeybee isn't and so her bedroom reflected her personality; vibrant, creative and busy like any little worker bee.  ORANGE!  All four walls.  No one could ever say it wasn't cheerful.  When our summers turned to grey and winter set in, Honeybee’s room shone. It was never dull.  Just like her.  Full of African artefacts, posters and photos, invitations, faux butterflies hanging from ceilings, Peacock feathers,  sparkly jewellery dangling from several stands, beckoning to be worn to one more party, and the floor constantly strewn with assignment papers.  And then she left. 

Every time I’d go into her room I’d be wondering how I could utilise it better, since Honeybee doesn't come home that often.  I also needed a space, somewhere to put my laptop other than my knee and so the big clear out started.  It took me about three weeks to pack up all her possessions, sorting them into different piles; bin, charity shop, and storage.

Because the rest of the house is fairly colourful, I wanted minimal colour here.  And for those of you who have heard me talking about my distaste for white interiors, I take it all back.  I've been converted, at least in this room. I was so excited about the prospect of wallpapering one wall with Cole and Son’s Palm Leaf Wallpaper as I had some left over from a few years back, but after struggling to cover the orange with four coats of white paint, I don’t think I can deface these walls with wallpaper, so I am keeping it white.  It’s bright and light and it feels cool, but not cold and because it’s a tiny room which is long and not very wide, I wanted it to look as spacious as possible.

Like most rooms, they take time to evolve.  Right now I'm looking for a rug.  I just can’t seem to find one that isn't too loud or colourful. I'm favouring sisal or jute at this stage which I want to top with another more graphic rug in muted tones.  The colour palette is a little bit neutral with pops of gold, earthy tones with lots of greenery and a few sparkly pieces to warm it all up.  My design scheme totally changed after I decided against hanging the wallpaper.  When you change one element of a design, everything else needs tweaking and so I am adjusting my design to fit in more with my restrained mainly white canvas.

A sneak peak of my desk which is not quite finished.  The gold Hare is by Abigail Ahern and I'm a little bit in love with him!  I've bought some plants in here to complement the white space and give it some life, plus it’s really light and sunny so I'm hoping these will flourish! Keeping colour to a minimum is really hard for me, because I love colour in a big way, but I'm going for a restrained palette here and quite honestly, after the orange I am appreciating the neutrality of this space. 

So a few pics for the week, I’ll have more to show you later as I layer it all up, add some gold, a few cushions and more green.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter Table

Hi lovely people, hope you all enjoyed a wonderful 4 day break, celebrating Easter, Passover or just chilling, grateful to have an extra two days off work!

And a big thank you to all who take the time to comment on my blog.  I do appreciate you!

Along with celebrating Easter Sunday, Hubby celebrated a birthday on the Monday, so we decided to combine the two and have a family lunch for him.  I couldn't help but decorate the table with chocolate eggs, birds’ nests and tiny bunnies (I was channelling my inner child here!)  Centre stage was taken up by my fabulous gold Rabbit/Hare by Abigail Ahern and bunches of fresh flowers.  I think I might have bought the very last one at my local Debenhams store!

So bringing you flowers, chocolate eggs and bird’s nests. The gold star table cloth is the same one I used at Christmas and the snow drop glasses are vintage from a local charity shop and the vintage gold ribbed glasses I found on Etsy.  The pink and gold vase is a recent find at a local antique store in Southsea, it was hanging out on a brown table surrounded by brown maps in a room full of brown dusty and faded antiquities…it’s no wonder I spotted it!  The tiny pastel bunny dishes I found in Brighton at a store called TIGER, they have a selection of quirky items for really good prices.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Refreshing for Spring

Happy 1st of April lovely people! 

Our money has to go a long way nowadays,  we've got holidays to plan for, clothing budgets, in-case-the-geyser-breaks budget, the list is endless…and usually no budget to update your home.  And as we've just entered spring, I am thinking of ways to refresh my own home, removing existing dark cushion covers and replacing with lighter and brighter ones, adding a new vase or two, bringing in some fragrant candles to the mix and packing away the sheep skins and chunky throws until winter. 

So today I'm doing a little post on a couple of items I've found whilst browsing the internet that I really love especially for a little room refresh.  I'm pretty good at finding items that are stylish but don’t have exorbitant price tags.  Items that you don’t have to secretly hide away from hubby in the closet for a month because you splurged your housekeeping money on that original art piece instead of buying your monthly shop.....uhm….that would be me 20 years ago! Can’t say no to a good piece of art!  So happy I did because let’s face it, art lasts forever, gives you continuous visual stimulation and joy and whilst food, well…

A few of my favourite finds from the internet, categorised into three different looks: neutrals, gold and you can take your pick and start freshening up your space for spring. Prices range from £9-£190.

Wishing the wind would die down so I can get out the bicycle and head off for a little exercise, here's hoping that this weekend will be a good one.

If you'd like to refresh your home and want to redesign a room/s and want to get in touch please do so on

Until next time!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Bedroom Update

This is a funny time of year….Spring has officially arrived, but it’s still cold…yesterday we had a sudden and unexpected hail storm lasting about 10 minutes, leaving everywhere covered with ice, the size of peas.  This morning the skies were clear and blue….looking like a summer’s day except for the temperature which was 11C, and now we hear that our icy temps might be with us well into July….but anyway enough obsessing about our weather which won't change no matter how much we talk about it!

A while ago I shared a little bedroom tweaking...not to be confused with twerking….this is a little far more sophisticated, a little less brash and in your face….if you want to check out the before pics read here  We've only made subtle changes, but even those small changes have drastically changed the look and atmosphere of the room.  One thing I love about working with a small budget is that it forces you to be more creative and come up with ideas to improve the overall look while still keeping the finances in check.  It’s doubly hard when the client lives in a city where vintage stores are rare and the merchandise unappealing and more appropriate for the dump than a makeover.

She was sending me pics via whatsapp, when eventually we decided it was probably better for me to try and source something over here as I had a good idea what I was looking for.  I scoured the internet for cushion covers without inners because sending cushions and feather inners over to SA didn't make sense and I didn't want to waste funds on something that could be bought in SA. I couldn't find anything I liked here in the UK, so I went to, one of my favourite places to buy art and they have fabulous cushion designs.   I narrowed it down colour wise to about 20 cushions, made a folder for client and asked her to choose a few she really liked. Ultimately the client decides what she likes.  Sometimes you need to guide them in the right direction and this is what I did here.  She was happy.     We finally decided on this cushion which is kind of plain and simple, but it’s got a nice pattern without being too busy. I'm in two minds about teaming it up with a darker teal/blue velvet, or just throwing in a rectangular cushion in a different colour because my client is not into tons of cushions on the bed.

We also bought this stunning print.  We could have gone for the original, but again shipping the original all the way from Ireland to South Africa wasn't going to be cheap, so we went for the print option and it arrived today, nicely packed in a tube.  Super excited to get it out and see how it looks.  It will be framed just like in the picture below.  We ordered a large print which when framed is going to look great above the bed. My client isn't into a wall full of paintings, but I convinced her that a large painting above the bed would work.   Abstract paintings need to speak to the viewer and if they can keep you looking, guessing or evoke a certain feeling, then it’s a great painting.  Sometimes abstract paintings can look a little like something you know, and when I saw this one, it reminded me of the seaside. It’s soft and tranquil and suits my client perfectly.  That it’s blue like the cushions is quite unintentional and the soft pink/nude colours remind me of the sand.  It won’t feel out of place as my client lives about 10 minutes from the nearest beach and besides, I like it, she likes it! We are going for a pared down but cohesive space. The more I look at the rattan headboard, the more I like it.   It has two matching bedside tables, and they are staying as is.  I didn't want to go the route of painting everything white, I wanted to retain the integrity of the original pieces even though they aren't vintage, they kind of look vintage.

The cushion covers are from Motifpillows on Etsy

And the painting is from Lola Donaghue also on Etsy

More updates in a few weeks and I promise I won't mention the weather again!

If you'd like a room re-designed and want to get in touch, please send me an email on

Until next time

PS: a while ago I told you about a friend of mine who has left England to spend six months on the tiny Island of St Helena...if you'd like to follow her journey read more about it here

Monday, 16 March 2015

Weekend Roaming in Hastings

What happened to Spring? Despite the cold, my bulbs are tentatively starting to surface and reach for the sunshine. 

Early Saturday morning we found ourselves driving to Hastings, a mere 2 hour drive from where we live.   Hastings Old Town has long been an attraction to anyone remotely interested in history, the battle of Hastings, 1066 and the Norman Invasion and for me, the history of our family started which all began when we came over with William the Conqueror from France and settled in Horsham, West Sussex.  One of my uncles has researched our family genealogy which dates right back to 1617 until today. Hastings was first mentioned in the 8th century and used to be an important fishing port and today still has the largest beach based fishing fleet in England.  I’m not going to rattle off a history lesson, but if you’re interested in reading more about Hastings read here 

Although cold and windy and without camera as this drive was quite unintentional, I managed to snap a few photos with my iPhone.  The Old Town high street is full of beautiful and quirky home store shops, antiques and vintage finds and some lovely quaint places to eat.

Our first stop was a deli serving the most delicious lemon drizzle cake I have ever tasted and a good cup of leaf tea. If you are ever in Hastings Old Town, it’s at the top end of the High street, away from the beach front, and it appears to be the only deli in this area, sorry I didn’t take down the name!

Wanting to investigate we walked up several steps and found ourselves atop the hill overlooking Hastings Old Town. The walk reminded me that I need to get out more and definitely climb a few more stairs to get my heart beat racing!  The Old town is situated in the valley between two hills giving it plenty of shelter from sea winds.  You can tell it was cold because there was hardly anyone about on the hill...

We visited a few really interesting and beautiful shops, one of them Warp and Weft, where I briefly chatted to one of the tailors who makes these exquisite but slight eccentric English country gentlemen clothing, once again no pics because quite honesty I didn't think my iPhone pics would do the old world interior any justice, but I should probably just confess it was so cold I didn't want to take my gloves off!

The high street boasts a few antique and vintage stores. I fell in love with a pair of 1950s European chairs with polished wooden arms reupholstered in fine Scottish wool.  Once my hubby sat himself down on one of these chairs, he didn't want to get up.  Unfortunately having driven with a small car, we couldn’t take them with us, and the price tag of £750 for one chair was a little too steep for my pocket!  But they were beautiful. Christine at specialises in modernist chairs and a few other elegant mid-century pieces.  

Another little treasure is Vintage Bird run by Claire, a tiny store packed to the ceiling with fabric and unusual and beautiful wallpaper.  I left with a sample of Sanderson wallpaper and thinking of a room in which to hang it.

One of the most beautifully styled stores was A.G Hendy & Co Homes Store, stocking home ware pieces, all lovingly crafted and made and amongst other things, a collection of glass cloches.  The shop itself is a museum piece and worth popping in even if only to buy a pastry brush or an old fashioned feather duster!

If you like visiting churches, then you’ll love St Clements. Tracing its origins back to 1080, it is an historical landmark in Hastings Old Town. Dante Rossetti married Elizabeth Siddell here in 1860.  The stained glass windows are beautiful, two of which were replaced by Richard Cole after they were bombed out in WWII.  He apparently depicted himself in the window wearing yellow.  They have recently renovated and modernised part of the church, and if you’re lucky to visit on a Saturday morning you can enjoy cake and tea for a few pennies.

Usually I'm straining under the weight of my many purchases, but surprisingly I came home with only a few beautiful cards and two succulents, which I am kind of in love with…

I’d love to go back to Hastings when it’s a bit warmer and take a few photos with a decent camera but I hope you've enjoyed the brief excursion and a little peek into this coastal town.

Until next time!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

And so to bed

Just to let you know Peter Rabbit is alive and doing well.  I was making a cup of tea when I spied him outside munching my fake lawn, which didn’t go down too well.  He soon hopped over to my daffodils and started nibbling the heads off.   After my initial  shock of finding a rabbit in my garden, I raided the fridge for a few wilted carrots and went outside to have a one to one with Peter…who seemed very friendly and came right up to me nose a twitching and took the carrot right out of my hand!  I asked him how he managed to get over the fence, but he didn’t reply…rabbits are funny like that.

Today I'm talking fabric for headboards… if headboards weren't so expensive, I’d have a few stashed away in the spare room which I could swap when the seasons changed…but as it stands headboards are quite costly, so making the right decision is crucial.

So to show you what the headboard might look like, I’ve teamed up the samples with my existing wallpaper.  The wallpaper is Laura Ashley’s Summer Palace which is based on an 18th century design.  Mine is in the pink colour way which I just love, when I spotted those pink birds, it was love at first sight and a few years down the road, I still love my wallpaper, so it is staying.

The first sample is this British velvet in Ivory.  Initially I put this colour aside as being slightly too bland and beige and old fashioned,  but the more I look at it the more I am warming to it. It’s rich and creamy looking and the texture of the velvet is thick and lovely to the touch. Much like the inspiration picture I found on Pinterest. Plus it picks up the small pops of beige that feature in the wallpaper.

I’ve used navy velvet before in a chair makeover a few years ago, so I know how dark velvet shows up the slightest bit of fluff but I love this Peacock blue velvet for my headboard too. What's not to like about Emily Henderson's gorgeous peacock blue headboard? I think it will give the room a little more substance, because it is quite feminine.  Fortunately my hubby isn’t in the slightest bit intimidated by pink birds!  It also means that if I swap out the wallpaper for painted walls in plain white or grey in a few years’ time the blue headboard will still look good.

The white was my absolute favourite.  I had already decided that the headboard was going to be white. I’d seen enough inspiration pics online to know I would love this look and it would blend so well with what I already have in my bedroom. This one is White Naples.  It’s soft, it’s really feminine looking, but my main concern is keeping it lovely and white.  I don’t have any toddlers in my home, so it’s not likely to get smeared with chocolate, but dust in the city is a problem.

My other sample is faux leather in white.  This is one is a beautiful faux.  But it’s still faux and I’m not sure how it will wear.  When I searched Pinterest for faux leather headboards, loads came up, this one included which I love from a distance, but not being able to see one already made up is making me more than hesitant that it might look a bit 1980s, but this pic shows how contemporary faux leather can look.

So you see my dilemma….I think I know which one I’ll go with….but which one do you prefer?

Oh and if you are wondering what happened to Peter Rabbit…seems my neighbours children lost their bunny.  We caught him eventually, after he had ravaged my bulbs and nibbled the new green shoots of my daffodils! Naughty Peter Rabbit!