Monday, 18 May 2015


I've just been watching the Chelsea Flower show and now my heart is set on growing peonies of all things.  Can one grow them in pots I wonder?  I've recently planted three iceberg roses and two David Austin roses, they are in bud so hopefully within 10 days or so I’ll have flowers! Any tips on growing roses would be appreciated!

My little office makeover has taken a back seat these last few weeks as weekends have been spent doing DIY for Angelgirl who is daughter no 1.  One of the things I really wanted was a brass lamp.  I fell in love with this here, but the aim was to spend as little as possible or at least spend under £500.  I had told myself if I didn't find an alternative to the brass lamp I wanted, I was going to blow the budget regardless, because I was so in love with that lamp.  However on a trip to our local IKEA, I found this lamp ready for a DIY makeover. 

I used Montana Gold Spray paint, a brand I've used a few times now because I can trust how the finish is going to turn out and I know the quality of the paint.  Giving the can a thorough shake up for about 5 minutes, I sprayed one coat and left to dry for about 20 minutes.   Now sometimes you might get blobs of spray paint which might indicate you haven’t shaken the can properly, however, take a cloth or a tissue and just wipe the nozzle.  If you do get unsightly blobs, wait for it to dry and take a very fine piece of sandpaper and gently rub it over the blob until it almost disappears.  Don’t worry that you might take off the gold paint, remember you are going to give it another coat anyway.  Wipe it off once you’ve sandpapered so that the surface is clean and then repeat spraying.  I found spraying in short bursts more effective than holding the nozzle down for long periods of time. It finishes matt which is fine, and I do like it, but I was wondering whether I should try varnishing it for a more glossy brass look.  I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out if I try it.

The art is a new piece, but it needs hanging on the wall in a different spot so just for the photo I propped it here.

Seems like rain most of week, but I'll be watching the Chelsea Flower Show from the comfort of my sofa!


Friday, 8 May 2015

Plants in the office

I am a huge lover of nature.  I really am.  Having grown up in South Africa I have travelled this beautiful country from top to bottom.  The fauna and flora is second to none.  It is LUSH.  We have no shortage of vegetation except in the Karoo…but that’s another story for another time.  This one is about plants.  I am hopeless at growing plants indoors.  I have no idea why they die on me, but they do.  Even when I water them.  So I've grown accustomed to no living plants at home.  But many faux plants and flowers - a post about this coming up shortly.  This time however is a little different.  I have LIGHT in this tiny space.  Lots of it.  Unhindered by curtains or blinds…light that plants need in order to grow….bouncy white light so bright I need sunglasses on…so I bought a few and I have to say, they are doing very well, thank you very much.  I water them, spray them with mist and so far, they have not died. 

BUT, it was not enough.  I wanted The KING of all King plants, the plant that graces the décor magazines, the Pinterest boards, the IG feed….the darling of the design world, the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree!  

It’s a huge risk, knowing my history with living plants, but I think this tree will survive, teach me to love real plants again and not to over water him…it’s a him trust me on this one….he comes already potted in a self-watering container, so there is no chance I can be accused of killing him…because my friends, he was not cheap….but oh so worth it…don’t you just love him?  He sets off this little corner rather well, his handsome leaves all big and shiny….

He came from House of Plants.  They deliver countrywide and it comes all packaged up like you've taken delivery of a Christmas tree in the box.  Not a leaf out of joint. Wildly impressed with them and with him actually.

In the meantime, the office project is a little slow.  The black frame is not staying here, I've just placed it so there's not a bare wall staring back at you.

Wallpapering and doing a little decking is what I’ll be doing this weekend.  Daughter no. 1, also known as Angelgirl has a few handy jobs for mum and dad to do…the joys of parenting!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


As some of you might know, a while back Honeybee moved out.  Honeybee being my middle daughter, leaving a space in need of a little TLC and bucket loads of white paint.  Read the back story here. Along with planning this little room which is really tiny, and an even more minuscule budget, I started redesigning this room into something more like an office/extra guest room.  The plan was to ‘shop’ the rest of the house for items I could use in the new office and to spend less than £500!

Optimistic you might say…but I do love a challenge, and I knew if I made the right choices I could come up with a space that was stylish and didn't cost a fortune.  The first things I turned my DIY skills to were the office accessories; the letter holder, tape dispenser and the stapler.  Of course, what I really wanted was a Kate Spade stapler and dispenser, in glorious acrylic and shiny gold, but unfortunately that would chew too much of my finances.  

When you’re up against a tight budget, you have to decide what things you need to spend the money on and what you can live without…so in the meantime the Kate Spade stapler and tape dispenser got demoted…

I used MONTANA gold spray paint that I bought from AMAZON, which I've used several times and I like the colour and the even spray. I didn't have to prep any of the items because they were plastic.  I just made sure they were clean and dry before I sprayed them.  I covered the stainless steel pieces with washi tape so that the silver metal still showed on the stapler. If you can, spray the items outside in the garden on a couple of sheets of newspaper.  The spray can get everywhere but it does disappear in the air when you’re outside. I gave the can a really good shake for about 5 minutes to ensure the paint was well mixed.  I sprayed the items in short bursts, first one coat, leaving it to dry for about 20 minutes, and then I applied another coat.  I've been using them regularly for a few weeks now and I am really happy with the quality of the paint, it hasn't chipped or marked.

More on this little white space which is proving more challenging than I had imagined!


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