Interior lust: Cobalt Blue

While I’m not one to wish my life away (hello thirties, I hear you calling me), I did spend a vast proportion of 2014 wishing for 2015. Why? Well 2014 was the anticlimax of what had been a brilliant year before. If 2013 was the party, then 2014 was the hangover; I just couldn’t shake that feeling off and, stupidly, I planned absolutely nothing exciting to make me feel better. Not even a holiday.

So this year is going to be different. I have SO many exciting things to look forward to this year, and one of which will be moving house. We’ve lived in our current house for nearly seven years, and while I’ve loved it and it’s been perfect so far, it’s definitely time to move on. And I absolutely cannot wait to get decorating.

Our move is a way off yet, but that hasn’t stopped me obsessing over how I might decorate the new spaces we’ll call home. And one of the things that’s surprised me during this ‘research’ process (i.e. Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest) is how much my tastes have changed in seven years.

Some of the principles I’m keen to adopt when decorating our next house include clean lines, cosiness and a streamlined colour pallet that works throughout the entire house. And a heavy part of that colour pallet will, surprisingly, be blue.

Having lived in a small house for seven years, cobalt would never normally be my first choice when decorating – but the prospect of moving somewhere bigger means I can experiment more with colour. Here’s how I’m thinking cobalt might work – inside and out…

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Christmas 2014: Scandi style all the way!

I can’t believe there’s just a little over a week until Christmas day is upon us. I feel like the whole festive season has just crept up on me this year, even though I spent most of November thinking about it!

We’re hoping to move house next year, so this Christmas is extra sentimental for us as it’s the last one in our current home – the one we’ve lived in together for nearly seven whole years. I’m sad to go, but equally excited for a new beginning; it’s a strange feeling. With that in mind, I’ve been soaking up the festivities and going all out with the decorations this year. I mean, I always go way overboard anyway, but this year is something else. And, of course, this year I’ve gone for another new theme when it comes to Christmas decor (does anyone else do this? No? Just me?!) – Scandi style has won my heart this year, so much so that I think it might be my favourite EVER Christmas theme (until next year. I’m fickle like that).

So here’s how Christmas 2014 looks in our house at the moment:

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Apologies if you follow me on Instagram, because you’ll already have seen these pictures. But if not, here’s the lowdown on where everything comes from:

1. DIY Christmas baubles. The easiest things ever – the clear baubles are from eBay, the mini baubles inside from Paperchase and the labels made with my new obsession: the label maker. I wrote a little tutorial on this in more detail over on the Bellaboo & Beau blog last week.

2. Our tree. For the first couple of years we lived together we had a fake tree, but it just wasn’t the same and now we always have a real one. Granted, it’s slightly messier – especially with two inquisitive little cats running around – but I can’t imagine not having a real one now. Even when it does droop after two weeks and I constantly have to rearrange baubles that are sagging on branches (number one pet Christmas hate right there).

3. Presents all wrapped under the tree. I’ve gone with gold polka dots alongside my usual kraft paper this year. The star shaped labels are from eBay, and the tags all made with my new best friend, the label maker.

4. A selection of this year’s wrapping items. The gold polka dot paper was £1 a roll from Sainsburys and although it looks good, it was a nightmare to work with. It’s so thin that I had to double wrap some presents as they were showing through the paper after one layer. Awkward. The silver sequin ribbon is from eBay, as are the rubber stamps, and the craft strips were bought in PoundLand back in the summer (on a total whim – I had no idea what I’d actually use them for at the time I bought them!)

5. Styling up the dining table in preparation for some festive drinks last night. Not that we actually used the dining table, but you know, any excuse to buy flowers and sequins. The silver sequin runner was from The Sweet Hostess, the flowers from my local florist and those adorable little hexagonal candle holders? 50p from a local charity shop. Steal of the year.

6. Leftover flowers that wouldn’t fit in my table arrangement. Flowers (much like cake. And biscuits) never go to waste in our house. The paper star (my absolute favourite new Christmas item this year – why did I only by one?!) was £4 from Primark and the silver stag tealight holder was a Christmas present from my Mum last year. Tempted to keep it out all year though, what’s the deal on that?!

7. Our living room this week has been my favourite place. It’s so cosy and warm and I’m going to miss it when we move. Especially our little balcony – where the hell am I going to hang all of those again next year?! All of the paper snowflakes and honeycomb balls are from eBay. The wicker stars are from Dunelm Mill (last year, unfortunately) and the baubles are just from my ever-growing and slightly obsessive collection.

8. The kitchen looking cosy last night before some serious Prosecco drinking got under way (headache central today – I’m eating Twiglets and praying for the best). The blue mercury style fairy lights were £5 in the Wilko sale a couple of years ago and the wicker stars are from eBay. I’m hoping our next kitchen will be big enough to house a second Christmas tree – slightly wishful thinking there though I think!

 

How are you decorating this Christmas? Do you love Scandi as much as I do? Are Twiglets the best hangover cure ever?!

2014 Christmas decoration haul

It’s no secret that I love Christmas. It’s also no secret that every year I go mad buying decorations. I don’t need any more. I don’t even really want any more, but you know…they just kind of find their way into my home somehow.

Last year I was all about red. And after a brief flirtation with the idea of having neon pink, this year I’ve actually settled with a palette of mixed metallics – gold, silver, white, grey and, my latest obsession, copper. Ultimately, I’d love to build up a proper decoration collection – something I can use every year, just adding the odd trinket to (this will never happen FYI, but you know, it’s good to have goals). And while I’m aware that by this time next year I’ll be coveting something completely different for now, at least, I’m really happy with my 2014 selection.

So without further ado, here’s what I’ve bought in and where I bought it…

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1. So the first item is a bit of a cop out in terms of buying. My mum is an ace knitter – I don’t even know how she does it – and every year she knits us something at Christmas time. Last year we got cushion covers, but this year? Well this year she went above and beyond, knitting us this amazing advent calendar. I can’t wait to use this every single year, especially when children come along one day and we can fill it with all sorts of fun treats 🙂

2. I bought these tiny baubles on a whim. I was on the Paperchase website searching for a diary and ended up with £25 worth of un-diary related products. Obviously. You should know that these baubles are tiny though; so small, in fact, that I didn’t end up putting them on my tree. But I did do something pretty awesome with them that you can see here. The larger ones on the right are all from B&Q, and were all 99p. FYI, B&Q has really come up in my estimations this year with regards to Christmas – well worth a look if you’ve exhausted every other avenue in the hunt for decorations!

3. So I really wanted some of Anthropologie’s rustic wooden letters for my tree. But I REALLY didn’t want to spend £6 per letter. Cue a desperate eBay hunt, where I tracked these beauties down for a mere 99p each. To make them a bit more unique, I dug out a favourite Christmas staple of mine – metallic twine – and wrapped it around each letter a few times, alternating between silver and gold.

4. What is Christmas without several hundred thousand stars around the house? These wooden stars came home with me during a routine food shop at Sainsburys. I can’t remember exactly how much they were, but know they were on offer at the time and were around £5 (ish) for the pair. The small fabric stars are from an independent shop in Rye called Concepts. It’s basically my Mecca and if I’m ever missing, that’s where I’m to be found. These were £2 each.

5. One word: HEMA. Have you checked it out yet? I discovered Hema one lunchtime, when I was idly browsing Twitter, and I haven’t looked back since. In fact, I have to actually limit myself to going on the website once a week, such is my newfound love for it. If you haven’t heard of it yet then I apologise; your life (and bank balance) may never be the same again. All of these decorations came from Hema – the gold sequin baubles were £1.99 each, the pack of paper stars were £1.50 and the stamps were £2.50. Oh, and did I mention they send you caramel waffles FREE with every order?!

Christmas gift guide: 5 under £50

Can you actually believe we’re just ONE MONTH away from Christmas now?! No matter how old I am, I always get excited about Christmas. And more to the point, what might end up under my Christmas tree. This year, it’s all about the home for me. Even though I have about 50 million cushions already and so many photo frames that I’ve had to box some up and put them in storage, there’s always room for more in my eyes.

Homeware doesn’t always come cheap though, does it. And I’m loathe to spend too much money on the little things for my house when my tastes change so frequently (seriously, it’s an actual problem). So this year I’m searching for things that are easy on the eye and the wallet. If you are too (and you happen to like animals – because apparently I have an obsession I wasn’t even aware of) then here are my five favourite products under £50…

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1. If anything from this list makes it under my tree this year then PLEASE let it be these vintage plates. They’re only £14 for a set of four from BHS (hello Secret Santa, you know it would make sense). Need I say more?!

2. I love, love, love a good throw. On the sofa, on the bed, on random chairs – no surface that can be sat or laid on in my house is officially complete without one. But most of the decent ones come at a hefty price – one that’s too much to justify when I know they’ll only end up covered in cat hair or, um, biscuit crumbs. This beauty, however, is perfect – not only is the style completely to my taste (stripes? Check. Mint green? Check) but it’s also only £16 at the moment in the Darwin’s Home sale. Okay, so technically speaking it’s actually a towel, but that’s a minor detail in my book (and let me tell you, none of my bath towels have ever looked that glam). Darwin’s Home is a relatively new place on my radar when it comes to homeware, but one that’s definitely worth checking out – everything on the site is made from sustainable materials, meaning it’s all environmentally friendly. The majority of the products on the site are made in Europe, and any that aren’t are made according to the Fair Trade Charters.

3.  I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been searching for the perfect stag’s head. Not that there’s anywhere in my current house to actually put one, but you know, things like that just don’t stop me when I’m on a mission. I adore this one, which is a mere £45 from Marks and Spencer. If you’re shopping for Christmas presents in M&S this year then keep your eye out for the offer they’re currently running to get up to £10 off a £40 shop on all homeware and clothing.

4. Am I the only one who secretly enjoys it when someone buys me Christmas decorations for presents?! This year I’ve got a real thing for mercuried silver. And I’ve LONG been obsessed with letters. These are from Next and only a mere £8, so they might actually end up on my tree as opposed to under them if I get my way.

5. Aside from throws, cushions are my actual obsession. It’s a running joke in my house that you have to wade through the cushions to find a place to sit on the sofa. As if that’ll stop me buying a few more before the year is out though – especially if they’re this cute. I love the simplicity of this hare cushion, which at £25 is quite reasonable for House of Fraser.

 

Coveting:: Nordic Christmas Style

Maybe you think it’s too early to be talking about Christmas. Me? As soon as we’re done with pumpkins and fireworks every year it’s time to start planning the Christmas decor. Because in my house, every year is an excuse to do Christmas a bit differently to the one before. We’ve had black trees, white trees, faux trees and real trees. There’s been a rainbow colour theme, a black and neon pink theme (ahem, before neon was even cool again), ice blue and glamorous gold. Last year it was all about traditional red and white, with lots of Scandi style prints and brown kraft wrapping paper.

This year? Well this year I’m surprising myself. After a whole year of coveting neon like it was 1984 again and initially planning a tree that was to be a few parts merry but a WHOLE lot bright, I’ve done a 180. After much, um, ‘research’ (i.e an afternoon on the Paperchase website – I swear to god I only went on there to buy a diary), this year I’ve decided to keep it nice and simple. And Nordic. I love, love, love the interior trends that have emerged in the latter part of this year that nod to the Nords – all whites, greys, wood, hints of copper and clean lines. And so 2014’s Christmas theme for our house will follow suit. I’ve bought a few decorations already (more on that in another post), but here’s what’s inspiring me for the most part…

nordic-christmas-style

1. I adore this simple little bauble. Just the right amount of glitter. And if anyone’s listening then I NEED an embossing kit for Christmas, okay?!

2. If I added up the amount of time I spent lusting after grey sofas it would be shocking. This one is just perfect. But more than that sofa, right now I need the black garland above it in my life. Anyone know where it’s from? Please put me out of my misery if you do!

3. Love this little tree in a tin. Not sure I could safely have candles donning one willy-nilly like that what with two mischievous cats running around, but I love the idea of having a couple of these scattered around the house.

4. I hated the copper trend when it first emerged. So obviously now, when it’s almost impossible to find anything copper anywhere, I love it. I need these copper baubles in my life this year!

5. That. White. Stag. Head. That’s all I have to say.

6. Wrapping presents is one of my favourite parts of the Christmas build-up. I love thinking of new ways to wrap and display them. If I had a shelf like that somewhere in the house then I’d be stealing this idea right now!

7. I actually saw these Noel letters for sale somewhere last year and didn’t buy them. Cue hours of me searching just about EVERYWHERE for them this year.

8. Stars are featuring heavily in my Christmas decor this year. These ones are just beautiful, and giving me lots of ideas for alternative ways of hanging decorations around the house.

9. No Christmas is complete without the obligatory snowflake decoration. I got a whole load from PoundLand last year and am praying I packed them away properly and they’ve survived well enough to be reused this year!

DIY pumpkin decorations

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I remember the days when Halloween meant wearing some tacky cat ears and buying a novelty packet of fondant fancies. Well not anymore, apparently. Now it’s become another way to be creative with decorating; another way to be stylish with your fancy dress. And personally, I’m all for it. Especially when it comes to a bit of interior decor.

For the past two or three years now we’ve carved a pumpkin each Halloween. This year, however, I’ve run out of time/the will to get my hands dirty so instead I’ve been inspired by a new wave of pumpkin decorating (a thank you, Pinterest): and for the most part, it’s totally mess-free. Here are 4 of my current favourite DIY pumpkin decorating ideas I’ve seen on the web so far this season:

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1. No moodboard of mine would be complete without flowers, even at Halloween.

2. Gold leaf pumpkins. Because why the hell not?

3. Apparently you can get actual white pumpkins. I’ve yet to actually see these mythical beauties, but if I manage to get my hands on some in time for Halloween then they will most definitely be introduced to my best friend, the gold glitter.

4. Chevrons and stripes – I think I’d have to keep these in the house WAY past Halloween!

Tesco Christmas in July press day

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Christmas. In July. And no one does Christmas in 24 degree heat in the middle of London quite like Tesco. I’ve been coming to the Tesco Christmas press event ever since my first job as an Editorial Assistant eight whole years ago. Back then, it blew my mind that people could even be considering Christmas when Wimbledon was on the telly and Pimms should be flowing as freely as water.

I always look forward to coming up to London and soaking in the festive spirit for a couple of hours – Tesco always make such a huge effort with their press days and I L-O-V-E seeing everything that’s due for release well ahead of time.

As always, Tesco are on-trend, showcasing two or three key looks that we can expect to see across the board this winter. Last year’s Nordic/rustic/vintage look is back again (my personal favourite) and it looks as though the neons and bright colours that are so popular at the moment will stay right through to winter, too. Oh, and there’s obviously a play on Gatsby Glam this year too, with lots of black and gold – such a beautiful and elegant look but too strong for the decor in our house. Although there were a few pieces (the gold sequin lights in particular) that I definitely think could work separately to be incorporated into my christmas decor.

So anyway, here it is peeps, Christmas in July…

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I adore the traditional red and white look – which is funny, because I used to HATE red at Christmas and even went as far as having a black tree one year (and a white one the year after, but the less said about that the better). The chunky knits, tartan cushions, chalkboards with quirky Christmas mottos and jam jars with red and white striped straws will definitely be making an appearance over the winter months. Or maybe sooner.

Most of the stuff here (and this isn’t even half of it, seriously), will be available in-store from October.