Friday, 23 September 2016

Do you find your sources of inspiration changing with the seasons? I definitely do, in summer it's all about the colours of the sky, the light reflecting on the sea and of course blooming flowers in the garden. Now that Autumn is really starting to show itself I find myself looking online, pulling tears from magazines or heading to the shops for an inspiration fix. I spent a very happy Saturday with my best friend last week, we window shopped around Mayfair, went to see David Hockney at the Royal Academy and pottered around Fortum and Mason (mainly looking for the loo but getting majorly side tracked by hats, scarves, the Christmas Shop and men's socks). After a few weeks of routine it was so good to have a break away - I could feel my mind soaking up all the new sights. One mini trend I noticed is the return of the silk scarf, casually knotted or luxuriously wrapped it's made me pull out my silk scarf collection this week. Have a great weekend everyone, I'm celebrating a very special first birthday. xx

Craft Room - before and after

Sunday, 18 September 2016

I'm so happy to finally be share some more of our home renovations with you. It's been a busy summer with builders coming and going (sometimes too much going) but I promise this room won't disappoint. This little room tucked away in the top of the house really didn't have much going for it -   it was dark (obvs) with the main window at floor level, sloping ceilings and rotten eaves. The serious reason behind getting more work done was our roof had no insulation plus there was still rot left in some of the eaves from 30 years of a leaking door/window we decided to put in a window to cut out the last of the rot.
Our builders did all the work so I can't offer any advice on the actual process, this and the room next to it were boarded up so we couldn't access the rooms whilst they were taking down all the walls and adding insulation. If you're doing any major building work with a baby around I would recommend getting 'the site' sealed off as much as possible, I found that nothing is more appealing to a baby than a room full of dangerous tools and piles of rubble!
As soon as I saw the new light in this room, I knew it'd make the perfect craft space. Over the summer I decided not to return to my office job so having a dedicated workspace away from the rest of the house was really important step in turning my hobby into a more sustainable career option. One of the guys doing the building offered to also paint the room, I'd normally do it myself but with free time being so limited I took him up on the offer which meant the room was done 100 times quicker. The only painting I did was the floorboards and skirting. I used three coats plus a primer of Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Paint (recommended to me by this lovely lady) and it turned out beautifully. It was a bit of a rush job but the white paint hides a multitude of sins and as we'd run out of money for proper flooring it made a brilliant cost effective alternative.
The best thing we did in this room, with the suggestion of our builder, was add a Velux Cabrio Balcony Window - it's seriously transformed this sad little room into a magical space. The window is almost full length and let's in so much light plus being south facing we now get the most incredible views of the sea. It wasn't in our initial budget but I'm glad we paid extra it's worth every single penny. 
To furnish I used a mix of pieces I already had, like the desk and shelving unit. I made the trestle work table which was so easy and added a few pieces from my furniture which I've been stock piling for days when renovations are over (the wicker chair and rug were both £1). I LOVE how this room has come together it's such a calm and inspiring place to spend time in.

Before you renovate...

Friday, 9 September 2016

Happy Friday lovely people! Its been an exciting week for the house, the final walls have come down in our dining room and I can almost see the end of the major parts of our house renovations. It's taken us almost three years to get to this point and I'm so excited at the prospect of having the house and weekends back (although, I'm not sure what I'll do with the spare time). Having a house to renovate was the dream and I know how fortunate I am to be in this position, however doing up a house is a huge undertaking and in a more serious post I thought I'd share some things to think about before you take the plunge.

Time and Money - These two go hand in hand, the less time you have the more you'll spend. If you're prepared to the work yourself, then you'll save so much on labour costs, our biggest expense has been builders time. Our house needed structural work in so we had no option but to use builders. Although more expensive we wanted the house to be structurally secure and water tight so decided to spend our money on builders but save in other areas. 

How important is your free time? - If you love weekends away, dinners, holidays (basically anything that makes life fun) then ask how much of these things are you will to go without  - it's standard for us to pick using our money for the house over going out for dinner. The rare times that we do I measure the cost of the bill against the price of paint!

Do you have help? We were lucky, our parents came in for quite a few weekends at the start to help clean, hang wallpaper, repair banisters etc. When it's just the two of you it can feel that you're at the bottom of a very big mountain having a 'team' to help just gets the ball rolling that much quicker. Look around do you know people with handy DIY skills that could help you out?

Sleep - A random one but I've never felt so tired as I have the first five months of renovations (it was much easier having a new born - seriously) if you have a job that requires you to be awake, make important decisions then factor in this too. My day job and boss were really understanding when I had to take emergency holiday to chose a bathroom, get a days rest but if yours isn't then you definitely need to consider sleep.

I don't want this post to put anyone off buying a project house. It has been so rewarding to create a happy home for our family but has taken an awful lot of hard work to get here and its important you know that. Have a super weekend, I of course will be painting skirting boards!

PS - if you love a renovation post the you might like these
The house renovation project
Lounge before and after
Bathroom before and after 
Kitchen makeover
Bedroom before and after
Simple Bedroom updates 

Inspired September

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The pull of autumn is in the air - the cat has been making the odd nightly appearance (she stays out all night in high summer), there is a crispness to the mornings and the nights are slowly drawing in. For me September is still summer and I always want to squeeze the last drops from these fading days.  In celebration of these final moments I pulled a quick moodboard together with gathered blooms from my garden (and veg patch), arranged on one of the many vintage plates I seem to be acquiring lately. I love the soft muted peaches and pinks alongside the sharp citrus of the hollyhock and patty pan squash. I've picked out some of the main colours and included them below, I find looking at colour the best way to get inspired. I hope you can use the colours somewhere in your creative activities this month. 
 I thought I'd share some of my creative plans for the weeks head, I find listing the best way to see what I need to do and want to get done. Here's what's on my list...

I'm hoping that our renovations will be almost complete, our new windows went into our dining room yesterday which is so exciting. If the room was more photogenic I'd definitely be pulling out all the stops and setting an end of summer table .

I'm really looking forward to getting back into teaching jewellery making workshops , my first class , beautiful bracelets, is happening on 13th September at Tea and Crafting in Camden.

I can't stop ordering from La Redoute, I finally took this rug out of its packaging a few weeks ago and it's just lovely and so soft. I also just got this denim dress and this striped one massively on sale - they will make a nice change from my grubby denim shorts that I've been wearing for days on end.

I'm loving Instagram stories, I've been trying to share bits and pieces from my days and I absolutely love seeing what everyone else is up to.

Finally, the biggest thing happening this month is my baby turns one ( I can't even...) we're yet to decide how to celebrate but it's definitely an occasion that needs a cake. Where did the year go?!

Have a super month everyone. Xx

DIY - Salvaged wood shelf

Friday, 26 August 2016

This little shelf has been proving very popular over on instagram, I made it a while back using salvaged wood from our house renovations. I couldn't resist saving this perfect pink from the skip and  knew it'd make a wonderful shelf. With Stanley into everything I still want to have a few spots around the house where I can display my treasures well out the way of little grabbing hands. It is really easy and quick to make, I think this took me a total of twenty minutes and I love it, I've been using it to display my summer blooms and it gives a dark corner of my bedroom a little lift. 

Whilst I'm talking DIY, I've been nominated for an Amara Blog Award in the DIY & Craft category. If you could spare a minute I'd really appreciate your vote. 

Now back to the shelf...
Step 1. You will need two pieces of wood the same length. For salvaged wood, find someone with a shed and hoarding tendencies and see if they'll let you have a plank or two. You could use driftwood from the beach or buy a plank of wood from a hardware shop and distress it yourself.
Step 2. Decide what will be the top/backboard to the shelf and run a line of wood glue along the long thin edge.
Step 3. Stick the top to the base shelf and leave to dry, wiping away any excess glue. I added a few nails just to be 100% sure it was secure. 
Step 4. The wood I used for the base of the shelf wasn't really working with the colours of the top. I added a really thin layer of light pink paint, I dabbed the glue onto kitchen paper and wiped over. Once it was dry I sanded the edges of the shelf to make it look worn in. If you are using new wood then use this method to give your shelf a distressed look. 

Luckily for me the main piece of wood came with pre-drilled holes so I was able to just nail straight into the wall. If your wood doesn't come predrilled then either drill a few holes in the wood and screw into the wall, add hooks to the back of the shelf and hang. 

I really love this DIY, simple and easy is the way forward for me these days. I hope to get a few more bits done in my bedroom this weekend and then I can show you the finished room. Its looking so much better with a bit of colour on the walls and a few one-off touches like this. 

New Jewellery Making Workshops - Tea & Crafting, Camden

Friday, 19 August 2016

Happy Friday lovely people - an exciting post today as I'm back teaching jewellery making workshops at Tea and Crafting in Camden, London! I know jewellery making is a niche but its a brilliant one and one I'm 100% passionate about. After a few tricky years and many job changes jewellery making was the one thing that sparked my creativity again, its lead to so many wonderful opportunities and I promise isn't that intimidating once you get going. 

I provide all the materials in both gold and silver options plus all the beads, charms and other wonderful bits and pieces I have in my collection. I bring a full selection of colours so even if my usual brights aren't for you, there will definitely be something that is. 

The first class I'm teaching is Beautiful Bracelets on 13th September 19:00. I'll be showing you how to make some of my favourite tutorials including this leather charm one and this tassel one plus a few more,  you'll then be able to decide which bracelets you want to make. Its a really fun class and one I adore teaching, it's a great introduction to jewellery making so make sure you come along and bring a friend or two (or three!).  
The second class I'm teaching is this Brooch Statement Necklace on 6th October 19:00 . Just before I went on maternity leave I taught this class and it was wonderful. You will need to bring your own selection of brooches (at least seven) and I bring the rest of the materials. It's a perfect class for any treasure hunting magpie but also anyone else who loves a statement necklace and wants a simple introduction to jewellery making. 

I really hope to see some (or all) of you at one of my classes, they are great fun and full of creativity.

Have a great weekend and feel free to share this post as much as you like ;-). xx

Styling The Seasons - a farewell

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Its with a mix of immense sadness and pride that I write this post. Two years after announcing we were starting Styling The Seasons Katy and I have decided to finish the project. Its been incredible, we have nearly thirty thousand posts our the instagram hashtag (#stylingtheseasons) and six hundred blog posts - wow (you can see them all on our Pinterest board

Personally I've learnt so much about photography, my home and how I live my life through taking time each month to reflect what it means to me. I know, quite possibly for the rest of my life, I will continue to celebrate the seasons and reflect them in my house - one of the greatest joys over the past two years has been to take notice of how the seasons change. 

When we started Styling The Seasons Katy and I were both in different places, Katy had just left her day job to blog full time and I recently dropped a day in my (dull) office job to concentrate on setting up workshops and get more creative fulfilment into my life. Our directions have changed again, I've decided not to return to my office job following maternity leave and Katy has her own adventures ahead. 

It's been an amazing two years - a huge thanks to my wonderful co-host Katy, all the brands we've worked with and most importantly to every single one of you who have shared the stories of your homes and inspired with such energy and creativity. You'll never know how much it has meant reading all your posts. Before I start crying into my coffee here are my highlights... 
Crafting The Seasons - we hosted a magical afternoon at Liberty with all our original Styling The Seasons Bloggers. It is still one of my best days. 
Spring Wreath Making Workshop with at {mine} and Bloom and Wild - Following the success of Crafting the Seasons we held another blogger event where we made beautiful Spring Wreaths. Its was such a pretty day and full the most beautiful flowers and it was great to meet so many monthly participants. 
Working with brands - We had some great competitions along the way, working with Loaf, Holly's House and Makelight. My favourite collaboration was with Laura Ashley all the posts showed so much imagination I was (and still am) humbled by all the effort that went into each post - who knew you could do so much with wallpaper?! 
January - of all the months I learnt that January is my favourite. Maybe its the feeling of starting over, the promise of spring or maybe its just because every one of January's posts were just gorgeous?! You can see all the posts here -  January 2015, January 2015 review, January 2016, January 2016 review

Of course Styling The Seasons won't be stopping completely the hashtag will live on and you can still write Styling The Seasons posts whenever the mood takes you. I hope you have enjoyed reading and taking part as much as I have, its been an experience to treasure. Thank you once again for supporting this amazing project, lots of love xxxxx 
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