Category Archives: Home

The Lust List: Wallpaper and paint

We had to share these, they’re just too delicious. (Not that we’re planning to spend the weekend decorating, but if we were, it would be with these…)

Come over all ‘off with their heads’ and grin like a Cheshire Cat – this Alice wallpaper is so chic it would even make great downstairs loo decor as well as boudoir adornment for a little lady…

Get yours from Mura Innovations (check out their Wizard of Oz range too…)

Maybe accent the grey with a dusky pink, like ‘cluster fig’ from the eco emulsion range at Bert and May…?

Cif’s brilliant home makeover story…

Love this video, courtesy of Cif(not just for the super cheesy Estate Agents!) which shows them raising the value of a property on the market just by giving it a good scrub. It’s an interesting point to make, as first thoughts when putting a house on the market (as a result of too much Sarah Beeny whilst on Mat leave) is to paint the walls that Farrow & Ball colour my other half calls ‘Middle Class Grey’…

As we know, Cif is bloody good for getting dirt shifted (when you factor in a bit of elbow grease, that is) and there are some good tips on the Cif website (such as how to banish pesky fingerprints…)

Ten Minutes with…Designer Celia Sawyer

Celia Sawyer, mother of two and founder of the exclusive Knightsbridge interior design company ‘Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors’, has a client list that reads like the back pages of Tatler.

She shares her tips with us on how to create a chic and impressive outdoor space for Summer entertaining…

“First and foremost, selecting the right furniture is essential. What type of look are you trying to create? Modern, boho, white-washed beach haven, country, trendy, eco, the list goes on…

Half Moon sofa from Moda

I personally like using dark or grey rattan juxtaposed against contemporary, crisp, white cushions to create impact. Seating is incredibly important as your outdoor space is to enjoy so you want your friends, family and guests to indulge and be comfortable.  I LOVE glamorous day beds (think St Tropez beach party) and if you have the room I recommend you invest. Sky Line are masters of such furniture; beautiful yet natural shapes and gorgeous colours, you can’t go wrong with a day bed.

Skyline Day Bed

Outdoor fireplaces are having their moment. You can revamp your garden or terrace into a cool hub by making the fireplace your central feature. I know people who have used old bricks to build the fireplace meaning its recycled and put sand on the floor to create a truly unique space. If building a fireplace is too much invest in a fire pit. Nothing beats sitting round the warmth of a fire after dinner.

Maisons du Mode outdoor cushions

Alfresco dining is something we all love to do. Those long summer evenings that glow and seem to go on forever. Purchase a dining table and chairs, again in rattan or metal, over anything plastic and cheap looking – you may as well get this right first time. I have opted for a simple black rattan set with glass table top but dress the area up with an interesting centerpiece and cushions to add some interest and depth. Give it a go.

Inspiring outdoor kitchens are extremely du jour, especially in the Caribbean and United States. Clay or brick kitchens that blend into the surrounding natural environment can be simply stunning. The advantage of creating an outdoor kitchen means the hosting (and mess that goes with it) is kept out of your main residence; something I know my clients find attractive! In this space add a large mirror as it reflects the light and is more inviting. There are some fantastic outdoor mirrors around with thick, rustic frames. Alternatively, over-sized French clocks are extremely popular and add a little character, creating the feeling of being outside with the comfort of being indoors.

Clock by BellaHome

As you begin to revamp your outdoor space you will seriously think about colours. Earthy colours and décor is a must; ochres and greens, taupe’s and greys, to keep things natural, then add stainless steel appliances for that raw, industrial touch and inject colour through one item alone. Within your seating area add a great coffee table; something natural looking, maybe a bit of driftwood or an oak table to add some charm; a nod to Mother Nature herself. Invest in some lanterns that are suitable for outdoors as these can act as the perfect accessories. I put flameless candles inside mine which are ideal as they are battery operated so not only are they safe but they don’t go out should there be a breeze. Being outside in the candlelight is really special.

On the subject of lighting, I love using illuminous pots to really dress up outdoor spaces.  There’s a great company called 8 seasons-design who are a fine example of these; their Shining Pot Collection includes numerous different shapes and sizes which glow and look fantastic on terraces or by a pool. The pots look smart with greenery and the shining globe, cube and even drinks-cooler are super stylish too.

Lastly, outdoor bars are the ultimate cool. I have one at my home and it gets so much use throughout summer. They’re actually fairly simple to build, source wood to keep costs down and as long as you have a flat surface, fridge and some bar stools you are ready to entertain. One of the best additions to my garden.”

Follow Celia @CeliaSawyerTV

How much extra would you earn for being a mum…?

Thanks to Beagle Street for this one – they’ve put together an online quiz to see how much you should really be billing the family for all those hours cleaning, tutoring, nursing and cooking if those respective jobs were billed at the national average rate…

“The study by life insurance provider Beagle Street found that supermums spend 32 hours doing jobs for the family each week, and would stand to earn an extra £17,582 a year if they were being paid the average industry rates for the number of hours spent doing each job.”

Obviously, Beagle Street’s reasoning for this lies in raising awareness of having life insurance (in case, heaven forbid, they had to fend for themselves) but if you’re looking for a fun way to pass a few minutes then their game beats searching for videos of cats falling in ponds on Buzzfeed…

 

DIY Xmas decorations

Whether you’re going for an eco-chic look or just need a rainy day activity to kill a few hours, making Xmas decorations is easier than it looks…

To make festive oranges for the tree, slice  them thinly and lay them on an oven tray on a low heat for around four hours – then string up with twine, advises Good Housekeeping. We suggest adding a little spritz of a spicy/orangey cologne such as L’Occitane’s Jasmin Immortelle Neroli as well…

And whilst you have the oven on, Nigella’s Xmas tree cookie recipe is fairly straightforward – although if you don’t have a steady hand for piping icing then check out the Shimmer Spray from Dr Oetker’s baking range – which you could either spray liberally for all over silver lustre, or through a doily.

Spraying pine cones with gold paint – then adding glitter – creates a chic effect too and it couldn’t be simpler (although put some newspaper down before you spray!) We love The Sweetest Occasion’s DIY gold leaf pine garland – if you’re feeling more creative.

 

Or how about taking a long beachy family walk, gathering driftwood and arranging it into a tree, like this one from Coastal Home?

How to knit a Xmas stocking

Feeling creative? We thought we’d try our hands at making some Xmas stockings (well, there’s a few weeks to try and master it, right?)

A basic start for the impatient or uncoordinated might be a crochet job (well, there’s only one needle…) like this simple stripey one.

 

 

 

Or for a basic knit take inspiration from this striped stocking – but why not go crazy with yarns/textures/colours…? Or go with supersoft greys and then add a bright pop stripe.

 

 

 

Serious Knit Wits might like this traditional option with a Nordic snowflake pattern.

Of how about these dinky little ones as alternatives to baubles on the Xmas tree…?

Our pick of fashionable journals…

Call us old-school but i-Cal just doesn’t have the same appeal as scribbling in a leather bound journal.

Whether it is recipes, to-do lists, Xmas Shopping lists or daily thoughts (‘Must. Sleep. More’) you are noting down, if you’re a journal person you know that it really has the be the *right* sort of journal, with the right sort of paper.

But why just make do with a plain black one; we think journals deserve to be fashion-forward too…

We love these:

Pen Heaven’s Abruzzi leather bound journals come in a gorgeous range of colours and are satisfyingly chunky with lovely cream pages that are bleed free – even with fountain pen ink. With a handy elastic to keep them snugly closed (and also hold all those receipts/kids’ party invites) these are great value – and there is also the option to have them monogrammed/embossed. Match them with these lovely leather over knee boots from Zara.

Or how lovely is this powder puff coloured Artisan handstitched sketchbook with ‘chapter’ style page inserts, made from leather off-cuts? Perfect to compliment the current fashion love affair with ballet-wrap bolero tops- like this pink DVF knit from Matches.

Don’t you agree the saddlebag-chic of the Number 9 journal from Col, Littleton would look great tossed into a Chloe Marcie bag…? We love the formal front page insert too…

Or you could always add a frou-frou cover to a plain ole Moleskin – like one of these linen and ribbon creations from GatheredandSown – and rock yourself a ribbon ponytail.

Take the hassle out of paying the babysitter with new app Payfriendz

A bright young thing put Payfriendz on our radar recently.

At first we wondered why a PR would be hitting us up with something so clearly ‘trendy’ that it ends with a ‘z’… But stick with this one, we did…

Payfriendz (I know, I just want to go at it with correctional ink!) is an app whereby you and your invited friends can seamlessly pass money around without needing to go to a cashpoint or (if you are of my mother-in-law’s generation) not have to get your purse out and vulgarly dispense cash…

Obviously this is aimed at scatty young house sharers, too busy hitting the PlayStation to remember to contribute to the ‘lager and pot noodle fund’, but we’ve discovered it’s actually quite a useful tool for mums too…

Paying the babysitter: how many times do you have the exact money to pay the babysitter in your purse at the start of the night and then either end up running over by half an hour, get to the last cash machine on the way home only to find it’s out of order, or come home to the babysitter saying she was bullied by the kids into buying them ice creams and can she be reimbursed or (ahem) ordering an extra glass of wine after you’ve paid the restaurant bill and breaking into your cash?  Sound familiar? Well, simply add your babysitter (s) onto a Payfriendz group and you can just transfer them the cash instantly – as simply as sending a text. Plus there is an integrated ‘chat’ function which might sound godawful but means you can communicate about money in a ‘whatsapp’ format… Maybe not your cup of tea but it resonates with teenage sitters…

Baby Ballet: or for that matter baby-anything whereby the teacher is a) away with the fairies when it comes to financial matters and b) doesn’t carry enough change if you pay for the class with a tenner. Get the whole class signed up to Mme Loubilou’s Payfriendz group and you no longer need to scrabble down the back of the car seat when she demands an extra 20p for squash and a biscuit or few quid for new ballet tights…

image Lopezdorigo

Car pooling: do you do the honorable thing and share the school run driving? With Payfriendz you can share the petrol costs too…

Birthday parties: Mmm, well, in our office we all read and applauded Myleene Klass and her unicorn outburst, but let’s face it, chipping in for a birthday present is commonplace in modern life. Make it super easy – plus you don’t have to remember which sticky banknote came from which child – with Payfriendz.

Payfriendz is free for iPhone.

Soap that does good from The Soap Co

When it comes to creating opportunities for blind or disadvantaged people, some might (ahem) wash their hands of the matter.

Not so The Soap Co, who create socially conscious soap from their HQ in the Lake District, creating jobs for the disabled and disadvantaged to provide either a stepping stone into other employment  or long term roles within the business – and also creating fabulous bathroom products to boot!

Discover the delectable range of liquid and bar soaps plus complimenting hand lotions including Citrus, White Tea and Black Poppy & Wild Fig – all super luxe and packed with moisturising  vitamin B5, soothing aloe vera and cocoa butter – and know that every time you wash your hands you are helping The Soap Co to create and sustain these workplace opportunities.

Lovely little things… De-stress with a Natural Relaxation Reed diffuser from Babyblooms

If you need your relaxation solution to be subtle but always on tap, this reed diffuser from Babyblooms will waft gentle scents of geranium, orange, lavender and ylang ylang in the direction of your poor befuddled brain – and who knows, it might have a calming effect on the scrapping children too!

Check out Babyblooms’ fab range of baby shower gift bouquets too… Classy, practical and gorgeous.