My Spring Shelfie

Friday, 5 February 2016

Happy Friday everyone, I'm so glad to see the weekend. This past week the weather has been tempting me with glimpses of spring - there have been a few blue skies and blossom trees to get excited about. When Wayfair got in touch to see if I'd like to style a Springshelfie I jumped at the chance, its never to early to get prepared for my favourite season. I decided to use the Gustav bench as a living moodboard, bringing all my Spring things together to help me plan and get the best from the next few months. Along side the bench I added this gorgeous pom pom cushion and zinc planters all from Wayfair, then mixed in some of my best summer tablecloths (including this tie-dye diy) and my growing plant collection, the little rose is my first and only successful cutting which I have been nurturing all winter. Seeing everything together makes me feel really motivated to get projects finished and new ones started, here are some of my plans for the next few months...
Paint my new to me bed frame and finally change my bedroom around

Find a vintage chandelier for my bedroom

Finish Stanley's bedroom so he can start sleeping on his own (sob!)

Hang all my remaining pictures - I bought the one pictured in Costa Rica five years ago and still hasn't gone up.
After the success of last years sweetpeas I cannot wait to get my seeds going. I start them in the shower and then move them outside when it gets warmer.

Finish the vegetable patch (this one is for Dan really) - its about halfway there we just need to add soil, fencing and stones then we can start to plant. This bench will finally have a home its complete.

I'm taking a flower arranging workshop in a few weeks, I can't wait to learn more about how to put flowers together.

I'd best get cracking! Have a great weekend. x

Thanks to Wayfair for providing the gorgeous bench, cushion and planters for this post - all styling, photos, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Styling The Seasons - February

Monday, 1 February 2016

February is a funny month, not quite winter as the shoots of spring bulbs give us false hope of sunnier days and not quite spring as it's still freezing and grey. I wasn't sure how to style the month, February is my birthday month so it should be all about celebration but as my birthday feels ages away that didn't feel right. As I loved January so much I decided to take a January approach to February - simple and calm. 
My mantlepiece hasn't felt right since the Christmas decorations were taken down, I had kept up fairylights but decided to take them down and fill the space with candles and fresh flowers instead.
As the nights are still long and my pretty things now have to compete with ugly baby toys, I have kept the decorations paired back (for me). The jugs are favourite charity shop finds and as I love the room to smell good too, I have stocked up on Parkminster candles in spring fragrances. So inspired by my candle collection and slightly worried about the amount I spent on them I've ordered candle making supplies to make my own (you can see previous candle making here) - I need something to distract me whilst I watch my bulbs surface outside!

I hope the month brings quiet creativity, no pressure just the chance to enjoy a few more quiet days and let DIY projects happen when the time is right.

Styling The Seasons is a monthly project run by Katy from Apartment Apothecary and myself. Each month we invite you to style a surface in your home to reflect what the month means to you. Share your images on your blog or on any social media platform using the #StylingtheSeasons hashtag.

Styling The Seasons Review - January

Sunday, 31 January 2016

I'm going to put it out there and confirm that January is my favourite month for Styling The Seasons. I'm not sure if its because endless grey skies make us search harder for creativity and inspiration or the slowness that the month brings makes us appreciate the little things and we take the time to capture and share. Either way its completely gorgeous and I've loved seeing all your posts. 
image - @flojoro
 In my opinion the best colour to compliment grey is pink (my old lounge was painted pink for this very reason). From the blogs my favourites were Lucy from Capture by Lucy's sunny bouquet, it makes me so happy every time I look at it. I also loved Laura From We Made This Home's cosy January table, it shows you don't have to completely put all the sparkle away after Christmas. 
image - @traceyc1968
image - @whiteheartdesignco
On Instagram where we now have nearly 14,000 entries (!!!) I loved @flojoro spring vase, the colours are just beautiful. As my favourite things in life are tumbling roses, baskets, white floors and rusty buckets I had to chose @traceyc1968 and @whiteheartdesignco stunning images.

We've also had new bloggers join the fun this month, I'm so glad to *meet* new faces and see your fantastic posts. Styling The Seasons is for everyone you don't have to be a stylist or photographer to join in. I use the project to focus on various areas of my home and give neglected areas a little tlc and have been feeling the benefits since the project started way back in 2014. 

As always thanks to everyone that has joined Katy and I this month to Style The Seasons, here are all the posts for the month. xx

DIY - Silver and Agate Ring

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

It's been a while since I shared a jewellery making tutorial and I have a very loose silver ring tutorial to share today. Jewellery making is my love but I have been lacking the need for new jewels lately hence a lull in posting. Since Christmas I have found so much inspiration and I'm really excited to share some new projects, the first being this extremely easy silver and agate ring. I bought all the components from Kernow Crafts including this sterling silver ring base and agate cabochon and glued together using their recommended glue. It literally takes five minutes to assemble and requires no jewellery making experience (just make sure you buy the right size cabochon for the ring).  
There really are no steps - apply glue, leave to go tacky for a few minutes, stick gemstone to ring. 
I think this is the perfect project to kick off the new year - simple and fuss free - I haven't taken mine off. Happy making! x

four months of being a mum

Sunday, 24 January 2016

I can't believe how fast time has gone since I wrote this post. Being a mama is certainly a full time job and now understand why my own mum still asks me if I'm cold and need a cardigan or tries to hold my hand when we cross the road at almost 33 - that maternal instinct just gets stronger and stronger. 

The first six weeks were great I was expecting the worst but went with it and it was ok. Random strangers would congratulate me in the Post Office for being out the house before noon, I'd (almost) get applauded for getting dressed and putting make-up on and the checkout staff at Aldi would go a little slower - there was a lovely sense of being looked after by friends, family and strangers alike. Of course there were bad days when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing but mostly the days were good and so full of new experiences. 

I found the second six weeks harder as everyone went back to old routines. I watched Dan, my sisters and friends doing all the things my old self did with such ease - travelling, galavanting around London, exercising. Random anxieties kept me awake throughout the night and I began to feel like my old self had completely disappeared. The thought of leaving Stanley even for a minute made me panic, (he really doesn't like taking a bottle, although he is much better) and I felt like I was completely irrelevant to everyone and had nothing exciting to contribute. 

The past few weeks have been much easier, for one I am being much kinder to myself and have made a resolution to enjoy these precious early days as much as I can. The first gummy smile in the morning re-sets the love button like nothing else, I know he's not always going to high-kick with happiness when he sees me. Every week Dan and I both marvel at what he can do - grabbing, almost sitting up, chatting and giggling, becoming a mum the best and hardest thing I have ever done. I'm slowly adding back activities my old self liked to do; a bit of Sunday yoga, drinks with friends, the odd trip up to London and of course making, there is nothing like having a baby to make you evaluate what is truly important to you. 

Home - Kitchen makeover (and the art of compromise)

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Finally a kitchen before and after to share with you all. You might have seen a few glimpses of my kitchrn on my Houzz home tour but today I'm going through what we did and learnt along the way. Before we started the renovations the kitchen it was a small maze of rooms; a tiny kitchen, shower room and bedroom. The main family kitchen was upstairs (see bathroom makeover for details) so we had to create the kitchen from scratch. We approached the room in two stages, part one was creating the new space and part two was fitting the kitchen. 
The first big job was to make the space bigger, we took down the wall between the shower room and bedroom and also knocked through into the dining room - this created light and space so we could then see what we were working with. I make this sound very straight forward but there were unexpected discoveries along the way like a gas pipe running down the centre of the newly created room that we had to redirect and making sure a half removed fireplace was removed completely (sob!) so the house above properly supported. We used a local building firm to do all the work for us, they've since gone bust so I can't recommend! 
The second stage was fitting the kitchen. We ended up getting our white units, work top and cooker hood from Howdens. We'd used them previously and the quality is good for what you pay. We had someone from the design team come and draw up a plan for the layout of the kitchen but I wasn't happy with it. We had been given a secondhand range cooker from  my auntie and my cousin had given us a dishwasher that we needed to work around, the plans they drew up were too awkward. I then got a second more bespoke company in to have a look, I wish we had been able to use them for the whole kitchen but sadly they were way over budget. They drew up a more practical plan which we ended up using (I still feel a bit guilty about it). The new plan meant that the newly installed gas pipe and a few electricity sockets had to be moved. In hindsight I'd have made sure we were happy with the layout before we started but time and budget was against us. 
The main piece of advice I'd like to pass on when it comes to building is make sure you cover snagging issues and finishing touches. We naively thought that if the builders were putting a in door they'd put the frame in too - wrong! We thought skirting boards would be attached and replaced - wrong! We thought that the electrician would make sure the electrics works properly - wrong! Make sure you write down exactly what is expected before you start the work and don't lose the piece of paper. There are a thousand decisions to make along the way and its easy to lose track if like us you're working full time alongside the project and not on site everyday. 

Some good decisions we made along the way were having free standing units. I really wanted a free standing look, but the more I researched the more I realised that having an effortless eclectic kitchen was so expensive. If I'd had the time and someone to assemble - I would have liked to have sourced units with more character.  Unless you can do the hard work yourself then you'll need to find a builder that shares your vision, I found that recycling isn't top priority and the fact that we were using anything pre-owned completely freaked everyone out!

I did manage to find two great units on Gumtree, whilst they are not my total dream, they are working really well. In the bay there is a big oak (veneer) sideboard, which has plenty of storage plus a top that I don't mind getting dirty when I arrange flowers, plant seeds or paint on. The second is a bench underneath glass fronted cabinets which I used for everyday items and cook books. When I was researching kitchens I really liked the open shelf look but I hate cleaning so compromised with glass fronted cabinet for our glasses and vintage crockery and went for opening shelving with our everyday items. Again its working really well and dirt hasn't built up as everything is in constant use. 
Before we started we were offered loads of advice (wanted or not). There was talk of "they say you should do this...or...that!" which we totally ignored. For example our bay window looks out onto the garden, we didn't want to ruin this space by using it for a sink which we knew would just get stacked up with dirty dishes. Having a practical space that can be used for messy projects is much more useful to us. There was also much talk of little breakfast tables and breakfast bars. As neither of us had breakfast at home and the dining room is only a mere three meters away we opted to keep the space simple. Our worst habit is piling up post so any unused surface becomes a dumping ground. I'm glad we didn't always listen, whilst the kitchen isn't exactly as we would have liked it works for us and doesn't take too long to tidy up, which again was something we wanted to make sure of. We spoke about our good and bad habits and planned the room accordingly, we know that our needs will change as our family gets bigger but having flexible space really works when on a budget. 
 I hope this shows you that you can compromise and still create a room that works for you. We had to really use our imagination as we were completely changing the use of the room in a house we hadn't lived in. Unless you have plenty of money and can work with professionals then I'd say keep everything as simple and flexible as possible, there is always room to add or take away once you start living in the room. I hope I've covered everything but if you have any questions please ask.  I've put all the shopable links below and you can see my Pinterest kitchen board here

Cabinets, worktop and butlers sink - Greenwich Smooth White, Howdens
Cupboard in Window - Gumtree
Bench - Found on Gumtree but from originally from Ikea
Wire Lampshades - Habitat (no longer available but I really like this alternative)
Pink Radio - Roberts
Porcelain floor tiles - Picerno, Walls and Floors
All other details - vintage/secondhand

five o'clock inspiration

Friday, 15 January 2016

Woohoo, it's Friday and time to share a little inspiration with you all. I'm feeling like my usual favourites (Instagram and Pinterest) are becoming saturated with the same old thing. Instead I've been looking elsewhere for my five o'clock internet inspiration fixes. 

Two Turtle Doves: A Memoir of Making Things, Alex Monroe - My best friend recommended this book to me and I've been pushing it on everyone else I speak to. It's given me a real buzz to do some old fashioned making and sketch booking. 

Kernow Crafts - I'm planning new projects for 2016 and have found a real treasure trove of goodies on this site. 

Melanie Casey - This new to me jewellery brand is just perfect. This might be my dream ring. 

@Creativekipi - So I'm not totally off Instagram, Marjorie is my new favourite person to follow and confirms that I would be very good living in California! 

at {mine} - You may remember the wonderful wreath making workshop we held with at {mine} last year. I haven't been spending as much time on there as I should have, I went looking for desk inspiration and found so many wonderful ideas, its so much more refreshing than Pinterest. 

Have a great weekend x
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