Tuesday, 30 September 2014

DIY - WINE CORK MAGNETS

Has anyone else ever thought what a waste it is to throw away old wine corks? Both my husband and I are wine enthusiasts (see my post: The Ultimate Hostess for Wine Lovers ) and our favourites are old world wines which mainly still use natural cork rather than screw cap. I've always thought that wine corks look beautiful and I started collecting them a while ago with intentions of doing something creative with them.

Since we got our new fridge last year, I have been meaning to buy fridge magnets but just never got around to it. I recently happened to read on a wine website about using wine corks as fridge magnets and immediately loved the idea! I always write down little notes for myself but keep losing them so what's better than sticking them on the fridge! If you don't feel like doing them yourself, you can buy ready made ones online but the whole idea is collecting the corks from your favourite bottles which feels so much more personalised in my opinion.


I also feel that wine corks look great as they are a bit rustic looking and do seem to be match the colour of our kitchen floor (which is Quickstep laminate Natural Varnished Oak). The fact that they look natural adds more character to our modern decor as well.

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Wine corks (I found that white wine corks look better as they haven't absorbed the colour from the wine)
2) Super glue (or buy a magnetic tape that has adhesive like I did)
3) Piece of magnet
4) Kitchen knife
5) STEADY HAND!



Yep, I managed to cut myself! I was doing really well first and then I got sloppy and lazy and I wasn't paying attention... Oh well, as an amateur cook I am well used to kitchen related accidents but I did find that it was good to practise cutting a few corks just to get a hang of it first. Also, I found that it was better to cut them a little on both sides rather than trying to force the knife through at once. It is probably better to sharpen your knife first (something I didn't do...)

Here they are!




















I am very pleased with how they look and they seem to complement our kitchen floor nicely. I actually wanted to keep the fridge front clear because I will pay more attention to the magnets when they are on the side of the fridge as they will be conveniently located next to my kitchen aid and the main food preparation area.

I will continue doing this DIY project until we have all the corks of our favourite wines up there. It's fun and cheap and relatively safe...;)

If you are looking for more inspiration what to make out of wine corks, check out 50 Great Ideas for DIY Wine Cork Craft Projects. Pinterest have some great ideas as well!

Also, make sure that the magnetic tape isn't too thin otherwise it won't hold. I used 12.7 mm wide magnetic tape (link here) and it's perfect.

Happy crafting!
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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

BEDROOM INSPIRATION FROM COOMBE LODGE

I had the pleasure of staying in the beautiful Coombe Lodge in Blagdon to celebrate good friends wedding recently and I was totally blown away by the architecture of the building as well as their elegant choices for interior design.


I am a big fan of contemporary design and Coombe Lodge is a great example of a place where old meets new. The rooms in the venue have been beautifully restored, featuring high ceilings and big bay windows. They have kept the original fireplaces in the bedrooms but also introduced a bit of glamour by having art deco furniture on display. There are ipod docking stations in each bedroom and all the plug sockets have been carefully selected in contemporary chrome. The bedroom furniture is dark wood and works incredibly well with the off white walls. I love the fact they did not use wall paper in this particular bedroom. I prefer the simple, cream walls that look relaxing and peaceful.






The flooring in the bedroom is solid oak and the colour matches the extra wide skirting. It's an interesting choice that the skirting boards do not match with the colour of the walls but it can be risky. In this space it works very well because first of all, the ceiling is high, but also the walls and the skirting are strong contrasting colours. The fact that the skirting is extra wide makes the ceiling appear even higher and more impressive.

However, my favourite feature in this bedroom is definitely the en-suite bathroom. It is quite possibly the most stunning bathroom I have ever seen! It is a 1930s art deco bathroom tiled with hand cut Italian tiles. The colours are very strong and vibrant. The art deco side table fits in with the theme very well. There is also a large mirror at the end of the bathroom which makes the room appear even bigger. The free standing bath in the middle is pure luxury (although perhaps not the most practical choice in residential homes). Also, in order to master this 'look', you need to have plenty of space. Otherwise, the bathroom will look even smaller and too busy.

My husband wasn't as crazy about the bathroom as I so I doubt I will be able to talk him into having something similar in our house.. But, you never know! I feel it has so much personality and is definitely not boring! Often people keep their bathrooms very neutral looking, even though they are one of the biggest selling points for buyers. It is a space where you can add a bit of personality to an otherwise simple and minimalistic house. They had also chosen to expose all the pipework and I found it fitted very well with the whole feel of this building.




The art deco side table looks very stylish in the colourful bathroom and I am actually thinking of getting something similar for our hall (although I haven't quite found the right one yet...)

The biggest benefit of this bedroom is probably the large bay window that allows plenty of natural light to flow in. When you combine that with high ceilings the effect is stunning. Sometimes I wish we had chosen a Victorian property that would allow us to have something similar but there are many other reasons why I am glad that we didn't in the end.

Here's a picture of a free standing bath (this was actually taken in one of the other guest bedrooms). Isn't it stunning?! I love the feet and the effect against the wood floor. How refreshing that they didn't have a carpet in the bedroom as the flooring really brings out the furniture in the room.
  




Oh, and the view from the room wasn't bad either :)



There are a few points I'd like to take with me and perhaps implement in our current house (or any future house I may live in).

  • Extra wide skirting boards (assuming you have the high ceiling to match it)
  • Having a feature door frame (different colour from the walls)
  • Mosaic bathroom (I really love this but it might be tricky to get husband to agree on this one..)
  • Plants in the bedroom (I haven't got any real ones at the moment but I will definitely get some now!)
  • Art deco furniture (We actually need one for the hall but I haven't found the right one yet....)
  • Statement doors (Our current ones match the colour of the walls but if I was to change them, I think I might go for something darker for both the door and the frame. I might even consider getting them in a different material, textured rather than matt, for the extra effect)


I certainly enjoyed my stay in this fabulous venue and you can visit their official website CoombeLodge.Co.Uk for more information!

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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

OUR GARDEN - THE HOME OF SNAILS & PARROTS

It seems a little strange writing a post about our garden since the summer is pretty much over but better late than never. Unfortunately there are no before and after pictures. Simply because it is far from being finished. My husband has put in a lot of hours to make the garden what it is today and it is getting there but we still have a long way to go.

Our garden was in a bad way (like the rest of the house) when we moved in but my favourite part about it is that it is secluded and feels private. The old trees at the bottom of the garden block any views to the neighbouring houses which is why it's one of my favourite features about this house. It is not huge but it looks leafy and rural, and therefore is the perfect complement to a modern house in my opinion.





It is also a great benefit that our garden is south east facing. When viewing houses few years ago we didn't really consider the benefits of a south facing garden versus a north facing one but it's actually something you should take into account. If you have a north facing garden it will not be ideal for growing fruit or flowers as they need plenty of sun. During the winter you will also notice the difference because sun won't be as high and the room facing north will feel much cooler. If you have a huge garden it's less of a problem but personally I am really glad we have a south east facing one mainly because I love relaxing in our sun loungers.


The sun loungers are from Argos (see the exact ones here) and I think they are good value so we got two in the end. If you are looking for more upmarket sun loungers, Luxdeco have a good selection with some unique styles as well. I was a little concerned about the cream coloured cushions, after all, I do have a toddler and a (messy) husband, but so far any dirt has been easy to wipe off although we do have a strict no shoes rule for them!

We are quite lucky with our garden as we actually get best of both worlds. There is almost always a bit of a shade thanks to our garage but I find this very handy when you have a toddler as you really don't want them exposed to sun all the time. The other question you should ask yourself is that are you willing to look after the garden? The bigger the garden, the more work there usually is.

Our garden is a territory that I don't (usually) touch. My husband enjoys doing the gardening and most importantly enjoys seeing the results of his hard work. Flowers had been previously planted but there were so many weeds it was impossible tell which is which. We also have a lovely apple tree but that meant that snails loved our garden and are still a really big problem for us. We had to dig out the weeds and replace the soil as there were snails everywhere. Unfortunately this also meant that some of the plants would get destroyed but we are planning to plant our own anyway. After all the weeds were removed, we used snail killer but I am still seeing a few here and there especially because our apples are ripe at the moment and falling on the ground. By the way, here are some good tips for anyone battling with weeds: Crocus: How to Win the War on Weeds. It's worth a read!



This is not a pet parrot but an uninvited guest who happens to live locally.

Our biggest enemy at the moment.. Snails!
Getting the grass to grow has also been a bit of a challenge which is really annoying as it really is the centre piece of our garden. Watering and seeding was simply not enough. Another issue we have is that the ground is not even. You wouldn't notice it first but if you take a closer look it's pretty obvious. Also the drainage system is not up to the current standards but that will need to be rectified once we build our extension. We have managed to get the grass looking quite good but it wasn't easy and I have to say that we were watering it very frequently during the summer in order to keep it looking healthy.

So now that we have gotten most of the weeds out we can start planting some of our own personal favourites. We planted a palm tree this summer only to find out that it should have been planted in different soil... Oh well you live and learn, right? We'll have to keep an eye on it to see whether it will survive (winters can be quite cold here). In general, we are planning to keep the garden much more simple than what it was before. I really don't like gardens that look like a wild forest but each to their own. We are planning to have most plants and flowers in pots so the garden will look neat and organised but most importantly will be easier to manage.





There is a good chance we will need to hire a professional gardener/landscaper in the future but at the moment we are just trying to see how much we can improve the garden ourselves. I have to say that English people seem to take their gardening pretty seriously. Of course not everyone but most gardens I've seen in our area look very groomed and perfectly symmetrical especially when comparing to the ones I've seen in the Nordic countries. I suppose the cold dark winters over there have something to do with it as well.

WHAT'S HAPPENING NEXT?

Our plans for next year will without a doubt change the way our garden looks. We are planning to build a single-storey extension facing our garden and as part of this we will also need to build a decking where we currently have paving. It is almost certain that the grass will get at least partially destroyed when this work is being carried out, therefore we are not having the garden landscaped yet. We will wait and see once the extension has been finished whether we want to keep the existing look or go for something a bit different. The extension will be built about 10 cm higher than the current conservatory and we will probably go for a raised timber decking.

I am very excited about this new 'project' and I am currently doing a lot of research to find out what will work best for us. I am hoping that the new extension will bring a whole new dimension to our house and provide wonderful views to our garden as well.
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