Tuesday, 22 March 2016

EASTER DECOR

Decorating for Easter is always exciting as it means it is time to bring out the  spring/summer accessories! This year I have made minimal effort in transforming our house into Easter mode because I simply have too much going on with our garden landscaping and building works. Sometimes few simple accessories are enough, don't you think?

Yellow is the ultimate colour for Easter and I do love a nice bouquet of yellow tulips in the house. They really brighten up my day and make me miss those long summer days when you just sit outside sipping a nice cocktail. I do wish the weather was a bit warmer here but fingers crossed it will improve! A fishbowl vase goes particularly well with tulips I think. The funny thing is I was trying to create one large bouquet and use tulips and pussy willows but in the end I decided that less is more. Also, tulips are a bit tricky in the way that you could spend hours arranging them perfectly, but they always end up looking a bit messy so I've decided that messy is good!


Our porcelain Easter bunny was a recent bargain find in TK Maxx and I absolutely love it. It's so nice that I am considering leaving it on display all year round. I love the gold detailing and it is probably the most stylish Easter bunny I have ever seen.


It's always a bit risky when you place sweets on the window sill, especially with kids in the house, but to be honest it's not much safer with the adults either! I like to use special occasion glasses for sweets/desserts as they hardly get any use. These glasses were a second hand purchase but they really are one of my favourites. The Marble Tray is from West Elm.





This Villeroy & Boch wine glass is too big for the purpose of drinking wine and it's not really practical. You could literally pour the whole bottle in it! However, oversized wine glasses make great accessories whether it's putting potpourri, flowers or even making a gorgeous wine glass terrarium out of them!

Since yellow is such a perfect colour for Easter, I decided it was time to bring out our spring/summer cushions (last season but similar one here)  to add a bit of colour to our neutral décor. I love the chevron pattern and I am planning on introducing more patterns to our house to brighten things up a bit. I am particularly loving all the ethnic prints out at the moment and can't wait to add a few pieces to our home.

Of course Easter wouldn't be the same without Easter Crackers! They are a big hit in our house and these cute ones are from Sainsbury's. I also wanted to get some pussy willows for the house. I think it's more of a Nordic tradition to make decorations out of them for Easter but personally I like to use them all year round. They are great for decorations and most importantly last ages.

If you haven't decided yet what you'll be making for dinner this Easter (I haven't either!) check out 65 Easter Dinner Recepies. The Italian Easter Pie sounds particularly delicious. I am not necessarily a fan of traditional dishes and I usually like to put my own twist on them. But, you can't go wrong with a nice selection of canapé and some bubbly to start with. It's always a winner and really makes the celebration feel special.

Happy Easter!

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

WINE GLASS CABINET

Wine glasses are just too pretty to store in a drawer, don't you think? This is why we have a designated glass cabinet to store most of our wine glasses (especially the crystal ones). I bought the Ikea Stockholm cabinet three years ago and it has been discontinued but Ikea are selling a similar one here.

To be honest, I much prefer what we've got. I love the black wood with the circle see-through glass that adds a bit of drama to the design. I think it's a timeless design that is ideal for a monochrome décor like ours. After 3 years I have no complaints about this cabinet. It gets loads of compliments and people are quite surprised to hear it's from Ikea. I think with right accessories, you can dress it to look a lot more expensive than it is in reality. It's very sturdy and the hidden handles have been a godsend in a house with a curious toddler.

We installed the Gruntal lighting (similar one here) inside the cabinet to make it more of a statement piece as well as to make the décor feel a bit more cosy. The light reflects from the glasses nicely and really makes them look like a piece of art on their own.


Last week I decided to reorganise and dust our wine glass cabinet as it had been too long. The good thing is, I usually do this only few times a year (although I am sure it's recommended more frequently). The glasses don't gather that much dust either as the cabinet is closed but most importantly the glasses are well protected as crystal glasses can absorb strong odours.

I think overall our glassware collection is pretty good. There are always few designs that I'd like to add to our collection but I am running out of space which means I need to donate few to the local charity shop or I need to find another place to store them. The cabinet is spacious but you really want to allow a bit of space between the glasses so they can breathe and this also minimises the chance for any breakage. I tend to place our frequently used glasses first and the special occasion ones are usually placed at the back.

I love Ikea because you can build your furniture according to your own needs. You can adjust the shelving inside the cabinet based on the height of your glasses. I decided to split it between 3 levels and I placed our martini and cocktail glasses and other cocktail making equipment on the first shelf(which we never use these days to be honest but it's nice to have them if you do have guests over).


Our 'vintage' glasses are currently on the second shelf. I just find them too pretty to hide at the bottom plus they are a lot shorter than our other glasses. I have crystal pieces from Galway Crystal to purchases from second hand shops. I love to have a bit of a variety when it comes to wine glasses. I especially love using vintage style crystal glasses for special occasions. When it's just the two of us we usually go for Iittala or Riedel. I also store our coasters in the cabinet. I could not imagine life without coasters to be honest. I'm addicted to them.


The third shelf is dedicated mainly to Iittala Essence. We've got the white wine, red wine, beer and dessert wine glasses. They are our everyday glasses as they are easy to find and not too expensive to replace if they break. Even though I find the quality of Iittala glasses good I don't think they are quite as good as some crystal glasses that I own. I love the design though and the fact that they are Finnish is an added bonus!



On the bottom shelf you'll find most of our champagne glasses. We have a lot of them but it's great if you are having a party as even if some people don't drink wine, they'll usually toast with champagne. I love our Waterford Crystal glasses (on the right). We use them every Christmas and I know I will hold onto these forever. We broke one of them last year but luckily someone was selling the identical one on ebay!

I am also loving Riedel at the moment and particularly their Vitis range which is one of the most beautiful glass designs I have seen. However, the glasses are the tallest glasses I know and would not fit anywhere else so that's why they are mixed with our champagne glasses. We currently have their Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc/Riesling and Pinot Noir glasses but I wouldn't mind adding the Oaked Chardonnay glasses to our collection as some point. They are quite expensive though and painful to replace so I do watch myself a little bit when using them and I always leave the washing up for the Morning.

One thing you will not find in my wine glass cabinet is coloured wine glasses. I like to see and enjoy the colour of the wine and if the glasses are tinted it takes away from it. I wouldn't mind having gold rimmed flutes though. My addiction with gold/brass is still going strong and I am starting to incorporate this with our tableware as well.

We clean our decanter with the Riedel Bottle Cleaner and it's such a clever way to clean glassware. The metallic mini pellets remove dirt, residue, sediment and dirt inside the bottle. I wish I had discovered it sooner and never bothered with bottle brushes.

We also discovered the Magic Decanter few years ago and it's a 'must have' if you are into red wine. It helps you decant the wine quicker and is great for getting rid of the sediment.















How do you store your wine glasses? I used to think glass cabinets were a bit old fashioned as these days I see most people opting for open shelving and fancy wine glass hanging racks. I guess you do what suits you best but I am pretty sure I will need to find some more creative ways to store our glasses as I have a feeling our collection is not quite finished yet.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

LANDSCAPING PLANS

I cannot believe it's already March. It has been a year since our last big project, the extension, and now it is time again to embrace another one. This will be our last BIG make-over for now at least. Obviously there will be bits and bobs like changing the windows and the front door, but I'm hoping it won't be as intrusive as our kitchen renovation or the new extension building works.

At the moment our garden and driveway are looking like a building site. The building works started over a week ago and we have at least another 2 weeks ahead of this craziness before it's all finished. I'm so excited though. Having a landscaped garden and a brand new driveway will make a huge difference to our house and obviously increase the value too.

We decided to hire Plantazia Landscapers to redesign our garden and install the new driveway. A friend of mine recommended them to me and after a bit research and viewing their previous projects, we decided to go with them. It made a lot of sense to do these two jobs together because a) we can use the same company and b) the more business you give them, the better the discount.

I am more excited about gaining a landscaped garden than the driveway I have to admit! I spend a lot of time in the garden during the summer and it's all you see when you are sitting in the lounge. I'm sure the kids will love it too. We tried to do some gardening ourselves but it was too much work and it really felt like a forest at times with all the weeds. In other words, I hated it. This time I want to make it nice and neat. I'm not into gardening and have a busy life with two children so the less maintenance, the better. We might even get a gardener at some point to keep it in check every few weeks but we'll wait and see how much maintenance it is first.


Oh, did I mention we will be installing a timber decking in the garden? I am over the moon excited about it. I used to have one in a rented property and I have missed the soft feeling of wood under my feet when walking on it. Yes it can be tricky to keep clean but oh boy it is so worth it. I know you might think that they don't last but if it's weather protected you should get about 15 years out of it. That's good enough for me. Of course new timber decking means new garden furniture <yay>. This is the part that is making me spend hours on pinterest looking for ideas for garden dinner parties. How much fun, right?

Have a look at my Pinterest Board for some inspiration!

I am also looking forward to getting a bigger and nicer driveway of course. We decided to go for block paving supplied by Marshalls. So should you go crazy on the driveway or stick to what your neighbour has done? There are definitely some mixed opinions on this (we are in a semi-detached after all) but I think everyone should go for whatever they fancy with some consideration to the location and type of property you own. Having said that I have seen some gorgeous Victorian houses with contemporary style driveways that work very well so it definitely can be done.

I still think a driveway is something that you should spent some time and money on. It's often the only thing people see and it represents your home to the outside world. It will add a lot of value to your house as well. We might live in a 1930s house but the décor is definitely more contemporary with all the monochrome details. I really wanted our driveway to reflect this too and we decided to go for two contrasting colours (light grey and dark grey which is almost black). The driveway will be light grey in the middle with dark boarders. I actually got to pick the colours last week which was very exciting!


So far we have been very happy with our landscapers. Rob, who leads the team, is on site daily to make sure that everything is running smoothly. His staff are very hard working and professional and have been doing this for 15 years. Rob has quite a strong vision and I have had to trust him on few ideas which I wouldn't have considered doing before. It's a bit nerve wrecking as I like to be 'in charge' but I can start to see now how it's all going to look like and I really hope it will exceed our expectations.

It's all very exciting at the moment and the noise hasn't been that bad to be honest. The diggers went after day 3 so that's a good sign and our 4 month old baby slept through all the noise on the loudest day (day 3) which was a miracle to say least. I'm just hoping that everything will go according  to plan but so far it's looking better than I would have ever imagined. I'll keep you posted!

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