Tuesday, 26 April 2016

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION AT THE MOMENT

I know most of you turn to pinterest these days when looking for a bit of interior inspiration but it's nice to go offline every now and then, am I right? I spend so much time looking at computer screens that there is nothing quite as nice as picking up a paper copy and browsing through the pages with a hot latte in my hand. I also happen to love the smell of books as weird as it sounds. Especially the 'fresh from the press' smell that new books have!

Here's few things that inspire me at the moment!

 

1. Interior Magazines

I simply love them all; Elle Décor, Living Etc, Beautiful Homes and especially Real Homes Magazine which gives you realistic and affordable design ideas. I keep my magazines well organised in my Laura Ashley rattan basket and browse through them whenever I get a few minutes for myself. I often cut out my favourite images and put them in my inspiration folder.

This month I am actually loving the garden style from the H&M magazine. I love all the patterns out at the moment and patterns and texture are going to play an important role for me when I'll be decorating our outdoor living area.



2. Books

I have quite a few favourites but I keep going back to Vintage Remix by Kishani Perrera. I might do a separate book review soon but basically it's the perfect book for a vintage loving minimalist like me. I love how she encourages you to bring your personality to your décor which is something I often struggle with.


3. TV

There is so much interior inspiration on TV at the moment it's unbelievable. I'm not even talking about shows like the Great Interior Design Challenge or Grand Designs (although I do watch both). Watching the Cowboy Builders is my guilty pleasure actually. Dominic Littlewood  is so brilliant and if he is ever looking for an assistant I'd happily volunteer!

There are few TV shows that my husband and I are pretty addicted to at the moment. Is anyone else watching the Affair? I'm enjoying all the drama in the second series almost as much as the décor of the beach house which is located in the most ideal and romantic location you could ever imagine. It reminded me of the Hamptons. I've definitely seen some West Elm cushion covers featured there! I love the relaxed look and how everything looks so pristine most of the time (unlike in real life). Another show that gives me serious interior envy is Suits! I'm looking forward to season 3 and I'm just loving Mike's and Rachel's apartment. Of course Harvey's penthouse is pretty impeccable too. Not to mention all the art work and styling. Perfection is the word that comes to my mind. Of course it's just TV but it's always nice to fantasise.

4. Friends houses

I definitely get stuck in my ways when it comes to decorating. It's so refreshing to go to someone else's house and see what they've done and maybe even take few ideas with me. Even if the décor is not exactly my taste, I do appreciate different styles and admire people who take risks. I tend to play it pretty safe so going to a house that is totally out of my comfort zone is quite a liberating experience actually.

5. Instagram

There are so many fabulous accounts to follow but at the moment Style Me Pretty Living, Fashionable Hostess and Good Living is Glam are my favourites. I seem to prefer a softer, feminine look these days and Instagram is providing me a daily dose of glamorous living in a such an easy to access way.

Where do you get inspiration from? If there's any accounts on Instagram worth following I'd love to know! You can follow me here.

*Some of the items in this post have been gifted to me.
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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

VOLUSPA LUXURY SCENTS

You probably know about my addiction to scented candles by now. I'm always trying out new ones and get wildly excited when I discover a new brand; a potential favourite even! My taste in scented candles has changed slightly in the last few years. These days I tend to go for more feminine, grown up scents that don't over power a room but are quite subtle.

My sister got me the Voluspa Crisp Champagne Reed Diffuser from the Maison Noir Collection for Christmas and I loved it so much that I wanted to get the candles too. I had never heard of Voluspa before but apparently they have quite a big following in the US. I decided to order the candles directly from their UK website although many online retailers stock them these days such as Amara and Royal Design. You might even find Voluspa in a few shops over here but the selection is pretty limited which is a shame because I would prefer to smell the scents before actually buying them.

Here's my verdict..



Crisp Champagne Reed Diffuser

As a champagne lover I knew that this scent was going to be a big hit in our house. This is my favourite scent diffuser at the moment! It smells and looks luxurious and is actually pretty good value because it seems to last ages. Voluspa website claims it will last for 4-6 months and I was sceptical first but it's still going strong and I've had it since Christmas. The Crisp Champagne Diffuser has notes of sparkling brut champagne with hints of vanilla and barrel oak. The scent is  subtle but just about strong enough for me to smell it when I'm sitting on the sofa in our lounge.

Some supermarket diffusers have a horrible, chemical smell and I often get a headache from them. This one definitely doesn't as it smells absolutely delicious. Would I buy it myself? -  Without a doubt. And, I'd get the matching room spray too.




Prosecco Bellini Candle

Since Voluspa seem to nail their champagne scents so well I had to try their 2-wick Prosecco Bellini Candle. I mean who doesn't like Prosecco Bellini? The Maison Metallo Candles are one of the prettiest candles out there. This is a perfect travel candle as it comes with a tight lid that keeps the wax dust free when not in use. The packaging is luxurious and you have several different colour options to choose from to match your décor.

This scented candle is definitely highly fragranced. I could smell it the minute I opened the lid. You only need to burn it for a few minutes before a strong scent starts to linger. In fact, if you don't like fruity, sweet smells this might be a little bit too much for you. The coconut wax is incredibly oily to touch which is usually a good indicator that it will produce quite a generous scent.  And, it really does! Every time I light this candle my daughter tells me it smells like sunshine and she's right; think of ripe peaches and sweet apricots blended with superfine sugar and prosecco. The perfect accessory for a hot summer day!

For 20 pounds it's probably the best value out there. I would be tempted to try a different scent next time though, perhaps the Macaron or Gardenia Colonia candle.


Laguna Luxury Candle

I've been looking for a fresh, new scent for warm summer evenings and I thought the Laguna Luxury Candle might meet my high expectations. The luxury candles are elegant candles with app. 100 hours of burning time and the Laguna scent also happens to be one of Voluspa's most popular scents. My initial thought was that it smelled too 'soapy'. Not a good start to be honest but once the candle was lit it did produce a nice warm smell that reminded me of sandy beaches. The fragrance, with notes of velvet sand and dazzling azure seas, is pretty light and I guess it's a bit too subtle even for my taste.

I'm not convinced that the luxury size candles are actually worth it. I think a 2-wick metallo candle will be just as good and the wax will melt even quicker. This candle does look very sophisticated and stylish although I don't think I would go for this scent again.



Champagne Rose Mini Candle

I'm always a little sceptical when I buy mini candles. Do they really give as much fragrance as regular size ones? I guess some do and some don't. I wouldn't expect to use a mini candle in a large open-plan area though.

The Champagne Rose Mini Candle is part of their discontinued collections hence it's 40% off at the moment! It's a super feminine scent with the notes of brut rose champagne mixed with berries and rose pedals. Due to it's size I wouldn't use this candle in a very large room. It's ideal for smaller spaces like bedroom or bathroom. It's actually my favourite bath time candle at the moment. I love having a bath but burning a candle for 2.5 hours is not always practical when you have one. Since this is a small candle, the wick melts quicker and you only really need to burn it for an hour or so for the wick to entirely melt. It's quite a strong scent so you only need to burn it for a short period to get the room smelling gorgeous.



I think Voluspa candles are definitely good quality and worth the money. They are quite different from everything else that I have tried and the variety of scents is just amazing. Also, one thing that really made these candles stand out for me was the style and the glamorous packaging. I was almost more impressed by the looks than the actual scent. Voluspa candles come in all shapes, sizes and colours; there's definitely something for everyone. They make great decorative accessories afterwards but the scents can be quite a hit and miss so it's a good idea to get a mini candle first before investing in a larger one.

What's your experience with Voluspa? Do you have a favourite scent?

For more information visit www.voluspa.co.uk

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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

GARDEN UPDATE

You might have read in my previous post about our garden landscaping plans. 7 weeks ago our contractors started working on the garden and the driveway and now I'm happy to say that we are finished! It might seem like a long time but when you take into account what's involved (builders, electricians etc) it will easily take 7 weeks. It has not been all plain sailing but I am very happy with the way it's turned out which is the main thing. Here's a sneak peek of what we've done!






The new decking is something that I have wanted for a long time. When we built our extension last year, I had this vision that we would have a lovely timber decking outside it leading into our leafy garden. Contemporary looking block paving is very popular for garden designs at the moment but I really wanted a traditional type of garden. It's very versatile and you can add accessories/furniture to give it a contemporary feel if you want.  I do think contemporary gardens look great too but considering the size and the type of property we have, keeping it simple just seemed to work better. Not to mention block paving isn't exactly the cheapest option out there. I feel that we've got a nice mix of contemporary and traditional going on in this house although it's definitely leaning towards more contemporary these days.

Our new decking is absolutely lush to walk on. I am going slightly insane trying to keep it clean though as my goal is to be able to walk on it barefoot (well without shoes anyway) at all times. This means using a patio brush on it every few days or so which itself is not the biggest job in the world. However, rain and footprints are not a great combination as you will see some nasty marks on the decking. I am mopping it using warm water when this happens. I have no idea how long I have energy to maintain this but I love looking at it when it's clean. We went for pine which is very light so if you don't like cleaning, get a darker material or paint it! In fact, there are few composite decking materials that look stunning and they are definitely worth checking out as the colour options are pretty impressive!


Gardens are these days used for chilling out and dining which means that you should really try to make them as welcoming as the inside of the house. This also means you need to make sure the lighting is well thought out. I personally love the idea of looking at an illuminated garden in the evening (I know it's not everyone's cup of tea)  and thanks to LEDs the running costs are pretty low. Our electrician installed spots onto our decking which will illuminate the garden at night. The decking lighting is timed so they come on automatically at 8 o'clock everynight which is handy. It needs to be pretty dark until you can appreciate the effect but it does look beautiful with some candles and lanterns dotted around. I am planning on adding some fairy lights to our fence to give our garden a real festive feel although I haven't found the perfect ones yet.

By the way, I absolutely adore our railway sleepers. They are nice and chunky and really make the garden look somewhat manageable. We haven't really decided whether we'd paint them or not. I am tempted but for now I love how they blend in with our timber decking.




I have been doing some planting in pots to make the garden and driveway feel more cosy. I am loving structured plants at the moment like buxus and leylandii which have quite an architectural effect. Even though we have roses in our front garden, I don't think I will be planting them in the future. The weeds drive me nuts and they only tend to look good for a relatively short period. I want something that looks good pretty much all the time which is why structured plants seem to be my best bet. There are some artificial plants that look quite good but I just feel funny about fake plants.. Never say never but I think I would prefer a low maintenance plant over a fake one.

I don't know if I will actually ever get good at gardening. I'm not even sure that I really want to. I enjoy the idea of it and the results but after 10 minutes my back starts aching and I have to question whether it's really worth it. We will be getting a gardener to keep our garden in check regularly but won't have anyone in for another month so I ended up doing some weeding myself. It was quite a good workout actually!


Can you believe we have even managed to have the first barbeque of the year? The weather hasn't been great but it is definitely getting warmer which is giving me hope. We have been toasting to our new garden a few times but there is still a lot of work to be done.



I am still in the process of accessorising our new outdoor area. This is definitely the fun part for me although finding the perfect dining set was more difficult that I thought it would be. We decided to go for black rattan to match our old sun loungers but grey and light brown are far more popular now and most garden centres don't stock black rattan anymore. Luckily, I found the perfect set in Alexander Francis and the contrast of light decking and black rattan give our outdoor area quite a dramatic look. I'm a big fan of interior and exterior colour matching. It's important that we have a nice flow in our home and the outside colour scheme should also complement the interiors. My ultimate goal is to make our decking area feel like another room in the house.

At the moment I'm looking for a side table and Moroccan style metal lanterns to fit in with our monochrome theme. If you are looking for some garden inspiration check out Top Garden Trends for 2016 by the Garden Magazine. I am especially loving the trend of two contrasting colours. People are picking bolder colours and painting their fences dark grey or even black. How refreshing! I'll be putting up some before and after pictures soon to show you our entire garden transformation.
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