Monday, 11 December 2017

A CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST TABLE SETTING WITH LAURA ASHLEY








Since Christmas is just around the corner, I've teamed up with the fabulous Laura Ashley Blog to bring you some Christmas entertaining tips that will put you in the festive mood. I'm sharing the cutest Christmas Breakfast tablescape over at the Laura Ashley Blog today which was inspired by their Autumn/Winter '17 collection.

Of course I wanted the table setting to feel as glamorous as possible, so I styled our dining room table with some stunning gold accessories, elegant plates and beautiful gold rimmed flutes. I created a pretty little center piece with some white peonies (faux, of course!) and a beautiful brass terrarium.

Head over to the Laura Ashley blog here for the full details!

* This post is in collaboration with Laura Ashley UK.
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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

FESTIVE BAR CART


Ah, it's finally December. December is such a fun (and busy) month, it feels almost a little surreal that we are so closed to Christmas now. Our house is looking very festive with all the garlands, wreaths and gold Christmas decorations. Not to mention the tree which I revealed in my last post!

But, I have been meaning to talk to you about our newish brass bar cart from West Elm. I bought it last April but I wanted to wait a bit before reviewing it on the blog. Now that I've had a chance to use it for several months I can honestly say that it was the best purchase ever. I love it and if you're looking to up your entertaining game this Christmas or New Year's, you'll love it too.

I really can't think of any negatives about this bar cart. My only regret is that I didn't buy it sooner. Seriously, that's how much I love it. I was a little worried that our 2 year old would want to climb on it (btw, if you're looking for a family friendly bar cart, you'll love this post!) but thankfully she hasn't shown any interest to it. I ordered the bar cart from John Lewis and the delivery took only few days. It was pretty easy to assemble too (or so my husband says). We mainly use the bar cart as a side table in the dining room but when we are entertaining it gets moved into our lounge (which probably happens every 2-3 months). The bar cart has two shelves so you can store the bottles at the bottom and the barware on top. It's super easy to wheel in and out and it's sturdy enough to hold quite a few bottles. I'm not a big cocktail drinker so we normally use it to serve wine or bubbly. I even used it on our decking during the summer which was super handy. Oh, and I absolutely love that you can lock the wheels (a must have if you have children!)



I styled the bar cart with some Christmassy decorations to give it a nice festive feel. I'm mad about nutcrackers at the moment. I bought my first nutcracker few years ago in the Nuremburg Christmas Market but they have become so popular in the UK recently that I've added 3 more to my collection now. I saw this white and gold nutcracker in the Ruxley Manor Garden centre last weekend (House of Fraser stock it too!) and it was love at first sight. They have a huge selection of nutcrackers this year and I just couldn't leave without buying one (or three!) The mini nutcrackers are actually tree ornaments but I cut the string since I wanted to use them as decorative items.





I'm also loving little glittery trees at the moment. I wish I could get away with displaying these all year round but maybe not.. I found them in the Polhill Garden Centre (can you tell I'm loving garden centres at the moment!) and they were such great value for £3 each that I couldn't leave them behind. I like to group 3 or more together so they stand out more. Don't they look adorable next to the gold rimmed champagne glasses?



I do think these gold champagne flutes and the striped straws with bells look amazing together. This is the first year that I have introduced more red to our Christmas decor. I know it's strange considering red is the official colour of Christmas but I personally like it in smaller doses. Gold is definitely still my favourite accent colour and I love that it instantly adds glamour to any setting. These Merry & Bright napkins are the perfect addition to a stylish festive bar cart.



Laura Ashley always have the most striking Christmas crackers. I adore these gold luxury Christmas crackers. I know I've mentioned gold like 10 times in this post but it just goes to show you can never have too many gold accessories in your home, right?


If you have any questions about this bar cart or simply cannot make up your mind just shoot me a message or leave a comment, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. The only thing I would say is that since it is a mirrored bar cart I do probably baby it a little bit. I try not place anything too sharp on the surface or load it with 30+ bottles. You could probably get away with it but I personally like that it looks neat and organised. It's not badly priced either at John Lewis for £319.20 (for some reason it's cheaper than on the West Elm website..) but if you sign up for the West Elm newsletter you can also get 10% off the original price.

Happy bar cart entertaining!

Product List

Brass Terrace Bar Cart -  West Elm

Glitter mini trees (similar).

Dom Perignon Bucket (only available second hand).

Artificial glitter pine branches from Sainsbury's (in store only).

Medium sized nutcracker (also sold by House of Fraser).

Mini nut crackers.

Gold champagne flutes (gifted).

Striped straws with bells (gifted).

Luxury Christmas Crackers (gifted).

Gold leaf trinket (gifted).

Faux Succulent in a Marble Pot (gifted from Sainsbury's).


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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

SCANDI CHRISTMAS TREE WITH AMARA


It seems that each year Christmas decorations go up a little earlier in our house and this year has certainly been no exception. We put up our Christmas tree last weekend all thanks to the lovely people at Amara. Amara gifted me some new decorations from their HideAway range that is to die for. Lucky for me, the hideaway collection is inspired by Scandinavian and Nordic interior styles, featuring some neutral tone colour palettes and irresistible greys.

Christmas tree decorating is a bit of a team effort in our house. My husband usually does the hard bit. He gets the tree down from the loft, fluffs it and puts up the tree lights (the part that I really hate!) I then decorate the tree with the 'help' of our children. Decorating the Christmas tree with my kids is a bit chaotic to  be honest. I always let them help as it's all part of the fun, but then I tend to rearrange all the baubles once they've lost interest. My youngest daughter is only 2 so shatter proof decorations are the way to go in our house. Also, we've never had a real tree but I'm seriously considering it for next year. Our artificial tree is 5 years old now and it's starting to show a bit. I can see that the branches are getting thinner but since it still looks pretty decent, I thought we'd use it again this year. We'll be getting a real tree for our TV room next year though and I'd also like to get another artificial tree for our lounge too.

Anyway, I usually go for a Scandi inspired Christmas tree (lots of contemporary style baubles with a dash of metallics) so I felt that the hideaway collection would go perfectly with our existing theme. I prefer baubles or small ornaments when decorating the tree and stick to maximum 3-4 different colours. Most of the decorations are monochrome, black, grey or white. I do like to add both silver and gold baubles to the mix too to give it a more glamorous look. I never use ribbons or tinsel. At the moment I really like a tree that is not entirely covered in decorations. I like to be able to see the tree too but I have also gone a bit OTT  in the past so maybe I'll change my mind again one day.

If you're going for a rustic chic Christmas look this year you'll love these wooden decorations. Wood looks stunning but also quite understated, which I love. I adore these stylish wood slice baubles. You can complete the look with these quirky beaded tree decorations.  I just love the abstract trees pattern and the monochrome detailing definitely makes them a statement accessory.




Luxurious faux fur is always a good choice for Christmas. I love faux fur cushions and throws, so when I spotted this furry star I knew it would look fabulous on our Christmas tree. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of stock at the moment but this metal hanging star ornament will also look beautiful on a contemporary style Christmas tree.  


Since we have kids, I usually go for shatter proof Christmas decorations. Obviously they are much safer around children, but I also like that they are not that heavy. I find that glass baubles tend to put too much weight on the branches and they can end up looking a bit funny. I love this shatter proof tube of 30 assorted baubles which gives you a nice mix of shiny, matt, glitter and horizontal rib and pumpkin patterned baubles. Of course plastic baubles are better value too and they definitely last longer in our house than glass ornaments. If I do use glass ornaments I always try to place them high so my children can't reach them.  




Funnily enough, we had to move furniture around in the living room in order to get our tree in. I quite like having the Barcelona chair next to the tree though. The wire wall art creates an interesting focal point in the room too. Who doesn't love a bit of industrial chic, right?


Christmas tree decorating tips

- Pick your spot first, then buy the size and the shape that suits the space (I prefer to keep our Christmas tree in the corner so it's a bit tucked away from the kids)

- Never place a tree (artificial or real) next to a radiator or any heat source

- Always inspect your Christmas lights before you start wrapping them around the Christmas tree (in case some of the bulbs are broken). Read this piece on How to put up Christmas lighting on a real tree if in doubt.

- If you've got an artificial tree, don't forget to fluff the branches first to give it a fuller look

- When decorating the tree, start at the top of the tree and work your way down. I like to place smaller baubles on the top branches first and then occasionally mix them with larger items to balance the tree.

- Try not to place identical baubles next to each other (you'll want to create a nice contrast and avoid the overly matchy-matchy look)

- Do place larger statement pieces on the tree (leave this last)

- Use a sheepskin rug as a tree skirt

- If you like glass ornaments that tend to be heavy and unstable, twist the string around the ornament and the branch several times to make sure the ornament is secure. This is also a great way to shorten the string without cutting it.

- Add snow dust to the tree to give it a real snowy look

- Place the tree topper last so you don't have to worry about knocking off ornaments when decorating the rest of the tree.

- Use only one type of decorations, ie. baubles to create a minimal, modern look

- Stick to fewer colours and shapes in order to create a more balanced tree

- Go for Christmas decorations that represent your personal style. I've collected mine over time and I feel that a nicely curated bauble collection makes the tree a lot more unique and personal.


I think that's all I can think of for now.. If you have any Christmas tree decorating tips you'd like to share, leave a comment or let me know on Instagram!

* This post is in collaboration with Amara Living.
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

GET COSY WITH SAINSBURY'S


I love seasonal make-overs. Although I'm more of a summer person, there is something special about autumn and winter too. Staying loyal to my Nordic roots, I tend to go for lighter colours that bounce light off beautifully as the days get shorter. I guess the most important part about winter decor for me is comfort and cosyness. After all if you're going to be stuck inside on a cold day, you might as well make most of it, right?

I've been a massive fan of Sainsbury's for as long as I can remember (and I also do our weekly shop in our local Sainsbury's that just happen to have a giant homeware section too!). I love that the designs are spot on trend and affordable. I also attended their AW17 press show last summer, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when they asked me to feature some of their new season accessories on the blog.

Two new collections really stood out for me this year. First of all, the Nordic Skies collection has my name written all over it. There are lots of light wood accessories, little trees and soft, comfy throws. I adore the simple lines and the clean aesthetics that work so well in my opinion with also more glamorous accessories. You see, as much as I love minimal Scandinavian design, I also like to decorate with metallics (mainly gold, silver and brass) which is why I decided to style my favourite pieces from the Nordics Skies collection with some glamorous accessories from their Renaissance Boutique range. These two collections combined will give your home a luxe look without breaking the bank.

Is it just me or has the weather gotten Arctic here in the UK recently? If you live in an old house like I do, you know what I'm talking about. My feet seem to get especially cold which is why I like to snuggle under a warm blanket most evenings. If you're looking for a Winter throw that will also double up as a comfy Christmas throw, you'll love this ombre faux fur throw. It feels so soft and luxurious and it's without a doubt the warmest throw I own. 



Now you probably know how much I love patterns which is why this geometric cushion is ideal for our lounge. The geo patterns looks very pretty and the soft pastel colours add a subtle feminine touch to it. It's quite a small cushion though, so it's ideal as a decorative cushion or perhaps in the kids room.


I still cannot seem to stop obsessing over gold and brass. I'm pretty sure there are more gold accessories in our house now than silver (and trust me I used to be mad about silver too!) I love this gold wine cooler from the Renaissance Boutique range. You can use it to chill wine or champagne and the best part is that it has handles on the sides which makes it easy to carry around. It's so pretty that you won't want to hide it in a cupboard though. Leave it on a side table or a cabinet to impress your guests. 


I adore this mini wooden tree from the Nordic Skies collection. It's so simple, yet effective. You can get away with displaying it even after Christmas has passed. I also love the contrast of wood and stone which is why I placed this stunning white marble object next to the tree ornament. Honestly, marble and wood are a match made in interior (bloggers) heaven. 


Don't you think this faux succulent in a marble effect pot looks shockingly real? Although, I love fresh cut flowers I couldn't resist these faux roses in a clear vase. The bouquet is so elegant and simple. The neroli and amber gold candle is perfect for the festive season. Place it next to the large metal lantern for a more elaborate ambiance.



I'm in love with this opulent cocktail platter from the Renaissance Boutique range. You could use it as a party platter or to serve drinks for two. I can see myself using it for nuts and little snacks before dinner. It's so pretty and the best part is that it's dishwasher safe. 



I hope I've inspired you to get your house cosy this winter. Some of these products are not available online, but I've linked as many as I could find. However, in my humble opinion, it's always better to go and see the products in person if you can. So next time you're doing your weekly shop in your local Sainsbury's, why not take a look at the homewares too. I really think you'll be blown away.

Find more inspiration from Sainsbury's here!

Products available online

Ombre faux fur throw

Gold wine cooler

Neroli and amber gold candle

Large metal lantern

Cocktail platter

* This post is in collaboration with Sainsbury's.

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Friday, 10 November 2017

MERRY & BRIGHT CHRISTMAS TABLESCAPE










Happy Friday! I don't know about you but I'm really excited about Christmas already. Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year and I cannot wait to go a bit OTT with Christmas decorations this year. But first up I'm sharing some Christmas entertaining tips over at the Party Delights Blog. They have an amazing selection of Christmas decorations and party tableware which will help turn your house into a Christmas Wonderland.

Head over to the Party Delights Blog here!

* Thank you Party Delights for sponsoring this post.


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Friday, 3 November 2017

STYLE AT HOME MAGAZINE - CHRISTMAS TREE CHALLENGE

I've been dying to share this feature with you for a while now. I was so excited when Style At Home Magazine asked me to take part in their annual Christmas Tree Challenge. Honestly, I couldn't believe it. You may remember that I was one of their stylist at home in their June issue, but I never dreamt that they'd actually ask me to take part in their Christmas Tree challenge.

Of course I had to say YES and start looking for the perfect dress to wear for the shoot. I was told to wear something glamorous and Christmassy, so I opted for my favourite dark blue lace dress. The shoot took place in August in the most fabulous location house in South East London. It was a rented family home, but the entire house was just so chic and quirky. You could even see the Shard from their upstairs balcony!

I was so excited to find out that I was decorating a real Christmas tree for Matalan when I arrived. I didn't really expect their decorations to be such a good quality. The designs were beautiful and amazing value for money. I loved all the pastel and pale green baubles, plus the sequin colour-change cushion. I also fell in love with their giant nutcracker. It's huge and I love that Matalan have such a great selection of nutcrackers this yet. By the way, I thought decorating a real Christmas tree is a lot harder than decorating an artificial one. The branches can't take too much weight and they are not symmetrical, so balancing ornaments can be challenging. Luckily I learned some new tricks and I can't wait to get a real Christmas tree for our house (maybe even this year).

The whole experience was just incredible. I was feeling a little anxious first (I'm not exactly a natural in front of the camera) but the entire Style At Home team made me feel so comfortable. Professional hair and make-up and a super photographer obviously helped! It was so fascinating to see the behind the scenes of an interior magazine shoot too. This experience has given me so many new ideas and aspirations you wouldn't believe.

I also met a fellow blogger, Mrs Rackley Home, who was styling a tree for Tesco on the day. You need to check out her amazing blog! She is the most organised lady I have ever met.

The December issue is in the shops now, so do grab a copy if you get a chance. 8 amazing retailers took part this year so you'll see 8 very differently styled Christmas trees. I couldn't pick a favourite if I tried. I love them all for very different reasons.

Let me know what you think?!
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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

JO MALONE ENGLISH OAK & REDCURRANT CANDLE



It's been a while since I've done a candle review, so I thought I'll share my latest candle purchase on the blog. I do love a nice scented luxury candle, although I tend to buy supermarket brands as well. I personally think luxury candles are worth the splurge, but I know this topic been discussed to death online. The thing is, scented candles are more popular than ever and then there's the rise of the 'mandle' (candle for men) which clearly goes to show that scented candles aren't just for women anymore.

Jo Malone is one of my firm favourites and although I've tried many other luxury brands, I keep going back to Jo Malone for some reason. I wouldn't say the candles are good value for money, but does everything have to be? I wouldn't have dreamt of buying one when I was a student, but now that I'm a so called 'grown up' with 2 small children, I do think it's my right to pamper myself every now and then. We all spend money on different things and I guess luxury candles just are one of my (many) obsessions. I'm sure some of them are a total waste of money but usually you can smell the difference between a high quality candle and a cheaper version. When you buy expensive candles the scent tends to be much more subtle and less chemical due to high quality essential oils.

I visited my local Jo Malone branch last week, looking for my old favourite scent White Jasmine & Mint only to be told they had discontinued it. It's such a shame but I do understand they have to make room for new scents too. My favourite summer scent is the Peony & Blush Suede candle but since it's autumn I wanted to try something a bit different. The sales rep introduced me to their latest Autumn scent English Oak & Redcurrant and although the candle didn't quite convince me, once I smelled the cologne I was sold.

Tasting Notes according to Jo Malone

Top Note: Redcurrant
An intensely fruity note with a tangy, juicy clarity which brings a sparkling contrast to the oak woodiness in the fragrance.

Heart Note: Rose
As the fragrance unfurls, this opulent floral, with its spicy, honey facets wraps the scent with sumptuous texture.

Base Note: Roasted Oak
A warm and compelling woody note that gives the addictive quality of roasted oak.




I was so excited to test this candle, but I was also a little worried it wouldn't be able to compete with my old favourites. I placed the candle in our large open plan kitchen/dining room and it took about 30 minutes before you could really smell the scent once it was lit. The scent was absolutely heavenly and stronger the longer I was burning it. It's still quite a subtle scent. In fact, my husband claims that it's not strong enough, but I beg to differ. The scent kind of reminded me of the Diptyque Baies candle, except I found  the Jo Malone English Oak candle a little bit more overpowering (in a good way). If you like fruity, floral scents with a hint of roasted oak, you'll love this candle and the cologne. Jo Malone always seem to get the balance just right which is why I love their scented candles. I haven't been as impressed with their reed diffusers which is why I tend to stick only to their scented candles.




I do think this scent is ideal those cold Autumn evenings. Just remember to follow the instructions and the candle will last for ages. Jo Malone candles usually last me at least 3 months (I burn them at least once a week). The first burn is the most important one, so don't be tempted to burn the candle longer than the maximum recommended time which is 2 hours. I often light one once the kids have gone to bed and I finally get a minute for myself. I'm always on the look out for new candle recommendations, so if you know a candle brand that is far superior to anything else you've tried, let me know. 

Read my Christmas candle review here!
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