Tuesday, 31 January 2017

VALENTINE'S DAY AT HOME




I love getting the house ready for Valentine's day. It's the only time that I will get away with lots of pink and girlie accessories and my husband will just have to deal with it. Ha! We are spending Valentine's day at home (again) as it's turned into a bit of a tradition for us in the last few years. I love spending Valentine's day at home actually. I've learned my lesson and realised that Valentine's day/eve set menus in restaurants aren't for us and I'd much rather get a nice bottle of bubbly, snack on some macarons and watch a cheesy comedy at home.

I like to start Valentine's day preparation few weeks early. There's nothing worse than finding out that your favourite napkins or candles have just sold out. Well, at least not for me! I like to keep the decorations to a minimum though - less is more! Candles, flowers, cute napkins, macarons, a nice bottle of sparkling wine.. that's all you need really.

I always start with the flowers. They set the mood for any occasion and Valentine's day is the one day that you really cannot have too many flower arrangements in the house. I usually buy one or two big bouquets and put some single roses in mini vases. I love using my old Diptyque candle jars as vases. They are pretty and go with everything. Pink roses are a nice alternative to traditional red roses, don't you think? I like to use my Iittala pitcher as a vase. A stylish champagne bucket would also look cute with a larger bouquet. Scented candles are a 'must' for me as they instantly set the tone for the season and they can make any space feel cosy. I love The Lime Basil & Mandarin candle from Jo Malone which is a very fresh and subtle scent that won't overpower the room.




Who else is mad about macarons? They taste delicious and come in so many wonderful flavours and colours. They don't feel as heavy as chocolate which means I could easily snack on them all night long. I like to serve macarons on simple a 3 tier cake stand or a sandwhich tray like this from Newbridge Silverware. I guess chocolates have been replaced by a box of macarons in our house on Valentine's day now. I'd love to make my own macarons one day (I even have a macaron making kit) perhaps I'll finally get around to it this year.





I'm not into sweets, or jellies, but my husband and kids love them so I always get some for Valentine's. Marshmellows and strawberries go nicely with a glass of champagne and we usually have them as a post dinner snack. I try not to cook on Valentine's day though. I spend so much time in the kitchen that it's nice to be able to take a break from cooking, so we usually end up ordering a takeaway. I do prepare a little canapé platter but that's about it. The lips paper napkins and squirrel serving plate are both from TKMaxx.




Valentine's day celebrations wouldn't be the same without some sparkling wine of course. If you don't have pink champagne at hand, just add a drop of Chambord to your drink and voila you've got yourself a delicious champagne cocktail. By the way, I love these chic Vera Wang wine coasters. If you want to keep your wine cold a little longer, just place the coaster in the fridge few hours before you plan to serve the wine. Don't forget to check out second hand shops too. They often have a great selection of vintage coasters that might just need a bit of polish and scrub to bring the sparkle back.



The trickiest part about Valentine's day is finding the perfect present for my husband. He already has everything, and I prefer to buy practical presents rather than keep sakes. Last year I bought him a new bath candle and some bath salts.

Here are my top picks for this year:

1. Tom Dixon Scented Candle
2. Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Set
3. Rock Roller 3 Piece Drinkware set
4. Personalised Man Cave Sign
5. Personalised set of 2 mugs

For the alternative gift guide, head over to the Kate Young Design Blog!

I also love these Valentine's Craft Party Ideas from Style Me Pretty Living. I think I might get crafting with my daughters few days before just to get them excited about the day too.

Have you made plans for Valentine's day yet?

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

SAINSBURY'S SS17 PRESS DAY


I attended Sainsbury's Home & Lifestyle SS17 Press Day back in November and the new collections had me wishing it was summer already. I do our weekly grocery shopping at our local Sainsbury's and their homeware department has become very familiar to me you in the last few years. I'm always multitasking. It's so convenient to pick up a few pieces for the house when you're doing your weekly grocery shop. Their homeware selection is better than ever, so I was thrilled to get a sneak peek of what's hitting the shops in 2017.

I am getting seriously excited about spring and summer now. It was so refreshing to see all those bright colours at the press preview for a change. I'm also mad about patterns and gold, which are still very much on trend. I really wish I could have taken all those wonderful pieces home with me. I feel that Sainsbury's have really stepped up their game recently. They are launching hundreds of new products in their stores that reflect current interior trends. I love that you don't need to shop online or on the  high street to get the latest interior looks. I find their products very good value too, it really is more convenient than ever to brighten up your décor.

Here are my favourite picks!
Zig Zag cushion £12, Geometric throw £18, Copper tray £12
Faux Rattan Lantern, large £28


Ethereal Notice Board £14, Grey wall clock £12 
Black tea & vetiver candle £8, Warm Amber & Fig diffuser £15 
Butterfly String Light £14
Wine glasses, starting from £5
Shore Tableware, from £2
Restoration pans, starting from £6


Summer plates, starting from £1.50
So if you're in need of summer interior inspiration,  I highly recommend that you drop over to your nearest Sainsbury's. I cannot wait to get another look at the new collections very soon.

For more information visit www.sainsburyshome.co.uk
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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

SUGAR CUBE PLAY KITCHEN BY GLTC


I don't often feature children's toys on the blog but in this case I had to make an exception. We recently got the most stylish play kitchen for my daughter and I cannot believe how much I'm in love with it too. Also, I'm going to make it my mission this year to finish my daughters bedroom make-over, fingers crossed, so you can expect some kids bedroom interior inspo on the blog soon.

My eldest daughter turned 4 few weeks ago and she told us some time ago that she'd like a play kitchen. She loves to cook with me so I thought that's a great idea. We haven't got a designated play room for the kids which means that I always try to find something discrete that goes well with our décor. It's not always easy but there are so many fabulous brands out there these days selling kids toys that also appeal to us parents. If you can find something stylish that can also enhance the interiors, why would you settle for anything else?

It didn't take me long to find the ideal kitchen. I loved the Sugar Cube Kitchen from GLTC the minute I saw it on their website. It's classy, stylish and compact. It's perfect really. It's not the largest play kitchen available but I wanted something that wouldn't take over a room. It's light so I can easily carry the kitchen upstairs to my daughters room if I need to. I hate building flat packed furniture but my husband is kind of a pro at it by now so he ended up doing the assembly. It took him few hours to build the kitchen but that's pretty much what we expected.





My daughters face was priceless when she saw it. It's such a beautiful kitchen and I just love how well it goes with our neutral colour scheme. It's definitely the most stylish play kitchen I have seen! It's also very well designed and sturdy. The size is perfect for us and of course wood is always a classy choice when it comes to kids toys. The subway tile is also stunning and the silver detailing makes it feel very luxurious. It has everything you need - oven, hot and cold taps, clicking dials, removable sink, utensil, salt and pepper set etc. My favourite part is that it looks so realistic. It's almost like a mini version of our kitchen which I love. Oh, and the chalkboard is just genius. It's great for writing menus or drawing.





We also bought some extra play partners. I love the realistic looking metal pots and pans and the play food is great for some pretend play. We thought we'd start small but there are so many things you can get for the kitchen that you will definitely need some extra storage space too. The cupcake stand and the chocolate cake will be next on the list!






We've only had the kitchen for a few weeks but everyone is thrilled with it. I was a little worried whether it would actually get any use but so far so good.  My daughter uses it everyday and  even our 14 month old loves to play with it! And, if we have guests over in the evening, I just pop it in a cupboard so it's out of sight - it's a seriously handy little kitchen! It's also currently reduced to £80 which I think is well worth it.

What's your experience with play kitchens? Are they worth the splurge?

PS. There are some fabulous play kitchen hacks on pinterest if fancy doing a bit of DIY.
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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

HOUSE OF FRASER SS17 PRESS SHOW



Happy New Year! I thought I'd kick off 2017 with some spring/summer interior inspo. I'm so over winter already. Can we just fast forward the next few months and start planning barbecues and summer parties?

December was again a busy month for me in terms of spring/summer press shows and the House of Fraser press day was probably the coolest one I attended. First of all, the venue was amazing! 1 Marylebone Road is a such a stunning building and ideal for hosting an event like this. Luckily the new collections didn't disappoint either - the Tribe, Villa Vista, Junipa and Casa Couture collections especially stood out for me. Bold colours, unique prints and lux finishes were definitely the highlight of the show.

The Tribe collection is absolutely stunning and I wanted to take every single piece home with me. The collection draws key elements from Modern African design and is spot on trend at the moment. I tend to go for a neutral colour palette but I love accessorising the room with bold colours and cool patterns to make it a bit more personal. I love the rattan prints on the walls! They are actually trays but it's so clever how they double up as wall art. I was also excited to see so many tropical leaves/plants dotted around. You'll be seeing a lot of tropical leave prints in home décor this year. What better way to bring the outdoors in, right?

Woven Throw £50
Kamina Orange Trim Tray £40
I'm so pleased that gold and copper are still very much on the interiors scene. I love the Bali Ceiling Pendant from the Villa Vista collection. And, how amazing is that shade of green? I adore the distressed look and I'm seriously considering adding a feature wall in one of our bedrooms this year.

Bali Pendant £100

The Junipa collection felt a bit more elegant and grown up. The collection explores Eastern approach to interior design, channelling decorative colonial style with a modern twist. I do like the earthy colour palette, although I think it's important to remember to spice things up with a few patterned cushions and accessories. By the way, I love that I'm still seeing rattan everywhere. It might have been a big hit in the 70s, but perhaps we can assume that it is here to stay? Ok, that might not happen, but it's the perfect material for the warmer months as it can make any room feel summery!

Palm Side Table £250
I couldn't take my eyes off the Drum metal coffee table. I definitely think the quality/price ratio is very good. The table is such a good size (larger than it looks in the photo) that I can imagine it would be pretty practical too. I also love the Taj Tall Side table from the Casa Couture collection. Imagine two of these in the hall or in a small corner that isn't quite big enough for anything else. They are perfect for showcasing your favourite art work or plants. Oh, and I promise the Indes 3-seater sofa really is as comfortable as it looks and the material feels absolutely lush.

Drum Metal Coffee Table £420
Taj Tall Side Table £190
We all know that pretty tableware is a big part of décor these days. I own way too many cups already but it's always nice to get some seasonal tableware for the summer months. When it comes to tableware, I prefer pattern over colour. Maybe that's boring but I find patterned tableware more discrete. The tableware from the Tribe collection did not disappoint and the Kamina vase looks equally stunning.

Tribe Mug £6, Kamina Vase £25
And, this basket is simply divine. I wish I had seen it few months ago when I got some new storage baskets for the house. I guess you can never have too many. It's absolutely gorgeous and it comes in different sizes (small, medium and large).

Rush Basket, large £40
I hope you enjoyed reading about my highlights and do pop into House of Fraser to take a closer look at all the new collections. I thought all the collections made quite a strong statement in their own way. I don't always follow trends but they definitely inspire me. I also tend to introduce them to my house in small amounts, just in case I happen to change my mind! 

I'd love to know which collection was your favourite!

For more information visit www.houseoffraser.co.uk
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