Tuesday, 6 November 2018 / London, UK

PASTEL BIRTHDAY TABLESCAPE


My youngest daughter turned three last month (seriously, where has the time gone?), so it was the perfect opportunity for me to create the prettiest pastel tablescape. Pink is the obvious choice when it comes to girls birthday parties, but I really wanted to use as many pastel colours as possible in this table setting. I guess I went for a bit more casual look this time. I wanted this tablescape to reflect my daughters personality a little. She is the wild one in the family for sure. She is so much fun, slightly unpredictable at times and the sweetest 3 year old I know. 

So, let's start with the cake. By the way, I didn't pick a theme this year because my daughters taste changes so quickly. She is obsessed with fairies and unicorns though, so I knew that a unicorn cake would be a safe bet. Our unicorn cake is from Lola's cup cakes and it was a big hit at the party. We went for double chocolate and it was definitely the right choice. It wasn't too sweet and the frosting was delicious. I really loved the design too. It's a kiddie cake but still so stylish. I loved all the detailing and the sprinkles. The colours were very flattering too. If you're looking for a more budget friendly unicorn cake, Saisbury's have a very similar one as well (although it won't be chocolate). I always use my Iittala Kastehelmi cake stand for birthday parties. It's so versatile and it will suit any table setting. 
 


The Hessian table runner (mix of jute and cotton) is from Ocado. I do my weekly shop there and I was so pleased to discover they sell so many party supplies too. My fabulous pastel party napkins are also from Ocado. I love the cute messages and these napkins wouldn't look out of place at grown up parties either. 



The pink ombre plates and the unicorn paper cups are from Hobby Craft. I'm so glad I went for the Pick & Mix option. Everything doesn't have to match. It's much nicer to have a bit of variety, don't you think? Although, I do think that the unicorn cups go incredibly well with the unicorn napkins I got from Sainsbury's (but it's not too matchy matchy, if you know what I mean).


You cannot have a birthday party without some pretty balloons, but I wish I had bought more than I did. I totally forgot how big our dining room is and we could have done with three time as much balloons I had bought. I love these pretty marble balloons from Hobby Craft and I thought the purple ones looked particularly stunning. My number 3 rose gold balloon is also from Hobby Craft and it's the perfect size for this space. Always check the sizing when you buy those big number balloons. Luckily we had some helium left from our last party, so I didn't need to buy another canister for this one.



Oh, I almost forgot. My pretty flower bouquet is from Sainsbury's (yes, I absolutely love supermarket flowers). Normally I go for a pink birthday party bouquet, but I thought this one suited the tablescape better. I knew that some of the cake decorations were going to be purple which is why the purple flowers in this bouquet won me over.

Birthday party planning is always a lot of fun, especially now that I feel like my girls really appreciate all the effort that goes into it. My eldest daughter will turn 6 soon and she has already told me what kind of balloons and decorations she'd like. I guess I better start planning now. Only few months to go!
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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

SHELFIE UPDATE WITH WAYFAIR



'Shelfies' have become a bit of a phenomenon in interior design thanks to social media. I guess they have always been around, but thanks to Instagram and Pinterest there is literally no escaping from them. When it comes to adding decorative items to your home, you really can't beat a well curated  shelf. I definitely think less is more. Don't be tempted to display all your items at once (it's much more fun to rotate them seasonally anyway). Keep it simple, but do pick different type of pieces to create some interest.

This month Wayfair challenged me to update a shelf with some stunning planters from Ivyline. In case you're not familiar with Wayfair, they are one of the world's largest online retailers of home furnishing and decor and I'm honoured to be part of their Home Experts community. Wayfair offer budget friendly finds to high-end products; they literally offer something for everyone! Now you may know that I haven't had the best luck keeping my previous plants alive (I only have one or two at the moment), so I was desperate to give it another go. Luckily Wayfair have a huge selection of planters to choose from which is why I was excited to team up with them in this campaign. 

When it comes to shelf styling I like to start with the larger items first and then work my way down to the smaller accessories. I knew that this hammered plant pot from Ivyline would be a real statement piece. I decided to pair it with the 'it' plant of 2018 which is of course a rubber plant. It's super popular and apparently easy to maintain which was good news to me. I placed a few books underneath it to give it a bit more height. I didn't want to introduce too many different colours to this shelfie. You don't want anything too colourful to distract from this stylish planter and the plant. I also like to place the taller items on the sides avoiding the center. I wouldn't worry about symmetry too much, but you'll definitely want to keep everything nicely spaced and balanced.





Now I do like to follow the 'rule of three' whenever possible as it seems to create more impact. Grouping your objects in odd numbers works particularly well if you have a long shelf. I love these stylish little concrete planters that totally soften the look. Although I picked three (almost) identical planters, I made sure that the middle one would be a different colour so it would stand out. I'm obsessed with succulents (they are easy to keep alive!) which is why they were the perfect choice for these planters. Mini cactuses would work nicely too. I placed the concrete planters on top of a marble tray. As you can probably tell, I really like using layers in my shelfies. The base layer in my shelfie is often a tray or a coffee table book.




I always make sure to include some scented candles and at least one personal item (ie. family photo) too to make the shelfie a bit more personal. Try to mix different decorative items together (candles, tea light holders, plants) but make sure that they have something in common; a colour or a style for example. Shelfies can be functional too but it's important to remember not to overcrowd them.





I really wish that I had looked into house plants years ago. I find them soothing to look at and it has been proven they improve air quality as well (which is particularly important if you live in a big city like me). I find myself less stressed and calmer around plants too. Plus when you have so many pretty planters available, decorating with plants has never been more fun. 

It feels like our home is one step closer to being a plant friendly zone and I promise I'm not done yet. In fact, I'm just starting. I just need to figure out where they are all going to go as the bigger plants may require some reshuffling of furniture. I'm also determined to keep our new rubber plant alive. I just feel happy looking at it. The pretty planter helps too of course.

Do you decorate with plants?

*Thank you Wayfair for sponsoring this post.
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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

HALLOWEEN HOME TOUR


3 weeks until Halloween, which means it's time to start thinking about Halloween decorations and I'm not talking about plastic spiders and cobwebs (unless you're planning a kids party of course which in my book is the only exception!) Halloween is the perfect time to introduce some beautiful rustic autumn colours to your home.  This year I've decided to keep our Halloween decorations quite minimal. You won't find any spider webs or skeletons anywhere, although few glamorous skulls will be floating around the house. If you don't want to go OTT this Halloween, you'll be pleased to hear it actually takes very little effort to switch to Halloween mode. All you really need is fresh flowers, few pumpkins on the shelves and a gorgeous smelling pumpkin candle or two.

I'm a big fan of wreaths. I use them both indoors and outdoors, although you still won't find that many Halloween wreaths in the shops in the UK. My autumnal pumpkin wreath is from last year (discontinued) but this one is quite similar. The Big Door Wreath Company also stock some stunning wreaths but I believe they only have one or two left. The best thing is that all the wreaths are faux so you can use them year after year. 





I found the prettiest bouquet from our local M&S to match my faux wreath. The arrangement is not faux though, so you can't expect it to last for weeks. I love this faux flower arrangement from Laura Ashley too (plus it's more than 50% off at the moment). You could easily create your own DIY Halloween arrangement. All you need is some winter berries, leaves and flower dye. If you can't find the time to do it yourself, why not ask your local florist if they could do a custom Halloween bouquet for you?



Glamorous skulls are the way to go if you want to celebrate Halloween in style. I still think TK Maxx have the best selection of Halloween decorations in the UK. My gold skull is few years old now but I still love it. Plus, the gold detailing makes it look a lot more expensive than it was. 



Our giant monochrome pumpkin is also few years old now. It's made of wood and is definitely a statement piece. 


Our dining room Halloween decor looks quite minimal as well. I placed an old diamond skull and a magpie ornament on top of our wine glass cabinet to give the room that subtle Halloween feel. Halloween is also the perfect time to start decorating with vegetables (yes, that's right!) which is why I've placed some pumpkins on the shelves. Mini pumpkins actually last ages in room temperature, but I would hold off buying larger ones until closer to Halloween (or you'll have to store them outside).




The best way to add interest to an all white room is by adding a splash of colour. Orange is the ultimately Halloween colour for me which makes the whole process so much easier. Orange roses are always an elegant choice and last ages. I also like to get creative with my pumpkin arrangements and come up with new ideas every year. Check out Pinterest for some serious decorative inspiration!





I randomly found my Pumpkin Harvest candle in TK Maxx few weeks ago. I had never heard of Californian brand Sand + Fog before, but I'm hooked now. It's such a gorgeous scent and a really generous size. The packaging looks divine and it was such a bargain for £8. In fact, I was so impressed I went back to TK Maxx and bought their White Pine candle few days ago. Believe it or not, now is the perfect time to start stocking up on Christmas candles!





Do you go all out for Halloween or keep it simple? Leave a comment or let me know on Instagram!


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Tuesday, 2 October 2018

BATTLING DUST ALLERGIES


I wasn't planning to talk about my allergies on the blog initially. It's quite a personal matter and also does not apply to everyone. But, I also felt that if the information I am about to share helps at least one person who is battling with dust allergies, it's well worth it.  

So, to give you some background I've known from a very young age that I am allergic to dust mites and all furry animals. I still remember the day my school nurse did the skin prick test (I was 10 at the time) and announced that I was highly allergic to all furry animals as well as dust mites. Just like any good mother, my mum launched into a cleaning frenzy and put all our bedding outside for 24 hours (luckily I lived in Finland at the time and it was -20 degrees outside, enough to kill those little buggers!) I even had to give up horse riding (I was gutted) but somehow convinced my father to buy me a pet rabbit. Well, I had my pet rabbit for almost 10 years with very little allergies or side affects, although now when I think about it, it probably wasn't the best idea. 

For many years I didn't have any problems. Well, technically that's not true. I've always been allergic to furry animals and got used to having a blocked nose pretty much all the time. However, something changed during/after my second pregnancy and my allergy symptoms came back worse than ever after I gave birth to my second daughter.  My doctor explained to me it was something to do with hormones and my body going into a bit of lock down. There is no real way to prove what really happened, but it was probably a combination of things that caused my allergies to worsen.

In case you are not familiar with dust mites, dust mites are microscopic bugs in the spider family. They feed off dust and moisture. Everybody has them in their home no matter how much cleaning they do, although there are ways to minimise them. Unfortunately some people, like myself, are allergic to the allergens and get various different symptoms. My typical symptoms are itchy eyes, blocked nose and sometimes breathing difficulties. I also developed blepharitis (itchy eye condition) during my second pregnancy which is particularly annoying as I'm a contact lens wearer.


I decided to take action and do all the little things that my doctor advised me to do in order to reduce them in our household. I really should have done these things a long time ago but I didn't know anti allergy bedding existed back then (it probably didn't).






HERE'S HOW I'VE MANAGED TO REDUCE MY ALLERGY SYMPTOMS...

ANTI ALLERGY BEDDING

I was very sceptical whether anti allergy bedding would make any difference and didn't want to spend a fortune in case it didn't work. I thought the John Lewis anti allergy range was good value and ordered their pillow, pillow cover, duvet and bed cover. The bedding was so comfortable and to my surprise I felt like it really did help to clear out my sinuses.

WASH EVERYTHING IN 60 DEGREES  

This applies to everything. Your bedding should be washed weekly in 60 degrees whether it's anti allergy or not. You should also wash your clothes in 60 degrees as the high temperature will kill the dust mites. If you cannot wash certain items like silk shirts, freeze them for 24 hours. Freezing kills dust mites but doesn't remove the allergens unfortunately, so it's not quite as good as wash in 60 degrees. You could also use the tumble dryer for 20 minutes on a high setting to kill the dust mites.

NO CARPETS OR RUGS

I'm not going to lie, I'm struggling with this one. We have carpets upstairs and this year we replaced our old carpet in the stairs with a wool one. If we ever move, I will make sure there are no carpets in the house. It will be wood flooring throughout.  If you need to have a carpet or rugs, go for low pile carpets that are easy to hoover. Natural materials like wool, coir and sisal repel dust mites, so they are also good materials for allergy sufferers. 

HOOVER WITH A HEPA FILTER

We have a Dyson but any hoover with HEPA filter will do. I haven't found my Dyson that great to be honest (it's too heavy and needs emptying very often), so I wouldn't really recommend this model to anyone, although it does the job.

OPEN WINDOWS AND AIR ROOMS DAILY

Dust mites love high temperatures and moisture which means that good airing is important if you want to minimise them. I usually open our bedroom window first thing I wake up. I also leave the bed unmade for at least 30 min so the sheets get a good airing.

ALLERGY MEDICATION

Use anti allergy medication as your last resort if you can. You could try anything from antihistamines to allergy jabs but in my experience drugs won't work on their own. You'll still need to use anti allergy bedding and stay on top of your dusting routine. I'm having to take antihistamines as well as use a nasal spray and eye drops which does seem a little excessive but it seems to work for me.

USE A WET CLOTH TO DUST

This one is common sense really but most people use a slightly damp cloth and you should really use a wet one. You don't want the dust floating around in the air which is why this is a must. Baby wipes or any antibacterial wipes are pretty handy too.


ANTI DUST MITE SPRAY


I bought our first anti dust mite spray out of pure desperation and didn't believe it would work. I do think it helped a little but you need to use it after you have cleaned your room properly. The bad news is that dust mites can travel from one room to another (especially if you have carpets) so you would need to spray each and every room in your home. I've only sprayed our bedroom and living room so far and I'm not convinced it's worth treating the entire house.


MINIMISE CLUTTER

This is probably one of the most important points. The more stuff you have, the more dust there will be. I find decluttering quite therapeutic actually and I've been doing some regular trips to our local charity shop recently, but this is very much an on going process for me.

I know there are air purifiers in the market as well but personally I haven't felt the need to invest in one yet. I think anti allergy bedding and good dusting/cleaning routine is far more important. Anti allergy bedding helped from day one (my nose was substantially less blocked) but I noticed a much bigger difference after I did all the things I listed above. I still suffer from blepharitis and my allergies haven't totally disappeared (although I definitely sleep much better at night) but I feel like this was the step to the right direction. Nobody else in our household suffers from dust mite allergies which just goes to show it's not about cleanliness but just bad luck really. If you do suffer from dust allergies, try to do something about them now as they can cause some serious long term damage, like asthma. It takes serious commitment to fight them and you may never get rid of them entirely, but you can't put a price on being able to breathe through your nose, can you? 

I really hope this post was helpful and feel free to leave a comment or message me if you have any questions. Also, I'd love to know what things you have done to minimise dust mite allergens in your own home??

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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

LUSTING OVER ALL THINGS BLUE



I'm not sure if it's to do with my Finnish roots, or my recent trip to Finland, but I am absolutely loving the colour blue at the moment. The funny thing is that it's not any specific shade of blue I like. I pretty much love anything from baby blue to purple (which is technically not blue but it's pretty close still).

Now I know what you're thinking, the Dulux colour of the year is heart wood (a dark pink colour with a dash of taupe) but let me assure you it's not the first time I'm choosing to ignore trends and  follow my own instinct in stead. Don't get me wrong, I like the colour but it's not exactly something I am planning to add to our home anytime soon. Even if I did, I would
add it in smaller doses. I do think you need to be a bit careful with trends. I tend to only buy items that I know I will love long term. If you do want to follow trends, or just feel bored with your current colour scheme, start with the smaller accessories first like cushions or candle holders. Don't be tempted to buy the overly trendy pink velvet sofa that is all over Instagram right now, unless you know that you'll love it forever (well at least for the next 10 years, am I right?) Trends are actually not meant to last, it's much better to invest in classics in my opinion.


Back to the topic.. I looked at the my Instagram feed the other day and realised there definitely has been a blue theme going on for a while now (this wasn't intentional at all). From flowers to bathroom towels, blue seems to be taking over our house bit by bit. If I had to pick my favourite shade of blue if would probably be something between baby blue and bright blue. The cool thing with blue is that you can mix it quite freely with almost all the other colours out there and still pull off the sophisticated look. Blue works particularly well with neutrals and even black which is why it's the ideal colour for our monochrome home.

Anyway, I thought I'll show you examples how I've styled blue accessories in our home. Also, just to make it clear, blue has never really been out of fashion. Navy and indigo were very popular last season and we all know that nautical blues were the key to nailing the coastal look during the warmers months. I guess my point is that as far as I'm concerned blue is still the hot colour. I am not going to stop buying blue accessories just because it may not be considered trendy anymore. I think blue is such a timeless colour that will never date. Think of it as the new black if you like. I should also add that I'm probably not done with my blue obsession yet. I've been eyeing up some tinted blue vases which I think would look stunning in our lounge. Decisions, decisions..






I'd love to know what colour you are lusting over?? Leave a comment or let me know on Twitter!
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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

NEW SYMMETRICAL GALLERY WALL WITHOUT NAILS



I guess it's safe to say I love gallery walls since I just added the third gallery wall to our house few months ago. They are quite easy to put together, although I do find symmetrical gallery walls more time consuming than asymmetrical ones. If you're planning to put together a nice and organised symmetrical gallery wall, you need take a few things into consideration before you start banging nails on those walls (I didn't use nails on mine and will share my 'nail free' method with you shortly). 

So, few months ago I decided to add the third gallery wall to our family home. You may remember our landing make-over earlier this year, so it kind of made sense to redo our old (6 years old to be exact) gallery wall at the same time. I had previously used smaller frames from Ikea and they just looked too small in that big space and I had also gone off the walnut coloured frames too. If you don't believe how hideous it used to look, here's the proof.. The following picture still makes me cringe.. What was I thinking?!




The easiest part was to choose the right photos for the frames. You could also use art prints but I wanted this gallery wall to be filled with our family photos. I chose large frames (30x40 cm) so that the gallery wall would really showcase all the photos and create more impact. I also made sure that the colours and the themes in the photos complemented each other. It's not a must but if you're going for coloured photos it helps to be at least somewhat consistent with the colours. 

I placed all the frames on my bed before attempting to hang them up. I wanted to make sure the order was right and of course I ended up changing it quite a few times. Once I was happy with the layout,  I taped A4 size paper cutouts onto the wall where the frames were going to go. It's really important to visualise what the gallery wall is going to look like before actually attempting to hang anything up. Then I made sure the gaps between the frames were more or less the same so it wouldn't look unbalanced. There are many different ways to make sure that your photos are level. The easiest is probably to use a string and mark the spots with a pencil. You'll still need to check all the gaps with a measurement tape though. I realised half way through that our wall wasn't straight (don't you just love old houses!) and had to redo some of the nails. Once all the measurements were (more or less..) the same and it looked good, I was happy to start putting those 'faux' nails in. I'm sure there is a more mathematical way to do all this but I was simply running out of time and had to get my gallery wall up very quickly. I remember finishing my gallery wall pretty late at night and had guests coming in the next day, so I really didn't have a lot of time to play around with them.




Like I said, this time I wanted to use extra large frames to create more impact. I got my frames from Desenio and ended up buying the passe-partout as well. The gold frames were my biggest expense but I think they were totally worth it. Luckily I managed to print the photos myself, so at least I didn't have to pay for that. I printed out regular A4 size photos and they fit the frames perfectly. The frames are plastic by the way which is not really that obvious by looking at them. However, I wanted them to be shatter proof, especially since we have young children. Also, you have no idea how many times people walk past them and knock them over. 





I didn't want to use old fashioned nails on our newly painted walls, so I opted for command sticky nails in stead. They are the perfect damage-free solution when you don't want to be using traditional nails. I think they work with most photo frames and were an absolute godsend for us. Trusts me replastering old walls isn't fun and if you want your nails to stay in place you need an electric drill, not a hammer. I had to readjust the nails a few times but once they were all more or less level I was pretty happy with them.




Below you can see our bedroom gallery wall which must be at least 3 years old now. I need to put up some more recent photos soon. I kind of think having two symmetrical gallery walls next to each other is pretty genius. 




So there you have it. Our third gallery wall has transformed our landing and it definitely catches your eye as you walk past it. I like both asymmetrical and symmetrical gallery walls and would use them in different rooms in the house. If you're going for an organised, zen look, symmetry is your friend. Asymmetrical walls, like in our dining room, create much more interest and can be very captivating which is why I think they are great in common areas, like halls and living rooms. You can also have a bit more fun with them and include different shapes, materials and colours. Most importantly, use photos and art work that you really love. You'll find yourself admiring the gallery wall a lot more if it has photos or art that means a lot to you. 


What's your preference? Asymmetrical or symmetrical, or both? 

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