Wednesday, 28 February 2018

DECORATING WITH TABLE LAMPS





When it comes to choosing a bedroom colour scheme, I prefer warmer colours that give you that soothing feeling every time you enter the room. Lighting plays a big part in it as well of course. I much prefer dim mood lighting which is why we installed spotlights with dimmer switches pretty shortly after we moved to our new house. Lighting in the bedroom should be functional too (and within reach), but it should also highlight art pieces or any other decorative items that you have on display.

I've been meaning to get new bedside lamps for our master bedroom for ages. Our old ones were too small and they never really looked quite right (you can see what they used to look like here). There are so many different things you should consider when buying a new table lamp. Think about what type of base will suit the table it will be placed on. Smaller side tables usually look better with a lamp with a thinner base, where as long console tables can look striking with a wider base. Also, think about what size shade you will need. All these things will depend on the room and where in the room you will be placing your lamp of course. 

You may remember that I'm part of Wayfair's Home Experts Programme. Well, this month Wayfair launched their Light & Bright campaign with Endon lighting which is all about how additional lighting in a room can lift your spirits during the dark winter months. Of course I happily accepted the challenge (along with 9 other bloggers) and I knew straight away this would be the perfect time to upgrade our old bedside lamps. Luckily, the minute I spotted the Lessina lamps on the Wayfair website I knew they'd be perfect.





Ok, let's talk about these lamps. Obviously this is not an in-depth review since I've only had these for two weeks, but so far I am finding them fantastic. My only worry is that they look a little fragile (made of glass) and we don't have a good track record keeping glass lamps alive, but I can only hope for the best!

The clear glass base and the faux silk shade are such a beautiful combo. I also love that I can easily change the shade if I ever get bored of the colour (although I don't see that happening any time soon). One of the reasons why I went for this lamp (other than the fact that it looks absolutely stunning) is because it has a touch function. So, you just touch the top or bottom part of the lamp and it will switch on/off. It also has 3 different levels of brightness which you can control by tapping it once, twice or three times for the brightest effect. I tend to use level 3 all the time but it's totally up to you. Dimmer switches are great because it  means that you can control the lighting throughout the day. I felt that the nickel effect lamp complemented our bedroom colour scheme best, although the gold version looks absolutely striking too. Also, the large shade was another factor as I wanted the table lamps to highlight the big canvas piece above the bed as well.

I also love the fact that this lamp is LED operated (our old lamp wasn't and it used to get extremely hot). I really think that LED lighting is here to stay. LED lighting is affordable and practical which is why I don't understand why anyone would like to go back to halogen lighting. I'm also loving the current lighting trends at the moment. There are so many quirky designs to choose from these days that lighting shopping has never been more fun. You could go for a minimalist industrial style lamp or a stunning art deco piece. Retro style lamps are back too and they are available in so many wonderful finishes that you'll be spoilt for choice (I especially love gold, silver and brass). I love that lighting can be used in so many creative ways to highlight our favourite pieces; whether it's an art piece, cabinet or a mirror in the bathroom. Also, remember that good lighting will enhance your decor and hide the imperfections, where as bad lighting will do just the opposite.

Happy lighting shopping!

* Thank you Wayfair for sponsoring this post.


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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

UNIQUE HAND WOVEN BASKETS BY ARTISANNE AND INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER ELIZABETH DE VISE


I've been looking for the perfect laundry basket for our bedroom for ages. You see, I was never a fan of our old laundry basket, it was way too small for us and I didn't really like the look of it, although it did the job. Now that I've been slowly transforming our bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary, I felt that I really needed a new laundry basket to go with all the new accessories. Luckily I came across Artisanne recently and I immediately fell in love with their beautiful hand made baskets. 

Artisanne kindly sent me one of their stunning Alibaba baskets to review few weeks ago. Since we are a family of 4, I went for the extra large basket which is only available online. I was a little worried it would be too big, but it was absolutely perfect. In fact, I don't think a smaller size would have been big enough for us! The extra large basket is a bit taller than the large basket (the large basket is also wider). I thought the neutral colour would be timeless and elegant, although the chevron pattern was very tempting too. One of the reasons why I love Artisanne products is that they are hand made by Senegalese women in Thies, where these traditional weaving techniques have been handed down to the next generation and they still use the baskets for general storage. It takes them just over a week to make one extra large Alibaba basket which just goes to show the huge effort that goes into making these beautiful baskets. I love that there is a story behind them and that someone has put so much effort and artistic touch to them. Also, since all the baskets are hand crafted, no two baskets are exactly the same.



Isn't this basket just heavenly? I still keep admiring it everyday. I've had this basket now for 3 weeks and I'm totally in love with it. First of all, it looks so beautiful. I love the texture and the quality feels absolutely amazing. I also love the beautiful leather handles that give it a nice luxe finish. Our laundry basket is usually almost full and it's pretty heavy to lift, but the leather handles are so strong that you can easily carry it into another room. It's very well made and the leather handles not only look pretty, but are super practical too. This basket is so versatile. It would look beautiful in the hall, landing, lounge or in the kids room. It's ideal for storing larger items like laundry, kids toys or blankets. I love it so much that I'm thinking about getting few smaller baskets for our lounge to store some kids toys. I also love that it comes with a lid, so you can hide all the clutter. The extra large basket is definitely ideal for laundry though. My basket arrived in a beautiful linen bag which you could also use inside the basket to protect your clothes.

The Founder of Artisanne, Elizabeth de Vise, was kind enough to answer some questions about how Artisanne was born and why she thinks these baskets are so popular.



Could you tell us a little bit how Artisanne was born?

Artisanne was set up in 2014 by two sisters, Elizabeth, based in London, and Emma, who lived in Senegal for six years, after they fell in love with traditional Senegalese baskets.

'I began by bringing baskets home as presents every time I visited Emma. People loved them so we were inspired to find ways to bring the work of these talented weavers to European homes'. Elizabeth de Vise

Was it difficult to start a business in Senegal? What struggles did you face?

Starting the business really took us out of our ‘comfort zone’. The fact that Emma was living in Senegal was obviously a huge help and she travelled to the villages on a regular basis. Logistics are always a challenge and the fact the baskets are so big! I never thought I would be an expert in containers and bolt cutters!

Who comes up with the designs? Do the weavers have any input?

Artisanne blends traditional Senegalese weaving techniques with modern designs to create household storage that is stylish and practical. Emma and I design the baskets and ask the weavers to make samples. We quite often go through many samples until we feel have the perfect basket! The weavers
input with ideas and suggestions. For example, when we wanted to introduce the leather handles they had suggestions on how to go about it. We only design pieces that we would love to have in our own homes.

The quality of the baskets is amazing! Where do you source the materials from? And, how do you ensure the quality is always top notch?

Thank you. Each piece is created with meticulous attention to detail respecting the traditional Senegalese Wolof weaving style. It is a weaving skill passed from mother to daughter and the larger baskets take several days to create. They are made using sustainable ndiorokh grasses and long strips of plastic traditionally used for making bazin mats similar to prayer mats. Our close relationship with the artisans allows us to guarantee the exceptional high quality that Artisanne is renowned for. At the outset of the project Emma spent hours talking in the shade of a Nime tree, establishing strong relationships with the weavers and gaining an understanding of the intricacies of their craft.  It also provided the women with the opportunity to understand our need for consistency with regards to outstanding quality and sizes. All the baskets are diligently checked before they leave Senegal and again, when they arrive in the UK. We are always striving to perfect our designs, and take care to listen to our customers’ feedback; all our Alibaba baskets, for example, now come with beautiful leather handles that are braided by hand.

Why is it so important to work directly with the weavers without any middlemen?

At Artisanne we go directly to the weavers – there are no middlemen - and we now work with over 75 women having started with 3. Working directly with the women, without middlemen, ensures no one else is taking a cut and that we know exactly who is working for us.The lack of middlemen helps
ensure the women earn a regular, fair and secure income for their products enabling the women to improve their family’s everyday needs, such as supporting elderly members of the family who can no longer work, and providing additional medical care when needed.

Elizabeth and Emma visit the villages several times a year and have a strong relationship with the weavers. Communicating directly with the artisans during these visits enables everyone to discuss concerns and challenges, which is a much-valued priority by all involved and helps ensure our quality is maintained.

I noticed that your range is ever expanding. Are you planning to launch new products or ranges in the near future (outside home wares perhaps?)?

We are always looking at different opportunities and areas to expand into. Watch this space!

Why do you think the large and medium size storage baskets have proven so popular? (they seem to be out of stock again, but luckily you can pre-order!)

The feedback we get from customers is that they love the fact that baskets are both beautiful, and so can be a feature in a room, yet they are also practical. People also comment on the very high quality of the baskets and appreciate the fact the basket are hand-made with great care and that they are not mass-produced.

I received this feedback from a customer yesterday and I think it sums up why the baskets are so popular:

“My Alibaba Laundry Basket has just arrived.  It's beautiful!  -  and looks lovely in my bedroom which is also green and cream.  I am so pleased with it. Whoever made it is really skillful and has done an amazing job.”

Thank you so much Elizabeth for taking the time to answer these questions. I'm definitely a massive fan of Artisanne and sincerely recommend these baskets to anyone who is looking for stylish storage solutions for their home. I have to warn you though. Once you get one, you'll soon want to add another member to your Artisanne family.. I'm definitely hooked.

PS. You can get 10% off your first order when you sign up for their newsletter.

For more information, visit www.artisanne.co.uk

* This is a collaborative post with Artisanne.

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Thursday, 15 February 2018

SURFACE DESIGN SHOW 2018








I was invited last week to the annual Surface Design show by Treniq. In case you're not familiar with Treniq, it's an online platform where interior designers and architects source luxury interior products directly from the international sellers, at trade prices. I had such a wonderful time at the Surface Design Show that I though it's worth sharing few highlights with you on the blog.

Just to give you some background, the Surface Design Show is the only event in the UK that focuses solely on interior and exterior surfaces. It's the perfect place to find new and innovative surface solutions and products for designers and architects.

There were definitely few common themes floating around this year. Terrazzo is everywhere and I'm still seeing a lot of raw surfaces and texturing at the moment. There were some more unusual designs on display too, like 3D laminate, tiles made of paper and composite made of mushroom. I actually think that 2018 is going to be all about embracing the imperfections. Dyed marble was one those things that was absolutely fascinating to see in person. Reclaimed wood is also becoming very popular in domestic and commercial interiors. It really seems that eco friendly interiors are the future and the best part is that the furniture of the future is going to look stylish too.

There were so many lovely stands at the show but the following brands really caught my eye this time..

1. Dyed marble by SILO STUDIO 

You know how much I love marble (although due to it's porous nature I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it at the moment) which is why this dyed marble by Silo Studio caught my eye the minute I walked in. The blocks look striking close up and I can see how this type of marble would work wonderfully in luxury commercial installations. The marble is dyed by hand which means that each piece will be authentic and unique. 



2. One piece wall murals by VISTA DIGITAL

Vista digital create bespoke wall murals that are both durable and washable. They do the installation for you and the best part is that everything is done in one piece (you won't see any awkward seams anywhere). So if you have ever wanted to print that old holiday photo and make a feature wall out of it in your living room, well now you can!




3. Architectural film by DAVID CLOUTING

Architectural film allows refurbishment projects to be looked at in a new light by offering a large range of finishes. This marble effect film can be used even in bathrooms over tiles. It's the perfect self-adhesive material for any room renovation. 


4. PINTARK BY LOCO DESIGN

Pintark by Loco Designs was one of those stands that you could not pass without taking a closer look. Specialising in advances surface treatment and crafted material application, Pintark offers solutions from standard products and in-house patterns to more luxurious commissioned works. In fact, they are currently working on a luxury installment for a 7 star hotel in Dubai. Can't say that I'm surprised one bit. 




5. Engineered Wood Flooring by V4WOODFLOORING

V4 is a family run business based in the South of England. They manufacture new and innovative flooring both for the UK and international markets. V4 wood is sourced from well managed and sustainable purpose farmed forests. This means that only matured trees are selected for harvest. Also, V4 will only produce responsibly sourced timber.


6. LITHOS DESIGN 

Lithos Design is the Italian manufacturer of modular feature walls and flooring made of natural stone and marble. They use natural thinking philosophy to create healthier and safer places. Natural stones are not inflammable, they are very resistant to bacteria and fungi and also improve the acoustic quality of any setting. Also, who doesn't love a beautiful slab of marble? It looks absolutely stunning and engraved marble has got to be one of my new personal favourite surfaces out there at the moment.




So that's it! I had an amazing time and it was lovely to speak to so many amazing companies about their new innovative products. If you're planning to visit the Surface Design Show (which I absolutely recommend!) there's one big tip that I would give you. There are so many stands at the event that it's virtually impossible to see and talk to them all unless you're there for days. So take a look at the show guide beforehand and make sure you at least visit the brands that you really want to see. I really wish I would have had more time there but there's always next year.


* This post is in collaboration with Treniq.
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Friday, 9 February 2018

INSPIRATION FOR VALENTINE'S DAY AT HOME







Happy Friday! Can you believe it's Valentine's Day next week?? If you haven't made any plans yet, why not spend a chilled Valentine's Day at home. After all staying in is the new going out, right?

Luckily, I'm sharing some tips on the how to have a special Valentine's Day at home over at the Party Delights Blog today, so do check it out! I'm also sharing my favourite champagne cocktail recipe on their blog. If you like gin and bubbly you're going to love it..

Head over to my guest post HERE!

* This post is sponsored by Party Delights UK.

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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

NEW BATHROOM WISH LIST

Now that we have finished renovating our stairs, hall and landing (although I'm not quite done yet, I still need to buy art for those bare walls), our next project is going to be renovating our downstairs bathroom. It's going to be the biggest renovation project we will do this year and although I'm excited, I feel like I'm already running out of time with everything else that's going on. We are due to start in the beginning of March and I haven't bought anything else apart from the tiles. I decided to go for marble effect porcelain (matt) for the floors and ceramic tiles (gloss) for the walls. I will go into more detail as our bathroom renovation approaches and explain to you why I decided to go with these materials. Trust me, there is so much more to buying tiles than just the pretty appearance!

I also realised last weekend that I need to start ordering my bathroom appliances asap so that everything will be ready for March. So, I created a little wish list of all the essentials that we will need. I left the toilet out of it though as my bathroom fitter is sourcing it for me. I also need him to approve my list before I order anything so that it will fit in the space intended. Our bathroom isn't huge, it's medium sized, so I need to consider this when buying new appliances and accessories. It's all quite nerve wrecking but exciting too. I just hope that we will have everything ready in time before the big start date. I decided to stick to my signature monochrome theme again. Monochrome accessories and timeless marble in a bathroom are a pretty strong combo, don't you think? 

Here's my new bathroom wish list!




1. Umbra Round Mirror
2. Black Bath Mixer Tap
3. Black Wall Mounted Basin Mixer Tap
4. Bath Rail
5. Missoni Home Towel
6. Marble Porcelain Tile
7. Faux Succulent Pot
8. Hand Woven Bowl
9. Black Metal Table
10. Whirlpool Bath
11. White Counter Top

I'm also excited to be joining a red carpet experience with Treniq at the Surface Design Show tomorrow in London. The Surface Design Show is the only event in the UK that focuses solely on interior and exterior surfaces.  Honestly, this event couldn't have happened at a better time (with my bathroom reno and all), plus it's always nice to learn about new trends and innovative materials. I'll promise to tell you all about it next week!
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Friday, 2 February 2018

A VERY BRITISH HYGGE






When it comes to interiors and decorating, I draw so much inspiration from books and magazines you wouldn't believe. I love browsing through glossy interior magazines in the evening and/or digging into a good interior design book. It's really hard to find the time these days to read books (or to do anything really). Life with two small children and other work commitments means that my days are busy. I'm sure most of  you can relate to this. However, I do believe that reading a good book is a bit like therapy. It's also definitely cheaper than therapy which is why I recommend it to everyone ;)

I was sent this book, A Very British Hygge by Simon Sinclair, to review just before Christmas but it has taken me this long to finally properly read it. Not very 'hygge' of me, I know. Now I know what you're thinking, here's another book on hygge  (the most commonly used 'h' word these days), but if I didn't believe in the concept and the message I wouldn't be going on about it. I do think we could all do with a bit of hygge in our lives and I truly think that the concept of hygge isn't going anywhere at least in the foreseeable future and if you continue reading I will explain why. By the way, if you still don't know what I'm talking about, check how Wikipedia describes 'hygge' here!

So, I'm a Finn (although I've lived in London for over 10 years now) and we kind of have our own hygge going on. We are definitely very different from the Danes and although we are both Nordic countries I think it's important to point out that the two cultures are actually very different. The thing is, the British have their own 'British hygge' going on too and always have. You see, ultimately hygge can be anything that makes you feel more happy. It could be that tea break in the afternoon or a hot bath in the evening once you get a bit of me-time. The best part is that you don't need tons of money in order to hygge. It's quite the opposite actually. Rather than focusing on financial possessions, you should focus on feeling good inside. Makes sense, right?

I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the things I like to do to make my life and home feel hygge. I've been doing these things for years without realising what a huge impact they have on me and my energy levels. 

1) Scented Candles

This one is no surprise. Anyone who knows me knows about my addiction to scented candles. Scented candles (or just candles) can really lift your spirits after a bad or busy day. They definitely help me unwind and they are part of my evening routine now. I wouldn't recommend strong scents though. Go for a subtle scent that is made of high quality ingredients. You will feel relaxed and spoiled at the same time.

2) Natural Light

I'm a real sucker for natural light. I'm so pleased that our house is south east facing because it allows us to bathe in natural light for good part of the day. Also, rooms look bigger and brighter when you let the light in. Our new extension has been a godsend and I love the double doors and the huge velux window. It's definitely my favourite room in the house and it's all thanks to the way natural light flows in through the double doors and large windows.

3) Minimalist Decor

I'm a firm believer that less is more and I try to remember this especially when decorating. My mind is so much clearer when all the clutter is put away. But, I also think that you don't have to go 100%  minimalist when decorating. Stick to simple and timeless furniture designs but do dress the room with more glamorous accessories (that are inexpensive) for more impact.

4) Natural Materials

I've noticed how natural materials, like wool, rattan and sea grass, have a calming effect on me. Natural materials also soften up our contemporary decor and are of course good for the environment.

5) Flowers and Plants

Whether they are faux or real don't skimp on house plants. Olivia from Lust Living did a great piece on this topic recently and it's worth a read if you're not green fingered like me (check out her Serial House Plant Survivors here!)

Can you name five things that will make your life more 'hygge'?

* This is collaborative post with Everest.
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