Tuesday, 16 July 2019 / London, UK

MY FAVOURITE COFFEE TABLE BOOKS


How controversial. Here I'm writing a blog post about coffee table books (presumable giving people advice?) and I don't even have a coffee table. Crazy, right? Except coffee table books are not only limited to coffee tables now are they. Nope, you can place them anywhere in the house, ideally near a seating area for your guests. Since we don't have a coffee table at the moment, I tend to display mine on side tables, bar cart and/or pouffes (and occasionally on the book shelf).

If you're not familiar with the concept, coffee table books are (usually) big, hard covered fancy (ie. expensive) books that are meant for browsing rather than for reading properly. They are aesthetically pleasing and usually located near a seating area where your guests can easily find them. They also happen to be super popular right now. They are basically a staple in any pinterest worthy home and I don't see the popularity slowing down either. Coffee table books are a great way to show your interest to your guests and they also work nicely as conversation starters. I once attended a dinner party but didn't know the hosts at all. However, they had coffee table books all over their house and I found them super useful as part of getting to know them.

Coffee table books serve quite a few different purposes in my case. They are part of the decor (decorative) but they also have to be inspirational and beautiful to look at. Thirdly, I try  to pick books that I think my guests will like. I need to work on this more (most of my books are interior related). I love placing them around the house (usually near chairs/sofas) but I love them occasionally on the hall table too. I like to stack quite a few books together for maximum impact (always placing the biggest book at the bottom). I wouldn't stack too many together though. Keep it to maximum 2-4 books depending on the location and style/size of your coffee/side table. Sometimes one book can be enough if it's very thick. Remember to colour coordinate them if possible and it's always nice to add an ornament on top to give it some extra height. You can use anything from scented candles to unusual shaped ornaments. If you don't have a coffee table or side table just use a pouffe and add a tray to it. Coffee table books can really displayed anywhere in the house. Get creative with them!












I've been collecting coffee table books for a few years now. My collection is not by any means complete (is it ever really?) but I am running out of space so I'm really picky about the books that I do buy. Most of them are interiors related. If I'm buying a coffee table book it needs to look pretty but also be functional. I did a little poll on Instagram few weeks ago and I asked people what do they base their decision on when buying these type of books. Well, I was quite surprised by the results. Most people seem to think like I do. They buy coffee table books based on both the content and the appearance. Only 20% said they purely buy them based on the content. It totally makes sense to me. If you are going to be displaying books in your house, you may as well try to coordinate them with the rest of the decor. But there were 5% who said they go purely based on the looks. I found it all quite fascinating. Perhaps I should do more polls on my insta stories in the future too!


Few people have also asked me if coffee table books and children can mix. Well the answer is yes and no. Of course it depends on the age of your children (young ones especially tend to play with everything that is within their reach) but I've always had coffee table books on display even when my children were babies. I think only one book got ruined and it really wasn't that bad so I never ended up replacing it. I've always displayed decorative items on side tables even when the girls were little (unless they were dangerous) and they never showed much interest because they got used to seeing them everywhere. But I wouldn't let having kids put you off getting coffee table books. If you're worried just place them high (on a console table or a book shelf) so your children can't reach them.

Here are my favourite coffee table books (and yes, most are interiors related)

Unseen London

These ones I'd like to add to my collection soon:


I do find a lot of the coffee table books that I have my eye on quite expensive though. They usually range from £30-50 which is a lot for a book. I tend to buy most of mine from Amazon (we have Amazon prime so it's very convenient). Charity shops are also great and you can also find some amazing deals on ebay.



Do you have any coffee table books? If you have any recommendation, leave a note below!
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Tuesday, 2 July 2019 / Madrid, Spain

DESIGN INSPIRATION FROM GM PALACIO DE LOS DUQUES MADRID


Travelling is a great way to gain exposure to foreign cultures and varies interior design styles. I've been very curious about different cultures and languages for as long as I can remember. I've lived in 4 different countries, so I guess it says something right? I always try to do as much research as possible too. Of course the location is important but I also pick hotels based on their interior style every now and then. Trip advisor reviews and images are so important. I'll know straight away by looking at the photos whether I'll enjoy my stay there or not.

I had the pleasure to stay at the stunning Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques in Madrid last month for 3 nights. My husband was there for work, so I decided to join him. I wanted to stay in the centre of Madrid close to all the sights and shopping streets. I looked at few different hotels but it was pretty obvious from the start that the Gran Melia Palacio de Duques was going to be a winner. This was my first time at a Gran Melia hotel (I've heard so many good things about them) and it did not disappoint. The customer service was out of this world and obviously the elegant interiors really stood out for me. 

So, let's focus on the interiors since they pretty much blew me away from day one. I've never been to a hotel that was so 'me' if that makes sense. Ok, maybe the antique paintings are not exactly my usual style but whoever designed this hotel made it all work so effortlessly together. Mixing old and new can be challenging. It helps to keep all the artwork similar, like in this case. The hotel itself is an old 1800s palace, so it made sense to embrace all the original features like staircases, high ceilings etc. Almost all the walls were painted white (very little wall paper was used) allowing the antique paintings (inspired by the work of a famous Spanish painter Diego Velasques) to really stand out. I've always loved the contrast of black and white and they certainly knew how to make most it in this space. The hotel felt very cosy and inviting. More like a home if that makes sense. There were cushions and area rugs everywhere to add warmth and texture to the space.









I also love the use of wood everywhere. The wooden dining tables looked stunning and practical. I cannot wait to get my own custom wood table soon. I would pair the table with similar chairs (with black legs), although I haven't quite decided on the material yet. The black and gold contemporary lighting pendants complemented the rest the decor and worked particularly well because of the high ceilings.




A large industrial shelving unit like this works well as a room divider in bigger open-plan rooms. I love the way it was stacked with coffee table books, photo frames and few carefully selected ornaments. You could just pick up a book and sit down for a coffee as if you were staying at your friends house. It definitely felt more like staying in a palace rather than a hotel. 



Here's another great example how wood can add texture and softness to any space. I love the idea of a wooden feature wall and a built-in contemporary fireplace. I also love that they didn't try to match all the woods. Why would you? It's far more important that all woods complement each other.


This chandelier certainly doesn't look out of place here. The big roof window allow tons of natural light to enter the room, making it appear even bigger. In this case you can only go for a big statement chandelier. I do love all the architectural splendour. The entire hotel feels traditional and contemporary at the same time. They have really got the best of both worlds in my opinion.



Now of course the outside terrace was as pretty as the interiors. You can have your breakfast or lunch here. Mind you it was pretty hot some of the days. I think +33 degrees Celsius is a bit too much for lunch outside, but of course it means that you can go for a dip in their roof top pool afterwards which was super refreshing. We also had dinner in the Dos Cielos restaurant which I totally recommend (even if you're not staying in the hotel).



I didn't take many pictures of our (deluxe) room mainly because I found it pretty basic. It wasn't huge and the view was nothing special. It was a typical city centre hotel room, albeit a stylish one. It was perfectly fine for us during our stay and we didn't really spend that much time in there anyway. We also opted for their red level service (separate check in, deluxe room and access to the red level lounge etc) and now that was worth every penny. We ended up having lunch (tapas) there everyday and it was well worth it. They even had complimentary Ruinart champagne in the lounge, plus soft drinks, spirits, macarons etc. Literally anything you'd want when you're on a self-indulgent luxury holiday. If you're planning to eat lunch out every single day it may not be worth it, but for us it definitely was. Would I stay here with our two children? Maybe, but only when they are a bit older. It's such a relaxing and tranquil hotel that I feel it would be a bit of a waste with small children. If you're travelling as a couple or with work I totally recommend this place. I personally cannot wait to go back and discover more of Madrid next time. 

Does the hotel interior matter to you? If you have any recommendations, leave a note below or comment on Instagram!


SHOP THE LOOK!

Chandelier by Flos
Wooden table by Catalan Italia
Khalida bookcase by Made
Habitat Sophie Oak dining chair
Area rug by Wayfair
Diego Velasquez art prints
Velvet cushion by Laura Ashley

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Tuesday, 18 June 2019 / London, UK

[AD] COLOURFUL WALL ART BY LOUISE MEAD


I've always loved art. Obviously art needs to be easy on the eye, but I also love how it produces so many different emotions in people; happiness, love, laughter or sadness. I've always preferred abstract art (over people or landscapes but with the exception of figurative art). I guess all art is abstract at the end of the day. I love how everyone interprets art in their own way and how it can totally transform a room, if done right.

Art, especially wall art, is one of the most important elements in interior design. It can help you pull together a colour palette and frame the rest of the room. It is often also the focal point of the room which is why it's so important to get the size right. If you have white walls like we do, nice decorative art is a must. I love using art to add a bit of interest, insert pops of colour and even to create gallery walls around the house (we have 3 gallery walls in total). I also love it when people comment on the artwork and explain to me how they view it. It's not just about appearance you see. I love the way art makes you think and see the world differently.

So, I guess you can understand my excitement when the super talented Louise Mead offered to send  me one of her beautiful artworks in exchange for a review on the blog. Louise is an abstract and decorative artist based in Reading, UK. Her artwork is exactly what our house needed. Colour and lots of it. I've always been a bit cautious with colour (I blame my Scandi aesthetic) but I don't mind adding it in smaller doses or in more subtle colours (like pastels). Although colourful prints and canvases are what Louise is most known for, she also sells other decorative items on her website (bags, iPhone covers, coasters, cutting boards etc).

It was pretty easy to pick my favourite print. I loved the 'Bring Me Sunshine' canvas as soon as I saw it on her website. It's a pretty generous size too (30 x 40 inches). Perfect for this spot, don't you think? I love the subtle pastel colours and the bright blues and reds too. Scandinavian style decor is all about well balanced pieces of colour in an otherwise neutral/white home. That's why I wanted to pick a canvas that stands out from all the whiteness. The Bring Me Sunshine canvas does just that and more. Funnily enough it's one of the whitest art prints from Louise but I guess it just means it suits our neutral decor very well.





The canvas arrived well packed and protected. It also came with a sawtooth hook at the back making it easy to hang.  We had to drill some new holes on the wall (it's a different size to our old wall art) but it was totally worth it. I don't have many colourful prints in this house but this may have just gotten me a bit more excited about colour. I love pastels in this art piece that balance out the reds and blues. I love the dripping paint effect that adds texture and depth. I also love how people see abstract art differently. I see a sunset over the sea but my husband sees a mountain reflected on the water. My mother in law told me the print looks like lips. This is why I love abstract art so much. It is open to interpretation in a way that representational art is not.



Although stretched canvases are perfect for a contemporary, minimalist look you could (and sometimes should) consider framing it. I wouldn't necessarily want to frame this type of canvas behind glass, but a simple mount/frame would give it a more sophisticated, gallery-like look. I don't think I'll be adding a frame to it just yet. I quite like this canvas against the crisp, white wall but it's nice to know that I have the option to frame it later on if I choose to.

Are you a fan of abstract art? Leave a comment below or let me know on Instagram.

* This is a collaborative post with Louise Mead Art. 
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Tuesday, 11 June 2019 / London, UK

DINING TABLES: ASH VS. OAK


Picking the right kind of wood for your dining table sounds so easy, right? You just waltz into your nearest furniture store and pick the prettiest wooden table on display. Wrong. Even if you're looking to buy a table in a high street shop, you should consider the type of wood you're buying. Why? Because although wood is durable, it's not totally carefree (what material is?) and you'll want to make sure that the wooden table you're buying a) suits your interior scheme, and b) suits your lifestyle.

You may know from my previous post that I am in the process of buying a new dining table. You probably don't know that I have decided to go for wood in the end. I really want something totally different this time and have finally decided to have the dining room table custom made. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind until Will from The Urban Workshop contacted me via Instagram. He saw one of my (many!) 'dining room table dilemma' insta stories and suggested I have the table custom made. Will has a small workshop in North East London (Dalston) and his work really impressed me. Plus it's really nice to support small businesses whenever possible and it's a bonus I get to design my own table too in the process (with the help of Will of course).

Light wood (especially white oak) has always been my favourite when it comes to wooden surfaces. I just love the look of white oak. It can be quite contemporary when paired with the right legs or totally rustic (with a live edge) if that's the look you're going for. Ash tends to be even lighter than oak which is why it's also a contender. Both are hardwoods and extremely durable (which is important to me since we have small children). I have been exchanging a lot of emails with Will since our initial chat. I've probably bored him to death with my endless questions, but I really felt like I wanted to learn as much as possible about wood before going ahead.

To help with my decision making, Will sent me some oak and ash samples last week so that I can finally make up my mind. I am the most indecisive person when it comes to décor decision. Don't ask me why. I should be an expert by now, right? Half of the wood samples were oak and the other half ash. I definitely preferred the look of white ash over anything else. The only thing I'm still not 100% sure about is the pattern. Ash is more stripey and the contrast is more obvious in ash. The pattern in oak is a bit more subtle and grainy. White oak was the lightest shade but I felt it still looked quite dark next to white ash. If you're a perfectionist like me, it's so important to see some samples first in real life. Getting a custom made dining table is a big decisison and you can't change your mind once it's built. 





I also did some wood testing. I was trying to see how scratch proof oak and ash actually are.  Dents and marks are pretty common in real wood (although the surface can be sanded down and oiled to look like new) and I found that the oak did not show the dents/scratches as much as the ash did. I guess the grain is quite forgiving in oak. Although I could see the scratches in ash close up, you don't really notice them from a distance so it's not something I would massively worry about. By the way, all the samples Will sent me have been pre-treated (oiled) to achieve a desirable shade. I didn't realise that you can lighten natural colour of wood by applying wood oil to it. Also, to achieve a really white shade the wood is often bleached before applying the oil. I find this quite fascinating and I never really understood how the different wood shades are achieved.

Although I'm leaning towards white ash at the moment, Will is kindly sending me few more oak samples. They will be a bit paler than the oak samples he previously sent me. I think we are trying to achieve a similar shade to white ash but with the pattern of oak. It's such a hard decision, isn't it? Both are hardwoods, although oak is marginally more durable. Oak is a bit more moisture resistant than ash though which is definitely a bonus (it's a dining table after all). But ash is the prettier one out of the two for sure, although of course this depends on your personal style. I can't wait to see the samples and hopefully I can make up my mind soon so we can get the ball rolling.

I'll keep you posted!
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Tuesday, 28 May 2019 / London, UK

13 THINGS I'VE LEARNT FROM OUR MARBLE BATHROOM MAKE-OVER







It's been just over a year since our marble bathroom make-over and I thought now is a good time to share the things I've learnt from this project. It was the first bathroom we've renovated since moving into this house and the first I've designed myself (without any help from anyone else). I wanted to keep it all quite simple and minimal which obviously helped. Luckily that goes with the rest of my aesthetics too. 

If you've been planning to remodel your bathroom, you're probably aware that it's one of the 'more' expensive jobs. Bathrooms and kitchens tend to also add most value to your home. There's a reason (or two) why they are so expensive though. First of all, the materials used are expensive (tiles, cabinets, appliances etc). But you're really paying a premium for the skilled labour which is understandable of course. Fitting a kitchen or a bathroom isn't quite as simple as it sounds (often it requires re-routing plumbing and other electrical work) which probably explains the additional cost. 

Here are the most important things I've learnt from our bathroom make-over..

1. Do research and then do some more research

Whether it comes to sourcing the appliances, labour or design layout, research is the key. I've spent so many hours googling taps and sinks you wouldn't believe. Read as many reviews as possible before you buy any products. Check and sign up for the free warranty. Always read the fine print. I really don't think there's such a thing as too much research when it comes to bathroom renos. 

2. Mood boards

Mood boards are super helpful. You'll need some help to plan and visualise the space, especially if you're planning to reshuffle things around. Start with Pinterest by creating a new board that includes all your favourite images (or do it manually using cut outs from magazines). I don't like to just rely on Pinterest, so I tend to use magazines and interior books as well.  Once you start adding different items and elements together (shower head, tap, laundry basket, towels etc) you'll quickly see whether they'll work together or not. Don't forget to use a free software like Sketch or Room Planner to play around with the layout too.

3. Visit showrooms

Just because you're doing all the planning and designing yourself, doesn't mean you shouldn't seek  for professional help. Visit different showrooms to get a better understanding of the materials,  appliances and designs you may like. Many retailers offer a free design service without any obligations (like Bath Store), so you get an idea what will work best in the space you've got. You don't have to go ahead with the plan, but it may be worth getting an expert opinion, especially if you've never designed a bathroom before.

4. Get at least 3 quotes


This is the trickiest part in my opinion. It's so hard to find skilled, reliable labour these days. You should ideally get at least 3 quotes before you go ahead. If you've chosen a high street chain, you'll pay extra for the name (and this part won't apply to you then). But hiring an independent fitter can be risky. You should get at least 5 references from them and speak to their previous clients (or if possible go and see the work they've done). I really wish I had asked more questions at this point. One of the most important questions is whether they would use the same tradesman again. If the answer is maybe that is not a good sign. Listen to your gut feeling and don't go ahead with anyone who you are not 100% happy with.

5. Have everything in writing

Everything that you agree on (layout, appliances, how long it will take etc) should be in writing. I refused to agree on anything over the phone with our fitter (if there's a dispute I have no actual proof). So keep it all in emails if possible. You should also sign a contract in the beginning which includes the final price and all the finer details. I didn't do this and it ended up costing me extra.

6. Shop around for materials and appliances

You can either source the materials yourself or get your fitter to do it for you. I sourced all the appliances myself but our fitter bought the tiles (he got a trade discount so it made sense). Make sure that you don't buy any products way in advance or check with your fitter first whether they'll work or not and definitely check that the products are not damaged immediately when they arrive (most companies are flexible about this but it's better to be 100% sure). If you're not sourcing the materials yourself, make sure you see them first and know what they are (ceramic, porcelain etc). Make sure you know the pros and cons of different materials before buying them as well.

7. Don't go for cheap tiles

I know it can be tempting to go with the cheapest tiles on offer but in my experience they can really cheapen the rest of your bathroom. I let our fitter source the tiles as I knew they'd be far superior to everything else I've seen. They weren't the cheapest but I did trust his opinion on this. I saw samples before buying them too. Our tiles were by an Italian supplier called Pasta Blanca. I chose ceramic for the walls and porcelain for the floor (porcelain is a bit more durable).

8. Don't be afraid to micro manage

Even if you trust your fitter 100%, you should be checking the progress at least daily. At the end of the day, you need to be happy with the bathroom and live with it. I have found that even the best fitters take short cuts and tend to make things a little 'easier' for them given the chance. If you're a perfectionist like me, make sure that your bathroom fitter knows it. They should be asking your opinion about everything; where do you want the sink, toilet, shower head, shelving etc. There will be some restrictions due to drainage and product manufacturing guidelines, but your fitter will probably stick to industry standards in most cases to keep things simple (unless you advice him otherwise).

9.  Ask your builder for advice but don't blindly follow it

A good bathroom fitter will be able to tell you whether something will work or not. They have the experience, so you might as well take advantage of it. Having said that I've found they don't actually know everything. When it comes to aesthetics, I trust myself more.

10. Make sure you are left with some extra tiles in case something goes wrong

Hopefully you won't ever need to repair your brand new bathroom, but it's always a good idea to buy few spare tiles (5-10% extra) in case something does go wrong. Tiles can break, although this is rare unless they've been fitted incorrectly. Sometimes you'll need to remove existing tiling to gain access, especially with concealed showers, which is why it's a good idea to hold onto few spare tiles.

11. Buy a grout reviver pen

If you're planning to have white grout, you'll need a grout revival pen. I wish I had bought one way sooner. This one from Amazon is brilliant. I find the floor tiles do need touch ups every now and then. The grout around the wall tiles still looks pristine though (make sure your fitter uses anti-mould grout).

12. Consider installing a water softener

If you live in a hard water area like we do, it's worth considering getting a water softener. It's probably my biggest regret that we didn't get one. We're planning to move again in the next few years, so I thought there was no point in getting one. I totally underestimated how quickly hard water breaks the taps. We've had problems in the past with leaking taps, so I should have guessed really. Technically it's not too late yet but you should really do these things before you start the remodel. I can already see the calcium build up on our mixer tap and it's hard to remove the stains without abrasives (although I've managed to do it by gently using a brillo pad). Our bathroom mixer tap has been leaking occasionally, so we've had a plumber in and the valve needs changing. We've ordered the part and hopefully it will arrive next week. We had the same issue with our kitchen tap a while ago, so you can be sure that a water softener will be on my shopping list for the next house.

13. Get plumbing insurance

If you live in an old house (and you're not a plumber), this will save you so much money in the long run. We currently pay £12 a year for plumbing insurance with Home Serve and have used them already twice this year (the annual fee includes 4 free visits). Every year they'll try to up their fee but it's been very negotiable so far. Last year we wanted to cancel and they came back with the same offer so it's been worth having the insurance. Just make sure you read your contract and that you understand every year the fee will increase (unless you contact them).

I learnt so much from our bathroom renovation that I can't say I have any regrets at all. I still love our marble bathroom, although it was pretty stressful at times (especially when dealing with our fitter).

I hope you've found this post useful. If you have any questions/feedback/comments, please leave a note below!

*This post includes some gifted products.
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Tuesday, 14 May 2019 / London, UK

MY TOP 5 DINING ROOM CHAIRS

I have some great news! I've finally decided what kind of dining room table I want (check out my Top 5 Dining Room Table post here!) I've been struggling to decide between marble (effect) and wood for quite some time. Our current dining table is glass and I really wanted something different this time. I'll share more details of our new dining table soon but right now I have to decide what kind of chairs I'm going to pair with it.

I do find picking the chairs a lot easier than choosing the right table. I now know the look I'm going for which means my chair options are a bit limited too. I also need to decide whether I want to keep it all matchy-matchy or go for a more interesting mix & match look. I guess we all know which one I'm going to go for, right? I also need to take into account the measurements of our new table (I haven't got it yet) and make sure that it can accommodate 8 chairs comfortably.

So, here are my top 5 dining chairs (in no particular order..)

Image credit: Cox & Cox

Rattan has been one of my favourite materials for furniture for quite some time now. I see more and more rattan indoors too (although it's also a very durable choice for outdoor furniture) which is why this rattan chair from Cox & Cox caught my eye. I wouldn't say that rattan is ultra comfortable. It's more comfy than wood though and you could always add an extra cushion for additional padding. This design is inspired by a 1950s classic and somehow it still manages to look contemporary and current. So if you love rattan and are worried that it will go out of fashion, you've got nothing to worry about. These rattan chairs look stunning with a light wooden dining table, don't you think? It's the perfect combo if you love a mix of Scandi and coastal décor.

2. UXBRIDGE DINING CHAIR £109

Image credit: Cult Furniture

This padded velvet chair is the opposite of uncomfortable. I visited the Cult Furniture showroom in Clapham last week and it was probably the most comfortable dining chair I've ever sat on. The velvet feels so nice and the padding on the seat is pretty generous. It comes in multiple colours too, so you can pick your favourite (or mix and match). If you want to make a real statement mix different colours together for a more unique look. I promised myself I won't buy black dining room chairs again but I may just end up doing that. Black is so practical with children and since our youngest is only 3 yo there will be food on the chairs, table etc. So, I guess if you have children and you want a velvet dining chair, darker colours are your best bet. Light colours will show everything and personally I just don't have the time and energy to try to maintain them looking pristine.

3. RAVEN UPHOLSTERED DINING CHAIR £132 (set of 2)

Image credit: Wayfair

These velvet chairs from Wayfair are very similar to the Uxbridge chair but slightly more narrow (47 cm) which means they are a great choice if you've got a smaller table (4-6 seater) or less room in general. The wooden legs look very contemporary and add a bit of Scandi chic to this design. The velvet makes the chair super luxurious and comfortable. I would pair these chairs with a light wooden table to keep the look consistent. These chairs are also pretty amazing value since you get 2 for £132.99 (they are available in pink, grey and blue too).

4. WISHBONE CHAIR £139
Image credit: Cult Furniture

Now if you're an interiors lover like me, you probably know that that the Wishbone Chair is the 'IT' chair of the moment. This timeless Danish design has been in production since the 1950s (designed by Hans J. Wegner in 1949) and I am literally seeing it everywhere at the moment. The original retails around at £443 (Skandium) and you can find replicas for much less online. Replicas won't be as durable though. The original CH24 Wishbone chair is hand made and the delivery can take up to 8-10 weeks. I saw a very good replica version in Cult Furniture but it wasn't comfortable when leaning back. I also found the woven seat very impractical with small children (and the strings do come loose over time). You could always buy this chair with an upholstered leather seat if comfort is a big concern. Sheepskin rugs/cushions are also a great way to make the chair more comfortable. Like I said, some people will find this chair fine, where as others will find it not comfortable at all. It's a beautiful chair but I wouldn't buy it without seeing it first. 

5. BRASS WIRE CHAIR £355

Image credit: Rose and Grey

Now I love the look of wire chairs but I do wonder how comfortable they actually are to sit on. Luckily Rose and Grey had though of this when they designed the Brass wire chair that comes with a green velvet comfort kit. The chair is made of brass wire and the top fastens onto the bottom frame with brass screws (it requires some self assembly). On the website it's described as an office chair but there is no reason why you can't use it as a dining room chair too. I would use these chairs as accent chairs at the top of table only and use smaller wire chairs in the middle. Mixing and matching different dining chairs together will create a unique space and it can turn out much cheaper too (especially if you like buying vintage furniture). I should warn you though, it's quite hard to successfully mix and match different chairs (in my experience anyway). It's not as simple as just picking the chairs you like. A rustic vintage table can look stunning with some contemporary chairs, but I wouldn't mix and match the chairs too much in this scenario. Don't forget about the rest of your dining room either. If you have a lot of clutter, a mix & matched look might make it look even busier. Head over here for tips how to mix and match chairs successfully.

I hope you found this post useful. If you have any advice or tips, please feel free to share them by leaving a comment below. 
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Tuesday, 7 May 2019 / London, UK

[AD] GETTING ORGANISED WITH BEAUTIFY


I've been doing a spring clean for over a month now (believe me, it was long over due). I try to declutter the house a few times a year, but spring time is when all the hard work and deep cleaning happens. I've taken multiple bags of old clothes and home accessories to our local charity shops and it's amazing how much more room it has freed up. I'm also trying to get more organised at the moment. I've been buying new paper folders, drawer inserts (love the Ikea ones!) and organising my wardrobe as well. I'm hoping all of this hard work will save me a lot of time and energy in the long run and so far I love that everything is so easy to find.

So, I guess it's only natural that I wanted to team up with Beautify this month to take my organisation to another level. They've sent me two of their products to review (a 2 -tier cosmetic case and a jewellery box) and I've really enjoyed using them for the past few weeks. Beautify offer loads of different products from make-up storage to lighting, furniture and textiles (and more). All of their products as super stylish and inspired by the latest trends. Can you tell I'm hooked already?

So, let's start with the 2-tier cosmetic case. I don't wear tons of make-up which is why the 2-tier cosmetic case is definitely big enough for me. I guess it's huge even if you have loads of make-up but I do tend to store other items in there as well (hair accessories, cotton buds etc.) I was a little worried grey velvet wouldn't be the most practical material with make-up, but it's really easy to wipe clean with baby wipes. If you need more room for your make-up, go for the 3-tier case. I find the 2-tier case pretty big (and boxy) which means it can be a bit tricky to store. I tend to keep it on my dresser. It's where I usually apply the make-up and I'm so lucky that my dressing table is big enough to display this pretty case. My old make-up case was pretty small, so I'm really happy I can fit all my products in one case now. I still use my old make-up case when travelling but the 2-tier box is ideal when I'm at home.






The grey velvet jewellery box looks equally fabulous. It's quite a bit smaller (17.5 x 12.5 x 10 cm) It's actually not big enough for my needs (I've got loads of jewellery) but I love the look and the size. It's so easy to fit in a drawer too and the removable ring pad in the middle is just genius (it's perfect for rings or earrings). You can store larger items in the lower tray but I wouldn't exactly overload it or you won't be able to close the box properly. Velvet is the ideal material for jewellery as the fabric will help prevent scratches and damage. I love the rose gold detailing (same as in the cosmetic case) and that they both feel so luxurious. I prefer the grey colour but this jewellery case is also available in blush pink. 








I love that my make-up and jewellery are now so well organised thanks to Beautify. I've only tested these products for a few weeks, so I cannot comment too much on the durability, but the quality seems good. Both cases are well made and sturdy. It would be great to have more sizes available (especially for the jewellery case) but I guess if it was any bigger I wouldn't be able to store the box in the drawer. These boxes are so stylish that you'll want to display them. They also come in super stylish gift boxes featuring a chic monochrome design and a touch of pink. Most importantly, I may have gotten even more excited about getting organised and decluttering our home. Being organised has definitely helped me to feel more relaxed and clear-headed in our house. If you haven't started already, I totally recommend for you to do the same. I promise you'll feel freer and happier.

Do you have any decluttering tips and tricks you swear by?

* This is a collaborative post with Beautify.
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Tuesday, 30 April 2019 / London, UK

MY TOP 5 DINING ROOM TABLES

I've been thinking about getting a new dining room table and chairs for a while now. We bought our old table when we were renting and it has been ok for the past 9 years, although not to my taste for quite some time. I've put off buying a new one since we have small children. There is a strong chance it will get scratched and stained with babies and toddlers, so I didn't really want to get my dream table just yet.

As it turned out our black glass table from Harvey's Furniture has been pretty indestructible. There is nothing wrong with it still but the chairs have started falling a part in the last 6 months which means it's time to get that new table and chairs that I've been dreaming about. Although, I don't know if I'm brave enough to get my dream table just yet. My youngest is still only 3 and there is no way I can totally protect any new table we get. I guess I just need to hope for the best. People warned me about glass tables with children but I've found ours very easy to care for and safe. Even stubborn dirt has come off easily with hot water and a bit of fairy liquid. It's also black so small scratches don't really show, plus I've always used place mats which helps a lot. We do have strict rules about climbing on tables and neither of my girls have attempted to do it. But I would be very wary of buying a glass coffee table with small children (you just never know and they are more likely to break under pressure as the support isn't as strong).

Anyway, it has taken me about a year to narrow down my search. It's surprisingly hard to find a stylish dining table that also works well with messy family living.

1.WEST ELM TOWER DINING  TABLE £899

Image credit: West Elm

I went to view this concrete dining table in the West Elm Tottenham Court road flagship store few weeks ago. I am totally in love with this table. The concrete tabletop and the brass legs blend rustic perfectly in this design. The only issue is that it's concrete composite and the material is quite porous. I simply cannot take that risk with small children. Also, I found the colour a little bit darker in person so it wouldn't really work in the space we've got. It's still a stunning table but probably too high maintenance and small for our needs.

2. RENO CERAMIC MARBLE EXTENDING TABLE £899

Image credit: Dwell

My next stop in Tottenham Court road was Dwell. We have quite a few furniture pieces from Dwell. I really like their contemporary designs and the price/quality ratio is really good. I wanted to see how the butterfly extension works in real life and it did not disappoint. This table can accommodate up to 8 people when extended and it's also available in 2 other colours (slate and grey). I love the sleek look but the best part is that the tabletop is ceramic (not real marble). This means that it's very easy to keep clean and very scratch resistant too. I have a (real) marble table in our hall that shows a lot of wear and tear only after few years, so I'm scared to think what would happen if we had a marble dining table. My only concern is that the design (especially the legs) is almost identical to our old table. Obviously it's a sign of a timeless style but I would prefer something new and different this time.

The ceramic tabletop is definitely the biggest selling point for me. The colour is also a bonus as it's very light marble which means it will bounce light around the room (this is important especially since our dining room table will be in a corner tucked away from all the windows).

3. WAYFAIR DENITA KITCHEN PANTRY £740.99 (on sale)

Image credit: Wayfair

I've always steered clear from wood tables in the past, mainly because I thought they wouldn't be practical with children. Water marks and scuff marks don't sound appealing and must be pretty unavoidable with small children, right? And then there's the question what kind of wood should you go for. Hardwood tends to be more durable which makes oak a very good option. Composite wood may look more 'finished' and is usually cheaper but won't be as durable as hardwood. I adore the contemporary look of this table and that it's not too bulky unlike many other wood tables. I also think the black metal legs give it some real wow factor. It's the biggest dining table out of my top 5 too (up to 10 people) and we probably don't need a table this big. Then again, I'm looking for a long term table for us and if we were to move in the next few years, the new dining table would have to come with us to the next house.

4. CATTELAN ITALIA BY DIAPASON £2744

Image credit: Urban Suite


This table isn't really a serious contender since it's glass and I want something totally different this time (our current table is black glass). But, since it's such a unique table I had to add it to my list anyway. The base is marble and the tabletop is glass which makes it pretty special. It's pricey though which is probably the only negative, but it's a well made table that is very easy to care for (even with small children) which makes it a pretty good investment in my book.


5. RESTORATION HARDWARE - TORANO MARBLE COLLECTION $3295 (starting at)

Image credit: Restoration Hardware

Unfortunately Restoration Hardware hasn't branched out to the UK yet, but since I do have some blog readers in the US too, I thought I'd share this beauty with you. Their entire Torano Marble Collection is stunning and I love that you can choose the colour of the legs too. I really wish we'd have more many customisable options here in the UK too. I've been drooling over Restoration Hardware furniture for a while now and although I could technically order one from the States, the shipping and tax costs would really stretch my budget (and returning it would be harder too in case it wasn't quite like I'd imagined). So if you live in the States, you have to go and check out your nearest Restoration Hardware store. They also provide an in-house interior design service for their customers. I'd quite happily let them design my entire house if I had the opportunity. I guess I better start saving now, in case they ever open a store in the UK. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

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