Friday, 8 January 2016

Dry January - not what you think

I've kick started the year with a bout of bronchitis, a someone-is-standing-on-my-chest illness that renders one feverish and glassy eyed. So being laid up in bed for several days now, I've done no more than wheeze, drink copious amounts of water to hydrate and slept with a cold wet cloth on my forehead to try and get my temperature down. Between naps, I've done a fair bit of reading. On my new Kindle Paper white. I know I'm really slow when it comes to technology, but I finally get it. Laying here unable to do much at all, clothes strewn everywhere, too unwell to do any kind of tidying up, piles of dishes in the kitchen…the only thing I've been able to do is read. After finishing my 2nd book, this one book kept popping up in my recommendations;  Spark Joy by Marie Kondo I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I got myself a sample to see if I’d like it. I did. At £9.49 it’s no cheap kindle book.  I pressed the buy button and started reading. I'm not finished yet. In between I've had to make a cup of good old English tea, swallow some Sudafed and throw away what looks like tissue hell on my bedroom floor.

For some time now I've realised I'm a bit of a collector (well I've always known!) And before you judge me, I have a tidy home, it’s just that I don’t like throwing things away. Anything from pebbles found on my local beach to old Toast Clothing brochures, going back to 2007 – why on earth am I keeping these? But then after reading Marie’s book, I’m beginning to feel like I need to get rid of some things. I bought a gold top on sale, thinking I might wear it (says she of the sturdy flat leather boots and brogues) Anyhow, this book is changing the way I think about the things I have and how I buy ‘stuff’.  If it doesn't bring me joy, it’s got to go and I can think of several things right now that don’t do that for me.

What I've also realised is that as soon as a new décor item pops up on the radar, either in a blog I'm reading or in an email I've subscribed to, I can’t seem to say no. I am constantly buying items that I don’t need. (Does anyone else feel the lure of online shopping?) So instead of doing Dry January, like the rest of Britain, not drinking for an entire month and then on the 1st of February, lunging head first into a full sized bucket of wine (besides I'm teetotal) I've decided I’m going to do No Shop January, but instead of doing just one month, I'm really going to try and not buy a single thing for an entire three months (obviously I'm not counting food/toiletries). This is going to be EXTREMELY hard for me, but it’s a challenge I'm setting for myself to see if I have the willpower to end this continuous buying spree which threatens to take over my life and only have items in my home that Spark Joy. 

In the meantime, some photos I might or might not have posted before….because nothing cheers one up more than flowers…

 (all photos by me)

Have a good weekend

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Christmas Table Decorations

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! I ate far too much of everything and now need a few long and brisk walks to appease my guilt! My Honeybee will be leaving the nest soon to go back to her own little nest in the south where they are enjoying temperatures of around 36C …but we can’t complain either.  We've had the mildest winter ever apart from the rain which does not seem to want to stop, but my thoughts and prayers go out to those further up north where the rain has been relentless and caused mass destruction of homes and businesses. Here in my town, one of the roads along the promenade gave way under the strain of the recent weather.

This year I really had fun doing my Christmas table, and this one is my favourite so far! I had a piece of vintage Sanderson fabric which when I bought it two years ago, was going to become cushions, but I shelved that idea as a tad too granny for me and packed it back in the box.  I wanted a slightly bohemian painterly Vermeer meets an eclectic modern day 21st century look and I think the floral fabric and the quirky elements like the black parrots add to that feel as well as the lovely baubles.  I bought a few blousy flowers and with some greenery made a free flowing flower arrangement (the best kind as far as I'm concerned) as a centre piece.  To balance out the red tones, I picked out the blue in the fabric and used my blue Willow pattern dinner plates with white damask napkins and vintage brass napkin rings.

Our family don’t do a traditional Christmas lunch, so that’s a pecan nut pie you see on the edge of one of the photos, a family favourite, as well as a vanilla Panna Cotta with raspberry coulis. I’ll share these recipes in a later post.

Apologies for the bad photos, I really need to improve my skills, I found it really hard to take photos as our Christmas tree was covering the window with the only natural light I have in my dining room. A photography course is on my want list for 2016...

So a little resource list if this kind of table appeals to your bohemian spirit:

  • Floral Fabric: Vintage Sanderson; try vintage fairs for big pieces.
  • Gold Melamine chargers: available from a variety of places, I got mine from eBay a few years ago.
  • Dinner plates: Blue Willow Pattern available from vintage fairs and this Italian Spode is also very pretty and collectable here
  • Face plates: these I found at TKMaxx but they were available also available at the National Portrait Gallery shop.
  • Black Parrots: an ebay find.
  • Hexagonal brass napkin rings: Etsy:   here
  • Gold plated cutlery: ASDA.
  • Pretty baubles from John Lewis online.
  • Flowers by moi!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, contented 2016, filled with new adventures and happenings!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

I'm winding down for the year. My Honeybee is home for the holidays and we have lots of days out planned, as well as more than a few lie ins and lots of chilling in front of the TV watching favourite movies.   It's a great feeling when your children want to come home to spend Christmas with you. 

The tree is up, the lights are flickering, Presents are wrapped and candles are scattered all over the house so I thought I'd share a few of my decorations with you. 

Thank you all for visiting my blog this year, reading my ramblings and leaving lovely comments.
See you all next year!

Until next year!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Dining room mood board

Hi lovely folks of blogland. I'm not doing very well with posting more regularly, but I do want to thank you all for popping in to say hello and leave me lovely comments.

Along with the walls, the pendant lights were the thing I wanted to change the most in this room.  The style I fell in love with was so different to the rest of the room I thought it would clash in a really bad way but sometimes you have to stick to your gut instinct, so that’s what I did…

I created a few mood boards so I could see what it would look like. It’s more of a tweak actually because all the existing pieces of furniture will stay; the dining table, chairs, the painted buffet, a mirror, the rug and artwork.  So I kept those in the mood boards and played with different light fittings as well as the one I really wanted.  I also added to the mix the wallpaper I found in Midhurst, which although wildy floral, I absolutely love. It was all looking good except my candle sconces which are gold rococo inspired with hanging crystals (you can visualise how French country it was looking before) to more modern ones because the frisson between the new ceiling light and the sconces was not a good one! I already have one Abigail Ahern pineapple sconce, so I'm pinching this one from the lounge and buying another one to make a pair, 'cos I do like a little symmetry.

So once again I’m staying true to my bohemian roots and all things floral, it’s a slightly crazy, eclectic floral vintage lady meets a hint of mid-century modern….but somehow it all works without causing any real friction between the different styles.

I’ll be starting this towards the end of January. I’ll have to endure Christmas with ugly ceiling lights in the meantime but I can think of worse things... Speaking of Christmas, how far are you all with your gift buying? I still have a few gifts I need to buy my son. I find buying for my daughters so much easier…I wonder why?

Happy Christmas shopping! I'm doing a little countdown here as Honeybee arrives home for the holidays next Saturday!

Take care

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Vintage finds

It is blowing a gale where you are? We've had blustery gale force winds all day and tomorrow I'm off to Brighton for a day out Christmas shopping...think it might be a bit of a wash out!

Saturday we drove to Midhurst to the beautiful Cowdray House to enjoy a The Country Brocante Winter Fair. We took a little meander down the dirt road past the horses, patted a few wet noses on a several dogs and then took ourselves into the marquee. It was busy but not suffocatingly so and I came home with some lovely things, nothing I really needed of course…a pair of beautiful velvet floral cushions in rich smudgy colours, which seem to blend with anything and six vintage green and gold edged dishes with little painted bird motifs, a big piece of vintage Sanderson fabric perhaps from the 80s and a set of six silver teaspoons with a lovely motif at the top depicting a saint or a monk like figure…perfect for this time of year – these are a Christmas gift for someone special (and besides if I don’t gift these to someone, this will be my fourth box of teaspoons!)

For the longest time I have wanted to repaint the dining room.  It’s been Farrow and Ball French grey for several years now, and in a north facing room, appears rather green grey and quite dark, not at all unpleasant, but I feel like a change, and I really fancy pink for some strange reason…not sugary ice cream pink, but softly mild and more grown up…so I've been splashing on some sample pots of Farrow and Ball’s Pink Ground and Calamine and one small pot from Laura Ashley called Chalk Pink. I've covered A4 size papers with the paint samples and they are up on the wall so I  can decide which one I like, so far I like the Pink Ground and the Calamine, although I think this might be a little too pink for my taste.  I also found some beautiful wallpaper in a lovely shop in Midhurst, which right now no one seems to know the designer or the name as it was up on a feature wall, so I’m waiting for a call back on that. I do love the monochrome blousy floral look of this, it reminds me of old book illustrations. I've got to be careful not to go too feminine here as hubby and son might think of moving out!  It’s currently borderline feminine but with big robust pieces like a sturdy oak table flanked by Phillip Starke Ghost Chairs and a large vintage painted buffet which is more masculine and grey green walls which offset the other feminine elements. I'm also looking to replace the current pendant lights.  I have a beautiful vintage ballroom chandelier which I had up in our previous home, which came out of the attic to see if it would fit here, but it’s way too big and our ceilings are too low, so back in the attic it goes, pity because I love this chandelier… I think I need to do a little mood board so I can see how it all works together, stayed tuned.

This wallpaper....


Wondering what the flowers are doing in the photo? I was given a lovely bunch of supermarket blooms, but somehow they just looked plain boring in a glass vase, so I chopped them all down and divided them between an old silver mug and a small ceramic vase...looking much better now!

Have any of you started buying/decorating your tree yet? I'm buying a tree this week and can't wait to decorate it!

Have a great week.