31 March 2011

Knock knock . . .

Writing this listening to Tim Christensen's "Honeyburst" album - brilliant! We were introduced to his music when we visited our friend in Denmark, and it's been a firm favourite since - have a listen if you're not familiar with his work.

I'd love to have a wooden front door. Ours is white PVCU with mock lead flashing in it. I know it's not particularly horrid. In fact, it's a major step up from the one we had in our last house - imagine again a white PVCU door, but with a massive stained glass hummingbird in the middle - classy, no?

Anyway, I'd just really love a wooden front door - obviously PVCU doors are very secure, but they just look so out of place on old houses like ours. If we did have a wooden front door, I'd enjoy painting it in a pretty heritage shade like one of these:

Image from here.

Image from here.

Image from here.

Image from here.

Image from here.

29 March 2011

Scribbled pears save the day!

You may remember that I wrote here that I'd wrecked my Emma Bridgwater shopping bag and have been looking for a replacement . . . well, David found this in Tesco the other day!

Image from here.

I'd read that these bags were going to be produced in the January/February edition of the Tesco magazine but was convinced that I'd missed out - I've been looking for one for a while now to no avail. So, I was so excited when David returned from mysteriously walking away from us at the checkout with one in his hand! Not sure the guy on the till quite understood my glee as I ripped the price tag off it and began filling it with groceries (no red wine this time!).

I'm really pleased with it - it's really sturdy, looks great and best of all 50p from each sale goes to CLIC Sargent and the Royal College of Art.

EDIT: Stupidly forgot to point out yesterday that the bag was designed by Orla Kiely! That's why I was so excited to find one!

24 March 2011

We're actually doing some DIY!

David and I have got the bit between our teeth this week! It began at the weekend, when David painted the ceilings and cornicing in the living room and dining room; now I've painted 2 walls in the living room (it's taking a while as I'm doing it during Torin's naps), and David's nearly finished hanging a new living room door! We've certainly been busy!

I'll post plenty of pictures when we've actually finished, but for now at least, I can show you the paint colours we've chosen, and the door that we bought. 

So, the walls in the living room and dining room are being painted in Dulux's "Gooseberry Fool 5":


and the chimney breasts in both rooms will be painted in Dulux's "Overtly Olive":


We've chosen to have them mixed in the Endurance paint, as it'll be easier to wipe off grubby handprints and pawprints without damaging the finish. There's also more of a contrast when the paint is actually on the wall - they look quite similar here, but Overtly Olive appears much greener in situ.

We replaced the door in the living room because the old door had 15 panels of glass in it. We've been getting increasingly nervous about it as Torin can now open the door himself, and really enjoys slamming it shut too. 

He obviously takes after his mother, as this is what I managed to do to our bedroom door a few weeks ago:


I was thoroughly ashamed - how stupid to slam a glass door (!), as well as a little shocked that this happened. At least we found out without anyone being hurt, that the glass in the doors in our house is not safety glass.

We felt it was really important to change the door as soon as possible, so we bought the "Neptune" door from B&Q:


The plan is to paint it white, so I'll post a picture when it's finished.

23 March 2011

Dream on dreamer . . .

Yesterday, David came back from work with this lovely "dream" sign for me:


As we are currently living on one salary, there are many things that we want to do, but can't. I know we're not the only ones - many people are experiencing difficult times at the moment with today's budget not giving much respite either. David bought me this sign to remind me to carry on dreaming. It's made of tin, and I really like the way the font looks like old printing blocks.

22 March 2011

A small celebration for a small milestone.

Today my little blog told me that I've had 1000 page views since I started writing it in January!


Thank you so so much to all of you who have taken the time to read what I've written.

It'd be really great to see who some of you lovely people are - why not follow me? A big thanks to those of you who have already pushed the "follow" button!

21 March 2011

My home: an introduction.

In this mini-series, I'm going to share a selection of my favourite things from each room in our house. Hopefully these posts will provide you with a little insight into my style, and give you a peek into what our house is like.

Torin's room

As promised on Friday, here are some pictures from Torin's room. I think his is my favourite room in our house - it feels better than the others because we were able to start almost from scratch with it - before he was born we had it completely re-plastered and painted everything properly - even the skirting boards!

There are many things that I like in his room, and we received so many lovely gifts since he was born, that it's quite difficult to choose just a few items to show you. However, I did manage to narrow it down to three things in the end:

Patchwork quilt

My parents' next door neighbour made this beautiful quilt for Torin when he was born. My parents have lived in the same house since before I was born, so we're all very close to our neighbours and I cried when I opened this gift - it must have taken her ages, as it has been made so neatly.


Peg line display

I saw this idea somewhere on flickr a few months before Torin was born and decided it would be a great way to display cards from his birth, birthdays, flashcards and other pictures, and eventually his own drawings and paintings. I used the DIGNITET curtain wire from IKEA and I use simple wooden pegs to hold the pictures in place.


I also love these vintage style flashcards that were bought for Torin by David's mum - she got them from The Natural History Museum, but I think they are out of stock at the moment.

Storage bag

I bought 2 of these lovely storage bags to contain all of Torin's old clothes. Our attic isn't yet boarded out (another job on the long long list), and we don't have anywhere else to store them, so they have to stay in his room. These bags are great - they are so roomy and I've so far managed to fit all of Torin's old clothes into 2 of them (he's 22 months old now).


I bought mine from the gift shop at Chapter Arts Centre, but I've also seen them here.

18 March 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Although it's been a little cold and drizzly here today, it really feels that Spring is just around the corner. Daffodils are everywhere; crocuses in our local park are almost finished and being replaced with sweet smelling Hyacinths. 

I get to this point every year and begin to think that this is the year for our garden - it really needs sorting out. Since we've lived here, David and I, with A LOT of help from family, have done quite a bit of work on it, but there's still a lot to do - it looks very rough around the edges (and in the middle, if I'm honest).

I'm sure this smart willow planter from Garden Trading would help to make it look better:


At £70, it's not cheap, but it looks like it would weather well. How beautiful is the outside of this house? Sigh!

17 March 2011

A gallery of children's rooms.

It's children city among our friends here in Cardiff at the moment - so many of our friends now have children, are pregnant or are trying for a baby. It seems like a good time then, to show you a quick round up of some of my favourite nurseries and rooms for small children.

Perhaps a room for very well behaved children? What an innovative use of space from Marian of The Bumper Crop.

Image and full feature from here.

A Danish vintage and handmade treasure trove for 3 year old Indigo Skye:

Image from here.

A calming and relaxing atmosphere created in a tiny space, for a boy or a girl:

Image from here.

This cosy space is beautiful - I love the harmony of the pinks and yellows.

Image found here.

It's back to nature in Carla's room, with a sneaky Eames rocker thrown in for good measure!

Image found here.

A lovely assortment of rooms - I hope you'll agree. I promise I'll post some pictures of Torin's room soon too - it's his room's turn to be featured in My home: an introduction, which I'll be posting on Monday.

16 March 2011

Simple wedding card

Now our newly married friends have opened their presents, I can show the simple card I made for their wedding:


It was really easy to make - I simply punched out the bell shapes using a hole-punch and different types of paper, and then stuck them onto cream card using these.

Here's a close-up of the bells:


Let me know if you like it!

15 March 2011

A beautiful wedding at a beautiful house.

Sorry for yesterday's lack of post . . . we were at our friends' wedding in Somerset. Mr and Mrs Connolly got married on Sunday, at Halswell House near Bridgwater. 


Most of this fantastic Grade 1 listed building dates back to 1689, but part of it can be traced back to medieval times - it oozed history at every turn. I spent a lot of my time there imagining what it would have been like to have lived there when the house was in its original prime - taking afternoon tea on the ornamental lawn, or picking out dresses for the Season. Actually, knowing my luck I'd probably have been downstairs, in service!

David, Torin and I stayed in one of the family suites - the Boudoir, which was very grand. I took some pictures of our room so you could see exactly how stately it was:

The sign on our bedroom door.

The fireplace in our room.

Our bed (very comfy btw).

Some mirror eh!

One of two massive windows in our room, over-looking this view:

Very tranquil.

This massive tapestry was hanging on the wall in our room, above a really ornate dressing table.

15th century IKEA?

Isn't it funny how such a new object can fit in so well in such old surroundings!

I also wandered around the rest of the house and took some pictures of other wonderful objects before we left on Monday morning:

A manificent chandelier that looked like it was made from amber.

This wonderful hearth was in a room being used as a corridor!

This beautifully ornate ceiling was in the room where breakfast was served.

I don't know if it was an original or reproduction, but this birdcage was beautiful.

I'm still exhausted from our few days away, but a good time was had by all. As I said, it was a beautiful wedding in a beautiful house, and I wish Alex and Mark a very long and happy future together.

11 March 2011

Back to the middle . . .

Have you noticed that my header is now centred? I'm so pleased - it bugged me everytime I looked at it, but I just couldn't work out how to change it. 

Sorry if it's offended your eyes too! 

Anyway, it's now firmly in the middle - thankyou to lovely Melanie for sorting it out for me!

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

Yesterday I stumbled upon this beautiful quilt featured here on The Purl Bee:


The talented people over at Purl Bee, made this quilt with appliqu├ęd samples from the gorgeous Liberty of London Tana Lawn collection.

The possibilities are endless for a project like this - you could adapt it to your own room's colour scheme, or perhaps choose patterns suitable for a child. Although I guess any shape would work well, I really like the use of circles here - the patterns are really set off by the fact they are seemingly floating on the light background fabric, and what a great way to use up scraps of fabric.

A quilt like this would make a fantastic gift - it's the stuff of family heirlooms, and it's really inspired me to try my hand at quilting.

10 March 2011

Beautiful balance - aqua and wood.

This picture makes me want to paint my whole house aqua (which isn't quite what I've been planning)!

Image from here.

I also love the way the paint colour mixes so well with the warm tones of the wooden bed. Smart, and lovely!

9 March 2011

Pretty tea caddy.

The other day my sister-in-law gave me this tea caddy as a gift. She'd bought one for herself, thought that I'd like one too and so bought me one as they were reduced. Sweet, isn't it? 

I haven't yet decided where in the kitchen it's going to live, so for now it's on the windowsill next to the little cabinet that holds sunglasses, stamps and small notebooks.

8 March 2011

Spot the difference!

Quick quiz!

There are 5 main differences in these two pictures (apart from the fact that some of the books are in slightly different places) - can you spot them?


Did you find them? Answers below:

  1. I have managed to put one of the shelves back on the wall. I got our newish powerful drill out at the weekend, and managed to put the shelf up securely. I may have actually let the words "Girl Power!" slip from my lips with the excitement that comes as a result of a job well done. Embarrassing! Luckily David was playing with Torin upstairs, so no one was around to hear! I'll post another picture when the top shelf is back up, but this is going to be a more difficult job as most of the wall plugs were ripped out of the wall when the shelf came down (as I describe here).
  2. There is a pretty greetings card on the second shelf. I gave this to David for his birthday back in October. It's still on the shelf because I plan to frame it (I'll give you a close up when this has been done). In the meantime, you can view it here.
  3. There's a candlestick infront of the blue books. I bought this in an antiques shop in York just before we were due to go to a wedding. It wasn't expensive, but it really caught my eye. I believe it dates back to the 1870s.
  4. There's a large red vase next to the vases. This was from The Pier (now closed down), and was one of the first pieces of "red" that David and I had in the flat we rented together when we first moved to Cardiff. At the moment it's acting as a bookend, but it may stay there as I quite like the contrast between the red and the white; it depends on how many white books are left on this level when I've put the top shelf back up.
Lastly . . . number 5

David surprised me at the weekend and gave me the little wooden bird that I was coveting here. It's so cute, and I'm very lucky!

Here it is in close-up:


I think when the top shelf is up and the books are back on the shelf, the bird should end up in front of the white books, which will help it stand out more. In the meantime, I'll enjoy looking at it in its nest by the brown books every time I walk through our dining room. 

7 March 2011

My home: an introduction.

In this mini-series, I'm going to share a selection of my favourite things from each room in our house. Hopefully these posts will provide you with a little insight into my style, and give you a peek into what our house is like.

Bedroom

Among my many favourite items in our bedroom, there are two that really stand out for me. These are:

My Orla Kiely duvet cover


I think I may have actually squealed when I found this duvet cover set in TK Maxx several months ago. It came with 4 pillow cases, and was being sold for almost a quarter of its RRP! I snapped it up!

The tiny stem is my favourite Orla Kiely motif, and I think it looks stunning placed in brown thread onto the matt grey background of this cover.

A few weeks after I got this set, David surprised me with another. This time, it was a brown cover with the tiny stem motif in mustard yellow - yum! I love both sets - they go really well with our Mellow Mocha walls (you can see part of our wall here), and the colours help to make our bedroom feel smartly calm.

My jewellery box


This beautiful box was my 21st birthday present from my parents. It was made in the 1820s and is made from walnut with an inset and lock in mother of pearl. Apart from the way it looks, my favourite thing about it is that when you open it fully, you can press down on a metal button and a concealed tray emerges from the bottom of the box. This tray obviously once held a heavy gentleman's watch, as there is a circular indentation in the silk lining; I now use it to hold my earrings.

I love to imagine the previous owners of a piece like this - was it passed down in a line of gentlemen with important jobs and heavy watches? Or was it once the 21st birthday present of a Regency debutant? 

4 March 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

Beds from The Sleep Room have caught my eye in pictures from magazines for the last few months, and when I looked at their website the other day, I was pleased to see that they have just launched a new range of bedside tables. My favourite is Campaign, made from solid oak with vintage bronze finish metal legs.


I currently use a cabinet that my grandmother picked up at auction (they came as a pair and she only needed one), which I plan to re-vamp, but I'd be quite happy if someone presented me with this as an alternative! 

If this is anything to go by, I'm looking forward to seeing their new tables when they are released in April.

3 March 2011

Happy World Book Day everyone!





Today is World Book Day in the UK and Ireland!







Did you know that World Book Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries around the world? A celebration of books and reading, it is a day where publishers, booksellers and other interested parties work together to promote books and reading for personal enjoyment, as well as personal enrichment.

In order to share my love of books with you, I though I'd take a look at some of my favourite book-related products available for the home.

A whole book on a poster? It's possible with this great print from Spineless Classics via Her Little Place.

Image from here.

These great Penguin Classics tea towels available from here. Use them to dry your dishes in style, or stretch it onto canvas as Heather Young has done here:

Image from here.

This literary candle from The Literary Gift Company, features an excerpt from "Wuthering Heights", and is scented with wild heather and a hint of violet :


And finally, the now discontinued Wakefield Chandelier from Pottery Barn, featured here.



Image from here.
I'm currently reading "Such a Long Journey" by Rohinton Mistry (promise you'll get it back eventually Catherine!). It takes place in Mumbai in 1971, and tells the story of Gustad Noble, a father of 3, who is set a difficult task by his friend that means he has to delve into a dangerous world of politics, secrets and large amounts of money. I'm learning such a lot about how India was at this time - I really love it when a book teaches me something. What are you reading at the moment?

Happy reading everyone!
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