After a long summer of days out and time spent outdoors, each September I tend to turn my attention back indoors and start looking at new trends for the home. While it’s been around for a while now, the watercolour trend remains one of my favourites of recent years. We’ve been seeing painterly florals on wallpaper and artist-inspired patterns on soft furnishes emerging over the past few seasons and now I’m totally obsessed with all things watercolour.When I watched The Sorry Girls DIY a watercolour apron and business cards, that’s when I couldn’t hold off any longer. With just a jar of water and a pan of school-grade watercolour paints, almost anything could be covered in washes of pastel colours and that made it an even more attractive trend for me; well, if I can do-it-myself and save some money, it’s a winner in my eyes.Here are some of my favourite watercolour looks from my Pinterest boards. I love dark moody blues and blotchy inky tones, and I think that the watercolour effect softens it a little. A rather masculine bachelor-pad look becomes a unisex effect with just a hint of a feathered edge or faded hue. The ink splodge design behind this desk is from Milexa and the dark scuffed wall behind the bed is from Murals Wallpaper.I think that flowers, foliage, animals and birds look great when painted in watercolour. It lends a sense of movement and freedom to the images that you don’t get with printed media. Birds are definitely one of my favourite animals to include in home décor (I have little silver sparrows and a glass bird tealight holder that keep me company all day long) so images of common garden birds and delicate feathers are at the top of my framed art-work list. Plus, I think that bright watercolours can make a regular bird look really rather tropical, like in this painting (below.)
When I first heard about the #FloorSelfie challenge, I found myself getting a little excited. Not only do I love a good photo challenge, but I also love shoes, and taking photos of my feet for a week sounded like great fun. No need for any special equipment to get involved with this challenge; I simply charged up my phone and snapped a photo whenever the thought entered my mind. By the end of the week I’m pretty sure that I’d started to search out more interesting floors with fun colours or patterns, or maybe it was simply the fact that I was noticing the floor more often . How often do we look down, really? We’re missing interesting designs and even art by keeping our heads up. Anyway, enough rambling – here are my favourite shoe photos from the week and little bit about the location to go with them:
Excuse the pun but I ‘kick started’ my week of #FloorSelfies with a day out at the seaside. And we enjoyed ourselves so much that we actually went back to the coast the day after too. I snapped some photos on the beach and almost soaked my toes by trying to get the Tuesday Shoesday snap above when the tide came in. The traditional walk along the promenade followed, with me dribbling over beach huts that I could never afford, followed by a big hot chocolate to warm up. The second day we went to Southwold Pier and had fun playing air hockey and winning 2ps in the arcade. Something I hadn’t noticed before was that the pier has footprints painted on the deck all along the length of the pier. Don’t follow them though – some of the footprints head right off the side of the pier! I found a set of flipper footprints and snapped this fun #FloorSelfie.
One of the most exciting thing to happen to me this week was something that I couldn’t really photograph. My husband had been picked in a ballot to go to a recording of a TV special in Elstree Studios. With the performance being ‘top secret’ and absolutely no cameras allowed, it was hard for me to get a photo but I wanted to record the day out nonetheless. Here’s the fabulous wooden floor in the entrance to Elstree Studios and it’s the very same spot where I later met Tim Peake and Professor Brian Cox. Yes, I got a selfie with an astronaut! Best. Moment. Ever. And I managed to give Brian Cox a pair of ChattyFeet’s Prof. Brian Sox socks, which he found hilarious. Oh, you’ll notice a different pair of shoes in this shot – they are my favourite Hush Puppy flats the rub a little on the heel so aren’t great for wearing all day long. The following day we took a walk in the countryside and noticed just how autumnal everything is – leaves are turning brown and conkers are falling. Must remember to go blackberry picking this week before it’s too late.
Over the years I’ve done a lot of studying online. I’ve studied branding, community journalism, IT and marketing, to name just a few. And, no surprise, I’ve completed a course in Personal Development via distance learning too. I studied the course, completed assessments and gained a qualification without ever meeting a tutor or any other students. For some of you, it may feel a little lonely to miss out on that human connection and social interaction with your peers but don’t worry; you can communicate with other course members through forums and email.For me it was a really convenient way to learn; it meant that I could study as little or as much as I liked, and could complete the course in less time as I wasn’t attending a certain number of lessons or spending time on class discussions. Plus, once I’d competed each course, I could proudly add it to my CV. I really like this way of learning and here a three reasons why you should consider it too:
Paper-free studying – The course materials are all the same as with a regular course, just that you’re able to experience them ‘paper-free’. No more textbooks or journals cluttering up your home, or files full of notes on your desk. With online learning it’s all contained within your laptop and assessments are usually online or submitted via email. Continue reading “Personal Development – 3 reasons for learning at home” »
Have you noticed just how popular wood flooring is again? Just browse interior design trends on Pinterest and you’ll find all the evidence you need. Despite the resurgence of lovely soft carpets, the popularity of hard-wearing sisal flooring and the design aesthetic of big chunky tiles, it seems like wood is beating all these flooring options hands down. Or should that be feet down? And I think I’ve worked out just why this is – here are my top 3 reasons why wooden floors are so popular:1. Open-plan homes
For years we’ve been knocking rooms together and opening up our living spaces to create brighter and more spacious homes. No longer are kitchens tucked away, they’re now part of our eating-cooking-living rooms. With this lean towards open-plan living, the desire to have a seamless run of flooring that runs from room to room had led to the increase in the use of wood. Tiles throughout a living space would be cold, whereas carpet in a kitchen just isn’t practical. But wood floors can be easily cleaned, are comfortable underfoot and make a room feel cosy.
I can’t believe that it’s been a whole week since this book launched and I’m only now telling you about it. I’ve had my eyes on it for weeks and have been eagerly awaiting it’s release. Teaser tweets and Instagram posts by Max have got my excitement for this book bubbling up to a dangerous level. Combine that with my already OTT love of thriftiness and DIYing, and you’ve got one giddy girl on your hands. So you can imagine how quickly I tore open the packaging of my book delivery last weekend.Thankfully, it book itself didn’t disappoint. I knew it would full of Max’s trademark industrial projects and thrifty flips, but I didn’t realise just how comprehensive it would be. This isn’t just a ‘look at this pretty room’ design book. Oh no. It’s full of practical advice and step-by-step, photo-by-photo tutorials. It’s so detailed that even I feel confident about removing a drum from an old washing machine and turning it into an illuminated side table.With techniques for measuring and cutting, drilling and sanding, wiring and finishing, Max teaches you all the DIY skills you need to know in order to complete the projects in the book. If you want to know what a nylock nut is, Max’ll tell you. I thought I was alright at a bit of DIY. Good, even. But it turns out that there’s so much more I can learn. Thank goodness I’ve got this book to teach me the tricks of the trade. They don’t call me thrifty for nothin’ and if I’m going to upcycle, I’m darn well going to learn how to do it properly (and safely!).
Just before the book launched last week I had the opportunity to ask the author some probing questions so that I could share his answers with you today: Continue reading “Book Review + Interview – Upcycling by Max McMurdo” »
When your pal is expecting her baby it’s a joyous occasion that you may wish to celebrate. Gathering all her friends around for a lovely afternoon tea party is a lovely way to celebrate your friend, and can even be used to reveal the gender of the baby. It’s basically a much calmer, daytime version of the hen party and you all had a great time at that party, didn’t you?! Basically, I think that any opportunity for a party and to get together with friends should be taken so here are my tips for baby showers:
Location: It’s likely that a baby shower will take place in someone’s home. Perhaps grandmother-to-be has a big enough conservatory to serve up an afternoon tea? Maybe a summer garden party is more your thing? Either of these options will hep to keep costs to a minimum as you won’t have to pay out for a venue. However it does mean that you’ll have to sort out the food yourself. Alternatively, a lovely lunch could be arranged at a favourite restaurant or tea shop, so ask around for prices per head and see if you can get a deal for a group booking.
Today’s blog post is a super-fast DIY project to add a little personality to an off-the-peg high street top. Yes, I’m doing a Primark hack, and I don’t care who knows it! It’s such a quick project that I did it just half an hour before heading out to a party wearing the top. AND I had time to photograph it for you..! Now, that’s quick, eh? Read on to find out how I added a little pizzazz (or should I say pom-poms?) to my new cotton top.I picked up this heart print top from Primark for £6 only a couple of weeks ago. It’s one of those oversize tops in breezy cotton so it’s great on hot days, plus it’ll look fab under a cardi for winter too, so I couldn’t resist it. This same top is also available in floral prints, geometric patterns and plenty of different colours, so have a look next time you’re in Primark and grab a couple to play around with at home. I bought the top in a too-small size 8. This is because I didn’t want the top to be ‘too’ blousey and wanted it to sit better on my shoulders. I know that the design is supposed to be oversize, but I preferred how the size 8 fit me and I wanted to add some on-trend side-splits so it didn’t matter if it was a little tight over the hips.While I was out shopping, I also picked up some mini pom-pom trim from the haberdashery. I got 1.5m just in case, but actually 1 metre was more than enough. This cost me £1.65 in total for the trim, and some other colours were even lower in price so I might pop back for a bright yellow soon! I was very excited to turn a standard high street top into something a little more unique so I hurried home to start sewing. Adding splits and pom-poms works well on any cotton or lightweight top, because you don’t have to worry about the stretch of the fabric. Here’s how to do this make-it-your-own project…Step 1. Put on the top and decide where you would like the side splits to come up to. Mark it with a pin, then fold in half down the centre to check that the splits go up to the same point on both sides.
Step 2. Carefully unpick the seam up to this point. I was rather impatient and cut straight through the fabric but if you unpick it, you’ll have a seam allowance on each side which makes turning back a hem easier!