At this time of year I like to give my skincare routine a bit of a shake up. With all this warm air indoors and cold winds outside I find that my skin dries up completely and I tend to need a cream or serum that’s just a little more luxurious than my summer range. Of course, I love the freshness of my summer moisturizer (I wrote about my cruelty-free choice for summer skincare on my blog last year) but it doesn’t always clear up the flakiness of my skin when it’s dry over winter. No, I need a richer option – a hydrating and rejuvenating product. And I know where to find it…Even though Christmas is well and truly over, there’s no reason why I can’t smell frankincense every day, is there? I’m talking about the soothing scent of the Neal’s Yard anti-aging skincare collection. I’m always wary of trying out new skincare options as my skin is really sensitive but my first choice will always be the cruelty-free option and I’ve done a lot of research on the brand.Neal’s Yard skincare is certified by Cruelty-Free International and recognised by PETA, and the products are 100% vegetarian. Not only that; they use Fairtrade suppliers and are the first British health and beauty brand to be certified both For Life and Fair for Life by IMO. So far, so good!
This Tuesday Shoesday I want to talk about one of my favourite new trends for A/W16 – textured shoes. I’m talking suede, velvet or even crushed velvet being used to decorate even the daintiest of sandals. It’s not just about chunky suede boots this year (although I did already invest in a lovely pair of suede boots that go with everything for Autumn), tiny pumps, classy court shoes, platforms and strappy sandals have all been given the textured treatment.
I think it’s the soft texture that makes them feel suitable for this time of year – its as though the texture makes them feel more cosy. Even though the shoes might be dainty or strappy and totally unsuitable for cold days, the soft texture gives the impression of warmth. Plus, it looks great with party dresses and wooly suits alike, so will fit in with your winter wardrobe seamlessly.
The textured fabric seems to lend a vintage feeling to most styles of shoes. The slightly muted colours created by a brushed suede or crushed velvet fabric resemble the faded hues in an old photograph. I really like this effect and, as a vintage girl at heart, it makes me want to invest in textured shoes even more to get that 70s vibe. I spotted these retro-inspired t-bar shoes below and fell in love.
It’s that time of year again. The clocks have gone back an hour to remind us that winter is almost here and Christmas is very much around the corner. For many people, this means rushing around the shops trying to find the perfect Christmas gifts, but for others it means hosting parties and get-togethers. What better way to welcome your guests this year than by giving your home a seasonal makeover, adding some much-needed warmth to the chilly months? I love the Danish concept of hygge and tips on how to achieve this everywhere this year so why not embrace the trend and cosy up? I hope the tips in this post help to get you in the festive mood, even though it is only November..!
The trend I see in every interior design magazine and every homewares shop window these days is the Scandinavian trend. Think simple, rustic, cosy log cabins for this look; add some colour-coordinated fur throws and lavish rugs to your living area, and then swap your sleek metal and glass for some natural wood furnishings instead. This trend came about from embracing hygge, so it’s all about comfort and creating that tranquil, relaxed atmosphere that people crave from a holiday in the Alps this time of year. Hygge is about appreciating the good things in life with great company, in a warm and relaxed environment. Get the ambience right in your home and any guests who enter will never want to leave!
Today’s blog is a quick and easy decor update that can make your home feel really autumnal in a matter of minutes. And you don’t need to spend loads of money on new soft furnishings, or hours crafting a garland, or days painting your walls to add a touch of autumn colour to your home. My idea for a speedy interiors update is adding art to your walls to completely change the feeling of your space in no time.In particular, I’m talking about a more budget version of art – using posters. Sure you blu-tacked up posters to your bedroom walls in your teenage years but have you ever used them since? After browsing online and finding plenty of sensational artworks in bold autumn hues, I’ve become a fan of the humble poster. And they’re really great value for money too. How else can you update your home decor in such a striking way with a very little budget? Of course, you can frame up posters and elevate their status to true artwork, but you could also simply stick them up in your office with washitape and get the same effect. I really love the moon-phase design below, this would be the perfect addition to my bedroom to bring a touch of warmth into the room for autumn. And when the season is over, you can roll the posters up, pop them back in their delivery tube and switch over to a new fresh design for spring. Poster tubes take up hardly any space and your favourite design will be ready for you to re-hang again the following autumn. Sounds good, doesn’t it?For autumn, I’ve been really drawn towards gold, copper and brass touches and have picked out the designs for this blog post as my suggestions for autumn 2016. I tend to lean towards a monochrome palette at all times of year, with bursts of colour to reflect the season. I love gold for autumn and I think it works well into winter too as we fill our homes with glittering gold decorations. And, of course, woodland scenes like this artwork below evoke a lovely autumnal feeling without feeling twee. Continue reading “A low-cost way to decorate your walls for autumn” »
So now that bonfire night has exploded all around the country last weekend, I think I can safely move on to Christmas. That’s the rule, is it? Halloween? Check! Bonfire night? Check! Christmas? Ohhh yeaaah! Here it comes! Which is precisely why I’ve waited until now to show you my new festive decorations. I’ve been shopping this week (can you believe how many shops are full of festive stuff already?!) and was easily tempted to pick up some new bits n bobs. In fact, the prices of my new decs were so good that I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, because I know that some of you will be the same as me and will be hunting out your new decorations for this year’s theme soon and I want to help you get a bargain. I usually stick to the same colours every year and have plenty of baubles that I’ve collected over the past decade that must go on the tree. But this tree is going to end up in the bedroom so I wanted to go for a different look this year.
As always I was inspired by Pinterest (here’s my Christmas board if you want to take a look) and I found myself pinning more and more handmade baubles and ballerina pink hues. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without oodles of glitter so discoball-esque decorations were definitely on the cards. I found the exact dusky pink shades of Christmas decorations that I wanted on the Homebase website but decided to go along to the shop to buy them ‘in person’ so that I could see the size of the baubles and how they looked side by side.
I found so many more options in store that I didn’t even notice on the website so I picked up a few more packs than expected. Even so, I didn’t spend more than £14 on ALL these decorations. A full 1.8m tall tree was covered in this pretty pink theme (including two very special handmade baubles at £2 and £2.50 – my showstoppers!) for this low price. The mini baubles were only £2 for a pack of 20, can you believe it?
I know you’re all thinking about Christmas shopping by now. Well, I’m ready to get started on my annual gift hunt – I’ve even bought the wrapping paper! In my search for special gifts and thrifty treats I stumbled upon Discovered. This online marketplace recommended to me and I’m glad I took the time to check it out.
Like Etsy but connecting you with craftspeople all over the world, this online marketplace lists finely crafted gifts and homewares. You can discover handmade products by artisans from emerging countries such as India, Morocco and South Africa. But the main difference is that Discovered takes the idea of Fairtrade one step further; you can buy handicrafts direct from the maker.
The artisans on Discovered design, create and sell beautiful accessories, bags, jewellery and home decoration items. Every product that is sold on Discovered has its own, unique story and you won’t just find it in any other store. In addition, for every item they sell the artisans will receive a fair price because the supply chain is shortened; from the maker, via Discovered and to you.
I’ve never seen an autumn like it. There are so many leaves on the ground at the moment that you can’t really see the grass anymore. The colours are so vibrant and I’m sure there are more shades of orange, red, green, yellow and brown in this year’s fallen leaves than ever before. And with a garden covered in beautiful autumn leaves like this, who wouldn’t go outside for a spot of leave-kicking at the weekend? Well, that’s what I did anyway!My husband did the most adorable thing and raked the leaves into the shape of a heart. And then even went to the trouble of spelling out the word autumn across the middle. He’s a creative sort and knows how much I love this time of year. I’m pretty sure that’s why he did it, and not just to get a great Instagram photo for himself. Anyway, after he’d finished taking some snaps, I had the best fun kicking my way through the words and destroying the whole thing, bwahahahha!As it’s Tuesday Shoesday I felt it would be appropriate to share some snaps of my new autumn boots at the same time. After my trusty brown boots finally crumbled after two years of constant wear, I decided it was time for a new pair. I wanted them to last me well, but look a little more cool than I usually choose. Plus, I needed my shoes to come in under my £20 budget too. That’s not too much to ask is it? Well, apparently yes, it is.I had trouble finding a pair of boots that did everything I needed. I mean, I just wanted some boots with a small heel, speedy zip fastening (I’ve no time for laces these days), in lovely faux suede or leather, and in this year’s hottest colour navy blue. After shopping around it started to look like my thrifty budget wasn’t going to stretch to a new pair of boots for me this year. However, when I hopped onto the Deichmann website I found rows and rows of shoes and boots, with most of them priced at £20 and under.I perked up a bit at this point and clicked through out their most recent collection for Autumn/Winter 2017. Wahey! Boots! Wedge boots, Chelsea boots, ankle boots and knee-high boots. And not just boots; my favourite shoe style brogues were available in patent navy blue too. But that’s not what I was there for. I stuck to my shopping list and looked only at the ankle boots section. My will-power is strong. Continue reading “Tuesday Shoesday – Blue suede boots for autumn” »
I’m not even going to say the ‘C’ word yet but I know that many of you are already planning – and buying – your seasonal gifts. In fact, I’m heading out to the high street tomorrow to gather some stocking fillers myself so I know that (if you’re at all like me) you’re already making a shopping list. And possibly checking it twice. Which is why I wanted to jump in feet first today with an idea for what to get ‘the person who has everything’.
Photo credit: Oxfam GB
My answer is; nothing. I’m not being rude, but what I tend to find these days is that everyone gets whatever they want for themselves all year round, so they don’t really need anything in particular. On top of this, we’ve all got limited space in our homes. I know how sad it makes me to receive a big generous gift when I don’t have anywhere to put it. I’m not ungrateful, I love the present, but I have like, literally nowhere to keep it. I have to store so many things ‘for later’ because I just don’t have the room at the moment.
So my solution is a simple one; buy something for someone else instead. I’m talking about charity gifts and, as an Oxfam blogger, I wanted to share details of their festive packages in case you’re already looking for a secret santa present for someone who already has plenty of everything. There are lots of Oxfam charity gift ideas on the website (starting at just £5) but I’m just going to mention my top two today – a pile of poo and a goat.
Photo credit: Oxfam GB
Imagine giving someone a pile of poo for Christmas – it would be the talk of the office as a secret santa gift, wouldn’t it?! I love the tongue-in-cheek nature of the gift, but it’s a whole lot more helpful than the name makes out. The gift is a 100% natural mix of manure and organic fertilizer so that someone can grow their own vegetables and feed their family. It also includes training on how to plant crops so that they are more successful in growing food. This means that the family will have a more varied diet, their health will improve with regular meals and they can sell any excess produce to raise money for other things, such as sending their children to school. Amazing what a pile of poo can do, isn’t it?
Welcome to the weekend everyone! It’s time for me to remind you about work on Monday morning and let you know what you can do right now to help you achieve your career goals. After all (I’ve seen this quote literally everywhere last month) ‘dreams don’t work unless you do’. Okay, I know you just want one day off but I promise it’ll be worth it if you do a little hustling on the weekends too. Here’s why it’s good to network and what you can do today to get started:It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
Honestly, most of the best opportunities I’ve worked on have come from knowing the right people. Okay, maybe I didn’t know that they were the ‘right’ people when I met them, but when the time came for them to commission a new project, I was the girl they called! Am I just lucky, being in the right place at the right time? No! I actually had to get up, go to events, meet people, chat in real life and maintain those relationships. Thankfully for me, it’s not a chore; I love finding like-minded souls and catching up with them on a regular basis, because the life of a self-employed gal can be quite a lonely one. Having that human connection makes me happy and, honestly, most of the people who started out as business acquaintances are now good friends.
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.)