Flamboyant Parasols from the East London Parasol Company

3 East London Flamboyant Parasols By Pool

Well, I’m still obsessed with gardens, and weirdly summer seems to be going quite slowly this year, so with any luck we should get our decking done before it’s over (fingers firmly crossed). The frame is built but we’ve had a short delay as we’re working with a company who will be supplying us with some balustrade that we can put on the deck to make it safe. It’s quite high at one end due to the garden being sloped so we need a balustrade to minimise the risk of the girls simply toppling off the edge. So I’m still dreaming of the finished look and today I’m sharing some gorgeous products with you from the East London Parasol Company.

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Peel & Stick +Timber Boards for Walls

+TIMBER peel and stick wooden panels in Cloud Grey

Living somewhere that is packed full of character is perhaps the dream for many of us, but not necessarily the reality. Anyone who lives in a new build will know that the developers don’t go out of their way to incorporate characterful features into the houses that they build. This can also be said for many people who rent and are subjected to large expanses of non-descript magnolia walls. Unable to even hang pictures in some cases, renters are often left living in homes that really lack that personal touch or any kind of statement features.

There has been a large movement in recent years towards trying to help renters personalise their space in a way that is temporary and will not lead to aggravating landlords who don’t want their property changed or damaged in any way. Remember this book by Joanna Thornhill? There are some really great ideas and products out there that allow us to add a unique feel to our homes, but in a less permanent manner. The latest product that I have discovered is +TIMBER, an innovative new peel and stick system that allows you to stick timber boards onto the wall or ceiling.

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Affordable Fine Art Prints from Lumitrix

Kate Ballis - Pastel Signs art print from Lumitrix

Art is such a personal thing. I’ve documented my struggles with choosing artwork quite a few times here and it is something I think I am finally getting to grips with. It seems the more artwork I buy and put up, the easier it gets. I am no longer paralysed by indecision. Previously, I only ever choose typographic artwork (words feel safe to me) but I am now broadening my horizons and starting to really appreciate different forms of artwork. Photography was always something I tended to shy away from, but I am starting to discover photography that really inspires me. I was recently introduced to a site called Lumitrix, which sells affordable fine art prints and as soon as I spotted it was all photography I admit I sighed a little. But when I had a proper explore I was really surprised to find dozens of pieces that I would happily hang up at home (if I had enough wall space).

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Review : Wooden Venetian Blinds from Make My Blinds

Make My Blinds Wooden Venetian Blinds review

You guys have no idea how happy I am to be able to tell you about the new blinds we’ve recently installed in our bedroom. (Yes that is a cot you can see there, but with any luck we’ll be getting rid of it in the next few weeks as we attempt to transition our youngest out of our room and in with her big sister. Wish me luck with that! It’s going to be a huge challenge, and one I’m not quite sure I have the energy for.) We’ve had the same crappy curtains up since we moved in almost four years ago. They came with the flat and we just never got round to changing them. When it comes to window dressings I am instantly thrown into a spiral of total confusion.

I knew I wanted to get rid of the curtains but I wasn’t sure what to replace them with. Every time I looked into a different type of window dressing, I lost the confidence to actually make a decision and purchase something. The reason I didn’t like curtains was because when we drew them, they covered the radiator below the window and all the heat got trapped inside the window cavity. Certainly not ideal. I ruled out a roller blind as I’m not a fan of how they look because I associate them with kitchens and bathrooms. I considered a roman blind as I see them as quite sophisticated, but I couldn’t decide on a colour or a fabric (I am the worst for making decisions about my own home, it’s really infuriating). I thought about shutters, but worried that they would be too difficult to open given the lack of space on either side of the window and I didn’t fancy having them shut all the time. So that left me with wooden Venetian blinds, which was a decision I was happy with. All I had to do was measure up and order some. Easy right? Read More…

Garden Makeover : The Plan

Outdoor living space featuring seating, rug, cushions and a bar cart

Image c/o Dash & Albert
(my garden looks nothing like this and I don’t have a pool sadly!)

Following on from my Garden Makeover Inspiration post, I wanted to tell you all a little bit more about my garden and our own garden makeover plans. We are really lucky to have a south facing garden which gets the sunlight for most of the day. In summer, by about 7.30am half the garden is already bathed in sun and it doesn’t take long for the shade to dissipate and for the entire garden to be filled with sunlight. And this lasts until about 9pm roughly before the sun goes down behind the valley at the end of our garden.

The garden is a nice size to work with, but we have a lot of work to do to transform it into a beautiful space for outdoor living. All of the gardens on our street are separated by a waist high wire fence so we have absolutely no privacy whatsoever. It’s not as bad as it sounds as we only have 3 neighbours on the right-hand side because all the other flats are vacant. (We live on a military estate and neighbours come and go. At the moment they’ve all got up and gone). The neighbours that we do have are really lovely and we often sit outside and chat. But I really would like create a more solid boundary around the space in order to create a sense of privacy and also to enable us to create a space that is a bit more personal. I’m not sure if I want to whack massive great fences up all around though as I think that would make us look really snobby and might not be good for neighbour relations, so I’m currently trying to work out how to tackle that issue. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions please do let me know. Garden design is something I’m completely new to and really struggling with. Read More…

Noook : Furniture for the Corners of your Home

StEck cube shelving for small spaces designed by Noook

As you probably know, my little family lives in a small two bedroom flat. It’s adequate for our needs at the moment but I often wish we had more storage space in the flat, especially for all the kids’ toys. Ideally I’d like an extra room we could use as a playroom so that we could revert our lounge back to a cosy, tidy, adult space. That’s impossible though as we can’t just magic up another room out of thin air. So I’ve realised that the next best thing is to try to use the space that we do have more sensibly. Things like incorporating more multipurpose furniture and using every inch of available space. So I was very impressed when I came across German company Noook one day on Twitter. Noook has developed a unique range of functional and space-saving furniture for small apartments and unused corners and spaces.  Read More…

Review : Titan Compactor Bin from Joseph Joseph

Joseph Joseph Titan Compactor Bin

It’s been a while since I did my last review so today I’m sharing my experiences of the Titan Compactor Bin from Joseph Joseph. As you may know, I already own the Stack Recycling Bins from Joseph Joseph (you can read my review of those here). So for me pairing my stack bins with the new Titan Compactor bin made total sense. Thanks to the recycling bins, I am now able to take my recyling rubbish out a lot less frequently which is a real bonus and I was hoping that the Titan would provide the same benefit. I mean, it’s not the end of the world having to take the rubbish out, but living in a first floor flat, it means that I have to leave the girls in the flat alone while I run the rubbish down the stairs. As we all know, it takes no time at all for kids to get up to mischief and potentially hurt themselves. So the less frequently I have to do this the better. So I had high hopes for the Titan. Read More…

Lust List : Designer BBQs for Al Fresco Dining

Hooked on Furnace Everdure BBQ by Heston Blumenthal

With all the gorgeous weather we’ve had recently, my family and I have been enjoying an al fresco lifestyle that is normally not  compatible with life in the UK. It has given us a taste of what life could be like if we lived somewhere that had a warmer climate. One aspect we have really enjoyed is eating outdoors as we’ve had the BBQ out a lot in recent weeks. Our garden in it’s current state is not really geared up for eating outside as the lawn is quite sloped, but we’re starting our garden makeover in the next few weeks, which is very exciting. (See my garden inspiration post here).

Once that’s done we’ll have a lovely decked area to dine on. We recently bought a new BBQ in preparation, which has prompted me to put together a lust list of designer BBQs for you guys. Now I haven’t tested any of these and I have no idea how well they perform. All of these BBQs have made the list based purely on looks. That makes me very shallow I know. I’m sure my husband would veto most of my choices based on practicality, after all many of these designer BBQs are small table top or balcony BBQs which wouldn’t necessarily be suitable for large family gatherings. But they are so pretty, don’t you think? My favourites are the ones from Everdure by Heston Blumenthal. That orange one is gorgeous. Read More…

Interview : Textile Designer Helen Baker

Helen Baker Home Blue cushion & lampshade designs

When I first found out I was pregnant back in 2013, I couldn’t wait to decorate our baby’s new bedroom. However, I needed to go gender neutral as my husband and I didn’t want to find out what gender our baby was until arrival day. I was almost certain we were having a boy but we decided a gender neutral theme would be the sensible option. (Good job too as we had a girl!) Coming up with a gender neutral design wasn’t as easy as I had initially thought. We ended up going for green and incorporated a woodland animal theme which is really lovely. You can read about our nursery project here.

It’s not all that easy to find gender neutral products for use in a children’s room that look nice, can grow with them and are great quality. This was a problem that textile designer Helen Baker also had. But rather than compromise she decided to fill this gap in the market by designing her own collection of fabrics, cushions and lampshades. The Cornish-inspired collection is right up my street, being from the neighbouring county myself. I love the graphic elements and if I were to redecorate our girls’ room I would definitely consider incorporating Helen’s designs. But for now, let’s find out a little bit more about Helen and her designs.

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Anglepoise Collaborates with Paul Smith

Anglepoise + Paul Smith Lamps - Edition Two 2

Some time ago now I wrote a blog post about how the Anglepoise lamp was my 20th Century design icon. I decided this after having interviewed Simon Terry, Innovation Director at Anglepoise, for an article I wrote for World Interiors News. The story of the Anglepoise lamp and the traumatic struggle that Terry faced in trying to safeguard the future of the company in a tough economic climate is a real inspiration. His efforts to save his family’s business involved bringing in new design talent that would enable him to overhaul the product offering and expand into new markets developing higher-end products for higher-end customers. And this is extremely evident in Anglepoise’s recent collaboration with Paul Smith, one of Britain’s foremost designers.  Read More…

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