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…

Garden Makeover Inspiration

Outdoor living space featuring a Giant Anglepoise light

City Living showpiece at RHS Chelsea by Kate Gould Gardens featuring Anglepoise Original 1227™ Giant Outdoor Lamp

So now that our kitchen makeover is complete, our next project is our garden makeover. My thoughts at the moment have become totally overtaken by the various options we have for creating an outdoor livingroom. I think this is a big trend right now. Not just creating a nice garden, but an outdoor livingroom. Previously we have seen people having a dining table and chairs outside and maybe a parasol. But lately we’ve been seeing lots more spaces where people are tending to mimic their indoor spaces outside. For example, we’re seeing lots of outdoor sofa sets, outdoor cushions, outdoor rugs, lots of soft and snuggly textiles like throws and sheep skins, solar powered outdoor lighting, and even whole outdoor kitchens or bars. Things are getting very sophisticated. You can see my outdoor living Pinterest board below. I’ve been busy gathering garden makeover inspiration. Read More…

My Kitchen Makeover : Final Reveal

The Design Sheppard Kitchen Makeover featuring a monochrome and geometric design theme

Welcome to my kitchen makeover final reveal. I cannot tell you how happy I am to publish this post today. It’s been such a long time coming. We started this kitchen makeover a year ago and it is finally finished. I honestly couldn’t be happier. It’s such a relief to have a kitchen that I am proud of, and I no longer need to be embarrassed when guests come round. You can read about our kitchen makeover plans here and you can see the project in progress here. I’d love to show you around so you can see just how far we’ve come. When we moved in, in 2013, the kitchen was dark and drab and really lacked storage space. I won’t go into too much detail about why I hated the kitchen as I’ve covered that in past posts. I’d rather focus on the positive change we have managed to create here. We got rid of the black laminate worktop and replaced it with white laminate from IKEA. This has really helped to brighten the space and bounce light around the room. I chose this worktop as I really liked the wood effect trim. I realised, when looking at my kitchen inspiration board on Pinterest, that I really like kitchens that mix white and wood. The trim on this worktop actually matches the units that we already had. I was considering painting the cabinets but once the worktop was in situ I really liked how it worked with the cabinets so we’ve decided against painting them.   Read More…

PREN Lighting by Louise Tucker

Hand woven PREN lighting by Louise Tucker suspended over dining table

As you all know I love discovering new designers to share with you guys. This particular designer came onto my radar back in March and I just know you are going to love her work as much as I do. Louise Tucker is a lighting designer and maker who is based in Cardiff. Her work is inspired by traditional weaving techniques, organic forms and time-honoured methods in textiles. She believes in combining tradition with innovation and enjoys the sensory nature of working with natural materials. Her PREN lighting range is a perfect depiction of how Louise likes to work.

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