Review : Copper Terrarium from The Urban Botanist

The Urban Botanist Copper Terrarium 4

I have wanted a terrarium for a long time now. What has put me off though is the fact that they are often sold empty, leaving the buyer to fill them themselves. This is all well and good assuming that you know how to fill a terrarium and what to put in it. For people like me who live one day to the next in terms of plant survival, the thought of this can be a little daunting…well no actually that’s an understatement, it’s terrifying. What if you buy the wrong soil, or the wrong plant? What if you plant it incorrectly? There are just too many variables that could lead to the demise of the poor plant and there is nothing worse than having an innocent plant perish at your hands. So this is why it has taken me so long to get a terrarium, despite the fact that I’ve always known that one would look fabulous in my livingroom. When I was offered a terrarium to review by The Urban Botanist, I seriously considered turning it down. Not because I didn’t like the products, they looked amazing. But purely because I didn’t want to fill it myself and risk having to take photographs of a dead plant. Can you imagine having to admit that the terrarium is wonderful but you can’t keep anything alive in it? What kind of review would that be? Read More…

Garden Makeover : Decking so far

Garden Makeover featuring a raised decking with balustrade

Writing this post makes me so happy, yet also slightly frustrated. We have pretty much finished the decking in our garden, bar two planks that need to go on the side, but we ran out of wood and need to order a bit extra. I would love to be able to post the final reveal of the decking all set up how we intend to use it, however summer seems to have been and gone. I had a really bad feeling this would happen and back in May and June when we were having that wonderful weather I kept joking that it would all change as soon as our decking was up. And apparently, I was right. Yesterday evening as the final screw went in, I frantically checked the met office weather report for the coming week only to see that we have cloud, showers and more cloud forecast. No sign of any sun for the foreseeable future. Brilliant! But I just couldn’t wait to share this project with you so I’m doing a progress report now and as soon as the sun shows its face and I’m able to photograph the garden properly I’ll do the final reveal.  Read More…

How to Choose the Correct Kitchen Work Surface

Ohio - kitchen work surface

When we embarked on our kitchen makeover, one of our biggest decisions was what kitchen work surface to have. We didn’t do a complete remodel, we were simply making a few changes to create a space that worked better for us, had more storage and was a lot brighter. One of my biggest bugbears was the dark laminate worktop. It made the whole room a lot darker as it seemed to absorb all available day light in the room. So that had to go. As this wasn’t the kitchen of our dreams and there is a chance we may move house in the coming years, we decided not to splash out on the worktop but to go for something more modest. We ended up choosing a laminate worktop in white with a wood trim and I’m happy to say we love it and it has transformed the look of the whole room. And it was on budget too.

But if you are thinking about installing a whole new kitchen, then the choice of kitchen work surface that is available today can be quite overwhelming. There are just so many materials on the market now, making the decision a lot more difficult. But the kitchen work surface is an integral part of the kitchen so choosing the right one is absolutely essential. In this post I’ll be looking at some of the considerations you need to make before you commit to a new kitchen work surface. Read More…

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…

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