Saturday, 28 November 2015

Making lists and chilling out with VQ.

Can you believe it's here? December already, and now time to start thinking about decorating, present buying and making list upon list about everything that needs to be done and prepared. It is amazing that this one month can create such excitement and such stress all at the same time. I find that as we head into December I like to try and slow down as much as possible, but please, don't think for a minute that's because I am organised. I still have plenty of shopping to do! I do love trying though, I am good at that, I to have a go at getting my lists together; knowing what I am buying, planning what food to get in for all the feasting, I try! 
It is nice as a mother and co-ordinator of the house (self-titled role), that I get a few spare moments to get my lists together and have time to think about Christmas. I love getting opportunities to daydream and since painting all the upstairs of our house I am finding myself  "hanging around" up there, for no reason, just to sit and think. It is nice having a space where I feel totally comfortable to just relax other than in front of the TV.
With these moments popping up through my week, this morning I decided to head up with my new VQ Radio and tune in Smooth FM Xmas; Christmas radio at it's finest! It was so nice just sitting and writing my Christmas list which Rob had hinted at getting yesterday, so I thought I better start one!

To be honest, this radio was actually on my Christmas list until I was picked to share it with you through the blog. What a perfect early Christmas present and one that is such a fitting piece for our home. Being a lover of Emma Bridgewater already and having a few of her items in mixed designs I decided to go for this Black Toast option. I love how timeless and classic it is. Monochrome accessories are always going to suit most homes as they will match to any colour. 

As far as the radio goes, moving it around your home is easy, as long as you have got a plug socket near by you can plug in and go! But if you haven't, amazingly it also has a battery compartment so it really can go anywhere with you! Other features also include Bluetooth to stream your own music, AUX connection for other devices and a USB charger point.

Finding time to have a sit down and an opportunity to jot down ideas is precious time that I don't waist. As mummy to our two and part-time worker, I am thoroughly enjoying grabbing minutes here and there to just sit, think and enjoy the music that will accompany the seasonal busyness. 

If you are thinking about adding this radio to your Christmas list then have a browse at VQ's Retro Mini radios in their range of Emma Bridgewater patterns.

Also, look out on the View Quest Facebook page as you could be in with the chance of winning one, so get following and try your luck!


*This is a collaborative post with View Quest Radio. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Creating perfection with Clarabelle Interiors

I love creating spaces where my family can be. Places where we can play and enjoy each other's company and places where we can relax. I have never been one to declare our home is perfect. It's an ex-council house, shabbiness still shines through in some parts but Rob and I have worked very hard at bringing new life to this place and building our home.

As life has changed and we have grown in numbers, bedrooms have changed round and we have had to change decor and style in certain rooms to suit. Two years ago when Etta was born, she moved into the nursery room, the smallest of the bedrooms, Rob and I moved into the converted attic and Raph into the 'master' bedroom. It has worked really nicely until the last few months when Etta started to get quite fussy and wanted to stay in Raph's big bed. It therefore quickly felt like the right time to start thinking about changing her cot into a bed. With that then came the thought of them sharing the big room. They could have had their own rooms but they enjoy each other's company so much that putting them together and creating a new space seemed a nice thing to do. And if it didn't work Etta can have her old space back as it would just be a spare room.

Instantly my mind got working and I built the design in my head. As it was a boy/girl mix this was a project that really got me thinking. I wanted to create a space that wasn't brash or bright. That wouldn't be to my taste anyway and I also didn't want it to be so neutral that neither sexes were recognised. 
One of the first changes that was to take place was the painting of the floor. I have loved having our original pine wood floorboards on show, they were one of the first things that were restored when we got the house. But it seemed time to freshen them so on went the white paint which created such a beautiful scene. It was amazing the difference that it made! I didn't need to repaint the walls of the bedroom, they were already a lovely grey shade that I was really happy with.

There was only one place that had been giving me my inspiration for the decor for the room: Clarabelle Interiors. It's funny that when you shop and research things like I do that you always come back round to where you first get that "that's exactly what I want" feeling. Clicking onto the Clarabelle Interiors website, you are instantly thrown into an interiors home styling book. The pictures are so unbelievably gorgeous that it is like you are flicking through the pages of an unobtainable home. But that's the thing; it is completely obtainable, it's almost unbelievable that you can purchase these beautifully handmade items for your home as they just look absolutely perfect. There is something about Clarabelle Interiors that just makes you feel the warmth and comfort that an item will bring to your home. Maybe it's the thought of the item being handmade to suit your style so you know that there is an amazing personal touch to it. Or it's the fact that Claire (Owner and maker) is so easy to chat to and talk through ideas with, that it's like having your best friend work on a project with you. Whatever it is, my experience with Clarabelle Interiors has been so wonderful and what we have been able to create for the kids' room is just perfect. 

When I first spoke to Claire I had quite an idea in my head of what I wanted to create. I was going to go with pink and blue, why not? Etta is definitely a pink girl and Raph is not bothered so for me, neutral was out and I was happy to gender stereotype the colours!! 

Claire works with a range of beautiful linens but one of my favourite fabric suppliers is Peony & Sage which Claire is renowned for working with. It's hard to pick between their flowers or stripes prints and with this gorgeous Jack print available I decided to simply have items made in the pink colour way and the blue. They would then match, but be defined for each child by the colour. 
Knowing that the children would have white beds and bedding I knew that the only colours would then come from the beautiful items from Clarabelle. 

The first item I want to share is these handmade eiderdowns. There are few words to provide my thoughts on these. By few I actually mean loads; pretty, perfect, beautiful, charming, artistic, classic, traditional, wonderful, handcrafted ......... there is actually an endless list! On opening the box my heart fluttered! It is one of those things that you look and think, "I hope you last forever!" This stunning piece of art work is perfect for little ones' beds. I had this bespoke size, there are many offered, as I didn't want something that I would have to take off the bed each night so the children didn't get too hot. It is a perfect footer for the beds which can be left on to look beautiful.

Claire made exquisite cushions to match in the same print for each bed. I make cushions, but in no way will I ever make them to the standard of these. They are just so totally gorgeous with their piped edges and button backs. Her technique is so perfect that it's hard to imagine that this was just flat sheets of fabric before she worked her magic. Against the plain white bedding the blue and pink linen fabric just sits so perfectly. And against the grey shade of the walls our little boy and girl have there little area which is clearly for them.

To help tie in the theme each child also has a bespoke lamp shade in the same matching fabric. I have looked into and even tried to make my own light shades before but never with success. These are just a perfect addition to the room and and help add to the bespoke look of it all.

Not only do Clarabelle Interiors offer the full package on bespoke makes, from curtains to seat covers,  bedding and lamp shades, they provide home accessories bought in from other brands but match the styling and colours to all the fabrics that they offer. This Makes it very easy to shop when you want to buy little bits to complement new makes. 
Both children got a Maileg rabbit which are just so gorgeous looking. Raphael got a beautiful Bertie dog shaped cushion to add to his bed. They also got a very cute mini Berti dog who sits on the side. With their new Boo rabbit sticker waiting by the door their room has become a very inspiring area. Full of beautiful items that have given us a perfect balance in creating a space that isn't directed at a boy OR girl, but a boy AND girl.

I just wanted to also mention a few bits Clarabelle Interiors inspired me to make. I created soft head and footboards for the children's beds after seeing some similar bespoke items. I have never done this before but using the pictures I worked out a cheats way to create the same effect. These are an item that I am so pleased with. The fabric is one that I already had found but knew that it would fit in nicely with the bits from Clarabelle Interiors
Now these beds were from a set of four that my parents had. They belonged to my brothers and my sister and I had two in a slightly different design, but they were the beds from our childhood. They were bare pine wood and I decided to paint them white which gave them a new lease of life just doing that. As they have a bit of wood work around the headboard I was able to make a cut out that would fit inside it. I then simply covered in wadding, stapled it around the back of the board then covered in the fabric and stapled. They fit into the wood work and are secured with sticky back Velcro. They are easy enough to make once Rob had cut the shape out for me to cover. That was slightly more fiddly. I love a staple gun too so attaching the fabric is more straight forward than you think!

With the grey stars and pink and blue furnishings, the only other items I wanted to have as furniture or decoration were going to be painted white. Their chest of drawers, bookcase and blanket box all got a fresh lick and Rob used his crazy amazing skills to make underbed storage boxes on wheels for their clothes so we didn't need any big wardrobes taking up floor space. These only cost the price of the wheels and handles as they were made from pallet wood! 

With beautiful finishing touches like their letters from Posh Graffitti and handmade art work to match from, Chellebelle, (a lovely little artist specialising in cutout art work) the children's room has turned out perfectly.
A beautiful space filled with two beautiful faces! 

If you would love to work with Clarabelle Interiors on bespoke pieces for you home, contact her via email or call the workshop.
I would also just like to say that the website offered all of her products for sale which you can buy easily but if you want more information contact her here.

We have:
Mini Bertie dog
Bertie cushion
Lamp Shades (you can commission your own from a choice of fabrics).
Boo rabbit sticker
Boy rabbit
Girl rabbit

Thank you to Claire for this wonderful opportunity to work together. I hope you have all enjoyed it!


*This has been a collaborative piece with Clarabelle Interiors.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Brightest Star

The closer December gets the more excited I get about decorating our home. I love what beautiful spaces we have been able to create through the house and take great pride in daydreaming my life away designing what could go in said places. I have been lucky enough to be given this beautiful carnival star from Graham & Brown which just oozes Christmas glamour as soon as it's out the box! There is something about stars that give you Christmassy feeling. I mean, they are quite pivotal in a lot of our Christmas traditions; the importance of the star on top of the Christmas tree is obvious, but also the star that shines over the stable in Bethlehem where Jesus was born is incredibly important in our Christmas celebrations.
Stars are given a very important role at this time of year so having such a beautiful one in our home really sets off my Christmas spirit!

What is wonderful about this star is the size. Being Much bigger than most carnival style lighting on the market it really is a special piece. I must say, this isn't its resting home, I keep moving it around. Where is best to put it?

As it is battery operated you might think that it makes it a bit of a pain, but for me I love it. With a switch on the side to turn it on and off easily it is able to be hung on a wall, placed on the ground or even used as the centrepiece on your mantle. Having no mains power plug means that the possibilities are endless and it's easy to move and style.

I just wanted to introduce you to this gorgeous Lit star light and I will share some more thoughts on how I am using it in my home in a few weeks!


* This post is in collaboration with Graham & Brown but the thoughts and ideas expressed are my own.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

How Disney is supporting our love for reading

I love sharing information about books via our blog. It's funny really as I am not a big reader but I love encouraging our children to enjoy reading and enjoy books. Every night we read to our children, at least 3 books and you can really see that their love for books is now coming out. They both love to sit and look through books but Etta is definitely the one who has an incredible love for them. Even at her age, she is sitting, by herself, for ages just looking through books; it is quite amazing to watch. She just loves them! And if she recognises the characters from some of her favourite TV shows like Disney's Sofia The First or any of the Disney films then you can hear her chatting away to herself retelling the story as she is so familiar with them.
We have a lovely collection of children's books and I pick up books quite often for the kids as I love having a good selection. In the summer, in time for Etta's birthday I spotted that our local Tesco was selling these Disney Movie Collection books. They are brilliant as story books for adults to read to children, the most true to film books I have come across and only cost around £3 each! The pictures are all scenes from the films and the books are quite long (we don't read three of these in a row) so it makes for a great opportunity to sit down and stop.

It is so lovely to see Etta's love for books growing. I hope she continues to enjoy them. I am sure for her, being able to see her favourite characters really helps as she seems to be one of those girls who is quite obsessed with princesses and familiar characters from TV. I love classic books and have a huge selection but I find that buying books that I know she will find some familiarity with will keep encouraging her to want to 'read' them.

Disney is a well supported franchise in our house. I spoke last week about our love for Princesses and how Etta adores playing with her princess dolls. Her beautiful Courage & Kind silk dress was on show and this week I wanted to share some more beautiful pieces from their new Bambi collection. This Bambi sweater is one of Rob's favourite items! Every time I put Etta in it he expresses just how cute it is! I think it is because the print of all the tiny characters mixed in with the woodland flowers just makes it quite special. The hidden animals certainly make for little conversation starters; "can you find Bambi?" With the lovely red Bambi skirt from the same collection  Courage & Kind prove once again that they are adding in a special dose of Disney magic into pieces for your children's wardrobe!

With Christmas coming up, you might find that your little ones enjoy these books, so pop to your local store to see if they are in stock. And if you fancy adding some pretty magnificent outfit pieces into your children's wardrobe visit Courage & Kind for some very special items.

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