Bringing Spring In

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There’s something so glorious about those first days of Spring. There’s nothing like feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin after a long, dark winter, or the promise of daffodils and snowdrops poking their heads out of the green grass. As soon as I see their cheery faces bobbing along at the side of the road my spirit immediately lifts: it’s pure balm for my soul.

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I’ve made some changes for Spring in our house ­‐ after the little bedroom makeover I did a few weeks ago week I took to brightening up our living space. I bought a couple of new cushions in some bright colours and switched out our floral storage boxes for fresh white ones. I appear to be completely addicted to rugs and have added a new one in green, pink and yellow. One pre‐requisite for all my floor coverings is that they must be machine washable: they all get chucked in the wash every few weeks to get rid of pen, chocolate and the remains of chewed up raisins. I love IKEA for these cheerful options that will see us through the mucky weaning years!

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This effect that Spring has on me is one of the reasons I always like to bring colour and life into my house. Colours and new moods make me stop, think, and take a look out the window at new life and a new season in my garden and surroundings. It makes me think about the beauty there is to be found in my home, in our little corner of the world. Soppy much?

I display loads of different things ­‐ fairy lights and tealights -­‐ in Mason jars but I’m starting to keep an eye out at charity shops and vintage stores for different pots and containers which is how one of my favourite bloggers, Little Green Notebook, likes to make a display with. She posted about spring in NY over here, total Wanderlust.

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I’m also a big fan of the traditional Spring clean to kick start the new season. I swear by taking a black bin bag when you’re in a ruthless mood and wandering the house chucking anything that is broken, no longer useful or hasn’t been used in six months. I then take a basket and place in it any objects that don’t belong in the room they’ve found themselves in and return them to their rightful place: hey, presto! You will immediately feel lighter, less cluttered and more organized. I really believe ‘tidy house, tidy mind’.

Have a gander at my friends over at Glade: they’re shaking things up with their new Spring collection. How do you like to kick out the gloom and the grey?

Glade Partnership Badge

 

 

Thank you to Glade for partnering with More Than Toast this spring :)

Manning Up In The Bedroom

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It’s still weird for me to consider that before I moved to this house I’d never lived on my own. There was my room at my University halls of residence but that doesn’t count because when your single mattress is covered in a thin layer of plastic and your carpet smells like horses… it doesn’t make one feel particularly house proud, that’s for sure. Every other place I’ve lived in was shared with a man, meaning I had to take things like their opinions into account when I was decorating. Ugh. Such a drag. IMG_1437

So when I first became single I was like a woman possessed, interiors-wise. I wanted ALL THE PINK, ALL THE FLORAL STUFF, ALL THE FAIRY LIGHTS. I wanted anyone visiting the house to know, hey, no boys live here (apart from Hux, who spends most of his time these days asking for hair clips to be put in his hair). My house, it kind of looked like a fairy princess had visited and vomited all her girlyness all over it.

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We’ve lived in my new place for nearly six months (holy hell how did that happen?) and as the days went on I found myself getting more and more antsy at the amount of pink stuff that was in my house. Yes, I liked the fact that I’d been showing that side of my personality through the medium of interior design but really? It just didn’t feel like me. Let’s be honest, a woman who uses the word ‘vomit’ as much as I do in her everyday lexicon (see paragraph above) probably should not have flowers plastered all over her bedroom. Plus it might be nice to have a man around here at some point in the future and I don’t want them or Hux feeling like this is a boy-free twinkly flower-filled zone.

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And so I’ve spent the last couple of weeks making subtle tweaks to the house. Starting with the bedroom! I’ve got rid of the overly feminine rose-print sheets; I wanted to take things back to basics and get some plain white bedlinen. This set was the dream – the black piping is so chic – but £100 for sheets right now? Not gonna happen. So I went for a happy medium, IKEA bed linen from the slightly pricier range, and I love them. It’s amazing how much calmer I find the bedroom now I’ve switched the sheets out.

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I also added a black and white blanket (IKEA once again) to the foot of the bed to toughen it up a bit; there’s no way I’m parting with my bedknobs and broomsticks-esque bed no matter how girly it is.

I wanted the decor to remain plain with some colour pops so I added in these Horses Kissing pillowcases from Urban Outfitters which I adore (and were in the sale!): they’re the only horsey thing in this house though, lets be clear… no whiffy carpets.

I brought my shelves upstairs from the laundry cupboard: these are used to store paperwork, magazines and shoes. The stool was moved from the other side of the bed (Freecycle bargain) and my awesome orange lamp switched with my white one to bring yet more colour to the room. My old bedside table is now carrying out the completely useless purpose of holding all my perfumes, a candle and an orchid. What? I might not want to be super girly any more but I’m still human.

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The only thing I’m not sure about are the curtains. I’m considering switching them out for a blind so they’re not so, you know, lacy…but I kind of enjoy the light these curtains let in. I still dream about the windows in the house I grew up in – if you’ve ever gone to sleep with the sound of rain on a VELUX® window you’ll know what I mean – it’s what white noise is to a grumbling newborn. Blissful, and with none of the worries that come with deciding which curtains look best. Remote control blinds are where it’s at: you heard it here first.

IMG_1469I love my bedroom now. Love love love it. It’s just the right size for me and all my bits, the walk-in wardrobe still thrills me each and every day and barring the few times I am hungover I wake up happy every single day here. It’s a sanctuary, a calming place for me to come to drink chamomile tea and watch three episodes of Desperate Housewives. Because what more do you want out of life?

QUESTION TIME: the pictures in this post are making me think I should iron my pillowcases. The one time I ironed my pillowcases I got neck ache because I was worried about sleeping on them too hard and creasing them up. Is pillowcase ironing A Thing I should be getting on board with? 

Thank-you to VELUX for partnering with More Than Toast and making my needless interior upgrades possible :) 

 

 

The New Lounge: Feeding My Cushion Obsession

Cushions on my sofaThe lounge. I think it might be my favourite room in the new house. Which I realise is something I’ve said about every single room of this house but when it comes to my home I’m obviously not monogamous. I’m a free house-loving machine!

The living space here is actually an L-shape which goes through to the kitchen; it hasn’t always been this way but when I was waiting to move in we decided that knocking the kitchen wall down would make the space a lot lighter and happier. It’s not ideal – I can’t cook dinner listening to Taylor Swift while the kids watch the magic hour of Peppa Pig without going a bit crazy with all the noise – but I love that I can be in the kitchen and simultaneously keep an eye on the destruction, erm I mean ‘imaginative play’ in the lounge.

Heart-shaped Ivy Blue lamp

Something I’ve always been convinced about when it comes to interiors is that the grown-ups can relax a lot easier if they don’t feel like they live in a house stuffed with toys. I know that come 7.30pm when everyone is finally asleep, all I want to do is sit on a sofa in front of a Real Housewives marathon and not be staring into the eyes of Tigger. Which is why I say: BOXES.  At the end of each day everything that has made its way out onto the floor of the lounge gets put back in a box and forgotten about until the next day when it’s jigsaw/Duplo/tractor/shopkeeper time again.

Rack of Vice magazines

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My ‘stuff’ is really important and I  love having it around. I have every single issue of Vice Magazine that I worked on, the artwork I made featuring the kids’ names, my bitchface poster made by Kris and food art by Katie (internet friends RULE). There’s the heart shaped ivy bought as a house-warming gift by my auntie, the lamps I made over with some spray paint last summer and my beloved scented candles.

And of course there are my all-important cushions. Seriously, in my opinion a good (or bad) cushion can make or break a room and I’m delighted with my current combination. Just see how different the sofa looks in my old house with different cushions!  The large ones are IKEA, the star cushion is Urban Outfitters and my geometric patterned cushion is B&Q.

But my favourite of all the cushions is this guy who was sent to me courtesy of Iwantoneofthose.com – he’s awesome and cute and we have (i.e. Elfie has) named him Kevin. Kevin the Kool Panda Bear. Or something.

My sofa is an IKEA Karlstad and is amazing because even though the label says you can’t machine wash the cushions, you can. Very handy with a 1 and a 3 year old, but moreso because I have a dad who has a tendency to spill curry.

My blanket is Laura Ashley and we’re still loving it for cuddling up under during these cold winter days. Yay, warmth!

Lounge artwork

Famille summerbelle mapThis is where I like to sit of an evening with a big glass of red and a magazine. Until I slump so far down with tiredness that I have to send myself to bed, that is. Everyone seems to have one of these IKEA chairs but that is because they’re bloody comfy and can fit you plus three children on. It’s the tardis of chairs! My lovely world map print is Famille Summerbelle and all my storage boxes are IKEA (where else?).

Flower on my table The new lounge This room makes me feel happy. It’s not huge – just the right size for my little family – but it’s a room full of cuddles and love, flowers and fairy lights. I still can’t get enough of the Urban Outfitters rug (which I personally believe sparked the idea for Bryony’s new blog design ;)  and every time I look at our dining area table that I Annie Sloane’d I feel a dash of pride. Our little family of three might not always be perfect but I built our home from the ground up (metaphorically, I didn’t actually build the house…) and we muddle along in our own happy way. I love this home and the people in it very very much.

The Vitra Eames Chair

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Vitra, the family-owned modern furniture company based in Birsfelden, Switzerland, started in 1957 and sells top quality furniture created by internationally renowned designers. One of the company’s bestselling lines is the famous Eames chair, originally designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Vitra has been selling the popular chairs, which hit the market in 1956, since they first opened their doors over 50 years ago.

The Eames Brand

The husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were American designers who made highly significant contributions to the world of architecture and contemporary furniture design. They pioneered furniture design technologies that utilised moulded plywood, fiberglass, plastic resin and wire mesh materials. The Eames team was awarded the Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1979. The Eames brand is synonymous with high quality modern furniture offering innovative design, creature comforts and attractive aesthetics, all at a reasonable price, making Eames an enduringly popular brand for over half a century.

History of the Eames Chair

The history of the Classic Eames chair, which made a lasting impact on the contemporary furniture industry, goes back to the 1940s when Charles Eames was working as a set designer for MGM film production in Hollywood. He and his wife, Ray, experimented with wood melding techniques that eventually led to their unique chair designs. Even before the chairs and other contemporary furniture pieces were developed, the Eames got a contract with the US Navy during World War II, in which their unique wood melding techniques were used to make splints and stretchers. Further research in their process led to efficient use of materials to make extremely comfortable, durable and lightweight chairs of sleek design.

The Chair’s Unique Design

From moulded plywood to moulded plastic, the Eames chair design has been hailed as genius, and named by Time Magazine as the best design of the 20th century. Revolutionising office furniture, the Eames design offers the utmost in ergonomic support, including rubber shock mounts that cushion the chair against jarring motions. The brilliant design has the wood or plastic curving in just the right places to provide maximum comfort for people using Eames chairs at home or in the office.

The historic Eames chair, still available today at fine establishments like Vitra, epitomises contemporary furniture. A classic for all time, the basic design of the Eames chair remains today an example of resilience, comfort and visual appeal among modern furniture designs.

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Top Decorating Tips for Children’s Rooms

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Creative children’s room décor is limited only by the decorator or parent’s imagination, and perhaps a limited budget. There is virtually no limit to what can be done with children’s rooms, from infants to toddlers to school-age kids. Parents can get creative with paint, unique furniture, art and accessories, and they can tie it all together with colourful curtains, baby blankets, children’s bedding and pillows.

Fabrics 

The fabric selections used in a child’s bedroom can set the tone and reflect a child’s interests and personality. Even infants choose their favourite baby blankets at a very young age. A child’s bedding can reflect the theme of the room, from princess décor to a sports theme, and from cute, cuddly animals to colourful undersea creatures. Curtains can blend in with the theme of a child’s room, and a cheerful valance can also be a nice option. A valance allows sunlight in during the day, and a decorative shade can be pulled down to provide privacy at night. There are a number of interesting shades on the market today with cartoon characters, nature scenes or interesting designs that compliment any room.

Paint

Creative paint ideas are some of the easiest and least expensive ways to decorate a child’s room. Once the baby blankets or other bedding and furniture are chosen, paint can be used to bring everything together. It is easy to do stripes on the walls by using painter’s tape, or an overhead projector and transparencies can be used to paint animals, cars, trains, sea creatures, trees, birds or anything else a child desires on the bedroom or playroom walls. Today, a wide variety of decals are available that can be affixed to walls. This can produce the effect of a painted mural, but is much faster and easier to do, and the decals are safe and simple to remove.

Art

Another great way to decorate a child’s room is by using original artwork that the child has drawn, coloured or painted. Children can select their favourite works of art that they have done themselves, and parents can purchase inexpensive, colourful frames in which to display the art work on the walls. Another interesting option would be to decorate a child’s walls with photographs of the child, his or her friends, family members or beloved pets. Pictures of fun family holidays or a collage of favourite places can transform a child’s room into a comfortable sanctuary. Stuffed animals and other light weight toys also make wonderful decorations for walls, shelves and even ceilings.

Plants and colourful lampshades are excellent accents for a child’s room. Older children often enjoy a reading nook filled with fluffy pillows and favourite books, or a CD player featuring special children’s songs or stories. The most important thing to do is to get the child’s input when decorating a room. After all, it is the child who will be spending the most time in the room, whether playing, doing schoolwork or sleeping. The room should bring comfort and joy to a child’s spirit.

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My Current Favourite Beds

Ever since I bought my new bed a couple of months ago I’ve been obsessed. I can’t get enough of beds. Beds beds beds! Blame the lack of sleep for my obsession maybe, but I just love them. Instead of spending my evenings perusing properties on Rightmove (my previous favourite guilty pleasure) I now spend them researching my next bed. King size, metal, divan… I love them all. I’m even taking my bed research that one step further and have been working hard researching quality sleep. Oh yes, I’m serious about this.

But as that’s probably a distant dream for me at the moment (excuse the pun…) here’s what I have in mind for when I finally get some snooze again.

 

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I can’t get enough of padded headboards and the divan beds that come with them. Beds with storage are useful as well as easy on the eye, and I’ve been looking to Carpetright for their range of divans (yes, they do beds too!). How divine is this beautiful velvet grey headboard with divan bed? WANT! It comes in at £519.20

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 16.33.00I really  love metal bedsteads and this one is no exception. There’s something about the metal of a lovely bedstead that makes me want to twirl fairy lights round them, light candles, wear silky PJs and fall into a deep princess-y sleep. You just know that Kate Middleton has one of these bad boys, right? This one in particular (which may or may not belong to everyone’s favourite princess) is finished with real crystals and is from Bedstore (£315.95).

 

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I don’t know if it’s the Father Christmas connotations but there’s something extremely luxurious about sleigh beds. They bring to mind open fireplaces, Scottish Castles, fur throws and cosy cosy nights. Or is that just me? I love this intricately carved model which is apparently a faithful copy of a beadstead at Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire. It comes in emperor bed sizes which I had never heard of

The magnificent Brodsworth sleigh bed is a faithful copy of a bedstead at Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire. Inspired by a Louis Philippe lit bateau, the design has been given an English twist by featuring grand, carved lion’s feet. Made from fine-polished Sienna veneer with a solid timber frame, it is available up to Large Emperor bed size, which I’ve never heard of but I assume is MASSIVE (a quick Google of this fact says 215cm wide, so yep!) . This bed in emperor size is an eye-watering £11,750 at And So To Bed… I’ll get saving now.