The Evolution Of A Living Space


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One thing I’ve noticed in my rather limited experience of visiting men’s houses, is that they take an overall much more minimal approach to decorating than women do (or at least my friends and I!). Looking around now my home is stuffed full of interiors ‘stuff': magazines, flowers, lamps, cushions, pictures…. some bloke’s houses look barely moved in to.

Some – not all, however. I’ve been in the house of one man that rivalled my own for how clean, tidy and shiny it was. There literally aren’t many things that impress me in life more than a man with a well-decorated, tidy and thoroughly DIY-ed home.

Simple things.

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Alvine Ruta rug – £150, IKEA

For me my house is an evolving beast. It changes with the seasons, according on my mood and current lifestyle. I’ve been working a lot lately so the focus has been on low-maintenance; stripping out as much of the clutter as possible and having somewhere cosy and clean to come home to at the end of the day. When the kids were younger I preferred brighter colours and more playful patterns. I love it – I could potter around tweaking my house for days.

What am I saying? I DO potter around tweaking my house for days.

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I’ve recently been going at the living room. My house has an L-shaped downstairs and just before I moved in the wall between the kitchen and dining space was knocked through to create an open-plan space. You walk into my hallway then into the lounge, which leads to the dining area and the kitchen, where my workspace is. Open plan-induced noise aside this works really well for us; I like being able to keep an eye on the kiddos while I’m cooking dinner or cleaning up and even though the space isn’t huge we don’t need a palace right now. All those toilets to clean… no thank-you.

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Stockholm cushion – £12 IKEA. Ludde sheepskin -£30 IKEA. Tray and side table… guess where? IKEA. 

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Because of this set-up I like to define the different areas; I have a rug for the lounge area, one for the dining spot and another that leads into the kitchen. I feel like this helps differentiate the different purposes these spaces give.

Recently I’ve had a bit of an overhaul of my accessories in the living space and kitchen (you can see how it looked previously here, and when we first moved in here). This might not SOUND like much (er, if you’re a bloke maybe) but I’m telling you, the difference is huge. Even fellow accessories lover Bryony noticed it when she came over last week.

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Blanket, IKEA. DIY’d eBay table. 

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Cecily floor lamp, £90 c/o BHS. 

Looking around there’s still loads more I want to do. I want to work out how to create a larger work space somewhere in the house (but would rather not have this in my bedroom) as it currently doubles as my booze storage area/countertop next to the fridge. The big iMac really only gets used for recipe research and music listening so maybe this even needs to go? (shock horror – not my old baby!)

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Fruit bowl, £15 Ben de Lisi at Debenhams

I also want to pare down my belongings a bit. Even looking at these pictures it’s quite surprising how ‘busy’ the room looks with my bits and pieces – do I need the random pictures I bought on eBay? Should I be keeping my teapot and butter dish in the cupboard? Is there really such a thing as too many cushions? How do I stop my house being over-run by toys?

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For me, a home is more than just a few rooms stuck together by cement; it’s a living, breathing and evolving environment. Can you feel yours changing as you do?

WIN £150 IN JOHN LEWIS VOUCHERS WITH EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS: What One Thing In Your Home Is Irreplaceable?

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In the last few years I have found my shopping happy place. It is the place I retreat to when the bared midriffs in TopShop get too much (it’s official, I’m too old to show that much flesh), where I browse to get interiors inspiration and where I spend an absolute fortune on scented candles. I visit there for coffee, for cake, for manicures and for Clinique Bonus Time. This happy place is John Lewis.

To help bring my happy place to you I’ve teamed up with Everest Windows for a springtime treat! Everest believes a home requires constant care and attention to keep it looking its best – but some things are easier to fix than others.

While painting a hallway or picking a new living room carpet can appear to be a relatively tricky task (I’m so glad I have my dad for things like this), they are a breeze to sort out when compared to replacing faulty or old windows.

Which is why Everest replacement windows are guaranteed to last thanks to their A+ rated double glazing and a lifetime guarantee against discolouration of their uPVC windows.

To keep your home looking as good as Everest windows, together we are giving you the chance to win £150 in vouchers to my happy place!!

KS EC1891AO E HR BLYTH MAY 2011

All we want to know is: What one thing in your home is irreplaceable?

Barring the obvious answer – the children – my answer is tricky. Second to the above my bed is probably my happy place (If only I spent more time sleeping in it) but I’m going to say my MacBook Air because it’s full of memories and my blog. And I obviously bought it from John Lewis!

Enter below and give your answer in the comments to be in with a chance of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Everest Home Improvements on Twitter and Facebook to find out more about their windows and offers. Thanks Everest for supporting MTT and my happy place! 

Terms and Conditions
There is 1 prize of £150 John Lewis vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash
alternative is offered
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of More Than Toast and
Everest Home Improvements
The closing date for entries is 12am on 8/4/2015
Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment
Optional entry methods are to follow on twitter or facebook
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen
The winner’s name will be available on request
The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address
This is a joint promotion between More Than Toast and Everest Home Improvements
Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions

Living Space Inspiration – Colour Pops

living spaces

I’m moving house!

Not now, not next month, not even in a couple of months. In fact, my house still hasn’t been built yet so it’s probably a safe bet to say that my house move is more than a little time away. BUT – I’m moving house!!!!! and I’m really excited about it. HOUSE MOVE!

I’m helping to design the house from scratch and having the input into how it will look has been amazing – so I’ve already been Pinning like mad (obviously) and have started to put together mood boards. Which leaves me wondering – HOW difficult was interior design in the days before Pinterest? I remember my mum having piles of Living Etc and Elle Decoration around the house so it’s a good thing we now have such wonderful online inspiration as IKEA Family Live (not just name checking it because I used to work there – I seriously love that place) and Apartment Therapy. Inspiration/Procrastination, who’s counting?

FYI Mum I haven’t forgotten you asking me to show you Pinterest… you are doing the important parts of the design anyway ;) I’m sticking to paint colours and cushions…

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Living Spaces

The first room I’m thinking about is the living space. I’m envisaging clean, neutrally coloured furniture (so wise with young children…) accented with pops of colour in the blankets, cushions and floorcoverings. The space will be open plan to the kitchen so I’m aiming to remain as minimal in my approach as possible, with clever storage to keep clutter down. Think colour, texture and fun :)

Main images: The Design Files

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White High Gloss Coffee Table, £129.99, FADS, Velvet Square Cushion, £45, Not On The High Street, Canyon White High Gloss Wide Bookcase, £349.99, FADS, Monty Lamp, £40, House By John Lewis, Flapjack sofa, £1195, Loaf, Studio Stack Mug, £4, John Lewis, Novello White Gloss Dining Set, £279.99, FADS, Octo rug, £95, Habitat.

 

Should Children Share A Bedroom?

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When I moved house almost two years ago post-separation I got a bit sniffy about downsizing my home. This was in the days when I believed that the size of your house was directly relevant to your happiness, you understand, and not because I was a massive insufferable snob back then (HONEST). But I’d been spending the last few years in a four bedroomed house and I literally did not know how my life would adapt to two bedrooms.

HAHAH.

I’m one of the luckiest people I know in that I rent a house off my mum and dad. I still pay them rent (so maybe not THE luckiest) and do everything a normal tenant would do – but it means that whenever anything goes wrong or the grass needs mowing my dad will come to do it. And when, as a newly single woman, they offered to rent the house to me, I bit their hand off. It’s in a great area of my town and is a truly wonderful home, but it only has two bedrooms.

Two bedrooms.

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Before moving here I was seriously concerned about two bedrooms. How would I survive with no spare bedroom? How would my not-out-of-nappies-at-night children cope without their own space? WHY ARE MY DIAMOND SHOES SO TIGHT?!

The truth is that two bedrooms is one of the loveliest things that ever happened to us.

Elfie and Hux now share a bedroom that has a small separation by way of IKEA’s Stolmen, which I use to store their clothes and give each of them their own identifiable space. Though they were once children that had their own rooms, they now share, and despite me thinking this would not work out well it’s actually been a dream.

Haha, just kidding. I don’t have dreams any more, I just tend to pass out until the next sleep interruption.

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In all seriousness I love the closeness that bedroom sharing has brought to my two. They were as thick as thieves before but their bedroom arrangements has turned them into co-conspirators, bosom buddies. Upon waking up (far too early) in the morning they first chat to each other before coming into wake me, and they like to have a bit of a natter before they go to sleep at night… usually the finer points of Woody vs Buzz, or whether or not Spiderman lives in a zoo (Elfie: no, Hux: yes).

I went to check on them at 9pm a couple of evenings ago to find Hux had turned the lights on, piled all his toys on top of a fast asleep Elfie and was playing with Buzz and sitting on her legs. Goodness knows what had happened in the two hours since putting them to bed but it was pretty cute.

I no longer feel sorry for myself for my poor two bedrooms. I LOVE what two bedrooms have given us. Closeness, friendship, hugs, laughter, early mornings… all of it. Sleeping in one room means for Elfie and Hux that their best friend is next to them when they fall asleep and next to them when they wake up. It means they are constantly there to reassure, wind up, comfort and tease. They love it. I love it. All my hesitations were proved wrong pretty quickly. Yes if one wakes up then the other is sometimes disturbed, but they both soon learned to sleep through a loud noise Skream would be proud of.

Last night I heard Elfie say, “You’re my best friend, Hux. I love you sooo much I don’t want you to go to sleep”.

Would you have your children sleep in the same room?

Tried and Tested: Scented Candles

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Scented candles: my new obsession. Or actually a not-so new obsession, as I’ve been burning the scented little lovelies for years and years and years, but an obsession that’s grown as time goes on. Though not this winter, because weirdly there’s something I find a bit odd about burning scented candles at Christmas time.

Bear with me on this one.

For me scented candles mean spring time, floral scents; they’re uplifting with promises of sunshine and daffodils, not cosy days on the sofa under winter blankets. I love them in my lounge, in my bathroom, in my bedroom – every room of the house from Spring (yay!) to Autumn. While I’m working, relaxing, or taking one of those loooong baths that happens once in a blue moon.

Scented candles are one of the best bits of being a grown up. I love them.

Here are my favourites… burn and be merry! Though don’t burn unaccompanied, obviously. Or near curtains. Or children. You know the drill.

scented candles - Diptyque

Diptyque
Arguably the most blogged about candle, Diptyque hails from Paris and creates some of the loveliest room scents you will ever sniff. I adore the Baies and Vanilla varieties, with Baies being their bestseller (I’m not surprised, it’s divine). Light one of these on an evening and you’ll enjoy a scent that will last a couple of days.

Get yourself down to Liberty where you can sniff them all (I often used to retreat to the Diptyque counter after work) or buy online. Maybe not a snip at £40 but they truly are the most elegant and beautiful smelling candles I’ve ever come across.

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Cowshed
I adore pretty much anything the Soho House group touches: Shoreditch House, Soho House, Dean Street Townhouse, Pizza East, Cowshed Spa. Their products are truly not to be sniffed at (please excuse the pun…) and I love how the scent of their products takes me back to their venues.

Their hand wash and hand creme in particular is marvellous with a long lasting calming scent – you’ll always find it atop my bathroom basin. I’m also a fan of their Grumpy Cow uplifting candle (£30). I’m yearning for their amazing food and brand of relaxation just thinking about it…  will someone please take me to Babington House?

(sidenote: please reassure me you also have a Tangle Teezer in each room of your house?)

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Daylesford
I cooked a brilliant three bird roast one Christmas from Daylesford and have always rated their food, so who’d have thought they do such amazing candles as well? I picked up their Fig Leaf variety for half price with my Ocado shop this week so it was a total bargain, too. The scent may not be as sophisticated as Diptyque but it’s strong and it marks. Top marks, Daylesford.

Have I missed any? Which scented candles do you rate?

 

Marsala In The Home

I love colour. Which is a pretty silly statement as everyone in the whole world loves colour, am I right? I imagine “I don’t like colour” doesn’t get uttered very often, ditto “god, isn’t black so uplifting?” or “I really love what you’ve done with the grey in this room”.

So yes, colour = good, 99% of the time.

I sometimes worry that I misjudge the colours in my home. As a summer person I find I am drawn to light colours – white plays a big part, as does mint green, light blues, pinks and yellows. I tend to shy away from the darker hues that invoke cosy and warm memories of winter; the fewer reminders I have about this season the better. But I wonder if this gives a more childlike, less sophisticated feel to my house. We’re all zig zag carpets and star print cushions… uni student vibes.

In 2015 the colour of the year is Marsala – a gorgeous shade of deep raspberry that’s having me re-think my living space. This isn’t burgundy – a colour that immediately makes me think of Christmas time – but is slightly lighter and more fun. It’s starting to make me consider my aversion to deep hues.

I’m a huge fan of changing the look of a room with small touches – cushions, rugs, carpets – which means a quick makeover can work out relatively inexpensively. Here’s my 2015 Marsala shopping list:

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This Paris Red rug gives a hint of Marsala without being too overpowering. I love patterned rugs for giving a bit of interest and this one from Carpetright is perfect. It starts at £49.99.

Who doesn’t love a Roberts Radio? This one might have a vintage look but the colour will bring you bang up to date. From £160, BoConcept.

IKEA have totally mastered the art of the cushion cover and I love the pops of Marsala in the new DVÄRGPALM, £4.

If you really want to go all-out on your Marsala the Super Regent Twist carpet from Carpetright is a good way to go. £32.99 m2.

I can’t get enough of flowers in my living space and this engraved look vase would be perfect – £79 from BoConcept.

Will you be adding some Marsala to your home this year?

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