Chasing Slow – 9 Tips For Mindfulness & Slowing Down

February 20, 2017

 

chasing slow book review, slow living cushions murmur houseology la redoute monochrome and pink interiors

Image: Design Soda

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Good morning friends, if you have dropped along here to find the usual dose of Monday interiors inspiration, or you want to know where these fabulous cushions are from (Murmur, H&M, Also Home and La Redoute, since you ask) then you may just be in the wrong place on this occasion as today’s post is more personal than usual. If any of you reading are real life friends and you’ve seen me in the last six weeks, it’s fairly inevitable I’ve asked you ‘Is it just me, or has this winter been relentlessly f***ing dark?’ (Sorry, I may have mentioned this more than once to some of you!). Well let me tell you, the first signs of spring over the last week have been a real tonic. Those moments of dappled light, the smell of pollen on rain, the increasing light at the start and end of day, there are faint but very welcome signs (even in the garden) that things are changing. It’s been a particularly harsh winter I think and one I’ve found quite stressful at times. I’m taking on lots of varied work at the moment which is pushing me to up my game everywhere, the blog is being featured in lots of great places and I’m currently stripping floors and painting walls in preparation for two photo shoots next month, one for a magazine and the other for a website that has always been my dream feature. Oh and trying to create a fun and educational routine for our amazing little person who I spend most of my time with. But, it is exhausting. I was talking to my good friend Rosy who has a toddler slightly younger than my own about stress levels and juggling endless things to do and we came around to mindfulness and she explained some ideas I found really helpful (more of later). I had always understood mindfulness to be about slowing down and living in the moment, a sort of abbreviation of appreciating what you have and not always chasing the next thing. Whilst I’m pretty on course for appreciating happiness by nature, I do find being in the moment increasingly difficult when there’s always something at the back on my mind warning that it hasn’t been done yet. In fact I think this voice is very counterproductive for me, it weighs me down and if I’m not careful I start to buckle under and loose motivation. I am married to the most laid back person in the world and he has always said that one of my biggest problems is switching off and not busying myself all the time. He has a point, I’m not sure exactly what I’m aiming for as the things to get done never end despite the effort. So, I’m up for some change.

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Image: Design Soda

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Design Crush #13 Laduree Geneva

February 17, 2017

 

 

Barely a day goes by where I don’t see an interior that stops me in my tracks, sometimes it provokes argument with my instincts, sometimes it’s something that confirms my taste but is executed to a standard that, frankly, I am completely jealous of. I posted recently on some of my favourite cafes and restaurants in London where you can pick up a tasty brunch whilst drinking in design inspiration. Well, today I am sharing a new cafe space which in my eyes ends all other cafe spaces and we are travelling to Geneva to see it (not literally, though if anyone has a spare plane ticket I will happily drop along!). It’s the first time I have made a space (and not an item) a focus of my Design Crush series, so pull up a chair and a pastry and peruse the glamour with me, we’re there if we think it, right?

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Laduree Geneva by india mahdavi at Quai des Bergues, design inspiration pink green velvet truchet

Laduree Geneva by india mahdavi at Quai des Bergues, design inspiration pink green velvet truchet

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Study Makeover Reveal

February 13, 2017

bohemian modern mid century vintage farrow downpipe modernist study home office styling ideas and inspiration eames rocker, teak cabinet, tom dixon copper light x

Image: Design Soda

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As I sit typing this, it is the very first time I have had a completed study to write in. We have allocated a room for books and writing each time we’ve moved, but they have always existed somewhere between dream space and student hovel if I’m entirely honest. Whether it be hideous inherited blue carpets thought about but never replaced due to sound proofing issues for the flat downstairs or plans for organisation and tranquility that quickly turned to dumping ground for all the things we couldn’t think where to home, this my friends, finally, is my dream office space. A few weeks ago we sanded and sealed the floors. This has got to be our most hated d.i.y task, Dan because it’s such back breaking work, me because I’m more than a little scared of the machine you use to sand the floors with! But, it’s also one of the most rewarding and transformative tasks. We used a dark oak stain varnish from Ronseal which I really love, though I wasn’t sure it was dark enough after the first coat and was very heartened to find Swoonworthy’s beautiful floor in the same finish during a Google search halfway through.

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bohemian modern mid century vintage farrow downpipe modernist study home office styling ideas and inspiration, vintage stationary, crossley record player, drinks trolley record storage ranarp lamp

Cabinet detail with Ikea Ranarp lamp re-positioned from it’s home in the bedroom whilst I decide where it truly belongs.

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Creating a Gallery Wall on a Budget with Scandinavian Prints

February 6, 2017

 

Interior design ideas gallery wall layout inspiration bohemian modern abstract texture

Image: Design Soda

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I think wall art has got to be one of the hardest things to get right in a home, it’s a constant dilemma for me, it can be hard to find just exactly what you want, especially on a budget, and most of us don’t want to wait 15 years till we’ve acquired pieces with meaning before we can cheer up a hallway or a blank wall area. Small collections and items grouped within a theme work well in small areas to add interest, and once you know what you want are fairly easy to complete. But how do you approach a great big space like a hallway wall to add personality? Some people fill these walls with family pictures which is a nice way of personalising a space. But I always want something a bit more abstract than my own family (sorry guys!). There are places that you can get cheap wall art but where you also know your purchase won’t feel unique to you – I think we all know a particular and rather brilliant Swedish furniture company I’m aiming at here, they do many things very, very well but when it comes to artwork I don’t want to find my latest purchase in the living room of someone from Eastenders! (not that there’s anything wrong with soap interiors, per se, it’s just that my childhood self has never quite got over sharing my wallpaper choice with Ron & Bev from Brookside!). Well to my mind you can’t really go wrong with a collection of posters online from Desenio.

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Design Inspiration over Brunch: 5 Prettiest Places in London

February 3, 2017

 

Chiswick fire station decor pink red velvet cactus wood

Blush tones and velvet in abundance here alongside giant desert style cacti, all on trend and en pointe.

Image: Design soda

Phew, we’ve got to February already, not sure I’m going to want to see a lot of news this month, groan of helpless despair! But on a positive note, time has been flying by here as we’ve spent much spare time decorating of late which means I’ve got a few rooms to show you soon, but alongside the decorating I’ve been thinking a lot about my design inspirations. I was recently asked in a piece for Essential Living about my home design ethos and inspirations. As is pretty much a given with those sorts of questions I answered everything(!)  or more specifically everywhere – architectural details, tv, what people are wearing on the tube, I’m always looking round for interesting combinations of colour, form & texture. But perhaps my number one place for finding interiors inspo is in commercial spaces, and I am often taking mental notes of good design over coffee (ok, I don’t actually drink coffee but you know what I mean). Famous landmarks always provoke a reaction in me and make me assess what I like and what I definitely don’t. But new commercial spaces are one of the greatest spaces to see how new design ideas are being put into practice, how they look or feel in reality. Having done a bit of styling work, the element I loved most on a job was seeing materials I can’t afford being used and wondering how I could modify them to produce a similar effect in my own home. But actually bars, cafes and restaurants give us all access to this and I’ve found Instagram a really great tool for finding places I want to visit in London (and the U.S, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Belgium or Australia should I ever find myself in cities there). So over the last year, if I’m in an area with a cafe or restaurant on my list I will drop in, even if it’s just for a quick lemonade and a recce of the building (or to see the palm print toilets as was the case at Palm Vaults in Hackney last year). These below are my five favourites, there are others like The Wolseley for example, or the many branches of Comptoir Libanais, and many more I want to make my way to including Bob Bob Ricard, Bronte, Mustard, Spring, Yopi, Story coffee and Clerkenwell Grind. But for today here are 5 cafes and restaurants I could happily while away many hours in taking onboard decor inspo. If you know any great places to try please let me know in the comments below.

 

No197 Chiswick Fire Station

Chiswick fire station decor pink kingsize cactus

So much style to take note of here, but you can’t help notice these giant cacti first!

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Terrazzo Interiors Trend

January 31, 2017

Image: Cafe Kitsune by Anne Van Assche

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So this trend has been slowly building for over a year now, quietly sitting and biding it’s time as the counterpoint to marble, and I reckon it’s going to be everywhere come summer so today I thought I’d turn my attention to beautiful terrazzo. The current trend seemed to start with Max Lamb creating a showcase of the material for interior use and it’s slowly being used for pattern in homewares that are accessible to you and I. There were elements of terrazzo in Normann, Copenhagen’s Daily Fiction range of accessible design products last year and Danish powerhouse of style Ferm Living are just about to launch some terrazzo pattern in their kids range this month, and you know that if the stylish Scandi’s are bringing it,  it’s going to be a thing soon. Hell, even even The Wall Street Journal  are calling it for Terrazzo this year, it’s coming folks, mark my (amongst others) words. I love everything about terrazzo and have been waiting for enough products on the market to share with you, this runs the gamut from £4.59 to £800 so there’s something for every budget but most are in the highly accessible price bracket. Some of the examples I list are a cross over between splatter patterns (in abstract) and true terrazzo, some use a modern method of dried paint over precious stone (actually I’m thinking of making a d.i.y item using this method so watch this space for the practicalities!)  but what all of these items have in common is a chaotic and very beautiful sensibility. Enjoy!

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Through the Aperture: January

January 24, 2017

 

Pump neon garage in shoreditch

Image: Design Soda

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What a cold and dark start this month has been, I’ve got lots to keep my mind occupied this month but still these dark cold days are starting to grind. So, as the Christmas lights have faded all around, I thought January the perfect time for appreciating pops of neon. Today’s aperture includes some of my favourite punches of neon (and even a carousel) to lift us out of the doldrums. First up is this very cool gas station in Shoreditch (above) spotted on my London wanderings, perfect seventies fun flair, enjoy. What are you doing to beat the January blues? 

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Tottenham Court Road station, geometric monochrome tiles, vintage transport

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Spring Summer ’17 Home Trends at Top Drawer London

January 20, 2017

Top Drawer London Spring Summer 17 Interiors home trends

Image: Design Soda

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I can think of no past time more cheerful on official ‘Blue Monday’ than surrounding yourself with Spring season homewares(!), so, as Top Drawer London was in town I hopped along to have a peep at what’s on the horizon in the world of interiors for Spring/Summer. Having seen a few previews in November from high street chains, the main things that resonated with me there – velvets, smoked glass, craftsmanship, and blues were all in abundance at Top Drawer too. And it may just be because I ventured out with a heavy cold unable to smell my own perfume, but my eye kept getting caught by gorgeous blankets, candles and soft pastel colours and I don’t think it was just because I felt like hiding under a duvet! The overall vibe I took from the show was one of understated luxury, craftsmanship, small details and if there was one message that was pretty hard to miss it was BLUSH PINK IS STILL HERE! And hooray for that as I’m not tiring of it any time soon. I love pretty well all dashes of pastel in spring time, they are like little drops of optimism for a new season in the home. Some of the blush is also turning to coral this year which I welcome gladly as a slightly punchier tone to offset the whites, blacks and greys that aren’t going anywhere either. So this is my roundup of favourite looks and inspiration from the show, with so many thousands of stalls I’ve narrowed down to just a few but as you can imagine there was an abundance more available to be seen. Let me know what you are swooning over, I have all the heart eyes for the knitted textiles at the moment.

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Tile Choices & Home Design

January 16, 2017

Decorum Tiles Handpainted Calligraphy & Mint wash interior bathroom kitchen ideas and inspiration

Image: Design Soda

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So we are now halfway through January, and as it’s the first month of the year the accompanying clarity in relation to getting on top of things and to-do lists for a fresh start means that quite a few of you have been discussing your renovation plans online with me. So, today, I thought I’d do a piece on one of the big areas within renovation – tile choices. The nuts and bolts of a room, from kitchens to bathrooms, and even flooring, tiles are one of the most impactful decisions you’ll make in the home. There is such an abundance of wonderful products on the market these days that it can be a little daunting trying to narrow down your search and get just the look you want and which will outlast trends (drooling over competing looks on Pinterest is a bit of a past time of mine!). And tiles are such a big investment, usually in cost but also longevity, once those tiles are in they’re usually staying there for quite a while! I’ve been planning our kitchen for nearly a year now and keep changing my mind (luckily no tiles have been purchased or adhered). So, with all this in mind, today lets talk tiles!

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Decorum Tiles Marble and Mother of Pearl interior bathroom kitchen ideas and inspiration

Tiles: White Carrara Brick Mosaic Tiles & Shell Mystic Circle in White

Image: Design Soda

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Bedroom Makeover – The Half way Point

January 9, 2017

 

scandinavian rustic bohemian white nordic geometric hygge bedroom urban jungle bloggers

Image: Design Soda

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One week into 2017 and it’s been quite a big one for me, the house is set to appear on both Apartment Therapy & Style Mutt soon, The Frugality sent interest in my bathroom stratospheric over the weekend, I’ve got some new commissions, and my son spent much of the weekend telling anyone who’d listen (mainly me and Dan) that he is the baby Jesus, little late with the Christmas imagination, I know, but at just two I admire the delusions of grandeur (for the record, we have definitely told him that he’s not the baby Jesus!), plus it’s my birthday at the end of the week and Dan has some time off so we are going uptown on adventures.

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scandinavian rustic bohemian white nordic plants minimalist hygge bedroom

Image: Design Soda

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One of the things I love most about the start of a new year is the opportunity clearing out decorations gives you to re-assess the space around you, it focuses the mind to sort out things that don’t work but you’ve been living with absent minded-ly for ages. For me a new year means a fresh set of eyes around the home and a narrowing down of tasks (I know it should mean resolutions, but I’m not really a resolutions kinda gal) this year we have flooring to sought out, some wallpapering in Teds room, the eternal hunt for the right sized period front door and on the more fun side I want more colour and more vintage in the home. The floors in the bedroom and study still need sanding and staining, as such, I don’t have a whole reveal for you today but as we are only missing the floor (OK, I accept this is quite a big thing) I thought I’d share it with you and hope that it gives me the final impetus to hire that sander again! 

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scandinavian rustic bohemian white nordic mid-century wood hygge bedroom

Image: Design Soda

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I’m a little nervous of sharing it, as firstly it’s not finished and I’m not entirely happy with some areas, but also, for someone who loves colour and pattern so much, it’s a bit plain Jane, dare I say even Scandi minimalist? Shh! Pretend I didn’t say that. Truth is I’ve been living with this room for a year and I absolutely love its white-ness. I could never have my whole house like this, it would bore me to tears with what feel like tones of anti-motivation but upstairs I have definitely been persuaded by the slightly Nordic. In my last bedroom there was a fair amount of Scandi white with pastel colour pops so this bedroom reveal is slightly redux if you’ve been reading my blog for a while but there’s definitely some new-ness too, if I don’t mention a product, you will likely find it on this old bedroom post here. 

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scandinavian rustic bohemian white nordic minimalist hygge bedroom

Image: Design Soda

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