It seems a modern blogging custom to write a post about this time of year that replaces the old fashioned round robin Christmas card with notes on how well Jane is doing at school and the name of the new dog etc. These posts tend to be a bit year in review and often have a bit of personal reflection. I’m not sure I’m going to do exactly that, especially through the haze of mince pie and alcohol consumption but as I write this just before Christmas, looking forwards to three days together as a family before my husband disappears back to work, I did just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s read the blog this year. It’s so nice to see a healthy upturn in readers each month and genuinely makes my task much more worthwhile. It’s been a pretty good year for the Design Soda house, I’ve pretty well loved 2016, horrible events and political chasms in the news aside, Ted, who just turned two, continues to be amazing in new and unexpected ways, and as a result of the blogs growth quite a few exciting opportunities have come my way (asides from the now endless phishing emails) it’s all been a joy, and a challenge to my natural shyness.
The last post before Christmas! I’m very glad to say no more Christmas posts from me, hurrah, to be honest documenting all this fun has been quite gruelling! So today I’m sharing some totally un-Christmas-y winter scenes from my journeys around London of late. The first image (above) may evoke a few memories for you if you had a London childhood (it certainly did on Instagram). We took Ted to London Zoo for his second birthday (despite the deep November chills) and I spotted this Art Deco penguin pool which I remember vividly from childhood. It’s a bit of an icon so I’m glad it’s preserved.
As 2016 draws to a close I thought I would take a quick moment to focus on the blogs which have really inspired me this year, you may well know many of them, some may be new discoveries, but allow me to introduce to you 10 fantastic interiors bloggers with distinct voices and styles who have made blog reading a wonderful space for me this year. I’ve seen these kinds of post from time to time on other blogs, often they seem to be one of those chain mail things where a certain number of bloggers all choose each other for favourites and run a kind of co-promotion. I have nothing against this, just letting you know that this is not that. Some of these bloggers I’ve met or speak to online, some I would even call buddies, but this is my, truly objective, absolute real line up of 10 favourites. There are so many great voices out there and people working really hard to produce original content it’s really hard to narrow down to 10, I have included an afterword on another 10 I love but here below are the big guns that make my life brighter:
In just over a week Christmas will be done and dusted, you will have opened your presents, heard one relatives comic story about another 20 times already, rescued other people’s presents from your wayward toddler, endured at least one awkward silence (is all of this just me?) and hopefully had a jolly good time in the process. If you’re hosting, you may be blissfully thankful to reach Boxing Day with its traditional walk (which I can never make out whether it’s tradition to blow the cobwebs away before the new year or a chance to put pacing distance between yourself and certain relatives!) either way, you may, like me, be looking forward to settling down to watch the new Agatha Christie romp the BBC are putting on with a hard earned drink in hand come the evening of Boxing Day. Whether it be Christmas party visitors, Christmas Day drinks, Boxing Day therapy or even New Years drinks, I think I’ve got you covered for cocktails! Here, below, are my 5 favourite mixers at this time of year, they are all tried and tested by me, some I’ve been doing for years (Nigella’s Pomegranate Bellini is a Christmas Day non-negotiable in the Design Soda house). None of these recipes are original, but rather a selection of ones I’ve tried and love, go forth and pour yourself a drink, they really are lovely.
As the byline to the blog denotes – colour, pattern, patina – I am pretty keen on all things with interesting surface design or colour (forget the patina bit, that’s more my love of vintage, we’ll come to that another time). When both colour and pattern come together and are truly nailed, my heart usually sings with joy. And, since Jordan from Two Lovely Gays installed a beautiful mural wall in an apartment in Brighton on the first series of The Great Interior Design challenge a few years back, I’ve had a bit of a thing for mural walls. There is now a pretty spectacular range of them on the market, and because they are designed for a statement wall or space, they tend to be writ larger than wallpaper, bolder and with more aesthetic punch. Read More
Christmas gives you a special licence to be a bit naff, a bit bold, or a bit twee in the style stakes, right?! I was born in 1981 so I’m a true child of the eighties. This means that trees with coloured lights, coloured tinsel and boiled wool or pink plastic are all things that press my Christmas buttons (though you can keep the hanging swathes of cards as decorations). There’s a byline quote on designer Jonathan Adler’s Twitter account which I think suits my approach to Christmas rather well –“build a timelessly chic foundation and accessorize with abandon”! Absolutely.
Dan asked me recently if I’d made a Christmas wishlist, which was his less than subtle way of telling me that he’d made one himself! Well, asides from the thousands of items I’m coveting on secret Pinterest boards, I have compiled a list, and it’s just 2 short of 50 items! I’ve chosen quite a lot of modern & minimalist pieces with a Scandi vibe, which are perfect after all the extravagance of Christmas, January will be all about pared back glamour here. I’ve tried to cover a price range, there are 3 items over a hundred pounds (all in the first list), three under a fiver and the majority hover somewhere around the £50 mark. Actually we don’t take Christmas very seriously around here present wise and quite often play a game of best present from the pound store but a girl can dream! As I am a generous sort, I’m also throwing it out on the blog today as a veritable gift guide for anyone stuck for present ideas for home-mad-design-lovers (and not least because I know my husband will actually be able to find this list!). So, if you know a suitable recipient (Me! Me! Me!) someone crazy about design or interiors walk this way my friend, I have four lists, one for general home beauties, one for Kitchenalia, one for office based pretties and bathroom indulgences, God I hope Santa thinks I’ve been good this year!Read More
So everyone (well I say everyone, I mean interiors bloggers) seems to be doing these posts on winter dining this year, they have all been a real feast for the eyes and showcased each particular bloggers personal style, I particularly liked this lush example from San Francisco based bloggerApartment 34and Will from Bright Bazaar‘s Holiday decorating on a budget, plus I can see blogger buddies Patricia fromNo Glitter, No Glory& Jenny from Seasons in Colourhave some real magic planned from their Instagram feeds soon. Well, the Design Soda house likes a party as much as the rest of the world, and as we had friends coming over for lunch this weekend (who haven’t been here together since we moved) I thought I’d push the boat out a little and practice my Christmas table styling.