All posts filed under: home + happiness

Summer style wishlist, image via Urbanara

Summer style wishlist

Summer is well upon us, and with a heatwave last week in the UK, I’m hoping the good weather is here to stay. You never can tell with this country, but whether it’s sweltering hot or pissing down with rain, you can bring the sunshine indoors and out with a few stylish choices. Just like the new summer dress you might have bought for your wardrobe, the home deserves the same care and attention. I’ve been buying a few new plants for the house (an Oxalis, which has wonderful purple leaves), for example, and am going crazy for baskets at the moment (this one from Ikea, just £9, is ticking all the boxes). I’ve also been adding lots of new items from all my favourites independent retailers to my shop to help freshen up the home – I’m thinking lots of planters to bring a bit of greenery, soft pastel shades, natural textures and beautiful handcrafted pieces. What do you think? The good news? You can shop most of these lovely items right here without having to move …

Make an entrance: improving your home’s kerb appeal

When moving house and looking to buy a property, first impressions are everything. We’ve just moved into a new house near Brixton in leafy south London (very exciting!), a big change for us from a 2-bed flat in the hustle and bustle of King’s Cross. It wasn’t quite love at first site for us though – this house was let down by its poor kerb appeal. We were initially put off by its uPVC windows, flimsy plastic door and thickly textured grey facade (the rest on the row are brick), yuck, yuck, yuck – it was only when we went inside and visited a second time that we started to see its potential. Unlived-in for months and looking tired, it just needed a bit of love and care. As with many things, looks can be deceiving and with just a few small changes, I believe we can gradually begin to bring this house back to life and restore it to its former glory. When B&Q approached me for their ‘Make an Entrance’ appeal, encouraging people to get …

via Fantastic Frank

Spring bedroom updates

The sun is shining, the weather’s hotting up and I think it’s time to shed the thick wool blankets and cosy bedding in favour of soft French linen and bright pastel shades in the bedroom. With Spring in full bloom, I feel the need to refresh, de-clutter and brighten up my home. I’m thinking lots of calming natural textures, clusters of plants (if I can keep them alive) and accents of blush pink or fern green. The windows open and the sun pouring in. But, you don’t have to completely overhaul a bedroom to get a new perspective, by simply changing the bedding, adding a new print to your collection or a cushion or two, you can create an easy-to-attain, affordable update for Spring. Or simply, by rearranging the room around – that used to be my absolute favourite pastime as a teenager… At the moment, I’ve just got a new rug to go by my bedside (more of that next week) and have switched up my cotton sheets and wool blanket for much lighter and …

Easy stylish Spring entertaining

Easy spring entertaining

Hurrah, the clocks have gone forward and we have an extra hour of sunlight! As soon as the sun comes out and the light evenings last a little longer, I always feel like it’s time to crack out a cold drink and gather some friends and loved-ones together. So, today I’m showing you how to style a lovely relaxed table for some Spring entertaining, using some smart Scandi accessories from Danish brand Lene Bjerre, available at Houseology. With an other half who is French, I’ve well and truly adopted the tradition of apéro, that time around 7pm when you can sit back, forget about work, open a bottle and enjoy some great food with great company. Taking inspiration then from the French, mixed in with some tapas-style dining from the Spanish, this look is really informal and laid-back. It’s more about bringing items to the table spontaneously in the moment, rather than neat, straight place settings that have a formal atmosphere. It’s about gathering over a platter of yumminess, everyone digging in and helping themselves, drinks in hand …

Home is better with U, making a house a home with Urbanara

Home is better with U, with Urbanara

What makes a house a home? I’ve often found myself wondering over this question during the course of writing my blog. For me, an interior is more than just a statement or pretty display frozen in time, they’re places that should be designed around how we live not just how we want it to look. In my mind, to make a house a home you need to concentrate on how a space feels to be in. A home is a space full of life in all its mess, full of things that tell your story and people to share it with. I recently saw an exhibition on the American designer Alexander Girard at the Vitra Design Museum in Basel, he designed interiors as stage sets for everyday living; he saw them as constantly changing works in progress that could adapt and grow over time. Unusually for a designer, he would keep in touch with clients for 10, 20, 30 years after a project, advising them on small changes and even helping to swap round the colour of the cushions every season. …

beating the january blues

home + happiness: 7 tips for beating the January blues

I’ve never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but there’s some elements of the disorder, sometimes known as “winter depression”, that clouds my winter months. A slightly low mood, wanting to stay in bed longer, craving stodgy comfort food and longing for the sunnier Spring months – I think it’s something we all suffer from to an extent in cold, dark January. It’s my least favourite month of them all. So I’ve gathered all my tried-and-tested tips and tricks for beating the January blues – to help us all get through the grey days and dark evenings. 1. Mind over matter Mindfulness is all about slowing down, re-focusing and de-stressing. At first it may seem like a bit of a fad, or some hippy concept, but by simply concentrating on your breathing and being aware of what’s going on around you, you can let go of those little everyday stresses. It might be that you take 10-15 minutes to do some meditation (I love the headspace app, it has different packs focusing on everything from self-esteem to relationships, creativity and generosity) or …