New Ribbon
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For spring/summer 2015, PPQ presented clothes to wear to 'the coolest party of the fashion season', finished with high gloss hair taken to a creative extreme READ MORE...
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Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design READ MORE...
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It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. READ MORE...
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think we could all use a dose of soft, pretty and innocent right now. Paul Costelloe brought his unabashed femininity to the runway READ MORE...
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Carmen Dell’Orefice...if this is what being in your 80s looks like then I'm looking forward to it! The legendary model, who once declared to Vanity Fair, “If I die, it will be with my high heels on”, is set READ MORE...
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The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll READ MORE...
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The Design and Craft Fair, MADE LONDON, returns to One Marylebone 24-26 October to present the very best in contemporary craft and design. Showcasing over 120 READ MORE...
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June 11, 2014

Tips for Adding Value to Your Home

Contemporary-kitchen-breakfast-barInvesting in your kitchen design not only makes daily life much more enjoyable, it will increase the value of your home and make it easier to sell 

Housing prices are rising in the UK, and one thing you can do if you're looking to sell is invest in upgrading your home. (I always say do it well before you're serious about selling so you can benefit, too!) It will add value and help your listing become more competitive in the market. There are a few essential rooms in every house that can be redesigned or reworked to make the overall property appear unique and more appealing to potential buyers. Here we look at how ways you can improve specific rooms to enhance the value of your home:

  • Kitchen: The kitchen is one of the most utilised rooms in the house. It's the heart of the home and tends to be a magnet for guests at parties. Upgrading this room alone can add significant value to your property; recent research reveals that a kitchen renovation can add 4-7% to the value of a home. Buyers tend to be attracted to kitchens that have adequate cabinet and counter space, a well-functioning layout for appliances, and lots of natural light to make the room feel airy and spacious. Granite countertops are popular as they add high-end style to the overall look. Breakfast bars are also a sought-after feature in the kitchen, and if you think you don't have the space, you'd be surprised to find how easily even tiny kitchens can accommodate one with a little clever design. 
  • Bathroom: Ideally, your home will have a sufficient number of bathrooms/half-baths. If not, look into whether the space can accommodate one more ie. under the stairs. A new, well-fitted bathroom with impressive features such as a soaker tub, wet room, contempoary sink/vanity and storage for towels and toiletries will help make your home a standout amongst potential buyers. A touch of luxury can be added via extras such as heated flooring systems, steam showers, electric showers and whirlpool tubs. If you’re focussed on quality, you will find some of the best electric showers by Mira. Incorporating recessed ceiling lights, illuminated mirrors and wood shelving are great ways to complete the look and make an impression. 
  • Conservatory: A sunny extension in the form of a conservatory or orangery that overlooks the garden is another great way to add value to your property. It is one of the most attractive features for luring potential buyers as it increases the square footage of your home and connects the space between your indoor space and the outdoors. Recessed ceiling lights, built-in speakers and hidden HDMI cables for wall-mounted TVs (these are all features we have in ours) are inexpensive or even free upgrades that will make the room even more desirable.

It's also essential to style your home so the rooms appear as spacious and clean as possible to potential buyers. Get rid of any clutter, anything superfluous and knick-knacky, and do your best to present a neutral palette. Clashing patterns and dark colours tend to really bring the feel of a space down and it's always better to err on the side of dull rather than present as 'busy'!

June 04, 2014

Blogger Competition: Win £1000 in John Lewis Vouchers from Cunard

Mediterranean-living-roomA few well-chosen pieces of furniture and accessories in warm textures and ocean colours is all is takes make your home Mediterranean

Home decor bloggers: this is your chance to win £1000 in John Lewis vouchers doing what you love! Cunard is offering savvy and stylish bloggers the chance to bring of touch of the Med into your own home. The Mediterranean is one of the most sought-after cruise destinations for its richness of culture and history, beautiful oceans and landscapes, and saturated, vibrant colours. Who wouldn't want to live with a bit of that?

To enter, choose one of Cunard's Mediterranean destinations  - it could be Athens, Lisbon, Monte Carlo, Naples, there are dozens! - and then use its inspiration to create a mood board on Pinterest showing how you would bring Mediterranean style into your home, and blog about it. Then be sure to let us know you blogged by commenting  on this blog post or this one with a link to your post. Check out the competition here

The competition closes 20th June at 11:59 pm. 

In addition to first prize of £1000 in John Lewis vouchers, up for grabs is £500 in vouchers for second place, and third place gets £250 worth!

I've done a little daydreaming myself and created a board to get things going:

Follow The Swelle Life's board Cunard Mediterranean Blogger Competition on Pinterest.

Myself and Jen at lovechicliving will be judging all of the entries at both blogs, together.

We look forward to seeing your original, beautiful and inspirational mood boards and blog posts. Have fun interpreting the Mediterranean with your unique sense of style - it might you win £1000 to make it a reality!

You can read the full Terms and Conditions on the wearecunard here

June 03, 2014

Stockholm: Gamla Stan, The Old Town

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I've just returned from my second trip to one my favourite cities, Sweden's capital, Stockholm, where our luck with the weather was, again, so fortuitous that I should probably be buying lottery tickets. Both times it was unseasonably warm -  hot even! - by a good 10 degrees. One day I couldn't find my sunglasses and didn't have a hat, and I started to get sunstroke when I had to queue in the sun for about 30 minutes. But I wasn't going to complain about glorious weather. (Yes, I'm sensitive.) 

Even when the sun isn't present, Stockholm is a city of yellow. It's especially prominent in the structures of Gamla Stad, the 'old town', along with saturated shades of orange. The painted buildings far outnumber the naked concrete ones. But elsewhere you're only ever around the corner from a burst of sunshine.  

So let's take a little tour through the streets of Gamla Stan, to be followed for the next several days by scenes taken from the water - the architecture is varied and just so cool and colourful, and we spied many sunbathers on rocks  - and other places around Stockholm, including Marimekko who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their iconic flower print, Unikko. (They're a Finnish heritage brand but they certainly fit well with the joyful aesthetic of Sweden.)

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Um, 7-11 is way better looking than I remember it back in Canada...even inside it's styled like an internet cafe - are we still saying that? Is there a cooler name now? The branding of American institutions in Stockholm, such as McDonald's (there are not many others visible in the city), assumes a higher level of sophistication when communicating to its demographic. In that it doesn't seem to be parsing out a specific segment of the population to talk down to. I might be jumping to conclusions here, but you can see the tax dollars (or krona in this case) put to good use. People are well taken care of in terms of social programs, the streets are clean, there's a commitment to green spaces and work/life balance, gender equality is a reality and not a lofty notion, and you have to go out of your way to find food that's not good for you. And although it's a very expensive city, the salaries are commensurate with the cost of living. So it's just us tourists that feel the crunch! But it's worth it. It's a city of people who actually look happy. And healthy. I've mentioned their peachy glow before which I admit I am in awe of. Peachy glow! People here in the UK pay for that and then wind up looking orange. (Hint: it comes from within. You can't buy it.) 

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Pippi Longstocking was the trendsetter for this look: 

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Even a sophisticated city like Stockholm has its cheesy tourist shops, though they're thoughtfully condensed to one street. This t-shirt that survived the 70s was only trumped by the 'Rasta Baby' - a stoned baby in a pot leaf-emblemed hat smoking a joint. I'm not showing that, I don't want it on my blog! I didn't want it on my brain, either. 

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Walking out of Gamla Stan toward the water will take you through the Parliament buildings and the palace:

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Notice the Brutalist addition to the top of this wing of Parliament building (above). 

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The parliament building is quite a grand presence (above), while the palace across the water is less ornate, at least from this viewpoint. Love the yellow guard station though:

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We got to see the changing of the guard which was different from what you'd see at Buckingham palace in that the guards included women and they were all quite young. Two from the procession stepped up and peformed the ritual with the on-duty guard that involved a lot of (seemingly) angry shouting. Whatever they were saying, they meant it! When the new guard was in place we noticed that her bayonette was mighty sharp. I think I saw daggers as well. You don't really see bayonettes much these days, do you?

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The lion with its mighty paw on the globe symbolised the Swedish empire's reign as a great European power in the 17th and early 18th centuries. (And they didn't miss a detail in carving out that lion's undercarriage.) 

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This was an unusual sight - a classic American muscle car, in purple no less, cruising through Gamla Stan. It's kind of hard to see, but in proper muscle car style, the driver is watching the girls watch him. He likes what they see. 

More to come...in the meantime you can see photos from my previous trip to Stockholm here (just scroll down a bit as this is the Scandinavia category and includes everything). 

May 21, 2014

Clerkenwell Design Week: Bark Goes LoMo


Bark became an instant favourite when I saw their Acorn range of furniture at last year's 100% Design show, and now I'm looking forward to seeing their latest spin on modern classics at Clerkenwell Design Week. (It began today but I'm only able to catch the last day on Thursday. Yes, it's a short 'week'.) 

The Cornwall based design duo, trained cabinet makers Jonathan Walter and Lakshmi who share a passion for modern design, are launching their new LoMo collection of seating and storage units, constructed from sycamore. I love that they've revived the two-seater; it's a stylish design from a by-gone era and an intimate arrangement that invites couples to sit close together. Upright, with good posture. How 1950s! Pass the heavy marble ashtray. 

Their version of the sideboard, the LoMo Storage System (below) combines organic cuves and pastel colours anchored in (I'm guessing) black walnut stands. They're very 'happy' pieces, aren't they? I'm a sideboard freak and I've never seen a design anything like the LoMo. As shown here, it falls somewhere between the low, wide sideboard and the tallboy, although the cabinets and bases are made to order in a range of sizes and configurations. 

Hopefully I"ll be able to navigate CDW with some efficiency and be able to see the LoMo collection in person. I'm already imagining the sideboard in our new orangery, and I'll take that little cabinet, too - isn't the dark grain running through the side gorgeous?


May 20, 2014

Making the Most of Your Space: Interior Solutions for the Small Apartment


If you're currently living in a small apartment then you have probably found things are a bit of a tight squeeze at times, especially if there is more than two of you residing there. 'Cosy' or 'easy to maintain' might be the way your estate agent described it to you, but let's face it, a lack of storage or generally not having enough space to live can be difficult. However there are things you can do to make the most of the room that you do have - it just takes a little bit of creative thinking.

Get that TV out of the way

If you have a flat screen TV, get it up on the wall and make use of the room that the media unit was taking up previously. If you're not particularly handy in terms of drilling holes or lining things up accurately, don't worry - there are plenty of companies around that can not only supply a TV bracket but install it as well.


Dekomount are one such example, and they have a huge range of TV wall brackets that cater for televisions of all sizes, right up to 90" sets.

Convert furniture into storage space

Storage is always an issue for the small flat owner/tenant - the secret is to find storage solutions in places that you wouldn't normally use. Convert the bottom of your sofa and chairs into drawers that you can keep all of those odds and ends in that are otherwise cluttering up the living room. Does your seating furniture have an open bottom? Invest in some space savers and make the most of the room!


Go Beneath the Floorboards

Why not take your quest to seek out storage space to the next (sub)level? Building storage space into your floorboards is an innovative way of working with what you've got, with flooring joists even providing natural dividers so you can categorise what you keep down there.

This might require a little bit of DIY ingenuity, but once it is completed you can free up a huge amount of space around the house. However, if you're not a ground floor flat it might be advisable to avoid sawing into your floor!

Implement the 'Magic Triangle' in your kitchen

If you're specifically short on space in the kitchen then the 'Magic Triangle' is a great way of making efficient use of the space. The aim of the Magic Triangle is to organise the space in such a way that preparing food is as easy as possible. It requires the sink, cooker and refrigerator to be within a couple of steps of each other which allows you to move between the three of them quickly. Just because your kitchen is small doesn't mean that it is efficient, but by arranging your three main appliances in such a way you can transform your small kitchen into a stylish and efficient space you're proud to call your own.

This guest blog was written by John Rooney in partnership with Dekomount, stockists of a wide range of high quality and durable TV wall brackets.

May 16, 2014

My Bathroom Makeover: The Reveal

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So this is it! After showing you the 'before' state of my bathroom, here's the reveal after a new coat of paint and accessories from Homebase, Home of Colour Paint. It's a very subtle change, but it has made a big difference to how I feel about the space, and my family likes it as well. This kind of makeover has proven to be a very cost-effective way to not only freshen up the look of our bathroom, but make it more efficient in how we use it. (And in the case of a new, concealed toilet brush in an elegant design, much neater and more dignified!)

Let's start with the walls. We painted over our saturated blue in a more 'airy' shade called Sky. Thanks to my preoccupation with finding the right colour in choosing the original paint, I forgot to check that it was formulated for bathrooms. It wasn't, so we had streaks all over the walls from condensation, and I did stress a bit whenever I took a shower, wondering how much worse it would be after. Now the colour stays put. As for the application, the paint covers well with two coats and has a nice matte finish which is what I wanted. At first I wasn't sure about going lighter, but the Sky makes the room look more refined and open, so I'm really pleased.  

Now for the decor. I mentioned that paring back can be as effective as adding or replacing objects, and with this makeover I did a bit of both. There was nothing wrong with the way the bathroom looked before, but four years on, my tastes have changed and I wanted a less fussy look and one that is more minimalist with neutral decor. A porcelain jug replaces the little tub with flowers (I love flowers but these tissue versions were looking a little tired), and our toothbrushes now rest in a clear tumbler instead of the blue ceramic one that had a chip in it. (And because the new tumbler is clear it forces you to clean it out on a daily basis which I don't mind doing - an opaque cup hides what's really going on in the bottom under your toothbrushes as water drips down and it's not pretty! This way is much more hygienic.) I've relocated the tall vase with paper flowers that sat in front of the handle to open the window and therefore had to be moved constantly, as well as the crystal dish of soaps which actually makes a pretty ice cream dish. (Yes, it has gone for a long run through the dishwasher.) Now a scented candle in black glass sits alone on the sill and leaves the shelf free (for us to leave our toiletries all spread out there but that's more about our tallboy being full than being messy. The next phase is clearing that thing out and being brutal about it!).  Also gone is the soap dish on the basin - you have to wash the soap residue off the soap constantly which is weird - and now we're using soap and lotion in pump dispensers which I admit I used to just put out when we had guests, but I guess we're good enough, too!

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Another change that has made a difference is the toilet roll holder. I didn't even show the old one in the photos because I couldn't bear it; it was from my shabby chic phase which I could not be more 'over'. You had to screw off one end of the holder to replace the roll and I actually paid my daughter 10p to do it! Actually I didn't mind but there was a member of the family who just couldn't get his head around it. Fair enough, it was a fuss. Now we have a much more efficient one in a contemporary design where the roll just slips on and off, and it holds three rolls which helps our storage issues immensely and means there are no surprises - you always know your supply. (And is it just me or is there something very comforting about always knowing you've got spares?) As for the toilet brush holder, I pulled that out to show you but it sits discreetly beside the toilet, though it looks good enough to be on display. Our old one was a blue ceramic 'bowl' that held the brush, and you really don't want to see any part of that brush, do you? This refined design reveals no secrets, and that's how it should be.

As for the bin, we used to have a style similar to our new pedal style, but it was all metal and it rusted which made it look dirty when it wasn't. So I switched to a 'bag' version that I liked the look of, but you really don't want your rubbish on display, and our puppy was constantly getting into it and indulging her appetite for toilet paper. This new pedal bin only has a bit of metal and conceals our rubbish, and it has put an end to finding a paper trail out to the hallway every day.


Finally, every space needs some texture and a bit of softness for balance, so I chose a bobbly white bath mat that not only functions well after a shower - it's high quality and very absorbent - but it looks great in the bathroom as well.

Overall, this little makeover project cost less than £100 and didn't take a lot of time to complete. It's a matter of knowing exactly what you want before you begin, focussing on the function of the essentials and what will make your space work best for you, and how you can improve the look and feel and be happier when you use it. Before I began, I couldn't wait another day to demolish it all and get going on the renovation. But now I'm happy to wait for the right time and am already enjoying it a lot more. It's incredible what a difference a few little changes can make to the quality of your daily life!

May 14, 2014

'Endless Stair' an innovation in modular timber design

Endless-Stair-11Endless Stair offered a unique viewpoint at Tate Modern

'Endless Stair' may look like a path to nowhere, but this structure of Escher-like interlocking staircases is taking modular timber construction to new heights. Made from American tulipwood cross-laminated timber (CLT), the design was reconfigured to feature at Interni Magazine’s ‘Feeding New Ideas for the City’ exhibition at the Università degli Studi in Milan.

Designed by de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects (dRMM), engineered by Arup, and built by Imola Legno and Nüssli, Endless Stair offers the potential for reconfiguration and adaptation to different contexts. The Ca’ Granda building, one of main venues in the FuoriSalone event, was the most recent setting for Scale Infinite – the latest iteration in the life of Endless Stair. Originally designed for and facilitated in partnership with the London Design Festival, Endless Stair became their Landmark Project for 2013 and was installed in front of one of the UK's most popular cultural destinations, Tate Modern, during last September's Festival. (Nope, didn't see it while I was at the festival. I cringe at what I miss as much as delight in what I've seen.)

Scale-infinite_2Endless Stair became Scale Infinite (say that with an Italian accent) when reconfigured for the courtyard of the Ca’ Granda for the Milan design week  last month

Maintaining the initial influence of Escher, Scale Infinite is a further play on perspective. Six interlocking flights of steps have been joined together to create a visually arresting form offering a compositional contrast to the classical uniformity of the surrounding Renaissance building. dRMM again give importance to the element of ‘play’ within the structure, harnessing the possibilities of user interactivity through the integration of different levels, joints, and possible pathways. This game of perspective also gave users the chance to experience the elegant courtyard of the Ca’ Granda from a unique viewpoint. Scale Infinite served as a deliberate contrast in material, scale and composition to its harmonious new backdrop in Milan. It is an aesthetic provocation, adding a new dimension to the context in which it stands. 


Scale Infinite is not just an exciting wood sculpture, it is also part of a unique research project that is advancing the knowledge of timber construction and sustainability. This project is the first ever use of hardwood for cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is usually made from softwood. American tulipwood (Liriodendron tulipifera), whose name is derived from its distinctive tulip- shaped flowers, is an abundant and relatively inexpensive American hardwood. Crucially for this project, it is incredibly strong and stiff for its weight. Testing carried out in Italy last year during the production of the original Endless Stair structure, has shown that tulipwood is up to three times stronger in rolling shear than typical construction softwood, such as spruce.  

Working from first principles, through testing, research and analysis to design this prototype, the project team envisage Endless Stair will bring many lasting benefits. The ultimate aspiration is that this cross-laminated hardwood is eventually brought into mainstream building construction. Time will tell!  


May 10, 2014

Usway Burn at Sunset wins The Sill Photography Competition

Sill-Martin Ellis-first place with Usway BurnGateshead's Martin Ellis placed first with his Northumberland landscape, Usway Burn

Well, I am constantly telling southerners just how breathtaking Northumberland really is, and now I can simply point them to the entries in this competition as these pictures certainly say more about the northern county's stunning natural beauty than I ever could.

The winners of a popular photography competition launched in a joint initiative between The Sill (a partnership between Northumberland National Park Authority and YHA (England and Wales) and award-winning wildlife photographer and film maker Cain Scrimgeour, have been announced.

Nearly one hundred entries were submitted to the competition with the overall winner announced as Martin Ellis with his entry, Usway Burn. The Gateshead photographer will now be able to pick up tips from Cain with his prize of a one-to-one photography workshop with the competition's founder. 

Martin, 52, said: “I am really pleased that my photograph has been picked as the winner out of all the many wonderful images submitted. I do love this part of Northumberland, it never fails to put a smile on my face even when it's raining or blowing a gale, as it so often does.

A range of images were submitted featuring everything from the lush landscapes in Kielder to a roe deer in a frost-covered field, leaving the panel of eight judges with the challenge of picking their top three entries.

The runners up were Philip Whittaker and Anita Nicholson. To view a selection of entries to the competition and the winning images, visit the Sill's website

Sill-Philip Whittaker - runner up with Mysterious Tree at Black CartsRunner up Philip Whittaker with Mysterious Tree at Black Carts

In a bid to encourage people to explore the stunning Northumberland countryside all year round, the beauty of the National Park and its surrounding areas were captured in a series of emotive images at the hands of aspiring photographers from across the region. The competition is closely tied to the aims of The Sill, Northumberland’s planned £11.2m National Landscape Discovery Centre, which hopes to become a centre for exploration and discovery for the whole of Northumberland National Park and landscapes beyond.

Established photographer Cain, 23, from Whitley Bay, called on people to venture out into the breath-taking Northumberland scenery, from the stunning Cheviots, North Pennines and Northumberland Coast, to the rugged landscape of Hadrian’s Wall country, to capture pictures that really encapsulate the beauty of the winter months.“The winning photographers have really taken on board the essence of the competition brief and have immersed themselves in the rare beauty that Northumberland has to offer.

Sill-Anita Nicholson - runner up with Little Tree on Hadrian’s WallRunner up Anita Nicholson's Little Tree on Hadrian's Wall

Now, photographers are being asked to submit their spring-inspired images for the next phase of the competition, which is open to all ages and experience levels. Photographs are welcomed to capture the essence of Northumberland National Park and other special Northumbrian landscapes in relation to one of three themes; environments (including lakes and rivers, crags, hills, iron age hillforts and traditional buildings etc), flora and fauna (all forms of wildlife from cattle to forests) and activities (including everything from people working on the land, children’s bike rides to rock climbing and astrology).

The best entries will be uploaded to The Sill’s social media profiles so anyone interested in seeing contributions from budding photographers of the North East should search ‘The Sill’ on Facebook and follow the project on Twitter @thesillproject.

For more information about The Sill and the upcoming events, visit www.thesill.org.uk , find The Sill on Facebook or follow The Sill on Twitter @thesillproject

April 28, 2014

Family-friendly ways to personalise your space

Custom-wall-artI admit that in the past, as a single girl living on her own, I may have once or twice browsed an aisle for 'art' in that huge homewares store where you can eat some meatballs. There's nothing wrong with that, but when one friend after another comes to your house for the first time, points at your wall and exclaims, 'I've got that, too!' you might want to consider something a little different. You can have personal photographs englarged using an online service for a decor that's more unique and personal. 

Custom prints are another idea, and they're especially great for kids' bedrooms. Encourage them to create some original artwork for their walls - the prospect will probably be exciting for them. For younger children, you can scan in their drawings to your computer, resize them down and arrange multiple designs on one large poster. It’s a great way to showcase lots of their work in one place, without all the dog-eared edges and blue-tack marks on the walls. Older children might want to make their designs straight on the computer. There are plenty of apps available for budding artists and these designs can be uploaded straight into online templates.

Are your children bored of their colouring books? Spoonful have some great free printables available for you to create your own. When you’ve exhausted their range, why not get creative and design your own templates for them to colour in? You can have the the finished designs printed and once they’re coloured in, you could frame them for bedroom artwork. You can also consider printing your child's designs on stickers to personalise school notebooks and pencil cases, and they also make great party favours. 

Pinterest is a fun way to find inspiration for child-friendly crafts. Check out boards like this and start creating your own boards. Homemade occasion cards are a popular craft for children; however, if you have them printed you can get a more professional finish and preserve your child's art, and this also allows you to produce a quantity to give to all your family and friends. 

If you're considering having a go at creating your own artwork for your home, Instantprint are offering a 15% discount when you use the code: HELLO-H749P’. Instantprint is an online printing company offering low cost printing solutions for both businesses and home users. 

April 25, 2014

My Bathroom Makeover: The 'Before'

Alas, the time has come to deal with our bathroom. Our small, yet adequate, space is a room that fell into the 'liveable for now, needs a total reno later' category when we moved into our house four-and-a-half years ago. The entire suite was brand new, but it was done on the cheap, and boy are there some major issues lurking behind the minor ones. The top half of the biggest wall actually fell off and crumbled to the floor when it was being painted (I don't even  know where to begin with that) and the glass partition on the shower/bath doesn't really seal properly so sometimes it rains in the kitchen (I seem to be the only one who makes that happen but I have a good excuse - I clean the shower when I'm in it so at least there's good reason the glass gets shifted around a bit). One of the minor but no less grating issues is that sink tap, or should I say taps - I know I've whinged about this before, but why are they still making dual faucet sinks?! Mixer taps are so inexpensive these days, so I'm convinced the reason they are not being used exclusively is because there are people out there who love to alternate between freezing and scalding their hands and face every day! 

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So, a total renovation will happen hopefully later this year. But for now we can do something that makes the wait a bit nicer, and that's a makeover. A superficial treatment can go a long way to making a space feel fresher and take the focus off the bigger concerns, and it doesn't need to be expensive. Sometimes it's a matter of removing, as well as replacing and adding. In my case, I'm shifting from a slightly fussy approach to decor to a more minimalist one, and I don't think I'll ever go back. And that doesn't mean stark; it's more about paring back the unnecessary things and making choices that deliver impact. 

Before I get to the 'styling', one of the most effective ways to freshen up a space is a new coat of paint, so that's where we started. I didn't opt for a dramatic change, going from an ocean blue to a paler blue from Homebase, called Sky. It's a barely there blue at first, but once it's on all of the walls it gives a light and airy feel with enough saturation to keep my lust for blues satiated. And it's a great neutral, it will work with any other colour. I've chosen to play up the lightness of the blue and go with white and chrome accessories. This works especially well for opening up a small space, and I think a refined, uncluttered decor is ideal this is where we start our day. 

Watch for the big reveal!


PORTER Magazine issue 5 now available at NET-A-PORTER.COM

Cupcake Monday!

Interiors & Exteriors

Floral Friday

London Fashion Week

Fashion Illustrator Series

Artist Series

Paris & Cities

Painted Houses Project

Colour Colour 



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