Happy New Year (I know it a little late for that!), but I’ve been working away behind the scenes all month on a blog redesign – I hope you like it!

I also wanted to share with you some of my favourite moments from January – a month when many suffer from the post-holiday blues, this year I chose to make it a time for me; a time to be quiet and reflect and enjoy our lovely new home and the beautiful countryside surrounding us. Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have already seen some of these pictures, but for those who don’t, they perfectly depict some of the month’s best moments.

January is often a time when we decide to make big changes; dramatically cut things from our diets, begin a new exercise regime, or cut out any bad habits. This year I decided to do nothing of the sort! Instead my sole aim was to be gentle and kind to myself – to slow down after the chaos of 2016 and renovating/moving into our house just in time for Christmas. We still have quite a way to go on the house and I will love sharing our progress with you along the way. So instead of any big resolutions, I decided to add a few nice, gentle activities into my daily routine that all focussed on slowing down and being kinder to myself. The bonus about choosing these nice/gently things is that they have been so joyful and easy to stick to, that they will remain with me for the rest of the year.

My daily yoga with Adriene (if you haven’t heard of her before then I highly recommend checking her out on YouTube) is a wonderful start to the morning, our longer daily walks with the dogs have been so beautiful- the scenery so stunning and serene, and meditating each evening has been a wonderful way to wind down and still the mind. I have been using meditations by Oprah & Deepak – they are brilliant and there’s a huge selection, so something for everyone.

I have loved spending more time with P and the dogs, walking through the stunning countryside that surrounds us here in Dorset. I have also really enjoyed settling into our new home and making little bits of progress each day; whether unpacking bits and bobs or having a brainwave about a fabric or piece of furniture, I am loving pottering and making it feel like home.

My final new discovery this month had been the delicious and wonderfully fragrant Rose Bud Tea by Jing Tea – a lovely indulgent treat in the afternoon, like a little bit of heaven in a cup.

What have been the highlights of your month?

LBM

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I want to wish all my lovely readers a really Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year – I really hope that 2017 is a lovely, calm and positive year for everyone. 

We are finally feeling a bit settled in the new house – it was a very stressful first month, with almost everything that could break/not work deciding to do so! These last few days have felt much calmer though and having the Christmas tree brings a smile to my face every time I walk into the room.

I want to finish the year with a lovely story and hopefully a good omen for our new home and the year ahead. 

Yesterday morning Patrick and I got back from some last minute food shopping in Poundbury and whilst unpacking into the fridge, we heard a noise coming from the Christmas Tree. I put it down to needles dropping and rustling on the way down, but after a few more minutes we heard a different sound. It sounded like a tweeting, but the bird decorations on the tree don’t speak, so we headed over to take a closer look (the dogs were super excited by the drama!) and found a little Robin flitting between the branches!

We have no idea how he could have got in – with recent stormy weather windows haven’t been open and the doors only briefly to go in and out, but there he was happily sitting on the tree. We would have loved for him to have stayed, but we opened a window and after a moment or two he flew out into the garden. 

It really made us smile and was lovely thing to happen at Christmas – a happy note to end the year on!

Happy Christmas and look forward to catching up with you all in 2017.

LBM

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We’ve been working super hard over the last few months to try and get the house in Dorset ready for us to move into in time for Christmas…these are pictures taken last week, which show that we are still  a little way away from completion, but we are positive about moving in at the end of this month and having it finished enough for a family Christmas! With a project of this scale there are always challenges, but so far we’ve actually been pretty lucky. No major horrors that we weren’t expecting, just a lot to do. 

Since I last shared pictures, a huge amount has changed. We have replaced the roof, ALL the windows and doors and re-plumbed and re-wired the whole house. We have also had to dig down throughout the ground floor in order to lay under floor heating pipes and then pour cement on top – six huge lorry loads! We now have a cosy, water-tight house with a lot of decoration to do before we move in in a few weeks’ time. 

For a lot of the rooms I designed the schemes a few months ago and it is now so lovely to watch them taking shape. The one space that I have found really tricky is the front hall. As you can see below I have tried a lot of different colours on the wall!

My initial instinct was to go for something fresh and blue, but when the samples went on they were too cold for the space. I then tried some warmer Farrow & Ball colours that I love and use often; Elephants Breath, Cornforth White, Purbeck Stone – they just appeared a little sludgy.

I am now trying green/grey and hope to make a final decision soon – La Seine by Zoffany is my current favourite – what do you think?! The reason it’s a very challenging space is because there are a lot of walls, all facing different directions and all getting different amounts of light, but hopefully I’ll get there soon!

I will share more updates with you in the next few weeks

LBM
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ps – Oh and the Aga is in! I am super excited about that!

{Images by Patrick Butler-Madden}

I am so excited to share the before pictures of a project very close to our hearts. P and I, along with our wonderful team, have been working for the past few months on this beautiful Victorian carriage house in the heart of the breathtaking Dorset countryside. It has been a hugely challenging, but we are really starting to make headway and see this historic building come to life again, which is both exciting and rewarding in equal measure. Prior to us taking it on, it had been divided up into three flats and lived in for a number of years without much updating taking place, so as you can see from the pictures, there was a lot to do!

Over coming weeks and months I will share updates on the work and I can’t wait to see the finished home, which we hope to be moving into in time for Christmas, if not a little earlier. Spending time in Dorset has been such a pleasure! One of the most beautiful counties in the UK, it’s where I was born and I actually grew up only fifteen minutes from this house. P and I were also both at school nearby, so it really does feel like coming home for both of us. 

LBM
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You may have noticed a change on the site this week…after five happy years writing as Little Miss Homes, I have decided to re-name the blog Laura Butler-Madden. 

When I started writing the name Little Miss Homes made sense; my maiden name was Holmes and I was (and still am) crazy about everything property and home related, so it worked perfectly and people got it. Since getting married in 2012, I have found that the name needed a lot more explaining and so after a few years of confusion have decided to make the change to simply Laura Butler-Madden. 

The rest of the blog will be the same with the small addition of a ‘Lifestyle’ section, where I will share a selection of non-interior or travel related posts.  From health and food to a little bit of fashion, beauty and just general stuff,  it will be an area for me to share my other passions and interests with you, which I’m really excited about.

I hope you continue to enjoy the blog – please do keep your emails and comments coming in as I love  hearing your feedback.

I’ll leave you with this grogeous picture of Coco and Lola on our new Jonathan Adler Sofa!

Have a lovely weekend.

LBM
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