With the clocks going back today, winter is approaching and it is definitely the time for getting cosy at home. Whether you buy into the hugely popular Hygge trend or not, everyone loves some candlelight, cushions and cosy rugs at this time of year!
This year I decided to dress our sitting room for winter with Patrick in mind. All too often us girls take the lead (or total control!) when it comes to interiors, so I decided for a change to make the focus on him relaxing and feeling cosy after a long day’s work.
I was thrilled to discover the stylish new homeware range Fox & Ivy, exclusively at Tesco. A beautiful collection of affordable accessories for the home and a number of items that work perfectly in our dark blue sitting room to enhance the cosiness and create a perfectly Hygge winter hideaway.
Candle & Picture Frame from Fox & Ivy, exclusively for Tesco.
The first items I chose were candles! I have a small addiction to scented candle (can you ever have too many?!) and this collection didn’t disappoint. With a wonderful range of designs and scents, I opted for the Rose Gold & Pomelo luxury scented bell jar and a lovely striped candle with the same scent to create atmosphere and fully scent the room.
I also fell in love with these vases – again regular readers will know how I feel about flowers and this gorgeous teal vase was perfect for my newly dried soft green hydrangeas. I paired it with this larger teal and rose gold vase, which beautifully compliments the colour scheme in the room.
Finally I chose this pretty art deco style frame – we never frame enough photos (it’s an ongoing saga and just something we never seem to get round to!), so I wanted to frame one of Patrick’s favourite pictures of Coco and I when we were first together and living in Mallorca.
Combined with come cosy rugs, a couple of fluffy dogs and his whisky collection, I think this it now the perfect space for him to relax in the evening during the long winter months – and I think I might quite enjoy it too!
I am a huge fan of artwork – I think it adds so much of the personality to a room and one’s home. You can tell a lot about a person from the art on their walls. I have a particular fondness for photography (as I am married to a photographer, that’s probably a good thing!). I love unique images and really enjoy discovering new talent too.
Which leads me into my second Creative Spotlight, with the talented Cara Connell, who founded fine art photography company, Lumitrix, in 2013.
A freelance photographer herself, Cara was struck by how difficult it was to break into the fine art photography market, and so launched Lumitrix to give talented photographers a new platform for their work. She now represents photographers from around the world and is always searching for new talent. I adore her selection of beautiful prints – we have a few dotted around our home!
Her story is a fascinating one, from flying planes in Africa and overcoming adversity from ill health, to launching her own business. She is a real inspiration. I hope you enjoy…
How did you get into your current profession? I reached out to assist photographers when I was trying to become a photographer myself and Matilda Temperley was the only one to reply to my plaintive letters. Whilst assisting her, I learnt how much money photographers spend to create imagery that goes towards building their portfolio. It was all outgoings once studio hire, make up, models, equipment etc is paid for. I saw a gaping opportunity to help support these emerging photographers try and earn some money from these endeavours, whilst also offering great imagery as accessible fine art photography to home owners.
Was that what you always wanted to do? I always wanted to be a photographer. Once I graduated from Edinburgh University in Zoology, my dream was to become an aerial photographer in Africa, whilst working in conservation on the ground. I got my flying licence, took some wonderful photographs, but sadly got a tropical disease, which was pretty disruptive. This led to a complete change of lifestyle, bringing me back to London to a more innocuous and tame lifestyle. I became a lawyer and worked in Law for 5 years, but photography was always in the back of my mind. At age 30 I took the leap to become a photographer, but as soon as I did I broke my shoulder, so couldn’t hold a camera. I was worried I would have to give up on my bid for freedom and return to the City, so I know I had to make my own job work for me, which led to the idea of Lumitrix.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? My son. He is a culmination of everything in life coming good after a pretty difficult time with my health and the loss of a family member.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Physically, it is having warm bones from lying in the sun in the wilderness of either the highlands of Scotland or South Africa. Mentally, happiness can be quite a fragile state due to all of the demands that life puts on us. I’m talking bit things like loss of someone you love, unemployment, ill health or just things not working out the way you had hoped. I think the older we get, the more we learn how lucky we are just to be happy – so perfect happiness is that wonderful feeling you have when you sit there in a quiet moment, look around and realise how lucky you are to feel warm inside, content, and very happy with your lot.
Which living person do you most admire? I am fickle, but at the moment it is Leonardo Di Caprio – I love that he has harnessed the acclaim and power that he has derived through Hollywood and is applying this power to such a crucial issue that affects us all; the environment, global warming and conservation of species. He has created a foundation that supports projects around the world that build climate resiliency, protect vulnerable wildlife and restore balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. I wholeheartedly support this and if I were not in the throws of running Lumitrix, with my Zoology background, this is the type of work I would like to focus on.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration? Anyone who overcomes adversity and The Queen: I admire her stoicism and physical fortitude.
When and where were you happiest? At my 30th Birthday Party – a surprise birthday party that my family and friends made for me when things were a bit tough, as my mother was very sick.
What is your greatest extravagance? Exceptionally nice socks and eating good clean food. This is a real privilege and I love being able to live in London, whilst getting my food from Farmdrop. Farmdrop cut out the big greedy supermarkets, so that the farmers receive much more profit for their goods, making farming viable for them. The food also comes with minimal wrappings, which makes my heart sing as we all use and throw away way too much disposable wrappings. They also deliver with an electric van that is a cow!
What is your most treasured possession? My dog, baby and boyfriend, in that order J What’s your favourite way to spend the weekend? Usually is is far away from any city, but occasionally I love a London weekend. Making use of this fabulous City by dining in great restaurants, going to art galleries, walking across the river. If I have been in London for too long then I love to get out and go to the sea or the hills, just to really feel space and see horizons and smell clean air.
What is your favourite space in your home and why? My bed. It is like a warm hug at the end of a long day.
I’ve been waiting for a while now to share some more Dorset room tours with you. For months we have been stuck in that limbo, when rooms are almost finished, but just not quite. It’s often hard to keep the momentum going (lack of time or lack of funds), so it’s taken us longer than we hoped to get the house finished.
But the good news is that I finally feel ready to share more of the rooms with you and today it’s the turn of the Summer Room. I wanted to share it now while the weather is still sort of summery as the light is so beautiful in there at this time of year.
This room is at the end of the house and looks out over the garden and the beautiful views on the Dorset countryside. When we bought the house there were no windows on the wall where the view is, so we added two sets of French doors to open up the view from the room.
Because these is so much light in the space, I really wanted to accentuate that with the colour pallette, so chose a gorgeous soft pinky grey for the walls; Chateau by Zoffany.With the flooring and furniture I also chose to keep everything soft and pastel – it really is such a light, bright room and makes me think of ice cream whenever I walk in there!
I also have a bit of a thing for flamingos, so was very excited to find this lovely print to include in the scheme. I will be launching a whole series of Get The Look posts soon on the blog, so will share the details of all my suppliers in that. I have also fallen in love with a taxidermy flamingo that I would love for this room, but sadly our budget won’t allow at the moment!
I hope you like the space and keep up to date with the blog and my instagram for details of the get the look post, which will be coming soon.
I’m so pleased to be sharing these pictures with you of the flat we recently finished renovating in Notting Hill. We bought the flat just before Christmas and started work on it in January. In the end we updated everything and it took a little longer than we hoped because our lovely builders were splitting their time between London and Dorset.
But we got there in the end and are thrilled with how it has turned out.
We bought the flat so that we could keep a base in London to use when we need to for work, but also something that we can rent out for holiday lets as this is something we have always wanted to do.
Finding the right property is always a challenge and we looked at many flats before finally choosing this one. We even had another one under offer, which sadly fell through after Brexit, but I always think these things happen for a reason as we love this one even more. Once the price was agreed (last August) it took many months to reach completion and wasn’t without its stresses (is it ever?!) I’ll actually be writing a post soon all about how to find the perfect renovation project, as it’s something I often get asked about.
This flat is on the lower ground of a beautiful building on Talbot Road. It’s such a perfect location as you are only five minutes walk to Westbourne Grove and Portabello Road. We chose a lower ground, as we knew we wanted a garden and this flat has the most lovely private terrace – it’s so secluded and really does feel like a lovely haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I have already installed a few plants in pots, but can’t wait to fill it with more and lots of fairy lights for romantic evening drinks and dinner.
Inside the flat we wanted to create a light, fresh and calm feel – we took influence mainly from Scandinavian apartments and commissioned the lovely and talented Kristin Gaudio Endsley to paint a Diptych as the central piece to the room (and to hide the TV!). The living room is a really good size and we really wanted to maximise this sense of space, so built a banquette in the corner for dining/working at. It’s a great way to save space and pretty cost effective too.
We painted the walls throughout the flat in the same colour; Farrow & Ball’s Strong White. When working with smaller spaces, using the same colour for all rooms creates a lovely sense of flow and I also think it makes the space feel bigger. The master bedroom design was inspired by a Slim Aaron’s photo that takes pride of place; a sense of calm with some pops of mid-century colour.
I really hope you like it and if you are looking for somewhere to stay in London then please do check it out on Airbnb, we would love to host you!
Working from home is a joy. Overall I don’t have many complaints; it is so lovely to be able to wake up in the morning and just potter to my office – I don’t often miss the hours on a hot stuffy train or bus to and from work, but I do from time to time pine a little bit for my morning routine from that life. I used to love the feeling of rushing out the door (usually a few minutes late) grabbing a coffee on the way to the bus stop and if there were blue skies, walking as far as I could before jumping on the bus for the last part the journey.
Most days I would really enjoy the bus commute (except those days when traffic was hell, making me even later!). Sitting on the top deck, watching the world go by and admiring the lovely displays in the shop windows, whilst browsing through the morning news online, it was usually quite a gentle start to the day.
Now that I am based at home, all of that is a thing of the past. One of the biggest challenges when working from home can be managing your time effectively –household chores often get in the way (washing, cleaning, washing up, walking the dog, there is always a long list of things to do). In order to overcome this and try to make the most of your working day it is key to create a calm, cool and inviting office space.
We have recently moved into our new house in Dorset – we have fully renovated the whole house and it’s been chaos! One of the last spaces to get sorted has been my office, but I am thrilled to say and I am finally there and can already feel my productivity and efficiency improving now that it is unpacked and tidy.
Here are my top tips for creating a beautiful space that you love working in at home…
Keep it tidy!
First things first keep things organised and tidy – when I chose my new desk, I went for one with lots of drawers. My old desk only had one and this was a nightmare – much better to keep all that filing (that you will get round to doing soon!) hidden away so you have a calm, clear desktop. I also love to use trays to keep bit and bobs more organised in, like this lovely brass tray.
Think about the details – it’s your space to make it pretty as well as functional. I love having a candle burning on my desk – I find it calming and a bit of an indulgence. I also need to have a lamp for when I am stuck at my desk late into the evening. I wanted to have something stylish as well as functional and was thrilled when I found this beautiful, curved brass one that ties in perfectly with the brass frames and mirror on my wall.
Finally, choose your stationary well. Since I was a little girl I’ve had a mini obsession with stationery – these beautiful feather note cards and journal add the pretty to my desk and having them so close to hand means I’m much more likely to use them.