The home strait: days 10,11 and 12

The shopping is done, the table is laid, the veggies are peeled, desserts have been whipped up and the VERY EXCITED children are (almost) in bed.



There are definitely footsteps and sniggers to be heard in the general direction of upstairs – personally I’m just hoping they sleep until 7am before jumping on us with their sacks of Santa presents. Fat chance.

So now it’s time to settle in for our final picks of the 12 days of Christmas.  Tonight I bring you days 10, 11 and 12: the living room, the study and the hallway.  One of my favourite home stores of the moment is Oliver Bonas. They have such stylish home accessories, in very cool colours with a mix of the latest looks in woods, metals and stone. And they literally have something for every room. So here goes…

Living room

We recently had some new shelves fitted into some alcoves in our living room and while I have populated them with a few decorative items, both old and new, the next thing on my wish list is to get some nice home decor books up there.  In the age of the Kindle, we seem to be distinctly lacking in actual books these days! I absolutely love these agate stone book ends, so opulent and they’d be a real stand out feature on one of the shelves.



I work from home and the study is one of my favourite rooms. Largely white, we have one wall covered in a bold blue geometric print from Graham and Brown and in the new year we’ll be adding a navy occasional chair in an empty corner that we have.


This cushion will be the perfect fit.



Last but not least, the hallway.  Whilst a hallway is little more than a passage through to other rooms, it’s also the first part of your home that people see when they arrive and should never be resigned to being an after thought when it comes to styling your home. Often without windows, hallways can be dark and benefit from the addition of mirrors to bounce around any available light (and give yourself a quick once over before you leave the house). These pebble mirrors are available in gold or rose gold and a variety of shapes and sizes.  I really like the unevenness of them.

So that’s your lot my friends.  I hope my ideas have given you some food for thought for your own home or have been useful gift ideas for friends or family.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas in your happy homes.  Off to recharge the batteries now before the big day!



Day 9: a near miss

At around the time I was supposed to sit down after tidying the playroom yesterday (note previous post), a remote control car battery charging in the kitchen decided to spontaneously combust. I’d popped into the garage for 5 minutes to swap around some Playmobil for the kids and came back inside to find an actual fire blazing in my (6 month old) kitchen, complete with billowing smoke. Absolutely astonishing how much smoke builds up in just a few minutes. Cue panic, shouting and having absolutely no idea where the carefully purchased fire extinguisher was (the fallout of packing up your house twice in a year). What could be worse than that? The clean up, that’s what. There were a few head scratching moments while we tried to figure up where to begin, not just with the smoke charred walls, cupboards and floor but with millions of pieces of molten plastic that had scattered (and then welded themselves to) every nearby surface when the battery exploded.

To cut a long story short, armed with countless j-cloths, tea towels, a paint scraper and a bottle of hob cleaner (our magical abrasive saviour), two hours later, order was restored. With the exception of two wooden blinds, everything miraculously survived largely unscathed, thankfully including the large pile of Christmas presents that sat just a few feet away. Five more minutes and things could have been very different. We certainly won’t be charging any more hefty batteries indoors again, and urge you to follow the same advice.

With the public health and safety warning out of the way, onto what should have been yesterday’s pick: the dining room. What used to be January sales have now turned into pre-Xmas sales so now is a good time to update any jaded crockery collections with this Atkinson 12-piece dinner set, currently enjoying a 30% discount at Habitat. In my very favourite colour, this will make you feel sunny on the most dismal of winter days.

I’ll be back tomorrow to catch up on today’s pick. We were a little busy with Father Christmas today…

Days 5,6 and 7: kids

I’ve rolled days 5, 6 and 7 of my 12 days of Christmas recommendations together to tackle my nemeses; the playroom and kids’ bedrooms.

When we decorated the kids’ playroom, which can be accessed through glass doors from both the kitchen and the lounge, I worked hard to make sure the decor tied in with those rooms and was future proofed enough for two boys to want to hang out there. And I thought I was doing OK. I love the deep charcoal walls (Farrow & Ball Railings), with matching vintage style column radiators, accented with bold print curtains made from Scion’s Lohko fabric (they have so many amazing pattern ranges at great prices) and finished off with funky armchairs from 

Then the kids moved in.

If you look closely enough you’ll be able to see broken Lego sets (by the ton), random toys shoved in every nook and cranny and enough Playmobil figures to sink a moderately sized cruise ship. And this is only in the bit I’m willing to show you. This is a losing battle my friends. Enter this room with caution, you may well disappear into a sinking sand of children’s crap (there really is no other word for it). Ditto kids bedrooms.

With the children approaching 8 and 10, 2017 is going to demand a bit of an overhaul of their zones, a culling of the plastic tat and the installation of a few slightly more grown up accessories…Cox and Cox have these really stylish pieces – a star floor light and an ‘exit’ wall sign, which have a very on trend industrial feel.

This cinematic light box from Locomocean is already bought and wrapped for my eldest. It comes with a range of letters and emojis so kids can make up their own messages. I’ll largely be anticipating ‘keep out’ or poop wisecracks.

This speech bubble light box that kids can write their own messages on is also great, and comes from Firebox.

Last but not least, if you’re looking for any kid friendly wall art, Ben The Illustrator is your man. This is a print we added to one of the boys’ rooms.

And on that note, it’s time for me to sign off…

Day 4 (and 3)

Oops, day 3 kind of got away from me. But I’m pleased to say that in an uncharacteristic display of organised-ness, presents have now been bought and wrapped, Christmas food has been ordered and so now it’s down to the more pleasurable business of scouring the market for some great home gifting ideas for you.

So today I’m combining days 3 and 4, which are the bedroom and guest bedroom. I think this works for both. It’s a carafe and glass set from Rowen and Wren

I think it’s always nice to offer guests some water in their room and this smoky set caught my eye because it works with the fresh green of our spare room.

It also fits well with the main bedroom. Getting our room right during our renovation was one of the biggest challenges. The room had quite a dingy feel, despite two large and beautiful windows thanks to the fact we get no direct sun on the back of the house and it felt quite uninspired with its cold walls and carpet. We looked at many different colour and pattern options – and I mean many! – before settling on a simple warm and restful colour scheme of creamy beige with slightly mossy tones. The injection of some black accessories against the neutral walls and crisp white bedding creates a modern contrast but still maintains the clean and simple overall feel.



…and after!

But what I’m really eyeing (and not to cheat you out of a day 4 pick) is a black window mirror like this one from Maisons du Monde.

The 12 days of Xmas

With just 12 days to go until the big day, I thought I’d share a pick a day with you, offering my favourite finds for every room in the house.

On this, the first day, I’m starting with the garden. Our garden is the most recently renovated part of our home, and although currently in need of some finishing touches, it’s nice to have squeezed in the makeover before Christmas.

We went from this….

…via this…

…to this….

It’s not the world’s biggest garden but our brilliant team of landscapers did an amazing job in adding entertaining space, relaxing space, storage space (what colour to paint the shed that’s waiting to be built?) and (don’t tell the kids) a trampoline space! 

When spring rolls around, we’ll be planting up borders, adding new furniture to our sun deck at the bottom of the garden and also installing some solar lighting. 

I love these solar powered twigs from Not On The High Street, they would add a really pretty detail to any garden, as well as some nice soft, ambient lighting.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second day of Christmas…

I told you…

…there would be pom poms.

When I wrote my last post about Christmas mantlepieces, I was scratching my head about how I was going to make my Christmas tree with traditional red decorations fit in with my new grey lounge with bright pink chairs.  I am definitely all about the matching and toning – red and pink?  No.

Turns out I needn’t have worried as despite moving to a bigger house with a bigger lounge, we somehow had no room to put the Christmas tree in there (we still can’t quite work that one out).  So the tree has taken pride of place in our open plan kitchen, which makes total sense as we spend most time in there anyway.


But not to forget the lounge, I set to work making it Christmassy in other ways.  There was only one option I could see for tying into the pink and grey and that was to go colourful and kitsch, with a bit of sparkle and shine thrown in.  Check out the mini tabletop tree – multi coloured glittery baubles and matching multi coloured lights too.  That’s right, there are no tasteful warm white twinkling lights here my friends.  Hey, I’ve got two kids under 10, so it’s OK, right?

Whilst I was at it, I added some matching larger glittery baubles to a bowl on the mantlepiece and then went for full on glitter and sparkle with the addition of some mercury dipped candlesticks with white glittery candle wreaths, reindeer (£4 each from Wilko, what a bargain) and my porcelain light up cone trees from last year.  All finished off by them there pom poms.  In fact, they inspired the whole look after I fell in love with them while researching my last post.

OK OK I fibbed a bit, there are some warm white twinkly lights after all.

I then strung a fabulous garland from Gisela Graham (the queen of decorations) across the top of our double doors.  Yes, more glitter, more colour.


Last but not least (and since Christmas is apparently all about the kids), I dug out some long forgotten Christmas Playmobil and got the boys to work creating festive scenes inside my bell jar style lamps from Laura Ashley. I had considered making some tiny snow scenes with little white houses  and galloping reindeer inside the lamps, but honestly it would have been just too tasteful. Nothing says Christmas more than a couple of plastic Santas anyway.

And that’s it.  Important not to go too far, don’t you think? I hope you like my Christmas stylings and your own decorating is going well.


Christmas is coming….

In fact it feels like Christmas has been coming ever since we blew out the tea lights in the pumpkins and handed out the last of the sweets on Halloween.  Is it me, or is it getting earlier every year? And is it me, or does every single retailer have a gushy Christmas TV ad now? But that’s another story.

It might sound like I’m being a bit bah humbug but far from it actually.  I confess, I’ve been listening to Christmas music in the car ever since I found a dedicated radio station. The kids are apoplectic with excitement about opening the first door on their advent calendars tomorrow morning and I’m just as excited as they are about getting the Christmas tree up and decorating the house the minute the clock strikes December.

One of the things I’m especially excited about is having a proper fireplace to decorate for the first time ever. In fact, I might have spent a slightly disproportionate amount of time examining Christmas garlands everywhere I go. Pre-lit, not lit, snowy, glittery, with holly berries? The choice is endless.

So, having done a huge trawl of the internet for mantlepiece decorating ideas, I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you, in case you also need a spot of inspiration.  My favourite find this year is the pom pom garlands.  If I can get my hands on one in time, you’ll definitely be seeing that in my house somewhere.

Watch this space to see the final look after our festive decorating bonanza this weekend and happy decorating yourself. Please share your pictures, I love seeing other people’s decor.