Do you work from home? I haven’t worked in an office for as long as I can remember (English Mum is 12 next month – can you believe that?) and I feel so incredibly lucky to do what I love without having to commute to an office every day. However, I’ve been feeling recently that my little spot at the kitchen table isn’t serving me that well. The boys are both home from uni (Sam has finished uni – I feel a million years old), and the kitchen tends to be where everyone gathers, so when I’m busy trying to think of a different word for sophisticated while writing a ship review for Cruise International, I end up actually writing down whatever conversation I’m listening to instead. I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time to head back upstairs to the ironing room (it’s a single spare bedroom currently used for extra storage and ironing) and mulling over some stylish home office ideas.
You know Mr E, he loves a bit of upcycling. Now the wall has been taking down between the kitchen and the dining room, I’ve obviously lost all the kitchen cupboards that were on that wall. Hence, I’m always complaining about not having enough storage in the kitchen, so wasn’t at all surprised when he appeared one night with his latest Ebay find: a tall, pine unit with a cupboard and lots of shelves. It looked absolutely perfect, the only problem was that it was a pretty hideous shade of orange. As we discussed colours, I mentioned that I’d seen some really dark grey interior finishes recently, and that I really wanted shades of granite and khaki for the kitchen, with accents of copper that have been dominating my Pinterest for a while now.
Welcome to the first weekend wishlist of 2018! I’m in a positive frame of mind at the moment, and I have loads of plans for updating our home. I want to create a cosy, calm home that’s a retreat for us all – first order of the day will be a massive declutter (that goes for my wardrobe too – more of this later), and then maybe a fresh coat of paint (I’m thinking about saying goodbye to the blue wall in the kitchen and replacing it with a more stylish Scandi-inspired grey), as well as repainting the chairs in more muted tones. I want our home to be enhanced with fresh greenery, pale wood, clean lines, soft textures and elegant functional furniture (I’m after a perfect, mid-century inspired chair for an empty corner in the lounge at the moment). Here are a few of the Scandi inspired home updates that I’ve got in mind:
Since arriving back from Orlando on Thursday, we’ve really noticed how autumnal it seems to have become in just that short period. Our gorgeous parrotia tree, experiencing its first autumn in the garden, is now aflame with orange, coral and red, showing off its glorious, glowing colours every time I’m at the kitchen sink, and there’s a new nip in the air that I’m certain wasn’t there when we left. Still, I’m happy to be spending a few days snuggling at home before I jet off on my next adventure, and top of my weekend wishlist are some delicious, autumnal interiors: scented candles, soft throws, plump cushions and more (I need all the comfort after the trauma of waving Charlie off to university). Here are a few bits I’m loving right now:
Since we’ve knocked through the kitchen/dining room, my kitchen is one of our favourite spaces. It’s not flashy (we couldn’t afford new units so we just changed the worktop, tiles and – finally this year – the flooring), but it’s so light and bright now, and along with our brightly painted, upcycled kitchen table, chairs and wall units (thanks to Mr E) it’s happy and homely too. I’m always on the lookout for cheerful, quirky things, so here’s my summer kitchen roundup, including some really rather lovely sale items!
You all know I love a bright colour – there’s something about being surrounded by brights that constantly lifts your mood. Although I love a minimalist wardrobe, I don’t think I could ever have a minimalist home: for one thing, we’re too messy, and for another I love my bright blue kitchen table too much! This week I’ve been delighted to discover a new range, Tribal Treasures at Homesense and T K Maxx, which is both beautiful and inspiring.
Okay, if you’re not on Instagram you probably won’t know what on earth I’m talking about when I mention jungalow style, so I’ll explain. One of my favourite websites, The Jungalow, is home to the gorgeous Justina Blakeney, a designer who lives in LA at her heavenly, stylish home, The Jungalow. Justina’s designs are full of bright colours and beautiful patterns, and The Jungalow is a mine of fabulous inspiration: quirky hand made pieces, loads of plants, colour and lush prints. I adore everything about Justina’s ‘new Bohemian’ Jungalow style, and although Bedfordshire’s a pretty long way from LA, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all bring a little bit of jungaliciousness (that’s a word, right?) into our lives, is there? With The Jungalow as my inspiration, I set out on a mission to find a few bright accessories to give our kitchen a bit of a spring update.
2016 has been wonderful and awful all at once. For us as a family, the beginning of 2016 was really just spent thanking our lucky stars that Mr E finally got a job after quite a few months of being unemployed, and was also the year we finally started to get things finished around the house. We’ve had the usual teenage ups and downs: a (minor) car accident, drunken evenings, arguments and girl troubles… but nothing too terrible, thank goodness. In the big wide world, however, and outside of my lovely family, 2016 has been a year of tragedy, sadness and some shocking moments, culminating in the death of the voice of my teenage years, George Michael, and the fabulous Carrie Fisher, making us all pretty keen to wave it goodbye. It has, though, as this fabulous article in The Pool recently pointed out, had the strange side effect of making us all care a little more; it made us a bit more aware of the suffering of others and increased our capacity for empathy. And for that, I guess, we have to be grateful.
Our new kitchen/diner space is finally finished, and I’m absolutely loving having another space to decorate. Let’s face it, the kitchen is where I spend most of my time, and having the tree and decorations in it has made the space even more special. If you saw our simply hygge Christmas dinner party (DO make that slow roasted lamb in sloe gin – it’s delicious), you would have seen some of the decorations. I just wanted to do a bit of a roundup and recommend a few things to you. If you’re doing your decorating this weekend, have a look at the Christmas decorations from Next. Honestly, they’ve got so many lovely quirky things – you won’t be disappointed
…today in the form of a few gorgeous bits from HomeSense. I love it now Mr E isn’t based up in Scotland any more. We had such a lovely weekend, full of walks and trashy telly and a delicious slow roasted lamb dinner (that the boys re-heated at approximately 11.30pm – I’ve given up trying to get them to have dinner with us every Sunday – their social lives are just too busy). We also had a lovely pootle around HomeSense on Saturday, trying to get a few ideas to warm up the house ready for a cosy Christmas. Here’s what I picked up…
At some point during this weekend, and I’m not really sure when: some time between frosty dog walks, wrapped up in snuggly jumpers (that hush Claire jumper just showing in the pic above is a favourite) hats and scarves, sipping hot chocolate, munching on home made pizza with the boys, painting skirting boards (we’ve just had new floors) and wandering around home stores looking at cushions and throws to create our perfect hygge kitchen (it’s my favourite new word), Mr E turned to me and said ‘I’m in a really good place’. He’s not one for outbursts of emotion, so that little sentence meant more to me that you could know. What with recovering financially after his redundancy, a mad couple of months of travel and the boys starting back studying, it’s been a pretty busy time, and to finally be at home, doing a bit of nesting and enjoying our little family feels great. Read more
One of the things we absolutely loved when we were in Boston were all the autumnal home decorations. People everywhere decorate their porches and front doors with all sorts of beautiful, glowing wreaths, floral displays and, of course, pumpkins. The family houses were swathed with spooky skeletons, witches and spiders, but we noticed that nearly every home had at least a pumpkin and maybe some pretty orange flowers in pots, and some had gone all out with the most gorgeous decoration:
See what I did there?
On Tuesday, I hot footed it to High Wycombe to attend the opening of the new Dunelm store in High Wycombe. If, like me, you’ve mostly used Dunelm in the past when you needed a new doormat or washing up bowl, you won’t believe the difference. Existing Dunelm stores are having major refurbishments done, and new ones are light, bright, modern and user-friendly.
Ahhh I love September! As much as I love the sunshine, I think there’s something really special about the promise of frosty mornings, cuddly jumpers, scented candles, red wine and crunchy leaves, plus there’s so much lovely stuff about in the shops with all the new autumn/winter 2015 collections.
This week (and weekend) has been absolutely manic. All of a sudden, everyone who couldn’t do any work for weeks decided that they could do it RIGHT NOW, so suddenly, after living in a building site since June, we were having worktops delivered and choosing tiles and living off baguettes and cheese (which is actually not much of a hardship) as our cooker and hob were out of action. If you’ve been following my kitchen story, you can skip this bit, but if not, let me take you back, waaaaay back *does weird wobbly hand movements to indicate going back in time*.
Oh isn’t it just heavenly to see the sunshine? I’ve been waking really early, the sun streaming through the curtains (this makes Mr E really grumpy but I LOVE it), making myself a cup of honey and lemon in hot water (current obsession) and wandering around the garden, watching Tails the cat hiding under the delicious-smelling jasmine (by the way, look at the size of him – will he ever stop growing?), watering my little terracotta pots of herbs and other bits and pieces, playing tug of war with Lyra…
- Weekend wishlist: new season trends are landing! August 11, 2018
- Houses and scare zones at Halloween Horror Nights 2018 August 10, 2018
- Our tips for making the leap to university August 9, 2018
- Cruising with friends: our P&O Cruises Oceana adventure August 7, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: REN skincare deals and discount codes August 4, 2018