Friday, 18 December 2015

Hunker Down and Cosy Up

NEWS: These past few months I've got to know my sofa quite well. Mainly because I've been sitting on it for increasing periods of time. My recent inactivity has been brought on by a new and fantastic occurrence...I'm four months pregnant! My husband and I are both beyond excited about becoming parents. It will be, and has already been, a massive learning curve but we're ready for it :)

As amazing as this life changing news is, it has brought on a tremendous amount of morning sickness - I don't think I ever fully appreciated how debilitating morning sickness can be. I take my hat off to all the mammas out there. I think I am past the worst of it, thank goodness, so now I want to get to the crazy nesting and obsessive planning stage. Any tips on preparing for motherhood are most certainly welcome!

It has been a while since I graced these pages with my presence. I do apologise. As I've said before, I cannot guarantee I'll be back here with a regular schedule but I do intend to continue posting as and when I can. 

Right, let's get down to business and talk some interiors...

I love making my home as cosy as it possibly can be; especially when the weather is as cold as it has been recently. Goodness me, did someone say fluffy slipper socks?! I, for one, have definitely been living in mine. To help me snuggle down kindly contributed to my cushion collection. My obsession with grey is still as strong as ever, and so their Cleo cushions in pewter were the perfect addition to my sofa party. Cleo cushions in Pewter

The cushions are extremely plump and supportive as well as being a good quality. I feel that the thick, ribbed material makes them hard wearing so they wont be looking sorry for themselves any time soon, especially considering my current overuse of them.

Hands up, who'll be running round picking up last minute Christmas presents this weekend. I'm very nearly finished but I certainly have a lot of wrapping to do. 

If I don't manage to head back here before the big day, may I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

Claire x kindly supplied the cushions featured in this post for review purposes. All thoughts are my own. 


Monday, 5 October 2015

Hot Off the Press: Interior Designer Interview

It's that transition time of year whether you're stalking the shops for a new winter coat or updating your interiors with cosy cushions and thicker throws. I do enjoy this time of year but the darker and colder mornings make it that bit harder to get out of bed. I'm one of those people who has to get up and out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off. None of this having several alarms going off at scheduled times apart. Oh no, bite the bullet and get out of bed before my body knows what it's doing. 

I know I've been in a blogging hiatus recently and for that I do apologise. I can't promise that I will fully get back into the swing of things but I will try my best to post as and when I have something useful to say. I definitely want to share our garden as after all the hard work over the summer it is looking rather splendid, even if I do say so myself. 

Anyway, first up I wanted to share a professional interiors insight with you. The work of Anna Palmer a professional interior designer recently caught my attention as she's teamed up with Bathroom Heaven and you might remember that our small bathroom is next on my hit list. So when the opportunity arose to interview Anna I jumped at the chance. Here's what we discussed...

Q. What are the upcoming colour trends that we should be looking out for?

A. Copper, with its rich, warm and inviting feel is very much in at the moment. It works particularly well in kitchens and bathrooms and can create a stunning focal point in an otherwise plain interior. Copper has found its way as a feature with a plethora of accessories, making it even easier to use this beautifully hued metal as an accent colour.

Grey is the new neutral these days and works well with pops of colour alongside. I have seen some wonderful grey interiors with accents of yellow.

Via Decor8 Photo from Angelica Gonzalez
Q. How would you go about decorating a small bathroom?
A. Any space will feel larger if it’s lighter and brighter so start off with choosing the colour of your tiles and paint wisely; anything too dark will absorb light and make the room appear smaller. Consider putting in a wall hung WC which ‘floats’ above the floor. Lighting can help create height and depth in a space. Achieve this by adding an LED lightstrip underneath a wall hung vanity sink unit and Illuminating above the sink and in the shower area with task lighting. Include a large mirror or mirrored cabinet to bounce light around the room and lights either side to create the appearance of more space in the room.

Melissa Davis 
Q. What are your top tips for injecting personality into a space?
A. I saw a painting at the entrance of a flea market I went to years ago with my sister. It really caught my eye but was a bit on the expensive side plus I didn’t want to be carrying it around for the next few hours so decided against purchasing it. On my way out it was still there but reduced to half price! I bought it and every time I look at it, even now, it gives me great pleasure and reminds me of the fun I had on that day with my sister. The things we put in our space should have a positive effect on us – buy what makes you feel good. It’s hard to explain sometimes why something makes us feel the way we do but it’s all linked the our personality.

Kiitos Marimeko
Use a side table to display unusual objects, your favourite coffee-table book or a beautiful ornament/bust. It adds a depth and wonderful interest to a room and gives a glimpse of you and what you like. Add a light behind to illuminate and help showcase your life. I have a friend who has a wall dedicated to displaying all his many books he’s collected over the years. He says he’ll never get rid of them because every time he needs inspiration he’ll look at a book and remember what he’s read, where he read it and how it made him feel. It’s a personal thing but one which give him great pleasure and is a link to his past.

Erika Brechtel
Q. What are your favourite resources for inspiration?
A. Google is great for sourcing images and I use Pinterest to collect them and store on one of my many boards I have created. It’s also important to see products, if possible, before buying so I find myself in many a department store which are great places for inspiration. I travel by push-bike in London and I find myself stopping far too often to look into large window displays! It’s all very tempting…

Great tips! A big thank you to Anna for answering my questions and being a part of my blog. I hope you all found what she had to say helpful. 

Claire x


Friday, 31 July 2015

How Do You Like Your Espresso in the Morning?

Presented in a cute and colourful espresso cup, of course! 

Well, actually I can't really drink espresso, as strong caffeine has been known to send me a little loopy. (Give me a cup of Yorkshire tea any day.) My husband, however, loves the stuff and now has a selection of suitably dinky espresso cups to choose from. He received them as a gift from my Mum for his recent birthday, and they are the perfect addition to our kitchen. Just look at them! They're from the House range at John Lewis, unfortunately I couldn't find them online but they have an equally as attractive Le Creuset set on offer at the moment. 

Are you team coffee or team tea?

Claire x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Garden Revamp 4.0

Back again with another small garden update. The concrete foundations have been laid and the wall is on its way up. Hurrah! It's really starting to take shape and I can get a better feel for the area I will eventually be filling with beautiful plants. 

We're currently two dense bricks deep and fingers crossed that the whole structure will be completed this week. (Let's just hope the weather predictions of heavy rain are incorrect.) We're very lucky that we've been able to borrow a lot of the bigger tools from friends and neighbours. Things like the cement mixer and angle grinder, it means that we don't have expensive deadlines if we take a little longer than if we'd have hired them. It is definitely worth asking around, you never really know what your friends have in their garages! 

Once the flower bed structure is up we will be looking at rendering the walls that I will eventually be painting a lovely dark grey colour. I want to jump to the finishing-touches phase but I must be patient. 

Claire x

Monday, 27 July 2015

Croatia Photo Diary

We've been home for over a week and slowly getting back into the swing of things at our respective workplaces. Our holiday provided the most perfect time to relax and unwind, so much so that it has taken me a little longer than usual to get my head back into gear. 

This holiday was very last minute for us but it turned out to be just what we wanted. Lots of time to chill out and dip into the beautiful Adriatic Sea, delicious food and drink, kind and friendly locals and hotel staff and stunning surroundings with the opportunity to explore as much or as little as we wanted. Ah, typing about it is sending me into a holiday dream-like daze. Anyway, I wanted to share a snippet of photographs from our time away in Croatia. I say 'snippet' but I'll let you be the judge of that after you've scrolled down for 10 minutes ;)

I love getting inspiration and a feel for someone else's holiday so I hope that you enjoy this post and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away in the comments section below. 
Beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear waters
An afternoon wine tasting // A little blue boat bobbing along // Sunrise
Cute little boat and a gorgeous sunset
Koločep port by sunset
Palm trees & pink blooms // Green succulent-like bush //
A sweet cacti & succulent garden
Stradun in Dubrovnik Old Town by day
Bell tower in Dubrovnik monastery
Dubrovnik Old Town
Dubrovnik coastline
Stradun in Dubrovnik's Old Town by night
Locally caught fish (it's name sounded something like Loca) //
Black & white cuttlefish risotto // Tomato & mozzarella salad //
Sea bass // Bruschetta
Island life

Have you enjoyed your summer holiday yet or have you got one planned for the future? Where are you going or where have you been? Have you ever tried Croatia?

Claire x

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Pinch, Punch

Good day to you, and welcome to July! 

We're over half way through the year, can you believe it? There's something that I want to be open and honest with you about and it's that I am currently dramatically failing at achieving any of my 'Home Goals' that I shared way back in January. Other things have stepped in and taken priority or we've just not had the time or funds. I'm certainly not going to beat myself up about it because I'm very happy in our home, however it may come, and that's what's important to me. 

Anyway, summer is apparently here and I am definitely a fan of the warmer months and really want to try and make the most of being outside. We've even got a last-minute getaway booked for my husband's 30th birthday to look forward to next week. I'm rather excited! 

I also wanted to let you know that I was back over on the Object blog the other day, if you fancy heading over for a quick read. I'm discussing decluttering techniques for a healthy house and mind. 

Have a happy hump day! :)

Claire x

Monday, 29 June 2015

Garden Revamp 3.0

Hello, I'm here with a little garden revamp update. The weather has been a little off lately which has slowed us down a tad but we're making progress, even if it is slow and steady. 

My extremely hard working husband has dug out the foundations in preparation for the building of the raised flower bed. The foundations have to cover a larger footprint than the actual structure itself, this is to provide sufficient support and hopefully prevent any unwanted movement. The digging and shoveling were no easy tasks as the ground is full of roots and rocks, so hats off to him because I'm sure it would have taken me days (or longer!) if I were to attempt it on my own. 
Looking from the back of the garden towards the house
Foundations dug for the raised flower bed
With the foundations in place we've been busy ordering the next lot of supplies (concrete and bricks) that should be delivered this week, and with a heat wave apparently on its way to the UK hopefully we'll be able to get lots done. It's a shame we won't be enjoying the heat wave relaxing in our garden because as you can see it is definitely resembling a builder's yard more than an oasis of peace and tranquility. 

Must. Remain. Positive. ;)

As always, let me know your thoughts or whether you have any tips you'd like to share. 

Claire x

Thursday, 25 June 2015

#WeBlogMCR - The Foundation Coffee House Meet

It took me just over a year to decide that I wanted to write my own blog. I caught blog-fever whilst planning my wedding, as I devoured a wealth of wedding blogs on a daily basis. Eventually I had had enough, I wanted in. My own special little place on the internet where I was free to be creative, share things that I love and build on my passion for interiors. One particular aspect that I wasn't really expecting but has taken me pleasantly by surprise is the blogging community. There are so many lovely people, all kind and willing to help each other out. It really is fab. If you are thinking of starting a blog, my advice is do it! 
One perfect example of the blogging community at its best is #WeBlogMCR. These Manchester-based blogger events are ran by Holly (Holly Goes Lightly and Dribble) who is the loveliest hostess, she makes everybody feel welcome, sets a really relaxed vibe for the event to run by and even brings prizes! I went to the first meet up a whole year ago and attended the third meet up this past week. Last Thursday evening saw me turn up to The Foundation Coffee House on Lever Street in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. If you're around the area and in need of coffee then you should definitely try it. The staff are delightfully friendly, my first ever matcha latte was scrumptious and the interior is a complimentary mix of industrial-cool and vintage charm. 

Holly said a few welcoming words and we soon got stuck in to the far-reaching realms of blogging and all its wonders. The group comprised of fashion, beauty, health and lifestyle bloggers all happily sharing tips, troubles and goals whilst snapping pics of our location, drinks and nibbles. The Foundation Coffee House was kind enough not only to supply the space (after their usual opening hours) but also provided espresso martinis and a super healthy juice shots. Yum. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and getting to make some new blogging friends, as well as catch up with some old ones too. Make sure you scroll down and take some time to have a look at their links. Once again a massive thanks to Holly who put this all together whilst heavily pregnant! Absolute star :)
Matcha latte // espresso martini // skin juice boost
Great little styling details like the table leg and shelves
Scandi-inspired interiors
Hexagon tiles // subway tiles
Kat Horrocks
Oui Stephanie
Radiance Nutrition
Sarah Jane Jackson
EmmyLou Kelly Photography
Smile At Style
Greedy Sisters

Claire x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Garden Revamp 2.0

If you remember reading my garden inspiration post then you will know that I am partial to a raised flower bed. Especially when it incorporates a seating area. Since I posted about my inspiration I found the below photo on Pinterest and fell in love with the design. The flower bed with the built-in bench allows you to get that bit closer to nature and I think it looks great too. I've decided that I want our rendered walls to be a dark grey - I've been loving the look of grey in the garden (as well as the home) for quite some time and seeing Sian's post over on Moregeous confirmed it for me. A deep and dark grey colour will allow the natural colours of the foliage and flowers to truly pop and stand out. I know that picking out colours is jumping the gun a bit because we are yet to dig the hole for the foundations. It's good to have goals, right? ;)
Olive Garden Design and Landscaping Ltd
Our design:
As mentioned above, the raised bed and seating area were non-negotiable so with the help of my super talented brother we've come up with a design which incorporates both. Perfect! I really liked the 'L' shape as it allows for extra seating and nicely links the flower bed with the decking area. 

To add another texture and area into the garden we're going to be looking at laying some artificial grass, on the right side of the gate as you look into the garden from the house. You might be wondering why we don't just lay some real grass but trust me, there is some logic behind this decision. That side of the garden is quite often shaded by the boundary fence and so grass would not happily grow in that corner. Our next-door neighbours used to have some real grass which looked mostly patchy and so they got rid of it. The flower bed has been positioned in the opposite corner as it gets more sunlight making it a better spot for the plants I'd like to grow. 

The grass won't be laid until the majority of the other work is completed but we should be going to have a look at some suppliers soon to get an idea on price. If you've used any artificial grass then please let us know what you think any recommendations will be gratefully received. 

What do you think of our design? Do you have any tips about building raised flower beds?

Claire x

Monday, 15 June 2015

Bloomin' Monday

Hello and a happy welcome to the start of a new week. I hope you had a lovely weekend. We've been looking into some suppliers for our garden, (more on this later in the week!) finally booking a holiday (woop!) and enjoying some time with family. This week is set to be a busy one but a fun one for me. What are your plans?

Beautiful blooming peonies on our kitchen table
I thought I'd help ease into the week with some of my recent favourite blog posts from the wonderful world of the internet. 

This Victorian-inspired HOME on Rock My Style
A delicious looking lentil and sweet potato SALAD from Dania Trapani
All black FASHION inspiration from Lizzy at Shot From The Street
Making the perfect G&T with Miss Pond

Claire x 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Garden Revamp 1.0

Our garden revamp is well and truly underway! But first, allow me to whisk you back to where we started:
Our small garden back in 2013
The above photograph is of our garden two summers ago when the decking area was first completed. It all looked rather lovely. We had two flower beds on either side of a Yorkshire stone path (not visible in this picture) that allowed you to walk from the gate to the decking. Surrounding the path and the beds we had used bark to keep any weeds at bay. It was quite a rushed and fairly cheap job but it suited our needs at the time.  

An extremely overgrown back garden
Fast forward to more recently and, as you can see above, I felt out of love with the flower beds to the point where I completely neglected them. They inevitably became overgrown and started to look a lot more shabby than chic. As soon as the weather started to brighten up earlier this spring we knew that the garden had to be next on our hit list. That's when I shared a blog post about my Small Suburban Garden Inspiration

So where are we up to now? 

The old beds have been demolished, favourite plants have been salvaged, soil has been moved, two tonnes of sharp sand has arrived and basically a giant mess has been made. Nonetheless, I am excited about our progress and hope that we can keep going with this momentum. 

Garden revamp tip:
Even though the old flower beds looked like a disaster area they were still home to several plants that I wanted to keep and eventually replant into the new beds. This included lamb's ear, purple iris and pink geraniums. I didn't have any spare large pots so we had to improvise. My gardening-loving mother advised me that the best way to keep the plants alive during the renovation was to dig them out of the ground, keeping their roots intact with plenty of soil surrounding them and place them in plastic bags with holes in the bottom. In this state the plants have to be watered just as much as you would a pot or hanging basket. 

That's how far we've come up to now. I'll be back soon with more details on our plans.

Claire x

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


There's a new online concept store that requires your full attention. Object is a beautifully curated virtual shop for those on the search for unique and delightful pieces for the home, wardrobe and wedding. I've known Rachael, Object's founder, for a few years now and had the pleasure of working with her on several projects in the past. She's an incredibly dedicated entrepreneur, and has worked hard to hone her eye to create a strong and extremely aesthetically pleasing brand. You must check out the official instagram account, it is a vision of rose gold heaven!

I did a little guest post over on Object's blog where I discuss 'The Rise of the Sharing Traveller'. This involved some research into Behomm, a house swap website for creative professionals. My new aim in life is to get my home listed on their site, there are so many picture-perfect places to stay, in all far flung edges of this earth. Have a little read if you've got a spare moment. I guarantee you'll want a nosey.

I wouldn't be a very good 'interiors blogger' if I didn't show you a few of my favourite pieces from Object's 'Home' section. So, here you go:

Biscuit Thief Bone China Mug by Ink Inc
Lucky Wheel Print by Kristina Krogh
Trio of Grey Felt Storage Baskets
Medium Textured Weave by Maryanne Moodie
Silver and Black Glass Circular Wall Hanging
I bet you've already mentally loaded your shopping basket. You're welcome ;)

Claire x

Monday, 11 May 2015

Three New Houseplants

It wasn't that long ago that I said I wouldn't be buying any more living plants to adorn my house with. I'm afraid I didn't keep my word. I gave in; and I'm so glad I did because the plants look great and thankfully haven't shriveled up just yet.  My new green friends all sneaked into my shopping trolley at the supermarket and are now happily dotted around the house. I really do love seeing a bit of the outdoors inside, they make such a difference. 
My fireplace in the front room is now home to a lovely fern. I've mentioned previously that our living room is rather shady; and fortunately ferns don't mind that too much. 
Our bedroom fireplace is perfect for this little succulent fella. Unfortunately I don't know it's name - it has tiny heart-shaped leaves that grow from long stems and tumble delicately over the edge of the pot. Any guesses? 
And last but not least the bathroom window has a happy little Christmas cactus also known as Schlumbergera. Our cat Bella has taken quite a fancy to it.

Adding a little splash of green to my home has really helped set the tone for summer. How are you prepping your house for the change in season?

Claire x

Thursday, 7 May 2015


I know that we're already a whole week into May but my laptop has recently been throwing a wobbler, making it nigh on impossible to blog. Apologies! May is currently choc-full of things to do and people to see. I do hope I get chance to get back on the blogging wagon because I really am missing it.

Sunday was my birthday and I had a wonderful time celebrating throughout the whole of the bank holiday weekend. I ate, I drank and I ate and I drank. A lot. It was a great weekend all round. 
I managed to snap this photo of some glorious blossom before the weather in Manchester turned nasty. I know it's a total blogger cliché but I LOVE blossom. It makes me so happy to see it in full bloom. So much so, that I made my husband stop the car so that I could take this picture. 
Claire x

PS. Happy voting!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Utility Room Inspiration

Our small Victorian terrace has a utility room surprisingly tucked into a narrow extension attached to the rear of the house. The name utility room is definitely apt for this particular room because we utilise it to the max! It houses our washing machine, chest freezer, bike gear, walking attire, coats, boots, dog leads, an extra sink and a whole lot more. When we arrive back from a dog walk and Luna is covered head to toe in mud (a frequent occurrence, thanks to living in Manchester) this is the entrance we use. Unfortunately this means that the room takes a good old bashing and is often a little disheveled to say the very least. I really want to give it a refresh but I know that it isn't quite so high on our list of priorities at the moment. Oh well, a girl can dream. And that's exactly what I do via the world of Pinterest. Below are some current inspiration ideas for our utility room. At the moment I seem to be favouring an all white scheme but I'm not sure how well that idea fits in considering the amount of mud and dirt this rooms sees.  My ideas may have to be adapted. 
This small laundry room uses simple touches, like the basket and artwork, 
to make it feel homely
Source unknown
Great use of plants and greenery in this particular utility room
Subway tiles - of course
Great storage ideas, more subway tiles and, of course grey 
will always be a firm favourite of mine
A utility room that doesn't look quite so utility-like, 
hidden white goods are another potential option
Do you have a utility/laundry/mud room? How do you combat the mess, especially if you have a mucky pup?

Claire x
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