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THE PERFECTLY SIMPLE WHITE TABLE LAMP

Minimalist LightingHello! This is the first of a few lighting posts I’d had planned for April. I am a lighting addict. Some of you may not know this, but I worked in a lighting boutique just after finishing college and ended up managing the place for eight years! New, vintage, junk shop repair jobs, modern, flamboyant and task. I love them all, wall ceiling and floor. But today it’s all about the perfect white table lamp. This lovely clean lined baby came from BHS. It’s a conical white gloss vase with tapered wooden base, a linen drum shade and has lovely fabric covered flex. I chose it because it’s completely different from all our other lighting – I have quite a gathering of antique and french style table lamps and our collection of desk lamps is getting crowded. The only problem with this lamp is that is looks good everywhere! Maybe you can help me decide where it should stay. . . . . . ?Dressing Table Styling The shade gives a lovely bright glow so there is no need for any other lighting in the room – with the right bulb. I have tried it on my dressing table, to shed some light over painting my nails and choosing jewellery.Eclectic Lounge In the living room nook it makes reading easy and again lights up the whole room which is just as well (we are still bare bulbed up in the ceiling)! In the top picture – I tried it on my husbands side of the new desk and it fits in well with all his man stuff. Below you can see it makes a great bedside light in-keeping with our minimalist theme of little furniture and only essential things nearby. So, in which spot should it live, help!?Simple bedroom lighting

AESTHETICALLY MAGICAL – THE STUFF OF LIFE

Hilary Robertson's new bookI can’t contain the joy I feel when I turn the pages of The Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson. You may have noticed that my book reviews are always positive, that’s because I only choose books that I know I can connect with and think you will too. Every now and then one comes along that just knocks my socks right off. When I was browsing the image gallery to choose a few pages to share with you, I knew after the first photo this could possibly be the best interiors book I will read this year and boy-oh-boy it’s good.Vintage collection displayThe Stuff of Life is a guide to styling with explanations, practical advice and inspiration taken from the real homes of people with a natural gift for choosing, arranging and curating their possessions. But I feel these words don’t do justice to the magic within the pages. These are homes of collectors, creatives, artists, designers, shopkeepers, photographers and Hilary’s own home – from which the top image is taken. Modern rustic interiorIn the first chapter – How to Arrange your Stuff – Hilary illustrates different approaches to arrangements and shows how each one can be achieved. The styling section follows and is broken into five types :-

Neatniks – Skilled at editing, neatniks aim to live simply and efficiently, surrounding themselves with just a few well chosen pieces.

Bohemian – Individualists, iconoclasts, explorers, free thinkers, eccentrics. Bohemians are never phased by a lack of funds or square metres, as their solutions are always inventive and original.

Naturalist – Beachcombers, foragers, flower people, disciples of Thoreau. Lovers of nature who want to bring the outside in.

Sculpture Vulture – Art lovers with a love for sculptural objects placed just so, sculpture vultures have a connoisseur’s eye and are mix masters for whom proportion is everything.

Noble salvage – Scavengers, junk junkies, antique addicts. Repurposing is noble salvage’s raison d’etre. Buying from a shop is unthinkable for a noble salvager.

The observations in each of the categories study the way in which the home owners have curated, displayed and built the layers of their homes over the years and although of course I would love to be a Neatnik or a Naturalist – the words ‘Bohemians are never phased by a lack of funds or square metres’ are ringing some very loud bells!Hilary Robertson's new bookUnusual collections and eccentricities are explored and showcased throughout the book. The homes featured range from dark and mysterious to bright white and colourful. In each photograph there are many things to discover and appreciate. I will be reading and re-reading this for months, savouring and marking pages. Keeping my copy within reach by the side of the bed, ready for an inspiring pick me up when the cats get me up at an unthinkable hour each day.Hilary Robertson's new bookHaving been interiors obsessed since I can remember, I loved the discovery of interiors magazines when I reached college. I always search them hoping to discover a spread that stops my heart and often they fail to fulfil my addiction. The pages of The stuff of life are full of heart stopping homes and will keep me happily occupied and inspired for the foreseeable future.How to displayThe Stuff of Life by Hilary Robertson is published by Ryland Peters and Small and is available from rylandpeters.com 

MAN V WIFE – A JOHN LEWIS LIVING ROOM

The paint is dry and only the shelves need to go up in the home office now, then it will be reveal time! So once my hand is fixed we will get out the tools again and make a start on our living room. After finding a copy of the John Lewis brochure in with my last issue of Living Etc, I decided to play the wish list game with the husband. A fun experiment to compare our different tastes then work out a way to combine them. I have a feeling the floral cushion will be an instant veto though!A feminine Living Room SchemeI am always looking for a soft cosy look when I choose living room furniture. Pale greys are my go to colours – livened up with cushions and layers of brighter accessories.
The items on my wish list are – the Berwick Sofa, soft on the eyes (and backside!) this couch and matching Snuggler just make you want to curl up and cosy down. The Designer’s Guild Octavia Cushion – I have been swooning over this pattern for ages, and if I can’t commit to the wallpaper a cushion will have to do. Some glowing light with the Iron & Clay Rustic Terracotta Candles – which will sit nicely on the Bowmore Log Side Table. Finally to tidy and hide my gathered paper and junk shop finds the Ebbe Gehl – Mira Bookcase with  built in tidy box. Candle light and rustic occasional furniture are always on my mind these days and I found a lot to love in John Lewis’s new ‘Croft Collection‘.A manly Living Room SchemeNow to share what he picked – the Gazelle Bookcase – almost identical to my choice so it will just be a colour haggle on the style of shelving! Matthew Hilton Metropolis Sofa – not as cosy but I must admit I do like it’s mannish lines. The Oliver Hrubiak Finn Side Table, with it’s mid century vibe and a magazine resting spot. Niki Jones Harlequin Cushion – Dean is not really a cushion lover so when pressed for an option I was pretty excited to see this, as I love Niki Jones! I am sure he would cull most of the cushion pile we have on our current couch given half a chance. Ebbe Gehl – Mira TV Stand – not for a TV as we don’t have one, but a super piece of storage. Lastly the Says Who – Why Coffee Table, simple functional design, enough said.4 of the best cushions for 2014I also found a few more cushions as I have a bit of an obsession, and just because I am not allowed any more, you might be! What is a living room without cuddly extras? Featured above are - La Cerise Sur Le Gateau Alice Liberty Cushion, Pyramids Cushion (a unisex one to tempt him), Harlequin Serene Cushion and Louise Body Pots Cushion.

So what do you think? Onboard with my slouchy, feminine greys or loving my mans MCM lines and functionality?

WHAT’S IN YOUR BATHROOM CUPBOARDS?

A Sweet Scented SactuaryHello, Wednesday people! With my bathroom makeover still bottom of the to do list – I get my kicks by watching Kimberly’s renovation with anticipation and indulging with my favourite beauty products. Today I thought I would share some of the lovely things I can’t live without in my bathroom. These are all products I have and use at home, and they deserve better than sharing space with peach marble tiles and broken windows. Like me they also dream of one day being set down in a beautiful space – like the ones featured in this post!

Clarins pure melt cleansing gel – with Marula oil. This smells and feels divine and doesn’t sting my eyes when I am trying to dissolve three layers of mascara!

Dior Escale a Portofino a blend of Calabrian Bergamot, Italian Citron, Sicilian Petitgrain, Bitter Almond, Orange Blossom and Mediterranean Cypress essences – a refreshing citrus daytime scent that smells so lovely and clean.

Soap Smith Camden Town body butter melt – a seductive blend of coconut, bergamot and a hint of musk. It feels so good smoothed on to warm skin after a bath and I can’t explain just how melty it is!

Neom Cocooning candle - yesterday to cheer myself up, I  jumped in the hot tub, lit this candle and watched the clouds roll past the bathroom window. Letting the sweet smell of mandarin and jasmine melt away my woes. I have been taking part in the #NeomStressLessChallenge over the last couple of weeks and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The shock and stress of falling over at the station like an idiot, has not only left me with a painful internally bruised left hand – but also induced a bout of eczema on all my fingers. So staying calm to help it all heal is a must!Luxury Rose Geranium Bath SaltsNeom Real Luxury organic body scrub – this big pot of organic scratchy sugary goodness is still going strong. I love to use it in the evening when the lavender scent calms me before sleep.

Soapsmith Limehouse handmade soap – this one belongs to the man. I pinch it every now and then, the zesty lemongrass and limes smell so good and put a spring in my step on early mornings.

Zara Home Dark Amber handwash – a lovely smokey liquid soap that is a nice change from all the sweet floral or antibacterial hand washes out there, I always stock up when I’m passing their brighton store.

Lab Series Multi Action Face Wash – another one belonging to the husband but it really makes my face feel squeaky clean so I use it a couple of times a week.Luxury Rose Geranium Bath SaltsKissing Elixirs Cinnamint Fresh Breath Mist (wow that was a tongue twister) – love this all natural mouth freshener, so much better than chewing gum and eating sugary mints. Don’t know why it’s in the bathroom, I usually keep in in my bag.

Barr and Co Salve Balm – a gift from my friend Rose, this lovely balm is a great dry hand, elbow and heel saver, I slather it on at night and let it soak in while I sleep. The scent is milky oatmeal, vanilla and vetiver.

Tokyo Milk soap – any and all, they rarely get opened or used as the wrappers are just too pretty!

Last but not least – Parkminster Rose Geranium Bath Salts – the scent fills the whole house while I’m running a bath and real rose petals add a luxury sanctuary feel to a soak. Happy bathing! x

Bathroom images My first little placePaul Massey via Sanctuary and Country Living. You can find more bathroom inspiration images on my pinterest board here x

COLOUR JOY WITH BRIGHT BAZAAR THE BOOK

Bright Bazaar by Will TaylorColour is your friend – great words to remember! Today I am super excited to share some beautiful pages from the bright, colourful and most definitely fun new book – Bright Bazaar by Will Taylor. As a girl who is mostly fond of a grey and white palette, I do enjoy colour immensely and it often sneaks onto our rooms in the form of items that can be added and taken away. I have never committed to a bright colour on our walls and have been debating over wallpaper for years – there are so many colour and pattern choices we always end up without. After reading through the happy and bold pages of Will’s book I am getting braver with each leaf I turn. Bright Bazaar by Will TaylorPacked full of new images of real homes from all over the world, the lovely yellow edged pages make up four sections that guide and teach you – colour is your friend – colour cocktails – bringing colour home and useful resources. From fabulous first impressions with bright front doors to boldly patterned walls, each page has useful tips and secrets on colouring every corner of your home. I love this display of pretty clothes against the floral wallpaper in a Swedish summerhouse above, and below the cheerful print with bright bouquet and cushions add splashes of colour to a mainly white and simply furnished dining room.Bright Bazaar by Will TaylorWhether you are a colour maximalist, a white wall-er like me that prefers a moveable palette, or a collector that needs help curating your colourful things – there are new ideas and modern twists on classic style advice for everyone throughout the pages of Bright Bazaar. I am sure even the most die hard minimalist’s lips will be curving up at the edges at Will’s – make you smile style!

Bright Bazaar by Will Taylor is published by Jacqui Small and released on the 17th of April!

WEEKEND PURSUITS AND RECENT DAYS

Blues NightJust lately our days have been so filled, I rarely sit still long enough to recount them, so I thought I would post some of the things I have been up to and places we have visited. A candlelit blues night with amazing food and even better company, that one of my oldest friends puts on in the winter months to keep us going until Spring truly settles in. Some days spent helping out in Butlers Emporium, keeping shop while Rose travels and helping her get the Etsy shop up and running.Blossom trees in bloomChasing blossom all around the county oohing and aahing at every pink, white, red and yellow bough with great joy. It is such a welcome sight after the cold damp winter we had.Curated-Art-wallCurating a wall of all our favourite pictures as they have been lying on shelves, and leaning against the walls for weeks. Some almost a year! Putting the final touches in our home office that is almost complete. Marvelling at nature more than usual and now I feel almost ready to call myself a gardener. I have kept many plants alive for a whole twelve months, relocating and salvaging green things from all around our front yard. Cultivating a mini oasis of potted alpines and shrubs.Plant Nursery in EtchinghamSpring days outStalking magnolias all around the Old Town and moving lamps from surface to surface, I like to adjust the layout of everything in each room most days, it makes me happy.Plant Nursery in EtchinghamFriday afternoon I ran like a mad woman to catch the fast train to London. I tripped and fell up the station stairs and crushed my hand underneath me. After a lot of sobbing a doctor looked it over and declared it wasn’t broken – just swollen, bruised and quite unsightly. I could move all my fingers so hopefully it’s just a painful sprain. I was hoping to make paper flowers with Tiffany Grant Riley at her West Elm workshop on Saturday. With a hand that was as grippy as a penguin wing I had to watch from the sidelines, it was a little bit torturous not being able to take part but as it turned out my friend Judith was a star pupil!Spring Bouquet Honey SuckleWe spent Sunday at a boot fair and shifted some bits and pieces, so our attic is a roomier space for now. Then in the afternoon we drove out to Etchingham and visited a magical place – King Johns Nursery and garden. A plant nursery, shop, and beautiful garden surrounding a Grade II listed Jacobean manor house. We wandered through a meadow with fritillary popping their heads above the grass, in amongst ancient apple trees and sat a while by the wild pond watching the insects and listening to the birds. Plant Nursery in EtchinghamPeeking behind two giant old wooden doors we saw all the baby plants waiting to make their way into the nursery and then on to new homes. This is a beautiful place unlike any other garden centre I have visited, no regimented lines of pots here, more like a garden that has taken on a life of it’s own, tumbling vines and ancient roses, a 40 year old money tree and exotic things that smell of peanut butter and lemon.

I cannot wait to go back on May the 25th when we will be selling handmade gifts and home wares at a vintage fair that is being held in the grounds. I will keep you updated on that!Plant Nursery in Etchingham

SPRING HOME MAKEOVER WITH LAURA ASHLEY

Geranium Fabric and floral DressHappy Friday to you, the weekend is almost upon us and I have been enjoying our home and garden under rays of glorious sunshine these past few days. With some favourite items from the new Laura Ashley Spring collection, I have filled my home and garden with fresh florals and created a shaded reading spot under our beautiful apple tree. You can see the full post and makeover pics over on the Laura Ashley blog.Peony Fairy Light GarlandI have been busy painting my world with Spring colours indoors and out using geraniums, disty florals, flashes of pink and probably the cutes pair of canvas shoes you will see this year! Floral lace up shoesGeranium Printed FabricPretty Straw Clutch BagI love the little tag that comes on this straw clutch bag, explaining that it is a vintage print from the Laura Ashley Archives xFlorals by Laura AshleyFind all the items I love here – Ditsy Rose Print Dress, Straw Floral Trim Clutch Bag, PeonyString Lights, Rose Print Canvas Trainers and Geranuim Curtain Fabric  x

EASTER INSPIRATION FOR HOME AND GARDEN

Easter Decorating and Parties A little bit of Easter inspired fun today, pastel colours and pretty decorations for Spring parties and outdoor gatherings. Invite your friends over for egg hunts and garden picnics, paint your fingers and toes with sugared almond coloured polish or snuggle up with a bunny cushion. You can find all these lovely things and more over on the new collection Spring Fiesta I created for eBay’s Spring campaign. I love putting these boards together, and if you like them too, you can follow the collection for more candy coloured joy updates.

ETSY PAGES – FOUR FROM BATHING BEAUTY

Best Etsy ShopsAs our bathroom is the last room on the renovation list I am always looking for lovely bath time products to take my mind off the 90′s peach marbled tiles and claustrophobic shower cubicle that reside in there for now. These lovelies can all be found on my curated Etsy Page Bathing Beauty.

Clockwise from top left - Organic Pink Clay Floral Facial Mask 100% Natural and Vegan – Herbivore Botanicals, Natural Lip Scrub, Lip Balm Gift Set – Winsome Green, Cherry Almond Sugar Scrub cubes – Oh Yum and Rose Petal and Garden Sage Relaxing and Romantic Epsom and Sea Bath Salts – Kyra Botanica.

OBSESSING OVER WALLPAPER – YET AGAIN!

4 of the best wallpapersI am totally fine knowing I’ll probably never have wallpapered walls – I simply cannot choose just one. Obsessing over pattern choices has been a regular feature on Lobster and Swan over the years, so today I am just sharing the five amazing wallpaper prints that have been frying my brain over the last few months. Some old, some new, starting from above –  Swan Lake by Nina Campbell – for obvious reasons and I am totally taken with the yellow colour way.4 of the best wallpapersOctavia by Designers Guild subtle colours combined to create a hand oilpainted feel, pretty but bold, oldfashioned but not.4 of the best wallpapersManila by Sanderson a total wild card for me – but I love the stylised leaf design, it feels fresh and tropical and I especially like it in the crazy turquoise colour way! 4 of the best wallpapersHouse of HackneyMidnight Garden (dark) and Peoneden (citrine) both by House of Hackeney, vintage style grandeur with a luxury feel - ‘prints that are steeped in tradition but are bold and non conformist for a modern statement’. Any of these take your fancy? If I could house them all it wouldn’t that be great – behold the crazy house of pattern!

Bathroom image (top) via Natalie Clayman, all other images from links above.


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