It's always tricky to make a bed look nice with a duvet cover right? Here are two different ways- which one is your favourite?
1- Crisp polished look
My friend Karen Griggs owns a gorgeous luxury countryside retreat called Tofy (Old Forge San Hutton) just a few miles out of York with two holiday cottages. She offers an amazing array of Yorkshire products and foods and takes great care in sourcing items for her cottages too.
I love how the bedroom in one of the cottages has been styled with crisp white linen, duvet tucked in, simple velvet cushions and 2 blanket throws at the end of the bed. The blankets have been superimposed with fringes creating a lovely feature. Layering cotton and wool blankets is a lovely thing to do. Each blanket can be then used to huddle up with a good book in front of the fireplace, or to wrap yourself in whilst having a morning coffee on the patio.
photo Heather Dixon features by kind permission of Karen Griggs
shop the look - our soft cotton blanket in mint green with a lovely pale pink edge.
2 -Boho chic look
If you would like to achieve a more boho chic look why not mix patterns. Here a lovely striped blanket covers the end of the bed, whilst a flowery eiderdown is used on top. You can play with pattern scale and type. Another blanket is casually thrown onto the bed- inviting and ready to be used.
shop the look - our soft cotton blanket made of 75 % recycled cotton and 25% other fibres (from discarded clothing ) mustard yellow, cream and brown or in pale beige and cream.
Gold or a touch or bling can bring warmth and a certain richness to your home.
This fab triangular shelf brings geometry to a space- is great for small spaces to display your little collections.
This lovely side table has an Art Deco feel and brings light into the room with the mirror base. Place an object on the base and see it's colours reflect.
Little trays are so useful to have to in the kitchen or a bathroom. their organic shape make these a great little object in itself.
The fine porcelain, here Limoges makes drinking a cup of tea or a coffee even more special. This one is too pretty to leave in the cupboard- display on a sideboard or on open shelves.
Hand block printed sheets £22 for 6
This paper is stunning for gifts but it can also be cut to line drawers or cover shelves. Or why not frame it?
Set of 4 decorative brass polished bowls £39.50
Long vermeil Napoleon III cocktail spoon £12 each
Stackable bowls are so great to have. I love the sound these make when they are touched. The spoons are tall and elegant and perfect to mix cocktails.
Scented pomander £32
Add a lovely scent to your room by hanging this pomander in your wardrobe or on a door knob. Makes a great little gift too.
I really think that the word chores should be banned. CHORES means something that’s difficult that’s unwanted. It’s a routine task, tedious but necessary.
I’m lucky that some of my adult years I’ve had help with cleaning the house. I’ve had periods where I’ve had no help for three years and a period were I’ve had help once or twice a week. Recently my lovely lady who had been working for me for 10 years decided to go and work in hotel restaurant. At the beginning I was really upset and I thought oh no I am not going to be able to cope with two businesses, 3 children and a dog (I don’t mention my husband as he is a great help) and taking over the cleaning of the house. I must admit that it’s taken me a few weeks to come to the realisation that I was using the wrong words to describe what I was doing for the house like « cleaning chores » « I’ve got to do it » « my house is messy » « there is dust everywhere ». Everything in the words I used were very "doom and gloom".
The shift started when I actually decided that I was actually taking care of my home, creating a soul for it. I was nurturing my home and belongings and I was saying thank you to the things that I have in my home. I was connecting with my home. Now, I know you might think this is crazy : when you’re hoovering round you're connecting with your home but you truly are. You are walking and looking at your space and doing it intentionally and purposefully . You are adding a layer of love to your home. And what I mean about connecting is also that every time you pick up an object or something that you own to dust it (a book, a. trinket or a vase or something given to you by your grandmother) spend time looking at it- just those few nanoseconds you’re present with that piece be thankful for it's story it’s history it's origins it's beauty it's shape it’s texture. The same goes when you’re shaking blankets or carpets outside. Remember the aesthetic and purpose they have for you everyday.
Every Saturday over a drink and a pizza we watch some tv with the family. We each have a blanket (well the dog, the children and I- the husband gets too hot). At the end of the evening the blankets are folded neatly back in a pile right? Err...no! They end up all crumpled on the floor and sofa and this used to make me soooo angry. Not anymore as I see it as a joyful time that we’ve had together.
I am sure you can relate to this, I used to be the sort of person saying "I’m sorry my house is not very tidy", rushing around like a lunatic before people would come round. Now I know that if I nurture it every day, I don't need to feel guilty. Some days the house will look better than others but this is a reflection of our lives and what’s happening. But above all, I realise that I’m thankful for my beautiful home and for the items that I have.
Birch 3 D printed vase
I remember going to a gallery in London about 12 years ago and being fascinated by the 3D printing machine. This one could create a 3 D portrait of you from a multitude of photos taken from multiple angles. It was incredibly expensive.
I am still fascinated and wanted to look at the origins- the origins date to 1981 and Hideo Kodoma in Japan was trying to find a way to develop a rapid prototyping system- he discovered the technology to create the layers and how they hardened with UV light but wasn't able to patent his technology.
It's really when the American furniture builder Charles Hull wanted to create small parts for his business that 3D printing as we know it was born. He filled the patent for Stereolithography SLA in 1987 being able to create 3D models by curing photosensitive resin layer by layer.
This has now transformed the creative world allowing designers and architects to create products faster and of better quality. It has also touched the world of medicine and is used for prosthetics for example.
Twist 3D printed vase
So when I came across these wonderful vases made out of 60% corn starch and 40% recycled wood chip, I had to get them for my shop. When you look closely you can see the layers, they are extremely fine and beautiful and light. The addition of a glass container makes the vases waterproof. Use for fresh cut flowers, dried flowers or just to have a lovely cultural piece in your home.
On my recent trip to Paris, I was waiting for a friend seated at a café. The temptation was very strong to pull out my mobile phone and start scrolling. If it had been the place where I lived I would have been even more tempted. But this was just a fleeting visit to Paris and every moment I wanted to enjoy...and savour.
One of my favourite things to do is "regarded le monde passer" or to watch the world go by sitting at a café. Have you ever noticed that seating at a café nearly always face outwards- exactly for that reason- watch the world go by but also to invite people in.The sun was warming my face and it just felt so good to just watch the world go about it's day around me. You can observe dynamics, fashion and eves drop in conversations...just as if time had stopped.
This makes me think of another word French word I love, probably coined by Baudelaire in the 19th century-FLANER. It's a very French concept, to stroll or saunter, observing the immediate, not knowing what you are looking for or exactly where you are going. This is something I always spend a little time doing when I am in a city. It's wonderful to get lost in another street not knowing what you are going to discover.
So what do you think? Can you stop and just look for a while at the world buzzing around you or would you prefer to stroll?
With International Woman's day last week and Mother's Day round the corner on the 28th March 2022, we thought that we should celebrate all women in our lives. Sending/giving a little gift to a loved one is a great way to say a little hello and show we care. Enjoy this gift selection!
Flowers around the world take on different meanings, bring different stories, create traditions and are part of rituals. With time they have increased in symbolism. They have been used to brighten peoples homes and have been immortalised in various art forms and homeware.
In the Victorian period a favourite pass time was Floriagraphy or the language of flowers, through flowers and arrangements secret messages could be sent and sentiments revealed. Kate Greenaway’s Floral Poetry and the language of flowers was one of the most widely referenced floral dictionaries of the period.
When Van Gogh painted his sunflowers, some which adorned the walls of this home in Arles little did he know how symbolic and how recognised they would become. It is crazy to think that some of these paintings he was paid the equivalent of £60 for and now they fetch millions!
“If roses tried to be sunflowers, they would lose their beauty; and if sunflowers tried to be roses, they would lose their strength.”
The spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was the first European to discover the sunflower in Tahuantinsuyo, Peru in 1532. The Incas revered the sun god Inti and worshipped the sunflower as that symbol.
Sunflowers are the National flower of Ukraine and symbolise the strength and the power of the sun. They are often depicted painted on houses and on everyday homeware as can be seen in the village of Petrykivka where this folk tradition started.
They today are the symbol of Ukraine and the strength of that nation.
A Ukrainian woman in the port city of Henichesk has won widespread admiration for her bravery after the BBC posted footage of her offering sunflower seeds to an armed Russian soldier on 25 February 2022. She told him: "Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here."
"One Perfect Rose"
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet--
One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;
"My fragile leaves," it said, "his heart enclose."
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.
Roses are a way to say "I love you" and symbolise romance, beauty and courage. There are so many meanings attached to the rose and each colour too. It is one of the most painted flowers.
Aphrodite, the goddess of Love, in Greek mythology, is said to have created the rose a combination of her tears and the blood of her lover Adonis when he was gored by a boar and dying in her arms.
It's no great surprise that so many countries have the rose as their national flower including the US, the UK and the Maldives.
“If I had grown up in that house I couldn't have loved it more, couldn't have been more familiar with the creak of the swing, or the pattern of the clematis vines on the trellis, or the velvety swell of land as it faded to gray on the horizon, and the strip of highway visible -just barely – in the hills, beyond the trees. The very colors of the place had seeped into my blood(...)
The clematis grows easily on walls and trellises and can grow up to 40 feet and they can represents the beauty of mental strength. Originally from China, they came to Europe via Japan in the early 19th century.
The lotus flower represents spiritual enlightenment and rebirth. It's roots are latched in mud, it disappears in the river every night, a process called nyctinasty to reappear in the morning all beautiful and white.
It is the National flower of India and is considered sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Hindu deities like Brahma the god of creation, Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and good fortune and Saraswati the goddess of knowledge are depicted sitting on a lotus flower.
With the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th centuries poppies grew over the grave of soldiers in barren lands of Flanders. The same thing happened during the First World War where they churned up on the fields where fighting happened.
Poppies represent everything from sleep to death and more recently are a symbol of remembrance and hope for peace.
I was left alone there in the company of the orchids, roses and violets, which, like people waiting beside you who do not know you, preserved a silence which their individuality as living things made all the more striking, and warmed themselves in the heat of a glowing coal fire..
The orchid has meant to have appeared nearly 200 million years ago in the Jurassic period.
It is the national flower of Singapore and in particular the Vanda Miss Joaquim which was created in the 1890's by Singapore-based Armenian horticulturalist, Agnes Joaquim from cross-breeding two flower species. Singapore's National orchid garden has more than 1000 species.
'Orchidelirium' in the early 19th century became a trend in the rich European high society to collect orchids. William Spencer Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire was one of the first to adhere to this craze. sending his gardner across the world to collect wild and rare species of orchids.
Human beings are born solitary, but everywhere they are in chains - daisy chains - of interactivity. Social actions are makeshift forms, often courageous, sometimes ridicilous, always strange.Andy Warhol
The daisies are a symbol of innocence and purity and often represent new beginnings. They are often said to be the National Flower of Denmark as they are loved by Queen Margrethe II and were imported from the Canary Islands. According to a Celtic legend, whenever an infant died, God sprinkled daisies over the earth to alleviate parents pain.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
The Welsh for daffodil is ‘Cenhinen Bedr’ which means St Peter’s Leek. It is worn on St David's day on the 1st March. Daffodils have an uplifting significance around the world , one of the first flowers to appear in spring and reappear year after year. Shall we finish on this good note?
From the Arabic word Kut’n’ (cotton)
By alternating warp silk yarns (vertical) and weft cotton yarn (horizontal) Kutnu fabric gives a beautiful sheen that is both beautiful to the touch and to the eye. The colours are bright and vivid and in mesmerising patterns such as the ikat and including a variety of stripes.
It’s a fabric that requires skill, many stages and many hands to make. Now woven on a hand loom or jacquard loom, the techniques are the same and there is a real pride in keeping this heritage alive. Some of the stages are: winding the silk thread, dyeing the skeins, drying them in the sun, dividing the filaments by hand and then threading the strands through the loom- the most time consuming stage as there are more than 2000 threads! Each stage requires a different master craftsman.
This type of weaving is now only practised in the Anatolian city of Gazantiep, in south eastern Turkey. This method of weaving came from Syria (being 97 Kms away from Aleppo) but was greatly developed more than 400 years ago by the Aintab (the name for Gazantiep until the 1920’s) craftsman. These craftsmen were able to export the cloth and gained recognition as Gaziantep was on the Silk Road.
The fabric was used to make Sutltan’s kaftans and it was then used to dress the wealthy. Today it is still used in traditional costumes especially the ones of folk dancers but also by designers to create dresses, kaftans and home goods.
Introducing colour into your home can seem daunting right? After all there are so many choices out there. The best way is to introduce it slowly I find. I am often asked to help clients with colour choice in their homes and here is some of the advice I might give them.
Building you colour confidence
There are no rules here- the importance is to show your personality and have colours that create a certain emotion and vibe. Good questions to ask yourself are
what colours am I attracted to?
how does this colour make me feel?
We know that light can really enhance or lower a mood- well it's the same with colour. We all respond differently to colour so it's important to "listen"and note which colours make you feel relaxed, energetic, calm or uplifted for example.
This might seem like the difficult part as there is so much choice out there. We are constantly bombarded with new images, ideas, things to look at. Just honing down on a few things will help you gather information that will be aligned with what you truly love.
From your wardrobe, magazine, art galleries, from eras that you love but also from food and bouquets of flowers and your travels you can find inspiration. When you are out and about snap pictures of items and colours that make you feel good. I suggest doing this exercise and setting an hour to just walk and feel what you are attracted to but also do it when you go about your daily life. This is a brilliant exercise to discover colour combinations that you might not have thought of.
Follow your gut and trust your instincts
Too often we forget that our spaces are for us and the people who live in it-we follow trends and others but don't listen to our instincts, we search for validation. You can of course look at trends and create Pinterest boards but also leave space for your own creativity and ideas. I often sleep on a decision to bring an item into my home. I know that if I dream about it- it’s the right piece for me! It’s just the same for colour.
Choose an inspirational piece and take time
When decorating a room I find it really helps to already have a piece that is going to go in the room. It could be a piece of wall art, a cushion, a blanket or an object and if they have a colour or some colours that you love this colour be the start of a great colour scheme. It’s also worth spending a bit of time gathering samples, inspiration and creating a mood board for your room. A decorator can help you do this too.
Your colours like a brand
Think of your colours a bit like a brand- what are the colours that you can put together and create your own little hue of colours you will use in your home or a particular space. Keep a folder on your telephone with colours you love.
Now once you have decided...here are some little things to think about.
You can paint swatches of paint on white cardboard or have samples of wallpaper and place in different parts of the room to see how the light affects it at different times of the day.
Why not layer different shades of the same colour
Use colour on your front door (check if the door gets a lot of sun as red for example can fade really easily).
Have colours echo each other
Bring pattern into your home, you can start small in cupboards and pantries for example or the guest loo. Or you can bolder and bring in wallpaper, or even have an artist paint a design.
Start small- add pops of colour - lighting, chairs, stools, cushions, curtains, carpets, wall art can look very chic against grey or light walls.
Bring in colour through textures with soft furnishings.
10 top Instagram accounts for colours
Sophie Robinson is fabulous at using colour in a bold way through layering patterns of different sizes and colours and types and also introducing bold floral arrangements
Martha Roberts is known for her use of pastels and bringing the joy of the rainbow into her home.
Siobhan Hannah Murphy brings colour in so many ways both with her personality, way she dresses, her wigs and her home. She is also great at adding blocks of colour to black and white schemes.
Annie Sloan is the creator of "chalk paint" and has always championed the use of colour on furniture- bringing individuality to our own spaces.
I just couldn't not mention them right? A great account to follow to find the perfect hue of a certain colour.
Naaomi Ross is fabulous to follow for colour combinations, she shows us through fashion. I love how classic and stylish her account is and her reels are so fun.
Tom Bax is fabulous at bringing colour through cushions and artwork but also by using different colours on walls, ceilings, alcoves all in a same space.
Soozi Danson brings colour through bold patterns and also by using monochrome to balance it out, a skill I don't have.
Tamsyn Morgans brings colour into her home with beautiful vintage pieces, glassware and florals. Her account just makes me feel so peaceful.
Kriss MacDonald just brings us the beauty of nature...just by looking at flowers you can decide which colours you would like to bring in your home...even if it just in a vase.
Hope you have enjoyed this post- send me an email email@example.com if you have! Have a C_O_L_O_U_R filled day!