I get a little (ok a lot!) excited about Christmas. As soon as Halloween is over I'm all over the festivities but in our home we have a slight difference in preference for when is the right time to put up the decorations.
I have a serious Christmas decoration problem, I buy so many each year and as soon as I have them I want to put them up. Now I can blame the blog for hanging up my new pretty giant paper snowflakes from Next's christmas collection a few weeks early. They are a really good price at 3 for £5. I've got a few more packets to turn my dining room into a snowflake filled winter wonderland. Pass the mince pies!!
It's been in the planning for a while but finally the new sofas are in! We decided to go for the ikea soderhamn series for many reasons but also because the covers are machine washable and with two young children that will definitely come in handy!
I'm not going to lie, building them was somewhat of a nightmare (as with most furniture in ikea they came flatpacked). It took us a whole Sunday to do but now they are done we are very pleased.
We went for a L shaped corner sofa and 3 gigantic chaise longues screwed together on the other side of the room. It is like having a giant bed in the living room and I can't wait to snuggle up with my family under a huge blanket to watch The Snowman on Christmas Eve.
We are totally smitten with this print, it is going to be a firm favourite at Southwood Stores.
Shaneen was quick to nab one for Freya's bedroom but I am going to put one up in my kitchen. I think it would look great in an office too.
Having always been addicted to plates and trays we LOVE these new designs by Rachel Powell available to buy here at Southwood Stores. Don't hang about as Shaneen has already bought most of the stock.
Add a splash of colour to your kitchen with this gorgeous statement tea towel... we cannot get enough of this YOKO design. Available to buy HERE.
Creativity runs in the family, I got so excited when my baby (much younger) sister called me up to tell me she was starting her own blog.I was very proud of my sister whe she announced she was moving to London to chase her career dreams. It is never easy to up sticks especially on your own and in your early twenties. Lauren's new blog is full of ideas on how to make the most of every single penny and have a great time whilst living in the big smoke!
here she is doing her thing....
"Hi, I’m Lauren from modestlondon.com I’m 24 years old and originally come from a small village in Buckinghamshire. Just over a year ago, I landed my dream job as a writer for an advertising agency in - yep, you’ve guessed it - London. A few months later, I moved into a little two bedroom flat in Willesden Green with a friend from university and my new life began.
If you haven’t already heard the rumours, London has recently been named the most expensive city in the world, but you don’t need to earn an obscene amount of money to enjoy it here. And the idea for my blog came from the realisation that my friends and I have become pretty creative with making the most out of what we have.
From picnics on rooftops and our favourite pubs and restaurants to finding ways to make a couple of quid and grab a bargain, Modest London is where I’m sharing the adventures my friends and I have whilst living and having fun in the Big Smoke on a budget.
So come and have a peek into London life under £25k!"
Over the past few months I've been collecting portraits of little girls wearing a princess crown. This wasn't done just for the sake of it, I actually started this series to vent my anger at the labels my little girl is constantly subjected to. These days it's almost a crime to be into anything "too girlie" and uttering the words "disney princess" is like dropping the C swear bomb in a crowded reception class. Being a tom boy is viewed as cool as is dressing our daughters head to toe in black, leopard printed skulls. Before I go too far down this path I must explain that my daughter is 3 years old and currently fits in all boxes. Somedays she wants to twirl around in a polyester princess dress up gown whilst singing "do you wanna build a snowman", other days she is happier wearing her brothers pajamas and swinging from tree branches. She has no problem getting muddy but she is also very particular about how her hair is styled. Some days her favourite colour is pink and others she wants to wear head to toe black just like her mummy (I live in black). I wanted to demonstrate that being a little girl and wanting to play dress up or watch a disney princess movie isn't a crime and it doesn't make you a "girlie princess girl" it just means that's what you fancy that day. Kinda like how some days I'll wake up and stare at my wardrobe for 10 straight minutes whilst declaring dramatically that I have nothing to wear and how other days I'll roll out of bed and into a pair of jeans and trainers without even thinking about it. When I was little I switched from playing with my little pony in a frilly dress to wearing a man united football kit because I liked Ryan Giggs hair.
I'm sure these annoying labels apply to boys too, but I'm yet to come across them with my son, thankfully.
So, if there is a little girl out there who wants to play with dolls or jump in the mud don't rush to label her, because your labels piss me right off.
Everyone has those days, weeks or months that are an uphill battle. Going to bed at night with a sinking feeling and finding it that much harder to climb out of bed on a cold Monday morning. The best thing you can do when you have a rain cloud following you around is to send your thoughts somewhere sunny. Waking up and thinking of something positive will start your day off on a better note. It's not always easy but if you can manage that first shiny step first thing you are one step closer to a better day than yesterday. When things go wrong, don't go with them.
I am inspired daily by my friends for many reasons, their strength, passion and dedication. I am lucky enough to call this beautiful lady a dear friend of mine. Lisa is a beautiful soul inside and out with amazing stories to tell. She grabs life and lives her life to the full. Lisa is a stylist as well as a newly qualified yoga teacher.
Today Lisa has kindly allowed Shaneen and I to take a little tour round her beautiful home. Her home reflects her nuturing, warm yet uber stylish personality she shares with her gorgeous family....
I asked Lisa to answer a few questions for us...
Tell us who lives in your home?
Nick 42 Lisa 43 Alfie 11 Lola 10 Neo 3 Ruby 1
What do you and your husband do for a living ?
Lisa' husband owns and runs a digital marketing agency called Paley Creative but also has a passion for renovating old properties.
I am a typical juggling mother... With a personal styling business on the side and a passion for practicing yoga to keep my heart n mind in balance.
What are you favourite pieces in your home and why ?
I've realised that so many of my pieces have stories attached to them that make them my favourite...
I'll narrow it down to 4-
1. Le corbusier- a chaise bought for me by husband when I was heavily pregnant with Alfie and couldn't get comfortable in any position other than reclining! He doesn't 'do' Valentines day so was delivered on the 13th Feb.
2. The farmhouse table in the kitchen- a find from an antique shop in Amsterdam... We weren't intending to buy a 12 foot kitchen table on our trip! But fell in love and shipped it home.
3. The triptic of Dutch paintings above our beds I put together as a Christmas present for hubs... They symbolise poignant moments in our relationship... Nuff said!
4. The dresser in the kitchen- made from an old family heirloom traipsed from home to home, painted , stripped and reincarnated many times. And then turned into our kitchen dresser by an antique wooden shelving unit, found for a steal on eBay!
Where do you find inspiration for decor ?
Wes Anderson films, lots of interiors magazines ranging from Period Homes to back copies of Living etc & our much loved (and too infrequent) weekends away in boutique hotels in London. Our next jaunt is at The Townhall Apartments in Bethnall Green- purely because of the decor and quality 50's furniture!
Wherever our coveted next piece of furniture lives... We don't know until we've found it...
A little bit about history of your home ?
Built in 1840, a Neo Gothic Victorian Lodge... That has seen many different lives... It has housed keepers for Calverton House in the old days, nursed old people through their final days as an old peoples home, converted to a B&B complete with the bridal suite, bar and reception room... We took it on as a project to convert it back to a family home... And we're still on the case...
What's your favourite room ?
Depends on the day and my needs... If it's a cold winters evening it's definitely the sitting room with the fire on and the family all snuggled up together on the ginormous sofa...
Or if in term time with a busy week ahead it's most certainly my yoga room at 5.30am where I have the solitude and peace to practice for an hour before I need to wake the family for the day ahead... Accompanied of course by two sleeping (or playful) hounds...
Thank you so much Lisa and Nick for allowing us to share these beautiful photographs of your wonderful home.... xxx
It is kind of a lightbulb moment when you realise that taking on other peoples drama is something you are in control of. Perhaps it's an age thing. In your twenties it's all about busy social lives and huge groups of friends. The truth is less is more, a handful of people who are true and take you warts an all without an ongoing need to boost their ego and maintain contact because they will be offended if you haven't been in touch for a few weeks, are not needed. People are so much nicer to be around if they are positive with nice things to say. If you are surrounded by people who have nothing else to say other than negativity then it can become draining. Of course everyone has their down time, no one is Mary Sunshine 24/7 but positivity shines out and will always win over. If you are busy surrounding yourself with positive people you will quickly notice that you have no time for negativity. Bad moods are contagious, the same applies to good moods. We are the type of people that like to laugh, even if we aren't feeling well, or have something intense going on in our personal lives there isn't a day that goes by where we don't smile at something, even if its the smallest most insignificant thing. You can always find humour if you are with someone who is as glass half full as you. Surround yourself with fun and let the party poopers go.