Friday, 10 July 2020

Interiors trends I don't get // Pink and green

I like pink. I like green. I just don't always love them together. And turns out I'm not alone. 

On UK interiors show Best House In Town, a highly commended house which was ticking all the right boxes hit a stumbling block once the judges entered the master bedroom and came face to face with bright green walls paired with light pink bed linen. They were lost for words. And not in a good way. 

For me personally, not all greens work with pink, but I find that there are exceptions to the rule. 

THE GOOD

1) A deep green with blue tones so that it's veering on a teal or a dark inky blue. This sort of green works amazingly with pink whether its a soft pink or a bold look-at-me number. 


2) pink paired with greenery in the form of plants. For me that works. Maybe because it's reflective of what you would see in nature. Green grass. Green moss. Largely green flower beds. Pink roses. Pink hydrangeas. Pink peonies.


3) A backdrop which features other colours rather than just the one shade of pink or green. For example a leaf print wallpaper with a white background to it. An entirely green foliage wallpaper can work here too as long as there are several hues of green to make it multi-dimensional (case in point below). Or pair white walls with green and pink furniture or soft furnishings to make those pops of colour sing.


THE BAD

Pair the wrong pink with the wrong green, and you'll soon see how these interiors don't quite work on the same level...


See the difference?

In other news, I have typed 'green' so much that the spelling now looks wrong to me 
.... don't you just hate it when that happens?

What are your thoughts on pink and green interiors?

All images Pinterest (original source unknown). If any of these images are yours, please reach out to me so I can fully credit you!

Friday, 26 June 2020

9 ways to bring more light into your home

Identify any light blocking sources

Is there anything blocking or obscuring the windows and doors in your home? Is there a large piece of furniture in the way?  Do you have too much furniture in the room? Is your furniture too dark? Is there a large tree outside? 

Once you identity the root of the problem, it can be easy to remedy.

Rearrange your furniture. Alternatively identify if there are are any pieces of furniture not being used - or not being used to their full potential - and use this as an excuse to have a clear out. Your room will instantly feel bigger and lighter. Or simply replace taller pieces with lower level items like a lower sofa or lower storage solutions like sideboards rather than floor to ceiling cupboards. Or replace darker furniture with lighter furniture. The possibilities are endless.

If there is a tree or tall shrub obscuring a window, either cut it back or move it. If it's a smaller tree or plant which you simply don't want any more, why not offer it to a friend, neighbour or family member?

And another common light blocking source... dirty windows. Run a cloth over each of your windows and inspect - the cloth will be dirtier than you think! Cleaning your windows regularly - both inside and out - will ensure that more natural light can filter through into your home and who doesn't love sparkling windows?

Image source: Logan Nolin on Unsplash

Go for lighter window fittings

Are your curtains and blinds too heavy and not working for that particular space? Consider lighter window fittings like voile curtains that flutter in the breeze, or for privacy and light in say your bathroom (or any other rooms where the neighbours can look in!) try window film. Forget traditional, boring, cloudy window film - nowadays there are lots of lovely prints and patterns out there which will allow you to add interest to your windows whilst at the same time allowing light and privacy.

Consider your colour scheme

Keeping your walls light and bright will help create a light and airy space. Avoid bright whites (which can look cold and clinical) and instead opt for off-whites, pale greys, pastels or brights like sunny yellows. Be brave. Paint isn't expensive so you can always change your mind later! 

Design a lighting scheme

Poor lighting isn't just in relation to natural light - this also extends to artificial light (think lamps and light fittings around the home). The best artificial light will enhance any natural light coming into your home rather than take away from it. Consider LED bulbs (which are 90% more energy efficient than regular bulbs) and dimmer switches or additional lighting such as sconces and table lamps, which will allow you to both soften and layer the lighting in your home.

Get clever with mirrors 

Place a large mirror on the wall opposite to or adjacent to a window to help bounce the light around the room. Same applies with glass and / or mirrored furniture which can help a smaller space feel bigger.

Go for gloss

Whether it's paint, wall tiles, floor tiles, worktops or kitchen units, glossy surfaces reflect the light (similar to the way that a mirror would). I used to hate the glossy white wall tiles in our bathroom but now I appreciate that they keep the space light and bright and make what is a small room appear much bigger. 
 
Install skylights or a sun tunnel

An instant way to brighten up an extension or a dingy hallway is to add skylights (think Velux windows) or a sun tunnel which will allow natural light to come flooding in from above.

Install bifolds or sliding doors

Another way to brighten up a new extension - or an unextended home - is by installing bifolds or sliding doors. In both cases the slim frames and large expanses of glass help draw the eye to the outside space and help frame the view. Bifold doors open up completely which can provide more of a link to the outside, however the glass panels are often narrower, meaning you get less of a picture frame effect when the doors are closed. Sliding doors on the other hand, tend to have larger panes of glass so whether open or closed, can offer a less obscured view of the outside. 

Glass is your friend

Hallways can be dingy spaces and whilst you can paint your wooden banisters and railings white, thicker banisters and railings can still be blocking precious light from filtering through the different levels of your home. One way of counteracting this is by replacing your staircase with a glass option like one of these glass balustrades from TuffX Glass so the light can pass through without any obstacles. I know from personal experience that having cats and wooden banisters is not the one (my banisters are so clawed up they could easily be mistaken for a woodworm infestation!) so the idea of having hardy metal railings or slimline glass would make our hallway look a little more polished as well as lighter and brighter!

Image source: TuffX GlassImage source: TuffX Glass

This is a sponsored post but opinions and love of light and airy spaces all my own!

Friday, 12 June 2020

11 things filling my ASOS basket lately

Broderie collar shirt (currently in the sale here) // Wine broderie dress (also in sale here) // Pink knit (also in sale here)
White dobby dress here // Khaki tie waist linen shorts here // White dobby shirt here

White broderie collar shirt

I've been toying with this shirt for the longest time but is it too extra? Turns out it's not. The balloon sleeves help balance out the wide shoulders brought on by the collar. My only slight criticism is that the body of the shirt is just way too big. Tucking the shirt in seems to help with this but I have re-ordered in a smaller size to see if a smaller size is the play here.

Another broderie collar shirt

From one broderie collar shirt to another (not pictured but you can find here) however this one is a little more low key with short sleeves and more of a normal fit. I can imagine it looking lovely peeking out from under a chunky knit.

Broderie dress

Most broderie dresses are white, long and free flowing, so I really liked this shorter version in this gorgeous wine colour with a square neckline. The dress is every bit as lovely in person and looked great on, however this enthusiasm quickly waned once I noticed a questionable crispy white stain on the front of the dress (there are no words).

White dobby shirt

I have an obsession with anything dobby and while white can be a bit of a soul less colour - particularly in interiors - this raised texture gives it an added dimension and interest. The good news? Dobby textures are starting to appear everywhere. Light boho inspired curtains and table cloths. Bedding (I have been longing over this bedding plus this). And of course clothing. I already have two white dobby shirts so why the need for a third? Because they are timeless and by far one of the most used things in my wardrobe. Perfect for a day at the office, worn casually with shorts, or as a beach cover up.

White dobby dress

Another dobby inspired find (can you tell that I'm obsessed?). It felt a little too restrictive (and conservative) when buttoned to the top. I actually preferred the dress worn back to front with the buttons behind me - is that weird?

Pink bobble knit jumper

A very similar concept in terms of that lovely raised detail to run your hands over, whilst at the same time adhering to my new found love of the colour pink as touched upon here. This sweater just looked so slouchy and comfortable and I imagined it looking amazing with one of the above broderie collar shirts worn underneath. In person it is slouchy and comfortable as well as being softer than I ever imagined. Definitely a keeper.

Tie waist shorts

I'm a big fan of khaki and high waisted trousers / skirts / shorts so these ticked many boxes. I love how ASOS have paired them with a white shirt which is exactly how I would style them and has me thinking back to that white dobby shirt (damnit).


Tie ankle espadrilles (currently in the sale here) // Leaf print shirt here
Leaf print shorts here // Vero Moda cut out sandals here

Tie ankle espadrilles

Ankle tie espadrilles are taking the world by storm. It can be tricky to find the perfect heel - not too high, not too low - but these fit the bill perfectly. And let me tell you now, these shoes go with everything and I will treasure for years to come. A huge thank you to Josie who first brought these to my attention through her amazing #ootd posts!

Grey cut out flats

I'm getting old and I just can't deal with heels any more. They ruin your feet and I just don't have the patience for them any more. I love a bit of grey and I thought the cut out detailing of these sandals was a bit more interesting than say a traditional sandal. What I've been impressed with is how incredibly comfortable they are due to the padding underfoot.

Patterned shirt and shorts

First things first. This isn't leaf print like they claim. It's more like jungle print or tree print, but trees do have leaves so I'll allow it. Introducing the weirdest fit ever. The shorts are very close fitting (I prefer shorts to have a little more give in them) whereas the shirt is stupid big. I actually had to return the UK size 8 and reorder in a UK size 6. And even that was huge. So if you order for yourself I'd recommend sizing up on the shorts and sizing down for the top. It's quite a jazzy coord set for something that is designed for everyday use (something that I can't get my head around). I ordered primarily to use as pyjamas as I love pyjama shirt / shorts combos and you can't usually find them in such interesting prints, however I will be returning due to the weird sizing. Had the shirt been a normal fit, it would have been a completely different story.

Which items are your favourites?

PIN FOR LATER:

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

I found a 2 year old voucher the other day and this is what I spent it on

You know how it is. Those gift vouchers that end up in a drawer. Or an e-voucher which gets lost in your emails, never to be seen again (or in my case, two years later). Don't get me wrong, I love gift vouchers and gift cards, but I'm not someone who spends vouchers straight away. I like to take my time and consider my options (it also doesn't help that I'm the most indecisive person EVER). But this latest experience makes me want to reassess that as I was cutting it fine.

THE STORY

I re-discovered an old e-gift card from two years back and wanted to check it before getting too excited. As luck may have it, it was still active. Even though technically the 'use by' date had been and gone. So what to spend it on? Clothing, beauty or something for the house?

My body never knows what it size it is so clothing was risky - especially during lockdown where the likelihood of needing to return something is circa 92%.

I see this as an opportunity to buy one or two Charlotte Tilbury products I've had my eye on, but as much as I'd love to try the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Serum Crystal Elixir, I cannot justify £60 on just 30ml (smaller than the smallest tube of toothpaste!). It just doesn't sit right with me.

I then put my sensible hat on. What can I get that will last? What can I order that doesn't run the risk of returns?

My mind then wanders to homeware in the hope of finding something useful for the house. But to be honest, there is nothing I really need. And the ideas I do have are all out of stock (turns out everyone is baking and gardening during lockdown!)

THE REALISATION

It is then that I realise that I need a compromise. I need a treat  - just not Charlotte Tilbury on this occasion - but I also need something practical which I'll get a lot of use out of. Enter the Hotel Chocolat velvetiser.

Hotel Chocolat velvetiser

The velvetiser is a product I've been lusting over for the last two Christmases, but at £99, it's not cheap and I've never been able to justify the cost. It's also not the sort of thing you can casually pop on your Christmas list due to the price point. It was a now or never situation so I let fate decide. If for some inexplicable reason I went to checkout and the e-voucher had suddenly decided to pop its clogs (or the item had gone out of stock) this would be a sign that it was not meant to be.

Turns out it was meant to be. I managed to place my order and here it is.

Copper velvetiser

The velvetiser comes in matt black, copper or white gloss. Whilst the matt black design looked sleek, I'd seen them in-store before and although you can wipe clean, the matt finish means it never looks as pristine as it does when box fresh and new. I could just imagine the finger prints and that would have driven me crazy. The white was an instant no for me as it's a very glossy white which makes me think of laundry room white goods and for lack of a better word, a bit cheap? I opted for the copper because I'm all about copper / gold / brass tones when it comes to home accessories. So far it's been easy to wipe clean and you don't notice finger prints on it like how I imagine you would with the matt black.

Whilst the velvetiser comes at a cost, it also comes with cups and a selection box type tray of different hot chocolates to try. These being 70% dark chocolate, a more intense 100% chocolate, praline, milk chocolate and salted caramel. I've been trying a different one each day and will be posting a review shortly on the Hotel Chocolat velvetiser and if it's worth the money. Watch this space!

Friday, 29 May 2020

Why it's ok not to have a master plan during lockdown

"What have you been up to?"

This is the question we find ourselves being asked - and asking others - on a daily basis. And with it comes pressure, an expectation. There is this idea that we need to be learning a new language, instrument or skill, taking on home projects, and constantly learning and improving ourselves.

First be honest with yourself and identify how you as a person work.

Me personally, I love cats and hot chocolate

If your coping mechanism is keeping yourself busy with home projects / cleaning furiously / writing the next big thing / learning a new instrument / whatever else floats your boat... good on you.

If however you want to catch up on throwback TV and films and be glued to your sofa, that's absolutely fine too. Don't beat yourself up or see yourself as a failure if you're not doing much these days. It's ok. Take things at your own pace. Do what feels right for you. And can I add, just because everyone is playing Sims 4 and Animal Crossing at the moment, doesn't mean you have to too. You do you.

I've been in both camps. Some weeks ago I was restless and couldn't face sitting around doing nothing. I tidied the house. I cooked up a storm. I didn't want to sit around watching TV because I felt guilty if I wasn't doing anything. I woke up at 4am or 5am a lot because I was so wired and couldn't sleep. I had so much excess energy.

Lately I've taken it down a notch all in the name of #selfcare. I still cook and tidy and busy myself, but I try and balance my day with both work AND down time. Getting into a morning routine really helped. I get up early each morning, drink a ton of water, do 20-30 minutes of exercise followed by a 30 minute yoga class, eat a nutritious breakfast and get dressed. Some days I wear pyjama trousers or loose trousers, but mostly I get dressed as I normally would to try and keep a sense of normalcy. I re-discovered old games like the original Sims (imagine!), Theme Hospital and many more which I have been trying to play in compatibility mode as touched upon here. I've also been watching lots of interiors shows (crazy happy that Your Home Made Perfect is back!) and discovered Masters of Flip #obsessed

Whilst my mind never completely settles, taking some time out with a candle / book / film / episode / magazine and a mug of tea / gin is a good first step. Taking time for yourself is not laziness or failure. It's about respecting your body and keeping it fully charged at this uncertain and let's be honest, mentally exhausting time.

What have you been up to? I'd love to know!

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Amazon wishlist items I opened on my birthday

This year's birthday was bit of a different one (as touched upon here). The best possible gift would have been to see friends and family, but alas the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown cruelly shut that down. I mostly had cheques and vouchers this year which will come in useful for pending building works (once we can start the build...) I didn't want anyone to risk going to the post office or post box on my behalf, so set up an Amazon wish list this year which friends and family kindly ordered from. Some gifts are delayed due to lockdown snail mail so here's a small selection of what I opened on my birthday...

Drink Tea, Read Books, Be Happy tee

Slogan tee

Can we please talk about how cute this tee is? I love a slogan tee and I love crisp, white t-shirts, so this ticked all my boxes! I have the small which is the smallest size they do, but at a glance, it does look quite big and like it will be more of a relaxed fit. Also available in other colours like black, pink, blue and grey (seriously tempted to order more in other colours!)

Clinique products

Clinique products

Fun fact: I've never tried any Clinique products before, but have always wanted to try products from their moisturizing range, so am pretty excited to try these out! My skin has been extra dry since lockdown (excessive hand washing no doubt the culprit here) so these moisturising products couldn't have come at a better time! I will do a separate review post on these products as Clinique isn't cheap and I don't know about you, but I'm interested to see if they're worth the money!

Clinique redness solutions
Clinique moisture surge overnight mask
Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion
Bumper pack of Aero bubbles

Aero Bubbles

Aero Bubbles (the originals not the mint ones, blergh) are my absolute favourites. I could easily get through an entire sharing bag to myself so it takes some real restraint ;) I see the mint ones EVERYWHERE - in cinemas and at the shops - but rarely the plain ones. This bumper pack of - I kid you not - EIGHT BAGS will keep me going for a while. Maybe ;)

Busy B weekly planner

Busy B meal planner

I have been using these planners for years and they are an absolute godsend when it comes to planning meals for the week ahead. One side has a seven day meal planner, the other, a shopping list. It also comes with cutesy fridge magnets so you can tear off the current week and stick it on the fridge along with your shopping list. This French feel Breton stripe planner is my favourite but they also have in several other designs here.

Just saying aloe

How cute is this pot plant?! I've always wanted an aloe plant for the kitchen as I watch a lot of cookery shows and I've seen how aloe plants can help with burns. All you do is a snap off a piece of the plant and use the gel to help soothe your burn.

The kit comes with pot, aloe plant, compost discs and googly eyes. All you need to do is re-hydrate the compost discs in water for 2 hours minimum or ideally overnight. These little discs soon expanded and once done, I cut them free of their netting and crumbled them into the pot, introducing the aloe plant. If you're bad with plants, this is a fairly hardy variety and only needs watering once a week (or so the accompanying manual tells me!).

Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate


Hotel Chocolat is one of my favourite places in town to go for a hot chocolate (it's just sad that you don't see many of their cafes around!) so I was interested to see if this product compared (especially at a rather pricey £9 price point!). Inside the pack are the most divine smelling chocolate flakes which you stir into hot milk (dairy or dairy-free, the choice is yours!). And yes, I can confirm that the at home version of their hot chocolate is every bit as special! I have the Hotel Chocolat classic hot chocolate but they also have other varieties like chilli chocolate (not my cup of tea!) and salted caramel.

Sweary cook book

What the f should I make for dinner?

The most hilarious cook book I've ever laid my eyes on! Open the book to a recipe and if you don't like any of the ingredients (or the meal itself), the book repeatedly uses the f word and will refer you to another page later in the book. I tried it out on Mr Curiouser and Curiouser and the book swore at him and referred him away to a basic chicken soup recipe! You can find more excerpts of the book here.

Carbonara recipe

Gardening treats

My lockdown gardening endeavours meant lots of things were gardening orientated this year! From catnip to grow for the cats, a garden kneeler to ease my yoga punished knees, and get this - a fig tree! Fresh figs are one of my favourite things. I just love them with mozzarella and prosciutto, either simply on the plate with freshly baked bread, or on pizza.

Grow your own catnip

Fig reed diffuser

Wax Lyrical exotic fig reed diffuser

I have always loved candles (and still do!) but lately I've been OBSESSED with reed diffusers (which I think I made pretty clear here ha). I love how they can change up the feel of a room when you introduce a new scent. I love citrus fresh scents in the bathroom and kitchen, and something a little spicier and more unisex in the study. Fig is another fresh scent that I love which lends itself well to candles and reed diffusers. I cannot wait to open this up and get this bad boy started!

Links to everything are above in case there's anything you've seen that you would like to add to your own Amazon wishlist!

Which items are your favourites?

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Monday, 18 May 2020

Lockdown diary // dealing with anxiety and trying to find home delivery slots

How has life changed?

Life has obviously changed, but in other ways, life hasn't changed at all. Mr Curiouser and Curiouser usually works from home four days a week and now he works all five days from home (so hardly a big change for him!). We have always been happy pottering around the garden, cooking together, sorting bits around the house and huddling under blankets watching episodes and movies. So being enforced to stay at home isn't a big deal for us compared to couples who go out lots or take lots of holidays who will have more of an adjustment at this time. I just feel so lucky that we live together and have each other. But like I spoke about here, there are aspects of 'before' that you suddenly feel all the more grateful for.

Home delivery slots are like gold dust

The shift we have been finding difficult is getting our hands on supplies. At one stage we weren't able to get a home delivery for love nor money. At the start (before the #stayhome enforcement) we would stay close to home, picking up supplies from the local shops. When it all ramped up, we collectively agreed not to go out as it wasn't worth the risk. Then there was a surge of crime of opportunity with local muggings and house robberies (just disgusting), and 'delightful' groups of teenagers spitting on people ("now you're infected!"). So understandably we have zero desire to step outside for the foreseeable future. But if supplies ever ran out, we'd of course have to reassess that.

This has been easier said than done. All home delivery slots were snapped up. Certain supermarkets weren't accepting new customers and would boot you off the site if you tried to sign up. Others were prioritising the vulnerable and NHS (this I applaud and can't get mad at).

After a few sleepless nights, we were up early one morning and by stroke of luck, managed to find a home delivery slot FOR THE VERY NEXT DAY (how we managed this, I still don't know). It was the biggest (well, most expensive) shop we've ever done as we couldn't guarantee when we would next be able to get food. Only six items couldn't be delivered and we had 16 substitutions - so overall we were really impressed with our first ever Asda home delivery.

The earliest home delivery we could get after that was for a month later which came from Tesco and was even better (everything delivered and only 6 substitutions). I'm not confident how we will be looking this time next month, but I'm currently planning three weeks of meals at a time (largely thanks to this spreadsheet) so I'm prepared if we have a wait ahead of us!

Being resourceful

Amid the fear of running out of food, I have been saving scraps and seeds from fruit and vegetables and putting a few garlic cloves and potatoes aside, which fingers crossed I can grow more from. Fresh herbs from the garden have gone into meals (rosemary roast potatoes being a highlight) and I have also been ransacking the cupboards and finding out of date ingredients which are still perfectly fine. The out of date baked beans and ginger cake were both full of sugar, so perfectly preserved. I also found a TGI Fridays sriracha rub which expired in 2018 (ha). It used to be orange / red in colour and had clumped together into a sad looking grey colour. I scooped the contents out into a pestle and mortar, crushed it into a fine power and revived it back to its original colour (plus it smelt the same as it did before which is always a good sign!). I added a dash of olive oil and salt to made a marinade and added steaks which bathed in the mixture for a few hours. It was the highlight meal of the week (and still super spicy despite being years old!).

Panic (but not at the disco)

Around the time the lockdown enforcement occurred, I needed the post office and walked alone to our nearest one, only to find it was closed and not advertised as so online. I was panicked enough about going outside, so discovering I had gone outside for nothing, was frustrating. Particularly as the people I passed had no concept of social distancing.

I came back home, paid for online postage, walked down the road to the post box, and legged it back. Whilst I was quick and kept my distance from other people, the panic I experienced wasn't worth it. I came back and my head was pounding, my chest tight, and I found it hard to breathe. All classic signs of a panic attack. But naturally, I was fearing the worst at this point.

So whilst the prospect of potentially not being able to get a food delivery next month terrifies me, I know that going outside terrifies me more! I am already a hypochondriac and worrier by nature, but I fear once this is all over that I will be a fully fledged agoraphobic!

#BeKind

Nestled amongst the negativity on social media and tales of d**kery of some people, it's been lovely hearing about communities and families coming together (even if in different households). I received a call from my family one day saying they had managed to score a home delivery and was there anything I needed. I didn't want to take advantage so only asked for a few things that we couldn't get in our shop. My family stopped by the following day to drop a bag off at our door, plus collect the one I'd left for them (I didn't have much to offer them, but gave them fresh herbs from the garden, wine, books and magazines). Considering I'd only asked for a couple of things, I was blown away when I brought this bag inside:

Lockdown care package

I'd almost forgotten what fresh fruit looked like! It was a very emotional moment. Not just because of their generosity, but also the sadness of having to wave from the window and not be able to hug them or make contact. My Mum had even made a lemon drizzle cake and brought that round. She even apologised afterwards saying she took it out of the oven and it was under so she put it back into the oven and that was a mistake as it's now black around the edges. But that's the amazing woman she is. Always thoughtful and always thinking of other people.

How are you lovely lot doing?