BHS lighting

As I mentioned on Monday, I had to pop into to town the other day for ‘kids bits’. Was an unsuccessful trip school uniform wise but mooching around I did find some interesting stuff!

I’ve waffled on about BHS lighting before but it really does have some of the best lighting on the high street.

As department stores go, BHS was never one I would rush to visit but over the years I think it is fair to say that they have re-marketed themselves and their branding and it’s a much improved store. If I am looking for lighting and normally on a budget, it’s one of the first places I go to.

Have a look at this brilliant copper Dexter table lamp. It is currently reduced from £120 to £48 and I really wanted to grab it and take it home! It also comes in gunmetal but this one wasn’t in the sale and a super cool ceiling pendant version too.

 

 

 

What really caught my eye was their Malina Easy Fit ceiling pendant. It is quite similar to the beautiful pendant that Graham & Green sell but price wise miles apart. The Malina from BHS is £40 whilst the other is £599 and yes, it is larger but if you are on a budget and loved that look I think this BHS one is a really good option. There may even be the option to take the inner piece out of the BHS version and it would look even more similar. Definitely worth taking a look.

 

 

Would have loved to have mooched for more bargains but it’s not really conducive when shopping with 2 children.

Will keep you posted of any more I find over the summer weeks whilst out and about!

Wilkinson high street bargains

Hopefully everyone has had a great weekend. I had to pop into town at the end of last week with the kids which is always slightly testing but I thought I would be super organised and look for school uniform. With regards to the uniform it was quite unsuccessful but on my travels I found some very interesting stuff that I wanted to bring home with me!

Wilkinson is a family value store and it often doesn’t disappoint in the value homeware bits and bobs for me. I love having a mooch around to see what bits I can find and I totally loved the texture on their Mongolian Cushion which to me just looked like a cool grass cushion and was super squidgy! Much better than the photo looks! It’s currently reduced from £8 to £6 and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get a couple for the kids den (although they already have a ‘grass like rug’ so these just may have disappeared into the floor! The texture of these was brilliant and could add a bit of ‘fun’ to literally any room.

www.wilko.com mongolian cushion

http://www.wilko.com
mongolian cushion

 

This selection of black tins also caught my eye as they have been reduced from £20 to £12. I hate things to match so I would have only been interested in the very large bread bin but the other tins could be used for other storage elsewhere (kids loom bands!?). Brilliant value at £12.

www.wilko.com Black storage tins

http://www.wilko.com
Black storage tins

 

Whilst in Wilko I always like to look at the stationery as they change their designs quite frequently and some of them are really funky. The Todd Goldman stand was bright and fun and I think could liven up the kids desks quite easily.

www.blueprintcollections.co.uk Todd Goldman stationery at Wilkinson

http://www.blueprintcollections.co.uk
Todd Goldman stationery at Wilkinson

 

I also saw these cute A5 notebooks which I thought would be perfect to take on our summer camping trip we go on with our friends. Loads of kids so bought one for each so they can keep a little diary.

 

Found a couple of bargains in BHS too …… will show you Wednesday

 

:)

Abigail Ahern design school – part 3

Abigail’s insider knowledge on flowers, art, wallpaper, paint, furniture….. was invaluable and she kindly shared a huge number of her key sources for us to explore for our next projects.

A refereshing part for me about Abigail’s design ethos is not about ‘let’s see how much money we can throw at this project’. Her design style has completely evolved and it takes time and effort to create a home as beautiful as hers. Her mix of design items with one off items creates a personal and unique eclectic look, which by her own admission can sometimes be hard to pull off. However, she has mastered this style and her ability to arrange and design a room is evident as her showcase home reveals but she is more than happy to share her journey on how we can get there too.

As the afternoon session drew to an end we were invited to share a cool glass of prosecco and we all got to share our thoughts on the day.

Abigail Ahern living room

Abigail Ahern living room

 

After thanking Abigail and Graham for their hospitality we all headed off to her Atelier store for more inspiration. Abigail choses her interior items very personally and never sells anything she wouldn’t have in her own home so there were many items in the store that we had seen ‘in situ’ which totally brought them alive and made them even more appealing! It was brilliant that we had seen so many of her new paints used on her walls at home and how they could look totally different on various walls.

 

 

If you are ever near Upper Street in Islington then head into her store as its a cave of deliciousness with cool products in every direction. She showcases her interior product selection and paints beautifully. I was also amazed by how effective all the faux flowers and plants were and will definitely be introducing these….

As I journeyed home on the train I started to think of plans for my own home and how I could introduce a bit of this style.

Abigail said that one of the biggest game changers in interiors is colour so I’m going to start here and having seen all the paints in full effect I have chosen Madison Grey. I will let you know how I get on!

 

 

Hope you all have a great weekend and see you Monday :)

Abigail Ahern Design School Day – part 2

Lunch was just as stylishly served as the rest of the house and we all took a welcomed break to have a natter.

lunchtime!

lunchtime!

 

Taking some time out also allowed us to venture into one of the most gorgeous gardens you can imagine. This house is in the middle of London with houses all around but the design of the garden has allowed for complete tranquility. The height of the plants creates an almost cocoon like feel and you are totally un-overlooked.

Abigail Ahern's garden

Abigail Ahern’s garden

 

Accessed via huge glazed doors you feel it is an extension of the living room as you meander outside. A hanging light pendant is so effective over one of many garden tables and creates a working light for when cooking on the outdoor stove. That all important fire is also an amazing feature for those chilly nights.

Abigail Ahern garden

Abigail Ahern garden

 

I think I could get quite used to cooking out here. ……

Abigail Ahern outdoor fireplace

Abigail Ahern outdoor fireplace

 

Back in the classroom we continued our feast but this time on how to break all the rules when it comes to interiors!

………….

- if mismatching then do it in 2’s

- never allow a room to have straight path lines from one corner to the next. create constant interruptions for interest

- create friction (modern designer piece next to ‘scruffy’ flea market treasure

- push/pull dynamic within every room

- how you can never have too much texture………..something which this home has in abundance.

Abigail Ahern's home

Abigail Ahern’s home

 

We were all scribbling away, noting Abigail’s insider tips on how to create you dream home.

 

……. part 3 tomorrow……

 

 

 

Abigail Ahern Design School Day – part 1

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you had a great weekend.

Personally I am still super buzzing from my day at Abigail Ahern’s design school which is run at her home in Hackney. It wasn’t difficult to spot which house was hers as I walked down the road.

Abigail Ahern's house

Abigail Ahern’s house

Abigail’s husband Graham calmly welcomed people in whilst she got to work on making the coffees as the rest of the group arrived. We were 11 in total, traveling in from South London, Essex, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Italy and even Australia!

Abigail Ahern - Design School

Abigail Ahern – Design School

 

Despite being regularly described as one of Britain’s most influential female designers, Abigail and her husband were extremely welcoming and very ‘normal’ despite their growing success. The design day takes place in their home and they make you feel at home instantly. The whole atmosphere is super relaxed with her 2 dogs Maude (a Welsh Terrier) and Mungo (a miniature schauzer) lounging around. Her home is jaw droppingly stylish in every corner you look and she happy to allow people to take photos of her work.

The morning session was an insight into kitchens, living rooms and bathroom with endless images of different styles and how they work/don’t work and how you can recreate a certain look/feel to a room.

Her mantra of ‘layering’ when decorating is in abundance throughout the home and is amazingly effective whether that be in the kitchen, living room or WC! She is constantly saying that when you enter a room there should be more than one focal point to look at and your eye should dart around, not knowing where to look next to add intrigue and interest and this is 100% the case when you walk around her home.

Abigail Ahern's kitchen

Abigail Ahern’s kitchen

 

Abigail Ahern's living room

Abigail Ahern’s living room

 

Throughout the day I was scribbling down notes to myself of what I was planning to do to my house when I got home as the environment was unbelievably inspiring.

Abigail kindly allowed us to ‘take a tour’ of her home as the morning session came to an end. Every room or ‘nook’ was packed with beautiful items, flea market finds, one off pieces, stunning artwork and it was only when walking around that you realise how cleverly she plays on ‘scale’ with all her interiors.

Abigail Ahern's home

Abigail Ahern’s home

 

Abigail Ahern's home

Abigail Ahern’s home

 

At one point just before lunch, Marissa and I got a bit ‘giggly’ about the whole ‘being in such an amazingly place’ and we couldn’t resist trying to take a few selfies and pretend for a split second that we were quite ‘at home’ in this environment!

feeling at home at Abigail Ahern's

feeling at home at Abigail Ahern’s

 

more to come on Wednesday :)

 

Mum’s post of the week

My lovely Mum is still posting me her weekly ‘interior info find’ and this week it was about Jamie and Louise Graham, owners of the beautiful furniture store Graham and Green. The store is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year and has opened its first showroom at The Perfume Factory in West London along with designing a limited-edition collection of furniture to mark the occasion.

 

 

Since moving into their Victorian home in Northwest London, Jamie and Louise Graham have modernised the entire space but have managed to keep the Victorian charm. I loved the fact that although they obviously have beautiful home interiors, they still have managed to create a laid-back family home. Often people think that they can’t have much ‘stuff’ around and make a home ‘homely’ if they have kids or dogs etc but this just isn’t true as these images of their home just go to prove.

 

 

ww.dailymail.co.uk

ww.dailymail.co.uk

 

 

 

P.s. I’m off to ‘Design School’ tomorrow at Abigail Ahern’s house! Can’t tell you how excited I am…….can’t wait.

 

I’m hoping to get a bit of insider knowledge from one of Britain’s most influential designers with a few decorating secrets, ideas for finishing touches and decoding colour info.

 

Will tell you all about it on Monday!

 

Have a great weekend :)

 

Debenhams surprise finds

Not sure if you do the same but I go through phases with high street stores. For whatever reason I find myself visiting one or two more frequently than others and then I will switch to another and so and so on.

If you’d asked me a year ago whether I ever went into our local Debenhams the answer would probably have been ‘no’ but more recently I have noticed that I am visiting it much more often.

Debenhams is a leading international brand with a proud British heritage and with 240 stores in 28 countries it is a familiar high street brand.

Whereas in the past I may popped in to buy a gift for someone and then rushed out, I now tend to have a quick peek in the homeware section and only the other day I noticed a new furniture range that caught my eye.

The ‘Estelle’ furniture range is beautifully made from acacia wood and has a real mid-century design feel. It’s not cheap but one thing with Debenhams is that they do have good sales so I am going to keep an eye out !

 

The coffee table is my particular favourite!

 

If you have a good look around you can find some really unique reasonably priced smaller household items at such as this bronze rabbit hook.

 

Over the last 20 years Debenhams has invested in British Design through it’s exclusive Designers at Debenhams portfolio of brands with names such as Jasper Conran, Ben de Lisi and Matthew Williamson. They also have the EDITION range which is a concept that brings contemporary designers to the high street, showcasing 2 to 4 designers at any one time. The idea of Edition is to establish a constantly evolving mix of creative talent and in July 2013 Abigail Ahern was asked to design for the Edition range. I am a fan of her work so it’s great to be able see her work in your local high street store.

My favourites from her range are the bison head and the hare lamp.

 

 

Are there any high street stores that you particularly favour at the moment?