Orla Kiely – Clarks collaboration

Readers of my blog will know how much I adore Orla Kiely’s vintage homewares but there really is no stopping this lady as her amazing creations just get better and better.


Orla Kiely turned her hand to fashion in 1997 and this year she collaborated with the well-known shoe retailer Clarks. Her Spring/Summer collection was a sell out and it’s no surprise that she has teamed up with them again for an Autumn/Winter range too.


Her beautiful attention to detail, colour, palette and texture works amazingly for this collection. The vintage inspired T-bar and high heel on the leather ‘Orla Dotty’ is fabulous and I’m dying to get my hands on a pair!






It’s my birthday in a few weeks and I had asked Mum initially for some money towards a few books but now I’ve seen these I think I’ve changed my mind and will put the money towards a pair of these gorgeous Orla Dixie boots !!! What do you think??




The soles are even beautiful!



Magnetic Wallpaper

Hello everyone – I hope you had a great weekend in this ‘summer like’ weather :)

Many of us are all constantly trying to get our homes more organised or ‘in order’ so I was pleased to find some inspiring new ways to ‘display and sort’ those odd bits in the home.

Blackboard paint and magnetic blackboard paint have been mentioned quite a few times on my blog and I’ve used them in many areas of the home. (by the way, I much prefer the normal blackboard paint as the magnetic one is very runny and the ‘magnet’ part of it doesn’t appear to be that effective in my opinion….)

Anyway, I have recently stumbled across magnetic ‘wallpaper’ which is quite an attractive idea. No paint mess and you can cut to size according etc.

Not on the high street sell basic rolls of this wallpaper and would look great in a study or kitchen area.


The iron particles on the vinyl base allows the magnet to attach to the paper.


I also really love these decorated ones as you could literally put this up on one wall in a childs room and not only is it ‘functional’ but looks fab too.

What do you fancy….a giraffe? a rabbit? a zebra?…….




Prices vary depending on size but they start at around £44 and go up to around £100. Still cheaper therefore to buy the paint but I have to say, I’m rather fond of the animal printed papers……very tempting.


or how about this….


This cool bespoke wallpaper by Sian Zeng is a narrative magnetic wallpaper. It has moveable characters such as frogs, princes, geese and hedgehogs for the ultimate bedtime story!

This may be a fun way to get the kids off to sleep at night but at £200 a metre it may be cheaper to read them a book!

Painted ceilings


Between 1508 – 1512, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, Rome. One of the most famous beautiful pieces of artwork in the world today.

Mum’s ‘post of the week’ this week was about the home of model scout Cesar Perin of Unsigned MGMT and his partner. One of the main features in their beautiful home is the painted ceiling they had specially commissioned.


The couple say that ‘whatever the weather they always have a blue sky’.

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about painting ceilings but maybe we should be going one step further and actually following in Michelangelo’s footsteps and actually making them more of a piece of art?

What do you think?



What an amazing way to start your day in this shower!


If you don’t know a painter brave enough to take on such a bold ‘blue sky’ project, you could always hang wallpaper such as Cloud Toile by Timorous Beasties to which would give a fab effect too!


or opt for another amazing wallpaper like this.


ceilings – painted or wallpapered – Are you tempted ?


Hope you have a great weekend :)



‘Grout is a construction material used to embed rebars in masonry walls, connect sections of pre-cast concrete, fill voids, and seal joints (like those between tiles)’ – Wikipedia

Basically, most of us come across ‘grout’ when we are in the process of designing a kitchen or bathroom and using tiles.

Bathrooms and kitchens are expensive redesigns and we can spend thousands on quality furnishings and products to get them looking exactly as we want them. What i’ve found though is that lots of people forget to give much attention to ‘grout’. They get to the grouting stage and just want the job done, finished…..but actually, the choice of grout can make or break a design in my opinion and we should give as much thought to what we choose as we do to the style of tap. In fact, more thought. At the end of the day a tap could quite easily be changed (yes, not ideally but possible). Changing the grout if you suddenly decide you’ve made a mistake is a much more arduous task!

The tiler should be able to advise on what ‘type’ of grout to use:

eg. sanded vs unsanded (adding sand to grout makes it more resistant to cracking or shrinking – often used for large spaces between tiles

Sealing grout:

This is important when using light-coloured grout and for high traffic areas that may be exposed to an element of moisture.

Grout colour:

We spend hours deciding what tile we want and literally seconds on the colour of the grout – and there are many colours to chose from…. so what do we go for?

light ? dark ? match the tile colour ? don’t match the tile colour ?

Your tiler should have various tile colour options so you can put a few around the tiles you are using to get an idea of how they will look.


Match the tile grout to the tile colour:

By doing this the grout lines become less obvious and the tile is accentuated. Experts say that this is the best option if you have chosen an expensive tile with a basic layout.


Contrast the colour of grout to the tile colour:

This will draw attention to the pattern and layout of the tile overall. Good for when you have a detailed geometric or decorative pattern on the tile.

my house

my house


I chose a contrasting dark coloured grout with my white subway tile. I love the contrast here as it creates quite a bold, industrial type look. (good at hiding the dirt too as the lighter grout shows more !) however, some people think the dark grout actually makes it look dirty….

By the way, care when cleaning dark grout as some harsh cleaners can actually fade the grout over time.



Here you can see the contrasting white grout against the blue metro brick tile. The tile and layout becomes quite striking. The image below shows how the pattern of the layout is much clearer using the darker grout.



You could even try something completely different and use a totally different colour such as the blue grout below if you feel like a change!



 Neutral coloured grout:

Often the ‘safest’ option for bathrooms is to grout in a neutral grey, beige or brown. These lighter shades may have a tendency to show more dirt but they are also less prone to fading and discolouration too.


Whatever colour you decide to go for just make sure you give it some thought when you are designing your new room and don’t leave it until when the tiler is standing in front of you waiting to start as you may make a rushed decision and one you regret later !




going dark….

Hello – I hope you all had a great weekend.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I was lucky enough to spend the day at Abigail Ahern’s house a few weeks ago and was completely inspired by her beautiful dramatic decor.

Abigail Ahern's home

Abigail Ahern’s home


As you know, I have already given the downstairs WC the moody hue treatment and last week I was able to move a few more rooms to the dark side!

Using the expertise of the lovely John Wesley Interior Decorating services (07808 161234) we got cracking on introducing Abigail’s Madison Grey into a few rooms…..


Initially I had only intended to do one or two rooms but the effect is so dramatic it’s additive! John kindly put up the vintage bookshelf wallpaper from Rockett St George and it compliments the deep grey as if they were set to go together! The dark colours literally push the ceilings higher and walls out to make the room feel SO much bigger.

my house

my house


my house

my house


my house

my house



my house


I know if Abigail was reading this she would think that I should really go the whole hog and do all the walls in the room, the coving and skirting, the ceiling… but Paul was not totally sold on moving to the dark side so I didn’t want to push him over the edge! As it happens he absolutely loves the effect and so you never know, I may be getting John back soon to finish off the other walls !


Have a good Monday :)




We all dream of having that designer looking home. Some may even have the designer looking home. For others it seems completely unachievable.

I often talk about how personal wellbeing can be effected by the state of your home and it’s hard discussing it without sounding too ‘deep’ or ‘dramatic’ about it but I really believe there is a link.

my house

my house


I hate this bit but I’m going to talk about my home and try not to sound too annoying. Right, I have 2 children and a dog. My house is tidy and well organised. It is easy to clean because everything I have has a place. Yes, everyone has paperwork but if it’s not for filing then it goes in the bin. If clothes are no longer worn, they are given to friends or charity. I hope that people who visit don’t think my home is minimalist, or sterile but lived in and welcoming. Yes, it is normally quite tidy but that is because the things I chose to keep have a place. When the kids have all the lego out or are playing with the latest craze it may look a bit hectic for a while but when they’ve finished stuff gets put away. Certain things don’t always have to be on show. Just keep your really nice bits on display as these will make you feel happier and help the home feel much calmer.

I went to see a client the other day who feels that her home has literally got out of control. Our daily lives are so busy these days and it is indeed hard to keep hold down a full time or part time job whilst still keeping on top of the cooking, cleaning, washing…… blah blah blah. Once it starts to get out of hand it just spirals and gets worse and worse and our homes end up looking more like this than that of a designer home.

getty images

getty images


Clutter is a key culprit for making our homes sometimes feel as if they are no longer ours.

People have even written books about clutter, such as Marie Kondo, Japenese tidiness expert.



In order to regain your home and create a space where you feel comfortable relaxing and entertaining it, you need to take control of your clutter! It’s not about having thousands of pounds to do an extension, or redesign…… basic decluttering can be the beginning of the transformation.

A tidy, well thought out home will make you happier and feel calmer. Although you do need to invest time in tackling this menace, it will actual save you time in the long run as you will be able to find things more easily, clean better, and will give you an enormous sense of pride. Even a few hours can start to help organise your home.


yes, this is often an area for improvement when it comes to clutter but don’t fall into the trap of buying loads of storage and then throwing all the clutter inside! You are just avoiding the job.

what do you actually ‘need’?

you need to identify what your home actually needs. what do you keep?

what do I do with the stuff I don’t need?

- throw stuff away (yes, we do find this hard to do but some bits are literally rubbish – old cosmetic samples, old phone packs,…..clothes not worn for years…)

- sell some items privately to raise funds for future home improvements

- give some bits that are in good order but just no longer needed to charity


If your home is in need of a bit of TLC, take a few hours out this weekend to ‘declutter’. Clear out that drawer, make space in your wardrobe, tidy the ‘paperwork’ that is sitting on the side of the kitchen worktop making it look a mess……

Once you start to see what a difference it makes you will want to do more….. it’s addictive honestly !


Have a great weekend :)


150 years of John Lewis


John Lewis has indeed come a long way since 1864 and it is still proud to be innovating new ideas today.

To mark 150 years on the British high street the retailer is collaborating with some long standing suppliers to create unique products. They are bringing back special edition prints from archive and adding them to their contemporary products.

G Plan Vintage is an exclusive collaboration between Iconic Furniture maker G Plan and the British Design Team Hemingway Design – G Plan Vintage collection



The Design Museum has put together a special collection of 50 John Lewis products (on display July – September 2014) that demonstrate an excellence in design and there are many familiar design classics amongst them such as the Anglepoise Lamp, Eames DSW chair, and the Magis Air chair and the Hans Wegner ‘U’ chair as below.






I have to say I am pretty delighted that where I live in Chelmsford, Essex has been chosen as one of their next sites for a new John Lewis. The artist’s impression below is how it will all hopefully look by 2016. The quality store will be a welcomed addition to our City.