Merry Christmas

Chistmas Tree of Lights

This is my last post of 2013 so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year. Thank you for taking time out to read my blog and for all your comments; it means a lot.

I look forward to seeing you back here in 2014!

Siân x

Image: Pink Sugar via Pinterest

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Hyacinths

8-IMG_1835Things are finally getting festive around here; the tree went up last weekend and since then I’ve slowly been adding decorative touches here and there around the house.

I’m especially proud of my display of hyacinths on the cupboard in the kitchen which was very cheap to do and looks really pretty. I already had the birch basket so simply bought a couple of pots of bulbs and hid their plasticky shame with some moss (our lawn provides a plentiful supply!) and ivy which I coiled around the edge. Lichen covered twigs, snipped from our pear tree, add a bit of height.

It’s an idea shamelessly copied from Spriggs Florist in Petworth where we bought a very similar little arrangement to take to a dinner party a couple of weeks ago. I’ll confess to being slightly loath to part with it when we arrived at our friends’ house so I promised myself I’d have a go at making my own.

Unsurprisingly, given the warmth of our kitchen, the bulbs are already flowering, filling the room with their glorious scent and making me smile every time I walk in.

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Deck the Halls

Christmas Decorationss

Apologies for the short absence from the blog: my friend and I decided to take our little online shop on the road last weekend and have a stall at our kids’ Christmas fair to showcase our wares. As a result, the last few weeks have been all about panicking that we didn’t have enough stock (or that said stock wouldn’t arrive in time), various dry runs on the styling, foraging for ivy and branches, the writing of many-a-price ticket, and so on.

It has been a massive learning curve for us both but the stall seemed to go down well and it’s given us plenty of food for thought as to where to take things next.

In the meantime, Christmas seems to have snuck up on me somewhat and I’m well aware the blog isn’t exactly feeling festive yet. To kick things off I’ve compiled a little shortlist of gorgeous decorations to share with you; I don’t subscribe to the idea of completely changing the colour scheme of my tree year on year (it’s just too expensive), but I do like to treat myself to a couple of new decorations to add to all our old favourites and would happily find a home for any of these.

  1. Zinc Oakleaf Trio Decoration – Rowen & Wren
  2. Large Hand Made Paper Star – Toast
  3. Three Tea Light Houses – Cox & Cox
  4. Natural Feather Patridge Clip – Graham & Green
  5. French Script Rag Ball Ornaments – Cloth & Patina
  6. Timepiece Bauble – Anthropologie

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London Zoo

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We revisited an old haunt with some new friends last weekend as my daughter decided against a birthday party in favour of an outing with a couple mates from school.

It was the most glorious, crisp autumn day which showed London at its finest and made me a little bit sad we don’t live there any more. I was therefore secretly pleased not to be able to find ‘Bus Stop C’ outside Regent’s Park tube station as it meant we got to walk the full length of the park in the lovely sunshine and marvel at all the hilarious pooches out and about with their owners.

The zoo was even better than we remembered: the new Tiger Territory to explore, a revamped restaurant, a surprising lack of crowds and some amazing photo opportunities. All in all a very special day.

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Woodland Trend (by way of cake)

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My daughter is clearly embracing the current trend for all things sylvan as she asked for a woodland animals cake for her birthday this week, with a special request for a deer to feature somewhere.

As always Pinterest came to my rescue, providing both a ton of inspiration as well as some brilliant online tutorials for the hedgehog and bluebird. It took several hours perched in front of the computer, icing and tools in hand, to create the decorations but I rather enjoyed it (and possibly got a little carried away too).

The creatures stood no chance once the cake was cut: I am a little saddened – but not surprised – to report that only a handful of leaves and a solitary toadstool emerged unscathed.

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Paddywax Eco Candle

Paddywax - Bordeaux Fig & Vetiver

In a bid to take my mind off the gloomy weather outside, I’ve been burning this gorgeous Bordeaux Fig & Vetiver candle from Paddywax recently. I’ll find any excuse to make the house all cosy and, as I waded through a pile of admin yesterday, it certainly took the edge off being stuck indoors.

Packaged in an upcycled wine bottle (and topped off with a sustainably-sourced wooden lid), this soy wax candle has a rich fig scent, whilst the vetiver adds a certain herbal freshness that stops it from being cloying. I really like the way the dark glass creates a muted glow: just perfect for creating a little ambience as the nights draw in.

The whole Eco range, which also includes room diffusers and triple-milled soaps is just lovely thanks to its combination of beautiful packaging, an intriguing range of scents and some eco-friendly credentials thrown in for good measure.

Suffice to say, it’s going to be a fragrant winter in our house…

My candle was kindly provided by The Fragrance Lounge – thank you!

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Pumpkins & Squash

Nature in the Home - Squash & Berries

The pumpkins and squash have finally been harvested from the vegetable garden. Perfect timing as I was keen to join in with the Nature in the Home series which has just restarted over at the lovely Littlegreenshed.

The creamy Balmoral Squash have made a lovely display piled up in a basket with Guelder rose branches and rosehips. They sit pride of place in on the kitchen table: our little tribute to autumn.

It’s unlikely these are going to get eaten unfortunately as the ones we have tried are disappointingly bland, but at least they can earn their keep by looking pretty.

As for the pumpkins, they won’t make it to our plates either as they were transformed into a cat and a bat for yesterday’s Hallowe’en party at my children’s school. Scary eh?

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Bohemian Collection – Vanessa Arbuthnott

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When the latest Vanessa Arbuthnott brochure landed on my doormat recently, I was immediately taken with this image from the new Bohemian collection as it encapsulates all I’d like to see in my kitchen one day. I’m obsessed with horizontal wall panelling at the moment, and combined with the colour scheme of creams and greys, vintage accessories and accents of colour on the wall, the end result is just perfect.

Vanessa Arbuthnott - Bohemian Collection

The collection is a celebration of the simple pleasures of rural living. Three new fabrics include a contemporary toile de jouy depicting countryside scenes, a stylised floral design and a block printed leaf pattern; these are complemented by a selection of stripe and spot patterns updated in a range of new shades. The colourways comprise the subtle earthy colours that Vanessa Arbuthnott is so well known for, as well as striking bolder hues like saffron, damson and cornflower.

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If you’re interested in seeing how this inspiring photo shoot was put together, take a moment to watch this lovely video showing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

Images: Vanessa Arbuthnott

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Little Fluffy Clouds

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The clouds were amazing this evening and warranted a quick photo op in the garden after school.

It is some years since I studied GSCE Geography, and I’ve long forgotten my cloud types, so the kids and I settled on describing it as a ‘fish scale sky.’

Much easier to remember.

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Grainsack Home & Garden

Grainsack Home & Garden - Grain sacks & torchons

I’m hugely excited to share the news that a friend and I have just opened our very own online shop called Grainsack Home & Garden.

We’re both passionate (borderline obsessed) with interiors and this seemed like a great way to dip our toes into the wonderful world of home and garden accessories.

We are launching with a range of vintage linens: these beautiful tea towels (often known as ‘torchons’) and Hungarian grain sacks have been doing the rounds in interiors mags and websites for a while now as they make stunning (not to mention economical) cushion or chair covers, placemats, table runners, laundry bags…the list goes on! They’re perfect if you’re after a relaxed, rustic look in your home.

As we’re always on the hunt for more vintage treasures, make sure you stop by often to see what goodies we’ve discovered. In the meantime, here’s a little linen inspiration by way of my Pinterest boards.

Have a great weekend. x

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