Simple Style: Chinese Ceramic Garden Stool

Surprise surprise, I’ve got Pinterest to thank for this one again. I’d never heard of the Chinese Garden Stool, despite recognizing the simple, barrel shaped, ceramic stool from so many home décor photos. Recently, I noticed a lot of the living room images I really liked on Pinterest seemed to have one, but it wasn’t something I found in stores.

And then TK Maxx got a couple in. One good thing about TK Maxx (Or TJ Maxx as it’s known in the US) is the wide variety of one-off pieces sourced from all over the world. I kept my eye on the stool for a little while, umm-ing and ahh-ing about whether I wanted to spend £40 on yet another piece of furniture we really didn’t need before our living room is decorated. My dear Fiance had actually ‘banned’ (i.e. politely asked) me not to buy ANY MORE FURNITURE before we finish the room.

Ooops. One day, I noticed the stool had been discounted, and I also had won a voucher for the place, so reasoning then that I would only be paying £20 cash for it, it came home with me. Insert smiley face here.

Image from wayfair.co.uk

Pretty much everyone since, including dear Fiance, has said the same when they’ve seen it. “What’s that, then?” I guess they are not very common in the UK, and in fact, when I googled them, the only options are upwards of £100. You can buy an identical one, the Safavieh Modern Ming Stool, pictured above, from Wayfair for £106.99 on offer from £114.99 at the moment.

Image from agkdesignstudio.com

I’ve seen so many of them styled online as side tables as above, but also as seating, lamp tables, in the bedroom, even the bathroom. For such a simple design, they are very versatile pieces, and I imagine I’ll be using mine as an end/coffee table next to the sofa or a chair in the living room once it’s finished.

And yet again, I’m very satisfied with my bit of bargain hunting!

I’ll see you soon for some more monthly inspiration too, so don’t forget to check back for that,

For now, with love,
Ellen

Candle of the Month: March – Price’s Mandarin & Ginger

IMAG1832Spring has sprung! I am so happy, we’re into Spring now, the clocks change next weekend, it already feels lighter and ever so slightly warmer and the birds are tweeting!

So you may be surprised by my choice of candle this month. Back in my December Candle of the Month post, I mentioned that I had purchased three styles of candle in the same scent for Christmas, but hadn’t gotten around to burning them. Luckily it is still a fairly fresh citrussy scent, that I thought would work well for Spring too, and it does.

The ginger is quite subtle, and to be honest, the mandarin is quite light too. But that’s not to say it isn’t gorgeous. It just doesn’t pack much of a punch. It’s a fairly close fragrance, and as recently I have been burning them purely for my own enjoyment, that’s fine with me. I would no doubt have a stronger fragrance if I were burning all three together, but as I pointed out that it’s just for little old me, and usually in the bedroom, I’ve just been using the lantern candle for the last couple of weeks.

It’s one of those scents that you seem to notice more when you walk back into a room that it’s burning in (not that you’re supposed to leave a room with a burning candle, but I’m only talking for the couple of minutes it takes to make a drink, etc.) and it really is wonderfully warm yet fresh. Like a summer’s evening. There aren’t many scents that seem to suit Christmas, Spring and Summer, so this is a great all year long candle, especially as the hint of ginger should really lend itself to Autumn too.

IMAG1884I guess because I mainly burn candles in the evening, the spice hasn’t seemed too out of place, but again, it is very light on the ginger, and mainly the gorgeously sweet mandarin that I notice, and a very realistic scent it is too.

IMAG1886IMAG1889Price’s Candles have been in production since 1830, and have had a long-standing link with the Royal Family. They aren’t a brand I see here, there and everywhere, but they are widely available, and of course, available on their own website, http://www.prices-candles.co.uk. I haven’t tried much from them before, but I certainly would like to try some more, as they have some fabulous and uncommon sounding scents (such as watermelon and cucumber), and favorites like pink grapefruit that I always like to try from different brands.

So that’s it for today, but I’ll be back in a few days with another post and as ever, there’ll be another Candle of the Month post this time next month.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Easy DIY Abstract Canvas

Artwork doesn’t have to cost the earth. I don’t have a tutorial for you at the moment, as these are canvases I made a couple of years ago, but they were super simple, and my recommendation for this type of art is always just ‘have a go and try some stuff out!’ anyway.

So, back story. When we moved into our last rented house, it had black and grey feature wallpaper in the master bedroom which wasn’t very appealing to me. I don’t like dark colours, especially not in bedrooms, and I don’t particularly like wallpaper (as a general rule, I’ll admit, on occasion it can look quite nice).

Luckily, however, we had a fantastic landlord and landlady who didn’t mind me doing a little decorating.

OFF CAME THE WALLPAPER! Yippee! Amazingly, it peeled straight off, and with a little sugarsoaping they were ready to paint. I went with a zingy, fresh green, it’s my Fiancé’s favourite colour and I just wanted something lighter than the black. One afternoon later and we had new feature walls. But they were a little bland.

Amazingly, I have a rubbishy photo of them in the old house, with the green walls!
Amazingly, I have a rubbishy photo of them in the old house, with the green walls!

Luckily I had some blank canvases in, and I always have my paint box full of acrylics, emulsion tester pots and random bits and bobs, so one more afternoon and I had something pretty for my walls.

I used the same green emulsion I had used on the walls as the base colour for the canvases, and stippled lots of white and yellow, and other shades of lime and mint green in to give a textured look, and added some contrasting pinks and purples to the top. I wasn’t a huge fan of how that turned out, and went back over with more blues and white until I was happy, and had created the three pictures you see in the photographs.

They were a great, cheap and cheerful way to add some colour to the walls, to tie in the green paint considering we had nothing else that matched in the room, and when we moved to our new home, were easy to chuck back up on the walls and add a bit of interest until we get around to redecorating the bedroom.

I definitely recommend making your own canvas designs before buying off the highstreet. It’s the best way to add a really personal, perfectly matched (or perfectly contrasting) touch to your décor. And it doesn’t break the bank.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Driftwood Candle Holder for a New England Coastal Style Dining Room

IMAG1829Okay, hands up, this isn’t driftwood. But it looks like it. When I saw this two pillar candle holder in TK Maxx, my first thought was ‘Ooooh, wow, look at that!’, almost instantly followed by ‘It’s so strange, is it ugly?’, luckily followed by ‘I don’t care, I love it!’.

I really do love one off pieces, and I haven’t seen something quite like this before. I’ve seen lots of handmade driftwood candle holders (pillar and tea light), etsy is an excellent place to buy a unique one, and pinterest is perfect for inspiration if you want to DIY your own.

IMAG1827 This one was a little different though. It’s quite light in colour, almost like it’s been white-washed, although it’s just the lovely colour of the wood. There’s only a very little label, stating it’s made in China, and a description of ‘Candle 2 Hold. Dragon Root’. Not giving much away then.

I can only assume then, that this is actually made from the root of the Dragon Tree. Googling the matter doesn’t one hundred percent confirm that idea, but it’s a pretty good bet I think. It looks like a lovely bit of weathered driftwood to me though so I’m super happy with it. And it was a total bargain at just £4.99. I’ve seen much more expensive pieces that haven’t been half as wonderful and quirky as this, so I just couldn’t refuse.

IMAG1826I think it will look lovely in the centre of the dining table, on a nice contrasting, blue table runner and maybe one or two other items. I really like table decoration. I think it can be a great conversation starter, and also makes your table look pretty while it’s not in use. I think everything in a room should look appealing as well as functional.

I’m really loving New England style decorating. It has enough of the nautical touches to remind you of the sea and travel, but also a lot of freshness. I think it looks very ‘clean’ in a way some cluttered, over-the-top beachy schemes don’t. I really don’t want stuffy, over-done décor!

This is something I’ll probably cover soon in a blog post, as the more I plan out our living room décor, the clearer I’m feeling on what it is I want and more so, what I don’t. There’s so much choice out there for absolutely everything these days that I want a clear idea of the feel we want to create for the room before we get to work on the pretty stuff. There’s still a lot of plastering and boring bits to sort out before that though!

So without further ado, I’m going to get back to the sugar soap.

For now, with love,

Ellen

Top Picks under £10: March

Hi,

A couple of weeks ago, I started seeing banana leaf prints and palm trees aplenty everytime I searched for decorative items. It may not be the most obvious choice for March, but it’s bright and cheerful and I think we could do with some wonderful tropical thoughts while it’s so grey and wet outside here in the UK.

H&M home always seems to have fabulous printed pieces, and I’ve purchased several in the past (always online as my local stores have never sold homewares) and been pleased. I could have stuck to H&M alone for these tropical themed pieces but I do like to mix it up and shop in different places rather than buy a whole look from a single store so it’s another mixed selection, and my favourite top picks under £10.

At Home With Ellen Tropical Moodboard1. Large Leaf Print Cushion – Primark – £5.00
I love the different leaf shapes in this! So pretty and a perfect items to start a tropical theme with.

2. Large Square Coloured Glass Hurricane – Matalan – £10.00
I think mixing tones of greens as well as textures is really important and felt this was more modern and appropriate than a glass vase or bowl.

3. Cotton Cushion Cover – H&M – £6.99
Yes, I do struggle to limit myself to one cushion! This one is gorgeous too, and so vibrant and fresh looking.

4. Fresh Coconut Boxed Candle Glass – Wax Lyrical – £6.50
I love this size candle, the image on the glass holder and coconut is perfect for a tropical theme too.

5. Fejka Artificial Potted Plant – IKEA – £8.00
This beautiful, lifelike fern adds much needed greenery in a tropical room, without requiring any additional care. Add a plant pot and you’re good to go!

6. Passionfruit & Orange Scented Candle – Matalan – £5.00
This is more for the appearance of the gorgeous green glass jar than the candle itself, although luckily it’s a perfectly tropical scent too.

7. Hanging Hummingbird Decoration – Dunelm – £3.99
Add a touch of paradise with this stunning acrylic bird decoration. A whole bunch of these would look great hanging from some branches and greenery.

8. Green Tealight Holder – Wilko – £2.00
My shopping list wouldn’t be complete without something from Wilko! They always have on trend pieces at really affordable prices, like this tealight holder.

9. Patterened Table Runner – H&M – £7.99
I told you H&M and some fabulous pieces. Bring a touch of the rainforest into your dining room too with this lovely table runner. Add some bamboo placemats, white crockery and green glass and you’ll be onto a winner!

So there you have my tropical picks for March. I know I’ve been a little quiet on the blog the last couple of weeks so I’m aiming to fix that and squeeze some extra posts in so stay tuned, but look back at the menu on the left, or the categories below to find more posts on similar topics you may enjoy.

As ever, if you do have any suggestions or if there’s anything you’d like to see on here, just let me know in the comments below.

For now, with love,
Ellen