Are Fake Flowers a Faux-Pas?

A lot of people are quite opinionated on fake flowers. A lot don’t care. Within home décor, I think they can be great. Especially in seasonal décor, I like artificial blooms. They add a pop of colour, can be very affordable, and aren’t even necessarily trying to fool anyone into thinking they’re the real thing. They’re just another decoration.

The thing that got me thinking about the subject, however, was wedding talk. Myself and dear Fiancé are in the process of planning our wedding, and inevitably, the subject of decorating has come up! With weddings, a lot dislike and a lot totally adore silk flowers. I can see the benefits. They’re available out of season, allergy-friendly, can be DIY’ed with some basic skill, and most importantly, can be made in advance. Oh, and the options are somewhat endless. But I’m not fooled into thinking they’re ever real, regardless of the price point – and I’ve seen some beautiful (and costly) examples.

I’m undecided with my own wedding. I’m not sure I can justify the cost of real blooms for just one day, and there’s also the stress of them being last minute and someone else doing them. I appreciate that faux flowers can cost more than real, but they last infinitely longer! I do like the idea of potted flowers and plants. They seem a lot more ‘natural’ to me. They’re growing, they’re still alive. I really like that aspect. And as I mentioned with artificial flowers, I like the thought of them being prepared in advance, knowing exactly what they look like and there being no chance of wilting.

Clearly, undecided!

I certainly, however, do NOT think that fake is a faux-pas. I cannot understand some people’s strong aversion to them. Each to their own, definitely, but I don’t think anything as simple as a silk flower can be offensive to anyone! It’s its own thing. It doesn’t have to be a poor representation of a real flower. It doesn’t have to be compared to a real flower at all. It’s not real. It can be enjoyed for being a pretty, silk decoration in it’s own right.

I’ve often incorporated artificial flowers into my Top Picks under £10 posts, and at that price range, there’s definitely no fooling anyone about the fabric of the flowers. But I still like them. They can still add vibrancy and softness to an otherwise dull corner.

Let me know how you think the real and fake flowers above compare. I’d also love to hear  your opinions, especially if you have favourite brands, or species. Or even your reasons for not liking silk flowers. Leave me a comment below :)

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

Ikea Brusali Furniture

brusali-wardrobe-with-doors-white__0283057_PE362781_S4Hi,

As I’ve said before, what feels like a million times, we moved house a couple of months back and in terms of decorating,, we were supposed to be focussing on the living room first. We sort of are.

And then we bought six new pieces of bedroom furniture.

My dear Fiance had had about his fill of me moaning in the mornings that I didn’t have a vanity table and struggled to get ready while balancing a mirror on my knees to do my makeup. I don’t blame him, I can moan a lot. He decided I definitely needed some kind of dressing table, and I thought I’d settled on the Ikea Malm one. I really liked the wide drawer and the glass top. But it’s pretty huge in terms of the width.

We checked it out one Ikea trip, and I couldn’t really figure out how I could fit it into our bedroom with all the other furniture we need. And there was the issue of our wardrobes.

They’d already moved a couple of times with us, and were originally flat pack furniture, and they’d pretty much just been used to death. I’m not complaining – we’d had plenty of use out of them. But now they were wobbly from top to bottom and beyond repairing. So I started to look at wardrobes instead of vanity tables and struggled to find something to match with our existing mismatched furniture. Flat pack seemed the way to go, from a price-point perspective. And then I found the Brusali range at Ikea.
brusali-wardrobe-with-doors-white__0247231_PE386049_S4 I loved the three-door wardrobe. And although they didn’t do a dressing table, they had a desk, which could definitely work as a vanity. And there were matching bedside tables, 4-drawer chests, 3-drawer chests, a tall, slim 4-drawer chest. A shoe cupboard, that I loved, but couldn’t make room for. And even better, I found most of it on eBay.
brusali-chest-of-drawers-white__0380449_PH123703_S4We first purchased three items together: The 4-drawers chest of drawers, and the skinny tall chest of drawers, plus one bedside table. They are in mint condition, barely used and properly put together. You wouldn’t know they weren’t new. And we saved a good chunk of cash on the RRP.

IMAG1627 Then I found the wardrobe – which in all fairness has one or two minor faults, but you can’t see them now it’s been rebuilt and is in situ. There was another error with this one as when we went to collect it, the seller provided us with the wrong rail, but as ever dear Fiance fixed it up and now you’d never know! So, this one wasn’t perfect, and it was a long way to collect, but it was only a third of the cost of a brand new one, so all in all we can’t argue.

IMAG1636We did purchases the desk/dressing table new from Ikea, and the same day bought and collected a second bedside table (again, mint and unused) from a lovely eBay seller just five minutes up the road. So for around £250, we have a full set of furniture that retails for £420. My other half was concerned that so much matching white furniture would make the bed stand out too much, as it’s a warm, pine coloured solid wood frame, however because I love our bed so much, I don’t mind that it doesn’t match. I think sometimes, when you spend a long time finding the perfect item, it doesn’t matter if the colours or styles don’t match perfectly to everything else – when you like it, you’ll think it looks great together anyway.

The only other addition was the large, Stave mirror. A bargain at just £15 for a huge 70cm square mirror with white frame. You’ll see in my photo it’s still in the packaging. I wanted to be sure I liked it and that it would work over the desk (and that I would be happy with the desk sitting in that corner as it does) and I am, so we’ll fix the mirror to the wall soon.

IMAG1633I’m using a folding chair that we already had with the desk. I might swap it out for a stool or different chair at some point, but for now, I’m not too bothered about that aspect and the chair works just fine.

IMAG1630Lastly, I did also purchase the Sålnan Seagrass baskets in both sizes, the deep rectangular and the smaller shallow square ones as they work perfectly with the shelves of the desk and are ideal for keeping my makeup and beauty products in.

I’m really pleased with how the room is coming together. Yes, it does need the wallpaper stripping and everything needs repainting and new carpets but we’ll get there. We’ve definitely made the room more functional, and I think with the white furniture over natural wood, more relaxing too.

I will get a picture of the whole room up once I’m happy with it, and same goes for the downstairs of the house too, but we’ve a long way to go there.

By the way – did you spot the cat in the box?! That’s Toots, and he’s been loving that little cardboard box so much I don’t have the heart to get rid of it now, or even move it for the photgraphs. So cute!

For now, with love,

Ellen

Review: Dunelm Mill Solar Black Out Curtains

IMAG1607Hi,

So, about two and a half weeks ago, I told you I purchased some new curtains for our bedroom (read the original post here). I hung them straight away and we’ve been pretty happy with them ever since.

They were in the shade Biscuit – a nice neutral, soft taupe-y beige that doesn’t lean too warm, so will contrast nicely with white walls when we get around to decorating. I definitely think the fabric looks more expensive than the price we paid, it has a slight linen effect weave too it, although it doesn’t feel too soft when touched.

IMAG1490My only slight issue is with the creasing. The picture above is the of the day the were hung. After over a fortnight, the creases still haven’t gone. Although they have definitely eased off, they certainly haven’t dropped out completely which is a shame, as I’m so nervous of ironing them. I did read all the reviews online before purchasing, and a few comments mentioned the creasing, so I was expecting it, but I still hoped they’d fall out naturally. Luckily, a few commenters had mentioned how they’d lightly ironed the curtains with the aid of a pillowcase, so as not to scorch the fabric, and that they’d turned out well, so if the creases are still prominent in another two weeks, I’ll have to take them down and go over them with the iron.

IMAG1608They certainly can’t be faulted on their black-out claim however. Yes, the light peeks in over the top and underneath the curtains, but that’s only noticeable because the curtains themselves are so effective in blocking out the light. The photo below (as poor quality as it is) shows as much.

IMAG1486It is so difficult to take photographs when facing the window. The closed curtain pictures were taken on a reasonably sunny morning, and the open ones, I waited until today for as it’s been another very grey, overcast afternoon here.  It still didn’t seem to help with the quality of the photos, but I figure something is better than nothing!

As my other half mentioned, Summer will be the true test for these curtains, although at any time of year, as our window is North-facing, we never get oodles of sunshine, it’s just the early morning light we were worried about.

As for ease of hanging, I was pretty pleased. They come with good, clear instructions if you’ve never hung curtains before, and it’s such an improvement on the old ones. I more than doubled the amount of hooks and gliders that had been up when we purchased the house, and have the existing curtain track a thorough cleaning and they now draw so much smoother, it’s no longer a hassle. I still think we will change the track to a metal curtain pole when we do decorate, but this is certainly a fine option for now.

Overall, we’re really pleased. My partner scored them an 8/10 and I think I agree – just the feel of the fabric and the fact they’re still creased let them down ever so slightly. But no real complaints, and I would purchase them again in other colours for the spare bedrooms too.

For now, with love,

Ellen

Dunelm Mill Haul

IMAG1390
Hi,

When we moved into our new house in November, we knew it would be a while before we got around to replacing a lot of things. Although very outdated, and in some cases a little shabby, every room has carpet, curtains and lampshades at least.

Sadly the living room curtains were in such a state, we took them down immediately, and as we’re still working on the room, have not yet put anything up. In the master bedroom, we have been making do with the faded-around-the-edges, golden orange toned monstrosities that are hanging there. Once upon a time they were probably very nice curtains. They look well made and the lining still does a good job of blocking the light, despite being torn to shreds in areas.

The curtain track however is not so great and the gliders and hooks (those that aren’t missing or broken) are brittle and make drawing the curtains at the start and end of each day a bit of a pain.

Once we finish with the living room and look at decorating the upstairs, we will replace the curtain track with a metal pole, and rings. We could have done that now, however we’re not really supposed to be spending on the upstairs until the downstairs is finished.

So for now, I bought some new curtains, hooks and gliders and will give the old track a good clean and hopefully it will bring a bit of freshness into our room.

After hours of searching online, I decided Dunelm Mill was our best option, as it had a good variety of pencil pleat curtains (my favourite, regardless of whether you’re using a pole and rings, or track) and also a decent selection in the size we needed – 90″ wide, by 54″ length. In actual fact, I could probably shorten them a touch – the current curtains are around 47″ long and work well, but I’ll keep them full length until we decorate, choose a pole and settle on the height of it above the window.

My fiancé particularly wanted blackout curtains, and I wanted something in a light, neutral colour. I ummed and ahhed about making my own, and even picked out a nice linen fabric, but it worked out significantly more expensive, so didn’t seem worth it, considering the time involved in making them as well.

I decided to order online, thanks to the 7% cashback through Quidco, and added a few more bits too, partly for the free delivery, partly because I like shopping! I forgot to add a lampshade we’d talked about however, and so ended up going into store that evening anyway to pick it up, and luckily found a better (and cheaper) alternative.

IMAG1400
 The curtains are the Solar Black Out Pencil Pleat Curtains, and I chose the shade Biscuit, a neutral light beige colour that’s neither too warm or to cool toned. I added some gliders and curtain hooks too. The curtains had a £10 discount on them, making them £39.99 instead of £49.99, and even the gliders had a 20% discount, making them £1.59 instead of £1.99 each.

IMAG1405
Here’s the light shade. Originally, I was going to order a string effect one, as I like different textures and the natural effects they can create, however, whilst looking quite natural and golden online, in reality it’s a deepish brown shade and looks more like a paper twine than a true string rope effect. Luckily, as I’d forgotten to order it, and hence went into store, we found this out before purchasing, and instead I went for the cream metal Galley Pendant, a shade I’d seen earlier in the year. That was a steal at £6.39, down from the original £12.99 that I’d very first seen it at.

IMAG1408
I also added a couple of these Tex Weave cushion covers, as again, online they looked to have a very natural, almost jute look appearance to them. Whilst they are very nice, I do think I’ll return them, as in reality they are more of a chenille effect fabric, and despite being well made and expensive looking, don’t go with the natural style of décor I have in mind. They were £4.99 each.

IMAG1395
Lastly, I got this beautiful shell decoration. I’ve seen almost identical ones in TK Maxx for around £7.99, so thought this was a bargain at £3.99. It’s a good size, and will be a lovely display piece.

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I was really impressed with the delivery service too. I received text updates letting me know when my parcel was due, and it arrived just two days after I ordered it.

Except the cushion covers, I’m really pleased with everything, though am yet to properly open and hang the curtains (although I did see the demo pair in store, so know I’ll be happy with the quality). Again, the cushion covers are nice, just not to my taste, so my only negative about the shopping experience was how the pictures online didn’t always do the item justice.

I’ll most likely do a review on the curtains once they are up, and keep you updated with other house going-ons as and when they happen.

For now, with love,

Ellen