Top Picks under £10: May

Wowzers, where have I been?! Yet another month that’s just flying by… I really need to get my organizing act together! But, seeing as we’re here, let’s get on with my Top Picks for May.

So far, May here has seen a variety of Springtime weather. Yesterday was beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine. Today I woke up to grey, drizzly skies, and it hasn’t improved. Oh well! Summer’s on it’s way and I’ll take the  grey days now rather than risk them later into the year.

Knowing that the weather will perk up again, and that Summer is the perfect season for entertaining, I’ve put together a selection of outdoor entertaining items to help you host a perfect, casual party.

1. Flamingo Dinner Plate – Dunelm – £3.00
Flamingos – check. Melamine – check. Price – check. For everyone still loving flamingos, I.e. about half of us!, this is the perfect, summery colourful print, and melamine is perfect for the outdoors picnics and bbq’s.

2. Sommar 2017 Picnic Hamper – IKEA – £8.00
This adorable basket is just too cute. It’s the perfect size for a picnic, and the colours and design are gorgeous! Love it! And it would be great for the beach too.

3. Sommar 2017 Rug – IKEA – £10.00
And staying with Ikea for the moment, this rug! Oooh! Look at that beautiful orange and pink combo! This is an outdoor rug, and is easy to clean/hose down, and will stand up to the elements too. But the impact this colourful little number will have on your patio will be huge!

4. Barcraft Cocktail Kit 5pcs – Wilko – £10.00
These cute little mason jar glasses have been everywhere for a couple of years now, but they’re still a must have item. These ones are actually dinky mini versions, complete with mason jar cocktail shaker to get your party in full swing!

5. 5 Section Removable Sharing Platter – B&M – £3.99
B&M can be a little wonder for bargain seasonal items. You get a lot for what you pay, but at these prices, you won’t mind if they only last a couple of summers. This super sharing platter looks great with it’s colourful, removable sections, and there’s also a range of other coordinating outdoor items to match.

6. Palm Tree LED Light – Primark – £10.00
I can’t get enough of the cute lighting at Primark at the moment, and everyone else seems to be loving it too. I’ve featured other versions of this light in my previous top picks posts, and this palm tree one would be just perfect to add to your outdoor décor for parties. Just remember to bring it in again at the end of the night.

7. 10 Pack Paper Plates – H&M – £2.99
Are you impressed I haven’t included a H&M cushion this month?!! I was tempted. But these paper plates won me over, and I just had to include them! For fuss free dining, the ease of not washing up, and no risk of kiddies breaking plates on the patio, paper is the perfect option for bbq’s and garden parties. And when they look this cute, your guests will love them too!

8. Printed Picnic Tumblers 4pk – B&M – £2.99
Flamingo, watermelon, palm tree and pineapple – yep, they’ve ticked all the boxes again! This set of four picnic tumblers are perfect for outdoor use, and cute to boot.

9. Pineapple Mason Jar with Straw  Primark – £3.00
And for the grown up kiddies, these pineapple mason jars are adorable! A nice modern twist on the traditional mason jar, that will make your summer punch look oh-so more special.

So there we have it, just a taste of some of the fabulous outdoor essentials on offer at the moment. There’s also some super cute platters, plates, string lights and lanterns, seating and cushion pads, tablecloths and more, so if you’re planning any bbq’s or garden parties, up your entertaining game and see what new things you can (literally) bring to the table.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Friday Style: Primark Jazzy Brights Home Decor

In my last post, I thought I’d create a new category for the blog (Dealing With Grime One Day At A Time), and thinking about it, I realised I wanted to do another, so here we have Friday Style. A short and sweet post about something that’s either caught my eye, something I’m loving at the moment, or an idea or trend I want to explore more.

This one was prompted by a recent trip to Primark, and also an article I read about current fashion trends. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times before, but a lot of retailers that are predominantly fashion, but also have homewares (think Primark, Next, M&S, Matalan, George etc.) will often showcase products that reflect current clothing trends.

One thing I was reading about with clothing for Spring/Summer is bold, bright colours. And I think it’s no surprise that we’re seeing some bolder home accessories out there. But what I especially loved were these two faux plant holders, the blue rhino, and pink elephant, with their little faux succulents. And why do I love them so much? Well, a little while back I painted these:

I just did these two. A pink elephant and a blue rhino. Can you believe it?! I love it when things like this happen. I saw the two faux planters online and was like, yes! I’m so ahead of the trends! Haha. I did try and find them when I went into Primark recently, but alas, they were nowhere to be seen :( I’ll keep my eyes out next time I’m in there though. They’re £6.00 each, and hopefully if  you like them, you’ll find them easier to get hold of than me!

So that’s it for the first Friday Style post! Hope you enjoyed. As ever, I would really appreciated it took the time to let me know what you did or didn’t like, and leave any suggestions for me in a comment below, and I’ll be back with another post soon.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks under £10: April

Hello sunshine lovers! Here in the UK, we’re having a pretty great start to April. Sure, there’s the odd shower and it’s not glorious every single hour of the day, but our corner of the world is warming up and I love it! The clocks going forward has made me feel like singing every evening, now that I can finish work and walk home in the daylight, and maybe have time for an evening stroll too. So excited for summer as well!

And so I think it’s no surprise that one colour on people’s minds is YELLOW. From mellow to eye-poppingly neon, there’s a shade out there to tone with almost every home, and with all those daffodils and tulips out and about, you can stretch your theme into the garden too. Plus, I saw this inspiration picture on H&M, and had yellow on the brain ever since!

So, for my bargain hunters, I’ve picked out another selection of my Top Picks unde £10 – here they are:

1. Desk Lamp in Bold Yellow – Wilko – £4.00
Yes, it’s cheap and cheerful, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. I love simple pieces like this – the practicality and affordability makes them great for kids rooms, but the bright primary colour works well on a simple design, and when placed in and amongst your pricier posessions, looks more like a style choice than a budget option.

2. Patterned Cushion Cover – H&M – £3.99
You all know by now that I love a H&M cushion. They’re affordable, there’s a million and one designs, and they look amazing. I especially like this one, because palm and tropical prints are still HUGE, and will be all year, and if that’s a theme you’re working on at home, although in a warm, mustard hue, the pattern of this cushion will work fantastically. If you’re working on a budget, always think about how you can fit new pieces and ideas into what you already have. That way you keep your core pieces and idea, but change it up easily for the seasons.

3. SMYCKA Sunflower – IKEA – £2.50
Ikea’s artificial flowers and foliage are usually fantastic. This is one of them. Yes, there are cheaper alternatives out there for faux sunflowers, but I personally think these ones are worth more than the price. Some of their artificial flowers are on a par with expensive, designer brands, but you have the luxury of choosing individual stems and putting a display together yourself.

4. Dylon Machine Dye Sunflower Yellow 350g – Wilko – £4.50
Another great way to easily add some colour to your existing items is to dye them. Of course, this will always work best on white, especially white cotton, but you can also get some interesting effects on patterned or coloured fabrics. Perfect for white bed sheets or towels though, these machine dyes are so simple to use, and I can’t recommend Dylon enough. This shade is also available in hand dye, and I have a full tutorial here on dip dying fabric for an ombre effect.

5. LACK Side Table – IKEA – £6.00
A side table. For £6. In beautiful, bright sunshine yellow. Perfection! For bold pieces that really add some impact, you can’t go wrong with IKEA. This, some cushions, a new piece of art and some flowers or so, and you can bring a whole room together with a new sunny vibe for pocket money. Alternatively, if you’re into upcycling, painting an old coffee table is another great way to add colour. My coffee table was £10 from a carboot, and is solid pine. It’s been white, it’s been turquoise and currently it’s cobalt blue. I love it!

6. Yellow Supersoft Throw – Primark – £4.00
I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, how throws may not seem perfect purchases for summer décor. But they are. You can buy them for the colour as much as for the warmth. Want to change up your bedroom? One of these super affordable throws over the bottom of the bed will inject that colour without changing your crisp white or soft grey or navy blue sheets. Themes can often be tied together with the most affordable pieces. Primark has some amazing homeware items in at the moment, so if you happen to be heading there, I recommend you check out their home section.

7. Pineapple Plate – George – £5.00
Do you find you entertain more in the Summer? I do. I think it’s probably those long, light evenings and sunshiney good moods that make want to put on a party. Whether it’s a Summer BBQ or just a little gathering with friends or family, I like to entertain and feed people! Upping your dining table game is just a little way to add some party spirit, so whether it’s something fun like this pineapple plate, or colourful pitchers and glasses, and simple coloured napkins, that extra little effort will have a huge impact for you and your guests.

8. Made in England Lemon Verbena Boxed Candle Glass – Wax Lyrical – £7.00
If you didn’t gather from my last Candle of the Month post, I heart Wax Lyrical. They’re an amazing English company, and their candles are fabulous. This perfect Spring/Summer scent of freshly cut lemons and zesty limes is gorgeous. I’ve never had a Wax Lyrical candle that hasn’t burned fabulously, and will always return to them.

9. Gold Standing Flamingo Light – Primark – £10.00
Still loving flamingos? I think everyone is. This light is such a fun accessory. Yes, it’s gold rather than yellow, but depending on your shade of choice, this works wonderfully with those warmer mustards and honey shades. And if you don’t like flamingos? This light also comes in an elephant design for the same price. If you are loving this distinct bird, check out my Top Picks post from February here.

So there’s your lot for this month. How do you feel about yellow? Do you have another Spring shade you prefer? And if you have a favourite place to shop for your bargain pieces, please do share in the comments below!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks Under £10: March

Wafting in like a gentle breeze on a fresh Spring day, aquamarine is the order of the day this time around. It’s both the gemstone and colour associated with March, and seeing as the weather here in the UK can’t really make it’s mind up, I think this pretty aqua hue is the perfect option to put a little Spring in your home whether the weather is playing or not.

Sure, the Sun will catch up eventually, but as Easter themed décor is in abundance in stores, you’re probably more than ready to freshen up your home a little and inject a little colour in a pretty, subtle way.

As far as pastel blues go, aquamarine is my kind of shade. It’s not as vintagey as duck egg, or as green as mint, but it’s certainly got that coastal feel that true sky blues don’t. It also works wonderfully with greys and whites, or tan and ivory, and minks and creams, so whatever your neutral pieces and most likely your sofa, this is a colour that will work with what you already have.

So here are my Top Picks at £10 and under for March 2017:

1. Riviera Escape Wax Tart – YankeeCandle.co.uk – £1.43 Currently on Offer

A fresh scent is the perfect way to add a little Springtime to your home. If the colour aquamarine had a scent, it would be this seasidey wonder. I mean, it has marine in the name… no wonder it seems just right.

2. Yankee Candle Sanremo Votive Holder – House of Harris Gifts – £4.99

No longer available at yankeecandle.co.uk, this votive holder is part of the same collection that the Riviera Escape tarts and candles came from. It’s still available at many other retailers however, including the one linked ablove.

3. Jacquard-Weave Hand Towel – H&M – £4.99

As traditionally one of the smallest rooms in a house, a bathroom can be the most affordable to give a mini-makeover. You don’t have to replace all your towels either, just adding fresh, colourful hand towels which are the ones most regularly on display, are an easy way to begin to coordinate a theme or colour.

4. Drona Box (Blue) – IKEA – £2.50

A perfect fit for the Kallax shelving units, but also ideal in or on the wardrobe, or any other furniture, colourful storage solutions can be as pretty as they are practical, and these ones are a great size and value.

5. Dorma Hydrangea Stem – Dunelm – £7.99

I love hydrangeas, but fresh cut blooms can wilt quickly, and dried don’t always retain their beautiful colours, so artificial options can be a huge success when it comes to hydrangeas. These pretty blue ones from Dunelm are great quality for the price, and the colouring is so realistic. Love!
6. Decoart Americana Chalky Finish Paint (Escape) – The Range – £6.99

If you like upcycling, or are tempted to try it, chalk paint can be ideal. Perfect for that rustic look, but in a distressed, sea-weathered way, the shade ‘Escape’ looks perfect to tie in a coastal theme.

7. Supersoft Throw – George at Asda – Was £6.00, Now £5.00

Ideal size for an armchair, or to centre over the sofa, it’s nice to have a soft, lightweight blanket for when the weather is really grotty outside, and just the pretty pop of colour for when the sun starts shining. And for the price, it’s a very affordable way to add plenty of that pretty shade.

8. 2 Pack Knobs – H&M – £4.99

Whether you decide to go for painting your upcycled furniture or not, simply changing over the handles can really lift and modernize a piece. Whether for a sideboard or chest of drawers, these gorgeous shaped and colour door knobs are a quick and easy update you can do yourself in no time.

9. Mint Velvet Living Cushion – Primark – £5.00

Well, this wouldn’t be complete without a cushion, now, would it? Off to Primark for this beauty. Gorgeous colour, perfect price, what more could you want?

And there you have it, my Top Picks for this month. A post that’s come a little later than intended but that’s just how things go sometimes! Stay tuned though for another post coming shortly, and my Candle of the Month post which will be up at the end of the month.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Kelly Hoppen’s 8 Interior Design Trends for 2017 – My Views

I was reading this article over on House Beautiful, in which Kelly Hoppen discusses her 8 Interior Design Trends for 2017. I thought I’d recap them here, and take you through them with my own thoughts and views on how you can incorporate them into your own home.

I love her initial piece of advice to “Use trends as a guide rather than a rule as they can be very dating to an interior.” Which I think it great. Our homes are for us to live in and love, not to photograph solely to wow strangers on Instagram. It’s not just about how something looks but how it makes you feel, and a lot of that will come down to practicality in terms of day to day living, so having a hint of this and a nod to that can be much more livable than a statement so large it overshadows your whole home.

1 Colours

First up are colours. “Splashes of burgundy, dark grey, pastel pink, emerald green, and burnt orange will be the shades of next season” the article states. Now each to their own when it comes to colours. I could certainly embrace emerald green, and I think pastel pink can work wonderfully in many ways, also alongside either dark grey or burgundy, if used right. I have to say, burnt orange isn’t a colour I immediately draw towards. I think it depends on what it is paired with and the overall vibe. As a stand alone shade, I’m not a fan, but I do like rich tan leathers and metallic copper which share the shame hue, so with the right contrasts, it could definitely work.
As ever, I like to play safe with trends, and tend to go for easily updateable pieces rather than whole room themes, so this pastel pink table would be a perfect nod to the season, and could easily tie in with some textiles and art in the same hues.

2 Wall Coverings

Now the article mentions a few options here, but the thing that stood out for me was the mention of geometric wallpaper. Especially with the younger crowd, I’m seeing more and more geometric patterns, and companies are now embracing this on everything from cushions to duvet covers to, of course, wallpaper. It’s a modern and funky vibe and there’s countless pattern and colour combinations out there. I like this one from B&Q.

3 Accessorizing

Kelly states that for 2017 “Retro plants, palm trees and rubber plants are huge, very 60s” and I couldn’t agree more. We’ve seen such a huge revival of real life greenery recently and it’s time to get green fingers and be ready and willing with the watering can. The tropical types are my favourite of the moment (and probably yours, everyone is loving palms and the like) but easy care options like Spider plants are also back in vogue. I also love this rubber plant from Waitrose.

4 Art

The article mentions fantasy-like art, such as that of artist Tim Walker. If you’re not quite so keen on the surreal scenes he creates, you can still have a hint of the madness with delightfully bow-tied zebra, from Graham & Brown at Debenhams.

5 Space

Now this is something you may not be able to change. Open plan versus cozy and intimate can be very limited by your house and rooms, and whilst open plan areas can be divided up, if you have cozier rooms, then that’s what you have to work with. Choose lighter colours for the walls, (and in my opinion, almost everything) to increase the bright and lightness of the room, and add mirrors wherever possible to really get the light reflecting around the room. Ikea always has a fabulous, varied selection of mirrors and I love the large, round Stockholm mirror.

6 Concrete

Another one for the modern, urban fans. Again, concrete can sound like a big commitment. It can be fantastic as a polished floor (my partner’s favourite), but can also come in smaller formats such as candles and candle holders, and plant pots such as these from notonthehighstreet.com.

7 Flooring

Texture and contrast, though not carpet, seem to be the order of the day. Mixing tiles and wooden flooring is set to be big, and this wood effect ceramic tile literally mixes the two, for a fabulous parquet style floor, without the maintenance and upkeep. I really love this look!

8 The Old vs. The New

And lastly, we have the old, versus the new. I feel this is perfect for me. I love to take old furniture and upcycle to give it a new lease of life. And also contrasting old and new is a great option. Take great priced basics from Ikea and mix them up with one off finds from Antiques shops and Charity stores. Literally go for your favourites without worrying if all the styles match perfectly. They’re not supposed to.

So there you have it. Some tips and ideas to try out if you’re updating or decorating this coming year. What’s your favourite point? I’d love to hear and discuss with you what décor plans you have if you’d like to leave a comment below.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks Under £10: February

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Fabulous and frilly, fun and flirty, it’s time for my February Top Picks featuring flamingos!

Flamingos seem to be everywhere right now. At any price point, it’s an image that seems to be around every corner. So instead of an out and out sweet and lovey Valentine’s theme this month, I’ve put together a selction of fab, affordable flamingo themed products, all at £10 or less.

They can be cute and kitsch, really embrace a pastel pink or coral colour scheme, be wacky and retro, or tasteful and demure, or all out Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. But there’s a style to suit almost everyone, so it’s time to embrace the current trend!

1. Sass & Belle Flamingo Mug – Asos – £7.50
Available at various retailers, including Sass & Belle and Asos, this super cute chevron printed mug with flamingo handle will be sure to make you smile in the mornings. Coffee at the ready!

2. Printed Porcelain Plate – H&M – £6.99
There are cups and side plates alongside this kitsch little plate. Get tea-party ready and pop your scones and finger sandwiches on this fine bit of porcelain.

3. Flamingo Hiball Glasses (Set of 6) – George – £3.90
A total bargain at just £3.90 for a set of 6, these glasses are so sweet. The white stripe design works really well with the pink birds and they have a fun, tropical feel to them.

4. Light Pink Voile Curtain Panel – Primark – £.3.00
While we’re dreaming of warmer Spring days, we can at least get our homes ready for the coming months. Voile panels are great to add a little interest to your window décor, and this pretty pastel pink will tie in any flamingo theme you’ve got going on.

5. Fresco Wallpaper Flamingo Hot Pink – Wilko – £10.00 per roll
If you like feature walls, you can really commit to Flamingo Fever with this fun wallpaper. It would really add some interest in an otherwise neutral room, and would work perfectly with pale greys.

6. Hemsta Lamp Shade in Pink – Ikea – £9.00
Also available in White, again this pretty pastel pink is perfect to compliment the flamingo pieces. Perfect for the bedroom, this would work perfectly on a silver lamp base for a glam look, or on a white or lgiht turquoise base for a sweet and soft look.

7. Flamingo Cushion Cover – Dunelm – £8.00
If you prefer bolder pinks, the details and reverse of this cushion are hot pink. Alongside the natural linen of the front, this would work beautiful with stark black and cream. A few more hot pink and linen accents and you could really jazz up an otherwise monochrome look.

8. Peony Bouquet – The Range – £3.49
For the price, these peonies are fantastic. Five full blooms for just £3.49, and the colour of them is just perfect.

9. Flamingo String Lights – Matalan – £8.00
Perfect for a little one’s bedroom, these string lights add a little colour and a lot of fun.

That’s just a little selection of what’s out there in those pretty pink hues and fabulous flamingo imagery. Sometimes it’s nice to not take your décor too seriously. At the end of the day your home is somewhere to relax and to enjoy, it doesn’t hurt to add some funkier details now and again, and with so much of offer out there, it’s never been so easy and affordable to achieve.

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Home Decor Trends 2017

I’m a big believer in going with what you like and not necessarily following trends, but if you’re stuck in a rut, need some inspiration, or are simply wondering what might be popping up in the shops this year, then continue reading for the suggested big home decor trends for 2017.

Texture 

STOCKHOLM Sofa, Ikea

This has always been a great way to add interest and intrigue. Textured fabric sofas will be popular, meaning velour and velvets will continue to be on the rise. If you’re not into such heavy fabrics, pleats and folds can add texture to the most lightweight delicate fabrics, and still provide that sumptuous, albeit delicate feeling.

Terracotta and Unglazed Ceramics

Botella White Terracotta Vase, Maisons du Monde

Another thing I keep reading about and seeing is terracotta. Earthy, natural materials will be big this year, with terracotta, natural clays and raw white taking centre stage. No more glossy, glazed ceramics, it’s all about getting back to nature with these rustic items.

Artisan 

Olive Green Drizzle Flower Vase, CatMackGlass on Etsy

There’s a huge shift away from DIY items this year, and more focus on Artisan crafted pieces. Well designed, professionally made quality pieces are key, so perhaps splurge on one bigger, eye-catching piece per room and streamline the look elsewhere so all eyes are on your works of art. If you don’t have the cash to splash, then look in charity shops or eBay, for well made pieces that are a fraction of the cost of new items.

Tropical and Botanical Prints

SANTANA tropical print folding screen, Maisons du Monde

This was big in fashion last year, and will be even bigger still this year. No surprise then, that I’ve been featuring key prints on cushions, wallpaper and decorative items for the past six months then. Now in so many high street stores at such affordable prices, this is a trend everyone can get into.

Green 

Dulux Endurance in Kiwi Crush, B&Q

As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2017 is Greenery, and this fresh, vibrant shade looks set to take off in home décor this year. Perfect for kitchens and bathrooms, where you can take a big hit of colour on the walls, or introduced more subtlely in living areas and bedrooms alongside those tropical elements, it’s a perfect shade for every room of the house. Let the outdoors in.

Blue 

Dream Big Collection, H&M

If green really isn’t your scene, thankfully blue is also big for 2017. With a move away from straight up Indigo inkiness, classic navy and vibrant cobalt are key this time around. Lucky for me, I picked cobalt as my main colour alongside all things white as a whole-house scheme, so it’s great to find out it’s on trend this year, as it should make buying key pieces even easier.

Headboards 

Laura Velvet Headboard, Wayfair

Statement headboards are back in too. Plush, quilted velvet styles (very reminiscent of the 90s for me) are back with a vengeance, and add to that sumptuousness we mentioned when talking about texture. This is something I’ve read about quite a lot looking into this year’s key trends, though I had to admit, not one I can envisage fitting into my own home at the moment.

Butterflies 

Graham & Brown Orange Butterflies Printed Wallpaper, House of Fraser

Something else I’ve seen mentioned more than once is butterflies. It’s certainly a print that’s easy to purchase on the highstreet. On cushions, wallpaper, artwork etc. there’s a huge array of butterfly themed products out there. Furthermore, the designs come in almost every colour combination, so whatever your current scheme, you can join in this trend without having to redecorate your whole home.

Hot or Not? Marble and Brass

Beleven August Coffee Table, Barker and Stonehouse

This is not clear cut. Some out there are still claiming marble and brass are still popular, and will continue to be this year, other’s are saying the over saturation and multitude of faux attempts mean it’s on it’s way out. Which for me means only one thing. Do you like it? If you do, fantastic, it’s still all over the high street and easy to purchase. If you love it, you won’t mind whether stylistically it has staying power or not. And if you’re not a fan? Then great, as mentioned in points one through to seven, there’s a whole host of other trends out there for you to try this year.

Ultimately you want to be happy in your home. So I will never advise anyone that they HAVE to have a certain thing or other. We’re all different, and we all like different things, so take your inspiration from what’s around you and create a home you’re proud of, that sometimes you like to show off, but most of all, that you love to be in.

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Top Picks under £10: January

13-jan_mood_boardI think the New Year is a fabulous time for freshening up your décor and streamlining your look. Autumn is so rich and abundant and the following festive season so vividly overindulgent, that by January, a clean slate is necessary.

The Pantone Colour of the Year for 2017 could not be more perfect for this time of year. I think it’s a shade that suits the first half of the year more, though depending on what you pair it with will determine how long it can last in your home and wardrobe.

Greenery. I even love the name. As a nature lover, I’m thrilled to see this vibrant, Spring shade as the Colour of the Year. Over a year ago, we picked ‘green’ as the colour for our wedding, although admittedly more in terms of actual live greenery than just the colour, but there’s something about the freshness and lushness and vitality of the colour that is simply perfect.

pantone-color-of-the-year-2017-color-palette-6For the cooler months of January through to March, I would pair this shade with crisp whites and soft blue and purple toned greys, and from Spring through to mid-Summer, I adore the colour combination Pantone has put together with ‘Fathomless’. I heart every single shade.

Furthermore, seeing as the botanical trend is here to stay another year, what better background than a pure, unadulterated green to set off those darker leaf shades and really make those tropical prints pop.

But back to January, and as a single, stand out month that screams ‘new start’ I’ve paired the greenery shade with cool turquoise and contrasting cobalt touches to say Winter is here, but Spring is on it’s way. It’s fresh, it’s vibrant, it’s seasonally apt, but it’s certainly not boring or monotone. Without further ado then, my Top Picks Under £10 are:

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1. Rundlig Serving Bowl – IKEA – £8.00 
This bamboo bowl from Ikea contrasts the natural bamboo inside and the vibrant green outside for a modern, stylish piece that could be used in multiple ways around the house. As a serving bowl, it’s ideal for that purpose, but also the perfect size for a fruit bowl, as a decorative item for any room, or catch-all bowl for the hallway or bedroom etc.

2. Rasch Palm Leaves Wallpaper – The Range – £8.99
It has palm leaves. It’s turquoise and green. It’s pretty much perfect as far as wallpaper goes. And you can also get the same design with added tropical birds and flowers too! Love!

3. Printed Cushion Cover – H&M – £8.99
Yes, yes and yes again. I love H&M for their cushion designs! So good.

4. Photo Frame – H&M – £6.99
While we’re there, here’s another great item from H&M. This pretty pop of turquoise would look amazing with a black and white image in. Photos aren’t just for Instagram, guys!

5. Snowdrops Canvas 48cm x 48cm – Wilko – £5.00
Could they have got this any more right for January? The colours are perfect, the image is perfect, and for the price point, the quality is decent.

6. Dovecote Medium Trinket Box – M&S – £9.50
Keep your dresser tidy with this perfect little trinket box. The colour and shape are simply lovely together.

7. Green Tea & Lime Large Hourglass Wax Melt – WoodWick – £4.49
This is fresh yet comforting all in one go. Ideal for that fresh and clean feeling, but still keeps you feeling cozy despite the weather. And it’s also the perfect shade of green to compliment the overall look we’re going for.

8. Pack of 3 Glass Bottles – Wilko – £8.00
I love blue glass, but the mix of colours here works so well together. Once again, well done Wilko!

9. Swirl Glass Bowl – Wilko – £5.00
Well, I really am crushing on Wilko this season! If you want to stick with an out and out Pantone Greenery theme, then try this decorative bowl, you can’t beat the price point.

So there you have my Top Picks, and an idea you can build on to explore 2017’s Pantone Colour of the Year. What do you think of Greenery? And what would you pair it with? Let me know in the comment section.

For now, with love,
Ellen

 

 

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Four Christmas Decorating Themes and How To Create Them

With less than five weeks to go, you have most likely started thinking about Christmas by now. Which means you’ve probably bought a present or two, or at least made a list. Wondered where you’re going for dinner, or how many you’re cooking for, and if you’re even slightly into home décor, you’ll definitely have imagined your perfect Christmas scene. If you’re drawing a blank and need a little extra inspiration, keep reading for four of my favourite themes, and some tips on how to create them.

Scandi Ski Lodge

Image from www.pippajamesoninteriors.co.uk

If you’re craving the feeling of a roaring fire in a cozy cabin, chances are you’ll love the Scandinavian look for Christmas. Red, white and grey are your key colours, and felt and wood are your top textures. There’s still plenty of room to play around as well, you can go more traditional and erring on the rustic side, more modern and playful, up the white for a real snowy vibe, and add extra ski imagery for that holiday at home feeling. I think of red and white fairisle knits, snowflakes of course, and also stars. But the odd pair of skiers in a snowglobe wouldn’t go amiss, and neither would a rustic wooden deer or two. Pass the cocoa and marshmallows please!

Rustic Goodness

Image from www.craftaholicsanonymous.net

This is my kind of traditional look. It’s more outdoorsy than a lot of people’s ‘traditional’ Christmas. I love rich fragrant evergreens, pine cones aplenty and deep, glossy red holly berries. I like tartan and hessian and, I guess, a slightly different kind of cabin vibe. Perhaps I’m sensing a theme here, and a desire for that roaring fire, now that we no longer have our fireplace! It’s simply my favourite Christmas look, as I mentioned in my November Top Picks post. The key is keeping it simple – not in terms of quantity, but in terms of variety. Have plenty, have too much, garlands and wreaths and boughs, but keep the non-plant (whether real or artificial) elements to a minimum. Perhaps you’ll pick hessian and plain red, or a tartan and deep green, a stag or a robin theme. Just don’t overdo it and mix in glittery stars and cartoon Santas or you’ll lose the natural outdoorsy tone.

Whimsical Wonderland

Image from www.pier1.com

This was my main rival in my décor contenders for Christmas this year. Sometimes you fancy a change, and again, there are little elements of this that could be shared with the two previous categories. For my idea of the Forest Wonderland, however, you are losing the lushness of the greenery that the Rustic look has, and gaining a lot more wooden and snowy elements. Unlike the Scandinavian look however, the focus is still on more natural imagery, and especially animals, than simple, more graphic styles. Think stags and owls, foxes and squirrels. Lots of bare wood and the odd pine cone, and oodles of snow, or snow themed pieces. White fur trimmed stocking, and feathers and natural elements go hand in hand to create this ethereal, magical wonderland. Maybe next year.

All That Glitters

Image from christmas.365greetings.com

This will always be a popular theme. If you’re not usually into metallics and shiny things, this is certainly the time of year you can overindulge and get your once-a-year fix. I think festive decorations are supposed to do that. Completely transform and take over your home, just until you have chance to get used to them, and then before you know it, it all comes down and everything looks so bare, and your regular old house looks almost unrecognizable for day or two. You’re not limited to gold or silver (I happen to like both together, especially when mixed in with a few white pieces). Red and silver looks particularly festive, but still “metallic” as opposed to the “traditional” look red and gold can have. And of course you can mix blue with silver, or black and gold. This is also great for colour matching your with your décor, and works particularly well with minimalist rooms. Stars and classy, elegant images work best for this theme.

What’s your favourite Christmas decorating style? Leave a comment below and let me know!

For now, with love,
Ellen

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DIY Dip-Dyed Ombre Curtains

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on Instagram of a practice dye run on a large piece of fabric. I wanted to perfect the technique of dip dying / ombre ahead of making some from-scratch curtains. The lovely people at Dylon saw my post and got in touch, and I was super pleased that they wanted to send some fabric dye my way to help me create these curtains.

Originally, I had been thinking about making some for our in-progress living room, however we found some perfect ones for that room, but I had my heart set on making some now. As we will be having the white and blue theme throughout the whole house, I went ahead and created some curtains for one of the spare rooms.

Fabric dye will always work best and most true to colour on 100% cotton, so I purchased some extra wide (a whopping 110″ wide) pure cotton calico in a medium weight. I’ve never seen such huge fabric! I use hand dye for this technique, but if you’re dying solid colour pieces, I really recommend the machine dye – I’ve had great success in the past. With the hand dye, you’ll need salt to fix the colour. I had some Dylon salt from the previous practice run, and some regular cooking/table salt to make up the quantity.
A measuring tape and my rotary cutter and I was pretty set. (You’ll also need a large container, a jug, something to stir with and a water spray bottle etc. but I’m never that prepared with my photos!)

I wanted my pencil pleat curtains to be very full, so would be using 90″ width for each curtain panel, for my 72″ (or 180cm) window. First step then, was to cut 20″ inches off of the width of my huge fabric. I measured, made a small snip with some scissors, and was able to tear a nice straight line down the length of the fabric. My finished curtains would be around 48″ (122cm) long, and so I had purchased three metres, and left this as one piece. By keeping the fabric folded in half, I could dip dye the ends of the fabric together in one go, and end up with two very evenly dyed pieces.

Before we get ahead of ourselves though, it’s important to weigh your fabric to work out how much dye and salt you will need. One sachet of hand dye will colour 250g fabric to the full, pictured shade, or result in a more subtle effect on something larger. I wanted to dye around a third of my fabric, so ended up using two sachets.

It’s also important to pre-wash the fabric, especially if you’re using brand new. Any potential shrinkage will occur here instead of with the final product, and as you need to start the dyeing process with wet fabric, it’s a great time to do it. In the machine it goes.

Each sachet of dye needs mixing with 500ml of warm water. I used one navy and one ocean blue dye to give me a more medium toned blue. In the big box it went. I used an ‘under the bed’ storage box as it’s wide opening meant I had more control for dip dying such a wide width.

Next up, salt. 250g of the stuff per sachet of dye. In the box that goes too. Next was 12 litres of warm (hot tap) water, and we’re pretty good to go. Just stir it really well to dissolve the salt and dye, and make sure it’s all thoroughly mixed.

I also used a clothes airer to peg my fabric to, which worked perfectly. I’m lucky in that, as our living room is currently a work space / building site, I could do this indoors, however I would recommend tackling such a big project outdoors to prevent any mishaps. You’ll notice dye on the floor in one of my photos, but that’s because I knew I could afford to be a little carefree!

So, you’re ready to dip your damp fabric! This first bit is so exciting. I had pegged the fold of the fabric to the top of the airer, giving me the two free ends to dip. It’s a little tricky to get a perfectly even dip line with something so wide, but don’t worry.

After the first initial dip and swish (this is to the highest point you want your dye to be) spray it like crazy with a water bottle. The extra water will run down the fabric and create a much smoother gradient or ombre effect.

Agitate the fabric often, but steadily (every 5-10 minutes) lift more and more of the fabric out of the dye. Make sure the front and back are equally saturated (especially if your fabric is two layers like mine) and that there are no undyed spots. Leave the last few inches of fabric in for another 15-30 minutes, and hey presto! you’ve dip dyed your first curtain panel.

Next you need to rinse it in cold water. Off to the bathroom we go. I couldn’t take a photo of this as I only have the two arms, but I ended up placing the dyed section of the fabric into a polythene bag to help carry it up to the bathroom. You may find it easier to rinse in the kitchen, but I preferred the bath for it’s size. You don’t want to run any loose dye into your undyed white fabric, so it’s important to hold your fabric up as you rinse, and run the water down the fabric. The shower head was really helpful for this. The white you see at the bottom of the tub is the plastic bag I mentioned, not the fabric.

Rinse, rinse, and rinse again until the water is running clear. Next, it was back into the washing machine for a final rinse and spin. The reason you need to rinse with the cold water so well is to really fix the dye, but also prevent any mishaps in the machine. Any loose dye could mark your undyed sections, so take the time to do it properly and you’ll be happier in the long run.

Pop it on the line, ignore the crazy overgrown grass, and admire your handiwork. You’re a dip-dyeing genius! Ombre queen!

Once dry, you can start thinking about turning your fabric into actual curtains. Finally, you can cut across the fold line, and turn your one piece of very long fabric into your two curtain lengths. And now you’re going to get very well acquainted with your iron. Go over the whole fabric to give yourself a nice smooth piece to work with, and then prepare your hems. Starting with the sides of your fabric, fold over once, about 1.5cm and press well.

Turn this over again, and re-press.

And finally you’re ready to sew. Pop it under the machine and stitch a lovely long seam across both of your freshly pressed edges.

Next up is the bottom hem (the darkest edge). This should be much deeper than the side hems. It’s how professional curtains are done, and just looks right. I went for about 6cm in total. Fold over once, press, fold again, re-press. And now, shock horror, we’re going to hand-sew.
I mean, I actually love hand-sewing, I feel I have maximum control, but I know many hate it. Well, suck it up, because this is really going to be worth it. If you don’t already know how, google Blind Stitch, and then spend the next three hours hand hemming and perfecting it.

To see the finished result of those tiny itty bitty nearly invisble stitches from the front is so worth it.

And the back of it is pretty damn neat too. So, three hems down and now we just need to make a curtain out of the damn thing!

Fold over the top edge once, approximately 2cm, and press with the iron. I’d purchased some curtain header tape online that arrived just in time, cut it to size, allowing a little extra to tuck underneath for neat edges, pinned, and sewed with the sewing machine. Once on the top edge of the curtain tape…

…and once on the bottom.

Next up, iron the whole thing AGAIN. Ironing before you gather the tape will be much easier. But then, with the help of a tape measure, gather and knot the panel to size in the same way you would with any pencil pleat curtain. Pop in your curtain hooks and ta-da!

A curtain! Stand up, admire, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself. You did it. And then take that iron out again, because you have a second curtain to make.

Once we get around to decorating the spare room I’ll show you photos of the curtains up in more detail. For now, I popped this one up in our bedroom so I could show you how it turned out, and I have to say, I couldn’t be more pleased.

A big thank you to Dylon for the dye, which gave me the kick I needed to get this project done! Check out the different products in the range for yourself at www.dylon.co.uk. And check back here soon too, because I’m going to have another fabric dyeing post for you in the next couple of weeks, and more Christmas posts even sooner than that.

For now, with love,
Ellen

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