Home Etc #100 | Win a £100 Laura Ashley Gift Card Competition

Happy birthday Home Etc!! Incredible to think that when Jess and I published our first Home Etc posts on 20th May 2015 we’d be celebrating our 100th link up 2 year’s later. When we first launched, I had no idea that it would still be going after a couple of years. We initially created the linky to fill a gap; there didn’t seem to be anywhere to share home or garden related content with other like-minded bloggers, so Home Etc was born. Two years on and we’ve been supported by two amazing sponsors; first HomeSense and now Laura Ashley. Plus we’ve recruited two lovely co-hosts — Kerry who I’m hosting with this week; and Lins who’ll be hosting next week with Jess. And best of all Home Etc has gathered together a fabulous community of influencers who join in both on the blog and/or over on Instagram using the #HomeEtc hashtag. I love our merry little band of home-makers. It’s lovely to see the changes that people make to their homes throughout the seasons; I collate the Instagram images together occasionally — from the hashtag — and it’s always interesting to see the synchronicity and flow of everyone’s pictures. HOME ETC FAVOURITES A very quick mention… Read More

A night at the Bath Spa Hotel

What a difference a week makes. Last Friday evening, my boys and I had just checked into the Bath Spa Hotel; courtesy of our lovely friends at Joules. We’d had such a fun day with them at Badminton Horse Trials and they’d kindly arranged for us to stay at the Bath Spa Hotel for the night, to save us all driving home. I’ve been to Bath once before — many years ago — but I can’t remember if we actually stayed overnight. I think we did; we were living in London at the time, so it would have been too far to go just for the day, but I’ve no idea where. All I do know is, it wasn’t at at the Bath Spa Hotel. I’d have definitely remembered. This beautiful, grandiose hotel is sited in the most glorious Georgian house, sitting in beautifully manicured grounds. Stepping inside is almost like stepping back in time. It’s most definitely not a boutique hotel but lavishly decorated in a traditional style. And that’s not a derogatory comment in any form. I loved it. Like Stepping into a Bygone Era The interior decor was ‘contemporary Georgian’ — if there is such a thing. Classic furnishings and opulent accessories; it’s the most beautiful… Read More

A date with Joules at Badminton Horse Trials

I think it’s fair to say that — for me — the last eight weeks have been tinged with frustration and a little bit of boredom. It’s unlike me too; I don’t get bored easily. If I ever feel my attention waning — and inertia setting in — I tend to just change direction and do something else. But when you can’t drive or easily take yourself off for a walk, it’s difficult not to feel the pangs of boredom. So when my lovely friends at Joules asked me out on a date I literally jumped at the chance (or should I say ‘figuratively’ as clearly I’m not able to jump at the moment!). Best of all, my boys were invited along too — both the twins and my big (man-shaped) boy — so I had my favourite chaperones accompanying me. Our date with Joules We were invited for a day at Badminton Horse Trials, where Joules have had a presence for 27 years. They’ve even got a jump on the cross country course named after them these days. Not wholly surprising as the company actually began life at this kind of event. Tom Joule began selling his clothes at country fairs and equestrian shows and, even though in May 2016 they had 97 stores throughout… Read More

Home Etc #98

One of the things I love the most about Home Etc is our little online community and the fact that — after almost 2 whole years — it really is much more than just a blog linky. I was chatting to a couple of my blogging friends about it, last weekend, and saying that the ‘linky’ part of Home Etc is most definitely secondary to the great little circle of likeminded people that it’s brought together. Since Jess and I began, our Home Etc hashtag has been used over 4.25K times on Instagram which — in social media terms — is a very little number but it makes me really proud to see people using it and it’s a lovely way of gathering together our little community. brickdustandglitter / jess_soothill  / whathannahdidnext  / theordinarylovely  / georgia_coote  / bevmurf  / booandmaddie / _bonmaison_   / lizzie_woodman As ever, when I look through the images that people are tagging it amazes me how well they coordinate. I’d be blooming proud if my IG feed looked like this!! But enough of Instagram  — back to the blogging community — welcome to this week’s Home Etc hosted by myself and lovely Kerry from Noah and The Girls. Home Etc Favourites Last week’s favourites came from Organised Jo — with her lovely new gallery wall… Read More

Stairway to heaven {how to create a gallery wall up a staircase}

Since we decorated just before Christmas last year, the majority of the walls in our home have remained bare; and most of our framed pictures have been stacked up on the floor, waiting to be rehung. We used to have a ‘stairway photo gallery’ going up the staircase. Dozens of black framed, black and white photographs — in various shapes and sizes — containing the smiling faces of our friends and loved-ones; plus memorable places we’ve visited (or lived in) over the years. But after taking them all down I decided that I was ready for a change. We visited a really cool hotel last year and they had a gallery wall up a staircase. It was really impactful. Instead of a large collection of small pictures, the pieces they’d used were really large. So I decided to do the same up our stairs. I searched on Google for how to arrange pictures on staircase walls — and also on Pinterest for inspiration — but most of the gallery walls on there had a theme; either by colour or frame style. There always seemed to be a common thread tying all of the pieces together, plus there were lots of tips on creating a gallery wall but, more often than not, they were very contrived and the pictures… Read More

In search of what I wasn’t looking for | HomeSense GiftCard Competition

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had a love affair with HomeSense since we moved up to Northamptonshire 6 and a half years ago. Their Northampton store sits on a generous corner plot, in one of the town’s retail parks; and walking through the doors is literally like walking into an Aladdin’s cave. The stock — and the layout of the store — is constantly evolving and shifting. Go in for a lampshade and you may come out with an armful of bright cushions or a bunch of beautiful faux florals. Go in search of bathroom accessories and there’s a good chance that you’ll be sidetracked before you find them; and will end up being bewitched by a vast and gorgeous array of stationery. So when I went to our local store the other week — to buy a new coffee pot — it really came as no surprise that I left with various other treats, that I hadn’t actually been looking for. HomeSense is so good at this.   It lures you in and before you know it, you’re led on a merry treasure hunt around the store. For those of you familiar with HomeSense, you’ll be nodding at this point and will know exactly what I mean. But… Read More

Home Etc #96

A warm and toasty welcome to this week’s Home Etc! We seem to have slipped back into winter again; yesterday gave us snow and hail and the temperature have dropped massively. Definitely a cause to cosy up indoors and lkeep the home fires burning. And talking of home. Back to this week’s Home Etc link-up. Home Etc is a weekly linky for bloggers who have written content that include interiors (wish lists, room tours or DIY), garden or allotment ideas, plus crafting or up-cycling.   This week it’s hosted by myself and the lovely Kerry from Noah and The Girls. HOME ETC FAVOURITES The first Home Etc favourite from last week comes from Jane who blogs at Maflingo. She took us on a tour of the new White Stuff store in her home town of Nottingham. Definitely more than just a shop; Jane’s post makes it look like THE shopping destination in Notts county. The thing I loved the most were the changing rooms. Designed to look like a little street; each changing cubicle has it’s own front door and opens up to reveal an ‘entrance hall’. Fabulous — that kind of attention to detail is second to none. Pop over and have a read of… Read More

The Dinky Duvalay | A caravan must have for kids

It’s that time of year folks! Spring is finally here which means it’s time to dust Dolly down and get her out of her winter hiding place. Hurrah — adventure awaits. I think we can safely say that I love my caravan; and since we bought our first van —  Dolly 1 — I’m always on the look out for a clever gadget or caravan accessory. Last year I found the number one essential item — the Duvalay — literally the best thing I’ve ever come across for camping in a caravan. I wrote a whole post about it; singing it’s praises. Then at the end of last year Duvalay launched a mini version for kids; ‘The Dinky Duvalay‘. It sounds a bit over the top but this simple bit of kit has literally revolutionised our lives. Just like the original Duvalay, it’s Dinky counterpart is essentially a posh sleeping bag. It comprises of a memory foam mattress, bottom sheet and duvet combined; but unlike it’s plainer big brother, the Dinky Duvalay comes in a bright, unisex animal-print. It provides a comfy, portable layer, that you place on top of a caravan bed to give the best night’s sleep. And neatly rolls up in it’s own bag. Since we traded Dolly in for a bigger version a… Read More