237 weeks and 2 days | A colourful bedroom makeover

Amazing how quickly the summer has passed.

It seems that no sooner as the first snowdrops appear — and we joyfully wave goodbye to the cold and grey — that we we have the longest day, the nights begin to draw in and, in the blink of an eye, autumn is here again.

It’s so unfair. The dark days always long outstay their welcome — but spring and summer seem to fly by.

My sure-fire antidote to this is to fill my eyes with as much colour as I can during the summer months.

I think this is one of the reasons I love festivals so much.

They provide so much colour and entertainment; a feast for the senses, that create colourful memories to last long after the summer has passed.

But although I’m a huge fan of colour — and my wardrobe choices reflect that — our home has always been a little more ‘muted’ (for want of a better word).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for bright accessories but these have generally been tempered by a pale background.

Until last year, when I bucked the habit of a lifetime and — on a whim — painted the walls of our snug in the darkest charcoal grey.

I loved  the effect it had on the rest of the room; the furniture and accessories totally came to life by putting such a dark colour against them.

In fact, I was so thrilled with how it turned out and decided to take the plunge and give our bedroom the same treatment.

It was definitely not the most inspiring room; pale grey and white walls with dark wooden bedside tables and black lamps. White (or grey) bedlinen — with a token coloured cushion or throw.

You can pop and have a look at how it used to look here and here.

So after a couple of weeks of hot debate — and a mini Instagram poll — I decided to paint the back wall in the darkest, inkiest blue I could find. I went for Stiffkey Blue from Farrow and Ball in the end. The bottom swatch on the picture below.

A colourful bedroom makeover | Farrow and Ball swatches on on the wall

But this then led to a conundrum about the bedside tables and lamps — they practically disappeared into the dark walls — so I went on the hunt for the perfect replacement.

I chose new ones from Feather and Black. Their Radley bedside tables were perfect.

The fresh white really pings out against the blue of the wall and they are such a lovely size. Compact and beautifully sturdy, with a drawer to stow away all the junk and a little shelf underneath for books and magazines.

Our old black lamps got their marching orders too. These were replaced with Blyton Table Lamps. Possibly the loveliest lighting I’ve come across in a long time. A sturdy wooden base with a putty coloured metal shade, suspended by a vintage looking flex. They’re a really unusual shape — blurring the boundaries between traditional and modern; they’d fit any setting.

A colourful bedroom makeover | Stiffkey blue walls and bright bedlinen

A colourful bedroom makeover | Blyton Lamp from Feather and Black

A colourful bedroom makeover | Radley bedside table

A colourful bedroom makeover | Autumn flowers

A colourful bedroom makeover

A colourful bedroom makeover | My bedside table

Summer Colour All Year Round

I’ve never been keen on coloured bedlinen; like the walls I’ve always preferred white (and on the odd occasion grey). But feeling inspired by my inky blue backdrop, I found the  most beautiful bedlinen from bluebellgray.

Strewn with watercolour florals, the Tetbury Meadow design is perfect for bringing summer colour into the bedroom all year round.

A colourful bedroom makeover " Navy walls and bright bedlinen from bluebellgray

A colourful bedroom makeover | Tetbury Meadow bedding from bluebellgray

A colourful bedroom makeover

I added chevron striped cushions — again from Feather and Black —and strung a paper garland across the back wall to add a little more colour to the mix.

It was actually a Christmas decoration that I bought, last year, to dress my alternative Christmas tree but ended up not using.

It’s such a simple thing; tiny colourful paper discs — sewn onto a cotton thread — but it looks amazing against the blue.

A colourful bedroom makeover

Vibrant Colour and New Energy

It’s nothing short of amazing how different the room feels.

I never particularly liked it before, if I’m honest. It was just the room that we slept in.

These days I definitely find myself wanting to spend a bit more time in there; instead of feeling bland and a bit unloved, it’s such a lovely space to go and relax.

It’s got a new energy. And that might sound a bit hocus-pocus (I’m not a believer in things like Feng Shui) but it really, really has a different vibe.

I think colour is one of the biggest mood enhancers; get it wrong and it can zap your energy. Get it right and it can lift your spirits; and make you feel vibrant as the shades that surround you.

So whilst my colourful bedroom makeover may not be to everyone’s taste — it’s definitely ours.

(And our furry-faced lodgers too.)

Thank you so much to Feather and Black and Farrow & Ball for working with me on my colourful bedroom makeover. I was kindly gifted the paint, bedside tables, lamps and cushions for the purposes of styling this post.

This is a collaborative post but all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.

Chiaroscuro | Decorating with dark walls and mirrors

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we’d painted our snug.

And if you happened to be flicking through my Insta Stories, that day, you’d have seen the action taking place; and the paint actually going onto the walls in real time.

The room had been a mid-dark grey for quite a few years but in a fit of wanting something lighter and brighter. And being swayed by all-white interiors over on Instagram (pop and have a look at the lovely feed by love, tears and teepees to see what I’m talking about); I painted the room in an icy (almost white) grey, just before Christmas.

Oh.

Dear.

Not one of my best moves. But hey, it’s only paint. Easily rectified.

Never one to do things by halves, I decided to buck the trend and go the polar opposite — dark, dark walls. To which everyone, that I ran my idea past, solemnly shook their heads;

‘You’ll regret it! The room will look poky and dark!’

Well. It’s the strangest phenomenon. You’d assume that very dark walls would make a fairly small room — that doesn’t get a great deal of light — feel even darker and even smaller.

But quite the opposite has happened.

The room feels larger.

My tutor at uni used to talk about chiaroscuro; the effect of contrasted light and shade. And how the Renaissance artists used it to give life and drama to their paintings.

Well, the inky tones have had exactly the same result in our home; the dark walls have the added benefit of making our tired old sofa — whose cover’s have been through the wash more times than I can count on both hands — look brighter and less grubby.

And the teals and chartreuse accents, that were so lost against the pale walls, look vivid and vibrant.

Decorating with dark walls

Decorating with dark walls

Decorating with dark walls

Decorating with dark walls

The dark walls have given the space a personality.

And whilst it is naturally a fairly dingy room — even on a bright day — light comes from other sources. Which make our little snug feel rich and splendid; rather than dowdy and dull.

We’ve always had two little wall lights in there, made up of lots of glass strands that dangle down.  They’re unusual — a little bit Art Deco in feel — but they were lost on the pale walls.

Now they sparkle and shine against the inky grey.

And we’ve added a beautiful geometric mirror in the darkest corner; that bounces the light around and gives cheeky glimpses of a looking glass room beyond.

Decorating with dark walls

Decorating with dark walls

Decorating with dark walls

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

I love the circular frame. The open, geometric shapes that show the dark walls beneath. It’s like a work of art in it’s own right.

Our little snug is the most multifunctional room in the house — but multifunctional shouldn’t mean ordinary.

The boys have most of their toys in there; they play in there. We watch TV in there. Read the papers, snuggle on the sofa. Generally chill out in there.

But instead of utilitarian, the tone of the walls and striking mirror have totally elevated the feel of the room.

I’m not sure that my art teacher quite had interior design in mind, when she taught us about chiaroscuro, but I think she’d agree that this is a good example!

Decorating with dark walls

Thank you so much to Exclusive Mirrors for sending us the beautiful Andromeda Mirror for the purposes of styling this post. We love it!

This is a collaborative post but all thoughts, words and images and styling — as ever — are entirely my own.

203 weeks and 5 days | Going Grey

‘Going Grey’ was the phrase on my lips this weekend.

I’d decided late on Friday night that I was going to repaint the snug.

Again.

I’d only painted it just before Christmas but the colour just didn’t suit.

And hey. It’s only paint at the end of the day. I’ve never been one for shying away from trying new colours.

If it doesn’t work, paint over it.

So — instead of a pale silver (that did the room no favours at all) —  I decided on the darkest, moodiest charcoal grey instead.

My boy and I make a great team — especially when it comes to painting and decorating. I am responsible for cutting in with a paintbrush whilst he fills in the middle with a roller.

We adopted those roles so naturally. I don’t remember there ever being a discussion — we just started out that way. And here we are, twenty years on, doing the same thing.

Twenty years on.

Twenty.

A whole lifetime.

And here-in lies the thing that had been bugging me since my birthday last week.

I am getting old.

Going Grey
Going grey: painting the walls to match my hair!
Going Grey
In love with the colour — Down Pipe by Farrow and Ball

My skin is beginning to show signs of age.

And, like the walls of our snug, my hair is going grey.

But the visible signs of ageing are not really the thing that was upsetting me. Odd that when you start talking about ‘growing old’ everyone just assumes you’re talking about looks.

I’d posted a pic on Instagram early on Saturday morning.

Nothing unusual about that. It was a normal pic — nothing special — just a picture of me in my lovely new coat, that my boy had bought for my birthday.

But as I’d posted it — instead of a little caption about my coat — I’d gone off on a bit of a tangent and ended up writing about how I was feeling.

This prompted a fantastic response on my Facebook and Instagram threads. Lovely friends trying to allay my fears; reassure me that I didn’t look my age.

But it really, really wasn’t anything about looks.

The post was written in fear — rather than pride. Fear of the future. Fear of losing my parents — Richard’s parents. The dread of losing the love of my life. Anxiety of not being around for my own beautiful boys.

Going Grey
My gorgeous baby
Going Grey
Love this cheeky little face!

My birthday — instead of promoting joy and excitement — had thrown up so many negative thoughts.

I don’t look my age. And I certainly don’t feel my age. But chronologically — and biologically — I am that age.

But I am not ready to be any older. Not just yet.

I want things to stay exactly as they are. And this is the crux of the matter.

Things are perfect at the moment. My boy and I are so happy. We have each other; our health. We have our beloved sons; who we’d waited so patiently for.

We both still have both of our parents. All of our siblings.

We both have our own businesses — careers that we love. Working for yourself can be scary and unpredictable (especially at first) and for quite a few years money was very tight. But for the first time in ages we’re doing well financially.

Sure we could do with a bit of extra cash (who couldn’t?); but things are comfortable after a long time of scrimping and saving.

Life is good.

Life — for me — is perfect. There is nothing I want that would make it any better.

Apart from to stop time.

Going Grey
Roller-King
Going Grey
Edges-Queen

Things can change in a heartbeat. I know this only too well, through losing my friend.

But — death aside — one of the things I’d questioned, in my little rambling Instagram post, was whether I’ll actually ever begin to feel my age? I certainly do not feel as though I’m in my mid-forties, that’s for sure.

In my head, I’m still twenty eight.

Which brings me on to an interesting theory, flagged up by one of my friends in response to my question. Which would certainly explain why I feel the age I do.

He said that the disparity between chronological and mental age usually starts at around the age of eight, when we start to think of ourselves as older than we are; a fourteen year old thinking they’re eighteen for example.

The gap begins to close and at the age of twenty-five — or thereabouts — our body and mind finally sync and we feel our age.

Hurrah!

Although — don’t get too excited.

After that, the gap in chronological and perceived age starts to grow apart in the other direction. By our early thirties there is already a noticeable difference by just a few years. The gap continues to grow and those who are sixty-five have a perceived age of fifty.

Which is how he knows about this stuff.

He works for a funeral plan company and said that although they market their funeral plans to the over fifties, they know full well that the majority of people don’t even begin researching them until they’re sixty five. As that is when they think they are old enough to start looking at those sort of things.

He finished off by saying.

We’ll always be much younger in mind than body. All we can do is to try our very best to live young too.

Amen to that.

And so endeth the tale of ‘going grey’.

The snug looks amazing in it’s new shade by the way. And I feel better, having spent a full and happy weekend surrounded by friends and family. My fears have been shelved.

Until next birthday.

And the moral of the story is, no matter how old your birth certificate says you are, unless you’re twenty-five you probably won’t feel your age.

Going Grey
So the walls may be going grey but our life is still full of colour

106 weeks and 1 day | Our Ensuite Bathroom Makeover

I love our home. It’s Grade 2 listed — built in 1690 something — and I think the best way to describe it is ‘quirky’,

I love the wonky walls. The tin roof (I’m not joking). The light, the history, the feeling of calm.

I love it all.

Apart from our ensuite bathroom (and the kitchen but that’s another post entirely!).

Our ensuite is much larger than the main family bathroom that the Twinkles use — almost twice the size — but it’s just not a very inspiring space. We’ve put our stamp on (almost) every room in our home, so far, and I think that the time has come to give this little sanctuary a much needed makeover.

I keep meaning to paint it and have settled on the same lovely, warm Farrow and Ball grey that I’ve used in other parts of the house but, asides from that, my boy and I are undecided whether to go down the traditional route — which would probably be more inkeeping with the period of our property — or super modern.

Personally, I’m a big fan of super-modern in an old property – assuming it’s done well!

I love the combination of period features — sash windows or ornate cornicing — with the clean lines of a shiny, modern sink. Or some exposed brickwork playing  off a shiny, designer tap. So I’ve been having a look and have decided to come up with a proposal for Dickie, to show him the kind of thing I have in my head. It’s always better to fight your corner, when armed with a watertight plan, after all ;)

I’ve decided on a monochrome palette — chalky grey walls with touches of charcoal and black — to give it a bit of an edge.  And after all, if you start with a basic colour palette, adding a pop of colour with some new towels or a bowl of colourful soaps — or flowers — is an easy way to bring in a new colour, when you fancy it, without having to give everything an overhaul.

I’ve gathered together some things I like — pieces that I can see working well together — that will also sit nicely in our quirky little home; to see if I can persuade my boy that a mix of über modern with lovely vintage finds might work for our ensuite.

Have a look and see what you think…

Our Ensuite Bathroom Makeover

ensuite_bathroom_makeover

So running clockwise, above, we have:

1. Innermost Jeeves Bowler Hat Pendant Light by Jake Phipps — Heals
2. Chook Wall Shelf — Loaf
3. Manor House Grey Paint — Farrow & Ball
4. Plantation Shutters, Kelly Hoppen — Shutterly Fabulous
5. Steel Towels — John Lewis
6. Freestanding Egg Bath, Moods — Bella Bathrooms
7. White Masters Chair, Phillipe Starck — Graham & Green
8. Marquis Tall White and Chrome Traditional Radiator, Hudson Reed  — Bella Bathrooms
9. Single Lever Side Action Basin Mixer Tap, Hudson Reed — Bella Bathrooms
10. Patrizia Square Bowl Sink, RAK — Bella Bathrooms

And hopefully, once it’s all together, it will look a little like this.

Bathroom
The perfect bathroom makeover? I think so! |Image courtesy of Pinterest — see it on my board below

I’m a real ‘bath’ kinda gal and love nothing than languishing in a lovely tub, full of  hot, sudsy water.  Either until I’ve read my Red magazine from cover to cover — or my fingers start to resemble prunes — whichever comes first :)

A bathroom like the one above would be the perfect place to do just that.

I’ve put a little Pinterest board together too, so you can see more of the kind of things that have been giving me inspiration for my bathroom makeover.

Pop over and have a look — and wish me luck, trying to persuade my husband that we need a big, egg shaped bath! :)

102 weeks and 3 days | Me and Mine {February}

February. You’ve been a mixed month.

We’ve seen my boy struck down with pneumonia, the Twinkles both with bouts of conjunctivitis; we’ve all had sickness, coughs, colds…

…yet another month of germs.

But there is now a shiny, bright light at the end of the tunnel. I have just been to put the chickens away for the night — and at 10-to-6 — it was still light!!!

Hurrah! We’ve broken the back of the winter.  Another 4 weeks and  the clocks will go forward. And it will be spring! And with it will come the warmer weather, the longer days and we can hopefully say  goodbye to all of the winter ills.

Hallelujah to that!

These photos are so last minute. We’ve been so bogged down with ailments that there really hasn’t been much opportunity to get outside this month. In fact, Bertie is running a temperature as I type. Poor little bobbin doesn’t look very well on these photos.

The pics are taken on my phone this month — with the aid of the trusty selfie-stick — the light’s not great and they’re all grainy but we’re all together. And that’s really all that matters.

Me and mine have had a rough time over the last couple of months but hopefully with the onset of warmer weather, we may just have seen the last of it. Onwards and upwards — roll on spring!

This month’s highs ~
• Going to the Farrow and Ball talk in Henley — more of that on the blog very soon!
• Taking the twins to playgroup with our lovely friend and her son.
• Auntie Jingle and Imogen coming to stay.
• The boys are (finally) big enough to wear the rainbow gillets we bought last year!
• The days are getting longer now.

This month’s lows ~
• The Twinkle’s daddy with pneumonia
• Lots of nasty bugs (again).

Me and Mine for February…

Me_and_Mine_Feb4

Me_and_Mine_Feb3

Me_and_Mine_Feb

meampmine-button_zpscc9f6437