Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Clothes or Homewares shopping

Do you really have to choose?

I'm on a little journey .... sadly, not the type that means flying somewhere exotic, but one that is all about connecting back with me.  Don't worry, I'm not going to get deep or anything.

This is more about finding my style in both my fashion, make-up and also our home.

Starting with clothing .... I need a make-over! Its a fact. For little over a year, two puppies have had me in anything that can hold treats and poo bags.  Yes, that's exactly how I've shopped, which means I've practically lived in jeans. Now this is from someone that probably up to about 2 years ago, never actually owned a pair of jeans.  I've always been more of a dress girl.  So its time to reconnect with me.  I'm also looking at new make-up ranges, as I've hit that certain age, where things in the past just don't work for me anymore.

Getting back to my title.  I'm also a home loving body, who's more than happy to be wandering around a shop looking at cushions or throws, no one really judges you there, do they?  But I really don't think you need to be one or another. And there too, our home has become a little stuck in the past, and I need to find what works for us.

So, here you go ... join me, on my little journey to renovate both.

All this too, seems coincidental, as the other evening I was looking through IG, and one of my favorite accounts said she had blogged. So I popped on over, and she had something similar to say, which to be honest gave me an idea for this post.  Do have a look at it here.

Ok, a little honesty here.  I actually went into TopShop the other day, and bought this gorgeous little jumper, and the store SuperDry and bought a denim skirt. Neither of which are stores I'd ever shop in. They feel a little intimidating to me, but I have no reason not to go in really.  So that's my new mantra ... shop where I want, and don't worry if it's not age appropriate.

I'm not silly, I don't want to look like I've stepped out of a magazine, and my lifestyle will still involve sitting on the floor with the bears (or wiping a few messes up).  So I don't need anything over the top, but I want to look more like me again.  Now, she'll hate me for saying this, but Maria always, always, always looks lovely.  She has her own style, she knows whats suits her and she's not trend driven, although she does look always very "now". And it's that sort of style, I need to find ... one that's me.  I'm sure I'll be making mistakes, and I'll let you know those too.  I'm also one that HATES selfies, but in this instance, I'm going to take them and share them with you.  So without much further ado ... here's the first outfit.

I like that the pocket detail goes around the body a bit too. (but I'm resisting putting anything puppy related in it)

I've decided that this mirror in our bedroom, may be the best ... as I don't have an audience
I also treated myself to make up, which I'll talk about in another post, and same with our home update.

But for now, thank you for sticking with me, and do let me know what you think ... Yes or no to the outfit?




Monday, 28 March 2016

Happy Easter Friends - A Tip for Daffodils

Happy Easter friends :D

The Easter break may find you meeting up with family, going to church, or just simply enjoying the extended break and relaxing at home.

For me, the epitome of Spring and Easter, is seeing the daffodils bobbing up and down on the road sides, in gardens and in the home.



Today, I'm bringing you a quick tip on these lovely flowers that I learnt whilst training as a florist.


Did you know that daffodils ideally should be arranged in water on their own?


Daffodils produce a sap when they are cut, which reduces the life of other cut flowers if mixed.



If you want to arrange them with say other spring flowers, such as tulips, the best thing to do is cut the stems of the daffodils and stand in a vase of clean water for a couple of hours to let the sap leak out and then run the stems under some cold water. You can then arrange them with other flowers.

Personally, I think they look just fabulous on their own :D

My Easter Sunday morning. You can't beat a Nespresso coffee in a Wrendale mug (Good Hare Day), and a gluten free hot cross bun :D

Have an enjoyable Easter Sunday Friends and see you next week!


Maria & Sandra
xxx

Eco Home Introduction - A guide to shopping for the home with an environmental conscience

Happy Monday Friends :D

Following on from Sandra's Chalk Paint post last week and her amazing upcycling of her inherited cabinet, I thought I would bring you one of my first posts on shopping for the home with our environment in mind. I'm all for recycling, upcycling and doing my bit for our environment , but did you know that you can make a difference when making purchases for your home? With a little bit of thought and, not too much effort, its not as difficult as you may think.

A few simple steps and YOU can be your own Home Eco-Warrior :D


Quality

It may be common sense, but by choosing products that are made of a good quality, you'll find that they  should last longer and therefore be more economical in the long term. Sometimes, this may mean it costing a a little more and, you might even have to wait a little longer to purchase, but it will be worth it in the long run. Try not to buy on impulse or out of simply "we need this now" mentality and try and take more of a "make do, beg or borrow"  stance. For a temporary measure that doesn't hurt our environment, you could always check out local charity furniture shops or preloved sites and you can always donate the items back when your ready to purchase a better quality item. If it's an important item that is going to be used a lot, buying bad quality will mean you will only end up replacing it, wasting money in the long run and adding to the landfill sites. It's worth investing in larger quality items such as beds, as they need to last a long period of time.


It's also good,  if you can, to check that the manufacturer of the items has tested the product properly and offers a warranty with it as this helps confirm that they credit their own products to last.

Sustainability

You can really help our environment when purchasing furniture items by checking that they carry the "Forest Stewardship Councils" approved sign. Just by doing this you are ensuring that your doing your bit for responsible management of forests.


Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Buying locally ensures a reduced carbon footprint.



If you buy over the internet, you may have the opportunity to source things closer to home.

Don't be afraid to ask, even from the big multiples out there, where a product is coming from. For example, about eight years ago, we bought out our solid oak farmhouse kitchen table and chairs from John Lewis, and unbeknownst to us, it came all the way from France. We only found this out when there was a delay on it. Whereas, Sandra, recently managed to source and purchase a wonderful farmhouse table made in Cornwall, UK which reduced the carbon foot print of her purchase compared to mine.... yay!!  :)


Look for Environmentally Friendly Designs

There are a lot of great new designers out there who are creating more environmentally friendly products such as lighting, furniture, accessories and other household goods. Watch this space as I will be bringing you some ideas for the home using eco friendly products on future Eco Home posts.


One of my Environmentally Conscious Presentation Boards from my studies


We may not be able to apply these steps all of the time but,  if we make a conscious effort to think before we buy, we will be doing our bit for our planet which can only be a good thing! 

Enjoy the rest of the Easter break and see you soon :D

Maria xx






Saturday, 26 March 2016

Easter Decorating with Pinterest


I'm dreadful, I have thousands of pins, which I'll probably never go back to on Pinterest, but I'm going to try my best, and actually see if I can either recreate or at least put my own spin, on a couple of my favorite pins.

Now, heres ones, I pinned ages ago, and this year finally got around to recreating. Its from a blog called, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Isn't it gorgeous? 

Well, I didn't have quite the same to hand, but I did pick up some little rabbits for a £ each in a tiger store, and have put these two together, for the season. 



I hope you're all having a lovely Saturday, I'm off now to have a hot cross bun, I think. 
Sandra
xx




Friday, 25 March 2016

In the Spotlight this week

Another Friday, another spotlight from Maria and myself.

This week it was something I'd seen on someone's instagram feed, and just fell in love with it.  So a little eBay searching and this beauty is now gracing my iMac.
They come in lots of different images and just easily slide onto your screen.  They even have a tattooed snow white if that takes your fancy lol.

Have a lovely Easter friends 
Sandra
xx


Delfonics Craig Pouch

Happy Good Friday friends :D   I'm a woman on a mission at the moment with trying to be more organised, especially with all the chaos that family life brings. Part of that quest and, relatively new to me, has been Bullet Journalling, which is keeping me sane. However,  I needed something to protect my beloved Bullet Journal when I was out and about, as well as having everything to hand when I needed it, such as pens, sticky notes etc. Oh, and it had to be super stylish and colourful ;) After much searching, I found the perfect pouch.....

Tahdah......... welcome to my new Delfonics Craig pouch :D 


Its a wonderful bright blood orange colour, which is perfect for locating my bullet journal when the hubby decides to do his usual lets put everything in a huge pile on the side because thats what he calls tidying up!! It drives me crazy, but I have to give him credit for trying ;)


Its the perfect size for putting my Leuchtturm 1917 Bullet Journal in the front popper section for easy access.

 And the deep zippered section has loads of room for putting my pens, post its, stickers and labels in, so everything is together, making a more organised me Yay!! :D


This little quote just inside the pouch puts a big smile on my face and puts life into perceptive with all the craziness that is happening around us :D

Happy Easter to you all!!

Maria xx





Thursday, 24 March 2016

A Tip for Dry, Itchy Eyes

Hi friends, its pretty miserable here this afternoon with the start of the Easter break and, yes its raining, lots!!

It may seem odd, but the rain made me think of a recent visit to the opticians for my usual eye check. My eyes had been itchy and dry and worse of all, I had developed large droopy bags under my eyes which I just put down to needing more sleep.




So I was in a for a surprise when my optician told me my tear ducts where blocked causing the dryness and the, oh so unattractive eye bags.  So I am passing on her professional advice to you as it actually worked and it doesn't involve any sprays, creams or lotions and its......... FREE, Yay!! :D

First, get a clean flannel and put it under some hot running water until its just about as hot as you can handle. Then place over one of your eyes and leave it there until it goes cold. When your done massage gently just under the eye to encourage your tear ducts to clear. Then repeat with the other eye.  I did this whilst relaxing in the bath and found it quite relaxing and therapeutic to just shut off from the world and close my eyes for a few minutes.

If your eye bags and dryness are bad as mine were, then you need to do this for a couple of weeks.   I, personally, saw results within a week :D

I hope you find this tip useful.

See you tomorrow for our weekly "In The Spot Light"

Maria xx




Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Paints for Furniture

As I explained in my intro, I  have a passion for anything home decor related.  Lucky for me too, I am in the process of renovating and updating our homes.  Now in the little house, we have a lot and I mean a lot of inherited furniture, and I'm all about the up cycling and the shabby chic look.  So of course, I'm in my element with all the chalk paints that are available at the moment.
A little tip from me, and one that I've found works, is when using Annie Sloane paint in particular. I suggest, turning the can upside down and leaving it for a few hours, then stir, stir, stir and stir some more.  Its a thick paint and a lot of people find it gloopy and not easy to use, but I've found that even adding a little water help.

This unit used to belong to my parents, and holds very happy memories for me. The top though was jet black and I did worry that the paint wouldn't cover it.  So I did sand it down.  Now sanding, isn't always necessary, but if you're worried you can use a coat or two of shellac, which applied with a soft cloth will stop any staining coming though (this may happen on some furniture from the 1930's and 1940). Shellac dries in minutes, so doesn't stop you getting stuck in with the fun bit.

I''ll be back with more ideas, tips and tricks on painting furniture.


Monday, 21 March 2016

One of my favourite Mid-Century Chair Designs - The Series 7™ Chair


I have a bit of a thing for Mid-Century furniture design, which I fell in love with during my time studying for my degree. Furniture from this era has clean, simple lines that just fit in with our homes and work places today and you'll see them just about everywhere. To be honest, before I started my studies, I didn't have a clue about furniture design. A chair was just a chair. I either liked it or I didn't. Simple. But I was so wrong! There are so many beautiful designs out there. So I am picking one of my favourite chair designs to chat about today. It is one of the most simplistic chair designs out there  and you will no doubt have probably sat on one without even knowing that it is one of the most iconic chair designs; the Series 7™chair by Arne Jacobsen. Last year saw this chair celebrating 60 years since its creation and Fritz Hansen have commissioned nine new colours, which have been designed by the artist Tal R and I'm in love with its new look.



The Series 7™'s simplistic, curvy, feminine design is easy on the eye and you will find this chair just about everywhere. Even my dentist has them in a number of colours in their waiting room. It's no surprise that it is the most sold stackable chair in design history. It has sold over 7 Million since its creation!!





Last year, I was swooning over the limited edition, oh so pretty, pale pink with 24 carat gold plated legs creation. It just oozes elegance and femininity with a sophisticated look.

Masculine & Feminine, Series 7™ Design Celebrating 60th Anniversary 2015
Nest.co.uk still have one available here

The Series 7™ chair also comes in a children's size, barstool and as you can see from one of my office designs below a swivel chair.
Elevation Office Drawings featuring the Series 7™ Swivel Chair

There are nine new colours for the Series 7™ chair, which have given it a new life which has seen the base and the seat shell given the "same" colour creating a monochrome look which is different from the traditional chrome frame edition and I like the new warm, homelier look that they have created. 


So there you have it, just one of my many favourite iconic Mid-Century Chair designs. Maybe you have a favourite chair design or may be you've spotted one of these chairs on your travels, you might even be sitting on one now! It would be lovely to hear from you :D

Maria x







Friday, 18 March 2016

In The Spot Light This Week......

Happy Friday friends... :D

This week, both Sandra and I have got a little something to share with you on our "In the Spot Light This Week....."


Kerastase Elixir Ultime Spray Oil

A trip to the hairdressers and I have discovered a new hair product,  Kerastase Elixir Ultime Spray Oil.  Apart from its potential offerings for healthier, smoother, shinier hair (which for us in our middle youth are in need off as our hair becomes coarser and more brittle). It has an absolutely divine smell. Its light and natural perfume is heavenly without being over powering. None of your sickly fruity,  cloying smells. I personally, really don't get why you'd want to have hair that smells of pineapple or fruits of the forest.




I was sold on this product just for its scent alone, but I did learn from my hairdresser  about the difference between serums and oil sprays, which I didn't know. Serums only add a "cosmetic" shine and have no actual benefit to your hair whereas "oil sprays" are beneficial as the oils are absorbed into the hair, offering nourishment, protection and shine with the added bonus of not adding weight to the hair unlike some bottled hair oils that can leave your hair looking rather lank.Here are its uses:

Pre-Cleanse - Spray to hair before rinsing before shampooing to remove styling and daily products.
Pre-Blow Dry - Spray to towel-dried hair and blow dry to maximise shine, protect and nourish the hair.
Finishing Treatment - Spray and work into ends of hair to stop the frizz, whilst smoothing and adding shine.
Touch Up - Spray throughout the day for additional shine.

I like the fact that it contains four natural oils, Argan, Maize, Camelia and Pracaxi and you only need one to two sprays on wet or dry hair, making it economical to use. I am giving it a try as it will hopefully help with the frizz as it has a 24hr anti-humidity benefit and, of course, because it smells divine :)
Maria xxx

Easter Decor

Well I have to say after reading Maria's post, I think I'll be heading down to he hairdressers to buy a bottle. 

From me today, I'm sharing a little Easter decoration that I bought the other day. I'm a huge fan of Instagram, not only is it a friendly place and full of inspiration, but I love that small business often show their wares.  

So how happy was I when this little letter showed up on my Instagram feed.  I quickly said yes please, and placed my order.
I'm over the moon with it on my shelf and please do pop on over to her Etsy shop, Hugs and Hearts, and see what other goodies she has. 

Wishing you all a lovely weekend. 
Sandra
x










Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Showcase your photos

How many of us have boxes hidden away with old family photos, or draws full of those packets that we used to pick up from the chemist of our developed holiday photos?

Well as a scrapbooker and Project Lifer, I'm always concious of sharing memories taken by us, but even those, are often put onto layouts and then filed away in albums.

So at the little house, I wanted those memories and especially the ones that were taken at the house all those years ago, to be available and accessible to all those that visit.

Firstly we contacted family members and asked if we could scan in old family photos, and then we printed them out, and keep them in this glass bowl on the side.


I can honestly say, everyone that comes to the house loves going through the bowl and reliving those family memories, and so often we find out new stories that we've never heard before.

I've also asked family members to write down who is in the photo, so that we never forget. Its a joy spending time rummaging through the bowl and looking back through old photos.

I should give you a little background information about the little house. Its our home on the coast and it used to belong to my husbands grandparents. We bought it about 5 years ago, and its undergone major building renovations in the past few years, but those happy memories we all have of spending time there with his grandparents still remain in the feeling of the home.

I hope this has inspired you to get those photos out and have a trip down memory lane.

Sandra
xx



Monday, 14 March 2016

For The Love of Chilli......


One of my real loves, well actually an obsession, is eating chilli. The hotter, the better and I always find a way to incorporate it into my everyday.  One of my excuses to eat it is that it is great for our health; lowering blood pressure and helping with our circulation. Chilli also has painkilling effects as it stimulates and releases our natural endorphins that can lower our perception of pain.


But there is a downside to my obsession, "chilli fingers". It doesn't seem to matter how much I wash my hands after,  I inevitably end up touching my eyes or worse, resulting in a stingy, watery mess.

As Sandra knows too well over the fence,  I am a bit of a gadget lover, especially in the kitchen and this is where my much loved and used KitchenAid mini processor comes in very handy with my chilli fingers....





It is my go to for chilli, onions and garlic chopping. It's great for making sauces and basically anything else that needs to be chopped/processed quickly and efficiently such as herbs, pastes etc. It is small, but has a lot of power to it and with two speed/power options for optimum control its a great kitchen gadget worth investing in.

I enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes, but for me, the knowledge of what we eat and the health benefits behind certain foods really fascinates me. Looking for new ways to incorporate my chilli eating obsession and, being a fan of Dale Pinnock's nutritional fact based cook books, I just had to buy his latest book, The Power of Three. Much to my absolute delight, he has included a recipe for a "Chilli Almond Dipping Sauce". It is pure heaven and I can literally eat it on its own and, have done, it is that good!!

Unlike a lot of healthy eating books out there at the moment, you can trust Dale's approach to food as he is a qualified nutritionalist, using scientific based facts to create recipes that target most aspects of our health. Check out his website here .






My KitchenAid mini processor was made for this wonderful sauce. It even has the extra bonus of being able to add oil, water etc through a small hole at the top of the lid whilst you process, which in this case provides me with complete control over how runny I'd like my sauce to be.....yum!!


Its great for those quick fix lunches without the tears and provides a healthier option of making a sauce in under a minute which doesn't contain any nasties that shop bought sauces contain.



So for all those chilli lovers out there, if you need a solution to "Chilli Fingers",  the mini KitchenAid processor is great little gadget to have in the kitchen and, if your like me and find food fascinating,  don't forget to check out The Power of Three  and Dale Pinnock's other books for healthy recipes that give you the knowledge to help maintain a healthier life through the foods you eat.

Happy Monday friends, from a self confessed Chilli, Healthy Eating and Gadget lover!!!

Maria

xxx




Friday, 11 March 2016

In the spotlight this week ...

Happy Friday friends.

Its my turn to share something quick and easy in the spotlight this week; and well its something new I'm trying out.  Its a moisturising cream lotion called Udderly Smooth.

I'd first heard about this from a friend that suffers from Eczema and she swears by it. Its water based, so not greasy and doesn't make the skin feel oily. It was originally developed for use on dairy cows and now used by people around the world.

Do check out their website here as the uses for this cream are amazing and the response they've had is overwhelming.  A lot of cyclists, runners etc., swear by it ... I'm neither, but I think I'm going to like it, I'll keep you updated.


Have a great weekend
Sandra
x


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

A Nail Repair Journey

I hate the words "age related" but I wonder if the state of my nails is something to do with being over 21 .... just.

My nails were always strong, painted and smooth. Recently they've become ridged, flakey and very weak.  So I thought I'd take this opportunity to get them back in shape .... and I'll share my journey with you.

These are the products that I'll be using over the next few weeks and are easily available and reasonable in price. They are available in Boots etc.
I'll keep you updated over the next month or so to see if any changes, or any new products I've found to help.

Sandra 
xx

Monday, 7 March 2016

House Plants and our Wellbeing


One of the discoveries I made when I was training to be a florist was how amazing houseplants are to our health and wellbeing and this knowledge crossed over when I was studying my Interior Design degree.

Plants in our homes and work places really do make a difference. They are great at keeping us in touch with nature especially during the winter months when the weather is miserable and we are yearning for the warmer months to spend more time outdoors.


Here are some key health points that I learnt and how you can make your home a better, happier and healthier place to be......

Relaxation

Just by having plants in the home will create a visually pleasing welcoming look to any room and shows care and attention which helps promote relaxation, calm and wellbeing in our homes. Being at one with nature indoors as well as outdoors really makes a difference to how we feel.

From an interior design view point they offer texture and interest to a space and shouldn't be forgotten when styling a room.

If looking after living plants scares you or life is hectic and you haven't got the time to care for them, go for artificial plants. There are some great realistic plants out there and they "visually" create a welcoming look to our homes and our connection with nature without too much effort. Just don't forget to dust them ;) .  Also make sure your plants are scaled to the space you are putting them in. Large open spaced areas can cater for large impressive plants such as ferns with smaller areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, orchids are the ideal moisture loving plants.

Due to the amount of natural light we get in our main bathroom, I opted for a beautiful large silk orchid arrangement, which fills the large window space adding a focal point, different textures and interest to the space without being burnt to a crisp from the suns rays.

Artificial plants and flowers also work really well in areas where no natural light is received, like our cloakroom.


www.bloom.uk.com

If your looking for a company that offers a great choice of realistic, artificial plants, I came across www.bloom.uk.com from my design research and would recommend having a look even if its just to get some ideas.


Health


House plants are really pretty awesome for our physical and mental health in that they can lower our blood pressure,  help with our concentration and improve our memories. These facts have been scientifically proven by NASA!!


Detoxify!!

Just had a new carpet played, fitted MDF furniture or redecorated a room?  Make sure you add some houseplants. They are great at removing the toxins and chemicals in our home environments.  I am going to let you know which plants are the best at detoxing your interiors over the coming weeks. So watch this space.




Noise Dampner




With more homes featuring wooden flooring and open spaces, noise can be a problem. Help dampen sound by adding some houseplants. They are also great at reducing the amount of dust in the home.

So there you have it. Go for the real thing if you can as you will reap more health benefits, but artificial plants can still add a "visual" wellbeing to your homes.

Houseplants are truly amazing,  easy to implement in our homes and add to a healthier lifestyle with minimum effort, whats not to love :D

Maria 
xxx







Friday, 4 March 2016

In the Spot Light This Week.....

Each week, Sandra and I will be sharing a little something we have found, experienced or added to one of our growing wish lists. We hope you are as excited about our finds as we are :D

This week in the spot light we have......

The Daylesford, Fig Leaf Candle 




I love candles and how their soft glow of light can add a magical feel to a room. I especially love scented candles and the ability to choose different fragrances to suite my mood, which does absolute wonders for your wellbeing. Candles create a lovely ambience in the evening or in my case on a cold wet grey afternoon and there have been far too many of them late!!!

Much to my dismay, there has been some very bad press on air fresheners and scented candles in the home recently. Studies have found raised levels of limonene, which is used in air fresheners and scented candles to give a lemon fresh smell and can cause a number of serious health related issues. Not prepared to give up on my love of scented candles, I thought it was time, I went down the all natural route with my candle buying.

This week, I tried a new candle that was on offer with Ocado, (online food shopping saves me time, effort and energy), the Daylesford Fig Leaf candle.

Not to be disappointed, the Daylesford candle is all natural, including its cotton wick and is free from paraffins and GM derived waxes. Yes it does cost a little more than your average candle, but if you add in there are no nasties being burnt whilst using the candle, its slow burn rate and the fact that it provides a clean fresh, natural smell to your home, that pretty much sells it to me. I also love the fact the simple glass container is re-purposeful and practical with its clip lid unlike most candle containers.

So there you have it, the Daylesford Fig Leaf candle. If you head on over to Ocado, they still might have it on offer with 20% off.  Or why not order direct from www.daylesford.com, where I have discovered a whole range of products on offer. What is fantastic about this family run farm is that it is one of the most sustainable and organic farms here in the UK and in my books supporting companies like Daylesford means looking after our planet.  Perfect!!! :D



Maria xxx