Thursday, 6 June 2013

My dream bedroom: Created by Laura Ashley

Hi guys,
This post is an entry to a competition being run by Laura Ashley on the quarter-life Tales of Annie Bean blog. The prize is a £1000 voucher to refresh a room in your house: definitely worth checking out!

Although it feels like we've been in our new house forever, because it already feel so much like home, we've actually only been living here for two months. And whilst I'm pleased with the progress we've made so far, we still have so much more to do. Including completely decorating our spare room! Before we moved in we painted it a lovely lilac shade called Ophelia Plum from the Crown Heritage range, then we proceeded to fill the room with the boxes that will eventually go in here. But at this point we have no bed, no auxiliary furniture, no anything! That's right! This room doesn't just need refreshing, it needs everything: a complete rescue! Here's how it looks right now:  photo spareroom_zpsc6ac2699.png  photo spareroom2_zpsf1f4d5ab.png But in my dream world, with £1,000 to spend in Laura Ashley (the perfect shop to create a calm and classic spare bedroom we would be proud to have our friends and family sleep in) these are the pieces I would choose to decorate it with:  photo dreambedroom_zps4d30521d.png
Thanks to the amazing sale and offers on the Laura Ashley website at the moment, everything on my wishlist can be picked up for less than £1000: leaving change to check out some of their great fashion offerings too. Everyone wins!

If you had £1,000 to spend in Laura Ashley what would you buy? And do you have a room in your house that is in desperate need of a makeover?

Love Tor xx

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Shopping: Ikea milk churn vases

Hi guys,
Just a quick mini post to sing the praises of my new Ikea milk churn vases (Ikea product name: SOCKER). I am currently using these for flowers to brighten up my living room. But if you have a country style kitchen they would also look great used for utensil storage too.  photo ikeavase_zps8660512a.png The two vases sit together, for simple space saving and (bonus points) they look pretty good paired too. The tall vase simple slips inside the wider vase. They also come in cream and red if the blue's not your colour. I'm slightly in love with this shade of blue, which is one of the reasons I made a beeline for these the second I saw them in store.

You can find the vases here on the Ikea website.

Love Tor x

PS- The Ikea sale started on bank holiday Monday (27th May) and is running until 23rd June. I'm itching to get down there and check it out - of course I will be reporting back!!

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Monday, 27 May 2013

Our New House: The master bedroom

Hi guys,
The starting point for decorating our master bedroom was that we both agreed we wanted it to be grey. Mike wanted grey teamed with red, for a London theme. I wanted a bang-on-trend grey and chartreuse. In the end we went for grey teamed with....grey. And a little beige. And lots of white furniture so it still feels bright and fresh.

Ultimately we wanted it to have a luxurious boutique hotel feel, and be a calm, baby-free place we could both feel comfortable and relax. Here's a quick before picture of what the room looked like when we moved in, just after we'd started our painting: photo bedroom1_zps50625e2f.jpg The room was very simply painted in a warm medium brown colour. And here's how it looks now;  photo bedroom2_zps294fd4a2.jpg
 photo bedroom3_zps11c784fd.jpg  photo bedroom4_zps6735ca3e.jpg We painted three of the walls in a warm grey (Shade 'Wishing Well' from the Crown Heritage emulsion range). We then papered the back wall which the bed sits against in a dark grey optical illusion wallpaper with a soft metallic sheen that we got on sale from John Lewis.

The furniture is all from Ikea. The Big Ben lamp is from the Ben de Lisi range at Debenhams. I've had two sets of new bedding from Next. And the bedspread was a massive bargain from TK Maxx. Three of the four cushions are from Homebase (the top one has Wilburs handprints on it and was handmade for me) and the throw at the end of the bed was from Primark for the ridiculously bargain price of £3.

I would like new curtains (I've just used the grey and white striped curtains we had in the bedroom in our old house, but they're a little light) And we still have three big pictures to add to the wall opposite our feature wall. But this is it; the first room in the house that we've finished decorating, and I'm pleased as punch with it!

One room down. Six more rooms to go.....

Love Tor x

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Shopping: In love with Rob Ryan

Hi guys,
For my birthday my little sister bought me the Rob Ryan 'This bell' vase. It was a wonderful present, because I love Rob Ryan prints, and already have a set of side plates. My next planned acquisition is a set of six mugs. I love the designs, the simple use of colour, the schmaltzy sentimental messages. Reading them makes me smile and they are the kind of designs that brighten up your day a little.

And I just can't get enough of this picture from the homepage of the Rob Ryan website. If I could make my office look exactly like this one, then I would be a very happy young (or not so young!) lady:
 photo robryan1_zps11f73cc0.png
I turn thirty on my next birthday (gulp). And I already know what I want to mark the big occasion: A huge Rob Ryan papercutting of my very own to hang with pride of place in my living room. Of course, given I know my husband doesn't have a spare £7,000 knocking around in his bank account, I know that's a pipe dream. But it's a very good one! And I'll settle for a smaller screen print instead (hint: I like this one!)! Or some mugs, egg cups, tea towels, and I think I've just decided how I'd like to tile my kitchen....
 photo robryan2_zpsdb3c6e9a.png All of the selection above are available from the Rob Ryan Etsy shop. If I could have it all, I would!

Love Tor x

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Project: A windowsill herb garden

Hi guys,
One of my home mini projects for this weekend was to create a little herb garden on our kitchen windowsill. I love having herbs growing in the kitchen: it means your kitchen always smells lovely, and it really makes a difference to your cooking when you can add fresh herbs (even a bowl of pauper's pasta tastes like a treat with some fresh basil in it!)
 photo herbgarden1_zps90b83d5c.png  photo herbgarden2_zps262acc78.png You can pick up very affordable herbs plants from your local garden centre or from a chain DIY shop like Homebase or B&Q. Or, if you like to bag a bargain (like me) and you live near a car boot sale, have a look there. There are always stalls selling plants and flowers at this time of year, and I picked up each of my herb plants for just 50p each at our local boot sale this morning.

The indoor planter pots were from Matalan for just £3 (available to buy here) and the fork markers were a present from my mum and dad (brought all the way back from an antique shop in America).

The other jobs on my hit list for this weekend are to paint our entrance porch, build our new garden furniture, and finally unpack the last boxes in our bedroom: admittedly, buying a few plants and pots was the easiest job on the list, but at least I can say I've achieved something other than watching Eurovision this weekend!

Have you done any projects in your house this weekend? I'd love to hear all about them!

Love Tor x

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Our New House: The before pictures!

Hi guys,
Sorry for the long gap between posts. With looking after Wilbur, and the (frankly confusing) process of buying our first house, there hasn't been much time to drool over gorgeous interiors. But we did it - we are now officially homeowners and we moved in last week!

There's plenty of decorating, unpacking and repair work to do. But for now, here's what the house looks like before the process begins:
 photo newhouse1_zpsfaed15df.jpg  photo newhouse4_zpsdc1e9b77.jpg  photo newhouse2_zpscc2f6e15.jpg  photo newhouse3_zpsde714590.jpg  photo newhouse6_zps73ab4623.jpg  photo newhouse7_zpsd2f6038e.jpg
So what have we got? Well it's a three bedroom house with an entrance porch, large open plan living/dining area (with gorgeous bamboo floors) and a frankly disgusting kitchen downstairs. Upstairs are three bedrooms (2 double and one single, which will become my office) and a bathroom. Out back we have a garden big enough for BBQs and a veggie patch, and a garage.  Our own little patch to call home!

I'm planning on adding wallpaper feature walls to the master bedroom and living room. Every room in the house needs painting. The doors and windowsills need stripping back and varnishing. The stairs are going to be power cleaned and painted. And the kitchen needs updating without spending too much money. And that's just my job list for the next month!

Over the next couple of months I will be posting hundreds of posts inspired by our new house: room makeovers, shopping wish-lists, and no doubt curses about how hard all this DIY is. I can't wait!

Love Tor x

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Monday, 11 March 2013

Primark's Home range for SS13: New arrivals

Hi guys,
Making your house look nice, and making your stamp on your living environment doesn't have to cost a fortune. Back when I was a student or starting my first post-uni job, and flat broke, I still wanted my rooms/flats/houses to look as nice as possible. To be places I wanted to go back to at the end of the day. And to reflect my personal tastes.

Luckily, thanks to shops like Primark and their homeware ranges, that's an attainable goal for almost everyone. Buy a new throw for £3 and a couple of £5 cushions and your bed will immediately look more inviting. Toss a floral towel (instead of that white one that's gone grey!) over the back of your chair, and instead of looking untidy, you'll look like you're making a style statement.

£20 spent in Primark can freshen up any room: affordable for even the poorest of student. Here are my picks from the lastest new arrivals that you will find in store right now:
 photo primarkhome1_zps1d268466.png Square votive candle, £2.  Patchwork cushion, £5. Jade floral towels, £1.50- £9.
Love cushion, £5. Patchwork hearts cushion, £5. Chick shower cap, £1.50
Patchwork throw, £15. Cupcake doorstop, £5. Cupcake kit, £2.

I actually really like the look of those jade floral towels. And I know my cupcake obsessed sister will just love that cupcake doorstop! Have you picked up any Primark homewares? Do you have any tips for styling your space on a very tight budget? I'd love to hear them!

Love Tor xx

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Pattern love: Sanderson Dandelion Clocks

Hi guys,
I have a new pattern obsession: the Sanderson Dandelion Clocks pattern. As soon as I saw it I knew that it would be the wallpaper for the feature wall in my living room (When we finally get the new house signed off: fingers crossed!): I just can't decide which-colour way to go for. Blue and green or purple and yellow. Decisions, decisions!!  photo dandelion2_zps86c0e233.png Those aren't the only colour-ways though - there are around a dozen different options. And this pattern must be popular! Not only can you buy the wallpaper and the fabrics, you can also buy the cushions, the bedding, the mugs, and even place mats and coasters. I found one website that was selling a full dinner service with the pattern on it. It's the matchy-matchy homeowners dream! photo dandelion1_zpsef22c947.png  photo dandelion3_zps38aae6e2.png It has a really lovely retro mid-century feel, but it's still very modern, especially in the blue and green colourway. I've spent the past month looking at various wallpaper patterns near daily: I've been ordering samples online and trawling wallpaper vendors at the weekends like a woman possessed! But as soon as I saw the pattern I knew that it was the one. It really was love at first sight!

I will be buying my wallpaper from John Lewis. You can also find alternative stockists on the Sanderson website.

Love Tor x

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Captivating cushions: Buy from Brand Alley today!

Hi guys,
When it comes to soft furnishings, my motto is more is more. I like my sofas and beds to be covered in blankets, and stuffed full of cushions and pillows: and if they're all mismatched, all the better! I guess you could say I have a varied taste when it comes to interiors, so the style of our house is eclectic (I think that's the polite way of saying slightly mental!) Even the baby's room is a cushion-fest: The sofa in his room is covered in a whopping 7 different pillows!

Today I am planning on adding even more cushions to the mix in our bedroom: because BrandAlley have an amazing cushion sale, with all cushions up to 50% off! BrandAlley is one of my favourite designer discount sites: the fashion choices are always great, but they also often have wonderful interiors options.

Here are some of my favourite cushions in today's sale, and prices start from just £7!
 photo cushions_zps86b817a0.png The sale is running from today until Sunday 3rd March, and like all sales, the best stuff tends to go fairly quickly: so if you're looking to add some more cushions to your collection (like me!) then you'd better get a move on!!

Love Tor x

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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Inspiration: Painted Staircases

Hi guys,
The house we are buying (fingers crossed!) has stripped wood floors throughout. Lovely! But sadly the current owners have also stripped the staircase to reveal a not-especially-nice shiny wooden staircase underneath. We've talked about carpeting it to hide the hideousness. But in doing a little googling I came across an even better idea I thought I'd share with you guys: painted staircases!  photo staircases_zpsc719fc46.png
 photo staircases2_zpsd86e872e.png Reasonably cheap to achieve (Ronseal diamond hard floor paint costs £30 per 2.5 litre tin), all it really takes is a little hard work and accuracy with a paintbrush. And the paint dries in two hours, so if you time it right you can still get up the stairs to bed that night!

As you can see people have done things from the very simple (painting the stairs just one colour - this is what I would want to do) to the thoroughly creative and artistic: the only restriction is your imagination! I especially love the staircase that was painted with blackboard paint: if your staircase is opposite your front door you could leave messages for your partner/family to see as they walked into the house!

If we do this I'll post a tutorial, and let you know how hard/easy it was to achieve!

Love Tor x

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Monday, 11 February 2013

Artwork for Valentine's day

Hi guys,
Valentine's day is just four days away. I know this not only because of the bombardment of advertising all over the TV, but also because of the number of puzzled men wandering around House of Fraser when I headed into the city centre this morning.

In other (but it is related I promise) news, Hubby and I made an offer on a house this weekend and it was accepted. Which is a huge yay - we're another step closer to being home owners. It also explains why this Valentine's day we decided the presents we exchange have to be useful for the new house. Now I toyed with buying him a knife set (too boring) or bedding, and then settled on a brilliant home based gift idea: art work for Valentine's day!
 photo busprint_zps3b988662.png Hubby has mentioned a couple of times that he wanted a London themed piece of artwork for the house, to celebrate all the happy time we spent living in London, before we moved back to Norwich. His tastes run more to union jacks and photo montages though, which isn't my taste at all. Then I found this print, which fulfils his London-based criteria, whilst still being stylish enough for me.

If you're looking for a home-based Valentines gift idea, why not think about a print or artwork that celebrates a special place, event or theme for you? Great for your house, and shows you care at the same time. You can't lose!

This framed print is from House of Fraser, and cost £25.

Love Tor x

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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Emma Bridgewater at TKMaxx for Comic Relief

Hi guys,
I love Emma Bridgewater's chunky pottery: especially the mugs. So I was delighted to read about the Emma Bridgewater @ TKMaxx collection for Comic Relief. Now you can buy Emma Bridgewater pieces with great comedy slogans, guilt-free, because you're supporting charity as well:
 photo emmabridgewater1_zps474522be.png  photo emmabridgewater2_zps1def0b69.png
Slogan mugs, £9.99 (at least £4 goes to Comic Relief)
Oven gloves, £7.99 (at least £4 goes to Comic Relief)
Bag for life, £9.99 (at leasy £4 goes to Comic Relief)
Aprons, £12.99 (at least £6.50 goes to Comic Relief)
Tea towels, £4.99 each (at least £2 goes to Comic Relief)

I always like the TKMaxx Comic Relief collaborations: I still wear the Vivienne Westwood Tshirt I got two years ago (Queenie from Black Adder wearing a red nose). And I think it's a very clever idea to focus on a kitchen/baking theme for this year, given we're a nation in the grip of a baking frenzy thanks to the success of the Great British Bakeoff. Which, for the record, is one of the best shows on TV!

I will definitely be getting a couple of the mugs, and the 'There are tarts in my kitchen' Tea towel. What do you think of the collaboration? Are there any pieces you've got your eyes on?

Love Tor x

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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Lights: Chandeliers made of cutlery

Hi guys,
Back in November I fell in love with a chandelier made of cutlery from Next. Sadly however when I decided to buy it and went back to pick it up in late December it had sold out. Everywhere! Online and in every store within a 100 mile radius!
 photo chandelier4_zpsceedf064.png Here it is! And it was a massive bargain at just £60 too. Luckily thanks to the power of eBay I got my chandelier (I had to pay £65 but it was still a bargain at that!) and I think it's a great idea and a great design. Perfect for a quirky kitchen or dining room. So I looked for alternative that was still available that I could share with you guys:
 photo chandelier1_zps89143861.png
'Hungy Suspension' by Ali Siahvoshi. £777 inc. VAT  photo chandelier2_zpsda506159.png
Brocante three tier chandelier, POA (order from here)

My Next version was a bargain £60: Admittedly these cost considerably more than this but I just love how they look. What do you think? Do you like the idea of the cutlery chandelier? Or is it just too damn weird! I can't wait to hang mine: and I've even been looking at cutlery print wallpaper to match!

Love Tor x

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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

My picks from the Debenhams SS13 Home collections

Hi guys,
It's that time of the year when all of the high street stores are pumping out their new season look books, and the new season pieces are starting to appear in store. When it comes to home wares, that quite often means brighter colours, pastel colours, and florals on absolutely everything. For interiors, I tend to prefer the Autumn/Winter collections: I'm just not a floral kind of gal. But that doesn't mean there isn't something to love in the new Spring ranges.

I buy quite a lot of my homewares from Debenhams. All of the picture frames in my living room, both of our living room lamps, and several pieces in my kitchen are from there. So I'm always interested to see what new ideas and themes they have instore.

With that in mind, here are my picks from their new collections:
 photo debenhamshome1_zps8c9e830b.png Ben De Lisi orange Rise and Shine cushion, £22
Sass and Belle wooden owl coasters, £15
Tea cup vase, £15
Matthew Williamson hand mirror, £10
Heirloom fabric covered chair, £175
Yukari stacking mugs, £18.50
Ben De Lisi worktop saver, £10
Comet painted teak coffee table, £625
Comet painted teak side cabinet, £375

I am massively impressed with their furniture this season. I did know Debenhams did furniture, but before now it has always been very generic and overpriced in my opinion. Now though, there are several pieces I love and I want to immediately add to my house! And given it's made of solid wood, the prices aren't bad either!

What do you think of my picks? Has anything taken your fancy? And do you find you prefer the spring/summer or autumn/winter interiors collections from the highstreet?

Love Tor x

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Save v. Splurge: Charles Eames Eiffel Chair

Hi guys,
Like most people, when Mike and I first moved in together we bought a lot of cheap furniture. Ikea was our best friend. Car boot sales were our second best friend: jealousy meant that they and Ikea didn't get on. So my current home mission is to slowly but surely replace the cheaper/shabbier/most uncomfortable of our old furniture with statement pieces that will last forever: The next piece of furniture on my list to replace is our dining table and chairs. But with all things, the question is this: are dining chairs something you could splurge or save on?

 photo eames1_zpscc521d91.png What I would really like is these Eames Eiffel chairs which are available from the Conrad shop for £256.80: they were originally £321 but are currently in the sale. However I just don't have that kind of money! To buy six of these chairs would cost a whopping £1,540.80: and I'd still have a dining table to buy soon. Not affordable for me. Which leads to our save option:

 photo eames2_zps2cbe450c.png These almost exact replicas of the chair are available from Lakeland Furniture at a tiny fraction of the cost : they were originally £47 each but are now in the sale for £39. Of course you don't have the kudos of owning an iconic piece of furniture history. But if it's the style you want (and you don't have a huge budget to do up your house) I think you could do a lot worse.

Can you tell the difference? I'm not sure I can! So for £234 (that's less than the price of one of the genuine chairs) I will be getting myself a set of six of these.

Love Tor x

Monday, 21 January 2013

Website lust: Folly Home

Hi guys,
I'm always getting a stack of press releases for new websites and new products. Some are good, some are bad, and some are frankly bizarre! But the one site I'm always happy to get press releases from is Folly. I love everything they send, and I would go as far as to say there isn't anything on their site I wouldn't love to have in my house!
 photo folly1_zps1a87d278.png Cityscape bookends, £39.95 (Clicky link)

 photo folly2_zps1b399cda.png Knitted lambswool London bus cushion, £39.95 (Clicky link)

 photo folly3_zps4601bbb2.png Eye chart tea towel, £9.95 (Clicky link)

 photo folly4_zps3f4329ea.png You're the best screen print, £14.95 (Clicky link)

Everything on the site is super-affordable (nothing costs more than around £50) and it would all make amazing gifts: I'm a big fan of homewares as gifts. So much more preferable than socks you don't need, clothes that won't fit, or food that will make you bust out of the clothes that do!!

There's something for everyone: the bookends are slick and modern, the tea towel is a little more quirky ans the super soft pillow would be great for a little boy. My favourite from my selection? I really do love this print! I'm a big fan of quirky prints and think they look great teamed together in an array of mismatched frames. And let's face it, who wouldn't be cheered up my a vibrant green marching band telling them how fabulous they are!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Our house: The compromise living room

Hi guys,
Well, you've already seen the dressing room and the nursery. Next up on the tour of our new house is the living room. Because the house has a living room and dining room, the room is much smaller than the living/dining combo room we had in the old flat. The affect is that it feels nice and cosy, full of all my favourite things.

I call our living room a compromise room because Mike and I have such different tastes. He likes things minimalist, and is a huge fan of slick black furniture. Me? Well I'm the complete opposite! I like vintage, colour, and clutter! So our living room is an odd combination of both. Here's how it looks:
The trunk looks vintage but isn't, it's actually from Homesense. The phone and lamp are both from Debenhams and the little brass bird was a bootsale acquired gift from a friend. We brought the furry stags head back from Berlin (I promise you stuffing this into Mike's rucksack because we were travelling hand-luggage-only was not a highlight of the trip!) The fireguard screen is the newest addition to this room: I got it from a carboot sale for just £1, where it needed some serious work. We scrubbed it clean, replaced the fabric inside the body of the screen and new jewelled knobs for the top (these are just ordinary doorknobs from B&Q, but they serve exactly the same purpose!)

We're renting this place (we're hoping to buy early next year) so we're reluctant to paint or do any extensive refurbishment to the living room: renting and injecting personality is hard! But I do like this room: it's so cozy and just perfect for snuggling up warm in when it's cold outside.

Do you have to compromise in your house? Do you have different tastes from your partner/housemates and how do you make it work?

Love Tor xx