My Living Room (Even Stylists Make Decorating Mistakes)

So I’m going to come straight out there and say it. When it came to painting our sitting room I got it wrong.  I chose a blue grey paint and though I still think it looks beautiful, in reality the room feels really dark and on the wrong day a bit gloomy.

I kind of knew it was off straight away but I was in denial at the end of what had been a long and arduous building project (we moved out for nine months) and I just wanted to move back in.

I had spent FOREVER Pinteresting my perfect ‘look’ and on paper it was fabulous (see pics below of what I was hoping to achieve).

What seems very obvious now was not so obvious then. We don’t live in a Scandinavian high ceiling-ed house with windows on every wall.

Having closed off one side of the sitting room to make a laundry room (best thing I ever did. Kids = washing, three kids = a shit tonne of washing) there was now only one window.  It’s a big one but there’s only one.

The crying shame is I never want to spend any time in there. I’ve been considering why and I have come to the following conclusions:

1. There’s grey and then there’s grey and this is just one step too gloomy. The paint colour is SO beautiful. Just not in that room. I thought painting it a lighter colour was a boring, bland idea but I’ve had a change of heart.

2. The lighting in a room where you are doing a lot of cosy, relaxing, wind down stuff needs to be really good. Atmospheric and low key yes, but not so dark that you can’t read a newspaper (it’s so dark you can’t read a newspaper in there).

3.  When it comes to cosying up and watching television you want some sort of right angle whether that’s an ‘L’ shaped sofa or an armchair next to the sofa.  It’s the inner cave man in us all.

4. Random but true: I like to put my feet up on something when I’m watching a movie. Attempting to find a piece that passes both the style and comfort challenge has so far proved elusive.

So there you have it.  The decorator is booked for next week and we’re going with a (still to be decided !) lighter coloured paint. I’m off on location all week and I will return to a newly light and hopefully much more enticing sitting room.  I shall be sure to keep you updated with the results.

Here’s the look I was going for:

Here’s the room, shot in full sunshine with the help of a bright camera exposure:

This Gingham Dress!

Anyone else feel like Summer dressing is a terrifying thing? No, I don’t want to wear cut off shorts that show you exactly what I had for lunch. And uh, that dress that you can’t lift your arms in without exposing a cheek ain’t quite right for my meetings thanks. That’s why I am sharing the love about this gingham number aka my summer saviour.

I picked it up from Urban Outfitters and though I did have to sew up a slit that came reaaaallly high up the leg, I think it’s spot on. Exposed shoulders but doesn’t show too much arm if that sort of thing bothers you, drapes nicely over the hips and is ridiculously comfortable – I’ve hardly taken it off. It also happens to look really great accessorised with a kitchen sink and striped plate :). As you do.

P.S I’ve finally got my arse in gear to do a newsletter so if you never want to miss a post be sure to add your email to the subscribers box.

How to Lounge in Style

Given the sweltering temperatures in London of late I’ve been dragging everything out into the garden and making my home under the shade of our overgrown apple tree. “Children join me if you wish but I shalln’t be moving”.

Clearly I didn’t take out just any old thing. My current garden/ outdoor living/ summerhouse soft furnishing obsession is mixing pink with a bit of red in lots of clashing patterns. First up is this beauteous block printed quilt from Molly Mahon.  It’s in the softest cotton and makes for a seriously nice lounging companion.  I mixed it with a paler pink cushion in a contrasting print and chucked in my favourite vintage striped friend for good measure. A rather pleasing combo. As you can see I’m not the only fan.







Summer Towels

I don’t know where you are reading this from today but it comes to you from central London that is in the midst of a heatwave. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.

I’ve longed for the sun the entire winter! And yesterday it was sun we got. When the mercury hit 34 (so said my car thermometer) I had to hose myself and the children down in the garden. We all dried off under our apple tree and it got me to thinking about how the towels we were wrapped in are my favourite summer accessories.

They’re like saying to your body “hey there, it’s summer, season of holidays and rosé – rejoice”. They make me think of lying out on a Greek island and sleeping in a whitewashed stone house. They conjure all kinds of summertime feels. We use them on holiday, in the park, on sticky nights after a bath and they usher in summer for me.

These three towels are my picks: There’s my spendy buy above from the Conran Shop: Conran Hamman Towels  available in 10 different colours.

Then there’s the most subtle blush Numero 74 Set of 3 Honeycomb Towels that come in eight colours.

And lastly, the Designers Guild Orica Towels that also come in seven colours and four different sizes. You’ll spy the White Company’s Spa Restore hand and body wash that I’ve picked up recently and not stopped using. It’s the geranium and eucalyptus scents that have propably set me off on that whole Greek summer vibe again.



Yes, It's A Man Bag

This post has sprung from a desperate plea from various friends about what in the world to buy for Father’s Day. I’m not about to start banging on about experience days and artisanal alcohol gifts but what I can share is what I have personally decided to purchase. I realised my husband was in dire need of a new backpack the other day when I spotted him jumping on his bike to work with a couple of safety pins holding the zip together. Matches sale started and it all fell happily into place.  I bought a Malle Backpack almost identical to the one below (sadly now sold out so hurry if you think it might work for you).

I don’t think you can go wrong with a bag purchase be it backpack, satchel, weekend or wash bag. Here’s my round up below hopefully with something for every budget.

Whistles Roll Top Backpack has 30% off . Mango Canvas Weekend Bag . Malle Edward Cotton-Canvas Backpack has 60% off . Sandqvist Messenger Bag . Malle William Backpack has 50% off . Cos Cotton Canvas Wash Bag