Project Garden

I thought I'd share some plans for our garden - it's been a long time coming and the red bistro chairs that were originally bought as a gift when we had the tiniest of courtyards now look ridiculous in our reasonally sized garden. 

 Garden Plans 

Garden Plans 

As usual I gather most of my inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram and my dream is to create a little space on the deck which is almost an extension of inside. I love the inside/outside living and because we've been enjoying pretty decent weather these last few months, we decided to take the plunge and buy a patio set. *Disclaimer* I am probably now single-handedly responsible for the end of summer and the most miserable July and August we will ever have!!! Don't sue me though - I don't have any money! ;) 

Inspiration...

  Lisa Dawson's  newly revamped garden 

Lisa Dawson's newly revamped garden 

 Image Via Pinterest 

Image Via Pinterest 

As you can see, all my inspiration involves brick walls, layers and lots of lights and lanterns. My dream would be to create an extension with crittall like these beautiful images from Devol - as always these guys nail it everytime. But alas I am not a millionaire so the uPVC will have to do for now...

 Devol Kitchens - Bath Larkhall Kitchen with Sebastian Cox 

Devol Kitchens - Bath Larkhall Kitchen with Sebastian Cox 

 The Brick Walled extension and Bojangles of course! 

The Brick Walled extension and Bojangles of course! 

Back to reality - my kitchen extension gives us a nice brick wall, albeit with some weird black paint marks but it will act as the backdrop to the furniture. Originally the plan was to build furniture out of pallets but I've given up on that idea - neither of us can be bothered! So we have purchased an 8 seater corner sofa set from Argos. It hasn't arrived yet so I've no idea on the quality but I fell in love with it and with £100 off, it was meant to be! Hopefully. 

 Argos 8 seater corner sofa set 

Argos 8 seater corner sofa set 

 Festive Lights Festoons 

Festive Lights Festoons 

Next on the list will be some festoon lights that I will drape along the wall. I love these from Festive Lights so shall be purchasing as soon as payday arrives! Also outdoor rugs are everywhere right now and while they probably are very impractical, they look good so I will be purchasing! This adds to the layering I was talking about earlier - textiles are the easiest way to  add depth to any space. 

 Maison Du Monde Outdoor Rug 

Maison Du Monde Outdoor Rug 

Anyone else loving the collaboration between Maison Du Monde and Debenhams? They have such a big space in the Manchester Arndale store - it's my new favourite place. I've only ever bought from them online before so it's great to actually be able to see the items in person. 

 Maputo Black Metal Outdoor Lantern

Maputo Black Metal Outdoor Lantern

Also on the wishlist is a fire pit to keep us warm in the evenings. This Garden Trading one is a beaut and not the most expensive one I've seen so it's a possible maybe. 

H&M is a still my favourite place for cushions that are good quality and really reasonably priced. I'm still very much obsessed with rust colours (my hair is currently a shade of copper) so these cushions will fit perfectly. 

 H&M cushions 

H&M cushions 

And finally all we need now is some hardy plants that will survive on their own because lets face it - I am not plant material. Cats I can do, plants just don't agree with me! 

Stay tuned for a garden reveal when it's all finished! 

The Magic of Northern Ireland

Truth be told, I probably wouldn't have ever ventured across the water to Northern Ireland if it hadn't been for my friends wedding this spring in her home village - a beautiful little place called Cushendall. But I am soooo glad I did - everything about this place is magical and it has some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen. So I am Northern Ireland's number fan at the minute and telling everyone I can to go and let this little part of the world shine! 

First Stop - Belfast 

 Belfast Street Art

Belfast Street Art

The first thing that strikes you about Belfast is the street art. It's everywhere. Vibrant striking images of Belfast's history adorn walls on every building. It reminded me a lot of Manchester and Liverpool, quirky industrial streets now filled with bustling cafes and bars. I could definitely live here, we all felt right at home. 

 The National & Sixty 6, Belfast

The National & Sixty 6, Belfast

One of the must do's, in my opinion is a Black Cab Tour. I love history, I always have so anything to do with past or present troubles really interests me. We pre booked Paddy Campbell's Famous Black Cab Tour and was met promptly by our driver Damien. The history of Belfast and it's on going struggles with religion were fascinating and although being old enough to understand at the time, the troubles in Northern Ireland really passed me by as a child ashamedly and I never realised the severity of it all. This tour was so informative, humorous and sensitive - it really captured our attentions. 

 The Peace Wall, Belfast

The Peace Wall, Belfast

Of course Belfast is also renowned for a good night out and it didn't disappoint. Being the foodies we are, we dined at The Ox and then headed into the Cathedral quarter for as much Guinness as we could handle. One of my favourite memories is sitting in the Duke of York pub with a session band singing "Galway Girl", everyone was merry and loving life at that moment. It was just like I imagined!  

 The Crown Pub, Belfast

The Crown Pub, Belfast

 Established Coffee, Belfast. Eggs & Avocado. 

Established Coffee, Belfast. Eggs & Avocado. 

Our second day in Belfast consisted of a fabulous breakfast at Established Coffee - the orange juice was to die for - and then on to the famous Titanic Museum. I actually really enjoyed the museum, it's great for kids or a rainy day and the chance to reenact the famous "King of the world" scene means it's a 100% winner in my eyes! Plus there's the geeky photo op moments you can't resist! 

 Titanic Museum, Belfast

Titanic Museum, Belfast

 Titanic Museum Belfast

Titanic Museum Belfast

From Belfast to Cushendall

thumbnail_4628A7EC-74C4-43A9-BA38-43415C493CC0.jpg

For our trip, we hired a car. It's probably the only way to get around if you plan on heading further north from Belfast. The Coastal Causeway route is spectatular and if you can drive, then I highly reccommend you do it because it gives you total freedom to just pull over and go wherever the scenery takes you. Some of our best moments were off course, randomly stopping and letting curiousity take over. 

 Glendales BnB, Cushendall

Glendales BnB, Cushendall

Cushendall is a gorgeous little seaside village, nestled in between three glens of Antrim and in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and it is where my friend grew up and returned home to get married. Having everyone descend on this village from all over for the weekend was fabulous and it was so good to see so many old faces. Our group staying in the wonderful Glendale BnB where the home cooked Ulster Fry was second to none! 

 Glendales famous Ulster Fry!

Glendales famous Ulster Fry!

We spent 3 nights in Cushendall, with the main event being on Saturday. The weather was gloriuous and everything about the wedding day was amazing. The whole village was so accomodating and you couldn't meet friendlier people. 

thumbnail_806FCE73-675B-40D7-8DFA-01273CBA835B.jpg

The day after the wedding, we dragged ourselves to the beach to blow the hangovers away and boy did it blow. That's the unpredictability of Northern Ireland and the weather I guess, but being Manchester folk it didn't phase us. I always have an umbrella with me, no matter what the forecast! 

 Cushendall Beach 

Cushendall Beach 

 Best Selfie Ever

Best Selfie Ever

 Cushendall Beach 

Cushendall Beach 

Up North along the Causeway Coastal Route 

 Glenariff Nature Reserve & Waterfalls Walk

Glenariff Nature Reserve & Waterfalls Walk

Relunctantly we said our goodbyes to our friends and to Cushendall and headed even further north along the Coastal Causeway Route. There are so many beauitufl places along this route, Game of Thrones has filmed lots of scenes in these parts and there's also loads of fun things to do. First stop, about 10 mins from Cushendall was the Glenariff Waterfalls which was a gorgous little walk down into the valley. Next was the tiny village of Cushenden where we stopped for an hour to have tea and cake and hide away from the wind. 

 Cushendun 

Cushendun 

 Cushenden Beach 

Cushenden Beach 

We braved the weather and climbed the path to Torr Head along the way, which had more amazing views. The headland was important in the 1800s for recording the passage of transatlantic ships and also has ruins dating back to the 6th Century. 

 Torr Head 

Torr Head 

Another stop off on the way to our third stopover was the Dark Hedges, famed by Game of Thrones. We excitedly blasted the theme tune as we pulled into the car park and followed the scores of tourists to the tree lined avenue. In truth, it was pretty underwhelming and being around so many tourists was off putting but at least we ticked it off the list. 

 The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland. Games of Thrones tourist destination - I have edited out all the people!

The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland. Games of Thrones tourist destination - I have edited out all the people!

And finally we rewarded all the outdoor activity with the last tour of the day around Bushmills Whisky Distillery. I personally hate whisky so this was one for the others but the tour was interesting enough and it was nice to be warm! 

 Bushmills Whisky Distillery Tour 

Bushmills Whisky Distillery Tour 

We finally reached our AirBnB in Port Stewart which is another coastal town and were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset. If it wasn't for the coats and lack of music, we could basically have been in Ibiza! 

 Sunset at Port Stewart 

Sunset at Port Stewart 

Giants Causeway & Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge 

Our second to last day was spent doing the big Tourist attractions that this part of Northern Ireland boasts about. The first was the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge which I didn't even attempt to cross. Too many scars from playground rope bridges and an over zealous brother - yep I'm a wimp! But the others all did it, rather easily if I might add, and I took photos from a brilliant vantage point. 

 Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland. Ben crossing solo! 

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland. Ben crossing solo! 

 The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland 

The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland 

The Giant's Causeway has always been a bucket list destination for me since a high school art project and an unhealthy obsession with Westlife! It was everything I dreamed of, although sadly Shane Filan was not waiting for me but nevertheless I loved it. I really liked how you could just wander onto the rocks and find your own little spot. Yes it was busy but you could escape some crowds and get those all important photos if needed. 

 The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland 

The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland 

The Last Day 

Because we were a group of nine from different bits of the UK, the last day meant various departures at different times, leaving 5 of us for the last flight of the day. We slowly made our way back to the airport via various points along the Coastal route which we hadn't yet seen. The sun had also come back so it was perfect! 

 Port Stewart, Northern Ireland 

Port Stewart, Northern Ireland 

We headed to White Park Bay, which is where a herd of cows can be seen lazying around on the beach. There are google images to prove it. Unfortunately I didn't see any cows building sandcastles but the beach was absolutely stunning and the dunes were full of rabbits which kept us entertained in the sunshine. 

 White Park Bay, Northern Ireland. Sadly no cows....

White Park Bay, Northern Ireland. Sadly no cows....

 Ballintoy Harbour 

Ballintoy Harbour 

Next stop was Ballintoy which is another Game of Thrones filming location. It's a tiny harbour with the cutest ice cream cafe which makes it the perfect pit stop. 

 Mint Choc ice cream, Northern Ireland

Mint Choc ice cream, Northern Ireland

And that's it, the Northern Irish adventure is over. We ended the day with a gorgeous meal at Billy Andy's on the way back to the airport and 40 minutes on a plane we were back home in Manchester. I honestly couldn't recommend Northern Ireland enough, the scenery, the people, the atmosphere - it's all brilliant. 

P.s. This isn't sponsored in any way - I just had the most amazing time!!! 

thumbnail_3A9677FE-19A8-4DEF-9DED-7B1FF037EBCE.jpg

My Favourite Manchester Artists

A lot of people always ask where I get my prints from so I thought I'd share all my favourite Manchester artists, some I've admired for years, others newly discovered. If you're from Manchester or have moved away and want some memorabilia or just simply love the city (let's face it, who doesn't!?) then this is the post for you! 

Sl SCOTT

IMG_4120.jpg

I have always admired Sue's work, having collected various cards and framing them from Green Walk's Open House weekend and the Makers Market where Sue is a regular. I love the graphic Manchester skylines and landmark buildings and of course, who can resist the Manchester bee prints she does?!

IMG_4325.JPG

Sue very kindly messaged me to say she thought the Manchester Heart would sit perfectly in my living room and it one hundred percent does! It hasn't left my mantelpiece since!

Another print I adore is the "Manchester Landmarks 1" print which I put up in the hallway amongst all our favourite places we've visited. 

There's also more local prints such as Didsbury and Chorlton and Sue is always up for a commission. Go check her out here.

thumbnail_12BCDD96-DD53-4470-A67E-DAACB712B8E0.jpg

Northern Letters

thumbnail_C6126961-B3EC-4677-9965-02B4C5F3174A.jpg

Northern Letters are inspired by typography found in and around Manchester. Each letter comes with GPS coordinates and a map so you know exactly where the letter can be found. I'm a sucker for an initial as I've said many times before but our initials if put the wrong way...well I'll leave that to your imagination, hence why we swiftly bought the ampersand to go with! 

 

IMG_5283.JPG

Paul Grogan

Paul Grogan is a man of many talents. Wedding photographer, commercial photography and Manchester photos and prints. I first discovered Paul when I bought a framed Manchester Bee prints for the OH. I obsessed over the Manchester Periodic Table print for months before finally taking the plunge. It's massive - A1 poster size but it's so eye catching and one of the many prints people always ask after on Instagram. It includes many of the important elements, inventions, people and societal changes that make Manchester the place it is now. 

thumbnail_115282BA-524C-40FB-8E9A-C1513020F012.jpg

The Bee cushion is one of the many other ways you can bring Manchester into your home and I've also got my eye on Paul's published book showcasing the best images of my home town. Go check him out!

thumbnail_7CBC7747-E8A6-4B94-BA2A-25ED2D105D2B.jpg

Dave Draws

My Chorlton map print by Dave Draws is another treasured print. I lived in Chorlton with the girls for 5 years and let's just say it was the glory days! Living above a chicken shop had it's downfalls but they were way outshone by the perks and I'm not ashamed to admit there was a lot of fried chicken consumed back then!

6C3E09F6-78F1-4D1C-BC63-78563D91A6BE.JPG

The Thirteen Prints 

Thirteen Prints is run by Rachel who's a Manchester native but lives down south. We had a good old giggle about our childhoods and the areas we grew up in. Why is it Mums always tell everyone you're from the closest poshest neighbourhood instead of the actual truth?!? Rachel is currently producing prints whilst on maternity leave and covers anything from Manchester song lyrics to motivational quotes. I chose the Oasis print as these lyrics remind me of my youth spent in 42nd Street (if you know, you know). Rachel also very kindly sent me a commission of the not-so-cool Lionel Richie's "Dancing on the Ceiling" which as soon as I find a frame for it will be up on the wall immediately!

thumbnail_CFF28EBA-697B-42DB-BFCD-FA3E457EECDA.jpg

So that's my recommendations for Manchester themed prints - go check them out, let me know what you think! 

*Disclaimer* My monstera definitely does not look like this anymore. 

770566FF-1A25-48BF-B6CA-5498BA892A52.JPG

Hallway Revamp

It's taken two years of un-decisiveness, moaning and ignoring it to finally sort the hallway out! It was on my New Year Resolution list and I'm actually proud of myself that it's on resolution I've kept! We also set a goal of April which I think helped, wanting it finished for my birthday party was a real catalyst.

The hallway is a really big part of the house - it's the first impression people see when walking into your home but it's often the thing that gets forgotten about amongst the bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms. Ours was basically holes in the walls and random paint testers on the walls since we moved in which wasn't ideal. So here's the progress so far - there's probably a radiator cover needed and a couple of touch ups here and there but I'm really pleased with the results...

Before...

thumbnail_IMG_4278.jpg

...After!

AAFB80A6-1E3F-4B9F-9FEC-A96538EBC6EF.JPG

One of the reasons it's taken so long to do is because it's not something I could easily do myself. I've painted every other room in the house but balancing on ladders on the stairs was not on my wishlist! We found a really good decorator through a family member and he was ready to start ASAP. Cue mad dash to B&Q for paints! 

Originally I had my heart set on Farrow & Ball colours but after adding up how many litres we would need, the cost got ridiculous. There was the option of colour matching at a local paint shop but we had left it way too late. So I spent my Friday night in B&Q matching colour cards and hoping my eyes were up to scratch. 

 First coat on! 

First coat on! 

 Dulux Polished Pebble & Valspar Moonlight Dance 

Dulux Polished Pebble & Valspar Moonlight Dance 

We went for Dulux Polished Pebble as the main wall colour which is a really soft neutral. The hallway doesn't get much daylight so as much as I would have loved to go bold and dark, it would have been like walking into a cave everyday. 

The banister and spindles are Valspar Moonlight Dance, which is my compromise for the dark side. It's actually quite a green-grey in some lights but it's lovely and rich. We left the handrail the dark wood stain which was there originally - I think it goes really well together. 

F7C0AADF-1D13-4662-9ED4-610B4905855E.JPG
 Figuring out the gallery wall - practise makes perfect. 

Figuring out the gallery wall - practise makes perfect. 

It was hard for a control freak like me to leave a stranger in the house for 3 days and paint colours I hadn't even tested but after 3 days, the decorator was finished and it was time to add the finishing touches. 

I have been lucky enough to collaborate with Desenio and was able to choose a number of prints for the house. I chose this world map as I wanted something quite big as a focal point to the gallery wall. It then meant I could plan the other prints and pictures around it. Most of these are my own photos from our travels which fit perfectly with the map theme. 

It's also the perfect place for my SL Scott Manchester print to hang which I have also been lucky enough to have been gifted. 

I planned the gallery wall on the floor first, it helps to see it first and make any changes before committing to the holes in the walls and realising you've made a mistake! 

 Gallery wall up!

Gallery wall up!

Next was choosing a carpet. We went local rather than a big carpet retailer and it worked out about £300 cheaper! Personally I hate carpets - living with a big fluffy cat means constantly hoovering up clumps which gather on it. The floorboards underneath the old carpet were just in too bad of a state so it was the much simplier option to stick with carpet. I went for a berber style, I didn't want fluffy or soft. Hardwearing and sturdy are more up my street! 

 Carpet Choice 

Carpet Choice 

We got the lights from Made, I love how the brass really pops against the grey. It's a classic combination and the cluster pendant style of the lights creates a bold statement. Note to self though : get an electrician or someone who knows what they're doing - it took us bloody hours to get two lights up! 

 Made.com  Cluster Lights

Made.com  Cluster Lights

We have had the mirror since we moved in - one of those gems found in the depths of Homesense one day at the Trafford Centre. The coat rack is West Elm from John Lewis. I love all things mid century modern but rarely get any pieces for the house so this caught my eye immediately. I have inherited Ben's coat obsession and between us we have way too many coats to count. It's embarrassing really! It means we need something really sturdy and big to hold everything, stopping us from piling them all up on the banister post. The dark wood is a perfect match with the handrail also. 

 West Elm mid century multi hook

West Elm mid century multi hook

 View up the stairs onto the landing.

View up the stairs onto the landing.

So that's it - I love walking into this space everyday now and I can't wait to hear what you think! Bojangles gives his seal of approval too which is always a bonus! 

 Beautiful cat and hallway combination!

Beautiful cat and hallway combination!