Garden Reveal

Anyone else feel like the weather is turning? I thought I better share my garden reveal before everything gets all wintry and I miss the boat! Remember my moodboard from a few months ago? 

 Garden Moodboard

Garden Moodboard

Well here is the semi-finished result! 

 The semi-finished result!

The semi-finished result!

We bought the furniture from Argos. The quality isn't the highest but then it was far cheaper than any other similar ones on the market so beggars can't be choosers. I think it's fine for what we need it for but if you have kids or heavy handed friends, you might need something more robust.

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I moved the rug from the living room into the garden for our garden party because unfortunately I live in Manchester and its rains - A LOT. The constant back and forth with the cushions is already wearing thin so throwing a rug into the mix might not be the smartest purchase. 

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I already had some Sainsburys outdoor cushions from last year which I bought in the sale because I knew I'd have a reason to use them one day! Anyone else constantly doing this?! I added some H&M cushions into the mix and voila! In case I haven't said this before - H&M is fab for cheap cushion covers that are always on trend and they are great quality too, especially the conscious range! 

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The lights are a hand me down from my Mum when she moved house - I'm still holding out for the festoon lights but I actually really love the playful pops of colour these lights bring! 

Next was a quick trip to Wyevale garden centre to purchase a herb planter and replace the bay tree we killed (sorry Ben's Mum) and that's all it needed to finish it off. I added sunflowers because sunflowers are always a good idea and some outdoor dinnerware for styling purposes. 

We're really pleased with how it looks and I have loved spending the heatwave out here sunbathing. I also love enjoying the light nights, batwatching with Bojangles and dining alfresco.

 Alfresco Bojangles 

Alfresco Bojangles 

Another one ticked off the list! Now onto the next project - an interior designer is never finished! 

Cheap & Easy Ways To Create A Personalised Gallery

1. Mix your own photographs with shop bought prints.

Taking photographs when on holiday or even just on day trips and framing them means you can create a personalised gallery wall that no one can ever replicate. It also means the prints will be really meaniningful to you and remind you of good memories whenever you look at it. 

 

 My Gallery Wall in the Living Room.

My Gallery Wall in the Living Room.

I have gone for Manchester based prints in the living room, using some of my photographs which I have mainly snapped on my iPhone and mixing them in with prints by local Manchester artists. A good way to get photos printed is to use Free Prints who give you 45 free prints a month! Its a simple app that can take your photos from your phone or social media accounts and they print 6x4 photographs. All you pay is postage! Absolute bargain. I constantly use them and if you want bigger or smaller sizes, it's only a small amount more.

Top Tip : Choose matt finish to get a more professional feel. 

 Hallway Gallery Wall

Hallway Gallery Wall

In the hallway, I got a cheap world map print from Desenio and I'm currently building a gallery wall that will go the whole way up the stairs. I like to frame snaps from my travels. Frames needn't be expensive either - I usually get mine from Wilkinsons. 

2. Frame Cards

 Merci Beaucoup & Manchester cards framed. 

Merci Beaucoup & Manchester cards framed. 

Another favourite thing to do is frame cards when you either love the design or the actual prints are too expensive. Most cards fit a 6x4 frame (although you might have to trim an edge off to get it to fit). Some of my favourite prints that are up in the house are actually cards I've bought from various craft markets or even Oliver Bonas.  

 Oliver Bonas card framed. 

Oliver Bonas card framed. 

3. GET A LETTERBOARD

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A good way to refresh your wall art without buying something new is to invest in a letterboard. I got this as a birthday present from my friends about 2 years ago and I still love switching it up all the time. Quotes, song lyrics, messages to the OH - it's an endless way to change it up! 

4. FRAME & DISPLAY MENUS

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Me and the OH, along with our friends are amateur foodies and love to go to fab restaurants. Most posh places will give you a copy of the menu and I like to keep them and frame them. They look great in the kitchen and dining room, bringing back good memories. 

5. Accessorise 

Wall art is not just prints and frames, it can be anything decorative. I like to mix clocks, fairy lights and any sort of ornament alongside my prints. Pictures ledges are the perfect opportunity to do this, you can prop anything on them. And they also mean you can switch it up all the time! 

 Wall Art is not just pictures and frames. Use pictures ledges to add clocks, fairylights and ornaments to create an exciting display. 

Wall Art is not just pictures and frames. Use pictures ledges to add clocks, fairylights and ornaments to create an exciting display. 

6. And Finally...

 Fika Print on Kitchen Worktop - a great way to display art. 

Fika Print on Kitchen Worktop - a great way to display art. 

Art doesn't just belong on the walls. If you're in rented accommodation or have dodgy walls that flake, you can props art almost anywhere. I love to make use of any space - kitchen worktops, chest of drawers...anywhere is fair game! Mix it up with plants, candles and plants, and you have a really nice display without making any holes! 

Top Tip : Remove the covers off hardback books and you get gorgeous neutral props! 

 Art on chest of drawers mixed in with books, candles and plants make a lovely display. 

Art on chest of drawers mixed in with books, candles and plants make a lovely display. 

Happy Creating! 

Top Tips for Malaga

I thought I'd share with you some highlights from our mini adventure to Spain in July. The glorious Costa Del Sol has long been avoided by me for fear of Brits abroad and when I got an email from RyanAir telling me there was no alcohol allowed on the flight - I felt like we'd made a terrible mistake!!!

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But alas there has been no other holiday where I've actually been so surprised in the best possible way. We stayed in Fuengirola courtesy of Ben's boss who rents his apartment out to staff. It's about 30 minutes from Malaga airport by train and so so pretty. 

 Fuengirola, Spain. 

Fuengirola, Spain. 

The first thing that struck me were the colours - I'd forgotten how lush Spain is. I wish we had these flowers back in England and especially in my garden! Anyways onto to Malaga...

We spent a day in Malaga, walked our little socks off and still didn't scratch the surface so we will definitely be returning! Here are my top tips....

 View from the cafe at Alcazaba Castle Gardens. 

View from the cafe at Alcazaba Castle Gardens. 

WANDER ROUND the Alcazaba Castle gardens. It is stunning and is so big that you can easily escape the crowds and be wandering round on your own. The Moorish architecture was built in the 11th century and it's like stepping into Kings Landing (cheesy Games of Thrones reference there!)

 Alcazaba Gardens, Malaga.

Alcazaba Gardens, Malaga.

GRAB SOME Sangria on the cutest rooftop right in the heart of Malaga - Dulces & Dreams Hostel. This place was so secret we were the only ones up there! And the rooms and bathrooms looked like the best hostel ever so I would even consider staying here! 

 Dulces & Dreams Rooftop Garden, Malaga.

Dulces & Dreams Rooftop Garden, Malaga.

STOP OFF at Bodega El Pimpi for a spot of lunch. This place is a labyrinth of rooms with seating that goes on and on forever. Find a spot, order your tapas and just enjoy the atmosphere as you wonder how on earth the waiters keep track of their tables!  

 Bodega El Pimpi 

Bodega El Pimpi 

TASTE A SHERRY at Antigua Casa de Guardia. This bar has been around since 1840 and you just pull up by the bar, order straight from the barrels and the waiter writes your bill in chalk on the counter! 

 Sherry at Antigua Casa del Guardia, Malaga. 

Sherry at Antigua Casa del Guardia, Malaga. 

TAKE FIVE with Picasso. You can't escape Picasso in this city, they are so proud to be the birthplace of this great artist. We didn't have time to wander in the many museums but we did catch a seat in the square outside the home where he was born! 

 Picasso monument, Malaga. 

Picasso monument, Malaga. 

Malaga you were a delight and I will certainly be back soon! 

 Spanish colours, Malaga.

Spanish colours, Malaga.

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

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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. 

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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!!! 

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