How To Dress Shelves For An Instant Refresh

Some people think updating their homes means spending lots of money on repainting or buying a new sofa. I find that simply moving objects around really helps the home feel fresh. I have updated my shelves in the dining room and I’m going to show you a few simple tricks and tips without spending a penny. I have just used items already in my house, had a little faff and found the room looked instantly new!

Before

There’s nothing wrong with the shelves how they were, they have just been like that since January and I decided to change them up a little bit.

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First things first - strip the shelves completely. Sometimes I do just swap one object here and there so it’s not necessary to strip it every time but I really wanted to go different so all clutter had to be moved away. I didn’t take a shot of the dining table during this but it’s not for the fainthearted!

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During

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The main reason for updating the shelves was to make a feature out of some of the prints we’ve collected from our holidays recently. The Bull print is from Malaga 2018 and the Pinxtos print is from our very fabulous weekend in San Sebastian at the beginning of June.

The diagonal line in which I’ve laid these prints out is intentional, it spreads out the bulkier elements so the unit doesn’t feel too heavy. I’ve added in my little plant that my best friend gave to me - he’s growing so so slowly but he’s still alive which is good news!

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Next I wanted to move a plant from the kitchen shelves to be more focal here and also to keep adding pops of green. Plants really help bring a space to life and if you can keep them alive then I would highly recommend having them in your home. It’s not secret about the well-being and health benefits plants give us too.

As a rule of thumb, objects look better in groups of threes. I’ve brought in my Chemex and Ikea coffee pot for no other reason than I love these as objects and shapes. The green vase kindly gifted from The Flower Lounge also helps the continue the “green theme” and the bulbous shape also goes with that of the Chemex.

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Next comes the books. Mixing in cookbooks and normal books help tie the dining room and kitchen together. Are you even an ‘Instagrammer’ if you don’t have the pages facing forward?!? I love the neutral tones it brings to the shelves instead of the colourful spines but it’s also to hide all the dodgy books I read -twilight anyone?!?

You can see I’ve add my wooden Nkuku star on the top shelf here too, I love this star but it is really big so by putting on the top shelf, it doesn’t dominate the whole unit.

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Time to bring in a few more finishing touches. These Denby bowls tie in the blue/grey feature and also add an eclectic feel. You don’t have to match everything if that’s not your bag, you can just go with whatever you like and it really brings out your personality. Don’t be afraid!

I also love this menu print which was here before, the brown against the blue, for some reason just makes me happy so I decided to bring it back. Framing menus is one of easy ways to create artwork and you can read other tips here.

After

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The finished article. A couple more books, a photo of me and Ben, and my beloved dried hydrangeas fill in the gaps. Also bringing my Jasmine plant from the other side of the fireplace gives the sense that it’s always been this way.

My 1986 print from Toodle And Pip now sits on the mantle and voila it’s done!

My Top Tips

  1. Dress one shelf at a time but constantly take a step back to view the unit as a whole so everything looks balanced.

  2. Use the rule of threes as base. Objects always look better in threes but don’t be afraid to occasionally break it as I have done on the 2nd shelf.

  3. Choose objects that you like as well as functional objects. Add in prints, pictures and books to give your shelves a touch of your personality.

  4. Have fun re-homing the other objects that were here before. That’s the great thing about refreshing one area, most other areas get a mini refresh too!

My Top Milan Picks

So it has been one month since I visited Milan during Design Week 2019 and I‘d thought share my highlights and trend spots. I would highly recommend visiting design shows if you have a chance, the inspiration is massive and you come back buzzing, if slightly knackered!

Milan Duomo at dusk.

Milan Duomo at dusk.

  1. Studio Pepe

The future is unwritten, Studio Pepe installation, Milan Design Week 2019.

The future is unwritten, Studio Pepe installation, Milan Design Week 2019.

“The future is unwritten and in order to find out about it, you have to ask the right questions.” Housed in an old gold manufacturing warehouse, Studio Pepe created an experience based on Arcanists, who were chemists that held the knowledge of formulas able to create porcelain and to work with materials such as glass and metals. This was seen as mystical at the time and the exhibition was a exploration of science and magic.

The whole thing was weird and wonderful but I completely loved it. Everything from the colour palette to the journey was intriguing and the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the street. Also who doesn’t love a neon sign?

Studio Pepe, Arcanist exhibition, Milan Design Week 2019.

Studio Pepe, Arcanist exhibition, Milan Design Week 2019.

2. Coffee Stop at Cafe Cafezal Milano

Terrazzo table with tan leather, Cafezal Milan designed by Studio Pepe.

Terrazzo table with tan leather, Cafezal Milan designed by Studio Pepe.

Also designed by Studio Pepe, this tiny 50 sq metre cafe is a feast of terrazzo, dusky pinks and inky blues which is right up my street. I can’t comment on the coffee as I ordered a coke (cringe) but if you are like me and think interiors make up at least 50% of the experience then this a must go!

3. Muuto’s Orange Pendant

Muuto, Milan Design Week. Unfold Orange Pendant.

Muuto, Milan Design Week. Unfold Orange Pendant.

Orange was everywhere this year - a refreshing change to “Millennial Pink” which seems to have dominated design shows in the last few years. People are becoming more playful, experimental and allowing personalities to shine through. Whilst I am not suggesting we all go and paint our walls orange, I am hoping to see more and more “pops” of colour infiltrating our homes and this orange Unfold pendant is one of the perfect examples of how a hot colour can immediately become calm and muted when paired with the right colours. Against the cool concrete greys and subtle stone pinks, this feels like a sophisticated choice which has the potential to stick around for a few years.

4. Pedrali Palace of Wonders

Pedrali Palace of Wonders, Milan Design Week 2019. Orange colour trend.

Pedrali Palace of Wonders, Milan Design Week 2019. Orange colour trend.

Sticking with the orange theme, Italian furniture producers Pedrali created a fabulous exhibition, showcasing 10 new collections of furniture designed for public spaces, offices and homes.

Pairing the bold orange with powder blues and pinks created a fabulous colour palette which could easily fit into the domestic interiors or commercial environments such as office spaces or retail spaces.

Pedrali Palace of Wonders, Salone Del Mobile 2019.

Pedrali Palace of Wonders, Salone Del Mobile 2019.

5. Lunch Spot at 10 Corso Como

10 Corso Como, Milan

10 Corso Como, Milan

This is a gorgeous unexpected courtyard which is just off a shopping street. It’s like escaping to the countryside with birds and flowers and gorgeous food. I would highly recommend getting a Hugo which is my new favourite cocktail!

Hugo Cocktail, Milan Design Week.

Hugo Cocktail, Milan Design Week.

5. Round Shapes and Wallpapers - Agape & Wall&decò Collab

Another big trend at Salone Del Mobile this year was round shapes. Circles, curves, pill shapes - straight lines were definitely on the back foot. This black bath from Agape was stunning - although I’m not sure how comfortable it would be. Wall & Decò have always been a favourite of mine at shows but the designs this year have pushed the boundaries way beyond what I could imagine. Now to start wallpapering my bathroom immediately…

Agape & Wall&Deco, Salone Del Mobile. Black round bath and statement wallpaper in the bathroom.

Agape & Wall&Deco, Salone Del Mobile. Black round bath and statement wallpaper in the bathroom.

6. Terrazzo & Cane Weave

Cane weave headboard and side table, Milan Design Week, 2019.

Cane weave headboard and side table, Milan Design Week, 2019.

In case you didn’t know already, Cane Weave is having a moment. It has been growing steadily over the last few years but there was an explosion in Milan this year. High-street retailers such as Ikea and H&M are already creating gorgeous pieces at reasonable prices so expect this trend to be sticking around for a few years to come.

One of my other favourite things in the world is terrazzo and this Utu pendant combining both cane and terrazzo got me very excited!

Utu Frame 1 Suspension Light, Milan Design Week 2019. Terrazzo and Cane weave combined!

Utu Frame 1 Suspension Light, Milan Design Week 2019. Terrazzo and Cane weave combined!

7. Aperol Spritz on the Terrace

If you get the chance to go to Milan for the design show or just for fun then I highly recommend the Aperol Spritz terrace bar opposite the Duomo. Yes it is a bit of a tourist spot and yes you may have to queue for a little bit, but it has a fabulous view of the Duomo and the square. We stayed here for a few Aperols and watched the sun go down whilst chatting away. The perfect end to a busy day in Milan.

Aperol Spritz Bar, Milan

Aperol Spritz Bar, Milan

Styling Flowers Through The Seasons

The flatlay that won me the competition

The flatlay that won me the competition

In September 2018 I entered The Flower Lounge’s competition to win six months of flowers. The competition was open to anyone local who could pop in to pick up some free flowers and take them home to style. I actually found out I had won on holiday in Crete where I had also just gotten engaged so September was a fabulous month for me! I thought I’d show you how I styled the bouquets through the seasons.

The Flower Lounge, Didsbury. Featuring board design from Indigo Impressions.

The Flower Lounge, Didsbury. Featuring board design from Indigo Impressions.

The Flower Lounge is a gorgeous award winning florist which is round the corner from my house. Ran by Siân and her wonderful team, I have bought various flowers from them in the past from my Dad’s funeral flowers to my upcoming wedding. They do regular workshops and sell other little trinkets such as vases, plants and candles so it’s the perfect “one stop shop” for presents. I love this little shop and was delighted when I won the competition. Who doesn’t like free flowers every month?

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October

Amaranthus

October is all about pumpkins, deep oranges and reds with pops of green. It’s my favourite month, and the month I will be saying “I do” this year.

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November

Ilex Berries

The long winter nights call for candlelight and hearty dinners. A bouquet on the table is my perfect centrepiece all year round whether we eat at the table or not.

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December

Ranunculus

Fairylights, candles and mini wreaths spell Christmas in our house. In the winter we retreat more into the lounge as it’s a smaller space and feels more cosy especially with the fire going. Bringing the bouquet into the space with us and curling up with blankets whilst the weather rages outside is my perfect way to hibernate.

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January

Alstromeria

Christmas is over and it’s a time for fresh starts. All the decorations have gone and the house feels a lot simpler. I never normally have flowers in the bedroom but they were lovely to wake up to each morning.

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February

Pussy Willow

The month of love! I love creating photos of flowers in the belfast sink. Something about the crisp white ceramic and the gorgeous colours of the bouquet make me imagine living in a gorgeous countryside property having foraged flowers from the my massive garden!

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So those were my take on styling flowers through the seasons. If you are local to Manchester or just passing through, I would highly recommend The Flower Lounge for all your floral needs.

This content was not sponsored in any way, all thoughts are my own although Siân helped me with the naming of the flowers!

36 Hours In Edinburgh with Novotel Hotels

Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Gifted stay with Novotel Hotels

I was very kindly invited by Novotel Hotels to stay at the recently renovated Edinburgh hotel right in the centre of the city. Having visited Edinburgh a good 6 years ago, I was keen to go back and explore again.

The hotel is situated perfectly for exploring Edinburgh - it is just a short walk from all the major tourist attractions. Rooms vary from standard rooms to suites. I was kindly upgraded to the Suite which was really spacious and had the pièce de résistance - a balcony with amazing views.

Novotel Edinburgh Suite Balcony - the views are gorgeous!

Novotel Edinburgh Suite Balcony - the views are gorgeous!

11pm

After dropping our bags and freshening up we immediately headed out for some cocktails - you know me, I can’t stay away from an espresso martini for too long. The Dome was recommended by one of my lovely instagram followers and it really is an impressive building - the perfect place for a sophisticated cocktail.

9am

There is an option for room service breakfast at the hotel for an extra £5, if you already have breakfast included in your room, which is really good value. I love nothing more than breakfast in bed at hotels - hiding away in your dressing gowns, watching tv. It feels like a real luxury. And it meant we got to relax in the room for longer and take advantage of the gorgeous sunny morning on the balcony.

Breakfast in bed, Novotel Edinburgh

Breakfast in bed, Novotel Edinburgh

Sunny morning coffee on the balcony, Novotel Edinburgh

Sunny morning coffee on the balcony, Novotel Edinburgh

11am

Victoria Street is a beautiful curved street with gorgeous colour facades each holding lovely little cafes and shops which is one of my lasting memories from the last time I was in Edinburgh. We stopped off at Hula and sat outside in the sunshine and sipped on juices before making our way across the city.

Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Victoria street is just off the Royal Mile which is a must see if it’s your first or millionth time visiting Edinburgh. It is a hub of souvenir shops, cathedrals and bagpipes all leading to the stunning castle on the hill.

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

1pm

After wandering through the old town and into the new town, we stopped off at Badger & Co to warm up with coffee and cocktails. I can highly recommend the blood orange mimosa!

2pm

Circus Lane is an Instagram favourite so of course I had to go check it out. That’s the beauty of visiting a city the second time round, you can forget the tourist must sees and start heading to the outskirts to explore places you might not necessarily see on the first visit.

Circus Lane, Edinburgh

Circus Lane, Edinburgh

3pm

The Scran & Scallie, Edinburgh

The Scran & Scallie, Edinburgh

We had booked a table at The Scran and Scallie in Stockbridge - a gorgeous gastro pub run by two of Scotland’s top chefs, Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack. I would say booking is a must as the pub was packed. We had an amazing meal here and some delicious champagne too.

Stockbridge is a wonderful little area, bustling with boutiques, bars and restaurants. It reminded me a lot of Burton Road in Didsbury and I could definitely see myself living here!

5pm

Back to the hotel to freshen up. The decor here is really relaxed and welcoming which was a nice surprise for me. Neon lights, lounge chairs and plants make the reception a place you actually wouldn’t mind chilling out in which is something most big brand hotels fail at in my opinion.

Novotel Edinburgh Reception

Novotel Edinburgh Reception

Novotel Edinburgh restaurant

Novotel Edinburgh restaurant

Novotel Edinburgh Bar

Novotel Edinburgh Bar

8pm

It took us a a few minutes to find Bramble Bar - a hidden underground space on Queen Street in the new town area. It’s a really cool cosy bar serving up fabulous gin cocktails if you like gin - which apparently everyone in the world does except me! There are also regular djs and the tunes were amazing!

Ready for a night out in Edinburgh

Ready for a night out in Edinburgh

9pm

Dinner at The Honours was beautiful. It’s a fine dining kind of setting with a more relaxed price list which appealed to us. The scallops were incredible, and although we were too full for dessert they looked and sounded amazing.

Just up the street from The Honours is Copper Blossom which is a cute cocktail bar with lots of lovely decor and foliage which of course I was a like a moth to the flame.

Copper Blossom, Edinburgh

Copper Blossom, Edinburgh

8am

Sunday morning chilling in bed with the balcony doors open and the sun streaming through was perfect. We really lucked out with the weather this weekend, although cold, it was mainly dry and sunny. And the weather made the suite even more special.

Suite view, Novotel Hotel, Edinburgh

Suite view, Novotel Hotel, Edinburgh

Brushing my teeth with a view, Novotel hotel Edinburgh

Brushing my teeth with a view, Novotel hotel Edinburgh

11am

Coffee before the train, back where we started on Victoria Street. La Barantine is a cute little bakery with lots of Parisian patisseries and great coffee. And it’s also just a 10 minute walk from Waverley station.

La Baratine, Victoria street, Edinburgh

La Baratine, Victoria street, Edinburgh

I would highly recommend visiting Edinburgh if you’ve never been before, or if you are thinking of going back soon. The Novotel Edinbrugh Centre is the perfect central location and a really good hotel, deserving of it’s 4 star status. Comfy beds, gorgeous rooms and delicious breakfasts make it the perfect city break base camp.

Novotel Hotel, Edinburgh - the perfect city break base camp

Novotel Hotel, Edinburgh - the perfect city break base camp

*This was a gifted stay provided by Novotel in exchange for some images and blog post. All words are my own and I would never recommend somewhere I didn’t enjoy.

Tile Giant's Victoria Bath Collection

Paid Collaboration with Tile Giant

Tile Giant Victoria Baths Collection

Tile Giant Victoria Baths Collection

I was recently asked to design moodboards for Tile Giant’s new collection that has been inspired by Manchester’s Victoria Baths. This is an institution in Manchester and I was keen to get involved with the fabulous new range. All tiles are Edwardian in style with traditional undertones but the vibrant colours make them ideal for any modern day home.

Art Deco Inspired Bathroom Moodboard

Art Deco Inspired Bathroom Moodboard

First up I chose the Crackle Bevel Vintage Green tile because I felt it was the most iconic representation of Victoria Baths. The vivid green tiles cover the changing rooms and the stairways in the 1906 building, making them the perfect tile for a bathroom moodboard.

Victoria Baths, picture via Trip Advisor

Victoria Baths, picture via Trip Advisor

Inspired by this Divine Savages image below, I went with a nod towards Art Deco with the Crackle Bevel Vintage Green metro tile. Combining with a statement wallpaper like this Gatsby Gold Geometric Metallic Wallpaper from B&Q and adding accents of brass accessories that pop against the deep greens, it would look perfect in a small bathroom or cloakroom.

Divine Savages  - Deco Martini 'Arsenic'

Divine Savages - Deco Martini 'Arsenic'

The tile would also work equally well as a kitchen backsplash as seen here in this gorgeous Devol Kitchen showroom. That is why I added in Farrow & Ball’s Sulking Room Pink to my moodboard because the pink instantly gives a fresher feel to the scheme.

Image Via  Devol  kitchens

Image Via Devol kitchens

Don’t forget the bee print which is symbolic of Manchester history, past and present!

Bathroom flatlay using Crackle Bevel Vintage Green tile

Bathroom flatlay using Crackle Bevel Vintage Green tile

Next up I chose the Crackle Bevel Mustard tile because of my love of all things linked to the current New Neutral trend. You can read all about the trend here in my previous blog post. I decided to use this in a kitchen environment with lots of rich wood tones and hand painted ceramics. Think warm and spicy colours - this colour palette is definitely enjoying a moment in the spotlight this year and I am fully embracing it.

New Neutrals inspired flatlay

New Neutrals inspired flatlay

Victoria Baths, Manchester. Photo via INews

Victoria Baths, Manchester. Photo via INews

Close up detail

Close up detail

Lastly I chose to style the Victoria Baths Terrazzo Floor tile in line with the Maximalist trend of 2019. This is all about embracing your personality and clashing prints and colours. I picked up a lot of wallpaper samples on my travels whilst prop shopping and was pleasantly surprised at how well this Trellis Navy Metallic Wallpaper went with the terrazzo. Picking up on the terracotta tones of the tile, adding in pots and candles bring the scheme to life. Farrow & Ball’s Preference Red also adds another dimension to the moodboard and can be used in small doses to create that “purposeful clash”.

Maximalist inspired moodboard

Maximalist inspired moodboard

I also added in a Lowry postcard which I think works perfectly here as another nod to the Manchester heritage.

Close up details

Close up details

I hope this has inspired you to go and check out the collection at Tile Giant - there are loads more gorgeous colours and designs in this range.