Sunday, 31 January 2016

Farrow & Ball New Colours 2016

Tomorrow Farrow & Ball reveal their new colours for 2016, drum roll please!
As an interiors freak and colour addict it's always an exciting time and although interestingly Farrow & Ball are not really renowned for their strong colours, of which there are few, it's the intrinsic changes, the subtleties in the tones that gets me excited. As soon as you think you're more than happy with your wevet paintwork, they get you lusting after drop cloth, yes another brilliantly inspired name, a drop cloth being the traditional name for a decorators dust sheet!

Farrow & Ball choose their colours to harmonise with their existing palette and are masters at giving us shades that work equally well within traditional or contemporary interiors. Just a sneak peak of some of the new shades. For a new colour card and inspirational brochure, with suggestions for complimentary palettes, order online.
Drop Cloth
A perfect neutral neither too yellow nor too grey

The softest pink with a large drop of grey, sophisticated femininity 

Shadow White
A new lighter neutral
Salon Drab
I predict brown is going to be a big trend this year, don't ask me why, just a feeling?

Yeabridge Green
A fresh green found in an 18th Century Georgian Farmhouse in Yeabridge Somerset.

named after the word for a traditional romany caravan, the colour was used in the intricate patterning on the vehicles

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Trend - Back to Black

We've become quite brave in our choice of colours for our homes over the last few years, guided gently by the hand of the spectrum of greys on offer, but are we brave enough to embrace black? Well get ready brave hearted people out there, as black is back and being touted as this years big trend for interiors.

The use of black in our homes is a bold statement and not one for the faint of hearted but, as demonstrated by the ever fabulous Abigail Ahern and her disciples, going over to the dark side, can and does look amazing if used thoughtfully.
The secret, I think, is the use of bold colours juxtaposed against the black. Jewel coloured furniture and accessories and great lighting are your friends here and any room with great natural light is going to help things along as well.

Displays of art work against the black back drop works well, as shown in this amazing Lyon apartment.
Images from Elle Decoration.

My first introduction into how chic black can look, was on my first visit to Amsterdam, where the colour is used, on many of the buildings, to enhance exterior features.

This can work just as well in the UK, particularly on period properties, again shown in a perfect example on Abigail Aherns home.

If you want to experiement with black but not throw yourself in at the deep end, using it as a feature in an otherwise light room works well.
Paint an interior window frame.
Paint the stair treads black using floor paint to avoid scratches and flaking paint after a few weeks of wear and tear.
Decorate one wall matt black and use it as a gallery for your favourite prints and postcards.

But above all else be brave and go for it after all its only paint!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Trend - Urban Jungle

You don't need me to tell you that house plants have been sprouting up every where in interiors for the last couple of seasons now and it seems the High Street have used this detail as inspiration for one of the leading trends in homes for the coming season.

H&M Home, always a great place to shop to find the latest trends at bargain prices,are calling their version of the trend, Earthy Emerald and they have some great home accessories based on this theme, with shades of green accent colours leading the scheme.

If you live in the Manchester area, you'll be very excited, as I was, to find a small H&M Home concession in Selfridges at The Trafford Centre, with rumours abound, that another H&M Home may be about to open in Manchester City centre, with the new refit of H&M? As I said just a rumour but you heard it here first?

Some of the lovely homewares that caught my eye this week in H&M Home are the lovely linen bed sets and cushions, the great plain velvet cushion covers for just £7.99 and the lovely jute doily rug. The range of wire storage baskets are also great staples for around the home, with the trend for gold and copper metallics picked up on.

Another online retailer Very have recently released their home trends for S/S 2016 to the press and their interpretation of this trend is called Eco Folklore. Products will available online in the coming few weeks,

Monday, 4 January 2016

January - A time to look for the light

Well here we are again, the start of another year, already, where did the last year go?

I don't know about you, but January and February are,for me, the hardest months of the year to find any enthusiasm for anything. The days are long and dark and in our part of the country have been constantly wet and soggy for months with no sign of an end to the bleak weather. 
This was taken at my Nieces wedding in early November and I don't think the rain has stopped since.

It is important then, at this time of year, to find some light, metophorically speaking. Finding the light in life comes in many guises and is always going to be particular to different people but, here's my survival guide and the little things that help get me through until the spring.

Yoga. Oh no not you as well, I hear you cry but, I swear by it, in fact, it should be on the NHS to battle everything from depression, to back aches and sluggish bowels. I started practising yoga when I had my first born, 20 years ago, on the advice of an older lady who I worked with at the time and who I much admired. She was such a lovely calm and serene person, that she inspired me to try it and I've never looked back. I've dipped in and out of my practise over the years, as she said I would, but in times of darkness it always leads me back to the light. Below are some of my favourite teachers and venues.

Don't go on a January diet. Be kind to yourself, it's bad enough that it's dark, wet and cold without denying ourselves of everything that we enjoy. We try not to use the D word in our house, having two teenagers, I'm mindful of how destructive that word can become, so we are trying to eat a bit healthier than of late, cutting out mostly sugar and mid week alcohol, but that's it for the next few weeks at least. Some healthier eating books that I find easy to use, and which provide tasty and satisfying meals are:

Get lots of light and fresh air whenever you can. I find after a week of driving to work, I'm craving some fresh air and try and get outside as much as I can at weekends and I always go outside at lunchtime for some natural daylight. Being cooped up in a photographic studio with no lights is enough to suck the life out of any normally positive person. Joining the National Trust is a great way to get out and about at weekend with lots of national parkland all around the country and free parking within the grounds for members.

Buy yourself flowers, its not indulgent it's like a pick me up remedy for the soul.

Write a bucket list for the year. Places you want to go, festivals, gigs, exhibitions anything to keep you on track and your eye on the horizon. Plan them in on your calendar and make them a reality.
Part of my wish list is a small scale festival, some where I can take our daughter and a friend and let her off the leash a bit. She's 14 now and some of the bigger festivals are just too big for her to assert her independance, so small and intimate is on my list.

Go on a course or refresh a skill you already have. There are so many great short courses out there, from photography to styling for instagram, learning an instrument or a foreign language. Keeping the little grey cells ticking, keeps negative thoughts at bay. Some of the ones that have caught my eye and some of which I hope to attend are:

Use the dark damp days to catch up on films you've always wanted to see, either on netflix or join a cinema for the year so that it encourages you to go. Mr B & myself recently joined HOME in Manchester, which provided each of us with 2 free cinema tickets on joining and then members discounts on future events as well as regular news letters, including members only offers.

Join the library and catch up on all the books you've always wanted to read or self gift yourself some new or used ones from Amazon. I've just ordered Patti Smith M Train, the sequel to Just Kids, which I will enjoy indulging in as the rain continues to fall.
Book a trip somewhere to give yourself something to look forward to. It doesn't have to be expensive or exotic it can be a short trip in the UK or a day away on the train looking around another city.

Surround yourself with positive people, the people who are team you and have your back. 

If all this fails there's always Gin!

Friday, 27 November 2015

A Weekend at The Hoxton Hotel Amsterdam

Recently myself and Mr B celebrated a very special wedding anniversary, a silver one to be precise, although how 25 years has passed so quickly is beyond me!

These sort of occasions call for a couple of days away without the children in a nice hotel to remind yourselves that there was a life you had together before family came along. While we deliberated on whether to try a destination neither of us had been to before, or to return to an old favourite, we came across a new site, called Very Chic. Basically they pick the very best of the worlds hotels and nail them down for the very best prices.

After we had looked at what they had on offer, we decided on The Hoxton in Amsterdam. I have been to Amsterdam before, as some of you may remember from the blog, to celebrate a special birthday with friends. Mr B had been to Holland on business but never to Amsterdam and we had both heard very good things about The Hoxton and so the dye was cast and The Hoxton was booked. I might add at this point that the prices on the Very Chic site were 62% discounted from the usual room rate, so it's now our go to site to visit for any future trips.

As soon as the taxi pulled up outside the hotel, I knew we were going to love it as it's situated on the Herengracht which is the main canal which make up the canals around the nine streets area. This area is the picture postcard shots you see of Amsterdam, with bikes nonchalantly leaning against canal bridges with lovely antique lamps lighting the way in the evening and the Dutch merchants houses elegant and grand, now mainly turned into shops, cafes and bars for you to explore.
The entrance to the hotel is also the bar and dining room, so immediately you are enveloped in a warm convivial atmosphere, although not stuffy and formal, very relaxed with young staff and a canteen style interior, mixed with vintage finds and mid 20th century designed furniture.

Our room was beautiful, over looking the canal, as most of the rooms are, with soft lighting and a digital Robert's radio playing jazz music as we entered. The large comfy bed, had an amazing headboard, made of caramel coloured leather and the ensuite bathroom had a spacious walk in shower and artfully laid metro tiles in a geometric design. Everything was perfectly picked from the Pen & Ink toiletries to the selection of Teapig teas in the room.

Each evening ,over the weekend we were there, a DJ played in the bar until 2.00am and the cocktail list was long and exquisite. The food was informal, home cooked style at very reasonable prices for a hotel of this standard. My niece, who used to work for Soho House in London, informed me that The Hoxton kitchens are run by Soho House, enough said.

The next time I return to Amsterdam, as I surely will, such is my love for this city, I can't imagine staying any where else, from the location to the staff, the toiletries and the cocktail menu, everything was perfect.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Trend - Two Tone Walls

I've noticed recently, as I've been flicking through the interiors mags, that there's a new and interesting paint trend for two tone walls.

Imitating the classic and traditional style of using a dado rail to divide a wall height, this new style is cleaner, crisper and more contemporary.
The use of a darker colour on the bottom half of the wall is a really practical solution for high traffic areas, such as halls, dining areas and childrens rooms.

If you prefer something less graphic and a little softer on the eye, the ombre effect is another technique, that has transcended from the dip dye soft furnishings and pottery that have been on trend for some time now.
It's a great way to add interest to a room other than using wallpaper and all you need is masking tape a pot of paint and a spirit level!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Little Greene Paint Company - Blues

If your home is looking like 50 shades of grey, apologies now for the over use of the phrase, then you might want to consider a shade of blue for your next decorating project?

Little Greene Paint Company, those clever people who gave us the scales paint chart, providing us with different depths of neutral greys and creams, have developed a new "blues" paint chart. Recently launched at Decorex, the paint chart, consists of 21 hues of blue, from soft and pale, to deep and dark, with a limited edition hand mixed shade called Ultra Marine.
Blue has, for centuries, been the colour inspiring artists from Picasso, who had a whole blue period, to Yves Klein who created his own blue, named after him. Ultra marine was beloved by Renoir and Van Gogh, all of them knowing the power of blue to calm the senses and evoke emotions and atmospheres.

A range of classic 20th Century patterned wallapers have been recoloured by Little green to compliment the new shades and harmonise beautifuuly with the range.