Articles on this Page
- 11/01/18--02:15: _FINDING YOUR HOME C...
- 01/07/19--02:19: _5 SMALL THINGS I DO...
- 01/11/19--02:58: _FINDING HOME INSPIR...
- 01/14/19--04:44: _FOUR HOURS IN BRIGHTON
- 02/07/19--05:50: _FINDING YOUR MATERN...
- 02/10/19--02:00: _SHOPPING FOR A NEWBORN
- 11/01/18--02:15: FINDING YOUR HOME COLOUR SCHEME
- 01/07/19--02:19: 5 SMALL THINGS I DO TO FEEL MORE ORGANISED
- 01/11/19--02:58: FINDING HOME INSPIRATION (AND NOT GETTING OVERWHELMED BY IT)
- 01/14/19--04:44: FOUR HOURS IN BRIGHTON
- 02/07/19--05:50: FINDING YOUR MATERNITY STYLE
- 02/10/19--02:00: SHOPPING FOR A NEWBORN
One of the questions that just kept coming up when chatting about our home renovation with you guys, was ‘how did you pick the colour scheme for your home?’ I guess maybe it’s because we didn’t go all white and grey like our previous home was. Paint and tile colours were without a doubt one of the hardest decisions to make, probably because they’re one of the most important. What’s the point in doing all the renovation work if the finishing touches aren’t right? We didn’t want to end up with a home that felt like it could have been anyone’s, we wanted to bring as much of our personality into it as possible. However, until this question kept coming up, I hadn’t even realised I had a “scheme” as such, I was just picking colours I loved and luckily they all seemed to work well together.
It all started with Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue, that was the first colour I knew I definitely wanted. It’s been very on trend for a couple of years, but even since people have moved away from it and more into the deep greens, it’s a colour I still absolutely love. Compared to the usual navy blue, Hague Blue has this deep green undertone that makes it so special and makes other colours, particularly warm colours like brass, orange and yellow, stand out so beautifully next to it. It took me a while to figure out how much to use it, just in the lounge? Across the entire back wall of the downstairs room? In the kitchen? But in the end I settled on the lounge walls and woodwork and the kitchen cabinets.
Deciding on a white to use throughout the house was tricky, THERE ARE SO MANY WHITES! I had the help of a family member who’s an interior designer so she really helped me to compare colours and find one that works for us. I didn’t want anything that swings too warm toned but I also didn’t want pure white as it’s too clinical and not “homey” enough. We tried greys but the darker parts of the house like the hallway made the greys look so muddy. We chose Farrow & Ball’s Wevet in the end, which is a delicate, almost translucent white and I’m so happy with it. It’s fresh and bright but soft at the same time. We used this on all the ceilings as well and it sits perfectly next to our other paint colour choices.
When it comes to brands we didn’t just use Farrow & Ball, but for the majority we did, mainly for ease of ordering but also because their colours are what stood out to me the most. For our hallway we wanted something quite dramatic but also welcoming and I’d seen a photo on Pinterest of a black bannister and yellow front door. I knew it would look great with the black radiator we were getting so we just went for it, using Farrow & Ball Off Black on the bannister and Little Greene Mister David on the inside of the front door. The yellow was harder to find, I didn’t want mustard and I didn’t want pastel – this turned out to be the perfect yellow (after lots of testing!).
I guess with paint, it comes to a point where you just have to be decisive and realise that it’s not the end of the world and that you can always re-paint one day. Everyone says not to paint samples directly onto the wall as seeing them next to each other can be confusing, and they’re right. Buy an A2 pad of paper, paint an entire page, cut off the white borders and blue tack them around the house to see the colours in different lights. Each time you decide on a paint, leave it alone and don’t keep going back to it, there’s a reason you were drawn to it so trust your instincts.
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We didn’t want every single room to have a wow factor, we also wanted to be practical with our decisions, so for our easy grey paint choice we chose Farrow & Ball Ammonite which we used in my office and in the small spare room. It’s a very relaxing colour so I thought it would work well in those spaces, but it also looks very different in different lights. At the front of the house it seems more of a cool toned grey whereas at the back it’s a warmer, creamier tone. My tip with Ammonite and with all paints actually is to paint the skirting in the same colour as the walls for a really modern look. We also painted the backs of the doors in the same colour as the room, which I love!
The final colour choice was for the downstairs toilet, which we decided to tile with pink tiles. I saw an image on Instagram and fell in love, although I really did question it for a while, knowing that it will go out of fashion and would probably become the the next ‘avocado bathroom’ that I’ll hate. We almost didn’t do it but I just think if you are going to be daring, be daring with the tiny cloakroom. It wouldn’t cost the earth to replace them, it’s a very small room and why not have fun with the guest toilet that so may people will walk into and enjoy. So we went with the pink tiles and to balance them out, and to give them a modern chic look we painted the walls above and the woodwork in a dark grey, again another quite difficult one to find. We chose Paint & Paper Library’s Paris Rooftops which was the perfect medium/dark grey, it goes so well with the pink.
So whether you’re about to embark on a full renovation or just want to re-do your bedroom, remember to go with your gut instincts, be brave and have fun!
Photos by Emma Croman
Deep down I am a very organised person, but as well as being organised I am lazy and these two qualities spend a lot of time fighting against each other. If I don’t make an effort, my organisation skills start to slack and I then start to lack motivation and feel like a crap version of myself and it all spins out of control. When I’m in the mood to organise and get my shit together I feel so much better in myself, literally like I’m winning at life. So I thought I’d tell you guys the small things I do to feel this way if you want to give them a try, as well as a reminder to myself to keep it up!
Keep that laptop clean
Literally inside and out. As well as giving it a good wipe down with laptop wipes, I like to try and remember to clear my desktop screen of clutter, removing any unwanted files and organising them into folders or onto hard drives. And if you’re an Apple user you’ll sympathise with the pain of those daily computer update notifications. I try to get it all done on one day; clear my desktop, back up my computer onto a hard drive and then update the system. It feels good when it’s eventually done.
Organise and print photos
This is something I’m trying to get my friends to do, mainly to get them off my back and stop them constantly saying how jealous they are that I have printed photos in albums. If it’s really something you feel passionate about it’s annoyingly one of those things you have to put the effort into. At first it’s super overwhelming but if you keep it up it becomes just part of your routine. I started by going back to 2016 on my phone, but you can start where you wish… I went though every photo and gave myself three actions to pick from; keep, delete or put into album. I deleted any duplicates (you know how we all have 20 angles of the same photo) although I tend to do this at the time of taking the photos – top tip if you want to save time later! I made a few albums depending on what I wanted to print such as ‘2016 Phone Pics’ or ‘Home Renovation’ or ‘My 30th Birthday’, that part is totally up to you. Printing them is easy too, you can use an app like Free Prints or take them into somewhere like Boots to print them instantly. I like to use self-adhesive photo albums so I can print any size photo and arrange them as I wish. We live in such a digital age now that printing photos means so much to me, I don’t want all the memories to be lost and living in a cloud for no-one to ever see.
Clean, clean, clean
This time of year has me wanting everything clean and stripped back to how it was ‘before’. I go a bit cleaning mad, which ain’t no bad thing and rarely happens the rest of the year – although I’m hoping I get that nesting phase that so many pregnant women talk about. I start by cleaning my makeup brushes, something I think we all neglect but is so important especially if you want to have good skin, just think of the dirt that lives in there! I also like to give the inside of my wardrobe a good clean, which usually coincides with a wardrobe clear-out, you can see mine on Anna’s YouTube channel here. The most satisfying clean is the fridge/freezer which I like to completely empty, give a good wipe down and then re-stock with only non-expired, neatly piled food and drink (although it doesn’t last long let’s be honest).
Burn those candles
Now this one is hardly difficult, but I always find that I have half burnt candles lying around the house, especially festive Christmas candles. So at this time of year I like to make an effort to burn those candles that are almost finished, especially in the evenings when we are relaxing and watching TV. It means saying goodbye to the festive scents, but it also means I can get out any new and unused candles and actually feel like they’re not going to waste sitting in the cupboard.
Set up a Bullet Journal
I’m still such a huge advocate for the Bullet Journal, three years after starting my first ever one. I spoke about what a Bullet Journal is in this video and then went into more detail of how I set up my ‘blogger style’ Bullet Journal in this video. Whether you’re using it for work or for personal use (a lot fo people use it for food shopping lists, gratitude lists, the options are endless) I think it’s just such a brilliant way for getting what’s in your brain down on paper. It makes me feel less forgetful and more organised, I use mine mainly for to-do lists, planning out my video content and writing down detailed ideas. If you want to get really creative with it, it’s also a great outlet for that and can be really relaxing. If you’ve never heard of the Bullet Journal before, set some time aside to do some googling and watch some videos online, you’ll get sucked into a hole and before you know if you’ll be the proud owner of a dotted notebook and a tippex mouse – enjoy.
For me the new year is never about diets or exercise, but it does give me that motivation to get organised and sort of out the things I put off at the tail end of last year. So I hope this inspired you a bit to do the same! Good luck!
Finding inspiration for your home can be one of the trickiest parts of a renovation. On one hand you have 100 saved images on your Instagrams, four Pinterest boards, a pile of home interior magazines and friends’ houses you covet over. But on the other, you feel totally pressured to find your own style and make your home your own. Finding your own style when it comes to fashion is hard enough but for a home it needs to be right for you and anyone else living there, now and in the future. It’s not something you can easily change, so every decision feels important and sometimes it’s just impossible to come to a decision. Don’t worry, I get it. First world problems and all, but still something that is an important part of the renovation process.
So where did we start? Well, we had around six months from moving into our house to moving out to start the renovation and in this time I knew I had to make a lot of decisions. As someone who gets easily stressed, forward planning is my best friend, so I wanted to have most of the larger decisions made before we started the work. My worst nightmare would be having to decide on a bathroom within a couple of days without being able to do proper research. Time is a luxury for sure, but if you have it, use it well!
I started by collecting images I liked, not worrying too much at that point about what is possible for us and what is not, this was more of a visual task. I saved images on Instagram, collecting them by room eg, ‘bedroom’, ‘kitchen’ etc. But I didn’t go overboard, I only saved a max of around 10 photos per collection. I personally find Pinterest to be too perfect and very US based, which I couldn’t relate to my own home, so I didn’t use it. I only really used Pinterest if I was looking for something specific, for example wardrobes built around a chimney breast. The two magazines I enjoyed most for inspiration were Living Etc and Elle Decor, so I occasionally flicked through and tore out any pages that interested me, this is included adverts for brands as well as interior ideas.
Phase two was to go through all of these and edit them down to something digestible. I went through the Instagram images to see if there was a pattern, for example most of my images for the lounge and kitchen had dark walls which inspired my paint choice. Spotting patterns and writing them down can really help get you to a decision, so I did that for most of the rooms. I then went through all the cuttings from the magazines, only keeping ones that seemed realistic for us and writing down on them with a sharpie what I specifically liked about the image. For example in one of the photos there was a built-in bench in the dining room, it wasn’t something we were able to do right away but having the photos as a reference will be really helpful to show the builder when we are able to do it.
My biggest piece of advice would be to not worry too much about making everything “Instagrammable” or perfect. It is easy to make things looks nice by styling pieces around it, but when investing in a home you need to also think practically about longevity and how you’ll actually live in the space. It’s easy to get sucked into the gorgeous images online and in magazines but I’d encourage you just to use them as inspiration and remember it’s not reality most of the time.
So good luck with your own renovation projects whether it’s just redecorating one room or
How was your weekend? Mine turned out to be pretty great actually. Saturday was the usual; a browse around Primrose Hill food market and a walk in the park, but on Sunday we had no plans. We spent Saturday night going through all the options of what to do in London but just didn’t fancy any of them, so we thought why not drive down to Brighton. It’s an easy enough drive and we know the place well enough to walk around some shops and have some lunch before driving back in time for a chilled Sunday evening. so that’s what we did… Sunday morning, we woke up at 8.30am, got ready and jumped in the car.
First stop was lunch and luckily Anna and Mark were around to join us, so we tried out something new. Baby Bao, a Taiwanese London based restaurant currently has a residence at The Pond in Brighton – and I love Bao. You can only book for parties over 8 during the week but it wasn’t actually that busy and because The Pond was originally a pub, it’s a really relaxed vibe where you order your food and drink up at the bar. We thought we had completely over ordered but actually we almost ate it all, so it’s very much a sharing vibe if you order a load of sides (and trust me you won’t be able to resist the sides!). Some of my favourite dishes included the aubergine, the pork bao, ramen noodle veggie spring rolls and the chicken wings.
It was so nice to catch up with Anna and Mark, as Rich said on the way back, our friendship is so easy. When you’ve known someone for a long time you can just totally be yourself and not worry about small talk. They had to head off so Rich and I went to the lanes. When we visit in the summer we always make sure to have a beach walk but it was freezing so we spent a couple of hours browsing the shops instead and Rich tried all the coffee.
Living in London I’m used to having all the options. Multiple different store locations to check stock and multiple branches of the same restaurant to pick from and Anna always laughs at me when I say I can’t imagine just having one to visit. But saying that, something I really love about Brighton is how small and close everything is to each other. I have a long list of cute, independent shops I love in London but I’d have to do some serious tube hopping to visit them all in one go. Whereas in Brighton, you can walk down one street and come across a handful of gorgeous, independent shops that are filled with unique and special items. I always find myself spending a small fortune, so let me tell you about my favourite finds.
We first stopped at Photomatic, which is a photo booth store. They obviously saw how popular the booth in Snooper’s Paradise was and decided to open a dedicated store. It’s really cool though and run by photo enthusiasts so the prints come out really well. They made the booths themselves and the idea is that they replicate the look of old film photography. There are two booths, a black and white and a colour and you simply buy tokens to use them beforehand. Once you’ve taken your snaps you can then choose if you want your photo blown up, or put onto a keyring/badge etc… It’s really fun and so nice to have the memories to look back on. We’ll be using our photos in the baby’s room as well as sticking them in her baby book to look back on when she’s older.
We carried on walking and went into some very sweet kids shops. Anna suggested we went into Junior Edition and Happyology which were both filled with the cutest kids clothes and accessories. We visited out friends at Workshop Living which will forever be my favourite shop in Brighton. The shop is gorgeous and perfect for finding a gift, although I always go in and treat myself. I love their kitchenware, candles and beauty picks. Rich actually picked up some really nice trousers from the brand Wax, I bought a print, a hand cream and the candle they were burning in the shop because it smelt so good!
We were back in the car and heading home by 4pm, but it was really such a lovely day. I hope you liked seeing some photos from the day. If you’re interested, these are the maternity dungarees I was wearing – they’re amazing!
When it comes to getting pregnant, maternity style was the last thing on my mind. I spent years freaking out about the idea of giving birth, I then started trying and spent months freaking out about not being able to conceive and then when it happened I was over the moon/very sick in my first trimester. At no point had I really considered how my changing body shape would affect me, because honestly I wasn’t that into my body beforehand anyway. But actually, at 31 years old I had finally worked out my personal style and how to dress comfortably whilst still feeling stylish. Well getting pregnant changed everything, from 10 weeks I couldn’t fit into my straight leg high waisted jeans and wearing maternity jeans (when trying to hide the fact you’re pregnant) meant my top tucked in look was also out the window.
I spent week 10 to 17 wearing loose tops/jumpers with skinny maternity jeans, a look I wore a lot a few years back but I missed the enjoyment of picking an outfit out, putting it on and feeling confident going out in it. Getting dressed felt like just a way of avoiding being naked and I felt absolutely no joy in my wardrobe. I realised that opening my wardrobe doors to find all my old clothes that I could no longer wear was really not helping the situation, so Anna came over to help me put all the clothes that no longer fit me in storage to make room for a new maternity appropriate wardrobe. From then on I decided that just floating my way through pregnancy wearing old oversized clothes was a) not going to make me feel great and b) be quite tricky with my job.
Maternity clothing has quite a bad rep for a few different reasons. People often feel like investing in clothes that are only appropriate for a small space of time is unnecessary and often maternity clothing can be pretty dull; striped tops, dungarees and not much else really. I guess with your first baby you’re more likely to invest as you can hopefully store the clothes for the next time but still, it is a bit frustrating to have to re-do your wardrobe when you were very happy with how it was before. I do think though that the investment isn’t just in the clothes, it’s an investment in your happiness and in feeling good throughout your pregnancy which is so important. It’s a testing time with all those new hormones saying around so a nice new top or pair of jeans can’t hurt really.
Finding the right maternity jeans made all the difference to me. My old straight leg style no longer worked so I went back to skinny and despite feeling quite 2016 it just works better. Everyone seems to have their own preference on under the bump or over the bump, but I find over the bump cuts in less and helps hold in the bump in quite a comforting way. I get to the end of the day and just HAVE to take them off before I suffocate, but I think that’s just being pregnant. At the beginning I wore jeans with just a stretchy side panel, I then moved to under the bump and now I’m a fully converted over the bump-er.
Depending on how confident you are with your bump, a tight top can be really flattering. It’s so strange, you spend so much of your life trying to hide your tummy area and enhance other more flattering parts of your body, but then you get pregnant and actually it can look better to just embrace the bump. When I wear tight tops I get a lot of “oh you’ve grown”, or “ooh you’re nearly there” comments, whereas sometimes if I just wear a normal loose top people say “ooh you’re so tiny” or “where’s your bump”, so just be prepared for the conflicting opinions based on your clothing choice of the day. But being pregnant is amazing and sometimes you just wanna wear your bump loud and proud and a stretchy, tight top is perfect for that.
I’ve found maternity shopping quite frustrating as I’m someone who loves to shop in stores and try things on, I’ve always been in between sizes. Turns out most the brands who are known to have good maternity only stock it online! So I’ve done plenty or ordering, trying on and then having to return over the past few months. Places I’ve enjoyed shopping are ASOS, Zara, Topshop (who actually do have a store in town), Seraphine and H&M. I have also been very lucky to be pregnant in the winter, I have no idea how I would have managed with the heat and what to wear in the height of summer.
So to wrap this up I’m going to leave you with some of my top picks over a few different categories. What’s worked well for me has been long tops, skinny jeans, dungarees (cliche but there’s a reason) and cardigans with vest tops. I still don’t really feel like ‘me’ and I know it’ll only get harder as my bump gets bigger but it’s all for an amazing reason and I know I can go back to enjoying a tucked in top and high waisted jeans one day!
Photos by Emma Croman
Worn in post:
PR Gift | Seraphine Grey Button Jumper – link
Zara Blue & White Striped Top
PR Gift | Reiss Green Coat
Gucci Soho Disco Bag – link
PR Gift | & Other Stories Blue Jumper – link
Zara Black Linen Trousers
Gucci Sling-Back Loafers
Seraphine Parka Coat – link
Despite being told left, right and centre that newborn babies really don’t need much stuff, it’s impossible not to get sucked into the world of baby shopping and it can be really quite overwhelming! On one hand I know that a newborn doesn’t need all the stuff, but on the other I feel like you only have your first baby once and there’s no harm enjoying that. So I feel like I’ve been somewhere in the middle when it comes to shopping. I’m letting myself enjoy the process and buy a few unnecessary bits just because they’re cute, but I’m also trying to be practical and not go too over the top. In fact one of my tactics has been, instead of asking friends and family what I should be buying, I’ve been asking what was the one thing they bought that they ended up not needing or using. Of course you have to factor in that every baby is totally different and what works for one might not work for another, and that’s something no-one knows until the time comes. So I’m well aware that a few things I buy might end up being a waste (and will be sold or given away) no matter how much research I do. I thought it would be helpful to the other first time mums out there to chat about how I’m approaching the newborn shopping and share a checklist I’ve created, which is basically my sisters’ and friends’ edited into my own. I’ve decided not to share my list for feeding or my hospital bag/post-partum because it is so personal and dependant on the person. I will be sharing what was in my hospital bag at a later date, after the baby is here.
I think it’s quite common for people in the UK to start thinking about shopping after their 20 week scan, so that’s what we did and we didn’t jump in head first, we eased our way in. I started by researching online and chatting to friends and family. Compiling a Google list that Rich and I could both log into and edit helped me get my head around it and stopped me impulse buying every time I saw something cute. In fact we didn’t even go into a shop until I was maybe 23 weeks. I’m aware that a baby doesn’t go into it’s own bedroom right at the beginning, but we don’t want to be decorating and sorting out a room with a newborn so that’s something we want to sort beforehand. I gave Rich some specific jobs so that he could be involved and know exactly how he could help, so he was in charge of researching things like baby monitors, cot mattress and baby carriers/slings. We made sure to communicate on everything, so it was a shared job and something we could. both enjoy. My YouTube recommended videos are now filled with “newborn essentials” videos and buggy reviews but it really helped to form an opinion for ourselves before going into the shop to test the products out. We knew quite early on which “big buys” we wanted to get like buggy, car seat, cot etc but the first things we started to buy were the less-scary, more affordable items like a bath seat, muslins and baby grows. I then realised that I would quite like to start sorting the room out so that the things we buy have somewhere to live and the shopping bags don’t fill up our hallway. I’ll be sharing a full room tour nearer the time on my YouTube channel!
I think what’s important is to try and form your own opinion of what type of parent you want to be. It might be completely unrealistic and I’m sure it’ll change and you’ll learn once the baby is here, but there’s only so much advice you can take – I think it’s important to take it all with a pinch of salt. I’m open to advice from the people close to me, we’ve taken it all onboard but some things we’ve just decided whether it’s for us or not. And to be honest, there’s always Amazon Prime if you change your mind!
I’ve kept this blog post a little short and brief because I chat about this in depth in today’s video. So head over to my YouTube channel if you want to hear me talk more about newborn shopping.
Click the link below to download my newborn shopping list.
Design Letters Baby Book – link
Dungarees – Zara (sale)
PR Gift | Mokee Cot – link
PR Gift | Kit + Kin Muslin – link
PR Gift | My First Years personalised baby vest – link
Tommee Tippee First Aid Kit – link