My Perfect Creative Space

Hey Sweeties,

While I am still in the midst of wedding excitement and planning gradually picking up pace, humming in the background is the house that, in the 13 months we have owned it, is still very much in a state of cosmetic development. I know what I like but interior design is a very personal thing and not something I have really tackled until now, developing my ideas as I go along.

While I love how visually, minimalist living looks beautiful, I for one like stuff which of course has its flaws, but I love rooms full of books, pictures on the walls and furniture, wallpaper and fabrics that create texture amongst the odd trinket, vases of flowers and such like. For a workspace though, I am all about storage and simplicity –I like to have things around me that inspire creativity and ideas, but I can’t work in clutter which is currently the state of the spare room/study and next on my list to attack.

So with that in mind, inspired by WeWork, a co-working company that builds communities to empower people to do what they love by creating beautiful co-working spaces across the US, Europe and Israel, I want to make my own beautiful space, right here in my home. I thought I would pull together my dream wish list for my ideal work space, with a view that it might encourage me to get on and actually make it happen for myself.

Creative work space

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Spring Time Green Fingers

Green fingers

Hey Sweeties,

Let’s start with some formalities… “Hi, I’m Claire and I love gardening” (all:) “Hi Claire”

Ok, so now that’s out of the way, I have no doubt I have alienated some of you because gardening is obviously something far too boring to comprehend. For the rest, let me share with you my garden as now it’s spring and summer approaches there will be more of these kind of posts coming your way! However, for this particular post, DIY lovers may also take an interest, particularly if they don’t have any outside space themselves.

To bring you up to speed, as you’ll remember last year Ian and I purchased our first house together (here) and with that a garden which I haven’t had access to since leaving the family nest eight years ago; some of my most favourite memories of my childhood are those playing in the garden and helping my Dad.

When we got the keys, this is how our garden looked…

GardenGarden

The grass, dead and the beds all overgrown with stinging nettles and while the weather was good we got stuck in straight away, managing to get the garden stripped back to bare before the winter. Now, aside from some light weeding needed, we’re good to begin creating (and enjoying) our outside space.

However, before we start filling the garden with flowers, shrubs and fruit trees… maybe even a vegetable patch, I had an inexpensive idea of how to bring some plant life into the house and making use of some old glass candle jars; an idea you have no doubt seen before!

You will need…

Succulents

An old candle container, or jar (you don’t have to limit yourself to just one!)…

Succulents

Some succulent plants -I bought these four from Homebase for a very purse friendly 99p each!

Succulent1 Succulents
Then with some compost/potting soil -a bag can cost as little as £3 from a garden retailer- arrange your succulents in your jar(s) and fill/top-up with the soil; it really couldn’t be simpler.

Succulents

Succulents are funny little things, the word ‘succulent’ even more so, particularly for a plant but essentially they are a bit like cacti where they hold water in their leaves and stems so need little maintenance and care. I don’t have a tendancy to kill things but for me this is a much easier way of enjoying plants in the house on a routine basis, although you can’t beat a vase of fresh flowers!

Until next time x

My Makeup Storage

Hey Sweeties,

Today marks 6 months living in our house and so, while thinking about a suitable post to mark the occasion, I came across photos of my dressing table that I bought last summer second hand, gave a bit of a makeover to and now it is my total pride and joy and houses all my makeup. So I thought I would share this with you allowing this post to be a bit home-DIY-beauty esque!

I LOVE second hand furniture shops, you never know what you may find, it’s way cheaper than buying something new and I like the thought of having unique pieces of furniture that I can customise myself to suit my tastes. One of the things I was desperate to have when Ian and I moved house into somewhere bigger, was to be able to have a proper dressing table and fortunately I didn’t have to wait long. In our town we have a British Heart Foundation furniture shop which we are always nipping into to check what they have in. Not long after moving to the area, we were in there and suddenly I clapped eyes on this beautiful dresser and instantly I said to Ian that it was coming home with us! It was £15 -bargain!!

Dresser

I also bought the side table seen on the left

At this point we had only just recently moved in and so I hadn’t really thought about any decoration ideas for the house so looking at the dresser once it was home, I was a bit stumped with what to do with it and this decision needed to be made ideally before I unloaded all my makeup into it.

But, much in the same way I decided the colour our living room walls, the colours came to me in the night and off I popped to Homebase to purchase the paint and not long later the dresser was reformed in lilac and blossom white (so it had pink tones running through it).

In the midst of transformation

In the midst of transformation

Upcycled dresser

Voila!

Unfortunately it is missing a handle on one of the drawers but to overcome this I have used that drawer for things I don’t need to get to daily.

Dresser

Muji storage

I will talk through my makeup collection in more detail in a future post but in the drawers, much like every other beauty blogger, my makeup is stored in these tubs from Muji which do the job perfectly!

Upcycled side table

To match the dresser, the bedside table I also bought on the same day I painted the top of in the same lilac colour.

Ian and I are still looking for a couple more pieces of furniture in the house so yes it’s frustrating waiting for that perfect piece to make itself known and available, but equally the search is exciting and as I have shown above, the wait is so often totally worth it.

Until next time x

 

Home Haulin’: Part One

Hey Sweeties,

So as my regular readers will know, in July Ian and I bought and moved into our first house together and although for the most part we kind of already have everything we need, a new home is still a new canvas for ideas and accessories so over the last few months I have been picking up the odd bit here and there so I felt it time to share some of the things I have got so far…

Coffee Table Tray

I’ve seen this idea a lot on Instagram so decided to replicate the look on my coffee table

Ikea Coffee table

Coffee table from Ikea

 

Cushions

Gotta’ love cushions!

 

Jars

Because you always need things to put things in…

Bedside Table

By my bedside…

My go-to places for home ware and accessories are: TK Maxx, Homebase, Dunelm, Ikea, Wilkinsons, second-hand furniture shops and charity shops -if you’re prepared to wait and hunt around there are some real bargains and interesting things to be found! As mentioned above, I also constantly browse through Instagram for ideas and inspiration and there are some great magazines out there as well, my current favourite is called Style at Home!

Of course we have bought other more grown up things like an incinerator to burn all our confidential waste and excess rubbish, garden tools, the odd bit of furniture and things like that but to be honest, I can’t see that being of much interest to you guys so I’ll just stick with home haulin’ accessories and (when appropriate) maybe some design and room layout ideas. Part Two/three/four etc. will go up on here over time as a house is never, fully filled and complete.

Any of you guys into gardening? no? …. well, just saying that come spring I might get quite excited when my new garden starts sprouting daffodils! Be warned!

Until next time x

Sweetie’s First NEOM Candle Purchase

NEOM Candle

Hey Sweeties,

Like many hundreds of you out there, I am also a big fan of candles, particularly during the winter months when the nights draw in and there is nothing more warming than the gentle flicker of a candle and the aromas that wrap around a room.

I have been longing to try candles from the NEOM collection for yonks but I draw the line at spending £40 on a candle, no matter how amazing it is. Even if I was swimming in cash I think on principle I would still have a problem with this so you can imagine my excitement last month when I saw over on Tattooed Tealady a post advertising 50% off NEOM Organics through Brummells of London. Oh my, never have I jumped at an offer so promptly and my order for the 380g, 3 wicked Invigorate candle was placed in mere minutes.

This candle is fantastic and I’ve not even taken a match to the wicks yet. The smell alone is incredible and just by taking a deep intake of this hearty zest is enough to fill you with everything you need to feel good and you can appreciate how clean it is. NEOM candles are made from 100% natural vegetable wax and pure aromatherapy oils therefore they burn cleanly without dirtying your walls with black soot, which let’s be honest, we have all had a mishap with! I literally cannot wait to get this baby burning!

Now I just need to wait for Jo Malone to have a 50% sale…

Until next time x

Buying Houses Part 2: We Beat the Alphabet!

Our House

Hey Sweeties,

We’ve done it; we beat the alphabet and bought a house!

A few months ago I posted about my frustrations of trying to buy a house and being fearful that we would never find one and secure it. As it happens, Ian and I didn’t have to wait too much longer before landing our dream pad and you know what? When you find the one, the actual one, it all just falls into place.

Following several weeks of driving to Slough in the evenings after work for viewings of which many potentials we had seen online we were able to dismiss just by driving past them, Ian and I decided we needed to both take a day off work, book back to back viewings in a bid to nail the process and beat the competition. Our house was the first one we saw of the day which I had booked a viewing for the week before as soon as the email came through! I instantly felt comfortable in the area and although the house itself internally didn’t blow me away, the garden did and I think that was when both Ian and I stopped and realised that we could see ourselves here. Assuming the house had already had a ton of viewings and as many offers sat on the table, we were delighted to hear from the agent that aside from a second viewing due the following day, there were no offers on it at present. I was itching to submit an offer but Ian managed to calm me down and reminded me we had other properties to see but would review the situation after the last one.

To cut a long story short, we saw other properties and although we were tempted with the last house we viewed, we decided to still go for the first property. The following day we were told that the seller thanked us for our offer, said it was very reasonable but were going to wait and see what the second viewing came back with (fair play, you can’t argue with that despite it being a little frustrating). That was Friday so we had to wait a whole weekend before finally getting the call Monday morning that the house was ours! Yippee!!!!

But this is what I mean though about everything falling into place when you find the one. Previously we had bull shitting Estate Agents, crap greedy sellers taking ages to decide whether or not to accept our offer and several others bidding on the same property. It was an incredibly stressful experience. Then we found our house, the Estate Agent was decent, the sellers weren’t greedy and we knew the outcome within a couple of days. Bliss!

The offer was accepted at the end of March and a little under 4 months later, we have the keys and we’re in and it feels fantastic to finally have our own home and begin what is an incredibly exciting new chapter for us and the start of something pretty special. As you can imagine my head is now full of paint swatches, design ideas and room organising and it’s a struggle to know where to begin. But it has, the process of owning my own home and everything that comes with it has started and you guys are now here for the journey with us!

 

Until next time x

 

Buying Houses: Dear Kirstie & Phil

Dear Kirstie and Phil,

Hi, how are you? I hope you’re both well and got some fun and exciting projects happening this year. How are the kids?

As you know, Ian and I are trying to buy a house but it’s not going very well, we’re not having much luck. We sit on Rightmove day in day out and view anything and everything that has even the most minor glimpses of potential and we’ve now offered on four properties with no success. We offer at pretty much asking price but mostly sellers are pushing their luck. Just because suddenly everyone is in a position to buy thanks to the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, they think they can up the value of their houses willy nilly.

Boyfriend and I are all set to go –we have a perfectly decent mortgage in principle all prepared, we will complete on the flat in a matter of weeks and then we’ll be renting with no commitments thereafter. What more can we do? We’re a very open minded couple with what we are willing and have viewed and can quite easily see beyond someone’s atrocious choice of decoration so we’re not in the least picky or demanding like I would say at least half of your clients on your popular channel 4 programme are.

It’s impossible to fall in love with a house anymore; it’s a full on heart break every time we get rejected so we’re now numb to the process which is a shame. Buying your first house is supposed to be an incredibly exciting time but it’s not.

So I was wondering how you can help? I mean, there must be something we’re doing wrong to keep being turned down like this? On your popular Channel 4 programme, you show your clients around houses, get them to choose the one they like, then you all sit down to a coffee/pint/glass of wine and the deal is done there and then. Do Estate Agents behave differently with you? I would love to know the secret.

So anyway, yeah.

Love to everyone.

Claire