a way of life...

Month: February 2015

Bang On Trend

It’s always lovely when I get to hear that my blog has actually inspired somebody and has had a genuine impact.  I learned this week that after reading my blog “Dressing Up” my daughter-in-law resolved a storage problem that had been worrying her for sometime. For a while she had been looking at various types of shelving units for her conservatory which doubles as a breakfast room.  On reading my blog she had a “lightbulb” moment and realised that a dresser would be the ideal solution.  Being the resourceful person she is she searched the internet and found the perfect item on Ebay.  She placed a bid and successfully won the item.  This past weekend I had the opportunity to see her lovely acquisition in its new home.  A solid pine Welsh dresser painted in an Annie Sloan paint colour, and adorned with Emma Bridgewater and Orla Keily china and glassware, took pride of place in her breakfast room.  Set against a background of vibrantly patterned Orla Keily Multi Stem wallpaper the end result is bang on trend.

Diane's dresser

Designer dresser


Sunshine On The High Street

There was no getting away from the feeling of Spring in the air today as I stepped out onto the High Street for my lunch.  Heal’s was the first window I passed that was full of sunshine brights displayed against a backdrop of midnight blues.










My next stop was the household department of House of Fraser where I was met by an inspiring mix of  florals, spots and stripes in soft orange, teals and seaside blues.


My favourite theme however was the dog shape cushions by Plum & Ashby and Linea at HoF.  In muted shades of greys, blues and neutrals these mutts certainly tugged at my heartstrings. Walkies anyone?


Plum & Ashby terriers


Linea Pug












Fifty Shades of Grey

We were pleasantly surprised on arrival at the Hotel du Vin in Winchester earlier this week. Our room, although not huge, was clean, well designed and extremely comfortable, and had the benefit of a large ensuite bathroom. Never one to miss a photo opportunity I set to work with my camera before unpacking my bag. The hotel is described as being housed within one of Winchester’s most important Georgian buildings dating back to 1715.

Scrumptious Luxury

Scrumptious Luxury

The 24 individually decorated bedrooms feature scrumptious hand sprung mattresses with goose feathered duvets and pillows which are covered in stunningly soft Egyptian cotton covers and cases, Nespresso coffee facilities, mini-bars, satellite television and air conditioning. The bathrooms, meanwhile, boast monsoon power showers which are renowned; oversized baths, fluffy towels and robes.

Fluffy Robes

Fluffy Robes

We were not disappointed. Our light and airy room was decorated in muted shades of grey and teal. Perhaps not as many as fifty, but the subtle variety of textures and finishes flowed effortlessly across the furniture, light fittings, upholstery fabric, wallpaper, paintwork, tiles and window blinds, giving a modern chic appearance.

Upholstery fabric

Textures and Finishes

Earl Grey for two

Earl Grey for two

This was the first Hotel du Vin. It was opened in 1994 by James Martin as Head Chef at the tender age of 22, where he purportedly changed the menu everyday.   It was a spring-board to the hotel opening up 9 further hotels over the next 10 years. Despite not actually eating in the Bistro we had an immensely enjoyable time exploring the the delights of Winchester. Visit https://www.hotelduvin.com/locations/winchester/?gclid=CKPAnPq-4sMCFRHKtAodxSIAKA

Winchester Architecture

Winchester Architecture

Dressing Up

Emma Bridgewater dresseer

Emma Bridgewater Toast Marmalade

When I first saw this gorgeous centre spread in Emma Bridgewater’s Christmas (2013) catalogue I wanted to buy everything and display it on my own lovely old oak dresser.  Not only that but my next instinct was to rush out and buy some F&B paint and completely refurbish this lovely piece of furniture of mine.  Fortunately common sense prevailed as I realised the vast expense and time involved at, what is traditionally, an already expensive and busy time of year.  It quickly occurred to me that I could create my own display from the vast collection of crockery, candle votives and other bits and pieces that I already owned.

Dresser with flowers

Following Emma’s theme I gathered together all of my black and white china.  This included a pair of Tintin mugs that I had had as a present and were much too nice to use; a set of six dinner plates and six side plates from M&S; a lovely cheese platter which again was a present; various white jugs; a coffee cup and saucer with black writing; a Zara cereal bowl; a Wedgwood cruet set; a pair of white china oil and vinegar bottles and my white china butter dish.  To this collection I added various glass and metal votives, my lovely black and white wooden farmyard animals and my miniature Newport alarm clock.  I set these against a backdrop of grey Ikea pasta dishes and added a dash of colour with my stunning grey stone chicken with his red comb and wattle, my hand painted wooden pepper mill and some seasonal fresh flowers.  You might say that my dresser doesn’t have the exuberance of the EB centrefold but that image inspired me to make the most of what I had.  A lot of the items were either hiding in various cupboards and never used, or on display, but not in a particularly relevant way.  It is often all too easy to buy new rather than utilise what we already own and I was pleased that I didn’t fall into that trap on this particular occasion. I should add, though, that I was inspired to buy some of Emma’s “Black Wallpaper Dove Candles” as Christmas gifts for friends.  For more information about the Emma Bridgewater Toast & Marmalade range visit http://www.emmabridgewater.co.uk

Sanderson wallpaper

Sanderson wallpaper

If you’ve always aspired to have a dresser of your own but don’t have the room then Emma Bridgewater might well have the solution. In conjunction with Sanderson she has created a statement wallpaper design, The Dresser. It is digitally printed and conjures up Emma’s much loved dresser at home. Go to https://www.sanderson-uk.com to view the full range of wallpapers and complementary fabrics.




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