a way of life...

Month: November 2019

Dare To Be Different

Everywhere I look I see images of interiors decorated in daringly dark colours, mostly to great effect.

It takes a huge leap of faith to paint a wall, ceiling, or even a whole room in a deep tone so it is perhaps worth considering a more restrained approach.

Inky blues and charcoal greys have proved very popular, particularly in Scandi and mid-century schemes. I have, however, enjoyed the more recent emergence of charred-wood browns and forest greens.

In my own home I’ve not had the courage to paint whole walls in dramatic colours as I think it would make it feel too depressing with its low ceilings and small windows.

I fully support the Farrow & Ball philosophy that sometimes painting a small, poorly lit room, in a deep dark colour can have the effect of creating a cosy, cocoon-like space. In some instances this is indeed far more successful than trying to make it into something that it is not ie. bright and airy.

For a mere mortal like myself I have settled for splashing the dark shades around in a more refrained manner.

A favourite example of this is my lovely old clock which sits beside a pretty little wardrobe in my hallway. Both are finished in Neptune’s Walnut eggshell whilst the walls against which they are set are painted in Fired Earth’s While Mulberry matt emulsion.

Leading off from the hallway is my dining room which I only recently restyled. I invested in these OKA Stafford dining chairs in Charcoal velvet to compliment my John Sankey slipper chair. The overall effect is that of a more cohesive scheme.

Once again the walls are finished in White Mulberry to ensure that the dark colours do not overpower the room.

Green is considered to be a restful colour which makes it ideal for a bedroom. I’m not sure that this theory applies to the current fashion for Forest green which is a dark hue commonly found in nature. The almost black background of this bedding below adds an air of intrigue to this otherwise calm scheme.

Taking this a step further the en-suite bathroom very much embraces shades of black. Whilst the flooring is a checker board of black and white vinyl the Clawfoot bath is painted in Farrow & Ball’s lead grey Down Pipe.

I’m really happy with my choices but realise there is certainly scope for being a bit more adventurous. That said, at least I can see the spiders against the light coloured back drop!

Alresford, Hampshire

Alresford, home of the Watercress Steam Railway Line, is a small town which lies just north of Winchester in Hampshire.

In search of Susie Watson Designs I took a trip there after a morning spent in Farnham.

West Street

The shop is located at 16 West Street amidst a plethora of independent retailers much to my delight.

So many shops – so little time

The purpose of my visit was to buy some red and white hand painted candles to display in two brass holders which I had retrieved from our garage.

I also bought a beech and ivory fan edge trimming which had been reduced by 50%. It will provide a luxurious finish to a Neptune Emma Sage linen that I have for making some scatter cushions.

Broad Street

Just around the corner in Broad Street I came across another parade of specialist interior and gift shops.

The Alresford Linen Company housed an array of fashionable clothing and jewellery, interior accessories, and gifts, including a colourful selection of candles.

A couple of doors down Lavenders has an eclectic mix of greetings cards, gift wrap, and miscellany.

Having achieved my aim, and a lot more besides, I decided it was time to leave this gorgeous Georgian town for a tad more exploring…

The Long Barn

Having arrived at Alresford on the B3047 I had passed The Long Barn at The Old Sheep Fair, Bishops Sutton Road.

Curious to find out more I pulled off the road and into the extensive car park. With fairy lights twinkling in the late afternoon light I was immediately smitten.

To a newby it is an extremely glamorous garden centre with integral café and shopping. That said, the quality of the merchandise is of the highest standard and the café was absolutely buzzing.

The garden store itself is modest in size but has an interesting selection of trees, plants, shrubs, and rusted metalwork. There is even a little shop that sells vintage finds.

I have to own up to not realising at the time of my visit that lavender is grown on this site and that it is used to create the Long Barn’s own goods from its annual crop.

I was so pleased that I chose to drop by and would certainly recommend a visit to this favoured destination.

India Jane Opens New Store

Family run lifestyle business, India Jane, has opened a new store in Guildford. Located in what was until recently, the Steamer Trading Company, the new shop is conveniently located at 168 High Street.

Spread over four floors in this super modern building it has an enormous range of home furnishings and accessories.

Here you can find luxurious sofas, elegant dining, well appointed studies, and beautiful bedrooms.

The arrival of India Jane to Guildford has added another good quality lifestyle store to those already in this market town. With Neptune just across the road, OKA and Loaf in the Tunsgate Centre, and Sofa.Com and Neville Johnson a short walk away, everything is close at hand.

Whether you are looking to buy a new piece of furniture or searching for a quality Christmas gift these stores have it covered.

Whilst browsing I took the opportunity to sign up to the India Jane Club so that I would hear about new products, in-store events, and exclusive member offers.

Whoopee It’s Winter

Sitting on the floor in my studio, surrounded by magazines from over ten years ago, I decided it was time for a serious clear out.

With the recycling bin to the ready I started to thumb through Country Living magazines circa 2002!

I was neither diligent, nor meticulous, but as an article snagged my attention I removed it from the journal and put it to one side.

Very soon I had numerous piles covering my favourite topics; interiors (of course), gardening, recipes, and travel.

Interiors

“Exuberant” was a 2002 description that caught my eye, as the current trend for pared back style couldn’t be more different.

Warm, rich colour schemes, championing florals, nature, and cosy blankets, were at the heart of the featured homes.

I was immediately inspired to add some seasonal charm to our cottage. Putting on one side the pale greys and pinks of the summer I quickly uncovered a red, nature inspired, tablecloth with matching napkins.

Add to this heavy, interlined, Andrew Martin curtains, and suddenly the room felt warm and cosy and ready for the shorter days ahead.

Winter ready

My nod to current trends was the addition of my recently acquired cushion from ALSO Home. With its slogan, “LOVED At First Sight” I thought it added a little 21st century pizazz to the room.

Gardening

Looking at photographs of prairie planting schemes with ornamental grasses interspersed with the fading colours of autumn perennials are an inspiration for next year’s planting scheme.

Currently I am allowing our garden to die back so that the seed heads will provide additional food for the visiting birds.

I also like to collect pine cones so that I can paint them with subtle metallic colours and display them in glass vessels with fairy lights and faux candles. Oh so seasonal!

Recipes

A lot of the recipes that caught my eye were based on seasonal garden produce, such as pumpkins, carrots, onions, pears, and apples.

It reminded me that there were pumpkins in the allotment ready to harvest with which I could make a delicious, heart warming soup.

It is also time to collect seeds from the runner beans and pumpkins to dry and store for planting next spring.

I will leave the orange and purple carrots in the ground as a means of storage and harvest as required.

Travel

Not everyone wants to escape the UK for a dose of winter sunshine. People like me who enjoy the changing seasons will wish to stay firmly in this country and enjoy what it has to offer at this time of year.

Harsh frosts temporarily change the garden landscape into winter wonderlands whilst recent strong winds have removed many of the remaining leaves from trees to reveal skeletal formations.

Fireworks over the river

I love to embrace this time of year.

The excitement of the winter celebrations that start in October and run through to the New Year are reason enough to stay here, at home, and enjoy them while they last.

I hope you enjoy them too!

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