His Room: The Inspiration

It’s been a little while since you had a post from me, and I imagine there are one or two of you who are wondering if we did ever find out the gender of The Bump…

Well the clue is in the title, folks- we did and we’re having a boy. Yee-ha! Ker-splat! Boom! Poohead! (Just practicing the boy lingo. Have I got it down??)

Even on the way to our scan we were undecided, Paul very much voting against finding out but saying it was my choice. A little more digging and he revealed he wanted a boy so much he was just a bit nervous he may feel some disappointment or even resentment if we found out it was a girl at this stage. I decided that if the sonographer had a clear view and was 100% sure we would ask the big question, but if the little tinker was playing up or crossing it’s legs we’d put it down to fate and wait til the big day.

Turns out the little tinker was playing up which meant a walk/dance around the hospital corridors for 20 minutes so that the sonographer could check and measure all the bits she needed to. But then curiosity got the better of me anyway (it was inevitable really), and I asked if she knew what it was, and she said she did, and we held our breath, and she revealed it was a boy, and Paul “Yessss-ed” like a small child who had just been told he could have McDonalds for tea.

In the immediate 24 hours that followed I was unsure whether I’d made the right call to find out. It felt surreal and amazing and I was very pleased with the outcome, but I also felt a bit like I’d let myself down somehow, like it was a diet I’d given up on after 2 days, or a secret I’d blabbed to someone when I really shouldn’t have. But now, with only three months to go and shopping underway I’m very, very pleased we know. And totally, utterly thrilled that we’re having a small male person.

So now thoughts turn to his room! I’ve been looking forward to this part massively, I have to say. Any excuse to partake in two of my favourite hobbies- interiors and shopping.

So here’s the room in its current dumping ground/empty space state.

IMG_1228 IMG_1229 IMG_1232 IMG_1233 You’ll see I’ve made some pretty important/random purchases so far… Paul was completely freaked out when I came home with the pack of nappies this weekend, but I’ve heard good things about Asda’s own brand and as I happened to be in one and we don’t usually shop there, I thought I may as well. (And at £4.50 for a pack of 70, why wouldn’t I?!) I would also like to point out that the huge piles/bags of clothes are a hand-me-down from a friend. I’m in the  process of going through what I want to keep as there’s enough newborn stuff for twenty babies there, let alone one, but it’s lovely to have that first month of clothes ticked off the list.

Anyway, enough justifying of the contents of the room and let’s look at the space instead. It’s a great sized room right next to ours, with magnolia walls and an oak laminate floor, as per the whole house when we bought it last year. I don’t really need to do anything to it… but then that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

When I found out I was pregnant I started dreaming of a colourful, stylish, eclectic and ever-so-slightly boho nursery that would somehow work for either sex. A bland white/grey/beige unisex room featuring bunnies and/or Winnie the Pooh was never going to float my boat and I was keen to stay as far away from the typical ‘baby’ look as much as I could. I kept coming back to these two images from Pinterest, both featuring a darker, more masculine feature wall and then lots of softer accents.

Pinterest sources here and here

Pinterest sources here and here

Whilst I still absolutely adore both rooms, it’s only now with a tiny penis growing inside me that I realise they are probably more female-orientated, so I’ve taken myself back to the drawing board. For our boy I still want something colourful, stylish and eclectic, but I’m thinking I need to swap the ever-so-slightly boho feel for something with a more robust edge. The words strong, bold, happy, fun, modern keep popping up, and it’s probably also worth pointing out that I’m thinking more ‘little boy’s room’ than ‘baby boy’s room’. He’ll only be a baby for a short while after all… Here’s a little of what I’m thinking:

Collage2 nursery4Collage1Collage3 Collage4

Whilst on the surface they all appear to be pretty different, there is a definite coherency running through all of these awesome rooms; namely white or light walls, lots of quirky, typographic artwork, garlands and/or spots, and a kaleidoscope of pattern and bold colour. I’m ridiculously excited at the prospect of getting started and utterly bamboozled with where to begin (painting the walls is probably the first step), but looking forward to sharing the progress with you.

I’m sure I’ll be sharing sneak peeks of purchases and progress via my Instagram, so make sure you’re following me there if you don’t already. Otherwise, look out for a first reveal in approximately three months time when Stage One will be complete in readiness for a certain little dude’s arrival. I’m thinking there will almost certainly have to be a Stage Two and even Stage Three reveal once the room is in use and starts naturally evolving, but let’s get it baby ready at least.

To be continued… as they say.

Sama xx

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Rug Love…. (And a Little Tour of my Living Room)

Since moving in to our new home back in May, I’ve been lusting after a Berber-style rug for my living room. Berber rugs, souk rugs, Beni Ourain or Moroccan rugs; whatever you call them these shaggy, modern-bohemian must-haves have been popping up all over Pinterest and interior blogs for some time now. A sheep I may be, but as I like to imagine I’m a cool, modern bohemian living in California as opposed to a fairly normal suburban girl living a couple of miles from the Dartford tunnel, and as I have a major girl crush on interior style icon Emily Henderson, my desire to have a Berber-style rug adorn my living room floor had become almost obsession-like.

This is Emily Henderson's living room. Isn't it beautiful?

This is Emily Henderson’s living room. Isn’t it beautiful?

Sadly, they’re not the most affordable kind of rug to set your heart on. Particularly if it’s a genuine vintage hand-made-by-a-tribe-in-North-Africa kind of rug that you’re after. These bad boys could set you back anything from £500 to £1500 for a particularly large one like the beauty in the picture above. And I had a budget of £300 max.

I spent months looking for the right one. From high street shops such as John Lewis and West Elm (too expensive), to online interior havens Cox & Cox and Rockett St George (too expensive), to the Turkish and North African sellers on Etsy (way too expensive)- there are lots and lots of Berber-style rugs out there, I just couldn’t bear to part with £500+ which is what I needed to spend for a 5′ x 8′ rug, the minimum size I was looking for.

My search eventually led me to overstock.com, a US retail site selling everything from furniture to jewellery and watches. Oh and Moroccan-style rugs. Lots in fact- particularly of the large diamond trellis design I was after. I can’t recommend this site enough. Not only is the layout and navigation brilliant, but nearly all the products are reviewed (thank the Lord for reviewers!) and the total price including taxes, duty and shipping is all calculated at checkout. £151.84 this bad boy cost me, and it arrived within 7 days.

Wanna see my rug?

IMG_0365

Now the reason it was such a ruddy bargain is because it’s not wool. Nor, I doubt, is it hand-made by a tribe in North Africa. The synthetic fibres do have a slight sheen to them (as mentioned by a couple of reviewers), but my-oh-my is it soft. And the best thing about it is that it doesn’t shed. AT ALL. Oh, and it’s flippin’ beautiful. Want a couple more gratuitous rug/living room shots?

IMG_0394 IMG_0368 IMG_0382 IMG_0389

Look at me with my freshly-plumped cushions and interior design books casually hanging out on the coffee table. Emily Henderson eat your heart out… *Has coughing fit from snorting too hard*.

With the addition of my absolute babe of a rug, our living room is seemingly complete. What I’m not showing you, of course, is the view from the sofas which is embarrassingly BLAH.
IMG_0384 IMG_0385

Urgh. Hello television and empty beige walls. We are yet to paint this room and whilst it will stay light I would like to go a bit brighter I think; a warm white perhaps. It’s only a small room, and whilst I love drawing the curtains and lighting the candles at night (the addition of the rug makes it feel super-cosy), white walls will make the room feel bigger and let the various pops of colour sing throughout the day.

So what else remains on my shopping list for this room? Well I’m after some sort of sculptural or home-made wall art for the space above the television, I think. A stags head but not a stags head, if you know what I mean? (I always feel that once Sainsbury’s and Wilko’s start churning out their own versions of a trend, it means it’s been overdone.) Then in that corner between the door and the sofa I need another small occasional table, with some sort of lamp, another plant and a fun, bright piece of art on the wall above. I’d also really love to replace the Ikea floor lamp in the alcove corner with something a bit cooler. And just generally fill the space with meaningful knick-knacks and pretty ‘vignettes’… I could go on.

For the mean time though, I’m doing snow-angels with Lenny in my dream of a rug and wondering why I didn’t bite the bullet and make the purchase earlier. I will, of course, be sharing my progress as I attempt to make this house the eclectic, fun, modern bohemian home I’ve always dreamed of.

Who’s in for the (very slow because we have no money) ride?

Sama xxx

Getting Crafty: An Upcycled Chest & DIY Glitter Wall Art

The bonus of being off work for the last couple of weeks is that as my energy has come back I’ve been able to tackle a couple of home improvement projects I’ve been meaning to do for goodness knows how long. Neither are revolutionary or particularly impressive (my DIY skills are, generally speaking, pretty pathetic), but both were certainly satisfying and have made nice, if subtle, changes to their respective surroundings.

An Upcycled Chest of Drawers

chestbefore

First up was this chest of drawers. An ancient hand-me-down which had been passed down when Paul and I moved in together, we had removed the top two drawers, drilled a couple of holes in the back and used it as a TV unit for the last three years. It’s function was spot-on, but the cherry wood jarred a little bit in the room and those empty drawers in particular seemed very unloved.

I have Apartment Therapy on my blogreader and really love the Before & After upcycling projects they feature, so I decided it was time to do my own. Our living room is already full of warm brights, but since getting a framed print of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt for Christmas, I wanted to draw out the gold and yellow tones from it… so a mustard chest with black iron handles was my vision. I wanted to funk the chest of drawers up a bit, making it a bit more modern whilst having some fun with colour.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is all the rage on t’internet. It’s fab for lazy DIY-ers like me, because there is NO prepping, NO sanding, and NO priming involved. Simply give your designated item of furniture a wipe down to get rid of dust, and then on goes the paint. (Hint- I’d read a few tutorials and as well as giving the tin a really good shake, some people recommend turning it upside down an hour before painting, as the colour pigment can tend to settle at the bottom.)  There are two yellows to choose from- Arles and English Yellow– but I went for Arles which in Annie’s own words is a rich yellow ochre with a hint of orange juice. 

First coat on.

First coat on.

Hardware off I got to work, the best thing being that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is virtually odourless so you can do it indoors. Although two coats isn’t always needed, we did a second as I wasn’t convinced by the colour and wanted it a lot stronger, before leaving to dry overnight. The next morning it was time to wax- a step which is notoriously difficult according to some online tutorials but which I found very problem-free, maybe because we used an old rag (a pair of Paul’s old boxers in fact) rather than a wax brush.

Front drawer waxed, back drawer about to be.

Front drawer waxed, back drawer about to be.

Annie Sloan Soft Wax in clear was the recommended product, and the trick was to use really very little. Once applied (thinly!) and worked thoroughly in to the wood, you should be able to wipe your finger on it and there be no greasy residue or mark. I think using a rag really helped with this, and as the wax initially goes on dark before drying, you can see which bits you’ve done and which still need to be done. I found the waxing very simple, and had the whole thing done in 20 minutes. (Annie recommends leaving your item of furniture to dry for 24 hours before placing anything on it though.)

Wallpapering the drawers.

Wallpapering the drawers.

Next up was tackling those drawer holes at the top. I’d originally had visions of going bold with black and white stripes, but a) I couldn’t find the right paper, and b) I knew Paul would hate it. So instead I bought an almost snakeskin-effect black wallpaper from Homebase which went on with spray adhesive. This was a pretty fiddly job- lots of measuring, cutting up and swearing on my part- but I think the finished look is very clean and chic. All I had to do was wait for the iron handles to arrive from an eBay seller, and bobs your uncle, we had a new re-vamped TV unit.

chestafter

Spot the Klimt.

Spot the Klimt.

If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t entirely convinced by the colour at first. The images are slightly misleading as it is a bit peachier in real life, but certainly out of bright sunlight it has the more mustardy effect I was after and I LOVE the new handles. It’s brightened up our little living room in time for summer anyway and despite being a weekend project (with drying time), it was super easy.

DIY Glitter Wall Art

So my second project was something I whipped up in a morning. I had a spare white frame (size 8.5 x 11″) and was keen to fill it with something homemade and meaningful that would look good on my gallery wall. I also didn’t want to have to buy any new materials, with a whole box of crafting bits and bobs at my disposal. Glittery typography it was then.

I had the mantra be brave in my head. It seemed particularly apt given my recent experience, and is generally a good philosophy to live by, I think. I certainly wouldn’t have Utterly Wow off the ground without taking what seemed like massive, scary leaps in to the unknown. Plus who doesn’t love a bit of alliteration?

bravecollage

The process…

1. After a good play around on Word and finally working out how to amend the line spacing, I printed my phrase on to a piece of card I had left over from my wedding. Using a craft knife and a chopping board I then cut the letters out as neatly as I could.

2. I then laid the cut out phrase on to my black background (recognise the snakeskin-effect wall paper?) before securing together with some washi tape. Then it was a case of brushing on glue and shaking on glitter. Simples!

3. The not-so simple part was the neatening up. Once I’d gently prised off the card (which you need to do before the glue dries), the glue and the glitter had run on most of the letters. The good thing about using wallpaper though is that it’s pretty sturdy, so with the help of a damp cloth, tweezers, a cotton bud and a dry brush, I had those glittery letters whipped in to shape in no time.

braveafter

The Wall...

…and on The Wall.

Poor photography and glass reflection aside, I’m thrilled. For something that was so utterly simple, it has a lot of impact I think, and I love the gold, black and white together. And yes, that is my gallery wall, VERY MUCH a work in progress still but as you can see I’m going for the cross your fingers and hope for the best tactic at the moment. I’m not entirely happy with the arrangement or balance, but as we’re *hopefully* moving house in the next few months, the project is on pause right now anyway. For the moment it’s just fun to play and get creative… and I think the Be Brave piece is a rather lovely addition, wouldn’t you say?

So that’s my week of crafting.  Do any of you have any DIY plans for this weekend? It’s meant to be another lovely one so whatever you have planned, be sure to have some fun in the sun- that’s an order.

It’s Friday- woohoo!

Sama xxx

 

 

 

 

House Obsessed

Paul and I are moving house this year. In this half of the year we hope. On Saturday afternoon our starter home of three and a half years is opening its doors to prospective buyers, which means the last week or so has been dedicated to scrubbing, painting, repairing, planting and tidying.  The market is moving ever so fast, and if all goes to plan we should have an offer or two by the end of the open day. FINGER CROSSED. Selling is the easy part right now; buying, it appears, is the b***h. (Anyone else on Rightmove every day at the moment?)

Whereas our current two-up two-down has served us well, we’re on the hunt for our ‘family home’. Not our forever home I hasten to add. We have plans to move deeper in to Kent or Essex for that, but our plan for this home is to see us though our thirties, through babies and primary schools and family Christmases and a growing business (me) and a doberman called Steve (Paul.)

As such, we have grand dreams for our next home. Perhaps too grand, for our modest budget and a housing market that is rising so fast it’s threatening to price us out. Nevertheless, we will continue to dream and search, and I will continue devouring house magazines, watching Kirstie and Phil, and pinning to my Ideal Home board like my life depends on it.

So what’s on our wish list? Well, a 1930’s 3-bed semi is what we’re really after, and thankfully our local area is rife with them, being in the ‘burbs. A driveway and a reasonably-sized garden are musts, as we have neither at the moment and Paul has a fancy car he likes to look lovingly at and wash regularly. (Tantrums have been thrown when I’ve dared show him houses without driveways.)

Inside is where it gets a bit trickier. I want a project, i.e. a house to do up and make our own, but a liveable project. Neither of us wants somewhere we can’t move in to straight away, although I love the idea of completely gutting a house and starting from scratch at some point in our lives. For now though, we have a busy year ahead and we really would like to be able to move straight in if we can.

And now for the actual wish-list… (because the liklihood of getting *all* of these things is looking pretty slim)…

Utterly Wow HQ meets Guest Bedroom

Right now, our spare room houses everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen, living room, bedroom or bathroom.  It has a desk and a filing cabinet, some fixed cupboards that store everything and anything, Paul’s weights bench, a sofa bed for when guests crash and the laundry basket and airer. Oh, and a half-baked attempt at a gallery wall which I’m putting on pause until we move. In our next house I would reeeeeally like a guest room-come-office that’s practical and pretty… and without a weights bench or laundry basket in sight.

Source // A room of two halves.

Source // A room of two halves.

Source // Wall to wall shelving leaves room for a guest bed.

Source // Wall to wall shelving leaves room for a guest bed.

A Bedroom in Blue

We’ve been a bit spoilt with our current bedroom. It’s huge and drenched in light (as the front of the house is south-facing), and as we painted it in Farrow & Ball Cornforth White when we moved in (the palest of bluey/grey) it has a lovely, calming feel. Paul has stated several times in the last few weeks that we are to “have our bedroom exactly the same” in our next house, a sentiment I adore him for having but don’t entirely agree with.

See, I’m really keen to go a bit bolder with the blue. A bit deeper, and a little bit moodier. With lots of white to still make the room feel bright and airy, and perhaps accents of gold or copper for warmth, I think a moody blue is super chic and ever-so grown up…

Source // This blue has a hint of lilac in  it

Source // This blue has a hint of lilac in it

Source // I love love love the colour and texture of this wallpaper

Source // I love love love the colour and texture of this wallpaper

Material Things: My Christmas Wish-List

I’m quite materialistic. It’s not something to be proud of but it’s true. I like things. I like being given things. Things to wear, things to put on my face, things to display around my home… things make me happy. I like giving things too. Particularly when I know it’s something that person is going to love.

So I quite like Christmas. It’s full of things.

I don’t like Christmas things too early though. People who have bought their presents, sent their cards and put their tree up by 1st December make me want to be a little bit sick in my mouth. No-one should start seriously thinking about Christmas before December. Even if the media’s sensationalist portrayal of BLACK FRIDAY! and CYBER MONDAY! make you feel like a bad person/inadequate human being/social cretin. My debit card didn’t fail me on Monday because I WASN’T SHOPPING LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD APPARENTLY WAS. So sue me.

It is time to start shopping now though, I will admit. There are only three weekends left between now and Christmas after all. My Christmas wishlist is forming (a little too easily) whilst I’ve been nagging Paul for his for days now and he hasn’t made one relevant suggestion. (“I am your wife, Paul. I am not giving you money.”)

Meanwhile my parents get harder and harder to buy for, shopping centres are no-go zones if you want to keep your sanity, I’ve lost track of who I’ve asked for what, and my recipient list has expanded due to the acquirement of two new sets of In-Laws.  So to combat all this confusion and present-giving quandary, I thought I’d share my Christmas Wish-List of Material Things. Because being materialistic and liking things actually makes it easy for other people when it comes to buying me gifts. I’m thoughtful like that.

Here are the things I’m closing my eyes tightly and wishing for this Christmas:

From top left clockwise: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

From top left clockwise: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

1. I love a statement necklace, but I’m after something a bit more ‘every day’, and this Gili Reversible Disc Necklace by Anna Beck not only looks good, but solves the gold-or-silver quandary I find myself in constantly.

2. If Paul had his way our walls would be bare and minimalist, but I love colour and life in my home, and I’ve long admired this beautiful piece called The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. A large one of these for my living room wall would go down a treat. Paul will just have to deal with it.

3. Bobbi Brown Face Base is the bee’s knees of moisturiser primers. I’m all out and currently using Nivea as I can’t bare to spend nearly £40 on a pot of cream. I’m hoping someone else will though…

4. In an attempt to become more adult, I’ve already asked for a lovely white and gold-topped teapot from Paul’s grandparents. This PiP studio sugar bowl and milk jug would make lovely additions to my tea set, all aboard a white and gold tray like the one below perhaps..?

From top left c lockwise: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

From top left clockwise: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

5. I love the Bookishly UK brand. Literary gifts that look fantastic and have meaning, depending on the quote you choose. There are a couple I love, but think this William Morris quote is my favourite. Plus I used to live opposite William Morris’ beautiful abode in Bexleyheath. True story.

6. As my obsession with interior design grows, so does my need for vanity trays to house my various vignettes. (I stole that word from Kimberly over at Swoonworthy. She uses it A LOT.) This white and gold lacquer tray by Nom Living is particularly tasty.

7. There’s no space for it (unless it becomes part of my gallery wall?) but I would LOVE this colourful and stylish Wall Planner for my office. So I can see in to the future, innit?

8. No no, that’s not a new fandango mascara. That’s a car aerial from eBay, folks. To replace the one that got knocked off my lil’ Ford Puma when I decided to ignore the instructions to remove it at the local car wash nearly a year ago. I’ve been too stubborn to replace it myself thus far, convincing myself that I’m happy to listen to Radio 1 and Radio 1 alone, but the truth is I’m really not. I’m hoping Father Christmas might deliver this one, maybe already fixed to my car…?

Hmmm, what does this Wish-List say about me? That I’m currently obsessed with my house and practically middle aged? I think so.

What goodies are you hoping for for Christmas?

Sama xxx

Gallery Wall: The Inspiration

Now, I know that gallery walls have been ‘a thing’ for some time. But with a constant need for a creative project, and a large expanse of wall in our office/spare room/gym that is just crying out for it to be filled with pretty and inspirational pieces, I think it may be time to join the party.

Here is said large expanse of wall.

gallerywallbefore

Bleurgh. Don’t even ask me why that clock is up so high either. There was a lone hook, it was a temporary installation and it’s just stayed there since, waiting for the gallery wall to take shape. (It may have been waiting for some time.)

From my extensive Pinterest research, I have discovered that there are many, many different types of gallery wall.

1. There are the monochrome, linear-look galleries for the neat freaks:

Source 1, 2

Source 1 // 2

2. There are the asymmetric, multi-coloured, let’s-just-put-that-there-and-see-what-happens galleries for the creative types:

Source 1 // 2

Source 1 // 2

3. There are floor to ceiling galleries for maximum impact:

Source 1 // 2

Source 1 // 2

4. There are smaller, more polite galleries for those just testing the water:

Source 1 // 2

Source 1 // 2

5. There are the 3-dimensional, full-of-prints-AND-objects galleries for the true bohemians:

Source 1 // 2

Source 1 // 2

6. And then there are the gallery walls that, to me, are not too big and not too small, and use copious amounts of pink, gold, black and white resulting in near perfect curation.

Source 1 // 2

Source 1 // 2

Source 1 // 2

Source 3 // 4

I intend for my gallery wall to be a cross between numbers 2 and 6, with a hint of 4 due to Paul very much not wanting me to get creative. (He thinks walls should be bare and homes should contain no more than three colours. I know. We ignore him.)

I reckon I’ll need around 10 pieces to create the look and feel that I’m after, and shall be mixing photographs (both colour and black and white) with one or two larger pieces of art work, modern typography prints sourced largely from Etsy, and potentially a couple of home-made items to add a bit of eclecticism. Oh, and of course the clock, which is currently feeling very lonely and awkward.

I shall most definitely be keeping you posted.

Are you gallery wall-ing this Christmas?

Sama xxx