So firstly I must apologise for my blogging hiatus. Now that the summer holidays have come to an end, I finally have some much needed routine back in my life.
If you have been following my Instagram stories, you’ll be aware that in January, I set myself a challenge of losing two stones for my holiday in July. I’m proud to say that I achieved this! Let’s not mention that I gained a few pounds on holiday due to excess eating and copious cocktails. However now that we’re back into a routine again at home, my healthy eating has kick started again.
If healthy eating is something you’re considering, I would urge you to push yourself and do it. Start making steps today, it’s the most rewarding thing you can do for both your body and mind. There’s something incredibly empowering about taking control of what you put into your body and once you’re on a roll with it, it gets easier and easier.
That first week or two is always the hardest. It’s so easy to put it off for another week, month, year….. If you can just stick to your healthy eating plan for those initial couple of weeks, you’ll not only see your weight reduce on your scales, but you’ll feel proud of yourself and most likely, you’ll feel great. That drive will see you strive continue your healthy choices.
Anyone can lose weight, forget about all the fad diets you may have tried in the past. The healthiest and most sustainable way lose those pounds is gradually, consistently and without depriving yourself.
Set a realistic goal
Whether you want to lose one stone or several, set yourself a target that’s achievable. It can be tricky to know exactly what that means, especially if this is all new to you. 1-2lbs per week is entirely achievable, sustainable and more importantly, safe. That may seem like a slow process initially, but just think of how that equates over six months! What you may notice is, in those initial few weeks you may lose a lot more as your body adjusts and then it will most definitely slow down. Don’t let that dishearten you. Weigh yourself once weekly, in the morning before you eat breakfast and mark your progress from that as your weight will fluctuate throughout the week.
Download a calorie tracker
There are lots of different ways to document what you eat, you may prefer putting pen to paper. Do whatever works for you. There are a plethora of apps out there to help you document what you’re eating and to help you stay on track. I recommend My Fitness Pal. It’s a free app which will be your best friend during your journey. Start off by putting in your weight and height along with some other information about you and your ultimate goal. It will work out exactly how many calories you should eat per day to achieve your goal. I ate 1250 calories per day and consistently lost 1-2 pounds per week. Now you’re ready to start! Do not put it off anymore, if you’re reading this now, you’ve already taken the first step to becoming healthy and happier!
What you will quickly realise when your calories are restricted is that you have to cut out the little things you would normally enjoy such as that can of coke you have with your lunch and the kit kat you have with your cup of tea at night, as before you know it you’ll have made a hefty dent on your calories with empty food that isn’t going to fill you up. I had three healthy meals per day and keep one small snack for the evening. I will link the blog to my favourite healthy meals here. I have never deprived myself, a typical day’s eating would be scrambled eggs with one slice of wholemeal toast for breakfast, a jacket potato with tuna for lunch and a stir fry loaded with vegetables and whole wheat noodles for dinner. This would leave me some calories in the evening for a cup of tea and a cereal bar. I will do further blog posts on a healthy eating plan and meal recommendations to fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied. If you feel hungry, you’ll become miserable and reach for a Dominos. They key is finding those foods that keep you full. Although I don’t follow a Slimming World’s plan, I follow lots of their recipes and highly recommend them. I have linked some here.
The very worst thing you can do is NOT plan ahead. Always know what you’re having to eat that day. If you are ravenous after work, it’s too easy to raid the crisp packet cupboard, therefore you have to be prepared! Make your plan for the week ahead, ensuring that you’ve stayed within your calorie count.
Stick to your plan religiously in the first few weeks
Here’s the secret, if you stick to your calorie count, it will work 100% of the time. If you sneak a bar of galaxy into the bath with you, you’re going to feel like it’s not working when your weight stays the same. The only person you’re lying to is yourself. Eventually you can relax it a little, but those first few weeks are so important, keep on track!
Log everything in your app
By everything, I mean even the olive oil you’ve cooked your chicken in, the butter you’ve spread on your toast, even the orange juice you had with your cornflakes! What will happen very quickly is your weight will gradually decrease, consistently, and once you’ve lost just a few pounds you’ll feel utterly amazing! You’ll be so motivated to continue knowing that you’ve achieved that is a short space of time and this will give you the drive to keep going! I’m not going to lie and say I stuck to my calorie intake every single day without fail, but I tried my very hardest. Weekends are certainly the toughest but remember this won’t last forever! Once you hit your target you can begin to enjoy those little treats now and again and maintain your weight.
Load up on healthy snacks
Fill your cupboards with healthy snack options. So that when you’re feeling peckish there’s always going to be something there to keep you going. I love cereal bars, rice cakes and fruit. I cannot live without a biscuit for my tea at night, so I have ginger nuts and rich teas as these are below 50 calories each. I also adore the little cakes from The Skinny Bakery. They are usually around 40 calories each and boy do they taste amazing, especially when you’ve cut out a lot of your sugar intake and snacks during the day. It comes back to my previous tip – always be prepared. Have a banana in your handbag when you go shopping. Never let yourself become so hungry that you’ll cave and grab something out of quickness and convenience!
Stock up on essentials
You’re going to need a few key foods and ingredients in your home. For example, sweetener instead of sugar and skimmed milk instead of full fat. My next blog post is going to detail my top ten must have food items which will be coming up soon. You’ll be amazed at the calories you can cut out without having to compromise on taste! Make these healthier choices a lifestyle change.
Choose Low fat options for everything
Now before I mention this, know what to look for in your food labels. Low fat yoghurts can often be laden with sugar and it’s worth looking out for this as it can be deceiving. But there are things which I have daily which I’ve made the permanent change to low fat/low calorie. Essentials like bread, cheese, margarine and even sausages! There are so many tasty alternatives out there that you will become used to very quickly! Think of it as saving money, if you cut the calories from your thick farmhouse loaf and choose a lower carb bread, you’ll have some calories left over to enjoy something else.
Make a visual representation of how much weight you’ve lost
When I had lost nine pounds in the first few weeks, not many people had noticed. But I felt so much healthier and more positive in my own mind. But I remember thinking
‘I’ve lost an entire newborn baby in weight’
Now my daughter Sofia was a BIG baby, 9lbs 3oz to be precise. Her little face was so chubby. That coupled with her thick black hair made her look like she had been born with different heritage, it makes me laugh so much to look at her newborn photos – what a chunk! Now my point is, I lost the entire weight of her within the first month and it really helped me to see just what I’d achieved. Say if stacked up 9 lbs of butter – that’s a lot butter. All of that fat is now gone! You could even have a little jar on your kitchen work top and put a counter in for every pound you lose. These little things are so uplifting and motivating, not to mention disappointing if you have to take one of those counters back out of the jar! And can I just add, Sofia grew into her face within a few weeks….
How many of us have the time and money to go to the gym regularly? I know I’m not motivated enough to do that. I don’t really enjoy exercise. However what I do love is going on long walks with the children. I also make a conscious effort to take the stairs instead of an elevator, for example. Making small adaptations to your lifestyle add up. There are so many fantastic videos on YouTube to help you keep fit. I recommend Yoga with Adrienne and The Body Coach. We all have thirty minutes to spare in the evening for some gentle exercise. Put on some music, shut the world out and get going!
No such thing as falling off the bandwagon
Do not be too hard on yourself if you have a night out and end up having a giant kebab on the way home. You’re only human. However, what you mustn’t do is allow that to undo all of your good work. It’s a one off and isn’t an excuse the continue that same way of unhealthy eating into the next day and beyond! Get straight back on it! Take control of your life and always remember how wonderful it will feel slipping back into those jeans that have been hidden at the back of your wardrobe – No amount of cake tastes as good as feeling good! And remember…..
‘Eating one takeaway wont make you fat, just as one salad wont make you thin’
We are about to jet off to one of our very favourite places, Tenerife. This will be our third time now visiting the island as a family. In fact, last year, we loved it so much, we booked back up for the same hotel within two weeks of coming home. It helped ease those awful post holiday, rainy blues!
Before you even think about packing, make a list for every member of your household to ensure that you don’t forget anything. Tick it off as you pack it. You don’t want to forget that favourite teddy or the tea bags that you simply can’t get abroad!
With each year we travel as a family, our children’s needs differ and the items that we pack change. My daughter, Sofia is seven and my son Leo, is four. This year I am not too anxious about keeping them occupied on the flight, but I still make sure I am well prepared. Last year, Leo had only just turned three, not too long out of nappies, bottles and dummies and I was worried about keeping his bottom on the seat for a whole hour 4 hours and thirty minutes. So, I came up with a plan and it worked like a charm. This year, I will more or less be doing the same.
So, each of my children have a tunki. I’m sure you know exactly what they are, but if not, they are brightly coloured carry on cases, made to look like little characters and the children can sit on them and they pulled along if they’re feeling tired. Find them online here. They easy to clean and have plenty space inside. We used their carry on trunkis only for packing activities and snacks, like a little box of magic that they are not allowed to open until they’re on their flight. I make a trip to our local pound store and I allocate both children around £20. With this they get roughly 15 toys and 5 snacks. You will be able to stuff that case full of treasures! Last year, as Leo was so young, I wrapped each toy up. Yes it was time consuming, but it kept him totally thrilled and happy to do as he was told as he would get a new toy to unwrap every fifteen minutes or so. I chose things that can easily be binned or left on holiday such as play dough, chalk board, pencils, stickers, colouring books, play food and last year Poundland had some brilliant chunky animals which at the time was his favourite thing to play with. I couldn’t find them this year, but I found some new things like DIY aeroplanes, animal masks and cars. Sofia’s goodies mainly consist of brightly coloured pens, notepads, highlighters (she loves a new pack of highlighters!) and they even have little dolls in store. They will probably fall apart after the flight but for a pound I’m not too fussed! I also love to pop in a little activity pack from Mila and Pheebs. For £9.99 you can have a compact little box sent out to you full of goodies. They’re perfect to keep little hands busy.
The important thing to remember is to space these things out, only one item at a time to be brought out at regular intervals.
For snacks, I wanted to make things a little more exciting. I bought two pill boxes on amazon, find them here. I filled them with little snacks such as raisins, skittles, mini marshmallows, cheerios and smarties. Dipping into the little container will make it much more appealing and I intend to refill these on holiday on days out too. All of the snacks I also bought in Poundland, total bargains to be found! You can also decorate your box with your child’s favourite stickers to make it more fun!
The children also have their tablets, loaded up with their favourites apps and a newly downloaded movie for them to enjoy. We have also invested in a pair of wireless headphones so that they can enjoy their entertainment without disturbing other passengers (me). The added bonus of not having to deal with a tangled wire helps too! The ones we chose hold four hours of charge with the option of plugging in should you rub out. Find them here. I’d also suggest a battery pack for your tablets and phones as there’s nothing worse than running out of battery when your child’s getting grumpy! Sofia’s pretty unicorn battery pack was from Primark.
So now that you’ve arranged entertainment on the flight, you can concentrate on packing. This year we got these absolutely beautiful new dusky rose luggage from Dunelm. Find them here They currently have 20% off too! What I love about this luggage is that they are a whopping 29 inches. There is so much space inside and little compartments to make packing a breeze. Despite being so large, they are incredibly lightweight and weight less than my smaller cases, how is that possible? They glide along with wheels at the bottom if you’re feeling lazy! They also have their own in built lock too. I’m just amazed at how much I’ve been able to fit inside! Possibly the most expensive looking cases I’ve ever owned!
Whilst we’re on the subject of luggage, I’ve heard that if you apply a FRAGILE sticker onto the top, not only is your luggage likely to be handled with more care in the airport, but also that your luggage tends to be prioritised! Now, this may not be true, but this year I’m giving it a bash! Buy your pack of stickers here.
If you have luggage that tends to blend in with everyone else’s , buy some ribbon to make it quickly and easily identifiable. Even though we’re not going to Disney this year, I bought this personalised pink Minnie Mouse ribbon for ours. It’s cute and it stands out! Buy some here.
Don’t forget to add a tag to your luggage too, you never know where it may end up! Our luggage went missing both on the way to our honeymoon AND back! Make sure it’s identifiable just in case. I picked ours up in B&Ms last month.
If you’re travelling to a country which has different power sockets from the UK, instead of taking 4 adaptors, simply take one adaptor and an extension cable. And there you have it, four power sockets for you to charge up the tablets, phones and dry your hair all at the same time! Genius. You’re welcome….
My pet hate on holiday is not having a laundry basket to pop our dirty clothes in at the end of the day. I really don’t like using a big bin bag, it looks ugly and cumbersome in the suitcase! I have found these mesh laundry bags to be much better. They’re breathable, tie with a drawstring and you can even pop in the entire bag into the wash! I would suggest buying three, one for darks, one for whites and one for colours. No need to organise the dirty pile of laundry when you return home! Buy there here.
I’ve also invested in some packing cubes. They make your suitcase ever so organised! I have a pack of eight and I like to use them for things like the children’s underwear and socks. You could even organised individual outifts into them if you’re feeling super motivated! I like to arrive at my destination and have things quickly accessible and already organised for me to unpack into my new home for the week (or two!). It also makes it easier to keep track of small things and hold them together in one confined space. It’s very satisfying opening your luggage to lots of neatly arranged little bags and cubes! Find them here.
When it comes to packing for your children, I like to organised the entire outfit together. So if I’m going away for ten days, I’ll lay out ten day outfits and ten evening outfits and some reserves. Ill also put socks, underwear, shoes and hair accessories with them to ensure I have everything before organising it into the case.
I like to try and roll items up where I can to minimize creasing and to fit as much as I can inside. To ensure that shoes don’t get the clothes dirty, simply wrap them inside disposable shower caps. You can buy packs of these very cheaply in the supermarket! Stuff the inside of their hats with socks and underwear too, to stop them from flattening.
I also recommend a cable organiser. It’s impossible to travel with your leads and headphones without them becoming tangled! We take so many with us now with two phones and two ipads to keep charged up, not to mention our back up battery packs! I bought a nifty little travel pouch that I know is going to be used time and time again. Find it here.
Perhaps the single most important thing we take with us on any trip is our medication bag. We have tall cosmetics bag so that we can fit in bottles of medicine without having to lay them down. The worst scenario is being abroad, unable to speak the language and having an ailment. Prepare for as many eventualities as possible, however, do remember that some countries, particularly those outside the EU may have rules about what you can bring into the country. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Here is what we take in ours:
Ibuprofen (infant and adult)
Hay fever medicine
Anti septic cream
Cool packs (in case your child gets a bump)
Upset tummy medicine
Milk of Magnesia
Insect bite spray/repellent
I know that sounds excessive, but I’d rather be safe than sorry and once your medication bag is stocked up, you’re good to go for a long time ahead! If you have children of differing ages, you may need two types of infant paracetamol. This is the same for antihistaimines like Piriton. Check everything before you leave and be stocked up on the brands that you recognise and trust.
Don’t forget to take waterproof bags with you if you are going somewhere with a pool/beach. That way you can pop all the swimwear inside and not have to worry about the rest of your belongings getting wet. This is particularly useful if you’re using the pool whilst killing time until your flight home. Simply pop the wet clothes in your bag and you’re good to go. My children have little personalised bags that they use for swimming lessons throughout the year. Find them here.
I’d also suggest packing a large tupperwear box, especially if you’re going to a hotel for a buffet breakfast! You can load up on fruit and pastries for throughout the day to keep them going until their next meal. My children are constantly asking for snacks, Leo in particular will ask for a snack when he is still eating his last snack! Be prepared and organised!
If you’re beauty product lover like me, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make sure everything is set up as I like! Now, I’m used to perfect lighting to get ready each day with my beloved Hollywood mirror. You don’t know what the lighting will like in your hotel or apartment. It also really irritates me when the socket is not conveniently placed by the mirror! So I make sure I have my portable light up mirror. I’d had mine for years and I love it. It’s battery operated too so I can have it on the bed, in the bathroom, wherever I fancy doing to make up! It also dims so I can choose how bright I want it! Just make sure its well wrapped up and protected in your case. I kept the box mine was delivered in for this purpose. Find it here.
I hate packing my make up brushes! I’ve invested a lot of money into my collection and it’s difficult to find a way to travel with them ensuring they keep their shape and do not become bashed or squashed. This year, I have invested in a large hard case for my brushes and toiletries, ensuring that they are protected. My travel box has lots of little adjustable compartments for bottles and jars and plenty of slots in the top for my beloved brushes! I think it’s probably designed for a make up artist, but it will suit me nicely! Find a similar one here.
I’m not a big fan of buying mini travel toiletries. I prefer to buy the bigger versions as they’re much more cost effective and the chances are I’ll need the whole bottle anyway! We go through a lot of stuff….. There are of course some products that I will only require a small amount of, so instead I decant things like my hair treatments and make up remover into squeezey travel bottles. I bought a cute little pack here which can be used time and time again.
Now I’m going to end this post with a little tip that has eased a problem I always had in the morning I am travelling. The very last thing I do before I leave the house is straighten my hair, much to the annoyance of my husband as how can you pack a scolding pair of hair tools? Simply pop your hair tool into a clean oven glove and you can pack it in your suitcase straight away! Happy hair and a happy husband!
Now I know that seems like a lot and some of it you won’t need. But if you like to travel and be organised, it’s worth investing in these pieces over time. I have been buying little and often, ticking items off my list each week.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my packing tips and I’d love to know if you have any that I have missed. Happy packing everyone!
Ambience – The atmosphere of a place; the mood or special quality.
You could be in the most beautiful place, but it may lack atmosphere and character. The ambience of your home could be what’s missing. But, how do we create ambience in our home? There are so many different elements to consider. No matter what time of year it is, I still want to relax and feel cosy at home. Somewhere I can truly switch off from the world, put my feet up and snuggle with a cup of tea (wine). But my surroundings are everything. I can’t relax unless my home is clutter free and clean.
Keep your home clutter free and clean
It may seem obvious, but the reality of maintaining a tidy, clean home is difficult. If you are looking for daily cleaning tips, have a look at my blog post here. Now, clean and tidy are two different things, for me, getting rid of the mess and clutter are essential to be able to kick back and relax. Have a place for the children’s toys, clear the floor, straighten the cushions and fold the blankets. It really won’t take you long if you have a quick routine, even if it’s spending 20 minutes tidying after the kids are in bed and before you sit down. It’s difficult to get motivated to get back up if you sit down first! A tidy environment will give you a tidy mind!
Let’s consider your lighting, is it too bright, or worse, too dark? I never have my main lights on at home when I’m relaxing. I have lots of lamps around my home which provide a soft glow, both during the day and evenings. I do love my main lights, therefore they all have dimmers which can be dulled down low to allow them gently glow and show off their sparkle even more so, at night. It really is incredible what a huge difference lighting can make. A good photo is nothing without good lighting. These beautiful lamps below are from Melody Maison.
I have a whole blog post on how to make your home smell beautiful, you can find it here. This is absolutely essential for me and is one of the main elements I consider when having guests over. I want my home to be delicately scented, noticeable, but not overpowering as your taste may differ from the rest of the household. Fragrance is key to making your feel relaxed and appreciating your surroundings. I rave about Scentsy wax melts all the time because they’re the best. You can buy an array of beautiful warmers, some which light up and look like pretty ornaments, housing the fragrance of your choice. You name it, Scentsy will have it, from coconut to creamy vanilla and lavender to luscious pineapple, there will be a scent you will love in love with. I buy all of my Scentsy products from Carrielom1409 and she is fabulous!
Whilst we’re on the subject of fragrance, candles are of course a perfect way to achieve a lusciously scented room. My firm favourite at the moment is still my beloved Plum and Rhubarb from Daisyblue Candles. Of course, the ambience isn’t just created by the scent, but the flickering flame, bringing warmth and atmosphere in abundance. At the weekend, I go all out and light every single tea light and lantern in my living room. I just love put my feet up and pour myself a prosecco and enjoy my pretty surroundings! If I want to relax, I look no further than Thai Lemongrass. A beautiful concoction of lemon and gentle ginger. It’s like a spa and I cannot get enough!
We all love music in our homes when the mood suits. Whether it’s something soft and romantic during your evening meal or something cheesy and uplifting to help you wade through your ironing pile. Music is so accessible and easy these days. We invested in an Alexa Amazon Echo at Christmas and it’s still a novelty to simply shout out a song and it comes on immediately! Not to mention Sofia uses it to ask her homework answers – cheeky! Gone are the days where we used to sit with tapes and record the top 40, cutting out the DJ in between with a nifty stop and record action! We also have in built speakers in every room so that our song choice plays throughout the house. It’s really lovely on a Saturday evening to enjoy whilst cooking our dinner and adds to the relaxed, weekend vibes!
Adding some fresh flowers in a decorative vase to your home is a real treat, it’s not something I do regularly. I have so many faux arrangements that I adore, but every now and again, it’s a special touch you can add to create a pretty, homely feature. Of course, my favourite flowers are pink peonies! Recently, my husband surprised me with a delivery of these with a little card which read ‘To my very own Pink Peony’. They took pride of place in my living room and made me smile each time I came home!
Consider your colour palette
Have a look around your home, do you have clashing colours or patterns? I believe neutral tones are the best to choose, particularly in room where you want to relax such as your bedroom and living room. It’s no secret that I’m in love with grey and silver. I also love beiges and golds and soft pinks too. It’s not that you shouldn’t have colour in your home, but opt for pops of colour, introduced in forms like cushions, rugs and fresh flowers. That way you have a lovely, calm, neutral palette that you can switch up with gentle colour for the changing seasons.
Softness at your feet
I made the change from laminate flooring to soft carpet a couple of years ago and I will never look back. I have isense carpets throughout my home, which in my view are the absolute best carpets on the market. This price tag can be eye popping, however the quality is second to none. It’s a complete joy to walk upon and aesthetically pleasing. It’s thick, bouncy and silky soft and makes coming home even more inviting. Of course, you may not be in the position to get carpet, or you may enjoy the practicality of having laminate or maybe you’re lucky enough to have original floorboards in your home! However, you could add a beautiful cosy, fluffy rug underfoot on areas such as beside your bed and beneath your sofa to dig your toes into when relaxing in the evening.
I’ve saved my favourite until last. I absolutely adore a fireplace. I love to sit by a real crackling fire, I love gas fires and I love an electric one too. There are so many amazing ones on the market now which look true to real life! After falling in love with so many on the Instagram home community pages, I decided I needed a new one for my dining room.
There is nothing more decadent than sitting by our fire with a glass of wine and a home cooked meal, especially as we only use our dining room for special occasions! After trawling through google, I came across Bell (LINKED) I highly recommend you visit their Instagram (LINKED) page too. They don’t just make fires, the also design stunning kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living, to name a few. However their fire selection is second to none. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find a style/type to suit your taste. I have the Gazco Radiance 80 watt wall mounted white glass electric fire
It arrived swiftly, by a palette delivery, contacted by the driver prior to delivery to ensure this delivery slot was suitable. I couldn’t wait a minute longer and had my poor husband hang it as soon as he got home despite the much anticipated world cup opening game being on! The fire itself is extremely easy to secure onto the wall, it comes with an easy to install frame to simply hook the fire on to. The fire itself simply plugs into a socket and you’re ready to play around with your brand new toy!
It comes with a remote control to choose mood lighting, heat output (which you can set on a timer), flame colour and intensity. You can also choose which type of beads and glass you fancy! I chose white and glass beads.
I love that you can change all of this from your sofa using the nifty remote control. You can alter all of the settings to suit your mood. On a Saturday evening I like to have the soft purple backlight which lifts the room and provides a unique, relaxing atmosphere.
I chose the white and glass stones option. However, I decided to only used the glass as they looked like delicate little crystals which come in two sizes and glisten under the light.
The flame has several options from high to low. The colour itself can be a fiery orange, which I’m imagining will look spectacular on Christmas eve, glowing beside my Christmas tree! You can also have it an electric blue to put you in the party mood, or a soft pink/orange, which is my favourite.
The ambient mood lighting can be set to any colour you can imagine. I love the soft white glow!
I’m over the moon with my new fire. It’s a real focal point of the room and makes me want to host a dinner party soon!
So have a look around your home. What tweaks and additions can you make to ensure that your ambience is as delightful as you envisage it to be!
Take pride in your surroundings and create something unique.
* This post was in collaboration with Bell. As always, all opinion expressed are my own.
I know that like me, so many of my Instagram followers are obsessed with scents. My post on making your home smell great was one of my most popular, so I thought you may be interested in making your body smell just as good! I’m going to share my top tips and product recommendations on everything from perfume to fabric softeners and I’d love to hear your favourite products too! So without further ado, here we go!
What can be nicer than walking past someone leaving a trail of fresh, clean scent in your path? Fabric softener is the product the does precisely this. I know that I use may more than I should but it’s one of my favourite products! I’m constantly sharing my favourites on my Instagram stories and screenshotting others to try. Oh, to have some quiet time without the kids browsing the laundry aisle, what a treat! That market seems to have exploded with a plethora of bottles in every colour, size and scent imaginable.
So I have three favourites, I’ll start of with ALDI Peach and white musk. This is my all time favourite, it makes my clothes smell so fresh and fruity and it lasts. I love the scent so much I have stopped using fabric beads because I only want my clothes to smell like this product and I simply don’t need to add anything else in the mix.
I also adore comfort Strawberry and lily. You’ll be sensing a theme here? I love fruity, fresh scents. I enjoy rotating these as I do feel my nose can get used to a particular scent, so every once and a while I fancy smelling like a juicy strawberry instead of a ripe peach! I also only use the summer and lily washing powder on my clothes.
Lastly, my long term favourite has been your bog standard Lenor in summer breeze. This smells gorgeously fresh, but there’s something warm and comforting about it. It smells like coming home, soft and relaxing and of course, it lasts an age on my clothes.
If you want to add an extra something into your laundry to make it smell incredible then I have two favourite fabric beads to add to the load. I love Comfort Fragrance Burst in Pink Radiance. Be a rebel and add two full capfuls, to hell with the instructions! It’s basically perfume for your clothes! I also love Unstoppables in Lavish. It’s the bottle with the golden lid. I generally buy which ever is on offer and as I said previously, rotate them so that you don’t get used to the scent.
‘Perfume is the most intense form of memory’
Even the most subtle of perfume can be incredibly powerful. I always wear perfume and my tastes have changed over the years, therefore different periods of my life can be defined by a scent I associate with that time. I have a bottle of perfume in my drawer with only a smidgen left, kept because it reminds me so much of being a brand new, first time mum. It’s seven years old now and I’m not sure how much longer it will last, but I love to take that bottle out every now and then and I’m transported the most memorable, emotional and happiest time of my life when my daughter was born.
Perfume is such an individual choice. What smells beautiful to one, will not be to another’s taste. Also, the same perfume can smell completely different on someone else, reacting with their own unique body chemistry. I’m not a fan of woody, musky scents. I love everything fresh and fruity. My favourite perfume of all time is Ralph Lauren ‘Big Pony Pink 2‘ It’s main notes are cranberry and Tonka bean. However, if that’s too sweet for you, I’ve recently discovered a beautifully fresh scent for summer that I think everyone will love. Tony Birch ‘Bel Azur‘ will transport you to the Cote d’Azur. It’s like summer in a bottle and I am addicted to it at the moment!
Perfume can get a little heady when layered up throughout the day. I tend to spritz in the morning only and then top up throughout the day with a body spray. I love ALL of the Victoria’s Secret scents, you cannot go wrong. I have also used the coconut body spray from The Body Shop for years. I get so many compliments on this scent. It smells just as good as you’d imagine, just like lazing under a palm tree on holiday!
A couple of years ago, I discovered the perfect deodorant in the form of Michem ‘Pure Fresh’ Not only does it keep sweat at bay, but it literally makes your arm pits smell of lemon drops. No joke. I remember rushing out to buy it when one of the beauty gurus on YouTube first suggested this and I couldn’t wait to leave citrusy vibes wherever I went. It did not disappoint, its so fresh and zesty and makes you feel clean all day.
Beautifully smelling hair is one of the most attractive things I can imagine. There’s so many different ways to achieve this. Let’s start with the obvious, shampoo and conditioner can leave your hair both look and smell incredible. Recently I’ve been enjoying the Head and shoulders range with added argan oil. It makes me want to swish my hair around all day long just to smell it! The body shop also do a fabulous banana scented range. It’s practically edible!
I’m also completely in love with dry shampoo, not only because it gives my hair texture and volume, the fruity cherry scent from Batiste is addictive. I go through a can a week as I put it in my hair immediately after it’s been washed to stop it being flat and soft. Dry shampoo didn’t exist on my wedding day, 10 years ago. I shudder to think about walking down the aisle, on the most important day in my life completely dry-shampooless. I didn’t know what was to come….
Another product I cannot live without is my Coco LoCo Coconut hairspray. I cannot even tell you how good this smells. I’m not keen on the rest of the range but the hairspray I am never without. I use it every day on Sofia’s hair to keep her hair tucked into a bun for school and people are constantly commenting on how good she smells.
Now, this is a bit of a splurge. A luxurious item that you certainly don’t need, but do you want it? Yes! Hair perfume is becoming more popular. I have Chance by Chanel. House of Fraser have so many options available here. I only use it for special occasions. It’s such a lovely finishing touch on an evening out. Now if you’re watching the pennies, you could easily lightly spray some of your favourite perfume on your hairbrush and each time you brush your hair you’ll have a fresh burst of fragrance!
Most soaps and shower gels smell lovely in the shower and that’s where it ends, however I have two favourite in shower products that linger beautifully on the skin for hours after. I’ve lost count of how many Radox Feel Lively in Wild Peony and Lychee I’ve gone through. I discovered this last year after being amazed at how good my sister smelt on holiday only for her to tell me it was simply a cheap shower gel. I’ve been addicted ever since and it’s always on offer. The other scents in the range are nice, but the pink is my absolute favourite.
My next recommendation is a luxurious shower oil by L’occitane Almond Shower Oil. This makes any bath or shower an absolute treat with it’s sweet almond scent. Afterwards my skin feels nourished too and its fantastic for shaving your legs.
I have abundance of deliciously scented body creams and butters. Some of my high end products I keep for special occasions and others I go though quickly, slathering them on every morning. I need my creams to be rich and moisturising, but it’s a huge added bonus if it smells good too!
My all time favourite body butters are from Laura Mercier. If you ever have some spare time, pop in to one of their counters and smells their products. They are simply heavenly. Their Crème Brulee Body Souffle Crème is probably the best thing I have ever had beneath my nostrils. Delicately scented with French vanilla and shea butter, you’ll be left sniffing your arms all day, not to mention it’s luxuriously rich. Warning, you may be tempted to taste this stuff, but it really doesn’t taste as good as it smells…..
For a more budget friendly, every day option I love Boots Sanctuary Spa Chilli Mango and Tonka Bean body butter. The fruity mango infused with a kick of spice leaves your skin smelling good enough to eat. Who doesn’t want to walk around smelling like a cocktail this summer? And just look how thick and buttery it is!
It may sound frivolous, but when my hands smell good it makes me feel really perky and fresh! I also have incredibly dry hands, so having a hand cream to apply immediately after washing my hands as I hate that tight, uncomfortable feeling, is a must. Recently I discovered these cute little hand creams in Superdrug, all which smell amazing however the rhubarb and custard version is just gorgeous.
Another long time favourite which, annoyingly, I have to buy on eBay is the Bath and Body Work warm vanilla sugar hand soap and hand gel. The combination of these two products leaves me smelling my hands all day! Can we please have Bath and Body Works in the UK please?!
Some little tips I have picked up along the way can help keep your clothes smelling good for longer!
The fabulous Lynsey Queen of Clean suggested pouring a little spoonful of scented beads, like the unstoppables mentioned earlier, into a little mesh bag and leave them in your wardrobes and drawers. Not only does this delicately scent your clothes, its a joy to open your drawers to that lovely fresh scent and it’s much cheaper than buying scented sachets. Although I do confess to being completely addicted to the Yankee Candle Baby Powder sachets in my babies’ nurseries when they were little. Oh the smell just takes me right back….
For as long as I can remember, I have always included a couple of tumble drier sheets in my suitcase when going on holiday. Not only does it make your clothes smell good, when you open your suitcase you get a beautiful fresh scent of home!
I also love to spritz my clothes with Febreze Fabric Refresher Spray. It’s like a burst of fabric softener on the go and can be used around the home too. The original scent is still my favourite.
I also love to use ironing water on my laundry. I’m not too fussed on the brand and they all smell good and much more exciting than plain water. Why not add a drop of your favourite essential oil into the water to create your own scent?
Scent is one of the first things you’ll notice about someone. Make a good impression and make sure you always smell gorgeous!
If there’s one thing in life that we all strive for and need, it’s a good night’s sleep. We each have different sleeping patterns and body clocks, but there are some simple adjustments you can make and products you can buy to help you feel more comfortable, sleepy and well rested.
Let’s start with a simple one, is your bedroom a clutter free, calm space? For me, this is absolutely essential. Your bedroom is the one part of your home where you should feel like you can retire to and shut out the rest of the world. Try to keep your space a neutral palette of colours, not a bright colour that’s going to stimulate your mind. Whites, greys, and silvers to me, are the epitome of tranquillity.
Now let’s consider your bedding. Of course we all want out bedding to look pretty but is it comfortable? Invest in luxurious materials that wash well and feel great. Look for bedding and pillow cases that mention ‘thread count’. The higher the thread count, the softer the material will feel and wear over time. The numbers range from 200-1000 generally and quality hotels tend to have the highest count, making you feel like you’re wrapped in a cloud. Lately I’ve been loving a set from Dunelm’s collaboration with Holly Willoughby in the colour ‘fawn’. My husband agrees that it is simply so soft and comfortable and I highly recommend it! It is beautifully feminine and spring like.
What you choose to wear to bed is also important. I love nothing more than buying a fresh new pair of pyjamas and in winter, wooly socks. I like to wear cosy lounge wear, but have the windows open! I think I drive my husband crazy as I also like to have my heating on full blast whilst driving and my heated seats on, but have my window open. I want to be warm and toasty, but I also want fresh air! Perhaps the most decedent but most loved item I have in my loungewear collection are these cashmere socks from The White Company. Just read the reviews! I dream of investing in their cashmere joggers one day…
Black out blinds
Our bedroom is a converted attic with Velux windows. We slept up there for almost a year before investing in proper black out blinds. The sun would stream in through the roof tops in the morning and I hated it! Why it took us so long, I don’t know. But when we fitted our black out blinds I actually had butterflies in my stomach to go to sleep! To wake up on the brightest of mornings to pitch black was heavenly! What a difference it made to me quality of sleep. Although I do sometimes miss watching the stars as I fall asleep! Ours are from Vale Blinds and they are fantastic! No light gets through at all.
You will have heard me talk about pillow mists on my Instagram Stories. I think I’m addicted! I need to have a relaxing, delicate lavender scent on my bedding and pillow case to drift off. I have three brands that I love – This Works deep sleep pillow spray (LINK), Soul Candles Relax room spray (LINK) and my favourite – Tropic’s So Sleepy pillow mist (LINK). This works specialise in this area and have an array of products if the spray doesn’t work for you. They have sleep balms, hair elixirs and even a sleepy shower gel! Imagine combining them all!
Whilst we’re on the subject of dreamy scents, I love my bedroom to smell amazing too. But I choose softer, more delicate notes from the rest of my home. Some of my favourite relaxing candles are Daisyblue Thai Lemongrass (LINK) and Yankee Candle White Tea (LINK). Both of these scents are fresh and give me spa vibes. I love to light a candle whilst relaxing reading a book or watching some Netflix in bed! I also have my Scensty warmer on the go at all times. The beauty of these are that you can leave them on overnight, they don’t get too hot, they simply warm the wax for a slow release and long lasting fragrance. They have one especially for night time called ‘Jammy time’ and I also enjoy ‘Clothesline’ as it smells of fresh laundry. I buy all of my Scentsy products from Carrie (LINK) who will ship across the UK and get you the best deals.
Create a snuggly nest
Layer your bed with cosy, soft fabrics. I have an array of throws and blankest which I rotate for the changing season. My favourite is this beautiful silky soft throw in Mimi Faux Fur from The French Bedroom Company. I also have an abundance of cushions and pillows, some of which are purely for show, others I use to build my nest! Sometimes I just like to cuddle a soft cushion as I drift off to sleep. In the winter I love to take a hot water bottle to bed, or I lay it inside side my bed before getting in. I love to buy a new one each year, preferably wrapped in faux fur to cuddle into. Layer your favourites and dive in!
Make yourself a warm drink and read….
I love to sit up in bed before I go to sleep with a warm milky drink. If I’m really treating myself I have a Green and Blacks hot chocolate, it’s the best. Why not be decedent and add some mini marshmallows and whipped cream? Heaven. However, it’s not something you can do too often of course! Why not have a relaxing cup of tea or warm milk? It’s so comforting to take some time just for you. I tend to read a book whilst I have my warm drink, or, I have to admit, I’ll browse on my phone. They do say to avoid technology, which sounds entirely sensible, but let’s be honest, how many of us are going to follow that rule? But if you’re having trouble falling asleep, try and read a book before bed. Nothing makes me more sleepy and I love that feeling when my eyelids become unbearably heavy and there’s nothing left to do but throw my book on the bedroom floor!
Run yourself a warm bubble bath
Sometimes I tell myself that I simply don’t have time for a bath and jump in for a quick shower instead. However, it’s important to make that time. There are a plethora of gorgeous products on the market designed just for an evening bath to help you relax and feel very sleepy indeed. Oils, foams, salts – you name it. If you want to really push the boat out and have an ultra relaxing soak, try Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Bath and Shower drops (LINK). It smells divine – English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine. It promises to deliver therapeutic benefits to the mind and body, boasting a calm effect whilst keeping the skin supple. What a beautiful gift this would make for a new mum. For a more purse friendly alternative, try some Epsom Salts (LINK). When dissolved in warm water, the magnesium is absorbed through the skin, helping to replenish magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium helps you feel calm and relaxed and is thought to help you sleep and decrease irritability. It has lots of other benefits such as helping with muscles and joints and is readily available, give it a try! I keep them in a huge glass jar by my bath.
Relaxing skin care
I have an in depth skin care routine which you can find here. But there are certain products that feel and smell so wonderfully relaxing. I love to use Kiehls Midnight Recovery Oil (LINK) before bed. It smells of lavender and feels just delicious to massage into the skin before bed. When I have time, I like to give myself a little facial with my night oil, your skin will thank you for it in the morning. For moisturising my body, I love Lush’s sleepy lotion (LINK). The internet went crazy for this stuff last year. There was so much hype it almost put me off – was it all a big clever marketing ploy? I had to try it for myself and boy am I glad I did! Whether you believe that this can truly help you sleep or not could be disputed, but what’s not to love about a rich, buttery cream scented with lavender and a touch of oats (to my nose!) People swear by this stuff, read the rave reviews online. Many mother’s claim this help their babies and toddlers to sleep solidly through the night, Got to be worth a try, right?
Now I’ve left my last tip until last. It seems obvious, but when was the last time you changed your mattress? Experts tell us to invest in a brand new one every eight years. We’ve all stayed in a fancy hotel and had the best night’s sleep as they tend to have such quality mattresses. Why wouldn’t you ensure you have that in your own home so that you can enjoy that every night? If you can invest your money in something that you’ll truly benefit from every single day, it’s your mattress. I read a quote once which read
‘Invest your money in your shoes and your mattress, as if you’re not in one, you’re in the other’
Now, I have found the best mattress from a company called Emma. My daughter has one and I cannot even tell you how wonderful it is. I lay in her bed every night to read her the latest David Walliam’s novel and often I fall asleep in beside her. It is a dream. So when moving Leo into his ‘big boy bed’, I knew that I wanted the exact same one. One of the great things about Emma, is that the mattress comes rolled into a box. No more struggling to carry a huge mattress upstairs! Before I had been introduced to Emma, It took three men, a lot of sweat and downright anxiety (on my part) to carry our king sized mattress up three flights of stairs. What a cumbersome job it was. I was terrified the bulky packaging would scrape off my newly papered walls! So, with Emma, you can live on the top floor of your building and you’ll get your boxed mattress up there with ease. A bed in a box? It doesn’t get easier than that.
You then have the pleasure of unwrapping your new mattress onto a flat surface and watch it expand before your eyes. I have no idea how they do it! But after a few hours, your new mattress is ready to be slept on. There’s also free delivery on all orders and they won the ‘Which? Best Buy’ Mattress of the year 2017. It also comes with a 10 year guarantee and a 100 night test at no risk, so if you decide it’s not for you, return it at no cost!
The mattress has four special layers ensuring you are as supported and rested as possible. It adjusts itself to your body perfectly with a progressive sinking technology ensuring you have the sweetest of dreams!
Emma have very kindly offered my readers a whopping £100 discount using the code PEONY100 which will be valid until 31th May 2018.
Just writing this post has made me feel relaxed and sleepy. I hope that reading this has made you feel the same. That is, if you’re at home and ready to take yourself off to bed!
Sweet dreams my lovelies….
*This post was in collaboration with Emma Mattress
If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a while, you may have thought you knew my home pretty well. But there was one room which I avoided photographing as I really hated it’s dated look. My main bathroom, on our middle floor, was fitted with the cheapest suite possible when we purchased our home. The ugly pipework behind the toilet was exposed, the bath was shallow with old fashioned handles like my gran’s bath used to have back in the day, (but I have to admit are pretty handy for the kids to hold onto when getting their hair washed) however I tend to choose how things look instead of their practicality, perhaps my downfall – love the sparkly impossible to walk in high heels but I’ll be damned if I remove them! We somehow decided to decorate it originally with a feature gold wallpaper, cream tiles and magnolia walls. What were we thinking?! With the majority of my home flowing with cool tones, it stuck out like sore thumb and I would keep the door firmly closed when we had visitors and encouraged them to use the prettier downstairs WC. It was always cluttered with toys as only the kids used it and it was thoroughly neglected by me which I’m not ashamed to admit. So my before photos are keeping it REAL – messy and unloved!
Despite having a number of other TO DOs on my never ending list, I decided that this bathroom had to become a priority. I knew I wanted relaxing, spa like grey tones with a freestanding bath, just like my en-suite, but I decided to be slightly more adventurous and include a featured tiled wall too. I came across what I can say is my favourite bathroom on Instagram, belonging to Kayleigh at n04_home_renovation. Her bathroom has such a similar layout to mine and her beautiful inbuilt shelves made the most beautiful feature and I used this as my inspiration to recreate it on my own home!
Having built an en-suite two years ago when we converted our attic, I was sure that I wanted to buy our new suite from Victoria Plumb Not only do they have the most beautiful selection of products, I think they offer the best value too and are currently still offering 20% off. I started off by choosing my bath and decided to base the décor on that. I chose their Mode Tate freestanding bath (LINK).
What a bargain this piece was, it looks expensive and is luxuriously wide and deep. We finished off with an ultra modern and sleek waterfall mixer tap Mode Cooper wall mounted basin mixer tap (LINK). Who knew watching running water could be so relaxing?
I wanted to keep a clean, crisp and white look so we opted for a vanity sink with practical storage underneath to hide away any clutter such a toothbrushes and soap. We chose the beautiful Clarity white vanity drawer (LINK) and finished off with another waterfall tap Mode Cooper basin mixer (LINK). I love how the vanity looks with the cool grey tiles and offers a brightness to the room.
Now, there’s not too much to say about a toilet, but for those of you who are interested we have the Mode Burton soft close (LINK). Once you go soft close, you can’t go back!
And of course, knowing my hatred for exposed radiators, we got rid of it completely and bought a polished chrome heated towel rail Orchard Derwent (LINK). It looks chic and minimal as well as warming up my fluffy towels ready for us to snuggle into after a bath.
My luxurious silver/grey bathroom mat is from Housing Units
So with our beautiful suite chosen, it was time to choose tiles to compliment our theme. We found Topps Tiles to have a fabulous collection. We ordered samples with their free shipping service, as it was important to not only see the tiles in real life, but we wanted to check that our main tiles would compliment our feature wall. As there were to be two different types of tiles, it was important to me to that we could have the exact same tiles on our floors and walls as I felt three different tiles would be too much. For the floors and walls I chose a porcelain rectangular tile in Tekno Grey (LINK). The matt finish is so much easier to keep clean and the fresh white grout, although difficult to keep clean, looks perfect. They offer the same tile in a stone colour, which we ordered a sample of too which would be perfect for a warmer toned suite.
For our feature wall that stands behind our bath, we chose marble Serac Linear Mosaic Tile (LINK) in a mixed grey and white finish, painted with silver leaf paint. They add such an statement to the room and I couldn’t be happier.
I couldn’t recommend Topps Tiles enough. When we ran out of tiles and needed an extra box of the matching batch, they tracked down the only box left in the country and shipped it up to our nearest store in 24 hours! Now that’s what you call service.
My tiler recommended sealing the white grout with a spray which promises to repel dirt and water. I sprayed it liberally over all the grouted areas, left the window wide open and left to dry overnight. If this works, then every household needs it. So far so good! You can buy it HERE on amazon.
Now onto the most exciting part – the finishing touches! I wanted a slim line grey tallboy cabinet with some shelves and practical storage. I found this beauty on the Dunelm site Verona Grey Tallboy and it was love at first site. As this is where the children have their evening baths, I’ve filled the cupboards with their baby wipes, bubble baths and shampoos. The shelves have been adorned with pretty items which I think adds the most delicate and pretty touch. My glass storage jars were £7.99 from Home Bargains, possibly one of my most exciting purchases so far! These look so much more expensive and you can use them for so many things. Head’s up, they’re hidden in the wedding section in store if you’re trying to hunt them down! Some fluffy towels and glitzy grey bottles from Housing Units and my shelves were complete.
I also got some fabulous accessories from Dunelm. Their 5A fifth avenue range is to die for (see hand soap container above) and their glitzy freestanding toilet roll holder makes toiler roll look glamourous!
When looking for a new LED mirror, I looked no further than Hollywood Mirrors. My mirror in my en-suite was from there and I adore it, but I wanted a different style for my family bathroom. I chose their LED Bathroom Mirror & Demister Pad & Motion Sensor. It’s ultra slim and gives the most incredible lighting for make-up and skincare. It switches on and off with one nifty little swipe of the sensor. They have so many beauties in stock just for your bathroom with a style for everyone.
Did you know you can buy a glitzy chandelier specifically for your bathroom? I know, its the dream, right? Litecraft offers so many styles, I couldn’t believe how may options they had. View their bathroom range here. We chose the Marquis by Waterford Bresna LED 3 Light Bathroom Flush Ceiling Light Chrome – LINK. Now I wasn’t prepared for how STUNNING this light would be in real life. It’s so much bigger and captivating than I expected. It adds the most glamourous feel to the room, exactly what I had wished for.
My husband is to thank for the next piece that so many of you asked me about. I didn’t even know that silent extractor fans existed, let alone a sleek chrome one! You can buy our exact fan HERE on amazon. It gives of the most relaxing gentle hum instead of a traditional annoyingly loud fan.
I mentioned the lovely account earlier belonging to Kayleigh from no40_home_renovation. Her beautiful bathroom shelves offered a pretty solution to hiding the pipework and indeed made a feature of her bathroom. We decided to have a similar layout of three recessed shelves, with the back matching our feature tiled wall and finished with a tidy chrome trim. Choosing items to fill the shelves was a joy, anything sparkly and silver would suffice! The items are from a mix of Dunelm, TK Maxx and Asda Living. We initially chose warm spotlights but it didn’t fit right with the cool silver and grey tones, so were promptly replaced with cool toned lamps.
Please note that bottom gap above was a mistake by our joiner which he promptly patched up!
So there you have it, just like that, in a matter of two weeks, our bathroom went from drab and dull to calming and glam! I just love spending time in here. One of life’s greatest pleasures is returning home at the end of a busy day, lighting the candles, running a hot soapy bubble bath and switching off from the world. I feel so lucky to call this our family bathroom!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our renovation journey.
This post was in collaboration with Victoria Plumb, Topps Tiles, Housing Units, Litecraft, Dunelm & Hollywood Mirrors
Now if you’ve found this blog post, the chances are you’re very house proud, like myself, or you aspire to be. Having a tidy, clean and organised home is very important to me and believe it or not, how my home smells is equally important.
Let’s say you’re at home and you get a phone call from a friend who is popping by to visit unexpectedly. You want your home to not only look welcoming, but smell beautiful! I am going to share my top tips for quick fixes as well as things that you can incorporate into your daily routine to ensure that your house smells good enough to eat!
This is a long one, so grab a cuppa, put your feet up and find a comfy spot before you read on!
Let’s start with the first most effective step you can take to keep your house fresh and rid of any unwanted odours:
Open the windows
This may seem completely obvious but it’s a step that I do every morning when I wake up – even if it’s snowing outside! I like to leave them opened for at least an hour. In the winter I have my heating on full and I’m always rushing around so I don’t tend to feel the cold at home unless I’m sitting watching TV which tends to only happen in the evenings with two young children to look after! I especially like to air the children’s bedrooms as soon as they’re up and about. I also like to open their windows for half an hour or so in the evenings when they’re having their bath before bed so it’s nice and fresh before settling down to go to sleep. Embrace that fresh air in your home!
Next I’m going to tell you about a product that I know you’ll be familiar with. If you’re part of the Instagram home community then you will certainly know this famous multi tasking wonder!
Zoflora is a highly concentrated disinfectant which comes in an array of scents. My personal favourites are Bluebell Woods, Twilight Garden, Apple Orchard and Hello Spring. The recently launched Very Berry is also divinely fruity.
You can use Zoflora neat, or you can dilute it in water which is what I usually do. The only job in which I would use it neat is to clean my bathrooms or worktops. I decant it into a little spray bottle and get to work! This leaves the room smelling clean, fresh and you’ve disinfected it at the same time!
If you want your entire house to smell of Zoflora, fill your kitchen sink with boiling water and add a few capfuls of your favourite scent. The fragrant steam will fill not only the room, but you’ll be able to smell it from the top of the house. I do this every morning after I’ve cleaned the kitchen and at night before bed. I’ve recently been leaving some hot water in the bath after it’s been cleaned and pop some in there too. Why stop at the sink? This tip is particularly good if you have an en-suite as you’ll be able to smell it in your bedroom too! Also, pop some down your plug holes, drains and toilet bowls.
Another way to use Zoflora to scent your kitchen is to soak your cooker hood filters in the sink with hot water and a few capfuls. When they’re switched on after being cleaned, the scent will bounce around the room when you switch on your extraction fan.
And lastly, this is one which I do every day without fail. I pop some Zoflora into my mop bucket with boiling water and buff up my floors. Not only am I disinfecting them, I’m making them smell gorgeous at the same time.
The best places to buy Zoflora are B&M Bargains and Savers. They tend to have the large bottles and the biggest variety.
I mentioned previously that using Zoflora on your worktops makes your kitchen smell beautiful, but remember that Zoflora is just a disinfectant. You of course also need something with cleaning properties too.
I like to be able to smell my worktop cleaner and I find that many of the popular brands don’t cut it. Recently when I ordered my shopping online, my cleaner of choice was substituted with CIF Power and Shine Kitchen Orange and Tangerine. I loved the fresh citreous fragrance and I could smell it long after I’d finished cleaning. Lately I’ve also enjoyed ALDI Apple and Mint multi surface cleaner. Cheap as chips, comes in a huge bottle and you can use it anywhere! Another fairly new brand to me is Method. They have an array of pretty, colourful bottles which house glorious scents. My favourites are the Clementine and Wild Rhubard. Method are also known as a natural cleaning brand, using non toxic properties. What’s not to love?
I think my favourite smell in the world is fresh laundry. I wish I could find the perfect perfume which smelt exactly like my favourite. For me, there’s nothing nicer than when someone gives you a hug or walks past you in work and you can smell their fresh clothes. I always ask what people use!
I have recently fallen in LOVE with ALDI White Peach and Musk fabric softener. When I hang a fresh load of laundry on the clothes horse I can smell it’s delicious fragrance filling my home for hours after. And of course, your clothes will smell incredible too. The other evening I hung two loads of washing before bed and I could smell it from my bedroom two floors up! It smells like summer in a bottle. I’m addicted. And the price is insanely low. If you see it, buy in bulk! Another softener which I’ve found to be particularly strong and long lasting is the bog standard Lenor Summer Breeze. There’s something beautifully warm and comforting about this scent. It makes me happy. I buy the huge bottles in B&Ms and they last an age.
Oh, how I love a candle. I dread to think how much I have invested in my stock piles over the years. It’s hard to enjoy candles when you have children, but I still use them in the evenings when they’re safely tucked up in bed. I use candles all year round, not just on cold and dark evenings. I just choose lighter scents dependent on the time of year. So often I see pretty candles that smell lovely in the shop, only to be disappointed in the lack of scent throwback. Often these cheaper candles simply have the fragrance sitting at the top of the wax, encouraging you to buy only to be left disappointed when you start to burn it. I always buy from the brands I love. I’m going to mention two here that I think has the best to offer. Yankee Candle is a brand we all know and love. I could spend hours pottering in their shops. My all time favourite scent of theirs is Snowflake Cookie. It smells like buttercream, marshmallows and vanilla. It so strong that you can even smell it when it’s unlit. This may be not be your taste at all if you don’t enjoy sweet scents. If you’re more of a fresh scent lover, I’d recommend Fluffy Towels which is exactly as fresh and warm as you’d imagine and finally White Tea. White Tea smells like a spa. It is so wonderfully uplifting and relaxing. I imagine this is how everyone would like their home to smell. It’s universal, neutral but perfect.
Another brand I’ve recently grown to love and trust is Daisy Blue Candles. A small family run business which is growing rapidly in popularity. The candle design is clean and white, just how I like it, so no matter what the scent, the candle matches my décor. I absolutely ADORE Plum and Rhubarb. It’s fruity and fresh at the same time and the scent throwback is strong. It’s my very favourtire candle of the moment. Another recommendation is Thai Lemongrass, which has a beautiful zingy ginger element to it. I love this in my bathroom. It perks up the whole room.
I don’t reach for room sprays too often. They often smell quite synthetic and heady. We’ve moved on a little from this method of making our homes smell fresh, unless you’re investing in a quality brand that offers a product that’s light and lasts. I’d highly recommend The White Company. To be honest, you couldn’t go wrong in investing in any of their scents. My favourite in the range is Sechelles. It smells like laying on a warm beach, laid under a coconut tree in a beautiful exotic location. What’s more, if you enjoy their room sprays, you can buy the whole range – candles and reed diffusers. Combining these would be a match made in heaven.
I have loved Febreze for years. The fact that this product doesn’t just mask odours, it eliminates them is exactly what you need. I don’t use their air fresheners anymore, but the fabric fresheners are really beautiful. You can’t just whip your cushion covers and curtains in the wash every week, so a quick spritz of this keeps everything smelling fresh and clean. There are lots of scents available, but the original is still the best. It’s also great to keep in the bedroom to spritz over your bedding daily, in between washes. It makes getting into bed a real treat.
Scentsy Wax Melts
Now I’ve saved the best until last. I started using Scentsy about 18 months ago and I simply couldn’t live without my wax burners. There are loads of wax burners out there and indeed an array of wax melts, but believe me, nothing upon nothing compares to Scentsy. The company offers a plethora of delightful products, each time I receive a catalogue, I can’t help but notice the brand is growing and growing. I have five wax burners last time I counted. These come in the most beautiful designs, many of which light up adding a real feature to your room. What makes Scensty different from the rest isn’t just the unbelievable selection of mouth watering scents, but the electric warmers slowly warm the wax instead of burning it, making it an ideal choice for households with children and pets as it doesn’t get too hot. I use only one cube at a time and I change them every 2-3 days to keep the scent strong just how I like it. My favourite scent is Pink Tulips. I cannot possibly describe how good this scent is, I want to bottle it and wear it as a perfume! Quite frankly I have too many favourites to mention but I shall give a few honourable mentions in the form of Vanilla Bean Buttercream, Sweet Pea Vanilla, Painted Leaves, Blackberry Vanilla, Marshmallow Mint and Oodles of Orange (Perfect for the children’s bedrooms)
Having grown to love Scentsy so much, I decided to try some of their other products and invested in an oil diffuser. I opted for this beautiful design with soft colour changing mood lighting. You can use any oil in these, but the Scentsy ones are really gorgeous. My favourite oil is Strawberry Caramel Vanilla. It leaves a gentle yum and diffuses the oil slowly into the room creating the most wonderful atmosphere you could ever imagine. It’s like having a little spa at home.
You need to find yourself a Scentsy rep to buy from which can be tricky. I recommend using mine, she will ship throughout the UK and she’s fabulous at recommending scents. Her Instagram page is Carrie
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my tips and products recommendations. I always welcome new scents to look out for, because let’s face it, we often get used to a scent and need to switch things up from time to time.
Enjoy making your home a beautifully scented haven!
We’re celebrating Mother’s Day in the UK on Sunday 11th March. It’s a day to make time with our families and loved ones and celebrate the special women in our lives. For me, all I need is day with my husband and children. Happy, healthy families are rich indeed.
However, if your children/husband have asked you to choose a gift for yourself, or indeed if you would like some ideas of what to buy, I’ve compiled a beautiful little gift guide of the items that I would be absolutely delighted to receive. Some of these I already own and have so much joy and use from, other’s are lurking on my wish list in the hope that I might be lucky enough to own one day…..
So, if like me you’re into glowing, golden Jennifer Lopez inspired skin, you may be lusting over the brand-new Anastasia Beverly Hills Amrezy Highlight. Despite having an extensive highlight collection of various tones and textures, I’ve still convinced myself that I need this. It’s described as second skin formula which reflects a light, brilliant gold. It has my name ALL over it. It’s also limited edition so you need to be quick or you’ll be looking at three times the price on eBay! It’s priced at £29 and can be bought here.
Whilst browsing the virtual beauty aisles, I stumbled across this beauty. If you are a regular watcher of my Instagram stories, you’ll have heard me rave about the Huda Beauty Warm Brown Obsessions palette. I’ve barely touched another eye shadow since I excitedly ripped the package open on my birthday! The textures are rich and buttery, blend like a dream and suit my skin tone as though it was especially made for me. I’ve worn it every day. The next on my wish list is the Huda Beauty Rose Gold Edition. The colour selection features every day tones as well as peachy-golden shimmers to stand out from the crowd on an evening out. There is not a single colour in this 18 colour palette that I wouldn’t use. It’s a pricey £56 from Cult Beauty, but worth every penny as it will last forever. It can be bought here.
Recently, I’ve developed quite a taste for Rose wine. Who doesn’t like a icy cold glass of fruity pink goodness to relax? After watching an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I was intrigued to hear the lavish ladies order a bottle of ‘Whispering Angel’. The name of the rose itself had me sold. So I ordered a bottle online. It’s more expensive than your typical supermarket wine, of course, but this is a bottle for special occasions and the perfect gift. It’s absolutely beautiful. The bottle alone is so striking it looks beautiful on the kitchen worktop. It costs £16.49 plus delivery and can be ordered from Drinks Supermarket here.
Who doesn’t love to receive roses? It’s a very traditional gift on Mother’s Day, however for that extra something special, a bunch of roses in a box makes for a unique present. I have two faux versions from Sister Sister Bouquets and Stephanie Smyth Events respectively. They are an ideal accessory to add to a room to create a warm, pretty and homely atmosphere.
Now, my next two items are a real splurge. These could be goodies to keep in mind for your next birthday perhaps, if not Mother’s Day!
You’ve heard me mention the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream before. A more in depth review can be found here on my skin care blog. Not only is the jar the prettiest thing you’ll have on your bedside table, it houses the richest and most luxuriously juicy cream you could ever imagine! You can buy both day and night versions from House of Fraser here
Now here’s possibly the prettiest purse I’ve ever seen. Blush and rose gold perfection! Actually, I think everything I’ve mentioned on this post is too! This is the Tammy Large Crystal Top Purse. Pulling this out of my handbag every day would just make me smile….and possibly encourage me to spend! You can buy from House of Fraser for £85 here.
I hope all the mummies out there have the fabulous day on Sunday that you deserve. I’d love to know you what have your eye on and if you’ve tried any of the treasures mentioned in this blog.
Happy Mother’s Day!
My Healthy Eating journey which started in the New Year, has brought me so many delicious recipes that I will continue to cook and enjoy long after my diet relaxes. I simply would not have the willpower to continue restricting my calorie intake if I was having salads every day. I love my food and being a busy mum, my meals, especially at the weekends bring me a lot of joy! I also love to entertain and cook for my loved ones and if I missed out on those things I would quick give up!
I have shared many of my meals on my Instagram stories and I am always inundated with messages asking for the recipes. So, I’m going to share my favourites with you!
I must stress that many of these recipes are not my own. They’re adapted from Slimming World mainly, and another of my favourite sites Pinch Of Nom.
When I fancy making something new, I tend to look up about three or four recipes and pick and choose what I think will suit my taste and adapt it to what I believe will work best.
I also must state the importance of counting the calories yourself as I estimate these myself according to my calorie counting app MyFitnessPal and I wouldn’t like to give you inaccurate information, I don’t follow slimming world either, so you’d have to check the Syn value. What I will say is that I have been having 1260 calories a day since the start of January and little over 6 weeks on I have lost a stone. When I reach my target weight I’ll be doing further posts about my top weight loss tips and must have items in your cupboard!
Unfortunately the photos of the food is of poor quality as they’re screenshot from old Instagram stories! It would have taken me a while to cook and photograph all of these meals perfectly and I wanted to post them for you quickly due to high demand.
When I found this recipe on Pinch Of Nom I was ecstatic! Chicken Satay is my favourite dish ever. I couldn’t believe that there could possibly be a way of making it without fatty peanut butter and creamy calorific coconut milk. But there is! And it tastes fabulous! There is one ingredient which I had to buy online called PB2 which is basically a powdered peanut butter. It’s made with slow roasted peanuts and pressed to remove the fat. Genius, right? You can buy it here. I did omit a couple of ingredients from their recipe such as fennel as I hate the stuff. I also added some curry powder, changed the vegetables and added chicken stock to enhance the flavour.
Spray your wok with low calorie cooking spray over a high heat brown two dicedchicken breast
Add one diced onion
Add two thinly slices carrots, chopped baby corn, some sliced colourful peppers and two chopped spring onions.
Add a tablespoon of soy sauce and fry for a few minutes
Meanwhile make your satay sauce. You will need:
Add ½ teaspoon of cumin powder
Add ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
Add 1 thumb sized piece of root ginger
Add two cloves of garlic
Add ½ chopped onion
Add 1/2 a red chilli (remove seeds if you don’t like it too hot)
Add 2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Fish sauce (This adds great flavour but smells odd initially!)
1 ½ Tablespoon of sweetener
1 Tablespoon of mild curry powder
1 Jelly Chicken stock cube
600ml Alpro coconut milk
4 Tablespoons of PB2
2 Tablespoons of cornflour
Salt and Pepper
Place all your spices into a food processor/blender until very fine.
Fry onion, garlic and chilli until soft.
Add all the spices in and stir for one minute. (Not the cornflour)
Add in remaining ingredients and simmer on a medium heat for ten minutes or until smooth then add to the pan.
Turn the heat up high, mix the cornflour with a little water and stir into the simmering sauce until it thickens.
I serve this on a bed of rice. It’s amazing.
I kid you not, these are the best burgers I have ever tasted despite being low fat! I can’t wait to make these on the BBQ in the summer. The kids absolutely scoffed these when I served them with little mini burger buns which can easily be found in both M&S and Aldi. I like mine on a wholemeal bun.
Your mixture could end up being too wet which means they fall apart in the pan. The breadcrumbs should help with this. Also, do not flip your burgers until completely browned on one side. This help them keep their shape.
In a large bowl add:
Half a finely chopped fried onion and two minced fried garlic cloves. (Use fry light)
500g of 5% fat beef mine
1 Teaspoon of Worcester sauce
½ teaspoon of sea salt
1 Teaspoon of English mustard
1 teaspoon of mixed herbs
Pinch of parsley
1 Tablespoon of breadcrumbs
Mix all ingredients well.
Get your hands in the bowl and work all the contents together. Form into patties and over a high heat fry in some low-calorie spray until brown on both sides.
Add some crispy lettuce and a small service of light grater cheddar and you’ll be in heaven!
This was adapted from Pinch of Nom. I have changed quite a few aspects. I’m rather fussy with my meat and for this I always use fillet steak but use whichever kind you like.
Dice two steaks into strips and season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
Spray a large frying pan with fry light on a medium heat and quickly seal the beef on all sides.
Remove the meat from the pan and add 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.
Add some more fry light and fry onions and mushrooms (if you like them, I don’t!) until brown.
Add one tablespoon of Dijon mustard and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add 500 mls of beef stock and reduce the liquid by half.
Next stir in 220g of Philadelphia Lightest and ensure there are no lumps remaining.
Add the beef back into the pan for 10 minutes and simmer.
Sprinkle some parsley over and serve with fluffy rice or chips for a traditional stroganoff, however my favourite is to serve with pasta as the sauce is so rich and thick!
Slimming World Chips with a garlic and herb dip
Oh, this is a staple for me. I cannot live without chips. Straight cut, curly fries, wedges…..I can eat them every day. We are told that chips are bad for us which of course when they are fried they are. But you don’t have to fry them to make them crispy!
Peel 4 large Maris piper’s potatoes.
Dice them into fairly thick wedges. Personally, I don’t think thinner chips work well with this technique.
Next, parboil them for around 10 minutes
Drain the water and allow to steam for a couple of minutes.
Now here’s the important part to make them crispy. You want your wedges rough around the edges. Grab a colander and roughly shake by placing this over the pot. Once your wedges have broken up a little, place them on a chip crisper. You can buy one here.
Spray liberally with fry light, make sure they’re coated.
Sprinkle some salt, ground black pepper, mixed herbs and paprika. I also love the Swartz chip seasoning.
Place in a preheated oven. They will take around 30 minutes on 220 degrees. Turn them halfway.
Serve with a yummy dip that will put Domino’s to shame and has barely any calories!
Mix two tablespoons of Heinz seriously good mayonnaise light.
Add a sprinkle of mixed herbs
Add sea salt
Add two crushed garlic cloves
Mix together and dunk until your heart’s content!
This is SO easy that even my husband can make it. Sorry Shaun. If you haven’t heard of Mayflower curry sauce, then boy you’re in for a treat! You can buy it in B&Ms and Home bargains for £1 a box which contains several portions. I buy about ten boxes at a time as it’s so cheap, versatile and it’s frequently sold out. You can get a hot version too if you’d prefer!
So, their famous curry recipe is actually on the back of the box, but I will tell you how I make it!
You can of course cook your chicken however you prefer, but if you have a slow cooker then you must try my method. I simple place two chicken breasts in my slow cooker on HIGH for three hours. That’s it. I don’t add water or oil. It’s not needed. All I do is sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.
About 15 minutes before my chicken is ready I dice an onion in quite chunky slices and fry in fry light. Always add a dash of salt to your onions to draw out the moisture.
I then add a handful of frozen peas.
Meanwhile, grab a saucepan and make up a portion of curry sauce according to the box instructions. All you do is mix the powder in cold water and stir it until it heats up and thickens.
Finally, mix all the ingredients together and add my chicken breasts. They will break up and be so beautifully soft – just like the Chinese! Serve with some slimming friendly fried rice and enjoy!
Salt n Chilli Chicken
This recipe is UNREAL. It’s just like the Chinese only much better and without the grease! It’s one of slimming world’s most famous recipes!
Make your salt and pepper spice mix:
Toast sea salt flakes in a hot pan until they brown. This step is very important for an authentic flavour.
Mix your toasted salt with 1 Tablespoon of granulated sweetener. My favourite is sukrin which you can buy here.
½ tablespoon of Chinese five spice
1 pinch of Chilli flakes
1 Table spoon of ground white pepper
Next you will need some SMASH. Yes, it’s off-putting to imagine coating your chicken in instant mash granules but trust me, it WORKS! Place 1/3 of the packet in a bowl and mix in some sea salt. Lightly beat an egg mix, dip individual pieces of diced chicken in the egg and roll in the smash. When you are finished place the chicken pieces on a baking tray than has been lightly sprayed in fry light. Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.
Meanwhile spray a frying pan with fry light and gently cook one diced onion, some diced colourful peppers and add your spice mix!
When your chicken is cooked through add it to the onions and pepper mix and add a splash of light soy sauce. Serve with some slimming world friendly rice and add a dash of mayflower sauce or satay sauce as mentioned above!
Chilli con Carne
If this blog post teaches you one thing, it to never buy premade Chilli sauce again. When you make your own you’ll be blown away at the difference!
Now you can make this exact recipe on the hob, however, I love making it in my slow cooker. I prep it the night before, cover in the fridge with some foil and pop in my slow cooker when I go to work the next morning. Simples.
Firstly, you want to brown your rice. Make sure it’s only 5% fat. Then pop in your slow cooker bowl.
Next, fry and onion and 3 minced garlic cloves in fry light and when browed add to the mince.
Pop in some colourful diced peppers
Into your bowl add:
1 Tablespoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 Tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
One tablespoon of tomato puree
300 ml of hot beef stock
30 minutes before it’s ready add one can of red kidney beans.
Cook on low for around 8 hours and serve with rice or a baked potato!
I have several more recipes but I felt this blog was getting a bit long, so look out for part two featuring soups and more chicken dishes. I hope you enjoy cooking up a storm and tag me @pinkpeonyhome
Welcome to my favourite room! I believe that your lounge should be the one room that is cosy, clutter free and welcoming. My style is glamorous but neutral. I really struggle to introduce colour into my home. Cool grey and silver tones create an environment of calm and tranquillity and that theme is continued throughout the rest of my home.
The layout of our lounge includes an open plan dining room which makes the room feel huge. Continuing the same décor and theme throughout the open plan space creates such a beautiful, spacious place where I always want to be.
I’m going to talk you through how I created and decorated this space and the important aspects to consider.
Let’s start with flooring. Whether you choose carpet or laminate, a light-coloured tone will always make the room feel bigger. It may not be the most practical colour if you have children or pets as it does involve a little more maintenance but the difference this will make is huge. I used to have a dark grey laminate, thinking it would be a practical choice with two young children. Perhaps it was the best decision back then as Leo had awful acid reflux as a baby and he decorated that laminate flooring many times over his first six months of life! However, when he was on his feet I begun to crave a warm, fluffy carpet as the laminate made the living room feel dark and cold. Faithful followers of mine from my early Instagram days may even remember it! Shout out to you if you’ve been with me that long! Here’s a little throwback:
I desperately wanted an isense (LINK) carpet after hearing some rave reviews about this impossibly soft carpet. I eventually chose this for my bedroom and hall but was talked out of laying it in my living room by the store which is a common occurrence! Unfortunately, we chose an Invictus carpet instead, which was so luxurious in the shop and its main selling point was that it was easier to clean than isense as they are made from different fibres. After a few short months the carpet was flat and coarse, and I finally bit the bullet and decided to get rid of it (18 months later) and change to the isense carpet which I had longed for. We went to Carpetright and spoke to them about our predicament. They were extremely helpful and helped us choose the highest grade of underlay available to ensure our new carpet remained as soft and bouncy as possible. My isense carpet in my bedroom still looks brand new almost two years on so I had full trust in it’s durability. We fell in love with the serenity range and chose a mid-grey tone. I didn’t want to go too light or too dark and this colour was perfection. To truly understand the quality and appreciate just how soft this carpet is, you must pop in store and step onto a sample with your bare feet. You’ll fall in love, trust me! Nothing else compares. Within a week our carpet was ready to be delivered and fitted by the most pleasant, tidy and quick carpet fitters I have met. Job was a good one and we were ready to walk on clouds! Our happy toes have never looked back!
The next important aspect for me, is the colour of your room/wallpaper. I am a huge fan of having my walls pure white and then a feature wallpaper to compliment your theme. Trends will come and go, but for me, this is a classic style that you will see in show homes across the country. Take a sample of your flooring with you when choosing your colour scheme or vice versa. Don’t make the mistake of mixing cool and warm tones. If you’ve chosen a creamy coloured carpet, opt for a warm, golden tone. I chose Laura Ashley Josette in silver glitter (LINK). The pattern is delicate and has a beautiful sheen that can only be seen in certain lighting. The white and silver coupled with my grey carpets and adjacent white walls is a match made in heaven. It’s worth noting that Laura Ashley always have deals on their wallpaper, never buy it full price.
I’ve had companies offer to pay me to change my wallpaper to their brand and it’s always a firm no! I can’t see myself changing it for a very long time indeed. I love it. If I could be a wallpaper, I’d be a Josette!
The next thing you may want to consider is your main focal point. This may be your TV, a shelving unit or photo. I love to have a fireplace. I chose the most gorgeous model from Next which is unfortunately no longer available, but you should be able to find something similar. The fireplace was cream with a brown wooden base which I quickly changed. I bought some tester pots from B&Q and transformed it to white and grey and it compliments the room beautifully.
Your sofas make a big impact in your room. On many occasions I have saw huge overpowering L shaped designs which take up the entire room when I’m scrolling on Rightmove. Choose a design that fits into your room and compliments the décor, not overpowers it. We have the Loch Leven Grand pillow backed sofa from and the marching armchair in silver from DFS. It’s a Chesterfield design which is timeless! We’ve had them for over a year now and they still look brand new. Worth every penny! We also paid to have it coated in a substance which makes stain removal a breeze. I highly recommend choosing this when investing in your sofa. We chose a footstool from a different range as we preferred the style and had them put the same fabric on it to match.
I also created a little cosy corner which is perfect for cuddling up and reading a book. This little occasional chair was from Next and I remember it taking 14 weeks to make. My excitement when it arrived was perhaps a little over the top! I love to accessorise this little area with cushions, throws and cosy lighting.
With having two rooms open planned, I wanted the exact same style in both and chose two of the most ostentatious chandeliers I could find. I opted for two Venetian lights from Next (LINK) which are now a staple in many homes across the Instagram community! If you invest in these I highly recommend a dimmer as they’re too bright for me in the evenings but they’re far too beautiful not to use. I dim them down to the lowest level so that they twinkle at night. It’s also the only way I can capture their beauty in a photograph.
I love that my dining room is part of our living area. It’s perfect for entertaining, which to be honest is the only time we use it. We’re lucky to have eating space in our kitchen where the kids can be as messy as they like! I wanted the room to feel luxurious and homely and I love nothing more to have a glass of wine in here by candlelight with the crackling fire in the background.
Your finishing touches are what will complete your room, adding your own unique touch and taste to make your mark. Adding mirrors will reflect the space back and make it feel bigger. Candles and lanterns add a warming touch. I also love flowers and have various faux styles around my home. The white flowers are from Ellie’s finishing touches and the hat box flowers are from a gorgeous company called Stephanie Smyth Events
All of the items here can be found on my Instagram page for further details. I love taking inspiration from my favourite accounts too. My home and taste has changed so much since my journey began, much to my hubby’s dismay! I hope you’ve enjoyed that little further insight into my home and let me know if you’d like to see more of my rooms in greater detail on a post!
*This post was in collaboration with Carpetright. All opinions expressed are my own, as always.*