Share a shot of your home to win £1,000

Anglian Homes is giving you the chance to bag yourself £1,000 in an online interior styling competition, which in my book is the perfect excuse to faff around at home taking pictures.  

To enter, all you have to do is take a photo of somewhere in your home that you have styled yourself and post it to their website, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feed using the hashtag #STLEDBYME  

It could be a piece of up-cycled furniture that you particularly proud of, a whole new kitchen update that you have undertaken or just a cute vignette from your home that demonstrates your unique styling prowess.

Here's my first entry (and you can expect a lot more since there's no limit to entries right up until 18th June). This is a vintage display cabinet that is now home to my favourite shoe collection. I had some mirrored glass fixed onto the back to give it some extra glamour and used a couple of my tried and tested styling props to make it insta-worthy.

If you need a helping hand, try these top tips for styling up a sideboard or cabinet:

1) Use a colour pop to attract attention (this yellow bag is a winner)

2) Prop pictures or mirrors up against the wall rather than having a big space between the furniture and a wall hanging.

3) Get the right mix of old and new so it doesn't look too dated, twee or catalogue perfect.

4) If in doubt, add a plant.

5) Employ the old book stacking trick to get varying heights going on. 

Don't forget to addd your location to your post because there is also a regional prize of £500 up for grabs which would come in really handy for the ultimate weapon in your styling armour ...

Leopard print sandals Gianvito Rossi from Net-A-Porter

Leopard print sandals Gianvito Rossi from Net-A-Porter

Click here for more details of the competition.

Happy styling!

Claire

 

Can we please talk Parquet Porn?

I know your type, you're a Parquet Perv aren't you? You've got whole entire Pinterest boards devoted to the stuff. You want it so bad you catch yourself thinking about walking all over it in 6 inch stiletto heels, then you have to splash yourself with tap water and tell yourself it's okay, it was just a bad dream; in your house everyone will be made to wear slippers.

Take me to bed Chevron parquet in Bedroom 16 Montagu Square, By D-Raw

Take me to bed Chevron parquet in Bedroom 16 Montagu Square, By D-Raw

I get you, because I'm a Parquet Perv too. I have been for over ten years, since I took possession of my house keys, raced over the threshold, heart pounding as I ripped back the flea ridden burgundy Axminster to find... some b***ards had ripped out a full Victorian dining room of the stuff and flogged the lot on Ebay. Cue heartbreak.

I won't settle in this house until parquet is back where it belongs and at last I have found the perfect opportunity, with some exciting new build plans in the offing at House Candy HQ. This all calls for extra Parquet Porn as I research the styles and options available. Want to see? Oh I bet you do, you filthy ....

Parquet Particulars

Parquet Porn pinched from www.lovingit.pl 

Parquet Porn pinched from www.lovingit.pl 

Parquet is made of small, loose blocks of either solid or engineered wood and is characterised by a repeating, geometric laying pattern. This style of floor has been around for centuries and can be found anywhere; from country homes, to grand public buildings and retro school halls. Technically speaking, parquet has all the advantages of solid wood, but is designed to make a style statement.

The Herringbone pattern is highly en vogue right now and looks elegant and sophisticated in both light...

and dark colourways.

More Parquet porn on PInterest

More Parquet porn on PInterest

Most wood parquet is made from oak, pine, ash and walnut, but you can find exotic species available at equally exotic prices if you're looking for something a little different. 

Reclaimed or engineered?

Personally I like the idea of a true Victorian parquet to replicate what would have been in my dining room originally (of course I'd like it even better if the original hadn't been ripped up, but there we go... move on Claire).

Reclaimed parquet offers unbeatable authenticity and character, but before you go bid happy on Ebay and bag yourself a chunk of the old Town Hall, be sure to know what exactly you are buying and the work involved in the sale.

For example, a stunning ex-school parquet floor, up for a bargain quick sale, may actually involve you taking the blocks up yourself. Even if there is a tempting picture of the blocks all neatly stacked on a pallet, bear in mind that they may need sanding down (yes all 6 surfaces) and bitumen removing before they can be treated and re-laid. That's a lot of elbow grease and a LOT of mess. Totally worth the bragging rights if you've got the time and skills to do the job properly, but if not, look out for firms like aptly named Parquet Flooring who will supply required quantities of ready-to-lay reclaimed parquet blocks for a nominal extra charge.

Premium oak parquet by Parquet Flooring

Premium oak parquet by Parquet Flooring

If it's a super slick finish you're after and something a lot less labour intensive, you're probably better opting for engineered wood.

This large scale light oak is £47 per square metre and the increasingly popular Chevron laying pattern offers a clean, modern take on the traditional parquet floor.

Luxury Engineered Prime Chevron parquet Oak £47 Timber Trade Direct

Luxury Engineered Prime Chevron parquet Oak £47 Timber Trade Direct

Perfect Chevron Parquet in dreamy dark stain. See my Parquet Pinterest board for more where this came from

Perfect Chevron Parquet in dreamy dark stain. See my Parquet Pinterest board for more where this came from

What if you move in a house and discover you have got parquet under the old carpet (yay) but it's in the more old fashioned pattern of basketweave (boo). 

Imagination is required, and maybe a bit of professional help, but with luck on your side it can still look amazing, in a retro kind of way.

basketweave lounge.jpg

Cheat or Chic?

Now if I say the word laminate you're going to go all funny on me aren't you? Don't panic, I won't go there. But I will talk about click together parquet planks that no one would ever know was not the real thing. Richmond Engineered Herringbone Click Parquet Oak may sound like a bit of a mouthful, but is so simple to lay it means you can have a roomful down in a day. 

Click together herringbone parquet £45 per sqm Timber Trade Direct

Click together herringbone parquet £45 per sqm Timber Trade Direct

And finally, there's this. Waterproof parquet (aka posh vinyl floor tiles).

Blonde Oak parquet floor, £45.50 per sqm Karndean

Blonde Oak parquet floor, £45.50 per sqm Karndean

I  know, I know, it's not wood....it costs the same as the real stuff... why would you? Because you're a Parquet Perv, that's why. And it's a practical option for a lavish bathroom or a chic kitchen and if you/I can't have 50 SqM of stunning real wood reclaimed parquet anywhere else in the house, then for God's sakes let us have a few square metres of looky-likely parquet to enjoy whilst we're on the loo. Deal?

So that's where I'm at. Still perving, still pinning, still pining for a parquet floor to grace my new entrance hall and kitchen/diner.  Where are you on the parquet porn scale? Fancy it too, or does it bring back too many memories of school dinners? I'd love to know your thoughts on the subject. Please do drop me a line in the comments section or connect via any of the social media links below. 

Oh and if anyone is completely turned OFF by their original parquet and will be glad to see the back of it, please drop me a message, like NOW!

Claire x

One chic coffee table, three canny style tools

A well styled coffee table can be a game changer. I recently took delivery of the Athena* coffee table from Swoon Editions which, let's face it, doesn't need much help to look its best. What with its white circular marble top and modernist black metal legs, Athena has got all its beauty bases covered. 

88athena_coffee_desktop.jpg

But not all coffee tables are this blessed. In fact, until now I've mostly got mine from charity shops and flea markets and they have required a little more help in the looks department.  

Over the years I've learnt to employ a couple of basic styling techniques which can really up the ante of a coffee table. With these inexpensive style tools in your accessories arsenal, you'll have everything you need to take a coffee table from functional to fabulous - whether its a Swoon Editions stunner, or a junk store gem.

tabletop.JPG

1) Vintage vases

Today I noticed the flowers were on their way out. I always spare a few quid for supermarket flowers with each weekly shop, but they have to work hard for their dollar. They may start off as a lush full bunch in a nice vase (you know my faves if you follow my Instagram account; the pink bubble glass one, the fake Zambesi one)... but as the week wears on and things start to droop a little, the flowers get split up and chopped down.

Here's where having a couple of smaller vintage vases comes in useful. You can cut the stems short and let whatever is left of the blooms have one last hurrah. You get at least another couple of days out of your flowers and a fresh new look for your coffee table.

I also have a ton of cheap-as-chips stem vases in my flower vessel armoury. Many are old glass bottles with pretty decorative patterns, which I often team with a smaller vase, but can be simply lovely all on their own.

2) Book club

We know books aren't just for reading don't we? I mean, enjoy them by all means, but just promise not to let the fun end with the afterword. After they've enriched your soul, it's time for them to enrich your coffee table.

Even just a couple of books to stack on top of one another is a way cooler way of displaying flowers, an ornament, or a candle even, than just plonking that item on the table itself. Honestly, once you're into this vibe, stuff placed directly onto a table top will really start to bug you. 

You'll need all shapes and sizes of books to fulfil your different stacking and styling needs. Strip them of their paper cover if it's a bit naff and get down to the naked spine. Battered vintage books are a great look of course, but I tend to use whatever is lying around. Too many times we've lost a school library book, only for it to be found under a vase of freesias a week and a book fine later. 

Your coffee table will thank you for this small book of photographs by Martin Parr, which is just brilliant with our without the addition of flowers. 

Martin Parr photography book £8.95 Amazon

Martin Parr photography book £8.95 Amazon

3) Kudos Coasters

The one thing you DON'T want on your coffee table is a mug stain. But truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of coasters either. In fact I'm a bit of a coaster snob. I have vintage silver ones that come in their own little stacking holder. They're always knocking about in charity shops and flea markets and they do the practical/ pretty job really quite well.

That said, if I was getting married again and putting a gift list together... or just feeling flush, there are some pretty lush coasters around that make serious coffee table eye candy.  Amara has this game covered of course. Head straight to their website for coasters with a ton of extra style kudos. There's a few of my faves from their collection below. All www.amaraliving.com

So what's on your coffee table? A half eaten Snickers, last season's Next catalogue and a broken phone charger? Maybe it's time you got your kit together? Let me know your thoughts.

Claire x

*Sadly the circular Athena table is no longer available. Click here for the rectangular version or visit www.swooneditions.com to shop more marble top lovelies

 

 

A House Candy Hot Flush Happened

Throwback to when I was a 1920s flapper girl and I was perched on a stool at my dressing table whilst the maid adjusted the head dress around my chic jaw length bob.

Lune V Stool £1,179 Open Plan Living

Lune V Stool £1,179 Open Plan Living

It happened in a former life, I swear. Only the stool wasn't anywhere near as beautiful as the Lune V stool by Portugese furniture specialists Open Plan Living.

Let's just take a moment shall we? Can a stool of all things really evoke such feeling in an otherwise emotionally stable woman? And why?

It's pricey... So am I. In name and nature ;)

It's pink* and the more I think about it, the pinker I become.

It's brassy; I'm a Northern lass. Same.

It's all worked out. This stool was actually made for me and therefore something must be done to acquire it within this actual lifetime.

Work you say? Good point. I'll get back to it.

Enjoy the House Candy Hot Flush though, won't you? I'm confident there's more where this flash feature came from. Please get in touch if you've got some House Candy for me to ogle at. Any distractions from the day job always welcome. 

Claire x

*Other colours and finishes are also available

 

 

The Candy Files - Slogan or Slo-gone?

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week:

House Candy = Pillow Talk

Cushion £14.20 www.redbubble.com

Cushion £14.20 www.redbubble.com

Let's be frank, overtly smug messaging on homewares can grate a little, but overall, I'm a fan.

In fact, my latest attempt to wear my heart on my cushion has transformed my very grown up sofa situ into something a little more light hearted. 

Good Vibes cushion £35 www.urbanoutfitters.com

Good Vibes cushion £35 www.urbanoutfitters.com

"Good Vibes" -  So chilled, so roll-with-it, so Urban Outfitters as it happens; a brand which I've never known to be anything other than thoroughly on-trend. So it stunned me slightly to find that this month Elle Decoration declared the war with words officially over via its style barometer. 

Good Vibes are not the only vibes I've been flaunting around my gaff either. I've also been keen to remind my beloved fellow housemates to:

Love...

Honour...

and Obey...

So does Elle Decoration spell silence for the sofas? Should we wave bye-bye to wisdom on our walls? And heaven forbid no more subliminal notes in neon? I for one will fight for freedom of interior speech with my last breath. And maybe with one last cushion:

Cushion £14 www.redbubble.com

Cushion £14 www.redbubble.com

Fine & Candy = Fashion Statement 

Good Mood T Shirt Zadig et Voltaire

Good Mood T Shirt Zadig et Voltaire

This week I did my first #OOTD on Instagram and this t-shirt is to blame. Yep, not content with sharing my considered opinion in blog form, here I am preaching to the world via the bourgeoise medium of designer t-shirt. So troll me! You're right after all, it's only one snooty step away from declaring the end of the world is nigh via a sandwich board outside HSBC, but y'know... all in the name of fashion...

Candy Pandy = Tongue on Cheek

Peachy tattoo via http://www.pinterest.com/slufoot/

Peachy tattoo via http://www.pinterest.com/slufoot/

Don't get me wrong, I totally would if I could. Fact is, the dimples may detract from the sentiment and I hate for a pertinent message to um, sag. Don't you? 

Keep spreading the word people. Whatever medium you choose, say it loud, say it proud and (for max respect), say it stylishly. Please share this post if you too are a bit gobby in your gaff. 

Claire xx

IF the teenagers come to tea

Yesterday I became a Teen Mom (as in a mom of a teenager). I'm using the American spelling because that seems to be the preferred tongue these days. Examples:

Following a sudden rise in my temper, "Things sure do get heated 'round here."

Following everything the younger brother ever says, "Shattap."

For me, hardcore parenting starts here. I now realise everything else was just a warm up. Yesterday I rolled up my sleeves for the nitty gritty, hands dirty, stinky, sweaty, armpit of the job. But I'm prepared. I'm armed with two classic pieces of literature that teach me and my son everything we need to know about the turbulent years ahead. 

The first is my favourite poem IF by Rudyard Kipling, which we all know and love, don't we? And which, framed and arranged in such a teenage friendly manner makes a very stylish dig at their dwindling morals. It's also a great feel-good gift to give, right after he's unwrapped the latest edition of Grand Theft Auto. 

IF Print £12 Not On The Highstreet

IF Print £12 Not On The Highstreet

The second piece of prose I will be referencing regularly throughout the next five years, was wrapped and sent to me by my son's Godmother; my best friend from school who is also a mother of sons and herself fast approaching the third trimester of parenting. (Following baby phase and fun phase in case you were wondering).

The teenager who came to tea £7.99 Amazon

The teenager who came to tea £7.99 Amazon

The Teenager who came to Tea, a parody of course of the classic Tiger who came to Tea is our survival guide Teen Moms.

We must roll with the hormonal surges. We must make sarcasm our friend. We must spare a thought for the vulnerable younger siblings and we MUST stock up on frozen chips. 

In fact, I loved this book so much I feel inspired to leave you with my own parody following a successful first multi-teen sleepover last night. It goes like this...

IF you can fill the fridge within 60 seconds of coke gone,

Yours is the Earth, and everything that's in it

And what is more, you'll make a great TEEN MOM. 

Are you a Teen Mom? Can you offer me any pearls of wisdom? I'm all ears, please get in touch via the comments section. What's that... it's hell you say? "Shattapp".

Claire xx 

 

 

The print with natural pulling power

There's a little bit of punk and a little bit of Pollock in my latest vintage upcycle. There's also a hint of my son's reception class art apron when it came home for its first term's wash.

The vibrant, paint splattered pattern of Earthed Fabric's Osmosis print is my favourite of the nature inspired Upperlands collection, mainly because it has unexpectedly pulled my eclectic interior decor scheme together. 

I needed a fabric to work hard for the sixties dining chairs that came to me en-route to the skip (above). They're not classics, but have sleek modernist shape. They are also light and amazingly comfy - perfect for moving from room to room as the need for extra seating is required. But choosing a fabric was proving difficult as I searched for a colour that would work in different rooms and for various situations.

Osmosis in Self Heal combines splashes of my favourite brights, yet combines sweeter blush tones on a rich purple background. It makes for a riotous mix, designed to invoke positivity, passion and wellbeing. 

So far (and they only arrived on Monday) those qualities have rocked my white dining room, complimented bold accent colours in my kitchen and nurtured a hip, artistic vibe throughout my whole interior aesthetic. 

The vintage chairs that had to work hard AND look nice!

The vintage chairs that had to work hard AND look nice!

For a pair of chairs that were heading for landfil, that makes for one impressive comeback. They not only look good, but the luxury Irish linen gives them a high quality, individual finish that feels super expensive and translates easily from a laid back to a formal setting.

The entire Upperlands collection reflects the rich and abundant mix of colours found in that one big paint splattered canvas we all call nature. If you're looking for a fabric to bring cohesion to your chaos, these are the prints with natural pulling power. Explore the full range here: http://earthedbywmclark.co.uk/collection/the-upperlands/

Bolster cushions made from Osmosis in Self Heal by Earthed Fabrics.

Bolster cushions made from Osmosis in Self Heal by Earthed Fabrics.

What do you think to my latest upholstery updates? Do you love pattern or shy away from prints? Are you good at sticking to one colour scheme or have things gone a bit, um, artistic of late? I would love to know your thoughts, please drop me a line in the comments section, it would be so cool to connect.

Claire x

The Candy Files: It's hip to be happy

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place.

This Week:

House Candy = Happy Hues

Since I fell in love with this bright yellow SMEG fridge my white kitchen feels like a boiled egg without the yolk. 

Yellow SMEG refrigerator £993 John Lewis

Yellow SMEG refrigerator £993 John Lewis

Encounters with the fridge are rarely happy ones in my house. Unless I open the door to find someone has stocked the whole thing with Pino Grigio, its contents are unlikely to raise a smile. And as it's built into the plain white kitchen units, it's not that exciting on the outside either. 

This fridge will change all that. This fridge is sunshine on a rainy day, a bunch of daffs in the fist of a five year old, a slice of lemon in a G&T.  This fridge is a happy fridge, FACT. 

Fine and Candy = Happy Muse

Fearne Cotton: A model, a baker, a happiness maker

Fearne Cotton: A model, a baker, a happiness maker

Fearne Cotton is one happy lady. She's a happy mum, happy wife, happy cook, happy celebrity and all-round happy business woman. But before you happily bop her on her contented little nose, know this: Fearne has her down days too. In fact, Fearne had so many down days, all back to back in a well hidden period of anxiety and depression, that she has written a book about her experiences and those of her friends; encouraging us to let go of perfection and find happiness in the simplest of everyday situations.

As a big Fearne fan (girl crush aside, her Cook Happy, Cook Healthy book has totally changed my relationship with food) I bought her self-help book Happy out of curiosity more than anything else. And do you know what? I'm happy I did. 

Happy by Fearne Cotton £6.99 Amazon

Happy by Fearne Cotton £6.99 Amazon

 

Candy Pandy = Happy Ruse

The thing not to do is to pretend to be happy when you're really NOT.

If you're feeling like you need to permanently fake a smile and it's all getting too much, then Ruby Wax has a message for you. "It's OK not to be OK" is the strap-line to her brilliant Frazzled Cafe drop in centres, currently running in London and soon to be rolled out at selected locations throughout the UK.  If you think you will benefit from a safe, anonymous and non-judgemental place to talk, or just to meet other fellow frazzlers (4 in 4 of us feel overwhelmed by the stresses of modern life)* register your interest to attend a local talk-in centre here

Well that's my head straightened out. Last week's atrocities in London still make me sad to the core but we can't let them win now, can we? 

Claire xx

*That'll be all of us then. Stat from www.frazzledcafe.org

 

The hot pink chair you can't wait 'til its warm for

"Oh Henry isn't it horrid when you're hot and in a hurry and you have to hold your hat on with your hand."
Henry Holland's second interiors range for Habitat is pure bounce-on-the-bed happiness

Henry Holland's second interiors range for Habitat is pure bounce-on-the-bed happiness

You better get practicing your aitches because there's a hot new homewares range to get your hands on thanks to Henry Holland's latest hook up with Habitat.

If the ads for the latest House of Holland x Habitat collection are anything to go by, Henry is the burst of vibrant energy we all need in our lives on a wet and windy Monday. Thankfully he seems to have translated his sense of fun and adventure into a bright, summer homewares collection that has the power to instantly lift your interior mood, whatever the weather.

Funky florals fire up the tempo of kitsch black and white gingham in a banging range inspired by the colourful world of Romany travellers.  

Beautiful bedding will instantly update a room in the same way that a high street fashion splurge can have you feeling fresh and young again. There's a matching rug that can't fail to fire up any failing floor situation and who doesn't love a statement cushion for a cheap and cheery transformation? But there's one piece from the collection that I think is less of a seasonal pick-me-up and more of a future classic. 

Henry has waved his happy wand over Habitat's Misty armchair and it is now available in limited edition hot pink velvet with contrast navy blue piping.

Misty's splayed black legs and curvaceous seat give it mid century class, whilst the navy piping curbs just enough of the hot pink girliness to give it rock star edge.

As you will know from my Instagram feed (and click HERE if you don't) I'm a huge fan of bright neon colour pops however traditional the contrast may be. Brights are a basic for me. I need them to supercharge the atmosphere with fun and happiness and if I'm bored with how a room looks, the first thing I do is add a Splat or a Zing or a Let's-'Ave-It of bright banging colour. If I'm in need of a super quick fix, a bunch of neon pink roses usually does the trick, but for long term perkiness, this eye poppingly perfect statement chair is hard to beat.

You can try before you buy by visiting the ingenious Henry Holland x Habitat suite at The Hoxton which is decked out in full on triple H happy vibes. But HURRY, it's only on until the end of March, which means there really is only one word to finish off this post.

HELP!

Be free to roam the Henry Holland x Habitat suite at London's Hoxton Hotel

Be free to roam the Henry Holland x Habitat suite at London's Hoxton Hotel

What do you think of the Henry Holland x Habitat range? I'd be so happy to hear from you HERE ;-)

Claire x