Six ways to work the Signature Stool

You know it already. House Candy can be anything from a beautiful vintage vase that cost peanuts in a charity shop, to a designer chandelier that swallowed a month's salary.

But can it really be something as simple as a stool?

 The luxurious  Lune V stool  and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The luxurious Lune V stool and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The answer of course is hell YEAH.  But only if it's a Signature Stool like the stunning Lune V from Open Plan Living. Let my people in Paris explain...

"The signature item is a gift that a woman gives herself depending on her age, her taste and the size of her purse. It is a symbol of independence and freedom, which states, "I bought this for myself, I earned it and it makes me happy." P.31 How to be Parisian Wherever you Are.

The Lune V Stool by Portugese furniture brand Duistt and supplied by Open Plan Living makes me very happy. Nothing could qualify as a greater signature piece based on the above definition because (sorry boys) this one is ALL about me. I secretly saved up the pennies from my sideline copywriting job for this, my first bespoke piece of furniture that wasn't upcycled, and delighted in choosing the exact shade of luxury pink velvet and brushed brass finish. 

Now House Candy at either end of the price scale is likely to cause a stir, sparking such extreme reactions as:

When it's a junk shop find: "What do I want that piece of old crap in my house for?"

or equally...

When it's a designer gem such as this (and especially if one resides in Yorkshire): "Ow much?"

But if we fill our home only with items that avoid heated debate (or indeed a full on row), interior design wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it? 

Seriously though, even I had some soul searching to do for this one. A sofa maybe, the iconic Egg chair I've been yearning for my entire adult life or a set of vintage Wishbone chairs, these items of course I would happily save up all my wages for. But a stool? FFS.

Here's a close up of it in hot pink (the colour of my cheeks when I was forced to divulge the price to the House Candy husband).

 The  Lune V stool  from Open Plan Living

The Lune V stool from Open Plan Living

There are lots of people who wouldn't flinch at spending big on something as small as a signature stool and plenty of interior designers reading this who will have no problem justifying its price tag to discerning clients who demand the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship.

Open Plan Living works with a wealth of clients for whom only the very best will do and prides itself on delivering supreme customer service. But the firm also works with the likes of you and I, who have a much more realistic budget to stick to and yet understand how one or two high end details can transform the whole look of a scheme. For me, this way more European attitude to interior design exemplifies the beauty of the signature stool. 

My house if FULL of junk shop finds that cost peanuts. I wasn't always forced to buy cheap (and in many cases my husband would prefer it if I didn't) but I love their unique-ness and the character they bring to my interior mix. 

However, I am careful not to overdo it. Overdone anything is a bad thing and - just as I love a vintage dress but wouldn't go head to toe vintage - I was conscious my home was becoming too much like a vintage stage set. It needed some added luxe to get the balance back. 

The wonderful buzz you get from buying a designer item comes from knowing you've worked hard for it and in my experience, the designer item is likely to work equally hard for you. This is because you are keen to ensure it is worth its price tag.

My designer stool is working 6 times as hard as a regular stool for exactly this reason. Here's how:

Six ways the signature stool can work wonders

1) Dressing table

Dressing table.JPG

2) Bedroom perch

3) Desk Dolly

4) Extra Dinner Guest

5) Lady in waiting

6) Foot stool

I've come to the conclusion that this pretty pink perch is actually the supermodel of stools. It has the power to make anything look good and can therefore justify its high wages.

In all of the images above, the Lune V stool is teamed with charity shop finds which, you have to agree, notch up a style level once they've acquired some designer luxe. This mix and match approach to decorating means that you can afford to splash out on a seemingly ridiculous signature pieces from time to time because you've saved money elsewhere in the budget by buying second hand. It's the eclectic way and the Parisian way. And whilst it might not be everyone's way, it's most definitely the House Candy way. 

Have you got any signature House Candy? Designer or charity shop? I'd love to know what you think to mine. Please drop me a line in the comments section.

Happy weekend all. Why not treat yourself to a little luxury just for you, even if it's a £5 coffee at a coffee shop instead of the mediocre instant brew you'll make at home. Like I've told you before, you're worth it.

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

 

 

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

Perk up your poky hall with £31 pounds

I'm in limbo. I hate my poky entrance hallway (again) and yet I've been told it's likely to be next year until the builders can fit me in for my big renovation plan. I need a cheap solution to perk things up and see me through just one more summer.

It's a big ask for a small carpet and yet I've convinced myself that a super colourful hall runner is the answer to my prayers. 

 Pink to make the hall wink. Image from RugPal.com

Pink to make the hall wink. Image from RugPal.com

As this is a temporary measure, I'm on a particularly tight budget. In fact, it needs to cost less than the pair of blush pink leather brogues I've been eyeing up to bridge that other annoying time lapse until the warmer weather arrives. 

 Knox nude flatform brogues £110  Kurt Geiger

Knox nude flatform brogues £110 Kurt Geiger

I know, I know and thank you for your concern. It's a sad day when a woman must forfeit her footwear for her floor. But sometimes we homeowners have to take one for the team, don't we? Unless of course, we can find exactly what we are looking for, for such an bargainous sum that there are still plenty of pennies left in the shoe fund. Now that would be clever.

Oh Hello Petal

 Stina runner. £31.50  Urban Outfitters

Stina runner. £31.50 Urban Outfitters

This Stina floral runner is a measley £31.50 now that Urban Outfitters have been kind enough to slash the price. Faded out florals give it a lovely vintagey look that is so feminine it might just detract from the aroma of sweaty trainers wafting from the shoe cupboard. It is lightweight and cotton which means I'll chance it on a cool wash once in a while and ... wait a second... blow me if it doesn't go perfectly with those blush pink brogues. 'Cos we all match our shoes to our hall runners, right?

In my book there's nothing like a dash of pink to pretty things up a little. Call back soon to see if it does the trick.

Happy Monday all. If I can help perk up your week and address any niggly interior woes, please drop me a line in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.

Claire xx

 

 

Why nature is your best neutral

I know you love palm prints and pineapples, so do I. I'll never tire of leopard print and I'm still saving up for a giant cactus in the hall. But guys, I live in suburban West Yorkshire. The nearest I've been to the jungle is the tropical butterfly house at Roundhay Park... in fact I'm thinking of taking the kids there after school, just so we can get warm. 

When it comes to decorating, why is it that we're obsessed with exotic representations of the living world and not what's on our doorstep? I wonder if anyone reading this in Chile could tell me... are you into our English wood pigeons the way that we dig your flamingos?  

It comforts me that there's a new interiors trend emerging that feels a lot closer to home. Nature is always in fashion, obviously, but the new colours and prints of the season show a migration towards the Northern hemisphere, where a love affair with our temperate climate is finally blossoming. Subtle colours and gentle patterns have the ability to blend into an existing scheme without overpowering it. They are neutral, but not as we know it.

 My "Trad meets Rad" Parker Knoll x  Upperlands  makeover.

My "Trad meets Rad" Parker Knoll x Upperlands makeover.

Dusky Florals, Spring Greens and Ocean Sprays are just three of Elle Decoration's 7 Big Decorating trends in its April issue out this week, proving that Nature is King where cool interiors are concerned. Prints are also big news, as is a renewed appreciation of artisanal products, hand made using traditional methods and created out of love.

Having taken note of all these tick boxes since the Spring/Summer 17 interior trends emerged, it struck me that Earthed Fabric's new Upperlands collection, ordered for a recent chair upcycle, was more than just a fab new range of pretty patterns.

Upperlands is a range of Irish linens inspired by the water that has served the William Clark fabric house for over three centuries and naturally evolved its landscape. The designs explore how early pioneers of technology at Clark’s harnessed water to drive their industry. The patterns, which include the industrial connotations of Revolution, turbulent Osmosis and the vibrant Torrent designs (see the full range below) are all available in colour palettes specially designed to evoke positive emotions, for what the company calls a contemporary twist on traditional Irish linen. 

There's a lot for me to love here. As you know I've been banging on about colour chakras for some time (Honestly, I'm actually writing this whilst fiddling with my magic blue and yellow crystals). I'm ALL about the power of positivity and will indulge in it in any form I can; be it food, art, literature and yes, even furniture.

 "It was fine before she painted the bloody legs yellow."  Vintage Parker Knoll upholstered in Faded Grandeur from the Upperlands collection by Earthed. Legs in Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake.

"It was fine before she painted the bloody legs yellow."

Vintage Parker Knoll upholstered in Faded Grandeur from the Upperlands collection by Earthed. Legs in Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake.

I salvaged this old Parker Knoll from a house clearance with only a modest layer of 50+ year old foam covering its bones. It makes me so happy to see it now looking majestic in Faded Grandeur from the high quality Upperlands linen range and rocking those funky Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake legs like a proper little groover. It's a combo I named 'Trad meets Rad' over on Instagram - and one that certainly matches Earthed's vision for a contemporary twist on tradition.

So I love the feel good factor of this range and the holistic element to its beautiful colourways. I love the reference to nature and the artistic edge that sets these designs apart from more graphic prints on the market. The traditionalist in me loves that the William Clark artisans have been producing linen more or less the same way for 300 years; linen that has no doubt covered countless Parker Knolls... And the fashionable interior nut in me loves the fact that due to the random style of the print, my re-loved Parker Knoll is not only totally and utterly unique but bang on trend too. 

So yes to palm prints and flamingos, pineapples and parrots. Why the hell not I say. But I'm giddy as an English garden sparrow on the first day of Spring that nature as we know it is currently the coolest neutral known to man and beast. (Well at least for this season anyway). Click here to get the luck of the Irish waters flowing through your home so that you too can wallow in:

a) The incredible and highly infectious power of natural positivity

and

b) The knowledge that you are one hell of an on-trend home maker. 

So what do you think? Can you embrace nature in your curtains or will you be taking more of a scatter cushion approach? What do you think of my upcycle? It's not everyone's cup of tea but there's been a whole lot of love for it on the socials. I'd absolutely love for you to drop me a comment here if you can. I've got another couple of vintage chair transformations in the pipeline that are totally worth looking out for. Please do pop back for a nosey.

Have a great weekend all.

Claire

xx

Why I'm checking in at Hotel House Candy

If the girl can't go to the swanky hotel, the swanky hotel must go to the girl. 

I love a hotel break. I love the whole checking in bit and counting down the door numbers to find my room. I love cocktails in the hotel bar and night caps from the mini bar. I love the free shampoos and the pillow menus (yes, I'm that posh). I love room service and breakfast on a tray with a side order of crisp newspaper. I love the fresh sheets, the fluffy towels and the manly robes. I love people watching and guessing whose having an affair with the hunky night porter. No way does that only happen on telly.

I totally get why Marilyn Monroe took a suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel instead of fending for herself and reckon if I was a millionaire spinster I'd do the same.

Thing is, I'm not.

In fact, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that most days it feels like I'm the one running the B&B. More of a Fawlty Towers experience I admit, but with evening meal, laundry service and personal chauffeur thrown into the FREE room rate, I've yet to receive a formal complaint.

So I'm not quite sure whether it was the wannabe hollywood movie star in me, or the frustrated housekeeper that could not resist these burnished gold, mirrored letters at the flea market this week. They still have some LED strip lighting in them and I'm hoping to resurrect them to make a full on light-up sign. The question is for where?... The penthouse suite? The Lobby? The private members bar? A swish new bathroom complete with chandelier over the bath? 

I'm open to suggestions. Please do let me know what you think in the comments section. Meanwhile, there's the toilet paper corners to fold so I must dash.  

Claire xx

PS If you enjoyed your visit please help spread the love by giving this post a quick share on any of the socials whilst I get happy hour started in the bar. Nuts are complimentary :)

Original WAG = Serious SWAG: My Tina and Bobby crush crescendos

I haven't experienced WAG envy on this scale since Victoria Beckham's Team Baden-Baden taught the world a lesson in girl squad manners back in 2006.

Michelle Keegan's portrayal of Tina Moore (wife of World Cup '66 hero Bobby) in the ITV series Tina and Bobby has stirred something inside. Not just Inside my heart, not even limited to inside my wardrobe, but inside my entire home. I want a bit of that late sixties/early seventies WAG (SWAG as it now needs to be known) at House Candy HQ and I'm turning to the celebrated retro-glam interior designer David Hicks for inspo. 

 A classic David Hicks designed living space

A classic David Hicks designed living space

Contrasting textures define Hicks' style, with deep shag pile carpets balancing out the shiny surfaces and angular shapes of furniture typical of this era. Orangey browns and rusty red leathers that remind me (in a good way) of Starsky and Hutch are punctuated with pops of glossy turquoise. Leafy house plants, low hung, slightly random wall art and patterned curtains rock a retro vibe that my sources tell me is set to make a significant comeback this year. 

And it is this kind of SWAG - a retro & therefore infinitely cooler version of today's luxed up footballer's wife style, that we were invited to swoon over in Tina and Bobby.  In particular, it was their last marital home, the dream 70s open plan new build that made me long for life back when there were only 3 TV channels, telephones were attached to curly wires and it was the done thing to barbeque in 6 inch platform knee boots. 

Here's some ideas I'm considering to help me bring a bit of retro-glam SWAG to my pad:

1) Cladding

 Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

I'm thinking of putting the flooring up the wall when/if the kitchen extension ever happens (unlike Tina and Bobby, we're having to save up see). The ceilings will be lower there and the modern contrast will create a cool kind of cosiness in an otherwise featureless new-build area.

2) Contrast Piping

 Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

I've been hunting for the perfect low, boxy sofa for some time and having failed to find it, I've decided instead to get my 11 year old Habitat Sydney sofa recovered in velvet and add some contrast piping. Tina and Bobby had a similar look in the TV series, complete with fringing which I'm also absolutely mad for, but am saving for another project. See below.

3) Fringing

I fancy a day bed. Welllllll, it's the perfect place for a SWAG to get her pedicure done and with this fringing no one will ever know that I'm way too posh to hoover under the furniture.

3) Kitchen Hatch

OK so this probably won't happen, but I SO like the idea of decanting my M&S ready meals in the privacy of the kitchen then serving them to an adoring dinner party without them ever needing to know the secret behind my Chicken Chasseur.

4) Flos IC lighting

 Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364  www.amara.com

Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364 www.amara.com

If Flos IC lighting were a celebrity, I'd be its stalker. Ball shaped pendant lights were big in the 70s but can somebody tell me in what era these simple, elegant yet not at all ostentatious beauties would look out of place, because I can't think of any. 

Here Flos look stunning in a period panelled setting, an image I've been staring at for far too long already today. These babies are earmarked for my hallway and that's a fact. 

So Tina, you can keep the diamond rings. I'm not fussed for the fancy cars and as for the wealthy, good looking football hero of a husband... pah! what a let down he turned out to be. But I do like your retro WAGishness lady. I love your bo-ho dresses and since adopting your beehive, my fine hair has a whole new lease of life. I love your SWAG Tina Moore (or at least I love Michelle Keegan's version of your SWAG) And I'd LOVE for you to bob round to my place for Babychams so we can talk the Dralon and tassles off each other.

Claire x

Unless stated, images are pinched from Pinterest where incidentally I'm collecting 70s interiors images like WAGS collect collagen. Follow me here for inspo.

 

 

 

The Candy Files: Flea Market School Special

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

House Candy = Flea Market Wins

You may have noticed I've been bossing my flea market game of late? In actual fact it's been a few year's in the making, this finely tuned skill I have developed, whereby I can loot a second hand market in 15 minutes flat, returning with *mostly* covetable house candy.

 Drawers, pink vase and mirrors are just a few of my "vintage" flea market trophies.

Drawers, pink vase and mirrors are just a few of my "vintage" flea market trophies.

I am in fact a self made Flea Market Pro and I don't mind sharing a few tips with you right here. 

1) Go with as much cash as you are willing to spend and nothing else. Do not be tempted to take a debit card and draw out more from the nearby cash machine. If you can't afford it, walk away. 

2) Go with an open mind. If you are looking for an old butler's sink, I can promise you that you will find everything BUT the kitchen sink come market day. Three week's later when you've sourced one near enough to the one you want on Ebay and travelled to Berwick on Tweed for it, that's when the exact mother f**ker - the sink of your freakin' vintage dreams will turn up at the local market.  So to avoid this disappointment and the associated expletives, be open to whatever treasures fate has put in your way that particular day. This week it was peacocks.

 That day Peacocks were trending at the flea market

That day Peacocks were trending at the flea market

3) Don't lose out over a quid. Ok so this kind of contradicts point one above, but I have seen it happen where a trader wants £6 for a lovely old vase that has quite clearly delighted a punter. The potential buyer caresses it, they turn it upside down, frown a bit for effect and offer £4 because, of course, most market shoppers come to barter.

"Best I can do is £5", says the trader who incidentally has been there since 6am and is just trying to make a living by way of a dirty, smelly house clearance.

"Pah! says the punter, you're having a laugh!" And walks away.

And yet no one is laughing, least of all me, who has mild anxiety and promptly offers full price for the beautiful vintage vase, which SURELY will bring six quids worth of joy?

On the other hand, traders aren't dumb. When they look you up and down before giving you a price that's above what's worth arguing over, barter the hell out of 'em. That's not playing nice. See point 4) below.

4) Go in your scruffs. Look poor as a beggar boy/girl if you can and drop the posh accent. Mind your ps and qs tho. There's no excuse for bad manners is there? 

5) Pack your bags. There is no worse feeling than skipping home with the 1950s coffee jug you've been watching on Ebay and getting it home to find the lid got cracked in transit. A good market trader will wrap valuable breakables in newspaper but those sturdy supermarket shopping bags with a flat bottom?... they are arm candy for the savvy salvage hunter.

Above all, when it comes to vintage/flea market shopping, remember what my mentor Sarah Moore off of Money For Nothing just tweeted after congratulating me on the sofa scoop below. Sarah says (and Sarah knows); "You only get one chance with a one off vintage find. Don't let it get away."

Find a brief rundown of some great places for a rummage at the end of this post.

Fine and Candy = Flea Market Snobbery

 The room flea market snobs love to hate

The room flea market snobs love to hate

Some people wouldn't be seen dead at a flea market; like my husband for example. I get that. My advice? stay well away. You won't like it any more than you thought you would. If you haven't got the bug already it's unlikely you'll catch it, but you may well catch something a lot more unpleasant while you're there. That said, you can always go and get a good steaming hot cuppa and watch everyone else buy someone else's dirty rotten cast offs. Some days I think it could turn into a sport.

Candy Pandy = Flea Market Fleas

It's always a concern that you get more than you bargain for with a flea market scoop. I prefer my loot to be free of any life forms and whole heartedly recommend the Bissell product range for removing stains and odours from soft furnishings. This bad boy is fast becoming my best friend.

Bought any absolute beauties at the flea market recently? I'm still plugging away with the #myhousecandy hashtag on Instagram because it would be so cool to share each other's vintage wins don't you think? Please, follow me over there, where I promise I will show you mine, if you will show me yours. Which b.t.w is generally how the vintage community jams ;-)

Happy house candy hunting all. What do you think of my scoops? I'd love to know your thoughts. Please drop me a comment here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Thank you to one lovely reader who asked for some recommendations on flea markets in our local area of West Yorkshire.

In Huddersfield we have a second hand market twice a week on Tuesday's and Thursdays. It's a mixed bag of house clearances and more specialist vintage-ish stalls but always very fairly priced. Check out the outdoor market in your own area for similar and don't forget to give the local car boot sales and charity shops a once over too.

Our local household recycling site has initiated a genius outlet for salvageable homewares where all proceeds are donated to charity. They basically loot the skips so you don't have to. Even I have my limits and aside from saving me the humiliation of diving in the tip after a wonky lampshade, it feels doubly good to know you are reducing land fill and at the same time donating cash to a good cause.  

Of course, if you'd prefer to get your vintage scoops pre-sourced and also all shiny and cleaned up by someone who actually knows what they're doing, specialist vintage markets are the place to go.

Check out these sites for some hot beds of pre-loved, swoon worthy house candy near you. 

http://www.vintagehomeshow.co.uk/buy-tickets

http://www.judysvintagefair.co.uk/

http://www.ukvintagefairs.com/

Claire xx

Hello... Buy, Buy - My New Year/All year Shopping List Sorted

It's the dregs of the sales. All that's left is stuff no-one loved enough to buy full price, no one really wanted (or fitted in) at half price and whose only hope of a nice home is a weak willed shopaholic hoarder... such as myself.

 Me, choosing love over literally every sensible notion

Me, choosing love over literally every sensible notion

I have, in fact, been known to make some of my greatest ever purchases mid January. I can't bear the Boxing Day bun fight, I may have a quick scan through the rails in New Year, but mid Jan, when everything has been returned, bought and returned again, THAT is the time to bag the big win my friends. Last year's All Saints leather jacket being an excellent example. 

Anyway, this year I'm steering clear. Not of shops per se, because that would make me sad, but I am avoiding the usual shopping destinations in a bid to save my soul and quite possibly my marriage.

Instead I've drawn up a shopping list of things I am allowed to buy in January next to the list of things I'm not.  It goes like this:

I won't buy:

Wine

I will buy:

Flowers

They're prettier, they smell better, they are massively less fattening. They don't make you shout at your kids so much in the morning. Invest in a new vase to celebrate this lovelier new you. I like vintage ones. This ceramic patterned 80s number is a cheap imitation of my favourite retro Zambesi pottery design, but I will never hold that against it. Alternatively try Marks and Spencer's new vintage inspired glass vases in fresh Spring Summer 17 colours that can't fail to banish winter blues. 

I won't buy 

Cook Books

I will buy

Reading books

It's tempting to chuck a new healthy eating cook book in the trolley along with ridiculously green groceries, but this year I will not succumb. I already have a full set of Joe Wicks and still not progressed further than smashed avo on toast - it does the job and I see little point in attempting something substantially less rewarding. Meanwhile, this book idea has got me salivating: 

 Library goals from Suzyhoodles.com on Pinterest

Library goals from Suzyhoodles.com on Pinterest

I got one book for Christmas. ONE BOOK!!! Of all the people that bought me presents, one person thought I would enjoy reading. This must be addressed. I love reading. I don't have much time to read, but when I do, I love it. I also love to flick. Book flicking is one of my all time favourite things to do, in fact I actually don't think there's a better way to spend a spare five minutes.

So I'm buying myself books this month and next month and every month for the rest of the year. By the end of the year I will have enough books to create a really cool library. Next year, EVERYONE will want to buy me books for Christmas and I will feel both cleansed and clever.

I won't buy:

Shoes

I will buy:

Slippers.

Like all sports, reading requires the right footwear. I like the idea that these Mahabis are billed as slippers for non slipper wearers because *whispers* I'm still trying to be more Parisian thanks to my favourite all time reference book and I'm not sure slippers go at all well with the vibe. This is possibly as close as it comes: 

 Dual purpose  Mahabis

Dual purpose Mahabis

I also like the fact that Mahabis come with removable outdoor soles so that when you're pottering about indoors and suddenly have to dash out to the library to reserve that French first edition (see how seriously I'm taking this), well then it's just a case of slipping on some rubber um, sole thingys.

Sexy, no? Well sexier than fluffy pom pom boots anyway and that's progress.

I won't buy

paint

I will buy

Art

So here's where I lay my soul bare and tell you, I'm crap at decorating. I'm messy, I'm impatient, I'm far too indecisive. I find it much more fun to play about with accessories rather than change the actual walls themselves. Art is just the best way to dress a house and I actually cannot stop buying it. My latest purchases are prints by www.evermade.com and whilst I'm saving up to complete the full set of family portraits, for now it's just me and the Fox. 

I won't buy

The hype

I will buy

Time

I did what every successful blogger tells you not to do and switched off a bit at Christmas. I resisted the nagging urge to blog, I paid less attention to social media and I just had a really lovely time with my family and friends. It was the most fun I've had all year. It also helped me get my priorities in order for this year and assess where I'm at in this whole blogging malarkay.

I don't want to be a super blogger. There I've said it. I don't need millions of followers because, well, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going and I'd hate for you to blame me if we took a wrong turn. I'm a life long wanderer and this blog is no more than a collection of my wonderings in the field of homemaking. It allows me to exercise my inherent need to write, to be creative, meet new, inspiring people and share amazing new ideas and fresh designs. And that's cool with me.

So I'm refocusing a bit. I won't be burning the midnight oil to be the first to bring you the latest interior trends from Milan. Are you bothered?... I suspected as much. I won't be seeking out a multi million pound sponsorship collaboration 'cos I could never be trusted with that amount of cash anyway.

Instead I will be having the best time rummaging around market stalls and charity shops, finding furniture to reinvent with dreamy new fabrics and delicious new wallpapers. I will just adore finding quirky home accessories that I may be forced to part with on the all new House Candy Store.  I will be stoked to tell you about some high street scoops that look way more expensive than they are, and, most exciting of all, I will be seeking out new creative talent and telling the stories of people who really do deserve to make mega bucks for the House Candy they bring to the world in a brand new page I'm calling Candy Floss!

So, sorry it's taken me a while to bring you my first post of 2017, but it feels like it was totally the right time to pause, refocus and write myself a mental shopping list.

I am so excited to see what this year brings and what interior gems we will uncover along the way. Please do let me know about what you're up to housey-wise (or other wise) and if you're an actual creator of actual House Candy ... well then we really should talk.

Hope your New Year has got off to a flier but if not, stick your slippers on, look at some art, buy some flowers and read a book. After that you will be SO ready to rock and roll, of this I can promise you.

Come back soon,

Claire xx