Bert & May x Anthropologie ... If Carlsberg did Collabs

If, like me, you suffer from Interiors FOMO please do not miss out on Bert & May’s ten week pop up store at London’s Kings Road Anthropologie store.

anthropologie Kings Rd .PNG

Sometimes I play this game where I have to pick just one shop in the world and that is the only place I can ever buy things from for the rest of my life. The winner is always Anthropologie.

I love Anthropologie’s bohemian vibe and artistic license. I’m inspired by its layering and colour clashing. I love the way it makes the ordinary extraordinary. And I always leave the store feeling absolutely sure that I’m ready to ditch skinny jeans for ever and live out my days in jewel coloured maxi dresses and sparkly cowboy boots.

This week marks the anniversary of another of my brand love affairs. I fell hook, line and sinker for Bert and May at the launch of their awe inspiring Bert’s Box during London Design Week back in 2015. Click here for the blog post to prove it. At that time I would have happily sold up, uprooted the family and moved into a Bert’s Box, complete with copper clad kitchen and rustic-luxe bathroom.

In fact, it was here that I first glimpsed a utopian future in which Bert and May ruled the land, fervently demolishing soul-less housing estates in favour of Bert’s Borough, where everyone lives a super stylish eco-existence in a fully furnished Bert’s Box.

So imagine my excitement when I discovered Bert and May has actually hooked up with Wonder-store Anthropologie and is currently enjoying a steamy 10 week love affair that we can all be a part of.

 What a Bert and May x Anthropologie future might look like

What a Bert and May x Anthropologie future might look like

It’s the collaboration interior dreams and utopian futures are made of. For the next ten weeks at least we can live the Bert and May x Anthropologie dream on Kings Road in London. We can delight in Bert and May’s curated collection of tiles, basins, antique finds and curiosities styled the Anthropologie way.

Now what usually happens when two beautiful beings get married is that they have beautiful babies. This love story is no exception. Welcome Octogan and Pink Pradena to the world of walls and flooring! These two tiles are brand new to Bert and May’s portfolio, inspired by Anthropologie’s soft and delicate colour palette.

 The brand new  Octogan  tile by Bert and May

The brand new Octogan tile by Bert and May

 New hexaganol pink  Pradena  tile by Bert and May

New hexaganol pink Pradena tile by Bert and May

I’ve gone gaga over them (of course I have) and am saving hard for Bert’s Basement - my very own office-come-design-studio in my newly converted cellar. But Ssshhhhh, no more on that little saucy secret, you’ve had quite enough excitement for one day.

Happy London Design Week to everyone who is taking part or just soaking up the inspiration. Please let me know what you’re up to and who you’ve discovered in the comments section. Is there any House Candy Im in fear of missing out on? Please, please DO let me know!

Claire x



Attic Guest Room Reveal - The Housemaid's Tale

Once upon a time in the industrial north, there lived a young housemaid. She was grateful for lodgings in the servants quarters and kept out of sight of the household unless her presence was called upon. She kept the house clean and tidy. She made fires in grand fireplaces. She drew the heavy drapes, she lifted the expensive locally loomed carpets and swept the parquet floors. And after a hard day’s graft, having already tucked up Mi’Lady in her fancy four poster, she quietly climbed the steep steps to the dingy attic bedroom that wasn’t quite home. She dreamt of faraway places and grand houses with shit hot wallpaper…

 The new attic guest room with wallpaper by  Anna Hayman Designs

The new attic guest room with wallpaper by Anna Hayman Designs

I often wonder about the people who lived in our house before we did. I’ve done a bit of research and actually, it hasn’t had all that many owners considering it is over 150 years old. People tend to stay here and bring their brood up, then move to something more manageable when they start to rattle around.

It’s a big old chunk of a house. It was built in 1875 for a local brewing family who were by no means Lords of the land, but had enough money for a maid. It’s lofty to say the least and my London friends love to tell me how much it would be worth if it were situated somewhere with a more sought after postcode. They mean well.

There are a full four floors if you include the cellar and the house renovation has involved revamping all of them. NOW do you see why it’s taken so long?

The attic, where the maid would have slept is the last floor to get the House Candy treatment. It is our guest bedroom and sadly, has always been a bit of an after thought. Like the youngest child of the family it gets the hand me downs and the junk finds. I doubt the day will ever come when we lavish new furniture on this room because there are always bigger priorities. So what do we do if we need to up the ante of a space without buying new furniture? WE DO WALLPAPER, that’s what we do… So pleased to see you haven’t forgotten the basics whilst I’ve been away.

 Anna Hayman Designs  Wanderlust  wallpaper in Blush

Anna Hayman Designs Wanderlust wallpaper in Blush

Up on the top floor, I wanted to create an overall sense of tranquility. This is where we retreat if one of us can’t sleep. It also has a frequent visitor in one of my best friends, who combines her trips to see us with visits to see her mum in a nearby care home. I wanted this to be a space she could really unwind and forget about the bad stuff when she comes to stay.

I didn’t deliberate for long about the style of wallpaper. I knew I wanted to tap into that vintage vibe which suits this crooked space so well. I tried a few tile-like samples as a departure from the florals I usually go for and because I wanted to bring a sense of time travel to the space. This pattern, by my current design crush Anna Hayman Designs, feels both Victorian and a bit space age (and anyway, it’s called Wanderlust which is pretty much my favourite word in the dictionary, so that was that).

The attic room slopes into the eaves - a pretty useless cavity, but which makes it feel spacious. I chose Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath to match the background of the wallpaper and used this on the three walls and ceiling to create an enveloping effect that detracts from the awkward shape. The fireplace wall is the main event and papering the whole wall gave it a heightened sense of importance.

I went dark with the woodwork for the first time ever and I’m so pleased I took the plunge. Dark woodwork draws the eye downwards, which works when you’re dealing with different ceiling heights within the same room. Farrow and Ball’s famous Downpipe was the perfect match.

 Farrow and Ball’s  Elephant’s Breath  envelopes the room which is outlined by woodwork in  Downpipe.

Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath envelopes the room which is outlined by woodwork in Downpipe.

I’m actually excited for the next time my husband goes out, get’s hammered and comes back snoring his head off. Instead of banishing him to the servant’s quarters, I’ll be delighted to leave him tucked up in the master bedroom and tip toe up into the attic to carry on with my dreams.

Do you struggle with choosing wallpaper and paint? It occurred to me that I could be some sort of personal shopper for the interior challenged. There are people I know who LOATHE wallpaper shopping and yet I’d put it up there with drinking strawberry mojitos at sunset as something I am unlikely ever to tire of. Drop me a line if you need help!

I’ll be revealing more of the stories behind the House Candy revamp over the next few weeks so please do keep checking in. Oh and if you thought this one made for a good read, I’d be so grateful if you’d share the post.

Happy Wallpaper Wednesday everyone, my new favourite day of the week.

Claire x

About that 12 week body transformation... *hides head under pillow*

I'm back. Well most of me is back. There's a bit of me that had to go and that's the bit I want to tell you about.

Some of you will remember that 12 weeks ago, I very publicly pledged to get bikini ready in time for my holiday. 

I was approaching my 43rd birthday. I was a little wobbly, both around the middle and in my head. I was at this weird crossroads in my life, where my kids only seemed to need me for the rubbish bits, like washing their clothes, making their meals and transporting them to where they wanted to go. My house was in the throes of a year-long renovation and basically everywhere I looked was a head-fuck. And yet I'd created this bizarre life for myself that revolved around taking pretty pictures of my home. 

But worst, and most importantly, I was dealing with someone very special to me getting three types of cancer, all in one go. 

It's fair to say I wasn't in the best place to decide to re-invent myself as a fitness protoge for the over 40s, but in a state of despair and possibly in search of something else to focus on, that's exactly what I did. Nice one Pricey.

Anyway, 12 weeks have passed. I didn't fulfil my promise of documenting the whole transformation process on Instagram and I apologise for that as I now realise what excellent car-crash style entertainment that would have been. BUT, I wanted you to know, just for the record, I DIDN'T QUIT. 

I didn't turn into Davina McCall either. This is me trying out my new high waist bikini and accepting the fact that I'll never again wear a string. 

bikini.JPG

Look, it's not bad for 43. Physically, it's not massively different to 12 week's go either if I'm being brutally honest. But actually, this bod kicks my 12 week previous bod's ass. Here's why:

1) It is stronger.

2) It is healthier

3) It has stopped beating itself up

4) It's back in control of its mind

5) It is appreciated for what it is

6) It didn't drop a dress size. Better still:

7) It stopped giving a fuck about the dress size.

8) It IS bikini ready, because:

9) It is Whatever ready

10) It is grateful for the gift of being fit and healthy.

Yeah, I toned up a bit. Not as much as my PT would probably have liked, but I'm kind of happy about that too because here's what I also worked out whilst working out:

1) I don't need to be a vision of lean muscle to be happy in my skin.

2) I do need to get through life's ups and downs and whilst being fit REALLY helps, sometimes, so does wine... And maybe the odd Chinese banquet.

3) Life is too short to obsess about macronutrients.

I know we hear this cliche all the time, but being fit does as much for your mind as it does for your body. I suppose it's obvious really. I mean, it's all connected isn't it? My head was actually in worse shape than my body and yet the only flaws I could see were physical. 

Sweating it out, doing something for myself, discovering my own strength and developing a can-do attitude has helped me in so many ways. Most of all it's helped me see things differently and this is the bit that affects the blog and therefore why I feel compelled to share a picture of 43-year-old me in a bikini.

My house has shaped up! Mad isn't it? It's clearer, cleaner, less cluttered, less mental. It's got a much stronger sense of identity and as a result, it feels like a far more nurturing place to be. This is really important to me at the moment. We all need a sanctuary and I want my blog to focus on this.

I'm still a pretty naff photographer so my friend is coming round to take some better pictures soon and I'll do a proper reveal of the house renovation next month. It would be a great time to re-launch the blog with that new name I played about with, My House Sanctuary. Remember that? Flick back a few posts to read about that other identity crisis if you must. But as some of you were kind enough to point out, changing my name now would be a dick move, right? A waste of time and money trying to turn myself into something else, when actually, it's okay just to evolve.

I was worried that at 43 I was past my best. I can't do vlogging, I don't want to be on my phone 24/7. Blogging suddenly felt like a young person's game. But then I realised, all that doesn't matter if you're not in it to make a career out of it. Happily, I'm not and I'm finally ready to call My House Candy, my hobby. 

I'm going on holiday to reconnect with this family of mine that has grown up in the blink of an eye. When I come back, I'll get back to blogging for the fun of it rather than trying to find a way for it to pay me back and I hope that will improve the content too.  

Thank you to The Fit Guru for getting me on the right path. PT is amazing if you can afford it. It's total mind and body therapy, and it really does make the grim task of donning a bikini in your forties so much more bearable. But if you can't afford it, there are still lots of things you can do to get fit for free and I totally believe that getting your heart pumping is the very best thing you can do for yourself. Try running for example. It makes you sweat, it burns fat and every time you do it, you realise you can go a little bit further.

And actually, that's all we have to do.

See you in September.

Claire xx

I DO do duvets - Especially the new Duvet with a Difference!

I've got Bed Head at the moment. That's not just due to the fact that hair washing has been reduced to a treat situation, it's also because I can do nothing else but think of bedroom decor, with three of them to kit out in the next two weeks.

 New Coral printed duvet from Marks and Spencer which is re-thinking the way I do duvets 

New Coral printed duvet from Marks and Spencer which is re-thinking the way I do duvets 

As you may have seen, I've gone for lame ass neutrals on the new bedroom walls so was hoping to spice things up a bit with the bedding and accessories, but this presents an issue and it goes like this:

Bedding needs washing, washing needs drying. Drying (usually) needs ironing and freshly ironed clean duvet covers need a wrestle with the actual duvet to get them in. All things considered, changing the beds is not a job I relish. As a result, I've generally gone for white bedding, which you can pick up fairly cheaply and if we all have the same sized duvets then a kind of squad rotation laundry system can go on. Strip one, change one, wash one etc... 

But like I said, I was hoping to move away from plain white bedding this time and figuring out if I could overcome the laundry implications of this was causing me a headache until PING - an email popped up from Marks and Spencer revolutionising bed changing as we know it.

What if, you just picked up your duvet in the morning and shoved it in the wash? No stripping, no wrestling and perfectly dry enough by bedtime to simply chuck back on? 

 FRESH thinking on duvet days from  Marks and Spencer

FRESH thinking on duvet days from Marks and Spencer

THAT's what the new range of printed bedding promises to do and what's more, it's even available in a choice of really cute colours: coral, mint green, light grey and blue. Look, I get that you may need a couple of minutes to take this news in, I certainly did so just to recap - it's an all in one, 100% machine washable duvet and cover solution available in single and double sizes with matching pillowcase in 4.5 and 10.5 tog options. At a super affordable £32.50, I'm scratching my weary (unkempt) head wondering why we'd ever buy separate duvets and covers again?  

I'm already a fan... I could just do with Super King size please Marks and Spencer if you're listening. Until then this is a brilliant solution for my boys' rooms who we all know were not born with the necessary skill set required to put on a duvet cover. 

 Boy proof blue washable printed duvets from £32.50 at  Marks and Spencer. 

Boy proof blue washable printed duvets from £32.50 at Marks and Spencer. 

Students also take note - FRESH beds are totally possible during term time. I know!!

Thank you M&S, you've always got our best interests at heart haven't you?

Claire x

 

My Victorian house renovation - the final push!

Apologies for the radio silence but frankly, I didn't feel that writing about skirting boards was a valuable use of time given that our lives have been turned upside down by the final phase of Project House Sanctuary. It's all hands on deck as we push for completion of this monster house renovation within the next month.

 My first ever en-suite!

My first ever en-suite!

Unpredictably, the upstairs has proved far more challenging to manage than the downstairs. It seems I can cope without a kitchen far easier than I can cope without a bed or a bathroom which, in hindsight, shouldn't have come as that much of a surprise, since I like sleeping far more than I like cooking.

Far from sanctuary status, as a family we are currently teetering on the other end of the calmness spectrum, camping in the attic with no shower and a daily challenge of locating essential belongings. 

The boys have given up even trying to manage their mess. It's a free for all of washing piles and discarded footwear, proving to me beyond doubt that the state of your home and your mind are intrinsically linked. 

A family holiday came just at the right time for us all. It was a perfect opportunity for House Candy Andy to rip out the family bathroom (the last room to get the Wreck-It-Ralph treatment) and for me to sit on a sun lounger with my pad and pen sketching out living spaces that could actually spark joy thanks to their functionality, elegance and in added cool factor.

So here's a few pics by way of a progress report for those of you that have been following the journey so far (and can I just take the opportunity to thank everyone who has messaged me and offered words of support!)

The Boot Room

boot room.JPG

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the entrance is going to be my favourite space in the house. I've dipped my toe into the dark(er) side with Farrow and Ball's Charleston Grey as the background to what promises to be a very warm welcome home. I decided to take the colour to the most dramatic effect by painting the ceiling, coving, skirtings and door frame the same colour. I've left the window boards white to bring this out as a feature.

The new brick fireplace will house a fire grate and HCA played a masterstroke by adding another alcove as a much needed log store.  

Pops of lime green, with lots of lush plants will provide a transitional space from the outside, in. Storage is key here with the old dairy cabinet set to become a swoon-worthy shoe cupboard and a Victorian storage bench reclaimed from my son's Grammar School giving us the luxury of a place to sit and kick off our boots. 

 If furniture could speak this old storage bench would have a 100 years of school gossip to tell 

If furniture could speak this old storage bench would have a 100 years of school gossip to tell 

In the adjoining downstairs loo, the old butlers sink from the demolished outbuilding has scrubbed up well enough to be fitted onto the legs of an old singer sewing machine. This is a sentimental touch as both my gran and my mum used to sew regularly on this style of machine.  HCA has promised to make me some taps out of copper piping and with budget stretched to breaking point any opportunity to save a little bit of dollar is most definitely welcome.

I like to add a bit of glamour where it's least expected so the boot room, functional as it sounds, is going to get a great ballroom style chandelier to make it feel special. 

This space leads straight into the hall and I wanted to make these two spaces connect, without merging them into one. The Victorian Minton tiles are the showstopper here and they are also the inspiration for the colour choices in all rooms that feed into this central anchor of our home. 

I've kept the walls and panelling deliberately simple, allowing as much light as possible to flow into this space which is limited on natural light as it is a semi. Interest will hopefully be added with artwork and accessories which I look forward to updating you on very soon!

hallway.JPG

The en-suite

en-suite.JPG

Ridiculous as it sounds, our new en-suite bathroom looks set to be the first room of the renovation to actually be 100% finished. I went for a period style sink from Victorian Plumbing as I wanted to see as much floor space as possible. I've gone for small-scale white herringbone mosaic tiles on the floor which really plays with the proportions of the room and a crackled glaze subway tile in the shower (which I'm less enamoured with, but hey, it does the job).

The shower situation has been problematic and we're still waiting on a replacement for a faulty part from Victorian Plumbing after a couple of days of swearing and head scratching from HCA. Meantime, we're all taking it in turns to have baths in the tiny slipper bath in the attic. The boys moan but I think they are all secretly enjoying the extra chill out time that bathing allows.

The en-suite is also Charleston Grey but it looks less brown in here where there is more light and white than it does in the boot room. This shade does a great job of bridging the tricky gap between cream tiles, white floor and white sanitary ware and also went brilliantly well with Marks and Spencer's gorgeous wooden beaded Mila chandelier to bring a bit of boho glam into the proceedings.

In the bedroom, I've gone for classic F&B Elephant's Breath which, unlike its name suggests, is fresh and sensual. We have long-standing sleep issues in our house and I needed a soothing neutral that would work with my vintage accessories without being too girly for Richard. Layering will be key in here and I plan to mix and match textures without going too crazy on the colour palette, opting instead for a more pared back take on vintage glamour.

The boys have switched rooms because you know that Arsenal map wallpaper that I was convinced would stand the test of time for George? well guess what, now he's 14 he wants rid. It was extortionate money at the time so there's no way I'm scraping it off. Instead my younger son who would happily have us cover him head to toe in Arsenal wallpaper, is delighted to be moving in. Both boys' rooms have been given a lick of Farrow and Ball's Cornforth White which is actually a very lovely pale grey and with any luck the carpets will be fitted this week which means an end to three months of bedroom sharing for these two and I actually think they're going to miss each other!  

The Family Bathroom

new bathroom.JPG

The family bathroom is the last room on the renovation hit list but is by no means least. We've gone all out on period detailing with luxury double height skirtings, deep coving and a central ceiling rose to really make the room feel grand. As an extra treat, we've re-used the fireplace from the old dining room as a feature for the chimney breast wall. It won't be a working fireplace but it will add further drama to the room. I've ordered the biggest bathtub I could find for a truly indulgent spa-like experience in this bathroom - the ultimate switch off sanctuary for our busy team (and big enough to cope with at least a couple of mucky footballers)

Again I'm keeping the bathroom fixtures and fittings classic because I want a timeless feel that will be impossible to fall out with. Throughout this renovation, I have been conscious of not repeating our past decorating mistakes. We have always tried to do the best we could afford, but in many cases it has led to additional, unnecessary expenditure further down the line. This bathroom is for keeps so I make no apologies for its safe-ness design wise. There are lots of places in a home where you can experiment with trends, but in my mind, the bathroom isn't one of them. 

Downstairs

kitchen update.JPG

We have held off installing the flooring downstairs until most of the muck and debris is out of the way and we're hopeful that we are approaching that welcome milestone very soon. I've actually got used to the raw concrete floor in the kitchen/ dining area but I'm sure the lovely herringbnone Amtico we have chosen will be the perfect icing on the cake. 

Speaking of cake, it's t'husband's birthday weekend, it's sunny outside and there's a half eaten chocolate sponge cake with my name on it within arm's reach. I'm a good half stone heavier at the end of this renovation than I was at the beginning which I put largely down to the comfort eating and increased wine consumption that has helped see me through. Still, there's every possibility that we will be living on rice and beans for the next five years so let's call this next slice stockpiling and say no more about it, deal?

See you soon for some exciting big reveals (EEK!)

Happy weekend all,

Claire xx

 

 

 

The gift giving memo you need to steal

I'm not one of those people who can say, hand on heart, that their affections cannot be bought because today I found there's nothing quite like a parcel with my name on it to perk up a mediocre Wednesday.

 Fluro write with me pencil £1.50  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Fluro write with me pencil £1.50 www.featherandnest.co.uk

That said, I wouldn't be moved to instantly write about the contents of said parcel unless I could describe it as "right up my alley". This one is. (See my Instagram stories for deets)

Feather and Nest - a new independent store selling quirky gifts and homewares is SO up my alley it makes me want to move to the picturesque Oxfordshire town in which it resides just so that I could be lucky enough to call it my local. Fortunately for t'husband they have a website as well.  

Now I don't know if Feather and Nest nicked my slogan, or I nicked theirs, but it's cool because the more believers in our shared theory that "your house should tell your story" the better. We like a curated house we do. As I keep saying, these days "House Candy" should have a place in our heart if it has a place in our home. This notion not only makes us excellent decorators but outstanding gift givers; because our pressies are both thoughtful and co-incidentally cool. 

I love buying gifts but I don't always have the time to do the job justice. Now that I've found a store that thinks on my wavelength I'm really happy that I can head straight here for items that can be delivered with all the love and affection I would normally put into a dedicated shopping trip. 

Please scroll past if you're moving house, having a baby, getting married or just so downright wonderful that you are deserving of a random gift from me this year because the following shopping memo might well spoil the surprise. 

Memo

Things to buy for people I REALLY like, but probably haven't got time to go shopping for:

1) For the New Baby

The baby gift stresses me. What size will they not have an overflowing drawer full of already? Is what I think is cute also what they will think is cute? Have the parents still got a sense of humour or are they just too bloody tired? The cactus lamp suits everyone. It's fun, it's cool, it's useful. When all the other gifts have been left unworn because by the time they fitted it was the wrong season... the cactus lamp will still look funky and remind the parents to stay cool.

 Cactus lamp £10  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Cactus lamp £10 www.featherandnest.co.uk

2) For The Bestie

Cushion buying is a risky business but when you win at it, it's the gift that says you get your mate like no other. This cushion is a winner. It ticks a lot of trend boxes, I have to admit, but it's also a monochrome, palm print, tassle-tastic classic. Buy it for your very best and most stylish friend. And also, please, for me.

 Palm print tassle cushion  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Palm print tassle cushion www.featherandnest.co.uk

3) For the Friend in Need.

Winnie the Pooh said that nobody can be un-cheered with a balloon and it's possibly the only one of his musings I don't 100% agree with. I'm not a fan of balloons, but I AM a fan of candles for making any mood unquestionably better. I am, however, a candle snob and not only do I want the candle to smell divine, but I want it to come in a really gorgeous pot that looks the part too. Paddywax has nailed this niche with a range of hand-poured soy wax candles, matching diffusers and handwash that smell yummy, but also leave you with the prettiest of little jars to re-use long after the flame has died out. 

 Paddywax urban candle £10 www.featherandnest.co.uk

Paddywax urban candle £10 www.featherandnest.co.uk

4) For The Midlife-er 

Resist the urge to buy Gin. They've got tons. Buy them something nobody else has thought of instead. Buy them a quartz arrow pendant because excellent accessorising will see them stylishly through the midlife crisis. 

 Arrow jade pendant (black) £38  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Arrow jade pendant (black) £38 www.featherandnest.co.uk

5) For The Student

Remind them to never lose their sparkle (and to please change their socks)

 Sparkly lurex socks £8.50  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Sparkly lurex socks £8.50 www.featherandnest.co.uk

6) For the woman who has everything but can't seem to find any of it

This book will show her where it was all along. Kate Moss buys it for everyone she knows. Be more Kate.

 Self Care for the Real world £16.99  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Self Care for the Real world £16.99 www.featherandnest.co.uk

7) For the one you share a bed with

Basically bottled love potion.

 Magic organic body oil £28  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Magic organic body oil £28 www.featherandnest.co.uk

8) For the one you were shitty to

Because it sucks to have to say sorry and we all need an ironic sloganed notebook to note down the people who are shitty to us.

 Notebook £6.99  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Notebook £6.99 www.featherandnest.co.uk

9) For the girl that thinks she's SJP

Because a clashing purse is an instant outfit update and this one looks way more expensive than it is.

 Turquoise purse £22  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Turquoise purse £22 www.featherandnest.co.uk

10) For The Homemaker

An anglepoise lamp in must have pastel green avec coper hinges. A bringer of lightness and positive chi in one chic, yet totally useful package? I mean, give it away by all means. But hell, you deserve a gift too don't you?

 Desk lamp £69  www.featherandnest.co.uk

Happy weekend you generous bunch. 

Claire xx

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to My House Sanctuary

Instagram followers will know that I’m having a bit if an identity crisis and the reason is this: The never-ending house renovation has knocked the sugar coating off me. Too much House Candy has made me feel sick and I'm in search of sanctuary!

 My fresh new interior thinking (and fresh eco kicks)

My fresh new interior thinking (and fresh eco kicks)

It's grated on me for a while, but the realisation that maybe I'd outgrown the House Candy label was all too evident last week. The snow had come to make a difficult living situation just that little bit more trying and a trail of discarded wet clothes led me to my boys who were thawing out watching Shrek in the lounge, the only room that remains unaffected by the house renovation. It was that bit at Shrek's kids' birthday party when the ogre can't cope with being nice anymore and lets rip with the most outrageous roar. 

 When Shrek had had it with sweetness.

When Shrek had had it with sweetness.

"That's you!" they all laughed, hysterically.

Ha bloody ha.

Now I wouldn't normally take any notice, but there was something about party pooper Shrek that really struck a chord. There were all these people in his house, it was noisy and messy, he should be having fun and yet "ROOOOOOOOAAAAAARRRRRRRRRR". He just longed for his old life back and the sanctuary of the cosy little hideaway he used to call home. I totally get Shrek’s beef.

Life is stressful and our home should be our escape from that. When we come home, it’s important to feel relaxed and yet so often we come home to be faced with more mayhem. There’s the pile of ironing waiting for us, the kids to feed, the dog to walk, the bathroom to clean… the list goes on. That’s just life of course, but I totally believe that your surroundings can soothe your mental state and suddenly I'm all about interior design being my self-help for the home.

I’ve designed my new spaces with wellbeing in mind. I want to create a home that appeals to our senses and helps us all to be our best selves, not the fat, green ogre some of us have a habit of turning into. 

So that’s why I wanted a new start and a name change and why I'm hoping to re-launch the blog when I've finished re-launching my home! The decision may appear to have come out of the blue, but please know that it actually comes from a good place in my heart and a better place in my home. 

My House Sanctuary is definitely where I’m at style-wise at the moment thanks to the opportunity I've had to start over with the house renovation. The clear outs have made me vow never again to fill my space with pretty stuff just for the sake of it. It takes up space in my house and my head that I no longer have room for. 

Maximalism suddenly feels too chaotic for me. Trends feel too fickle, flat pack too throwaway. I've filled WAY too many skips and would really like to leave more than landfill as my legacy when I'm gone.  I've been involved with every little detail of re-designing my living space and am excited to show you how it turns out over the next few weeks. But this time around, I'm not looking to wow you with a jaw-dropping instagram hit of a house. I want it to be more laid back than that, more soulful in its styling. Be prepared to be under-whelmed!

I've always said that your house should tell your story and My House Sanctuary feels like the next logical chapter in the design journey for me. I've learnt so much about myself in the last six months and would like to think it's time to lose the candy floss fluffiness and get serious about my style. I''m all about relaxed living spaces that give us less reason to lose it.

Soooooo, a refreshed blog is in the pipeline and hopefully I will be ready for a bit of a re-launch when the house is finished in a couple of months' time. That surely means we need a party right? (I'll be the green monster stifling a roar)  

Happy Mother's Day to all you other Mummy Hustlers out there. I've just had the most amazing news that tomorrow's football match is off due to waterlogged pitch which means breakfast in bed is most definitely ON. How's this for a bedroom sanctuary tho?

 Fornasetti II Collection Chiavi Segrete wallpaper by Cole and Son

Fornasetti II Collection Chiavi Segrete wallpaper by Cole and Son

Claire x

The Hallway Hangover Part II - Light Therapy

As far as I can tell, a Polar Vortex is good for one thing and one thing only. Downtime. House Candy Andy is snowed in, which means he's not shouting for me every ten minutes to decide where I want a radiator pipe, how high I want a skirting, which particular style coving I had in mind and, whilst I'm choosing the en-suite, can I be quick with the cuppa. Tea, half a sugar in case you want to join his waiting list.

So yay for The Beast from The East and the opportunity (wifi permitting) to update you on the hallway situation, which I know you've been worried about, as have I.

stairs and landing.JPG

It's fine. The panelling is still very raw and a bit masculine for my liking, but now that the paper is off and the new plaster dried, I can see that it's going to be great. In fact I've even agreed to just a weeny bit more woodwork. I know, I know, I was all about overkill last week, but I've figured out an opportunity for extra accessorising and in my book, that's never a bad thing. In this instance, I wanted somewhere on the stairwell to flaunt my love of flowers... and then I remembered Rule No 3 of my (yet to be published) laws of decorating: No one ever regrets an extra shelf. See below for details. 

panelled shelf.jpg

I'm going light guys. Sorry for all you dark divas out there. I get that it's cool and all, but it's not me. Not here anyway (though I may reveal a dark side to my character elsewhere in this renovation).

However daring I start out colourwise, I finish the day French. Light, airy, nonchalantly elegant and above all CHIC. The decorator is with me next week so I'll have definitive colour choices then, but expect pale and interesting, rather than dark and dramatic. Okay? I can sense disappointment, don't panic. I will style this one out, you see if I don't. 

I've been in my absolute element choosing lighting and mirrors. I don't want to spoil the big reveal, but suffice to say, here's where I'm balancing out all the hard edges of the panelling with some signature boho glam. I've chosen the main three lights from my fave online interiors store www.ohwhatsthis.com and they will soon be added to my style picks (which means you get a 10% discount on them too).

 Bronze Ballroom Chandelier £585  www.ohwatsthis.com

Bronze Ballroom Chandelier £585 www.ohwatsthis.com

I'm looking for a classic, timeless feel to the hallway, which, as it joins up all the rooms, feels like the main artery of the house. Timeless is key because of course, I AINT EVER dramatically changing this space again. Just thought I'd be clear on that point. We can change it up accessory-wise as the fancy takes us, but this is the last major overhaul for this space under our care. FACT.

I plan to add interest with art, mirrors and of course a few vintage accessories, but I doubt I'll be going overboard in my new found appreciation of SPACE.

I've really enjoyed the clarity that has come from starting with a blank canvas. I'm loving unpacking boxes and only putting back what I love. This phase may pass, (although my husband hopes not) but for now I want to appreciate each piece of the jigsaw that pulls the final look together. Space, I have discovered, helps with that. 

Whilst on the subject of my new, holistic approach to decorating, I should warn you that I've had a bit of an epiphany of late. Along with the Polar Vortex, these Easterly winds seem to have swept in another Beast;  Me, on a mission. 

I could go on for hours about how this whole renovation process has changed my style, but it's also stirred something deep inside. No, not a hernia - although I am haemorrhaging pound notes right now - what I mean is, it's brought about a more considered approach to interiors and a more mindful me. Expect BIG changes here on the blog in the coming weeks and months as I pull the rest of the decor together and reveal the positive steps I've taken to nurture the soul of my home through interior design.

Sound smug and a bit annoying? I really hope not because that's the last thing I want to be, but I do feel there are basics of creating amazing living spaces that are not really discussed on interior blogs and yet hold the key to truly fulfilling homes. In other words, there's more to this decorating lark than creating gorgeously Instagrammable rooms and I would love to share with you some of the things I've learned. Change is afoot and I could not be more excited. But first, can someone tell the Beast from the East to do one, I've got a house renovation to be getting on with and the best my builder can build is a snowman.

Hope you like my ideas so far? The boot room is also coming along nicely. You might even have seen the brick chimney breast on my Instagram stories? For those of you that missed it, here it is:

brick wall.JPG

This will house a fire grate to defrost footballer's frozen toes and also provide a handy log store for the house. The new front door arrives next week and the floor has been chosen already so I'll look forward to sharing more photos with you in my next post.

Happy snow day(s) and more importantly, I'd be a very bad Pricey if I didn't wish you all a Happy St Davids Day.

Claire x

 

 

 

 

 

My hall has got a hangover!

Help me I've been panelled!

Seriously if you stand still long enough round here you get a piece of 6 by 4 screwed into you. That's what happened to the hall this week and I can tell you it was not a pleasant experience. Never mind the dust and the noise, there was that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'd overdone it.

stairs.JPG

The morning after the first run of panelling had gone up I couldn't look at it. OVERKILL. I panicked. I felt the burning need to hide House Candy Andy's circular saw before the place turned into a period drama room set.

 The depressing state of our landing :(

The depressing state of our landing :(

How did I let this happen you say? Greed, that's how. Filthy, stinking GREED. Hopefully you've been there at some point in your shallow existence too? When you love something like I love the dark blue panelling in the kitchen/diner and you want more. KNOW WHEN TO STOP PEOPLE.

So it's done now and I will have to live with the extra layer of dust that will gather weekly on the grooves for the rest of my life. As extra punishment, I've also had to scrape off the extravagant Farrow and Ball lattice wallpaper I pleaded for about 5 years ago.  It was all too much see - panels, patterns, picture rails (sicky mouth).

Instead, I now need to spend some time un-restoring the hallway. Stop it looking too OTT and ridiculous. I must tone things down to let Andy and Paul the joiner's really rather marvellous handiwork appear - not as a greedy afterthought - but as the beautifully strategic architectural detail that should always have been here.

 Elegant panelling inspo from the Parisians

Elegant panelling inspo from the Parisians

I plan to simplify things with soothing hues, modern lines and elegant lighting. Interior wise, I need to do the equivalent of swallowing an alka seltzer. House Candy Andy also needs to put the circular saw away once and for all. It's given me a headache.

What are your thoughts on panelling? Love it or loathe it? Have you ever overdone it interior wise and lived to regret it? Let me know in the comments section.

Claire x