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.

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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



Where's the Love In Da House?

Oh, hello. Remember me? Sorry for taking unauthorised leave of absence but I just needed a month off to chisel the dust off my laptop after the Christmas kitchen extension and have a good old pause for thought. 

New year, New House Candy Goals

New year, New House Candy Goals

There's a lot of us doing this interior blogging thing and I'm not sure the world needs us all shouting about the same stuff, do you? I wanted to step back and assess what noise I am contributing and the truth is, it's taken me a month of drying out over January to think straight and gain a bit of perspective. Anyway, here's what I found:

I've realised that I can only talk with absolute authority about the stuff going on in my own home and life, so that's what I'm sticking to and what you'll find here is more on the designs and interior choices that are helping me towards MY dream house scenario (which I'm kind of hoping you'll like too). This could take a while since what started out as a kitchen extension has somehow turned into a four storey overhaul. I know, right? *crowd funding ideas welcome*

I've got a lot of work to do and of course a budget to work to, so I'll be looking at ways to stretch it as far as it will go. My main objective for the house is to restore it to its former Victorian glory. It has been stripped of many of its original features over the years and because every job here turns into a big operation, there's been plenty of bodge jobs, make-dos and cover ups. It makes no sense to keep throwing good money after bad so the main bulk of our budget is to be spent on getting the basics back to their best.

We've only ever had one main bathroom and a downstairs loo and the structural changes have allowed us the luxury of incorporating two more shower rooms into the house, which I'm sure will become necessary with two growing boys! All the bathrooms are having to be re-done which of course is a lot of money and I've got a few ideas to try and get the high end look I'm after at a fraction of the cost. Keep following to see how that pans out and if House Candy Andy can cope with any more of my unconventional up-cycle ideas. The word Pinterest is enough to send him into meltdown as followers of the story so far will be all too familiar with!

Do not adjust your sets, this is modern up-cycling at it's bright and beautiful best!

Do not adjust your sets, this is modern up-cycling at it's bright and beautiful best!

As you know, I love vintage style more than modern but that's not a passion shared by the rest of my household. Still, I believe vintage style is timelessly chic and doesn't have to be all about pastel pinks, frills and florals (though all of the above are fine with me).

Hopefully in creating a home that blends vintage with modern I can inspire a few more people to re-love old furniture that doesn't deserve to be scrapped, support more amazing charity shops and also bring ideas that may help you achieve the interior look you want, for less. 

Masculine vintage is how I'm pitching many of my new room designs!

Masculine vintage is how I'm pitching many of my new room designs!

There are some items that I believe you should invest in the best you can afford. I'll only splash the cash on luxury items if I believe they are keepers and that's why I always prefer to go for classic styles rather than trend led furniture. I was recently asked to curate a page for a wonderful online interiors store called Oh What's This. If you haven't already checked out what I chose, have a look here. I keep referring to this list when I'm designing rooms and adding furniture and accessories because it's easy to get distracted by gorgeous new trends, but really important to nail down your own unique style. This is totally mine and if you like this Classic-with-a-twist style too, bag yourselves 10% off with the code HouseCandy at checkout. I'm going to spend some time explaining why each piece is a keeper in my next post.

I've got ongoing beef with social media and for the sake of my sanity, this year I need to buy back some of the time I am prone to wasting on there to do more things that make me happy. Making this discovery of extra creative time has already led to an exciting new venture which I don't want to jinx by blabbing about yet, but rest assured I will BLAB MY MOUTH OFF about across ALL of the medias if it actually comes off in the future.  

So that's what the future holds and a few things I needed to get off my chest before we began. Unfortunately I've been further stalled because House Candy Andy has had a wobbly start to the year health-wise (nothing to do with me) With any luck he'll be back to his bolshy best by Monday and we can get cracking.

In and amongst house do-er-upping, there's a family to look after and style goals to maintain; the life of a Real Housewife of Suburbia is multi-facetted as you may already be aware. If you're in agreement I thought it might be cool to share any life-wins I discover along the way, be that the get-me-anywhere outfit of dreams or a £5 gravity defying face cream that you need to drop whatever you're doing and head out for RIGHT NOW.  But look, I'm as much work in progress as my house is and I'm still reading the manuals. I've recently discovered a couple of good ones including Self Care for the Real World by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. In it they have turned the essence of what I've been banging on about for three years into an international best seller that Kate Moss herself proclaims is her bible. Nadia and Kate say: "Your home is your identity and it tells a story about how you want to feel in it: make that story comfortable, calm and beautiful." That's House Candy goals 2018 right there.

Ready, Steady, GO.

Happy weekend all,

Claire xx

Holy Faux-liage - why I worship at the altar of artificial plants

I don't normally advocate faking it. Preserve what you've got is my motto. But try as I might, there are some things I fail to keep looking perky and pot plants are one of them.

Faux-liage is the answer to my green-fingered prayers. Hallelujia! then for Abigail Ahern the patron saint of succulents, who has blessed us with her fabulous faux florists, at Heals on the ground floor of Yorkshire interiors heaven Redbrick.

If ever there was a more beautiful display of plastic products, I'd like to see it. 

Abigail Ahern's faux flower shop at Heals in Redbrick, near Leeds.

Abigail Ahern's faux flower shop at Heals in Redbrick, near Leeds.

You might be fooled into thinking into thinking these stunning plants and flowers are real, but please don't be fooled into thinking AA fauxs are extortionately priced. OK, so a Hydreangea stem will set you back £12.50.

A pretty pale pink Rannuculous is £5.50

A simple burgundy cow parsley spray is £6

You're looking at around £40 for enough stems to make a statement vase, not cheap, I get that, but what you need to remember is that this is the bunch of flowers that keeps on giving. Week after week, month after month, year after year. Anniversary after anniversary... ahem, it's this week, love (winky face) 

Fauxs actually make excellent plant maths, so as one by one my disastrous attempts at home grown greenery depart this world, I am just going to replace them with perma-plants instead. I mean, I've got enough mouths to feed. I'm over it.

Goldenball cactus from £60

Goldenball cactus from £60

Large Yuha Cactus £145

Large Yuha Cactus £145

Staghorn plat £70

Staghorn plat £70

String of Pearls £50

String of Pearls £50

From lush trailing ferns, to the coolest kingsize cacti, these are the fakes to bring a room scheme to life. Ironic when you put it like that isn't it?

But hey, you can't just take my word for it. Like all the best fake jobs, you need to have a good look and see if they really do pass as the real thing first. Then go on, cop a feel. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Don't worry, Heals won't mind you fondling their foliage one little bit.

Here's where to get your hands on these fabulous fauxs, whilst also taking in the best interior design destination in the North of England, home to over 40 top brands and innovative retailers.

Redbrick  is situated in Batley, on the outskirts of Leeds.  Click here for directions.

Redbrick is situated in Batley, on the outskirts of Leeds. Click here for directions.

Happy Monday all. my advice to get you through the week? Go buy yourself flowers of course!

Please get in touch, I'd love to hear from you and will gladly accept any floral deliveries also (joke) Leave a comment below and stalk me on social media... stalks... flowers... get it? Sorry, I'll go now, before you tell me where to shove my Tule Cactus. 

Faux Tule Cactus £65  Abigail Ahern

Faux Tule Cactus £65 Abigail Ahern

Claire x

 

 

 

Maximum respect

So it's Day 4 of my Ridiculous Blogging Adventure. Are you caught up yet? (Scroll down the last few posts for deets)

As I near the end of my whirlwind war against boringness, I'm looking for inspiration to push the interior boundaries. Ref: celebrated American interior designer Iris Apfel.

Interior, fashion designer and business woman Iris Apfel for Alexander McQueen

Interior, fashion designer and business woman Iris Apfel for Alexander McQueen

This Queens born broad was appointed to design interiors for nine US Presidents, presumably resulting in a series of White Houses that were anything but white. 

Maximum respect Grandma. I mean, if I can get away with a six foot Ostrich statue in my lounge when I'm your age I'll be giving myself a fist pump. In the meantime, a Matthew Williamson ostrich feathered lamp might just have to do* 

*Sighs longingly.

Ostrich feathered lamps feature heavily in Matthew Williamson's maximalist home. His new furniture range launches in Harrods soon.

Ostrich feathered lamps feature heavily in Matthew Williamson's maximalist home. His new furniture range launches in Harrods soon.

All this plumage makes my recent parrot cage purchase seem far from ridiculous. It's another second hand market steal that I bundled in through the back door hoping to escape the prying eyes of the neighbours. (Believe me, they've seen enough).

They can keep the ASBO on hold however, because lucky for them I have no plans to start up an aviary. Instead the cage is my pretty new plant stand. What do you think?

Tada! Second hand metal parrot cage £30. Selection of real and faux plants models own :D

Tada! Second hand metal parrot cage £30. Selection of real and faux plants models own :D

Like most things in my place, this is work in progress. The ideal scenario involves a lot more trailing ivy, and some pretty leafy ferns. But you get the drift.

Here's more inspiration from Pinterest, this time featuring actual birds. Ridiculous concept for a bird cage, right?

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Of course this is all very boho - the cornerstone of maximalism - but it's also a really easy way to group together leafy greens to make a much bigger and more striking statement. 

Smaller versions are effective too, but be sure to look for trailing plants that will spill out through the wire bars. I tried it with some cactuses and it just looked pants.

What do you think? I reckon Iris (who in my head was deffo in Marilyn's squad back in the day) would definitely approve.

#Teamridiculous or #teamboring. Which squad are you?

Drop me a line with your thoughts.

Cx

 

 

 

Day three: Call the quack

"It's better to be ridiculous than to be boring," said Marilyn Monroe. Allegedly. Right before she was wheeled off in a straight jacket.*

Whether or not they were her exact words is debatable. But I don't think you can really argue with the sentiment. That's why I've decided to adopt it as my style memo. At least for this week. It's my 11th commandment; Thou Shalt Not Bore.

So for another accessorising idea that could never be described as boring: Rubber Duck lights in your kitchen. Like, who does that?

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Um, all I can say is, it's unlikely you'll know the joy of a string of rubber ducks lighting up your kitchen until you have a string of rubber duck lighting up your kitchen.

I stumbled upon the joy by accident really. I was clearing out the attic and found a box of stuff from George's nursery. Since I couldn't persuade him to have them back (and I was going through a major yellow crush at the time) I strung them up defiantly in the kitchen. And here they've stayed. 

Look, I'm not saying wooooaaaahhhh aren't I just the coolest mum and the craziest decorator or anything. I really don't think that's a statement you can make with a string of light up rubber ducks. 

What I'm trying to say here is that playful interiors kind of make for a happier and far less boring place to be. If you find stuff in the attic that makes you smile, get it out there. Even if it's a bit ridiculous. Do you get my drift?

These ducks remind me of the first decorating job I took seriously. My first baby's bedroom. He never slept in there of course. He wouldn't sleep anywhere unless he was clinging to me. Which makes me wonder... you don't think he was scared of the mad string of ducks hanging over him do you? Jeeezzzzzz.... If only I'd made his bedroom boring.

Maybe you oughta try bunny rabbits instead. Nobody's scared of little white bunnies, right?

Bunny garland £19.90  www.notonthehighstreet.com

Bunny garland £19.90 www.notonthehighstreet.com

Got any childish lights or quirky accessories that look better for being in the wrong room? Let me know what you think to this idea and any others that I've been playing about with this week. As always, it would be great to hear from you.

*As far as I am aware Marilyn Monroe was neither medically insane, nor ridiculous.

 

 

 

I fell in love with a circus freak

If you read yesterday's post (and if not why not) you'll know that all week I'm testing out Marilyn Monroe's theory that it's better to be ridiculous than to be boring.

So here's my second confession: I collect pot clowns. Well okay, I collected this vintage Italian pot clown from a second hand market recently and it's raised all kinds of eyebrows.

Maybe its the dusky pastel colours that make it OK? or the jaunty cross legged perch that strikes a chord? Or likely I was drawn to him through a shared incapacity for decent make-up application?

Whatever happened there at the market stall I still can't quite put my finger on, but the fact remains that a funny fella wearing pom poms on his shoes now lives in my bedroom. The husband has had to adjust to this, but like I told him, there's a chance (a slim one) that I could be ahead of a trend here. And if he loved me enough he'd find a way to wire my new friend up and stick a lampshade on his head. Any offers? 

Upcycle woes aside, I do actually believe that vintage circus memorabilia sits perfectly with the industrial & commercial interior styles that are huge right now. I'm thinking brick walls, neon signage, fairground lighting.... and if you can't quite come to terms with an ornamental clown, how about a poster version? This one framed up would work perfectly in my kitchen. And might even help to scare hungry kids away :)

Vintage American Circus Poster £150  www.ebay.co.uk

Vintage American Circus Poster £150 www.ebay.co.uk

So what are your thoughts on clowns? Still a bit scared? Completely ridiculous? Certainly not boring though, right? Please do let me know your thoughts in the comments section. I would be made up to hear from you.

There'll be more from me and my curious homewares show tomorrow. Until then, that's all folks. Cx 

Beg, Borrow, Steal: Plates

I like the idea that walls have ears. My walls are 150 years old and I bet they could tell me some right gossip. So when I saw this gorgeous display of plates bearing curious Alice-in-Wonderland bunny ears at Decorex International, I knew the rumours were true: Plates are big news for wall decorations this year.

Walls have ears display by  Petit Friture  at Decorex International 

Walls have ears display by Petit Friture at Decorex International 

Beg, Borrow and Steal is my new feature about working an interiors trend at all levels of budget. Bored of canvas prints and black frames? Well here’s how you can serve up some serious style points using plates.

Beg:

Fornasetti plates From £125  www.selfridges.co.uk

Fornasetti plates From £125 www.selfridges.co.uk

I was wowed by a wall of eery looking Fornasetti portrait plates on a recent stay at The Lowry hotel in Manchester. Eating your dinner with 36 pairs of porcelain eyes fixed on you can be a tad off putting. But if you’re looking for a feature wall to make you stare, these are the plates to start collecting.

Fornasetti wall plate £225  Liberty of London

Fornasetti wall plate £225 Liberty of London

At £225 each, these gold detailed ones are going to require some serious begging. But I’m putting it to The Purse Strings that he may want to consider buying me one plate each for my birthday, Christmas, wedding anniversary and Valentines Day throughout the course of next year. By the time I’ve got enough to call it a collection, their value may well have doubled. Free financial advice? ... you are most welcome.

Fornasetti Gold tone ceramic wall plate no 37  www.liberty.co.uk

Fornasetti Gold tone ceramic wall plate no 37 www.liberty.co.uk

Borrow 

This is the bit where I ‘borrow' from another era to show you how a bit of savvy salvage shopping can save you a fortune. Retro designs always do it for me and I picked up these 50s style dinner plates from an independent vintage homewares and gift shop a few years ago. These are actually modern Kimono plates by quirky design team freckle designs and though a full set would make the coolest dinner service, this twosome in my dining room will have to do for now. 

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OK I hear you. This is way too safe to qualify for the Quirky Plates on Walls award so I’ve been on the hunt for something a bit more out there. How’s this?

Prince Primate is so darn cool he’s nailing three trends in one. I’ve told you before that monkeys are the new flamingos, right?. Art alternation is also scoring big points in the interiors world with the likes of Abigail Ahern (yes her again) coveting a range of graffitid portraits in her sell out accessory collections. Well this is the same thing in plate format. Genius Etsy artists Beat Up Creations give vintage plates an uber- cool update. This Plates + Primates + Art Alteration = one hell of an interior fashion hat-trick in my book. 

Look away if you’re in my fashion obsessed #girlsquad as Taylor Swift would say. Santa is going to need a whole load of bubble wrap to deliver this year’s Christmas shopping...

BFFs Lucinda and Hazel by Beat Up Creations £33.08  www.etsy.co.uk

BFFs Lucinda and Hazel by Beat Up Creations £33.08 www.etsy.co.uk

Steal

And finally, this is the section where I show you a high street steal - Or an on-trend bargain that’s not on the high street, as the case may be.

You can have your pick of super cute messages spelt out on these ceramic plates for only £14.95 by A Piece Of Art at www.notonthehighstreet.co.uk … which means that with the plates trend, walls can have ears, eyes and a big mouth too :) 

Fornasetti plate £125  www.selfridges.co.uk

Fornasetti plate £125 www.selfridges.co.uk

Have a great week all. Want to spread some interior rumours of your own? If you could drop me a line that would be smashing.