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

 

Why I'm switching on the Marks and Spencer lights

I know its Big Switch On Week and we're all about seeing z-list celebrities give Christmas the green light. (And the red, yellow, blue, pink, purple and orange light etc.) But illuminations-wise, we really need to fast forward to January when half the bulbs have blown in those tacky flashing bells, but your new Marks and Spencer designer-look chandelier casts a million watts of class.

When BHS went into receivership this year, it left a void for staggeringly good value designer look lighting. It was Marks and Spencer I turned to to fill that gap and purchased three super stylish lights, all of which could easily be mistaken for high end brands.

This Sputnik inspired Dexter lamp caused the biggest stir on Instagram and, if I'm in the mood, I'll still let a visitor or two think it's designer.

Dexter  copper sputnik light £179 Marks and Spencer

Dexter copper sputnik light £179 Marks and Spencer

Now BHS is back with an online only offering and once again some achingly good copy cat classics. But Marks and Spencer's Spring Summer '17 homewares launch shows they are not about to be knocked off their new found lighting pedestal.

Since I haven't been asked to switch on my local Christmas lights this year (or any year for that matter) I'm consoling myself with the thought of flicking the switch on any of these faves come their release date early next year. 

Stella 4 light chandelier £125 Marks and Spencer SS17

Stella 4 light chandelier £125 Marks and Spencer SS17

Loft leaning tripod lamp £95 Marks and Spencer SS17

Loft leaning tripod lamp £95 Marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin 6 light candleabra £199 Marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin 6 light candleabra £199 Marks and Spencer SS17

Mila Chandelier £299 Marks and Spencer SS17

Mila Chandelier £299 Marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin table lamp £89 marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin table lamp £89 marks and Spencer SS17

Recently, I was lucky enough to take a peak at the full range of Spring Summer 17 homewares from Marks and Spencer and discovered a whole load of fashion led, luxed up house candy.

On-trend furniture detailing such as marble table tops and brass legs featured heavily, demonstrating how the brand has once again found form. Recent fashion collaborations have helped resurrect its pole position in our hearts as well as on our high street, and if the new homewares collection is anything to go by, Marks and Spencer appears to have flicked that interior style light ON for 2017.

Hope you're all joining in the Christmas countdown? Would you believe the boys and I found ourselves inadvertently swept up in a santa parade with a bunch of fully grown elves whilst going about our regular town centre business on Saturday? Turns out Hygge is not that big in Lapland. For these fellas, winter is just one big party.

Claire x

Archive by Alexa returns for Christmas

This is not a pea coat...

Templar Coat  £99 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

Templar Coat £99 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

 It's a navy blue wool mix pea coat with contrast black velvet collar and brass button detail. 

This is not a blue blouse...

The Lovell Blouse  £35 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

The Lovell Blouse £35 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

It's a powder blue, high frill collar cotton blouse with a preppy hint of suggestion.

This is not a shirt dress...

Portland dress  £45 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

Portland dress £45 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

it's a .... Oh okay, you get the drift. The second round of Archive by Alexa has dropped at Marks and Spencer and I'm Christmas advert-style excited about it. 

I know, I'm not a fashion blogger and I'm not going to pretend I know anything about the cut of the fabric on the halter neck polka dot number or any of the other pieces in this winter capsule collection for that matter. All I know is this: It's nice, affordable clobber, handpicked by Alexa Chung. That's ALEXA CHUNG btw - and she ploughed through a hundred years of Marks and Spencer designs to pick her favourites so that we could love them all over again. And I do.

I went OTT on the summer launch, but with Christmas coming it's a situation I really need to avoid this time around. Instead I want to pick just the one hero piece for prosperity and in case you're interested, I'm going for a Luxe Tux; for two reasons:

1) I wanted to introduce the term Luxe Tux. Catchy huh?

2) It's velvet (heart eyes).

Clarenden Tux £75 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

I warned you I couldn't do fashion speak. Homewares on the other hand I can talk in detail about. In fact I'm crazily excited right now because tomorrow I am visiting Marks and Spencer HQ in London to preview the Spring/Summer 17 Homewares offering. More on that amazing, pinch-myself situation later.

In the meantime, I just want to put it out there that an Archive by Alexa Homewares range would be magical. And, oh! what a coincidence, here I am living so very near Leeds and so perfectly placed to dig through the Marks and Spencer archives and help hunt out vintage house candy.  

Alexa, if you're reading, I am not an interiors blogger... I'm a vintage obsessed, self proclaimed trend spotter ... and I'm you're freakin' biggest fan!

Grab it while you can fashion fiends. Just save me a Luxe Tux will you?

Claire x