Monday, 28 May 2012

A trip to Southwell and Reg Taylors.


Yesterday was very much a 'quid pro quo' day. In return for a trip to Southwell, including a browse and a bite to eat at Reg Taylor's garden centre, I had to marvel at the wide range of tractors available at the nearby John Deere showroom (for the 2 year old). On the way to Southwell we had to slow down every time we passed either a tractor, a digger or a dump truck....making our car not one you wanted to be behind (or 'in' as far as I was concerned) if you were keen to get somewhere!

A small price to pay for eventually arriving at Reg Taylors in the neighbouring village of Normanton. As garden centres go, this is a corker! It's in a beautiful setting, out in the Notts countryside, close to Southwell....a very pretty Nottinghamshire town boasting a Minster, numerous attractive period houses and a choice of places to eat amongst other things.

Reg Taylors is enough of a reason in itself to go there. Not only is the nursery stock bursting with choice but there is a fabulous interiors shop (Christmas is a great time to visit) and an outdoor living section. For the boys there is the lawn mower shop! (Yawn! But very useful whilst Mum does interiors!)

After having a good mooch around and making a couple of small purchases in the interiors shop, we had a spot of lunch in the tea room. This is not your average tea room though. It's actually a licensed restaurant as well as a tea room. The surroundings are bright, modern, crisp and stylish and as yesterday was such a fantastic day we sat at an outside table with far reaching views over the adjoining 9 acre swan sanctuary also run by the Taylor family.

As we sat there at the rather nice rattan glass topped table with lovely comfy rattan chairs and enormous parasol, for a moment or two, I actually imagined I was on my hols not at a garden centre!

That was until 2 year old dropped his ice cream onto the cream cushion before announcing to the world that he needed a nappy change with the usual degree of detail! It was time for a sharp exit.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Celebrating the weekend. (Any excuse!)

Candle - By Melt (and it has!), Verbena and Clary Sage. Glasses- Habitat. Vase - Ken Eardley. Table - Garden Trading.

What another fantastic day we've had! I've heard so many people moan about the weather over the past few days. It's too hot. It's too sunny. It won't last. I prefer 22 degrees not 24....and on and on and on! Why can't we ever be happy?

My friend posted me a pic from Abu Dhabi from the temperature guage of her car. 46 degrees. Now that is something that justifies a moan!

I, even as a fair haired, fair skinned kind of gal, love the fact that I can get outside whether it's to do a spot of gardening, play with the kids or just sit and read a magazine in the sun. And I so look forward to the prospect of sitting outside into the evenings with a glass of something. It might not last, but I intend to make the most of it whilst it is here. (Please note, my weekend rarely starts with Moet! I'd actually have preferred Prosecco...but alas, our cellar was bare!)

The candle has seen better days but the smell is gorgeous and I am determined to eek every last bit of scent out of it....lots of carving with a bread knife! The vase, which I love, was a wedding present from a stylist friend of mine and is by a Brighton based artist, Ken Eardley. I nipped to my mothers and stole the lilac.

My other mission this weekend is to re-house my seed pots above. I have been very lax this summer on the planting seeds front, other than sowing some wild flower seeds at the front of the house, and so on Wednesday, feeling a little guilty and disappointed, I popped to the garden centre and bought sweet pea and beetroot seeds. (2 separate items...not some cross-fertilised scented climbing vegetable!) The lack of trays upon which to sit the pots meant I had to raid the children's playhouse and steal (this post is rapidly portraying me as a kleptomaniac!) trays from their play kitchen! Not the most stylish.

My other task is to buy some nice pots for basil (my taste of summer), coriander and mint plants for the kitchen window well as bringing out the garden dining furniture, BBQ and lighting the chimenea as the evening draws on...

I hope it doesn't rain......

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Red shoes and a striped lamp. Nautical but nice!

Hooray for some nice weather! As the sun was shining, I thought it the perfect opportunity to dig into the depths of my shoe stash and bring out my summer red sling backs! Absolutely nothing to do with interior decorating....but what the heck! Instantly cheered me up! Apologies that the dodgy photography makes it appear that our house is on a massive slope! I could fib and say that is why I look slightly off balance. Nothing to do with the killer heel.....Shoes from Bertie.

 I had a short lived trip into town yesterday. I had the 2 year old with me, hence the trip was cut very very short! It started badly. My ever so efficient husband had, ever so efficiently (Yes. You correctly detect slight sarcasm!) cleared my car in readiness for its little make-over today, and in doing so removed the buggy at the same time.

Aaaaaaaarrrrgggggg! As a result, I think I probably ran the equivalent of 46 miles around John Lewis in as many seconds, hot footing it after Usain Bolt (son!) who thought the whole thing was hilarious! Adding insult to injury, he shouted "Silly Mummy." the whole of the time! Yes. Silly Mummy indeed. The fabric I had intended looking at, and about which I will have to refer another time, remained un-looked at. I ended up in the white goods department replacing all the price tags and closing all of the now opened washing machine and oven doors!

I decided, when it looked like we would be thrown out, that we would leave voluntarily. Exit through the lighting section where I dashed past and caught a fleeting glimpse of this lamp. I love it and it looks even nicer in the flesh. Slightly nautical but quite smart at the same time. It's called 'Alina' and is £45 for shade and base and comes in red too.

Enjoy the sunshine....assuming you are lucky enough to have some!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Things I couldn't do without.......

One of my favourite things about this time of year is that the Wisteria around our front door begins to burst into flower. The smell is just divine and my friends and passers-by express 'Wisteria envy' every year! I'd like to take credit for my lovely Wisteria, but sadly, this too was an inherited gem from the previous owners.

I laugh every year. It has become some what of a tradition that myself and my neighbour, a very keen and experienced gardener (unlike myself!), engage in a Wisteria battle.....who can produce the healthiest Wisteria! Every year, my neighbour argues that I am the victor and that his Wisteria pales into insignificance in comparison. If only he knew that I don't do anything from one year to the next. No pruning, no feeding, no anything! Given my relative non-green fingered-ness, I am surprised it is still alive! Having said that, this year I did cut out an article about 'pruning your Wisteria' by Monty Don and I did endeavour to do the odd bit of pruning and added a little potash to the base. No doubt my extra (only) care and attention will shock it to death, if all this rain doesn't murder it first!

As for things I can't do without....

With two children still at that age of being unable to eat or drink without losing half the contents of the fork, spoon or cup before reaching their mouths, my absolute must is wipeable pvc table cloths.

I know many a convert to the PVC tablecloth, made all the more attractive a proposition by the increasing number of fabulous designs available now. Honestly....PVC can be stylish!! Never thought I would say that!

Take a look at the wide range available at John Lewis online. Anything from retro to country cottage to funky modern. I defy anyone, even the most resistant to PVC anything, to not find a pattern that they could live with, probably even really 'like' from the choice available!

I LOVE the stuff (I must add here.......for tablecloths alone!!). It is reasonably inexpensive (from around £9 per metre), lasts for ages...years... (clean with white spirit for removing stubborn stains) and can be bought by the metre and in fractions of a metre. There are some lovely, playful children's designs too. Ideal for the dining table or just to cover a surface when doing arty, craft, messy stuff! 

A lady recently questioned me about what household item/gadget I could simply not do without. In the grand scheme of things, I could obviously quite easily manage without many many of the relative luxuries and gadgets surrounding me in my home. When pressed, and at this point in time, and aside from cooker, fridge etc, I plumped for my Kenwood Chef. I think the PVC cloths might just be up there in the top 10 too.

What would yours be?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Eight going on eighteen!

You may have noticed a slight hiatus in my posts of late. No real reason other than I have had a hectic week with no real time for interiors.

My current project or should I say, 'projects' have been on my mind but there has been little in the way of action.

You may recall a few posts ago I mentioned that the children's bedrooms were next on the hit list. Both rooms are currently in their 'transition phase'. My daughter is moving from pink ("So babyish!") to blue and my son is going from cot to bed and gingerbread man to something more 'little boy' not baby. As yet, I am undecided.

The pictures below are the start of the blue room. I have removed the pink curtains (which I loved, with their cutesy white bobble trim!) and the window awaits some form of blue, possibly white, curtain to add a bit of depth to the window which has a plain white blind at the moment.

You may also remember that I ordered some bargain bedding a few weeks back as Cath Kidston no longer stock the blue spot bedding which was my first choice. The blue spot bedding that I found was somewhat cheaper than the Cath Kidston version and I did have my reservations at the time. Unfortunately, when it arrived it was not as I had imagined and so it went straight back! I shall say no more than that!!

At the same time I had ordered some bedding for my son...white with sailing boats. Although this too, was not quite as I had imagined, it was actually perfectly ok and is now waiting for the bed onto which it will go.

Anyway. Back to the blue room. The return of the blue spot bedding was actually, as it turned out, quite fortuitous. I thought my daughter would be bitterly disappointed, particularly as I was unable to find a replacement, only for her to tell me that she was actually really relieved as she didn't really want spotty bedding....that our house was fully of spotty things and that she really wanted something a little more 'grown up'. She is 8!!

So, with budding interior designer in tow, we trudged off around town on the hunt for 'mature' bedding! First stop. British Home Stores. Strike One! We found this lovely Juliet vintage ruffles bed set in the sale. (Phew! For a kingsize quilt, I got off fairly lightly!). Duvet cover and pillow cases from £35.

The pic below shows the set off far more stylishly than the main pics, which are post use and un-ironed! (I'm afraid I don't have time to iron quilt covers!).

To add some colour and layering I found a blue toile bedspread by Cargo which matched my client's requirements perfectly! Similarly priced bedspreads (£40-£50 for a kingsize) can be found at BHS and Dunhelm.

The lighting needs 'maturing' as well and so we chose this light fitting from Next for the central ceiling light. It is a little more modern, yet pretty. We decided there was still room for 'pretty' in the scheme, just so long as it wasn't pink!  

We've still to find a replacement lamp shade for the bedside lamp and a few other bits and bobs, but things are slowly taking shape and the room has an altogether more grown up feel to it.

What you can't see is the One Direction poster on the wall at the opposite end of the bed!! When I suggested that a poster of 'Blue' would have been far more apt, my daughter just stared at me as if I had grown a pair of large, green ears and fourteen extra arms! "WHO??"

Admittedly, already I have spent more on bedding than I had planned for a child's bedroom. My defence being both that I am constrained by the size of the bed....a double with kingsize duvet.....and the fact that the new scheme should see her through the next few years without too many changes. I'm sure at some point I might steal the bedspread for other uses in any case, so it's purchase is totally justified!