Tuesday, 15 April 2014

bloggers at home: kat got the cream

Because I'm a right nosy beggar, I thought it'd be a nice idea to start a little series about my favourite bloggers and their homes. My favourite room is our lounge; the place where we eat together (the dining table and chairs are at one end), relax together and play together, it's where I get my work done and also where I snuggle down in the evenings with my crochet, books and box sets. I've always been interested in what makes someone love one particular room more than any of the others, so I emailed some of my favourite bloggers and asked them if they'd like to appear in the series. Happily, quite a few said yes, so this week we're starting with the lovely Kat from Kat Got the Cream. Over to you, Kat!

Hello everyone and thanks for having me! I’ve been a fan of The Owl and the Accordian for years, partly because we share a love of old knick-knackery and thrifted tat as well as new and unusual stuff too. So, I’ve chosen my bedroom to share with you as my favourite room. Not only is it where blessed sleep (allegedly) occurs from time to time, but it’s also a good example of my home style.



 Like Vicky, I have a bit of a bed linen addiction and love mixing and matching all my thrifted pillowcases with new duvets like this one from Orla Kiely. I try to source vintage curtains from eBay if I can too but it’s not always easy to get the right print in the right size so these ones were new from Dunelm Mill (but still in the ‘granny chic’ style). I wanted a pair that would provide a good backdrop to any of my textile prints but still pick up the overall yellow theme and flower motif of the room. I love the pale lemon colour which casts a lovely light into the room when the sun shines and the over-sized white rose pattern is very me (if you’re going to go big, go really big, I say).


Sticking with the yellow theme, I’ve decorated the walls with some of my finest second hand, tacky paintings plus family mementoes like my gran’s mandolin (she used it as a still life prop when she worked as an art teacher, in case you were wondering).



The dressing table was another eBay find (we had to fix one of the legs back on but otherwise it was perfect) and the chair used to belong to my other granny. I don’t actually sit at it much but it’s a great place to store some of my favourite trinkets and dust magnets.




Throughout this room (and the rest of our house) I’ve tried to mix in the new with the old, whether it is my bedside radio and Habitat lamps or a few of my favourite postcards and prints washi-taped to the wall. The Wish Big print is by one of my favourite designers: Sunlight On Closed Lids.


The atmosphere of this room changes at different times of the day and year. It always feels fresh and light in summer but the wood and gold tones also feel warm and cosy on winter nights. I love this room because I feel like I’m surrounded by sunshine, memories and things that make me smile.


Please come and visit me over on www.katgotthecream.com or come and say hi – I’m @katgotthecream on twitter, facebook, Instagram and pinterest!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Best of British with Atlantic Shopping

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across Atlantic Shopping, and their 'Best of British' campaign, which basically involved designing  a room around what I considered to be great British style. A firm homewares lover, and never one to refuse a challenge, I jumped at the chance, and this is what I came up with....


Atlantic Shopping is a family run business based in Birmingham, and they offer a huge variety of different styles of tables, chairs and beds - from bright, classic white to funky retro patchwork and prints, there's something to suit everyone. I was most excited by their Eames style range; metal armchairs, wheeled office chairs and barstools mean you can easily add a little retro touch to almost any room in the house. I'd decided pretty early on that my 'Best of British' room was going to be an office or studio room - at the moment I'm trying to clear out and re-organise my craft room, so I'm pretty obsessed with work-spaces. I chose the Eames metal armchair in white, the cushioned Eames style chair also in white, and the Camden dining table to act as a desk - I love the large surface and spacious underneath section which would allow for plenty of storage. Admittedly, it's a dining table, but I like to think outside the box!

From top left: Print: RHS Prints // Filing tray: Rose and Grey // Clock: Pedlars // Mug: Pedlars // Wire peg board: Willow and Stone //
Telephone: English Heritage Shop //House plants: IKEA // Wire basket: H&M Home // Drawer unit: IKEA // Notebook: Moleskine //
Desk lamp: IKEA // British Isles print: Baileys Home //
The first thing I decided when styling the room was that the last thing I wanted was it to be a garish Union-Jack fest - there's nowt wrong with the British flag, but it's just not my cup of tea to have it splashed all over my furnishings. I thought about my idea of British style, and I decided I wanted to go for a vintage rustic feel; lots of wire, wood and plants, with a few classic retro items thrown in for good measure. The mug, telephone and British Isles print are all a nod to the chosen theme; it doesn't get more British than a Morris Minor and a map of the UK!

Inspired by Atlantic Shopping's 'Best of British' Campaign, I joined in with the challenge to design a British inspired room.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

found: five great reads

One of my great loves is, and always has been, reading; it doesn't matter what it is, as long as I can either get lost in it or be inspired by it. My Mum gave me a great book for my birthday; Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan tells the story of a young woman called Polly, who moves to the outskirts of Cornwall and opens a bakery. I started it last night, and am already a quarter of the way through - it's a little like Katie Fforde books (another firm favourite - anything set in the country is always a winner!), and features bread-making, house-decorating and beach-visiting, which makes it pretty much my ideal book.

I've found some great blogs and websites online lately, so I thought I'd share them here - I always love discovering new writers, photographers and illustrators, and these are my five favourites from the last month.




I discovered the lovely Liekeland blog via More Tea Vicar, another favourite - Lieke is an illustrator of wonderful things, and her blog is full of pictures of her work, photographs of the beautiful home she shares with her partner and their cat, and tales of the time they spend in their garden. If the video documenting their vegetable garden doesn't make you want to start growing your own food, I don't know what will.

Visit Liekeland here, and watch the brilliant vegetable garden video here.




Although we don't get away as much as I'd like (read: never at the moment, due to being absolutely skint), I read a lot of travel and adventuring blogs, so I was really happy to discover It's Nice Out via the gorgeous Instagram feed of Cold at Night. Founded by graphic designer Philippa, the site is packed full of articles, beautiful photographs and information relating to the great outdoors - from camping in Pembrokeshire (my Aunt lives there!) to recipes using locally grown produce, It's Nice Out is perfect for anyone who likes to spend most of their time exploring the world and everything in it.

Check out It's Nice Out here.




I found the blog of Hilda Grahnat on Pinterest - I was looking for images and information on houseplants (namely, ones that don't mind darker rooms) and accidently stumbled across the top image. When I clicked through, I found more of the same, plus gorgeous food photography, snippets of her home and posts on getting out and about. A photographer, stylist and designer, I fell in love with Hilda's beautiful calming images and plant-filled home.

Visit the Hilda Grahnat blog here, and be sure to visit her professional portfolio here (because it really is beautiful!).






Finding It's Nice Out was a doubly happy experience; firstly because it appealed to the outdoors-lover in me, and secondly because it led me to discover Bless the Weather, possibly my favourite of my five new finds (how's that for alliteration?!). Siobhan lives in South London, and writes one of the most beautiful blogs I've seen for a long time; she's a photographer and knitwear designer who loves to bake, meaning her space on the internet is packed full of yarn-y goodness, homemade cakes and bread and gorgeous landscape photography. One to add to your blog reader, for sure!

See more of Bless the Weather here, and get more photography goodness via Siobhan's Instagram feed.





Another happy find courtesy of More Tea Vicar, Schorlemadchen is written by Maria who lives in Australia, and who captured my heart with her series of posts on New Zealand. I lived there for eighteen months, so it was a real pleasure to see some recent photographs (which are all incredibly beautiful - you absolutely have to have a look) and read about the places I still remember. An analogue photographer, Maria's work is incredible, and I spent a very happy hour reading back through old posts.

Read more of Schorlemadchen here, and visit Maria's analogue photography shop here.

All images used are the property of Liekeland, It's Nice Out, Hilda Grahnat, Bless the Weather and Schorlemadchen. Do not copy - link with love!

Friday, 4 April 2014

found: willow and hall


If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I'm always keen to champion family businesses, indie designers and anything made here in the good old UK - which is why when I was contacted by the lovely people at Willow and Hall, I was keen to find out more about them.

Set up by ex-City worker Sarah Massouh, Willow and Hall offer a wide range of handmade sofas, chairs and sofa beds, all produced in the beautifully rural West Country location of Wiltshire. As well as employing local, skilled craftsmen, everything is made to order - from the handmade wooden frames to the beautiful finishings, nothing is left sitting around in a factory to gather dust. I was lucky enough to grab some time with founder Sarah to get a behind-the-scenes look at Willow and Hall, and to hear more about her inspirations and design processes.

How did you come to set up Willow and Hall?
Two key reasons really; firstly, I had a string desire to provide customers with the ability to purchase great quality British furniture at more affordable prices. There seemed to be a handful of companies which offered good quality British furniture, but for £1,500 upwards for a sofa or sofa bed - and with hefty delivery costs and long lead times. It seemed that customers were having to over-subsidise a company's business costs, such as their shops and multiple showroom rates, and I wanted to fix this for them. Secondly, I wanted to take the business skills I had built up, and apply them to something I love - furniture and interiors. I also wanted the opportunity to use my creative side as well as my business skills, and working with interiors really enables this.


What sort of things do you think about during the design process?
It's absolutely about designing furniture which looks beautiful and stylish, whilst also being really high quality and comfortable. This is the starting point, and once we've achieved this we work hard to make sure all the smaller details are just right for that particular model - from the shape of the feet to the piping and zips. All of the 'ingredients' need to be of the highest quality, and used in the correct way by our wonderful craftsmen.


Do you have a favourite design?
I can't really pick a favourite, but I do really like our new corner sofas and sofa beds - they offer fantastic comfort for families and have a slightly more relaxed look than some of our traditional two and three-seater models, which is how I think it should be with corner-units.

How important is environmental impact and sustainability to you?
Very important. We try our best to be eco-friendly where possible, and offer a recycling service at the point of delivery in case any of our customers want to say goodbye to their old furniture in an environmentally friendly way.


What is your favourite interiors style?
I really love stylish, elegant and timeless pieces combined with fun smaller things to add a touch of playfulness. My style is really translated into our products and photo shoots - Willow and Hall is an extension of the type of interior design I love, and more importantly, that our customers love. We're considering opening a Willow and Hall interior design arm in three years time, so that customers who like the style can have their homes designed in this way from top to bottom if they wish.

Which is your favourite room in your house, and why?
This is a tough one. I'm going to have to say our hallway and snug room, as I can't pick one over the other. Our hallway because it has lovely high ceilings and coving with a beautiful original oak staircase - every time I walk through the door, it makes me smile. I love the character, the airy feel and the feeling of arriving home after a busy day at our offices.
Our snug room because it is super cosy, and is the place all the family can relax in, chat and snuggle together on our lovely sofas (Willow and Hall, of course!).

If you could sum up Willow and Hall in three words, which three would you use?
Quality, style, British!

Huge thanks to Sarah for taking the time to answer my nosy questions. All images the property of Willow and Hall.

This post was written in conjunction with Willow and Hall.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

found: ship and shape





A couple of evenings ago I was trawling through Pinterest for plant-related pictures (what else?!), and a picture of a window full of plants popped up; there were shelves and hanging pots and trailing plants and it was GLORIOUS (it really deserves the capitals). I clicked through, and the image came from this little online store which seemed to stock everything I've ever hankered after, and a few things I didn't even realise I wanted.

The older I get, the more I want to fill my house and wardrobe with handmade, unique items - I love supporting independent businesses and makers; there's nothing better than drinking your morning coffee from a mug that's been shaped by hand, or potting your plants in a planter that's a complete one-off. Ship and Shape is basically one incredible online boutique featuring a massive range of handmade items; think understated pendants and brass cuffs, bright and colourful necklaces and earrings, handmade ceramics and homewares, prints and accessories. I'm particularly keen on the ceramics by Recreation Centre, and the handwoven summer clutch by Betsy Burr - one of the best things about Ship and Shape is that it introduces you to so many artists and creatives that otherwise you would probably have never discovered. And that can't be bad!

To see more head to the Ship and Shape website, or catch up with the latest goings on over on the blog.

All images used with kind permission of Ship and Shape.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

spring





Ooohh, we've had some lovely weather here over the last few days; the weekend was glorious, bright sunshine and warm Spring breezes all mean that blogging has pretty much been at the bottom of my priorities. We've been enjoying the lighter mornings (well, I was until the clocks went forward!), and I honestly think it's so much easier to get up when the sun is streaming through a crack in the curtains - somehow the day seems to hold so much more promise!
I've been spending time pottering about in the house as well; clearing out old junk, arranging collections and gently whispering words of encouragement to new seedlings (actually, it's more like, 'please don't wither and die'!) - something about the Spring makes me want to purge everything and fill the house with light and space!







We paid our favourite coffee shop a visit, where we ate the most amazing banana bread concoction that's ever passed my lips; marscapone piled with teetering slices of banana, topped with berries and some incredible local honey. Daisy was entertained by dominoes and wooden trucks, while Ben got stuck into the great book selection - he reads pretty much anything now, and it's so lovely to see him pick up a book and just become completely absorbed. I've always been a huge reader, so I'm thrilled that he seems to be going the same way!





Mother's Day was all about plants and driving in the sunshine (and gathering materials to make Ben's Easter hat!); I came home from our local garden centre with four brand new houseplants to add to my growing collection - I've got visions of them on every surface, hanging from every ceiling, in upcycled planters and handthrown pots. We took a drive out into the country, where I discovered a local hardware store that sold Falcon Enamelware and traditional ironmongery, and I came home with an old fashioned wooden washing up brush, which pretty much made my day. It's the simple things!