Plans for a bright and airy hallway

When we moved to our new house just over seven months ago, we didn’t have any kind of plan for the renovations. We still don’t! In fact, it all seems to be happening quite organically. As one thing gets done it often seems to lead onto another. For example, we’ve just had an en-suite installed in the loft conversion, but as it needed electrics fed up there, the builder had to lift the (hideous) lino on the ground floor entrance hall to lay the cabling. We now have bare floorboards, and I have kind of started peeling off the textured wallpaper too! So now, despite being a big job, (it would involve doing the stairs and landings too) I can’t stop thinking about what we should do with this area! It always helps me to gather my thoughts and ideas together here, so here’s a little bit about what I’m thinking….

Image via Carla Aston

Image via Carla Aston

Image via SFGirlbyBay

Image via SFGirlbyBay

Vinyl flooring by AtraFloor

Vinyl flooring by AtraFloor

It’s quite a narrow hallway and it feels quite dark, so I’m keen to really brighten it up and make it feel as airy as possible - cue gallons of white paint! With a space so small, it’s necessary to create interest via the walls and floors, and while I love tiled flooring in hallways, I did come across this vinyl flooring by AtraFloor recently which caught my eye, and fed my pink obsession! The other option is to go with painted floorboards and add colour (pink, most likely!) via paint, perhaps on the stairs or inside of the door.

Image via Roomed.nl

Image via Roomed.nl

Image top left via oldbrandnew.com / Mint green ceiling light, £49, made.com / String of hearts art print, £78, Ross and Brown / Arrow hook, £19.60, Urban Outfitters / Oak console Table, £217, Quercus Living

Image top left via oldbrandnew.com / Mint green ceiling light, £49, made.com / String of hearts art print, £78, Ross and Brown / Arrow hook, £19.60, Urban Outfitters / Oak console Table, £217, Quercus Living

As well as being bright and inviting, the entrance hall requires a level of functionality. So, adding wall hooks, shelving, baskets and a sturdy piece of oak furniture like a slim console table with drawers, like the one above from Quercus Living, gives you plenty of storage. I want the area to be clutter free, so adding these allows coats, scarves, keys and other bits and bobs to be tidied away. 

Wooden shelf with hooks, £50, Cox and Cox / Doormat, £16, Oliver Bonas / Faux Begonia tree, £295, Rose and Grey /  Cast iron radiator, price dependent on size, Castrads / Storage basket, £19.99, H&M / Curved mirror, £85, Notonthehighstreet.com

Wooden shelf with hooks, £50, Cox and Cox / Doormat, £16, Oliver Bonas / Faux Begonia tree, £295, Rose and Grey /  Cast iron radiator, price dependent on size, Castrads / Storage basket, £19.99, H&M / Curved mirror, £85, Notonthehighstreet.com

I’m keen to introduce a bit of greenery to the space, but as it doesn’t get a huge amount of light, I’m thinking artwork and artificial plants are the way to go. A full-length mirror is handy for checking yourself out before you leave, with the added bonus of hopefully reflecting a bit of extra light into the hallway. Details like a slim cast iron radiator, gorgeous light fittings and a fun doormat will all add interest.

I’m really liking the idea of mixing natural materials, botanical elements and pops of colour – I’d love to hear what you think!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Quercus Living, but all choices and opinions are my own.

Living room makeover - Part II - features

As you may have read in the first part of our living room transformation, we did quite a bit to the space, so I thought it best to break up the posts up a bit! This time, I thought I'd focus in on the fixed features of the room - the backdrop to the furniture & accessories....

One of the biggest changes to the room was definitely the floor. Below is the 'before' shot again so you can see the carpet that covered the entire room before. It was old, worn, saggy and smelt! 

We decided we wanted the living room flooring to be a big feature in the house, so while it wasn't cheap it will be there for a long time and hopefully should only get better with age. I did consider reclaimed parquet, but after reading up on it, it sounded like it might be a nightmare as the old glue is usually left on the planks, making it more difficult to re-lay. We decided to go for oak parquet made to order, that had a bit of a distressed look in a paler shade of wood. We used a local company to lay it, Surrey Wood Flooring, who sadly, I was quite disappointed with. They started off well, but when it looked like the job was over running, they suddenly sped up and rushed through the finishing. The beading around the edges was terrible (I had it redone, but still a lot of it came away from the skirtings and we've had to re-stick it ourselves.) Anyway, I won't bore you with my complaints, but it's just very frustrating when you spend so much on something only to have lazy workmanship isn't it? Overall, I'm pleased with the floor, but it's those little details that I'm sure no-one else will notice, but I know they are there!

We decided to add an extra radiator in the room as well as replacing one of the old ones. We added this one under the window from Castrads. This is their Grace 6 Column model. Their radiators come in over 60 finishes, including Farrow and Ball and Little Greene colours. We opted for Farrow and Ball in Off Black - it's just gorgeous. It probably sounds weird, but I feel cast iron radiators give a room a bit more credibility, as if it's a bit more grown up.... is that just me?!

At some point the room was two separate rooms, so there is actually two fireplaces in it. We gave both of these a bit of a facelift. I really wish I had a before shot before we painted the walls - the chimney breasts were gold and the rest of the walls dark navy, but you can see how the old tiles looked at least in the before & after above. I repainted the fireplace surrounds in Farrow and Ball Off Black, the same as the radiators to tie these together. It's a really dark navy and is less heavy looking than the previous black paint. Their paint is so lovely to work with I find - easy to apply and gives a beautiful finish. We then replaced the fireplace tiles with these amazing Bert and May glazed tiles. I'm SO in love with them! They look great against the parquet. Below is the other fireplace....

On the wall behind the sofa we put up some Ikea picture ledges. I decided I wanted to be able to change the display here. For example if I change the cushions on the sofa, and could change the display accordingly. It's a really easy way to update the look if I feel like it. 

I'm totally in love with this pouffe from Swoon Editions. Would you believe I actually ordered it when I was in hospital in January! I found internet shopping was the best way to distract myself from my nerves about the imminent surgery. I also knew that Swoon Editions don't have items in stock for long so I HAD to snap it up! They don't have them anymore, but it's worth keeping an eye out as they sometimes get items back in stock....

The final addition to the room was some alcove shelving. Our new favourite thing is going to Homebase and getting wood cut to size! ha! Such a handy free service, and saves us a job! So I think these shelves cost us about £10, and I'm really loving their simplicity. I'm trying to keep them uncluttered in my quest for a more pared back look.

So that's that. In the final post I will be showing you the last corner of the room which is Ruby's little play area which we are just finishing off at the moment. Stay tuned! 

**Thanks goes to Castrads, Farrow and Ball and Bert and May for helping out with our makeover."" 

April: A Month of Lovely

Wow, another month has whizzed by! This year is going ridiculously fast. Since my last A Month of Lovely post, the fab Sara of Me and Orla included the hashtag in her newsletter round up of hashtags you should be using, which has given the tag a massive boost on the number of people using it. Thank you Sara! Hashtags are a funny old thing though, people using them don't necessarily know where they originated from, so if you do use it, feel free to tag me in too, so others might pop along here and find out more about the idea behind it. :) 

Anyway, onto my own Month of Lovely....

Recording my first ever podcast interview - I started getting really into podcasts about 2-3 months ago. There are lots of amazing creative business ones popping up, and I've found they are particularly great to listen to while you are decorating - you can totally focus on the conversation while painting a wall! I've listened to Sara's Hashtag Authentic episodes, lots of A Playful Day's old ones and I had recently started listening to Style Matters by stateside bloggers Zandra and Karen. So I was thrilled (yet scared!) when the ladies emailed me and asked if I wanted to be one of their guests to chat about 91 Magazine, Patchwork Harmony and my book. It is now available to listen to here, or just look them up on your podcast app. 

The latest issue of 91 Magazine - It's always a nerve-wracking week for me when the magazine goes to print and I await the delivery. This time was our biggest print run to date, so it feels even more worrying - what if something goes wrong?! But thankfully, this time we don't seem to have any major problems, and I'm really happy with the issue. This issue is due to be stocked in 50 WH Smith stores which is a big step for us, so do look out for it in the major train stations and airport shops! If you haven't got your copy yet, you can order direct from our site and I urge you to take a look at the beautiful screen prints by Karolin Schnoor (pictured above) that we are selling with the magazine as a bundle. They are so beautiful, which may be tricky to appreciate from photos, but the paper and the metallic ink they are printed with is just stunning. Pop over to the shop, I promise you won't be disappointed! :) 

Peony season - YES! It's here! I'm yet to tire of these beautiful flowers yet, although I often struggle to justify a purchase as they aren't the cheapest. The other day my lovely mum bought me a bunch of my faves - the coral variety which I had in my wedding bouquet. I love watching them go from closed up spheres, to gradually revealing their yellow interior, to finally fading to palest pink... 

The business of Instagram - It really is unbelievable how much Instagram has changed how people promote their business, gain work and generally live their life. When we have a family outing these days, both me and the hubby are trying to get great shots of Ruby or of wherever we are - to post on our Instagram. I don't think it's a bad thing - we both enjoy taking photos, so why not have an incentive to get better shots? I find the use of the app intriguing, particularly in terms of how some people make a living solely from it. I don't expect to be doing that any time soon, but I did buy this book Capture your Style to start looking more closely at how I use it for business. 91 deputy editor Laura reviewed it over on the 91 blog recently if you fancy a peek. 

Magazines I'm reading - I don't get a lot of time to put my feet up and read other magazines, but I've recently stocked up on some others I enjoy, with the plan to catch up on them soon! Lionheart, Frankie and a new one to me, Project Calm are all piled up next to the bed, ready for a perusal. What mags are you reading at the moment? 

So that's lots of goodness from my past few weeks? What about you? Tag your pics with #amonthoflovely or why not join in with your own blog post too? Find me on Instagram at @patchworkhrmy

Meri Meri at The Hambledon collaboration

It's no secret that I love shopping. My heart skips a beat when I discover and step inside a beautiful new store to explore, and that's exactly what happened when I laid eyes on The Hambledon a few years back. I loved it so much I even featured it on the cover of my book! If I live closer I'm sure I would be in there on a weekly basis. In lieu of this, I enjoy keeping up to date on the goings on at the shop via their website and newsletters, and was recently wow-ed by their current collaboration with super fun party & homeware brand Meri Meri.

I'm such a big fan of creative collaborations, they just seem to make so much sense, bringing together brands that can support each other, and share their customer base. I wanted to find out a little more about this partnership, so had a chat with Victoria, owner of The Hambledon, Maria, one of Meri Meri's visual merchandisers and Stef, Meri Meri's Creative Director's Executive Assistant....

PH: Victoria, Can you tell me a little about the Hambledon project space as a concept? 

Victoria (TH): We have a mezzanine level at the back of the shop which, in the very early days, was our menswear department. When menswear moved to its own floor in the basement we decided to turn the area into a collaborative space. We wanted to work with selected suppliers on a pop up/exhibition basis. It's a kind of fun outreach programme!

PH: I know this isn't the first time you've worked with Meri Meri - but how did you collaborative relationship come about? And how does this project differ from the first one in 2015? 

Victoria (TH): When we first worked with Meri Meri we had already organised a number of Projects with other suppliers (but on fashion and homeware) and Meri Meri gave us the opportunity to showcase a more kid centric area. The first Project focussed more on their party ware. This time around they have just launched a new range of children's bed linen and soft furnishings which is the main emphasis for us but we're still selling a lot of the smaller pieces (we can never have enough tattoos and patches and pins!).

PH: Stef and Maria - What is it you love about the Hambledon shop and the space? 

Maria (MM): Walking down the cobbled side passage to find this little treasure trove is a lovely, unexpected surprise. It's such a beautifully curated space, which is so thoughtfully edited, making for a very enjoyable, shopping experience. It feels a little bit more like you're walking into someone's home rather than a retail shop. 

Stef (MM): The people! The Hambledon staff are so lovely and make us feel right at home. They have a great space but what makes it is their products; there is careful thought that goes into the selection and merchandising. They have a formula that works and it keeps the customers continuously coming back for more. The Hambledon give us free reign with the space which we have found quite rare when collaborating or doing pop ups with other brands. They choose the brands they like to collaborate with and then trust them to deliver. I think this makes it even more interesting for the customers as they never know what it’s going to look like next! 

PH: What do you believe are the benefits of collaborating with like minded brands? 

Stef (MM): Like minded brands have like minded customers and by collaborating with them we extend our customer base and reach out to other customers that are much more likely to buy into Meri Meri.  They may not have even heard of us before but by collaborating with other brands they may follow / like it gets us in front of them as well and gets our name out there.

Maria (MM): Creative collaboration with other brands is always exciting for us as it gives us an opportunity to develop ideas and ranges that might not fit into the exact handwriting of the Meri Meri brand, but do work as a collaboration and bring another dimension to it.  

Victoria (TH): It's a way for us to reinvent the space every few months. It gives us something fresh to communicate with our customers. It's usually fun to organise and I hope it shows that we can look beyond our four walls and shake up The Hambledon aesthetic. I don't want the shop to feel too precious.

PH: Finally, Meri Meri also did a wonderful collaboration with Liberty. Do you have any tips or advise for small independent designers and brands on how to go about collaborating with influential brands? 

Stef (MM): Keep at it.  It is hard work to get your foot in the door but once you do it is worth all the work.  Collaborating with influential brands is a great way to get exposure and catch the eye of potential customers.  It also keeps your designs fresh and on trend.

Maria (MM): Be prepared and well planned. Think of it as a partnership. If you're drawn to a particular brand, think about what it is specifically about that brand that your drawn to and what it is about your brand that you feel compliments theirs and work from that. 

Thanks for that insight ladies! Isn't it just a gorgeous space filled with gorgeousness!? I definitely think a day trip to Winchester is on the cards! If you can't make it there though, you can check out the Meri Meri range over on The Hambledon's website

Editor life: The Full 91 Magazine Story - Part III

The latest issue of 91 Magazine has just published this week - hurray! It's the third print edition and as always the team are super proud. We've also got an exciting collaboration alongside this issue. Illustrator Karolin Schnoor designed a set of two beautiful prints especially for 91 readers, which you can buy as a bundle with the magazine or individually. Do pop over to the shop to order your mag and check out the prints, they are really lovely! 

the brand new S/S 2017 issue & Karolin Schnoor exclusive screen prints

the brand new S/S 2017 issue & Karolin Schnoor exclusive screen prints

Anyway, as promised, this is the last instalment in the 91 Magazine story. (you can read Part I and Part II first if you like) In the last post, I was up to the start of 2016 when I was getting my little team together and recommencing publishing. Laura had joined me as my deputy editor and we had a lot of decisions to make. One of the main things was whether we were going to take the plunge and get the magazine into print. 

Ever since I created 91 back in 2011, independent magazines had been steadily on the rise. There were now so many on the market and there were even a few shops popping up that were solely selling indie mags. It absolutely seemed like the right time to launch ourselves into print. So we started researching printers and getting quotes and considering what kind of print run we could do. We decided that the idea to take pre-orders prior to doing the print run would help to finance it, and wouldalso give us an indication of how many copies we should print. We still do this now, and it is very much an important part of our business model, assisting in raising the cash to pay for printing. (so we very much appreciate all those folk who pre order their copy!) 

As we were relaunching, I also wanted the magazine to have a complete makeover. I designed a new logo and Lucy joined the team as our designer to create a fresh new look. We came up with a selection of new features and also introduced lots of elements of online interaction. Social media had come so far since I first started out, and it is now an integral part of both our content and how we communicate with our readers. We love to get our readers involved in creativity, so our hashtag projects encourage this, and we also feature some of our favourite Instagrammers each issue as well as including some fave images from the hashtags. 

The 91 Magazine blog has new content a couple of times a week. Images: top left - Holly Jolliffe; top right - Laura Pashby; bottom left - Catherine Frawley; bottom right: Holly Marder

The 91 Magazine blog has new content a couple of times a week. Images: top left - Holly Jolliffe; top right - Laura Pashby; bottom left - Catherine Frawley; bottom right: Holly Marder

The other thing we did with the relaunch was to create a brand new blog. Up until then I'd been sharing 91 news here on Patchwork Harmony, but we realised it was super important to continually create content and connect with our readers in-between issues, particularly as we had made the decision to publish just twice a year. It was such a great move; the blog is now filled with great features, with lots of guest posts from contributors too. I really hope people enjoy reading the blog as much as they enjoy the magazine. 

the first ever print issue - S/S 2016

the first ever print issue - S/S 2016

Our first issue published in May 2016, and it really was a huge highlight in my career. I had always dreamed of this moment so I felt so proud to finally have got there. We were overwhelmed by how many lovely shop owners decided to stock the magazine too. It was also a dream come true to collaborate with Anthropologie on our first print issue. We worked with them on a feature, they hosted our fabulous launch event AND they stock the magazine in their stores! I was so thrilled to have their support as well as all of the amazing indie shops  - particularly when they committed to stocking it before they'd even seen it in the flesh! I still get a huge feeling of pride when I see the magazine on shop shelves - and always have to snap a few pics! 

our A/W 16 issue for sale in Selfridges!

our A/W 16 issue for sale in Selfridges!

Our first print run was 1300 copies - we wanted to be conservative as we didn't know how well it would go, but the first issue took less than three months to sell out. I think by then we had also build up a stockist list of around 50 shops, mainly in the UK, but some in Europe and even in Canada. It was quite a lot of work handling the distribution ourselves so as we started to work on the second issue, we made the decision to hand this over to a distributor. While it means less profit per copy for us, it takes a lot of work off our plate, and also means we could get the magazine stocked in many shops we wouldn't be able to reach on our own. In fact, we are excited to announce that you will be able to find the S/S 17 issue in WH Smith travel outlets - so at train stations and airports! For the latest issue, we have almost doubled the print run from the first edition, which I am super chuffed about!

Gosh, I could honestly talk about it forever! But I guess that is pretty much where we are up to now. I've actually found myself getting a tad choked up writing this post, as 91 is literally my baby, and I can't believe how far it has come since 2011. Of course, I have that thing that I think most people running a business get, where I'm always striving for more - more sales, more stockists, more opportunities - but I think writing the full story down here has made me appreciate the journey I've been on with it, and it proves that with a little bit of drive and determination you really can make your dream project come true. 

Image tagged with #my91magazine on Instagram, by @kelly_love_com whose home was the cover story in the A/W 6 issue. 

Image tagged with #my91magazine on Instagram, by @kelly_love_com whose home was the cover story in the A/W 6 issue. 

I often get asked what my favourite thing is about running the magazine. I absolutely love the process - bringing it all together and then seeing the finished product. But I think my absolute favourite aspect is seeing people enjoying it. I LOVE seeing people's images on Instagram when they tag #my91magazine and I get to see it in people's homes and hear what they've loved about it. I was recently in Anthropologie and I spotted a woman sitting on a sofa flicking through our A/W 16 issue. I'll admit, I did hover, watching to see whether she was enjoying it, although I didn't pluck up the courage to say anything! I didn't see whether she bought it or whether she was simply passing the time, but I still felt such joy to see someone taking in the pages of something myself, my team and our amazing contributors had created. That's definitely what it's all about...

All three print issues displayed in my office.

All three print issues displayed in my office.

Hopefully that's given a bit of an insight into publishing an independent magazine! If you've got any questions just drop me a line, and of course, make sure to hot-foot it over to the website and bag yourself a copy of the new issue! www.91magazine.co.uk/buy

Trend spotting in Milan with DFS

Every now and then, an opportunity comes along that simply can't be turned down. Back in March I received an invitation from DFS to accompany them to the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan. When I worked at the FT on their House & Home supplement, we featured the Salone every year, so I was well aware of the scale and importance of this fair in the interiors world. So it was super exciting to get the chance to see it in person - plus I've never been to Milan, so that in itself was very cool! So hubby took over the childcare reins for 2 days, while I jetted off, all ready for a dose of interiors inspiration!

After meeting up with fellow bloggers Jess of The Only Girl in the House, Ashley of Lazy Daisy Jones and Geraldine of Little Big Bell, we had dinner with the DFS design team, before an early start to hit the fair the next morning. It was fascinating to chat to the people behind the brand and find out about how the sofa design process works and where they get their inspiration. 

A lot of their inspiration indeed stems from attending shows just like the Salone, as well as smaller events throughout the year. They are looking out for emerging trends - sofa shapes, colours, fabrics, design details - it was so interesting to browse the stands with them, hear their thought process and pick up on what things they plan to implement in future designs. 

For me, there were three trends that really stood out throughout the show, with almost every stand I visited having elements of these within them. These were: velvet, marble and botanicals. I'm already very partial to a plant or two, and if you read last week's post, you'll know I've clearly fallen for the marble craze, and well, I may have just ordered myself a few velvet cushions! 

There was also a lot of colour around - and while I'm still loving a bit of grey at the moment, it was hard not to fall for the sumptuous greens in every shade, the luxurious burnt orange hues and the blush pinks that seemed to dominate the fabric choices. 

I was then intrigued to see how the DFS designers translate all of this inspiration into their range. And well, it seems they are one step ahead with this gorgeous lime green velvet sofa from their Topaz range. They also incorporated the marble theme by using the pattern on a striking armchair and footstool. 

This Athena three seater sofa (inspired by another Salone-spotted trend for casual folds and visible seams) appeals to my grey addiction, and by simply adding colour with paint, accessories and that pink velvet Zinc armchair (swoon!), it looks stunning.

It was such an interesting trip - obviously it was amazing to visit Milan and the fair, but I also loved finding out more about the design process behind a brand like DFS. As part of the collaboration I've also been gifted my very own sofa, and I'll be sharing some pics of it soon, along with a peek at our newly renovated living room! You may just spot of few of these trends creeping in! 

If you are in the market for new furniture then I recommend you take a little peek at their sofa range, there are some lovely ones - my faves are the Zinc range which also comes in a velvet fabric collection, the Topaz range and the Betsy range. Thanks so much to DFS for a wonderful trip! 

Sourcing... marble tables

I've been toying with the idea of offering a product research / sourcing / design service recently. It's definitely one of my favourite things - hunting for the perfect pieces of furniture, lighting, art or textiles for a room. I'd love to be able to help other people who perhaps don't have the time to research the perfect bookcase or to bring together an entire room. Over the years I've built a big book of sources for furniture and homewares so I'd love to be able to utilise this. Anyway, my husband has been acting like a 'trial run' client recently, as I search out things for our own home renovation. I generally always run things by him, particularly the bigger purchases, so it often feels like he is the client I am trying to please! For example, this week I've been trying to source a marble side table for our living room, which has been surprisingly difficult, considering how much marble is on trend right now! The brief is:

  • small enough to fit in the designated corner
  • yet large enough to fit our existing lamp on
  • under £200 (ideally well under this!)
  • not too formal

I've put together a list of 15 tables, but I must admit a few have crept over budget! I'd love to hear which ones you guys are loving, perhaps you can help us choose! ;) 

Luxe round side table, £195 - Oliver Bonas

Luxe round side table, £195 - Oliver Bonas

Hex side table, £159 - West Elm

Hex side table, £159 - West Elm

Detroit Square side table, £195 - Graham and Green

Detroit Square side table, £195 - Graham and Green

Round marble coffee table, from £120 - Rockett St George

Round marble coffee table, from £120 - Rockett St George

Bilbao side table, £149 - Swoon Editions

Bilbao side table, £149 - Swoon Editions

Detroit Oval Coffee Table, £250 - Graham and Green

Detroit Oval Coffee Table, £250 - Graham and Green

White stone coffee table, from £135 - Rose and Grey 

White stone coffee table, from £135 - Rose and Grey 

Hexxed Low Table, £564 - Heals

Hexxed Low Table, £564 - Heals

NOTE: I only included the above table as I saw it at the Salone del Mobile in Milan a few weeks ago and LOVED it! I was quite shocked when i saw the price! 

Marcel marble side table, £275 - Graham and Green 

Marcel marble side table, £275 - Graham and Green 

Round white marble side table, £119.99 - Zara Home

Round white marble side table, £119.99 - Zara Home

White marble side table, £95 - Rose and Grey 

White marble side table, £95 - Rose and Grey 

Kasper console table, £279 - Swoon Editions

Kasper console table, £279 - Swoon Editions

Scandinavian style white stone table, £150 - Not on the High Street 

Scandinavian style white stone table, £150 - Not on the High Street 

Heidi side table, £145 - Graham and Green

Heidi side table, £145 - Graham and Green

White Marble Drum Side Table, from £75 - Rose and Grey

White Marble Drum Side Table, from £75 - Rose and Grey

Any catching your eye?! Stay tuned to see which one we go for! Oh, and if anyone reading this happens to be interested in finding out more about my idea for a product research / sourcing service then just get in touch - I'd love some guinea pigs (other than my hubby!) to try it out on! ;) 

Creating a living room play space

You may have spotted over an Instagram a little peek at our living room - where we finally got the parquet floor laid, which has been in the making since well before Christmas! It's a lovely big room - it's actually two rooms knocked together, and as it's quite long it doesn't really work as just a living room. The obvious thing would be to have one half as a dining space, but we are lucky to have another room off this one which we use as a dining / garden room. So the idea for the other half of the living room is to make a bit of a play area for Ruby. The challenge for me though is to create a space that is not only appealing and fun to her, but also is in keeping with the rest of the room. I've been gathering a few ideas for how best to do this, along with some items we already have and some I might well be adding in there very soon... 

via Your DIY Family

via Your DIY Family

ABC paper storage bag, £14, Nubie / Mountain cushion, £26, This Modern Life / Ferm Living jute rug, £45, Future and Found / IKEA PS cabinet, £70, IKEA

ABC paper storage bag, £14, Nubie / Mountain cushion, £26, This Modern Life / Ferm Living jute rug, £45, Future and Found / IKEA PS cabinet, £70, IKEA

Height chart, £34, Hello wall hook, £38, both This Modern Life / Play table, £85, Olli Ella, Mini Kubrick armchair, £179, Made.com

Height chart, £34, Hello wall hook, £38, both This Modern Life / Play table, £85, Olli Ella, Mini Kubrick armchair, £179, Made.com

Top right: via Cup of Jo / Play kitchen, £100, John Lewis / Keep the Wild in you decal, £16.50, Violet and Percy / Stripy storage bag, £13, Southwood Stores / Face cushion, £35, This Modern Life / Alphabear A2 print, £14, This Modern Life / Black and Yellow beanbag, £50.74, Smallable / Sea grass basket, £19, Oliver Bonas

Top right: via Cup of Jo / Play kitchen, £100, John Lewis / Keep the Wild in you decal, £16.50, Violet and Percy / Stripy storage bag, £13, Southwood Stores / Face cushion, £35, This Modern Life / Alphabear A2 print, £14, This Modern Life / Black and Yellow beanbag, £50.74, Smallable / Sea grass basket, £19, Oliver Bonas

Basically, I'll be trying to keep the decor quite neutral, with black, white and grey, with a few splashes of colour added in. There is a still a playful, childlike theme and of course her toys will fill the storage items, so hopefully it will be a lovely space for her to play in. 

Watch this space for when I share a full room reveal! ;) 

Getting out of my comfort zone with Miscellaneous Adventures

I must admit, I am definitely one for cosying up in my comfort zone. My weeks and weekends are generally quite hectic, and juggling a busy work / life schedule doesn't often lend itself to trying different things - I just don't have the time. Furthermore, I am not much of an outdoorsy person either - My love of interiors I guess rings true with the fact that generally I prefer being snuggled up indoors than being outside! Not to say I don't like being outdoors, especially at this time of year, but I'm just not big on camping and you know, generally outdoorsy things like that. So, last weekend I decided it was time to step up and step outside and challenge myself to something a little different. 

I spent my Saturday in the woods with the guys from Miscellaneous Adventures - husband and wife team, Andrew and Emma - who host creative workshops in the great British countryside. Ok, so the workshop I opted for was a little less 'physical' than some of their others, but still, it was change of environment for me nonetheless! Their main workshops are wood carving and axe skills, but I was taking their newest course - Drawn to Nature. 

The group of seven gathered around a small camp fire, with cups of steaming tea and coffee, while we were introduced to our teacher for the day - Esther McManus. We were encouraged to slow down, investigate our surroundings and find what interested us personally, before we set off on foot for a series of drawing exercises. 

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It was the drawing element of the workshop that drew me to it (scuse the pun!) in the first place. I used to love drawing and painting back when I was at art college in the late 90's (blimey that makes me sound old!) - but as I'd specialised in photography for my degree, I literally hadn't picked up a sketchpad in years, and I really fancied giving it another go, and just being offline for a day. 

Esther's instruction was inspiring and fun, and was interspersed by factual nuggets from Andrew about the flora and fauna we were discovering, his knowledge about the woodland clearly rich and informed. The surroundings were immensely epic and the light on the day was truly beautiful, I struggled to stick to drawing as I was often tempted to snap away with my camera! 

As you can see my drawing and painting skills need a little bit more refining, but for me that wasn't what the day was all about. It was simply about going outside that comfort zone I'm usually so snuggly wrapped in, and discovering that sometimes doing something different is all that was needed to invigorate your soul. 

Find out more about Miscellaneous Adventures on their website - they plan to run more Drawn to Nature workshops later this year, so if you fancy it, it''s probably worth signing up to their newsletter. 

March: A month of lovely

I can't believe a whole month has passed since my first 'a month of lovely' post! It's been really great to see some of your join in over on Instagram - thank you! Feel free to join in on your blogs too if you fancy going into more detail about what's been making your life lovely recently. 

You can post anytime you like on IG with #amonthoflovely, it doesn't have to be monthly, and it can be anything from the littlest moments that have made you smile to big life changing events. I'm honestly finding it's really helping me to focus on the good in the every day, rather than worrying too much about the not so great things. 

So here goes with my month of lovely....

First sandals of the year - For Mother's Day my gift was this gorgeous pair of Rose Gold Saltwater Sandals. I've been lusting over these since last summer, so I cannot wait to start wearing them. So far they've only travelled into our back garden - I don't wait to get them scuffed or dirty yet - they are too pretty! They also come in kids sizes, so Ruby might just be getting a pair of matching ones for her birthday!

New work plans - This month sees some changes for me career wise. After 15 months of being a part time content director for an interiors brand, I am now officially back to being a freelancer. Even though I freelanced for a few years before that job came up, it's still slightly unsettling, perhaps because of our new house and how much we are putting into that financially. BUT, despite all that I am feeling positive and optimistic that some exciting projects and work will come up soon. If you happen to be interested in working with me you can read more about what I can offer here.

House renovation progress - you may have seen my recent posts on both our downstairs loo makeover and my home office transformation? Well, we are cracking on with other areas of the house, including the living room, where we have just had a beautiful parquet floor laid, and those gorgeous Bert and May tiles in the pic above have been added to the two fireplaces in the room. You can get a little peek of how they look together on my Instagram. There's still a bit more to do in the room - painting, shelving and a bit of styling, so I'll be sure to share it on here soon. I'm loving browsing online and catalogue's like this Nordic House one that arrived today, in search of bits and bobs for the room!

Spring flowers - Spring is definitely my favourite time of the year - I love watching everything outdoors turn from bare and drab to blooming and colourful! The flowers that are in season at this time of the year are firm favourites of mine - hyacinths, ranunculus, anemones, tulips and grape hyacinths to name a few. It's our first spring in the new house, and it's really interesting to see what is popping up in our garden, and also plant a few new things. We've got a red camellia in flower, lots of daffodils and what looks like a few peony plants coming up. I've been planting some ranunculus and anemone bulbs and scattering some wildflower seed which fingers crossed with appear in the summer. 

Styling and shooting - I've been trying to do more shooting for the blog, and this week I've also been working on some images for an exciting collaboration we've just announced with 91 Magazine. I used the little succulent in a few shots I styled of the gorgeous Karolin Schnoor prints that she designed exclusively for 91, and that we are selling alongside the magazine. It's definitely true that the more you use your camera and practice your styling skills the better you get, so if you've been holding back and are lacking in confidence, whether it's for your blog or for Instagram, I'd say just pick up your camera and get cracking! My favourite IG editing app is Colour Story - I use it for pretty much every image I post. 

I'd love to hear about the things that have brought you joy over recent weeks, do share your pics on Instagram with the tag #amonthoflovely and if you do write a blog post, tag me on your social posts about - @patchworkhrmy - I'd love to have a read. x

My office makeover reveal

I'm so excited to finally have this room complete and ready to share with you! One of the things I looked forward to most about moving to our new house, was having a workspace again. For so long I'd worked in the corner of our living room, cramped and messy - and of course that usual thing of never feeling separated from work as it's right there, a few feet from the sofa. So now, having this space is fabulous, and in fact, it is currently my favourite room in the house!

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Day bed: Ikea / Vintage pendant light: V Interior / Curtain: H&M / Pirate cushion by Lucky Boy Sunday/ Spotty cushion: Rigby and Mac (via Trouva) / Triangle cushion: H&M / Throw: Oliver Bonas / Elephant print: Petit Pippin / Bird plate: Donna WIlson via Moonko / Hello bear print by Aless Baylis / Beautiful print: John Lewis

Day bed: Ikea / Vintage pendant light: V Interior / Curtain: H&M / Pirate cushion by Lucky Boy Sunday/ Spotty cushion: Rigby and Mac (via Trouva) / Triangle cushion: H&M / Throw: Oliver Bonas / Elephant print: Petit Pippin / Bird plate: Donna WIlson via Moonko / Hello bear print by Aless Baylis / Beautiful print: John Lewis

When we moved in, this room slightly resembled a cave - a cave with a Statue of Liberty mural. Clearly someone had taken some time to paint this on the wall, but as you can imagine it wasn't quite to my taste! Here's a couple of 'before' pics. I worked in here for the first few months, and to be honest found it quite depressing (her stern expression didn't help!), so just before Christmas I bought a wallpaper steamer and started stripping the walls. 

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The walls weren't in great shape so I decided that I would get the whole room re-plastered, so I would have a nice base to work with.  We also pulled up the horrible carpet which you can't really see here (it was grim), and my dad painted the floorboards white for me. 

Around the same time Dulux had got in touch with me about doing a makeover collaboration for their Lets Colour magazine - perfect timing! So I agreed to complete the room by the end of March and shoot it for the magazine. It really helped to give me a deadline to get things done! 

Desk: Habitat / Chair: Voga / Floor lamp: Barker and Stonehouse / My Daily Melody print: Audrey Jeanne

Desk: Habitat / Chair: Voga / Floor lamp: Barker and Stonehouse / My Daily Melody print: Audrey Jeanne

I wanted to do something a bit different in the room, seeing as it is my creative space. I selected Dulux's Jasmine Shimmer in Light & Space, and painted the ceiling and half the walls in this gorgeous soft pink colour. I was a bit unsure how it was going to pan out, but I am so chuffed with the result. The pink looks so lovely next to the earthy tone of the bare plaster. 

One of my aims with the room was to have lots of storage for all my books and magazines, and I desperately wanted some plywood display shelving to perch my current favourites on. My lovely hubby set to work creating this! Homebase cut the plywood to size for us and delivered it as it wouldn't fit in our car, and then we simply added the pink painted ledges (also in Jasmine Shimmer).

Bookcase: Ikea

Bookcase: Ikea

Magazine rack: La Redoute / floor lamp: Barker and Stonehouse 

Magazine rack: La Redoute / floor lamp: Barker and Stonehouse 

Vintage pendant light: V Interior / Vintage cupboard: Goose Home & Garden

Vintage pendant light: V Interior / Vintage cupboard: Goose Home & Garden

Sheepskin rug: Barker and Stonehouse 

Sheepskin rug: Barker and Stonehouse 

I then added further storage with an Ikea bookcase, a magazine wall rack and my vintage cupboard. The Ikea day bed also has amazing storage in the three drawers, and the drawer on my Habitat desk is useful for hiding away paperwork that tends to build up.

pink plant pot: Anthropologie / Belly basket: Olli Ella 

pink plant pot: Anthropologie / Belly basket: Olli Ella 

Window cushion: Donna WIlson

Window cushion: Donna WIlson

Mini wall hanging: Kate Housley 

Mini wall hanging: Kate Housley 

Monstera print: The Lovely Drawer / Bear print: Seventy Tree

Monstera print: The Lovely Drawer / Bear print: Seventy Tree

Then it was just a case of adding a few finishing touches, some of which I already had, and others which I had fun sourcing! I've put the sources in the photo captions where applicable, although some don't seem to be available any more I'm afraid.

As of tomorrow, I am no longer doing the part time job I've been doing for the past 15 months, and I am back in the world of freelance. I've bought myself a sparkly new laptop and I feel re-energised to get to work on lots of lovely projects this year (if you need a writer, editor, blogger, picture editor etc - do get in touch!). It definitely helps to be able to work from this lovely new room that's for sure!  

Thank you to Dulux for supplying the paint for decorating this room. Look out for it in their Lets Colour magazine soon! 

Editor Life: the full 91 magazine story - part II

Today I am continuing with the story of 91 Magazine - you can read the first post here. So, in 2014, I had finally made the decision that I had to find some new ways to monetise the magazine. I think the fact that I was pregnant with my first child probably spurred on this plan, as I was having to think a lot more about how to support my family in the coming years. So, in 2014 I started charging £2 to download the digital editions. I published 4 issues that year, and as we seemed to have a loyal readership, I felt hopeful that this small fee would not put people off. I'm not afraid to admit though that unfortunately this move did not work out how I had hoped.

the first digital issue to incur a fee to download.

the first digital issue to incur a fee to download.

I'm not sure if people had problems with the platform I used to sell the magazine through or whether they just did not want to pay for the content, but I was disappointed in the response over the course of that year. I got quite disheartened if I'm honest, I wasn't sure how I could continue without there being some kind of income from the magazine.  

Excitingly though, that same year, I was working with Mollie Makes magazine again as guest editor on their Mollie Makes Home bookazine. The team there were hugely supportive of what I was doing with 91, and offered to include a mini print version of 91 within the bookazine. It was a dream come true for me, to finally get the magazine into print, even if just in a condensed form. 

mini issue in print in collaboration with Mollie Makes

mini issue in print in collaboration with Mollie Makes

home tour feature from the mini print issue. (2014) 

home tour feature from the mini print issue. (2014) 

I worked really hard on bringing both the bookazine and the mini issue together, while also preparing the digital issues for the rest of the year. Oh and did I mention I was also working on my first book?! it was a busy year, as I watched my baby bump grow, and in July my little girl arrived. It wasn't long after that that the Mollie Makes bookazine and the first ever printed version of 91 Magazine hit the shops! 

It was such a thrill to see the magazine in this format, and it made me want to get it into print properly more than ever! But after a tough year with the digital sales, and the realisation of looking after a newborn and trying to write my first book, I decided at the end of 2014 I need to take a break from 91 Magazine. It was a tough decision, but I knew I was just spreading myself too thinly, and I needed to focus on producing a great book. 

The book published in October 2015, (a huge career highlight!) so at that point, I realised it was time to mull over everything I'd learnt about publishing a magazine over the last few years and also look at the current market for independent publications. Firstly, I realised if I was to continue I needed help. It is such an important thing to do when running your own business; to actually admit that sometimes you can't do everything yourself. I knew if I were to continue with the magazine I wanted to do it properly and really go for it, but of course I needed to find people who were willing to be involved. I honestly came so close to giving up on the magazine entirely, until I spoke to Laura. I asked her if she'd be interested in being deputy editor and her excitement and enthusiasm to work together was what saved the magazine. We promptly met up one January morning in a London cafe, and made our master plan! 

the changing face of 91 Magazine

the changing face of 91 Magazine

In the last of this series of posts, I will tell you about how, as a team, we've got to where we are now with the magazine plus my hopes and dreams for it's future.... 

Read part III of the story.

Downstairs Loo makeover

So, it's not the most glamourous of rooms, but it is one of the first in our new house to get a full makeover! People keep asking me what our 'plan' is for renovating the house, but to be honest, we don't really have one, we are just doing things when we feel the urge, or when we come up with what we'd like to do in a particular room. With this, it was kind of a needs must job. While it was pretty grotty in there, it wasn't at the top of the list, but just after Christmas we realised that the floor felt really unstable. It appeared that there had been a long-standing leak where the cistern was boxed in. So we decided, if anything, we should do it for safety reasons sooner rather than later. Here is a 'before and after' to get the full effect...! 

As you can see it was pretty rough around the edges - a lot of yellow and a considerable amount of pine for such a small space! It simply needed a complete overhaul so my first task was to source some pretty tiles - naturally!

I'd fallen for some tiles when I was at an event before Christmas, and after posting a pic on Instagram, I managed to find out the supplier and checked out their site. Much to my joy, they came in pink - which I can't seem to get away from at the moment. The tiles are designed by Scandinavian designers Claesson Koivisto Rune, in collaboration with Marrakech Design. They are actually a Swedish company, and while I tried to source a UK supplier to save on delivery, I couldn't, so I bit the bullet and paid the delivery fee from Sweden. So, I'l admit they weren't cheap, BUT I am literally so happy to see them every time I go in there! 

We then opted for simple white metro tiles, painted the walls white and used some grey paint I had left over from a previous project for the window frame and folding door. We got our toilet and basin from Victorian Plumbing, and while we are happy with the items, I was a little disappointed in the service. The delivery came when I was in hospital, and it turned out the sink wasn't there. It took nearly two weeks for them to redeliver it! Not what I needed when I'd just had surgery! 

Anyway, you get over these things... We're really happy with the transformation, it makes SUCH a difference! Below are a few of the little details I've added, some of which were things I already had, such as the plates, plant pot, perfume bottle and mirror, but I've popped the sources for the other bits at the bottom of the post.

Hand towel: House of Rym via The Future Kept

Meraki handwash - Trouva

Light fitting components: Enamel Shades

Gold light pull - Pushka Home

Toilet roll holder - Ferm Living via Scandinavian Design Center

Toilet brush - John Lewis

I'd love to hear what you think! I've got another room makeover coming up next week, so look out for that too. x

Sourcing: The plant pot edit

As I mentioned in my recent post my plant collection has been growing steadily of late, and it feels like I am on a constant hunt for pretty pots to display the new additions in. I don't know about you, but I find it's sometimes tough to find the right sized pot for a plant, or if I buy a pot first, finding the perfect plant to fit it! So for that reason, I've included the dimensions below on a collection of pots I am loving, which I hope might help you if you are also on a pot hunt! 

Speckled ceramic pot - Geofleur / NOTHS - £23 (7.5x7cm)

Speckled ceramic pot - Geofleur / NOTHS - £23 (7.5x7cm)

Roar + Rabbit Patterned Cachepots - West Elm - from £12 (S: 8cm dia x 8cm h, L: 15cm dia x 18cm h)

Roar + Rabbit Patterned Cachepots - West Elm - from £12 (S: 8cm dia x 8cm h, L: 15cm dia x 18cm h)

Marble effect blue planter - Not on the High Street - £39.95 (Medium: 19cm x 18cm or Large: 24cm x 26cm )

Marble effect blue planter - Not on the High Street - £39.95 (Medium: 19cm x 18cm or Large: 24cm x 26cm )

Scandi Animal Plant Pots (set of 3) - Sparks Living / NOTHS - £30 ( h 10cm dia 9cm)

Scandi Animal Plant Pots (set of 3) - Sparks Living / NOTHS - £30 ( h 10cm dia 9cm)

Wild Alpaca pot - Anthropologie - £16 (11cm W, 12cm H

Wild Alpaca pot - Anthropologie - £16 (11cm W, 12cm H

Teal crackle ceramic pot - Trouva - £22 (H 18cm x W 21cm)

Teal crackle ceramic pot - Trouva - £22 (H 18cm x W 21cm)

Marinski planters - Quince - £19.99 - (h 7cm, dia 9cm)

Marinski planters - Quince - £19.99 - (h 7cm, dia 9cm)

Zig Zag belly basket - This Modern Life - £19.50 (H 15cm Dia 28cm.)

Zig Zag belly basket - This Modern Life - £19.50 (H 15cm Dia 28cm.)

Coral hanging pot - Trouva - £38 (9 x 8 cm)

Coral hanging pot - Trouva - £38 (9 x 8 cm)

Hand illustrated porcelain pots - Oh no Rachio - £25 (9cm dia. x 10cm)

Hand illustrated porcelain pots - Oh no Rachio - £25 (9cm dia. x 10cm)

Ceramic planter - Ruby Roost - £15.95 (16.3cm dia x 12.5cm h)

Ceramic planter - Ruby Roost - £15.95 (16.3cm dia x 12.5cm h)

Brass pot on wooden stand - Forest and Co - from £60 (Small 21cm, M 38cm, L 52cm)

Brass pot on wooden stand - Forest and Co - from £60 (Small 21cm, M 38cm, L 52cm)

Sisal woven basket - The Future Kept - from £25 (S: 18cm x 18cm, M: 23cm x 23cm, L: 28cm x 28cm, XL: 32cm x 32cm)

Sisal woven basket - The Future Kept - from £25 (S: 18cm x 18cm, M: 23cm x 23cm, L: 28cm x 28cm, XL: 32cm x 32cm)

Stripy Ceramic Succulent Pot - Berries for Bella / NOTHS - £16.25 (H 7cm x Dia 7.5 cm)

Stripy Ceramic Succulent Pot - Berries for Bella / NOTHS - £16.25 (H 7cm x Dia 7.5 cm)

White glazed ceramic planter - Design Vintage - £45 (38cm dia, 32cm h) 

White glazed ceramic planter - Design Vintage - £45 (38cm dia, 32cm h) 

Editor Life: the full 91 Magazine story - Part I

It has been a little over five and a half years since I had the idea to start up 91 Magazine. It has come SO far since that tiny seed of an idea! So I thought it would be nice to share a bit more insight about what goes on behind the scenes and what it's like to be the editor of an independent magazine - I hope that sounds vaguely interesting! :) 

To kick it off, I'm beginning with the full story of 91 Magazine - I'm often asked about where the idea came from, how I set it up and the journey it's been on - so this series of posts should give a good overview of the past five or so years. 

Back in 2011, I was working full time as a picture editor for the Financial Times Weekend newspaper. I'd been in the job around three years at that point, and I was learning so much about publishing. I was part of a small team putting together the House & Home supplement, and this gave me the opportunity to understand the process involved in making a publication. From commissioning writers, photographers and illustrators, to the sub-editing and design process, to understanding the job of an editor - curating the pages and making the publication cohesive as a whole. I soaked up as much as I could from this working environment, but it was never my plan to start a magazine - I wasn't squirrelling away knowledge as part of my master plan! 

But at some point in the summer of 2011, an idea came to me. I'd always loved magazines, and had a particular penchant for interiors mags, but I'd started to feel disappointed by my monthly subscriptions, the magazines just didn't seem to speak to me anymore... I felt sure I could create something better - my perfect magazine - filled with interiors that were attainable but not boring, DIY ideas that were modern not twee, as well as speaking to my creative entrepreneur side - advice to help me grow my business and connect with my creativity. BUT, at that time, while I understood the process of putting together a publication, I knew nothing about printing or distribution. I assumed (and may well have been right at that time) that printers would never do small print runs, and I didn't have the cash or guts to print thousands of copies of a brand new magazine! That's when I discovered online magazines. At the time, there were a few American and Australian online interiors mags - Lonny and Adore for example, but no UK focussed ones. That was my lightbulb moment, I'd give it a go as an online magazine and see where we went from there. 

The first digital edition (2011) next to the most recent print edition (AW 2016). 

The first digital edition (2011) next to the most recent print edition (AW 2016). 

I must admit there was some level of naivety, I think I thought that I could do the whole thing myself at first! I already wrote my blog, so I thought it would be like bringing my blog posts together but in a more 'designed' format. I look back on that and LOL! Luckily, I didn't proceed with that plan. I put a call out for contributors on Twitter one day on my way to work - I remember distinctly standing on the train platform and reading lots of replies from people who wanted to get involved and that really spurred me on. A couple of friends from work were also massively encouraging and agreed to help out on the words side of things, as my strengths were mainly on the visual side. 

We set to work, and in October 2011, we published the first 54 page edition on issuu.com. I even managed to sell advertising in this first issue, which was amazing considering it was an unknown, and I am still thankful to those brands who supported me back then. I must say, I cringe massively when I look through that first issue! But at the same time, you have to start somewhere, and I am a big advocate of just going for it and giving an idea a try - so of course your first attempts will be less than perfect. Amazingly that first issue to date has had over 16,000 'reads' on issuu! The difference between the first and second issues is huge though - we had lots more original content in issue 2, as well as more pages, and suddenly I had lots more people interested in contributing and our readership was growing. 

home tour with Tif Fussell - spread from issue 2

home tour with Tif Fussell - spread from issue 2

Style feature spread from issue 6

Style feature spread from issue 6

From there, I continued to publish an issue online approximately every quarter. In 2013, I took voluntary redundancy from my job. It felt like the right time for me, I'd been building lots of contacts and I'd even already had discussions about a book deal, so I was ready to try and be my own boss. By the end of that year, I'd also got married and was pregnant, and that book deal had come to fruition! In 2014, I published a 'special' craft edition of the magazine - it had also had a redesign, and the response to that issue was amazing. To date, it has had over 83,000 'reads' and over 3 million impressions! 

Up until this point the magazine had been free to read, and I now felt that I needed to step things up, and look at how I could start generating some more revenue from the magazine, so I decided to start charging for downloads. I will tell you more about that, and where I went from there in the next instalment! 

Read part II and part III of the story. 

I won an award and didn't even know!

So yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my book The Shopkeepers Home had won an award at the end of last year, and I didn't even know about it! It's slightly sad to admit, but every now and then I like to check my book's Amazon page to see if there are any new reviews, which I happened to do yesterday and I noticed it now said: Winner 'Best Interiors Book' - Homemaker Art & Craft Book Awards 2016 just above the description! 

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A quick Google search led me to find out more about the awards hosted by Homemaker magazine, and judged by some well known folk from the interiors/craft industry. My category - Best Interiors Book - was judged by fashion designer Wayne Hemingway. I found on my publishers blog that Wayne had said of the book: “The Shopkeeper’s Home by Caroline Rowland is a genius idea. It allows you to get inside the homes of the coolest indie interiors retailers, and a lot of inspiration can be found there.”

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It really did make my Monday! I've been nominated for various awards over the years, but have never won any, so it feels so nice to get that little bit of recognition, especially when judged by industry people and not just 'get all your mates to vote for you'! 

Thanks again to Homemaker magazine, I'm thrilled to bits! :) 

February: A month of lovely - join in!

At the start of the year my intention was to write a 'plan for 2017' post, but then a not-so-great start to January meant it completely slipped my mind. I always feel it is hard to plan your year, mainly because you just never know what is around the corner. If I had have written that post on the 1st of Jan, I would have been incorporating a new baby into those plans, but that is now not to be (well, for now anyway!) BUT, saying that, I do think it's worth having some goals in place, whether they happen or not. 

SO - one of those goals is to work harder on this blog and be more consistent both here and on social media. It is a struggle juggling 91 Magazine, my part time job and this blog, but I hope that if I organise myself better hopefully it will be more manageable. The first step is to write some more regular posts and to create a calendar for myself to follow. 

This new series - A Month of Lovely - is where I want to share the things that I have been doing, liking, buying and working on over the past month or so. Plus, I would LOVE you to join in and share yours too either on your blog or simply on social media with the hashtag #amonthoflovely. (I'm @patchworkhrmy on Instagram BTW)  It doesn't have to be a collection of things like I have done here, it can be an individual thing, a place, a project, an item of clothing or even a person who has made your month lovely.

So here goes! 

Decorating my office - It is SO nice to have a home office space again! Before we moved house, I was in the corner of the living room, surrounded by all my work junk, but now I have a whole room to spread out in, get creative and store all my bits. We've been busy decorating it and I'm excited to share the pictures soon (there's just a few more finishing touches to add), but here I'm hinting a little to the colour scheme with this gorgeous sheepskin rug from Barker and Stonehouse and the cushion from Rigby and Mac which I bought via Trouva. (read my previous post about my Trouva obsession!) Look out for the office reveal soon! 

Buying clothes again - I spent a good portion of January & February wearing pyjamas or leggings after i had my surgery, and I had started to feel super dowdy. I generally tend to get dressed normally ever day, despite working from home, so in the last few weeks I've felt the need to refresh the wardrobe a little and make myself feel more presentable! I found this cardigan in George at Asda the other day for a bargain £16, the colours are gorgeous (my pink & grey obsession extends to clothes too clearly!) and it is really soft and cosy. A great piece for the transition into Spring. 

Knitting - I have well and truly caught the knitting bug it seems! I'm currently working on another one of these blankets and a scarf. There is actually a giveaway over on the 91 Magazine blog to win £150 for We Are Knitters at the moment in case you are interested - I am totally hooked on their wools and patterns - how lovely is that minty green yarn?!

A growing plant family - Our old flat didn't have bags of natural light, so plants always seemed to struggle, but our new place has lots, so I've found my plant family is multiplying on a weekly basis! I've decided it's time to start keeping a little plant diary - somewhere to note down info about each plant, as I find I forget what each one needs, and have to keep referring to the internet. To have it all in one notebook will be really helpful. 

Painting with dark colours - I very rarely stray from the pale colour spectrum, but in our living room I am introducing a darker shade via our soon-to-arrive cast iron radiators from Castrads, and I am tying in the colour by painting our two fireplace surrounds in the same colour. I've opted for Farrow and Ball Off Black. I have only done a tester spot so far, but it appears to be a really rich dark grey. I can't wait to transform those fireplaces with it! 

That's what's made my February lovely folks! I feel it's a really nice way to reflect on the last few weeks and appreciate the things that have given you a little bit of joy. I do hope you will join in and share yours too on your blog or on Instagram! x

Current obsession: Trouva

I feel like I've been doing a LOT of online shopping recently. Moving from a large town to a small village has meant turning to the internet for even the smallest of purchases, which I used to be able to pick up by just 'popping into town'. Funnily enough though, I find that it makes me really consider a purchase before clicking 'buy'. I might pin it or bookmark it and go back to it a few times before finally ordering it, so I kinda feel I am only buying things I really like, rather than on a whim. But, it can often be a little labourious when you are visiting loads of different websites to find what you are after, so I'm currently really enjoying shopping with Trouva

Monstera print from Tea & Kate / Trouva

Monstera print from Tea & Kate / Trouva

Trouva is a collection of around 150 independent boutiques from around the UK all selling via their website. Some of my favourite stores are selling on there - Moonko in Sheffield, Berylune in Leamington Spa, Monpote in Bristol and Cassius and Coco in London, to name a few. 

Hemp dipped basket from Design Vintage / Trouva

Hemp dipped basket from Design Vintage / Trouva

As well as homeware, they also sell clothing and gifts, so it's a bit of a one stop shop, and the great thing is, despite the fact that if you order items from different boutiques, the delivery charge is a standard £3.50. My first experience of using the site was for a Valentines gift - I'd ordered two items from two different shops. I shortly received an email to say one of the items was out of stock and I'd been refunded. I was slightly disappointed (and a bit panicked - "What do I buy him now?!") but I was pleasantly surprised a few days later when a small package arrived containing a personalised iced biscuit from Trouva to apologise about the problem with my order. Yes, it didn't help my frantic gift search, but I did think this was a really nice touch. 

hanging plant pot from Tea & Kate / Pink cushion with gold spots from Rigby & Mac / Handmade mugs from Rigby & Mac / Meraki handwash from Design Vintage; / Grey and Turquiose cushion from Alresford Linen Company / Concrete wall clock from Holloways of Ludlow / Cocos Nucifera Print from Mon Pote - All via Trouva

hanging plant pot from Tea & Kate / Pink cushion with gold spots from Rigby & Mac / Handmade mugs from Rigby & Mac / Meraki handwash from Design Vintage; / Grey and Turquiose cushion from Alresford Linen Company / Concrete wall clock from Holloways of Ludlow / Cocos Nucifera Print from Mon Pote - All via Trouva

I thought I'd share a few of my fave finds from the website, a few of which I may have already treated myself to, and you might see popping up in future room makeover posts which I'll be sharing soon! 

Stoneware pots from Room 356 / Trouva

Stoneware pots from Room 356 / Trouva

Do pop over for a little browse, although make sure you've got a cuppa to hand, you may be some time! Their blog is also worth a little peep as they highlight some of the indie sellers, and you might just discover a few new shops you didn't know before. 

www.trouva.com

Office makeover plans

It's been nearly five weeks since i had surgery after having an ectopic pregnancy, and I'm feeling so much better. Luckily, during this time I've had lots of distractions - Ruby of course, work, and also our home renovations. Our downstairs loo has been done (I will share this soon) and our bedroom has made quite a bit of progress. The current project is my office. I recently removed all the lining paper which was painted dark blue with a statue of Liberty mural (!), but the walls were in quite a state, so we decided to have them re-plastered. We then took up the horrible carpet and thankfully the floorboards were good so they have been painted white. We've got some more painting to do, which is going to be a little experimental, so I will keep this as a surprise for when i show you the room! Fingers crossed it works out. This gives a bit of a hint to the plans...

Above is some of the furniture and accessories I already have or plan to add. We have the Ikea day bed in there, which is a lovely piece and so practical for when people stay as it extends into a double, but it is quite big. So I've kinda had to plan the rest of the room around the bed! But I think it's going to work ok, and it means the room is multi-functional as both a guest room and office. I'm still searching for a bookcase, but I'm also hoping my hubby is going to make me a larger version of the plywood book display that Artemis of Junkaholique made below... 

I hope to get it all finished in the next month or so, and can't wait to move back in there as it's going to be such a nice room to work in. I'll be back soon with the before and after pics! x