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.... 

To be continued. 

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! 

To be continued...

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! :) 

FEB: 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

Ectopic pregnancy - my experience

I don't often go 'off topic' here at Patchwork Harmony, but once in while things occur that I feel the need to share. Sometimes it's something I think others might benefit from, like hypnobirthing, sometimes it's to raise awareness, and sometimes it's just therapy for myself, I find it helps to write things down - especially difficult experiences - it helps me to process it all.

So that's why I'm writing this post - for all of the above reasons, but also to reject the taboo that seems to surround the subject of losing a baby. It is a very personal matter of course, and understandably some women would rather keep it private, but for me, I always knew that if it happened to me I wouldn't bottle it up, I would share my experience and hopefully reach out to other women going through the same thing, so we can hold hands together and remember we are not alone.

Weirdly, I've always kind of felt that at some point I might have a miscarriage, and I'm guessing that feeling is down to the fact that '1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage' but little did I know what would unfold shortly after we discovered I was pregnant on New Years Eve. 

This picture is me on Friday 13th (unlucky for me it seems!) shortly after surgery to remove my right fallopian tube and our 6 week old foetus that was developing in there. It was just two weeks after finding out I was pregnant, and the diagnosis was an ectopic pregnancy. They told us that as it wasn't failing naturally which often happens, they would have to operate before the tube ruptures which is incredibly dangerous.

My reason for sharing this is not to scare anyone, or worry you if you are in the early stages of pregnancy, but more to highlight the condition and to point out the signs. Call it women's intuition, but weirdly I had a feeling from the start that things weren't right. While we were elated to find out I was expecting on New Years Eve, for the next week I kept commenting on how I didn't 'feel pregnant'. We reminded ourselves that symptoms often don't start till later, but deep down I had a niggle. I tried to convince myself otherwise, and even brushed off some spotting, as I remembered having it with my first pregnancy in the early weeks so pretty much ignored it.

The following Saturday - a week to the day after finding out about the pregnancy, I had a bit more blood, which concerned me enough to go to A&E. After 4 hours of waiting, all I was given was an early scan appointment in 5 days time. After the A&E trip the bleeding completely stopped and I relaxed a bit. But then two days later I started getting a dull achey pain in my right side, which went round into my lower back and down my thigh. Again, I remembered getting aches last time, so assigned it to stretching pains. But the day before I was due to have the scan, my worries came back. While the pain wasn't agony, it did seem to be worsening. Without wanting to rush to A&E again when I knew i had the scan the next day I turned to Dr. Google. We all do it, even though we know we shouldn't,, and this is what I want to highlight. Everything I read online seemed to suggest that unless you were bleeding everything was ok - aches and pains are normal in pregnancy - bleeding is the only thing to be concerned about. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! While I'd had a very small amount the week before, I was having none now, I could easily have reassured myself and just tried to ignore the aches. I'd also read about cysts that often cause pain, so I tried to tell myself that it could be that. The point is, everyone's symptoms are different, so don't ignore any bleeding or pain - and try not to go online - even if you think it's 'probably normal' - just get it checked. 

Despite what I'd read, by that evening I knew that there was definitely something going on, so I asked my hubby to come with me to the scan. Thankfully he did, as hearing the sonographer say 'I can't see anything in your uterus' was pretty heart-breaking. We had a little bit of hope when they said that perhaps my dates were wrong and it was too early to see the baby. They also suggested that the pain I was having was a cyst, so when we were sent home that afternoon, I tried to remain positive that this was the case. But then a phone call from the hospital suggested that the chances of ectopic were looking quite high and that I shouldn't drive or be alone in case the tube burst. This was absolute worst case scenario, but that was all I heard, and I spent the night terrified that it might happen. They told me that if my tube burst I would get pain in my shoulder - I spent the evening thinking my shoulder was getting sore. (your mind can play some cruel tricks!) 

The next morning - Friday the 13th (!) - we were back at the hospital where a consultant scanned me and confirmed the ectopic pregnancy. I was admitted straight away and went to theatre that afternoon. It's been two weeks since then, and I'm recovering well, Of course, it’s not just physical healing, it’s emotional too.. Unlike the traumatic delivery I had when giving birth to Ruby at least I was rewarded with a beautiful baby girl. Sadly this time, I went through the trauma and pain of surgery, but without that wonderful end result. I'm thankful though that we caught it early enough as the consequences could have been very different had the pregnancy continued to developed in my tube. 

I'm not looking for sympathy by writing this post, I really am feeling fine and dealing with it well. All I wanted was to tell my story and highlight the condition - one which I’d never even really contemplated - so that others are aware.  I also wanted to be open about a subject that is often veiled in silence, especially as nearly everyone I've spoken to since has been touched by the loss of a baby, but yet, no one talks about it. It's nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, it's not a failure, it's just life. it's bloody hard to make a human and sometimes it just doesn't work out. 

Earlier this week, when I had my dressings removed and I saw the scarring, my resolve to stay strong did falter. Again, feeling sad that I've been left with this physical reminder and no new baby to override the pain with happiness. But then, my husband said 'They are proof of your journey through life, they are part of our story.' He's so right, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, “Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it” – we are moving on with positivity and good vibes and the hope of no more Friday the 13th's like that one! 

If you've been affected by ectopic pregnancy or are concerned you might be having one, then the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust is a really useful resource. But as I said, ANY bleeding or pain - just get checked, I'm so glad I didn't ignore what my body and mind were telling me. xxx

Bedroom makeover & bed upgrade

When we moved into the new house, one of the first things we needed to purchase was a new bed. We needed an additional double for the spare room so my parents could stay. So before we even moved, I'd earmarked this copper bed frame from Made.com for our room, and ordered it as soon as we got the keys. 

As the bed was quite a big spend, I decided to order a relatively cheap mattress and bedding - bad move! I should have taken my own advice and not scrimped on the things that need to do a good job. The mattress was really hard and too thin, and the bedding was too light and flimsy. The hubby wasn't happy and I was kicking myself for my less than satisfactory purchases. But luckily, that was when two fabulous companies stepped in to sort things out. 

Firstly, Sleepbear introduced me to their British-made, latex-topped mattress. A new family run business, Sleepbear have developed a 'one mattress suits all' design, which they believe is the ultimate in comfort, support and a good night's sleep. It seems the pure latex they use within the mattress is key to everything - it contours to your body and it's elasticity allows the mattress to bounce back. Not only that, latex is naturally hypoallergenic, so fends off dust mites, mould and bacteria, and due the materials open cell structure it is super breathable, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 

When our mattress arrived and we lay on it, we both literally went 'OH YES!' It was SO different to what we had been sleeping on. You can see in the pic above how substantial it is (and it's lovely design!), and it has 100% kept it's shape since we started sleeping on it. It has a firmness to it, but still feels like you kind of sink into it each night. 

So with our mattress upgrade, it would have been ludicrous to then top it with the flimsy duvet and misshapen pillows we'd been using, so thankfully the lovely folk at Soak and Sleep were able to guide us on making our bed a truly luxurious place. On their website, you can tailor your choice of bedding to what kind of sleeper you are... side, back or front sleeper, cold or hot, allergy sufferer etc. We were advised to go with a pure wool duvet, which, as a natural material is great for temperature regulation - I often go to bed cold, but wake up in the night too hot, so it was perfect. As for pillows, it seems latex is winning out again! Same as the mattress, the latex pillows keep their shape amazingly well, and are hypoallergenic, (as is the wool duvet) which is useful for my asthma. 

Last but not least, the bed sheets. Again, I've always been a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to this, but NO MORE! 100% French Linen is the only way to go! I can't believe I've cheated myself out of sleeping between anything less. It feels amazing, it is breathable, again helping with temp control, and there is no need to iron it! added bonus! I'm totally in love with this Blush Pink set I went for, I can't stop looking at it! :) 

Doing this bed upgrade has honestly opened my eyes to how important a good mattress and bedding is. Maybe I'm just getting old, but it feels like a real priority to have a super comfy bed to retreat to after a long, stressful day! 

The entire bedroom has had a bit of a makeover, although it is not complete yet. We are still working out storage options and additional furniture etc. But we did strip off the lining paper that was painted a deep purple and repainted in white, We then got rid of the dark blue carpet and replaced it with this white laminate flooring. As it's a loft conversion, there were no nice floorboards under the carpet, hence the laminate, but I've honestly surprised myself with how pleased I am with it! It has completely transformed the space. I will probably repaint the pink sloping wall, and we need things like a new light fitting, a new door and window coverings, but for now, just making those small changes has made it a completely different room to what it was. Of course I forgot to take any decent 'before' pics (again!) although below is a terrible phone pic from when we viewed the property, and a few 'in progress' ones when I was stripping the walls! 

What a difference a lick of paint and a new floor can make right?! The only furniture I've added to the room so far are the little side tables which I got from Nordic House.

Things are slowly taking shape round here! There's still lots to do, but at least we now have a lovely, comfy place to retire to after days of decorating! Thank you so much to Soak and Sleep and Sleepbear for their help with upgrading our bed - I know I will continue to opt for better quality when it comes to bedding from now on! 

oh, and if you fancy upgrading too, Sleepbear have a £50 off discount code until January 31st, see their website for the code, and Soak and Sleep are in the final week of their sale so take a peek for some bargains! 

Sourcing: La Redoute homewares

Recently I have noticed a lot of homeware items from La Redoute popping up on Instagram, and I was pleasantly surprised, firstly as I didn't even realise they did homeware and secondly because after a quick browse I discovered they have some really lovely pieces at super affordable prices! At the moment they have 30% off everything so I *may* have just ordered myself this lovely rug and magazine rack for my office which I'm in the process of revamping! 

Jeo Rug - £39

Jeo Rug - £39

Magazine rack - £49

The prices above are the full price so at the minute with the 30% off the rug was only £27 and the rack was £34! But even without the discount they are really reasonable prices I think. Saying that, there does seem to be quite a variation in affordability, with some items on the site being a lot more expensive in comparison. 

Junior chair - £175

Junior chair - £175

Stackable school chairs - £225 for two

Stackable school chairs - £225 for two

For example this sideboard is quite pricey, although perhaps more affordable than a similar one in other high street stores? I also really like the Junior chair - it would be perfect for Ruby at the minute as she's no longer in a high chair but a normal chair is a bit low, but it's quite expensive for something we'd only use for a short while... They do matching dining chairs so it would blend in well if you had these too - £225 for two seems more reasonable as well. I also really like these wooden dining chairs, the one for sale on their site at the moment is a grey version which is lovely, but they are £299 - quite a lot if ordering 4 or more...

Afaw shaggy rug - from £99

Afaw shaggy rug - from £99

Cotton duvet cover - from £29

Cotton duvet cover - from £29

So let's get back to those great bargain finds! They have some gorgeous rugs on there, the Afaw shaggy rug was one that I've saw popping up on Instagram quite bit. They've also got some lovely bedding and children's pieces. I love this duvet set with the triangles which is only £29 for a single and £39 for a double. (don't forget the 30% off that too!) 

Metal Armoire - £249

Those metal armoires would make a great toy cupboard in a kids room or perfect storage in an office. How sweet is the little teepee bed canopy and I like the simple design of the bedroom furniture above, although the bed doesn't seem to be on the site sadly...

What do you think? Did you know La Redoute did furniture and homeware or is it just me whose late to the party?! It's definitely one I'll be adding to my bookmarks for when I'm on the hunt for things for the new house! I'll make sure to share pics of the rug and magazine rack when they arrive. Do follow me on Instagram as I tend to post little things like that on there! 

Discovering knitting

If you read my last post and/or follow me on Instagram, you might have heard me mention that I've been trying my hand at knitting recently? Well, I thought I'd fill you in a little more about how I've discovered this new found love for the craft. 

I spend so much time staring at a computer screen or my phone, that it has actually caused me some problems with my eyes, so I really wanted to find an activity that would take me away from the screen and that was creative, and knitting kept popping up as a possible option. My mum is a fantastic knitter and has made lots of things for Ruby and also knits for charity, but one of my memories from my childhood is her trying to teach me, and me throwing a strop because I couldn't get it! So I've never really tried it again since then, so when We Are Knitters got in touch about collaborating, I had to admit my novice knitter status to them! Thankfully they didn't mind that I was a newbie, and it seemed like fate that it came along at the exact time when I was looking for a new hobby. 

After perusing their fab range of knitting kits, I decided to go for the Nick Blanket kit. which is beginner level - that seemed like the best idea! This gorgeous package arrived shortly after, and as a packaging design geek, it certainly got me even more excited about my little project! Everything you need is inside - needles, yarn, instructions, sewing needle and a sweet little label to add to your finished item. 

While the instructions for making the blanket are included, if you are a complete beginner like me, you will need to refer to the internet for how to actually knit! As in the different stitches and how to cast on and off. We Are Knitters have lots of tutorials or you can check out youtube, as there are often different ways of doing some things. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I picked up the stitches I needed for the blanket and after a few practice squares, I got cracking with the blanket. 

In the run up to Christmas my hubby had lots of parties and work commitments in the evenings, so I found myself curled up on the sofa completely immersed in the project and absolutely loving it! I managed to get it completed just before Christmas and I am so chuffed with it! 

Of course as a first attempt it is not perfect and I learnt a few things along the way (like don't leave your ends too short when you are adding a new ball of wool!) but overall it turned out pretty well. 

The finished blanket is not huge, but it would make a perfect baby blanket, or is big enough to drape over your legs on a chilly evening, or for adding texture to a chair or sofa, The wool is so gorgeous and chunky that it feels really snuggly and lovely. Ruby has already claimed it for herself and keeps lying on the floor with it! 

I've definitely got the knitting bug now and am looking for a new project. This cushion looks great, and I'd love to try the fabric yarn and We Are Knitters have so many gorgeous jumper patterns like this one I'd love to try once I'm a little more advanced! 

So, if you've got the urge for a new hobby this year, I can totally recommend it. And now is the perfect time as We Are Knitters have a sale on right now, so do have a peek at their website

*This post was written in collaboration with We Are Knitters, but all choices, opinions and knitting mistakes are my own!*

Photos: Caroline Rowland

My year in pictures 2016

Another year, gone by in a flash! Well, 2016 has been a bit of a strange year in terms of the world we live in. I'm not a big one for politics, but it does feel like the future is quite uncertain, and we don't really know what to expect in the coming years. But as always, I like to take time at the end of each year to reflect, and appreciate the smaller things in life, the things that are personal to me, that have made me happy, proud, or even sad or frustrated, but they are the events that have made up my past 12 months. 

This year (and also part of last year!) has mainly been consumed by the process of moving house. Our original plan was to move by Christmas 2015, but we just made it into our new home for this Christmas! It was nice though at the start of the year to have our old flat featured in Psychologies magazine, it was a lovely shoot by Penny Wincer and a nice way to record our previous home. 

In fact at the start of 2016, I wrote a post with my plans for the year ahead, with the idea of looking back on the at the end of the year to see how things had went. So, tick, we managed to move house!

I'd also just started a new part time job with interiors brand One World Trading Co. back in January. I'm still doing this role, looking after the content for their blog, social media and newsletter, and it's been nice to see how the brand has developed over the last year. As well as lots of new lifestyle photography on their site, we've been working a lot with bloggers which has been fun, plus they recently opened a concession in Harvey Nichols! Do have a peep at their site if you have a mo - www.one.world

The other major plan I had at the start of the year was to relaunch 91 Magazine. After a year away from it, I decided it was time to really go for it, and along with my fab new team, we certainly did that! It's been a great year for the magazine, with two print editions publishing, one in S/S and one in A/W. We now have it stocked in around 70 UK shops, and a few outside the UK, and we've worked with some amazing brands. The above image is from our Summer launch event at Anthropologie! Anyway, you can read more about our first year in print on the 91 blog. 

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With the whole moving house thing this year we found two things - firstly we couldn't plan any holidays as we never knew from month to month if we might finally exchange, and secondly, we kinda lost interest in our flat. It seemed pointless to spend any more time or money on it when we'd be leaving it soon. Looking back, this seemed to free up a bit more time for family days out, plus Ruby was finally at an age were trips into London and elsewhere were becoming slightly less stressful and more fun. We pottered around Petersham Nurseries, we enjoyed art at the Tate Modern, and we relaxed in the cafes of Brighton.

In May we even ventured down to Kent on a lovely Spring day to the Decorative Living Fair. It's always a nice day out although I found it a tad frustrating as I couldn't buy anything yet as we were STILL waiting to move! The above pic is a slightly awkward family shot of us out in Richmond Park. I like it though as we don't often seem to get many of us all together!

Ruby turned two in July, and it wasn't long after that we took our first trip away without her, finally feeling 'OK' with the idea of being apart from her for more than one night. We went to a wedding in Scotland, and really let our hair down for a few nights while also enjoying the magnificent scenery of the west coast of the country. I loved the minimal bedroom that we stayed in at the venue. 

After that little trip, completing on the sale of our flat finally felt like it was in touching distance. At the end of September it happened! A whole year and a bit after we put it up for sale! After seven years of living there, we did feel a little sad, but we were literally bursting at the seams there, and we were totally ready for a new start. 

We are so glad we perservered, as after our first three months in our new home, we are pleased to say we love it! The house needs loads of work but we've already made a good start. The space is great, the light is lovely and it just 'feels' nice. It's true what they say about just knowing when you've found the right house - I still remember I didn't sleep a wink the night after we first viewed it, because I couldn't stop thinking about it and what we could do to it!

We've been mainly focusing on trying to get rid of all of the dark or neon colours that were everywhere! So no rooms are 'finished' yet, but we are getting there! We've got a new floor for the living room coming in the new year which I'm really excited about so I will continue to keep you posted on our progress on here. You can see more of this mini bedroom makeover here.

I've been enjoying spending lots of time in the new house, and keeping cosy during the colder months, and I've taken up a new craft! I've been busy knitting this We Are Knitters blanket, and I honestly did not expect to enjoy knitting so much! I've actually finished the blanket now, so I will share the results on here soon too. If anyone has tips for resources for some modern knitting projects do let me know. 

Following the craziness of the house move and a very busy year work wise, I felt the need for a quick little break by the coast, so we took ourselves off to Norfolk and stayed at Ford House. If you ever get the chance, book yourself a few days here, it is gorgeous and such a lovely part of the country to explore. More pics are here.

The year was rounded off by our first Christmas in our new home, and it was lovely. It's the first year Ruby has had an understanding of what's going on, and I loved seeing her so excited. I'm looking forward to many more Christmasses here! 

So that was my 2016! It was frustrating year at times, but it has definitely turned out well in the end. I have a few question marks about where I want to go with a few things in the next year, but for now I think I'm just going to sit back and take stock, and I'm sure things will all become clear in the new year! 

Thanks again for stopping by despite my slight lack of posts this year! I've been writing this blog now for 8 years, so it very much feels like a part of me, and I'm looking forward to making it a more frequented place in 2017! Happy New Year all, see you on the other side! xxx

Slipper love - Baabuk

I tend to think that in this world there are two types of people - slipper wearers and non-slipper wearers. I am a slipper wearer. As a child, I have memories of getting a new pair of slippers every Christmas, so I guess I've been a lifelong slipper wearer! Whereas my hubby is definitely not one! 

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So I must admit I was very excited to be sent these beautiful wool slippers recently from Swiss brand Baabuk. They are a relatively new business, only starting out in 2013, but owners Galina and Dan are super passionate about wool and their footwear products, which you can tell just from their website where they give a real insight into their product and how it is made

They are so comfy, and feel really sturdy - I've literally nearly walked out of the house a few times in them without realising! I also feel incredibly European walking around the house in them, so much more stylish than a ratty pair of Primark slippers! 

They also very kindly sent (the cutest!) little pair for Ruby too. The smallest size they do is EU24, which is a UK7, which is a bit big for her, so I wasn't planning to give them to her until her feet had grown. But then, she spotted these photos on my computer the other day when I was editing them and said 'There are your slippers mum! and there are mine too!' She's no fool! So I let her try them on and she LOVES them! She is literally obsessed with them! They are a tiny bit big, but they don't generally fall off, in fact, I can't get them off her!

The slippers are made in Nepal, and Baabuk guarantee that their staff there earn higher-than-average salaries and have good working conditions. They really are beautifully made, and come in these lovely bags, making them feel that little bit more special. 

I can't stop taking pictures of Ruby's little pair! This was also probably the only time I've ever got her to stay still for more than 5 seconds to take a photo, she clearly wanted to show them off! 

Oh and if you aren't an avid slipper wearer like myself, then do check out Baabuk's range of wool sneakers, they are machine-washable, and can be worn all year round - keeping your feet warm in winter and cool in summer - I love the Grey and Turquoise pair myself... 

Thank you to Baabuk for gifting us these slippers, I think Ruby and I will be wearing matching pairs for many years to come! 

Planning a plywood bedroom

So last week I started stripping wallpaper in our bedroom, which is a loft room. It is just lining paper, but painted in a plum shade and quite dark. I just needed to get it off asap! But our actual plan for this room is to panel it with plywood. I'm really loving interiors with raw materials right now, things like concrete and bare plaster, and there's some really beautiful examples I've seen where plywood has been used. I was initially inspired by the home of Mirjam Hart which we featured in 91 Magazine S/S 16 issue, where she has panelled behind her bed, although I think this is actually what they call OSB in the trade, and is a lot rougher looking than plywood. 

Photo: Mirjam Hart / via 91 Magazine

Photo: Mirjam Hart / via 91 Magazine

I LOVE this room above, and am definitely thinking that incorporating colour like this is something I'd like to do. 

I love the natural patterns in the wood in the shot above and how the rawness of the wood contrasts with the pretty pink flowers and the smoothness of the marble table.

There are so many ways in which it can be used, if you didn't want full panelling, a head board, or a bedside shelf is a subtle way of introducing it.

Red online

Red online

And you can of course incorporate storage too via cupboards, drawers and shelving all made from plywood. 

Oh, and I DEFINITELY want one of these in my office for my books and magazines! It looks so simple to make and such a nice way to display your favourite reading material. 

I'm still at the planning / gathering ideas stage with our bedroom, but this little bit of research has certainly inspired me. What do you think of plywood as a wall covering?