This is the perfect summer pasta dish. Fresh, tasty and full of seasonal produce. It is fancy enough to serve to guests and quick enough to cook as a mid week supper. I first ate a similar courgette and ricotta pasta dish almost over a year ago when I visited…View Post
This post has been a long time coming, but we are finally getting to a place in the garden where I feel like it is taking shape. Whilst the main garden will take a bit more care and planting over the coming years, I am excited to show you what we have done so far and then maybe next year I can do an update and show how much has changed/grown.
Last year the garden was a building site, so we are very much looking forward to being outdoors this summer, soaking up the sun, relaxing and simply making the most of outdoor living.
Here’s our garden’s story:
Our garden took a bit of a battering when we were focussing all of our attention on the house renovations and needed a fair bit of TLC afterwards. We are lucky it is a really good size and is surrounded by a lot of mature trees and plants, however the neglect (during our tenure) along with taking a VERY large tree right out of the middle that was blocking all of the light really meant it needed some help.
In the end we realised we were going to have to give it a pretty radical make over! We have done it in stages and the patio was the first area to get some attention. We did the bulk of the hardcore work when we built the extension over four years ago (I really don’t know where time has gone) and then ignored the garden until last summer when we started work back up.
When we moved in there wasn’t much of a patio at all – just one slab outside the patio doors and then straight to grass – or as the case may be, mud. The side return patio was too high and above the damp course so we needed to dig that out. There was also the most beautiful old vine that climbed up the old extension of the house that created the a lovely canopy of vines leaves and grapes (never edible unfortunately) in the summer. Sadly, despite trying to save the vine when we knocked the old extension down, it didn’t make it so we were really left with a blank canvas.
We decided to lay a reasonably good sized patio that went across the back of the kitchen and stepping down to the side return. I thought it would be nice to have a curve to balance out the hard square angles of the house and that would also create a triangle type border fill with plants. We also decided a wall would be good as the levels are all different and that curved round too. A lesson we learned during the building of this wall is that curved walls take longer and cost considerably more than straight walls!
There are a number of fig trees in the garden that provide delicious fruit, and two of them are either side of the patio. We curved the wall round the trees making it look like the wall had always been there and that it was all planned!
As part of last summer’s work, we dug out part of the lawn so we could create the flower beds. The landscapers did plant them up but they weren’t quite as I wanted them so this spring we have been adding/editing what’s in there. My vision for the overall garden is for it to be a modern country style garden, and I love perennials such as roses, peonies, foxgloves, hydrangeas and lavender as well as anything that is edible and can be used in cooking – so rosemary and bay too.
We edged the lawn side of the beds with box hedging and started filling the beds with some of my favourites. We have planted lavender closest to the wall so the purple heads will just be peeking over and giving off a lovely scent, with rosemary in the near side corners – perfect for easy picking for the Sunday roast. We have just planted up some other bits so they are still looking pretty small but I am hoping they will grow and spread and look less bare and formal soon. I think it will take a few years to get it to where I really want it – and I am learning as I go!
The other big thing to happen to the patio last year was of course the pizza oven which you can read all about here. This year we managed to invest in some beautiful outdoor seating and it has transformed the side return in to a really cosy and useable area.
I have planted up loads of herbs in old terracotta pots which are perfect being so close to the kitchen and the pizza oven – I have a number of oreganos which are perfect for sprinkling over pizza just before it goes into the oven, and mint for Mojitos of course!
shop the patio
Garden shelving unit – Cox and Cox
Whitewashed rattan tray – The White Company c/o
Coriander and citronella outdoor candle (smells AMAZING) – The White Company c/o
Glass cocktail jug – The White Company c/o
Cube dining table and chairs (similar) – Ebay
Amazing patio heater – Sunwood (our friends very generously gave
us ours and it looks so beautiful lit)
Slatted fencing (behind pizza oven) – Garden Trellis Co.
And I think I love it even more when it starts to get darker. Lighting all the candles, putting on the festival lights and firing up the BBQ or pizza oven makes for a perfect evening in the garden. I snapped a few pictures as the sun started to set one night to show you.
I’d love to know what you think?
1. I spent a delicious weekend in London last week, visiting Chelsea Flower Show for the first time. I absolutely loved it and took home a lot of inspiration (and notes) for the garden! I didn’t take any proper photos for the blog, but luckily the brilliant Rebecca from Roses and Rolltops did. Take a look at her blog post here.
2. My love for a straw/basket bag is unending. Over the years I have collected a number and still can’t help but look at more! Here are a round up of my favourites at the moment:
3. Do you meditate? It is something that I have never been able to get the hang of so I was pleased to read Monica’s post on mindful activities that aren’t meditation on her blog The Elgin Avenue. One more to add to the list – gardening! Which is my current go-to for when I need to forget about everything else! I always love Monica’s heart and wellbeing led content and this post is no exception.
4. The first #addictedtointeriors event that myself and my friend Jennie held last week went really well and we were delighted with how many people came. So many people asked us about the next event so it seems we shall be putting another one on! Watch this space!
5. I’ve moved some bits and bobs about in the house including bringing the coffee table in to the kitchen and I love it. We site in here much more now it is light in the evenings. Oh, and the tray and lidded jar pictured were (gifted) from Lene Bjerre, a Danish interiors brand who have just started shipping to the UK. You can thank (or blame) me later for everything you see and can’t live without! Shop: Tray | Jar
ps. Did you catch up on the blog this week? I wrote about my visit to intu Derby and how I have refreshed my bedroom for summer. Check out the post here, which includes a very loverly, affordable linen duvet set.
Have a great week ahead 🙂
Now that summer is here, I wanted to make sure my bedroom was summer-ready. Having a space that is calm and cool is really important to both Will and I as we need to be able to quickly relax and get to sleep once it is bedtime – which too often is later than we’d really like.
I’ve purposely kept the decoration in our room very simple and plain for the exact reason but I like to change things up a little with the seasons, not only visually but so the room works practically too.
Working with intu Derby to showcase the shopping centre as a great place for interiors lovers like me (read more about our partnership here) was the perfect opportunity to give my bedroom a little summer refresh. There are a number of stores in the centre that are perfect if you want to refresh your home a little, or even give it a complete overhaul. I loved that everything was so close to one another and I didn’t need to walk for miles, or even go outside to get the the stores I wanted.
I made a beeline for Marks and Spencer’s and Next as they both have large homeware sections in the centre and I knew I would be able to get everything I needed to give my bedroom a seasonal refresh.
For summer, fresh bedding, new sheets, cushions and mixing up our bedside table decoration makes it feel like a whole new space and keeps it comfortable for those sticky nights.
First up I headed to Next Home for a new summer appropriate duvet. I love our deliciously heavy feather and down duvet for winter but need a lighter, more cooling one for the summer months. If Will had his way we would have swapped it in February but I like to leave it until it really has started to warm up! There was a great range and I went for a 4.5 tog that keeps you cool.
I was pretty excited for new bedding. I have been eyeing up linen bedding for a couple of years but not been able to commit as it is generally so pricey however when I saw that Marks and Spencer’s had a new 100% linen range I couldn’t resist. They have it in quite a few different colours and I went for a white duvet cover and bottom sheets but picked out a neutral colour for the pillow cases to mix things up a bit.
I absolutely love the way linen is all crumpled and inviting! I know it would drive some people crazy wanting to iron it but I am not a bed cover ironer so it is perfect for me! It is also wonderfully cooling for the summer.
I love layering up a bed – it might be my show home styling training from work – but I think it makes it look very inviting and cosy. I have layered different sized pillows – using large square ones at the back which are great whilst sitting up in bed reading or sipping a coffee on a weekend morning, and then super king size pillows followed by regular ones. A few mix and match cushions finishes it off perfectly.
A couple of easy-care plants from Next (I didn’t realise they did live plants until I visited the centre) and a restyle of the bedside tables is all it takes to finish it off and make it feel like a new room altogether! Not to mention a little pillow spray to help us nod off with ease.
Shop the post
All of the following items were from intu Derby:
Not bought at intu Derby:
5 ways to get your bedroom ready for summer
Change your bedding
I love a big, fluffy heavy feather and down duvet for most of the year but switch it out for a lighter option in the summer months so I don’t get too hot. A 4.5 tog is perfect for when it is warm and you can also get options now that are made from cooling fibres that help regulate your body temperature during the night. Top tip – go in store to buy your duvet. You can feel the different options and make a better choice than taking a punt ordering online – duvets are really personal and it pays to get it right.
Refresh your sheets
I love new sheets so a change of season is the perfect opportunity for me. Linen has that beautifully lived in a rumpled look (great if you don’t iron your bedsheets like me) but cottons are also lovely. Buy the best you can afford – they get better with every wash and will last you years to come.
Pick a fresh colourway
White sheets are my favourite and my go-to, and I always think it looks great in the summer. I normally accent my white sheets with grey and charcoal however for summer I have picked warmer neutrals and I loved the relaxed summer vibes they have.
Add new throws and pillows
New throws and pillows can give your room a whole new feel and you can have fun with different textures in the summer. Try mixing wool with linen. I wandered around M&S with piles in my hand choosing which went with which – it was so much fun and I kew they would look great once I got them home.
Adding plants is my tip for almost everything, but a bit of greenery looks great on a bedside table during the summer months! I love that Next now sell live plants in store – it saves an extra trip to the garden centre.
Will you be getting your bedroom ready for summer?
This post was created in collaboration with intu Derby but as always, I only partner with brands I love.
1.I restyled my kitchen shelves last week using this gorgeous dinner set from Royal Doulton (gifted). It is from a range designed by Ellen Degeneres and I loved the effortless style each of the items has. I’m not sure what age dinnerware becomes more exciting than shoes, but I think I’ve reached it!
2. Does anyone else LOVE herbs? I get through so much basil, coriander and parsley in cooking – they are just so fresh and tasty, and I love these earthenware planters from The White Company (gifted). As you know, they can do no wrong in my eyes and these planters are no exception!
3. How lovely has the weather been?! The sun has been shining and I have dusted off my summer clothes. Despite what I said in point 1 above, I do still love a shoe and one thing I have particularly enjoyed with the warmer weather is being able to ditch tights and socks and wear sandals instead. Here is a round of up my favourites right now:
4. Exciting blog news – I am working with intu Derby over the coming weeks as part of their Welcome to our World campaign to showcase how great the shopping centre is for home and lifestyle lovers like me. I had a blast exploring the centre and must say, the staff in the shops there were the friendliest I have come across. Have a look at their website to see more about my shopping trip there (OMG i’m on the front page) and keep an eye on my blog and Instagram for more including what I bought and how i’ll be styling it up in my home. I can’t wait to share it with you.
5. I can’t quite believe it but we sold out of tickets for our first #addictedtointeriors event! If you’ve missed me talking about it so far, it’s an event for interiors and instagram lovers in the Midlands. The event is at the very beautiful Neptune Home store in Birmingham on Thursday evening. If you are coming, I can’t wait to meet you and I’ll be sharing more as it happens over on Instagram on Thursday evening!
Come summer, the only thing I wear are white tops and jeans. Well, not quite but pretty close!
A colleague recently commented it was my uniform – what I looked best in and I took this as a massive compliment as I find a white top and jeans the easiest thing to throw on.
Luckily for me the shops are inundated with white tops this year, and just to make me even happier there are plenty frills, ruffles and broderie anglaise – my summer favourite!
I have rounded up a few of my favourites, many of which I have and a few more that I have my eye on.
Shop white tops
What’s your summer uniform?
My weekly up date of what i’ve been up to, what’s caught my eye and things I think you’ll love.
1.It has been such a busy few weeks and time is flying by so fast but Will and I are escaping the hustle and bustle for the long weekend. After work last night we high tailed it to the airport and are waking up this morning in Mallorca.
2. Here is what I wish I had packed in my suitcase for this weekend (and a couple of things I actually have):
3. Did you see my big news last Sunday? Along with fellow interior lover Jennie, I’ve launched an insta-meet up for interiors lovers in the Midlands. I’d love you to come! Find out more and get your tickets here.
4. I’ve followed and adored Victoria from Apartment Number 4 for years and have been cheerleading on her recent career-leap to full time blogging. She’s absolutely nailing it and has not only launched an affordable interior design service but a shoppable interiors magazine too! If you aren’t already a fan, take a look and I bet you’ll want to be her friend as much as I do too!
5. Oh, and if I didn’t think she was awesome enough already, she’s featured me and my home (top picture is a new one I took for her) in the first edition of her new magazine, 4! Thanks Vic! Go give her a follow if you don’t already.
Hope you all have a fabulous long weekend. I’ll be over on Instagram (as ever) sharing my highlights from Mallorca. Until next week. x
The pizza oven is possibly my most requested blog post of all time so I am excited to finally be able to share it with you.
Many years ago I visited my friend’s sister’s house for a party – they served up pizza from their very own in-garden wood fired pizza oven and it was the most fabulous thing I have come across. It was such a fun, collaborative and hands-on way to serve food to guests and I was instantly smitten!
I hoped one day I would get to have one myself and fast-forward a few years, I found the perfect opportunity.
Following our kitchen extension (you can see the before and during here and here, and finished results here) we laid a patio but didn’t do much else with it. There is a little-used space at the side return of the extension and I envisioned turning it into a cosy nook perfect for entertaining.
Key to this was our very own pizza oven! The idea of being to create the most perfect and delicious handmade pizzas that could transport you to Italy in a bite was too much for me to resist.
As with the majority of our projects, Will helped bring my vision to life. In fact, let me just give FULL credit to him, as he sorted out the whole shebang! I gave him an idea of what I wanted and he spent hours sourcing the ideal solution and making it happen.
The ideal spot
We had the ideal spot in the courtyard, that was about three metres from the patio door leading from our kitchen/dining room to the pizza oven location. That meant it was convenient and accessible if the weather was less than perfect (worth considering when living in the UK!).
We had already laid a patio when we completed the extension so we had a solid base ready on which to build from. If you are considering a wood fired pizza oven project, you’ll need to factor these two items into your plans.
I think for the handy and practical minded, you *may* be able to find yourself a YouTube tutorial and knock yourself one up.
However, neither Will or I fall anywhere close to that category (I like to think we have skills elsewhere!) so we needed some more help.
Will found Pizza Oven Supplies, a company that makes and supplies all the materials and pre-formed bits that you need. We ordered the Milan 750 Pizza Oven kit.
So for the technical blurb, it has a refractory and insulated two-piece oven floor with 750mm wide cooking area.
What that means for me and you – it gets bloody hot and you can squeeze two pizzas in at once.
It also comes with a dome and an opening, a chimney, insulation and reinforcement, kiln blanket, aluminium vapour barrier (aka space jacket) and chicken wire.
There is more technical lingo, but you don’t need that at this point. What you need to know is it will be delivered on a heavy pallet and your work is not yet done.
Before you get to the actual pizza oven bit you need to create a base. We wanted it to blend in to our existing structure – we had built our extension and garden wall in carefully chosen reclaimed bricks (oh the hours spent at reclamation yards comparing colour and character of old bricks!) so we knew we wanted to build our base to match that.
There are loads of other ways of creating a base – timber, stones, breeze blocks etc but we had some bricks left over so the next stage for us was getting a bricklayer in.
This is where it got a bit tricky for us. It was summer and every – and I mean EVERY – bricklayer was booked for the rest of the millennia. And they certainly didn’t want to be faffing around with curves and drawings and things they weren’t sure of.
After much searching and calling we eventually found a chap who said he’d be able to get it done in a weekend. He came and worked a full day, marked out where it should all go and he built about a half of the base. He didn’t come back the next day, or in fact ever again. I really don’t know what happened (and I also really hope he is OK) but it left us in all sorts of trouble…if people initially didn’t want to start the job, they certainly didn’t want to pick up where someone had left off.
Again, more weeks went by, we had several people round to quote, many who then totally ignored us after! Eventually we found someone who finished it all off as well as doing some extras for us. In total between the two guys it was six days of bricklaying work. I would say if you keep to the original design it would probably be between two and four. It *may* useful to cost this in at the beginning (we didn’t!).
As the oven is full sight from inside the house we wanted to make sure it was lovely to look at rather than an eye sore, so we made some little tweaks to the design. We used our reclaimed bricks for the dome even though the kit came with some pre-cut ones – there was nothing wrong with them but they were new and we wanted that lived-in cohesive feel.
We also used blue bricks to create the feature arch and knocked down part of the existing wall to add in a work top – slate, which was bought from eBay, and make it look like it had all always been there.
We had to wait a week after it was built before we could light a small fire in it to season it and then we were good to go!
We used it regularly from the end of August (our first pizza was on our first wedding anniversary!) right up until it was too cold to stand out there stoking the fire! It is an absolutely brilliant and informal dinner party option and I can’t wait to throw a big party in the summer and serve up loads of pizza.
I’ve planted up a load of herbs around the pizza oven that can be sprinkled on top of the pizzas for some extra deliciousness.
I have only ever made pizza in it but I have heard you can make all sorts – I am not sure I will be easily tempted from the pizza though as they are just SO good!
My wood fired pizza oven tips and essential items
Wood – Firstly you can’t burn any old wood in a wood fired pizza oven and expect good pizza. You need a good kiln-dried hardwood as it burns much hotter.
Infrared thermometer – A digital infrared thermometer is best as you can check the temperature of different parts of the oven. Ours is similar to this one.
Heat – I find the best pizza is made in the hottest oven – we go for between 350 and 400°C and the pizza only takes about four minutes to cook. The dough will be light and crisp and utterly delicious. The longer the pizza takes to cook the tougher it will become.
A peel – or a paddle as I call it. We have a couple of these as they are good whilst you are making a number of pizzas.
A brush – to sweep up the ash and move the fire about as necessary. Ours is similar to this one.
Dough – make your own dough. It adds to the experience and tastes delicious. I follow this Jamie Oliver’s recipe and always use semolina to roll the base out on to.
So, are you tempted to build your own wood fired pizza oven?
You may wonder why I have been so radio silent over the last few weeks. It is partly because life and my day job have gotten a little bit crazy, but I have also been working on something behind the sceneS that I am more than a little bit excited to now be able to share with you….
If you like interiors and Instagram, then this is for you!
I have teamed up with fellow interior and Instagram obsessive Jennie to create #addictedtointeriors – a series of events for Instagram and interior lovers. A combine that goes together oh-so-well!
We both felt there was a massive gap in the interiors scene in the Midlands, and wanted to create a community of like minded people; a space where we could get together, meet, chat, learn and enjoy all things interiors related without having to travel to London or afar.
We will be organising a series of events across the Midlands that will bring people just like us together, alongside national and local interiors brands.
We are delighted to announce our first event!
When: 24 May 2018
Where: Neptune, Birmingham
What: An evening of interior inspiration and the opportunity to meet other local interior and instagram lovers, set in the stunning Neptune Edgbaston store. There will be drinks, canapés, goodies and plenty of fun.
Want to find out more? And book tickets? Go, on! Head over to our booking page here.
In fact, I’m going to make it really easy…
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see you there!
Design and Photograph: Studio McGee
Welcome to the latest Saturday Edit, brought to you this week on a Sunday! (I blame the long weekend for putting me out of kilter)!
1. I’m at my mum’s in Scotland for the Easter long weekend. We are catching up, exploring and last night we made this delicious recipe, which is so easy to make and full of flavour.
2. This week on her blog, Chloe Loves to Shop rounded up the best jackets to wear for Spring. I love her easy-going style and she always looks so effortlessly stylish. If you don’t already, you should totally check out her Instagram and Stories.
3. And talking of jackets for Spring, this is the year I want to get a denim jacket. I have not had one since I was in high school (when I wore way too much double denim) but I think I am ready to give them a go again now. Here is a round up of my favourites:
4. I am absolutely loving the wishbone chair created by design master Hans J. Wegner in interiors right now. I don’t think I will be able to afford a set of originals but there are a couple of similar styles available. Now to decide whether to go natural on natural, or black and natural for my dining table. What do you think?
Home of Alexis Andra, Photographed by Christina Wells for The Glitter Guide
Home of Lauren and Geoff Lewis, photographed by Lynden Foss, Citizens of Style
Home of Olivia Babarczy, Photography by Julie Adams, featured on Becki Owens
5. And last but not least, this week my home was featured on Coco Wedding Venues blog. Take a tour through the house via the items we picked for our Prezola wedding gift list (best thing ever if you are planning your wedding btw).
Wishing everyone a lovely Easter Sunday!
I’m going to caveat this post with ‘I know it may be controversial’ but bear with me…
Beige interiors have been out of trend for a pretty long time. No doubt when you conjour up an image in your mind of beige interiors you will think old fashioned and dowdy. I certainly did…
That is until recently, when I have been feeling the need for some warmth in my home. I think it is a backlash from years and years of cool grey – and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE grey! I have pretty much every shade of it in my house and I am not making a mass move to get rid of it all. But when I am
obsessing over Pinterest for hours at a time researching interiors, I am finding myself leaning towards the warmer tones of oatmeal and linen rather than cooler greys. Technically beige, but do we need to call it that?
I have started to see images of this shade pop up in a fresh and modern way, and I like it. A lot. Thinking about it, it never strayed too far from the fashion scene, only there it is called camel and reserved for the ultimate classics – a trench, a cashmere jumper etc. So why not in interiors?
It feels most modern and fresh when it is paired with crisp white and black accents, when it is in the form of natural materials – pared back oak, rattan, sissal – or when it is rustic linens, on the bed, table, sofa or at the window. I have plenty of wood in my kitchen after all so I am bound to like it!
If you are not quite ready to start painting your walls and cabinetry, here are some of my favourite
beige neutral accessories to get a hint of this warm hue in your home:
1. La Redoute Rug (Currently 40% off WHOLE site)
2. La Redoute linen duvet cover (also 40% off)
3. H&M Home washed linen cushion cover – amazing value
4. Cox and Cox embossed vase
5. Zara Home Jute Rug
6. Eat Drink Nap
7. H&M Home stoneware mug
8. Zara Home nordic style stool
9. Cox and Cox oak sideboard