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My top picks for the home this spring

1 / 2 / 3 / 4/ 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9    Whilst I am loving this snowy weather, I can’t help but look forward to (the real) spring with its lighter days and warmer temperatures. I am looking forward to adding brighter and fresher…

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Lusting after: Shutters

Lusting after shutters

I have been a shutter devotee since my first ever visit to London – there is nothing quite like a bit of house snooping in the capital, and spotting those beautiful slats through the windows of the white town houses makes my heart flutter.

If you have been following this blog for any time at all you’ll know about my love for period properties (we have been renovating our Edward home for years) and shutters on a period property is my interior jam.

In fact, I have been eyeing them up for my home for years but didn’t realise just how accessible they were for non-Londoners.

Shutterly Fabulous got in touch with me to see if I would like to talk about their products (errr, yes!) and made me realise that I can actually consider shutters for my own home.

The brand began in Brighton in 2001. Their ethos from day one has been to give customers unrivalled product quality, care, value and expertise in custom-made premier shutters. Their commitment today is stronger than ever, but now it’s open to the whole country. They have design consultants based in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and installation teams fitting for customers nationwide.

This makes me very happy!

There are a few things that really stand out to me. Firstly, they are passionate about the quality of their products. They only use premium-grade timber for and ensure all their employees are experts in their field.

They also pride themselves on their pricing – not only that it is easy to understand but they offer the best value available guaranteeing the lowest UK price for wooden plantation shutters and will match any like-for-like quotation!

So, if you are anything like me you are ready to start creating that Pinterest board and get planning your shutters! Or if you still need a bit more convincing, keep reading…

Lusting after shutters

Lusting after shutters

Lusting after shutters

5 reasons to consider shutters in your home

1.There are so many style choices

Don’t be fooled in to thinking that there is just one style of shutter and that you can only have them if you live in a grand Georgian home in London. There are loads of different styles that would work in almost any style of home or interiors. Shutterly Fabulous offer:

• Plantation window shutters

• Solid panel wood shutters

• Wooden shutters for doors

• Tier-on-tier 

• Café-style 

• Full height 

• Tracked door 

• Special shapes

And what’s even better is that they offer a colour service meaning that they will colour match a shade of your choice. Hello ombre pink of dreams!

Lusting after shutters

2. They keep the heat in and the noise out

Shutters are brilliant at keeping the noise out so are perfect if you live on a busy road. Also you can close them at night and keep all your heating in your home rather than the all that warm air from the radiator billowing up behind curtains and being lost.

Lusting after shutters

3. Privacy

You can position your shutters so prying eyes can’t see within the room but you can still get plenty of light coming in – again win win if you live on a busy road or if you want some privacy in your bathroom and don’t want curtains or blinds which would only get damp.

Lusting after shutters

4. Beautiful from the inside and out

I have already mentioned how beautiful they look from the outside, but it goes to next level on the inside. They have that minimum effort maximum impact thing which I absolutely love. They are simple and unobtrusive to the rest of your decor whilst also bringing a little bit extra to your interiors.

Lusting after shutters

5. They are customisable and bespoke to you

Whilst I am most likely to be a traditional, white plantation shutters type of girl, I love how customisable they are and how they can be completely personalised. Not only can you pick the style and colour, but they can be made to fit bespoke spaces.

Lusting after shutters

Lusting after shutters

What do you think? Would you consider shutters in your home?

This post is in collaboration with Shutterly Fabulous but all views (and love for shutters) are absolutely my own. 


My intentions and priorities for 2018 | Ad

This post includes a link to a blog post that was a paid partnership with Virgin Care Private. 

Happy New Year!

I hope your 2018 has started well? I know, I know it’s been a while since I posted but I have taken my time to ease back in to full swing this year and it has given me the opportunity to think about how I would like my 2018 to go.

I have never really been a fan of resolutions as I feel they can be too easily forgotten and pushed to the side, but I knew I wanted something to work towards so I decided to set some intentions and priorities.

Time goes by so quickly (seriously, what happened to 2017?) and I know I am not alone in feeling like I am busy all of the time. Next December I want to look back on 2018 and say ‘wow’ rather than, what did I do?

My intentions and priorities will form the basis of my daily life in 2018 and give me some direction in setting actual goals.

First up is my priorities – I have been thinking about what areas of life I want to prioritise and in what order, in the hope it means I don’t end up feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Monica Welburn from The Elgin Avenue wrote something last January that resonated with me so much that it has stuck in my head for an entire year.

In her post, Monica wrote about her priorities of Health. Home. Hustle. That framework is just as relevant today as it was a year ago.

She said:

“Overall the Health. Home. Hustle. approach is a pretty simple one. It’s about prioritising your own wellbeing first, your home environment and your relationships second, and your business and hustle third.

In order to achieve all that I would like to achieve with business, I have to look after my foundations. My health and my home life hold me up.”

Yes, yes and yes to that!

So thinking of the Health. Home. Hustle. approach, I have a few things that I want to build into my daily life that will become more habit than goal, and that over time, will hopefully help me reach the goals that I want to.


Exercise – I need to continue to invest time into my fitness. For almost a year, I have committed to working out once a week, and I have really noticed the benefit. Now it is time to build on that – so far this year I have increased, so I am excited to see if I can keep it up.

Nutrition – The other area of my health I want to continue to improve on is nutrition.

Just before Christmas, Virgin Private Care got in touch and asked if I would like to contribute an article on my approach to wellness as part of their recently opened health and wellbeing clinic in Birmingham.

Of course, I jumped at the chance and even created two recipes for them that I believe find the balance between eating well and living life.

Head over to have a look (spoiler, I LOVE both recipes), and I recommend scrolling through some of the other articles on there for more nutrition tips, ways you can build self-care into your life, and advice for coping with depression and anxiety.

Writing the article made me realise that I am pretty happy with where I am with my nutrition. Of course, though, I know there are areas I can improve on:

Breakfast – In recent months, I have improved, but still more often than not I don’t have breakfast. I need to get better at this and have started pre-preparing breakfast goods – check out my recipe for on-the-go smoothie pouches on the Virgin site for my favourite breakfast right now.

Water – I simply don’t drink enough throughout the day. I’m going to add in a glass of water when I wake, get home from work, and before I go to bed as a memorable way to remind myself to get more H2O in!

Down-time – Working full time, finishing off the house and writing the blog (as well as being Instagram obsessed) means I really don’t have much time to switch-off. I need to schedule in time to do things that aren’t on a list!


The house – I am taking home in its most literal sense as really, it is my greatest priority for this year. It is high time this house was finished! We have completed all major building works, but now I have a lot of empty house to furnish. Time to get to it!

Getting the house finished means I might be able to reach one of my life long goals to have it featured in a home magazine.


Work – I entered 2018 with enthusiasm and excitement for my fulltime work. It is a busy year ahead and I can’t wait to play a part in the company growing and thriving.

My blog – I have a lot of ambition for my blog, much of which is slow to take form, but I hope to continue to grow and improve it. By the end of the year I’d like to rebrand, launch a newsletter, and double my readership and social media following.

So with those priorities in place, I started to think about my overall intentions. Basically, I wanted one word to guide me through the year. As it happens, I ended up with two…

First up is FOCUS. 

In a world where there is inspiration around every corner, it is easy to become overwhelmed and overstretched.

I will be the first to admit that I am easily distracted and too often change my mind, or can’t make up my mind. This year I am going to actively bring more focus to my life. I can see how this will work in day-to-day life, pushing aside distraction to get tasks done, help me be more decisive, but also in helping me realise what it is that I do want to achieve.

With our house, for example, I need to focus on what rooms I need to complete, in what order, and then focus on getting it done – without distraction!

Second is CHALLENGE.

When I started thinking about my overarching intentions, I wanted only one. Maybe picking two just goes to show how much work I have to do on the first one (!) but I also knew how much of a challenge bringing more focus into my life would be. I have a classic case of wanting to do it all, now.

However, I also realised that to grow and improve, I need to challenge myself. My life is wonderfully comfortable (which I am very aware of and grateful for) and I could happily carry on exactly as I am – but I always want to strive to be a better person.

In day-to-day life, I want to challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone, from trying new activities, to improving my fitness, to actively doing things that scare me. Who knows what this might mean, but I’m going to be more open to giving things a go. As they say, feel the fear and do it anyway.

So that’s it from me just now. I am also going to work on some more specific goals that I’d like to achieve, and I am also hoping to give The Law of Attraction a go (Victoria wrote a very interesting and compelling article on her blog here).

So, over to you….

I would love to know what your take on New Year resolutions, intentions and priorities, and of course, if you have set any?


Blouse – Sezane | Jeans – old | Shoes – Sezane |

Photography by Marlene Lee


Christmas decorations – Adding some festive touches to the guest bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

So, we have one week until Christmas eve and if you are anything like me you still have plenty to do.

However, I did get productive one day last week (thanks to the massive dumping of snow grounding the whole of the West Midlands to a halt) and I managed to get a load of Christmas shopping done online and put up a few more Christmas decorations around the house.

Our living room is currently undergoing a not-so-well-timed revamp which you can read about here, so I decided to spread the festive cheer around my house and deck out the guest bedroom with some Christmas decorations.

This year my Dad and his partner are staying with us over Christmas. They both have jobs in hospitality so I know the weeks and days leading up to them arriving at our house late on Christmas Eve eve will have been hectic to say the least.

I really wanted to add some Christmas decorations for them in the bedroom they will be staying in so they feel welcome and hopefully get them in to that Christmas feeling as soon as they arrive.

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

shop the post

Wreath – Amara c/o (in the sale)| Garland – Amara c/o | Natural cosy throw – BHS c/o (in the sale) | Pine and Eucalyptus Candle – Jo Malone | Black and marble lamp – Aldi, similar here | Chunky knit throw – Lauren Aston Designs | Winter candle – The White Company |
Bedding – The White Company | Coco bed – | Curtains – Hillary’s c/o |
Christmas wrapping – see this post here

Christmas decorations – how I added some festive
touches to our guest bedroom

A wreath

I know traditionally a wreath is for the front door, but there are so many beautiful options available now that it is a shame to limit yourself just to one! When I saw this beauty from Amara’s Winter Blush Christmas decoration collection I knew I had to have it. I just love its dusting of snow and dense foliage.

I tried it out in a few places in the bedroom, including hanging from the fireplace, on the wardrobe doors and on the door to the room itself but settled on above the bed. I added a velvet bow to hang it from and think it looks so beautiful. I think I will be sad to take it down come the New Year!

A Garland

Adding a garland to a fireplace, end of bed, or even a shelf immediately adds festive cheer. We are lucky to have fireplaces in almost every room in the house and they never look better then when they are loaded up with Christmas decorations.

I strung some battery powered fairy lights throughout the garland and absolutely love how it looks.

Fairy lights

And talking of fairy lights, this has to be the easiest way to add some Christmas decoration to a bedroom. String them around the doorway, over a bed, wherever you can! They look so gorgeous with the lights low.

I love these if you want to splash out and these are so cute and battery powered which makes it really easy to use them in places that aren’t close to a plug socket.


Adding candles is a no brainer!

I couldn’t believe how realistic adding some simple pillar candles in the fireplace was! It created a lovely glow almost as if there is a roaring fire in there.

Scented candles are a win win too – my lovely friend sent me a Jo Malone Pine and Eucalyptus candle a couple of weeks ago as my Christmas gift. It has a personal engraving and is the most thoughtful gift! Burning this for a couple of hours before guests come over will fill the room with a wonderful Christmassy scent.

And of course, lets not forget the *actual* scent of Christmas itself with The White Company’s Winter candle.

Winter flowers and foliage

I am obsessed with the scent of fresh eucalyptus and think it makes a lovely display at this time of year. You can normally pick some up from a florist and it lasts weeks, if not months!

A posy of holly and berries or the traditional Christmas flower the Poinsettia is also perfect for adding a touch of festive cheer to a bedroom.

A little bit of hygge

A chunky knit throw, sheepskin rug and a cosy blanket to snuggle up in create a perfect place for a little hyyge time. I created a little reading nook by the fireplace and I am a little tempted to kick my dad out of this room and muggle up there myself.


And finally, some gifts that your guests can open early are a lovely way to make them feel really welcome. I added a stocking with some little stocking fillers (and some empty Jo Malone boxes – a girl can dream about getting a pile of JM goodies as a stocking filler, right?) and put them by the fireplace.

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroomAnd yes, I did forget to take the tag off *eye roll*!

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Christmas decorations - a festive bedroom

Will you be adding any Christmas decorations
to your bedrooms this year?


Choosing the right paint colour with with Farrow and Ball colour consultancy

Let’s talk paint colour!

I am sure you already know I am a bit of an interiors obsessive and that I have a strong opinion on what I want my house to look like (although if I am honest, this can change often!).

However, when it comes to choosing paint colour I find it HARD!

I am that person who has a sample pot of every shade of paint colour – with a focus on greys – from every paint company. I stare at each of them for hours until the point where I can no longer make any decision, panic buy a shade I don’t even have a sample of and then hate it as soon as it goes on the walls.

I can tell you, my husband does NOT appreciate this personality trait!

Even when I know we are going to have to paint a room months in advance it still creeps up on me and I panic. I have taken to painting everything a shade of off white and whilst I absolutely love this look – such as in our kitchen which I still adore – it is simply not right for every room.
Take our living room for example; it is south facing but the window is tucked at the side of the house so doesn’t get much light and there is a lovely large bay tree right outside the window blocking the rest of the light.
As a result the room is a bit dark. I started off painting it white but that just accentuated the lack of natural light and made it look very gloomy.

A year or so later I finally managed to convince the other half to get out his paintbrush and we went for a light grey. It was better but still not right.

Fast forward a few more years and the itch to sort it out has not gone away. I know they say that you should embrace a dark room and go ahead and paint it dark but this felt terrifying!

I realised I needed the help of a professional, so I called in the colour experts – the Farrow and Ball colour consultancy service.

The Farrow and Ball colour consultancy

The Farrow and Ball colour consultancy is basically a service where a trained colour experts come to your home armed with large swatches of each of their paint colours and share tailored design advice bespoke to you to help you decide on colours for up to four rooms in your home.

Sounds great, right!

I booked in and eagerly awaited my appointment with colour consultant Emily from my local showroom in Solihull.

On the day I was a bit nervous, but Emily was absolutely fantastic. She so quickly understood my style, home and the sticky points and was very understanding about my inability to make a paint colour decision.

I wanted her help with the rooms that received the least light – so the living room as I’ve already mentioned but also the hallway which suffers from a similar issue. If we had the time (you get about an hour), I wanted to move on to a couple of bedrooms that I thought could do with spicing up!

We started with the hallway. Emily took a look around and suggested I needed a bit more depth than what is currently there – which is an off-white/pale oatmeal paint colour. She brought out some swatches and we played around looking at the different ways the light hit (or didn’t hit) different part of the space, working with the items that couldn’t be changed such as the carpet and looking at the different architectural elements such as the woodwork and the picture rails. She pushed me but not so far that I felt uncomfortable with our final decision which was similar to what I already have but a couple of shades deeper.

We did the same process in the living room and I was relieved and excited when Emily agreed that we needed to go darker! Again we looked at the light in different parts of the room, the architecture and the furniture that was staying.

I was ready to go for a really dark paint colour, but Emily picked out Mole’s Breath and it just worked perfectly – a warm grey that worked alongside the blue velvet sofa and would look cosy and inviting without being cave-like.

Emily also suggested painting the ceiling a different paint colour – skimming stone – and keeping the skirting board and picture rail the same colour as the wall for a modern take on my quite classic looking room. Normally I would be quaking in my boots by all this decision making in such a short amount of time but I felt so confident with our decisions thanks to Emily’s guidance and expertise.

And if you sense a little bit of a girl crush here you would be spot on 😉 She just really knew her stuff and I couldn’t help but be more than a little impressed.

We finished off with the other rooms which I will keep to myself for now as it’ll be a fun surprise to reveal them to you when we get around to redecorating them.

After only a few days following the colour consultancy service, I received a gorgeous pack in the post with swatches of each of my chosen paint colours and notes on what we had decided to go where.

I am SO excited to finally get the living room where I want it to be…and don’t worry, you aren’t going to have to wait long to see it as a decorator is booked TOMORROW to start!

Did the colour consultancy help me pick paint colours?


Would I recommend the Farrow and Ball colour consultancy? YES!

In fact, next time I need to redecorate I will be calling for Emily’s help!

Having an expert opinion to help you see your space from a fresh perspective was invaluable. They don’t push you to do anything you don’t want to but will help you consider paint colours and ideas that you probably wouldn’t have on your own.

It is also particularly great because the colour consultants are independent to your immediate circle of friends and family who will by no fault of their own probably only just confuse you!

I really was buzzing the whole day after Emily left and couldn’t have gotten on the phone to the decorator any quicker.

I was lucky enough to be gifted the colour consultancy service, but I think it is normally about £200 and £50 of that is redeemable against paint. Whilst I know this can seem like a lot of money, I really think it is brilliant value for money if, like me, you struggle to make a firm decision with colour. If nothing else, I know it will save me more money and time from getting it wrong and re-re painting.

Three things I learned when picking paint colours

If you are eager to start repainting and aren’t quite ready to book your own colour constancy, I asked Emily to share her top tips when picking paint colours for your home.

First up Emily really recommended the latest Farrow and Ball book How to Decorate which walks you through the process of choosing the right colour for your space. I have since bought the book and love it.

Here are the three main things to consider when picking your paint colour:

Light: The room you are decorating will have it’s own unique light, be that cool northern light, or warmer souther light but in both cases the most important thing is to monitor how it changes though out the day.

Farrow and Ball recommend to not fight against dark spaces by painting them white but say to embrace a darker more striking colour – they suggest painting hallways a dark colour which will make every room leading off it feel brighter and lighter.  Conversely, their say large rooms with lots of light can benefit from a lighter, airy shade.

Architecture: Colour can appear to visually alter the proportions of a room. Lighter colours are best suited to larger airier rooms whereas darker tones will enhance small areas. It is also worth considering the shape and architecture of a room – awkward shapes and low ceilings can be off set with the right treatment, and you can highlight or play down features. For example in my home I will be paining the fireplace in the hall the same colour as the wall as I want our mirror which sits next to it to be the focal point in the room, not the fireplace.

Personal Style: This is a key element to any design choice. It is important to think and gather ideas about your own style before decorating be it through a Pinterest board, cutting from a magazine or family heirloom. Don’t focus too much on current trends but pick colours that will work for your life today and reflect your personality.

Want to know more?

Visit the Farrow and Ball website here
Find out more about the colour consultancy service here
Check out their Instagram for inspiration here
Buy the book here (I did and I love it)

I was gifted the colour consultancy service but as always all words and opinions are my own and I would never promote something I wouldn’t be happy to pay for myself. 





5 ways to elevate your Christmas gift wrapping this year

Christmas gift wrapping

Christmas gift wrapping is one of my favourite activities in the run up to the big day.

Each year I save up all my wrapping for one big wrapping event; I lock myself in a room with a glass (read bottle) of Bailey’s, put on the Christmas tunes, burn a scented candle and get to it.

I truly believe a beautifully wrapped gift can really elevate the whole gifting experience. I don’t know about you but I am a sucker for good packaging and have bought more than one item on the basis of its pretty packaging!

So when it comes to Christmas gift wrapping I like to really go to town and take my time to create gift wrapping that is as lovely as the gift inside.

For the last couple of years I have bought all my wrapping paraphernalia from Cox and Cox. This year I decided to get in touch with them to see if they would be up for partnering with me for a Christmas gift wrapping post and I was delighted when they said yes.

I think they have a great selection of Christmas gift wrapping items and I knew it would be perfect to share my tips and tricks to elevate your wrapping.

Also, I find it so easy to buy everything online, cutting out the impossible task of navigating through throngs of Christmas shoppers with an unwieldy bag of wrapping tubes!

Oh – and their wrapping paper comes in ten metre rolls which is the icing on the cake for me as I hate having tonnes of rolls of wrapping paper everywhere!

If you are still looking for some Christmas gifts be sure to check out my Christmas Gift Guide here. But if you are all sorted and ready to start wrapping, here are my five ways to elevate your Christmas gift wrapping.

Christmas gift wrapping

5 ways to elevate your Christmas gift wrapping this year

1. Pick a colour scheme

Each year I love picking a different colour scheme for my Christmas gift wrapping. One year I had purple and silver, another all white and last year navy and copper.

Having some defined colours makes picking your papers and accessories really easy and your collection of gifts under the tree will look so glamorous.

This year, I am sticking to a simple grey and white theme with green and natural flourishes which is very much the feel of my home at the moment. I am using this lovely star wrapping paper and a selection of decorative items including this stunning velour ribbon, these tags and these toppers.

Having two different but coordinating wrapping papers always looks great. And for the easy win, wrapping paper that is double sided is amazing – you can use both sides which is fuss free and it creates a seamless colour theme.

You could also consider using simple brown packing paper which can work really well.

Christmas gift wrapping

2. Add interest and detail

This is my favourite bit. Once the gift is wrapped in paper I love adding loads of interest and detail.

Start with a couple of different ribbons – I always think one wide and one narrow is great as you can mix and match and layer them up.

Have a look at different styles of how to tie ribbon. Do some with bows, some that cross over and some just simple bands around the gift.

Next add some interest! It is really easy to get interesting gift toppers now and you can pick them up pretty easily, even from supermarkets. My favourites from Cox and Cox this year are these fluffy pom poms.

If you are on a budget, you can also think outside the box a little (pun intended!) – ribbon can be bought cheaply from craft stores or fabric/sewing shops. I have previously bought ribbon from the Birmingham RAG markets. Whilst there I also found little bells which were so sweet tied to gifts and gave a really Christmassy tinkle tinkle every time they moved!

Christmas gift wrapping

Shop the post

Star wrapping paper | Velour ribbon | Wooden stars | Pom pom gift toppers |
Handmade Merry Christmas tags | Grey merry Christmas ribbon |
White let it snow ribbon | Merry Christmas wooden tags

Grey knitted jumper | Pom pom slippers

Grey rug | Sheepskin

 3. Go foraging

You don’t need to be restricted to ‘official’ gift toppers.

One of my favourite ways to add interest is to go foraging in the garden and local park and pick up some seasonal items to add to my wrapping. Cuttings of fir trees, holly and mistletoe are very easy to get hold of at this time of year and probably won’t cost you a thing.

I also really like using fir cones. You just need to let them dry out for a few days before using them then simply tie some fine flexible garden wire around the base and attach on to the gift.

If you are feeling super creative you can spray the cones first to match your colour theme or get sparkly and go for glitter!

Christmas gift wrapping

4. Scent it

Scent has an amazing ability to give you all the feels and to transport you to a different world. Christmas as a season has it’s own unique and utterly recognisable palette of smells;  oranges, cinnamon, cloves, fir trees… just thinking about them make me feel Christmassy!

To really elevate your wrapping consider squirting a festive scent on to your gifts or use herbs and plants such as rosemary and eucalyptus as decorations.

Some of my favourite Christmas smells are this Winter scent and this Nutmeg and Ginger cologne.

Supermarkets also tend to have Christmas scents – room scent will be fine. Just give your wrapped gifts a little spritz from arm distance for a really festive scent that’ll have your friends and family remarking how wonderful they smell.

Christmas gift wrapping

5. Be creative

There are loads of ways to add your personal creativity to your Christmas gift wrapping. Experiment with different ways of layering the paper, different things to put on top and ways to tie the ribbons. Feathers, sequins, bells and mini baubles all looks amazing as additions to gift wrapping.

Have a play and see what you come up with!

If you need some inspiration, I have created a Christmas gift wrapping Pinterest board which has loads of ideas, and I would love to hear your ideas too – just leave them in the comments below.

Christmas gift wrapping

My Christmas gift wrapping tips

And finally, I thought I would also share some of my Christmas gift wrapping tips to make things a little easier:

  • Use double sided sticky tape for a really refined finished! It is also great for keeping ribbons in place.
  • Always wrap on a large, flat, even surface – I sit on the floor and clear a huge space around me.
  • Arrange your gift in separate piles for each person and then wrap all of that person’s in one go – that way you can wrap each of their gifts in an individual way and then copy the style of wrapping for other people.
  • Practise your bows – getting the perfect bow isn’t hard but it does take a few goes to get right sometimes!
  • For awkward shaped presents consider putting them in a gift box lined with tissue paper and then wrap a ribbon around the box and tie in a bow.

Christmas gift wrapping

What’s your thoughts on Christmas gift wrapping?

Do you have any tips or tricks to share?



Christmas gift ideas for everyone

Christmas gift ideasChristmas is coming and I am so excited for it – so much so that I have pulled together some Christmas gift ideas.

In my mind, this Christmas is going to consist of a lot of pyjama wearing, movie-watching, mulled-wine drinking and enjoying my favourite Christmas traditions. Well, after I have (started and) finished my Christmas shopping anyway.

Gift buying is in some ways is one of the loveliest part of the season but can also be one of the most stressful.

Finding the right gift for family, friends, loved ones, work colleagues, neighbours etc can be challenging and expensive and heap on a load of pressure at a time when you could really do without it. I know that’s how I feel sometimes.

So I have pulled together my top Christmas gift ideas guide broken down in to Christmas gift ideas for beauty lovers, home lovers, men and gifts that can be sent through the post (which is some of my favourite kind of gifts to receive)!

I hope that you see some things you like, and more over some things you think your friends and family will love!

Happy gifting!

Christmas gift ideas for beauty-lovers

Christmas gift ideas for beauty lovers

1. Pixi Glow Tonic £18
2. Trinny London make up
3. Herbivore Coco Rose Body Polish £37
4. Glossier Cloud Paint £15
5. Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm £19
6. Beauty Dust Moon Juice £39
7. This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray £26 

Christmas gift ideas that are sent in the post

Christmas gift ideas that come through the post

1. Biscuiteers Nutcracker biscuit tin £35
2. La Petit Ballon wine subscription From £74.70 for a 3 month subscription
3. Living etc (or others) magazine subscription
4. Craft Gin box subscription £155 for 4 boxes throughout one year
5. Harrods Hamper £50
6. Bloom and Wild Letterbox Flowers from £60 for three months or £18 for a one off
7. Birchbox beauty box 3 months for £30 plus post and packaging 

Christmas gift ideas for home-lovers

Christmas gift ideas for home-lovers

1. Monsoon Diffuser £17
2. Afaw Rug From £100
3. Cox and Cox dipped matt vase from £30
4. Wire wall grid rack £28
5. Anthropologie gilded mug £8
6. Aldi lamp £19.99
7. Morning Noon Night from Soho House £30
8. Oliver Bonas Large glass mirrored jewellery box £30
9. Sheepskin cushion £45

Christmas gift ideas for him

Christmas gift ideas for him

1. Sonos speaker £149
2. Barbour hip flask £39.97
3. Tile £29.95
4. William Chase Gin £35
5. Cashmere zip neck jumper £95
6. Cashmere zip neck jumper £158
7. Pizza Oven £199

Have you seen anything perfect for a loved one?

Or maybe you have an eye on something for yourself 😉


My favourite healthy winter recipes

I always like to joke that I eat a really balanced diet. I eat a whole person’s amount of healthy food and a whole person’s amount of junk food in any given day!

The perfect combination right? 😉

Joking aside, I am a big fan of cooking and to me it is the perfect way of switching off from a busy day. I find the whole process of chopping, stirring, creating and of course eating very relaxing, especially if it involves a glass of wine and some music.

I lean towards healthy meals that have tonnes of veggies, which in my book means it’s OK to accidentally eat a family bag of Sensations crisps every now and again. And biscuits. Or cake for breakfast. Or a few of these on a weekend!

Eating healthily is naturally that little bit harder in the winter when the call of something warm and stodgy is strong so I thought I would share some of my go-to healthy winter recipes that are tried and tested and I make on repeat.

They are nutritious, hearty and won’t leave you feeling like you are on some sort of diet.

My favourite healthy winter recipes

Warming Beet, Carrot and Apple Juice

By Deliciously Ella

Healthy winter recipes - warm beet juiceThis is so delicious and comforting and perfect for a cold day when you want warming up. I add a little cinnamon to it and if I am honest, it is as good as mulled wine – maybe even better!

Tip: I seem to struggle to find raw beetroot where I live but Waitrose seem to the be the most trusty stockist.

Read the recipe here and buy the cookbook here.

Simple Prawn, Coconut & Aubergine Curry

By Amelia Freer

Healthy winter recipes - simple, prawn, aubergine and coconut curryThe first time I made this I loved it so much I licked the bowl. It is SO tasty and easy enough to make as a midweek supper. I served it with quinoa but regular rice or cauliflower rice would also be great or even just scoop it up with a chapatti.

It would make a great dinner party meal – just make sure you double it as people will want second helpings!

Read the recipe here and buy Amelia’s latest cookbook here.

Indian Spiced Shepherd’s Pie

By Nigella

Healthy winter recipes - Indian spiced shepherd's pieThis was my absolute favourite go-to recipe last winter. The flavours are so gorgeous and I can’t believe that this isn’t how the original Shepherd’s Pie was always intended. As a non meat-eater I substitute the lamb for Quorn mince and I don’t think anyone has ever noticed!

It takes a little longer and more effort than the other recipes so is best suited for the weekend or if you have a couple of hours to cook but it is easy enough and well worth it.

You can see the recipe online here and buy the cookbook it is in here.

Sausage and (Cauliflower) mash

Sausage and cauliflower mash - Healthy winter recipes

Ah, an oldie but a favourite! When I really need a bowl of comfort food this is it.

I substitute regular potato mash for it’s less heavy, more nutritious friend cauli-mash and trust me when I say you don’t lose out in the flavour stakes.

I use this recipe for cauli-mash, pile on two or three (veggie for me) sausages and pour over lashings of red onion gravy. Oh, and of course let’s not forget the peas!

Warm Winter Salad

By Deliciously Ella

Healthy winter recipes - warm winter salad

This is such an easy mid-week supper and looks and tastes far more impressive than you would expect from the amount of time and effort it takes to make.

The first time I made it I didn’t think it would fill me up but it really is quite hearty. Although, a side of garlic bread doesn’t hurt. Life is all about balance after all!

You can see the recipe online here and buy the Deliciously Ella Everyday book here.

Chicken, Kale and Bean Stew

By Amelia Freer

Healthy winter recipes - chicken, kale and bean stewA friend alerted me to this recipe and it quickly shot to the top of my on-rotation recipe list.

Again as a non meat-eater I leave out the chicken, either substituting it with Quorn chicken pieces or not at all.

This recipe makes a big batch and so it is perfect to make on a Sunday and have as lunch for the coming week.

Read the recipe here and buy Amelia’s latest cookbook here.

Shop the post

I’m wearing this Baukjen top (best ever for lazy weekends)

Cook Beautiful book – I am a total Athena Calderone fangirl
– Just check out her Instagram to see what I mean

Spritz book

Eat Pretty book (great stocking filler)

Three Good Things book

Love Bake Nourish book

My other favourite healthy winter recipes are ones I just make up as I go along – such as this Gazpacho soup and this cauliflower cous cous salad with halloumi. Let me know if you would like me to write any more up to share.

And please share any healthy winter recipes you have. I am always on the look out for something new!

Photography of me by Marlene Lee


6 ways to create new Christmas traditions this year

New Christmas traditions - Harrods snow globe

The Christmas adverts have been showcased, advent calendars litter the supermarkets and the decorations are starting to appear so I hope you are ready for a little Christmas blog content!

Creating new Christmas traditions wasn’t something I had thought about until recently. As a child you follow the rules and traditions that you have probably followed for much of your life – and those are the things that make the festive season so special to each individual person.

As you move through life, find a partner and start ‘sharing’ your festive season you begin to realise just how special these childhood traditions are to you. After all, Christmas isn’t Christmas until you’ve eaten your mum’s home-made cranberry sauce, watched Home Alone, decorated the tree, played charades or [insert your own individual Christmas marker!].

But as we reach the point in life when you start to create your own family, you begin to realise that you can combine your favourite ‘old’ traditions with your own ‘new’ Christmas traditions tailor made by you for your family and friends to uphold year after year.

These new traditions can take hold very quickly and feel all the more special as they are unique to you.

Here are a six ways I have or will be creating new
Christmas traditions

  1. Add a new Christmas decoration each year

Each year I add a new decoration to my stock. It started when we visited the Christmas markets in Salzburg and Vienna and I bought the most beautiful decoration. Every year since I have added one that I can recall the time and place where it was bought/made and when I unwrap them each year to display them it makes me feel all the lovely Christmassy feels!

This year it is this beautiful Harrods snow globe that I hope my nephews, Godchildren and maybe one day my own children will love to turn upside down and watch the snow fall over London.

There is something very special about building up a collection of decorations that you can look back on and pinpoint the time of life they represent.

New Christmas traditions - Harrods snow globe

2. Send a pre-Christmas gift to someone you love

Christmas has become overly commercial and whilst this is great in many ways – being able to buy loved ones thoughtful gifts and receive them in turn is quite lovely although the pressure isn’t always – sometimes the best delight of receiving a gift is when it is unexpected.

A new tradition that I will be implementing this year is to send early gifts to the family that I won’t be with at Christmas – in effect, a little pre-Christmas gift for them to enjoy in the run up to Christmas or on Christmas day itself.

I won’t be seeing my mum over the festive period so I will be sending her her own special Christmas decoration that she can hang on her tree during the festive period.

New Christmas traditions - Christmas decorations

3. Make a date with friends from afar

Ever since I moved to the Midlands from Cardiff, I have travelled back for a girls meal out in December. Getting everyone together at anything that is not a wedding or new baby can be all but impossible, but often Christmas is the exception. It is simply a chance to catch up, be together and maintain friendships when ordinarily miles and a hectic day-to-day life that can make keeping in touch tricky.

It is these nights out that we remember and look back on.

In addition, since I moved to Birmingham we have arranged a Christmas eve meal with Will’s (and now also my) friends who live from afar and come back here to see their families at Christmas.

This has often been a curry, although most recently we deviated and everyone exclaimed that the curry was missed. It really doesn’t take long for something to become an unbreakable tradition!

Try to keep it informal and easy – everyone has enough to plan at this time of year so an easy meal out or informal lunch can be much less stressful than hosting a party yourself.

New Christmas traditions - Christmas decorations

4. Gift within a theme every year

On a recent Let’s Discuss podcast, Monica and Ella interviewed the incredibly inspiring founder of Not On The High Street Holly Tucker MBE. Holly shared a number of brilliant tips for gifting and one was gift with a theme.

This immediately struck me as G.E.N.I.U.S!

Choosing something for a loved one out of ALL of the options is hard. But if you have a theme for all your gifts, it can become much easier to hone in on an idea.

I have decided my theme this year is food, and so will be thinking of food related gifts for my friends and family.

A gift voucher for a favourite restaurant for our in-Laws, tickets for the Chocolate Factory for friends with children and a Harrods Christmas hamper for my Dad. Tailored thoughtful gift ideas that honestly took seconds to come up with but that will be perfect for the recipients.


I hope that this will become a new Christmas tradition for me and I would love to think that one day my friends and family might look forward to seeing what the theme will be each year.

5. Gift an everyday needed item

A few years ago I implemented a new Christmas tradition for Will and I to gift each other a new pair of PJs on Christmas eve. We then wear them that night and on Christmas morning to make breakfast, open presents and prepare the meal for our family later in the day.

I started it because I desperately needed new PJs but I must admit it has become one of my favourite parts of Christmas!

This year I have my eye on these!

New Christmas traditions - Harrods Christmas Crackers

6. Take the pressure off present buying

If present buying gets too much, don’t be afraid of creating a new tradition of limiting the number of gifts you buy or to decide to simply not buy gifts at all.

For my girls meet up, we do a secret santa type gift where we each only buy for one other. We pull a name out of a hat and buy and receive one thoughtful and tailored gift. It is much easier and less expensive, whilst still maintaining the thrill of present buying and receiving.

New Christmas traditions - crackers

What are your must-have Christmas traditions and do you have any
new Christmas traditions that you have or would like to introduce?

This post as created in collaboration with Harrods but as always, all thoughts
and opinions are my own.

Photography by Marlene Lee.


Updating my home with affordable art from Desenio (and 25% off for you)

Affordable art with DesenioUsing affordable art in your home is an amazing and cost effective way of injecting personality into a space and I love the way it can be used to completely change or update a room.

For me, I must admit I don’t know much about art art and whilst one day I hope to learn more and buy direct from the artists, until then I like to stick to interesting, quality and affordable art.

Now our building work is pretty much over and we are on to the furnishing side of renovating our home, we have a lot of bare walls that need filling. I have found it a little overwhelming and have pretty much left them bare until now.

So when Desenio got in touch to offer me a few of their prints for my home alongside a discount code for my readers I jumped at the chance.

Desenio are a Swedish company that have a huge range of affordable art posters, frames and other art related accessories. The designs are mainly Scandinavian which is perfect for my minimal luxe look and they ship for free and quickly all around the world.

But the really great thing is the affordability. You can pick up a good quality print at an amazing price – and I am talking from £2.95 – which means you can have a lot of fun creating gallery walls, filling empty spaces and you don’t need to worry too much about changing your mind.

In fact, they provide some great inspiration on their website for perfect pairings and prints that work really well together to create a gallery wall.

With so much choice on offer it was hard to chose what to go for. I was very tempted by some of the more playful prints such as this cactus print and if you have read this post you’ll know I have a real thing for beach, water and sea inspired artwork.

However in the end I decided to keep things quite classic and opted for a series of black and white prints which I can move around my house when I feel like mixing things up a bit.

I was first drawn to two beautiful architectural photography prints – I love the contrast between the light and shadow and the depth they give.

First up was this arched corridor poster for my guest bedroom make over which you can see more of here.

Updating my home with affordable art from Desenio

Affordable art with Desenio

Affordable art with DesenioArched corridor 30×40 £11.95

Then I went for this light and shadow filled beauty aptly named Let the light in poster for my bathroom which I think almost mirrors the space.

Affordable art with DesenioLet the light in  30×40 £13.95

Also for the bathroom I have had my eye on a certain picture that I have seen so many times on Pinterest. It is the Love Warriors Sky poster that kept popping up time and time again in my feed.

You know when you just can’t resist to try and live the Pinterest life IRL? That’s me! And I am absolutely DELIGHTED with how she looks in this space! The colours are just perfect.

Handpicked Love Warriors Sky poster 50×50 £59.95

I also knew I wanted a couple of new prints for my kitchen to lean up on the shelves. I loved this cafe scene and this poster of pasta making reminds me of our recent trip to Puglia.

Cafe Norma 21 x 30 £5.95

La Cucina poster 21×30 £6.95

Whilst much of the posters are Scandi in style, there is such a huge range of choice that I think there is something for everyone’s taste. You can very helpfully search through the website by colour, theme, style and size which helps narrow down what you are looking for.

I opted to get the prints framed myself as I really wanted to add extra interest with a floating double mount, however Desenio do offer a great selection of frames to suit your aesthetic including gold, silver, oak, and white. I absolutely love this range of frames.

I am delighted with our new prints and think they really elevate our bare walls!

If you would like to spruce your home with some Desenio prints they have offered an exclusive 25% discount for The Green Eyed Girl readers.

The code “thegreeneyedgirl” gives 25% off posters between 14 – 16 November.

*Except for handpicked, collaboration posters and frames.

So, what do you think?

Do you like my affordable art picks? I love them!

Desenio gifted me my choice of prints however I only work with brands and products that I would happily pay for myself and recommend to a friend.

All photographs by Marlene Lee


Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with Hillarys

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with HillarysMy favourite thing about winter is drawing the curtains on a dark and cold night and cocooning myself in my home for the night.

It is the first thing I do when I get home on an evening followed by turning on all the lamps and lighting some candles to create a gorgeous soft ambience.

But it wasn’t until I moved in to my current home that I realised the impact, significance and necessity of quality curtains in a room!

Our house is a big, draughty Edwardian home with massive windows and the previous owners took many of the existing curtains with them (and left the ones we really didn’t want). Our house can be chilly and with no curtains it can feel positively frosty!

My first attempt at getting curtains for our guest bedroom wasn’t exactly a success. I tried to save money and sourced the material from the Birmingham Rag markets and took it to a lady who did a bit of sewing after her day job.

Let’s just say this budget option looked, well, budget. The material I picked was awful for curtains and I measured and hung the curtains myself. They looked terrible and I immediately vowed never to take the budget route again. We have put up with them for years but quite frankly they have been embarrassing!

So when Hillarys got in touch to see if I would like to try out their service it was a no brainier. I knew straight away that I wanted to replace the shoddy DIY-job curtains with something that was much better quality and actually fit the window.

Hillarys have just launched a new range of fabrics that are just perfect for curtains and blinds and are right up to date in terms of style, colour and patterns.

To showcase their new fabrics and as part of their #IWANTTHATSTYLE campaign, they asked four interior designers to create four different looks with the new range; Colour Clash by Sophie Robinson, Minimal Luxe by Daniela Tasca-York, Modern Rustic by Emily Henson and Urban Glamour by Kate Watson-Smyth.

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with HillarysWhilst I love them all and was particularly taken with Kate’s charcoal, blush pink and gold colourway, I was immediately drawn to Daniela Tasca-York’s who you may remember from the Great Interior Design Challenge.

Her minimal luxe style is very much in keeping with my own and was just the feel that I wanted for this room. I wanted to create a calm, bright space playing on the light that comes in and creating a lovely guest bedroom.

The Hillarys service

The first thing to do was to pick a fabric. As Hillarys offer a full in-home service, I made my appointment and their local representative Pete came over to the house armed with hundreds of fabric samples.

I wanted to create a relaxing haven for our guests and I knew I wanted to keep the curtains pretty simple so I could change up the paint colour on the walls at a later date. I told Pete the type of thing I was looking for and he quickly pulled out a few options.

I narrowed it down to two – this lovely grey and a simple white plain.  They both looked gorgeous, with the grey adding a warmth to the room and the white keeping it fresh and breezy.

Pete advised the best type of style, fitting and and header options which was really useful especially as our walls and floors are far from straight and even which makes getting the curtains to sit evenly on the floor a bit tricky.

The curtains took about two weeks to make and on the fitting day Pete came back and got to work fitting the curtains. Pete put up the curtains, securing the rail so it could take the weight of the heavy fabric, tweaking the length to ensure they were perfect and then steamed the curtains to make sure they were crease free and looking great.

What curtains I chose for my minimal luxe bedroom

I went for full length curtains in the Tetbury white fabric which is a lovely soft plain white fabric that hangs really nicely. I also opted for black out lining as this has thermal qualities and means the light from the street won’t filter in to the room and helping to create a hotel-esque experience for my friends and family staying over.

I went with a pinch pleat header which we have throughout the rest of our home. It is more traditional than say a wave header and in keeping with the period details in the house. Also Pete advised it would be the best option to allow for the uneven floor meaning we could still get a straight-looking finish!

The room was instantly transformed and went from a bit embarrassing to rather wow!

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with Hillarys

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with Hillarys

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with Hillarys

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with Hillarys

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with Hillarys

Creating a minimal luxe bedroom with Hillarys

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Bed from Loaf
Collete Bedside table from Maisons du Monde
Avignon bedding from The White Company
Vase and faux peonies from Cox and Cox (as seen previously here)
Black and white print from Desenio
Pom pom throw from HomeSense
Ikea basket with handles
Giant knit throw from Lauren Aston Designs
Z1 light by Ay Illuminate

The new curtains set me off on giving the guest bedroom a minimal luxe makeover and I must admit I really love it.

I did a bit of furniture shifting around from other rooms in the house (with a fair bit of arguing, bribing and nagging at Will to help!) and the room has come together really nicely.

I am still tempted to paint the walls and cupboards but I am undecided about the colour so that might come at a later date.

How to create a minimal luxe bedroom

Keep to neutrals

A neutral colour palette is very calming and relaxed and perfect for a minimal luxe look. It doesn’t need to be all stark white – chose neutrals that have warmth in them and layer in different tones. Neutrals also allow you to mix and match – keeping the window dressings simple and white means I can change the rest of the room and the curtains will always work!

Layer the bed

Minimal luxe is all about taking the pared down minimal look and adding in plenty of luxe elements to make it interesting and luxurious. For the bed, this is all about layering. I love this chunky knit blanket form Lauren Aston Designs which is the softest thing I have ever come across. I also like to add a different colour bottom sheet to the duvet colour and adding in tonal cushions to create a hotel-look.

Keep artwork simple

Black and white artwork will add interest without overpowering the rest of the room. Frames and mounts also help elevate a simple print making it look more luxe that perhaps the price tag would suggest!

Add a pop of greenery

Plants add such a homely touch to interiors and are the perfect pop of colour in a minimal luxe bedroom.

Statement lighting

And last but not least a statement light fixture will really help elevate a minimal luxe bedroom. I love this artisan Z1 pendant light by Ay Illuminate but it has divided opinion in our house!


What do you think? Are you a fan of the minimal luxe look?


This post was created in collaboration with Hillarys but as always my words and
opinions are my own.

All photographs by Marlene Lee