Be My Guest.

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Has it really been a week since my last post? Where does the time go… it’s the end of January already!

I think that February will also be whizzing by in a hopefully sunny flash as we play host to a lovely succession of visitors from the UK…. first up some VIP’s – my parents, who arrive tomorrow.

I absolutely love having people to stay, be it for a weekend or longer. I love getting the spare bedroom ready & stocking the fridge with lots of yummy food, wine & treats for lazy weekend breakfasts over which you can plan the day ahead.

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One of my favourite things is making the guest bedroom as welcoming, comfortable & inviting as possible. This doesn’t involve much more than a freshly made bed, some fluffy bath towels, fresh flowers, a few magazines & maybe a scented candle.

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I also always make sure that there is some sort of bedside table with a lamp on both sides of the bed, some hanging space  be that hooks on the back of the door, a wardrobe or a hat stand & a mirror.

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Of course none of these little extras are necessary for making someone feel welcome into your home – but even if it is just a mattress on the floor or a pull out sofa bed it isn’t hard to sort out bed linen before hand & have it ready to go when it’s time for bed as there’s nothing more likely to make someone feel like a nuisance when you are running around searching for spare pillows & duvet covers when everyone is tired & wishing they were in bed already.

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Am I alone in this or do you also like to make an effort when people come to stay? What makes you feel welcome when you’re in someone else’s home or is this not something you have ever considered?

Sam x

Images from here.

Op Shopping.

20140122_134449_1 I spend a lot of my time trawling Op Shops & second-hand stores on the look out for interesting pieces & homewares. People are often amazed at the treasures that I unearth but really the secret is to just be persistent, go back to the same shops often & really take your time to look at everything & be open to new ways of using old things.

Sadly, Op shops are no longer the ‘cheap’ bargain haunts that they used to be… especially the larger operations like The Salvation Army who know exactly what they are dealing with & price accordingly. Similarly, second-hand shopping is more popular than ever before so the charity shops are often busy & things really don’t stick around for long.

That said, it is still possible to find some gems that won’t break the bank but will look a million dollars once you get them home.

Yesterday was a good day & I scored this beautiful hide, in perfect buttery soft condition.

Perfect, slung in a chair…

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I also picked up this sweet little wicker tray, which is currently playing host to a shell collection.

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Hope you’re having a good week.

Sam x

Bar’s Open.

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It’s Friday night & The Boiled Egg & Soldiers Bar cart is officially open.

After the gorgeous sunshine this week perhaps just a little too much sunshine for my friends in Australia- sheesh! it seems like a refreshing long drink is the order of the day.

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Nothing captures the essence of summertime quite like the sweet, refreshing taste of watermelon & this cocktail makes delicious use of this seasonal treat.

I ripped the original recipe out of my Mother in Law’s Taste Magazine in November. Created by Cameron Timmins from Fukuko in Britomart, Auckland, ‘You’re twistin’ my melon, man’ looks as good as it tastes & can be whipped up at home without too much effort. Non drinkers – just omit the vodka shot.

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Now just sit back & let this cocktail work its magic & chill you out perfectly, ready for the weekend.

Cheers to a good one.

Sam x

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Making an entrance.

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They are the first thing that we see when we arrive home & the first impression for visitors, yet our hallways are so often neglected & forgotten about dumping grounds.

Transient spaces that we rush through & therefore largely ignored when it comes to decorating.

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No matter how small & seemingly unsubstantial your hallway is… whether it’s a narrow corridor or your front door opens into your living room or kitchen, it is still possible  to decorate your space with as much attention to detail & personality as you would any other room in your house.

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If you have the space then, throw down a rug, introduce a console table, a basket for shoes & a mirror so that you can check yourself before leaving the house. Have fresh flowers, a lamp & a bowl for keys/ wallet/ phone. Add a scented candle or some scented sticks to make your home smell nice as soon as you walk through the door.

Hooks are always handy, especially if you are short on space but if you have the option of hanging most of your coats in a wardrobe elsewhere then do that rather than cluttering up the space & leave the hooks for visitors coats or schoolbags..

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If you have room for a bench or a chair to sit whilst putting shoes on then by all means add one, they look great & also add extra storage space underneath for shoes or baskets of  hats, scarves & gloves.

The image below is of Rita Konig’s old apartment in New York..

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Her hall table is actually in her kitchen which happens to be in a corridor. which just proves that you don’t need a lot of space to create a welcoming area & somewhere to store your keys etc.

In instances where your front door opens up into your living room then find multi-taskers that will double up as a side table for your sofa as well as somewhere to dump those keys & hide your mail.

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Lastly, have fun… choose some bold wallpaper, hang a gallery wall… make it somewhere you look forward to seeing when you open your front door.

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Sam x

Images from here.

2014

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Hello!

…. and Happy New Year!! it’s still ok to say that halfway through January, right? Hope you all had a lovely Christmas & are  ready to start the new year refreshed & excited for all of the possibilities, new adventures & firsts that await you in 2014.

I’m excited & have a feeling it’s going to be a bit fabulous.

It seems like ages ago since my last blog but also like the time has flown by. It’s been a very chilled out few weeks – lots of sleeping, time at the beach & time to reflect on the year that has passed & all that lies ahead. A lot of de cluttering both mentally & physically.

I’m not big on resolutions but this year, mine is to procrastinate less & listen to my heart more …. do the things that I want to do without talking myself out of them first…

….and to aspire to inspire before I expire!

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See you back here later in the week.

Sam x

Images from here.

Happy Christmas!

unnamed-14 Well the countdown is over… Christmas is finally here! whoop whoop!!

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 Thank you so much for all your support & for taking the time to read & comment on this little blog, it means the world to know that I am not just chatting to myself!!

Lots & lots of exciting things planned for 2014, I hope you will stick around for the next part of the adventure.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas filled with friends & family & the ones that you love.

I’ll see you back here in early January….. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Eat, drink & be merry.

Sam x

A Tipple to Fuel your Festive Cheer..

unnamed Winter/ Summer….. I think this cocktail is appropriate wherever you’re celebrating Christmas …. & it really does fuel the festive cheer!

Whether you are entertaining or wrapping presents at home whilst watching Elf for the third time this Christmas this little glass of joy is going to help get things under way!

It’s the last Friday night before Christmas, whether today was your last day of work for the year or not it’s definitely a reason to celebrate. Have a blast whatever you are up to!

Chin Chin x

Converting to the dark side.

e7ead5472477afde8b721339080d1a87-1 I have been gathering images & inspiration in a bid to convince a client that their new house is crying out for some dark walls.

Sophisticated & welcoming, colours & crisp whites pop beautifully against dark walls.

a5e32aae616867d4793d7a3f0b9dd3da I am still a big fan of chalkboard paint especially in kitchens & kid’s bedrooms. I love the informal/ graphic impact that it provides & the fact that it is so practical for scribbling down reminders, recipes, shopping lists, birthday messages & silly doodles… plus it adds that slightly chaotic & welcoming feeling of home.

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A gorgeous cocoon in the bedroom, a cosiness that you want to curl up in & sleep.

Crisp white bedding keeps things from looking too heavy.

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And in the living room, dark walls just ooze sophistication …

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One week to go people!!

We are finishing work for the year on Friday… whoop whoop! she says, conveniently forgetting how much still needs to be achieved before we sign off.

Sam xx

All images from my Pinterest boards

Let the merriment begin..

The silly season is well under way & the days/ weeks are disappearing in a social blur… such a fun time of year to be catching up with friends & family. This weekend is no exception & we are looking forward to entertaining on both Saturday & Sunday.

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Image found via Style Me Pretty Living.

A drink station/ bar cart is such an easy thing to set up when you have guests & I think it makes a really fun & social focal point for your party.

Not only does it mean that you don’t have to spend time running back & forth to the kitchen to fix drinks for everyone & therefore missing out on all the fun but it also a great ice breaker for guests that don’t know each other as it brings them all to one place rather than opposite sides of the room not that we usually have awkward guests like that but you know what I mean.

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Image found via Sarah Dobson for Luvocracy

You can go as simple or complicated as you like… one large urn of Spiced Hot Apple Cider (for those in colder climes this Christmas) or else how’s about a Champagne or Bellini Bar for those of us enjoying summer!

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Image from Country Living via Simply by tamara nicole

Inside or out, it really doesn’t matter, fill an oversized tub with ice to keep things chilled & decorate however you like…..

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Image from Domino Magazine via The merriment Blog

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Image via Pinterest

I think that these blended strawberries with champagne look so festive & will go down a treat this weekend… you can also mix the blended berries with soda for children & drivers so no one has to miss out!

I hope this has inspired you for your weekend’s festivities.

Only 12 days until Christmas!

Enjoy x

Styling your Christmas table.

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Whether you are hosting an intimate dinner for 2 or a feast for 30, successful entertaining starts with a little bit of styling. The way you style your table/ party has a huge impact on the overall atmosphere that you create & how your guests will fee.

Depending on how you plan to serve your brunch/ lunch/ dinner you probably won’t have much room on your table for elaborate centerpieces, besides these are often more of a hinderance for good conversation but there is no reason for your table to be boring either. It takes only a little effort to create a table that adults & children alike will look forward to sitting at.

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As with anything, the possibilities are endless but I think that the key is always fun, playful & interactive. Don’t worry about everything matching or making sense – just choose your theme & run with it….

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We threw a champagne breakfast for my friend Emily on her recent hen party, the theme for the weekend was glamorous farmers (we were in the English countryside) so we decorated the table with a children’s farmyard plastic play-mat, gold spray painted animals, jugs of wildflowers & straw & built a champagne bar complete with welly boots, pineapples & pink flamingo cocktail sticks!

Such fun & it really set the tone for a fabulous day.

As with all other aspects of Christmas, your table doesn’t need to be traditional but it should feel festive & inspire a few complements!  It isn’t necessary to spend a fortune buying things – look at what you have at your disposal, raid the garden & work out any extras you might need to buy to complete the look.

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For this table I created a brown paper table runner I scrunched it up to give it some movement & created placemats by painting some lining paper with blackboard paint. Not only does the black make a dramatic backdrop for whatever you put on top, it will also keep adults & children entertained if you provide a stick of chalk or two (soak the sticks of chalk in water first if you want to avoid all of that chalk dust).

Whether it is an Interior or a tablescape that I am pulling together, I like to create friction with my textures… rough with smooth, matt & shiny, sparkles & rust… with this in mind I have scattered oversized grass seeds scavenged from the beach with bohemian crystal, glitter dipped baubles & tarnished silver trophies. Feathers are scattered randomly over the table & fresh rosemary adds a much-needed lift as well as a delicious scent.

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Of course, lots of candles are a must & I have made each place setting a little bit different. Some have flower stuffed waffle cones, others small metal trumpets tied with ribbon & handmade glittery cardboard stars. For children maybe scatter their plate with chocolate money, the afore-mentioned chalk sticks or crayons & a set of sparkly reindeer horns as a fun alternative to a paper crown.

It’s the little details that make all of the difference & set the scene for a fabulous meal with the ones that you love.

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Hope you have a great weekend whatever you are up to…. we are heading away, woohoo!

Sam x