Small Space Big Thinking.

My Brother & Sister-in-law & their three young children have just moved back to the UK from NZ & bought a beautiful new home (complete with massive grown up’s garden) in the Suffolk countryside.

The house whilst lovely, is just slightly on the small side.

Not for them, but rather for their over-sized Antipodean furniture which whilst perfect over here suddenly seems enormous in the more modestly proportioned rooms of a charming British house.

Gorgeous oversized sofas & delicious layers keep the eye moving & make this such an appealing room. Via Pinterest

Gorgeous over-sized sofas & delicious layers keep the eye moving & make this such an appealing room. Via Pinterest

I actually really rather like this play of proportions & love treating small rooms as if they were big. I think that the classic mistake that most people make is to think that by putting less in a small room they will somehow make the room appear bigger.

It won’t.

Quite the opposite in fact & only serves to highlight how small the space is.

Keep the eye moving with lots of layers (think rugs, tables, artwork, lamps, cushions) & the eye won’t be able to take everything in at once, least of all the small proportions of your walls. Visual trickery at it’s very best.

Add layers to keep the eye moving. Via Once Upon a Tea time blog

Add layers to keep the eye moving.

I also think that the most successful rooms play up to their purpose. Why shouldn’t a TV room (no matter how small it is) have over-sized & comfortable sofas – if sitting down to watch TV is the main function for the space then it is important to make it as comfortable & inviting as possible.

Don’t plonk a tiny & uncomfortable sofa into a small room when all you are doing in that room is sitting down. You won’t make the room look any bigger & it sure as hell won’t look like an inviting space to curl up & watch a movie.

Think Big & make the space into somewhere that you positively look forward to spending time.

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A room purely for the purpose of reading & watching TV. Via The Rain Beat Tumblr

I have hundreds of images of little rooms with Big personalities saved on my Pinterest boards if you need any more inspiration. The important thing is not to let a rooms proportions stifle your decor.

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Image Via Pinterest

Mr BE&S & I first got together 12 years ago today so we are looking forward to a lovely weekend celebrating love, laughter & a happy life.

Have a good weekend whatever you are up to.

Sam x

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Home Love Therapy.

Don’t you just love it when a long weekend lives up to its title & actually feels long?! Despite my best efforts to book in a months worth of social activity,  I still managed to get in some good ‘pottering’ time around the house & relished the time to re-arrange, tidy & rediscover my bedroom chair under an array of discarded clothing!

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Admittedly, the prospect of friends for dinner usually inspires some form of tidying around the house but rather than just the mad panic tidy  i.e. stuff everything somewhere out of sight (& try to relax knowing the horrors that lurk behind cupboard doors) this weekend I was able to do a proper job & sort out shelves that had lost their way, rearrange the coffee table & clear the temporary desk  kitchen table etc. etc…

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Seriously,  it’s like therapy – a chance to regain control & play about with lovely things! The state of my house is usually a pretty accurate indication of my current head-space and believe me both needed some serious de-cluttering.

Perhaps the most satisfying part is ticking lots of things off your list of things unfinished things to do, including finishing this painting.

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Of course I then got distracted & had to try it out around the house.

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With the house in order it was great to just relax & enjoy our home in the best possible possible way, fire lit, friends, food & much laughter.

And if those friends happen to arrive with flowers & champagne then so much the better!

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I’ve hit the ground running this week which I’m sure is in no small part down to the home love therapy that was my weekend.

I like to think that it’s not just me who is such a product of my surroundings & don’t think you can ever underestimate the power of a home that you look forward to spending time in.

Sam x

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Roll on the Weekend….

Dashwood by the boiled egg & soldiers

Dashwood by the boiled egg & soldiers

 …..And so the countdown to another weekend begins!

Only a couple more hours before the wine is poured & the Friday night merriment begins.

It’s a long weekend here & all set to be a busy one with a little bit of work, a brunch, lunch & a dinner planned with friends. Hopefully we will also find some time to just relax – love the prospect of a long weekend especially one that has just crept up on us like this!

Whatever you are doing, I hope it’s a good one & that the sun shines for you.

See you next week!

Sam xx

 

 

 

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Keep Warm & Eat Crumpets

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 Brrrrrrr……… The freezing cold weather has arrived this week leaving me feeling grateful for our wood burner & the fact that I work from home!

Coming home after a particularly cold walk on the beach with the dog yesterday, all I could think about was a cup of tea & crumpets with strawberry jam.

Of course we didn’t have any crumpets in the house… or strawberry jam for that matter so I had to console myself with just a cup of tea – much better for the hips but it didn’t do anything to silence the cravings.

I caved & have just enjoyed some crumpets with jam for breakfast… SO good! I cannot recommend this treat enough everyone knows you burn more calories when it’s cold & right now it is positively freezing!

We have friends coming for tea this long weekend & I think that crumpets might just be on the menu then too!

Is it just me that craves these extra little treats when the cold weather hits??

Keep warm & eat crumpets!

Sam x

 

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The Lazy Gardener

I keep waiting to develop my green fingers.

I feel sure that one day I will wake up & have the desire to spend hours pottering around in the mud, weeding, digging & harvesting my fruit & veggies, I’m not sure that wandering into the garden to pick a lemon for a G&T counts as such?

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The trouble is that I find it all so boring & slow… sure I love the thought of a garden full of different flowers & herbs but aside from the fact that I am quite unorganised & never know when I should be planting what – I hate how long it takes for these things to bear even the tiniest of ‘fruits’. I want a wild & abundant garden now, the very instant that I am inspired enough to venture out there!

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Mr BE&S is luckily, way more enthusiastic about putting time & energy into the garden & gets a lot of satisfaction from watching things grow from seed.

Whilst I encourage this behaviour in the hope that it will, one day, result in said rambling, abundant paradise – having several sprouting avocado seeds perched in various mustard pots on the kitchen windowsill for months only to find out that if we were lucky we could look forward to enjoying our first avocado in around 15 years time nearly sent me over the edge. Needless to say that there are no longer avocado seeds on our windowsill.

Anyway, I digress. Since moving to a house right on the beach last year even my fail safe ‘easy’ options of lavender, geranium & hydrangea have really struggled… panic!

…My saving grace?

The succulent.

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 Beautiful & oh so easy- these plants are so hardy that they can thrive almost anywhere but best of all they thrive inside in just water & look so pretty in a vase or bottle. They grow roots really quickly which also looks great (just remember to change the water regularly) What I really love is that once you are ready for a change you can just pick the succulent out of the water & stick it in the ground or in a pot…Easy & instant.

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I am now on the lookout for interesting pots & containers to fill with my succulents for an instant garden.

Winning! x

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Breakfast of champions… the boiled egg & soldiers!

Winning at breakfast

Ah hello weekend, my friend.

One of life’s greatest little luxuries is time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in your pj’s! There is just something so utterly indulgent about not bothering to get dressed until it is absolutely necessary to get up & do something productive with your day.

A soft boiled egg & soldiers is the perfect choice for such occasions as it is so easy to do well & let’s face it everyone always has eggs & bread in the house.

I like to serve mine in old silver trophy’s – not only does it look fabulous but surely winning at breakfast is the best start to anyone’s day.

Have a great weekend.

Enjoy! x

 

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Winner of 7 Vignettes May

I was absolutely tickled pink to discover that I was the winner of  Interiors Addict  Instagram styling competition 7 Vignettes this month.

Established in January by super blogger Jen Bishop, 7 Vignettes is a 7 day challenge that runs every month. Each month a list of themes is released just before the competition starts & everyday you style & submit your Vignette to the hashtag #7vignettes.

This months words were:

may-list

At the end of the week when your house looks like a bomb has hit it due to the props lying everywhere  a guest judge selects an overall winner.

This month’s Judge was Amber from The Woodsfolk  & she picked ME!!!

Confetti Bomb

Confetti Bomb

Click here to see my winning vignettes.

The themes for 7 Vignettes June have just been announced this morning. Despite a pretty crazy schedule at the moment, I will be taking part again (can’t resist)

It is a really fun & inspiring competition, who’s keen to join in?

Sam x

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Adding Life to Dead Space

Anyone else wondering how it is Monday morning again already? It feels like the weekend just disappeared before I could achieve even half of the things that I was hoping to do. That said we still managed to enjoy some much-needed downtime, a lazy morning & tea in bed, a step class at the gym followed by a bacon buttie , wine & good conversation with some lovely friends.

Two common problems in people’s homes are a lack of storage space & a lack of layers that ground a space & keep the eye moving.

 One really easy way to solve this is to utilise the dead space under side tables. Instead of just leaving this space empty, why not look at it as another space to display your treasures, create storage & space for extra seating.

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Via Tara Like.

Big baskets for toys, magazines, art materials etc are not just practical but look great too. Leather pouffes & ceramic stools add a wonderful splash of colour & texture & can be pulled out when you need extra seating or somewhere to balance a drink or a tea-tray.

Photo via House Beautiful

Photo via House Beautiful

dead space

The Boiled Egg & Soldiers.

Or just use the space as another spot to prop artwork & other interesting objects.

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Frank Faulkner Interior Design, Photo by Peter Margonelli.

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Anna Spiro magic.

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Photograph by Tria Giovan

A clever trick to keep the eye moving, it is also practical & adds depth to your interior.

Hope you all have a great week.

Sam x

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The Quest For The Perfect Bloody Mary…

Not to be confused with the perfect tomato juice- they can be quite different drinks- not just due to the addition or not of vodka!

bloody mary

Original Artwork by The Boiled Egg & Soldiers.

It actually wasn’t until a recent evening at my friend Vanessa’s house (the authority on ALL matters vodka!) that I realised that Bloody Mary’s should not just be viewed as tomato juices with vodka as I had previously thought (which I always find incredibly thick, rich & delicious but can only ever drink one of – (criminal!)

Vanessa’s perfect Bloody Mary involves a lot of ice & lemon which makes it an altogether more liquid & refreshingly drinkable drink – we drank several of these in the course of the evening (all in the name of research- naturally!)

I highly recommend this recipe as a summer evening tipple after a day at the beach but it would also go down a treat at Sunday brunch. However you make yours, you can really have some fun with the garnishes.

Maybe you could create a build your own Bloody Mary station next time you have friends round for brunch (this would also be a fabulous idea for the day after a wedding) … Along with the more traditional celery stick  I’m imagining bowls of olives, fresh asparagus spears, a plate piled high with rashers of crispy bacon it’s practically brunch in a boozy glass – let your imagination go crazy & enjoy!

Chin Chin xx

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Building Spaces With Bits & Pieces

One thing that really struck me more than anything else whilst drooling over  reading The Design Files post on Australian artist David Bromley & his wife Yuge’s Byron Bay home yesterday (Wow!) was Davids quote about their approach to decorating vs renovating.

“Placing bits & pieces we love around the house is how we build space”

Love it! He put it so beautifully & in one short little sentence, managed to sum up my favourite approach to creating any kind of space…. by using bits & pieces that you love.

Sibella Court's living room, photo by James Merrell

Sibella Court’s living room, photo by James Merrell

To me, building a beautiful space is not about perfectly proportioned walls & a contrived, overly thought out scheme but rather about comfort, personality & a clear narrative of who lives there & how the space is used. What better way to do this than through clever display of the bits & pieces that you love.

Large open plan spaces really benefit from this approach to decorating, using bits & pieces of furniture, plants, lighting to break up the space & create zones within the room. This is what gives a home its voice, the layers that bring warmth and interest.

It is what makes people feel instantly welcome & ultimately how you build the most compelling spaces.

Sam x

 

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