Last week & this week

I didn’t manage to write a blog last week, it was a strange week.  So, I thought I’d just update on what I’ve been doing and what you can expect on the blog this week.

A quick trip to Edinburgh

Started the week with a short trip to Edinburgh to do a bit of non-blog related work. It was a quick visit as I travelled up from Manchester on Tuesday and back on Wednesday, but I did manage to have a stroll through the park and enjoy the scenery while waiting for the train. The sun was nearly out so and all was well.  Edinburgh is a great city and well worth a trip, even if it is full of tourists like me 😍😍😍.  I only managed to take a couple of pics, including one of the train line with the Scott Monument in the background.  Apparently the Scott Monument is the largest monument to a writer in the world. I’m not a train-spotter but I love the way the line runs through the centre of the city.  In the other picture is a glimpse the Scottish National Gallery from East Princes Street Gardens. I will be going back to Edinburgh during the year so I plan to spend more time taking (better) pics to share.

 

 

Lunch in Manchester

This weekend it was a Public Holiday in the UK and we had a long -standing meet-up planned for a family meal in Manchester. We lived in Manchester for a short time and it’s where my son now lives; we weren’t going to change our plans as Manchester is a great city. We had an excellent catch-up and some hearty food in the Mud Crab.  Pic below is of impressive street art you’ll find in West Didsbury, South Manchester by Brazilian street artist Mateus Bailon. This picture I took a few weeks previously, you may have seen it on my Instagram. There are others pieces I still need to see.

Mateus Bailon Street Art West Didsbury

 

A walk in the Peak District with rather large cows

The next day was spent walking with the family in the Peak District, where we enjoyed the scenery and the weather (Fitbit stats 6.7 miles, 100 floors – I was happy). Saw a great deal of cows including this beauty below, which roamed freely on the hillside to manage the grass. It was sitting right in front of the gate we needed to pass through and needed a little gentle persuasions to move.  Oh and the walk passed by a quarry boundary that appears to have some quick sand! But do not fear the walk ended safely with a calming field of buttercups 🤗

 

 

 

This week on the blog

Now back into swing of things this week I will be blogging about the selection of planters I’ve found to house the houseplants I bought last month.  Also I’m (with the help of Mr Husband) in the final stages of putting up the shelves I’ve been making for my son’s kitchen.  I’ll be giving you all the details on Friday, here’s a glimpse of this morning’s activity fixing on the brackets but please stay tuned 😍😍😍

DIY MDF Shelves

 

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What’s going on in the garden in May

Thought I would start a little garden diary, giving you a glimpse of what’s happening in my garden.  As I’ve mentioned before I live in the ground floor / basement flat of an old Victorian Villa in Buxton UK.  Even though the bedrooms are underground, the living room opens out into a small private garden, just for us … and the neighbours for a cheeky glass of wine when the sun shines.  I think of it as another room in the home. The whole house is surrounded by a communal garden area, which we all share and maintain; it’s quite special but there’s always a a lot to do.

Today I’ve just got some pics from my piece of garden.  It’s a paved area with a large sloping rockery.  In the 3 years we’ve been here we’ve tried to add a little more variety of plants and take out some of those that had taken over – LADIES MANTLE !!

At the moment the daffodils and tulips have faded but the flowering perennials are springing back into life, as are the grasses.  It continues to be a bit of trial and error so far, seeing what will grow in the colder and wet climate of Buxton, but I like a challenge. Take a look at some of the pictures I’ve taken in the last few days.

These are looking particularly colourful at the moment. Top left Primula japonica ‘Millers Crimson’, on the side Euphorbia Griffithii and bottom left a Geum. I’m pretty pleased with these as they were all planted last summer and have survived!

winter bedding

I planted up these planters in November and the cyclamen are still flowering.  I’m going to move them soon to the fern section in the garden. The little evergreen shrubs I will continue to grow in the protected environment of the planters until they are a little larger to cope with the Buxton soil and climate.

I love taking cuttings and splitting plants (plants for free) and these are ones I did last year, waiting to be grown on a bit more before planting out.  By the way Mr Husband made the planters and the steps last year and they have survived the winter too 😊.

Decorlasting.com May garden

This is the bigger picture of our rocky slope, it’s filling out with green but needs more colour.  I’ve just planted my Sweet Peas under my stick tower – I have grown them over winter and there is one flower about to open. Usually I don’t have much luck with Sweet Peas, so fingers crossed.

garden seedlings

I’ve got a tiny cold frame to keep all things little in, you know the ones needing a bit of extra protection over winter.  This year it was little lavenders I’d grown from seed in the summer, which are now bushy and living outside.  In the frame at the moment are 3 varieties of Calendula and 3 varieties of kale, which we’re going to plant amongst the flower beds. You can also see my shadow – I’m such an amateur 🙄.

A finally, let me introduce you to the garden cat.  He’s not mine (is it a he?), but always runs into the garden when we open the door and then follow you until he gets a tickle. We call him Cat, my neighbour calls him Snuffles.

garden cat

I hope to blog about the garden on a regular basis so you can see how it develops.  Next time I’ll show you the pond area…….. it’s a bit of a mess 😊

 

2 Must See Cellars With Ambience

A few weeks ago, a new Artisan Market venue opened in my new home town of Buxton, The Arches Artisan Market you may have seen my Twitter post about this at the time. Here’s the picture I took.

The Arches Artisan Market Buxton Derbyshire

I really need to go back and see how it’s doing, as it’s a great initiative to give local crafts people an indoor space in the heart of the town.  When I first walked in I was amazed at the space as from the outside I never guessed what was inside. Such a dramatic space, where the arches lend themselves perfectly to intimate and defined areas for each of the retailers, there’s a great feel to the place. So, this is a lesson to me (and maybe to you) to venture in as you never know what you might find.

The Arches Artisan Market Buxton, Derbyshire

I don’t know about you but the ambience of any space always has an impact on me, positive or negative. In my home, I guess I try and create the ambience through the decor so I always love it when the character of a commercial venue captures my mood, and cellar vibe of The Arches certainly did.

It reminded me of a restaurant I’d visited a number of years ago in Oslo Norway, The Klosteret Restaurant, when I working for a large corporate organisation.  At the time I managed a team remotely from the UK so when I was in Oslo it was always an excuse to go out for a team dinner – I can assure you my team never needed persuading, eating out in Oslo is not inexpensive! As always I left the choice of venue to the team and I could tell this restaurant was high on their list to visit, especially on Company expenses!

It was in a cellar like the Buxton Artisan Market, low ceilings, exposed brick but it was lit entirely with candles, and the ambience was fantastic.  You may think this would be only good for an intimate romantic dinning but it worked perfectly for our team dinner. To be honest I can’t remember what the food was like, and maybe having what seemed like a different wine with each of the courses had something to with that. What I do remember was on our big round table (there was about 12 of us) everyone was interacting and the evening was most pleasant and relaxed.  The candle light kept our complete focus to the discussion around the table.

I’ve taken the picture from the Restaurant’s website, I’m sure they won’t mind. Apparently the building was built in 1899 used as a waffle bakery.

Klosteret Restaurant Oslo Norway

For me getting the ambience right makes all the difference.  How does it work for you?

Ambience quote and definition

How to DIY build kitchen shelves on a budget

The favourite room in my house is my kitchen, mainly because I love to cook as a way of relaxing.  It was one of the first rooms to be decorated when we moved in about 3 years ago.  I really need to get around to showing you some before and after pictures. However, moving on a few years and accumulating more kitchen bits and pieces I need more storage – isn’t that always the case? So out with the tools again for a quick solution that wasn’t going to cost too much money, just a bit of time.

You can see in the picture below there was a spare piece of kitchen wall just crying out for a few shelves.  My plan was to try and house all the things I needed to hand so I could try and keep the work surface clear.  Getting into the realms of 5S here, a throw back to my corporate days, but lets leave that for another time.

Mr Husband wasn’t doing much so he was set to work with the sheet of MDF and a saw, and I did my bit too with a paint brush.  I don’t just sit on a stool and give instructions you know 😉

DIY guide to making new kitchen shelvesHere’s my picture diary

What an empty space!  My thoughts were to only shelve as far as the plug socket leaving space to expand in the future if needed.

I’ve no pictures of the wood sawing but you can see the bits of wood as they are being painted. Once again my work surface doubles up as a workbench. You may notice the shelves have been painted in Dulux Pixie Green, which was also used for my table makeover.

As you can see the shelves were put together as one unit so will be self supporting, no brackets required. However, the unit will be attached to the wall with a couple of screws to stop them falling forward. The shelves themselves are held in place with long screws counter-sunk, if that’s the expression, by Mr Husband and then filled once the screws were in so the screw heads would be invisible once it was painted.  He loves counter sinking screws 😍.

I painted everything before the shelves were assembled and just touched up the outer sides with the screw holes before the kitchen shelves were fixed to the wall.  I used Annie Sloane Clear Wax to finish as this was a matt paint.

A rare picture of Mr Husband at work with his safety slippers firmly on.  You can see the gold fixing used to secure the shelves to the wall and ta dah! the finished shelves. Obviously they were soon full – how did I manage without them?

Decorlasting green kitchen shelves

All in all the project cost was under £20 for the MDF and fixings, the paint and screws were left over from another project.

I suppose I could ‘dress’ the shelves a little more elegantly for the picture but there’s only so much time in the day.  Perhaps something later for Instagram if you care to follow.

I think it’s a much better use of space but let me know what you think. My next DIY project is going to be revamping an old side table to make a mid-century design classic (I can always hope).

Oh and if you don’t know about 5S……….

5S

KITCHEN SHELVES DIY

Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire UK

A bit of a deviation from my usual home decor blogging but I thought I’d start to share my occasional days out as visiting places often brings inspiration you can transfer into your home.

Last weekend I had a particularly delightful trip to Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire UK partly because of the history and partly because it was a gorgeous sunny day.

Rufford Old Hall , National Trust

Where I live, we don’t get the best of the weather so I’m an expert at making the most of every last drop. With that in mind we arrived (Mr Husband was there too) as soon as the Hall opened and before looking around the gardens and house we made a direct line to the tea shop. Here we enjoyed coffee and a scone sitting outside in the cobbled court yard…..well it would have been rude not to.

Now the National Trust, who manage this building, are far better placed to dispense the history of the Hall and gardens. However, to give you a flavour Rufford Old Hall is a fine Tudor building, which for 500 years was owned by the Hesketh family. There is also some suggestion William Shakespeare spent a few months of his teens at the Hall. If you want to read more about the history then follow the link to Rufford Old Hall.

Here are my pictures, bearing in mind no photography was allowed in the House

The bluebells and the flower boarder, which looks luscious even in May

Some decorative features around the garden; the birds, the frog and the sun

Rufford Old Hall Garden

Follow the path to reach the perfect seating area

….and the House

A highlight of the visit was viewing the Great Hall, where we joined a regular talk about the history of the Hall given by one of the knowledgeable volunteers.  We were able to admire the carved oak screen (and take photographs).  The thought is that the screen is made from bog oak.  It was a huge structure and although described as movable it would have taken some effort.

Oak screen

Impressive don’t you think?

So, all in all if you’re in the area it’s well worth a visit, it would make a great place for a friends & family picnic as there are plenty of picnic benches in grassy secluded areas. Also the house was children friendly with a little trail to keep them engaged.

After the Hall we travelled up to Lancaster and then on to Keswick in the Lake District but for now I hope you enjoyed sharing my day out 😊. If you follow me on Instagram you will see of my outdoor escapades as they happen.

And in case your wondering where Lancashire is, here’s a map.

Rufford Old Hall Map

3 Indoor plants to try in your home

Indoor plants or house plants, call them what you want they are very on trend.  In my younger days, my house was full of plants, they were on every window sill and spare gap on the table.  It was a more of a gardening extension rather than a design thing. However, as life went on the house plants disappeared, I think a lot to do with taking holidays and at one point we were living in a fairly dark house.  However, now it’s time for them to return and bring life and air purifying properties to my home!

So, I recently ventured to a local garden centre to see what they had as I’d remembered they had an unusually large selection of indoor plants.  I picked three, I thought I’d start small and as I’m always looking to get something for free was looking for plants large enough to divide and make more plants.  These are the plants I finally chose.

Easy care Indoor house plants

Let’s take a look at them one by one considering their needs for light and water as these seem to be the key things to keep them alive and looking healthy.  A dying plant is not a good look, trust me I’ve done that experiment.

Schefflera Arboricola dwarf umbrella tree indoor house plantThis elegant plant is a Schefflera Arboricola or to give its common name (and we all like a common names) Dwarf Umbrella Tree

Water: Wait until the soil in the plant dries out and then thoroughly soak.  I would stand it in a few inches of water (maybe in the sink) and let it suck up as much water as it wants. Yellow leave falling off is a sign you are watering it too much.

Light: It likes light but not direct sunlight.  Not enough light and it gets leggy, too much light and the leaves will burn.

 

 

Gardenia indoor house plant

 

Next we have a glossy Gardenia.  Now reading about these they appear a little fussier.

Water: They like a consistently damp but not soggy soil, they also like high humidity so give it the occasional misting.

Light: These also like bright but not direct sunlight, and as me they like it on the warm side, which might be challenge in my flat.

So, this little chap is already sounding challenging, but I’m going to persevere as it will have vivid white flowers and produces a gorgeous fragrance.  Since getting this plant my living room has been smelling delightful despite the plant only having one flower.

Spider plant

A finally this beauty is a Spider Plant, a house plant favourite. Apparently these are one of the easiest house plants to care for, so I had better keep this one alive. As you can see mine already has many little spiderettes, which I’ve already potted to make new plants.

Water: Not too much watering, they don’t like it soggy. They like to dry out between watering.

Light: Again, bright but not direct sunlight but they do like it a bit cooler.

Now I know how to grow these plants 🤞 there are still a couple of things I need to decide. Firstly, I need to choose some planters.  At the moment, the pots are on plastic trays to stop water and soil leaking over the furniture.   I need to think about how the planter sits against the decor where the plant will live.

And that brings me on to the second thing I need to decide, where to put them.  I’ve been moving them around constantly.  I think they will all sit in the living room, but when I get the spiderette plants growing I’m going to have them hanging in the kitchen.

I hope my ramblings have inspired you to get a few house plants and you’ll can join me on the ‘journey’ of keeping them alive.  I will update you in a few weeks when I’ve select planters. A blog post consisting of dead plants is not attractive so I need to get my green fingers out 🌱🌱🌱

Plant selection

 

Feathers and fur on a budget

I first put out this blog at the beginning of Summer, but reading through it applies nicely to the approaching Autumn too. So may be worth another read 🙂 to give you some snugly inspiration.

It’s summer, well nearly. Does that mean we should all be adding linen and cottons to our decor, I think not.  We still need a little warm texture to get us through those chilly evenings and what better way of doing that than with a bit of fur and feathers.  Now I’m not suggesting we go over the top and make the whole house look like we’ve just stepped through into Narnia. However, the odd piece I think and you may not agree, gives a touch of luxury, Nordic charm, Scandi elegance to a room.

From having a browse around I see there’s a substantial array of bits to buy, but if like me you are always on a budget then perhaps you will like my economy selection. Read on to see what I’ve selected for you.

I loooove this light shade 💗💗💗.  It’s the Vita Copenhagen Medium EOS Feather Lampshade.  It’s made from authentic goose feathers and apparently lets the light seductively shine through.  My bedroom is not a dissimilar colour to the teal in the picture where I think this light shade looks great even when the light is off.  “What about dusting”, I hear Mr Husband cry?? Oh yes just reminded him I don’t dust so not a problem. But if you do apparently you just give it a blow with a hair drier on a cool setting, so don’t let dusting be a reason not to buy.  The price for a medium size is £99 from various suppliers.

 

Moving on….. below is the Mauricette faux fur and solid birch chair from Masions du Monde.  This one is light green (look hard) but other colours available, although this colour seems to have a more shaggy look, which I like.  Would sit well in many a room including with that desk in the living room.  It’s £94.49, which I think is good for a solid statement chair.

mauricette faux fur chair

Next is my most inexpensive piece, its the Ludde Sheepskin Rug from IKEA.  At £30 its not a huge price or size but gives you something to warm your toes on on those chilly summer nights.  Everywhere is selling sheep skin rugs at the moment, so shop around as they are a great way of introducing fur.

IKEA Ludde sheepskin rug

 

We’re off to Sheepland now, an Esty store for this Handmade British Organic Rare Bred Sheepskin Pouffe £89, comes in various natural colours but this one they call Chocolate – from a chocolate sheep I presume.  I love a bit of glamour but if you can combine it with the words British, handmade and organic then it ticks all my boxes.  You should check out their Esty store as they sell rugs (£59) I could have easily featured in this blog.  This picture shows the pouffe in a traditional country cottage setting but it would look great in a modern sleek apartment too.

sheepland handmade british organic rare bread pouffe

And finally, who can live without a faux fur throw to drape over the sofa or the bed and bring a touch of sensuous luxury?  Depending on the size (I would always go for the biggest I could afford) they can range vastly in price so again shop around.

faux fur throw

All these furnishing accessories are very flexible in that you can move them around the house when you decide to have a change.  I wouldn’t put them all in the same room.  So weather it’s a lampshade, rug, throw, pouffe or statement chair have a go with a bit of feather and fur.  Follow me on Pinterset to see my new Feather board

Hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts on how to glam up with bit of fur and feathers, which would you choose if you had a spare £100 waiting to be spend?  You know what I would pick 😘😘😘