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Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start planning a beautiful garden for the season. From large pieces of furniture to the smaller details, creating a lovely outdoor area means you’re prepared for those rare sunny days and the warm evenings that follow. Whether you want to entertain a crowd or just make a cosy setup for yourself, there are plenty of ways to step up your outdoor game with some wonderful pieces.

‘Somerton Outdoor Dining Set’ from Cox & Cox

Add a little glamour to your alfresco dining by finding a suitable, but stylish table. This Somerton table and benches from Cox & Cox will give both contemporary and rustic elements to your outdoor area. The modern grey is a versatile colour and the long benches mean you can squeeze a few extra people around the table when you have guests over, making it a great table for spontaneous dinner parties. If you don’t need as much space, you can opt for something a little smaller like this Bistro table from Houseology, it’s more modern then your typical Bistro set, meaning you can adapt it to different types of settings.

‘Houseology Collection Grigio Bistro Set in Grey’ from Houseology

To stay out of the shade, and for the ultimate way to show off some style, a parasol is an outdoor must-have. If you’re looking for something really jaw-dropping, Sunbeam Jackie have a beautiful collection of ready-made parasols as well as doing bespoke versions if you really want to tailor it perfectly to your style. This Sunflowers in Blue piece is a gorgeous way to keep cool in the sun.

‘Sunflowers in Blue Parasol’ from Sunbeam Jackie

Another beautiful garden parasol comes from Rockett St George, this beaded piece will transform your back garden into an exotic paradise. It’s a great buy for making a style statement, adding fun and sophistication to your overall look.

‘Boho Beaded Cotton Garden Umbrella’ from Rockett St George

When the evenings get a little cold, gather round a gorgeous fire pit to keep yourself warm. This square aged brazier from Cox & Cox is a wonderful contemporary piece that’ll steal the show in your garden. The unusual shape and style will have people thinking you commissioned it yourself.

‘Square Rusty Brazier’ from Cox & Cox

To make sure you keep the light, a few garden accessories from The White Company are sure to do the trick. These crooks and lanterns will look amazing leading down a pathway or placed on the edge of a patio to give a party the perfect ambient lighting.

‘Metal Crooks and Torch Lanterns’ from The White Company

If you ever need a quick and inexpensive way to create a romantic and dreamy garden setting, fairy lights will never go amiss. This extra-long set from The White Company will allow you to cover your whole garden. Neatly decorate a bush or tree, or give some structural work a little make over like in the picture below; a rustic beam covered in fairy lights and a few branches turn something ordinary into a beautiful decorative charm.

‘Extra Long Fairy Lights’ from The White Company

Create the ideal hangout spot with this sweet crochet hammock from Graham and Green. It’s a great bohemian style and all you need to do is find some cushions to add into the mix and place your hammock in a hidden part of your garden, making it the perfect spot when you want to get away from the world.

‘Crochet Double Hammock’ from Graham & Green

If your garden is lacking a bit of space, you can always create the illusion of more with the use of mirrors; place on the garden wall where it’ll reflect the lawn or a collection of plants and it’ll make your space feel a little bigger. This mirror with some rustic shutters from Cox & Cox will add a bit of old, vintage charm to your garden, giving it its own character.

‘Outdoor Shutter Mirror’ from Cox & Cox

In order to keep your drink close by you on a hot day, you’ll need a few side tables to accompany your outdoor chairs. This bistro style table from Garden Trading is a charming little number that will go with most styles and a great way to finish off a seating area.

‘Rive Droite Bistro Tray Table in Charcoal’ from Garden Trading

For a touch of decorative flair on your outdoor side or coffee table, a few hurricane lanterns will really complete the look. These candle holders from West Elm are the perfect way to dress an outdoor table; the various heights and colours gives depth and range to the collection, making them both stylish and a great way to keep the garden feeling cosy late into the evening.

‘Pure Glass Hurricanes’ from West Elm

While there is always a slim chance that we might not get a sun-filled summer, you can still guarantee a beautiful one with some amazing pieces of outdoor furniture and some charming accessories.

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As we hurtled towards Christmas and the end of the year it became clearer to me that whatever minute amount of organisation I had seemed to be dwindling fast, so between Christmas and the New Year I made a pact with myself that I would really try to be more organised this year in all aspects of my life! There is no better way to begin a journey of organisation then with the proper tools and equipment to make it that much easier. From big items to smaller pieces, getting your furniture and accessories in tune with your new organised self is a sure-fire way to start heading in the right direction, so I’ve pulled together some fabulous options to help inspire the inner neat-freak and organiser in each and every one of you.

If you live in a busy household, trying to separate everyone’s things, post, keys etc. is always a nightmare, so finding something that will help everyone keep track of their own stuff means half the battle is already won. This set of drawers from Cox & Cox is a great way to separate the post in a large household, with six individual drawers, everyone has their own place for their important letters and unopened mail.

‘Wooden Set of Drawers’ from Cox & Cox

Equally, if you needed somewhere to keep things like gloves, hats and scarfs or larger items this sweet wall unit from Garden Trading could be a great buy. With six slots and five pegs it’ll make that morning rush all the more simple with everything in its rightful place.

‘Chedworth Wall Unit with Wooden Pegs in Charcoal’ from Garden Trading

When there’s not so many of you, you may not need something with as many slots and segments, but nonetheless having a designated shelf that will kept the clutter at bay, or at least off all the other surfaces, is a great way to create an organised routine when leaving and entering the house. If you want something a little alternative, these shelves with leather straps are particularly stylish, and perfect is there is just one or two of you in the home.

‘Wooden and Leather Shelves’ from Cox & Cox

Most people who work from home generally have a little space in their home already set up, but if you don’t or you feel like something just isn’t quite working, or if you don’t work from home but are in need to somewhere to properly plan and organize your life, finding the right furniture will really help to get you in that productive mind-set.  Having a desk that works perfectly in sync with both functional and style needs is almost a god-send, and this piece from Heal’s is quite a stunner! With an abundance of shelves and drawers to keep all necessary items in, it’ll provide a great foundation to keeping you organized throughout the year, and the dark walnut colour is a dreamy addition to any interior.

‘Navarra Desk with Top 3 Drawers in Walnut’ from Heal’s

Often a desk isn’t always just from working on your laptop or writing documents, especially when it’s located in your home, so if you find yourself needing a larger flat surface for a full range of activities, opting for a spacious desk with less frills may be right for you. I particularly like this piece from Ikea, it’s a simple way to create a clean and stress-free area in your home, while the legs give the whole look a little character.

‘Klimpen/ Nipen Table’ from Ikea

Maintaining a consistent level or organisation is best kept by staying ahead of things, and the more storage space you have the better, sure you might only need 4 drawers now, but sooner or later you’ll find yourself needing more and more, therefore finding pieces of furniture that can accommodate your present and future storage needs are a must! I love these antique style chest from Maisons du Monde, which have heaps of space and won’t spoil an existing design scheme by looking like they belong in an office.

‘Voyage Solid Wood Semainier Chest’ from Maisons du Monde

For something a little more contemporary, or if you want to add some organisation into a kid’s room, this multi-coloured chest is perfect for keeping a range of items in.

‘Dekale Wooden Vintage Semainier Chest’ from Maisons du Monde

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to be organised, I was constantly having a battle with the furniture in my bedroom about where exactly I could store my socks, and once I found a solution in the form of their own special storage box, everything felt as though it was going a lot smoother than before. Buying a few storage baskets or boxes are a great solution for sorting things that you didn’t even realise you needed to organise; that stack of magazines, a collection of clothes that always find themselves on the floor because there just isn’t space in your closet, or whatever it may be, a few decorative boxes and baskets around your home will not only look pretty but help clear up some of that mess you just can’t seem to banish. I love both of these options from Habitat.

 

‘Movell Woven Plastic Storage Baskets’ from Habitat

‘Idaho Bamboo Lidded Storage Trunks’ from Habitat

Whether you don’t have an airing cupboard in your home, or just have an overflowing one like my family, finding another space to accommodate your linens and separate them from the rest of your laundry and clothing is a great way to insight a bit of organisation in your home. I think this rustic style cabinet from Ikea is a fab solution for your linen storage.

‘Hurdal Linen Cabinet’ from Ikea

If you’re like me, there is never enough space in my closet to house the excessive collection of clothes I own, so finding an extra bit of storage that is still stylish is a good way to make sure that your storage solutions don’t feel too utilitarian. This wardrobe from Ikea is super stylish and won’t break the bank either, it’ll look great in a bedroom, or if you need some communal space to store coats etc. it’ll hold its own in a hallway as well.

‘Undredal Wardrobe’ from Ikea

There are plenty of fun and stylish ways to make sure that you have an organised home this year, and finding out what you need and what best works for you is the first step in creating the perfect, organised space.

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When you start to plan how your guest bedroom should look, it’s a whole other ball game to decorating a permanent bedroom within your house. A regular bedroom must accommodate the day-to-day needs of its occupants, and there must be an equal balance between style and functionality, but since occupancy of a guest room is sporadic, there are a different set of rules to decorating the space. Here are some tips for making the most out of your guest bedroom and making it feel like a home for your visitors.

Finding a nice range of permanent decorative features for a guest bedroom will mean that it is always ready, making sure you have one less thing to panic about when a scheduled guest arrives and you’re completely covered if you get a surprise visit. Though fresh flowers are always a plus, creating a foundation of faux flowers is a great way to keep a guest bedroom looking finished at all times. There are hundreds of high quality faux flowers to choose from these days, but at Angel + Blume we adore the selection from Abigail Ahern. If you want, you can opt for seasonal colours or types of flowers, but if you’re looking for something to suit your room all year round, you can’t go wrong with some fresh looking, white or cream flowers.

‘Abigail Ahern Cream Hydrangea Stem’ from Rose Grey

To house the flowers, finding the right, beautiful vase can add a delicate and effortless sense of style to a room. Choosing something simple but with a hint of character means it’ll keep its charm for a longer period, and finding a piece with a classic style means that you won’t have to worry about replacing it for a while. Something like this LSA International polka vase design is a great piece, its contemporary style gives it an exciting edge but the design isn’t too daring or bold, meaning that the vase will appeal to most people’s tastes who stay in the room. The lightly tinted glass is also a pretty alternative to a plain glass vase.

‘Polka Vase’ from LSA International

More often than not, a guest bedroom tends to be one of the smallest bedrooms in a house, mainly because we need the larger rooms to accommodate a larger amount of needs and functions. Therefore you can often find that you might be short of storage space in your guest bedroom. Though you definitely don’t need as much closet space for you guests as you would for any permanent members of the household, there are all sorts of ways to make up a little room for their clothes and belongings. Finding something like an armoire that combines both a chest of drawers and a hanging area will save a whole load of floor space. This armoire from The White Company is gorgeous and will perfectly complement a whole range of styles. It can become an interesting feature on its own accord, plus its storage capacity will be super handy if you have guests that are staying for a week or longer, (or if they just bring a lot of stuff!)

‘Provence Armoire’ from The White Company

If you are more restricted on space, a luggage holder is a great solution. If there is no room for your guest to properly unpack, you can make the whole thing look a lot more appeasing by providing a designated place for them to put their suitcase of bag. It will bring the luggage off the floor which will give the idea of more space in the room, and give a cleaner, more thought-out look. They are a whole range of styles to pick from for your luggage holder, but if you’re looking for one that is simple and effective, Garden Trading have wonderful design.

‘Weekend Folding Luggage Rack’ from Garden Trading

You can always make use of your storage requirements and use them to help decorate the room. These copper trunks from Maisons du Monde are great for keeping extra towels or blankets in for your guests, or even if you need to use the storage to keep things in for yourself, your guests will be none the wiser if it’s disguised in a pretty, decorative trunk!

‘2 Victoire Copper Finish Trunks’ from Maisons du Monde

Providing the perfect bed, both comfort and style-wise, is a sure fire way to make sure that your guests have the best possible stay. If you want to go all out with a beautiful frame of head board you can, but if not you can always make a bed area look one hundred times more appealing with some lovely linens and accessories. Investing in some high quality linens is a good way to make sure the room looks fresh and elegant all year round. The Linen Works are always a great idea if you need some top-quality bedsheets. This Parisian blue is an absolute stunner and is the perfect combination of rustic charm and sophistication.

‘Parisian Blue Linen’ from The Linen Works

Cushions and throws are the perfect way to add a little bit of character to your guest room, without your guests being overloaded. If you’re guests have a wide range of style and tastes, you may want to create a neutral setting for your guest room, but to avoid the room looking stiff, adding some individuality in the form of soft furnishings is a great solution. This big tasseled throw from Rockett St George is completely charming and the perfect way to finish off a guest room’s look.

‘Annette Moroccan Throw with Tassels’ from Rockett St George

The same can be said for this gorgeous selection of cushions from Graham & Green. The tassel detailing is a sweet little finish that’ll put a smile of your guest’s faces.

‘Avignon Cushions’ from Graham & Green

In order to really make your guest bedroom feel like a home instead of a space that’s just been thrown together to make room for your visitors, the inclusion of some larger furniture can go a long way. If you have the room, adding a sofa or armchair can make your guest feel like they have their own little space in your home to relax in if they (or both of you) need a little moment to yourselves. This armchair from West Elm is the perfect piece to complete a guest room look. The mid-century styles means that it isn’t bulky and won’t take up any unnecessary room, but will still look stylish and be comfy.

‘Mid-century Armchair’ from West Elm

Likewise, adding a dainty writing desk to a guest room can give it extra style. There is no need for a practical, oversized desk that might be needed for an office or study, instead in a guest room you can opt for a sweet, petite desk that is full of style and grace. I love it colonial style desk from Maisons du Monde, it’s the perfect size to complete the look of an idyllic guest bedroom.

‘Explorateur Stained Solid Teak Desk’ from Maisons du Monde

Creating your perfect guest bedroom is almost like creating a little fairy-tale space in your home that needn’t adhere to the functional requirements of a permanently used space. Instead you can make a wonderful haven area that is so good you’ll guests may never want to leave.

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Having spent ages trying to weigh up the pros and cons of having a real fire or a gas fire in my living room, I finally decided on a real fire and with great excitement (from me) it was fitted last week. I immediately went out and purchased the initial requirements of logs, coal, kindling and firelighters, (and thus reminding myself of some of the cons of a real fire) and tried it out (very lovely), and I am now deep into the research of potential accessories for my fireside. Who knew the endless possibilities and options available? Here are just a few that are tempting me at the moment. Other suggestions welcomely received.

Graham and Green fireguard

I have always loved this simple and stylish fireguard, available from Graham and Green

somerset willow

I could happily have any of Somerset Willow‘s beautiful products in my home, but this balloon log basket is one of my favourites.

Baileys Home dustpan and brush set

The major drawback, in my opinion, is clearing out the ash, so it’s important to have good equipment – a practical and stylish dustpan and brush from Baileys Home fits the bill.

Chesneys fireguard

A very elegant alternative fireguard from Chesneys – decisions, decisions!

Cox and Cox firelighters

These firelighters from Cox and Cox are made from pine cones with natural wax and scented with cinnamon – I’m worried they might be just too nice to burn!

Dibor matches

No more burnt fingers with these long matches from Dibor

Garden Trading 4 tool set

A must have requirement is a great set of fireside tools – I’ve got my eye on this set from Garden Trading, although it doesn’t include a toasting fork so I may need one of these from Jim Lawrence for my crumpets!

Jim Lawrence toasting fork

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The thing that I appreciate most about summer is the beautiful light. I have been making the most of the last few weeks enjoying the fabulous scenery that is scattered with enchanting summer rays. It has got me thinking about different materials that play with light in a space, and I have gathered together some of my favourite examples of furnishings that have attractive reflective surfaces.

 Archtic pear, ochre

I could never grow bored looking at the enchanting glass pear drops that hang from this table light.

 Arctic Pear Table Lamp by Ochre

 Seed Cloud- Ochre

Seed Cloud- Ochre 2

 The ‘seeds’ that fall from this gorgeous chandelier almost look like raindrops, each one acting as a magnifying lens.

 Seed Cloud, round 112 buds, by Ochre

 bubbled-orb-pendant-light

These lovely large glass orbs reflect the light around them, and draw your attention in.

Bubbles Glass Orb Pendant from Anthropologie

 JL umberto vase

Glass vessels that hold water are a beautiful table piece, and offer a playful refracted image of whatever they behold.

LSA Umberto Vase from John Lewis

 Perfume bottle - Alfies antiques

Glass perfume bottles can be a charming ornament in the bedroom that twinkle in the last of the evening light.

Early 20th Century Perfume Bottle from Alfies Antique Market

 moon wallpaper

This brilliant wallpaper is a 3D foil that can be used to create great effects with some clever lighting.

Beware The Moon – Quantum Foam Wallpaper from Rockett St George

Panorami Mirror

These contemporary arched mirrors create the illusion of an entrance, and will really open up a space.

Panorami Mirrors for Secondome, designed by Zaven

 little-black-framed-convex-mirror-20685-p[ekm]335x502[ekm]

John Soane is famous for having used convex circular mirrors in his London town house to create a tour de l’oeil, magnifying viewpoints and making spaces look larger.

Little Black Framed Convex Mirror from Rockett St George

 mirror headboard

I love the glamorous ambiance created by using this antique mirror as a headboard. You can find some fantastic antique mirrors at Lassco

 NOTHSoriginal_votives-hanging

These garden tea light holders are lovely. The glass vessels emit a pretty flicker of candle light.

Hanging Teardrop Votive by Garden Trading from Not on the high street

 NOTHS normal_antique-style-french-lantern (1)

This gorgeous lantern creates a warm glow, perfect for a garden dinner party.

Antique Style French Lantern by The Flower Studio from Not on the High Street

Reflective materials and multi faceted surfaces can be a great way to play with light in a space; to create illusions of scale and splendour, or simply to make a room feel more dynamic.

This blog first appeared on the Cambridge Evening News website.

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