Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gift Guide: Men

I'm recycling a few of my man-gift ideas from last year (because they're that good), and adding a few new ones. Men are hard to buy for in my experience, but maybe you'll get an idea or two here. Or maybe they'll just be helpful and buy themselves something and ask you for the money, which is what usually happens in our house.
1. Swiss Army Farmer pocket knife - from £12 (Amazon) - I have one of these on my key chain and I use it on an almost daily basis, mainly for taking tags off stuff and fixing broken nails. I'm sure a man would find more manly uses for it too though.
2. Cashmere scarf - $110 / £110 (J Crew) - because maybe he'll let you borrow it too.
3. 52 New Things by Nick J Thorpe - a year spent trying one new thing every week, from breaking a world record to recording a Christmas single. An inspiring and entertaining read for everyone (not just men).
4. Leather wash bag - $110 / £110 (J Crew) - so your man can feel more distinguished when he travels.
5. Cashmere sweater - £80 (Uniqlo) simple, classic and a great price, as far as cashmere goes.
6. Storm proof umbrella - (Senz via Amazon) - these technical umbrellas won't turn inside out in winds less than 80 km/hr.
7. Socks - $14.50 / £14.50 (J Crew) - one of my default stocking stuffers, J Crew socks are so soft and comfy that I bagged some for myself last year too.
8. Titanium hip flask - $160 (Snow Peak) - super light and strong, titanium won't add metallic taste to this rather dashing flask's contents.
9. Steam gift card - a given for anyone who plays video games, which is 95% of the men I know.
10. Lightning bolt ankle reflectors - $16 - will make him go faster. Probably.
11. Seiko chronograph SNDA65 watch - $120 (Amazon) - great looking, very accurate, pretty much bomb-proof and not a bad price at all.
12. Petzl head torch - from $20 (Amazon) - I once lost my Petzl torch just before the first big snow storm one winter in Chicago. When the last manky pile of snow melted from the edge of the sidewalk, there it was, sitting right where I'd dropped it months earlier. It still worked, which I think says a lot about the engineering.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We're in London, baby!

Meet our new house!
It's a lovely late-1800s terraced cottage in South West London. We chose it mainly for the location - it's awesome. Minutes walk to parks, coffee shops, the Thames, good schools and great running routes. After a year of almost two hours driving every day just to do school runs, I am so looking forward to walking again. And it's close to J's current work, so his commute will go from 90 minutes to ten.

Of course, there are trade-offs. As pretty as it is outside, the layout inside is a little bit awkward. It's slightly smaller than our current house, and it's more expensive. It also has literally no storage other than a few kitchen cabinets, so there will be some creative organising in my imminent future.

Here's a little tour (all photos from the listing)...

The ground floor is all open plan, with a lovely non-working original fireplace and nice wooden floors.
The kitchen opens to a teeny but cute garden.
The master is actually bigger than our current bedroom, but it has two weird built-in boxes that complicate the floor plan (you can see one below). They basically stop us putting the bed on the obvious wall, but I have a plan for that.
Opposite the master is Eleanor's lovely, bright little bedroom.
And up another flight of stairs is Sebastian's room. It was billed as the master, because it has an en suite shower room, but although it's pretty big, it's too narrow to fit a double bed. Eventually I'd like to have the kids share up here, and convert the little bedroom to an office/guest room.
It's basically just a bunch of magnolia boxes at the moment, as you can see. We aren't allowed to paint, but I have lots of plans for injecting colour in other ways, and I'll share design boards for each room soon.

If you've been following for a while, you'll know that this is our fourth home since I started this blog. This time, though, there are no more moves planned. Eventually, we want to buy somewhere, but I think it'll be a few years before that happens. I am beyond excited to get settled, and start decorating!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gift Guide: Kids

Check me out - I'm being organised about Christmas this year! Or starting to think about being organised, anyway.

Here are a few gift ideas for those of shorter stature. My kids are five and two, so admittedly it's geared more toward the younger crowd, but most of these are things that my weeny ones personally own and love, and I'd say they're pretty discerning.
1. Stomp rocket - hours of endless, mildly violent fun. Handy tip: don't let them aim it at the roof.
2. Binoculars - for all your bird watching/espionage needs.
3. Dressing gowns - with bear ears!
4. Play kitchen and accessories - a play kitchen that's not pink and utensils that are food safe. Eleanor would love these...if only we had space.
5. Moon in my room - this remote-controlled nightlight cycles through twelve different lunar phases, and Sebastian is a big fan of all things space and science related.
6. Hair ties - with glitter, obviously.
7. Jazz shoes - or "pretty shoes," as Eleanor calls hers.
8. Bear paw slippers - again with the bear thing.
9. Back packs - for kids who like putting things in things. Which, in my experience, is all of them.
10. Jackets - under a tenner!
11. Tights - non-slip soles, unisex and super cute.
12. Glow in the solar system - these are on Sebastian's wish list - way more fun than 2D.
13. Calm Down, Boris - Sebastian couldn't breathe for all the giggles this puppet book created. Eleanor was terrified, so I suppose it can go either way.
14. Snood - Miss E is very into her accessories at the moment. She needs more of her own so she stops stealing mine.
15. Quadro Activity Play Center - I spent months of my childhood playing with mine and fully intend to force encourage my kids to love it too.
16. Pride and Prejudice - counting eligible gentlemen and pretty frocks.
17. Makedo Freeplay Kit - clips and hinges to build robots or whatever else you can think of out of rubbish. Super fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Design Board: A Rustic Modern Living Room

Basket // Chairs // Leather Rug // Drawers

I'm rather liking all the natural elements in today's mood board, and yet I don't think it feels too woodsy. I'm on the hunt for a new sofa, I only wish that one came as a sofa bed. And those chairs are killer, although they're from a flash sale site so probably hard to get your hands on.

On a separate note, we're moving again, and soon! I'm very excited - I'll spill the beans as soon as I can. :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Feminine Master Bedroom

Lamp // Bed // Chair // Frame

There are a few really budget-friendly pieces in this mood board (that rug is £15!), paired with a few splurges. I'm all for soothing bedroom spaces, but I love the punch that the gorgeous painting adds (by Michelle Armas).