Interiors, Shop

The Scented Candle Edit. My Four All Time Favourites.

The White Company Autumn Candle

 

When I last did an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Story on Instagram the most commonly asked questions were all about scented candles; ‘What’s my favourite scent?’,  ‘Which brand is the best?’ and ‘Is it worth paying a little bit extra?’. I’ve talked about how important I think smell is in our homes on the blog before but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put it all in one place.

On an evening, whether we’re in the middle of summer or the deepest, darkest depths of winter, there is always at least one candle burning in my flat. There are baskets and boxes filled with different options and I’m lucky enough to be sent some beautiful candles as gifts, which is mostly how I end up discovering new brands and exploring new scents.

 

Jo Malone London Incense & Embers Candle

 

I’m a big believer in buying in quality pretty much across the board. It isn’t always the case that you get what you pay for, but with candles I genuinely think it’s worth it. They contain a higher level of perfume and oils and generally only improve upon being lit. My problem with a lot of the cheaper candles from say H&M for example is that they may well smell amazing in the vessel, but light them and that’s it. They don’t scent the room, they don’t linger in the air. It’s a cheaper, synthetic scent that has been added.

Perhaps to some it could be a little excessive, but I have a rule that I should never be without my favourites. As soon as the last burn of one is done, I order another. So, to answer your question, here are my absolute favourite scents…

 

The White Company – Autumn
£20

Generally I lean towards a fruity scent, which is probably why I love this one so much. It’s sharp and crisp – pears, quince, musk and amber – and as the name probably suggests, perfect for the autumn. The White Company generally release the candle in August, before it removing it around November time, so stock up!

The standard candle is a little smaller than your average Jo Malone and so are available for less. At their price-point they’re amazing value for money, always burning perfectly and never tunnelling. (The odd technical name given to a candle when it burns down from the wick in a column, leaving unmelted wax up the sides!)

 

The White Company Autumn Candle

 

Jo Malone London – Incense & Embers
£47

Potentially my favourite candle, ever. It was created to evoke the feeling of a fire that’s about to go, with notes of nappa leather, black pepper and smoky incense. I think people often think this one if going to be really heady, almost church-like. It’s absolutely not. It’s the best candle for the winter night’s, especially if like me you aren’t lucky enough to have a open fire or log burner. It’s comforting and cosy.

 

Jo Malone London Incense & Embers Candle

 

 

Diptyque – Baies
£47

There is always a Baies candle in my home. It’s actually very similar in its scent to my favourite cologne, Jo Malone’s Blackberry & Bay. It’s floral without being overpowering or obnoxiously so, thanks to the sharp cut of the blackcurrant.

Brand wise, for me Diptyque come out on top for the level of scent they deliver. You don’t even need to light a Diptyque for it to have scented your room. In that sense they’re almost a diffuser, only intensifying when you do light them. Occasionally they can burn a little oddly, that’s one my gripe here. If it happens and you notice a wax build up unevenly to one side, light the candle and wrap it in tin foil, leaving enough foil to create a sort of cone above the vessel. It should help to distribute the heat better and melt the remaining wax. At this point you can also look to pull the wick back into the centre if it’s noticeably gone to one side.

 

Diptyque Baies Candle

 

Cire Trudon – Positano
£78

So, yes, it was the all-white design that first lead me to this candle, I won’t lie. It’s the product of a collaboration with Giambattista Valli and is absolutely the perfect candle for the summer. I don’t have a garden so when it’s a warm, balmy evening in July, this is what I light. Orange blossom, jasmine and magnolia. If you close your eyes and just sit there, wine in hand, you could mostly definitely be in Positano.

Fun fact for you, Cire Trudon have been making candles since 1643 and were responsible for creating the scented candle as we know it today. They supplied the court of Versailles, including Marie Antoinette herself. They actually produce a candle shaped to resemble her head should you find yourself in the market for a light-able bust of a highly unpopular monarch.

 

Cire Trudon Positano Candle

Leave a comment
Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

Making A Difference with Artha Collections

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

For a while now I’ve been exploring how possible it is to purchase products for the home that have a reduced effect on our environment and actively promote change. I believe we all have a responsibility to ensure we have as little impact on the planet as possible, along with an even more important responsibility to ensure we buy with our brains and support sustainable manufacturing.

At the same time I believe you shouldn’t need to sacrifice any element of style in order to do so.

Over the past few years our attitude towards conscientious homewares has definitely changed, there seems to be a much greater appetite for it now, something I’m incredibly happy about.

For the most part  the highstreet doesn’t seem to want to get behind the idea, either ignoring the issues entirely or hiding behind tiny capsule collections that come branded as being conscientious whilst really only making up 1% of their offering.

Finding the pieces and brands that do offer something more evolved isn’t easy, which is something I would like to try and assist with on millergrey. Perhaps it isn’t an issue that everyone concerns themselves with, but whilst I have a space like this blog I’d like to know it was helping in promoting those brands who are making a difference.

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to work with Artha Collections through Positive Luxury, an incredible collective of progressive brands who challenge the mass produced nature of the fashion, homeware and beauty industries and champion a selection of brands to trust.

Artha work with highly skilled artisans around the world to produce handmade homewares, offering women a chance to select their own working hours in order to ensure they can provide an income for their families without adversely affecting their home life.

The rug that now offers my feet a cosy place to land every morning was created by a single weaver, with its design adapted from traditional rugs in Ndbele tribal villages. When it arrived it seemed a shame to be relegating it to the floor, despite looking perfectly at home.

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

I’ve been toying with the idea of redoing my bedroom for some time and think the arrival of the Arrow Rug may just have confirmed that plan. As soon as I had unpacked it and rolled it out on the floor I knew it had to make it to a wall. Exactly how I turn it into a wall hanging is something I’ve been investigating via the medium of Pinterest ever since.

The plans for my bedroom makeover are something for another post (I might even moodboard, who knows), but for now the rug is making each day that little bit comfier in the room as it currently is.

If you’d like to find out a little bit more about Artha Collections and Positive Luxury you can visit their site.

 

Artha Collections

|1.| Arrow Rug |2.| Khullu Throw |3.| Petal Row Cushion |4.| Petal Row Cushion |5.| Storage Basket |6.| Karakul Rug

Leave a comment
Ate, Cook, Recipe

A Recipe For Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, With Jewelled Quinoa & Tahini Dressing.

Vegan Butternut Squash Salad

 

One of my many mottos in life is to never arrive empty handed. Whether it be flowers, wine or some kind of baked treat, I like to arrive places having made an effort. A psychologist would probably say it had something to do with a desire to be liked, but I can tell you quite definitely that isn’t high on my list of essentials. I just really like to cook.

This weekend over on Instagram I posted an image of my addition to a ‘low-key’ BBQ. The first thing you should know about me is that ‘low-key’ doesn’t really wash with me. The story resulted in so many messages asking for the recipe I decided to apply some quantities to it and write it up here. The recipe is a great vegan or vegetarian option for a BBQ and can be made ahead, making things much easier. Enjoy.

Ingredients

For the quinoa
300g quinoa (soaked in cold water overnight)
Vegetable stockpot or cube

For the dressing
4 tablespoons tahini 
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper
Juice of half a lemon

For the salad
1 butternut squash
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Pomegranate seeds
1 small tin of sweetcorn
80g kale – tough stalks removed

 

Cooking the perfect quinoa:

Soak your quinoa (in a jug to make it easy to pour into a sieve later) in cold water overnight.

Before using it, pour out the water and rinse it thoroughly under the cold tap. In a small pan mix freshly boiled water with a vegetable stock cube/pot, add the quinoa with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for around 10-12 minutes. Soaking the quinoa reduces the cooking time needed so keep checking on it, it should be unravelling into spirals but still have some bite when you taste it, it shouldn’t be mushy.

When it’s done, tip out of the water and then leave in the pan, with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper draped over the top before placing the lid on. Pop to one side to cool.

For the salad:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (175 fan).

Slice your butternut squash into 1cm rounds, removing the seeds as you get to the bulbous part. Slice each in half to make half moons, leaving the skin on. When the rounds are thin this easily cooks and adds some texture.

In a bowl toss them with olive oil and seasoning before spreading out on a baking tray. Spread them out as much as possible to allow them to roast. Pop in the Center of the oven and roast for twenty minutes. In the bowl you used to toss the squash add the kale and do exactly the same, lightly coating the kale in any remaining olive oil and seasoning, strewn about the roasting tray with the squash and return to the oven for five minutes.

Watch carefully as the kale can so easily burn, you want it crispy, almost like a crisp or seaweed. When it’s ready remove and leave to cool.

Tip the drained tin of sweetcorn into a preheated griddle pan. You shouldn’t need any oil. You want the corn to begin to blacken and Char at the edges, so keep shuffling around in the pan before leaving to one side when done.

For the dressing:

Add the tahini, crushed garlic, seasoning, oil, juice of a lemon and water to a bowl and mix together. Add more water and mix thoroughly until your dressing is pourable. If it looks like it’s curdled just add more water and keep mixing.

To serve fork through the quinoa and pile onto your serving plate, strew with squash, kale, and charred sweetcorn before drizzling the dressing over liberally. Finally add the pomegranate seeds and dig in.

 

Vegan Butternut Squash Salad

Leave a comment
Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

The Secret To A Getting A Good Night’s Sleep This Summer.

   This is a sponsored post produced in collaboration with Bedroommood.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

Ah, sleep. That ever elusive must-have we can never quite seem to get enough of. I’m forever envious of those who can fall asleep in any situation, position or condition. Children included. I am the polar opposite of those people. Rarely do I manage to obtain six hours sleep a night, let alone the eight hours we’ve all been drilled into believing is essential in order for our bodies and minds to function correctly.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably noticed a lot of sleep related talk of late, and it turns out you wouldn’t be the only one to have noticed it. For full disclosure, prior to receiving an e-mail entitled ‘Dan, we’d love to sleep with you’, I had never heard of Bedroommood. I’m all for a clever piece of marketing. Bedroommood invited me to rest my head on their sheets and spend a night with them, firmly believing their inclusion in my bedtime routine would result in me receiving a good night’s sleep.

In the summer months the precious six hours sleep I do get become broken, restless and ultimately pretty unsatisfying. After displaying some rather irritable behaviour and becoming sick of finding ways to stifle a yawn at my desk, I took Bedroommood up on their offer and set about exploring exactly what we can do to get a good night’s sleep in the ever changeable British summertime.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

1. The Sheets.

Bedding seems as good of a place to start as any. In the simplest of terms, you should keep it cotton. Cotton allows the skin breathe and remains cool to the touch, where as manmade fibres such as polyester prevent your body from breathing, working to trap in the warm air, resulting in all of that unpleasant tossing and turning.

I can’t profess to be a bedding expert and prior to exploring Bedroommood‘s range I wasn’t overly familiar with the thread count of my existing sheets. What I can tell you is the 100% Egyptian Cotton Percale Sheets I opted for have a thread count of 300. What I have come to learn from this is that 100% Egyptian Cotton Percale with a 300 thread count roughly equates to a kind of heaven on earth scenario.

There’s a gentle crease and soft, dry handle to the sheets that perhaps the photos will simply never do justice to, but when you’re cocooned inside them and about to drift off, that’s exactly what you need. It can be hard sometimes to understand if a blogger is genuinely enthusiastic about a product or simply following guidelines provided by a brand, however I can say with all honesty, these sheets are a thing of beauty.

Most importantly they have actually helped, since changing over my sheets I’ve had some of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months. Keen to start to understand why it might be, I checked the care label of the bedding I most frequently use. 40% polyester. Often its included in a fabric’s yarn to reduce the level of ironing needed, so watch out for ‘easy care’ options as generally this would donate the inclusion of a manmade fibre. Instead just roll with the artfully creased look of percale!

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

2. Switch Off.

Once the stage has been set in metres of luxurious cotton it’s time to prepare yourself for the main event. Switch Off.

It’s hard to do I know, but spending the hour before you plan on going to bed reading a book, flicking through a magazine or simply getting on with some mindless chores around the house is an hour well spent. Scrolling through our phones or catching up on Love Island causes our brains to stay alert with the colour and lights its being presented with. (Yes, even Love Island causes some stimulation to the brain.). Switch off, climb into your luxuriously plumped bed, reach for a book from the stockpile you now keep by the bedside table, light a candle and relax.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

3. Cut The Caffeine.

I remember once watching an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show where she proclaimed never to drink a cup of tea or coffee after 3pm and even that was rare, it should always be something you drink in the morning to allow it to leave your system before your head hits the pillow. Now I’m not the kind of guy to disagree with Oprah, so I follow that rule rigidly.

Instead go for a chamomile or one of the plethora of sleep-inducing wonder teas you’ll now find in your local supermarket, and swap out your afternoon pick me up coffee for something punchy like a ginger and lemon infusion.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

4. Enjoy The Routine.

This is probably going to be the most controversial point here, but when your alarm goes off? Get out of bed. Don’t lie there and snooze until you’re late and having to brush your hair on the bus. Ultimately this dedication to getting up will pay off in undisturbed sleep. Our bodies understand routine, it’s a simple fact. The more you wake up and get out of bed at the same time, the more your body will allow you to sleep peacefully until it knows its time to get up. Think of it sort of like the night before a holiday and you wake up constantly to check the time and make sure you haven’t over slept. Training your body to the time it needs to get up over time alleviates that issue, it knows what’s coming. After a few weeks you’ll find you naturally wake up before your alarm goes off, with the sleep before hand having been unbroken.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

5. Treat Yourself.

Until July 31st Bedroommood are offering millergrey readers 20% off orders with the code DAN20 which is pretty lovely if you ask me.

I went for the 100% Cotton Percale Bedding Set in White, with the 100% Cotton Percale Sheet and two additional pillowcases in Light Grey. (If the site appears in Euros, just flip the currency option to the right hand side into GBP.)

If you do decide to give them a try I’d love to hear how you got on – leave me a comment or head over to @_millergrey on Instagram and let me know how you slept. I’m all ears. Unless it’s after 10pm, then I’m sound asleep, with my phone face down on the bedside table.

 

Leave a comment
Design, Interiors, Shop

H&M Home Launch Their First Furniture & Lighting Collection.

H&M Home Metal Side Table

 

H&M’s arrival into the world of homeware has been a relatively quiet one. When H&M Home initially launched back in 2010 it admittedly wasn’t quite what I was hoping for; a little too frou-frou for my tastes after hoping for a touch of Scandinavian minimalism. Arguably that was my mistake, it isn’t as if the brand’s clothing lines embody the spirit of Scandinavian design – they save that for sister brands COS and Arket.

Over the past eight years however H&M Home has done exactly what their clothing lines; adapted, evolved and shifted with the times. In the same time our interest in homeware and the way we live within our own spaces has shifted dramatically, led largely by platforms like Instagram and Pinterest allowing the consumer to see inside the average person’s home, stealing elements of their style along the way and applying it to their own homes.

Now it’s somewhere I find myself checking regularly for new arrivals and ultimately purchasing from too. Top tip, look out for their 100% linen bedding and table cloths come sale time. Bargain.

With that in mind, H&M Home have ventured into the world of furniture and lighting for the first time with their Autumn 18 collection, firmly taking aim at the some of the moment’s key trends. Much like their approach to their clothing collections, H&M have taken influence from designs most of us have been pinning for months, bringing them in at a far more achievable price point. Put simply, I spy minimalism, rustic lighting, marble surfaces and powder coated metal.

The minimalist black metal side table is something I’ve been after for years, so much so there’s an entire folder for them in my Instagram ‘saved’ images. The textured footstool (the word ‘pouffe’ makes me feel queasy) is sadly yet to surface online but I’ve got my beady eyes on it. I sit writing this on my sofa, my legs awkwardly crossed to balance the Mac. I very clearly need a footstool.

You can shop some of the pieces on the UK site now, with the rest of the collection set to launch over the coming weeks.

 

H&M Home Wooden Stool

Wooden Bench, £79.99

 

H&M Home Metal Tables H&M Home Metal Side Table

Metal Side Table, £79.99

Wool Pouffe, £79

H&M Home Launch Furniture

Metal Wall Shelves, £24.99 / £34.99

 

H&M furniture collection

Bamboo Pendent Light, £49.99  Wool Pouffe, £79

H&M Home Launch Lighting

H&M Home Light Shade

Bamboo Pendant Light, £69.99

 

H&M Home Launch Furniture

Metal Table Lamp, £79.99

H&M Home Launch Lighting H&M Home Stool

Wooden Stool, £69

All images courtesy of H&M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment
Design, Fashion & Style, Food

The Picnic Edit. Tackle National Picnic Week In Style.

National Picnic Week

 

This week, if you didn’t happen to be aware, is National Picnic Week. Yup, there is indeed a week dedicated to the art of picnicking. Rather perfectly it falls in the same week as the longest day and the official start of British Summer Time, so there seemed like no better time to compile a list of picnic tips and picnicware essentials.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that nothing we purchase should be truly disposable. I try to apply that logic to all situations, even picnics. If you can’t invest in something reusable then you’ll find some amazing biodegradable or recyclable options out there. After all, the very idea of a picnic is to enjoy eating outside in nature, so the less impact you can have it on whilst you’re there enjoying it, the better!

 

National Picnic Week

 

Invest in a good blanket.

In my experience the best picnic blankets are those backed with a waterproof layer. A beautiful wool blanket is all good and well but come 7.30pm on those damp. dewey evenings it isn’t going to be your friend. If you can invest in a quality blanket and picnicware and they should hopefully see you through years of picnicking action.

If you’ll be taking children (or just particularly messy eaters) there are some great wipe-clean options out there too, although these do come with a word of warning. Should you be wearing something that will have your legs coming into direct contact with it, this most definitely will not be pleasant for anyone involved. Think back to those awful lightweight kagools your mother used to make you wear in the wet summer months and I’m sure you’ll get an idea of the discomfort that lies when things are wipe clean.

 

Go all out.

No matter how good your picnic blanket is the chances of it offering much in the way of comfort are slim. Bring some cushions. Everyone’s rears will thank you for it.

 

Bag it up.

Picnic baskets are beautiful things. Beautiful yet bulky and vaguely impractical things. Personally I opt for a tote bag. I can hang a tote bag easily, I can fold it up and I can put it a drawer, I can even use it for my weekly food shop. What I can’t use for a midweek trip to Sainsbury’s however is a large four-man wicker picnic basket. I’m nothing if not practical when it comes to storage.

 

Keep it glassy.

Wine in plastic cups with rip off lids may indeed seem extremely practical, but bottles of wine however are infinitely more stylish, let’s not kid ourselves. Picnics should be an event; a celebration of Britain finally enjoying weather worthy of a picnic! Such celebrations should not involve lukewarm wine in a plastic cup, half of which you inevitably slosh down yourself as you attempt to rip off the lid.

 

 

The Picnicware Edit

 

|1.| Floor Cushion, £6.99 |2.| Floor Cushion, £8.99 |3.| Wool Picnic Blanket, £35 |4.| Striped Paper Cups, £4.50 |5.| Wool Picnic Blanket, £90 |6.| Woven Basket, £45 |7.| Melamine Plates, £18 |8.| Glass Bottle, £1 |9.| Melamine Beakers, £14 |10.| Wooden Cutlery, £9

As Featured In Imagery:
The White Company Wool Picnic Blanket, £90
The White Company Rattan Tray, Part of Set, £75
The White Company Striped Cushion, £35

Leave a comment
Ate, Food

A Recipe For Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Bundt Cake.

Lemon & Thyme Bundt Cake

 

The tableware and linen used in this post were kindly gifted by The White Company.

I don’t know that any taste signifies the arrival of summer quite like the sharp, fresh kick of lemon. Combine that flavour and vibrant colour with a cake and you’ve got yourself the perfect addition to a sun-drenched weekend. Perfect for making ahead for a leisurely picnic, this play on the traditional lemon drizzle cake combines the subtle taste of fresh thyme with the satisfying crunch of pistachio.

I’ve opted for a painfully Instagram-worthy bundt tin, but it will work just as well in a large springform tin too if you’ve chosen to live life without a bundt. I however love a good bundt. Excellent word that, bundt.

 

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake

 

Lemon, Thyme & Pistachio Bundt Cake

450g Plain flour
200g Soft unsalted butter
3 Unwaxed lemons
45g Roughly chopped unsalted pistachio kernels
290g Caster sugar
Fresh thyme
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 large eggs
250ml buttermilk
150g icing sugar

2.5 litre capacity bundt tin, or a 20cm cake tin

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees / 170 degrees fan. Place a baking sheet in the oven at the same time; you’ll place the bundt tin on this when it goes in. This little tip comes courtesy of Nigella herself, so it’s an essential.

Grease your bundt tin with sunflower oil dabbed onto some kitchen towel. Make sure you get the oil into every last crevice of the bundt tin. You can also use a spray oil. If you’re using a regular circular tin, line with greaseproof paper as you would normally.

Take a healthy bunch of fresh thyme and remove the leaves from the stalks. I won’t lie, it’s a fiddly job. I suggest taking a large bowl to the sofa and settling down to watch some Ina Garten whilst you work. You’ll need around 4 tablespoons of leaves, plus extra for decoration.

Once back in the kitchen add the sifted flour, bicarb and baking powder to a bowl and combine.

In a second bowl add the butter, 250g of the caster sugar, thyme leaves and the grated zest of two lemons, reserving the third for decorating the cake later. Using an electric mixer mix the butter until creamy.

Take the eggs one at a time and mix into the sugar mixture until fully combined and creamy. Now it’s time to add in the buttermilk and flour mixture. Do this in stages, a third of the flour, followed by a third of the buttermilk, mixing thoroughly between each third. When everything is combined add in the juice of one of your lemons and mix.

Pour the mixture into your tin and gently tap this on the work top to remove any air pockets. Place in the oven on top of the hot baking tray for one hour.

When the cake has been in the oven for forty minutes start making your drizzle. In a pan place the remaining 40g of caster, the juice of your second lemon and a splash of water. Heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.

At the hour mark check on the cake, inserting a skewer or small knife to check if it’s done. If the knife comes out clean, it’s all done.

With the tin resting on a wire cooling rack gently slide a skewer or fine knife into the cake repeatedly to create small holes. Don’t go too deep, you shouldn’t reach the top of the cake, but make sure you go at least 3/4 into the cake. Now spoon over the drizzle, concentrating on the holes you’ve created. It’s likely there will also be a central crack running along the cake, perfect for spooning more drizzle down. If you’ve gone for a regular cake tin just create holes in circular patterns throughout the base. Leave to cool.

If you greased the tin well the cake should easily slide out when you flip it on a wire wrack. (Fingers crossed.) Zest your remaining lemon and pop to one side. Slice and juice the lemon and combine with the icing sugar in a bowl, adding water in small amount until you have a thick yet pourable icing mixture. Use a spoon to pour this over the bundt cake, letting it trickle down the sides.

Scatter over the remaining thyme leaves, lemon zest and chopped pistachio kernels as the finishing touch and leave to one side whilst the icing sets.

Serve with Earl Grey iced tea.

 

The White Company Summer Collection

|1| Artisan Side Plate, £10 |2| Striped Cotton Napkins, £25 |3| Oversized Handmade Platter, £55 |4| Jute Woven Placemat, £12

Leave a comment
Interiors, My Home

How To Create The Perfect Gallery Wall.

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

 

It’s easy to forget that in this world of highly stylised homes that not everything goes right first time, our homes are as much a case of trial and error as our haircuts or our choice in jeans might have been. There will be times it goes wrong and there will be times you wish to eradicate from existence. My dining room’s gallery wall is testament to the fact that sometimes it just doesn’t go right.

Despite following all of the steps that I’m about to outline below, it was wrong. The layout was unbalanced, the frames too close together and the imagery just wasn’t very cohesive. I’m, perhaps unsurprisingly, a visual person. I see things perfectly in my mind and then when the reality doesn’t allign with that image in my head I get rather angry. The gallery bugged me from day one. I hung the final picture, I stepped backwards, looked up at the afternoon’s work and hated every last bit of it.

Despite this it managed to stay for a full year, mostly because I couldn’t bring myself to readdress it until now.

 

How To Hang A Gallery Wall  How To Hang A Gallery Wall

 

The ground work.

Have an aim. If that aim is for a multi-coloured, eclectic gallery including all sorts of tones and imagery; then great! Spend time collecting the objects and artwork that will fill that space and create the look you want. Find them over time, let the collection evolve. Clicking ‘add to basket’ on a selection of prints from the same online store may well give you a very cohesive, stylish gallery wall, but it won’t give you a very personal one. Spend time saving things, printing out photos you like, ripping out pages from things and save them up.

If your aim is for something deliberately cohesive then define what exactly that means. Is it all one tone you’re looking for, or all one theme of imagery perhaps? Once you know the sort of colour spectrum you want the gallery to go through you can source the imagery to fill it with or in some cases adapt imagery that doesn’t suit to be something that does. Quite often I’ll simply convert an image to black and white through Photoshop and send off for it to be printed. As you might expect most of the imagery included in my gallery wall is rather monochromatic. No-one is shocked by this.

 

Kate Moss Gold Vogue Cover

 

Go on a hunt.

When it comes to sourcing for your gallery wall – think outside the box. The internet is filled with retailers of typography prints, but so are the magazines you’ve kept in stacks around your house for the past few years. Buy vintage magazines from eBay (French Vogue is perfect for beautiful typefaces, not to mention editorial images), collect postcards from exhibitions you go to and even rip images out of catalogues if you find them appealing. It might not be apparent from first inspection but a lot of the images that fill the gallery wall in my hallway are actually taken from Toast catalogues.

 

Gallery wall

Gallery wall layout

 

An impartial and unsponsored view on frames.

So you’ve sourced your collection of images and miscellaneous items. It’s time to frame. As a general rule of thumb if I’m looking for a coloured frame, ie black in most cases, it will likely be a cheaper purchase. The oak frames however I would tend to spend a little more on to avoid any plastic looking ‘wood’ creeping in. Your eye will automatically go towards the wooden frames over the solid black, so if possible it’s a good idea to focus your budget on these.

The majority of the black frames I use have been sourced from IKEA or Desenio, with the solid oak frames that feature throughout my flat being from Habitat.

It’s true they’re more expensive, heavier (Habitat’s tend to come with glass rather than perspex in) and all together a bit more of a mission to hang due to their weight, they are beautifully made, sturdy and built to last. My favourite range, Rona, has unfortunately now been discontinued, so I’ve been making do with the Trieste and Ontario ranges instead.

If you find your images are all a little on the smaller side then make them all the more of a feature by double mounting them, allowing you to place the image within a much larger frame. For mounts I always use The Picture Gallery & Framing Centre. You can select the card, the thickness, the colour and the precise dimensions of the mounts you’ll require, all for an incredibly reasonable price. Doubling up on the mounts is a great to vary the scale of the frames in your gallery without purchasing huge images.

You’ll probably have noticed that I don’t tend to frame all of my artwork, some is simply taped to the wall with Washi tape, sourced from eBay in various colours and designs. Working like this allows your wall to really adapt and change over time. If I find a postcard I love it will likely find itself included in a gallery somewhere, as might a page from a magazine or even a label from a piece of clothing I’ve got. To me working like this just makes everything feel a little more personal and a little less formal!

 

Keira Knightley Interview Cover

 

Start on the floor.

Clear some space and lay all of your frames and images down on the ground. Play around with layout and placement of everything, if you’re using different coloured frames it’s a good time to start spreading them out evenly. You might find you need some more landscape images, or some smaller pieces.

 

Gallery wall layout

 

Find the centre.

If you’re filling a section of a wall rather than a full wall then mark the wall’s dead centre (or at least the centre of the area you want to focus the gallery on) and fan out from that point. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical, but it should be balanced.

 

Gallery wall layout

 

Mock it up.

Once I have a rough idea of the kind of layout I want from laying everything out on the floor, I draw round each frame on brown paper and cut it out. At this point it’s a good idea to also mark on the paper exactly where you’ll need a nail to be hammered in. Then when everything is in place you can hammer it straight through the paper then simply rip it off.

When each frame is cut out of paper start sticking them to the wall with masking tape to mimic the layout on the floor, using your central point as a guide. Here you can start to work on the spacing between the frames. I don’t measure the spacing between the frames but would roughly keep it the same, varying it between smaller frames if they’re going to be sitting as part of a group within the gallery itself.

I definitely recommend doing this on a morning and going about your day, checking back in over the course of the day. The first draft of the layout is very rarely the one I end up going with. Over the course of the day I’ll unstick and move the shapes closer together, higher up or off the wall entirely until I feel I’ve reached the perfect layout.

Thanks to the handy nail marks you made before taping the paper to the wall you can now quickly hammer in the nails for everything, ripping out the paper as you go. Easy.

 

Sunspel Sunset Postcard

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

 

Nothing’s permanent. 

As my own wall proves, it can easily be changed if it isn’t right. Using the Washi tape allows me to shift and alter the wall over time, adding more things as I find them but also taking things away to leave more space or even be replaced by a freshly framed fine. Let it evolve over time and allow it to become personal. Everybody can have the perfectly manicured gallery wall from glossy online store but only you’ll have the gallery you piece together over time.

 

Washi Tape

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

Leave a comment
Ate, Cook, Food, Recipe

A simple recipe for banana & oat bread.

Simple banana bread recipe

 

It’s come to my attention over the years that folk are rather peculiar when it comes to bananas. The single hint of brown upon their skin and half the population is repulsed and couldn’t possibly consider touching them. Package those browning bananas in the form of a cake however and they’ll happily gulp it down. This banana bread recipe never fails to find a happy audience.

 

Simple banana bread recipe

Simple banana bread recipe

 

Over the years I’ve tried and tested many, many banana bread recipes. As is the way with most recipes, this one has evolved over time to include bits and pieces of others, hints and tips lifted from everywhere from Martha Stewart to BBC Good Food. Along the way I decided to add in the oats and cinnamon although neither are required if you’re averse to either. I’ve also used everything from buckwheat flour to brown rice flour to produce the loaf, all with great success. The only flour I wouldn’t recommend using is coconut due to its habit of draining just about every last drop of moisture out of anything it comes into contact with.

After the loaf is baked and the flat smells of beautifully sweet bananas and cinnamon I tend to slice it straight away, sending all but three slices to the freezer in a zip lock bag. Three always seems like the appropriate amount to leave for yourself. Saturday, Sunday and the Monday pick me up. The loaf freezes perfectly and can just be defrosted slice by slice as you need it.

 

Simple banana bread recipe

 

Whilst it may seem a very odd thing to do, I recommend serving it toasted and slathered in peanut butter. I know, toasted banana bread may sound a little obscure, but I promise you it’s heavenly. Drizzle with honey, stew some fruit in a pan with some maple syrup to make a simple compote, or lightly toast and butter it. It’s up to you.

 

Banana & Oat Bread

4 Ripe Bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 tbsp coconut oil – melted and left to cool slightly
110g coconut sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
180ml almond milk, unsweetened
130g ground almonds
110g oats
200g spelt flour
3 tsp baking powder

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan) and line a standard 9×5 inch loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

The bananas should be as ripe as possible, brown speckled and soft. Break them into a bowl and mash them with a fork. Add in the honey, vanilla, egg, coconut oil, coconut sugar, salt, cinnamon and almond milk and combine until you’ve got a lovely banana-scented glop.

Add in the oats, spelt flour, ground almonds and baking powder and mix until combined. The mixture won’t be your usual smooth cake batter due to the oats and lumps of banana, so don’t worry. Tip into the loaf tin and pop into the centre of the oven for an hour. It may need a little longer but keep checking from the hour mark. The cake should be golden brown on top but still nice and moist (awful word and rather repulsed to be using it here, but I am all the same) inside.

If you want to check slide in a skewer or knife, it should come out relatively clean, although not perfectly clean as it might for your regular sponge cake. Transfer, in the tin, to a cooling tray and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and leaving to cool completely.

 

Simple banana bread recipe

Leave a comment
Design, Interiors, My Home

Styling Scandinavian Design Classics With Amara

This is a sponsored post produced in collaboration with Amara.

 

Ferm Living Ripple Carafe

 

Styling and the process involved in creating an image has always been what I enjoy the most about working on the blog. When I decided to leave London and head back to the North East I left behind a job where doing just that was my day-to-day and pretty much something I took for granted. Now, with that a lifetime away, whenever the opportunity to really play with products and creating imagery arrises I’m always incredibly excited. Never more so than when Amara offered me the chance to style my favourite pieces from their incredible range.

A few years ago I decided to consciously alter the way I consumed things, stepping away from purchasing anything too trend-driven. I like to think the interiors of our home should evolve and progress over time, rather than being subject to entire clear outs when it turns out salmon pink is no longer the colour du jour. I started the year with the idea that I was going to try and make the good decisions and applied that approach to the approach here. Classic pieces that would never be subject to the whims of a trend, or worse still, boxed up and moved to the ‘spare bedroom of shame’ once my affections had wained.

 

Hay Concrete Flower Pot

Hay Brass Tray

Niki Jones Harlequin Cushion

 

If you’ve ever found yourself on the Amara site you’re probably aware of the incredible selection of brands they edit collections from. HAY, Normann Copenhagen, Ferm Living, MENU; it’s a veritable feast for anyone harbouring Scandinavian ambitions. Without delay the first category I found myself in was that of Danish brand Skagerak. They’re a label I’ve been following for quite a few years now, constantly saving and pinning images of their elegant designs. Their ethos is to create products that will span a lifetime if not longer. Sustainably sourced and beautifully crafted from the finest materials, everything is relatively quiet in its appearance. Saying something looks quiet is most definitely wrong, but that’s exactly how I’d describe it.

The Georg Stool: the stool that launched a thousand Instagram posts. It’s just as perfect in person as it is sitting on the accounts of some of Denmark’s finest tastemakers. I’m aware this could sound rather odd but if you ever find yourself within touching distance of the stool, feel it. It’s so beautifully shaped, smooth and tactile underneath. It’s exactly how a piece of furniture should be for me. Immaculately executed and built to last.

 

Skagerak Georg Stool

Skagerak Georg Stool

HAY concrete flower pot

 

Ferm Living’s ripple carafe and stacking glasses have been on my hit list for quite some time too, equally as perfect for a mid-afternoon G&T as they are filled with water for your bedside. You can decide which.

 

Niki Jones Harlequin Cushion

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table

 

You can explore my full Amara edit and see how I styled them in my own home as part Amara‘s shoppable Home Inspiration gallery. If you haven’t already taken a look, you’re missing out.

 

Amara Scandinavian Edit

 

|1.| Ferm Living Ripple Carafe |2.| Ferm Living Ripple Tumblers |3.| Vitra Eames House Bird |4.| Hay Brass Tray |5.| Skagerak Georg Stool |6.| Skagerak Norr Tray |7.| Serax Bowl |8.| Hay Glass Container |9.| Hay Large Glass Container |10.| Anglepoise Type 75 Desk Lamp |11.| Niki Jones Harlequin Cushion

Leave a comment