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Interiors, My Home, Shop

How I Got A Better Nights Sleep

 

Ah, sleep. We’ve been here before on the blog haven’t we? My troubled journey to getting a better nights sleep has been fairly well documented over the years. On a very simple level, I apparently just don’t need as much sleep as other people may do in order to be fully functional. However, for a very long time the sleep I was getting was far from enough; most nights were broken and restless.

In that department I’m apparently not alone. In 2018 The Sleep Council conducted a survey to get a better understanding of how we deal with sleep as a nation. 35% of us have experienced problems with sleep for five years, with 10% for more than 10 years. The NHS guidelines state you should get between 7 and 9 hours sleep a night, something I find quite laughable to be honest. I’ll get more like 5 to 6 on a good night.

I’ve tried a lot of different ways of improving my sleep over the years. There’s been cherry juice and meditation with Oprah, multiple mattresses and a plethora of scented sleep candles. Over the past two months however I feel like I’ve finally got into a better rhythm with my sleeping. I’m still wouldn’t say I’m surpassing the 6 hour mark, but for me I think that’s as good as it’s going to get.

see enter kaufen sie Viagra in Pattaya The Gym.

I go to the gym each night after work and if I haven’t been for whatever reason I completely notice the difference in how I sleep. Likely it’s down to simply being kind of exhausted and ready for sleep, but I think part of it is down to simply having a set routine. I know so many people are morning gym goers and come a weekend, so am I, but unless I also head out for a later afternoon run I never feel quite as ready for bed.

 

 

Blue Screens.

iPhones now have the functionality to switch to a night mode, supposedly helping your brain switch off as you wind down to sleep. For me however, I’ve gone cold turkey. Come 10pm my phone goes face down on the bedside table and I try my best not to lift it until morning. I can’t claim to be a huge watcher of TV through the week but I’ve also made the rule that the TV goes off at 10pm also. It’s an easy one to follow for me but appreciate for others that might not be so easy or indeed, welcome.

Reading.

I’ve always been a huge consumer of magazines and books but of late they’ve been mounting. The stacks of unread magazines and Amazon book suggestions were getting rather hefty, so as part of my new sleep routine I decided to tackle it. Before bed I try to get in 30 minutes of reading, whether that be a book or a magazine, it doesn’t matter. I just try to do something that doesn’t involve a screen. If I’m exhausted however, I tend to leave it and get into bed for 10pm. I appreciate to sum that could be excessively early but I will wake when the sun comes up, without fail. So going to bed later won’t mean I’ll get up later, I’ll just get less sleep!

Caffeine. 

I remember years ago watching The Oprah Winfrey Show and a sleep expert saying realistically you should stop consuming coffee after 3pm in order for it to be out of your system by the time you sleep. That’s always stuck with me (most things Oprah say do to be fair – big fan) and generally I’ve always been good at that. What I am less good at is limiting my caffeine consumption prior to that. It’s been a real challenge but now you’ll find me with one or at the most two cups of coffee first thing on a morning. After that it’s peppermint tea. It’s tough but I also want whiter teeth, so I keep myself going on the idea of that!

 

 

The Mattress. 

I’ve been in my current flat for three years now and in that time have had four mattresses. I’m fairly picky with what I can sleep well on; squishyness isn’t for me at all and in general memory foam just makes me feel odd. When Simba got in touch and asked if I would like to improve my sleep by trialing their product I was a little skeptical. A year or so ago I trialed another mail-order mattress and unfortunately it only lasted a week. Far too soft and sinky for my liking. The good thing about Simba however was that I was able to go into my local John Lewis and actually trial it before I accepted the kind offer.

Now, trialing mattresses in a shop is a very weird experience and I’d like to talk about it. Why is it that when you’ve finally plucked up the courage to get on one and lie down on it that the sales assistant comes over, looks down at you lying down and asks if you want help? I am not in a position for a particularly lengthy chat and before you arrived I was psyching myself up to rolling over onto my side and trialing it that way. It’s an odd experience but I’m very happy I was able to do it for the Simba. I’ve had it on the bed now for almost a month and am actually very impressed. Whilst the mattress was gifted my opinion hasn’t, as always, been purchased by doing so. Unlike the other mattresses I’ve tried (I won’t name names) Simba also has springs to support you.

The construction also means that should you be sharing the bed with a partner their movement shouldn’t impact you, even if they happen to be prone to tossing and turning. It can’t sort out someone’s snoring however, sorry. They aren’t cheap – there’s no denying it. When it comes to pieces of furniture to invest your money in, if you think about it, your mattress will likely be the place you will spend the largest amount of time. Your mattress should be everything you need to get a good night’s sleep.

If you’d like to give the Simba mattress ago yourself you can get £75 off your purchase by following the link here.

 

A New Routine.

My recent obsession with skincare and YouTube reviews lead me to finding a new pre-bed routine. It’s not just about improving my skin to be honest, the act of having a routine you do every night before bed seems to help? I suppose it starts to make your mind feel like it’s winding down. Brush your teeth, cleanse your face, moisturise, hand cream, sleep spray, bed. I’ve always been the kind of person who responds well to a set routine and for me, I think the act of self care is a big part of what’s been helping me get to sleep quicker.

This Work’s sent me through one of the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray some time ago and since then I’ve gone through countless bottles and gifted countless more to friends and family as a result. It could be that it’s a simple placebo effect, but for me scent is such an integral part of our home. I smell that familiar vetiver scent and instantly I think of sleep. I spritz my pillows with it before drifting into the bathroom to brush my teeth.

 

 

The above steps might not work for you, we’re all different and I’m certainly no doctor. It has worked for me however and if you are having trouble sleeping or switching your mind off, maybe give it a go. Aside from improving my sleep, trying to use my phone and TV less on an evening has been a really good experience. We’re so dependant on these things now, it’s nice to just have some quiet time. Visually and acoustically!

 

 

|1.| This Works Bath Soak |2.| Pukka Sleep Tea |3.| John Lewis Croft Bedspread |4.| Jo Malone Lavender & Lovage Candle |5.| This Works Sleep Spray |6.| Clarins Re-Charge Sleep Mask |7.| John Lewis Two Tone Bedspread |8.| Dolly Alderton, Everything I Know About Love

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Interiors, My Home, Shop

Why Minimalism Doesn’t Have To Be Boring. millergrey x French Connection Home

This is a sponsored post produced in collaboration with French Connection Home

 

 

Some of the most rewarding pieces of content I’m able to create are those that challenge me. The process of creating an image is exactly why I do what I do, it’s my favourite part of running my own blog. That quiet afternoon spent moving around furniture and framing shots, filling mugs with coffee and lighting candles.

I’ve always been a rather meticulous planner when it comes to creating an image. Sometimes there’s an element of chance to the perfect image arriving on your screen but for the most part each and every piece of content I create has started life as a rough sketch on the page of a notebook, or a hurried note on my phone as I sit on the bus to work.

As soon as I received French Connection Home‘s email inviting me to see how I might go about styling their latest collection within my home, I was scribbling down ideas and mentally rearranging my furniture to make way for the marble coffee I’d already seen a few weeks previously in ELLE Decoration.

 

Large Cane Glass Vase, £55 & Medium Cane Glass Vase, £45

 

Quartz Fringe Cushion, £45 & Metro Mug, £7

 

This post isn’t about entirely revamping a room in my home and it doesn’t feature any great feat of DIY, instead I wanted to showcase how the look and feel of a room can be changed by the addition of a handful of new pieces and a re-style. My living room is something that (if you follow my Instagram in particular) you’re likely very familiar with, so in the process of styling the collection I wanted to offer it up in a new light.

Working with French Connection challenged me to look at how else I could make the space work and how I could change up its look and feel without having to lift a paintbrush. Living in a rental property means I have to be a little bit smarter about how I decorate – my landlord is not someone who would appreciate me going rogue with a roller.

The pieces I chose from the Spring/Summer 2019 collection were all selected for their texture. French cane, a kaleidoscope of knotted wool, soft matte leather and a cool slick of white marble. All were new ground for me and lead to a whole day of re-styling my living room – one of the most satisfying days I’ve had in a long time.

 

 

If you’re not too familiar with French Connection‘s homeware range, then you’ve done yourself a disservice by not having explored it sooner. Whilst this may be a sponsored post, my opinion has in no way been purchased, of that I can assure you. If you found yourself in my home prior to this collaboration you’d have come across several pieces from past collections, including a frosted glass vase that has made its way into countless Instagram posts atop my mantlepiece.

I’ve always felt like their pieces look like they have history, have lived a life and been a part of your home for years. The Eclipse Leather Pouffe you see here couldn’t display that point any better. The leather sourced to create it has a soft, irregular quality to it that makes me infinitely happy. There’s nothing shiny and new about it, its raw edged construction gives it a soft, comfy feel. Furniture you’re going to sit on, touch and experience in such a tactile way should be inviting. This is an inviting footstool. Is that weird? Maybe that’s weird.

 

Eclipse Leather Pouffe, £150

 

Quartz Fringe Cushion, £45, Chunky Knitted Throw, £80, Large Cane Glass Vase, £55Medium Cane Glass Vase, £45

 

The French Cane Chair I selected reminds me of a piece I grew up sitting on, albeit delivered with a Scandinavian twist as part of French Connection’s rejuvenation of the material. When you’re working with a minimal colour palette, having an array of textures becomes ever more important. French Cane is a new one for me, but the soft honey-hued cane against the pale grey of the bookcase works to knock back the ‘newness’ such a straight-lined, modern piece of furniture can deliver.

 

French Cane Chair, £395

 

The Agadir rug is one of my favourite pieces of the entire collection. Rugs are something I’m often asked about over on Instagram. They’re never the easiest thing to settle on for a room, after all how do you really know if it works until it’s in and down? Whilst it may seem a little more neutral in appearance online, the Agadir is in fact a snow white with marled grey. A quietly chaotic mix of knots, plaits and flat weaves, it’s the kind of muted pattern a colourphobe like me dreams of. If you’re a minimalist who can’t fully commit to absolute minimalism for fear of it being too austere, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

 

Agadir Rug, £175

I live my life in a state of monochrome and yet it’s somewhat baffling I haven’t owned a piece of marble furniture until now. The Banswara Marble Coffee Table found itself shifted around the room into a multitude of new homes throughout the process of creating this blog, something that was not in any way easy. The fine iron frame beneath the marble top counteracts the weight of the piece, allowing the rug beneath to still have its moment. If your room is on the smaller side pieces of furniture that have space to breathe are ideal. Heavy blocks of furniture shrink a room immediately.

 

Banswara Marble Coffee Table, £375

Carved Elipse Bowl, £35

All of the French Connection Home pieces you see featured in this blog were chosen by me and kindly provided by the brand for me to style with. I’ve mentioned it previously, but I don’t take on sponsored work lightly. I loved styling the images you have seen here and am proud to partner with the brand to bring them to you.

If you’d like to explore the full Spring/Summer 19 Collection you can do so online now. Should you need any help in selecting which pieces to bookmark, I’ve included an item of my favourite pieces below, because sometimes you just need a little nudge in the right direction.

|1.| Linea Rug, £75 |2.| Trumpet Vase, £45 |3.| Washed Velvet Cushion, £36 |4.| Rattan Chair, £495 |5.| Rattan Screen, £495 |6.| Terazzo Candle, £65

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Interiors, My Home

Making The Most Of A Small Space With Habitat.

This is a sponsored post produced in collaboration with a brand I genuinely love, Habitat.

 

Habitat Metal Trunk

 

 

If you also follow me on Instagram you’re likely to have seen snippets of my bedroom over the years. The bedside table perhaps, or the side of the bed and vague hint of a window. It’s a tricky room, not just to photograph but to really do too much with. Small and badly designed; the bed can only possibly go in one position, it receives no direct sunlight, the only plug socket is in a useless position and an ugly radiator restricts what furniture can even be brought in.

You might not be aware but I rent the flat that features throughout the blog. Because of this the only changes I can ever really make are superficial ones. Sadly I’m not in a position to be moving around electrics and eradicating radiators. I decided late last year it was about time I took a fresh look at the room however, hoping to not only improve the way it works as a room but to try and give it a little bit of style. Up until now it’s been the most minimal room in the flat. I moved in, painted it white, hung a mirror and a few frames and then climbed into bed.

With a little help from Habitat’s Small Spaces campaign I’ve been trying to address some of the issues that are fixable. It’s very much still a work in process and there’ll be more content to follow as I make more changes, but the bare bones of defining how it works as a room are definitely now in place. I’d love to offer up some huge reveal with drastic changes warranting gasps and shocked face emojis but unfortunately that’s not going to be happening here. Whilst there are some stylistic changes, the real focus here is simply making things work better for me and to make the most of the space that is actually useable. Style is all good and well but a room has to actually work for you.

So, what did I do?

 

Habitat Franklin Chest Of Drawers

 

Invested in storage.

 

Storage is a very real issue for me in this flat. I’m a minimalist who also likes things. It’s a conundrum. The flat has no built in storage anywhere – no useful cupboard or handy nooks. Nadda. The chest of drawers I used to have in place were subjected to a very strong level of hatred for several years. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I’m a big fan of the Swedish house of blue and yellow, what I am not a fan of however is the fact every single piece of furniture from there that contains a drawer will inevitably have its bottom fall out. It blows my mind that they still haven’t solved this problem.

The first thing I needed to do was to update the drawers. The previous drawers were rather heavy looking, with only a small gap between them and the floor. That means a big oak piece of furniture went straight on an oak floor, making everything feel heavy and clunky. After much deliberation I opted for the Franklin chest of drawers from Habitat. They’re actually larger and longer in size than what was previously in the room but their elevation off the floor due makes it appear much lighter. They’re also a very, very good quality piece of furniture.

 

Habitat Franklin Chest Of Drawers



Over time I’ve been slowly working my way round my flat, updating pieces of furniture I bought when money was more of an issue with solid, quality pieces of furniture that will last. Sometimes they’ve been amazing eBay finds and sometimes they’ve been things I’ve saved up for. I firmly believe that furniture you actually use should be where you invest your money. A wardrobe, a chest of drawers, a chair you’re going to sit in regularly… If you can save money on smaller items that see little wear and tear, then by all means do! In the case of drawers however, I open and close each of those drawers at least twice a day. They need to withstand some use.

I used the opportunity of working with Habitat to select a piece of furniture I absolutely know I’ll have for life, but more importantly that I’m confident will actually last!

The piece comes with beautiful turned oak handles but I couldn’t bring myself to part with the black and white ceramic handles I found a few years back, so I did give it a little bit of an update there. The original handles are going to be making their way to another piece of furniture very soon…

 

Habitat Patsy Gold Large Mirror

 

Doubled the light.

The tiny mirror I’d hung beside my bed when I first moved in was never really all that practical. What working with Habitat made me realise is that I was missing a huge trick in not using a mirror to bounce what light there is back around the room!

The room gets absolutely no direct sunlight other than in the evening at the height of summer, so for the most part it can feel quite flat. The only window is positioned on the back wall, parallel to where the chest of drawers sit. Placing the large Patsy mirror above the chest of drawers not only creates a dual purpose piece of furniture (hello nice dressing table set up) but it effectively gives the room a second window. It’s such a simple trick I’m quite disappointed in myself for not having done it earlier but we’ll try to dwell on my own stupidity. Whatever light does come in is now bounced back to the other side of the room. If there’s one change I’ve made that’s made the biggest difference, this is it. Patsy has worked wonders.

 

Habitat Franklin Chest Of Drawers

 

I went for the large gold version and couldn’t recommend it enough. Again if you’re familiar with my flat, you’ll know I have a bit of a thing for round mirrors. Four out of the six rooms feature a huge one. I’m quite fine being a one trick pony.

 

Habitat Patsy Gold Large Mirror

Habitat Patsy Gold Large Mirror

 

Only useful furniture allowed.

If I (weirdly) had to rate my furniture on its popularity, my bedside table would be Prom Queen. Never have I received more messages about something in my flat. I love it, you love it, but is it practical? No. Storage wise it was almost useless. It offered nothing more than a tiny drawer in which to keep my handcream. In a future home where storage isn’t quite such an issue it will come into its own. For now it has gone into the spare bedroom to greet my many guests, most of whom don’t come with storage needs.

 

Habitat Metal Trunks

 

In its place now sit two large metal trunks. They’re not conventional as a bedside table I know, but the storage they offer is invaluable. The drawers house my clothes, the chests house all those other things you forget will take up so much space. Bedsheets, towels, the vast selection of winter scarves you seem to have amassed throughout the years. Stacking the two on top of each other brings it to the ideal height to place your cup of tea and a book on.

 

Habitat Metal Trunks

 

A bedside lamp could easily be positioned on the trunks but instead I’ve gone for a wall mounted fitting, kindly gifted by the lovely people at Original BTC. (There’ll be more on those and the additional changes I’m planning on making in the next bedroom blog!)

Beneath the bed a series of striped fabric covered boxes now house everything from unread books to shampoo that makes my head itch but was too expensive to just get rid of. An altogether more attractive set of storage than the cardboard boxes that had been there previously.

 

Habitat Jericho Under Bed Storage

Habitat Jericho Storage Boxes

 

What’s next?

I’ve temporarily hung some frames and the beautiful Elle Hookwood plate a friend bought my for my birthday, but I’m still yet to get to the bottom of how I want the room to look. Ultimately I want to update the bed to something wooden with fine spindles. Perhaps there’ll be a picture ledge above it, I can’t decide. For now at least the room is actually functional.

You can shop all of the pieces featured here from Habitat via the links throughout the blog post. Just to note, these are affiliate links. This doesn’t cost you anything but just provides me with a small commission should you go on to purchase anything featured here!

If you’re trying to work out exactly what to do with your own small space, you’re in luck. Habitat have created a handy hub of ideas and inspiration. Visit the Small Space Living feature here.

 

Habitat Franklin Chest Of Drawers

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Design, Interiors, My Home

My Bedroom Plans. Moving Away From The Minimal.

When I first moved into the flat here I decorated simply to make things more to my liking than they presently were, rather than each room ever being a fully realised idea or concept. If truth be told, I’m just not that kind of thinker. I’ve typically always tried to let things evolve over time after the initial white-painting spree was completed. That way it gives you chance to work out what it is you need over time, gradually building up the room to a fully evolved space.

After painting the living room white I immediately moved onto the room I’d chosen as my bedroom, again painting it white simply to banish the magnolia. Technically I live in a three bedroom flat, with what is used as my living room intended to be the master bedroom. That was never going to work for me. For starters it’s too large. Secondly it houses the flat’s only original fireplace; it had to be the living room. I opted for the slightly larger of the two other rooms for my bedroom. It is by no means a big room and that’s kind of how I like it. I don’t like bedrooms to be huge and filled with things – I like them small and cosy, neat and peaceful.

After the white paint had been sloshed over each wall I built the simple white metal bedframe I’d ordered from John Lewis (because truthfully it was the cheapest I could find that wasn’t some kind of garish chrome), moved in the bedside table and chest of drawers I already had and hung a few pictures. In my head at the time it was a sort of temporary measure. The drawers, whilst being partly made of actual real life solid oak, had succumbed to the fate that all IKEA products equipped with drawers do all the same, despite the lack of chipboard. The bottoms fell out and they were rendered all but useless. In the back of my mind I knew I’d change everything at some point… but three years later and I still haven’t.

I’ve never really doubted that I’m a type of minimalist at heart: the bedroom in its current state is perhaps the biggest evidence of this. My wardrobe lives in the spare bedroom, so furniture and ‘things’ are pretty scarce in the room. A few months ago I made the decision to buck my ideas up and start work on deciding exactly what it is I wanted a bedroom to be, thinking from the ground up.

Did I want a colour on the walls? Did I want a wardrobe in there? What sort of beds do I actually like? Having never had to think about it previously I quickly came to realise that in the efforts to make everything not magnolia I lost my own taste a little. I love white, don’t get me wrong, but if this wasn’t a rental flat and it didn’t have to remain ‘neutral’ then I’m not sure I’d actually have entirely white rooms.

Are you shocked?

I’ve been in the flat so long now I’m no longer worried about straying from the neutral colours of white or beige. If my landlady dislikes it, I’ll paint it back. It’s a small room. So, exactly what do I want to do in the room? That’s the million dollar question. I am certain I wasn’t something a little softer in its look and feel, with natural elements carefully weaving their way into the minimalism. It’s never felt cold to me but in reality it actually is cold. The winter months are pretty icy thanks to badly fitted windows and a heating system that isn’t regulated by a thermostat. My options are on and off.

And so, the plans. I made several moodboards. Very unlike me. The interior world loves a good moodboard, however for me they’ve never held too much fascination. Likely due to many years spent being made to produce them through college and university…

 

 

The Bed. 

After much deliberation, I think I’m a wooden bed kind of person. Fabric beds fill me worries about dust mostly, padded headboards make me flinch somewhat and the idea of Divan bed just brings back University room nightmares. So an Ercol-esque wooden bed seems like the best option here, allowing plenty room for storage beneath it also. Not cheap and not that easy to come by it would seem. Made.com’s Penn Bedframe in Oak seems to be about the best (achievable) example of what I’m thinking of.

 

 

Although given any budget, Ercol’s Shalstone Bedframe would likely be getting my hard earned pennies.

 

The Floor.

I was lucky enough to work with the lovely people at Artha Collections earlier in the year, receiving a hand woven Arrow rug as part of the partnership. It’s beautiful – cosy, warm and just the right size. That will absolutely be staying and has in part actually dictated the ideas I’ve had for the room as a whole.

 

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

The Drawers.

The bottom of these drawers have been sellotaped, nailed, glued and screwed. It’s time to cut my losses and get rid. IKEA HEMNES, you’ve been a loyal friend these past five years, but no. You’re out. The monochrome striped handles (an amazing Zara Home find a few years back) however, may be staying on whatever comes in to the replace them.

 

The Bedside Table.

I’m so torn. I love this piece. I wanted it for months; pinning it to boards, bookmarking it, attempting to save for it… and then it went. Gone. Only to reappear three months later in M&S’ final reductions for the bargain price of £102, instead of the original £450 price tag. For that reason alone I want to keep it, but no. I’m being bold here. If a better option occurs, it’s gone. Maybe.

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

The Walls.

From the moodboards I’ve been creating grey seems to be a common theme, shockingly. The jury is out on whether or not I want a grey bedroom however. Neutral tones, whilst being very prevalent in the ideas here, aren’t something I feel comfortable with painting a wall in. In short, I just don’t know as yet. There’s a lot of pinning still to be done here clearly, although The White Company is constantly assisting in this task..

 

 

I’ve also always loved the soft putty-like grey of this project from the beautiful blog Avenue.

 

 

I do know that I want the walls to be much less minimal then they are currently. That much I’m sure of. I don’t want anything quite so statement as a gallery wall but I find myself drawn towards images of bed frames encased in large-scale artworks, generally always sitting on a picture ledge. That looks like it’s the route I’m going down. Choosing the artworks for the space is however something I know will take me months on end.

 

The Lighting.

Here I’m more certain of my tastes. I’d like a wall mounted bedside light, angled over towards the bed. The only problem I face here is that it can’t be wired in but instead must be one that plugs in and is simply wall mounted. This does narrow down the options quite heavily it seems, but aesthetically, I feel I’ve nailed what it is I’d like at least. Half way there.

 

 

Watch this space. One distinctly less minimal bedroom coming your way soon. Ish.

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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

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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

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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.

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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

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