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The millergrey Christmas Gift Guides 2018. Him, Her, Them, You

 

Full disclosure here: I start my Christmas shopping in January. In fact if truth be told, I never really stop it. Throughout the year I pick up pieces as and when I see them, as ideas pop into my head or as I’m visiting somewhere. For some the very idea of that is enough to turn the stomach I’m sure.

I love Christmas. I always have. I love buying presents, I love wrapping presents and I love giving presents. Generally if someone receives a present in my family it’s indirectly come from me, being that I’ve been tasked with my entire family’s Christmas shopping since I was a kid.

So without further ado, I put forward my gifting advice for the season ahead. The millergrey Christmas Gift Guide 2018.

 

Him.

 

I’m all for monogramming. I’m all for dapper pyjamas. Combine the two I’m near ecstatic. Soho Home’s festively green robe (1) can be personalised with initials embroidered to the chest and positively reeks of gentlemanly cool.

Anything from Jo Malone London and I’m happy personally. This Whisky and Cedarwood (2) cologne is by far my favourite. The bottle’s a beauty too. Mast Chocolate (10) doesn’t just taste amazing, it looks amazing. Stack them up, tie in a velvet bow and please even the most design-conscious folk.
House Doctor recently launched this Instagram-worthy metal toolbox (3). If you’re the kind of person to furiously yell at the fact you keep finding DIY implements around the house (yet continue to redo just about every room in your house) let’s at least give them somewhere aesthetically pleasing to be returned to upon said yelling.

 

 

|1.| Ned Bath Robe, £75 |2.| Whisky & Cedarwood Cologne, £120 |3.| Metal Tool Box, £42 |4.| Leather Card Holder, £25 |5.| Roll Neck Jumper, £79 |6.| Toast, Hash, Roast, Mash, £13 |7.| Bluetooth Speaker, £45 |8.| Gypsy Water Shower Gel, £34 |9.| Leather Tote, £125 |10.| Gourmet Chocolate Bar, £7.95 

 

Her.

 

Gucci Soho Disco Bag (3), just ‘cause. Slouchy Arket Knit (9), again just ‘cause. My love of personalised things at Christmas is apparent. This wool sleep mask from Soho Home (6) can again be embroidered with up to three initials, whilst these leather stick-on letters from Anya Hindmarch (2) are just plain fun. If she’s the type to also love a good notebook or diary, I’d suggest a nice new leather one to go alongside them. If you’re buying jewellery, keep it classic and keep it timeless. This beautiful circle necklace from Daisy London (above) is as classic as they come.

Diane Keating’s coffee table tome, The House That Pinterest Built (4), is an excellent piece of evidence that sometimes time spent on social media is indeed productive. Elevate their commute with this incredibly stylish travel mug from Royal Doulton (7). The red plastic number they bought whilst food shopping may be practical, but it certainly isn’t as chic is it?

I like the idea of passing on your love for something; so why not gift someone your favourite book and tell them exactly why you love it on the tag. If they never read it, it’s unlikely to have cost you a fortune. If they do, maybe they’ll love it too. Out Of Africa (10) is one of my personal favourites, I’ve passed it on to several people over the years.

 

|1.| Estee Lalonde Necklace, £99 |2.| Leather Letters, £15 each |3.| Soho Disco Bag, £805 |4.| The House That Pinterest Built, £30 |5.| Facial Cleanser, £40 |6.| Wool Sleep Mask, £12 |7.| Travel Cup, £25 |8.| Linen Bath Robe, £34.99 |9.| Slouched Jumper, £135 |10.| Out of Africa, £7 |11.| Candle Set, £35

 

Them.

Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries II (4) is a beautiful book. If they’re keen cooks it’s a wonderful walk through a year of eating. Complete the gift with some organic olive oil (9) and artisan coffee (5). I couldn’t create a gift guide without a few nods to the environmental issues I continually push; this Soho Home jute shopping bag (8) is truly one of the classiest reusable bags around. Fill it with foodie treats and add a tag.

People say candles or diffusers can be a boring gift, I couldn’t agree less. Make sure you take some time to think about the kind of scent they’re going to like; this Goop candle (7) smells like roaring fires and incense.

 

 

|1.| Martini Gift Set, £145 |2.| Coffee Maker, £40 |3.| Reed Diffuser, £59 |4.| Kitchen Diaries II, £17 |5.| Brazilian Coffee, £5.50 |6.| Jacquard Thow, £55 |7.| Church Candle, £66 |8.| Jute Tote, £12 |9.| Organic Olive Oil, £35 |10.| House Bird, £155

 

 

You.

The festive season is a busy one. You spend all of your days buzzing around thinking about everyone else, so it’s important you treat yourself every now and then again too. This edit might also come in handy if you’re looking for those little extras to send someone’s way as a subtle hint.
Long soaks in the bath, preferably with a book or an episode or two of Brothers & Sisters are my favourite. Goop’s G’Nite bathsalts (11) my turn your bath a strange camel colour, but the results are stellar. Susanne Kaufmann Winter bath oil, included in this kit (1), is what Christmas would smell like if it were a liquid. Christmas Eve in the tub sorted. Bring the Broken Heart Gin (6).

You’ll need a party outfit (or two) so buy separates to mix and match and make the most of what you have. This sequin skirt from Zara (9) is epic and will inevitably also serve you well when that friend announces their birthday is ‘Great Gatsby’ themed next year.

Going to be spending a lot of Christmas Day in the kitchen? Give yourself a fancy pants apron (10), let’s elevate the gravy stains.

 

 

|1.| Bath Oil Set, £21 |2.| Orange Bitters Cologne, £96 |3.| Colour Block Jumper, £69 |4.| The Christmas Chronicles, £9.99 |5.| Reindeer Biscuit, £3.99 |6.| Broken Heart Gin £37.80 |7.| Cocoa Mask, £20 |8.| Handmade Face Earrings, £15 |9.| Sequin Skirt, £49.99 |10.| Cotton Apron, £25 |11.| G’Nite Bath Salts, £30

 

Stuck for ideas?

If you know someone’s a reader, or perhaps even that they want to be reading more than they are, books are one of my favourite presents to give. Each year I deliver my Grandma and Mum a stack of books I’ve spent the year buying for them. It’s a relatively inexpensive way of giving a gift that has a lot of thought behind it, showing you’ve spent time selecting things you think will interest  – Grandma likes anything to do with the war or European history, whilst Mum generally gets a selection of the ones I’ve seen winning awards or receiving amazing reviews!

Keep your eyes on sites like The Works, quite often you’ll find them do five books for £10. Place them in a nice neat stack and tie in a bow. Go all out and add in some cashmere bed socks and some gourmet hot chocolate, their own personalised winter start kit.

 

 

I always like to provide a baked good or homemade chutney with presents. Handily enough you’ll find the recipe for a quick and easy biscotti here. Baked a few days before, fill a jar and write a little note. They’ll be good for a week or two if the container’s air tight.

Don’t underestimate the pre-made gift. A whole host of brands are now producing ready made gift items; from chocolate filled baubles to sleep inducing sprays concealed in patterned crackers. They’re a great (and easy) way to add something a little extra to a gift.

 

Recently I discovered Evolve Beauty via Deliciously Ella’s Instagram. Their Radiant Glow Mask features in the You edit above, the same product that is also included in this beautiful little cracker, £20. It’s made of Cocoa and coconut and whilst it might take ALL OF YOUR MIGHT to not just eat the thing, the results are great. The brand’s organic and ecological credentials make it a firm favourite of mine.

And now to wrap them. Looking for some ideas? Check out last year’s wrapping guide, crafted with paper from IKEA. Cheap, chic and sure to look perfect beneath the tree.

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Christmas, Shop

The Edit. This Year’s Best Luxury Advent Calendars.

Luxury Advent Calendars

 

My family isn’t overtly religious, but there’s enough of an undercurrent of belief there with my mum to mean as a child we had the kind of Advent Calendars that didn’t contain a foil wrapped chocolate treat behind each square but rather a picture of an object vaguely related to the Nativity. “Oh look Mummy, it’s a sheep!”

As we got older my Grandma would buy me and my brother a chocolate calendar each year (mum was livid) and finally we were able to experience the odd tasting milk chocolate that only a Woolworth’s Advent Calendar can ever really give you. Now, as an adult of 31, I’m unashamed to say I buy my own each year. Generally always Milkybar.

If you’re a little bit more sophisticated in your purchasing habits than I, 2018’s luxury advent calendar options are epic. If you needed any help in deciding exactly which one to treat yourself to, or perhaps which link you need to send on to your other half, look no further. I’ve got you covered.

 

The White Company

Beauty Advent Calendar, £150
Available from Wednesday 17th October

The White Company’s 2018 offering is more than a little bit epic. Behind each door you’ll find a treat from their extensive fragrance, beauty or skincare ranges. I’m not one to ruin a surprise but that includes everything from votive candles of their latest scent, Ginger, to Eau De Toilettes, lip balm and facial cleansers. Last year’s didn’t stick around for long so it’s probably best you get sending that link across to where it needs to go to…

 

The White Company Advent Calendar

 

John Lewis & Partners

Beauty Advent Calendar, £165
Available now

The packaging on John Lewis & Partner’s 2018 calendar receives my full seal of approval. As does the fact it includes treats from Diptyque, REN, Laura Mercier, This Works and even HERMÈS. The only down side here is the fact each treat sits within in an unsealed drawer. There’s not a chance I wouldn’t be peeking pre-December 1st.

 

John Lewis Beauty Advent Calendar

 

Green & Black’s
Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar, £10.99
Available now

If you’re going to go chocolate, go chocolate. Green & Black’s Luxe edition has already been purchased and sits in my spare bedroom at present, nestled atop a pile of Christmas presents. Yup. I have already started shopping and there is already a pile.

 

Green & Black's Advent Calendar

 

 

Diptyque – exclusively available at Selfridges

Luxury fragrance Advent calendar, £320
Available from Monday 15th October

Yes, that is a £320 Advent Calendar. Festive perfection unfortunately does not always come cheaply. Behind the 25 doors you’ll find 15 votive candles of the brand’s most popular candles (including Baies, my all-time favourite) as well as body creams and perfumes. It most definitely isn’t for those looking to have a thrifty Christmas, but if you feel you deserve a daily dose of Diptyque, much like with the daily dose of gin, we won’t be judging.

 

diptyque advent calendar

 

 

John Lewis & Partners

Gin & Tonic Advent Calendar, £95
Available now

I would probably go as far as to say I despise the taste of both gin and tonic so this one is well and truly not for me, personally. It is however perfect for the 99.9% of the population who seem to be gin worshippers. There’s potentially something a little incorrect about receiving a miniture bottle of alcohol each morning, so perhaps open it on an evening after you return from work? Granted that will make for a boozy December, but there’s no judgment here. Do as you must.

 

Gin Advent Calendar

 

Jo Malone London

Luxury Advent Calendar, £300
Available from 1st November at Jo Malone London Boutiques & Online

When it comes down to it, Jo Malone London will always have been heart. As saccharine as it may sound, as a brand it’s just one I invest into wholeheartedly. Their array of fragrances teamed with their stylish delivery of just about every single aspect of their offering gets me every time. Their epic Luxury Advent Calendar is filled with their most famous creations; colognes, votive candles, body cremes, you name it and it’s present. All beautifully presented in the classic Jo Malone London Townhouse.

 

Jo Malone London Advent Calendar 2018

Kikki.K

Stationary Advent Calendar, £90
Available now

I know many a person for whom the thrill of a new notebook is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Kikki.K’s addition to the Advent Calendar edit provides notebooks, candles, pens and more. For me personally, no matter how perfectly brass-toned it may be, a paperclip is perhaps not what I’m looking to get come December 15th. But that’s just me.

 

kiki.k advent calendar

 

 

Kiehl’s – exclusively available at Selfridges

Kiehl’s x Bannecker Advent Calendar, £110
Available from Monday 15th October

I think this could be the one for me. The product of a collaboration with artist Andrew Bannecker, the calendar features just about every cult product in the brand’s repertoire. If you’re duo I’d say this is one of the most shareable of the bunch. As a general rule Kiehl’s products are wonderfully unisex, although the dedicated men’s collection does make an appearance in there too. Be smart however. There’s 25 days, make sure you look after number 1 and select to open the odd numbers.

 

Kiehl's Advent Calendar

 

 

Net-A-Porter

25 Days Of Beauty Advent Calendar, £150
Available now

Very little ever compares to the luxury of shopping with Net-A-Porter. Their arsenal of beauty and skincare brands is unparalleled, so it’s no wonder their addition to this year’s advent calendar offering is suitably spectacular. Behind each door you’ll find a product by one of their bestselling brands. From Scandinavian shampoo to Eyeko eyeliner, you’re bathroom and your make-up will thank you in equal measure.

 

Net-A-Porter Advent Calendar

 

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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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Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

The Contemporary Lighting Edit

MENU JWDA MARBLE TABLE LAMP

Image credit: Utility Design

 

I have strong opinions about lighting. I’ve been known to have strong opinions about a number of things related to interiors it’s true, but lighting is a particularly large issue for me. Last week on an Instagram post it became apparent I’m not the only one however – always a nice thing to discover. Contemporary lighting is tricky all round.

Each room in my home has light fitting that I’ve spent a great deal of time selecting, they can be hard to get right. We call these the ‘big’ light. A great way of adding a bit of a statement into a room, there are some amazing options out there right now. All of that being said, I absolutely wouldn’t resort to living by the light of the ‘big’ light unless there was no other option. That was sadly the case for me in my dining room where two weeks ago I went on a bit of a crazy smashing spree and managed to obliterate a porcelaine and concrete lamp I’d picked up in The Conran Shop sale a few years back.

It was a sad moment, not just because it meant the lamp was no longer with us, but because it meant the ‘big’ light was terrifyingly the only option.

 

 

I live life by lamp light, interspersed with a plethora of flickering candles. It’s just nicer that way – softer and friendlier if that’s possible?  The last time my living room’s ceiling light was turned on was over the Christmas period whilst I set about wrapping some particularly fiddly presents. It’s a technical light. It’s there for technical assistance. It isn’t there for ambiance.

Whilst looking to replace the smashed lamp I came across a great piece from John Lewis’ Design Collection. An opal orb sitting atop a brushed brass and concrete base. It’s perfect, it’s contemporary and it’s brilliantly priced at £65. The diffused glow it gives off is enough to light up my living room on an evening, which is where it’s actually ended up despite the fact I needed a lamp for the dining room.

 

Image credit: Debenhams

 

Both looking for and deciding on a lamp proved to be a tricky task. Being a bit of a not fully committed minimalist, I have specific tastes. The design needed to be simple, with a neat silhouette but at the same time not look like it belongs in a 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’s the hard part. Why is so much contemporary lighting design on the high street produced in mirror-like chrome?

Featuring a distinct lack of polished chrome and a heavy dose of brushed brass, I’ve compiled an edit of the best contemporary lighting I came across whilst scouring the internet for the perfect replacement.

 

 

Minimalist Table Lamps

|1.| Doshi Levien for John Lewis Lamp |2.| J by Jasper Conran Lamp |3.| MENU JWDA Marble Lamp |4.| John Lewis Design Project Lamp |5.| HAY Pion Lamp |6.| J by Jasper Conran Task Lamp |7.| A by Amara Marble Lamp |8.| Flos Copycat Lamp

 

Minimalist Floor Lamps

|1.| John Lewis Grayson Lamp |2.| French Connection Floor Lamp |3.| French Connection Tube Lamp |4.| Flos Floor Lamp |5.| Habitat Kuriko Lamp
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Interiors, My Home, Shop

Starting Afresh. Three Ways I Welcome In The New Season.

Spring, noun
The season after winter and before summer, when the weather becomes warmer, leaves and plants
start to grow again and flowers appear.

 

Bloom & Wild Piper

 

When January draws to a close everything starts to feel different. Spring is technically almost two months away but still everything feels like it shifts into the new season. The final remnants of Christmas are treated to the shame of the 70% off sticker and the new season collections lie in wait for January pay cheques to clear; it’s coming.

I’ve always loved Winter, but I’m also always happy to see it start to give way to something new. Come February the Winter fatigue is very much in full swing. I start to change things over. The blankets that are folded neatly over the arms of the sofa are stowed away in the hope they won’t be required again until the autumn, the heating takes a step down and the curtains are taken down and washed ready for the sun to sail through them when it finally manages to scrape past the rooftops of the houses in front of mine.

I might not be able to arrive home to my flat bathed in light just yet but I might as well be ready for it.  The start of the new month seems like the perfect time to talk about the simple little things I change to trick myself into thinking those bright Spring days are a little closer than they actually are.

 

Bloom & Wild Piper Spring Bouquet

Bloom & Wild Piper

 

Flowers can change everything instantly – they’re the easiest way to make it feel like spring’s arrived. In winter my mantlepiece tends to be filled with gigantic bunches of eucalyptus or simple white roses. Once February arrives you’re more likely to find jars of hyacinths chopped from their bulbs before they fall to their floppy end mounting up on the surfaces, along with ramshackle collections of vases and jars filled to the brim with blooms.

As I type this my mantlepiece is currently playing host to an orchestra of vases I’ve collected over the years, each filled with the soft pink and green hues of The Piper bouquet from Bloom & Wild. I’ve chosen to group the vases together, but realistically one letterbox bouquet is enough to fill a vase for each room in the flat. I think we get ourselves into the habits of thinking everything needs to be arranged in a single vase sitting in the centre of the coffee table. I’d rather flowers were everywhere, even if it’s just one or two in a tiny bud vase sitting on the side table.

Never underestimate the power of flowers in a room. Also never underestimate the glory of beautiful bouquets than can be posted through your letterbox.

 

Bloom & Wild Indie Bouquet

Bloom & Wild Indie Bouquet

Bloom & Wild Indie Bouquet


If you walk into my flat during the winter months you’ll likely be met by darker, musky scents that make you feel like there’s a log fire burning and maybe some mulled wine on the go. You’d smell that because there’s a plethora of candles and diffusers about the place designed to evoke those exact scents. After Christmas has been and gone I want everything to start to smell crisp and fresh, so the somewhat ceremonial switching over of the scents takes place.

 

The White Company Linen Diffuser

Bloom & Wild Piper

 

This month I swapped over the deep mossy diffuser I had in the dining room with The White Company’s latest fragrance, Linen. Now when you walk into the flat your nose will be met by the soft scent of neroli and eucalyptus. When you walk past it and that breezy scent of the Mediterranean catches you, it’s absolutely perfect. Like a sunny afternoon spent lazing about in the sun.

For spring, The White Company have also looked to embody the luxury and comforting nature of everyone’s favourite thing, Cashmere. It’s warm and cosy without any of the heavier notes that fill winter’s fragrances, making it exactly right for February. I genuinely believe the scent of a room is just as important as its colour or furniture. For me when I think back to places I’ve been I always remember how it smelt. So if someone leaves my home thinking it smelt like cashmere? I’m okay with that.

 

The White Company Cashmere Candle

The White Company Cashmere Candle

 

Generally January is a month of tightening your belt and praying for your bank account to once again enter the world of positive numbers. In February I say you treat yourself to some small luxuries. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant purchase by any means, but after the mammoth task that was January, you deserve something just for you. If a candle or a huge bunch of spring blooms isn’t for you, try treating yourself to fresh bedding.

 

The White Company Easy Iron Bedding

 

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, or maybe it’s just because of the sheer volume of cool I possess, but very little ever makes me as happy as fresh bedding. There is nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning nestled beneath fresh sheets whilst the sun rises behind your curtains. February is when I treat myself to fresh bedding, although due to budgetary constraints I’ve kept it to just fresh pillowcases this year. White, naturally.

Team the crisp new sheets with a bedside table stacked with scented hyacinths and a freshly lit candle. It’s all your February could need.

 

The White Company Cashmere Candle

|1.| Stoneware Vases, The White Company |2.| Glass Plantpot, ARKET |3.| Cashmere Scented Candle, The White Company |4.| Linen Diffuser, The White Company |5.| Washed Linen Pillowcases, H&M |6.| Glass Bulb Vase, H&M |7.| Glass Bud Vase, H&M

 

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Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

Good Decision #1. The Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table.

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

2018 is going to be the year of the good decision. I’ll be applying that logic to pretty much everything. It’ll be particularly prevalent within my home as I spend the year putting my disposable income to one side in the hope of being in a position to start looking at buying my first home come January 2019. This year if I’m going to spend money on something for my home then it has to be something built for my future: a piece I know I’ll never tire of.

Christmas money is not a thing I find myself with often, my family is big on the present and I’m fine with that as that’s precisely how I am too. This year however, some came my way. I know what you’re thinking, I could have popped it into my savings account for my deposit, but I didn’t. It was intended for a gift so a gift it became.

The Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table has been on my list for quite some time now. I’ve lost count of the amount of times it’s been added to my basket. On December 27th I took the plunge and finally ordered it from the sale at istome. Naturally I went for white, though the pale grey did give it a good run for its money, honest.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

Before the block table’s arrival my living room had started to feel a little bit cluttered. I have very minimalistic tendencies and tastes, but at the same time I have that rather annoying habit of liking things and therefore thinking I have to have them, regardless of wether I a) need them or b) feasibly have room for them. The room had become a little too busy towards the end of last year; some good decisions were needed.

The nesting set of three oak tables I’ve had for about eight years now we’re a gift from my mum when I moved into my first unfurnished property. There’s a sentimental part of me that wants to hold onto them but there’s also the sensible part of me that knows they take up too much room and don’t particularly fit in with the way my interior has evolved. With the blessing of my mum they will be finding their way to eBay in the search of a new home, the money from which will go straight into my savings account. Promise.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

Essentially the minimalist version of a drinks trolly, the Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table is a dream on wheels. Powdered steel and solid ash, it’s exactly what I wanted. It took all of two minutes to screw together and joyfully lead to several minutes of pushing it around the room like it was 1962 and about to offer people a Snowball.

Designed by Simon Legald back in 2012 and filling Nordic design hashtag feeds ever since, the table call be wheeled about in just about any direction you’d like. For now it will live comfortably in my living room, but in the future it may find itself anywhere. I suppose that’s the idea of these good purchasing decisions – buying things I’m confident I’ll always have a home for.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

ARKET Matches

 

Now the table is perfectly positioned beside the sofa, ready to receive a cup of tea and no doubt several magazines. It’s only January 7th I’m aware, but I can’t help but feel this is a good decision to start with. An investment piece I’ve had my eye on for years; versatile and adaptable.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

It’s the first of a few changes I plan on making in the room in order to strip it back and pair it down. The large bookcase I so painstakingly painted in Little Greene’s Basalt Blue will be turning a pale shade of grey to make it less imposing, along with a large proportion of the objects that have accumulated around the room being boxed away, redistributed or listed on eBay. The large empty wall behind the sofa will also finally be receiving the linen wall hanging I’ve been talking about creating for two years. Well, it will be once I’ve decided on a design. It would seem that is much easier said than done.

Watch this (large white) space.

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Christmas, Shop

How to add a touch of style to your Christmas wrapping.

I’ve often thought that my true calling in life was actually as a present wrapper. The reality of this not really being all that much of a feasible profession has held me back from pursuing the dream. In an attempt to make up for this I go all out with my Christmas wrapping. There’s even an annual theme that everyone has to follow.

Some may say I have too much time on my hands, I prefer to think of it as just a very real dedication to making sure everyone feels pretty darn special upon receiving a gift.

 

Christmas Wrapping With Origami

 

Last year I went monochrome (a surprise, I know) with a bit of brass thrown in there in form of a metallic polka dot. The majority of the wrapping was done with a relatively cheap white Kraft paper, the polka dot serving as a highlight here and there. The ribbons were varying widths of black and white grosgrain, with the gift tags being the main event. I found the embossed ‘Ho Ho Ho’ tags in M&S and knew immediately they were me in a gift tag. Sadly for 2017 I wasn’t able to find anything quite so cool on the tag front.

 

Monochrome Christmas Gift Wrapping

 

And so without further ado, I present to you this year’s Christmas wrapping. For 2017 I’ve based it around a set of three papers I found in IKEA (the purveyors of great wrapping paper), each with a painted white design on. For the glorious sum of £4 you’ll find yourself with three different designs – 21 metres of paper in total. Unless you’ve got a really rather large family, that’s probably going to do your entire haul.

 

Contemporary Chiristmas Gift Wrap

Contemporary Christmas Wrapping Idea

Origami Paper Christmas Star

Gift Wrapping For Christmas

Contemporary Christmas Gift Wrapping

 

To contrast the brown paper I’ve used white Kraft and folded in into strips, as well as using it to create some origami stars to neatly tuck beneath the white and grey grosgrain ribbon ties and subtle touches of jute twine. Whilst trawling Berlin’s homewares scene earlier in the year I came across some wooden Christmas decorations, printed with a copper feather. I’ll be using them as a tag on some presents, with stamped luggage tags everywhere else.

 

Contemporary Christmas Wrapping Idea

Handmade Stamped Gift Tag

 

As a kid I remember having so many Christmas cards that we struggled to find a home for them, pinning them to ribbons that hung down the walls until they were so heavy they inevitably fell down. Today I get just one or two, but I still make sure I send them out none the less. This year I have two different types; a beautiful embossed snowflake card from Smythson and a contemporary bauble design from one of my favourite brands, Mark + Fold.

 

Smythson Christmas Card

Smythson Christmas Card

Mark + Fold Christmas Card

Mark + Fold Christmas Card

 

If you tend to find Christmas wrapping a little too much of a chore to be all that enjoyable I’ve put together my six tips on doing it like a pro. If none of these work for you, I’m available for hire.

 

  • One. If it’s an awkward shape, box it.

    ‘Awkward’ I suppose can be altered to match your own wrapping abilities; cylinders aren’t exactly fun but they can be done. Teddy bears however? Buy a box. When it comes to wrapping, like most things, I like neat edges and crisp shapes. This can mean the thought of wrapping irregular shapes makes me wince. If you think it will be difficult to wrap then there is no shame to be had in boxing it up. Whether it’s a gift box you buy or simply one you reuse (and preferably cover with paper), it’s going to make life much easier.

 

  • Two. Never underestimate the power of brown paper and luggage tags.

    I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve wrapped with brown paper. It will never fail to look good and forms the perfect backdrop to a contrasting patterned paper or even just another colour. Luggage tags work perfectly as gift tags, especially if you’ve opted to use brown paper too. Tie them on with some twine and stamp the receiver’s name on to make it personal. Or just write it nicely, I’m aware not everyone will want to spend as much time as I do on a gift tag.

 

  • Three. Invest in a good paper and use it wisely.

    Sometimes I find myself falling for a wrapping paper that comes with a somewhat hefty price tag. This year I found some beautiful handmade papers in my local Paperchase, but at £2.75 per A2 sheet, they aren’t too feasible for wrapping a tree’s worth of gifts. So instead, buy a sheet of each to slice up and use as narrow bands over brown paper wrapping. Or, if you’re feeling particularly crafty, fold it neatly into origami stars to decorate each package. You’ll get a whole stack of stars out of a sheet and they’ll work perfectly with a presents wrapped in a plainer (and somewhat cheaper paper).

     

    Handmade Paperchase Wrapping Paper

  • Four. Magic Tape is your friend.

    It’s invisible and far less of faff than double-sided. You notice how I only mention those two types, that’s because those are the only options. General shiny Sellotape is not okay guys.

 

  • Five. Take your time and do it bit by bit.

    If you try and do it all in one go you’ll burn out and end up with some questionable Christmas wrapping by the end of it. Just take it easy, wrap a few whilst you watch the TV each night. It’s far less painful.

 

  • Six. Use eBay.

    All of my grosgrain ribbon, Washi tape, Kraft Paper and jute string comes from eBay. I assure you it’s the most affordable source for the extra pieces. You can find every width and colour of grosgrain or satin ribbon imaginable on there, all available in larger volumes.

     

    Origami Paper Christmas Star

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