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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.

buy graphpad prism cheapest Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server 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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The millergrey Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2019.

In my family Mother’s Day has always been quite the event. It isn’t just a celebration of my own mum, but equally of my Grandma. Both were responsible for bringing me up and both fully deserve several tokens of appreciate.

It’s a little bit of a tradition in recent years that I cook dinner and everyone descends on me for the afternoon. The menu is, at this time, still TBC. I can confirm there will be an abundance of white tulips however. Unsurprisingly, I like a white table setting.

For the past two years I’ve created a box of presents for both my Grandma and Mum, the idea behind it being to essentially provide everything required for the perfect lazy Sunday. Generally you’ll find a candle, chocolate selected for its beautiful packaging, the most luxe tea or coffee I could find in the Fenwick’s food hall, a book, homemade biscuits and something with a little more longevity to it, such as a piece of jewellery or in my grandma’s case, a rose plant.

If Mother’s Day is one of those present buying situations that leaves you a little flummoxed, fear not. Welcome to the millergrey Mother’s Day Gift Guides. 20 items guaranteed to bring a smile to your mother’s (or grandmother’s) face. I absolutely love flowers but I often feel there’s potentially a better gift to be found with a little exploring…

Just to note, some of the links below are affiliated. This doesn’t mean you pay anymore, but it does mean I could potentially earn a small commission from anything you go on to purchase! 

|1.| Old Tom Gin, £30 |2.| Iced Biscuit Box, £35 |3.|  Little Fires Everywhere, £6.47 |4.| Midnight Recovery Concentrate, £38
|5.| Ring, £65 |6.| Neroli Bath & Shower Gel, £20 |7.| Lime & Bay Luxury Candle, £35 |8.| Mother’s Day Chocolates, £22.95
|9.| Hemlock & Bergamot Cologne, £49 |10.| Cade & Cedarwood Cologne, £49

 

No event involving present giving is complete without a touch of Jo Malone London. Their latest limited collection Wild Flowers & Weeds couldn’t be more perfect for Mother’s Day if it tried. Personally I love Cade & Cedarwood and Hemlock & Bergamot, but there are five in total to choose from. Purchase any two and you’ll also receive a tin to present them to a very grateful mother in.

Reese Witherspoon will be working on bringing a version of Celeste Ng’s novel Little Fires Everywhere to the small screen with Kerry Washington taking lead, but until then the book is well worth a read, or in this case, a gift.

Gin. Because, well… mum’s like gin. In a fancy bottle. Skincare can be a tricky purchase and personally I’d advise staying clear or anything promising ‘anti-ageing’ and instead go for a cult classic. I’ve used Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate for years and there’s a reason millions of women (and men)  around the world do too. Ren’s Neroli scent is glorious – treat yourself to a bottle whilst you’re at it.

I’ve a preference for minimalist jewellery, something timeless and sleek. Monica Vinader’s simple gold ring is absolutely perfect for all tastes.

 

|1.| ‘Alistair’ Lipstick, £30 |2.| Dreamtime Tea, £15 |3.| Glass Vase, £17.99 |4.|  English Pear & Freesia Bath Oil, £18 |5.|  Everyday Mug, £36 |6.| Gold Bangle, £75 |7.| Juniper & Raspberry Chocolate, £7.95 |8.| Gold Earrings, £17 |9.|  Hand Cream, £45
|10.| Earl Grey & Biscuit Chocolate, £7.95

 

Who could ever object to receiving a gift from Tom Ford? The Boys & Girls Lipstick collection features a plethora of shades named accordingly. Who knows, you mean even be able to gift yourself. You’d be hard pushed to find a mother who wouldn’t be happy with a spot of Chanel either. A friend bought me this Chanel Hand Cream for Christmas and it’s been in my bag ever since. Designed as what can only be described as a squishy egg, it’s highly satisfying to use.

You could send a rather expensive bouquet of flowers from a whole host of online sites but for me they invariably disappoint and come with vastly inflated prices. Invest that money into a stylish vase like this H&M one and buy the flowers from your local M&S and arrange yourself. Half the price, twice the gift.

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Christmas, Fashion & Style, Shop

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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