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Time to light up the dark with Cable & Cotton lights...

Dark, grey days need a little sparkle.  I love having a mix of lighting sources in the home. From floor lamps to candles, table lamps and of course fairy lights.

I adore my new set of Cable and Cotton lights... they are perfect.  Giving a warm happy glow to my living room corner - in fact it feels like I have the fire lit when they are on, such is the lovely light.

I chose the standard set called Glow.  A mix of neutral tones, grey, cream, taupe and white, that compliments the colour scheme in my lounge.  But there are many different colour-ways to choose from on their website.

At the moment, they are a jumble of glowing balls on the floor, lighting up a dark corner and my newly painted cabinet.  I may hang them up at some point, but I quite like them like this - informal and pretty.

*I was sent a set of cable and cotton lights to review. All views and opinions are my own - as always.  Thank you cable and cotton for such lovely lights. 

Seasonal Rituals - The fire...

Image via Pinterest
This weekend we lit our first fire of the season.  I love the ritual of making a fire, scrunching of the paper (or making twists), stacking the kindling on top in a tipi shape, then lighting the paper from below, watching the flame roar upwards.

We have a log burner in our lounge,  A little treat with some redundancy money I received from a job that I hated, many years ago. I love how our beautiful log burner brings us light and warmth in those dark days of Winter. The irony is not lost on me.

In half term, we shall take a trip to a local farm to stock up on bags of cut logs.  We've been going there for years.  The barn is something to be seen.  Oak framed and beautiful, stacked high to the rafters with beautifully seasoned fire wood.  Yes I am a wood geek!  I am obsessed with logs, fireplaces and the perfect fire.  Spending hours pinning such things on Pinterest.  

So, that is it. The fire is on now, until Spring.  We prefer to heat our home in this way, I always seem to get a cold when the central heating is turned on. Does anyone else?

So, do you have a log burner or an open fire?

More inspiration on fireplaces can be found over on my Pinterest board...

Styling the Seasons - October...

Following on from Septembers Styling the Season - here is my October submission.  

October to me is the month of extremes; on one part it’s harvest time and another part it is also a time of decay.  Cottage gardens and allotments are full of produce, chard, beetroot, the last of the tomatoes and of course squashes and pumpkins. The hedgerows are full of berries and nuts ready to be picked and stored or made into delicious warming tipples. 

The flip side to all this autumnal abundance is fall. The decay and slow die back of crops and leaves. The smell of damp woodland earth and mushrooms is in the air.  On our Autumn walks at the moment we are finding many, many stray feathers.  I have been told that birds moult at this time of year in preparation for migration; discarding old feathers and growing new plumage to help them fly off to warmer climes.
For my monthly column over on Seeds & Stitches blog - I show you how to make the feather mobile.  Hop over there to read more... Autumnal Feather Wall Hanging.
(joining in with Apartment Apothecary & LottsandLots) #stylingtheseasons.

Meet the Shop - Victoria & Abigail... (plus giveaway!)

I am over the moon to introduce you to my latest Sponsor for October - the delightful shop Victoria & Abigail.  Owned by best friends, Vicky & Abi, the shop is filled to the brim with quirky/cool items.  They certainly have great taste as the products they have personally curated are beautiful.  Here's a little bit more about them...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 
We are Vicky and Abi, and we run an online homewares store, Victoria & Abigail, filled with quality handcrafted products from small independent designers.

What is your inspiration behind opening the shop? 
We opened our shop for a number of reasons. Vicky and I had been talking about working together for ages – we just didn’t know what we were going to do! After chatting about it over many happy meals, cups of tea and glasses of wine, we came to realise that we were both tired of going into shops and seeing the same, generic, mass-produced gifts and homewares. We wanted to create a shop that we'd LOVE to shop in. To top it off, we are both passionate about supporting small independent makers; so it was the combination of these three threads that led to the creation of our shop. 

How would you describe the feel of your shop? 
Fresh, bright and a little bit quirky.

Tell us some of your favourite pieces /designers you stock.
It’s really hard to pick, I don’t think we have a favourite designer – but there are a few pieces I’d love to own. The Indigi stools are really unusual and colourful , and the bunny cake-stand from Chandler House is definitely one of my favourites. Vicky is really excited about our newest designer, Ceramic Factory, - mostly because every item in their collection is unique. 

What do you love most about what you do? 
We get to curate every aspect of our shop, so we’re extremely proud of all our designers and being able to share our creative vision with our customers. For us, the best feeling is when a customer is struck by our products, and wants to hear the story behind a piece because it has appealed to them as an individual. 

Please tell us about your current loves... 
  • Photography – We do all the photography for the shop ourselves (you can probably see which products we photographed first, because we have improved vastly since we started!). What we enjoy most is doing styled shoots for our home page, dreaming up new and interesting ways to showcase our products. 
  • Illustration – Anything from Blanka Biernat, who did a sweet, whimsical drawing of Vicky and I for our shop. We also love her family portraits – everything she does is so cute. 
  • Graphic design - When it comes to graphic design, we always think simpler is better; which is what we tried to keep in mind when creating our online shop and blog. 
  • Books – Recently, I’ve only been buying cookbooks. I think I’ve bought 8 in the last couple of months…I have a problem. Vicky is preparing for an Italian adventure later this month and is reading Street Fight in Naples 
  • Blog – I’m obsessed with interiors blogs and read them religiously! Some of my favourites are Style by Emily Henderson, Little Green Notebook and Swoonworthy 
  • Magazine – I mostly stick to online magazine nowadays, one of my favourites is Covet Garden
  • Shop – I am an Anthropologie addict. We love Holly’s House in Fulham, she has some beautiful pieces and of course we love exploring etsy and discovering new shops. 
  • Drink – tea, all day long, and red wine when it’s time to unwind, we both love a glass of Shiraz. 
  • Eat – Vicky is seriously into soups already this autumn and keeps printing out recipes for us to try. 
  • Play – We love entertaining, so if we’re not out and about with friends, you’ll find us hosting BBQs and games nights – depending on the season. We also enjoy a good antiques fair, getting up at before the sun, cup of tea in hand and ready to search for some vintage pieces to upcycle. 
Please describe your own interiors style at home. 
My house is also our office, so at this point my interior style is boxes in every room. Vicky is a little more organised at home; she likes a simple minimalist look with no clutter – quite the opposite of me, really. My style is a bit more eclectic, I love colourful rugs, cushions and mixing vintage pieces with newer items.

What do you think is going to be ‘hot’ for this season? 
Well, usually autumn is all about mustards and deep reds, but I think this year the summer pastels are going to stick around into the colder months.

What is a typical working day for you? 
Every day is different and that is why we love what we do. Mostly, we start by checking our social media and catching up on emails and from there it’s either product photos and descriptions or DIYs for our blog. If we have an event coming up we’ll do mock set-ups in my dining room to make sure our displays are perfect.

If you were stranded in the wilds what item would you want with you to survive? 
Our smartphones, can’t survive without them!

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
Vicky would have liked to escape to the country by that time and I think we would both love to have a brick and mortar shop. Spending another 10 years discovering and working with great makers would be a dream come true, so more of what we’re doing.

Such a lovely interview, and so nice to find out more about you both and the shop.  Vicky and Abi are kindly offering all Littlegreenshed readers a lovely 15% off all products for October!  Using the code: LITTLEGREENSHED15.  Get your Christmas shopping done early!! (sorry I said the C word).

Not only that... but Vicky and Abi are generously giving away a £30 voucher to one lucky Littlegreenshed reader.  All you have to do is complete the little widget below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Upcycling furniture with Farrow & Ball...

Two things that I love... 1. natural objects (nature in the home) & 2. Interiors.  And so when I get to play with these two things, my heart skips a beat.

A few weeks ago Farrow & Ball contacted me with a little project.  They challenged me to choose a paint colour (how could I choose?) and upcycle a piece of furniture with it.  The project: to upcycle the curios cabinet in the lounge.

The cabinet was bought last Spring from a local junk shop. I loved the mid-century shape, the glass doors and the fact it was a very slim unit, it could be placed quite happily anywhere in our home.  We chose it to display all of our nature 'treasures' that the boys and I seem to gather weekly.  You can see Charlie's prized sheeps skulls is on the top shelf!

I was never happy with the colour.  The brown just drained the room, and as the nights were becoming darker, the room seemed to drown in the brownness of it.  I couldn't wait to change it.

In the end I chose Farrow & Balls Stiff Key Eggshell Estate and their Dark Tones Undercoat.  Now I've painted many pieces of furniture before and have not used their own brand of undercoat.  Let me tell you, what a difference it made. Easy and stress free.

So one undercoat and two coats of Stiff Key later (using a foam roller for a smooth finish) here is the finished cabinet.....

I couldn't be happier with the results.  It lifts the room.  The navy blue colour really shows off our treasure really well. 

You will notice I've also had a little change around.  Moved the books into the cabinet and ditched the 3rd shelf.  The curios cabinet now has space to 'breathe'. I still need to remove the brackets at some point, but they aren't bothering me at the moment. On the shelves above I have placed some newly acquired 'vintage' finds, preferring the muted shades at the moment.

On the whole I am delighted with how the room now looks.  I'm just waiting on a new rug to tie it all together...

The other side of the room - well, there is a tired old sofa in need of a recover, but that's a whole other post!  One day...

Thank you Farrow & Ball for challenging me to upcycle with such lovely paint. For more inspiration on upcycling furniture please have a look at the Farrow & Ball inspiration page.