Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Great British Home - My Dream Bathroom

So Mumsnet and Victoria Plumb are hosting a competition about bloggers dream bathrooms as part of their Great British Home campaign. We are moving house shortly and so I have been dreaming quite a lot lately about just what my perfect home would look like. To give a little help with Bathroom furnishings Victoria Plumb have designed a quiz which tells you all about your bathroom style and gives you suggestions as to what you could have in your bathroom. If you fancy finding out your Bathroom style you can here: Great British Home Challenge.

I began by taking the Great British Home Challenge myself and it came out with some interesting results! Here they are below:

I have to say that I am a little intrigued by this result as I have actively avoided watching Downton Abbey with great passion and although I like the period style I am definitely more drawn to open plan spaces, contemporary lines, bright and vivid colours and I don't think there is anything subtle about me at all! However I think it would be fair to say that I am a bit of an anomaly with an eclectic sense of style so that is quite tricky to pin down in just a few questions. I do however secretly want a Steinway piano for my living room and I love opulent fabrics so maybe its not as far away from my choices as I first though.

This did get me thinking about my dream bathroom and my eye got stuck on that chandelier that you can see in the picture above. What a fantastic way to transform your bathroom from that everyday functional place into a dreamy place to sip wine whilst you bathe in a double Jacuzzi spa bath, enjoying the peaceful lull of Coldplay in the background as you soak and dream the day away. Thats exactly what I want from my bathroom, a retreat with amazing views (hopefully I own that mansion so no-one can see in), a place to refresh, revive and relax forgetting about all the stresses and strains that the world brings upon us just for a moment to unwind.

Check out this amazing view in this Victoria Plumb Arc Bathroom Suite, and I love the sleekness and flow of this room! 
If traditional wallpaper is back with a bang this year I feel that it should be top of my list, but I am not sure that my bathroom would be the place I will put it, instead maybe a feature wall in my living room. It got me thinking that I would love to be able to fully tile my bathroom in elegant glass tiles with splashes of colour that sparkle under that amazing chandelier creating almost a glitter ball effect (but a more elegant version).

Then we get to what would be inside it, I have already mentioned that double jacuzzi spa bath which is important as we had one in our honeymoon suite  (it was heavenly) and it would be a fantastic bath to relax in, it would have to have some clever water saving divide that could be used if we didn't want to use the whole of it. Having two boys who are two and four my must have would be a glass dome for my toilet that automatically senses them approaching and gets into position to ensure it all goes in the right place, they currently are not good at aiming and need all they help they can get! Please tell me its not just me that dreams about that. An amazing sucking system for using toys within the bath that not only gathers them up and stores them but also dries them out so they don't go moldy without me having to anything at all but press a button! Bathtime is always a bit hectic and it would be a great help, and would return the bathroom to being that relaxing retreat.

Doesn't this jacuzzi spa bath look so inviting? 
I always need time to think when I am using the bathroom, I find it is the source of so many of my creative ideas as well as where I mull over all the things that have been getting to me, and put the world to rights so to speak. So as well as a walk in shower I would also have a sauna to be my think tank, it seems to fit the bill perfectly. Two sinks, yes please. I know it seems greedy but sometimes its nice not to share!

One of my big annoyances about all of the houses we have lived in over the last few years is the lack of storage in our bathrooms. I am dreaming of a pull out cupboard with uniquely designed spaces to store my nail varnish and range of bathroom products, after all it is nice to have a variety of bubbles to pick from for use in your bath.

Do you ever find yourself in the shower and then you realise that you have left your towel on the other side of the room? Or your kids have moved it across the room on your behalf and then exited the bathroom? Well it happens to me all of the time and my dream bathroom (which I am thinking might be more of a fantasy than a dream) would have a button that brings your towel right back for you to wear you need it. I am not sure exactly how it works yet but perhaps a large magnet draws it in, or hopefully someone will come up with an amazing idea to make my dream a reality.

Finally my bathroom would have this sleek professional feel to it with contemporary and traditional meeting elegantly together in the same space over under floor heating. It has the ambiance of peace and its definitely a room that I will be hiding away in.

What would your dream bathroom look like and what would be your must have bathroom item? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Sleepy Train

This month as part of Parragon's book buddies scheme we have been sent The Sleepy Train by Mark Marshall. We love getting new books to read and this one has become very much loved by my eldest son. 

In the story we join Bear and his friends in the cozy little Sleepy train as its sets off on a magical night-time journey... all the way to the Land of Nod! This book is the perfect choice in my opinion for reading at bedtime and it has become a firm favourite for snuggling into bed and quietly reading. We also tried reading it in the dark and my son shone the light on the words for me to read as we went through. 

As always the pictures are beautifully illustrated and we love how they have captured the animals that climb aboard the train, although I think my son would tell you his favourite is the owl at the end who holds the Night Night sign. The book starts off with a rhyme:

"Driver's engine, clean and smart,
Whistle blows, it's time to start,
Wheels are turning, lights aglow,
'All aboard, and off we go!' "

I really like the bits that rhyme as it gives a great flow as you read, it does lose the rhyme in places and that would be the only thing that I would change with it, I would have liked the rhyme to flow all the way through it. I do love it when we get to the end and all of the animals have fallen asleep and my eldest seems so soothed by the story as he settles down to sleep himself.

If you want to buy a copy yourself you can get one here on Amazon: The Sleepy Train

Overall we have really enjoyed this book and we can't wait for bedtime tonight so we can read it again.

Disclaimer: I did receive a copy of this book in order to review it.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Children’s True Colours

Hillarys' Blinds are asking Bloggers about their children's fascination with colour so I thought I would share about my boys and there love for colour.

We are hopefully going to be buying a house over the next few months (crosses fingers) and as a way of helping my two boys to adjust with the change and get used to the idea of a move, I have told them they can decorate their new bedroom however they like and with whatever colour they want too! Several people commented to me that I might be allowing for coving to be painted red, or worse, but I am pretty confident that with some gentle guidance they will get it right for them. Thats the key thing, it has to be right for them; so what if they want an orange wall or a bright lime green rug clashing with a red bed frame. It might not be my choice but I want them to have the creative, inspirational and personal space they need and want to develop and grow in. In reality as I contemplated we are often  conservative as adults when it comes to colour, suppressing it because some DIY program tells us we should go with a neutral colour palette in our lives because thats what people are expecting of us. In reality I feel sad that we have lost a love of colour and I would love to embrace colour like my son does.

I am truly inspired by my son who is 4. If you asked him he would tell you his favourite colour is orange (although he loves red, purple and pink too) and he is happy to clash it with everything he wears. Yesterday when I woke up my son eagerly went off to get dressed coming back in orange shorts and an orange top and he informed me that he was having an orange day and that I needed to wear orange too. My younger son was soon behind clutching his orange top ready for me to help him get it on too. I don't really own many things that are orange but I told him I would wear my Birkenstocks which are orange and he happened to help me choose! It felt really good to be part of his orange colourburst as we walked around the village, unified and full of fun. I recommend that you do it to, no wonder kids like colour, it brightens up your day and gives you this extra zingy energy that I had all day long.

For my children (and I am suspecting most children) colour seems to be their powerhouse, the thing that gets their creative juices flowing and I am wondering if when they sit doing their homework in a room full of brightness if there creative ideas will come quicker, be quirkier and inspired? It would make sense, like the blue sky theory but with colour, we all need a bit to get the best out of us.

I think this captures the colour these boys inject into my life!
I never really noticed before now but my son has a portion of his wardrobe that he doesn't really wear. I always thought it was because he was an independent thinker and likes to choose himself (which he is), but on closer inspection its the drab stuff he doesn't wear, the tops devoid of pizazz, the grey shirts and the khaki that blends. It seems like a deliberate choice on his part. I am sure that several of my friends look in horror as my son arrives in a clash of orange and red but I have embraced it, its him, its individual and who said that colour clashing was uncool anyway? No wonder as adults we seem to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders when we are wearing greys and blacks. I have been infected and I now try and wear at least one bright thing a day! Its just one bright thing, why not try it  to? You could always start with bright socks and work your way up from there.

Finally my son has some bright pink trousers, they are boys, he picked them himself from the catalogue, and he rocks them really well with pride. I am so fed up of this notion that pink is for girls and blue is for boys - who decided that anyway? What makes the bright pink girly but orange not? I do think its funny though that my son always picks the bright clothes, the fun patterns and prints its like he is drawn to them, and for good reason too.

It seems that bright and bold is infectious, it reenergizes and enthuses without much effort! We should be following the example our kids have set with their vibrant colour palette and add a little colour into our lives too. It got me wondering if I added a little splash of brightness into our living space (when we move) would it enthuse and make me more productive? I am not talking about painting every wall orange but why not liven up that neutral beige with printed blinds, home furnishing that pop and a rug that gives your room that extra something.

I have certainly been challenged to embrace a little colour into my life, as my boys reflect their colourful lives back at me, and life with two boys is certainly busy and fun in everyway. Its challenging me now with what I wear and as we look for a new house to think about how we could be decorating it! So what are you going to inject colour into? Lets all get a little bolder with our colour choices, and brighten up our lives to the level our kids are at!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Cunard Mediterranean Bloggers Competition

Love Chic Living and The Swelle Life are running a bloggers competition with Cunard to pick one of Cunard's mediterranean cruise destinations as an inspiration for a Pinterest board that tells the story of that port and has a home interior inspired flare to it. I decided to choose Seville, Spain, its a destination that I have never been too but I would love to see. My initial thoughts were around oranges and Flamenco dancers, we love making marmalade and the only thing you should be using is oranges from Seville and it got me curious about Seville as a place; could this little vibrant orange be reflected in their decoration and interiors too? Having studied dance, Flamenco was going to be top of my list when thinking about Spain, such a passionate dance both in the way it is danced and through the colourful and detailed dresses with which the dancers wear. A beautiful and intriguing portrayal which I tried to capture along with the vibrancy in my Pinterest board:

I chose the images I did because the more I looked, the more I was drawn in by the eclectic patterns and the ornate detail found in their decoration. Patterned tiled floors, vibrant colours, detailing on their staircases, ornate pottery, big oversized wooden furniture mixed in with wicker chairs. When I am coming up with inspiration for decorating I can never quite decide on what I want and the style of Seville seems to fit with my indecisiveness and also my love of mixing different patterns that sit in harmony with one another. I have never seen anything quite so beautiful as the sun streaming in through the patterns creating new shadows and lights that illuminate a space to a new level.

The image below of the The Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, by Jurgen Mayer H. Architects is a fantastic inspiration. This sculptural wooden structure is so intricate to me in its detail and yet it still feels modern and not out of place in the skyline of Seville, still capturing the attention to detail seen across the city. 

The Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, by Jurgen Mayer H. Architects
This Courtyard of Alcazar in Seville is just beautiful in everyway and I love the contrast of the building with the simplicity of the red tile. I can imagine sitting snuggled in the corner of this courtyard reading a good book using the inspiration of this magical place to catapult me into the depths of my book. It seems such a peaceful place despite being surrounded by finite detail.

Courtyard of Alcazar in Seville
Finally I found my eyes gazing upon the beauty of this room in the EME Catedral hotel in Seville. I love the patterned window contrasting with the detail on the chair and the woven circular rug. All working alongside each other in harmony as the lights shines in creating yet more detail and atmosphere. For some it might seem overwhelming but for me it gives me the feeling of vibrancy and peace at the same time. Its that same feeling that I would be searching for in my living room, a harmonious meeting of eclecticness.

EME Catedral Hotel, Seville 

Wow - Seville is such an inviting and inspiring place! I feel in awe of the way they use patterns and such bright vibrant colours both inside and out in harmony with wood, stone and ceramic to root the intricate and delicate patterns that seem to dance before my eyes! I hope you have enjoyed seeing Seville with me, where would you chose as your inspiration?