SAYING IT WITH FLOWERS

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Throughout my home there is one thing you can’t fail to notice … my use of florals. Big and bold or small and ditsy, I use gloriously colourful blooms to tie each room together.

Every space in my home is filled with flower paintings, patchwork throws, barkcloth cushions or feature wallpaper that burst with an array of roses, hydrangeas, primulas and pansies. Some date back as far as the Victorian era, but there’s a few sneaky Cath Kidston favourites in there too.

For me, flowers bring a real beauty to a home, adding instant bursts of colour and interest. It doesn’t matter how grey and dank it is outside, inside it’s always summer! I like to mix different shapes, patterns and textures – just think how wonderful a traditional cottage garden looks, filled with a mix of delphiniums, foxgloves, hollyhocks and lupins.

To get the look in your own home, start by grouping similar items together – a selection of Vernon Ward prints or a collection of different sized jugs , for example – that create a real floral focal point. Then layer different textures and patterns using cushions and throws. One of my favourite piece in my home is probably my giant 1930s rug that completely fills my lounge. It was the perfect finishing touch to a room that was already blooming!

To be honest, I don’t worry if all my floral pieces are the same style, time period or colour; I figure that if I love them all, they’ll somehow go with each other. It’s very much a feminine home, without, I hope, being too girly.

 

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BEING BOLD AND USING COLOUR

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As someone who literally lives in “fashion black” the fact that my home is a riot of colour can come as a bit of a surprise. But each room bursts with a vibrant palette of blues, greens, reds and yellows. And yes, it all happens by accident.

As a vintage collector I have, over the last decade, filled my home with treasures unearthed at car boot sales, flea markets and charity shops. Because so many of these finds are different colours, inevitably my rooms became a mass of rainbow brights.

So when I decorate, I don’t have a specific colour theme in mind. I don’t think “I’m going to have a blue bedroom or a green kitchen” and I don’t chose a wall colour because it matches a painting or a sofa. Instead I build a room around my favourite pieces and just throw them all in together. If something doesn’t quite work then I’ll try it in a different room.

I do like to have pops of the same colour around the room. For example, in my bedroom a wonderful 1950s chest of drawers, picture frame and a duvet cover in yellow help draw your eye around the space.

I know so many people are afraid to use bright and bold colours in their home, but painting a feature wall in a fabulous deep blue, or kitchen units in a playful red add instant interest to. And let’s face it, if it’s only a tin of paint it didn’t set you back too much money and you can easily cover with something a little “our there” it if you hate the results!

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Car booting: My top tips


Any vintage-hunter worth their Pareek china tea set will swear by a good car boot sale. It doesn’t take long to discover the best boot sales in your area, the kind of sellers to look out for and the best buys. For newbies though, this type of bargain hunting can be intimidating, so here’s my top tips on unearthing those treasures.

1: The early bird catches the best buys: Car boots start early, I mean 6am early, and that’s when they very best bargains get snapped up. Set the alarm, get their bright and early, grab your trolley and carrier bags and you’ll be reap the rewards.

2: Have an idea what you’re after: Every rooky vintage buyer makes the same mistake … We have all bought things we didn’t really want. I have a shed full of tea sets, cup and saucers and glassware that I really should’ve left behind. If you think you can use or display it, buy it. If you’re tempted just because its cheap, then back away.


3: Dealers often charge more: Professional car boot sellers can always sell their wares the following week, so look out for people who have had a good clear out (especially if they’ve had a good clear out of their gran’s home!).

4: Take lots of change: Paying for a 20p find with a £20 note won’t win you any friends. Have plenty of coins and you’ll be a very welcome buyer.

5: Do haggle: Don’t be afraid to make an offer, especially if you’re buying more than one item. Be polite and haggle with a big smile on your face and you’re more likely to get the price your want.

6: Have a good mooch: You can spot the serious car boot buyers, they’ll be the ones on their knees digging through boxes and bags. If you spot something your fancy, do check for chips or cracks.

Enjoy your bargain hunting and do let me know your favourite finds. If you need some inspiration then here’s just a few of the items I picked up this weekend … All for less than a tenner!

My changing home … part 1

Our homes go through so many changes over time. Maybe the arrival of kids means toys, toys, toys everywhere (and the inevitable ‘storage solutions’); or perhaps you’ve had a new kitchen fitted and want to update you style.

My own house goes through changes simply because I love experimenting. Rarely a week goes by when I’ve not got a pot of paint in hand and am wandering room to room planning what I’ll do next.

Whether it’s to distress a shelf, update your units or create a feature wall, you can make easy changes to any room in your home, and it often only takes a couple of hours.

Here’s one of my rooms that I can never resist giving a facelift … my kitchen. Over the last year I’ve painted the base units blue, green, red, teal  and back to blue again. I love all five looks and there’s no telling what I’ll try next. I don’t opt for expensive chalk paints (I don’t find the range of colours that impressive) and instead use good ol’ emulsion. I often mix leftover colours together to achieve a desired shade.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with colour. After all, what’s the worse that can happen. You can just paint over it again!