New Year, New me New mindset

January 13th 2017
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this is me surrounded by new love of plants
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.40.45these two are my most favourite people on the planet

My god how are we already in 2017! Can someone please tell me where 2016 went as I seemed to have missed it.

Well I guess there’s no better time than now to say ‘Happy New Year’ and what a year I’m hoping it will be. So I’m going to try not to ramble on and on… hello, have you met me before? It’s safe to say that it’s pretty unlikely I won’t be bending your ear and boring you silly by the end of stupendously long, sorry short, post..

Where to start? At the beginning I guess, never could do the whole long story short thing. I noticed changes in me when I was about 15 years old. Silly things like a constant grumbling tum, dust floating in my eyes and super itchy inner ears and a serious bout of thrush (down below, which I didn’t get looked at till I was 30! I presumed everyone just itched). I ate badly, although I didn’t really see it back then, I got asthma and I smoked. Age 14/15 I started my period and it was pretty painful. Some days I couldn’t move or walk through the pain and when it went away it was common for them not to show for three maybe four months. I don’t know about you that’s not very normal when I look back on it now and obviously I listened when my doctor suggested going on the pill. Then when I was about 22 I was diagnosed with IBS and started getting migraines. Fast forward to 11 years ago, aged about 33, after seeing someone about my back and shoulder pains, from a car accident 9 years previous, she suggested I look at candida. Actually that was a relatively shortened version of the very long story! I’ve impressed myself

So that’s kind of when this journey and realisation that I had ill health for many years since, if not way before, my teens. Being young my body was able to cope much better with my appalling lifestyle and lack of fresh food. All the things I loved where the things my body and the candida craved to keep it thriving inside me. I was a sucker for neat, yes undiluted, vimto… that now makes me cringe so much you wouldn’t believe. Vinegar on everything, I kid you not, fishfingers, mash, beans, sausages, chips. OMG pickled silverskin onions… I hid jars in my wardrobe for gods sake! Sweets… I ate so many and I couldn’t stop, whole boxes of jaffa cakes, handfuls of sweets, fizzy drinks, vimto, tea with 2 sugars… and that was just in a day! I kid you not I ate all that and more and I was stick thin. My dentist always praised me on my teeth. So clearly I was ok! Wasn’t I? I look back on the telling little things I did as a child of 6 or 7 like sneaking things out of the fridge such as mini bounty bars (I liked and still like hard, cold chocolate) and trying to make it look like everything was still there so I was being sneaky about it. Now if my son started to do that alarm bells would be ringing in my head that he’s a sugar addict! I would do practically anything to get a fix when I was a child and into my twenties.

So at 30 I met my husband. He was a fab cook and introduced me to much more interesting food. Although it was better it was still the wrong foods but it steered me on a path of getting a different enjoyment of food. I enjoyed watching him and helping him prep the food and then obviously the eating it bit was the best. It wasn’t long after we married that I was told about the candida and as soon as I got home from the back appointment I researched it on the internet. Now there was no instagram or social media and I had no idea about blogging or anything so I bought a book. It was basic to say the least and the food was initially bland but after about 4 weeks I could really taste the natural flavour in ALL the fresh ingredients I used. It was also at this point that I totally stopped using vinegar and any malt products, I managed to reduce my sugar in tea from 2 teaspoons to 1/2 by using stevia as an initial substitute. This was way back before you could buy stevia in the UK so I had to import it from the USA in a fine granulated form. It was expensive and I hated the aftertaste but it helped me still enjoy some of the things I was used to. I’m trying to remember the food I was eating as it was rather different to what I eat now. It was still milk and cereal but it was shredded wheat and soya milk, quiche with soya milk and veg and cottage cheese, omlettes, salads, meat and veg, no fruit for the first three months. It was a total struggle but it was so worth it. My brain function was clear, my tummy stopped grumbling at me, I had energy like never before and I didn’t get depressed. Sadly it all went to shit when we went to Australia a few months after I started the change. In three weeks I undid all the good work… actually it probably only took 3 days but we were away for three weeks so I didn’t have the opportunity to get back on the wagon quickly enough. A year later we had our son and who has time to look at their own health when you have a small baby. When he was about 3 and at nursery I tried again and did brillaintly… AGAIN! Then I started a college course… the cafeteria sold hot chocomilk…damn that stuff is addictive! Oh and I had a flu jab and felt so crap that I couldn’t do anything for a week so I gave up on my diet! It might sound silly but I gave up easily back then.

28 months ago I decided to seek the help of a professional nutritionist and health coach. Since then my life and food habits have changed again. This time I discovered a totally new set of foods and then happened across Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar book and website. With her help I realised there were other foods I was completely ignoring such a coconut and quinoa, chia seeds and cacao powder. My breakfast has never quite been the same since. Now don’t assume that I don’t eat chocolate or have sweeties occasionally because I would be lying. Remember that I’m a sugar addict and sugar is everywhere and it’s difficult to avoid and takes a great deal of willpower, which I don’t always have. Christmas is the worst for me and this year was the first time I kinda let go and embraced all the goodies that I really shouldn’t be eating… help!!! after eight mints and matchmakers and fruit pies and custard! Yes I could make all of these at home with better ingredients and a lot less sugar but I truly had a crappy end of year and I seriously couldn’t be bothered. Now to be fair I ate far worse on a normal day many years ago so this little bout of not eating what was good for me wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could’ve been. I still made relatively healthy choices through most of the days and just over indulged a little. I can tell you though that I’m now struggling to get back to what made me feel good. The sugar cravings are back as are some of the aches and pains I had in my arm, neck & shoulder and leg but they are nothing compared to what they were.

After the photos is a little more to explain what our 2017 plans are beyond getting back on the good healthy food wagon.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.44.39 breakfast – quinoa, chia and almond milk pudding, natural yoghurt, berries and granola
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.41.22 breakfast ingredients
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.41.59 natural deodrant, toothpaste/polish and face cream
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.42.25 matcha tea
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.42.36 buckwheat pancakes, natural yoghurt and berries
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.43.01 homemade chocolate with raspberries
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.43.29 avocado, banana, cacao mousse
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.43.59coconut balls
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yoga and new mat

Zero Waste

The whole point of this was to share where I am now and the journey I want to take to get to where I want to be. The food and health part co exists with these other ‘radical, ‘crazy’ ideas. Having come across a few articles on zero or minimal waste I’ve looked into this concept and really wanted to start doing my bit. It will be a very slow process and will take time and lots of tricks to help me achieve reducing our household waste from a full size bin bag a week into at least a carrier bag size by the end of 2017. Well that’s my aim anyway. Shopping for fruit and vegetables in a supermarket without any packaging on them is actually more difficult than I first anticipated. Buying produce out of packaging is a sure fire way to make sure you are also eating the right foods for your health and wellbeing too. No more frozen chips or ready meals! I posted this idea to my Instagram account and got a huge and positive reaction to it. It’s really encouraging to hear other people attempting this and sharing their ideas as well as offering their support. I will write mini updates over there as well as sharing the bigger picture of how we are doing here on the blog.

 

Minimalism

The  next thing I want to look at is minimalism. I started decluttering years ago but it’s a difficult process, well it was until I came across the documentary ‘Minimalism’. I’m inspired by these boys, The Minimalists, to just start ridding myself f all the visual clutter and noise that means absolutely nothing to me and gives me no real pleasure. It’s spurred me on to sell, donate and organise far more than I could have ever thought possible. That’s a definite watch this space as I will share with you how I’ve pared back my belonging and wardrobe and how I’ve managed to make money and make more time for myself.

 

Mindfulness

Together with health this is the last item on my list and I think anyone can see how this links up to better diet and lifestyle as well as minimalism and zero waste. I don’t feel like I could do any one of these now without the others because they all impact on one another. Having had low moods and light depression for much of my adult life and anger issues for most of my life I think food has had the biggest impact on changing that for me. I have down days occasionally but nothing like the spirals and mood swings I used to experience. Oh and my period? Yeah, you could set your monthly clock by it now and the pain is just a regular ache like most women would experience. My asthma is controlled less by drugs and I don’t get any migraines and funnily enough I take less painkillers or cold and flu tablets than I’ve taken before. In fact I think I’ve taken maybe 6 nurofen in the last 12 months and that’s it. I’m spending more time reading, relaxing, doing yoga, being mindful and being calm.

All together this is looking like a pretty radical new me but I don’t think the old me really was me. I just struggled to fight against ‘the system’ and ‘the norm’ and maybe that’s because I never felt supported nor strong enough to do it on my own. The realisation that the only person who will and can do the right thing by me and my family is me. It’s not the government, nor the food giants, nor scientists. I have to question more and I have to take my own stance on things if I believe it’s a better choice for my family and not trust that someone else will do this for me. I really want to fight back and I’m choosing to do this my own way so if you feel like following along then welcome aboard. If you’ve managed to read this ramble all the way to the end then I applaud you and thank you immensely for taking some extra time today to listen to my values and ideas to make mine and my families a better future.

Have you made any plans for change this year?

 

Cat x

 

Ham & Jam Coffee

May 28th 2016
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Cafe culture is big. Whether you drink tea or coffee, eat cake or not, we all love a good gathering and meet up and these social meetings usually start in a local coffee shop.

As a family we love going to Manchester and trying new ones that seem to pop up all the time. It’s not always practical however, hot footing it over there, just for a good cup of coffee in a well thought out environment. Luckily for us a great coffee shop has opened in our home town of Preston. It’s a little off the main street but that actually makes it for me as it’s not too overcrowded and you can sit and chill with a brew and your laptop or a daily newspaper.

Ham & Jam is a family owned and run business in a slowly up and coming area of the city and I fondly remember the location as one of my teen haunts on a weekend. Me and my girl friends could while away the hours in Val Murray’s, ‘Alladins cave of makeup’. (blog preston) It sold everything a young girl could dream of when she was just getting that self conscious, talking about boys stage.

 

PHSBH0434-Lancaster-Road-Lord-Street-Preston-1984-630x419Val Murray’s | photo courtesy of blog preston

Anyway I could reminisce for hours but I won’t bore you with all that.

We were attending the local BOB event around the corner, in the old Post Office, a couple of months ago when someone mentioned this new coffee shop. Well we had to check it for ourselves so decided to head there the following day. What a lovely surprise! The coffee they sell is by Atkinsons of Lancaster, which is always good, even though I only ever really drink decaf.

Since we discovered it we make any excuse to head there and it’s especially lovely on a glorious, sunny day.

This is, for me, by far the best cafe in our City and I want to support it as much as possible. I love that it’s a family run independent and they are doing lots of things right. The decor is quite unlike anything else in this City, that I call a pretend City due to how we achieved that status. They have used local furniture designers to make the fixtures and fittings and they haven’t done anything too fussy. No dark brown leather sofas or dodgy looking prints of coffee plantations, just well thought out, simple, stylish pieces. The coffee is perfect and there are usually plenty of very lovely sweet and sticky cakes to choose from. The music could do with a little tweaking but they did suggest that we put a spotify play list together and they would happily play it when we came in.

This place would be even more of a little haven for me if the food was a little more on the ‘healthy’ side. I know that’s a very personal preference but as I’m not supposed to eat pastry or cake (I do let it slide on occasions) and I realise a lot of others have intolerances it would just make it easier for me to frequent this lovely establishment a little more. The tarts were delicious but a more interesting lovely green side salad would have been even better. I’m finding folk who own/run cafes and restaurants are slowly starting to take on board that not all people want bread and pastry and are starting to think a little outside the box. I’m hoping as this little hideaway become more popular, that we’ll see a change of this sort here. I’d love someone to bake a cake or serve a desert where the main ingredients weren’t sugar and flour. I’m secretly hoping and praying they make an avocado cheescake sometime soon and then I shall be telling our friends to get there too.

So really there is very little to complain about and a LOT to love about this place. I can see will will become pretty regular fixtures here.

If you want to learn about the ethos behind Ham & Jam then check out their website and you can follow them on IG, FB and twitter.

Having started a little coffee and chat group with North Folk Gather I’m wondering how many people would like to have a meet up in this great little place?

Is there a favourite family run or independent cafe or restaurant near you that you want to share? Who knows… maybe the North Folk could Gather for a coffee and chat!

Have a glorious weekend and see you soon. x

 

 

real {home} life | Fiona

June 25th 2015
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TTT blog Nor Folk home-RHL

REAL {home} LIFE : 4

I found Fiona through her husbands IG account and I immediately fell in love with her style, work ethic and ability to just do so much! She’s an absolute force to be reckoned with and I would love to have a fifth of the get up and go she has. She has a beautiful home and family and since I started to followed her a few short months ago she has has set up another business, in addition to the design studio she runs with her husband Bobby.

(Sorry I’m a day late with this post as life has just gone mad… back on track for next month though)

If you’re not following Fiona… then why the hell not? Get on over there and click follow and say hi! She’s very lovely.

If you want a little of Fiona’s style then check out the resources at the end of the post.

Fiona lives with her lovely family in a stunning converted Factory.

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All photography by Fiona
TTT blog Nor Folk flat TTT blog Nor Folk living room TTT blog Nor Folk shelfTTT blog Nor Folk white TTT blog Nor Folk bedTTT blog Nor Folk balcony

What part of the World do you live? 

  • I live in Norwich, Norfolk, which is a beautiful cathedral city in the East of England. It’s about 2 hours from London and about half an hour from the sea.                     

Who do you share your home with? 

  • I live with my husband and best friend Bobby, our two year old son and two black cats, Tim and Gareth (who are brothers and named after characters from Ricky Gervais’ The Office).

Tell me a little about you and your family?

  • Quite central to all our lives is new experiences. None of us, and that includes Stanley, are couch potatoes. We loved to travel before Stanley was born and are so looking forward to our first holiday abroad together next month. We are firm believers that travel broadens the mind. 

What sort of space do you have? 

  • Our home is 154sqm with a 28sqm roof terrace. We have a master bedroom that is a mezzaine, the landing to that and our bedroom overlook the open plan living room. Below the mezzaine is a family bathroom and two storage cupboards, as well as three smaller bedrooms. Stanley has one for a playroom and the other is his bedroom. We aren’t opposed to knocking through the walls as he gets older and then having one bigger room. For us it’s not about maximizing the apartment for estate agents valuation, it’s about building a home that meets all our needs as, to us, it’s a forever home.

Can you tell me a little about how you came to buy your home? 

  • We lived on the floor below for a year and had always(!) had our eye on the penthouse apartment. We were lucky enough to have a tip off when our home went on the market and went direct to the owners the same day.

What was it that you first fell in love with?

  • Space and light. The south facing sun trap of a roof terrace was the ultimate cherry on the top!

Can you tell me a little about what makes your home different?

  • The fact it was formally a factory definitely sets it apart from a conventional home. I love that Stanley will tell his friends he lives in a factory when he goes to school. Different is definitely cool.

What’s the best thing about your home?

  • The tranquility. I’m not sure whether that’s due to it being open plan or the height of the roof. For how central it is in the city, it really is peaceful.

What’s the worst in your opinion?

  • The apartment is perfect just the way it is but if I could change one element it would be the 70 odd stairs I have to climb with a sometimes stubborn toddler.

Which room/space is you favourite?

  • If you’d asked me before Christmas, it absolutely would have been the living room but now we’ve had the bedrooms fitted with plywood cupboards, that’s my favourite. Our vision was a ski lodge – we just need the reindeer hide to complete the look.

Tell me a little about your taste/style?

  • I would imagine that’s pretty evident on my Instagram feed but I love Scandinavian design and minimalism. I enjoy wearing black and grey but absolutely love splashes of colour. 

Where do you get your inspiration to decorate and furnish your home in the way you do?

  • I think I just know what I like when I see it. As I get older, I am becoming a lot more decisive. I enjoy reading the obvious magazines like Wallaper and Elle Decoration as well as watching some beautiful feeds on Instagram and finding pins on Pinterest. I love achieving a look for less and then adding a few key pieces.

I know you do a lot of work from home. This has to be a bonus spending time with Stanley and getting the work you need to done. Was it always your intention to have enough room to have an office space as well as comfortable living space? 

  • Until a month ago I was at home and it’s impossible to work with Stanley in the day time, the best I could hope for was to be able to fire a quick email off. I work from our home studio mostly when he’s in bed in the evenings. The studio is our third bedroom. I finally feel that now is a good time for me to work and him to spend time with his grandparents, neither of us were really ready before. 

What is your most prized possession?

  • Oh wow, I really don’t think I have one. I love my family and all of the sentimental things we have chosen to furnish our home with.

How do you fit in family and work and keeping house being a busy mum?

  • I’m not entirely sure, somehow things tick over. Lists are my saviour for reminding me when we run out of things.

What is your favourite shop – Online and bricks and mortar?

  • Gosh, this is a difficult one. When it comes to basics and absolute consistency it would be H&M. Whether you’re in Norwich or Oslo you know what you’re getting and at an incredibly affordable price. Online, I buy from so many wonderful independents but one of my favourites would be the lollipop shoppe I’ve been in both the London and Brighton shop.

Do you buy many magazines and if so which ones would you recommend?

  • Yes I do, although I rarely get the time to read them! Three titles spring to mind: Cereal, Wallpaper and Porter magazine. And my lovely next door neighbour always shares Elle Decoration with me.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone starting out on their journey of furnishing and decorating their new home.

  • Don’t rush into it. Live in the space a while – a lot of costly mistakes can be made by trying to decide your needs before you’ve used and lived in the space. 
  • When you have decided what you want to achieve, think how can you can do the look for less. I don’t mean finding counterfit copies but if, for example, you’ve decided on a string system, have a lateral think and see if you can achieve your own take on it.
  • If you’re in any decision, always start by painting it white, I’m not a lover of magnolia, but I’m a firm believer that if you white wash the walls, it helps free up your mind on colours.

If money was no object, what is the one thing you would change about your home if anything?

  • There’s two elements I still have my heart set on. One taking out the stairs and reversing where you start and finish them – it would free up the landing to have a rain shower under the sky light. And on that thought, I’d also like to have an outdoor shower on our balcony. How lush would that be in the summer?! I still need to look into it though…

What do your friends say about your home?

  • Erm depends on the friend. Some love it and some say they’d struggle to keep it tidy. Just for the record, and Bobby will definitely attest to this, I am by no means tidy, although I am fairly organised. As soon as Stanley is in bed, he sweeps up all the toys and, to be honest, we regularly declutter things in our home.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

  • Our Hay chairs, although we did get a very good deal.

What has been your best DIY achievement?

  • Bobby designed our storage/shelving solution in the living room and a lot of people comment on it. I would say my favourite additions are the suspended Plumens and Boskke sky planters as they add height and depth to the room.

What’s the best thing about living where you do? 

  • We are just on the cusp of the city centre, we’ve got a park on our road, a football ground at the end of it, a train station a couple of streets over and it’s the perfect location for our family to access us from the ring road. From a locality perspective it really couldn’t be any better positioned!

I want to say a huge thank you Fiona for sharing your lovely home and taking the time, which I know is so precious, to answer my many questions. x

If you don’t already follow Fiona you can find her here: instagramblog, pinterest, twitter, facebook

Don’t forget to tune in next month for another Real {home} Life post and if you miss any you can see them all by hitting the REAL {home} LIFE button on the right side bar.

Resources List:

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Hay Boskke | Eames | Ikea | Lucky Boy Sunday | OMM | Plumen

Real {home} life | Andrea

May 27th 2015
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REAL {home} LIFE : 3

Andrea is from my neck of the woods in good old Lancashire, UK. I discovered that she literally lived 5 minutes away from me before she moved with her gorgeous family to the beautiful countryside of France. Andrea used to have a shop selling interesting vintage pieces she’d source locally and also handmade items like the little apple cushion I bought from her which is how we came to discover we would have virtually been neighbours in our younger years.

I’ve been in love with Andrea’s instagram feed because it’s not like everyone else’s. It’s warm, fun, family orientated and most of all full of love. Her feed is just beautiful and I adore what she has done with her homes (they are currently relocating).

If you want a little of Andrea’s style then check out the resources at the end of the post.

Andrea lives with her husband and three beautiful children in rural France (at the moment!).

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All photography by Andrea (edited by Cat of TTT)
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What part of the World do you live in?

  • We live in rural France, pretty much in the centre of the country.

Who do you share your home with?

  • With my husband of nearly nine years and our three wonderful children and our two old collies.

Tell us a little about you and your family?

  • I’m at stay at home mum, still adjusting to life with three children. I never thought it would be so tiring! I have an etsy shop (temporarily closed) where I sell French vintage homewares. Also, I love to be creative, making the children’s clothes and creating with the kids but since Anna was born there never seems enough hours in the day. By 7pm I’m pooped! It’s getting easier so I’ll be back on track with shop and creativity soon. Our two eldest children; Sam 7 and Bella 5 attend the village school and now speak French fluently which sounds so sweet. I’ll never get tired of listening to them. My husband, Scott is a joiner/shop fitter. He runs his own business here which is going really well and hopefully will continue to do so.

How would you describe your taste/style?

  • I don’t seem to follow one specific style. When I buy for the home it’s usually without much thought and more if I like it. Vintage, mid century items are my favourite, all of which I pick up at the charity shop.  I also love the Scandinavian style and simplistic French Blue/grey colours.

Can you tell me a about how you came to stay in your home?

  • We’ve recently sold our old French farmhouse where we lived for nine years and moved into a 1960s home. We live on one level and the children have the converted attic for playing and sleeping. It’s smaller than our old house but much lighter and warmer. It’s actually a temporary situation as we’re soon to be moving to a city apartment. A complete change of life for us!

Where does your inspiration come from to decorate and furnish your home in the way you do?

  • My inspiration comes from many things. From Pinterest, Instagram, magazines and blogs to places I visit for example, friends houses, restaurants, airbnb apartments, shops. I loved our recent trip to Amsterdam as I spent most of the time looking through people’s windows. The Dutch have effortless style.

Does having children influence your decor and if so how?

  • Definitely! Ever since I was pregnant with Sam, I could imagine a house full of children’s paintings and toys. Every room has to include them or their art work. It’s not forever, so I love to make the most of it. We have pieces of furniture with their toys/books in each room for them.

How have you found the transition moving from the UK to rural France?

  • We moved to France before the children were born. We wanted to escape the rat race. My husband had a stressful job and we made the insane decision to sell and leave. We didn’t really research what we could do in France but we dealt everything as it happened. Overall, it’s worked out really well and we’re happy and settled. That’s not to say it’s not been tough and overwhelming. However, after nine years in the countryside, I’m looking forward to city living for a while :)

What is your most prized possession?

  • Hmmmmm, I’m not sure. My sewing machine comes to mind. I couldn’t be without it. On a sentimental note, the precious stone guardian angels my best friend bought for each child and a black and white photo of my nan dancing which I want to blow up into a canvas.

Is there a particular piece or something you have an interesting story about?

  • There is one I shared on Instagram recently. A carved wooden man I found in our last house. It was such a special house in many ways. Owned for more than 100 years by the same French family. They left many belongings including old recipes, photos etc. but the old carved man is pretty special. It’s like my mascot and I’ll take him everywhere we’ll live :)

Do you have a favourite shop – Online or bricks & mortar?

I love a good rummage in a second hand shop and you seem to like the same. Do you often buy something just because you love it or it’s too good a price not to take home or does it have to have a place before you will buy it? 

  • I used to buy anything if I loved it. I now have to restrain myself, especially as we live in a smaller house.
  • I’m looking forward to reopening my etsy shop so I’ll be able to go back to buying what I love, waiting until someone buys it to pass it on.

Do you buy many magazines and if so which ones would you recommend?

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone starting out on their journey of furnishing and decorating their new home.

  • 1. To take your time. Don’t make any rash decisions. Sometime you have to live somewhere a while for ideas to materialise. 2. Do research- pin pin pin! 3. Don’t follow a design or style to the t. A mix of styles or adding your personal touch makes all the difference.

If money was no object what is the one thing you would change about your home if anything?

  • I have a few! change the floors to wood, add velux windows upstairs and add a bath. The children currently have to manage with the shower or baby bath.

What in your opinion is the best thing about your home?

  • The light. There are lots of windows. It’s so nice after living in a dark house for so long. It really does lighten the mood on grey days. However, the amount of windows to clean is not so good.

What do your friends say about your home?

  • They love that it’s light and not as small as I make out. Also, the decision to paint the staircase grey was a good idea. That has made a huge difference to our living room.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

  • I don’t really have an indulgences. Though I do have a potential rug and bed linen buying problem! I’m following several rugs on eBay. But I really can’t justify buying one.

What has been your best DIY achievement?

  • DIY really isn’t my speciality. I’m not to be trusted with a drill even. A hammer is my only tool for putting pictures up and even they fall down. I do paint things a lot but my husband has a real knack of choosing great colours so I leave that part to him.

Thanks Cat for inviting me to be your blog guest. It’s been an honor :) x

Thank you Andrea for sharing your lovely home and for becoming a true friend. x

If you don’t already follow Andrea you can find her here: instagramblog, pinterest

Don’t forget to tune in next month for another Real {home} Life post and if you miss any you can see them all by hitting the REAL {home} LIFE button on the right side bar.

Resources List:

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BESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswy

Habitat | Kanken | Fine Little Day | Tea & Kate | Pia Wallen | Ingela P Arrhenius

real {home} life | Gayle

April 29th 2015
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TTT blog Gayle's home_cover

Welcome to the second instalment of the REAL {home} LIFE posts.

REAL {home} LIFE : 2

This month I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Gayle. I met Gayle on that marvelous app, instagram. I meet the most lovely people over there so I’m very lucky indeed.

If you want a little of Gayle’s style then check out the resources at the end of the post.

Gayle lives in a beautiful Edwardian home which they have been remodelling for a couple of years. The progress is amazing and I for one would love a peek at some before photos! It truly is a stunning work in progress.

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All photography by Gayle (edited by Cat of TTT)

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What part of the World do you live in?

  • Worthing, Sussex.

Who do you share your home with?  

  • My partner, Steve, and our 5 year old daughter Edie.

Tell me a little about you and your family? 

  • Steve is a graphic designer and I am a stay at home Mum, currently setting up my own business selling homewares (watch this space). As a family at weekends we like to go swimming, exploring on the beach, zoo, farms, seeing friends and extended family, also getting on with little DIY projects around the house etc.

Can you tell me a little about how you came to buy your home? 

  • We were renting a house just outside Lewes in East Sussex and when it was time to buy our first family home there wasn’t anything we particularly liked that was within our price range (Lewes prices are crazy). So we started looking further afield and a friend put the idea of Worthing in our minds (she has since moved – to Lewes of all places!!!). We spent lots of weekends looking at houses with a then toddler Edie (no mean feat) but didn’t find anything that grabbed us. We decided we would just carry on renting in Lewes for the time being and look again at a future date, but then I received an email with the details of this house and told Steve we absolutely had to see it. We’d seen nothing at the price that also had so much character. We arranged a viewing and that was it, we were sold, and putting an offer in straight away. We didn’t even go for a second viewing. There was loads of interest and we ended up in a bidding war but I’m like a dog with a bone and I think in the end we got the house by paying £400 more than the other family!

What space do you have?

  • It is a 3 bed Edwardian semi on two floors. One thing that stood out for me was the size of the bedrooms – one large double spanning the width of the front of the house and then two smaller doubles (so no box room).

How would you describe your taste/style?

  • I am really drawn to minimal, modern, Scandinavian style.  I love white walls and simple furniture, I also love typographic prints/graphics. I don’t like anything fussy/chintzy and don’t like too much clutter.  I also like the industrial/warehouse look – things like exposed brick walls, untreated metal work and large open plan spaces.

You are currently renovating your home, which I know takes time, patience and money. Has Instagram influenced you in any of your interior design decisions?

  • For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for interiors (particularly Scandinavian) and I’ve collected interiors magazines for years. Instagram has been really useful/inspirational as well though, as you see evidence of everyday people making interior design decisions which helps you be more brave because you can see it works. I’d say the main way it has influenced me is pushing me more towards monochrome – whilst I have always loved white and grey I definitely used these colours as background for other colours before IG – but now I seem to only add black! I am currently trying to get a bit of balance between some monochrome and some colour!  It’s also opened up some new brands to me and encouraged me to shop more independently.

Where does your inspiration come from to decorate and furnish your home in the way you do?

  • Pinterest, interiors magazines – in fact it was one particular issue of Ideal Home magazine that convinced me to knock our 3 downstairs rooms through to one big space – the house in the magazine was the exact same layout as ours.  I knew I wanted to do some knocking down of walls but was possibly going to keep one room separate.

What is your most prized possession?

  • Not strictly interiors related but I would have to say my photos and videos of Edie. I do also love our “love seat” – bought as one of the first bits of furniture when we first got together, in a lovely shop in Brighton that is sadly no longer -hopefully this will be passed down the generations. I also have a large picture of Twiggy that I’ve owned for years and love but Steve is not hugely keen on it! We are currently coveting some string shelving for our kitchen to replace some IKEA shelving, and I’m sure that will become a prized possession!

Is there a particular piece or something you have an interesting story about?

  • Not particularly as most of our furniture is IKEA!

Do you have a favourite shop – Online and bricks and mortar?

Do you buy many magazines and if so which ones would you recommend?

  • I have subscriptions to both Living Etc and Ideal Home magazine. Occasionally I will buy Grand Designs and Elle Decoration, also my Mum passes on her “Good Homes” to me. Ultimately I am a bit nosey so I love a good look through an interiors magazine! I think Ideal Home is great at showing relatively “normal” people’s homes and also it has floorplans – I am a sucker for a floorpan as I love to look at the pictures and get a sense of how the rooms fit in with the other rooms in the house. Living Etc is definitely very aspirational and guaranteed to make me a little envious at times, but good at showing slightly more daring design.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone starting out on their journey of furnishing and decorating their new home.

  • I would say – try to do one room at a time – this is not a piece of advice I have followed  so every room I go in is unfinished which is annoying!  Also, gather lots of inspiration from magazines, other peoples homes, IG, Pinterest etc and stick to what you love – don’t necessarily just follow the latest trend – go with your gut. Lastly, practice the art of patience (I need to take this advice!!!) and don’t rush into anything – we lived in our house for a year without doing anything drastic, working out how we live as a family, before we knocked all the walls down. Also if you have an idea of a particular piece of furniture you might like, wait until you can afford it – I have made a few mistakes trying to get cheaper alternatives which haven’t worked and have turned out to be a waste of money.

If money was no object what is the one thing you would change about your home if anything?

  • Nothing about the home per se as I think we have made the best of the existing space – in an ideal world I would have extended into the side return and maybe out into the garden by a few metres to have an even bigger kitchen/diner but I don’t think its necessary. I would also love a driveway as parking on our road is a bit rubbish. If we were to move again then a drive would be high up on the priorities list.

What in your opinion is the best thing about your home?

  • That it is so light and bright and open and white. That it has wooden floorboards and fireplaces. That after years and years of renting I have finally got to make my mark on my own home, something I definitely want to do again if money allows.

What do your friends say about your home?

  • It depends on the friend, as if they like floral/fussier decor they generally don’t say anything much!!! I also hear “do you like white?” quite a lot!! Some friends have said that it should be in a magazine which is very kind and most comment on how they like the open plan nature of the downstairs. People do also comment positively on the use of the space under the stairs, that we’ve managed to squeeze a loo, sink, washing machine, and coat/shoe storage space in to.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

  • White floor paint???!!!! We painted our floor 7 times in the end as one brand of white we had used was not white enough!!  I don’t really spend silly amounts on anything as funds don’t allow!

What has been your best DIY achievement?

  • I would say the sanding, filling and painting of all the floorboards countless times. Also the impromptu knocking off plaster in our bedroom to have exposed brick.

Thank you my dear friend for sharing photographs of your beautiful home with us and telling us a bit more about yourself and your style. I love seeing the changes by following you on instagram.

If you don’t already follow Gayle you can find her here: instagrampinterest

I’m really excited to be sharing some lovely real homes with you so be sure to tune in next month for another Real {home} Life post and if you miss any you can see them all by hitting the REAL {home} LIFE button on the right side bar.

Resources List:

IkeaMarimekko | Eames | Lego | Stokke | Jansen&co | Naked Lunge | Habitat | SeventyTree | TKMaxx

Giveaway | Style Me Vintage Home

April 3rd 2015
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Our home | Lucas’ Bedroom

March 31st 2015
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TTT blog Lucas room update 03-2015_08

We have recently been updating my boys bedroom. He’s outgrown a few of the elements and has become a little more involved of late as to what HE wants in HIS bedroom, only fair I guess and it had to come sooner or later! Thankfully he still trusts me enough to give him selections to choose from. He has his own mind but as long as he has certain input he’s happy.

You can see his room before here and here. He went from a cot bed straight into the Ikea Kura cabin bed. It worked brilliantly for him and us but as he’s got older he was getting a little sick of not being able to get out of bed easily. We used to read with him underneath the cabin bed but as we are getting *ahem cough… older… we weren’t finding it so comfy under there any more and then climbing into our bed to read before bedtime became the habit. Then he’d be all cosy in our bed and want to stay there. He’s now almost 8 and getting too heavy to carry him to a cabin bed after he’s alseep. We had a long talk one evening and he tried to explain what he liked about falling asleep in our room. Turns out he didn’t like that when he was led down he couldn’t see much of his room. He also liked being able to see the fairy lights on our fireplace.

I had a good look around different places for a bed but we ended up at Ikea so Lucas could have a wee try to see if he liked the low beds first. We chose the Ikea Flaxa bed and we also bought a new thick mattress. It’s not the best quality construction but it’s suitable for a 7 year old who will probably want a double bed at some point soon! We recently gave the floor a new lick of paint to freshen it up and painted the walls again. We are aiming for a fun but slightly more grown up room. Ikea’s Stuva collection for children is just brilliant so we exchange his pax wardrobe {which he’d had from being a baby in a teeny tiny bedroom in our old house} and his malm drawers {also from being a baby} Feels more coherent and he seems to have far more storage.

Still loving me some vintage, his double desk was getting a little on the low side. Before we got that desk I’d already bought a single one from one of my favourite antique shops. We’d stashed it in the attic until he outgrew the double one. It felt a little too tall when we got it down so I had my wonderful husband saw about 9cm off the bottom of each of the legs. It’s now the perfect height and sits well with his chair

I think all in all we’ve done a fine job between us all. We never really had a ‘baby’ room so it’s been pretty straightforward making the changes.

 

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Real {home} life | Mariela

March 25th 2015
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I’ve been wanting to start a new monthly series since before Christmas but it has taken me until now to get things moving. My aim has been not to rush at getting these done rather plan and organise properly.

The series I wanted to start came from the very first post I did on here about my lovely friend Sarah’s, Archiesboutique, online shop. That was about 18 months ago now and I have always had plans to continue this style of post as well as share some interesting homes that are not straight out of a magazine {but they really should be}. I see beautiful real life family homes daily on instagram and various other forms of social media I use. I really feel it would be wonderful to share those homes here that haven’t necessarily been photographed by a pro or styled by anyone other than the homeowner.

Instagram is one of those places that can either give you fabulous ideas with what to do in your home or can make you blindingly envious as to how perfect anothers home is. I’ve been there and also feel my home is inadequate when it comes to having things completely finished and clutter free. (That’s my current work in progress, trying to get rid of the unwanted excess that clogs up my brain and hinders keeping my home tidy and organised. To be honest I’d have to give away both my son and husband for that to ever happen!!! *insert big smiley, crying face as you don’t know how true to reality that is! Don’t worry no family members will be harmed for getting in the way of perfection. Promise… no really!)

This series will run on the last Wednesday of every month.

                                                       ___________________________________________________ 

 

REAL {home} LIFE : 1

So I wanted to introduce my lovely friend Mariela from One Happy Mess blog. Mariela is one of my longest standing IG friends and she is a very special lady to me. My dream is to have a Starbucks with this lady and have a proper catch up one day that doesn’t consist of IG messages and emails.

If you want a little of Mariela’s style then check out the resources at the end of the post.

Mariela lives in Puerto Rico and she has a beautiful home filled with love and fun.

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All photography by Mariela (edited by Cat of TTT)

Architecture | Preston Bus Station

March 20th 2015
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A couple of weeks ago I got a little nostalgic and decided to drag the whole family to our City Bus Station. Because of where we live, we normally get off the bus at the lower end of the town centre and walk our way up. On this particular day we headed to the City just so I could have a good look around a part of this place I’ve always called home. This fantastic piece of brutalist architecture has been here for over forty years and I probably haven’t stepped foot in it for well over 10!

Photographs are taken with my simple Nikon1 J2.

 

Preston Bus Station is the central bus station in the city of Preston in Lancashire, England. It was built by Ove Arup and Partners in the Brutalist architectural style between 1968 and 1969, to a design by Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson of Building Design Partnership with E. H. Stazicker. The building was threatened with demolition as part of the City Council’s Tithebarn redevelopment project. After two unsuccessful attempts it was granted Grade II listed building status in September 2013.

Information source: Wikipedia

 

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Kids at Made.com

February 27th 2015
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Linas bunk bed

Since I got ‘Home of the Month‘ from Made Unboxed in December I have been following them on Instagram and a few days days ago got a little over excited when I saw they were launching a new series just for children… eeek there goes my bank balance again!

They launched on 25th February and I’ve got to say I’m totally blown away. I’m so gutted I didn’t know this was happening sooner as I would have loved one of the beds pictured below for Lucas.

 

 

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Linus single bed

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The details are beautiful and I would have loved Lucas to have a bunk bed. However, he decided he no longer wanted a cabin bed so I’m pretty sure a bunk bed was out of the question. (darn, darny, darn, darn, darn)

I love made.com and that’s because I have purchased from them in the past and the products have always passed muster and I think they are good value for money too. It takes a little bit of faith on my part as I can’t test out the goods beforehand but they do now have a bricks and mortar showroom that you can head over on to and test out some of the products they sell before committing to a purchase.

I have already placed my order, the Iso bedspread for Lucas’s room, but may be placing another as they have since added a few more items to the collection. This really could be dangerous!!!!

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Iso blanket

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Iso cloud cushion // Iso bed set

TTT blog Lucas Made mask

Also a big thankyou to made for the lovely surprise package. Lucas really loved strutting around in it this morning. x

Have you purchased anything from the made children’s collection?

1 2 3 4

Hi there!

Photographer :: designer :: blogger :: vintage hunter :: wife to @stecaton :: mama to a funny boy ::

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