Thursday, 28 July 2016

Whistle Stop Stay in The Dales

For my birthday this year, my hubby to be whisked me off for a surprise night away. I was so excited to have some time together, without the stresses of work and toddlers!
He decided to keep the location a secret, but as I'm a keen detective, I'd guessed it might be Yorkshire, as it was somewhere different than our usual trips to the lakes, but also still near enough to home in case we had a baby emergency. (It's a bit like controlled defiance - yes we'll have fun, but within close proximity!)

On the morning of the trip, I was informed we were going to the rolling countryside and staying in The Yorkshire Dales at the 5 star Yorebridge House. I had no time to google image, before we set off - Mulberry in tow to discover this boutique rural retreat.

It did not disappoint. From the warm welcome to the champagne reception in the garden, it was a truly amazing place. The hotel has been lovingly refurbished into luxury accommodation, split between the main house - formerly a headmasters house and additional school house behind.

We were staying in 'Jasper' a room designed around the owners time spent in Canada. With it's subtle nod to a log cabin, the room was decorated in rich mahogany and taupes, complete with a wooden stags head mounted on the wall and accessed by it's own private staircase. A roll top bath and little additions of Molton Brown toiletries and a jar of homemade cookies made it feel even more special. (they disappeared far too quickly!)

And although the hotel is set within 5 acres of land, the remoteness of the wilderness had been harnessed nicely and there were Smart TV's and wifi in every room - so I could Instagram all my pics in real time (yay!) as staying connected in the countryside is usually a difficult thing to achieve.

We were informed that every room had been influenced by the owners travels around the world and the staff were kind enough to give us a room tour before we left - each room has it's own unique style, with the interiors offering a flavour of far away places, from New York to Africa and many places in-between.

Dinner was scrumptious and offered plates such as Wensleydale lamb and North Sea Halibut. Each course was also beautifully presented, with all the ingredients sourced from local companies and artisans. The attention to detail was incredible - and once they knew we were there celebrating my birthday, the chef sent over a thoughtful little gesture with dessert. Dinner was followed by a stroll around the grounds, which were illuminated with festoon lighting and a little touch of moonlight - there's a reason that this little gem was voted most romantic hotel in the UK.  It was such a magical stay, I hope my prince charming brings me back here soon!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

A Question Of Colour

photo credit: Pinterest

When we first moved to our new house I was so excited to put my 'stamp' on it and start decorating straight away! I remember frantically gathering fabric samples and paint testers - to the point where one of our walls resembled Joseph's technicolor dream coat! Moving house and undertaking redecorating is a fun thing, but looking back I was so keen to do it, I didn't give myself enough breathing space to make an informed decision. After a frenzied paint job in the downstairs loo looked more duck dungeon than duck egg, I decided I needed to reevaluate my approach. A lot of people ask me about colour and it really is such a broad spectrum - pardon the pun!

Here a mix of taupe, white and blush prove that
 pink can be used in a sophisticated way.

I think before you even think about painting and choosing a theme, my advice would be to live in the chosen room for a while and get a true sense of how you use the space, who is in there the most etc and go from there. For example - if the room is somewhere that you relax in and it's a chilled out atmosphere you're after, then zen like greens and blues are cool and serene. Or, if it's a place you work in, like an office - zoning a strong bold colour like red or a burnt orange can sometimes help create a more focused space. Give yourself chance to explore the options, as mistakes can be costly.

Colour is a wonderful way to inject your personality into your home and can be used in so many ways - and whether you're the queen of understated, or craving a more opulent feel, here's my little guide to getting colour to work for you.

I'm a massive fan of crisp white walls, but don't fall into the trap of choosing this colour just because it's classed as a 'safe' option. With white, I tend to like a mix of different shades of whites together, for example white linen, paired with white washed furniture.

White, cream, damson and blush are paired with strong accent
 green vases to emphasise the botanical English garden theme
 of magnolia and hydrangea. 

If the thought of committing to a bold colour is too much, then maybe consider a more subtle way to introduce colour into your home. A great idea can be something as simple as making your own art!  Colour block canvasses hung in succession on a stark wall add a dramatic, but not overwhelming look.  Or You could pick a feature wallpaper and try papering the back of an alcove or bookcase. I have even framed wallpaper before and it's really inexpensive and effective way to add some interest to your wall. 

photo credit: Pinterest

photo credit: Pinterest

Pick statement piece accessories in contrasting colours and pair with more subtle walls. Personally, I  prefer a low key and calm colour code. I have a mix of greys, whites, taupes and ochre in my home. I find these all complement  each other, but at the same time they are different enough that I can accessorise them with bolder colours to give each space an individual look. It's also easier to change a colour scheme when you can switch out your accessories, instead of having to go to the expense of repainting or papering. 

Be brave in one place in your home. Make a nook or small space a statement. I think the ideal space to be bold with decorating choices is a downstairs WC or closet - use bold wallpaper prints, hang unusual art - embrace your inner artist! I have framed and hung all my sons nursery artwork in mine, so eventually it will become his little gallery - it's a real mish mash of colour and those hectic hues are what make it so different and fun in there! If you fancy papering, you may think introducing a big print into a tiny space could make the room feel overstuffed, but it actually has the opposite effect. So instead of having one feature wall, paper all four and create a fab little bijoux room.

photo credit: Pinterest

A range of colours can look amazing together and they don't have to 'match' to look effective. The only rule I tend to stick to is I don't  mix warm and cool tones together. Believe it or not, there is even more than one possible palette for  a neutral room - greys/Taupes/whites are more cooler - or cream, sand and golden tones which are warmer. I tend not to mix these as they will detract from each other instead of pulling your colour scheme together.

Here, taupe is paired with deep grey and natural linen for a simple, 
yet cosy feel.

Adding texture is also a great way to subtly enhance a colour scheme in your room. Incorporate different materials to breathe more depth into a space. I think chrome accessories look great with a strong Jewel coloured wall, or driftwood and glass look great set next to a more relaxed, neutral tone. I have paired concrete vases and doorstops with painted grey furniture and taupe walls in my kitchen and find the texture adds a bit of depth, to same coloured accessories.

We all use colour to express our own personality within our homes and there are so many combinations to choose from - so if you are looking for some inspiration, here are a few classic colour combinations that I think really work!

Teal and peach
Blush and taupe
Chrome and deep blue - (try 'juniper Ash' from The Little Greene Paint Company.)
Stone and cornflower blue
Cement and cerise
Grey and White 

Remember, your house is a representation of YOU - so if you love it, go for it!

photo credit: Pinterest

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