Archive | November, 2011

Wish list: The Original Pop Up Shop

30 Nov

What do you do with an ice cream parlour in the depths of the British winter? Open a pop-up Christmas shop of course!

The Original Pop Up Shop is the brainchild of interiors stylist Louise Rastall and sees her family switch ice cream for icicles (boom boom) by turning their shop into a Christmas wonderland selling trees, wreaths and decorations. The latter are available online too. Here are a few of my favourites…

Felted acorn garland, £15.95

Isn’t it funny how you never seem to know how much you need a string of felt acorns until you see one?

Red robin linen napkins, £44/4

These napkins aren’t so overly Christmassy that you couldn’t use them at other times of year too (loving the simple bobble trim napkin ring idea too Louise!)

Baking tin candle holder, £6.30/2

The Scandi-style candle holders would look really pretty dotted down the centre of the Christmas dinner table.

Handmade with love gift tags, £2/8

Every year I decide I’m going to make all my Christmas presents by hand. Usually I fail miserably and there’s still no way I’ll manage to make them all but I have got a few craft projects on the go – these tags would be the perfect finishing touch.

If you’re in the Newark area you can find directions here or start filling your present sack online.


The art of repetition

28 Nov

My very first blog post for Decorator’s Notebook was about my plans for a picture wall in my hallway. Eventually I want to get around to framing up some old black and white family photos and mixing in bits and pieces of ephemera and other vintage crip-crap that I’ve gathered over the years in an artistic jumble of images, shapes and sizes.

But there’s another kind of picture wall that’s been catching my eye recently. One that appeals to my inner organiser.

{via Desire to Inspire}

There’s something so pleasing about a themed display and I love how the repeated nude image pulls together all the various shapes, sizes and colours and frame styles. It’s an old design trick, but by keeping one element of a design the same you can vary all the others almost endlessly without losing the coherence of the overall look.

I did a life drawing evening class here a couple of years ago and but I have a feeling my sketches went astray in one of my house moves. I’m thinking a group of nudey ladies would look fab above my roll-top bath?


If nudes aren’t your thing, how about this floral-tastic picture wall instead? I flip past flowery prints like this all the time in charity shops, but grouped together even the naff ones start to look great. I even love how the frames aren’t hung straight… get something wrong with enough conviction and somehow you can get away with it!

{Better Homes & Gardens / Jennifer Lynne}

I used to adore these when I was little (and it appears the designs haven’t changed in 27 years) but who knew the humble paint-by-numbers could look so damned cool? It’s probably a bit sad to start doing them again as a grown woman but perhaps I could pay a few Cubs and Brownies to paint some for me… do they do ‘bob-a-job’ week anymore?

F is for Festive Foliage

25 Nov

I’m heading back to the Westcountry for Christmas this year so won’t be getting a tree for Le Flat. But that doesn’t mean I plan to miss out on the festive scent of pine and eucalyptus and the warm glow of red berries. I feel Christmassy just looking at these lovely foliage ideas…

{The Haystack Needle via Pinterest}

{Nichole Heady via Pinterest}

{Crush Cul de Sac via Pinterest}

{Better Homes & Gardens via Pinterest}

{Tinkered Treasures via Pinterest}

Don’t forget, you can follow my pick of the best interiors ideas and inspiration every day by following Decorator’s Notebook on Pinterest. Have a lovely weekend!

Movember for girls

24 Nov

There are rather a lot of dashing mustachioed* men wending their way around London town at the moment.

Not that I’ve been looking…

If you’re feeling left out ladies, how about getting your own little floral number?

{via Pinterest}

Simply print, cut out and voila!

* this is an actual word, which makes the whole thing even more brilliant in my opinion.

Decorate with sugar and spice

23 Nov

I’m not really into ‘themed’ rooms but I do have a couple of Moroccan-style bits at home, like this carved screen and one of these leather pouffes. I love the juxtapositions that define this look: spicy accents against sugar-white walls and elaborate geometric patterns in pared-back, clutter-free rooms. I haven’t been to Morocco (yet!) but when I do, I’d love to stay here at the P’tit Habibi Riad in Marrakesh.

Yes folks, that’s another shimmery Moroccan wedding blanket. And no, I haven’t saved up enough to buy one for myself yet. One day!

{all Riad P’tit Habibi via Travel Files}

There are only four rooms in the Riad and all have been individually decorated. I especially love the beautifully hand-painted woodwork in each one. Reproducing the trailing motifs at home would be way beyond my skill level but it would be easy to add a similar pattern with a beautiful wallpaper like this one from Zoffany or fabric like the Amanpuri design from Sanderson.

Blue, blue, electric blue. That’s not the colour of my room

22 Nov

Ok, so I am susceptible to the occasional decorating dilemma. But this one thing I know for sure:

I don’t like blue.

Oh no siree.

Hang on, what’s that?

You’ve got some beautiful blue rooms to show me? Rooms full of atmosphere and character in rich navy and teal tones? And I’ll definitely love them and change my mind about blue forever?

Nah. Never. Not me. Uh uh.

{via Apartment Therapy}

{via Trendey}

{Virginia MacDonald via Desire to Inspire}

{via Trendey}

Ah, it’s such a nice feeling to be a girl who knows her mind.

Before & After: my kitchen

21 Nov

After last week’s wobble about my home and all your comments and tweets I promised you a few more peeks of Le Flat here at Decorator’s Notebook. So, let’s kick things off with the heart of the home shall we?

It’s a particularly appropriate place to start because this time last year I had no kitchen at all and I was re-heating sorry looking ready meals in a dust coated microwave on the dining table.

So, without any further ado, let me present the ‘before’ in all its glory.


Note the TOWIE toned pine cupboard doors, poxy small wall units and grimy tiles. When I first moved in I spent an hour scrubbing the grease stains off those tiles before I realised it was actually supposed to be a design! But the very worst thing about the kitchen was that it was so dark. When the building was split into flats in the ’80s the developer carved the kitchen out from the living room with a stud wall leaving a dingy, windowless room. From the moment I viewed the flat I knew the wall had to go.


Ahhh, so much better! I needed to do the kitchen on a seriously tight budget, so I chose simple Abstrakt white gloss units from IKEA and kept the appliances in the same positions as they were before so I didn’t have to spend money on getting the gas, electrical and plumbing points changed. But best of all… NO WALL! I know some people aren’t keen on open plan kitchens but the whole space is now filled with natural light and it’s really sociable. When I had friends to dinner before, I’d be stuck in the kitchen behind this…


Now, I can chat away to my heart’s content… the half-height wall divides the space enough without the kitchen feeling cut off and the folding screen hides the mess around the sink.


{all Decorator’s Notebook}

I’ve really enjoyed putting together this post… digging out those hideous ‘before’ pictures has reminded me how far I’ve come. Aw, I love my little flat!

Friday, I’m in love…

18 Nov

… with this lovely recycled sari ribbon – use it to spice up simple brown paper for festive gift wrap with a conscience

… with this feminine home in Uruguay (of all places)

… with turning a plain pony into a beautiful bow

… with these good-enough-to-eat photos of wintery comfort food

… with trying out swing dancing here tomorrow – I only wish I had these amazing vintage shoes to wear


Christmas crafting: easy clay decorations

17 Nov

I asked my followers on Twitter whether it was too early to start blogging about Christmas.

And the answer was “no”… hooray!

I’m definitely going to try making some of these hanging decorations (designed by Sania Pell) this year. They’d be lovely on the tree, but would also make extra special gift tags… perhaps tied to a bottle of homemade sloe gin?

Apparently they’re really easy to make using air-drying clay. I hadn’t heard of it before but it’s inexpensive and widely available in art shops and on Amazon. All you have to do is roll and cut it out, then emboss it using rubber stamps while it’s still wet or print on letters with ink once it’s dried.

{all Sania Pell}

Finish the decorations off with a length of baker’s twine or (my favourite) a scrap of Liberty print fabric and voila! I’m off to order some magic clay now and will let you know how I get on. Now I’ve started on Christmas there will be no stopping me, so keep an eye on the Christmas category in the sidebar for lots more ideas in the run up to the big day!

Mint ride, innit

16 Nov

Don’t worry, fair readers, I’m not getting down with the kids.

But it’s definitely mint.

And you’ll need a mint to buy one too – it’s an eye-watering $2,200 from US Anthropologie.

Dat’s bling-bling, fo sho.

%d bloggers like this: