Friday, 29 August 2014

Find Beauty Friday | Blog link up

For my Find Beauty Friday post this week I thought I’d share a few of my favourite places with you.

Bath is a city I can never tire of – it is packed to the brim with character, charm, history and beauty and sometimes we just drive there for the day from London to walk around and absorb the beautiful surroundings, sights and sounds, imagining what it was like when Jane Austen lived there.

The Roman Baths are both beautiful and fascinating, having been used centuries ago by the Romans:

The world famous beautiful Pulteney Bridge in Bath:

Read all about my visit to Bath Christmas market last year here and a visit to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath here!

Aren’t these pink flamingos just beautiful?  This pic was taken at Frankfurt Zoo when I visited with my daughter:

And finally, Hyde Park in London, on a cold wintry morning – in the mad hustle and bustle of London, Hyde Park is a wonderful place to escape to:

Happy Friday all x
This Darling Day

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Home Decor | Grey and cream colour scheme: yay or nay?

So I’ve been really busy trying to transform our living room from drab to fab.  It’s taken much longer than I anticipated that’s for sure!  What I thought would be a quick re-wallpapering exercise turned out to be stripping the previous wallpaper, discovering half the walls were crumbling beneath so had to get them replastered and sanded, skirting boards stripped, sanded and repainted and an absolute ton of other stuff (changing wall sockets etc)!  Phew!  But we’re nearly there.

Anyway going back to the title of this post.  It’s funny how our tastes change as people.  I would never have considered grey as part of a colour scheme a few years ago (especially in England where grey features quite a lot!).  However, the main reason why grey has to be incorporated as part of our living room colour scheme is because our sofas are grey.  We were really tempted to chuck the sofas and get new ones as part of the living room revamp, however, they are still in tip top condition and are very comfy too so really, that would be wasteful!  So we’ve had to plan the d├ęcor of the room around the grey sofas!  Again we didn’t go out looking for grey sofas, but at the time we really liked the style of these particular ones and the grey looked quite stylish and would also be easy to keep clean.  I say ‘we’ but hubby dearest didn’t like the grey sofas at the time and wanted a white leather corner lounge suite – eek!  Not a chance!  And they certainly wouldn’t be white today with all the traffic we get in our house!

A couple of months ago I read in Harper's Bazaar magazine about someone famous, I forget who now, who lives in a country manor here in England, and painted her living room ‘French grey’ – and it looked fabulous.  Which made me want to try the same with our living room.  The idea was to paint the walls a very light grey (our sofas are charcoal grey, so the light grey would compliment this).  Here’s kind of an example of what I was hoping to achieve in terms of the walls/ sofas:

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Thankfully I gave up on that idea as I realised I risked our living room looking more like a hospital ward or auditorium than a living room!  Grey sofas and grey walls?  Hmmm.  It certainly can be pulled off (as it is in the pic above) but only by a top interior design expert I think!  Grey is a cool colour and it's probably not a great idea to have our living room grey from top to bottom and resemble a fridge when it’s cold (and grey!) enough here in England as it is!  I also didn't feel we had enough light coming in to lighten the room which would make things even more morbid. 
And so I decided to go with the safer option – cream, to balance out the grey.  Ivory to be more precise.  I love the colour ivory as it’s so soft and inviting and luxurious, don't you think?  It’s also a warm colour so it offsets the grey well.  White would be a bit too harsh and clinical with grey in my opinion and look a bit like a doctors’ waiting room?

So I’ve been busy at work wallpapering the walls in ivory, painting the ceiling, skirting and mantelpiece in ivory too.  Not wanting to give up completely on the grey walls, I opted for a grey feature wall – and by feature wall I actually just mean the chimney breast.  And I say ‘I’ opted for it because my husband thought I was crazy and wanted to stick with cream all the way round.  However, the wallpapering is done on the chimney breast now and hubby is very impressed with it J (I learnt from the sofas experience that he'll soon come round to it!). The feature wall breaks up the ivory going all the way round the room too, giving the room a focal point.

In terms of the shade of grey, I love the lighter shades of grey with ivory – it just looks so dreamy and cosy - look at this pic below (only this is back to front, grey walls with cream furniture, but it looks wonderful and I wish we could do this - definitely cream sofas next time!).
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But when I put up a wallpaper swatch in light grey next to the ivory wallpaper, it just looked really washed out and limp for some reason.  The very dark grey (anthracite, it’s called) wallpaper looked much better against the ivory and so we went with that instead.

A few pics that inspired me to go with the grey and cream look:

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The overall look we are aiming for is something simple and inviting but also a teensy bit glam with a touch of art deco to it.  I love the art deco look but don’t want to overdo it and will just have a touch of it here and there – art deco with a modern twist if you like!  Watch this space to see the finished room – which I hope to complete this weekend with some luck (and lots of hard work)!

What do you think of a grey and ivory/ cream colour scheme?

5 tips for a healthier you

I don’t know about you but I find it such a chore to try and make healthy choices and stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to living and eating well.  It’s just so easy to be a couch potato and eat take aways and not very easy to make the effort to exercise and make the right eating choices!  I’ve come up with 5 tips that should be easy to incorporate into your day so that making healthy choices becomes part of your lifestyle and isn’t a chore!

1.          Start the day well with a good breakfast.  I start the day with a bowl of oats washed down with ginger tea and it’s just become a habit now.  Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day so make sure you give your body a boost for the day – and that won’t come from a sugary croissant and cup of coffee!

 2.         Keep healthy snacks to hand.  A couple of hours after my oats I start getting peckish and that’s when the danger comes in as I’m tended to have coffee and biscuits and would often do that.  Instead I’ve got a fruit basket on my desk – I have a banana and perhaps a peach and apricot, and if I’m still hungry I’ll have some nuts.  Sometimes fruit and nuts seem so boring though so you do need to make an effort here!

3.          Get active.  Exercise is really important and according to fitness experts we need between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 times a week.  Sounds like a lot but the trick is incorporating this exercise into your routine.  I walk briskly to and from work, each way being about 30 minutes, so even though I feel bad that I haven’t been the gym or running in ages, I have had some form of exercise.

4.          Eat well.  Yep, easier said than done, eh?  I find it easier again to just incorporate small changes where I can and make it a habit.  So I’ll eat wholegrain bread instead of white, I don’t have sugar in my tea or coffee, I’ll have a salad instead of a pizza when I go out (ok, so that’s rare…!), I stay away from fizzy drinks, having fruit juice or water instead.  So again, even though I’m not following a strict plan or diet, I know I’m making healthier choices as I go about my day.

5.          Drink lots of water.  We should be drinking at least a litre of water every day to stop us getting dehydrated.  I don’t and I really need to!  I struggle with drinking water.  I make up by drinking lots of herbal tea but need to make an effort to drink water.
What else do you do to live a healthier life?