Friday, 21 December 2012

#BYWStudio Christmas Tree

Hi everyone, hope you're all having a suitably festive time. I've definitely got that Friday feeling and will be dashing off shortly to get ready for a party tonight. But, before I do that I wanted to share a few photos of some of the beautiful gifts I was given at the recent Blogging Your Way Studio in Hannover. The goodie bags that Holly put together were ah.mazing - you can read more about all of the treats we received here

Since my husband is away for Christmas this year I didn't really see the point in getting a tree; fake or real. I know, I'm a total Scrooge right?! But I did want to decorate a little corner of the house with something so I put this together using the gifts I received in Hannover. It was really fun messing around with all these bits and bobs and a bit of light relief after packing orders all morning.


The gorgeous porcelain star is from Bertine and I love it! The little heart sweets are also from Bertine.

The "Merry Christmas" masking tape is from Mein Cupcake - I've used some of it on xmas presents and it looks super cute.

See those beautiful porcelain snowflake decorations? Those were given to me as a special gift from my lovely partner in crime Gudy Herder. Gudy is one amazingly talented and inspiring lady! Not only is she a globe-trotting interior stylist (you must, must, must visit her lovely website) but she also writes a beautiful blog called Eclectic Trends. I especially love this video of her in action. We were partners in crime for the #BYWStudio field trip into Hannover and it was so much fun. 


This "Laugh" necklace is from Rice and a nice reminder not to take life too seriously! 

The beautiful  ribbon was a gift from the uber talented Nic Hildebrandt, a textile designer who writes the fabulous Luzia Pimpinella blog.

So here is a little message to my fellow blogerettes. I'm so unbelievably thankful I signed up for the  brilliant and inspiring #BYWStudio Workshop in early December. For me, it was the perfect weekend and I felt so lucky to spend it with a group of inspiring fellow bloggers and to meet our hosts, the wonderful duo Holly Becker and Stefanie Luxat. I know we're all super excited and inspired for the year ahead and I look forward to seeing you all again soon! Much love, xx


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Before & After: Kitchen Table

Well friends, this is long overdue. I was working with a wonderful client back in October (gasp) on updating her kitchen table and I took some photographs to share with you. The client had actually come on one of my furniture painting workshops earlier in the year and wanted to tackle her kitchen table at home. The only problem being it was rather a daunting project to tackle alone. 

The rest of the kitchen and dining area had been recently transformed during an incredible renovation project but the table was left sticking out like a sore thumb. 

I think that is one of the brilliant advantages of painting furniture, you can take something that is still so functional and useful and update it to fit with your new interior design. The client loved the size, shape and proportion of the table so painting it was a total no-brainer. 


This is the table "before" we went to work on it. We used chalk paints as usual, and spent a few hours mixing different colour tones and consistencies to work out which one was best. 


The additional challenge aside from the size was that the table is covered in an oak veneer which was highly varnished. 

Normally, with chalk paints you can paint straight onto any surface, however with this table, we saw the the varnish come through slightly and discolour the lighter tones we mixed. Therefore, we added more grey until we were happy with the dried result.

We worked on the table together for a day and half and I was lucky enough to bring Alfie with me to play with the client's two beautiful golden retrievers. Naturally he made himself at home and I had to share these for my lovely friend Kimberly who is a big AlfiePug fan.


Here are a few stages of the painting progress:


And below is the finished table, as you can see we finished quite late into the evening so the photograph is not great. I think it is a real transformation though and the grey works so well with the blue light shade above.

The client had the really inspired idea to do the legs a darker shade of grey which gave the table a bit of character and depth and worked perfectly with the new design of the kitchen / dining area.


We finished the table with clear wax and polished it up. Waxing such a large surface area evenly is always a challenge students have at the workshop, but I have to say, having two people working side by side definitely helps.

What do you think of the finished result? Have you tried a similar furniture painting project at home? 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Design Twenty

If you're a regular reader you probably know I was in Hannover two weekends ago for the Blogging Your Way Studio Workshop hosted by Holly Becker and Stefanie Luxat. On the Saturday afternoon we visited some lovely interiors stores in Hannover which were super inspiring and just plain gorgeous. The main aim was to find inspiration and different stories around us so that whatever shops and events we visit in whatever city/town/village we're in, we'll find an angle to blog from. It was a really fun exercise, not just because we got to go shopping, but it really made me think about where I live now in England. What's going on there? 

I lived in London for 7 years so I know there is always *so* much going on there, fun parties, great shops, events, trade shows, everything. Oh and it's the centre of the design universe during LDF. I now live (almost, renovation pending) in Blunham, Bedfordshire. Not exactly known for being the design destination of England. But actually, just like in Hannover, there are little gems tucked away that you just need a bit of time to search out. 


When my husband was home for R&R in November, we pootled around Bedford trying to find the coffee shop a friend had recommended. And that's how I found Design Twenty. It's a wonderful shop brimming with mid-century delights tucked away in the newly developed Castle Quay area of Bedford. I've been meaning to blog about Design Twenty for 4 weeks, oh the shame. Another positive effect of the #BYWStudio was getting some focus back in my life. Woot woot, thank you Holly!

Anyway, getting back on track... Design Twenty is run by Andy Nicholls who moved up to Bedfordshire in 2012 having spent the last 10 years running the shop from London. We had such a fun chat about moving out of London and it was such a pleasure talking to him. Hi Andy - I bet you had given up on me, right?!


I particularly loved the Jasper Morrison glo-ball lights (click here to see more images) because they don't cast a shadow and give the most incredible light. 


I was also completely smitten with this lovely range of cushions from the School of Craft, such pretty and delicate designs.


It was really interesting looking through the brilliant selection of design books for sale, I wanted to take them all and start my own little library collection.



I was just so impressed with the carefully curated selection of furniture and accessories available that I had to share it. If any of you readers out there happen to be in Bedford, take a stroll down to the Castle Quay area - there are some really brilliant independent retailers down there, as well as Design Twenty, and it's so worth getting off the high street. I'm so excited to have such a wonderful and inspiring shop right on my doorstep. Let me know what you think if you visit. 

Images: Louisa Blackmore, West Egg

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Video from Hannover || #BYWStudio

Wow, so it turns out the lovely Stefanie Luxat who co-hosted the Blogging Your Way Studio last weekend with Holly Becker, was actually secretly filming us...!

She has put together the most magical video of our weekend at Holly's studio in Hannover. Steffi can add stealth video ninja to her list of talents as no one had a clue what she was up to.

Take a look to see what we got up to, it's beautiful and I love, love, love the music by J. Lang: In Peace, The Love & Happiness Mix (ft. Snowflake).


It makes me smile so much watching it, such happy, happy memories of a weekend spent with such a brilliant, inspiring group of bloggers. Thank you again Holly & Steffi! x 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Postcard from Hannover || #BYWStudio


This last weekend I went to Hannover to take part in the Blogging Your Way Studio Workshop hosted by Holly Becker who of course writes the legendary blog decor8 and Steffi Luxat who writes the wonderful Ohhh...Mhhhh....  blog amongst her many other talents. 

It was a weekend filled with fun, inspiration, know-how, discussion, laughter and support. There were 16 bloggers taking part who were all extraordinarily brilliant at what they do and it was such a pleasure and honour to spend the weekend with them. Guys - I miss you all so much already! We need to organise a reunion asap!

So, for my first blog post about the weekend, I thought I'd send you a postcard from Hannover and  share all the little bits and pieces we got up to. There is so much to share, I thought this would be a good starting point.

Images from left to right...

1. Friday morning, I caught the early flight from Stansted to Hannover. I love flying first thing because the sun rises are always incredible and the clouds just look so serene and perfect. I had my ipod on and listened to the Alt-J album An Awesome Wave which was so relaxing.

2. The goodie bags put together by Holly were so ridiculously exciting, it was like Christmas. Watching everyone open theirs up was such a great feeling, I'm going to do a separate post about all the wonderful gifts inside because there is so much to share! 

3. As recommended by Holly, I stayed at the Sheraton Pelikan hotel in Hannover with the majority of the other bloggers. After the last 6 months trekking between our army quarter and the cottage/barn renovation project, I cannot even describe how wonderful it felt to go and stay in a hotel and just r.e.l.a.x! I loved the lights over the desk area and I might try and get some similar ones for the kitchen in the cottage.

4. We went on a field trip to some of the lovely stores in Hannover and I fell in love with the displays of coloured glassware at Riva Maison. It's inspired me to do something similar with all the antique glass pots and jars I dug up when we were digging the trench at the barn. 

5. Twitter bird cake pops created by the amazing Nina at niner bakes - take a look at her website as she has lots of fun tutorials and tips on baking. 

6. Crazy, super-duper delicious lunch by caterers Onno Heeren and Malte Markert who run Wahre Gaumen Freunde in Hannover. Check out their website and page on facebook, these guys can seriously cook! The delicate flavours and simple, colourful presentation blew us all away. 

7. Snow! I woke up on Sunday morning to find snow falling softly outside. Although I was slightly worried about our flight home in the evening, I have to say it created the most wonderfully cosy feeling at Holly's apartment during the workshop. 

8. I fell in love, love, love with these paper pom poms at Gluecksmoment - a cafe in Hannover that Holly took us to for afternoon tea. Apparently it used to be a butchers so it has all the original tiles inside, the interior design is magical - it felt so wonderful to come in from the cold and relax with mugs of hot chocolate.

9. This bookshelf in Holly's apartment was one of my favourite spots. Everytime I walked past I spotted something new and interesting. I love the way her books are colour coded at the bottom, I have done this with my cookery books at home and it works so well. Holly has collected such a delightful selection of treasures, it is wonderful to see them all displayed around her studio and home. Holly's new book Decorate Workshop which we received in our goodie bags (signed!!) features her home where you can see more detailed images. 

10. Me and my good friend Geraldine from Little Big Bell blog - do take a look at her wonderful blog. It is filled with brilliant, original ideas and inspiration and I was so thrilled when I found out we were both going to Hannover, we had such fun together. This photo was taken at the welcome party at Kaffee Kann Ich which is a super cool little cafe in Hannover. Holly wrote a really lovely blog post about this little gem with accompanying pictures - click here to take a look at her post or check them out via facebook here.

11. Visiting Hannover got me feeling seriously festive and I loved these sacks filled with decorations at Coming Home. They stock a great range of vintage design and industrial furniture and accessories but I'll do a dedicated blog post to their store soon as there is way too much to cover here!

12. Geraldine and I had a lovely time on Friday afternoon wandering around Hannover, it was freezing but walking around really helped us get our bearings. We both fell in love with the store Raumformplan and spent some time chatting to Janin, the lovely lady who runs the store. 

13. Blog angels! I love this picture with Brigee from Little Star blog, Holly from Love, Thomas blog and Dani from And Cute blog. These girls are so talented and inspiring, I miss you all! 

14. Esplanade was a store recommended on Holly's list so Geraldine and I made our way there on Friday afternoon. It was gorgeous, like stepping into a magical winter wonderland filled with beautiful decorations. I wanted all of it! 

15. Well, lastly - you can't go to a German city in December and not see the Christmas markets. Wow, they were so fun! We had some lovely gluhwein in the specially created forest in the middle of the market. Rincy (from A Little Bird) and I felt like we had stepped into wardrobe from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (we only had 1 x gluhwein each I promise!) 

There is so much more to share, but I'll have to break it down into manageable blog posts otherwise I'll be here until Easter.

An amazing weekend, thank you so much Holly & Steffi x x 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Hello / Goodbye...(until next week!)




Hello! Just thought I'd share my exciting news that I'm off tomorrow to Hannover to spend the weekend taking part in the Blogging Your Way Creative Bloggers Studio. Wry smiles all round; I admit my blog posts have been sporadic to say the least recently. I have a feeling though that this weekend is going to focus my mind good and proper and give me a chance to step back and really think about things.

Blogging is one of the bits I love most about West Egg but it's also the one thing I will drop like a hot potato when the schedule gets too full. Hmmm, I'll ponder that this weekend I guess! This is the first break I've had all year, and I am so looking forward to it. We've got an action packed itinerary and I'm really excited about the Christmas markets because I've heard they are amazing.  I'll tell you all about it when I get back. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Louisa x

Image kindly supplied by Holly Becker, decor8blog.com
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