Christmas with John Lewis and Tree Hilarity

John Lewis asked me if I’d like a new Christmas Tree and £50 of baubles to decorate it with…of COURSE I WOULD!!

Our old artificial tree was bought our first Christmas together as I’m allergic to read trees and after 14 years was looking a bit ropey. Also I had to weigh it down with the Argos catalogue, to stop it falling over every year because it never stood right – so classy!. We were thinking of getting a new tree for this year, when John Lewis’s generous offer came along.

I had the choice of a 6ft, 7ft or a whopping 8ft tree. Now I am bit of a small child when it comes to Christmas and I firmly believe that a tree should be much bigger than me or anyone else in the house. I have childhood memories of 30ft Disney Christmas trees at Disney World and I think I’m always trying to replicate that feeling of being small while the tree is massive!   I measured our ceiling and it’s about 9.5ft high, so I thought that the 8ft tree would be a bit too big, therefore I went for the 7ft tree.

Tree came in no time, and we put it up at the weekend. It’s much, much easier to put up than the old one. That had colours and you had to match the colours with the right bit of the tree – a right old faff. This one you just pull out, slot together and pull out the branches to fluff. So simple, and tree was up in under 10 minutes!

Except, I hadn’t measured right! I hadn’t taken the base into consideration! So it was a wee bit too tall!

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After much laughter and my family, giggling at my inability to measure anything (I do have a track record for buying things way too big!). We took the bottom layer our and the tree was the perfect height! But when I get my imaginary next house with Victorian height ceilings it’s going to look amazing full size!

The baubles are lovely, I ordered mostly gold and red, as that’s pretty much tradition in our house. But I spoilt myself as this year as there are no toddlers or puppies in the house, I chose some glass baubles as well as non-shatterproof ones.   For £50 I managed to get about 60 baubles, 50 non-shatter and then about 10 more expensive glass ornaments and the tree topper.

I think this is my favourite, it makes me smile every time I see it

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Here are a few of my other favourites, a beautiful mercury glass topper

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Shatterproof sparklies!

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Gold glass, just lovely!

 

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Here’s the tree with the decorations on and our lights, it looks very realistic and so pretty!  Thanks so much John Lewis!

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**Full disclosure I received a Christmas Tree and £50 of baubles from John Lewis**

 

 

Upcycling Garden Furniture with Farrow & Ball Paint

Farrow and Ball wanted to know if I’d like to upcycle piece of garden furniture with their exterior paint – OF COURSE!!!

I love Farrow and Ball a little too much, as pretty much the interior of my house is painted in it, Wimborne White is everywhere!. But I’ve never used the exterior paint or primers, so I was excited to be able to try them out.

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I have an ancient Ikea table kicking around in the shed, which has seen better days and we tend to use it for putting BBQ plates and food waiting to be cooked. But it’s really old and is now impossible to clean which isn’t great for BBQ’s. That seemed like the ideal candidate for a makeover.

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I chose Teresa’s Green, which I thought would be a medium duck egg blue which would tie in with the other colours in my garden, yeah it’s not at all.  It’s a beautiful delicate, pale duck egg blue – oops!  But it meant I also chose the wrong primer colour, I should have gone with the one for pale colours and not the dark colours, turns out it didn’t matter that much.

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I didn’t do much (read any!) prep on it, other than brush off some spider webs and stand it up. I then painted it with the Dark Primer – which is a really nice colour, it’s a dark grey which actually looks lovely.  It took me 20 minutes to paint the primer on and I left it while I did the school run to dry in the sun.

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When we got back we sat out in the sunshine and painted on the Teresa’s Green, it actually covered the primer well which was a surprise as it was so pale. It dries really quickly in the sun and I managed to get a second coat on before sundown and left it to try overnight.  That was two days ago and it’s been sitting outside in the autumn elements and this morning it absolutely poured down on it when I left the house. I came home this afternoon and it’s still looks perfect!  According to the can it should last for 6 years, so that’s that table done for a long time.

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I’m so pleased with it, and although I can’t use the left over paint for my laundry door, as it’s too pale for the house. I’m going to use it for my dining room chairs as it’s the perfect pale colour to go with my newly Wimborne White dining room.  Which gives me the excuse to try a new colour on the laundry room door…hmmm which colour..I really like that dark grey!

***Full disclosure – This feature/challenge is brought to you in collaboration with Farrow & Ball***

 

 

{Review} Homebase Soft Furnishings

Homebase asked me if I’d like to try their new soft furnishing range. Originally it was supposed to be a rug, but it turned out that my local store didn’t sell them. So I changed to cushions – which is a good thing! I made a massive decorating error a couple of years ago when we got the new sofa’s.  They are dark grey, it was December and I went mad with festive red. We have a red rug (which I now hate!) and lots of red cushions. It looks amazing in November/December, pretty much looks ridiculous the rest of the year, it’s like the ‘Home Alone’ lounge! I have regretted it ever since, so I was quite pleased to be asked to review cushions. IMG_3071 My ‘local’ Homebase is 15 miles away from my house so it’s not somewhere I pop to on a regular basis. So I was quite surprised when I visited to see it had been made over and is now a very lovely Homebase ‘Design’ Centre. The difference is amazing, it’s gone from looking like somewhere my Dad would love to shop, to somewhere I can browse, rather than rush in buy paint and leave. it’s now full of decorating ideas and helpful staff who can advise on pretty much anything. As a result of the changes, there is now a small home furnishing section which has some cute shabby chic inspired cushions (the knitted ones are fab!) and picture frames, vases and candles (LOVE the owl candles there!) and there is also now a mini Habitat which is now part of the Homebase/Argos group. IMG_3073 They had the loveliest grey cushions, so I snapped up the super cute owl cushion which has enough red in it to go with my other cushions but grey enough to tone down the other red cushions, and a lush silver grey velvet cushion. They’re lovely and the sofa now looks a lot less ‘red’ and festive. IMG_3078 I’m really pleased with them, the lounge still looks snuggly but less…well red!  Thanks Homebase! **Full Disclosure: I received £60 of Homebase vouchers in order to review these cushions**

Ideal Home 2014

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I had an email from the Norwegian company Ekornes who make ‘Stressless’ chairs asking if I’d like to go to the Ideal Home Show and then swing by and see them. I had such a great time last year that I jumped at the chance!  This year I took Paul and Miss L with me…brave as I can’t get them round Sainsbury’s without someone whinging! I was a bit daunted at the idea of dragging them round the show with me but they were up for a challenge!

The Ideal Home show is HUGE honestly it’s really quite overwhelming. Luckily we got there quite early so it wasn’t too crowded and we managed to actually get round two of the prebuilt houses.  In all honesty, I really didn’t like the ‘multigenerational’ house. I didn’t see anything ‘multigenerational’ about it other than a second lounge area – big deal! There was no ground floor living accommodation for older people and no separate living space for 20 something kids. But the decoration was nice, and they did their best with what was quite a poky house with an obsession with wetrooms.

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However the second house we went round was much better. It was a 1920’s style ‘Arts and Crafts’ house which I loved even of they did go a bit mad with plaid and wallpaper. It was beautiful and I’m coveting the kitchen and dining room, not to mention a laundry area – love the tiles on the floor, you can just see them top right photo.

20140318-090618.jpgSadly by the time we got to the spectacular looking ‘tree house’ the queue to get in was an hour long so we decided not to bother and admire it from the outside. The queues on the other houses were equally as long sadly, so we didn’t get to see those either. Next time I’m going to try and get there as the place opens!

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The gardens were gorgeous though, and done by students at various horticultural collages. They did a brilliant job and I love the little gravel garden below. Fantastic if you have a really small garden where you want easy maintenance.  The garden with the metal framework was mine and Miss L’s favourite – imagine that with a clematis or rose covering it – gorgeous!!

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Ektornes, kindly gave us some spending money to treat ourselves with. So after dragging Miss L away from the Bongo’s she wanted – eek!  We bought a wine holder for the garden, you can pop a bottle of wine in the middle and then the glasses around it to carry down the garden.  I then spotted a fab pair of herb scissors, great to use with my newly planted herb pots and at the same stall snagged an outdoor salt, pepper and oil set – also for the garden. You can tell it’s spring can’t you?

There is so much to see at the show, I found it handy to snap a picture of something you liked or was inspired by just for a visual memory, I’d never remember half the stuff I saw otherwise! In the photo below are the things I loved at the show –  the perfect front door down to the right colour for my house, a smeg induction range (now on the list of things for the new kitchen!), a built in pantry – swoon! I’ll try and get that in the new kitchen when we decide on how to plan it. Last but no means least and super luxe outdoor room – I’ll never ever have one but it’s nice to dream!

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After 5 hours of walking round, we headed back to the Stressless stand and took full advantage of having a sit in their super comfortable chairs and putting our feet up, as you can see I look just a bit exhausted!

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But I wasn’t too exhausted to notice their new range of chairs. My Dad has a stressless chair and it’s one of those chairs that is insanely comfy but well…not too pretty IMHO. However they had a new range there which is based on an old design which is just gorgeous. They had it there in Orange but I saw leather samples in Raspberry, Red, and a few other cool looking colours.  But the stand was really crowded so I couldn’t get a decent shot of the chairs, so I’ve asked the PR for a few images so you can see them better, I’ll add them to this post when I get them.

All in all it was a great day out!

Update! Here are the pictures from the PR (mine were awful!). I’d love one of these as an office chair to read in or to work from.

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**Full Disclosure – Ektornes paid for tickets, travel and gave me some spending money to buy some nice bits and bobs**

Valspar Paint at B&Q

When I was down in London at the Spring B&Q show in the bottom of my goodie bag was a voucher for their new Valspar paint range, which I think has launched recently. They have ready mixed paint in every colour you can imagine or you can take something with you for them to scan and match the colour, which is massively handy if you have wallpaper you want to match in someway.

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Miss L’s bedroom has been the same shade of Farrow & Ball pink since she was 8 months old and now she’s 11, we thought it was time for a change.  We had a chat and we’ve done a Pinterest mood board for her room and thankfully a lot of the colours she has in her room already pink, white and purple do seem to tie in with the new blue she likes.

Follow Liz’s board Tween Bedroom Makeover Moodboard on Pinterest.

She really wanted a similar duck egg blue to that of her school jumper, which in turn takes the colour from the ceiling paintings in Ely Cathedral. The picture below isn’t brilliant but does show the beautiful shade of duck egg used when the ceiling was restored in 1858.

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Luckily we spotted a pair of curtains almost the exact right shade in Ikea last trip, so I didn’t need to take some cathedral ceiling in to be scanned.  Not all the B&Q’s have the scanning yet so check the website to see if your local store does it.  I popped into the Bury St Edmunds store and the guy duly scanned my curtains.  The colour came up on the computer screen and it was a totally different dark blue on the screen which freaked me out a bit – see the top right of the computer screen below?.

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I thought ‘well it’s free paint and I can always use it somewhere?’. However I needn’t have worried, when it was mixed – Matt Finish Primer and Colour – it was a perfect match to the curtains.

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The fun thing is you can name the paint you’ve had create. Our’s is ‘Lily Blue’ and it’s stored in their database and you can re-order it from any store in the country. Very handy if you’re moving or you need some more of the paint.

I’m really looking forward to using it. I think we’re going to team it with white, not sure if it’s just going to be a feature wall or I’ll do more walls in it? She has mock SATs next week so I’ll paint the week after and make a more grown up room for her.  I look forward to showing it all to you when it’s done and letting you know how the paint performed.

 

**Full Disclosure I got a free can of paint, sadly no more meringues*