Real Studios: A Sleek, Calming Studio with Lily + Spice Interiors

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It’s been a while since we last brought you a real studio! Today, we are in the studio of Amanda, owner & founder of Lily + Spice Interiors. Amanda is a freelance stylist and wife/blogger/crafter (we love featuring amazing women!). We stumbled upon her Instagram feed and thought we really ought to see more of her living/working space.

Lily + Spice Interiors is an online resource that provides interior decorating services online, at a more affordable budget than hiring a traditional designer/decorator – this also means that no matter where you are in the world, you can consult with Amanda and her team to create a beautiful space of your own. We thought we would pick Amanda’s brains and get some top tips off her for style, managing clutter, and being inspired.

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What inspired the colour scheme of your studio?
I tried to keep with my Lily + Spice colour palette! When we first designed our site we decided on black, white, raspberry and turquoise. So that is what I worked with….of course with pops of silver as that is my go to metallic!

How would you describe your style?
I have always been a big modern and rustic combined lover but have a new found love for more of a Scandinavian style as of late. I really love almost anything!

sheepskin rug

How do you piece together your inspiration for decorating?
The simplest most honest way to answer this would be to say that I follow my eye. When I am working on my client’s designs I get into what I describe to my husband as a ‘zone’ and it all just comes together for me somehow.

Tidy as you go along or have a big clean/tidy every now and then?
I don’t like ‘stuff’ so would say that I tidy as I go, usually!!!! I am also very sentimental especially since having children so I might tend to hold onto more than I should these days – eeep! (Courage & Dash: We hear you!!) 

So… where do you keep all the things that inspire you?
Good one! I have albums on my phone and computer full of favorites and I would also have to say that Pinterest is a keeper of a lot of my inspiration as well. I love this organized way of paperless storing, it is so great!

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How do you deal with a styling/decorating/DIY disaster?
Hmmm, good question. I was going to say that I haven’t had one yet so didn’t know how to reply. BUT I have. Recently. I just kept trying and trying again. Finally got there!

What are some tips you have for design-lovers who are currently renting?
Play with your accessories, add fun pops of colours, move things around often and don’t be afraid to ask the owner if you can paint. I find that paint can make or break a space so why not ask?!

Thanks for showing us round, Amanda!


Images: Efraser Photo (via Lily + Spice Interiors)


Workspace Heaven

Hello there! Sorry for the recent silence. Been busy working and trying to keep in better touch with family, and doing life things. Meanwhile, though, I’ve still had some time to wander back over to Rigby & Mac in Dulwich (they celebrate their 25th birthday this Thursday, we will be there with bells on, no doubt!), and to Smug in Islington for a Sunday morning breakfast involving croissants and shelfies! I only found out what a shelfie was at this event, haha. Pictures soon (oh dear, we are now many posts behind, aren’t we??).

Meanwhile, we bring you another Real Studio from one of our favourite bloggers, Jane Day at Tea with Ruby. She so kindly let us take a peek into her workspace, and it’s dashing and charming all at once! Enjoy (and wrap up warm, brr! Autumn is truly here).xx

Tea with Ruby


I truly am a sit at the kitchen table kind of gal but I do have nick nacks around me that make it all the more pleasant and the coffee pot is close to hand.   I find nothing more depressing than utilitarian standard corporate office furniture all beige, boring and rather ugly.  Being inventive with your home workspace is key, if you have the luxury of a whole room dedicated to daily business lucky you, if not get creative.   Bring your personality into the space and make it yours, it’s amazing what you can achieve with a little imagination.

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If you have space along a wall be it the living room, hall, kitchen or spare bedroom you can create a well styled station that when not in use looks pleasing to the eye.

Work Space

To have a desk under a window is quite a luxury, having natural daylight and…

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Real Studios: Inspiration from Holly Booth Photography’s quirky studio

Most of you probably already know the wonderful Holly Booth – one part stylist, one part photographer, one part quite lovely and talented. If you are a small creative business you need to get Holly on speed dial!


Holly is a commercial photographer, who pretty much specialises in product shots for businesses. Her style is distinctive, which was what led us to want to see her studio. Holly started her photography business in 2010, and has since been featured in various magazines, including Mollie Makes.


Beautiful Derby is the setting for the studio, and is where Holly lives, with her fiancé, Pete, their French bulldog boy, Remi and a tiny, mischievous housecat called Juno. She’s a self-professed fan of documentaries, exploring antique shops in search of treasure (we do too!) and “pretty much anything to do with David Bowie.” Haha! Doesn’t she sound delightful?

We have been kindly allowed to snoop around Holly Booth Photography’s studio, and we really liked spotting quirky items (like the Japanese lucky cat!) that show off Holly’s style and vintage love – inspiring interiors with a dose of fun. Enjoy!

OfficeTour-1 OfficeTour-28 OfficeTour-27  OfficeTour-25 OfficeTour-24 OfficeTour-22 OfficeTour-20 OfficeTour-19 OfficeTour-18 OfficeTour-16 OfficeTour-15 OfficeTour-13 OfficeTour-12  OfficeTour-9  OfficeTour-7

Thanks for having us!

For more Holly Booth Photography inspiration and information about services, visit

Images: Holly Booth

Real Studios: Lobster and Swan

Welcome to August, it’s finally here! Properly summer, things are starting to slow down… (although there’s another hectic week to get through first (i.e. work) before all that…)

We are so excited to take you on a little tour of the gorgeous work space of Jeska Hearne, creative mind behind Lobster & Swan, stylist, entrepreneur, wife, cat-owner, curator for a collection on Joss & Main… the list goes on! Lobster & Swan is on our Blog Loves list (we literally check in every day), and today’s studio visit will probably explain why… Take a look!


Lobster & Swan is one of the UK’s original design blogs, and a culmination of Jeska’s long-cultivated love for interior styling and aged items – items full of story and history (Jeska cites her great grandmother’s old make up, and a moth eaten tutu as some of her dearest belongings, growing up). Jeska studied Graphic Design and Design Communication, which is where her love for aesthetics started to take root.


“The layout was decided by us needing a huge shared desk and placing it against the wall that gets the most light in a chilly north facing room,” Jeska shared, when asked about the inspiration for the room. “We also wanted as much storage as possible for all my craft materials.

“Some days I wish I was just into knitting, then I would only need a basket for my wool and needles!” Ah, we definitely empathise!


The walls of the room were originally going to have wallpaper, but Jeska found it difficult deciding on just one pattern. “We have plain white walls, but these are best for the amount of inspirational paraphernalia we have hanging about!” she explains. “The black painted floor was chosen to mark out a work zone from the rest of the house.”



There were so many things in Jeska’s creative space that we adored, so we had to ask which her favourite items were. Jeska’s favourite pieces are the vintage wooden trolley, a bargain at only £25 from a charity shop and her striking hot pink lamp. “(The trolley) gets wheeled about all the time with my printer or typewriter on top when I need an extra work surface. My other favourite in the room is the hot pink silk shade on the heron table lamp, it is a total over the top extravagance but makes me smile every time turn around and see it!”


Her secret resource is digging around in charity and junk shops, Jeska shares. But, she says, it is getting harder to find true bargains these days. That’s surely a testament to the tastes of the times, where the ‘make do and mend’, upcycling and vintiquing culture has taken off.


“Be brave,” advises Jeska, when asked about her best decorating tip. “Make a decision on some inspiring wallpaper if you really love pattern, don’t be a baby like me,” she says.

“I promise to choose some soon – watch this space!”


We could stay all day in that colourful, light-filled and interesting-objects-filled room! Thanks for having us, Jeska!

For more of Jeska’s crafty, styling musings, and beautiful images, visit

Images: Jeska Hearne

Real Studios: Bright+Cheery Home Studio – Rock Covers Paper

If you are lucky enough to be working from home, you need your workspace to inspire and energise you. Sometimes that’s tough, especially when it’s not your own home and you can’t exactly refit the entire room! You can, however, put wall hangings up, fill your workspace with your favourite items, choose a nice corner of the room for your desk, etc. We hope our real homes/real studios series has been inspiring you, and we’d love for you to send us photos of your spaces, either via email ( or via instagram (@courageanddash), Twittter (@couragedash), or Facebook (

Today, we are visiting the lovely Amanda Barks from paper design house Rock Covers Paper. It has to be said, we were hooked by the logo (we know, so superficial!!!), and after swinging by the website, loved what we saw! Rock Covers Paper is fairly up and coming, and we are excited to see what else Amanda brings us in future… Meanwhile, her cheery studio awaits!


In a quirky little cottage, where the walls and floors aren’t straight, lies Amanda’s bright, light studio. Her room had to be both practical, as well as conducive for creative work (she designs bespoke stationery). Amanda is very lucky to have a window she can work by! The lightness of the room is added to by the white walls and furniture, creating a sense of openness.


“I picked this space because I wanted to work near natural light,” Amanda explains. “It’s got quite a cute view of the village too!” she adds.

When working in her studio, Amanda needs to feel at ease and able to be inspired. She cleverly has her Macbook on a lazy susan so she can move it around easily. “I always have to work out how I feel comfortable when working and the layout of the room just happens naturally – I move about a lot,” says Amanda. “I also always have my sharpies close to hand!”


When we asked Amanda about using colours in her room, she said “I’m obsessed with colour but like quite neutral walls but that’s at the moment, so I like to add my colour with objects I’m in love with – pastel colours mints and peach.”


“I’m not sure what inspires me I think it’s geometric patterns Scandinavian style which is where I like to pick colours from…” she muses.


Filling your space with your favourite items can make a room feel instantly personalised and lived in. Our favourite design tip is that if you don’t like something, it really shouldn’t be there, no matter how trendy! Decorating isn’t like wearing high heels – you don’t have to tolerate it for a good look!

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We asked Amanda to pick some of her favourite items from the room. After some thought, she declared that there were quite a few things that she loved, but her top choices were:

1) d&ad pencil – so much hard work went into getting that!

2) Heidi Kenney doughnut  – he is so soft! he kind of goes everywhere with me in fact he just came and spent 7 months in Canada with me!

3) Carve a stamp kit by yellow owl workshop

4) I love making Pom pom’s and make garlands for everywhere!

5) My reworked invite by Sally as she couldn’t give me a plain one.

6) My moleskin note books that I can only write in with one style of pen I know I’m strange!

7) The Tintin poster is awesome, I love it! My boyfriend/Owen is a massive tintin fan so I kind of twisted his arm to put it up in my studio space.

8) I love love love the blanket on my chair it was made by Owens grandma.

9) And of course my Macs!


Delightful. Just the kind of studio you could be happy to work in, even on a weekend! So jealous about the sweet village (we overlook the railway arches, zzzz…)!

For more of Amanda’s creative work, do visit Rock Covers Paper at


Images: Amanda Barks

Real Studios: Colourful studio down in Hunter Valley! Fizzy Lime

Is everyone surviving this tropical weather we are having in London?? So lovely outside, but so grim on the tube! We are absolutely enjoying the thunderstorms, however. Feels like a treat to have proper lightning and thunder in England, all the while being cuddled up under the duvet. Bliss!

We’ve got our first studio visit lined up today, in Australia’s stunning Hunter Valley region to visit Mel Boyd of Fizzy Lime Creative. We discovered Mel on Instagram, and couldn’t help but want to see more of her colourful designs…

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Mel is an artist, designer, and maker with a background in painting, sculpture, mixed media art & ceramics. Her colourful, woven homewares, featuring wall-hung banners and lampshades are a feature of her work at the moment.

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“I am currently obsessed with all things colourful, geometric & woven!” Mel says. “Fizzy Lime is all about living your life in full colour. From sweet pastels to vibrant brights, you’ll find a whole range of colours & products here to delight you.”

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Mel works from her home studio in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, Australia (it’s not far from Sydney, one of our all time favourite cities!). In between running Fizzy Lime and helping her husband run his painting & decorating business, Mel is also a mother of 3 (2 boys, one girl)… Talk about having a full life!

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The lampshades by Fizzy Lime were what first caught our eyes. The patterns combine modern tones and tribal influences, and bring cheery splashes of colour into your home. We love simple ways to include bright features into rooms, as colour can sometimes be intimidating!

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Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring and cheery workspace with us, Mel! Did you enjoy that tour? We really enjoyed all the mood-lifting shades and inspiration wall. Definitely be awesome today!

For more Fizzy Lime goodness, visit


Images: Mel Boyd