Styling Your Bedside Table: 5 Tips


A year and a half ago, I married the love of my life. We are so different, which is great because we balance each other out, but sometimes, as one would expect, those opposites can lead to tension!

One of the things I anticipated before our marriage was a clash in decorating choices. Mr M is more of the Scandinavian, minimalist school of thought, while I am more of the quirky, cosy (cluttered?) school. I remember asking (worriedly) before we got married if he expected to have much creative direction at home, to which his answer (worryingly) was yes. Thankfully, because we are renters, we haven’t had much freedom to redecorate, so many of our design differences have been avoided! And credit where it’s due, Mr. M has been rather indulgent of my styling ideas.

One weekend, while Mr M was out, I took it upon myself to style his (sparse) bedside table. It is usually bare, save his radio clock and cufflink box, so I gathered some props from around the flat to style his table with. I also wanted to give him a cute elephant letterpress card which I had found + framed – bit soppy, but it says “Grow old along with me – The best is yet to be.” What better way to give that than a styled bedside table? Also, as renters, styling is often the only (if not, main) way of expressing our creative tastes and preferences.


I really wanted to incorporate bright colours in the vignette, but with hindsight I’m not sure a pot of cacti is the smartest thing to put on a bedside table. It was within unsafe distance of the flailing about in the dark for the alarm clock or bottle of water zone! Here are my top 5 tips for styling your table:

1. Use items of varying heights – this helps draw your eye around the scene and gives the setup different points of interest. You can stack items at different levels if all your props are the same height.

2. Don’t be scared of colour – It’s difficult to go wrong with colour especially if you are starting with a white base. If you are starting with dark wood (e.g. mahogany) then choose lighter colours, or go monochrome. If you are using a yellower wood (e.g. maple or pine) then choose bright colours with more blue(ish) tones in them.

3. Pick a few things to focus on otherwise it can get cluttered – I wanted the table to look casual yet stylish, so I had to choose what I wanted on it, rather than include all the props I had gathered. It’s always a battle to know when to say enough, but my rough rule of thumb is that I need to have enough clear surface for an iPhone 6 and a glass of water.

4. Include a couple of quirky items – My little deer antler is probably one of my favourite things; I bought it off a retired search & rescue airman who makes walking sticks out of old antlers. Interesting items (even small ones) add a bit of fun and personality to the vignette.

5. You can’t go wrong with books – especially pretty books. If you are stuck for ideas, use books to add colour, height, focal points… The books can be in varying sizes and be a range of coffee table picture books or actual novels you are reading. A stack of books always looks trendy and makes you look learned 😉

Do share images of your styled bedside table/bedroom surfaces with us on Instagram, @courageanddash!

Styling/Images: Courage & Dash


The Curious Shop: Ink + Thread


Eeek! We are so excited to share this AMAZING shop we have just discovered. Well, we haven’t just discovered it, per se…. We’ve been following their Instagram profile, and after a while of fan-girling, finally asked to have them on the blog, and here they are: Ink & Thread!

Ink & Thread was opened by Emily Baker in November 2011 in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. The idea was to have a store that stocked the best of British made things that were both useful and good-looking. To be honest, that does go back to the bones of British products – design with purpose.


“I’m very proud that we only stock items made in the UK – we have an ever growing range of design items from fantastic, small creative companies,” Emily tells us. Emily has always had a love for interiors and design, which comes through in her store layout and the items she has chosen to stock.


“I wanted to showcase and support all the fantastic independent makers out there who care about great design, and not just that, they care about how and where their products are made. Every item in the shop has a story.” We love that!


We absolutely adore the fun and colourful products – the shop has such a lively feel, and it’s pretty clear that Emily has an excellent eye for curating collections.


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For more British-made goodies, visit Ink & Thread at:
No. 28 The Strand, Derby, DE1 1BE |
(Images: Holly Booth, via Ink & Thread)

Splashes of colour: Blogtacular Photowalk on the Southbank


Last Saturday (how has it already been a week??), I attended Blogtacular and managed to get a place on the photowalk. For those of you that don’t know Blogtacular, it’s a pretty inspiring conference with various workshops and talks on things like social media and styling. It was my first time attending, and it was a ton of fun.

The photowalk, led by Xanthe Burkley and Sammee Lapham, took place before the conference; so while most sensible people would have still been having a Saturday lie-in, we were out and about snapping photos on the Southbank. Although the photowalk was in a place that is very familiar to me (we live c.10 minutes away), it was a real treat to have the place to ourselves and take pictures without the rest of the world photobombing! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the riverside quite that quiet, to be honest…


I’m trying to get better with colour – i.e. be less scared of it, use it more, embrace it – and to try out different ways of building it into my photographs. It wasn’t too hard on the Saturday, thanks to the ever-stylish bloggers and plenty of balloons! Was great getting to meet so many creative brains and fun personalities.


Celebrations and all.

Hello! Now that we are over the January blues, it’s time to look forward to the many exciting things around the corner – travel, birthdays, more travel… Meanwhile, here to brighten up the start of your week, is our favourite party supplier, Confetti & Co.


Amy is part-time high-flying executive (she used to be at advertising agency Wasserman + Partners and just moved to a branding role at Kit and Ace), part-time small business owner of Confetti & Co. Within about 1.5 years of starting the business, she got 10,000 followers on her IG feed, and has been featured on 100 Layer Cake, The Knot, Style Me Pretty… It’s easy to see why Amy’s venture has grown so quickly – her styled shoots, product offerings and bright, airy website are filled with pretty details and pops of colour. “Party” at Confetti & Co. equals stylish, grown-up details – you won’t find tacky, childish supplies here. Polka dots, ombre, layers of tissue, metallic balloons… a real treat and plenty of inspiration for your next celebration. It’s a shame they aren’t in the UK!



Images: Confetti & Co.

Real Homes: Inside the home of a photographer… Cristina Colli

Cristina Colli‘s photography is simply breath-taking. We find ourselves suddenly noticing that our mouths have been hanging open in awe every time we see her pictures. They are full of vigour, as if the image is the last thing your mind registered before you turned away and found another distraction. Brilliant.

Naturally, we were incredibly curious about the home of such a talented photography with a keen eye for composition, colour and lighting. We amused ourselves with speculations about her home: would it be entirely opposite to her style of photography and be broody and moody? Would it be ultra modern and sleek, showcasing a much more sophisticated and chic edge that her photos hint at? Or what if she lived in a Hello Kitty Palace type abode?? Eek! (Nothing wrong with a Hello Kitty Palace-style home, btw. Whatever floats your boat!)

Today we get to lay all those curiosities to rest, as we pop round Cristina’s and visit her airy, minimalist home. We want to discuss it all with you but shall control ourselves and let you have a chance to see her home first!


“I’m a still life stylist and photographer specialising in commercial, editorial, and floral photography. I also sell prints of some of my vignettes as wall art. On my Instagram account, I share an iPhone still life, mainly of flowers, every morning from Monday to Saturday, to wish all my followers a happy day 🙂


“I love white interiors, airy and uncluttered, clean lines, and a mix of contemporary and vintage furniture. I also like to have some wooden pieces, like our antique dining chairs, or the reclaimed wood coffee table, to add warmth and texture.


“I use colours as accents. Having a white “base”, so to speak, makes it very easy to change the mood of an interior. Changing cushions and throws can make a room look completely different, and it’s an easy way to revamp a space.


“I’d love to have a whitewashed wooden floor throughout the house, but we are renting so we had to make do with the existing carpet and slate tiles (Courage & Dash: we feel your pain!!). I have a background in interior design, and I guess that helped me decorate the house even though I was limited in what I could do.

“We asked permission to paint the rooms white (it was a yellowish dark magnolia before). The living area is flooded with light, and the white walls bounce the light off and make the interiors look even more luminous and airy.


“I chose off-white linen for the curtains, and a mix of cotton and linen for the sofa and daybed. We fell in love with the large painting in the sitting area. It’s from a local artist, and I think that it makes a big statement and has become the focal point of the area.


“I love flowers, and I always make a point to have flowers and plants in the house. From December to March I have hyacinths and other bulbs dotted around the house, and soon I’ll move my jasmine and thyme from the garden to the sunny windowsill, beside the aloe vera, to protect them from frost.


“I painted two French wine boxes with Annie Sloan clam paint, and turned them into shelving units. I change the arrangements quite often, depending on the mood. At the moment I have my collection of vintage bottles on display, some crystals, feathers, shells and pebbles.

“The lilac display cabinet is another vintage find. I wanted to paint it white, but my husband insisted that I chose a colour instead…He knows that at some stage I will paint it white tough, it’s just a matter of time 😉


C_Colli_Home_5177“I love reading so there are plenty of books in the house, but I try to keep everything hidden in cabinets and cupboards when I can, to make the interior calm and serene.

“Our bedroom is very simple and uncluttered, and has a tranquil feel. The willow heart above the bed is from a local craftsman, and the felted bird garland is from another local artist. I like the smell of lavender, and the hanging tube vase is perfect to hold a bunch of this fragrant, soothing herb.


“In the dining area I have a display of some of my photographs. They’re taped to the wall with washi tape, that doesn’t ruin the paint, and I like changing the prints depending on my mood.


“I’d love to have a fireplace or log burner beneath the big piece of art in our living! It would make the space so much cosier…for now, I content myself with lighting lots of candles on the coffee table at night!”

Cristina lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and two cats.


Ahhhh. Dreamy, white-washed, smears of colour… It’s not always easy to change a rented home into something so personal and stylish (don’t you think Cristina’s home looks like it came out of a magazine??), but this home ticks all the right boxes! The white palate really opens up the living space, showing off the flowers and vintage finds that Cristina has dotted around her home.

Are you inspired? Do you have a home that is set up in a similar fashion, or completely differently? What did you like best about her style?

For more of Cristina’s photography, visit her at


Images: Cristina Colli

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

Meet Mleko: Eye-candy for your walls!

Hello and happy Monday! Don’t worry if you have the Monday blues – before you know it, Friday will be here! We are so glad the weather has calmed down and is decidedly cooler, although we were in Brighton just the other day (as was the whole of London) and adored the sunshine.

Today we bring you one of our favourite print artists, Mleko. If you are wondering what to adorn your walls with, or are still trying to figure out how to add colour to your home this summer, look no further…

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Mleko is the brainchild of London-based artist, Ania Newland, whose bright and quirky personality is no doubt infused in her work. The  colour and sense of fun is incredibly energetic – we love the jewel tones and humour of the cat person print below!

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One thing we love about Mleko is the mix of grown up contemporary and playful kawaii (Japanese for cute, the only way we can think to describe some of the prints). Find different prints for different rooms – monochrome geometrics for the study or hallway, and funky, neon-colours shapes and characters for the bedrooms or kitchen.

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Look at this dog below on the skateboard? Can just feel the Monday blues melting away (and really want to eat some fairy sticks or fizzy sherbert now…) to be replaced by the feel of glowing sunshine and a spring in my step (or a skateboard under my feet).

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Mleko prints are designed and produced by Ania in her little, creative studio based in West London. Using museum grade papers and archival, fade resistant inks, she creates giclée images that are boldly coloured, rich in texture and tones. If well taken care off, they can last about 75 years, Mleko says!

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Ahhh, so fun. Aren’t they delicious to look at? We just also love how Ania has styled the prints with the background and accessories. You can have Mleko prints on your wall, or leaning against the wall, propped on a table or shelf. Instant trendiness.

We can’t wait to get our hands on a couple of them! They most certainly put a grin on our faces. Which is your favourite? Where do you think you might display your Mleko print?

For more Mleko goodness, visit


Images: Ania Newland (Mleko)