Burberry A/W’16

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Sometimes in life, you get thrown a golden acorn (you can quote me on that), and you find yourself on the front row of Christopher Bailey’s A/W’16 show for Burberry. Work does sometimes bring some jollies alongside the stress (and last week was stressful, to say the least)!

I’ve never been to a runway show like this before – having the models walk through the crowd to the sounds of Jake Bugg (ahhh, that voice) – and it worked a dream. It helped that I got to spot a couple of familiar faces too (sadly I didn’t get to take a photo of Nicholas Hoult of X-Men fame but I did walk past him!); so much fun.

As far as my (un)fashion-savvy brain can tell, clunky work-style boots, buckles, and florals are all the rage for this autumn-winter season. Lucky for us, Burberry has decided to drop their collection in their Regent Store now so you can get your hands on it. Thank you for the invite!

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Images: Courage & Dash

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Sweetly feasting.

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I know Christmas is over, but I just remembered I haven’t shown these to you! One weekend in December, Xin, from Pudding Pie Lane, baked up a storm and we spent all of Saturday catching up, giggling, getting far too sugar high, and playing with Christmas decorations. So much fun! If only we could do this all the time?? Sadly, I am back to work on Tuesday (I know lots of you are too, so we shall be mournful together!), and so no more feasting and lazing. Christmas season is, alas, over (although technically speaking, it’s not over until 12 days from December 25, no?)… for me at least. Until 2016.

Hang in there folks… 3 more working days until the new year.

 

Images and styling: Courage & Dash; Food: Pudding Pie Lane

Beautiful Living

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How beautifully set up is this home? The first time I saw Natalie’s photos on her Instagram account, Laid Back Farmhouse, I fell in love with her style. It’s so airy and light and calm. You can imagine how delighted I was that Nat agreed to let us peek into her home – it’s impressive how uncluttered the space is, despite Nat’s large collection of vintage things – there is yet hope, despite my husband’s insistence that mess is synonymous with vintage hoarding. Over to you, Natalie!

“I’m Natalie Woods, I’m 34 and work in travel – you’ll often find me in either Covent Garden or Southampton.

“Five years ago, my husband and I moved back into the country, this time to West Sussex to a little converted barn that needed (and still does) some love. I grew up on the Shotley peninsular in Suffolk, so country living is deep in my bones.

“My whole life I’ve loved vintage items and very little in my house is new. My favourite pieces are Provence farmhouse inspired, as I aspire to live in rural France one day!

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“I’m still collecting and my favourite places to go are Hill & Co Grayshott and Haus Haslemere. In fact, I go there all the time. Annie & Bill @ Hill & Co often travel over to France and source the most fantastic items. I could spend hours in their lovely shop (and often do). They are incredibly friendly and passionate about antiques and also source from all over the UK. The shop has a French farmhouse feel and I know I will always find something quirky and original – my signs, apothecary drawers and glassware are all from there.

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“Stephanie @ Haus Haslemere has impeccable taste and her shop is incredibly chic. One half is a bright, Scandi/French look and through the door to the other half is an industrial/utility feel. There’s lots of beautiful vintage items and I guarantee you will want to buy everything.

“I love visiting France’s flea markets and Brocantes. My absolute favourite is Villneuve Les Avignon. It’s full of provincial items and is reasonably priced. The market setting is very beautiful.”

 

Images and styling: Natalie Wood

Styling Your Home with Vintage

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If you’ve been following the blog for awhile you just might have picked up on my slight vintage/antique obsession. Just a slight one, of course. Not like I run around the country (or continent) hunting down fairs and shops or anything like that…

You can imagine my delight when I discovered Bring It On Home while I was looking for an antique Singer sewing stool. I love the selection of items they have in stock and the way the products have been styled for the website. If I could have done so, I probably would’ve bought the entire store; we don’t want me turning into the hoarder next door yet, do we?

In 2011, founder and owner of Bring it on Home, Amy Page, decided to give up life in the city and turn her passion for vintage furniture into a business. Amy only buys pieces she would love to have too – always a good sign!

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Part of the reason I love old things is that they are so quirky – every object has a story and tells us something about how people lived. My favourite items are old advertising and glassware, shop fittings and random decorative items (e.g. dead stock labels or a travelling candle set). It just makes home that bit more interesting, a bit like a gallery, with things that can spark one’s imagination.

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Here are Amy’s top 5 tips on styling your home with vintage/antique pieces:

1. Mix & Match: To make vintage furniture work in a modern home, you should try to mix old with new. Scandinavian homes have this look nailed – think fresh white walls and black floors paired with pale vintage wooden furniture and pops of colour in the accessories. If you prefer the dark side, then mid-century teak furniture looks amazing against a dark wall.

2. Random knick-knacks: I love to collect curious vintage knick-knacks on my travels. It’s a really great way to add some vintage flair to your home without spending a fortune and a great way to display them is on a bookshelf. If I think of my bookshelf in my home, I have a vintage string puppet, some taxidermy, an antique bible, vintage toys, a vintage camera… I could go on!

3. Re-purpose/Upcycle: I love to up cycle vintage finds and again this can be a cheaper way of adding vintage furniture to your home. Keep an eye out in charity shops or on gumtree for a piece of furniture that has seen better days and give it a new lease of life. Take Grandma’s old chair with it’s brown upholstery covered in cat hair and have it re-upholstered in a modern fabric! My favourite upcycling project was a mid-century sideboard, I spray painted the drawer-fronts in different bright mid-century colours and it looked amazing.

4. Make a statement: You don’t need heaps of vintage furniture to make a statement, just one statement piece will do the trick. For example a grand antique dining table (Courage & Dash: We wish we had space!!), or some amazing pendant lights, anything that draws the eye.

5. Let your walls do the talking: If you already have a happily furnished home but want to add an element of vintage then look to your walls. Try hanging a large vintage map or posters. I personally love the old hanging medical and anatomical charts.

Thank you Amy! By the way, did you manage to spot Batman, Amy’s Boston Terrier? Too cute! Do check out Bring It On Home (don’t tell anyone, but I’m often browsing during the day when I leave the desk to grab some coffee!) – they also have a prop hire service, so if you wanted, theoretically you could basically have everything you want from the shop…

For more, visit http://www.bringitonhome.co.uk/.

 

Images: Amy Page

Styling Your Bedside Table: 5 Tips

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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.

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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

Drinking it all in…

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“I am so fond of tea that I could write a whole dissertation on its virtues. It comforts and enlivens without the risks attendant on spirituous liquors. Gentle herb! Let the florid grape yield to thee. Thy soft influence is a more safe inspirer of social joy.”
― James Boswell, London Journal, 1762-1763

I love tea – tea on its own, or with scones and cake and buttered toasts; tea on a summery evening or on a cold, winter morning. Today I visited Best of Britannia (you should definitely go have a look – it’s a market stocked full of all types of British designer-makers), and discovered the wonderful Comins Tea House, in Dorset (more on them next time!). Rob, the co-owner/founder of the teahouse, has such respect for Oriental tea-drinking ceremonies and traditions. It reminded me of tea drinking as a child with my father – his Chinese roots had instilled in him a real reverence for and delight in taking tea properly, and he loved to share those traditions.

When Dragonfly Tea (a family-owned British company with over 100 years experience) gave us a copy of their new guidebook, Brewed With a View, we were really intrigued. I rather love taking my tea in bed or while lounging on a sofa, but this guide book paired tea with locations, and encouraged the reader to connect the flavours of the tea with the scenery. I guess tea drinking is supposed to be a public and communal experience! Think of all the poetry reading and calligraphy that must have happened under moonlit pavilions in China…

I chose Pu’er, a fermented black tea with a slightly earthy taste. As you can see, I still take my loose leaf tea without straining – a Chinese habit! Brewed with a view paired my choice of tea with Glengoyne Distillery in Strathclyde (I think the connection is smokey whisky?) – imagine drinking tea in a distillery! Would love to try that. 

Of course, I paired my tea with a chocolate chip cookie, because, really, if we are thinking of tea as a comfort, cookies definitely fall under that definition! We do intend, however, to give the guidebook a whirl – wouldn’t it be fun to sip tea that evoked connections with your surroundings?

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A limited first-run of the Brewed With a View guidebook (which comes with tea samples) is available at the following visitor centres and on dragonflytea.com:

–       Liverpool Tourist Information Centre, Albert Dock
–       Tatton Park Visitor Centre
–       Kibble Palace Shop
–       Glengoyne Distillery Shop
–       Roman Baths Tourist Shop
–       Glamis Castle Visitors Office

Let us know if you do manage to pick one up and use it!

For more information, visit http://dragonflytea.com.

 

Images & Styling: Courage & Dash

Got Mantra? Say it with BXXLGHT!

How is your Easter weekend going? Ours has been FAB. Not only have we finally had the time to blog, we’ve also been able to see family+friends, wander outside for some fresh air, and eat delicious home-cooked food by Mother. YUM.

We’ve been trying to think of different ways to decorate our walls – of course, being a print/antique documents fiend, there’s barely any wall space left, but one can never have too many wall-hangings!? The challenge is in making sure that the hangings aren’t too samey same, which is why BXXLGHT was quite an exciting find.

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Bxxlght is a company that designs plexiglass light boxes which you can customise with changeable letters. The company is only about 1+ years old, and was founded by Daniela Upmark after a trip to NYC.

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On that trip, Daniela fell in love with the signs she spotted in the city; at the same time she was in the process of moving to a new apartment and in her frustration of trying but failing to find an art piece for a her home that was personal and different, she came up with the idea of Bxxlght.

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We like Bxxlght, because it definitely fits in the “different” category: it functions as a lamp and a display piece, while simultaneously being customisable to communicate your mood of the day.

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Bxxlght is currently available online (you can play around with the customisation as we did above!) and in Selfridges (in the UK).

How do you decorate your walls? What would you put on your Bxxlght box if you owned one?

For more, visit: http://www.bxxlght.com.

Images: BXXLGHT