Friday, 3 April 2020

Brit Decor: Lockdown First Aid















If, before recent world events unfolded, anyone had suggested to me that we would all be asked to remain at home for several weeks, possibly months, I probably would have whooped at the idea of all those hours of quality nesting time, and trust me I am one hell of a nester! However, skip forward to the very real present and it all seems a little different...

It's clear that many of us will be searching for, or will have already found, our own tools to deal with this surreal situation. Like millions of other stranded human beings I was very quick to engage with video calls to family & friends, despite it being a medium I've always shied away from. Again, to my surprise this has proved to be a major source of comfort and connection in what became a physically disconnected world almost overnight. 

But away from the tech I still found myself missing some kind of connection with reality, perhaps anxious thoughts were clouding my usually grounded nature? So I began to think of simple ways to distract & comfort.

After rummaging through some of my many 'bits 'n bobs' packed away in cupboards and nooks I decided to piece together a capsule collection of useful but also mindful objects, easily accessible and able to administer instant calm.

My handy little quilted HAY zipper case is very soft and tactile and seemed like the perfect starting point to house my lockdown goodies. Part of my stay at home therapy has included lots of 'making' and so I've whipped up a completely natural scented balm to promote calm & uplift the senses at the same time. There is also a very handy little bottle of hand sanitiser made with essential oils and Aloe Vera, with a dash of Vodka!

Ever the organised geek, I'm always making to-do lists on my phone, but for the purpose of mindfulness and the temptation to look at the BBC news App, I'm using this Greek notebook I picked up in Crete, a trip which holds many happy memories and, personally, I find the process of scribbling away to-do notes onto paper very therapeutic - in comes the HAY pencil with gold lid for a touch of luxury!

With all this extra time on my hands I have also found myself reading up on various topics a lot more, so handy mini post-it notes are a must-have tool for me to bookmark recipes, articles etc. And if I need to relax a little more, I keep a constantly updated art postcard to remind me of my creative roots. 

I've no doubt that the entire contents of my lockdown First Aid kit, even the HAY case, will soon be switched in order to keep up my interest levels!



























All photos / Mike Ahern

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Brit Decor: Figuratively Speaking /





On a personal note, and not forgetting apologies for being such a stranger to the blogosphere of late, I am thrilled to see a recent influx of sculpted forms gracing a growing number of art savvy homes around the world.

Personal because this takes me back to those carefree uni days and the faculty of Art & Design where as a graphic design student I used to sometimes hang out in the studios with the potters and sculptors, ogling some truly beautiful works. I still recall what appeared to be a very soothing process (for me as the voyeur at least) of the artist gently working with their hands to create something so beautiful from a lump of clay - creativity at its most raw.

I think it's fair to say that something of that very gentle 'production' process remains with the final creation. I've spoken before on here about the importance of including handmade pieces in our own homes, not only to support some very talented artisans, but also as a mindful reminder of more natural processes which involve minimal technology and help keep us grounded to our human roots.
And in these uncertain times, it feels all the more significant.






























Images (from top): 1/ kristiina.se 2/ Alvhem 3/ Katty Schiebeck
4/ Poster Club 5/ Room & Board 6/ Basic-ly
7/ Residence

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Brit Decor: Tools of the Trade / ColoReader Review










Boy is it frustrating when you just have to know the official colour of a particular hue, but no amount of colour cards from your favourite purveyors of paint can identify a true match!? Well I have been there and it's not a happy place - Cue a welcome email from from the folk at datacolor, asking me if I would like to review their professional colour matching tool which goes by the name of ColoReader

Whilst I've learned to live in this predominantly technical world, I would not describe myself as being particularly adept when it comes to gadgets, but nonetheless I braced myself for a mind boggling learning curve when this neat little package arrived in the post...

How wrong was I!? The ColoReader (just under 7cm in length) is stupendously easy to use - I literally downloaded the app onto my iPhone, switched on the reader and laid it on top of my first colour surface. Within seconds an exact colour match, along with some near matches, appeared on my phone screen. 

From there the App allowed me to co-ordinate colours, suggesting complimentary shades and it also enabled me to name and build my own palettes, complete with note-making facility. You can view the easy steps to identifying colour via the photos & screen shots below. 

This is actually quite the perfect little pocket tool for accompanying me on my travels and from now on, I won't be wasting time scrambling for those colour charts. If you would like to find out more about the ColoReader, you can visit the website by clicking here.


  
































All images / Mike Ahern


Sunday, 9 June 2019

Brit Decor: Achieve your goals

















Did you know you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? 

It’s easy to think you know what your goals are, but consider your latest new year’s resolutions – how long did they last? If you’re anything like me, not long! Writing your goals down gives you focus. Having them written down and looking at them regularly helps to make them happen.

Setting goals is something that has become particularly important to me in recent years and I love nothing more than to set aside some time for blue-sky thinking sessions. I always try to write down the resulting goals from these sessions too, so that I don’t lose sight of the bigger picture in the day to day chaos of life.

Couple this approach to goal setting with my ongoing stationery crush and you can see why I love these stylish Daily Goal Setter planners from Mål Paper.
















With a faux leather hardback cover the Daily Goal Setter is tactile as well as aesthetically pleasing. The pages have been designed to help us identify goals on a daily basis and structure our days in a way that helps us focus on the positives and become more mindful through daily affirmations. 

From a styling perspective, stationery is a great decorative filler for any desktop or shelf, satisfying a love of aesthetics with a need to be organised. These stylish planners from Mål Paper fulfil all the requirements to make a great addition to any home or work space.

The word Mål, pronounced 'mo-l', means goal in Swedish. Taking inspiration from the Scandinavian clean and clutter-free way of living, Mål Paper designs and produces stylish, simplistic and effective stationery that helps focus the mind and improve productivity.

If you want to check out this stunning range of stationery from this exciting new company, take a look at their website or follow them on Instagram @malpaper











Text / Helen Savage / Images / Mike Ahern

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Brit Decor: Better Together











'Better Together' has a certain ring to it in these tumultuous times, doesn't it? Away from the noise and chaos I recently stumbled over a harmonious gathering of creative minds in the form of Italian ceramicist Federica Bubani and fellow Italian, flower artist Andrea Merendi. Sounds like perfection already!

Each tactile vase is lovingly sculpted from refractory terracotta (refractory because it is resistant to heat, pressure, and chemicals) and then paired with intricately hand-crafted crepe paper flowers. I quite like the notion of two juxtaposed materials coming together in one beautiful composition, it has a certain poetry to it.

Available in a selection of trending hues, this collaborative offering is sure to bring a little more togetherness to any home. 

All of these vases & flowers are available from online homeware store NISI click here.





























(This is not a sponsored post, just me sharing inspiring objects for our homes).

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Brit Decor: Merits of a good Shelfie















With all of our favourite social media platforms well and truly bedded-in for the duration, for better or for worse (today I'm honing in on the 'better'), it seems that everyone and their dog, literally, and even the odd guinea pig, is now the curator of their own window to the world. I can't complain though, as both of my cats are a regular feature on my feeds - gotta love 'em!

It's exciting, right? You've just created your very own cute corner piecing together some of your favourite homewares and props, and you want to release it into the world. Post and wait for the feedback!

The 'Shelfie' might be a relatively new phenomenon but it's basically another version of what proud homeowners have been doing for hundreds of years: showing off. Putting together a composition on a shelf is also one of the easiest styling tricks in the book for adding an extra layer of background detail to a room, or it can make a strong standalone feature. Personally I'm a fan of both the 'less is more' and the 'maximalist' approaches to interior styling, (cautionary note): just be mindful of overcrowding with the latter 'look'. 

Having completed our home renovations indoors and with just the front garden remaining, I've increasingly found myself in the indulgent position of now being able to add layers of decor detail to newly decorated rooms, and a simple shelfie is definitely the way to go for me.

Our largest guest bedroom also doubles as a workspace (we didn't want to give over an entire room for work) and whilst Farrow & Ball's Dix Blue adds a nice mid-depth of colour, I wanted to elevate the room with additional details. IKEA's Mosslanda picture ledge came to the rescue by offering a crisp white contrast to the wall colour and helping to zone this part of the room into a study area.

However, I've ditched the opportunity to use these two ledges for practical reasons and opted for a more aesthetic curation of objects, plants and artwork instead. The Creative in me couldn't resist working-in corresponding greens and blues with a pop of trending yellow but I know that in an instant I can switch things around and have a brand new shelfie - it's as easy as that!

























All Images / Mike Ahern












Sunday, 20 January 2019

Brit Decor: Colour-icious / W.A.Green Colour Report 2019









If like me, you are looking for more colour to fill your 2019 with a more up-beat vibe, then founder of the Shoreditch based 'maximalist' lifestyle store W.A.Green, may just be able to inspire you...

Zoe Anderson has lovingly pieced together a fun collection of fun luxe-living products for the home, which are intended to inject some happy hues into her customers lives. W.A.Green, named after Zoe's grandfather, won Best Boutique at the Independent Retailer awards in 2018, so Zoe know's a thing or two about curating an on-point and highly covetable collection.

With this in mind, Zoe has been sharing some of her top tips for successfully applying colour to our home decor this year, and has pulled together some key 'looks' from the W.A.Green product collection (see the graphics below). 

When it comes to introducing orange into our home's colour palette, Zoe recommends limiting this zingy hue's application as an accent colour only, "Think about using it on an alcove or inside a shelf. It's the perfect colour for a child's bedroom as you can be really playful with it."

Zoe admits that she's looking forward to experimenting with more pink in 2019 (I'm with her on this!) and is currently craving a yellow and pink combination for an extra spark. "We've seen Millennial Pink sweep Instagram over 2018 and I'm now expecting to see it used in more playful ways". Zoe also suggests pairing pink with super-dark colours for a high-contrast result.

Given the huge proportion of home rentals in London and beyond right now, Zoe also offers up some great advice on how to update a rented space, "Create your own large painted canvas to hang from the walls; the bigger the better. Gallery walls have become overdone so instead concentrate on creating an abstract piece that covers one of the walls and plays with colour. This is a cheap update that pretty much anyone can do without much time or expense".

I've included some of Zoe's colour blocking 'picks' below but you can also check out the full range of homeware goodies via the W.A.Green online shop, and you can also follow the store via their Insta account.

  















1/ Aria paint from £18 2/ Carafe £135 3/ Faux Hydrangea £10 4/ Neolit bowls from £195
5/ Abbesses dinnerware from £9 6/ Face mobile £145 7/ Chouchou stool £435
8/ Dinner candles £3 9/ Full dose trinket box £68 10/ Octopussy cushion £95
















1/ Orlando paint from £18 2/ Perry throw £245 3/ Play pot £95 4/ Larhe jug £89 
5/ Mrs Hoffman vase £42 6/ Blash shelf £85 7/ Arlequim vase £180 8/ Ellsworth cushion £95
9/ Smiley trivet £30
















1/ Kamila paint from £18 2/ April throw £245 3/ Moroccan ceramics from £7 4/ Faux tropical 
leaf stem £24 5/ Muruno cocktail glass £70 6/ Retro emerald green planter £12
 7/ Lacquer backgammon set £395 8/ Green palm girl planter £65
9/ Eye of the Leopard cushion £95 10/ Two colour coffee mugs £14
























1/ Ida paint from £18 2/ Ceramics from £45 3/ Mila tables from £1325 4/ Top knot vase £110 
5/ Miss Meyer vase £42 6/ Mouth plate £25 7/ Secret ingredient dish towel £12
8/ Merino wool face cushion 9/ Luxury feel real faux stem £55 10/ Ernesto candle £78












1/ Reggie paint from £18 2/ Spicy red canister £240 3/ Faux Bird of Paradise flower £45
4/ Ceramic diffuser £99 5/ Chubby planters £550 6/ Retro vases from £18
7/ Two handled vases from £25 8/ Orange & opal glass jug £135 9/ LSD jar £88
10/ Stacking coffee cups £100 11/ Crystal candlestick holder £75










Thanks for reading,
Mike





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