Tuesday, 31 March 2015

B r i t D e c o r : Plant Perfect

Images (from the top) 1/ VLA 2/ Mike Ahern 3/ Etsy 4/ Mike Ahern 

With the somewhat epic return of the houseplant to the forefront of style-loving homes across the globe, it's no surprise that many interiors stores are now showcasing some beautiful accessories to partner with these Co2-emitting additions. My aim today is to showcase some of the ways in which we can successfully showcase plants in our own homes, with maximum style impact. 

This green-fingered trend is currently led by Succulents, Cacti, Palms and Philodendron, to name but a few, and it's probably no coincidence that all of these are architectural in their form, with an emphasis on lush greens and an ability to throw a good shape, or two.

Due to their incredible propensity to grow, even against the odds in some cases, I am a huge advocate of succulents. I prefer to buy the tiny 99 pence plant 'plug' versions because I find there's something quite therapeutic about nurturing and watching a tiny plant grow into something big and wonderful, and because my patience is a little limited, the extremely fast-growing nature of succulents suits me perfectly (see images 2 & 4 'above').

The beauty of most houseplants (with the exception of some larger species) is their portability. Like other interior accessories, they can be moved around to suit a particular scheme. Likewise, pots can be changed around to suit a particular colour palette, or to simply freshen up a room.

For those of us with ample time to maintain indoor plants, clusters of pots make for a strong impact (as shown in image no. 3 'above'). When grouping plants together, aim to include contrasting shapes, heights and textured foliage to create interest and detail. 

My top tip for indoor gardening is to have fun with it - don't take it too seriously as most plants are pretty tough and will endure a little neglect from time to time (not that I recommend this), and play around with pots and accessories too. I love accenting with plant pots, and my blue office at home now has a stunning little glazed blue dip-effect pot from Anthroplogie (Image no. 2 'above') which teams up perfectly with some of my favourite books in the same colour. Also, having a living plant in my workspace adds an air of tranquility and 'realness' - just how I like it.

Another great way to include plants in your living scheme and save space too is to opt for hanging planters (image no. 5 'above'). These look so elegant and create a pendant-effect, which can instantly breath life into a dull corner or serve as living wall-art.
Check out some of my plant related 'picks' below to help you on your way to greener decor!

1/ Owen brown textured planter £8 Habitat 2/ Diamond Terrarium from £44.95 The Urban Botanist
3/ Greenhouse Pot £55 Eastern Biological 4/ Succulent plant pot £4 Between Dog & Wolf 
5/ Organic Scented Candle £14 The Chelsea Gardener 6/ Harlequin Pot £16 French Connection Home
7/ Steel Diamond Hanging Basket £75 An Artful Life 8/ Zig Zag canvas pot $29.95 Hunting for George

Friday, 27 March 2015

B r i t D e c o r : Bakes / Blonde Rocky Roads

All images / Mike Ahern

I may well have already confessed to regular readers of Brit Decor that I'm a huge fan of Rocky Roads, which isn't difficult, right? So today I wanted to experiment slightly with a blonde version of this classic favourite - just in time for feeding guests over the Easter holiday.

The white chocolate makes this an especially sweet treat and the best thing about this bake is - you can cut it up into tiny bite-sized pieces, making the servings go that much further. As it's Easter, I added mini eggs for that extra crunch, which along with the digestive biscuits and the set chocolate makes for a crunchy bite - not for the faint hearted!

Will you be baking or making over the Easter break?

3x 200g Bars of white chocolate
400g Digestive biscuits
300g Mini eggs
20g Micro marshmallows

How to make:
Line a baking tin or dish with greaseproof paper. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl above gently simmering water but do not let the water boil, white chocolate needs less heat than milk choc!

In a bowl gently crush the the digestive biscuits into rocky chunks and then crush or chop the mini eggs. Add the melted chocolate and mix together, adding in some micro marshmallows for good measure. Scoop the mixture into the pre-prepared tray. Place in the refrigerator and leave for several hours to set.

To serve - dust with icing sugar and sprinkled on some of the remaining micro marshmallows.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

B r i t D e c o r : Bedtime Stories with Hästens

Images (from top) 1/ Rilane 2/ Hastens 3/ West Elm  4/ Hastens 5/ Interieur Design 

For those of you who are able to drift off into uninterrupted sleep for the duration of the night, I am very envious. Sleep has never been my forte, but not through lack of trying or willing it to happen. I have always accredited this to having an overly active brain and the pattern of my sleep goes pretty much like this: I wake up from a light sleep in the early hours, processing a multitude of thoughts and then drift in and out of sleep for the remainder of the night.

Generally it is thought that around seven hours of sleep is sufficient to keep our minds and bodies in tip-top condition, with substantial benefits including a longer and healthier lifespan, improved learning skills, better performance, feeling refreshed and energised, improved metabolism, and a younger looking complexion. Wow!

During a recent collaborative project with quality Swedish bed brand, Hästens, otherwise known as the 'craftsmen of sleep' (since 1852), I learned that there is a science to sleeping. With these ten tips 'below' we can all increase our chances of a restful trip to bedfordshire and reap the benefits too...

1. Block out the light
It may sound obvious but it's easy to take for granted the amount of light that can actually spill into our bedrooms, even at night. Excess light prompts certain processes within the body, which in effect tells us to wake up.

2. Bedside companions
Invest in bedside furniture, ideally on both sides of the bed to create symmetry and balance in the room.

3. Give TV the cold shoulder
Avoid watching TV and looking at tablets, smartphones etc just before bedtime. Screen use keeps the brain active and awake.

4. Colour therapy 
To make the space extra personal, choose a colour that you love. If relaxation is your key aim, look at cooler and paler colours, and neutrals. Alternatively, warmer browns, oranges and reds can create cosy feel.

5. On your mark...
Look at your floorpan, if necessary draw a basic plan of the room and see where the bed can be positioned to maximise the layout. Try to place the bed away from a door and with headboard placed up against a wall - for a sense of stability.

6. Clear the deck
I always work on the idea that a cluttered room can create a cluttered mind. Clear away any unnecessary items, particularly from the bed itself. Worn clothes are frequently offending items of clutter, so a good laundry bag is always a great idea.

7. Be cool about it
The experts say that a temperature of between 14oc and 18oc is best for our bedrooms. Too much heat prevents the body from relaxing.

8. Banish
Bedrooms should be a place of relaxation, so try not to use these as an office. Leave work at the bedroom door and allow your mind to switch off from the day's stresses.

9. Breathe
Source bedlinen that will help to isolate heat and moisture to prevent a restless night's sleep. Natural fabrics and linen can work wonders!

10. Test drive
When buying a new bed, be sure to explore the multitude of models on offer because the overall quality of your sleep will depend upon your choice of bed. You need to be confident that you have made the right choice.

Sleep well tonight my friends! If you have any tips for a good night's sleep, I'd love to hear them...

You can find out more about Hästens and their range of beds over at their website by clicking here.

*This is a sponsored post


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