Hello Nancy

Mid-Century Living Rooms

You may already know this about me but I love Mid-Century interiors. It's been a love affair that has been growing for years, ever since I moved to London and got my own place. The one thing about our flat that I'm not 100% happy with is our seating. We have one sofa, it's charcoal grey and quite stylish but it doesn't add that much to the room. If our flat was a little bigger I would love to invest in a few armchairs for Simon and I, perfect for reading in and relaxing.

I was recently introduced to the Norwegian brand Ekornes who make Mid-Century inspired sofa's and chairs and I've spotted a few that I really love. It's like Ekornes have managed to read my mind as their Metro chairs tick all the style and comfort boxes. I think that's why I love Modernist design so much, it just works. As Joe Sparano correctly said “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.”

I wanted to share some amazing vintage images that have really been inspiring me to re-think our living space recently. Hopefully one day soon we'll move into a bigger place so I can re-shuffle a bit and purchace the armchair of my dreams.

Flickr is a goldmine if you're looking for vintage magazine clippings or images. I could spend hours browsing through those retro interior shots. Anyway on to the chairs. Here are my picks from Ekornes that I think would be perfect for a Mid-Century Modern scheme.

That teal one. Yum.

Do you have a comfortable armchair that you love? (If so I am very jealous!)

A Day in Edinburgh

Every year Simon and I head to the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District for a week of country walking and pubs. This year we took a slight detour and traveled up to Edinburgh for the day after a few days with my family. Simon had never been to Scotland, which seemed totally mad to me, so we decided to finally pop up to the capital by boarding a train from Newcastle.

Growing up in the North East meant that Edinburgh was a short train journey away and as a family we would often visit. Since leaving home and moving to London I haven't been able to easily enjoy visiting as I did as a child. I was so excited head up there again as Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities.

After enjoying the scenic coastal route on the train we hopped off and walked through Princes Street Gardens towards the Scottish National Gallery. In London we are spoilt by the huge array of galleries and museums but I remember really enjoying the National Gallery in Edinburgh and I'm a huge Scottish Colourists fan so it seemed silly to miss out.

After having a good look around the gallery I suggested that we head to The Dome for some lunch. It's a great place to enjoy a drink or some lunch as it's set in a beautiful Graeco-Roman style building so you feel as though you're sat in an old school murder mystery film set. It's full of the usual tourists and shoppers but perfect if you want to enjoy something classic to eat.

We walked to Stockbridge to have a look at the independent shops and enjoy a little wander. I hadn't really explored Stockbridge before and it ended up being my favourite area thanks to the great shops, cafes and green space. It really reminded me of where we live in London but much less busy, which, for someone who hates crowds was perfect (why do I live in London again?). We lucked out as the food market was happening that day, as a foodie I really enjoy a walk around a good food market.

We headed to the botanical gardens after exploring Stockbridge. I really loved the Modernist architecture of the lecture theatre there, if anything looks remotely Mid-Century I'm a fan. The Palm House was also really beautiful.

After walking around the botanic gardens we headed to the historical Grassmarket and on the way walked by an amazing vintage book shop. I had to snap a picture of these gorgeous books, I loved the illustrations. We also walked by a cheese shop my mum used to go into every time we went up to Edinburgh when I was little.

One of the main reasons to explore this area of Edinburgh was to visit the ice cream palour Mary's Milk Bar which had been recommended to us by so many friends. I scoffed down a salted caramel cone and Simon enjoyed a affogato. A couple walked in and ordered a sundae consisting of ten scoops of ice-cream with whipped cream and chocolate which I wanted to bury my face into.

After ice-creams we walked around the castle area of the city and enjoyed the amazing gothic architecture before heading to The Bow Bar as suggested by my mum. She knows a good pub so I always rely on her recommendations. After a quick pint, or a whiskey in Simon's case we headed to dinner at The Witchery.

The Witchery by The Castle is hidden in a collection of picturesque buildings in the heart of Edinburgh's historic Old Town. The entrance is though an ancient 'close' below a gilded heraldic sign. There were lots of tourists peering in the windows to catch a glimpse of the interior, it couldn't look more mysterious or Scottish if it tried.

The restaurant serves very good traditional Scottish dishes and the setting was perfect for history geeks like us. I came to The Witchery when I was little and I've always wanted to come back, I remembered it as a magical place perfect for medieval princesses. It pretty much lived up to my memory of it, maybe that was because I was with Simon and we both equally love good food and gothic architecture, we were very happy to be eating there that night.

The food was wonderful and we enjoyed dishes consisting of haggis (the best bit), pigeon, salmon venison - all very Scottish! I'd love to come back to Edinburgh soon and explore more of the city we didn't get a chance to see. I'm sad that we ran out of time to visit Leith but hopefully next time we'll experience the more "local" Edinburgh neighborhoods and sights. It would also be wonderful to stay the night in one of The Witchery's beautiful rooms.

Have you visited Edinburgh? I'd love to hear you recommendations.

How To Make Your Own Tea Blend

Is anything more soothing or relaxing than a good cup of tea? It took me until I was in university to appreciate tea, mainly because it felt like the grown up thing to drink when friends popped over to visit me in halls. But now I legitimately love my cups of tea. I sip a de-caffeinated brew when I wake up and enjoy various different flavours during the day. This tea recipe is a perfect natural alternative to de-caff teas and can be completely customised to your taste.

This recipe is perfect if you have been searching for your perfect tea blend and fancy trying to make your own, there are only a few rules to follow and you can add anything to your tea that you like.

I was recently gifted my dream teapot from my friends at Cloudberry Living. I have been eyeing up these Marimekko pots for years and I was absolutely thrilled when I finally received one. I also picked out a set of two amber coloured "Socks Rolled Down" glasses which I first spotted in a Marimekko store in Oslo back in 2011. I've had a long love affair with Scandinavian table wear and I have really been enjoying using my new teapot with my homemade blend.

Here's a simple list of ingredients that you'll need for your tea.

Your choice of tea leaves, I chose white but go for whatever you like best. Black, white, green, herbal whatever floats your boat will work.

I also added the following aromatics

Dried lavender
Dried whole chamomile flowers
Dried peppermint

Blend your loose leaf tea and your favourite dried flowers, herbs or spices and store in an air tight container to keep it as fresh as possible. When making a cup of tea always use freshly drawn water from the tap and bare in mind that all teas brew at different temperatures. White and green teas have delicate leaves, and therefore require below boiling water temperatures between 170 and 185 degrees. Black and herbal teas brew best at a full boil temperatures of 208 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brew your tea for at least two minutes and enjoy with or without milk depending on your blend.

Thanks so much to the team at Cloudberry Living who gifted me the Marimekko tea pot and the glasses.

Let me know if you try making your own tea, I'd love to hear your recipes!

Home Etc

Meet The Makers - Origami-Est

This week for Meet the Makers I want to introduce you all to the super lovely Esther from Origami-Est. Esther is a total paper ninja and she creates wonderful objects, decorations and accessories from beautifully printed paper. I caught up with her to ask her all about creative business and her goals.

What made you want to work with paper, have you always loved origami?

I have always had a love affair with paper. Recently I have rediscovered stashes of paper I used to hoard when I was younger, there’s something about the beauty of colour & print combined with the versatility of paper that gets me very excited. I first became really intrigued by origami while studying graphic design at uni, all my projects would often have 3 dimensional solutions and my origami addiction commenced! It’s bizarre to look back and really see how my obsession has evolved!

What is your favorite part of running your own creative business?

Such a tough question, I keep deleting and rewriting my answer! I would probably have to say the opportunities it has provided for meeting really fascinating people. Whether that’s through my workshops, stockists, collaborations or good old social media stalking. I have met some truly inspirational people & am certain I still have plenty more to meet.

If you could own a brick and mortar shop where would it be and what would it be like?

Oh my word, what a dream! I am torn with the location, I currently live by the coast in a gorgeous town called Deal. A studio/shop on Deal would be incredible as it’s already a place thriving with independent shops. But I would love to pioneer something where there is a real need for more independent shops to pop up with the hope to encouraging more to appear – no idea where that location would specifically be, but there are plenty of towns in the UK needing some independent pizzazz! It would definitely be somewhere that I could do some folding, run workshops but also support other makers with lifestyle products that reflect my taste (predictably monochrome with pops of colour).

Have you got any new ranges or workshops coming up?

I am very excited to have recently designed my own papers, which will soon be available to buy. There’s a choice of 3 patterns, all of which, very bizarrely, inspired by some pottery I painted which went a little viral on Instagram! In the next few months I am in various locations for workshops, from the Pop Up Café in Deal, to Studio NL in Leicestershire, The Grasp Project in Bournemouth, Quill in London & Southwood Stores Showroom in Buckinghamshire.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Some of the best advice I have been given is actually from a fellow creative business owner. A few years ago we met for coffee & it quickly became evident that we run our creative enterprises very differently. She had a background in business & I have a background solely in art & design. There were so many nuggets that she shared with me, from really knowing how to price things to whether creating a product was really worth my time and resources. Something that really resonated was when she said;

“If you value your skills and your time, others will value it too & invest in you”

It may seem simple but I think it’s so important to remember. As a creative it’s so easy to be fearful of the business side and so easy to fall into the trap of devaluing your skills. I am constantly reminding myself and others of this.


Thanks so much Esther! Don't forget to take a look at Esther's beautiful products on her website and keep your eyes peeled for an origami workshop near you!

Home Etc

Blue Everything Please

Maybe it's because Spring is in the air and the weather in London has been pretty glorious this week but I have been really enjoying the colour blue. Waking up to a clear blue sky really sets me up for the day and I've started eating my lunch outside in the park which was un-thinkable a few weeks ago!

Although Autumn is my favorite season there's something so refreshing about Spring and at this time of year I start to think about all the adventures and trips that I planned in the Winter. In a few weeks I'm heading to the Bath countryside so I hope the weather stays as nice as it is at the moment.

I recently acquired this pretty blue shirt that Romwe kindly sent to me and I think it's a perfect addition to my Spring wardrobe. Unfortunately on the fist day I wore it out to lunch and at Hoppers in Soho I spilt curry on it, said curry was very delicious though so all was not lost. FYI Hoppers is a great trendy Sri Lankan restaurant that you should definitely pop into if you're based in London.

As you can see from the snaps below taken from my Instagram feed blue has certainly been on my mind! If you don't already follow me over there and you'd like to click here to be taken to my profile.

Do you have any good colourful Instagram accounts that you could share with me? I'm always looking for inspirational accounts to follow.

Away For a Bit

I'm currently away with Simon enjoying the Yorkshire Dales. I'm going to be a bit quiet on here until I get back but I am updating my Instagram with holiday snaps of us walking the moors in the rain.

Perfect Gifts for Your Dog

Now don't worry you cat lovers I'll be doing a kitty gift guide post soon, I'm not biased. Except I totally am biased and I think dogs are the best. I have a little fluffy pup looking up at me as I type so I'm feeling the dog love today.

Ok on with the post. As a dog lover I thought it was high time that I put together the ultimate dog gift guide. All the products that I've included are made by lovely crafts people or independent brands that clearly love animals. I've tried to suggest gifts that are chic and cool to avoid the usual standard pet gifts. Personally I don't like the naff colourful toys, nylon collars or plastic bowls found in pet shops so I tried to offer up a few understated options instead. Enjoy.

Dog Tipi, I kinda want to climb in there

Tweed Bone Toy, just look at these guys!

Wooly Woofers, yes a knitting book for dog outfits OMG

If you're looking for an extra special gift and would really like to show your pooch and / or significant other how much you care a stay at the Ston Easton Park hotel is always an option. Ston Easton is a beautiful dog friendly hotel in the Somerset countryside. With 36 acres of parkland I'm pretty sure it's dog heaven.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any pets and I'll do more of these posts.

This post was shared on the Tell It To Me Tuesday and the Turn It Up Tuesday link ups