My Dekko Loves { August }

hydrangea dark wall insta

Hello and welcome back to My Dekko Loves feature this month!  As August comes to a close, I always feel a sense of relief that the kids are soon back to school and into a normal routine again, but also a sense of melancholy as another school year begins… their childhood is absolutely flying by!  My littlest starts school in September and I am pretty sure I will be the blubbering wreck seeing her off into her classroom on her first day.  Sniff!

I also have a fairly big (who am I kidding? It’s very big!!) birthday coming up at the start of September … and as I enter my forties (argh!), it’s something else I could feel melancholy about, but I absolutely refuse to – I am lucky to have health and happiness and a wonderful set of friends and family around me, so it’ll be a great party weekend ahead!!  I suppose I am also leaving behind the early years of parenting and sleepless nights that took up much of my thirties and I plan to embrace having some time to devote to myself, at last!  The blog is one thing that I always wanted to do and 16 months in, I am starting to see opportunities opening up for me that I’m excited to have decent time to work on with the mornings to myself for the first time in 8 YEARS!!!

Anyway, before all that, let’s take a look back at lovely August…

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My Kitchen Makeover Update #2: First Reveal

wall clock drop cloth

This year, when I returned home from holidays in July, I felt totally energised and ready to get really stuck into some decor projects around the house, including our ongoing kitchen update project. This, I’m sure, was partly due to having a fantastically chilled out holiday in a beautiful part of France, but also because I was really inspired by the wonderful flea markets, antiques shops and interiors over there.  There was just so much to whet my appetite.  Please take me back!!

Alas, not possible, but back home I am and ready to spend some more time here on the blog.  So what’s been going on at home?  Well, with our kitchen/living space undergoing its gradual makeover these past few months (see some more of this here), I have lots of progress to share with you!

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A New Dunnes Homeware Department to Swoon Over

Carolyn Donnelly Pink Notebooks

I recently took a trip across to my local shopping centre in the suburbs of Belfast, where one of the flagship brands, Dunnes Stores (a fabulous Irish department store which also delivers to the UK and further afield), has been undergoing a major makeover, including a huge expansion of its beautiful home department.

I was expecting it to be a slight improvement on layout and use of space, but I was so wrong – it is a massive improvement!!  The tiny homewares corner that once was, has been moved to a new, open plan upstairs floor and totally rejuvenated, updated and modernised with a wide range of home accessories, giftware and furnishings to suit all tastes and budgets.  Dunnes’ homeware range is split into different sub-brands, each designed by a well-known Irish name and appealing to a particular taste, be it elegant and modern ‘hotel chic’, as seen in the Paul Costelloe Living range; colourful and eclectic, as seen in its Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic range; or earthy and organic, the general feel of its Considered by Helen James collection, as well as some own brand Dunnes pieces across its cooking, dining, bed and bath departments.  As for me, I’m loving a bit of every style on offer!

So, here is a peek around the new store – please excuse the photo quality, as I was rushing around with two of my children begging me to pleeeease go home – as well as further links to some of the products I loved in particular… I guarantee you will be itching to reach for that credit card!

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My Dekko Loves: { July }

herb planters welly boots

Well, better late than never I suppose with My Dekko Loves feature this month!  I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely summer, even if our UK/Irish weather leaves a little to be desired sometimes.  I am finally back at the laptop with lots of upcoming blog posts and ideas to share with you over the coming weeks.  As a blogger with three children off school for the holidays, it can be difficult to find time to set aside for blogging that doesn’t include 2am keyboard tapping, but keep checking my Instagram feed, Pinterest boards and Facebook and Twitter accounts for regular updates on the blog.

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20 Essentials for Building up your Interior Decorating Tool Kit

DIY tools 3

Whether it’s a spot of minor interior decorating you enjoy, upcycling the odd piece of second hand furniture or really getting stuck into a big room makeover, one thing is certain; you need to have the right tools for the job close at hand.  There are plenty of great pieces of kit out there to help you make your interior decorating a success, but there are also everyday objects around the house that can play as important a role in ensuring your decorating project doesn’t become a DIY disaster!

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For the Love of Wood

sideboard teak midcentury

We live in a decor age whereby wooden furniture has been loved and almost loathed in equal measures, some preferring it in its natural, raw state, whilst others will chalk paint or gloss everything in their path.  I suppose when it comes to 1980s orange pine I don’t really blame them, however I do think there are some beautiful woods out there that should be left as they are to shine out as a statement piece in their own right.  A perfect example is the walnut and glass china cabinet I have at home that originally belonged to my Great-Grandmother which I simply adore for the way it is.  Ms Annie Sloan ain’t getting her hands on that baby!!

Essentially, the choice as to whether you paint a piece of furniture or not mostly boils down to your personal style preference; if you love the French country look then an oversized armoire painted in a dusky hue of Paris Grey will undoubtedly look the part in your home, just as a set of mismatched dining chairs painted in pretty pastel shades or an old china cabinet in a slick of bright green paint will guarantee a vintage style lover that quirky, eclectic look she’s after.  Personally, I love wood for the warmth and character that it imbues, but painted pieces can add individuality and a sense of fun, too.  And as I’ve shown before now, sometimes there’s a fine line between a trip to the dump and a gorgeously upcycled piece of furniture you can feel a little bit proud of!

For the purpose of this post, it’s all about renewing our love for wood, be it teak, walnut, mahogany or, dare I say it, pine… check out these awesome interiors for ways to work that wood baby…

 

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The Art of Fika

fika

You may remember some time ago, I wrote a post about the Danish culture of Hygge, a concept centred around celebrating the little things in life, most often associated with staying cosy during the long, winter months and enjoying time with friends and family, but also getting out into the fresh air in the summertime and having picnics or a simple glass of wine in the garden with a good book.

Well, it seems that the Scandinavians have got it right again with the Swedish culture known as ‘Fika’.  According to Wikipedia, Fika is:

” a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning “to have coffee”, often accompanied with pastries or sandwiches”.

Sounds pretty spot on to me!  However, you may be thinking “So what? Everyone can enjoy a cup of coffee”, but there’s much more to it than that.  For the Swedes, this is an opportunity to pause your day, share time with friends or colleagues, much like Hygge, but essentially it’s a moment in which to leave the stresses of work behind you, unlike here in Britain or the US, where coffee is a fuel to be taken in short bursts at your desk or on the commute.  I think whether you’re at work, in the middle of studying or in between school runs, everyone could do with practising the art of Fika.

And what’s Fika without the right equipment?!  It seems many of the homeware retailers out there are embracing the trend, too; Oliver Bonas has dedicated a small collection of tableware entirely to Fika, and you can find an ever-growing number of Fika inspired cups, mugs and teapots in many stores across the country.

Here’s my pick of everything you need to take a little pause in your everyday life and embrace this longstanding Swedish tradition…

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My Dekko Loves for May

radish feta mint salad

I was meant to be cheering my son on at his school sports day this morning, but instead I’m here, at the computer, a warming cup of coffee alongside me, writing up my Dekko Loves for the month of May.  The reason for this change of plan?  Three words: Northern. Irish. Weather. Always unpredictable, ever changeable.

Anyway, we have been promised several days of unbroken dry weather from this point on, so we’ll put today behind us and look forward to the first weeks of Summer proper.  First, however, I’m continuing with my new monthly round up post ‘Dekko Loves’ (read my April post here) and I want to round off May with some lovely little things guaranteed to put some sunshine into your day wherever you are…

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Current Colour Combo Crush: Charcoal + Blush

nordic grey sofa blush

I am totally loving anything blush pink at the moment (did you check out my post on THE pink sofa?! Trust me, do, I defy you not to be converted to dusky pink…), not only because it’s such a contemporary, fresh, colour, but also because I think you can introduce it successfully into so many decor styles, from modern country to industrial to Nordic cool.  So, be it blush, rose, dusky or powder, there’s a pink out there for everyone…

I’m currently planning how to redecorate our kitchen/living area (you can read more about it here) and as we’re working around an existing mid-grey sofa and footstool (ours is this one from Next), I can really imagine pale pinks and a bit of monochrome working well with the charcoal grey sofa.

Here are some charcoal/blush looks I have been crushing on lately…

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