At the turn of the New Year, it can be a struggle to make our homes feel cosy once the twinkly lights and Christmas decorations have been taken down. For many of us, the January home can feel bare, a little empty and uninviting, yet at this deepest stage of midwinter, it’s more important than ever to create a warming, welcoming atmosphere in the home.
Embracing a little ‘hygge’ in our everyday lives does wonders for the soul, whilst encouraging us to huddle down and embrace, rather than fight, these sometimes murky and cold January days. It’s about making time for yourself, savouring something as simple as wrapping your hands around your early morning coffee, a quiet moment with a book, candlelight in the evening, a shared meal with friends and family, a long walk in the woods, wrapping up in a blanket by the fire… these are all feel-good moments, rituals and activities that are in everyone’s everyday, but we often take them for granted, preferring to focus on the bad weather, the cold evenings, the grey skies of January…
Making small changes at home can help ease your path through these long winter weeks, so whilst trying to create a hygge-positive ambience in my own home, I wanted to share with you some simple ways you too can benefit from this Danish way of living. To help me along, I have chosen a selection of pieces from locally-based company Murmur. Designed in-house at their Northern Irish studio, Murmur’s products and patterns are influenced by the simple aesthetics of Scandinavian and Japanese design. The brand’s relaxed, informal style, where every product works in harmony with the next, is built upon a design ethos whereby simple designs and textured finishes translate into beautiful, practical pieces that can be enjoyed and used in the everyday; a key element in the concept of hygge.
December through to February really are the deepest, darkest of winter months, and although December is made bearable by the warming glow of Christmas, January and February can be difficult months to get through, with their dark mornings and long, cold nights making it harder to feel our get up and go.
Light is soothing for our souls and whether we’re staying cosy inside with our twinkly lights all lit or out taking in the crisp, fresh air, we need it to make us feel better during the long winter weeks. It’s also beneficial for our health, as the lack of sunlight means that almost 7% of the UK population reportedly suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months. However, the one benefit of winter light is that it can be very bright and clear, so the trick is to maximise on that when preparing our homes for these darker months.
Thankfully, there are a few simple changes you can make in your home that will ensure you reap the benefits of the limited natural light at this time of year and ultimately improve your mood and your general happiness. Here are 5 things to start you off.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of IKEA opening its very first store on the island of Ireland, based here in Belfast. To help celebrate the very successful past ten years of IKEA in Northern Ireland, I was delighted to be invited along to a media breakfast morning, which included a short tour of the store and a celebratory birthday breakfast (Scandi-style, with plenty of coffee and pastries, of course!)
During our store walkabout, we were introduced to some of the interior design team and product specialists who make up the 330-strong team of co-workers based at IKEA Belfast. They revealed the top selling products that have demonstrated how IKEA has had its part in ensuring we live a better everyday life here in NI, as well as a really fascinating insight into how life has evolved dramatically over the past ten years, with developments in technology, the rise in open plan living and a general move towards city-dwelling very much dictating how we live our daily lives at home.
Read on to find out what I learned about the shopping habits of IKEA Belfast customers!
Hello! I don’t know about you, but I’m really starting to feel the Christmas vibes now. The weather is crisp and blustery (with snow on the way!), the tree and decorations are up, the Christmas shopping is well underway. So I reckon it’s high time for my third gift guide to keep up the momentum on your festive shopping!
This week’s gift guide content is probably the one we often overlook or rush into – the small gift for a friend or relative who has kindly invited you in over the festive period. Whether it’s a morning coffee, casual drinks soiree or a candlelit supper for friends, it can be difficult to think beyond the bottle of wine or box of chocolates that we so often grab at the very last minute. That’s not to say these gifts aren’t gratefully received, because I for one love my sweet treats and glass of nice wine, however with a little extra consideration, you can gift your host or hostess something that little bit different that they’ll remember.
All these gift ideas come in under the £20 mark and are also entirely suitable for the ‘difficult to buy for’ person in your life… we all have one of those, don’t we?!
As ever, details of where to buy are included below.
We’re well into Christmas shopping season now that it’s the first weekend in December, so as promised, here’s my second home lover’s gift guide, this time with a more artsy, boho vibe. Perfect for those who love their slightly quirky home accessories and the arty, eclectic look. (If you missed my first gift guide with a Scandi-inspired theme, you can read it here.)
Hopefully this will give you a few ideas for your upcoming Saturday shopping spree!
It’s that time of year again when I share some festive gift guides with you – I can hardly believe December is literally around the corner. Most of you have probably started your Christmas shopping (or at least thought about it and made a list, because that counts too, right?!), so I thought I’d help you along with a short series of Christmas gift guides. If anything, you might even find something for yourself in there, which I reckon is wholly acceptable and deserved after a busy year at work, school, college and everything in between.
In previous years, I have concentrated my gift guides around who the recipient is, however this year I thought I’d change things up a little and I’m writing three guides based on three different ‘looks’. I promise there will be something for everyone no matter what your home decor style (or if you’re anything like me, you’ll find something you love on all three gift guides!)
This first one’s for the Scandi style aficionados out there, so if you or the loved one you’re buying for, is a lover of all things simple, pared back and always functional, you’re in for a real treat…
As a follow up to my last post on ways to use indigo blue in your home, I want to show you what I believe are the best dark blue paint colours on the market. Dark blue is a popular colour choice at the moment, especially now that winter us upon us and we feel the need to turn the lights down low and hibernate. It is such a cosy, cocooning, yet also elegant colour, whether it’s an entire room cloaked in its velvety hues or simply one wall.
With all the different ranges of paint on the market today, it can be difficult to find the right colour for your particular home, so here’s my pick of the best dark blue paints out there and how they can work throughout different lights and times of day.
Indigo is a really gorgeous AW interiors trend this year, so if you’ve been looking for something a little different from the usual in your home, maybe this is the colour for you. To keep the look cosy for winter, just make sure to layer this beautifully deep and rich colour up with plenty of textures, offsetting its inky depth with neutral accents, such as warm beiges, creamy whites and soft blush pinks.
Here are some ways you can embrace this beautiful blue into your home’s interior…
When it comes to updating a room in our homes, flooring is by far the biggest expense we have to consider. It can also make or break a successful room scheme, so it’s important to choose it wisely.
In recent years, vinyl (and in particular LVT – Luxury Vinyl Tiling) has made a huge comeback and it’s not hard to see why. With an incredible range of colours and designs, teamed with a very reasonable price tag, vinyl flooring is proving to be a popular choice amongst home renovators and interior decorators, particularly those looking to update a tired space on a budget. It’s also straightforward to install, easy to maintain and more hardwearing than ever before, so if you’re planning a room revamp and want to keep your costs down, it may just be the ideal solution for you.
I had a look at some vinyl offerings recently and have found some gorgeous examples of how it can work in all kinds of home interiors – I defy you not to be secretly impressed!
Eagerly awaited by Scandi interiors enthusiasts across the country (yours truly included), this month IKEA has launched an exciting collaboration with Danish design duo, HAY.
The YPPERLIG collection boasts a variety of products hallmarked with the HAY signature design combining functionality with aesthetics. In store, you’ll find everything from sofas to coffee tables, even the iconic IKEA blue bag has been given a HAY makeover!
The YPPERLIG collection also includes cushion covers, coffee tables, chairs, hand painted vases, lamps and simple, multifunctional sofas, but which to put in your trolley next time you visit? Here are my favourite pieces which are definitely on my shopping list…