This morning I wandered across with my two girls to our local market in the bustling East Belfast village of Ballyhackamore. It’s a monthly artisan market, running on the 3rd Saturday of each month, which started up just over a year ago and is already becoming one of the city’s most well-known spots to find locally produced goods.
This Saturday was the annual Ballyhackamore Christmas market, with more stalls than usual and extended hours of business, plus a little festive music, of course. I had a lovely mooch about and (in between entertaining and feeding my children!) discovered some superb local talents offering their wares, including everything from art prints to greetings cards and hand tied posies to jewellery – perfect for a spot of seasonal gift buying, whilst supporting the local economy, of course!
Here are some of the gems you need to look out for… (and excuse the questionable photography – my youngest was intent on photobombing me at every opportunity so I had to snap quickly!!)
Like a lot of people, we spent some time at the weekend putting our tree up and adding some festive touches to our home. As we hung our decorations and draped the fairy lights around, it occurred to me that we were formally welcoming the beginning of Winter in all its sparkling, glittering glory, and so, rather sadly, once again bidding farewell to Autumn and its lovely mild weather and beautiful colours.
For me, it’s important to welcome in a new season with some subtle tweaks to my home decor, be it cosy cushions in Winter or vases of daffodils in Spring. A few weeks ago, with Christmas still a distant thought, I started shopping for some decorative winter additions for the home. I was on a mission to choose some ‘Hygge’ friendly pieces to make the house warm and inviting to festive visitors and I found some gorgeous homewares from my favourite high street stores that I wanted to share with you. Hopefully it will inspire you to think about your own home decor this coming season!
Hello, I’m back!!
Where has November gone?! You may have noticed I have fallen behind with regularly updating the blog lately, however I haven’t been too far away, working on some writing and product styling jobs as well as working on the house, of course! (Does it ever end?! .. No, thought as much!)
If you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll know that I have been finishing off the kitchen/living area that we have been redecorating as a main priority since moving house back in the Spring, with new curtains now finally in place at our patio doors! I am just awaiting some dark blue roller blinds to be delivered for the other kitchen windows, which (fingers crossed!) should be here before Christmas… then I will do a second blog reveal for all you lovely people of how things are looking.
The other thing I have been considering recently has been wall art … not just in the kitchen, but around the living space downstairs, too. We really could do with injecting a little more interest and, dare I say it, personality, in the form of wall art and even some framed photos that we all seem to plan to do but never actually make a priority. That was why I was delighted to be given the opportunity by the lovely folk over at Posterlounge to review a selection of their art posters in my own home environment.
It’s just under a week to go until my quite possibly favourite time of the year – Hallowe’en. I have such fond childhood memories of all the activities that are associated with this ancient, Celtic festival, from ducking for apples to carving horrid faces out of turnips, as well as the nasty smell that went with it when they were lit at night! I still love Hallowe’en today – even the chilly, smoky air on these clear nights almost smells of it!
Of course, Hallowe’en is a big festival aimed at kids and my three are especially excited about getting dressed up to go trick or treating this year, however I think it’s also a good excuse for us grown ups to have some friends over and enjoy a spookily themed meal together at the table or sit around a crackling fire with hands wrapped around a warming, spicy glass of mulled cider.
I’ve been picking up a few decorative Hallowe’en bits and pieces for my home over the past few weeks and decided to pop into a new TK Maxx store which has just recently opened not far from where I live. I found some great, really reasonably priced Hallowe’en decor goodies which I wanted to share with you, along with some little ideas on how you can create the perfect spooky table for your grown-up guests over the holidays!
I popped along this past weekend to the annual Love Your Home Show, which was being held in Belfast’s Titanic Expo Centre set within the iconic Titanic Quarter of the city. ‘Love Your Home’ is Northern Ireland’s largest home event, showcasing everything the home lover will need, including interior design advice and inspiration, as well as a raft of home improvement products and services for you to peruse.
As I write a little piece for the Love Your Home blog each month, I thought I would share with you some of the things I really liked about this year’s show. Hopefully, like me, you can discover some of the existing, as well as new and upcoming local talent we are proud to have here in Northern Ireland!
As September draws to a close, I’m once again looking back at my Dekko Loves for the month past. I am a total September girl, I just love the feeling of renewal and change at this time of year – probably moreso than in January, which may be surprising to some. For us, it’s been a month of settling into new routines at school, especially for my youngest, who started primary school proper this year. I feel so happy for her and proud of how she’s growing up into the fine little lady that she is!
So it goes without saying that with all three children off to school, September has also been a time for me to get on more freely with some more home decor tasks, so I’ve plenty to show you in the coming weeks!
For now, though, here is a glimpse of my #dekkoloves for the month…
When I packed my bags and went off to uni all those years ago, I arrived into an empty shell of a student dorm room where the most personalising I did to the space was to make my bed up with my duvet cover from home and throw a few books and framed photos onto the shelves – and it pretty much stayed that way for the entire four years!
Roll on (ahem!) twenty years and I’m pleased to see that things have definitely moved on. Students renting rooms have a plethora of choice when it comes to shopping to customize that little square of space to call their own, from the mainstream movers such as Ikea with their low priced lighting and furnishing designs to the more individual and quirky styles found at the likes of Urban Outfitters and H&M. When it comes to dorm room decor, there really is no excuse to have to splurge out more cash than you have to – lighting, storage and bedding in particular can be picked up at very reasonable prices and in pretty cool designs; you just have to be a little creative in your shopping sometimes!
So, whether you’re a fresher student heading off to your first term at college, a newbie graduate renting for the first time or even a parent who’s looking for cool pieces for their teenager’s bedroom, I’ve been taking a look at how you can get the look for less…
I talked in my last post about how I love this time of year for the cosy touches we can bring into our home to prepare for relaxed evenings by the fire, snuggling down into soft cushions and enjoying taking life that little bit more slowly. It is also, of course, a time to reintroduce cosy textures into our wardrobes, as we pack away our flimsy summer threads and begin to cocoon ourselves once more in wonderfully warm layers of big woollen scarves, oversized jumpers and long socks.
Love, love, love this time of year!
In fact, I had been clearing out my own wardrobe recently to begin the gradual transition to Autumnal climes, when I was offered the chance to try out a new style of unique watch from US brand JORD. They produce both women’s and men’s wooden watches in a range of styles and finishes and upon checking out their website, I immediately felt they would be the ideal wrist accessory for the season ahead! Even better, JORD include free international shipping with every watch purchase and I was delighted to receive my Fieldcrest women’s watch within 10 days of my order.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Autumn lands upon us once the kids are back to school at the beginning of September. First I notice a slightly fresher chill in the air on our morning walks to school, then I go for a run in the park with a friend and we marvel at how the leaves are turning golden. The garden especially is showing lots of Autumnal signs, as the Japanese acers start to turn a beautiful fiery red. I can’t wait to see how the garden looks in another month or so.
However, back indoors we go, as the purpose of this post is to look at pieces we can buy for the home to welcome in the new season and finally let go of Summer for another year. I personally love the Autumn for all the rich colours and textures we can bring into our decor to make our homes feel welcoming and cosy, and when the kind folks at TK Maxx sent me a gift card to spend in their store, needless to say I was delighted! They have recently brought in their new range of Autumn homewares and I couldn’t wait to get over to my local store to take a look around.
Here are some pieces I found that will help you bring your home from Summer into Autumn, all for less than a fiver each!
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…