28 October 2015

6 simple decoration tips for better sleep

You can improve your sleep hygiene by simple decoration tips. I've always been of the opinion that bedrooms are for rest and relaxation. And that is it. Nothing more, nothing less. Rest and relaxation. When we bought our new house, it was a perfect opportunity to renovate, furnish, and decorate with turning our quite an ordinary bedroom into a restful sanctuary. I thought it would be nice to share with you six tips and tricks we have used in in our quest for a good nights sleep, and share a few pictures from our new, freshly decorated bedroom.

Please note, this post is in collaboration with Sealy. 

1. We used calming colours for paint.
Pale and muted blues and greens are said to be the best for helping you off to the land of nod, but any neutral colour would work. Very 'awake' colours, like bright and vibrant, and reds, purples and bright yellows are said to encourage wakefulness and attention.

2. We cleared the clutter.
We have an in-built wardrobe which houses all of our clothes (ok, all of his, nearly all of mine). There is nothing unnecessary underneath the bed, on the bed, or next to the bed. Feng Shui by the way says you should have nothing underneath your bed, as it blocks energy flows. Whatever you think of the validity of that, it is still nice not to have anything gathering dust under there!

3. We dedicated the room for sleep and rest.
We have no TVs, no computers, and no technology in the bedroom (other than our smart phones which act as our alarm clocks). This might not be possible if you live in a very small place and have nowhere else to work or to watch TV, but you could always try to hide them inside a wardrobe, a desk or tidy the computer and papers away each day.

4. We created a beautiful and functional lighting system.
This was as simple as getting a dimmer switch, and sockets on both sides of the bed for table lamps! Additionally, when we were choosing the main ceiling lamp, we went for something that doesn't glare if you look at it from underneath - there are no bulbs in sight shining in your eyes. And as important is to keep the light out at night - invest in a good black-out blind or in a sleep mask. My absolute favourite is the silk mask by Silksleep - a bit pricey but far superior than flimsy cheap ones.

5. We bought good bedding.
In terms of bed clothes we have banished the sweaty polyester in favour of natural materials, like cotton and linen. In terms of pillows we have gone for good quality thermo pillows that support you head well and mould to your body positions. They are so comfortable, we will never go back to normal pillows! For our next pillows I might get something that keeps cool in the nigh time even if you are a hot sleeper (like my husband is) - perhaps a Cooltech Gel Pillow from Sealy. Eventually we also want to buy a really good duvet that helps regulate our temperatures.

6. We will invest in a top quality mattress! Granted, this is something we have not been able to afford yet but it is on the list. You spend about a third of your life sleeping, so it makes sense to invest in a good quality mattress. There are so many different styles to choose from, and your own sleeping style will determine the perfect match. Personally I am very keen on mattresses with memory foam, like you can find from Sealy but if you like something more traditional Sealy do plenty of other styles too, like pocket springs and hybrid versions.

If you can't afford a mattress straight away, or your mattress is OK but not great, I've heard mattress toppers are a huge help. There are quite a few different styles available, ranging from super-firm to zonal to just classic ones.

So those are the tips and tricks we used to turn our bedroom into a dream room (quite literally!). There are still a few things to do and to buy, but we are nearly there. We are planning on getting bed side tables, and some table lamps, as the room decoration is still more utilitarian than completely cosy, and potentially having a chair next to the bay window. 

Do you have any other tips for how to decorate and furnish your bedrooms?

27 October 2015

A little life update and a serendipitous day at Calthorpe Project

I wrote a little life update the last time when we had just moved from our old house to stay with the in-laws. It was a hectic time. We were about to move to our new house in a few weeks and I was planning lots of activities for October, including a Halloween party for us and or friends to commemorate our new home. My husband was planning on going on a holiday with the bub and his side of the family.

We moved in mid-October. The husband buggered off on his holiday leaving me with a stack of cardboard boxes and a construction site to clean. You may have noticed that I haven't been updating my blog for a while now - it is because I have been sweeping, hoovering, dusting, lifting, stacking and assembling any spare minute I have. Oh yes, and doing that other little thing called a full time job. I have been updating my progress on social media, so if you are wondering how far I have managed to chip into the huge load that is moving house, hop over to my Facebook or Instagram.

Because I haven't been taking too many photos recently, my camera batteries have been exhausted and my camera charger is probably in a cardboard box labelled miscallenious (so this sorry state of affairs might take a while...) I thought I'd share a few pictures from an outing me and Aili had in the summertime.

I sometimes just like to go with the flow. Follow the lead of Miss Serendipity. While it is sometimes necessary to straight jacket your day so you manage to get something done, sometimes, just sometimes, it is nice to let the universe decide what to throw your way. To see what adventure is waiting for you.

We had just left Coram's Fields where we had spent a few hours running, climbing and playing. As we were walking to a children's fashion trade show, I thought Aili would happily doze off in her pram. Well, she had something else in mind, and insisted on walking. So walk we went. Until we walked past the gates of Calthorpe Project. I used to live near by, but I had never seen it before, and as Aili physically pulled me in I figured why not. Let's see what it has to offer us.  

calthorpe project gates

calthorpe project garden

calthorpe project mosaic pavement road

So in we went, one weary toddler and one weary mother. We ended up in the midst of a children's cooking event, a charity sale for a Spanish kids club, eating Colombian homemade foods, and just playing for a good couple of hours more with some new friends. I've had my fair share of wild adventures in my heyday - nowadays I am quite happy with these little adventures, like tasting my first ever empanada and walking around a new little park I have never heard of before. 

And it was lovely. Letting the day take us where it wants, letting go, and enjoying the moments as they come. 

And hey, if you are wondering about that Halloween party we were planning... I think we will be too busy trying to get our house in order to contemplate anything planned, but we will see where the day will take us!

So, do you plan your day out, or let things pan out naturally?

13 October 2015

Feeding the good wolf in me - about trying to live a positive life

I have been thinking about the old Cherokee parable lately. 

In the story, a grandfather and his grandson are talking and the grandson asks his grandfather what will he grow up to be. The grandfather replies by telling a story about two wolves. 

He says to his grandson "There are two wolves fighting inside every one of us. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." 

The grandson thought about the answer for a moment, and then asked his grandfather: "But which wolf will win?".

His grandfather simply replied: "The one you feed". 

This has been on my mind a lot lately as I keep on spotting the manifestations of the fight between two wolves in my day to day life again and again. Whether it is through the actions and words of others in my life, the posts I read online, or in the inner struggle between good and bad feelings within myself, in the words that may just spill out and feed the bad wolf in myself and others.

I am far from perfect, but I try my damnest to feed the good wolf. To think positively, to look on the better things in life, to concentrate on the happy moments, however fleeting they are. The warm cup of coffee to start my day, the beautiful sunshine outside, the little hands around my neck the moment I step back home after a long day at the office. 

To me it just feels so utterly exhausting to concentrate on the negative and on the bad. And I wonder, when people do feed the bad wolf, and let themselves wallow in anger and resentment, does it not get physically exhausting? Does it not just spend you and eat you inside, take the joy out of life, and make just everything that much harder to bear? It is physically exhausting being around people like that, so I wonder how very tiresome it must be for them.

Like I said, I am not perfect, and often feel like I want to lash out. And sometimes I do. But I also try to contain the emotions, and sometimes, when I feel angry at someone else and at their actions, try to see it from their perspective. And if I have someone lash out at me, rather than lash back out at them, sometimes it is more constructive to think what might I have done in a better way. Perhaps communicate better? Perhaps understand their situation in life better?

Life is far too short to wallow in negativity, and to let the bad wolf win. I would much rather feed the happiness, joy and kindness in me. Because that is what life should be all about.

Have you heard the parable before and what did you think of it?    

7 October 2015

Our renovation journey Part 7 - Almost there

I just wanted to very quickly update you all on what has been happening at The House and that we are going to move in within two weeks. We are so so so close... So close I can almost feel it. So here are a few pictures of what we have achieved. If you need a reminder for what montrosity we started with, here is our house in its original glory
There are so many exciting things in the house I am jumping with joy about - like my greyscale patchwork encaustic tiles, blackboard paint kitchen wall, stainless steel worktops with seamlessly integrated sink, the awesome lighting, and of course, our very modern statement staircase. I am loving the mix between Victorian period touches with contemporary style.
A few things are still missing - the staircase and electrics need the final touches, as well as the kitchen. Some paint on the skirting boards and coving. And that is it folks! (OK, that is not quite it, but we can move in nonetheless). 

Can't wait to get decorating either - and I have a couple of fun collaborations too on that front for our toddler bedroom! 

What do you think - love or hate the Victorian/contemporary mix?

Check my renovation series here:
Part 1 - Our new home
Part 2 - Surprises
Part 3 - Project management

6 October 2015

Celebrating the second birthday of our little princess

How can you tell a bad mummy blogger? Well, they forget to share their daughters birthday pictures until over three months have passed from the occasion... *whistles innocently*

Our little princess was dressed appropriately, in her new pink party dress and her crown. She got the cake of her dreams - a cake with Peppa Pig ornaments. And she got something as a gift she holds very dear to her heart now - her own little baby. 

What more could a little princess ask? Not much I tell you! (Ok, maybe for her poor excuse for a blogger mummy to share the pictures before she turns three...).

We had a shop bought cake, which was decorated with Peppa Pig toys. I got her a new party dress, which is big enough that she can wear it next year too. For gifts, she got a dolly, some little toys and some useful clothes. Mostly things that were Peppa branded, as she loves that cheeky little piggy. It may not have been anything special but for her it was perfect.

For her first and second birthday we decided to take it easy and celebrate it with the nearest and dearest, keeping it simple. It can often feel like you need to have a big occasion, with a theme and matching decorations, and even an entertainer for the kids. Maybe that pressure comes from being in London, or maybe from social media and the Pinterest-perfect lifes branded on Facebook for all to admire. For what it is worth, even if our table cloth didn't match the napkins, and there were no special baby entertainers, in her eyes it must have been the best party ever. And why? Because we were all there, with her, for her.

(And of course, Peppa Pig made it even better!)

What kind of birthday parties do you organise for your kids?

2 October 2015

My Monthly Roundup - My Instagram September 2015

It has been such a busy month I haven't really had much time to grab my camera and share anything of my life. It has been go go go for most of September. A few little snaps of sunshine and fun did appear in my life though and here are a few captures. 

1. I do often despair with London, the long commutes, the high house prices, and the endless hamster wheel. But sometimes, it is just lovely to live here. Incredible town with incredible opportunities.
2. The beginning of September brought home the many horrors Syrian refugees face day to day, hour to hour. I wrote a post for the blogger campaign "It could have been me" - and I am so humbled how amazingly people have participated in the campaign, raising awareness, donating their time and their money.
3. I don't get too many pictures of me and my little one, so all those are very special. Hubby, take that camera out more often!
4. A little picture from our long forest walk... She looked so content and happy I just had to take a little snap.

5. A little peek-a-boo picture of my little monkey!
6. Another long walk in the evening with my little one, looking for puddless to jump in. I guess she was a bit tired as she had a few moments like these, lying in the long and wet grass!
7. Sometimes I get myself a little Friday treat - Lush is on my way home so often happen to pop in by there... This time it was A French Kiss bath melt, which I planned to use ALL by myself. Bliss.
8. Sometimes it is nice to hear a bit of music during the busy day, and take a moment to listen - as I was walking on Westminster bridge I popped a few coins for the busker and enjoyed the scenery.

And like last month I've been sharing videos too - here is one of us puddle jumping!

I didn't share all that much on Instagram last month as it was such a crazy one, but if you have an account do come and say hi to me on IG!

Do you guys have Instagram accounts? And how was your September? 
Linky below - if you would like to learn more about the linky idea or get the badge check my page about My Monthly Roundup. 

1 October 2015

A little life update

It has been a pretty wild ride lately. I haven't really had too much time to dedicate to my blog and I thought it would be nice to share a bit about what we have been up to and what has been happening behind the scenes.

Two weeks ago we moved out from our little home. The home we first brought our daughter in, when she was but a newborn. We packed all our belongings in boxes, moved them to a self storage facility, vacated the property and moved ourselves to the in laws. We are now still renovating our new home, which hopefully will be ready very soon.

That has dominated the whole month of September really. The renovations, the packing, the moving.

At the beginning of September I changed jobs as well. After getting that one year itch at my job, I organised an internal move to a new team and to a new job. I find I get bored after working in one place for a year, surely I can't be the only one? Not sure if this has really scratched that itch, so maybe a time to reevaluate it all after we are over the renovation and house-moving malarkey.

Now that we are staying with the in laws in a lovely big country house in the middle of farmlands and countryside my long commute has become even longer. It can now be up to four hours a day, if the traffic is particularly horrendous. In the evening I have been feeling so knackered I have passed out around 10 PM which for the night owl me is pretty much unheard of. Since my commute is so ridiculous, I have been working one day a week from home, which has helped.

I've had some fun as well. Last weekend I entered a charity bake off. Ever so confident me joined in to compete for the grand title of Chief Cinnamon Bun maker and a trip to Iceland knowing I have actually made cinnamon buns only three times in my life... Twice unsuccessfully. Unsurprisingly, my fourth ever buns didn't win. It was a fun experience nonetheless, with a Michelin-experienced top chef judging my buns to be 'an excellent bake', with very good dough. And while they were not a tight enough wrap and brown sugar overpowered the cinnamon, the top chef said graciously 'but I like it'. And ha ha, some folk from the audience came to tell me they liked my buns the best and were sad to see me not win.

I know I probably should have practiced my buns but to be honest, with the move, and the commute, and the renovations and a new job (not to mention pushing on the pro side of my blog) I really could not find the time. And to be honest, the winning buns were pretty awesome, no matter how much I would have practiced I don't think I could have beaten their perfect form and function.

Speaking about the pro side of my blog, you may have noticed that I have had a couple of recent collaborations. There are a few more exciting ones coming up and it has been nice to see that my blog is going places, little by little. Once we settle in to our new home I will have a bit more time to devote to the blog and have planned all kinds of fun things for it.

So, October. The plan is to move to our new home, get to grips with interior decorations, do a few fun blog collaborations, organise a toddler-friendly non-scary Halloween party and take a bit of a breather. Here's to October, hope you bring a bit of a break to this madness!

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