Concrete, Stone, Marble Home

Texture. Home stylists and interior designers are always going on about texture. When you start to experiment with it in your own home, you can really start to see (and feel) why.

There are all sorts of ways you can add texture, from plush woven fabrics to natural tactile wood but, somehow, the stripped-back, raw look and feel of stone and concrete accessories adds a unique kind of a luxury finish to a space. It’s as though you’re saying, “sure, I could gild my home with highly-embellished and faffy stuff but I’m choosing a ‘less is way more’ approach, thank you very much”.

Marble is of course the embodiment of luxury stone materials in the home and just a touch here and there gives this same luxe effect, even if it’s not real marble you’re using. Have a look at this beautiful melamine marble-effect tray from Mia Fleur (£16.00, http://www.miafleur.com):

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I love stone finishes in the home, especially dotted around in the form of beautifying accessories. I guess it appeals to my thrifty nature as the fact I can create my own accessories and displays using stones and pebbles found on the beach, riverbanks or even the park gives me a little kick as they’re completely free. Check out my heart-shaped coaster, it’s curves formed by the River Thames itself:

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I just love the simplicity of these white rounded stones I found in Hyde Park:

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If you wanted someone else to do the work for you though, you could do worse than to head over to Wild and Wood (£95.00, http://www.wildandwood.co.uk) where they have this absolute beaut of a clock made of concrete with oak hands which move with a silent sweeping motion. Yes please.

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Or how about this lamp base from IKEA and black granite worktop saver/chopping block from Tiger (£5.00, http://www.tiger-stores.com) – with my Hyde Park stones on:

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So, the next time you’re at the park/beach/local place where stones happen to be lying around, keep an eye peeled for those stones which could very well add a new texture to your space in a very cool way.

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Pound Shop and Proud

Is anyone still reluctant to admit they shop at pound shops? Or has the recession made pound shops trendy? I for one have always loved them. Why on earth would you pay more for the same thing elsewhere?

I looked around my home and realised so many things were found in pound shops that I thought I’d do my bit to banish pound shop shame and share with you the surprise finds I’ve seen in pound shops on my travels. (And, no, I’m not talking about bin bags and kitchen roll.)

1. Candle holders
There’s nothing like candlelight to help you feel relaxed and cosy on a quiet evening. Poundland usually has a varied selection of candles, holders and votives for you to choose from.

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2. Photo frames
We love photo prints in our house so we have a lot of photo frames dotted about the place, most of which came from pound shops.

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3. Plant pots
Have you seen these pots though??

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They make fabulous caddies for kitchen utensils, pen pots, oh, and for putting actual plants in. They’re from the Charlie Dimmock range at Poundland and they fit in perfectly with a rustic, shabby chic or ‘beautility’ look. Yep, I said beautility: beautiful/utility. Moving on…

4. Coasters
Practical, yes, but they don’t just have to be functional; the humble coaster can be a stylish accessory in its own right! I love my crackle mirror coasters and use them underneath pillar candles for a gorgeous sparkle as well as for drinks.

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So go on, go out there, find your nearest pound shop and look at their home accessories in a new light. Beautify your home for less! And pick up some kitchen roll while you’re at it.

Marvellous Monochrome

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Stick around on my blog and you’ll soon gather that I love monochrome everything; I just think it’s such an effortlessly stylish palette and most things in a monochrome finish just look so bloomin’ cool! I’ve gone to town in black and white in my living room.

The great thing about a monochrome theme is that you can add a pop of colour to personalise the look and, as can be the case with your home space, when you fancy something different or want to refresh the space, you can change the look and feel of a room just by adding accessories in your chosen colour.

Yellow works really well in a monochrome setting, whether it’s a vibrant sunshine shade or a more muted mustard. Purple can add a touch of opulence by way of silk fabrics on scatter cushions or even curtains in this regal colour.

In my living room, I’ve opted for metallic highlights to keep things neutral. For example, my light fittings, vases, photo frames and candle holders are in a range of silver finishes; some have a super shiny mirror finish, others, a brushed metal finish. I love it in the evenings when I turn on lamps or light candles and the metallic elements really come to life, bouncing light around the room and making the magpie in me very pleased indeed.