Pocket Full Of Personality

 When it comes to clothing I am a big believer that everyone has that one “go to” garment that is their weak spot. Mine, in case your wondering, is jackets! Whether I am scanning the Zara sale, perusing the vintage shops in London or flicking through the next seasons looks on Pinterest,  jackets are the first thing I go to.

I’d never really thought too much about it until I moved out of home and had to  pack up my collection for moving. Then came the realisation that I had more than 60 jackets! Not having space for them all I had to go through the painful process of cutting down my collection but thankfully I still managed to squeeze 42 into my apartment – 19 of which are blazers! God I love a blazer!
Blazers for me are my go to outfit, and, while at university these where practically my uniform on a day to day basis! Skinny jeans and a blazer, paired with anything from a hoody, jumper or a tee underneath, they were always with me rain or shine (but teamed with shorts in the shine).
For me, a blazer was always a great choice while at Uni as it fitted my quite skinny frame well, giving me a more grown up silhouette, and at the same time was an extremely versatile item for a student on a budget! My old faithful navy Topman blazer, (which I have tried and tried to replace) fits so well and is a classic that has seen mixing plaster for making ceramic moulds over a slouchy tee to nights out with a shirt and dickie bow.
Where am I going with this you may be wondering! Well, to get to my point, how do you add a new look to your favourite jackets to create a fresh take on your wardrobe?  For me the answer lies in the accessories, and in particular, pocket squares (and bow ties for a  more formal occasion).  A couple of years ago I did a modelling job for a pocket square company which got me hooked on them! Considering it is something so small and affordable (compared to 18 new blazers haha), it can breathe a new life into any one of my old blazers and have a great impact to create a fresh look. What’s even more great about them is that you can move them from jacket to jacket and, each one has the potential to change your look. The added beauty of a pocket square compared to the dickie bow is that they can still be worn casually during the day – I have even been known to dress up a plain white shirt with a pocket square in my chest pocket! However for a formal occasion a dickie bow and matching pocket square is always a winning combination for the sophisticated man about town.
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Squared Pocket Modelling (Cringe)
There are many different ways you can fold a pocket square, however I always tend to keep it quite informal and stick with one particular casual style  so that it shows the pattern (that and the fact that I am usually in a rush to get ready!). I tend to go for ‘The Puff Fold’ or the ‘The Dunaway Fold’ as these are of the two most laid back folds.
A lot of my pocket squares came from ‘Squared Pocket’, the company I modelled some for previously, but they have unfortunately stopped making them (I blame the model haha). The rest of my collection have mostly been picked up on the high street or have been gifts – like my liberty one. However before I go any further, I must tell you about my latest pocket square which has been handmade in my beloved York and, even more impressively, is bespoke for me!

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Leeds Life: Issho

After a busy couple of weeks with both my holiday in Ibiza and my parents holiday (which meant I actually had to work long days!), I finally managed to head across to Leeds at the weekend and check out Issho, a new Japanese restaurant.
Issho is D&D London’s latest opening in Leeds and can be found carefully placed in Victoria Gate, tucked away between the Russell & Bromley and Gant stores. Once you have taken this detour off the main shopping promenade, you’re greeted by an opposing wooden clad staircase that cascades down from the top floor. The spiralling granite stairs reflect the intricate wood panelling, creating a dramatic entrance to the bars and restaurants above.
We arrived for brunch just before 1pm and, whilst waiting for friends to join, grabbed a drink in the Kori bar where the sun was flooding through the big open bi-fold doors. However, after a week in Ibiza, I was (and still am!) on my post holiday alcohol detox so I opted for a very refreshing Elderflower Blossom – a blend of apple and pomegranate with elderflower and lemon – the perfect choice for the scorching hot weather.
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Anyway, getting back to the interiors, the bar continues the wooden feel with an imposing long light oak bar which was softened by a white washed wood effect tiled floor and polished concrete walls and ceiling. A section of the ceiling has been recessed and adorned with a monochrome mural which frames the contour of the bar. The charcoal black colour of the mural is used again to decorate both the sections of the pillars and the upholstery of the bar stools, tying the concept together really well.
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Running parallel to the bar is the outdoor roof terrace which features squishy sofas and low tables on a light wood decking, with an abundance of palms and maples lining the glass balcony wall. Around the other side of the bar are a handful of black gloss and copper tables and dark coral chairs, which have been are placed along the heather grey upholstered benching to create further seating. This area is softly lit by a selection of different shaped paper lantern style pendent lights.

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Yellow is the new black 

Hey! So here it goes this is my £100 mini makeover challenge! Dave set me the challenge of making his bedroom look at little fresher and brighter; the black wall was probably not the best choice in hindsight – and not one I made! My initial thought was to bring light in to the room through the use of colour.

Before

Having used orange in the spare room, and still trying to keep a masculine tone to the room, my initial thoughts were to use black and white and monochromes. The only downside to this was I would be putting further black into the already dark room. Not one to give up (or admit I am wrong) I poured myself a strong tea and began deeper research for some inspiration. It was only when my mind began to wander that I looked around my lounge – you could practically hear the penny dropped when I thought yellow!! I am a massive ambassador for yellow when it’s done right. If you haven’t read it already, check out my Dayroom Daydream where you’ll see I have gone for a subtle Regency day room yellow. However this room needed a brighter, more vibrant, yellow to inject some much needed light and personality.

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Edinburgh in a teacup! 

As I sit here en route to the capital I thought it’s the perfect time to pop my headphones in, block out that screaming child at the end of the carriage and tell you all about my trip to the Scottish capital. Last weekend my other half and I travelled with my parents to Edinburgh to help them celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. They used to take my brother and I frequently as children so it seemed the perfect location. So here is my round up of the places we visited and the exquisite interiors of our hotel, The George.We travelled by train from York on Saturday morning which is a lovely route along the east coast with sights of Lindisfarne and sandy beaches while sipping a celebratory glass of prosecco. This now seems a distant memory compared to my current journey trapped in a corner table seat, clutching my disposable Yorkshire Tea paper cup and fighting for leg room with the man opposite! I can practically hear my Dad saying ‘You should of booked first class’ – I must admit there were no screamers in first! We arrived at just before 11am and went straight to drop our bags at the hotel before heading out for a wander around the city. With Anthropologie just a hundred yards from the hotel it would seem rude (and silly) not to take advantage of their 20% off offer, so with my two Lou Rota plates in the bag we headed for lunch. We found a little tea room on Frederick Street called eteaket Tea Room which was a little underground (well street level) haven from the hustle and bustle of busy George Street. With a beautiful selection of sandwiches, salads and cake not to mention an endless list of teas, (the Royal Earl Grey was amazing.) we were soon refuelled for our walk up to the castle.

As we walked the Royal Mile to the castle we joined the masses looking down on the cityscape of Edinburgh below, we decided to head for Holyroodhouse at the opposite end of the Royal mile. This is the official, and principal residence of the Queen when in Scotland for the summer. Photography was not allowed unfortunately, but I managed to get a couple of snaps before I was told! The Palace is adorned with panelled walls and heavily carved ceilings, which with many of the old houses has not had any redecoration for decades showing no insight into the modern Royals. From Holyrood we headed back to check in to the hotel and freshen up for dinner.

The George Hotel has recently undergone a massive renovation under the management of the Principal group. Each of their hotels have a distinct style with both the York and Manchester hotels boasting the same imposing soft grey panelled walls, however this hotel still had a highland fling theme to it. With heavily draped arched windows, tiled floor and soft lighting, the lobby and reception were stunning. The light flooded in from George Street and lit the room bouncing off the tiles and onto the dark wood furniture, highlighting the carefully placed towering palms.

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The George Lobby

 

We headed to our Junior Suite on the first floor which overlooked the imposing Dome restaurant opposite the hotel. Our room was gorgeous with panelled grey fabric walls and complimentary dramatic curtains, the muted tones were carried throughout the room with its grey furniture and cream upholstery in the form of two comfy armchairs and a buttoned backed loveseat.

The king-size bed, like the love seat, was festooned with heavy feather filled tartan cushions carefully selected to continue the soft grey interior theme. The only colour to this room was the post-box red telephone on the bedside table which popped against the stark white bed linen and grey walls. The bathroom was equally striking with a roll top bath, walk in shower and marble topped sink which was laden with complimentary Elemis products.

Ring Ring...Its for you...
Ring Ring Ring goes the telphone

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Budget Bedroom: Bland to Bold

Little has been done with the top floor of the house in the three years since it was built and so with the recent departure of a lodger, it was the perfect time to decorate a bedroom. My other half set the brief of modern, clean, light and gave me a budget of £150.00 – which I managed to achieve for only £105.50. As many of you will know, modern is not my usual interior style as I favour more of a classic look or, as my Dad would say, “Downton Abbey” inspired.

My initial thoughts were to go down the route of calm and modern and adopt my default colour of GREY, incorporating a bright colour to create a pop and add some warmth and personality. Grey and yellow work really well together and have gone hand in hand when it comes to interiors for years but I wanted something a little bit different. After running through colours in my head I quickly started to dismiss most choices; blue – too cold, red – done to death, pink – shot down and then I came to orange. Now I love orange as I think it’s one of those colours that has numerous shades and tones, like burnt orange and peach,that can create so many different vibes. However for this project I knew what I wanted and that was a bright citrus, yet classy, orange. I now just needed to find it!

Armed with my iPad I snuggled down into bed with a decaf Yorkshire Gold and began trawling though my regular internet haunts. I finally tracked the cushions down in Dunelm for £8.00 each and a matching throw from Wayfair for £17.99 (Reduced from £52.99). I’ve never made a purchase from Wayfair before and so I was a little apprehensive, but I have to say, the quality is great. With the orange in the bag I was on a roll and turned my attention to the accessories. Now, as I strict rule, I don’t like to mass buy accessories as I think it’s best to collect items that you really love – that way you will always find that special place to put them, else you can end up with a mass of clutter around your home. However with this room being a totally blank canvas I felt it needed a couple of items to add a homely feel without it being too much engineered personality in a guest room. To complete the room I got some simple white lamp shades from B&Q for £5 each to replace to blue shades of the table lamps and decided to stick with the existing grey ceiling shade to maintain a soft lighting to the room.

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Oh So Shore-Dutch

Well what a busy couple of weeks it’s been – what with numerous birthdays (mine being the most important, obviously), social events and feeling a bit under the weather. However, I’ve finally found some time to pick up my laptop and tell you about the amazing interiors and delicious food that we discovered on the surprise birthday weekend away to Amsterdam which my other half organised for me.

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Bloemenmarkt

We flew out on the Saturday morning after my birthday (25th Feb) in the middle of storm Doris and arrived at lunchtime which gave us a full two and a half days to explore the stunning city of Amsterdam. As our taxi took us on a scenic route from the airport and approached the hotel, I’m not sure which I fell in love with more, the quaint and picturesque city or the super cool hotel, which oozed Shoreditch vibes and retro Dutch style.

We stayed at Hotel V Fizeaustraat, marketed as a 4 and a half star hotel situated just a stones through from Amstel station and the newest addition to the Hotel V group. As I took in the surroundings it certainly conjured up memories of the Ace Hotel Shoreditch.

We were welcomed by a sea of candles on each table which lit the otherwise dark lobby area. This soft lighting set a very calm and relaxing environment as we walked towards an imposing desk adorned with a dramatic vase filled with giant pampas grasses
(an idea I couldn’t wait to try in my dining room at home). The reception area was dressed with a relaxed olive leather sofa and wicker chairs, whilst a heavy gold coffee table sat effortlessly on a natural Aztec rug, complimenting the polished concrete floor perfectly.  The reception area was lit by an opposing floor to ceiling heavily beaded chandelier which injected glamour into the vintage interiors.

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Reception Chandelier

 

After checking in we made our way back into the subdued green walled lobby and through to a long hallway which led us to our room. The walls were wallpapered with a polished concrete effect paper with embossed groves in a geometric formation to give the effect of tiles. The striking hallway was lit purely by wicker wall lights, evenly spaced to give the effect of a never ending hall. It looked like something from the Hotel Cortez in American Horror Story – dark and dramatic glamour.

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Storage Heater Solution

Apartment living does have its benefits – low maintenance, extra security and no worrying over structural damage. However, apartment life does have one big downside – STORAGE HEATERS!

For anyone who has lived in an apartment this issue will definitely have affected them. Whether your apartment is 2 years old or 20, storage heaters seem to be the norm. Forgetting the fact that you need to have a NASA qualification and be best friends with Mystic Meg to figure out how they work, THEY ARE UGLY! There is no way around the fact that they are a big white blot on the landscape of your beautifully decorated room – no matter how hard you try to block them out.

So this is when I set myself a challenge – How can I distract from the heater in my hall with an easily movable cover (As storage heaters cannot be covered while in use)?

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My first thought was a radiator cover as this could be lifted away if in ever wanted to use the heater, but after a lot of searching (whilst also working my way through a full tin of Betty’s Yorkshire Shortbread with tea), I found that the pre-made covers were not deep enough. Feeling defeated, I thought about a lift on/off shelf but quickly dismissed this idea and went back to the drawing board, reverting to one of my favourite pastimes – scouring eBay for furniture! As I clicked the ‘nearest first’ filter it triggered a light bulb moment – Why don’t I just buy a cupboard, remove the back and cut down in depth to fit over the heater? Well, that could have been an option had it not been for the skirting boards. Undeterred, I pursued this approach by exploring what furniture I could possibly adapt and eventually decided that a table would be the easiest to adapt and the most practical as it can be easily moved and will sit flush to the wall.

I popped the kettle on (and fought the urge to rummage for more biscuits) before narrowing down my table search. In addition to eBay, I also find the local Facebook selling groups a great option – there is nothing worse than finding the ideal piece only to discover it is collection only from the top of Scotland! This is where I found the perfect table for the job, (albeit nearer to Hull that York) but luckily for me, and my very small Mini, one of my friends works close by and could collect it for me.

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Once delivered (in exchange for one of my homemade coffee & walnut cakes) I began dismantling the table to remove the lower tier and two of the legs. From there I measured how far out of the wall I wanted the table to be, and importantly, how deep it needed to be for the legs not to get in the way and then sanded the table so it was ready to paint after being cut to size. To cut it down you could hand saw or jigsaw it with a steady hand and careful eye but I however took a more accurate approach (purely for my OCD of not wanting a wobbly line) and took it to a good customer of ours who designs and creates playgrounds and parks. They ran it through their circular saw giving me a perfectly crisp line meaning no more sanding!

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My bathroom on a budget makeover!

When I bought my apartment in November 2015 its fair to say that the bathroom had seen better days – the walls were full of scratches and marks from years of use by tenants and a badly chipped mirror had found itself well and truly attached to the wall (thanks to what must have been several tubes of  no more nails!). The mirror had to go! After what felt like hours of cheese wiring, scraping, taping and prizing, with the help of a friend, I finally managed to get the mirror off the wall. Success you may think – unfortunately not as now that I had removed one problem from the room this left me with another – yet more wall surface issues!

With a housewarming party looming (and my snobbery rearing its head) I grabbed some filler and half a pot of some left over Farrow & Ball ‘Elephants breath’ and embarked on some minor redecoration. My initial idea was to simply tidy up the bathroom until I replaced the bathroom suite, however, with a year of weddings, birthday weekends and a craving for some sun, the priority of the bathroom suite somewhat took a back seat.

Before

Fast forward a year and whilst the minor redecoration had made the bathroom served a purpose, I felt it it was time to grab the bull by the horns and pay the bathroom some much needed attention… Albeit on a budget!

After a long hard day of work I love nothing more than a long hot bath, and so for me, the bathroom is somewhere I spend a lot of time.  Armed with a fresh cup of tea, my laptop and a £100.00 budget I set about my bargain hunting and research and bargain hunting.

My key to finding design inspiration is to expand my vision around one key theme or items that you are particularly drawn to. I find you can get some great inspiration from browsing for home accessories and so it wasn’t by chance that whilst browsing through the Zara Home website (which incidentally, and much to my excitement has a store in Leeds) I found inspiration in the form of sea coral – in particularly a tumbler with a bold print adorning the front and finished with a warm antique gold rim.


My decision was made – this theme was to become the key linchpin for my bathroom interior ideas. Now that I’d found my theme I let my creative mind run wild and began to conjure up a vision of a light, bright and colourful yet still tranquil space. Unfortunately the balance of stark and bright, yet tranquil, can be quite a tricky balance to create, especially if like mine, your bathroom has no windows (oh the glamour apartment living!).

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Daring to be different with ‘Dayroom’

When it came to decorating my lounge I had a clear image in my mind – one that I often found myself daydreaming over. I knew exactly what the room needed – light.

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With this came imagery of a light and airy space, one which created a stage for my collection of quirky interiors. However, the decision on a colour was proving to be a stumbling block. My apartment has an open plan kitchen and lounge area, meaning that I needed to give careful consideration to a colour that would compliment both a lounge and a kitchen (Of course my preferred option would be to have a new kitchen but given the cost of this,  it will have to stay on hold for a little longer and be added to my list of future projects!).

In my search for the perfect colour I looked at lots of different colour palettes including sage greens, pastel blues and greys, but finally opted for a soft, but fresh, yellow. After hours of research and lots of scrolling through pinterest (which, I highly recommend as a great place to view colours in real life), I was able to narrow it down to a shortlist of three.

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To help me make a final decision I grabbed some testers and set about painting sections of my shortlisted colours on each wall (I find that it helps to access the lighting from different points of the room) before eventually opting for Farrow & Ball – ‘Dayroom Yellow’ as my new lounge colour –

Dayroom Yellow is a typical Soanian or Regency colour which really does make your room feel full of sunlight especially when contrasted with All White. It is probably the most refreshing in feel of all Farrow & Ball colours, perfect for use in spaces deprived of light or for those of a sunny disposition!

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Of course, yellow isn’t your typical choice of lounge décor and so I wasn’t too surprised that upon announcing to friends my plan to plump for Yellow I was met with some scepticism and concern that I may regret the choice!  One friend even went as far as dubbing the colour ‘quite 80’s’ haha.

80s

With my decision a little rocked I contemplated returning to the mountain of colour charts that I had pawed through whilst chain drinking tea. However as I sat there on the floor surrounded by a sea of colour cards I couldn’t shift that image in my head of a light airy yellow lounge that I had previously daydreamed of. It was then I told myself  ‘Jack! Just do it! It is only paint!’. With that I picked up my keys and wallet and headed to Homebase  – 5L of F&B Estate Emulsion were now mine!

Painting isn’t the most glamorous or interesting of tasks and so it took me several days to take the plunge, but eventually, having armed myself with a pot of tea, I began the painstaking chore of covering furniture and masking the edges up before taking a brush to the currently cream wall and embarking on my Dayroom Daydream! One coat of paint, a pot of earl grey and 2 hours later I had my first glimpse of that light and airy space that I’d visualised.

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