Friday, 6 December 2013

Small Business Saturday – 7th December

I hope that everyone is going to try and get out and support their local small business owners tomorrow for Small Business Saturday. It’s easy to get caught up in the discounting that big stores do in the run up to Christmas (its certainly something I’ve taken advantage of) but I also like to balance it out with supporting my local independent retailers. I've already been out in support of Alexa De Castilho and Small folk run.  A few hours early but it means I can add in a few more tomorrow hopefully, like the lovely Sara at unlimited and Nick at the Olive tree artists open house.

Spread the love this weekend, discover some unique goods and make an independent shopkeeper happy. But remember buying local isn’t just for the 7th December, but everyday of the year.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

B is for Brooklyn

Have you been to Brooklyn? Gosh it’s a charmer, with a laid back creative vibe and littered with restaurants and independent boutiques. I was amazed by the relaxed atmosphere in Williamsburg, it felt a bit like Shoreditch 10 years ago mixed with Brighton.  There was no stilettos, power dressing or blowouts to be seen here, just plenty of bohemian residents. If I couldn’t see the New York skyline I think I could have duped into thinking I was someplace else.
With jetlag and a 1 year old we had early starts on our (very) brief trip to New York and on the day we popped over to Brookyln we were actually there before 9am. ON A SUNDAY! We found a great coffee place Konditori and had a gentle start before heading to the Williamsburg flea and crisscrossing the area’s streets in search of little bits of retail and foodie heaven. If you haven’t come across SuperFutures City Guides I highly recommend you take a look, as this formed the backbone to our day.

In terms of design I saw a lot of "rust" treatment for the exteriors on commercial and residential properties. Intentionally done, I might add and some of it done really well. I was taken with two examples particularly (see below pics), the two door tavern and shelter pizza (from the guys behind Rosarito fish shack). Both executed very differently but very striking industrial style. I was quite taken with the vintage Americana vibe at shelter pizza.

Monday, 16 September 2013

It’s show time folks - London Design Festival

The next couple of weeks are crammed with trade shows and fairs. September has such a back to school feel for interior designers and always a fun month with new products, fabrics, colours being launched and lots of drinks receptions!  It’s worth keeping an eye on pinterest and various blogs to see the emerging trends.  What will you be visiting?

image via pinterest here

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Coworth Park – a little bit of heaven

We are just back from the most gorgeous weekend away in honour of our tenth wedding anniversary (and our first night without our little boy).  We treated ourselves and stayed at the glorious Coworth Park hotel in Ascot. And boy were we completely cosseted. From the moment of arrival to the bottles of complimentary water left in our car for the journey home, we had an amazing stay.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Colour Palette Inspiration – danger black & yellow

Whilst the interiors world seems occupied with emerald green at the moment (I might add I LOVE almost all greens), I’ve found myself being drawn to strong contrasts that seem to include yellow. Marketing folks and those who have studied colour psychology will tell you that yellow is more likely to capture your attention than any other colour, hence why it is used in advertising and for warning signs – not just traffic signs but also in nature.


Monday, 2 September 2013

September already and a milestone birthday

Its September already I just can’t believe it. Why? Because it means that the amazing UK summer we’ve been experiencing is nearly over, its back to school for many people including me and the biggest shock – my little boy is turning 1.  I just can’t believe it’s been a year since he came into this world.

This time last year I took the below picture of his little baby nursery (you can even see my hospital bag!). We’re already on to a bigger cot and I’ve added more storage but its time for his room to meet the needs of a toddler.  Everything is happening so fast…..

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wednesday Wants - Magazine time

I love a long weekend. It's how weeks are meant to be if you ask me. Who decided we should have only 2 days to the weekend? I ask you!

What I should have done on this long weekend however is put aside time to read the growing mountain of magazines that I have accumulating next to my sofa, on my desk, in the kitchen, by my bed, you get the picture. But I didn’t and now I am kicking myself. I’ve had a flick through the new RUM magazine – which I love. However, I really need to sit down with google translate to get to grips with the editorial as it’s in Danish. So for now here are some gorgeous pictures from RUM but I’ve little knowledge on the content - sorry. 
So my wednesday want is for more reading time, oh and to read Danish and obviously to have the below as my holiday home.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

NYC trip planning: Thank you

I have had some great tips and advice about my upcoming trip to NYC and I just want to thank a few people.  Katie Treggiden over at confessions of a design geek who pointed me to her great post's on NYC here and here. The ever-lovely Veronika Miller at Modenus who connected me with Tina Ramchandani at life in sketch, who was very helpful. See her Nolita walking tour here.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

How many chairs does a girl need? Wednesday Wants

How many chairs does a girl need? The simple answer is many. AND a container for all the others.  I just can’t get enough of chairs, they draw me to them in a way that sofa’s never do.  In my lovely little home I have plenty of chairs (and some in the loft too) but every time I’m out sourcing or vintage hunting its chairs that call my name (buy me, buy me, buy me they say).  
These modern beauties in grey would definitely make the long list for me, although I'd probably change the fabric. The lovely Ro chair by Jaime Hayon, the Lady armchair from SCP and Vitra Grand Repos Lounge chair. I love the shape of the Lady chair but would probably want to stretch to an original 1950 Italian one if money was no object. 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Sourcing Simply – John Lewis

I really wish we had a John Lewis in Brighton. It’s a store that I often find is a go-to for basics and its product range is so large that there really is something for everyone, plus plenty of items are high style for great value.
As we don’t have a store nearby I tend to do my shopping either online (utilising the click and collect at my local Waitrose) or it means I have an excuse to spend a couple of hours at Peter Jones in Sloane Square. 
I'm currently looking at rugs for a project with a really tight budget.  It’s for a child’s bedroom with a grey, blue and chartreuse colour palette. I have to say I'm particularly taken with these below and the chevron rug could work in so many situations. What's great too is that John Lewis stock rugs by the likes of Sanderson, Designers Guild, Scion and Harlequin. Designer style and you can walk out of the store with it. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Colour Palette Inspiration – Into the deep

All this recent gorgeous weather makes me think constantly of cool clear water. Oh I want to be on yacht somewhere in the Mediterranean with the sun shining down and the waves lapping at my feet   

With so much grey in interiors I love the idea of taking it to the watery level with these greens and bluey-greens. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

NYC trip planning: Help & Advice

I’ve just got my new passport back and at last it’s in my married name – sorry DH, I know 10 years is a long time to wait. I am however realising that I should have got a professional picture taken as I look like an axe murderer. I’m not kidding, I really do. It’s a very scary picture.  I had my son’s picture taken professionally and I’m confused now as to why I didn’t get mine done at the same time. Hey ho, 10 more years and I can change it again.

A new passport means that I want to travel. We’ve a big family trip to New Zealand in December, which I am in equal parts looking forward to and dreading; 30 hours on a plane with a 14 month old. So before them I want to stretch my wings and I think NYC is just the ticket. I’ve been to the USA a lot, 15 times between 2003 and 2008 and most of those trips have been to NYC. However 5 years have passed since then and I’m sure a lot has changed, not just the city but I’ll also be travelling with a baby.  So planning for this trip is all the more important. And that's where I need your help.


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Etsy Is My Vice - Wednesday Wants

I wouldn’t call myself an addict but I really cannot get enough of Etsy.  I regularly find myself trawling through vintage trinkets, furniture and artwork.  Once furniture was a no go, as nearly everything was stateside, but now, there is a burgeoning collective of UK shops.  Really utilizing the search function is key to unearthing a gem or two and keeping in mind shipping costs.  I’ve been lucky enough to find items that I’ve genuinely been looking for and some that just screamed BUY ME.  I love that people have taken the time to style and photograph their wares appropriately (unlike on ebay).  It makes the searching and buying all the more seductive. Have you been seduced or had a successful quest on Etsy?  Sometimes I feel like the only one.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Online this week - link love

It’s so very nearly the weekend! I hope you've had time in the last few weeks to enjoy all this lovely sunshine.  As for me, I’ve been enjoying plenty of short stints outdoors (only so long a 10 month old can cope in the warm weather) it's been super gorgeous and Milo loves it. I’ve also got my research hat on, now that schools out for summer and I’m no longer teaching. Hopefully some exciting stuff to share with you in the future.  I’ve also been getting back up to speed with my blog reading.

So here are a few good links worth a view in my opinion:

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Timeout Thursday - Norfolk Beaches

Whenever I go away somewhere rural in England I always wonder what it would be like to live there.  My DH always jokes that he’d have to be a bank manager and I’d have to run Mary’s Big Hair Boutique (I might point out I can barely style my own short hair, let alone anyone else’s). I’m always surprised that we jump to these clichés first, when in this digital age, it doesn’t really matter where you live.

We’ve just had a week on the North Norfolk coast.  We had a brilliant time, unlike Annie from Insideology when she visited the area. And yes I idled away a few moments imagining a life there; it was short lived, as I love my buzzy city too much. BUT The North Norfolk coast really is an absolute breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. Big wide skies and sandy beaches, steam trains and great pubs. Oh and crab sandwiches. It’s why I love it so much. I know I live beside the sea but the Norfolk coast is a million miles from Brighton.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

J’adore Outdoor Rooms

It's a very British thing to be preoccupied by the weather. In recent weeks whilst Summer still feels likes its taking its holiday somewhere else, it's been inescapably the topic of many conversations. Admittedly I'm lost for words realising that the longest day of the year is literally around the corner yet the temperature is barely above mid teens.

In typically British fashion my husband and I sat on the beach yesterday evening (waiting for our restaurant reservation), foolishly believing it was warmer than it actually was. Like many I relish long evenings outdoors with a drink in hand sitting in late evening sunshine taking in the rays like a lizard. Whilst we might not be experiencing the weather for it (but its coming soon I hope), I can't help but be drawn to garden furniture and garden design. There are so many wonderful options, no longer are we condemned to perch our behinds on spindly wrought iron furniture with rust patches (unless that's the style you're particularly after).
Outdoor dining in the UK is a rare thing. However small the window of opportunity it needs to be maximised and having a space in your garden to eat outside is essential. Even in the smallest of gardens its possible to incorporate dining space with the use of built in benches.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Not convinced - love or loathe?

It’s been one of those days where I don’t know if I’m coming or going and quite frankly I’m all at sea, even though both feet are firmly on terra firma.  Off I went to work this morning, tutoring budding Interior Designers who are all beavering away on their final project of the year. However by the time I’d got on the train to London I realised I’d forgotten my headphones and my laptop. My coffee was sans sugar and the croissant I had tasted weird. All before getting to the office so to speak.  By lunchtime everything had returned to operation normal, although I had been up and down the stairs at least a dozen times (mostly unnecessarily). Then on a quick visit to Peter Jones to see if there was anything cute for my little boy I saw the Duchess of Cambridge. Yes really, there was Katherine Middleton in the baby department.  Completely blew my socks off. Did I say “hello I’m a Middleton too and I’ve just had a baby and I design nursery’s”, no I didn’t.   Everything’s hunky dory now but I’m convinced (in my water, as my Nan used to say) that something isn’t quite right still.

Another thing I’m not convinced about is pastels.  I like pale and interesting interiors as much as I like full on colour but there is one style I can’t personally abide. Pastels.  I can see the beauty in these shades particularly when combined well, but, something about them in interiors just sets my teeth on edge. 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Paris Perfect Paris

My husband and I are debating a trip away at the moment and Paris is on my mind (admittedly so is NYC and Copenhagen). This is a BIG year for us; we’ll have been married for 10 years in September, known each other for 20 years in November and it’s our son’s first birthday in September also. That’s a hell of a lot of milestones, I’m sure you’ll agree. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Pinning is addictive and I love it

You’ve probably seen me posting about Pinterest before, as I’ve been a total addict for many moons now. Even in the darkest hours of the morning as a new mum I found solace in searching for inspiration on Pinterest. In fact my Children’s and Nursery board came on a treat during those hours!

It such a useful source to help me categorise the things I like and the styles I admire.  I also have thematic boards on colour and style that help me in my work. It’s so helpful to have a “go to” virtual scrapbook instead of overloading my poor computer with images that I then struggle to find in my appalling filing system. I also love finding pinners who have a fantastic aesthetic and quite frankly I then stalk them – in pinning terms don’t worry! Some of these include my favourite bloggers but sometimes its ordinary folks who can spot beauty at a thousand paces, its great to see the types of things they pin.
Pinterest has now been enhanced so that UK users will be able to see more UK content. They’ve launched the #PinItForwardUK campaign which was kicked off by the wonderful Will of Bright Bazaar to make us Brits more aware of the changes.  I have to thank Marianne at Nordic Bliss and Gwenda Jones for explaining the simplicity of it to me (I expected it to be more complicated!)  Handily other UK Pinners will also be suggested to you but I recommend the below lovely people for the gorgeous things they spot. So go on and #PinItForwardUK

Marianne of Nordic Bliss– gorgeous pale interiors
Andy at Chapter7design – eye for detail
Sue of a Nomadic abode – eclectic and eye catching                 
Obsessilicious – for the love of Eames                 
My all time favourite Swedish blog –  Emmas Designblogg
Tina at Colourliving – bursting with colour just like Will's boards are too
Trend daily  - for styling ideas
Sarah Berry – elegant interiors
FearsandKahn  midcentury loveliness
Paloma of La Dolce Vita always has something beautiful pinned

So come and join the pinning fun. I promise you’ll enjoy it 


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Nursery by Mary Middleton Design

So I’m no longer MIA, after a short sojourn I am back and with a bonny baby boy to boot.  This parenting lark has been a real eye opener and I am blessed that our little one is in our lives.

A couple of people on twitter and facebook have asked to see pictures of our nursery. Below are some snapshots taken early on, its already morphing into version 1.2 as he gets older and can move around more. It’s amazing what a 7 month old can get up to in the blink of an eye. I had planned on professional pictures and styling but time just ran out. So I hope you won't hold these against me.

I’ll be back here initially on a weekly basis, but pinning daily over on pinterest. Hope you’ve all been keeping well and warm and I look forward to your comments.
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