Archive | October, 2014

Hallowe’en? Nailed it!

30 Oct

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I’ve been invited to a last-minute Hallowe’en party, and with no time to prepare a proper outfit, I was in danger of looking like a party pooper.

Luckily, I’ve come up with a solution – pumpkin-themed nails.I plan to pair them with a black top and trousers – spooky eh?

All you need is some orange nail polish (mine was £1 from a local chemist) and a permanent black marker pen. Oh, and a steady hand. Simple!

 

 

 

Any excuse to eat cake!

29 Oct

COUNTRY Orla Kiely set of 5 Cake Tins £37 Uniqueandunity.co.uk

A while ago I blogged about my amazing set of Orla Kiely cake tins – a set so gorgeous that months on, they still sit proudly in a stack on my kitchen worksurface, rather than hiding away in a cupboard.

Well, Orla has just released some new prints – available on everything from mugs to storage – and her cake tins have had a makeover too. What’s more, they’re just as AMAZING. At £37 for a set at John Lewis or Unique & Unity, they’d make a lovely gift and they’re fairly reasonable too, when you consider you get five.

I can’t think of a single better excuse to bake (or just buy) more cakes and biscuits!

PS: Not got room for five cake tins? Try the trio of storage canisters / caddy set instead, £25 from John Lewis (here) or Unique & Unity (here):

pear canisters by orla kiely

Bargain bedroom makeover

27 Oct

Wide shot bedroom (widest)

Kitting out a bedroom from scratch can be expensive – whether you’ve just bought your first place; have had an extension; are moving into new rented or student accommodation; or are simply giving a tired room a complete revamp. When you’ve got everything from bedding and cushions to accessories to think about, making somewhere look homely can mount up – fast.

The thing is, stylish, good quality yet cheap homewares aren’t always easy to find. Which is why I’m a huge fan of Tesco Direct‘s new homes ranges. The supermarket has really upped its game when it comes to interiors recently, and their collections for this Autumn/Winter are fantastic. There’s a contemporary country look with pale blue and natural wood; an Oriental collection with velvet, teal, hot pink and purple; an ‘Old Hollywood’ look with glamorous black, copper and gold; an update on the cosy cabin look with oranges and tartans; and my favourite, a monochrome Manhattan loft collection, with pops of red, black and navy.

So, when Tesco challenged me to make over the bedroom in my new loft on a budget, it wasn’t difficult. I set myself a budget of £350, with the aim of creating a bright, fun, friendly space where guests would instantly feel at home. This is the very boring room beforehand…

Bedroom before

And this (plus the pic at the top of this post) is the room after!

After shot

I decided to stick to Tesco’s recommended palette of black, white, red and blue, as it’s easy to add to – or change – as time goes on.

My top tips for a scheme like this:

–  Boost the impact of a patterned duvet set by pairing it with co-ordinating plain coloured pillowcases and sheets.
–  A chair is a big-ish investment, but will give your room a really ‘finished’ look (and provide somewhere for guests to sit/lay their clothes).
–  Storage boxes are a great way to keep clutter out of sight – choose patterned ones that go with the decor.
–  Combine a radio and alarm clock to take up less space on the bedside table.
–  Make your own artwork to save money – I bought two plain white frames, and got a local framer to make a mount with four apertures, which I filled with Pantone postcards.
–  Follow the geometric theme through elsewhere in the room, for example, in the pattern on the vase, and on the chair cushion.

Close up of bed cushion and artwork

And my top buys? The geometric duvet set (which Mr Treasure Hunter wasn’t at all convinced about beforehand, but now loves); the handy – and bargaintastic – bedside lamps, which look way more expensive than their £15 price tags; and the stylish grey fabric retro tub chair, which at £119 is far nicer and cheaper than anything similar I’ve seen elsewhere (it comes in other colours, and if you’ve got the space, there’s a matching sofa for £169 too!):

Close up side table

If you want to recreate the look, here’s my complete shopping list:

Geo triangle duvet cover and pillow set, double (also available in single and kingsize) £15. Twin pack housewife pillowcases in red royal (available in other colours) £3. Brooklyn desk lamps in white (also available in chrome) £15 each. Arai cushion in red (also available in blue) £10. ‘No place like home’ cushion £14. Retro fabric tub chair in charcoal £119 (also available in red or mocha – and there’s a matching sofa in each colourway too!). Lightweight knitted pouffe in red (also available in chocolateivory, lime or pink) £40. View Quest mini DAB+/FM radio in red (available in many colours) £59.95. White vase £10. Space dyed throw in grey £20. Black & white storage boxes from £3.50. Basic photo frames in white (11″ x 14″) £5.60 – all from Tesco.
TOTAL: £335.65

I also added a couple of items I already owned: Red Tvis rugs £4.50 each, Ikea. Travel Europe print by Robert Crampton £26.99 for 61cm x 81cm (prices start at £13.99 for a 20cm x 30cm print), Allposters.co.uk, which was framed by a local framemaker. Pantone postcard box of 100 postcards £12.78 Amazon.

PS: If you’ve made-over a room on a budget, drop me a line at thetreasurehunteruk@gmail.com – I’d love to see some pix!

bedroom with focus on chair

 

 

It’s about time

24 Oct

habitat clocks

If you live in the UK, you’ll be pleased to hear you get an extra hour in bed next Sunday when the clocks go back.

Personally – although I reckon you never need an excuse to go shopping – I also think it’s the perfect time (sorry) to buy a new clock.

This Autumn, the most stylish ones by far are from Habitat, above, who have a huge designer-look selection at not too eyewatering prices.

I also really love this very stylish black and copper Acctim wall clock from Tesco Direct, £30…

CITY Acctim copper wall clock £30 Sainsbury's (angle shot)…this friendly wooden owl clock from Next, a steal at £16…

THREE OF A KIND Owl wall clock £16 Next…this Kaleido Geometric clock £25 from Hunkydoryhome

SONY DSC…or this fun Milk Bottle clock £12 from Asda, which currently has pride of place in my kitchen:

THREE OF A KIND George Home bottle clock £12 Asda

 

 

 

Having a ball! (plus WIN beautiful Cable and Cotton ball lights)

22 Oct

 

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A while ago, I interviewed the actress Emilia Fox about her interiors style. Turns out she’s a huge fan of fairy lights – stuffing them in glass jars, suspending them under her kitchen cupboards… In her view, fairy lights (or string lights as those in-the-know like to call ’em) are for life, not just for Christmas.

And she’s spot on. Get the right kind and they can in turn look cosy, stylish or just plain fun at any time of year. Which is why, after months of seeing them in all the coolest homes mags, I’m so excited to finally get my hands on some brilliant new ball lights from Cable and Cotton.

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These long strings of fat cotton balls are available in several different colour combos (or you can create your own using a handy online tool). They look incredibly arty when they’re not switched on; and absolutely stunning when the lights are working – sending twinkly coloured sparkles all over your walls.

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I went for the ‘Mexican’ colourway  – orange, lavender, purple, olive green, fuchsia pink, turquoise, Prussian blue and sandstone – a lovely mix of colours that seems to look good everywhere (above, far right). Which means another problem – where to hang them! Ideas include along or under a mantlepiece; along a bed headboard; circling a dressing table mirror; around a favourite picture; or even up the banisters. At the moment, they’re hanging from a curtain pole in my bedroom, and very lovely they look too.

photo 3

If you fancy a string of your own, they cost from £22.95 for 20 lights (up to £42.95 for 50) at the Cable & Cotton website here… or, you can enter my competition and get a string for free! Yep, thanks to the kind people at Cable & Cotton, one lucky Treasure Hunter reader will win a set of 20 lights in the colours of their choosing.

TO ENTER, simply leave a comment on this blog post below, stating where you’d hang your string if you were lucky enough to win; and/or if you prefer, tweet me your answer @WoodyJen instead. Closing date is 13th November.

GOOD LUCK!

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Above: the limited edition sparkly gold and silver colourway for Christmas

Create a cosy reading nook… on a budget

20 Oct

Dunelm happy cushion

In the corner of my office is a lonely sofabed. I’ve been meaning to do something with it for a while (other than pile papers and magazines on it):

Dunelm red before

Then Dunelm, as part of their #MyDunelmBag campaign, challenged me to show how you can makeover an area of your home for just £50, using only homewares available instore or online at Dunelm‘s webite.

Everything they sell is such a bargain, it wasn’t difficult. With £50 to spend, you can easily transform an unloved area like the above into a cosy reading nook. The ingredients? A ‘Happy’ cushion £9.99 (made of good quality fabric, with a hidden zip and sky-blue underside – a total steal!), supersoft Basketweave throw £17.49 (also available in red), cute owl table lamp £12.99, Folk floral barrel mug £2.49, Cosy Skandi side plate £1.99 and a 1L Kilner preserving jar (which I’ve used to store pens) £2.99. The only thing I added other than these was an old crate, which I used as a side/table/mini bookcase (although Dunelm also sell lovely white painted new crates like these from just £5.99 here).

And here’s the end result:

Dunelm red after2

It’s a friendly, welcoming space I actually want to spend time in. What’s more, the grand total came to just £47.94. Not bad, eh!

Feeling inspired? You can win a whopping £250 in Dunelm vouchers by taking photos of your recent Dunelm purchases and sharing them online with the #mydunelmbag hashtag on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram before the 28th October 2014.

Happy shopping/snapping!

 

 

 

 

Never judge a book by its cover

9 Oct

bookshelf

Spot anything unusual about the bookshelf above? No? Then read on…

Last week, I spent an entire evening hunting for my driver’s licence. I eventually found it down the back of a drawer. This isn’t unusual – in fact, I regularly spend hours looking for important things such as passports, credit cards, etc. Thing is, I don’t like putting vital documents in easy-to-find places, in case someone found them who shouldn’t.

So, I was thrilled to find a way to a) stop losing things; b) keep important stuff safe; and c) finally SORT MY LIFE OUT.

The answer? A secret book storage box, from new online gift and homes boutique, Flitty Bird (www.flittybird.co.uk). From the outside, it looks like, well, a book. But open it up and it’s a sturdy MDF box with magnetic closure, that stores all those vital bits and bobs while keeping them safe from prying eyes. Genius, eh?

book box shut

There are three designs to choose from, and they cost a really reasonable £12 each (or £30 for a set of three):

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If you want to get one of your own, you might fancy a browse at the other stuff available on the site too. There are some lovely gifts and homewares, including this handy Bloomingville basket £19.99; Grumpy Bear china drawer knob £17 (expensive but SO cute); set of eight Omm design matchboxes £8.99; a clever QR code cushion £19.99; and these fun ‘Yours/Mine/Guests’ hooks, £7.99 each (bottom)…

bloomingville_basket_with_handle flittybird

bloomingville_hooks_3 flittybird

 

Raise your glasses

7 Oct

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Why have boring clear wine glasses when you could have these lovely coloured vintage ones instead?

With a pleasingly chunky stem (so you’re less likely to snap them while washing up!) they come in a mix of dusky pastel shades – purple, teal, pink and grey.

A set of four costs £39.50 from Marks & Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com), and you can get matching vintage tumblers (for £35) too. Bottoms up!

 

Vintage Inspired Wine Glasses £39.50 for four Marks and Spencer

Blurred lines

3 Oct

Betty Jackson, Tripod lamp with Geo shade £65 Debenhams

Why stick to the straight and narrow when  you can zig zag instead? One of the cheeriest homes trends of the moment, zig zags – or chevrons as designers prefer to call ’em – are everywhere right now.

While my other half, Mr Treasurehunter, says they make him feel like he’s had one too many beers, I personally love them, and am lusting after a black and white chevron rug for my home office.

If you really, really, really wanna zig zag-ah (sorry!), there’s a huge array of different colours, widths and products out there, and a couple of chevron cushions or a chevron shade will not only brighten up your room, but your day too. Here’s my pick of the best:

Top: Lamp £65 Betty Jackson Black at Debenhams; Chevron wall clock £31.05 Shannybebo at Etsy.com/uk; Teapot £21.95 Zazzle.co.uk

Below: Chevron lampshades £2.99 each The Range (www.therange.co.uk)…

Chevron lampshades from the range

 

Below: Picture frame £16 Oliver Bonas; Fabric storage trays £32 for set of three, Living by Christiane Lemieux at House of Fraser; Vase £15 BHS; Duvet set £14 for a double Wilko

Duvet Set Black £14 for double Wilko

Below: Chevron print mugs £5 for four George Home at Asda Direct

Chevon print mugs £5 for four George at AsdaBelow: Towels from £9 Betty Jackson Black at Debenhams

 

 

Black by Betty Jackson towels from £9 Debenhams

Below: Mind the Gap tray £19.99 and Between the Lines cushion £39.99 London Transport Museum Shop (www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk)

Mind the Gap Tray £19.99 ltmuseumshop.co.uk

 

Below: Eileen rug £70.95 Joss & Main; Zig zags cushion £21.95 Zazzle.co.uk; Zig zag pouffe £150 Debenhams

Eileen Rug £70.95 Joss & Main

Below: Sabichi Herringbone throws (in plum or grey) £15 each, Very.co.uk

RRD-GBSPE-10205925

 

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