A Visit to Burford Garden Company, Oxfordshire

A yellow vintage Citroen van sits nestled between some small trees and plants in front of the Garden Centre

For ages people have been telling me that I should visit Burford Garden Company. After a couple of friends told me that it would be right up my street, I put it on my ‘to do’ list. After the fifth person told me that I would love it, I realised that they really must be on to something and finally set aside some time to pay a visit.

Well, I can tell you now, I certainly wasn’t disappointed! The whole store is a feast for the eyes. I couldn’t stop snapping photos at every corner and I just had to share it with you!

A room filled floor to ceiling with green leafy tropical plants, sucullents and cacti

Burford Garden Company is a haven for all who are green fingered, but if (like me) you’re not overly handy with the secateurs, I can still absolutely recommend a visit. There is something for everyone here, regardless of whether or not you’re a keen gardener.

Despite the name, the Garden Company also stocks an impressive range of house plants, home decor, food and drink, and another of my true loves, stationery.

As a lover of interior design it can often feel as though all of the best home decor haunts are in London, so as an Oxfordshire resident I was so excited to find out that there was somewhere local to me with so much inspiration and so many beautiful buys packed into one space!

A shop display featuring set up to look like a mini home office with a retro wooden desk and chair and a brass lamp

A shop display with terrariums created in large vintage glass jars

A bright and airy glass house filled with rustic tables holding wooden trays of bulbs

It’s worth a trip to Burford Garden Company for the displays alone. You will stumble upon gorgeous glasshouses, vintage vehicles, and even a yellow submarine, nestled in amongst the beautifully curated collection of plants, both indoor and out.

If you’re a fan of all things rustic or the jungalow aesthetic, you will be in heaven!

An old rustic wooden cart stacked high with large green leafy plants

As a fan of unusual houseplants I was also over the moon to discover that the range here extends to, amongst many others, the ever elusive (at least in Oxfordshire!) air plants, String of Pearl succulents and Rosary Vines. These are three plants I’ve been in search of for over a year now, but hadn’t yet had the joy of coming across. Needless to say, I was like a kid in a candy shop!

A rusty metal dish filled with numerous air plants Two terracotta pots filled with unusual green and orange seed pods

I was wandering around the store for a couple of hours and I know that I didn’t even scratch the surface. I definitely left with my basket a little heavier, my bank account a little lighter, but my smile a lot wider. I know I’ll be back to realise more of my jungalow dreams!

Have you ever paid a visit to Burford Garden Company? Do let me know if there is anything I missed that I should keep an eye out for next time, or if you have any suggestions for other wonderful spots in Oxfordshire where I can satisfy my appetite for plants and decor!

My Guest Post for The Thrift

I am delighted to say that I have a guest post up on the Barnardo’s blog, The Thrift.

The post combines three things that are close to my heart; house plants, home decor and, of course, thrifting! It’s all about homing your houseplants creatively and affordably, whilst supporting your local charity shops. You should totally check it out!

 

 

Tips for Transforming Unloved Furniture

I think it’s probably quite clear to you by now that I’m a big fan of DIY! I love putting my own mark on my home decor, and one of my favourite ways to do this is by upcycling furniture.

With a few small changes you can easily breathe new life into pieces you already own or snag a bargain by turning that dusty, unwanted piece at the back of a second shop into something that turns heads. So, if this is something that appeals to you, read on, because today I want to share with you some simple ways that you can spruce up drab furniture and give it a style of your own!

Grey shelves with hairpin legs styled with a ukulele, a record player on top and some houseplants.
Once upon a time these shelves were nothing special, but after a two tone paint job and the addition of some hairpin legs they became one of my favourite pieces!

 

This is such an easy and affordable option and it works for all manner of items!

Depending on the material you’re working with, you will need to pick the right paint. For example, chalk paint can be used for wooden furniture, whereas metals and plastics are best off spray painted.

Before you paint, make sure you sand the furniture down to take off any existing varnish or paint. Next, use a tack cloth to take off dust, ensuring a smooth finish.

Using the same colour scheme for more than one item of furniture is also great way to tie together mismatched pieces and give the illusion of a coordinated set.

 

If you’re looking to give new life to something wooden and you’re more of a fan of raw wood than painted, then this is an option for you! Although bear in mind that this can’t be used for laminate wood.

Clean off and sand down your piece of furniture and give it a coat with a stain of your choice from your local hardware shop. Simple! For protection and for a more polished look you might also want to finish the piece with a coat of clear wax or varnish afterwards.

 

For drawers and cupboards it’s amazing what a difference new handles can make. They’re so easy to pick up from your local hardware shop and they really can transform a piece! You can opt for a simple and classic update or you can have some fun and pick something quirky!

 

From simply re-covering the seat cushion of a dining chair, right the way through to reupholstering an entire sofa, this is another option that can completely change the look of a piece of furniture.

For those of you looking for a thrifty option, why not take a look online for tutorials that show you how to do DIY upholstery with nothing but your chosen fabric and a staple gun. Alternatively, you can take trickier or larger items to a professional to have them recovered. This isn’t necessarily a cheaper option, but it’s great if you want to give an item a personal touch and sometimes it can still work out cheaper than buying an item new.

 

This is another option for those of you who enjoy a bit of a DIY project! It’s a great way to update pieces that could benefit from a bit of extra height, or that already have legs, but ones that look a bit outdated. Take a look online or at your local hardware shop to see what options are out there.

Personally, I love a good set of hairpin legs. They’re great for adding a mid-century or industrial look to a piece of furniture and they come in a wide range of lengths, from super short right up to dining table height, making them an extremely versatile option. They’re also very affordable and easy to attach with a drill and a few screws.

 

Sometimes existing pieces of furniture can be transformed with a simple switcheroo. Take a look at an item you’re not sure about and picture it in a different space. Perhaps it would fit better in a different part of the room, or in a different room altogether.

 

I hope these tips have given you a good starting point for your own upcycling projects. Remember, though, the most important thing is to be creative! Draw inspiration from decor pieces you like and think about ways to incorporate the styles you love!

Give Your Garden Some Love (No Green Fingers Required!)

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not exactly green fingered. I’m new to gardening and I’m still taking my time to learn how to do things right. However, although I may not be entering the Chelsea Flower Show any time soon, I do love spending time outside at every opportune moment, and with the recent heatwave sweeping the UK I decided to try my hand at sprucing up our garden.

In this post I certainly won’t be telling you how to perfect your peonies and grow spectacular sunflowers, but I can give you a few tips on making your outside space a welcoming haven to sip a cup of tea or entertain your guests.

 

Why have a beautiful garden if you can’t sit and enjoy it? An outdoor dining set is lovely for eating dinner or entertaining friends on a summer’s evening, but even a simple bench or chair placed in your favourite spot provides a perfect place to press the pause button and enjoy the outdoors.

Throw in a blanket and some outdoor cushions for extra comfort and a bit of eye candy! And a bottle with some flowers in. If that’s what you’re into.

 

Get that garden clutter out of sight with a bit of storage. Sheds are an obvious place hide away less than pretty garden essentials, but if you’re tight on space then why not go for multi-purpose items, like a wooden chest that can double as a bench?

 

So, I’ve talked about the functionalities of garden furniture and storage, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t look great too! On the inside my shed is home to an unexciting array of garden tools and scrap DIY materials, but on the outside it looks like a rustic beach house (well, I like to think so).

Hardware shops stock outdoor paint for wood in all kinds of colours to suit your taste, and not only will a coat of paint make a feature of mundane items, it will also help them to last longer. Win win!

 

I love my outdoor lighting because it enables me to enjoy my garden in the evenings as well as during the day.

A simple, functional outdoor lamp is great for lighting up your space while you re-pot those plants you forgot about earlier in the day, or you could opt for some festoon lights or lanterns to give your garden a whimsical and warm feel while you host a dinner party or do a spot of stargazing.

You can choose from real candles, battery powered candles, and outdoor and solar powered lights depending on what suits you.

 

I know. I’ve said it, that dreaded word!

Seriously though, don’t underestimate the power of getting rid of those weeds. Make it a regular task to just pop outside every other evening with a nice cold drink and nip those pesky weeds in the bud. It makes all the difference to how your outdoor space looks and it can actually be quite therapeutic. Honestly!

Obviously these aren’t weeds, but weeds aren’t very pretty, so have a picture of me holding some lavender instead…

Let me know if this has inspired you to give your garden some love, and get in touch if you’ve got some suggestions for mine!

Achieving Sustainable Style for Your Home

So, you may or may not be aware that this month is Plastic Free July. Social media feeds are full of people talking about how they’re cutting out plastic to make an important step towards sustainable living and, in turn, preserving the planet’s resources for future generations. It’s amazing how much a seemingly small step can make a difference and this got me thinking about changes I can make in other aspects of my everyday life which can have an impact too. It didn’t take me long to realise that my love of home decor was an obvious place to start. Interior decor trends are ever changing and it can feel impossible to keep up and even more difficult to switch out the old for the new without creating a lot of waste. So, how can we keep our homes on trend whilst also balancing sustainability and the all too elusive affordability?

 

This is an obvious suggestion, but one that is absolutely worth a mention. There are lots of fabulous brands out there that offer beautiful homewares made from sustainable materials. Many of these brands also ensure that their products are ethically produced too! What’s not to like?

Not sure where to start? Why not take a look at Nkuku or Shared Earth.

For those of us  who enjoy a bit of DIY there are plenty of options for sourcing sustainable materials. One option is to check the labels of products in your local hardware store to see if they offer options from sustainable sources. Another choice is to take a look to see if you have any local recycling centres that you can source materials from. I was very pleasantly surprised at the array of initiatives around that offer anythying from wood and paint to refurbished tools!

Sustainable wooden shelf made from reclaimed recycled scaffold board

I made this industrial shelf from an old scaffold board. The recycling centre cut it to size for me for free and it only cost £5!

Although the initial cost of this option can be somewhat higher, buying wisely and investing in high quality items that you love can save  you money in the long run. This one can also be a double whammy for your sustainability goals if you pick an item from a sustainable brand! Of course, fashions come and go and sometimes it feels as though your new purchases are out of date before you’ve even managed to get them through your front door. To ensure maximum longevity, why not try investing in simple and neutral key pieces that you can easily accessorise and update in order to keep your decor fresh. For example, sofas can be updated with new cushions and throws and wooden furniture can be re-painted.

Okay, so we can’t all afford to buy brand new investment pieces and sometimes it’s just not practical to buy for the long term, especially if you move about  a lot. Besides, sometimes it is just nice to mix up your furniture! Buying second hand and vintage can be a great way to get the best of both sustainability and affordability. Plus, if you buy wisely you can often be safe in the knowledge that if an item is in good enough condition after having a previous owner, it will probably stand you in good stead too!

If an item is broken, see if you can find a way to fix it. If an item looks out of date, maybe it can be given a new lease of life with a bit of creativity! Blogs, Pinterest and Youtube are excellent sources of tutorials and inspiration and you will soon find out how easily some small changes can absolutely transform something that you thought was an absolute goner!

A vintage trunk being restored. De-rusting gel is being painted onto the rusted metal bands.
This old trunk needed some TLC, but a few hours of resto really paid off!

 

Sustainability isn’t just about being conscious of where you get your items, it’s also about being conscious of where they go. If you’re finished with an item, might it be of use to someone else? You could give it away to a friend, take it to a charity shop or even sell it and get some funds for your next decor project!

The fashion Police aren’t real! Who is going to mind if you don’t stick religiously to the latest trends? The most important thing about your home is that you love being in it, and if you pick decor items that you love then they will be timeless to you, and that’s all that matters!

 

If you’re on your own journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I hope that you will find these thoughts useful. If you’re not, then I hope that these tips might inspire you to incorporate a bit of sustainable living into your everyday life.

Get in touch if you have any sustainable living tips of your own. I’m always looking for ways to be a bit more caring towards the planet!

DIYs to Bring the Seaside Home

I’ve just returned from a wonderful stay by the seaside in Devon, a favourite of the TFD household when we’re in need of some R&R. We go at least once a year and make sure to stay right on the seafront where we sit with endless cups of tea and lots of books (I finished 3 last week, a new personal record!).

A blue seaside scene with two sail boats on the horizon

I love being by the sea and every time I’m there I can’t help but become more inspired than ever. The last week was no exception and, although I’m pining to be back on the beach with the sand between my toes, I’m also feeling refreshed and my mind is now bursting with ideas! I’m lucky enough to really enjoy my job, but there’s something about clearing your mind of the everyday and getting away from the 9 to 5 that just helps to recharge those creative batteries!

I live nowhere near the sea, so I love to include beach inspired elements in my home decor to remind me to stay inspired. In this post I’m going to show you a couple of my favourite, super easy (and I seriously mean super easy!) seaside inspired crafts, perfect for city homes and coastal dwellings alike.

 

Driftwood star

A small DIY star made from lots of small driftwood sticks.

A group of images showing how to DIY your own seaside driftwood star.

Cut a circle from some sturdy cardboard and use a glue gun to fix drift wood in place all the way around. Yes, it’s as easy as that!

 

A trio of images depicting a seaside themed pendant made of pebbles, seaside themed beads and buttons. Another picture shows some clear fishing line used in the DIY.

Thread clear fishing line through pebbles and shells with holes in to create a nautical pendant that you can hang anywhere in your home. I’ve also added some freshwater pearls, buttons and other nautical treasures to give a pop of colour!

A seaside scene showing waves ebbing against the shore with a blue sky in the background.

Let me know if you gave these DIYs a go, I’d really like to see how they turned out. I would love to hear from you if you have any tips for my next visit to Devon too!

 

Living Room Makeover: Geometric Feature Wall

A room with a geometric feature wall painted with geometric triangular shapes in navy, grey and sage green, with a giant anglepoise floor lamp and some metal shelves.

Our house is a new build and, as with many new builds, we were advised not to paint the walls for the first 18 months. This is a rule that we stuck to, but I’ve been longing to give our living room a statement wall for months, so I was hitting up the local DIY shops as soon as we reached the point that we were allowed to paint!

I’m never one to shy away from a bold decor statement, and having had the last year and a half to plan I decided that instead of picking one paint colour, I wanted to pick three. Finally, last weekend, armed with some Frog Tape and a paint roller, I set to work on my long awaited geometric masterpiece, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out that I’m going to share with you how I did it!

A room with a geometric feature wall painted with geometric triangular shapes in navy, grey and sage green, with a black sofa and a vintage navy trunk, a large floor lamp and some metal shelves.

Take some time to plan the shapes you would like, where you want your lines to sit and what colour you want each shape to be. I sketched out lots of different designs and picked a favourite before I set to work marking it out on the wall using masking tape.

Ideally you will use a laser level to get the masking tape lines perfectly straight on the wall, but if, like me, you don’t have access to one of these magical tools, I can reassure you that it is still possible to get the lines straight by eye. Just take a step back each time you apply some tape and re-adjust as necessary. Your lines won’t be perfect, but honestly, no-one will notice!

Top tip: Make sure you use a good quality masking tape for this project. My go-to is Frog Tape. You want your lines to be as clean as possible and by using cheaper masking tape you can run the risk of your paint lines bleeding into each other. Not a good look!

A plain white wall with masking tape laid out to make geometric shapes.
I chose to bring the shapes in my feature wall out slightly onto the adjacent walls. I feel that this adds to the impact whilst also tying the room together a little more.

You will also want to mask off the areas that you don’t want to paint, like skirting boards, the ceiling, plug sockets, and so on. My wall also had a radiator on, which I chose to take down so that I could paint behind it.

2 plug sockets with masking tape around the edges.

Once you’ve masked off all of the necessary areas and made sure that your floor and furniture are all sufficiently covered by a protective sheet, it’s time to get painting!

A geometric feature wall in the midst of being decorated. The floor is covered with a plastic sheet and the walls are partially painted.

Once you have filled in all of your geometric shapes with paint and they are completely dry, you can gently pull off the masking tape. You’re not finished yet though! Obviously, the parts of the wall that were hidden under the masking tape will be unpainted, leaving gaps between each shape. You may want to keep these lines, but for me, it wasn’t the look I was aiming for so I  masked up the areas next to these unpainted lines and filled in the gaps.

A geometric feature wall painted with triangular shapes in navy, grey and sage green. There are white lines between each painted triangle and dotted lines have been drawn to show where the masking tape should go.

A feature wall painted with geometric triangular shapes in navy, grey and sage green. There are white lines between each triangle and coloured lines have been drawn to show which areas need to be painted over.

Once again, you will need to wait for the paint to dry. Then, once you’ve removed the masking tape (again!) you’re done. You have the geometric feature wall of your dreams!

A blank white wall with 6 framed pictures on it and with a black sofa, a large lamp and a set of metal shelves in front.
Before
A room with a geometric feature wall painted with triangular shapes in navy, grey and sage green, with a black sofa and a vintage navy trunk, a large floor lamp and some metal shelves.
After

I’m so excited to have tackled my first big painting project in the house. It was a bold move, but I really feel that it’s made the living room a much more cohesive space.

Let me know if you decide to give this a go. I would love to hear how it turns out!