Go Potty For Ceramics!

As you have no doubt gathered, when I fall, I fall deep. It’s addiction, but bordering on obsessional. For some girls it’s a man but for me it’s …. Ceramics! Yes my George Clooney is a teacup and my Benedict Cumberbatch is a side plate (OK I’m not saying I’d choose a side plate over Benedict but I’m less likely to find him gathering dust on a shelf in a charity shop!)

I have some beautiful pieces I have collected over the years, some floral and vintage and some that favour my current passion which is for the darker side of interiors.

This stunning vase I came upon at my beloved Hemswell antique centre for just £28. It’s the most amazing deep peacock blue and it had me at hello! (Benedict would have had me before hello incidentally!)

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Peacock blue is a passion for me right now, how stunning is this shiny vase

I frequently move stuff around rooms, depending on my mood, as sitting in a cupboard behind glass is all very well to keep dust at bay, but some things need to be admired in close range.  I do have some very delicate bits in a velvet lined sitting room cabinet, mainly some very Downton Abbey-esque Noritake Ive been collecting for years, so pretty, I never get bored of looking at these.

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Pretty Noritake China

Now, I’m not the sort of person who lives in perpetual state of tidiness and I don’t normally have my dining table laid for a dinner party I’m not going to have, but on fishing some china plates out of a dark cupboard recently, I felt the need to stage this just for a few weeks so I can remind myself of the loveliness that is vintage china, none of this was more than a few pounds a piece. Some from charity shops, some from vintage shops.

 

This gorgeous bowl and matching plate with the scalloped edge was from a lovely local vintage shop not far from our  own shop, Melody Maison, in Harworth, Near Doncaster  (see below for both shops directions ) and is perfect for a Christmas dinner table for the obligatory Cranberry sauce offering.

Like all good china nuts, I do own a ‘full matching set’ that would make your Nana proud, and allow me to offer tea to HM The Queen (should she drop in!) and I have used this at Christmas before, but with a family of 20-26 to feed for most of our family Christmas lunch’s , it doesn’t stretch that far so, I did pull together every mismatched floral china plate I own to do a vintage style Christmas table (not sure the male relatives appreciated the daintiness of the plates but it looked lovely!)

Ceramics are not just for the dining table or sitting room cabinet though,  my bathroom pretties have appeared in my blog before,. A beautiful lined pine vintage wall cupboard, also from Hemswell Antiques Centre, is now crammed with all manner of  vintage ceramic plates, pots, vases and figures and, I can sit looking at them all from the bath!

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Cupboard full of all things pretty

 

I can’t go without showing you some splendid china from House of Fraser Ive been admiring. This is the quirky ‘n’ vintage versus the pretty ‘n’ vintage sides of me battling as per usual. Peacocks and roses are up there in my top 5 list of things I adore right now (this list also includes Mr Cumberbatch!) and depending on the day of the week, I cant choose my fave. I love greens and pinks equally too.

And here’s just some of the lush ceramic pieces we currently have in the Melody Maison shop.

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A small selection of gorgeous grey and green ceramics in the Melody Maison shop

If you are ever near Doncaster,  Tickhill or Bawtry do come and visit, we’re ever such a nice bunch and we have oodles of gorgeous things like this to coo over ( be quick though cos Im pretty sure those goregeous green urns are going to find their way to my house if they catch my eye line one more time!)

 

click here for link for address/directions for the Melody Maison shop 

Until next time, happy collecting and vintage shopping

Anna x

oo, as promised,  heres a link to address for Forget Me not Antiques in Tickhill (why not visit us both, we are just 2 miles apart)

How long should a girl spend in front of a mirror?

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Don’t worry, this  isn’t another make-up contouring blog, I was just pondering the fact that at Melody Maison, we sell as many mirrors, as we do all our other products added together!

Wow – Vanity? Or just home styling, So I decided to investigate…

I discovered from reading multiple articles that the average UK woman spends 55 minutes a day in front of the mirror. At first I couldn’t quite believe that’s the ‘average’  (so many must be spending a lot more!) but when I thought about it, I myself, whilst I might only do 20-30 minutes in front of my dressing table mirror a day (depending on whether its hair wash day or not!) how many other times during the day, do I ‘glance’ in the mirror. Its hard to keep count, but I think I clocked up an additional 14 times in one day!

Seems a lot doesn’t it, but I’m not vain, so I’m guessing I am the ‘average ‘ woman .

See if these checks you do too:

When you leave the loo (the skirt tucked in pants check) when you clean your teeth (the spinach check)  Just before you walk out the front door  (the ‘is it too warm for a jacket’ check) or at the pub ( the ‘did all my lipstick really come off from just eating some chips’ check)

So this explained why mirrors sell so well, small mirrors costing less than £10, we sell hundreds (teeth checker mirror?)

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A top selling mini heart mirror from Melody Maison
but the current big hit is the BIG mirror. The top to top, shoe to hair , I want to see the whole picture, mirror!

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The elise cheval mirror, so pretty
I walked round my house and counted no less than 32 mirrors! Sound strange, I also counted how many I use on at least a daily/weekly basis……9!

So Mirrors are clearly a decorative purchase for me, just like a picture, or an ornament , but with a practical use , even if it is occasionally!

Here’s some of my mirrors. As you may know by now I have eclectic taste, so whilst some of  my house is pretty, vintage and shabby chic, some is elegant and heritage antique style,  and some is dark, moody and quirky and this reflects (sorry, no pun intended!) in my mirror choices.

 

And which one do I use the most, well I narrowed it down to 1st , 2nd and third place

In Third place, the leaving the house mirror. This is a antique mantel mirror that hangs above the hall table (above top left) An eBay purchase, several years ago, I loved it because it was less than perfect – classy n’ shabby in equal measure. So the glass has foxed in many places, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve glued bits of frame back on!

In second place, is my ‘getting dressed’ mirror. Gold and glamorous,  on my landing just outside my dressing room, it’s the perfect proportion for a full-length check (I also love it because,  like all good friends, it tells me I’m thinner than I actually am! Some glass does seem to do that, not sure why, but who am I to argue!)

A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
My Huge gold dressing Mirror on my landing, so elegant

 

Of course in top place is the faithful dressing table mirror – My dressing table is a shameful mess most of the time, hence the very small image on the top right above, if you look closely you will see it physically sigh from the pressure of relentlessly trying it’s best to make me look presentable! My dressing room, is a full on girly sanctuary, and my dressing table and mirror , a  60’s vintage classic, gets most of my attention. I use it for getting ready 7 days a week. The cute make up gets to live on the top –  Charlotte Tilbury is my current favourite, her make up is fabulous, but it mainly drew me to it because the packaging with rose gold highlights is just divine.

If you are looking for a dressing table mirror, large floor mirror, or a dinky                 ‘hows the smile’ mirror, of course Melody Maison is a market leader, but here’s another fabulous one I’m hankering after (mirror number 33??) This gold triple dressing table from Laura Ashley.  I’m thinking as its not too tall, this will be perfect for placing on top of a high chest of drawers or in my bathroom window

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Dressing table mirror from Laura Ashley

 

Just before I go, How much time do you spend in front of the mirror? There is no fit bit for measuring that, but if there was , would you be as surprised? Go on,  log your ‘mirror’ day, and as you look in one, dare you to say ….Darling you look fabulous!!

 

Till next time

Anna x

 

Fabulous Florals & how to use them in your home decor

Floral decor is a gorgeous trend that I personally am a massive fan of, in fact I didn’t realise quite how much, until I started to look to take pictures of my floral belongings and decor, and there was too much to include, I think Ive managed to settle on my favourites, and as you’ll see, I am a eclectic girl, from vintage blues , pinks and peaches, to dark and glamorous black and purple flora.

The oversized flower rug was a fairly recent purchase from Modern Rugs that i intended for my office at work, but looked too good in my spare bedroom, it never made it into work! And my love of vintage shown here clearly extends to all things flora, as these other purchases show.

One trend that seems to come and go in interiors,  but is currently back with a vengeance is floral wallpaper. In particular the bold and the brave oversized prints and dark coloured backgrounds.

Heres my personal favourite wallpaper. This one is a great use of an oversized print on a dark background, from ellie cashman designs – what an impact it makes in a small space like a cloakroom, especially with gold ostentatious taps and accessories.

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Stunning Bold floral wallpaper from Ellie Cashman designs

 

My own floral wallpaper in my dressing room is not as bold, but as I come to write this Im thinking the black and bold one would look fabulous in there. I will need to tire of this one first though. I inherited some  matching shot silk curtains 7 years go in the same shade of peach, and although sadly the curtains deteriorated in the sun so much, i had to bin them last year, the pelmet (and the paper) are still going strong!

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pretty floral wallpaper from Anna French

But if you dont want to go this bold, try a few cushions or a throw, and  you don’t have to look for far for floral inspiration, this bedroom shot by Ideal Home on  pintrest is a stunning neutral room, with just a few noticeable, but subtle pops of floral.

 

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Gorgeous floral cushions enhance this pale bedroom

 

take a peek at  Kate Forman for stunning subtle florals, expensive but forever fabrics, or if you want to spend wisely, Dunelm is perfect for floral cushions starting at just £18.

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Blue & pink floral bird cushions

I paid slightly more for these gorgeous teal & pink velvet ones from there Dorma collection, but they look and feel very high end (my doggies love them too, had to forcibly remove them to get this picture!)

 

And as always,  Melody Maison is a great source of all things floral, here’s just a small selection of my favourites, from pretty flora jugs to just add a bit of summer to a room scheme, to Mirrors and furnishings, hopefully you can see how bringing the outdoors inside, just got easier.

So, here’s hoping your flora ambitions are heightened after reading this, be it bold and dark, or pretty in pink,  give  bit of flower power to your interior design

The Wonderful World of Grey Home Decor

So many room colours fascinate me, for various reasons. Some for their calming powers, some for their vibrancy and some for the way they light up a room, but grey doesn’t fit into any of these categories as a colour, and yet it still manages to remain one of the top decoration colour trends

The daring will go for a dark grey, such as the farrow and ball colour Downpipe. With its blue-black undertones, it risks being hard looking, and yet is bold and enchanting and is a fabulous choice for walls and cabinetry.

Kitchen cabinetry in downpipe
Kitchen cabinetry painted in Farrow and Ball – Downpipe

 

And what about dark grey for walls….and the ceiling.                                                                In a bedroom it creates a dark and sinister look to some extent, but before you think  this ones for just the vampires, imagine how it wraps you up in a womb-like warmth after dark. I love it.

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Stunning dark grey bedroom

 

This wow hallway is stunning in mid grey. And with some funky and quirky bohemian accessories (I love the gold cranes and the gold mirror, but I’m not sure where I stand on bug art though!) I think as long as you have a plentiful light source in your hallway, why not be a bit bold with colour.

grey wall in a hallway
Mid grey wall in a hallway

 

But if these dark grey’s scare you , or you want more warmth to your grey, worry not, slightly warmer shades of grey are popular too. This is a shot from the recent furniture photo shoot we did at Melody Maison, where we used 2 shades, with brown undertones, to create warmth.

grey dressing table
Set in stone by valspar wall paint has a much warmer tone

‘set in stone’ is the top colour, and ‘ancient wonder’ is the darker colour,both by    Valspar at B&Q

Both would look good alone too. How great do they look with the French grey collection from Melody Maison?

 

Also, shown here with the Lyon range from Windsor Browne

The Lyon Range By Windsor Browne
The Lyon Range – By Windsor Browne

 

In my own home, I have 3 rooms decorated in grey, all 3 set totally different moods. I did not realise quite how many rooms I have that are grey until I came to write this article! (My other favoured room colour seems to be green incidentally, which tops grey with 4 rooms!)

My kitchen cabinetry, in Cornforth white and Downpipe, both from Farrow and Ball , they are a classic combination, of light and dark greys, and coupled with some silver and white accessories, it creates a cool traditional look

Kitchen cabinetry in Cornforth white and Downpipe by Farrow and Ball

Kitchen cabinetry in Cornforth white and Downpipe by Farrow and Ball

 

I love my walking silver stag on the shelf, and all the silver coloured bits and bobs against a dark background. For similar accessories in silver that work well with dark back drops, what about the single angel wing from Melody Maison

Silver Angel wing ornament
Angelic!

or visit at home in the country for loads more silver stag ornamentation. They have everything from photo frames to wine coolers, perfect for the current trend of stags and countryside critters

Stag Wine glass, tray and decanter
Stags make great drinking buddies!

 

My bedroom, is a bit more of a Victorian floral vibe. I used a light-mid grey , this is   dulux  ‘goose down’ coupled with purples, pinks and greens , I love this colour combo so much , in particular the bedding,  which is from designers guild . With its dark grey background, and huge flowers in strong colours, its floral bedding on a grand scale.   They have an amazing bold collection of statement design bedding, and fabrics. The floral picture above the fire is from is also from Melody Maison

My Grey bedroom
My Grey bedroom

 

So,  if you are thinking of decorating, I hope I’ve inspired you to try a bit of grey in your life, as grey doesn’t have to mean dull!

 

 

Shabby, kitsch and quirky….

Shabby, kitsch and quirky….

…are not the names of my pets!  (maybe they should be)  but rather what sums up my taste in interior décor

Currently I have a penchant for what I call ‘critter chic’   – that’s animals and birds in all shapes, styles and sizes, from parrots to peacocks and pooches to foxes. In fact animal décor is so in vogue at the moment, it is impossible to not find some new cutie or some vintage weird n wonky creature everywhere I go.

My own wall mounted stag
My own wall mounted stag

Every room in my home differs in style, but what ties them together is they are all crammed with bits n bobs n trinkets, including quite a few critter’s from our own Melody Maison and Windsor Browne stores

brass monkeys from www.windsorbrowne.co.uk
its brass monkeys out there! – £33.95 from http://www.windorbrowne.co.uk

My bedroom – My bedside table has a beautiful perched bird lamp I purchased some time ago from our Melody Maison showroom, and the pink trinket box with gold kingfisher is a recent purchase from next

My bedside table bird friends
My bedside table bird friends

My sitting room – has a botanical Victoriana theme, so I have managed to incorporate some elegant parrots, foxes and even a tortoise in here. My current favourite recent purchase is a gold framed ceramic parrot and cockatiel pair, from asda – Yes asda of all places – this could quite easily have appeared in a quirky high end boutique at 3 times the price, and I’d of probably still bought it, but at a bargain £8.00, I can imagine they wont be there for long.

cockatiel & parrot in gold frame
cockatiel & parrot in gold frame – pieces of 8, pieces of 8….pounds!

and  my other recent quirky purchase is a distressed gold tortoise bowl, from one of my favourite quirky designers, Abigail Aherne .

My gold tortoise sweetie dish by Abigail Aherne
My gold tortoise sweetie dish by Abigail Aherne

So if you are looking to add some cute or quirky friends to your decor, go subtle and sweet with a small piece, like this cute piggy mirror from Melody Maison….

Freestanding Three Pigs Mirror
3 little vain pigs!

or go bold touch with this amazing wallpaper from wallpaperdirect, I love it!  I’m putting this on my future room décor wish list, possibly for my downstairs loo? I’ll keep you posted on that project in due course.

Amazing animal wallpaper
Wow! Gold framed animals on the walls?

And finally, even my bathroom doesn’t escape the animal magic! My bathroom is very vintage, and my cute ceramic kitsch dogs take pride of place in my wall mounted display cabinet which is full of stuff just like your Nana used to have… ‘Nana chic’ anyone?  All from boot sales, and vintage shops

My little bunch of Kitsch n vintage ceramic dogs …. Poodle power!
My little bunch of Kitsch n vintage ceramic dogs …. Poodle power!

and I have managed to find someone who loves this look even more than I do, hey, why stop at 3 dogs! – This room shot was one I found on pintrest of someone’s room,  who clearly has a very similar love of vintage kitsch dog stuff.

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Vintage pooches collection AKA ‘Nana chic’

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this weeks blog, let me know what you think and about your animal passions.

Happy Bank holiday weekend all!

Anna Elkington

(oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering, my pet dog’s real names are Maggie, Archie and Ruby….warning cute dog picture alert!)

Cute dog pictures
My 3 naughty, but adorable pooches!

Gold! Gold! Gold!

Gold! Gold! Gold!

One thing that really makes me gush at the moment is gold.  Gold in interiors is back!

There’s new gold’s: Rose gold, copper gold yellow gold, white gold… but mainly gold!

Against a dark or light background it really does make a statement.

Up until a year or so ago, we were only allowed to admire gold interiors on the quiet, as it was seen as a bit OTT, then one day without warning we were allowed gold again!!.. .  I was so excited, because I never really stopped loving it.

So, Gold taps are back, And gold tables, beds , picture frames and decorative accessories

Gold Metal Framed Bed
Gold Metal Framed Bed
Quirky Gold Taps Designed By Howard Slatkin
Quirky Gold Taps Designed By Howard Slatkin

But if you are looking for a small touch of gold chic, and not necessarily a full room make over, why not try this cheap but amazing idea I found on pinterest.co.uk, using left over jam jars or mason jars. Perfect for storing dressing table and desk accessories

Funky N Cute Gold Storage Jars
Funky N Cute Gold Storage Jars
  1. You will need 1 can of shiny gold spray paint (try Valspar from B&Q – diy.com )
  2. and a bunch of small kids plastic animals (try ebay.co.uk for a small set costing less than a fiver)
  3. glue your chosen creature to the lid (if you know someone with a glue gun use one, as its way easier)
  4. once dry, spray 1-2 thin coats of spray paint over the lid and animal

Or if that all seems to much like work, what about these little cuties from amazon.co.uk

Mirrored Gold Storage Pots
Mirrored Gold Storage Pots

And what about this for a novel idea for a dark wall, I saw this on a fact finding mooch round Harrods interiors department, and if it’s good enough for Harrods, it’s good enough for me!  These small vintage vanity mirrors can be easily sourced from eBay, either already gold, or any colour and just do a quick spray job (sadly the light up mirror was one of Harrods, and I dare not say how much that was! suffice to say Ill be sticking with the vanity mirrors collection!

Gold Mirror Collection On A Dark Wall
Gold Mirror Collection On A Dark Wall

On this visit to London, I also visited some of the shops at the high end of Interiors to get dreamy ideas for my own home.  Whilst these shops are pricey, it’s great to see what upcoming trends are around, and also try and replicate them more affordably. One of my Favourite designers is Kate Spade, for home wares and fashion. In their Chelsea store, they had my Number 1 gold want, a gold and glass cocktail bar trolley. This one is vintage I believe, and unfortunately, one as stunning as this is very hard to come by at a reasonable price, but I will keep my eye out as eventually one of my bargain hunting trips will prove fruitful – Ill keep you posted on that search!

Gold Cocktail Bar Trolley
Gold Cocktail Bar Trolley

Back in the real world, here are some of my own gold possessions in my home, new and old that I love!

A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small

And here is some of  Melody Maison’s lovely gold collection, there’s lots more, but these are my own personal favourite’s, and one or two of these, from our 2017 collection, will be finding there way to my house I’m sure!

Large Gold Wall Mountable Stag Head
Large Gold Wall Mountable Stag Head
Ornate Gold Photograph Frame
Ornate Gold Photograph Frame
Antique Gold Metal Cog Skeleton Wall Clock
Antique Gold Metal Cog Skeleton Wall Clock
Pair of Small Wall Mounted Gold Angel Wings
Pair of Small Wall Mounted Gold Angel Wings

Sadly the gold parrot taps will have to wait a little longer for the big bathroom makeover next year, but this week, i will be shopping for pretty floral window treatments for a spare room mini-makeover, and some more botanical critters for my still evolving sitting room, so expect more on those over the next 2 weeks

Anna

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Top Trending colours this year

So Farrow & Ball (www.farrow-ball.com) have announced their top trending colours for 2017. My favourite is definitely:

Studio Green

I was delighted and excited to learn the colour I painted my own sitting room (with much nervousness as it is such a dark colour) just before Christmas was up there . However since the day the first coat was added, I’m in love! I asked everyone I knew to assess the 17 paint swatches on the wall , all in dark shades, and the general opinions were ‘are you mad’ and ‘oo,  wont it make the room dark’  Turns out yes I am a bit mad when it comes to colour, but better that than dull , and if it does make the room appear darker, its only for the good, as its so cosy. My lesson learned from this one 1. trust your instincts 2. do you really need peoples opinion, if the live in magnolia land? find someone who shares your style to help choose colours.

Studio Green
Studio Green Painted Room
Studio Green In My Own Sitting Room
Studio Green In My Own Sitting Room
Studio Green Living Room
Similar dark green shades that are stunning

t especially suits high ceilings, and rooms you hunker down in on an evening as it wraps you in warmth, but even if you don’t have a high ceiling, or you’re a little nervous about strong colours, try it on a feature wall, behind a shelf recess, or on a chimney breast. I promise you’ll be smitten like I was!

Similar shades to Studio Green can be achieved using Crown’s (www.crownpaint.co.uk) ‘Steam Engine Green’ or from Dulux’s (www.dulux.co.uk) ‘Heathland

Crown Paint - Steam Engine Painted Room
Crown Paint – Steam Engine Painted Room

So why not be bold, and add some dark, or rich colour, even in a small room like the downstairs loo, for warmth and character

 

All White

For the lighter option, they have also named ‘All white’ as a top choice for 2017, this is one of the closet shades to white you can get , with a bit of character thrown in and suits both neutral and calm interiors, as well as rooms where the art of furniture need to be allowed to take centre stage.

All White Painted Room
All White Painted Room

This is also a great colour for paintwork, if you don’t want the day glow white look, it has a clean look, but with a less brash glow. Perfect for windowsills, skirting, door frames, and painted floorboards

Set of 4 Lavender Pot Plants
All white Paintwork With lavender Plants
All White Sample Room
All White Floorboards in a Dining Room

 

So whether your planning a whole new room make over, or want to try a spot of colour somewhere, let me know what you think of these 2.