The 6 Secrets To Bringing The Outside In This Winter *

According to the author Florence Williams just 15 minutes outside in nature can make you happier. While it’s easier to picture yourself walking outside and enjoying a gentle breeze in the park at the peak of the summer holidays, you may not feel quite the same way about a stroll in the forest in the middle of winter when it’s blowing a gale. It might be a fantastic occasion to test how waterproof your wellington boots really are, but let’s be honest,even 15 minutes in the great outdoors is not an easy task during the colder months and there’s no guarantee that getting drenched in the rain and slapped by the cold wind will actually make you feel happier about your life. No, you have to admit that while Ms Williams might speak the truth, the theory will have to wait until Spring 2018 to be tested. However are ways and means to cheat the system, if you can’t spend time outside in nature how about letting the outside in? No, that doesn’t mean taking down the wall or losing a few roof tiles! Check out these 6 safe and foolproof tips to spend 15 minutes in nature at home.


1. Get more plants!
Beautiful plants don’t only belong in the garden, there are plenty of elegant houseplants that can completely change your interior decor. It’s important to remember that when you decide to keep indoor plants you need to pay attention to a variety of features such as how much sunlight, moisture and fresh soil they need. Indeed, while houseplants can revive your interior dead ones don’t quite have the same effect (trust me, I know!) So be sure you know how to maintain them- or pick easy to maintain plants such as a spider plant or a dracaena plant as these are not only easy to manage but they can also clean the air of its toxins.

2. Showcase windows and balconies
Natural sunlight is vital for your health, you’ve probably heard of SAD syndrome that touches people during the colder months of the year. Lack of sunlight can affect your mood and even cause mild cases of winter depression. While this is most common in regions like in the Shetlands or in Norway where daylight becomes extremely scarce in winter it can also happen in urban areas in the main UK regions. It’s important to keep a free access to the sources of sunlight in your home, from keeping your blinds open to choosing the right balustrade system to maximise your balcony. It doesn’t cure SAD, but it reduces its effects significantly!

3. Fresh herbs are a must
You can’t beat a comforting stew in the Winter, whether it’s a rich chicken and tomato stew or an Irish cabbage and potatoes dish. Whatever it is, if you’re thinking of using dried herbs in your dish you’re missing out on the real taste of fresh herbs. It doesn’t take much effort to introduce a fresh herb garden in your kitchen and it can completely change your experience of cooking in winter. When growing your plants indoors light is key so the windowsill in the kitchen is a good place to start- unless it’s just above the heater — in that case it will dry out your plants. Select easy herbs to grow such as basil, coriander or even sage which are beautiful additions to your winter dishes.

4. Bring the shine back to your window panes
When was the last time you cleaned your windows? They may not seem dirty, but small particles accumulate and gradually block out the sunlight. So if your living room looks a little dull and grey it’s time to get your bottle of vinegar and your brown paper out to refresh your window panes. Make a note to wash your window with a mixture of vinegar and warm water to remove dirt and grease at least twice a year.

5. Paint it green
If you can’t bring nature inside your home you can at least imitate it as best you can. Painting your walls in yellow, sky blue or green can add the touch of happiness that you need to make it through the winter. Make sure though to pick soft pastel colours- if you use bright-coloured paint the result might feel a little too aggressive on the eye and have the opposite effect.

6. Eco-friendly craft at home
Maybe you can’t bring all of nature inside but what about little decorative elements? From creating a shoe tray out of pebbles for your muddy boots to using empty seashells in your decor, you can add natural materials to your home easily and elegantly. Pine cones make a great festive decoration when spray painted and dipped in glitter- make the most of the dry days and get collecting!

How are you going to follow the advice of Florence Williams this winter and get your 15 minutes of nature time? We’re doing it at home with houseplants, natural craft and plenty of sunlight. Make your home a nature catalyst to enjoy winter with a smile!


Gift Guides: Paddywax Candles at Rooi

There seems to be differing opinions as to whether a candle makes a good gift. Some might say it’s generic or a cop out, but I love to receive them and I also love to give them, especially when you stumble across the recipients favourite scent or some seriously luxe style on a budget.

I was recently introduced to Paddywax candles thanks to interiors retailer Rooi and was seriously impressed by their aesthetically pleasing style and intriguing sounding scents. I was lucky enough to be able to pick out one of the candles for myself- testing out their gift-ability if you will…read on for my thoughts and whether I’ll be hoping that Santa delivers me more from this brand.

I picked out the wild fig and cedar scented candle from the brand’s Hygge range which costs £27.95. This might seem expensive for a candle, but when you stop and think about what you pay for a large Yankee candle, or splurge on a Jo Malone one it’s really quite reasonable.

The candle itself is beautifully presented in a duck egg blue matte ceramic pot with a very on trend copper lid. This is a large candle weighing in at 425g and promises plenty of gorgeously scented burn time.

It’s always a bit of gamble ordering a candle online when you’ve not smelt any of their scents before but somehow I just knew this would be good- and it is. Whilst some candles have a highly artificial aroma to them this one smells fresh and natural, and once lit cannot help but make it’s surroundings feel cosy.

I’d be delighted to receive any of the Paddywax Hygge range as a gift, and will certainly be gifting them myself. If you’re on more of a budget or fancy a little treat for yourself then you can pick up smaller but equally easy on the eye candles on Rooi- next on my list is the delightful sounding “sunset sherbet” candle from the prism range.

Have you tried Paddywax candles before? If so, which scents would you recommend? You can find the entire range on the Rooi website, along with plenty of other gift ideas from brands such as Kate Spade and Emma Bridgwater. Definitely somewhere to be checking out when writing your Christmas list.


Simple Decorating Ideas for Your Rented Home*

When you rent a room or house how far you go when it comes to decorating can be tricky to get right. Some landlords allow you to do pretty much what you like- but there are not many that take that approach. Often, even if they do, part of the deal is that you have to return the property to a neutral state when you leave it. Fortunately putting your own personal mark on your home does not necessarily mean redecorating it. There are lots of alternative approaches which won’t leave a mark. Below are some of my favourites.

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

Hang some artwork
By far the easiest and safest option is to use artwork and prints to decorate your walls. You can get any image turned into a work of art by using this canvas printing company. They have been in the business for more than a decade so really know how to make the process as easy as possible.
The fact they will print any image (and do so in a range of sizes) makes it easy to truly personalise each room. Provided the frame you choose is not too heavy you can often hang the prints without having to drill any holes in the walls- when I was in my rented flat I used velcro tabs to put things on the wall, they are strong but the sticky side is specially designed not to leave a residue on the wall.

Other wall hanging options
Mirrors, photo collages, wall stickers and decals are also really good options for putting your stamp on a place. If you choose to hang mirrors it is safer to hang them by drilling into the wall- just be careful not to hit a pipe or cable when you hang them.
When you leave make sure you allow enough time to fill the holes, rub them down, re-sand them and apply a couple of coats of paint, this way the repair job should be good enough to allow you to keep your deposit.
If you use wall stickers make sure they are the kind that can be peeled off without leaving any residue. Again, remove them at least a week before you are due to move out to give yourself enough time to fix any issues. You can also use stickers on doors and windows as well.

Flooring has a huge impact on the look and feel of a room, if it is shoddy nothing you do to the rest of the room will make it look much better. Fortunately there is a lot you can do about this problem even if you are on quite a tight budget.
There are plenty of affordable rugs available- for rooms like the kitchen, dining room, toilet or bathroom vinyl flooring is a good option. You can cut it to size and just roll it up when it is time to leave. Be careful not to cut the flooring underneath when you fit it and be sure to buy the type that will not leak colour into the original flooring.

Shelves and hooks
It is best not to hang shelves where possible, instead opting for freestanding shelving units. For the sake of safety remember to secure the units so they don’t fall over, and add filling any holes once you are ready to move to your `to do’ list.
If you need hooks opt for the suction cup kind whenever you can.

Understand the rules
Before you sign the rental contract it is best to understand exactly what is and what is not allowed. You should also familiarise yourself with your rights and obligations as a tenant in the eyes of the law. This article is a good starting point.


The Fundamentals Of Bedroom Design*


In one way designing a bedroom is quite simple because it is the one room in your house that is completely your own. If you live with children for instance you will share every other space, but your bedroom can be an oasis to which you retreat when you need a rest after a long day. Otherwise if you are entertaining and you have your friends over you will probably invite them to feel at home in your dining room, living room, your garden and your bathroom of course. However, your bedroom remains just yours. However, it is also a difficult room to design for the exact same reason. Since it is so personal and intimate getting it right is so important. If you do not spend enough time thinking about how your bedroom looks you may find that you cannot relax there. There is so much psychology mixed up with interior design that it sometimes makes you wonder how many decisions are actually conscious rather than performed at the behest of a subconscious feeling or urge. Why, after all, do people like one color over another? There must be a reason but many people would not be able to explain their preference one way or another and would be left saying that they just like a color because they like it.

If there is one thing that is crucial to a good bedroom it is a good bed. One myth that is easily dispelled is that a hard bed is absolutely good for you. Many people confuse a firm bed for a supportive one. However, it all depends on your back and your body’s needs. If you find that a goose down featherbed suits you more, go with that. However whatever bed you choose you should do a lot of research as choosing the wrong one can cause serious back pain and long term problems.

In any case picking a color for your bedroom is important because it can have such a massive impact on how well you sleep. Research from the National Sleep Foundation found that the best color for a bedroom is blue. The reason for this is that receptors in your eyes- called ganglion cells are most receptive to blue shades. These cells inform your brain of information which affects its day to day rhythm. Since the color blue is associated with calmness and peace seeing it as you try to drift off to sleep will help your brain realize that it needs to relax. In fact blue hues in bedrooms have been shown to reduce blood pressure and a person’s heart rate. However if blue is not your style you should go for soothing colors like grays, silvers and neutrals. One important feature of decorating your room is to not to use too many backlit objects like phones or TVs when you are trying to sleep. They inhibit the production of melatonin in your brain which helps you sleep. Switching them off and picking up a book is a better way to have a more restful night.


Home of Juniper wish list and discount

My homewares radar was triggered again recently with the discovery of yet another online emporium to browse- Home of Juniper. Focusing on “conscientious consumerism” Home of Juniper sells a wide range of products including kitchenware, stationery, home decor, jewellery and gifts. They are proud to support both British producers and ethical craftsmanship from further afield bringing us a beautifully curated site full of unusual and quirky treasures.
Being the way I am, I couldn’t not put together a wish list to share with you- I also (being the giving person that I am) have a discount code to share which will give you 10% off and free shipping on any purchase until the end of June- details at the end of this post.
As you can see, I’ve fallen hard for the kitchenware. I love the rustic look of the tea set and espresso cups whilst the coaster (so true) and shakespeare quote banner were just lovely finishing touches I couldn’t help but include.
As promised, you can get 10% off and free shipping on your order until the end of June by using the code daisychain at the checkout. Do report back with what takes your fancy and let me know what you’re treating yourself to.