A Cox and Cox Homewares Wish List*

If you’ve spent any length of time reading my blog you’ll have worked out by now that I have a thing for homewares (thanks Mum!) This went in to complete over-drive when I was living in my flat and now I’m back in the parental home I’m yet to reign it in, spending an inordinate amount of time planning ahead to when I move out again.

I have a regular selection of sites that I like to browse, Cox and Cox being one of them- and it’s from there that today’s wish list came about.

It’s all a bit cliche but right now I can’t get enough of clean design with a girly twist. Pinks, greys and copper are seriously floating my boat and if I could deck my future abode out entirely in these colours I would be a very happy girl.

I dream of having wooden floors that I can cover in big, luxurious rugs, statement chairs for curling up and reading in with piles of blankets all around in complimentary shades. I’d even be prepared to part with my currently favoured bold printed bedding in favour of pastel quilted pieces- again accessorised with a blanket and cushion mountain to make my bed the cosiest place on earth.

In my head I have visions of high ceilings, bookcases rammed full of my favourite reads and a couple of cats roaming around just waiting to curl up on my feet. In reality what I’m likely to end up with is a small flat with haphazard furniture, a couple of small rugs, novelty printed bedding sets and one cat that prefers to chew toes rather than curl up on them and keep them warm.

At least I have the internet to keep my dream alive!

What would your ideal home look like and where are your favourite places to browse for homewares and inspiration?

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Moving or Improving?*

Well, this feels like a terribly grown up post to be writing- there’s nothing like thinking about buying your own home to make you realise you actually are an adult and there is a LOT more to be considered than you assume when you’re younger and home ownership is just a pipe dream.

That’s not to say that right now I’m actively looking to buy, but with a bit of luck in the next twelve months or so I might be able to do this and it’s never too early to start thinking about it- it’s probably one of the biggest steps in any person’s life so when Slater Gordon Property Solicitors challenged me to think about everything that needs considering when you take that leap in to potential home ownership.

I’ve always been clear in my mind where it is I’d like to buy my first home, which I suppose both helps and hinders because I’ll be limited to what properties are available BUT it will give me direction in my search. I think the main obstacle that I will come up against (despite you know, actually getting the mortgage and sorting out the finances) is that I really want to live in a converted Victorian property so making sure the flat/house is in good structural order is essential. Given that my budget will likely only extend to a flat the other two issues I’m likely to come up against are size- it might be fine for me on my own, but should I meet someone and start a family for example, will it be big enough to accommodate if moving again isn’t an immediate option? The second issue which I believe is a common issue when buying a flat is that of Leasehold- that brings with it maintenance fees, an annual ground rent and potential restrictions on any big alterations, owning pets or subletting.
I also thought I’d share this infographic provided by Gordon Property Solicitors which contains some interesting facts and figures about buying your own home, and for non first time buyers the pros/cons of making improvement to your current home rather than the upheaval of a house move.
I’m aware that this post is very much only skimming the surface of the subject and I obviously have no real experience as of yet so I’d be really interested in anyone wanting to share their stories and advice about buying their own home- leave them in the comments!

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Kitchen Culture in the UK*

You should know by now that I love to bake, and more recently I’ve got back in to cooking. When I had my brief spell in my own flat the kitchen was by far the best equipped room in the house and whilst looking to move out again in the future it’s always the kitchen gadget section of any shop that draws me in first.

Today I’m bring you some interesting insights in to the UK’s kitchen culture thanks to five-star acrylic sheet supplier The Plastic People who create kitchen splashbacks to add a stylish touch to any cooking area.

From the most purchased kitchen items through to a look at the country’s cooking habits I thought this made for an interesting weekend read.

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According to research carried out by Mintel sales of small kitchen appliances have increased by 41% between the years 2011 to 2015 (from £635 million to £897 million for those who were wondering). Sales of food preparation gadgets increased by 145% in the same time frame and hot drinks appliances such as coffee machines increased by a not too shabby 89%.

The same piece of research has also revealed that in 2015 42% of Brits purchased a kettle (guilty), 30% bought a toaster (also guilty), 15% of Brits bought a sandwich maker or grilling machine, 13% of Brits bought a smoothie maker or juicer (yep), 13% also bought a coffee capsule or pod drinks maker and 11% bought a filter coffee machine- that’s a lot of gadgets!

When it comes to upgrading appliances the following is the frequency of upgraded appliance types in the kitchen from homeowners who either renovated their kitchen in the 12 months prior to the release of the 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study — UK, are currently renovating their kitchen, or who are looking to do so over the three months after the release of the research:
Dishwasher(s) – 82 per cent.
Fridge/freezer – 78 per cent.
Extractor fan – 77 per cent.
Hob(s) – 75 per cent.
Wall oven(s) – 56 per cent.
Microwave – 53 per cent.

This same study also revealed that stainless steel was the most popular colour when upgrading appliances (47 per cent opted for this), followed by black (22 per cent) and then white (10 per cent).

The 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study — UK delved into the following details about how and why Brits are going about upgrading their kitchens:
The frequency of increasing kitchen sizes sat at 63 per cent in the 12 months prior to the release of the research, for those currently renovating their kitchens and for those planning to renovate the space over the three months after the release of the research.
The most popular events that triggered Brits to update their kitchen were:

42% were recently purchased homes and owners wanted to make their kitchen their own.
32% had wanted to update their kitchen all along and finally had the means to do so.
30% could no longer stand their old kitchen.
26% acknowledged that their old kitchen had either deteriorated, broken down or became unsafe.
14% were adapting to family and lifestyle changes.

Again making use of the 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study — UK the top kitchen storage solutions that homeowners opted for were:

77% added a cutlery organiser
61% updated their kitchen with deep drawer organisers.
51% added pull-out waste or recycling cabinets.
41% cent updated their kitchen with a corner carousel.
39% updated their kitchen with a pot and pan organiser.
36% included pull-out trays and/or shelves.

I’m a bit of a kitchen storage freak and love the kitchen at my parents’ house as it has so many nifty storage solutions! #KitchenGoals

According to the Houzz study the reasons why homeowners looked into new storage solutions for their kitchen are as follows:
79% were motivated as they wanted to make better use of the space.
57% wanted to reduce clutter.
55% wanted to make it easier to find items in their kitchens.
36% were motivated as they wanted to utilise awkward spaces
21% wanted to make it easier to cook and bake in their kitchens.

Again referring to the Houzz study we can see that modifications to the kitchen can have a significant impact on how people are utilising the room. Interestingly…
69% spend more family time in their kitchen.
56% now find themselves working and/or studying for longer in their kitchen.
51% are hosting more dinner parties/other forms of entertaining guest in their home.
49% are baking more
43% now cook or prepare more meals at home.
42% now have more sit-down meals.
36% of people reported that tehy now order less takeaways.
23% now eat more fruits and/or vegetables.

I hope you find this post as interesting as I did, as I’ve mentioned I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to kitchens and I cannot wait for the day where I own my own home (I can dream right?) and have free reign over the design of my kitchen. My parents had theirs done just over a year ago and the difference it has made is incredible- even my Mum is cooking more which kind of says a lot really!

Tell me about your kitchens…

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A Cosy Home For Christmas*

One of the things I really can’t wait for when I get to move out again is to make it my own. I’ll be renting so obviously I’ll be limited in how much I can do, but even though it’s still on the pretty distant horizon I’ve already been browsing around for ideas as to how I can make it nice and cosy. From picking out the perfect sofa to thinking about colour schemes and accessories- it’s probably the one thing that has softened the blow of moving back home (not that I am anything but grateful to my mum and dad) and is providing me with both motivation and excitement for a future I hadn’t actually contemplated.

With that in mind, and Christmas just around the corner (in case you’d forgotten) I’ve put together a little mood board/wish list of how I’d like my living room to look during the colder months. Honestly, I’m already so excited to decorate for my first Christmas living alone it’s a little bit pathetic!

Corner Sofa | Stag Head | Christmas Tree | Candle | Cookie Cutter Lights | Throw

I have a bit of a thing for corner sofas. I had one in my old flat and loved lounging on it, especially when covered in blankets and cushions. For some reason I find them a lot more appealing than a standard sofa for which I have no explanation!

As much as I love real Christmas trees I do rather like this pre-lit artificial one from Wilko – not only is it a bargain at £30 but it fits in rather nicely with my orangey/whitey/grey scheme.

The cookie cutter Christmas lights from NotOnTheHighStreet are probably top of my cosy home wish list. Paperchase also do some at a much better price but they aren’t online any longer so I started browsing NOTS and emerged half an hour later with rather a few items added to my favourites and these little beauties found as a more than acceptable replacement.

What does your dream cosy living room look like? Anyone else with me on the corner sofa love?

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2016’s interior trends and how to make them work for you*

I’ve always had a passing interest in interior design and would quite happily flick through Mum’s pile of home decor type magazines to while away some time. Since moving in to the flat I’ve taken an even keener interest, especially in how to incorporate some of the latest trends in a budget friendly and suitable for rental way. Baytree Interiors have been looking in to some of 2016’s biggest hits for the home and there’s a great feature on the Real Homes Magazine website too. With this as my inspiration I’ve popped together my thoughts on those trends and how they could work for me and my home.
The first thing to mention is colour. Ben and I are far from colour shy which is just as well as it’s set to continue being big news when it comes to the home. From Pantone’s colour of the year through to Dulux’s colour forecast for the year it’s clear to see that white and magnolia has been banished for the time being. Rich colours paired with metallic golds and coppers are the top picks and un-wittingly we already have a lot of this in our living room (nicknamed “the amazing technicolour living room”) with our mis-matched furniture, most of which we bought second hand for a very low price then painted up with a coat or two of Annie Sloan’s infamous chalk paint. I think a bright home using rich and warm colours makes for a cosy home and our living room is my favourite place to relax.
Patterns are also still going strong with world travel being the main influence. It doesn’t have to be limited to the walls either- a colourful rug on the floor, reupholstering a dining room chair or adding a Moroccan inspired runner to a table are great ways to embrace the trend with minimal commitment and without breaking the bank.
Metallics are having a moment with everybody and their dog going crazy for copper. I’m no exception and around the flat you’ll find lots of metallic elements dotted around- from silver herb planters hosting bright and bold flowers to the copper pan taking pride of place in my kitchen. From my experience places like Home Bargains and The Range are good places to pick up inexpensive decorative bits that will certainly last the duration of the trend if you’re likely to change your mind. Slightly more pricey are H&M, Urban Outfitters and Oliver Bonas- I have a massive wish list for all three of these stores and keep a close eye out for sales or discounts! For bigger pieces of furniture and decor you can strike gold on sites like gumtree and ebay or by scouring charity shops and car boot sales. We picked up a massive filigree mirror for about £20 via gumtree when we’d previously seen them in a reclamation yard for over £200!
Have you embraced any of these trends around your home? What have been some of your homeware best buys?

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