Inspire Me – Interview with TV Production Designer Richard Drew

Tv Production Designer Richard Drew
Have you ever wondered how a TV set is designed – the though process behind it ? Why are certain colours used in a character’s home and who develops all of this and how ?
Well, I have some answers here for you courtesy of TV Production Designer Richard Drew who has worked on many shows in his extremely established career including The Inbetweeners, Smell of Reeves & Mortimer, Man Down, Alan Partridge, Ratburger, Walliams and Friends, Sick Note, Stath Lets Flats …the cv is wayyy too long to mention everything.

It seems like the perfect time to chat with Richard and discover some tricks of the trade as he is just about to celebrate his 30th year in the industry …

How did you train to become a Production Designer ?

I studied at Barking College of Technology as a 6th form student doing a Media Course in 84 / 85 – pretty progressive for the mid 80’s in East London. I did O’levels in film, television and theatre design. Then I got accepted onto a West Sussex College of Design course 85 / 86 doing a theatre design diploma, a 2 year course completed in 1. Then finally film school 86 / 88 in Newport South Wales, an HND course in film and tv practice.

I went from school right the way through without a year out and finished my education in June 1988. My first day at work for the BBC in Wales was the 8 / 8 / 88 – it’s my 30th Anniversary next month. 
But it goes further back than just the education, as a 12 year old I stood on a professional stage for the first time as an amateur performer and was totally transfixed. Not so much with the audience and lights but was intrigued and captivated by the mechanics of theatre and how it worked behind the scenes – and I loved the smell of backstage. – I still do. 

 It was my Drama Teacher at school who told my Father when I was maybe 14, that I should consider persuing a career backstage rather than trying to be an actor ( something I thought I wanted to do ) as I clearly loved the theatre and was ‘ good at art ’ but not ‘ good at acting ’ – the single best advice anyone ever gave me. I painted the boards rather than tread them.

Billionaire Boy TV Show

Is there a process when you start work on a new project and how do you decide what the characters’ homes will be like inside ?

It all starts with a script. Reading it over and over, followed by a meeting or two with a writer / director. Then finding a location which will dictate a hell of a lot. I love the back story to a character. Why are they here ? What they do for a living etc. I think about colour themes, age of the charcter… where they shop, I love giving my characters collections of things… maybe a bit of me there ?

If building a set interior I try and go for sets with depth; sexy transitions from room to room, sets wide enough that you don’t need to move walls or furniture to shoot in. It’s a lot easier to make a room feel smaller on camera than make a room look bigger. Lighting is vital, windows are useful and building a room means you can make an alcove just the right size to fit a particular piece of furniture. 

 

Comic Relief ImageDavid Walliams Lady image

Where do you go to find inspiration ?

The art world more than anything I’d say – for a designer of spaces and interiors maybe more than the architecture world, which I guess you’d expect – installation artists like Esther Stocker I really love. The Comic Relief set of 2016 was inspired by her work … a collage piece by Sharon Elphick inspired the Comic Relief set of 2013.

Street Art – I love the trend for doing art with fluorescent tape. Furniture design both good and bad. Shop window displays in general are great sources of ideas. Wallpaper patterns, shadows on the floor, the colour of the sea, fashion. Pretty much wherever you look if you’re switched on that way I think you find it.

 I think a Google image search is a thing of beauty as it opens up so many possibilities that endless library searches may never find. Graphic art is a huge influence – record covers. I’ve spent a lot of money on records in the past based soley on the cover art. I’m a bit of a culture sponge, a hoarder and have the capacity to remember and reference things not really knowing how or why it’s there other than certain things just stick. Something as varied as the typography and layout of a Live Aid poster, the colour of Tom Hanks bed in the film Big or a Tom Ford suit worn by Colin Firth at the Oscars. I don’t know whether that’s a designer thing – or a thing that I just possess – but I’ve always been very visually aware and a bit of a visual magpie ( sorry that’s a very lazy way of putting it )

Sick Note TV Programme

I’d love to know which colours you enjoy working with the most ?

I adore colour – certainly when designing the light entertainment shows I’ve done in the past ( Friday Night with Jonathan Ross – the BBC version , Your Face or Mine, Comic Relief – I’ve always gone for a set with colour – the truth is people in light entertainment particularly are quite scared of colour as there is no get out of jail card. If you have a green set, you’re stuck with a green set but if you paint the set grey and light it green, you can change it to any colour you want, which I think is a cop – out. In designing for scripted stuff I love using colour throughout –  limited colour palletes, certain colours for certain characters etc.

If you watch season one and two of Sick Note ( Sky One Season 2 starts this week ) there is no yellow on the set apart from one character who wears it and has yellow props and a yellow car. It was a decision based purely on the fact that we thought it would make that character stand out – although she’s not a main character she acts as a linchpin to a lot of the story. I once did a kids show years ago which was like a Japanese Anime and the only colours I used on the set were the colours of the Tokyo Subway lines. Just because. I love the meaning of colours and the way they make you feel. I love playing with colour tones also.

How would you describe your own home style ?

Ecclectric ( is that even a word ?) – colourful and spacious.

I’ve got the ubiquitous Tolix Chairs and the G plan Sideboard but its mixed with a bit of 70’s, 30’s ,50’s stuff.. a sprinkling of kitsch thrown in. A solid Ikea Bookcase and Lack Bed have been with me forever to address the balance. I’ve an Eames Lounger and Sofa that was in a famous film ( I really can’t tell you which one, no really I can’t ) and there is fair amount of film posters going on and random signage from various travels or film shoots. Christ it sounds like a hipster wet dream. Car boot finds and skip grabbed pieces fill the gaps  – a £12 1960’s coffee table sits happily on a moroccan rug.

I’ve avoided the trend for house plants as I know I’ll kill them but still have an empty Macrame basket hanging from my ceiling. I’ve got Airfix planes in my kitchen and a 1980’s ceramic Buddha in my hallway. But I love it. Of course it’s a little bit art directed. 

Billionaire Boy - Production Designer - Richard Drew

There must be some pros and cons of working as freelance designer in television ?

I’ll start with the negatives.

The hours can be brutally long Sometimes in the Art Dept it’s not uncommon to do a 14 hour day – it takes a certain person to want to commit to that. Plus as a freelancer even when back home the phone can ring at all hours – script changes at 10pm or schedule changes. I’ve often thought there should be an acceptable cut off time but when you’re knee deep on a project – it just all consumes you and you live and breathe it. It becomes normal and although we all know that it isn’t healthy we still do it.
I also don’t think that’s unique to the Art Dept. Make-Up, Costume, Lighting, Locations etc etc – we all do silly hours.
It’s often a more physically demanding job that you’d maybe expect, certainly the filming part of it.
I walked 9.5 miles in a studio fairly recenly – a studio maybe a bit bigger than a tennis court. how is that possible I didn’t go anywhere.
I was on my feet dressing a set, back and forth all day but going nowhere. 
Dressing sets / solving problems / construction managing a project takes it’s toll whether you think it does or otherwise – punch drunk in decision making. I don’t suffer fools I’m afraid so working with ‘ chancers ’ or new kids on the block who think they know everything can be very tiresome – I would say I don’t think that’s unique to television though.

Oh and you never know when the phone may ring, that can be both good and bad. I still havent got used to it either way.

The pros thankfully outweigh the cons. I’ve met a lot of truly wonderful people in my career so far. Film shoots on the whole are great environments to spend your day and although hard work, are also fun. A shoot allows you to work in amazing locations and world famous studios – my current project has me putting a set or two onto the stages at Pinewood Studios. I can’t tell you what a thrill that is to say, working at the BBC was also always a real thrill for me too.

I’ve travelled a little bit too – Rio, Tokyo, Warsaw and Beijing – to see those parts of the world from a work perspective rather than just a holiday perspective is authentic and how cities should be seen I think. I’ve worked with some immense talent and spent time with huge stars. I have to stress that this is not why I do the job but sometimes you do have to pinch yourself – ” yes that is Stevie Wonder and yes he is rehersing not 12 feet from me “.  ” Yes I’m standing on stage with David Bowie ” – ” yes I will catch Daniel Craig in my arms on this small stunt fall “…
More importantly in light of equal pay and the ‘ Me Too ‘ movement I’m incredibly proud to say that the Art Dept is a fantastic example of where male and female doesn’t matter. 

Buyers, Set Decorators, Art Directors, Prop Makers, SFX Designers, Prop Masters, Standby Props and Production Designers are just as likely to be female as male – and equally paid too. Its based on ability and nothing more.

Sick Note T V Show

Is there a particular project over the last 30 years that stands out the most as your favourite ? Why ?

That’s like trying to choose a favourite child !

I’m incredibly proud of the 5 comic reliefs and 4 Sport Reliefs I’ve designed for the BBC. I’m part of that wonderful tv family and the history of that show. Always honoured to be asked. It’s where I’ve got to flex my showbiz muscles and every once in a while it’s a good thing to brush off the glitter and mirrored floors.

The 11 O’Clock Show put me on the map as a Production Designer and was the point I stopped being an Art Director so I’ll always have a soft spot for that show. The Inbetweeners for seeing how a show nobody had heard of suddenly become a show that everyone knew  – and it’s always a nice revelation to tell younger members of a crew that I worked on it. Their eyes generally light up.

Stath Lets Flats TV Show Channel 4 designer Richard DrewCreatively. I’d say most of what I’ve done in the past 2 years on the whole has been some of the best stuff I’ve ever done. Ratburger the David Walliams book for Sky last Christmas was a dream job. I had total creative freedom thanks to trust from Production, Matt the Director and David himself – I was like a child in a candy shop on that one. A Ratburger machine that was part Heath Robinson and part Mousetrap board game. Recently Sick Note for Sky, Stath Lets Flats on Channel 4 , the new series of Alan Partridge due to air on the BBC in January and my current project ‘ After – Life ’ have all been immensly challenging but very rewarding. Building sets and dressing sets is the best for me. Creating something that doesn’t exist is still such a buzz. 

I’m fortunate to still enjoy the job as much as I do.

records vinyl collection

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask you about your huge vinyl collection. Where do you like to go record hunting and who are you loving listening to at the moment ?

I’ve been buying records almost as long as I can remember. Whats the Abba line ? ” Mamma said I was a dancer before I could walk, she said I began to sing long before I could talk ” well that’s me I think, I’m basically Agneta from abba.

 The collection is close to 4000 now and has no desire to stop growing… 
If designing is my love then music is my passion. I’m not someone who buys for value, I buy to complete a set or because I love a partiular track or I just like the cover. There can be a million reasons I buy but ‘ its resale value ’ isn’t one of them. Because of this, my taste is wildly eclectic.
For example last week at a charity shop in one swoop I bought a Hazel Dean hi – energy 12” , a UB40 12”, a Todd Rundgren album a Nat King Cole album and a 70’s album by a French band called Space. Magic Fly is the song you would know – trust me.
Sure I have genres I prefer – disco, dance, electronic, synthwave, soundtracks, brit funk, and indie but that doesn’t stop the Rouge Country Albums and Jazz albums creeping in or a bit of folk. Anything goes to be honest, I’m unashamedly first and foremaost a pop fan. I go to at least a dozen gigs a year, recenly Gary Numan, MGMT and Orbital so of course I’ve been out and bought some of those albums to join some dots. I’ve recenly being listening a lot of Imagination, Tiger and Woods, Roosevelt, Hall and Oates and Faithless.

Could you offer some advice to anyone wanting to get in to your industry ?

No matter what anyone tells you getting a foot in the door is all about timing. Yes you can study at some amazing courses – particular shout out to Lucy who runs the BA Hons in theatre at Wimbledon and David who runs the tv production course at the National Film School but those courses not so much arm you with the tools but put you in the right place to be noticed. Talent sometimes doesn’t come into it.

 I found out fairly recently that the criteria for me getting on my film school course ( over 1500 applicants for 14 places )  wasn’t whether I was any good but whether I was employable – I’ve often wondered what they saw in me and now I know it was simply that I was marketable.. 
So when I say timing I can only say that the last 3 incredibly brilliant Art Directors I have employed have called me just as I was looking for someone – it was only after they contacted me did I check a cv and get references – it was just down luck sometimes
Don’t be  disapointed if you send out 200 cv’s and nobody replies. Send 200 more. Do low budget jobs, do no – budget jobs – put yourself out there. The more people you meet the more opportunities you create. One day it will work in your favour.
 It happened to me – I did a low budget 2nd world war film at film school in my final year. I hired some costumes and got chatting to the Costume Assistant who got me a meeting with a Senior Costume Designer who got me an interview with the Senior Production Designer who got me a 4 month contract fresh out of Film School.

 The film school put me in the position to visit the costume store but the rest was just good timing and luck.

What are your upcoming projects for the rest of 2018 ?

The shortest answer I’m going to give.

I’m doing a big theatre stand-up show for Jimmy Carr in Dublin in September – a Netflix Special and October will always include work on the annual Halloween party for Mr Jonathan Ross. Which is where I get to flex my dark side. But in terms of scripted stuff nothing as yet. There are a few things bubbling away so for the time being I’m okay. I’ve done a small amount of lectures at Wimbledon Art College and been a mentor at the National Film School – maybe its time to get the mortar board and gown from the loft again ? It’s also a good time to do galleries and exhibitions.

 I try and make the theatre design degree show every year and also the film school degree show, I jokingly tell people I’m only there to steal ideas but I love talking to design students, you know when you’ve met a really good one.

A massive thank you to Richard Drew for such an insightful view in to his work background. Wishing him a very happy 30th year in television. 

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about behind the scenes on TV sets ? Do stop by and leave me a comment if you’d like to. Always love to hear from you.

Lucy x

All images copyright Richard Drew 2018: 1. Richard Drew, 2. Billionaire Boy, 3 & 4. Sport Relief, 5. Sick Note, 6. Billionaire Boy, 7. Walliams and Friends, 8. Stath Lets Flats, 6. Richard Drew’s vinyl collection.

Completing the room with our RBM Noor Chair

Grey white scandi office chair wooden legs

I read recently that we spend around 9 hours a day sitting down. That’s how many hours a week ? 63. Probably extra when you are at certain points in your life, like revising for School or working from home. Need to be comfortable for that, right ?

Ever since I got hold of my fabulous HÅG and RBM office chairs from Flokk a few years ago I’ve been sold on their seating brands and have kept on eye on what they are coming up with design wise. Furniture geek  – yes that’s me. Their chairs have supported my back so well with all my computer work and sewing that I really want my girls to be as comfortable for their years ahead of studying at their desks.

RBM Noor Chair Scandu White Grey Task Seating DeskRBM Noor Flokk Chair Grey White Wooden Desk

So as you might imagine, when Flokk decided that they’d like us to show you a custom made RBM Noor on the blog, I was pretty chuffed. Mae too. What a treat. With the RBM Noor it’s customisable so you have a choice of model, material and colour. We went for this grey padded seat version with wooden legs and white back to go with Mae’s teal and dove grey colour scheme. But they also produce other styles including a sledge base ( we have this in red ), other 4 leg styles or task style wheeled chairs. Oh and some very cool tables including my favourite  – The Twisted Little Star that fits together with others to form a kind of jigsaw.

Scandi Chair RBM Noor Flokk DeskRBM Seating Noor Chair Scandi Wood Legs

Flokk is a Norwegian manufacturer of several leading high quality furniture brands such as Profim, HÅG, RH, BMA, Offect, Malmstolen and of course RBM. They have their products in more than 50 countries and have been around since 1975 so they are clearly doing something very right.

All their products are made in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. As a brand they are extremely focused on being environmentally conscious so they have 5 criterias that they live by; the chairs are low in weight, very few components, responsible material sourcing, long life span and easy end of life disassembly. More and more I am choosing furniture that will last a long time so designs such as this are perfect for our home. I’m also much more in to minimal living. If it’s not either functional or something aesthetically pleasing these days then it’s gotta go.

RBM Noor Art Chair Seating Scandi Bedroom

Mae will use it for two things – doing her homework and sitting to paint at her easel  – she loves art. The back is flexible so she can move around and use the paints with ease. It is the final piece for her room and it fits right in. She knows what a lucky girl she is to have it and she would definitely recommend it.

Imagine a table full of these in a contemporary kitchen ? Ah, the dream. What kind of seating do you have in your home ?

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with Flokk. All opinions are my own.

Making a compact bedroom cosy and colourful

Blue room bedroom plates on wall guest room mid century

If you didn’t know already, we recently changed around our upstairs and decided that it would make sense to have our smallest room as the guest room. Bit of a no brainer really as it’s the least used space but deserved the same amount of love nevertheless.

The views from the window are my favourite and although it’s more compact, it’s one of the nicest areas to sit and relax. It has a really calm feeling, especially in the early evening with the sunsets.

You’d laugh if you saw how different this room was a month or so ago. But as I like to keep the blog looking smartish I think I will leave it to your imagination. Let’s just say when it was my youngest daughter’s room, it was such more ermmm ‘ lived in ‘ …

Wooden Floor Bedroom Design Home Style Blue Plates WallWooden Flooring Bedroom Cosy Oak

The floor needs to be functional and inviting plus continuity in a home ( I will be talking more about this in an upcoming post soon ) so we opted for Quick-Step Wooden flooring in the same as the other bedrooms which is Natural Oak because we have been so happy with it. It’s very low maintenance and I do just love the look of it. Also it adds some more warmth to the room and is lovely to ease on to in the mornings.

The brilliant Master Installer Mark Hughes put the floor in again this time. He is such a good bloke and does a great job each time. I heartily recommend to you in the East of England.

Mood board bedroom colour inspiration wooden flooring style library fabric trims pink blue stripesI didn’t want to overly complicate the guest room with too much going on. This mood board kind of sums up overall what I had in my mind for it. Blues, pinks, wood, gold and a little dash of rainbow.

Blue walls bedroom inspiration white colour

Adding too many strong colours can absorb the light you are working with, making it feel smaller and dark but then just plain neutrals can make it stark. So I chose a blue by Little Greene called Brighton. It’s a really friendly, bright hue and reflects the natural light really nicely.

I had been looking for the right place to put up my plates by Sally Muir and think I found it.

Blue room blinds cosy guest room Fabric textiles trim blind blue pink

I am a big fan of the fabrics from Style Library and wanted something very simple at the window so used their Zoffany Bray in Arctic White which is 100 % linen so it feels amazing, but then also added some Harlequin trim in Lapis  and Raspberry at the base to define the blind and coordinate it with the other colours in the room. Style Library represent other brands like Scion, Anthology and Morris & Co. Their ranges are vast and beautiful.

Lampshade Bright pink blue room Brighton paint

We’ve had this fuschia pink shade with gold lining for a while and I love it so thought it would work with the trim and other shades. It’s silk and I think I will always find a home for it.

Armchair striped retro multi coloured interior home

Our trusted striped armchair has moved in here too and it faces the window. I think the room needed just an extra splash of pattern and it fits neatly in the corner. What do you think ?

Plates Gallery Wall Blue Bedroom Cushions Cosy Scandi

I’m excited about family and friends staying to see whether they enjoy the room. I hope they do.

Have a good week.

Lucy x

I was gifted the fabric and flooring. All opinions are my own.

10 great places to eat along the Suffolk Coast

Places ot eat in Suffolk Food Cafes Restaurants Coast

For some reason even though I’m a foodie all be it a pescatarian one, I haven’t yet written about really good places to eat around here along the Suffolk Coast and there are many.  It’s not just colourful houses although we definitely have our fair share.

I’ve put together a little list just incase you are looking for somewhere to unwind this Summer and have a good meal if you’re in the area –  and could probably recommend plenty more if you’re looking for something specific.

Two Magpies Bakery 

If you have a sweet tooth then I would definitely suggest heading to to Southwold Highstreet and popping in to Two Magpies Bakery. Their handmade pastries are  delicious. They also make breads on the premises which can you see in progress as they have a window to the kitchen. It’s a good looking place with clean white tiled walls and on trend decor. There is always a decent queue out of the door which speaks volumes.

Pinney’s of Orford

You mustn’t let the rustic interior of this smokery restaurant think they anything less than super serious about excellent  food here. It’s a place that attracts people from far and wide. They are very much in to sustainable fishing. Luckily they have a shop too so if you want to take something home with you then in my opinion they offer the best smoked salmon pate I’ve ever tried. Orford is a pretty village too so worth a look around.

Cakes Southwold Aldeburgh Eat Places

Harris & James

I’m not joking when I say that I had the best cake I’ve ever tried in there last Autumn. It was toffee and apple. I still think about it to this day even though I don’t eat sugar now. Fairly new to Southwold and Aldeburgh ( yes there are two ), Harris & James is essentially a Gelato shop and is tucked away on East Street in Southwold and on the highstreet in Aldeburgh – both with an inviting front. Inside neon wall lights and an array of treats made in the shop. They have a selection of dreamy ice creams – well worth trying. You can sit in or take away. Savoury light meals are also on the menu too. Honestly, I think you’ll like it there. The crew that run Harris & James are really nice people.

The Bell Inn

After a spot of crabbing or a wander around the pretty village of Walberswick a nice spot of lunch at The Bell Inn pub is recommended. On sunny days you can sit outside in their large garden or inside for a cosy Suffolk beamed setting in the winter. A really busy, buzzy place so you might need to book for bigger parties. The menu suits most people and there’s lots to choose from. You can also stay upstairs which would be nice after a chilled day on the beach.

Suffolk places to eat Food Hall cafe restaurant

Suffolk Food Hall

Just under the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich. We have eaten here countless times. Birthday get togethers, Sunday meet ups and lunches with mates. The Cookhouse has the most spectacular, panoramic views of the bridge, boats and surrounding fields. You can see a little taster of it here. The meals cooked in an open kitchen and they offer seasonal menus. I tend to have their fish pie  – it’s so good.

In the huge Food Hall which is full to the brim with, vegetables, deli type foods and drinks, they also have a cafe for snacks and drinks. There’s also a gift shop and plant centre and giant air pillow for kids to jump on. A whole afternoon out really ?

Pubs suffolk uk coast pin mill

Butt and Oyster

This pub is down at Pin Mill which is not far on from Suffolk Food Hall. The setting is just beautiful overlooking the Orwell River. They do good local beers and they work herd at providing an interesting menu that really does live up to it’s reputation. In fact I had a really healthy meal there last time and came away feeling very virtuous :)

It’s set down a pretty little long lane which adds to the whole experience of finding somewhere a bit special.

Suffolk Places to Eat

The Lighthouse

In the lovely seaside town of Aldeburgh. I may have photographed this area once or twice on my instagram :) … The Lighthouse has been popular for many years. In fact, I think almost 20. The outside is impressive and instantly recognisable with it’s tall lighthouse facade. The staff are friendly and offer a diverse selection of À La Carte, traditional lunches and puddings. Definitely worth booking ahead on this one. They do a cool little lunch if you’re heading next door to the little old cinema.

Sole Bay Fish Company 

Down by the harbour in Southwold you will find one of the best fishmongers ever. Completely fresh and caught on their own boat. You can eat in at their restaurant  or take fish away with you. It’s open 7 days a week from 8 am  – 4 pm. They also own the Little Fish and Chip Shop on the high street. You can’t miss it  – its a thing of bright blue beauty. Oh… and you can also get champagne with your order.

No 51

This is an excellent place in Southwold for soups, sandwiches, family meals  – all sorts really. They are consistently good and helpful and aim to please. It’s cosy with lots of character. They have really cute window displays throughout the year  – always a very easy on the eye in their cafe.

Boden top Aldeburgh Coast Fish and Chips

Aldeburgh Fish and Chips

As a bit of a fish and chip connoisseur ( I have my uses .. ha ! ) I can’t tell you enough how good the take aways are from here. People come from all over the place to eat them. They also own the Golden Galleon chip shop so you can’t go wrong with either. The lines around the building tends to start way before they open every day. I can’t bear greasy chips and these are just perfect and chunky. We often grab some and then head down past the pretty homes to the stoney beach to eat and gaze at the sea. It’s the simple things in life sometimes isn’t it ?

I have such big respect for anyone running their own business so really want to give a big shout to these places – please do add any other places in my comments that you’ve enjoyed along the Suffolk Coast.

Lucy x

Clothing c / o Boden:

Renee Shoulder Bag, Klein Blue Neck Top, Mayfair Skinny Jeans, Ruth Sandals.

A review of the Wayfair Nora Mattress

Nora Mattress Wayfair Memory FoamIsn’t it funny how sometimes you can be thinking about something you have to get – in this case a good quality mattress that will last a long time and ensure some good deep sleep and then suddenly an email pops up from Wayfair with an opportunity to review a cooling memory foam mattress. Perfect timing.

It’s from their brand new Nora range and it’s going down a treat here. Betsey has been using it for a few weeks to properly decide what she thinks about it – although when it first arrived she was immediately impressed about the look of it –  her first really grown up mattress.

Mattress memory foam Wayfair Nora

The Nora arrived very swiftly, compressed and rolled in it’s box to enable easy access to the bedroom. No hulking a great big mattress up the stairs with at least two people needed.

Mattress review Nora

We quickly unpacked and rolled in to the bed with no fuss and after an hour or so of us all taking a turn of lying on it and pulling relaxed faces got it ready for Betsey’s first night.

Great success. She looked tiny and so sweet on such a grown up mattress and very contented.

Wayfair Mattress Nora four layers comfy cooling

It has 4 foam layers in total and a cooling cover – two gel infused 3.5″ thermo regulating layers, memory foam and support foam and it’s all encased in cool cover woven with jade gemstone. The cooling cover draws heat away from your body at night and away from the mattress.

I often wonder when I am tasked with changing the beds here at home, how they are meant to stay hygienic for the amount of time they last but in this case the Nora has a removable, washable cover and it’s hypoallergenic. It has absolutely no latex in it either.

Best of all  – you can try the Nora out for 100 nights and if it’s not for you – you can return it. Which is a pretty fair deal if you were to ask me.

Wayfair are offering an introductory price of 20% off the Nora for a limited time. A heads up for you if you’re interested.

I’ve had a few pieces from them over the years and have found their customer services really good. Their broad range of homeware makes it easy to find what I’m looking for. So all in all a positive experience.

Memory Foam Mattress Wayfair

That’s our little review of this impressive mattress. Happy with it and Betsey is looking forward to many more evenings of reading her favourite books on it and restful nights.

Our opinion is that the Nora is good value for money, supremely cosy and very well made.

Have you ever tried a memory foam mattress with cooling foam – how did you find it ? Do leave me a comment :)

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with Wayfair. All opinions as ever are my own.

My new DFS Zinc Cuddler Sofa

Pink velvet cuddler sofa cosy corner living room You may head read my post a short while ago about my trip to Salone Del Mobile in Milan with DFS where we viewed all interesting the upcoming trends. I mentioned that much of this leading inspiration hits us I’m the UK and all over the world in fact, not long after it starts there in Italy.

pink sofa cuddler dfs living room cosy love sofa

Well, it didn’t end there because DFS very kindly sent me the gift of a cuddler sofa a few weeks ago as part of my collaboration with them for my reading slash music corner. It’s a little area of the house that I have created to chill out without tv or phones. Just books and some background tunes.

which I was able to choose from their range so after lots of deliberating with so much choice ( and I mean hours ) I used the opportunity to reminisce and go for something with one of the palettes I liked the most which was a muted pink and in velvet. This is called the Zinc – it’s a collaboration between DFS and French Connection and it actually comes in various different sizes from a 4 seater right down to a footstool.

french connection dfs pink sofa cuddler comfy cosy love seat

I didn’t realise that they collaborate closely with lots of beautiful brands including Joules, G Plan and House Beautiful.

What I especially like about the Zinc Cuddler is that it’s just the right size to curl up and read but it can easily fit two grown ups although it has been hoodwinked by my two young ladies here the most so far. It gives me so much pleasure watching them reading books together.

Just like some of the pieces of furniture I talked about in that last Salone Del Mobile post, it has the wood elements and a cool retro design. The muted shade reminds me very much of some of the hues spotted there in Milan – so I think they must be ahead of the game.

pink sofa dfs zinc living room cosy velvet Pink sofa cuddler living room cosy dfs

Both myself and Stacey from The Design Sheppard who also came out to Milan (she’s lovely , check out her blog ) had a good chat with some of the DFS team about the processes behind each design, which makes now owning one of their sofas a bit more personal, knowing all the work and inspiration that has gone in to it. I feel very lucky indeed.

Mid Century Style Pink Sofa Retro Legs Wooden Living Room Cosy Cuddler DFS French Connection

I chose this colour and the velvet but it does come in lots of options. As I have mentioned on here before  – I love pink and green together so it’s a good spot with all the plants.

What do you think of the pink ? Which colour would you go for ?

Lucy x

This is a collaboration with DFS. All opinions as always are my own. 

 

Choosing the right bed for your kids room

Kids Bedroom furniture wooden day bed grey room Just recently I’ve talked about finding the right furniture for a child’s bedroom. From experience, before you know it, they’ve outgrown what you thought might see them through so it’s made me realise how essential it is to think ahead in to their near teenage years. I mean, I love a bit of DIY and altering colours but changing all the furniture can be costly and unnecessary.

A mistake that we have made and have ended up getting through several up to this point hence me really wanting to invest in their long term beds now and buy something that’ll hold it’s value as much as possible.

White Kids Day Bed Wooden Trundle Grey Room Calm Childrens Space

So, we went for the Nikki Day Bed from Cuckooland for both the girls’ rooms that allows friends to stay over with it’s trundle drawer underneath that you can pop an extra mattress in so it creates a really sociable aspect to the room as it can be used in the day as a sofa with lots of cushions and then a cosy bed at night. It also ensures lots of space as it doesn’t dominate the centre of the room. It’s wooden which was what we wanted. It’s well painted and sturdy. Pure white in colour was important so that we could make small changes over time  – white works with everything doesn’t it ? I do like it with this light grey wall.

It’s a room to hang out in. How long will we keep it tidy for ? :)

Gallery Wall Grey Room Kids Good Vibes Only Print Blue Cushions Calm Relaxing Space

You can also have some fun with the wall behind and coordinate some cushions ( these ones were made by Mae and the fabric is from Scion Fabrics at Style Library ) to make a really cosy little hub.

Teenager Beds ideas Cuckooland bedrooms
1. 4You Canopy Bed 2. Pino 3. New York Metal 4. Aurora 5. Lifetime Cool Semi Bunk

This was all perfect for our needs but I appreciate that every bedroom is different in one way or another so have chosen 5 more beds here from Cuckooland that will suit various sized and shaped spaces and of course different price points. I love with the four poster, the idea of fairy lights but you could also drape sheer fabric around it.It’s a single but comes as a double also. Classic metal beds look so good in most rooms with white cotton bedding or a bight and fun duvet cover.

With limited space like in Mae’s old room a high bed like the Lifetime one here is great as you can fit everything needed for studying during those longer high school nights.

I think all of these beds can be passed on to other family members afterwards and that’s what appeals to me.

Trundle Bed Cuckooland Wooden Bed Grey Room Inspiration Cosy calm

It took us a lot longer than planned ( and two skips later but that’s another story … ) to organise their new rooms but they are really happy with the new sleeping arrangements and we have already had the thumbs up from visiting friends.

I wish I’d had a trundle bed when I was school age – but did they even exist then or did we miss a trick ?

What are your thoughts on the new look ?

Lucy x

I received a discount when purchasing the beds. No payment other than that. As always – all opinions are my own. 

Why I Have Become Sugar Free

Boden Wrap Jumpsuit

I ummed and ahhed about writing this post because it’s not really what you might expect me to normally talk about but it’s been such a positive experience that I felt it might be beneficial to someone and in fact it has impacted my work life so yeah, I decided it’s definitely relevant.

Some time ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. You may have heard of this before  – it’s been in the press a little lately with Lady Gaga having to miss some tour dates because of the condition. It’s one of those funny old illnesses that isn’t visual so people can on occasion think it’s ‘ all in your head ‘ but let me confirm now that no – one would want the symptoms.

Sore and stiff muscles, flu like debilitating fatigue, headaches, burning mouth and tongue, mouth sores, ( hope you’re still with me … ha ), sleep issues, weight gain .. and as you would imagine these can cause someone to feel pretty low at times. I was getting to the point of panicking if I had to go out for the day as inevitably it would wipe me out for a few days afterwards – even just going out to meet friends for lunch. That said, I tried hard to keep a positive and objective outlook because who needs to go in to a downward spiral ? Not me.

It can be caused by several things but in my case it was a virus and stress and I can almost pin point the moment it ‘ struck ‘.

Boden jumpsuit wrap navy

But here ‘s where the positive part of the post kicks in. After far too long I decided to read up about these symptoms and found some interesting articles about sugar. A few people that had given it up. So I decided it was high time I tried it myself  – couldn’t hurt to give it a go ? For some it might be easy because they might not have a sweet tooth but I do .. or did.

I decided to completely give up sugar and sweeteners apart from fruits and juice.

The first four weeks of a changed diet, I’m not going to lie, were hard. I craved sugar and it was overwhelming at times. Then week six -literally all I could think about was chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. But then a few days later I felt perged of sugar. Like I literally didn’t want it anymore and the thought of it actually made me feel unwell.

Three and a half months later and several things have changed. One is that I have a lot more energy. Where as I used to lie down on the sofa regularly, I now go a full day without feeling the need to rest. This also means I have the energy for exercising and go to the gym two or three times a week. I can walk Sandy our dog and feel good at the end of it. Blogging, Home DIY and interior design here feels like it has a new lease of life and I’m full of ideas and energy to act on them so it has impacted heavily and positively in so many ways. It’s a bit like the domino effect isn’t it ?

What’s also interesting is that my skin has completely changed. It feels permanently moisturised and much clearer. Maybe that’s all the water and peppermint tea ?

The thing I have found staggering is how sugar or sweeteners are in so many things that you’d assume were purely healthy. It’s been a real wake up call. I’ve started cooking more meals from scratch which has sharpened up my culinary skills and I’m sure my family are relieved about that :)

jumpsuit navy boden wrap beach huts southwold

The general feeling of optimism has made me re – evaluate so many things and work out situations and environments that are not right for nurturing good health. So all in all it has been a great experience so far and I want to carry on to see where it takes me. I’m not out of the woods completely as I do still have some symptoms but I feel so much better that it would be crazy to go backwards and I feel I’m working towards something really worthwhile.

I’ve got much more back in to fashion. I love getting dressed up and had missed feeling good. My lovely friend and photographer Tamsyn Morgans and I spent a few hours our beloved Southwold recently by the beach huts having some fun trying out some of my new pieces from Boden.

Tamsyn was so great and easy to work with  – she’s a natural behind the camera who is working on some great projects at the moment. You must check out her website.

Maybe this post has been useful ? I guess what works for me might not necessarily for someone else but hey, you never know.

Lucy x

Clothing c/o Boden:

Wrap Jumpsuit, Kira Shoulder Bag, Ruth Sandals.

Creating a Functional Study Area with Teebooks

bookcase shelving tee books white

If you’ve had any peeks at my instagram stories recently then you’ll know that we’ve been doing up a few bedrooms. It was really important to us that we created a functional and quiet space for Mae to study now that she is getting a bit older. Well, we found the perfect desk for her but I am even more happy with her new bookcase shelves from TEE books.

Mae has always been a bit of a book worm and loves loads of different genres. before we had a bookcase that wasn’t visible so it was sometimes a case of out of sight out of mind, but now they’re up and you can’t fail to see every single title. I don’t think books should ever be hidden away.

bookcase shelves retro desk

What attracted me to TEEbooks initially were the clean minimalist lines of the shelving and how they make the books and their colours stand out so well. To be able to access them while you’re sitting at the desk or in bed is now much easier for her.

books shelves tee books

They’re super sturdy but light weigh at the same time which is pretty clever. They arrived extremely promptly from France in a compact package  – they were the first thing I wanted to sort out and put up after the desk went in. Mae loves them.

I tell you what is also fabulous – no more toe stubbing on floor bookcases and more room for everything else accumulated over the years.

tee books shelving white contemporary

We received 6 in total from TEEbooks so we put the other 2 up in another room where we needed some extra space being a smaller room. They’ve brightened up the corner no end.

bookcase shelves white room modern sleek design

You can also use them for plants  – well, I will anyway.

But TEEbooks have a vast selection of products including cd, vinyl, bathroom, kitchen, dvd shelving and some very cool wine racks. I really like their Tee light lamps too and wall wine racks. Very clever. They come in different sizes and you can buy single or multiples.

My mission is to cover my walls with them. Any excuse for more reading material and old records.

What do you think of the bookcase shelves ? Also – any recommendations for new authors ?

Lucy x

All images are my own.

I was sent these bookcase shelves by TEEbooks  – all opinions as always are my own.

Bathroom Trends at Salone Del Mobile 2018

Even though I went to Salone Del Mobile essentially to look at the upcoming sofa and chair trends with DFS. I thought it would be crazy not to share some of the bathrooms that I saw and liked. Some because of the pure colour aesthetics and others because I could see how practical they will be for homes.

When we think of bathrooms generally, we generally tend to think of white as the predominant colour. But many of these palettes couldn’t be further from that vision  – you only have to see these ceramics by Cedit In fact the contrasting walls and features seemed to take centre stage quite a bit – and why not ?

Salone Del Mobile
Olympia Ceramic

We’ve all chuckled at old  ‘avocado ‘ bathroom suites in the past but you know there were loads of not un-similar shades at Salone Del Mobile. Just with a much fresher and luxurious look. I’m saving the brightest bathroom I saw until last – you won’t be disappointed :)

Luxurious bathroom design alone del mobile
Arlex Italia

I found the accents quite interesting. Lots of circular shapes and smooth curves. Lots of gold and brass too which gives a sense of luxury and warmth. I did note plenty of black units which is big at the moment here in the UK already.

black bathroom colourful bathroom accents
Brem.

These radiatiors made me abnormally happy. Honestly, you know you’ve really grown up when a good looking heating device does it for you. But how cool are they ? Such a great way to add some fun and extra style to your bathroom. I’d love to see if they will take off over here in England. I hope so.

Stylish bathroom Salone Del Mobile
Ex – T & Scavolini

Of course there were more neutral and muted tones with a more classic design but they were really beautiful and inviting. Spaces to switch off and relax. I do love a leg on a bath especially when it’s gold.

bathroom trends 2018
Scarabeo

I think if my daughters had been with me these sinks would’ve won the day hands down. They sure caught my eye. Ceramic Buckets. Absolutely perfect for a kids ensuite or just for fun. Who doesn’t need more fun ?

Bathroom inspiration
Scavoloni

This design really stuck out for me not only because it’s very good looking but also for it’s practicality. It’s space saving and could you could pretty much add all you need on the racks and even a few succulents. I can really see this in bathrooms across the country. I just love it.

colourful bathroom
TDA

As promised, I saved the boldest until last. I showed it to my sister and she adores it. Of course, it’s not for the faint hearted but it could be muted or just used in accessories. If you want something to wake you up in the mornings then maybe this is it ?

Do you have a favourite here ? I think mine is the the second from bottom but I like elements of all of them.

Leave me a comment if you’d like to. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Lucy x

Once again – thank you DFS for taking me to Milan and for all the inspiration :)

All images are my own.