30 Cool Christmas Homeware Gift Ideas.

christmas gifts on a budget ideas inspiration colourful fun and quirky
  1. Bowie Illustration – Karina Mansfield 2. Sloth Planter – Sass and Belle 3. Tea Towel – Bluebellgray 4. Reusuable Bag – Kin Home 5. Leopard Frame – Doing Goods 6. Flamingo Plate – Trouva 7. House Plants Book – Urban Outfitters 8. Elephant Key Hanger – Trouva 9. Leopard Mug – Roos Beach 10. Large Matches – Osmology

Every year I tend to do one of these posts as I know what a minefield it can be coming up with cool Homeware Christmas ideas gifts in December, what with everything else going on. So this time I have written one with 30 ideas and three different budgets in mind so hopefully something to suit everyone.

Is it just me or does the festive period come round more quickly each time ? Even if this selection isn’t quite right for you, maybe you will find something that’s right at these stores.

I find online shopping a bit easier as it gets so busy out there, although there are some small independent shops that I try and always support as we all know what a difference it can make. There are some online here, and also I’ve added some great eco –  focused places.

So to start with, we have £20 and under items.

I’ve wanted to write about Karina Mansfield for a while because she creates amazing illustrations that are really affordable like this Bowie one, or if you want something bespoke she does that too. We have one with my girls and I in Southwold and it’s really lovely. So I recommend her.

It wasn’t intentional to put in so many animal themed things but there were just so many unique things to choose from.

The sloth is very sweet and extremely reasonable from Sass and Belle.

We also have the House Plants book and it’s a great little read or coffee table number.

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christmas gifts on a budget ideas inspiration
1. Basket Storage – The Basket Room 2. Pineapple Door Knocker – Bombay Duck 3. Brexit Egg Cups – V & A 4. Serving Set – Anthropologie 5. Rock on Candle – Audenza 6. Leaf Vase – Amara 7. Tool Box – Heals 8. Mirrors  – Bohemia Design 9. Dog Wash  – Aesop 10. Cushion – Anthropologie

Next are the £50 and under ideas. There’s a lot of choice so good to have narrowed it down a little. I’ve definitely written about The Basket Room before and happy to again as their ranges get bigger and I love a bit of Sisal. Such great colours. You must check them out.

The pineapple door knocker is divine. If we needed one, I’d have ordered a present to myself. Bombay Duck have been around for years and are definitely here to stay.

Those egg cups made me smile. Probably the first and last time Brexit will feature on my blog. The V & A gift shop is one of my favourite places to visit. They have great taste and it’s always full of inspiring things from their exhibitions.

If you want to really treat the pet in your life then Aesop do a lovely wash. For the pooch who has everything …

luxury christmas gifts ideas and inspiration colourful fun
  1. Candle – Matthew Williamson 2. Suitcase – Liberty London 3. Silver Vases – Nkuku 4. Pink Jug – Tate 5. Glass Birds – Pols Potten 6. Neon Sign – Oliver Bonas 7. Sisal Floor Mat – The Basket Room 8. Antiqued Brass Dice – Conran Store 9. Work Hard Framed Print – Oliver Bonas 10. Cactus Lamp  – Trouva

I had some fun finding these. Mainly because I wouldn’t normally spend this amount on myself but when looking for other people, you can go to town a bit.

As you may know I ran a Matthew Williamson Home Fragrance giveaway last week to win one of his amazing candles. I’ve added here a different size and scent. we are still really enjoying the aroma in our kitchen. It gets nicer and nicer. This Winter Oud version would make a very special treat.

Liberty London make these little suitcases. So distinctive as always and a real keepsake – also the glass birds from Pols Potten are very unique. The colours are very pretty.

Oliver Bonas make some excellent Neon lamps, this one especially stood out as I used to work in a TV studio and the ‘ On Air ‘ words are very familiar. Maybe I am just making this selection to please myself really ?

If you like anything you see then you can click on the links below the images. Just so you know, I don’t make any commission at all. I’ve purely made this post up because I adore Christmas ! We just do Secret Santa here for adults these days so we try and make sure that the one thing we choose for someone is personal and an item that they will utilise.

Hope this has all been useful ? What are you up to over the festive period ?

Oh and by the way … If you’d like to receive my post updates or fortnightly emails with giveaways and tutorials then you can do either by signing up on the right hand side of my this post. You can also follow me on instagram here.

WIN: Matthew Williamson Midnight Jungle Candle

matthew williamson midnight jungle candle giveaway on blog tropical scent
Disclosure: Candle gifted to me by Matthew Williamson Home Frangrance.

Think it might be okay to mention that Christmas is creeping up on us, especially as I have something really rather special to offer as a giveaway. A large 600g and beautifully scented Luxury Matthew Williamson Midnight Jungle Candle worth £140.

Maybe it would be an early gift for yourself – we all deserve a treat at this time of year do we not ? Or something you would love to win for someone.

As a big fan of iconic world renowned British Designer Matthew Williamson and his use of Kaleidoscopic colourI feel really lucky to have received a candle for myself to try out. He is way up there when it comes to his signature prints and vibrant textiles. Matthew has poured together these elements to create his own collection of home fragrances which I can confirm are stunning. Not only to fragrance your room but also aesthetically too.

Being pretty picky about aromas, loving especially quite earthy and rich tones – this does not disappoint. In fact this is how Midnight Jungle is described by Matthew: Exotic, dense jungle terrain inspires the scent of blackcurrant, fig leaves and gardenia. A mysterious mix of natural honey, patchouli and cedar wood evoke the undergrowth of a midnight jungle.

I’d say it is exactly how it has been described.

Matthew says of his home fragrance designs: “As well as creating unique scents that I personally love, I wanted the candles to be objects of beauty and reflect all of the design elements which I have become known.” 

Each of the candles from the luxury range come beautifully presented in boxes and are hand finished in Matthew’s London studio. The great thing about these is that when you’ve burnt the candle completely, you can then keep the ceramic jar as a keepsake. I will be using mine to store some of my interior design tools in, on my desk but they’d look good as a vase too.

Matthew Williamson Candle Midnight Jungle Parrot Colourful Print Designer Styling

So you can see both sides, I’ve taken a picture of the parrot on the reverse.

The other four signature scents in the range are as follows …

Jaipur Jewelaipur Jewel captures the essence of India’s bustling and vibrant pink city. A heady mix of incense, spices and woody notes combine with natural accents of juniper and cinnamon.

Summer Siesta  – Inspired by coastal and Mediterranean towns and villages. Summer Siesta is a refreshingly crisp and uplifting scent with notes of mandarin, lemon and tuberose.

English GardenTraditional cottage gardens and meadows provide inspiration for this floral and fruit based scent with accents of Ceylon tea, orange blossom and rose evoking the unique charm of an English garden.

Palm SpringsFragrant white roses and delicate jasmine flowers form the heart of the Palm Springs scent. Vanilla, leather and musk add depth whilst ozonic top notes evoke a fresh summer breeze.

Midnight Jungle Matthew Williamson Candle Leopard Tropical Patchouli

Thought I’d also mention that there are also 200g candles in glass jars finished with his pineapple and peacock motif and room diffusers with bottles and grey reeds. They are quite timeless in style and all with a really luxurious feel.

Each fragrance has been refined with natural materials from all over the world – from jasmine flowers and tuberose sourced from Grasse in France to spices in Indonesia.

Now that I’ve photographed my own candle to show you, I can use it – thank goodness ! We are having a Birthday celebration here this weekend and I cannot wait to fill the room with this gorgeous scent for everyone.

So, if you’d like to enter this giveaway, I’m using Rafflecopter as it’s a nice and easy way to do it. The winner will randomly be picked once the giveaway ends on the 3rd December. I’ve added some terms and conditions below. This is a UK only giveaway.

Wishing you good luck. Hope you win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
You must follow instructions on Rafflecopter correctly to enter. The winner’s entries will be checked and verified.
This giveaway is UK based only.
Postage and Packaging supplied and will be sent out on behalf of Matthew Williamson Home Fragrance.
No alternative prize or cash offered.
Entrants must be 18 or over.
A winner will be picked randomly and contacted soon after the giveaway ends. If I do not receive a response within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.

How to choose the right radiator for your home

Vintager Style radiator classic panel in white
Disclosure: These radiators were gifted to me by Soak.com in return for this post. 

When we were recently thinking about heating for the kitchen, I realised there’s more to it than just liking a certain style or colour of radiator. So am writing this post on how to choose the right one for your home.

It seems like a good time to do this too, what with the darker evenings and mornings being longer and a lot of us wanting to keep cosy and warm as much as we can.

Our radiators are from Soak.com and are from their Traditional Colesseum range.

Panels.

I found a BTU (British Thermal Units) calculator on Soak’s website and it was invaluable in working just how much output would be needed. You add in the dimensions, the room type and windows plus whether they are single or double glazed, then it pretty much does the work for you. Having said this, it doesn’t hurt to speak to your plumber to gage some extra advice if you’re still not sure. You’ll need more panels if the room is larger and with more windows. As for this kitchen – it naturally will be heated by the cooker and oven so I decided that two panels would be sufficient on each one. If it were the living room or something like a conservatory or bathroom you might want to go higher. It does have to be just right for you and worth giving some thought.

radiator classic vintage whiteclassic vintage style radiator in white advice on heating and roomsvintage classic old style white radiator in kitchen advice iideas

Vertical or Horizontal ?

If you’re looking to put a radiator in to a small space. Maybe there’s limited room because of doors and windows, it’s much more cost effective to buy a vertical radiator ( tall ) than start moving doors etc – and as they’re so good looking these days it works as a feature. There are varying sizes to fit many spaces and also colours. They take up very little space so you can heat your room just as efficiently.

Ours are horizontal in shape as we had areas that they would fit perfectly in. We went for low in size so they could fit under the window and allow us to put wall mounted book shelves above. Then the small radiator near the utility room which couldn’t have fitted better which is classed as horizontal.

Classic vintage style radiator in white grey floor blue kitchen

Traditional or contemporary and which colour ?

So many choices these days. So where do you start ? Homes on the whole seem a little more eclectic in style so mixing a traditional looking radiator with a more modern home works wonders. Or contemporary in an old home too. It’s very much personal taste. The contemporary radiators at Soak, to me, are like a blend of old and new with flat or rounded panels but with a play on classic. You can see them here.

For a bathroom you might instead opt for a heated towel ladder especially if short on space. I love Soak’s copper ones which would be really effective against a dark wall.

As for colours, there are options these days as opposed to just your standard white. So, this saves painting them, which is possibly the past thing you will feel like doing with a brand new radiator. Over at Soak there are greys, whites, sage green and then chrome and mirrored.

Vintage style radiator classic white style

Floor standing or wall mounted ? 

This can depend on whether you are starting from scratch as the amount of work fitting these varies and it’s best to put the radiators in before tiling and other forms are flooring are put in. Wall mounted is where (usually) the radiator is attached to the wall with brackets where as floor standing; they have feet. Both normally have pipes that go in the ground but in flats you may find they go in to the wall instead.

One more thing to not forget is the kits such as brackets, valves, legs etc. Some come with them and other need to be ordered separately. So good to check this first. You need to also decide if you want angled or straight valves which as you’d expect from the name, go straight up from the floor.

classic white radiator vintage style white walls blue kitchen ideas advice on heating

Hope you’ve found this useful. I know there are certain things here that I have learned recently so might be of some use.

Which style would you ideally go for?

Do leave me a comment under this post if you have any questions or comments – as always great to hear from you.

Five Ideas for Finding the Ideal Dining Table Rug

Kitchen Table Rug to add Style and Texture under table

Like everything else in a kitchen or dining room, when you are refurbishing or changing things up a bit, it takes time to find the ideal furnishings and that includes a rug if you are considering adding one, maybe under the table.

It took me absolutely ages to be honest to find the right style, colour and fit so thought it would definitely be a good idea to write a post in case anyone’s ever in the same boat.

I knew I wanted something with a Moroccan or Turkish kind of vibe and it needed some reds and warner tones to balance with the blue units. Also, I had a favourite company in mind who I have worked with before and both Andy and I really champion their rugs. But, would this vision in my head all come together in reality ?

kitchen rug table louis de poortere

Oh, yeah ! It certainly wasn’t the last thing to choose on my mind when it came to the kitchen, but because I hadn’t chosen a table it had to wait to make sure it fitted etc.

rug moriccan style louis de porter kitchen table

You may remember some time ago, I wrote about Finding the Ideal Rug which included our Jacob’s Creak rug from Louis De Poortere’s Mad Men range. Well, I found another beauty on their website amongst their Antiquarian Ushak Collection  could not have worked better and leads me to my first tip which is:

Continuity.

I’m always going on about creating a cohesive environment but only because I really recommend it. In our home you can see the kitchen from the living room and vice versa. So, very much I’d recommend thinking of the flow of throughout your rooms to keep it all easy on the eyes aesthetically . With these two rugs they have a similar style being flat-woven and a subtle and vintage looking pattern which I think Louis De Poortere do so brilliantly. So, from one room to the next it gives a sense of continuity.

Vintage Style Rug by Louis De Poortere for Under Kitchen Table to add Style and Texture with Painted Grey Chair

Flatweave or Pile ?

Well, I’d say this depends on several things. But a fluffy rug is a no no really. Not only because food can be dropped and lost ( unless you have a dog that hoovers anything and everything ) but pulling chairs back and forth could potentially cause some trip ups which you won’t.. A flatweave will be nice and much more low maintenance.

Also if you can get one with an anti slip backing like this rug then that’s good otherewise you might need to add that on yourself.

Shape and Size.

The rug will need to be substantially bigger than the table because bearing in mind the chairs or stools too plus you want ideally for them to still be sitting on it comfortably when pulled out. So aim for around 60 cm longer and wider each side, than the table set.

The shape of the rug tends to work best when you emulate the room. So rectangular = rectangular and so on. This isn’t something set in stone so you can play around with it but I’ve found it suits me.

Rug Louis De Poortere Colours Inspiration Dining Room Table

Colour.

You might have bought the rug first in which case it will be your inspiration for the rest of your colour palette, but if the other way around, then pick out a strong colour in the rug, even if it’s a small amount,  that will match your chosen main hue. You can see here there are elements of teal that match the cabinet.

Equally as I was saying earlier, I also required some more autumnal tones so this rug was just right in every way.

Obviously, something that can disguise the odd mark is essential. A light shade won’t stand the test of time like a darker or patterned one.

Moroccan Vintage Style Rug by Louis De Poortere

Material.

An easy clean rug is obviously the best option but it depends on who is using the dining area and how often. If there will be young children using the area and potentially throwing their spag bol around or you have pets frequenting then it’s definitely your best option. However, if this isn’t an issue then you have a bit more scope.

Morrican Rug for kitchen Table with Teal and Reds vintage style under table

With our Louis De Poortere rug, I hoover it regularly and they recommend ‘ James Water ‘ if it ever needs a slightly deeper clean.

Hope you like our new rug too ? The name Ushak derives from the Turkish tribe of the same name who used their designs in mosques and churches generally. Louis De Poortere have gone for a similar faded look which I love.

If you’d like to check out their huge collection of great rugs then you can find them here.

This is a collaboration with Louis De Poortere. As always all opinions are my own.

Our new Polaris Mistral Worktops from Karonia Surfaces

Mistral white kitchen worktops island blue kitchen

Firstly, I want to say thanks so much to everyone who has paid a lovely compliment about our new kitchen. Really appreciate it. Today, I want to show you our Mistral tops from Karonia Surfaces that were such an important factor in the overall design and I will talk through the process and why we chose this.

Since we moved in to our home nearly ten years ago, I’d always found the old worktops hadn’t lifted the room, if you know what I mean ? They were black which for a room that didn’t at the time allow in much natural light was a bit of a shame. But, that’s all in the past now. Because we have our new Mistral Surfaces and they have made all the difference.

We also have the mistral on the new island too. Honestly, I feel like Mary Berry swanning around because there’s so much more space and inclination to spend time making interesting meals. The pasta maker has made an appearance and I have even offered up our place for Christmas Dinner this year. I’m feeling that confident.

If you saw the original plan I made then you’ll see the dimensions which worked out well.

Karonia Surfaces White Polaris worktops in blue kitchen

I think I first became of Karonia Surfaces quite some time ago as I’d seen their worktops in magazines and of course on good ol’ insta. I was looking for something new and sharp looking for the kitchen which would brighten it and also be non porous as I wanted something low maintenance and good quality. Not asking much right ? :) But their Mistral ticked all these boxes. Any spillages can be wiped clean easily.

I was pretty set on something uncomplicated and with a teeny tiny bit of sparkle. So Polaris was perfect as it has that plus very subtle small clear chips within the resin. Also because the island needed jointing to create the size we wanted,  it would blend together brilliantly and actually now in situ, you cannot even see where the join is. It’s seamless.

What’s also pretty cool is that it can be sanded too so any scuffs over the years can be removed. It’s made of a very strong acrylic resin that is has a high level of heat and chemical resistance too so it was a bit of a no brainer all round.

mistral worktops karonia surfaces white smart non porous

So, where did I start with choosing the right surface and look when there are lots of options ? Well, firstly I spoke with the lovely guys at Karonia and they recommended me a local company called Woollards of Mildenhall – they’ve been absolutely first class in helping along the way.

Ian Woolard came over and measured up and bought with him the entire range of Mistral to look through. Karonia and Ian worked together and kept each other up to speed at all times which was amazing. Made my life so much easier with all the other things to consider.

karonia surfaces white mistral polaris drainer gold sink

The edging around the sink was created to have a slight overhang. Within the design, We also moved the drainer to the other side of the sink so it would be above the dishwasher and during the preparation process for this, the Mistral was sloped to enable efficient drainage.  The good thing about using this Mistral is that it is very easy for a fitter to custom shape and angle to your specifications, often even on site, so quick to install. I’ve found the overall finished look gives a nice bespoke feel.

Karona Surfaces Mistral white smart clean look in kitchenKitchen hob blue kitchen mistral surface

The Mistral has also been used for splash backs and covers the whole of the black of the hob. So it can be wiped easily. I find that because it’s smooth and white, it’s much easier to see and keep clean.

Andy our fitter asked us what kind of edging we would like – which was a slightly rounded finish including the splash backs, which he produced swiftly. I’m always blown away by how effortless good fitters make their work look.

Polaris White Kitchen WorktopsKaronia Surface Mistral Polaris White

I’d been so looking forward to having the surfaces put in and was not disappointed at all. It’s made the room so much lighter. It made me realise just how much the space needed it. It feels nice to proudly show you my kitchen now after hiding it away for so many years.

Mistral white polaris worktop blue kitchen Karonia Mistral white worktops kitchen clean today look

Although we chose Polaris, Mistral comes in many different styles and colours. Some more like ours right through to something suitable for a more dramatic scheme. It is also used in bathrooms so not just a kitchen option.

I highly recommend Karonia Surfaces. They know their onions when it comes to Mistral. They also have a store with everything you need for installing and maintaining your worktops.

I can’t sing the praises of Woollards of Mildenhall highly enough  – they are the Premier Expert Fabricators and Fitters of Mistral in East Anglia. I’m really grateful for the introduction from Karonia. It’s important to feel looked after when making big home improvement decisions and it was a good experience from start to finish.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Do leave me a comment with any questions or just to say hi. Always good to hear from you.

The Surfaces were gifted to me. As always all opinions are my own.