“I’ve had a few in my time.” said the Lady to the Bishop. Sorry I couldn’t resist that comment :-) but let’s be serious I’m talking about coffee tables. As a young girl out of college my first was a very scratched glass and chrome hand me down and the most expensive coffee table I have ever owned was a hand made wooden one topped with glass that was the worst ever to clean as the work was so intricate, I had to use a hairdryer to get to the really tricky bits! Currently I am using the girls’ little table and chairs to rest my mug of tea on of an evening whilst feasting my eyes on Luther (isn’t he gorgeous?)

Yes, I can see you’re not impressed and in fact neither am I but needs must and all that. You see, the last coffee table we had was a sturdy wooden base, a shelf underneath for all my magazines, heavy books and the TV guide and a glass top but the girls soon learnt to pull themselves up on it and when we caught them standing on it, grinning from ear to ear at their prowess we knew it had to go. Reluctant to part with it I dawdled with taking photos in order to sell it or pass it on and it wasn’t until the girls started bashing the glass top with metal cars that I quickly made my mind up and our coffee table was banished from the lounge never to return.

I enjoyed all that extra space and so did the twins, finding all this new found running area but two issues arose the first, where to put my magazines, books and the TV guide? And secondly when the girls were in bed and fast asleep where to put my mug of tea? The floor wasn’t a satisfactory solution as I’m always worried about spillage, knocking it over and so the children’s craft table was moved into place and became our coffee table, sigh… such a sad story.

As the little ladies are growing and becoming more spacially aware I have found myself once again longing for a ‘proper’ one and that’s why this coffee table link caught my eye. I mean the price range is vast and although I normally am attracted to an article at the very top of the price range which I can’t afford there are plenty of other examples that are just as nice for me to gradually come down to. Also I have found myself umming and arring about which style? Should I go for a nest? Very handy when you have people round, or a console which looks so chic against a wall. Oak? Bent glass and stainless steel? Walnut, sheesham? The list is endless which can only mean that this is a serious business and I must dedicate time and thought to it.

Which would you go for?

A long long time ago Rebecca tagged me in I’m a Nosey Blogger and it has taken me until NOW to finally be able to produce a vlog where I show you around my English castle, (sorry Rebecca!) I have had a short break to Cornwall, two family birthdays and a massive catch up to do, plus the fact preparing a video does take time and I had to make sure the whole house was clean – never an easy feat!

For those who don’t know, we moved in at the end of last June; this particular house wasn’t our first choice as it had so much internal decorating to do, some of it has been started but the bigger projects require LOTS of money and therefore I am making do whilst I hope to win the lottery. I wrote a post way back on how our front room looked when we saw the place and you can also the bathroom in it’s previous state too so enjoy a stroll around chez moi!

So as the rules state I must tag 5 people to do the same and I shall go with Mummy’s Little Monkey, Over The Hill Mum, A Scandinavian Sojourn, Frankie Parker and Young and Younger who is currently moving home so we’ll wait to see her home when she has a bit of time – good luck with your move Heather! Head over to Two Became Four for rules and info

When we moved in last June every window in our new house had net curtains at it and curtains that seemed to come straight out of an old people’s home so one of our first tasks was to rip out the nets and now room by room we’re looking to dress each window beautifully. So I jumped at the opportunity to look at the blindson the Tuiss.co.uk website. I was immediately impressed with their enormous collection of beautiful blinds and their equally beautiful website that is so user friendly.

Tuiss pride themselves in using the very finest materials and the latest styles allowing them to offer affordable luxury. They have an extensive range making Roman, Roller, Wooden, Venetian, Blackout, Energy Saving and Vertical blinds and an enormous selection of beautiful fabrics to choose from. Blinds are the perfect opportunity to add your own stamp to a room and with such a choice of style and colour you can create the perfect environment in every room. The Roman blinds in my lounge fit snugly in the frame adding a splash of colour which dresses the window uniquely and doesn’t block out the light.

I am currently looking at investing in someblackout blinds for the bedrooms as we’ve already noticed that with the lighter mornings our girls are waking up far too early! Of course it’s not only the light that’s kept out but they’re perfect to keep out the heat on a hot sunny day, by pulling down your blackout blinds you’ll ensure the room stays cool and comfortable. Tuiss even make Energy Saving blinds! Their NRG roller blinds not only reduce heat loss but keep your heating bills down and reduce your carbon footprint. I have chosen a waterproof PVC blind for our new bathroom which acts as a shower curtain too and now I’m on the lookout for a brightly coloured roller blind for our kitchen to add some cheer to our mornings.

Each blind is custom made in the Tuiss workshop and extra attention has been paid to the finer smaller details. For example their exclusive aluminium toggles have been bespoke designed to be the perfect size and weight. The fabric roller designs feature smooth operating metal chains, like jewellery and the fully lined Roman blinds are sewn and not glued. Each single product sold by Tuiss has been made with care with particular attention to the finer detail.

Simple, easy to follow instructions are set out in the Handy Dandyguide all you have to choose is if you want your blinds hanging in the recess or outside of the window frame. If you’re still not sure their outstanding customer services are at the end of a phone and are more than willing to help out and guide you through the process. If you’re not quite sure on your choice you can order up to 10 free fabric samples and once your order has been taken Tuiss aim to deliver between 5 – 14 days. They also guarantee the blinds for a year with a manufacturers warranty.

Of course if you’re like me and find it hard to decide then have a look at the Tuiss blog which will keep you updated on all the latest ideas too.

The worst thing about moving into a house that needs a lot of TLC is having to live in the 1970’s decorated rooms until you have the time and money to do them as you see fit. The best thing about moving into a house that needs a complete makeover is the research! We moved in at the end of last June and so far we have redecorated the lounge and renovated the upstairs bathroom. Our next project is the girls room and then we must tackle the difficult and complicated kitchen cum utility room cum downstairs wet room, a major headache!

I have always loved interior design, looking in mags and online for ideas and of course my time in Italy was a brilliant background for picking up on design elements. The Italians aren’t just clothes, their love for beautiful things spills over into every element of their lives and a big area of that is interior design.

There are many fabulous Italian interior designers who have created masterpieces that have gone on to be reproduced by the mass market, an example the Bombo Bar Stool by Stefano Giovannoni. In fact there’s something clean cut, contemporary and ultimately stylish about Italian design and the company Areaz has certainly picked up on that. For example, if you are planning an open, non cluttered environment and your choice of materials are aged wood, sparkling crystal and unique metals then Antonello would suit perfectly offering a range of tables, chairs and bookcases with a simplicity that is absolutely stunning.

If it’s a diverse and imaginative solution to your household storage and functional furniture, then Magis should be your first stop off on your search. Over 25 years of offering buyers creative options to common household items has led to a dedicated workforce that to this day produce items of exemplary standard. Be it a watering can with a difference or a child’s chair to fit your colour scheme, Magis can offer.

As every designer worth their salt will tell you, lighting is of the utmost importance in creating atmosphere, making people feel welcome and at ease in your home and the obvious function of adding light to a room. Flos, based in Merano, a beautiful city in the north of Italy, since 1962 produce iconic and provocative designs that surpass utility and breach aesthetic ground. Their dedication to research into innovative materials and technology makes them produce progressive and radical lighting products.

So if like me you want to create a beautiful home and include some pieces of stunning simplicity and beauty then keep your eye on these top designers. If you can’t afford their price tag then watch out in other stores for similar products that are more within your budget and be happy in the knowledge that you too are on trend.

Well the nicest thing happened to me just before the New Year and it was similar to other people I follow in the blogosphere. I was contacted by a Very Nice Person from Appliances Online who had seen I a comment I had left on Nickie’s blog, I am Typecast, the day she received a jar of Nostalgia – retro sweets from them. Part jealousy on my part at her stash of Refreshers, Black Jacks, Cola Cubes and the like which took me back to the 10p tuck shop days. Do you remember them? Clutching your 10p in a sweaty little hand and staring for ages at the bounty of sweets  laid out in front of you. mmmm

Well Nickie did mention, leave a comment below and maybe you too will recieve a surprise some day. So I did. I didn’t think anything of it, I mean the blogosphere can be a fickle place, lots of promises and no follow through but what the heck, give it a go. So you can imagine my surprise when I found an email in my inbox offering me three books on how to improve writing skills, even going as far as to say if I wasn’t happy with the choice made on my behalf I could accept Amazon vouchers and choose my own!

‘Go on! Your having me on.’

I re-read the mail and decided that Ben could only have known I was interested in writing and was giving it a go IF he had visited my blog and traipsed through quite a few posts. Think of the time? Think of the patience of the poor man! Think of the headache that must have followed!

Here is a picture of the books chosen for me and very gratefully accepted I hasten to add. Stephen King, International Bestseller of zillions of books so should know what he’s talking about. In fact he was run over by a car in June 1999 and it took 6 operations to save his life and mend his body. Once able to sit up he started to write On Writing so I am sure it will hold many gems of knowledge. Bird by Bird, written by Anne Lamott and Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg which I look forward to discovering when I have the time :)

You know this game of pass the parcel started a while back when Ian Newbold got a washing machine from Appliances Online. I also noticed Jen at The Madhouse got a brand new fridge sent through and Josie at Sleep is for the Weak got an oven! Well I suppose it’s never too late to mention that I need a brand new kitchen, is it? No of course, that would be rude and ungrateful …

So guys? Fancy trying your luck at this pass the parcel, Jen got a fabulous coffee set over at The King and Eye, leave a comment below and if you do get contacted please link back to me as I’d love to see what you got. What are you waiting for? Comment and retweet, retwit, retwoo

PS and just in case you’re wondering where the bird comes from on the shelf well that’s my own picked up in beautiful Puglia, Italy in a town called Alberobello, you really must check it out…