A peek at Farrow + Ball's new countryside wallpaper collection + the one I've chosen

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

You've probably noticed if you're wandering through the Fifi McGee archives that one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend is on a country walk

Those walks often inspire colour choices I go for in my outfits (autumnal shades of oranges, reds and browns) and interior plans (mustard cushions, fur textures and wild flower arrangements.)

Farrow & Ball, a company every period home owner should - and do - know about for their quality paint and wallpaper, recently launched a wallpaper collection back in September and I am head over heels for it. They too are inspired by their very surroundings.

A country walk ››

The prints in their new collection were born from countryside scenes, hazy grasses and endless hedgerows in Dorset, the home of Farrow & Ball, the very place they craft and manufacture each sheet of wallpaper one by one. 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

Neil grew up playing as a kiddy in those very Wimborne fields, so the inspiration for the prints feel very close to us. Above (left to right) is Blostma, Hornbeam, and Feather Grass available in various other colour stories.

We've been looking for a fresh new look in our living room that's a little less "the previous owner" and a little more us, since the day we moved in. I always loved the Eating Room Red Farrow & Ball paint inside our alcoves (as seen) but felt like the colour story didn't quite match the Farrow & Ball Bone seen on the skirting boards (which run all throughout our flat). 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

In need of colours and textures in line with our personalities, Farrow & Ball's Hornbeam wallpaper seemed a really obvious choice for us with the connection between Dorset, and the inspiration we get from country walks. 

I saw the Hornbeam BP 5004 colour variation, took one look at it and said, "that's it". 

Something I've never ever done before. It's previously taken me days if not weeks of wallpaper samples to choose. 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

As you'll see from the photographs I'm sharing, I've incorporated our love for country walks in wellies, picnics and tartan blankets - a regular scene on our weekends. Choosing wallpaper prints that have a story behind it, and represents the places we love is really important to us. Bringing in prints, textures and looks that represent your personality, upbringing or memories is the only way you'll ever make a house a home. 

Now, I just can't wait to start putting it all up on the wall and show you the finished result. 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

A little back story behind this post...

Farrow & Ball challenged me and fellow interior bloggers to create a country style vignette of our favourite past time, with one of their new wallpapers as a beautiful backdrop. This was my take on it :)
All of our creations will be shared on the Farrow & Ball pinterest really soon, where Charlotte Cosby, Farrow & Ball's Head of Creative will judge the best. One blogger will be picked by Charlotte to visit the Farrow & Ball factory in Dorset and see the process of everything being made, as well as visit some places that inspired the collection. I'm keeping everything crossed so I can take you with me for the ride <3

Mindful colouring + face packs = the ultimate day of relaxation

It's been a pretty full speed couple of months folks. I've been the busiest I've ever been at work, I've had our bedroom redecoration to organise, I painted my nan's bathroom and my mom's kitchen, and I've started to map out plans for our garden makeover (happening in Summer 2016) - all fun stuff, but when Ocean loans got in touch with me to be a part of their "Relax with Ocean" series, I jumped at the chance to be involved and take my mind off everything for a day. 

The premise was simple. Ocean loans' ethos is all about making people's lives easier and to reflect this they gave a handful of bloggers £50 to spend on a day of relaxation for themselves. Nice idea, right?

It got me really thinking about what it is that makes me unwind, which led me to consider what it was I've been wanting to do for ages, but simply couldn't find the time. 

Since secondary school I was always pretty good at drawing and painting. I took Art in A-levels and wanted to do an Art foundation until I decided English Language was a better route for me (writing + painting were my passions when I left college, so I had to choose one or the other). But since I started uni, I never had much of a reason to draw or be creative on canvas/paper - my creativity was only ever a digital thing. I've since lost a lot of the drawing talents I used to have and I've always hoped that one day I'll pick it all back up again where we left off. 

I remember really loving the feeling of producing something tangible and creative on something that was once a blank piece of paper. Drawing and painting was always really therapeutic for me so I knew that whatever way I chose to spend this day of relaxation, it had to involve something creative. 

There's a sorta movement running through bookshops - you've probably noticed. Now that mindfulness is a legit thing everyone is practicing, there are a few incredible illustrators on the block that have started publishing adult colouring books to help people connect with their inner selves. It's a really mindful and creative practice, so I thought why not use the £50 to invest in some top notch colouring books and tools that I can dip into whenever I want to relax. 

A few you should check out if interested:

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom (as photographed) - a really lovely display of animals, insects and habitats to colour. 

Anastasia Catris' Colour me Mindful - she has a very similar style to Millie's, with displays of underwater scenes, birds and tropics.

I used a pack of WHSmith's Watercolour pencil crayons, that have good pigment without leaking through to the next page. 

So I spent the morning chilling back, just me, my colouring pencils and some Orange Lindor Milk Chocolates, feeling like I was 5 again. 

As if by pure coincidence, the very same day I did this relaxation thing with Ocean Loans, I received a really special package in the post. Cue the squeals as I closed the door on the postman. He must have thought I was a 5 year old left in the house all alone.

My very first Birchbox had arrived. What I thought was going to be a creative sesh, turned into a mash up of creative / pampering / face mask sessions to the extreme. 

Selfridges recently teamed up with Birchbox to launch a "Build your own Birchbox" in their Beauty Workshop part of the store in London to celebrate their 5th birthday. The idea is, you rock up to the Beauty Workshop counter in their London store, choose 5 to 6 products you want to try and take it home for about £15. 

Of course being Brighton based and rarely in London, I wanted in on this action minus the trek, so Selfridges offer a similar limited edition Birchbox box you can purchase directly from their website, pre-filled with lots of fab goodies (including a lippy in shade Fiona - jesus christ it had to be).

So I spent the majority of the day pampering myself silly whilst being mindfulness to the absolute extreme stuffing my face with chocolate. As you can imagine, all the cares of the world slipped to the sidelines, and I felt pumped with ideas on my walk to work the next day. Sometimes detaching yourself from everything you're doing is the simplest way to get your mojo back. 

Big thanks to Ocean Loans for collaborating with me on this piece. How would you spend £50 on relaxation? and hey, who needs a £50 budget to relax, what things can you make more time for in the next few weeks?

F x

The single most effective way you can add colour to a kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

Folks, I seem to never take photos for my blog in our kitchen unless I'm baking or when I want a wooden backdrop (our worktops are oak). 

I think it's because we don't have so much colour in the room. Everything is cream, white or sage green, which has a pretty 'country-chic' kind of vibe, but it never inspires me to take photos in there. Let's just say it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Know what I mean?

I came across Ulster Weavers website a short while ago. They stock the most colourful, vibrant kitchen accessories and linens that add instant personality to a blank canvas. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

I knew I didn't want to go down the route of painting to change the colour scheme in the room, so i thought why not add vibrant accessories to bring the space to life?

And guess what - it worked. 

Their Emily kitchen range really caught my eye. It's a sorta vintage take on hawaiian print and I thought the colours really worked in the room. They provide a very striking look to complement the wishy-washy colours I already have. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

I urge you to take a look at Ulster Weavers' collections, all of their prints are hand made in the UK with some of the designs commissioned by artist Kelly Hall who is based just a skip and a hop away from Brighton, drawing all her vintage designs in her studio in Lewes. 

The one lesson I'll take from this, is that you certainly don't need to throw all your energy to repainting a kitchen to add colour to it, just invest in some striking kitchenware and you'll feel inspired again. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

Visit ulsterweavers.com and check out the range of fabrics they have to suit every kitchen.

Emily styled apron, £18
Emily double glove, £13 

Step by step guide to make your home more colourful

I was inspired by Graham & Brown's press release last week, introducing popsicle colours to interiors. Think washes of watercolours married with strong statement fabrics. I love it. It's a particularly nice trend for the Summer months.

Here's how I'd introduce colour to a room step by step. I hope it helps you if you're thinking about redecorating. 

1. Choose 3 key, bright colours that complement one another 

And use these colours to guide your choices when you're out shopping for room accessories. Opt for materials, furnishings and statement furniture in these shades... but don't go overboard. Limit yourself to 30% of the room in these colours. 

You might notice the shades I've chosen resemble my blog design. There's something about these 3 contrasting shades that I love together, although I think it breaks every design rule in the book. Clarke & Clarke have some brave and beautiful fabrics for every home that continue to inspire me (see the pic on the right for an action shot). All of these shades are taken from their material collection and can be used for upholstering anything from cushions to sofas to curtains for a bold statement.

2. Next, find a texture or base shade that complements the colour scheme 

Think about neutral shades for this. Ideally a blank canvas paint you can coat on the walls in a muted tone that plays down all the bright colours yet brings them together. 

Valspar paint is a fantastic choice if you want to give your walls a fresh lick of paint. With over 2,000 pre-mixed colours, the choice doesn't stop there. If there's a fabric colour you want an exact match with, they can mix it identically for you. We recently painted our bedroom a matt, neutral 'Summer Gray' from Valspar's collection which was a dream to work with. I'll show you photos once the place is tidier ;)

Don't feel obliged to coat your room all one colour though, you could choose to wallpaper one accent wall for more texture to pastel colours. I love this Vintage Flock design by Kelly Hoppen for Graham & Brown. It's neutral enough to not clash with colours, and adds a bit more detail to the primary shades I've chosen. 

3. Invest in good quality furniture with changeable covers

I often find myself wanting to change colours schemes regularly particularly when I see how fast interior trends change. Furniture stockists like Loaf make it totally possible to buy an excellent quality piece of furniture with the ability to change the covers. Their range of materials are next to none. If I was on the market for another sofa, I'd ditch DFS and head to Loaf as my first port of call. Delivery is a million times faster than highstreet chains too, so you won't have to resort to camping chairs for 10 weeks like we had to when we bought with DFS. The classic button style Dixie sofa in Bahama plush velvet would look beautiful with contrasting cushions from Clarke & Clarke

4. Make a pinterest board of home furnishings you love in shades that work with the scheme

This is my favourite past time. Take a look at the board I made when I re-decorated my mum's bedroom. She loved the colour lilac, so I went mad on creams and purple tones to decorate her room with. George at Asda enabled me to redecorate her room in under £200, their homeware range is fantastic if you're working to a budget. 

The pro's of making a pinterest board of all your potential purchases is that Pinterest can alert you when products go on sale, so you can hang about and save pennies whilst getting creative. High fives all round. 

Some things I'd pin for this look:

Chevron throw - Oliver Bonas
Watercolour canvas quote - Graham & Brown
Pineapple candles - Oliver Bonas
Leila pouffe - MADE

I hope this has inspired you to add new colours to your rooms. I think it pays to be daring when you're redecorating. If it doesn't work out, it can always be replaced. 

What colour shall I paint our new front door?

I took another trip to our new place to measure up last weekend, and kinda fell in love with it all over again. We should be *keep all your fingers and toes crossed* exchanging contracts some time in early May, ready for a spring move around the 15th. I'm unbelievably excited. So excited that it periodically dawns on me how I'm soon moving out into my own flat, which cues me running around current home doing the Beyoncé booty shake. 

The front door currently is white, so I'm dying to get my paws on it and give it a good boot of colour once we're in. It's the first thing people will be welcomed with when they come to visit, so I want it to have a bright, eccentric edge. Swaying towards cherry tomato/canary yellow for pure wow factor. 

What do you reckon?

come let me know what you think on my social channels...