Christmas season is swiftly approaching, bringing with it not only the big day but catch up drinks, festive soirees and office parties – all tied up with the excitement of the obligatory Secret Santa, gift exchanges with friends and hastily wrapped last minute buys to add to the pile under the tree.

We all want to treat our friends and family, but the treats sure do add up. Our 2014 gift guide celebrates creative and beautiful gifts which I hope will fit all your gifting needs – all available to buy online for under £20.

Happy shopping! x

GIFTS FOR HIM

His1

Paperclip Letter Holder £10, Anthropologie. Multi Spot Hankerchief £5 each, Labour and Wait. Retro Enamel Mugs, £5.95 each, Rose and Grey. Full English Biscuits £10, Not On The High Street.

Labour-and-Wait

This beautifully crafted Rope Key Ring £12, from Labour and Wait is based on a ‘Monkey’s Fist’ knot, which was traditionally used to throw the mooring rope from ship to shore. Adding a touch of nautical charm to everyday items it is individually crafted by a knotting enthusiast in Suffolk.

ScratchMap

For the intrepid traveller or dreamer in your life, this super cool Scratch Off World Map £15.95, features a gold foil top layer which means that once a country has been visited, the globe trotter gets to scratch it off to reveal beautifully vibrant details and amazing facts about the world beneath.

His2

Men’s Lunch Tin £15, Rose and Grey. Bicycle Tool and Puncture Repair Kit £18.95, Lilac Coast. Pocket Fountain Pen £20, Labour and Wait. Initial iPhone Case £10, Alphabet Bags.

GIFTS FOR HER

Hers1

Half Moon Leather Coin Purse £17, & Other Stories. Swimming Swans Trinket Dish £12, Anthropologie. Shibori Journal £16, Anthropologie. Silver Stars Earring Studs £12, Not On The High Street.

Ombre

These beautiful Pink Ombre Tealights £4.95, from Lime Lace are made from fine ceramic and are finished with an on trend dip dye effect creating a beautiful and gentle glow when lit. They look fantastic grouped together in the center of a table or placed along a window-sill.
OldElnglishCo
This sweet and elegant A3 French Love Print £9.95, from the Old English Co is the perfect romantic gift to add a touch of monochrome whimsy to a bedroom.

Hers2

Lovely Large Canvas Pouch £18, Alphabet Bags. Copper and Glass Sectioned Box £16, Rockett St George. Brass Ring £17 & Other Stories. Initial Pocket Mirror £13, Alphabet Bags.

Continue Reading…

Mobile2

As winter steadily approaches here in the UK, it’s nice to have a glimpse of summer in the form of a Beachcomber inspired DIY guest post from a very clever and creative friend of mine Harriet Cox trend analyst and go-to crafter for hair brained social gatherings.

This guest post follows several queries into this beautiful mobile gifted to me for my baby’s nursery [below]. The method which we are calling ‘Things on Strings’ can translate easily into a way of making use of holiday souvenirs, family mementos or even collections… warning this DIY may become addictive! Over to Harriet…

A Mobile

I have always been somewhat of a beach comber/ shell hoarder/ driftwood magpie. Quite often, after a trip to the beach I return home to find my pockets full of beachy flora and fauna, things unconsciously selected on account of their colour, lustre, shape or resemblance to some other object. Usually these items kick about my house in small still life arrangements gathering dust until I can no longer remember the day or the place where they were found.

But after a recent 4 month trip of epic proportions driving across Australia and New Zealand I had not only filled my pockets but a large portion of my backpack with mementos of many a day well spent by the sea. This time on my return home I was determined to put some of my most beautiful finds to good use.

To display these treasures I have made a simple wall hanging using bits of driftwood for the structure and brightly coloured twine to hold each object in place, a lasting reminder of a life changing trip.

Things-on-a-Tray

To recreate this with your own collections all you need is: 

- Some gnarly bits of drift wood or cane to form the cross supporting sections.
- Twine or string
- I have used silk embroidery threads in bright colours, you could also use scavenged rope if you were lucky enough to find any on your travels!
- Scissors
- Your things to hang on strings!

To construct:

- First lay out your objects on a flat surface to get your design, play with composition and height and when it feels right just go with it.

Layout

- Don’t worry too much about making holes in your finds, you don’t want to damage them. Instead use what is naturally there to secure the knot or try wrapping them in the twine which also adds a contrasting block of colour. Always over compensate on the string as this will allow you to make adjustments when you coming to hanging.

- Get the top support sorted first- a strong piece of drift wood secured at both ends with a piece of string works best.

- I find it easier to build whilst the top support is hanging up. This will help you to get the balance right by adjusting the strings as you go and it will let you fit the piece to the space where you want to display it. Tie securely enough to hold in place and then adjust any objects that aren’t sitting at the right height. Once your happy with your composition tie tightly in place and trim off your excess string- or you could add more colour by wrapping the excess string round the driftwood creating random colour blocking.

- Add a second tier if you want to add more length and things on strings- just make sure your top support is strong enough to bare the extra weight.

Threading

Mobile

My Things To Hang on Strings

One beach visited in Australia was covered in the tiny broken skeletons of the Mutton bird. When I asked a local why there were so many dead I was told that after their long migration the weak birds cannot make it the final stretch up the coast and simply give up. Their delicate little skeletons are washed up, bleached clean by the sea.

BirdSkeleton

On our first night in New Zealand we were welcomed by an incoming cyclone! Feeling nervous we settled into our campsite by the coast for a sleepless night battered by severe winds and rain. Next morning calm was restored, the sun was out and the beach was littered with the washed up remains of a king tide- a beach combers delight!

Beachcomber

Another coastal walk was littered with Påua Shells, home to a giant edible sea snail, whose shells are a valued Maori treasure used in native decorative arts and crafts.

GiantShell

RembrandtPressView

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to the press preview of ‘Rembrandt: The Late Works’ at The National Gallery which opens to the public today.

Each time I visit one of our city’s beautiful museums I never fail to be astounded by the sheer grandeur and rich detail of our galleries. The National Gallery looks out onto the cinematic vista of Trafalgar Square, which as Londoners we are quick to dismiss as a busy tourist trap, but it is a tourist trap with astonishingly good reason as witnessed from the gallery steps.

View

Inside, intricate floor mosaics and striking palatial architecture is mixed seamlessly with modern details as the galleries expand.

NatGallDoors

Natonal Gallery Steps

NatGallFloor2

WomanSitting

But back to the exhibition. Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and the most important in Dutch history.

Interested in capturing the world around him without prejudice, his works recorded the ordinary people, places and things he would have seen every day in Amsterdam.

Gallery

WomanBathingintheRiver

Having already suffered the early loss of his wife and three of their children, Rembrandt’s later years were burdened with bankruptcy, acrimonious legal proceedings with a former lover, and the loss of his common-law wife and only remaining son.

However, far from diminishing as he aged, Rembrandt’s creativity gathered new energy. The once-in-a-lifetime exhibition explores Rembrandt’s final years of painting when he achieved ultimate greatness.

Rem

Rembrandt2

Quietly breathtaking, the exhibition comprises of approximately 40 paintings, 20 drawings and 30 prints, revelling in Rembrandt’s iconic use of combined light and shadow.

From the moment you step into the hush of the first room filled with luminous self-portraits chronicling the last decade of Rembrandt’s life –  and his exceptional honesty in recording his own features as he aged – you are ensnared [it is worth visiting for just this room].

SelfPortraitWithTwoCircles

Drawn further and further into his expressions of intimacy, contemplation, conflict and reconciliation, I felt as though I was gazing upon familiar friends as I sat mesmerised by the tender depictions of the ‘Old Woman Reading a Book’ and ‘A Woman Bathing in a Stream’ and even ‘The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Joan Deyman’ and I am itching to go back and sit with them again.

My photographs do none of the great artist’s luminous, multilayered and expressive masterpieces any justice so please go visit and gaze upon their spine-tingling beauty for yourselves.

Rembrandt, The Late Works
The National Gallery
Sainsbury Wing
15 October 2014 – 18 January 2015

 AnOldWomanReading

Exhibition  TheAnatomyLesson

Gallery2

TheSamplingOfficials

Titus

NordicHouse4

The spiralling popularity of succulents in the interiors and fashion world seems in part down to their sculptural appeal and in part down to the fact that they are hard to kill even for the blackest of thumbs.

Nevertheless without finger pointing [you know who you are] I can attest to the fact that there are some ‘charred thumbs’ out there that can do a lot of damage to even the toughest of plants! For those hapless customers I was excited to discover a new trend for extremely lifelike faux succulents that will always look perfect and are risk free!

Online home decor brand Nordic House‘s faux flower collection includes large succulent rosettes that can feature as striking table decorations or still life displays around your home.

Nordic-House

Berkshire based Beaux Faux gives new life to vintage books using them as planters for whimsical displays of artificial succulents. These would make such a beautiful gift!

Beaux-Faux2

Beaux-Faux3

And Etsy has a plethora of succulent designs from felt succulents by Ordinary Mommy  and Miasole to artificial components to create your own elaborate and maintenance free displays.

Ordinary-Mommy

Miasole

SImplySerra

October is hands down my favourite month, in my opinion it’s the most definitive transitioning of seasons, in Britain at least – September is still too warm, November already has its foot in winter. There is a thrill in the October air, which resonates with narratives, the promise of spooky happenings, cosy autumnal outings and the cracking of the spines of new books to hunker down with.

For sure the biggest reason October is my favourite month is because of Halloween. To get us into the Halloween spirit in every possible way I have hunted down 10 digital wallpapers for your iphone, ipad and desktop to give your tech a seasonal update!

Click through to the links below the images to download your wallpaper.

Something-Wicked-Chalkboard-Wallpaper-TidyMom

Via Tidy Mom

 

imbreannarose.com

Via Im Breanne Rose

thefoxisblack.com

Via The Fox Is Black

jen-mussari-october-wallpaper-1280x800-800x500

Via The Fox is Black

thegoodtwin

Via Design Love Fest

meredith-sadler-wallpaper-blog

Via The Fox is Black

Color-Blocked-Pumpkins-Ciera-Design-2560x1440

Via Whimsey Box

nolan-pelletier-wallpaper-blog

Via  The Fox Is Black

Free People

Via Design Love Fest

noah-macmillan-wallpaper-blog

Via The Fox is Black

{ Search }

{ Recent Articles }

Inspiring Business: Sparrow and Co.

Things on Strings: Simple Keepsake Mobile

{ Currently Reading }

A Frame For Life, Ilse Crawford

{ Sponsors }

{ As Seen In }

{ Follow me on Instagram... }