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Lifestyle

Girlboss Q&A: Bethany James, Founder James Said

11th July, 2018

Businesswoman Bethany James started her first company as child, selling stones, sticks and nuts that she’d spray painted gold to her neighbours. In her twenties she founder her own cosmetics company, Bethany Cosmetics. And now, after struggling to find the kind of furniture she wanted in her work as an interior designer, she started an import business called Regency Distribution. Since then the Perth-based entrepreneur now has three showrooms, James Said, with two in Perth and one in Sydney and now has over 3000 pieces available for purchase on its online store. Here Bethany shares the secrets to her success, learning to let go of wanting to control every aspect of her business and why the drive to work is the most important part of her day.

Where did the idea to start James Said come from?

I was working as an interior designer and I had a specific style that I loved. I couldn’t find the pieces that I wanted in Australia and had to look overseas to find them. I identified a niche in the market so I set up a distribution company and started to import.

What was the process like to start it?

It was very challenging. I had a toddler at home and started the business in my spare room with very little initial start up capital. Juggling motherhood and new business was very hard. I would work most evenings until 2am – simply because I would be child free and able to get it done.  The start-up of my business was completely organic because I had no money for marketing.  In fact when I started I didn’t even have a single piece of furniture! All I had was catalogues and lot of pretty images. I started off as a wholesale business exclusive to interior designers. I went through the designers in the yellow pages online and email them all, one by one, introducing myself. It took me months, but this is how I built my database and started my company. On my own, in my spare room, working to the early hours of the morning. I pre-sold my first container that I imported and the deposits I received covered most of the cost. Even with such a modest beginning I still managed to turnover over a million in sales in first year. Our growth now is snowballing every year, whilst I take it in my stride each day, it amazing to look back on each year to see how far we’ve come.

What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Growing fast without adequate systems. We were unprepared for our growth and didn’t have adequate software to assist us. The result was poor service and unreliable lead times. It feels great to have this sorted. When I look at my business now I continually think – how can I do this better? How  can I exceed my customers’ expectations in all areas of my business. From the range of products, to my sales staff and the customer experience in store all the way through to our delivery service.  What would exceed my customers experience—and that’s what I do.

What’s been the biggest turning point in your career? Why?

Staff. When I originally started to employ staff, they were of little help to me because I was so protective of everything. I wouldn’t delegate, I just didn’t trust anyone to do the job as well as myself.  I was afraid of the commitment of full time salaries so instead kept employing casuals. The result was that my staff were of no assistance to me and I was at capacity so the business couldn’t grow. In the third year of my business was my turning point. I decided to invest all my energy into my staff and delegating everything. The more I put into them the more I freedom I had to grow the company. I now only employ full time staff, almost never casuals. My business moves so fast that I need team members that are fully absorbed in the company each day. I take the time to understand what drives each individual staff member so that I can make sure that their time with the company allows them to feel secure and fulfilled.

James Said focuses on Hollywood Regency style pieces

How do you start each day?

I try to swivel out of bed and have my feet touch the carpet as soon as my alarm goes off, otherwise I end up in the ‘hit the snooze’ cycle.  Then it’s an expresso shot while google home tells me the latest news. Then I spend the next half hour with my coffee browsing social media.

Once out of bed and showered I listen to inspiration podcasts or YouTube videos whilst I do my make up and get ready. Mixed into that I get my son ready for school, fed and we’re out the door. My most valuable time is the drive between school and work. This is my time and use it to ensure that when I arrive into the office I am in the right state.

My energy affects everyone in the office so I make sure that when I walk in I bring high energy vibes with me. During that drive my car is my sanctuary, sometimes I listen to Oprah other times I just crank the music loud, but the outcome is always to leave any negativity behind me so I when I arrive at the office all my staff can feed off my energy.

What drives you?

For me my business is like a sport. Obviously its serious because I employ people and it’s my livelihood but when I dig deeper, I’m driven by pushing to see how far I can take the business.  I am never satisfied with any milestone, I’m always on the next step. I never want to wonder —what if? So I just go for it,  I give it everything I have, every day. I relate it sport because each day I’m faced with new issues or problems I have to solve and overcome, all whilst persevering forward all the time, always feeling challenged. I love it.

What’s your management style?

I know its probably wiser to have a barrier between yourself and your staff, however I’ve never been able to have that separation. I’ve always been the kind of person that brings my personal life to the office and so I develop friendships with my staff. We have a lot of fun, a lot of laughs but we also work very hard. I really consider my staff as my team, I value and care about  them enormously. Finding staff that are the right cultural fit  is an important part of our recruitment process.

What are some tools—whether it be a gadget, an app, a favourite site— that help you manage all your various businesses and projects?

Changing my inventory software was huge for my business. It streamlined everything, made us more efficient and we were able to offer better service to our customers.

As far as apps go Instagram has been a huge part of our growth. It’s how we connect with our customers and drives more customers to my stores than any other marketing source.

What do you think has been the key to your success?

Being brave and consistently persevering through challenging times.  I also have unending energy for my business.  I don’t know where it comes from but it’s just always there. I never run out of new ideas or passion year after year.  I guess if that ever stops that will be my que to move on to something else.

What makes you so passionate about interiors?

I always want to make everything as beautiful as possible. It crosses over into all areas of my life. I need to have a creative outlet to be happy, it’s just a part of me. My interior style is always evolving, I find inspiration everywhere and it’s a great feeling when you create a space that is unique that people respond to.

Bethany says she loves interiors as she “wants to make everything as beautiful as possible.”

What’s the most satisfying thing about working on James Said?

I love sitting in the driving seat of my business because it gives me the freedom to create the next step for the business. Its enormously gratifying to have an idea and take it all the way to fruition.

Where do you hope to take your business in future?

I plan for James Said to be an international brand. I would love stores all over the world.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

To be authentic. When I launched my business I was doing my own thing. I was laughed at by many of my competitors for selling bright coloured and gold furniture. But I followed my heart and it was immediately successful. From time to time I would look to what my larger competitors were selling and copy. This was never successful.

Now I really don’t pay any attention to my competitors, I just run my own race and sell what resonates with me. I don’t visit other stores in Australia, or check their websites. I don’t want to be influenced in any way and I feel that there’s room for everyone.

Even when I opened my Sydney store, I didn’t visit any other Sydney stores. I wanted my store to be completely fresh and unique, I didn’t want to risk being influenced by what other stores are doing in any way.

What’s your working style? 

I juggle my day with the school run so I’m grateful to have to have staff that can open and close the business. As my business opens at 7am to sync up with the east coast [of Australia], by the time I arrive I’m already behind so most of the day is spent catching up and I’m caught up the day to day running of the business. My true productive time is late at night after my son is asleep. This is when I have clarity to think with out interruption. Anything important is done at this time.

My best creative moments are usually when I travel. International travel always leaves me with a broader and larger view on business.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a business?

I often have conversations with people who tell me they have thought about starting their own business and they ask me for advice.

Starting your own business is hard, it’s financially risky and will most likely leave you without income for quite a while. I discover most people aren’t really prepared for that kind of risk or commitment.

Starting your own business has to be something that you just have to do. It’s not a decision to do, you have to do it. It’s that kind of passion that’s needed to live and breathe the business year after year. If you have that passion then you have to just be brave!

Being an entrepreneur is just part of who I am. When I was a kid I stole my dad’s gold spray paint and sprayed stones, sticks and honkey nuts and then sold them to all my neighbours. When I was a teenager I made earrings and sold them at school. In my twenties I had my cosmetics company. It’s just part of who I am but it’s not for everyone.

Fashion, Lifestyle

Closet goals: how to have an organised wardrobe this year

8th January, 2018

An organised closet really is a sight to behold. When shoes are all neatly lined up, shirts folded and divided into neat piles, everything from blouses and dresses all perfectly hung up into distinct categories it brings a noticeable feeling of satisfaction. It also makes getting dressed SO much easier. I’ve tried to implement an organisation system in my own wardrobe for this very reason. And whilst it admittedly does take a little daily tidying up, it also means I don’t have to do a huge clean up a few weeks down the track when all my clothes are threatening to take over our entire bedroom. If you want to make things stress-free on the sartorial front for the rest of the year, take advantage of all that New Year energy to do an overhaul of your wardrobe and turn it into a space that’s Pinterest-worthy and one that you’ll be happy to stare into every single day.

Here are some great ways to start…

Colour code everything

Grouping like with like is a great system to employ when it comes to your wardrobe. It makes locating everything at a glance a simple process and let’s face it, it looks really nice too.

Sub-divide into categories

Whilst colour coding is extremely handy as a sorting tool you could also try another method which is to divide everything into different categories. This means grouping all your skirts together, your t-shirts together, your jeans together and so forth. With a closet divided into distinct areas you’ll find it easier to find what you’re looking for.

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Organise jeans from light to dark

If you own multiple pairs of jeans it can be hard to keep track of them all so this year, organise them from lightest wash to darkest wash. If you’ve got the space, hang them up so you can avoid wrinkling them and thus have them ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Fold garments like a boutique

You could just throw everything into your wardrobe and hope for the best or you could take a few minutes to fold your clothes and put them away in perfect piles like a boutique would. By categorising into piles you make things doubly easier for yourself as you can immediately see what you’re looking for. Also this is the best way to store things that stretch such as woollen jumpers and tees which make stretch if hung up.

Label everything

Earn double organisation points by labelling everything. Yes, you may already know where everything is but visually it helps to have a clear idea of what you’re looking it.

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Arrange bags vertically

By lining up bags vertically as opposed to sitting them all on top of each other you not only help protect their shape but reduce the time it takes to track down a particular clutch or tote.

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Get matching hangers

Nothing says you’ve got your style sorted like staring into a wardrobe with matching hangers. Bin the old mismatched hangers you may have been using (wire especially as they can ruin the shape of clothes) and get wooden or slim velvet ones. The former looks amazing all lined up and is gentle on clothes whilst the latter allows you to fit more into your wardrobe as they take up less space, plus it has a bit of grip so you avoid things like silk blouses slipping off constantly.

Put things away in drawers vertically

If you store most of your things in drawers, instead of piling them up on top of each other, put them away vertically so you can see everything as opposed to just what’s on top. You’ll be amazed at how much more wear you’ll get out of everything simply by being able to see what you own.

How do you keep your wardrobe organised?

 

Lifestyle, Shop

Beautiful coffee table books for your home

18th November, 2017

I love collecting coffee table books. I think they make a stylish addition to any home and is a great way to showcase your interests. Most of my coffee table books are about fashion and photography which is what I’m passionate about so I love having them dotted around my apartment as just seeing them around the house is really inspiring. When choosing coffee table books I make sure everything is a hardcover version of the book as it has a bit more longevity and just seems so much more luxe than a paperback. Whether you’re into food, style or blooms I’ve rounded up a few tomes worth showcasing in your home…

Shop my top coffee table book picks below:

Lifestyle

How to style a bedroom that will grow with your child

18th September, 2017

Styling a beautiful, cosy nursery is often one of the things expecting parents love to do in preparation for the arrival of their little one. However as most mums and dads can attest babies grow very quickly into toddlers then school aged kids and in turn their once perfect space can become too young and need updating frequently. Designing a new room each time your child gets older can become a costly experience so it pays to instead start from the very beginning and create a space that can easily grow with him/her. With the help of Kristy Withers, founder of children’s furniture retailer Incy Interiors and Magdalene Liacopoulos, interiors stylist and founder of The Bebe Style Co, here’s how to design the perfect kids bedroom that will adapt with age…

Gather all your visual references for a kids bedroom

“The first step when designing a kids room is pulling together all your inspiration images and visual references of furniture and decorator pieces, as this will reveal the style and colour combinations you are drawn to,” says Magadalene. It is during this process that Magdalene says that it’s important to consider trends versus classic design, what is actually achievable in the space, and what will grow with your child and your family.

Invest in key features like furniture

The furniture in your child’s room should be able to grow with them so think beyond the baby stage and look for pieces that can grow with your little one. Kristy says, “it’s important to select versatile pieces of furniture that will adapt to each stage of development, such as Incy Interiors’ Teeny cots which features rounded corners and sturdy, removable sculptured side rails that can be transformed into a ‘big bed’ as baby grows.”

To avoid a cluttered space Magdalene says storage is always a sound investment. “Pick a set of drawers that can be used as a change table by adding a topper. Also think about whether these drawers can work in another area of the home if they need to be relocated down the track.”

Also don’t forget about the lighting in your child’s room. Magdalene says it’s important to be able to control lighting (nap time is one such occasion) so “splurging on the right window coverings for your space will be money well spent.”

Image: Incy Interiors

 

Avoid themes

A jungle-themed nursery might be a cute idea for the first few months but it has a limited shelf life. “Having a ‘themed’ kids bedroom will date quickly so select pieces that with a little rearrangement could easily transition onto the next phase in your child’s life,” says Magdalene. “For example opt for a simple wall shelf (my favourite are by H and G Designs) over a Batman-themed one, and create a ‘shelfie’ where items are interchangeable as your child’s tastes evolve.”

Keep it neutral

A room that will grow with your child should essentially be a blank canvas that can be updated with a few key components so Kristy says a neutral colour palette is advisable as “you can subtly or dramatically change the room by adding accessories like throws and pillows which will completely change the dynamic of the space.”

Most importantly a kids bedroom should be a conducive space for rest. Both Magdalene and Kristy agree that a clean, streamlined space is preferable to filling a room with lots of decorative elements or working with bold, bright colours or feature walls to avoid overstimulating children and provide them with a calm space to sleep.

Choose pieces that have a long lasting purpose

Your child will likely have an extensive book collection as he/she grows up so Magdalene says a set of bookshelves is something that can easily work in a space no matter how old they get. She suggests taking it up a notch and creating a dedicate reading nook. “By adding a seat or floor cushion (Australian brand Little Connoisseur  have a cute range of floor cushions) it will be a comfy spot for storytime before bed, and as your child grows, a space where he or she can have their own quiet time.”

Magdalene say other elements that can work as your child gets older are things like baskets which are great for housing everything from nappies and toys to dirty laundry and will transition easily through the infant to toddler phase. Art prints (especially illustrations) are also an inexpensive way to decorate and are a classic and timeless addition to any bedroom.

Think beyond the room

It may be hard to imagine now but further down the track your child will want to decorate their own space so it’s important that things like furniture are able to be rehoused elsewhere in the home. Kristy highlights the new Incy x Hobbe Blush Rocker [below] as a great example of a piece that can be repurposed. “[It] features a clean silhouette and squared sofa shape that is a drastic departure from the traditional wingback nursing chair commonly associated with nursery rooms,” she says. “Available in blush or navy it features tapered legs in shiny rose gold to help create a modern day nursing chair with a design sophistication that will eventually grow up and out of the baby’s room to join you in the lounge.”

Incy x Hobbe Blush Rocker (RRP is $1,299).

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Styling Sophia’s bedroom

12th April, 2017

Having two daughters I wanted to ensure that both had spaces in the house that are their own and perfectly suited to them. Now that Sophia is a toddler I had to update her nursery into more of a “big girl” bedroom and create a place for her in our home that she can call her own. Here are some of my top tips…

Add colour

Sophia’s bedroom has a neutral colour palette in whites and grey and has pops of pastel colour throughout. Having soft accents throughout her room really brightens up the space but still maintains the calming palette of whites and neutrals in her room. A serene room to retreat to is a must for a lively and active toddler.

Keep it practical

Now that Sophia’s a little older her room is largely about being a practical area for her to play in. She loves being able to grab a toy or book when she wants so it’s important that they’re easily accessible. We’ve tried to keep most of the big toys and furniture in her room such as her tee pee and table and chairs neutral in colour so even when they’re all out on display they still work well with the rest of the space.

Be selective

From her rocking horse to the horse bunting that an artist friend of mine made for her room and pictures of the two of us from shoots we’ve done, there are lots of special details throughout Sophia’s room. However whilst it’s great to have lots of mementos in her room I’ve also made sure to only display her really special things to avoid the room looking too busy.

Incorporate plenty of storage

There’s a dedicated bookshelf in Sophia’s room so she can easily grab her books and also put them away and a roomy cupboard and set of drawers to ensure that there’s plenty of space to accomodate her clothes and toys. I find it’s better to have plenty of storage rather than not enough as it makes it a little easier to keep her room tidy.

Mix prints and patterns

I’ve incorporated various prints throughout Sophia’s room from her polka dot bedspread to the patterned cushions on her bed and in her teepee, it’s great way break up the mostly white space.

Photography: Sophia Athas



Fashion

Sneak a peek inside my wardrobe and how I keep it organised

22nd March, 2017

I used to have the luxury of using a spare room in our house as a wardrobe however I’ve since had to cull things down a lot and keep it confined to a set of cupboards and drawers. This definitely called for some serious organisation on my part. Whilst it was quite a mammoth task to get everything into a smaller space it was certainly very cathartic to do an edit of everything I owned and to see the more organised finished product. When it comes to my wardrobe having a system is key as I find it helps to make it so much easier to get out the door in the morning. Here’s how I do it:

Categorise everything

I make sure to separate everything into different categories – I put jumpers with jumpers, skirts with skirts and pants with pants so I know which section I need to look at when I’m after something. If everything is just in random piles I will never be able to find what I’m after.

Segregate into seasons

I put my out of season clothes in storage so it doesn’t take up valuable real estate in my wardrobe. When it’s summer I put away all my coats and winter clothes and vice versa. I find this also helps me to see what I have to wear during a particular season without being overwhelmed by everything else I own. Also, so my out of season clothes don’t take up valuable storage space in the house, I put them in vacuum sealed bags. This is also helps protect them whilst they’re out of action for a few months.

Introduce a go-to section

I hate having to rummage through the rest of my clothes when I’m pulling things out that I use on a regular basis so to get around this I make sure to put all the clothes I use a lot in one section. This includes my jeans, leather pants, black blazer, a white shirt and all my white t-shirts as I wear them the most. I have about seven different looks that are my go-to so I keep them in an area that is easily accessible so I don’t mess everything up.

I have the same system with my shoes. I put the ones I wear the most at the front of my cupboard and the ones I wear the least further back so I don’t have to pull everything out when I’m trying to get to them.

Invest in matching hangers

I threw away all my wire hangers and invested in black Ikea hangers to keep everything in my cupboard uniform. It keeps everything looking neater and it makes me feel like I’m browsing through a boutique whenever I’m looking at my wardrobe.

Keep accessories in the one spot

I keep things like my sunglasses, jewellery and hair accessories in the one easy to access drawer so they’re easy to view at a glance and I know exactly where they are. I find if I have them in different spots I’m more likely to forget where everything is thus adding more time to my getting ready time in the morning. When it comes to the accessories I use the most, I pop them in a small bag which I know I can easily grab if I am going away.

The great thing with having an organised wardrobe is it encourages me to stay organised as not only does it feel nice to look at a tidy space it also helps me to keep track of where everything is. I’ve also found that by having a system it doesn’t matter how much closet space I have, everything is guaranteed to have a home.

Tell me – what are some of your best wardrobe organisation tips?

Photography: Sophia Athas

Lifestyle

Styling Grace’s Nursery

15th March, 2017

As anyone who is expecting a baby can attest, decorating a nursery is one of the more fun aspects of being pregnant. Just the sheer possibility that awaits when styling a blank space for your impending progeny is definitely a highlight, especially when you’re about to become a mum for the first time. I adored putting together both Sophia and Grace’s nurseries. Whilst Sophia’s space has definitely changed now she’s a toddler (stay tuned for an upcoming post on Sophia’s room) I also didn’t just want to replicate it for Grace’s room as I wanted her to have something uniquely her own. I loved sourcing different pieces Grace’s room and incorporating little trinkets and gifts from friends to create a cosy and inviting nursery. Here are some of my tips for putting together a nursery you and your baby will love spending time in…

Start with a neutral palette

I started with a neutral palette of whites and greys as it’s an easy colour scheme to build on. I wanted soft shades rather than super bright colours as I wanted to create a really simple, yet cosy space for Grace and something quite soothing to be in (we would inevitably be spending a lot of time in there after all). The aim was to keep it light and airy so everything from her cot to chest of drawers is all white.

Use soft colour accents

To brighten up the space I added touches of soft pastel pink whether it be in the form of a stuffed toy or blanket. It helped to give the room a little personality and also some feminine touches. If you’re having a boy you could always add soft blues or yellow if you want to keep it quite neutral. That said, if you want to use pink in a boy’s room or blue in a girl’s room then go for it!

Add personal keepsakes throughout

I love adding little trinkets throughout the girls’ rooms such as gifts from friends and family to really personalise their rooms. It makes it a really special space as it’s like having a presence from all the important people in their lives dotted around the room.

Mix and match

I love shopping at places like Pottery Barn and Jacadi for things such as furniture and accessories as they have such a great range to choose from plus the quality is great so I know it will be able to grow along with girls. There’s a Jacadi playmat that I used with Sophia that Grace is now using and it still looks great. You don’t have to spend a fortune on outfitting a nursery but buy the best quality furniture that your budget will allow. It’s also worth keeping an eye out in your favourite interiors stores for other things such as lamps and frames as you don’t need to shop at kid-specific brands for those decorative elements.

Don’t over clutter

I like to keep a really tight edit of everything in Grace’s nursery to avoid it looking too cluttered and busy. I make sure that everything on display are things that I think really add something to the space. When you’re expecting you’ll find you’re often gifted so many things but it’s important to remember that you don’t always have to put everything out on show. Keep the room quite streamlined. Even if you’ve got numerous stuffed toys on your hands, choose the three that you like and store everything else away for playtime.

Display pretty things

Whilst I’ve got prints hung up on the walls I’ve also got a beautiful tutu and star bunting hanging up in Grace’s room as decorative accents to brighten up the walls. I also keep her adorable shoes on show because they’re so cute. And instead of hiding away things like knitted blankets and wraps, I’ve chosen to dot them around the room. Whilst I mentioned above that it’s important to keep a tight edit of things in the room there are just some things that are simply too pretty to hide away! When in doubt just ask yourself if it adds to the room. You’ll know by the answer whether it’s something to display or not.

Sneak a peek at the rest of Grace’s nursery below…

Photography: Sophia Athas

 

Lifestyle

My tips for decorating a home when you have kids

27th February, 2017

As most people with kids will attest, decorating a home comes with its own new considerations once little ones enter the picture. Everything from sticky fingers being wiped down on the couch to trying to grab everything in sight means that you have to take these things into account with your colour scheme, your furniture and home decors. Of course, having older children gives you a little more freedom to decorate as you wish but when it comes to younger kids, this is what I’ve learned…

Go for colours that camouflage

Most of our home features slightly darker earthy tones such as brown or beige which I find hides dirt a little better. Also our carpet has greys and beiges in it and our outdoor furniture is navy so both hide dirt quite well.

Go for durable fabrics

I have friends who have white couches and small kids and I honestly don’t know how they do it. We have a couch made from a durable earthy toned fabric and the pillows are made from quite a similar material so this helps to avoid the couch looking worse for wear. When it comes to the furniture in our home everything is quite neutral and quite durable so I always consider those things when I’m buying anything for the house.

Invest in baskets

I never used to have baskets around the house but now I love them as they’re great for storing (or hiding!) things like toys and pillows in a hurry. This is a lifesaver when guests pop around unexpectedly and I need to quickly tidy the house.

Do a big edit of ornaments

I still like having decorative bits and pieces around the house but I’ve done a big edit so I only have the pieces I really love dotted around our home. This makes it easier to keep track of them as the girls are quite curious and love picking things up and playing with them.

Choose neutral kids’ furniture

We live in an apartment so the kids’ space is our space so I feel like the kids’ stuff has to blend in with our stuff. I find children’s furniture can be really bright which tends to be a little bit of an eyesore so we try to get furniture that is neutral so we’ll get white or blonde wood rather than bold colours such as reds, blues or greens. Sophia has a little canvas teepee but it’s made from a light canvas material and has wooden poles rather than fluoro which teepees commonly come in. Also the stool that she uses at the bench I got it in white as opposed to blue or red and their little table and chairs are white.

 

Lifestyle

Designing my ideal living space

10th January, 2017

I recently teamed up with King Living as part of their series, The Room Project to create a space that reflected my style. I opted to create contemporary ‘Hamptons’ inspired space, featuring the King Living modular Plaza sofa dressed in the luxurious Palm Beach Whitewash fabric as the main feature and feminine touches throughout. When it comes to the interior of my home I love monochrome. I opted for a sofa in a neutral tone, using black and white accessories whilst introducing some softness into the space with subtle pastel blue and blush tone cushions.

An occasional chair is the perfect opportunity to make a style statement so I chose to add the King Living Seymour chair in a gorgeous pastel blue, textural fabric in the room to complement the hues I had chosen for the cushions. To showcase some of my favourite coffee table books, I used the chic, streamline Miss Coffee Table. As a finishing touch I decided to add some flowers (I adore roses and hydrangeas for any room in my home) to brighten up the area.

I feel art is really important in a space, so I went with a black and white horse photographic print, which I feel brings great energy to the room. In addition I dotted some gold details throughout, such as gold vases to give the room a luxe contemporary feel. The end result was a gorgeous space that I could happily spend time with my family as well as being a sophisticated area I’d be proud to have in my home.

Check out behind the scenes of the shoot:

 

Lifestyle, Shop

Christmas decorating with Etsy

13th December, 2016

One of my favourite parts about Christmas is decorating and now having both Sophia and Grace, it’s nice to be able to make our home as festive as possible for them. At the same time I also like decorations to complement the interior of our home and this is where Etsy has come in handy. For anyone who has ever lost a few hours trawling all the beautiful crafts and homewares on the site you’ll know that it’s the perfect spot to find just the right decorations to suit any taste or budget. I’ve stocked up on a few things so I’m now all set to add some festive touches to our home and here are some of the top tips I’ve picked up along the way…

You don’t have to stick to Christmas colours

Red and green are synonymous with Christmas but they’re not exactly hues that will work with every home colour scheme. I am all about neutral tones and I’ve found that Etsy have some great Christmas decors in that colour palette that will look ideal with the rest of my house. Don’t be afraid to step away from the traditional Christmas hues for something a bit different.

Find things that you can use all year

If you use a white table cloth or decorations in gold such as gilded cutlery for your Christmas table it can be reused throughout the year so it’s not just limited to a single season. However adding elements such as kraft paper Christmas crackers will ensure you maintain the festive vibe.

Add personal touches

I love anything that’s personalised so am planning to extend it to my Christmas decorations. For example personalised name cards are a great addition to a festive table and is something that guests can take home as a souvenir. A Christmas plate with your kids’ names or glassware are also a nice way to add a personalised festive touch. Christmas gift stickers with your name are also a great for turning ordinary wrapping into something a bit more special. Also make sure to think outside the box when it comes to decorations – I found the personalised tags below in the Etsy wedding section!

You don’t have to go big to make an impact

I live in an apartment so I don’t want massive decorations that I have to store for the rest of the year. I like small things that still give the Christmas effect and give a visual impact without taking up too much room. This is where cute Christmas tree ornaments or a rustic wreath or garland can work around the home. The difficult part is just deciding which ones to buy!