In a parallel universe there is a better version of me. One that speaks fluent French and plays the piano with no sheet music. She also reads poetry and actually gets it. This version of me wanders around museums and sits for hours in art galleries. You know the type, you always see a perfect silhouette of them casually hanging out, just appreciating the art. I want to be that person! She has probably just stopped off to have a quiet coffee and at home she also has a gorgeous reading corner with a squashy chair that she actually sits and reads in. She’s likely to be surrounded by plants that she hasn’t killed and she can open a bottle of wine and just have one glass ‘for the taste’. What she doesn’t have is four small demanding kids, three jobs and a touch too much back fat to spoil that perfect silhouette. Clearly the latter IS me.
I guess that’s why I’ve never been what you would call an Art fanatic, or even cultured for that matter. If I’m honest, art intimidates me a little. I genuinely have no idea how to separate the ‘Realism’ from the ‘Surrealism’ or the ‘Expressionism’ from the ‘Abstract’. Listening to people talk about art must be similar to patients listening to me do a check up, it’s mysterious. Although if my job is anything to go by it’s just a ploy to make you sound more intelligent than you actually are. This is likely why I’ve never invested in any serious art. Yes, I’ve certainly traded up from the old university Trainspotting poster but I’ve never had the confidence to do much more than that. So when Rise Art got in contact and offered me the chance to choose a piece of art work to refresh one room and experience a different way of selecting, I’ll admit , I was excited and terrified in equal measures.
My first thoughts were who the heck is going to hold my hand through this, who will point me in the right direction, what if I balls this up? My next thought, ten minutes after logging on to the site was ‘well hello, this is going to be fun’. Any worry of being overwhelmed by artistic jargon was dissipated instantly with a site exploding with colour. There was no fuss or stuffiness, no intimidating artistic lingo to scare me off, just a very pleasing selection of beautifully curated art.
I went into this choice with a totally open mind. I had no particular space in mind, no size, no particular style, I just wanted to make an impact in one room. The challenge was to refresh a space. What was completely overwhelming was what I was actually drawn to. You expect your art to reflect your personality and style. Because of that I had always presumed that I would choose a piece of art packed full of colour, something that scratched all of my vibrant itches. No matter which art rabbit hole I fell down, no matter how many beautiful pieces I added to my wish list, I kept coming back to the hauntingly beautiful art of Andrew Millar. This East London based artist uses polaroid and 24ct gold leaf to create the most beautiful pieces. I didn’t choose this piece of art, it chose me. His art ranges from exquisite 9x11cm pieces (which are set to become my new major obsession) to larger collages and prints. To me, stumbling across his art felt like finding buried treasure and my booty came in the form of Fulfilled, a limited edition of 40 and most definitely ‘the one’.
So, which room to refresh?? Just as the art chose me, it also chose its spot. After initially thinking I would love to see her grace the walls of our bedroom, like a little insecure puppy, she just didn’t settle. Personally, I don’t think she wanted to be hidden away, she wanted to see and be seen so we let her hang out in the hall for a while. A lot has happened in this 117 year old hallway and it’s her turn to have some fun in here now.
So this is where she shall remain, keeping a close eye on the comings and goings of the Peach Palace and I have sneaky feeling that I won’t be able to resist finding her some 24ct company.
Want to know more?
Who are Rise Art?
Scott Phillips and Marcos Steverlynck are the co-founders whose love of art and digital expertise combine spectacularly to offer a site that beautifully serves up a range of art to suit all budgets. They believe that everybody deserves access to incredible art. Along with their team they have curated an incredible selection of art in a variety of mediums
Favourite site features
Personality test. I LOVE this feature. Remember those tests in More magazine, you know, the mostly a’s or mostly b’s? They told you which type of fella you are most likely to want to frenchie, well this is way more fun. Try it out here to find out your art personalilty and discover tailor made suggestions based on your preferences. I’m an Urbanite in case you’re interested.
Try before you buy. If you’re a bit of a commitment-phobe renting a piece of art is a cracking way to road test it before you invest. Rentals are also great for a short term quick fix and if you’ve got a party or a photoshoot coming up this is the perfect solution. What I love about this is that some of the cost of the rental can also be offset against the cost of the art if you do choose to buy. Take a look here to find out more.
Framing Service. If you are anything like me then ‘frame chicken’ is a game often played in our house. A bit like taking the bins out, it’s one of those jobs that just doesn’t seem to get done as much as it should. Unless it fits into an Ikea Ribba it tends to remain a little neglected. Any piece chosen comes with custom framing as an options, boooooom!
Search by budget. As much as we would all like to not have to count the noughts, we obviously have to. I’ve spent a very enjoyable few hours curating my favourite pieces.
My favourites under £100
My Favourites £100-500
Balls to the budget…………
From the hundreds of artists whose amazing work I was introduced to via Rise, these are most definitely the ones whose art is going on my lust list. Go take a look for yourself.
So whilst I’m certainly no art aficionado, my choosing cherry has been well and truly popped and do you know what? I enjoyed every last second of it.
This artwork was kindly gifted by Rise Art but all of the words are my own.
It’s a funny time ‘Crimbo’ that limbo time between christmas and new year when you lie about almost oinking you’ve consumed so many pork based products. Your eyeballs seem to slosh about with wine and you’ve definitely no idea what day of the week it is. As I sit here full to the brim of cheese board and DNA that is now 84% quality street, it’s got me thinking about 2017 and what a year it’s been. You see, it’s been somewhat mind blowing and never has the prospect of a new year excited me more.
I’ve always taken a relatively simple path, the sensible risk averse one that is smooth and un slippy, the one that pays the bills on time. But this year I’ve followed my heart a bit more. I’ve taken a few more risks and invested precious time into a few things that have just made my bones happy. Risky, hell yes but mother fupping fun, absolutely!
I joined Instagram just over a year ago after presuming it was just for those young enough to actually BE my kids, turns out it’s not. There are hundreds of thousands of incredibly inspiring and supportive people behind those little squares. Like a lot of people, I quickly fell down the Insta rabbit hole, only coming up for air, the occasional gin and to infrequently feed my kids. I was instantly hooked. The blog came shortly after, once I’d realised that I’d written nothing other than lists for the past 10 years! Mr Thirlby my GCSE English teacher would have been terribly disappointed, this is partly for you Sir.
So what has 2017 all been about?
15 rooms totally transformed
When I get a second to take a breath, I genuinely can’t believe what we’ve done to this place in just a year. Our builders were truly incredible and waved their dust covered magic wand to turn this project around in 5 short months. The stress scars will run deep, the anxiety related to the pressure of constant decision making is still palpable but sweet baby cheeses was it worth it. you can check out some before and afters here
1 huge mortgage
And what a sleep depriving burden it’s been too! Be under no illusion, the financial implications have been of epic proportions. Has anyone ever watched Homes Under The Hammer? You know, the bit where they say they are going to renovate the entire house for 15k. Well surely they are high or drunk or just big fat liars because that barely got us through the blinking front door! The haemorrhage of savings as been quite something.
48 near divorce moments
It seems that the aforementioned stress and money worries doesn’t come without the knee jerk reaction to take it out on your nearest and dearest. I think renovating a house is akin to having a baby, something that absolutely shouldn’t be considered unless your relationship is as solid as the granite worktop you are about to install! I spoke about the B.R.A (build related aggression) back in June with my ‘what I wish Id known post’ you can catch up here
35000 new followers
Now this is what I find mind boggling. I struggle on a day to day basis to get 5 people to listen to me. I have to ask my kids (and Mr Peach) to pick up their pants, get their coats on and put their bowls in the sink at least 12 times before they consider acting on my requests. Yet, 36 thousand people CHOOSE to listen, like and react to what I post. I distinctly remember my first regram on Insta, I came runner up in the @myhomevibe hashie in Autumn last year and it took me to just over 100 followers, I was bloody delighted. I genuinely smile every time I see that blue notification and appreciate every last one of you lovely lot who take the time to like, comment and support.
2 new Instagram accounts
The Insta crack that I’ve been consuming for the past year has seen me search out more. I’ve been incredibly lucky to meet the fabulous @thisstyle_rocks and @malmo_and_moss with whom I’ve formed the @styleithappy and @nohouserules accounts. The former is a hashtag regram account and the latter a new business venture combining my passions. Interiors, design, booze, socialising and grub. Go have a squizzles
2 days less drilling teeth
As much as I love being elbow deep in blood and spit it has been life changing being able to drop a couple of days of work. Can you imagine 80% of every conversation starting with ‘I hate the dentist’ I mean, how many other professions get that? I’d like a skinny soy latte please but I hate Baristas. I’d like a full head of highlights please but I hate hairdressers, you get the picture right? If I took it to heart I’d be weeping in to my cornflakes every morning.
1 award nomination
I cannot tell you how utterly delighted I was to be nominated for an Amara IBA. To then be shortlisted was a proper Brucey Bonus, a true acknowledgement of just how much work had gone into this renovation. It was also an incredible evening, the venue was gorgeous and I got to meet some of my all time faves whilst pretending to be not at all star struck! (thats you Erica Davies, Pinkhouse and Sophie Robinson) Of course, we all know how this ends. For every winner there has to be losers? yup that’s me alright.
0 awards won 😂
15 new blog posts
Doesn’t sound like much right? Well, there’s a heck of a lot of work that goes into a blog post. I think it’s only a blogger that can read another blog post and truly appreciate the effort that has gone into it.
5 Big interior risks
There isn’t a bone in my body that would have contemplated some of the decisions I’ve made this year. Painting ceilings black, neon fieplaces, black staircase, and a bloody pink bath?? It’s funny how none of these feel at all risky anymore
147 test pots
Love of colour and risk taking comes with one huge downside. The purchase of a crazy number of test pots. I reckon I could build a new house with the amount stacked up in our basement!
4 new addictions
Tiles, wallpaper, hexagons, Instagram. The End.
100 Instagrammers in the Peach Palace
Quite possibly one of the most bat shit mental things that I’ve ever done. Invite 100 strangers into our beloved, brand newly renovated house? Seems crazy right? High chance that there would be at least 2 or 3 crazies? Can you just imagine Mr Peach’s face when I told him. Thankfully my ‘other’ other half Amy aka the rocks to my peach aka @thisstyle_rocks and I were totally in it together. We had the most fantastic evening and we can’t wait to share our incredible plans for the 2018. We would love for you to be involved in. Head to @nohouserules to find out more.
5 business trips
OK, it’s no big deal to a lot of you, business trips are ten a penny. Not to me! My 17 years as a dentist have seen me do the sum total of zero! I’ve not once been wined and dined. I’ve never been asked to submit my expenses and I’m lucky if I get a free tube of toothpaste. This year has seen business and fun combined in one huge package. It’s a huge thrill and an honour when a brand big or small wants to work with you, it’s so exciting to receive those messages. I think it’s bonkers that sponsored content can be frowned upon, surely we should all be proud of what we have achieved, we should feel pretty content that a brand has chosen us and others should see it as affirmation of all of the hard work involved? I’m guessing not so much. I read a cracking blog post recently on being an influencer in 2017. It’s by @annaelerihart and you can read it here
28 new cushions
Yes, yes, I am completely aware that I have an actual problem. You only need to witness the flinging and huffing ritual that goes on round here at bedtime here, absolutely no pun intended! There is no flinging, I’m 2 stone heavier than I’d like to be and more often than not I’m more tired than Rip Van Winkle. The fact is that nobody needs as many soft furnishings as we have here but I genuinely can’t help it. And if it’s velvet there is no chance its escaping the basket!
Countless new friends
I feel genuinely lucky to be able to count a lot of you now as friends. The support and encouragement that the blogging and Insta community offer is crazy. It’s so blummin lovely to meet the faces behind the squares. If you are just starting out and are enjoying it, keep at it! A lot can happen in a few months, you never know what’s round the corner.
And all of this interspersed between the inevitable 1825 nappy changes, 2190 nose wipes, 4380 meal servings and 965 loads of washing that comes with 4 kids who are 7 and under. I’ve not only become the queen of peach but also the master of multitasking and I am beyond excited about what 2018 will bring, watch this space!
I’ll leave you with a montage of my favourite picks of the past year.
Like the majority of you, my Christmas to do list is eye wateringly long. It’s packed full of very important tasks that are yet to be crossed off and if one things for sure it’s that ‘creating a tropical Christmas in the living room’ is definitely not on it! Yet there I was last night hanging hummingbird baubles and arranging pineapples in favour of any type of gift wrapping or cranberry sauce making. You see, this room lends itself to a bit of flamboyance, it’s no shrinking interiors violet with its bold patterns and neon shades. If this room could talk it wouldn’t be asking for foraged twigs and delicate baubles, it wouldn’t be requesting subtle lighting, it would be saying hit me up with a big fat slice of fun Christmas please Mrs Peach. So, I’ve sacrificed the making of the bin lid’s gingerbread house, I’ve come to terms with the fact that 89% of their presents will be purchased from home bargains on Christmas Eve and I’ve plunged head first into a tropical Christmas.
I didn’t have to look too far for inspiration here, the house of Hackney Palm wallpaper is begging to be partnered with something lush and bright and there are already enough animals in here to feel like you’re on safari so the decision was made. So, what did I need to do?
Pimp up the fireplace
There’s nothing that says Christmas more than some festive faffing of the mantle but you can forget your boughs of holly and berries, I wanted to bring on the pineapples and palm leaves. I enlisted the help of @emmatheflorist who did a cracking job of creating something pretty darn special with anthuriums, blue spruce, philodendron leaves, ornamental pineapples, rosehips, and gold glittered willow. These all sit beneath our resident giraffe (I know, I know, giraffes aren’t exactly tropical but give me a break).
Invite some more animals to the party
There are already toucans, giraffes, zebras and parrots residing here but the newest addition comes in the form of this insane hanging monkey lamp from Out There Interiors and I bloody love him! Here he is, just casually hanging out on the fireplace, warming his bum. So far I’ve resisted the pleas from the kids to add a Santa hat but the likelihood of me giving in is directly proportional to the amount of wine I consume. We can safely say they there’s a high chance that primate’s head will be adorned by Christmas Eve!
Christmas just ain’t Christmas without a bit of dangle and I’ve gone for quality over quantity here. Selection of tropical baubles? Who knew that would be easy to source. Check out these decadent beauties from Amara. The kids are under strict instructions to maintain a 2 metre radius from these fellas.
Change it up
To make space for the tree, we had a little change around. Of course Mr Peach was delighted that I asked him to move cabinets at 9pm but I have to say it was totally worth the huff. The drinks trolley has a new home which means easier access #tick and the vintage tv cabinet is now in the right place to actually house the tv. Winner. Lastly, the zebra got candy caned and the cacti got wrapped in lights. Just call me Buddy
Get my twinkle on
If you’d stood still for long enough last night you would have got twinkled. Armed with metres of fairy lights there wasn’t a surface that escaped. Whilst Mr Peach worries about the electric metre ticking over furiously, I’m looking for more surfaces to cover and more cacti to wrap. At Christmas, there is no such thing as too many twinkly lights!
Bling up the bar cart
OK, not so tropical but a necessity nonetheless. I’ve added glitter balls, more ornamental pineapples and more shiny gold stuff than is strictly necessary but hey its Christmas right?
So there you go! Grab your shades, open yourselves a can of lilt and pull up a lounger, it’s all gone a bit tropical in Yorkshire.
A guest blog by @thisstyle_rocks
Following a fabulous day of Christmas styling at The Peach Palace and with our Christmas tastebuds tickled we decided to go again……..I mean who wouldn’t want to spend a Monday night in November creating Christmas over and over. So with our Christmas jumpers back on and mulled wine spilling over on the Aga, Peach and Rocks embarked on their second Christmas challenge set by Rockett St George to style up a Christmas table.
So for this challenge we left the Peach Palace in all its’ festive glory and headed to Residence Rocks – home of Rocks and family to utilise the James Bond of dining tables (more of that later) and show what magic could be created by two stylists from Yorkshire, a fantastic florist & a partridge in a pear tree AKA Jim our dashing and very talented photographer! We were spoilt for choice with some awesome pieces from RSG and styling the table was a breeze with this plethora of goodies. From cracking crockery to glorious glassware and some rather special table adornments we were able to create not one but 3 different table settings.
The results were spectacular and got both Peach & Rocks thinking long and hard about the things that you should never be without at Christmas time whilst sat around the table with your loved ones. So without a backwards cheesy glance , we embarked on creating our 12 do’s of Christmas- the single will be available to download soon!
Now what you should know is that we have 7 children under 13 between us and as such Christmas has a very clear agenda with them in mind. We dream of lengthy Christmas dinners with laughter and pristinely dressed children in various shades of tartan, carols playing softly in the background and a tablecloth in sparkling white and not a hint of spilt gravy. The reality is kids eat their Christmas dinner in the exact same way they eat every other meal- fast and messy! They have very little interest in an amuse bouche, champagne toast or a soup course …..they are looking to pull their crackers, shovel down the turkey, leave the sprouts and come back for a slice of yule log 3 hours later.
So back to the daydream and our 12 do’s that might drag dinner out a little longer than Wednesday night’s fish finger sandwiches.
1. DO lay your table in advance. As we discovered with our RSG styling shoot this is a whole heap of fun so, save some time to savour it and of course to photograph it- this is the best it will ever look. Some Christmas tunes & a glass of something that sparkles are obligatory accompaniments for this job.
2. DO use a tablecloth- this is like the underwear for your table! Would it be fair to assume you would not forget your undergarments to entertain the in-laws on christmas day?! Then dont do it on your table. We used a dark grey linen in one of our tablescapes which served as a lovely background to the black serving platters and matt chrome cutlery. But think outside the box, particularly if you are presented with the aforementioned James Bond table that turns into a snooker table and therefore doesn’t have the dimensions of any shop bought tablecloth. With that in mind we also used a rather lovely silver hide for an interesting alternative.
3. DO hang your decs. This has both a styling and practical advantage. If you can find anyway to suspend your decorations (fishing wire and cable ties would be advisable) it will take your table to new heights- sorry! It creates interest above eye level and creates drama that may get lost on the table. More importantly it frees up space for a bottle or two!
4. DO layers. Layering up your crockery with charger plates is simple but effective- providing a stage for your sprouts and creating those all important layers which any stylist will tell you is top of the Interior tips list.
5. DO use fresh foliage. We were lucky to be joined by the very lovely Emma of @emmatheflorist for this shoot again and the ease with which she creates her masterpieces is incredible. Having fresh flowers on the table feels decadent and luxurious but if the budget wont stretch to preserved beech and hydrangea heads of epic proportions then Emma says “get outside” Go for a walk and a forage and see what you can find…..fallen branches, holly, ivy, branches of fir, wintry herbs such as rosemary & thyme- these have the added advantage of giving you that all important seasonal fragrance too.
6. DO have napkins. This proved controversial on the day of our shoot! The incredibly tactile white linen napkins were not conforming for the photos. You see these rather lovely scrunchy napkins have a mind of their own and prefer not to be folded in any particular way or stay put for the 3 seconds it took for Jim to snap a quick pic. We all agreed that in reality napkins were not only a necessity but created a softness to balance against the cool crockery. Anything goes…..but linen gets our vote
7. DO mix metallics. Silver , gold, brass, copper- the more the merrier. We enjoyed playing with all of these tones. The sparkle of metallics is without compare and brings your table to life. They compliment each other- do not be afraid to mix them up. Your decs will transform from being uniform and sterile too warm and inviting.
8. DO mix glassware- lets face it who has a full set of wine glasses in any shape or design. It is far more likely that you have a set of Ikea back-ups, one half of a wedding gift pair, and a couple of odd glasses that you have not the first clue as to their origin. But the good news is it doesn’t matter. It tells a story and feels somewhat nostalgic to have a variety of interesting glasses around the table.
9. DO make place names- one for the kids perhaps? The place setting is a little work of art! We added some sparkly gems, a small piece of eucalptus but with the kids tucked up in bed there were no place names. Big mistake as this kind of personal touch is really special and makes your table feels authentic and not over-styled- heaven forbid! There is also the added advantage of placing difficult guests in suitable places!
10. DO have candles and lots of them! Tealights, dinner, pillar, votives. It really doesn’t matter and needs little instruction or further details from us. You know it makes sense so just do it! We were both huge fans of the bird feet candlesticks from RSG. They are fun and quirky with that gorgeous metallic thing going on that we all love.
11. DO have table games. This is a strategic move – keep the kids at the table fractionally longer. Everyone loves a cracker but have you considered a christmas quiz, beer pong (maybe later along with truth or dare!) A favourite in the Rocks household is Desert island discs- 3 songs you cannot live without and this also makes for an eclectic playlist if you play the songs as you go along. Cue Bruce Springsteen followed by One Direction and then the Liverpool FC fans’ anthem.
12. DO use fairy lights on your table. String some fairy lights down your table, around the chairs, over Grandma….. the sparkle and twinkle from farity lights is the perfect addition to your Christmas table. What other time of year can you get away with lighting up your table like Blackpool illuminations?! The addition of fairy lights means there is no need for the big light so turn it off and the kids might mistake a vegetable for something they would actually choose to eat!
Most importantly of all have fun- this is the most special of days. This is all the icing on the cake stuff! It is not what is on the table that really matters but the people around it. The biggest DO of the Christmas has to be to enjoy the precious minutes and hours with your loved ones. Put down the phone, turn off the wifi, turn up the tunes and saviour the fun.Peach
Peach & Rocks top RSG picks
We’d also like to share with you the before shot. These are the products that created the whole look, dont ever think you need masses of product to make an impact!
Ding to the actual Dong, if one thing is for certain it’s that we adore Christmas. We also love quirky, original and independent so when Rockett St George asked Peach & Rocks to style the entrance hall of the Peach Palace with a mystery box full of their gorgeous product we were all over it like elves in a pancake factory. You see, this hall was built for Christmas, those Edwardian architects clearly had jingle on their minds when designing this space. A sweeping staircase perfect for a magnificent garland, plenty of floor space for the tree of dreams and even an open fire for the big man himself to make an entrance. This hall can handle all of the Christmas willing to be thrown at it and let’s face it, anything will be an improvement on last year. With 4 kids 6 and under and a renovation project well underway the sum total of the decs around here was a bowl of quality street and an Advent Calendar. At the other end of the seasonal spectrum is Amy AKA Rocks. She is quite literally Queen Christmas, with the ability to decorate to convert even the scroogiest amongst you. Here is Peach vs Rocks Christmas 2016!
So we combined forces for a day of festive festooning slash a great excuse for a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie!
One of the most exciting things about this project was having absolutely no idea what we were being sent, a total surprise and RSG did not disappoint. With Buble playing in the background and a hot chocolate in hand (only marginally too early for mulled wine), we set about tearing open the packages. I am totally convinced that we were more excited opening those boxes than we will be on the 25th (no doubt having to feign excitement opening socks). They were packed full of gorgeous product with two distinct styles. Playful and kitsch for the sideboard styling, coupled with gold and glam for the tree and fireplace. Once our pulses had lessened and the bubble wrap had settled we were off!
Hands up if you love glitter? Hands up if you love cute and colour? Well this little vignette is for you. Think unicorns, tactile trees and metallic pin wheels, they’re all there along with some foraged sticks from the garden that were wrestled from the dog’s jaws by Emma. Lets skirt around the fact that the doors definitely cannot open without destroying the woodland scene above and lets just enjoy the prettiness of it all.
One tree two ways
RSG sent a beautiful selection of gold tree decorations which totally popped against the black of the faux tree that we were using. We coupled these with some beautiful gold leaf and flower garlands enough fairy lights to warrant a re-wire and copious amounts of delicious smelling eucalyptus and fir branches
We also couldn’t resist having a play around with the most beautiful honeycombs and glitter ball lights too. Too much, Whatever!! we don’t think there is anything that cant be improved by the addition of a honeycomb. Whilst we are on the subject can we just talk about wine? This wine is my new favourite, you can keep your Marlborough Sauvignons and your Pinot Noirs, this wine-coloured honeycomb is our new best friend. Who knew that this colour would look so delicious in this room. Its actually made me rethink the whole scheme in here. Santa, expect a wine coloured velvet chair right at the top of my list this year.
Thinking outside the Christmas box
Now we love a Christmas tree, whether it be real or artificial but we wanted to create something different. Somewhere to showcase decorations that required limited space, money and time. In limps Miriam @themizzknits who in the space of 10 minutes had knitted us a Christmas tree. Yes, you heard right, a knitted tree! After catching her and her broken ankle climbing on a chair to hang it we promptly took over. I know she’s my friend but where there’s blame there’s a claim and all that. Here you have it, a 2D budget friendly tree alternative that enables you to truly showcase your baubles and not a dropped needle in site.
Miraculously we ended up with not only a little bit of time to spare but also the incredible florist @emmatheflorist at hand so it would have been rude not to tackle the stairs right? Emma worked her botanical wizardry with sweeping eucalyptus, fern and foraged branches and we threw some fun at it in the shape of disco balls, honeycombs, glitter ball string lights globes and the obligatory snuggly blanket. It all turned out pretty peachy and smelt delicious too which was a real bonus.
Peach & Rocks RSG top picks.
Naturally, both of us wanted to keep absolutely everything! Here is a list of our absolute favourites, just click on the image to shop the look.
Top Tips For Christmas Styling Your Home
- Christmas lighting. Its all about creating the perfect ambience at Christmas, so get ready to turn those overhead light off! Pack the room with candles and wrap fairy lights high and low
- Mixed Metallics. Chuck em all in, golds, silvers, brass, bronze, all in a big festive melting pot.
- Layer it up. Decorate on all levels, use objects at different heights so that there is always a treat for the eye
- Seasonal scents. The obvious choice is candles and there are some beautiful Christmas scented ones but they can get pricey. There are loads of ways to make your room smell festive, our personal favourite is to get the mulled wine on (obvs) but you can find more ideas here
- Bring the outside in. Forage in the garden or in the woods, branches, pine cones, greenery, the more the actual merrier. Who cares about the spiders!
- Have Fun! First and foremost enjoy it. Don’t get hung up on it being too styled, matchy or instaworthy, grab a glass of something you love, pop some Mariah on and feel relaxed in the knowledge that your house is unlikely to be the best dressed on Instagram but it will be full of happiness.
Thank you Rockett St George, we had a cracking day and can’t wait to share with you part 2 which is our day of table styling. Watch this space.
As far as the day went……
- Number of mince pies consumed 6
- Number of times we heard The Fairytale of New York 3
- Number of outfit changes by Amy 2
- Number of where there’s blame there’s a claim law suits avoided 1
- Number of expletives used during globe and pin wheel hanging, too many!
- Number of glasses of mulled wine consumed, not enough! pesky school pick up
- Number of laughs, countless.
A HUGE thank you to Jim Poyner for the amazing photos, and copious amounts of experience and patience. Some of you may recognise him form the @nohouserules event. Please do check his website out and remember to please credit if you use any pictures.
I’ve mentioned recently on Insta that I’ve lost my BloJo, my blogging mojo is mysteriously absent. I’ve been searching for it and it dawned on me, the best place to look is where it all started, the force behind it all. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the room where it all began, the room that spawned the gigantic mortgage and the verging on unhealthy interiors obsession. The room that yelled ‘buy me, buy me’ and sucked us well and truly down that property sink hole. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you our hall.
As we walked up the crazy paving path to the Peach Palace we had no idea what lay behind that red front door and what it would do to us. It was like a property punch in the face. Despite being peach (obvs) the hallway was jaw droppingly incredible, they just don’t make halls like that anymore. Panelling, ceiling height, parquet floor and a cheeky fireplace tucked around the corner THIS was what did it. We stood there for longer than we should have done in total silence, I was mentally working out where the Christmas tree would go, Mr Peach was no doubt working out how much the heating bill would go up by but that was it, hook, line and sinker. I’ll admit, standing in that hall I felt 50% Hyacinth Bucket and 50% vicar of Dibley but I just knew that I could do incredible things with that room. I was also 100% sure that this room would host legendary parties.
So, what did it look like? Imagine if you will an explosion on a peach plantation, sprinkle on some velour, candelabras and swags and tails, dab it behind the ear with a bit of foist and you’ve got the picture. But it was the panelling that really got to me, depsite its prolific peachiness it just rocked. Id never really been a fan of panelling, that was until I saw this room. Obviously it was never going to stay peach so inspiration was required. Cue hours of pinning and insta stalking which culminated in this mood board
As I’ve mentioned before, there is a sliver of my heart which belongs entirely to House of Hackney, it’s my go to brand for bold wallpaper. I wanted to keep some tradition in this room, a nod to its heritage so using Blackthorn, the William Morris collaboration with House of Hackney print was a no brainer. I used Blackthorn black which has accents of yellow and maroon but there is also a teal print which is equally as gorgeous. I adore the almost skull like pattern. I wont lie though, hanging it sent Geoffrey our decorator into a sweaty panic. There were a few bum clenching moments when it became apparent that he definitely hadn’t read the HoH hanging instructions but thankfully there was a happy ending. One thing I can guarantee is that Geoffrey will not be agreeing to put up any fancy paper any time soon.
Deleting the peach was obviously top of my agenda and the Blackthorn lends itself perfectly to a grey. As much as I love the dark side I felt a softer grey an ideal match and being more familiar with the farrow and ball colour chart than I am with my kid’s birthdays I knew immediately that Manor House Grey was the colour to go for. The stairs took slightly stronger persuasion tactics on the other half as I chose Pitch Black, again by F&B but coupled with the All White of the stairs it totally works.
This is where we hit the renovation jackpot, the three bars gloriously lined up and spat out restoration gold chips in the form of the original parquet floor. It came complete with inlaid block border and the heel indentations of a thousand party goers, it was perfect and needed zero alterations. What we did need to change was the stair carpet which was a hideous shade of rotten peach and had been vacced almost through to the underlay. I knew that it had to be a stripe and I knew it was monochrome but everyone around me considered me crackers when I chose for it to be whipped in bright yellow. Who cares if I get sick of the yellow, I can change that colour at any point.
It’s a big old space this hallway so it needed a few key pieces to do it justice. At no point did I think a pair of pins with a prolific bush would be one of those yet here Lola stands, resplendant and proud of her lady garden. She is by Zoe Pocock from MucknBrass and I blummin love her! She stands proudly next to my Atkin & Thyme telephone table which I picked up on eBay for a right steal. On the opposite wall is some furniture which has served us well over the years, it’s not my perfect sideboard (that resides just down the road at @oakwoodvintage ) but it hides copious amounts of wrapping paper, sellotape and half burnt tea lights and it fits the space a treat.
So that just leaves the insanely important issue of lighting, the majority of which has been sorted by my dream team of @lovefrankiedotcom and @lisalampshades. Jo from Love Frankie was responsible for making over what we refer to as the ‘big bastard’, a fitting that I absolutely despised when we moved in. As time passed the beast grew on me so instead of heading for the scrapyard, I embraced its beastliness and challenged Jo to save it. As always, she did me reet proud as us Northeners would say and she smashed it right this decade with some croc skin, liquid gold lining and fringing. Yes its still a bit wonky and yes the dusting issue is a nightmare but the big bastard deserves to be there, he’s been lighting up his residents and guests for goodness knows how long and I reckon he’s happy to still be doing so.
Now step into the arena the fabulous @lisalampshades who can turn any raggedy unloved shade into a masterpiece. We put our heads together on this one and came up with a design for the stairwell which involved 4 vintage shades recovered and hung staggered in a spiral with lighting accessories from @dowsingandreynolds. She also whipped me up a HoH floorlamp in Blackthorn velvet. Last but not least add a saucy little BHS number and that’s the lighting all ticked off
So there we have it, the transformation of the room that gave us that unscratchable itch, the one that put the fire in our bellies and made us convince ourselves that the stonking mortgage was worth the squeeze. I think we were right.
There are a lot of walls here in the Peach Palace, high ones, wide ones, ones that when we walked in were crying out to be treated right. OK, we bashed the crap out of loads of them but once we’d lovingly put them back together we were faced with acres of blank space that quite frankly terrified me. When designing each room, without realising it my starting point was always wallpaper, not a specific colour, not a statement piece of furniture, just a pattern that I loved. Pattern simply makes me happy and one thing is for sure, I’m not scared of it.
The dedicated and determined wallpaper junkie I’ve become has seen me furiously pinning, trawling and spending a fortune on interiors mags all in the pursuit of the perfect papers. As with most of lifes problems, it’s clearly my mothers fault. As a small child, I vividly remember being dragged around Sanderson interiors shops where my mum would hunt through heavy wallpaper books. This was the only way to choose then, now we are so lucky to have such a vast selection literally at our fingertips. One google search will throw you whatever print your heart desires and enable you to easily set your colour, deign and price parameters. I’m going to share with you my absolute favourites of the wallpaper world, 10 of my best. Some of which I’ve used on our precious walls, and some of which I know I’ll be using once I can convince Mr Peach that its time to decorate again……
I’m putting HoH first because quite honestly, if they disappeared I would cry. I would cry those big ploppy snivelly tears that you just cant stop because their prints are my BFFs. There isn’t one that I don’t adore and if I was a willowy size 6 I would dress entirely in their clothes to totally blend in with my wallpaper. Unfortunately I’m size chub so don’t feel that I could quite pull off the same look that HoH are going for, hey ho, in a different life maybe.
I have used HoH in our lounge, hall and in the bedroom, THATS how much I love it.
First up is our lounge in Palmeral Midnight
Our bedroom in Tulipa Pewter
And our hall in Blackthorn Black
If you want some passion in your paper then look no further than Woodchip & Magnolia. Nina the founder has ink running through her veins, she was born for this shizzle and I reckon that there aint a thing that she doesn’t know about the wallpaper game. Gloriously she is also from the North which I totally salute and champion. We have used the Monstera print is green and pink but there are heaps of delicious prints to choose from.
I’ve used an oldie but goodie in Toby Peach’s room. The request for a Blaze & The Monster Machine room was well and truly ignored and I sweet talked him into a camping room knowing full well that the chances of me actually taking him camping were pretty non existent. This left me feeling pretty smug and pretty awful in equal measures. Of course Cole and Son are one of the UK’s wallpaper powerhouses so you could take your pick of beauties but of course I was going to get this one, its called Woods for goodness sake!
Pax & Hart
This is one of the most incredible prints you’ll ever clap your peepers on. The more I look the more I see, I mean badgers, mixed with jellyfish, who knew that would work. It’s a paper that will grow with the littlest Peach for years. Pax & Hart don’t actually make the paper themselves, this Australian artist collaborated with Jimmy Cricket to produce this beauty. I sourced this from Scandiminis
NLXL is a Netherlands based company who have collaborated with Piet Hein Eek, Piet Boon and Paris based store Merci to produce a stunning high end line of wallpaper. I have used the Brooklyn tins paper in our Peach powder room which has no repeat, I repeat, NO REPEAT! Its a bad decorators dream! More gorgeous effect prints too, concrete, marble and one of my favourites, scrapwood.
Oh Lisa, how I heart thee! For your sake its a good job that you live all the way over in that there Sweden because if you lived nearby I suspect I would follow you to the corner shop and ask you to be my friend. There isn’t a pattern that you have designed that I don’t adore and I know that I will use your paper somewhere in the PP. I very nearly chose the frames wallpaper for our study and the turtles wallpaper would look incredible in my bathroom. Lisa also stocks some gorgeous very well priced accessories, the human dog plates are insane.
If you’re not familiar with Timorous Beasties then you are clearly being held in a bunker somewhere against your will. Hold tight, I’ll send help. Seriously though, TB should be donning the wallpaper crown as the paper they produce will have you drowning in your own drool pool. I guess you always know its a bit posh when its called a wallcovering rather than a wallpaper but I have to admit, it’s totally deserving of a more upmarket title. My all time faves are the Kaleido Splatt and the Kaleido Block but I would totally consider selling a kid for the new Storm Blotch paper and fabric.
Rebecca Loftus designs a small selection of bright, bold in your face prints. They are totally ‘right now’ and I would happily live side by side any of them.
I’ll admit to being quite taken to the idea of removable paper, peel on, peel off a la Mr Miyagi. Of course it helps that they have the most cracking selection of prints AND that shipping to the Uk is pretty simples.
Sweet baby cheeses, we got bold colours, we got botanicals, we got insanely cute animals with big doe eyes. What is not to like? I wanna wrap myself up in a big witch and watchman blanket, lock the bin lids out and have me a big fat G&T (or perhaps more aptly a can of lilt).
The observant among you will notice that this is actually number 11. Come on, give me a break, you cant expect a full on paper addict to just pick 10 so I’m sneaking in Sandberg, another Swedish company as a little extra because I know you’ll thank me for it.
So, be bold, be brave, have the courage to take on the pattern and win because if walls could talk I honestly don’t reckon that they would be asking to be bathed in plain paint, they’d be begging to be wrapped in a big colourful blanket of pattern.
Images C/O Chasing paper NYC, NLXL, Lisa Bengtsson. Timorous Beasties, The Loft & Us, The Witch & Watchman and Sandberg
There are a number of things that were unplanned in this renovation. The most significant of which was going so far over budget that cereals all round as an evening meal has become quite acceptable. I certainly never planned a secret room yet here we are 9 months later with quite possibly my favourite feature.
Doors were quite some issue when we moved in, as in the sheer obnoxious excess of them, 27 in total and some of them entirely pointless. Doors to get to doors and doors linking bedrooms for example. Now, I love my kids but there is absolutely no reason why I would want to make it easier for them to poke their grubby fingers in my face at 4 am. Wherever possible the pointless slash redundant slash odd doors were blocked up giving me one less reason to yell at my kids for not putting wood in th’ole. Having gone a bit bricking up crazy our study (which used to be the pantry) lost both its entry from the kitchen and it’s exit into the living room. Small problem, we need a door. Cue eye rolling and pen tapping all round. We had enough of them to put back in, it’s just I had no interest in looking at another one.
Channelling my inner Miss Moneypenny, the idea of a secret door was knocked into the mix. Clearly Mr Peach having always fancied himself a touch Bond (I reckon he’s more waft of milk tray man) was on board and our poor joiner Steve’s job description evolved from prolific paneller to actual superhero. How he has made it work I have no idea. He turned up one day in his batmobile (i kid you not he has an actual batman van). He was armed with wood and some tools and somehow he created this.
And here hidden away lies our study. I’m not going to lie, there is very little studying that goes on in this small room. In fact I’m thinking of renaming it the ‘hide’ because that is mostly what I’m doing when I’m in there. I have been known to shut myself in there with a toffee crisp, a cuppa and some fancy earplugs and ignore the bin lids demands for dairylea dunkers and CBeebies. It’s also incredibly impractical, the littlest Peach’s favourite game is ‘smashing all the lovely stuff on the bottom shelf’ meaning that those shelves remain particularly bare at ankle biter level. I will unashamedly admit it though, I think it’s really bloody cool and when the coolest thing I do is get the fish fingers out, I’m embracing this feature with every bone in my body!
The study itself is another one of those rooms I wasn’t afraid of going bold in. It actually all started with the desk. Incidentally, it was using the #desk that got me shadow banned on Instagram, who knew that was one of the saucier hashtags! I found this reclaimed beauty on gumtree from a guy in Doncaster who was obsessed with restoring vintage steel furniture. I’m suspecting he was single due to his actual aroma of metal but this guy had a passion, one that I was willing to take full advantage of.
Upon delivery of the desk he just so happened to have a stash of vintage lockers in the depths of his van. There wasn’t a chance I was going to let him go without leaving one so I traded him some old metal pigeon holes and some fruit cake as part payment and he was off. Filling a teeny room with metal required the softness of velvet and this frame chair from Made.com topped with a cowboykate sheepskin ticked all the boxes
My ability to kill any living plant within hours had me looking at different ways to satisfy my need for botanicals in this room. There are some incredible bold leafy prints out there but this one from Woodchip and magnolia fulfilled my foliage requirements a treat and scratched my green itch with zero need for watering.
There is still plenty to fill this room with, I guess priority would be filling it with work but when all your doing in here is ignoring your kids and daydreaming you’re Miss Moneypenny then there’s really no point? I’ll put some sensible stuff in here soon. A printer, a few biros but until then I’ll just make do with a toffee crisp.
When you live with a colour for a while it kind of gets under your skin, you absorb it, it enters your pores like a dose of smog and clings to you. That’s what’s happened with peach, it’s found a small place deep within and left it’s peachy imprint all over my vital organs. There wasn’t a chance that I could delete it entirely, there was always a plan to keep a shrine to the Palace’s peachy past and it didn’t take long to work out where that was going to be.
Amidst all of the fifty shades of peach tut, the swags, the carpets, the wall lights and the panelling lay an absolute peach of a find. Like an oversized treasure chest, the downstairs bog housed a complete gem. An incredible marble sink in the perfect shade of, you guessed it, peach. Now, I know I was wrong but initially I hated this monstrosity. My confused mind was distracted by the mother load of 80’s going on around it. Other than the sink there was nothing instagrammable about this room, in fact it committed a number of interior crimes, the worst of which was a hideous green deep pile carpet. Permeated by countless particles of pensioners pee, this was quickly disposed which left the sink to shine in all its glory and ignite a little spark from within. Thus the peach powder room was born.
Sacrificially, the room gave up its only natural light source (its window) to the beast of an extension to its rear so the first problem to tackle was the light. Mr Peach campaigned for the ‘painting it white’ approach to adding brightness whereas I was keen to embrace the dark. What’s the point in painting a room white when it will only reflect the dark and be dull. There was less than no discussion before I just bought the Farrow & Ball Pitch Black and told the decorator to get jiggy and paint out the woodwork too.
The whole concept of the room hinged around an epic nod to the peach. It was utterly not enough to just paint part of it a colour, I needed a statement pattern on the walls, the ceilings were high and the room could totally take it. Those of you that have ever searched ‘peach’ on wallpaper direct (and I’m guessing it’s not the sites most popular search term) will know that the results are pretty darned sparse and so I had to spread my search wings wide. Four beauties made it to the shortlist, flamingos from wallpaper direct, Brooklyn tin tiles from house of Sloane, terrazo from Daniela tasca and Versailles from Cole and Son.
The Brooklyn tins took the gold medal due to its perfect position on the peach side of pink and its marriage to Pitch Black required a threesome flooring match. This came in the form of the kimono tile from marakech design a saucy monochrome hexagonal number that only good old Ned was brave enough to tackle.
Now, I bloody love Ned but thank the interior Lord that I posted this sneaky update on Instagram because imagine if I hadn’t? A whopper of a thank you to @louise10heart for spotting the Ned slip up here pre grouting! Can you imagine how crazy annoying that would have been if it had gone unnoticed!? I began to seriously reconsider Ned’s previous upgrade of biscuit from a bourbon to a cookie!
The ceiling I chose to paint out in peach although this came under the disguise of heirloom apricot from Valspar, a decision which caused the very sharp intake of breath from our decorator. It brings me back to what I harp on at all the time, if it doesn’t work or you hate it you can paint over it, it’s that simple. Live a little folks!
Then came the exciting part, the lighting and in a room with no windows, it’s truly important. Those of you that follow my Instagram will know that I’m rather partial to a touch of neon. Actually I lie, to me there is no space that cant be improved with a dash of it. I’m obsessed and would have a subtle flash of it in everywhere if my budget allowed. Thankfully I raided the bin lid’s piggy bank whilst they were sleeping and put it toward quite frankly one of my all time favourite pieces within these walls. My ridiculously cute neon peach from Bag & Bones a light that makes you feel like you’re OUT out on a big night even when you’re simply doing you’re early morning business. It’s pretty much like I always feel that whatever time of day it is, this mildly middle aging body is totally working it and perpetually ready to fire out a twerk or two. Disclaimer, by firing out a twerk I totally mean creaking whilst gingerly elevating myself from the throne on the way to the kettle and the biscuit tin (via a handwash at the peach marble sink obvs).
As much as I love neon, it needs a little sensible lighting to add to its mix which meant a trip to my ‘go to’ lighting destination. I adore Yorkshire and one of the reasons I do is the amazing Red Brick Mill. This huge converted mill houses some of the Norths most stylish interiors concessions which includes a Heals (the only one North of London). As much as I want to keep this info to myself I feel it’s time to share. This concession has THE most amazing bargain lighting department, it seems there is always a Tom Dixon bargain to be had which I have taken complete advantage of. These gorgeous cell lights were bought for a fraction of their full price and they cast amazing patterns next to the rose tinted junk shop find mirror. To compliment the rest of the lighting the room needed a statement pendant. This gorgeous beaded chandelier was from Debenhams and I think it does a rather lovely job of well, shedding light and holding its own in a rather loud room.
A few faux botanicals and a ‘peachy’ print from Atelier Big Jon complete the room and that my friends is just about it. I get that this space is pretty marmite, I understand that you’ll either love it or hate it but if you can’t go bold in one of the smallest rooms in the house then where can you?
So, after banishing the colour from every other room, I’m safe in the knowledge that when pantone announce Peach as colour of the year (which in my totally under qualified opinion I’m predicting btw) I at least have this one to hang out in.
I’ve never been a trend setter, the one that stands out, nor have I been that person with the enviable style. The past 39 years have seen me very comfortable nestled well and truly within the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had my talents. In my younger years that included just about getting away with wearing purple Doc Martens and an army jacket. I also managed to vaguely rock the natural curl pre the invention of frizz ease although looking back on photos of myself I’m not quite sure I pulled these off as well as I remember.
More recently there are quite a few things I’ve found myself insanely good at, these include
Being at least 12 minutes late for everything. Having a permanent snot/food/unidentifiable substance stain on my left shoulder and not being able to do the top button on my jeans. I’m also great at only dressing in supermarket bought clothes and not turning heads.
In total contrast I grew up with a mother that oozed style and effortless glamour. Whether it be fashion or interiors she just knew how to work it.
Seriously, imagine growing up with a glamazon like 👆🏻as a mum.
What I’m trying to say is that I’ve found this small sprinkling of insta interest quite a shock. When I started my Instagram account less than a year ago it was purely an outlet for me to document the enormous Peachy project we were undertaking. A bit like a baby’s memory book but for bricks and mortar. And dust, lots of dust. I never thought it would be popular and I certainly didn’t think I’d be bothered about the opinions of strangers. I never imagined that the affirmation of people I’d never met would matter. It turns out that it totally does because you know what, it’s given me all kinds of happy feels.
The interiors insta community is the next level in positivity, something which I feel is missing from other social media platforms. On the whole, if you’ve nothing nice to say on Instagram, nothing is said at all. Encouragement and support is overflowing and the amount that I have received has been incredible. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like most days I’m just winging it. This applies to most apsects of my life but with no interior design training or experience, in the interiors world I quite literally have NO idea what I’m doing. What Instagram has done is given me the confidence to do whatever the heck I feel like. A few years ago there is no way I would have clashed patterns and painted woodwork dark, not a chance I would have rescued old furniture from skips or paint a room with no windows black, yet here I am, interiors obsessed and totally confident in following my own path. Here are a few examples of interiors decisions I would never had made B.I. (before insta).
So I now find myself in this strange position, just outside the crowd and nowhere near as uncomfortable as I thought I’d be. People are actually reading what I’m writing and liking what I’m showing and I’m not going to lie, that feels great! I am so grateful for this amazing community that we have and I genuinely do a happy dance every time anybody likes, comments or messages. For any of you questioning your posts or your style please don’t. Whatever your style you will find your tribe, the people who will love what you do, go for it! Paint you walls whatever shade makes you feel happy, surround yourself with quirks that floats your boat, hell even paint it floor to ceiling peach if you like, we want to see it. who knows where it will take you………..
As always, thanks for reading (still cant believe anybody does) if you’ve enjoyed it I would greatly appreciate a cheeky little vote for the Amara IBA awards just click here