Wednesday, 19 April 2017
Embrace your inner blue: the colour of trust, dignity & serenity
So, colour can be a bit confusing at times, can’t it? If (like us) you’re a reader of the interiors magazines, you’ll know that they are wonderfully full of advice on what’s in, and what’s out, and colour is always part of the mix. As you’ll know from our Edits & Trends page, Pantone (the international experts on colour), have declared a shade of green (aptly called ‘Greenery’ by them) as their colour of the year for 2017. And we love it. But we’re also really excited to see that Dulux, the UK’s leading paint brand, have gone for Denim Drift as their favourite colour for the year. Here’s three things that we LOVE about blue (they’re a bit random, but that’s the way we think!):
1) The sea is blue! Well, we had to start with that one, as TCH Towers is located on an amazing little island right at the bottom of the UK called Hayling Island;
2) Robins, our favourite winter bird, lay blue eggs;
3) The petals of hydrangeas can cleverly turn blue, or change away from blue, depending upon the soil they’re planted in.
Other things that we all know and love about blue include its association with peace, infinity (perhaps from the sky as well as the oceans), calmness and relaxation. Of course, it’s also the colour of jeans, which brings us neatly back to Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2017, Denim Drift. Here it is below (the first colour), teamed up with other suggestions from the Dulux palette:
If you decide to embrace your inner blue and re-decorate a room this year, we can help out with some great co-ordinating accessories. We’re big on blue! From bowls to vases, jugs to ornaments. Take a look below and see if anything takes your fancy:
And later in the spring, we’ll be posting a blog or two about our favourite use of blue – our new nautical collection. Watch this space for more information.
Before you go, if you’re seriously thinking of putting brush to wall over Easter or beyond, here are few colour updates from the interiors magazines that we thought you might like to see: House Beautiful colour trends; Ideal Home living room colour schemes; House & Garden ideas on how to decorate with colour (scroll down their page for some great images of feature walls).
Happy decorating from all at The Contemporary Home x
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Blush & Grey: The hottest new colour-combo…
From Gisela Graham to Farrow & Ball (with their gorgeously named paints from Radicchio to Mole’s Breath), everyone seems to have a favourite grey at the moment, and the trendiest amongst us are teaming it with beautiful blush (that’s a pink anywhere from baby to a subtle mid-tone, but nothing too garish!)
Grey, it would seem, is the new magnolia…but don’t be put off! It’s so much classier, versatile and edgy than off-white, and comes in amazing shades from barely-there neutrals through the mid-tones to dark charcoals. Using blush home accessories to give a pop of warmth, or alternating wall colours between the two, instantly provides a modern twist that’s the talk of the town at the moment.
As usual, don’t take our word for it! Check out these ideas for grey home décor from Ideal Home, and blush home décor at Pinterest. And when you’re ready to take the plunge, whether it be a blush and grey bedroom or a totally new lounge, top it off with any of our beautiful co-ordinating blush and grey home accessories. Enjoy!
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Pull on your boots for National Gardening Week…
Launched six years ago by the Royal Horticultural Society, National Gardening Week takes place this April between the 10th-16th. We absolutely love it! It’s the ideal opportunity to round up a few friends, neighbours or the kids (during the first week of the Easter hols!) and get out into the garden to begin the big clean-up after the winter. Check out their great dedicated website here and get inspired. There are scores of events taking place all around the UK, from digging and tidying in community gardens to meeting gardeners at RHS venues. We particularly like the ideas for the garden and garden design page on the website, which gives ‘How to…’ tips on everything from building a compost café to planting a green roof.
Whatever you do, everyone at The Contemporary Home hopes you have a great time outdoors in the fresh air.
Thursday, 23 March 2017
Have a happy, hippity, hoppy Easter!
We’re virtually hopping with excitement at TCH towers now that Easter is only a few weeks away. We love all the funny one-liners, like ‘somebunny loves you’ and ‘why not put all your eggs in one basket?’ (Sadly, they appeal to our somewhat dubious sense of humour!) But, we especially can’t wait for the food and, of course, the Easter decorations.
Did you know that the practice of decorating egg shells as part of a spring time ritual dates back to Africa over 60,000 years ago? We didn’t!
Well, none of the egg-y bits festooned around the office (and soon to be added to our homes) are that old, but to us - they’re pretty special!
Sticking with eggs for the moment, a great thing to do at Easter (and which you might have done at school years ago) is to paint a few eggs. You can hard boil them (but please do remember to throw them away a few days later as they definitely begin to pong!) or if you’re really going to be clever, teach yourself how to blow out the insides (there are several ‘how to…’ sites online.) When it comes to the decoration part, check out Pinterest for some colourful inspiration or do a general search online. There's so much you can do with the humble hen’s egg! If you’d rather not use the real thing, then try a Paint Your Own Easter Egg Kit and experiment to your heart’s desire.
So, if Christmas is all about ‘eat, drink and be merry’, then Easter is ‘eat, drink and be outside’ in our books. The weather’s usually OK by then, with spring well in evidence, and we love taking walks, seeing lambs, and generally brushing away the cobwebs. Getting outside is also the best way we know of digesting all the food and drink we intend to consume! If you’re the same, then check out the National Trust website for some great things to do with the whole family, from lambing, to rock-pooling, racing ducks and sitting around campfires! Everything’s designed around leaving the screens at home, which couldn’t be better in our opinion.
Back to the theme of hippity, hoppy Easter - it really wouldn’t be Easter without a rabbit or two and we’re really excited to be selling one of the best ever bunny-related (loosely!) decorations this year – our Set of Three Easter Carrot Decorations! They’re super realistic, humorous and a bit ‘alternative’, but we absolutely love them. If you have time, check out the gorgeous matching garland and embroidered cushion too.
If you’re still unsure of what to do at Easter, then heading into the garden is never a bad idea. Obviously, being Easter, you MUST have an egg hunt – it’s virtually compulsory! Even for adults. And - if you’re watching the waistline, or just don’t like chocolate (!), then you can hide anything you like, such as hens' eggs, painted pebbles or even carrots. The one who finds the most still needs to get a special prize though, chocolate or not!
And finally, back to the food! We’re never 100% sure what to cook for lunch on Easter Day itself (it always seems a bit harsh for it to be lamb). But we were talking about it in the office yesterday, and the one thing we all agreed on was there needs to be cake! So, after a bit of note-swapping, here are links to our top three favourite Easter cakes: The wonderful Duck Egg Sponge Cake; the beautiful Lemon & Blueberry Drizzle Cake; and the deliciously choclatey Easter Egg Nest Cake.
From everyone at The Contemporary Home, have a wonderful Easter x
Monday, 20 March 2017
…Because not every Mum’s the same!
So, yesterday we were working with a great photographer and stylist on Christmas images (yes, we know it’s only March!) and, as you do over lunchtime sandwiches, we got talking about what we’re doing for Mother's Day on Sunday March 26th. Some of us are mums ourselves, so we live in hope! But when it came to our own mum (or mum-in-law, or even grandmother in one case) we were a little stumped on how to make it truly special (and different from last year!) Flowers and chocolates are lovely, but was there more we could be doing?
One thing became super clear as we chatted - not every mum is the same! And this thought then set us off discussing all the things we could do/make or buy for our mums that are fun/pretty and/or unique to her. So, because we like sharing, here are the top six things we came up with yesterday (and feel free to use any or all of the ideas for your own lovely mum):
1) Don’t just say you’re going to make her breakfast in bed, do it! And make something she really loves – for example, if she’s a bit on the fiery side, spice up the scrambled eggs in some way. (For inspiration, check out Nigella’s amazing Mexican Scrambled Eggs – it’s the best there is if she likes chilli!)
2) Make her a card. OK, you’re probably well over the age of ten, but nothing spells ‘I love you’ more than taking the time to actually make something for her. And if you really don’t have the imagination or ability, buy her one that’s a little less ordinary, such as our Amazing Mum Keepsake Card. (It comes with a detachable heart.)
3) Make her a little booklet of Mother’s Day coupons. If you did this as a child, you probably put in things like ‘wash car for mum’ or ‘tidy my room for mum’, and she cashed each one in when she wanted (needed!) it the most. But as an adult, and depending upon what your mum likes doing, why not offer to ‘take mum for lunch’ or ‘go to the garden centre with mum’ or even ‘buy mum a bottle of Prosecco’!
4) Frame a memory. In the digital world, we don’t often look at family photos. So why not buy a great frame and select a picture that she will cherish. Or, if you’re a bit more creative, make a collage of photos on a board. And hang it up for her if she wants you to!
5) Book a traditional Sunday lunch or afternoon tea. The thing about this is, she doesn’t have to cook herself! And if you’re a mum, you’ll really appreciate it. And, of course, you can always supplement the meal with a special Mother's Day gift that you’ve carefully selected to suit her perfectly. Whatever you do for your mum on the day, we hope you all have the best time ever. Go on, spoil her rotten – she deserves it!
6) If your mum's into gardening, then some great garden presents that you could give her are garden themed chocolates or a personalised fork and trowel gift set. Wonderful moments are created in the garden too so we think your mum will love these gifts!
Happy Mother's Day from The Contemporary Home.
Saturday, 24 December 2016
Get the message across with Slogan inspired gifts
Slogans, they’re everywhere! On billboards, sprawled across buses, flashing up on our computer screens and flooding our social media accounts. But don’t be fooled! These slogans can enter into our subconsciousness more than we give them credit for and not all slogans are created equally.
Here at the contemporary home we positively love a good slogan, just as long as they're just that; a positive and feel good slogan to help motivate us through the day. So much so is our penchant for emotive words that we plaster our office with them and pretty well anything else that's in our possession. Wallets, bags, signs and even cases for our glasses, the use of a slogan stamp in our world has no limits! So we thought is only fair of us to share a few of our favourite pieces with you, so that you too can have constant reminders throughout your day of just how awesome life is and how much you totally rock it!
Slogans for me
L'Oréal coined the perfect slogan in their advertising campaign Because I’m worth it! And us girls in the office really couldn’t argue with that. That's why we’re addicts for self affirming confidence boosting slogans that let all you independent women out there know that you really are worth it every time you see one of these fun products.
Messages for a Beauty queen
If you know someone for whom Retail therapy is the answer then we have a whole host of fun slogan bearing beauty accessories to spur your gal or puss on through her day. This fun makeup bag reminds us that It’s not easy looking this good, or maybe this pink Time for the war paint makeup bag would be more to your best friends humour? And our beauty slogans don't just stop at makeup bags. We've also got fun beauty accessories such as thing fun compact mirror for your handbag telling us that we’re looking good, as if we needed reminding!
Slogans for special occasions
Here at The Contemporary Home we are very aware that No great story ever started with someone drinking water. God knows we’ve had enough office parties to know that what happens at TCH towers stays at TCH towers once the Christmas party fizz starts flowing! That’s why we think these fun slogan inscribed gifts such as our keepsake hip flask or My dreams, regimes and mischievous schemes notebook, make the perfect gift for hen parties, wedding favours or milestone birthdays. Why not accompany them with a bottle of your friends favourite tipple in the case of the hip flask, or some cheeky bubbles with the notebook to really bring out the mischievous side of the celebration.
So whatever the occasion and whether you're buying for yourself or for a loved one, surrounding yourself with feel good words can never be faltered. Sometimes all it takes is to bring out our funny motivational slogan on our purse, when we’re stuck in a an endless queue or have been caught in the rain, to bring a bit of sunshine to our life and remind us of good people and good times. And if all else fails just remember; Life is short...buy the shoes!
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
Botanical inspiration for your home
The age old study of Botanics can be traced back as far as medieval Europe and the Physic gardens which were used to develop medicinal herbs. In the 17th century botanical gardens began displaying the various imports from across the new colonies. Whilst the 18th century saw plant classification and taxonomy and the trend for economic botany flourishing at the likes of Royal Kew gardens.
To be enjoyed as much as a scientific and educational endeavour as a pleasurable pastime, Botany has left with it a beautiful array of detailed illustrations accompanied by exotic sounding Latin names often written below in beautifully inked calligraphics. This makes vintage Botanical exerts wonderful pieces of interior decoration, especially for a kitchen or dining room; however also fitting for a hallway, toilet or conservatory.
The botanical garden into your kitchen
If you’re a fan of vintage then botanical could be the perfect choice for your kitchen style. Although botanic will sit fine alongside plain white or cream kitchens, the look really achieves some more depth with the addition of some vintage colours on the walls such as sage green, clay or slate; Delux heritage paints are a good place to start when looking for inspiration. Think matte, creamy tones in slightly darker than normal greens, greys and beiges that can be lifted with an almost white pink or with natural light wood.
Once you’ve set your base tones on the feature walls then you can begin to give them a lift with the addition of some framed botanical illustrations. In fitting with the kitchen theme, vintage illustrations of vegetables and herbs will add an interesting focal point to your walls and help offer some lighter and brighter contrast against heritage colour wall paints. And if you can find any old cook books or antique gardening books to line the shelves with then even better. Ebay is a good place to start when looking for these as well as having a good rummage around charity shops and antique book shops.
Finally adding a few accessories such as a tin watering can stuffed with aromatic dried flowers, or these botanical jugs in two sizes, will add a pretty finishing touch to windowsills or kitchen tables. We also love these artichoke ceramic tealight holders that would look great nestled amongst a collection of vintage green glass botanical bottles and a couple of your favourite herb plants.
Bringing the botanical style to your bathroom
There’s so many ways that you can bring a bit of botanic into your bathroom or toilet. As with the kitchen an instant way to achieve the look is to frame some vintage botanical illustrations, but this time pipe for flowers and plants. We think this large green leaf ceramic vase would look equally as good stuffed with cotton buds as it would flowers. And this stylish botanic glass dish with some floral scented pot pourri is a nice way to keep bathroom wafts at bay.
A large leaved plant such as a banana plant is a fabulous way to add an air of exotic colonial style to your bathroom. Bit of a bad track record on the houseplant care front? Why not go for a collection of cacti instead? And place mini placards with them saying what each plant is called in the true style of a botanical garden.
Finally finish off with a few pretty tealight holders such as these Green fern or green glass hanging tea light holders; perfect for lighting with some rose scented candles and then diving down into the depths of a lovely bubble bath filled with your favourite botanical bath mix.
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Whatever the weather you can never fail to feel the sunshine vibes when you have a twist of tropical around the house. Maybe you’re hosting a Hawaiian themed party and want some fun party accessories? Or are you a perpetual summer barbecuer who loves nothing more than grilling up a bit of surf and turf? Or maybe you’re just a summer addict whose idea of paradise is swaying palms and pina coladas in the sun? Whatever your reasons there’s no denying that Tropical style will make you smile! And the good news is you don’t even need to splash out on an expensive airfare to get a taste of paradise. With a little bit of imagination and a large pinch of salt, you can recreate your own paradisiacal haven in your very own home.
How to throw a Tropical party
Colour, and lots of it: Nothing quite screams out The tropics like the use of colour. This is not the time to be shy and overly coordinated. Cram as many bright colours as you can into your party space, with clashing being positively encouraged. These set of 4 Hiball glasses are the perfect way to serve up your rum punch, and as they come in 4 different colours it means that people are less likely to mix up their glasses once they've had a few of your homemade Caribbean punch of choice.
Get fruity: now is literally the time to put the lime in the coconut and shake it all up! Forget your boring apples and pears, we’re talking pineapple, mango, banana, melon and kiwi added to anything from cakes to drinks to salsas. And the fruit shouldn't just be restricted to your buffet or barbecue. String up tropical fruit bunting, serve cheeky fruit on a stick from a pineapple fruit platter and sip your sex on the beach cocktails out of tropical fruit straws.
Don't be shy with the patterns: Think Hawaiian shirts, hibiscus flowers, palm leaf motifs, parrots, or cheesy 80’s style sunsets. Whether they be on the clothes you're wearing, the linen that you dress your table with, bunting, napkins or any other party accessory; bold is better, as are patterns so busy that they make your eyes go fuzzy.
Tropical tunes: who can resist getting up and having a boogie to club tropicana by Wham? Or having a bounce to some feel good reggae?Or maybe some sunset beats inspired by the ibiza vibe are more your thing? Whatever you go for just remember to keep it uplifting and light, so when the drinks start flowing those moves keep on showing!
- Parrots: Now we know that getting hold of a real life parrot and house training it in time for your party may be a bit of a feat. But we honestly believe that you haven’t fully stepped into The tropics until you have one of these prettily coloured feathered friends in your home or garden. Luckily these playful and kitsch ceramic parrot ornaments behave themselves much more than their jungle bound counterparts, and have the added advantage of being able to cheer up a bathroom or hallway once the party’s over. We like to nestle them alongside a banana plant for a really tropical piece of interior decoration.
So whether it's just for a themed day or night of sunshine inspired fun, or you're embracing the Tropical style more permanently into your home, we reckon that you’re sure to find something that suits your taste and needs amongst our bright and cheerful collection of tropical home and party accessories. So sit back, pour yourself another fruity cocktail and let the fun begin; you can almost hear the sway of the palms and the waves crashing in!
Friday, 16 December 2016
Embrace bedding down for the winter with Hygge at home
Whilst some might view the long dark winter months as a drudgery, filled with doom and gloom, one culture has found a way to embrace the enforced bedding down that the winter months entail;bringing with it a social acceptance of all things cosy and housebound.
The Danish concept of Hygge has no direct translation in English, but can be seen as an embracing of cosiness and recognising the beauty in the simple pleasures of life. Plagued by relentlessly cold and dark winters, the Danish have learnt the art of partial hibernating in style. While us Brits are complaining about the weather, our danish counterparts positively welcome in the colder climes as an opportunity to bring out the cashmere and soft wools and to savour a cup of freshly ground coffee in front of a roaring open fire.
Now is the time to slow things right down, to enjoy relaxed moments with our friends and loved ones over home cooked comfort food of wholesome goodness and to take stock of the little things around us that we may not have had time to enjoy in the more active outdoorsy summer months.
How to create the Hygge look at home
One of the key factors in creating a Hygge vibe around the home is softness and warmth. Soft natural fabrics that make you want to cuddle up and melt into them feature in your home in the form of cashmere throws to pull over you whilst you’re watching your favourite old film rerun, accompanied by natural cotton cushions and woolen rugs feeling soft and luxurious under your thick sock clad feet.
A notable ritual of many Hygge homes is the daily inclusion of candlelight; a heartwarming way to bring some soft ambient light into an otherwise dark room. Hygge is not lighting a candle to impress others, but simply lighting a candle for your own sake to make a chapel of warmth for you to yield to. Why not line your mantlepiece with some of these Copper dipped tea light holders to further add some gentle glowing tones to your living room. Or use Rose gold tealights for a feminine metallic effect, perfect for lighting in your bathroom whilst enjoying a long soak in a hot bubble bath.
Fire light and fairy lights
Of course the ultimate in winter comfort comes from snuggling up by a roaring fire. If you're lucky enough to have a fire in your home then these wonderful coal and Kindling wood grey tin buckets are the perfect understated accessory to keep by the fireplace.
In fact the inclusion of wood, with its soft natural tones is another key component in the Hygge style. We particularly love these very Scandinavian wooden heart or house fairy lights. A great way to add a mellow glow to the end of your bedpost, a bookshelf or simply hanging down in an interior archway. These battery operated lights look great for Christmas, but are so heart-warming that you’ll be sure to want to leave them up for the whole winter.
Home sweet home
And don’t forget that Hygge is all about treasuring those special moments of downtime and reflection that spending more time at home can offer you. Proudly make your house a home with the inclusion of quaint little touches such as this Home sweet home wooden sign, perfect for decorating the kitchen, where you can spend many an hour lazily whiling the hours away over steaming mugs of hot chocolate and homemade cookies, whilst catching up with your friends and family.
So what are you waiting for? Go get your favourite PJ’s on, light the fire or some candles, pour yourself a steaming mug of your favourite hot drink and nestle in for a night in with your favourite book with some gentle music playing in the background. All of a sudden winter doesn’t seem so bad after all hey! You’ve just got to know how to make the most of it.And trust me by reading this article, you’re already halfway there. Happy Hygging!
Saturday, 10 December 2016
From beach huts to beach homes - The nautical Edit from The Contemporary home
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside! - and the fact of the matter is who doesn’t? With its cheerful and invigorating sights and sounds of waves lapping the shoreline and seagulls calling out; as children laugh and play finding beach bound treasures such as swirling seashells and sea glass softened by the sands of time to take home in their pockets as a memory of their day running free by the sea.
Being based on a little island off the south coast of England, the team here at The Contemporary Home still has an element of those beachcombing children in our hearts. We understand the joy and beauty of the sea in our humble island life and continue to surround ourselves with the treasures and curiosities that seaside living offers up to you. That's why we consider ourselves the best people for the job when it comes to curating an authentic and idiosyncratic collection of nautical themed products for your house.
Key colours of The Nautical look
It goes without saying that blues and greens feature heavily in any marine inspired interior to reflect the tones of the ocean and the expansiveness of the sky. The combination of blue and white is a classical nautical design combo, such as with these glass nautical coasters with fish design or fun life is better at the beach sign, and a good go to for instantly creating a fresh seaside style space if you’re sprucing up your wall paint. Think a soft and clean white paint on all major walls, with a feature wall painted in a bold marine blue or decked out in a blue and white nautically inspired wallpaper.
We mustn't forget too the soft and warm tones that the shoreline offers us, of beige, light grey, dusty pink and powder blue; picking up on the weather worn colours of the driftwood washed up on the pretty shells of the shore. The inclusion of wood is paramount to setting off this milder colour palette, such as with the addition of some natural wooden sailboats on a windowsill, a collection of seashells filling a large decorative glass bowl, and the addition of a driftwood mirror to reflect more light around the room.
If you feel like you want a touch more colour in your beach themed room then ice cream coloured accessories are a fun and carefree spin on the seaside style. Or you could even go full out for the look by accessorising the room with vintage ice cream signs and stripey pastel toned cushions reminiscent of the days of ice cream eating on a deckchair in the british summer time.
Money for old rope
Do you sometimes look at nautical products on sale and think ‘I could make something like that’! Well here at The Contemporary home we’re just brimming with ideas of how to set about becoming a coastal artisan.
Make a nautical wreath:
Start with a ring of thick wire around which you can wrap some rope (old rope optional!). Once you have a base then you can stick on all manner of beachcombing treasures which your kids have trawled home with them from your day by the sea. Alternatively you can cut out fish shapes from old drinks cans to create a colourful school of fish.
Make a driftwood sign:
The key thing to remember here is that first of all you’ll need to wash and leave to dry out again whatever piece of reclaimed wood you're using to get rid of all the salt. Finishing it off with a good marine varnish will also prevent drift wood from rotting and give it a lovely high shine. For the lettering you can cut out a stencil with a pen knife using some sticky back plastic that will sit nice and tightly against the wood. Then you simply spray your message of choice with some spray paint and then when dry peel the plastic away to reveal the wording beneath. Hang your sign with some nautical rope strung up through a couple of drill holes.
Haven’t got the time? Then luckily we have a whole range of nautical signs for you to choose from to add a touch of seaside style to bathrooms, conservatories or anywhere where you see fit.
Bring out the bunting:
Stringing up some bunting can animate a room with a sunny air of seaside spirit. Simply cut out triangles of fabric in a collection of patterned cottons and sew them along a length of webbing. Or why not use our nautical beach hut ribbon instead, accompanied by triangles of baby blue and beige. A great accessory for a kids nursery! If your sewing skills leave much to be desired, then our fun blue and white fish bunting will instantly fill any room with the charm of the British seaside.
Beach huts in your beach house
We’ve got to admit, we’re suckers for beach huts here at The Contemporary Home! Probably due to the fact that they line our southern beaches here on Hayling Island, bringing iconic bursts of colour to our coast with their multi coloured painted wood. So that’s why we’ve curated these fun beach hut inspired products such as these pastel coloured Wall storage boxes, Beach hut picture frame and storage hooks and a delightful blue letter storage rack chirpily decorated with a beach hut motif. All of them making great gift ideas for a sea loving friend or family member.
It really only takes the addition of a few key pieces to turn an otherwise plain space into a seaside escape. Why not use our rope doorstop to hold doors prone to swinging open? Include a few decorative nautical ornaments like these white ceramic seahorse ornaments on shelves, and then set a bit of ambience by filling a few fisherman’s lanterns with sea breeze scented candles. And for an extra personal touch, get one of your favourite family pics from a beach day printed onto canvas to take pride of place on your wall.