Thrifty Challenge

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted, not for lack of motivation, but time to myself has been pretty limited. Today I decided to set myself a challenge while out shopping. With a £5 budget I had to find a second-hand bargain for the house from one of the local charity shops. I love browsing charity shops, you never know what treasures you might find. Not only is it good for your wallet, it helps create funds for charities and there is the added bonus of being good for the planet, reducing demand for newly manufactured goods by reusing those already in circulation.

A few months ago I picked up a complete vintage tea set for only £3.99 and I’m pleased to say today’s challenge was equally as successful, with 2 items purchased for under £5 and the change even went in the donations pot!

I browsed a few shops before settling on my final purchases, with a lace curtain and art deco vase nearly making the cut. But in the end I settled for an Aztec style table mat and peacock decorated jewellery bowl. As you can see below the new additions are already making themselves at home.


Under the glass dome

Autumn is upon us and it’s a time for change. For months I’ve been staring at the glass dome in our kitchen-diner thinking I could be much more creative with it’s display, but couldn’t think of anything outside the obvious. It’s currently used to display a bird ornament and while it looks cute, I feel it could be much more striking. I was hoping an amazing idea would spontaneously appear, but no such luck, so I’ve decided to search for inspiration.

Originating from 17th century Italy, the glass cloche was used to protect plants from frost, whilst acting like a miniature greenhouse. The idea soon caught on and spread across gardens in Europe. Today they have moved indoors and become an interesting way to display flowers, books, crockery and other objets d’art. They can be a great way of adding personality or creating a seasonal display within your home and many retail spaces also use them to display their wares. They obviously lend themselves to the kitchen for food storing purposes, but don’t be limited by practicality; they really can be used anywhere.

The displays I’ve been drawn to range in style from intricately beautiful and kitsch, to traditional and more natural. I also love the idea of changing them with the seasons. So to coincide with the arrival of Autumn, I’ve included some creative Autumnal displays. There are so many interesting ones I haven’t yet decided which is my favourite, but I hope to try out several of them!

I hope you like some of the ideas below and I’ll be back with an update when I’ve found one that suits my style.

cloche1 cloche2 cloche3 cloche4 cloche5 cloche6 cloche7 cloche8 cloche9 cloche18 cloche17 cloche16 cloche15 cloche14 cloche13 cloche12 cloche11 cloche10 cloche19cloche20

Source: toy carsdeutinkamer, mediacache, cotton reels, dilcdn, rootedintime, bymildred, finehomedisplays, rowenandwren, lifechilli, forodecoracion, decouvrirdesign, juxtapoz, raisingmissmatilda, notonthehighstreet, white-living, theloopyewe, bhg, davidstarksketchbook, designsoda

Chalkboard Art


A few weeks on from the completion of our chalkboard pillar and it’s become a useful kitchen feature. Shopping lists, reminders, growth charts and personal messages have all found themselves exhibited on the pillar at some point. Having proved its usefulness, I am now keen to treat it more as a work of art and have been searching for designs to create an impact. Although not alien to drawing, I am not a spontaneous doodler and need a source of inspiration to follow.

With the rise of the hipster cafe and the blackboard wall, there are a multitude of funky graphics and quotes out there to draw on (excuse the pun!). I’ve gathered a few of my favourites below, which I will be narrowing down and trying my hand at in the near future … Let me know if you have a favourite chalkboard design.

Many of these can also be purchased from Etsy as framed prints, so if you don’t have room for a chalkboard, you can still create interest in the kitchen.

Kitchen themed chalkboard art:

tea&deserts rollwithitchalkboard

bonappetitchalkboard               bonappetitchalkboard

I’m loving this balloon themed artwork.


Bicycles make interesting art:


Quotes can be motivational and inspirational:

creativitychalkboard    quotechalkbpard2                          lightbulbchalkboard             alicechalkboard

Chemical formulas and symbols can also make interesting displays:

chocolatechalkboard chemicalsymbolchalkboard

Source: shutterstockEtsyEtsyEtsyEtsyEtsyEtsyInstagramFineartamericanrdcEtsy

Light up, Light up

yellow pendants

With the kitchen often being the hub of the household, good lighting is a necessity. Not only does it aid with food preparation, but can lighten the mood and create atmosphere. It also gives you an outlet to add character and be creative. We have a large open plan kitchen/diner and are hoping to make the whole space more bright and open. We’ve long been unhappy with the lighting in this part of the house, as there is just not enough light especially on dark winters evenings. This means the space doesn’t get used as much as it should and is definitely not fulfilling it’s potential. So we’ve set about trying to decide how to change it for the better.

First up, we’ve decided to try and add as much natural light as we can. By removing the ceiling in the dining room we will expose the loft space above and add in two skylights. This room is north facing and although we have a set of french doors looking out onto the garden, we would gain valuable extra light through the roof. We’re hoping this will make a huge difference to the feel of the room, as at the moment it’s very dark and uninviting and the only light fitting is a dim side light. We also hope to add some down lights into the sloped roof. Heating the space is another issue and hopefully if we choose well insulated glass and replace the current radiator for a larger one, we won’t lose too much heat.

Being a functional space, kitchens are often fitted out with down lights. This makes sense as its a simple but effective way of lighting the space and has a minimal look. There is also a growing trend for pendant lighting in the kitchen, which can help add style and interest. Pendants are frequently fitted above kitchen islands or breakfast bars to make a feature. I would like to try and utilise both these types of lighting in our space if we can. Currently we have a set of Led down lights with brass effect surround in an L shape above the sink and cooker, a central ceiling pendant and 2 side lights. I am not keen on the brass effect lights and feel they don’t tie in with the rest of the kitchen, especially as we’re looking to modernise. I also feel the pendant light and side lights are a bit dated and not the most efficient way to light the space, so we need to come up with a new configuration. Due to the large ceiling space in the kitchen we will probably use some down lights, but would like to make a bit more of a feature of the back wall, which we hope to wallpaper. I’ve found a few images that have given me inspiration, explained below …

Pendants with a splash of colour – love the orange!


Making good use of natural light, with some added downlights


Retro pendants


Funky teardrop pendants


Mix of pendants, skylights and downlights


Industrial style with glass


Useful under shelf lighting


Bar with mid century pendants


Do you have a particular type of kitchen lighting you love?

Source: Apartment TherapyIdeal Home, Mediberian, Furniture Fashion, London Kitchen Extensions, House to Home, Apartment Therapy