The most wonderful present of the year.

Can you believe it is only 19 days until Christmas? I absolutely love this time of year, there is something about the magic of Christmas, the anticipation of putting up the tree, decoration the house, buying gifts and most importantly spending time with loved ones.

This year my family and Mr Big’s family are joining forces to celebrate together, thankfully everyone gets along great and with both our mum’s sharing a deep love of anything with bubbles, particularly the alcoholic variety, it should be a day to remember.

Each year we do a Secret Santa gift for the adults for both families. At the start of December we each pick a name out of a cup and whoever you chose you buy a present for, we set the limit to around $70 per person. This year I drew my beautiful sister in law, Anna, and Mr Big drew Shane, our brother in law. On my side of the family, Mr Big got my mum and I got my step brother Andrew. As the qualified shopper of the family I been searching online for the perfect gifts and so far I have the ladies sorted, simple as, but I’m struggling big time to find a gift for Shane & Andrew, what on earth do you buy for a thirty something man that doesn’t cost more than $70? I hate to admit it but I fear I’m suffering from a severe case of shoppers block!

So, my solution……. I will share my top must have gifts for the ladies under $70 if you, my dear readers, will please please please share your suggestions for the men, again, please I’m desperate for help!

 Ladies Gifts for Secret Santa.

A scented candle – quite possibly the most perfect gift.

My favorites, in no particular order.

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Courtesy of Milkies Candle Co.
  • Milkies Candle Co.   A divine range of beautifully scented candles presented in unique milk bottles. Made in WA Australia. Starting from $10
  • Ecoya Sweet Fruits Christmas candle RRP from $24.95, this limited edition candle smells divine. Available from Freedom, Bed Bath n Table and speciality stores.
  • Glasshouse Fragrance Beverly Hills, Pink Lemonade  RRP $42.95 available from Myer, David Jones and speciality stores.

Bath & Body Products – as busy women we can tend to neglect our own needs for everyone else, a little TLC and time out for ourselves would be a welcomed treat.

  • LUSH – the heavenly products from Lush are amazing. Their bath bombs and massage bars are to die for. They also offer great selection of gift boxes and wrapping.
  • Frank Body home of the coffee scrub, a great range of natural products that will invigorate that special lady in your life
  • Vice & Velvet gorgeous handmade soap, bath and body products. My personal fav is the Bathing Whip, sounds a little naughty huh!

Flowers – now before you say, oh but flowers will die quicker than Milli Vanilli’s singing career (if you don’t know who Milli Vanilli were, they were two very pretty men back in the late 90’s that tricked the world into believing they could actually sing….. you know what, Google them, interesting story!) Anyway back to flowers, you must take a look at these amazing gift boxes that I came across from House of forever Bloom. These incredible roses last an entire year! I’m so in love with them, hint hint Mr Big.

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Courtesy of House of Forever Bloom

Last, but certainly not least, a great Secret Santa gift for the lovely ladies is a day spa voucher. My idea of a perfect day out is morning coffee, a spot of shopping, followed by a relaxing afternoon of pampering. Perfect!

I hope I have given you some inspiration and ideas for the special ladies you are buying for and please remember to leave your suggestions below in the comments for the perfect Secret Santa gift for the men.

Till next time, happy shopping & Merry Christmas xxx

2017 Instyle Trends. Black is the new Chrome

Forget about orange being the new black. The instyle trend for 2017, black is the new chrome when choosing your tapware.

Chrome has long reigned as the go to Queen for kitchen and bathroom tapware but now this popular choice is being challenged by the sleek and sophisticated style of black.

Of course, while Chrome will never go out of fashion, the very stylish Matt Black tapware has recently enjoyed a sharp surge in popularity and is at the forefront of interior trends, as seen in Channel 9 latest season of The Block, and it looks like it is here to stay.

The top 5 reasons why black tapware is a great choice.

  1. It suits any style or era of design.

Black tapware is both glamorous and stylish, working well in contemporary, modern or traditional spaces.

  1. It resists fingerprints and watermarks.

This is a no brainer to save us busy people the hassle of extra cleaning and polishing.

  1. It looks beautiful with marble.

Partnering black tapware with a backdrop of white marble with veining, like the very popular Carrara, creates a show stopping elegant and cohesive look.

  1. It is perfectly suited to a wide range of elements.

Black tapware works perfectly with timber, subway tiles, copper, concrete and tarnished metals.

  1. It looks sleek and stylish.

Black tapware definitely has an air of sophistication, it creates a stunning feature that looks sleek and refined without outshining the other elements of your space.

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Dorf Tapware

Caroma & Dorf have a great range of stylish black tapware to suit most budgets.

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Caroma Tapware

I am definitely a convert to the trend, now all I need to do is decide what style to choose!

What are your thoughts? Do you love or loathe the Black Tapware movement? 

The Clean Freak

I find it quite therapeutic to clean window tracks and, please don’t judge me, scrub grout lines with a toothbrush, don’t fret Mr Big I haven’t used your toothbrush for awhile! I get excited when I read about or see new cleaning products in the supermarket to try, I’m sure it is similiar to how an enthusiastic lover of cooking feels when finding a new recipe.

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I recently tried a new range from Coles Supermarket that I wanted to share with you, it called Organic Choice, BTW I have no association with this company or Coles.

 

Not only does this range smell amazing, it looks stylish , is budget friendly and it actually works. They even have a beautiful selection of scented candles for only $15 each.

 

The products are made in Australia, are earth friendly, non toxic and not tested on animals. They also come in several different devine fragrances, Pomegranite & Grapefruit, Coconut & Lime and my personal fav Lemongrass & Cedarwood.

Till next time, happy cleaning  xxx

Renovating, Resin Art & Rocky Relationships

Ouch, the claws are out on the final week of Channel 9’s The Block. Maybe it’s time for the two school teachers, Ben & Andy, to send some of the contestants to the Principal’s office for a stern talking too. Obviously, these feuds are great for TV ratings but as an avid viewer of the show may I say………enough already! Can’t we all just get along.

Sunday night’s room reveals certainly didn’t disappoint, I loved Kim & Chris’s terrace especially the beautiful resin artwork. I searched online and came across Art by Rii on Instagram @artbyrhii , her work in gorgeous and I highly recommend you take a look, now I just need to decide on the size and colours I want to order.

I also loved the feature lights that were used in the terrace, Mr Big on the other hand thought they looked like crumpled up toilet paper!

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What do you think? 

Pictures – @artbyrhii and @TheBlock

 

My Top 10 Online Sites for Inspiration

Building, renovating or in need of some styling advice? 

Check out my top 10 online favorite sites for some great inspiration, information & of course shopping.

HOUZZ

Houzz is the new way to design your home. Browse 11 million interior design photos, home decor, decorating ideas and home professionals online.

HOMEONE

Australia’s home building community featuring local contractors directory and renovation forum. View popular bathroom photos, kitchen design brochures, DIY videos, interior decorating articles, or discuss topics. This site is a must for anyone thinking of building or renovating.

POLYVORE

One of the top shopping sites for Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and Refinery29, Polyvore helps you shop & style the latest fashion trends.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a simple way to capture, share moments and find inspiring pictures.

THE BLOCK SHOP

Want to own a piece of the block? The Block Shop has a fantastic selection of furniture, artwork, decor and much more at a very reasonable price.

DOMAIN

A great site loaded with advice on real estate,  building, styling, renovating.

FRISKY DEER

A great site to buy beautiful homewares. The shop is located in Mandurah WA. Bonus – they serve devine cake & coffee as well.

THE INTERIORS ADDICT

Interiors without snobbery.

DESIGNER BLOGS

A great collection of must read blogs

ART CLUB CONCEPT

Stunning artwork, statement pieces and gorgeous cushions to name just a few. Highly recommend you take a look.

 

Please comment below to add your favorite sites. 

 

 

The Designer Replica

via Daily Prompt: Artificial

To fake or not to fake, that is the question?

We’ve all been there, faced with the ugly reality of staring a fake designer bag in the eye and pondering, hmmm I wonder would anyone know it’s a knock off?

The stiching on the bag looks perfect, the leather quality is good and the lining is almost identical to the real deal. You think to yourself “I could get away with this”.

Ok, I’ll admit it, I did what no true lover of the Divine Designer Label Elite should do, I brought a fake, an artificial long distant third cousin to the real deal. I justified my wicked purchase by telling myself “I’m in a foreign country, I’m assisting their economy, it’s what everyone does here, right?” I handed over the money, grabbed my new Handbag, now safely contained in a white plastic bag, put my head down and briskly walked back to my hotel.

That bag never saw the light of day again, it sat at the back of my wardrobe for more than a year, still in the white plastic bag, before ending up at the local rubbish tip. I knew the rules and I broke them, a moment of weakness, a lapse in judgment. Lesson Learnt!

But what are the rules when it comes to purchasing furniture? Is a replica piece still considered to be a cheap, artificial piece of crap? Do the same commandments of designer etiquette still apply, Thou shall not buy knock offs? Is a replica Barcelona Italian leather sofa from a reputable showroom considered a no no? I have no bloody idea!

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The Replica – Friend or Foe

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/artificial/

Retail Therapy – My Ultimate Addiction

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Yes Marc Jacobs let’s……………. I love to shop. I love the rush of endorphins I get when I buy something fabulous. I love bringing home my new purchase and unwrapping it, staring at it, giving it a new pride of place in my wardrobe or home. The problem is that the rush wears off to quick and I need more, more, more!

I have an addiction to shopping!

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I blame genetics for my problem, my Mum has it, her Mum had it and now it seems I have passed it on to my daughter, 8 year old Ms Have’a’chat.

I’m not ready to get help and like any addict I can always find an excuse to indulge in my weakness. My latest reason, we are building a house, it won’t furnish itself, I have no choice, I owe it to my family to buy beautiful pieces for our new home. Shop away Ms Prez, Shop away!!!!

My Shopping List

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Pic 1 – I love the marble hall table, this will go on the entry wall in our Master Suite.

Pic 2 – beautiful art and lighting

Pic 3 – Ms Have’a’chat’s room

Pic 4 – Pool lounge

Art by John Martono

Coco & Creme Living

Go Lights

Beacon Lighting

The Block Shop

The Block Shop

As luck would have it Channel 9 latest season of the The Block started just as Mr Big & I embarked on our house design journey.
Needless to say im a huge fan of the show and come Sunday evenings at 7pm when the couple’s rooms are revealed, I threaten politely remind Ms Have’a’chat to only speak if a) it is a life threatening situation, I did have to clarify that her life wasn’t in danger if she didn’t show me the latest funny cat video on YouTube straight away! or b) Neil Whittaker was at the door to offer us his style wisdom.
Last nights reveal, the Kitchen, certainly did not disappoint. As the unofficial 4th judge on The Block I was highly impressed by all of the designs, especially couples Dan & Carleen and Will & Karlie.

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                              Will & Karlie’s kitchen – image courtesy of The Block.

The kitchen island in both apartments are to die for and has now got me second guessing the waterfall edges I have chosen for our kitchen. I absolutely love the ledge under the benchtop even though im sure it would drive me crazy cleaning the bits of food off it all the time.
This is the problem with building a house, I’m constantly coming across new ideas and then I start doubting the choices I have made, I pity the poor soul that gets stuck with us at pre start.Watching The Block has given us a few great ideas and definitely a few “avoid at all cost” things as well. Ms Have’a’chat adores Ben & Andy aka “The Boys” and has listed their Glasshouse Coastal Candy Soap creation as one of her ‘wish items’ for her upcoming 9th Birthday, unfortunately it seems everyone else had the same idea and the limited addition soap has sold out. So, if by chance you read this and managed to get your hands on a few bars and are willing to part with one, of course money will be exchanged, I would be extremely grateful, so would my sanity! daughter.
http://www.glasshousefragrances.com/

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                                   Actual Wish List for Birthday by Ms Have’a’chat

How fantastic would it be to create a personalised scent for your home? Im not talking a slap together few drops of lavender and eye of newt, I mean work with a perfumer to design a quality fragrance / scented products just for you. Has anyone done this? Or can recommend somewhere to do this? 
Any way back to The Block, while searching online for the elusive soap I came across The Block Shop, https://www.theblockshop.com.au/ I must admit I had no idea this site even existed, so please excuse my belated excitement. This is fantastic, almost everything seen in The Block apartments can be purchased online from this one convenient site.

Reminder to self – please read own Blog ‘The True Cost of Building’ before making any purchases online!

I have also decided, SUMMIT HOMES PLEASE NOTE, that I want a Site Supervisor like Keith or Dan, man they are on the ball, their no nonsense approach to ensure the quality of the build is definitely something every home builder deserves and let’s face it should get.
After reading quite a few horror stories on the Homeone forum from a wide variety of different building companies, SUMMIT HOMES PLEASE NOTE, Mr Big & I will definitely be employing the services of an independent building inspector throughout the various stages of our build.

I wonder how Mr Big & I would go if we were on the block?

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Every Girl’s Dream

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I have always had a love affair with shoes, my motto “the higher the better”, even my casual collection of Guess flip flops and Zanotti hi top sneakers have a wedge heel.
Like most girly girls I have dreamt of one day being the proud owner of a perfectly designed, ultimate dressing room to house my treasured possessions. Well ladies & gentleman that dream is about to come to life!
My Our dressing room, Mr Big will be given an appropriate allowance of space I promise, is a glorious 4m x 3.2m in size. We will be doing our own fit out after handover through Lifestyle Wardrobes http://www.lifestylewa.com.au/

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I have decided on a monochromatic colour palette of classic black & white, taking inspiration from the devine Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys. There will be a middle bench seat, a feature wall of striped black & white wall paper, a modern chandelier over the bench seat, an array of custom designed storage for shoes, handbags, jewelry, clothing etc etc with built in lighting.There will also be a designated makeup / hair station with in as well.

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I am leaning towards having doors installed on the areas storing clothing especially hanging clothes, no matter what my best intentions are I know over time my love for grouping clothing by colour, length, style and type will fade and reality will kick in.

Your thoughts, would you suggest adding doors?
What would you include in your dressing room?