Turn Your Bathroom into a Spa

Collaborative Post

With our busy lifestyles, working, looking after the children, the pets, meeting with friends, weekly chores and everything else it can be pretty difficult to find time for yourself. And not everyone has the funds to splurge on a spa day once a week!

So, why not bring the spa experience to you? How? By turning your bathroom into your very own secret spa! We've come up with 7 easy ways you can create that perfect pampering atmosphere in your own bathroom without breaking the bank. So, go on, treat yourself.

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Deep clean!

Towels on the floor? Grimy bathroom tiles? You’ll find it difficult to relax if you’re looking at half empty shampoo bottles and your old hairy razor resting on the side of the bath! Or if you’re hoping to restyle your bathroom, then click here for a few ideas! Remember, you wouldn’t find your kids bath toys or toothpaste marks all over the sink in a spa would you?

Set the mood

Lighting is key to giving your bathroom a relaxing and soothing atmosphere. Try closing the blinds to block out harsh natural light and instead invest in some tea-lights or small scented candles. A comfortable, calming glow will work wonders to help you unwind and de-stress.

Music

A posh hotel spa wouldn't be complete without some relaxing, chilled-out music, so don't forget it for your bathroom spa. Ditch the irritating radio DJs interrupting the music and create a playlist with some soothing tones - you could even order a CD of spa sounds online from as little as £4.99.

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Keep warm and cosy

Think large, soft towels and a fluffy bathrobe. it's the little touches to your homemade spa that will really make the difference. Make sure the room is warm and not draughty while you soak, and keep your towels on the radiator for when you get out of the bath.

Don’t neglect your essentials

For the perfect relaxing bath experience, essential oils are a must. Lavender oil is great to get you in a sleepy mood, rose oil is known for its relaxing fragrance while geranium and vanilla are comforting and relatively inexpensive. Do your research on essential oils, decide what you’d like to treat yourself with and find the oil that matches your requirements.

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Your body

Sometimes we forget to pay attention to our skin, especially in the harsh winter months. There are all sorts of easy and cheap things you could try to get your skin back in tip-top condition without the hefty spa price tag. Body scrubs are a great way to improve circulation and get rid of dead skin (try using one with salt or sugar in it) and using a body brush regularly can reduce the signs of cellulite. 

Facetime

Facials at the spa are great, but why spend £40 plus when you can have a DIY facial at home? There are some great face masks available from as little as £1.99. When it comes to your eyes, a simple trick to de-puff and soothe is cucumber slices placed on your eyelids! Simple!

Ritzy Floors Perfect For Party Season

Pull out all the stops for Party Season and throw a glam, Gatsby-worthy get-together. These decadent flooring designs from Atrafloor feature rich deep and golden tones and jazzy motifs, that are set on making every day camera ready for a swanky soirée. 

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Bring back the luxe look of The Roaring Twenties with lavish marble effects and elegant Art Deco and Moroccan influenced flooring designs. 

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Think matching moody metallic décor and opulent ornamentation to elevate the style of any space, and put on display your desire to dance the nights away.

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Put on the ritz this Party Season as the host with the most luxurious looking interior design.

New Year, New Look, New Wallpaper

The New Year is always a good time to start making plans for re-decorating and trying new trends. So we thought you might like to see the Façade collection from Galerie Wallcoverings which explores the recent revival of Trompe L’oeil within interiors. Great for rooms that are lacking any kind of natural or period features we think.

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This range of wallpapers explores all manner of surfaces, from more traditional exterior materials such as brick, wood panelling and concrete, to retro tile designs, floral motifs and patterns inspired by rustic displays in the greenhouse. Our favourite by the way.

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The colour palette for the collection features neutral tones that provide an authentic quality, alongside soft pastel shades designed to introduce a fresh feel. And each pattern is carefully designed to be just as effective whether used throughout the entire room, or to form a statement feature wall of unique Trompe L’oeil inspired style.

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The Façade Wallpaper Collection, from £29.95 for a 10.05m x 53cm roll, from Galerie Wallcoverings.

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30 Still Lives by Rose Arbuthnott

Born in Cheltenham, Rose began painting at the age of 12 when her art teacher gave her a box of oil paints and she decided to copy Monet. Rose went on to study art at Edinburgh University before receiving a scholarship to attend the Prince’s Drawing School in London where she was awarded a prize for drawing.

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Still Life with Pomegranate’ is a group of works that Rose  started in October. After a break from painting, she was inspired by Matisse's still lives (which she saw in the summer at the RA in London) and set up a painting base in her kitchen. For Rose, the still life offers unending fascination and, as autumn turned to winter, she worked her way through panel after panel. Some were ‘there’ immediately, whilst others needed going back to again and again.  Rose felt she always had questions of colour to pose to the world and simply needed a composition to bring this out of her: She deliberately used a charcoal colour to construct the compositions as to her it was a means of juggling to bring life forwards. 

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'I really hope you can enjoy them and derive as much pleasure from them as I do'. Rose Arbuthnott.

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Rose continues to produce work at her studio in Gloucestershire. Her classical training and knowledge of art history informs her practice, but the influence of folk culture and an interest in the subconscious is evident in both her abstract and figurative work.

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30 Still Lives by Rose Arbuthnott, Exhibited in Vanessa Arbuthnott’s Showroom, 12 Ashcroft Road, Cirencester GL7 5ET.

Unique Handmade Christmas Gifts, Direct From The Artisans

If like us, you're struggling to find Christmas gifts that are just a little bit different. And a little bit personal. Let us introduce you to MicroMkt.co.uk, a new online marketplace where you can shop for the very best handmade products, directly from the artisans who made them.

It's a new online home for creative micro-businesses – a thriving community and marketplace where anyone can turn their creative hobby, passion or skill into a business of their own. And where we can support small artisans and shop small, keeping independent business owners up and running and sourcing totally unique, creative products and services we wouldn’t normally find. 

Here's just some of the things we found:

Personalised Christmas Eve Box, £35, 

Personalised Christmas Eve Box, £35, 

Personalised Christmas Bauble For Mum, £12.50

Personalised Christmas Bauble For Mum, £12.50

Elderflower & Jasmine Soy Candle, £20

Elderflower & Jasmine Soy Candle, £20

Concrete Succulent Planter Trio, £19.99

Concrete Succulent Planter Trio, £19.99

Personalised Weekly Planner, £22

Personalised Weekly Planner, £22

Snowflake Wrapping Paper, £4.99

Snowflake Wrapping Paper, £4.99

Introducing Bronte Resataurant

Are you still deciding where to go your loved one, family, friends, or work colleagues for Christmas and New Year’s in London? Perhaps Bronte restaurant could be the one? This restaurant located next to Trafalgar Square. Featuring a private dining room and also upstairs mezzanine area. 

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The venue is certainly fit for a duke with a stunning interior design by famed designer Tom Dixon. Dixon brings a stylish and sophisticated interior to the restaurant which has a wide-open terrace at the front leading into the well-lit and spacious entrance with an array of plants.

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With a stunning voluminous terrace covered in cherry blossoms which will sweep you off your feet, the floor to ceiling glass entrance allows diners to peek into a gilded pink and teal vintage interior. Golden birdcages filled with flamboyant canary yellow feathers, eclectic lampshades, and a baby pink bar designed by famed designer Tom Dixon, making this place suitable for an instagram moment.

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Bronte also features a dining area for more intimate occasions with pale pink curved seats surrounded by glass-mirrored cabinets. Perfect for entertaining an evening of small or large groups. The timeless dining room impresses on entrance with low-rise pink chairs and a fantastically artistic design with Chinese ceramic faces adorning the interior. The bright rooms are given a soft pastel shade the perfect vibrancy to enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner with your party, whether it be an intimate occasion or group outing.

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Serving up a delicious twist on contemporary pan Asian cuisine; the menu will surprise you as our rare presentation and kink will have you nibbling on signature dishes like soft shell crab bao buns, tuna tataki tostadas, drunkin shrimp, fudging fortune cookie and other surprises. We’ve kept some of your favorites on the menu like Chicken Gyoza, fresh Sashimi, iTempura Prawn & Wagyu Beef Maki as well as Yellowtails Sashimi & Jalapeno.

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But not to worry our menu offers something for everyone you will have to taste for yourself. With an all day menu offering a range of classics to contemporary, customers can expect a breakfast menu with classics such as salmon & scrambled eggs and smashed avocado & poached egg and the classic burger.  

Bronte Restaurant, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5EH.

A Beautiful Kitchen with the Ultimate Storage Solution

This stunning Shaker kitchen by DeVOL just epitomises the famous William Morris saying that everything in your house should be beautiful or useful. It is certainly both. It has a practical and truly uncomplicated layout that just works, with a copper sink and crisp white AGA along one side of the room, with white base units and a simple shelf. On the other side of the room is a bank of full height cupboards housing an integrated fridge, freezer and two panties with cold marble shelves, internal drawers and spice racks.

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In the middle of the kitchen is a very humble and much-loved old table with sentimental memories for the family who lives here. It's the perfect finishing touch. A shabby old table and
chairs that gave the room character and soul and next to the deVOL cupboards their ageing beauty is just gorgeous.

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Heart Home Loves

  1. The painted brick wall. An unexpected bit of rustic style in an otherwise slick and immaculately finished room.
  2. The Original BTC ceramic chandelier, again, a simple but beautiful object.
  3. The beautiful blue colour of the bank of cupboards, in stark contrast to the plain white on the other side of the room.
  4. The ladder that gives easy access to the floor to ceiling cupboards.
  5. The simple shelf that provides lots of surface to display favourite objects and plants.
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All deVOL kitchens are handmade in their Leicestershire workshops and prices start from £12,000.

Barker and Stonehouse - Introducing: Plush Deco

Barker and Stonehouse’s latest look — Plush Deco — pairs the lavishness of velvet with the elegance of mirrored furniture to create a rich and textured look.

Plush Deco -  Arabella Grand Split Sofa £1765, Alexis Coffee Table £795; Blade Smoke Rug £395; Right Blue Parrot Picture.

Plush Deco -  Arabella Grand Split Sofa £1765, Alexis Coffee Table £795; Blade Smoke Rug £395; Right Blue Parrot Picture.

Embodying old Hollywood glamour thanks to Art Deco styling, opulent plum tones and extravagant metallic touches, this trend radiates luxury. Every element has been considered, from exquisite button detailing on the crushed velvet upholstery to the partnering of crafted white and mirrored glass on the occasional furniture. Perfectly suited to townhouses and country pads alike, the Plush Deco look adds a much-needed splash of glitz to any space.

Plush Deco -  Arabella Grand Split Sofa £1765; Alexis Coffee Table £795; Sand Black Finish Floor Lamp £199; Blade Smoke Rug £395.

Plush Deco -  Arabella Grand Split Sofa £1765; Alexis Coffee Table £795; Sand Black Finish Floor Lamp £199; Blade Smoke Rug £395.

Style tip: 

“To really allow this captivating scheme to sing, opt for one or two hero shades to form the basis of your look. Alluring deep blues and jewelled purple hues are perfectly suited to this opulent look and also provide the ideal backdrop for putting a spotlight on the injections of silver and white glass. Comfort and glamour go hand in hand with this theme, drawing us in and tempting us to sink into deep filled sofa cushions, layered plush scatters and cosseting bedding.”

Plush Deco - Odeon Bed £1175, Krystal 3 Drawer Bedside £355, Silver Ceramic Pineapple Table Lamp £35, Aubergine Faux Fur Throw £199.

Plush Deco - Odeon Bed £1175, Krystal 3 Drawer Bedside £355, Silver Ceramic Pineapple Table Lamp £35, Aubergine Faux Fur Throw £199.

6 of the Best Christmas Wreaths

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a festive wreath hanging on the front door. And while we love the fresh variety there's a lot to be said for an artificial wreath. They last for several years for one thing, and they are much more realistic looking than you might expect. There's also an added bonus if you haven't already bought one, as many of the stores are now discounting prices. 

Here's our pick of the bunch....

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  1. Plum Floral Wreath, £29.50, Marks and Spencers. Beautifully handmade and decorated with pretty Plum roses, berries, pinecones and a mix of foliage giving a really natural feel. 
  2. Rosemary & Pinecone Wreath, was £50 now £35, The White Company. Artificial pine-tree branches with frosted winter berries and genuine pine cones that are finished with a white-frosted effect.
  3. Large Winter Berry Wreath, £45, Cox and Cox. Three different types of foliage for an authentic feel, finished with a lightly frosted effect and pure white berries.
  4. Silver Reindeer Wreath, was £50 now £35, Debenhams. Realistic pinecones and a majestic silver reindeer.
  5. Eucalyptus and Berry Wreath, £45, John Lewis. A traditional yet festive wreath studded with white and red berries.
  6.  Physalis Wreath, £59, Bloom. Skilfully woven from sprigs of faux physalis.

Trouva.com Reveals Sheffield As UK City With Most Expensive Taste This Christmas

Trouva.com, the online platform for independent boutiques, has revealed new data for the festive period, revealing Sheffield’s shoppers to have the nation’s most luxurious tastes in the UK, with their average Christmas gift lists hitting a whopping £588. Meanwhile, Londoners’ aspirations remain more modest, with their wish lists averaging £308, a remarkable 52% lower than the top of the list.

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With data compiled from Trouva’s own customers’ Christmas wish lists – created over September to November – the figures show Belfast ranking a close second, with shoppers adding items that would see loved ones coughing up an average £420 for the full list. Mancunian shoppers are also revealed to have high hopes for presents under the tree this year, coming in third place with their lists worth an average £316.

Seemingly, Bristol avoids the potential Christmas wish list spending frenzy as it takes the lowest spot (10th) at an average cost of £39 for their full basket – equating to just under 7% of what Sheffield shoppers covet this year. Also keeping their wish lists realistic are Nottingham (9th) and Birmingham (8th), with their baskets coming to a mere £79 and £80 respectively.

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Nationally, the most popular category is indoor plants and accessories, with 5% of Trouva’s customers adding indoor foliage and plant accessories to their list. The top item to be “wish-listed” is the String Of Pearls House Plant, with 200 customers hoping to receive it this Christmas.

The data also reveals which products different regions are setting their hearts on most:

  • Those in chilly Edinburgh can’t get enough of blankets and throws which are coming high on wish lists for the festive season.
  • Residents of Leicester also have a soft spot for soft furnishings, with cushions at the top of their must-have items.
  • Fun-loving Mancunians top the chart for drinkware products, with bar apparels.
  • Buying for a friend in Leeds? The northern city’s wish list ranks highest for food and drink.
  • Those in the university city of Cambridge are all about art.
  • Family in Birmingham? You won’t go wrong with a necklace – the city tops the chart in putting necklaces on their wish list.
  • If you’re buying for someone in Liverpool this year, make sure you stick to stationary: Liverpudlians are all about luxe pads, pens and general stationary goodies.
  • In Newcastle and struggling for a secret Santa present? Go for a vase: the city loves them.
  • Glasgow tops the charts on kitchen and cooking items.
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Lucy Ward, creative brand director at Trouva, said: “It’s so interesting to already be able to see what Brits are yearning for this Christmas and which regions are setting their hearts on the more expensive items. Through our network of independent bricks-and-mortar boutiques, we’re fortunate enough to be able to cater for all tastes – whether at premium or lower price points – and it’s incredibly encouraging to see so many people looking to shop independent via Trouva.com this year.”

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Trouva’s aspirational cities data takes into account 15,000 people nationally who have already used Trouva’s wish list tool to get ready for Christmas.

Dreaming of a Magical White Christmas

With all of the temptation out there when it comes to Christmas decorating, we wish we had the willpower to resist, and just stick to white. It's simply magical. White frosting, mythical creatures, glittering silver, and visions of Narnia. A fairytale come true.

And we think M&S have just about got it covered.

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7ft Snowy Potted Tree £200, Silver Star Tree Topper £7.50, Hanging Lit House Cloche £5, Hanging Lit Snowman Cloche £5, Hanging Let It Snow Lit Cloche £5, Silver Beaded Wish Tree Decoration £3, Glass Champagne Bauble £2, White Stag with Silver Glitter £5, Smoked Glass Etched Bauble £6, Pearlescent Glass Droplet £4, Tall Silver Light Up Tree £17.50, Champagne Vintage Style Lights £25, Clara Tea Light £5, Beaded Tea Light £5, Renee Tea Light £5, Renee Large Mercury Hurricane £29.50, Silver Glitter Wreath £19.50, Hartley Tea Light Holder £39.50, Clara Decorative Bowl £19.50, Freya Coffee Table £199, Ceramic Jug £22.50, Luxury Glass Baubles (Set of 20) £19.50, Arch Window Mirror £149, Staveley Medium Sofa in Baril Weave Natural £1,399, Feather Print Oversized Cushion £25, Metallic Print Throw £49.50, Brown Glitter Leaf Bauble £4, Hartley Objet Reindeer £7.50, Mercury Flower Tea Light £3.50, Silver Star Lights £25.

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1. Unicorn £6, 2. Polar Bear in Glass Open Bauble £5, 3. Silver Jewel Snowflake £5, 4. Silver Star Mosaic Bauble £5, 5.  Tall Beaded Angel £15, 6. Retreat Glass Pinecone £5, 7. Trapped Mistletoe Glass Bauble £4, 8. White Pinecone Wreath £15, 9. Silver Fairy £6.

All at M&S

How to Choose the Perfect Gift for Everyone on Your List This Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, but for many, choosing the right gift seems like an impossible chore. You might feel like you’re under a lot of pressure to choose the perfect gift, and maybe even to do so without much guidance. Your spouse might insist that he or she doesn’t want anything for Christmas, but you know you’re going to be in hot water if there’s nothing under the tree with his or her name on it come Christmas morning. You might not be lucky enough to get gift suggestions from your recipients, and even if you are, buying someone exactly what they’ve asked for puts a bit of a damper on the Christmas magic. What’s a gift giver to do?

The good news is that buying Christmas gifts doesn’t have to be a headache – if you follow these tips. Consider the message your gift sends; think about what your recipient might like, want, or need; remember recent events in the recipient’s life. With a little brainstorming, anyone can come up with gift ideas that are sure to please.

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Brainstorm Gift Ideas

If you have to buy someone a gift and you truly have no idea where to begin, start with a brainstorming session. Set a timer for three minutes, and spend those minutes writing down everything you can about who your loved one is, what he or she is interested in, and what defines his or her identity. Make this list as long as possible.

Now, brainstorm at least one item, small or large, to go with each item on that list. Not every single one of those things will be a great gift idea, but you’re bound to hit on at least one thing that your recipient will really love. Don’t hesitate to get creative. If your recipient already has a lot of stuff, maybe he or she will appreciate the gift of an experience that aligns with his or her tastes. Or, you can think about what he or she might need in more general terms than material possessions – maybe you can give your wife the gift of some personal time by hiring a cleaner to handle the housework, for example.

Think about What’s Been Happening in Your Recipient’s Life

Maybe your best friend’s cat died six months ago, and she’s been grieving ever since. Maybe your little sister just graduated from university. Maybe your mother just retired, and has been talking about taking piano lessons. Thinking about recent events in your recipient’s life is a great way to come up with personalised Christmas gift ideas. Your best friend might appreciate a framed painting of her beloved late pet; your little sister might like a diploma frame; your mother might appreciate a few piano lessons.

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Listen for Conversational Clues

Most people will talk about things they want, and if you pay attention to what they might say in idle conversation, you’ll be one step ahead of the gift-buying game. Has your wife complained about a broken appliance? Has your brother been talking about a new tool he wants? Pay attention when your loved ones talk about the things they enjoy or the purchases they’d like to make, but also listen for statements that begin with things like, “I really wish I had…” or “I wish I didn’t have to…” or “It’s really difficult to…” and think about things you could buy, give, or do to alleviate those situations.

Stalk Social Media

It might sound creepy, but checking your loved one’s social media is another easy way to figure out what they might like. Not only will social media give you insight into what the person likes, some sites even provide areas where users can curate lists of items they want to buy in the future. A peek at your loved one’s Amazon Wish List can reveal all the clues you’ll need.

Think of a Gift as a Message

When you remember that a gift is a means of communication, it can make it much easier to choose the right one. Ask yourself what you’d like to say to the person, and what you can give to communicate that. Remember, the message of a gift and its commercial value are seldom connected. At Christmas time, as always, it’s the thought that counts.

Velvet Murals: The Go-To Festive Fabric Becomes The Hottest Home Trend.

The Opulent Velvet collection by Murals Wallpaper includes rich, comforting hues and soft textured finishes for your home this Winter.

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The first-of-its-kind collection by Murals Wallpaper reimagines the staple party piece and transforms it into a stunning wall mural; bringing dramatic colour, sensuality and texture to any interior.

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The Opulent Velvet murals are too tempting not to touch - with the highest quality printing techniques capturing the depth of colour and radiant shine velvet material is renowned for.

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The six velvet effect styles within this collection embrace the seasonal palette, with options including a mesmirising emerald green and a warm, dusky pink. To celebrate the flexibility of the fabric, the Murals Wallpaper designs are available with button and cushion details, stylised folds or as flowing drapery and can be resized to suit any room this Winter.

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Website of the Week: My-Picture.co.uk

We've chosen My-Picture.co.uk as our website of the week for two reasons. Not only do they offer great products on their website, they also offer the perfect solution for all of your gift dilemmas this Christmas.

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The founders recognised that despite the fact that most people like to decorate their walls with paintings, their own beautiful pictures usually end up in a box at the bottom of their cupboards. But no more! You can now have your stunning images and favourite family photographs reproduced onto different materials using state-of-the-art printing technology. So, whether you favour photo canvas prints, premium wall decorations, photo books or any other of the customised products, you can now enjoy and share your own memories permanently.

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And what great gifts for all family members! A calendar or photo book will always be appreciated but what about personalised photo cushions, mugs, phone cases and mouse mats? Children will love the pesonalised books and puzzles.

READER OFFER

Heart Home mag readers can personalise their own 60x40 cm (retail price 49.90 GBP) and/or 75x50 cm (retail price 59.90 GBP) and/or 80x60 cm (retail price 69.90 GBP) format canvas print for only 20 GBP. 

Simply go to the website www.My-Picture.co.uk, upload your required image, select one of these formats and then enter the name HEARTHOMEMAG in the coupon code section (shopping cart) and then the discount will apply.

The promotion code HEARTHOMEMAG and will be valid until: 08.01.2018.

Collaborative Post

Lee Broom Reveals 'The Tree Of Glass' With Nude At Aqua Shard

This festive season, renowned UK designer Lee Broom with global design brand Nude unveil ‘The Tree of Glass’ for contemporary British restaurant aqua shard, located on the 31st floor of The Shard. Designed by Lee Broom and manufactured by Nude, together they have created an illuminated sculptural take on a traditional Christmas tree inspired by the striking architecture of The Shard and its iconic silhouette on the London skyline.

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The partnership sees aqua shard’s highly anticipated annual Christmas tree take a design-focused direction for 2017. 'The Tree of Glass’ is a unique and contemporary Christmas tree comprised of 245 hand-­blown glass LED pendant lights floating in a formation with the overall structure standing at just under 30-feet in height and the glass formation measuring just under 19-feet. The pendant shade design is inspired by The Shard and all 245 come together to create a single Shard shaped tree of light and glass which playfully lights aqua shard’s iconic triple-­story atrium and views of the London skyline.

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Committed to working with only the best craftspeople to develop his designs, this is the first collaboration between leading UK product designer Lee Broom, and contemporary glassware brand Nude who have meticulously handcrafted the shade for each pendant light. The cascading installation marks the perfect end to a celebratory tenth anniversary year for Broom who, earlier this year, unveiled a retrospective commemorating his decade of design during Milan’s annual design week. Previous collaborations of the tree at aqua shard include fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson and Sir David Attenborough with Timothy Hatton Architects.

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The 245 limited edition pendant lights are available to purchase now for £150 from the Lee Broom website (www.leebroom.com). £100 from the sale of each light will go to charity. Each pendant light will come with a chrome pendant light fitting and a chrome ceiling rose plus a warm white dimmable 2w LED bulb. The lights will be delivered in February 2018 once the tree has been disassembled.

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Proceeds will be donated to the British Red Cross, Broom’s charity of choice, specifically its two fundraising programmes; the UK Solidarity Fund which raises funds for those affected by terrorism in the UK following the aftermath of terror attacks in London and Manchester earlier this year and the London Fire Relief Fund which helps those in need effected by the fire at Grenfell Tower.

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In addition, aqua shard will develop a special dessert and cocktail, to be sold throughout November and December, with 50% of the sales going to the British Red Cross. The restaurant will also add an optional £1 to every bill throughout the Christmas period, which will be donated directly to the charity.

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'The Tree of Glass' will light up aqua shard’s atrium into the New Year.

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Dec the Halls with Brissi this Christmas

What are your plans for decorating the house this Christmas? Are you the type who likes a traditional approach? Using the baubles collected over the years and loving wrapped every January to bring out again in December? Or do you like to ring the changes every year with a new theme?

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We like a bit of both approaches here at Heart Home. We love to bring out the family heirlooms at Christmas, but love to add some new treasures too. And we're loving the Autumn/Winter range at Brissi. Chic, understated luxury, is what it's all about and the new products will inject darker hues, rich tones, warmth and cosiness into your home in time for the new season. But they won't look out of place with things you already own. That's what we like.

 Brass Top Vase, £48 | Eucalyptus Stem, from £9

 Brass Top Vase, £48 | Eucalyptus Stem, from £9

A simple vase of faux flowers and a couple of festive ornaments is all it takes to make the entrance hall welcoming to guests.

Baubles from £12

Baubles from £12

Keeping to a simple colour scheme means that old and new decorations will work together. We love this silver, gold and green theme. And faux stems and silk flowers will be your best friend this Christmas. No wilting, no going brown.

Flower Tealight Holder, £12

Flower Tealight Holder, £12

All images courtesy of Brissi.

 

In The Diary: Christmas At The V&A

The V&A is staging a month-long musical celebration of Christmas across its South Kensington and V&A Museum of Childhood sites. Featuring choirs, candlelit concerts, pop-up performances, film screenings, a spectacular Christmas tree, decoration making workshops and more, the festive period will be celebrated through music from opera to Christmas number ones. This year’s theme is inspired by the current major V&A exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics

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‘The Singing Tree’ designed by Es Devlin 

This year’s Christmas tree in the grand entrance will take the form of a cloud of floating words, contributed by our visitors. It has been conceived by Es Devlin, stage designer for leading performers including Kanye West and Beyonce as well as the Royal Opera House and National Theatre. This spectacular and innovative tree will feature digital word projections that create a poem. Accompanying the tree is a layered polyphonic soundscape of human and machine generated voices. Over the next two weeks in the lead up to installation of the tree and throughout the Christmas season, visitors will be invited to contribute a festive word as they enter the V&A and online. These will be combined and processed through text and sound algorithms to create this polyphonic poem sculpture. The tree will be created in collaboration with video designer Luke Halls, creative technologist Ross Goodwin, creative agency Sunshine and music and sound collective Res.Lab. Displays Special seasonal installions and Christmas displays highlight key objects relating to the music of Christmas from the collection. At South Kensington, a display celebrating the UK Christmas Number One will explore this yearly tradition through LPs, record sleeves and sheet music, with songs from Bing Crosby to Band Aid. Compilations of Christmas pantomime performances from the 

National Video Archive of Performane (NVAP) will be on show in the Theatre and Performance Gallery. To coincide with Sounds like Christmas at the V&A, Gold Fir have created three commissioned soundscapes that draw on the history, objects, architecture and heritage of three galleries in the Museum. At the Museum of Childhood visitors are invited to enjoy a display and audio trail exploring the changing sounds of Christmas with specially commissioned pieces by the acclaimed sound artist Neil Luck. 

Activities and performances 

At South Kensington, there will be daily carol concerts and weekly candlelit concerts, including a singalong of Christmas Number Ones led by Musical Director Sam Coates; a performance from the Monteverdi Choir, returning after Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s first performance at the Musuem in 1967; a performance from the Royal College of Music of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, a comic opera about a clever fox. There will also be a Christmas wreath workshop, the chance for visitors to make and play their own instruments and a festive family rave with Big Fish Little Fish. A wide range of activities will be staged to entertain families at the Museum of Childhood including a Christmas designer market, Sing-A-Long Saturdays and a 3-day ‘Make Some Noise’ celebration of music. 

V&A Christmas Gifts Our Christmas shop has an eclectic range of gifts that surprise and charm. Culture enthusiasts will be thrilled with a V&A Membership which grants them a whole year of unlimited free entry to all our exhibitions, access to the new Members’ Room and a host of other exclusive benefits, including 10% off in the shop and online. Design connoisseurs will also find a specialist collection of books on all aspects of the designed world including photography, architecture, fashion, graphics, jewellery, sculpture, textiles and more. The V&A also has its own publishing range, which features 150 fabulously illustrated books on the V&A’s exhibitions, collections and research. 

SOUNDS LIKE CHRISTMAS AT THE V&A 27 November 2017 – 6 January 2018, Full programme available at vam.ac.uk/Christmas. 

DIY Geometric Christmas Door Wreath

There's nothing more satisfying than making your own Christmas decorations. Especially if you get the whole family involved. So, if you had a go at our Scandi Christmas baubles last week and loved them, why not make this Geometric door wreath as a contemporary alternative to the more traditional green foliage and pine cones?

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint, Bright Copper

Geometric wreath (available from Hobbycraft)

Craft wire

Foliage

Scissors

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Gather your chosen foliage and ensure it is completely dry before starting your project. Move the foliage to a well-ventilated space and place on top of a dustsheet or some old newspapers.

2. Take your chosen can of Rust-Oleum spray paint and shake thoroughly. Hold the can approximately 30cm from the surface of the foliage and spray. Apply several light coats a few minutes apart. Leave to dry in a well ventilated place.

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3. Once fully dry, attach your foliage to the wreath using craft wire, layering the leaves until you are happy with your design.

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Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint, Bright Copper 400ml, £8.99, B&Q

 www.makeityours.co.uk

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Website Of The Week: Murmur

The Murmur ethos is influenced by the unadorned and simple aesthetic of Scandinavian and Japanese design; natural materials are married with carefully scaled geometric patterns inspired by prints and batik-style resist dyeing techniques. Simple stripes with textured accessories and effortless layering, key to the Murmur ethos.

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Every product and pattern has been designed in-house at Murmur’s Northern Irish Studio; pieces have been hand-crafted and sourced by the design team from around the globe who have travelled to inspiring places such as India and Scandinavia. It’s an informal approach to home, a collection to live with everyday. Patterns, textures and colours are designed to be mixed and matched. It’s harmonious, not jarring or discordant. It’s just Murmur.

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Capturing a renewed desire for simply designed and hand-crafted pieces; it’s so much more than a home-ware brand; it’s an attitude, an approach, a reflection of how we live today…

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Recipe of the Week - Simple Saucy Salmon Tacos

These easy to make salmon tacos are the perfect dish for weekday meals. They are so quick to prepare you can be sitting down with the family in no time. And what family doesn't like a meal you can eat with the fingers? In front of the TV. Perfect.

Serves 2

Serves 2

Ingredients:

-        2 salmon fillets – chilled or frozen

-        4 corn taco shells

-        150g Lettuce, finely diced

-        1 Red Onion, finely sliced

-        Half a lime

-        Optional toppings: jalapeno peppers, sprinkling of coriander, pomegranate, chilli sauce

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C and cook your salmon fillets for 28 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, heat your taco shells in the oven for 5 minutes, then scatter with the lettuce, red onion and chosen toppings
  3. Remove your salmon fillets from the oven and flake each into smaller pieces, then add them to the tacos
  4. Finish by squeezing lime juice over each taco and drizzling with your favourite chilli sauce 

TOP TIP: For fuss free fish and sauce, straight from the freezer, try The Saucy Fish Co.’s new Frozen Salmon with Chilli, Lime and Ginger Dressing, available in the freezer aisle in Tesco and Sainsbury’s nationwide

Recipe courtesy of The Saucy Fish Co.