The Drinks Trolley Re-invented

The revival of the drinks trolley happened somewhere in the last couple of years and whilst I always imagined it as a bit of a fussy piece of tacky furniture gathering dust living in a badly lit room in the 50’s, I now love the way in which it has been reinvented.  A stat just to show how popular it has become:   The number of bar cart ideas (if you don’t mind an Americanism) saved on Pinterest in the UK jumped 40 per cent in six months. Sales of bar carts were up 173 per cent from January to June 2016.

Some Drinks Trolley Trivia

(taken from http://www.thebarcartist.com/bar-cart-history/)

The bar cart actually got its start during the Victorian Era (1837-1901). However, at that time it was not associated with alcoholic beverages. The bar carts of the Victorian Era were actually tea trolleys!  It seems we have the Interbellum and Greatest Generations to thank for taking us from Tea Time to Party Time when they started using bar carts for cocktail parties during the end of Prohibition (1933). Though bar carts started being associated with cocktails after the repeal of prohibition, they did not become well known cocktail entertaining items until the 1950’s.

If your’e thinking of including a drinks cart/trolley as part of your decor at home here are a few do’s and don’ts.

Cart Style

Retro-style carts are particularly popular – think gold and glitzy with glass or marble shelving.  Marble with a very dark brassy metal would be my choice.  But look for contemporary details, such as oversized wheels and sleek lines, to stop things feeling too fussy. Two shelves is way better than one and three shelves is probably too many.  Purchasing the cart is probably the easiest part however.

Alcohol 

Its not about a purchase and then stocking it with a couple bottles of hardtack and some crystal glasses.  Of course not, in 2017 everything has to be styled!  The styling also includes the brand of alcohol you have on display.  I would personally pick two or three bottles of spirits, I think an over stocked trolley will look messy and cluttered.  Perhaps add a soft drink like an Elderflower cordial, a bottle of bitters and lots of sparkling water (San Pelligrino).  This is for the everyday display and then when you have guests you can add your wines, champagne etc. When you are picking your display bottles of spirits I can’t speak for Bourbon’s or Whiskey’s but a bottle of Gordins isn’t going to cut it on the Gin front, Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire or something on that level.  If residing in SA you may be up to speed with the gin re-awakening (well that’s a whole other topic altogether). Cape Town is one of the leaders of this world wide trend.  Talented and passionate locals are distilling gin using indigenous flora such as fynbos and rooibos to create gin that you’ll find nowhere else in the world. A few of the local names to look out for that would sit very prettily (and go down very happily) are Inverroche http://www.inverroche.co.za Hope on Hopkins http://hopeonhopkins.co.za Musgrave http://www.musgravegin.co.za Woodstock Gin Company http://www.woodstockginco.co.za to name a few.

Styling

Bringing in some artwork, plants, a lamp, jugs, candles, good crystal pieces or books are a few of the many different objects to look for.  Fruit is also a great idea, I would go with a bowl of lemons, limes or both and a pineapple or three.  Recently we have been drinking our gin with slices of pineapple and I can honestly say that Pineapple in gin should be part of the gin revolution.  Basically any of the above objects would add interest, texture, colour and style to your cart.  Again for me personally I would choose a few items and not make it too busy, ensuring every item has the ability to shine and be seen.

Inspiration

I have picked out what I believe to be beautifully styled trolleys.

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I’m still looking for my perfect drinks trolley, I imagine its living in an antiques market somewhere.  I look forward to sharing it with you here when its found.

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Interior Additions

Some beautiful pieces to lift a space that needs little change up without a complete overhaul.  Interiors are like wardrobes in that you have your staples (your larger pieces of furniture perhaps like your classic sofa’s, cabinets and sideboards in neutral tones) then you can move out coffee tables, side tables, rugs and scatters to either change your colour scheme ever so slightly or just bring in a new design element that you love.

The velvet topped stool.  I love this elegant looking stool, at first glance it’s quite sophisticated looking, but the lighter oak legs will ensure that this piece fits in with traditional or contemporary decor themes.  Shop the stool here

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Mix up your outdoor area and add this round day bed to a special corner for curling up in.  Its a very contemporary style but feels very luxurious at the same time.  It looks like a piece you would find on the deck of your private plunge pool at a lodge. Shop here

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Add texture to your walls with baskets, a different take on artwork or mirrors, I love the layers it adds to a space.  Choose from a range here

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Free up some space on your bedside table and attach lamps to your wall next to your bed.  I love these, they can be shopped here

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You probably know by now Im a sucker for baskets.  These could be used for anything from kids toys to bathing towel storage outdoors (undercover).  Shop baskets of varying sizes  here

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A plant sorts out any space when you don’t know what to do with it or if an area is lacking life. Why not put plants on your wall too.  I adore these wall hanging pot plants which can be ordered here

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Adding ceramics, wood, metal and wicker to your bookshelves is a great way to add interest to an area.  A home can never have too many bowls in different shapes, colours and sizes. Shop this striking yellow one here

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This bark mirror is so different and again doubles up as artwork, purchase three and place them on a wall beside one another.  Shop these at a bargain price here

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Simple Christmas Decorating

I can’t quite get my head around the fact that the start of the Christmas season is only about 2.5 weeks away.  I actually don’t feel like thinking about all that needs to be done before we head off on our holidays.  This year I am going rustic and minimalist.  Reasons being; I love the minimalist christmas theme, tress with very sparse decor.  I’m too lazy to go all out (or just don’t have time) and we’re going to be in 3 different places from 1st December to 6th Jan (when all the decorations need to come down – if you’re a traditionalist) so the less I have to put up and take down again, the better.  I also have a lot of white decorations which will fit into our summer Christmas perfectly, it feels quite beachy I think. So here’s what Im thinking:

Firstly, I am definitely going to attempt this simple Garland. Click here for instructions.screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-22-29

I don’t want too much glitz on my tree or anywhere in my home, I want everything to be simple with no fuss, here are some trees that Im loving the look of …

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I love all the white wrapping in the baskets!

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I have already bought my wrapping paper for the children’s presents (pic below), this had to be done when I was in London at The White Company, just couldn’t resist! Im literally going to be covering my eyes when I watch them rip open the beautiful paper 😉

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And to complement this I think I will wrap the adults in plain white paper with raffia and sprigs of Christmas tree leaves that have fallen off.

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And that’s my simple Christmas! Now to find the perfect little tree.

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The Blondes behind Simply Home

A couple of months ago, I had just arrived back in SA and was so overwhelmed by the amount of entrepreneurs this country is churning out.  There is so much incredible talent, driven by hard working creative people (many of which are in their 30’s with small children in tow), doing all sorts of amazing things.  Two of those happen to be the brilliant blondes behind the brand Simply Home, who’s concept translated into their product launch last November and has soared.

They bring us locally produced home décor that is ethically sourced, using home grown raw materials. Locally made furniture encourages job creation. This is the optimal modern day business model in South Africa.

Any of us with a bit of a conscience are all about preserving our planet and working locally. Ethically produced goods is one of the many reason’s I love Simply Home!

So who is behind Simply Home? Co-owners Lindsay Lloyd, who founded Simply Child 8 years ago, and Leigh Cattell who comes from a fashion retail background. Together they bring us contemporary, neutral décor with a Scandinavian touch, the minimalist look that is plaguing Pinterest. These great friends were born and bred in Cape Town but only met in London, where they lived together.

Leigh, whom I’ve known for over a decade, welcomes me with the loveliest smile that everyone who knows her will recognize. Her beautifully-styled home instantaneously makes me ogle at everything.  Leigh shares her stunning abode with husband, Andrew and their little girl, Sophie. As I walk through the front door I’m introduced to the equally bubbly and gorgeous Lindsay, who is hard at work, putting together all the furniture pieces; a DIY diva!

Leigh’s home exudes notions of the seaside. Showcasing different textures and styles in her open plan home provides a feeling of serenity. The use of neutral hues, splashes of grey and turquoise, express their love of the ocean. Leigh describes what makes a home warm. “A place that is comfortable, it needs to be lived in, we can’t be precious about expensive pieces, a home needs to be enjoyed and used.”

I never got the chance to see Lindsay’s home that she shares with her husband,d Grant and their two little boys near Kirstenbosch. I have no doubt it’s full of character and would be a wonderful expression of her energetic and creative spirit.  Whilst Lindsay is happiest in overalls at the Workshop, building, bashing and getting dirty, Leigh prefers a slightly ‘dressier’ role; client facing and sales liaison. They are both equally involved in all areas of the business, however I noticed that they each naturally gravitate towards their area of expertise. Lindsay says when her mind runs wild and she’s bringing too many new product ideas to the table, Leigh reigns her in and helps her focus on just a few designs at a time. They are currently aiming to launch up to three new products per month.

How do they come up with their ideas? They follow international trends, and Grant makes all the sample ranges. “Ultimately he would like to be involved doing this full time too.” Grant has been instrumental in their business as he was the original carpenter for Simply Home, building everything with his tools from scratch after work and on weekends.  They have now employed a full time carpenter and handy man at their workshop. This frees up some time for Grant, and Lindsay and Leigh are able to focus more on customer relations, marketing and everything else that comes with running your own business.

When asked what the future holds for Simply Home they both answer: “We want to grow Simply Home into exporting flat pack furniture.” Their Furniture pieces are most popular and of course with the weak Rand, exporting is definitely the route to go.  They are both so passionate about their products. They take pride in making exclusive products, nothing is mass produced. They take a concept and develop it from scratch, putting in hours of intensive thought and manual labour until they reach perfection.

How have they overcome the challenges of online shopping in South Africa? “Online shopping has completely done a 180 in the last year, the confidence of the SA people has increased and they now have faith in online shopping.”

These two brains together are a force to be reckoned with. Finishing each others sentences and laughing all the way, they are set for success!

Whilst I knew I loved the products from their website, having spent an hour eating biscuits (that was me) and drinking coffee with this fun duo, I am smitten. Having seen, felt and tested some of the stylish range first hand, I have shared some of my favourite pieces with you (click on links for product details). Quit ogling and get ordering!! http://simplyhome.co.za

Lindsay and Leigh’s Cape Town

Bakhoven beach with kids

Langebaan with the family (Leigh)

Kirstenbosch gardens with the boys (Lindsay)

Child free Dinners in Kloof Street

Leather Strap Wall Shelf

Round Wall Hook // Belly Baskets

Childrens clothes rail

Marble Collection

The Next Big Thing To Talk About

Now that Halloween is over can we talk about Christmas? Well apart from those that celebrate Thanksgiving, but Im certainly starting to peek at the decorations out the corner of my eye every time I walk by a display.  Well to tell you the truth I will just come out with it, I’ve already bought my first 3 additions for the tree!  Im such a sucker for anything sparkly and Christmassy.  I asked my oldest son (who was 2.5 years old) last Christmas to choose a decoration for the tree, it was such fun watching him search, take one and then change his mind and then I tried to sway his decisions too, the first thing he picked out was a really funny looking little scraggly felt dog, I guess that is what gives the tree character, anyway we came home with a reindeer and a scraggly looking dog.  I will turn this into a ritual until the boys are older and don’t find picking out a tree decoration that fun anymore, which will only be a few years away I suspect.

Last year my tree was filled with white, grey and a touch of red, and then of course the odd pink, yellow and red knitted socks from great gran and a kitsch purple liberty ball that somebody gave us amongst a few other weird things that we feel obliged to put up but generally I like to have a theme going. So for every strange looking decoration I buy another three to overshadow the bizarre bits and the theme never gets lost.  As this is our last winter in the UK I will probably keep the white and silver theme going as Im sure summer Christmas’s to come will be filled with neon and colour.

So far I’ve found a garland of small wire star fairy lights, a wreath in a heart shape of painted white berry’s and a little grey felt tree with a bit of white embroidery on it.  Two of my favourite places to buy decorations from are Paper Chase and The White Company who are, for me, are the epitome of Christmas. They do it so so well!  And actually I must mention Waitrose too, as whilst I walk around doing my shopping I always manage to chuck one in as if Im throwing in the usual pack of apples (it doesn’t make me feel like Im actually spending extra on unnecessary extras as it gets lost amongst the food shop.

Paper Chase do amazing wrap and ribbons too, their decorations are especially fun and different which is where I will take Oliver and Adam to again for picking out their tree decorations this year.  I have gathered a few of my favourites below and put them into their themes. All decorations featured are picked from Paperchase, John Lewis, The White Company and Liberty. Never right off your local supermarket, Ikea or a little independent store where I have picked up many little trinkets along the way.

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The playful Neon Tree
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The rustic winter tree
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The Glamour Tree
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Winter White Tree
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Traditional Red, Green & White Tree

Well I won’t say Happy Holiday’s just yet but happy decoration hunting. Now we just need the trees to come out….(Big cheesy grin).

Had to share the Happy holiday’s caravan (below), one of the cutest I have come across which I might have to pop into my shopping basket next time!

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The heart and soul….

I think most modern families would agree that the kitchen is most definitely the heart and soul of the house.  With the crazy lifestyles we lead, its pretty much cook, sit, eat, clean and run off.  So with this in mind to maximise the rushed time together, the best idea, is to ensure your kitchen has a table and is a family friendly environment so everyone can enjoy themselves in the space.  This means probably a little kiddie friendly corner with mini table and chairs, a box of toys, a wall or an island side painted chalk board, perhaps a door to the outside and if you have the luxury of loads of space, potentially an island with stools as well as a big table with chairs (hmmm I love it when my mind runs wild with ideas).

The dining table in a kitchen these days serves as many things.  A homework table, an admin table (mine certainly piles up with all the paperwork I need to see to), a place to sit and drink coffee and of course a beautiful space for family and friends to sit and eat.

My pet hate however with having a dining table in the kitchen is when hosting a dinner party and all the dirty cooking utensils, pots and pans pile up around the kitchen, so its a good idea to either design the kitchen so the sink area is far from the table and if possible around the corner of the fridge for example, better yet in a separate utility room so completely invisible.

We are in the process of buying a house, a lovely old family home, HOWEVER, the kitchen is teeny tiny and is a galley type kitchen so no room for even a miniature kids table. Luckily there are two laundry/pantry style rooms on the one side and a dining room on the other, so hopefully (all fingers and toes crossed) we will be able to bash through all these walls and rather than have four separate rooms have one super large kitchen/diner.  And although Im not sure we will be able to do any work straight away, I still sit and dream up the perfect kitchen……  I love a contemporary space but Im a sucker for a bit of rustic-ness too, so I would love contemporary kitchen units with modern appliances but a large old style table, perhaps mix and match chairs, large windows and an extra large natural rug (from Coral & Hive, check out their page here). If there’s space in this design mix and match, then give me an exposed brick wall too.

Having a fire place in the kitchen really turns this into a warm happy place, however probably not necessary in hot countries!
Having a fire place in the kitchen really turns this into a warm happy place, however probably not necessary in hot countries!
Love all the light and the large island complete with chalk board of course
Love all the light and the large island complete with chalk board of course
I love the high cupboards and the ladder.
I love the high cupboards and the ladder.
A very classy kitchen
A very classy kitchen
I will take the dog too ;-)
I will take the dog too 😉
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Quite busy but looks a fun kitchen to be in.
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More of a breakfast nook, very casual, but inviting.

When the time comes in the hopefully not too distant future I will be sure to post pics of what the result actually turns out to be.  For now I will continue to day dream about my perfect kitchen layout.

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outDOORS

I was sitting in the kids play room this morning, looking out into the garden thinking how much I dislike the door and windows in that room that lead out into the garden.  The only thing it has going for it, is the fact that it is all glass, so it brings in good light and we have good views into the garden, other than that, I would very much love to give the owner some ideas for when they decide to update.  It got me thinking that I actually have a door fetish, just to add yet another one to the list of fetish’s.  Is it a London thing? People looking at other peoples front doors all the time.  I know its not just me but all my friends and people I know are always taking pics of other peoples doors and front entrances.  I guess in London our houses are literally on the street, so are always on show, not only to the people that live on the street but every person that happens to be walking past to get somewhere else (which at this time of year is an obscene amount, with the Wimbledon tennis fans all about).

When we move into our own home (hopefully soon) I want to ensure that I pick the right doors for the house and ones that are not only attractive but that make the most of the space as well as feeling like I am bringing a bit of the outside in or visa versa.  Its great to be able to sit indoors but feel like you are out, I like open and airy spaces and I love to be able to see straight out into the garden.

Have a look at some door inspiration.

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Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.40.29 Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.41.24 Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.42.20 Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.42.43 Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.44.17 Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.56.14If you are currently decorating or about to embark on a project and would like help sourcing products, pulling ideas together or just want a second opinion please to get in touch, I would love to hear from you and would love to help if I can based on previous decorating, sourcing and scouting experience I’ve had decorating in London.

xxx