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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Incorporating Black

So you would have heard me banging on about my floors in one of my previous posts here, and I decided to go dark.  The actual colour used was Ebony, but it doesn’t come out pitch black, its more like a really really dark brown (perhaps one shade lighter than black…) Anyway the outcome is sensational (for me) Im so thrilled with them.  Ive left the rooms quite bare at the moment as Im trying to decide how Im going to fill them and what I want to do with the space.  Anyway now that Im obsessed with my floors it got me looking through other ideas of using black in the home.  Last year I decorated a guest house which you may also know about if you follow my Instagram page   There I decided to paint the kitchen cupboards black.  The owners didn’t want an entire kitchen renovation but rather update what was there, so I went with black and it made such a great impact on the rather vast, outdated and dull space that had existed beforehand.  I also brought in black chairs for the dining area (open plan) which carried the boldness through to balance the spaces out somewhat.  Now, I know black is no great shakes in terms of “newness”, it’s been trending in various ways for some time in the world of interiors.  We have been loving black steel door and window frames as well as cabinetry and bathroom tiles for a few years now, but there are certain ways to do it, for a better, bolder and slightly classier outcome.

Here are some ideas of how to incorporate black.

I just love this black backdrop for this bedroom, so simple and effective.

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Here we see it used in a far subtler way but that pop of darkness is so strong

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I think black floors are my new thing 😉 love that the rest of the woodwork has also been painted black.

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Loving the dark sinks

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So rich, the blues with black.  Im always a fan of mixing blues and black in dressing. (clearly Slim Aarons fans judging by the pictures)

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I almost feel like this black staircase replaces the necessity for too much artwork.

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I love a black exterior wall for a wooden house, it looks great in a lush leafy area as below or even on a beach house with the contrast of the white sandy surrounds.

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There will be pics up on the blog or instagram soon of my floors 😉

Happy Hump Day (or what’s left of it 😉

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New Year, New Goals

I am sure we hear ourselves say this at the start of every year.  If I think back about the start of last year, I wasn’t thinking goals, challenges, resolutions etc.  I was focused on one massive continent move.  We celebrated Christmas, went away to the Countryside with friends for a couple of days over New Years, had a whale of a time and kept everything as normal as possible until that little trip was over…. and then, the big pack up begun.  Everything after that was a bit of a blur and I certainly was not focused on the year ahead, other than surviving the next couple of months.  Last year for me was about getting through lots of “news”.  New town, new home, new schools, new people, new absolutely everything.  So whilst I did a bit of a spring clean when we packed up in London, I also held onto a lot in case I needed it.  After having been back in SA for 11 months now I am starting to realise what is needed and what is going to stay and what is going to go.  I have worn about 5% of my wardrobe in the past year, which for me is really sad but the new climate and much more casual style here means I simply cannot wear closed shoes, high heels or coats and wooly jumpers for many days of the year.   On the interior front, our rooms now are a lot more spacious than we had before so things like rugs and tables and decorative stuff all feel rather puny in the larger space and rugs are not filling the areas as they should.

Having said all of the above my goals for this year are about slowly fixing everything to suit our new lifestyle.  We have survived the past year, now we need to thrive! Im quite an impulsive person and sometimes a little hasty, so when I get a bee in my bonnet or the slightest inkling of a “go ahead” from my husband, Im on to it.  I currently have the flooring guys in, ripping up carpets and sanding parquet and wooden flooring (we’ve only been home for 3 days after a month away).  Once that is done, I will move onto the next phase of this project.  Slowly but surely we will start to renovate and redecorate our home, but first we need to have a proper plan in place (which we are still working on).  The other goal this year is to not buy a thing! Other than the necessities of course. There are always those: “this is the best lamp I have ever seen and there will never be another one like it” (how many times have we heard ourselves say that and a couple of months down the line…!?!).  I want to utilise as much of my current bit and bobs as possible and make my wardrobe really work for me, discover new outfits and clear out what is not being worn.  Same goes for the boys.  The toys, and any home decor. This year is all about de-cluttering and then figuring out what exactly we want to replace and what we need once we are back to a minimal of everything.  I want a blank canvas to work with for the next phase.

Here are a couple of inspirational pics of those perfect spaces I would like to create, from bathroom to living to utility.

Bathroom Organisation – order and colour co-ordination

Make- Up, Accessories & Sunglasses. I seem to get a lot more of it all every year (clearly the older I get the more I need although the less I actually seem to use)

Books and Clothing – you need to see them both to appreciate and use them, tucked away and unseen, they become useless and forgotten about.

Kids play – I have this exact kiddies kitchen and I promise it is impossible to keep this tidy but I guess that is a sign it’s actually loved and is used regularly.  As do we have this many, if not more animals but I love the way they are displayed on the shelf (that wouldn’t last either).

The perfectly set up Utility room.  My lovely cleaner would kiss me if we set this up for her.  She is a laundry fanatic, loves it and takes great care in washing and retaining clothing colour and shape (we have a lot in common).

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I will share any developments of the house and wardrobe with you here.  I will also promise to disclose anything bought that is not on the necessity list on my instagram page here, you have my word (basically a name and shame of myself, hopefully this will help to refrain from purchases).

I would like to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2017 filled with so much love and adventure!  And thank you so much for reading my blog.

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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