A couple of things I have no time for 1: anyone complaining during an English summer about warm weather. And 2: a sweltering bedroom and sticky night’s sleep during aforementioned warmer-than-normal-wave. Stay cool this summer and ensure you get good shut-eye.
Ever found yourself whiling away hours scrolling through Instagram when you could have been doing something (anything) more productive? I’m not denying anyone a good fall down a #NoFilter rabbit hole but your brain might thank you for a more creative pastime. These less than pedestrian hobbies might be just the tonic to reset your busy mind (and clip that phone screen time).
We all just want somewhere to sit and enjoy a drink after work as the evenings get warmer and lighter. Make your outside space lovely, whether it's a fully-fledged couple of acres in the countryside (in which case, can we be friends?) or a "bijou" city centre balcony.
What do you mean, you thought The Oyster Club was an oyster restaurant? Pfft. The original Oyster Club was a hangout for scientists, philosophers and other big thinkers of Edinburgh in the 1770s. The Birmingham namesake was established to create a haven for this city’s most brilliant minds, and also just for people that are well into their seafood. Or their caviar. Or lobster. Or Wagyu. Either way, complete with it's Michelin-starred creds, The Oyster Club's got the good stuff.
Make a note in your Google calendar. Set an alarm. This Friday, the restos and retailers of Bullring & Grand Central are offering discounts, freebies and special event sort of things. And let's be real for a mome, who doesn't want all of that? Your bank manager would be proud. I'm proud too. Here's my pick of what's happening at A Shopping Affair, from 5pm 'til 8pm (when parking will also be half price).
Ever so occasionally I’m accused of being city centre centric. Hey, the clue's in the name. Boutiques in Birmingham regularly get shout outs ‘cuz I’m basically a self-appointed B'ham indie cheerleader. But I’ve got nothing against the ‘burbs and there are gems to be found outside of B1 to B5, either a short drive away or a bit further afield. But all less than an hour from Grand Central. Pom-poms optional.
Hey, we know we’re not the first people to write a gift guide in December. So sue us (please don’t).
What kind of Christmas decorator are you, are you a traditionalist that only uses red and gold decs, or are you more into, say, hanging sushi and avocado baubles? Whichever team you fall into, can we just all agree that you should probably have a balloon dog on your tree this year?
This section of the email is rather preposterously called Ampersand. It’s an homage to the & in our name and hey, what can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for the lil linguistic device. I've gone super meta and I'm featuring &s in Ampersand.
There are so many types of lighting it can get kinda overwhelming. A pendant light, or a table lamp? Wall-mounted or cluster? Which do I want, and where? The answer is multiple options in each room for different situations. Most rooms have more than one purpose - the living room needs to be bright when you’re working on your laptop, but when you’re on hour three of a Netflix sesh, the lighting needs to be cosy. We've got the answers and, bonus, they're all under one fiddy.
I’ve just moved house and I can hardly bear living with a light fitting I didn’t choose. The thought of completely gutting a place before making it habitable again makes my head hurt. These local ladies have taken on projects that would make Kevin McCloud wince — and they've come out the other side. If you're crazy enough to want to follow in their tracks, we've picked their brains for valuable how-tos and the mistakes to avoid.
Defy the unpredictable British summer and bring the inside out, by giving whatever space you've got to call a garden some interiorsy touches. What's that you say, optimism triumphing over experience? Never!
Working from a kitchen table, bedroom desk or an actual proper office? If you're spending long periods of time staring at your laptop and PowerPoint presentations that never end, you might as well make your surroundings look exceptionally lovely.
How often are you frustrated by the amount of sleep you got the night before? Discussions on 11pm til 7am (as if), seem to be part of our daily lexicon, and if you're aiming to create a peaceful bedroom, it's about more than just blocking out external noise and getting black-out curtains. The experts at Neptune in Edgbaston Village gave us the DL on how a soothing environment might help you achieve those elusive eight hours.
Single-use plastics and wasteful packaging is so last century. Rather than suggesting you forego your daily coffee (we’d never be that cruel), there are more environmentally-friendly, reusable replacements for every day items than ever. And they’re super cute too, so that helps.
The average cost of repainting a two bedroom house is £2,000. That’s for the painting alone. Holy smokes. What to do if chez vous is looking a bit tired, but you don’t want to shell out that kind of cash? We got you. And we've got quick fixes to inject life into any interior and they don't require any serious commitment (or money), whether you're renting or home-owning.
Why are we always so tired? It’s probably something to do with our caffeine intake and scrolling through Instagram until 2am. We can’t guarantee a good eight hours but hopefully these things will help you achieve some sweet slumber.
As reliable as January sales and fad diets, a new year means marketeers making bold claims about new trends. Some are chin-strokingly questionable (we’re looking at you Pantone and your colour of the year). Pinterest’s round-up is wholly more sane and these are some home decor styles we hope to see more of in 2018.
If you’re anything like us, you’re always pinning DIY projects to a Pinterest board that you'll never get round to doing. Christmas wreaths are firmly on that list. Every. Single. Year. We have all the best intentions, but the reality is we do better with some encouragement (and a teeny bit of hand-holding) when venturing into uncharted, crafting waters.
We spend excessive amounts of time house-hunting. Zoopla is bookmarked and Rightmove is a constant in our "frequently used" apps. Also, we're kinda nosy. So when this Georgian townhouse overlooking B-Town's dreamiest square came on the market, we didn't hang about in taking a peek. Now get yourself a cup of coffee, take a seat, and join us for a look-see.
You know all about Digmas. But do you know about the Paperdolls portion of proceedings? It’s a curated market bursting with lovely independent makers and their wares from illustrators and florists, to candles and clothes. Here's just some of their Christmas line-up, at the Custard Factory, November 25.
Helen Powell is Design Hunter. Her eye for contemporary, minimal design has earned her awards, plaudits and loyal followers, the latter in their tens of thousands. She’s based just down the road in that there Leamington Spa, so we had a chat with her about all things house, home and dog. Join us for a nose around chez elle and apply her teachings IRL, like some interior design sensei.
Art is hecking pricey, wallpaper is a huge commitment we’re not willing to make just yet, and mirrors are too easy an option. Pretty up your biggest, window-free wall with these Pinterest-worthy alternatives.
Each of these books is an invitation to slow down and enjoy the best things about autumn. Long meals with friends, fires and creating a cosy house when the days are short and the nights are long.
It’s September. You might not be back to school, but summer hols are done did'd, and you’re probably firmly re-installed at your ol' faithful desk. The recycled office air, fluorescent lighting and excessive screen time aren't anyone's friend. Go beyond a trip to the water cooler to get a little work happy.