Old Bag / New Bag

It has to be one of the most exciting experiences – I was going to say ‘if u r a girl of my age’, but actually, I have ALWAYS loved a new bag!!

better bag

It is almost like becoming a new person – and in this case, a much more organised, sophisticated person….Oh dear – I think that every time – but this time – my new bag – which is actually ‘two bags plus a purse’ – really does have a pocket for everything – never again will I lose my keys, glasses, mobile phone…


I love my old bag of course…a beautiful, grey, polka dot, Cath Kidston – practical as well as pretty I thought…except, it is actually a bit low on pockets and if I ever need to take a magazine with me, which is quite often in my job, I am literally bursting out all over the place! Laptop? God help me – I need another bag – so I really am all over the place


Where on earth my phone, glasses and keys are by now – just don’t ask!

No more though…now I have my new bag – more a ‘system’ really – for storing items that I need constantly, such as, aforesaid, phone, keys and glasses and for carrying them around whilst looking intelligent and fashionable, I hope – rather than hopelessly dis-organised and a bit weird.


wee bag

both bags

There is literally somewhere to put everything – somewhere ‘I’ can find things, but a pick pocket would struggle to – joy!! I can just leave the house so quickly now, because I know where everything is – I will never again walk for miles around my house looking for my sunglasses, missing trains, arriving late for friends…to find they have made new friends in the meantime and no longer wish to know me!

Thank you Fiona of My Boutique Home, interior designer and purveyor of a selection of bags that will change your life.

Ollie & Seb’s House

A colourful home is a decision and a commitment that we might not all want to make. We don’t all want to live with intense colours! Actually monochrome is highly fashionable at the moment and a very achievable route to creating a very stylish home.

Well known blogger, Deborah Gordon of Ollie & Seb’s Haus, has committed totally to monochrome. Black is the only accent colour in her all white home, that she shares with her husband and two little boys, in Glasgow, apart from the odd plant or toy!










I just can’t get enough of this place…I know from following her that she loves to ring the changes…how can monochrome be so un-boring??

Definitely to be re-visited!

Colour in!

Someone who would chime in very well with everything we learnt at the colour workshop is serial renovator and lover of emulsions of every hue, Kirsten Simonsen Howells. When she bought her Edinburgh home it was a sea of tired magnolia…






Kirsten describes herself as extremely colour-orientated. A subscriber to the Pantone and Colourhues websites, playing around for hours, enjoying them just for their own sake. She has gone on to make bold choices for her home, admitting that if she were to choose ‘safe’ colours she would not be being true to herself.’


Colour moves through the house dynamically because, Kirsten has responded to the light in every room, individually. ‘The blue in the bathroom is the same as the blue in the kitchen for instance, but you don’t realise, because the light is completely different’ Kirsten explains, ‘I painted it yellow at first, but it was totally wrong, the blue is much better.’


All the colours are bespoke emulsion paints by Dulux. Kirsten almost always uses Dulux mixing service. ‘I find the more traditional paint companies colours far too subtle I am afraid!’

A strong believer in the importance of natural cosmetics, Kirsten works as a consultant for the botanically based and paraben free cosmetics company, Arbonne.

Find out more at kirstenhowells.myarbonne.co.uk

A Colourful Morning

I have mentioned before that I belong to a women’s networking group – we meet for lunch in a hotel in Edinburgh every month – lovely! It feels terribly indulgent, but at the same time you are learning loads and meeting people who are inspirational and ever-helpful.

Someone always gives a short talk and last time it was Jane Chrumka, of Harmony Ridge Designs, a trained interior designer who works as a colour consultant.

paint pallette

Jane is passionate about her subject and lives and breathes colour. She offers her services to businesses and individuals who are uncertain as to how to use this powerful communicator. With our current reliance on the internet we are communicating all the time visually – how often do you make a phone call nowadays? And colour and pattern can reinforce our message very effectively.

She gave a thought provoking presentation about colour in nature, the workplace and the home and held a prize draw for a place on one of her workshops and I was the lucky winner!

I had a lovely morning with Jane and the other participants, looking at colour and talking about what we want from it and what we look to it for: how we dress; how we choose certain colours for our home; our business environments and stationery.

Having fun!


I came away more certain of my likes and dislikes, with a deeper understanding of why I like certain colours and why I don’t…I would recommend anyone who has not had their colours ‘done’ to get in touch with Jane for a one to one and let ‘wondering what to wear’ and ‘how to inject colour into your home’ become an anxiety of the past!

The next workshop date is Sat 26th April – book before the 31st March for an early bird discount!

Old school

Delighted to introduce my latest sponsor Willow & Hall, makers of beautiful handmade sofas, sofa beds and mattresses, based in Wiltshire…their icon on the right takes you to their website.

Dunsmore sofa Somerton Sofa Bed Dressed Somerton 2

For anyone who values quality and great design, these are for you…it is the fabric choices that I love, beautiful linens, cotton, wool and velvet in subtle, dusky, colours that are all easy to live with, but dramatic notes are available as well.


In a small apartment it is easy to make quality a priority: you can more easily afford really beautiful finishes, resulting in a jewel-like interior. Douglas photographed this tiny diamond of a studio in a converted Victorian school, in Edinburgh, beside Holyrood Park for 25 Beautiful homes magazine.


Originally the school secretaries office, the owners have renovated it and have left nothing out in terms of luxury and comfort. The kitchen has everything you need; there is a sumptuous bedroom tucked into an alcove, with an etched glass sliding door as a partition, separating it from an opulent living space, with easily enough space for a dining spot at the bay window.


I love the addition of the simple wooden panelling, a nod to the original period of the building, but painted in a chalky neutrals, the room has a nicely updated feel.

Exterior Tray & Candles Shower room

The Old School apartment is available to rent.
It can be found on www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1250159