Provence

Well, we are back from our house swap and house swapping is good!

I was questioning my sanity in the days before we left, typing out instructions on how to use the TV and where the nearest garage, bank and petrol station is. We had arranged to swap cars as well as houses and I had confidently, mentally prepared for them to use Doug’s very reliable, very economical Citroen C2. Of course in the week before we were due to leave, the C2 started playing up – great! Instead we had to let them use my beloved, but ancient, Fiat Multipla, which is neither reliable, nor economical…aaargh!!

We arrived and our exchange family, the lovely Girods: Cathy, Thierry, Marion and Lucie warmly welcomed us and gave us a delicious lunch and then left to go to our house – hang on…shouldn’t it be us leaving, after they have given us lunch?? It definitely felt odd! Instead, they left, leaving us in their house!! It was slightly Alice in Wonderland…

We got used to it pretty quickly though, literally running to jump in to the pool the moment they headed off!

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Provence is beautiful of course and a haven for lovers of food, wine and interior design…

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Wondering round the stunning interiors and home ware shops in the gorgeous mediaeval town of Uzes, I quietly decided that when I get home, I want everything in my house to be painted cream or olive, and every unpainted surface, to be limestone or linen…

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We were near Avignon, a stunning, walled city, and it was festival time, so lots of art exhibitions, music…

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…beautiful scenery, wonderful food and happy days…

Nikky D’Aguilar

We have a beautiful feature in this months 25 Beautiful Homes (July 2014) about artist and textile designer, Nikky D’Aguilar

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Nikky launched her fledgeling business a year ago and has been showing at all the big design shows, Country Living, Spirit of Summer.

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You cannot help but fall in love with her unique loch-side home in the Loch Lomond national park: originally, two gate house cottages, now linked by a huge glazed space, resulting in an incredibly varied interior …you never know what is going to happen next!

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You can spot her colourful designs all over the place. She thought to turn her paintings into textile designs when she printed one to cover an old chair, she liked the way the energy and imprefections in the fabric seemed to bring it alive.

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I feel the unpredictability in the layout of her home has the same effect…the modern additions have breathed new life into the old cottages…

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Her bags and scarves are very popular at the moment and can be bought online.

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It was wonderful to meet Nikky and we look forward to watching her business grow…

Award Win!!

Thank you so much to Bathrooms.com and all my wonderful followers and voters…
I WON my category…follow the link and you will find that it says:

Home Design Twitter Award

Our clear winner in the Home Design Twitter Award category is Alison Gibb of Her-Indoors.com. The voting public were clearly impressed with her enthusiastic style, friendliness, and eye for what looks good in interior design.

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I am a CLEAR winner and voters were clearly impressed with my enthusiasm, friendliness and eye for Interior Design…what can I say – clearly THANK YOU and I hope you are following me on #Twitter!!

Congratulations to all the other winners, particularly Sarah Akwiskombe who was the overall winner – briliant…busy, talented, clever lady!

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Award nomination

Absolutely delighted to be nominated for a lovely award – a major! Up against some very big names in the blogging world – so I am very nervous. Feel very cheeky asking you to vote for me, but, please, please do! Votes need to be in by April 18th.

As it is sponsored by a bathroom company, I thought I had better rustle up some beautiful, groovy bathrooms to inspire you to update your own – easily done with the good value products available from Bathrooms.com!

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This tiny jewel like bathroom has long been a favourite – a look that any of us could easily recreate with the simple, contemporary sanitary ware, the small mother of pearl mosaic tiles and the little pops of red – absolutely gorgeous.

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And the perfect finishing touch to any bathroom is a bottle of Beatitude Bath Oil

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Developed by a friend of mine in Gullane, Rebecca O’Connor – it disperses in the water – so your skin is left wonderfully soft and nourished but there is no oily film left. Rebecca and I often swap notes on running our businesses and her New Years resolution for me was to tweet more and here I am nominated for a interiors twitter award.
Gosh – you reap what you sow!

Rebecca’s own home can be seen in this month’s Prima magazine – May 2014, in the shops now…

Colour in!

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

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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.’

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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.’

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All the colours are bespoke mixes 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