Autumnal Table Styling Ideas

There are a couple of job interview questions I always struggle to answer. The first is “what is your greatest weakness”. This is not tricky because I think I am perfect but more because the answer on the tip of my tongue is always Cornish Cruncher Extra Strength Cheddar Cheese and a packet of Pickled Onion Monster Munch rather than the more employment friendly “a small blind spot when it comes to understanding full functionality of the wrap text field of Microsoft Excel.” Second on my list of dreaded questions is “tell me about your hobbies”. I am pretty sure the “You’re Hired” answer has something to do with running triathlons whilst reading ‘A Brief History of Time’ whereas in truth one of my favourite ways to while away my leisure time is creating seasonal tablescapes. So when Sainsbury’s Home asked me if I would like to pick a few items from their Autumn/Winter range for my kitchen I was in my hobby heaven

 My kitchen in October

My kitchen in October

After 11 years of marriage and 14 years of dating a remarkably high percentage of our shared kitchenware still dates back to our student days when it was put through its paces cooking high end cuisine such as beans on toast and fish fingers on a bed of super noodles (don’t knock it until you have tried it people). With the motely selection we have accrued approaching the end of its life I chose a selection of kitchen and tableware from the rustic retreat and escape ranges that Sainsbury’s have introduced this Autumn/Winter. I selected Scandinavian inspired items in a neutral colour palette of soft greys and natural materials such as wood that would stand the test of time in my kitchen beyond this season. Affordable homeware doesn’t have to mean disposable homeware.

My scandinavian kitchen with grey kitchen units, open shelving and metro tiles on the wall. It is a light, contemporary kitchen with modern rustic feel #modernrustic #contemporarykitchen #greykitchen #kitchenideas #kitchendesign

I put them through their paces cooking a couple of my favourite autumnal recipes, taken from a book I cook from on repeat: Seasons by Donna Hay. The photography and the food are both amazing. The recipes I selected both use just 4 main ingredients and can be whipped up with about 5 minutes preparation: perfect for a quick but delicious midweek meal if, like me, you often need to cook with a toddler attached to a leg and whilst shouting at someone to stop playing FIFA and start doing their homework.

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I sourced all of the ingredients for the recipes from our local Sainsbury’s which I think it is fair to say is where I spend about 35% of my life in trying to keep up with the insatiable appetites of 3 hungry sons who consume sliced bread, bananas and milk at an alarming rate.

 Butternut squash after a struggle chopped up and ready to go in the oven once mixed with some olive oil and seasoned

Butternut squash after a struggle chopped up and ready to go in the oven once mixed with some olive oil and seasoned

Butternut Squash, Mozzarella and Palma Ham Salad

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

2 Butternut Squash, 375g Mozzarella Cheese, 500g Palma Ham, handful of thyme, salt and peppper to season

Method

It is so simple to make there is almost need to type out instructions! Basically you peel the Butternut squash then chop into wedges (this is the hardest part as I ending up sweating like a shotputter trying to slice through a particularly stubborn butternut), place on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and season then cook for 25-30 mins. In the meantime tear up the mozzarella and cut the palma ham into strips. Take the butternut squash out of the oven and combine in an instagram friendly fashion on a plate scattering chopped up thyme on to taste. Simple to make but totally delicious

 Larking around with my big butternuts….

Larking around with my big butternuts….

 I may look calm and composed in this picture but the outtakes capture me looking like an irate Bulgarian shotputter after the butternut refused to yield to my knife.

I may look calm and composed in this picture but the outtakes capture me looking like an irate Bulgarian shotputter after the butternut refused to yield to my knife.

Having emerged victorious from the #BattleOfTheButternut I set to work on the fun part: creating my tablescape. I chose dinner plates and pasta bowls from the Urban Escape range in a lovely muted grey. They are the kind of plate that you can use everyday without fear of chipping and stick in the dishwasher but their simple Scandi good looks lend themselves to fancier dining as well (featuring non-beige food). To compliment the plates I also selected a really lovely carafe and set of wine glasses in a smoked grey and I loved the contrast they create with the plates

 Smoked grey  wine glasses  and  carafe  from the Urban Escape range and an  oak chopping board  from the Rural Retreat range

Smoked grey wine glasses and carafe from the Urban Escape range and an oak chopping board from the Rural Retreat range

 Tablescape set and ready to receive food! I love how the simple minimal scandi style of the tableware and glasses works against vintage items that I added to the table to create texture and warmth

Tablescape set and ready to receive food! I love how the simple minimal scandi style of the tableware and glasses works against vintage items that I added to the table to create texture and warmth

 The  oak chopping board  makes the perfect centre piece for bread to share, this is clearly not a tablescape for dining with the kids as the bread would be the far less instagrammable Hovis 50/50 medium sliced otherwise…

The oak chopping board makes the perfect centre piece for bread to share, this is clearly not a tablescape for dining with the kids as the bread would be the far less instagrammable Hovis 50/50 medium sliced otherwise…

 Butternut squash, palma ham and mozzarella salad. Simple but totally delicious and the battle with the butternut guarantees you will probably burn more calories in preparing it than you will consume eating it!

Butternut squash, palma ham and mozzarella salad. Simple but totally delicious and the battle with the butternut guarantees you will probably burn more calories in preparing it than you will consume eating it!

 I love the contrast that the  smoked grey glasses  create with the  plates  and it all pops out when using a dark linen table cloth as a backdrop

I love the contrast that the smoked grey glasses create with the plates and it all pops out when using a dark linen table cloth as a backdrop

Vintage wooden kitchen table set with grey linen table cloth, pale grey plates and bowls from Siansbury's Home and rustic oak chopping board #rustickitchen #tablesetting #autumntableideas #autumnalinteriors
Vintage wooden kitchen table set with grey linen table cloth, pale grey plates and bowls from Siansbury's Home and rustic oak chopping board #rustickitchen #tablesetting #autumntableideas #autumnalinteriors
Vintage wooden kitchen table set with grey linen table cloth, pale grey plates and bowls from Siansbury's Home and rustic oak chopping board #rustickitchen #tablesetting #autumntableideas #autumnalinteriors

For pudding I turned once more to Donna and selected a delicious sounding maple and pear tarte tatin.

Maple Pear Tarte Tatin

Ingredients (serves 4-6 depending upon how greedy they are!)

6 dessert pears, 375g puff pastry, 4 spoonfuls of golden syrup, 80g of butter

Method

Peel and slice the pears to about a one pound coin thickness (which are a joy to work with compared to the bastard butternuts). Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and then add to syrup and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Arrange the pears to cover the bottom of a 20cm oven proof pan and then pour over the butter/syrup mixture. Then place over the top the puff pastry cut to a 22cm circle and place in the oven. Cook for 20 mins (or in my case until the smoke alarm goes off because some of the syrup mixture has escaped the pan and formed a mini bonfire on the bottom of the oven). Serve with creme fraiche or clotted cream

 The kitchen set read for round two. Gorgeous  grey mixing bowl  and wooden and  grey silicone  cooking utensils pictured all from the Rural Retreat range

The kitchen set read for round two. Gorgeous grey mixing bowl and wooden and grey silicone cooking utensils pictured all from the Rural Retreat range

 Taking time out for a cup of tea and praying that pears are easier to peel than butternuts…

Taking time out for a cup of tea and praying that pears are easier to peel than butternuts…

  Bowl  and whisk pictured from the Rural Retreat range. Behold the Maple Pear Tart Tatin of dreams

Bowl and whisk pictured from the Rural Retreat range. Behold the Maple Pear Tart Tatin of dreams

 But will mine turn out this well?!

But will mine turn out this well?!

It is a stunningly easy and delicious dessert to make and it was a dream to use new kitchen utensils which had not seen active service in the University of Manchester Halls of Residence kitchens mainly stirring supernoodles. I love the earthy contrast of the oak handles of the rural retreat range against the scandi inspired grey. They look great against the white metro tiles in my kitchen and make my utensil selection about 100% more stylish!

 Mixing the pears in with the butter and syrup mixture and trying not to set light to my ill advised take on chefs whites

Mixing the pears in with the butter and syrup mixture and trying not to set light to my ill advised take on chefs whites

With the tarte tatin in the oven I performed a quick turnaround on tablescape number two. Whipping away the table cloth to reveal the natural texture of our vintage farmhouse kitchen table and adding in some gorgeous dried flowers in autumnal colours and some scandi white pumpkins to up the autumn factor. I love the contrast between the texture of the table and the simple pale grey of the plates. The pasta bowls are great for serving dessert in as you can add in a drizzle of maple syrup and dollop (is there a more satisfying word known to man?!) of creme fraiche without fear of it escaping!

 The dark grey table mats look great against my vintage farmhouse table. They are available in store but not online

The dark grey table mats look great against my vintage farmhouse table. They are available in store but not online

 White pumpkins adding a modern rustic touch to the table

White pumpkins adding a modern rustic touch to the table

I also added in these lovely rattan table mats from the Urban Escape range (available in store but not online) to provide a bit of additional contrast, they are a timeless style and colour that I know I will get lots of use out of. I used the oak chopping board to display the tarte on which turned out pleasingly like the picture despite its emergency evacuation from the oven

 Dried flowers are a great alternative to fresh as they can last you through the Autumn season and beyond and are really versatile.

Dried flowers are a great alternative to fresh as they can last you through the Autumn season and beyond and are really versatile.

 I love how the new items I have added from the Rural Retreat and Urban Escape ranges mix with my collection of vintage bottles and the natural texture of my french farmhouse table

I love how the new items I have added from the Rural Retreat and Urban Escape ranges mix with my collection of vintage bottles and the natural texture of my french farmhouse table

 Just add creme fraiche and a drizzle of maple syrup to serve

Just add creme fraiche and a drizzle of maple syrup to serve

Pear Tarte Tatin served up on pale grey plates from Sainsbury's Home on a rustic wooden farmphuse table and set with vintage bottles and dried flowers for a modern rustic feel #farmhousekitchen #farmhousedecor #kitchentable #vintagekitchentable #autumnalstylingideas #autumnideas

So there you have it, two ideas for autumnal tablescapes with a rustic Scandi twist. I hope you enjoy giving the recipes a try and updating your kitchen with the Rural Retreat and Urban Escape ranges from Sainsbury’s Home.

Pear Tarte Tatin served up on pale grey plates from Sainsbury's Home on a rustic wooden farmphuse table and set with vintage bottles and dried flowers for a modern rustic feel

This blog post was kindly sponsored by Sainsbury’s Home

Christmas Occasional Home Store

If you attended our last Occasional Home Store in March you may have been mistaken for thinking it was our Christmas rather than Spring event on account of the Beast from the East blowing in and rendering Stoke Newington indistinguishable from Siberia.  The extremely non spring like weather conditions temporarily transformed me into my dad for the week leading up to the event, frantically shushing anybody who came into the room whilst I was watching the weather forecast.

However, despite the fact that we were shovelling snow when we thought we would be draping spring blossom it all turned out alright on the night with loads of you lovely people coming to the West Reservoir Centre in Hackney to enjoy the array of beautiful vintage & contemporary homeware that our stallholders had battled the Beast to bring you.

Three happy but exhausted Occasional Home Store founders at our March event

@justafewchanges just one of our many happy shoppers

Having had six months to recover from the #posttraumaticsnowstress I am now extremely excited to share with you that the Occasional Home Store will be returning to the West Reservoir Centre on the weekend of the 17th and 18th of November in association with Plum & Ashby and our gorgeous new partner Igigi General Store to bring you a festive shopping extravaganza.

Our beautiful industrial venue the West Reservoir Centre

In the beautiful industrial surroundings of a 1930s water filtering station we will be bringing you a handpicked selection of the very best vintage and contemporary homeware  complimented by a programme of workshops and talks to inspire you to renovate, decorate and instagram your homes this Christmas.  If this sounds like your idea of a perfect weekend then read on for a preview of just some of the delights we have in store for you

Our partners

Plum & Ashby

We are thrilled to once again be working with Vicky and Freya, the team behind Plum & Ashby.  Together with their team (including four legged friend Bertie) they work to produce a range of elegant, high quality, carefully considered products that always lift a space.  Their extensive range, from washes, lotions and bath salts to hand poured candles, is made in the South of England.   And we’re certainly not alone in our admiration for this brand, their fan base includes interior publications, online blogs and they were shortlisted for the Best British Design at the prestigious Elle Decoration Awards and at our last Occasional Home Store they completely sold out of their candles.  This time round they will be introducing some gorgeous new scents in their range as well as stocking their highly sought after Christmas advent candle.

Plum & Ashby’s stall at the last Occasional Home Store looking our over a rather stormy reservoir!

Igigi General Store

Do you have a favourite interiors shop that your heart skips a beat when you think about visiting it? For me that shop is Igigi although sadly for me (but perhaps fortunately for my bank balance) it is situated 150 miles away from me in Brighton.  I am, therefore, incredibly excited to announce that Igigi General Store will be partnering with us on our Christmas event and bringing their distinctive brand of modern rustic homeware  to the Occasional Home Store including unveiling their brand new range of Igigi designed furniture and lighting.

The gorgeous interior of Igigi General Store in Hove

Owners Alex and Zoe describe Igigi as an ever evolving hub of creativity where they blend a handpicked selection of contemporary homeware with one of a kind vintage finds. From wooden bowls, baskets and spoons from Morocco to beautifully scented Turkish soaps and handwoven Kilim cushions to Balinese water pots and garments handmade from vintage fabrics.

Vintage Homeware

One of our favourite things about organising the Occasional Home Store is bringing a little bit of brocante to the city by hand picking sellers that help to conjure up a marketplace in the South of France in Manor House. We love seeing how our sellers curate their beautiful finds to create instagrammable scenes in every corner.   We have some of our favourites returning from last time round including beetle & WILDEHellish Designs (aka my mother-in-law), The King and IEnamelama, Vintage Curator InteriorsMy Nook ShopFabulous Vintage FindsGrow & Gather,All the Fun of the Fair and Early Bird Vintage. But we also have some knockout newcomers: Beulah’s Attic, The Shed at Tenby and Little Wren

A selection of beautiful stock from Grow & Gather

My mother-in-law aka Hellish Designs on her stall at the last OHS

A beautiful display from the stall of Vintage Curator Interiors

Inspiring kitchenware from Enamelama

Contemporary Homeware

I describe myself in my instagram profile as Sarah Lund meets Lovejoy.  This is on account of my love of mixing vintage finds with Scandinavian inspired homeware rather than because I have a thick black mullet, penchant for icelandic knitwear and encyclopaedic knowledge of Chippendale furniture.   Bringing the Lund to the table at the Spring Occasional Home Store is a stellar line up of independent stores and online businesses including  Home of BohoNabo ShopMeylor StationeryPeastyleLisa Valentine HomeTinker Tailor, Fich Ceramics, Chalk Homeware and Ondine Ash. There is simply not space here to talk about all the amazingness that these brands are going to be bringing to the Occasional Home Store so make sure you are following @occasionalhome where we will be profiling them each individually.

 Hello  Meylor Goods
 The lovely smily face of  Lisa Valentine Home

The lovely smily face of Lisa Valentine Home

 Contemporary scandinavian home ware from Peastyle

Contemporary scandinavian home ware from Peastyle

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 Fich Ceramics will be one of the new faces at this Occasional Home Store

Fich Ceramics will be one of the new faces at this Occasional Home Store

Lifestyle

Our festive Occasional Home Store will be the perfect place to get started on your Christmas shopping. In addition to amazing homeware, we have also picked a selection of broader lifestyle stalls for you to shop from in case your beloved is not a fan of cushions and scented candles. So make sure to visit the stands of Woven the Agency, Buddug, Gil Fox Hats, Meylor, Malako Skincare and Your London Florist to fill your stockings with beautiful clothes and accessories, handcrafted jewellery, one of a kind hats and head pieces, stationery, skincare, plants and succculents (Your London Florist will also have gorgeous fresh flowers to take away on the day rather than to save for Santa). And if all that shopping makes you hungry make a beeline for Norah’s Brownies who will be serving up delicious brownies and bronuts and book in for an express manicure with Minicures London to get your nails ready for the Christmas party season for just £10.

 Sorting you out for succulents will be Your London Florist

Sorting you out for succulents will be Your London Florist

 Sweet treats from Norah’s Brownies

Sweet treats from Norah’s Brownies

 Plenty of pampering presents available from Malako Skincare

Plenty of pampering presents available from Malako Skincare

Workshops & Talks

The Occasional Home Store is not just a place to shop. We also have a fantastic programme of workshops and talks to inspire you to renovate, decorate and instagram your homes as well as hands on festive craft activities. Set out below are some of the highlights of our two day programme with more details to follow shortly.

Hygge for all Seasons

After our hugely popular Hygge for all Seasons workshops in Cardiff and London last year, I am excited to be joining forces once more with @Hygge_for_Home in association with Join, to bring you another seasonal styling workshop designed to inspire you to create a relaxed rustic home and instagram feed this Christmas.

 Reena and I at our London Hygge for All Seasons workshop last year

Reena and I at our London Hygge for All Seasons workshop last year

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 All of our Hygge for All Seasons attendees will go home with a beautiful candle from Join

All of our Hygge for All Seasons attendees will go home with a beautiful candle from Join

Join us as we will be share ideas and inspiration for how to style your home the modern rustic way this festive season and then, over coffee and Fika, we will provide you with our five best instagram tips.  There will be a live table styling demonstration (what could possibly go wrong), the return of our famous gifting Christmas tree (with some lovely hygge themed prizes) as well as an opportunity to ask us absolutely anything you like about instagram.  From filters to followers fire away.

The workshop will run from 10:30am to 12:30pm on Saturday the 17th of November. Tickets will be £40 and include a drink, a Scandi inspired Bronut from Norah's Brownies and a luxury botanical candle from Join London. To book your place click here

The Frugality

We’re delighted to welcome fellow North Londoner Alex Stedman, aka The Frugality, to the Christmas Occasional Home Store! In conversation with Malmo & Moss (me aka the lightweight Jeremy Paxman of the interiors world) Alex will share the inspiration behind her hugely popular fashion-focused blog and instagram account. 

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Offering practical tips for those keen to follow in her footsteps, Alex will retrace the process of setting up and growing her successful blog, reflect on how her content has evolved with time and discuss how instagram has changed the blogging landscape.  And, as anyone following her accounts will know, despite juggling motherhood, social media and her career as a freelance fashion editor Alex has spent the last 3 years (and all her money) renovating her Victorian terraced house in North London. As a result renovation dos and don'ts and the secrets of her interior style will also feature in our talk. Finally we will open to floor to questions – so come along and quiz the Frugality yourself.

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The talk will run from 11am - 12pm on Sunday the 18th of November. Tickets are £20 and include a Norah’s Brownie. To book your place click here.

We have even more great talks up our sleeve for you as well, including top tips on how to tackle a successful home renovation or revamp from Rebecca Wakefield, interior designer and owner of Studio Fortum based on her hugely popular blog, Six Things. If you have always dreamed of owning your own business or are a small brand starting out then make sure to come along to our panel discussion with Vicky from Plum & Ashby and Emily from Aerende Store when they will be sharing the story behind building their brands, the lessons they have learnt along the way and five top tips for running a successful business (without having to approach Alan Sugar).

Craft workshops

In addition to our programme of talks, we also have a series of hands on practical workshops planned where you can learn to make a festive scented candle with Join London, learn the basics of modern calligraphy and create your own Christmas card with Cherry Rebecca, make unique Furoshiki fabric wrapping paper with upcycling Queen Shed Homeware as well as making festive hoops and learning how to make vintage inspired Christmas decorations using paper craft with the Occasional Home Store team. More details on all of these workshops to follow soon

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How to book you ticket to the Occasional Home Store

So if all that has wet your appetite and you would like to come and join us for the Christmas Occasional Home Store here is everything you need to know about visiting.

The Venue: The West Reservoir Centre, Green Lanes, N4 2HA

Getting there: The nearest tube/rail is Manor House on the Piccadilly Line (10 mins walk away) and Finsbury Park on the Piccadilly and Victoria lines and overground (15 minutes walk or 5 minutes on the 106 bus).  Bus routes stopping close by include the 341/141/106.

Opening hours and tickets:  We will be open 10am - 4pm on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th of November. Single day tickets for either the 17th or 18th will be £5 each. A weekend ticket covering both days is £8. Although some tickets will also be on sale on the day, these will be on a first come first served basis and only those with a pre-purchased ticket will be guaranteed entrance so we would strongly advise booking in advance. CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR TICKET

*Please note that all tickets are non-refundable and tickets to the workshops do not include entrance to the Occasional Home Store which will need to be purchased separately *

Thanks to @tiatalula for the beautiful pictures used throughout this blog.  We are thrilled Tia will be coming back to capture our Winter event

Summer Fashion Edit by Emma Jolley

I’ve never really been one for wearing prints.  Or dresses.  Or skirts, or that matter.  Until this summer, when I’ve suddenly gone crazy for all three.  It started with an apple green and red floral print maxi dress by Rixo which I picked up in the sales (after some very focussed and intense online stalking).  Then a post-box red dress with tiny blue and yellow flowers by Ghost which I spotted on an Instagrammer.  Then a leopard print silk skirt from Danish brand, Ganni.  All special pieces which I love so much they have relegated my jeans to second place this season.   The shops are practically bursting with a riot of dresses and skirts in ditsy florals, bold stripes and statement animal prints at the moment.  Here’s my pick, with some items already in the sale. 

Dresses

  Rouje  dress,  Zara  Sandals,  Warehouse  denim jacket (old)

Rouje dress, Zara Sandals, Warehouse denim jacket (old)

My favourite brands for summer dresses are overseas ones – in particular, LA-based Faithfull the Brand, and online only brands Rouje and Realisation Par.  The only problem with these is the blah blah tedious overseas charges they come with, although a limited range of Faithfull is stocked by ASOS and Net a Porter (you have to be quick off the mark though, it sells out quickly) and Realisation Par is opening a London pop up early July (big woop).  Closer to home, this pale yellow button through dress from & Other Stories is a sunny gem, and this vibrant red dress from Zara will look killer with a tan.  I am generally not a fan of waist cut outs in dresses as they can look a little meh, but the length of this floral Top Shop dress keeps it modest.   If you’re going floral, I think it’s nice to toughen up your look a notch with a vintage look denim jacket. 

 Red patterned dress from  Zara

Red patterned dress from Zara

 Vintage denim jacket from  Uniqlo

Vintage denim jacket from Uniqlo

 Chiffon floral dress from  Topshop

Chiffon floral dress from Topshop

 Yellow Print Dress from  & Other Stories

Yellow Print Dress from & Other Stories

Skirts

 Polka dot skirt from  Flynn Sky Bridal  , button through camisole from  Top Shop , jute striped tote from  Maison Bengal  and rope sandals from  Urban Outfitters

Polka dot skirt from Flynn Sky Bridal , button through camisole from Top Shop, jute striped tote from Maison Bengal and rope sandals from Urban Outfitters

I’ve never met a long, floral skirt I didn’t like, but then I was a teenager in the 90’s and grunge will always live on in my heart.  This red maxi from Urban Outfitters takes me right back to my weekly pilgrimages to Camden Market circa 1991 to seek out falafel and red hair dye.  It’ll look great paired with a loose t-shirt, tucked in, maybe one by an old school sportswear brand, such as Hilfiger, Fila or Champion (stocked by Urban Outfitters, or pick them up second hand on eBay).  I like the candy coloured stripe and the front slits of this super flattering linen midi from Mango, into which I would tuck this simple linen camisole from Topshop.  At the other end of the spectrum is this quite loud animal print skirt from Zara, which is similar to my Ganni one, which I wear with this cute (and very good quality) embroidered t-shirt by Meylor Goods (picked up at one of the Occasional Home Store fairs J!)

 Striped maxi skirt from  Mango

Striped maxi skirt from Mango

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Embroidered Tee from Meylor Goods

 Button through camisole top from  Topshop

Button through camisole top from Topshop

 Leopard print skirt from  Zara

Leopard print skirt from Zara

 Polka dot skirt from  Urban Outfitters

Polka dot skirt from Urban Outfitters

Footwear

 T-Short from  Meylor Goods , Skirt from  Ganni  and trainers from  Veja

T-Short from Meylor Goods, Skirt from Ganni and trainers from Veja

I think prints look best with simple footwear and this summer, I’ve been living in my Veja trainers.  Veja is a Parisian “eco-friendly” trainer brand, which you can pick up at Arket and elsewhere in an array of styles and colours - I like their classic canvas sneaker the best.  I’ve also thrown in a pair of neutral Gazelles as they are a timeless classic – I really like these in deep burgundy too.  I’ve seen so many gorgeous leather flats on the High Street this season, particularly in Topshop.  These from Dune look remarkably similar to a Hermes style which cost a gazillion pounds, and this pretty braided pair, again in leather, from Zara look a lot more spendy than £30 and also come in black.  For when you are feeling truly pedi ready, there are these super simple strappy sandals from Free People.

  Adidas  Gazelles

Adidas Gazelles

  Veja  Trainers

Veja Trainers

  Free People  simply there sandals

Free People simply there sandals

  Dune  Loupe sliders

Dune Loupe sliders

 Zara braided sliders

Zara braided sliders

Bags

 Dress from  Ghost , Shoes from  Zara  and Bag from  Mango  last season

Dress from Ghost, Shoes from Zara and Bag from Mango last season

Remarkably, in some shops, you can still buy a bag that is NOT made of straw or raffia.   I’ve recently brought a larger, striped, jute macramé bag from Maison Bengal (a fair trade company, stocked by lots of fancy shops but I bought mine direct from their website and it arrived super quick).  Their shaggy number might divide opinion (my husband thinks it looks like one of Chewbacca’s cousins), but they have plenty more amazing options on their website, all handmade in India.  This red macramé tote from LF Markey is now in the sale, but a quick search on Etsy will unearth literally dozens of vintage versions in this style for around the same price or even less.  And then there is the classic French string shopping bag – stocked by Grey September amongst others – just don’t pack anything in it which you don’t mind losing.

 Macrame Tote LF Markey at  Urban Outfitters

Macrame Tote LF Markey at Urban Outfitters

 Net shopper available at  Grey September

Net shopper available at Grey September

 Jute bag from  Maison Bengal

Jute bag from Maison Bengal

Happy shopping!

Emma x

Malmo & Moss: Spring Occasional Home Store

 

On the 9th of September last year I stood, at 10am, in a Church Hall with sweaty palms and a sick feeling in my stomach.  Not because I was worried that Jesus wouldn't want me for a sunbeam, but because, with support from the fabulous Plum & Ashby,  we were about to open the doors of our very first Occasional Home Store: bringing together vintage traders, designer makers and pop ups of our favourite interiors stores so that people could shop the best of contemporary and vintage homeware under one roof.  

 Sweaty palmed and looking like I was in a 24 hour buttock clench challenge waiting for the Occasional Home Store to open

Sweaty palmed and looking like I was in a 24 hour buttock clench challenge waiting for the Occasional Home Store to open

It turns out I needn't have got so clammy of paw as when I was brave enough to venture outside there was already a queue forming in the driveway which meant either:

1. There was a serious suburban spiritual awakening happening in N21; or

2. There were some serious shoppers waiting to get their hands on our Scandi/Vintage bargains.

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The rest of the day passed in somewhat of a blur with interiors fans having come from not only all over London but all over the UK to visit the Occasional Home Store.  

 Scenes from the Occasional Home Store Autumn Fair

Scenes from the Occasional Home Store Autumn Fair

When the dust had settled and I had finally stopped regretting the fact that I chose hairstyle for the day that made me look like a cross between Mary Beard and Bob Monkhouse, we started to think about doing it all over again.  It was at this point that a very serendipitous e-mail popped into our mail boxes from Jude, the events manager at the West Reservoir Centre.

 Beard meets Monkhouse Hair

Beard meets Monkhouse Hair

 

She had been to the Occasional Home Store and wondered if we might ever consider bringing our event to her venue.  Intrigued we whizzed down the A10 (scratch that, slowly crawled down the A10) to go and take a look.  It is an old 1930s water filter station (nothing floats my boat more than an industrial purification process) which looks out over a reservoir and it was love at first sight.   It is hard to believe you are in Hackney when you are inside and gazing out over rippling water.  It has high ceilings, bare bricks and quirky industrial features in spades and offered us the space to make our second Occasional Home Store even bigger and better than our first event.

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Our next step was to get in touch with Vicky and Charly, the team from Plum & Ashby who had so brilliantly supported our first event to ask them if they would like to partner with us again.  Luckily they said yes without hesitation so, from that point on, it has been all systems go, contacting our stallholders from Autumn and hunting out some fabulous new additions for Spring.  

 Our kitchen table board room Chez Malmo & Moss

Our kitchen table board room Chez Malmo & Moss

After months of kitchen table meetings (the equivalent of our boardroom and powered by hobnobs rather than testosterone) we are now just a month away from the Spring Occasional Home Store which will take place between 10am-4pm at the West Reservoir Centre near Stoke Newington in North London so here is a sneak preview of what we have in store for you..

Plum & Ashby

Plum & Ashby's  beautiful, stylish range of products for, bath, body and home flew off their stall in September and with new products and gorgeous spring scents on offer we expect the same to happen this time round.  They will be taking over our insta meet up area for some Saturday, setting our shoppers a Plum & Ashby styling challenge with the change to win some gorgeous goodies from their range.  If we are really lucky Vicky's adorable dog Bertie may also come along this time.  

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Vintage

One of our favourite things about organising the Occasional Home Store has been hand picking a selection of our favourite vintage traders so that you can experience beautifully styled stalls full of unique items you won't find on the high street (unless your high street runs through the middle of a Brocante in the South of France that is).   We have some of our favourites returning from last time round including beetle & WILDE, Hellish Designs (aka my mother-in-law), Dorothy Stiven, The King and I, Enamelama and one of my biggest sources of insta inspiration Kinship Creative but we also have some knockout newcomers: Vintage Curator Interiors, My Nook Shop, Fabulous Vintage Finds, Lucy Vintage Lifestyle, Grow & Gather, 12th Story, Maison Brocante, , All the Fun of the Fair , Curated Room and Early Bird Vintage.  

 The beautiful stall of the King and I

The beautiful stall of the King and I

 Lots of styling inspiration from the stall of Hellish Designs

Lots of styling inspiration from the stall of Hellish Designs

 Beautiful things promised by our vintage newcomer Curated Room

Beautiful things promised by our vintage newcomer Curated Room

Designer Makers

My heavy hints to Mr Malmo about needing a piece of handcrafted seaglass jewellery in my life seemed to go unnoticed at the last Occasional Home Store judging by the fact that I still don't have a piece of handcrafted seaglass jewellery in my life.  So I  was delighted when Fiona Petheram of Drift Jewellery, who makes each piece of her stunning jewellery collection from pieces of natural sea glass recovered from the beaches of Suffolk and beyond agreed to come back to join us again.  With Mother's Day falling just one week after OHS I am sure there will be plenty of husbands, sons and daughters who will be would be making their Mother's Day by shopping from Fiona's stall (including me Mr Malmo in case you are reading this).  

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We are also delighted to welcome the enormously talented Buddug Humphrey to our line up this time round. She is now based in Wales but lived and worked just around the corner in Hackney until recently and has a huge fanbase for her beautiful crafted jewellery which draws on enamelling techniques.

Contemporary Homeware

I describe myself in my instagram profile as Sarah Lund meets Lovejoy.  This is on account of my love of mixing vintage finds with Scandinavian inspired homeware rather than because I have a thick black mullet, penchant for icelandic knitwear and encyclopaedic knowledge of Chippendale furniture.   Bringing the Lund to the table at the Spring Occasional Home Store is a stellar line up of independent stores and online businesses who offer a range of beautiful contemporary homeware including Feather & Marble, &Hobbs, Home of Boho, Lusophile, Nabo Shop, Meylor Stationery, Fellowstead, Peastyle, Lisa Valentine Home, Lived & Loved, Tinker Tailor and Ondine Ash. There is simply not space here to talk about all the amazingness that these brands are going to be bringing to the Occasional Home Store so make sure you are following @occasionalhome where we will be profiling them each individually.

 &Hobbs arrived power drill in hand and recreated a mini version of their store at the last Occasional Home Store

&Hobbs arrived power drill in hand and recreated a mini version of their store at the last Occasional Home Store

 We are hoping some copies of Kinfolk from the shelves of Tinker Tailor's shop in Bush Hill Park will be making their way to our Spring fair.

We are hoping some copies of Kinfolk from the shelves of Tinker Tailor's shop in Bush Hill Park will be making their way to our Spring fair.

 We can't wait to see the beautifully curated mix of Danish Homeware Nabo Shop will be bringing with thm

We can't wait to see the beautifully curated mix of Danish Homeware Nabo Shop will be bringing with thm

 Always a welcome sight, the smiley face of Lisa Valentine

Always a welcome sight, the smiley face of Lisa Valentine

Flowers

We are hoping by the 3rd of March that Spring will have sprung but even if the weather doesn't play ball, you can take home a little bit of Spring with beautiful fresh flowers from the spectacular Your London Florist.

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Or you could take home some seeds to grow your own peonies, roses and tulips from Grace Alexander Flowers in beautiful vintage inspired packaging.  We love that Grace describes them as "tiny fragments of hope, potential and happiness waiting to happen". And if you want to keep that Spring feeling going when you get home then you don't want to miss the stunning faux floral creations of Walnut & Willow Flowers.   

 Beautiful vintage vases used by Walnut & Willow Flowers

Beautiful vintage vases used by Walnut & Willow Flowers

Workshops

Lisa Dawson and Dee Campling: How To Grow Your Instagram

 A beautiful shot from Dee's instagram

A beautiful shot from Dee's instagram

Over the last 18 months Lisa Dawson and Dee Campling have taken the instagram interiors world by storm, racking up an impressive 170K instagram followers between. We are thrilled that they will be joining us at the Spring Occasional Home Store and, in conversation with Malmo & Moss (aka me in interiors Paxman mode), sharing some of the secrets of their success as well some great practical advice about how you can make instagram work for you.  Afterwards there will be a question and answer session where you can quiz them on anything you like. So if you have a burning question about shadow bans or want to know their biggest insta regret come along and join us for this fun and informal session, chow down on a beautiful brownie from Norahs Brownies and go away armed with lots of great ideas about how to take you instagram account to the next level and maximise your engagement.  To book a ticket which is £20 including entrance to the Occasional Home Store and a Norahs Brownie click here

Floral Hoop Making Class

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Fashion moves in circles and it's all things hoop-like that currently have us in spin at the moment.  Once confined to the Christmas season, wreaths and their deconstructed counterparts have broken out and are now embraced all year round.  We used this beautiful floral hoops to decorate the venue at our Autumn Occasional Home Store venue and had so many requests to buy them that this time we decided to run a workshop showing you how to make them yourself.  Join the Occasional Home Store team and learn how to make a beautiful fabric wrapped, floral spring hoop and explore creative ideas and techniques that will see you through every season.  Suitable for beginners, all materials provided. Find out what all the hoopla is about for £22 excluding entry to the Occasional Home Store.  Click here to book.

Style, Shoot, Edit & Curate with 91 Magazine

Tips and advice for creating great visual content for your Instagram or blog with the 91 Magazine team.

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91 Magazine publishes a biannual print magazine, a quarterly e-zine and a blog, all filled with beautifully curated content and photography. In this workshop, editor Caroline Rowland and 91 photographer Jemma Watts will be sharing their knowledge on how to best style, shoot, edit and curate your own images whether it’s for your Instagram feed or blog. There will also be the chance to have a go at shooting some images on the day under their supervision. Get inspired by their hashtag #seekinspirecreate and you may even see your image published on one of 91’s platforms!  Click here to book a ticket for £18 (excludes entry to the Occasional Home Store).

Food and Drink

One of the biggest lessons we learnt from our first Occasional Home Store was that shopping makes people really really hungry.  So hungry that Norahs Brownies and Three One Four Pie, our lovely food providers last time, completely sold out of their sweet treats.  This time they will be setting their Magimixes to top speed and coming back with double quantities.  We have also further bolstered our food defences with the addition of the delicious Luminary Bakery who will be bringing their baked savoury goods to feed our hungry hoards.  

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Liquid refreshment will be taken care of by Clara's Coffee who will be serving hot drinks from their super stylish Mint Green Citroen 2CV with the Expresso Trike cycling buy to take care of all of our process needs.  

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Insta Meet Up

One of the best things about our first fair was the chance it offered to meet the people behind your favourite instagram squares in person. So when your feet are sore from shopping and you need a break from all the beautiful objects on offer it's time to head over to our Insta meet-up and hook up with your cushion crush or home styling heartthrob.  We will have some fun challenges and great prizes for you win whilst you are there and it will be conveniently located right next to the Proseco bar!

 Our insta meet up at the last Occasional Home Store was provided by the Glam Camping CO. This time we will be indoors but will be creating an equally stylish space for instagram hook ups!

Our insta meet up at the last Occasional Home Store was provided by the Glam Camping CO. This time we will be indoors but will be creating an equally stylish space for instagram hook ups!

There will also be the chance to fit in a quick file and polish with Minicures London joining us to provide £10 express manicures.  

How to buy tickets

So if all that has wet your appetite and you would like to come and join us for the Spring Occasional Home Store here is everything you need to know about visiting.

The Venue: The West Reservoir Centre, Green Lanes, N4 2HA

Getting there: The nearest tube/rail is Manor House on the Piccadilly Line (10 mins walk away) and Finsbury Park on the Piccadilly and Victoria lines and overground (15 minutes walk or 5 minutes on the 106 bus).  Bus routes stopping close by include the 341/141/106.

Opening hours and tickets:  Our doors will open for early bird ticket holders at 10am and to the general public at 11am.  All of our early bird tickets have now sold out (eek thank you guys!).  General admittance tickets from 11am are £3 and can either be purchased in advance (to save queuing click here) or at the venue on the day.

Workshops: Lisa and Dee's workshop will run from 11am - 12pm, tickets are £20 and include early bird entry to the Occasional Home Store and a Norah's Brownie.  Tickets to the 91 Magazine workshop which will run from 1-2pm are £18 and do not include entrance to the Occasional Home Store.  Last but not least, the hoop making workshop will run from 2:30-3:30pm and tickets cost £22 which includes the costs of all materials and a hoop to take home (but not entrance to the Occasional Home Store which will need to be purchased separately).  Please click here to book places on any of our workshops.

Please note all tickets are non-refundable. 

Thanks to @tiatalula for the beautiful pictures used throughout this blog.  We are thrilled Tia will be coming back to capture our Spring event.

Malmo & Moss Wears: New Year's Eve Fashion Edit

It has taken me a very long time to write something for Malmo & Moss's blog, as I am fairly certain that there is not much demand for my idea of winter fashion, which involves wearing a half dozen jumpers in black, shades of grey and navy on heavy rotation until I feel warm again, i.e. mid May, or they develop (noticeable) holes on the elbows.  However, I will happily ditch my much-loved woollens for a party – including the big daddy of them all, New Year’s Eve.  Then I think it’s kind of nice to reach for something a little more luxe, be it velvet, sequins, leather, metallics, silk …  anything goes, really.  Purely in the interests of research (ahem), I have scoured the High Street for some festive gorgeousness to help you choose your New Years Eve look.  Bonus – some of it is now on sale too. Here is my round up of the pick of the lot, with no single item coting over £150 as I appreciate that a lot of you have a serious soft furnishings habit to feed too.

  &OTHER STORIES , Blazer £89, Bottoms £79

&OTHER STORIES, Blazer £89, Bottoms £79

  ASOS  Blazer £35, Trousers £31.50 (on sale)

ASOS Blazer £35, Trousers £31.50 (on sale)

  Topshop  Blouse £34

Topshop Blouse £34

  &Other Stories  Heels £69

&Other Stories Heels £69

  Sandro  Culottes £123

Sandro Culottes £123

I love a velvet suit.  If you got your hands on this dreamy, high waisted tux by &Other Stories this season, which sold out in what seemed like a nanosecond, then lucky you, as I think it’s perfect.  I also really like this slightly more relaxed, navy suit by ASOS and, if a suit is not so much your thing, these black velvet culottes from Sandro (both on sale).  I’d tuck a silky top (like this satin pyjama style blouse from Topshop) into the culottes and add some simple, strappy heels for an easy evening look. I think the ASOS suit would look pretty cool dressed up with a silky vest, or dressed down with a T and a pair of flats as well.

 Pepe Blazer via  Asos  £100

Pepe Blazer via Asos £100

  French Connection  Leather Skirt £150

French Connection Leather Skirt £150

 &OtherStories Knit £34

&OtherStories Knit £34

  Topshop  Boots £89

Topshop Boots £89

  H&M  Sequin Dress £60

H&M Sequin Dress £60

There are more oversized blazers than you can shake a stick at in the stores at the moment.  This tux-y looking, tailored one by Pepe Jeans (via ASOS) above caught my eye, and would really suit a mini.  There are also some great looking sequinned dresses in the stores this season, including this crew necked, long sleeved version from H&M.  Sequins can be a bit Marmite, so if they are not your thing, you could wear the blazer with a leather mini instead, like this high waist one from French Connection, and maybe a loose, fine knit jumper or a vintage T.  I’d top the outfit off with some ankle boots (I really like these white leather ones from Topshop).

 A little peek inside my wardrobe at home with my own version of the French Connection leather skirt

A little peek inside my wardrobe at home with my own version of the French Connection leather skirt

 These white courts have been a staple for me this season

These white courts have been a staple for me this season

“But it is too cold to go out in a mini, you fool!”, I hear those of you who were born south of Watford cry.  I am a sucker for a dress with long sleeves and leopard print, so I bought this leopard dress from Zara as soon as I saw it.  It is very flattering on and a great length (somewhere between a midi and a maxi – a mid midi maxi?!).   I wear it with my trusty black, pointy ankle boots.  I also really like pyjama suits, and I think this one from H&M, with its exotic print and red piping, looks way more spendy than it actually is.  To add a bit of boom to these looks, I’d add some big old earrings, like these ones from Mango (although be careful you don’t have someone’s eye out on the dancefloor and avoid leaning over any lit candles).  Lastly, I adore these sequinned, cropped trousers from Miss Selfridge’s premium range, which are now half price in the sale.  Admittedly, they are a little blingy, so I’d dress them down with a snug, black turtleneck and some suede heels, like these from Topshop.  The oversized blazer would work well with these trousers too.

  Zara  Leopard Print Dress £70

Zara Leopard Print Dress £70

  Miss Selfridge  Trousers £38

Miss Selfridge Trousers £38

  H&M  Trousers & Top £25 each

H&M Trousers & Top £25 each

  Topshop  Heels £56

Topshop Heels £56

  Mango  Earrings £16

Mango Earrings £16

So there you have it – my little round up of this season’s festive party wear.  Ultimately, of course, the best party outfit is the one you feel awesome in, whatever that looks like.   This explains why I will more than likely end up wearing the camo print boiler suit I have just snapped up in the sales to my NYE dinner with friends, along with the mega sized Mango earrings … It’s like I said at the outset, anything goes!  Happy new year!

 

Malmo & Moss is One: 5 things I have learnt from my first year on Instagram

When I was up in the wee small hours breastfeeding my second son, I used to download Jilly Cooper books to read to make sure I didn't fall asleep on the job.  It was as close as I am ever going to get to Rupert Campbell Black keeping me up all night.  By the time I had my third son it became clear that Jilly wasn't churning out the menage a trois as fast as I was churning out children so, having exhausted her romping repertoire, I was forced to find a new way to keep myself awake on the milky job.  Enter Instagram. Prior to that point, my only presence on social media had been a work related Twitter account focused on promoting energy efficiency (the Cinderella of European climate policy don't you know).  It was mainly followed by my poor friends who had to endure regular tweets about boiler lagging and solid wall insulation roll outs.  They were no doubt horrified when I told them that I had joined Instagram fearing that they would soon be finding their feeds full of LED lightbulbs and smart thermostats.  However, luckily for them, I ultimately ended up focusing on the interiors rather than insulation of my house. 

 Not an Smart Thermostat in sight luckily for my poor friends.....

Not an Smart Thermostat in sight luckily for my poor friends.....

My first few posts were an eclectic mix of shoes, choux pastries and stately homes (think Imelda Marcos takes the National Trust (and then has a nice French Patisseries afterwards) with it taking me a while to find my tribe in cushion corner.  If you told me that one year on I would have over 30,000 followers and my own blog, I would have said there was more chance of me writing a cookbook about my love of lentils (aka Satan's Pulse).  I can honestly say I have not really much of a clue how it happened but here are a few of the pointers I picked up along the way that I thought it might be helpful to share. 

Lesson One: Filters Are Not Always Your Friend

If you scroll back to the beginning of my feed you will notice that my pictures both had weird borders on them in varying shades of taupe and had been put through a filter favoured by 1970s porn directors (and me).  It left the house looking like it had a bad case of jaundice.  What can I say, I thought it looked arty.  It was Mr Malmo who gently suggested that maybe I should step away from the #BeigeBars, dispense with the #HouseofJaundice filter and go au nataurel.

 Trapped inside Taupe Tramlines!

Trapped inside Taupe Tramlines!

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Whilst it galls me to admit it, Mr Malmo was right.  Without the #TaupeTramlines my pictures instantly started to get more likes.  That is not to say that I am now 100% filter free.  As time has gone on I have tried to "curate" (sorry I know that word makes me sound like an instagram Alan Yentob) my feed a bit more and create a Malmo & Moss look by using the same couple of filters on my pictures consistently.   I used to be Team Valencia/Slumber but lately I have definitely started to be #LuredByLudwig.

 Just a gentle bit of Juno and nothing else!

Just a gentle bit of Juno and nothing else!

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Lesson Two: You Don't Need a Big Gun to Have Fun

The big gun I am referring to here is a digital SLR camera rather than a Kashelnikov rifle. After I had been instagramming a while and wanted to make the move into blogging I started thinking that maybe I needed to invest in a proper camera (aka a big gun) rather than relying on my trusty Samsung phone.  I will admit that this was 35% influenced by how cool the Olympus Pen looks.  But the Pen don't come cheap so before I remortgaged the house I decided to call in the lovely @tiatalula to give me some advice.  Over tea and cake we talked Apertures, ISOs and Megapixels and it turned out anything the Pen could do my trusty Samsung S6 could do better.  Obviously I hadn't bothered to read any of the camera instructions when I first got my phone but it turned out that if I took it off auto and played around in pro I could do all sorts of cool stuff including, most importantly of all, that cool blurry background thing that makes you look like you know your Fuji film from your elbow.

 Blurry background all courtesey of the humble Samsung S6!

Blurry background all courtesey of the humble Samsung S6!

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Lesson Three: Turn the lights down low (well off actually)

I am a big fan of soft lighting.   So much so that it would seem I have a reputation as a bit of #HalogenHitler in our family as relatives are always quick to apologise when they put the "big" light on when they visit.  However, when it comes to instagram, I have learnt that I need to ditch the dimmer switch and let the natural light flood in.  This can be challenging to achieve as with 3 kids and a job, there are approximately 23 minutes of any week when I am in the house alone during daylight hours without being surrounded by a swarm of plastic.  However, if you can fight off a fleet of Octonauts and get in before dusk falls, the daylight shots do always do better.  

 The bedroom with the lights on.......

The bedroom with the lights on.......

 Lights off and things are looking much better.......

Lights off and things are looking much better.......

Lesson Four: Crafting a Killer Caption

 I know it seems hard to believe but I used to be a woman of very few words on Instagram.  The words I usually used described either getting up early with the baby or going to bed late with Poldark (sadly only on the iPlayer rather than being given an in person sycthing to).  However, one day I lost control of an electronic cockroach in the kitchen (like you do) and shared the story on insta and I noticed that as well as my post getting some likes it also got a lot more comments than usual.  So little by little I started sharing less generic captions and before I knew it people were eagerly awaiting the next instalment of #ChroniclesOf ABlowJobBranch and interiors with a side serving of innuendo kind of became my thing.  Now I realise that not everyone will want to share stories of their husband being cock blocked by a hot water bottle (Mr Malmo's struggle is real) but I guess my point, as Oscar Wilde once said (or I read on a card in Clintons) "Be Yourself Because Everyone Else is Taken"and people are more likely to engage with your feed. Although I guess I have also learnt that including hashtags in your posts like #Don'tShitYourShellSuit might mean that some brands cross you off their collaboration list..... 

 The dog piss stinking stick that was the star pf the #chroniclesofablowjobbranch show

The dog piss stinking stick that was the star pf the #chroniclesofablowjobbranch show

 Chanelling someone who was never afraid to be himself in my flatlay!

Chanelling someone who was never afraid to be himself in my flatlay!

Lesson Five: If in doubt get your bathroom out

I don't want to say that my bathroom is solely responsible for my instagram success but.......The first picture of the it I shared got selected by @jtcollings to feature in a midweek #myhomevibe montage and it is responsible for all of my most liked posts.  So whilst I encountered a severe case of #BaffledBuilderFace when I asked him to weld me some taps out of copper piping it has definitely been worth it's weight in insta gold.   The only problem is my bathroom is frequently off limits for photos because either a) one of the quartet of todgers I live with has dropped something off in the loo that would make you want to amputate your own nose if you popped in to take a picture (of the bathroom not the mega log) or b) I have had to unleash 6 toilet duck refills in a bid to mask the smell of said mega log meaning it is impossible to take a photo because your eyes are stinging too much from the  chemical sunset that has created.  If the Mega Log-Chemical Sunset combination puts your bathroom out action then my advice would be go for the kitchen instead, another reliable instagram performer.

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So there you have it, my top tips for moderate instagram success!  I would love to know if there are some secrets of success I haven't discovered yet.  Well ones that don't involve posting a belfie that is......... 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Malmo & Moss: The Occasional Home Store Autumn Fair

Last time I wrote about the Occasional Home Store we were getting ready to celebrate the start of Autumn (my favourite of all seasons) by holding our first ever Fair, bringing together vintage traders, designer/makers and pop ups of our favourite interiors shops in our little corner of North London. Fast forward 5 weeks and I still can’t believe how many of you lovely people came along last Saturday and saved me from bankruptcy by ensuring that me and my mastercard were not alone in a hall full of the homeware of my dreams.

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 The  Glam Camping Co  transformed a quiet corner of the Church grounds into a glamorous insta meet up with their gorgeous Strawberries & Cream bell tent.

The Glam Camping Co transformed a quiet corner of the Church grounds into a glamorous insta meet up with their gorgeous Strawberries & Cream bell tent.

 Charly of our lovely event partner  Plum & Ashby  who, in a lovely piece of serendipity turned out to have been christened in St Peter's Church next door.

Charly of our lovely event partner Plum & Ashby who, in a lovely piece of serendipity turned out to have been christened in St Peter's Church next door.

The day before we opened the Occasional Home Store doors passed in a haze of trestle table transport, chair lifting, hula hoop adornment and stall styling. Although I wish on a daily basis that our car was a nippy mint green Fiat 500 instead of a cumbersome family estate car known as the mobile landfill, I have never been so grateful for its girth and length as the moment when we managed to get our 3 metre prosecco bar in it without even having to resort to securing the boot with string.

 Really wouldn't have fancied having to transport this on the 329 bus!

Really wouldn't have fancied having to transport this on the 329 bus!

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There was, however, a hairy moment at 11pm on the Friday night when we discovered that we were somehow 6 tables short of the number of sellers we had coming, forcing us to contemplate the possibility that we would have to ask our lovely stallholders to lay out their wares on the church drive  Eiffel Tower street hawker style.  Fortunately a call to Roy, caretaker of the hall and the most patient man in Britain, revealed that the Vicar's widow had 6 stashed in her garden meaning we could stand down our emergency plans to bring our kitchen tables to the venue as replacements.  I am guessing the big guns like Country Living never have to worry about a #VicarsWidowGoneRogue stealing their tables.  

 The relieved but weary faces of Team OHS after the #TableTrauma had passed.

The relieved but weary faces of Team OHS after the #TableTrauma had passed.

Returning home after midnight, our alarms were set very early for the Saturday morning.  Sally’s so that she could get down to the hall early to ensure all of our outdoor stallholders had a gazebo constructed for them  and mine to ensure that I hit the event with absolutely #PeakPebble MillHunnifordHair.  Obviously when it rained briefly at 4pm I was giving thanks that Sally had been #GettingsGazebosUp whilst I was #GettingMyBouffantOn.

 The gorgeous stall of  Weathered & Worn  safely under a gazebo

The gorgeous stall of Weathered & Worn safely under a gazebo

  Love Flowers  providing a gorgeous floral selection

Love Flowers providing a gorgeous floral selection

With our friends and family sacrificing their Saturday and the minimum wage to come along and help us out, we were able to transform the hall into a modern rustic shoppers paradise.  All credit on this front must go to Beth, who used to edit Selvedge magazine and is insanely creative.  If you left me alone with a hula hoop and a pile of ivy you would return after an hour to find me still with just a hula hoop and a pile of ivy.  However, in Beth’s hands, those two basic ingredients were transformed instead into a gorgeous rustic decoration that was #straightouttakinfolk.

 The hall ready to be transformed into the Occasional Home Store

The hall ready to be transformed into the Occasional Home Store

 The humble hula hoop transformed by Beth into a gorgeous modern rustic wall hanging

The humble hula hoop transformed by Beth into a gorgeous modern rustic wall hanging

 Goodbye zumba class flyers and church coffee rotas, hello Occasional Home Store

Goodbye zumba class flyers and church coffee rotas, hello Occasional Home Store

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It was amazing to see our sellers arrive one by one and to watch as their beautiful stalls came together.  Most of them took a huge leap of faith agreeing to come to an event that had never been held before in a part of North London they had almost certainly never heard of unless, that is, they happened to have been glued to the news in 1998 when former South American Dictator General Pinochet inexplicably chose to seek #ExileinEnfield.  Our profound thanks must also go to the lovely team at Plum & Ashby who did not hesitate to come on board as our event partner and provided so much wonderful support in the run up to the event and on the day.  Without wishing to sound too much like #PaltrowinPinkTaffeta huge thanks must also go to Annie Sloan and Essential Kitchen Bedroom Bathroom Magazine who gave us some lovely items to give away to our shoppers and workshoppers on the day. 

 Gorgeous enamel kitchenware on the stall of Marie of  Enamelama

Gorgeous enamel kitchenware on the stall of Marie of Enamelama

 Obviously I am biased because she is my Mother-in-Law but I loved the stall of  Hellish Designs

Obviously I am biased because she is my Mother-in-Law but I loved the stall of Hellish Designs

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 Beautiful linen napkins from  Aerende Store

Beautiful linen napkins from Aerende Store

 Gorgeous linens on display from  Dorothy Stiven

Gorgeous linens on display from Dorothy Stiven

Special stall holder credit has to go to Libby of &Hobbs who arrived drill in hand and proceded to construct a mini recreation of her store out of plywood before our very eyes.  Given that I am about as safe with a black & decker as I would be with a nuclear weapon I stood back like an astonished home owner during an episode of DIY SOS and just watched in sheer admiration as it came together.

 A mini recreation of  &Hobbs  at the Occasional Home Store

A mini recreation of &Hobbs at the Occasional Home Store

 Belinda of  Of Special Interest  did an amazing job recreating her beautiful Crouch End store in our hall

Belinda of Of Special Interest did an amazing job recreating her beautiful Crouch End store in our hall

 Scandi botanicals on the stall of  Pea Style

Scandi botanicals on the stall of Pea Style

  Beetle & Wilde  bringing the biblical

Beetle & Wilde bringing the biblical

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I think the moment when my mastercard breathed a huge sigh of relief and I was able to unclench my bum cheeks for the first time in 12 hours was at about 9:45 when a queue started to form on the pavement outside and the projects pots of Annie Sloan chalk paint we had for our first 20 customers disappeared quicker than a packet of malteasers left alone in a room with me.  From there on in it all passed in kind of a blur, a little bit like your wedding day but with more opportunities to buy vintage French marmalade pots. 

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 The lovely Kathryn of @kos.home buying a basket from @lisavalentinehome

The lovely Kathryn of @kos.home buying a basket from @lisavalentinehome

 I got to meet so many of the amazing people I have spent the last year chatting Shades of Grey and Soft Furnishing with over Instagram as well as lots of lovely people from the local area who had seen the gorgeous strawberries & cream bell tent belonging to The Glam Camping Co go up and had decided to come along and find out what was going on.  It was lovely to see people grabbing a coffee from Emily of We Are Here Coffee's super cute piaggio van, wondering around chatting, picking up flowers, hanging planters and terraniums from Love Flowers and then leaving the hall with bags full of bargains. 

 My Malmo & Moss stall featuring vintage finds and some gorgeous prints from talented Scottish design duo  @weareamused

My Malmo & Moss stall featuring vintage finds and some gorgeous prints from talented Scottish design duo @weareamused

It was even more amazing to meet people who had hopped in the car and set a course to N21 from as far afield as Nottingham (the Notts Massive of @Keeleytara @eclectic_street and @janemcwallace) and Norfolk. The lovely Amanda of @FordHouseNorfolk was greeted with a sweaty bear hug from me after arriving with tables for our workshop to save my bacon after I mistook Stowmarket for somewhere you can just nip to in your lunch hour to collect 4 e-bay card tables rather than a 3 hour roundtrip up and down the M11.  

 Best lashes and hair on instagram @kelldon, Queens of the dark side who came north of the river @alexcrabtreepr and @deborahvos and the notts massive of @janemcwallace @keeleytara and @eclectic_street oh and me looking like an apprentice on her lunch break from a Butcher's counter.

Best lashes and hair on instagram @kelldon, Queens of the dark side who came north of the river @alexcrabtreepr and @deborahvos and the notts massive of @janemcwallace @keeleytara and @eclectic_street oh and me looking like an apprentice on her lunch break from a Butcher's counter.

 Hello lovely Antonia of  @TinkerTailorOnline  who popped by and took one of our hoops home to use in the window of her fabulous new shop in neighbouring Bush Hill Park

Hello lovely Antonia of @TinkerTailorOnline who popped by and took one of our hoops home to use in the window of her fabulous new shop in neighbouring Bush Hill Park

 Vintage books tempting shoppers on the stall of @so_sally_vintage as well as her ever popular bus blinds

Vintage books tempting shoppers on the stall of @so_sally_vintage as well as her ever popular bus blinds

 Beautiful vintage toy treasures on stall of @bethsmith4380

Beautiful vintage toy treasures on stall of @bethsmith4380

I have long oogled the instagram feed of Kinship Creative and watched in awe as she has transformed venues from 'Meh' to 'May I Move I move in Please' so I absolutely loved watching her turn our upstairs church meeting room from a tribute to beige into a Modern Rustic haven for our Occasional Home Store Workshop.  It was attended by a gaggle of gorgeous ladies from all corners of the UK including Reena from @hygge_for_home (my modern rustic sister from another mother) who came from Cardiff,  my co-hosts of #styleithappy (aka my internet hashtag brides) @comedowntothewoods and @thisstyle_rocks who were joined by birthday girl @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa and left Leeds at 5:30 am to join us, and not forgetting the lovely @SezHodson who picked up OHS airmiles by coming from Switzerland.  

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 Lunch to nourish our hungry workshoppers

Lunch to nourish our hungry workshoppers

 Kate Watson Smyth deliverying her top ten tips to improve any room.

Kate Watson Smyth deliverying her top ten tips to improve any room.

 Kay capturing the entries for the Vintage Vignette Styling Challenge

Kay capturing the entries for the Vintage Vignette Styling Challenge

With the dream team of Kay and Kate Watson Smyth aka interiors super blogger Mad About the House running the workshop I had to resist temptation to cast off my apron (which Sally and Beth totally pulled off but which lent me a certain air of #ButcherChic) and join in.  Especially given there was a goodie bag which included a copy of EKBB as well as a whole host of treats from Of Special Interest Lisa Valentine Home,  Annie Sloan, Pea Style, Norahs Brownies and Plum & Ashby.  

 A selection of some of the lovely things in our goodie bag

A selection of some of the lovely things in our goodie bag

 Going home a happy shopper after her talk, the gorgeous  @mad_about_the_house  with a @lisavalentinehome feather duster.

Going home a happy shopper after her talk, the gorgeous @mad_about_the_house with a @lisavalentinehome feather duster.

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 Whilst mum Kay was upstairs running our workshop daughte Bella aka Mini Kinship was downstairs running the family business behind the Kinship Creative stall.

Whilst mum Kay was upstairs running our workshop daughte Bella aka Mini Kinship was downstairs running the family business behind the Kinship Creative stall.

What we have loved, in the week following the event, is seeing the pictures people have been sharing on their instagram accounts of the things that they bought at the Occasional Home Store with lots of items having found some very nice new forever homes.  It has also been lovely to read some of the reviews of the events from bloggers including 91 Magazine and Fabulous Places .  

 A bus blind from the stall of Malmo & Moss looking fabulous in the home of @keeleytara

A bus blind from the stall of Malmo & Moss looking fabulous in the home of @keeleytara

 @the_girl_with_the_green_soda displaying some of her lovely Occasional Home Store finds.

@the_girl_with_the_green_soda displaying some of her lovely Occasional Home Store finds.

 I spy an @lisavalentinehome basket in the home of  @vintagecuratorinteriors

I spy an @lisavalentinehome basket in the home of @vintagecuratorinteriors

We didn’t get everything right (as I am sure the people who used the mens loo between 1-1:30pm when we ran out of loo roll will attest).  Whilst we had delicious brownies and sweet pie from @norahsbrownies and @threefour.onepie they got hoovered up fast leaving us with shoppers needing sustenance.  Next time as well as killer cushions we will have copious carbs,  which will, no doubt, be music to the ears of my best friends who manned my stall pretty much all day in the end with no lunch and no chair.  I suspect I am now known as the #vinatgeinteriorsfagin in my friendship circle.  I have promised them next time I will make them a packed lunch each because there is definetely going to be a next time.  We are not quite sure when yet but keep any eye out for more news on our instagram page  @occasionalhome and our website www.occasionalhomestore.com  

 Employees of Vintage Interiors Fagin aka my best friends.

Employees of Vintage Interiors Fagin aka my best friends.

Malmo & Moss: Culture Club

Cultural highlights my family have taken in this month have included Captain Underpants the Movie, Match of the Day 365: Football Facts For Every Day of the Season, Twirlywoos Series 1 and 2 and Sheringham Splash Swimming Pool.  Luckily for you guys, I have delegated the Malmo & Moss cultural review to Dan Hull so that instead of a round up of the best places to catch a veruca in North Norfolk it is going to encompass delights that include Balengacia, a cool Californian girl band and a zesty lemon risotto designed to transport you to the South of France rather than west of Cromer.  So without further ado it's over to Dan.

 Dan's gorgeous Scandi inspired apartment makes for a considerably more pleasing on the eye picture than me in the flume queue at Sheringham Splash

Dan's gorgeous Scandi inspired apartment makes for a considerably more pleasing on the eye picture than me in the flume queue at Sheringham Splash

August

The month we should all be basking in the glorious golden rays of summer. The air should be thick with the sound of deckchairs creeking and ice cubes chinking. Unfortunately 2017 appears to have had another ideas for us all. Rather than let the sogginess of the situation get us down, I propose we find ourselves means of escape. Whether you like your escape delivered in the form of a dog-eared paperback or projected onto a screen in all its cinematic glory, your August selection awaits

Listen.
‘Something To Tell You’ - Haim.

There’s a very real chance this album’s success is solely down to me. The girls from Haim definitely helped a little, but mostly it’s down to the excessive amount I’ve played it since its release. Your month needs no other album to complete it, of this I assure you. Something To Tell You combines a constant string of hooks that take a swipe at that part of your brain where songs get stuck, with with vocals practically begging to be sung along to in your kitchen on a Saturday evening. It may be brief in its duration but it’s exceptional in its delivery. For me, a lifelong fan of Fleetwood Mac, the comparisons have always been clear, but here the girls from Haim even manage to channel some of Janet Jackson’s heyday into proceedings. That’s quite the combination.  Open all of the windows that will possibly open, let every last drop of sunshine in that nature will allow and dance like you haven’t got a care in the world, this is the sound of summer.

Read.

Mrs Hemmingway by Naomi Wood.

I have no qualms in judging a book by its cover and I am in no way ashamed to say so. I first stumbled across this book because of its blissful blue cover and the impossible poolside glamour of the women who sit atop it. I’m happy to say that shallow decision turned out rather well in the end. A lesson for us I’m sure you’ll agree.

Naomi Wood’s tale of one of literature’s most famous names chooses to focus instead on his wife, Hadley Hemmingway, as the pair transport their life to the South of France for the summer. The hosts of cocktail parties and gin-laced debates about literature, the couple struggle to overcome Ernest’s decision to take a lover a little too close to home. In the heat of the blistering sun, Hadley’s jealousy and longing for her husband’s affection makes for a surprisingly salacious summer read.

Watch.

To Catch A Thief.


If the combination of a summer on the French Riviera and the unparalleled beauty of Grace Kelly wasn't enough for you, Alfred Hitchcock's unflinching direction should be. Never has a woman looked more glamorous at the beach than Grace Kelly. Sun hats, coordinating beach bags and a white gauze overskirt ensure Grace takes centre stage in Hitchcock’s tale of a jewel thief terrorising the Riviera’s richest residents. Quite simply don’t make films like this anymore. A snapshot of a cinematic era we’ll probably never see again, To Catch A Thief will be a sublime addition to a balmy Sunday afternoon.

Visit.

Balenciaga at the V&A.

You don't need to be too familiar with the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga to appreciate the beauty of the V&A's latest fashion exhibit. A true master of the cut, Balenciaga's pieces rest on the body like pieces of sculpture. His groundbreaking silhouettes were to alter the way women dressed forever and push the boundaries of our expectations of femininity. It may not pack the conceptual punch of the spectacular staging the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit managed, but on a rainy afternoon in the capital there can be little more satisfying than gawping at pretty dresses lined up neatly in a row. 

If like me you always go straight to the gift shop before the exhibit, you’ll be pleased to discover the V&A have just relaunched there in spectacular fashion. We all know ultimately the gift shop is the most important part of any exhibit after all.


Make.

When it came to the food that should accompany a trip to the Riviera, or a scandalous affair in the South Of France, it had to be lemons. What single taste transports you to the sun more than the fresh zing of lemon? If you haven’t yet discovered Madeleine Shaw I urge you to spend some time with her site. Along with her three cookbooks, it is filled to the brim with recipes for everything from peanut butter cakes to lemon asparagus risotto. Everything is dairy free, sugar free and wheat free but what it doesn’t lack is flavour. You won’t find any paragraphs about the benefits of sipping agave nectar whilst holding your head upside down and chanting mantras either you’ll be pleased to hear. What you will find is recipes for real life that are designed to help your body do its best every day, along with a selection of dishes that will only further enhance your August escape plans. 

www.madeleineshaw.com
http://madeleineshaw.com/recipes/asparagus-risotto/

Malmo & Moss Does The Triple Bunhawk

Looks and Finds, our resident hair expert has the hair of my dreams.  With the Summer holidays upon us, she has kindly agree to share with us (and beautifully model) a fail safe holiday hair style which will keep your hair up and out of your way on hot days without making you look like an extra from Prisoner Cell Block H.    Introducing the Triple Bun Hawk.

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Malmo & Moss Sleeps: Five go Brocanting

Growing up, our Sunday night ritual was crumpets in front of the fire and a tv double bill of Antiques Roadshow followed by Lovejoy.  Consequently my knowledge of antiques extended to either Chippendale desks fenced to dodgy Russian oil barons by Lovejoy and Tinker or baroque art that someone found in their Granny’s attic and claimed they would never sell until they discovered it was worth £250K.  The BBC budget never stretched far enough for Lovejoy to go on a tour of the South of France, so, until I met my mother-in-law  age 23 (who has her own homewares business) I thought Brocante was some kind of infectious chest disease rather than a type of distressed vintage.

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