Totally addicted: Great.ly

If your partner isn’t the best at choosing presents, then you might want to signpost him towards great.ly. And when I say, ‘signpost’, I should say ‘shove website under his nose.’

It promotes itself as a curated marketplace where makers, tastemakers and shoppers come together. Makers stock their online studio, tastemakers (their term, not mine but basically popular bloggers) choose items for their online global stores.

There are some great products but there is a lot of repetition among the tastemaker boutiques, but perhaps – in time – more makers will come on board and use great.ly and increase the choice for us shoppers!

Anyway, here are some of my favourite items:

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This storage basket pricey at around £57 but it has lovely leather straps and is pretty big – it can accommodate blankets and bedding. The only downside is you can’t stick it in the washing machine.

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There is more choice when it comes to textiles and cushions and satisfies any need for monochrome triangles and mint! These are both just over £21.

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Icelandic sheepskin – lovely and cosy for Christmas, at £105

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There are some cute accessories too which would make lovely stocking fillers. This little key fob is just under £12. Well, £11.78 to be precise – the weird pricing is down to the fact it is based on the US dollar. I love the colour combo of the beads which are £26.50.

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Arrows cushion – how sweet is this? £14

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MacBook case made out of Japanese cotton canvas.

One word of warning, each maker has different shipping charges and can vary significantly so make sure you check before buying.

All in all, great.ly, in my opinion, is a good addition to online shopping. If you follow a few bloggers and love their style, the chances are you’ll find their great.ly boutiques pretty tempting.

You can visit great.ly here.

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Christine’s Norwegian renovation

So anyone who describes home as a place where you can kick your shoes off in the hallway has the right attitude in my opinion. And anyone who renovates a home – while pregnant – while their husband works away at sea? Well, they’re just Superwoman.

Welcome to prettyfourwalls’ second ever home tour and today’s is a real treat. If there was ever a home, I would like to curl up and play in as a family on a rainy day, this is it….

Christine lives in Norway with her husband Tore and her three beautiful daughters Frida (7), Eva (2) and little Tora (8 months).

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What have you done to the house?
I think we have done everything you can to a house! It’s been a complete restoration. We tore everything out and built the house again – replacing the roof, putting new isolation in, built new walls, installed new windows and so on. However, we kept the old wooden floors in the living room and kitchen and also some of the old doors, to keep the soul of the old house. Our most difficult task must have been renovating while my husband was working at sea for long period of times while pregnant with my two youngest daughters.

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Any disasters along the way?
Of course… so many. The biggest disaster came when we ordered windows for the living room and they didn’t fit properly. I also regret not using another type of window instead of these energy efficient ones we got. The windows we have are suitable for new house projects and not old houses like ours, but we were fools and listened to the contractor and of course he only wanted to use the type of windows he got a commission on. Of course!

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They have caused us problems because they are sealproof so the house got too air tight. But we ventilated and it’s ok now. If I ever build or renovate a house again, I will most certainly not let someone else make decisions for us but stand my ground better than I did then, but its easy to be wise after isn’t it? Its so stupid really because it is your money, but its so easy to give in to someone who claims this and that and argues strongly against your gut instinct!

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Describe your style.
It’s a mix of old and new, I love design classics but I can’t afford as many as I would like so we have a mixture of flea market and IKEA finds as well as things that we have inherited. Sometimes we make our own furniture – my husband made our coffee table among other things. He really is the handyman of my dreams!! Haha! Also I love colour so our house is nice and bright, but not in an over the top kind of way…

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Which room is your favourite and way?
Our bedroom is my favourite and I don’t exactly know why, but it’s decorated in a neutral colour and it’s calm and nice. I love spending time in our bed having lazy mornings drinking coffee in bed, reading magazines, but with three kids I don’t have to worry about that happening too often!!

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Where do you find inspiration? Do you have favourite brands or do you buy vintage?
I find a lot of inspiration in magazines but also on Pinterest and Instagram. I do visit blogs from time to time, but my biggest inspiration is from wild nature and also how my Mom decorated our house when I grew up. We had a big old house and she loved interior design and old antique furniture.

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She is quite ill now – she developed Alzheimer’s a few years ago, but I remember how things were when I was little, and how our home made me feel. Coming home from school , kicking my shoes off in the hallway, entering the house of my parents, it was so beautiful. So that’s what home means to me, creating an interior from good memories and feelings.

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My favourite brands are Vitra, Bruno Mattson, Muuto, Hay, Ferm Living to mention a few.

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Any tips on design/interiors when you’re living with kids? Well IKEA’s got a lot of smart storage solutions for families, and storage is everything when you are living with kids. You have to think like a kid to come up with creative ideas, I try to imagine what I would appreciate if I was a kid in our house.

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Thank you to Christine for letting us have a glimpse into the warm, cosy home she and Tore have made for their family. Are there any style tricks you’d like to steal for your home?

I just love the little vintage pieces mixed in – like the little living room side table, the Radionette which makes the most amazing TV stand ever and the girls’ twin beds. It makes every look so homely and liveable. And check out the wall light in the living room! Love it. What do you love most?

To see more of Christine’s gorgeous home and family, you can follow her on Instagram at @scandinavianmom or follow her blog.

7 tips to style your shelves like a professional

The shelfie seems to be becoming a thing. So I thought I’d share some styling tips.

I’ve drafted in Alexia Kaye, a London stylist, who is the Queen of putting together beautiful vignettes and she styles bookcases to perfection.

All of the images below either feature on Alexia’s gorgeous Instagram feed @the_finishing_touches or have been taken by photographer Aimie Sullivan.

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So Alexia’s top shelf styling tips are:

1. Use variations of book placement – Try a mix of horizontal and vertical arrangements. You can do this on one shelf, or randomly throughout so that when you step back and look at the shelves as a whole you can see a variety of shapes and heights. I also like the idea of stacking books horizontally (not too high) and then placing an item on top of the stack, such as a piece of coral.

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2. Not just books – Bookshelves don’t just have to be about books. Try using decorative objects such as bowls, ornaments, plates, glass domes, picture frames etc. This helps to break everything up, which I consider to be a key component of attractive shelving.

3. Personal – I think it is nice for your shelves to tell a story, a bit about the person behind them – and not just with photos. Whether it be a sentimental object from your childhood, a souvenir you picked up on your travels, or a display of something you collect such as corkscrews or even matchboxes. Essentially, something to tell those viewing it a bit about who you are: a few monogrammed items, a favourite scent in a candle or diffuser, or a large letter of your initial, perhaps.

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4. Colour – I think books organised by colour look stunning. Unfortunately I don’t yet own enough to implement this in my home, but I often arrange small vignettes on the shelves which are colour co­ordinated. I try and include a variety of objects for these such as vintage glass bottles, framed butterflies and some coffee table books.

5. Old and new – This tip kind of ties in with number 3. I like to display some vintage items as well as new. I have vintage glass medicine bottles, vintage foo dog bookends and a vintage pineapple from the 70’s. This look is present throughout my whole home as I like vintage items that tell a story and I think they look great mixed with new pieces. If everything on display is new then I think you run the risk of having a look similar to everyone else.

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6. Natural – A lot of my favorite bookshelves showcase organic materials. I have some antlers, a purple crystal stone as well as some coral displayed on mine. Flowers and plants also work really well. Just make sure the objects fit in with your taste and style.

7. Art – Definitely incorporate artwork into your shelf scheme. Art is personal (see tip 3) and can tell lots about who you are. A small framed print or some framed photography is great. A cheap way to do this is to frame postcards or greetings cards, this can have a great effect.

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As a final tip, Alexia says: “I believe that bookshelves should be beautiful as well as functional. Therefore, I try to keep mine clutter free, with space around each item so that everything stands out and nothing is lost.”

If you’re feeling inspired to restyle your shelves and storage spaces, I would love to hear all about it. Huge thanks to Alexia and if you’d like to see more of her beautiful styling, follow her on Instagram at @the_finishing_touches.