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Camping With Kids | Mad or Genius?

Sooo… we did Camp Bestival two years ago with a 5 & 3 year olds. The son shone, our DIY festival trolley worked brilliantly and it all seemed so easy. We realise this was probably a huge fluke but this Summer we’ve already lined up two camping trips in the hope that with 3 kids (we might leave the youngest whose only 7 months with family for one of the trips!) we can recreate this idealistic simple summer pleasure. The two trips planned so far are a Dartmoor trip with a group of friends and the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival.

With this in mind we’ve been researching the best camping hacks which will hopefully help make the whole experience, well, frankly, work! Here’s the first 5 items from practical to just plain fun starting with the tent…

1. TENT

We’ve just bought the Berghaus 6XL in a brilliant pre-Summer sale online which you inflate rather than battle with poles. It comes as one sheet and theoretically you peg out the 4 corners and inflate each section before pinning out the guide ropes. Makes the stress of ‘Now where does this  pole go?!’ a whole less stressful when turning up to the campsite with excitable and impatient kids.

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2. FLAG

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The next item was an unnecessary necessary!

A festival flag to make our tent easily identifiable when we’re headed back after a few too many ciders (and useful for the kids too when they haven’t looked up from playing in a while and get disorientated).

Either helping to mark out the pitch edges for when the kids inevitably break out the ball games it seemed like a fun idea which might prove useful too.

We chose this 4m spectrum flag from eBay which is really tall but folds up super small when not in use. We live by the beach too so thought we’d get extra use out of this for Summer beach meet ups and when the kids are playing outside. Really excited to have this up this Summer… photos to follow!

 

 

 

 

 

3. BEDDING

Next is one for our wishlist at the moment (secretly hoping they do some amazing sale soon as unfortunately they’re a little out of our price range for this year!) these Bundle Beds.

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They unroll into a ready made bed, a mattress you can inflate, a pillow and a duvet. It’s the immediacy of these which we love as a ready made bundle. Turning up, unfurling and sleeping and when at home being an instant handy spare bed in the kids rooms. The mattresses come with a 10 year guarantee, moisture wicking material to stop that damp feeling when camping and it’s just the quality and colour combos of these which are, frankly, just very cool!

 

4. BIO-DEGRADEABLE GLITTER 

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Since Blue Planet II we’ve been feeling very guilty about the glitter pens etc the kids have in their craft cupboard with a mental note not to buy more but there is definitely a magic in sparkle!

The great compromise is Dust & Dance who sell biodegradable glitter for festival faces with 10% of profits going to YoungMinds; a mental health charity.

 

5. ONESIES

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An absolute lifesaver with the kids. We’d put them in their pj’s and put the onesie’s over the top to keep them warm when playing late in the evenings, they even slept in them!

This year our eldest has gone for Chewbacca (the fancy dress theme for this years Purbeck Folk Festival is ‘C’) and we have to find one our middle boy would like still… Crocodile being his preference currently (we did buy him the sweetest cowboy outfit (Woody) but he made us return it!)

 

 

 

 

Next on the list is food (have started a Pinterest board for camping hacks – any recommendations welcome!). Also wondering re: seating is chairs better or those air sofas? The researching goes on!

Anyone else planning some camping adventures?

ecomodernstudios x

 

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Christmas Cheer | Moveable decor

Haven’t got round to your tree? Been frankly so busy and suddenly only realised it’s Christmas next week? If you’re not wanting a ginormous tree then The Tiny Tree from Bloom & Wild is probably the answer! Perfect for injecting a little glitz and Christmas cheer when you come in from all this blustery, hand-numbing weather we’re currently experiencing (and we haven’t even get the snow!).

Packaged minimally and cleverly to fit through a letterbox the trees arrive with everything you need to immediately put them up. Already in moist soil you are provided with moss to line the pot, the lights, the baubles and the star tree toppers. All in a box the perfect size to fit through a letterbox so you don’t even have to be in. Now that’s clever.

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Living in a bungalow we don’t have a sweeping staircase so creating Christmas features can be a bit of a challenge as you walk in the door. The lights on the tiny tree are battery operated so they’re great as there’s no long wires to try and hide – the tree can literally go anywhere. It can also be moved around which is fun for the little ones.

We are a fan of wreaths we can reuse each year and these felt designs from John Lewis (L) and B&Q (R) definitely fit that bill but sometimes it’s nice to have real greenery inside and these Tiny Trees definitely fulfil that without the mess of draping large branches about which is impractical with three young children in the house!

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Pick up your own Tiny Tree from Bloom & Wild now. You can get 25% off with code 25SLEIGH until 5.30pm TODAY so it’s you’re very last day to order blooms before Christmas! Enjoy x

In the interest of transparency we were sent a Tiny Tree for the purposes of blog review but have enjoyed having them in the house for some years now as well as using Bloom & Wild to send bouquets to friends. They are a friendly creative florist and we would recommend! Follow Bloom & Wild on Twitter and Facebook for more seasonal ideas.

 

 

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Spring Is Just Around The Corner!

So where did January go? And now February is nearly over! 2017 is going so quickly! We’ve got a whole host of renovation reveal posts to come in the next few weeks but thought we’d do a little roundup of whats hit our inbox this month.

The ever upbeat and fun Roxwell Press are doing a beginners watercolour class at an Icelandic inspired ICE-CREAM parlour in London! What more could you ask for? There’s a few final spaces available for the class on 4th March here.

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Made by Mrs M has a fresh new Spring collection launching later this week (24th February) taking inspiration from her recent travels to New York and Paris. You can see the collection in full when it hits her shop later this week but here’s a little sneak peek

Lastly the lovely Emily Quinton of Makelight beauty has a free five-day mini taster Instagram course which you can sign up for at the moment here. Anyone who follows her on Instagram knows that this will be inspirational!

We’ll be back in March with a series of posts on colour, design and interiors ready for any spring-cleaning and renovation inspiration you’re seeking. See you then!

 

Ola Origami | Absorbed in Paper

We’ve featured Ola before on the blog being a tiny bit obsessed with their stunning patterns and quality stationery however this time we’re sharing something from their Christmas shop;  the origami decoration kit. Whilst fantastic for Christmas they are quite frankly decorations we’ll probably display all year – especially as their homemade!

There are two kits to choose from but the one we selected was the Milano collection (top right) which was designed in collaboration with renowned origami artist Coco Sato.

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Using their signature patterned papers designed and Made In England you can make eight contemporary decorations.

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Learning a new skill takes time and concentration. With this in mind they are great for this time of year with long dark evenings when you just need to stop and quieten your mind and become absorbed in something that will take you away from day to day life.  We would recommend these for yourself or actually as a Christmas present as people may have the time to dedicate this time to a project over the holidays. We tackled it as a team of two and this definitely added to the enjoyment and sense of teamwork as we worked our way through the instructions.

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The kit comprises of 48 x small patterned squares, 12 x large patterned squares and satin ribbon and is presented in a hand-finished box with the instructions of how to make them all.

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Being novices at Origami it was exciting to undertake a new project but we have to be honest and say there were a few steps where we were completely foxed. Frustrating and funny at the same time those first ‘prototypes’ were definitely a challenge. However, the cheat sheet bit is that you get access to their exclusive step-by-step videos which show you how to do them and this always saved us when we had reached a dead end. A clever idea and great to have as a back up if you need it.

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We could see how we improved in our accuracy as the gaps got tighter and the decorations got more crisp. It was rewarding, fun and a great way of being creative with some guidance. We’d definitely recommend these as a beautiful present for someone with a love of paper to create their own bespoke decorations made by hand with paper made in England. What’s not to love?

Shop the Ola Studio Christmas Shop or follow on Instagram or Twitter for a shot of pattern and creativity.

For transparency we were sent the origami decorations as a challenge to make them as part of this feature! 

Fluid, Reflective & Informal. How do you want your Christmas to be this year?

Roxwell Press is well known for their beautiful illustrative work and each year release their Christmas Shop but this year they’ve developed some beautiful glass hand-painted baubles which we wanted to share…

 

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With a mix of gold and a pastel palette of white, green and pink – they’re unexpectedly festive without the regimental red, green and white which Christmas seems to have become. The fluid edges of the paint work with the reflective shimmer of the colours and these baubles really have a great design edge for an informal but bright look.

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You can buy the baubles as a set of 4 for £20 and they’re a good idea as a gift or frankly just for yourself! The forth bauble is clear and gold (not featured here) but it looks stunning and you can take a peek here.

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These particular baubles are hand-painted which makes them all slightly different and are about 6cm in diameter which makes them really practical to either hang on the tree or make part of a separate decoration.

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We hope these photographs have got you in the festive mood and we’d love to see photographs of the ornaments you treasure at Christmas. There’s something magical about bringing the Christmas box down from the loft and rediscovering all these beautiful handmade treasures year after year!

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You can currently get FREE DELIVERY on all orders at Roxwell Press so take a look at the Christmas shop here.

Please note we were kindly sent these baubles to photograph and share in this feature. 

 

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Hello Marilu | Pops of Neon and Gold

 

With just 4 Sundays left before Christmas we’re starting our Christmas recommendations here at ecomodernstudios starting with Hello Marilu.

 

 

 

Hello Marilu is a creative lifestyle brand with a strong focus on handmade. Created by Mary-Ann Aveline in 2015, Hello Marilu offers an eclectic range of textiles and paper goods that have all been designed, handmade or hand finished in her South London studio, using a variety of techniques such as screen printing, marbling and painting.

We put in a 12-bauble strong order as her hand-painted ceramics are just the sort of one-of-a-kind heirlooms that are treasured on the tree year after year (as well as perfect for thoughtful gifts for those who have ‘everything’). Intrigued about what drove Hello Marilu in its first year of business we sat down with a cuppa to find out more about what makes this British brand tick.

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Each bauble comes in its own paper nest in a shimmering box

In a time when we’re so technologically advanced why do you think there’s been such a strong comeback of handmade with brands such as notonthehighstreet, Folksy and etsy championing the individual?  

 

There is no doubt that technology is great; I can’t imagine living without my iPhone now, or the internet, but its is also kind of sad how much it dominates our lives.  You might be working all day on a computer only to go home and spend half your evening checking social media or watching TV.  Its addictive, and almost a bit overwhelming at times.

I think its this technology overload which is actually encouraging people to want to take up new hobbies, such as hand made crafts, or learning a new skill at a creative workshop.  Being able to physically make something can feel so satisfying.  There is a sense of achievement, something real that you can feel and touch, and it focuses your mind in a totally different way, almost like a meditation.  The result is a finished product which you can feel proud of and that’s a good feeling.

The great thing about technology however is how it can help support and grow your handmade business. Years ago it would have been very difficult to know how to sell your handmade products or get any recognition, but with websites like notonthehighstreet, Etsy and Folksy, almost anyone can get their work out there.

It makes handmade products accessible to everyone and it also shows that it is possible to sell your own work – something which would otherwise feel very daunting.  People that buy handmade are looking for something a bit different – something personal, unique, and original.  It can be hard to know where to buy those things on the highstreet so websites that showcase products from independent designers are a wonderful source for both the buyer and the seller.

Creative workshops also really seem to be on the rise which is fantastic.  Its lovely to learn a new skill and try something you never would have thought of before, whilst meeting other fellow creatives.  There are some really unusual ones out there too.  Earlier this year I went to a spoon carving workshop by Grain and Knot, which is something I probably never would have had the opportunity to try had there not been a workshop available!

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We love the mix of neon and intricate detailing

Your work is bright, bold and playful with pops of neon and gold! What inspirations have you had in 2016 which has helped shape your brand and what are you looking towards in 2017?  

I have always loved bright colours, neon red in particular and of course gold.  I find colours like that can transform a simple design into something really eye catching.  I tend to be inspired by so many different things – almost everyday a new idea pops into my head, or I see a new technique which I want to try.  I am very curious with wanting to try different techniques and I have a long list which I need to work through!

It was Screen Printing however which really led me to start Hello Marilu and it is something that I always love to go back to in between other crafts.  I recently discovered through trial and error how to screen print with gold foil.  I was so pleased that I could finally get it to work, and I now have quite a few gold foil print ideas in the pipeline.

I also love how working on one idea can organically lead you on to something else.  I am really enjoying hand painting my ceramic Christmas baubles at the moment and I now to want to decorate other ceramic items such as plant pots and coasters.

I would love to try the Japanese technique Kintsugi.  If you are not familiar with it, its basically an ancient Japanese technique of repairing broken or cracked objects using gold.  Rather than trying to hide the damage you make it a feature by highlighting it with gold.  It is really quite beautiful, looks amazing on ceramics, and of course its using gold, one of my favourite colours, so I’ve just got to try it!

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Hanging on greenery they really pop!

What is the product you’re most proud of from your collection and why?  

My hand painted Christmas baubles are getting a lot of attention at the moment, which is great in the run up to Christmas.  It feels very special to personalise a bauble for someone, knowing that gift will hopefully be cherished by the recipient for years to come.

I love the build up to Christmas and decorating the tree is my all time favourite thing, so it makes me feel very happy to know that my baubles will be decorating other peoples trees too.  The hand painted design which I use was inspired by traditional Russian folk illustrations.  My mum is Russian so I grew up surrounded by beautifully painted Russian figurines and matryoshka’s.  I have always wanted to use this inspiration for a project of my own so working on my hand painted baubles holds a special place in my heart as they are inspired by things which are very dear to me.

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The gold lettering is strong but shimmers in the light making them tricky to photograph but so eye-catching!

There is a really strong creative community online in the UK. What social media accounts do you really love following and why? 

The online creative community is amazing.  Websites like Pinterest really help for inspiration and finding new craft techniques that I would love to try, and Instagram is just incredible for building your business and seeing what other like minded creative people are doing.  I love how supportive the Instagram community is.

Its so encouraging when you post a picture and receive such lovely comments and likes from people that you have never even met before.  Its amazing how it can bring people together from all over the world! Instagram is definitely my favourite social media outlet and I think i would be a bit lost without it.  It was a huge inspiration to starting my own business because it made me realise so many people were following their passions, and that I could do that too.

Some of my favourite Instagram accounts to follow are @ohjoy for lovely bright colours and DIY posts.  Her account is always so cheery – its a great happiness fix and it just puts you in a good mood! Jewellery maker @benumade is another favourite.  She makes the most amazing, quirky leather jewellery.   Her designs are so unique, I find them really inspiring.  They make me want to work with leather.  I also love @elizabethpawle.  Her woven and hand stitched art pieces have so much depth and texture to them, you just want to reach out and touch them, and they incorporate some of my favourite neon colours which is always a winner!

If you’d like to meet Mary-Anne and have a go at your own designs at a Bauble Decorating Workshop then you’re too late to catch her at Anthropologie (sold out) but if you’re quick you can get a place at her workshops at West Elm on 24th November (only 2 places left!) or 8th December (only 4 places left!). Price £20.

Do join in the journey with Hello Marilu on Instagram and Twitter too.

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Clustered together

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The gold feels very Christmassy

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We loved them propped up against shelves for a relaxed but festive feel

 

Illustrating Home | Capturing Spirit

When we moved into our 1970s bungalow in Dorset from our terraced Bath Stone 1930s home packed full of character the initial impression wasn’t one of immediate attraction… However we knew that there were plenty of pluses with bungalows. The first being space, the second being all-on-one-level (handy with two tiny children) and the third being detatched. The bungalow was also a 5 minute walk to the beach which was a definite selling point and 3 years on we’re in love with the home we’re working so hard to create. It feels like home.

Here’s a little before & now photo which illustrates our work to date to keep a midcentury vibe but reference its coastal setting with the addition of new window sizes, shutters, cedar wood slatting, a white and grey paint update and tropical landscaping to include banana plants and numerous spiky plants.

 

Our focus has remained very much on getting the back extension and internal renovation finished but next up is to remove the green tile-hung frontage and replace with cedar wood, update the guttering and to relocate the ugly yellow alarm box! Even though there is a never-ending to-do list we can appreciate how far we’ve come and it was lovely when Michelle from Roxwell Press offered to capture our home renovation project with her customised illustration portrait service.

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When the result arrived via post it was incredible to see how she’d really captured the spirit of the place (also kindly future-proofing the portrait with the cedar cladding rather than the current green tiles!). Michelle created the portrait by working from photographs we provided and asked about planting, colours and textures and it was this attention to detail that has ensured such a pleasing portrait which feels like home.

The bungalow always really sings on a bright blue day and it’s amazing to have this captured in the illustration. All that remains is to get it framed and hung. We’re thinking in the kitchen and know it’ll be a talking point!

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The good news is that YOU can actually win a customised house portrait worth £100 by entering this competition which is running until 6th October. All you need to do is sign up with your email address to receive her occasional e-newsletters which feature sample sales, competitions and free hand-designed wallpapers for your screen. There is also currently free delivery on all orders (including a single card) at the moment so do take a look at her website or perhaps get an early order in for Christmas cards (if we’re allowed to mention the ‘C’ word yet).

If you’re not lucky enough to win Roxwell Press will offer a discount code to everyone whose signed up to the e-newsletter for the launch of this new house portrait service or you can skip the queue and pre-order with Michelle@roxwellpress.co.uk.

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Last but not least you might want to follow Roxwell Press on Twitter or Instagram where the winner will be announced early October. Good Luck!

 

 

 

#IBA16 | Voting Phase!

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 08.10.34Just a quick little post to share the great news… Voting for #IBA16 is now open!

ecomodernstudios is a place to celebrate innovative fun design and our experiences in design. This year we have been fortunate enough to be included in the Best Design Inspiration Blog category in the Amara Interior Blog Awards. The awards were set up by Amara.com in 2014 and driven by an appreciation of great design – they stock really beautiful designers which include Tom Dixon, Orla Kiely and Kartell for starters!

So, if you enjoy reading the blog please do click on the link below which will take you through to the voting page:

http://www.interiorblogawards.com/vote/ecomodernstudios/

There are some fantastic bloggers in this category so we’re really honoured to be listed, some incredibly well known bloggers and some less so, so it’s definitely worth checking out the list to discover some real talent.

Voting will close on 9th September and only one vote per person is allowed!

Thank you for your support xx