Easy ways to transform your garden

Last year, we sold our Victorian terrace in Bristol and moved to sunny Dorset. After a rather long wait for our sellers to find a house, we gave up trying to buy their 1930s semi  and took the easy option – a brand new three-storey townhouse. I never thought I’d buy a new build, but it’s actually beautiful, with traditional-style features and bags of space.

The garden, however, is a little less inspiring, so I’m currently attempting to transform it into a colourful, Mediterranean oasis. Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way…

Create zones

When a lawn stretches out in front of you, with nothing to break it up, it can look deceptively small, uninspiring and bland. Even if you don’t have the time or budget to start changing your garden’s layout, there are little things you can do to break up the eyeline and make the space more exciting.

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Image: Debenhams

Defining a seating area is the first thing to do. This might be the closest section to the house, or the sunniest spot in the garden. A contrast in ground covering is the most ideal way to create zones, but if this isn’t possible, use flower pots, fencing or balustrade.

Light things up

I am obsessed with festoon lighting! It adds interest to a plain fence or wall, gives perspective and height and best of all, creates a beautiful ambience as the light fails in the evening.

John Rocha at Debenhams
Image: Debenhams Outdoor and RJR.John Rocha

Sort those pots

Nothing says ‘neglected’ more than pots of dried-up soil! Spend a day emptying them out and re-plant with lavender, shasta daisies, hydrangea and cosmos to add instant colour and life.

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Image: Cuckooland

Create an outdoor room

Throws and cushions will both liven up a dull seating area, but go one step further and add an outdoor rug and mirror for the ultimate in al fresco luxe. I found my outdoor runner at Ikea for £7.50, but if you want something bigger try MiaFleur.

The Marseille Garden Bench £185. Monochrome Outdoor Rug £28. Gothic Arch Outdoor Mirror £115. Black Planter With Stand £82
Image: MiaFleur

Add height

Living in a very tall townhouse, the garden feels like it’s down in a dip, so I’m planning pergolas to give it a better sense of perspective. You then have the perfect structure to grow vines and hang lanterns.

Pergola to add height
Image: Livingetc via Pinterest

 

 

Tattoos, ice cream and inflatable guitars: how to make your wedding fun

Fun wedding ideas
If all else fails, bring your pug. Photo by Dottie Photography

Weddings – they’re one of my favourite things. Everybody’s looking their best, the drinks are flowing, and then you get to dance all night long to cheesy tunes (or if you’re lucky, an awesome band). However, the flip side is that they can be expensive – not just for the bride and groom, but for guests too. Once you’ve factored in an outfit, travel, hotel and drinks, not to mention the hen or stag do, they can cost £100s. In fact, a survey carried out last year found that guests spent an average of £377 on the celebrations.

Continue reading “Tattoos, ice cream and inflatable guitars: how to make your wedding fun”

The busy girl’s guide to healthy eating

waitrose_1317839450976First came the paleo diet, then it was ‘clean eating’, now it’s all about the JERF (Just Eat Real Foods). Whatever label you want to give it, it pretty much equals the same thing. Cut out the crap (anything processed) and stick to the good stuff. It sounds so easy, but if you work full time or have kids (or both!) it’s not. Here are a few ways to cut corners… Continue reading “The busy girl’s guide to healthy eating”

Hot right now: metallic wedding cakes

It’s all been about the naked cake over the last few years, but 2016 sees a shift towards more contemporary designs. Metallic cakes have been popular with couples looking for that ‘modern luxe’ look – think edible sequins (who knew?), glitter, gold leaf and brushed gold. Here’s a little taste from some of the UK’s best cake designers…

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Above the Clouds cake by Flossie Pops Cakery, POA. Photo by Kerry Ann Duffy

Continue reading “Hot right now: metallic wedding cakes”

Zara Home’s SS16 Gypset range

Zara Home Gypset range SS16

The new Gypset range at Zara Home is everything I love about interiors right now – colourful, exotic, bohemian and just a little bit luxe. Paisley prints, patchwork elephants and vivid shades of teal and fuchsia transport you to a different world (one where it doesn’t rain quite so often, I reckon). Add in some beautifully-carved wooden accents and you have the perfect setting for summer garden parties.
Continue reading “Zara Home’s SS16 Gypset range”

New in bridal: Jenny Packham’s 2017 collection

Swoon, swoon, swoon… the Queen of Bridal has done it again. Her 2017 collection features the most beautiful embellishments that you can’t fail to fall in love with – from heavenly golden stars to heavy, bohemian lace, these luxe details add individuality to her otherwise sleek and simple designs. And guess what? These dresses start at £1,500 – so even us mortals might be able to afford them.

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Continue reading “New in bridal: Jenny Packham’s 2017 collection”

DIY weddings

On sale this week is a DIY wedding special that I edited for Perfect Wedding magazine – it’s packed with cute ideas and crafty projects, some of which are super-easy and others which take a little more skill. Contributors include the fantastic Kelly Hood at Boho Weddings and the talented guys at Hello! Lucky.

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One of the worst things about working in the wedding industry is seeing all of the amazing ideas and not being able to use them at your own wedding. I got married 9 years ago, and thought my red, white and silver colourscheme was pretty unique. It was still a bloody good wedding – which ended with all the guests skinny dipping in the sea – but the thought of my sparkly star table confetti makes me shudder a little bit now. If I did it again, I’d go festival-style, with lots of music, colour and home-made details. It’s our 10 year anniversary next year… maybe that’s my chance!

Here’s a quick look at one of the real-life weddings inside, shot by Albert Palmer Photography and styled by The Little Wedding Helper. How cute are the dogs?!

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