Gift Guide 2018 – the Ladies!

I find girls so much easier to buy for than boys, do you?

I’ve gathered a few of my favourite things that I think would make perfect gifts for the woman in your life, and when you start to think about your gift list, there is a lot ladies in your life!

We are going to try and cover everyone from your Mother to your Sister, Aunt, Step-mother, Mother-in-law, Daughter and Bestie. I’ve tried to select things for every age group, different styles and every budget.
I hope you find something you love!

Before I start, just a little bit of housekeeping for those of us that are not as tech savvy as those ‘young ones’.
If you click on the product title I have shared in the different coloured writing, it will take you directly to the website of that item. No judgement here, I understand … you don’t know these things until you are told!

Let’s go …

I’m starting with a few options for the travelling gals in your life.
The Eden Heritage Wallet on a String is perfect for keeping all the essentials close to your body, safe and secure when running through airports or touring a new city. It has 2 zippered compartments with 16 card slots, room for your mobile phone and a removable long strap that can be worn on your shoulder or cross body style. Such a versatile purse!
The Dover Zip Around french purse is PINK (need I say more?) and enhanced with RFID technology to protect your cards from being scanned. I use this one and I love the peace of mind this sweet little purse gives me.

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Next, let’s find some options for the princess in your life.

I’m pretty sure your princess doesn’t want her feet on the grubby floor, oh no! Protect her tootsies with a pair of Slipper Glam Thongs, and apparently they are perfectly acceptable to be worn out in public according to my 16 year old who often steals mine.
I’m also pretty sure your princess is dripping in jewels, what better way to display them, than in this Glass Cloche Jewellery Storage. This stunning piece elevates your jewellery into a piece of art when displayed on your bedside or dressing table.
Being a princess is hard work, what about somewhere luxurious to rest her head, try a silk pillowcase like this one in pink or this one in blue (other colours available from both retailers). They are recommended by dermatologists, hair stylists and beauty experts to improve your hair and skin. Worth a try?

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What about the über busy woman who’s always on the go?
The Patti Sling bag is a cross body design that leaves your hands free, while the zip top keeps your items secure, plus I love the denim look blue fabric, denim goes with everything!
A charged phone is pretty much a necessity for any busy girl, I found a super cute Rose Gold Power Bank for charging on-the-go, it’s powerful and has in built safety features to protect your phones battery life, and did I mention hat it is ROSE GOLD!

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The outdoors lover.
A hat is a necessity and this Gold Band Brim hat is all kinds of amazing with it’s wide rim and pretty gold embellishment. I’ll be rocking this hat all summer long!
This Dotty Tote is crafted from jute with super cute white spots, it has a zip top and is big enough for all her beach essentials. Who doesn’t love a polka dot!
A great kaftan or kimono is essential for easy, breezy sun protection. This Tie Die Kaftan in this pretty shade of pink is perfect for beach days or drinks on the deck.

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The domestic goddess, we all need one of these in our lives, they are the ones who cook, bake and clean and actually enjoy it, you know, the Martha Stewart type of gals.
This is the sweetest tea cosy I’ve ever seen, the Rabbit tea cosy, isn’t she adorable and perfect for keeping her pot of tea warm. I love gifts with a bit of a theme, so adding some beautiful tea would be a lovely idea with the tea cosy. I’m going to be honest, I only bought this tea because of the pretty tin it comes in, but the bonus is it tastes pretty good too! You can find similar here.
She’s also going to need a pretty teacup for her tea parties, You can’t beat the beauty of one lovingly searched out from your local antique or thrift store! This is such a thoughtful gift, but also very budget friendly.

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Everyone loves a party girl!
She can party longer with the Double Walled Stainless Steel Wine Wine Bottle, simply fill it with your favourite bottle of wine and it keeps it chilled for up to 24 hours.
You’d better get her some pretty glasses to drink her beverages from too, these Pink Chrystal glasses with gold rims are absolutely stunning!

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Does your party girl bake the cakes? I love these fancy cake pans / Bundt pans. Just bake your cake, sprinkle with some icing sugar and they look like they were made by a patissier! Pair it with a fresh pile of  Tea Towels, or even better, wrap it in the tea towels for super cute gift!

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And if we haven’t covered the lady in your life above, the gifts below are great all rounders that every girl needs.
I love the pretty fabric of these essentials of a Heat Pillow, Drawer Sachet and Shower Cap.

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She’s got to sleep, right? Let her sleep in a beautiful silk cotton slip nightie in the prettiest print. Or maybe she’s having a sleepover somewhere gorgeous, this overnight bag with twin handles and a detachable long strap will take her there in style.

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Every girl loves a pretty fragrance, choose a few with some Bath Salts and a Sleep Mist, oh and don’t forget a fabulous candle, I love this Oahu candle which reminds me of Mai Tais on the beach in Hawaii.

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Last, but definitely not least, find me a girl who doesn’t love a big bunch of beautiful blooms, impossible! This bouquet is from my local florist, but I’m sure you could find something gorgeous from your local florist.

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Happy Christmas Shopping friends!

Hayley x

Disclosure : A few of the products were gifted to me for review and I bought a few of them for actual Christmas presents, so if you are one of my friends or family … whoops … Sorry! I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

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My week of presents 2017.

Having a birthday on Christmas Eve, a wedding anniversary on 2nd January and Christmas in the middle means that I get an overload of gifts all in one week.
Before you get jealous, remember … I don’t get anything all year and then it’s all bundled together in a short period, and speaking about bundles, hubby is often guilty of ‘bundling’ all the occasions into one present, but I won’t complain when the gifts are luxurious handbags!

Here’s my favourite things I received this year from my friends and family who know me well …

Spode Liverpool jug | Peters of Kensigton
Spode Liverpool jug | Peter’s of Kensington

I have been slowly collecting Spode for a few years now, I hope to have a full set one day. My family have bought me so many beautiful pieces and they added this beauty to my collection last year. I love it!

Purse spray | Chanel
Purse spray | Chanel

I received a few perfumes this year, including Elie Saab La Parfum, which I adore, and some Chanel No 5.
Perfume is always a lovely gift, but what I love about the Chanel perfumes is the purse spray packs which come with 3 x 20ml bottles and the refillable purse pack. They are so convenient for travelling or to keep in your handbag.

Rose Signature Earrings | PANDORA
Rose Signature Earrings | PANDORA

These cute earrings were from my parents-in-law. I have a similar yellow gold pair from Tiffany that I were often and they thought I would like these in the rose colour for something different. They were right!
I am actually really lazy with earrings and often leave the same ones in for days, I like small ones that I can sleep in and are crafted from metals that won’t aggravate my ears.

French House Chic | Thames & Hudson
French House Chic | Thames & Hudson
Art of the Bar Cart | Chronicle
Art of the Bar Cart | Chronicle

Books are one of my favourite things, but nobody buys them for me because I have a few and nobody can keep track of my collection, so I buy them for myself!
This year I bought myself these two, I haven’t had time to sit down and read either of them yet, that’ll have to wait till school goes back. I did have a quick flick of both and the pictures and styling look inspiring, I can’t wait!
Oh, and small details ….. I don’t actually have a bar cart (on the wish list).

Aura Manuka Honey Mask | ANTIPODES

I received a few items from the Antipodes range including the Grace cleanser, Reincarnation exfoliator and Aura Manuka Honey mask. They are truly beautiful to use, soft and gentle, perfect for sensitive skin. The mask was so soothing after a little bit of summer sunburn over Christmas.
I also appreciate the simple and stylish packaging in my bathroom.

Gold Polka Dot Apron | ANTHROLPOLOGIE
Gold Polka Dot Apron | ANTHROPOLOGIE

I swear my husband has the biggest grin on his face when he comes home and sees me in an apron. I’m not sure if its because he knows there is food coming of he just loves a gal in an apron.
Anyway, my girlfriend brought me back the sweetest apron and matching oven mitts from Anthropologie. It is totally adorable with gold polka dots and navy trim.

Blue & White spoon rest | William Sonoma
Blue & White spoon rest | William Sonoma

One of the handiest gifts ever!
My gorgeous friend brought me back a box of goodies from her vacation to America. It was full of the cutest things that she’d picked up on her travels, including a beautiful blue and white spoon rest. How did I ever cook without one? It saves so much mess and looks super cute too!
I couldn’t find the exact one she got, but I found this one that is similar.

Threads of Cosmos RNK | Camilla
Threads of Cosmos RNK | Camilla

I love Camilla kaftans, they are so beautiful and easy to wear. I dress them up with heels and statement earrings, or I dress them down tucked into jeans with flats. They are also fabulous for travelling as they pack into a teeny tiny space.
This is the newest one to my collection, I wasn’t sure about all the shades of purple at first, but as the Pantone colour of 2018 is Ultra Violet I’ve decided to embrace it.

Silver Droplets bracelets with charms | Coastalstyle Australia
Silver Droplets bracelets with charms | Coastalstyle Australia

I have worn this silver droplet bracelet nearly everyday for over a year, it still looks brand new and it’s very comfortable to  wear, the clasp design allows you to add charms easily and swap them out as often as you like.
It is also available in gold (on the wish list).
Coastalstyle Australia make handmade jewellery inspired by their coastal finds of shells and coral. They are truly unique pieces. My friend Pippa gave me a gorgeous fine silver charm with my initials stamped on the back to add to my bracelet, you all know how much I love anything personalised and this is no exception. I love it!

I also got the most amazing candle from my sister. It was made by a friend of hers and it has a collection of crystals buried in the wax for you to enjoy after the candle has burned. It has everything from rose quartz to amethyst. It really is beautiful.
Unfortunately she doesn’t have an online store, but you can find her on Instagram @live_in_your_light_

 I feel truly blessed to have such beautiful things and to receive so many thoughtful and luxurious gifts.
These are just a few of my favourites.
Show me yours, I’d love to see!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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Gift ideas for boys.


I don’t know about you, but the thought of filling my house with more plastic action figures and cars this Christmas is enough to put me in a serious tizzy! I can’t find the storage space for them, I can’t deal with tripping over them on the floor and I really can’t deal with forking out $50 for another bright orange and purple car that does NOT fit in with my decor.

I’m sure you are all thinking I am a total grinch of a mother and I should let my kids play with the toys that interest them. Don’t worry, I do … Orly has more Transformers than I have cushions, but there’s is nothing wrong with encouraging some wooden toys in neutral colours, or getting your kids excited about home decor items at an early age …. right?

I have two teenage girls aged 15 and 16 and a 6 year old boy.
The girls are so easy to buy gifts for, make-up, jewellery, clothes …. EASY!
Boys on the other hand, boys are impossible!

You all know I love sharing, so I’ve put together my favourite boys toys that we already own or that are on my list for Orlando this Christmas.

Orly loves to bake, it’s our special time together on a Thursday afternoon while the girls are at dancing. We make brownies, cookies and cakes. He has these Star Wars cookie cutters and he loves them.
FYI – nobody is allowed to eat R2D2 except him and he saves all the Chewbacca’s for his sister Bella.
I just noticed Williams Sonoma has released a special Christmas pack with the cookie cutters, apron and cookie mix.

STAR WARS GIFT SET / WILLIAMS SONOMA
STAR WARS GIFT SET / WILLIAMS SONOMA

I always pop in a pair of PJ’s. If you can manage to find a pair with one of their favourite characters that is also super cute then your onto a winner. Cotton On often have a great range, I personally love this Jungle Book pair.

Joshua PJ Set / Cotton On
JOSHUA PJ SET / COTTON ON

You’ve probably seen the adorable mermaid tail sleeping bags that have been so popular with the girls, check out this uber cute shark tail sleeping bag that is sure to be just as popular with the boys.

SHARK TAIL SLEEPING BAG / ADAIRS
SHARK TAIL SLEEPING BAG / ADAIRS

Kids love to carry their stuff around, well my kids does anyway, he always has a backpack full of crap and that’s fine by me, as long as it’s not in my handbag, I’m happy!
This one from SunnyKids is super cute, it made from hardwearing neoprene and will be tough enough to contain all the boy stuff!

WHALE NEOPRENE BACKPACK / SUNNYKIDS by SUNNYLIFE
WHALE NEOPRENE BACKPACK / SUNNYKIDS by SUNNYLIFE

Orly has had these little wooden superhero’s for a couple of years now. He plays with them constantly and we have added to his collection as they bring out new characters. Great for little hands all the way up to older boys.

DC SUPERHERO FIGURINES / POTTERY BARN KIDS
DC SUPERHERO FIGURINES / POTTERY BARN KIDS

I was recently given one of these Wonderboom speakers. It really is the coolest little thing ever, I take it from room to room with me when I’m doing the housework, my teenagers take it outside around the pool (it’s waterproof) and I’ve been playing music in Orly’s room at night to help him sleep.
He prefers to fall asleep to familiar sounds instead of listening to the ‘scary wind’ outside.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this highly enough, everyone in the family will want one, in fact I’ve already got my eye on a pink one (just for Mum).

ULTIMATE EARS / WONDERBOOM
ULTIMATE EARS / WONDERBOOM

While we’re on the electronics, our kids seem to be using computers for everything these days, these caught my eye and I thought they were very cool. The Doodle Collection mouse has personality and I love that you can customise them with the included sticker pack.

DOODLE COLLECTION MOUSE / LOGITECH
DOODLE COLLECTION MOUSE / LOGITECH

Ok, enough with the electronics, how about some good old fashioned fun? When my husband saw this BRIO Labyrinth he was so excited, he had one when he was a little boy, which was quite a few years ago, this one has stood the test of time, Orly loves it too!

BRIO LABYRINTH
BRIO LABYRINTH (In stores by Christmas)

Not all plastic toys are terrible, Lego is still a favourite on every boys christmas list. I’m happy to buy it, it encourages their creativity and imagination, and I kind of love this big Chewbacca! He’s definitely on our wishlist this year!

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CHEWBACCA / LEGO

Little boys love to mimic their Daddys, Orly’s Daddy is a builder and I’m sure Orly would absolutely adore this wooden tool kit personalised with is name on the box.

PERSONALISED WOODEN TOOL KIT / HARD TO FIND
PERSONALISED WOODEN TOOL KIT / HARD TO FIND

I hope you found something for the little man in your life!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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Karen Andersen – Art that makes you smile.

When a piece of art literally makes you smile every time you look at it you know you’re onto a good thing.

I have been searching high and low for beautiful art to fill my house recently, my wish list is big but unfortunately my budget is not. Even spending a few hundred dollars on a piece of art can be a big decision, but it can also be an investment. Choosing to buy an original painting from an up and coming local artist can be a very smart move, and definitely a choice I wish I had made many times over. I have wanted to buy pieces from artists at the beginning of their career in the past, I have taken far too long to actually buy it and then their prices double, triple and quadruple due to their high demand.

Moral of my story, If you see a pice of art that makes you smile and it’s within your reach, grab it!

Which brings me to the gorgeous new painting hanging in my home. It is from a local abstract artist who is fairly new to painting and is starting to be recognised by her peers as somebody to watch. She recently won second place with her ‘Coral Sea Garden’ painting in the Hidden Wonders Art Exhibition at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery.

Karen working in her studio on the Fraser Coast.
Karen working in her studio on the Fraser Coast.

You know I’m a big sharer, ok, maybe an over sharer, but I thought you might appreciate learning a little bit more about Karen and her art.

 Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a fine artist, working with acrylic paint and pastels to create lively, brightly-coloured abstract paintings. I am 41 years old and I live with my partner David and two teenage children (my son is 15 and my daughter is 13) on the Fraser Coast in southeast Queensland, 3 hours north of Brisbane. We own a 1960’s era four bedroom Queenslander that we are in the process of renovating (HUGE job!) and I love to fill it with vividly coloured homewares and art. I feel very lucky to have my art studio in our home too – it really is my happy place, filled with light, art and glorious colour, where I can create until my heart’s content whenever inspiration strikes.

What age did you start painting?

I have always painted and drawn. Art-making was an integral part of my childhood and was my most favourite activity (apart from playing with my Barbies and going to the beach). It wasn’t until high school though, around the age of 12 or 13, that I became absolutely and totally besotted with art. I loved the work of Ken Done, Picasso, Matisse, the Post-Impressionists, and the artists of the Fauvist Period for their use of colour. I would spend hours studying their styles and composing my own (mainly abstract) paintings at home. Creating abstract art was never encouraged at high school by the time I progressed into Year 11 and 12, and though I loved to draw in realism, I could never shake the discontent I felt at having to paint objects and scenes for assessments that were completely uninspiring to me.

Disillusioned at the thought of spending 3 years at university doing the same if I was to go on to do a degree in Fine Art, and choosing to focus on a less risky career option (in biological science), I pushed any thought of having a career as an artist to the furthest reaches of my mind. I busied myself with life and put my art on the back-burner, drawing and painting here and there throughout adulthood, but depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem saw that I never let myself entertain the thought that I could be a professional artist. It wasn’t until October 2016, at the age of 40, that I finally allowed myself to chase my artistic dreams. I began painting every day and the rest, as they say, is history.

Out of the Darkness | Karen M Andersen
Out of the Darkness, Into the Light | Karen M Andersen

Were you surrounded by art growing up? Does anybody in your family paint?

No one else in my family painted when I was growing up, but I was instead surrounded by very creative family members. My maternal grandmother was an extremely talented dressmaker by trade while my paternal grandmother was a champion cake decorator, baker and farmer who loved crafting with fabric and yarn. My dad is a carpenter and builder, very perfectionistic in his work. My mum has been crafting since before I was born – she sews clothing, quilts, accessories for her home and soft toys; she also crochets, knits, and enjoys scrapbooking and card-making. Mum has dabbled in many other crafts over the last 40 years and recently she has taken up art journaling and painting. She and I tend to heavily influence each other’s creativity and enjoy crafting together as adults, so I am not surprised that she has developed a fondness for art of late.

Anyway, I digress. I spent an inordinate amount of time watching my grandmothers, my mum, and my dad creating as I grew up. Everything about the process each of them followed in order to make something with their own hands was absolutely fascinating to me. I was encouraged to join in too and would often complete little projects with them. There is no doubt in my mind that growing up in such a creative family has been pivotal to me developing such a passion for creating too, and I dabble in a few different crafts myself as an adult, but I do believe that my overwhelming passion for art has arisen primarily as a result of my lifelong obsession with colour.

What inspires you to paint?

The great Impressionist painter Claude Monet is quoted as saying, “Colour is my day-long obsession, joy, and torment”. That is precisely how I feel about colour too. As a child, even when I was as young as 2 or 3 years old, I remember feeling obsessed with the colours in my books, on TV, in the environment around me. One of my most favourite things to do was to lay all of my pencils or crayons out in rainbow order. I adored rainbows – seeing them, creating them, and wearing rainbow-coloured clothes. There was something about looking at groupings of bright colours, observing the way that they played against each other, that always made me feel happy and alive. I still feel exactly the same about colour today. It features heavily in my art, my home, and my wardrobe. I live colour, I dream it. It is such a source of happiness for me. Colour is also a torment however as I can never get enough of it – I am always looking for that ideal new colour combination to use in my paintings, that perfect way to lay colours next to each other on a canvas. Colour is certainly the primary inspiration behind my work and the search for new ways of representing it in my art will forever push me to create fresh paintings.

I am also heavily inspired by living in Queensland…our climate, our lifestyle, and our seemingly endless Summers. Being at the beach, watching the sea, walking in the waves as they lap the shore…it feels like home to me. I feel blessed to have the picturesque beaches of Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach, and Noosa North Shore so close to home and I visit all often with my family. I have always loved to be either on or in the water, so our coastal waterways and river systems are very inspiring to me too. Our natural environment is a huge influence on my work – our eucalypt bushlands, rainforests, coastal and marine ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef, and all of their inhabitants – encouraged by conversations with my Dad (a nature lover) and university studies in biological science. It is my feelings about all of these elements that I endeavour to express my through my abstract paintings, through the use of colour and mark-making.

Whitsundays
Whitsundays | Karen M Andersen

Your love of colour is evident in your art. Do you start a painting with a colour palette in mind or do you see where the art takes you?

Yes, colour most definitely informs the decisions behind how I start my paintings. I always begin each painting by choosing a colour palette that represents either the inspiration in general or how I feel about it. For example, recently I painted a piece about how I feel about being on Seventy-Five Mile Beach on Fraser Island, about what it feels like to stand and watch the waves splash and tumble, so I chose a palette heavy in blue, aqua, and turquoise, accompanied by drips and splashes of white. I also recently made a painting about my love of the Great Barrier Reef which features a palette of rich vibrant colours, bathed in an ultramarine background. My favourite technique is to use bold colours against more sorbet or pastel tones for maximum contrast and impact. Colour is always the element which is foremost in my mind when I am planning and constructing a painting and is essential in conveying my feelings about the painting’s inspiration.

Your paintings make me smile. It must feel great to know your art has such a positive effect on people’s emotions?

Awww, thank you so much Hayley – it’s lovely to hear that my work has such a wonderful effect on you! That is what I aim for in creating my paintings – for people to feel happy when they look at them. Knowing people love what I create certainly forms part of the reason why feel so compelled to do what I do. My work always comes from a place of absolute joy and from a deep passion for art-making, for colour, and for the things which inspire me. I endeavour to communicate those feelings through my work, so when someone tells me that they love my paintings or that they make them smile or feel happy, I always feel unbelieveably excited, proud and content.

Estuary
Estuary | Karen M Andersen

Do you have a favourite artist?

Oh yes! Iconic Australian artist Ken Done is my absolute favourite artist. I first saw his work at the World Exhibition (Expo88) in Brisbane in 1988 at the age of 12. I remember standing in front of those huge letters that he painted that spelled the word “AUSTRALIA” feeling in absolute awe of such a marvellous creation. I couldn’t believe that I had found someone else who very obviously felt the same way about colour and pattern as I did! I’ve followed his work ever since, with my favourite pieces of his being his beach and reef-themed works. In October 2016 I had the opportunity to see his work in person, to meet him, to seek some advice fom him, and to take an art class with him as part of his exhibition of reef paintings at the Rockhampton Art Gallery. The collective experiences around the Ken Done exhibition last year became a turning point in my life and formed the catalyst behind my decision to finally chase the dream I had held deep inside since I was a teenager – to be a professional artist.

Where would you like your art to take you?

I have so many artistic goals I want to fulfil! I would dearly love to have a solo exhibition of my work one day. I can just imagine how it would feel to walk into a gallery and see all of my work hanging on the walls! I would also like to use my art somehow to increase public awareness and decrease the stigma that exists around mental illness. I have suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember, and I know many other people and artists who suffer mental illness, so this is a cause that is very important to me. Like many other artists, ultimately I would love to be able to make a good living from my art eventually. In the short term though, my goals are to keep exploring and experimenting with art-making, to keep producing new work, and to continue sharing it in exhibitions and online. I’m very excited to see what lies ahead for my art!

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I think when you get to know the person behind the painting you can understand where the colours, passion and mood comes from. I feel connected in a way that I wouldn’t if I didn’t know anything about the artist.
This is my painting titled ‘Coastal” in it’s new home, on the wall between my dining room and bar. I hung it where it will be seen everyday and make me smile.

Coastal in my home.
Coastal in my home.

Pop over to Karen’s website HERE and see if her paintings make you smile too.
If they do, grab one for yourself, you won’t regret it!

Oooooohhhh and just because you’re all so fabulous and Karen and I want to spread the smiles …
Karen is offering all my readers 10% off until the 25th May with the code MUMLITTLE10.
Be quick, they are all original pieces and once they are gone they are GONE!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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