Christmas at the Little house.

Firstly, yes thats my surname – Little.
I’m not referring to my house as little, because even though it’s smaller than our last house, it’s still too big, I know … because I’m the one who has to clean it, urgh!

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we are mid renovation and currently the entire upstairs of our house is out of bounds so we can paint everything, and I mean EVERYTHING and re-finish the timber floorboards. What this means logistically, is that every item we own is currently downstair or shoved in the upstairs bathrooms and balconies, you might have seen us camping out on our mattresses downstairs on the floor. Let me tell you, It is not an ideal living situation and I certainly wasn’t excited at the thought of Christmas decorating.

My tree is HUGE and takes at least an hour to put it up, and then it always looks like it’s on a lean no matter how much I try to make it straight. Next for the lights, I swear I wrap them up carefully each year but when I pull them out the next year they are in a pile of tangled mess, so I spend an hour untangling them (and swearing under my breath) to then spend another hour getting them on the tree. All that before I have even started decorating. I truly didn’t know if I had it in me this year, but I have 3 excited kids so I knew I had to make an effort …

Until Balsam Hill kindly offered to send me one of their amazing trees this year, and they said it would be pre-lit. Did you just say PRE-LIT? I couldn’t have said YES fast enough. It arrived in a couple of days, you might have seen the excitement from my youngest Orlando on my Instagram, he could barely contain himself!

We had the entire tree unpacked, assembled and the lights twinkling in less that half an hour. It was so easy and Orlando, who is only 6, was excited to help me fold out the branches with the included gloves, he was so impressed with himself. And I am so impressed with this tree, there was no wrangling lights either, the entire tree is pre-lit evenly and beautifully, all you need to do is plug it in.
FYI – My tree is the Monterey Pine 150cm, you can find it here.

Monterey Pine / BALSAM HILL
Monterey Pine / BALSAM HILL

At 150cm, our tree is on the smaller side this year. The advantage of having a smaller tree is that it is much easier to find a spot to put it, it takes less decorations and is faster to decorate. It still looks amazing and gives us all the Christmas feels while I get to keep my sanity.
I did consider putting up a second tree, it seems to be very on trend to have more than one tree these days, but I just can’t face my big tree. Maybe I can talk hubby into another Balsam Hill tree ….

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What do you think? Isn’t she pretty with all those twinkling lights?

Photo 27-11-17, 12 41 50 pm I didn’t buy any new decorations this year, I would have loved to do a pink theme but to be honest, I think anything would look beautiful with those twinkling lights! I attached a big red satin ribbon bow instead of a star or angel. I thought the pop of colour was a pretty touch and seriously, who doesn’t love a bow!

Photo 27-11-17, 12 42 23 pm I used this Regency Dupioni quilted tree skirt around the base. It’s pretty and classic, and will last me for many years. It’s also from Balsam Hill, you can find it here.

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I went with traditional red and green wrapping paper. I don’t often use red in my home decor, it feels like Christmas to me, so I probably go overboard with red at this time of the year.

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I even pulled my red Kitchenaid out of the cupboard!

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Santa’s Mailbox and Merry Christmas Cushion | Hamptons Home

It creeps into my living room too!

Another thing that I like to sprinkle around at Christmas time is twinkling lights. They are just so pretty and elevate everything to the next level of beauty.

Photo 27-11-17, 12 50 30 pm I created a fun centrepiece on my dining table with some pretty blue baubles, a big wooden tray and some of these gorgeous LED fairy light ornaments, also from Balsam Hill. I love the way they sparkle at night and give the table an inviting warm glow. You can find them here.

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They come with individual battery packs and are also on a timer which is great because you don’t have to remember to turn them off.

So, the Little house is ready for Christmas and I’m pretty happy with how easy and stress-free it was this year. I didn’t go overboard, I would love to add some garlands to my staircase and maybe a beautiful collection of snow globes to my sideboard, but they will have to wait until next year.

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? Do you go all out? Or are you content with a pretty tree?
I’d love to see your Christmas decor! Please tag me on SM or e-mail me.
Who wants me to share my favourites?

Hayley x

Get the custom look …

The story of my barstools continues, and this is the best part yet!
Remember I picked up 4 barstools for a song on Gumtree a few weeks ago? They were from the Henriksdal range at IKEA and even though they were a little bit shabby, the frame and seating was still in perfect condition.

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I bought some new covers from IKEA but they were plain white and not exactly the best idea when you have 3 kids and a a dog! They were dirty after just a few days. I decided to try a DIY and dyed the covers green, they didn’t turn out exactly as I had imagined and after a few days I was questioning why on earth I did it.

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You see, I’m a blue and white girl through and through and I really love pattern, I wanted the look of expensive custom made barstools with beautiful upholstery, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune. I also needed something that was easy to care for, last week alone Orly spilt maple syrup, milo, milk and some sort of orange sticky goo on the barstools.

That’s when I discovered Bemz.
Bemz makes customised covers for IKEA furniture as well as cushions, curtains and bedroom textiles. There are over 250+ fabrics to choose from and they are machine washable. You can create a whole collection of customised pieces in any room of your house for a fraction of what it would cost you through an interior decorator. Bemz gives you the opportunity to refresh and restyle your IKEA furniture without breaking the bank.

I popped on their website, chose the Henriksdal barstools and started scrolling through all the beautiful fabric choices. I must admit the blue and white gingham caught my eye immediately, but I wanted to be sure so I ordered a few free samples to check in my own space. They came quickly and I contemplated my selection for a few days before going with my original choice of the gingham, which you can find here.

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The covers arrived in a couple of weeks and I am absolutely thrilled. They are beautiful quality, they fit like a glove and they look amazing. Finally, I have the custom look I was craving, without the big price tag.

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What do you think? Don’t they look amazing, the colour is perfect and they bring so much personality to my kitchen.

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Do you have some IKEA furniture that is looking shabby and could do with a facelift? Or maybe you are looking for a particular colour sofa and IKEA have the right shape but wrong colour? Or if your on a really tight budget you can do what I did and hunt down the perfect pieces on your local online market place like Gumtree, make sure the frame and cushions are in good condition, the buy new covers.

I feel like this is a game changer in the world of home decorating, it’s gives us all an opportunity to customise our furniture, get the look we want and do it all with ease online.

 Pop over to Bemz for some inspiration and ideas, and see how easy it is to get the look you want!

Happy shopping!

Hayley x

My bedside tables makeover.

I had a dirty little secret in my bedroom … a set of stained bedside tables that I tried to crop out of nearly every photo I took.  Don’t get me wrong, I love timber pieces of furniture, but these were those indonesian style ones, with the orange/red dark stain. While they might work if you have that kind of decor, it was not the look I was going for. The thing is, they were the perfect size for my bedroom, which was quite a mission considering I have this strange nib wall that only allows me 75cm each side for the bedsides, and I also have a really high bed, so I need something rather high. I found them on Gumtree when we first moved in and had intended on painting them, then life happened and I never got there.

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Then, I got absolutely sick of looking at them and thought I’d try the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I see this paint popping up everywhere, everyone raves about it and I’ve seen so many amazing transformation photos.
So, I thought it was my turn for an amazing transformation.

Firstly, I am no stranger to painting furniture, I have painted heaps of things over the years, some of you might remember the huge 4 posted bed I painted pale blue a few years ago, but I had never used the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
Let me tell you, now I understand what all the fuss is about.

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You don’t need to sand or undercoat first, actually there really isn’t any prep work, just a quick dust off and wipe down. Then you can get straight into the fun part. The paint goes on smooth with great coverage. I only needed 2 coats to cover this horrid red stain! It dries super fast which allows you to complete your project in one day. You can achieve a range of different finishes such as a rustic ‘chippy’ look, a two colour distressed finish, a vintage look or a modern, smooth finish. I went with the simple vintage look.

I applied the Annie Sloan Soft Wax over the top to protect it, which was easily applied with a clean cloth.

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I chose white because let’s be honest, I wasn’t brave enough to do a colour, but trust me, this won’t be the last piece getting the Chalk Paint treatment in my house. Next time I’m going to be a little braver and use a fun colour.

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Secondly, take my advice, if you have been waiting to paint something in your home and keep putting it off because it all sounds too hard … don’t! Grab yourself some Chalk Paint and do it, you’ll be so pleased with yourself.

You can find your nearest Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockist here.

Happy Painting!

Hayley x

* In the interests of full disclosure, I’d like to inform you that Annie Sloan gifted me my paint supplies to complete this project. I was not paid for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.

My kitchen … the pretty bits!

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I split my kitchen reveal into 2 posts because some of you really want to know about the planning, the process and the products, while others of you are only interested in the pretty things. This post is for the pretty things. If you want to read about the process you can do that here.

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OK, now I have a beautiful, classic white kitchen, but I love a pop of colour in my home so I knew I needed to add that somewhere. I didn’t want to do anything too permanent, but I did want to be a little bit risky. I decided to make my statement with the window treatments. I actually had the white cedar shutters that were originally in this room, but I was shocked how much more light streamed into the room when we removed them so I didn’t want to put them back up. I wanted something that could be completely open during the day and give us some privacy at night. Roman blinds were the best option, so I went about finding the perfect fabric.
One thing I learned during this process is to always order a sample of the fabric if you are choosing something online or from a catalogue. I have 6 metres of another fabric that I ordered and thought would be perfect, but when it turned up it was all wrong. In the end I went with a heavy linen blend with a gorgeous pattern, it falls beautifully and I love the explosion of colour that I can control depending on how far I have the blinds dropped.

Coconut Row Poolside by Den Designs.
Coconut Row Poolside by Dena Designs.

The roman blinds in the kitchen determined the colour palette for everything else, which I love … blue and green. Of course the obvious choice for me was to fill my kitchen with cabbageware and blue and white, which is exactly what I did. I don’t have enough pieces of cabbageware to achieve the look I want yet, but thats half the fun … hunting them down. As for the blue and white, that’s easy!

I already had some beautiful pieces in my home that fit perfectly, I love these little striped jugs, they look like they were made for the kitchen.

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Another favourite ways to add colour to the kitchen is with a big french oven. You see them in all the stylish kitchens on Pinterest and that’s half the reason I wanted one, but honestly they are a dream to cook with too. I leave mine out on the stove top, I also bought a few mini cocottes to display on the range hood and I think they look super cute.

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Also on the range hood is 3 rattan jugs that I’ve had forever, and my boxwood wreath which looks as fresh as the day I got it.

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Probably the thing I was most excited about for decorating the kitchen was this floor rug. It is from the Dash & Albert indoor / outdoor range, I already own one of their rugs along with a door mat and couple of outdoor poufs, so I am familiar with their quality and how easy they are to clean, you literally take them outside and hose them. It is the perfect runner for messy spaces like the kitchen.

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With all the hard lines and cool colours in my kitchen I felt like I needed to add some natural wood elements to warm it up. I chose a chunky elm cutting board in a fun shape that I love, and a pair of salt ‘n’ pepper mills in acacia wood.

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I alway like to have a clock in my kitchen as I often take my watch off when baking. I had my heart set on something timeless in a polished nickel and after quite a long hunt I found the perfect one at Pottery Barn, should have known to look there in the first place, duh!

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Another thing I had a hard time finding was a rattan cutlery holder, I saw them everywhere a while ago when I didn’t need one, then when I decided I needed one I couldn’t find it. Instagram to the rescue and I finally found one, it’s perfect for quick access to the cutlery when the kids are sitting at the island bench (when we get stools).

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Then the necessities, the toaster and the kettle, they aren’t always pretty but I think I found some pretty good looking ones. The toaster is all kinds of awesome with buttons and dials for every setting you can think of, plus it beeps when your toast is ready, very cool.

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Another necessity in the kitchen is tea towels. We all have those yukky stained one that have been used for one too many bolognese clean up, maybe they are your favourites, maybe they dry really well … get rid of them! A dirty tea towel makes your whole kitchen look grubby, they are so inexpensive and easy to replace. I just bought a fresh new set of 4 in a pretty blue colour for the new kitchen.

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And lastly, I always like to have fresh flowers and a beautiful candle burning in my kitchen. I had the most amazing hyacinths for these photos, the scent was incredible and they literally made me smile every time I looked at them.
I change candles often, but one range that is pretty consistent in my home is the Circa Home range, they have a lovely collection of scents that I love.

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Now all I have left to do is hunt down the perfect barstools …

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If there is something I haven’t covered or answered, leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I’ll get back to you.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

Roman Blinds – Coconut Raw Poolside fabric / Dena Designs
French Oven – Chasseur 6.3L in Imperial Blue / Kitchen Warehouse 
Floor Runner – Herringbone Indigo 76 x 243cm / Winton House
Clock – Pocket watch in Nickel / Pottery Barn
Toaster – Kitchenaid Artisan 4-slice in silver / Kitchen Warehouse
Kettle – Kitchenaid Artisan 1.25L / Kitchen Warehouse
Elm board – Elm cheese board Heart / Bloom and Co
Salt Shaker and Pepper Grinder – Williams Sonoma open kitchen / Williams Sonoma
Tea Towels – Multi-pack in Bistro blue / William Sonoma
Cabbageware  – White salad bowl / The Source Homewares
Striped Jug & Bottle – Aegean range / The Source Homewares
Flowers – Hyacinths / Flowerhaul 
Candle – Forest Berries and Fig / Circa Home
Blue Striped Jugs – Handmade on the Gold Coast / Fine Things
Wreath – Preserved boxwood / The Doors of Berry
Cutlery – Matte Black / Reform Merchant