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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Mother’s Day gift guide 2017

I shared a few of my favourite things on my Instagram story today that I think would make perfect gifts for Mum this Mother’s Day.
For those of you not on Instagram (why not, come on over, promise we’re friendly) here’s all the goodies.
I hope you find something perfect for your Mum, or maybe something for yourself.

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#1 – a hairstyla is perfect for busy Mum’s, you can brush your hair straight in just a few minutes!

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#2 – a pretty tea cup is always a good idea, this one from T2 is super pretty!

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#3 – who doesn’t love a pretty candle, I love this new range from Circa Home with the pink packaging and fresh fruity scent.

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#4 – Mum’s love jewellery, these pieces from Covet Handmade Jewellery are timeless pieces she can wear everyday.

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#5 – If your Mum is a tea drinker with a cheeky sense of humout then this sweet spoon from The Cutlery Commission and available at Hard To Find is a winner.

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#6 – Is your Mum an entertainer? These napkins from Peacocks & Paisleys are unique and beautiful.

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 #7 – linen and ruffles … you had me at hello! I’m completely obsessed with this throw from ‘her shed‘ lately and wish you could all have one!

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#8 – just in time for those chilly winter months, get Mum a hot water bottle to keep her warm. The best ones are at Toasty Warm Australia.

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#9 – beautiful blooms are always a good idea, these fresh hyacinths are from Flowerhaul.

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#10 – If your Mum is a dedicated cook, she’ll love this heart shaped elm serving board from Bloom and Co.

I hope you found the perfect gift for your Mum.
Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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My Kitchen reveal … finally!

I know, I know, this is the world’s longest kitchen renovation and I have had so many e-mails asking where I bought things, why I chose certain products and how I planned all the details.
Hopefully I can answer all your questions in the next couple of posts.

Firstly, let’s have a look at the kitchen before

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Kitchen, I can't wait to re-do the kitchen!

These are the real estate photo’s from when we bought the house, trust me those photographer’s know how to make it look good, It doesn’t look too bad in these photos.
In reality it was very small, so small in fact we couldn’t get our fridge into the kitchen through the opening between the wall and edge of the bench where the (stripper) pole is. The boys had to lift the fridge up and over the bench top to get it in.
The colour was actually quite yellow, especially the bench tops, I’m not sure what type of stone they were but the colour was a light shade of baby poo yellow, ew!
To use the oven I had to open all 6 drawers to the sides of the oven otherwise it would overheat and turn itself off. The microwave turntable would just start turning randomly all by itself. The dishwasher left the dishes dirtier than when we put them in. And the garbage disposal wouldn’t drain so if by accident any water went down that side of the sink we would have to ladle it out.
Yes, that’s what I lived with for a year, so the prospect of a new kitchen had me giddy.

The planning began …

I spent way too many hours on Pinterest pinning pictures of my dream kitchens, looking at every detail from the layout, to the cupboard profile, to the tap style. Unfortunately I could never achieve the layout I wanted in the space I had to work with, so I made sure that I got all the other details right.
When I looked at all the kitchen pictures I pinned I noticed a very consistent style and even though I wanted to be brave and go for something colourful and different, I knew I would be happy for years to come if I stayed true to the style I have loved for ever … white cupboards, Carrara marble and nickel hardware. I also knew I could add pops of colour with my accessories and change it up as my mood changes (often).

That was the easy part, the hardest part of this kitchen was the layout. Renovating is so much harder that building, you have to work within the boundaries that are already set and find ways to make a space feel bigger without actually gaining any floorspace.

We decided to rip out as much of the kitchen as we could before we’d even planned the new one. We knew it would make a big mess and mean we would be without a kitchen for much longer than needed, but we wanted to see how much space we could reclaim and needed to see what was in the ceiling in the way of structural supports.

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I had a little bit of extra room available under the stairs, you can see the door to the space above, unfortunately it wasn’t high enough to be opened right up, but I was able to make an opening big enough to push the refrigerator right back in there. I also had a little area that was previously being used as a small desk area, above to the left of the kitchen, while it wasn’t very big, it was the perfect size to squeeze in a small walk-in pantry. By claiming those two small spaces that were previously not part of the kitchen I gained much needed floorspace and made enough room for an island bench which I really wanted.

The walk-in pantry and fridge in the reclaimed space under the stairs.
The walk-in pantry and fridge in the reclaimed space under the stairs.

I knew that the kitchen layout that was originally there didn’t work. It was a U shape with a big useless dance floor of space in the middle. I wanted to open the kitchen to the living area and give it more than one entry point. An island bench made sense. I couldn’t fit one in running parallel to the living area which is how you see most island benches situated, so I decided to run it adjacent to the living space. This decision wasn’t easy, I had more than one person tell me it would look weird, including a couple of cabinet makers. I taped out every layout I could think of on the ground, nothing else worked in this space, so I stuck to my idea.

So, I had my plan, I knew what finishes I wanted, next step was to find a cabinet maker who could see my vision and work with me. If you’ve followed me for a while you will remember we built a dry bar area not long ago, while the cabinet maker there did a good job I felt like he didn’t understand my style. I went through the process of getting quotes from quite a few cabinet makers until I found one (through a recommendation from a builder friend) that just ‘got me’. He wasn’t the absolute cheapest and his lead time was probably one of the longest, but he knew what I wanted and I was confident in his ability to deliver a beautiful kitchen.

The process …

We demolished the kitchen ourselves, it saves money and I’d rather spend the money on pretty things!

We had everything framed up in the new layout, we gained about a metre by pushing the fridge in under the stairs and it was great to finally gets feel for all the new spaces.
We lined the exposed walls and ceiling with VJ board, I love the character they add to a home and since we used them in the dining room I wanted to connect the spaces with a few elements. We added a bulkhead to separate the kitchen from the living area and help define the spaces.

You can see the bulkhead here that separates and defines the kitchen space from the living room.
You can see the bulkhead here that separates and defines the kitchen space from the living room.

Another small thing we did that I think makes a huge difference was add architraves to the kitchen windows, they were previously square set with gyprock and I never liked them. We are re-doing them all as we work through the house.

Then it was pretty much a waiting game until the kitchen cabinetry went in.
I chose a satin finish, shaker profile cabinet in a neutral white, it is timeless and works with many different styles. This profile is nothing new or exciting, it is used often and is probably one of the most popular styles right now, so I wanted to add a couple of custom made pieces to make my kitchen a little bit different.
I had the rangehood made to my specification, and even though the 2 little shelves were actually a communication issue between myself and my cabinet maker and weren’t meant to be there, I actually loved them and told him not to change them. They are the perfect spot to display some pretty things .

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The other thing that was a little bit different to most kitchens was the legs on the island bench. I really wanted the island to look like a piece of furniture and I chose to have furniture legs put on the ends. They are not exactly what I had in mind, but they give the desired effect and I am happy with them.

Close up of the island bench legs.
Close up of the island bench legs.

There were a couple of hiccups during the process, but nothing ever goes smoothly when renovating and I’ve learnt to roll with the punches and make changes quickly.
For example; I had intended on tiling the entire wall above my sink, from bench to ceiling and wall to wall. Unfortunately due to some wall issues we weren’t left with enough filler space where the upper cabinetry meets the wall where I wanted to tile. I had to re-think my plan and I just tiled 600mm high behind the sink. That left me with a large area of unused wall space. I didn’t want to put an overhead cabinet there as it would stick out too far and just look weird. I considered a piece of art and various other ideas, in the end I called my cabinet maker and asked if he could make a plate display rack for me to my specifications. I am so happy with it and it looks like it was part of the plan all along.

My accidental plate rack.
My accidental plate rack.

Once all the cabinetry was in the stone comes next. Again, we had a couple of issues but nothing that wasn’t fixed quickly by the fabulous stone masons.
Firstly I had decided on 30mm Super White Quartz for my outer benches and 40mm honed Carrara marble for the island bench. There was only a couple of pieces of Super White Quartz in the country and they were all 20mm and had fissures through them. A fissure is a natural cleft in the stone, it can break easily during the cutting process and the gap can widen over the years. The fissure is usually filled with a resin substance to prevent this. I chose to not take the risk and had to choose a new stone, on the spot, immediately, argh! I decided I love Carrara marble enough to use it all the way throughout my kitchen. I have used it before and I knew what I was getting myself into, but I’m so glad I did, I just adore the look and feel of the marble.
Secondly, the marble cracked during the installation process around the taps. The stone masons were awesome, they determined it as their fault and they replaced it with a new piece within a couple of days.

After the stone was the splash back tiles. I chose a basket weave Carrara marble. I have seen this tile used quite often with the black dot, I found it with the white dot and fell in love. I looks amazing up and I’m so happy with it.

The basket weave marble tile.
The basket weave marble tile.

I used a duck egg blue handmade subway in the pantry, it was a less expensive option and I really loved it and wanted to use it somewhere, in fact I think I will use it in my laundry too.

The pantry tile, a duck egg blue handmade subway.
The pantry tile, a duck egg blue handmade subway.

Lastly, after the floors went down, all the appliances were installed.
I chose Fisher and Paykel for all my new appliances. We installed an upright electric/gas cooker, an integrated range, a combination oven/microwave and a double dish drawer.

The freestanding cooker on the back wall and combination microwave oven in the island bench.
The freestanding cooker on the back wall with the integrated range and combination microwave oven in the island bench.

The dishwasher drawers were a no brainer for me, as a family of five they are the perfect size to pop on after every meal. We never quite managed to fill a full size dishwasher after one meal and I always had dirty dished sitting in there waiting for the next meal to fill it and turn it on. I find we fill a drawer after every meal and turn it straight on, not leaving dirty dishes sitting there for hours. If you do happen to be extra messy or have people over for dinner, there is a second drawer to fill. We alternate between using the two drawers, partly because nobody ever wants to unpack it and partly to give them equal use.
The other thing that I really love is the combination microwave oven. It has 10 different cooking modes and works equally as well as a traditional oven or a microwave. We have already cooked meals, baked cakes and microwaved leftovers in it and it really is the hardest working little appliance in my kitchen. I highly recommend considering this instead of a standard microwave next time you are in the market.

The Jewellery …

I like to think of the cabinetry hardware and taps as pieces of jewellery, they add some bling and have the ability to make or break a kitchen. I think choosing the right pieces here is so important. These things can be really expensive and completely blow out your budget if you’re not careful, but if you hunt around you’ll be surprised at what you can find at affordable prices.

I had my heart set on an amazing tap that was over $4000, unfortunately this was not at all in the budget so I went hunting and found another one that is very similar for under $500. As much as I like to shop locally, sometimes we just don’t have the options in Australia and you need to look overseas. I bought my tap ware in America from Kingston Brass in a satin nickel finish. I love the bridge style and feminine shape.

The bridge style tap with a vegetable sprayer to the right and a soap pump to the left.
The bridge style tap with a vegetable sprayer to the right and a soap pump to the left.

I also decided to use a pot filler tap which has ended up being one of my favourite things in the kitchen. They are not very common in Australia, although they are popping up more and more lately, but are used often in America and Europe. As the name suggests, they are just a tap to fill your pots on the stove without having to carry them back and forth to the sink. As well as being so handy, it looks pretty and is an extra piece of ‘jewellery’ on an otherwise blank wall.

The pot filler in action.
The pot filler in action.

My hardware is all polished nickel and I bought it from Home Depot while I was in Hawaii on holiday. That is dedication to my kitchen right there, do you know how heavy they were, I could have brought home an extra 6 pairs of shoes in my luggage!

Martha Stewart polished nickel hardware.
Martha Stewart polished nickel hardware.

And lastly, my wall sconces, which I absolutely adore!
I couldn’t use a chandelier or pendants in my kitchen because nothing lines up. If I did them over the island bench they would be off centre for the rangehood, and vice versa. So I decided to use wall sconces over the windows and over the pantry door. They are polished nickel in a classic design and they bring a little bit of sparkle to all the hard finishes.

Polished nickel wall sconces.
Polished nickel wall sconces (yes, I need bar stools).

Then FINALLY I had a functional kitchen, yay!

If you want to see more photos of the mess during the process, pop over to Instagram and search the hashtag #thelittlerenovation

In the next post I’ll chat about all the styling and pretty pieces that make my kitchen ‘mine’.

If there is a detail or product that you’d like to know more about, please leave a comment or e-mail me and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Hayley x

***A big thank-you to Ellie from Flowerhaul for sourcing the most perfect pink hyacinths for my photo’s, they are stunning!

THE DETAILS

Paint Colour for walls and trim  – Dulux Natural White / Inspirations Paint
Cabinetry – Shaker profile, 30% satin finsh, Dulux Natural White / MG Cabinetry
Benchtops – Honed Carrara marble, 20mm on edges, 40mm on island bench / La Rocca Marble and Granite
Kitchen Tiles – Basketweave Carrara marble with white dots / Tile and Stone
Pantry Tiles – Duck Egg Blue handmade subway / Tile and Stone
Freestanding Cooker – Pyrolytic Duel Fire OR90SDBGFPX1 / Fisher and Paykel
Combination Microwave Oven -OM36NDXB1 / Fisher and Paykel
Rangehood -HP90IDCHX2 / Fisher and Paykel
DishDrawers – Integrated double DishDrawer DD60DI7 / Fisher and Paykel
Sink Tap – Heritage satin nickel bridge mount tap, with vegetable sprayer / Kingston Brass 
Pot Filler – Swing arm wall mount pot filler / Kingston Brass
Soap Dispenser – Vintage satin nickel / Kingston Brass 
Cabinetry Hardware – Martha Stewart from Home Depot
Wall Sconces – Mayfair in shiny nickel / Emac & Lawton

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Hayley’s favourite things, 2016.

There is so many beautiful products available to us these days, we really are spoilt for choice.
Shopping for Christmas gifts can be daunting, confusing and downright frustrating.
Hopefully I can help you, I’ve put together my favourite things for Christmas, the things I will be buying my own family and friends, which remind me if you are my family or friends … look away now please!
These gifts are perfect for your Mum, Mother-in-law, Sisters, Sister-in-laws, Aunties, Neices, Best Friends or yourself!

These are all things I have personally used, I own and I highly recommend.

 I cannot tell you how much I love this. Smell is such a strong sense that has a big effect on your emotions. I love how certain scents bring back memories and the Circa Home wax warmer just makes me happy!
It is electric which means you don’t have to worry about a child or pet knocking it over. It’s also the best looking electric wax warmer I’ve seen, I love the pretty white hobnail design.

Electric Wax Warmer | Circa Home
Electric Wax Warmer | Circa Home

 Who doesn’t ‘need’ a great tote bag?
I use tote bags daily and often have more than one on the go. I am guilty of leaving some bags permanently packed ready for things we do weekly, like swimming lessons. I also have one I use every day with the overflow of my handbag, you know, my diary, drink bottles, kids toys, that stuff. These are my 2 favourite totes and I’m sure anyone in your life would be wrapped with one of these this Christmas.

Firstly, the ultimate beach and lifestyle tote, it is waterproof, super strong, lightweight and stands up on it’s own so you can access it easily. I love these bags so much I have 2, I leave one permanently packed for swimming lessons and use the other for boating and beach days. They are from Cabana Lifestyle.

Lahaina tote | Cabana Lifestyle
Lahaina tote | Cabana Lifestyle

And next, this is my daily tote and it pretty much goes everywhere with me. I am a Mum of 3 kids and a husband who can’t seem to look after his own wallet and phone. I always have everyone else’s stuff in there. Today I have a drink bottle, 2 Transformers, Orly’s hat, a packet of Tiny Teddies, a protein shake sachet and some paint sample charts, so random!
I love how you can choose a little icon, monogram it or choose a mixture of both. It truly is personalised and such a special gift. It’s from Little Makes Big.

Custom Tote | Little Makes Big
Custom Tote | Little Makes Big

One of my favourite things to receive is a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers.
Why not buy a fabulous vase and take it to your local florist, they will create a gorgeous bouquet for you, or simply pop in a bunch of market flowers. Long after the flowers have faded they will still have the vase to reuse again and again.
This is one of my favourites, the Teal Posy Vase from The Source Products.

Teal Posy Vase | The Source Products
Teal Posy Vase | The Source Products

In Australia a hat is pretty much an essential part of our lives. I have acquired a few over the years but this one is a recent addition. It is so fun and playful with the bright pom poms, and also stylish and classy when you remove the pom pom band to reveal a plain black grosgrain ribbon. I love it and think it would be a great gift!

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Straw Panama hat | Pink Deer

 One of my newest favourite things is this amazing Chasseur French Oven!
I have wanted one of these for years, I have to admit I really wanted one because they look great in your kitchen and add a perfect pop of colour, but I didn’t actually realise how fabulous they are to cook with. I have already used it to make Lemon and Thyme Chicken, French Onion soup and Pulled Beef for tacos, and that’s just last week! It is so versatile as it can be used on the stove, in the oven and under the grill. Mine is the 6.3L which is huge and great for a family of 5, and I chose the Imperial Blue colour (exclusive to Kitchen Warehouse) I would be thrilled to receive one of these for Christmas …. if I didn’t already own one!

Chasseur French Oven | Kitchen Warehouse
Chasseur French Oven | Kitchen Warehouse

 Did you find something you love, start dropping hints now! Or maybe you found the perfect gift for somebody special in your life?
If not, I’ll be sharing a few more of my favourite things before Christmas.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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