Sunday, 23 November 2014

Competition: You're Invited to my Dream Anthropologie Dinner Party!

So I was contacted this week by the lovely people at one of my favourite shops IN THE WORLD, Anthropologie, to see if I'd like to take part in a little competition they are running. They've asked me to use Anthropologie products to create my dream dinner party to be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of Anthropologie vouchers - and they're giving you the opportunity to win a £100 voucher as well!

(Sound good? Read to the bottom of the post to find out how you can both enter and vote for me!)

Oooh now that sounds like fun. I mean, in dreams, we have no budget, no cares in the world, no worries about being rushed off our feet, burning the canap├ęs or wondering if the guest who's indulged a little too much champagne will spill something on our pale rug. Oh no, this is dreamy dream stuff. How could I say no? I couldn't.

So I'm cordially inviting you to join me on my virtual 'dream dinner party' - yes, you are all invited. In my dreams, I have enough seating for everyone!

So... first, the place settings themselves. I decided to keep the entire soiree quite simple and elegant with one of my favourite combinations of white and gold. Quirky side plates elevate the simple hand pressed white plates and gilded cutlery is always a fabulous choice, especially when resting upon the beautiful gold screen printed napkins. As we are so close now to Christmas, I decided to throw a little bit of festive glam onto the table with gold leaf fairylights and a ceramic feather ornament given to each guest as a favour.

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As well as the individual place settings, no party could be complete without a beautiful brass-topped glass decanter, quirky vases filled with fresh flowers and sparkling candlelight to match the sparkling conversation.

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As for the room itself, well, it had to match my theme as well. And so there are Moroccan style filigree lanterns hanging from the ceiling and piled up in the corners of the room, refracting their soft glittering light on the ceilings and walls. A lattice flotaki rug cushions your feet as lace window dressings with elegant finials sway lightly in the breeze from the open window. Beautiful decanters of refreshments, a cheeseboard with gilded cheeseknives and trays of elegant glassware decorate a nearby sideboard.

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So you may be wondering what I'm serving at this fabulous dinner party? Well, the menu is no less dreamy than the room. For starters, Fig & Chevre Canapes and Mini Mushroom Gorgonzola Bites. For the main, Pan Seared Fillet of Beef with Red Wine Sauce, Garlic Mash and Roasted Asparagas. For the veggie option, it's Garlic Mushroom Quinoa. And for dessert, Mini Nutella Cheesecakes, gilded French Macarons and Gourmet Marshmallows. All washed down with Pink Champagne and frozen raspberries. Oh yes.

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And finally, you can't have an elegant dinner party without knowing what you are wearing! As the host, I decided that there is no reason to abandon a little comfort so this elegant skirt and simple teeshirt combination will allow me to swoop to my guests' every need whilst still looking fabulous. Oh yes, in my dream I am that gorgeous and that tall as well. (Come on, it's my dream here, give me that at least.)

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So have I painted a picture of a perfect Anthropologie-inspired dinner party? Would you attend my party? If so, I need your help!

If you would love to attend my dinner party, I just need you to tweet the name of my blog (Swoon Worthy) OR my twitter handle (@Redlilocks) with the hashtag #AnthroDinnerParty.

One of the voters of the winner (announced on 1st December) will also win a £100 voucher for Anthropologie so please get voting for your own chance to win!

You can also see all 5 of the bloggers taking part at Anthropologie's Blog on Monday, 24th November 2014.

Remember for us both to win, just tweet
I'm attending @Redlilocks #AnthroDinnerParty for my chance to win £100 from @AnthropologieEU!
Thank you!!

Don't miss a thing!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Guest Bedroom/Office Remodel: Mixing Patterns and Removing Stuff

I know it's been ages since I've talked about the remodel that's (slowly) taking place in the Guest Bedroom/Future Office and the truth is, that's mostly because I didn't have much to show. We talk excitedly about certain projects and then when it comes to getting off our arses and actually doing them, well, sometimes life just gets in the way or you need a bit of a chilled weekend or you just don't fancy being covered in dust again. So yeah, that. Constantly working on projects, we've realised, doesn't always work well for us and so we decided to get the mini-makeover of the dressing room complete and then we took a couple of months breather before starting the NEXT BIG THING.

That said, there has been a little bit of progress (Hurrah! Swoon Worthy: Celebrating the little things since 2010.) so I figured I'd share that with you today.

First... the pretty stuff because I'm nice like that ;)

In my post about How to Decorate Fearlessly, I talked about mixing patterns and how much better it was to get samples of things so you can easily see how well things work together. Well, in this particular case, the fabrics were coming from the US and so I asked for the assistance of my gal pal and seamstress extraordinare Hollie from Stuck on Hue (as she was the one I was ordering the fabrics/cushion from) to help be my 'eyes on the ground' as it were.

We discussed a few different options of the best fabric combinations in light of some of the other decorative choices I had made and we both decided that there really needed to be a touch of Chiang Mai Dragon fabric in Jade in the scheme. I mean, I love a bit of Chiang Mai Dragon (I have it in my bedroom in alabaster) and in this colourway, that beautiful coral-pink was such a standout.

She made that beautiful cushion you see below - it's just a small splash but the coral piping really makes all the difference to how it works with everything else.

The peacock print from Cozamia was really my 'jumping off' point for the whole colour scheme in here. While the office will mostly be white, I did want some bright hits of colour to make it an energising space and so the fabrics and accessories will really bring that colour into the space quite nicely.

I have to admit, at first I was a little scared that I'd gone too far into 'crazy person' territory with this combination of coral-pink/navy/green in all this pattern but when you see everything together, it sort of does work, doesn't it? (and if no, trust me on this one, it'll be AWESOME.)

The Thibaut South Sea wallpaper will be on the chimney breast only but that pinky coral colour is picked up not just in the Chiang Mai Dragon cushion but also in the Cozamia print as well as the Caitlin Wilson Navy Fluer Chinoiserie fabric.

I wanted to include a smaller scale print as well in my scheme so Caitlin Wilson's Navy Spotted fabric gives me that little pattern to offset the larger ones in here.

What I am actually doing with the Caitlin Wilson fabrics, however, remains to be seen - I only got a yard of each (on a budget see) so I'm hoping to stretch it a little ways. Stay tuned!

So, that's the pretty stuff - on to the ugly stuff and the progress with the room itself!

We've stripped all the carpeting and have pretty much emptied the room (there's still a few small bits and pieces but let's ignore those for now, they will be gone soon). Shall we picture these floor boards all beautified and pretty? Ahh yes, you can see it now, can't you?

And we ripped out the closet and removed the old water heater...

So basically what we have now is a bit of a manky blank canvas...

The chandelier will be going on Freecycle at some point soon, the shelving removed, and then we'll be scraping all that horrible swirly painted plaster off the ceiling (and yes, it's plaster, not Artex thank god). Following that, the cornicing will be taken down (it'll be replaced) and then we'll start work on completely renewing the ceiling with nice smooth plaster.

Good, messy times ahead before we get to have fun decorating - such is the way of DIY! Meisha is silently judging me with her EYES. I know, I know, it's gonna take a while but it'll be worth it, I swear!

So that's my update for now - what do you think of the fabric/wallpaper/print colour combo? Do your pets silently judge you for your decorating choices? Or is that just Meisha?

Don't miss a thing!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Ideal Home Show, Manchester Christmas Event 2014

You may recall that last year I went to the Ideal Home Christmas Show down in London and while I admit to not being terribly impressed at that show, when I was invited to attend the Ideal Home Show in Manchester this year by sponsors Go Compare, I figured the 10 minute drive to Event City wasn't too much of a stretch so worth a bit of a wander around.

I roped in the lovely Ashley of Live Like the Boy to accompany me to fight off the crowds that were gathered and to get a few shots for the blog. This is us testing out a 'Selfie Stick' that was clearly rubbish (note, we aren't even in focus - still funny though).

I think the issue I had last year and still have is that Ideal Home don't seem terribly particular about who exhibits at their shows - I mean, you have everything from waterbed mattresses to shoes to cheap pound-shop like gifts, to teeth whitening. When I think of a 'Home' show, I think interiors, I think food perhaps but I don't really think about signing up for Paintball.

The crowds were insane though and it was difficult to get too many shots of the nicer exhibitors merely because the crowds were 5 people thick at those ones. Nevermind.

This stand... WTF?

What do you mean you wouldn't spend £275 on a felt ball covered black gloss poodle?

Ok, there were more tasteful displays. Like the rooms they'd set up which were very cosy English style. Although I did hear one event goer say, 'This looks very American to me.' - I'm not entirely sure what she meant.

Greg Wallace's restaurant was a nice touch, however, and he was there greeting people and taking selfies with them. The menu looked good as well.

There were a few nice stands like Think Gadgets who had all manner of pretty fairy lights. I was pretty tempted to purchase a strand or two for Christmas.

And I thought that Ginger Ray had some really cute things for a Christmas party.

I think the shame is that you really need to look hard for the nicer stands and they are just buried by all the rubbish stands selling tat. Would I go again? Probably not - I ended up (like last year) buying food instead (some flavoured olive oil, a couple of Mediterranean salads as well as A1 Steak Sauce from an American food stand!). But if you are looking for exciting ideas in interiors, this wouldn't be what I would consider inspirational design.

I did, however, have a nice time simply because of the company (thanks Ash!) so if you are going, be sure to bring a friend with a good sense of humour ;)

Did you go to the Ideal Home show? What did you think?

Don't miss a thing!

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