Studio tour

Hello!  I thought you might like a little tour around my studio as it looks now:

studio 3 now

Not normally quite as tidy as this, I hasten to add! I’m quite a tidy person but find it really hard to keep this space spick and span – what with projects and collages and whatnots constantly on the go….

The desk to the left is where I theoretically do my creative stuff; the desk to the right is my planning and writing desk, where I do accounts and write in my planner and calendar and feel organised and like a grown up.

studio 2 now

I’ve also started working a fair amount on the floor!  I think I’m destined to be a perrenial student as that was how I always used to do my study and write my essays, with my papers spread out on the floor all around me.  I found it much easier working like that than on a desk, which I’m starting to feel again now. Well, whatever works, hey?!  It’s not really conducive to a tidy studio however, and I have to watch out for Jamie coming along picking up scissors and glue and trampsing over carefully laid-out collages in progress etc!

art supplies rapture

magazine cut outs rapture

this rosy life roses and washi tape

rosy collage 1

studio 1 now

I’ve taken a couple of the pictures down from the walls since the photo was taken. Not many, but just so I could breathe a little!  I like to have a lot going on, but even for me this was overdoing it a bit.  I love just being able to look up and be instantly inspired, but I’m also discovering it can be a bit more restful to have a little bit of white space around.  Let’s face it, I’m never going to be minimalist, however fashionable that is!

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And here are a couple of pictures of the old ‘studio’, which was in fact a cosy corner of our bedroom in our old apartment.  And when I say cosy, I mean cosy!!  We only had 2 bedrooms, and when Jamie took up the second one which used to be my boudoir/art room I had to move into our bedroom.

On the plus side, there was lots of natural light, which I lack now, but I have so much S-P-A-C-E it doesn’t matter!  I can’t believe we managed to go to sleep in here every night, with so much going on on the walls, and quite a lot of mess (ahem). Sorry Joe!

old studio pic 2

old studio pic 1

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And finally the old old studio, which was the original boudoir before Señor Jamie came along to us:

old boudoir 2

old boudoir 1

I love the cut out roses around the mirror.  I really have always loved roses!

this rosy life rose heads


Creative ideas to make your outdoor space look pretty and original

turquoise wall

Helloooooo my lieblings!

Just getting into the swing of my German (ha ha that’s actually the extent of it) gearing up for my wee trip next month.  Solo! For two whole nights!  It’s a watershed moment, people, after 2 years and 3 months of never leaving my baby’s side at night! I’m extremely excited but will be nervous too I imagine when the time comes…

Anyway, that was a completely irrelevant introduction to today’s post where I’ll give you some ideas to prettify your outside space as well as showcasing our beautiful patio!  I’m sorry I wasn’t organised enough to take ‘before’ photos, but trust me when I say the walls were an enticing scuffed grey/beige/cream, and the drain was a portal for rat visits.  Yuck!!!  You know, I’m such a soft hearted monkey these days (Joe’s clearly rubbed off on me after 7 years) that I just felt guilty for writing ‘yuck’ about the rat.  Sorry rat, but you know you weren’t a pretty sight in our living room….(which is a story I will leave to your imagination for now)

turquoise and yellow wall

So back to the patio.  I was thrilled when Joe agreed (and actually had the same idea) to paint it in bright Mexican colours, and I’m so pleased how it turned out.  We very nearly didn’t rent the flat at all because it didn’t have the terrace of our dreams.  Everything else was perfect:  location, price, space, the building, the floors, the central heating (a surprisingly massive number of flats in Barcelona don’t have central heating.  It’s warm most of the year, but it is properly COLD in January and February and there’s nothing worse than not being snug and cosy in your own home, say I. ) But we had our heart set on a sunny terrace where we could have barbecues and a hammock and read in the sun.  And this is an interior patio – it’s light, at least, but gets maybe a 30 minute patch of watery sun a day.  Anyway after intially telling the estate agent’s we didn’t want the apartment I changed my mind after 10 minutes and begged Joe to agree…It still had outdoor space after all, that we would be bound to be able to make pretty with a few plants and a lick of paint.

So we did!

That old wooden chair used to belong to my dad’s family when he was a little boy.  I love the fact that he used to sit on it round the dinner table back in England over 50 years ago, and now here it is on our patio in Barcelona, holding a plant and some pebbles from the beach. Too rickety now for actual use as a chair!

I love the lizards too.  (visible above the chair on the wall)  I first saw these in a cool bar in Raval, Madame Jasmine’s.  So easy to do:  buy a pack of those children’s squashy rubber insect or dinosaur toys from a cheap toy or discount shop, spray them gold, then attach to the wall using blu tack.

pink wall patio

A few succulent plants gifted to us from my friend Clare.  Pebbles hauled back from Barcelona beach.  Cava box and painted stool we found on the street. The flour bread bin donated by Joe’s mum when we first lived together in England. Now a compost holder!

patio pink wall 2

Jamie wouldn’t move out the way, so bonus shot of his back and ‘scuttlebug’ scooter thingie.  Aloe vera plant also found alive and well on the street next to the dustbins.  The beautiful red ceramic pot holding the swiss cheese plant was a present from Joe´s sister Katie, from one of my favourite towns in the world, Ceret.

chairs patio

Table and chairs from Ikea.  Slightly weathered now but actually I think it gives them more character.  Little mirrors a present from Morocco and the hanging candle holders a present from Dubai.  The other candle holders were another present and look so pretty at night when lit.  I made the little shell mobiles hanging on the wall and mirrors by threading fishing wire through shells with naturally occuring holes found on Barcelona beach.

aloe vera patio

We kept a section of the wall for Jamie to paint on.  Now he needs to be trained to write only on this particular wall….

Jamie wall

So here are my tips in summary:

  • Don´t be afraid to see the space as another room in your flat or house.  You can hang pictures or other decorations or ornaments on the walls, as you would an indoor room.
  • Use objects of different heights with different plants on to create interest and depth.  We´ve got an old table we found on the street, a cava box, a stool we found and painted, and my dad´s old wooden chair.
  • Use natural objects, such as pretty pebbles and shells around plants or to demarcate certain areas.  We´ve got some big pebbles from the beach placed around the edge of Jamie´s sandpit, not that they stay there, if he has anything to do with it!
  • If you´re not that green-fingered or you don’t have much light, succulent plants look attractive and need watering very occasionally.
  • Paint the walls bright contrasting colours for a cheerful and uplifting look.  Our patio is only 3 by 4 metres, but it doesn´t look any smaller with the coloured walls.
  • Have different sections to make the maximum use of space.  We´ve got Jamie´s sandpit,  Jamie´s wall that he paints and draws on, 2 corners of plants at different levels and the table and chairs that we use for having aperatives and playing cards on.  How wholely civilised!  Having Jamie´s stuff around isn´t especially chic, or to everyone´s taste, but I love it as long as it´s in its pre-assigned space.  He’s a (major!) part of our family and it´s his home too so I love to see his things next to ours, and they look bright and cheerful.
  • Paint the flower and plant pots different colours for a fun look.
  • Have floor cushions for bohemian lounging.
  • Hang a hammock.  See above.
  • Use lighting for different effects, as you would inside.  I love candles and nighlights and lanterns.  We´re also intending to invest in some outdoor fairy lights.  How festive!
  • Burn incense if that´s your thing (it is mine!  Makes the space belong to you even more, if you follow me)
  • Make liberal use of gold spray paint!  I think our lizards look stylish and cool on the wall.  If they weren´t gold I think they´d look exactly what they are – cheap children’s toys tacked on to the walls!

Do you have any tips or other ideas to make the most of your outdoor space?  Let me know in the comments if so!

I would love to hear from you!

Happy re-vamping,

Jenny xx

My messy desk and the Sunshine Blog Award! Woop woop!

messy desk

Hello there princesses! (and a couple of princes too)

What is your work space like?  Are you generally messy or tidy or somewhere in between?  I’m a rare bird in that I can tolerate – and even quite like as I think it looks interesting – a bit of surface mess and chaos, but drawers, cupboards, wardrobes or anything which houses stuff put away or out of sight absolutely has to be pristine and orderly.  The idea of clothes being put away on hangers inside out makes me itch!  Underwear not folded neatly in its drawer?  I’d rather make myself late than leave it knowingly like that. Ahem.  A little bit OCD I know, but never mind…

So the above is my desk in its current state.  The book open next to the computer is an art journal I’m working on, made from a kids’ board book.  I love repurposing old things!  So cheap (or free!) and better for the environment than contributing to so much mindless consumerism.  Having said that, I also get great joy from purchasing exciting art supplies…ho hum…  I’m really pleased with how the journal is looking so far, mainly achieved with scrap papers and a lot of washi tape, my current obsession.  I’ll post pictures soon.

What does your work area look like at the moment?

I’m also really excited to accept the Sunshine award nomination from Jill at the artist’s nest.  Basically everything this woman writes I agree with and end up nodding my head up and down quite vigorously to. Her creative blog is very inspiring!



* Post a picture of the award on your blog
* Link back to the person who nominated you
* List ten random facts about yourself
* Nominate ten fellow bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” (I’m doing 4)
* Comment on their blogs to notify them of their nomination

So here are ten random facts about me:

♥ I embrace my inappropriate crushes:  Ron Swanson, TJ Hooker and Billy Joel, to name but a few.

♥ I could spend every day of my life on the beach and be happy.  So relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

♥ I’ve written a diary since I was 12.  Sporadic at times, but I love the fact I have a record of my life and feelings in written form to look back on when I’m feeling nostalgic.

♥ I once slipped on a banana skin in front of my new boyfriend on a trip to Amsterdam.  A couple of hours later I lost a contact lens, hadn’t brought a spare pair or my glasses, so spent the weekend in a state of half-blind mortification.  We didn’t stay together but goodness it was a memorable trip!

♥ I believe in ghosts.

♥ I once shared a biscuit at a party with Jeremy Irons.  Yeah baby!

♥ In another carnation I’d be a hippy yoga beach bum in India.

♥ I’d like to visit New York some day.

♥ I love finding stuff next to the bins in Barcelona!

♥ Despite being British and a real home-body, I rarely drink tea.  I like it, but not loads, and I absolutely love coffee, so one hit of caffeine is enough for me.

And here are my nominees:

the Positive Slant:

How to be creative with limited space – a mini tour of our 65m apartment

bouidoir new
The dressing table area of our bedroom. I stored the hair flowers clipped to a piece of wire around the mirror so there was more room on the surface.

I’m absolutely obsessed with making my living space look pretty.  I’m such a homebody and it really matters to me what my surroundings look like.  I’ve always been like it since I was little.  I remember when I was 9 or 10 years old waking up at about 2 in the morning with a vision of what my bedroom should look like, and got up then and started – probably with quite a lot of noise – shifting the wardrobes and whatnots arround accordingly; tolerant parents luckily not minding!

I would also spend hours making arty arrangements on the windowsill with various ornaments (or as I like to think of them, objets d’art.)  Literally hours.  I would stand back to admire my work then decide a photo frame or glass pear (!! I loved that glass pear.  It had a white flower displayed inside and my friend had a glass apple with a pink flower inside.  Oh 10 year old self!) needed to be shifted slightly to the right, or be placed at a more jaunty angle.  Then there were the Athena posters and postcards to be arranged in various formations on the walls.  The melting telephones!  The stilettoes and cocktail glasses and seascapes with palm trees! Bliss!

Anyway back to the present….I thought you might like to see pictures of what our old little apartment we’ve just moved from used to look like. I think we used the space well, considering its size of 65 square metres, and we have a lot of stuff, despite my constant quests for liberating object purges and culls.  It was fine when there were just the two of us living there; we had our bedroom and used the second room as my art room/boudoir (I just like saying the word boudoir, it wasn’t really a boudoir, whatever that means anyway!!) but we gradually started feeling a bit cramped after the arrival of Jamie.

jamie name
Wooden letters on Jamie’s bedroom door. I left them white despite thinking they could look pretty collaged with different colours and papers. As they were on the outside of his bedroom door and seen from the living room I think they would have looked too ‘busy’ in our already filled-to-the-brim space!
jamie room
One of the walls in Jamie’s room. I made the bunting really easily out of lovely fabric scraps bought from a beautiful Japanese fabric shop in Barcelona. I literally cut out triangles and stitched them onto a large ribbon I had in my sewing box. Didn’t even hem the triangles! So easy and pretty! The mirror is from a friend of mine who customised a plain one from Ikea. I love the homemade touches!

Despite being a bit squashed when we became three, I think we made good use of the space, mainly down to the fact we had designated distinct and separate areas (as opposed to actual rooms, as there were really only two main rooms) for different parts and uses of the flat. After Jamie came along and I was rudely shifted out of my boudoir/art studio, we assigned my art stuff to a corner of our bedroom and sectioned it off from the rest of the bedroom with a screen.

my desk

You can’t see the screen here but the photo is taken from on the bed, which gives you an idea of how close and compact the space was.  When we put the screen up – which was essential at night or there was no way we could sleep with all that stuff looking at us, and my mind would be whirring with ideas and images – we couldn’t actually walk round the side of the bed, you kind of had to hop over a corner.  My art supplies would also regularly gravitate on to the bed, but at least they had their own space!


As Jamie’s toy collection grew it expanded into our living room, but we made sure it was only a part of the living room, so we didn’t feel like we were essentially living in a playroom.  We stored the toys he didn’t use as much in the gap between the sofa and the wall (obscured by a plant) and in a really nice quality wicker basket under the coffee table (also super easy to tidy up)

living room

A good way of demarcating different areas is with plants and rugs and strategically placed furniture.  So as our main living area was quite large, we separated it into lounge and dining room with the plants and armchair here on the right, and then further to the right we put the dining table and had that as the ‘dining room.’


Joe had a corner of the dining room for his ‘office’.

badger desk

And on the sliding kitchen door we put the business cards of restaurants, cafes and bars that we’d collected, so that when we needed inspiration about where to go out, we’d just look at the door to get ideas. That particular idea came before Jamie was born, obviously!  But hey cheap, colourful and useful!


Et voilà!  Our old little apartment in deepest darkest Raval!  We spent nearly 4 happy years there, and it was the place we brought Jamie to when he was first born, so it will always be special to me. Do you love the place you live?  Why?  Any tips as to how you’ve made it homely or cosy?  I would love to hear from you!