Mindful Walking: Finding patterns and textures

Have you ever tried Mindful Walking? To take the time to look at the buildings, walls, nature, patterns around you when you are walking from A to B?  I can’t believe how much I was glued to the seat of my car back in Scotland, totally missing that connection. I am doing a lot of walking and cycling right now since moving to Spain. It is really energising, as well as making me much more aware of my surroundings and being in the moment. What have you noticed today on your travels?

Mindful walking. Noticing textures


ground hog day

We are all so busy rushing from home to work and back, dropping off the kids, picking them back up, going home, cooking dinner, bath time, bed time, squeezing in an exercise class if we’re organised, and then it all starts all over again the next morning. Ground hog day. Days fly by, life seems monotonous, we’re being lived by our never ending to-do-list. Sounds familiar? I bet it does.

Mindful walking with children

the joy of just walking

Do you remember how you used to enjoy the little things as a child, walking slowly beside your parents, kneeling down to study a bug on the pavement, staring at the clouds, noticing funny shapes in them? Running your fingers along the textures of the walls and fences, touching leaves, rocks, sand, just to know what it felt like. No rush, just taking it all in. We didn’t need a mindfulness course to learn how to do this, as a child is is your second nature. We must have lost it on the way somewhere.

Mindful walking. Finding calm and patterns

mindful walking to reduce stress

Do you own a mindfulness book? Signed up for yoga classes, fancy going on a meditation retreat? All these things are all super popular right now and why? We must be stressed out and out of balance. We’re seeking a solution to feel in control again, to feel alive and in the moment. Nobody enjoys feeling under pressure all the time. Life is rushing by and we want it to stop. But rather than scheduling in another organised activity in your busy diary, why not just put on those walking shoes  and go outside for a little walk?

Do some mindful walking straight after the school run, in your lunch break, after dinner. Feel the fresh air, breathe. Even if it is a ten minute stroll around the block, your mind and body will thank you for it.

mindful walking in nature

Mindful Walking. Eight tips on how to start

mindful walking with toddlers

The therapeutic qualities of colour and light

Two weeks since we moved to Spain and so far so good! In between the hectic times of organising our new life as an expat, I have discovered the little perks of living in a warmer climate. Cycling! Oh my, how I’ve missed cycling. I don’t mean sporty cycling in lycra on a racer or a mountain bike, no, just using a bicycle to go from A to B. To do the shopping, to take the kids to school. In just a thin jacket. Wind in my hair, sun on my face, smiling from ear to ear. Wonderful. Now I just need to train those leg muscles to get me uphill. Ouch.

Valencia-bikes
Valencia is ideal for getting around on bike! Rental places everywhere.

noticing colour

Have you ever noticed how there seems to be more colour in warmer countries? The blue sky for a start (although lately it’s been grey and rainy too – still 10 degrees warmer than Aberdeen though), but also the architecture. Even the children’s school has great happy colours painted all over the outside walls. The older, colonial style houses in the various town centres dotted just outside the city, as well as old city parts like Cabanyal, are often bright blue or yellow or covered in colourful, patterned tiles. The sub tropical plants in front gardens and on balconies make the streets look so pretty. I realise that being surrounded by lots of colour really energises me. Having lived in the silver city of Aberdeen with its grey granite architecture, makes your eyes used to seeing in black and white. Valencia is a feast for the eyes.


therapeutic qualities of colour

therapeutic qualities of colour
My son’s nursery got jazzed up with some cool geometric colour blocks.
Cabanyal Valencia. therapeutic qualities of colour
The neighbourhood of Cabanyal, with its characterful old buildings
IMG_2919.JPG
A wonderful old building in Godella, the town on the outskirts of Valencia, where we currently live.

villaeugenia nuevo godella


Valencia is also well known for its bold street art. In parts of the city centre whole sides of buildings are covered in cool graffiti. I managed to have a day to myself last week and thoroughly enjoyed wandering the streets, taking it all in and pinching myself for being here.


therapeutic qualities of colour


feeling better in a light filled house

Then there is our new house, which has giant windows, lots of space and is mostly on open plan. I love it! White walls, sunlight streaming in. (Oh, and look who’s arrived too?). It is a joy to hang up our artworks and make the house homely, room by room and I will post updates on the blog of my decorating attempts, as much as that is possible in rented accommodation. I was shopping for blinds and curtains today at the local Bauhaus store nearby and it is funny how I am suddenly drawn to bright, bold colours, whereas in Scotland I would have gone for the more muted greys, greens and darker tones. I guess yellow blinds just go better with a blue sky.


29133490_1908629055825747_5841835677875961856_n.jpg

IMG_3073.jpg
So much colour. I think I’ll go for the yellow ones for the master bedroom… Before and after post next time?

therapeutic qualaities of colour and light


 

Room makeover ideas: from dated pine to art deco glam

Everyone love a great room makeover ideas! Last year I had the pleasure of designing a living room for a lovely couple in Aberdeen. Typical Victorian granite property, high ceilings, fire place and a large front window. They loved dark moody colours for their home interior and the dining room was already decorated in a beautiful deep blue. Their living room was still very much in need of some love and attention. A lot of dated pine woodwork, tall white walls, nothing really worked and it lacked warmth. The only thing they really liked and had added to the room was grey patterned wallpaper on the chimney breast.


Art deco, greens and gold

They didn’t quite know what else to go for with their living room, but they did tell me that greens, golds and art deco were colours and styles that had crossed their minds. They hired me to provide my ‘design package’ for them, in which I suggested practical solutions and ideas to make the room look more ‘together’ and add the cosiness they were looking for. They were very pleased with that and decided to go and decorate and finish the room themselves, using my designs as a guide.

room makeover ideas

room makeover ideas
The room before the makeover: a lot of pine and big white walls.

Almost a year on I contacted them to find out what had happened since I last saw them, as I was keen to see the room again. I was pleasantly surprised that not only had they managed to redecorate, they also became new parents to a beautiful baby girl! Time for a visit.

room makeover ideas

room makeover ideas


Emerald green walls and brass accents

I was a bit nervous to see my designs brought into reality. Still, I was delighted that it looked much as I had envisaged. The walls were green (I had initially suggested a more smoky green but their choice definitely makes a great, bold statement and works well). White shelving had been built into the alcoves. They put down a beautiful dark mahogany colour floor and the furniture they had picked was not far off my ideas. They had splashed out on a very nice brass and glass coffee table from Rose and Grey but saved on other items such as the grey Ikea sofas and a simple cream rug. The lovely dark sideboard came from House of Fraser. Their existing framed stag print now looks great against the green back drop. It’s really picking up the green in the picture.

room makeover ideas


art deco sideboard

Buying everything new at once certainly has its conveniences. My clients did confess that if they had sourced an original art deco sideboard that it would probably have saved them some money. Buying vintage also means getting something totally unique.

room makeover ideas

room makeover ideas


white woodwork as a contrast

They decided to go for white woodwork rather than the grey I originally suggested. I think it makes a good, fresh looking alternative. Still a few finishing touches to make, such as perhaps some light weight curtains and a different lamp base. They are also still looking for a mirror above the fire place, artwork above the sofa and maybe a vintage art deco drinks trolley. Still, they achieved a gorgeous result so far nonetheless. Well done to them for doing all of this by themselves! And all of it in quite a hectic time of their life with the new addition to their family.

“We absolutely love the room now, it is lovely to spend time in”, they said. And the baby and cat seemed very happy with the calm atmosphere in the room too, cooing and purring away.

Does your room need a makeover too?

Contact me to discuss what you need. A first no obligation meeting is free. Call +44 7724622835 or click on the link below:

Interior design services

 

Interview with textile and pattern designer Anna Hayman

I love patterns, textiles and creative people who are making fabulous home accessories. I recently came across British designer maker Anna Hayman on Instagram and her posts always make me smile. Anyone who has followed Nina’s Apartment knows that I am a sucker for colour and bold Scandinavian-style patterns so it comes to no surprise that this creative lady’s work caught my eye. Such vibrant prints, beautiful florals and bold colours – her images just make me happy each time they come across on the timeline.

I decided to get in touch with Anna and find out more about her work and what inspires her. With her collections appearing in more shops and exciting collaborations on the horizon it sounds like she really is one to watch! I hope you will agree with me that Anna’s designs are gorgeous and worth featuring on the blog today.

Anna Hayman British designer

Anna, can you tell us a bit about your background?

I’m from an artistic and musical background, with a bit of retail management and window dressing thrown in. Although I’ve been piano teaching most recently, I had a shoe brand for six years (2006-2012) before having children, so ANNA HAYMAN DESIGNS is my ‘round 2’ business-wise. I’m an unstoppable creative person and most of what I do is completely self-taught.

How long have you had the business for?

The business has been a gradual build up over the last year or so, I keep saying ‘I’m launching all the time’, as the brand, message and signature style of my designs takes shape, and the use of them changes and develops. I’m not one for beginnings and endings and things being pinned down, as then the work has freedom to evolve. As I do more and more designs they develop a look and feel which is exclusively mine, so I’m planning to keep the branding solid then the designs can vary from season to season. It helps if I use the same methods, i.e. lino-cutting to create them, then it makes a ‘family’ of work.

Anna Hayman British designer

When you travel, what kind of things do you photograph / take home that may inspire your work?

Flowers, flowers and more flowers! I’m on an Art Nouveau tip currently and completely obsessed with arts and crafts, and Art Deco patterns. It will always be florals for me, with some geometrics thrown in. Colours are important too, darker gemstones are my fling right now so I’m looking at Lapis Lazuli and Mystic Topaz. Mid tones are trending out so I’m looking more at dirty metals, dark greens and pastel shades.

What or who else inspires you in your work?

I re-read a lot of the same source books, Celia Birtwell, Biba, William Morris, Rennie Mackintosh, and Sixties patterns. Pinterest is a massive influence, the richness, variation and ease at which you can consume images, and feed your mind, is a daily essential for me. In terms of contemporaries, Iris Apfel, Cressida Bell, and Abigail Borg are people I look up to in terms of their colour use, style and finesse.

Anna Hayman teapot design

How would you describe your home and interior style?

I’m on a knife edge this week as we are waiting to exchange on the most beautiful 1920’s house, with original windows and fireplace, in rural East Sussex. I’m planning to go to town on decking it out in vintage patterns, it’s going to be a serious print frenzy, I love the idea at the moment of matching wallpaper and upholstered furniture, with matching crockery. And clothes! It has a huge garden which I would like to set up a heavily glazed office in to work from so that I’m surrounded by nature. A massive hammock is on my shopping list.

What does an average workday look like for you?

Mid-week days are my work days, my children are small so it’s a juggling act, but I have a lovely studio in Lewes where I can work quietly from 9.30am-3pm. My husband and I are both work-mad, so we do a lot in the evenings and weekends where sociable! It’s never hard to be ‘disciplined’, I can’t wait to arrive at work in the morning and get creative. I do a bit of everything in a typical day; design work, discussing forthcoming projects with factories, sales, admin, website updates, marketing, making prototypes, finding new leads – there’s a lot to do. Having said that I’m taking the summer to produce a new body of work really in readiness for next year so it’s in a more creative phase right now, the bit I most enjoy.

Anna Hayman floral textile designs

What are your plans for the next 12 months? Any exciting events/collaborations or other things lined up?

As well as selling my ceramics collections in shops, I am focusing on the prints, with collaborations in mind. I’m exhibiting at Top Drawer in January which is a huge trade event at Kensington Olympia. This will hopefully open more doors in terms of licensing work, (where a company buy and use my prints). I have some collaborations I’m working on at the moment but I’m afraid I’m sworn to secrecy! Watch my Instagram account (the hub of the business) for news on these. I have a lot of irons in the fire and am really intrigued to see what 2017 brings. I think it will be a really fantastic year.

You can currently buy ANNA HAYMAN DESIGNS ceramics and textiles online via her website.

UntiStled-2

What inspired me this week: bohemian meets mid-century

I am currently working with a lovely family on the redesign of their living room in a new built home near Aberdeen in Scotland. A wonderful project as they asked me to combine the mid-century modern and scandinavian style with a touch of bohemian. Right up my street, I love it! They own a lot of beautiful folklore fabrics that will be perfect for throw cushions and their collection of art will make a fantastic gallery wall display. Other ideas to create a bohemian vibe in your home are of course house plants, rugs and vintage furniture.

I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest, finding plenty of inspiration. Here are some of the most beautiful images I gathered on my board this week. If anything, they show that mid-century modern or Scandinavian decor doesn’t have to mean minimalist at all.

If you want Nina’s Apartment to restyle your home, please find out more details here.

To find beautiful items that go with the bohemian style, try Graham and Green

bohemian decor with sheepskin and midcentury chair from Graham and Green

Colourful bohemian interior with mid-century modern furniture
Gorgeous colours, mixing exotic rugs with modern sofas

 


Bohemian decor to me means lots of colour, a mix of eclectic vintage finds and layering of textiles like rugs and throws. Mid-century modern is usually known for its minimalist style, sleek lines and timeless design. It is amazing how the two styles go very well together when done right. It must be the stark contrast. Try it and see for yourself!

 

Bohemian decor with mid-centry Danish sideboard and houseplant
Nice big hanging plant next to a mid century sideboard and pottery lamp base.
Bohemian decor with kilim rug, rustic wooden table and low furniture
Great vintage textiles and a natural wooden table. Lovely.

Bohemian decor with mid-century daybed and blue and grey cushions

Bohemian decor with white floor and vintage oriental rug
I can’t get enough of oriental rugs! fabulous colour combination here with the blue sofa, white flooring and monochrome accents.
Danish mid-century chair with houseplant and pouffe in bohemian decor
Gorgeous Danish chair with a South American textile cushion and Moroccan pouffe.

Five easy ways to create a Bohemian decor

Five easy ways to create a bohemian decor with vintage and house plants


Bohemian decor is all about indulgence, decoration, oversized drapes, large house plants, and plentiful soft furnishings. Add the exotic furniture and souvenirs from travels far away and you get the picture.

Romantic escapism, day dreaming, artistic flair and heaps of personality and soul. Few things are new, most are found, inherited or collected, lots reused and re-purposed. I am probably too much of a mid-century modern fan to go all floral and decorative in my own house, but I do have a weakness for the more exotic interiors and love taking ideas and inspiration from them.But did you know bohemian and mid-century styles go surprisingly well together? I wrote all about this in another blog post here.

If you’re a monochrome kind of person, look away now, because here are my top five tips for getting the bohemian vibe going in your own home!


Create a bohemian decor #1: The Peacock chair

Decorative, feminine, exotic…love it or hate it, the peacock chair is a true essential in a bohemian home. Surround it by lush plants in your sun room, drape your scarves on it next to your dressing table in the bedroom or create a cosy little corner with plenty of books, cushions and textiles. They also look amazing outdoors in summer on your terrace in the garden.

peacock chair in bohemian interior


The Peacock chair, here combined with a shaggy rug, floor cushions, cactus plants, rattan accessories and a vintage swivel chair. Img: Moon to Moon

Vintage peacock chair



Could you recreate this private little jungle in your sun room? Image Sarah Kaye


Create a bohemian decor #2: layer your textiles

Do you love traveling to exotic places? Ever been to Marrakesh or Ecuador? I bet you came back with some pretty throws in your suitcase. Use them! Drape them over the sofa, hang them on the wall. Other essential textile items are rugs, shaggy or oriental ones, ideally slightly worn. Check Etsy for some amazing Floor cushions, great for adding some bohemian style to your room.

boho living room ideas
Beautiful Morroccan floor cushion from Etsy
Boho bedroom ideas



A rug draped over the bed? Why not. And hang those guitars up in case you feel like serenading your loved one in the morning. Image Magic Dream Life

boho living room ideas
Totally my style, mid century minimalist furniture combined with oriental kilim rugs. Love it. Image Sfgirlbybay

boho living room ideas


Who needs matching cushions anyway? Great mix of textures and patterns going on here. Image The Jungalow

boho living room ideas

Create a bohemian decor #3: house plants

House plants are great to add a bit of bohemian style to your room, the larger the better! Hang them suspended from the ceiling in macrame hangers or just place them on the floor in a big ceramic planter or old tin or brass pot. Did you know plants clean the air in your house, making your living space extra healthy? Better than any artificial air purifier. Here’s some more useful info I shared on the blog earlier.


boho living room ideas


Great combination of a large houseplant in an old brass pot, a vintage chest, natural wooden flooring, colourful art and layered textiles on the sofa. Image Pinterest

boho living room ideas

Create a bohemian decor #4: add vintage finds

Love going to flea markets? Collecting weird and wonderful items? Show them off! Vintage finds are ideal items for creating that bohemian vibe in your interior. Group your vintage finds to create little collections and displays, on a shelf on the wall, a table or in the window. Lanterns are great to collect and display together, both inside and outside – because why stop indoors? Create a magical bohemian corner in your garden, on your balcony or decking. Oh and get that peacock chair out when it’s sunny!

boho living room ideas
boho living room ideas
boho living room ideas


Oooh…this makes me long for summer. Gorgeous lanterns. Image Residence Style

Ceramics and crockery! Mix and match, collect beautiful ‘orphan teacups’, bring back decorative bowls and dishes from your holidays abroad, find fabulous plates in the charity shop. They will look fab all together in your vintage kitchen dresser. Image via Life is in Everyhting Beautiful / Tumblr


Group fresh green leaves and a single pink rose in vintage bottles together against a dark painted wall. Image via Bloglovin


Get a bohemian decor #5. Art. Lots of it. And books. Lots of books.

I have a weakness for art, whether it is big oil paintings, graphic design, prints, black and white photography or sculpture. I LOVE art and when I see something that catches my eye and ‘speaks’ to me, and is within budget  – I have to buy it. You’d be surprised how often you may find original art that isn’t expensive. A little bronze sculpture at a yard sale, a vintage oil painting in a charity shop or a cool film poster at an auction. You really don’t need to fork out thousands to buy original art by famous names to get a great collection going. Just do it.

Try also going around exhibitions in your local area to discover artists in your own community whose work may be more affordable than you think. Or how about framing some of your children’s drawings to add to the mix? Or an illustrated page from an old book? To get the bohemian vibe going, group your framed art on a wall to create a colourful eye catching gallery. Lean them against a wall, overlapping even, or arrange them on a shelf if you like changing them around every now and then.

boho living room ideas


Old paintings, framed prints, stacks of books, vintage furniture and oriental rugs. Oh…and that mid century chair…what a gorgeous mix. Image Lonny


boho living room ideas



These are the type of paintings you could easily come across at flea markets or charity shops. Group similar ones to create a colourful ‘themed’ wall. Image Happy Loves Rosie

boho living room ideas



Not into paintings? Frame your plants and dried flowers! Collections are all about reflecting your own personality, so be creative and think outside the box. Image Our Southern Home



boho living room ideas

Inspired? Have fun giving your own interior the bohemian touch. And remember:

Scandi patchwork cushion collection by Nina’s Apartment, vintage furniture and Interior design, Aberdeenshire

I love Scandinavian fabrics. The simplicity of the geometrical patterns and the strong colours have been used for decades but are still so timeless and work well in most interiors – contemporary or traditional. Marimekko is an obvious name in the ‘Scandi’ fabric design world, but I have recently discovered Lotta Jansdotter, who makes the most stunning prints and whose fabrics I have incorporated in many of my cushions. One day I might try and design my own Scandi-style fabrics, but for now I source beautiful material already available.

Here are some cushions I have made recently using various Scandinavian fabrics.

(PS: If you like this style, I do take commissions and can make a set for your own home, based on the colour scheme of your interior. Just contact me for a free consultation!)

This week’s inspiration: comfy sofas, lush beds and wall displays

http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416039140935/

I don’t know about you, but I have started to get the woolly socks and winter blankets out of the cupboard. We had a great warm and sunny few days up here in Aberdeenshire last weekend, but I think that really was the last bit of summer. Flipflops can be put away (as if we ever wear them here in Scotland! ;-), winter boots can come out.

On Pinterest I have been pinning some nice photos of colourful interiors lately and since we’ll be spending more time indoors now summer is over, I am sharing some ideas on how to bring warmth and happiness in your home with colourful lounges and bedrooms and great wall displays. I hope you like them.

 

http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416038835886/

 

http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416039127189/
http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416039127187/
http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416039116621/
http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416039140937/

 

http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416039127183/
http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416039140936/

 

http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416038784839/
http://pinterest.com/pin/255086766363515988/
http://pinterest.com/pin/173036810653362833/

Back to winter woollies…vintage crochet blankets love.

So we are having some freakish weather up here in Scotland. Barbecues and sun hats one day, 10cm of snow the next. What’s going on?! Anyway, nothing we can do about it but go with the flow (or snow for that matter). I had to get an extra blanket out the cupboard the past few days to keep warm and got the idea to actually go and stock up on beautiful hand crocheted ‘granny’ blankets for my etsy shop too.
Really beautiful ones (in up to date rather colours than seventies ones) are hard to come by though. Maybe I should find a local granny to make me some. Or learn to crochet myself…!

Here are some nice blankets I sold recently and one that I have just added to my shop.

 

Feeling the blues: indigo fabrics and patterns


http://pinterest.com/pin/213308348/

Continuing my posts about colour today! Monday it was plum, today it is blue. I have always liked blue, the deep moody blue that can look fresh combined with white or mysterious with darker shades. The combination with bright red works surprisingly well too. I especially like the indigo blues used in fabrics such as kimono fabric or ikat from Japan and other far East countries. The beauty is, used in textiles like cushions or throws you can never have enough of them in my opinion, especially scattered together on a sofa or bed. Combining lots of different patterns and textures but all in the same colour can make a room look very ‘together’ and stylish.

http://pinterest.com/pin/220336599/

Ever since buying my new sewing machine a few weeks ago I have turned into a cushion factory, so my house might end up looking like this one day!

http://brightbazaar.blogspot.com/2011/08/harlequins-kallianthi-collection.htm

I always keep an eye out for unique decor items while browsing markets and carboot sales and I have been collecting quite a few blue lovelies over time. This cute little vase I discovered recently:

http://ninasapartment.bigcartel.com/category/blue

http://pinterest.com/pin/201885751/

http://tinyurl.com/636gweq
http://pinterest.com/pin/215687216/
 
http://pinterest.com/pin/192691997/
http://pinterest.com/pin/189692553/
http://pinterest.com/pin/189684642/