Filed In: Friday Five

FRIDAY FIVE: Easy-Care Air-Purifying Plants To Get For Your Home

Hello and Happy Friday! I’ve had a pretty exciting week since my very special house guest arrived last Saturday. I absolutely love having family visiting from overseas for a number of reasons but my top two reasons are, having the opportunity to spend quality time with them (they often stay a while because of the distance travelled), and getting a chance to visit many of my favourite spots in London & the English countryside all in just a few weeks while I play tour guide. Yay me!

Now, back to the matter at hand… Previously, I mentioned here that I was looking to get some air-purifying plants for my home. You might also recall my confession that although optimum plant care has never been one of my greatest strengths, it’s still something I aspire to. My aim is to get plants that will get rid of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) lurking around the home like benzene and formaldehyde which seem to be found in almost all our creature comforts.

Having done a bit of research, I’ve compiled this list of 5 easy-care air-purifying plants that I am confident I can care for. I’ve deliberately excluded the aloe vera plant and other succulents as they’re a no-brainer (even for me!). I’ll definitely be taking a few of these pretty green things home from my next trip to the garden centre.

1. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

The resilient nature of this adaptable plant makes it an excellent choice for non-green thumbs. This beautiful plant send out shoots with flowers that eventually grow into baby spider plants or spiderettes.

Pollutants removed: Formaldehyde and Xylene

Care: Well-drained soil, bright and indirect sunlight. This plant can grow in varying conditions and has few problems other than brown tips.

spider plant 18chelseamews

 

2. Snake plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)

The snake plant is also known as the Mother-in-law’s tongue. It thrives in low light and steamy humid conditions, making it good choice for the bathroom. In addition to purifying the air and increasing oxygen in your home, this plant also increases the level of moisture in the atmosphere.

Pollutants removed: Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, and Xylene

Care: The snake plant prefers drier conditions, some sun, and requires occasional watering.

Sansevieria_snake plant

 

3. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The peace lily is among the most popular of houseplants. Its glossy leaves and beautiful fragrant white flowers make it the perfect plant for bringing life into any room in your home.

Pollutants removed: Ammonia, Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichloroethylene

Care: Keep in a shady spot and keep soil moist without overwatering. Mist the leaves a few time per week and trim any unhealthy leaves from the plant.

peace_lily

 

4. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata cv. Bostoniensis)

Boston Ferns are relatively tough ferns. This very attractive fern with its long, graceful fronds and tiny frilly leaves look great in hanging baskets, on pedestals and window sills.

Pollutants removed: Formaldehyde and Xylene

Care: Keep soil moist and mist. Keep in partial shade in a cool room. Avoid direct sunlight and draughts. To maintain humidity in winter, set your fern’s pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water. Mist daily in higher temperatures.

boston.fern

 

5. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)

The graceful bamboo palm, also called reed palm, can reach a height of 7ft and a width of 5ft. It grows in a cluster of bright green bamboo-like shoots and its delicate fronds make it such a beauty. This tropical delight is good for adding dimension to larger rooms – it’s perfect for a spacious living room.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

Care: Bright, indirect light is best, but will survive in lower light areas. Keep moist but do not allow to stand in water. Fertilise regularly in the spring and summer months.

bamboopalm

Images: Pinterest

FRIDAY FIVE: Things I Found And Loved On Etsy This Week

Friday five

1. WHIMSICALNeedle Felted Wool Acorn Ornaments – Handmade and sold by illsutreBuche

2. FEMININELove Birds Flamingo Watercolour Print – Hand-painted/printed and sold by Elsie Invents

3. FESTIVEReindeer Embossing Rolling Pins – Handmade and sold by Valek Rolling Pins

4. CULTURALVintage Indigo Batik Hmong Cushion Cover – Handmade and sold by Imprints and Indigo

5. ADORABLE: Original Watercolour Robin Painting – Hand-painted and sold by Original Only

Friday Five: Fun & Functional Storage Ideas for Children

My obsession with colour and my love for unique furniture design lends itself well to child friendly interior decorating. So this week’s Friday Five is all about storage ideas for children.

It is paramount to have sufficient storage space in a child’s room. Aside from the obvious things like size and functionality, I think it’s also important to choose storage that your children can relate to in some way. You may achieve this by incorporating their favourite colours, favourite patterns, images of their favourite animals, and for an older child, you can even up cycle their once-favourite toy into a unique item for storage! This will give their space a varied yet personalised appearance, and can make ‘clean up’ time so much more fun, interesting and even educational (depending on your choices).

Stepping away from the obvious chest of drawers, dressers, closets and traditional bookshelves, here are my current 5 favourite picks for fun and functional, storage in a child’s bedroom. They’re simple and easy to keep organised and you can even make a good DIY project of number 5! I hope you’re inspired by my choices.

 

FOR SHOES & ACCESSORIES

– The super girlie Storage Suitcase Set is perfect for your little fashionista in the making. It’s lovely to see little children taking care of their personal belongings and these gorgeous little cases will encourage your little girl to keep her scarves and other small accessories organised. It’s never too early! These cutesy cases are available on notonthehighstreet.com and they’re great for storing dolls and other trinkets too.

– Let’s face it, we’re not all neat little princesses, are we? I am a firm believer in allowing a child to be themselves, even as we teach and encourage them to keep their spaces tidy. These cute Cotton Canvas Storage Bags from Cox & Cox are handy for keeping those little shoes and accessories neatly tucked away. They’re made from a stiff canvas so they’re floor standing, making the contents easily accessible and they’re wipeable on the inside therefore very easy to clean.

storage-shoes.accessories

 

FOR BOOKS

– This oh so adorable Baa-Baa Bookshelf from Rowen and Wren is an absolute winner! It’s a playful, interactive yet very functional piece of furniture that will have children equally excited to pack their books away as they usually are to choose the next bedtime storybook. The dividers are also wide enough to hold very small toys such as tiny cars and dolls. It’s great that it’s available in the natural wood finish; this gives you the option to personalise by painting in your child’s favourite colour(s).

– For those you in favour of up-cycling, this one’s a charm. Have your kids outgrown their wagon riding days and perhaps they’ve requested a book mobile? The iconic Radio-Flyer Wagon turned book mobile would make a bold statement in your child’s bedroom. Perfect for changing the scenery for story time at a minute’s notice. Radio Flyer Wagons are available here in the UK at allgardenfun.com and other online stockists. It’s worth your while to check thrift shops, eBay and other websites for ‘pre-loved’ wagons at a lower price-point.

book storage - kids

 

FOR TOYS

– What do you do with a bunch of stuffed animals that’s taken over your child’s room and the rest of your home? That’s right! You take them to The Zoo! The Zoo is a clever storage system to keep stuffed toys safely and securely tucked away. What’s great about The Zoo is it’s simple design (it’s made from sustainably sourced wood and flexible bars) and it’s ease of use (children will enjoy putting their toys away and they are easily accessible at the next playtime).

– Got a keen eye for DIY? With a few bits of wood, a drill and some bungee cord, you can create and personalise a zoo for your little one if The Zoo does not suit your budget. Perhaps you can even consider downsizing the zoo to a ball corral when the stuffed toys start being replaced with other  ‘hard to store’ items like basketballs and footballs etc. You can find the DIY instructions for making your own zoo here and instructions for the ball corral here.

toy storage. the zoo. ball corrall

Missed a Friday Five lately? Catch up here and subscribe to the blog so you’ll never miss a thing!

Thanks for stopping by!

Nova

IMAGE SOURCE: The Radio Flyer Wagon Book Storage and the Ball Corral images where taken from here and here respectively. All other images are from the stockists linked within the post.

©ALL CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG ARE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY ME, NOVA WILLIAMS OF 18 CHELSEA MEWS LTD, AND ARE MY PERSONAL OPINIONS AND VIEWS, UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED. 

Friday Five: Simple And Stylish Window Seat Inspiration

So this week I finally decided it was time to give the window seat in my living room that long-awaited and well-deserved makeover. It’s my favourite spot in my home, but it turns out I never spend much time sitting there because it somehow became a place for keeping the things I hadn’t yet decided on a permanent space for in the apartment. I promised myself that I’d get this sorted before the end of summer, and I have, but there are a few finishing touches I’d like to add before I share the photos here with you.

Not long now, but while you wait for ‘The Big Reveal’, here are a few simple yet stylish window seats I came across as I looked around for inspiration prior to getting my project started. Watch this space!

window seat idea 4 - 18chelseamews.com

window seat inspiration1 - 18chelseamews.com

Image Source: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

 

Friday Five: Easy DIY Projects To Try This Weekend

Hello lovelies! I hope you had a great week and are now looking forward to fun times at the weekend.

Today’s Friday Five consists of 5 very easy DIY projects, 3 of which I would like to try some time soon. If you’re as picky particular as I am about the things you like, then I’m sure you’ll agree that sometimes it’s best to call off the search, take matters into your own hands and do it yourself! I hope you like this round-up and will try at least one.

1. MODERN GEOMETRIC BACKDROP 

I found this super easy DIY project over at ProjectWedding.com and it’s something I definitely want to make. In my mind’s eye, this backdrop would have a lovely effect against a wall with a ‘statement’ piece of furniture in front; like a stylish, single colour, minimalist design armchair. Based on my level of experience in paper-craft, my personal advice is that you use high-quality card stock to get the best results with this project. The quality of the card stock you choose could make or break the overall effect of your finished piece.

DIY GEOMETRIC SCREEN

2. STRIPED ROBE BASKETS 

I think these DIY striped baskets from Martha Stewart are perfect for holding little bits and bobs on your work desk or anywhere else around the house really. I would like to make a relatively wide one for the sole purpose of holding my million-and-one things that suddenly need a place to live when I’m switching handbags. You know, like when you switch to a smaller handbag midweek and have to leave a few items behind? Yes, this basket will be the holder of those items, it will be the thing that saves me going off to buy another Dr. Hauschka lipstick because I think the one I bought two weeks ago is lost, meanwhile it’s still sitting in the pocket of that other handbag I haven’t used in over a week. A bit methodical I know but it works for me.

A word of caution for those of you who skim as opposed to reading it all, Martha’s team forgot to include the most vital ingredient in their ‘Materials’ list so please ensure you have the rope to make these rope baskets. See the introduction for details of the rope they’ve used.

rope baskets

3. NO SEW BEACH TOTE 

No sewing machine? No excuse. I really love this project from Amy over at Homey Oh My blog. It’s the perfect DIY project for beach season! No trip to the beach on the horizon? No problem! Just make yourself a reusable shopping bag for the groceries or an anything bag for that matter. I’m sure you’ll be proud of your handy work either way.

diy beach bag

4. PAINTED TRAY 

So Amy from HomeyOhMy.com has won me over again with another of her DIY projects. This time it’s this tray which she’s painted ever so stylishly for a flower display on her coffee table. Yes, this is one of those things in the “I just can’t find one anywhere so I’m just going to make it myself” category. You know, like “the tray is the wrong width” or “the stripes are too thin” or “I’d prefer a different colour”… I could go on but I’m sure you get it.

diy painted tray

5. MACRAME PLANT POT HANGER 

Last but by no means least – The Macrame Plant Pot Holder from thehome.com.au. Macrame as an art-form will always be of sentimental value to me because my mom taught me these intricate and very useful knotting techniques when I was a very little girl, and although I went for many years without practicing, I’ve never ever lost the knowledge. It’s probably not surprising, given that we spent hours at a time making the loveliest macrame everything! Belts, plant hangers, wall hangers, bracelets, you name it, we made it. In some ways, I even feel a bit guilty sending you off to some other website for instructions when, given my thorough knowledge of the techniques and the countless items I’ve created, I should really be posting a macrame DIY project of my own here. Eek! Sorry mom! Hhhmmm, that day will come, I promise.

For those of you who have never done macrame, please don’t be intimidated, this project used the most simple knotting techniques and is pretty quick and easy to complete. 

MACRAME DIY 18chelseamews.com

plant pot holder

Have fun!

Nova xoxo

 

LINK LOVE: 1. Modern Geometric Backdrop 2. Striped Rope Baskets 3. No Sew Beach Tote 4. Painted Tray 5. Macrame Plant Pot Hanger

 
 

Friday Five: Favourite Festival Fringe Finds

Hello everyone! Happy Friday to you all. I hope you’ve had a lovely and productive week, and now ready to have an enjoyable weekend. 

So festival season has arrived in the UK and all the buzz is about Glastonbury. Although I won’t be going to the festival, the tiny reformed shopaholic in me had a good time whizzing around the internet, looking at the lovely things I would be packing if I, the lady of the Mews did Glasto. Out of the many gorgeous things I found I decided to share my top 5 picks in this week’s Friday 5. I’ve already got one of these items, and although I have no plans for a festival, I would very much like to get the rest!

festival fringe finds- 18chelseamews.com

18chelseamews.com

On another note, I truly admire my girlfriends who are able to do weekend camping at music festivals annually. I’ve done it once and I found it pretty challenging! The thing is my real friends know better than to extend the invitation anyway because no one in their right mind (who knows me well) would want to be my travel buddy to a music festival where there’s camping involved; I would hog the car space and the tent space with all the ‘must-haves’ or in my case ‘lux-haves’ that I couldn’t stand to leave behind at home. This all takes too much time and effort really. The last music festival I camped at for a whole weekend was The Big Chill, back in…I can’t even remember the year. I insisted on carrying my very own flushable porta-loo, much to the distress of my travel companions. That went down well but I’m sure they won’t be in a hurry to go camping with me again…well, they haven’t invited me since. Hahaha! I think I’d much prefer ‘glamping’, thanks! How about you? Are you the all weekend camping type?

festivalfringe- 18chelseamews.com

LINK LOVE

1. Scarf: Geometric Print Foulard – Massimo Dutti | 2. Jacket: Exposed Zip Fringe Jacket by Cleobella (FreePeople.co.uk) 3. Necklace: Amsterdam Leather Necklace by Marisa Haskell (FreePeople.co.uk) 4. Bag: Festival Brown Pouch by Sabrina Tach (Boticca.com) 5. Boots: Brimfield Boot by FREEBIRD by STEVEN (FreePeople.co.uk)

Friday Five: Favourite Instagram Accounts

Hey guys! I hope you’ve all had a great week and now welcoming the weekend with arms wide open. Although I have no major outdoor plans, I’m totally stoked about the posts I’m currently working on. There’s inspiration coming at me from everywhere…one such source today is my Instagram feed. Yes, Instagram is my current addiction and today I’ll be sharing 5 firm favourites of the many Instagram accounts I’m following.

1. @jelliottblake

Jenn Elliott Blake is the talented event designer, prop stylist and blogger behind A Blog Named Scout. I have only recently discovered Jenn’s blog but as soon as I did, I made a beeline for her Instagram account and it certainly lived up to my expectation. Her Instagram is more than just a collection of beautiful images. It’s a peek into the life of ‘Jenn The Stylist’ on the job…rainy day frustrations included. An impressive, beautifully styled documentary in pictures; I feel like I’ve been going on her lovely assignments too!

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 23.48.56

 

2 . @leaftv

LEAF TV is all about living, eating and fashion. Among the beautiful images of food, flowers and the sea, they also share their 30 – 90 second signature perfectly edited how-to videos, ranging from cocktail mixing to hair styling to useful DIY projects like making bookends for your home. I’m sure you will agree that it’s more fun to watch a ‘how-to’ than to just read it! See DIY Animal Bookends Video here.

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 00.20.54

 

3. @mittlillehjerte

The Instagram feed of this Norwegian blogger is brimming with images of the classic Scandinavian interior…with a hint of very pale pink. It’s a refreshing break from the trending ‘pops of colour’ you’ll find in the interior-inspired images on my Instagram feed. Janne’s calming black & white images are uniquely peppered with the palest pink hued, copper toned and gold accessories. Look out for the cutesy little ballerina girl too!

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 00.31.56

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 23.45.24

 

4. @gourmandeinthek

Simply put, I absolutely love how beautifully curated Sylvie Shirazi’s Instagram is. Many of you know how much I love good food and gorgeous images of it. The most impressive thing about the Gourmande In The Kitchen Instagram, is how very real the food looks in these images. None of the overly filtered shots that gets everything looking all artificial and plastic. Just images of real food; prepared, styled and photographed by a real food lover. Foodie alert!

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 23.43.07

 

5. @wwwdecor

I have no idea who is behind this Instagram account but that certainly doesn’t stop it being one of my favourites. I enjoy the variety of decorative home accessories they’ve been posting and what’s even better, is that they often include the source at which you can find these items. I’m sure many of us have experienced that “Oh my God, this is so amazing, where can I find it” moment before getting sucked into the black hole that is the world wide web searching for ‘a needle in a haystack’. Those of us who have, will really appreciate this. 

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 23.41.30

What are your favourite Instagram accounts? Please leave a link in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

IMAGES: All images are from the Instagram accounts mentioned above.

 

Friday Five: My Favourite Spring/Summer Flowers + Floral Arranging Tips

Flowers are my favourite of life’s simple pleasures. Whether I’m giving or receiving a bunch,  admiring or arranging, buying from a fancy florist or simply picking them in the wild, flowers make me genuinely happy in a way that nothing else can.

It’s that time of year again when I longingly look forward to the long lingering summer days yet I’m awfully displeased at the passing of Spring. For me, nothing highlights the fast approach of Summer, like returning from the flower market with peonies instead of ranunculus. Oh how I wish I could have these blooms all year round; they’re my top two favourite flowers ever! Although they’re pretty pricey blooms I always think they’re worth the splurge.

spring flowers - ranunculus - 18chelseamews.com_min

Here are my 5 favourite blooms in season during Spring/Summer and a few tips on how to make the most of a bunch.

1. Peony – I LOVE peonies; they hold a special place in my heart. Specifically the Dr. Alexander Flemming, the Attar of Roses and the Auguste Dessert varieties. It’s the vivid, sugar pink, double petals surrounding golden stamens, and that intense fragrance that sets them apart from the more popular Sarah Bernhardt variety; making me love them even more. Oh the magic, watching this flower bloom from a tight, rounded fist to an outstanding show of delicate frilly feminine beauty. You can literally watch as it opens; just place the stem in warm water or move your arrangement to a very warm room and stand by. It’s a sight to behold! I can never resist buying this flower.

Flower Power Tip: The fullness of opened peonies make them perfect for single stem display in bud vases; a few stalks of lavender adds a nice touch in appearance and fragrance.

peony - spring summer flowers - 18chelseamews.com_min

2. Ranunculus – Considering my serious obsession with very bright colours, it should come as no surprise that ranunculus are among my top 5 favourite blooms. These multi-layered beauties are like a dream. The petals look like the brightly coloured crepe paper I used to make flowers as a child. They’re so thin, delicate and perfectly formed, they sometimes look unreal. Beyond their intrinsic beauty, ranunculus make great container plants and they last remarkably long as cut flowers too. What’s not to like?!

Flower Power Tip: Cutting the stems every other day and changing the water makes ranunculus last much longer as cut flowers.

18chelseamews.com - spring flowers - ranunculus_min

3. Hyacinth – Wonderfully fragrant and extravagant in appearance, the arrival of the hyacinth truly signifies the arrival of Spring. The bell shaped blossoms bloom in dense clusters, curling outwards to create the most uniform and complex design you’ll ever see in a flower. They’re characterised by a lovely sweet fragrance and are found in shades of white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, carmine red, purple, lavender, indigo and azure blue. Yes, you guessed it, there’s a shade out there for everyone.

Flower Power Tip: Hyacinths last longer with the bulbs so it’s worth investing in bulb vases for your fragrant display.

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4. Poppy – The striking beauty of this papery, cup shaped bloom draws me in every time. I never  get to take these home as the don’t do very well as cut flowers, but I savour the moments I get to enjoy their existence. Whether it’s in a garden or even as we drive by poppy fields in the English countryside.

Here’s an excerpt from my ode to the poppy: Delicate flowers standing tall and strong, grasping tightly to slender green stems. When the fierce wind blows, these fragile but brave ones close their petals to protect themselves and the next generation – the precious seeds they carry inside. 

When life throws crap at me, I think of myself as a pretty red poppy. Try it; it helps!

Flower Power Tip: A good cut flower alternative to poppies are anemones. They bear a striking resemblance to poppies and are available in a wide range of colours – pink, red, white and purple to name a few.  It’s an equally beautiful flower which is bound to last longer in a vase than a poppy would.

bunches-poppy-flower

5. Craspedia – Commonly known as billy balls, billy buttons and woolyheads, craspedia is an aesthetically pleasing spherical golden flower, made up of many tiny florets. It comes from the genus of daisies. The shape and colour of this flower makes it very versatile for use in any floral  arrangement. I like coupling them with sugar pink peonies, hot pink ranunculus and even with small succulents. When the vibrant yellow colour of this delightful flower fades, just hang them upside-down in a cool, dry place and reuse in a dried flower arrangement in autumn.

Flower Power Tip: Try to cut the stems under water, if possible, so that they last a longer time in the vase.

Billy-Ball-Centerpiece

What are your favourite blooms of the season?