1 December 2015

Hello December

Image via Pinterest
December is here and how the hell did that happen? I can't quite believe the year is nearly over, it's been a pretty big one for me, what with becoming freelance and starting a new career (but more on that later). Here's to December and everything we've got to look forward to...
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1. Seeing everywhere come to life, with all the towns and villages full of lights, music and people, and Christmas in London is why it's my favourite city with Liberty and Fortnum and Mason showcasing amazing decorations and baubles, ice skating rinks next to historical beautiful buildings and just a generally excited (yet hectic) atmosphere. 

2. Berlin! I'm off on a little adventure to Berlin for the first time next week and I've been wanting to explore the city for so long! I'm looking forward to catching up with one of my besties and having her show me around all her favourite places, as well as exploring the Christmas markets and interiors shops, finally getting to try the famous Burgermeister, seeing the Berlin Wall along the East Side Gallery, hopefully experiencing the Jewish Museum and indulging in lots of German beer... the list goes on!

3. Finally feeling the weather change and embracing the cold weather with lots of layers and knitwear, making gloves and scarves essential! Fingers crossed we see some snow this year, surely the flurry we had the other weekend can't be it. Also, the winter weather also means that a daily hot chocolate is almost an essential and no longer an indulgence - everyone knows calories don't count in December...

4. I'm looking forward to doing lots of extra Christmassy stuff. I want to make sure I really enjoy this holiday; making as many mince pies and jam tarts as possible, embracing all the cheesy songs, tacky decorations, classic films, relaxing days by the fire with a food baby, spending lots of time with my loved ones, enjoying an egg nog or two - and taking lots of photos to remember it all!

What are you looking forward to this month? 

18 October 2015

#Visit1066 Country

If you're looking for the perfect day out this autumn, I've got just the thing. A little while ago now I was invited by the lovely #Visit1066 Country to test out one of their day out experiences, and of course, I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity - and I knew exactly what I wanted to do straight away. Although having experienced it quite a few times, I opted to ride the old Steam Train with Kent & East Sussex Railway from the quaint Tenterden to the picturesque Bodiam Castle
Having a soft spot for history, I absolutely loved the whole experience of the train, from the old station with its piles of vintage luggage suitcases and painted signage, to the original train carriages that are straight out of the 40s, 50s and 60s. When we arrived, the heavens opened, but I just think that just made the 10 mile journey even more memorable, and it even more welcoming when the trolley lady came over with teas & coffees! 

After the train crosses the border from Kent over into East Sussex, gliding through rows and rows of fields, you can spot Bodiam Castle in the distance. The castle itself is pretty special; still standing from the 14th century, it still showcases its battlements, portcullis, spiral staircase and a foggy moat. The huge impressive gatehouse is actually the castle's original wooden portcullis, and as you walk through it, you can just imagine what life must have been like over 700 years ago. 
Being a National Trust property, there's lots of interesting facts about the site, about the owners through its history and there were even characters authentically dressed that were sharing lots of interesting snippets about their day-to-day life that was surprisingly similar to ours!
The perfect way to round off a very cold and rainy Sunday afternoon? A roast dinner of course! Jamie and I popped into the warm and cosy Castle Inn that (as you could guess) sits very close to the Castle, and enjoyed a very welcome tasty dinner and cup of tea. And then, back on the steam train we went!

Thank you for a lovely day out #Visit1066 Country! I would so definitely recommend that you take a trip on the steam train, which even has Afternoon Tea journeys and special events this Hallowe'en, to visit Bodiam Castle - you can easily fit both into a day trip, along with a meal in the pub! 

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29 July 2015

Warehouse Home's Capsule Collection

Hello there Wednesday! Anyone else wrapped up in jumpers and cradling their cup of tea like it's the middle of winter? I may not be summer's biggest fan, but c'mon now English weather, pull your socks up! 
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen that I've recently started a new role working for Warehouse Home, which is not only super exciting, but also perfect for me in the sense that I get to be surrounded by interiors, design and styling on a daily basis with a company that creates an unrivalled publication and only has amazing things to look forward to. Anyway, I realised I was effectively sitting on a goldmine of interiors goodies and it'd just be crazy not to share them with you! So here goes...
Warehouse Home dedicates a lot of time to supporting and celebrating British Designers and has spent an extensive amount of time working closely with nine talented British designers and brands to create their own exclusive range of products. The Capsule Collection, which was launched with Issue Two of the publication, features 13 different exciting pieces, from furniture to accessories, all of which were designed with the latest interior trends and summer colours in mind, as well as crafted to suit stylish homes and warehouse conversions alike. 
What I personally love about the collection is the fact that each piece is completely unique to Warehouse Home, with each piece having been designed and crafted based on a collaborative creative effort from both sides, as well as the fact that each product was crafted to complement both warehouse conversions and modern homes. I've also got my eye on quite a few of the pieces too, namely ByALEX's 'A Desk' and 'A Stool' and Kreisdesign's Plywood Pegboard. 

See the 13 exclusive designs here!
Each of the 13 items represent several key trends that you'll spot throughout the second issue, such a graphic prints, bright colours and screen prints - which is your favourite? If you're looking to get your hands on one, make sure you act quickly - the exclusive designs are available for 6 months, only from My Warehouse Home!

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16 July 2015

The Ultimate Summer Lingerie

There's something a little taboo about posting underwear on blogs, isn't there? Even though I wouldn't want to share photos of *myself* flaunting it, it is something we wear every day, and they'll even be featured in our #OOTD's (unless you're a commando type of gal), so why not? So let's give it some air time - when it comes to underwear as pretty as this, how could I not share it?

I don't know if anyone else does this, but I always find underwear shopping therapeutic and the perfect way to treat yourself when you're feeling a little bleurgh and under the weather. Especially the case when it comes to Marks and Spencer's underwear; it is just on another level and always has been my go-to place when I want something that looks extra special or for more 'essential' pieces, like backless, strapless, multi-straps, padded... you name it, M&S have it! (As well as the best shortbread, sandwiches, cakes and packaging might I add...). 

So, as you can guess, when Marks and Spencer contacted me recently about trying out some of their lingerie for summer, I jumped at the chance! I immediately headed over to Miss Huntington-Whitely's collection, it's the perfect go-to for anything lacy, feminine, vintage-style, and (cringe) sexy. I opted for two sets that I thought were pretty summery and I'd had my eye on these two for a while!

'Well, black sure ain't summery' I hear you say! I guess it really isn't, but with the lace detailing around the cups and side straps I thought it would look so pretty peeking out underneath loose summery 70's tops and shirts. I'm the sort of clumsy person that'll probably not even realise my top is see-through, so I might as well make sure that what I'm wearing underneath is pretty! I also really love how cups on this bra are half silky-ness and half lace - super gorge. 

One of the main reasons I chose this Rose Lace set was because the colour, which looks even better in real life, is something that is missing from my current underwear selection (aaaaall black) - it's summery, bright, peachy... I could go on, but put simply, I was drawn to the colour like a moth to a headlight! I also love how the set is very feminine and vintage, with high-waisted knickers that are very silky and covered in lots of pretty little details, like bows and pleats that just add the perfect touch. Spoiler alert - the set is also so comfy you don't even feel like you're wearing it and the silkiness is lightweight and cool, which is just what you need in this summer heatwave (which should be coming back at some point!). Have I tempted you yet - just think, 'if it's good enough for Rosie...'
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10 June 2015

Day Out at Grand Designs Live 2015

Last month I was lucky enough to attend Grand Designs Live 2015, which I'd been wanting to attend for such a long time. I love the programme so much, watching different projects unfold and really delving into different families dreams and seeing them come true. The show always celebrates innovative products and materials, as well as amazing designs that most wouldn't even contemplate on their homes! Can you remember your favourite ever episode? If you loved that show, then you should check out a new one created by Channel 4 and British Gas called Home Truths

I've got to say, however, that Grand Designs Live was a little different to what I was expecting - I was imagining different makeshift houses and rooms created with the best innovative products and designs of the future, but instead the show was much more trade based. But that doesn't mean I didn't find some amazing products - here's the ones that really stood out for me!
1. The most amazing sheds I have ever seen, which are called (you guessed it) Amazing Sheds! You may recognise them from TV's 'Amazing Spaces', being the brainchild of Amazing Spaces' very own George Clark and William Hardie from Studio Hardie. They really did look amazing (someone grab me a thesaurus!) in real life, being so contemporary and with every possible nook and cranny carefully thought about - I especially loved the enamel wall sink. They are all also completely customisable so you can create your very own perfect little haven, whether it be a workshop, home office or even just a little space to chill out. Definitely putting one on my future wishlist!

2. It's not something that I would actually get much use out of as yet, seeing as I still live at home, but I really think that Hive is the future for central heating and hot water! Working with all suppliers, Hive allows you to control your heating and hot water from an app on your phone, tablet or laptop so you could be coming home from work and turn on your hot water ready for a bath, or be across the world and decide you want to heat the house for an hour or two to prevent any frost, etc. Not only does it make controlling your hot water and heating so much simpler, it's also supposed to save up to £150 a year on heating bills! Plus, it's £199 and that includes the full kit and installation! 

3. How pretty is this cushion? It's made with William Morris fabric and is part of the Remade In Britain collection; a website that's dedicated to celebrating upcycled products. There's literally everything to find, from tea sets to large pieces of furniture.

4. For me, this was one of the coolest things I saw at the show - magnetic plaster, by British Gypsum and Rooms Made for You. As it is a plaster, it sits underneath your paint, so you can literally have any colour room you want, BUT you can also stick whatever you want to it! I'm just imaging the amazing feature walls I could create - over to Pinterest I think! 

5. I'm usually always a fan of more traditional, freestanding kitchens, however the designs by SOLA Kitchens are so beautiful, contemporary and Scandinavian I now find myself pining over an ultra-modern glass house overlooking the sea! 

6. I love pizza. So much. So I need to get myself one of these - The Original Pizza Maker, it cooks any pizza in 3-4 minutes but it's been designed to replicate a mini pizza oven so you get both the crispy base and soft, melted cheese topping. Not only that, apparently it's perfect for pancakes, fry-ups and fajitas. Check out please!  

7. In the next year or so, I'll be moving bedrooms and that means lots of inspiration needed! I'm very picky when it comes to wall colours, but Paint by Conran has been inspired by British landscapes, so they're all very fresh, beautiful and natural looking! 

8. If you're a lover of everything retro or vintage then you need to get The Vamp in your life! They're designed to transform any speaker into a modern, portable bluetooth speaker - that way you can salvage and upcycle any old and bulky speakers and have them play your chosen songs from your phone. 

9. Okay so not only are these floor tiles an unusual shape so you can create whatever geometric pattern you wish in your home, they also come in the most amazing colours and they're called RepTiles - what more could you want? Seriously, you should check out their website to see some of the designs they have as inspiration! 

10. Smithson create some truly beautiful and on-trend lights, that are either made from original vintage pieces or inspired by them. Their style is so industrial; think pendants lights, decorative filament bulbs and amazing machinist lamps! 

Have you ever visited a home show that you would really recommend? I'd love to know! Also, if you attended this years Grand Designs Live, what was your favourite product?

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7 June 2015

My Life in Print

Have you ever had a piece of clothing that is just so pretty and perfect that you want to wear it every single day as well as have it hanging up just so you can stare at it BUT at the same time you're a little scared of damaging it because it is just too perfect? (Nobody else, no?!) Anyway that's exactly how I feel about these culottes, from Oasis' collection in collaboration with the V&A - could there be anything more perfect?!

The collection focuses on some truly beautiful prints that are all inspired by eleven botanical 18th and 19th century designs, which gives each garment an exciting historical twist! As you know, I love everything botanical so I can't resist the collection. I especially love how Oasis have managed to take traditional prints and make them contemporary and work on trendy shapes, like the culottes. I knew I needed the culottes in my life straight away, with their feminine high-waist yet on-trend below-the-knee fitting. Plus, they seem to go with everything, from jumpers and denim jackets for cooler days to simple crop tops for the summer.

I headed to my local (and personal favourite) National Trust property, Ightham Mote, as I thought the rose gardens, beautiful old walls and hidden details would be the perfect setting to show them off! What piece from the collection have you made a beeline for?

 Culottes: Oasis 
 Grey JumperZara
 Denim Jacket: Topshop
 Heeled Espadrilles: New Look
♥ Bucket Bag: H&M
Sunglasses: Primark

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5 June 2015

Home Details: Flamingos!

I never thought I'd say this, but at the moment I just can't get enough of flamingos - but it seems that right now is the perfect time to get a little bit obsessed with the bright pink bird as they seem to be popping up everywhere! If you follow me on Instagram (@charlestown92) you will have seen my amazing new light bulb, complete with a miniature flamingo and palm tree inside, which I think may be my favourite thing at the moment! My mum bought a black flex and copper fitting for it and I'm planning to somehow screw it into my bell jar. If you've got any ideas, please let me know! 

Don't you just think flamingos are the perfect icon for summer? They're so tropical and kitsch but not too tacky! I might treat myself to the cocktail sticks for summer BBQs and I also so badly want to get my hands on the Flamingo float from Lark but it's very out of my price range, but the hot pink version from Prezzybox is just as cute!

1. Pair of Flamingos, from Rose & Grey - £26
2. 5 Flamingo Candles, from Topshop - £11.50
3. Prince's Trust Flamingo Cushion, from George at Asda - £7 
4. Pink Inflatable Flamingo, from Lark - $89.95 
5. Monogrammed Flamingo Water Bottle, from Karion Designs via etsy - £23.50+
6. Flamingo 'Rapido' Notepad, from Rifle Paper Co. via Holly's House - £6.50
7. Flamingo Fairy Lights, from Dotcomgiftshop.com - £14.95
8. Flamingo & Palm Tree Light Bulb, from Temerity Jones via Lisa Angel - £8
9. 'Playa' Flamingo Cover Up Dress, from Kate Spade - £100
10. Flamingo Tea Pot- £66 & Flamingo Teacup and Saucer - £32, both from Lou Rata London via notonthehighstreet.com 
11. Flamingo iPhone 6 Case, from Kate Spade - £30
12. Flamingo Tea Light Holder, from Matthew Williamson via Debenhams - £14.80
13. Flamingo Cocktail Sticks, from Rockett St George - £2.50
14. Flamingo Print, from Frost + Dutch via notonthehighstreet.com - £20
15. Hot Pink Flamingo Pool Float, from Prezzybox - £23.95
16. Flamingo Print, from Paper Planes, via notonthehighstreet.com - £16.75
17. Flamingo Cushions, from Graham and Green - £60

What do you think about the flamingo trend? Is there any key piece I've missed out - I'd love to see it if so!
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27 May 2015

Fun in the Summer Sunshine

I don't want to jinx it, but I think I may have found one of my favourite summer outfits right here - I even wore it to my first ever festival last weekend (minus the heels and plus the token wellies!). I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with a festival, I've never been camping, hate public toilets and just can't really deal with being surrounded by seriously drunk people, but this was different and I think it was a good way to ease myself in! Innocent Unplugged was top secret (and free!), VERY small, filled with lots of relaxing activities, amazing local and small bands, and delicious food - if only they could all be like that! I really want to go to Festival No. 6 this year as not only is the line-up amazing, but the whole ethos is much more relaxed chilled than others. D'ya reckon I could handle it? Are there any festivals you'd recommend for a novice like me?

Anyway, over to the outfit! I've been on the lookout for some ripped black jeans for quite a while now (I always find the Topshop ones lose their colour really quickly, anyone else?) and found the perfect pair in the form of these beauties from American Eagle - they're super comfy, sit perfectly just above my waist and don't seem to fade! I swallowed my nerves and wore it with a flow-y cream top (boob tube!!), posed with a VW Camper and felt ready to take on summer! 

 Ripped JeansAmerican Eagle
 Cream Summer TopAmerican Eagle
 Denim Jacket: (Old) Topshop
 Heeled Sandals: Zara
♥ VW Camper: Not mine... I wish! 
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* I was sent the top and jeans from American Eagle, but they're a brand I've loved ever since I visited the USA when I was little! 

23 May 2015

Diary of a Freelancer: The Scary First Step

Ever since I turned freelance, life has been a little strange. It's a really odd feeling to all of a sudden have no higher authority there to tell you what to work on and putting deadlines in place, not having a strict day-to-day routine and (the most scary of all) having no guaranteed wage at the end of each month.

It's now been just under two months since I left my FT job but I'm already so glad that I made the decision I had. It was something I had been fretting over for god knows how long, panicking that I would be making the worst decision of my life; never managing to find a job ever again, never receiving another pay-check and just being 'behind' everyone else my age. These are all still huge worries I have everyday and sometimes I find myself having little panics (especially when I hear people talking about buying a house and couples moving into their own place), but I guess that everyone does things at different times - what a boring world it would be if we were all exactly the same! Something I really needed when I was feeling confused and stressed was somewhere to get a little bit of advice, so I thought I'd start my own Diary of a Freelancer to help anyone out there in a similar position. 
I realise I'm obviously no expert, but if these little tips may help even 1 person then I'll be a happy bunny:

It's never too late to try something new, but make sure you really consider all the pros and cons before making a rash decision. I really thought I would be making the worst decision of my life, leaving a full-time job at the age of 22, with people around me were moving in with their boyfriends/girlfriends, getting promotions or better paid jobs. However, I also realised that why not now? I'm only 22, I've (hopefully) got a whole career-life ahead of me, I've got a lot of experience under my belt, I'm lucky to live at home and therefore have no serious out-goings and have saved up money to act as a buffer. It's never too late to try something new! 

Stop thinking about other people! The worst thing to do is to be worried about what other people will think - this is something that I would say really delayed my decision, but you've got to remember that if it is going to make you happier and will actually benefit you (even if in the considerable future) then why not? Plus, the people that actually do matter will support you no matter what, and you will find that they'll actually encourage you to take the big step! 

Try to stop reading too many advice pages - they'll be filled with people telling you that the worst thing to do is to leave one job without having another to go to, or without x amount of money saved up, etc. The only person who will really know what to do is you and fretting over it will only make the decision even harder. I felt like everyday it was something that I was running over in my brain, so much so that it was making me feel really stressed, anxious and just pretty lifeless. In the end you've got to think, is it really worth it if it makes me feel like this? 

Save a little money. You will really thank yourself for it in the long-run. If you're going freelance, you can't guarantee a set amount of money each month or even that you will gain any money for a while, especially if you're going through a career change. I found it really helped by deciding a date that I would definitely be working for myself by, and putting away a bit of money during the build up. 

Be proactive. Yes it is really scary, but think about how much free time you now have! Start looking on Twitter, attend local events, discover a new hobby, start writing a blog - there's so much you could be doing! I got my current position as an Assistant Interior Stylist by just sending a couple of Tweets - get yourself out there! 

Set a routine. I still get up at the same time I would have done for work and make sure I'm dressed, fed and ready with my laptop at a desk by 9am. Obviously not everyone works best this way, but I find it just makes me feel more motivated for the day and makes me feel like I've actually accomplished something - there's nothing I hate more than feeling like I've had a wasted day. 

Are any of you freelancers - if you, I'd love to hear some of your advice! Also, let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to know more about, I know it can be a very scary subject... Answers on a postcard! 
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11 May 2015

Charlestown 'Monday' Supplement


Happy Monday!

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend and are ready for the week ahead! I know that sometimes Monday can be a bit slow and all you really want to do is flick through things on the internet, so if you're looking for a distraction, here's some of the best bits I've found around the inter-web last week... 

 I want to have my Sunday brunch in this amazingly kitsch bar designed by Wes Anderson, please?! You'll have to travel over to Milan to enjoy it first hand though.

If you need a little inspiration and some motivational speeches, or even just a little kick up the bum to get yourself into gear with something you're working on, I'd really recommend listening to Jenny Purr's Make It Happen vlogs. I just love Jenny's blog in general and always find myself venturing over to it whenever I'm feeling a little uninspired or down in the dumps, as it's full to the brim with career and blog tips and inspiring ideas - get yourself over there! Thanks Jenny.

Last week I was attended the launch of the Biscuiteers new Dogs Trust collection. If, like me, you're defo a dog lover, you need to take a look at their offerings - they even do human biscuits too, which are bloody delicious! The cherry on top of the cake (or biscuit...) is that for every tin bought, Biscuiteers will donate part of the profits to the Dogs Trust! 

If you haven't already heard, Topshop are celebrating 5 years of beauty (how has it gone by so quickly?!) And to celebrate they have launched a collection full of the most coveted and in-demand pieces, all of which are beautifully packaged with rose gold detailing. Please can I have it all? I have especially want to get my hands on the Cream Blush in Head Over Heels and the Lipstick in Nevada

Two of my favourite brands, Superga and Liberty, have collaborated to create a new collection! I know how crazy everyone is for the Liberty x Nike collabs (as am I) but for I know I'd get much more use out of the Superga's, especially as I am such a big fan already. Plus, amazing Alexa was a previous face for the brand, so if she loves them... I really REALLY love the Michel print as it seems so classic and summery. What's your favourite? 

Let me know if you found anything over the past week that I just can't not take a look at, as I'd love to feature it next week! Moving forward, I'm going to be weekly Sunday Supplements on (you guessed it) Sunday - I just had a little disaster this week with the scheduling, oops! 

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8 May 2015

Giveaway: The Modern Botanist Gold Terrarium

Hello guys! I've (hopefully) got a very interesting post for you all and something I am very excited to share...
A terrarium giveaway!
If you do not already follow me on Instagram (@charlestown92) you may not know that I make terrariums through my business, The Modern Botanist! I really love making them and it's so much fun sourcing all of the 'ingredients' and putting them all together to create a little masterpiece. Terrariums are so popular at the moment, but they can also be quite pricey - so I would like to give one of mine away! If you would like to win the the little gold terrarium below, here's how you enter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you'd like to keep up to date with The Modern Botanist, you can follow us here:
Instagram @themodernbotanist

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