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Mother’s Day Edit: Style advice from our favourite Mum bloggers

23rd March 2017

Kids can be messy but your home doesn’t have to be. Here at Utility we’re always looking out for exciting Instagram accounts and blogs to follow and one thing we’ve noticed is the number of Mums who juggle parenting with maintaining an inspiring, successful blog. Whether it’s a family/lifestyle blog, a parenting/Motherhood blog or an interior design blog by someone who has children, the showcase of beautiful homes is testament to the fact that you can make your house family friendly without compromising on style. As Mother’s Day approaches, we thought we’d celebrate the influence and success of the Mum blogger community by lifting the lid on their design secrets.

We spoke to 5 Mums with inspiring blogs and gorgeous homes, asking them for their top tip on how to child-proof your home without compromising on style


 Karen Clough

Twitter | Instagram

Blog: Well I Guess This Is Growing Up 

Design tips

Karen’s Toddler’s bedroom makeover via her blog Well I Guess This is Growing up.

 

Karen Clough is the Manchester based writer behind the award-winning blog Well I guess This Is Growing Up. The blog documents her and her family’s journey as they decorate and renovate their first home- a lovely house in South Manchester that, until bought by Karen in 2011, had been untouched since 1940!

An expert in creating a bold look on a budget, Karen’s top tip for a child-friendly interior is to embrace colour and chaos:

“Children are messy, there is no getting around it! But that doesn’t mean your home has to look scruffy. For me, what’s worked is embracing the chaos. We have an incredibly colourful interior, particularly in our toddler’s bedroom, so the piles of toys don’t look so completely out of place!

And for kids of any age, I can’t stress the importance of storage enough. Not only is it key to hiding away the less aesthetically pleasing essentials such as nappies, but it is also a great way to relax into a kid-free zone once they’ve gone to bed.”

Karen’s colourful home is a great example of how you don’t have to follow the Scandinavian principle of white living to create a stylish look in your own interior.  For fans of bright living her blog is a great one to follow. Her toddler’s bedroom (pictured above) is one of her most recent renovations, and you can read all about the bold & bright makeover here. For more style inspo from Karen, follow her on Twitter here and Instagram here.


Natalie Mudd

Twitter  | Instagram

Blog: Mum in Brum

Design tips from mum bloggers

Natalie Mudd is a freelance writer and communications consultant who balances her career and parenting with writing her award-winning blog Mum in Brum. Her blog covers everything from parenting & interiors to fashion & travel. Her West Midlands home simply oozes with style, so we were so grateful when she shared her wisdom with us.

For Natalie, the key to creating a modern yet child-friendly home is investing in wooden toys & furniture:

“If you want to keep your home looking stylish, it’s worth investing in classic wooden toys and furniture for your kids. Especially for those timeless items that they’ll probably have for years to come – such as desks, tables, chairs, train sets, dolls houses etc. Bright plastic alternatives can look out of place in your home and it can soon feel pretty chaotic.” 

As for maintaining her successful blog, it’s all about timing:

“I started my blog at the same time as my daughter was born and in the main I’ve built it up during her nap times. I prefer not to blog whilst she’s awake, so I’ll instead complete my other tasks and household chores throughout the rest of the day, leaving nap times free for me to blog. You’ll hardly ever find us out of the house during a ‘nap time’!”

Feeling inspired to find some new wooden furniture that’s also child friendly? Check out Natalie’s recommendations on stylish home buys for kids. For more advice & inspiration you can follow her on Instagram here and Twitter here.


Julia Bryson

Twitter | Instagram

Blog: Rainbeaubelle

Design tips from mum bloggers

img via Julia’s garage to playroom conversion featured on her blog Rainbeaubelle

 

Julia Bryson is a freelance writer,  lifestyle blogger and BBC Journalist who regularly contributes to outlets such as the Huffington Post & Mumsnet. Her blog Rainbeaubelle is an inspiring, wide-ranging blog where she speaks about family life, loss, fashion, food, travel and interiors.

Julia is currently decorating her new house in Yorkshire where she lives with her two young children. Her top tips for keeping her home looking fresh are:

“I like to keep my home looking stylish and fresh but child-friendly too – after all I am outnumbered at home by my kids! I am a big fan of freshly painted walls accessorised with colourful and modern framed prints. Most of the house is decorated in white or pale grey, apart from in my son’s room where I have just decorated one wall in a strong duck egg blue and my daughter Flo’s which is pale pink. 

Making sure you have lots of storage to hide small toys away is a good idea, and I find having some cool storage baskets and bags in each room a help to throw toys in for a quick tidy.”

When it comes to balancing her family life and career with keeping up with her blog, Julia says:

“I tend to write my blog in the little free time that I have – it can be on the train on the way to work or in bed at the end of the day! I don’t get much time to write but try to make the most of the minutes I do get to myself. 

I always take the photographs for my interiors posts on my days off or early on the weekends, when I’ve had chance to tidy up! It’s essential to get lots of natural light, but I never stress if a tiny person creeps in, I love taking photos of them while they play. “

Julia has recently converted her garage into a playroom (featured above in the image). Check out the amazing end result of Project Playroom over on her blog. For more advice & inspo from Julia, follow her on Twitter here and Instagram here.


Amanda Watters

Twitter | Instagram

Blog: Homesong Blog

Interior design tips from mum bloggers

Img Via Homesongblog

 

Amanda Watters is a Kansas City based blogger whose inspiring blog Homesong nurtures an appreciation for things done in the home simply.  With three kids, Amanda knows a thing or two about managing and storing toys in a way that maintains the  beautiful simplicity of her home (pictured above). Her top tip is:

“Invest in beautiful baskets of all sizes to store all the things you accumulate while raising little ones, from toys, to crafting supplies, to diapers. Natural materials make for  beautiful decorations that are purposeful as well. We also have a saying in this house, “Everything has a home.” By giving the things we have and use a place “to live” we find that we’re able to cut down on clutter and create a home that is more orderly and therefore feels more comforting and calm.”

Homesong’s philosophy is Simple things done with care and over on her blog you’ll find informative posts about gardening, nature, cooking, crafts, wellness  and, in Amanda’s words ‘what it means to truly make a house a home while riding the waves of motherhood‘.  For more simple-living inspiration  follow her on Instagram here and Twitter here.


Luciana Markley

Twitter | Instagram

Blog: Word Up Mum

 

Luciana Markey is a Glasgow based blogger and freelance copywriter.  In her blog Word Up Mum she writes about parenting, lifestyle and all that goes in between.  When it comes to interiors having kids hasn’t stopped her from braving the white living, minimalist look.  Here’s here’s how she child-proofs her home without compromising on the Scandinavian style she loves.

“People often get scared when they start to think about styling their house especially when they have kids running around, who let’s face, are not known for their quiet, clean ways but there is no need to hold back on what you love.

When we bought our house in 2015, everyone called me mad: I have white floors, white walls, white kitchen counters and 2 toddler – you get the picture -but no matter the colour of your house, if kids are going to make a mess, they’re going to make a mess. Every few months I get the mini paint roller out and touch up any stubborn marks (read food stains, thanks 2 year old) or scrapes on the walls, redo any chipped skirting boards and my best friend is a magic sponge: it makes my white house whiter.

Apart from my magic sponge, the biggest tip I would offer anyone styling their house with kids is that less is more – especially if you have a toddler that stomps around pretending he is a dinosaur/spiderman/any sort of flying animal: less things to jump off, less things to run into and 100 times easier to keep tidy.

I don’t compromise on style, I pick up amazing mid century classics mixed with my love of all things Scandi, I add accessories from the likes of Hay Design, Fern Living and Muuto to create my personal home style.

My biggest tip of all is that you don’t need to match, buy what you love, a mish mash works, it creates a really fun space and shows your true style”.

What are your child-friendly interior solutions? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter 

Looking to renovate or redecorate your family home? Check out our family friendly buys on Pinterest

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Mother’s Day – A stay-at-home pamper experience for Mum.

15th March 2017

Firstly – Mother’s Day falls on March 26th this year. Write that down. Don’t be the child that forgets.

For most of us, our mother is the most important woman in our lives. She carried us for 9 months, nursed us through our early years and put up with us during our teens. She’s also been the pillar upon which we’ve leant when things have been tough. Let’s face it, she deserves to be celebrated for more than one day a year.

This year, we’re trying extra hard to make our mums smile. She’s worked hard – it’s time she had a pamper session.

Thankfully that doesn’t mean forking out a wad of cash for a spa day or a hotel getaway. We’ve got some great gift ideas at Utility that will allow your Mum to relax in the comfort of her own home and won’t break the bank.

Scented Candles

The first step in creating a relaxing environment is to light a beautifully scented candle. With long burn times, natural materials and expertly crafted scents, this selection of candles are sure to make Mum’s day.

 

Bath Salts & Pamper Sets

Step 2 in your Mother’s Day pamper experience is to add in some luxurious smellies. Who doesn’t enjoy a warm bubble bath by candlelight, right? Throw in some bathroom / skincare essentials to enhance the experience.

 

Chocolate

The pièce de résistance in our Mother’s Day home retreat is some indulgent chocs. Avoid the cliche Dairy Milk Tray this year and opt for some British made treats made by expert chocolatiers. Nom Nom and Coco Chocolate are produced in Wales & Scotland retrospectively and with specially sourced cocoa combined with authentic British sea salt, these chocolates are sure to go down a treat.

 

There we have it – our 3 step guide to creating a relaxing home pamper session for your Mum this Mother’s Day. Check out our Mother’s Day Homeware Gift guide to discover some beautiful home accessories that will make your Mum’s day, every day.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate this year? Let us know over on our socials.

Time for more Utility? Expert Tips For A Relaxing Home |Interior Colour Trends for 2017 | Tips For A Productive 2017

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Top 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Design-Addicts

14th March 2017
Via www.lisannevandeklift.nl/thuis/een-handig-gereedschapskistje/

With Mother’s Day round the corner, it’s time to get looking for the perfect gift – and by that we don’t mean smellies or flowers. As a gift and interior company we’ve decided to merge our two favourite things with this list of gorgeous, contemporary home accessories that also make great gifts. If your Mum’s an interior-lover or design addict then we’re sure she’ll be happy with any one of these suggestions.

Top 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Design-Addicts

 

1. Lucie Kaas Kokeshi Dolls, £32.00

Combining Japanese illustration and Nordic aesthetics our colourful range of Kokeshi Dolls will delight any design lover. Designed by Sketch Inc founder Becky Kemp these hand-painted dolls are modelled on world-famous faces. Our range includes Ziggy Stardust, Coco Chanel, Anna Wintour, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo and many more. Shop the collection.

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2. Produce Harvest Scented Candles, £22.00

Get ready for Spring with our harvest-inspired range of scented candles. These colourful candles are made from 100% natural soy wax and have a 50-70 hour burn time. With natural scents like melon, peach, tomato and fig Produce candles are sure to give your home the aroma of a vibrant farmer’s market. Browse the full collection.

3. Spira Face Cushions, £25.00

We’ve recently welcomed a few new faces to the Utility team! Shown below in our show room the Face Cushions by Swedish textile brand Spira are full of colour and character. The range includes 10 100% sustainable cotton cushions that each have a distinct design and personality. For lovers of personal and quirky design these cushions make great gifts. Meet Max, Lily and the rest of the team here…

4. Superlambanana, £34.00

For Liverpool-loving Mums with a taste for great design, a Superlambanana is the perfect choice for a Mother’s Day Gift! Available in yellow, red, blue, black and white, these colourful ceramics are the approved scale-models of Liverpool’s iconic Superlambanana – the original sculpture of Japanese artist Taro Chiezo. Loved by everyone, the Superlambanana is a bright and amusing way to bring a little bit of the Liverpool street-scape directly to your home.

5. Vitra Toolbox, £22.00

One of our best-selling products, the Vitra Toolbox is a practical yet stylish gift idea for Mums who love being organised. This storage solution is ideal for everything from work accessories and stationery to makeup brushes and personal items, so it’s perfect for practitioners of de-cluttered, simple living. Designed by Arik Levy, it’s also somewhat of a design icon, making it a great price for something so timeless! Available in five colours, lucky recipients of this gift will wonder how they ever lived without it! Buy the Vitra Toolbox here.

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6. Mama Bear, £100.00

If you’re willing to push the boat out with a higher spend on Mother’s Day, then look no further than Mama Bear from Lucie Kaas. Part of a family of beautiful wooden bears including Papa Bear and Baby Bear, this gift may seem expensive but it’s certainly worth the investment. Made from solid American Walnut this charismatic collectable will follow its owner throughout a lifetime and can be passed down through generations, offering something truly sentimental. For Mums who love Nordic design it’s a really heart-warming gift idea. Buy Mama Bear here.

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7. Hay Tree Trunk Vase, £49.00

Don’t just buy flowers, go one step further and buy a vase for them too! If your Mum loves fresh flowers in her home then the Tree Trunk Vase will make her Mother’s Day. This modern home accessory offers a timeless appeal and will sit comfortably in any interior style thanks to its monochrome hue. It’s familiar and bold graphic styling allows it to be used for either fresh flowers or dried stems/twigs, making it a particularly good gift idea for fans of boho/indoor green living decor. Buy the Hay Tree Trunk Vase here.

8. Vitra Wooden Dolls, £85.00

Our stunning collection of Vitra Wooden Dolls (originally designed by Alexander Girard) was inspired by native American art. Now reproduced by Vitra, the expanding collection includes 23 individually hand-painted wooden dolls in different shapes and sizes, plus a wooden cat, a wooden dog, wooden fish and a wooden devil. If your Mum loves colourful, collectable design then kickstart a new hobby and buy her a Wooden Doll for Mother’s Day. Pictured in the collage above is Doll Number 11, but you can browse the full collection (and watch how they’re made!) here.

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9. A4 Cinema light Box, £24.00

Light up Mother’s day with this battery-operated Cinema Light Box. Including 120 letters, numbers and symbols for your very own message, it’s great for Mums who love personal, homely decor. You may have already noticed that these light boxes are enjoying a bit of a moment on Instagram so they’re great if your Mum likes her home looking picture-perfect too! Extra letters in black, gold and pastel colours are also available.

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10. Oval Oak Wine Carafe

The Oval Oak Wine Carafe is a great gift idea for Mums who love wine as much as they love great design. With a wide base and slender neck, it has a lovely simple shape and is complete with a solid oak stopper. It’s designed to enhance both the look and taste of the wine by removing sediment, aerating the wine, facilitating pouring and providing elegant presentation. Whether your Mum likes white, red or rosé it will surely put a smile on her face this Mother’s Day.

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Go Green For St Patrick’s Day

14th March 2017

We don’t stock Guinness at Utility, so to celebrate St Patrick’s Day we’re bringing you the best we have in green instead. Green’s been the colour of the moment for some time now- Greenery was chosen as Pantone’s Colour of The Year for 2017 and it’s almost impossible to flick through an interior design magazine without seeing a feature on forest green. So from home accessories and gifts to lighting and furniture, we’ve got you covered in all shades of this wonderfully Irish colour.

 

St Patrick’s Day

 

1. Woud Come Here Side Table, Green painted oak £225.00

2.Vitra Hang It All, £199.00

3. Hay Bullet Pen, £5.00

4. Muuto Unfold Pendant Light, £119.00

5. Muuto Restore Basket 

6. Normann Copenhagen Little Bird 

7. String Green Pocket Shelving, £109.0

8. Spira Face Cushion £25.00

9. Muuto Folded Shelf, £85.00

10. Normann Copenhagen Form Dining Chair, £170.00

11. Louis Poulsen Ph 50 Pendant Light, £579.00

Want to see more?

Follow Utility Design on Pinterest where we’ve collated our favourite design trends, gift ideas, interior inspiration and more.

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How to Make your Home Feel More Relaxing: Expert advice from Interior Designers

9th March 2017

2016 was a year that witnessed a great deal of change. The Brexit vote and US election completely shook the political landscape, and with the Dutch and French elections coming up this year the atmosphere of instability doesn’t seem to be going away. This has come at a time when society is becoming more fast-paced than ever before – people rarely have the time to switch off from the demands of work and family life to just sit down and relax.

With this in mind, we think it’s more important than ever to have a calm and tranquil interior, because if you can’t feel at home in your home, then where can you?  We spoke to some of our favourite interior stylists and bloggers about their top tips for creating a calm & peaceful atmosphere in their home. Follow this advice and you’ll never want to leave the house again! And given everything that’s going on right now, we wouldn’t blame you….

Here’s How to Make your Home Feel More Relaxing: 


 

Natalia Meira

Follow Natalia on Instagram

Blog: www.stylingaddiction.com 

How to create a relaxing environment

Img via Instagram @nataliameira08. Follow Natalia here

 

Natalia is the author of STYLING ADDICTION – a blog with focus on Scandinavian design, interior styling, inspiring homes and interviews. As a big fan of Scandinavian design, meaning a minimal look rather than a monochrome scheme, she admits “it has always been a challenge to make the space feel relaxing. But when done well, minimalism can be truly inviting and warm”.

To do minimalism well in this way, Natalia recommends: 

“A good start would be to play with textures and layers to increase the comfort factor and to amplify the interest in that room. Rugs, blankets, sheepskins and linen, are only a few choices. The addition of natural materials like wood, leather that ages beautifully and glass are a must. All these elements will soften the interior and bring more balance. 

After creating this base, it is time for some personal touches. Pick a few things that mean something to you and display them together. Create inviting areas, like a few books close to a comfortable chair and a good reading lamp, add a tea pot and a few cups ready to be used, candles and flowers.”

From following her amazing Instagram account, we couldn’t agree more that minimalism can be truly inviting and warm. For more tips, follow Natalia on Instagram here, and check out her blog here.


Victoria Jackson

Twitter | Instagram

Blog: Apartment Number 4

How to create a relaxing environment

 

Victoria is the author of Apartment 4 – an award winning  home and style blog designed for those looking to create a beautiful home on a budget. Her top tip on creating a calm atmosphere in the home is all about how you style your lighting. She says:

The key to creating a relaxing atmosphere at home is to get your room lighting just right. There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day at work, dimming the lights, lighting candles and closing the curtains. I’m a huge fan of placing lanterns in varying sizes around my living room (usually grouped in three) and having a mix of church candles and tea lights burning. What’s even more calming is to get a beautifully scented candle to wash those daily stresses away.

Victoria’s Instagram is a great example of how the right lighting can make a home feel cosy. For more low cost interior design tips & home decor inspiration, read her blog herefind her on Instagram here & follow her on Twitter here. 


Kasia Rutkowiak

Twitter | Instagram

Blog: My Full House 

How to create a relaxing environment

Img via Instagram @my_full_house. Follow Kasia here

 

Kasia Rutokwiak is the author of Scandinavian and lifestyle blog My Full House. Born in Poland, she’s spent most of her adult life in Denmark, so her inspirational home has a gorgeous mix of design influences from both countries. Her top tip is to look out for your own needs, not current trends:

My top tip would be to arrange the space after your own needs, not just the current trends. Your home must feel yours, no matter the season, mood or occasion. I love flowers and have them in every room. We also light plenty of candles and our home often smells of freshly brewed coffee.

For more inspiration from Kasia, follow her on Instagram to find stunning images of her Scandinavian/Polish home. For more top tips and advice, follow her blog My Full House here.


Ellie Tennant

Follow Ellie on Twitter

How to create a relaxing home

 

Ellie Tennant is an interior stylist, journalist & author of Chic Boutiquers at Home – a best-selling book that brings you interior inspiration & expert advice from online sellers.  For her, the key to comfort is simple living – a principle which she points out has seen a huge surge in popularity in the UK over the last year, despite the fact that trends like “hygge and “lagom” have been used in their countries of origin for centuries to convey the ways in which “living a slower, more mindful, more thoughtful way of life can benefit us all“.

To master the art of Simple Living, Ellie Says:

“Start small. Simplify your home, room by room, and your life, bit by bit. De-clutter. Donate anything you don’t really need or want to a charity shop and you’ll instantly feel less stressed. Sorting through your bookshelf, your wardrobe – or even just the kitchen drawer – can really make your living space feel less chaotic and busy. Gradually tackle every area of your home; sort, reduce, consider, reorganise. It’s a therapeutic process, letting go of ‘stuff’.

Don’t panic – this isn’t about hardcore minimalism or living in a clinical, white-painted space that is more akin to a sterile, clinical environment than a home. Simple homes can be warm and welcoming. They nearly always are, in fact. And shopping isn’t banned – just live by the motto: ‘less is more’, and you can’t go far wrong. For example, instead of splurging on cheap accessories in the supermarket that aren’t built to last and will fall out of fashion within weeks, save up. Carefully consider everything you acquire. Invest in pieces that are well-made, with ethical origins, that will last you for years or, ideally, for life.”


Heather Young

Twitter | Instagram

Blog: Growing Spaces: Inspired Ideas for Family Living 

How to create a relaxing home

 

Heather Young is an interiors journalist whose blog, Growing Spaces, covers everything from decorating and family-friendly travel ideas to DIY and Craft tutorials. With over 14 years experience writing for  UK interior magazines this writer knows her stuff, especially when it comes to styling your home to relax in it. Her top tip is to scatter lighting. She says:

“For me creating a cosy mood is all about lighting. Switch off the main light, and layer light from smaller light sources such as table lamps or floor lamps – you want to create warm pools of light rather than flooding the whole room. We don’t have a fire or woodburner in our house, but you can’t beat flickering firelight for cosiness, so I always make sure I’ve got some candles burning when I’m chilling out at home. Same goes for fairy lights – we have strings of lights dotted around our home, to add an in intimate feel.”

Growing Spaces has been so successful that she’s now branched out to a DIY youtube Chanel – Heather’s Space. You can follow her on Instagram here and Twitter here.


Kate Baxter

 Twitter | Instagram

Blog: Fabric of My Life

How to create a relaxing home

Img via Instagram @fabricofmylife. Follow Kate here.

 

Kate Baxter is an interior, lifestyle & travel blogger whose blog Fabric of My Life is full of stunning imagery, design ideas and interior inspiration. For Kate, the key to a relaxing home is scented candles. But you’ve got to do it right:

“My top tip for creating a relaxing home is to surround yourself with your favourite scented candles and actually burn them – for too long I left mine languishing on sideboards gathering dust and so didn’t get to embrace their relaxing, tranquility-inducing properties. Now that I’ve started to regularly burn candles, choosing the scent based upon my activities at the time, I’ve found my home to be a calmer, more relaxing space.”

If you’re a scented candle lover then you’ll find loads of recommendations over on Kate’s site. We suggest reading Kate’s recent post #keepthecandleburning which talks about an amazing sustainable candle company KeapBK. For more interior, travel & lifestyle inspiration follow Kate on Instagram here and Twitter here.


Lucinda Barton

Follow Lucinda on Twitter

Blog: Bakes, Books & My Boys 

Lucinda is a countryside-loving blogger who shares her tips around the house, baking tips and travel tips on her blog Bakes, Books & My BoysFor her, personalising your home is key to creating a calm and cosy atmosphere.

“Make sure your home makes you smile even before you get in! Beautiful flowers in a pot outside your door. A flowery seasonal wreath on the door. A fresh floral scent to great you as your door opens! Remember first impressions count even When it’s your own home.”

If you love the outdoors and all things floral then you’ll love Lucinda’s blog! Read more from Lucinda here and follow her on Twitter here.

How to create a relaxing home

What’s your top tip for creating a calm, relaxing home?et us know on Facebook or Twitter

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