We all know the feeling. You go to bed feeling tired and then lie awake for hours wondering why you can’t sleep. But what you might not realise is that the way your bedroom is designed can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. Here are some top tips for ensuring your bedroom is a relaxing and calming place to be…

It’s all about the mattress

An obvious but important one: the quality of your mattress will have a big impact on your sleep. Very high quality mattresses used to cost a small fortune, but that’s all changed. Start up companies like Eve have started selling memory foam mattresses for under £300. Casper also sell hybrid mattresses designed specifically to prevent overheating, for under £350.

Soothing scents

Many essential oils are well known for their calming and relaxing qualities. Add fresh lavender to your dresser or bedside table, or try a scented candle with ylang-ylang, chamomile or rose to help you chill out at the end of the day (just make sure to blow it out before you fall asleep!)

Avoid screens

Many sleep experts believe that the blue light from our phone and computer screens has a serious impact on our sleep. Not only making it harder for us to fall asleep, but even leading to worse quality sleep long after we’ve put our phone down or shut off our laptop. Place a few interesting books on your bedside table and read these instead of checking Instagram. Not only will you sleep better, but an attractive book well placed can add style to your room.

Dial down your lighting

Lowering the lighting in your bedroom tells your brain that the day is over and it’s time to sleep. If you’re following the tip above and want to read a book in bed, opt for a lamp with a lower wattage bulb, or a warm filament bulb. Or you could invest in some Wi-Fi bulbs that you can dim and even shut off from an app on your phone, so you don’t have to get out of bed to switch off the lights.

Cosy canopy

If you’ve got the space for it, a canopy over your bed helps to section off where you sleep from the rest of the room. Sleep experts think that by making your bed a dedicated sleeping place (as opposed to a place for checking emails, watching films etc) your brain will associate it with sleep and this alone will make you fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply.

Calming colours

The way you decorate any room can have a big influence on your mood. In your bedroom, avoid harsh, loud colours and instead go for darker or cooler tones like greens and blues, or neutrals like white or grey. Creating a coherent look with prints and ornaments that compliment the style of the room, can also help to make the room soothing.

 

Find more home decor ideas on our blog HERE

There are some great home decor trends on their way this year, from sleek minimalism to plush and opulent interiors. Read on to discover our forecast of the hottest upcoming interiors trends…

Velvet furnishings

They started to edge their way in during 2018 but never really caught on in a big way. But many interior designers are predicting that 2019 will be the year velvet furnishings really boom.

Function over form

Functional furniture is everywhere at the moment because simple, understated designs are so versatile. Simple side tables like this one will suit almost any room and are ideal for showing off your favourite books, photographs or ornaments.

Brass fixtures

Brass fixtures like these really draw the eye in any bathroom or kitchen. They work well in contemporary and period properties and can be styled in a simple, industrial, way or for a polished and sleek look.

Industrial style

Think big lighting, simple furniture, exposed concrete and beams. Industrial style will still be going strong through 2019.

1970’s chic

The 1970’s are well and truly making a come back. Expect cosy furs, complimentary clashing colours and some very retro prints on cushions and wallpapers.

Eclectic patterning

Sometimes less is more, but sometimes, well, more is more. Big bold prints and shabby chic furniture and tableware will be hot this year – so keep your eyes peeled at those flea markets and vintage fairs!

Burnt yellow

Last year we told you all about “milennial pink”. This year’s hottest colour will be burnt yellow. This warm autumnal shade works so well as a accent in an otherwise minimalist room – create a bright wall or invest in a piece of statement furniture.

Fancy another? Check out our blog for more home decor and lifestyle articles like this one.

So it’s the New Year again. Whether your resolution is to pull off a dry January, to try veganism, to lose some weight, or just to eat a little bit better, we’ve found the best healthy places to grab a bite (and a drink) across East London…

The Hive, Cambridge Heath Road

(pic credit: The Hive)

Specialising in organic nourishing foods and cold pressed juices, The Hive on Cambridge Heath Road is the ideal location for your New Year detox. And if you’re not doing dry January, they also have a curated selection of fantastic wines and craft beers (also available to take away).

MOTHER Works, Here East, Stratford

(pic credit: Mother.works)

At MOTHER Works it’s all about plant-based organic produce that’s sustainable, nourishing and delicious. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the smoothie menu is the real hook – with a huge selection of tasty healthy treats including vegan Cookie Dough and Mint Choc Chip smoothies and fruity creations like the Berry Blast Off and the Galactic Detox.

Apres Food Co, Clerkenwell

(pic credit: Apres Food)

We all get those comfort food cravings, especially when we’re trying to eat right. At Apres Food, they want to prove that eating tasty, filling and comforting meals doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Top quality cooked breakfasts, and yummy cereals, alongside cold pressed juices and brilliant cakes – you can treat yourself without wrecking your diet!

Cub, Hoxton

(pic credit: Cub)

At Cub in Hoxton they focus on sustainability, so you can rest assured that you’re doing good while you’re eating good stuff. Their menu is creatively different, with the set menu offering a mix of food and drinks (and some courses that are both at once!) with tasty booze-free options also available.

 

Find more local tips for great restaurants, bars and boutiques on our blog

It’s December and that can only mean one thing: it’s officially ok to start getting Christmassy! We’ve scoured the internet for some of the coolest, quirkiest and most stylish Christmas decorations out there, so your home can really have the wow factor this Christmas.

Orb lights


(Amazon.com)

Fairy lights are so last year. Step it up a notch with these warm-glowing bubbly orb lights. They make us think of fizzing glasses of Champagne on Christmas day. Gorgeous.

Think pink


(Amazon.com)

You might remember a few months ago when we told you all about the new trend for Millenial Pink. Well, just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you have to shun pink. And in our opinion, pink and glitter are a great combo.

Pom poms


(Etsy.com)

These colourful pom pom decorations will bring a homemade kitch to you tree.

Go wild


(Paperchase.com)

Go a bit different this Christmas and add some quirky animal decorations to your tree. Paperchase have a weird and wonderful selection including sharks, sloths, birds and dinosaurs.

Get glitzy


(thewhitecompany.com)

We love this extra glitzy snowball bauble from The White Company, dipped in champagne coloured glitter for all the glitz you could want.

Disco inspiration


(www2.hm.com)

Cover your tree in these disco-ball inspired little baubles for a funky Christmas, at only £1 each you can go crazy.

Fairytale of New York


(etsy.com)

We absolutely love these little Christmas snow globes by Etsy maker Louisa Taylor. Each one celebrates a different city, you can choose from New York, London or Paris, or collect them all.

Santa’s little helpers


(etsy.com)

How cute are these canine Christmas decorations? Made from wood and finished with an adorable ribbon collar and bell, they come in different designs inspired by various dog breeds.

Still got Christmas shopping to do? Don’t panic! Just check out our round up of some of East London’s best independent boutiques.

So you’ve just bought your first home? Congratulations! Now you’re free to really make it your own. But buying a home can be pricey, so maybe you’re thinking you don’t have the budget right now to start decorating? Not necessarily! Here are some great tips and ticks for ways you can start decorating your new place and really make it feel like a home, straight away, without breaking the bank.

Make your accessories into a design feature

Instantly inject a bit of your personality into your home and save on storage space at the same time by making a feature of your accessories. Hang hats or jewellery in a bedroom or hallway – use simple hooks or even hang a brass bar with rope. You could even up-cycle a vintage ladder to make a quirky hanger and shelving unit.

It’s ok to mismatch

Don’t worry if all your furniture doesn’t match – mismatching furniture can look great. Just spend some time thinking about the placement of your furniture, and perhaps bring the style together with cushions that follow a specific trend, or with certain types of plants.

Print your Instagrams

We’re all guilty of it – you’ve got hundreds of photos online but they never see the light of day. Why not print them out and use them to decorate your new home. You could hang them with string and pegs, or just pin them to a cork board. Lots of services online will print your pictures on high quality glossy paper and post them to you for a few pounds. A box of glossy prints would also make a great house warming gift.

Make your ceilings look higher with dual tones

Make your space look bigger and save on paint by painting half way up your walls. Be careful to use complimentary tones (pastel shades work particularly well for this) and always put the darker  or bolder tone on the bottom.

Maximise storage space with creative shelving

Get creative with your shelving! Get hold of some old crates (top tip: car boot sales are a goldmine for these) and position them at opposing angles. This is a really flexible way to make space for plants and ornaments and is very inexpensive.

Upcycle a second-hand sofa

There are loads of ways you can improve the look of a second hand sofa. First of all, if the cushions are sagging, refill them with extra stuffing. This will instantly make the sofa look newer. Add a colourful throw and cushions and consider replacing the sofa’s feet. You can buy stylish wooden sofa legs (very Nordic in style) from most good home improvement shops. They simply screw on.

Display your kitchenware

If you’re unhappy with the style of your kitchen cabinets, why not remove them entirely and replace them with simple shelving, magnetic strips, bars and hanging hooks. There’s no need to hide away your kitchenware, having it on display will make your kitchen look functional and homey.

Make DIY artwork

You can improvise artwork for you home by using the covers of vintage magazines, or trawling through old books for interesting images and illustrations. IKEA sell an excellent range of very inexpensive frames. Then you can build up a great collection of prints over the years.

Read more lifestyle and home improvement articles HERE

As the days are getting shorter and the sun sets earlier in the evening, you might be looking for ways to make your home brighter and lighter. Here are some easy tips for filling your home with light and making your spaces look more sunny and spacious…

Lighten up on furniture

Dark furniture can suck the light out of the brightest rooms. Go for lighter wood tones, or white furniture to make a room feel so much lighter and more spacious. You don’t need to rush out and replace everything you own – why not just add a lick of white paint to your furniture? You’ll see an instant difference.

Give your windows space

Keep the space around your windows clear! Don’t clutter up windowsills with ornaments or put large plants in front of windows. Apart from the obvious (less light getting in through the window in the first place) cluttered windows can create a more cramped feeling in a room and make it look darker than it is.

Go mirror mad

Mirrors serve two great functions: they make a room look bigger by creating an optical illusion of space, and they bounce light around the room, making it look instantly brighter. Adding a large mirror opposite a window or door will really lift the mood of your room.

Get colourful with rugs

Colourful rugs, or even just colourful cushions, can really jazz up a room and make it look brighter. Rugs with bold patterns have the added benefit of hiding small stains and pet hairs too.

More matte

It might seem counter-intuitive, but matte paint on walls can actually make rooms look more light-filled. This is because too much glare from gloss paint will reflect light in odd directions, tricking the eye into thinking the room is more cramped and less bright. The same goes for furnishings and flooring.

Read more home improvement and lifestyle articles HERE

It’s the final of the Great British Bake Off tonight! We’re very excited (are you rooting for Rahul, Ruby or Kim Joy?) And so we’re getting into the spirit with this run down of our favourite bakeries across Hackney. The area has become synonymous with foodies over the past few years and is fast becoming the place to be for tasty treats. Especially when it comes to bakeries. It feels like you can’t turn a corner without walking into an amazing independent bakery – there’s sourdough and croissant’s as far as the eye can see. Cycle there down Regents Canal or walk from Bethnal Green station in ten minutes to work up an appetite then stop at one of these spots for a cake, pastry and a great coffee too.

Pavillion Bakery

With cafes in Victoria Park, Columbia Road, Broadway Market and even Newquay, it feels a bit like Pavillion are taking over. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular. Taking inspiration from Sri Lankan roots, you’ll find spiced variations on baked classics, such as turmeric and cardamon buns and a 100% vegetarian menu in their kitchen in Victoria Park. Amazing sourdough loaves fly off the shelves daily and when it’s gone it’s gone. What’s more, Pavillion pride themselves on staff satisfaction and are a Living Wage employer – so they’re sharing the dough in more ways than one.

Bread Station

The Bread Station, nestled in one of the railway arches along from London Fields station is inspired by traditional Danish baking techniques, including cold rising their bread dough – a slower proving technique which adds more flavour to the bread. They’re open for breakfast and lunch daily, serving great sandwiches, pastries and Caravan coffee – they also have an eat all you like toast bar with toast and spreads.

Victoria Yum

 

The creative bakers at Victoria Yum describe their bakery as “bedsit small”. Based out of a tiny venue in London Fields they still manage to produce amazing layer cakes, cupcakes, brownies and more 7 days a week. They also specialise in ‘free-from’ cakes including amazing vegan and gluten free creations. For special occasions (or not) you can order online too.

Yeast Bakery

Specialisation is often the mark of a great kitchen. Yeast started out with the aim of making the perfect croissant, and nothing else. They used only the best possible ingredients (including French butter from Normandy) to create their butter croissants, pain au chocolat and almond croissants out of their bakery near Broadway Market. And once they’d succeeded in their mission they expanded to lotsof other baked sweet treats and breads.

The Dusty Knuckle

Coming from humble beginnings in a shipping container in Hackney, Max and his childhood friend Rebecca have raised their brainchild the Dusty Knuckle through sheer hard work and determination. Just this year, they opened a permanent cafe in Dalston, serving breakfasts and lunches six days a week. Everything at the Dusty Knuckle is made in-house, including the bread for their incredible sandwiches. They also host baking classes in their little kitchen (and point out that their kitchen is a great place to learn the basics, because it’s probably smaller than your own).

Check out our properties in Hackney HERE 

As the literary saying goes “books do furnish a room” and it’s so true. We love the way a great book collection can make a house into a home and can add style and panache to your living spaces.

Here are some ways you can transform your beaten up paperbacks, chunky dictionaries and cookbooks into ornamental essentials.

Make a statement shelving wall

Add an amazing amount of storage space to your home, and prevent your living area from getting too cluttered by dedicating a whole wall to storage. You can use the shelving for books as well as an entertainment system, plants and candles. The interesting aesthetic of statement shelving will also draw the eye through the room, helping to make the room appear more spacious.

Create a rainbow bookcase

Organise your books by colour to create a stylish and tidy bookcase. This is a great way to make even scruffy paperbacks look like a style statement.

Have a cosy reading nook

Don’t have spacious open plan rooms that would suit large scale shelving? Not a problem. Create dedicated library areas in smaller rooms by tucking shelves into corners and adding a comfy chair of two.

Get some quirky book ends

What better way to transform your books into ornamental must-haves than by adding some stylish and unusual book ends. You can get some really nice ones from a number of high street homewares stores. The example pictured is from Anthropologie. You can also buy some really unusual book ends (including ones that double up as planters or lights) from online marketplace Etsy.

Don’t forget about coffee table books

Coffee table books can be a great talking point and add a hint of sophistication to your home, artfully arranged they can act like a kind of centre piece to your living area. Just don’t pile them too high!

Floating bookcases are a great space saver

Floating bookcases, which fix only to the wall, free up floor space and give more options, which is especially handy in smaller rooms. Fix floating bookshelves above seating or beds to optimise space and you can always add more later if you need more storage.

Watch this space for more interior design and home improvement tips or read another post HERE 

It seems like summer is officially on its way out, but don’t despair. Autumn is the time of cosy jumpers, hot chocolate, and curling up for a serious Netflix binge. It’s also a great time for making home improvements (because let’s face it, you’ll probably be hanging out at home a bit more). Here are some top tips to make your home your favourite place to be this Autumn…

Warm up your lighting

Make your living space cosy with filament light bulbs that emit a softer, warmer light. These bulbs can be bought in most good hardware stores and large home improvement shops as well as online from loads of independent retailers. They aren’t very expensive and they last a really long time. Or, you could get some fairy lights and string them around your windows, sofa or side tables for a snug glow (they’re not just for Christmas, honest!)

Autumnal wreaths

Impress your neighbours with a bright autumnal wreath. You can buy them pre-made in flower markets and from homewares shops, but why not get crafty one afternoon and create your own. There are even wreath making workshops in London, such as this one that includes tea and snacks.

Add a little sparkle

Bronze and gold interiors are really in this autumn. Go all out with throw cushions or tableware or just add a hint of sparkle with bronze or gold candle holders or place mats. This year all the major homewares shops from Ikea to John Lewis have a great selection of sparkly things for your home.

Fall furs

Add a bit of Nordic style to your home with fur blankets, throws and cushions. Make your home study a bit more comfy or make your living room a Hygge dream. But be warned, you might never want to leave the house again.

Go rustic

Rustic simplicity can be incorporated into your home in lots of different ways whether through simple wooden furniture or cast iron or clay kitchenware. The great thing about rustic homewares is they look great even in minimalist homes, creating a cool contrast. Give it a try.

Watch this space for more home and garden tips and tricks this autumn and winter.

We love amazing homewares. There’s nothing quite like having a home to call your own and being able to find fun, unusual and beautiful things to fill it with. In London, we’re so lucky to have so many talented independent makers who produce unique items: things you genuinely can’t find anywhere else. Here are a few of our favourites…

Hokolo

Hokolo, led by designer Jen Taylor, is all about bright and bold patterns and colours. Hokolo’s fun designs include stackable ceramic mugs, throw cushions and crockery as well as furniture and fabrics. And they sell gift cards, just saying.

20 Seventh Letter

April Christopher first got into print design while studying at Nottingham Trent University. Now based in London, her brand 20Seventh Letter is all about style and luxury. All materials are sourced in the UK and April’s unique prints are all made in London. Her homeware products range from cushions to wall paper, but she also makes little luxuries too including cute coin purses and make-up bags.

Olive Jennings

We love the simple functional Scandi-inspired designs of Olive Jennings. As well as durable furniture, such as this side table made from plywood and metal, she also works with concrete to make industrial styled beautiful small homewares including coasters and hanging planters.

London Cloth Company

The London Cloth Company is London’s first micro-mill. They make high quality materials created on restored shuttle looms from the 1870s. Most of their work is bespoke but they offer a small range of blankets and wool by the meter on their website. And if you’re on a bit of a budget (or just looking for a little house warming gift for somebody) they also sell mugs featuring prints of some of their classic wool blends.

The Botanical Boys


The Botanical Boys are Ben and Darren, who got into terrariums big time after moving into a garden flat in East London in 2009. They transformed the dilapidated garden of the flat into a thing of beauty – gaining attention from national newspapers along the way. Now, they create gardens on a mini-scale: terrariums, which mean anyone can enjoy plants in their house whether they have outside space or not. As well as selling complete terrariums on their website, they also run workshops so you can learn how to do it yourself.

The London Refinery

Lucy Heale uses all natural essential oils and soy wax to make luxurious candles inspired by moods. Scent blends including ‘Inspire’ and ‘Relax’ are available in different sizes. Based out of Ealing, everything at the London Refinery is hand made and they run candle making workshops around East London – you can even hire them for private events.