Sunday, 25 September 2016

Adriatic Amnesia

We  only got home the week before last, but after a weekend nursing a cold, our summer break in Croatia has now faded away, like my tanned skin, to a distant memory, a dream where I can only recall jumbled snapshots: taxi boats to rugged islands, the chill of the sea as I took my first dip, the two fat cats that greeted me at our hotel, terracotta rooftops and narrow alleyways. My amnesia is, I think, a result of feeling truly rested - an unfamiliar sensation for me, but a much-needed one. Days reading and drawing on the beach blended into each other; before I knew it, the unfamiliar became familiar, and for a while I kidded myself that this new normal of sun, sea and good food was how it has always been. Until next time, Croatia.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hello, Old Friend

It's been almost nine months to the day since I last posted on this little blog. I've been really touched by the number of sweet messages, emails and comments I received over that time, some of you checking I'm still alive (!), some of you wondering when I'd start blogging again, if at all. The truth is, I needed a break - a break from my computer screen, from taking and editing photos, from writing, from emails - and time to focus on my "real" life. The hiatus wasn't planned at all, but the amount of time and effort that goes into each post was starting to wear on me and I just wasn't enjoying it anymore. Combined with 12 hour days at work, and a never-ending to do list, I decided, subconsciously I suppose, to un-complicate my life - and it's been so great. I've spent this year decorating the house, landscaping our garden, travelling, focusing on my day job, learning pottery, spending time with family and friends, wedding planning (the Texan and I finally got engaged!)... 

But I have also missed this little space, and my lovely readers, a lot, and in recent weeks it has been calling back to me. So, I've decided to start blogging again, albeit probably a lot less frequently than before. Life is about balance, and that's what I want to strive for in my life.

I thought how better to start blogging again than with a tour of my living room. I never shared it with you when we first moved into the house last July, but in any case it has taken the last 14 months to get it to how I want it - the most recent update being the removal of the ugly beige carpet and restoring the original Georgian floorboards (which I'm so pleased with!). Most of our bits and bobs have been acquired slowly over the years, and they have featured in previous house tours on Take Courage so might be familiar to you. The fun part has been making it all work for the space rather than buying new things - I'm constantly moving stuff around the house, rearranging and reconfiguring until I feel satisfied that each object or piece of furniture has found its proper home. No doubt things will move around again soon in my little living room, but for now I'm quite happy with how it has come together! 

The Turkish kilim rugs came with us from our previous flat - the vibrant colours really lift the room, and they look amazing on the floorboards - mine all came from Woveny, but you can also find loads on Etsy and eBay.

I never ever thought I'd be able to snag an Atelier Stella plant pot - they sell out in seconds! - but then my best pal spotted one in a shop in Brighton.  I could hardly believe my luck!

The wall colour is Bone China Blue Mid by Little Greene Paint Company - it's the perfect shade of blue and very relaxing after a long day in the office.

I've been so impressed with TK Maxx in recent months - I've found so many nice bits and pieces for the house, including the embroidered cushions on the sofa, for half the price of most high street shops.  I'm always having a nosey in there and finding things I didn't realise I needed!

I've been taking pottery lessons since June and I'm slowly improving!  I made the little turquoise bowl and the green bud vase above - I think I'm going to have quite a collection as I continue learning over the next year.

I visited Charleston House a couple of years ago and absolutely fell in love with the Bloomsbury Group.  I wish I had enough pennies to collect paintings by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, but alas I have a mortgage to pay!  But I thought this unsigned painting, which I found on eBay and which is of a similar style, was rather nice so I negotiated a knock-down buy it now price and it now sits pride of place above my sofa.

I found this sofa at Argos of all places!

I've invested in some amazing William Morris wallpaper and the plan is to use it to paper the wall that runs along the staircase (just waiting for a free day to do it!) - the staircase is in the middle of the house, so you should be able to catch a peek of the wallpaper from every room.

So there you have it - a 360 degree tour of my living room! If you have any questions about where I found various bits and pieces, then please feel free to leave a comment and I'll let you know.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


Just three days to go! Are you all set? We've got the turkey in the fridge, the presents under the tree and now a wreath on our door so we're good to go in the Take Courage household. There's something particularly special about Christmas this year - it will be our very first Christmas in our little home and I feel so lucky. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

P.S. You can see more of the wreath I made over on the Laura Ashley blog.