When I grow up I want to be an interior designer…

When you are at school you are taught various subjects and then based upon those you are good at, you normally decide what direction you would like your career to go in… 

Well, in an ideal world anyway. I always think that you are told about careers that require a uniform when you’re at school and not about all the other jobs that you may be more well suited to. 

I really wish I had known what I wanted to be when I was at school however I don’t feel like it’s ever too late to make your dream career in to a reality. 

For me, that dream is interior design. I remember saying when I was younger that I wanted to be an interior designer and now my 32 year old self is gutted I never pursued it. 

A few weeks ago I was invited to an Interior design workshop hosted by the very talented Lauren Gilberthorpe. Lauren has been an interior designer for over 10 years and has a fountain of knowledge that I had the pleasure of receiving. 

The workshop was held at the beautiful Barn at Upcote in Cheltenham. There were around 20 women who attended and as soon as we arrived we were all mingling and sharing our interior related stories and experiences.


Lauren kicked the day off with presenting us with a work book.


Before the workshop, she asked us to have a room we wanted to design in our minds, along with some measurements. As I have pretty much completed all the rooms in our house, I decided to use a room in my parents new house that they will soon be moving in to. 


We learnt how to draw to scale using a special ruler with different scale sizes on each side. This part didn’t really get me excited until I started to draw and I realised it was easier than I anticipated. I quite enjoy maths so combining that with drawing a room was quite enjoyable. Next we made scale drawings of furniture on separate peieces of paper that we cut out allowing us to move them around the room. I didn’t realise the importance of this step until now and will be helping my parents to plan every room in their new home using this new skill. 


Next we learnt about the colour wheel and how to put colours together. We were told all about shades, tones and hues and picked colours from the wheel to group together using different rules. 



We were then served the most delicious lunch while we chatted and reflected on what we had learnt during the morning…



After lunch we touched upon lighting and it’s importance, again, another thing I hadn’t really given much thought in to, but after Lauren’s workshop, it will now be one of the first things I plan when designing a room. We also spoke about paint and how to use it to highlight or conceal areas of the room. 


Next we designed our own mood boards. I had my parents new house in mind (which is an old station ticket office (cool huh?!)) but also chose what I was most drawn to. Lauren scattered hundreds of images across a table and asked us to collate a series of these images to create our moodboards. The images could be of anything (not necessarily interior related) but anything we liked. It could represent lifestyle, colour or texture. All of the images together should help guide you to what you want your finished room to look and feel like. 

This was my moodboard…


The day was packed full of amazing tips and priceless knowledge from Lauren about designing a home. 

If I knew what I know now when I said “when I grow up I want to be an interior designer” then I would have followed that path. However at 32 I’m still young and feel fortunate to have fallen in love with a hobby that will hopefully one day become my career. 

If you are interested in attending Lauren’s next workshop in October please click here for more info. 

Until next time 

Hayley 
*this is a sponsored post but all opinions and views are my own. 

30 things to expect in your 30s


I’m 32 and since turning 30 I genuinely haven’t felt happier. I’m content with who I am and what I have achieved and it feels great. There is however a lot of stigma around turning 30 and lots of people fear it. If you are in your 20s then here is a list of 30 things to expect in your 30s, if you are already in your 30s then you should be able to relate…

  1. You tend to give less of a shit about what people think of you than you did in your twenties, and even lesser of a shit than you did in your teens.
  2. Your wallet will contain a national trust membership card. 
  3. You will also display a NT membership sticker in your car because well… (see point 1) 
  4. You will evaluate your current job choice and find yourself taking an online career quiz you found on Facebook. 
  5. Garden centres are considered acceptable places to socialise.
  6. Because of point 5 you will also start to take an interest in gardening and house plants. 
  7. When someone suggests a night out, your first thought is the hangover. 
  8. You have more options when shopping as Marks and Spencer and Debenhams start to become appealing. 
  9. You find yourself saying ‘look at that view’ 
  10. When you buy hair dye you look for ‘100% grey coverage’
  11. A night out is a meal at a restaurant and home by 9pm.
  12. You take an interest in interest rates.
  13. You find yourself googling Botox prices.
  14. You realise that you are now too old to wear most of the stuff in Topshop. 
  15. You think the 90s was like 10 years ago.
  16. You have no idea who is number one in the charts. 
  17. Your friends have decreased in quantity but increased in quality.
  18. You’ll discover a new found respect for your parents.
  19. And even find you have things in common (see point 2 and 5)
  20. No that is not a shadow on your upper lip… 😳
  21. You’ll find teenagers really annoying. 
  22. You’ll moan about your bad back / neck / body part almost daily. 
  23. You’ll be really happy when you get ID’d for alcohol. 
  24. And if you don’t you’ll find yourself doing point 13.
  25. If you’ve had kids you will no longer be able to bounce on a trampoline. 
  26. Tea and coffee will be your main source of water. 
  27. You’ll swap bikinis for tankinis.
  28. You will feel sick when you find out you were in senior school when your co workers were BORN. 
  29. The weather app is the first thing you check in the morning. 
  30. You read all the reviews before you buy anything! 

Now some of you might think that being in your thirties sounds damn right boring, and if my 21 year old self had read this list I probably wouldn’t have made it to 30. However, rest assure because I can honestly say being in your thirties is amazing, well for me it is anyway. 

Until next time 
Hayley x

Afternoon Tea at Charlton House…

Charlton House in Shepton Mallet, Somerset very kindly invited myself and a friend to join them for afternoon tea and use of the spa facilities as a thank you for the blog post I wrote about our stay there for my birthday in January. In case you missed it, you can read that post here.

I decided I would like to take my mum along with me for her birthday as well as both being overdue a bit of a pamper day. 

I have only ever been to Charlton House in the winter so I was looking forward to being able to laze in the sun and pretend I’m on holiday for a few hours. It just so happens we ended up going on the hottest day we have had this year. 

After I dropped the boys off at school I picked my mum up and we made our 90 minute journey to Somerset. 

When we arrived I studied the decor as I always do. It was nice to see it all in bright sunlight. I am in complete awe of the beautiful Persian rugs scattered around the hotel and spa and after our last visit I was so inspired I purchased my very own one! 


We were greeted by Lewis, the reception manager who was extremely attentive. He saw us out to the patio area and had two glasses of prosecco sent out within minutes of us sitting down. 


My mum and I were feeling slightly peckish so ordered a light snack to keep us going until we had our afternoon tea. 


Once we had refuelled we headed over to the Moroccan themed spa. 


We were handed robes, towels and flip flops and shown to the changing rooms. 

Once changed, we got straight in the hydrotherapy pool which was as warm as a bath. The pool leads out to an outside area, where you can find sun beds, tables and a hot tub. 


After a couple of hours in the pool and soaking up the sun we got changed and headed to the restaurant for our afternoon tea. 


Our jaws hit the floor as the waitress brought over a selection of sandwiches, scones and pastries. They had even gone to the effort of decorating the plate with ‘Happy Birthday’ for my mum. 

Edit


The sandwiches were lovely and the scones were delicious but I was in absolute heaven when I tried the chocolate eclair. 

The attention to detail was spot on and we felt spoilt for choice with the variety we were served. 

Before we departed Lewis agreed to let me have a nosey in their garden lodge accommodation. 

When the doors opened I knew this is where I wanted to stay next time we visit. 


All the rooms have a similar feel but what I love are the little touches that allow you to distinguish between the rooms and make them unique in their own right. 


All of the rooms we have stayed in at Charlton House have been breathtaking but the Garden Lodge has to be my favourite. 


What makes it even more spectacular is its views of the grounds.



My mum and I had a wonderful day at Charlton House, the only downside was having to leave. 

I can’t wait to visit again and absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a tranquil retreat.

Until next time 

Hayley x

How to transform a room in 60 minutes…

As you know I love a makeover, I just can’t get enough of seeing a room or piece of furniture transform from something average to something wonderful, packed with personality and unique touches. 

I left our utility room in its bland, tasteless state for years because I thought quite frankly that ‘you can’t polish a turd’ especially in a rental anyway. But how wrong was I?! 

A company called Pixers got in touch with me to see if I’d like to try out some of their Pixerstick designs. I have to say, choosing the designs was tough. There are so many to choose from I had to screen shot my favourites and then go back and look over them. In the end I chose a striking leaf design for the worktops and a monochrome geometric for the cupboard doors.  

Before it arrived I was nervous about applying it, but I really shouldn’t have been because it was so easy and quick too! 

My utility room before using Pixerstick.
My utility room after using Pixerstick.

After the results I saw from using Pixerstick for all surfaces in my utility room I was keen to try it elsewhere. 

I saw they did fridge designs which really caught my attention, they have designs specifically for fridges but you can also choose designs from their other ranges for your fridge too. 

I chose a marble design and I absolutely love it. Again, it was so easy to apply, if you get any bubbles you just lift the area back up and smooth it down again. So easy. 

Lastly, I promised my eldest son Rex that I would decorate his bedroom for him. I knew I wanted to use Pixerstick self adhesive wallpaper on the walls so I let Rex choose the design. He opted for arrows so I thought it would be perfect to do a cowboy and Indian themed room. 

When the arrow design arrived it came in 3 strips, large enough to cover one wall. 

I put the first strip on upside down so had to peel it off and turn it around. As you can imagine, it got stuck to itself and I worried I had ruined it. However, I just unstuck it and smoothed it back on to the wall, you would never know, it looks perfect. 


So proud of myself as I managed to transform his bedroom using Pixerstick in around an hour and all by myself! πŸ’ͺ🏼 

You can find this arrow design here.

As well as the wall I used a grey and white design for Rex’s wardrobe door and chest of drawers. 



You can find the grey and white design here.
Pixers have very generously offered a whopping 45% off of any of their designs for my followers using code ‘Hayley’ – valid until 19th June. Please have a look at their website because I can assure you, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

Until next time 

Hayley 

*this is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. 

Inject some colour…

As adults we have to think carefully about what we wear (some more than others) whether it’s finding something that fits or colours that suit us, but children on the other hand… children can wear anything!! 

As you probably know I have two boys, Rex 4 and Mack 3. I always swore when I was pregnant with Mack that I’d never dress them the same but I have totally gone back on my word because I do sometimes and quite frankly they just look so cute in the same outfit. 

Recently a company called Tootsa got in touch with me and asked if the boys would like to try out some items from their new Amazonian range. 

Obviously the first thing I did was popped over to their website and when I saw the gorgeous colourful clothes I was immediately on board! 

If you haven’t heard of Tootsa then they are an award winning unisex brand for children. Their kid’s clothing and accessories are stylish, practical, colourful, hardwearing and designed to be worn by both girls and boys alike. How cool is that? 

Tootsa MacGinty is a young company where everyone is passionate about what they do. They take pride in sourcing the best fabrics, getting the right fit and designing graphics and motifs in colours that work well together. They work closely with their manufacturer in China and their small family run factories in Portugal.

When their clothes arrived the boys were so excited, as was I! I mean, is there anything cuter than boys in dungarees? 


One awesome thing about these dungerees is not only are they amazing quality but they have a detachable ‘bib’ so they can wear them as shorts too. 


I adore the prints within the Amazonian range, and had a really tough time choosing my favourites. In the end I asked the boys to choose their own. Rex went for toucans and Mack chose frogs! 

One thing that is so clever is that the colours of the clothes have been so well thought out so that they are suitable for girls and boys, as well as being eye catchingly fun and stylish. All of the items in the range compliment each other too, so you can have fun mixing and matching. 

As well as the dungerees and T shirts we chose some colourful shorts for the boys to wear on hot summer days. 



They loved the designs on them and said they are really comfortable. 

When it comes to children nobody should be scared of colour, the brighter the better I say! 

On Thursday 8th June, its Amazonian day and I will be sharing an exclusive discount code over on my Instagram page @iamhayleystuart to celebrate the launch of Tootsa’s new Amazonian range. If you have a holiday booked or need to get your children some new summer clothes then you should definitely take advantage. They do some seriously cute rain coats too! 

Check out Toota’s Instagram page and give them a follow to see more of their gorgeous childrensware. 

Until next time 

Hayley x

*this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are my own. 

Paint everything…

Yesterday I attended an Annie Sloan workshop with a local small business called La di da Interiors in Andover, Hampshire. 

I have used a lot of Annie Sloan paint in the past and love how easy it is to apply. I knew you could paint furniture without sanding it down and that you could paint fabric with it too, but I wasn’t prepared to learn just how versitile Annie Sloan chalk paint actually is. 

Did you know you can dye fabric with it? No? Well neither did I! And it is something I am ‘dying’ to try! 


Steph from La di da told us all about how and why Annie decided to embark on a new career in not only designing her very own paint, but creating various techniques too. 

So not only can you paint furniture using her paint, you can paint walls, cupboards, floors, plastic, metal, fabric and even leather, including shoes and handbags. I don’t think anything is out of bounds when it comes to chalk paint if I’m honest.

Upon arrival we were all give a plank of wood to practise different techniques with. Steph demonstrated how to get a smooth modern finish, a textured finish and wash effects. 


We admired all of the different brushes in the Annie Sloan range, which are worth the investment because they really do make the job easier.



We also had a look at paint charts and learnt how you can achieve any colour you like by mixing the paints together. 


Steph mixed a red and blue to create a gorgeous bold purple which we slapped on to our boards. After that had dried we applied a white wash over the top and everyone was astonished at how well the white covered the deep purple. We then used Annie Sloan’s own sand paper to distress the white, allowing the purple to show through. 

After we had experimented with different paint effects we had a look at wax and lacquer. 


There are four different types of Annie Sloan waxes. Clear wax, white wax, dark wax and black wax. Something I didn’t know was that you can make coloured waxes using the paint too. 


The lacquer is typically used as a faster way to protect the paint, or used on large areas such as a lot of kitchen cupboards. 

I had such a fun time at the workshop and was lucky enough to share the experience with some really lovely ladies. 

If you live locally to Hampshire and are interested in learning how to paint your own furniture then I can absolutely recommend booking a workshop with La di da Interiors.

You can also buy Annie Sloan paint and some amazing homeware and gifts on their website. If you are on Instagram you can follow them here.

Until next time 
Hayley x 

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own. 

My Porch makeover…

A porch is a funny thing isn’t it… ours is what I’d describe as a door that leads to a small room that you most definitely could not swing a cat in, that leads to another door. The front door. 

My pet hate is when delivery drivers knock on the porch door instead of the front door because I’m very rarely able to hear it. When I do finally come to the door, they are stood there like a lemon. It’s like a porch is a sacred place and visitors aren’t really sure if they are allowed in it. 

I guess it does have its practicalities. You can store wellies in there, raincoats, umbrellas and most importantly it provides a dry shelter for what I like to call ‘happy post’! 

Our front door was looking a bit tired so I thought I’d treat it to some farrow and ball love and whilst I was there, spruce up the porch as well!

This is what our door looked like before… 


The porch was nothing but a magnolia spiders paradise and a couple of empty shelves. 

The middle of our door has a stained glass window, so when choosing a colour I had to take in to consideration the colours in the glass. 

I decided to go for farrow and ball Manor House Gray. 


But first I had to do the boring bit and sand and prime the door. 



Once the primer had dried I applied my first coat of grey. 


The door took three coats of paint… 

I’m thrilled with the end colour result but even more thrilled with my new bee knocker from The Door Knocker Company


Isn’t she gorgeous…


The Door Knocker Company have some amazing door knockers mostly made in the UK using traditional forging and casting methods. 
The designs date from the Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian periods and are complimented by contemporary, simple designs and cottage door knockers. 


Whilst I was waiting for door to dry I gave the porch a lick of paint and added some greenery. 




Let me know what you think in the comments or on my Instagram page @iamhayleystuart

Until next time 

Hayley x