A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

5 Ideas for a Reading Corner

One of the predicted trends for 2017 is a reading corner or nook, a place to quietly retreat to with a book and perhaps a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Maybe there will be a log fire roaring or a pretty view out of a nearby window? Here are six ideas to help you plan your reading space.

Bright and natural

5 Ideas for a Reading Corner

There’s a lovely coastal feel to this reading nook, the pale blues, the jars of shells and driftwood on the wall all connote escaping to a seaside cottage or beach hut. A great lamp is an essential and this one makes a stunning feature. It’s lovely to have lots of books and greenery close by too, there’s a real outside in feel here don’t you think?


5 Ideas for a Reading Corner

Its all about the chair here, it’s perfectly designed for reclining with a good book. The throw adds a Nordic feel. A lovely undistracted, calm and very zen way to appreciate the words on the page. How lovely to be able to look up every now and again and admire the view, the idea of being by a window appeals, what do you think?


5 Ideas for a Reading Corner

This one is intended as a nursery reading nook, although the whites and that gorgeous throw would look great in a living room or bedroom too. It’s so tranquil, and given the amount of time spent soothing and nursing a baby, it’s the perfect place to build a really cosy reading nook. Blankets are essential for night times and lots of surfaces close by to place things near to hand.


5 Ideas for a Reading Corner

This slightly battered vintage leather armchair looks so at home surrounded by logs and a lovely tall lampshade. It’s simple but cosy, plus a brilliant way to store logs – you will always have one handy to throw on the fire if a book gets too unputdownable. It feels a lot like retreating into a forest cabin away from the modern world and all its digital distractions. It also reminds me of Roald Dahl’s desk, he used to almost barricade himself into his writing chair.

A little bit of what you fancy

5 Ideas for a Reading Corner

Chairs like books are special, so why not pick one that takes you to other worlds the moment you sit in it? The whole room has a serene feel, perfect for getting lost in a book, I wonder what kinds of books this armchair owner would read. Luxury travel coffee table books?

One for the kids

6 ideas for a reading nook!

Why not build them a reading den, all you need is a couple of chairs and some blankets, or a table. Or for a more permanent feature, why not buy a play tent and install it in the corner of a child’s room, with lots of cushions and throws to snuggle under.

it is interesting to see some similar themes, stand out lamps, great throw, lovely view, and a sense of bringing the outside in.

What would your dream reading nook be? 

Image credits, Shutterstock: Cozy CornerYoung Woman ReadingVintage Brown Leather Armchairsofa living roomfather and son reading

How to clean a house fast

Cleaning the house can be a real pain, but if you take a logical approach and some tips from those who’ve done it professionally, you can clean a house fast, with a sense of achievement that won’t leave you dreading it anywhere near as much next time.


Preparing to clean a house fast

People who visualise the end result of cleaning and the impact it will have on them find cleaning much less stressful than those who struggle to do this. If you really struggle to find the motivation maybe a photo of your clean home on the fridge could help!

Start at the top of the house so that you bring down the stuff you don’t need. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment as you leave rooms tidy behind you and naturally encourages you to push things you don’t need out of the house instead of back upstairs.

Have boxes or bags handy, one for rubbish, one for recycling/charity and one for clutter that needs to go downstairs. The laundry basket works well for this.

Have a decent box for lugging cleaning stuff around the house, having the right kit and a means to move it quickly makes all the difference.


Cleaning a bedroom fast

Clear all the clutter from the room or straighten it, simply straightening cushions, magazines on tables and objects on shelves can make a huge difference.

Clean the windows if you have time, it makes a big difference! Water and newspaper or spray and kitchen roll is all you need. Or use a steam cleaner.

Make the bed, or change the sheets now if you are planning to, as this makes more dust.
Dust all the surfaces. Use a microfibre cloth to gather up as much dust as possible.  A long feather duster is perfect for picture frames, ceilings and mirrors.

Vacuum. Start at the corner furthest from the door and back yourself out of the room.
Move on taking anything that needs to be in other rooms of the house with you to distribute. Better still, have a box for each member of the family and get them to sort it.


Cleaning a bathroom fast

A chambermaid could do this in under 10 minutes, but as a homeowner somehow it can take so much longer. It really doesn’t need to!

Put toilet cleaner in toilets and leave it to work. If you can do this before you start the whole house.

Wipe cleaner over the sink, bath and tiles/shower surround and leave to work.

Tackle the toilet. Scrub the inside and then wipe the outside, tank and seat. Use a disposable cloth, or a cloth you’ve finished using in the kitchen, and throw away.

Wash down the sink, tiles/glass and bath and polish with a clean microfibre cloth.

Vacuum up hair and dust first, then mop the floor, working from back to door.


Cleaning a Living Room fast

Clear the clutter and plump the cushions.

Dust the surfaces from high to low, working yourself around the room.

Vacuum yourself out of the room dreaming about a sit down here later with a cup of tea!


Cleaning a Kitchen fast

Cream cleaner or other suitable cleaner on the over top and any sticky marks on surfaces.
Clean up the dishes and/or load the dishwasher.

Tidy up any clutter and put in a basket to be taken to other rooms in the house.

Clean all the surfaces, wipe down cupboards, fridge, oven, microwave. Leave the sink until last so you ave somewhere to rinse the cloth.

Vacuum or brush the floor and then mop from back to door.


Get the kettle on and congratulate yourself! Maybe even take a photo to look back on next time you can’t face cleaning.

Image credit – Dad and Daughter Cleaning, Shutterstock

Get Inspired: Travel and Interior Blogs

travel and interior bloggers

Some of the best interior inspiration comes from stepping out of our own homes, into public spaces: cafes, museums, restaurants, hotels and holiday accommodation. When all the personal clutter is stripped back it is easier to see what is needed and what works. A weekend in a new space gives us a chance to experiment with what living in a very different space might be like.

If you are planning your next holiday and thinking you’d like to find somewhere to fuel your need for interior inspiration, look no further. I’ve handpicked some blogs who like to highlight travel destinations with inspiring interiors. Continue reading

Quirky Cupboard Ideas

Cupboards are easily overlooked and ignored, you can take them for granted as receptacles for stuff. But apart from being practical they can add such a splash of fun and colour to your home, and make a big impact – like this gorgeously rustic 16 drawer sideboard. There are some lovely cupboard ideas out there.

Cupboards are easily overlooked and ignored, you can take them for granted as receptacles for stuff. But apart from being practical they can add such a splash of fun and colour to your home, and make a big impact - like this gorgeously rustic sideboard. There are some lovely cupboard ideas out there.

There is so much you can do to change or restore a tired looking cupboard. I loved upcycling an old DVD chest of drawers in our hallway by painting it Venetian blue and adding little blue globe handles.

Currently there is a real trend for mismatched and colourful drawers. They look great, but they also reflect how we live our lives.  One size really does not fit all. Continue reading

Through the Keyhole: Inside Highclere Castle, Location of Downton Abbey

This has to be one of the grandest Through the Keyhole’s we have had at A Residence. Highclere Castle, location of Downton Abbey, is also a home that is open to the public should this tour pique your interest!

Through the Keyhole: Inside Highclere Castle, Location of Downton Abbey

The castle’s history is fascinating, the current Earl’s great Grandmother turned Highclere into a war hospital with Kitchner’s permission. His great grandfather discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb, so the house also has an Egyptian exhibition which tells the story and includes many incredible replica objects.

Highclere Castle was the location of Downton Abbey for over 6 years, with filming occupying 13 hour days from February to July. Two members of castle staff were always on hand to supervise the use of the property and it’s delicate contents during filming, one of their tasks involved continually resetting the castle’s clocks to maintain continuity. Continue reading

5 pretty plants for indoor hanging baskets

It’s cool to hang your plants out kids! Macrame indoor hanging baskets with spider plants totally take us back to the 70s, but Bloomingville have given them a cool new look with simple beads, trend lover’s copper and Pantone colours of the year blues and pinks. Let it all hang out!


What to plant in them?

Spider plants are having a renaissance, although they never went out of fashion in my Dad’s house. Here are some other great plants to put in your hanging baskets, if like me, you like the idea but you’re not quite as green fingered as your parents.

Succulents will look really sweet in planters like this and have the advantage of being able to survive if left hanging a little long. Some of them have lovely trails too.

English Ivy – perfect for trailing down and one of the best air purifying plants you can introduce.

Peperomia ‘Isabelle’ – is a cute little pepper plant with tiny leaves that provides a never ending, ever growing blanket of greenery.

String of beads is just that, lush strings of little green ball like leaves that trail down artfully. If you are after something unique and eye catching this is the one for you.

Browse more indoor hanging baskets at Wayfair.

Bring the Outdoors In and Get Happier with Tree Wallpaper

Trees have been proven to make us happier, tree wallpaper reminds us to get outdoors, and who knows, perhaps the positive effects will still rub off?

Trees are incredibly powerful to our wellbeing – researchers have discovered people who have tree views leave hospital quicker, people who live near trees are happier and people who spend time in trees build more natural killer cells. Incorporating nature into our homes isn’t quite the same as being in real trees, but it’s a great reminder to get outdoors, and who knows, perhaps the positive effects will still rub off?

Wallpaper is a great way to add some trees, bringing the outside in is a trend that is never going to go out of fashion. There is a selection of tree wallpapers here, with a selection with something for every kind of tree lover below. Continue reading

Recipe for a perfectly simple Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

When I was little we would buy one small box of fireworks, it would be stored in a Jacob’s cracker tin and brought out with great reverence by my Dad on Bonfire night. My brother and I would take it in turns to choose a firework. Catherine Wheels were always my favourite.

This year we journeyed back to the Bonfire Nights of my childhood, with the addition of a bonfire, it felt perfect, so I thought I would share it. I often find this time of year can feel a little busy and worrying about making it perfect can over complicate it and take away from the fun of it all, so hopefully this will be a reminder to myself this time next year, that the ingredients of a perfect bonfire night cost less than a tenner and only took a quick trip to the shop. Continue reading

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