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.

Reflecting on what makes a happy home #happyandhome

Rope mirrors from Wayfair UK with printers block reflected

What makes a happy home? It’s a quest I have been on for a few months now, I’ve looked at homes in different countries, considered my own home, I have loved reading other people’s posts about finding the happy in their homes. My curiosity has now got the better of me,  happy homes has become a research project. In case you missed it, I’ve moved Happy and Home to Tuesday. Continue reading

#happyandhome is moving to Tuesday

HappyAndHome 6

Just a note to say #happyandhome will be moving to Tuesdays from now on, Monday is always such a busy day, it makes sense to move it a day.  My quest to find out what makes us happy at home continues tomorrow!

Bloggers – if you have a post full of love of things happy and home – a happy moment at home, gardens, crafts, food, interiors, home makeovers, entertaining family and friends, relaxing or enjoying life at home – do come and link up a post tomorrow.

Have you tried switching it off and on again? #happyandhome


Rooms Made For You Magnetic Plaster Office Wall Reveal

On Friday night I whisked the kids home from school, gave them free reign over the telly and went back to my computer to meet a deadline. Just as I was nearing completion, an almighty wail arose from my youngest, big fat sobs and proper tears. Fearing he had hurt himself, or another goldfish had died, I ran to see what was happening.

There he stood in the hallway, iPad dangling limply at his side, head raised to the heavens screaming. Continue reading

When you feel overwhelmed, look skywards #happyandhome

If you ever feel overwhelmed or stuck I recommend opening the back door and staring at the sky. I can’t take credit for the idea, my friend Jess suggested it to me last week. Everything was breaking, my to list was bulging and I was getting nowhere fast.

My office overlooks the garden. While I battled with failing wifi, an overloaded computer and an unhappy website, outside the garden was being transformed before my eyes. Paying a gardener was the best decision. I had managed to transform half the garden in March, but since then it had been staring back at me weed covered and forlorn.

Last year our friend and garden designer Pip transformed the space for us – creating new borders and sinking the trampoline and I had vowed I wasn’t going to let her fabulous work disappear again. Continue reading

How do you settle home after a holiday? #happyandhome

Hello! Hope you had a lovely bank holiday? Thanks to all who have been linking up with Happy and Home, it really is a lovely source of inspiration and warmth. I need that, after a month of travel, coming home isn’t quite what I expected. I don’t know how you feel after being away or on holiday, how do you settle home after a holiday?

For me it’s wonderful to be home with my family again, but home itself feels confined, I pace about like a caged tiger who can’t get comfortable, after having had the world to roam around, four walls feels so restrictive. After living out of a small bag, having a house full of stuff is maddening. Continue reading

Fabulous Lighting Inspiration From Madrid #happyandhome

This week’s happy and home comes from Madrid, where I spent the weekend celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday. What an incredible city, the colours and energy hit you straight away, the escalator at Madrid airport is like entering a whole other dimension of home possibilities. Madrid is full of great value, fantastic little bars and eateries, many with the most brilliant contemporary decor.

I don’t know about you, but when all my home inspiration starts to come from things I read about, I can lose interest in interiors rapidly.  Madrid was just what I needed, to see stunning design ideas come alive. After Iceland the weekend before last, I had a busy three days at home painting and finishing my office for the magnetic office wall project, which I am very close to sharing the final reveal for. The one thing I don’t have is a lampshade, and having spent hours online hunting, seeing some amazing real lampshades In Madrid made me smile and renewed my enthusiasm. Continue reading

Icelandic Home Style #happyandhome

I still haven’t been in my own home for much more than a couple of days in the last week. So this week Happy and Home comes from Iceland where I have been lucky enough to participate in a gourmet food press trip to Hotel Ranga and meet old friends who live here.

I met two Icelandic girls in 1997 when I worked as a chambermaid at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, and have kept in touch and remained friends all these years – it was wonderful to see how our lives had moved on in nearly 20 years, and I’m still fascinated by tourism and hotel life! This was my third trip to Iceland, knowing someone in a country makes you feel at home so quickly. Icelandic people are incredible, warm and welcoming and incredibly good fun. They know how to tell great stories and are really knowledgeable about their country.

So Iceland always feels like a kind of coming home to me. The colourful corrugated iron cladding you can see pictured above, at an Ice Cream farm we visited, always conjures Iceland to me.

We drove through the landscape, newly awoken from a dark, cold winter and each time it appeared, the sun made the land truly come alive.

I took this picture of a little summerhouse, I love the red roof against the blue sky, nestled beneath the mountains. I can see why Iceland has become such a popular tourist attraction, we all want to unplug and escape. Continue reading

An Easter Happy And Home


I hope you had a wonderful weekend? Come and share your Easter happy and home moments.

The long bank holiday is always a great time to do some baking. We found the perfect recipe for chocolate cripsy cakes via Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. We decorated eggs ready to roll with the cousins, and looked back at pictures from previous years for inspiration.

Despite feeling a bit poorly, we managed to hang up the little wooden eggs we bought last year and hide some rabbits around the house. I always loved finding little chocolate eggs when I was a child, so the arrival of the Easter Bunny is one of my favourite Spring traditions.


I had planned to do more towards my office makeover, but I just haven’t been well. Not flu, but a really draining cold and cough which has left me needing lots of naps. I did decide to spray paint the filing cabinet from red to silver while the carpet was up. I was pleased as this saved me having to empty the cabinet and lug it downstairs and outside. You can see an office update here, including an explanation of the magnetic plaster.

There will be no Happy and Home next week, enjoy the rest of the holidays.


Last week on Happy and Home…

Check out Amanda’s beautiful postcards and words about memory keeping. Helen has been on a quest for a fluffier cake and The Supply Have shared some proud family moments. Cass found the little moments that made her smile.



Written a post full of home love? Join up with #happyandhome

To join in, just pick a recent post that shares your love of life at home, or why not share just one picture or 3 happy and home things, click on the blue button to add your post link.

Add the badge to help spread the word. I will be reading, tweeting and sharing on whichever other social platforms best suit your post.  I will be pinning here.

Please join in by commenting and/or sharing socially too – we all want our posts to be seen and shared, so pick some posts that resonate or inspire you and share them! I’ve asked the lovely people at WayfairUK to play along with sharing too, and suggested they have a weekly browse here for new bloggers to follow and work with.

Use the hashtag #happyandhome on Instagram and Twitter and tweet me @pennyalexander_ if you spot a post you think should be featured next week.

I will share some of the posts that inspired happy homes the following week. Let’s get happy and home! Penny x



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Happy and Home at A Residence blog

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There will be no Happy and Home next week, enjoy the rest of the holidays, see you in 2 weeks!

3 #HappyandHome Things

Thanks so much to all those who joined in Happy and Home last week, it was wonderful to know the idea of 3 happy things and ‘seeking the happy under our noses at home’ resonated. So today I have 3 happy and home things from the last week.

magnetic wall

One. The magnetic office wall (pictured above) is taking shape, above you can see the magnets stick to it, an exciting moment! The plaster was really dark to start with, but is drying a lighter grey now. I read an article at the weekend, about how important it is to enjoy the process as much as the end result with home projects, which I am keeping with me, as I find home projects quite stressful at times! I’m especially excited about the magnetic wall,  rather than an end result, I can see it being an ever-evolving inspirational gallery of images and photos. I will be sharing an update on the office and magnetic wall on Friday. Continue reading

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