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.

The Psychology of Home: Declutter your life, declutter your mind?

Declutter your life, declutter your mind

Declutter your life, declutter your mind – it’s not just estate agents and storage sellers, psychologists have proven it:

Research tells us that materialism gets in the way of a satisfied life (Kasser, 2002).  At Princeton University researchers discovered that multiple focus points in your environment reduce your ability to focus and to process information.

I’ve read enough positive psychology to know that the effect on our minds of clutter is real – as author of the book Suffocation James Wallam explains, we can live more with less, too much stuff makes us anxious and joyless. There has never been a better time to declutter your life.

It’s a shame it took preparing to move house to sort ours out. On the flip side, I feel I’ve been pretty ruthless over the years. I feel like I’ve never stopped clearing out stuff. Kids attract and churn though things at a frightening rate and life as a parent in the early years makes it hard to declutter your life. Continue reading

A Fair Trade Aladdin’s Cave: visiting Ian Snow, Machynlleth


Over the summer I was lucky enough to find myself in the Welsh high street store of one of my favourite Wayfair suppliers, Ian Snow. Since I’ve written A Residence here at Wayfair, I’ve learnt their products come from a vast range of international suppliers of all size. What makes Ian Snow special is their commitment to the principles of Fair Trade. I also love that the products they supply are a riot of fun and colour from around the world.

When I was a teen I babysat for a couple who owned a shop that imported amazing things from India and Ian Snow took me right back to that time, the gentle smell of incense and the feeling of being transported to another country full of incredible treasures. Continue reading

Girl Get Your Records On: A Happy Songs Playlist


Music has been my biggest happiness game changer recently. I can’t wait to share today’s spotify happy songs playlist because I think it could make a lot of people very happy too.

As I type this I have Beyonce’s Crazy In Love on and it’s making me type a lot faster and get to the end of the post. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, but I am very easily distracted. I started the morning dancing round my office to House of Pain’s Jump Around.

So many happiness gurus – from my husband (who should definitely write a motivational coaching type book one day), to Paul Dolan author of Happiness by Design, to Andrew Weil, author of Spontaneous Happiness  – have directed me to carefully curating music to boost my mood.

I find I am always turning other people’s music and noise down in the house, Weil suggests we need to find the music that works for us, and in the daytime I can do exactly that to my heart’s content. I finally seem to have cracked Spotify and built some cracking playlists to up my mood and my motivation and most of all, to play when the rest of the world is ‘mildly irking’ me. I’ve even created a Friday afternoon invoicing playlist!

Did you know that as we listen, music gets to work on our nervous system, which is responsible for controlling our blood pressure and heart beat, as well as the limbic system, which is responsible for our feelings and emotions. Research with 1,000 pupils who took singing classes found they were happier at school too.  Music really does change our bodies and minds. Amazing!

Every morning in our house my husband blasts out music to make us want to get out and get going – Happy, Billionaire and Get Lucky are on our breakfast playlist. Some of these made my happy playlist (I couldn’t find a no swear version of Billionaire and much as I love it I am not sure money always brings happiness)

Sometimes the lyrics don’t make a difference of course, there is something about the music that just makes you leap up and dance. Sometimes I am finding too that the songs I think make me happy, actually don’t. So I said goodbye to a few.

Sometimes you just need to get your toes tapping (Happy) be reminded how to get up and dance (Hey Ya!), or that all is okay with the world (Lovely Day), or that we all have bad days and you have friends who will pull you out of your bad mood (I’ll be There for You). Sometimes you need to see your place in the universe (Beautiful Day) or to be persuaded to play some music in the first place (Put Your Records On) and then you get it (Suddenly I See) you’re ready to crack on again (I Can See Clearly Now).


Let me know in the comments what you would add to the happy playlist, if you think it will make others happy too I would love to hear it and I will add it on!

Image credit – Shutterstock, girl in red dress.

Your Home: Interior design trends 2017

Interior Design Trends in 2017

Over to Becky at A Beautiful Space, who has polished her interior design crystal ball to predict the top interior design trends 2017.

So what are the predictions for interior design trends in 2017?

Do you care?

Shouldn’t your home just be a complete reflection of what you and your family love. Isn’t it a little contrived to be telling you in 2016 what you will be enjoying in 2017?

I often ponder trend-setting and how it feels like you are being dictated too. At the same time I am rather fascinated by it. Continue reading

Trends: How to make a green wall, or living wall

How to create a living wall

Are you stuck for space to garden or hold houseplants but feeling ambitious and hungry for green? A living or green wall might be what you need.

When we went to Amsterdam earlier this year we stayed in this amazing eco hotel with the living wall you see above. I was amazed by it each morning and would stand there with my tea pondering it’s construction, the textures and colours were amazing and it really did make a difference having a green wall indoors – everyone seemed to want to stop and stay for longer in this hotel reception.

I’m not the only one who has been pondering, for my friends living in London it was the first thing they suggested when we were chatting about interior and garden trends. With less space than other areas of the country and more and more living walls popping up in communal spaces to bring a much need breath of fresh oxygen and a carbon dioxide, living walls are taking cities by storm.


How to make a Living Wall

Here’s a quick guide to getting started, from easy kits you simply buy plant and hang, to creating your own green wall from a palette.

What does a living wall do?

A living wall acts as a natural air filter, purifying the polluted air whilst releasing clean oxygen. There are health benefits galore from having clean air, it can also boost concentration.

Why have a living wall?

Green walls are healthy, make us closer to nature and make great homes for insects. They also look great and make spaces immediately more appealing and inviting. Green walls balance humidity levels and can also act as insulation in winter and keep homes cooler in summer. They also absorb noise. I had no idea there were so many different benefits.

A Quick and Easy Green Wall

For a simple start Veg Truck have a wall mounted planter system which comes in lots of fab colours.  Start with one or hang a few together to cover a larger area. This is a really quick and hassle free way to start your green wall. The pockets make it easy to move plants around. There are more elaborate systems you can buy, or professionals can design one for you, but this is a great place to start.


How to DIY a Living Wall


Another DIY method is to construct a large frame, attach a plastic sheet to the frame to protect the wall from leaks. Next attach a felt landscape membrane to the frame. Larger frames will need a hose above to water them.

How to make a Palette Living Wall


There are lot of useful tutorials out there to upcycle a palette into a living wall, this one really caught my eye.

Which plants work well in living walls?

The Royal Horticultural Society list the tops five plants for green walls: Heuchera, Thyme, Sedum, Carex and Ajuga. There are lots more ideas on their site. Introducing plants as plugs is likely to be most successful.

Would you or have you considered a green wall? Have you seen a cool living wall on your travels that has inspired you? 

Images Shutterstock: Grass and Flower Wall, Green Wall Exterior, Green Wall Tree Wall, Green Wall with Flora

Easy peasy Autumn Crafts, just add kids and nature!

Easy peasy Autumn Crafts, just add kids and nature!

This week I’m so excited that gardening expert Catherine, from Growing Family, is sharing her favourite Autumn crafts, gorgeous ideas inspired by being outdoors.

Summer may be traditionally the time to get outside with the kids, but I always find Autumn to be the most laid-back season for outdoor adventures and crafting.  The weather is still mild but the sun is gentle, the back to school vibe spurs us on to make the most of family time, and all around us nature is providing so much inspiration.

A trip outdoors in Autumn is the perfect opportunity for a spot of creative crafting, allowing you to bring some of that wonderful natural inspiration back home with you.  Here are some ideas for easy Autumn crafts that make the most of what nature has to offer. Continue reading

Happy Home: 10 easy ways to change your space for an instant happiness boost

Happy Home: 10 easy ways to change your space for an instant happiness boost

We’ve all fallen out of love with our homes, leafed through interior magazines and felt inadequate or wished our home looked like someone else’s social media posts. We may know in our heart that our homes should be about what makes us happy, not someone else, but if your surroundings don’t make you feel at home, it’s time to act.

Home should be our sanctuary, our place to retreat from the world, to rest, have fun with our loved ones and to relax. It’s easy to put off building a happier home until we have more time or money, but it doesn’t need to take much of either to create a happy space, and many of today’s suggestions are completely free, or cheap. Continue reading

#MyHomeRocks – I Have This Thing For Floors

Do you have a thing with floors? The lovely Maxine from We Love Home blog gives us a tour of her seaside home for My Home Rocks.

We have a super inspiring My Home Rocks today, especially if you are thinking about making more of patterned floors or looking for inspiration to do up a house on a small budget. Meet Maxine, who has the exciting job of an Interior Stylist for magazines and TV shows – as well as being a fantastic interiors blogger at WeLoveHomeBlog.

I’ve been in my home for a year and a half. It has been a huge project of love. It needed making over from top to bottom – new kitchen, new bathroom, landscaping in the garden, knocking down of walls, painting….you name it, my home needed it doing. This was one of the main reasons I started my blog – I wanted to chart all my hard work with lots of befores and afters, as well as share my ideas on how to do up a house on a tiny budget! Continue reading

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