Archive for May, 2011

Bicycle with a difference

“Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.”

T. S. Eliot, from The Waste Land

(viacoocoonuts via instructables)

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Benefits of having your own herb garden

(Image via pixiejayne)

I am very excited to have an herb garden this year! I would encourage you to do the same. There are no excuses. I live in an apartment and am still able to make room for a few herbs! 5 great reasons to have a herb garden:

01. Freshly picked
02. Saves money
03. Gives your space some character
04. Knowing where your food came from
05. Produces oxygen

These days, with all the rain we’ve been getting, I don’t even have to worry about watering them!”

(via myyuppieblog)

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Window Box

A terrace house without a window box is like chips without ketchup! My spring version includes lemon and burgandy pansies matched with Uncinia rubra.

(DownThePlot via Tumblr)

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Al fresco with a difference

A picnic with a differenceOutdoor living is becoming ever more comfortable. Instead of knee-grazing bistro tables and spindly metal seats, think woven furniture and terrace cushions.

Quirky outdoor picnic shabby chic old fashioned traditionalEating outside has never been so fun. Take inspiration from Brideshead Revisited and Jane Austen classics. You can find unusual outdoor furniture and picnicware at HomeSense at up to 60% less. Make your garden unique this Summer.

I had lunch in the garden today too. This picture reminds me of my favourite hotel where they know how to eat ‘en plein air’ in style. The tasteful simplicity is what makes La Colombe D’Or one of the best destinations.

Pretty ideas

Yesterday I was discussing the flowers that I want for my wedding (I’m getting married next March and already planning the flowers). I think this an adorable idea for displaying flowers. I think I would rather they were on the tables in odd old washed out bottles though. Love the eccentricity. Did you know that Homesense has over 100 styles of vase instore?

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Beach holiday prep

So you’ve packed your beach bag, cooler, attention-grabbing towels and SPF suncream. Now all that’s left is to become beach-ready yourself! We asked Jill from Atalanta Fitness Training what top 5 quick things we should do before hitting the sunloungers…

1. Start NOW! It’s no use waiting until just a month or so before your holiday – by then it will be too late! Your long term goal is your holiday, but set short and medium term goals – whether that be to lose weight or just to get fitter and more toned. That way you can track your progress and keep motivated.

2. Find an exercise programme that fits in with your lifestyle – that way you are more likely to adhere to it. Find something that challenges you, but within sensible limits. Do cardiovascular exercise such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, plus weights to improve muscle tone.

3. If you don’t like the gym or the studio, get outside! Getting fit and fabulous does not have to cost anything – you can walk, jog or run all the price of a pair of training shoes.

4.  It is very important to have the right nutrition if you want a great looking body. And it is not necessarily all about calories. It is about getting a balanced diet of all the essential food groups – carbohydrates (yes! Carbs!!!), protein and good fats, vitamins, minerals and fluids. Always, ALWAYS, have a healthy breakfast! And when exercising, be sure to keep hydrated. Most personal trainers will be able to help you with nutrition.

5. And finally: Sleep! Make sure you are getting 7-8 hours per night. You will look better, have more energy, your body will have had time to heal itself from any exercise taken, and you may be less likely to binge.

Have a happy holiday!

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Sleep well

Now that the nights are lighter and warmer, not only is it time to change to a lighter weight duvet and bring some freshness into the bedroom space, it’s also a time to make sure your sleep patterns are not affected by the seasonal change. Follow our tips for getting a great night’s sleep:

1) Make sure your bed is inviting. Wash bed linen regularly – there’s nothing nicer than settling down in crisp sheets that smell fresh and lovely. Look for sheets made with a high thread count for a super luxurious feel. And consider investing in a new duvet set – there are lots of lovely pastels, florals and stripes around that have a happy, calming effect.

2) Keep a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time’s everyday so your body clock gets into the habit.

3) Create a calm environment. Switch off any electronic appliances and close your windows if you can, to reduce noise levels. Make sure your curtains block out the morning light so you don’t wake up prematurely.

4) Turn your mattress. This can help improve your sleeping position as well as prolong the life of the mattress as it distributes weight more evenly across the springs.

5) Include pre-sleep preparation in your schedule. Take half an hour to relax, either with a wram (not too hot) bath, a soothing drink (try chamomile tea) or a good (but not too riveting) book.

6) Try to do some exercise every day to ensure your body feels the need to sleep and recover itself

7) Invest in some lightly scented candles, pillow spritzers and essential oil rollers to promote relaxation.

Stylist on the spot!

We’ve had lots of great feedback about our beautiful Spring photography, so I decided to do a Q&A with the shoot stylist Abigail to share with you…

HomeSense: What attracted you to a career in interiors styling?

Abigail: I studied fine art and have always painted pictures, and made drawings and objects so creating compositions for photographs just seemed to be an extension of that.

HomeSense: How did you get into styling?

Abigail: I was working in an art gallery when I decided I wanted to be a stylist. I wrote to loads of interiors magazines and did work experience for many of them and then assisted various stylists until I was ready to style my own shoots.

HomeSense: What’s been your best styling job to date, and what’s been the worse?

Abigail: I don’t really have a best or worst job. I love going to beautiful locations and working with inspiring people who design amazing things. But ultimately the most satisfying job is when you get the best shots, and some of my favourite shots have been taken when working in really awful conditions. We often work quite ridiculous hours and I have very unpleasant memories of shooting on a painfully cold English beach in December in the dark with no shelter and sea soaked feet but the pictures from this shoot are some of my favourite images that I have styled.

HomeSense: Who do you admire most in the world and why?

Abigail: From a design point of view, Piet Hein Eek. Beautiful designs with integrity.

HomeSense: Describe your own home style

Abigail: My own style is quite simple. Lots of texture, raw materials – wood and stone. I see so many new products in my work that I am generally attracted to vintage furniture and handmade pieces that have a bit more character and are unique.

HomeSense: What’s your ultimate styling tip?

Abigail: Interiors products should last; they shouldn’t be changed every season. Buy good quality, environmentally friendly products that you will love for a long time.

HomeSense: Why do you like HomeSense?

Abigail: It has really unusual, fantastically odd things that you couldn’t find anywhere else, alongside classic essentials. Where else could you put a big stone lion in your trolley then add a Le Creuset casserole pot and a glass owl! 

HomeSense: Do you have a favourite HomeSense find?

Abigail: I have a very small wooden stool with Gustavian style legs that is upholstered in rough faux fur, it’s an unusual combo but it works.

Here are some lovely examples of Abigail’s work for HomeSense…

Made to do good

We are super pleased to announce that a few of our stores are currently selling a range of Ugandan handicraft products made for the Rwenzori Trading Company. HomeSense stores in Staples Corner, Manchester, Gloucester and Worcester are now selling the range which includes distinctive baskets handwoven from natural fibres and dyes, recycled glassware and beautiful accessories made from local cow horn.

The Rwenzori Trading Co. products are ‘Made to do Good’, with the aim of promoting trade, providing skills, employment and helping achieve long-term improvement to the lves of communities in Uganda.

The selling of Ugandan products marks a progression in the Uganda Community Project (an initiative of TJX Europe, our parent company) from providing education for 10,000 children through building schools in the western region, to a new strategy of providing a sustainable income to the communities through employment. By purchasing these hand crafted products customers will be supporting some of the most disadvantaged groups in Uganda.

This is the first step of the new phase of the project and we are really excited to introduce this trial to our customers whilst continuing to look for more product opportunities that will further support Ugandan communities.

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Behind the Scenes

We thought you might like a sneak peek at some behind the scenes pics from our Spring photoshoot. Let us know what you think! Here’s the beautiful beachside summerhouse on Camber Sands we used as our location…

And a smiley happy Head of Creative Team Cat Funk relaxing with her bump…

The team at work, critiquing the first shot…

Two of our Creative gurus geared up for a looooong day!

The summer house oozed nautical style and had a lovely calming effect. The decor was gorgeous so here are some random pics from inside…

Style tips: Nautical

Check out these tips from HomeSense Style Guru Marianne, on how to create a fabulous nautical look in your home this Spring…

“Nautical is a classic look that can be tweaked from year to year. It creates a great opportunity to play around with lots of different blues in the home, from midnight hues to powder blue shades. To achieve a look that is subtle but striking, try incorporating lots of beachy textures such as pebbles, driftwood and rope. Float petals in small bowls of water lined with seashells for a sweet feature. As for prints, look for deckchairs, cushions, parasols and throws in navy stripes, creams and pale grey, and consider hanging some pretty seascape canvases on the wall to really bring the theme to life. An emerging take on nautical for 2011 is a small glimpse of red, so if you have any red lampshades, throws or ornaments, mix those in too.”

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