Posted on

Win Prints to Change Your Home

I recently added some simple wordy prints to brighten my home from those clever people at www.cloud2print.co.uk  they look amazing. Witty funny prints that would work almost anywhere.

I’ve teamed up with Cloud2print to give away three of these stunning prints.

All you need to do for a chance to win is follow me on Instagram @diaryofanhonestwoman

Tag any friends who may like to win.

Follow Cloud2print on instagram @cloud2print

Like this blog post

Done!!

One week to play competition closes on Tuesday 17th April at 11pm.

T’s & C’s Apply

Good Luck!

Love DSB X

Posted on

Victorian Christmas Table

We travel up to the North East for Christmas to the house I grew up in, in Durham.  We all share the cooking on the big day but the table decoration is always my domain.

This year my theme is around a Victorian Christmas Table.  I bought an old linen tablecloth and napkins from my local British Red Cross shop, these were in the bargain bin as they were tea stained so I took them home and dyed them a smoke grey.

I bought crystal candlesticks and candelabras as the top table dressing for my wedding from a Florist Supplier, and I’ve used them here in all shapes and sizes.  You don’t need crystal, try grouping brass candlesticks or silver together as the centre piece for your table.  Don’t use coloured candles, plain white candles work best.

Play around with foliage, a long string of Ivy, Eucalyptus and Pine are used here, but you can use anything, go foraging for driftwood, brambles, holly and sticks.

Add a little sparkle, crystal, baubles, more lights.  I’ve finished with vintage crystal glasses and gold cutlery.

Enjoy your day

Most items were sourced second hand from British Red Cross Shop Shoreham by Sea.

Wine Carafe – LSA

Love DSB x

Posted on

Winter Garland

I love the smell of December, the whole house is alive with greenery.  Christmas Tree purchased on Sunday and yesterday I put together a Winter Garland in the hall.

It didnt take a long time and it was so inexpensive to create.

Lat week I was given four enourmous pine branches, your florist or nursery will probably source for you.  I bought three branches of Eucaluptus frommy local florist Linden Tree, and cut some fresh Ivy from the garden.

I added the pine first and bound with nylon wire, I call it fishing wire or cat gut.  Then added the eucalyptus and the ivy.

I’ve punctuated the garland at the top middle and bottom with hydrangers which had dried out form the summer.  I’ve added a few baubles and again secured with the nylon wire.

Grab a water spray and sprits for a lovely smell throughout the home.  Keep spraying through the month and you have that lovely Pine smell through Christmas.

Original inspiration taken from Marks and Spencer press day last month.

Follow me on Instagram below.

Love DSB x

Posted on

How to Upcycle a Kitchen Dresser

Have you seen the recent trend for dark navy or very deep blue kitchens? I’ve been lusting over these dark kitchens from Devol for ages.  They look so luxurious and expensive.

 

With our extension put off until next year and no budget for a new kitchen, we set about upcycling our existing circa 1980’s Kitchen for the second time.

We visited B&Q and choose a dark shade of Valspar paint suitable for Kitchen units.  It only took us around a day to paint (twice)  we finished the look, I like to call it Dark Shaker with brass handles and white walls.

So the kitchen was finished but not finished….It lacked something.

It took a couple of weeks but I snooped around furniture shops then charity shops and finally, I found a Kitchen Dresser. Pine, in need of TLC, £110.  I snapped it up!

Now rather handily I had the dresser delivered on Saturday morning, Mr. B had it painted by Saturday lunchtime and he fitted brass handles on Saturday night.

We left it to dry thoroughly overnight.  The next day it was ready to dress and ready for bank holiday guests.

Painting it in a dark blue hue took it from 1990’s staple pine kitchen kit to sleek, luxe loveliness for a tiny cost.

What do you think?  Are you tempted to take your Kitchen to the dark side?  Drop me a line and let me know….

Love DSB X

 

Posted on

How to Make an Entrance

When we moved into our house just over three years ago decorating the hallway as not a priority.  We had no central heating and no hot water so the hall and staircase got a lick of white paint over the existing wallpaper.  Now we didn’t hate this wallpaper but didn’t love it either.  With some well chosen artwork and wedding and family snaps we created a gallery wall up the staircase to hide our ‘Meh’ wall.

As time went on the hall irritated me more and more.  I loved what we created with the gallery but by now I hated the wallpaper in fact that’s all I could see.

When I suggested to Mr B that we should take off the wall paper he was not at all keen.  It will be a nightmare! Take too long! Make the house like a bomb site etc….

So when Mr B announced he had a week working in New York I had the perfect chance for a fab surprise.  I bought a wallpaper steamer and set about taking off the paper.  The paper came off quite easily but what I didn’t calculate was just what was left.  Walls that were crumbling and in need of sanding, and a staircase that went on forever.  When Mr B arrived home from his week in the States he got a surprise alright but possibly not the surprise I had intended.

After the initial shock (grounds for divorce if ever there were!) we worked together to smooth and paint the walls.  We decided on a dramatic colour scheme of dark and light.  Brilliant white paint for the top half of the staircase wall and Deep Space Echo a very dark almost black green from B&Q’s Valspar range. 

We were keen not to have a dado rail so Mr B drew an imaginary line halfway up the wall which has worked wonderfully as a backdrop to our mostly black and white gallery.

We finished up by flooding the floor with a dark oak floor varnish from Wickes own range. 

What do you think?  Would you go to the dark side? I love the contrast and now I’m delighted to open the door to nothing less than a dramatic entrance. 

Love DSB X 

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #37

I love Sundays.  I’ve spent the day in the most beautiful way, gardening.

The garden is looking very autumnal with our show stopping Virginia Creeper turning the brightest shades of red, crimson, orange and yellow.


The creeper crept all along our fence during the summer offering its green leafy coverage in abundance.  But it’s this time of year that this fast growing vine produces this bold splash of colour turning the entire garden red and creeping into next doors garden and onto their conifer, producing garlands of decorative red leaves.

The red hydrangeas are all but spent.  I cut a few heads for decoration, they have darkened drying out and have turned a lovely claret red.  So I pottered taking pictures and tidying the garden.

So gardening jobs for the weekend.  Gardeners Worlds Monty Don said it was time to take all of the tomatoes from your tomato crop those that are green you should put in a drawer with a banana, they will ripen.  I have a lot of tomatoes now.  I could make a batch of tomato sauce or what about a tomato pickle?

Hmmm autumn sandwiches with beef and tomato relish.  Here’s my relish….

Autumnal Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

  • 500g red onion, finely sliced
  • 1kg tomat0, blanched peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic clove, sliced
  • 4 red chilli, chopped
  • 4 cm piece ginger , peeled and chopped
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 300ml red wine vinegar
  • 5 cardamom seeds
  • ½ to 1 tsp paprika

Method

Tip all the ingredients into a large heavy-based pan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 1 hr, then bring to a gentle boil so that the mixture turns dark, jammy and shiny. Place into sterilised jars and allow to cool before covering. Will keep for 6 weeks.

Voila, Autumn Tomato Chutney.  Put it in a nice jar and it makes a lovely Christmas gift!

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Love DSB X

Posted on

Styling Hydrangeas

I had the most amazing day off this week. I had a million things to do on my day off but rather than give my day up to admin and cleaning I drank a pot of loose leaf tea in the morning and arranged some flowers in the afternoon.

I love a flower that can give a lot, no flowers is more giving than the Hydrangea. Its flowers in big bushy crowns for most of the Summer.  We have white hydrangeas and pink in the garden. The white bush is well established and I don’t feel so bad about cutting the flowers for my front room.  I thought I’d tell you how I do it.


The flowers are white and when they mature they have a hint of pink or of blue.  However, I like them before they turn, when they are just a greeny white, perhaps with a hint of pink or blue.

So top tips are

Cut from the bottom, leave the top crowns to show off in your garden.

I cut the green and white flowers, try to cut on a theme if you are cutting pinks go pink, blues go blue.  I find white and green suit me and my home.


Try to cut the longest length of flower you can.  This may mean following the stem down to the ground, the stems become quite woody but don’t be afraid to cut back.  This gives you a long steam to play with.

I like big looking flowers and vases. I cut four to five stems for a small vase and up to ten for a large vase.

Think big!

I go multiple vases, all glass or all pots whatever your feeling.

I pull the flowers into a bunch I usually make it rounded on all sides like a posy or higher at the back and lower at the front if its needed for a mirror or wall.

Use string or gardening twine or anything really to bind.  Make it secure.

This time I had a little eucalyptus from my next door neighbour and some lavender.

Remember different heights and uneven designs look more interesting…

So this is how it looks, what do you think?


Love DSB X

 

 

Posted on

Sunday Supplement #34

This week is British Flower Week, with a whole week dedicated to my second favourite F word (Fashion is my first) FLOWERS!

When it comes to flowers I like to keep it local, I buy flowers from my local florist Linden Tree and I buy plants from Southwick Nurseries.  Throughout the Summer, I grow flowers in my borders and in my kitchen garden to cut fresh for the house.


I love fragrant Roses and Peony Roses. I also love Hydrangeas, Lavender, Wisteria, Ranunculus and Dahlia’s.

To celebrate British Flower Week I’ve made this easy display using, Eucalyptus, Ferns, Hydrangeas and Wild Daisy’s.  Foilage is just as important as flowers in book.


Here’s my top flower Instagram accounts

1/ Emily Quinton

2/ Abigail Ahern

3/ Make Light Workshops


Love DSB x

Oh andHappy Fathers Day to all Dad’s today!

xx

 

 

Posted on

Garden Style

Hurray for a beautiful Summers Day.  It’s officially British Summertime and boy did we have a scorcher today?

I spent the entire day in the garden, eating, entertaining, relaxing.  In the two and a half years we have been in our much loved Victorian Semi we have transformed the garden on a teeny budget.

I’ve bought all of my garden furniture on Ebay, Gum Tree and in our local Charity Shop.  I find that if it’s slightly mismatched it doesn’t matter too much.  If I sand it down and paint it a shade of grey it kind of looks ok.


Our first indulgence in our first summer here was to invest in a studio for the garden, I say studio, it’s a grande shed, painted grey of course.  It’s been a real game-changer for the way we work.  Working from home takes on a whole new level when you have a daily commute of walking the length of the garden to embrace.

It’s been both a sanctuary and a place dedicated to working and writing that doesn’t encroach on the house.  A little shred of good in a lot of ways.

Last weekend we built a garden swing.  It’s a novelty because it’s new, new (from B&Q) and it cost quite a lot for our frugal and upcycled garden space.

On lounging in the sofa/swing (sofing?) today, I’m well and truly hooked.  I read the Sunday papers, I lounged, I sunbathed, I napped.

Dear readers this may be the best ever purchase I’ve ever, ever made.  I know our Summer only last three weeks but give me a swing in an English country garden any day over a holiday abroad.


My new swing, Radio 4, the sound of the cricket on the green and the smell of roses, what better kind of bliss than this?

Love DSB X

 

Posted on

Dressing Your Home for Christmas

One of the best parts of Christmas for me is dressing our home and wrapping presents.

Our Victorian Semi looks very Winter inspired most of the time with dark walls and open fires. All I need to do is grab a little sparkle and a real tree and I’m set! 

Once the tree is in place and we have worked out which lights don’t work I use baubles and little decorations in matching colours. I also love feather decorations and you might spot the odd bird or pheasant nestled in the branches. 

Left over spruce or fur branches make brilliant additions to the fire place along with candles and a little crystal. Same goes for your door wreath. A ribbon here, a frosted berry there. Eucalyptus and holly also work well. 

I also have this thing for ferns in Winter. They are not too try hard just nice and green.    
    
   
   

  

 

I love wrapping presents. I usually go with a metallic wrap and plain old brown paper. Two other ingredients are key, last years Christmas cards for tags and real ribbon! I collect ribbon all through the year and put it to use decorating gifts! 

   

    
 

I think that’s me done for posts for now! Off on our road trip up north later….driving home for Christmas.

Have a wonderful Christmas folks! 

Love DSB x 

  

Posted on

Winter Workspace – The Milligan Desk

I don’t know about you but I tend to hunker down at this time of year, I light fires, candles and put up twinkly lights.

Walking the dog becomes a well-rehearsed routine of, what time is sundown today? and what’s the tide doing? To maximise daylight hours.  Going to the shops seems unfathomable, going to London extreme!

Work wise I have only the garden to negotiate down to our studio shed of calm, music, flowers, candles and zoning into work…..Except at this time of year Mr B’s work takes over our shared studio, there’s cases, and briefcases, and cases on wheels.  As well as boxes and boxes that store the boxes, and packaging and bubble wrap…..the list goes on.

So I’ve taken to finding a snug little corner of the house, the spare room, the window seat, the alcove under the stairs to find my calm Winter workspace.

My desire for an extra workplace all of my own has drawn me to the Milligan Retro Multi Drawer Desk by those clever furniture folks Atkin and Thyme.

Milligan Table cut out (RS) Milligan Table (RS)

The desk is a brilliant mix of retro and modern, with it’s quirky look of different coloured draws and handles, it exudes a flavour of uniqueness and style.  It would fit perfectly under my stairs, in the recess by the fire or the nook in the spare room.

To be fair I can see most of Atkin and Thymes beautifully designed and styled furniture in my home, they describe it as ‘Mid Century Modern’ I’d describe it as furniture for your home, for life.  High-street it’s not, whether you’re looking for a place to work this Winter or just a place of calm to sit and read a book take a look at Atkin & Thyme to fill that nifty nook!

Love DSB X

 

Posted on

Spring Sundays


bt3-001
I love Spring Sundays when the garden comes into bloom.  It’s been busy in the garden this Spring, re-potting Dahlias, nurturing our Peonies and sowing Wild Flower Seeds.

The stars of the Spring show so far have included our beautiful Cherry Blossom Tree, which gives the most amazing display of bright pink bloom, framing the bench like a canopy for a secluded relaxing space.

bt2

The surprise of this spring has been a Lilac tree which didn’t blossom last year but this year its been growing and now proudly shows off its pointed cones of lilac perfumed petals.

IMG_8109

IMG_8112

Not forgetting the rush of Ranunculus, these crimson and pink rose like flower heads float high on slender steams, so perfect and symmetrical its hard to believe they’ve been created by nature.  Worth mentioning Ranunculus is the florists friend and makes a fantastic cut flower.

IMG_8108

IMG_8106

ar2

Its going to be a gardening day today, pruning and potting…..Ma and Pa Simpson are visiting and the plan is to work on our new SheGola, a Shed come Pergola, complete with decking and BBQ area…..

Speaking of which I think this afternoon could be the perfect time for our first BBQ of the season…

ar3

Lovely Spring Sunday, pottering in the garden, DIY and Al Fresco dinner…..

Enjoy your Sunday

Love DSB X

Posted on

Dining Room DIY

Hello

Deborah and Jonathan Boston.

Hope you had a smasher of a bank holiday weekend, mine was spent doing a little self inflicted DIY.  This time it was the turn of our Dining Room.


Dining Room Mr & Mrs B

We moved into our house about 18 months ago and one of the first rooms to be given a quick lick was the dining room.

Dining Room Painting

It looked very dated and chintzy, with flowery and stripey wallpaper and beige carpets.  So, with no budget at all we set about reforming the room. I’d been reading Abigail Ahern’s interiors blog, she is a fan of painting rooms in dark hues to create space and warmth. With a huge leap of faith we decided to go to the dark side and painted the whole room a charcoal grey. Gulp!

We pulled up the carpet and painted the floorboards a dark oak. Added velvet curtains and painted table legs and mismatched chairs.

Dining Room Table

The fireplace was just an open space so we decided to paint this gold for a warm glow. …. Tah dah total room make over for the cost of three tins of paint!

Dining Room arch

Fast forward 18 months and while the room has retained its sense of regal classic Victorian style it needed a focal point.

Dining Room Charcoal

Again running three businesses my husband and I are usually cash short but ideas rich, we wanted the look of a traditional fireplace with wood burning stove but without the cost.


Dining Room finished mantle

So we bought a shelf and mirror and enlisted the help of Pa Simpson to fix them up.  We decided to embrace our charcoal walls rather than adding a contrast colour, we painted the mirror and mantle in dark grey, this creates an illusion making the room look bigger.  We bought a gas cylinder burner for a fraction of the cost of a wood burner add a vase of flowers and a candle or two and voila….instant focal point, a warm beautiful dining place complete with focal fire.

Dining Room Mantle and Chair

What do you think?  Would you go to the dark side?

Dining Room Flowers

Love DSB X 

Sarah Arnett lamp and cushion by Lampara available on Boston&Boston

Posted on

2015 – Time to review? Time for something new?


Deborah Simpson Boston 2015

I’ve been away from the blog….truth is I’ve been away from everything.  I finally stopped for Christmas and from a very busy year.

Deborah Simpson Boston HH Trees

Retreated up to the North to spend time with family and just stopped, stopped working, stopped writing, limited access to phone networks and social media meant we were cut off in a good way.

Deborah Simpson Boston HH

After having the obligatory Christmas cold we enjoyed walking the dog, crisp winter days and bright blue skies.  We got cold, we got wet, we got warm by the fire.

We ate, we slept, a lot.

Deborah Simpson Boston HH & Blue

So here it is, we are back and we feel ready.

I hope to blog more, I hope to be healthy, I hope to eat more healthy food, less bad stuff.  I hope to drink less alcohol, drink more juice, watch less telly, read more.  Stress less be calm more, See friends more, walk the puppy more, worry less.

Deborah Simpson Boston Kelloe Pit

We are back and we feel ready.

Deborah Simpson Boston Southwick Beach

Come on 2015 we are fed and rested and calm and chilled, lets have a fantastic 2015!

Deborah Simpson Boston Kingston Beach

Love DSB XXX

Deborah Simpson Boston have a fab 2015 middle