New Sink Splashback Tiles from Bert and May

Four grey and white tiles

Our new tiles have arrived!  I’ve been in search of some small tiles for the sink in our utility room for ages, but strugged to find any interesting tiles that are smaller than the standard 20 x 20cm.

Luckily I came across Bert and May, a London supplier of handmade and reclaimed tiles, who have a fantastic selection of glazed tiles in 13 x 13cm size.  These are the grey and white ‘Churriana’ Tile, which also come in black, pink, blue and green.

We’ve just bought a handful to form an interesting splashback feature for our sink, but they also look stunning as a feature wall (if you have the budget!).

They’re not up yet, but we’ll keep you posted on the final result, as well as the progress on my (miniscule) kitchen tart-up.

glazed-churriana-tiles

 

 

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Our Favourite: Wooden Bathroom Accessories

A bathroom can be transformed by the accessories and little details you add to the room – a houseplant here, a bath mat there.  Wooden and natural materials are perfect for softening the look of bathrooms that might otherwise feel a bit cold or clinical, and I’ve recently been on the look out for wooden bathroom accessories to work with my brother and sister-in-law’s new on-trend grey and white bathroom.

You need to be careful in choosing wooden items for a bathroom as they need to be treated approporiately (otherwise they’ll rot), but if you get it right you can update the look of your room without having to spend money on expensive bathroom rennovations.  They pop up across a wide span of price ranges, so you can take your pick accordng to your budget:

 

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1. Taunus Bath Mat £27.55 |  2. Oak Rope Light Pulls from £6.95   |  3. Iris Hantverk Bath Brush £13  | 4. Lavatory Brush Holder & Brush £23.95

 

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5. Wooden Bath Tidy £45  | 6. 4 Dot clothes rack £85  |  7. Teak Slat Bath Mat £98  | 8. Lav Brush Set £45

 

 

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Stylish, Unisex Baby Changing Bags

This round up post isn’t strictly interiors, but we’re bending the rules a bit with this one, as it’s something I had to hunt for fairly recently now that I have a new small person in my life (note: for anyone who knows us this is Kath posting not Liz – Liz would like to stress that she hasn’t secretly acquired a child).

The world of baby changing bags was entirely foreign to me, but when I started looking I was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of choice. I was also a bit put off by the out-and-out girliness of a lot of the bags, which isn’t me at all, and I certainly wouldn’t inflict a pink cupcake-print bag on my other half (not if I want him to ever change a nappy).

Below are my pick of bags that I think are simple, stylish and practical (ie. you can wipe them down / stick them in the wash) and don’t scream ‘changing bag’.   Some are specific changing bags, and others are simply backpacks that you could use as a changing bag if you pick up a handy changing mat insert.  Any of these I’d be happy to use as a normal bag beyond the changing bag stage and, most importantly, all have passed the husband test of ‘minimal embarrassment if made to carry’.

For those of you interested, I ended up buying a unisex navy changing backpack from Etsy shop One Duo (which has Mary Poppins-like capacity and zillions of pockets) along with a spare travel changing mat from JoJo Maman Bebe.  It’s been worth the investment as I love the look of the bag, and other handbags aren’t getting a look in at the moment!

Hello-Walls-Baby-Changing unisex

1. Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack – Grey £59.95 | 2. Storksak Noa Changing Bag £75  | 3. Fjällräven Kånken Backpack £56.99 | 4. Laessig Neckline Changing Bag £83.92 | 5.  Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station Bag £30 | 6. Skip Hop Duo Signature (Heather Grey) £60 | 7. PacaPod Hastings Changing Bag – Navy Stripe £69.95

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Our Top 5 Finnish Design Discoveries

Lapland probably isn’t the first place you’d think of going in order to investigate the Nordic design scene (unless you live in a log cabin and it’s permanently Christmas). But that’s just it – Lapland, more specifically Finnish Lapland, isn’t a tinsel tastic tacky explosion it’s a tasteful, charming and authentic place with a design and interiors scene that extends far beyond baubles and bells. Having been lucky enough to land a trip to the city of Rovaniemi (read more about our Lapland for Grown Ups adventures here) we weren’t quite sure what to expect on the design front. Liz has a long-standing obsession with all things Scandi so hopes were high that their Nordic neighbours would be equally as sharp in the style stakes.

We weren’t disappointed. Having already explored the likes of Finnish giants Marimekko and Iittala we stumbled upon a small concept store in the city called Mainoa which bills itself as a ‘Design shop that offers high quality Finnish craft and design‘. It was here that the real local gems were discovered, we only arrived 20 minutes before closing but left with a bag full of goodies each…

The Finnish design scene is definitely thriving and should certainly be more celebrated. So in a small bid to raise it’s profile we have compiled our top 5 Finnish design discoveries.

 

1. Kauniste

Kauniste means to decorate or to make beautiful – a pretty apt name if you ask us. This independent Helsinki based company works with talented and award winning illustrators and artists to create a paper goods, fabrics and homewares. Lucky for us they have an online store, but incase you want to browse in person you can find a list of UK stockists here.

kauniste 2015 Finnish design kauniste 2015 Finnish design kauniste 2015 Finnish design

From the top: Note book set €12.00, Calendar 2016 Kitchen Towel Mint €15.00, Mökkilä Blue Cushion Cover €24.00

 

2. Mifuko

A certified member of the World Fair Trade Organization Mifuko’s products are all handmade by women’s self help groups in rural Kenya. Combining contemporary Finnish design with traditional Kenyan handicraft techniques to produce colourful baskets, bags, rugs and ornaments.

Mifuko finnish design Finnish-design-Mifuko Finnish-design-Mifuko-ornaments

Kiondo baskets From €29,00, Ornaments 3pcs €20.00

 

3. Lovi

This family run company based in Northern Finland produce 3D figures from the highest Finnish quality birch plywood. They come flat pack so it’s your job to assemble them but I imagine it’s slightly more enjoyable than our experience with Swedish flat-pack furniture… Take a look at their online shop, there are loads of different ones to choose from – our favourite was the famous Finnish Moomin character, ‘Snufkin’.

Lovi Finnish design Snufkin with Hattifatteners

Snufkin by Lovi €14.50

 

4. Polkkajam

A family company run from a studio in an old dairy on Kimito Island (southwest Finland), talented creatives Kristiina Haapalainen and Sami Vähä-Aho produce playful imagery inspired by their surroundings (which sounds pretty idyllic to us) and then applied across variety of products including stationary, postcards, posters and wrapping paper.

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polkka jam finnish design  polkka jam finnish design

 Postcards €1.30, Wrapping paper from €4.50

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Posters from €12.00

 

5. Mark Roberts – Photographer

Mark hails from Blighty, but has made Rovanemi, Finland, his adopted home town, as he goes hiking in the Lapland wilderness searching for the perfect shot. We picked up some of his limited edition prints at Mainoa Design Shop, but you can get your paws on them online, via his online store.

Misty Island photograph by Mark Roberts

Photograph of landscape with trees

 Prints from €12.40

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Marimekko: Finland’s Finest

Hello-Walls-Retail-Crush-Finland-Marimekko-post

 

Myself and Kath are off on a Finnish trip together (more specifically Lapland) – in fact when this post goes live I think we’ll actually be there, hopefully drinking glögi and eating smoked salmon… But as well as gorging ourselves on the local delicacies and hanging out with Rudolph I’m also hoping to learn a little more about the Finnish design scene.

I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian design, there’s a whole section on this site dedicated to my obsession, but I’m not as familiar with the Nordic offering.  However there is one store that immediately springs to mind when thinking about our northerly Nordic neighbours and that’s Marimekko.

Marimekko is a Finnish institution and has been since the 1950’s.  It was the brainchild of Armi Ratia’s (pictured) whose vision of a bold, graphic future for textiles was fulfilled through her collaboration with various young artists and fashion designers. Fast forward 60 years and the company is now internationally successful, and the same ethos and desire to collaborate and create bold and beautiful patterns remains. Many of the original designs are still in production today, and the range includes homeware, clothing and accessories. So if you really wanted you could co-odinate your trousers to your teapot or your socks to your serving dishes…

Lucky for us our Finnish destination, Romeneivi, has a Marimekko store so we’ll be sure to pop in for a nosey. But for all those based in the UK the online store has some fantastic offerings, i’ve shortlisted some of my favourites below…

 

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1. Oiva/Sääpäiväkirja plate, 32.00GBP 2. Round Fokus tray, 62.00GBP 3. Oiva/Siirtolapuutarha plate, 26.00GBP 4. Hattarakukka tray, 62.00GBP 5. Oiva/ Siirtolapuutarha pitcher, 53.00GBP 6. Sukat makkaralla stemware, 32.00GBP 7. Hauki plywood tray, 44.50GBP 8. Oiva/Unikko tea cup, 17.00GBP 9. Hauki oven mitten, 22.00GBP 10. Hauki tea towel, 29.50GBP

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Christmas Comes Early at Hello Walls

You may have noticed a common theme in our most recent posts. Christmas is indeed creeping closer and winter has definitely arrived but the real reason we’ve been starting the seasonal countdown early this year is that, thanks to the folks over at Thomson Holidays, we’re jetting of to Lapland today! Just the two of us – and yes, we’re going to be meeting Santa and no, we don’t have any kids…

Earlier in the year we went to a gathering of like-minded bloggers (Blogtacular) at the impressive venue of The Royal Institution, London.  Among the Georgian grandeur and the lofty scientific alumni, the Thomson crew landed the interior of a Boeing 737 and invited us to roll up and pitch our dream destination to them.

Thomson at Blogtacular Hello Walls

Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald. Thanks to Mollie Makes.

With Liz being a fan of all things Scandi/Nordic, Kath being averse to any climate warmer than Yorkshire, and both of us Christmas-lovers (albeit mostly for the food), we plumped for Lapland – under the guise of convincing the Thomson chaps that it’s not just a place for kids.

Having been friends for twenty-*cough* years but never having visited Santa together, we concocted a joint Christmas wishlist.  We were shocked and delighted when Nicky + Christian from Thomson (pictured above) chose to make it a reality by sending us to Rovaniemi, Finland (the Official Hometown of Santa Claus™).

 

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Dear Santa, this Christmas we would like to:

1. Visit your Lapland home and elbow some kids out of the way in the Grotto queue
2. Watch you turn on the northern lights for us
3. Go on a husky ride and shout ‘MUSH’ in a Yorkshire accent
4. Smash up the karaoke in the bar at the Levi Ice Gallery
5. Gorge on Finnish tapas at the Arctic Boulevard restaurant in Rovaniemi
6. Venture into the wilderness for some ice fishing …
7 …. and then defrost with some glögi
8. Cure ourselves in a real Finnish smoke sauna
9. Have a legitimate reason to force our other halves to wear their Christmas jumpers in public

 

Keep your eyes peeled for reports back on our snowy adventures and encounters with Santa and his entourage…

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Our Favourite: Nordic Interiors

We’re heading off to Finnish Lapland in a few weeks’ time, thanks to the nice folks at Thomson Holidays. As well as checking in to say ‘hi’ to Old Saint Nick, we’re also going to be exploring the activities that Lapland has to offer for the (marginally) more grown-up traveller.

To get us in the mood, we’ve been looking at Nordic-inspired decor to cosy up our living spaces, now that November is coming into full force here in Blighty. The wild and windy weather and dark evenings are making it far more appealing to stay holed up inside, so it feels like we should make the most of it and embrace the Nordic spirit….

Our-Favourite-nordic-interiors

1. Skog Poster 48 euros  |  2.  Nordic Nights Hot Water Bottle £12 |  3. Danish Geometric Pots from £24 | 4. Golden Magritte Bookends £30 | 5. Copper Trim Chopping Board Set + Stand £71  | 6. Gran Tray, Green/white 42 euro | 7. Wooden Storage Boxes from £16  | 8. Ströva, Soft toy £12  |  9. Senior, Casserole with lid £30 | 10. Bears Mugs – Set Of 4  £4 | 11. Faux Fur Throws £35 (incl p&p)

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The Front Doors of Axbridge: Delightfully Different

 

The Front Doors of Axbridge

The front doors of Axbridge: delightfully different

Axbridge is a small town in Somerset, it’s a pretty charming place – all the houses are tightly packed together but none of them alike either in period or size. They do all have one thing in common though – a beautiful front door. Of course they’re still pretty varied but all equally delightful. When me and Kath visited last year (for our fauxglasto weekend) we couldn’t resist going out for a wander, camera in hand, to document the scene.

From the Medieval studded door of the butchers, to the baby blue gateway hiding the secret garden, to the understated elegance of April Cottage’s entrance peering from behind the chrysanthemums. Each one has it’s own appeal.

It was also what spurred me on to finally invest in my own front door and I’m pretty confident my Manchester house could now stand proud among it’s Southern Axbridge counterparts.

 

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Rowen and Wren: Elegant and Distinctive Homewares

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Rowen and Wren have one of the most beautifully photographed homeware collections of any online shop.  The covetable vintage accessories; the backdrops of deep slate blue paint and whitewashed walls; I would happily move in to their online world if it existed.

As you’d expect from such a carefully crafted visual style, the collection itself is exquisitely tasteful, and it’s one of those shops where you can’t really go wrong if you’re looking for a gift.  Anyone with any sense would be happy to welcome something from Rowan and wren into their home.

Their collections do span a range price-wise, and some items are outside my personal budget, but there are also some really affordable gems, and it’s also a great place to look for well crafted antique-style hardware (think burnished brass, copper and nickel).

Liz has picked some of her favourite bits and pieces below….

Rowen and Wren homewares mason cocktail shaker recipe book

The Mason Shaker Cocktail book £18.

My other half bought me a Mason Shaker for last years Birthday but I fear my bottom of the bottle, back of the cupboard concoctions may not pass muster. I am buying this. If I remember I will let you know how I get on…

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Lost in a Scandinavian Forest

At this moment, if I could be anywhere I’d ask to be transported to the Swedish countryside. Perhaps Småland or Södermanland but I’d definitely be staying in a little red cabin (faluröda hus) positioned by a lake and surrounded by trees. Right now the forests are a lush green colour, so green they’re almost blue and the trees tower above you, giant and cartoon-like, shooting upwards like a fletching at the tail of an arrow…

…I’m not sure I can delve any further into this fantasy without risking severe ‘iwantaholiday-itus’. Instead I will share with you my favourite Scandinavian forest inspired accessories which will help to bring a touch of this picture perfect scene into your home.

Scandinavian Forest Accessories

 

1. Hansel and Gretel nursery print £25.00 , 2. Moomin Green Garden Mug £14.95, 3. Green Finnish Tree Fabric  £24.95/m, 4. Green Moorland Cushion £28.00, 5. Talking tree hexagon pot stand $31, 6. Gran Tray €43, 7. Big Matches $8, 8. The Fir Tree £8.99, 9. House in the Forest $219, 1o. Bear of Few Words Print, £10

 

 

 

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