Hombre chair 1-01

I met Louw Roets the SARCDA trade exhibition held annually in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event showcases wholesalers, importers and manufacturers of gift, decor and design items and I was really inspired after my last visit. Louw is a Cape Town based product designer and creates conceptual pieces with a fun element. He’s also a chatty and friendly individual who I enjoyed speaking to. Louw combines traditional handcraft techniques with modern technology and one cannot help but smile when you see some of his creations.

I’ve been looking around for chairs on the interwebs for a project and I remembered this beauty I’d seen at Louw’s exhibition stand last year. The Hombre chair is certainly one of my favourite pieces from his collection. As much as I love a minimalist approach to design, I really appreciate the functionality of this piece. The chairs are stackable, versatile & highly functional. The colour palette ranges from energetic and fun to calm and elegant – and the best part? Different finishes are available for the frame and an upholstered seat is optional.

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Hombre chair 2-02

When visiting Louw’s website it is evident that he has strong African roots and that he is inspired by his surroundings. His furniture pieces are personalised by giving each object a name with a connotation to the functionality thereof. The Pamoja Table is such an example. Pamoja means ‘together’ in Swahili. Being together is what this table is all about. It’s a six seater table that brings friends and family together.

The Hamba Wall Clock is another design layered with interpretation and meaning. Hamba means “to go” in Zulu. This clock is a fun and friendly reminder that you are on your way to somewhere.

The Paplepel (Porridge Spoon) lamp is the ideal lighting accessory for any modern inspired room. It has a simplistic contour, referencing the shape of a traditional African wooden spoon. The outline of the spoon blends into a contemporary shape and one can not help to be inspired by Louw’s creativity.

Louw Roets_houseofhawkes

Be sure to check out the colourful Pulp Fiction Lamps as well. This bold design is for the brave! To view the collection, visit the Louw Roets website over here.


When Leanne Moss of the gorgeous online home store, White Moss, recently asked me if I could help her with styling her home, I jumped at the chance. It’s no surprise that I am a big White Moss fan – their natural materials and neutral colour pallet are right up my style alley – and Leanne is just lovely too.

Leanne has recently made some changes at their home and I was eager to jump in and help with styling a new look, particularly in their living room, which is a beautifully tranquil space. It was great fun being able to raid the White Moss warehouse for items to complete the look.

We installed two Raffia Island Pendant Lights in the living and dining area for an earthy contrast to the ample white palette. The White Sun Tribal Plate fills a large wall that was otherwise stark and empty, and the Farmhouse Folding Stool was also a new addition to this area.


The lake view garden to this home boasts an enviable selection of cacti and I made sure that some of these beauties took up residence indoors. The live greenery adds a vibrant pop of colour, and is always a good idea. If you’re not blessed with green fingers, or a back garden full of cacti – or if you need to avoid the real cacti in order to preserve curious little fingers, be sure to check out the Rattan Cactus Pot. It would tick the same box and is simply adorable.

The subtle use of greenery is echoed by two green frames in the gallery and the upholstered  benches at the dining table. Subtle yet highly effective. We placed a Sunburst Rattan Mirror above the console and it makes for a perfect match.  This piece is handmade using woven rattan techniques and partners well the Bali Bowl Chairs.

All in all, the living room got a pretty cool makeover – helped immensely by the installation of white laminate flooring.

Upstairs, the master bedroom and nursery (baby White Moss is expected this summer!) share similar tonal values and textures. We used another tribal plate, this time the Monochrome Tribal (these babies are so versatile), above the existing pallet headboard and added even more texture to this ethereal room with pieces like the Phoenix Macrame Wall Hanging, the Fisherman Pendant lights, Belly Basket and Raffia Pouf at the foot of the bed.

Hold your breath for the The Alice of Wonder Stool! This fluffy bunny chair is a unique, magical and whimsical piece that has been deliberately designed for children and is an absolute favourite of mine. Your smalls will love this bunny with it’s soft, faux fur seat and natural wood finish, complete with white socks. Suffice to sat that the Bonnie Baby Crib is equally as dreamy.



Be sure to hop on over to White Moss for the ultimate styling pieces!

All images Natelee Cocks Photography 


Towards the end of last year I got my hands on a set of bamboo bed linen from Peony Living and have been meaning to tell you about it ever since. Sadly, the Christmas rush took over and I can’t quite believe that I am only getting around to this now… (insert all the shameful emojis here). 

Now it has to be said that I am a bit of a linen snob, so I was somewhat skeptical when I first laid eyes on this off-white bamboo newcomer, but as soon as I got a feel of this fabric’s texture, I was instantly sold. It has an incredibly soft, satin-like character but without the obvious shine.

Having done a bit of research, I’ve come to know that bamboo bed sheets have an impressive list of accolades. This particular collection is made from 300 thread count of sateen bamboo. The luxuriously silky-smooth fabric is manufactured from an eco-friendly source and contains naturally occurring antibacterial properties (no chemicals or dyes are used either) making it ideal for infants, kids and people with allergies. Bamboo also helps maintain the body’s ideal temperature making you feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter – and it’s moisture wicking ability is great for people with night sweats. Who knew?

The Peony Living brand isn’t just about bed linen – the range offers a selection of bath towels and the most amazingly soft throws. I can tell you how fabulous these products are until I’m blue in the face, but you really have to feel the textures in order to fully appreciate their quality. I’ve been using my new set of bamboo bed linen for over two months now and I am a huge fan. I was ever so slightly deterred by the off-white, almost ivory colour at first, but I can confirm with conference that the colour fades with washing and is perfectly white.

My only gripe about this brand would be that it doesn’t yet include a range of linen for kids, but I suspect we won’t have to wait too long for that.

All images Natelee Cocks Photography 

Guys, this post is sooooo late, and I apologise for that – it’s just been a particularly hectic run up to Christmas this year. But without further ado, and after several requests, here they are: The House of Hawkes annual free printable Christmas Gift Tags. Just in time for anyone who, like me, is wrapping at the 11th hour.

Since I am working on decorating the table with sprigs and twigs this year, I thought it more than fitting to do a some tags with “sprigs and things”. For the past three years I have designed a set of Christmas gift tags to offer as a free download for my readers. It’s becoming somewhat of a tradition around here and I can’t believe it’s already time for the fourth edition.

And just for the record, Christmas is a mere 2 sleeps away. Last year I had my tags ready a month in advance, but hey, I’m trying not to sweat the small stuff over here. Am I being suitably convincing?? Last year we had a monochromatic watercolour design – with a dash of humour. This year, I’m opting for a touch of green in a few different shapes and sizes.

Let me know which one is your favourite!

You will need:

  • This set of Christmas Gift Tags 2016
  • Cardstock of at least 180gsm
  • Single hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon, cord or embroidery cotton.


Happy wrapping!

House of Hawkes Christmas Gift Tags 2016 from House of Hawkes on Vimeo.


If you’re a regular around here, you may have noticed that I never get too wild with my DIY projects – I like to things super simple. It’s basically my DIY motto. For this most recent project, I kept it so simple, I wasn’t even involved. I can actually take no credit for this one because it was done by my colleague, the lovely Charly, and all I did was snap away while she created. And it took her a grand total of five minutes to create these gorgeous 3D ornaments. They are perfect as Christmas decorations, but they are also lovely enough to keep hanging around after all the festivities. I love the simplicity of the design and it would be a fun activity to do with the smalls.

You will need:

  • 15 straws
  • fishing line
  • scissors



Cut 3 of the straws in half so that you have 6 short pieces and 12 long pieces.

Using 6 sets of 2 long and one short straw, thread your strings through 3 pieces at a time (long-short-long) and knot your string at the end to form a triangle. Repeat for the remaining 5 sets.


Lay your 6 triangles in a row and thread the string through the short straw pieces, pulling them together at both ends and tying a knot to join them fairly tightly.

Lift 3 alternate pieces upwards to form the top of your ornament and tie them together. Repeat the same step for the three pieces at the bottom.

Tie a long piece of string/fishing line to the top so that you can hang your ornament.
Voila – you’re done!
Tip: Try them in a few different sizes.

Anyone else thinking of Christmas table settings? I would do well to concentrate on my completing my shopping list, but instead I’m thinking about table decorations. This year, we will be having Christmas dinner at home. We are so lucky to have my mom (Ouma) here with us again this year. As the kids are getting a bit older and can appreciate the festivities more, I am starting to make that extra bit of effort at setting the dinner table. The smalls love involving themselves so I’ve got enthusiastic little helpers for everything from designing and placing the cards to trimming the sprigs. They’re even making suggestions for the menu! Ethan is hoping for a prawn cocktail starters and I’m attempting this Pear Rosemary Spritzer as a cocktail that the kids can enjoy too.

Christmas Table Setting Inspiration 04

In case you’re in need of some inspiration for your Christmas table, I have put together some ideas I’m looking at for our own table setting. I’m really keen on keeping things simple for the holidays and if you read my Go Green post earlier this year, you know that I have big love for simple botanical arrangements. Anything with some fresh greenery is always a win in my book. I love the modern feel of the minimal half wreath below and will definitely be giving that a go.

Christmas Table Setting Inspiration 02

ChristmasTable Setting Inspiration 16

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With keeping things simple (and easy) this year, I think I will be opting for green sprig decorations. Sprigs are a great way to add a touch of Christmas to your dining table and you can get them just about anywhere – grab a handful of greenery from your garden (rosemary is ideal) of trim some right off the Christmas tree. Then use your sprigs on a plate,  scattered down the centre of the table, or as a little wreath or tied to a napkin. It’s so simple, you really can’t go wrong.

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Last year I featured a post on Baked Decorations with my friend Karen from Sweet Secrets and I plan to attempt another batch this year – mostly because I love the idea below of using a cookie as napkin decor. How cute is that!? These cookies are also great to hang from your tree on Christmas eve so that you have something novel to munch with coffee on Christmas morning. That said, we are now the proud owners of a puppy and she may get to those before we do! Last but not least, sprigs are a great to have around when wrapping gifts – have a look at my Rustic DIY Gift Wrap post to see how I’ve used them in the past.

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I hope this leaves you feeling inspired and ready for your Christmas celebrations. I still have a million things to do, so I’d better get to it. In the meantime happy planning and happy holidays!

Last week was all about sharing our favourite Christmas gift ideas for kids, women and men. We certainly hope you found our gift guides helpful and that you are making good use of the exclusive discounts offered to you. I know that I have.

Now with exactly one week until Christmas, we have an awesome surprise for you! Many of the amazing stores that offered you the special #HOHXMAS discount have also thrown in some of their fabulous products for our big fat Christmas giveaway!


Would you believe that one lucky person will win this entire collection of goodies. And in the spirit of Christmas, we are making it really easy for your enter yourself into this amazing competition! All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us what your favourite item is and why you want to win!

Giveaway rules: Open to UAE residents only. Entries will be open for 48 hours – so hurry! Entrants must register their email address when using the comment section. The winner will be randomly selected and informed via email. All products in the giveaway will be shipped to the winner directly from the retailer (with the exception of the cushion from Georges, which can be collected in store).

I would like to say a huge thank you to all the retailers involved in this giveaway. They are: Dubai Love (alphabet poster) | Emaan Home (marble Macbook cover, bluetooth headphones & confetti tea towels) | The Bowery Company (cigar ashtray) | Georges of Dubai (cushion) | Joba (clutch bag & wooden camera) | Maluco (cardboard house and doll pram) | Caramel & Sun (Omy Paris poster) | White Moss (banana leaf beach throw) | Dassie Artisan Homeware (wood & marble serving board) | Nook (ice-cream cushion).

If you haven’t already done so, please visit their stores and take a look at what they have on offer.

Lastly, whilst it’s not a requirement of entry, we would give you a virtual high five if you shared the love and news of this awesome giveaway by using the ‘share’ buttons below. It’s Christmas, after all. And if you fancy receiving regular updates from us, feel free to subscribe to House of Hawkes by adding your email address to the ‘Subscribe via email’ field in the sidebar.


We are down to less than two weeks until Christmas and the pressure to find the perfect Christmas gift for him is on. Never fear, we are here to help. We have searched high and low to find something awesome for all the special people in your life, each and every is gift hand-picked. The good news? You can skip the seasonal mall madness and order any of all of these products online. The best news? House of Hawkes readers receive an exclusive discount for all items included in our gift guide.

Here is our selection of ideal gifts for ‘him’ – from sunglasses to bikes and audio gadgets, we are sure that you will find something fab for the men in your life.

Use the checkout code HOHXMAS to apply your discount for the online stores listed below:

  1. Cigar Ashtray from The Bowery Company | Item on sale
  2. Wildwood Sunglasses | 20% off
  3. Bicycle from The Movement | 10% off -when you mention House of Hawkes in store
  4. Wireless Headphones from Emaan Home | 20% off
  5. Liqueur Glass set from The Bowery Company | 15% off
  6. Wine Breather Carafe from The Bowery Company | 15% off
  7. Art print from Drawdeck | 15% off
  8. Beard Oil Trio from Mr Fox | 15% off all online purchases

Happy shopping, folks!

Here is our Christmas Gift list for her (myself and I!) It’s a round-up of unique and stylish gifts for all the wonderful women in your life – your mum, sister, bestie or that amazing teacher who’s made all the difference this year. Heck, it might even be something just for you, in which case you’ll want to use our ‘share by email’ feature below to inbox the hubby.

Now if you’re as averse to a crowded mall as web are, you’ll be chuffed to know that almost everything in this guide is available online. And the even better news? House of Hawkes readers receive a special discount on all items included in our gift guide.

You might notice a theme of firm favourites here – marble, monochrome, speckles and a splash of blush. We would be thrilled to find any of these babies awaiting us under the tree!

Use the checkout code HOHXMAS to apply your discount for the online stores listed below:

  1. Serving Boards from Dassie | 15% off all online purchases (discount code effective from 14 December)
  2. Milk and Sugar Cushions from Georges of Dubai | 10% off
  3. Beach throws from White Moss | 15% off for all online purchases
  4. Colour block throw from Marmarland | 15% off across the grown up category
  5. Marble laptop cover from Emaan Home | 20% off
  6. Marble tray from The Bowery Company | 15% off
  7. Blue confetti towel set from Emaan Home | 20% off
  8. Fold over clutch from Joba | 20% off

Go get ’em!

My lovelies, it’s here! After many hours of searching, sourcing and corresponding with some of our favourite retailers, we have our 2016 gift guides ready for you.

First up – the smalls. Putting together the Christmas gift guide for the kiddos was so much fun. We have selected a wide range of adorable things including wooden toys and funky clothing and of course some decor items as well. Limiting this guide to only 12 gifts was a real challenge for us. Twelve days of Christmas anyone?

As always, we always try to support small businesses and keep it local where possible, so House of Hawkes readers will receive a discount on all the items included in our kids gift guide.

Use the checkout code HOHXMAS to apply your discount for the online stores listed below:

  1. Ride on Metal Car from Caramel & Sun | 15% off
  2. Dumye Doll | 15% off
  3. Doll pram from Maluco World | 15% off for all online purchases
  4. Kids Hoodies & sweatshirts from Brighteyez | 15% off for all online purchases (excl. sale items)
  5. Animal Heads from Tribe Dubai | 15% off when you purchase in store and mention House of Hawkes
  6. Cardboard play house from Maluco World | 15% off for all online purchases
  7. Milk night light from Caramel & Sun | 15% off
  8. Alphabet Print from Dubai Love | 20% off
  9. Coloring book from Caramel & Sun | 15% off
  10. Wooden camera from Joba | 20% off for all online purchases
  11. Custom tree ornaments from The Party | Receive a special price when you mention House of Hawkes in your email order to hello@theparty.ae
  12. Doll’s bed from Nook | 15% off

Shop away & enjoy your special prices!


A few weeks ago, I ordered some gorgeous bed linen for Ethan’s room and wanted to let you in on this awesome find! This room is a space in our new home which you probably haven’t seen much of yet. That’s because I’ve had a real decorating block with it. Yes, that happens. I don’t know why, but this room in particular has been a real struggle for me. The space is a lot smaller than his last bedroom, so we had to trade his old double bed in for a bunk bed situation. That was an epic search of it’s own, but we settled on the stylish Oeuf bunks, which I sourced locally from Children’s Lane in Abu Dhabi. New single beds meant that I needed to find a whole new set of bed linen. And so the search began.

I was after something that would look crisp, fresh and masculine and was delighted when I came across this bedding from Ooh Noo. This well designed collection of kids bedding is made of pure materials and the range is constantly updated so you can mix, match and enjoy the variety.

The team at Ooh Noo tend to produce only a small number of items in each design and colour, making them something quite unique. In the current collection, you can choose from cute illustrations or simple geometrics, and plenty of gender neutral options. I went with the Geometric web duvet sets and paired them with the Tiny triangle pillow cases. A winning combination for us.

One thing that you will notice is that the cover becomes softer after each wash and tumble-dry (yes you can tumble-dry!). The intention of the design is to fade and look less defined – so the more you wash and use the bedding, the better. Ooh Noo has bedtime covered – but they also offer an amazing range of kids toys. The entire Ooh Noo collection is designed by hand and brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. Go and have a look!

PS: I’ll be showing more of Ethan’s room soon.


It’s that time of year again, folks – the festive season. I can’t even believe that December is in our sights, let alone Christmas. For most expats living in the UAE, this is ‘visitor season’ and most of us are preparing our homes for the annual onslaught of house guests. With perfect weather and a city that continues amaze the world, who can blame family and friends for wanting to get a piece of the action.

My smalls have been counting the sleeps till their ‘Ouma’ (my mom) arrives this weekend. I on the other hand am feeling slightly panicked about the fact that the guest room over here in the new House of Hawkes HQ is in fact a dumping ground. Since we arrived it has served as ‘file 13’ of sorts. You know that special place for the too-difficult-to-deal-with stuff. The I’ll-sort-it-out-later stuff which is now an imposing pile of objects awaiting their fate. It’s the sort of chaos that unsettles me to the core, and explains why the door to that room has been firmly shut for weeks.

It’s time for me to face the music.

Enter my old friend, IKEA and the wonders of their storage and organisation section. My mission: to create a space for guests to unpack and feel at home. Our guest room has a small built-in wardrobe, but since that is currently being used to store a bunch things I’ll probably never need again, but feel the need to keep, I needed a wardrobe that didn’t look like another typical wardrobe in the room. I’ve been on the lookout for something a little different, and I found the lovely ELVARLI system and a neat selection of accessories to accompany it.

Take a look at how much storage space this baby offers.

Making room for guests from House of Hawkes on Vimeo.

I love the versatility of this open storage unit. It offers plenty of space for clothing and shoes and has gorgeous bamboo shelf surfaces to decorate and accessorise.


Here’s a look at the storage and organisation accessories I used to maximise packing space…

1 ELVARLI system | 2 KNARRA white baskets | 3 & 4 SKUBB storage boxes | 5 BOOMERANG white hangers

Are you ready of your guests?


This post comes with a warning. It may be harmful to your wallet because when you see what I am about to show you, you’re going to want all the beautiful things. A few months ago, a friend told me about this exciting new concept called White Moss and I’ve been following their Instagram feed with anticipation ever since. What is White Moss, you ask? Well, its a brand new online home decor store and it’s all kinds of aaaaaah-mazing!

During the build-up to their launch I got in touch with the Founder, Leanne Moss, to find out more about her ‘new baby’ – because I’m just really impatient like that – and I have been hounding her with one burning question ever since. Picture a toddler in the back seat asking, “are we there yet”, and you’ll get an idea of how conversations with me have been for poor Leanne.

Thank heavens, the wait is over! Get a load of this…

The White Moss philosophy embodies simplicity and nature with a distinctly serene aesthetic. Leanne and her hubby, Rob, travelled to Bali to design and curate the product line for the brand’s first collection. Leanne has used a selection of natural materials, in a neutral colour pallet that will complement a wide spectrum of interiors styles. The variety of earthy tones and textures ticks all my boxes.

The White Moss website and online store has a beautifully simple aesthetic that makes viewing and shopping an absolute pleasure. Collections include baskets, cushions, mirrors, wall hangings, lighting, children’s décor, seating, and accessories. The website also features an ‘Inspiration Lounge’ providing styled ideas to create different looks including Tribal, Bohemian, Tropical, Coastal and Scandi.

Here are my top pics:


alice of wonder (bunny) stool | double belly pendant | beaded storages boxes | bali bowl chair | chevron raffia basketrattan baby crib

I mean seriously, I might consider a third child just to have a reason to own that crib! I’m really excited to watch this fabulous new concept soar. Best of luck to Leanne and her team.


There’s a new throw pillow darling on my bed. It’s of African descent, features bold patterns and is bang on trend. Say hello to the lovely mud cloth! One can get lost in the realms of exotic African textiles as there are all sorts of interesting textures and materials, but my new focus is firmly fixed on a textile known as mud cloth. If you love earthy, neutral tones,  patterns and textures, then this is for you.


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Mud cloth, also known as Bogolanfini, is a handmade Malian cotton fabric. It is dyed using a process of fermented mud that dates back to 12th century. What makes traditional mud cloth so special is that each piece is unique and has a story to tell. The patterns are not only decorative, but also rich in cultural significance.

I think what really draws me to this this fabric is t’s versatility and the the way it fits so easily across my favourite interior styles. Mud course is of course very much at home in any ethic or tribal-esque space, but works just as well in a pared back Scandi environment too.

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Incase I’ve managed to win you over, or if you were on the lookout for a new throw pillow anyway, I’ve gathered a round-up of my favorite Mud Cloth Throw Pillows – all available online.

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Happy weekend, peeps!

Where has a year gone? I cannot believe that Dubai Design Week is upon us already. Fast becoming one of Dubai’s most exciting fixtures on the events calendar, the programme for this year looks amazing. The trade show component of the event, Downtown Design, is in it’s fourth year and clearly gaining momentum. The fair takes place at Dubai Design District (D3) which is more developed this year with many shops, studios and cafes. A really cool place to visit with or without a design fair!

Aside from the main attraction, there are also all sorts of events, workshops, exhibitions and installations happening across the city. I am really looking forward to seeing all the newcomers this year and super excited about visiting the exhibits of well established brands such as Carl Hansen & Søn, Rolf Benz, Jotun, and Romi to name but a few.

So what is on my radar this year? Here’s a quick overview of a few things on my personal hit list, but brace yourself, I’m almost looking forward to everything!



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Keep an eye our for the installation by Spun seating. Thomas Heatherwick is the designer for the Spun chairs – contemporary sculptures when stationary and comfortable, fun seats when in motion. The Carpets CC Open Studio also looks to be a goodie – you can meet Cecilia Setterdahl, the designer behind the vision, and get an insight to the challenging process of turning a canvas into carpet.



  • Tom Dixon Studio
  • HAY accessories market (not mentioned in the programme but you’ll find it in Building 7)




Fables Alive sounds really interesting. This series of doll making workshops by Vinny Dolls takes its inspiration from the Kalila Wa Dimna fables’ animals, exclusively developed for this year’s Dubai Design Week. I might have to get the smalls there, my daughter will love this stuff!


Local retailers, design brands, galleries, universities and institutions will also host more than 150 events this week. You can create your own itinerary of design week events by signing up to dubaidesignweek.ae (use the log in button top right).

For a full run down of the programme, click here. I’ll see you there!

When was the last time you shopped for wall lights? They're funny little blighters, those wall lights, or 'wall sconces' if we're being proper. They're just not as common or readily available as you would think.

When was the last time you shopped for wall lights? They’re funny little blighters, those wall lights, or ‘wall sconces’ if we’re being proper. They’re just not as common or readily available as you would think. To be more precise, traditional styles are easier to come by but contemporary options are somewhat more limited and dependant on whether you’re planning to conceal the electrical cables or leave them exposed.

As you may know, we moved house recently. In fact it’s no longer that recent an event and I’ve spoken before of how we seem to be having the longest settling in period in the history of house moves. Sadly, there’s not really been much of a status change in that department – but there has been major progress in the master bedroom. I decided that I wanted to install wall lights in there and embarked on what turned into an epic search. I was after quite a specific style (because why would I ever make this easy for myself?) – simple and not too big. We have a tall upholstered headboard and I didn’t want the lights to be competing for centre stage. I am also trying to pare things back in our bedroom, reducing clutter and clearing surfaces. Mounting lights on the wall at our bedside immediately translated to a cleaner bedside table. Win.

Since I had spent so much time spent sourcing options, I thought you guys, might enjoy a round-up of good options that I came across on my search.


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I eventually settled on a gorgeous white light that I found at Urban Outfitters (#2 above). It ticks the box for something that looks great and is budget friendly, but it was a close call with the Bellevue Lamp (#1) by Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen, which is more of the dream option. The Bellevue is also available locally at D.Tales.

Which one would you pick?


During the summer I attended a workshop at the Falaknaz Warehouse – an introduction to the “Annie Sloan Method”. This workshop covered the basics of what you’d need to know when attempting your first foray into the world of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

It is called chalk paint because of its beautiful velvety, matt finish. The magic of this paint is that it rarely requires any prep work (because honestly, prep work is enough to put anyone off their DIY) and can be used indoors, outdoors and on just about any surface. Like, literally ANY surface – old and new wood, metal, plastic, cement, bricks and even fabric! You can mix your own blend of colours without them becoming gross or muddy. And because it’s a water-based paint, you can add water to make it smoother or leave the lid off to make it thicker. Magic indeed! The remarkable versatility and impressive colour range make excellent results achievable for the DIY enthusiast as well as the professional painter. It’s user-friendly and eco-friendly.

Feeling enthusiastic, I set out to paint an old wooden cabinet that I’ve had for a few years. It was in good need of a new beginning. The job was as easy as applying two coats of paint in my self-mixed light shade of grey, followed by two coats of Annie Sloan Soft Wax. The Soft Wax seals and protects and is the perfect complement for Chalk Paint – but be warned, the wax on – wax off bit took a fair bit of elbow grease and left me feeling like I’d had a real martial arts workout (see what I did there?). It compensated for the painting bit that seemed way too easy to be true, but was well worth the effort in the end.

The old wardrobe is now being used for toy storage in my daughter’s room and I’ve fallen in love with it again. 

I really love the soft pastel colours in the Chalk Paint palette. The armchair below has been painted in Chalk Paint in Antoinette and recovered in Scandinavian Pink and Provence fabric from the Annie Sloan Coloured Linens collection. Aren’t that lovely?

Image source: Annie Sloan Inspiration

Chalk Paint may have been developed for furniture, but there are so many creative ways to use it. The possibilities are endless. If you would like to learn more on painting techniques, visit the Falaknaz Warehouse for get yourself booked onto one of their workshops. 


Say hello to a brand new feature around here. It’s called Scene & Heard and it’s essentially a round up of what can only be described as snippets of the information overload in my head. Thanks to many hours spent out and about and on the interwebs sourcing products for client deigns, I come across so much information and many cool new things, often not really enough to substantiate a full blog post, but intriguing enough to warrant a mention.

Admittedly, this is also a tactic to overcome simply not having enough time for all the posts I want to write. So I figure, why not offer you guys a ‘brain dump’ of sorts. It may not always be good news and some of it may seem entirely random but then there may just be that exact something that might have been looking for. Let’s see. Your feedback on this would be awesome.

  1. Dubai has so many new and exciting interior stores popping up – two that have caught my full attention recently are Nook which, by the way, also has a beautiful flower bar, and The Den. The latter is located in Dubai’s beautiful City Walk development which is reason enough to visit. Check them out, guys.
  2. Tribe Dubai has opened a new store at The Courtyard, Al Quoz and it’s all kinds of lovely.
  3. The wallpaper genies at US-based Chasing Paper are due to launch their Indigo collection on 12 October and it looks amaze-balls. I used their fantastic peel-and-stick-easy-to-apply wallpaper in this room and fell in love.
  4. I’m a massive fan of Mrs Mighetto prints – they’re simply magical – and the new collection, ‘Circus Mighetto’, is in a league of its own. Pure whimsical genius.
  5. Dubai folks, did you know that Zara Home now has online shopping available? True story. And you heard it here. I’ve been after a few things from there and now I won’t even have to leave the house. My kind of wonderful.
  6. If you follow only one new Insta account this week, let it be Indie Home Collective. You won’t be sorry. Although you’ll definitely risk moments of breathlessness. I’ve got my eye on these talented Kiwis.
  7. Last week I raved about Dubailove – if you haven’t seen that post, take a peek because it includes a discount code for their online store, valid till 10 October.
  8. Lastly, I heard from not one but two friends who visited H&M Home this week the devastating news that their one and only Dubai branch is closing. What is up with that? I literarily want to sob. Instead I’m waiting patiently for somebody to please tell me this is just a nasty rumour.

And that’s a wrap.

Comments welcome.

image via Indie Home Collective 


I didn’t know I was looking for love and then I found Dubailove. Er, sorry, I simply could not resist that one. But seriously, have you guys seen the awesome range of city souvenir goodies by newcomer, Dubailove? I discovered this awesome concept on Instagram a few months ago and have really enjoyed seeing the product range develop.

As an avid lover of this awesome city I’m so thrilled to see a Dubai-inspired concept like this. And as you may know, I’m a sucker for stationery and anything that is beautifully branded and well packaged. Dubailove ticks all of the boxes.

Behind the concept are sisters, Kristina Reinberger and Renate Arid, an interior designer and architect respectively. Realising that, like themselves, most expats have a desire to have stylish keepsakes and gifts from their time in Dubai – and we are talking about the kind that compliments a contemporary lifestyle – they developed a premium quality line of gifts.

From area maps to architectural showpieces and the simplest of typographic prints, the Dubailove designs adorn postcards, prints and T-shirts.

Dubailove designs are aimed at anyone who is looking for a stylish gift for themselves from their time in Dubai, or to impress friends and family back home. Be sure to check them out, and if you get over to their website and buy something before 10 October, you can take advantage of a special 15% discount for House of Hawkes readers. Use the code HH15OFF at the checkout.

IKEA catalogue 2017 layouts-02

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably already seen or heard that the new 2017 IKEA catalogue has arrived in stores. I was a little late to this party as I was down South in the homeland when my favourite paperback hit the UAE so I missed the media event and associated fanfare. Suffice to say I was experiencing a good dose of FOMO whilst hanging out in the bush – something I dealt with rather swiftly after my return to Dubai.

After my recent visit to the Swedish HQ, having seen the actual studio space in which all the catalogue images are photographed and having met some of the photographers and staff, I find myself looking at the catalogue from a whole new perspective. As always, it’s packed full of smart ideas and inspirational images that are enough to get even the most decor challenged individuals through the doors.

This year, the catalogue theme is Goodbye expectations. Hello you! IKEA hopes to offer “solutions that help people to live a life free of traditional expectations,” in order to “rediscover the simple joy of cooking, eating, and being together.” I love the ideology.

As you may know, we have just moved house and I’ve already had one epic visit to the store this week, but I suspect they’ll be seeing a lot more of me in the coming weeks as the IKEA list I keep on my phone (yes, I have one of those) continues to grow!

Here’s a look a look at my firm favourites from the catalogue…

IKEA catalogue 2017 layouts-01

1 Love love love the stylish simplicity of the VIKTIGT glass jug | 2 The RISATORP wire basket is as gorgeous as it is practical. Ideal for the kitchen or kids room storage | 3 I’m smitten with the blush pink tone of the SÖDERHAMN sofa series | 4 Um, hello there GRÖNADAL rocking chair… where have they been hiding you? | 5 Super excited about the arrival of the KVISTBRO storage tables. It comes in a larger, white version too | 6 Big love for the entire FLISAT series, but this stool is a particular favourite | 7 Do I even need to say anything about the ENIGHET candlestick. Just stunning | 8 The marblesque EKBACKEN worktop… eeeek! Hands down the most affordable way to attain ‘the look’ in your kitchen | 9 I really need this VIKTIGT laundry basket in my life – dirty laundry never looked so good | 10 RIMFORSA bamboo tablet stand – a must have.

If you’re going to be in the Dubai store within the next few days, I’ll no doubt bump in to you.

Dubai peeps, if you don’t already know, Crate & Barrel currently have an offer of up to 30% off on selected items from their dining and entertaining range. And the Big Sur dining table, one of my favourites, is included in the sale line-up!

The lovely folks at Crate & Barrel contacted me recently to ask which dining table I would pick, and if you visit the store, you may catch a glimpse of my in-store sign which tells you more about why I love the Big Sur collection.


We have just moved house so I was actually in the store yesterday to pick up a few things (at the mall on a Friday of all days… and at month end… I don’t know why I do these things to myself) and I was inspired to put together a little selection of beauties that would work a charm with the Big Sur dining table. There are so many gorgeous pieces and fun accessories to be discovered in the homeware section.

CRATE&BARREL-big sur-01

1 Big Sur dining table | 2 Tig metal dining chair | 3 Liam grey striped linen napkins | 4 Orb copper mixology accessories | 5 Mercer dinnerware | 6 Harper Rose Gold flatware set 

I’m looking forward to settling in quickly so that we can host a dinner party soon. For now, it’s all systems go on preparing for the start of the new school year tomorrow… amongst the painting that’s happening as we speak. Oh, the joys of a house move.


Hello my lovelies. It’s been a while. The summer holidays call for a slower pace and I have certainly been taking advantage of that. If you follow me on Instagram and Snapchat, you may have seen that we recently had a lovely family holiday in Greece. I’ve had a few requests to do a post on the places where we stayed, and am finally getting around to this. Apologies for the wait.

I don’t know about the other mums out there, but I find choosing accommodation for holidays with kids to be tricky business. In order to have a relaxing time and ensure that everyone is happy and entertained, there are a few boxes that need to be ticked. This would of course vary from family to family, and is quite dependant on the age of your kids, but for our two, who don’t have their own pool at home, unlimited access to a swimming pool is pretty much all they need to find their holiday bliss. Honestly, this is major luxury for us lot. We also like to find somewhere that has a separate space for them so that we are not all crammed into one room – a constant reminder of how much cheaper it was to travel when we were just a couple. We also enjoy having the option of self-catering because we’d be bankrupt if we had to call for room service every time our kids said they were hungry!

Our decision to go to Greece was a little last minute to say the least, so the hunt for a great hotel was pretty epic with most of the good options being fully booked, but the hubster eventually came across an absolute gem on Ios, and we nabbed it right away.

The Far Out Hotel & Spa has recently added four villas to the edge of their existing hotel operation (they also have the Far Out Village… where you can camp… and the Far Out Beach Club), and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Perched on the hillside, overlooking the beautiful Mylopotas beach, you feel surprising close to nature in these villas. Aside of the obviously impressive interior style, I was particularly impressed with the simple yet practical application of just about everything from the stylish rustic bathrooms to the minimalist open plan kitchen space. You see, I’m easily impressed by pretty details like the random brass strips in the floor tiles, gold Tom Dixon lights offset by marble wall cladding and the brass element of the hanging rail in the bedroom.

All in all, a job well done and a great place to relax and unwind as a family.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Ios, and despite it’s reputation as one of the party islands, it’s a great place for families to enjoy and explore too.

You can see more images of our time in Greece on my Instagram account.


When Brett, the owner of EngageME Consulting, approached me to design their new office space, I was as excited as I was nervous. This would be my first commercial design and installation, and for them it would be their first real office space, so a big milestone for both parties. Obviously I said yes and I am so glad I did. It’s been one of the most fun and rewarding projects I have worked on – and also the first project that I’ve taken from start to finish with my new team member, Charly, who was amazing.

As a young start-up company, the EngageME team spent most of their first years huddled around Brett’s dining room table. The company’s client portfolio grew quickly and it was soon time to take the big step. The team had a pretty clear idea of the style that they wanted for their office interiors. Employee satisfaction is one of the core values that this company preaches to it’s clients, so it was a definite case of them wanting to practise what they preach. The brief was to create a work environment that felt less corporate and more like a cafe or hip hangout. It had to be stylish yet unpretentious, functional yet comfortable – and most importantly, a place that the staff and guests would love coming to.

We settled on an industrial minimalist style with lots of greenery, where monochrome contrasts against raw wood elements and the company’s corporate colour palette of lime green and charcoal. After spending some time with this enthusiastic team, I quickly realised that there’s no such thing as ‘business as usual’ with them. They are a company committed to taking the road less traveled and they were open to any ideas and suggestions, including getting their hands dirty during the installation.

Their company logo features tin cans used as old school ‘walkie-talkies’, symbolic of communication, so we ensured that this was reflected in the design with the use of some actual tins cans. We also supersize this theme with two big oil drums, that work as tables for some of the large pot plants, but can also multi-task as cafe tables for in-house events.

A few of the walls have had the Jotun Lady Design treatment with their awesome white brick effect. We are big fans of Jotun Paints around here. The brick wall is a key feature in the brain-storming / chill out area, where we installed a cafe style bar counter across one of the gorgeous windows, and a comfy sofa where staff can contemplate their contributions to the ‘Big Ideas’ chalkboard wall.


EngageME has a super talented illustrator on their team, Bug Fawcett, and we didn’t hold back on using her extraordinary skills to the absolute max. Not inly is Bug responsible for every art illustration you see in the office, but she also designed the mural in the entry / reception area – a graphic representation of their company story, complete with personal details that include the whole team. Another person, who made a huge contribution to the office was Rob Webster, a friend of Brett’s and an amazing carpenter. Rob handcrafted most of the wooden pieces of furniture, including the huge conference table, which is pretty much the centre of the action in this office.

I am really pleased with the end result, but more importantly, the client is thrilled, mostly because I put a large cookie jar in their kitchen, but also because the outcome exceeded their expectations and that’s music to my ears.

These guys were so excited to show their new space to their clients they even made a video of the process. Take a look here. The video was produced by James O’Gorman of JOG Media. 

All images Natelee Cocks Photography 


The past few weeks have been really busy. Like crazy-cray-cray busy. So far, the month of June has even included a trip to Sweden and Denmark. More specifically, a small Swedish town called Almhult, the very birthplace of one of the world’s most iconic furniture & lifestyle brands, IKEA. I was invited to attend their Democratic Design Days – an international media event for journalists and bloggers – and what a fabulous privilege and adventure it was. It’s quite surreal to think that I have now actually seen and explored the ‘mothership’.

As far as events go, Democratic Design Days is pretty awesome. You get to access all sorts of areas that are usually off limits. Some of the highlights were a full tour of ICOM – IKEA’s enormous photography studio (where all the magic happens) as well as their increadible Test Lab. And let me just say that having seen exactly what those products are put through before reaching the market, I have a newfound respect for the quality of their wares.

On the first day of the two-day event, we were briefed on two upcoming and seriously exciting design collaborations with Danish brand, HAY and British designer, Tom Dixon. Both collaborations will explore the future of Scandinavian design with collections that conform to the changing needs of today’s urban generation that is frequently on the move.

Hay Design’s collection (expected to launch September 2017) will include furniture, lighting, accessories and textile designs, made by IKEA using their advanced manufacturing techniques. Mette Hay, co-founder of HAY Design has made some fabulous amendments to the iconic blue IKEA shopping bag – her version has a new, more demure colour scheme and woven pattern. It’s a beauty!

We got a look at a few of the prototype products for this colab and from what I have seen, the collection will feature all the design principals one would expect from the Scandinavians – light colours, clean lines, simplicity and high quality. Rolf Hay spoke very highly of the IKEA team, saying that they have learned so much from the transparent relationship. I can’t wait to see the full collection.


The Tom Dixon collaboration is slightly further down the line (Spring 2018), but no less exciting. This alliance seems to have a slightly more technical agenda that will challenge traditional solutions for comfort in the home through the development of new products for modern living, particularly in smaller spaces. They’re in the process of finalizing a structural design that will form a base for future seating solutions – a system that will allow for versatility in the way furniture is used.

They had an aluminum part with them on the stage, which didn’t look like much for now, but I have no doubt it will amaze us when we see it’s practical application in due course. Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA, and Dixon believe that this particular design will have far-reaching implications for the way such products and made in the future. An exciting one to watch.

We also got an insightful look at a series of new collections, which will be seen in stores within the next year. My favourites of these are additions to the STOCKHOLM collection and the new JASSA collection (pictured above). The latter is collaboration with Dutch designer, Piet Hein Eek, for an Indonesian inspired limited edition range of furniture and baskets made from rattan, bamboo, seagrass and water hyacinth. The collection will also include some ceramics and textiles.

I test-drove new chairs, still in their prototype phase – some made from state of the art 3D knitting technology that produces a mesh type of fabric (the kind you’d recognise on a pair of running shoes), and others made almost entirely from recycled materials. It was a fun and fascinating experience to say the least.

On the second day of the event, I had the absolute privilege of sitting down and chatting to one of IKEA’s in-house designers, Hanna Dalrot. She had recently been to Cape Town on an inspirational trip with fellow designers so we had lots to chat about. Hanna loves to make patterns and she is the mastermind behind a new range of watercolour prints that will be incorporated as textiles in the STOCKHOLM collection. These particular patterns were inspired by the sea and it’s many states of being.

Take a look at Hanna’s full portfolio here.

Another one of the highlights of my visit to IKEA of Sweden was getting a first look at the new IKEA Museum three weeks prior to it’s official opening date. The museum has been established in the original IKEA store and is packed full of fascinating insights into the company’s history. It will also feature a gift shop, which sadly wasn’t yet open for business when I was there. But then, that was probably for the best because it has some gorgeous bits and pieces on offer.

In summary, I had an awesome trip. It was wonderful to finally visit Scandinavia and be immersed in a culture so vastly different from life in the desert, where the majority of people ride their bikes to work and the greenery outweighs just about everything else. And whilst I love living in the UAE, a change is as good as a holiday. I loved it so much that I plan to drag the whole family back there for a holiday as soon as possible.

Many thanks to the team at IKEA UAE for taking me on this hugely inspirational journey.


After the event in Sweden, my hubby joined me for a kid-free weekend in Copenhagen. It was equally AMAZING, but I’ll tell you about that in a separate post.

I love putting together gift guides. It’s like shopping without spending they money. With Father’s Day just around the corner, I have put together the ultimate Father’s Day Gift Guide. Most of the featured products are available online, so securing the perfect gift for dad is potentially just a click away.

Whether you want to spend AED 20 or AED 2,000 we’ve rounded up some of the most stunning Dad Gifts – including a few things that the kids (that’s me) would love to give to our dad this year…. wish me luck as I attempt to narrow down the selection. You’ll find something in here to appeal to fathers of all kinds – the Adventure Dad, the Face-the-music Dad, the Off-the-beaten-track Dad or even the Wine-and-dine Dad.

Don’t miss the good news at the end. A handful of retailers have offered an exclusive promotional code for our readers when you shop online.

For the spick-and-span dad we recommend the Old Fashioned Shave Cream from Modvito. Shaving is a skill passed down from generation to generation and as such, a thing of true value, like a good piece of advice. It’s part ritual, part preparation, all man time. Another fun product from Modvito is the TIC shirt buttons – these little guys replace a needle and thread, no need to sew. Each elegant pack fits neatly in your jacket pocket, briefcase, handbag, glove box or travel bag. Our under AED 150  list also includes a Pillow Speaker for the all-ears Dad and a Fix Anything Hammer for the hands-on-handy-around-the-house Dad.

Show me a dad that wouldn’t love The Leatherman Wingman. It is the go-to tool for projects around the house, on the job, or at the campsite – it’s like having Macgyver in your pocket. A definite yes for the all-round Dad. My under AED 250 list also includes a funky Beer Foamer with copper top, a Bellboy (Very Small) Wallet for the minimalistic dad and Alligator Cuff links for the wildly-stylish dad.



Wild Wood is a company that combines the elements of nature with excellent design and a touch of craftsmanship. Their Sapo Watch is made from maple wood and perfect for the all-natural dad. We also love the Fitbit Flex in black for the fit-as-a-fiddle father, a Seagate Backup disk for the techie dad, and Tom Ford Grey Vetiver for the best-smelling-dad-ever.


Last but not least, gifts that are worth blowing the budget for. The Rollor Premium Garment Bag (something we have only recently discovered), is hand-made with an eye for detail. The application of Rollor Technology means clothing between and under the upturned rim stays wrinkle free, guaranteed. For the clean-cut dad I highly recommend a voucher for the ultimate grooming experience from Dubai’s original male grooming lounge, 1847. If you go all out, we suggest the 1847 Shave, The Two Executives and the Gentleman’s Facial. My “let’s forget about the budget” list also includes the Better Sweater Hoodie for the dad who has a mountain to climb, and Beats Wireless Headphones for the dad who knows the beat goes on… and travels often.


The following stores have kindly offered House of Hawkes readers a special discount on their Father’s Day 2016 shopping. Simply use the checkout code: HOUSEOFHAWKES to qualify for discount from the retailers listed below.

Many thanks to these companies for the generous offer. That should ensure that the dads and husbands in your life are taken care of this year.

PS: if you’d like to try your hand at a little DIY this Father’s Day – take a look here.