In my previous post, a full reveal of the Safari Circus nursery we designed and installed for Zahirah Marty, I promised to give you guys a more detailed break-down of the sourcing for this sweet nursery.

Dubai entrepreneur, new blogger (at Meet Mrs Marty) and blossoming mum-to-be, Zahirah, has generously agreed to let me share all the details of her new nursery. So if you like what you saw in her baby’s new room, you’re in for a treat.

Tribe Dubai | Elephant, cactus and potted aloe plant 

The Farmhouse Outlet on Etsy | Safari animals in hats prints (set of 4)

Beach Hut | cactus light

MarMarLand | round, green popcorn cushion

IKEA | RANARP Ceiling light, SVARTRÅ LED string light, hide rug and the VEDBO armchair

The Bowery Company | shelf with 5 cottages (and an absolute favourite of mine!)

Oh So Plush | that plush little monster named Laphroaig  

Caramel & Sun | wallpaper and various small accessories on the shelves

Joba | leather strap shelf, twin cactus cushionsstar pattern, cloud and knot cushions, small soft animals on the bookshelf, wooden camera

Pottery Barn Kids | cot, changing table & rug

The Party | custom mobile

Emaan Home | dot wall hooks

Nook | knitted house cushion

Oon | grey storage basket

Pinkys | wardrobe 

Jotun | wall paint in White Poetry and wardrobe in Minty Breeze  

White Moss | leather strap handles on the changing table

Dubai Garden Centre | olive tree

Sense Furnishings | white roman blind

I Light you | our Bowler hat lamp was a DIY but if that is not your thing, you can also buy this beauty ready made

A few weeks ago the lovely Zahirah Marty, of the recently launched mummy & lifestyle blog, Meet Mrs Marty (a must see), contacted me to discuss a special project that she needed help with – creating a nursery for her baby boy. I hadn’t designed a nursery in a while and was really excited to take this on.

Zahirah and her hubby didn’t have any particular or preconceived ideas in mind so I was afforded free reign with the design pitch and lucked out with one of those projects that has a magical sense of chemistry from the very start. After a few small tweaks, I got the green light on the first concept I delivered, and immediately got going with planning this adorable Safari Circus nursery.

Since the mum-to-be and I are fellow South Africans, we made great effort where possible to support businesses and brands from the ‘homeland’, but as the daddy-to-be is from Australia, we made to sure to include a bit of ‘Oz’ too. With a basic colour palette of grey, black and mint in mind, we set to work with the first big design decision – the walls. With so many beautiful wallpapers to choose from at Caramel & Sun, it was a tough choice, but we settled on this triangle design by French brand, Lilipinso, for the feature wall and we are so thrilled with the result.

The rest of the walls in the nursery got a new coat of paint. We opted for a very pale green tint called White Poetry from our favourite paint brand, Jotun.

Zahirah had already purchased her cot and changing table from Pottery Barn Kids and we sourced the rug from there too. I am in love with the quirky prints of animals wearing hats that we found on Etsy. In fact, it became a little trend that we carried through into other areas of the space, complete with a DIY bowler hat lamp in the feeding and reading nook.

For lighting on the other side of the room, we used an IKEA string light favourite to make a statement alongside the cot.

Zahirah was really keen on having a free-standing wardrobe included in the design and after seeing Baby Marty’s impressive collection of outfits, I am not surprised. Considering his stylish mum’s impressive wardrobe, I hope he doesn’t outgrow the confines of this cute little wardrobe too soon. I wanted to find something that had a bit of a vintage and imperfect feel and after much searching, I had success at Pinky’s. The guys there was fabulous. They customised a few changes we requested and painted it in Jotun’s Minty Breeze. Now I just need to get my hands on a little Springbok rugby jersey to sneak in there while dad isn’t looking.

The mobile above the cot was also custom-made for the nursery by The Party. We chose Australian animals to represent his heritage.

I have for some time been a fan of Fiona Walker’s range of stuffed animals (available locally at Tribe). You may have noticed that I don’t hesitate to throw a few animal heads in the mix when designing kids rooms – and was so excited to see the new botanical additions to her collection. We used the large cactus and small potted aloe in here.

There are so many adorable accessories in this room which were sourced from many of our favourite Dubai boutiques, including Oh So Plush, Joba, Nook, Emaan Home, The Bowery Company, White Moss, MarMarLand, Dubai Garden Centre and Beach Hut, to name a few. But don’t worry – I will save you the guess work with a follow up post so that you can shop the look in great detail.

In the meantime, here’s a video about the design and installation of this room that has featured over on Zahirah’s blog. Don’t mind the leopard print pants… I was caught off-guard in my ‘installation gear’ and had to raid the fashionista’s wardrobe. True story.

Big thank you to Zahirah & Andrew for trusting me with the design of this very special room. I look forward to meeting its new little occupant very soon.

Meet Mrs Marty – Nursery from House of Hawkes on Vimeo.

Videography: Vit from KB4East | Video Edits: Andre Van Heerden

All images by Natelee Cocks 

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Hands up anyone who’s had a DIY decor project that narrowly escaped ending in divorce. I know I’ve been there. Possibly more than once. Truth be told, the hubster and I are actually a pretty good team with most things, but somehow DIY projects always tend to get a little, shall we say, heated.  I don’t know what it is about putting a hole in the wall, but there always seems to be misplacement of said hole (despite intricate measurements), followed by a lot of blame and finger pointing. I mean, I am pretty easy-going but I don’t cope well with things that aren’t level or well aligned.

Last year the guys at Bosch Middle East introduced me to the Bosch Quigo. This baby may save your marriage. It’s a marvellous little device thats helps you align objects without breaking a sweat or any name calling. It projects a self-levelling cross line laser onto the wall or whatever surface you are working on. Each line has several markers at equal intervals, which can be made bigger or smaller by moving the tool closer to or further from the wall.

I have used the Quigo for countless projects over the past few months, but thanks to the loss of my iPhone and a bunch of unsaved data (my bad… and it’s best not to get my started on this drama), I’m not able to show you all of them. One of the first projects I used it for was hanging pictures in a row so I decided to re-enact the process for you guys, much like a one of those crime documentaries.

Once you have established the height at which you would like to hang your frames, simply measure the spaces that you require in-between and move along the line making your pencil marks in the relevant spots. After you’ve drilled or nailed the holes, use the Quigo again to make sure that all the frames are in line and perfectly level. As I mentioned before, the laser line has small spacer lines  along both axes (which are very difficult to see in an image) making things super easy. However, I am a clown who likes to make things difficult for herself, so I forgot about this whilst marking my spots and instead went all analog on the crowd with a tape measure. It is of course easier to just use the handy line spacers. Hello hindsight, my old friend.

Another DIY project that I used my Quigo for was installing leather strap handles to the console in our living room. I boxed clever the second time around, ditching the tape measure and and went straight for marking and making my hole using the interval markers. Precise height adjustment is just as easy as this little tool is mounted on a tripod. Bosch promises that the Bosch Quigo is always 100% straight. So if my pictures appear to be skew, let’s blame my camera skills!

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The Quigo has quickly become an essential tool for my wallpaper installations. I cannot tell you the difference it makes. I have previously shared videos of the Quigo in some behind the scenes action on my Instagram stories, and had taken some great images to show you guys, but alas, my iPhone died and took all my pictures with it! I won’t get started on that drama though. I did however manage to capture this little video montage of the Quigo in use…

House of Hawkes | Bosch Quigo from House of Hawkes on Vimeo.

Suffice to say the Quigo has quickly become my DIY BFF. You can get your hands on one at most hardware outlets across the UAE.

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Bathroom art is a micro trend that’s putting a smile on my face. Art in the bathroom, you say? Oh yes. Gone are the days where exhibits of your fine art pieces are limited to a display wall in the living room. Art is moving to the bathroom and it seems that designers are loving this trend. I like to think of it as a lovely and unexpected surprise.

I spotted a few interiors with great bathroom artwork and thought it is time to share this quirky trend.

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Often overlooked by even the most eager of decorators, the bathroom is a fabulous space for art.  Whilst it would probably be wise to avoid any valuable masterpieces in there (I’m pretty sure that frequent exposure to moisture won’t do much for growing your investment), there are certainly no limits on the more affordable pieces to consider for your bathroom walls. And don’t limit yourself to just the walls either – display you art, sculptures of framed photographs on shelves, the edge of the bath or even the back of the toilet.

I really love the use of antlers in the bathroom below. Going to have to nick that style.

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What do you think?

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There is a new colour crush on the my horizon. Beautiful Blush and Green. And whilst there’s really nothing new about this magical partnership, it is all over my radar and Pinterest pages. The rosy, pinkish tint is somewhat of trending colour for the season. Maison & Objet, an interior design trade fair held in Paris, is the benchmark for interior style each year. The January 2017 show favoured blush in their colour palette, and you’re seeing it everywhere in both commercial and residential spaces.

This colour combination is making a splash in everything from textiles, to tableware, wall paint and flooring. The eternally pretty shade of pink compliments green beautifully – and the best part of this colour combo is that it pairs beautifully with neutral tones like grey. Because, let’s face it, if a colour doesn’t pair well with grey, I’m probably not going to love it.

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It is possible to combine these fun, fresh and bold colours with your existing neutral interior. If you’re keen to try out this new trend, I’ve making it easier for you with a round-up of my recommendations from Jotun Paint’s best options for this palette:

For those of you who are not brave enough to cover a wall in blush or green, you can also introduce the colours with soft furnishings and accessories. New scatter cushions are always the easiest way to give your space a quick refresh, but there are so many other decorative elements to use. I am in love with the Sooji Kitchen Towels with Monstera prints from Emaan Home, which could be used to update your kitchen, along with some matching crockery from IKEA’s SOMMAR collection. I’m also loving the Studio Joop Prints, a new addition of artworks available from The Bowery Company. Each print comes signed by hand, with their own story.

Take a look my ‘shop the look’ collection of goodies below to help bring a little blush and green into your home.

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I have for some time now been a fan of Monoshop, a South Africa based, Scandinavian style online store selling a small but beautiful collection of furniture and homewares. I have raved about them here on the blog before (see here), but this time around, it’s a more personal scenario. Petro at Monoshop recently reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in doing a guest blog post to feature their free printable calendar for the month of April and I was thrilled to oblige.

The brief was pretty simple. Print. Style. Photograph. And that’s exactly what I did. Twice. After printing the calendar on a neutral piece of cardboard paper, I haphazardly stuck it against my office wall to have a think about possible ways of styling the simple and stylish calendar. The print stayed on the wall. Five busy days passed. I eventually realised that the washi tape had ‘stuck’ in more than one way. The idea was stuck right there, with washi tape!

I loved the simplicity of “hanging” a calendar on the wall with just a bit of tape – and washi tape is a DIY delight, not your average adhesive. It removes easily from any surface, is made from natural fibers and it comes in a variety of funky designs. And I have a fairly good stash. So there it was. Option 1.

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Whilst I personally am all about simplicity, and I loved the washi tape look, I did actually think that it would be fun to style this little number with some greenery, so my second approach to styling the DIY calendar was to update (pun intended) the dates with a bit of living green. The leaves and the calendar are held in place between the magnets of the bottom section of a wooden poster hanger, which I simply stuck to the wall with some Prestik (also known as Blue tac around here).

Say hello to Option 2.

My daughter loved this version and she seemed to have a notion of it being something that the fairies had installed. I saw no reason not to run with that story.

In the meantime, April has arrived and my calendar is already filling up with scribbles and notes. It’s set to be a busy one!

Grab your April 2017 free printable here.

As you may know, I love discovering new places to shop for unique and beautiful things in this ever expanding city. And because I’m nice like that, I share any hidden gems that I find with you guys. My peeps. So here it is. I have a new favourite shopping spot and it’s located at one of Sheikh Zayed Road’s older and most recognisable retail landmarks – Dubai Garden Centre. This old favourite is so much more that it’s name suggests – with two bustling cafes (The Rose Leaf & Vendome) on the ground floor and most weekends packed with markets, live music and family activities, Dubai Garden Centre is really more of a lifestyle centre. Many folks don’t realise that this huge store also boasts a full mezzanine floor that is curently undergoing an interesting transformation.

The Mezzanine has recently become home to a collection of small boutique stores, making it an intriguing new destination. It’s of particular interest to me as I really value being able to get a few things done in one place – especially when I can park right outside the door. It is also entirely possible that I have been in Dubai too long.

Nonetheless, this new little hot spot has plenty to offer if you are after something other than the usual mega mall selection. Guilty as charged. Whether it’s cute decor items, funky kids clothing, bedding, toys, shoes, swimwear, beach accessories, framing (remember this beauty?) or even second hand books that you are after, you will find what you are looking for amongst this awesome line-up of stores:

Beach Hut // Lou Harvey // Sandal Souq // MarMarLand // Bright Eyez // Sweet Baby Street // Moxilicious // Frame Dubai // House of Prose 

I just love that some of my favourite online stores now have an outlet where I can pop in anytime to see and touch the products, without having to wait for a weekend market. Here’s a round up of some of my favourite picks for the kiddos, all available at The Mezzanine.

The Mezzanine round-up-for-girs

pink teewhite glitter sandals | pink and gold bikini swan head | pink fedora | nappy bag | junior swan bedding | bow moccasins | swan pool float | marble pom pom dress 

The Mezzanine round-up-for-boys-02

cactus neon light | rash vest  | Lunch cooler bagbadger leggingsblue sandals | cushion | grey moccasins | palm tree shorts | cactus lie-on floatstriped tank top

The Mezzanine is one of those best kept secrets that you wish someone had told you about.

You’re welcome.

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Ikea is about to launch the 2017 Stockholm collection and believe me when I say you want to see this. There are over 40 new items in the recurrent Stockholm series, including sofas, coffee tables, vases, pillows, rugs and lamps, but there are a few pieces in particular that have caught my eye.

Let’s start with this rattan cabinet designed by Nike Karlsson, shall we? Is it just me, or is this also one of the hottest pieces you’ve ever seen coming out of IKEA? It’s made from rattan and pine and has gorgeous brass hardware detail. I absolutely love it.

Next on the favourite list, and also designed by Nike Karlsson, is a rather fabulous rattan armchair. It’s good to know that the cushions it’s paired with are available in gray velvet or white cotton, offering some real flexibility to the look you can achieve with these earthy pieces.

Then there’s this rattan coffee table, which I personally would also use as a bench at the end of a bed or in a hallway. In fact I’m already envisaging a variety of functions for this beauty and can’t wait to style one somewhere.

The big, bold newcomer in this collection is a large comfy sofa that is available in three velvet fabric options – grey, navy and a rich orange. There is also an ottoman available in the three fabrics. You’ve no doubt noticed that velvet is making a big comeback in interiors and IKEA have, of course, not missed the mark here.

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From the brief look I’ve had at this sofa, it appears to have an extraordinary amount of back cushions – possibly too many. I realise that coming from someone who doesn’t shy away from a cushion, this is probably a big statement, but let’s see. I’ll hold off any judement until I’ve actually seen it in the flesh, or should I say the velvet.

The new Stockholm collection is excited in UAE stores on 8 April. Race you there.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

All images Natelee Cocks Photography 

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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.

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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

 

STEP 1

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

STEP 2
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.

STEP 3

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.

STEP 4
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.

STEP 5
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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

GOOD LUCK!

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!

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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.

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

Are you ready of your guests?

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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:

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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.

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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!

BRAND LAUNCHES

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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.

INSTALLATIONS

POP-UPS

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

TALKS

OPEN STUDIOS

THERE’S EVEN STUFF FOR THE KIDS!

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!

SATELLITE EVENTS ACROSS THE CITY

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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01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09

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?

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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.