Midweek Musings: Instagram, Anaemia and Stylish Storage

anaemia-lifebylotte I'm writing this during one of those sacred forty minutes that happen (if we're lucky) four times a day. Naptimes. Except that for some inexplicable reason my neighbour seems to be drilling in their garden (IN DECEMBER?!) so I'm not sure how long I've got before Daph decides she's had enough of the racket. Fingers crossed.

This has been a funny old week. First off, I noticed about three weeks ago that the corners of my lips were cracked. Not chapped, but actually cracked. It was starting to get really painful, and every time I ate or spoke (let's face it, these are things that happen a lot) it hurt. It got worse and worse, until I started to resemble The Joker. I consulted Doctor Google, as ever, and was informed of a condition called angular cheilitis. Which can either be caused by thrush (!), a bacterial infection, or an iron/vitamin B deficiency.

Anyway, I continued slathering on Vaseline and Eight Hour Cream in the hope that it would go away, but to no avail. Hence me rocking up at the doctor's in desperation, only to be told that anaemia is really common after you've had a baby, as the baby nicks all your iron stores (little sods). And that an iron deficiency was most likely to be the cause, especially as my periods have restarted and I've had three heavy f*ckers since having Daph.

The whole situation has been compounded by the fact that I decided to give up red meat for a month when Daph was about 10 weeks old, because of some Horizon programme or something I'd vaguely watched while half asleep one evening, that said red meat gave you bowel cancer. So just when I needed to eat more red meat, I'd cut it out completely. Massive Homer-Simpson-style DOH.

I'm rambling, but my point really is: women who have just had babies! Do not give up red meat! Eat more steaks. Drink more blood. You need the iron. Here endeth the lesson.

Luckily my lips are getting better with the aid of some athlete's foot cream (Nice! it specifically says DO NOT USE ON THE FACE on the packet, but I'm hoping my doctor knew what she was doing when she prescribed it...) and lots and lots of burgers. And steaks. And spaghetti bologneses. Cutting out food groups is a mug's game.

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Onto more salubrious topics! I've been searching for a few weeks now for some attractive storage for Daph's ever-expanding toy collection. But everything I found was really dull, or super twee. Until I turned to my trusty friends at Nordic House, and fell in love with this amazing set of three felt woven baskets - I love everything about them! Nordic House have got some really great storage pieces on offer - and their beautiful white-painted furniture range is also extremely covet-worthy. Have a look!

Finally, like most bloggers, I use Instagram (hey! you can follow me here!). However, unlike most bloggers, my Instagram feed is not a thing of beauty. Most of my friends who blog have Instagram feeds that could basically be printed out as they are and set into a collage and framed in a tasteful white-painted frame and sold for £75, whereas my feed is just the most random mish-mash of stuff I've seen/done, and that - here's the kicker - I've REMEMBERED to Instagram. I always forget about Instagram, hence it's a bit of a mess.

But this video has made me feel ever-so-slightly better about it... worth a watch, apologies if you've already seen it, enjoy if you haven't. It really made me laugh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFzKi-o4rHw

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Sourcebook: My Living Room

lifebylotte-living-room OK, so apologies, I agree, 'Sourcebook' is supremely wanky. Who do I think I am? An interior designer? Fear not, no, I know my place - I just couldn't think of anything else to call this post.

Since my flat was featured on the very lovely Houzz UK a few months ago, and since I will very soon (hopefully) be moving out of it (if we can ever find anywhere to live), I thought I'd put some details down on the blog of where everything in each room is from. Lots of people keep getting in touch and asking me for details about things, and it's really LOVELY because it means I must have SOME taste (despite someone on Houzz commenting that my flat was 'a hybrid of girlie, retro, seaside, student, office, modern, with a twist of chic that I'm finding difficult to love' - I mean personally, I think that sounds kind of awesome, but hey, I guess I would).

First up, because it's the one with the most stuff in it: my living room. So here's a grand old list of where everything is from, in case you're interested. And, yes, I know, this blog post requires no creativity on my part. Ha.

Some things may no longer be available as they've been accumulated over several years - if so drop me a line and I'll try to find an alternative for you.

Hopefully I haven't missed anything - feel free to leave a comment if so and I shall get back to you forthwith!

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Wall colour, Ammonite, Farrow & Ball Chimneybreast colour, White - not sure, probably Dulux Brilliant White Floor paint, Downpipe, Farrow & Ball Rug, bespoke from Alternative Flooring Sofa, Fancy Nancy, Sofa Workshop Coffee table, Ercol (from eBay) Armchair, Ercol (inherited) TV stand, Heal's vintage Grey chest, Garrat Storage ChestLaura Ashley, painted in Plummett (I think! can't remember), Farrow & Ball Mirror above fireplace, 60s dressing table mirror from a junk shop White leather pouf, Heal's Large lantern, Nordic House Small lanterns, Debenhams Ceiling light, Habitat Blinds, Ikea Cushion on sofa, Sparrow & Co Throw on sofa, Melin Tregwynt Cushions on armchair, MissPrint (yellow) and Mini Moderns (grey) Chest of drawers in corner, antique, inherited (I would paint them but the top has a lovely patina so can't bring myself to) Art above sofa (not seen here but on first pic), framed pages from an old Vogue calendar

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Bureau, inherited from my grandparents, 1950s Desk, The Pier - remember them!? I hate my desk and I actually have this amazing Sebastian Cox for Heal's one waiting for me in storage at the moment... if we can ever find that aforementioned new house Desk chair, Eames DSW Colour Sphere wall print, A Rum Fellow Bookcase, Ikea (where else!) Bunny lamp, The Little Baby Company Desk lamp, Homebase Bin, Ikea

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Lamp and shade, Habitat Typewriter, eBay Chest of drawers, as before Lithograph by Alan Stones, from Baxters Gallery, Dartmouth

All photos copyright Houzz UK and taken by the supremely talented Chris Snook

Behind the Brand: Nordic House

Nordic House founders Alan and Sandie I have to start this post with a disclaimer: Scandi interiors boutique Nordic House is one of the clients of my digital comms agency DECORUM. The company is run by husband and wife dream team Sandie and Alan Wallman (pictured above). But even if they weren't one of my clients, I'd still be posting this, because theirs is one of the loveliest online shops I've ever come across, and all their products are totally adorable and irresistible. And just to make it even better, they are some of the nicest people I've ever worked with. And they live BY THE SEA in Cornwall, and have a warehouse made up entirely of female staff...

Yes, they are brilliant. And yes, this is basically a gushfest. So let's begin...

Carved wall panels

How long ago did you set up Nordic House?

We set it up at the end of 2008, and initially launched just to friends and family. Then in March 2009, we really started trading properly.

How did the idea for the business come about?

Owning a business in Sweden for many years made us fall in love with all things Scandinavian. When we moved to Cornwall in 2005, we bought a derelict property to bring back to life and set off in search of gorgeous Scandinavian-style pieces to fill it with. We enjoyed the process so much, we decided to turn it into a business.

Large Stainless Steel Lanterns

What inspired you?

We find inspiration everywhere – from our years spent working in Sweden to the ever-changing nature of having a home by the water and of course... Pinterest! We love contemporary design, vintage treasures, crafts, texture, originality, making mood boards, everything artisan, our team, people, Scandinavia and Cornwall… the list goes on!

Describe a typical day in the Nordic House team.

It is usually madly busy all day, as we are responsible for every aspect of the business! We divide our time between sourcing, buying, photography, PR, Marketing, HR, our team, the warehouse, website maintenance and development.... etc

Knitted Poufs

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

Working with a great team of people!

What's the most interesting thing you've learnt since starting the company?

To trust my instinct...

What's your proudest achievement so far?

There have been many but among the best - first and foremost, is our fantastic team... and the moment I saw a product featured in a major interiors magazine for the first time! It was GoodHomes mag back in February 2009. We also love travelling around Scandinavia, sourcing new products for our collections and making them come to life on our website.

Any particular products you want to shout about/favourites?

Personal favourites - hmmm that’s a difficult one! From our current collection, I love our big stainless steel lanterns, the vintage zinc trunks and quirky knitted poufs.

I have just finished putting together our new Autumn/Winter collection and there are so many gorgeous new pieces in there too... All will be revealed soon!

Vintage style zinc trunks

How would you describe your personal design ethos?

Relaxed, affordable, quirky, mixing old and new, vintage and above all different!

Can you describe your own home?

It's our nest....for sharing with friends and loved ones. It's light, airy and open, with lots of pale wood, whites and blues, reflecting the water outside....

How does your life by the sea influence your work?

I find living by the sea so inspirational, ever changing, calming. The ability to go for a walk on the beach after work stimulates the soul.

What's your hope for the company's future?

To continue to grow our team, our collections and source fabulous products for our customers!

Nordic House's summer sale is now on, with up to 50% off certain items - check it out now, and prepare to spend!