A room with a view (that sometimes needs to be obscured)

The first thing that attracted me to my current flat was the windows: full height, south facing and stretching across two walls of the living space. Being six floors up I can see the horizon, which feels like such a luxury in central London. They are always the first thing visitors gravitate towards so that they can check out the view. Honestly, there is nothing I love more than being curled up on my sofa on a miserable day with a blanket and being able to watch as the weather rolls in and seeing the rain clouds in the distance or the fork lightening over London. It always takes my breath away how big the sky seems and being able to see so much of it is something special.

Room with a view 1

Image via: I Love Bokkie

Obviously I would prefer that our views were of woodland, rolling hills or water as far as the eye can see rather than the neighbouring apartment blocks and the towers of Canary Wharf in the distance but you can’t have everything in life, right? The house on the sea or the cabin in the woods will have to wait. The fact is having views of any description in the middle of a city is a big bonus and makes a massive difference to how spacious the flat feels. When we moved in I was determined not to cover up an inch of the glass and so they remained blindless and curtainless for a good few months, which seemed like a great idea at the time. I have always loved waking up to masses of light as I am such a morning person and it is the time of day I feel most energised so walking into a living space flooded with light always makes me happy.

However, the joys of being blinded by the light from the windows and being caught one too many times by our neighbours in less clothes that we would like meant we had to re-think the whole “our windows are amazing and it would be a sin to cover them up” thing. I think it was one Saturday morning when we had had one too many drinks the night before and we couldn’t escape the pounding heat and rays of the sun sealed it for us. We needed some way to cover our windows in as subtle way as possible.

We decided to go for blinds as curtains offer no flexibility – they either have to be drawn, completely blocking out the light and views, or not drawn. Whereas there are some very clever blinds out there that can give you the best of both worlds and you can control the amount of light/privacy. Luxaflex have a great collection of blinds that fit the brief, for example their newly launched Twist shades. With two layers of fabric the Twist shades allow you to position them completely open, half open or closed so you control the light, how much of the view you can see and how much privacy you have (I’m telling you, some of our neighbours really need these as we see far too much of them!). See how they work here…so clever.

Full height interior wooden shutters in living room | Making the most of your windows | Luxaflex shutters | Apartment Apothecary

Interior shutters from Luxaflex

Another stylish option is interior shutters as these are much more flexible than curtains as you can tilt open the louvres as much or as little as you need to and they create a real focal point in a room in the way that blinds can’t always. I’ve hankered after shutters for ages as I love the way they look as well as their practical features.

So, back to beautiful windows that you would definitely want to make the most of…if we ever build our own house one day I reckon the position and size of the windows will be one of our first priorities.  Until then though, I will have to make do with our inner city view and cover up the windows as and when we need to.

I have been making a Pinterest board of beautiful windows for lots of inspiration and I will be adding to it over the month. You have to take a look as it will make you swoon…

Beautiful windows and rooms with a view | Apartment Apothecary

Click through to the Pinterest board.

Sorry, hope those views haven’t distracted you too much! Watch out next week as the lovely folks over at Luxaflex will be offering a great prize for one reader to help make the most of your windows.

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with Luxaflex.

You could win £1000 when you start your own Etsy shop!

Have you ever thought about selling the lovely things that you make at home that would make wonderful gifts this Christmas? As the festive season approaches now is the perfect time to take the plunge and it couldn’t be easier! All you have to do is sign up to become an Etsy seller and to help you get started you can begin selling on Etsy here and if you use the code ETSYHEROESAPARTMENT by November 30th you could be in with a chance of winning £1000 to spend on absolutely anything you like (terms and conditions apply**). Couldn’t ask for a better start than that, right?

I am very excited today to share Sophie’s Etsy story with you and I hope it will inspire any creatives out there to set up their own shop.  Etsy is a brilliant resource to enable anyone to sell their creations, perhaps for a bit of extra money in the run up to Christmas, to help develop a hobby, or like Sophie to help launch a full-blown creative career. Sophie’s business geo-fleur is a brilliant example of what is possible so when I caught up with her last week I couldn’t wait to hear more about how she has grown her business over the last two years from the early seeds of being an Etsy seller to today with a bricks and mortar shop selling her gorgeous terrarium kits, plants, macrame hanging planters, ceramic pots; a book on the way; a plant installation at the Tate and running massively popular botanical workshops – it is truly amazing what you can achieve! She was also kind enough to teach me how to make one of her very cool macrame hanging planters that she sells in her Etsy shop as well as giving me a few tips on how to plant up a terrarium using her DIY kits.

Etsy Hero: Sophie from geo-fleur | How to start a creative business | Botanical styling | Photograph by katharinepeachey.co.uk

Sophie is a very inspiring Etsy seller whose botanical styling business has grown by leaps and bounds since setting up her Etsy shop just two years ago. I met up with Sophie to hear her story and she taught me how to make one of her gorgeous macrame hanging planters that she sells in her Etsy shop. All images by Katharine Peachey.

Why Etsy?

Sophie’s mum is a florist so she was always surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers and she tells me that at a very young age she was always helping her granddad in the garden so her interest in botanicals started there. After studying fine art and starting down a more conventional job path she started geo-fleur ‘on the side’ as a hobby and decided to open an Etsy shop to help her sell her handmade plant accessories and terrarium kits, as well as running market stalls. She remembers her first order well and the excitement of receiving the notification: “I was like, YAY! Someone wants to buy something I have made. It was a wonderful feeling. Etsy is great at connecting you with people that want a custom order, or want something more specific, for example we made 200 mini concrete pots for succulents for wedding favours!”

WIN £1000 to help to start your own Etsy shop | Etsy Hero: Sophie from geo-fleur | How to start a creative business | Botanical styling | Photograph by katharinepeachey.co.uk

Sophie explains that Etsy helped her get a foot in the door and, “connect with customers I wouldn’t normally be tapping into via selling at markets.” Setting up an Etsy shop was really easy in her experience and the app really helped as she could just upload everything from there – particularly helpful when you are maintaining a full time job, I would imagine (I remember trying to upload blog posts when I was still working full time as a teacher and it was a real juggling act).

A lot of hard work and very little sleep later Sophie’s business has grown from strength to strength. She has managed to build up a great network of support (especially her mum!) and a huge Instagram following where she can showcase her products and services: “Now we have a few more resources, a lovely van that we crowd funded, it enables me to go and partake in some amazing jobs around the UK and just last week I was styling up a lovely new creative space in Liverpool and we’ve currently got a plant installation at the entrance to the Turner Prize exhibition. I never believed it would be this exciting or take me this far. It’s been a very big rollercoaster and it’s still growing!”

WIN £1000 to help to start your own Etsy shop | Etsy Hero: Sophie from geo-fleur | How to start a creative business | Botanical styling | Photograph by katharinepeachey.co.uk

Words of wisdom

Sophie loves the freedom of running a creative business and the fact she can connect with someone over a lovely product and make their day. Her one piece of advice to anyone who wants to follow in her path to run a creative business is not to give up. She never dreamed that her teeny tiny business on the side could grow so quickly or become so successful: “It’s crazy but I’m so thrilled. Plus we’ve got some really exciting growth plans for 2017. I’d love to have a couple of branches of our geo-fleur shops around the UK and maybe an international version. Also our geo-fleur book is out next May, which is super exciting.”

I have to admit that I am a bit blown away how far geo-fleur has come in such a short space of time; it’s enough to inspire anyone. My one piece of advice would be to take that leap to start, which can be the hardest thing to do. I remember it took me six months to press publish on my first blog post. Sophie and I both agree that you don’t need a hard and fast business plan when you begin your creative journey as growing organically and being open to possibilities and opportunities can get you so much further than a rigid plan that can lead to disappointment.

WIN £1000 to help to start your own Etsy shop | Etsy Hero: Sophie from geo-fleur | How to start a creative business | Botanical styling | Photograph by katharinepeachey.co.uk

Sophie’s top tips for setting up an Etsy shop

  1. Make sure your product stock levels are up to date
  2. Dispatch orders as soon as you can!
  3. Use lots of keywords to optimise the search feature.

Starting your shop in the run up to Christmas is great timing, Sophie told me. The demand at this time of year is massive and apparently DIY craft kits go down very well – her terrarium kits are always best-sellers as they make such great gifts.

Etsy Hero: Sophie from geo-fleur | How to start a creative business | Botanical styling | Photograph by katharinepeachey.co.uk

Sophie gave me a quick demonstration on how to plant up a terrarium using one of her DIY terrarium kits that she sells lots of during the Christmas period.

Set up your shop now

So, what are you waiting for? Set up your Etsy shop this month, begin selling your creations for fun, experience the same excitement Sophie did when she received her first sale notification and you never know where the journey may take you. Remember, you can begin selling on Etsy here and if you use the code ETSYHEROESAPARTMENT by November 30th you could win £1000 to help you launch your creative business (terms and conditions apply**). Good luck and fingers crossed!

Go on, take the leap…

Katy x

Etsy Hero: Sophie from geo-fleur | How to start a creative business | Botanical styling | Photograph by katharinepeachey.co.uk

*This post was written in collaboration with Etsy and with thanks to Sophie from geo-fleur and Katharine Peachey for the photography.

**Terms and conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Promotion is open to legal residents of the United Kingdom, age 18 or older who open an Etsy shop via http://etsy.me/2eHlwH7 between 7 November 2016 and 30 November 2016 using the code: ETSYHEROESAPARTMENT. Entries must be received between 12:01 AM GMT on 7 November 2016 and 11:59:59 PM GMT on 30 November 2016. One prize available of £1,000. Odds depend on number of eligible entries received. Sponsor: Etsy UK Limited. See full terms and conditions here.


Scandinavian Christmas dining

I always think that Christmas and Scandinavian style go hand in hand and where better to bring those two things together than on the dining table? I’ve never been a massive fan of the traditional red, green and gold of the festive period so I have been on the look out for more pared back tableware but pieces with lots of lovely textures that help to soften the hard edges of winter light and weather.

Scandinavian Christmas dining | ALSO Home | Apartment Apothecary

The perfect Christmas table by ALSO Home

To create that Scandi feel go for beautiful ceramics, warm wooden serving boards, touches of blue, the natural texture of baskets for bread, linen table cloths and napkins and lots and lots of beeswax candles. Here are some of my favourite pieces that would help to make any table this Christmas look and feel amazing…

Scandinavian Christmas dining | ALSO Home | Scandinavian tableware | Apartment Apothecary

Sue Pryke’s tea pot – Simple Shape / Handmade oak serving platter – ALSO Home / Seagrass basket – ALSO Home / Linen tablecloth – ALSO Home / Natural beeswax honeycomb candles – The Future Kept / Hand painted dinner plate – ALSO Home / Monochromatic dinnerware – Heals / House of Rym -Tea & Kate

Oooo, it’s making me feel all festive and excited for the next few weeks!

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with ALSO Home.

Nursery wish list

Woah. Discovering the world of children’s shops is a very dangerous game: there are so many lovely things! Making a wish list for the nursery has been difficult purely because there is so much to choose from and far too much temptation to go completely over board. Forget the boring stuff that we’ll actually need, I’m just enjoying choosing the pretty stuff right now.

I have chosen a white back drop for the room and because I don’t like bright, bold colours I have gone for my favourite dusky pinks, blues, greys and greens with touches of black and lots of raw wood and jute baskets to ground the scheme so it doesn’t look or feel too sickly.

Here is a taster of some of the lovely things I have found, some of which I have bought already, others may remain firmly on my wish list forever *sigh*.


Nursery wish list | Apartment Apothecary

Chalkboard – Labour & Wait, Hot air balloon light – The Modern Nursery, Saar Manche illustration – Tea & Kate, Quilts – Camomile London, Cushions – Camomile London, Wool rug – Urbanara, Zebra basket – The Tipi , Home cushions – Smallable, Ferm Living whale mobile – Smallable, Natural belly baskets – Olli Ella, Changing basket – Olli Ella, Cam Cam swaddles – Little Goldie.

I want to include lots of texture in the room using layered textiles on the day bed, a snuggly woollen rug and lots of baskets to store toys and blankets. I’ve chosen a beautiful illustration, a chalkboard and a couple of other prints for the walls.


Nursery wish list | Apartment Apothecary

String shelving – Haus, Sebra Kili cot bed – Houseology, Chest of drawers – Ikea, Day bed – Ikea, Rocking chair, Black-out blinds – Luxaflex.

I’ve been told by friends with babies that black-out blinds for the window are a must, especially as the cot has to be positioned under the window as this is the only place it will fit in the room. A lot of Luxaflex blinds have the option of room darkening fabric and they are safe for children so that seems like a good choice. I wish I had the budget to source some beautiful vintage furniture for the room but I need the practicality of the Ikea day bed and drawers at the moment as we have such a severe lack of storage. I will, however, be on the hunt for more characterful options as the baby gets older – what I really want is some lovely wooden furniture rather than all the brand new white pieces. Hopefully the beautiful Danish cot and a lovely rocking chair that Jules’s mum used when he was a baby will make up for the generic Ikea stuff. I am keeping the String shelving from our home office in the room, too, as storage is key in our small flat.


Nursery wish list | Apartment Apothecary

Wooden activity arch – Smallable, Cart and cubes – Smallable, Sebra rabbit – Smallable, Maileg bunny – Tea & Kate, Sebra elephant on wheels – Smallable, Little People books – Southbank Centre shop, Wooden toy bundle – Sarah & Bendrix, Luggy basket – Olli Ella, White paper doll house – Sarah & Bendrix.

I know the baby won’t be able to play with some of these toys for quite a while but they look so pretty! Wooden and crocheted toys, beautiful books – all so tempting…

Someone hold me back!

Katy x


Dyson V8 Animal cordless vacuum review

I am beyond excited about this new addition to my home. No, it’s not a stylish piece of furniture or a beautiful piece of art but a cordless vacuum. A CORDLESS VACUUM! Believe me when I tell you that this is a life changing moment for me and I squealed when it arrived at my door last week.

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about keeping your house clean living with a dog that turned out to be very popular and a few readers who are also dog owners left comments recommending the Dyson V8 Animal cordless vacuum (the Dyson V8 Absolute is very similar but choose the Animal if you have pets). I always like getting personal recommendations so I decided to take your word for it and try it out. The lovely team over at ao.com sent me one to review and it arrived the next day with a one hour delivery slot – great service!

I am being completely honest when I tell you that the vacuum is completely brilliant and has made keeping our flat clean so much easier. Our current vacuum is big, heavy, bulky and just getting it out of the hallway cupboard is enough to put me off using it, let alone dragging it around the house and having to bend down to use any of the attachments. I constantly bash it into the walls when I pull it around corners and knock stuff off surfaces with the hose every single time I use it! Let’s just put it this way that vacuuming is my least favourite chore but the one I need to do most because of all the dog hair.

Dyson V8 Animal cordless vacuum review | How to keep your house clean with a dog | Apartment Apothecary

I knew a cordless vacuum would solve a lot of these problems as they are so easy to store on a charging dock and not having a hose or cable to worry about is pure bliss and makes moving around so much easier and less hassle. However, after doing a bit of research the Dyson V8 Animal not only gives me the benefits of being cordless it actually provides better cleaning than my current vacuum. Let me tell you how…

Dyson V8 Animal cordless vacuum review | How to keep your house clean with a dog | Apartment Apothecary

Charging dock that can be screwed to the wall, four attachments, the main handset and an extender pole.

The Dyson is extremely versatile as you can use the handset with the attachments so it’s like a hand-held vacuum, especially good for our sofa and bed to get rid of Otto’s hair or more generally for getting rid of crumbs on the table, in kitchen cupboards or use the brush attachment for dusting shelves. We can also take it out to our car to get rid of dog hair and mud, which is invaluable. I talk more about the special pet hair attachment in the video below and you can see me using it on my sofa and Otto’s bed. My regular vacuum doesn’t come close to removing dog hair in the way this does.

When you add the extender pole to the hand set it changes in to a regular vacuum and because it is so light (only 2.6 kg – some cordless vacuums are up to 5 kg) you can easily reach up to the ceiling to get rid of cobwebs, add the brush attachment to clean skirting boards without the need to bend down (something I have to do with my regular vacuum) and the main attachment for the floor pivots on a ball head so it is very, very easy to use.

I now use the Dyson several times day, just a few seconds at a time, to keep on top of the dog hair and it makes a massive difference to how clean the house feels generally. If I use it on the maximum suction setting the charge lasts for up to 7 minutes but I only really need to use that setting when I’m cleaning the sofa, car or Otto’s bed to get rid of hair. Generally, it only needs to be on the minimum suction setting for vacuuming the floor and in that case it can last up to 40 minutes. If I want to do a big clean of the whole flat I still use my regular vacuum as that can take up to an hour but otherwise it is the Dyson V8 Animal all the way!

Here’s a bit more detail…

Thanks to my lovely readers for recommending this and to ao.com for sending me one to review – I am so, so pleased with it!

Katy x

Dyson V8 Animal cordless vacuum review | How to keep your house clean with a dog | Apartment Apothecary

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