Picnic time of year

For the last two days the weather has been a scorcher here in Manchester so the boyfriend and I are planning a picnic for later today when the weather cools a little. Yesterday we were on the look-out for some paper picnic tableware to go into our cool bag. When you’re having something like a picnic you don’t want to pay too much and need them to be as little-weight as possible as well as recyclable. I was excited then when I came across these ice-cream tubs and paper straws from Pound World’s Confetti range. Not only do they look good but they’re environmentally friendly. I love the fun colours and there’s plenty more within their range so if these take your fancy then go hunt the rest down.

Confetti range

Whilst I was thinking about picnic items, I decided I might invest in a proper picnic basket or hamper. I did a bit of research and I found these a great selection below. I’ve not decided which one to go for yet so if you’ve purchased any of these do let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Dunelm Four Person White Picnic Hamper: £50



M&S Dovecote Floral 2 Person Heart Hamper: £45



picnic hamper
House off Fraser- Linea: Coast 2 Person Hamper £36.00 reduced from £45.00
Amara – Picnic Basket: Ellis White £55.00 reduced from £110.00

Deals of the week – Home Bargains & Primark

As promised, I’ve been out and about again hunting down some of the best deals of the week, all at ridiculously low prices.(Gosh, doesn’t that sound like something off a T.V. advert!) I’ve had an incredibly productive week with lots of fantastic things to show you. These are purely personal choices, items that either I have bought myself or would want to own.

First up is Primark. If you haven’t already checked out their homewares department you really must because they have a great range of inexpensive goodies for the home. Some are a little kitsch but because they’re made to follow trends, chances are they’re not the kinds of things you’re going to keep and use forever. These mini faux plants made me smile, especially since I am still on the hunt for a few faux plants to go in my conservatory and bathroom. I also fell in love with their giant, gold elephant candles, perfect for giving your home that summer, bohemian vibe. If I remember correctly, most of these were under £10

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In the image below are yet more faux plants (are you starting to detect a theme here?) and copper-style candle holders. Personally, I think the whole copper trend has had its day but if it’s a trend you love, then you can knock yourself out with these.

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Yet more faux plants and copper candle holders

Finally from Primark, these are the buys I took home myself,  cute and on-trend cactus shaped candles for £2.00. I’ve already decided that they’re going to be dotted in amongst the plants and flowers in the conservatory and will look great once lighted in the evening as we sit and eat dinner. They’re fun and give off a real summery vibe.

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Believe or not I did shop somewhere other than Primark this week because my next great deals come from Home Bargains. Their homewares department has a lovely selection including those from their baking range called Bakeshop. They very much remind me of Cath Kidson so if you’re a fan, as I am, but want something a little less pricey, then these are a savvy buy. I plan on picking up the red-spot jug and measuring cups next time I’m in there. From left to right, the 4 pack of measuring cups are £3.99, the North Pole ceramic jug is £4.99 and the North Pole book stand is £2.99.

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Measuring cups, jug and cookbook stand

I also noticed that these Primrose biscuit tins were on their star buy of the week at only £1.99.

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Biscuit tins

As I was browsing the food section I am across these flours from their Ancient Bakes range. I’m reliably informed that they can be used to add a protein or fibre boost to cakes, biscuits, breads and more. The range includes quinoa flour: a nutritious all-purpose flour for baking & cooking, teff flour: ideal for sweet and savoury cooking, chickpea flour: a great binding alternative, widely used in vegan cooking, freekeh flour: a nutritious wheat-based flour for baking and cooking and millet flour used for sweet and savoury cooking. At only 29p each for 120g they’ve got to be worth trying.

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Flour range

I hope you’ve enjoyed checking out my deals of the week and if you do pick up any, then do let me know what you think. Meanwhile I’m off to light my cactus candles.

Waterstones book cover posters & a gallery wall

This week, I was killing time in my local Waterstones before had to start work, checking their reduced table and to my surprise I came across two amazing finds; book posters for £1.00 each reduced from £12.99. Having bought one the book cover of Brave New World from Waterstones last year at full price, I knew what a bargain these were. The two that came home with me were Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster comes from the cover of the 1958 English First Edition.

It also happened to be perfect timing because I’ve been thinking for a while about creating a gallery wall in both the living room above the sofa and in our bedroom above the bed. These posters seemed perfect. I could use them as the centrepiece in both rooms, and plan around them with the smaller works of art we already have.

So with thoughts of gallery walls on my mind I decided to look for inspiration on Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. Below are some of my favourites:















A new cookbook to test out – Lisa Faulkner’s ‘The Way I Cook’

Yesterday, I was due to go to the Ideal Home Show in Manchester but unfortunately I was feeling a bit under the weather so I decided (begrudgingly) to give it a miss even though I had been looking forward to going after attending last year’s show. Instead, I chose to avoid the rain and crowds and curl up in bed with chocolate truffle flavoured coffee and a brand new cook book I picked up in WHSmith last week.

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Chocolate truffle flavoured coffee and a new cookbook

I’m a huge MasterChef fan so when I saw Lisa Faulkner’s cookbook The Way I Cook, reduced to £5.00 I couldn’t resist. My old favourites, cookbooks by Mary Berry and The Body Coach are looking a bit tattered and food-stained so this came at the perfect time.

I’ve had a quick flick through it and already there’s quite a few recipes I’m excited to try. They include:

  • Leek & garlic tart
  • Jambalaya
  • Pear tarte tatin
  • French toast muffins
  • Sweetcorn fritters with chorizo salsa and soured cream
  • Banana cream pie
  • Linguine with salmon & prawns

If you’ve got this cookbook and tried out any of the recipes already then I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Tate Shop – Unique objects for the home

Last weekend the boyfriend and I enjoyed a long-weekend away in Liverpool. It was his birthday and he’s a huge Liverpool football fan so as a treat for him we visited Anfield Stadium and later the famous Beatles haunt, The Cavern Club. However, my favourite place of all was the Tate Liverpool Art Gallery that sits overlooking the Albert Docks. Always on the hunt for gorgeous and intriguing home buys I made a bee-line for this unusual kitchen ware.

Art pain drip designs

The Artist paint drip range are designed and created by the creative agency Designers Anonymous. They’re exclusive to the Tate so you won’t see them anywhere else. The espresso cup and saucer are made from porcelain and are dishwasher safe and both the jugs and mugs are bone china. They’re on special offer so if they take your fancy I’d snap them up quick.
Artist paint drip espresso cup and saucer £15.00

Artist paint drip jug £20.00

Artist paint drip mug £10.00

Artist paint drip plate £10.00 (4 for 3)

Artist paint drip salt and pepper pot £12.00

Artist paint drip tea towel £9.00 (Not shown in the photo)

Art drip plates and glasses

If you’re in a slightly more playful, quirky mood then you’ll fall in love with the Tate’s Modern artists range. Not only did I have fun identifying the artists depicted but I couldn’t help wonder what the artists in questions would have made of them. Both the modern artists salt and pepper pots and the eggs cups are £20.00.

Modern artists salt and pepper pots Modern artists egg cups

I was even more surprised when I went online to see if I could buy them from the Tate Shop, their ‘objects for the home’ is full of amazingly unique pieces. Admittedly some do come with a very ‘unique’ price tag, but if you don’t mind spending a little extra on something different then their website is without a doubt worth a visit, as is the art galley, both in Liverpool and in London. Click here for their website: Tate Shop

Deals of the week

One of the things I thought I’d introduce is an article at least once a month (but hopefully one a week) on any great deals for the home. This week I’d like to kick off with these items all from Sainsbury’s. I saw these on Monday in the Sainsbury’s in Blackpool. Their home section seemed quite small compared to some here in Manchester but it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter the size of the store, great bargains can still be found.

These are a few of my favourites starting with a range of outdoor dining items such as serving bowls, plastic wine goblets and salad servers, great for when we actually see some sunshine this summer.

The faux plants caught my attention but my particular favourites were the nautical themed candles which I’m now wishing I bought for the bathroom.

Happy bargain scouting folks!

BBQ and summer dining
Faux plants
Candles and storage

For more homewares visit Sainsbury’s Home: Sainsburys Home

Welcome to Simmy’s interior design blog

Welcome to my home. My boyfriend and I moved in around the start of January. The reason I was so keen to start an interiors blog after moving in, knowing that there were so many fantastic ones out there was two fold; firstly, I felt that many were appealing to a readership that owned their own homes and could make substantial changes to them and secondly, seemed to have budgets I could only dream of. Instead, I wanted to create a blog that showed interior design ideas that were both affordable and achievable as well as other lifestyle-related topics.

I decided to subtitle the blog, ‘interior design ideas​ for generation rent’ because an ever growing number of people are finding it difficult if not near-on impossible to get on the property ladder. Many rent through choice but a large number do so because they simply can’t afford to buy. This means that many people’s first homes, whether you’re single or a couple, is a rented one and there are  many limitations especially when it comes to interior design. I wanted a place where I could chronicle these difficulties whilst also exploring my love of all things home-related.

We were lucky enough to find a house to rent from a friend of the family so we escaped paying agency fees. Most aren’t that lucky. The house came fully furnished which can be both a blessing and a curse. As many of you will no doubt know, it’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand it can save you money on furniture and white goods but it also means that you’re living with someone else’s furniture and my extension their tastes.

What I liked about our house was the neutral colour palette; white walls, grey sofas and plain carpets. Personally, I’m not a massive fan of glass furniture, which is what we had in the living room. But the great challenge of attempting to decorate a rented home is working around these issues. I thought a lot about how I could incorporate my style into what existed in the house already.

Another issue with renting instead of buying is that, because you don’t own the house, you can’t make any structural changes. Even simple things like painting walls or hanging up paintings or shelves have to be approved by many landlords.

Despite all these challenges and many more I’m something of a masochist and I enjoy the challenges that comes with decorating a rental. Since there’s little chance of us being able to buy anywhere in the immediate future the focus for me has and will be on turning any place we rent into a comfortable home that suits our style.

We already know that we’ll have to move on again from here at the end of the year. Our landlady has told us that she intends to sell this house. The uncertainty is never ideal but it’s something that much are my generation are faced with so we are not alone. So I’m looking forward to sharing my renting escapades with you all as well as all things interior design related that I love and much more.