Thursday, 24 November 2016

Book Review: Tanya Bakes by YouTuber Tanya Burr

It's that time of year when, not only am I buying, buying, buying for friends and family's Christmas presents but I'm also, rather sneakily, adding ideas to my own wish list, leaving a trails of hints which get more and more obvious as time goes by! 


So when I came across Tanya Bakes (by super-YouTuber Tanya Burr) it made me think that I should share it with you in time for you to add it to your Christmas list!


Tanya Bakes, as you can imagine, is choc-full (pardon the pun!) of gorgeous photography, perfect staging and clever words but is it worth the cover price? On a word, yes!! Every page exudes warmth, gentle humour and that zeitgeisty word hygge (the Danish word for the ritual of enjoying simple pleasures).


The book is spilt into 8 chapters, Cookies and Biscuits, Muffins, Cupcakes & Tray bakes, Cakes & Loaves, Puddings, Pastry, Bread, Brunch and Special Occasions.

TanyaBakes2200

And, oh my goodness, this book contains recipe after recipe that you will want to dive straight into the moment you turn each crisp, glossy page. With names like the Ultimate Celebration Cake, Chocolate Orange Cheesecake, Kate's Mum's Lemon Slices and Salted Caramel Brownies, your only problem will be which to tackle first.

TanyaBakes2200

Tanya's little preambles will boost your confidence no end, making you feel as though you too can conquer the world! She has a knack of spanning the bridge between celebrity and ordinary girl-next door.

{It should definitely be mentioned that there are mistakes in this book but Penguin here are at pains to say that these aren't a reflection on Tanya and offer to replace any copies that contain errors.}

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

How To Get GORGEOUS Original Floorboards With Osmo Polyx-Oil Terra And Clear Satin

We've taken a short break from the family room (more on that shortly) to begin work on one of our girl's bedrooms. There were bare floorboards in this room but they were (hurrah!) in pretty good condition but needed a lot of work in the looks department.


The dirt and grime that builds up on floorboards over years and years and years is not scrubbable offable (Oh, how I wish it was!!) so we hired a sander but if you're in the same boat as us, and I know many of you are, then please listen carefully. To keep the character of your floorboards in tact, go easy on the sanding. You don't under any circumstances whatsoever want to remove the beautiful patina that has taken, in our case, hundreds of years to build up.

You see, older floorboards usually end up with a bow shape, rather than being flat and smooth like new boards. If you sand this shape away then you'll also be sanding away what makes your floorboards unique. Sand away the top point of this bow, by all means, but leave the overall shape in place. The beauty of the floorboards won't show at this point but, if you follow my instructions, all will become clear....

One of the biggest challenges you'll face is finding a suitable, hard-wearing finish in a NON-ORANGE shade!! I was hoping for the final colour to reflect the gorgeous old age of the floorboards, rather than the feel of newly installed cheap pine, which SOOOOO many of options we looked at had until, until, UNTIL....we stumbled upon Osmo Polyx-Oil in Terra.


Below is an image of four different finishes we tested. Osmo Polyx-Oil in Terra is the shade on the top left. Can you see how it has highlighted the grain in a darker shade? It's this feature that had me totally sold!


I started off applying the Polyx Oil (which is described as an oil-wax combination but goes on as easily as a varnish) with a brush but ended up using a sponge to get the precise application I was after.


After applying one coat of the Osmo Terra Polyx Oil, we were left with this....

(Can you see how the colour clings more to the unsanded areas? This is what will give you gorgeous colour variation in your end product.)

The next day, we applied a oat of Osmo Polyx Oil in Clear Satin. This is available in more shiny or less shiny versions but this is my favourite look! - I wanted it to feel as though we'd managed to find genuinely old period floorboards in incredible condition and Clear Satin gives that look. 


The Osmo Poly-Oil in Clear Satin was, again, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to apply and enhances the colour of the Terra brilliantly, adding a rich, mellow warmth. Simply give your brush a good dip in the tin....

Wipe it one way across the floorboards and then the other way to spread off the excess on both sides, like this:


...and then go over that area with your brush, backwards and forwards, to give a thorough, even coverage. This is not rocket science but will reward you with arm muscles the like of which you've never seen!!

While it's drying, the Osmo Polyx-Oil looks pretty glossy but panic not!...that gorgeous Clear Satin finish will emerge, like a butterfly from its chrysalis!

Yes, my Modern Country friends, your caterpillar floors are in for a transformational treat!!

This is the second room we've used this combination of Osmo Poly Oil in Terra, followed by Clear Satin, and I'd use it again in a flash!

All Images Modern Country Style

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Our Modern Country Family Room: The Source List

Many of the questions you contact me with are about specific rooms in my home so here's a one-stop-post containing all the information I can summon up in one place about our Modern Country Family room, which leads straight off our living room.

Modern Country Style

This is the room we started with, a grotty, dated kitchen, cheap laminate floors and a fireplace that stuck out like a sore thumb...


Yet, even in the midst of all the mess, we could see that this room could be given a new life. The light streams in through the enormous sash window, the ceilings are high and the proportions generous.

Modern Country Style

White Marble Victorian Corbel Fireplace: English Fireplaces
Shoe lasts: Snoopers Paradise
Vases: Next

Modern Country

Chairs: Freecycle
Clock: Burgess Relamation

Reclaimed Georgian doors

Reclaimed Georgian Doors: Historic Doors
Architraves: Bespoke

Modern Country Style

Trunk: Garage Sale find! Wooop!
Cushions (r to l): Cabbages and Roses Hatley Pink, White Company, Hannah Brown Interiors

Modern Country Interior

Lantern: Lombok
Plant pots: Country Living Fair
Woodwork and ceiling: Dulux White

Modern Country Living Room

Hungarian Seat: Fade Interiors
Chest of Drawers: eBay

Modern Country Interior

From tired old bedsit to room of my dreams....
yes, from where I'm sitting, cosily tucked up, atching the sun set through the window of our Modern Country family room, there blood, sweat and tears were totally worth it!!! 


Images: Modern Country Style 

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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

My Junk Shop Table Revamp!!

I found this old table for a song at a junk shop locally and saw straight away that it could look gorgeous. And doesn't it just?! So what, I'm often asked, do I look for in furniture? What gives a piece the X-factor?


The Shape: it's solid and chunky and curvy, these shapes ALWAYS appeal to me
The Structure: it's incredibly well-made and will withstand all my children can throw at it (hopefully not literally!)
The Age: this is a period piece but not so slavishly so that it will hold me to a certain era.

If these three are right for you, then chances are that the look will please you for a long, long time.


A coupe of weeks later and it was delivered to a mid-build family room!! I set to work with my trusty sander to strip back the top. The existing stain was a little too red for my liking. It's a job I usually put off, shying away from the mess and dirt, but given that there was so much around anyway, I dived straight in!


After giving the top a gentle stain of antique pine wax, I set to work with my Autentico Chalk Paint on the base. Now I'm sure you know that chalk paints are designed so that you don't have to prime but this baby needed all the help it can get to withstand family life so, first things first, out came the primer. 


Autentico paints come in a vast array of colours and finishes. I've always loved their products (see here and here) before and loved them but had been waiting for an opportunity to use their chalk paint in Reindeer for ages so I was extremely pleased to see how beautifully it went with Farrow and Ball Hardwick White on the walls of our family room. This was my chance!


This table was crying out for a pretty rustic finish on the bottom of the table so, delightfully, a rough application method was all that was needed. 


Two coats of Autentico Reindeer (now firmly one of my favourite shades, though their are a gazillion to choose from!) later, plus a coat of their furniture wax, and my gorgeous table was ready to rumble!!


All images Modern Country Style

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Quintessential English Cottage Tour

Look at this gorgeous home that I stumbled across. It's a quintessentially English cottage. And it's for sale!! A snip (!!) at £575,000....

Take a tour and I dare you not to fall in love....



The thatched roof?



The beams!



The gorgeouss little attic bedrooms?


And a garden that overlooks a stunning church...


See? Those dreams of gorgeous English cottages really can come true!


Images via Prime Location

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