Welcome to Mi Abode – home of Scandinavian Interiors

No thats not a typo *tuts* and I’m not inviting you to snoop round my house either. Tho if you happen to be in the area and you bring biscuits I’m fairly sure I’d let you in. No, Mi Abode is a Scandinavian interiors and homeware retailer in Uppermill, Saddleworth. Which is a little off the beaten track for us Cumbrians but luckily also has an online store. Phew…

Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors and homeware retailer in Uppermill Saddleworth

So what makes Mi Abode worth talking about? Well for starters they sell a mixture of beautiful but very affordable vintage and contemporary Scandinavian design pieces. But more importantly Mia the owner is actually Scandinavian, and many of the items she sells are actually from Sweden. But what I really love is that some of them are made by her mum Helga. Yes Helga. From Sweden. Could this Scandinavian interiors shop be any more authentic?

So want to see what caught my eye when I happened to be in Uppermill for a very important breakfast meeting (by which I mean a catch up with my sister over heavily buttered fruit toast and coffee)?

The first thing I spotted was these felt baskets. Perfect for rolled up towels or loo rolls in the bathroom, or magazines or throws in the living room.

Felt baskets from Scandinavian interiors retailer MI Abode
Felt baskets – 3 sizes available, priced from £20-36

And then I fell in love with these little fellas.

Elf Christmas decorations from Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors retailer in Uppermill
Elf Christmas decorations made by Helga

Mamma Helga makes these Elf Christmas decorations in various shapes, sizes and shades. I bought the big guy, now known as Lars. He will probably spend Christmas on the living room hearth but he will spend the rest of the year in my Scandi styled summer house……which just might have been featured in Real Homes magazine this month *tosses hair over shoulder celebrity style*

Large Elf Christmas decoration from Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors retailer in Uppermill
Large Elf Christmas decoration
Small elf Christmas decorations from Mi Abode Scandinavian interiors retailer in Uppermill
Small elf Christmas decorations

Mia stocks the key pieces needed to get Hygge like the Danes, i.e. scented candles throws and cushions

Range of wool throws and cushions from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill
Get Hygge with their range of wool throws and cushions
Longhaired curly lambskin throw from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill
Longhaired curly lambskin throw

….and its not all monochrome.

Lighting and soft furnishings from Scandinavian interiors retailer MI Abode in Uppermill
Mustard throw and matching shade on tripod lamp

She also has some pretty funky artwork…..

Quirky framed posters from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill
Quirky framed posters

and fab lighting, including these concrete pendants.

Concrete pendant lights from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill
Concrete pendant lights

The shop is a veritable treat for the eyes, everywhere you look there’s something you want to prod and poke

img_4010

And its not just pretty stuff, there are practical things too. Instead of stuffing your kitchen drawers with postcards that you don’t want to throw away, recipes you’ve cut out of magazines and vouchers you want to keep, what about putting them in these cool storage books?

Storage books from Scandinavian interiors retailer Mi Abode in Uppermill
Storage books – perfect for the stuff that usually ends up in the kitchen drawers

So don’t just take my word for it get online at http://www.miabode.bigcartel.com/products and take a look for yourself

img_4012

 

Quackers about Charlotte Gerrards artwork

Tonight it’s a very short post as I’m a wee bit tired after 3 days galavanting around London. The primary reason for my trip was House, the interiors show at Olympia, but it would have been rude not to fit in a few cocktails with friends. Great timing meant I also fitted in my annual pilgrimage to Taste of London, which I love, but it has to be said the balance of food to drink exhibitors swings a little further to the right each year. This year definitely being the year of gin with herbaceous, floral, citrus and spice infused gins on every corner. Me and my liver are both relieved to be back home. Future restaurant tip – The Modern Pantry. We tried their mince and tatties with bombay potato and it was to die for.

But back to interiors….House was a huge success for me with new purchases for Holly Cottage and some great ideas for customers. I’ve attended shows in the past with a few too many wooden hearts on string for my liking but this was definitely not one of those events, the variety and quality of exhibitors was very high. Mr W also enjoyed himself and had to be reined in on more than one stand before he broke the bank.

So before I go to bed (its now 12.30am…..) I just wanted to share the work of artist Charlotte Gerrard who we met at Olympia. I’ve been concerned about Holly Cottage becoming too rustic, and have been on the look out for a few modern touches to funk up the place without confusing the decor. I found just what I was looking for on Charlottes stand. She produces paintings and screen prints of animals, cows being her favourite. But I fell in love with her ducks. Modern style, rural subject matter, perfect for my wet room!

Community Charge - screen print by Charlotte Gerrard
‘Community charge’
Waddling on - screen print by Charlotte Gerard
‘Waddling on’
Classic - screen print by Charlotte Gerrard
‘Classic’
Meet the kids - screen print by Charlotte Gerrard
‘Meet the kids’

 

 

Triathlons, chicken proofing and a virtual world of interiors

Cumbrians are hardy people, fond of extreme outdoor activity. The county is known as the adventure capital of the UK with a full calendar of swimming, cycling and running events, often combining all three, and almost all involving steep hills. If you don’t get involved then you’re not really Cumbrian. So today was my initiation ceremony and my first ever triathlon. Its clearly the secret to a long life as a rather large percentage of the competitors were pensioners. I was mortified when one geriatric overtook me on the run…. but I finished in an acceptable time and now feel officially Cumbrian.

Amelia Wilson after completing the Cockermouth Triathlon 2015

I have also been making the most of the sunshine (Cumbria was warmer than the Algarve and Ibiza this week I’ll have you know), and doing a spot of gardening, or more specifically chicken proofing it. If you’re not familiar with the term then this involves placing stones on every bare patch of soil to prevent them having soil baths and digging up all your plants in the process. It also means planting a 4 inch high trim along the edges of borders to stop them kicking all your bark chippings and soil into the path when they’re digging for grubs. I even had to cover one raised bed entirely with netting as this was their last stop before Cluckingham Palace at night, and had become their equivalent of your local kebab shop. It looked like a plague of locust had visited it. Although I may not need to bother if the dramas continue. Agata met her end 2 weeks ago after an encounter with the farmers dog, and next doors spaniel tried to fetch Beate for his owner earlier in the week. It’s made them all a little jumpy as you can imagine.

Anyway, when I haven’t been achieving a wondrous work life balance I have actually been doing some interiors work, and while researching for a couple of commercial projects have become fascinated by fakes. Historically our interiors choices have been significantly more limited. It used to be the case that if you wanted a wood floor you had to buy wood floor and hope it didn’t get damaged by damp or children. If you wanted bare brick you had to chip the plaster off your walls. Gas fires looked like gas fires. TV’s looked like TV’s and bookshelves were made of… well, actual books. But the world of interiors has now become a world of clever special effects thanks to technology and innovation and I love it.

I recently discovered a Swedish company called Happywall which offers a wide range of wall murals including a collection of extremely realistic and highly touchable backgrounds. They can be made to whatever size you need, which adds to the reality. I love this one below with the chipped red paint. Perhaps this isn’t the greatest advert but it sort of reminds me of the deserted cabin in the woods in a serial killer movie…..

Chipped red paint on wood mural from Happywall

They also have some great metal finishes like these rusted corrugated and sheet steel  murals. I might even like these more than the Brooklyn Tins wallpaper by Merci….

Rusted corrugated steel effect wall mural from Happywall   Rusted sheet steel effect wall mural from Happywall

If you have a dining room, wine cellar or bar that needs a bit of decoration how about their wine bottle mural?

Wine bottle wall mural from Happywall

And what about this grungy mustard coloured mural. In a smart room it would look like crushed velvet, but in an industrial setting or dark bar it would make the walls look aged and damp.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 18.33.31
This one isn’t really a fake as you’d never find a tree big enough to create a wall out of the stump, or want to for that matter, but this made me go “oooh” when I saw it.

Tree rings effect wall mural from Happywall

But this is my favourite. The mural is as clear as the photographic image which was clearly used to create it, and look how it appears on a living room wall. It’s as if you’re sat in a derelict building. Not everyones idea of style, but imagine if you lived in a cool loft apartment with steel beams and a concrete floor….

Grungy wall effect wall mural from Happywall

Grungy wall effect wall mural from Happywall

All of this got me wondering where this will lead. Will we eventually live in a world of interiors virtual reality, where all our walls and floors are white and we project images on to them to match the latest trends, our mood, the time of day or the seasons? You could have that loft apartment with the concrete floor and exposed brick walls, then when you’re fed up with it download a new scheme. Wake up to a grassy meadow in the sunshine, go to sleep to the sun setting over the desert. It might mean our furniture needs to be cheaper and more disposable (in an environmentally friendly way), or maybe renting your furniture becomes the trend. Whatever happens it can only mean more choice which is a good thing. Bring on the fakes I say.

From the West End to West Cumbria

Living and working in London made it pretty easy to visit the west end and catch a show. I often went mid-week with friends, buying the cheap tickets if we weren’t sure how good it would be. I’ll watch most things for under £20 if the company’s good! Living in West Cumbria I now have a different style of show on offer and they typically only run for the summer season. This week I attended two; the Keswick show and Ennerdale show. OK so they weren’t preceded by cocktails and a pre-show dinner but they beat the west end hands down for variety. It seems you can enter just about anything in these shows to try for a prize; cattle, sheep, poultry, dogs, pets, eggs, vegetables, fruit, plants, flower arrangements, cakes, biscuits….the list is endless. One lady who shall remain nameless seemed to have an entry in just about every category at the Keswick show. They both had exhibitions of vintage cars and vintage agricultural machinery and the Keswick show had a display of quad bikes that gave Mr W high expectations for Christmas. They also go all out on the entertainment. In Keswick I watched champion sheep shearer Peter claim 1st prize for manually shearing 3 sheep with the biggest sharpest looking shears I have ever seen. You can watch (or participate in!) cumberland wrestling. You can enter a fell run (running up and down very steep hills for those that are unfamiliar). You can also shop – with local farm produce, plants, arts and crafts all on offer. Not a bad way to while away a few hours for less than £10 entry (£7 Keswick and £5 Ennerdale).

There’s even something for interior design fanatics like me at these shows. At Keswick I met a very talented lady called Mel who is a traditional woodturner and produces beautiful lamps, tableware and other items in her workshop in Egremont. I bought one of her paraffin lamps as I really liked the combination of the old fashioned method with the modern design.

One of Mel's wooden paraffin lamps
One of Mel’s wooden paraffin lamps

[pinterest]

Another of Mel's creations - a wooden serving bowl
Another of Mel’s creations – a wooden serving bowl

[pinterest]

At the Ennerdale show I met another very talented lady, Vivienne Coleman. Vivienne is a professional artist who specialises in pencil drawings. Her drawings of sheep really caught my eye, and I will be ordering some of her work for my new staircase. You can see her work on her website http://www.pencil-drawing.co.uk, and she has a gallery on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/vivienne-c/sets/72157625020434836/

The spectacular location for the Ennerdale show
The spectacular location for the Ennerdale show

I have one other show in my diary that I’ve been wanting to attend ever since I bought our place in Cumbria but haven’t been able too make so far. This one includes….wait for it….the world gurning championships! Visit http://www.egremontcrabfair.com if you’re not familiar with this particular sport and would like to see last years winner and runners up…..And maybe next year my chickens eggs will be good enough to beat the multi-talented lady from Keswick…

 

Prize winning onions at Keswick!
Prize winning onions at Keswick
A Silkie - a fluffy variety of chicken
A Silkie – a fluffy variety of chicken
Peter the champion sheep shearer in action
Peter the champion sheep shearer in action
Mr W with his eye on a quad bike
Mr W with the quad bike he had his eye on…..
One of the many vintage cars at Keswick
One of the many vintage cars at Keswick