Vivez Bien * Live Well

Monday, January 25, 2016

Less is More, more or less

Stack of moving boxes.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and then spend the latter half trying to off load things - at least in my family that seems to be the case. My mother, now in her mid 80's  has spent the last 30 years giving away many of her possessions to her children. I used to be thrilled to receive these bits and bobs, but I seem to have now entered a new phase in my life - I want to declutter, pare down, off-load, but my children aren't really at a stage that they want any of it.

This approach is even extending to my clothes and accessories. There used to be a time when a wardrobe like this would have sent my heart racing....
 

 ...but now I am more drawn to something simple like these below...


  I have been reading about the concept of a capsule wardrobe and how when women have downsized their wardrobes to just a few basic items, they have found that it saves them both time and money and is so much easier to get dressed for the day - this is something that men have probably known for ages - but have been keeping to themselves! While I would like to drastically simplify my wardrobe, it is a process and a  commitment and will require a bit of mental adjustment  so will probably be the subject of another blogpost down the track.

 

In today's post I thought I would talk about bedrooms and how important I think it is to have this space be as calm, peaceful and uncluttered as possible. I believe that a cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind and how can one have a good night's sleep with a cluttered mind! I also believe that so many of the illnesses suffered by our generation are stress related and surely, going to sleep or waking up in an environment that is overfilled with stuff adds to our stress. I'm not talking about going minimalist here - I am not and will never be a minimalist - but just the idea that your bedroom furniture could be limited to a bed, bedside table and perhaps a chair or chest of drawers and on your bedside table, you might only need 3 items instead of a surface cluttered with things  So here are some bedrooms that have inspired me and will hopefully inspire you to create a peaceful haven for your nightly rest.....


 













I feel more relaxed just looking at these. And did you notice that they are all decorated in subtle, muted shades, no bright colours here to jar the senses. I think I will sign off now because I feel I a little nap coming on. I will leave you with a quote....


Till next time

x Sharon


Saturday, January 9, 2016

This is going to be a good year...


Happy New Year to you. I hope this year will fulfill your hopes and dreams whatever they may be.

I am quite excited by the year ahead. It's going to be a bit of a different one for me. For the first time in a couple of years, I am not going to be formally employed! I might have an exciting decorating project lined up but otherwise I am going to have some more time on my hands and here's how I'm going to fill it....


My kind and generous husband gave me a very nice camera for Christmas. When I started this blog years ago, my intention was to photograph ideas in my own home to illustrate the subject matter of my blog post, but when I saw my pathetic attempts compared to the glorious interiors I come across online and in magazines, I tended to not bother that much with taking my own photos. But that is about to change. I also do most of my paintings from photographs so I am now very motivated to learn to take better photo's.


But let's focus on the important things first - the stuff! My current camera bag is a bit small, especially if I intend to accumulate some more lenses over time and the bag that came with the camera is one of those typical bags that screams, "I am a tourist or I have an  expensive camera inside me - please steal me". And then, of course, there is the issue of style. I have seen some beautiful leather camera bags online, but they cost a small fortune, so I decided to improvise....

I found this camera bag insert online through Amazon...
and found the perfect size bag, via Bidorbuy to accommodate it - voila - an inexpensive camera bag. I thought this bag with it's slightly distressed canvas outer and leather trim would look quite cool and give me some street cred!  (Thank goodness my kids don't read my blog - I can picture them howling with laughter at the idea of their middle aged mom having anything vaguely resembling street cred!)

 ....and then just to complete the picture I found this really cute camera strap, also on Amazon, for the price of 3 cappuccinos.


 

I am going to be the most stylish photographer out there, but, sadly, to quote a friend's son
 "I now have all the gear....but no idea!"

I have tried reading the manual, but for all the sense it makes, I might as well be reading the Chinese version. I have fiddled and faffed with my camera, read some tips online, and watched some video tutorials, but I'm still really battling to understand it all. ISO, F/STOP, AV, TV, ...H.E.L.P.!!
 

Someone once told me that you loose a few brain cells every time you have a baby. The fact that I have 4 children might explain it, although, apologies to the younger three, I might have donated them in entirety to my oldest son who just got 98% for Maths in his Matric exam! Whaaat! I said that with that mark, he surely must have the highest Maths mark in his school. No, he replied Kirk got 100% . Unbelievable. I have never achieved 100% for anything, well maybe spelling in Grade 2. And Kirk isn't even a nerd! Talking about nerds, did you see Mark Zuckerberg's great response to a fan who said she was going to encourage her granddaughter to date a nerd in case he turned out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. He suggested that she should rather encourage her granddaughter to become the nerd and invent something amazing. Yes please, then one of my sons can marry her!

I seem to have digressed - I think I was talking about my lack of brain cells...


...so I think the best course of action is to do a Beginners DSLR course through the Cape Town School of Photography. Some poor unsuspecting lecturer is going to have to get that info into my head one way or another. And if anyone wants to buy an unused, unstylish, camera bag for an excellent price, please contact me.



Getting on to my other plans for 2016....

I am going to install one of these in my home...


I am going to resist one of these, but my husband might as well know that I won't be able to resist for ever....


I plan to spend more time walking on the beach....


 with this....


and these....


I am going to spend more time painting....

 

In fact, my brother-in-law has commissioned me to do some paintings for his offices.

 I need to give some thought as to what a group of manly, building industry types might want to spend their days looking at. I know what you are thinking... I don't do that type of art!

Maybe some extreme sports... that's quite manly, don't you think?

Like this...


or this...


or this...


 I don't know, I'm exhausted just thinking about it!


This post is getting quite long so I will stop now, but since this is essentially a blog about interiors, I will throw in some pics that caught my eye while I was browsing through Tumblr recently.




And finally, to make sure I leave you with a smile on your face, there is this one...



Till next time

Sharon x



Monday, December 21, 2015

Island Style




At this time of the year, whether we like it or not, we tend to spend a great deal of time in our kitchens. The season of festivities means gatherings of friends and family which usually revolves around food. Our kitchens, which are perfectly adequate during the rest of the year, suddenly seem far too small for the amount of people and food populating them!


Don't you envy the size of this kitchen island with all the fabulous space around it? You could easily accommodate 10 people around it, all chopping, stirring, carving and assembling, while you just issue orders with a glass of wine in hand. Sounds like my type of food prep!


I also like this idea of neighbouring islands - one for food prep and one for laying out the completed dishes.


One of the important features of a great kitchen island is to have the right lighting above it. It not only has to be functional, but beautiful as well. No spot lights please!


  Whether you opt for a pair of lanterns....

 

 



 

 ....a gorgeous chandelier...



 ....some hanging pendant lights....


 ...possibly with an industrial edge...


....or a double pendant to make a real statement.

 

 You could choose something more contemporary...

 

 ....maybe a wooden version...


....or even a glamourous Tiffany style....


....but whatever the style of your island and the state of your lighting, I wish you many wonderful hours in your kitchen with all your favourite people!


 http://www.101whatsappstatus.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/MerryChristmasCard2012.png

 


 

 All these lights are available from https://www.parrotuncle.com/. 
Look out for their Christmas Specials.


Till next time

Sharon x