{ Hydrangea Girl

Teal obsession: I'm cheating on my favourite colour

This isn't going to seem like a big deal to most of you. I see so many pictures through social media of people's colourful lives. And I really wish I could be so bold. For me, colours are a big deal. In the past, I've tried to introduce many colours into our home. But the truth is, it drove me IN.SANE. I hope that doesn't sound rude? I'm well able to appreciate when people share they're colourful homes and if anything, I'm jealous. But I just can't do it. Call it DOCD - design obsessive compulsive disorder.

But that all changed a couple of weeks ago. It's really lame, but it started with a hoodie my husband bought in H&M. It was a really dark teal. Oh. It was nice, and that freaked me out. But no, this isn't a dark berry colour, so just no. But the more I thought about it this new hue, the more I realized it might actually go really well in our home. So I tested it out with an easily disposable item - candles. I headed to my local Tiger store and picked up two teal candles for €1.

They pretty much sealed the deal. Last week while I was doing my lunch time charity shop route I spotted two particularly interesting gems. Both of which were within range of my new colour obsession. First I saw this Achill Pottery bud vase. I'd seen a few of them before in charity shops here and there, but never had I seen one in this colour. The bottom half is pushing it with the brightness factor, but I like the top half so it makes it okay. It's a rather cute little wobbily vase with different sized holes in it for buds and off-cuts. 

I then spotted this picture frame in the same charity shop. While I know it itself is not teal, the thick wedge of glass on it glints teal whenever I walk past it. I should say this frame was in a very sorry state in the shop. It had a massive old sticker across the glass, rendering it pretty severely gross. But I saw past the ugly. I steeped it in warm soapy water, and laughed a menacing manner at all those who disregarded it. 

CONFESSION: we have no photos in our home. Now that I think of it, ever since I moved out from my parent's place close to 8 years ago, I haven't had one photo printed and framed. Not even one from our wedding, which was almost 2 years ago. So I'm hoping that now I have this pretty little number, it might encourage me to get my ass in gear.

xx A

#PicadoMexican - kitchen details

Happy Friday, homies! Today I'll be sharing the next installment of #PicadoMexican - all about the kitchen details. To give you a little reminder, this is what the kitchen section of #PicadoMexican looked like when we first got the keys ...  

It had potential, but it was a fairly standard magnolia shell. This area of the shop made the most sense to house the kitchen; the shop narrowed a bit towards the back, there was a sink and plumbing in the back room [left as you go through the door] which meant we could knock through and continue the pipes and electricals through to the kitchen space, and there was also a toilet [on the right as you go through the door] so again, we could easily harness plumbing etc. Not to mention, this area was the only relatively level part of the shop, so it had to go here.

And this is what I had in mind ...

1. Lily and Alan needed space dedicated to packaging foods. By food safety standards, their packaging space had to be separate from the general food preparation area as well as the retail section of the shop. Placing the counter here made it the ideal spot. 
2. Understandably, Lily and Alan were conscious of having their backs turned on the front door while at the packaging station [the front door is behind them at the other end of the shop when they stand here]. My most simple solution for this was to hang a mirror so they can glance up whenever they hear the door open. I sourced a beautiful red Carolyn Donnelly mirror, but unfortunately it's no longer available online. 
3. Not only is #PicadoMexican a place for people to come in and buy their favourite Mexican ingredients in the retail section, but in the evenings, Lily hosts her own authentic Mexican cookery classes. Well impressive. So, Lily needed the stove to be somewhere where she could demonstrate her techniques without people having to crowd around behind her. Gallery stove it is. 
4. For the kitchen itself, we turned to IKEA. We used METOD cabinets finished with RINGHULT high-gloss cabinets, HALLESTAD counter tops and finished them off with EKEBODA stainless steel handles. We also sourced the appliances from IKEA as well as the ceiling-mounted TURBULENS extractor fan which hangs over the stove top.  

We hit IKEA, ordered the kitchen, and two days later we were up to our shoulders in boxes and doors and extraction hoods, oh my! Lily and Alan then did something that didn't even cross my mind - hired a carpenter [genius Allen] to put it together. In my stupidity, I gave them stink-eye. "Sure, we'll be able to put it together ourselves. It's IKEA!" WRONG. To give you an idea, the walls weren't build at 90-degree angles so things didn't fit in corners properly, extra space had to be made for awkward plumbing and thanks to the minutely sloping floor, Allen had his work cut out for him. Srsly. I stupidly thought IKEA kitchens would just be like a bigger version of a bookcase. 

Allen staging one of the many moves I didn't think we'd have to pull in our wildest dreams. 

[Allen - ahead of the official opening of #PicadoMexican, I apologize in advance if I have too many margaritas and cry on you or try to awkwardly high-five you too many times.]

Alan's dad crafted 3 shelves out of leftover board from the retail shelves, and around the counters we went with plain white square tiles. Lily and I spotted these Utopia white tiles in B&Q which were easy on the eyes as well as the pockets. I detest white or light grey grouting [it's just gonna get filthy], so I suggested to Lily and Alan that they get dark grout so the areas around the sink won't get noticeably darker after a couple of months. And as it happens, just as we were tiling he kitchen Anna Dorfman of Door Sixteen wrote a feature about square tiles with dark grout. Ohhhh snap. Yes, it did hurt to be that en trend, but we recovered. 

And as if I forgot - the sink saga. "Ehhh, there's quite the collection of sinks there in Picado", I hear you say. You would be right. There are. There are 3 sinks in the kitchen altogether. That's not including the two sinks behind the glass door. To adhere to the food safety regulations we needed a sink for food preparation, a sink for washing pots and pans, and a sink for hands. And they all had to be separate. We were short on counter space so we had to be clever. The easiest places to put the sinks were in the corners, not just because they were corners, but because that's where the plumbing came in on both sides. Lily picked up a Cooke & Lewis Locone spring neck tap from B&Q for the double sink which looks well swish.  

To add a little je ne sais quoi to the blank wall in the kitchen, so far we've added some poncho art. I took a poncho of Lily's that she no longer uses, stretched it around a cheap canvas and stapled it on as a mini focal point for the wall [above photo thanks to Daili!]. I of course couldn't resist taking it for one last spin before we committed it to a life as artwork ...

And there you have it! Details for the #PicadoMexican kitchen. I'm hoping to share the final installment [the pay and display area] of the shop within the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled xx A

Proposed designBig reveal : Retail details : Kitchen details : Pay and display

Image Interiors - September / October issue!

It seems like an age ago that I was excitedly [but mostly nervously] submitting my two pieces for the September / October issue of Image Interiors & Living. The autumn issue hit the shelves on Saturday morning, and I was barely able to contain my excitement as I legged it to the shops. 

My featured article [which is mentioned on the cover. NO BIG DEAL / EEEEEK / ACT COOL] is all about about decluttering and organising your home. I interviewed Sarah Reynolds of Organised Chaos, who dishes out her top tips for bringing calm to your chaos. Not only is she too a crazy cat lady, but I had a great time chatting with her and geeking out over getting organised. It's something I'm kinda overly passionate about anyways, in case you didn't notice. 

And a little behind the scenes of me and Nathalie working on the title page image for Cut the Clutter ...

I also wrote a cheeky little number about the perils of thrift shopping, which is accompanied by a pretty awesome illustration by the talented Naomi Wilkinson. When both my husband and my mom read the article on Saturday, they both had a couple of giggles and my mom guffawed a bit as I mention her once or twice [for the record, I think she was more so flattered than horrified. She hasn't sent me any concerned texts since reading it, so it's all good]. 

I just wanna finish this post by saying thank you Nathalie for thinking I'm cool enough to contribute to your magazine. Big time appreciating all up in here xx A

You can pick up a copy of the September / October issue of Image Interiors & Living in all good newsagents now. 

Latest project - Avril Hutch Acrylic Art website

Avril and I have something in common in that we both work in offices during the day but once 17:30 comes around, we do something very different with our time. By night, Avril is an artist. And the term 'artist' is a serious understatement. 

We had ranted, giggled and spoken in hushed voices about our alter-egos and alter-artists on many occasions, but on one particular occasion quite recently Avril confided some pretty big news to me. "Last weekend an RTE NationWide film crew came over, filmed me and my artwork and I'm going to be on TV", she said with a slight look of excitement and multiple shades of panic in her eyes. After we finished freaking out, Avril told me she was told she'd need a website among other things before her debut. Eventually, I quite awkwardly piped up, "Well, I can make you a thing if you want?" So I made her a website

It was great to work with Avril because she had a clear idea of what she wanted incorporated into her site. We added a few bells and whistles, but ultimately her website stayed clean and simple so not to detract or distract from her amazing perspex artwork. 

For more information on Avril's unreal artwork, check out her new website, Avril Hutch Acrylic Art here! She is one crazy talented gal. 

And of course, tune in to tonight's NationWide [19:00 on RTE One] to see Avril's interview and the history behind her art. Or check back here later, where I'm hoping to include a little snippet after it airs it out here! Best of luck Avril, and bottoms uuuuuuup! :D xx A

Blogiversary - Hydrangea Girl turns 4!

This day four years ago I sat on our couch, wanting to create one of those blogs I had heard so much about and seen so many neat and inspiring things on. At the time I was working as an assistant in a finance department by day and studying for my BA in Interior Design at night. I was looking for an outlet for all of my creative ideas and musings so a blog seemed to fit the bill. I wish I could tell you what was going through my head when I chose the name for my blog because nothing conjures thoughts of interior design quite like the words 'Hydrangea' and 'Girl' ... Massive fail on my behalf. But oh well, I suppose it's too late to change it now. 

I casually mentioned to husband last week, "so my blogiversary is coming up and I may need like a little cake or something to you know, photograph. For my blog of course". That message was recieved loud and clear. Husband came home the next day with a black forest gateau that would feed a medium to large family. Unfortunately, we got so carried away that I forgot to take blogiversary pictures with it and WE ATE THE WHOLE THING IN ONE DAY. Round two - four tiered mini pavlova with four cherries on top. I thought it best to snap this picture with Mozart doing what he does best because if I take one. more. picture. of the shelf above our TV, I wouldn't blame you if you unfollowed me.

So happy birthday, Hydrangea Girl. You've opened a lot of doors for me and took me well and truly out of my comfort zone. xx A

p.s. If you're particularly bored this Tuesday afternoon, you can check out my nerdy collection of images on evolution of the design of my blog. It's equal parts cringe and what exactly was she thinking
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