{ Hydrangea Girl

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

Ten minute morning tidy

While I'm chasing my field of interiors dreams, I work an office job by day during the week. I wake up early, feed the cats, apply my face, get dressed, make a lunch, but one thing that will always be part of my morning routine before I go to work is that I set aside 10 minutes to tidy our apartment. 

I know a large number of you are currently recoiling at the thought of it and serving up some serious stink-eye. Something along the lines of this comes to mind ... 

But today I'm going to convince you that yes, you do have time fo dat. And it will surprisingly make your day so much easier. And here is my one reason to convince you -

  • If you spend 10 minutes tidying your home in the morning, when you get home in the evening, exhausted from work, you will be walking into an already tidy home. More time for dinner, more time shooting the breeze with your spouse, more time chillaxing. The less chaotic your surroundings are, the more calm your mind is and the better quality your home life will be. 

Have I convinced you? Good. Here are my tips for the 3 main areas of your home that you should consider for your ten minute morning tidy ... 

My first real job when I was a teenager was working as a housekeeper in a Travelodge Hotel a stones throw from home. I learned not only how to change and make a bed in under 2 minutes, but the importance of a tidy bed. Your bed is the biggest thing in your room and the first thing you see when you walk into your bedroom. If it's chaos, your room is chaos. It doesn't have to be made perfectly, just a couple seconds of effort to straighten your bed sheets.

Our living room is the heart of our home and therefore the quickest to fill with junk. It's the messiest room so I'll spend the most time tidying it. Still, I only allow myself 5 minutes, otherwise I'd never leave the house. I start off by putting the living room items back where they should go - tablet goes on our desk, the PS3 remote goes into the PS3 / husband accessories drawer, any notebooks go back onto our shelves etc. Anything that needs to go into the kitchen gets put on the counter and anything that needs to go elsewhere in our home I put in our chuck it bucket. Don't waste time by running into every room of your house. 

We're at a good place now as I've been avidly downsizing, organizing what we have and working on giving all our stuff its own place. A home for everything and everything has a home. If you need a bit of inspiration to get you started you can check out my 5 decluttering tips or my less 365 mission. 

There's nothing I despise more than doing the dishes. We're not blessed with having a dishwasher in our apartment so we have to clean our dishes old school style. And because of this, there are always dishes haunting our kitchen counters. Let me get one thing straight, I do not clean dishes in the morning [that's were I say ain't nobody got time for dat]. I like to think of our kitchen as in a constant state of contained chaos. I stuff things in the recycling where necessary and stack all the dishes in the corner by the sink so they're not all over the counter, where they patiently wait for my husband to come home and wash them. 

But for those of you who have the luxury of owning a dishwasher? Bend over and I'll show you where you can put your dishes. You have no excuse.

xx A

Baltic Cruise - antihistamines in Helsinki

Helsinki was the second destination on our Baltic Cruise. We originally were hoping to take a guided cycling tour excursion through Helsinki, but we should have known as weeks before our cruise it was unavailable online. We tried, in vain, to book the cycling excursion as soon as we got on the cruise, but just as we thought, it was sold out. So we resorted to stumbling around Helsinki for a couple of hours, weaving our way through the pretteh city. 

Husband picked up a map in a cafe and said, "hey, there's a design museum not far from here. Do you want to go to it?". Why yes, yes I do. So we made our way towards DesignMuseo.

The Ball Chair by Eero Aarnio, the Mademoiselle Chair by Ilmari Tapiovaara [there was actually an extensive exhibit dedicated to him and his work, drawings and designs. It was really very good], the PS MASKROS pendant light by Marcus Avronen for IKEA, and two hooded velcro figures hugging but I can't remember the name of this piece. I thought it was cute and kind of creepy. These were my sneaky phone pics of my highlights from the DesignMuseo. 

After the DesignMuseo, we wandered the streets of Helsinki, guideless, looking up and zooming my camera in too far. We wandered to Esplanadi park, had a bit of lunch at Konig restaurant, then headed back to the ship. 

Funny story - before we embarked on our cruise, I spoke to a couple of pharmacists about combating sea legs. I have sensitive inner ears and at the best of times [aka, when I'm on dry land the other 358 days of the year], I can have pretty dodgy doses of vertigo. Spending a week on a ship? I wanted to be prepared. So a pharmacist advised antihistamines actually help keep your inner ears clear and will help combat sea legs. Great! I already take antihistamines for my allergies, but I wanted to be sure to nip it in the bud so why not take some stronger anitihistamines for our holidays? WRONG. I took Claritin with me on holidays and it made me soooo dozy. Unfortunately, I only realised 3 days in to our trip what was causing me to have zero cares about everything. I was really mopey in Helsinki and our next destination, St. Petersburg. Hense the lack of decent pictures. I actually fell asleep in some cafes. But once I realised, I stopped taking Claritin and dealt with stumbling around looking like I was drunk. 

I did snap a good few pretty sunset pictures that night on the cruise sailing between Finland and Russia, so at least the end of this post has a semi-decent amount of photos. Kinda. Goodnight, Finland.

xx A

Stockholm - Helsinki - St. Petersburg - Tallinn - Riga
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