Thursday, 28 April 2011

Books: My Top Must-haves in Home Accessories

As decorative elements, books are incredibly versatile. They are not only a wonderful source of information and one of the best ways to expand the mind, but also offer a unique glimpse into their owners. 

Housed in shelves, books are efficiently stored away or placed on a coffee table, nightstand, end table or desk, whichever way, they are an invitation to make oneself at home and peruse. 

Used singularly or stacked, books can prove to be an interesting opening into someone's personality and deliver entertainment while accessorizing. 

So try being inventive with a different take: 
  • Stack few books on a side table to use as a raised display area. Set a sculpture, lamp or plant on top. It’s a great way to raise an accessory that may be too short as well as create visual interest.
  • Place low stacks of your favourite books on a dining table as a centre piece. If you are hosting a dinner party for a group that isn’t familiar with each other, then this will be an excellent ice-breaker.
  • Stack a set of very large books on the floor next to a chair, and then top with a small piece of glass to use as an end table. Either place the books in a column or fan them around for a more interesting look.
  • Create an instant nook area by a window, fireplace, or even on a blank wall, by putting up floor to ceiling bookshelves. Set a desk, loveseat, or comfortable chair in the nook. 
  •       Place stacks of books sideways on shelves so they are horizontal and titles are easily readable. It's a great idea to alternate vertical with horizontal stacks so the shelf display looks a bit more interesting.

Books are suited to modern interiors or they can take you on a trip back in time, whatever your style or flavour they are great to have. 

So be adventurous and do tell your story.
Pictures via,,,, and

Monday, 25 April 2011

Vases: My Top Must-haves in Home Accessories

If you have a vase in your home, then you are on the right path. Of all the accessories used in the home, vases are extremely versatile. And if you don’t own one then you should and no I am not saying that you must have the exquisitely crafted Ming vase (although if it’s to your taste and you have the cash then by all means) or you can always go for a J.Adler vase, they are fun, trendy and quirky and I love them.

Nowadays there is such a plethora of vases that you can find one for every style or taste. They are valued for their beauty and decorative aspects so are great to complement any home décor.

Decorative vases range from traditional to contemporary and from ceramic, crystal and glass; vases house fresh flowers and are useful as well as decorative. It can also be one of the most affordable ways to introduce colour, warmth and style into any space.  

Ranging from lacquer ware to the metal, vases are beautiful used singularly or help create interesting compositions to decorate table tops bookshelves, nightstands and other surfaces.

When selecting a vase, keep in mind that it can often remain out and about even when fresh flowers aren’t present. Select something that will be visually interesting and sculptural on its own.

So go and be creative while having fun adding beautiful pieces to your home.
Pictures via,,,,,,,,,, and


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mirrors: My Top Must-haves in Home Accessories

Adding a mirror in any room can be the equivalent of adding a window through its reflection of light back into a space. So for rooms that are size-challenged, mirrors increase the perception of space and can often inexpensively fill wall space when artwork is lacking. 

Mirrors also make wonderful extra-large “coasters,” acting as a protective layer when laid on top of a wood coffee table. Laid flat on a horizontal surface, they’ll instantly take ceiling light and bounce it right back into the room for a dramatic and glamorous effect!

We rarely see the magic that is contained in them and they can serve many purposes, from helping us to fix our appearance to reflecting light into the room to making your home look more spacious.

Floor-to-ceiling mirrors can instantly make a room look twice as big. A mirror placed across from a window will bring more natural light into your home, making it appear more spacious. 

A large framed mirror can be hung like a painting, making it a centerpiece in a room. 

Even small mirrors placed in dark or small corners can draw light to the area and brighten it up.

Pictures via,,,,,, and my own.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Artwork: My Top Must-have Home Accessories

This is the first of a series of my Top Must-have Home Accessories and I am starting with artwork since it is one of my favourites.

Firstly let me tell you about the eye level rule; it is just a general guideline, but will be helpful as when you begin to look for places to hang your art. It is important to always view artwork in relation to a room’s furnishings and try out various heights before you start drilling in the wall.

Whether it's in the form of photography, painting, sculpture or some other medium, artwork is a great opportunity to incorporate personality and character into any space. The great thing about art is that you can find items that are truly one of a kind.

Additionally, artwork can prove a great conduit for injecting colour and texture into a room or provide a focal point where none exists. Oftentimes, artwork can be provided inexpensively through self-creation or by supporting local artists not everyone has to own a Picasso or a Caravaggio nor you might want to. 

From paintings to sculptures, art is one of the most versatile home accessories. No matter what your tastes or decorating scheme are, you can find or create a piece of art that fits your home.

You must remember to choose art that either complements the colours of your room (whichever this may be) or contrasts it in a way that not just the room stands out but the artwork is the focal point.

Pictures via,,, elledecor,,,,,,

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

My quest in Hong Kong!

Thursday 1.00pm and I am on Skype with my hubby who is in Abu Dhabi and about to fly to Hong Kong. Out of the blue he asks me if I would like to join him for the weekend to which I say no. 

The project I was working had just finished and I needed to find another. Yes I know what you are thinking and so was I afterwards and telling myself off for that. At 1.30pm he calls again and asks if I could get to Heathrow for the 10.00pm flight to Dubai where I would meet and join him on a flight to Hong Kong. And by then I thought it silly of me to stay here especially when it was going to be our first anniversary. Well needless to say I packed as quickly as I could and drove to the airport.

I am on an Emirates flight and I manage to see nearly every movie there was. I think it must be an age thing because I used to sleep even standing up and now I must have gone posh ‘tut tut’.

The Dubai flight is late arriving but Emirates kindly hold the Hong Kong one for me as hubby has told them it’s our anniversary. How embarrassing! I join the Hong Kong flight with my face glued to the floor. 

Mind you I am now with hubby and happy as Larry and we have lovely flight attendants (Hayley and Toby) who make us feel very welcome. We spend most of the flight in the Business lounge having cocktails, wine, champagne and a great time. 

Yes I know a few cocktails and I am already wearing Emirates stewardesses’ hat. It was a long flight and at that altitude alcohol does affect you more, that’s my excuse!

Mandy (the photographer) was such a sweet chatter box and told us all about Malaysia, where she comes from. It was the most cosmopolitan flight ever; nearly every language in the world is spoken due to the diverse nationality of the flight attendants.  Our Ozzy friends had made our flight the most pleasant ever. 

We land in the evening and having been awake for the last 28 hours I am exhausted, can’t keep my eyes open on our journey to the hotel and nearly had to be carried to our suite. 

Due to my love for food I somehow manage to go downstairs and get something to eat since my stomach was saying no to bed without food (I do pretty much what it tells me otherwise you could hear him all over Asia). Ordered some Singapore slings which I love (not that I needed that to sleep) and not quite sure why but it tasted like water. 

Food arrived just as we are being serenaded by a young girl who in all honesty if she hit a high note the glass would shatter; my ear drums are in pain. Feel sorry for her because she is trying so hard but no one is paying attention so we decide to clap and boy was that a mistake. Mind you she even waved at hubby when we left, well that made him happy and all I wanted was to crawl into my bed. 

Saturday morning I wake up fresh as a daisy and raring to go; we are staying at the Hong Kong Gold Coast hotel and realise how enormous it is with huge lounges and three restaurants. Even the rooms are a very generous size but all I see is wasted space. Don’t get me wrong it was nice but it felt cold because of the size, although I realize later that over the weekend they seem to have a wedding every half hour (yes ok I am stretching the truth a bit) .

We make our way to the plaza where the restaurants are and looking for somewhere to have breakfast, the decision was that we would go where the locals go. Always the best option since it means the food is good, so not understanding the menu I said “this is the place, let’s go in”, luckily my husband is as adventurous as me and  we choose our meals and some hot black honey tea which proved to be a good decision. 

Before our breakfast arrived we were given two small black bowls with what seemed to be warm water, I wasn’t sure why we seemed to be the only ones that were served the warm water. At that point I thought “would it be because we are westerners? Is it to dip our fingers in albeit I didn't remember to have ordered nothing that would require me having dirty fingers?” As it happened we weren’t the only ones but they didn’t touch theirs so we thought best to leave it. We paid and left sheepish hoping no offense was made. As we found out later in another restaurant you get served warm water to drink, well I suppose it is healthy. 

We also found a Supermarket in two levels which you access via a lift, now that I had never seen. Sunday was our Wedding anniversary and we ended up having a Japanese eat-a-thon. Don’t ask!

We spend Monday morning by the pool trying to get rid of my bleach skin and by lunch time we made our way to Hong Kong centre. 

We charge up our Octopus cards and that allows us to go on nearly in any public transport they have including the Ding Ding (tram system).

I love Hong Kong but it suddenly all comes back to me how they push without saying excuse me, hubby says I have mastered that one also while there and they can seem very arrogant at times. 

Also If you don't look a certain way or dress a certain way, quite a few HK people won't even bother with you. You will see signs everywhere and I have now been told that mostly the mainlanders behave in appalling manner and so the signs need to be in place. 

Truth be told I think a lot of them don’t care or respect HK laws, such as spitting on the ground, changing in public and they are extremely loud. 

But in a way everyone just minds their own business and tries to get through the day as fast as they can.  And don’t get me wrong you don’t see this all the time; it is an amazing place and I truly recommend anyone to visit.

Plus there is a funny side to it, like finding a sign outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: "Ladies may have a fit upstairs." I know it’s naughty but some of them have a lack of knowledge of the English language spelling and that’s where you can find yourself in stitches.


I was about to start my quest to see what design and designers were all about in this part of the world.

I am now in Soho on my way to Hollywood road which was the first road to be constructed in the crown colony, predating the development of the film industry in Hollywood, California. In those days, foreign merchants and sailors would put up the antiques and artefacts they "collected" from China for sale here on their way back to Europe. 

This is how Hollywood Road began its role as an antique market. Previously known solely for antique shops, Hollywood Road has recently developed into a contemporary art district in Hong Kong. 

The antiques were simply exquisite. But and I bet you didn’t know that the difference between an antique and the same piece being done today is NONE (apart from age), yes you heard it right! 

While in Europe we know that an antique was made 1oo’s of years ago and it was built not just to last but with such precision and workmanship. 

And yes some of the cabinetmakers were not equally skilful; many of them turned out mediocre pieces.

But today you struggle to find the same workmanship especially when a lot is mass production; I am in no way denigrating furniture designers, it is amazing the new creations that keep coming up.

Having visited Armani/Casa in England I was curious to see it in HK. As in the UK they have relocated (from the clothes zone in Central to the home zone in Causeway Bay). Unfortunately the new collection doesn’t arrive till May and it’s franchised so it proves to be a bit of a wasted journey.

Lockhart Road is the place for bathrooms, kitchens and lighting. I found lots of shops with amazing designs that I would like to share with you.

From here it’s a short hop to Queen’s Road East; it is an excellent place to find home design shops, galleries and framing shops. I got some paintings framed there last year and they did an excellent job. 

But most of all I had to go to one of my favourite places, Ovo is a place where you can find the most unique and exquisite pieces and if Asian is your style then they are a sine-qua-non. It is timeless simplicity and Asian wisdom all in one.

Having meet and spoken with shop owners and designers I realised that in Hong Kong, Interior designers are still very much up and coming and HK people aren’t homogenous at all! So one might find a client with a flair for drama and glamorous furnishings, while other’s go for a more feng shui orientated design.

Due to the lack of space they possess to build and therefore the square meter being so expensive I suppose that is why they have became masters of turning a small-footprint apartment extremely efficient by combining functionality and privacy into awe inspiring  design!

I finished my last evening having sushi and on the way back to the hotel since I am  of adventurous nature so I ask hubby to venture through roads we hadn’t been before.

I have you know that it’s not the first time it happens, we managed to end up in the red light district to which hubby wasn’t very comfortable especially after seeing two lady boys at which I couldn’t stop laughing and so I finished my journey in HK laughing and wanting to come back for more ( and no I don’t mean the red light district).

If you have never been then you must, it is truly a magical place.

Pictures via and my own.