Thursday, 10 May 2012

It's OK to Be a Bit Messy & The Design Service That Makes My Shabby Look Chic

 Shabby Chic Interiors by Rachel Ashwell

The perfect...  soufflé, haircut, cupcake, handbag, relationship, house, dinner party, carpet, makeup, the perfect boobs even!  .....  these are just a few of the headlines in magazines I flicked through whilst I in a waiting room recently.  Todays magazines are not designed to make you happy.   In fact they just make me feel even more overwhelmed. 

On the one hand I am really accepting of other’s faults, and yet on the other I judge myself with unreasonable harshness. I have often been guilty of setting my own unrealistic expectations of life. I am not slim enough.  My house is not tidy enough.  My things are not perfect enough.  Of course I have certain friends who, whilst being lovely, seem to glide along in a perfect unruffled life.  Whenever I pop by unexpectedly,  they have houses that are as neat as pins, and seem effortlessly chic whatever life throws at them. 

I  have a prefect  friend keeps the perfect house and who doesn’t work, and yet until recently I would, knowing I was being unreasonable, compare myself to her and feel less than adequate. 

You see I am the daughter of a perfectionist.  For my mother everything has to be just right.  If a mug has a chip in it she will throw it away.  Unkempt hair is just not acceptable, and if there is a button missing, a creased skirt, or a hem that is un-tacked it will not do.  Still now at my age,  I exasperate my lovely mother because I am not perfect. 

I am not saying that I don’t take care of things.  I do.  I try. I am not far off most days .. but despite my best attempts for years at trying to be a perfectionist I am not. I love ruffled shirts that don’t have to be ironed, or linen jackets that are rumpled, I like old furniture that has seen better days and I really rather like a bit of chaos, and I feel uncomfortable with very tidy people. 

I deviate .. but here is a pretty good example of an attempts to be prefect.  I once had my curly red hair cut to jaw length, dyed blonde and straightened to look like a friend who had what I considered to be perfect hair.  She had a straight blonde bob.  I woke up the following morning to find my hair curled up around my ears and no matter how I tried I could not get it to be straight.  I can laugh now at how crazy I was to think a hair cut would change my life,   but the following day I cried.  I looked like a mushroom.  I looked ridiculous.

It is only really in the past six or eight months that I am finally feeling that I am happy being me. I am happy being imperfect. When I asked myself why I am so content I had to  admit that it is mostly because I feel at home in a house that has some imperfections too. ..  and I find them to be beautiful. 

The key moment in accepting my own imperfections was quite remarkable ..   I  came across a book called Shabby Chic Interiors by Rachel Ashwell. Rachel’s  philosophy of embracing the imperfections and seeing the beauty  in the shabby was like a breath of fresh air through my life.  Here is a person who delights in real life. She shows in her approach that it is ok to be a bit messy.  That faded curtains are chic and my slightly crumpled look is actually really beautiful.   This is exactly how life is and this is exactly how I am. 

Rachel Ashwell's offers a Home Design Service

However getting  this look is not as straight forward as it looks.  Looking effortless actually takes effort and making my shabby actually look chic I found to be quite a challenge.  I want it to be chic and elegant and not just messy ..  and although I’m really not far off  the look, coordinating a house to come together as a whole is hard . A look that flows without being the same in each room looks simple, but it actually requires some clever design to get the look right as well as getting a few key pieces. 

Having found this fabulous book I discovered that there is a Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture Shop in Notting Hill.  I went and you can read about my visit here,  however I must say again that I was made so welcome, even with my three children.  

As I was chatting to Pascale who is in charge of design in the shop about what would look best in my house I discovered to my delight that they offer a home service.  Obviously hugging a complete stranger in a shop is not socially acceptable .. but really ..  an interior designer to come to my home and help me to get this look right!  ( I could hardly believe it and have felt the need to tell everyone I've met since that they offer such an amazing home design service!) 


I booked in an instant and  Pascale came over to the house this week.



In just a week or so I'll be looking at a mood board for the house.  I'm so excited.  

In the meantime I'm really pleased to be able to offer a copy of Rachel's book as a prize. 

To enter please check out Rachel's site and comment telling me which would be your must have item..   ( mine is the sofa!)







RULES

Please see competition Rules before entering. This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a UK mainland address.  The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced on 4th June 2012 You need to have a profile the allow me to get back in touch however please do not include your email in the actual comment as well.


This competition on behalf of  Ryland Peters and Small and they will be responsible for organizing the prize with the winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

There is one main way to enter and there are  5 more chances to win .. . and you must leave a separate comment for each bonus entry otherwise they will not be counted

TO ENTER Please check out Rachel's site and comment telling me which would be your must have item.. 


For a second chance to win please tweet this post using the button below and you MUST comment with your twitter ID telling me you have done so. ( You many do this up to 3 times a day)

For a third chance to win please follow @Rachelashwell on Twitter and comment below to tell me in a comment that you have done so.

For a fourth chance to win tweet me @VanessaKimbell and tell me as a comment that you have done so  .. and 

For a 5th Chance to win Follow Rachel Ashwell on Facebook  and please comment to say you have followed.


The winner will be picked by a randomiser from the comments. 



68 comments:

  1. You don't know how many times I have looked at this book online.....so I just have to enter this competition and take my chances.
    I love the Lila Chaise Lounge - it would look perfect in my bedroom!
    My mother is a bit of a perfectionist too. We were never allowed old comfy clothes as children we alway had to be dressed perfectly etc. etc. so I know how you feel. I think we try and cram too many things into our day - I know I do so there is no time for perfection, well that's my story and I am sicking to it!
    Great Post - love it.

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  2. I've been debating about buying this book for weeks now - I already have two of her books, which I love.

    My choice would be the Portobello Chair and 1/2 - it's beautiful in the lilac shade too.

    This is a lovely post - I hope you are going to be generous and share some photographs of your home once it has been "shabby chic'ed".

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  3. A lovely post, Vanessa. Every time my mother comes to my house, she is horrified at my housekeeping, or lack of it, so I know what you mean about feeling imperfect in a world where it seems perfection is everything. As to the book, well, I think it looks fabulous. My must-have item would either be a great big bookcase for all my food books, or else, a couple of large slabs of reclaimed wood to use as a photograhy prop! x

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  4. Have also tweeted the giveaway and followed Rachel x

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  5. I have tweeted and followed Rachel Ashwell.

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  6. I'd absolutely love the Lily Juliana Chandalier or the Lila Chaise Longue. Beautiful styling. I wish I was even a little as creative!

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  7. Have followed both as @lindylulu47 on twitter and Linda Hobbis on Facebook [www.facebook.com/lindylulu47].

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  8. I often look at Rachel's website planning how to redo my house in her perfect Shabby Chic style. I had no idea she had a shop in Notting Hill. Definitely have to visit. My favourite item is the Portobello chair and a half. Huge, but I don't have to share it. perfect for curling up in and tapping away at my laptop. GG

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  9. I love the Lily Juliana Chandelier! It's just so pretty.
    @maisietoo

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  10. I have tweeted.
    @maisietoo

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  11. I follow @Rachelashwell on Twitter.
    @maisietoo

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  12. I'm following Rachel Ashwell on Facebook as Maya Russell.
    @maisietoo

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  13. Tweeted you, @VanessaKimbell and follow.
    @maisietoo

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  14. It would have to be the changing table :)
    rebeccajlsk@gmail.com

    xo

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  15. Somerset Overdyed Collection (bedding)

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  16. Followed Rachel on Twitter - @clairew137

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  17. Follow Rachel Ashwell on Facebook - done

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  18. Lila Chaise Longue is my must have item!

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  19. I love the Petticoat Pebble Duvet - the ruffle finish is so feminine and make the duvet a conversation piece in its own right! http://www.rachelashwellshabbychiccouture.com/p-233-petticoat-pebble-duvet.aspx

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  20. I think the Lily Juliana Chandelier is just stunning!

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  21. So much to choose from but I'd have to say the Gypsy Swing, I think it's so romantic - I love it.

    @hlac1

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  22. I tweeted @hlac1

    https://twitter.com/hlac1/status/207223665409011712

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  23. I am following https://twitter.com/#!/rachelashwell on Twitter @hlac1

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  24. I tweeted you @hlac1

    https://twitter.com/hlac1/status/207224451065065472

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  25. I am a fan on Facebook (Hazel Christopher

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  26. All of the stuff is lovely! I'm attempting a shabby chic style in my dining room, but like you say it's hard to make it look effortless! I would say my favourite item is the Hampton Throw, I love it!! :D

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  27. So many gorgeous things, but I would go for the Good Night Sleep Tight Blanket/Wall hanging as that is gorgeous!

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  28. My favourite is the Portobello Chair and a half. Very stylish.

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  29. Following Rachel Ashwell on Twitter.

    @NickHopkins1234

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  30. Like Rachel Ashwell on Facebook

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  31. Have tweeted about the competition

    @NickHopkins1234

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  32. Following you on Twitter

    @NickHopkins1234

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  33. Love the Capri chandelier!

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  34. Following Rachel on twitter h_igoe

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  35. Following you on twitter h_igoe

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  36. Lily Juliana Chandelier is just beautiful! I would love this for my home! Please enter me!

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  37. I have tweeted @noconawolsk

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  38. I follow @Rachelashwell on Twitter.

    @noconawolsk

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  39. I follow @VanessaKimbell on twitter

    noconawolsk

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  40. i love the darcy side table. its lovely

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  41. i have tweeted
    @zeniebeenie

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  42. im following @RachelAshwell on twitter
    @zeniebeenie

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  43. im following @VanessaKimbell on twitter
    @zeniebeenie

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  44. im liking Rachel Ashwell on facebook
    janine atkin

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  45. It's a really hard choice as there are so many lovely items, but I really like the Canopy Bed with Headboard

    Twitter - @bloomingfox
    Facebook - Kirsty Fox
    Email - robertfox24 [at] aol [dot] com

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  46. I have tweeted - @bloomingfox

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  47. My must have item would have to be the Buffet Mirror - It is stunning !!!
    Have tweeted and followed xx

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  48. Prairie Platter it would look lovely on my antique dresser

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  49. My must have item would be the Horse Mobile for my son

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  50. There are so many gorgeous things on the website that it has been a nightmare trying to choose my favourite!
    My absolute favourite has to be the Jackson console!
    It is simply stunning and would look totally gorgeous in my hallway!

    coppelia100@btinternet.com

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  51. I have tweeted the post as @solarsangel
    coppelia100@btinternet.com

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  52. I follow Rachel Ashwell on Twitter as @solarsangel

    coppelia100@btinternet.com

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  53. I like Rachel Ashwell on facebook

    coppelia100@btinternet.com

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  54. Lily Juliana Chandalier

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  55. Lily Juliana Chandalier

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  56. @beckydowney following @Rachelashwell

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  57. @beckydowney following @VanessaKimbell

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  58. liked on facebook Rachel Ashwell

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If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.