Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

I’m super excited to announce that I have joined forces with Barnardo’s the charity, to curate an online Barnardo’s x Little Big Bell preloved Homewares auction store with everything starting at just 99p.

Yes, you heard right, starting at 99p! The online pop up will start on Saturday 1st August 2020 at BST 10am and end on 8th August 2020.

With the whole Covid 19 pandemic thing, it has been hard on charity stores.

Many have not fully open and goods are only slowly trickling into the shop floor because donations have to be quarantined.

It’s also been difficult for shoppers venturing into the stores because of queues and a limited number of people being allowed in. The good news is that, the preloved Homewares store online allows you to browse and bid at leisure, totally socially distanced and of course all proceeds will go to support the vulnerable children and young adults that Barnardo’s usually help.

As you can see from the screenshot of the shop above, the clock has already started ticking.

Fancy seeing what’s in the pop up? Here’s a little sneak peek: preloved homewares Do you already have your eyes set on something?

Spot those pastel coloured Le Creuset tableware on the trolley? I bet they will go quickly. Here’s a close up view of the Le Creuset set, starting from 99p! I love the concept of shopping for preloved Homewares, because it’s fun to hunt for that unique affordable piece that you can’t find in the high street. preloved homewares It also adds character to our homes and allow us to personalise our space. preloved homewares Most importantly, shopping for preloved items saves on resources and reduce waste whilst supporting a good charitable cause. preloved homewares Just so you know, Barnardo’s has more than 710 charity shops across the UK where you can find all

sorts of bargains, donate goods or volunteer. You can also shop online. All profits from the sale of

goods will help the UK’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

Barnardo’s has reopened almost 600 of their stores across the UK since lockdown restrictions were

eased and are working tirelessly to protect the health of all store colleagues and customers when

shopping in their stores.

Barnardo’s has introduced a number of safety measures such as hand sanitising stations and

protection screen guards at till points. All items on sale are quarantined for a minimum of 48 hours

before being sanitised and placed on the shop floors. preloved homewares Here are my top tips for preloved homewares shopping if you do go visit a charity store.

1.Be strategic.

Go at particular times of the year when stock is likely to be high, such as after Christmas/ New Year.

Go little and often, especially on weekdays when it’s quieter , to check out the newly arrived preloved stock, and the perfect time to grab a bargain

2.Know your Shop locations.

Map out the shops and research each area for their demographics, style and vibe.

This can give you an idea of the types of Homewares that will be donated.

3.Go with a plan.

The biggest mistake is going into a charity shop with no clear plan of what you want or where you are going to place the item.

You may end up overbuying or overspending ( although I always try to reassure myself that it’s for a good cause).

I’d say, take a look around your home before going, to identify what you need or want.

Do you need a new vase? What sort of colour should it be? Do you want to add to your collection, if so what’s missing from it?

Make sure you measure the space it’s going into or have an idea of what that space looks like.

4.Know your budget.

Ha, ha! I know easier said than done, but lots of things at very cheap prices can soon add up.

All I can say is that, you can comfort yourself by knowing that you are helping someone in need with your spending.

5.See the potential.

It may not be immediately obvious but what you have picked up, may have the potential to be an amazing piece of decor.

For example, you could frame the photos or illustrations from an old picture book to give them a new lease of life.

6.Resale value.

If you research and know your preloved items market well, whether it be on eBay or for auction, then rewards can be reaped.

As they say “One person’s junk, is another person’s treasure.”

7.Be bold.

Don’t  worry about mismatched items. It’s super fun to mix different patterns and colours together to create an eclectic look.

8.Go for a classic.

If you are apprehensive, then you can always err on the side of caution and go for a Classic that you know will have a resale value. The image above is in my home, and you can again see some of the pieces that will be in the pop up auction store.

Finally, I leave you with a few examples of how you could style your home with preloved items.

1.Create feature walls

A mismatched collection of vintage floral plates of varying sizes could create a striking effect on a plain white wall.

Or

You could collect white plates of different sizes and shapes to place against a painted solid colour wall. I quite like the idea of vintage white plates with scalloped edges of varying sizes against a Tiffany blue wall. 2.Vintage tins can really add a pop of colour or character to your space.

If you have a white kitchen, perhaps consider buying some tins with pretty designs to store your tea or dried goods. You could display them on a shelf.

You could also use vintage tins as vases to display flowers. Just place a glass jar of water inside. 3.Recycle tea cups and saucers.

You could grow herbs or small plants in  vintage tea cups and display them by your window. preloved homewares There are so many possibilities of how you could style your home with preloved items. I’d love to know what preloved homewares you’d buy when you visit a charity shop. Anyway, back to the pop up Barnardo’s x Little Big Bell preloved homewares store.

I’d also like to thank some amazing brands and creatives for donating their works to the online auction store. All the framed art prints on this bedroom’s wall will be in the charity auction, and starting at just 99p! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the brands that have donated, and they are :

Bombay Duck, Catherine Rowe designs, DoodleMoo , Eleanor Bowmer, Gayle Mansfield Designs, Hannah Carvell, Kitty McCall, Moi Mili, Nanas of Anarchy, Particular People ,Sugar Snap Studio, The Happy Blossoms, The Native State and W.A Green London.

Anyway, do put the details of this amazing event in your diaries.

The Little Big Bell x Banardo’s preloved Homewares sale will be from Saturday 1st August 2020 at BST 10am till Saturday 8th August 2020.

See you there and please please do come to support.

( This campaign is done on a pro bono basis. I am not being paid. I believe this is a great cause to support. Styling are by myself, Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. The pink photos are shot by 3objectives, and the other photos in my home are shot by me.)

Champagne tour and tasting at Taittinger in Reims, France.

On our recent drive home from Grasse to Calais, we decided to stop over at Reims. Here’s a photo of the beautiful Reims cathedral.

I was last in Reims more than 10 years ago for a French wedding, and all I could remember was a small quaint town, lots of feasting and the customary champagne sampling.

Well, how times have changed. Reims is now bustling with shops and restaurants. One thing has remained the same though, and that is the Champagne. champagne tour in Reims We were kindly invited to tour the major Champagne house Taittinger, and to sample their champagne. Taittinger is one of only five Champagne houses to cellar its wines in the famous “Crayères” of Reims – chalk caves originally dug out by the Romans.

Champagne merchants found that the caves provided the perfect conditions for aging wine. The Taittinger cellars are located in the Abbey of Saint-Nicaise, built in the 13th century in Gallo-Roman chalk pits that dated back to the 4th century.

The Abbey was destroyed during the French revolution, and all that now remains are the cellars.

Above is a reconstructed model of the Abbey. It’s now the location of Taittinger champagne house.

The Taittinger Champagne house did not exist until 1932. champagne tour It was originally founded in 1734 by Jacques Fourneaux, then his grandson Jérôme and Antoine Forest started the business, and finally, Pierre Taittinger bought it over.

Today Taittinger is one of the most famous and largest family run Champagne Houses in Reims.  The vines that make Taittinger Champagne cover 712 acres distributed among some of the best 34 villages in the Champagne appelation area. I was interested to read that Taittinger extends the aging time of their champagnes beyond the legal minimum time, with three to four years for the Brut Réserve and nearly ten for its prestige cuvée Comtes de Champagne. champagne tour taittinger During the tour we descended deep into the caves. The lower we went the colder it got. champagne tour The caves were previously used as air raid shelters during the war. You can still see the etchings and carvings on the chalk walls,  made by people who sheltered there. champagne tour Can you spot a face amongst those chalk walls? The tour was so informative,

Did you know that the names on the labels indicated the sweetness and dryness of the Champagne?

‘Brut’ refers to dry Champagne with low residual sugar. ‘Brut Nature” champagne has the least amount of sugar.

I also learned that “Sec” indicated the sweetness of the Champagne, with ‘extra Sec,’ ‘Sec’ and ‘demi-sec’

Extra Sec is the driest of Champagnes with a sugar content of 12-17 g/l, Sec contains 17-32 g/l and demi-sec is the sweetest with a sugar content of 32 – 50 g/l. champagne tour How many bottles of champagne do you think are in this tunnel?

Well, the answer is 100,000. Scroll down to see the mirror image of this tunnel, so you can appreciate its depth. champagne tour Amazing right? Imagine, making so many bottles of champagne to fill up this void. Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne is one of their most recognized and premium Champagnes, and we were lucky to sample it after our tour.

Made from top quality Chardonnay grapes grown in ‘Grand Cru’ vineyards, Comtes de Champagne is one of the greatest Blanc de Blancs champagnes.

Comtes was first produced in 1952. A Champagne with the potential to age for decades. It was absolutely delicious with light sparkling bubbles and floral citrus notes. We bought a few bottles.

Finally, I leave you with another fun fact:

Did you know that Champagne bottles have names according to their sizes? For example, a Magnum is 1.5 litres, a Jeroboam is 3 litres and a standard bottle or Champenoise is 75cl.

If you fancy a short break, then I recommend a visit to Reims and a tour of Taittinger.

Have a wonderful week ahead.

holidaying from home I was excited when London estate agent Marsh and Parsons asked me to be part of their ‘Holidaying from Home Campaign’.

The campaign plays on the idea that it’s not easy to get away right now, so instead we’re looking at the home with fresh eyes to find a little bit of paradise in London.

Giving our homes a holiday feel can do wonders for our general mental health and wellness.

Many people may not be travelling this year, for obvious reasons due to the Pandemic.

A change in decor, no matter how small, can help us get out of that “staying at home” rut.

I’ve decided to transport my home above to the colourful warmth of Havana. holidaying form home Admittedly, I’ve never been there before, but it’s on my list of places to visit.

The streets of Havana are a visual delight of colourful colonial houses, old vintage cars and vibrant street style. I was inspired by the colourful photos on An Adventurous world’s article on things to do in Havana.

I’ve styled a corner of my home mingling bright hues of pinks, yellows, blues, oranges and green together.

There is no set rule on how to style this look as long as you bring at least 3 to 4 colours from the palette above to your room. Don’t be afraid to mix and clash colours together. ‘Holidaying from home’ Havana style also bring Mojitos, the rum based signature cocktail from Cuba to mind.

I’ve created a slight twist on the Mojito at home, using Aperol instead of rum, mixing it with sugar syrup, soda water and wedges of citrus limes and lemons.  holidaying from home So, this is now my new haven to sip chilled cocktails from, a space to lie back and feel the sun on my face.

Even if there’s there’s no sun, you could bring the warmth of Havana in with some lush green plants. I’ve placed a Fiddle leaf fig tree next to my sofa.

All the items I have used to create this look can be bought from U.K. stores:

Bespoke yellow Harper velvet sofa with blue trims from sofa dot com

Limited edition prints by David Newton from Print Club London.

Anglepoise Type 75 floor lamp Margaret Howell edition.

Hand blown Splash vase by HAY from Black Bough.

Rainbow cushion and throw from Peachy Parrot.

White around coffee table by Muuto from Nest.

Molly rug by Pappelina from Twentytwentyone. Hope you’ve enjoyed the post and that it has put you in the mood to create your own holiday corner at home. If you want more easy tips on how to bring colour into your home, then do check out Marsh and Parson’s post here.

( All photography and styling are by Little big Bell. This is a paid partnership post with Marsh and Parsons, all opinions are my own).

Search the blog