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Design pieces I packed in my suitcase when we moved country

This might a bit of a strange blog post, but there were a lot of design pieces I packed and brought with me when we moved from Ireland to Canada. Meaning on-the-plane-packed, not container-packed. They're all either sentimental pieces or pieces I couldn't be without for 4 months until our container arrived from Ireland. So I figured, if there was anyone else out there about to embark on a similar move and you're thinking of packing less conventional things, you're right at home here. 

What I did was I started to make a list of the design stuff I wanted to pack in my suitcase and bring with me immediately [vs. ship in the container]. I started this list in about March of this year and whenever I thought of something important or something I couldn't live without, I added it to the list. It also came in handy because as time went on, I was able to prioritise what I really needed or wanted and ended up taking a few things off the list. 


These are the practical [and I will agree, wildly impractical] things I decided to bring with me. I'll start with the pieces featured in the picture above ... 

- Floral tealight holder from Easons. I love this little tealight holder. I picked it up one day in Easons on O'Connell Street as I was picking up a small pregnancy snack / craving. I very nearly didn't get it.
- Antler jewelry holder from Penney's [aka Primark]. This was actually a candle I bought in the Christmas section of Penney's a few years ago. I bought it just so I could use it to hold my earrings.
- Baby head vase from April & the Bear.
- A small chopping board from Sostrene Grene. This sounds weird, but I brought a small black chopping board. I used it to keep some paperwork flat, and it came in handy immediately when we moved in and had nothing. Not even plates. So I used our cutlery and chopping board to give Cora her food.
- A set of cutlery. It might sound strange, but I packed 4 of my favourite forks, knives and spoons. They've a small cutlery set that I actually have had since I was little, but they're something we used almost immediately after arriving to our apartment. 
- Two wooden spoons. I inherited them from my mom and yes, it sounds silly, but they're really good wooden spoons. Another two pieces we used almost immediately [for making prison levels of porridge - all we could make for the first 3 days].
- All my camera and laptop equipment and accessories including my tripod, mouse, mouse pad etc.
- Brass scissors from Hay. We had to have scissors in our checked luggage to cut Juniper and Toshi out of their cages after the flight, so if you have to bring scissors, might as well make them pretty ones.
- Letter board from April & the Bear. Just because I wanted to bring it. It's huge but I made it fit.
- 2018 Paperchase diary. Because Paperchase doesn't exist in Canada and they're the best diaries.
- Both my iBride trays. I have yet to hang them up since moving, but I couldn't be without them for 4 months. I'm trying to decide the best spot for them. 
- A collection of Christmas stuff. I really love Christmas so I brought a collection of my favourite Christmas cards that we hang up every year along with some small ornaments including Cora's first ornaments. 
- Paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. Robert and I filled a plastic sleeve folder with paperwork for his work permit, the cats vaccinations, Cora's citizenship and birth details, college paperwork etc. But I also snuck a few paper design things in there too. Like our car bumper sticker and Cora's swan mobile.
- Cora's Stokke crib and allen keys. Yes, we brought Cora's crib with us on the plane. It seems insane, but it was an idea I had early on and I'm so glad we brought it with us immediately. It ended up only costing us €60 to bring it on the plane [even though it was oversized and weighed more than 23kg]. When we got to our apartment at 23:30 that night, Robert and I assembled it and Cora immediately had somewhere to sleep. I couldn't justify buying another crib while waiting for Cora's to arrive.

TIP: we didn't have the box for Cora's Stokke crib since we bought it secondhand. I called Stokke, explained our situation, and they sent us an empty box for free [you should have seen the delivery guys face when he delivered and empty box. I pretended to freak out asking where our crib was. LOL]. 
- Tools and paint brushes. I brought my hammer, screwdriver, tape measure, paint can opener and two paint brushes. All of which I used in the first few days so I'm very glad I brought them all. It might seem a bit over the top, but I use all of them all the time so it was a no-brainer for me. 
- Throw pillow cases. I brought our dark green and pink pillow cases so we could feel a little bit at home as soon as we got there. A quick trip to IKEA for inserts and they were perfect [any excuse to go]. 
- Cora's playmat from Elodie Details. I smushed this up and put it in with the crib, and I'm really glad we brought it as Robert and I slept on it for 2 weeks until we bought a mattress. It's been on Cora's floor in her new bedroom ever since and plays on it every day.  
- Wood touch up pens from the Euro Store. This was another one of those things I thought am I insane for prioritising bringing these? But I'm glad I did as I've used them on all the secondhand wooden furniture I've bought so far. 

For some people, I completely understand some of these things seem completely unimportant to bring with you in your luggage when moving abroad. But every one of these pieces was either practical, or for us, would make us feel at home sooner. What about you? Is there anything you can think of right now that if you moved you knew you couldn't leave behind? It's amazing what I started to prioritise ๐Ÿ˜‰

Secondhand pink bucket chair

On Saturday we took a walk through the center of Ottawa with no set plans. We wandered down Bank Street and I saw what looked to be a secondhand store [within / alongside a shop called Picture Works, which has no details online]. It was full of a jumbled mess of secondhand pieces and I couldn't not go in. 

I walked down one of the aisles and what did I see but a little pink bucket chair under a pile of chairs and stools. I cleared it off, sat down and decided I had to have it. It was so perfect and at just $30, I really couldn't not get it. 

The shop owner was eccentrically honest and even offered to deliver it to me for "whatever price you want". Last night he delivered it as promised and after a quick clean, it is now home in the corner of Cora's room. It's so perfect for her space and just what I was looking for in a cosy reading chair. It swivels and rocks back and forth and more importantly, is so comfortable [as I type sitting in it]. Cora's had a few rough nights getting to sleep [fuck teeth], so it will definitely be a welcome place for us to sit with her until she falls asleep.

Secondhand FTW. 


DIY Friday - paper storage bag for toys


Since immigrating to Canada, as you'd expect, we're starting from the beginning with everything. Furniture, accessories and food [like, spices. You don't realise how long it takes to build up your cupboard until you have absolutely nothing]. We've been here 2 months and while it's going to take a lot longer to get everything we need, I am able to start thinking about small projects to work on. One of them was some kind of storage for Cora's toys. 

I looked online for secondhand trunks and storage boxes but I didn't fall in love with anything so I continued tossing Cora's toys into the corner of her room. Then through an ad on Instagram, I was suggested a paper storage bag for toys. I thought it was cute, light and soft but at $30 [plus tax and shipping], I was unfortunately put off a bit [see first paragraph about how expensive the past few weeks have been].

A few weeks passed and on our way home one day we passed a driveway with paper yard waste bags from Canadian Tire waiting to be collected. I saw them and immediately thought, "How perfect would they be for storing Cora's toys! If I painted one white, it could sit unassumingly in our living room and chaos would be restored to every aspect of our lives." Perfect.


The next time I visited our local Canadian Tire I bought a pack of 5 bags for $2.69, headed home and began painting one white [which, by the way, was A LOT harder than I thought it would be]. That's when I realised I was basically just making one of those paper storage bags I saw online a few weeks earlier. I was hesitant about sharing my project because it looks so simiar to the branded versions and I didn't want it to seem like I'm copying them, but at the same time, I did think of the idea by myself too. After an overwhelming response to my Instagram stories poll and 100% of the vote going to "YES! BLOG IT!" [vs. "NO, YOU'RE A BAD PERSON"], I decided to blog it!

I'll be honest in that it was pretty tricky at times trying to paint the bag [it continually collapsed while I was trying to paint the sides and I had the added bonus of teething toddler hanging out of me], so I wouldn't blame you for wanting to buy one online and save yourself some hassle. BUT, if you're like me, and like doing stuff yourself, my version cost me $0.53 for one bag [I used white paint I already had]. Not bad for something that Cora might literally tear through one day. 


Using candle light to help improve your mood*


Last week I was listening to a discussion on CBC Radio and they briefly mentioned the mental health benefits of candle light [I tried to find the discussion online, but since it was so briefly mentioned as part of a wider discussion, I can't find it. Welp]. It was one of those things you do on a subconscious level but it never really registers with you until someone points it out. It got me thinking about how much I use candles in our home and a lot of the time it can contribute to making me feel better, as silly as it sounds. 

There's something about coming home after a long day to a dark and cosy room, splaying yourself on the couch, watching your favourite show / movie / series, light a few candles and create a bit of a calming ambiance [said Micky Flanagan style]. I'm sure there's a science to it and candle light relates to our ancestral heritage before electricity or goes as far as cavemen and women, but there's something that makes me feel better when there is a candle lit in a room. 

I'm not ashamed to say I can have periods where I'm not in a great place. We've had a rough year and we're still adjusting to living in a new city / country / continent far from everything and everyone we know. Some days are good, and others, not so much. If I'm too inside my head, I find a cosy space helps me put my thoughts in order. I feel more relaxed. I can put things into perspective. I'm able to let go of things and [try to] GTF over them. It's like it's my way of self medicating, but with candles. Is that a thing? I'm going to claim it's a thing. Candles are my medication.



I find I'm much more of a winter person than a summer person in general. I prefer dark spaces and creating a cosy atmosphere. And snuggles and blankets and mittens and hot drinks and candles. I find it interesting that it all relates back to my design style, dark romantic luxe, that I time and time again come back to. Creating my own little space that helps me start to feel better, comfortable and safe [not that I feel unsafe, but you know what I mean]. 

Whatever it is that makes you feel better and helps you get into a better head space, do that thing. Whether it's cheesy movies, board games, a giant meal or something as basic as candle light. Or all of the above and that is more than okay because I am right there with you on the couch eating all of the food.

*Please know that I am not suggesting buying a $10.99 candle instead of going to therapy. If you are in a very bad place, a candle alone won't do the trick. I've been there and I've gotten help and trust me, if you think you need help then get it. Just know that I'm not belittling mental health and saying it can be cured by slapping a candle on it.

TFW you keep going back to the same palette



We're settling into our new apartment nicely, and part of the excitement [for me] of making it a home is deciding on what paint colours could go in each room. However, one thing I have noticed is that I keep going back to very similar colours that we had in our last apartment. 

I'm halfway finished painting our living room burgundy [hello old living room], I keep thinking about painting Cora's room a lovely muted grey [like her old nursery] and I can't help but want to go really dark in our bedroom. Again. I say to myself no, you can't do those colours again because you already did that! People don't want to see it again! And then another part of me thinks, hang on a second, these are colours I like. I like them for a reason. I'm not going to all of a sudden paint our bedroom orange [no offence to anyone who likes orange] just because it's something new and might interest people. So I've given in and I'll stick to the colours I like instead. I'm still going to worry that I'm just copying our old apartment, but I'm going to try and get over myself. 

I haven't decided what colours I'm thinking of painting the rest of the apartment, but I do keep coming back to certain colours and yes, you'll probably see more of what I've used before. But I am hoping to add them in more creative ways on walls and on furniture, etc. 

Do you have certain colours that you can't help but paint certain rooms? Or do you have a palette that you love and keep going back to? I didn't realise how much I loved certain colours until I've pretty much decided to use the same colours in the same rooms again! And I'm beginning to think that might be okay ๐Ÿ˜‰ 
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