The No.1 Tip for Putting Together a Gallery Wall

Please excuse my dishevelled sofa.

Having recently moved home, I’m incredibly excited to finally be able to nail things to the wall. You can’t usually do that in rented accommodation in the UK, so when I was presented with several bare walls to decorate, I couldn’t wait to get started!

And the first thing on my list? A gallery wall.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a gallery wall is essentially a wall on which there are lots of pictures. You choose different frames of different sizes, and then artfully arrange them until they look pretty.

Depending on your taste and ability to cope with disarray, you can use frames and colours of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Personally, I stuck with black frames. And used a ruler and measuring tape to (unsuccessfully) make the whole thing as symmetrically haphazard as possible. What can I say? I enjoy uniformity.

Anyway, I titled this post ‘The No.1 Tip for Putting Together a Gallery Wall’. So let’s get to the point. That tip is: use newspaper.

You don’t want to be making holes in your nice wall, and then deciding you don’t like how you’ve arranged your gallery. That’s why you should cut out the shapes of each of your frames in newspaper before you get started.

Next, use masking tape or washi tape to stick your newspaper shapes to the wall. Beware blu tack by the way – it has a habit of leaving damp little marks!

Once you’ve stuck your paper rectangles somewhere that looks vaguely acceptable, move them around until you’re happy with the design. Then remove them one by one and replace them with your real frames. Job done!

Things I learned whilst making a gallery wall:

  1. I’m really rubbish at nailing things to the wall. Hopefully you’ll be better at it than me.
  2. I was also rubbish at working out where the picture hook should go to create exactly the right space between the ‘&’ picture and the chimpanzee picture. So if anyone has any tips on how to get that right, please share them! I (clearly) still haven’t mastered it.

Finally, if you want to know where I got my inspiration and a few of the prints, they’re on my ‘Art bits’ Pinterest board, which you can find here.

Happy nailing! (ew)

Eff x


Birthday Wishlist 2015

It’s my birthday in less than a month. I’ll be turning 24, which makes me officially in-my-mid-twenties. Will that make my birthday wishlist more grown up? Will it make it more practical? Will it make it less frivolous? Will it heck.

Advanced Night Repair Eye – Estee Lauder, £40

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream

My current eye cream has run out, and I’m definitely starting to notice more puffiness and less youthful buoyancy in the skin around my eyes. Let’s see if I can beat ageing to the punch with this little baby. The Victoria’s Secret models use it, dontchaknow.

4 Maxim Champagne Flute Glasses – Marks and Spencer, £15champagne flutes

Because I don’t yet own champagne prosecco flutes. And this, frankly, is a travesty and a sham.

Real Techniques Powder Brush – Boots, £12.99

realtechniques powder brush

I might be in my mid-twenties soon, but I still have the skin of an oily teenager. Time to upgrade my powder brush!

Purple Spectrum Kitchen Canisters – Dunelm Mill, £3.99 each

purple kitchen pots

A trio of little lovelies to keep my tea, coffee and sugar tidy. I already own the matching kettle and toaster…#purpleparadise

Tall Jaxson Faux Fur Short Parka – Topshop, £78

topshop parka 2

Now that it’s autumn, my commute isn’t getting any warmer – or drier. A cute parka like this one should keep me cosy enough, until I need to bring out the big guns (100% wool coats) nearer Christmas.

PS: Sorry Topshop, if you’re reading, for this terrible screengrab of your coat. Complete with arrows and expandy box. I just like it, ok?

A Clare Caulfield Print – Etsy, £50+

venice print

I stumbled across this artist when I was searching for something else on Etsy, and I just love her beautiful sketchy, watercolour technique. As I’m moving house, it would be lovely to brighten up the new place with one of her prints.

A big black tote bag – Warehouse, £36


For winter time, this is significantly more chic-looking than trying to fit a rucksack over a coat.

My only specifications are that it’s black, fits over my shoulder, and most importantly that it closes with a zip. Far too many bags don’t actually close at the top these days; it drives me potty. Seriously, is anyone else bothered by this, or is it just me?!

Tan lace up brogue boots – New Look, £49.99


Because honestly, once we’re into October, ballet pumps are not going to survive more than 5 minutes of my commute. Vaguely waterproof shoes are imperative. And far less squelchy.

Lancome Blush Subtil in ‘011 Brun Roche’ or ’02 Rose Sable’ – Boots, £28

lancome blush subtil

Finally, I’d love to get a new blusher, to capture the rosy glow of a brisk autumn doggie walk. Most of the (three) blushers I currently have are more coral-based and summery, so I’d love to pick up a quality shade to last me through the cooler months.

Whew. That was quite a virtual shop!

Hopefully this’ll help to give my family a few ideas come October time. But even if I get nothing from the wishlist, I’ll still be very happy.

Because what’s even better than wishlists? Surprises!

Decorating Inspiration – Le Jardin Majorelle


Last year I went on holiday to Morocco with my family. It was a pretty amazing holiday – we stayed in a riad in Marrakech and one night rode camels through the Sahara desert. The camel was so uncomfortable I cried a little bit. I am officially too diva for deserts.


Anyway, my favourite day of the trip was when we went to Le Jardin Majorelle – a beautiful garden which was once owned by none other than Yves Saint Laurent, and is now open to the public. It was originally designed by a French artist called Jacques Majorelle, who painted the garden walls, fountains, and features in a stunning cobalt blue – called Bleu Majorelle.


Fast forward to 2015, and I’m standing in a B&Q store in Manchester, looking at a row of buckets containing Crown Matt Emulsion. And lo and behold, their shade ‘Opening Season’ looks like a more wearable version of Bleu Majorelle.


So I bought the paint for my living room, and now I’ll be pouring over pictures of the Majorelle Garden for even more inspiration!

What inspires you when you’re decorating? I’d love to hear where you get your creative sparks from!

Effie xx

Decorating on a Budget

I’ll start this post with something I’ve learned in hindsight: if you’re buying a cheap tree, make sure you don’t buy one that has been netted up in advance.

Pre-packaged trees give you no indication of how they will look when you take off the netting. So you may end up with an adorably ramshackle one, like this:


Hmm. I still need to vacuum those needles.

On the plus side, it’s a real tree so it has that lovely real tree smell. And it only cost me a tenner from Sainsbury’s – as did the LED fairy lights.

That’s another thing I’ve learned in hindsight – supermarkets are brilliant if you’re looking for pretty things at even prettier prices. My tree isn’t very big, so I only needed a few bits, but here’s what I managed to get hold of:


Silver glitter snowflakes – pack of 4, £2.50 from Sainsbury’s.


Candy cane decorations – pack of 6, (6 for you Glen Coco you go Glen Coco), £3 from Sainsbury’s.


Christmas Spice Candle – £2 from Sainsbury’s. This smells much more expensive than it was. I’m a big fan of Jo Malone candles, and tend to find cheap ones to be either so weak you can hardly smell them, or far too sweet and cloying. This one was perfect.


Finally, my boyfriend said I can’t have a tree without putting chocolate on it. I didn’t know this was a thing, but found these little Lindor decorations when I was passing Waitrose the other day. They were just over £3 there (for a 6 pack) and I imagine they can be found cheaper in other shops.

What are your top shops for budget decorating? Have you ever made your own decorations to beat the January blues?

Christmas wishes,

Effie xx