Maybe you clicked on this article hoping for tips on pruning pretty plants, keeping your space green and beautiful. Unfortunately, I’m the least green-fingered person I know: the plants in my flat consist of a succulent that it’s almost impossible to kill and the basil plant that I have to replace sporadically when I accidentally let it die. Whoops.
When it comes to bringing the outside in, I’m talking about something slightly different. Inspired by Angloyankophile‘s recent post on how she uses items she’s collected around the world to design unique interiors for her home, I’ve been thinking about writing a post on how the bits and pieces I’ve picked up on my travels help my place feel as homely as possible, something that’s sometimes difficult when living in a rented apartment. Here are a few of my favourite items that help me bring the outside world in…
Prints and posters
I’ve always been a fan of having posters in my space, as it’s such a great way to add your mark to an otherwise plain wall. When I was in my teens, this consisted of Pirates of the Caribbean posters unceremoniously blu-tacked anywhere they would stick; at university, I moved on to white tack to avoid losing my deposit due to wall damage. Now, I like to think I’ve matured somewhat: my posters are actually framed. These may be the simple black frames available at Ikea, but for now, with space and budget restrictions, they more than do the job.
One of my favourite posters on display in my flat is from Grød, Beth and I’s most frequented breakfast spot when we lived in beautiful Copenhagen. I’ve talked about this porridge-only café in a couple of my previous posts (here & here): they serve the most delicious porridge I’ve ever tasted, in a minimalist space which oozes Scandinavian style. This poster was one of the last things we bought before leaving the UK, along with the café’s cookbook: it’s safe to say, we had become a little obsessed with all things Grød. It now hangs proudly in our kitchen-slash-living room space, giving a little nod to our time in the Danish capital, and inspiring me to make my morning porridge that little bit more exciting with an extra topping or two.
Another print that I’m completely obsessed with hangs proudly in our kitchen. This noodle print is travel-inspired in a few different ways: firstly, it’s another purchase from a spot we lived in for a while, this time Brighton, London’s lovely seaside neighbour. I fell in love with this print the first time I spotted it in shop/studio Dowse Design, and when I spoke to the owner about it, she let me know it was actually by a Danish artist, who had been commissioned to design the artwork for a Japanese restaurant. Having lived in Denmark and really come to love Danish design, it was no surprised that the piece called out to me, and I loved the marriage of the Danish design and Japanese inspiration, as Japan sits firmly at the top of my (and Beth’s) bucket list. When my birthday rolled around, Beth was kind enough to buy me the print and gorgeous frame – I love this piece so much!
The last poster I’ll mention is one I picked up when in France with Beth and my family. My parents have recently bought a property in Provence, and we are lucky enough to be able to visit them out there a couple of times a year. One of the local shops in their town sells gorgeous posters, and we couldn’t resist bringing one home with us. B and I adore the travel theme of the print – it really fits with our adventurous journey so far! We brought it home and popped it straight into one of those trusty Ikea frames – I love the way it adds character to our space.
Another little nod to our travels which we keep in our home is the variety of mugs we have at home. I love our mismatched collection, and a number of them have a happy travel memory associated with them.
On our most recent trip to NYC, we bought a couple of mugs at places we visited: I was tempted by a super cute camping mug at Union Square Donuts in Boston: I absolutely love the design, and every time I have a coffee in it I remember one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted. We also picked up a mug at Schmackary’s Cookies in NYC: it’s huge, perfect for a big cup of tea after a long day, and I love the motto on the side: a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand. Amen.
When we left Copenhagen, Beth’s university friends bought her a gift of a gorgeous Royal Copenhagen mug: it’s classic Danish design, and always reminds me of those hygge mornings at gorgeous Danish cafes. When one of our Danish friends, Anne-Sofie, visited us in London recently, she remembered the leaving gift, and brought us along a second: we now have one each for our morning kaffe.
Postcards and business cards
One way I loved to personalise my space with memories of the places I’ve visited around the world are by collecting postcards, business cards and loyalty cards wherever I go, even if I know I won’t be returning enough times to get the 10th coffee free. This is an amazing way to collect memories of your travels as it’s often free, and I love the way these look when displayed. I use our corkboard to display a number of these in our living room, and change them up whenever I fancy a change. The yoga postcard I picked up below at a market in Copenhagen, and the Borough Market postcard is from an independent bookshop in Shoreditch, London.
Miscellaneous bits & pieces
There are a couple more bits and pieces which allow me to bring the outside world into our little North London flat. One of the first items I purchased when living in Denmark was a candle featuring a quote about hygge – this was way before the Scandinavian trend took off in the UK, and I’m pretty sure I only heard of hygge when I moved over to Copenhagen. I love this little candle, even though it’s pretty worn down now and I never really light it anymore.
Finally, I adore this little sign that my parents bought me as a gift. My sister and I spotted a couple of these vintage-style coffee signs in a shop in France last summer, and when our birthdays rolled around, our parents had bought us the signs to decorate our places with a reference to our shared love for coffee. I prop it up against the microwave in our kitchen: I love the way it adds a little pop of character to an otherwise boring part of the kitchen.
I hope you liked this post! It’s a little different to my usual sort of thing, so let me know what you thought. Definitely check out the Angloyankophile post that inspired this one: her home looks absolutely gorgeous (infinitely more so than mine!) and her whole blog is beautiful.