Alpine Lifestyle Boutique

One of the things I love to do here on the blog is to feature local independent shops.  I believe they make our towns what they are by creating a truly unique experience.

Any of you perusing Living Etc in the coming weeks, will see Alpine Lifestyle Boutique which  has just opened right on our door-step in Ilkley.


The name’s a giveaway; though it’s a long way from the slopes, everything through the doors transports you a la piste via exquisite LUXURY homewares. Read More


This December I’m Loving…

December’s a perfect time to share an ‘I’m Loving’ post.  If you’re needing a little inspiration on the gift front, maybe this will help…

1.  First up is a new necklace by Under the Rose.

Under the Rose make bespoke jewellery for men and women (you can find them on Not-on-the-High-Street) and I just love this new silver quote pendant.  I wear a necklace most days and like having something unique.

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It arrived beautifully and thoughtfully packaged and the quality was just what I’d hoped… (sometimes you’re not sure if it’s going to be as well made as it could be…?).


Things I like include the shape; it’s not quite a perfectly round circle.

The fastening (apologies, I didn’t take a photo of it) is a T bar slotted through a hoop, meaning there’s never a clasp travelling round your neck and ending up next to the pendant; it  always stays at the back of the neck!

Finally the text.  I think part of my taking so long to decide on what to have engraved was that those words were going to be set in silver loud and proud for all to see.  The writing is discreet and delicate, so will only be read by those who look long enough…

You can visit the Under the Rose website here.

2.  Second up is a quality Scandi print company, Desenio.

Desenio came recommended by Insta friends – (I love Instagram!).  After filling my online basket, I purchased up for the home and am now awaiting another delivery of Christmas presents as a few of the boys in the family have chosen prints for their bedrooms (as has Miss P… shhh!).

There are SO many different types of prints to choose from, I got all my frames from them too, and the great thing is the prints don’t cost the earth so if you want a change a few months down the line, you’ve not wasted a fortune.  With them being so reasonably priced, I wondered if they’d be cheap-looking?  Not so.  The paper is beautifully thick and the quality details in the prints, I couldn’t fault them!


3.  Finally, the Star Purse.


Velvet’s quite the fabric at present and though I don’t do trends, when I saw these in the Lake District a few months back, picked up three unable to choose between colours. (There were about 5 other colours also available).

fullsizerender-249It’s possibly intended to be a make-up bag, and though I didn’t like the beaded attachment on the zip or label on the side, instantly thought they’d also make a great festive clutch if removed.

fullsizerender-248Having gifted the others this Christmas, I’ve kept the red, chopped off the label on the side and replaced the bead fastening on the zip with a tassle et voila.  The bags are around £15 by Lua are still available online if you google.

Ps, the quote on my necklace is a favourite of mine, it reads “At the end of the day it all comes down to love or fear.  Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you away from your playful heart”

Have a very Happy Christmas ~ Olivia




Transitional Styling

It is worth investing in staple clothing.  Once you know what seasonal styles work,  you can add to your collection each year.   These pieces will differ for each of us.  Camisoles are my Summer staple.  They go with everything, I wear them all the time, and am prepared to spend a little more on quality tops with interesting detail.

Owing to our fabulous British climate, camisoles just don’t cut it unaided past Summer.  Enter long cardigans (coatigans).  These are my Autumn staple that absolutely work with cami’s and personally, mean I can carry on a Summer look that seems to work well.

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Delicate femininity, paired with thick brushed wool, leather pants and biker boots… yields a slightly undefinable outcome.

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Staple can be statement.

If you’re going to invest in a coatigan, it’s worth doing well.  Buy wool/alpaca blends.  These will not only provide great warmth but can usually be brushed up with a natural bristle brush.  Cheaper, thinner brands will look old fast.  Invest in quality wools and you will be able to revive frequently.

Second, save your expense for ‘wow’ designs and spend less on plain, singular-coloured cardigans.  The black Selected Femme one (above) is so thick and luxurious, the yellow stripe and peach tones provide colour pops (I’m so done with everyone using that term but what else is there?) that really bring the outfit alive.

When choosing plain, look for little detailing/clever knitwear like this Gat Rimon one ↓.

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Finally, look for mid-season colours you can wear with light or dark.  This Samsoe & Samsoe grey one ↓ I have had SO much wear from.  It looks great with grey or black jeans, and have worn with shorts all Summer long when there’s been a chill – it’s doubled as a  dressing-gown if you will (which I don’t own).  Not only that, it has graced every campsite with me for the past three years (that’s some wear and tear!) and brushes up like new every time.

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It won’t be long till a full offensive is needed against the cold.  Once the temperatures drop, I’m no die hard.  Thermals, thickest jumpers and warmest boots will be drafted in (till around March!)  Till then, I’m happy to keep Summer cami’s in play.


(All cardigans have made their way into my wardrobe over the last three years from local boutique Attic Womenswear)

Happy New September!

September seems to be more of a fresh start than New Year.  Once again, as the Summer holidays came to an end, the urge to be ‘on it’, descended.  At present, I’m craving all things interior; just CAN NOT get enough.  At home no shelf or cupboard is safe from scrutiny as we de-clutter, and from my various social media ‘inbox’s’ it seems to be a common itch as people make way for the new season ahead.  I LOVE changing things up don’t you?  Here’s what’s got my attention this month.

1. Dark Interiors.  Guaranteed, they are having a moment and though not one for trends, I’m all in!  Whites appear whiter, colours more vibrant and metallics simply come alive against a decadently dark backdrop.  Whether it was Pinterest that sparked it for me a year ago when I painted my first dark feature wall at home, or the gallery wall completed a few months ago (see it here) that tipped the balance I’m not sure.  Either way, it’s a process I’m enjoying more and more.

With the onset of the cosier months there’s no better time to indulge if you’re fancying a change!  Inspiration is everywhere; there are some amazing pictures in my feed daily from Instagram’ers like @kerrylockwood_, @artynads and @_lisa_dawson_ (to name a few!).  If you want to dabble but are slightly hesitant, start with just one wall.

2.  This nicely leads to an upfront confession that I’ve only just discovered Rockett St George.  (If you just said ‘who’ to yourself, I feel better.  If you tutted, I don’t want to know). Rockett St George 1As part of the home overhaul, looking for furniture one night , I googled ‘industrial homewares’ and up it popped… time left me and a good hour or so later I’d scrolled through the entire website.  Days later I ordered this gorgeous sheepskin rug to keep my assets warm in Winter and have my eye on a few other pieces.

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For a while I’ve felt there’s a gap in the interior decor market.  Everything has become so ‘samey’.  Needless to say, this ‘extraordinary interiors’ has put a smile on my face and wouldn’t you know, just like the car you think of buying, am now seeing RSG everywhere!

3.  Finally, and I’m probably late to the party again, but after seeing GANDYS flip-flops at The Eden Project during the holidays, came home and googled.  I have to say that from there on, it was these towel images ⇓ that drew me in (I’m a sucker for great marketing).GANDYS 3

Great pictures and the round towels?!  So unusual and I have been sorely tempted.  For me it’s’ not about the flip-flops I ordered… they’re pretty regular flip-flops like any other brand (though I have worn them constantly!)  But have to say after reading their story was compelled to put my money here and not with a regular high street name.


In ‘very’ short, two brothers Rob & Paul, were orphaned over night after their parents died in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami (it feels wrong to skip over so quickly for the sake of ‘keeping it short’, can you even begin to imagine…).  These orphans now have created GANDYS to raise funds for other orphans, hence their tagline, ‘ORPHANS FOR ORPHANS’.  Take a look at their website (here), they have some great looking products and naturally, it’s a great cause!

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towel images with kind permission from Gandys

Ps, black flip flops are great for wearing beyond Summer with black jeans without looking too Summery!

Till next time ~


How To: Create a Gallery Wall Feature

Gallery walls are a great way of creating a bespoke feature in the home and are so easy to do yourself.  The wall below was both painted and dressed in a day with zero additional expense.


Rooms with high ceilings can sometimes be hard to style.  Unless you have big art pieces to use, photos and pictures can look lost.  A gallery works especially well in this setting in making use of the space.  The wall below was bare for months (yes along with the filler!); so in an inspired moment, the ladders came out and I decided to begin by painting it dark (Farrow and Ball Hague Blue).


Curating your gallery should be easy.  Unearth pieces you own that don’t have ‘a home’ (as I did here), then lay them out on the floor to get a feel for positions.  3D items look great, a string of lights adds a whimsical touch and personally think you can’t beat a bit of sparkle against a dark wall.


A little shelf is also useful as you can change the look by adding candles, a small vase of flowers, whatever you fancy throughout the year.  The shelf can be positioned anywhere on the wall but I wanted it more-or-less central, so it became my starting point when it came to hanging the other items.


You may find as you start that you need to readjust slightly as you see things on the wall for the first time, but just go with it.  Some pieces like a mirror, that you want to use practically (i.e. at eye-level) will naturally determine the position.
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The end result will be 100% unique and bespoke to you.  As I said earlier, nothing new was purchased for this wall, but now it’s finished, I like the different components involved. If you’re struggling for what you use, consider these as a starting point:





Something with Text

Piece of clothing


At the end of the day, your wall can be added to and taken from, so if you only have a few pieces, start there; allow space for it to evolve and enjoy the process!

If you want to know more about styling your home, you can get in touch with me here at The Butler.


A Visit to Antiques Curio & Salvage Barn

The Antiques Curio & Salvage Barn is repeatedly a popular post on this blog.  Perhaps it’s stuck in Google or something (no disrespect!) but it’s up there every month as a top post and yet the pictures have just not been doing it justice… Soo, last month, I revisited.
The Barn has evolved so much since the original post last March.  The signature style that makes this place truly unique is even stronger.  It is simply quite wonderful to walk round and renders one wishing for a large empty house to furnish.  The original post is below this (so just keep scrolling).

Last week I made the time to go to a place I’ve been meaning to visit for at least a year/eighteen months, the Antiques Curio & Salvage Barn, Harrogate.  After seeing so many amazing posts in my Facebook feed from their page I was compelled to pinpoint their location and pay a visit.  It’s such a gem of a place I had to share with you.
The barn is a place you’d go when you want to find something unique for the home without it needing to be too specific.  Antique furniture a plenty; there are chests of drawers, stone sinks, chandeliers, pictures, skulls and ancient pictures – artefacts of all kind can be found within the draughty doors.  It has bags of charm and personality and so goes without saying that whatever you pick up there will also have oodles of character.  These images were just taken on my phone as I wasn’t planning on doing a feature but couldn’t not once I’d been.  Well worth a visit I say!

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Post notes:
If looking for the barn, do not look for a sign saying “Antiques Curio & Salvage Barn” from the main road, I’ve passed it SO many times without knowing simply because the signposts only indicate the Farm Shop and John Cain furniture polishing.  It’s literally a stones throw off the main Skipton to Harrogate Road (A59) and is ridiculously easy to swing into.

Bespoke Party Tassel Garlands – (how to choose right!)

Having fancied the idea of a tassel garland for a good long while, a November birthday for Miss P was the perfect excuse to get one bought!   Deciding I would want to leave it up for Christmas, I wanted a garland that would go with our room colours and look great in the weeks beyond the party itself. So, as it’s party season, I thought I’d share


Googling ‘tassel garlands’ I found this ↑, it is exactly what I wanted… in fact I LOVED it (can’t even find it any more to give you the link)… but found out it was made in/ shipped from The States.  Shipping to the UK bumped up the cost so needed ‘plan b’.  Pom Pom studio will tailor-make your garland and the service was great but as creating a garland is not as simple as ordering a ready-made one, here’s what I recommend.


1. Order lots of samples!  I’d sent Pom Pom the photo of the garland I wanted and straight away found out they have metallic coloured tissue but they don’t look like the photo (actual metallic paper).  Also, I knew I wanted to have pom-poms so ordered a load of colour swatches to play around with getting the right combo… took a little bit of time.


2.  Play around with the order you’d like the colours in then let them know.  The online shop allows you to pick colours but doesn’t specify order of colours and this can make a difference – drop them an email to clarify (in the end I took out the mint green.)


The garland arrived well wrapped.  Hang it somewhere straight away to let any creases fall out.  At this point don’t freak out…


The garland I ordered was 12 foot.  They shelf I hung it along ↑, about 4 foot.  I honestly wondered what the heck… how was it going to spread out to  12 foot and not look too spaced out?!


You will see, once in situ, they look just fine (panic over, I did not just waste my money)


3.  Use blu-tac to get them to stay in place. You will not need it on all of them but depending on the amount of sag in your twine, they may want to slide down a bit.  A small dot of blu-tac will act as a stopper.


4.  Roughly space them to start, then go along with something… like the invitation packet and get them more even – it doesn’t need to be an exact science.


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5.  Finally, if ordering pom poms to go with your garland, opt for colours that can be found in the tassel garland to start with, then see how they fit and order more if needed.  I went for the metallic gold, champagne and ivory to start, puffed them all out then ordered more and included a gorgeous contrasting red so it wasn’t ‘too much of the same’


And so from November to December… and possibly January, lets face it these won’t be coming down before New Years!



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