Southwood Life

Let's talk about Pampas Grass

Let's talk about Pampas Grass

If you'd of asked me what I thought about pampas grass I'd of said it conjured up childhood memories of going down to my Nan's house and wondering why she liked that HUGE funny plant in the middle of her front garden.

Of course there is the other myth about people having the pampas plant in their garden in the 70's as a sign that you were a 'swinger'. This always made me chuckle growing up as I remember my lovely Nan wanted her pampas grass removed quite hastily, now as an adult it makes me laugh.

Over the last few months I have been spying hundreds of images on instagram encouraging me to fall in the love with the stuff. Doing up our house and having lots more space to fill I suddenly felt the urge to hunt down some pampas and fill a vase. YES- I jumped right on the insta-band wagon and headed for an old neighbour's house. He looked at me like I was crazy when I declared I had lived 10 doors down and I was desperate for some cuttings. 

I think he was too shocked to say no hahahaha! 

I think the first account I spied the pampas plant on was my friend and fellow Maven the lovely @zoe.interiors. Zoe's feed is full to the brim with beautiful calmness and interior swoon-worthy shades of joy!

Another account I love to follow and have done for several years is the gorgeous @casschung. Her style is always so inspiring and her kids are super cute!

There is no way I could talk about Pampas Grass and not mention my lovely friend @deecampling. Dee's home is just so inspiring and she is one of the nicest ladies I have ever met through the squares. 

Hayley southwood
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Kitchen Revamp

Kitchen Revamp

We are on week 11 of the house move and some days it feels like we have done loads and others we feel quite overwhelmed by the work load and the financial implications.

When we viewed the house we both agreed the kitchen was dated but live-able!

The kitchen is an amazing space, the same size as our old kitchen/diner so we are doubling the space we had basically. 

The old kitchen had shaker style cream cupboards, black granite worktops, a drippy tap, a Rangemaster that needs more TLC. There had clearly been a leak for a very long time as the plinth under the sink base unit was black with water damage. There was an old heater cut into the plinth and lights that you had to switch on underneath the sink. The room was very magnolia with a red roller blind and small red and cream wall tiles.

Like I say totally live-able but just not our taste. We felt it was in need of a refresh and an update. We looked at ripping out the kitchen and replacing with a very basic kitchen. We were gobsmacked with all the quotes!!

With so much to do in the whole house we just couldn't spend so much in one room.

We started thinking of a way we could update the kitchen ourselves, paint, tiles, new tap and finally paint the actual kitchen cupboards!

I started doing lots of research and watching loads of videos on 'how to paint kitchen cupboards'. One afternoon Paul and I had a complete melt down, we just wanted one room finished. I did a shout out on instagram for any recommendations for painters. I was flooded with DM's and started making some calls. One of the recommendations was Brushworks based in Thame. Lynda came to look at the job, she luckily had a week in between other jobs so I jumped for joy when she quoted us £1500 to paint all kitchen cupboards and fit new handles. 

I found these handles on ebay and bought the tap from Tap Warehouse. I wanted a brass tap that had a modern twist to it. We painted the walls with architects white by Zoffany. It is a beautiful shade of white and my lovely father-in-law is obsessed with the quality of the paint. We didn't want the tiles to be a feature in this kitchen so we searched high and low for a matt white tile and are happy to report back that Topps Tiles were a clear winner. The service was great, the lady that served us was so helpful. Paul has only ever tiled once before so I was a little nervous when he said he was going to do the job himself. No need to worry though, he did an amazing job!! 

This room is the only room in the house that is FREEEEEZING so I am searching for rugs to add some warmth and hide the ugly floor tiles. I will let you know how I get on in a few weeks time. We have also decided to add shutters to the window in here and the snug. We are currently getting quotes in so I will definitely report back with my findings and show you what we go for.

We now have a beautiful fresh, updated kitchen that I LOVE. I cannot actually believe how much money we have saved by updating the old one. It also really made us think about how much money gets wasted on replacing kitchen that could be saved.

Hayley southwood
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The Garden Adventure Begins...

The Garden Adventure Begins...

When we viewed the house back in August we were so overwhelmed by the garden we initially thought it was a definite NO! 

After a few months of looking at other properties we just couldn't stop thinking about this property, the potential for us as a family and for both of us as we both work from home. I got so excited at the prospect of maven events and workshops we decided to jump in. 

We are on week 10 of the renovation and we feel like Spring is just around the corner. We are seeing the garden as several different areas and different projects but definetly feeling overwhelmed with no clear idea of how or what the vast space will feel like in the future.

Thankfully we have a garden designer maven in the hub called Jade Goto

Jade Goto runs an award winning Brighton based Garden Design & Landscape Architecture practise. She draws on culture and fine art married with her love of planting and a unique and inspiring way of envisioning garden spaces no matter what the scale. Whether delving into heritage or hyper-modern techniques, her love of botanicals is evident within her work.

She has shown at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with her groundbreaking QR Code Garden and won Best in Show for her Austerity Garden at RHS Gardeners World. Recent projects includes designing for Crabtree & Evelyn and several private gardens across the UK and Europe.

Jade came over to the house yesterday for a consultation to give us some initial thoughts and ideas bout our new land we have bought.

I loved the way Jade had such a clear understanding of who we are and how we would like to use our garden/land. Jade gave us some incredible ideas and it was great to see the garden through new eyes rather than an area we are trying to put off thinking about.

After Jade left Paul and I felt very excited about the future. You can watch Jade's garden tour and walk around on my insta stories over on @southwoodliving highlights. 


Hayley southwood
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Where it all started

Hayley Southwood is a serial and often accidental entrepreneur.

Losing her mum to cancer when they were both far too young was crushing for Hayley and in a moment of madness she bought an ice cream van from eBay in an attempt to create her own bubble of happiness to escape the sadness.

How it all started...

With no marketing budget, Hayley taught herself about social media. She hit Twitter in a big way and was an early embracer of Instagram.The business grew by word of mouth driven by her ever growing social media presence. Over an 18 month period Mrs Scoops and her Vintage Ice Cream Van were featured in over 100 publications including YOU magazine and Country Homes.

After 3 years of dedication to the business, not only did Hayley feel emotionally better she wanted her weekends back to spend more time with her husband and her rapidly growing boys.

Hayley teamed up with photographer Shaneen Rosewarne Cox, who she had met through Vintage Scoops, to create a new inspirational blog ‘Breathe Happiness’ which was an instant success. Having both lost their mums at early ages, they are true believers that life really is too short to be unhappy and wanted to use this platform to encourage women to take risks in order to live the life you want.

Breathe Happiness Blog

The blog gave Hayley the platform to explore her passion for styling and a love of the creative world. So, with the support of her readers, Hayley soon decided to curate a collection of quirky home-wares and clothing that you couldn't find on the high street.

Southwood Stores launched in August 2013. Hayley has always been truly passionate about Southwood Stores and falls in love with every piece she stocks. Suppliers are mainly hardworking, small, independent businesses and when you buy something from Southwood Stores, you genuinely feel like you are supporting a community.

Southwood Stores continued to grow and moved to new premises in 2016, which enabled Hayley to empower women to drive their own successes through a series of workshops and events. Hayley started her business journey with no money, no background in Marketing or PR, she simply launched her business with passion.

Through Southwood Social Hub Hayley offers Social Media one-to-one lessons in her new home as well as an exciting program of events which brings women in business together to not only have some fun and essential downtime, but to learn from each other in a laid back and gorgeous environment.

With Hayley the passion is infectious and she certainly has enough to go around - Be a part of it! 

Hayley southwood
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We got the keys to our gorgeous new home on 29th November after a stressful few months we are in and couldn't be more excited. The house is a character home dating to 1915 but has quite a few 70's touches, some we love and some we are desperate to change.
Hayley southwood
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