Tuesday 26 September 2023

BRAND NEW: Personalised Halloween Gifts & Decor

The countdown to Halloween has started - a little bit of fun before the serious business of Christmas kicks in! And to celebrate the season of all things spooky and cosy, I've just added some lovely new Halloween-themed treats to the website for you!

Take a look at the PhotoFairytales website for more details - and if you're on my VIP mailing list look out for an exclusive discount code pinging into your inbox this evening!

Sarah x 


Tuesday 12 September 2023

BRAND NEW: 23 Fantasy Portrait Designs

As we gently ease into autumn, I wanted to share some of the latest additions to PhotoFairytales - I've been working on them all summer long, and so excited to see them finally live on the website!

I've added 23 brand new Fantasy Portrait themes, and I very much hope you'll like them. If you're not familiar with them, this is where PhotoFairytales all began. The Portraits were my very first item when I began my small business and, although my site has grown a lot since 2009, I still love creating them as much today as I did back in the day.

Each one is created individually by hand (there's no 'click to upload/AI' going on here!) - painstakingly working with my customer's own photo to create a magical setting. Although I have dozens and dozens of themes to choose from, each image is completely bespoke and created to order.

I start with the customer's photo, carefully and slowly cropping away the background before introducing it to their chosen theme. I delicately tweak light and shadows, adjust the composition where necessary, and add props where needed like little fairy wings or wands, slowly building an image that's completely unique. The images are built using layer upon layer of digital art, with images usually made up of over 50 layers.

You can order just the artwork image only, or I offer various print options and sizes. Take a look at my site to see all the Fantasy Portrait designs available. I have lots to see, with designs for pretty much all ages (I've even created images for much loved fur babies too!)

Hope you like the new designs - click here to see them all on the website!

Sarah :)

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Interior Trend: Coastal Grandmother

First we had 'Cottagecore' now we have what's known as the 'Coastal Grandmother' aesthetic - in fact, you may have noticed the #coastalgrandmother hashtag on social media for the last few months, and seen nautical styles creeping into homeware shops on the high street. It’s an aesthetic that’s really caught the imagination - but don’t think it means fuddy-duddy granny-style, this is all about stylish minimal easy-living, timeless cosiness, simplicity and elegance. 

The pandemic spurred a lot of people into dreams of living live life at a slower pace - to have outside space, be away from city life. The wish for space, nature, fresh air, calmness, a bit of peace and tranquillity. Apart from country style living, the other aspect to this lifestyle trend is one for waterfront, beachside or riverside living. Picture the scene: working from home and looking out of your window at the sea or a river. Ending your day with a stroll on the beach or along the riverbank... bliss!

The look can be smart and elegant with a tailored feel, or it can have a cosy and casual, lived-in feel. The beauty of it is that you can make it your own style, there are no rules, and (most importantly!) you don't have to live at the seaside to achieve it. The look is all about relaxation, friends and family, an easy-going life and escapism - the feeling of holidays and days off, even when you're not doing either of those things! Sitting back and relaxing is the new adventure day.

Here's a few lovely things I found on Folksy which all fit the Coastal Grandmother theme perfectly:

Sellers featured (from left to right, top to bottom): JaniemadePocketful CreationsCornish CraftworkWhiteCottageSoftFurnishingsAdrienne Hughes Artthe crimson rabbitVelvet Moth CreationsRed Dog SewsLizzie Mabley Fabric & Home, and AliDufty 

Along with this new lifestyle wish has been a trend for interior decor and colours to reflect the waterside living. Basically, the look is a more modern and minimalist version of the traditional and oh-so-lovely farmhouse aesthetic. It's grown up but relaxed, with a nod to heritage. It's the opposite to the maximalist style (dark colours, florals and heavy patterns) - instead it's all about simplified colour palettes, and pattern is often limited to basic lines and checks. It's a look that works all year round too, creating a cosy and calming interior for the home.

Neutral coastal colours of creams, whites, sands, soft blues and smart navy are the basic shades to build on, combined with textures such as wicker, rattan and wood. Touches of natural rope, checks and stripes, driftwood. Keep it soft by mixing in a little ochre yellow or coral, or perhaps a pale turquoise or gentle green - or add a smart contrasting deep red or yellow for a real pop of colour against the neutrals. Black also makes a brilliant contrast colour against the neutral beige, sand and white colours.

Bringing a little coastal charm to your home is a classic, timeless look that can be enjoyed in any home, bringing a touch of calm with a straightforward easy palette and simplified lines. A look that makes you feel that you're in your 'happy place'.

Check out the Instagram accounts for more inspiration:

Key takeaway for this look: Keeping this look contemporary means nodding towards the style, rather than shouting about it and filling your room with nautical-themed knick-knacks. Instead keep lines and colours simple, pared down and refined, use natural materials, tonal neutral colours, and don't go overboard (pardon the pun) with seaside decor. Let the overall design do the talking, adding little subtle touches that have a more 'found' feel rather than by design.

Take a look on PhotoFairytales for some great inspiration for this timeless interior look:

Oh, and if you want the ultimate inspiration, watch the Nancy Meyers movie "Something's Gotta Give" starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton - and search the #nancymeyersinteriors hashtag on Instagram!

Sarah :)

Friday 9 June 2023

Father's Day - Brilliant Gift ideas for ALL the Dads!

It's that time of year again - Father's Day is fast approaching (June 18th), and it's time to show your lovely dad, step-dad, or grandad just how much you love and appreciate them.

So I'm going to kick straight in with a few brilliant, personalised Father's Day gift ideas that I know he'll love (and yes, men are indeed really hard to buy for, I know!)...

1) First Time Daddy! The first Father's Day is a real milestone, and one that you're all going to absolutely love to celebrate.

2) 'Always Busy' Dads! These are great gift ideas if you've got a dad who's always on the go - working, fixing things, enjoying the great outdoors... gifts for the dad who rarely sits still!

3) For the 'Daddy Cool' types! He's the epitome of stylishness, from his hipster beard to his rock star fashion sense - whatever this dad does, he does it with flair and he's the coolest dad around!

4) For the great Grandads! The best dads get promoted to Grandad status, so let them know just how much you love and appreciate them with an awesome personalised gift for Father's Day this year!

5) Superhero Dads! With his cape billowing in the wind and a heart full of courage, he's the ultimate guardian and protector for his little ones. From dealing with monsters under the bed, to putting things right with his wisdom and DIY abilities, these gifts are for those super-dads!

6) Gifts to make Dad smile! Heartwarming gift ideas to make him smile - celebrate Father's Day with love, laughter, and a touch of mischief that only Dad can appreciate!

7) For the absolute Best Dads! To loosely quote the song, he's simply the best - better than all the rest! You know that your dad is the best in the world. He's been there through thick and thin, and Father's Day is the perfect time to show him just how much you really love and appreciate your lovely old dad.

This Father's Day celebrate the incredible love that dad's bring to the world. From their brilliant advice and guidance, to teaching us how to ride a bike and tie our shoelaces. It's time to remind our dads of the immeasurable impact they have on our lives, and show them just how much we love and appreciate them.

Happy Father's Day to all the fabulous dads out there!
Sarah x

Monday 22 May 2023

The 10 Big Garden Trends for 2023

We're used to seeing trends in fashion and interiors, but there are some big themes taking centre stage in the gardening world this year - so with Chelsea Flower Show happening this week I thought it would be an ideal time to do some research for you to unearth the latest directions and key looks I'm seeing in the gardening world... (hint: gravel is going to be huge!)

Click to view my Garden Design Trends 2023 Pinterest Board

1: Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Gardening

Climate change is forcing gardeners to carefully consider their planting choices, with rising temperatures, harsher weather, and often summer water shortages. Gardeners are in touch with sustainability by nature, so shopping locally, choosing plants that are able to cope with climate changes, and adapting your plans to suit the new conditions are all at the forefront of garden design this year. Drought tolerant plants, the use of mulches to retain moisture in the soil, and Mediterranean style planting is all bang on trend this year. Also plants that flower later into the season as summers go beyond August. Finding tough plants that can tolerate weather extremes, from droughts to floods, is important - the RHS have created a useful list of plants suitable for awkward conditions - click here

2: Colour Trends

Designers are predicting a move towards dark planting colours, intermingled with bright bursts of colour. Combine plants with deep purple, bronze, brown and darkest green stems and foliage, with bright meadow style flowers. For a softer combination, think about mixing smoky purples and soft grey foliage. Mix dark blue, grey and purple hues with small flashes of colour such as vivid pinks or bright yellow. Also terracotta is becoming huge: not just in planters and landscaping, but in plant colours too. Sun baked soft terracotta, and slightly more punchy paprika shades, are popular for interiors right now and are making a move into the garden too. Dahlias are going to be a popular plant for 2023, as they're perfect for small spaces and come in an abundance of colours.

3: Greenhouses & Propogation

The cost of living crisis is driving more gardeners to grow their own - and while having a lovely big greenhouse would be lovely, we don't all have the space. Utilise a windowsill, or create a simple mini greenhouse by cutting down an old plastic drink bottle. If you can afford a greenhouse though, the trending styles will be romantic, intricate Victorian designs, creating a beautiful feature in the garden rather than simply a practical growing space.

4: Mulches, Patios and Pathway Trends

Water retention in flower beds is becoming more and more important, so the use of mulches will be growing hugely in 2023. Not just restricted to the flower bed though, these useful materials can also be used to create gentle pathways through the garden. Think gravel, crushed concrete, and natural materials such as nut shells, bark and fruit pits. Using gravel instead of pointing between paving slabs on the patio will give a softer look and also allow for drainage too. The use of dark natural stones for paving and landscaping will be big this year, and is the perfect off-set to dramatic greenery. Think dark greys, warm buffs and browns. The rise of patterned flooring in the home in kitchens and bathrooms is spilling out into the garden, with patterned patios in small urban spaces becoming popular and creating a bold modern statement. 

5: Consider wildlife - and your life

Whether it's encouraging insects with a bug hotel, or keeping your garden hedgehog friendly, we can all see the importance of finding innovative ways to include wildlife habitats into the garden. Encourage those all important bees into your garden by planting pretty cottage garden and native wildflowers in large drifts to provide nectar during the growing season. The WWF have some great tips on encouraging bees on their website - click here for details. Water features and ponds are still going to be hugely popular, and a lovely way to while away a few hours watching visiting insect life. 'Biophilia’ is a buzzword this year, which means the theory of humans wanting to interact or commune with nature - find ways to share your garden with wildlife to improve your own sense of wellbeing, take a moment to walk barefoot or lay down and gaze at the birds flying overhead, meditate and contemplate as the bees buzz... 2023 is all about encouraging wildlife, but also about using your outdoor space as an escape from life and a way of helping your own mental wellbeing.

6: Houseplant Trends

Expect to see lots of exotic plants in the home this year: orchids in particular. As we dial down the temperature of our homes thanks to rising fuel bills, we are actually creating great climates for growing unusual exotics which prefer cooler environments.

7: Wildflower Lawns

While the perfectly manicured lawn is a thing of beauty, 2023 will be seeing more of the trend towards letting parts of our lawns have a wild meadow-like feel. Lawns will also be getting smaller as we make way for more planting. The rewilding approach will be coupled with a structured design though, keeping gardens tidy and also productive, but allowing us to feel more in touch with a less groomed naturalistic feel. Tapestry lawns will be big, dividing larger lawns into designated patchwork areas: giving up parts of their lawn to pollinators, parts to low-lying flowering plants and mini wildflower meadows, embracing dandelions and clover in other parts.

8: Decorative Garden Screens and Panels

Using screens and garden panelling either in wood or intricate metal designs is a great way of creating privacy, but also creating individual zones or areas in your garden - and they are going to be a popular trend in 2023. We want to use our gardens for all sorts of activities, from relaxing with a book, to eating alfresco, to giving the children a play space, and the use of screens allows you to create rooms in your garden in a contemporary way and at the same time provide an area to train plants against. Vertical gardening is also going to be big for 2023, and is a great way of combining planting and screening with the use of climbers or adding small planters and troughs to an existing screen or boundary fence or wall.

9: Cottage Garden Style

The cottagecore trend is still as popular as ever, and it is encouraging gardeners to opt for an old fashioned cottage style in their garden plans, combining functionality and practicality, with aesthetics. Mix native colourful flowers with vegetables and herbs planted in the same bed, encourage insect life, start making your own compost, add a water butt, and let the edges of your plot soften and run a little wild (in a nurtured way)!

10: Mediterranean Garden Style

The popularity of gravel and drought loving plants all adds up to this classic garden style. Greece is having a big impact too, with artfully placed statues, archways, natural stone, a shaded bench in white under some bougainvillia, evergreen box and agapanthus. Think blues and whites, mixed with natural stone and terracotta, and pops of vivid pink. It's a holiday destination in your own back garden!

Take a look at my Garden Trends for 2023 board on Pinterest for some more inspiration. 

I also have a board dedicated to Boho Garden Styles which you might find interesting!

Sarah :)

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Top 5 fun ways to Celebrate the Coronation Weekend

King Charles III's coronation in May is just a couple of weeks away now - and it's an event that will be celebrated across the United Kingdom and beyond. It marks the beginning of a new era for the country, as a new monarch ascends to the throne. And it's one that will see some of us huddled in front of the telly, some of us having a family get together - and some of us not so bothered, but enjoying the extra day off! 

No matter what your thoughts are about the coronation itself, this is a perfect  opportunity to come together with friends and family and have a good time - and that's something we can ALL get behind! 

I wanted to explore some ways you can celebrate King Charles III's coronation with your loved ones, and give you some inspiration for the 3 day bank holiday...

1: Host a Party - One of the best ways to celebrate King Charles III's coronation is to throw a party with friends and family. This can be as formal or informal as you like, depending on your preferences. You might choose to host a dinner party with a menu inspired by traditional British cuisine (or a red, white and blue food colour theme, if you're feeling brave/creative!), or a more casual gathering with drinks and snacks. What about a traditional British high tea with finger sandwiches, scones and cake? 

2: Put the decs up - Be sure to decorate your home with flags, bunting, and patriotic decorations (be they serious and tasteful, or a bit kitsch and fun) to create a festive atmosphere! Go on, grab yourself a commemorative mug or a souvenir tea towel - a little bit of coronation bling, all part of the fun!

3: Attend a public event - Celebrate the coronation by going to one of the many public events that will be taking place across the country. From street parties to parades, there will be plenty of opportunities to join in the festivities and show your support for the new king. Check your local council or community groups for information about events near you.

4: Make watching the TV a real event - If you're unable to attend a public event, you could still mark the occasion by watching the coronation ceremony together with friends and family. Set up a viewing party in your living room, complete with snacks and drinks, and watch the ceremony live on TV. If you want to go a step further, you could even encourage your guests to dress up in their finest clothes, as if they were attending the coronation in person (tiaras optional, of course).

5: Think traditional 'Britishness' - Another fun way to celebrate King Charles III's coronation is to participate in traditional British activities. This could include playing croquet, enjoying a game of cricket, or indulging in a typical afternoon tea or picnic. Or why not go to the local pub for some traditional fayre (think Ploughman's Lunch or Steak & Kidney Pie!) and a pint of your favourite - hopefully the weather will be fine and you can enjoy the pub garden (and the bunting will all be done for you)!

Whether you're hosting a party, attending a public event, or simply watching the ceremony on TV - no matter how you choose to celebrate King Charles III's coronation or the long weekend, the most important thing is to come together with friends and family to mark this historic occasion and have some much deserved fun and laughter. 

Sarah :)

Friday 31 March 2023

Pretty in Pink - embrace the latest new decor trend this spring

Spring is in the air at last (although I'm writing this in the middle of a thundering downpour, because the weather hasn't received the memo yet) - and what better way to celebrate the new season than by adding a touch of pink to your home? It's a colour I'm seeing everywhere at the moment, in both homeware and fashion. Such a pretty, confident and positive colour, it speaks of fresh blooms and happiness, looking forward to the warmer days to come - no wonder it's becoming such a trend! 

Pink is the perfect way to add a pop of color and cheer to any room. Here are a few ideas for incorporating a splash of pink into your springtime decor:

Create a gallery wall: Choose a mix of pink artwork, from abstract prints to floral watercolors, and arrange them in a cohesive display on a blank wall. This is a great way to showcase your favorite pieces while adding interest to your space.

Add a statement piece: If you want to incorporate just one print, a personalised design will make a truly unique and personal artwork for your wall or shelf.

Mix and match: Don't be afraid to mix pink art with other colors and patterns in your decor. Don't just think of wall art and prints, consider introducing different materials and textures too. A gallery wall made up of traditional prints, wooden wall art, hangings and decorative pieces gives a delightful ecclectic feel. Pair a pink floral print with a striped throw pillow, or hang a pink abstract painting above a bold patterned sofa. The key for mixing pinks is to stick to the same shade family - whether it's salmons, cerises, blue-pinks, etc, they should all have the same level of warmth or coolness in order for them to work together.

Use pink as an accent: If you prefer a more neutral color palette, you can still incorporate the pink trend into your decor as an accent color. Choose a few pink accessories, such as a vase, mug or cushion, and scatter them throughout your space for a subtle touch of springtime cheer.

Don't forget the garden: Introduce a splash of pretty pink in the garden too, with some gorgeous handmade decorative pieces to bring some real individuality and charm to your outdoor space...

No matter how you choose to incorporate pink art into your home decor this spring, remember to have fun with it! Spring is a time for renewal and fresh beginnings, and your home decor should reflect that. So go ahead: embrace the pink, and enjoy the beauty of the new season.

Discover lots of gorgeous personalised pink homeware and wall art items on the PhotoFairytales site today - all handmade to order and with free UK delivery too!

Sarah :)

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