Thursday, May 28, 2015

How to Style in a Rental with Coloured Walls

I'm excited that I've finally decided on a colour palette for our room. I've been struggling because I live in a rental house which has a light sage green colour on the walls, and if it was up to me they'd be a beautiful fresh white. The green isn't an awful colour, it definitely could be worse, but it still puts restrictions on what colour scheme I can use, and what works. The photos aren't really showing the colour of the walls too well, but in real life they are an obvious minty, sagey green colour. I'm using lots of black (my favourite, of course), with peach tones, darker blues, and pops of gold. I thought I'd share some tips on how to style in a rental when you have coloured walls.

1. Don't buy a tonne of decor items to fit your rental wall colour that won't fit in with another colour when you move.

This is especially true if you're not planning on staying in the one place too long. I'm not a big fan of green, so I didn't want to buy decor items to fit with a green theme that I couldn't then transport into a different colour scheme when we move house. I think black and gold are pretty safe choices that go with lots of things. I want to keep most of our decor items monochrome so that they can fit with lots of different things. But I think a true black and white monochrome theme only works with white walls that really make the black decor pieces pop (or vice versa). Since we're stuck with the green, I needed to add colours that complimented.

Please excuse the orange coloured wooden dresser. It's actually not in our bedroom at all, but our bedroom has such poor natural light at the moment I couldn't take a good photo in there haha! Please forgive it. :) Our bedroom has white and pale natural wood furniture.

2. Find some colours that you like, that also work with the wall colour.

As I've said, I'm not a huge fan of green. So I'm not about to buy anything green to go with the walls. Instead, I've found colours I actually love, like black, peach and gold, which go with the walls harmoniously. That way when I move and no longer have green walls, I still have items that are in colours I actually enjoy.

The thing that really brought my ideas together in my head was actually this colourful postcard from a friend in America! I already knew I liked peach tones, but when I received the postcard my ideas became a much clearer vision.

3. Decide on a colour palette and stick to it.

Once your ideas have come together to form a colour palette, stick to it. I think the biggest thing for me was looking around at things I already have and asking why I have them. This ties in with de-cluttering your home. Often, I'll have a piece of furniture or knickknack that someone gave me, that I only have out of convenience or feeling guilty about letting it go. But a room will look so much better when you get rid of the things you don't love, and bring in things that match your theme and colour scheme. I'm going to work on this one slowly over time instead of doing a big "makeover" all at once and getting rid of a bunch of things and buying new ones. It's just something to keep in mind. 

I love the peach and gold cushion that I just bought recently, and I love being able to incorporate my Blacklist studio Sea Love poster. The gold triangle canvas is something I painted myself a while ago, and while I wasn't too sure about it, I think it fits in pretty nicely with the rest. 

4. Keep it Simple.

Don't overdo it. Sticking with mostly monochrome accessories and keeping things quite minimal means you won't have a bunch of things that don't go together, and a bunch of things that might not work when you eventually move house. This depends on whether you're going to be staying in the one rental for a long time of course. But if you're moving every year or couple of years, you don't want excess decor and homewares to lug around with you wherever you go. Stick to a few items that you really love.

I thought I'd also share with you a moodboard I made for our room a little while ago, before the postcard arrived and gave me a bit more clarity. The background colour is very close to the actual colour of the walls. The quilt cover set is one we own and are actually using right now. I like the peach and gold and black in this, but I think that darker blue hues will be better than the pastel blues here.

Do you struggle with rental walls you can't paint a different colour? How do you decorate around it? I'd love to know how you get around this obstacle! :)

Nina xo

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

7 Pots and Planter Pouches

Pots and Pouches

1. Large yellow planter pouch
2. Beautiful coloured geometric pot
3. Gold teardrop pot
4. Artificial plant in white geometric pot
5. Small blue planter pouch
6. Triangle patterned pot
7. White and gold circle pot

I am loving these pots and planter pouches from Kmart right now. They are all so cute and affordable, I want them all! I have a few plants that are growing in kind of ugly pots right now, so I'm hoping to pick up some new pots soon. I love having plants indoors, although I don't have much natural light in my bedroom sadly. Lucky there are a few plants that don't mind a dimly lit room!

Nina xo

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

7 Vignettes May Round Up

I finally got around to completing another 7 Vignettes challenge on Instagram! I really love these monthly challenges so much and I encourage anyone who hasn't participated in them yet to give it a go next round. They really inspire me and push me to be creative. It was a little challenging this month as for a few days we had so much rain that I had the worst lighting to deal with! And then the rain actually caused the Internet to be down around Brisbane for a few days! :O I couldn't transfer images from my camera to my phone, or upload any blog posts! 

The brief for the above picture was "Mother" since Mother's Day is this weekend. My Mum is actually away overseas at the moment, but I took a photo of some of the collections she has on her desk. She loves nature and has this little collection of stones in a jar, and a tiny jar full of dried flower heads and seeds for planting later. The little pine cones have been around for as long as I can remember growing up!


As it's autumn here and getting cooler, I've been drinking so much coffee and tea and craving hearty meals and lots of sweet things. There's nothing better than relaxing with a coffee in the morning before I get started with things.


These marble horse book ends are another thing that have been in my household for as long as I can remember. 

If you don't follow me on Instagram, you can find me here @littlepinkcactus!

Hope everyone's enjoying May so far!

Nina xo

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

3 Amazing Blogs For Blogging Tips, Advice + Tutorials

Today I really wanted to share with you three blogs that I have been absolutely loving lately as I've been slowly revamping my blog. The first one is I Can Build A Blog - the first thing I noticed about this blog was how beautiful the design is! But it's not just a pretty face; the articles are so informative and easy to follow, I'm sure I'll always go back here for tutorials and how-tos.

I have also been loving Jenny Purr for a little while now. Again this blog's layout and design is so simple and inviting and easy to follow. The articles are so well written, insightful and in depth. There are step by step guides, interviews, challenges and loads of resources to inspire you to make your blog the best it can be. I highly recommend checking it out if you don't follow already.

I actually only just came across Elle & Co. through Jenny Purr's first podcast last week, but she too has a tonne of great resources, tips and advice on her blog. I can definitely see myself going back through her archives!

What are your favourite blogs with tutorials and other helpful resources? What kind of advice do you find most useful?

Hope you are having a fantastic week!

Nina xo

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm back from holiday!

So I am back from an absolutely AMAZING holiday to Japan and Fiji with my love. I know this isn't a travel blog, but I thought I'd explain my absence and a little bit about our trip! 

Japan was absolutely beautiful as we were there right on time for cherry blossoms! I've been to Japan in autumn and winter before, but the cherry blossoms were breathtakingly stunning and I am so glad we got to experience them. We also visited a town in the mountains where it was snowing! It was my partner's first time seeing snow so it was really special.

After rushing around Japan trying to fit in as much as possible, we spent a week relaxing on an island in Fiji. We stayed on Viwa Island of the Yasawa Island group, and it was absolutely gorgeous. We had our own private beachfront bure perched on the edge of a beautiful white sand beach with stunning clear turquoise waters. We snorkeled on the reef, kayaked, learned to cook Fijian dishes, and above all relaxed and enjoyed operating on "Fiji time".

We're a little sad to be back to be honest, but it's good to get back into the swing of things and I feel refreshed and ready to jump into new and exciting projects!

Nina xo

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hand Lettering

Yesterday I had a day off (score!) and I felt like doing something creative, so I had a play with some hand painted lettering using water colour, brushes, and an ink brush pen. When I was younger I was quite into calligraphy, and I was reminded of it by all the beautiful hand lettering and typography that is around at the moment. I used to use calligraphy pens and ink back then, so it was really fun to have my first real go at hand lettering with brushes! 

I have always had a habit of writing in different handwriting styles and doodling words in fancy cursive or different lettering styles. I'll sometimes just doodle words that are being said in the conversation around me! Does anyone else do this? Or is that kind of weird...

Of course my cat Stella wanted to come and lie on whatever I was taking photos of. Lucky she's such a beautiful model and didn't seemed phased by a lens being put in her face! I think she might have what it takes to be Australia's Next Top Model, what do you think? ;) (She is getting seriously podgy though... too many cat biscuits for you Stella.)

I decided to hand letter a kind of title page for a letter I'm writing to my friend KD in the U.S. He studies art and does great screen prints so hopefully he'll like this! 

I only have very cheap brushes and pens at the moment, but I'm excited to see the brush pens, brushes and ink available in Japan when I'm there in just over a week! Japanese calligraphy is amazing, so I'm sure there will be lots of inspiration to be found!

Nina xo

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

7 Things I've Learned About Styling So Far

Less than a year ago I got the opportunity to do a little display work in my retail job at the time. It was only because there was a delay with deliveries and there wasn't much to do, and my wonderful manager at the time gave me the task of making some fun product displays, and gave me free reign to do whatever I liked with them. They were some of the most fun shifts I have ever had in any job, and it was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me as it got my brain swirling with vague ideas about some kind of career in styling, design, interiors, or decorating in some capacity. In the fairly short time since then, I've done work experience in the industry, now have a job in a fantastic homewares store with an amazing interior stylist as a boss, and the vague ideas from back then are forming into more focused aspirations to become a stylist. I still have so, so much to learn and still a lot of hard work to do to get to anywhere near where I want to be, but I am loving being able to practice prop styling for this blog and other projects, and helping style furniture and homewares at the store I work at!

The other day I was styling some vignettes for this month's 7 Vignettes project by Interiors Addict. As I was making a huge mess of melted chocolate (I'll get to that) and gathering all sorts of things from around our house and actually talking to myself at one point, I had to have a laugh. Styling photos makes me act a little crazy and really pushes me to get creative. Here are some things I have learned and experienced so far when prop styling for photos...

1. Being absolutely void of any ideas whatsoever for a project and sulking about it and worrying that I'll never have another idea ever again. (I think any creative activity suffers from this one!)

2. Then being almost overwhelmed with inspiration from all sorts of unlikely places and trying to do four projects at once. I'll be inspired by Pinterest, people's blogs, interior magazines, a homewares catalogue, all sorts of things, and suddenly when inspiration strikes it tends to unleash an almighty flood of creative ideas. I've found myself in the middle of doing one thing and I suddenly have to go and grab something else for another idea that's just sprung to mind for a completely different project... and I'll end up doing four different projects at once.

3. Fossicking for objects to use in a vignette or styling project anywhere and everywhere is my new thing. When I have an idea, I start to see all sorts of objects in a brand new light, and I search high and low for items to use in my photos, and sometimes find them in the oddest places.

4. And if I can't find quite what I'm looking for... I'll think outside the box. It has sunk in that when prop styling for a photo shoot all that matters is what's in the frame. The other day for example I really wanted some decadent delicious looking cookies in a photo I was taking. I didn't have any, and I didn't want to waste time going to get some and I didn't have any ingredients to make some. All I found was an old packet of very plain wheat biscuits at the back of the cupboard and a very old block of sea salt chocolate that didn't taste very good (why were they in the cupboard still? I don't know). So I put down my camera, melted the chocolate, drizzled it all over the plain biscuits and voilĂ ! Delicious looking shiny chocolately drizzly biscuits for my photos. Every time I put something together I find myself doing something like this!

5. A large white piece of card has been my must have styling tool. I live in a rental house which has sage/seafoam green walls. A large white piece of card to use as a background has been a fantastic $2 investment, although I really should upgrade to some kind of wood panel or something less prone to bending and marking.

6. Agonizing over the placement of every object of the picture. I'm getting really fussy over my composition of images, that's for sure! I want to have everything in the frame balanced and perfect. It's really helping my photography skills!

7. And then agonizing over which picture is the best one to use. I'll take so many photos of the same thing, most people would think they all look the same. But I'll spend a long, long time agonizing over how this one has the slightly better lighting, however this one has the poster and the tabletop perfectly straight and in line.

I'm sure that a lot of bloggers who take a lot of pictures for their blogs can relate to these as well! What are your photography and styling habits? Do you have props that you always use, or short cuts you like to take? 

Hope everyone is having a brilliant week!

Nina xo

P.S. Yes, these pictures were taken on my new camera! I am definitely still learning the ins and outs of it, but I'm loving it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Hello! Wow, I cannot believe the first week of March is already nearly over! How fast is this year going so far?

I wanted to share a couple of current things in my life, or upcoming things I'm excited about!

1. Firstly and most importantly, I got a new camera! I got this gorgeous white Sony a6000 and it is amazing. I am still a total amateur when it comes to photography, so I can't wait to learn all I can on such an awesome camera. I have only had a little play with it and I haven't tapped into its true potential yet, and I'm already in love with it. After doing a tonne of research into cameras and liking this one, I was so excited to see that it came in white, I just had to get it. I was totally happy to spend more money to have the white one. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

2. I was really excited to read that Adore Home Magazine are releasing another print edition! The last one was so beautiful, I love it. This one is called the Paradise Edition, and they are running a Pozible campaign to raise money for printing costs. Head over here to pre-order!

3. I bought a small string of pearls plant a little while ago, and it's growing well! They are such interesting and pretty plants. I just need to find a really nice hanging pot for it. Once it gets settled it'll be pretty hard to move around, so I need the perfect pot! I'm actually considering making one. If you have any DIY hanging pot tutorials to recommend, let me know!

4. This is a bit of a strange one. I just got a pair of Timberland boots! They arrived this morning, and I'm pretty excited. I just wanted a comfy boot for travelling, walking, hiking, that also looked nice to me. When I'm in Japan later this month, I think they'll be great to wear all day walking around and exploring (with their anti-fatigue technology and waterproof exterior... God I sound like an ad!) and then will look fine to wear to a restaurant or out for drinks etc at night (let's face it a lot of hiking shoes are really, really hideous, although I'm sure they are very comfortable and perfect for hiking). My brother has already teased me about them, calling me Kanye - I guess I kind of didn't know there was a stereotype surrounding these boots? Anyway, I'm a fan. And I'm not a rapper in case you were wondering.

I have lots and lots of ideas and projects I can't wait to share with you guys... Hope everyone is enjoying March so far!

Nina xo

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Style board: Charcoal and Yellow Office

Industrial/Retro Office

I was pretty excited when Chairish approached me to do a style board based around one of their rugs! I chose this patterned yellow and grey rug as my focal point, and I wanted to show it off in an office with a fun mix of industrial and retro styles with a splash of colour. I like the geometric patterns off set with literal splashes of watercolour and textured paint strokes. Structured lines meets whimsical splashes. Take a look at all the rugs available on Chairish here!

I am really new to creating mood boards and style boards. In fact this was my first time using Polyvore (or any kind of style board creation web app) and I have to say I had so much fun and am now in love with it. I can't wait to hone my style board skills (and now possible obsession) and learn more and more about styling and interior decorating!

What do you think of my first style board? I always love feedback!

Nina xo

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Organising in the New Year

I definitely don't like to get too sucked into the "New Year, New You" mentality. I don't think it's particularly healthy to feel like you can only change or do things differently once a new year starts - or that you have to. If you want to create change in your life you can do it any time - do it right now if it's something you want to do. No time like the present and all that. I also don't like the inevitable guilt a lot of people put themselves through when they don't achieve their often unrealistic goals (or maybe the goals aren't unrealistic but there are too many of them at once).

But I still can't help feeling some sense that it's a good time for regrouping, refocusing and reevaluating when I open the fresh blank pages of the new year's diary. I'm a huge stationery addict so I am always excited to start a new diary and calendar each year.

I am really picky when it comes to diaries, planners and calendars. I actually tend to spend a lot of time going from stationery store to stationery store every January wishing I'd chosen one sooner and spending a ridiculous amount of time comparing and umming and ahhing about which one to get. You're stuck with it for a whole year, right!? It's an important investment and the success of your organisation and planning for the year all hinges on which planner you choose! Ok, maybe not exactly, but I still search for the nearest to perfect planner and calendar that I can find.

This year was no exception. I should have found one sooner, maybe online. I was actually prepared to spend a bit of money on a nice planner this year, but as I went around the stationery stores and department stores I really struggled to find even an expensive planner that suited me. I actually ended up with a $10 Molli & Mimi one from Target because it was the closest thing I could find to ticking all my boxes.

Here is what I look for in a planner:

+ It has to be a week to an opening. I want to see my week laid out in front of me so I know what I'm doing at a glance and can plan easily. I don't need to write down a million appointments a day at this point in my life, so I don't need a whole page to write an essay about my day.
+ It has to be able to lay flat. Who wants a planner that just flops closed when you're trying to... well, plan?
+ It has to be stylish. I have to love the look of it - inside and out. I am sick of planners with beautiful covers and horrible pages with ugly font and some hideous brown-green header on every page. WHY.
+ It has to have a monthly view as well - preferably at the start of each month. So  I can my head around the month, ya know.
+ I like lined pages - and the lines can't be really far apart. This is where I get really picky about the layout of the actual pages. I write tiny and I like to fit a lot into a small space. To keep that tiny writing neat, I like small thin lines.
+ Simple, minimalist layout. I don't like too much going on on the page before I even start writing. That way I can just have information relevant to me on each page. And it looks beautiful.
+ I prefer Saturday and Sunday to be the same size as the other days of the week. I have just as many weekend plans as weekday plans, if not more.

Mostly I like a simple stylish and slightly clever diary layout. Something that is actually designed to be used easily and efficiently, to make organising fun. I always think, "will I get sick of this design quickly?"

This is the monthly view in my planner. They actually put all the months together at the front instead of at the start of each month throughout the year, so I'll see how this works out for me this year.

The week to an opening layout is really simple and clean, there isn't too much going on, it's simple grey instead of some horrible green, and the font is modern. Unfortunately Saturday and Sunday are shrunk down to fit, but I dealt with that last year so I don't mind too much.

As for calendars I couldn't find a single one in stores that I liked. Again, I just wanted something really simple. Almost like a monthly desk pad planner, but for the wall. I didn't want a big picture at the top of each month and all that - I'd prefer more room to actually write. I ended up downloading a printable calendar which matches the dot theme of the diary (unintentionally), but in a nice green. It doesn't have a huge amount of space to write but at least it's minimal and simple.

This is how I am using my planner so far this year:
+ I'm planning all my things ahead on the lefthand side of each day.
+ I'm using different coloured highlighters to categorise my activities. For example each day I have work, I highlight "work 6am to 3pm" or whatever my hours are, in orange highlighter. I highlight my workouts and health related things in green, in the hope I can better track my progress.
+ I'm using the right hand side of each day to write a short summary of what actually happened that day after the day's over. I don't do this every day, but I like to have a little reminder of what I've been doing. And it's good to keep track of what my plans were, and what I actually got done. It's good to be flexible, don't you think? For example I planned to get a lot of things done one day last week, but my bestie was free so we decided to go on a beach and shopping trip down the coast! There was no way I was going to stick to my to-do list and miss out on Zara and the beach on a 36°C summers day. 
Last year I used different coloured pens for things I had planned ahead in my planner, and past tense reflection of the days in the same diary. I also kept them to separate sides of the page like I am doing this year.

What do you look for in a planner and calendar?
How do you organise your planner or diary?

Hope everyone is having a great year so far!

Nina xo

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Black, White, Green Styling and Decorating - 7 Vignettes Completed!

I have completed my first ever round of the 7 Vignettes challenge! I had so much fun participating in this, I already can't wait for next month's challenge. These were my photos for the "green" and "black and white" themes.

In case you don't know about the 7 vignettes challenge, it is an Instagram competition in which participants post a photo every day for seven days based on daily themes laid out at the start. This month's themes were all colour based: sparkle, yellow, blue, green, pink, rainbow and black & white. I found it pretty challenging for some of the themes, especially rainbow! The whole challenge really made me think outside the box with styling the photos and it was great to see everyone else's amazing vignettes too. To check them out, search #7vignettes on Instagram! To follow me on Instagram and see all seven of my entries, search @littlepinkcactus ;)

Hope everyone is having a great year so far!
Nina xo

Friday, January 2, 2015

7 Vignettes

I'm participating in Interiors Addict's 7 Vignettes competition for the first time this month! I am very happy to be a part of it! The theme for today was yellow, can you tell? Being involved is really good motivation and it's so great to see all the other inspiring and creative entries. If you want to know more about it, the Interiors Addict article is here, and you can search #7vignettes on Instagram to see all the latest pics!

I've just created an Instagram account for the blog - come and find me @littlepinkcactus :)