Inspiration

+ All I Want Is... A Copper Kitchen Rail

Copper kitchen rail inspiration
From top-left: Ballingslovs Bistro | Wildlandia |Elizabeth Kane Bottom two: My Haus | Copper & Solder

This week we paid 35% deposit for our new kitchen appliances and units, so all that's left is to start fantasising about the finishing touches! We've also just placed an order for Jim Lawrence's Barbican Triple Pendant in brass above the kitchen island/peninsula, so I'm desperate to add a few more accents in bronze or copper. I can just picture my future kitchen with a gorgeous copper kitchen rail, hopefully accessorized with some new pots, pans and utensils!

  • You can make your own like Elizabeth Kane (bottom image in the collage above). She picked up copper tubing and flanges at Home Depot and made them into a pot rail, adding S-hooks from IKEA, as revealed in here.
  • Nicole from Wildlandia also headed to her closest hardware store cut down a piece of piping to make sure the rail fitted her kitchen wall.
  • Made in Staffordshire by founder Katie, the Copper and Solder shop on Folksy creates beautiful made-to-order rails. I've just placed an order, saving 20% with discount code 'iwantcopper'.
  • Not a fan of DIY? The copper rail with grid from My Haus comes in a standard size, but you can extend the trend to your worktops with their beautiful copper fruit basket.

More Copper Inspiration

Copper Sink: WOW.. Olif's Alveus Monarch Line 20 Copper inset sink is divine. I am considering calling up my kitchen designer and starting it all from scratch!

'Apple Cider' Kitchenaid: This is more of a work of art than a mere appliance. Get yours at John Lewis for just shy of £400!

Dualit Kettle & Toaster Range: The study, well-known Stainless steel appliances are complimented with sprayed copper panels.

Copper Worktops: Lovely Imperfection has a mesmerising post on her cousin's copper worktops - lots of shiny pictures to swoon over!


+ Half Marathon Training Tips

Half Marathon Training Tips
I've always enjoyed running and used to love competing at high school, but post-school most of my running has been for the bus! Earlier this year, my friend Mandy encouraged me to sign up to Royal Parks Half Marathon along with her. We had three choices:

- Enter the ballot for free
- Enter the ballot and pay £50 to increase your chances (or get a hoodie as a consolation prize)
- Try and get a charity place

As I paid the fee I managed to secure a place, yay. But my friend didn't :( So training was 100% down to me and the ability to motivate myself... In the months leading up to the day my half marathon training was almost non-existent, but I've learnt a LOT that might actually help other first-time runners:

Months leading up to the race:
- Run regularly, even if you don't have a clear target. Just get used to your body being pushed even if its no more than 25 minutes at weekends.
- Start tracking your runs in an app like Runkeeper or Nike+ Running. Being able to track any incremental improvements is key to staying motivated.
- Unless you run regularly anyway, you'll need other forms of motivation. Mine came in treating myself to new running gear. Check out my picks at the bottom of this post!
-Training is not just about running. In order to maintain the stamina of keeping yourself moving forward into your second hour of running, your body needs strong core muscles. I did this by keeping a (semi) regular session of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred which involves cardio, stretching and weight training.
- Practise running with some lucozade beforehand as this is usually what you get on race day.

The days before:
- Carb loading! About 5 days prior to the race I was all about the pasta.
- I did a final 5km mid-week before the race which helped me feel more prepared.
- Two days before the race I got hammered as I went to do a PJ Harvey gig. I really regret doing this as I bet I could have shaved off a minute or two if so!

The night before:
- Take it easy
- Try to go to sleep early (for a 5am wake-up, try to be in bed at least 8 hours before at 9pm)
- Go for a carb-heavy meal that you're used to eating. I cooked a mean spaghetti bolognese for an early evening meal.
- Plan your exact outfit (this should be something you've already trained in so you know its comfy)

The morning of the race:
- My race started at 9am so I woke up at 5am to give me enough time to digest my breakfast. The key is to get that meal in early–three to four hours pre-race to be exact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (via Runner's World)

- I also ate a banana about half an hour before the race to help keep me energised through the race.

- bring some sweets with you. I haven't bothered with the gels that the pros favour but might practice with them before my next half marathon in May 2016.

During the race:
- so my plan was to use Runkeeper to keep pace and not over-exert myself but the adrenaline (by-product of nerves and the thrill of overtaking other runners!) got the better of me. I instead just ran as fast as I could comfortably could and only experienced major issues in Jr last 4km when my legs wanted to give up.

Post-race
- Don't make the mistake I did and ignore the foam rolling sessions near the finish line. I wish I'd done that straight after the race rather than several hours later (after a Lebanese meal and a pint!)
- Take it slowly. It is a bloody mission to walk after a race (that's my experience anyway) so make sure your schedule a few days post-race is relatively empty.
- Take a long bath when you get home. I bought some Radox muscle therapy bubble bath but my massage therapist said it doesn't actually help your muscles, its mostly to mimic a relaxing bath with the scent and bubbles.  Instead, get your hands on some epsom bath salts (Magnesium Sulphate).

Run in Style

 


+ Ideas for a Before 30 Bucket List

Ideas for a 'Before 30' Bucket List - give blood, run a half marathon, grow your own food + more www.jeniwren.com

After turning 29 last Tuesday, I decided to create my very own 'before 30' bucket list to make sure I'm staying true to myself and making the most of being young(ish). In the words of Olivia Wilde, turning 30 is your 'Cut the Bullshit and Go Be Awesome stage', so why not start a bucket list at 29 and get a head start?

My 'Before 30' Bucket List in Full:

Give Blood It's so easy to do this - you can sign up here if you're in the UK. They need 70,000 people daily  to donate blood, so I'm committing to doing this every 16 weeks from here on out.

Run a Half Marathon I ran 21km in the Royal Parks Half Marathon and it was one of the best things I've ever pushed myself to accomplish. Despite a pretty lax training schedule, I am so proud of my 1:54:08 time :)

Grow Your Own Food Ok, so my Alan Titchmarsh gardening book has barely been opened, but I want to be able to cook a meal one day that is entirely down to my own hard grafting. I'll read through this advice from organic farmer Alice Holden, and a quick way to get started is to follow these tips on how to regrow food from kitchen scraps.  It's amazing that you can regrow celery, spring onions and leeks just by sticking the leftover root in a glass of water and placing in sunlight for a few days.

Print Out Your Instagram Photos This is a really easy task to accomplish, and I love the idea of printing off my favourite snaps from my twenties in a gorgeous Cheerz box.

Sing to an Audience This one is most likely going to be achieved by dragging my mates to a Lucky Voice venue, but promisingly my local area now has group singing lessons. I have a whole year to find the balls to actually sign up!

Grow Twitter following by x% I recently started using Crowdfire to identify other Twitter followers with similar interests to me. With a 9-to-6pm job I really feel that scheduling social media posts is the best option for me, but I haven't yet got myself into a proper cadence with this. The Crowdfire blog post explaining the science of getting new Twitter followers is definitely worth a read. This is the kind of goal that requires a shitload of daily perseverance, but with the help of tools like Crowdfire I'm sure I'll get there!

Take an Evening Class Since I moved to London over five years ago, enrolling on a City Lit course has been on my to-do list and it's still not been crossed off! From interior design for smaller spaces to the Psychology of Jung, I'm sure there's one class that will motivate me to finally sign up once and for all.

Go Roller Blading in Your Local Park I used to spend summer evenings as a kid swooshing around my street in a snazzy pair of roller blades, and I can't for the life of me work out why I stopped. I think attending a London Friday Night Skate is a great start to getting back into the rhythm!

Luxurious Spa Weekend Everyone who's survived three solid decades on this earth deserves a luxurious spa treat! While I've stayed in many hotels with saunas and been on a day visit to the Covent Garden Sanctuary spa, it is 100% my intention to spend a weekend in a Champney's retreat to revive and rejuvenate.

Write a Kindle Single: Another fab idea is to 'Write a Kindle Single'. This is definitely a stretch goal for me -  the length criteria of 5,000 to 30,000 words is definitely achievable and more details of the submission process for the UK are here.

Go Offline for a Whole Week! Since the age of 12 when I could access the internet with a dial-up modem, I don't think I've been disconnected more than a couple of days at a time. I get the shakes just imagining going cold turkey on the internet, but I bet it really changes your perspective on how much time we spend online and if it's actually a good thing or not.

Begin Your Memoir So I am fully aware that I haven't lived long enough or intensely enough to warrant writing a full blown memoir, but setting a goal to complete one of these memoir writing prompts is definitely a start.

Accomplish a GoodReads Challenge  For the last two years now I've been setting myself a reading goal of ~25 books a year. Before I did this, I think I would get through ten max. While it can be tempting to choose shorter reads to 'cheat' your way to completion, I find it really valuable to track my reading habits and it motivates me to set aside time to keep on reading. So far, I've read 22 out of my 25 books goal for 2015, allllmost there!

Volunteer Although I'm not exactly a stranger to volunteering, having helped out at a special-needs social club while at university, there's definitely more I can do.

See the Northern Lights For me, my dream destination is spending a long weekend staying in one of the glass igloos in Finland's Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort.

Send a Friend a Handwritten Letter I recently went to Paperchase to buy some premium writing paper, and even bought a gorgeous address rubber stamp from Etsy (handmade by Poumi) to sign off my letters.
Poumi address stamp

Draw Up Your Family Tree Technically you don't even need to draw this up yourself now that there's a whole host of geneaology apps available to do all the hard work for you. I only know as far back as my granddad's granddad and I'd love to trace my roots back further.

Make an Awesome Tiramisu This one is on my bucket list for Ned! It's hands-down my favourite dessert but I haven't got the foggiest on how to make a halfway decent one. I'm tempted to start off with this 'easy' recipe and see how it goes!

Write Up Your Fave 20's Moments This decade really has been defined by change - in my twenties I've travelled the world, started my career, bought a flat, fallen in love and became the owner of cute little Chickpea!

Begin a Memory Jar This sounds an eeeckle bit cheesy to me, but at the same time how much fun would it be to wait ten years and relive moments from the past?! You could create one each year to collect the best things that happened, write a holiday memory on a pebble during each trip, or maybe even write a special moment on a cork from a celebratory bottle of champagne. You could also take a different approach and create a jar with all your hopes for the next year, and then open it a year later and see what actually got accomplished.

Take a Wine Tasting Course I am unashamed in my love for a good glass of red wine, but actually I have very little understanding of what makes a good wine 'good'. While I've been to Napa's wineries, I have zero knowledge on how to properly taste wine. I'm always so impressed by sommeliers and their ability to pair wine with complex dishes, and to even have 1% of their knowledge would be good enough for me. I think I'll sign up to the West London Wine School (one of the top workshops/classes in London according to TripAdvisor), or failing that head over to my local Highbury Vintners as they often hold wine tasting events.


While looking for inspiration for other bucket list ideas, I also found the cute illustration above from Buck and Libby. There's some amazing ideas here, and the ones that I'll apply to my own bucket list are as to "send snail mail at least once a month", 'make a list of things I did in my twenties' and the super easy 'print off my Instagram photos' idea.

Buck and Libby's Special To Do List

Wish me luck as I aim to achieve all of the above on my before 30 bucket list (and hopefully more) in the next 356 days!


+ Inspiration: 10 Desk Accessories

desk accessories inspiration

Yes! We finally own a flat! And aside from the sheer joy of knowing the home I live in is now (by way of a gigantic loan) mine, the most exciting thing is to have my own creative corner for project Jeni 2.0. Whenever I've had a spare minute from Googling new dishwashers and fridges, I've spent hours poring over desk accessories on Pinterest and blogs. Here's my top ten ideas that I hope will make my desk area an inspiring and unique place:

1) Personalized Pencils:

Make like Caroline Herrara and have a bunch of engraved, personalised pencils handy to doodle from. A snapshot of her desk (as seen in Vanity Fair) shows dozens of "CH" monogrammed pencils, but how about the uplifting message of "Worry Less & Laugh More", courtesy of DesignGem on Etsy?

2) Pencil Sharpener:

If it's good enough for Martha Stewart, it's good enough for me! Her desk has a beautiful vintage pencil sharpener, or you can opt for a modern one like this Alessi Kastor pencil sharpener.

3) Inspiring Art:

In the absence of daylight or a beautiful, awe-inspiring view,  you need something to remind you of what's outside of those four walls. Consider a print of planet earth or inspiring wall art on Pinterest.

4) Snack of Choice:

If you're in the fog of a creative episode, you might need a reminder to eat in the midst of it! How about a pack of your favourite snack?

5) Anglepoise:

This beautiful green Anglepoise desk lamp is perfect for ensuring your masterpiece is swimming in bright light. You can also see my lovely red one in the photo at the end of this blog post.

6) Buddha Ornament:

Bag a desktop buddha from Amazon and get the same effect as Sophia Bush, who attests that having one one her desk is a "great call to meditate when life gets stressful".

7) Plants:

Business Week has a great selection of plants that are ideal for the desk here. Snake plants drastically improve air quality after dark, and apparently ZZ plants are almost impossible to kill!

8) Books That Inspire You:

Right, so you don't actually have to read them every time you sit at your deskbut being surrounded by inspirational writings by your icons (be it Diane Von Forstenberg's The Woman I Wanted To Be, Stephen King's On Writing or perhaps the compendium of wisdom that is Letters of Note)  can help get you into the right mindset.

9) File It Away:

Yeah yeah yeah, we all have Dropbox, Google Drive and can store our files on our laptops, but nothing makes you feel organized than paper copies and documentation you can touch. Get some gorgeous filing cabinets by Bisley like this red cabinet.

10) Your Pet:

My preferred choice is a cute cat not unlike my very own Chickpea :) She loves lazing about on my desk as you can see below.

Chickpea the cat on my desk, next to my red Anglepoise


+ 10 of the Best Dressing Tables

10 of the best dressing tables via Jeniwren.com

An offer has been accepted on a flat we very much love so I'm so very, very close to being a legit homeowner. I'm getting ahead of myself and have already mapped out a perfect use-case for the corner in the master bedroom... a make-up station, vanity table and writing desk, of course! I wanted to share some of the top vanity/dressing tables I've found, all of which are available in the UK:

1)  I've pretty much settled on this Hemingway desk from Swoon Station. It's so beautiful and even has two pull-out 'runners' to maximise surface space. Better still, it matches the Brunel wardrobe I bought from Heal's a while back:
Hemingway writing/dressing table from Swoon Editions

2) Made-to-order Dressing Table from Tobias and the Angel. You can customize to have shelves or no shelves, and get it painted in colours/styles of your choice:
made to order desk/dressing table from Tobias and the Angel

3) Willis and Gambier Lyon Dressing Table from John Lewis. This is super traditional, and if I bought this I'd probably replaced the handles with something a bit more contemporary to add some character to it:
Wills and Gambier Lyon Dressing Table

4) Emil birch dressing table from Habitat UK. I am a stickler for organization, and having so many drawers to categorize my make-up, toiletries and jewellery would be easy as pie with this table:
Emil birch dressing table from Habitat UK

5) Montana Console Table from Heal's. Pretty understated, but you could easily add drawer dividers and maybe add a desk pedestal underneath to add some more storage options:
Heal's Montana Console Table

6) Venus Dressing Table from Chaplin's. During my search for a dressing table it was pretty rare to find one with a pre-installed mirror and a lid to expand the storage available to you. This table does just that, but the curved design wouldn't necessarily go with my future bedroom:
Venus dressing table from Chaplin's

7) Fleur Dressing Table from Cox and Cox. Firstly, this retailer is my go-to destination for homewares,  spend far too much money there! I really love this dressing table because of the ornate detailing around the legs:
Fleur dressing table from Cox & Cox

8) Malm dressing table from IKEA. These blog posts here and here have some incredible tips (including a video) on how to transform this table into the make-up station a make-up artist would be proud of!
Malm dressing table from IKEA

9) Carter Dressing Table from Dwell.co.uk. Again, I love the idea of a lid I can flip up when I need to, so that everything is close at hand but doesn't look too messy the rest of the time:
Carter dressing table from Dwell

10) Venetian mirrored dressing table, available at Amazon.co.uk. I am not brave enough to buy mirrored furniture (and it doesn't particularly go with my boyfriend's minimalise style) but if I ever live in a palace-like mansion I'll consider this one!

My Picks for Vanity chairs and Stools:
Lille Armchair from Swoon Station
Lille armchair in oatmeal from Swoon Station

Rouen Stool, also from Swoon Station
Rouen Stool in Grape from Swoon Station

Jade Swivel Chair from Wayfair.co.uk
Jade Swivel Chair