It’s been a funny old week in Qatar, with unsettled weather and unseasonal showers. When visitors from England and Norway descended on us this week, I was hoping to show them how we like to spend our days off in Doha: basking in golden sunshine on the beach or catching rays beside the pool, but it just wasn’t to be. Instead, we retreated inside, out of reach of the howling winds to enjoy catch-ups over tea and cake from the comfort of my sofa. I’m not going to lie, I’ve enjoyed every minute and there’s one very simple reason for this – I really love my home!
After nearly two and a half years living in the same place, Mr Sunshine and I have moulded our largely open-plan apartment with its tiled floors and magnolia walls into a space that we’re proud of. Small, personal touches are littered across each room, hinting at our personality and passions, and cosy details such as soft lighting, candles, photos and soft furnishings give the space a homely feel, even on the bleakest of days like today. I like to think we’ve brought a touch of Hygge to Qatar, one of the least ‘Hyggelich’ of countries.
Today I’m taking you on a home tour to show you my favourite spots in our apartment, and why they mean so much to me.
This post is sponsored by Ponderlily, so don’t forget to scroll through to the end to find out more about their wonderful planners, and how you can get your hands on your very own at a discounted price using my special Follow Your Sunshine discount code!
Are you ready? Let’s jump in!
Master Bedroom: Reading Corner
I started here because it’s the newest space in our house, and one of my favourites. As Sophia’s nursery is getting more cluttered by the day with new toys and equipment, I wanted to move her old nursing chair out of the room to create some space, and found a perfect spot for it by the window in our bedroom.
We’ve cosied up the area with soft furnishings such as cushions, throws and rugs, and we’ve added to the peace and serenity of the space by bringing the outside in with the addition of plants at different levels. I love the soft, pastel hues and the different light effects that this area receives at different times of day, with bright sunlight streaming in from the room’s dual aspect windows during the day, and cosy lamplight and candlelight to snuggle up with in the evening.
Baby Sunshine and I usually sink into this chair after bath time, with a whole heap of books, and read stories until she’s ready for sleep.
Nursery: Teepee and Cot
You might remember what Sophia’s nursery used to look like from my nursery reveal post, but it has since been updated with a bespoke pink teepee by Nok Nok which was her first birthday present. It was such a good purchase; nearly a year on and I swear she’s used it every day since! She spends so much time in there that we bought a soft and fluffy pink rug from Home Centre to pop under it so that she can’t feel the hardness of the tiled floor underneath.
On the floating shelves above the teepee are a number of personal items: a bear we bought her before she was born, a handstiched ‘S’ and some decorative ornaments.
Another handmade feature that I love in her room is her name banner by Patt Handcraft. We actually commissioned this about 6 months before she was born, as we’d already decided on her name! It was the very first item other than clothes that I ever bought for my little girl, and I remember the excitement I felt when I hung it up for the first time – somehow it made my impending motherhood feel so much more real!
Sophia’s cot is from Mama’s & Papa’s. As you know by now, she doesn’t sleep in it all that much, but hopefully all that will change next month as we’re starting a course with our own dedicated Sleep Nanny (stay tuned for more on this!). For now, I’ve tried to make this space as welcoming as possible, with her favourite teddies and some soft cushions, and we manage to sneak in the odd nap or two here when we can.
Bathroom: Bath and Bath Shelf
Is it just me who has started to enjoy having a deep, warm bath at night time again since becoming a mum?! There’s nothing quite like a long soak in the tub by candlelight, with a scented bubble bath and some soft tunes playing while I read a book or just lie there doing not much at all for a while. It’s sometimes the only time of day that I get to spend completely alone with my thoughts with no disruptions at all. Bliss!
I recently purchased this handy bath shelf from handmade seller Enjoy The Little Things in Qatar, who also makes a range of bespoke wooden signs and shelving units, amongst other things. It allows me to keep my book out of the water, and bring a cup of tea (or glass of something a little more exciting) and plate of cookies along with me for company.
Of course, this usually means that I spend so long wallowing in here that I come out all wrinkly!
Living Room: Shelves
This set of bookshelves is a statement feature as you walk into our living room from the entrance hall. Filled with meaningful items and knick-knacks from our travels across the world, they often become the bain of my life, as they are such an easy dumping ground for anything and everything, from keys and receipts, to empty coffee mugs and used candles! When tidied however, I adore them and all of the sentimentality they contain, even if they look a little more shabby than chic.
From the books, to the pictures, the quotes and the ornaments, every single thing on those shelves has some meaning to my family and me.
Pictured: Monkey hand-carved out of a coconut from Sri Lanka; pottery letters of our names from the Amalfi Coast; hand blown vase and angel figurine made from Murano, Italy; metallic praying figurines from Bali; 5 year service award from Mr Sunshine’s work; photos from our travels; Ivy which I’m attempting to grow into a hanging plant!
Pictured: quote pictures; Crosley record player; records; novels and cook books; stained glass lamp from Souq Waqif, Doha; elephant book ends from Sri Lanka.
My new study
Now we come to my favourite place in all of our home – my brand new study! Rather than decorating my own room tucked away from the world as I originally envisioned for this space, I decided to build my study in an area tucked to one side of our living room. It works well this way: I can keep one eye on Baby Sunshine playing as I get on with my work, and it helps me to switch off and turn my attention to her if I’ve been glued to my screen for too long.
I love it this area, because it brings so many elements of my life and work together in one little space.
Chair: The One; blogging storage boxes: Ikea; Desk, shelves and lamp: Ikea; cactus ornaments: Ikea; rose gold photo frames: Paperchase; cream photo frame: Zara Home; candles: Diptyque and Skandinavisk; jar of inspirational quotes: Smiles By Julie; mug: Rosanna; mood/inspiration board: Ikea; plant pots and plants: Ikea and Plaza Hollandi; clock: Georg Jensen; Doha print: Doha Designs; home quote print: Not On The High Street; pen pot: Museum of Islamic Art; list clipboard: Alice Scott; planner: Ponderlily.
Having an organised desk, with special items and spaces to inspire my creativity is so important to me now that I work from home. For this reason, one staple item that always can be found on my desk when I’m at home, or in my handbag when I’m out and about is my Ponderlily planner.
Made with eco-conscious materials, with sleek lines, this planner is much, much more than just a diary. Each monthly chapter contains a roadmap, where you can map out your sparks of inspiration, things to maximise & minimise, reasons to celebrate and plans to put into action. A useful two-page monthly spread allows me to plan out my notable events and not to miss an important deadline. Each weekly spread allows me to plan my day hour-by-hour and tick off my to-do list, contains reminders to recharge and reinforces positive habits. There’s an abundance of notes pages and inspirational quotes, as well as leaves and leaves of empty space at the back of the planner, which have perforated edges in case you need to rip them out and keep them handy (or if, like me, your toddler creates a master piece on them and you want to tear it out and stick it to your fridge!).
It’s the planner to beat all planners and now I’ve owned one, I can’t see myself ever buying any other brand.
Follow Your Sunshine readers – you’re in luck! To celebrate the fact that these stunning planners are now available for purchase in Qatar, the very lovely people at Ponderlily are offering you 15% off your total order throughout the month of March. Just head to www.ponderlily.com and enter coupon code SUNSHINE15 at check-out to bag yourself a bargain!
If you would prefer to purchase one in-store, then the planners are available at FNAC stores in Lagoona Mall and Doha Festival City now. Plus, there are some new launches coming very soon! Sign up at www.ponderlily.com, or follow them on Instagram @weareponderlily to receive all of their up-to-date news and announcements.
I hope you enjoyed my home tour, and happy planning!
Follow Your Sunshine xxx
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