So, you’ve found a beautiful glass terrarium and you’re itching to fill it with plants. You’ve googled ‘how to build a terrarium’, but the reams of info online has left you scratching your head. Where to start? Are all the steps necessary? Do I need special soil? How often should I water my terrarium? You’ve watched a few videos, but really, you’re just keen to get your new accessory on display and pronto. After successfully keeping my terrarium alive for a good few months now, I thought I’d share some terrarium tips for the impatient indoor gardener.

How to build a terrarium

How to Build a Terrarium the Easy Way


The Bare Essentials for Open Terrarium Building and Care:

  • an open glass receptacle
  • mini cacti and succulents
  • small stones or pebbles (extra if you want to cover the top for a ‘decorative’ look)
  • houseplant compost
  • tweezers or kitchen towel
  • a spray bottle/plant mister


  1. Choose your receptacle – a glass terrarium with an opening works well for cacti and succulents by encouraging air flow and reducing moisture.
  2. Choose your plants – a mix of succulents and cacti work well together because they need a similar level of water (limited!)
  3. Fill the base of your terrarium with a layer of small pebbles or stones. This is really important to create drainage and ensure the roots of the plants don’t sit in water.
  4. Add a layer of potting compost (many guides say cacti compost, but my house plant compost has worked just fine).
  5. Mentally envisage where each plant will fit in the terrarium – prickly cacti are hard to maneuver, especially in small spaces! Use kitchen towel or long tweezers to gently move the plants into position. Avoid placing any plants too close to the glass edges so they have space to grow.
  6. Fill in the gaps around the plants with more soil and push down lightly to pack the plants into place.
  7. Mist the terrarium lightly.
  8. Sprinkle some more decorative stones or pebbles on the top of the soil to finish the look.

Terrarium FAQs: Oliver Bonas terrarium with succulents and cacti

Terrarium Building FAQs

How often should you water your terrarium?

If your terrarium is made of cacti and succulents, mist it with a spray bottle every 10-14 days or so. But, only if the soil looks and feels dry. Cacti and succulents won’t survive if you drown them! They’re more likely to survive if you forget about them for a while, rather than over-doing the watering.

Does a terrarium need direct sunlight?

Terrariums should be placed in a sunny location but not in direct sunlight. They are essentially mini greenhouses – too much sun and you’ll cook your plants!

Do you have to use activated charcoal in a terrarium?

Not really. Activated charcoal is a useful drainage layer to pull out excess moisture from the soil. It ensures your plants’ roots aren’t sitting in water. Having said that, if you don’t have any to hand, a good drainage layer of pebbles or stones will be fine for cacti and succulents (as long as you aren’t over-watering!)

Where should I place my terrarium?

Avoid direct sunlight, but the location should be sunny. Avoid placing your terrarium near a radiator or underfloor heating, again, this can ‘cook’ the plants and dry them out very quickly.

Potting soil, cacti and succulent plants for terrariums

There’s a lot of information out there if you’re looking to create a closed terrarium which acts like its own ecosystem. For serial plant killers, the open variety using cacti and succulents (above)  is a much easier version to look after. Just remember, mist, don’t water!

How did your turn out?

with love, b.xo


Lots of us are lucky enough to be off work between Christmas and New Year – it’s a great time to properly unwind and breathe before celebrating again on the 31st and starting a fresh year. Plus, there’s always so many leftovers to tuck into (please, no more turkey!) and more family to catch up with. Yet, I bet most, like me, can’t help but think about the upcoming year and make plans. There are 365 new possibilities waiting for us – how can that not be exciting? And one thing I’m definitely looking forward to is seeing how 2018’s interiors trends play out.

Interiors Trends 2018 - with love, b flatlay

Pinterest Predicts: Mixed Metallics, Sage and More

2017 has been a year of copper, millennial pink and bringing the outdoors in. 80’s houseplants, cacti and succulents popped up in everyone’s living rooms, while we also fell for natural textures in baskets, fringed cushions and other accessories. What does 2018 have in store for us? Instead of making some vague-ish guesses, let’s turn to the Pinterest 100 – Pinterest’s list of 100 trends that are set to be big for 2018, based on what we’ve been pinning during the past year. It covers all of the big categories you’d expect and among them ‘Home’. It’s a cheat sheet for the ‘next big thing’, informed by their millions of users. Last year, they predicted indoor vines, or climbing plants, would be popular in home decor and they were pretty spot on!

Interiors Trends for 2018 according to Pinterest

  • The colour sage
  • Mixing metal finishes – copper is no longer on top
  • Colourful doors
  • Ceilings that make a statement
  • Herringbone tiling
  • Patterned plants
  • Interiors inspired by resorts (especially bathrooms)
  • Terrazzo
  • Statement wall art
  • Bone inlay

Which of these are you most looking forward to? After marble’s popularity in recent years, a shift towards terrazzo, patterned with chunks of marble chips, makes sense. I’ve already noticed copper subsiding for gold again, too. And Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2018 is Heart Wood, a warm pink tone. Is this a sign we’ll be moving away from millennial pink too in our accessories? I’m looking forward to 2018 to put the spotlight on some of these future trends. What do you think will be big? And what are you happy to leave in 2o17?

Happy New Year!

with love, b.xo



Whether you love it or hate it, gift wrapping in December can’t be avoided. I find it’s a lot more fun when you do it sat by the Christmas tree watching a cheesy festive film. Just as I’m not a fan of tinsel and prefer more subtle, matchy matchy Christmas trees, I also love to have a theme when wrapping. It normally starts with brown kraft paper, although for stockings, it’s all about the colour. In the past, I’ve used everything from mini jingle bells and toadstools to pom poms and garden twine to decorate the brown parcels. This year’s theme was especially easy, but looks quite effective, so I thought I’d share some Christmas gift wrapping ideas for 2017.

Easy  Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas for 2017

Easy Gift Wrapping Ideas

This year’s theme is all about textures and monochrome colours. I chose two types of ‘accent’ wrapping papers to tear by hand. The marbled paper was from Katie Leamon, bought at Decorum, and the spotted, inkblot paper from Paperchase. I used a range of different textured ribbons to layer or tie, including velvet, satin and grosgrain.

(The below was more of a present to myself… A delicious salted caramel cupcake from Peggy Porschen. Cupcakes make wrapping more fun too, by the way.)

Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas and Peggy Porschen Cupcake

Present topper ideas for your kraft paper gifts

You can add nearly anything to your brown paper presents, here are just a few ideas:

  • jingle bells
  • real holly
  • homemade pom poms
  • homemade clay tags
  • branches of Christmas tree
  • glitter dipped pine cones
  • mini toadstools
  • mini baubles
  • Scrabble letters
  • handmade paper snowflakes
  • candy canes
  • wool
  • garden twine
  • wooden snowflakes
  • wooden initial letters
  • handmade festive stamps
  • initial stamps
  • festive mini pegs
  • wool tassels
  • homemade gingerbread
  • handmade mini wreaths
  • mini paper honeycomb decorations
  • handmade felt trees, holly leaves etc.

I could probably go on for a long time, but you get the idea – nearly anything festive goes! How will you be decorating your gifts this year?

Happy wrapping.

with love, b.xo




After a long time commuting, I’ve finally become a Londoner! Getting 3-4 hours of my day back means I can dedicate time to with love, b and re-position it to how it was always intended to be – a lifestyle and interiors blog. And of course, it helps to have my own flat and a new space to get creative with. There are definitely drawbacks to renting (no painting, obviously!) but luckily we’ve found somewhere that’s a pretty blank canvas with plenty of potential.

Grey interior design details

New adventures

I’m excited to share new stories about making a rented space a home, my addiction to upcycling furniture, pom poms and all-grey-everything . So, if, like me, you spend your spare time pinning dream homes on Pinterest, I hope you find some inspiration here! I’m going to be sharing my thoughts in three new categories:

Interiors Inspiration – Home decorating ideas and inspiration from own little slice of London. Sharing my favourite finds and upcycling projects.

Beautiful Spaces – Follow my adventures around the capital, exploring the decor of London’s secret spots and design-led interiors – from cafes and shops to exhibitions. I’ll probably find some inspiration from further afield, too.

Creative Thoughts – Everything else. Lifestyle ideas with a sprinkle of creative writing.

Inspiration from ELLE decor

I decorate, therefore I am

Some say you need a niche when it comes to blogging, others say post whatever you feel like. There shouldn’t be any rules, but after a few months experimenting, I’m happy to have re-organised with love, b to focus on what I really enjoy. They say write about what you love, right?

with love, b.xo




July Favourites

I can’t quite believe it’s almost August! Where is the year going? After a busy few weeks, I’ve been enjoying a relaxed weekend and reflecting on the last month. It’s been a pretty good one. I spent a week in my favourite place in the world on a staycation, extended my staycation to Dorset and went glamping, watched the first of my school friends walk down the aisle and got published! I’m sharing three of my favourite things I’ve discovered this July which are loosely related (kind-of) to these new memories.

Review of Flow Magazine

#1 Flow Magazine

I’ve always loved magazines. I love the feel of the paper and tearing pages out to keep for a later date. Yep, I’m a paper hoarder. During my staycation I came across Flow Magazine for the first time. And now I’m wondering where it’s been all my life. This is a magazine for paper lovers; packed full of quotes, inspiring photos, different textures of paper, illustrations, perforated pages that are ready to tear, not to mention great articles on the lifestyle themes I love to read and write about myself. I don’t think I’ve found a magazine that’s more ‘me’, however strange that sounds. It’s an independent Dutch magazine, but they make a few English editions throughout the year. Flow describes its aim as “celebrating creativity, imperfection and life’s little pleasures”. Just visit their website and you’ll see how they absolutely nail this. Writing for Flow is my new aspiration. It’s just perfect. Or perfectly imperfect.


Falling in love with Flow magazine

Photos in Flow Magazine, English edition

#2 Soulshine Cafe

Where do you find such cool independent magazines? Places that call themselves Soulshine, that’s where. Now it’s technically not true that I found Soulshine Cafe this July, as I have been once before, but it’s not until now that I’ve really ‘discovered’ it, if you like. I even went two days in a row. Soulshine calls Bridport, Dorset home. It’s a sleepy town on the Jurassic coast, making this quirky cafe pretty pioneering. They like to use local produce, make tasty juices served in jam jars and sell great cake. Their decor is sunny and fun, even the bathroom’s well-worth visiting. After lots of heavy pub food during my seaside staycations, Soulshine was the perfect place to shake things up. I tried their vegetarian chilli which was great. If you’re ever in the area, get some Soulshine in your life. You won’t regret it.

#3 All striped everything

I’ve always liked stripes. And I’ve always had a thing for blue clothes. But I’ve recently bought this over-sized striped shirt and its quickly become a favourite. I love the embroidered animals. I’m the kind of person that discovers they like something and goes out and buys more similar things. Safe to say I’m having a shirt moment, sorry bank account. I love these shoes too, but they don’t seem to like me much. My. Poor. Feet. I’m definitely no fashion blogger, but these have cheered me up during my post-staycation blues so they’re worthy of the list!

July Lookbook - Kurt Geiger loafers and striped shirts

What have you enjoyed about July? I hope you’ve discovered some equally great things!

with love, b.xo