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We did as much as we could with our own hands

Helen Brown and husband Sergy, worked together to create a home that was special to them and filled with memories
Sergy built the wall to separate the kitchen and dining areas. The salvaged bricks are from sT salvage. matching the colour and texture of the old bricks, the couple selected terracotta tiles from house of Tiles for the splashback

‘The week we moved into our new apartment was chaotic,’ says photographer and interiors stylist Helen Brown. ‘My husband Sergy broke his wrist falling off his bike and Queen Elizabeth and President Obama both decided that it was a really good week to visit Dublin. The city was at a standstill and Sergy was in plaster up to his elbow when we were trying to pack everything into boxes and move to our new home. It didn’t seem like a great start, but things improved after that!’

Helen and Sergy, with daughter Megan, were living in a city centre apartment at the time, but it had become too small for them and it was in a busy, noisy location. ‘It was fine when Megan was smaller, but now we needed more space and somewhere quieter and more relaxed,’ says Helen. They liked the location of this apartment on the city’s outskirts, close to all the main transport routes, but also near to beautiful beaches and open countryside.

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At last we can kiss goodbye to the dark, dreary days of winter and look forward to the lighter, brighter days of spring. Easter comes early this year, so to celebrate we’ve put together some scrummy recipe ideas that are perfect if you’re having family and friends over during the Easter weekend (p.100). And, if you want to make it extra special, why not try your hand at our beautiful Easter craft projects to decorate your dining table too (p.60)? If you’re planning to make the most of the long bank holiday weekend with a spot of decorating, make sure you take a look at our brilliant eight-page spring trends forecast on page 36. We’ve picked the five hottest looks from the high street, so whether you’re drawn to laid-back coastal blues, eye-popping tropical brights or calming candy colours, you’re sure to find some inspiration for your new colour scheme. Sick of waiting for your other half to do the decorating? Then turn to page 66, where we’ll guide you step by step through the basics of tiling. I know the bank holiday is the time of year when many of you are ready to get back out in the garden. So on page 114, you’ll find our suggestions for which plants to include in your beds and borders to guarantee your garden is full of colour all year long – yes, even in winter! Finally, if like me, your pets are important members of your family, then make sure you read our low-down on pet insurance on page 18. Your furry friends will thank you!