• The height of elegance

    by  • 24/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    floral country bedroom

    French style is ever popular in country interiors and this chic country bedroom is the height of elegance.

    The painted bed creates a beautiful focal point in the scheme. Partner with pretty furniture such as the decorative Gustavian chest of drawers shown here (this one is the Marie design from Gustavian and is painted in a pretty blush pink for subtle warmth). Then introduce extra drama with an oversized chandelier – perfect for a room with a high ceiling as it helps to break up the space.

    What really sets the scheme off beautifully though is the gorgeous statement-making floral backdrop that pulls the look together. The stunning wallpaper, Palais in Redowa from the Revolution Wallpapers collection by Little Greene, is a classic interpretation of a pattern typical of French wallpaper panels produced by the manufacturer Réveillon from the late 1700s onwards. The original design scale, style and surface treatment have all been maintained, embracing floral bouquets and garlands with drapery and arabesque decoration.

    This is a scheme that is classically timeless, but the addition of a geometric rug soon injects a contemporary edge.


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    Meet Kharis Leggate, the winner of the 2015 My Country Business Awards

    by  • 23/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_Kharis Leggate

    Enter the 2016 My Country Business Awards in association with Notonthehighstreet.com now and you could be like Kharis Leggate of Home is an Island, the winner of last year’s British Wool Award for Emerging Talent Using British Wool.

    Kharis weaves cushions and blankets by hand in Shetland wool. The judges were impressed by the beautiful colours and textures, and how they capture the mood of the Shetland landscape.

    What did winning mean to you? It gave me the confidence to believe that Home is an Island could be successful.

    How have you developed the brand? I’ve focused on ‘behind-the-scenes’, making sure the business represents what I want it to: local production, sustainability and promoting British wool.

    What’s your long-term goal? I’m planning to develop upholstery fabric ranges through 2016.

    How helpful was the support you got from winning? The British Wool Marketing Board was incredible and Campaign for Wool director Bridgette Kelly helped me with my business plan.

    Remember to enter the My Country Business awards now at housetohome.co.uk/business

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    30 Country Style icons: rise-and-fall pendant

    by  • 22/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors is 30 this year! In celebration, we’ve picked 30 of our all-time favourite design classics that have stood the test of time, thanks to their real sense of history, craftsmanship and purpose, to share with you over the coming weeks.

    6Before dimmer switches, the rise-and-fall pendant light ruled supreme, using a simple pulley system to change the height of the light source and, with it, the mood of the room. The design remains popular today, fitted with a classic glass, china or enamel shade, or weathered zinc and polished copper (shown here, School Rise & Fall Pendant, £450, Davey Lighting at Original BTC). Hung over key surfaces such as a kitchen island or dining table, this kind of lighting not only brightens the room, it draws the eye to focal points in a stylish and visually dynamic way.


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    Pretty up picnic packaging

    by  • 22/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_rt_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_08You’ve got your hamper and the drinks are sorted – this week, we show you how to make your picnic extra special by individually wrapping and labelling sandwiches and cake slices. Not only does it look so pretty, it bring a lovely sense of nostalgia to the occasion – well worth the extra 15 minutes or so it takes to do.

    For the sandwiches, wrap each one in greaseproof paper. Write or print out a label and stick to blue card cut into the shape of a luggage label with a punched and riveted hole. Layer with a brown luggage label and tie in place with twine.

    For cake slices, wrap in parchment-lined foil. Make a box by marking a triangle on decorative card the same size as the slice. Onto each side of the triangle, measure and mark a narrow rectangle; draw an extra tab on one end of each rectangle. Cut out, fold up the sides and stick together with double sided tape using the tabs. Place the cake inside, attach a wooden fork and tie with twine.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – blissful bathroom buys

    by  • 21/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_Cox & Cox AW16 Bathroom Collection Lifestyle copyBubbles ahoy – there’s nothing more relaxing than winding down after a long week with a prolonged soak in a steaming tub of gorgeously scented, soapy suds. This weekend we think that you deserve a little at home pamper, so we’ve rounded-up some delightful bathroom essentials to help you on your way to foamy bliss…

    Give your bathroom a harmonious spring update with a few soft colour pop accessories from Cox & Cox’s beautiful and brand new Scandi inspired range. Featuring a selection of ombre, two tone and geometric linens; and ceramic accessories with brushed metallic finishes in a blushing palette – this bang on trend launch is just the ticket to wet room heaven! We love these Cross Woven Towels – Blush/Grey, from £30; Two Tone Towels – Blush/Grey, from £22; Black and White Grid Towels, from £18; Ceramic Accessories – Eau De Nil/Blush, from £15 (all shown above). Visit the Cox & Cox website to view the the full collection of tempting bathroom must-haves.

    Ready_JLCreate a relaxation room sanctuary you’ll want to come home to forever with the Croft Skye accessories collection from John Lewis. Made from cool, white porcelain with tactile lipped edges and bases – it’s the quick and easy way to lend a timeless look to your bathroom decor. (Shown above): Bathroom Tumbler, £12; Soap Dispenser, £18; Toilet Brush and Holder, £28; Soap Dish, £12.

    Ready_Marks & SparksDry off and wrap yourself up in fluffy luxury with the help of Marks & Spencer’s exquisite assortment of towels and bath sheets. We recommend piling high sumptuous plains in pretty colours with thrown in accent patterns to make having to leave the bath a little more bearable! (Shown above): Phoebe Floral Towel, from £6; Luxury Egyptian Cotton Towels, available in a spectrum of colours, from £2.50.

    Whether you crave a waterfall shower blast or bottomless bath – there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy an indulgent at home spa experience all to yourself… Light the aromatherapy candles and unleash the bath bombs!


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    Our favourite place to visit: Folkestone

    by  • 20/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Visit Folkestone in Kent

    With its charming historic town centre, rejuvenated harbour area and high-speed train links to London and Paris, this town in Kent is the place to be… We love it for its:

    Coastal and country vibe
    The mile-long cliff-top promenade of The Leas offers sea views to France. Ride the historic Leas Lift down the cliff then head to Sunny Sands beach for a picnic. The Elham Valley is situated nearby in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, rich with woodland walks.

    Creative Quarter
    A vibrant hot spot for creative start-ups, the Old High Street has been key in the renaissance of this seaside town, proving a magnet for artists and designers.

    Folkestone has plenty of one-off shops and studios offering hand-crafted items for your home and garden. For interiors, source restyled vintage furniture and contemporary home furnishings by independent designers at 
Anecdotes Design, while The Great British Shop offers wonderful homewares, prints and locally-made gifts. For a great selection of antiquarian books, maps and prints, don’t miss Marrin’s Bookshop; and pick up spring bouquets at Stem by Stem.

    Fabulous food
    East Kent is big on local seasonal produce. You can’t mention food and Folkestone in the same breath without talking about Rocksalt and sister chippy The Smokehouse, standard bearers for local sustainable fish – Folkestone flounder, garlic butter baked scallops and mussel popcorn. Feeling peckish? Take a break and enjoy expertly cooked local seasonal dishes at The Five Bells, a welcoming 16th century country inn at the foot of the North Downs in East Brabourne. Or take tea at traditional-style Lavender Tea House which celebrates the fine art of cake and conversation with homemade bakes and loose-leaf teas.


    Where is your favourite town to shop this season? We would love to hear more about it!

    Want more inspiration for weekends in the country? Sign up for your weekly Country Post newsletter…









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    Oh-so-good soda bread

    by  • 19/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_soda bread cut

    In celebration of this week’s Real Bread Week, we’ll be making this delicious soda bread recipe. If you haven’t tried making your own bread before, give this a go and get into good habits of home baking! We promise you won’t regret it. However, if you do get a bit slack, don’t slip back into the sliced bread trap, support your local, independent bakery and buy from there instead.

    • 500g (1lb) stoneground wholemeal plain flour
    • 100g (3½oz) butter
    • 284ml carton buttermilk
    • 4 tablespoons milk
    • 2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
    • 1 level teaspoon salt
    • 1 level teaspoon caster sugar
    • Baking sheet, buttered
    1. Set the oven to Gas Mark 7 or 220°C. Tip the flour into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
    2. Mix the buttermilk and milk in a jug. Stir the bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar into the flour mixture. Pour in the milk and mix to a soft dough.
    3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Place this on a baking sheet and flatten it slightly. Cut a deep cross into the top, using a long-bladed knife and cutting almost all the way through. Bake it in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it has risen, and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
    4. Transfer it to a wire rack to cool. The bread is best eaten on the day of baking. Or you can freeze the loaf for up to one month. Wrap a cold loaf in a freezer bag. Let bread defrost and “refresh” it in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving.

    TIP It’s the bicarbonate of soda that reacts with the buttermilk so the bread rises. It starts to work as soon as the ingredients are mixed, so once “wet mixed”, don’t leave it too long before baking.

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    Meet Laura Felicity

    by  • 18/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupHomewares brand Woven is hosting a pop-up shop for British designer Laura Felicity at their Fulham Road flagship store. From 16 May – 18 June, a selection of pretty patterned cushions and lampshades will be available to buy both in-store and online. Laura tells us more about her adorable illustrative designs…

    Where does your inspiration come from?
    I’m constantly influenced by my surroundings and each collection has a beautiful story to tell. For example, Dotty Bird (above, top) is an eclectic design inspired by my collection of patterned papers, love of blossom flowers and favourite garden bird, the sparrow.  Pretty Flower, (above, bottom left) is my general interpretation of pretty English gardens and the countryside in summertime.

    Describe your working space. 
    Currently it’s a bit of a mess as I’ve been getting products ready for the Woven showcase! On the wall I have pinned colour samples, thank you letters and photos of commissions to keep as inspiration.

    What do you love about what you do?
    I love nothing more than seeing my products placed in wonderful homes. I’m so happy that something I have designed and created can make someone else smile, it’s a great feeling.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    British, timeless and personal.

    What’s your favourite thing about the countryside?
    It’s such a beautiful place to wander in. I love the peace and quiet I get each morning to clear my head, set up my mind for the day and get inspiration for new designs.

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    Blooming lovely

    by  • 17/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ashley Wilde floral living room

    With the flower show season on the horizon – RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place next week – we’re really in the mood for everything floral.

    And this gorgeous country living room, decked out in classic floral fabrics, is perfect for creating a summery look that’s straight out of the garden. The intricate handpainted designs, appropriately enough from the Hampton Court collection by Ashley Wilde, will work well in either a classic or contemporary space, and come in a lavender, forget-me-not, rose, lemon or summer palette.

    To show off the fabrics to their best advantage, partner them with a neutral backdrop and tease out the accent colour, such as lavender as shown here, with blinds or cushions in a toning shade and in a quintessentially country polka dot design.

    Painted furniture complements this look beautifully – choose a distressed coffee table and use it to display pretty posies in milk bottle vases or vintage bottles for a rustic edge. Then add extra elegance with a French-style crested overmantel mirror to reflect light back into the room and help keep the look bright and airy.

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    Do you have a shop or online business? Be mentored by John Lewis

    by  • 16/05/2016 • 0 Comments


    If you’re a bricks-and-mortar store or an online platform selling multiple brands, we’d love to see the work you do. Enter the 2016 My Country Business Awards category for Retailers now and you could be mentored by Anna Rigby, Head of Buying, Home, at John Lewis.

    A Partner with John Lewis, Britain’s leading omnichannel retailer, for 35 years, Anna can share her extensive knowledge and expertise in developing Home and Fashion products, bringing them to market and maximising every sales opportunity.

    Remember to enter the My Country Business awards now at housetohome.co.uk/business

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    Label up bottled drinks

    by  • 15/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_rt_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_07_smllMake light work of organising and carrying drinks on a day out by decanting them into labelled bottles – they look extra lovely too! We’ve used a set of bottles to make ours, but a jumble of different shapes and sizes would be just as effective.

    Write or print out everyone’s names onto adhesive labels and stick to strips of decorative card. Glue them to the side of the bottle with double-sided tape. Add a pretty label made from some fabric cut to just larger than a brown luggage label to a vintage style bottle carrier (this and the bottles themselves can be used time and time again – we found ours on Ebay). Punch and rivet a hole through the fabric, thread ribbon through it along with a luggage label decorated with the words ‘Drink me!’ and tie to the carrier.

    For a pretty finishing touch, decorate drinking straws with washi tape flags and pop inside each bottle.

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    30 Country Style Icons: Mason Cash mixing bowl

    by  • 15/05/2016 • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors is 30 this year! In celebration, we’ve picked 30 of our all-time favourite design classics that have stood the test of time, thanks to their real sense of history, craftsmanship and purpose, to share with you over the coming weeks.

    7A staple in our grandmothers’ and mothers’ kitchens long before our own, how many puddings, pastries and cakes have been stirred in a Mason Cash mixing bowl? Made of earthenware, sometimes known as ‘yellow ware’ thanks to the colour of the local clay, these iconic bowls first came out of the kilns in Church Gresley, South Derbyshire in 1901 and the design has barely altered since.

    In addition to their vintage looks, the weight is all part of their appeal as they stay glued to the counter when beating ingredients – even when using an electric mixer! As befits a modern day classic, the bowls are both microwave and dishwasher safe.

    This sturdiness also ensures the bowls are built to last, with many handed down from generation to generation still in use years on. Available from £16 at John Lewis.

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