• Make sweet-smelling potpourri

    by  • 24/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_SUN CRAFTA seasonal reminder of what’s been grown in your garden, potpourri can be created to feature favourite scents, colourful flowers, or both!

    Cut flowers and herbs on a dry day; we used petals and small flower heads including lavender, rose, cornflower, marigold and chamomile. You can dry the plants in one of two ways; either space them out on a drying rack and store away from moisture or sunlight or place them in a microwave on a paper towel and ‘cook’ for just under a minute. Decant into a favourite bowl and scatter fresh lavender heads and rose petals on top to enjoy the scent straight away.

    Decant into little muslin bags to hang up in wardrobes or if giving as a gift, store in a sealed opaque jar to retain the colour and scent.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – hammocks for summer lounging

    by  • 23/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_NordicLive the postcard dream in the comfort of your own garden and get away from it all beneath the sun (or stars) with the help of nothing more than a pair of obliging trees and a suspended recliner. We’ve rounded-up a beautiful edit of nap-worthy hammocks to inspire outdoor summer R&R to a tee.

    Let lazy summer days linger into balmy evenings with this lovely Artisan Woven Hammock, £120, from Nordic House. Hand-made from textured water hyacinth, this wonderfully large hammock is perfect for layering with super soft cushions and snuggling into with a favourite read… Pure bliss for the body, mind and soul, and it will blend effortlessly into your gardenscape! W130xL290cm.

    Ready_NOTHSTake the weight off tired feet and relax in a gently billowing breeze… We love this beautiful Cuadro Rosa Double Hammock, £93, by EmilyHannah Ltd at Notonthehighstreet.com. Featuring a pretty checked pattern in rosy pinks and cream, this inviting design is made from 100% recycled cotton and can be easily hung from a rustic wooden stand or pair of friendly trees – it’s just the thing to help you unwind after an energy-sapping day rushing about in the heat! L350cm. Also available in Natural and Ocean colourways.

    Ready_AmaraSwing away the minutes into hours in stylish comfort with this charming Mauve Dots Hammock, £71, by Bloomingville at Amara. This cotton beauty is available in several colourways – simply choose a design to match your garden furniture and indulge in some well-deserved me time beneath nature’s umbrella of leafy trees… W100xL200cm.

    Every garden has a secluded spot just calling out for a hammock… Embrace stolen moments and siesta in the serenity of summer!

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    Our favourite place to visit: Lymington

    by  • 22/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Visit Lymington in HampshireThis Georgian market town sits at the gateway to coast and country with the Solent Strait and  New Forest right on its doorstep. There’s an array of shops and family-friendly activities to try, too. We love it for its…

    Saturday market
    Lymington Charter Market began in 1250. Today, more than 90 stalls run the length of the High Street selling fresh fruit and veg, bread, meat and sausages, deli treats, cupcakes, fudge, plants, flowers, clothing and household goods.

    Outdoor activities
    With two marinas and an Olympic gold medallist (Ben Ainslie), Lymington is the place to try some sailing, start with a luxury day trip from Escape Yachting.  Or join a guided walk to hear smugglers tales and more with Lymington Town Tours. If that’s too energetic, head to Lymington’s outdoor seawater baths, the oldest in the UK, for a relaxed dip on a summer’s day.

    Countryside
    Just North of Lymington discover the wild heathlands and woods of the New Forest, where ponies, pigs and Highland cattle roam free.

    Shops
    Coastal chic and stylish home buys can be sourced at charming Puffin Bay, Quay street, where you’ll find furniture, lamps, cushions and seaside themed gifts, capturing the essence of living by the sea. Make your house a home with gorgeous furniture, fabrics and lamps from Willow Lifestyle, 60 High Street. Domestic goddesses can source kitchenware from Steamer Trading cookshop, 98 High Street, and make plans for new kitchens with Raynsford Furniture’s handcrafted English furniture including kitchens, bathrooms and bespoke pieces at 26a St Thomas Street. Browse galleries for unique artwork too, including contemporary art at Stephen Lees gallery, 2 Quay Street, and fine art at Robert Perera, 19 St Thomas Street.

    Food Heroes
    Delicious local food is easy to find here with its enviable location. Family butchers A&J Seal, 4 Angel Courtyard, sell ethically sourced meats including game, speciality sausages and local Pennington beef. Seafayre Seafoods has a steady stream of visitors at The Yacht House, 8 Quay Street, for its mouthwatering lobster, prawns, scallops, cooked crab and cockles. Independent wine merchant, The Solent Cellar, 40 St Thomas Street, welcomes visitors to browse, taste and shop for wines, with expert advice on food matching too. And New Forest ice-cream must be tasty as visitors queue around the block for it at Truly Scrumptious, 6 Quay Street…

    Where is your favourite market town? We would love to hear more about it…

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    Peach and Rosemary Crumble

    by  • 21/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_PeachCrumble_026.2

    This truly delicious recipe is from new book Superfoods Superfast by Julie Montagu (Quadrille, £18.99). Not only is it a super healthy summer pudding but any leftovers can be eaten for breakfast, too – just add milk!

    Serves 6–8

    6 large ripe peaches, stoned and cut into small chunks or thinly sliced
    90g (¾ cup) oats
    60g (½ cup) buckwheat flour
    5 rosemary sprigs, leaves separated
    75ml (5 tablespoons) coconut oil, melted
    55g (3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) coconut palm sugar
    2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
    2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon sea salt

     

    1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
    2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined and crumbly.
    3. Spoon into the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. The crumble will come out hot and bubbly and absolutely delicious!

    Photography by Yuki Sugiura

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    Meet Fiona Fawcett

    by  • 20/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupStylish, light-hearted and oh-so cute, it’s hard not to fall for Fiona’s adorable illustrations! She launched her brand Plewsy in 2015, with a little help from The Prince’s Trust. Her beautiful paper products and homewares can now be found in lovely little shops across the UK, as well as on Not On The High Street.

    Where are you based?
    In the North Yorkshire countryside near the market town of Northallerton.

    How did your business come about?
    After graduating with a design degree I spent some time working for a creative marketing agency. I slowly gained the confidence to turn my illustrations into products and opened an Etsy shop with just six greetings cards! I juggled this with a part-time retail role for a while before enrolling on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme. This gave me the push I really needed to focus on Plewsy full time.

    What inspires you?
    Everything from the outdoors to interiors, colour palettes and conversations. I always carry a little sketchbook so I can note down ideas as and when they come to me.

    Do you have a favourite design?
    I’m really happy with our latest collection, Be Green. It’s inspired by the outdoors and highlights the brand’s commitment to being eco-aware, from the recyclable paper it’s printed on to the local suppliers I choose to use. I love the new home card (shown above) – who wouldn’t want to live in the middle of a peaceful forest?

    What do you love about what you do?
    I’m very lucky to have turned a hobby into a career, not many people can say they love going to work everyday! Every day I learn a new skill or a new way of doing something.

    What advice would you give to budding designers?
    Be confident in your own style and really work your socks off, it pays off in the end.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Layered, cute and imperfect.

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    Summertime seating

    by  • 19/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    country living room

    Here’s a super pretty country living room that’s just right for summer, mirroring the colours and blooms of the garden beautifully.

    It’s a fabulous example of how to use a neutral backdrop – off-white walls and rug, plus elegant neutral painted furniture – then introduce colour and pattern with furniture and fabric.

    The gorgeous green sofa (the Chatsworth, upholstered in Willoughby 01, from The Dormy House) provides a stylish mainstay of the scheme.  Its opulent buttoned back ensures it ticks the box as regards classic good looks, while the subtle striped upholstery fabric injects a modern touch. A neutral ottoman, with a buttoned lid (in Cirrus 03,  from The Dormy House), continues the button detail and makes an eyecatching centrepiece, providing plenty of concealed storage.

    Liven up the scheme with joyful co-ordinating fabrics – both florals, stripes and windowpane checks – for an individual and eclectic interior. Flowing floorlength curtains make a delightful frame for the windows, while the tones are picked up in the cushions and the bold floral design of the statement armchair. Add into the mix the smart striped Lounge chair Portland Stripe 02 from The Dormy House and you have all the ingredients of a quirky and distinctive look.

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    30 Country Style Icons: the laundry maid

    by  • 17/07/2016 • 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.

    The laundry maid

    9

    Also known as a Sheila maid, this simple Victorian invention has stayed with us as an eco alternative to the tumble dryer; a  rack on a pulley that’s lowered for loading wet clothes then hoisted up out of the way for efficient drying. It makes great use of rooms with high ceilings and is often seen fitted in a utility or boot room, although plenty of people hang it over the landing or bath too.

    The classic design has a pair of cast iron mounts with wooden rails and many designs can hold a couple of machine loads of washing so make sure you secure it’s secured properly to the ceiling joists to take the weight. Find great examples from £39.99 at PulleyMaid.

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    Tie a pretty posy

    by  • 17/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_HUGE ORIG PICFrom bridal bouquets to seasonal gifts, everyone loves a little bunch of flowers! These stems were specially picked for their scent and colour; fresh and dried lavender, rosemary, roses and mint…

    Cut the flowers, leaving stems long – on a dry sunny day to ensure blooms are open and any dew has evaporated. Remove leaves from the bottom two thirds of the stems.

    To begin your arrangement, hold a stem across your palm with the flower on top and lay another across on a slight diagonal. Repeat, gradually turning the posy as it builds up. Keep a tight hold, working near the top of the stem. Once a few stems are in place, tie with long string to keep them together, then work in more flowers and herbs a bit lower down to create a dome effect. Wrap the stems with twine and knot to secure, then tie with ribbon for added decoration.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – outdoor table settings

    by  • 16/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_NeptuneThe garden is looking splendid in all of its pillowy blossomed loveliness so take advantage of the sunshine this weekend and set the alfresco dining table on a par! With such an exquisite array of tableware on the market it’s hard to know where to start – but fear not, the Country Decorator has hand-picked a gorgeous edit of dinnerware that won’t fail to match even the prettiest of petals…

    Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dine your way through hazy summer days with Neptune’s delectable range of garden gastronomy must-haves. This Hudson Six-seater table, £1,390; and Harrington Armchair, £260 each (shown above), are the perfect ‘surprise and delight’ mix of tradition-meets-contemporary furniture picks to host the ultimate secret garden gathering! Dress with this Corinium Jug, £10; Alderney Hurricane Vase, from £20; and Bowsley Platter, £14 (all shown above), to delight family and friends right through to the autumn retreat!

    Ready_BurfordEmbrace the spirit of the Scandi summer and set the scene with beautiful serveware that celebrates outdoor dining with delicate details and artisanal flair. We love these Swedish Stoneware Bowls, £20 each (above), from the Burford Garden Company. Featuring an organic pattern of plant leaves and tendrils in a unique glazed finish, these versatile handleless cups are perfect for tea and coffee, soup or noodles, and dips and nibbles. Complement with these delicate Etched Wine Glasses, £8 each (above), to create a welcoming display in stunning ethereal colours. Visit the Burford website to be utterly enchanted by the full outdoor living collection.

    Ready_BirdieMake entertaining over the warmer months easy with Birdie Fortescue’s classic and contemporary tableware collections – just the thing to capture understated elegant style. (Pictured above): Porcelain tableware, from £7.75; Hand-blocked printed table linen, from £4.75; Glazed hand-crafted pots, from £5.50. Simply group crisp patterned table linen with hand-blown glassware and full-of-character glazed pots grouped in different sizes and shades for an uplifting tabletop affair.

    Fresh air, favourite people and an enchanting setting… Who needs to holiday abroad?!

     

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    Visit a cliff-top hotel

    by  • 15/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Visit a cliff-top hotelThere’s no better way to see the coast than a weekend stay at a seaside hotel. Why not head to one of our favourite cliff-top retreats for a bird’s-eye view of the sea where you can breathe in the cool hues, crashing waves and uplifting salty air…

    Seaham Hall, County Durham
    This magnificent Georgian retreat on the Durham Heritage Coast offers a fascinating slice of history; a family home-turned-wartime military hospital, now a stylish hotel. There are twenty individually designed suites offering a modern opulent style. Dine on locally sourced fresh food at Byrons Bar & Grill, or try delicious Pan-Asian food at Ozone. Explore the gardens, take a dip in the hotel pool or amble down from the hotel towards England Coast Path.

    Cliff House Hotel, County Waterford
    The views here are spectacular, looking out over Ardmore Bay on Ireland’s south coast (pictured). Choose from 39 sea-view rooms and suites or book the hotel’s boutique-style self-catering cottage. Calming hues of coastal colours are used throughout with antique furnishings, and artwork inspired by the sea. Sit back in the comfort of velvet banquettes and tweed chairs at the unstuffy house restaurant and enjoy Michelin-starred food and unrivalled sea views. Relax in the spa or enjoy foraging treks and adventure sports.

    The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
    Located on a rocky clifftop looking out towards the beach, this is a ‘grown-ups only’ hotel and the perfect place to wind down from a busy lifestyle. Rooms are bright and spacious, with eco luxury from organic toiletries to natural-style finishes – some have private balconies while others offer terraces. Guests can take the hotel’s resident whippet, Jasper, for a stroll along the sandy seashore or take time to indulge in the luxurious spa which has a range of treatments for body and mind.. For the ultimate cliff-top view, try a seaweed soak in an outdoor tub.

    Where is your favourite coastal hotel? We would love to hear more…

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    Chilled Minted Pea Soup

    by  • 14/07/2016 • 0 Comments

    Ready_Chilled Pea & Mint Soup 1

    This lovely refreshing summer soup can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept chilled in the fridge. For a smoother soup, sieve it before serving, then simply pour it in the glasses and garnish to serve.

    30g (1oz) butter
    3-4 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
    500g (1lb) peas, fresh or frozen
    750ml (1½pt) vegetable stock
    2-3tbsp freshly chopped mint
    Pinch of sugar, optional
    Double cream and pea shoots, to serve

    Heat the butter in a pan and add the shallots, or onion, and cook for about 5-7 mins, until they have softened but not coloured.

    2 Add the peas to the pan and then the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 mins until the peas are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the soup to cool slightly.

    3 Add the chopped mint to the soup and purée in a blender or with a stick blender. Season to taste, and add the sugar, if needed.

    4 Chill the soup well before serving and if it’s too thick, thin it down with a little cold water or vegetable stock.

    5 Serve in small glasses with a little cream spooned on top and garnished with some pea shoots.

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