• Bring the outdoors in

    by  • 30/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    country kitchen diner

    Here at Country Days, we’re so enjoying the sunny weather and beautiful summer gardens at the moment, and just loving the idea of bringing the outdoors in.

    So we couldn’t resist this gorgeous country dining room with its pretty florals that demonstrates perfectly how to mix and match old and new for a modern look.

    Bags of character is added with the fantastic weathered and limed wood trestle table and benches (find similar at antiques fairs and give it a chalky look yourself with watered-down paint). Then partner with French-style chairs, as here, for a dash of elegance.

    To show off the beauty of the woodden table, the tablesetting is deliberately kept simple and understated with cool cotton runners and rustic tableware.

    It goes without saying that the colourful fabrics from Prestigious Textiles really bring the look to life. Teaming a trailing floral fabric with toning stripes creates a really pretty and relaxed look that’s perfect for an informal area.

    To bring the scheme bang up to date, hang oversized industrial-style pendants above the dining table and add Tolix stools in the kitchen. (Don’t you just love the quirky finishing touch of the giant knife and fork wall art in the kitchen?)

     

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    Make dining outdoors a breeze

    by  • 28/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    craft

    Set yourself up for a season of alfresco dining with this fun take on a restaurant-style utensils station. Mark up terracotta pots with chalkboard paint (we like Pebeo’s Porcelain 150 paint, £4.10, Fred Aldous) or ready-made labels (try Not On The High Street for a selection). Chalk on your favourite phrases – we’ve come over all Alice-in-Wonderland; ‘eat up’ for wooden cutlery, ‘drink up’ for straws and ‘clean up’ for napkins. Mix and match colourful products to create an eye-catching display.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy country craft projects  for you to try. Happy crafting!

     

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    The Country Decorator’s Shopping Shortlist – Camping Buys

    by  • 27/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    holly-camping

    Calling all happy campers! There’s something delightfully exhilarating about pitching up outdoors, surrounded by spectacular countryside – rustic rest and relaxation in its finest form.

    Whether you’re a countrified camper or stylish glamper, we’ve rounded up the essentials to help you sit back, breathe in the fresh-air, and enjoy the back-to-basics beauty of being at one with the natural elements…

    A happy camper needs a comfortable shelter in which to sweetly dream after outdoorsy excursions. Pitch-up with a pretty and practical tent in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Far from being just a floral fancy, the Wiltshire print adult tent from Liberty London is created to withstand extreme weather conditions. Featuring a multi-purpose lobby and a breathable inner tent, it will ensure your camping trip is not ruined by unexpected showers. Waterproof, fire retardant and UV fade-resistant – it is the top choice for a quiet weekend away or a fun-and-frolics jaunt with friends.

    One of life’s simple pleasures is exploring our woodlands and hedgerows. After a day of foraging for wild fare, reward your efforts with a delicious meal prepared over glowing coals. The small charcoal bucket barbeque from Tesco comes in scrumptious yellow and is practically perfect in every way. Portable and ideal for al fresco cooking, it is an absolute steal at £8.

    Wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a refreshing brew! Accessorise your camping kit with this lovely folklore-inspired coffee pot by Wild and Wolf at Bloomsbury, featuring sweet owl and fox design. Lightweight and durable, enamelware is a must-have when camping!

    As much as we love adventure, there’s no denying that Mother Nature can be a minx when it comes to our beauty regime. Ladies fear not – you can be a glamping goddess thanks to the camping beauty kit by Hearth & Heritage at Not On The Highstreet. This useful set of beauty essentials contains organic SLS and paraben-free goodies scented with lavender and vanilla – top of our wishlist for a healthy glow on any camping or glamping experience!

    Now that the kit list is suitably ticked off – there’s nothing for it but to switch-off the technology, immerse yourself in rural retreat and carry on camping!

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    Visit a walled garden

    by  • 26/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    Felbrigg Hall | Norfolk | Walled GardenWith the arrival of hot summer days, we’re celebrating walled gardens! Both practical and pretty, these historic retreats help delicate plants and flowers to thrive and provide a wonderful sensory experience. Here’s our pick of the bunch to enjoy…

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    Summer tomato tart

    by  • 25/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    jane

    Easy to make and deliciously moreish, we love this Mediterranean-flavoured tart for its simplicity and the way it shows off this season’s tomatoes to beautiful effect. If available, use different coloured tomatoes for extra visual appeal. Serve with a crisp green side salad and optional crusty bread.

    Serves 6

    300g puff pastry dough
    400g ripe tomatoes
    2tbsp black olive tapenade
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Handful fresh basil leaves, to garnish

    1. On a lightly floured surface, thinly roll out the puff pastry to form a circle about 27 cm in diameter. Chill the pastry circle in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6, then cut the tomatoes into 0.5cm thick slices.
    3. Place the chilled pastry circle on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spread the olive tapenade evenly over the pastry, leaving a 2cm rim around the edge. Arrange the tomato slices in spiralling rings over the tapenade, overlapping them slightly. Season with a little salt and pepper, bearing in mind the saltiness of the tapenade.
    4. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F) Gas 2 and bake for a further 1 hour, until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown and the tomatoes are cooked through.
    5. Serve either warm from the oven or at room temperature, garnished with basil leaves.
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    Be inspired by beautiful embroidery

    by  • 24/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    maker-500

    Having discovered a love of all things fabric, Cathy Emmott’s experience with traditional appliqué inspired her to try a new technique –free-motion machine embroidery. The result? Beautiful homewares featuring nostalgic countryside designs, from feathery wildlife to cottage-garden blooms. She tells us more about her happy business, Dear Emma Designs

    What made you want to become a designer?

    I’ve always loved drawing, painting and making things but after the expense of university I needed to recoup some funds, so I found myself taking a job in finance. By snatching small amounts of time between naps and feeding two young children, I taught myself to sew. My designs have evolved over a number of years. Each piece is cut by hand and stitched using free-motion machine embroidery, so each piece turns out very different from the next!

    How do you make your pieces?

    The initial stages of design involve taking lots of photos and painting using water-colours. I then play around with lots of textured and coloured fabrics, working out which of them suit the final design. Once I’m happy, I use the sewing machine as a pen to draw in the detail. I often have to unpick or start from fresh – you can’t rub out stitches!

    Describe your workspace.

    My workshop is in a small stone outbuilding situated in my back garden. I’ve put up lots of shelving units to hold my stacks of fabric and use vintage suitcases to store haberdashery. The main distraction is my workshop window, which overlooks my bird feeders and the beautiful fields beyond. I really notice the change in seasons and have to remind myself constantly to sew not stare!

    What inspires your designs?

    My surroundings, which is why most of my designs involve garden birds, wild flowers and the countryside! I’m also drawn to the small towns that are nestled within the Yorkshire Dales. I love the way each house was built identically to the next but made individual by its occupants. When stitching my street scene pictures I love to immerse myself in the detail.

    Describe your creative style in 3 words. 

    English, country-inspired and natural.

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    Pave the way for sweet dreams

    by  • 23/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    French style country bedroom

    If you’re hunting for inspiration for an elegant country bedroom scheme, look no further than this beautiful French-style bedroom with a contemporary twist.

    At its heart is a stunning French upholstered bed and a Louis chair re-covered in a plush velvet that up the comfort factor. A tranquil colour palette comprising evocatively named shades such as vintage rose, pebble and shell ensures the decor is super soothing.

    But it’s the wealth of subtle patterns that catch the eye as they work beautifully together to create a modern look. Archive motifs inspired by lace emblems and floral trails have been reworked for contemporary appeal – from the stunning skeleton leaf using pointillism and beading on the feature wall that’s the backdrop to the scheme, to the embroidered Jacobean motif of the bed throw. Lustrous satins and sumptuous velvets add to the understated opulence. (The fabrics and wallpaper are all from the Purity Collection by Harlequin.)

    This is a look that demands a luxe window treatment. Layering is a great way of adding interest, as well as keeping light out for a good night’s sleep, and a combination of a linen Roman blind and floor-length curtains make for a practical and timeless dressing.

     

     

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    Turn a teapot into a planter

    by  • 21/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    teapot planter | Country Days | Country Homes & Interiors

    Chipped your favourite crockery? Give it a new lease of life with this easy upcycle. To make, spread about half an inch of gravel across the bottom of an old teapot, add an inch or so of potting soil, then pop in your favourite houseplant. If you love the result, why not plant a selection of herbs in matching teacups? Arrange them on your kitchen windowsill for a display that’s both practical and pretty.

    If you like this idea, we’ve got lots more easy craft projects to inspire you on the Country Homes & Interiors homepage.

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    Picnic treats

    by  • 18/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    Ready_Unknown

    It’s National Picnic Week so we’ve been on the lookout for tasty ideas to fill your hamper. This recipe is not only super healthy it’s a super posh country-style alternative to the average sandwich. Enjoy!

    Beetroot, Black Rice and Pear Wraps [Serves 4]

    4 wholewheat tortillas
    2 large romaine lettuce leaves, torn in half
    1 large pear, grated
    Sea salt

    For the beetroot paste

    2 cooked beetroots, roughly chopped
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    Small handful of fresh coriander
    Small handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
    35g walnuts
    1 teaspoon coconut oil
    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

    For the black rice

    240ml water
    100g black rice
    ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
    Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lime
    35g sultanas
    35g flaked almonds, toasted

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    Fun on the farm

    by  • 17/06/2015 • 0 Comments

    Ready_Izzi-Rainey groupFrom her family farm in Norfolk, Izzi Rainey creates striking hand-printed textile homewares including lampshades, cushions, tea towels and more. She chats to us about the unusual inspiration behind her designs…

    How did IzziRainey come about?
    Selling my own designs is something I’ve always dreamt of doing. I established the business in July 2014 with my school friend Lara Mullis. We make a great team. I’m the creative one and Lara is fantastic at selling – she’s always been so passionate about my work.

    What’s your work space like?
    Our studio is a converted milking parlour which we have renamed ‘The Old Dairy’. It’s a great space with lots of character; it still has original features including old wooden beams and milking lines!

    What inspires your designs?
    I take photographs and pencil rubbings from textured surfaces around the farm. They can be of anything from tyre tracks and fan vents to agricultural machinery. I like to introduce colour too – my inspiration comes from old oil-cans or the original paint on old barn doors.

    What’s next for the company?
    We’ve just invested in a caravan from a local recycling website and are in the process of transforming it into a traveling shop – it’s going to be bright turquoise! We’re so excited to take it out to fairs and festivals.

    Describe your happiest countryside moment.
    I grew up on a farm so I have many! I remember visiting an agricultural show at the age of six and taking part in the Young Handlers competition with my calf, Rufus. He had exactly the same colour hair as me, and we came first. To this day I have a picture of us both next to my bed, with a red rosette and a big grin on my face!

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