• Sew a rustic plant cachepot

    by  • 25/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_sacks_of_style_052

    Use little crop sacks to make simple cachepots to add a homespun country touch to unattractive plastic plant pots. Here’s how…

    Place your pot inside a sack and roll over a cuff to the desired depth for the height of your pot. We rolled the folded edge over again to give a neater finish. Remove the pot.

    Thread a bodkin (a large-eyed needle) with a length of narrow ribbon, or choose raffia or chunky wool for extra rustic texture. Leaving a tail to tie a knot or bow, sew the ribbon in and out evenly through the holes in the open weave of the fabric halfway down, around the sack, through both layers. Again leave a tail to tie. Place the pot in the sack, gather the ribbon ends together and tie them in a knot or bow. Trim the ends.

    Decorate small pots with scraps of hessian glued onto the pot and trimmed. Finish with a length of twine, doubled and tied in a bow.

    Read more →

    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – Indian summer outdoor buys

    by  • 24/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_urbanaraDark evenings are tip-toeing in and we can’t deny the sudden nip in the air brrr… With the hum of autumn upon the horizon, now’s the time to embrace the last of the just-about-lingering evenings and celebrate the calm before the storm of Indian summer bliss… We’ve rounded up an inspired edit of turning-of-the-leaf buys that promise to woo soiree goers long into the night…

    Enjoy fresh-air evenings and stay warm with Urbanara’s on-trend wrap-around textiles in rich hues. Set the scene with luxuriously tactile scatter cushions and lovely cosy layers for late-stayers… Shown above: Carlet Mohair Blanket, £129; Carmona Mohair Blanket, £149; Uyuni Cashmere Blanket, £209; Alashan Cushion, cashmere, £69; Middle & right: Uyuni Cushion, cashmere, £59; Rimo Rug, from £169.

    ready_outthereintsSit back under the stars and let yourself be transfixed by dancing candlelight as any stresses from the day fade far, far away… These wonderfully quirky Colourful Candlesticks, £60 for a pair, from Out There Interiors (above), combine bright bases with complementary glass centres, separated by vintage brass metal work – they’re the perfect mix and match collection to display on a rustic table for an eclectic centrepiece with a touch of the exotic.

    ready_coxSet the scene and add character and warmth to your garden or terrace with ambient lighting. These fabulous Festoon Lights, £45, from Cox & Cox (above), are wonderfully simple but oh-so effective – simply drape in relaxed swags for romantic illumination after the sun goes down… If you’re feeling extravagant, then buddy up your scheme with this clever Elsa Outdoor Floor Lamp, £100, also from Cox & Cox (above) – lit or unlit, this scallop detailed hero piece will add an enchanted feature to your al fresco space.

    With such heart-warming buys to spice up the seasonal turn – extended evenings of outdoors leisure long may you continue..!

     

     

     

    Read more →

    Enjoy a healthy yoga retreat

    by  • 23/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    Enjoy a yoga holidayIt’s the perfect time of year to book a rejuvenating yoga break! We’ve discovered three of the best places to stretch out in mindfulness and relax with some me-time in a gorgeous country setting…

    Split Farthing Hall, North Yorkshire
    Set between the stunning Yorkshire Dales and the magnificent North York Moors, the Raw Horizons wellbeing retreat has a strong focus on yoga, and is an ideal place to rest and renew body and mind. Exclusive to women, courses include yoga, and guidance on achieving a balanced healthy lifestyle. The estate’s Georgian manor has six stylish bedrooms with Egyptian cotton bed linen, fluffy towels, cosy bathrobes and natural bath products. Book a Yoga & Relaxation package which includes two nights accommodation, three Kundalini yoga sessions, two mid-morning yoga sessions and evening wind-down time, plus wholesome meals throughout your stay.

    The Clover Mill, Worcestershire
    Settle into this boutique-style Ayurvedic spa retreat for guests with yoga classes, bespoke treatments and expert help towards a feeling of wellbeing and escapism from busy lives. In this restful country landscape, innovative eco lodges with timber-clad designs and earthy tones compliment the lakeside views and spa facilities . Ayurveda packages range from a weekend retreat to three night or five night stays, which include a personal dosha assessment, meals prepared fresh from ingredients in the vegetable garden and daily yoga and relaxation classes.

    Eco Yoga, Argyll
    This hillside retreat offers a healthy sustainable lifestyle with a yoga experience among Scottish woodland, lochs and rivers. Local crafts and reclaimed finds add a rustic feel to this hideaway. Choose from a family sized bothy or a simple guest room. A large communal space includes a kitchen, showers and spa facilities including a hot tub in a glass dome and the lure of a bubble bath by a waterfall… Cook up a meal in the self-catering kitchen or head to the nearby village of Kilmartin for further dining and shopping. Try yoga poses outdoors or stretch in the heated studio which has river and countryside views.

    Have you visited a yoga retreat? We would love to hear more about your experience…

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

     

     

     

    Read more →

    Rice puds with spicy apple jam

    by  • 22/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_ipcimmglpict000002990405

    Inspired by National Rice Week, we couldn’t resist this fruity rice pud recipe – not to mention the fact that it’s prime apple season! Despite it’s long cooking time it’s so simple to make. Smooth, creamy and with a hint of spice, it’s worth the wait…

    Serves 6

    For the rice pudding:
    150g pudding rice
    2x400g cans of coconut milk
    75g caster sugar
    250ml soya milk

    For the compote:
    20g pure sunflower spread
    4 Cox or Braeburn apples, cored and cut into small chunks
    75g sultanas or raisins
    3 tbsp plum jam, or use your favourite flavour
    Good pinch of mixed spice, plus extra to sprinkle

    1 Melt the sunflower spread in a pan, add the apple and cook for 8 mins until soft and golden. Add the sultanas, jam, spice and 6tbsp water and cook for 5 minutes.

    2 Meanwhile, mix the pudding ingredients together in an ovenproof dish. Bake at 130C, gas 1, for 1 hour 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Serve with the fruit.

    Read more →

    Meet Sami Couper

    by  • 21/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_group

    Designer Sami uses specialised dying and painting techniques to bring humble linen to life, creating the most beautiful cushions, make up bags and kitchen textiles, all available to buy from Not On The High Street.

    How did your business come about?
    Art and interiors was always more of a hobby for me. I made my own jewellery, renovated a few houses and designed my own furnishings. Friends and family would always ask where they could buy the things I’d made, and eventually I decided to turn my hobby into a business.

    What’s your working space like?
    When the weather permits I love being able to dye and paint in the garden, but most of the work is done in my home studio. It gets the sun all day and I have my table under the window. The room is filled with stacks and rolls of fabric, cushions and feathers as well as tins of knick-knacks that I’ve collected for inspiration.

    What inspires you?
    I grew up by the sea on the beautiful island of Tasmania, in a rambling old shipyard. It gave me an appreciation of nature and natural forms but also showed me the beauty in manmade materials like steel and concrete. Some of my first designs were made from salvaged finds from my Dad’s old ships and bits found in boat sheds.

    What materials do you choose to work with any why?
    Linen is my ultimate fabric to work with. I love the way it feels and how it wears. It lasts a lifetime and actually improves with age.

    What’s your favourite piece and why?
    My ombre indigo and natural linen cushion (above, £34). The colours look great in any room; deep notes of grey combined with a textured finish, which softens and becomes more comfortable over time.

    What makes your products special?
    Each piece is individually hand-dyed and painted by me in my home studio, making every item truly unique.

    Describe your interior style.
    I sit somewhere between rustic and modern. My house is filled with natural materials and textiles in muted tones, with odd pops of colour and texture. I love things that tell a story, as well as timeless, well-made pieces.

    Read more →

    Sleeping beauty

    by  • 20/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    Country bedroom

    Have you noticed how dark it is first thing in the morning now? If you’re struggling to get out of  bed, you may be in the mood to revamp your bedroom and make it as cosy as possible, ready for hibernating when the days get shorter and chillier.

    This gorgeous country bedroom, with its lovely autumnal feel, will provide plenty of inspiration. It combines French chic and rustic charm, and exudes that feeling of cosiness and comfort that’s just right for hunkering down.

    The beautiful damask wallpaper makes an ornate backdrop to the elegant bed, the Camille, from The Cotswold Company. Its limewashed finish adds to the relaxed, lived-in look, while neutral upholstery complements it beautifully, with button detailing injecting an opulent touch. Dress the bed with crisp white bedlinen and a deep gold throw to add a pop of autumnal colour.

    Then go for a stylish co-ordinated look by choosing limewashed furniture from the same Camille range to create a relaxing haven. The chest of drawers and bedside chest have charming antique-style button handles that add to the feel of time gone by.

    Keep the look pared back with wooden floorboards for a classic rustic feel.

     

     

     

    Read more →

    Upcycle and stencil a hessian rug

    by  • 18/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_rug_014

    With muddy boot season drawing ever closer, we love this unique upcycle idea, transforming a durable and hardwearing hessian sack into a practical rug for well-trodden hallways. A touch of pretty country flair is easily added with a pretty paint stencilled decoration.

    Use a stitch unpicked to undo the side seams of the sack, then iron the fabric flat. Create a fringe along the two shorter edges by pulling out threads to fray the edges – our fringe measured 5cm. Make a 2cm hem along both long edges by machine stitching or using iron-on hemming tape. Iron once again before adding the stencilled decoration.

    Use masking tape to hold your stencil in position on the rug and, using a stencil brush, dab chalk paint onto the surface, taking care near the edges of the cut-out shape so the colour doesn’t run (it’s worth practising on scraps of similar fabric first). Untape the stencil, reposition and repeat if desired.

    We added a stripe border along the long edges by marking off with masking tape and painting along the edge of the tape. Leave to dry.

    Read more →

    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – copper kitchenware must-haves

    by  • 17/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_sainsShoppers ahoy! This week our inner magpie has been summoned by the bright and shiny delights of new season copper kitchenware. If you’re mad for metallics and fancy a turning-of-a-new-leaf country kitchen update, then ‘copper’ load of this…

    Celebrate molten moments with warm shimmering accessories to update your work stations with pops of understated luxury. We’re loving Sainsbury’s new Copper Cookshop range – perfect for rustic settings, this extensive collection is super high-quality, durable and stylish. Mix and match metallic details with organic materials such as wood and glass for a country-chic look full of character. Shown above: Copper accessories, from £4. Visit the Sainsbury’s website to view the full collection.

    ready_pooky-2Cook with bright delight beneath grouped shiny pendant lighting to create a beautiful focal point that zones a multi-tasking area. Pooky’s absolutely stunning collection of copper designs are perfect for suspending at staggered heights above an island unit or table – switch on for a stylish alternative to strip and spot lights! Shown above: Thea Copper Pendant, £105; Coolie Hat Large Copper Pendant, £58; Dexter Large Copper Pendant, £95.

    ready_anthroBake with precision thanks to these oh-so-pretty, San Telmo Measuring Cups (above), £34 for a set of four, from Anthropologie. These mixed metallic lovelies feature etched copper bodies and elegant brass handles – they’re the must-have bake-off addition that you can hang decoratively from the dresser when not in use.

    Turn up the heat in the kitchen and shine divine with this seasons hottest trend!

     

     

    Read more →

    Our favourite place: Haslemere

    by  • 16/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_haslemerevisitorcentre-copyMake the most of the weekend with a trip to a pretty market town! Set at the gateway to the South Downs National Park in the Surrey Hills, we think that Haslemere is the perfect place to explore beautiful countryside and enjoy a little shopping too. We love it for its…

    History The arrival of the railway  in the 19th century opened up rural Haslemere, and drew notable cultural figures to live here, including poet Alfred Lord Tennyson and playwright George Bernard Shaw. Today, the charming town centre is still peppered with tile-hung timber cottages and has a 19th-century town hall. Discover more at Haslemere Educational Museum, 78 High Street.

    Shops The town has lots of delightful stores, including independent shops stocked to the rafters with country-style buys. Lifestyle shop Holly Park, 4-6 West Street, sells furniture, lighting, homewares and gifts; while Rural Living, 1 Charter Walk, showcases Neptune kitchens and sells country-style garden furniture plus Garden Trading accessories. Dress your windows at Mitchell’s Fabrics, 2 Petworth Road, and source decorative mirrors at India Jane, 31-33 High Street. At Aga Living, 35 High Street, you’ll find range ovens plus a cookshop; and nearby, Classic Cookware sells kitchenware, plus porcelain and utensils at 4 Causewayside. And be inspired by wood flooring and tiles at the fabulous Fired Earth showroom, 14c Lower Street.

    Food Heroes Surrounded by rolling hills and National Trust land, the town is a great source of delicious food produce all year round. Support local growers and producers by visiting the regular farmers’ market (first Sunday of the month). Buy traditional loaves, handmade bread, pies and cakes at Bread of Heaven, The Granary, 32 West Street. To make birthdays extra special, try themed or bespoke cake pops from Harry’s Pop Bakery, 18 Fieldway. Or head to Dylan’s, The Milk Barn, 1 Junction Place, for homemade natural ice-cream. The stripy honey and chocolate bumblebee flavour is irresistible…

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

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

    Read more →

    Clam and pork bake

    by  • 15/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_1054571

    Combining pork and seafood might seem a little odd, but this is truly delicious!

    Serves 6

    3 tbsp olive oil
    1 kg (2lb 4oz) pork shoulder, cut into 2cm (¾in) pieces
    1 large onion, sliced
    2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
    2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
    grated zest and juice 1 lemon
    1kg (2lb 4oz) clams
    150ml (¼pt) dry white wine
    large handful fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to serve

    1 Heat the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, 325 f, gas 3. Heat half of the oil in a casserole and brown the pork in batches, on all sides, then remove to a plate. Add the remaining oil and the onion to the pan; cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery and garlic; cook for another 3 minutes.

    2 Add the tomatoes, sugar, lemon zest and juice. Return the pork to the pan and heat until bubbling. Cover and transfer to the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the pork is tender.

    3 Scrub the clams, discarding any damaged or open shells that don’t close when tapped on a hard surface. Heat the wine in a pan, add the clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes until they’ve opened. Drain in a colander over a bowl to reserve the juices. Remove half the clams from their shells; discard any that remain closed.

    4 Stir the shelled clams, cooking juices and coriander into the pork, and season. Scatter the remaining clams on top and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with extra coriander.

     

    Read more →

    Meet Georgia Bosson

    by  • 14/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    ready_group

    Having completed a degree in Embroidery, Georgia Bosson began to experiment with screen printing and launched her first collection of printed linen textiles in 2013. Her quirky designs feature on a colourful range of homewares and stationery.

    What made you want to become a designer?
    I’ve always made things, from my own dolls as a child to my own clothes now. I love solving the puzzle of turning an abstract drawing or idea into a finished product.

    What’s your working space like?
    I share my studio with four other designers but my space is undoubtedly the messiest! I often work on several things at once as I find this feeds my imagination and helps my designs move forward. Lots of projects mean lots of stuff, so to the untrained eye it can look chaotic, but its just part of my creative process.

    Describe the design processes involved in your products.
    My designs come to life through drawing, playing with materials and sampling. I am a very hands-on designer and need to work with physical samples and materials before an idea comes to life. This means working between my sketchbook, print table and computer before I solidify the design.

    What inspires you?
    My current collection is inspired by felt remnants from industrial die-cutting. I have sacks of them delivered to my studio where they are either turned into limited edition products or used to inspire print designs. I love the challenge that comes from working with a found material and discovering new ways of bringing this waste material back to life.

    What makes your products special?
    All of my products are made in the UK from sustainable linen and organic cotton. They are screen printed in small batches to reduce waste and I strive to incorporate upcycled materials wherever possible.

    What’s been your career highlight so far?
    At the beginning of this year I was commissioned by The White Company to create a series of textile panels for their Marylebone High Street Store. It was a great project because I had lots of freedom within the brief. It was a very fast turn around which meant that the pieces were instinctive and great fun to make.

    What’s next for you?
    I’m completing my new collection, launching in January, inspired by my favourite seaside landscapes. I’m also working on an exciting print collaboration with fellow designer Cecily Vessey which will launch at the end of September.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Wonky, graphic and pattern.

    Read more →

    Natural beauty

    by  • 13/09/2016 • 0 Comments

    country dining room

    Neutral colour palettes are a firm favourite in country decorating schemes, and they really come into their own as autumn approaches. The muted tones, wooden furniture and natural textures in this understated but gorgeous country dining room are a winning combination.

    We love the statement dining chairs – the Ely chairs – which are upholstered in beautiful Emily Bond fabrics (the bird motif fabric is Oyster Catcher while the striped design is Oyster Catcher ticking stripe), all by Multiyork. This is Multiyork’s first collaboration with Emily and they have chosen 17 fabrics from her collection to use on seating. Emily’s designs are inspired by the British countryside and coast and are screenprinted onto Scottish linens.

    The fabrics work beautifully with classic country furniture such as this clean-lined farmhouse-style oak table with painted legs. Team with a rustic scrubbed-wood dresser that’s perfect for displaying tableware and vintage finds.

    Keep the look soothing by painting walls in a soft taupe and hang up floorlength linen curtains for a simple yet elegant windowdressing. Finally, inject extra interest and cosy up a stone floor with a natural fibre rug.

     

    Read more →