• Archive for May, 2010

    Make a box pleat tablecloth

    by  • 26/05/2010 • Country craft • 2 Comments

    I just have to share this great idea for brightening a conservatory or garden table. This fitted tablecloth in a wonderfully zingy Bennison fabric can be found in our July issue, but you can click on the link above for instructions. A made-to-measure cloth, tailored to fit your own table, makes for practical and smart summer styling… Happy sewing!!

    Tailored stripes make smart tables...


    Follow our simple instructions on the link above

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    Chelsea Flower Show

    by  • 25/05/2010 • Country moment • 5 Comments

    One of the highlights of May for me is visiting RHS Chelsea Flower Show and yesterday was no exception. Despite the blistering heat in London, the show was shimmering with glamorous faces (from Helen Mirren and Jamie Oliver  to Twiggy). Ideas and inspiration for country gardens were everywhere. Here are three of my favourites…

    The L’Occitane Garden is inspired by the dry and sunny landscape of Provence, featuring olive trees, herbs and lots and lots of lavender… It was truly as if a little piece of the South of France had been transported to London. Incredible.

    The L'Occitane Garden


    The Eden Project’s Places of Change Garden is a true inspiration of clever and easy ideas for growing-your-own and recycling in the garden. From a greenhouse made of plastic bottles to mulches made from old clothes, this was all about using everyday items in unexpected places. Really clever and really beautiful.

    The Eden Project's Places of Change garden


    In the Great Pavilion, the charity Riding for the Disabled Association celebrated its 40th anniversary with this delightful cottage garden, in conjunction with Hall Farm Nursery, who are based in Shropshire. The pony sculpture was made specially for the stand by Rupert Till. Lovely, isn’t it?

    The RDA and Hall Farm Nursery

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    Sarah Raven

    by  • 21/05/2010 • Country moment, Country style • 4 Comments

    Writer, cook and garden expert Sarah Raven has a lovely website jam-packed full of great ideas for the home and garden. I love this picture filled with fun camping accessories for the summer. Take a peek at her website for more unique ideas.

    Bunting, £27; Deckchairs, £125; Tri-pod cooking pot & grill, £120.

    Bunting, £27; Deckchairs, £125; Tri-pod cooking pot & grill, £120.

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    Auricula theatre

    by  • 18/05/2010 • Country moment, Country style • 2 Comments

    Aston Pottery in Oxfordshire emailed to tell me that they are staging an Auricula theatre until 19th June. Hand-stencilled auricula jugs in varying sizes are being displayed on stepped shleves alongside delicate auricula plants. Jane Baughan, who designs and stencils the pottery, says, ‘Since a very young age, when I picked flowers with my grandmother, I have loved flowers.The auricula is one of my favourites because of its myriad colourways. Several different layers of hand-painting are stencilled onto each piece of pottery and we can build up an extraordinary depth of colour with stencilling.  It is a time-consuming method of hand decorating pottery, and to my knowledge, we are the only pottery still stencilling today.’

    Really pretty and perfect for the country kitchen table…

    Aston Pottery's Auricula theatre



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    Sunday afternoon walk

    by  • 17/05/2010 • Country moment • 2 Comments

    One of my favourite walks on a Sunday is along the cliffs and through the woods and glens of the Hastings Country Park. This Nature Reserve, just a few miles from our home, is a unique area of maritime cliffs with grassland, heath and ancient woodland.  On a fine day you can clearly see the French coastline (just 20 miles away). The views and variety of terrain are always enjoyable; the kids love running wild down the paths. For me, I especially love it at this time of year for the fiery yellow gorse (hence its name ‘The Firehills’), the English bluebells and the scent of wild garlic.

    The view from the cliffs


    Bluebell woods

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    Garden Boutique

    by  • 14/05/2010 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Whether you have a balcony garden, a small space or a large country garden, I’ve just come across this website which is the perfect place to find unusual garden sundries. From garden lighting to welly warmers, pretty plant labels to bird feeders, Garden Boutique offer practical yet chic accessories all handpicked by award winning garden designers. Here’s just a little preview from their range. Also take a look at their blog for more tips and inspiration. 

    Birdie plant labels, sef of 5, £9.95.


    'Fil De Fer' hanging basket, £16.95.

    'Fil De Fer' hanging basket, £16.95.

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    Handmade heaven

    by  • 12/05/2010 • Country craft • 3 Comments

    I’ve discovered an online shop where you can buy beautiful handmade gifts and craft supplies – knowing that they’ve all been lovingly handmade by crafters in the UK.

    Misi (Make it, Sell it) has stylish gifts, country-style homeware, clothing and food. For the crafter, the supplies section has haberdashery, gorgeous pastel-coloured yarn and kits – we love the girls’ dress and retro bag


    Gorgeous gifts handmade in the UK

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    Bluebells and horses

    by  • 10/05/2010 • Country moment • 1 Comment

    I had my yearly May ‘fix’ of walking through bluebell woods on Saturday. We all spent the day at the Symm International Horse Trials at Hambledon. The Culden Faw Estate, which hosts the trials, has the most glorious bluebell woods through which horses ride for the Cross Country event. The bluebells were just everywhere with their hazy hypnotic colour and distinctive scent. I loved the quiet atmopshere of this ancient and beautiful woodland disturbed only by the thump of horses’ hooves as they approached each obstacle.

    A truly magical place – many thanks to Symm, one of the UK’s premier building companies, for inviting us. 

    The bluebells on the Culden Faw Estate


    The Cross Country event

    A good action shot!

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    Hedgerow blinds by New House Textiles

    by  • 07/05/2010 • Country style • 3 Comments


    Blinds are a quick and easy way of adding colour and pattern to your home. New House Textiles lead the way with window treatments that are perfect for a modern country setting. I love this new ‘Hedgerow’ print featuring some of my favourite summer flowers; a refreshing take on the classic English floral. All blinds are custom-made and start from £60 for a 1m by 1m roller blind.
    New House Textiles

    New House Textiles


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