• Archive for March, 2011


    by  • 31/03/2011 • Country style • 2 Comments

    I’ve always thought magnolia the most elegant of trees. Driving around at home yesterday, it was a delight to see the graceful shape and the dusky pinks and china whites of its flower on every country road I seemed to go down.

    The Country Homes & Interiors team took magnolia as the inspiration for one of the decorating features in the May issue (on sale now), but here’s just a really simple way of displaying cut branches in stylish ceramic vases…

    Magnolia in vase

    The simplest of arrangements are often the best

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    Sew a tablecloth

    by  • 30/03/2011 • Country craft, Country style • 2 Comments

    I love this easy table cloth sewing project using one of the latest embroidery style fabrics from Jane Churchill.

    Simply cut the fabric to fit your table size and hem all around. Cut two lengths of bobble trim measured to fit the shorter widths of your cloth, plus 2cm. Position one of these on the wrong side of one of the shorter ends of your fabric with equal amounts of excess trim at either end. Tuck the ends under and sew in place. Press to finish

    If you like this project, take a look at the May issue on sale on the 31st March which has more easy embroidery craft ideas to try at home.

    Embroidered tablecloth

    Tablecloth, Oriel Spot Multi, ref J607F/02, £49 a metre, Jane Churchill at Colefax and Fowler. (Trimming) Bobble Fringe, ref 26, col Pink, £6.04 a metre, VV Rouleaux. Casa tablecloth, col Green, £15, John Lewis. Colour-edged tumblers, £26.95 for six, Dee Puddy. Green pressed glass tumbler, from a selection; cream and red striped jug, £54, both Anthropologie. Ivory cutlery, £58 for a 24-piece set; White Cap dinner plates, £8.50 each; dessert plates, £5.95 each; Isabella dining table £1,390; Camargue chairs in Weathered Oak, £155 each, all Oka.

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    Roasted garlic mash

    by  • 29/03/2011 • Country food • 1 Comment

    This is a lovely way of pepping up mash by adding roasted garlic. There are more delicious seasonal recipes using garlic in our May issue, out Thursday.

    This recipe serves 6. You will need…

    1.5kg potatoes for mashing, such as Desiree or Maris Piper

    2 large heads roasted garlic

    olive oil for roasting

    100ml whole milk

    200g crème fraiche

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Slice the top of the bulbs of garlic so the flesh is visible. Place in a crumpled piece of foil and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 200*C/400*F/Gas 6 for about 45-50 minutes until pale golden and the cloves feel soft when pierced with a knife. Leave to cool slightly before squeezing the softened garlic, one clove at a time, out of the skin. Cook the potatoes in plenty of boiling salted water until tender. Bring the milk almost to the boil in a saucepan. Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan. Add the garlic and a little of the milk and mash until smooth, gradually pouring in the remaining milk. Stir in two thirds of the crème fraiche and season to taste. Turn into a warmed serving dish and dot with the remaining crème fraiche and plenty of black pepper.

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    Spring paint palette

    by  • 28/03/2011 • Country style • 1 Comment

    If you’re looking for colour inspiration for a room that needs updating, then our stylist Carol Wortley recommends these spring green and yellow shades from two of our favourite paint companies. I love the way she’s shown them on this wooden house blackboard!

    Spring paint colours

    Heart house wooden chalkboard, £9.95, Live Laugh Love. Paints: clockwise from top: 1.Ochre, £29.50 for 2.5 litres of Natural emulsion, Pots of Paint. 2.Lancaster Yellow; 3.Cooking Apple Green, both £26.50 for 2.5 litres of Estate Emulsion, Farrow & Ball. 4.Pea Green, £29.50 for 2.5 litres of Natural emulsion, Pots of Paint. 5.Dayroom Yellow, £26.50 for 2.5 litres of Estate Emulsion, Farrow & Ball.

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    Owl Wallpaper

    by  • 25/03/2011 • Country craft, Country style • 4 Comments

    This charming ‘Owls of the British Isles’ wallpaper design is a brand new collection launched by talented interiors stylist Abigail Edwards, former Deputy Decorating Editor here at Country Homes & Interiors. Hand drawn, Abigail took inspiration from her childhood surrounded by woodlands and wildlife. Featuring 10 different owls, from the barn owl to the snowy owl, how many can you spot…?

    Owls of the British Isles, £68 a roll, Abigail Edwards.

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    by  • 24/03/2011 • Country style • 4 Comments

    Houses editor Vivienne Ayers recently visited the home of Catherine Davis. Catherine is a big ‘collector’ and loves antiques and vintage style for inside and out. Viv was particularly taken with this dovecote from Forsham Cottage Arks (0800 163797, forshamcottagearks.com). For more inspiration and ideas for your home, see the rest of Catherine’s  beautiful house in the April issue of Country Homes.

    Vintage dovecote

    It was lovely to see doves using their home

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    by  • 24/03/2011 • Country style • 1 Comment

    The decorating team are loving the modern romantic revival for lace. A really easy way to introduce this trend is on bedlinen – look out for delicate cutwork and edgings on sheets then team with spring green gingham and pretty stripes for a fresh country feel.

    Cut work double flat sheet

    Gingham double duvet cover, £50; Cut work double flat sheet, £70, all Cologne & Cotton. Cushions, from left: 1.Alsace, 1123, Yellow, £41.87 a metre, Elanbach. Trimming: Carnaby Pom Pom Fringe, JM4OE 02, £23 a metre, Jane Churchill. 2.Primula and Olive Stripe cushion, £28, Susie Watson Designs.

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    Sew a Roman blind

    by  • 23/03/2011 • Country craft • 3 Comments

    This lovely picture comes from our out-any-minute May issue. The blinds are so pretty and combine patterned and plain fabrics beautifully – the patterned design is Gabrielle Lavender by Prestigious Textiles; the plain is Mojo by Linwood. If you fancy having a go at making these yourself, have a look at the instructions on our sister website House to Home. For more great try-it-yourself ideas click here. Happy sewing!

    Blinds are a great way of bringing pattern to a plain interior.

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    Rhubarb tart recipe

    by  • 22/03/2011 • Country food • 2 Comments

    Rhubarb is growing madly in my garden right now and this pretty rhubarb tart recipe from the Nordic Bakery Cookbook –  new out this week – will the perfect way to use up the glut. The base for this tart is a lovely cross between pastry and biscuit.

    You will need a 20cm loose-bottomed, fluted tart tin

    150g plain flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and diced

    85g caster sugar

    1 egg yolk

    300g rhubarb, trimmed and roughly chopped

    2 tablespoons dark brown soft sugar

    50g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and diced

    60g caster sugar

    50g rolled porridge oats

    1 Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F) Gas 6. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and egg yolk and mix until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to the greased tart tin and push and press it into the tin until the base and sides are evenly covered with a neat layer of dough.

    2 To make the filling, put the rhubarb and brown sugar in a bowl and mix until the rhubarb is evenly coated, then transfer to the pastry case and spread roughly over the base of the tart. In a separate bowl, mix the butter, caster sugar and oats together until you have a rough mixture like a crumble topping. Scatter roughly over the rhubarb filling. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the crumble topping and pastry are golden brown.

    Recipe taken from the Nordic Bakery Cookbook by Miisa Minks (£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small). Photograph Peter Cassidy

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    Spring Equinox

    by  • 21/03/2011 • Country moment • 1 Comment

    Did you see the Supermoon on Saturday? Where we are on the South Coast, we saw the most amazing deep orange moon emerge slowly upwards from the sea about 6.10pm. It was amazing, magical and a great way to mark the Spring Equinox and all that it promises in terms of new shoots, birdsong and the promise of warm sunshine over the coming days and weeks!

    Gosh, I love it when my hippy alter ego shows itself!

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