• Archive for April, 2011

    How to cover a lampshade with wallpaper

    by  • 27/04/2011 • Country craft • 2 Comments

    I love this idea from our up-and-coming June issue. Just take a piece of a favourite wallpaper (ours is from Ornamenta), cut it to size and stick to a plain cream or white lampshade using wallpaper paste. Avoid using a paper shade as, depending on the consistency, the paste can be quite wet. It’s an easy way to update and co-ordinate a room for very little expense – especially if you use an old offcut of paper and a shade that you already have. For all the instructions go to our sister site House to Home.

    Cover a lampshade with wallpaper

    Choose a wallpaper design to co-ordinate with the accent shades in your room.

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    More chocolate treats!

    by  • 26/04/2011 • Country food • 2 Comments

    Delicious Easter truffles

    For post-Easter chocolates with a difference, I love these gourmet truffles, which are hand-made by a small family chocolatier called Sloe Motion in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, using the fruit from their award-winning liqueurs. My favourite is the Sloe Gin Chocolate Truffles (I also like their Sloe Chutney).

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    Upholstered headboards

    by  • 21/04/2011 • Country style • 0 Comments

    I’m a big fan of upholstered headboards and I love the exquisite silk embroidery chosen for this cottage-style bedroom. The rambling vertical pattern sets the tone for the whole colour scheme of the room.

    update a headboard

    Headboard covered in Lindley, 1080/01, Heather, £55 a metre, James Brindley.

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    Pretty craft kits

    by  • 20/04/2011 • Country craft • 2 Comments

    I’ve just found these gorgeous craft kits put together by Diane Dawton at Wonderstuff. Containing everything you need to make them up, plus step-by-step instructions, there are lots of kits to choose from including lavender bags, egg cosies and interior decorations. Perfect for giving a handmade touch to your home – I particularly love this jolly pin-cushion and cute brooch.

    Pin cushion craft kit, £6.50, Wonderstuff

    Blue felt flower brooch kit, £5.95, Wonderstuff

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    Easter roast

    by  • 19/04/2011 • Country food • 1 Comment

    I love dishing up a traditional family meal of roast lamb on Easter Sunday. And this stainless steel rectangular roasting dish from Le Creuset is just the thing to cook it in. This year I’m going to try their recipe, which serves 6.


    You will need:

    2 kg (4 lbs) shoulder of lamb

    8 canned anchovy fillets in oil, drained

    5 sprigs rosemary

    1 garlic clove, cut into 6 pieces

    3 tbsps vegetable oil

    350g (12 oz) sweet potatoes

    450g (1 lbs) roasting potatoes

    Freshly ground black pepper


    1 tbsp plain flour

    375ml hot brown stock

    4 tbsps full bodied red wine

    1 rounded tsp redcurrant jelly

    Preheat your oven to 180˚C / 350˚F / Gas 4. Using a sharp knife make a number of holes in the thicker parts of the lamb shoulder. Cut 5 of the anchovy fillets in half, retaining 3 for the gravy. Push small pieces of the rosemary together with a piece of the anchovy into the holes. Make 6 more holes and push a piece of garlic into these. Put 1 tbsp of the oil into the roaster. Add the lamb and drizzle with a little more oil and some freshly ground black pepper. (Do not add any salt; the anchovies will bring enough salt to the recipe). Cover the top of the meat with a piece of aluminium foil, but do not enclose it within the pan. Roast the lamb for 1 hour.

    Meanwhile peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Boil in lightly salted water for 3 minutes, drain well. When the lamb has roasted for 1 hour, remove the foil and baste the meat with the pan juices. Add the potatoes around the meat and season with some black pepper. Roast for a further 50 minutes – 1 hour. (Check the lamb 20 minutes earlier if you prefer it slightly pink. Remove the meat and keep warm, continue roasting the potatoes). Transfer the meat and potatoes to a warmed serving dish.

    Put the roasting pan on the stove-top over a medium heat. Add the flour to the fats in the pan, together with the remaining anchovy fillets, chopped into small pieces. Stir well until all the fats are absorbed. Gradually stir in the hot stock, wine and redcurrant jelly. As you stir mash the softening pieces of anchovy into the gravy so that the consistency becomes smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary (but do not add any salt). Carve the lamb into thick slices and serve with a little of the gravy poured over together with the roasted potatoes and some seasonal vegetables of your choice.

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    Simple bathroom storage

    by  • 18/04/2011 • Country style • 2 Comments

    I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘You can never have enough storage’, so I am posting this really easy-on-the-eye way of repurposing zinc baskets for bathroom toiletries and fashion accessories. Simple… but lovely!

    zinc storage baskets

    Wire baskets, £26.50 for a set of 4, Decorative Country Living. 1970's cotton scarf, £16.20, Steptoe's Dog. Blind: Christelle Lavender, 3273/805, £60 a metre, Prestigious Textiles. Bird glass jar, £18.50, Primrose & Plum. Large perfume bottle, £28, Lavender Room.

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    Pretty laptop sleeve

    by  • 15/04/2011 • Country style • 2 Comments

    If you can’t part with your laptop when holidaying this summer then why not dress it up with a pretty floral sleeve? Cox and Cox have come up trumps with this little number. It’s rare to find a good protective cover that is also great to look at!

    soft pretty velvet laptop cover from cox and cox

    Velvet laptop sleeve, £16.50, Cox and Cox.

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    Behind the scenes: Kent cottage

    by  • 14/04/2011 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Just thought I would post this picture of Houses Editor, Vivienne Ayers, at a shoot last week in the heart of the Kent countryside. Viv travels all over the UK to find and photograph the best country houses for the magazine.

    ‘This is Emma and Gareth Jordan’s beautiful 16th century white clapperboard bakehouse,’ says Viv. ‘The Jordans bought two virtually derelict cottages, originally the bakery and the baker’s cottage, and knocked them together. The house was literally finished hours before the shoot… the carpenter finished installing the units in their beautiful new kitchen the previous evening. Here I am arranging flowers for the kitchen. It was an idyllic setting – we had a lovely day of spring sunshine and it was just perfect shooting with the daffodils and blossom out.’

    Look out for the house in a Spring 2012 issue!

    vivienne ayers

    Houses editor Vivienne Ayers on location in Kent

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    Spring window box

    by  • 13/04/2011 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    I love this pretty window box – an easy way to give unloved windows sills a little bit of TLC. It features some of my favourite country flowers such as alliums, lavender and clematis, all planted in a stylish silver zinc box and finished with slate chippings. Window box, £85 from The Balcony Gardener.

    Contemporary window box, £85, The Balcony Gardener

    Contemporary window box, £85, The Balcony Gardener

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