• Archive for March, 2012

    The Shop At Number 57

    by  • 30/03/2012 • Country style • 3 Comments

    I’m a tad excited this week to share news of a fabulous new online home store, The Shop at Number 57 – an eclectic mix of vintage style and all things British. It’s very close to our hearts here at Country Homes & Interiors as the shop’s been created by Marie Nichols, a very talented Interiors stylist who works with us on decorating features.

    Combining a talent for transforming forgotten treasures into stylish accessories for the modern home, and a keen eye for styling gorgeous interiors, it’s no surprise that The Shop at Number 57 is a treasure trove of exciting finds.  Marie scours flea markets and junk shops for hidden gems; the rest of the time she can be found in the studio designing bespoke pieces, from craft kits to limited edition artworks

    With dreams of running a seaside shop one day, I get the feeling that The Shop at Number 57 is the start of something even greater.

    I’d love one of Marie’s cross stitch kits to while away the hours…Which piece is your favourite?

    New online treasure trove The Shop At Number 57

    New online treasure trove The Shop At Number 57

    Cross stitch Ampersand kit, £14; Vintage bronze plate letter, £28; Seaside postcards, £4 set of 5; Ceramic Scissors, £28, all The Shop At Number 57

    Cross stitch Ampersand kit, £14; Vintage bronze plate letter, £28; Seaside postcards, £4 set of 5; Ceramic Scissors, £28, all The Shop At Number 57

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    Pretty as a picture

    by  • 29/03/2012 • Country style • 2 Comments

    When I saw this quintessentially feminine and country style bedroom, it immediately appealed to me. I LOVE everything about it, the romantic bed, the flower paintings on the walls, even the cute bicycle with basket perched on doorway leading to the garden. What’s not to love? This ‘Juniper’ bed, which is also available in black, or antique silver is by And So To Bed, and is perfect for you who love period style furniture. Typically Victorian, it features elegant bed knobs and curving top rails in polished brass. If I could, I would spend all day luxuriating in it. However, with two rambunctious boys of six and three, I’d be lucky to have five minutes!

    This beautiful ''Juniper' bed is available in sizes ranging from 3ft to 6ft wide. The 5ft wide (pictured here) is £1195

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    Sew your own e-reader cover

    by  • 28/03/2012 • Country craft, Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors’ latest do-it-yourself project shows you how to make a slip-on sleeve for an e-reader in your favourite fabric.

    We chose a lovely graphic print from Rainbow Silks. This is a really simple cover made from just three pieces of fabric and it’s a great way to customise your handbag!

    Customise your e-reader by stitching a cover in your favourite fabric.

    The e-reader cover is made up of two main pieces, plus a gusset strip that joins the front and back. Just stitch a hem to finish.

    Take a look at our full selection of other sewing projects – there’s lots to choose from!

     Illustration Michael A Hill
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    Cooking tonight?

    by  • 27/03/2012 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Mutton and Pearl Barley Broth

    Mutton and Pearl Barley Broth - simply delicious

    Warmer weather means a rethink when it comes to what you’re planning to put on the menu. Out go the roasts, casseroles and stews, and in come lighter dishes inspired by seasonal ingredients such as lamb and spring greens. The April issue of Country Homes & Interiors contains some lovely spring soup recipes – I should know as I tried them all on the shoot (it’s a tough job etc). A great halfway house between stodgier winter food and lighter summer dishes, here’s a recipe for Mutton and Pearl Barley Broth that we didn’t have room for in the magazine and don’t want you to miss out on. We’re big fans of mutton here and are following The Mutton Renaissance campaign. Launched in 2004 by the Prince of Wales to support British sheep farmers, the aim is to get this delicious meat back on the nation’s plates. For more info, go to muttonrenaissance.org.uk (and don’t miss the fabulously named Mutton Mutterings section…) This flavoursome soup is made using a cut of meat that requires long slow cooking. It takes a while, but is well worth the wait as the pearl barley, vegetables and tender lamb combine to transform simple ingredients into something special. This recipe serves 4-6, and you will need…

    1 mutton shank

    2 rosemary sprigs

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 tbsp olive oil

    1 onion, finely chopped

    1 carrot, diced

    1 stick celery, diced

    ½ swede, chopped into small pieces

    ½ turnip, chopped into small pieces

    100g pearl barley

    1 Put the mutton shank in a pan, add 1 rosemary sprig and pour in 1.5 litres cold water. Season well. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum and discard, then cover and simmer for 1 hour. Turn off the heat under the pan and whip out the shank.

    2 Heat the oil in a separate pan and gently sauté the onion, carrot, celery, swede and turnip for 5-10 minutes until softened and starting to turn golden around the edges. Meanwhile cut all the meat off the bone and chop into small pieces.

    3 Add the pearl barley to the pan and pour in the mutton stock. Add the chopped mutton. Cover and reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour until the mutton and pearl barley are both tender. Snip over a little extra fresh rosemary, taste for seasoning then ladle into bowls.

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    David Hockney A Bigger Picture

    by  • 26/03/2012 • Country moment, Country style • 1 Comment

    I popped along to the David Hockney exhibition A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy in London on Friday. What a lovely, vibrant and uplifting show this is. The landscapes of the British countryside, with intense reference to the changing seasons, really touched me. The rhythm of nature and all its beauty is something we try to reflect in the pages of the Country Homes & Interiors every month, so I loved the way Hockney revisited the same locations to capture the spirit of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Recording the months in sketchbooks, on the IPad, on film and as vast canvases, this exhibition reaffirmed to me why it’s so important to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures of the natural world around us.

    If you can stand the crowds, A Bigger Picture is definitely worth a visit!

    David Hockney A Bigger Picture

    One of David Hockney's Spring pictures painted on the IPad

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    Screen printing with Clarissa Hulse

    by  • 23/03/2012 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Last week I attended a special evening of silk screen printing hosted by Clarissa Hulse, held at her London studio.

    Clarissa was on hand to show us how it’s done, making it look easy but I can tell you from having a go myself it’s a skilled art form. First I selected my colours to work with, deciding on a grey and hot pink combination to print my chosen leaf motif to make a beautiful silk cushion. Not being an expert, the design is slightly blurred, but I think that just gives it more character!

    It was such an enjoyable evening, brilliantly insightful – giving me fresh new eyes when looking at Clarissa’s designs, because I know just how much work has gone into each gorgeous handmade piece.

    Screen printing and lovely pink pigments in Clarissa Hulse's studio.

    Screen printing and lovely pink pigments in Clarissa Hulse's studio.

    A selection of the Cushions from our screen printing evening with Clarissa. Can you spot my smudged one?

    A selection of the Cushions from our screen printing evening with Clarissa. Can you spot my smudged one?

    PS The event was held in conjunction with Dalani, a new online shopping club – where you’ll find beautiful interiors brands such as Clarissa Hulse – why not check it out?

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    Love your walls

    by  • 22/03/2012 • Country style • 5 Comments

    A couple of years ago I noticed the embryonic start of what is now the extremely popular and fast moving trend for wall art. It started with stencils, stickers and posters, soon gathering momentum with blackboard paints, signage, wooden letters to spell out sayings, magnetic poster boards, paper cut animal motifs, ceramic birds (a twist on flying ducks), floral wall corsages and clusters of clocks. The point is, the trend adds a bit of fun and drama to the home. It won’t break the bank. It’s a temporary design feature, which can be removed when you feel like a change and it makes a great present for a friend. What’s not to love? My current favourite is this cluster of clocks, great for keeping tabs of world time zones and very apt as the clocks change shortly. Have a look at our Love your walls feature, pages 84-89, April issue (out now) and let us your know your wall art favourite.

    Wooden Five City wall clock, £235, Graham & Green. 1904 oak counter cabinet, £2,565, Grange.

    Wooden Five City wall clock, £235, Graham & Green. 1904 oak counter cabinet, £2,565, Grange.

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    What would be your dream farmhouse?

    by  • 21/03/2012 • Country style • 8 Comments

    What does the word ‘farmhouse’ conjure up in your mind? Is it fresh eggs for breakfast, wooden beams or relaxed living? For me, I can’t help but think of living on a farmhouse as being akin with nature and having the freshest homegrown ingredients on your doorstep. In the beautiful new book Perfect English Farmhouse by Ros Byam Shaw (£30, Ryland Peters & Small), you will find farmhouses of contrasting styles and chapters are divided according to style: Organic, Traditional, Farm Fresh, No Frills and Funky. I particularly love the idea that this stylish home office used to be a sheep pen. It now looks anything but, and the old metal desk looks stunning against Cole & Son’s Hummingbirds wallpaper. Whether you live in a farmhouse now, or simply dream about living in one, this book will definitely provide you with plenty of inspiration. Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you…

    Perfect English Farmhouse by Ros Byam Shaw (£30 hardback, Ryland, Peters & Small). Photographs by Jan Baldwin.

    It is hard to believe that this stunning office used to be a sheep pen.

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    New neutrals for your kitchen

    by  • 20/03/2012 • Country food • 2 Comments

    Nutmeg casserole dish

    This time last year I loved my new Le Creuset Coastal Blue shallow casserole dish and it has served me well for everything from risottos to shepherds pie. But now there is a new pretender to the throne…Every so often a press release lands on my desk and I think – I want it and I want it now. This is very much the case with the stunning new Nutmeg colour range from Le Creuset. This fabulous soft, earthy shade really captures the natural look which is setting the tone for 2012. And what’s nice about this colour is that it works whatever the season. At this time of year it can be tempting to pack away your casserole dishes with the last of the frosts but  remember they’re also great for cooking chilli, curry and fish stews – this cast iron 28cm size is just the thing to feed a crowd. But the rectangular  stoneware dish (below) is my particular favourite, as it’s a great  piece of multi-purpose tableware for everything from bakes and gratins, to crumbles and of course cobblers.

    Nutmeg stoneware dish

    So what’s your favourite Le Creuset colour?

    For more information on Le Creuset kitchen and tableware including stockist details, visit www.lecreuset.co.uk or call 0800 373792.

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    Capture the countryside photography competition

    by  • 19/03/2012 • Country craft, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Do you love to take photographs of stunning seasonal landscapes, gardens, plants and flowers? Then Country Homes & Interiors would like to see your pictures entered in our ‘Capture the countryside’ photography competition. The winner will see their image immortalised as a canvas print and sold as part of Graham & Brown‘s wall art collection, plus you’ll win a makeover from Graham & Brown’s extensive paint, wallpaper and art range, including a bespoke colour consulation with a Graham & Brown colour expert.

    'Through the trees' wall art from Graham & Brown, £35

    'Through the trees' wall art from Graham & Brown, £35

    To enter, email your images to countryhomes_comps@ipcmedia.com by 7th May 2012. A maximum of four images can be entered per person. The images must be sent as jpeg, tiff files at 300dpi. Please type ‘Capture the countryside competition’ in the subject line and include your name, address and telephone number on the email. Please also write 50 words about what each image means to you.

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