• Archive for November, 2012

    Christmas decorating

    by  • 30/11/2012 • Country style • 0 Comments

    The countdown begins tomorrow, and I’m rather excited about entering into the spirit of Christmas this weekend! How many of you, like me, will be venturing up into the loft to dust off the box of heirloom baubles and decorations. Despite having our timeless favourites, it’s always nice to add a few new pieces each year to refresh your existing collection.

    Having been inundated with gorgeous products since we started working on our Christmas issues back in July, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder my decorating plan of action for this year. I’ve decided to opt for a few of these vintage looking gems from The White Company, the soft golds and iridescent finishes are perfect to add a touch of decadence to my festive decorating scheme. For more seasonal inspiration don’t miss our January issue of Country Homes & Interiors, packed full of beautiful decorating ideas.

    Antiqued bauble lights, £35; Beaded placemats, £25 set of 2; Round ribbed tealight, £12; Sparkle glass hurricane, £18; Star etched hurricane, £40; Pewter pillar candlestick, £40; Ribbed dinner candlestick, £25; Vintage crystal star, £10; Glitter bird, £6; Vintage snowflake, £8; Large ribbed bauble, £12; Rib featherweight cashmere throw, £400, all The White Company.

    Antiqued bauble lights, £35; Beaded placemats, £25 set of 2; Round ribbed tealight, £12; Sparkle glass hurricane, £18; Star etched hurricane, £40; Pewter pillar candlestick, £40; Ribbed dinner candlestick, £25; Vintage crystal star, £10; Glitter bird, £6; Vintage snowflake, £8; Large ribbed bauble, £12; Rib featherweight cashmere throw, £400, all The White Company.

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    New Jo Malone scents

    by  • 29/11/2012 • Country style, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    The Sugar and Spice launch

    I just got back from a fascinating workshop for the launch of Jo Malone’s new range of spring scents. A cupcake bakery was made over for the event and every last detail was thought of – there were even fondant fancy coloured traffic cones lined up outside. Inspired by British puddings, the range of five limited edition scents launches next March and the workshop made for a couple of interesting hours of escapism on a cold and rainy day. I loved all the scents but my favourites were the soft and powdery Elderflower & Gooseberry (inspired by quintessentially English gooseberry fools), the sparkling citrus notes of Lemon Tart (think meringues), and Redcurrant & Cream (something of a perfume breakthrough as it uses natural fruits rather than synthetics for the first time), which takes its starting point from jewel coloured summer fruit puddings. Gorgeous creamy textured spring scents inspired by English desserts (which we got to taste, of course) – heavenly.

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    Make a glamorous Christmas stocking

    by  • 28/11/2012 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    If the usual shop-bought felt stockings feel a bit uninspiring, why not have a go at making your own? This fabulous trio feature in our new January issue and are made from a heady mix of faux fur, designer fabrics, bobble trims, fringing and beads.

    They’re so glorious they make decorations in their own right – hang them in the hallway and they’ll be a wonderful welcoming sight for guests and visitors.

    Our instructions are for the design on the right, but you can easily adapt them to make any – or all! – of the three shown. Happy sewing!

    Our designer stocking (on the right) features a Romo fabric and trims from Designers Guild and Harlequin

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try and for those who love country recipes, craft and room ideas, take a look at our new Country Home Ideas app.

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    Cosy country bedroom

    by  • 27/11/2012 • Country style • 1 Comment

    I don’t know about you but on these horrible, dark, cold  (and wet!) mornings I find it very difficult to get out of bed. I think if I had a country bedroom like the one below, I very probably wouldn’t emerge at all. This is just the sort of bed that makes you want to snuggle up and hibernate until spring! With its oversized headboard in a neutral linen effect, the bed (from The White Company) is perfect for adding  a sumptuous touch, whether it be in a cottage or a country house.

    The secret to a snuggly bed is layering up with crisp linens, throws and plenty of pillows and cushions. If you do manage to surface from beneath the covers, sheepskin rugs and textured wool rugs are great for adding a cosy touch to bare floorboards. This scheme also demonstrates beautifully how to incorporate key antique dark wood pieces into a modern scheme and add extra depth.

    Double bed in Ian Mankin Natural viscose/linen from the Dulwich collection with prices starting at £1295, The White Company

    Double bed in Ian Mankin Natural viscose/linen from the Dulwich collection with prices starting at £1295; Single Row Cord bedlinen in Fig: double duvet cover, £55, Single Row Cord Oxford pillowcase, from £14; white Copenhagen double bedcover, £130, white Copenhagen pillowsham, £50, Fig Copenhagen cushion covers, from £40; Kelmscott throw, £100, white Kelmscott cushion cover, from £40; mirror, £195, all The White Company

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    Reader event at Lewis & Wood

    by  • 26/11/2012 • Country craft, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Thank you to all the readers that braved the floods to attend the Country Homes & Interiors reader event at Lewis & Wood in Woodchester, Gloucestershire last Wednesday. We enjoyed an inspirational morning of talks by Lewis & Wood fabric and wallpaper designers: decorative artist Adam Calkin; wood engraver Andrew Davidson; and block printer Jenny Stringer.

    In the afternoon, we all learned a new skill – making our own fabric covered lampshades under the guidance of expert Eileen Garsed. Here are a few snaps of the day…

    1. Choosing one of the gorgeous Lewis & Wood fabrics for our shades. 2 and 3. Sticky backed plastic is attached to the fabric. The metal hoops are then rolled onto it. 4. Me with my finished lampshade in Lewis & Wood Lamorna Cove fabric. 5. FInally, in position an antique base at home!

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    Woolly delights by Sally Nencini

    by  • 23/11/2012 • Country style • 0 Comments

    As our thoughts turn to all things woolly for staying cosy indoors, on my shopping radar this week is Sally Nencini – a designer and maker of knitted cushions, blankets and toys. All made here in the UK using the softest lambswool, they are the perfect snuggly addition every country home needs for this time of year.

    With a background in fashion design her love for textiles, hand-worked crafts and surface pattern has evolved into this fabulous collection of tactile homewares. Having also trained as an upholsterer, Sally offers a bespoke service of hand embroidering beautiful designs onto the cushions and fabrics of vintage furniture ­– to create unique, functional works of art.

    Woolly delights by Sally Nencini.

    Woolly delights, Cushions from £40; Fairisle Dolly, £36; Blankets & Upholstery, Price on application, all by Sally Nencini.

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    Guilt-free flapjacks

    by  • 22/11/2012 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Flapjacks that are good for you

    Flapjacks – mmm, so deliciously buttery and syrupy… So good to indulge in, so bad for your waistline. But you can actually make great tasting flapjacks without using a ton of butter and sugar. This recipe makes flapjacks that are just as delicious and chewy but are so much better for you. With flapjacks, you really can make them your own by customising your own mix. For example, if you are less keen on dried fruit, take it out and add some other nuts or seeds instead. The choice is yours. This recipe makes 9 chunky squares…

    100g coconut oil
    20g sunflower spread
    130ml sunflower oil
    2 ripe bananas, mashed
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    140g xylitol or coconut palm sugar
    60ml agave syrup
    1 tablespoon date syrup
    good pinch of sea salt
    500g rolled organic oats
    150g raisins
    100g pumpkin seeds
    60g pecans
    100g unsulphured dried apricots, chopped

    1 Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas 4. Gently heat the coconut oil, margarine, sunflower oil, bananas, vanilla extract, xylitol or coconut sugar, agave syrup, date syrup and salt in a saucepan just until the margarine has melted. Whisk the mixture together until smooth.

    2 In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, raisins, pumpkin seeds, pecans and apricots. Add the mixture from the pan and stir well. Spoon into a 20-25 cm baking pan and flatten down. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the flapjacks are a lovely golden, light brown colour. If it looks like they are colouring too quickly, turn the heat down to 160˚C (325˚F) Gas 3. The main thing is not to burn the top, as the raisins and apricots will become very bitter.

    Guilt Free Gourmet by Jordan and Jessica Bourke is published by Ryland Peters & Small at £16.99 and is packed with lovely inspirational ideas if you are avoiding sugar, wheat or dairy. Available from: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Guilt-free-Gourmet-Indulgent-recipes. 

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    Winter berries and Hellebores

    by  • 21/11/2012 • Country style • 0 Comments

    It may be a bit early to get set for Christmas but if you want a head start on decorating themes or simply enjoy creating picturesque settings for your home then take a look at our December trend feature p67-77, which is packed with ideas from decorating with knitted winter whites, Midnight blues, inspired by the Polar nights of Scandinavia, to more pagan Forest greens as well as theatrical schemes featuring gilded roses.

    This picture shows one of my favourite Christmas colour schemes based on ditsy florals and scattered berries with faux Hellebores, a welcome change from more traditional Christmas flowers. This look also gives you chance to get crafty, by customizing shop bought wreaths to creating window displays with origami, paper birds and moss filled teacups decorated with sprays of berries and flowers.

    Plain mistletoe wreath, Tesco, faux Hellebores and berries, Withycombe Fair.

    Plain mistletoe wreath, Tesco, faux Hellebores and berries, Withycombe Fair.

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    Pretty country kitchen

    by  • 20/11/2012 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Muted shades are an enduring trend and this stunning country kitchen illustrates how to show them off to best effect with its mix of off whites and pebble shades. The deeper tone of the island draws the eye in and creates a focal point while paler understated shades at the edge of the room maximise the light and airy feel.

    This is a kitchen that successfully blends old and new. The original fitted cupboard in the corner was the starting point for the scheme. Devol’s Classic English cabinets complement it perfectly and are topped with Carrara marble worktops that contribute to the calm feel.

    Classic country kitchen touches are provided by the spacious dresser and the generous butler sink. The statement lighting box is ticked with a chandelier adding a touch of elegance over the island and pendant lights on a track offering handy spot lighting above the sink. For more country room ideas, buy our new Country Home Ideas app at http://itunes.com/apps/countryhomeideas

    The Classic English kitchen from DeVol, prices start at £15,000

    Prices for the the Classic English kitchen from Devol start at £15,000

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    Make leaf wreaths

    by  • 19/11/2012 • Country craft, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    I spent a lovely sunny morning at the local primary school last week helping Reception class children make Autumn leaf wreaths.

    Inspired by something I had seen on Martha Stewart’s Living, the kids spent time picking their favourite leaves from under all the trees and then glueing and stapling them to cardboard wreaths. A pretty fabric ribbon completed their celebration of the season.

    Great fun and they look great don’t they?

    Autumn leaves in all their glory!

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