• Archive for April, 2013

    Set the scene

    by  • 10/04/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Embrace the digital age, it’s caused a revolution in decorating! Inspired by rural landscapes our Set the scene feature, May issue (out now!) explores new ways to decorate your home with scenes of the countryside.

    Frame a window with a digitally printed blinds depicting a view through the trees and team with photographically realistic scenic cushions, as shown here for a modern twist to Country decorating.

    For more ideas to decorate using the landscape as inspiration including, life size digital wallpapers depicting woodland scenes to decorate a hallway; photographic canvases to decorate walls; artist’s sketches translated into fabric designs as well as ways to mix in more traditional designs such as scenic toiles, updated with fresh new colours and a larger scale, take a look at our May issue.

    Blind, Ella Doran. Moss on Lava cushion, By Nord.

    Blind, Ella Doran. Moss on Lava cushion, By Nord.

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    French-style country kitchen

    by  • 09/04/2013 • Country food, Country style • 0 Comments

    Now that spring has finally arrived, decorating with spring colours, such as a pretty sage green, is very on trend.

    This particular shade of green helps create a fresh scheme that’s easy on the eye. If there’s space, team it with an oak island for extra interest and to bring a touch of warmth. An island will prove invaluable in providing extra storage, as well as a spacious food preparation area.

    The French-inspired cabinets (from Fired Earth) have charming design details such as the tongue and groove end panels and those lovely mesh cabinet doors. A large butler sink with period-style tap is perfect for washing fruit and veg, as well as pots and pans, and, of course, in a country kitchen, a range cooker is a must have. Pride of place here goes to a black design that adds understated contrast to the cabinets and island.

    Fired Earth’s fitted Bastide kitchen is handcrafted from oak and is available in a variety of painted and wooden finishes (shown here in Weald Green and Light Oak). Prices start at just over £25,000.

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    Country business: Bowl Overs

    by  • 08/04/2013 • Country business, Country moment, Country style, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    To celebrate the launch of our Country Business of the Year 2013 competition for the fourth year running, we are touching base with some of the winners and runners-up from previous years…

    Harriet Campbell was a runner up in 2010. She loathed wasteful cling film so came up with the ingenious idea of  Bowl Overs – 100% cotton covers for bowls of leftovers that could then be put away in the fridge or larder. They can be washed and re-used over and over again.

    Harriet Campbell with her Bowl Overs

    What did being shortlisted for the competition mean to you? Being one of the runner-ups and having the wonderful advice from the BusinessSmiths gave me the confidence to take a tiny idea and actually get it off the ground so much so that I am now selling it not only in the UK but in Europe, the States and just starting in Australia.

    How have you developed the brand? Now I have four different designs plus an extra one in the States (especially for Thanksgiving). As I can’t patent the product, it’s a question of making as much hay while the sunshines as possible – it’s already been copied by someone well known! So I know the answer is for my Bowl Overs to be the Heinz and not the economy brand!  We have had a lot of publicity for them in the UK and they were featured in Martha Stewart Living in the States which I feel is a bit of a triumph! I have been getting help from the UKTI and really want to be exporting worldwide – our distributor in the States is doing really well with them and I am selling them to several lovely shops in Europe.

    What’s your long term goal? Long term goals are: a) to take the product worldwide; b) to be able to offer a bespoke service for restaurants etc; c) to find a factory in the UK that will make them in smaller quantities so I can offer a really good bespoke service; d) for a pack of Bowl Overs to be in everybody’s kitchen drawer.

    Bowl Overs

    If you have an ingenious idea, enter our Country Business of the Year competition by 30th April and win the advice you need to go it alone.

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    Sunday morning make…flower cushion

    by  • 07/04/2013 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Cushion made with readymade cushion cover and felt decorations all from a selection at Hobbycraft

    Cushion made with readymade cushion cover and felt decorations all from a selection at Hobbycraft

    Give plain cushions a mini make-over with pretty ready-made felt decorations. An instant way to add a dash of colour to a room too!

    You will need

    Readymade cushion cover

    Felt decorations

    Coloured thread to match or fabric glue

    Tailors chalk

    To make simply lay the cushion cover out flat, front facing and place the decorations on top. Mark where they are to appear with tailors chalk. Remove and sew in place with a couple of stitches in matching thread or glue in place with fabric glue.

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

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    Suffolk treasure…

    by  • 06/04/2013 • Country moment, Country style • 1 Comment

    ‘You’re going where?’ ‘

    Beccles,’ I said.


    My curious side carried on, determined to prove to all that this market town did exist somewhere between the Suffolk Coast and the Norfolk Broads… With the help of friendly bus drivers I finally found myself in this former Saxon seaport, which turns out to be in Suffolk’s Waveney Valley near Lowestoft.

    I was not disappointed.

    Among a sea of independent shops and wonderfully named Saxon streets, my favourite shop was The Marmalade Tree, packed to the brim with stylish solutions for the home from antique furniture and clocks to contemporary decorative gifts.

    Encouraged by the positive community spirit, I was easily persuaded to explore the town’s medieval Heritage Trail which takes in all the main landmarks including lofty Beccles Tower which has wonderful views of the valley. With all that exploring, the mind turned peckish and there’s certainly no shortage of delicious food here… Twyfords was perfect for a quick coffee and catch up with friends while Baileys beckoned with deli treats and scrumptious Spanish tapas.

    I could linger much longer in this historic market town which offers so much to visitors. Discover more about Beccles in the May issue of Country Homes & Interiors, though be sure to deny any knowledge of its location when you’re asked…

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    Block print delights by Kiran Ravilious

    by  • 05/04/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Block printing is a traditional skill still favoured by many of today’s talented artisans. Kiran Ravilious is the perfect example of a designer who’s giving this age-old art form its modern day cool factor with her bold botanical homewares.

    Inspired by a love of colour and nature Kiran uses traditional lino printmaking techniques to produce her unique and vibrant collection of hand printed cushions, lampshades and tea towels. Each design is skilfully hand carved onto blocks and printed onto natural linens – all in her studio in Leicester.

    The collection expanded this week with the addition of wallpapers and upholstery fabrics, all based on her original designs. I think an oversized armchair covered in one of Kiran’s fabulous leafy prints would be perfect in a country living room – which print would you use and where?

    Printed linen cushions in assorted colours, from £45 each, all Kiran Ravilious.

    Printed linen cushions in assorted colours, from £45 each, all Kiran Ravilious.

    An assortment of printed delights! Spring Reeds printed lampshade, £120; Tropical Forest collection fabrics, £70 a metre; Yellow Sunburst wallpaper, £65, all Kiran Ravilious.

    Spring Reeds printed lampshade, £120; Tropical Forest collection fabrics, £70 a metre; Yellow Sunburst wallpaper, £65, all Kiran Ravilious.

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    Chocolate fondue

    by  • 04/04/2013 • Country food • 3 Comments

    Chocolate fondue

    Chocolate fondue served with fruit and marshmallows. Recipe taken from Chocolat by Eric Lanlard is published by Mitchell Beazley at £18.99, available to buy from Amazon

    I know fondue is a bit retro, but a good chocolate fondue is a great alternative to a dessert or perfect for a party. You can be as creative as you want with the food to be dipped.

    Serves 6

    Preparation time: 15 minutes

    Cooking time: 5 minutes

    300g (10oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped

    2 tbsp milk

    250ml (8fl oz) double cream

    75g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

    2 tbsp dark rum

    For dipping and coating

    3 bananas, cut into chunky pieces

    3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut

    into chunky pieces

    juice of 1 lemon

    12 large marshmallows

    Assortment of dried fruit, such as figs, dates and prunes

    150g (5oz) chopped hazelnuts, roasted (see Tip on page 44)

    150g (5oz) desiccated coconut

    First prepare the dips. Toss the bananas and pears with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Arrange the prepared fruit, marshmallow and dried fruit on a large platter or in ramekins, together with the roasted nuts and coconut. Make a pile of metal or wooden kebab sticks on the side. To make the fondue, place a fondue pan in a bain-marie. Alternatively, place a heatproof serving bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add the chocolate and milk and melt together, then whisk in the cream. Keep warm, then just before serving stir in the butter, cinnamon, vanilla and rum. Take the warm fondue to the table hot and encourage people to help themselves. Use the kebab sticks to dip the fruits and marshmallows into the hot chocolate, then roll into the nuts or coconut. A fun way to end a dinner party!

    Recipe taken from Chocolat by Eric Lanlard is published by Mitchell Beazley at £18.99, available to buy from Amazon.
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    Cosy country bedroom

    by  • 02/04/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    If you’re still trying to catch up on your sleep since the hour went forward at the weekend, perhaps a new décor for your country bedroom is the answer. This calming yet cosy scheme caught my eye.

    The beamed room has a simple, classic elegance that works well in a cottage or a grander country house scheme. The focal point is the beautiful distressed French style bed, layered up with pristine white lace edged bedlinen and a cosy blanket. (If you buy an antique bedstead such as this, make sure you invest in a good mattress such as those by Vispring to ensure a good night’s sleep!).­­

    Mix and match bedside tables give an eclectic feel, while striped and spotted rugs cosy up the wooden floor underfoot.  A flowing curtain in a warm coral coloured print adds a welcome splash of warming colour to an otherwise neutral scheme.

    The Vi-Spring Bedstead Shetland Superb Mattress, from £7,690 for a king size

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    Country Homes & Interiors Crochet club

    by  • 01/04/2013 • Country craft, Country moment • 2 Comments

    Just thought I would post these pictures from the Country Homes & Interiors Crochet Club held at Somerset House in London recently.

    We were delighted that so many people turned up to learn to crochet with us using the exclusive Granny Squares patterns and wool, provided by yarn and crochet expert Rowan. Many people donated their squares in aid of our charity project to raise money for Mencap, the UK’s leading charity working with people with a learning disability, and their families and carers. We hope that in a few months time we will enough squares for leading home and fashion designers to create beautiful throws and cushions that will then be auctioned for Mencap.

    If you missed the event and would like donate Granny Squares, send them to us at Country Homes & Interiors, IPC Media, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU.

    1 The team outside Somerset House. 2 Learning the art of crochet. 3 Colourful Granny Squares. 4 Marie Wallin from Rowan teaches the techniques.

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