• Archive for January, 2014

    Country moment: winter Viburnum

    by  • 20/01/2014 • Country moment, Country style • 2 Comments

    I loved seeing the pretty pink flowers of Viburnum when out walking this weekend. It’s a real country garden heroine in winter for two reasons: not only do you get tight groups of beautiful pink flowers on the bare and woody stems; and they also have the most amazing fragrance. Do you have a favourite winter plant that looks good right now?


    Pops of pink on a winter day – lovely!

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    Country craft: stitched cushions

    by  • 19/01/2014 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Stitched cushion craft by Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Stitched cushions featuring fabrics by Volga Linen

    We love this easy-peasy way to make cushions. Not only can they be made up in a flash, they also offer a fun way to mix and match fabrics and colours. Featured in Country Homes & Interiors February issue follow these easy instructions to make your own.

    You will need
    2 squares of fabric measured to fit your cushions plus 5cm all around (we used a variety of colours of Plain linens, £35 m, Volga Linen)
    Strong thread or embroidery thread in a complementary colour.
    A square cushion

    To make begin by ironing the squares of fabric then fray the edges by removing threads from each side. An easy way to do this is to pick each thread with a needle, then pull away. Next sandwich the cushion centrally between the fabric panels and pin together leaving a 5cm gap all around. Finally sew together using a large tacking stitch then remove all the pins.

    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, why not try our new Country Home Ideas app?

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    Country look: A touch of colour

    by  • 17/01/2014 • Country style • 2 Comments

    In this month’s issue of Country Homes & Interiors our main decorating feature explores using rich, warm colours to give your home the feel-good factor. I’ve been busy making moodboards to banish the January blues and share some further ideas on how to use colour – whether it’s adding small touches with cushions and throws or being brave with bold paints on furniture and walls.

    Feeling inspired? Why not get creative with our Moodboard tool for yourself and share your ideas with us on Housetohome.


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    Country food: homemade bread

    by  • 16/01/2014 • Country food • 1 Comment

    Caramelised radicchio and winter rhubarb round

    Caramelised radicchio and winter rhubarb round

    The month of January is all about heart warming soups and stews, working through the post-Christmas cheeseboard (still going strong in the fridge) and half-empty jars of chutney. This week’s recipe works perfectly with all these options (plus nothing beats the smell of a homemade loaf baking in the oven on a grey afternoon). Radicchio is kneaded into an enriched dough with winter rhubarb to make a loaf with an interesting pinkish-buff-coloured crumb. Serve generous hunks with soups and stews. It’s also good with hard cheeses, slices of apple and chutney. Just the thing…

    Recipe makes 2 x 500g loaves
    You will need 2 baking sheets, 1 lined with baking parchment (for the rhubarb), the other lightly greased

    For the sponge ferment:
    3g/½teaspoon fresh yeast or 2g dried
    150g water
    150g strong white flour

    For the filling:
    300g pink winter (forced) rhubarb, cut into 4cm pieces
    300g radicchio leaves, shredded (radicchio is bitter-flavoured  but slowly cooked  becomes as sweet as fruit)
    A small knob of butter

    For the dough:
    1 quantity of sponge ferment (above)
    3g yeast
    180g Italian ‘00’ white flour, plus extra for dusting
    60ml/4 tablespoons extra virgin or rapeseed oil
    5g sea salt

    1 Put all the sponge ferment ingredients into a bowl, mix well and leave to ferment for 1 hour at room temperature.

    2 Prepare the rhubarb and radicchio. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ Gas mark 6. Put the rhubarb on the lined baking sheet 1cm apart. Bake for about 30 minutes, until roasted but  not browning.

    3 Put the radicchio in a frying pan with the butter and 1 tablespoon of water, and cook over a very low heat for about 15 minutes, until the radicchio is dark brown and tastes sweet. It must not burn, but it will lose its red colour.

    4 Put the dough ingredients, including the sponge ferment, into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat for about 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl to a floured worktop using dough scrapers. Scatter the rhubarb and radicchio over two-thirds of the surface. Fold into 3, like a letter, using floured dough scrapers to lift the dough. Pat the dough gently then fold again. Repeat one more time. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

    5 The following day, take the dough from the fridge. It will be bubbly and firm. Scrape it out of the bowl on to the worktop then lift one edge with a scraper, bringing it into the centre. Repeat, working around the piece of dough, by which time you will have a neat round. Pick up the dough, turn it over so the smooth side is uppermost, and place it on the greased baking sheet. Dust it with a light covering of flour, if it is not already quite floury. Leave to prove for 1 hour, until well risen.

    6 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Before baking, make a series of shallow slashes on the surface of the round with a blade, like a windmill. Bake for 20–30 minutes until pale brown and airy. Cool on the baking sheet, then slice and eat.

    *Recipe from The Pocket Bakery by Rose Prince, published in hardback by Weidenfeld & Nicolson at £18.99.

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    Country style: Paisley

    by  • 15/01/2014 • Country style, Uncategorized • 1 Comment

    Achieve a casually, up market look by decorating with the latest paisley prints in soft heather tones

    Get the look in 3 steps

    • Paint the walls in a luxurious, deep heather and create a cocooning effect for a dining room
    • Experiment with layering fabrics such as paisley prints, with ticking and plains on cloths and loose chair covers
    • Choose a substantial limed oak table with turned legs and team with comfortable upholstered dining chairs

    For more inspiration on decorating with paisley see our February issue, out now!

    Paint, Malabar. Carpet, Alternative Flooring. Pendant light, The French House. Dining table; chair, Lombok. Paisley cushion, Random Retail.  Fabric, Vanessa Arbuthnott.


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    Country room: elegant dining room

    by  • 14/01/2014 • Country style • 2 Comments

    Got something to celebrate? If you’re looking for inspiration for entertaining in a country dining room, here’s an elegant French-style scheme with an almost frosty feel created by using a palette of soft ecrus and greys and sparkling silver accessories.

    This is a scheme that demonstrates how to mix subtle pattern and colour –  the neutral checked tablecloth blends perfectly with the striped chair covers. Layers of fabric give the table a sumptuous look while the chair covers with tie backs are a simple yet effective way of prettying up an existing chair (and easy to wash if there are food spills).

    To see more beautiful rooms from this country house, visit http://bit.ly/18QrXzG 


    Create a sumptuous French-style dining table with layers of tablecloths and elegant chair covers

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    Country moments: winter bulbs

    by  • 13/01/2014 • Country craft, Country moment, Country style • 1 Comment

    I love anything that brightens a windowsill or a table during the winter months. White hyacinths are my favourites. I tend to buy them from the local nursery and then repot closely into a rustic woven basket, pretty ceramic pot or shallow glass dish. It’s the easiest thing to do and, when the warmth of the house makes the blooms open, you’re rewarded by a heady and magical fragrance.

    Make your home happy with a winter bulb display

    Make your home happy with a winter bulb display

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    Country craft: trompe l’oeil headboard

    by  • 12/01/2014 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Paint your own headboard with Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Bring a handpainted look to a bedroom with a decorative trompe l’oeil headboard. Wall, Soft Maplewood; Headboard, Chalky Downs, Nordic Bliss, Roasted Pumpkin, Gipsy Bloom and Inky Tales all from the Urban Folk palette, priced £14.89 per litre, from Dulux.

    We love this decorative trompe l’oeil headboard idea as created using Dulux‘s Urban Folk palette which features some of the most homely and harmonious shades. To recreate this at home simply  sketch out half the design over a bed with chalk. Copy the design onto tracing paper. Flip over vertically and recreate the other half. Infill with the main paint colour adding details and motifs using complementary shades. For this and more hand painted ideas visit Dulux.

    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, why not try our new Country Home Ideas app?

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    Country news: Seasons journal

    by  • 11/01/2014 • Country craft, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 14 Comments

    Seasons Cover, Seasons by Country Homes and Interior blogs

    Seasons Cover, Seasons by Country Homes & Interiors blog

    Looking for year round inspiration of fulfilling ideas for living, decorating and eating throughout spring, summer, autumn and winter? Look no further for we are delighted to announce the publication of Seasons, a special edition of inspirational ideas from the publishing team of Country Homes & Interiors that celebrates, brightens  and blesses our daily lives.

    This beautiful journal embraces the changing sights and delights that come as the year progresses and passes in our homes and gardens with joyful seasonal crafts and ideas, tasty dishes and pretty looks, room by room. Available in print from 2 January 2014 for one month only  priced at £4.99 from Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, Waitrose, Morrisons, WHS HS/Travel.

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    Country look: Knitted accessories

    by  • 10/01/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Curling up on the sofa with woolly layers is the best way to spend dark January evenings. We’ve found the perfect luxurious blankets and cushions from Seven Gauge Studios to add texture, warmth and a touch of colour to your home.

    The collection of knitted accessories, with bold graphic patterns, are the creation of talented designer Joy Bates who loves to work with rich primary colours. Her designs are just the thing to lift the spirits; we could all do with a splash of feel-good brights at this time of the year.

    Seven-Gauge-Studios- Country-Homes-and-Interiors-blog

    Lambswool knitted cushions, £65 each, Seven Gauge Studios.


    Lambswool knitted blankets, £225, Seven Gauge Studios.

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