• Archive for April, 2014

    Country food: Easter chocolate treats

    by  • 17/04/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Easter eggs

    Decisions, decisions: the rabbit or duck motif or maybe the praline mini eggs…

    Easter is just a hop and a skip away so handmade Swiss chocolate eggs are the order of the day here at Country Homes & Interiors. These taste so good (there were queues to sample them) and the charming design won us over (we’re suckers for a cute motif). Bettys of Harrogate come on down – we salute you. Not only a gorgeous array of new eggs but joy also a whole menagerie of country themed chocolate animals – otters, hares, piglets, speckled hens…

    *From Bettys Yorkshire Craft Bakery to your door. To order, visit bettys.co.uk or telephone 0845 600 1919. Happy browsing!

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    Country style: pastel stripes

    by  • 16/04/2014 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Welcome a refreshing touch of spring into your home with on-trend shades of pastel.

     pastel stripes on the Country Days blog

    Pastel perfection

    Pairing simple patterns with a palette of soft blues, greens and pinks is the perfect way to achieve that classic country look. This photograph was taken for our ‘Pastel Stripes’ feature in the latest issue of Country Homes & Interiors. Here’s how to get the look in 3 simple steps…

    Choose a sofa with a relaxed stripe pattern from Sofa Workshop and match it with pastel floral cushions from Cloth & Cover.

    Accent the patterns by adding simple decorative china pieces from Emma Bridgewater.

    Pull the whole look together by adding a rustic coffee table from Nkuku or a fun patterned rug from Woven Ground.

    Oh and, if you’re a fan, the wallpaper is Ditton Stripe by Colefax and Fowler.

    by Alexandra Wallace

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    Country room: spring dining room

    by  • 15/04/2014 • Country style • 2 Comments

    Here’s a  country dining room that’s just perfect for high days and holidays.

    A dining table with enough space to squeeze everyone round is essential if you’re planning some Easter entertaining. This shabby chic design is large enough to fit the bill, and elegant French-style chairs make the perfect partners.

    What really adds that touch of spring, though, are the vintage-style floral fabrics from Clarke and Clarke with their exquisite painterly effect.  Toning cushions and a runner create a pretty and informal feel, while the beautiful pencil pleated curtains, made by Handmadetomeasure, finish off the cottage look.

    Abigail fabric in taupe by Clarke & Clark £45.99 a metre Handmadetomeasure.com

    Handmade pencil pleat curtain in Abigail  taupe by Clarke & Clarke, £45.99 a metre, from Handmadetomeasure

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    Country moment: big and blowsy

    by  • 14/04/2014 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    I’ve never been one for big and blowsy flowers, but I was totally smitten by this amazing display of colour and froth while visiting Bodnant this weekend. This woodland garden in the Conwy Valley is known for its camellia, azalea and rhododendron displays at this time of year. Rather aptly this Rhododendron is called ‘Sugar Pink’ and I surprised myself by absolutely loving its showy ostentatiousness.

    Maybe I’m finally becoming a girly gardener! What’s your favourite flower right now?


    Rhododendron ‘Sugar Pink’

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    Country craft: tea towel cushion

    by  • 13/04/2014 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Tea towel cushion craft by Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Cushion made with tea towel, from the RHS and Rustica Papier Journal fabric from Ian Sanderson

    Got a tea towel just too pretty for washing up? Then why not turn it into a lovely cushion instead?

    To make cut a large tea towel to fit 42cm x 42cm plus 2 cms all around for hems. Hem the square by turning the fabric under and under again 1cm each time pin press and sew. Cut two 42cm x 28cm plus 2cm all around from your complimentatry fabric. Hem these as before. With right side facing up, pin the back pieces over the front so they overlap. Machine stitch the four edges together. Turn the cushion cover right way and add the pad.

    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: 52 Weeks of Everyday Style

    by  • 12/04/2014 • Country craft, Country style • 0 Comments

    52 weeks fo Everday Style,Homes and Lifestyle Collection

    52 Weeks of Everyday Style

    Discover how to make this pretty lace doily trinket bowl with 52 Weeks of Everyday Style.

    Discover how to make this pretty lace doily trinket bowl with 52 Weeks of Everyday Style.

    Looking for lots of crafty ideas? If so you’ll love ’52 weeks of… Everyday Style’ published by the Homes & Lifestyle Collection. Packed full of stylish makes, clever touches and easy handicraft projects, it’s a real treat for creative home makers. Ideas include 10 minute fixes to weekender projects, focusing on the little things that can transform your house into a home. Priced at £4.99 and available from Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, Waitrose, Morrisons, and WHS HS/Travel or click here to get to purchase a digital copy http://bit.ly/1k4bLSM

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    Country look: charming little birdies

    by  • 11/04/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    May I introduce you to the world of Lil3birdy, the home of beautifully illustrated homewares and stationery. We love the colourful patchwork birds and scattered flower designs, perfect for adding a feel-good spring vibe to your country home.


    Colourful birds and floral coasters, £12.50, Lil3birdy.

    Lil3birdy offers coasters, placemats, mugs, tea towels, notebooks and greetings cards all decorated with simple nature-inspired drawings, all the work of designer Clare Shields.


    Chicks tea towel, £10, Lil3birdy.

    In addition to pretty birds the collection also features more classic country favourites; dogs, cats and foxes…


    Dog and Fox ceramic mugs, £7 each, Lil3birdy.

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    Country food: easy weekend recipe

    by  • 10/04/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Donna Hay's oven baked French toast

    Donna Hay’s oven baked French toast

    Exciting times – I’m off to dinner with the Australian foodie phenomenon that is Donna Hay tonight to celebrate the launch of her new book Fresh and Light. Its arrival is perfectly timed for spring as the mood is all about combining the freshest ingredients, the lightest flavours and eating well. I love this recipe for a healthier version of French toast, great for a relaxed weekend breakfast or brunch.

    Serves 4

    4 thick slices wholegrain bread
    2 free range eggs
    250ml skimmed milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons honey, plus extra for drizzling
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    fresh or poached fruit and thick plain yoghurt, to serve

    Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the bread in a large baking dish lined with non-stick baking paper. Place the egg, milk, vanilla, honey and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Allow to stand for 20 minutes or until most of the egg mixture has been absorbed. Bake for 25 minutes or until the bread is golden. Serve with fruit and yoghurt and drizzle with extra honey.

    Donna Hay’s Oven-baked French Toast recipe is taken from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay (Hardie Grant, £18.99) Photograph by William Meppem

    Fresh and Light

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    Country room: colourful kitchen

    by  • 08/04/2014 • Country style • 1 Comment

    If you could pick one key piece that epitomises a country kitchen, it would most likely be a dresser. Be it warm wood or painted, it’s a staple ingredient.

    Choose a painted design to create a co-ordinated look with the rest of your scheme or, as here, pick a scrubbed pine one with a timeworn appearance and team with brightly coloured walls for a homely feel.

    Dressers are fantastic for storing cutlery, tablelinen and, of course, your favourite china. Shelves lined with distinctive Cornishware, as the owners of TG Green have done in their own kitchen, draw the eye straight to the dresser.

    For more rooms from this beautiful house, visit http://bit.ly/PXBiiG

    Classic country kitchen

    A scrubbed pine dresser, farmhouse table and chapel chairs make a classic country kitchen

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    Tell us what you think…

    by  • 07/04/2014 • Country craft, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 3 Comments

    We are updating the Country Days blog in the near future and would love to know what you love (or loathe) about the daily offerings from Country Homes & Interiors. We’d particularly like to know why you visit us – do you like the behind-the-scenes stories, the country images, the thoughts and opinions from the team? Which categories are you most interested in – style, craft, food, shopping, events? Which other blogs do you find irresistible and read on a regular basis?

    Feel free to leave your thoughts here… We’ll look forward to reading them.

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