• Archive for June, 2014

    Country craft: doily table runner

    by  • 30/06/2014 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Discover how to make this doily runner with Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Create a charming doily runner for an outdoor dining table following Country Homes & Interiors simple steps.

    We love a bit of paper craft especially anything involving a doily. In celebration of this normally quite humble cake and bake serving accessory we thought we’d style them up into a rather splendid doily table runner to add a decorative touch to an outdoor table. Check it out in our soon-to-be-seen August issue. To discover how to create your own bespoke style click here.

    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: strawberry delights

    by  • 27/06/2014 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Nothing signifies the start of summer fun quite like the traditions of Wimbledon; quintessentially British sportsmanship, delicious strawberries & deckchairs on the green! Celebrate the occasion with these tantalising Strawberry prints by Thornback & Peel


    Strawberry Napkins, £40 for 4, Thornback & Peel.


    Strawberry linen cushion, £68.50, Thornback & Peel.

    Brand new for summer is this jolly print (below) featuring Tortoises plodding towards a clump of deliciously vivid dandelions, available on deckchairs, tea towels, aprons and oven gloves.


    The perfect place to sit & watch the tennis! Tortoise & Dandelion deckchair, £135, Thornback & Peel.

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    Country food: rhubarb sponge cake

    by  • 26/06/2014 • Country food • 2 Comments

    Rhubarb Sponge Cake

    A taste of summer: rhubarb sponge cake

    There’s so much more to rhubarb than crumbles and jams. The perfect tea time treat, the tartness of the rhubarb is complemented perfectly by the rich cream and dense sponge in this delicious cake recipe.

    Makes 10 slices

    400g rhubarb
    200g caster sugar
    150g amaretti biscuits
    225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
    4 medium free range eggs, lightly beaten
    150g self-raising flour
    ½ tsp baking powder
    150ml double cream
    Icing sugar, for dusting

    1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. Trim and cut the rhubarb into 3cm lengths and transfer to a non-stick roasting tin. Sprinkle with 50g of the sugar and bake for 25 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and beginning to caramelise at the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the temperature to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.

    2 Grease and line the bases of two 20cm sandwich tins with buttered greaseproof paper. Crush the biscuits in a polythene bag using a rolling pin until finely ground.

    3 Tip into a bowl and add the remaining sugar, butter, eggs, flour and baking powder and beat using a hand-held electric whisk until smooth and creamy. Divide evenly between the tins and level the surface. Bake for 25 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

    4 To assemble, strain the rhubarb through a sieve, collecting the juices. Whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Drizzle the juices over both sponges, place one on a serving dish, spread with cream and cover with the rhubarb pieces. Place the second sponge on top. Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar.

     Recipe: Joanna Farrow. Photograph: Myles New

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    Country style setter: Sarah Watkins

    by  • 25/06/2014 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments


    Embroidered linen cushions, £45 each from Salt and Buoy.

    We talk to the designers who are defining the latest looks for today’s country homes
    A prison manager by day, Sarah Watkins initially launched Salt and Buoy as a creative release. Each cushion design is hand-sketched and then translated into embroidery, resulting in two nostalgic collections inspired by Sarah’s love of all things coastal. She lives with her boyfriend and two chinchillas in Kent.

    What seaside memories inspire your designs?
    My ship collection is based upon Christopher Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria. I would sit by the sea when I was little and watch the ships sail by, imagining all the adventures they were having. My promenade collection is inspired by what I see on my Sunday afternoon walks along the coast in Whitstable and Herne Bay.

    What sparked your passion for textiles and sewing?
    After a particularly stressful day at work, I decided to bring my mum’s old mustard sewing machine down from the loft. Not knowing the first thing about sewing machines at the time, there was an awful lot of trial and error! I became hooked on immersing myself into a world filled with beautiful fabrics and happy memories.

    What do your products say about you as a designer?
    I always make sure I love what I do – if a design doesn’t make me feel happy it doesn’t make the cut. I’m all about experimenting with colour and love to have a bit of fun with my ideas. I definitely don’t take myself too seriously!

    Sum up your creative style in three words…
    Colourful, intricate and nostalgic.

    By Tara King.

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    Country room: gardener’s kitchen

    by  • 24/06/2014 • Country style • 2 Comments

    If you’re spending sunny days out in the vegetable plot at the moment, a country kitchen like this is sure to tick all the boxes.

    Brick tiles are given a new lease of life with a zigzag splashback incorporating pretty azure and aqua tiles (from Topps Tiles) that make the chimney breast and range cooker a real focal point. Painted glazed cabinets on either side provide plenty of handy storage.

    Team with a scrub top farmhouse table and on-trend vintage metal chairs for a relaxed feel. Then add a splash of colour with a soft green wicker chair – pop on a charming rabbit cushion from Thornback & Peel and you have a look that could have stepped straight out of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

    Shibori tile in cream, blue or green, 91p a tile or   £80.89 per sq m, Topps Tiles

    Shibori tile in cream, blue or green, 91p a tile or £80.89 per sq m, Topps Tiles

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    Join My Design School

    by  • 23/06/2014 • Country craft, Country style • 2 Comments

    My Design School

    Learn interior design secrets for the perfect country looks

    Learn how to decorate the room you’ve always dreamed of. Country Homes & Interiors has teamed up with leading design school KLC to bring you a brand-new five week online interiors course called My Design School that will teach you some tricks of the trade.

    Covering everything from choosing colour and pattern to space planning and lighting, you will gain the skills and confidence to tackle your own design projects. With a stimulating mix of videos, forums, inspirational links and course notes, join us online from the comfort of your own home and be guided by a dedicated tutor.

    We have a special early-bird offer for you of just £199 (saving £100 on the normal price of £299) and learn about transforming a space into a dream home. The course runs from 27 October to 28 November 2014. For more information and to register, call KLC on 020 7376 3377 or visit http://ow.ly/xzKHG with promotional code SM0614. Offer ends 31 July 2014.

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    Country craft: beach washing line

    by  • 22/06/2014 • Country craft • 1 Comment

    Beach wash line made with twine and pegs Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Beach wash line made with twine and pegs.

    A simple washing line strung up on a beach can have many uses alongside drying clothes. Pegged with towels it can act as a windbreak or sun shade; attaching a flag identifies your ‘spot’ on a busy beach; or strung up with shells and small beach finds it can be a beautiful backdrop for a shoreline gathering. Use strong twine or rope to drape between groin posts or canes and either knot or keep in place with clamps.

    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 garden: welcoming wildlife

    by  • 21/06/2014 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    We’re all for attracting wildlife to our Country Homes & Interiors rooftop garden. So we were thrilled to be sent a ladybird tower from the lovely people at the RSPB, who’d read about our
    10th floor plot.

    Ladybirds look so pretty flitting around the garden, and we love them for that, but they also perform a useful role as both the adults and the larvae feed on insects that can damage our precious veg.

    Bug boxes provide snug, safe places for insects to hibernate in winter. The holes in this ladybird tower lead to a central chamber filled with nesting material. We’re certainly looking forward to welcoming them to their new bijou pad. How can they resist? Here it is, installed among the carrots and peas.

    Ladybird tower, £13.25, RSPB

    Ladybird tower, £13.25, RSPB

    Looking for a new home? Photo: Tony Hamblin (rspb-images.com)

    Looking for a new home? Photo: Tony Hamblin (rspb-images.com)

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    Country look: the perfect picnic

    by  • 20/06/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    The mood right now at Country Homes & Interiors is a jolly one, we’re celebrating National Picnic Week and the sun looks set to join us this weekend – with its hat firmly on! Here’s our moodboard of the best picnic buys, to inspire you to join in the outdoor fun…

    Picnic Moodboard on the Country Homes and Interiors blog

    Where to buy: Wimbledon folding chair, Primrose; Quilt, Aspace; Striped cushion, from a selection at Marks & Spencer; Parasol, from a selection at Heals; Utterley Scrumptious paper plates, Talking Tables; Oval dinner plate, from a selection at Rice; Acrylic jug, Tesco; Beach barbecue, Sainsbury’s; Food cover, Matalan; Picnic hamper, from a selection at The Travelling Souk; Two-bottle holder, Garden Trading; Festival wine glasses, Found Home Store.

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