• Archive for September, 2014

    See the latest interior trends

    by  • 19/09/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Post 19Sept14 | Country Days | Country Homes & Interiors

    Want to be the first to see flourishing floral fabrics, nature-inspired paint colours and artisan furniture for the new season? Take a trip to the capital for this weekend’s top interior design shows, where you’ll discover the latest decorating and styling ideas to transform your home. From shows and exhibitions to seminars and pop-ups, there’s a lot going on, so we’ve chosen our top three events for inspiring country style…

    Decorex International
    Stately Syon Park acts as the backdrop to this year’s show, showcasing a mix of new talent and established designers. Celebrate the best in traditional craftsmanship and innovative design, with over 350 British and international luxury brands to browse. It’s open to the public on 23 September, 1pm – 7pm.

    Held at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, there’s plenty to discover at this show, with 99 showrooms playing host to latest collections from top designers and an exciting programme of events on offer. Get creative insight from the likes of Sir Terence Conran, go behind the scenes on a decorating shoot and try your hand at bespoke curtain making. The public open day is 24 September, 10am – 6pm.

    A Place Called Home
    In a unique collaboration between the London Design Festival and Airbnb, four highly acclaimed designers have been invited to create their own interpretation of home… right in the middle of Trafalgar Square! This landmark project runs until 21 September.

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    A cake for autumn

    by  • 18/09/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Orange and almond cake

    This is a melt-in-the-mouth love at first bite squidgy orange and almond cake unlike any other. Flourless too, which we like, what with every other person being gluten intolerant. Such a sweet aroma when it emerges from the oven and it slices like a dream. Also works as a dessert, with ice cream or cream.

    To prepare the cake tin:
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    75g flaked almonds, chopped

    4 large navel oranges
    50ml light, fruity olive oil
    5 free range eggs, separated
    200g caster sugar
    225g ground almonds, sifted

    To decorate:
    50g flaked almonds, toasted
    a little icing sugar

    1 Heat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 25cm springform cake tin with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle the base and sides with the chopped flaked almonds.

    2 Grate the zest from the oranges and set aside. Peel the oranges and chop them over a plate to catch any juice. Put the chopped oranges and their juice in a small pan and simmer gently until the oranges are soft and excess liquid has evaporated; they need to be quite dry. Leave to cool, then place in a blender with the olive oil and blend until smooth.

    3 Put the egg whites in a large, grease-free bowl with half the caster sugar and whisk with an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale and thick. Fold the puréed oranges and the orange zest into the egg yolk mixture using a large metal spoon, then gently fold in the ground almonds. Fold in a third of the egg whites, taking care not to lose any volume. Fold in the remaining egg whites.

    4 Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and sprinkle with any remaining flaked almonds. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in to the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with the toasted flaked almonds and dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold.

    *Taken from 80 Cakes from Around the World by Claire Clark (£20, Absolute Press)

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    Celebrate the beauty of rustic Welsh design

    by  • 17/09/2014 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Blodwen Style Setter | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors

    Denise Lewis set up Blodwen in 2010 with an aim to showcase the best of Welsh design. From the pretty seaside village of Aberporth in Cardigan Bay,  Blodwen works with local artisans, providing an online platform for their hand-crafted homewares, furniture and textiles.

    What’s a normal day like? 
    To be honest, there doesn’t appear to be a normal day at Blodwen HQ! We’re either dashing around visiting artisans, up in London pitching to stores like Liberty and The Conran Shop or visiting stockists around the UK. At the moment, we’re getting ready to show our Heritage Blanket Collection at Tent, part of the London Design Festival.The double-cloth textiles have been resurrected from a weaver’s pattern book dating from 1760.

    What makes Blodwen special? 
    Each Blodwen piece is handmade and unique, using only the finest local materials and talent. We’re extremely passionate about Wales and about preserving country ways and traditions. By  nurturing local artisans, we hope to provide rural communities with an opportunity to maintain their rustic way of life.

    What inspires you?
    We take our inspiration from the heritage and historical hinterland of rural Wales – we’re dedicated to celebrating the countryside and country ways, the beauty of our surroundings and the rural way of life and work. Blodwen was founded on the desire to preserve and revive rural skills, so with this in mind, I design exclusive collections which fuse together traditional craftsmanship with contemporary style and utility.

    Describe Blodwen’s creative style in three words.
    Rustic, utilitarian and modern.

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    Bathing beauty

    by  • 16/09/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Country bathroom Country Days Country Homes & Interiors

    If you’re swept away by Spode and desirous of Delft (just as we are here at Country Days) you’ll love the twist on blue and white in this gorgeous country bathroom.

    Blue and white is a favourite combination for a bathroom because it evokes such a fresh, clean look, but it’s usually associated with a nautical theme. Here, this fabulous splashback, consisting of handmade and handpainted Packwood Delft tiles from Fired Earth, features exquisite designs inspired by life at the National Trust’s Packwood House. Just the thing if your heart is in the country.

    Team with a classic rolltop for elegance and continue the crafted feel with rustic cotton towels and an artisan stool for simple, understated finishing touches.

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    Country Homes & Interiors loves Instagram

    by  • 15/09/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes and Interiors, Instagram.com/countryhomesmag

    Want to be the first to see the best of modern country style and design? Plus discover the seasonal colours that are inspiring us…the hot-off-the-press new buys we’re loving… and go behind the scenes at our country shoots?

    Follow us on Instagram and see the Country Homes & Interiors Style team’s pick of the latest interiors looks – whenever and wherever we see it! 

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    Give your country home wow factor

    by  • 14/09/2014 • Country craft, Country style • 0 Comments


    Want to bring a brand new look to your home? Then turn to 50+ Simple Ways to Transform Any Room, an amazing publication packed full of inspirational ideas to give rooms a fresh and updated feel. Brimming with stunning images of beautiful rooms  and packed with practical tips from the experts at Britain’s best-loved homes magazines, including Country Homes & Interiors, no stone is left unturned when it comes to bringing style to whatever room or space you choose to decorate.  There are even quick links to bonus online content to enhance your knowledge, and an essential guide How to Plan a Room with Wow. Paint brushes at the ready!!

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    Artist in residence: Walking out to Eggardon

    by  • 13/09/2014 • Artist in residence • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes & Interiors, ARtist in residence 
    ‘A walk up to Eggardon Hill Fort always lifts the spirits and blows away the cobwebs!’ says Artist in residence, Sarah Hough, who is just back from a trip ‘filled with adventures and good memories’ in Northern Spain. ‘An iron-age hill fort, Eggardon Hill has one of the finest views of any hill fort in Dorset,’ she says. ‘On a clear day,  you can see right across Lyme Bay to South Devon and Start Point.’
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    Delight in dahlias

    by  • 12/09/2014 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    newsletter | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors

    Bright, beautiful and awash with colour, dahlias are at their finest at this time of year. See them in all their glory at open gardens, festivals, and events held across the UK this month. Here’s our top three recommendations…

    Dahlia Festival
    Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge
    This beautiful abbey is famed for its dahlia borders, purpose built in 1952 by Lord Fairhaven, a great lover of vibrant flowers. Visit the Dahlia Festival from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 28 September and see the Jacobean House decorated with dahlia-inspired arrangements. The gardening team will also be on hand to answer any questions.

    Dahlia Fiesta
    Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire
    Every Sunday in September will have a special theme in recognition of the collection of dahlias on display in Kelmarsh Hall’s historic kitchen garden. Enjoy guest speakers (including James Alexander-Sinclair) and flower demonstrations as well as garden tours and plant sales.

    National Dahlia Collection
    Varfell Farm, Cornwall
    Take in the colourful spectacle of over 1,600 varieties of dahlia as you wander through the beds of this open garden, with the opportunity to buy your favourites. Open throughout September from 12.30pm until 5pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons.

    Feeling inspired? Established gardener James Alexander-Sinclair has popped by with expert advice on growing these vibrant flowers in your own country garden: ‘Dahlias are annual plants in our climate so will need lifting in the autumn – just after the first frost – and storing in a frost-free shed. Plant outside in the springtime and give them plenty of food and water. Deadhead regularly to make sure that the flowers keep on coming.’

    Looking for more weekend ideas and inspiration? Sign up to Country Post, a weekly newsletter from us to you every Friday.

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    Bake yourself a pear tart

    by  • 11/09/2014 • Country food • 2 Comments

    Pear, almond and cardamom tart

    Fragrantly flavoured and meltingly soft, pears are at their peak this month. This delicious dessert is the perfect showcase, combining the sweetest fruit with almonds and cardamom in meltingly short pastry.

    Serves 8

    175g plain flour
    100g lightly salted butter, diced
    50g icing sugar
    2 medium egg yolks

    For the filling:
    100g blanched almonds
    15 cardamom pods
    100g lightly salted butter, softened
    100g caster sugar
    Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tbsps juice
    3 medium free range eggs, beaten
    35g plain flour
    5 small pears
    4 tbsps pear conserve

    1 Put the flour and butter in a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, egg yolks and 1 tsp cold water and blend to form a dough. Tip out on to a floured surface and shape into a smooth ball. Wrap the pastry and chill for at least 1 hour.

    2 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Thinly roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use to line a 25cm loose-base tart tin with a depth of about 2.5cm. Line with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Lift out the beans and paper and slide the pastry, in its tin, on to a baking sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

    3 Blend the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Crush the cardamom pods using a pestle and mortar. Discard the shells and grind the seeds a little more. In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar, cardamom seeds and lemon zest until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs then stir in the ground almonds and flour to make a thick paste. Pour into the pastry case.

    4 Peel three pears, keeping stalks intact. Make cuts around each pear and roll in 1 tbsp lemon juice. Peel, halve and core the remaining pears (you’ll only need 3 halves), make cuts down the length and roll in lemon juice. Arrange in the pastry case and bake for 30 minutes until filling is just firm.

    5 Press the conserve through a sieve into a pan to remove any pieces and stir in the remaining lemon juice. Heat gently and use to glaze the tart.

    Recipe: Joanna Farrow. Photograph: Emma Mitchell

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