• Archive for September, 2014

    Meet Astrid Weigel

    by  • 10/09/2014 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

    Astrid Weigel Style Setter | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors

    Working from her studio in Ayrshire, Scotland, Astrid Weigel makes all her pieces by hand, ensuring care and attention goes into each and every one.

    Tell us a little bit about what you do. 
    I make home accessories and wall art using my own hand-printed fabrics. I like to keep things simple by printing in a monochromatic palette before adding colour and texture with appliqué and stitching.

    What’s your business ethos? 
    I’m a one woman operation so I realise how important it is to support other small British companies. For my next set of cushions, I’ve sourced some lovely linen woven right here in Scotland by one of the country’s last remaining mills. I hate any kind of waste, so every last scrap of fabric is used for something.

    What inspires you? 
    Nature is the one recurring theme in my work – I enjoy country walks, pottering in my garden, watching birds out the window. I’m so fortunate to have beautiful views from our home. It’s lovely to observe the arrival of each new season with the small gradual changes that it brings.

    Describe your favourite country moment. 
    I hear owl hoots all the time but had never  spotted the culprit… until the other night! I opened my bedroom window and there he was, sitting on the garage roof. We eyed each other up for a few seconds before he flew away. I went to bed a happy lady!

    What’s your creative style in three words?
    Illustrative, bold and modern-rustic.

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    A whiter shade of pale

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

    Country kitchen Country Days Country Homes and Interiors

    White is the key ingredient of many a country kitchen and there was much room envy here at Country Days when we saw this dreamy, pristine scheme. It’s no wonder that white is ever popular because it creates such a fresh and clean look, as well as having wonderful light-enhancing qualities.

    Simple and elegant, the room exudes Scandi style with its cladding, limewashed floorboards and tongue and groove cabinets. We also love its casual, informal feel, enhanced by the open shelves lined with favourite china and glasses.

    Even the appliances are super stylish – the cream Smeg range cooker and retro-style appliances provide subtle pops of colour – while oversized chrome lamps add a modern edge.

    For more white kitchen inspiration, take a peek at http://bit.ly/1nG1yJa

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    Damsons in season

    by  • 08/09/2014 • Country food, Country moment • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes & Interiors, damsons

    Here at Country Days, we’re natural hedgerow foragers. I was very happy to see these wild damsons hanging abundantly in the little wood at the back of my country house this weekend. For the last few years, there’s not been any sign of these seasonal lovelies so I was delighted to fill my pockets and head home to make damson and blackberry crumble. Thrifty cooking at its best!

    What’s your favourite foraging recipe?

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    Sew jolly shoe bags

    by  • 07/09/2014 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    Sort and store shoes in bright and breezy shoe bags simply made with fabric and a plaited wool cord.

    Easy to make simply cut out a rectangle of fabric (we used Autumn Leaves, £16 a petre, John Lewis and Passaro, 120 205, £27 a metre, Scion) with pinking sheers or with normal scissors and overlock around the edges. Fold in half width ways, right side facing, pin and sew a hem along the bottom and edge of the rectangle stopping 5cm from the top edge. Press the side edge seam open and fold over. Turn the top edge over, pin and hem to leave a channel, then turn back and press again. Plait lengths of wool together and thread through the channel then knot together to finish.

    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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    Tea for two…

    by  • 06/09/2014 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Jo Clark Design on Country Days Blog

    This week the object of our affections is Jo Clark Design’s quirky illustrations, notably the two owl friends (above) who’ve found the perfect spot for a lovely cup of tea! Owls are set to be a big trend this season, making these screen-printed tea towels one for our wish list.

    ‘My designs are hand drawn illustrations inspired by my garden, what lives in it, and the beautiful British countryside that surrounds me,’ says Jo.

    In addition to the owl tea towels our favourite picks from the home accessories collection are the adorable Cat Nap cushions and the array of Floral art prints.

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    Look out for migrating birds this weekend

    by  • 05/09/2014 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    05Sep14 | newsletter | Country Homes and InteriorsNow is the time to visit the UK’s wetlands, marshes and estuaries, with thousands of migrating birds on the move around our shores. Venture to our top three bird-watching locations and see spectacular sights, from roosting geese to dancing starlings.

    Loch of Strathbeg, Aberdeenshire
    In recent years, this pretty nature reserve has acted as a night-time roost for one of the biggest flocks of wild geese in the UK, with over 70,000 flying in – a truly jaw-dropping sight not to be missed.

    The Somerset Levels & Moors
    Between September and February every year, thousands of starlings flock together to perform extraordinary aerial displays, swirling in unison across the sky before eventually flying down and roosting in the trees. To find out exactly where the starlings are, call the Avalon Marshes Starling Hotline on 07866 554 142 or emailing starlings@rspb.org.uk

    Arne, Dorset 
    See ospreys fishing here as they stock up for their autumn migration to Africa. The reserve overlooks Poole Harbour where you can watch thousands of wading birds, ducks and geese including avocets, black-tailed godwits and brent geese.

    RSPB spokesman, Grahame Madge is also on hand to help us spot a bit closer to home. ‘As the cold weather approaches millions of thrushes, such as fieldfare and redwing, migrate from Scandinavia and Iceland to spend the winter with us. In hard weather, these birds will jostle with resident finches and robins for food at garden bird tables. Even the blackbird gracing your lawn could be an migrant from Poland or Russia!’

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    Love Rose Geranium cake

    by  • 04/09/2014 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Rose tea cake

    Park the scones and Earl Grey – this week Country Days is celebrating teas and cake that are a little bit more unusual. This glorious Rose Geranium and Muscat cake takes on the beautiful scent and flavour of roses, imparted by edible scented geranium leaves. A hefty dousing in orange muscat wine makes this cake even more special. Serve with a cup of rose conjou tea, our newly favourite Chinese black tea infused with oil of roses.

    about 14 small rose-scented geranium leaves
    250g soft butter
    250g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
    a pinch of salt
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    150g self-raising flour
    100g ground almonds
    50g fine polenta or semolina
    250–300 ml Brown Brothers Orange Muscat and Flora wine

    Serves 10–12

    1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4. Carefully arrange the geranium leaves around the outside edge of a 23cm springform cake pan, greased, lined with baking parchment, and greased again, close together and with the upper side facing outwards. Set aside.

    2 Beat the butter, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Spoon into the prepared pan, taking care not to dislodge the geranium leaves. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.

    3 Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Pour the muscat all over the cake. Leave to cool completely before turning out onto a cake plate. Scatter the top with sugar and serve in slices.

    4 Warm the teapot and add 5 teaspoons of rose conjou tea leaves. Pour in slightly cooled boiled water and leave to brew for 3–5 minutes. Pour into cups and serve.

    *Recipe taken from Tea & Treats by Liz Franklin (Ryland, Peters & Small, £16.99). Photograph by Isobel Wield 

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    We chat to designer maker Helen Round

    by  • 03/09/2014 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments

    Style Setter Helen Round | Country Days | Country Homes and Interiors magazine

    Helen Round combines state of the art digital printing with traditional hand printing techniques to turn her drawings into vibrant textiles and homewares including cushions, lampshades and tea towels.

    What inspires your designs?
    Living and working in Cornwall is a continuous source of inspiration. My studio is perched on the top of a hill, with views down through the village to the River Tamar. This timeless view is one I constantly revisit when considering new designs.

    What’s your business ethos?
    I am passionate about keeping things local…. from the careful sourcing of materials and the use of environmentally friendly inks, to the small busy team in the village who help me to create the collections.

    What’s your working space like?
    My purpose built studio, where I hand print all of my linen, is at the top of my garden. It’s a large bright airy space, with floor to ceiling glass on two sides,  cedar paneling and a tin roof. The wood burner keeps it toasty in winter!

    What’s your life outside of work like?
    When I have time off, I nip down to the beach. If it’s warm enough, I enjoy a swim or paddle my kayak around the bay. Alternatively, on cooler days, the coastal paths are a place I love to wander, taking photos for my sketch book along the way.

    Describe your creative style in three words.
    Natural, calm and simplistic.

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    We’re in the mood for nature’s colours

    by  • 02/09/2014 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Country bedroom Country Days Country Homes and Interiors

    If summer days spent fellwalking have left you inspired by nature’s palette (as they have us here at Country Days), feast your eyes on this beautiful country bedroom that incorporates the late summer shades of the hills and mountains with its pretty heathery purple and moss green fabrics.

    A backdrop of chalky tongue and groove panelling and floorboards gives the scheme a calm, Scandi edge, while complementing the fabrics and throws (from Susie Watson) beautifully.

    Timeworn wooden furniture, an antique mirror and much-loved pictures add character and provide those individual finishing touches that turn a house into a home.

    To see more pictures from this gorgeous country house, click on http://bit.ly/1tPLFDN

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