• Archive for January, 2015

    Pot up lovely winter pansies

    by  • 12/01/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes & Interiors, winter pansiesYou don’t get much better for a punch of colour on a cold grey day than the lovely face of a pansy. Planted up in zinc pots by the front door or bobbing  around in wooden window boxes, they make a welcome addition to a country garden right now. Stick to single colours rather then the multi-coloured mixes – Country Days likes Pansy ‘Mystique Blue Halo’ – and plant en masse for a make-me-smile moment every time you leave the house.

    Read more →

    Craft vintage vases

    by  • 11/01/2015 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Glass bottle vase upcycle_Country Days_Country Homes and Interiors

    Can’t bring yourself to part with lovely-looking jars and bottles? Incorporate them into your country-decorating scheme with this sweet vase up cycle idea, perfect for adding a decorative touch to bare shelves and sills. Simply wrap your glass vessels with rustic twine or lace and secure loose ends with glue. Fill with little posies of seasonal wildflowers for a pretty vintage look.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. Or for more country crafts, see our latest issue.

    Read more →

    Artist in residence: Frost

    by  • 10/01/2015 • Artist in residence • 0 Comments

    Country Days, Country Homes and Interiors, Artist in residenceArtist in residence Sarah Hough sent us this super-subtle but atmospheric watercolour. ‘I called this early morning picture Frost,’ she tells us, ‘as Jack Frost had been hard at work whilst I slumbered and caught me by surprise.’

    To see more of Sarah Hough’s seasonal pictures, click here.

    Read more →

    Feel good in five minutes

    by  • 09/01/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Feel good in five minutes_Country Days_Country Homes and InteriorsIf, like us, you lead a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to miss those lovely countryside moments. From walking through frost-covered fields to the singsong of winter birds, we embraced each and every one over the Christmas break, and so welcomed in 2015 with a relaxed and mindful outlook. Take five minutes every day to appreciate those feel-good moments and stay happy all year round. We’ve shortlisted three that make us smile…

    A moment of ‘me-time’
    Head out on a country walk, find a peaceful sitting spot to rest, then listen to one of our favourite apps, Headspace (IOS and Android). It offers a course of guided meditation, demonstrating how to apply mindfulness and happiness to your everyday life. Download 10 free sessions or subscribe from £3.74/month.

    Spotting garden birds
    Place a full bird-feeder by your window and, with the help of the RSPB’s Bird Identifier, spend a happy five minutes finding out who’s stopped by for a spot of seed!

    Star gazing
    You don’t need a telescope or even binoculars, discover the wonders of a clear country sky with Star Walk (IOS and Android), an interactive app that provides stunning 3D images of what you can see above you. Download from £1.79.

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

    Read more →

    Quick and healthy supper

    by  • 08/01/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    rice and vegetables

    The fridge is not the most inspiring of places at this time of year with Christmas waifs and strays (morsel of Stilton, inch of chutney, lone pickled onion – we’re talking about you)  still lurking at the back. This delicious rice dish is a great way to use up any leftover rice and vegetables (we used sprouts which worked fabulously well but you don’t have to) and zhushes them up into something tasty that’s healthy too if nipping your belt in is on your mind. A quick tip for perfect brown rice every time is to rinse the grains thoroughly in cold running water before cooking to remove some of the starch, then cook the rice just slightly less than the timings given on the packet, so that it retains its nutty bite. This recipe serves 4.

    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    1 medium leek, washed and finely chopped
    ¼ Savoy cabbage, finely chopped
    125g Brussels Sprout Kimchi (see below)
    250g cooked brown basmati rice
    2 spring onions, finely chopped
    1 tbsp light soy sauce
    1 tbsp oyster sauce

    Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat and stir-fry the garlic, leek and cabbage for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the Kimchi and cooked rice and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the spring onions, soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir-fry for a final 1 minute. Serve.

    To make the Brussels Sprout Kimchi:

    1 Blanch 500g trimmed and halved small button Brussels sprouts in a pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile combine 1 litre cold water with 5 tbsp salt in a large bowl to make a brine. Added the drained Brussels and top with a plate to keep them submerged. Leave at room temperature for 4 hours then drain and reserve sprouts in a clean bowl.

    2 Whizz the following ingredients in a food processor: half a small chopped onion, 2 sliced spring onions, 6 cloves of garlic, a 7.5cm piece of peeled and chopped fresh root ginger, 2 tbsps fish sauce, 2 tbsps crushed coriander seeds, 2 tbsps crushed fennel seeds and 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder.

    3 Add the paste to the drained sprouts and combine then transfer to sterilized jars. Pour the reserved brine solution over until it covers the sprouts by 2cm and they are completely submerged. Cover and seal. Leave the jars of kimchi out for 2-3 days to ferment, then transfer to the fridge. Store unopened jars in the fridge for up to 2 months.

    *Taken from The Sunshine Diet by Shelina Permalloo (Ebury Press, £14.99), out now. Photograph: Martin Poole

    Read more →

    Meet Catherine Tough

    by  • 07/01/2015 • Country business, Country style • 0 Comments


     You can’t look at a Catherine Tough’s knitted designs without wanting to smile. Adorable country critters and jolly colour combinations… what’s not to love? Catherine established the business 13 years ago and has since become one of Britain’s leading knitwear designers. With the help of her dedicated team, she supplies some of our favourite stores including Harrods, The White Company and Anthropologie.

    What made you want to become a designer?
    I come from a creative family. Both my sisters work in design, and my mum was always making something on her old-fashioned knitting machine. I loved watching the Clothes Show every Sunday, it all looked so exciting.

    Why did you choose knitting in particular as something to pursue?
    I instantly took to the knitting machine when I did my Textile Design BA at Buckinghamshire College. You can work through ideas quite quickly which I like, and it’s great fun to get a machine to do something creative. I went on to specialise in knit for my MA at the Royal College of Art.

    What is your favourite part of the design process?
    Choosing the colours for a new collection. I love getting a new shade card and chopping it up to try out all the different colour combinations.

    What makes your business special?
    Beside the quality and design, I think our products always make people smile. Everyone involved loves what they do, so each of our accessories and creatures come out looking happy!

    Describe your favourite country moment.
    Walking on the Malvern Hills with my family, then heading home for one of my Mum’s roast dinners…lovely!

    Describe your creative style in three words.
    Unexpected, simple and fun.

    Feeling inspired? Enjoy 20% off at Catherine Tough with the code CHI2015. Offer ends 31 Jan 2015.

    Read more →

    Be inspired by a retro country kitchen

    by  • 06/01/2015 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Country Kitchen Country Days Country Homes and Interiors

    Here at Country Days we’re loving the trend for giving a modern twist to a classic country scheme with retro and vintage touches.

    And this wow country kitchen is a great example. Here, classic Shaker units in on-trend grey are combined with a stainless-steel range to create a soothing and stylish backdrop. Lighting with an industrial edge is used to make a statement above the island, while retro bar stools – in a pretty duck egg shade that really lifts the scheme – create the perfect spot to perch for a cuppa.

    Bring in extra warmth with a rustic wooden flooring such as Simply Oak from Kersaint Cobb for the perfect finishing touch.

    Read more →

    New year…new issue

    by  • 05/01/2015 • Country moment, Country style • 1 Comment

    Country Days, Country Homes and Interiors, February 2015Welcome back to Country Days! After a well-earned break we are back at our desks and ready to deliver even more gorgeous modern country life and style in 2015!

    Hot off the presses is the latest issue filled with everything you need for hunkering down at home. From using feel-good colour to decorate rooms to soul-warming suppers to eat by the fireside.

    Head to a retailer near you or download your digital issue here.

    Read more →