• Archive for May, 2015

    Craft driftwood boats

    by  • 31/05/2015 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_rt_CHI Beach 2

    Bring a coastal feel to any room with these  pint-sized decorative dinghies, made from driftwood finds and favourite fabric remnants.

    To make the base,  wrap a narrow piece of hessian around two pieces of driftwood of a similar length and secure by tying string around both ends. Cut out an isosceles triangle and small diamond shape from the fabric. Cut a wooden skewer to act as a mast; fold the triangle around it – leave about 4cm of skewer free from fabric at the base – and glue into place to form a sail, then add the diamond at the top to create a flag. When dry, push the bottom of the skewer mast through the hessian and between the two pieces of driftwood.

    If you like this idea, we’ve got lots more easy craft projects to inspire you on the Country Homes & Interiors homepage.

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    Time to bake-off…

    by  • 30/05/2015 • Country style, Country Videos • 0 Comments

    June is just around the corner, marking the start of the Great British Summer – hoorah! With the sun already putting a seasonal smile on our face, the time has come to get bake-ready in preparation for country shows and summer fêtes.

    In this week’s shopping video we’ve whipped up an edit of our favourite cake tin buys to store and transport all those home-baked delights…

    Bake in batches and keep your goodies fresh in cleverly nested tins that also stack. The lovely Sophie Allport tins at John Lewis come in a set of three handy sizes with each tin featuring chicken designs; Perfect to lay many a country-raised cake!

    We love these retro-inspired Magpie Birdy cake tins from Lakeland – they’ll add country chic to the kitchen as well as providing stylish storage for teatime treats.

    A slice of cake anyone? Whet their appetites before they’ve even laid eyes on that Victoria Sponge with a pretty container. The gorgeous rose designs on the Vintage Flowers cake tins from Posh Totty certainly got our attention!

    No matter what your bake-off prowess might be, make sure your fresh-from-the-oven beauties are dressed for the occasion and ready to put on display – you may even win best in show!

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    Visit a restaurant with rooms

    by  • 29/05/2015 • Country food, Country moment • 0 Comments

    The Pig Brockenhurst

    Foodies rejoice! As spring turns in to summer nature’s fruitful bounty is upon us. So why not head to one of these restaurants with rooms, renowned for their mouthwatering menus, and savour the best local produce? Enjoy a delicious farm-to-plate meal, then when you’re sufficiently watered and fed, take the easy amble to your room for the night. Perfect!

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    Get ready to barbecue

    by  • 28/05/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    BBQ week kebabs

    This week is National BBQ Week (now in its 18th year!) so what better excuse to head outside and get grilling? Here’s a delicious recipe that’s perfect for spicing things up if this weekend’s weather isn’t as jolly as you’d like it to be!

    Lamb Shish Kebabs with Houmous
    [Serves 4]

    Preparation time 25 minutes, plus marinating time
    Cooking time Under 20 minutes

    450g/1lb lean lamb leg, cut into 2.5cm/1inch cubes

    For the Marinade
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
    Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
    45ml/3tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
    30ml/2tbsp freshly chopped mint
    15ml/1tbsp freshly chopped oregano
    Salt and freshly milled black pepper
    1 large red onion, cut into 5cm/2inch pieces
    1 large yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 5cm/2inch pieces
    1 large red pepper, deseeded and cut into 5cm/2inch pieces
    Extra oil, cooking for the vegetable kebabs

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    Go retro

    by  • 27/05/2015 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_Lilly_Loray_groupA bright teatowel or jolly cushion is such an easy way to add character to neutral rooms. Introduce a retro vibe with 60s-inspired home textiles from Lilly Loray – aka talented designer, Bryony Disbury.

    How did Lilly Loray come about?
    I used to be a Producer for TV adverts, so nurturing designs and concepts is a passion of mine. Retro patterns have been with me since I was young too – I was always buying retro furniture and homewares off bidding sites. I decided to create a brand that sold up-to-date retro inspired pieces for the home – voila! Lilly Loray was born.

    What inspires you?
    Geometric, geometric and a little more geometric! Gorgeous retro patterns too.

    What makes your products special?
    Colour! I choose bright shades that ooze a retro tone. They work beautifully together, so can be mixed and matched with light or dark furniture to create a fun 60s vibe in any room!

    Describe your creative style in three words.
    Bold, bohemian and 60s-inspired.

    What’s next for you?
    We will be starting an expansion with a new linen range. We are excited to be launching the new styles this summer, with a wild 1960s evening – a night of fun and frolics!

    Do you run a small country business? Enter the My Country Business Awards 2015 by the closing date of Wednesday 10 June 2015 for the chance to win a money-can’t-buy package of advice from leading industry experts and mentors. Click here for details.

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    Prepare to sit pretty

    by  • 26/05/2015 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Pink and white country living room

    Pretty in pink! Here at Country Days, we’re loving this country living room with its soothing neutral backdrop punctuated with a classic country checked fabric by Jane Churchill.

    For a look that will stand the test of time, choose a neutral linen sofa as your living room staple, and make your hero piece a statement armchair such as this stunning pink checked design (both the sofa and the armchair are from Multiyork). Link the two by softening the sofa with a toning checked cushion.

    Painted furniture is a great way of bringing character to a scheme, especially if you mix and match it. Here, the sleek coffee table interjects a modern edge with its clean lines, while the vintage glazed cabinet is perfect for storing books and nick nacks and breaking up a large area of wall space.

    French-influenced pieces introduce a touch of chic. The beautiful distressed side table makes a real style statement, especially when topped with interesting finds. A toile cushion adds classic elegance.

    Bleached floorboards keep the feel light and bright, while must-have vintage industrial pendants (hunt them out at salvage yards, auctions and antiques fairs) finish off the look beautifully.

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    Style a day-to-night decoration

    by  • 24/05/2015 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_1363 08a 16-2

    You can’t go wrong with a beautiful flower arrangement when it comes to country-inspired décor. We’ve fallen for this cute little styling idea from our June issue, a chic way to showcase blooms at their best. It couldn’t be easier – simply pop a pastel-coloured vase into a scandi-style lantern; ours is £24.99 Homesense. For an elegant evening feel, simply exchange it for glass jar candles (from £7.99, Yankee Candle). Decorate them with twine and dried flowers to create a rustic centrepiece or mantle display.

    NB never leave burning candles unattended.

    If you like this idea, we’ve got lots more easy craft projects to inspire you on the Country Homes & Interiors homepage.

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    Be garden party ready…

    by  • 23/05/2015 • Country style, Country Videos • 0 Comments

    With the sun playing hide and seek it’s hard to plan outdoor soirees. Here at Country Homes & Interiors HQ we say carry on regardless, invest in summer must-haves now to be ready at a moments notice for stylish alfresco dining.

    Watch our latest video below for a round up of our favourite garden party buys…

    The current hero of any party is the drinks dispenser. The new floral design at Marks & Spencer has won our affections – practical in acrylic and just enough of a tropical twist to make us feel suitably in sunshine/holiday mode.

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    Visit a bluebell wood

    by  • 22/05/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Bluebell Woods | Country DaysWith the spring bank holiday on the way, it’s the perfect time to head out for a leisurely country walk and catch a final glimpse of vibrant bluebells. Let the feel-good factor sink in as heady scents fill the air and carpets of bluebells add a splash of colour to these enchanting places… 

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    Celebrate Vegetarian Week

    by  • 21/05/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Mediterranean wild rice salad

    This week is National Vegetarian Week (18th – 24th May). How about serving this tangy fennel and artichoke salad with olives and caper berries? It’s a great alternative to Greek salad and so easy to do. The large caper berries provide a salty and tangy contrast to the sweetness of the roasted vegetables, and best of all it’s super healthy [Serves 2]

    ½ fennel bulb, cut into bite-sized pieces
    1 large red onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
    160g chestnut mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
    1 courgette, cut into bite-sized pieces
    ½ red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
    2 tbsp olive oil
    a few thyme leaves
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    80g wild rice
    handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
    4 marinated artichoke hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces
    80g black and green olives, halved
    12 large caper berries
    finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
    handful of basil leaves
    4 tbsp roughly chopped parsley leaves

    1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Place the fennel, onion, mushrooms, courgette and red pepper in a roasting tray, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle on the thyme, salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. Stir halfway through.

    2 Meanwhile, cook the rice according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. When the vegetables are cooked, mix in the tomatoes, artichokes, olives, caper berries and lemon zest. Now mix these with the rice and stir in the lemon juice and herbs. Serve warm or cold.

    *Recipe taken from Thrive on Five by Nina & Jo Littler and Randi Glenn (Quadrille, £16.99)
    Photograph by Dan Jones

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