• Archive for October, 2015

    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – Bonfire Night buys

    by  • 31/10/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Ready_Bonfire nightRemember, remember the 5th November! Here at Country Days we’re super excited about wrapping up warm and getting together with nearest and dearest around a blazing bonfire. With the promise of fireworks to ‘ooh and aah’ over, and tasty toffee apples to nibble, the magic of this special night never fails to ignite the inner child in us all!

    In this week’s shopping edit, we’ve selected some lovely buys to ensure your bonfire party goes off with a sizzle and bang!

    Keep guests warm from the inside out with steaming mugs of hearty homemade soup and fresh-from-the-oven parkin. Cath Kidston’s gorgeous woodland inspired crockery is the perfect mix-and-match collection to help you serve-up in style! (Above top): Woodland  Rose and Little Leaves Teacups and Saucers, £36 for set of 4; Scattered Spot and Little Leaves Cutlery Set, £45 each for 16 piece set; Woodland Rose Leaf Dishes, £15 for 2; Scattered Spot Napkins, £5; Melamine Side Plate, £5; Squirrels Billy Mug, £6.50; Woodland Rose Dinner Plates, £28 for set of 4; Little Leaves Cereal Bowls, £28 for set of 4 and Side Plates, £20 for set of 4; Coasters, £12 fpr set of 4; Little Leaves Stanley Mug, £6.50.

    Spoil your party-goers with delicious soft gooey marshmallows on a starry night! This extra long Toasting Fork, £8.75, from Ella’s Kitchen Company (above right), is the perfect thing for cooking on fire pits – no need for trays and racks!

    Guide family and friends down your garden path with flickering candle light. These beautifully rustic Tea Light Stakes, £29.95 for a set of 3, by Dee Puddy (above left), are real charmers and offer an attractive alternative to solar lighting – we’re enchanted!

    Gloves on and sparklers at the ready – we wish you all a jolly and safe Bonfire Night!















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    This weekend… spend a spooky Halloween!

    by  • 30/10/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Get spooked this Halloween at a haunted castleWho said Halloween was just for kids? Psych yourself up for some spine-tingling spookiness this weekend at one of our favourite events in Warwickshire, Kent, Devon and Hampshire. From twilight tours around haunted castles to ghostly boat trips and train rides, there’s plenty of ghoulish goings-on to make your hair stand on end. You may even need to treat yourself to a deadly cocktail to recover. Bloody Mary, Black Widow or Zombie Punch anyone?

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    Curl up with our new issue – on sale now!

    by  • 29/10/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments


    Christmas has come early at Country Homes! Not only is our December issue, packed with cosy country comforts, from charming Christmas decorations and welcoming festive houses to stylish stoves, log stores and deliciously seasonal cakes and cookies, ready for you to get your hands on from today – the lovely people at CH&I headquarters are also offering readers the chance to enjoy the next six issues for just £6.66!

    The 666 Halloween offer which runs this week only is an amazing one-off deal that means you can buy a subscription for six issues of Country Homes & Interiors magazine for only £6.66. Get yours now in just a few clicks by visiting magazinesdirect.com.





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    Tasty pumpkin and orange soup

    by  • 29/10/2015 • Country food • 1 Comment


    This delicious and healthy recipe is the perfect warming supper for small Halloween and bonfire night gatherings. Even better, it’s quick and super easy to make.

    1 onion, sliced
    500g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
    400g sweet potato, peeled and chopped
    3tbsp garlic oil
    900ml vegetable stock
    Zest and juice 2 oranges
    Fresh coriander pumpkin seeds

    Serves 4

    1 Heat the oven to 180C, gas 4. Toss the onion, pumpkin, sweet potato and garlic oil in a roasting tin. Roast for 45 mins until soft through and slightly charred.

    2 Bring the stock to the boil with the orange zest and juice. Tip in the roasted veg, remove from the heat and whizz with a stick blender until smooth. Return to the heat until piping hot.

    3 Serve topped with fresh coriander and toasted pumpkin seeds.



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    Meet Kate Heiss

    by  • 28/10/2015 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_KATE_HEISSFrom her allotment-based studio in rural Hertfordshire, Kate Heiss produces bold and beautiful wall art using a range of techniques, from lino cutting to screen-printing. Hellebore (above) is our favourite, inspired by the little blackbird that pops by her studio everyday!

    How did you get into printmaking?
    I worked as a textile designer for many years in London before moving out to Hertfordshire with my young family. It felt like a natural progression from textile design to explore printing as an art form. The Curwen Print Study Centre was local and offering fabulous courses in printmaking, where I learnt techniques such as etching, linocut, screen-printing, drypoint and collagraphs. I was instantly gripped, I loved it!

    What’s your workspace like?
    My studio overlooks my allotment so I have the robins and blackbirds for company! I love to surround myself with colour and patterns. I have a huge pinboard above my desk, which is ever changing and evolving with snippets of inspiration. Most of the time I have washing lines pegged with prints from corner to corner of the room, too.

    What inspires you?
    Wild walks in the countryside, pebbles on the beach, old textiles and vintage nature books. My particular favorite is The Nature Lover’s Book by Enid Blyton. It’s a series of stories of nature walks through the seasons, beautifully written and illustrated, cataloguing the flora and fauna of each month.

    Describe the making process. 
    After sketching out my ideas I intricately cut a lino tile with my design. I ink the tile, place my paper on it and wind it through my press. I love the anticipation of what will appear on the paper – it’s never quite what you expect!

    What’s your favorite thing about the countryside?
    I love to hear and see the geese flying in over the marshes in Norfolk.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Dynamic, vibrant and illustrative.

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    Winter warmer

    by  • 27/10/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Cosy living room

    Pumpkin and berry shades are the order of the day in this toasty country living room, and it’s making us here at Country Days glow inside!

    There’s something very comforting about cosy colours. Here, a muted berry red is combined with an opulent orange to create the ultimate warm palette.

    This scheme is a modern take on the country house look. Period-style panelling is given a colourful contemporary edge with a soft red shade – and we  love the interesting display of artwork, with the combination of a traditional portrait and smaller scale vintage conifer prints.

    What’s particularly appealing about this room is the sumptuous velvet fabric (don’t you just want to reach out and touch it?), which instantly creates a luxe feel that’s perfect for the country house look.  The sofa (the Eva) and the bespoke pouffe are both by Neptune and are upholstered in the evocatively named Fox. A grey velvet cushion is used for contrast.

    The scheme is given an edgy touch with an industrial-chic occasional table that picks up on the greys used elsewhere.

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    Craft Halloween window stickers

    by  • 25/10/2015 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Ready_IPCIMMGLPICT000000233147Looking for a quick and easy Halloween decoration to welcome (or ward off!) trick or treaters? These spooky sticker silhouettes are a spine-tingling addition to glass doors and windows. From creepy cats and bothersome bats to scary-looking pumpkins, simply draw or stencil your favourite designs onto self-adhesive vinyl (£5.79, Hobbycraft) and cut out carefully. Peel off the back and stick to the window, smoothing down to get rid of any air bubbles. Fill the room with atmospheric lighting to cast an eerie glow.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – cute country doormats

    by  • 24/10/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Ready_doormatsPuddles-a-plenty and mud galore – at this time of year every entrance needs a hardworking doormat to welcome family and friends and prevent the outside from being traipsed all over your home!

    We’ve rounded-up our top picks of practical but oh-so-pretty buys that promise to save your rustic flooring from months of dirt and despair…

    Bring the beauty of the British countryside into your home with a landscape-inspired design. This new Autumn Squares Turtle Mat, £49.95 from Turtle Mat (above top), is created from artist Dee Hardwicke’s ceramic designs. This enchanting number celebrates nature and is sure to bring joy and a splash of colour into everyday life!

    First impressions count! Delight and invite guests into the warmth with a charming motif. This Chicken Doormat, £25, from Cox & Cox (above right), features a quirky poultry print and decorative edges inspired by French folk art. For use both indoors and out, this hard-working coir has a durable rubber back to prevent slipping.

    For a sophisticated but fun way to keep your feet toasty in front of the Aga, this Spotty Doormat, £39, from The Cotswold Company (above left) is the polka dot-perfect choice! As well as its cute-as-a-button design, it also prevents up to 95% of dust, wet mud and garden dirt from being tracked from room-to-room. Washable at 30 degrees and made from recycled materials – it’s a green hit!


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    Let the half-term fun begin!

    by  • 23/10/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Autumn fun The Vyne |National TrustThere’s lots of fun to be had this half-term for families with young children. At this time of year nothing beats kicking up the leaves on a woodland walk, collecting conkers and acorns, or a bit of pumpkin carving. Here’s our round-up of the best ways to spend your days in Gloucestershire, Suffolk, and Hampshire…

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    Delicious Apple Surprise Pie

    by  • 22/10/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ready_HR Apple

    Inspired by yesterday’s apple day, not to mention the fact that it’s prime apple season, we thought we’d indulge in a good old classic apple pie this week. This one, however, has a little twist in the form of a dollop of jam added to the filling for extra flavour. Serve, of course, with plenty of custard! Is there anything better on a Sunday afternoon after a lovely roast dinner? We think not!

    Serves 8-10

    200g (7oz) butter
    45g (1½oz) golden caster sugar (2 tbsp)
    2 medium eggs
    300g (10oz) plain flour
    Pinch of salt

    100g (3½oz) golden caster sugar, plus 1-2 tsp for sprinkling
    ½-1 level tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice
    3 level tbsp cornflour
    About 1.75kg (3½lb) cooking apples
    3 tbsp apricot conserve or good jam
    Custard or cream, for serving
    1.75 litre (3 pint) capacity or a 25 x 5cm (10 x 2in) pie dish

    1 To make the pastry, cut the butter into slivers into a food processor, add the sugar and whizz until just mixed. Add a whole egg and one egg yolk (keep the white for later) and whizz again, then add the flour and salt, and whizz until the mixture starts to come together. Gently work into a cylindrical shape. Take off just over a third of the pastry to use for the top of the pie. Form both pieces of pastry dough into flat rounds, wrap them in cling film and chill for about 45 minutes.

    2 Set the oven to Gas Mark 5 or 190°C and put a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

    3 To make the filling, mix the sugar, spice and cornflour in a large bowl. Peel, core and cut the apples into thick slices — you should have at least 1kg (2¼lb) — adding them to the bowl.

    4 Roll out the larger piece of pastry, on a lightly-floured surface and use it to line the pie dish. Trim it, but leave a little hanging over the edge. Lightly whisk the reserved egg white and brush the pastry case inside with some of it. Put the apple mixture into the pastry case, leaving a well in the middle. Spoon the apricot conserve or jam into the well.

    5 Add the pastry trimmings to the smaller piece of pastry and roll it out to form a lid. Dip your finger in water and pat it round the pastry rim. Lay the lid on top of the apple and press the edges together well to seal. Tuck any overhanging pastry under the rim of the dish. Press a fork around the edges and make a hole in the top. Brush the top with the rest of the egg white and sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons sugar.

    6 Put the pie on the baking sheet and place below the centre of the oven, to bake for 45 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving with hot custard, or cream.

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