• Archive for June, 2016

    Fresh fig salad

    by  • 30/06/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Good for detoxifying the system, figs add a touch of natural sweetness to this lovely yet super-simple recipe from new book Eat Beautiful by Wendy Rowe (Ebury Press, £20). A great idea for a healthier alternative to processed sugars, which can be detrimental to your skin.

    SERVES 2

    100g burrata or buffalo mozzarella
    2 fresh figs, quartered
    2 large handfuls of rocket
    1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    Fresh basil, to serve

    Break the burrata or mozzarella into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl with the figs. Add the rocket and mix well to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Dress at the last minute, drizzling over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a zigzag motion and scatter over basil leaves to serve.

    Photography by David Loftus

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    Meet Emily Burningham

    by  • 29/06/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_group copy 13With everyone in her family either a writer or an artist, it was only a matter of time before Emily followed in their creative footsteps. In 2005 she set up her own business, designing cards and wrapping paper for Paperchase. Today, her quirky illustrative prints feature on fabrics, homewares and stationery and can be found gracing the shelves of stores including Liberty, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason.

    Describe your design process.
    I often begin with a simple pencil drawing. I like to draw from life so can usually be found capturing flowers in the garden. The next step is to experiment with colour – I like to have at least one eye-catching combination! Once I’m happy with the design it’ll go to the manufacturer before being worked onto big rolls of fabric or made up into products.

    What inspires you?
    I’m passionate about print, colour and pattern and take inspiration from a number of places. My work often stems from happy memories of sunny days spent in my Grandmother’s garden. She taught me all about flowers and plants when I was a little girl which rooted my love for the natural world.

    Do you have a favourite design?
    Yes, Fritillary (above, bottom right, £62 per metre) was one of my first and holds fond memories of my Grandmother. We planted fritillary bulbs in her garden, which didn’t appear until the spring after she passed away. It was so magical and such a lovely memory, so the design will always hold a place close to my heart.

    What’s been your career highlight?
    I started simply with paper designs, so the transition into fabrics was daunting. I’m really proud to have taken a leap of faith, it’s been so rewarding.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    Ideally I’d live in a Zen temple with very little around! I just can’t seem to escape clutter, mainly due to my inability to throw away scraps of vintage fabrics collected over the years…

    What’s next?
    I’ve just launched my new Summertime collection, an array of designs inspired by the warmer months, from bobbing sailboats to soft country blooms. I love the cool contemporary Clouds fabric (above top, £62 per metre); it’s so fresh and crisp.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    British, quintessential and elegant.

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    Shades of summer

    by  • 28/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Rustic dining room

    If you want to inject subtle colour into your country dining room, take your inspiration from all things summery and, in this case, a delicious ice cream colour palette.

    Here, a panelled wall becomes an eyecatching feature wall when painted in a variety of pretty pastel shades, such as Dusty Lilac, Coquette Lt, Smoketree Lt, Sand Tan and Mercury Lt, all by Sanderson Paint, creating a rustic backdrop with a difference.

    Keep the look calm and pared-back for best effect. Introduce a Scandinavian edge by painting the rest of the scheme white and bringing in vintage furniture that has a distressed finish. Choose a farmhouse table with a wooden top to cosy up the room and link with the wooden floor. Then partner the table with vintage mismatched chairs to create an eclectic and informal feel. Complete the scheme with a pretty, neutral rug underfoot.

    Accessories are a great way of bringing homely character to a scheme and we love the simple display on the top of the sideboard – a beautiful vintage seascape propped against the wall is teamed with a minimal display of country flowers in a glass jar to finish off the look beautifully.


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    30 Country Style Icons: the plate rack

    by  • 26/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Country Homes & Interiors is 30 this year! In celebration, we’ve picked 30 of our all-time favourite design classics that have stood the test of time, thanks to their real sense of history, craftsmanship and purpose, to share with you over the coming weeks.


    The plate rack
    Still a favourite accessory in wood or painted kitchens, this simple but winning design keeps plates in order and to hand. It’s the look that really earns it its place in the country kitchen. Rows of wall cupboards can look cumbersome and the plate rack is an effective way to break up the space, adding a dash of natural wood into the scheme. Often made to size by your kitchen company, there are a few stand alone pieces available, such as this wall-mounted plate rack, £115, Within.

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    Make a pocketed gardening pinny

    by  • 26/06/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_19Upcycle a pair of old jeans into a mini gardening pinny with handy pockets to keep tools and seeds to hand. Durable and hard-wearing, denim is the perfect material to use, paired with a natural selvedge-edged ribbon for fastening.

    Cut the back from the jeans, snipping along the inside of the side seams, under the pockets and under the waistband. Turn and pin under the bottom edge of the fabric taking a 1cm seam. Turn to the wrong side and using a selvedge-edged ribbon, wrong side facing up, pin with the same pins along the edge of the bottom hem so the ribbon just shows on the right side of the pinny. Sew the hem and ribbon in place.

    Hem both side edges of the pinny, taking a 1cm double seam. Press a long strip of selvedge-edged ribbon in half along its length. Fold over the top of the pinny, encasing the fabric and ensuring it is centrally positioned. Pin in place and sew. Finally, turn in the ends of the ribbon and sew a 1cm seam.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – country garden benches

    by  • 25/06/2016 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Ready_CoxThe ‘Great British Summer’ has officially begun! Come rain or shine, embrace the spirit of outdoor living and treat a special spot in your garden to a beautiful bench so that you can while away the hours whilst watching the world go by… We’ve rounded-up three new and beautiful designs, perfect for you to take a pew with a view.

    Okay, so we’re not exactly experiencing a Mediterranean summer (more of an Amazonian rain season), but we absolutely love this new Porto Rocking Bench, £450, from Cox & Cox. Inspired by hazy European summers, this textured marine grade rope seat with limewashed Acacia frame comfortably seats two – it’s the must have choice to softly rock and relax. H96 x W116 x D98cm.


    Take a perch on a garden friendly design that blends seamlessly with nature. This lovely Large Battersea Bench, £170, from Garden Trading, is powder coated in a beautiful Thyme colourway and is perfect for leaving out in all weathers – you’ll be looking for any excuse to pop outside for a bit of rest and relaxation! Requires simple self assembly. H81 x W150 x D60cm.


    Nestle a seat into a secluded nook for the ultimate hiding spot. We love this Oak Beam Leaf Green Trestle Bench. £169.99, from Waitrose Garden. This compact little number features a solid hard wood beam supported by two cast aluminium legs – it’s the perfect full-of-character pick to fit into tight spaces… Supplied in six parts plus screws. This bench is easy to assemble. H44cm, L140cm, W24cm.

    Happy garden lazing all!




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    2016 My Country Business Awards Shortlist announced!

    by  • 24/06/2016 • Country business • 1 Comment

    2016 My Country Business Awardss shortlistedCountry Homes & Interiors launched its 2016 My Country Business Awards in partnership with notonthehighstreet.com in March. Now in their seventh amazing year, these awards are designed to celebrate existing country businesses and trailblazers, as well as looking to empower a new generation of country-based, creative entrepreneurs.

    And, WOW, we’ve had the most amazing response! Your nominations have flooded in and we’re proud to announce the shortlist here. The judging takes place next Tuesday 28 June when our esteemed judges and mentors will gather at Country Homes & Interiors HQ to decide on the winners. Each category winner receives mentoring sessions with the category judge plus coverage in Country Homes & Interiors.

    The shortlist is….

    notonthehighstreet.com Emerging Creative Talent Award

    Emma Clarke Textiles

    Jasmine Linington Bespoke Textiles

    Madder Cutch & Co


    Zuzana Marekova

    Nadine Annette

    Home Accessory Crafters and Makers

    Lauren Aston Designs

    Gemma Wightman Ceramics

    Creature Candy


    What Kate Loves

    Fabric, Furniture and Wallpaper Designers

    Lomas & Lomas

    Petronella Hall

    Mairi Helena

    Flohr & Co.

    • Lowry Mackie


    Midgley Green

    Denys & Fielding

    The Country Brocante

    Little Farming Folk

    What You Sow

    Food Producers

    The Little Pancake Company

    The Little Red Berry Co.


    Dan Hull Prepared Foods

    Thyme for Tiffin

    Hospitality and Leisure

    Turtledove Hideaway

    The Bower Inn

    A Corner of Eden

    The Running Fox Artisan Bakery and Cafe


    Good luck to all our Shortlisted entries – you’re all amazing and we’ll have a tough choice deciding! Look out for the winners next week!

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    Our favourite place to visit: Cromer

    by  • 24/06/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    visit cromer in norfolkWith its pristine beaches, delicious seafood and artisan shops, this Victorian seaside resort is popular with locals and tourists alike. We love it for its…

    Location Fancy a 93-mile walk through Areas of Outstanding National Beauty? Cromer is set on the Norfolk Coast Path and Peddars Way embracing countryside, coast and heathland. Take time out on Cromer Beach (Blue Flag status) or explore fascinating fossils and geological terrain from Ice Age activity at Overstrand.

    Wildlife Hunt for sandhoppers, go birdwatching or look out for themed events along saltmarshes and creeks with the National Trust.

    Seafood – Cromer Crab is the star of the show here, catch your own on Cromer’s famous pier, or visit the annual Crab & Lobster festival in Cromer and neighbouring Sheringham.

    It’s easy to find original gifts and bespoke pieces for the home in Cromer with its abundance of independent and artisan shops. Practical lighting and accessories can be found at longstanding family business Randalls Electrical; kitchenware is offered by K Hardware; and family business Wool and Crafts, stocks wool, yarns, threads and patterns. If you like coastal style, visit The Beach Hut studio gallery for original artworks and designs including cushions, bunting, driftwood art and sea glass. Or source unusual gems, crystals and fossils including dinosaur teeth at Little Gems rock shop, 2a Mount Street,

    Food heroes
    With coast, rivers and farmland close by, there’s always a fresh catch to enjoy. Look out for the twice monthly town market selling food, crafts and plants. Freshly caught Cromer Crab, lobsters, whelks and cockles can be sourced at Davies fish shop. Step in to Icarus Hines family butchers for award-winning sausages, barbecue meats, poultry and game. Cromer Farm Shop offers fresh produce fromlocal farms and suppliers (fruit, veg, cheese, eggs, grains). Feeling peckish? Savour locally sourced produce at Galton Blackiston’s No.1 Cromer fish and chip restaurant, or enjoy great coffee with tasty treats at Huckleberries.

    Do you have a favourite market town? We would love to hear more about it…

    Want more inspiration for weekends in the country? Sign up for your weekly Country Post!

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    Rosemary & goat’s cheese pizza

    by  • 23/06/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    Rosemary makes a good partner to goat’s cheese and is delicious on this simple pizza, perfect for lunch with a green salad. Serves 4 to 6.

    For the dough

    250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
    7g sachet (or 2½ tsps) easy blend dried yeast
    1 tsp salt
    3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

    For the topping

    3 long sprigs rosemary, plus extra sprigs to scatter
    4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
    150g shallots, thinly sliced
    250g goat’s cheese with rind, sliced thickly
    25g pine nuts, toasted
    25g freshly grated Parmesan
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1 To make the dough, put the flour, yeast, salt and oil in a bowl. Add 125ml tepid water and mix to a soft dough, adding water if it feels dry. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively use a mixer with a dough hook to knead for 5 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingwrap and leave to stand in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.

    2 Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Grease and flour a large baking sheet. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 33cm by 23cm rectangle. Transfer to the baking sheet, prick with a fork and bake for about 8 minutes until risen but not too crusty.

    3 Meanwhile, pull the rosemary from the stalks and chop. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a frying pan and add the rosemary and shallots. Cook gently in the oil for 5 minutes until the shallots soften slightly.

    4 Arrange the goat’s cheese on the base and scatter with the shallot mixture and pine nuts. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Season and drizzle with remaining oil. Scatter with rosemary and bake for 15 minutes.

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    Meet Fox & Lark

    by  • 22/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupA little design studio in the heart of the English countryside, Fox & Lark offers a range of fabrics, stationery and homewares featuring Liona Baldwin’s unique designs – her use of bold colour and haphazard hand-drawn approach exudes eccentric British style.

    How did your business come about?
    It grew from a desire for a more playful, creative outlet. Working as a freelance designer is great for discipline, but the client often shapes the end result. I love having the freedom to develop patterns and allow them to evolve organically.

    Describe your work space.
    I’m based in a tiny village near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, on a historic country estate. The studio is near to a forgotten walled garden and used to be a staff cottage for the main house – the whole area is steeped in history. My desk is set up in front of huge double windows that look out onto a wild cherry tree frequented by the fattest pigeons, blackbirds, jays and gold finches.

    Summarise your design process.
    I usually begin with the roughest of sketches in notebooks or on scraps of paper. It’s important to me that the designs evolve naturally, playfulness is key. Once I’ve got a rough motif that I like, I’ll photograph it and send it to my computer as a template to work from. I like to preserve the charm of hand drawn imperfections wherever possible but there’s something about clean lines… it’s a fine balance.

    What inspires you?
    The best colours are found in nature. Brightly coloured birds and exotic blooms, the hues are so cheery, particularly when teamed with sophisticated neutrals.

    What’s your most prized possession?
    My Audrey Kawasaki print. I just love her work, it’s so thoughtful and calming.

    What’s been your career highlight?
    Becoming a supplier to Fortnum & Mason. I used to joke about it when I first started out, I never thought it would actually happen! Just goes to show – dare to dream the ridiculous!

    What do you love most about living in the countryside?
    The connection to time, the seasons, the history of the woodlands, the all too brief tree blossoms… it’s so good to feel grounded within nature.

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