• Archive for June, 2016

    Craft spoon plant markers

    by  • 12/06/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_CH&I_June_Gardencraft_12Looking to add character to your kitchen garden? Draw inspiration from the plot-to-plate journey of culinary herbs by using vintage spoons as decorative plant labels.

    Print out your chosen herbs’ names sized to fit the spoons, leaving a small border around each word. Use a transfer medium such as Transcryl Transfer Medium (£18.79 for 250ml, Crafty Computer Paper); following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply three thin coats on top of each printed name to create a clear plastic-like film. When dry, remove the original printed paper by soaking in water and rubbing gently. Allow to dry, then attach to the spoons using the transfer medium as a glue (make sure the names are facing the right way up!). Finish by sealing with a further coat of transfer medium and allow to dry overnight before use.

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    30 Country Style Icons: the teapot

    by  • 12/06/2016 • 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.

    23The teapot
    Everything stops for tea. It’s a British institution and every country home deserves a perfect pot. Classics include the Brown Betty from Cauldon Ceramics, made in Staffordshire since 1965, Emma Bridgewater’s distinctive designs, versions from London Pottery at John Lewis and traditional makers such as Spode, Wedgewood and Portmeiron, where Sophie Conran’s elegant piece (above, £26) is a modern classic.

    The perfect pot deserves the perfect cuppa, so how do you achieve it? According to Twinings, tea loves oxygen so always use fresh cold water in your kettle. Warm the pot before adding one teaspoon of loose leaves per person plus one for the pot (teabags also pass muster) and don’t allow it to stew. Despite heated debate, the traditional way is milk first, which dates back to preventing fine china teacups shattering at formal tea parties!

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – perfect picnic buys

    by  • 11/06/2016 • Country style, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Ready_LibertyToday marks the start of National Picnic Week – our favourite British summer pastime, hoorah! No need to rummage in the boot room for last year’s tired throw and basket – we’ve saved you the trouble with our delightful round up of new season blanket soiree must-haves…

    Add a cheerful charm to your day out with Liberty’s new ‘Phoebe’ print alfresco accessories. This classic archive pattern from the 1960s, has been re-worked and updated onto a beautiful collection of UK made picnic essentials. (Shown above): Handcrafted Picnic Hamper, £295; Melamine Plate, £9.95; Tea Towel, £12.95; Mini Suitcase, £65; Melamine Beaker, £5.95; Napkins, £39.95 for set of four.

    Ready_Plum & AshbyBe it beach or country meadow – enjoy the perfect day out with charming outdoor essentials to hand. Make your favourite sarnies and throw everything into this roomy Navy Jute Tote Bag, £39, from Plum & Ashby. Once arrived at your lunchtime destination of choice, roll-out this snug Herringbone Picnic Blanket with Strap, £119; and unfold this vintage inspired Dog Print Deckchair, £85 – this is the life Plum & Ashby style and we like it in all of it’s relaxed living glory!

    Ready_Cath KidstonLife’s a picnic with Cath Kidston’s perfect outdoors dining range! Welcome the summer smiling with this gorgeous collection which features playful ditsy florals and pack-up-and-go melamine transportables – all super practical and sure to pretty up any spread! (Shown above): Check Picnic Blanket, £35; Highgate Ditsy Wicker Picnic Hamper, £85; Highgate Ditsy Side Plate, £5 each; Meadow Square Lunch Box, £8 for set of two; Highgate Ditsy White Paper Napkins, £3.95.

    With the Met Office predicting this summer to be the warmest on record (fingers and toes double crossed), there should be opportunity aplenty to pack up in modern country style and head off to enjoy relaxed alfresco eating and many hazy, happy days… Sunshine, we’re ready for you!


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    Do you run a B&B, restaurant or pub? Be mentored by River Cottage HQ

    by  • 10/06/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments


    If you run an amazing B&B, hotel, campsite, pub or and restaurant, we’d love to hear all about it. Enter the 2016 My Country Business Awards category for Hospitality and Leisure now and you could be mentored by Lucy Lomas, Business Director at River Cottage HQ.

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ is an award-winning Cookery and Chefs’ School hosting a range of dining experiences, festivals, fairs and weddings. Lucy’s background is in PR and marketing in the food, drink and live entertainment sectors.

    Remember to enter the My Country Business awards now at housetohome.co.uk/business

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    Follow a film trail…

    by  • 10/06/2016 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    film locationsSome of the most spectacular country and coastal views feature on our TV and cinema screens. Get closer to the action by visiting the film locations and relive those magical moments. Our favourites include:

    Skellig Islands, Kerry
    Home to an ancient monastic settlement of stone beehive huts, craggy pinnacles and fascinating seabird colonies, the Skellig Islands off Ireland’s South-West coast are popular with pilgrims and nature lovers. Today’s visitors may also recognise this craggy outcrop from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) where it’s revealed that lead character Luke Skywalker has gone in to hiding on a secluded planet. See the view from the shore at Porthmagee or take a boat trip around the two islands, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig – with some tours you can land on Skellig Michael (pictured) and ascend the 670 steps just like the film characters. Advance booking is recommended as numbers are limited to protect wildlife.

    Penshurst Place and Dover Castle, Kent
    Head to the Garden of England to find the magnificent backdrop and fortresses in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (BBC2, 2016). Retrace the steps of Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III, Judi Dench as Cecily, Duchess of York and Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret, while taking in the fascinating heritage of some of Britain’s finest historical landmarks. Stay a little longer and explore the full Tudor trail which takes in 28 heritage sites that showcase the route of Tudor and cinematic royalty in the region.

    The Jurassic Coast, Dorset
    Visit this World Heritage Site to find several film locations from ITV’s crime drama series Broadchurch (2014/2015) featuring actors David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. Spot the shoreline, beach huts, clifftops and towns in the series filmed along the coast at Charmouth, West Bay and Eype, in the woodlands of Beaminster and town of Bridport (with further locations to see in North Somerset).

    Have you visited a favourite film location? We would love to hear more…

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


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    Frozen yogurt ice lollies

    by  • 09/06/2016 • Country food • 0 Comments


    This recipe, which adults enjoy as much as children, couldn’t be easier, as it requires no whisking or stirring as it freezes. You can flavour the basic mix with 6 tablespoons of good seedless jam, sieved, or 150g sweetened fresh fruit purée.

    Makes 16-18 x 140ml ice lollies or an 800ml tub

    1 tbsp or 3⁄4 sachet granulated gelatine
    125ml semi-skimmed milk
    150g white or golden caster sugar
    1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
    375g thick, natural Greek yogurt
    1 large egg white
    300g instant dried milk powder

    Sprinkle the gelatine onto 2 tablespoons of cold water, and leave to swell for 10 minutes. Heat the milk to near-boiling, then add the hydrated gelatine and stir over a very low heat until dissolved. Stir in the sugar, flavouring and yogurt. Cool over iced water. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg white, milk powder and 90ml cold water all at once, using a hand-held electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold this into the cooled yogurt mixture. Whisk briefly to mix. Pour into a jug, then fill plastic ice-lolly moulds (or pour into a lidded, freezer-proof container). Fast-freeze for 6 hours until very hard. To unmould, stand mould briefly in hand-hot water until the edges of the ice cream loosen, then invert and turn out.



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    Meet Anna Jacobs

    by  • 08/06/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupHaving started in the creative industry as an interior designer, British artist and product designer Anna Jacobs launched her first homewares collection in 2015. Her stunning artwork is at the core of each piece, featuring on cushions and lamps with unique glass flex bases.

    What inspires your designs?
    So much! After becoming a single parent and losing everything I found I was left with two things I cherish most – my children and my creativity. It made me feel happy, strong and hopeful. My designs reflect that, particularly images of birds flying strong and focused. I also draw inspiration from the plants in my garden. I think the whole cycle from seed to bloom is beautiful and like exploring the idea that beauty isn’t always about youth – age and imperfection can be perfect, too.

    Where do you work?
    My workspace is still my kitchen table and my bedroom! However when I need it, I go to a beautiful art studio, which is actually where I took art lessons for school.

    How do you go about choosing manufacturers?
    I’ve specifically chosen British manufacturers so far as I’m keen to support the rejuvenation of our industry. It’s also a practical choice for me; I can’t pop off to China for a week to see samples, but I can just about get to Norfolk and back before the school day finishes!

    Describe your interior style.
    When I worked an intense job in the city my house was all white as I wanted zero stimulation when I got home. Now, my house is bright, colourful and fun, with a mix of contemporary pieces and upcycled vintage pieces all rounded off with lots of artwork.

    What advice would you give to new designers?
    Find your style and build on it, regardless of trends. If you love it, other people will too.

    What’s next?
    I have a new gold flex lamp base coming out in the Autumn and I’ve also got bed and table linen in the pipeline. Plus some potential coloured glass bases as well – all very exciting!

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Clear, vivid and painterly.

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    Breezy country bedroom

    by  • 07/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    romantic country bedroom

    Those lazy, hazy days of summer are almost upon us, and there’s nothing like creating a bright and airy summery country bedroom for when the heat is on…

    This stunning cream metal bed with its sophisticated swirls and curves creates a gorgeous airy focal point and bigs up the romantic mood. Team with neat bedside chests in an ivory shade to emphasise the breezy feel and counterbalance the ornateness of the bed.  Floor-length embroidered voile curtains keep the look elegant and filter the sunlight, helping the room stay cool on sunny days –  though you’ll need heavier weight curtains to keep out the early morning light. Dress the bed with pretty floral bedlinen and pop an extra throw at the bottom of it to keep evening chills at bay.

    Wooden floorboards are perfect for keeping cool underfoot and introducing an understated feel.

    (Clarisse double bedstead, Hastings Ivory bedside chest, Adriana Floral printed bed set, embroidered voile curtains, Diamond quilted throw, Phoebe print cushions, lamps; all Marks & Spencer.)


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    Meet Kesri Smolas, the winner of the 2015 My Country Business Awards

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

    Ready_Kesri Smolas

    Enter the 2016 My Country Business Awards in association with Notonthehighstreet.com now and you could be like Kesri Smolas of Drover’s Rest, the winner of last year’s Hospitality & Leisure Award.

    Kesri’s boutique glamping holidays, run with husband Paul from a 16th-century farm in Herefordshire, aim to reconnect guests to nature and the simpler things in life. The judges were excited by the idea of roll-up-your sleeves-and-get-involved holidays.

    What did winning mean to you? We are so proud of what we have set up and this has given us the motivation and inspiration to be even better. It has endorsed us and recognised that people love what we are doing.

    How have you developed the brand? Drover’s Rest started in its first season by bringing families to our wonderfully quirky space where they could experience hands-on farm living. In 2016 we are extending our brand to offer Adults Well-Being Breaks (packages will include accommodation, wholesome natural food, pilates, meditation and walking the old drovers’ routes) together with our farm activities. In addition, we are offering custom-made Well-Being Corporate Breaks. We are also adding a forest and foraging school, as well as developing our vegetable garden to create meals using our organic produce.

    What’s your long-term goal? To be known as THE place to come to recharge and enjoy rural life or the great British countryside at its best.

    How helpful was the support you got from winning? To have people who have been successful in your field inspiring you to build your business is incredible. Alastair Sawday and Canopy & Stars have been wonderful mentors. I have so many ideas to put into practice.

    Why don’t you enter the My Country Business awards now at housetohome.co.uk/business?

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    Craft a planting file

    by  • 05/06/2016 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    CRAFTLabel, record and organise your green-fingered life with one of these handy planting files made from envelopes, perfect for keeping note of plants, seeds and cuttings used in your garden.

    Using A4 string-tie envelopes with the opening facing upwards, stick fabric tape along the long left edge so that it overhangs by half. Turn the envelope over and repeat so as to cover the visible overhanging sticky side of the tape and the edge of the envelope. Make two eyelet holes through the tape with a hole punch and eyelet kit (£11.79, Hobbycraft). Create a label for the envelope by sticking a length of fabric tape near the outer edge topped a with letter-stamped card spelling out the area of the garden the contents relate to. Repeat with remaining envelopes, then thread together using leather laces to make the finished file.

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