• Archive for June, 2016

    30 Country Style Icons: the wooden bench

    by  • 05/06/2016 • 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.

    25One of the earliest forms of seating, it’s easy to see why the bench has remained popular. Compact and unfussy, it’s a good all-rounder that works well in hallways, boot rooms and the garden, as well as for casual dining. For modern country style, opt for the simple silhouette of school-style benching or a more ornate version with a back for support such as the Mara Oak and Peppermint bench, £299, from Swoon Editions. Natural wood looks good but so does colour – why not get creative by painting the legs or seat to suit your scheme?

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – sizzling BBQ buys

    by  • 04/06/2016 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Ready_HomebaseOkay, so it’s not exactly the sun kissed start to June that we were hoping for… But glasses half full country folk – this is the ‘Great British Summer’ after all, give it a chance! In a bid to fire up morale, we’ve rounded up the hottest trio of garden grill buys, all inspired by National BBQ Week.

    Come rain or shine, nothing can dampen the British attitude to outdoors summer eating. Dust down the decking and get those sausages sizzling on a durable and manoeuvrable design with this Boston Half Oil Drum Charcoal BBQ (above), £47.96, from Homebase. Designed with a range of features to make cooking easier, this simple and sleek design is just the thing to look super stylish in any modern country garden.

    Ready_Bert & MayTake the kitchen outside with a beautiful yet functional garden addition. This striking Hot Box (above), £900, from Bert & May’s new kitchen range, is available in five iconic tile pattern designs and can function as an outdoor BBQ or firepit – it’s the perfect pick to sit around with friends and family on hazy days and balmy evenings.

    Ready_GTFor family days out, a light and portable cooking accessory is an absolute must-have! This Witterings Barbeque (above), £35, from Garden Trading, is made from galvanised steel and features large holes on all sides for maximum air circulation – you’ll be firing up the coals in next to no time in almost any location!

    With wonderful sunshine days to look forward to, let’s commence the chill and grill!

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    Visit a contemporary craft fair

    by  • 03/06/2016 • Country craft, Country moment • 0 Comments

    paper craft ideasPick up creative ideas and modern makes at our pick of the best craft shows this month! Our favourites are set in fabulous countryside locations for the perfect family day out.

    Pulborough, West Sussex
    Head for historic Parham House and deer park to see the Sussex Guild’s Contemporary Craft Show, featuring work by Guild members plus guest exhibitors. Enjoy craft demonstrations on art, handsmocking and embroidery. Or source ideas and gifts for the home, from ceramics, stoneware and textiles to wood sculpture and glass art.
    From 4 to 5 June, book tickets here (some ticket options include entry to the main house).

    Bovey Tracey, Devon
    At the gateway to Dartmoor, the award-winning Contemporary Craft Festival showcases the work of more than 200 British designers and makers in this pretty market town. Pick up beautiful statement pieces for the home from ceramics, glass, leather and paper makes to furniture, metal and mixed media.  Watch demonstrations on printmaking, woodwork, textiles and pottery making, too. Show highlights also include a Festival Pottery Throwdown (inspired by the BBC2 TV series), a Craft Cinema and plenty of food, music and entertainment.
    From 10 to 12 June, book tickets here.

    Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
    See contemporary craft from more than 170 talented British craftmakers at The Craft & Design Experience. This lively fair is set in an idyllic riverside location on Henley Meadows with  a view of Fawley Court. Enjoy craft demonstrations, workshops and a fabulous shopping experience. There’s lots to browse including artwork, sculpture, home accessories, metalwork and glassware.
    From 24 to 26 June, advance tickets are available now.

    Where is your favourite craft show? 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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    Barbecued lamb with a herby carrot pilaf

    by  • 02/06/2016 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments


    We’re hanging onto the hope that the weather will improve for National Barbecue Week this week so we’re embracing this wonderfully tender and flavoursome barbecued lamb! Butterflying a leg joint cuts the cooking time down drastically, allows the marinade to penetrate deeply and makes 
the joint easy to serve.

    Serves 6

    1.5kg boned and butterflied leg 
of lamb (ask your butcher)
    1 lemon, finely grated zest 
and juice
    2 garlic cloves, peeled 
and crushed
    Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
    4 large fresh fennel flower heads, roughly chopped, or 1 tsp dried fennel flowers or pollen, crushed, or 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed, plus extra fresh fennel flowers, 
to serve
    6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    Sea salt flakes

    For the pilaf and sauce

    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 banana shallots or 4 standard shallots, peeled, halved and 
finely sliced
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp coriander seeds, 
lightly crushed
    1 large cinnamon stick, broken
    300g brown basmati and wild 
rice mix
    2 large carrots, scrubbed and coarsely grated
    850ml vegetable or chicken stock
    100g flaked almonds, toasted
    lemon, finely grated zest 
and juice
    4 medjool dates, stoned and chopped
    Large handful mint leaves, 
finely chopped
    Large handful fennel fronds or 
dill, finely chopped
    2 tsp honey
    100g feta, crumbled (optional)

    1. Put the lamb in a non-metallic dish. Mix the lemon zest and juice, garlic, ginger, fennel flowers and olive oil together in a separate bowl. Season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt. Keep 
half of this mixture in the bowl (cover and chill) and spread the remainder over both sides of the lamb and leave to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or cover and chill for up to 
24 hours, but bring to room temperature before cooking).
    2. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Sit a large, sturdy rack in or over a large roasting tray (to catch the lamb juices) and make sure a shelf is positioned near the top of the oven. Scatter the lamb with sea salt and lay it, skin-side up, directly on the bars of the rack. Slide into the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, depending on thickness, until sizzling and blackened in places. Alternatively, cook on a barbecue over white-hot charcoal for 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so. Remove the lamb from the oven and tent loosely with foil for 20 minutes. This should yield medium-rare lamb. For medium-well done, rest for 30 minutes before slicing.
    3. Meanwhile, make the pilaf. 
Put the olive oil and shallots in a medium saucepan and set it over a low-medium heat. Cook gently for 5 minutes, then stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for 5 minutes more, until the shallots are beginning to turn golden. Stir in the cinnamon, rice and carrots and stir to coat in the oil. Add 
the stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the almonds, lemon zest, dates, half the mint and half the fennel fronds. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
    4. Fold the remaining chopped mint, fennel fronds and the honey into the reserved bowl of marinade to make a rustic herb sauce. 
Slice the rested lamb on a board, garnish with extra fennel flowers and take it to the table with the pilaf, the crumbled feta (if using) and the herb sauce.


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    Meet Moira Fuller

    by  • 01/06/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Moira BlogWe love Moira’s cheerful illustrations, inspired by the landscape and wildlife of West Yorkshire, where she’s based. Her colourful notebooks and greeting cards are the perfect way to brighten up the day. From hobby to business, she shares her story…

     How did you get into illustration?
    I’d studied at Edinburgh College of Art but ended up falling into an events management career. A few years ago I started creating cards alongside my day job. They did really well at craft fairs, but I was hand printing each piece and wanted to learn more about manufacturing. I came across pattern design, took a course and was hooked! I retrained and launched my first collection last year.

    Where are you based?
    In a lovely little town in West Yorkshire with the canal, river Aire and moors nearby. It’s a fantastic area for walking and has a very creative community.

    What’s your interior style?
    Despite my work being very bright and colourful, my interior style is pretty calm! I’m drawn to Scandi and mid-century modern furniture. We’ve got oak floors throughout with simple white walls and key pieces of furniture, art and textiles to bring in pops of colour.

    Describe a typical working day.
    I like to get up early and go straight out for a walk along the canal. It’s the perfect way to get my head into the right space for the day ahead. Some weeks are driven towards a particular project, such as working on a new collection, but I try to get the balance right between creativity and business development.

    What inspires you?
    I like to draw attention to the beauty in the everyday, whether it’s an old building, a teapot, an interesting colour combination or a patch of wild flowers.

    Which is your favourite design?
    I’m fond of the Coastal Village pattern, particularly the variety of motifs in it, from the little fisherman’s cottages to the gulls, fish, boats and fossils. It’s inspired by an area of Yorkshire coastline.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Illustrated, playful and colourful.

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