• Country business

    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!

    Read more →

    Meet Wiggles & Florence

    by  • 15/06/2016 • Country business • 1 Comment

    Ready_groupSusan Robertson is the artist and designer behind Wiggles & Florence (named after two pet tortoises she and her sister had as children), creating stunning country garden-inspired artwork that features on a range of ceramics, from mugs and teapots to coasters and candles…

    Where are you based?
    In mid Wales on the outskirts of a beautifully quaint little village. The studio is on the first floor of the house overlooking the old walled kitchen garden. It’s south facing so is incredibly light and, being on a hill, you can see for miles.

    What inspires you?
    The walled kitchen garden has inspired a lot of my designs. I love the Victorian way of gardening, as well as old catalogues and seed packets. The hedgerows are amazing around the local lanes, too.

    Do you have a favourite design?
    Cow parsley (above, top) is definitely my favourite. I just love seeing the hedges full of the white frothy flowers, especially at the moment. It’s one of our best sellers.

    What’s next?
    We’ve decided to have the whole tableware range made from English bone china so that it’s a 100% ‘made in Britain’ product. Hudson and Middleton, one of the oldest potteries still manufacturing in Stoke on Trent will be making them all.

    How would you describe your own interior style?
    My husband and I are great collectors. We have pieces of furniture from the Art Deco era, including a wonderful bedroom suite we bought at auction in Leeds in the early 1980s for £80! We also have an old petrol pump in the kitchen that’s been upcycled into lighting.

    What advice would you give to new designers looking to start their own business?
    Just go for it. Really believe that what you’re doing is going to work and talk to everyone and anyone about it.

    Read more →

    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

    Read more →

    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.

    Read more →

    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?

    Read more →

    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.

    Read more →

    Are you a fabric, furniture or wallpaper designer? Be mentored by Wallpaperdirect

    by  • 30/05/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments


    If you’re creating the key pieces that decorate and furnish the surfaces and rooms in our homes, enter the 2016 My Country Business Awards category for Fabric, Furniture and Wallpaper Designers now and you could be mentored by Melanie Adams, Founder and Buyer at Wallpaperdirect.

    Mel is responsible for creating the home to more than 12,000 wallpaper designs and over 100 brands. Wallpaperdirect is the one-stop shop for wallcoverings and home accessories online.

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

    Read more →

    Meet Ros Shiers

    by  • 25/05/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupv3As well as stylish prints and stationery, illustrator Ros Shiers offers a bespoke animal portrait service, capturing the unique personality of four-legged friends with her signature pencil sketches, from characterful canines to curious cats! Available to order at Not On The High Street.

    What made you want to become an illustrator?
    I loved drawing as a child. I had a wonderful teacher who inspired my love of drawing. I loved looking at the world through the eyes of an artist.

    What inspires you?
    I love the intricacy and detail in vintage botanical illustration and I try to bring this level of detail to my work. Food, fashion, travel, reading… all forms of life help fuel my imagination. I love typography and design, too.

    Tell us about your bespoke pet portraits.
    Pets bring magic to life (as I realized when Bailey, our pet Puggle, joined the family!) and I love celebrating the special relationship between pet and owner through my work. Capturing a dog’s personality became a real passion and seeing the emotion it evokes in my customers is so heart-warming.

    What makes your portraits special?
    I make sure I’ve got a feel for each pet’s character, I’m a huge dog lover, which definitely helps! I always start with the eyes, as they play such an important role in portraying an expression; some dogs are happy, sad, cheeky, mischievous – I make sure that comes through in my drawing.

    Describe your interior style.
    I love the clean lines and minimalistic white backdrops used in Scandinavian design, mixed with vintage treasures that hold memories and tell stories. My home is a real mix of old and new.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    Intricate, detailed and monochrome.

    Read more →

    Meet Kharis Leggate, the winner of the 2015 My Country Business Awards

    by  • 23/05/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_Kharis Leggate

    Enter the 2016 My Country Business Awards in association with Notonthehighstreet.com now and you could be like Kharis Leggate of Home is an Island, the winner of last year’s British Wool Award for Emerging Talent Using British Wool.

    Kharis weaves cushions and blankets by hand in Shetland wool. The judges were impressed by the beautiful colours and textures, and how they capture the mood of the Shetland landscape.

    What did winning mean to you? It gave me the confidence to believe that Home is an Island could be successful.

    How have you developed the brand? I’ve focused on ‘behind-the-scenes’, making sure the business represents what I want it to: local production, sustainability and promoting British wool.

    What’s your long-term goal? I’m planning to develop upholstery fabric ranges through 2016.

    How helpful was the support you got from winning? The British Wool Marketing Board was incredible and Campaign for Wool director Bridgette Kelly helped me with my business plan.

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

    Read more →

    Meet Laura Felicity

    by  • 18/05/2016 • Country business • 0 Comments

    Ready_groupHomewares brand Woven is hosting a pop-up shop for British designer Laura Felicity at their Fulham Road flagship store. From 16 May – 18 June, a selection of pretty patterned cushions and lampshades will be available to buy both in-store and online. Laura tells us more about her adorable illustrative designs…

    Where does your inspiration come from?
    I’m constantly influenced by my surroundings and each collection has a beautiful story to tell. For example, Dotty Bird (above, top) is an eclectic design inspired by my collection of patterned papers, love of blossom flowers and favourite garden bird, the sparrow.  Pretty Flower, (above, bottom left) is my general interpretation of pretty English gardens and the countryside in summertime.

    Describe your working space. 
    Currently it’s a bit of a mess as I’ve been getting products ready for the Woven showcase! On the wall I have pinned colour samples, thank you letters and photos of commissions to keep as inspiration.

    What do you love about what you do?
    I love nothing more than seeing my products placed in wonderful homes. I’m so happy that something I have designed and created can make someone else smile, it’s a great feeling.

    Sum up your creative style in three words.
    British, timeless and personal.

    What’s your favourite thing about the countryside?
    It’s such a beautiful place to wander in. I love the peace and quiet I get each morning to clear my head, set up my mind for the day and get inspiration for new designs.

    Read more →