Archive | October, 2011

Ricks all the boxes

31 Oct

Fair play to Rick Astley. It  might have been released in 1987, but millions of people worldwide can still sing every word of his number one single, Never Gonna Give You Up. Which is why this poster, spotted in a friend’s office yesterday, is so genius.

And even better, after a bit of internet research, I’ve discovered you can now buy it as a t-shirt, from http://www.shirtstastegood.com (a US site which ships to the UK), to remind men in 2011 just what high standards we expect from them.

A Rick t-shirt comes in several different sizes, as well as men/women’s versions, and costs $22.99 (£14.38) plus $13.99 (£8.75) for postage and packing. So that’s about £23.13 in total. Cheap at half the price, I say.

I’ve put one on my Christmas list already…

Fun o’clock

28 Oct

This Sunday, at 2am, the clocks go back  by an hour. This means an extra hour in bed, and as it’s the weekend, that means a lie-in.

It also means you have the perfect excuse to buy a classy new clock.

If you want something simple and stylish, you can’t go wrong with Karlsson clocks. They are dozens of designs all over the web, but I particularly like the Minty Flower Splash Clock (above), £29.99 from http://www.amazon.co.uk; the Rainbow Alarm Clock, £15.99 from http://www.totally-funky.co.uk  (below); or the Purple Splash Clock, £17.99 from http://www.amazon.co.uk (also below).

Buy yours now – the clock’s ticking!

Spookily cheap

26 Oct

Is your life too short to carve a pumpkin this Hallowe’en? I don’t blame you.

Save yourself a whole lot of bother by stringing up these friendly-looking pumpkin fairy lights from Poundland instead (yep, they’re just £1). They’re so bargainous, it’s scary.

Radio Fun

24 Oct

Anyone who has ever had their bathroom ‘done’ will know how hideous it is – having to crouch down in the bath to have a wash; weeing in a bucket; and getting paint on your PJs in the middle of the night cos the lights haven’t been wired in yet. Then imagine doing all that while you’re six months’ pregnant…

So, now I’m the proud owner of a lovely new bathroom, I figure it’s time for the fun part – buying new accessories. First on the list is a new shower radio, so that I can warble along to cheesy tunes in the morning. Only thing is, shower radios are usually either a) shaped like sea creatures, or b) really expensive.

Not this one from Muji (www.muji.eu and in-store). It’s perfect for small bathrooms, comes with a handy hanging cord and costs just £14.95. Bargain!

PS: As of this week, Muji’s Christmas shop is open for business and is full of great stocking fillers. Stock up now!

Get your peg over

21 Oct

Apparently sales of tumble dryers have plummeted in the last year, as everyone returns to good old fashioned washing lines. And while the weather might be cold, it’s still bright outside, and the wind actually dries your clothes in double-quick time.

However, just because you’re using an old school washing line, you don’ t have to use old school wooden pegs. My mum bought me some soft grip plastic pegs from France at the beginning of this year, and they’re amazing – they don’t mark your clothes, don’t ‘ping’ apart, and what’s more, they look and feel lovely. Oh, and they’re really good indoors too – for clipping shut cereal/food packets.

You’ll be pleased to hear you don’ t have to get the Eurostar to buy them any more – Lakeland and Tesco have just started selling them. They’re £3.99 for 20 at Lakeland (www.lakeland.co.uk) and £2.27 for 10 at Tesco. Pop some in your trolley this weekend!

It’s Grrrrrrrreat!

19 Oct

The best shop I’ve ever been into in my life was a Japanese pound shop in Singapore. Chock full of craft stuff, homewares and beauty bits, all in gorgeous Japanese prints or with quirky slogans, and all costing the equivalent of £1 each, it was so bargainous that it was almost overwhelming (you can drool at the products, and see store locations around the world, at http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/english/)

I assumed the experience was a one-off until yesterday, when I visited the new Tiger store in Lewisham shopping centre (of all places). A Danish concept, it’s like a cross between that Japanese pound shop, Muji, Ikea, H&M and Poundland. I spotted gorgeous craft stuff, picture frames, baking equipment, pretty napkins, homewares, bathroom accessories, unusual wrapping paper and stylish stationery – almost all costing just £1-£4.

Apparently there are 90 Tiger stores in 11 different European countries, with ten or so of them in the UK. The Lewisham branch is their newest. It’s worth making a special journey to one near you (visit http://www.tigerstores.co.uk), as I guarantee you’ll stock up with Christmas presents.

My top picks? Toadstool biscuit tins, £2 and £3 (see top); Babushka socks, £3; multicoloured  hooks, £1; drawer knobs, £4; wrapping paper, £1 a roll; and big packs of A4 patterned origami paper, £2.

I’m in with the tin crowd

17 Oct

It seems every week is a ‘national week’ for something – last week it was Chocolate Week; and this week it’s National Baking Week (17-23 October). Not that you’ll hear any complaints from me – I love any excuse to stuff my face!

But, whether you’ve baked a cake yourself or cheated with one from the farmer’s market/Sainsburys, you’ll need a good tin to keep it in. And thanks to the recent baking revival, there are loads of cool, cheap designs out there.

Here are three of my faves: London tins, £19.99 for two from Procook.co.uk; Skyline tins, £6.75 for two (also available in a Cath Kidston-style cherry design) from Tesco (www.tesco.com); or if you plan to do a LOT of baking, Dotty tins, £12.99 for three from Argos (www.argos.co.uk).

Mini adventures

14 Oct

If you’ve read any homes magazines recently, you’ll know everyone’s going bonkers for the ‘Mid-Century Modern’ trend. Very roughly translated, this means designs and patterns from the 1950s. M&S are leading the way with their brilliant new collection of affordable homewares by design guru Terence Conran; while John Lewis have some gorgeous bits and bobs at reasonable prices.

And if you want to just dip into the trend, or are looking for an unusual present, you can’t go wrong with this stylish espresso cup and saucer set, inspired by the 1951 Festival of Britain, from designers Mini Moderns and Caroline McGrath. It’s made of porcelain, comes in a pretty gift box, and costs just £19.90.

It’s available from http://www.minimoderns.com/shoppe. While you’re there, check out their other 1950s designs, such as the ‘Hold Tight’ wallpaper (below), £45 per roll, inspired by Vintage bus tickets. They’ve also got cute canvas bags, £15; tea towels, £8, and other goodies all in various retro prints.

Cheap’n’chic

12 Oct

As I’ve said before on this blog, I’ve got a bit of a cushion obsession.  They’re the quickest way to jazz up a sofa, bed or chair, and with all the bargainous designs on the high street at the moment, they don’t have to cost a fortune, either.

So, when I needed a way to inject some life into my spare room recently, I bought two of these gorgeous Azami cushions from Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com). Made of good-quality thick cotton fabric (with side zips, so you can wash ’em), the Moroccan-style pattern looks like it’s been hand-embroidered. Which makes the £12.99 price tag even more impressive.

They come in two colourways – I’ve gone for the bright red, hot pink, teal and fresh green design, above; but there’s also the option of an Autumnal colour scheme with brick reds and leafy oranges. Pop a couple on a plain white duvet/pillow set for instant wow factor.

In the pink

11 Oct

It’s October, which means it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, the high street is flooded with gorgeous limited edition pink products, with a percentage of the profits going to support this great cause.

This year – surprise surprise – my two fave pink products involve food.

The first is this brilliant pastel Cook’s Collection casserole dish, from Sainsburys. It’s available in two sizes – 3L for £30, or 4L for £40, 10% of which will go to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. It’s perfect for making all-in-one winter stews, and an almost identical Le Creuset one would cost you around £100, so it’s a total bargain. It’d also make a perfect wedding present.

The second gives you an excuse to stuff your face. To celebrate 15 years of Asda’s Tickled Pink breast cancer initiative, the supermarket has brought out a limited edition packet of Aero Mint Bubbles, 58p; and a pink Flake, 57p, with 5p from each sale going to charity. Yum.

 

Pleased to seat you

5 Oct

It’s impossible to go to Ikea and only come out having bought the thing you originally went in for. On a recent weekend trip there (never a good idea, I know, best to go in the evenings when the store is yours) for door handles, I came back with this lovely Nordmyra chair.

It’s a cross between Scandi style and the mid-century modern (a new take on the 1950s) designs that are everywhere at the moment.

Normally, something like this would cost you £80 upwards pretty much anywhere, but as it’s from Ikea, it cost just £29. It looks really stylish in the corner of my bedroom with a little red crochet cushion on the seat; but I bet a set of four (which would set you back £116 – a total bargain) would look amazing round a dining room table.

Fancy a drink?

3 Oct

The hot weather’s only going to be with us for another couple of days, but I’m making the most of it by dusting off my flipflops, munching a double caramel Magnum and treating myself to an icy glass of lemonade poured from this gorgeous retro water bottle (£4.75) and served in these matching drinking glasses (£10 for three), both from http://www.berryred.co.uk.

Like the look but got a budget to stick to? I’ve spotted a set of four similar design glasses in my new favourite shop, Wilkinsons, for a jawdropping £3 (below). Cheers!

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