Archive | January, 2012

A big unit

30 Jan

Searching for some extra storage for my bathroom, I came across this little beauty. It doesn’t take up loads of room, fits lots of stuff inside (albeit that big shampoo bottles will have to lay on their sides) and is the perfect height for putting books/mags on when you’re in the bath.

Of course, it’s not just for bathrooms – I’ve seen it in bedrooms and living rooms in Living Etc magazine. And you don’t get much chic-er than that!

The proper name for it is the Kartell Componibili 3-tier storage unit (it’s a design classic apparently) and it comes in red or white for £86 from John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com). However, http://www.Next.co.uk also sell exactly the same unit (it’s just called a ‘storage unit’) in white, black, hot pink or purple for £70. And if you’re happy to go off the high street, http://www.componibili.com sell three tier units in white, black or silver for just £44.99, as well as two-tier units and large single units at hugely reduced prices. Bargain!

All present and correct

27 Jan

My new obsession is an awesome online shopping site called http://www.presentandcorrect.com. It’s not just that they sell gorgeous stationery, cards, notelets, prints, stickers, stamps and other bits and bobs, but that they photograph and present them all so beautifully.

My top picks? The bright wooden ‘click’ pencils, £5.50 (above); the tag notebooks, £7.50 for three; the cunning tape measure calendar, £16 (each day is 1cm on the tape measure – genius!); the label notecards, £3.25; the old Czech matchbox labels, £6 for 25 and the pick’n’mix stamps, £3.95.

Turning the tables

25 Jan

Looking for a way to protect my cheap but new Ikea table recently, I splashed out on a metre of oilcloth fabric in Sanderson’s 1950s-style Dandelion Clocks design, £21 per metre. Not only does it look brilliant, but it’s already saved my table from countless knocks, scratches, spillages and small children ove r Christmas.

If you’ve not embraced oilcloth before, I thoroughly recommend it. There are loads of gorgeous modern designs and patterns out there, and a metre – which is usually more than enough to cover most normal kitchen/dining tables – is surprisingly cheap.

John Lewis is a great place to start, with a good range of designs (the Boqueria Gloss, £25pm and Pomme apple, £15pm, are below). Tip: search for ‘PVC tablecloth’ rather than ‘oilcloth’.

Also worth a look is www.tableclothshop.co.uk – it’s particularly good for spots – around £13.99 per metre.

I like the modern and retro designs at justwipe.co.uk, around £12.99 per metre; Cath Kidston’s iconic patterns, from £20 per metre at http://www.cathkidston.co.uk (green Provence Rose, £22pm is below); and http://www.oilcloth.co.uk for bright kitsch Mexican designs, £12 per metre (Blue Hibiscus, £12pm is below).

Play your cards right

23 Jan

I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is miles away, but if you want something that’ll knock your other half’s socks off, you have to plan ahead. And that goes for these amazing cards…

The brainchild of the very talented Helen Foers, she’ll cut by hand whatever message you want to send your Valentine, telling them: ‘I love you more than… pizza/Strictly/curly fries/shopping’ or even ‘I love you more than Keanu’ (my commission for her last year!). Each card is a personalised work of art – you can frame it afterwards – and cost just £8 or £8.50, depending on your message.

She also has some ready-made machine-cut Valentines cards for £2.95-£3.95, which say ‘I love you more than…tea/cake/cheese/diet coke/X Box/shoes/my iPhone/Twitter’.

And if you’re not feeling the love this year, you can commission her to make a bespoke birthday, anniversary, new home or new baby card for someone special, again for around £8. You can pick almost any names/words/dates/background colour you like.

To find out more, visit her online shop at http://www.etsy.com (just search under ‘Storeyshop’) or visit http://www.etsy.com/shop/Storeyshop?ref=seller_info.

Sign language

20 Jan

Framed bus blinds cost a fortune – the cheapest I’ve found online are from Pedlars.co.uk (below) who currently sell London and British destinations for £125 framed (down from £215) or £30 unframed (a good local picture framing shop should be able to make a frame for around £30). While they’re super stylish, they’re not exactly a bargain.

That’s why, if you’re on a budget, these new framed London place name prints, (above) are a much better bet. They’re £29.99 from http://www.tch.net, or if you’re quick, were recently on sale at Rockett St George (www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk) for just £20, down from £37.50.  I love the punchy colours, and they’d look great over a door, in a hall, or casually propped up on a mantlepiece.

A cut above the rest

18 Jan

You might think it’s hard to get excited by scissors, but that’s probably because you haven’t tried these!

I’ve had a pair of pointed small Fiskars scissors for a few years now and I use them for absolutely everything – from giftwrapping to cutting ribbons to hair-trimming – and they’re still as sharp as the day I got them. Now Fiskars have bought out ‘designer’ versions with  patterns on – like Seaflower (blue bubbles, above); Bloom (pretty flowers, bottom); and even, brilliantly, the Moomin family (below).

The scissors come in several sizes/types – mine are the 12cm Needlepoint scissors (currently £7.50 on http://www.amazon.co.uk), but you can get bigger General Purpose scissors, medium-sized Paper scissors, curved manicure scissors, kids scissors and even left-handed versions too. They’re available from craft shops, online sewing shops, or http://www.amazon.co.uk.

I promise you’ll wonder how you lived without them!

I’ve (bread) bin looking for you…

16 Jan

One of the most viewed entries on my blog is the one where I tackle where to buy purple kitchen accessories. So, it was only a matter of time before someone asked me to track down something similar – this time, Louise wants to know where she can get a green bread bin.

Easy, I thought. But actually, despite it being one of 2012’s ‘in’ colours, there aren’t that many good-looking bits of green kitchen kit available.

There are a couple of green gems though. I really like the old skool style of the decently-priced Simplicity Bread Bin, £22, from http://www.woolworths.co.uk, above (it’s also available in purple, red, black, silver and turquoise if you’re interested).

I also like the retro-look 1950s-inspired lime green metal bread bin by Zeal, below, which costs £30 from http://www.morcohome.com or £32.99 from http://www.4yourkitchen.co.uk (it also comes in aqua, black, fuchsia pink and red).

And for practicality, the acrylic Omada green bread bin, £35 from http://www.tesco.com, below, is dishwasher-safe and the beech wood lid doubles up as a bread chopping board; as does the lid of Dunelm Mill’s Modern Country Leaf Collection bread bin, currently on sale for £18.39 (www.dunelm-mill.co.uk)

Finally, if you’re on a tight budget, Argos (www.argos.co.uk) are selling their Colour Match Pittsburgh 5-piece storage set in apple green – which includes a bread bin, biscuit tin and sugar/tea/coffee caddies for just £16.49 at the moment (usual price £24.99). Bargain!

One day my prints will come

13 Jan

As I’ve discussed before, wall art is sooooooo expensive these days. So, I was chuffed to find that one of my favourite sites, http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com have come up with a new range of retro prints for just £14.95 each – and what’s more, they come framed!

My absolute favourite is the dog print, above – it’d work particularly well in a hallway, I reckon. The Village Show would look brilliant in my Dad’s kitchen, and the cycle one would make a great present for my brother-in-law. Let’s hope they don’t read this blog…!

Honey, I’m home!

11 Jan

Obviously no-one really ‘needs’ a special container to store honey in – any old jar will do – but how cute is this gorgeous little pot from Le Creuset?

It comes with a handy silicone honey dipper and would brighten up any kitchen or breakfast table. It costs £16 from http://www.amazon.co.uk or is on sale at Harts of Stur (www.hartsofstur.com) at the moment for £13.33 + £2.67 postage. It would make a great present together with a posh jar of honey – if you can bear to part with it, that is.

The pot is part of a collection from Le Creuset, including an orange marmalade pot with silicone spreader; red and purple jam pots with matching silicone spoons; a white garlic keeper and a green olive pot with wooden fork. Only trouble is, if you buy one, you’ll want the whole set!

Child’s play

9 Jan

Having children round to visit, or getting a present for a child you don’t know that well can be tricky – but I think I’ve found the answer.

Doodles at Lunch is a tear-off book of 36 slightly-larger-than-A4 paper placemats with lots of  activities on, such as colouring-in, dot-to-dot puzzles, etc. Parents can take a couple of mats and some felt tip pens with them when eating out or visiting friends, and they’ll keep the kids quiet for ooh, at least enough time for Mum to eat her main course in peace. There’s a ‘Doodles at Breakfast’ and ‘Doodles at Dinner’ book too and they’re suitable for children aged 4-11ish. They cost from £3.23 each, from http://www.amazon.co.uk

Otherwise, kids’ publisher Kutz do a series of cute little books called ‘Draw Thumb Things’, ‘Draw Thumb People’ and ‘Draw Thumb Animals’ which come with a little ink pad and a pen. Kids can make an inky thumb or finger print on a piece of paper, then use the pen to turn their prints into dogs, strongmen, tractors, etc. They’re around £4.48 each, also from http://www.amazon.co.uk – I’ve now got a couple in my cupboard for emergency child visits/birthdays.

Not so ugly mugs

5 Jan

Christmas is over (sob!) and it’s minging outside, so to cheer yourself up, why not treat yourself to a nice hot mug of tea?

And what better to serve it in than one of these gorgeous china mugs from Magpie at http://www.cubicuk.com? There’s one for every letter of the alphabet, each illustrated with quirky pictures in the mid-century modern style. They cost £7.50 each and come in a lovely gift box (bottom).

I’m putting my order in already!

 

Dear diary…

3 Jan

When I was a teenager, I kept a diary religiously, documenting all my embarrassing crushes, rows with parents, friendship dilemmas and important events such as what I bought in Tammy Girl, and what I ate for dinner.

Diaries like this are brilliant, if cringeworthy, to look back on, but as you get older, very few of us have enough time on our hands to keep that level of detail up.

Which is why I’m loving this new ‘One Line a Day’ Memory Book, £7.50 from http://www.amazon.co.uk. It does exactly what it says on the tin – you write just one line a day about your day/your thoughts and feelings (there’s room for up to five years of entries). I reckon even I can manage to do that, and it’ll be brilliant to look back on it next New Year’s Day.

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