Well, it had to happen. I haven’t mentioned cushions for, oooh, at least a couple of days, so I reckon it’s okay for me to show you my current favourites.
These lovely round cushions are from the new Mahi range at Next (www.next.co.uk) and are called Medallion Cushions. They come in either plum or teal, and while they look uber expensive, they’re just £16 each.
Also available in the same design are stylish bedlinen sets in both plum and teal, from £40 for a double bed set; plus a stunning showstopper plum rug, below (comes in two sizes, from £145 – not bad for a 100% wool rug).
Posh white ceramic animals are always popping up on mantlepieces in style mags, but while they look cool, they usually come with a ridiculous pricetag. So, it’s good to see Tesco (www.tesco.com) undercutting the designer shops with these cute but classy ceramic owl tealight holders, just £6 each.
And talking of owls, they seem to be having a bit of a moment interiors-wise.
Notonthehighstreet.com is a good place to start. My favourites are this handy tote bag, £8.95 from Snowdon Design and Craft; and these brilliant ‘A Little Bird Told Me’ personalised mugs from Disco Butterfly, both below. At £17.50 each, no-one is going to pretend the mugs are a bargain, but you can fit several words and the recipient’s name on them, and if you know someone who loves owls, they’ll think they’re a hoot (sorry).
I also love the Owl necklace and ring set from http://www.punkypins.co.uk, currently £9.60 (was £12), below, which makes a great gift.
Finally worth a mention is stylish website http://www.driftliving.co.uk which has several owl-y offerings, including this lovely black owl branch candle holder, £29; and the cheaper Rotary Candle Holder, £9, both below.
Ice cream colours or ‘sorbet shades’ are big news again this year, and while I’m not normally a pastel kind of person, these storage jars from Marks and Spencer’s new Spectrum range are just so tasty I had to give them a mention.
They’ve got pleasingly heavy-duty kilner jar-style clasps, and come in lemon yellow, lilac, pale green, sky blue and pale orange. They cost £7.50 for the small size; £12 for the medium; and £15 for the large.
And if you like the colours, check out the other items in the range, below, including rugs, cushions, side tables and the Spectrum Squares Bedset – cool geometric duvets and pillowcases, from £22 for a double bed set.
One of the most popular entries on this blog has been about Next’s ‘Tea For Two’ canvas – a lovely 1940s-style print for just £15.
Sadly, it’s been discontinued now, but the number of people still searching for it shows that there’s a lot of demand for bargainous tea-themed wall art.
So, I’m pleased to report that the new collection at www.hunkydoryhome.co.uk has got not one, but three alternatives. There’s a lovely old school ‘Tea Revives You’ print, £18.50; or your choice between the retro-style ‘Brew Up’ or ‘Where there’s tea there’s hope’ tea towels, £10, which you could get framed quite cheaply or pop into an Ikea Ribba frame for just a few exta pounds. They’d look both quirky and classy on a kitchen wall.
Right, I’m off to put the kettle on!
PS: Like the Tea Revives You print but want it as a tea towel? Visit www.howkapow.com – it’s £9.
The new season’s range of cushions are in at Dunelm Mill, and once again, they’ve managed to come up with some cracking designs that look like they ought to cost far more than they do.
My picks? The Beach Huts cushion, £19.99 and the Colour Bands cushion, £14.99 – both of which are perfect for a sun-filled room; the snugly-yet-chic slate grey lattice cushion, £14.99,which even blokes will approve of; the retro-feel Loretta cushion, £8.99; and for a bit of romance, the bargainous Button Heart cushion, £9.99 (covered in little red buttons) and Vintage Aperture cushion, £14.99.
They’re so cheap, it’d be rude not to splash out on a couple!
Take a look at this gorgeous old skool style sideboard. It’s either a vintage find or cost squillions of pounds from a fancy shop like Heals, right?
Nope, it’s from Tesco! Called the Retro Oak Veneered Sideboard, and costing a very reasonable £229 (visit http://www.tesco.com/direct), it’s part of their new Spring collection, on sale now. Brilliant.
And talking of bargainous sideboards, you don’t have to use them in your living or dining room.
A few months ago, I got a Japanese-style Melke sideboard, from http://www.very.co.uk to use as a dressing table, below. It looks designer, but cost just £169 (I got the compact version, but there is a larger size available too). It stores all my makeup/jewellery/beauty products perfectly. The only downside is that assembling the flatpack nearly caused my husband and I to divorce. But hey ho, no pain, no gain!
How cool is this lightshade?! It looks like something from an upmarket, swanky shop, but is in fact from BHS (www.bhs.co.uk) and costs just £20. New this month, it’s called the Nico pendant, it slots over a normal light fitting, and comes in yellow and white, too. I reckon would look particularly striking in a hallway – you could even have different colours upstairs and downstairs!
Along the same ‘I can’t believe it’s not designer’ lines is this Nara paper lampshade, below, just £12 from Next (www.next.co.uk). As it covers the bulb with an origami-style flower, the soft light it produces makes it perfect for a bedroom. I’m putting in my order now!
My mum believes in that old English notion that a cup of tea helps in any situation.
She’s right, of course. If you’re loved up this Valentine’s Day, bringing your other half a nice warm cuppa in bed will up your brownie points total immeasurably.
And if you’re single, there’s nothing more satisfying than sipping a hot mug of tea and happily munching a chocolate digestive without someone moaning about crumbs on the duvet. I speak from experience in both situations!
Which is why these new mugs from Tesco are a sound investment. There’s three yummy fine china biscuit prints (jammy dodger, custard cream or rich tea) to choose from, £2.50 each; or you can opt for either a supersized tea or coffee mug, £4. Time to put the kettle on!
There are ways to brighten up your walls with swanky pictures without spending a fortune. I’m a big fan of easyart.com and allposters.co.uk – cheap prints bought online can be transformed with a mount and an Ikea frame.
Recently, these beautiful butterfly prints from Rockett St George (www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk) have caught my eye. They cost £29 for six, and look incredibly stylish in thin black Ikea Ribba frames, £5.99 each (so that’s £65 in total if you frame them all).
They’ll add a touch of class to any white wall – hang them in a line or two rows of three over a sofa or dining table, or stagger them up the stairs.
Anyone who’s ever met me knows I LOVE Japanese patterns. So imagine how excited I was to wander into Marks & Spencer the other day and see they’ve brought out a whole range of the stuff!
Called (aptly) Geisha, it includes everything from kitchenware and bedlinen to throws, vases, shower curtains and bath towels.
To view the whole range, visit http://www.marksandspencer.com and search under ‘Geisha’. My top picks? The tea towels and storage tins, both £9.50 for three. Gorgeous!
Unless you’ve been living in a hole the last few weeks, you’ll have noticed it’s Valentine’s Day next week.
But if your amour is on a diet (so no chocolates); is allergic to flowers (so no red roses); and hates cheese/tackiness (that’ll be a ‘no’ to teddies, satin hearts, etc etc), what on earth can you buy them?
My solution? A great big heart-shaped umbrella, £9.99, in red, fuchsia or pale pink, from http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk (or £19.99 from Implivia at http://www.amazon.co.uk in red, pink, white, black, navy or silver). It’s unusual, slightly kooky, and if it’s chucking it down with rain, as it usually does mid-February, you can shelter underneath it together, all romantic-like.
One of my most recent discoveries is www.lushandgreen.com. It’s only a small site, but it’s a beauty.
My favourite item are their quirky animal necklaces, £15, – you can choose from a rabbit, donkey, fox, guinea pig, panda, mouse, deer, swan, pug dog, piglet or this funky little budgie (above), which comes in blue or green.
If you’re giving him as a present, he goes perfectly with one of the site’s beautiful bird cards, £3.99 (also above), which have a removable tin bird brooch attached – brilliant.
And while you’re there, stock up on a couple of the amazing animal cards (below), which are a present in their own right – they each have a picture of a panda, pig, monkey or penguin on the front, and a matching Japanese paper balloon inside – perfect for both big and little kids alike!
My post about Moomin-themed scissors (A Cut Above The Rest, 18 Jan) proved so popular that I’ve had some requests to hunt down some more products featuring the friendly family of Scandinavian trolls…
And after doing some digging, it seems there are some serious Moomin fans around willing to pay top dollar for limited edition china mugs and bowls. But for cheaper Moomin fare, a good starting point is http://www.flamingogifts.co.uk, where you can pick up keyrings (£4.79), flasks (11.99), makeup bags (£10.80), crocheted toys (from £12.79) and cute compact mirrors (£6.39), which make great gifts.
Elsewhere, Brighton’s Pussy Home Boutique (www.pussyhomeboutique.co.uk) sells a lovely Moominflowers tray for £18; tea towels (£6.99) and ceramic Moomins (£19.50).
Finally, there’s a huge selection at http://www.designshopuk.com, including cute cookie cutters (£1.99), Tea tins (from £8.50), napkins (£4.99), hand towels (£6.50) plus notebooks, moneyboxes, a cook book, bags… and even the original Moomin books themselves.