Archive | August, 2013

Foxing clever

29 Aug

Dunelm Mill felt fox cushion £12.99

They might give chickens nightmares and make a nighttime noises that sound like someone being tortured, but this Autumn, foxes are definitely ‘in’.

Of course, the foxes that are popping up on cushions, mugs and prints at the moment are the cute, cosy kind – glossy russet coats, big bushy tails and jaunty little faces. And even though a fox once stole one of my shoes and then pooed in the other, I have to admit, even I’m kind of liking them.

They’re an easy way to bring your home bang-up-to-date. Pop a cushion on an armchair, or a print on an unloved bit of wall and hey presto, you’ll look as cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University (one for the Blackadder fans there).

So, in an attempt to make friends with my former foes, here’s a round-up of my favourite foxy finds…

Above: Felt Fox Cushion £12.99 (yes really!), Dunelm Mill http://www.dunelm-mill.com

Below: Fox art print £25 Marks & Spencer http://www.marksandspencer.com

M&S Fox frame art £25Cushions (clockwise from LtoR): Fox accent cushion £12 http://www.Isme.com, Fox tapestry cushion £14 Next http://www.next.co.uk, Linea fox cushion £25 House of Fraser http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk, Fox face cushion £16.99 LS Prints http://www.lsprints.co.uk 

Isme.co.uk fox accent cushion £12Fox sculpture ornament £15 http://www.Isme.com

Isme.co.uk fox sculpture ornament £15

Midnight Foxes giclee print £30 Culture Label http://www.culturelabel.com

midnight fox giclee print culturelabel.com £30

Friendly Fox cushion £17.99 The Oak Room http://www.oakroomshop.co.uk

The Oak Room fox cushion

Rusty the Fox doormat £19.95 and tin of plasters £3.95 (other products also available in this range) http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com

Rusty the fox doormat £19.95 Dotcomgiftshop

Sew Your Own Fox tea towel £12.50 Culture Label http://www.culturelabel.com

culturelabel sew your own fox_tea_towel £12.50

Old School Czech label notecard with fox £2.50 Present and Correct http://www.presentandcorrect.com (would look great framed!)


presentandcorrect.com foxy notecard

DON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section sponsored by NEXT. voting closes this weekend, 31st August. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

This Asda be seen to be believed!

27 Aug

Asda modern memories main v2 (RT)

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Asda’? Groceries, supermarket checkouts, or people patting their bottoms suggestively to make the change in their pocket jingle?

Well, now you’d better add ‘gorgeous, bargainous homewares’ to that list, as their new Autumn/Winter collection is, quite frankly, AMAZING.

There are five key looks this season. Winter Mist is shabby chic with a cosy twist (think soft heather and silver, chunky knits and snowy stags); Monochrome is themed around vintage Parisian photographs with classy Georgian house-print bedlinen; Noir is dark and dramatic butterflies and florals shot through with gold; and Bootcamp is reds and neutrals with an industrial feel (think typography, maps, wood and hessian details).

But my absolute favourite trend is Modern Memories. Quirky and fun, it mixes mid-century fifties styling with graphic and animal motifs for a bright, modern take on the retro look.

Asda Modern memories Bedroom MainV3a (RT)

What’s  more, it’s all absolutely as cheap as chips!  In the pic at the start of this entry, the geometric teal rug is £40; the designer-look white geometric vase is £12; the cushions are (LtoR) £11, £9 and £7; the squirrel ornament is £6; and the squirrel mug is £2.

In the bedroom pic above, the origami double duvet set is a mindboggling £11; and in the kitchen pic below, the Tea, Coffee & Sugar canisters are £3.50 each; the Biscuit tin is £4; the Cake tin is £6; the bread bin is £10; the tea towels are £1 each; the pear glass worktop saver is £3.50; the hi-ball glasses are £3 for four (crazy eh?!); and the set of three pear nested canisters is £4.

Race you to the checkout!

Asda Modern memories kitchen v3 (RT)

Asda Modern memories bathroom accs CO (RT)

Origami style soap dispenser £5; tumbler £3; soap dish £3. Milk carton jug £5.

ASDA AW13 Modern Memories Wonderful Life Cushion

Wonderful Life cushion £11.

DON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section sponsored by NEXT. voting closes on 31st August. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

A spot of Bother

23 Aug

Oh Bother Designs large Scrabble wall tiles £4 each

Last week, a lovely lady called Stephanie got in touch to tell me about an online shop she runs with her boyfriend, Aiden. They make and sell homewares and jewellery under the name Oh Bother Design at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OhBotherDesign

After taking a quick peek, I’m definitely a fan. I particularly like the oversized Scrabble wall tiles, £4 each, above. Printed on plastic just like the real thing, a single initial would look cool on a mantlepiece or on a wall  amongst a group of picture frames; or you could spell out a whole name or two as in the pic below (great for a wedding present).

Oh Bother Designs large Scrabble wall tiles £4 each two names

Steph and Aiden also make cool rings (£20) or bangles out of wood and coloured pencils; quirky stag head wall art (£15) and grandfather clocks (£19) out of cardboard; arty wooden letters in a ‘circus’ font; and pretty acrylic flower-shaped coasters (£12 for a set of three)…

Oh Bother Designs chunky wood pencil rings £20 in a row

Oh Bother Designs cardboard stag head £15

Oh Bother Designs circus style wooden letter £3.50 10cm tall

Oh Bother Designs set of three geometric coasters £12

Finally, it’s worth casting your eyes over (sorry) the fun eye test cards, £17 each including frame, which come in one of two designs, below. For a tenner extra, the guys will personalise one for you if you can think of a phrase you’d prefer in 20-40 characters…

Oh Bother Designs eye test card on brick wall £17

DON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

Bin somewhere nice?

19 Aug

Next jute laundry hamper

Stylish laundry basket. Those aren’t words that usually go together – most laundry baskets, linen baskets or ‘dirty boxes’ as my mum calls them are boring Ali Baba style wicker affairs, garish tall plastic baskets or wooden boxes pretending they’re something more glamorous, like, erm, a stool.

So it’s nice to see the folks at Next have addressed this issue. I really like their new rectangular Laundry Hamper, above. It’s simple but effective. Made of strong jute over an inner frame, it’s 56cm high, with a lift-up lid, and would look subtly classy in either a bedroom or a bathroom. Oh and it’s only £20.

Of course, whether or not it’ll encourage the messy person in your house (there’s always one) to put their dirty socks somewhere other than the floor is a different matter entirely…!

Next laundry hamper in situ

DON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

One day my prints will come

16 Aug

Visual Philosophy Russian cockerel print

There aren’t enough walls in my house for all the prints I’d love to own, but after discovering a little gem of an online store called Visual Philosophy, I might have to make some space sharpish.

Inspired by “…Mid-Century Modernists, Scandinavian design, typography and retro graphic design”, the Oxford-based designers have created a lovely range of colour-popping prints that are available in various sizes – they’ll even customise them with different shades or words if you ask them nicely. Perfect for present ideas, I’d say.

Everything’s priced individually, with discounts if you buy more than one, but as a guide, you can expect to pay around £16.95 per unframed A3 print, or £23.18 for a trio of A4 prints. The store runs through Etsy at

http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/visualphilosophy

My absolute favourites are Russian cockerel, above, and the kitchenalia prints (immediately below) – I can just see one of them sitting above my bread bin!

Visual Philosophy on Etsy set of three kitchen prints

Visual Philosophy on Etsy are we having fun yet print

Visual Philosophy on Etsy set of three bird prints

Visual Philosophy on Etsy children's print

Visual Philosophy mid century modern coffee print etsy

DON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section. Voting closes on 31st August. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

On your Marks…!

14 Aug

Marks and Spencer boho living room

The new interiors catalogue for Marks & Spencer has just landed with an almighty thump on my desk, and as usual, I want to buy half the stuff in it. M&S might be famous for undies, but their homes stuff is just as good – great quality, designer-look pieces at still affordable prices.

This season, one of their key trends is ‘Boho’, which basically means  flowers, owls and Russian-style patterns in brilliant bright colours. It’s such an easy look to get right because anything goes – the whole idea is to mix up different shades and patterns, so you can simply go crazy with whatever takes your fancy.

My top picks? Pretty much everything in the living room picture above, particularly these colourful cushions (£25 for the floral ‘Saffy’ cushion and £12 for the Russian dolls)…

saffy print cushion £25 M&S

I also love the cute butterfly, Baboushka and owl print kitchenwares (owls are EVERYWHERE this Autumn). The tea towels are £4 each; a set of three storage tins is £9.50; the owl biscuit tin is £12.50; and the set of two cake tins is £15…

Lighter exposure of shot A

Finally, I’d love to snuggle down in this amazing Boho Patchwork Bed Set (£49.50 for a double duvet and pillowcases), below. Sadly, I think it might be one floral too far for my other half though!

Marks and Spencer boho bedding

DON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section. Voting closes on 31st August. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

Very pin-teresting

12 Aug

Giant metal safety pin with tea towel

The new http://www.Notonthehighstreet.com catalogue has just popped through my letterbox and it’s a corker. If you’re not familiar with it, the website brings together thousands of different products from individual designers and small independent stores as well as bigger names. I’ve spent many a happy hour just putting different search terms in and seeing what goodies pop up.

Anyhow, my absolute favourite item from the new catalogue is this Giant Display Pin from Gertie & Mabel, top. It would look great in a kitchen with a tea towel on; in a bedroom to display necklaces; in a hallway to hang scarves; or in a craft room with spools of ribbon on. In fact, you can also buy vintage style wooden spools (£3.95 each) also from Gertie & Mabel to wind lovely ribbons on (yes, they sell the ribbons too!).

Giant metal safety pin with ribbon spools

Other standouts include these Industrial Metal Letters, below, from the Letteroom – at £29.50 each, they’re a lot cheaper than most designer ones you can buy…

Industrial metal letters

…and these AMAZING lights shaped like balloons (called Memory Balloon Wall Lights, by designer John Moncrieff). Made of handblown glass, they’re not just things of beauty, but they’re clever too – you attach them to the wall or ceiling, then pull on the string to switch them on. The only reason I haven’t run out and bought a load immediately? They start at £134 each, yikes!

Memory balloon ceiling light

DON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

Pop goes the easel

9 Aug

Call Me Pop Art Style Print £17 very.co.uk

Looking for something striking (yet cheap) to jazz up a white or monochrome room? I love these new Pop Art style canvas prints from http://www.Very.co.uk.

Ready to hang, the ‘Call Me’ print, above, is £17; while the ‘I wonder why’ print, below, is £22:

I_wonder_why_pop_art_print_£22

There’s even a matching ‘Carmen’ cushion, for £15:

Carmen_printed_cushion_£15

Want something you can frame yourself? This print by Clay Sinclair is just £5 from John Lewis (www.johnlewis.co.uk):

House by John Lewis, Clay Sinclair - Beautiful Glance Unframed Print £5 John LewisDON’T FORGET!
Like reading this blog as much as I like writing it? Then please vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards by clicking on the link below. I’m nominated in the ‘Best Interiors Blog’ section. Thank you!
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

Vote for me! (please)

8 Aug

Cosmo Blog-Awards-2013-logo

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been shortlisted for UK Cosmopolitan magazine’s Blog Awards!

So, firstly, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who nominated me. You must have said some very nice things.

Obviously while it’s the taking part that counts, it would be AMAZING if I won an award, so I’m going to ask one more favour. If you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it, I would be honoured if you’d spent a minute or so (that’s all it takes) to vote for me.

The online voting form is here:
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2013/cosmo-blog-awards-2013-shortlist-vote-here

It’s a long form, but you can just scroll through to get to my section, the ‘Best Interiors Blog sponsored by Next’. Then you just check the box next to ‘The Treasure Hunter’, click through to the end, and press ‘Submit’.

Voting closes on 30th August – I’ll let you know how I get on…

THANK YOU!

Let us spray!

7 Aug

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWay back when I was a student, I went out with a graffiti artist for a while. He changed the way I thought about graffiti – he and his friends weren’t vandals (they didn’t go around spraying their tags on trains and lamp posts); instead, they were artists, meticulously drawing intricate designs up on squared paper beforehand, then creating amazing works of art on designated ‘legal’ walls or at festivals, using different nozzles, masking tape and all kinds of other clever tricks to create different effects.

Anyhow, he bought me my first ever can of spray paint, and helped me to spray a beside table hot pink. It looked amazing – and from then on I was hooked.

As I’m hopeless at drawing things (although I’m quite good at Pictionary…), I’ve stuck to furniture and accessories – spraying gives a lovely even finish, and transforms even the grottiest item within minutes. The best thing about it is that you don’t need to be an expert – you literally just shake the can, point it at the object, and let rip.

My most recent project has been doing up a retro woven bucket chair that had been languishing in my parents’ loft. I sprayed it red and gave it a whole new lease of life in my new summerhouse  (nothing fancy – we just clad the walls of my shed in cheap pine tongue-and-groove, painted them white and then painted the floor with grey gloss). It was in a terrible state, but now looks quite cool, don’t you think?

spray painted bucket chair in summerhouse

If you fancy giving spray paint a go, my top tip is to start with some old plastic garden planters or windowboxes, or make a tin-can plant display like the one above…

1) Take some old tins outside (soup tins or larger cooking oil cans work well – ask a local restaurant or takeaway to save you some)

2) Lay down an old sheet or some newspaper to protect the grass, then place your can upside down over a wine bottle so that you can spray the whole of it without having to touch it.

3) Spray it in whatever colour you like, then leave it to dry. I like Plasti-Kote Super Gloss spray paints (around £6.50 for a giant can) or Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch (about £5.50) both from http://www.Amazon.co.uk or DIY shops. They both work well on wood, metal or plastic.

4) Bang a nail through the back into a wall or fence post, and your can is ready to fill with soil and flowers. Lovely!

If you do spray anything, please send me a picture! Drop me a line at thetreasurehunteruk@gmail.com

PS: I still know that graffiti artist and he takes commissions, so if you ever want a really cool mural, painted shop shutters or even just a canvas with your child’s name written in graffiti style, give me a shout and I’ll put you in touch! 

Dip, dip hooray!

2 Aug

Dipped long wooden spoons £3.50 Rose & Grey

Di[[ed wooden stool in petrol £75 Rose and Grey

Simple but effective, the dip-dye trend is big news in designer interiors right now. The lovely people at Rose & Grey (www.roseandgrey.co.uk) have introduced a fab blue dipped stool, £75 to their range this Autumn, and sweet dipped wooden spoons, £3.50 each, and salad servers, £7.50 a pair.

The stool, sadly, is a bit out of my price range, but the wooden spoons are just about do-able. However, £3.50 is still quite a lot to shell out for something I’m only going to stir my soup with… so I thought it might be worth having a go at making my own.

The results were… not bad actually. Here’s a quick ‘how-to’ if you want to have a go yourself.

1. Take a wooden spoon (I bought a pack of five different wooden implements from Poundland for, yep, £1)

2. Tie some string around the neck of the spoon

3. Dip the end of the spoon in some paint  (I used some old tins of emulsion from my shed. Tilt the tin to get maximum handle coverage)

4. Use the string to hang the spoon up to dry outside (I hung mine from my washing line, like some weird art installation. You could hang it up inside but it drips quite a bit, so do it over newspaper)

And that’s it! I might try buying a stool from Ikea and dip-dyeing that next…

spoons with string

%d bloggers like this: