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Turn over a new leaf in the bedroom

26 Mar

TREND Botanical - Marks and Spencer

All products in the above shot are from Marks and Spencer

The botanical look is huge news this Spring – gorgeous greens, fabulous fern, leaf and flower prints, lots of lovely natural wood and a splash of this season’s must-have metal, copper.

Marks & Spencer have nailed the trend with their showstopping Eve bedlinen (seen on the bed above, from £19.50). In grown-up green and black, it’ll make any bedroom look classy and is totally unisex.

Want to try the look above yourself? Here are my top tips:

  • Take your inspiration from nature with fern, leaf, flower, butterfly and insect prints on bedding and cushions. Try (L to R) the Butterfly cushion £7 George Home at Asda; the Butterfly cushion £19.50 Marks & Spencer; or the Spring Butterfly Green cushion £6 Matalan:

butterfly cushions

  • Black bedrooms aren’t just for teenagers. Create drama with a decadent feature wall painted in matte black paint. Just keep the walls, ceilings and curtains white, unless you like having a room so dark you bump into things in the night!
  • Bring the outside in and use plants like accessories. Dot them around the room, in pots on the floor and from the ceiling in hanging planters, like this bargainous Riskorn planter £6, from Ikea:

Colourcheck No Info: Jenny Söderström 

  • Go for pale, unpainted wood furniture to keep things looking as natural as possible. It’ll also help offset the dark walls and bedding. I like the copper details on this Range side table, £149 from Made.com:

Oak and Copper Range Side Table Oak Copper £149 Made.com

  • Create quirky wall art with artificial succulent plants. Glueing them in place would mean a replaster job when they came down, so attach a stick-on an adhesive disc plate-hanger (£1.64, Amazon.co.uk) to the back of each pot, and hang them from picture hooks or nails instead. These ones are £2.99 each from Dunelm:

Green Succulent Plant In Ceramic Pot £2.99 each Dunelm

  • A desk lamp is the perfect alternative to a traditional table lamp as it allows you to direct light where you need it most. Choose one with copper details – one of this season’s hottest trends; it looks great with black and green. I like this wood effect desk lamp, £20 from George Home at Asda:
  • Wood Effect Desk Lamp £20 George Home at AsdaChoose a lampshade in a natural material such as wood, raffia or wicker. The gaps in the shade will create a lovely dappled, forest-like effect when the light is switched on. Try the Mandy shade, £18, B&Q:

Lights By B&Q Mandy Bamboo with Inner Diffuser Light Shade £18 B&Q

Let it glow

3 Feb

 

Get-Lucky

I’ve been hankering after a large circus marquee style wall light for a while, and once our loft conversion was complete, I had the perfect blank wall at the top of the stairs to hang one on. Thing is, these kinds of lights are usually so darn EXPENSIVE.

So, I was chuffed to discover the range of bargainous oversized vintage lights at chic online homes boutique Oliver Hayden. There are five designs to choose from, including a question mark, a ‘Get Lucky’ arrow, a ‘Sweet heart’ heart and a tattoo-style star, plus a smaller ‘Love’ heart:

Large-Star-300x270

At £45 for the large versions and £25 for the small, they’ll make a statement without breaking the bank; plus unlike other more costly designs which need to be plugged in with an unsightly cable, these use batteries and have a discreet switch at the side, meaning you can hang them anywhere.

Mr Treasure Hunter and I treated ourselves to the Get Lucky arrow light, which now hangs – slightly cheekily, as my mum has pointed out – just outside our new loft bedroom:

photo (93)What I particularly like about it is that it looks cool whether it’s lit or not, and whether it’s day or night.

Fancy one of your own? They’re in stock now (buy the arrow light here) but do keep selling out. I’m assured Oliver Hayden re-stock regularly, but still, better get your name down pronto!

 

 

Putting on the glitz

28 Nov

sequin cushions pillows

It’s almost December, so I’m going to get the ball rolling and start talking about Christmas. Every year, the shops are flooded with special ‘Christmas’ cushions – usually in red with festive slogans on – that are all incredibly cheery and Christmassy, but that also have an incredibly short shelf life. As soon as Christmas day is over, off they go to the loft/cupboard/blanket box for another twelve months.

Not so the sequin cushion. Nope, the sequin cushion – a thing of beauty – will look suitably sparkly all December; partytastic on your sofa over New Year; and if teamed with classy grey or white bedlinen, will give your bedroom a touch of glamour all year long.

The high street have cottoned onto this, and there are plenty to choose from at the moment. My two favourites are the silver ‘Glitzy’ sequin cushion, £12 from Isme.com (also available in red and black); and the on-trend copper sequin cushion, £12.99 from H&M Home (also available in pink and green), both above.

I’m also liking (from left to right, below) this ‘Luxe Large’ sequin cushion, £20 from BHS; this rectangular ‘Sequin Embellished’ cushion from Marks & Spencer; and this sequin number with a black background, £9.99, from H&M Home:

Sequin cushion £20 BHSAnd if you love the idea of metallics but think sequins are just a little too bling…how about this fantastic metallic silver cushion from Tesco Direct, below? It looks uber expensive, but will set you back just £10. Who can argue with that?!

MetallicCushion,£8 Tesco

PS: It’s awards season in the blogging world again, and I’m very excited to be nominated in this years’ blogging Oscars, the UK Blog Awards – in both the ‘Lifestyle’ and the ‘Most Innovative’ categories. So, if you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it, I’d be honoured if you’d click on the below links and vote for me. Voting takes literally seconds – you just enter your name and email address – and would make me incredibly happy!
To vote for me in the ‘Lifestyle’ category, click here:
http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/the-treasure-hunter-uk-2/
To vote for me in the ‘Most Innovative Blog’ category, click here:
http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/the-treasure-hunter-uk/
If you only feel like voting once, please vote in the Lifestyle category. Voting closes on 3rd December.
Thank you!

 

How to get a whole new bedroom for just £150!

26 Nov

photo 1 (3)

Argos is the store where you really can buy anything. It’s long had a reputation for practical items like kettles or washing up bowls – and at bargain prices – but it wasn’t necessarily the first place you’d think of going for great-looking interiors stuff.

Now, that’s changed. Thanks to a team of style-savvy buyers, the new in-house Heart of House range, and the addition of furniture and accessories from Habitat, you can pick up some fab homes bits that look way more expensive than their very reasonable price tags.

To prove this, Argos challenged me to revamp my main bedroom entirely with their products – and on a tight maximum budget of just £150. A boring blank canvas to start with…

photo (90)

…I wanted a fun, colourful scheme that would work with my existing charcoal grey world type map print from Bold & Noble (check it out here). So, to echo the global theme, I took a cheery grass green zebra cushion – just £12 – as a starting point, and based everything else around that.

Here’s the result:

photo (87)

It’s bright and cheery, fairly unisex (Mr Treasure Hunter hates florals!) and very easy to live with.

Want to recreate the look? Here’s my tips:

– Bring a monochrome scheme like this to life with just one or two punchy accent shades. I’ve gone for poppy red and my all-time favourite colour, grass green, which is big news for 2015, by the way!
– When mixing pattern, look for a common thread to tie everything together, whether that’s a shape or a shade. Here, the zebra stripes are echoed in the uneven lines on the duvet…

photo 2 (4)
– It’s a myth that you have to spend a fortune on bedlinen. This ‘Dashes’ set is just £11.99 for a double duvet cover and two pillowcases, and looks way more expensive once it’s dressed up with cushions and a throw. Check out Argos’ other bargain bedding designs here and cushions here.
– Reversible bedding is a great idea, as you can change up your look in seconds. This set is white-with-black stripes on one side, and black-with-white stripes on the other.
– Forget white sheets – add interest with brightly-coloured ones instead, along with matching pillowcases. Here, I’ve gone for bright red.
– Hate your carpet? Give it a whole new look with an inexpensive rug. The one I used has a flat weave, is a decent 120cm x 180cm, and costs just £40. Argos have loads of other colours and textures too – check them out here.
– Desk lamps make perfect bedside lamps as you can direct the light exactly where you need it. The switches are also often more accessible than on table lamps…
photo 2
– Look for quirky-shaped bowls to use as trinket dishes beside your bed for storing little bits and bobs like rings and lipbalm. The dish I used is actually meant for souffles or dips!

And here’s my shopping list:

Dashes double duvet set (double) £11.99. ColourMatch poppy red double fitted sheet £7.99 for a double. ColourMatch poppy red housewife pillowcases £2.50 for a pair. Habitat Zig zebra cushion s £12 each. Red cotton throw £17.99. ColourMatch desk lamps in poppy red £5.99 each. Green Habitat Orrell rug £40. Jones by Newgate Rise and Shine alarm clock £14.99. ColourMatch smoke grey cotton cushion£4.99. Denby cherry red flower ramekin dish £11.99.
TOTAL = £148.42.

1471504_R_Z001A_UC1615980

 

PS: If you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it, I’d be honoured if you’d click on the below links and vote for me in the UK Blog Awards. Voting takes literally seconds – you just enter your name and email address – and would make me incredibly happy!
To vote for me in the ‘Lifestyle’ category, click here:
http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/the-treasure-hunter-uk-2/
To vote for me in the ‘Most Innovative Blog’ category, click here:
http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/the-treasure-hunter-uk/
If you only feel like voting once, please vote in the Lifestyle category. Voting closes on 3rd December.
Thank you!

Topper the morning to you!

24 Nov

like_sleeping_on_a_cloud_by_purplefairy456-d42a5pf

The best night’s sleep I ever had was in a hotel in San Francisco (the Hotel Diva). The bed was so comfy it felt like sinking into a cloud when you lay down. So, what was the secret … in-house hypnosis? Nap-inducing drugs in the air-con system? Nope. A mattress topper.

My bed at home feels anything but cloud-like. Although it’s fairly new and gets flipped/turned regularly, my uber expensive mattress from John Lewis already has more ups and downs than Taylor Swift’s love life.

So, rather than spend another small fortune on a new one, I’ve opted for the San Francisco solution and invested in a high tech Clusterfull mattress topper from The Fine Bedding Company (£85 double or £95 kingsize, view it here):

photo 2

The Rolls Royce of toppers, it looks like a thin duvet, with elastic straps at the corners to attach it to your mattress. It has lots of square internal pockets filled with ‘Smartfil’ fibres, which are apparently coated with a diamond-hard yet silky soft silicone, meaning they slide over  each other rather than getting squished together. The result? Supposedly super breathability (meaning you’re neither too hot nor too cold); snuggleability (!) and durability. The makers claim it’ll keep its soft, spongy plumpness for years.

photo 1

 

This all sounds impressive, but does it work? In short, YES. Easy to fit, I was expecting to feel some lumps and bumps from the mattress, but the topper filled them all. Now, it’s like sleeping on an entirely different bed. I used to find it hard to get back to sleep if I woke in the night, but now I drop back off again as soon as my head hits the pillow. My only regret is that I didn’t get a topper earlier!

Fancy giving your mattress a new lease of life? Here’s my topper tips…

– Think about synthetic vs natural fillings. While you can get luxurious-feeling toppers stuffed with feathers or down, a synthetic filling might be better if you suffer from allergies.
– Look for pockets. In some toppers, the filling is ‘loose’, meaning it can shift around inside. Over time, this can make for a very uneven surface to lie on. Pockets mean the filling is distributed evenly throughout the topper – and it can’t move.
– Prolong the life of your topper with a mattress protector. Many toppers – including mine, even though the filling is synthetic – aren’t washable, so putting a washable protector over the top makes sense. I got the Spundown Mattress Protector, from £30. Here’s how it looks on the bed:

photo 3

 

Right, after sharing all this, I think I need a little lie down. Sweet dreams!

PS: If you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it, I’d be honoured if you’d click on the below links and vote for me in the UK Blog Awards. Voting takes literally seconds – you just enter your name and email address – and would make me incredibly happy!
To vote for me in the ‘Lifestyle’ category, click here:
http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/the-treasure-hunter-uk-2/
To vote for me in the ‘Most Innovative Blog’ category, click here:
http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/the-treasure-hunter-uk/
If you only feel like voting once, please vote in the Lifestyle category. Voting closes on 3rd December.
Thank you!

From Catwalk to Cushion (part 2)!

4 Nov

catwalk to cushion 1

Above:
FOLK Catwalk – Temperley London/Cushion – Matthew Williamson at Debenhams £28.
STRIPES Catwalk – Sass & Bide/Cushion – Ikea £4.

One of my favourite ever posts on this blog has to be ‘From Catwalk to Cushion’ (from September 2013 – read it here).

Earlier this month, I was asked to recreate it for Notebook (the magazine published with the Sunday Mirror) as part of their recent Homes Special. The idea was to find cushions that were inspired by the Autumn/Winter 2014 fashion runways.

Well, I LOVED researching this piece so much, I thought I’d share my catwalk/cushion comparisons with you. So here it is, ‘From Catwalk to Cushion’ Part 2. Enjoy!

Catwalk to cushion 2

GREY Catwalk – Christopher Kane/Cushion – H&M Home £14.99.
ROSES Catwalk – Giambattista Valli/Cushion – Wilko £7

Catwalk to cushion 3

METALLIC Catwalk – Antonio Beradi/Cushion – H&M Home £12.99
LEOPARD Catwalk – Sportmax/Cushion – Tesco Direct £16

Catwalk to cushion 4

COLOUR BLOCK Catwalk – Tsumori Chisato/Cushion – Ikea £7
FOXY Catwalk –  Dolce & Gabbana/Cushion – Dunelm £12.99

Catwalk to cushion 5

PURPLE Catwalk – Prada/Cushion – Wilko £8
INDIGO Catwalk – Temperley London/Cushion – Sainsbury’s £16

Catwalk to cushion 6

CHECK Catwalk – Tommy Hilfiger/Catwalk – Homebase £11.99
ZIGZAG Catwalk – Issa/Cushion – Zazzle £25.95

Catwalk to cushion 8

TWO TONE Catwalk – Emanuel Ungaro/Cushion – Very.co.uk £15
BLUE Catwalk – Richard Nicoll/Cushion – Wilko £6.50

Catwalk to cushion 7

WOLF Catwalk – Antonio Marras/Cushion – Tesco Direct £8
FURRY Catwalk – Prada/Cushion – Dunelm £7.99

Catwalk to cushion 9

EMBROIDERED Catwalk – Temperley London/Cushion – Dwell £49
BUTTERFLIES Catwalk – Valentino/Cushion – Marks & Spencer £19.50

Bargain bedroom makeover

27 Oct

Wide shot bedroom (widest)

Kitting out a bedroom from scratch can be expensive – whether you’ve just bought your first place; have had an extension; are moving into new rented or student accommodation; or are simply giving a tired room a complete revamp. When you’ve got everything from bedding and cushions to accessories to think about, making somewhere look homely can mount up – fast.

The thing is, stylish, good quality yet cheap homewares aren’t always easy to find. Which is why I’m a huge fan of Tesco Direct‘s new homes ranges. The supermarket has really upped its game when it comes to interiors recently, and their collections for this Autumn/Winter are fantastic. There’s a contemporary country look with pale blue and natural wood; an Oriental collection with velvet, teal, hot pink and purple; an ‘Old Hollywood’ look with glamorous black, copper and gold; an update on the cosy cabin look with oranges and tartans; and my favourite, a monochrome Manhattan loft collection, with pops of red, black and navy.

So, when Tesco challenged me to make over the bedroom in my new loft on a budget, it wasn’t difficult. I set myself a budget of £350, with the aim of creating a bright, fun, friendly space where guests would instantly feel at home. This is the very boring room beforehand…

Bedroom before

And this (plus the pic at the top of this post) is the room after!

After shot

I decided to stick to Tesco’s recommended palette of black, white, red and blue, as it’s easy to add to – or change – as time goes on.

My top tips for a scheme like this:

–  Boost the impact of a patterned duvet set by pairing it with co-ordinating plain coloured pillowcases and sheets.
–  A chair is a big-ish investment, but will give your room a really ‘finished’ look (and provide somewhere for guests to sit/lay their clothes).
–  Storage boxes are a great way to keep clutter out of sight – choose patterned ones that go with the decor.
–  Combine a radio and alarm clock to take up less space on the bedside table.
–  Make your own artwork to save money – I bought two plain white frames, and got a local framer to make a mount with four apertures, which I filled with Pantone postcards.
–  Follow the geometric theme through elsewhere in the room, for example, in the pattern on the vase, and on the chair cushion.

Close up of bed cushion and artwork

And my top buys? The geometric duvet set (which Mr Treasure Hunter wasn’t at all convinced about beforehand, but now loves); the handy – and bargaintastic – bedside lamps, which look way more expensive than their £15 price tags; and the stylish grey fabric retro tub chair, which at £119 is far nicer and cheaper than anything similar I’ve seen elsewhere (it comes in other colours, and if you’ve got the space, there’s a matching sofa for £169 too!):

Close up side table

If you want to recreate the look, here’s my complete shopping list:

Geo triangle duvet cover and pillow set, double (also available in single and kingsize) £15. Twin pack housewife pillowcases in red royal (available in other colours) £3. Brooklyn desk lamps in white (also available in chrome) £15 each. Arai cushion in red (also available in blue) £10. ‘No place like home’ cushion £14. Retro fabric tub chair in charcoal £119 (also available in red or mocha – and there’s a matching sofa in each colourway too!). Lightweight knitted pouffe in red (also available in chocolateivory, lime or pink) £40. View Quest mini DAB+/FM radio in red (available in many colours) £59.95. White vase £10. Space dyed throw in grey £20. Black & white storage boxes from £3.50. Basic photo frames in white (11″ x 14″) £5.60 – all from Tesco.
TOTAL: £335.65

I also added a couple of items I already owned: Red Tvis rugs £4.50 each, Ikea. Travel Europe print by Robert Crampton £26.99 for 61cm x 81cm (prices start at £13.99 for a 20cm x 30cm print), Allposters.co.uk, which was framed by a local framemaker. Pantone postcard box of 100 postcards £12.78 Amazon.

PS: If you’ve made-over a room on a budget, drop me a line at thetreasurehunteruk@gmail.com – I’d love to see some pix!

bedroom with focus on chair

 

 

Blurred lines

3 Oct

Betty Jackson, Tripod lamp with Geo shade £65 Debenhams

Why stick to the straight and narrow when  you can zig zag instead? One of the cheeriest homes trends of the moment, zig zags – or chevrons as designers prefer to call ’em – are everywhere right now.

While my other half, Mr Treasurehunter, says they make him feel like he’s had one too many beers, I personally love them, and am lusting after a black and white chevron rug for my home office.

If you really, really, really wanna zig zag-ah (sorry!), there’s a huge array of different colours, widths and products out there, and a couple of chevron cushions or a chevron shade will not only brighten up your room, but your day too. Here’s my pick of the best:

Top: Lamp £65 Betty Jackson Black at Debenhams; Chevron wall clock £31.05 Shannybebo at Etsy.com/uk; Teapot £21.95 Zazzle.co.uk

Below: Chevron lampshades £2.99 each The Range (www.therange.co.uk)…

Chevron lampshades from the range

 

Below: Picture frame £16 Oliver Bonas; Fabric storage trays £32 for set of three, Living by Christiane Lemieux at House of Fraser; Vase £15 BHS; Duvet set £14 for a double Wilko

Duvet Set Black £14 for double Wilko

Below: Chevron print mugs £5 for four George Home at Asda Direct

Chevon print mugs £5 for four George at AsdaBelow: Towels from £9 Betty Jackson Black at Debenhams

 

 

Black by Betty Jackson towels from £9 Debenhams

Below: Mind the Gap tray £19.99 and Between the Lines cushion £39.99 London Transport Museum Shop (www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk)

Mind the Gap Tray £19.99 ltmuseumshop.co.uk

 

Below: Eileen rug £70.95 Joss & Main; Zig zags cushion £21.95 Zazzle.co.uk; Zig zag pouffe £150 Debenhams

Eileen Rug £70.95 Joss & Main

Below: Sabichi Herringbone throws (in plum or grey) £15 each, Very.co.uk

RRD-GBSPE-10205925

 

On reflection

27 Aug

hanging-circular-mirror--30cm-£15 Matalan

Every season the high street gets better and better at bringing out reasonably-priced versions of designer homewares. I’ve been lusting after a mirror-on-a-rope for a while now, but they usually cost silly amounts of money. So, well done Matalan for creating this new little beauty (available here), above, which is a decent 30cm wide and costs just £15. Bargain eh?

I’m also loving this PS Table Mirror from Ikea, below (details here), which is perfect for a dressing table. As well as being a handy makeup mirror, it’s a jewellery stand too. Part of the store’s more exclusive PS designer range, it looks way more expensive than it’s £15 price tag.

ikea-ps--table-mirror £15

 

Sofabed so good

5 Aug

sofa-bed-twingle-redas-sofa-red

Who knew sofa beds could be so expensive, unattractive and uncomfortable? I need one for my new study, but I’m short on space and everything in the shops is either way over £400, or pretty darn ugly.

Yes, Ikea do some decent ones, but most are either really long, or pretty pedestrian looks-wise. What I wanted was one that didn’t take up much space, looked nice when in ‘sofa mode’ and didn’t cost the earth.

The answer? I went to The Futon Company (www.thefutoncompany.co.uk). I admit, I’ve always been a bit biased towards futons, assuming they were a bit hippy-ish, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw their range. As well as double sofa beds and single sofa chairs, they do a really sweet single sofa bed called a Twingle, top.

Looking like a cute, almost Japanese mini sofa during the day, it’s just 150cm wide. You simply flip down one side to turn it into a daybed; or both sides to turn it into a single bed within seconds:

sofa-bed-twingle-fieldmouse-as-longchaise-lge

It comes in red, blue or ‘fieldmouse’ (beige to you and me). There’s an optional storage drawer that slots underneath, and you can even paint the wooden frame if you like:

colour-twingle-side-shot-green

At £279, it’s not mega cheap, but it is way less expensive than most other single sofabeds on the market; looks really unusual; and is a darn sight comfier as both a sofa and a bed than either the usual fold-out-foam models or metal-framed springy versions. I’ve bought one in cheery red, as it’ll look good against the white walls of my home office, piled with bright cushions.

The Futon Company don’t just sell chairs and sofas though. I was also really impressed by their range of good-looking but incredibly reasonable furniture and accessories. My faves? Below, clockwise from top left: the clever folding wardrobe, £49.95, which is great for a spare room; the designer-look coat hook, £14.95; and the stackable bamboo cube, £29.95:

bamboo-wardrobe-new-open-lge

 

 

 

Initial thoughts

10 Jan

Marks and Spencer F cushion It’s been a while since I saw something and bought it immediately, but the moment I spotted these alphabet letter cushions from Marks & Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com), I loaded up my online shopping basket quicker than you could say (or should that be ‘spell’) OMG. They are, quite simply, AMAZING. Not only do they look stylish and fun, but they’re just £10 each. Yep, you read that right, just a tenner each. Which means you can treat yourself to one with your initial on without feeling guilty at all…

Marks and Spencer J cushion…or go crazy and spell out a whole world on your sofa without breaking the bank (well, not spending an absolute fortune, anyhow).

Their simple design means they’d suit almost any kind of decor, and they’d make an absolutely perfect present, particularly for a wedding (you could buy two, one with the bride’s initial and one with the groom’s).

Race you to the checkout!

Marks and Spencer initial letter cushions

Wool you still love me tomorrrow?

18 Oct

Bronte star cushion grey

For my recent styling challenge (see Wednesday’s post) I got to borrow lots of lovely home products to use as finishing touches.

The pieces that got by far and away the most ‘Ooohs’ and ‘Aaaahs’? The absolutely beautiful cushions and throws kindly lent to me by British company Bronte  by Moon, a Yorkshire wool mill that’s been going since 1837 (www.brontebydesign.co.uk).

Made from Pure New Wool, Mohair and Merino Lambswool, everything they make is soooooo soft and snuggly, it’s perfect for cold winter nights. There’s a HUGE range of styles and patterns available – not just a plethora of checks and tartans, but also stars, spots and stripes. Many of the throws are reversible, too.

Bronte mohair throws

Bronte check purple cushion

While they’re definitely not cheap (between £69.95 and £150 for a throw; and around £49.95 for a cushion); from the little button and tassel detailing on the cushions to the fancy ribbon labels on the throws, they look and feel a million dollars. It was with great sadness that I had to package them up and send them back after the shoot!

Bronte spot throws

Still, at least I know what to ask Father Christmas to bring me. Who knows, he might even fancy one of the Nordic snowflake designs for his own pad…!

PS: Like the look but on a budget? Bronte by Moon also make supersoft merino lambswool scarves, £25 each, in a rainbow of colours and patterns, like the one below. You could even sew one into a long cushion yourself…!

Bronte scarves

Think pink

30 Sep

Pink Bobble Knitted Cushion £12 Sainsburys

I’m not hugely into girly pink. So when Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes round every October, I usually try to donate in ways other than buying the deluge of pink items the shops come up with to raise funds.

However, this October, I might make a tiny exception for this pink bobble knit cushion from Sainsbury’s, £12. I love a cosy, chunky knit, and the little bobbles look a bit like cherries.

The cushion, plus a whole range of other limited edition pink/heart-themed homes bits and bobs, is on sale from today until 29th October in Sainsbury’s stores and online at http://www.sainsburys.co.uk. Ten per cent of all sales will go to Breakthrough Breast Cancer http://www.breakthrough.org.uk

From Catwalk to Cushion!

23 Sep

D&G high church. Angel sisters £17 Very.co.uk. Oxford damask jacquard cushion £19.50 M&S. Peacock princess £20 Littlewoods.comHIGH CHURCH ON THE CATWALK: Dolce & Gabbana
HIGH CHURCH CUSHIONS: Angel sisters £17 Very.co.uk. 
Oxford damask £19.50 M&S. Peacock £20 Littlewoods.com

What’s in vogue interiors-wise is often what’s also in Vogue clothes-wise.

Each season, buyers from high street stores scour the fashion shows in London, Paris, New York and Milan for hot new trends they can translate into stylish homeware ranges . The best thing about this? While updating your wardrobe with a new coat or handbag can be expensive; you can bring your home bang up-to-date for just a few quid with a couple of well-placed cushions.  

So which designs are hot this Autumn/Winter? I’ve done the hard work for you – here’s my guide to the coolest cushions going and the catwalk looks that inspired them. What’s more, most cost under £15 each, and none cost over £35. Bargain!

New tartans and checks

TARTANS ON THE CATWALK L-R: Celine; Vivienne Westwood; Emilia Wickstead
TARTAN CUSHIONS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): Blue check £12 Sainsbury’s. Green check £12 Sainsbury’s. Lamego tartan £11.98 B&Q. Green woven Archie £16 Next. Check £7 Asda. Tweed woven £12.99 Dunelm Mill.

cosy wool Alexander Wang. Recycled wool £19.50 greenandpresent.co.uk. Eliot knit in steel £20 John LewisCOSY WOOL ON THE CATWALK: Alexander Wang
COSY WOOL CUSHIONS: Recycled wool £19.50 http://www.greenandpresent.co.uk. Eliot knit in steel £20 John Lewis

Pink trend. bella quilted £10 B&Q. pink cotton square £5.95 Debenhams. pink heart button £10 sainsburys. pink mongolian fur £35 BHS.PRETTY IN PINK ON THE CATWALK:  Pretty much every designer going!
PINK CUSHIONS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): Bella quilted £10 B&Q. Pink cotton square £5.95 Debenhams. Pink heart button £10 Sainsbury’s. Pink Mongolian fur £35 BHS

Tom Ford leopard print. Animal print chenille £15 M&S. Animal print £4 Asda.LEOPARD PRINT ON THE CATWALK: Tom Ford; Moschino Cheap & Chic; Burberry Prorsum
LEOPARD PRINT CUSHIONS: Chenille £15 M&S. Animal print £4 Asda

Junya Watanbe patchwork. Little home stars and stripes £15 John Lewis. Colours divino patchwork £9.98 B&QPATCHWORK ON THE CATWALK: Junya Watanbe
PATCHWORK CUSHIONS: Stars and stripes £15 John Lewis. Colours Divino patchwork £9.98 B&Q

furry Roberto Cavalli. grey luxury faux fur £7.99 dunelm mill. grouse slate faux fur £12.99 dunelm mill. textured silver £7 AsdaFUR EFFECT ON THE CATWALK: Roberto Cavalli
FURRY CUSHIONS: Grey luxury faux fur £7.99 dunelm mill. Grouse slate faux fur £12.99 Dunelm Mill. Textured silver £7 Asda

Rich reds JW Anderson. red felt floral £12 sainsburys. red knitted £18 Sainsburys. jumbo courduroy £15 very.co.uk. pinch felt cushion £25 Next.RED ALERT ON THE CATWALK (L-R): Dolce & Gabbana; JW Anderson
RED CUSHIONS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): Felt floral £12 Sainsbury’s. Knitted £18 Sainsbury’s. Jumbo courduroy £15 Very.co.uk. Pinch felt cushion £25 Next

Milan trends 8TWEED IS GOOD ON THE CATWALK; Dolce & Gabbana
TWEED CUSHIONS: Grey tweed mustard piped £12.99 Dunelm Mill. Grey herringbone £20 House of Fraser.

bright florals Rodarte (L) Oscar de La Renta (R). Autumn floral £9.99 dunelm mill. Blaise poppy £9.99 dunelm mill. Linea by Collier Campbell rose £30 hofBRIGHT BLOOMS ON THE CATWALK (L-R): Rodarte; Oscar de la Renta
BRIGHT BLOOM CUSHIONS: Autumn floral £9.99 Dunelm Mill. Blaise poppy £9.99 Dunelm Mill. Linea by Collier Campbell rose £30 House of Fraser.

Dogtooth Tommy Hilfiger. Dogtooth check kidney pillow £24 etsy.com uk shop nonatextiles. Majestic dogtooth cushion £20 furnish.co.uk. Dogtooth cushion £11 Very.co.ukDOGTOOTH CHECK ON THE CATWALK: Tommy Hilfiger
DOGTOOTH CHECK CUSHIONS: Dogtooth check kidney pillow £24 http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/nonatextiles. Majestic dogtooth cushion £20 http://www.furnish.co.uk. Dogtooth cushion £11 Very.co.uk

Fairisle knits Kenzo. Snowflake £12 very.co.uk. heritage fair isle £12 M&SFAIRISLE KNITS ON THE CATWALK: Kenzo
FAIRISLE CUSHIONS: Snowflake £12 Very.co.uk. Heritage Fair Isle £12 M&S

Marios Schwab velvet red. christopher kane velvet blue. VIP lounge £19 Very.co.uk. Florence kingfisher £19 Very.co.ukVELVET ON THE CATWALK (L-R):  Marios Schwab; Christopher Kane
VELVET CUSHIONS: VIP lounge £19 Very.co.uk. Florence kingfisher £19 Very.co.uk

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

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!
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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!
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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

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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!
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Push (and pull) the button

31 Jul

55550007-Acrylic-Retro- Button Knob-Red -Vera

I’ve long been a fan of changing drawer and door knobs on furniture to give it a whole new lease of life. However, there isn’t actually a huge choice of little knobs around – you can get a few at Ikea, Bombay Duck,  John Lewis and Oliver Bonas, but to be honest, the selection isn’t that great and they’re often fairly expensive.

So, I was excited (and admit I went a little overboard with my online shopping basket) when I found Trinca Ferro, http://www.trinca-ferro.com.

They sell literally hundreds of different little knobs in a huge variety of shapes and colours (below), for around £2.95 – £3.20 each. Bargain!

My absolute favourites are the chunky Acrylic Retro Button knobs, above. They come in eight shades and are a decent 4cm wide. You could use just one to jazz up chest of drawers; or even change all the handles on your kitchen cupboards for a really quirky look. I’ve got a big white chest of drawers in my bedroom – I reckon a mixture of different colours on each drawer would look amazing!

yellow floral knob

Nothing but the pouffe

15 Jul

POUF LIFESTYLE SHOT handknitted Urchin poufs £470-£795 www.hollys-house.com

POUF handknitted Urchin pouf £470 www.hollys-house.com

These handknitted Urchin pouffes are things of beauty. Soft, chic and woolly, they’re perfect for lounging in front of the telly, putting your feet up on, or rolling out when friends come to visit and you need an extra seat. But at £470 each (from http://www.hollys-house.com), they’re they sort of thing you could only dream of owning…

…until now. Several canny high street stores have recently launched their own, equally stylish versions.

First up is Next, who have small ochre yellow, powder blue or classic neutral cream ‘pods’ for £75 each:

Next small knitted blue pod pouffe lifestyle shot £75

Then there’s Dunelm Mill, whose grey pouffe is an extremely purse-friendly £49.99:

Dunelm Mill grey pouffe £49.99

And finally, Very.co.uk have the Sabichi knitted pouffe, in either neutral or black, for £59:

Very.co.uk Sabichi knitted pouffe £59

PS: Want a pouffe with a bit of oomph? I also love the Estaban pouffe, £109 from http://www.very.co.uk made of hundreds of multicoloured felt pom-poms. Okay, so it’s still a bit on the costly side, but it’s so lovely it’s like a work of art in its own right…

Estaban pouffe very.co.uk £109

Blooming clever

17 May

big bloom vase conran red flower 2

Have you seen how expensive flowers are these days? I love the idea of having fresh blooms all over the place Elton John-stylee, but until I win the lottery and have a bank account to match his, I have to settle for the odd bouquet on my birthday or bunch of daffs from the local market.

This incredibly cunning vase by designer Charlie Guda may change all that. It’s a glass test tube, attached to a stand made of magnifying glass. You pop a stem in the tube (with some water of course) and then fix the glass in front, like so…

big bloom vase conran shop

The glass magnifies the flower so that not only does it appear supersized, but you can see every little line and detail of the petals. Clever eh?

It means you can spend just one or two quid on a particularly lovely single flower (or choose one you’ve picked from your garden or on a walk) and turn it into a really eyecatching work of art.

It’s not exactly a bargain at £29 (from The Conran Shop, http://www.conranshop.co.uk) but after you’ve made that initial outlay, think how much you’ll save on flowers thereafter!

big bloom vase multiple flowers

big bloom vase conran shop red flower

Time to buy a new clock

28 Mar

CLOCKS (FUTURISTIC) Lexon Around Clock £21.65 www.fredaldous.co.uk

The clocks go forward in the UK by an hour this weekend – midnight on Sunday 31st. Whilst this is a good thing in that it heralds the start of British Summer Time (not that you’d know it with the murky weather we’ve been having recently), it’s not so great in that everyone loses a precious hour in bed.

My solution? Celebrate the time change and cheer yourself up with a new clock. You don’t have to spend a fortune – the one I have my eye on, above, the futuristic-looking Lexon Around clock, is a reasonable £21.65 from http://www.fredaldous.co.uk

Want some other suggestions? How about the Normann Copenhagen Watch Me clock, £35 from Heal’s (www.heals.co.uk); the  Cuckoo canvas clock, £14.99, Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com); the fabulously retro Jones Strike Mantle clock, £10 from Asda (direct.asda.com); the Nextime Disco clock, £29, http://www.redcandy.co.uk; or the Ice Cream Cone clock, £35, John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com), all below.

Better be quick though if you want to buy one before Sunday – time’s a ticking!

CLOCKS (COLOUR POP)  Normann Copenhagen Watch Me Wall Clock £35 Heal's

CLOCKS (QUIRKY) Cuckoo canvas clock £14.99 Dunelm MillCLOCKS (RETRO) Jones Strike Mantle Clock £10 Asda

CLOCKS (METALLIC) Nextime Disco Clock £29 redcandy.co.uk

CLOCKS (QUIRKY) Ice Cream Cone Clock, £35 John Lewis

Between the sheets

21 Mar

0327028 £14.00

0325497 PIXEL PRINT CUSHION £6.50

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Wilkinsons’ new homes range – well, it’s instore and online now (at http://www.wilko.com) and there are some amazing bits and bobs at very reasonable prices.

The best stuff though by far is the huge selection of bedlinen. There’s around 20 to choose from and pretty much something for everyone. My absolute favourite is the designer-look Pixel design, above, which starts at just £14 for a double duvet cover and pillow case set (what a bargain!). Too hectic for you? Jazz up your existing plain duvet set with a matching cushion, £6.50, also above.

The Japanese-inspired Wave design, immediately below (from £12 for a double set) is a close second favourite.

0327456 £14.00

Also worth a look are designs with retro flowers (£30), numbers (£12), bicycles design (£14), feathers (£30), birds and flowers (£19), cute patchwork (£19) and monochrome zig zags (£12), which would look amazing mixed in with hot pink, bright yellow or grass green sheets and extra pillowcases.

Wilkon duvets flowers and bikes

Wilko duvets numbers and feathers

Wilko duvets birdcages and zig zags monochrome

As for the rest of the homewares? I love the wooden clock, bottom, just £8.

0327326 CLOCK £8.00

Picture perfect

18 Mar

BHS_Wall_art_from_£15

When it comes to homewares, BHS have really stepped up their game. Years ago, the store was quite mumsy and safe, but recently they’ve been coming out with some lovely stuff to rival other high street big hitters like Next and Matalan.

It started with their lighting ranges, and now their wall art selection has had a makeover. This season sees the launch of affordable, fun canvases and framed prints, almost all under £25, above.
My favourites? The Stamp mounted canvas print, £18; the London framed print, £22 and the Time for Tea framed print, just £8 (all below).

BHS_Stamp_print_canvas £18

BHS_London_cavas_£22

BHS_Time_for_Tea_£8

Let there be lights!

13 Mar

B&Q COLOURS ZAIRA GOLD EFFECT CUBE PENDANT £49.98

I’m looking for a new bedroom light. At present, I’ve got a round paper lantern-style one from Ikea, that has a hole in it where I bashed it, trying to kill a mosquito. Classy.

Top of my wishlist is this AMAZING new Zaira pendant. It’s already been featured in Living Etc magazine (the official stamp of coolness) and it looks like it ought to cost hundreds of pounds. In fact, it’s £49.98 from B&Q (www.diy.com). It looks stunning in the daylight, but I particularly love the delicate pattern it makes on the walls and ceiling when it’s all lit up at night.

However, anything I buy has to get past my other half, and he hates things that make ‘weird shapes’ on the ceiling, so the hunt continues!

In the meantime though, while we’re on the subject of lights, I can’t wait for summer when I can string up these fun solar bottle lights, £16 for three, from Next (www.next.co.uk), in my garden. They’re part of their new range of outdoor lighting, below, which includes fun light-up words and even a solar seagull. Brilliant!

GARDENS - LIGHTING Set of 3 solar bottle lights £16 Next

GARDENS - LIGHTING all lights and accessories from Next

GARDENS - LIGHTING all lights from Next

Chic’n’cheerful

7 Mar

Habitat stallion cushion try2

In the past, Habitat hasn’t been particularly known for being a place to pick up bargains, but recently it’s been selling some lovely things at some very un-Habitat-like prices.

Take these quirky cushions, for example. They’re just £12 each, and the sort of thing people go out of their way to comment on when they pop round for coffee.

I’d casually throw a couple on an armchair and pretend you made them yourself from scraps of vintage fabric, if I were you!

Habitat elephant cushion try2

Habitat geometric cushion try2

Habitat orange comb cushion £12 try2

Colour me happy (part three!)

4 Feb

Pantone Spring colour predictions 2013

Last week, I revealed the top ten shades of 2013, as predicted by colour boffins the Pantone Colour Institute.

Today, in my last post on this subject, I’m picking out some great accessories from the  high street in the final three shades – Poppy Red (bright pillar box red); Linen (classy cream) and Monaco Blue (deeper-than-royal blue):

MONACO BLUE
From left to right: Swallow bird cushion £9 Asda Direct (direct.asda.com); Jolie table lamp £35 John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com); Linea Nautical Blue glass bathshop pot £8 House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk); Japanese wave bowl £4.95 Dotcomgiftshop (www.dotcomgiftshop.com); Chunky knitted cushion £15 TU at Sainsburys (in store). 

Pantone Monaco blue

LINEN
From left to right: Owl lamp £10 (bargain!) Asda Direct (direct.asda.com); Coin storage box £3.49 Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.co.uk); Knitted pouffe Littlewoods £85 (www.littlewoods.com); Jam jar vase £10 Next (www.next.co.uk). 

Pantone Linen

POPPY RED
From left to right: House by John Lewis Tony task lamp £25 John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com); Linea tealight holder £12 House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk); Retro Skittles alarm clock £20 John Lewis (as before); Large red tagine £35 House of Fraser (as before); Medium traditional lantern £12 John Lewis (as before). 

Pantone poppy red

 

Colour yourself happy (part two!)

1 Feb

Pantone Spring colour predictions 2013

On Wednesday I introduced you to the hottest ‘it’ hues of the year, as predicted by the experts at the Pantone Color Institute (they’ve got a cool job, haven’t they?!).

Today, I’ve picked out some fab new homes bits in three of my favourite shades – Lemon Zest (fun, sunshine yellow); African Violet (stronger-than-pastel lilac) and Grayed Jade (a lovely minty teal-y green):

LEMON ZEST
From left to right: Bone china scallop mug £10 The Richard Bramble Collection (www.richardbramble.co.uk); Bubble knit throw £40 Next (www.Next.co.uk); Linea Tropical Pineapple lamp £40 House of Fraser; Vintage by Wayne Hemingway coffee storage tin £7 John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com); Linea Urban Tribe Stripe Vase £25 House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk).

Pantone Lemon Zest

AFRICAN VIOLET
From left to right: Gertrude cushion £36 Home and Kids (www.homeandkids.co.uk); Multi photo frame £7.99 Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com); Optic tea light holders £15 for a set of 3 Marks and Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com).

Pantone African Violet

GRAYED JADE
From left to right: Chunky knit cushion £14.99 Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com); Personalised vintage apple crate £34.99 Getting Personal (www.gettingpersonal.co.uk); Terracotta jug £15 House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk); Wooden bird cage £8.99 Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com); Linea Curiosity teacup and saucer set £10 House of Fraser (as before); Big Ben cushion £7 Asda (direct.asda.com); LSA Firo carafe and tumbler £16.99 Beautiful Homes Direct (www.beautifulhomesdirect.com).

Pantone Grayed Jade

Colour yourself happy (part one!)

30 Jan

Pantone Spring colour predictions 2013

Every year, colour experts, The Pantone Color Institute, visit all the fashion shows and observe global trends. They use this information to collate their predictions for the next year’s hottest hues. These are the colours that’ll be everywhere – from clothes to homes accessories in the coming months.

For 2013, they’ve predicted a rainbow of stronger-than-pastel shades, above. Aren’t they pretty?!

The high street has already started to catch on, and there are some fab new colourful bits and bobs in the shops. To celebrate, I’m going to show you my picks of the best over the next week or so, starting today with Emerald (the overall ‘it’ colour of the season), Tender Shoots (a lovely fresh green), Nectarine (a peachy orange shade) and Dusk Blue (sky blue)…

EMERALD
From left to right: Apothecary bottle £19.50 Conran for M&S (www.marksandspencer.com); Non-slip chopping board £8 M&S (as before); Small glass vase £9 TU at Sainsburys (in store).

Pantone Emerald

TENDER SHOOTS
From left to right: Ingrid pendant shade £15 Littlewoods (www.littlewoods.com); Hourglass £8.99 Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com); John Lewis Summer Brights tableware £4 – £5 (www.johnlewis.com); Personalised mug £9.99 Getting Personal (www.gettingpersonal.co.uk); Loop cushion £27 Littlewoods (as before).

RRD-GBSPE-4393457

NECTARINE
From left to right: Orange rustic knit cushion £22 Next (www.next.co.uk); Ross Lovegrove style Supernatural chair £39 Cult Furniture (www.cultfurniture.com); Hummingbird votive candle holder £3 Asda (www.asda.com/direct).

Pantone Nectarine

DUSK BLUE
From left to right: Basis jug by LSA £20.50 Beautiful Homes Direct (www.beautifulhomesdirect.com); Bookend

DUSK BLUE Verona Desk Quarto Week to View (Aqua), £19.29 - Letts

Owl right now

21 Jan

Rigby & Mac Xmas felt owl wall clock £16.95

I was going to write about this fun little fella before Christmas, but then he sold out, and one of the promises I made when I first set up this blog was only ever to mention things you could actually buy.

Anyhow, I’ve just received an email saying he’s back in stock, so let me introduce you!

Called the Grey Felt Owl Wall Clock, from the lovely Rigby & Mac (www.rigbyandmac.com), he looks like a trendy uber expensive Scandi-style timepiece you’d get somewhere like Heal’s. But actually he’s a very reasonable £16.95.

I love his little winking eye, his soft felt-y body, and the little baby owl on his pendulum. I think he’d look very smart in a hallway, living room or kid’s bedroom.

What a hoot!

Coaster hunting

16 Jan

Alphabet coasters scrabble style theletteroom.com letter E

Whenever I want a fun, personal present to pop in with a birthday, Thank You or New Home card, I buy one of these sweet initial coasters.

Made to look a bit like Scrabble tiles, there’s one for every letter of the alphabet, plus symbols such as @, & and a heart.

A single coaster would make a lovely little gift for someone to use on their bedside table or desk; or you could buy several and spell out a word.

I get mine from a little shop in Crystal Palace, London; but I see that http://www.theletteroom.com have started selling them too (search under ‘coaster’). They’re just £3.95 each. Bargain!

Alphabet coasters full range

Alphabet coasters cake

The Next big thing

14 Jan

X51_COVER2_52_cov_rt_v4 copy

Next’s new 2013 Spring/Summer interiors range is on sale now, and there are some LOVELY things in the new homes catalogue.

There are several fab new themed collections – Blossom & Bloom (bright blowsy florals), Boatyard Salvage (blues and driftwood); Pretty Salvage (homespun lace, patchwork and vintage-feel accessories); San Diego (chilli reds and fiery oranges) and my favourite, The Good Life (sunny yellows, grass greens and soft greys, with a modern countryside feel).

Here are my picks from The Good Life range: Ochre bubble knit throw, £40 and knitted pod pouffe, £75 (above); Good Day Sunshine cushion, £14; Lemonade Framed Print, £40;  Jam Jar Vase, £10; wooden Home Calendar, £12; Ceramic Bottle and Holder set, £10; ‘Smile’ word, £10; Bumblebee Water Bottle, £6 and Bee Happy Recycled glass tumblers, £10 for a set of four (all below).

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Lemonade framed  print £40 Next

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LEMON ZEST Smile word £10 Next

X51_Mood_Dining_Goodlife_70

All mapped out

11 Jan

map covered 3D letters and ampersand

Map covered 3D ampersand

My other half is pretty easygoing when it comes to what we put in our house – he’ll go along with most of my ideas without putting up too much of a fight (sensible boy!). It’s rare he makes a real point about mentioning something he likes, and when he does, I always take note.

This Christmas, he had his heart set on some lovely 3D freestanding letters from http://www.etsy.com, that have vintage maps on the front, and can be personalised to show any country you like. He fancied our initials (we’re both “J”) and an ampersand. And he wanted Bali, where we went for our honeymoon, on one of them. Only thing was, when I checked the price of the ones he liked, they cost over £40… and I reckoned I could make them myself for much less.

So I did! And the results are above. I managed to get Bali on one ‘J’; the UK, Marrakech and Paris (favourite holiday desinations) on another; and California (where we got engaged) on the ampersand. They now have pride of place on our bedroom shelf and I’m pretty pleased with how they came out. What’s more, they were really easy to make. In fact, so easy, I thought I’d share the ‘how to’ with you, at the bottom of this entry.

Not into crafting? You can buy various versions of these letters, in different sizes, on http://www.etsy.com – they come covered in everything from vintage  maps to music scores and comic book pages. Seller Roseberry Stone makes some nice ones for £7.68/$12:

etsy map 3D letter

While you’re visiting Etsy, you can also get sweet locket necklaces (£22.39/$35 by PAPERandPLACE), personalised prints (£14.07/$22 by FleaMarketSunday) and even metal keepsake tins (£4.64/$7.25 by HocusFocus) with the map of your choice on fairly cheaply – they’d make really thoughtful, unusual presents. Some pics are below.

etsy custom map locket letters on mannequin

etsy custom map initial

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN 3D MAP LETTERS…

1. Buy a 3D letter in the initial of your choice. You can get them from http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk (search for “3D Letter” – they’re currently on sale for just 99p!) or Amazon; or I got mine from Ebay (they were listed as “Large 7 inch 18cm Decopatch Freestanding 3D Cardboard Letters” £2.75 from seller bigbaggiepeck).

2.Paint it in any colour you like. You can use any leftover ordinary emulsion paint, or buy a little tester pot. I used a tester pot of a shade called Vintage Map (I thought it was apt!) by Farrow & Ball.

3. Choose your map or covering paper. I bought a sheet of vintage world map wrapping paper from a travel shop called Stanfords for just £2.99. Just visit travel.stanfords.co.uk and search under ‘wrapping paper’ – it’s a really cheap way of getting some great old skool style maps on the cheap.

4. Lay your 3D letter on the covering paper and trace round it. If you want to make sure you get a specific country on your letter, you can make a see-through template first. Just place your 3D letter on a plastic see-through slip-in document wallet; draw round it and cut it out; and then position this template on your covering paper and trace round that instead.

5. Cut out the letter shape from the covering paper, cutting about 1mm inside the lines you traced.

6. Stick your cut out paper letter shape onto your painted 3D letter (I just used Pritt Stick); trim any overlapping edges; and you’re done!

Chair and chair alike

7 Jan

Eames DSW chairs various colours

The chairs above are all swanky Vitra Eames DSW chairs – a modern update of a 1950s classic by designers Charles and Ray Eames. It comes in various lovely colours and costs £315-320 from places such as Heal’s, John Lewis and http://www.funkylittledarlings.co.uk

The green ‘Malmo’ chair, below, also comes in white, black or red. However, it’s currently just £49  from Asda Direct (directasda.com). Spot the difference? Neither will 99% of your visitors.

You can buy six of these – SIX – for the price of one of the designer versions. Amazing.

The green and red versions are usually £99, but have £50 off at the moment, so snap ’em up quick. They’d look equally great round a dining table; as a statement on their own in a bedroom or bathroom; in a spare corner in a hallway; or as a smarter-than-usual home office chair.

TENDER SHOOTS Green Malmo chair £59 Asda

 

How much is that doggy in the window?

4 Jan

Rover lamp £30 Next

This ‘Rover’ lamp looks so expensive – like something you’d find in an edgy designer homes shop. But he’s not! This clever canine is from Next’s brand new homes collection (more about that in future posts) which is available in stores and online at http://www.next.co.uk right now. Oh,  and he’s just £30.

£30! I know, a bargain for something that cool. If only my other half wasn’t allergic to dogs…

My prediction is that Rover will be a sell-out within weeks. So, you’d better be quick if you want to (ahem) get your paws on one!

 

I wanna cork tonight

31 Dec

champagne cork shaped stool party setting

I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder, particularly when it comes to sentimental stuff. Cinema and gig tickets, letters and postcards friends have sent over the years, old  school bus passes (with cringeworthy photos of my various teenage hair disasters)… I’ve still got them all, in boxes in my loft. I’ve even got a stash of Champagne corks, from my 18th and 21st birthdays; from my wedding; and from memorable past New Years.

Now I’m aware that it’s probably not healthy to keep hold of so much junk, so one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2013 is to have a huge clear out. I’m going to sell stuff such as two of the three tea sets my granny owned; invest in some good photo albums (for all my childhood pix); and throw out all those corks.

And to celebrate turning over a new leaf, I’m hugely tempted to buy one of these amazing Giant Champagne Cork shaped stools for my living room, from www.notonthehighstreet.com. They’re made from quality Portugese cork, are comfy to sit on, and look exactly like mini versions of the real thing. Cool!

At £120 each, they’re definitely not cheap, but they do look awesome, and would be a real talking point. I suppose it just depends now how much money Granny’s teaset makes on EBay…

PS: readers from abroad, you don’t have to miss out! The stools can be shipped anywhere in the world.

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Above pic: by Prova Shanty http://www.flickr.com/photos/provashanty/6797384792/

These radios rock!

14 Dec

John Lewis Spectrum DAB radio £29.95 pink

I can’t decide what I like most about these new Spectrum DAB/FM radios from John Lewis. The fact they come in eight lovely colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, white and black/grey); the fact they’ve got a lovely rubbery exterior; the fact they work with both batteries and from the mains; the fact they’re a cute 15cm x 8cm x 2.7cm; or the fact they’re only £29.95.

That’s right – they look designer, but cost just shy of £30. That’s a bargain in my book! And as they’re made by good old John Lewis, you know they’re going to be good quality (they even come with a two-year guarantee).

I reckon they’d make the perfect present for a brother, sister or friend. I’m going to ask Santa for a yellow one for my kitchen!

John Lewis Spectrum DAB radio £29.95 red

Mirror, Mirror on the wall – this is the fairest of them all

14 Nov

If you thought next month was just ‘December’, you’d be wrong. For the last few years it’s been rebranded as ‘The Party Season’ – the month of high heels, little dresses and all things bright and sparkly.

To reflect that (you can see where I’m going here…), B&Q have designed this rather discotastic Colours Mosaic Mirror (above). It’s a decent 51.5cm width, perfect for doing last minute touch-ups. It’s £39.98 – not bad for something that looks designer.

It would make a fabulous feature in a bedroom; add wow factor to a plain bathroom, or look amazing in a hallway where everyone can comment on it (and check their glittery eyeshadow hasn’t smudged).

Luxe for less

2 Nov

Last week, I wrote a feature for the fabulous LOOK magazine on how to get designer-look homewares at high street prices. I found loads of great luxury copies (or ‘lookalikes’ or ‘tributes’ if you’re being kind!), including Asda’s amazing fox cushion, as featured on Monday’s blog post.

Anyhow, I came up so many great comparisons that they wouldn’t all fit in the mag. So, here, for your eyes only, are the ones that didn’t make it on the page. There are some spookily good lookalikes here… better snap up the cheap versions quick, before the lawyers are called in!

Above…
Left: Handknitted Urchin Pouffe, £470, http://www.hollys-house.com
Right: Scilla knitted floor cushions, £39.98 each, Colours at B&Q http://www.diy.com

Below…
Left: Deknudt Decora Silver Nugget Mirror, £825 , Heals http://www.heals.co.uk
Right: Home of Style Round Faceted Starburst Mirror, £49.99, Homebase http://www.homebase.co.uk

Left: Large Red Folding Vase, £75, The Conran Shop http://www.conranshop.co.uk
Right: LineaMix Red Vase, £30, House of Fraser http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Left: Bulb Table Lamp by Ingo Maurer, £655.20, http://www.ambientedirect.com
Right: Idea bulb shape table lamp, £19.98, B&Q http://www.diy.com

Left: EyeTest cushion, £25, John Lewis http://www.johnlewis.com
Right: Eye Test Card cushion, £12, Next http://www.next.co.uk

Left: White deer head, £99, Dwell http://www.dwell.co.uk
Right: Porcelain white deer head wall mount, £15, Matalan http://www.matalan.co.uk

Left: Vakash Cushion Cover, £120, OKA Direct http://www.okadirect.com
Right: Orange circles cushion, £20, Debenhams http://www.debenhams.com

Left: Film Lamp, £1,250, http://www.mufti.com
Right: Alfred Tripod Floor Lamp, £139, http://www.made.com

Left: The Small Baroque mirror, £900, Squint http://www.squintlimited.com
Right: Infini Baroque mirror in pink, £89.97, Tesco Direct http://www.tesco.com/direct

Time for a new clock

31 Oct

The clocks went back at the weekend (if you live in the UK, that is) and to celebrate, I’m thinking of treating my new kitchen to a new clock. The forerunner at the moment? This fun Newgate Milk Bottle Wall Clock, above, £35 from John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com).

Fancy doing the same? There are LOADS of cool clocks out there at the moment. Here’s my pick of the best – let me know which one you have the most, ahem, time for!

Lexon Around clock, £28, Heals (www.heals.co.uk):

Canvas Cuckoo clock, £14.99, Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com):

Multi-coloured Photo Frame clock, £29.99, The Contemporary Home (www.tch.net):

Retro Aylesford wall clock, £19.50, M&S (www.marksandspencer.com):

Silver Star Wall Clock, £30, John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com):

Jones & Co Dover Wall Clock, £19.92, Tesco Direct (www.tesco.com/direct):

Mini [working!] metal alarm clocks, £4.99 each, The Contemporary Home (www.tch.net):

Sunburst Gold Wall Clock, £25,  M&S (www.marksandspencer.com): 

Fantastic Mr Fox

29 Oct

Donna Wilson (www.donnawilson.com) designs lovely stuff – beautifully soft cashmere cushions, throws and home accessories with friendly-looking animal motifs (check out the fox cushion above). The only thing that’s vixen – sorry, vexing – is the price, as we’re talking £72.50 for one cushion. Ah.

So, if like me, you love her quirky designs, but need to save up first, you can save yourself a whopping £62.50 in the meantime by buying this uncannily similar Basil fox cushion (below) from Asda and www.Asda.com/direct (below).

It’s only £10 (bargain!) and looks even nicer in real life than it does in pictures. It’s new in, but has already sold out once online already, so you’ll have to be quick if you want to lay your paws on one…

PS: You can see more designer vs high street lookalikes in the feature I’ve written for the current issue of LOOK magazine – but be quick, it’s only on sale for one more day (today)!

Kimono-ver to my place

12 Oct

As a big fan of all things Japanese, I was properly excited to discover it’s a big trend for Autumn/Winter this year.

In fact, it’s so huge that John Lewis are theming a whole range of Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and ornaments around it. I got a sneak preview the other day and it’s all GORGEOUS!

I’ll bring you pictures and details nearer December, but for now, a whole host of Japanese-inspired home goodies have just hit the shops.

Here are my favourites:

Origami crane light, £8, http://www.cubicuk.com (main pic, above).

Nanako duvet cover, £60, John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com):

Japanese blossom bowls, £4.95 each, http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com:

Origami cushions, £6 each (bargain!), Colours at B&Q (www.diy.com):

White ceramic origami bear, £8, Ben de Lisi at Debenhams (www.debenhams.com):

O is for Origami alphabet mug, £8, http://www.magpieline.com:

Silver and gold origami necklaces – triceratops, swan, rabbit and parrot – £110 each, http://www.thepodcompany.co.uk. I know these are so NOT a bargain, but a girl can dream!

Colours Norland pendant lightshade, £40, B&Q (www.diy.com):

Block party

5 Oct

The great thing about Tetris – and the reason it’s still as popular today as it was when it became available on Nintendo Gameboys in 1989 (yep, I had to look that up on Wikipedia!) – is that anyone and everyone can play it. You don’t have to be a computer geek; you don’t have to speak any particular language; and you don’t have to master any complicated rules. Perfect!

That’s why so many people – including myself – grew up playing it. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I didn’t do as well in my exams at school as predicted: instead of knuckling down to revise, I gave my knuckles a workout playing Tetris. For hours (sorry, Mum!). It was – and still is – brilliantly addictive.

Anyhow, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying the game has a special place in my heart. So, I just had to tell you about this genius Tetris lamp, £29.99 from Firebox.com.

It comes in seven parts, each shaped like a Tetris block. You plug in the bottom block, then stack the others on top any way you like – and as you stack them, each block lights up  like magic. Brilliant! There are loads of different combinations and it’s a guaranteed conversation starter.

One of the few people who don’t care much for Tetris? Buy it for someone who does – I guarantee they’ll be de-light-ed!

PS: If you’re really Tetris-mad, and good with knitting needles, a crochet hook or a sewing machine; how about making some fun Tetris cushions to go with your lamp, like these, below, from Etsy.com…!  (Guttingly, they’re no longer available to buy)

Stick ’em up!

3 Oct

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Top Drawer, a trade show for people who own gift shops and homeware stores, where I met some brilliant designers including the lovely Adele from Nutmeg Wall Art (www.nutmegwallartstickers.co.uk) who makes removable wall stickers/decals.

I’d first stumbled upon her website when I was looking for a way to brighten up my son Sam’s nursery. I emailed her a picture of his room, which has very tasteful, but not very kid-friendly tree wallpaper on the walls. She came up with the idea of making brightly coloured parrot wall stickers to perch in and fly around the trees. Cute! She even superimposed the parrots on the picture I’d emailed her (above), so that I could see what the stickers would look like before I commited to buy them.

So, I thought I’d share her site with you. She sells ‘normal’ wall stickers like these:

But what is particularly fab – and what sets her apart from many of the other wall decal companies out there – is her bespoke service.

If you drop her a line at sales@nutmegwallart.co.uk, Adele will make you a personalised sticker for a very reasonable price. For example, a personalised London street sign sticker (immediately below – you can make up your own street name and postcode) is £30; a bespoke kitchen sticker (below, middle) is £26; and a personalised script sticker (below, bottom) is £19. But of course you don’t have to, erm, ‘stick’ to words and text – you can copy me and pick anything you like, as apparently Adele likes a challenge!

Where you bin?

24 Sep

The other day, regular reader and fellow blogger Chrissy (from SewYeah.co.uk) was telling me about her search for a good looking waste paper bin. All the ones she could find were a bit, well, rubbish. It may have just been a throwaway comment (boom boom!) but it got me thinking – actually, the two bins I have in my house are extremely shonky, ancient wicker affairs.

As a result, I launched my own search. And Chrissy is right. Most waste paper bins are of the boring or chintzy variety. However, there are a few non-trashy (as it were) bins out there.

My favourite is above – the strangely-named CEP Carat Desk Set Waste Bin, £15.33 from http://www.amazon.co.uk. It’s a pleasing shade of amethyst and would go nicely with my grey sofa. I’m also quite taken with the neon pink HAN Elegance Signal bin, £18.60, also from Amazon (directy below, also available in other colours). It’d look great against a grey, black or white backdrop.

Slightly more expensive but equally cool is the designer Essey bin, available in two sizes (large, £34.95 and mini, £24.95) from http://www.alltidiedup.co.uk (below). It looks like a crumpled paper cup, but is in fact made of plastic, and comes in red, white and black.

As for the best of the rest? Next (www.next.co.uk) have some fabulously OTT glittery bins – called ‘Sparkle’ bins – in either silver or plum, £28:

Then there’s the Beverly waste paper bin, £23, http://www.jasmineway.co.uk, which looks a bit like a fancy tissue box:

And the cheap and cheerful Bright heart waste paper bins, £5.95, http://www.amazon.co.uk:

I also quite like the kitsch-ness of the Retro Kelloggs bins £7.95, http://www.amazon.co.uk:

And these little fellas are worth a mention too. From left to right: Umbra Touch waste paper bin £21.60 http://www.redcandy.co.uk; round metal waste paper bin £4.12 Tesco; Omaha mesh waste paper bin £19.95 http://www.alltidiedup.co.uk; Sainsbury’s Basics white waste paper bin £2.50; and Brabantia Classic bin £20.36 http://www.amazon.co.uk.

Parrot fashion

3 Sep

Wandering around Debenhams the other day, looking for a can opener that actually works without getting stuck, mangling the can or cutting my fingers (I’ll tell you all about it if and when I ever find one), I spotted this AWESOME lamp for £40.

The base is a giant, just-the-right-side-of-kitsch, china parrot – it comes in soft lime or white and would look brilliant perched in a bedroom, living room or on a hallway console table.

Parrots not your thing? Debenhams (www.debenhams.com) have got a thing for table lamps with fun-shaped bases at the moment – check out the dogs, £40-45; Owl, £32; telephone, £40; Bird and branch lamp, £75; and Eiffel tower lamp, £75, all below.

Down at t’Mill

31 Aug

I love September because it’s when all the Autumn/Winter homes collections come out, and I can lust after all the new things in the shops. I’ll be sharing some of the best stuff with you over the next few weeks, and today I’m going to kick off with one of my favourite places to bag a bargain – Dunelm Mill (stores nationwide and online at www.Dunelm-mill.co.uk).

The best thing to buy at t’Mill is… Cushions. Regular readers will know I’m a little bit obsessed with them, and Dunelm not only has a huge selection, but they’re mega cheap, particularly as there’s a 30% off offer on at the moment. My picks of the new crop are the quirky Sea Urchins cushion, currently just £2.49 (usually £3.99); the fun Cassette Tapes cushion, £5.99 (a hit with boys); andthis pretty Flower Meadow cushion, currently on offer at £2.49 (usually £3.99).

Can’t decide which one you like best? Lots of their cushions are on a ‘buy five for £10’ promotion right now – cushion craziness!

This Autumn though, I might need an even bigger shopping basket than usual because Dunelm also have some cracking other new accessories coming to stores and online in the next few weeks. Check out all the cute bits and bobs in these photos (above and below). They’re all from Dunelm and they’re all surprisingly bargainous – for example, the cute ceramic owl above is just £3.99.

Race you to the shops!

Just another brick in the wall

10 Aug

If you live with anyone else – whether that’s a partner, friend or even your mum, you’ll know how hard it can be to choose stuff for the home that you all agree on. My husband and I are like that about wallpapering our bedroom. We had it replastered over a year ago, and the wall behind our bed stays stubbornly blank, while a small tower of paper samples builds up on the chest of drawers next to it.

Then I had a breakthrough. I spotted the new Colours Woodland wallpaper from B&Q, above. Paste it up and it looks like your wall is clad in hip, weathered , Scandi-style timber. It’s a bold look – best suited to just one feature wall – but surprisingly, we both love it!

What’s more, this designer effect costs just £14 a roll! It’s an absolute bargain considering most fancy wallpapers cost at least £50 per roll these days.

And looking around, optical illusion papers like this are everywhere this Autumn/Winter. B&Q also have a cool “instant library” wallpaper (below, with red/black chair) depicting shelves of books (which would work well in a living room or study) for £19.98 per roll; Next sell wood panels too, as well as a brick effect (great for a kitchen or dining room) and bookshelves, all for 15 per roll (panels and bricks below);  while www.wallpaperdirect.co.uk have a plethora of designs (check out the new ‘Serendipity’ collection, bottom two pix), panels, multicoloured bookshelves and even a pebbledash print, all at £28-£34.95 per roll.

I think they’re wonderwall – sorry – wonderful. And for once, my other half agrees. Maybe yours will too?

Word up!

1 Aug

Do I need to spell it out? I’ve just discovered www.theletteroom.com and I think it’s font-tastic!

The site sells 3D letters in every size, colour, typeface and material imaginable (from wood and plastic to metal and even light-up neon); plus cute accessories decorated with initials, and personalised word-y prints.

The letters cost from just £3.75 each (for the bright wooden versions), meaning you can go minimalist with your favourite initial on a mantlepiece or shelf; or buy several and get creative on a bigger scale. How about a row of Zs above a bed; a colourful “Splash” in the bathroom; or even a whole alphabet of different fonts on a plain wall?

PS: I’ve written a piece for Look magazine this week all about using letters as wall art. And you can get 15% off at http://www.theletteroom.com too! Simply enter code LOOK at the online checkout between now and 7th August.

 

The bright stuff

16 Jul

I can think of several uses for these cute mini rainbow-coloured glass bottles. Put single flowers in them for a sweet windowsill display; hang them from a chandelier for a quirky pop of colour; place a slim candle in each and dot them around some branches in your garden; or use them to store buttons, beads, stud earrings or general sparkly bits and bobs.

They’re just 6cm  high and 3cm wide and cost £9.95 for a set of six from http://www.Dotcomgiftshop.com (they’re called ‘mini multi-coloured hanging bottles’ if you’re searching for them).

Want something a bit bigger? You can get a set of four similar coloured 13x8cm hanging jam jar t-light holders (I know that should be tealight but that’s what they’re called on the site!), below, for £7.95.

Feathered friends

6 Jul


I love feature wallpaper, but I don’t love the price. These days, you’re looking at an average of £50 a roll for anything even vaguely stylish. And if you’re papering anything other than a chimney breast or box room wall, you’re going to need two or three rolls. Daylight robbery, I tell you.

So when I saw this lovely Opera Aviary wallpaper was just £8.98 a roll, I did a double-take.  Three rolls would cost under £30 – can you believe it? – which is an absolute steal for something so classy. It comes in a very of-the-moment charcoal grey and yellow colourway, and would look great alongside white, grey or if you’re brave, black walls.

Get yours at B&Q or http://www.diy.com pronto!

Panda to your needs

4 Jul

My parents recently went to see the panda pair at Edinburgh zoo, and came away captivated, so the cheeky faced bears were on my radar already, but then it was brought to my attention that this week, 2-7 July, is Panda Awareness Week. Brilliant. That’s so much more fun than the usual hayfever/debt/litter awareness weeks you usually hear about.

So, to celebrate, I thought I’d share with you this panda cushion by MinXtures, available at http://www.wowthankyou.co.uk.

Sometimes (well, quite often in my case), you spot something that you absolutely don’t need, but that you covet because it just looks ace. This  is one of those things. I love the simple mix of colours, the friendly panda, the fuzzy fleece fabric and the reasonable-ish price tag of £20. It’s not a ‘bear’ necessity, but with something this cute, who cares?

You can also get a green drawstring PE-style bag with a panda on, for £14.95 (below). Perfect for your gym kit. And for reminding everyone around you about pandas. Which is, after all, what awareness weeks are all about.

PS: while you’re at it, have a look at the other great gift ideas at http://www.wowthankyou.co.uk too. There are some real gems, and it’s all handmade in the UK.

Animal magic

29 Jun

Recently, I was asked to put together an interiors accessories feature for Look magazine (on sale this week). The theme? Animal homewares. Until I started my research, I had no idea just how many things there were with our four-legged friends on.

My favourite finds? The ‘kissing’ animal prints from British brand Anorak. Their horse, bunny, bird and stag silhouettes are fresh, fun and will brighten almost any room in the house. Choose from bedlinen, towels, crockery, placemats, picnic blankets and baskets, washbags, sleeping bags… you name it, they make it.

You can browse the full range at http://www.anorakonline.co.uk. And watch out for their new fox prints coming soon!

PS: Like this blog? Nominate it for an award!
If you love my blog, I’d be honoured if you’d nominate it for the ‘Lifestyle Blog of the Year’ in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012. To do so only takes a few seconds – just enter www.thetreasurehunteruk.com in the ‘Lifestyle Blog’ category on the following link:
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2012/cosmo-blog-awards-2012_nominate
Nominations close in just two days at the end of June. Thank you!

Go wild in the aisles

27 Jun

French hypermarkets are the best in the world. Not only do they stock amazing food (mmmmn, Brie) and great wine, but they also stock lots of other, non-edible goodies, such as fantastic yet criminally cheap stationery, preppy pumps, cool bags and kitchenware to die for.

British supermarkets are sooooo boring in comparison. Or so I thought until I visited a huge Sainsburys the other day. They’ve given their non-food fare a serious overhaul, and I was seriously impressed.

So, iPhone camera in hand, I took some photos of the best stuff for you. And the really good news is that unlike French hypermarkets, you don’t have to physically enter a shop to buy it – it’s all available online. Now, get loading that virtual trolley!

The Lotus Position

20 Jun

I picked up this gorgeous little lotus-shaped bowl in Singapore (it cost £1 – a total bargain). It’s designed as a sushi dipping bowl for soy sauce, but I keep it on my bedside table to store rings and/or earrings in. I love it.

And it seems other people do too. When a friend commented on it recently, I made a mental note to find her something similar for her birthday.

It was harder than I thought (making me wish I’d bought several in Singapore – don’t you hate it when that happens?) but I have found a couple of options available in the UK.

The amazing website www.rigbyandmac.com (they also have three gorgeous shops in London) sell a set of four lotus dipping bowls, 8cm wide, for £11.95, in grey, lilac, green and teal (below). Or, you can buy the same set, where they’re called ‘Pretty Coloured Bowls’, for £17.50 from www.coxandcox.co.uk.

I also like the 11cm Turquoise Lotus Flower Dish, £5.50, from www.lavender-room.co.uk (bottom). Very classy.

Alternatively, the next time you’re walking past a shop selling Japanese or Chinese tableware such as chopsticks and bowls, check out their dipping dishes. They may not all be lotus-shaped, but I’ve seen some lovely designs that are perfect for popping on a dressing table, windowsill or mantlepiece.

PS: Like this blog? Nominate it for an award!
If you love my blog, I’d be honoured if you’d nominate it for the ‘Lifestyle Blog of the Year’ in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012. To do so only takes a few seconds – just enter www.thetreasurehunteruk.com in the ‘Lifestyle Blog’ category on the following link:
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2012/cosmo-blog-awards-2012_nominate
Nominations close at the end of June. Thank you!

At home on the branch

11 Jun

I first spotted these powder-coated stainless steel twiggy coat hooks over two years ago, in a homes magazine. They’d styled up three of them, in beige, olive and white, on a grass green wall – they looked lovely.

At the time, I was in the process of selling my flat, so I promised myself I’d get a couple for my new place… then I lost the magazine in the move!

I couldn’t find them for sale anywhere – until now. I’ve just stumbled upon them at www.shoponyourdoorstep.com, where they’re £23.45 each for the slim Twig Hanger – not bad for something that looks like a cool  piece of modern art as well as being darn useful, too.

Style them like the mag against any strong coloured wall, or keep things subtle with a white one on a white background,  and let the things you hang on it do the talking.

Whatever you decide, I guarantee it’ll look tree-mendous (sorry!).

By hook or by nook

25 May

Keys, mobiles, iPods, glasses/glasses cases, pens, lipbalm… you can never find things like these when you need them. Which is usually just as you’re trying to leave the house and are in a bit of a flap anyhow.

That’s why I’m thinking of investing in a HookNook – a genius new cubbyhole and coat/bag/scarf hook combined. It’s big enough to hold all those vital bits and bobs, yet discreet at the same time

Why not get one for each member of your household and put them in a line

The Hook Nook by Flip & Tumble is £11 (for the white version) at http://www.junkskull.com or £13.35 (for a green or brown version) at http://www.amazon.co.uk

PS: Like this blog? Nominate it for an award!
If you love my blog, I’d be honoured if you’d nominate it for the ‘Lifestyle Blog of the Year’ in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012. To do so only takes a few seconds – just enter http://www.thetreasurehunteruk.com in the ‘Lifestyle Blog’ category on the following link:
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blogs/cosmo-blog-awards-2012/cosmo-blog-awards-2012_nominate
Nominations close at the end of June. Thank you!

Suit your shelf

14 May

Do you remember those wooden display shelves that grans used to have? They might have looked old-fashioned, but they were perfect for showing off nic nacs.

Now http://www.boonuk.co.uk have brought the idea into the 21st century with these cool Flaunt Shelves. Unlike similar models, which cost bajillions of pounds, they cost just £19.99 for a three-shelf unit, or £29.99 for six-shelf unit. They look equally great on either a white or a coloured feature wall and work in practically any room in the house.

The only problem you’ll have is deciding what to put on them!

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