Archive | living room RSS feed for this section

Clock this baragin!

31 Aug

Copper clock £4.99 B&M Stores (boxed)

A few weeks ago, I visited one of the country’s biggest B&M stores and wrote about it for the Daily Mail (you can read it here).

I confess, I’d never been to either a B&M Home (huge warehouse-like stores selling thousands of products) or a B&M Bargains (the smaller high street version) before. And I LOVED it! It’s a bargain-hunter’s paradise. You really can buy anything there, from food to furniture – and it’s all an absolute steal.

What I really liked though was the homewares section. Yes, there were the cushions, kitchenware and picture frames you might find in any high street shop, but there were also some brilliant designer-look bits at frankly criminal prices. Think mirrors with straps, copper cutlery, wire storage baskets and several amazing clocks. My favourite was this cool wall clock, above (available with either numerals or lines on the face). Not only does it nail this season’s copper trend, but it costs just £4.99. Yep, a fiver. Unbelievable!

Here’s the numeral version next to an almost identical Karlsson one, which costs £68 from Idyll Home; and an Acctim one, £40, from Debenhams. Can you spot the difference? Tricky, isn’t it?!

bmstores-301329-Copper-Wall-Clock-2 £4.99From L to R: Copper clock £4.99 B&M; Karlsson copper clock £68 Idyllhome.co.uk; Acctim copper clock £40 Debenhams

So, if you haven’t already paid a vist to a B&M Store, I think it’s, ahem, time, you made a special trip! Race you to the tills…

 

Retro fabulous

6 Feb

Tesco SS15_052

Tesco Direct have been coming up with some fantastic homewares of late (see my bedroom makeover post from October here) but this season they’ve really outdone themselves. Their new Mid Century range combines two of my favourite things – bright colours and retro style – in one amazing new collection.

And what’s more, because it’s from Tesco, it’s absolutely bargainous!

Stand-out pieces include this designer-look Retro teapot, £10; set of espresso mugs with saucers, £12 for four; and matching sugar bowl and jug, £4 each…

Tesco Miami Coffee Table £79, Espresso Mugs and Saucers £12, Retro Teapot £10, Retro Milk Jug £4, Retro Sugar Pot £4

…the covetable geometric and bird cushions, £8-12 each, plus the Miami occasional table in sulphur yellow, just £29 (the matching white coffee table is £79)…

Tesco Direct Julianne Loveseat Felt Effect Pepple £399, Miami Occasional Table Sulphur Yellow £29, Pasadena Ceramic
…the tweet – sorry, sweet – set of bird cake tins, £10 for two…

Tesco Retro Bird Baking Tins 2 for £10…and the tactile red Palermo stacking chairs, £49 each; matching Palermo dining table (a steal at £149); and cheery yellow Thorpness pendant light £29:

Tesco Direct Palermo Dining Table £149, Palermo Stacking Chair £49, Thorpness Large Metal Electric Pendant £29

It’s all available online at www.tesco.com/direct and instore from now onwards. See you at the checkout!

 

 

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!

 

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

Create a cosy reading nook… on a budget

20 Oct

Dunelm happy cushion

In the corner of my office is a lonely sofabed. I’ve been meaning to do something with it for a while (other than pile papers and magazines on it):

Dunelm red before

Then Dunelm, as part of their #MyDunelmBag campaign, challenged me to show how you can makeover an area of your home for just £50, using only homewares available instore or online at Dunelm‘s webite.

Everything they sell is such a bargain, it wasn’t difficult. With £50 to spend, you can easily transform an unloved area like the above into a cosy reading nook. The ingredients? A ‘Happy’ cushion £9.99 (made of good quality fabric, with a hidden zip and sky-blue underside – a total steal!), supersoft Basketweave throw £17.49 (also available in red), cute owl table lamp £12.99, Folk floral barrel mug £2.49, Cosy Skandi side plate £1.99 and a 1L Kilner preserving jar (which I’ve used to store pens) £2.99. The only thing I added other than these was an old crate, which I used as a side/table/mini bookcase (although Dunelm also sell lovely white painted new crates like these from just £5.99 here).

And here’s the end result:

Dunelm red after2

It’s a friendly, welcoming space I actually want to spend time in. What’s more, the grand total came to just £47.94. Not bad, eh!

Feeling inspired? You can win a whopping £250 in Dunelm vouchers by taking photos of your recent Dunelm purchases and sharing them online with the #mydunelmbag hashtag on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram before the 28th October 2014.

Happy shopping/snapping!

 

 

 

 

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

 

Bin somewhere nice?

3 Sep

233137013

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, there’s a distinct lack of good-looking wastepaper baskets on the market these days. For some reason, most of the bin designs out there are a bit, well, rubbish.

However, good old John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com) has addressed the problem. I’m after a bin for my office, and the new green wire one from their ‘House’ collection, £15 (above, left) is perfect. Okay, so the on-trend wire design may not be any good if you regularly throw away small things like paperclips, or anything that might spill, but it will look arty with crumpled up paper inside.

There’s a yellow version too, for £20 (it seems you have to pay £5 for the luxury of handles!).

Want one? You can get the green one here and the yellow one here.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Get the look: Sweet Shop Shades

28 Jul

Pastels shoot - main room shot with accent chair

One of this summer’s biggest trends, pastels are the perfect way to inject some light, life and colour into your home. But forget pale, wishy washy shades, this season’s pastels are brighter and punchier – think candy pinks, mint greens, sky blues and calming lilacs.

I was thrilled to style up a room for a feature in The Sunday Mirror’s Notebook magazine recently, showing readers how to get the pastel look. The brief? The sofa/armchair were to be from DFS, and everything else had to be affordable and from the high street.

The end results are above and below. To help you recreate the look, here’s my tips on being pale yet interesting…

  • Take a wow factor wall canvas or cushion as a starting point; then pick out colours from the print to use elsewhere in the scheme. The wall art I used is from Australian website Urban Road, who’ve recently started selling in the UK. Check them out for huge contemporary canvases at really decent prices:Pastels shoot - wall art close up
  • Contrast paler, chalky hues with splashes of bolder shades for a more contemporary feel:Pastels shoot - macaroonsPastels shoot - candlesticks close up
  • Pale pastel paint is a fresh alternative to white. Mix things up by pairing green and blue or pink and yellow on different walls.
  • Light natural wooden furniture in oak or ash will warm things up; then add a colour-popping metal side table or two:Pastels shoot - bowls close up
  • A grey sofa is a good investment. It will ground the room – stopping it from feeling too girly – and should work with almost any other scheme should you wish to redecorate in a couple of years’ time! I loved the retro-feel of the DFS Mira sofa and accent chair I used in the shoot.
  • Add retro accessories – an old skool radio (the one I used is a steal from Argos) or phone, or a vintage-style armchair will give your room personality:Pastels shoot - accent chair close up
  • Avoid colour overload by keeping curtains sheer; then add a white or neutral blind if you need more privacy.
  • Use flowers to accessorize all areas Go big and bold with pink or white blossom and catkin branches; or dainty and delicate with pastel freesias, peonies or tulips. The flowers you want not in season? Cheat with fakes from Bloom or John Lewis – these days they’re so well made you can hardly tell the difference unless you get up close.
  • Pale wood flooring will keep the scheme looking modern, while a pale candy-striped rug will help subtly define your seating area. The one I used is from an amazing website called CarpetVista – if you’re after a large rug on a small budget, they’re well worth checking out.

AND HERE’S WHERE TO BUY EVERYTHING…

Mira 3-seater sofa £999 DFSMira accent chair £669 DFSBen de Lisi set of two metal tables £95 DebenhamsWire table £75 Oliver BonasCotton stripe rug from £70.84 Carpetvista.comTuscany sideboard £159 Very.co.uk; Tuscany ready assembled large bookcase £199 Very.co.ukSpring Rain canvas from £64.34 UrbanRoad.com.auGeorge Nelson blue block clock £65 BluesuntreeWall print £19.50 for pack of four Marks & SpencerGreen scandiphone £41.95 bloomsburystore.comLavender patent pocket Filofax £28 Filofax.co.ukBamboo gloss lacquer bowls £5 (small) £12 (large) Oliver BonasBush Retro DAB Radio £69.99 ArgosAqua wire fruit bowl £15 DebenhamsSuperliving candlesticks from £17 each Northlighthomestore.comMaxi tealight holder £2 TescoBeehive throw in rose £49 Welshblankets.co.ukHerringbone throw in apple green £49 Welshblankets.co.ukBlue Brakig cushion £10 IkeaHeron cushion £20 Magpieline.comDiamond cushion £8 TescoBalloon cushion £8 TescoQuilted Diamond  Persimmon cushion £35 Nitin GoyalGraduate Collection Geo Pastels cushion £40 letitreign.co.ukDulcie frame £14 Oliver BonasSoy Wax scented candle no.3 £9.95 Dotcomgiftshop.comCockatoo on perch £16.95 Rigby & MacMeow storage tins £12 for three Magpieline.comLavender Knitted Pod £70 NextArtificial blossom and catkins £15 each Bloom.uk.com

Main_Set_Styling_RT

Above: Me, working my (ahem) magic!

Cabin fever

29 Jan

LIFESTYLE SHOT Cosy Contemporary NB PIX - ALSO AVAILABLE AS A 43MB TIFF

It’s cold, wet and frankly disgusting weather outside at the moment, so when it comes to decorating your living room, you need a cosy, comfy warm-feeling space you can curl up in and hibernate (but that will still look fresh and stylish in the summertime too).

This was the brief I stuck to when I created the above living room scheme which appeared in Notebook magazine (the very excellent supplement that comes with the Sunday Mirror) last  weekend.

It’s themed around the stunning Nasturtium fabric from designer Julia at Winter’s Moon (visit her website here)…

Made in Britain-Cameo-05_RT cushion close up

Purple, blue and bright orange might seem odd colours to throw together, but they work brilliantly well, adding zing and life to neutral walls and furniture. Using the lovely cushions and lampshade from Julia’s range as a starting point, I used other accessories to pick up the colour theme, including purple curtains, accent cushions and a radio; and orange flowers, accent cushions and a throw to transform the armchair:

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain ARMCHAIRI also can’t resist a feature wall, so I faked a log cabin look with wood panel effect wallpaper. And as this look is all about bringing the outside in, I added some nods to nature with a fun foxy cushion, a basket of real logs, a stag’s head wall hanging, and a ‘nest’ print from one of my favourite design teams, Bold & Noble:

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain CUSHIONS

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain SIDEBOARD SCENE

I’m really pleased with the way it all turned out, and what’s more, everything used in the shoot, from the furniture, wallpaper and curtains to the log basket, rug and teapot on the table was made in the UK.

GET THE LOOK!

Want to recreate this look? Here’s where to buy everything you see in the room (plus, if you scroll down, I’ve got some suggestions for cheaper versions of some products for those of you on a tight budget!):

Cocktail 4-seater sofa, £1598, Cocktail accent chair, £898, and Cavendish furniture, from £149, all DFS (dfs.co.uk). Polycotton rib pencil pleat Curtains in cassis, from £50, Roberts Revival radio in ‘cassis’, £159.95 and Scion Mr Fox cushion £40, all John Lewis (johnlewis.co.uk). Windowpane check pure new wool throw in tangy orange, £40, woolblanketonline.comLarge square Nasturtium floral cushion, £56, Rectangular Nasturtium cushion, £48 and Bell bottom table lamp in orange with Nasturtium shade, £134, all Winter’s Moon (wintersmoon.co.uk). Large vase, Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, £41.60, Portmeirion (portmeirion.co.uk). Purple and orange ‘Soho’ cushions, £26 each, Heal’s (heals.co.uk). Handknitted teal throw, £160 and Oval basket shopper, £52 both Make The Most Of (makethemostof.co.uk). Sisal rug, £385.70 Crucial Trading (crucialtrading.co.uk). Heather teapot, £58 and mugs, £10.50 each, Denby (denby.co.uk). Circular slate cheeseboard (used as tray), £16, Grey and Echo (folksy.com/shops/greyandecho). Round slate coasters, £22 for four, Just Slate (justslate.co.uk). ‘Nest’ print, £43, Bold & Noble (boldandnoble.co.uk). Cardboard stag’s head, £15, Oh Bother Design (etsy.com/uk/shop/OhBotherDesign). Artichoke candle holders (used as bookends), £24 each and Cream serving dish with yellow rim, £18, all Velvet Dash (velvet-dash.com). Timber wallpaper in ‘limed’, £69.90 per wide roll, Andrew Martin (andrewmartin.co.uk)

BUDGET ALTERNATIVES:

cosy cabin get the look for cheaper

[Above, left to right, top to bottom] Tuscany sideboard £149 Very.co.uk. Spectrum DABFM Digital Radio £29.95 John Lewis (johnlewis.co.uk). Fox cushion £28, Howkapow.comThe Hamptons chunky knit throw  £18.39 Dunelm Mill (dunelm-mill.com). Chenille cushion £8 BHS (bhs.co.uk). Jute natural rug from £35 Next (next.co.uk). Retro ceramic lamp £14 Wilko (wilko.com). Oslo nest of two tables £49 Isme.comPurple teapot £6.48 kitchenhomeware.co.uk. You’ll also find great wood panel wallpaper for around £20 a roll at B&Q (diy.com) and Wallpaperdirect.co.uk.

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

The future’s orange

1 Nov

Lifestyle shot from John Lewis

Pic courtesty of John Lewis (www.johnlewis.co.uk)

I recently wrote a trends piece for Closer magazine about Autumn’s hottest shades, as predicted by world colour experts, The Pantone Color Institute. There are some lovely ones – a deep Greek sea blue; a calming sage green; a spicy hot red… but my surprise favourite has to be ‘Koi’, a cheery bright orange.

Pantone colour predictions Autumn Winter 2013

It’s not a colour you’d automatically think of when buying things for your home, but while it can look too kitsch if splashed over an entire room; a few pops of orange in a plainer white or grey colour scheme can look really cool indeed.

To prove the point, I’ve found a whole host of lovely orange accessories that will add instant wow factor to any room, and that won’t break the bank price-wise. Which one is your favourite?!

ORANGE Fox sculpture £18 Littlewoods

Fox sculpture, £15, Littlewoods (www.Littlewoods.com); Fan lampshade, £36, http://www.Hunkydoryhome.co.uk; Linnell table lamp, £69 Marks & Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com)

ORANGE Cushion £18 Next

Shaggy cushion, £18, Next (www.next.co.uk); Essentials orange pyramid kettle, £25, BHS (www.bhs.co.uk); Bonjour! print £35, http://www.howkapow.com
orange selection one

Musca table lamp in ‘squirrel’, £19.98 B&Q (www.diy.com); Trimphone, £32, http://www.zincandco.com; Orla Kiely pots and jars, £20 – £23 each, http://www.Onebrowncow.co.uk; Jasper dining chair, £39, John Lewis (www.johnlewis.co.uk)

orange selection two

Digital radio, £49.95, John Lewis (www.johnlewis.co.uk); Mod tealight holder, £10.50, Habitat (www.habitat.co.uk); Linea Egyptian cotton towels, from £8, House of Fraser (http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/Linea+Egyptian+cotton+towel+in+orange/EGYPTORANG,default,pd.html)

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

Sofa so good!

16 Oct

FrenchConnection2-4842_RT finished room low resOne of my absolute favourite colour combinations at the moment is mustard or ochre yellow with grey – it’s fresh and fun, yet stylish and suitable for all seasons. So, when the nice people at DFS set me a styling challenge last week, I knew exactly what look to try.

I’d been invited to work with the classy new range of sofas designed by French Connection for DFS (http://www.dfs.co.uk/french-connection/results), to celebrate the fact they’re available at 62 stores across the UK from this month. There are four designs to choose from, and the one I picked, ‘Flint’, is a beautiful soft, chic grey – the colour of the moment – with clean, modern lines and lovely squashy cushions.

Starting with a blank room – apart from the grey sofa, plus a matching armchair and two tables – my challenge was to show that if you’ve got a good statement piece of furniture, it’s incredibly easy to turn a so-so space into a ‘Wow’ space with just a few accessories, and on a high street budget. The great thing about this colour scheme is that it’s very forgiving – any tone or shade of grey and yellow will work together, so you honestly can’t go wrong!

Here’s the room before…

FrenchConnection2-before low res

And here it is just two hours later, with me chilling out on the extremely comfy be-cushioned sofa…

FrenchConnection2-4845 Jenny chilling on sofa low res

I borrowed some amazing accessories for the shoot, including this lovely cast-iron Japanese teapot and cups from The Exotic Teapot (which come in a rainbow of other colours too and would make a great present for any tea fans)…

FrenchConnection2-4862 teapot low res

These fab ochre-yellow cushions from Next, and yellow/grey fabric from cool designers Scion (made into cushions and blinds for me by the lovely people at The White Room sewing cafe in London)…

FrenchConnection2-4858 cushion detail low res

And this supersoft star cushion from Bronte by Moon (more about this in Friday’s post) and unusual Orla Kiely Stem bowl from Unique & Unity…

FrenchConnection2-4849_RT armchair and bowl low res

You can read more about this scheme in the lifestyle section of http://www.BT.com later this week. For now though, I’d love to know what you think of the makeover, and what theme you reckon I should tackle next time – leave a comment below or email me at thetreasurehunteruk@gmail.com

Want to recreate the look yourself? No problem! Here’s all the prices and details you need:
French Connection ‘Flint’ 4-seater sofa £1098 and armchair, £749 (buy both and get a matching storage footstool worth £249!) both DFS (www.dfs.co.uk); Alang floor lamp, £45 Ikea (www.ikea.co.uk); Grey knitted pouffe, £30 Matalan (www.matalan.co.uk); Meribel shaggy rug, £34.99 Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com). ON SOFA: old gold check throw, £79.95 Bronte by Moon (www.brontebydesign.co.uk); plain Harrison cushion, £12, grey and ochre boucle knit cushion, £16 and buttons cushion, £14, all Next (www.next.co.uk); patterned Woodland fabric, Scion (for stockists and prices, visit http://www.scion.uk.com) made into cushions and blinds by The White Room SE4 (www.thewhiteroomse4.co.uk); ON WALLS: Bee Kind print and Trees Around Britain print, both £43 each, Bold & Noble (www.boldandnoble.co.uk); Ribba picture frames, £16 each, Ikea; Extendable curtain pole kit, £7.99 Argos (www.argos.co.uk); Merete curtains £30 a pair, Ikea. ON COFFEE TABLE: Kew bamboo round tray, £16 The Orchard at Notonthehighstreet (www.notonthehighstreet.com); Tenshin teapot, £30, cups £7 and teapot stand, £8 all The Exotic Teapot (www.exoticteapot.co.uk); Orla Kiely Stem salad bowl, £25 Unique & Unity (www.uniqueandunity.co.uk). ON SIDE TABLE: Tony task lamp, £25 John Lewis (www.johnlewis.co.uk); vase £12 Marks & Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com). ON CHAIR: Scion lace cushion, £35, John Lewis; star cushion £49.95 and luxury mohair throw, £79.95 both Bronte by Moon.  Mongolian faux fur cushion (on the floor), £8 Matalan.

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

One room, two new looks!

18 Sep

While I regularly write about homes for various magazines and love trying out new looks in my own home, I don’t usually get to actually style rooms professionally… until now.

I recently completed my first ever styling challenge for Closer magazine (www.closeronline.co.uk). The brief? To style one plain room in two completely different ways in one afternoon, using only bargainous high street accessories.

it was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, and the results were published in last week’s issue. Now it’s no longer on sale, I thought I’d share the pictures with you, along with the details of where you can buy everything in each shot.

Which is your favourite? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

THE ORIGINAL, PLAIN ROOM…

Bare room before

TRANSFORMATION ONE: BRIGHT BLOOMS…
Fun florals mixed with eye-popping shades = a happy home!

Bright florals makeover

Bright blooms room scheme products

Where to buy everything:
Watercolour floral triptych canvas £39.99, Chrome Curva lamp £29.99, both Argos (www.argos.co.uk). Floripop prints £16.54 each Visual Philosophy (etsy.com/uk/shop/visualphilosophy). Rug £49.99 Dunelm Mill (dunelm-mill.com). Blue pod pouffe £75 Next (www.next.co.uk). Kilo white side table £25, Oken yellow side table £35 both Habitat (www.habitat.co.uk). Sapporo round side table £49 M&S (www.marksandspencer.com). ON TABLES: Lamp £29 Wilkinsons (www.wilko.com). Photo frame £19, Trinket box £25, pink flower candle £8 all Matthew Williamson at Debenhams (www.debenhams.com). Tealights £1.50 each Cargo (www.cargohomeshop.com). Matilda yellow bowl £12, Hugo blue vase £15 both Habitat. Green tumbler £1 Wilko. Hamilton teapot £22.50 M&S. Tin mug £7.50 Jasmine White (www.jasminewhitelondon.com). ON CHAIRS & SOFA: Chenille throw £20, Green, Red, Yellow and Purple cushions £8 each, all BHS (www.bhs.co.uk). Embroidered floral cushion £19.50, Saffy embroidered cushion £25 both M&S. FIREPLACE: Tea glasses £17.95 for six The Handpicked Collection (www.handpickedcollection.com). Floral jug £15 BHS. Pom poms from £3.10 each The North Pom (www.thenorthpom.co.uk). Russian Doll cushion £12 M&S. Satin cushion £22 Debenhams. Purple cushion £8 BHS.

 

TRANSFORMATION TWO: WOODLAND RETREAT…
Snuggle up in style with foxes, fur, chunky knits and cosy colours

Cosy Woodland Retreat makeoverWoodland theme living room favourite products

 

Where to buy everything:

Autumn Path canvas £29.99 Art.co.uk. Fox and Stag prints £29.95 each RawXclusive (www.rawxclusive.com). Tripod lamp £29.99, Bookcase £14.99, Coffee table £14.99, Side table £9.99, Curtains from £21.99 all Argos. Natural pouffe £57 Isme (www.isme.co.uk). Pod pouffe from £75, Jute rug from £35 both Next. ON BOOKCASE: Candelabra £20 Sainsbury’s. Fox sculpture £18 Littlewoods. Dominoes £18 Next. ON SOFA: Cream check throw £18 Sainsbury’s (www.sainsburys.co.uk). Darcy fur throw £59 Isme. Bird & leaf cushions £12 Isme. Tweed cushion £12.99 Dunelm Mill. Acorn cushion £12 M&S. Fox face cushion £17.99 The Oak Room. Check cushion £10 Sainsburys. Knit cushion £25 Debenhams. ON CHAIR: Knit throw £30 Matalan (www.matalan.co.uk). Fur cushion £19.50 M&S. Fox cushion £15 Littlewoods (www.littlewoods.com). Check throw £15 Sainsbury’s. ON COFFEE TABLE: Mug £9 RawXclusive. Bowl £8.39 Nisbets. ON SIDE TABLE: Book-shaped boxes £18 for three Next. Owl £6 Wilko. FIREPLACE: Photoframe and Owl candle both Debenhams. Candlestick £10, Vase £12, “&” ornament £8 all Wilko. Star £3.95 Dotcomgiftshop.com. Lantern £28 Cargo. Lamp £28 Next. Basket £8.80 Wilko. Fair Isle cushion £12, Zig zag throw £35 both M&S. Brown throw £12 Very.co.uk. Knit cushion £12 Matalan.

[ Photographs by the talented, patient (and very lovely) Liz Gregg http://www.lizgregg.com ]

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

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

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

Morph, Morph, Morph! How do you like it?

29 Apr

culturelabel morph and chas bookends £20

Apologies if you don’t recognise ’em, but these cheeky chappies, Morph and Chas, will only mean something if you grew up in the late Seventies or Eighties. Artist and presenter Tony Hart’s plasticine sidekicks on the cult TV series Take Hart and later, Hartbeat; they were created by Aardman Animations, long before Wallace and Gromit came along.

I think what I like about Morph is that he’s not been over-exposed, unlike some other characters from my childhood (The Magic Roundabout to name just one). He’s quite low-key, and that makes things like these bookends cool rather than childish – in my, erm, book, anyhow.

They cost £20 for the pair (fairly reasonable for decent bookends these days) from http://www.culturelabel.com

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

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).

X51_H_136428_CO_02

Lemonade framed  print £40 Next

X51_H_778485_CO_01

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!

A Different Glass

9 Jan

JL gibraltar hi ball soda glassJL multicoloured soda glasses

I love modern coloured glass (in fact, I love vintage coloured glass, but that’s a whole different story), so I was chuffed to hear it’s a big trend for this year.

High street shelves will be groaning with the stuff this Spring and Summer, and on a recent trip to John Lewis, I’ve already spotted some lovely pieces. My favourites are their multicoloured Gibraltar Hi Ball soda-style glasses in red, yellow, green or teal, for just £2.50 each (above). You could buy four in the same colour, but I think one of each shade would look lovely – like a rainbow on your table.

There are matching water bottles too, with old skool stoppers (below), for just £5 each.

JL bottles

John Lewis is also the place to pick up these rather fabulous Playnation bright cocktail glasses, which are currently on sale for £4 each (below the bottles); and classy LSA Centro tumblers (£15.30 for four) and carafes (£10.50 each) in teal, purple, red or green (also below). They come boxed, so would make great gifts, particularly for a wedding.

JL cocktail glasses

JL LSA glasses

Finally, during my trip, I also spotted these fun retro glasses, £4.50 each. I can’t decide which design I love most – how about you?

JL soda glasses

PS: Live outside the UK? Don’t panic! John Lewis inform me that they will ship abroad. Visit http://www.johnlewis.com for details.

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.

6797384792_2c2b78405f_c (1)

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

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.

Having a ball

10 Sep

I was recently asked to name my favourite piece of 20th Century design. It could be anything, from an item of furniture to a tiny gadget or even something I’d made myself (hmmn, not sure my origami cranes from last December’s post would quite cut the mustard!).

The problem is, the last Century produced so many amazing designs and designers, how on earth do you choose? I feature at least one every blog post -and that’s just the small-fry, available-on-the-high-street stuff.

There are national treasures like the traditional K2 phone booth (designed in 1920 for la-di-dah Londoners who rejected the concrete versions elsewhere); iconic pieces of furniture such as the Mae West Lips Sofa; and of course, the smaller bits and bobs that not only look good but make our lives easier, from the first iMac G3 to Ikea’s clever Chosigt cheese grater.

But I was told I had to pick one, so I decided to impose my own criteria. It had to be something good-looking, useful, instantly recognisable, durable, colourful, fun, covetable and above all, something that if you owned it, it’d stop people in their tracks, make them smile, and say, “Wow”.

And that’s why I picked the Ball chair (above). Dreamed up by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio in 1966 who made the first prototype himself out of wood and fibreglass so that he and his wife had somewhere to sit in their new home (you can read more about it at www.eero-aarnio.com), it’s still one of the coolest bits of furniture anyone could own.

Aarnio described the ball chair as “a room within a room” and that’s exactly what I love most about it – when you’re sitting in one, you’re in your own private little world. Whether you’re curled up to read, listen to music, make a phone call, tap away on your computer or watch television, you can do so uninterrupted. And if you’ve got a hectic house like I have, that would be amazing.

I say “would be” because sadly, such an amazing design classic comes at a price. A £6,900 price, to be exact (check it out at www.designshopuk.com). Gulp. But a girl can dream.

If you love the ball chair as much as I do, there is one other solution – buy a reproduction. Now normally, I’d always say you should buy an original, but not many of us have a spare £7k knocking around… however, for something this special, you might be willing to splash out a few hundred.

That’s how much good quality copies cost from brilliant reproduction company Blue Sun Tree (www.bluesuntree.co.uk). For £425, you can choose the colour of the fibreglass shell (including pink, pistachio, silver, black and yellow); the colour of the seat upholstery (including dark green, red and purple); and even the size of your ball chair (83cm, the diameter of the original; or 72cm to fit through standard doorways), which will then be made to your specifications.

Then, once you’re the proud owner of a ball chair, you can just sit back and enjoy the compliments. Um, well actually maybe you won’t hear them, cos you’ll be snuggled up inside your own private nest!

This is my entry into Little Greene’s 20th Century Design competition. Find out more at: http://www.littlegreene.com/retro

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?

Natural Habitat

6 Aug

I have to confess, I haven’t been in Habitat for a while. It’s always had nice stuff, it’s just that it’s fairly expensive stuff, and you guys know me – I’m all about the bargains.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see this fab nest of occasional tables from their new collection. Made of good quality steel and solid oak, the nest includes tables in mustard yellow, sky blue and the brilliantly-named Airforce blue, and are a very reasonable £70 for the set of three. The nest is also available in white or white/greys.

Alternatively, you can buy single Kilo occasional tables in green, white, red, blue, black, wine or orange for £25 each (below).

And while we’re on the subject, I spotted a couple of other little gems too. The retro-look Herbert spice jars (which could hold anything really, from earrings to keys to cotton buds) are £4 each (also below); while the versatile Macadam folding chairs – an original Habitat design from the Seventies – come in hot pink, white, blue, black or silver and cost just £10 each (bottom). Wow. That’s so cheap I think I need to sit down!

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.