In my day job as a journalist, I get to meet some really lovely, interesting, talented people. One such person I’ve had the honour of getting to know is Carla, who, until recently, worked in the press office for a big high street department store. Carla has amazing style, a magpie’s eye and a canny knack for spotting a bargain. She’s also obsessed with the 1950s, and now her love of all things…

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Looking for an unusual present? New graphic and textile designer Virginia Armstrong’s Roddy&Ginger range of retro, Scandi and folk-inspired homewares are a little bit different to the usual stuff you’ll find on the high street. I love the quirky cushions, £26; tea towels, £10; canvas tote bags, £10; aprons, £20; and screen prints, from £25. And, if I had an open fireplace like the one below, I’d definitely make a feature of…

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Want to jazz up your walls quickly and cheaply? Canvas wall art or ready-framed prints seem to be either ridiculously expensive, or look obviously mass-produced. But not the new range of pictures from Next… This pleasingly retro Tea For Two canvas would go well in any kitchen or dining area; while the London Names printed canvas (below) copies those bus blinds that are everywhere, and which usually cost upwards of £150. Prefer…

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Why is it you can never find a plaster when you need one? And why are plasters so boring-looking? Now www.dotcomgiftshop.com have come up with the answer – handy little tins you’ll be proud to display on a shelf, filled with decorated plasters that’ll put a smile on your face even if you’ve just sliced your finger off. Okay, so that’s going a bit far, but they do look mega cute. And…

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I’ve been away on holiday (Istanbul) for the last week but I got back in time for my road’s Big Lunch street party. The bunting was up, the stalls were set up, the band started playing… and then the heavens opened. Still, we managed to have a couple of hours of fun before the whole street resembled a swimming pool. And the cake baking competition still went ahead. To give myself the…

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