Archive | August, 2011

Weekend in the Westcountry

30 Aug

Don’t you just love a Bank Holiday weekend? I joined the hoards heading west, squeeeezed onto the most crowded train I’ve ever seen and a couple of hours later I was back in my native Somerset for a few days of R&R.

We spent Saturday morning mooching about the garden. Isn’t it looking pretty?

Our neighbour grows amazing veggies and left a selection on the patio first thing. I know someone who would’ve liked to munch on a few of those… meet Arabella, one of the family’s adoptive goats!

Bad luck Arrie, but we did give her some apples from the garden. After a morning at home we decided to head off to the beach at Lyme Regis in Dorset.

There are some really pretty buildings in the town. I LOVED this gorgeous house with its colourful garden and purple front door.

The town is probably best known for its fossils – some of the largest prehistoric critters ever found in the UK came from the cliffs here. As a child we’d bring a hammer and come searching for little ammonites on the beach and you see larger ones dotted all over the place, like this one set into a wall.

The wound rope was from the local gig – these boats are really only found in the South West and teams get together to race during the summer months. Lyme Regis’s gig is called Black Ven, a nearby cliff renowned for the fossils that have been found there.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you should definitely read this great novel, which is set in the town and follows the story of Mary Anning, a local girl who became one of the best-known fossil hunters of the Victorian era. I read it last year and it was lovely to revisit Lyme Regis and see where bits of the book are set.

After a mosey around and a sneaky pint in a beachside pub it was time for supper. We stumbled across the amazing Town Mill Bakery in a back street. It was such a relaxed, understated place and we loved it immediately.

The menu was as simple as can be. Enormous homemade organic pizzas and delicious cakes laid out for diners to help themselves. The interior was great, with long rustic tables, aluminium plates and mugs for drinks hanging from the ceiling.

Of course the drippy silver candelabras, vintage cutlery and industrial flour sacks got my vote!

I did say the pizzas were enormous… this was just one slice!

Check out the amazing puds! We tried the vanilla baked cheesecake and the polenta and apricot cake.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

And I can tell you, they were pretty delicious! Where have you been this weekend?

Friday, I’m in love…

26 Aug

… with dresses with pockets, like this one from Joules {above} and this one from Sunday’s car boot sale

… with this yellow Midcentury-style chair from Heal’s

… with these evocative photographs of furniture maker Andrea Brugi at work

… with the 1980s dream of a monorail in Rhyl

… with this simple vintage brooch magnet tutorial

What are you up to this Bank Holiday?

Bon (long) weekend!

Explore a light, bright Paris home

25 Aug

Neëst is a lovely web shop selling understated products for the home made from natural materials by small-scale designers and makers. The owner chooses her stock based on her taste for ‘the simply beautiful’ – an aesthetic she also applies to her fresh Paris home. Shall we have a look around?

{*Neëst* via Flickr}

I love the warm wood and restrained colour and pattern in this home. The fresh white walls create a relaxed vibe but look closer and there are lots of interesting bits to hold your eye.

Many of the pieces you see are for sale here … while you’re there you should definitely go and explore the lovely blog too.

Simple pleasures: Falcon enamelware

23 Aug

When I was a child we had a set of Falcon enamel mugs for camping, bought from the village hardware store. I’ve loved the oh-so-simple style ever since. But while those in the know realised the white and blue designs were a style staple long ago, it seems that Falcon themselves have only just caught onto their cult status. After 91 years as a household favourite they’ve finally kitted themselves out with a smart new website, contemporary re-brand and some lovely new photography.

Feast your eyes on this.

{Sam Stowell}

I love it when old fashioned brands get a new lease of life. Some everyday items deserve to be hailed as design classics and it’s good to see that Falcon are not only giving their existing range a push, they’re launching some new products too – keep an eye out for the prep sets and tumblers (lovely for serving hot chocolate, ice cream or even popcorn) – on their way soon.

Vintage Womble to Wimbledon

22 Aug

Yesterday my friend and I set off for Wimbledon Greyhound Track at the crack of dawn. She took a car boot full of junk to sell, while I took an extra pair of hands and an eye for a bargain.

It’s not the most high-class of London car boot sales, but I still came away with a modest stash of goodies (and a spot of sunburn) to add to my collection of vintage tat.

This is my favourite buy – I’ve got a few old pharmaceutical bottles but I especially liked this one’s gold label. There was also a battered luggage tag inside, with an intriguing inscription in wobbly handwriting…

It says “Quin Sulph bottle. In use at Bartlett & Goodall, Crawford St, Marylebone until about 1960. Bought for Mr Horne. See photograph.” And in different writing on the back “There was a Dr Bartlett living in upper rooms of the same house about 1810″. I hope Mr Horne’s not too upset about me buying his bottle for £2.50.

I couldn’t walk past this pretty embroidered tablecloth. The date on the hem – 26/4/53 is a sweet touch. It’s sad to think that the lady who embroidered it went to all that effort for it to end up in a car boot sale for 50p. I’ve vowed to use it and appreciate it again to make it worth her trouble.

These are a bit of a cheat as my friend had a stack of them on her stall to sell and she let me pinch a few. They’re meant to be coasters but I like the illustrations, so will probably stick them up somewhere… one day.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

Nobody had bought this lovely deckchair stripe sundress by the end of the sale either. It fitted me perfectly so I decided it would be only right to rescue it from the charity shop.

I bought another frameless mirror too as I plan one day to do something like this in my living room, but I couldn’t take a photo of it without getting my face in it – having got up at 5.30 this morning it wasn’t a pretty sight!

Have you ever seen an Indian summer?

19 Aug

It’s about now – the middle of August when the rain is pouring down, the evenings are already drawing in and the leaves are prematurely falling from the trees – that people begin to utter those fateful words:

“Perhaps we’ll have an Indian summer…”

I’ve got a feeling it might just be one of those myths we Brits perpetuate to try and make sense of our unpredictable climate, like red skies at night, mackerel clouds and cows lying down.

In fact, I’m not sure, in my 27 years, that I’ve ever seen an Indian summer myself. But if I did, I’m pretty sure it would look a little something like this…

{via Pinterest}

{Gypsy caravan cushions, £17.50 each, Graham & Green sale}

{Jewelled espresso spoons, £22 for 6, Cox & Cox}

{via Pinterest}

I love these rich-yet-sultry colours. Here’s hoping all our late summer dreams might come true this year!

Ps – Pinterest is playing up again and isn’t showing the original sources for some of these images. I’ll try and update the links when it’s back up and running…sorry! Oh Pinterest, you do drive me mad but I love you so much I can’t break up with you!

Inside a cool coastal home

18 Aug

I don’t want to sound mean, but I think it’s fair to say that the North East of England isn’t exactly considered a Mecca of interior style. So imagine my surprise when I came across a post entitled ‘Newcastle Home’ over at The Design Files.

I’m not one for all-out coastal themed rooms, but there’s something very appealing about the natural touches and whitewashed wood here. And I really love that Moroccan style tray.

I know the pets are for life, not just for decorating, but you’ve got admit this colour co-ordinated kitten is pretty darned cute.

{via The Design Files}

Ok, so I got the wrong Newcastle. This is actually in Newcastle, Northumberland (not in Northumberland), New South Wales (not in South Wales) – a coastal town in Australia. You can see how this might get confusing!

It belongs to stylist Tim Neve, who wanted to create a sanctuary of neutral tones and ordered calm to offer relief from all the colour and pattern he’s surrounded by at work. Personally, I could do without the driftwood (just think of the dust on that headboard) but Tim’s airy palette is right up my street. I love how limiting the colour range in a room makes texture the star player, which is exactly what makes this home so appealing to me.

Could you live in this a home this muted, or do you need colour and pattern to get excited about a room?

The Paris Colour Project

16 Aug

The web is packed to bursting with beautiful blogs, but it’s a rare thing to come across one as breathtaking as this.

Little Brown Pen is home to the Paris Colour Project, a visual diary of photographs taken by Nichole and painstakingly organised into subtle colour groups.

{all Nichole Robertson}

Lovely, non? A selection of the photos are going to be published in book form in the spring, but in the meantime you can see more here and at Nichole’s Etsy shop.

Summer table style for under 50p

14 Aug

You can’t even buy a Twirl for less than 50p nowadays.

But snap up a pack of cheap ELLY tea towels from IKEA (£1.99 for 4) and you can create a simple summer table setting like this, as seen in the very lovely Kinfolk magazine.

{Lisa Warninger and Chelsea Fuss via Kinfolk}

Sometimes the simplest and cheapest ideas really are the best. You could easily create something similar with things you already have lying around the house… here are a few more instant tricks to pretty up a table:

  • Put handful of hedgerow flowers into jam jars and tin cans or buy potted herbs and wrap the pots with white muslin, brown paper or even old newspaper, secured with a length of ribbon
  • Instead of laying the table formally, tie cutlery into sets with a scrap of leftover fabric or natural twine. Add a luggage tag for a placecard
  • Use an offcut of wallpaper as a colourful runner down the centre of a long table. The ends will naturally curl round to keep the paper in place and you can throw it in the recycling when you’re done
  • Hang candles over the table to free up space. Wind wire around the top of a glass jar, make a loop over the top and pop a tealight inside. These make sweet hanging vases too
  • Mismatched cutlery and crockery will add understated style – keep and eye out at car boot sales and charity shops. Or, pick up basic white plates at supermarkets and discount shops and add detail elsewhere
  • Why not follow my Pinterest board Tables and Party Time for more ideas and inspiration?

Friday, I’m in love…

12 Aug

… with these practically pointless but aesthetically pleasing ceramic fruits

… with my local community, carrying on regardless to hold this festival tomorrow

… with this lovely book design masking tape

… with this simple and elegant bathroom makeover

… with this quirky music score jewellery – their shop in Shoreditch is worth a visit too

(Sorry this is a little late – I’ve been drinking gin and rearranging the living room. It’s all fun, fun, fun here this evening!)



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