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Off to the Lakes: Joe’s fell-walker’s kit list

23 Oct


The transition between seasons never seems quite so stark as it does between summer and autumn. As we creep past mid-October it seems that in just a matter of days the leaves have turned and it’s time to light the fire in the evenings. It won’t be long before we’re waking up in the dark. For me though, nothing is more symbolic of autumn than the annual family excursion to the Lake District.

In recent years, Bethan and I have reignited a family holiday from the days where we had to be coaxed up Scafell Pike with the promise of a Mars bar (now it’s a pint in the pub)! In preparation, I’ve put together my hiking kit list (ok, wish list) to set the mood for our Lakeland adventure.

numbered Fell walker's kit list Decorator's Notebook

1) A good rucksack is an essential for your day-long fell walk but, let’s face it, Gore-tex doesn’t score well in the style stakes. This Cherchbi tweed pack is made from the wool of the often seen (and always smiling) Herdwick sheep, making it a far more appropriate choice.

2) A Thermos flask is vital to warm the cockles on those cold autumn mountain tops, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try investing in a Kelly Kettle. This ingenious device consists of an outer metallic water jacket which acts as a chimney for a small fire which is lit at the base. Because the water is spread so thinly around the fire it can boil enough for several mugs of tea in a few minutes using nothing more than a handful of dry twigs.

numbered Hiker's kit list Decorator's Notebook

3) All packed up, but where to go? You can’t beat a great walk as mapped out by the legend that is Alfred Wainwright who wrote a definitive 7 volume guide to the 214 fells of the Lake District. Such a Lakeland hero is he that he even has pubs named after him and a (less impressive!) MBE.

4) Walking will keep you warm but you’ll need some fuel to keep you going. Before setting out on one of our walks, I’ll always grab a bar of Kendal Mint Cake. Nothing tastes of the Lakes quite like a minty bar of solid sugar… apart from maybe some delicious Grasmere Gingerbread. The recipe’s secret but Jamie reckons he’s sussed it.

5) A whole week of walking is enough of a treat for Lottie, the faithful family hound, but if she’s really lucky maybe she’ll get something tasty from our friends at Houndsworthy too.

numbered collage walking essentials Decorator's Notebook

6) Serious walking types say to pack light, but I can always find room for my trusty DSLR camera. I’m not usually one for scenic photos but when I’m at the top of the mountain even I can’t resist a panorama! Windows Live Photo Gallery makes it easy to stitch photos together.

7) We’ve encountered everything from glorious sunshine to sleet, fog and snow in the Lakes in October. Be prepared: bring a hat.

8) If we’re lucky enough to get a bit of sun, there’s nothing like a hilltop picnic halfway through our walk to get us through to the end. And if we’re not so lucky, we could always use this rug as a blanket to huddle under!

9) Ahhhhhhhhh, home sweet home. Our honoury local for the week is the cosy Britannia Inn in Elterwater. Roaring fires, Herdwick lamb pie and a pint of Bluebird will most certainly be on the cards.

Want to come too? Follow DecoratorsNotes on Instagram to keep up with us while we’re away.

Hot buttered Toast

12 Sep

I love autumn – the chill in the air, the clear sunshine and the anticipation of my annual pilgrimage to the Lake District. This week has been hectic, exciting, energising and exhausting in equal measure and has left me yearning for time cocooning at home. If only my weekend could look a little something like this…

Parchment floral duvet cover £99 / Ticking duvet cover, £79

Half glaze tableware from £14

Cushions £55 / £59

Socks from £25

Terracotta tableware from £22

I never had myself down as a patterned bedding kind of girl, but I think I might’ve just changed my mind! There’s so much more loveliness on the Toast website.

Name the place

15 Aug

I’m really intrigued by these Places cushions by Swedish textile designers, How Are you. Each one shows a landscape photographed by Niklas Blom and is named after the longitude and latitude where it was taken. Paste the co-ordinates into Google Maps to see the exact spot the tripod was standing.




OK, so it’s a bit of a novelty, but I appreciate the thinking behind it and the cushions themselves are lovely. There are no UK stockists yet (they’re looking) but they sell online for £63 each and can be shipped over here.

If these float your boat, check out their fun Making Hard Things Soft range too – great for an industrial room.

The prettiest colour combo in the world ever… the sequel

28 Mar

Cavegirls can go gooey over pretty colours too, right?

{via Food & Cook / Carolina Prep / Martha Stewart}

I can’t get enough of sugarcoated mint and blush at the moment… wear it, cook it, decorate with it. This is what spring looks like to me this year!


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Previously the prettiest colour combo in the world ever, coral and turquoise

The one where I bang on about yellow and grey. Oh and another one. And another

Spiders and bats and snails, oh my

12 Mar

Not the most likely motifs for a beautiful textile collection perhaps, but these creatures and more appear on the cushions, throws and shawls of Finnish design studio Klaus Haapaniemi. The patterns are drawn from Finnish folklore and the textiles are mostly made by hand using traditional methods, materials and dyes.

{all Klaus Haapeniemi}

Unsurprisingly, these handmade textiles don’t come cheap (the throw above is £395, the cushion, £70 and the silk scarf, £110) but if you can stretch you can order online. While you’re there, check out the charming screen prints too – the green owl is my favourite. Don’t be fooled by his whimsical expression… his talons tell a different story.

Lovely letterpress: 5 of the best Christmas cards

14 Dec

So, once again, I haven’t got around to making my own Christmas cards. Perhaps if I start in January I might actually manage for 2012! Thankfully there’s still time to get shop-bought ones in the post… here’s a round-up of my favourite letterpress designs this year.

£15 / 12, Thornback & Peel

£2.50, Bobalong

$4.00 Zeichen Press

£3.25, Lollipop Designs

£2.49, Abigail Borg

Which design would you like to drop through your letterbox?

Wish list: The Original Pop Up Shop

30 Nov

What do you do with an ice cream parlour in the depths of the British winter? Open a pop-up Christmas shop of course!

The Original Pop Up Shop is the brainchild of interiors stylist Louise Rastall and sees her family switch ice cream for icicles (boom boom) by turning their shop into a Christmas wonderland selling trees, wreaths and decorations. The latter are available online too. Here are a few of my favourites…

Felted acorn garland, £15.95

Isn’t it funny how you never seem to know how much you need a string of felt acorns until you see one?

Red robin linen napkins, £44/4

These napkins aren’t so overly Christmassy that you couldn’t use them at other times of year too (loving the simple bobble trim napkin ring idea too Louise!)

Baking tin candle holder, £6.30/2

The Scandi-style candle holders would look really pretty dotted down the centre of the Christmas dinner table.

Handmade with love gift tags, £2/8

Every year I decide I’m going to make all my Christmas presents by hand. Usually I fail miserably and there’s still no way I’ll manage to make them all but I have got a few craft projects on the go – these tags would be the perfect finishing touch.

If you’re in the Newark area you can find directions here or start filling your present sack online.

Mint ride, innit

16 Nov

Don’t worry, fair readers, I’m not getting down with the kids.

But it’s definitely mint.

And you’ll need a mint to buy one too – it’s an eye-watering $2,200 from US Anthropologie.

Dat’s bling-bling, fo sho.

Toast + mustard

19 Oct

+ cheese = tasty Welsh rarebit

+ wool = tasty Welsh homewares

Whatever your choice, feast your eyes on these gorgeous homespun goodies…

My favourite thing to do on a cold evening is to build a nest from blankets, don my slippers, make a mug of steaming hot chocolate with a cheeky pinch of chilli and snuggle up in front of some cheesy telly. Oh, how I’d love to be wrapping up in these beauties this year!

Aldwyn organic flannel bedlinen, from £17; Hand crochet throw, £175; Hand thrown mug, £17.50; Fair Isle slippers, £39; Crochet cushion, £49 all Toast

Wish list: Cox & Cox

15 Sep

There are some shops that just make you go ahhhhh. For me, Cox & Cox is one of them and their lovely new autumn/winter range is no exception.

I think this industrial desk lamp has to be my top pick. This trend is all well and good, but if you’re not careful your home can end up looking more communist era Czech factory than cool warehouse loft. Add a little bleached wood into the mix and problem solved quicker than you can say bourgeoisie.

This colour has been citrine and sulphur in previous years… Cox & Cox are calling these bud vases golden olive and bungee. Golden olive I can live with, but kind of a colour is bungee?!

I love all things grey, so these rustic household candles have to be on my list. Pop over to the Cox & Cox website to compile yours.

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