Brighten Up Your Home Using Designer Mirrors

I’ve always thought that using a mirror in a small or large space is one of the best ways bring in some more natural light.  Now that the days are getting longer and sunnier I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you my top 3 suggestions and some lovely mirrors that are around this season and how they can help boost your interiors.  Designer does come with a price tag, but it is so worth it for the visual impact as well as the fact that high quality designer mirrors are built to last and last. They are designed to last a lifetime so think of it as a quality investment.

My first suggestion when selecting a designer piece: if you often change your mind about interiors then buy a classic silhouette.  Gubi takes mid-century design and adds Scandinavian twists to its collection and the Adnet mirror is a beautiful example of this.  The design with its classic lines and refined, minimalistic style oozes elegance and sophistication.  It can be attached to the wall for a more formal look or simply lent against for a casual and laid back feel, giving you the freedom to change it up if you like.  Its smooth frame has been delicately covered in leather, which really emphasises the quality when you see it in a room.  This piece could lend itself to a traditional or contemporary interior with ease.

Secondly, instead of statement wallpaper or an overdone wall full of framed pictures, try a mirror that combines beauty, interest and function.  The Cube mirror by Malabar features 7 geometrically designed mirrors that cascade together to form one large piece.  This mirror is more like a work of art than a looking glass and its that extra factor that makes this a must have piece if you are looking for something large and a bit different for your wall space.  I love the completely unique idea and layout behind this mirror; it is a real talking piece that still retains classic lines and flawless simplicity. 

Finally, multipurpose is key especially in a small space or family home, and, if you can find a clever new piece that delivers this, then it is really worth considering it for your home.  Opinion Ciatti have got this covered with their ingenious Bel Vedere Bookcase, available from The Longest Stay, which doubles up as a full-length mirror.  This piece is versatile and would work wonderfully in a bedroom, the surrounding shelves filled with make up or jewellery. Equally, it would look great in a living room as somewhere to keep your books and toys whilst still lifting your space with exquisite, natural light.   

Sophie Allport WINS 5* Award at Prestigious Chelsea Flower Show

With 165,000 visitors descending on London to admire breathtaking displays, beautiful designs and buckets of creativity, it can only mean one thing… the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show is on! For the sixth year in a row, the team at Lincolnshire based Sophie Allport have beavered away behind the scenes in the months leading up to the world renowned event. They have set up a carefully designed exhibitor stand and are delighted to have been presented with a ‘five star’ award! “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won our first five-star award. All those months of designing and planning followed by a big effort to construct the stand last week have paid off,” explained Sophie Allport.

Sophie is showcasing her new Hare collection of homewares plus a limited edition ‘Chelsea Flower Show 2016’ fine bone china mug which has so far proved to be the best seller.

“I’m a very keen gardener,” explained Sophie. “I find Chelsea so inspiring. It gets better every year. We have been so lucky this year to overlook Cleve West’s gold award-winning M&G garden opposite our stand. It’s breathtaking!”

The eagle eyed members of the Sophie Allport team have so far spotted The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Naomie Harris and Mary Berry at the Show. “We’ve been excited to have some famous faces on the stand already including Kirstie Allsopp, Anton du Beke, Dame Judi Dench and some ‘girl power’ from former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell,” said Sophie.

All items in the Sophie Allport collection can be purchased from sophieallport.com or by phoning 01780 560256.  

The Power of Pale Blue

It's a shade normally reserved for little boys rooms, but pastel blue can pack a punch in any room in the house. It has the power to soothe, calm, and evoke memories of summer days by the sea. It has the power to uplift the spirits and put the fun back into decorating. It can cool down a south facing room and enliven a dinner table, and after pink is the most feminine of hues. Let's re-discover the power of pale blue.

Angie Lewin Dandelion fabrics 1 and 2 for St Judes.

Dulux Words and Pictures collection of paints - Blue Charm and Pebble Drift.

Loaf - Oscar sofa.jpg

Oscar Sofa from Loaf.

Herringbone, cotton Ocean runner from Dash and Albert.

Homer Kitchen Table from Loaf.

Multiyork Launches Second Collaboration Wth Fashion Brand Monsoon

This May sees leading British sofa brand Multiyork build on its creative partnership with High-Street fashion brand Monsoon to launch a new collection of upholstery fabrics featuring stunning apparel prints. 

The 17 new fabrics join the highly sought-after ‘Monsoon Home Collection by Multiyork’ that was first available in 2014. 

The updated prints from Monsoon’s archives not only work together but can be mixed and matched with the original designs translating beautifully as upholstery on Multiyork’s extensive range of sofas, chairs, footstools and cushions. 

Among the new fabrics is the vibrant and brilliantly bold Daryn, a painterly floral pattern in a sumptuous velvet that has been specially chosen to create statement pieces for the home. 

The more subdued but no less impactful Mia fabric, showcases a botanical inspired print and is available in a range of colourways including raspberry, slate, blush and spearmint. 

Highly popular patterns from the previous collection including Calista, Jude and Sherwood are now available in beautiful new colourways, keeping up to date with the latest trends. 

Abbington Large Sofa in Monsoon Daryn Velvet Midnight, £1,759

Abbington Large Sofa in Monsoon Daryn Velvet Midnight, £1,759

Long Island Snuggler in Monsoon Jude Velvet Denim, £1,479

Long Island Snuggler in Monsoon Jude Velvet Denim, £1,479

Tate Large in Monsoon Calista Jade, £2,399

Tate Large in Monsoon Calista Jade, £2,399

Recipe of the Week - Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Tiger Prawns

Today's recipe is delicious, healthy and totally worth the effort. Great to enjoy at any time but especially good to wow those dinner guests.

Makes 8 rolls.

Ingredients: For the summer rolls:

8 sheets of rice paper (22 cm in diameter)

12 King prawns/Jumbo prawns/Black Tiger prawns (better with the shells on)

20 – 30 grams of dry rice vermicelli (thin vermicelli works best)

1 iceberg lettuce

16 coriander sprigs, chopped

16 mint leaves

16 perilla leaves

Ingredients for the hoisin dipping sauce:

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

4 tablespoons of hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

1 tablespoon of water

½ tablespoon of Sriracha chilli sauce

½ teaspoon of sugar

1 small shallot, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon of roasted peanuts, crushed

Method: Summer Rolls:

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. When the water reaches boiling point add the prawns and cook for 2 – 2 ½ minutes depending on the size of prawns. While waiting for the prawns to be cook, prepare a bowl of ice cold water. Take the prawns out of the boiling water (keep the water) and put straight into the ice cold water, when the prawns have cooled down drain from the water. Peel the shells and cut the prawns in half lengthways.

Using the same saucepan and water used to cook the prawns bring it back to the boil. Put the rice vermicelli in and cook for 6 – 10 minutes until the rice is soft. Drain the vermicelli and rinse under cold water to cool down and leave in a strainer to dry out.

Cut the iceberg lettuce in half and slice into thin strips. Wash in cold water and leave in a strainer to dry. Wash the herbs in cold water and also leave in a strainer to dry.

Prepare a deep bowl of warm water and a round plate to roll the summer rolls. Dip a sheet of rice paper into the water, take it out and lay on the plate. Put the thinly sliced lettuce on the bottom of the rice paper, and then put some vermicelli on top of lettuce. Put 3 pieces of half cut prawns with the red skin down on the middle of rice paper then put 2 leaves of each herb and coriander on top of the prawns.

Start rolling by folding the bottom of the rice paper into the centre then fold the 2 sides of rice paper inward like you’re making a gift box. Continue to roll the rice paper to the end. Try to roll as tightly as possible as this will affect the appearance and texture of the summer roll. Once finished rolling, put the summer rolls in a container and cover with a damp cloth until serving. This will help you to keep the summer rolls for at least 4 hours without being dried out.

Method: Peanut dipping sauce:

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat then fry the chopped shallots until soft and transparent. Add the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, chilli sauce, sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for 1 minute and leave to one side to cool down. Pour into a sauce dish and sprinkle with crushed peanuts on top. Enjoy the summer rolls by dipping into the sauce.

Today's recipe is courtesy of Pho & Bun, a restaurant created in October 2015, with a new concept that aims to revolutionise the offering of Vietnamese street food in London. Located on Shaftesbury Avenue, adjacent to both China Town and Soho, the restaurant carries a new, out-of-the-box design that creates a cosy and comfortable dining environment with distinctively Vietnamese features.

COS and Hay Update Homeware Collection for Spring 2016

Fashion brand COS and furniture company Hay have added new home items to their collaborative range of products for the new spring collection. The collection includes accessories and furniture in shades of green, blue and pink, along with light wood and cork finishes.

Cos and Hay have worked together for many years. Hay products have been used in the Cos stores to create lifestyle spaces and Hay rails have been used to display clothes collections. Both brands share similar aesthetics, a Scandinavian heritage, and the promise of functional designs pared down with surprising and playful details.

“We made sure we selected items from across the Hay range so that there’s something for every room, occasion and price point, we like to describe it as Hay seen through the eyes of Cos.”  Martin Andersson, Head of Design, Cos.

This carefully curated collection of objects is available in selected Cos stores; London High Street Kensington, Vienna Neubaugasse and Gothenburg with an edited collection available to buy on Cos online across Europe.

Stylist and creative concepts: Louisa Grey  Photographs by Leandro Farina 

A Covent Garden Pied-à-Terre Celebrates Mid-Century Style

This 4th floor apartment is situated in a newly constructed building overlooking Covent Garden piazza. The owner called on Kitesgrove to help furnish it, and we love it so much we couldn't resist asking the designers a few nosy questions.

What was the client brief?

We were engaged to completely furnish and dress our client’s newly built apartment. She wanted us to create a place of comforting respite from her demanding thespian and travel-heavy schedule.

What improvements have you made?

We were handed the project as a fitted shell requiring everything entirely new from tables, chairs and beds right through to tableware and thoughtfully selected accessories. We spent time sourcing original vintage furniture from the 1950's and 60's - in line with our client’s discerning design taste and our shared appreciation for authenticity.

Where did you get your inspiration from?

For this project our client had a strong and principled aesthetic vision for the space that nurtured an inspiring working relationship as we shared many sourcing trips to find unusual antiques and artwork together. Her theatrical background informed much of the design from mixing a vibrant colour palette to layering eclectic accessories.

At Kitesgrove we have an attentive design approach which aims to deliver homes that truly reflect our clients’ lifestyle and wishes. We find that our most successful projects are born out of clients engaging closely in the process where we are able to capture their imagination and the inspiration is mutual. Having said that, we work on a number of development projects and are equally adept at designing for sale. In these cases we draw inspiration from the existing architecture and locality of the space. We take careful consideration of who we imagine might live there and often draw on fine art or a particular unusual piece of furniture or lighting to inspire a theme in the design. We prioritize natural materials and regard comfort and quality as central to our work.

What has been the clients' reaction to the finished project?

Initially the apartment was intended to be let for the periods of time our client was travelling. As she became increasingly involved and enamoured by the design she began to reject this idea feeling that it was all ‘too beautiful’ to allow just anyone to live there. Since the completion of the project, we have received emails of thanks reiterating how inspired and ‘at home’ she feels in the space. 

Books: Modern Retro by Caroline Clifton-Mogg

Extracted from Modern Retro: From Rustic to Urban, Classic to Contemporary by Caroline Clifton-Mogg, published by Jacqui Small (£30)

The village of Lyons-la-Forêt, one of the most beautiful in Normandy, revels in a surfeit of charming, seventeenth-century, half-timbered, pink brick houses. Cyrille and Julie Viard’s plan was to reinterpret the genre – adding a touch of industrial fantasy to the traditional charm.

In front of the wisteria-covered old farmhouse are metal chairs and a round table from the 1950s.

In front of the wisteria-covered old farmhouse are metal chairs and a round table from the 1950s.

In the heart of the magnificent and imposing beech national forest of Lyons, stands the village of Lyons-la-Forêt, a perfectly preserved, half-timbered Norman village, and nowhere is the charm more pronounced than on the eighteenth-century central Place des Halles, so quintessentially French that it served as the setting for the making of not one, but two, films of Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary (the first made by Jean Renoir in 1932, the second by Claude Chabrol in 1990). As cinema fans, this was yet another reason for Cyrille and Julie Viard, owners of the decorating business L’Empreinte, to make their home here. 

The room has been opened up to reveal the old staircase where the metal steps and rail have been replaced with oak. The sofa is covered with an old quilt, in front of which is a table from the 1950s. Behind an old work bench next to the door is a group of etchings and watercolours by Jean Hulin.

The room has been opened up to reveal the old staircase where the metal steps and rail have been replaced with oak. The sofa is covered with an old quilt, in front of which is a table from the 1950s. Behind an old work bench next to the door is a group of etchings and watercolours by Jean Hulin.

The story began when Cyrille, who had spent his childhood in the village, decided after ten years of living in Paris to come back to the region and to rebuy his childhood home, which stood on the edge of the ancient beech forest. Unsurprisingly, the layout and design of the house needed a complete rethink, and before long they had upturned the house from top to bottom. Like so many old, small houses, the narrow windows and small rooms made the interior darker than might have been wished, so Cyrille and Julie decided to open up the rooms, wherever possible, to maximize what daylight there was. Of course, with an old house, the structural beams, both horizontal and vertical, could not be removed, so on the ground floor they took down the wall between the living room and the kitchen, leaving just the beautiful, rough-textured beams. Suddenly the space was opened up and illuminated, and so Cyrille and Julie went further, stripping back the cob wall finish to reveal the original brick, and the beams, once painted, were stripped back and then patinated. 

On the other side of the now opened room, divided by beams, the kitchen is dominated by a vintage table used for food preparation and eating, with vintage metal chairs from the 1950s on either side. The glazed kitchen door leads out into the garden and the summer dining room.

On the other side of the now opened room, divided by beams, the kitchen is dominated by a vintage table used for food preparation and eating, with vintage metal chairs from the 1950s on either side. The glazed kitchen door leads out into the garden and the summer dining room.

As well as a living room, there is a study and a small book room. The kitchen, which opens onto the living room, is organized around a large table and industrial metal chairs; a glazed door – another device to increase natural light – leads into the garden and a summer dining room. An open staircase, with treads of oak, leads up to the bedrooms – an enfilade of simple rooms, beneath the rafters, with open beams and walls gently tinted with chalk paint. 

In a corner bound by beams, a small child’s chair and an armchair from the 1950s. The hanging lights are electric glass isolators, making a contemporary mobile. On the wall, portraits of Julie’s family and ink drawings by Alain Bonnefoit.

In a corner bound by beams, a small child’s chair and an armchair from the 1950s. The hanging lights are electric glass isolators, making a contemporary mobile. On the wall, portraits of Julie’s family and ink drawings by Alain Bonnefoit.

Cyrille and Julie have used a clever combination of the slightly industrial and the slightly rural, softening the metal and wood, both upstairs and down, with fat cushions and quilts. Drawings, watercolours and paintings, many of them by Julie’s grandfather, Jean Hulin, are hung on walls and up the stairs. The mood is relaxed and comfortable – and perfectly in keeping with the unique atmosphere of the ancient village.

Photographer: Patrick van Robaeys. Stylist: Stéphanie Boiteux-Gallard.

Save The Date: The HOUSE Fair 2016

The HOUSE Fair co-located with the Spirit of Summer Fair is returning to Olympia London from 22-25 June 2016. Presenting a prestigious collection of over 450 independent boutiques and distinguished designers, in addition to some of the finest brands in the UK, it is the perfect place for discerning audiences looking for unique products from a handpicked selection of exhibitors.

The HOUSE Fair is delighted to announce some of the exciting exhibitors that will be showcasing their collections at the event. From exquisite rugs from Amy Kent to luxury furniture from Turnpost and the beautiful floor tiles at Reed Harris. Expect other brands including Adventures in Furniture, Ana Barreto, Greige, Jonathan Field, Lombok, Prêt À Vivre, The Oak & Rope Company and The Stone & Ceramic Warehouse and of course the inspiring KLC School of Design to name just a few. 

From kitchens, lighting and furniture to floor and wall coverings, decorative accessories and even interior and garden design, The HOUSE Fair is a unique resource for specialist expertise, design excellence. 

Exhibitors include Amy KentThe Stone & Ceramic WarehouseTurnpostGreige to name just a few...

The HOUSE Fair, Olympia London from 22-25 June 2016.

Recipe of the Week - Sweet Potato Salad with Tarragon and Rye

Extract from The Scandikitchen by Bronte Aurell, Published by Ryland Peters and Small. 

Our friend Kobi Ruzicka came up with this salad and it has been a bestseller at the café. I think it perfectly marries the bite of the grain with the sweetness of the potatoes and the sharpness of the onion and tarragon. Although not a traditional Scandinavian salad, it has all the flavours of one. Serve slightly warm or cold.

SERVES 2–3

100 g dry rye grains

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4–6 sweet potatoes (depending on size)

olive oil

1 bunch fresh tarragon

1 bunch spring onions, outer layer removed and sliced diagonally

200 g feta cheese

balsamic vinegar

Method:

If soaking the grains overnight (I’d recommend this if you have time as it allows for a more even texture throughout), place them in double the amount of water.

The next day, drain and rinse the grains. Place in a large saucepan with a good pinch of salt and boil for approximately 20–22 minutes, or until tender. If you haven’t pre-soaked the grains, cook for around 40 minutes. Drain and allow to cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) Gas 3.

Wash and cut the sweet potatoes into bite- sized pieces (leave the skin on), and toss with oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, for around 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Separate the leaves of the tarragon from the stalks (which you can discard) and place in a large serving bowl. Add the spring onions. With your fingers, lightly crumble the feta into the same bowl and set aside.

When the sweet potato is cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, then add to a serving bowl. Add the cooled rye grains and fold everything together carefully so as not to break up the potatoes. Adjust the seasoning, and add more olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar, if needed.

Tips: Cooked grains keep for a few days in the fridge and can be made ahead. You can easily make this salad with spelt grain or other grains instead of rye, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.

The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell

Published by Ryland Peter & Small

Photography by Peter Cassidy

New Palmetto Collection From Harlequin

Palmetto is an alluring collection of prints, weaves and wallcoverings, which has been inspired by early morning strolls through dewy woods and twilight walks around a dusky, scented garden. It captures elements of jazz age glamour, 1920's luxe and the botanical fervour of the 19th century orchid hunters, as well as keying into the current trend towards organic silhouettes, offset against sultry backgrounds for maximum impact.

The collection has been designed by Harlequin Studio's Becky Brown, who elaborates on her inspiration: 'Over the last 18 months I have been watching trends evolving both in fashion and in interiors, collating mood boards and experimenting with different techniques, such as mono prints, negative prints, foiling and etching. It seems to me as though the bright spring flowers of previous years have given way to an another more mysterious mood. The feel for 2016 is dreamlike and enchanted, expressed through wild foliage, graphic botanicals and delicate flora and fauna.'

The starting point for the whole collection was a botanical document that evoked the inside of an orangery, with its exotic portrayal of rubber plants and passion flowers. the six glorious prints are presented on a mix of sumptuous silks and natural linens, many of which have been embellished with textured threads, foiling and metallics. They depict a cornucopia of etched blooms such as proteas, as well as delicately drawn butterflies, dragonflies and ostrich feathers. Several of these motifs follow through into the stunning range of eight wallcoverings, which is augmented by an evocative metallic texture, an elegant crane in flight offset against stylised clouds, leaves, feathers and a linear trail.

Palmetto's glorious prints are complemented by three uber-glamourous weaves, accented with shine and shimmer and belvedere Velvets, a spectacular range of three rich and luxurious velvets, comprising deliciously tactile, deep-pile plains, fabulously distressed metallics and sophisticated striped damasks, some of which are further embellished with foil. There are also two comprehensive books of plains, one 100% silk, the other silk-effect, which have been judiciuosly coloured by the Harlequin Studio to harmonise with Palmetto and Belvedere.

The collection is now available via Harlequin's network of stockists.

Make Space, Go Vertical

When you think of home heating, chances are you’ll have an image of a dreary white metal box in your mind. There it sits under the window, forlorn and uninspiring, not really injecting anything but warmth into your room.

But hold that thought for just a second.

Modern home heating is a far cry from the boring, bland and dull panel radiators that you might be thinking of.

Nowadays you can transform your home heating with a radiator that makes a statement, one that’s sure to set the tongues of your family and friends wagging faster than the tail of an over-excited Spaniel.

A Vertical Designer Radiator.

It doesn’t matter if you have a period property or a home filled with modern conveniences, a vertical designer radiator is a fantastic and stylish alternative to the boring convector radiators that you normally find in homes up and down the country.

Anyone with an eye for detail can see that alongside any expensive furniture, wallpaper and flooring, a tired looking panel radiator just doesn’t cut the design mustard. That’s where a sleek designer radiator can make all of the difference.

Traditionally, you would expect to see a radiator under a window, in what many would consider to be ‘dead space’ – you aren’t going to put furniture up against or underneath a window are you?

But with the rise in popularity of vertical designer radiators, more and more people are beginning to take the decision to make a style statement with their home heating and invest in a designer radiator.

From traditionally styled column radiators - that can enhance the look and feel of a period property - to the slender space-saving style of the more modern designs, a vertical designer radiator is an unusual and unique way of bringing together functionality and designer flair.

While still providing the same heat output as the less attractive convector radiators, the Best Heating range of vertical designer radiators offers heating solutions that allow the user to truly transform a space.

With a range of colours, styles and outputs available, when it comes to choosing how you want to keep warm, you are no longer limited to the boring mediocrity of white convector radiators.

With black, white, chrome and the incredibly popular anthracite range available, there’s a selection of options that mean you can enhance the décor you already have, or base everything around a striking new radiator that holds its own in the design stakes.

The choice is yours!

Another fantastic benefit of modern designer radiators is that they can be converted into an electric alternative - so if you need to heat a space that isn’t plumbed in to your central heating system, like a conservatory, kitchen extension or perhaps even a sexy man cave (garden shed), you can install a plug in version filled with an organic heating compound called Glycol and create and electric designer radiator.

So there isn’t anywhere that a designer radiator can’t reach.

To discover the full range of vertical, horizontal and electric designer radiators available, pay a visit to www.bestheating.com, make your home heating stand out and make a sleek designer statement.

Go on, make space and go vertical!

Website of the Week - Victoria Eggs

We've featured Victoria Eggs once before on this blog. Back in 2012 we interviewed the young designer, which you can read here. But anyone who flies the flag for Britain quite so eloquently deserves another mention we think.....

English Dinner Wallpaper

English Dinner Wallpaper

The company creates bold and playful homeware and gifts, handmade in Britain (naturally). The designs range from London Bus Bags to Scottish Aprons and from Nautical Tea Towels to Kitchen Wallpaper. The collection includes aprons, tea towels, oven mitts, fine bone china mugs, cushions, canvas bags, screen prints and wallpaper, alongside a fun collection of greetings cards and gift wrap. All designed to put a smile on your face.

British Barbecue Aprons

British Barbecue Aprons

Victoria's sense of humour shines through in all of her products. Her use of colour combined with unique imagery and traditional fonts results in a cheery collection for every room in the home.

Cockney Rhyming Slang Print

Cockney Rhyming Slang Print

In fact, Victoria's all for painting the town (and your walls) red with the thrills of British life, splashing seaside memories about in your washing up bowl, and bringing some nostalgic chic to your contemporary home with a tug of an apron string or a hearty cushion cuddle.

London Bus Gift Wrap

London Bus Gift Wrap

Quick Fun DIY Projects In The House

Give your tired household items a new lease of life this spring by sprucing them up with a lick of paint.

 Season your rolling pins with a few primary colours in blocks or stripes.

 Add a few geometric patterns to your wooden spatulas for added relish.

 An Ikea stool takes on a new lease of life with a splash of citrus.

 Stripes of neon add a Caribbean flavour to wooden spoons.

Coasters with added piquancy.

What you will need:

·          Old household items or inexpensive new ones.

·          Masking tape and/or string depending on your design.

·          Art Deco neon paint (or spray paint for a large area).

·          Small artist's paintbrush.

·          Walnut oil wood finish.

·          Clear Shellac (food safe) wood treatment.

·          Small decorator's paint brush

 Step-by-step process:

1.        Lightly sand any utensils you wish to stain darker. You often find with inexpensive utensils that they are very light in colour.

2.        We stained all of the wooden spoons and spatulas three different shades – just add more layers for a darker finish. Stain to your preference using the walnut oil wood finish and the small decorator's brush. Leave to dry according to the instructions on the tin.

3.        Decide on your design and use masking tape to cover the areas you do not want to paint (or cover with string if you are spraying).

4.        Using the neon paints and the small artist's paintbrush. This allows you to get in the small places precisely. Do not paint any areas that will come into contact with food.

5.        Leave to dry and then repeat three times.

6.        Seal the whole item using clear Shellac wood treatment to stop it chipping or wearing. Leave to dry.

Photographs by Alex Oates, styling by Zoe Palmer. Taken from the March 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

Recipe of the Week: Blueberry Almond Muffins

Come summer, there's nothing we like better than taking our breakfast into the garden. Or park. Or any outdoor space come to that. So what better excuse to mix up a batch of muffins? Easily transportable, absolutely yummy, and not so sinful you need to feel guilty. Add a fruit smoothie and you're ready to go.

Ingredients:

250g ground almonds

½ cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

300g blueberries

200 ml buttermilk or low-fat/skim milk

1 large egg

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 180ºC fan

Mix together the ground almonds, brown sugar, and baking powder in a bowl. Toss in the blueberries.

In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk or low-fat milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the almond meal mixture and mix lightly. Do not over-beat the batter.

Pour the batter into 10 to 12 lined muffin tins or moulds (how many depends on the size).

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack before turning out.

Recipe and photographs: Giedre Augustinaviciute

This recipe originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

The Shoreditch Collection At The Orchard

The Shoreditch collection from The Orchard takes the concept of reclaimed furniture to the next level or concept and style.

The collection features items for all over the house including bookcases, tables, chairs, benches mirrors and cabinets that are made using reclaimed wood salvaged from old boats and buildings in southern India, including Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

The aged timbers are typically between 50-150 years old and are assembled by skilled craftsmen who create this characterful and eye-catching furniture.

As each piece in the range is hand finished using a unique blend of reclaimed timbers every item is truly individual and environmentally friendly.

The wood is finished with a resilient satin lacquer which is hardwearing yet emphasises the beautiful colour and character in the timber.

Each item is finished with beautifully made steel outer frames that offers great structural rigidity and a stylish urban edge that is perfect for an industrial styled space or for those who love up-cycled pieces.

See more cool pieces from The Orchard.

P.S. Their is a big Sale now on for the whole of May and is planned to end in early June. For a sneak peek at the sale items, click here.

Website Of The Week: BIVAIN

Founded in 2016 by Megha Lohia and Rachel Fong, BIVAIN is a contemporary home decor and accessories brand offering objects of desire with an edge. The Central Saint Martins-trained designers worked for brands including Agent Provocateur and Zac Posen prior to launching BIVAIN; and with an appetite for the bold and the whimsical, they set out to create a lifestyle brand with serious sex appeal!

Based in London, BIVAIN draws inspiration from the sensory experiences of international wanderlust. Encompassing silk cushions, throws, scarves, pocket squares and more, the collections are exclusively produced by highly-skilled craftsmen using the finest materials.

BIVAIN - derived from the words ‘to be vain’- celebrates pride in one's unique sense of self, and is aimed at the vivacious, adventurous and design-conscious customer who enjoys making a statement with their home and personal style.

Product of the Week: The Elho Hanging Planter

With houseplants experiencing a surge of popularity in today's interiors, the designers at Elho have used the principles of retro plant display and vintage design, with contemporary manufacturing finish and colour, to create a fresh new iconic design.

The stylish pod design can accommodate plants up to 9cm and is available in white, anthracite, chalk yellow, vintage blue and magical green. While the stylish and adjustable cord allows for suspension variables between 50 and 100cm.

Dramatic when hung as a trio and equally beautiful as an individual feature, we think we could find a few places around the home for a Elho planter or two. A selection of herbs in the kitchen window maybe? Or a moisture loving specimen in the bathroom.

Much nicer than the macramé slings of the 1970's made from rope or gaudy yarn!

The B.for Soft Air planter retails at £8.95 and is available from Elho.

Bluebellgray Launch Beach Towels

Are you beach ready? With this glorious weather, we certainly are! So why not bring a touch of feel good design along on your travels with these statement beach towels designed by one of our favourite brands, Bluebellgray. Each design is bursting with an array of vibrant colours and featuring 100% cotton reverse for ultimate beach and poolside comfort. 

In the upcoming new season bluebellgray offers three designs: Wisteria, a signature oversized floral, Lola a geometric watercolour design and Rothesay, a showstopper abstract for spring/summer. 

Time to get Summer ready and bring some colour on your holidays.

From left to right: Wisteria, Lola, Rothesay.

From left to right: Wisteria, Lola, Rothesay.

Available from June on www.bluebellgray.com

Lemon Scented Kale and Quinoa Salad

Now that Spring is well and truly here, it's time to replace the soups and sandwiches with healthy and seasonal salads for lunch. This recipe is bursting with beautiful fresh ingredients and we know you will love it.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

250g kale

200g red or white quinoa or a mix of both

1 bunch radishes

2 carrots

1 apple

40g pumpkin seeds

40g sunflower seeds

1 large bunch coriander, leaves picked

For the dressing:

1 small shallot

100ml extra virgin olive oil

100ml lemon juice

1.5 tsp dried chilli flakes

1.5 tsp flaked sea salt

METHOD:

Put the quinoa in a pan with double the volume of cold water and ½ tsp salt.  Bring to the boil and reduce to a gentle simmer.  Cook for around 13-15 mins until the quinoa is just cooked and the water has completely evaporated.  Transfer to a tray to cool.

Toast the seeds for 7-9 mins in 180’c oven.

For the salad dressing – very finely chop the shallot and combine with the lemon juice, chilli flakes & flaked sea salt.

Wash and chop the kale and massage well with the salad dressing so it absorbs the flavour.  Add the quinoa and mix together.

Quarter, core and finely slice the apple, toss with a generous squeeze of lemon juice so it doesn’t discolour.

Trim the radish and cut very finely with a knife or on a mandolin.

Wash and pick the coriander.  Ribbon the carrots with a peeler.

Gently mix together all the salad ingredients and serve!

This recipe is courtesy of St Clements Cafe a new cafe for Parsons Green, serving fresh seasonal food and fantastic coffee.