DIY Geometric Christmas Door Wreath

There's nothing more satisfying than making your own Christmas decorations. Especially if you get the whole family involved. So, if you had a go at our Scandi Christmas baubles last week and loved them, why not make this Geometric door wreath as a contemporary alternative to the more traditional green foliage and pine cones?

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint, Bright Copper

Geometric wreath (available from Hobbycraft)

Craft wire

Foliage

Scissors

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Gather your chosen foliage and ensure it is completely dry before starting your project. Move the foliage to a well-ventilated space and place on top of a dustsheet or some old newspapers.

2. Take your chosen can of Rust-Oleum spray paint and shake thoroughly. Hold the can approximately 30cm from the surface of the foliage and spray. Apply several light coats a few minutes apart. Leave to dry in a well ventilated place.

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3. Once fully dry, attach your foliage to the wreath using craft wire, layering the leaves until you are happy with your design.

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Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint, Bright Copper 400ml, £8.99, B&Q

 www.makeityours.co.uk

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Website Of The Week: Murmur

The Murmur ethos is influenced by the unadorned and simple aesthetic of Scandinavian and Japanese design; natural materials are married with carefully scaled geometric patterns inspired by prints and batik-style resist dyeing techniques. Simple stripes with textured accessories and effortless layering, key to the Murmur ethos.

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Every product and pattern has been designed in-house at Murmur’s Northern Irish Studio; pieces have been hand-crafted and sourced by the design team from around the globe who have travelled to inspiring places such as India and Scandinavia. It’s an informal approach to home, a collection to live with everyday. Patterns, textures and colours are designed to be mixed and matched. It’s harmonious, not jarring or discordant. It’s just Murmur.

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Capturing a renewed desire for simply designed and hand-crafted pieces; it’s so much more than a home-ware brand; it’s an attitude, an approach, a reflection of how we live today…

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Recipe of the Week - Simple Saucy Salmon Tacos

These easy to make salmon tacos are the perfect dish for weekday meals. They are so quick to prepare you can be sitting down with the family in no time. And what family doesn't like a meal you can eat with the fingers? In front of the TV. Perfect.

Serves 2

Serves 2

Ingredients:

-        2 salmon fillets – chilled or frozen

-        4 corn taco shells

-        150g Lettuce, finely diced

-        1 Red Onion, finely sliced

-        Half a lime

-        Optional toppings: jalapeno peppers, sprinkling of coriander, pomegranate, chilli sauce

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C and cook your salmon fillets for 28 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, heat your taco shells in the oven for 5 minutes, then scatter with the lettuce, red onion and chosen toppings
  3. Remove your salmon fillets from the oven and flake each into smaller pieces, then add them to the tacos
  4. Finish by squeezing lime juice over each taco and drizzling with your favourite chilli sauce 

TOP TIP: For fuss free fish and sauce, straight from the freezer, try The Saucy Fish Co.’s new Frozen Salmon with Chilli, Lime and Ginger Dressing, available in the freezer aisle in Tesco and Sainsbury’s nationwide

Recipe courtesy of The Saucy Fish Co. 

Home For Christmas With Sofa.com

Spruce up your living room and prepare for festive visitors with a sumptuous update from sofa.com. Bold, textured velvet furniture and accessories are an easy and elegant option for a welcoming interior makeover.

Oscar three seat sofa in Prussian Blue pure cotton matt velvet £2,590, Georgette footstool in Claret pure cotton matt velvet £710 and Wisley cushion in Lake velvet £50.

Oscar three seat sofa in Prussian Blue pure cotton matt velvet £2,590, Georgette footstool in Claret pure cotton matt velvet £710 and Wisley cushion in Lake velvet £50.

Pure & Simple

Create your own winter’s tale with a paired back update that hints at the classic and fairy tale style of a scandi Christmas. 

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Into the Woods

Bring the peace and serenity of nature into your home this Christmas with a lush forest inspired interior update. 

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New Work from Angie Lewin at St Judes

We've shared the work of Angie Lewin with you before. You can see some of her nature inspired wallpapers here. But we were blown away by this new linocut called The Gardener's Arms.

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Angie's cherished 'Gardener's Arms' jug was the inspiration for this new seven colour linocut print, The engraved and hand painted decoration flows off the jug, forming the landscape in which it sits and merging with the teasels, echinops and astrantia that were gathered from the garden.

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The print measures 585mm x 430mm and is printed in seven colours. The edition size is 85 copies and unframed copies are £395.00 unframed.

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Inspired by both the clifftops and saltmarshes of the North Norfolk coast and the Scottish Highlands, I depict these contrasting environments and their native flora in wood engraving, linocut, silkscreen, lithograph and collage. These landscapes are often glimpsed through intricately detailed plantforms.
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As well as designing fabrics and stationery for St Jude’s, which she runs with my husband Simon, Angie has completed commissions for Penguin, Faber, Conran Octopus, Merrell and Picador. She has also designed fabrics for Liberty.

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The Gardeners Arms is to be first exhibited as part of Airs, Reels and Ballads at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh from 1-29 November. 

Photographs by Alun Callender

Affordable Ways to Keep your Home Looking Fresh and Modern

Collaborative Post

We all like to keep our home decor up to date. Even if we do not love the latest styles, most of us still want everything to look fresh and attractive. Unfortunately, achieving this can cost a lot of money. Sometimes you have enough cash available, other times you don´t. But you do not have to worry because, as you will see below, there are numerous ways to upgrade your home decor without spending a fortune.

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Buy ex-showhome furniture

If you need a new dining room table or sofa take a look at Emblem Furniture's ex-showhome furniture before going to the mall. Most of the items this home staging firm sells have barely been used. Their suites of furniture have typically been used by property developers to dress their show homes. Normally, the style of the furniture that is available is very modern. In many cases, it will have only been on display for a few months.

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Restore the furniture you already own

If you do not live in an area that is covered by a furniture rental firm, updating the items that you already own is probably the best option. This is far easier to do than you think. With the right tools and know-how, you can refinish most items of furniture. It is not difficult to reupholster dining room chairs.

Even recovering a sofa is something that you can easily learn how to do. A lot of people buy second hand items to practice on. Some people like restoring and re-inventing furniture so much that they do it semi-professionally, as a way to earn a little extra income.

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Change your flooring

Adding a few rugs to a room covers up marks and drastically changes the way it looks. If all of the flooring needs replacing consider using laminate flooring. It is very affordable and, provided you buy the right type, very hard-wearing.

Update your soft furnishings

It is also surprisingly easy to make new soft furnishings. Updating these items is a fast and easy way to give virtually any room in your home a fresh new look.

Use up leftover decorating materials

If you need to redecorate a room it is well worth considering whether you can get away with just painting or wallpapering one wall. Often, you will be able to use leftover decorating materials for this task. This approach has the added advantage of not taking very long to complete.

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Use your craft skills to create wall hangings

To add a little extra interest you could always create your own paintings, prints and wall hangings. There are literally hundreds of ways for you to do this. Some require specialist knowledge, but there are plenty of projects you could complete without needing any special skills. For example, choosing your favourite photo and letting a professional firm blow it up and produce a canvas print for you is so easy that anyone could do it.

You can find over 100 easy to create wall art ideas by following this link. Potentially, if you are good at it, you could even turn this hobby into a small business to give yourself a second income stream.

In The Diary: The Eat and Drink Festival 2017

The Eat and Drink Festival 2017 comes to London Olympia from 22 to 26 November, celebrating the very best in festive fare as Britain heads towards the December merriments. 

While 76% of UK households tuck into a large meal of turkey with all the trimmings* on 25 December, Britain’s multi-cultural community celebrates both Christmas and the holiday season with different meats, dishes and delicacies from across the globe. 

At the Eat and Drink Festival, Norwegian-chef Martina Schoning cooks up a homeland delicacy of roasted reindeer, but reindeer is not the only meat on the Christmas table in Norway, as families often enjoy options such as pork chops, sausages and lamb. Those located in the coastal regions tend to opt for fish dishes such as cod or haddock.

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A Swedish Christmas dinner is usually presented as a julbord: a festive version of the much-loved Swedish dinner option, Smörgåsbord. The buffet-style feast frequently includes breads, broth, a variety of fish such as salmon, eel and herring, meatballs, pork ribs, baked ham, sausages, potatoes, cheeses and salad. 

While Germans tend to opt for wild boar or venison as the centrepiece for their festive meal, a traditional Jamaican Christmas includes a recipe of rice, gugno peas, chicken, ox tail and curried goat.

When celebrating the festive season in the Czech Republic, most enjoy a dinner of fish soup, salads, eggs and carp. Many believe in the superstition that the number of people around the table must be even, as it’s believed the odd one out will die next year!

The traditional Polish holiday supper consists of 12 non-meat dishes, one for each month of the year. Among the dishes, fish such as pike, herring and carp tend to feature. Other typical Polish dishes include fish soup, sauerkraut with wild mushrooms or peas, and Polish dumplings with numerous fillings.

Many Ukrainian families feast on the traditional supper, Sviata Vechera, which consists of 12 dishes, each representing the 12 apostles. The meatless meal consists primarily of fish, as meat, animal fat, milk and milk products are forbidden. 

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Known for their good food, Italian Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve often lasts for more than four hours with families traditionally enjoying a meal of seven or more courses. These include antipasti, pasta and a roast meal, followed by two salads, two sweet puddings, cheese, fruit, brandy and chocolate.

Bringing together an array of celebrities, the festival’s impressive line-up sees names from a variety of international backgrounds such as Italian-chef Gino D’Acampo, the UK’s own Gregg Wallace, Norwegian-chef Martina Schoning and Australian-native Bonny Porter take to the stage to share more about their traditional Christmas feasts.

Visitors can enjoy a taste of Christmas from around the world as well as sample and shop for fresh produce and handmade products such as from balsamic vinegars, oils and pastries and stock up on festive treats including brownies, cakes and puddings.

Tickets also give access to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas, which runs alongside the foodie event as it returns to Olympia for its seventh consecutive year. 

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Tickets are available now from https://www.eatanddrinkchristmaslondon.com/ or by phone on 0844 209 7330.

DIY Scandi Christmas Baubles

DIY Scandi Christmas baubles that even we could do! The woods and hedgerows are full of seed heads and fallen leaves at this time of the year so it's the perfect time to get one step ahead with the Christmas preparations. 

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Rust-Oleum Super Sparkly GIitter,

Silver Rust-Oleum Super Sparkly Glitter,

Gold Rust-Oleum Rose Gold Ribbon

Clear Fillable Baubles

Foliage

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Gather up your chosen foliage and ensure it is completely dry before starting your scandi Christmas baubles.
2. Move the foliage to be painted to a well-ventilated space and place on top of a dustsheet or some old newspapers.
3. Take your chosen cans of Rust-Oleum spray paint and shake thoroughly. Hold the can approximately 30cm from the surface of the foliage and spray. Apply several light coats a few minutes apart.
4. Leave to dry in a well ventilated place.
5. Once dry, pop your foliage inside the fillable baubles.
6. Tie your baubles up with colourful pieces of ribbon.
7. Hang your baubles on your tree or around your home.

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Rust-Oleum Rose Gold Spray Paint, 400ml, £8.99, B&Q
Rust-Oleum Super Sprakly Glitter Spray, 400ml, £9.00, B&Q

www.makeityours.co.uk

The London Look With Artafloor

The new Atrafloor Victorian Tile collection is overflowing with chic style, perfecting the classic yet contemporary look of the quintessential 21st century London home. The perfect mix of modern and traditional.

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Modern London maintains its classic charm with historic architecture and stately style, and Victorian-era influences are still everywhere to be found. 

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These faux tile designs by Atrafloor feature the traditional navy and black and white palette and delicately decorative patterns that London-esque Victorian tile designs are known for.

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And just a touch of transformation can go a long way - the collection also introduces pioneering pops of colour and chunky geometrics that reimagine the time-tested trend for a refreshing, more contemporary vibe.

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Discover this collection and more faux tile designs at: https://www.atrafloor.com/vinyl-flooring/faux/tile/

Recipe of the Week: Celeriac, Roquefort and Hazelnut Soup

There's nothing quite as comforting at this time of the year as a big bowl of warming soup. This recipe has some of our favourite autumn flavours to add taste as well as satisfying wholesome goodness.

Prep Time: 15 mins Cooking Time: 45 mins

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients:
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 celeriac, peeled and diced
4 Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, cored and quartered
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1.5 litres Essential Cuisine Chicken Stock
200ml crème fraîche
A few sage leaves
100g Roquefort crumbled
Toasted hazelnuts & hazelnut oil to finish

 
Method:
Heat half the oil in a large pan
Add the onions and celery and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft
Add the celeriac, apples and thyme and cook for 2–3 minutes
Add the stock, season, and simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes until the celeriac is tender
Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand blender until smooth
Stir in half the crème fraîche
Heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the sage until crispy
Spoon the soup into bowls and top with the remaining crème fraîche
To serve, drizzle with hazelnut oil, sprinkle with the crispy sage leaves and hazelnuts and crumble over the Roquefort
 

Recipe is courtesy of Essential Cuisine who provide a premium range of quick-to-use foodservice products, which are available in butchers, farm shops and delis across Britain. Since launching in 2010, Essential Cuisine has expanded its range to include three different product ranges in the condiment sector. 

For more information visit http://www.essentialcuisine.com/ 

New Scents For The Home From Urban Apothecary

Introducing The incredible new home scents from Urban Apothecary that have been inspired by the nostalgic musings of those around them....

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Locking memories in fragrance, as if each were a scented snapshot, is a pleasing way to remember special moments. Hence every fragrance recounts a personal experience, from walking in woodland after rain to catching the intriguing perfumed sillage of a passing stranger. These nostalgic musings encourage connection by evoking memories and becoming the catalyst for creating new ones.

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Urban Apothecary started life as a passion for fragrance and desire to layer traditional ingredients of flowers, fruits, resins and woods in unconventional, contemporary ways. Every scent shaped from this collaboration of art with science is inspired by a personal recollection brought to life through the clever blending of notes rich with ambiance. These distinctive aromas, a mixture of memories and moods, are curated into a collection of truly original scents for the home. Dress the urban environment with fragrances that inspire, nurture and transport.

Smeg And Dolce&Gabbana Unite For Exclusive Harrods Takeover

This festive season, iconic Italian heavyweights Smeg and Dolce&Gabbana will once again collaborate as the fashion powerhouse takes over the UK’s most famous department store: Harrods. Dolce&Gabbana will this year launch its very own Christmas Market in-store, kicking off on 2nd  November until 28th  December.

To begin, shoppers and tourists will be treated to an incredibly stylish window display imagined exclusively by the fashionable duo. A Silician puppet theatre – complete with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana miniatures in marionette form – will welcome shoppers entering the store from the famous Brompton Road.

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Meanwhile, Harrods’ fourth floor will resemble an Italian piazza, strung with twinkly lights and Italian-inspired decorations. Booths will display a variety of luxurious goods, including men’s and women’s clothing, gifts, accessories, toys, fragrance and fine jewellery, many of which have been designed exclusively for the store to celebrate the project.

Most striking about the takeover, however, is that it incorporates not just fashion - hence Smeg’s involvement with the campaign. Having recently opened its own ‘shop-in-shop’ at Harrods, which stocks a wide selection of products across the brand’s large and small domestic appliance ranges, Smeg’s involvement in the takeover only further strengthens the longstanding partnership between the two brands.

This year marked the launch of Smeg and Dolce&Gabbana’s second campaign, Sicily is my Love ; a unique selection of small domestic appliances decorated in traditional Sicilian motifs. In 2016, Smeg and D&G unveiled Frigoriferi d’Arte  – a collection of 100 bespoke, hand-painted versions of the brand’s iconic FAB28 fridge, each of which takes over 250 hours to create. All of these will be available to purchase at Harrods or Smeg’s recently-opened flagship store in London.

To support Dolce&Gabbana’s takeover, Smeg will source three additional members of staff to help with sales of its Sicily is my Love  collection during this extremely busy time of year. Smeg products will also be found in the exclusive Dolce&Gabbana penthouse suite, found on the top floor of the store.

Royal Lancaster - London’s Grandest Hotel Opening of 2017

Opening today! Royal Lancaster London will unveil its brand new design following an £80 million renovation. The prestigious hotel overlooking Hyde Park has been completely transformed both internally and externally in this universal restructure. With the opening of its opulent new entrance, the mid-century icon will reinstate its original name ‘Royal Lancaster London’. The concept and design was created by London-based Studio Proof.

Reception

Reception

The entire frontage of the hotel has been remodelled and the exterior architecture now features a dramatic 8-metre high glazed façade revealing an impressive double-height reception space. The showpiece of the lobby is a palatial sweeping staircase made of 300 square meters of white Carrara marble which wraps around to the first floor.

Hyde Lobby Bar

Hyde Lobby Bar

Set within acres of white marble is the elegant Hyde Lobby Bar, a new innovation echoing the name of London’s most famous royal park. Designed with the most discerning guests in mind, Champagne, cocktails, coffee and light cuisine will be served throughout the day.

Park Suite

Park Suite

The redesign of the towering 18-storey hotel encompasses the complete refurbishment of all 411 guestrooms and suites. Every guestroom has a far reaching view across London, and the modern design emphasizes these premium vistas.

Executive Bedroom

Executive Bedroom

Room categories start with the Classic Double Room at 20 square meters, priced from £219 per night. All of the guest rooms have Handy phones, hidden international plug sockets, bath robes, slippers, The White Company toiletries, waterfall showers and under floor heating in the bathrooms. TVs show over 138 international channels and 33 radio stations are available.

Living lounge

Living lounge

The first stage of the refurbishment commenced in 2015 with the redesign of Nipa Thai, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant. The grand opening is now taking place as the majority of the hotel is completely renovated. Royal Lancaster London will be finalised in May 2018 following a soft re-design of The Lounge Bar and The Park Room on the first floor.

Park Suite View

Park Suite View

General Manager Sally Beck said: “The hotel has had a rich and celebrated past, having opened as one of the most chic hotels in London in 1967. 50 years later, Royal Lancaster London will reopen in 2017 to once again be one of the most stylish hotels in the capital. Our Thai owner, Khun Jatuporn Sihanatkathakul has been directly involved in the new design which exudes mid-century glamour and understated elegance synonymous with London. We are looking forward to the next 50 years.”

As one of the most iconic hotels in the Capital, Royal Lancaster London has an illustrious history; from Michael Caine being filmed for ‘The Italian Job’, to events attended by Mohammed Ali, Princess Diana and countless other royals. The hotel also famously hosted the after-party for The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film premiere, which The Beatles’ attended in the Yellow Submarine Nightclub.

Royal Lancaster London, Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY Tel: 020 7551 6000 or www.royallancaster.com

Our Top 4 Essentials for a Cosy Night In

I bet we're not the only ones who appreciate a cosy night in during the winter months. When the nights are dark and stormy there's nothing nicer than making the house warm and comfortable, cooking a nice meal and settling down for the evening with a pile of DVD's.

So here's our four top essentials (and a few more) for a cosy night in.

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1. A lovingly prepared meal. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. In fact a casserole that's been simmering away all by itself just so happens to be a favourite, but laying the table does make it special. Get out the napkins, light the candles, and sit down for a proper catch-up with a loved one or the family. 

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2. A deep snuggly sofa. One that the whole family can fit on is even better. A coffee table for the remote, drinks and a box of chocolates is the icing on the cake. Where better to relax after a meal and catch up on the box set you've been meaning to watch for ages.

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3. Extra throws and cushions for warmth and added comfort. Keep a few extras in a handy basket for those extra cold nights, and to stop the inevitable squabbles. There's nothing like one throw each. Especially if it's knitted or faux fur.

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4. A comfy bed to dive into at the end of the night. Pile up the pillows, put an extra blanket somewhere handy, and settle in with a final warm drink and a light-hearted book. Bliss.

What's your idea of a perfect cosy night in?

All images from Next Home

Vanessa Arbuthnott Launches A Range Of Eight Luxurious Velvets

To complement her existing collections, Vanessa Arbuthnott has introduced a beautiful range of eight velvets. Stylish, chic and sophisticated, the velvets transcend trends and style beautifully: their luminous sheen makes them especially fitting for a glamorous room, but they can feel equally at home in relaxed or modern spaces.

CIRENCESTER SOFA: Tarn Velvet VELVET-78 £58/mtr; FOOTSTOOL: Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr; CUSHION (left front): Self piped and zipped Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr; CUSHION (left back): Self piped and zipped Pie in the Sky Speedwell, Straw PD-32-9 £49.50/mtr; CUSHION (middle front): Self piped and zipped Four Seasons Speedwell, Denim, Straw FR-32-6-9 £49.50/mtr; CUSHION (middle back): Self piped and zipped Honey Velvet VELVET-72 £58/mtr; CUSHION (right back): Self piped and zipped Tarn Velvet VELVET-78 £58/mtr; CUSHION (right front): Self piped and zipped Cow Parsley Duck Egg, Cornflower CP-8-16 £49.50/mtr; RUG: Stripe and Dash Smoke, Cornflower RSD-30-16 £390; PAINT: Royal Navy 257 by Little Green Paint Company £42 per 2.5 ltr

CIRENCESTER SOFA: Tarn Velvet VELVET-78 £58/mtr; FOOTSTOOL: Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr; CUSHION (left front): Self piped and zipped Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr; CUSHION (left back): Self piped and zipped Pie in the Sky Speedwell, Straw PD-32-9 £49.50/mtr; CUSHION (middle front): Self piped and zipped Four Seasons Speedwell, Denim, Straw FR-32-6-9 £49.50/mtr; CUSHION (middle back): Self piped and zipped Honey Velvet VELVET-72 £58/mtr; CUSHION (right back): Self piped and zipped Tarn Velvet VELVET-78 £58/mtr; CUSHION (right front): Self piped and zipped Cow Parsley Duck Egg, Cornflower CP-8-16 £49.50/mtr; RUG: Stripe and Dash Smoke, Cornflower RSD-30-16 £390; PAINT: Royal Navy 257 by Little Green Paint Company £42 per 2.5 ltr

There are several schools of thought as to where and when velvet originated, but it is most likely to have been in the Far East (probably China) around the 13th century. It then made its way west along the Silk Road, becoming immensely popular during the Italian Renaissance. In fact, the word ‘velvet’ comes from the Italian ‘velluto’ meaning ‘shaggy’ .

TRADITIONAL SOFA: Marigold Velvet VELVET-73 £58/mtr; CURTAIN: Up the Garden Path Winter PATH-50 £52/mtr; CUSHION (left): Large rectangular Life and Eternity Detail Charcoal LIFE-38 £49.50/mtr piped in Plain Linen Charcoal PLAIN-38 £48/mtr; CUSHION (middle): Marigold Velvet VELVET- 73 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION (right): Self piped and zipped Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; RUG: Stripe and Dash Smoke, Cornflower RSD-30-16 £390; PAINT: Lamp Black 228 by Little Green Paint Company £42 per 2.5 ltr

TRADITIONAL SOFA: Marigold Velvet VELVET-73 £58/mtr; CURTAIN: Up the Garden Path Winter PATH-50 £52/mtr; CUSHION (left): Large rectangular Life and Eternity Detail Charcoal LIFE-38 £49.50/mtr piped in Plain Linen Charcoal PLAIN-38 £48/mtr; CUSHION (middle): Marigold Velvet VELVET- 73 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION (right): Self piped and zipped Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; RUG: Stripe and Dash Smoke, Cornflower RSD-30-16 £390; PAINT: Lamp Black 228 by Little Green Paint Company £42 per 2.5 ltr

Contrary to popular belief, velvet is not in fact a fabric per se, but a weaving technique, which creates a soft, dense pile that covers the base cloth, thus forming the sumptuous plush surface traditionally associated with ‘velvet’.

Because it is not a flat-woven fabric like linen, velvet requires more yarn and takes multiple steps to produce. Yarn is first woven together on a loom between two layers of backing. The fabric is then split down the middle, creating two identical pieces, each with the upraised pile that provides its beguilingly soft, heightened texture.

FOOTSTOOL: Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr; CUSHION (from bottom): Self piped and zipped Tarn Velvet VELVET-78 £58/mtr; CUSHION: VELVET-73 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION: Self piped and zipped Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION (top): Self piped and zipped Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr Marigold velvet.

FOOTSTOOL: Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr; CUSHION (from bottom): Self piped and zipped Tarn Velvet VELVET-78 £58/mtr; CUSHION: VELVET-73 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION: Self piped and zipped Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION (top): Self piped and zipped Lake Blue Velvet VELVET-77 £58/mtr Marigold velvet.

It is a common misconception that velvet is high-maintenance. In truth, the fabric is not all that delicate and can last for decades if properly cared for. Even in a family room that gets a lot of action, velvet is a functional option that will hold up beautifully to years of wear. It is in fact quite easy to look after velvet and keep it looking fresh and fabulous!

SWEDISH BLIND: By the Sea Scree, Charcoal SEA-67-38 £52/mtr lined in Simple Ticking Detail Charcoal TICKING-38 £49.50/mtr; LAMPSHADE: By the Sea Scree, Charcoal SEA-67-38 £52/mtr; RETRO CHAIR: Honey Velvet VELVET-72 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; RUG: Geometric Grey, Saffron, Winter RGEO-95-52-50 £240

SWEDISH BLIND: By the Sea Scree, Charcoal SEA-67-38 £52/mtr lined in Simple Ticking Detail Charcoal TICKING-38 £49.50/mtr; LAMPSHADE: By the Sea Scree, Charcoal SEA-67-38 £52/mtr; RETRO CHAIR: Honey Velvet VELVET-72 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; RUG: Geometric Grey, Saffron, Winter RGEO-95-52-50 £240

Vanessa’s velvets come in a comprehensive colour palette: from moody, jewel tones for darker, more decadent spaces to alluring softer shades for a lighter, fresher look, there’s a hue to accessorise every interior and bestow a touch of extra luxe to your home.

CURTAIN: For the Love of Rose Clay, Damson LOVE-37-45 £54/mtr; TRADITIONAL CHAIR: Rose Velvet VELVET-76 £58/mtr; CERNEY FOOTSTOOL: Elephant Velvet VELVET-75 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; Cushion (back): Self piped and zipped Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION (front): Branching Out Scree BRANCH-67 £52/mtr piped in Plain Linen Charcoal PLAIN-38 £48/mtr; RUG: Dark Grey Tapestry by Solva Woolen Mill £99.75 each; PAINT: Scree 227 by Little Greene Paint Company £42, per 2.5 ltr

CURTAIN: For the Love of Rose Clay, Damson LOVE-37-45 £54/mtr; TRADITIONAL CHAIR: Rose Velvet VELVET-76 £58/mtr; CERNEY FOOTSTOOL: Elephant Velvet VELVET-75 £58/mtr piped in Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; Cushion (back): Self piped and zipped Thunder Velvet VELVET-74 £58/mtr; CUSHION (front): Branching Out Scree BRANCH-67 £52/mtr piped in Plain Linen Charcoal PLAIN-38 £48/mtr; RUG: Dark Grey Tapestry by Solva Woolen Mill £99.75 each; PAINT: Scree 227 by Little Greene Paint Company £42, per 2.5 ltr

Book Extract from Decorate - Colour Tricks

This is an extract from Decorate - 1,000 inspirational design ideas for every room in you house, by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick. Published by Jacqui Small.

Colour is one of the most powerful of decorators’ tools. Relatively economical to use, fun to choose but also easy to get wrong, so some experimentation is a good idea.

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‘Wallpaper or paint the interiors of your bookshelves and, if you can afford to, the ceiling or an accent wall.’ Celerie Kemble, designer
Pale pink linen walls in Christine d’Ornano’s London home are subtle but hugely warming. Some colours will change character according to how they are used. A gloss grey will be colder than a chalky paint, while blue can bear to be shiny as well as matt.

Pale pink linen walls in Christine d’Ornano’s London home are subtle but hugely warming. Some colours will change character according to how they are used. A gloss grey will be colder than a chalky paint, while blue can bear to be shiny as well as matt.

  • For instant impact paint one wall in a living room or bedroom in a bold, vivid colour. Choose the wall that will make the most dramatic statement.
  • In a large room where you want to enhance a sense of enclosure and seclusion, opposing walls can be painted the same colour.
Combining a range of tones in one colourway makes a sophisticated statement. Minky, mole-like browns and soft cappuccinos on a range of fabrics and textures in a bedroom presents an enticing picture.

Combining a range of tones in one colourway makes a sophisticated statement. Minky, mole-like browns and soft cappuccinos on a range of fabrics and textures in a bedroom presents an enticing picture.

  • You can add highly patterned wallpaper to one wall to create a feature in a room where there is no natural focal point.
  • In a room dominated by neutral colours add in vivid contrast colour as accents on upholstery, cushions or artwork. Strong tones such as orange, citrus lime or red work well as vivid jolts of colour in this way.
Small sky blue mosaic tiles give a mother-of-pearl shimmer as they catch the light above a simple fireplace. Tiling is a good way of adding colour to kitchens, living room and bedroom fireplaces and bathrooms.

Small sky blue mosaic tiles give a mother-of-pearl shimmer as they catch the light above a simple fireplace. Tiling is a good way of adding colour to kitchens, living room and bedroom fireplaces and bathrooms.

  • Infusing a room with bold colour is one of the best decorating tools to create an instant mood or a certain style. Think warm blues, hot pinks or sunshine yellows. They will all create a cosy space in a small room and detract from the room’s natural dimensions.
  • Remember that red will always warm and enclose while white will always expand and lighten a space. When choosing paint colours, always opt for a shade or two lighter than what you are naturally drawn to. Paint chips often deceive.
Apply bold colours midway up a wall to lessen their impact but provide a visual feast when moving from one room to another. Use paint or wallpaper to create the colour and add in complementary tones for punctuation.

Apply bold colours midway up a wall to lessen their impact but provide a visual feast when moving from one room to another. Use paint or wallpaper to create the colour and add in complementary tones for punctuation.

  • Steer away from brilliant white paint. It contains a blue caste that will make northern rooms dull and grey. Instead, opt for a standard white that includes a hint of pink pigment for maximum ‘whiteness’ on the finished wall.
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Decorate (Reissue) by Holly Becker and Joanna Copestick.

Photographs by Debi Treloar

Published by Jacqui Small

Out now.

Christmas Decorations With Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan has created three individual looks for decorating the home this Christmas.  Follow the instructions below to create ‘Minimal & Scandi’, ‘Cosy & Elegant’ and ‘Bright & Breezy’ styles using Chalk Paint, Wall Paint, Chalk Paint Waxes, Gilding Waxes, Lacquer, Brushes, Sanding Pads and Coloured Linens all from the Annie Sloan collection.  (See Product Information at the bottom of release for prices etc.)

Minimal & Scandi

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Wall: Bottom half painted in Wall Paint in Duck Egg Blue; top half painted in Wall Paint in Old White.

Floor:  Floorboards painted in a wash of Chalk Paint in Old White and finished with Lacquer.

Cabinet:  First a thick, textured coat of Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue was applied using a Large Pure Bristle Brush.  Once dry, a second coat of Chalk Paint in a mix of Duck Egg Blue and Old White was applied.  The piece was left to dry before applying a layer of Clear Chalk Paint Wax.  The medium coarse Sanding Pad was then used to slightly distress the paint – revealing areas of the darker Duck Egg Blue layer below. 

A final coat of Clear Chalk Paint Wax protected the finish.

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Decorations:  Large Pine Cones -  Using a Medium Pure Bristle Brush and Chalk Paint in a palette of Duck Egg Blue, Old White and Scandinavian Pink, paint was stippled in to all of the nooks and crannies of the pinecones.  To get the paint flowing and covering between the layers a little water was added to the paint. Once the paint was nearly dry, the paint was gently removed from the edges of the cones using a damp cloth.  Wreaths - Branch twigs were woven and fastened together in to circular wreaths, leaving some of the leaves to poke out.  Using Chalk Paint in Old White the largest and smallest wreathes were painted all over, using a Pure Bristle Brush.  The middle size wreath was painted in Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue.  Once the wreaths were almost dry a damp cloth was used to remove a little paint.

Cosy & Elegant

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Wall:  Wood paneling painted in Wall Paint in Aubusson Blue.

Floor:  Concrete floor painted in Chalk Paint in Graphite and finished with Lacquer.

Chairs:  Painted thickly in Chalk Paint in Florence using a Pure Bristle Brush to create lots of texture.  Once dry a layer of Clear Chalk Paint Wax was applied and lashings of Black Chalk Paint Wax were worked in to the still wet Wax, to bring out brushstrokes.  Using a lint-free cloth excess wax was removed from the surface.  The chair seat pads were upholstered in Annie Sloan Coloured Linen in Aubusson Blue & Provence.

Dining Table:  The table was painted in Chalk Paint in Graphite.  Once dry, the paint was sealed with Clear Chalk Paint Wax.  While the wax was still wet, diluted Aubusson Blue was painted on to areas of the table. Using a piece of scrunched up newspaper that was then flattened out again, the paper was pressed against the table and rubbed all over, applying a moderate amount of pressure.  This removed areas of the top coat of paint, leaving it uneven and blotchy.  (Applying a coat of Wax, which is oil based, before the paint,  which is water based, creates a ‘wax resist’ which means the paint either runs off or collects in pools and beads.)  To finish the piece Clear Chalk Paint Wax was applied – to make the surface wipeable.

Napkins, Holly and Ivy:  The napkins were made from Coloured Linens in Aubusson Blue & Provence, decorated with a piece of holly painted in Chalk Paint in Scandinavian Pink and finished with Warm and Bright Gold Gilding Wax.  Then tied in waxed black string with the tips finished in Warm and Bright Gold Gilding Wax. Various holly and ivy leaves on the table were painted in Chalk Paint in Burgundy with some finished with a mix of Warm and Bright Gold Gilding Wax.

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Bottles:  An inch of the top of the glass bottles was masked off with tape.  Slightly diluted layers of Chalk Paint in Burgundy were gradually then applied to the rest of the bottles.  Once the colour was looking opaque it was left to dry, before adding a mix of Warm and Bright Gilding Wax to the bottle using a Stencil Brush.  Gently working the Gilding Wax out from the top line to create a subtle ombre effect.  Once dry, the masking tape was removed to reveal a crisp clean line.

Bright & Breezy

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Wall:  Wall Paint in Antoinette.

Floor:  Chalk Paint in Paris Grey, finished with Lacquer.

Christmas tree:  Triangle cut out of MDF – painted in Chalk Paint in a mix of Amsterdam Green and Old White. 

Baubles:  Plastic baubles painted in a palette of Chalk Paint in English Yellow, Florence, Old White, Antoinette and a mix of Florence and Old White.  A couple of these were finished using either White or Black Wax to highlight the texture and darken or lighten the colour a little.

Chair:

Chalk Paint in English Yellow painted with a Pure Bristle Brush to create texture, and once dry, finished with White Chalk Paint Wax, leaving the ‘socks’ of the chair in the vivid English Yellow, without the White Clear Wax.

Presents:

Wrapped with paper that had been hand printed/stamped with Chalk Paint in a palette of Duck Egg Blue, Antoinette, English Yellow, Old White. 

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 Visit www.anniesloan.com for more details.

Autumnal Inspired Gift Wrap from Papermash

It's far too early to mention the C word. But it's never a bad time to mention pretty wrapping paper and gift tags that reflect the season we're in.

Gift wrapped parcels wrapped with leather string, £4.

Gift wrapped parcels wrapped with leather string, £4.

These pretty gift wrap ideas are from Papermash and we're firm believers that the way a gift is wrapped is just as important as the gift itself so we're big fans. Many of our items on the website are sourced from independent designers specialising in artisan techniques (another big tick from us), such as woodcut printing and letterpress. All of the items have been selected for their uniqueness and the quality of the product.

Metallic gift tags, set of 3 each of 3 designs, £4.

Metallic gift tags, set of 3 each of 3 designs, £4.

Nature postcards, 6 postcards with envelopes in 3 designs, £3.50.

Nature postcards, 6 postcards with envelopes in 3 designs, £3.50.

Papermash also stock beautiful things for the desk, so have a browse of the website while you're there and treat youself.

Giant bulldog clips used as picture display, £18.

Giant bulldog clips used as picture display, £18.

Travel Guide: The Island of Samos, Greece

Lying just off the Turkish coast, you can find Samos situated in the East Aegean sea, an island with so much history and beauty that will captivate you from the moment you descend. The island is the birthplace of Queen of the Greek Gods Hera, Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, the first known individual that suggested the Earth revolves around the sun.  Not only is Samos rich in history but it is also known for its sweet local wine.

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Where to Stay

Proteas Blu Resort, in Pythagorio. This 5 star adults only resort is perfect for a relaxing and romantic getaway. Overlooking the sea, it is a very calm and quiet place. Rooms are spread out on mediterranean landscaped terraces situated on a natural secluded bay, offering two beautiful private beaches. And if that wasn’t enough you can have your own private pool overlooking the mesmerising view. Yes, be prepared to be thoroughly spoilt indeed.

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Places to Visit

Vathy, Temple of Hera & Megali Panagia

When an island is that enchanting it’s hard not to play Robson Crusoe. Explore the lively capital, Vathy. Full of cute picturesque streets overlooking the sea and plenty of cool cafes to choose from. One of my favourites was cafe Ettikaipo, a cute coffee place just off a side street from the main square. Delicious ice coffees and teas to keep your cool in the blistering heat. After, head to the Temple of Hera, an ancient sanctuary dedicated to the Queen of Gods. Another highlight not to be missed is a visit to the monastery of Megali Panagia. Here there is an ancient cave where it is believed that mathematician Pythagoras was hiding from persecution and also taught his followers.

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Pythagorios, Boat trip & Likourgos Castle

Highly recommended is a fun picnic boat trip where you set off from Pythagorios port, organised by Samos Travel Services. First stop is the small island of Samiopoula on the southern coast and then onto Klima beach where you'll relax and enjoy a delicious barbecue. If you are ever in Samos then this is definitely something worth doing. After, head back to Pythagorios, a pretty town with side streets that are just so eloquently charming with typical Greek colours and the prettiest of doors. It is also the home to the remains of Likourgos Castle, a spectacle to see! There you'll find yourself on the edge surrounded by history and looking at the breathtaking sea. Take a walk back along Pythagorio Port to have dinner at Elia, highly recommended for delicious dishes to share.

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If you’re looking for a holiday destination and want a place that is interesting, rural and full of beautiful beaches then Samos is the island for you.

Please note that I was invited on this trip by Discover GreeceProteas Blu ResortSofitel Hotel and Aegean Airlines – who have three direct daily flights from London to Athens all year-round and on to Samos as well as more than 30 more Greek destinations. Boat trip was organised by Samos Travel Services.

Graham and Brown Predicts Design and Colour Trends for 2018

Graham & Brown has recently shared its insights and predictions for design and colour trends in the coming year curated by the in-house design studio. With a passion for discovering new ideas and possibilities for the world of decoration, the wallpaper and paint manufacturer constantly explores the diverse, seeking influence from all spheres in order to help spark the creative process of the design studio. 

So, identifying five key trends for 2018, resident Colour & Trends Specialist, Paula Taylor, shares the movements that will form the backdrop to Graham & Brown’s new collections: Ground, Trace, Bliss, Fluid and Zone.

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GROUND

Celebrating the raw beauty of what surrounds us, Ground draws inspiration from sensuous tactility, honing in on minute textures that form the basis of life.

Pure, fresh white forms combine with thick, woven detailing and the complex pattern of canework and basket weave. Woodgrains are layered and complemented by untouched, natural finishes, contrasted with fibrous sinews that are reworked into designs.

Integral to this trend is structure and dimension, bringing this organic beauty to life.

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TRACE

Looking to the sensitive and the ethereal, Trace appreciates the textural layers and trailing form of the world’s landscape and its inhabitants.

The hypnotic lines of the strata and wealth of rich minerals reflect the delicate, linear direction of nature itself. Figure and florals converge in a celebration of rich embellishment, offset with a gently subdued colour palette of lavender pink, arctic blue and cool heather.

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BLISS

This trend delves into the luscious forms of vegetation, from opulent botanicals to the sculptural architecture of succulents. Creating a synthesis between the two, Bliss embraces both the enduring and the transient, from dark moody blooms to softer, pretty petals. Vibrant shades of turquoise and parakeet green work with pops of fuchsia and rose to bring this look to life, and can be enhanced by dramatic, dark backdrops.

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FLUID

Fluid hones in on the global influences that surround us, celebrating a melting pot of craftsmanship and design. This trend encourages an appreciation of the awe-inspiring skills from around the world: intricate mark-making, weave-dying and bold, graphic elements that bring statement style.

Shades of bright papaya, sapphire and crimson fuse with more subtle, earthier tones of rust and juniper for highly coloured patterns that carry a significant design heritage.

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ZONE

As urban graffiti becomes a celebrated form of art, so too does the stark, raw beauty of the world’s architecture. Distressed concrete and metals, worn stone and ageing wood contrast with the technical precision of Western buildings. Drawing inspiration from the industrial nature of these structures, Zone merges the whimsical side of street art with its pop art colours and eye-catching graphic elements.

What's your favourite?