Lemon Meringue Drizzle Cake

We couldn't let The Great British Bakeoff end without a showstopper of course! And to celebrate the Queen becoming the longest reigning monarch in British History, a stunning new cake designed by TV Chef, Dean Edwards was crowned the Nation’s official “Elizabeth Sponge” earlier this month. The announcement comes following a three month hunt by Kenwood, which saw five of Britain’s top chefs create their ideal recipes for the public to vote for their favourite. 

Cooking time: 70-80mins.  Serves: 14

Equipment needed:

·         Kenwood CHEF Sense with bowl, K-Beater and Balloon Whisk

·         Baking trays

·         One piping bag

Meringue Ingredients:

·         5 egg whites

·         300g sugar

·         1 tsp corn flour

·         1 tsp vanilla essence

·         1 tsp white wine vinegar

·         Pinch of salt


·         220g unsalted butter softened

·         200g caster sugar

·         280g self-raising flour

·         4 free range organic eggs beaten

·         Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons grated

·         2 tbs lemon curd


·         Juice of 3 lemons

·         50g caster sugar


·         250g unsalted butter

·         250g cream cheese

·         200g icing sugar

·         Juice of 1 lemon

·         4-5 tbs shop bought lemon curd

Meringue Method:

1.        Using the balloon whisk in the Kenwood CHEF Sense, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until you achieve soft peaks, gradually add the sugar, and finally add the vinegar, corn flour and vanilla essence.

2.        Pipe out 6-8 some small peaked rounds 2 inches in diameter onto baking trays lined with greaseproof paper then pipe 1 inch rounds until the meringue is used up.

3.        Bake in a preheated oven set at 140ºC / Gas Mark 1 for 25-30mins; turn off oven, open door and leave to cool. For a quicker version you can use shop bought meringues.


1.        Use the K-Beater to cream the butter and sugar, add the zest, eggs then fold in sifted flour, mix until fully combined, then fold through the curd.

2.        Divide the mixture into two greased and lined 20cm sandwich tins. Bake in a pre-heated oven set at 180ºC / Gas Mark 4 for 45-50mins.

3.        Meanwhile mix lemon juice with the sugar. Remove the sponge from the oven prick all over with a skewer; pour the lemon juice over cake straight away. Leave to cool in the tins.

4.        Use the K-Beater to cream the butter until pale and light then add in the icing sugar and continue to whisk for a few minutes, add the cream cheese and beat until incorporated. Add in the lemon juice then mix one last time.

To assemble the cake:

1.        Put one of the sponges onto a cake stand; spread with lemon curd then spread the other half with some of the frosting.

2.        Place the sponges on top of each other.

3.        Using a palette knife spread over the frosting over the top and sides.

4.        Place the larger meringues around the top of the cake to replicate a crown then completely cover the rest with the smaller meringues.


Parma's Mercanteinfiera Opens its 34th International Fair

Mercanteinfiera, Europe’s oldest International Fair of modernism, antiques and collectibles opened its doors for the 34th time last weekend. The largest event of its kind in Italy, the twice yearly show returns to the historic and gastronomic city of Parma attracting more than 50,000 antique and design lovers, vintage enthusiasts, individual collectors, and hunters of curiosities from all over the world. This enormous, eclectic market with over 1,000 international exhibitors is a unique treasure trove selling everything from antiques and retro-modern furniture, to vintage jewellery and fashions.

For nine days from the 3rd until 11th October, Parma’s exhibition space Fiere di Parma will be transformed into a curious and unexpected city of antiquities and delights.  The fair is spread across four pavillions with sections devoted to vintage fashions and jewellery, antiques, furniture, vintage cars and the ‘Green’ area with antiquities and object d’art to transform gardens, outdoor spaces and verandas. There are dedicated food and drink areas and ATM’s on site and a shuttle bus from the city.

The Northern Italian city of Parma is a vibrant city with a rich and diverse cultural history. From Verdi's music and Correggio's exquisite art, to the city's spectacular architecture and its world famous foods, the area's history and culture are an inseparable part of its identity. Known as the heart of The Food Valley, Parma is widely celebrated for its long-standing and established gastronomic traditions and foods. The city has its own airport and easy access to regional cities like Bologna and Milan.   

Mercanteinfiera is a 9 day event being held from 3rd October to the 11th October 2015 in Parma, Italy. The exhibitions takes place twice a year in Spring and Autumn.  For more information and tickets please visit www.mercanteinfiera.it

Website of the Week – Style the Home

Style the Home is not just another shopping website. It’s a unique interiors directory created to showcase a special selection of handpicked, independent businesses from around the UK. Founder Danielle, not only has a passion for interior design but is driven to find unusual, quirky and unique home wares; as she says, she is fully aware of the wasted hours we all spend trawling the internet for that ‘special something’.

Antique Zinc Frames from Orchard Lane

Antique Zinc Frames from Orchard Lane

And there’s something for everyone, as Style the Home has an eclectic mix of businesses to get you inspired. And to help you keep organised, the site has a fun scrapbook feature where you can store your favourite businesses all in one place (like your very own ‘little black book’). All you have to do is register – and that’s for free! It’s also worth visiting often as the home page has a monthly update on featured products and featured companies.

What caught the eye of Heart Home?

Urban Chic Sideboard from Harley and Lola

Urban Chic Sideboard from Harley and Lola

Harley and Lola – featured business of September, who source ethically produced products and use recycled packaging wherever possible. We particularly love the Urban Chic range of furniture and one or two pieces may well make their way into the HH office.

Carnival Multi-Coloured Chandelier from Charlotte Rose Interiors

Carnival Multi-Coloured Chandelier from Charlotte Rose Interiors

The Directory – no more searching the web for unique bathroom accessories, or quirky kitchenware, or statement lighting. It’s all there at your fingertips, to browse, save to your scrapbook if you love it and buy, if you really can’t resist it. And we all know that feeling.

Tablecloth from Julia Brendel

Tablecloth from Julia Brendel

The Style Finds selection. This is the page where you are most likely to come across that illusive gift idea or ‘something special’ that you’ve been looking for. Or even something that you didn’t even know you were looking for. It’s crammed with Danielle’s curated collection of special finds.

Because after all, Christmas is only just around the corner.

ferm LIVING's New Collection

Another season, another reason to fall in love with ferm LIVING's latest collection bursting with Scandinavian charm. Inspired by Nordic style, the brand focuses on traditional designs with retro charm, ideal for adding contemporary vibes to your décor scheme. You'll find many new lovely products in the soft furnishings, home storage and office sections.

ferm LIVING draws on Scandinavian design traditions and simple aesthetics - but with a distinctive graphic edge that makes every item firmly contemporary. ferm LIVING is rooted in Denmark, where Trine Andersen founded a graphic design studio in 2005.

The products are made for people’s homes, and the simple house shape is an iconic symbol that just says “home”. That is why the house shape is a graphic key element on ferm LIVING labels, business cards, shop inventory – and of course also in the ferm LIVING product design.

Quilted Cushion - Light Grey, Rose and Bordeaux £79 each

Quilted Cushion - Light Grey, Rose and Bordeaux £79 each

Brass Pencil Holder £72

Brass Pencil Holder £72

Square Rack £89

Square Rack £89

All available from Amara.

The Vibrant London Home of a Collector and Object Maker

Craig Masson, artist and former Creative Director of dotcomgiftshop, about how his experience in the giftware trade has influenced his style, and his new online brand.

Craig and partner Jason, along with Battersea rescue dog Purdy, have lived in their Edwardian terraced house for around four years. Craig admits that the house was a “fixer-upper” when they bought it. “I really didn't want to pay over the odds for a house all done up in country style kitchen, only to remove it at some point”. He was keen to put his own stamp on the property: “There really wasn't much in the house when I found it worth keeping; it was the perfect blank canvas”.

Craig describes his locale, Tooting Bec, London, as “an amazingly vibrant place”. They have Tooting Common at the end of the street, a huge plus, especially for Purdy. “The Common is the loveliest place, it even has the UK’s largest, albeit coldest, fresh water pool.” “I guess you could say I have come back to my roots,” Craig explains, - his parents were born here but moved away to the Cotswolds before he was born.

The pair totally re-modelled the inside of the house, reducing it to bricks and rafters, and then rebuilt it from the bottom up. The house was renovated on a modest budget, and Craig admits a lot of pieces were sourced on eBay. The economics of the renovation were mixed: The reclaimed parquet floor was relatively cheap to source, but expensive to get laid, while the en-suite bathroom was cheap and on sale, but the expensive tiles make it look swish!” Craig cites eBay, Anthropologie, Rockett St.George and car boot fairs as his favourite places to shop. Recently they purchased four vintage Bakelite egg slicers, which now proudly hang on the kitchen wall.

Craig attributes the property’s design influences to “my current obsession for all things mid-century modern, my long standing love of kitsch and all the things that I have collected over my 48 years and also my work as a Creative Director in the giftware industry”.

Interestingly, Craig only designed the layout of the house after having lived in its original state of total disrepair for a year in order to “to get a feel for it, and see how the light worked”. During that period he created a 'mood wall' consisting of pages from interior magazines, postcards, photos of places and things that appealed to him and finally turned it all into a final ‘look’ for the house.

Craig, a trained chef, and Jason both love to cook and try to entertain as often as work and energy levels allow. His current signature dish is “a huge bowl of tasty paella plonked on the table for everyone to dig into.”

Perhaps it is unsurprising then that his favourite room, and the one they spend most time in, is the kitchen / diner, “the ice-cream cone, is my favourite view; when we eat dinner, I always try to sit facing that wall.”

While there are still a few areas where Craig feels the furniture configuration isn’t perfect and the garden could do with a little love, he confesses that “on the whole I love this house, its energy and its mood”.

Craig describes his style as “eclectic and very personal … I am a curator of things which all have one thing in common, I like them,” he laughs. Despite being the proud owner of three Peter Blake prints, Craig explains, “I wouldn't say I am an art collector, more of an object collector and maker.”

Craig has a studio in nearby Wimbledon Art Studios where he makes and sells his art dolls, made of vintage finds and domestic items. In addition to his art, Craig is currently hard at work creating a new giftware brand called Temerity Jones

Photographs: Paul Craig.  Words: Victoria Dockrell

This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

House Of Hackney x William Morris

House of Hackney, the luxury British lifestyle brand loved for its iconic prints will this Autumn introduce the first instalment of a ground-breaking collaboration with the inimitable William Morris.

The largest and most inspired House of Hackney collaboration to date, the launch of HOUSE OF HACKNEY X WILLIAM MORRIS marks a defining moment for Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle, who took inspiration from the great British designer when they founded their brand four years ago in 2011.

Invited by the William Morris Gallery to reimagine his works for a new generation, House of Hackney’s founders have chosen three key prints from the William Morris archive and breathed new life into them. Peacock and Dragon, Hyacinth and Blackthorn were selected for their stunning symmetrical proportions and imaginative use of motifs from the natural world. Adding a typically House of Hackney touch, Frieda and Javvy re-worked each print, experimenting with repeats and scales and applying a brighter, bolder colour palette than was possible with the natural vegetable dyes used by Morris & Co. The collection is completed by the Artemis print, created by House of Hackney’s own designers as a heightened, psychedelic homage to Morris’ work.

House of Hackney chose to collaborate with William Morris not only because of their shared bold, non-conformist approach, but also because of their shared values. Morris was inspired by the natural world and his work had its foundations in sustainability, using locally produced materials and respecting the natural environment. Since its inception, wherever possible House of Hackney has used small scale, skilled British manufacturers to bring its designs to life.

Speaking of the decision to collaborate, House of Hackney founder Frieda Gormley comments, “The HOUSE OF HACKNEY X WILLIAM MORRIS collaboration was a dream project to work on. His principle of coupling beautiful design with a social conscience was a key inspiration in the founding of our own brand, and we are privileged to have been allowed to access his spectacular archive, bringing his works to a new audience.”

House of Hackney X William Morris spans fashion and interiors, with hero pieces including British velvets and wallpapers, statement sofas and the brand’s ubiquitous pineapple lamps with a William Morris twist. The first Autumn / Winter 2015 instalment of the collection will be available to buy in September, with a Spring / Summer 2016 range being presented in November. There will also be a HOUSE OF HACKNEY X WILLIAM MORRIS concept store opening in central London during Autumn 2015 which will house the full collection.


Get Set for Autumn with these Essential Home Style Tips

Love it or loath it, autumn is here. Gone are those long, balmy summer days when windows were thrown wide from dawn ‘til dusk — to be replaced by the cooler, fresher climes of the approaching fall.

At this time of year, thoughts turn to thick wool coats, hats and scarves, and the long-neglected leather boots. But what about your home — how can you be sure it’s wrapped up and ready for autumn? 

To help you say goodbye to summer in style, here are some essential style tips to ensure your home is as autumn-ready as you are.

Layer Up Your Lounge

When temperatures start to drop, it’s time to dust off your throws and quilts, and layer them around your home once more.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to refresh your interiors for the new season, now’s the perfect time to buy new textiles and accessories that are equal parts stylish and cosy. We recommend opting for soft neutrals; the autumn/winter collection from luxury homeware brand, Murmur, could be just the ticket this season.

Dress Your Windows

To combat drafts and add cosiness, update your window dressings. From thick, floor length curtains to thermal-grade blackout blinds, there are plenty of stylish and practical ways to keep your home as snug as a bug this season. The folks at SoEasy Blinds recommend, “Layering both a blind and curtains at your windows will make your rooms super-snug as the colder weather draws in”.

Add Autumnal Accessories

In contrast to summer, when we spend as much time in the garden as we do in our living rooms, autumn is all about snuggling up before a roaring fire and embracing our cosy interior spaces.

To ensure your home is ready for autumn, kit it out with new accessories and bric-a-brac — we’re thinking scented candles (preferably vanilla-scented), stringed lights and charming tea light lanterns. For complete autumnal contentment, check out the variety of unique, seasonal homeware accessories on Not on the High Street here.

Consider Your Existing Lighting

Although it happens each year, the dark evenings of autumn can come as a shock after the long, sunlit days of summer — when you rarely had to switch on a lamp. With the clocks set to change in just a couple of weeks however, now is the perfect time to consider your existing lighting and make sure it’s ship-shape for the new season.

Whilst ceiling lights are practical for use on a gloomy morning when you’re trying to get ready for work, they do little in the way of creating autumnal cosiness. That’s why we’d recommend adding a lamp or two to each room of your home to strike a balance between practicality and cosiness. For further tips on how to nail interior lighting in your home, check out this expert lighting guide from Real Simple.  

Mini Amarula Cheesecakes

These decadent but easy mini cheesecakes have dark chocolate in them and are made with Amarula, a cream liqueur from South Africa, which is made from the marula fruit. It is said in Africa that even elephants love to feast on the fermenting marula fruits, which makes them a little tipsy! 

Makes 12 individual cheesecakes.

Ingredients for the base and filling:

·        100g butter

·        250g dark chocolate digestive biscuits

·        400g full-fat cream cheese

·        40ml Amarula or other cream liqueur (optional)

·        70ml icing sugar, sifted

·        200ml double cream

·        60g dark chocolate, grated

To garnish:

·     20g dark chocolate, grated

·     Fresh raspberries


1.     Crush the digestive biscuits with a pestle or in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumb consistency.

2.     Melt the butter in a pan and add the crushed biscuits. Remove from heat. Mix until the biscuits have absorbed the butter and the chocolate in the biscuits has melted.

3.     Spoon the mixture into a 12-hole muffin tin lined with muffin cases. There will be roughly one heaped tablespoon of mixture in each case. Press the mixture firmly down. Place in the refrigerator and chill for one hour.

4.     Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Whip the cream until firm peaks appear.

5.     Lightly whip the cream cheese and then beat in the Amarula and icing sugar. Fold the whipped cream and grated chocolate into the cream cheese mixture. When smooth, spoon the mixture evenly onto the biscuit bases, ensuring there are no gaps.

6.     Refrigerate and allow to set for a further two hours. Once set, remove the cupcake cases and decorate with grated chocolate and raspberries.

This recipe is courtesy of The Impala Collection, who sell exclusive homewares from Zimbabwe. The cheesecakes have been served on a Serving Platter in Spiral Design for extra wow factor.


Bethan Gray Exhibit Her Luxurious Private Collection

Bethan Gray, winner of the Best British Designer Award 2014 is delighted to have launched new pieces and a new palette for her Private Collection at this year’s Decorex, the first time that she has exhibited at the leading UK design show for the luxury interiors market.

Bethan’s exquisite Private Collection, handmade in London, embodies her signature style - a love of detail, tactile textures and luxurious natural materials. Handmade to order, the range can be tailored for both the Interior Design and A&D markets.

The Band collection

The Band collection

The new Band range of tables consist of specially selected European marbles which are cut, polished and then lacquered with a protective finish to give a durable and stain-resistant surface. The solid marble is then encased in a warm and elegant metallic rim to give a distinctive, contemporary aesthetic.

The Band range is available with single colour marble tops or two tone options from the new palette, which include the beautiful and sophisticated Rosa marble and a timeless Verde marble. Handcrafted techniques are then used to combine selected marbles in a striking and graphic pattern. 

Bases are powder coated in colours from the new palette and combined with precision machined brass feet, hand brushed and finished by our craftsmen. 

”Our new Band Collection brings the natural beauty of coloured marble together with warm brushed brass to create a pairing of materials that elegantly enhance each other. I hope that the combination of materials and shapes has created a warm contemporary and timeless range” Bethan Gray.

Brogue Collection

Brogue Collection

Also being launched are the Three Colour versions of the classic Brogue tables, as well as a new Dining Table. New Three Colour Mirrors provide a perfect complement to these new pieces. The mirrors are made from three separate leather pieces, hand stitched onto a steel frame.

Drawing initial inspiration from the more unusual varieties of stone, such as deep greens and soft pink marbles, Bethan selected a range of sumptuous complementary leather colours.

Bethan explored how one palette can contain both soft, muted, warm and feminine elements as well as having very rich, deep, highly pigmented and sophisticated colours too.

The Cocktail Hour

Now that we've established that 'staying in, is the new going out', it's time to ramp up the glam factor by re-introducing the cocktail hour into our lives. It's the perfect excuse for inviting over a friend or two, dressing up, and finding out if you prefer your martini's shaken or stirred.

A retro bar-cart will always set the scene and is the perfect excuse for displaying a few necessary accessories. A pretty tray will keep all of the smaller items neat and tidy and ice buckets, cut-glass decanters, and cocktail shakers can be picked up for a song on ebay. Don't forget a vase of fresh blooms or a bowl of lemons to add colour and vibrancy, and add to the sense of occasion.

Pineapple Martini

1 oz of Smirnoff Pineapple

2.5 fl oz pineapple juice

A dash of Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Liqueur (bottle shown in image)

A dash of pomegranate liqueur

Shake together the Smirnoff Pineapple, pineapple juice and the Curacao liqueur,  strain, and serve in a martini vase. Add the pomegranate liqueur (it will drop to the bottom of the glass) and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a twist of lime zest.


Glass & Brass Drinks Tray from Zara Home

Jasper Conran Martini Glasses from Debenhams

Cocktail Shaker set from Debenhams

Drinks Trolley, get similar from Oliver Bonas, £350

Stylist: Aurélien Farjon. Photographer: Alex Edwards


Lee Broom Presents 'The Flower Shop' At London Design Festival

To celebrate the launch of Lee Broom’s first collection of vases, for one week only, his flagship store has become ‘The Flower Shop’. Available exclusively at the store, the ‘Podium’ vases takes centre stage in an immersive floral display throughout the store which has been completely re-designed for the event.

The Podium vases play with the sculptural quality of balance and asymmetric silhouettes.  Combining heavy weight marble with transparent glass, the collection continues Broom’s fascination with opposing materials brought together to create playful yet elegant pieces.  The three glass vessel shapes are interchangeable between either the round white or black square marble base and can be selected in the desired combination. Podium is only available for purchase exclusively at Lee Broom’s flagship store or online at leebroom.com.

Following the success of his recent award winning Milan show ‘The Department Store’, Lee Broom is also presenting his new 25 piece collection for the first time in London.  Furniture, lighting and accessories are presented in glass display cases and on marble plinths surrounded by a sweeping display of fresh flowers inspired by Broom’s collections.

The Flower Kitchen in the basement of Lee Broom’s Flower Shop

The Flower Kitchen in the basement of Lee Broom’s Flower Shop

Crystal Bulbs, Dcenaterlights and half Cut glasses surrounded by flowers

Crystal Bulbs, Dcenaterlights and half Cut glasses surrounded by flowers

“With every London Design Festival we like to transform our space into something new and 2015 will be no exception. With brand new products, a profusion of flowers and edible floral treats, it is sure to be a complete sensory experience.”  Lee Broom

Podium Globe

Podium Globe

Shoreditch Design Triangle, Electra House, 95 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY. 

Dates: Wednesday 23 September – Sunday 27 September

Recipe of the Week: Prawn Cocktail

"This was always the highlight of Christmas in my nannies house. She would start to make the marie rose sauce and me and my sister thought she was a magician as it was the 80's and everything came out of a pack, bottle or tin! So this was special. This is my interpretation of this iconic family dish".

(Richard Bainbridge, celebrated chef well known for The Great British Menu, and proprietor of Benedicts). 

Serves 4

500g Peeled Prawns

2 Whole Baby Gems

8 Cherry Tomatoes (washed and halved)

1/2 Cucumber (washed, peeled and cut into cubes)

2 Slices of Stale Sour Dough

Fresh Raspberries (washed)

For the Marie Rose Sauce:

2 Egg Yolks

1 tsp Cider Vinegar

1 tsp Dijon Mustard

50 mls Whiskey of your choice or to taste

250 mls Rapeseed Oil

4 Drops of Tabasco

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup

Place egg yolks into a bowl with the vinegar and mustard and whisk. Slowly start to had the rapeseed into the egg mixture whiles you are continuously whisking (you can do this in a food processor as well if you wish) once all the oil has been added it should start to look like a rich golden mayonnaise. Now add the tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco and the whiskey to taste. Place in fridge until needed. This will keep for up to 4 days.

Sour Dough Crumb

Take the stale sour dough and place in a food possessor and blend until a rustic crumb. Place a small frying pan on a high heat. Once hot, add a little Rapeseed oil and add the crumb. Fry off until golden and crisp. Remove from heat and place the crumb onto a tea towel to drain. This will keep for up to 4 weeks in an air tight container.

Baby Gem

Slice the baby gem in half, length ways. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat. Once hot, line the pan with rapeseed oil, Sprinkle the half of baby gems with salt, lay in the pan and colour on one side until golden and light crisp. Remove from the pan.


Lightly wash the prawns and season with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. To Dress

Place the baby gem in the middle of the serving plate. Sprinkle the prawns over the baby gems. Place your Tomatoes and Cucumbers over and around the Prawns. Take a few raspberries per person and rip apart over the whole dish. Spoon a big spoon full of the marie rose sauce where you see it fit and last sprinkle the sour dough crumb all over the dish just before serving. Enjoy !

Family Inspirations With Sophie Conran

For Sophie Conran, interior design and cooking are far from just a hobby, they are a way of life. With parents that have made their names in the world of food and interiors, it’s little wonder that these two things play such a big part of Sophie Conran’s day-to-day life too.

Growing up, Sophie would spend time with her Dad, Terence, in his design studio and her mum, Caroline, in her kitchen and now as a mum and business woman herself she has turned her own passion for cooking and home interiors into her work with her eponymous homeware brand

This means that a typical working day for Sophie will consist of having breakfast with her husband and children, before driving to work for a 10am start. Meeting with her team to go through their to-do lists for the day is her first task and Sophie says that she loves the fact that every day is different. “There are always various product launches to plan, licensee partners to meet with, recipes to trial, blog posts to write. The day always go by so quickly, with so much going on.”

Despite the hectic schedule, an important part of the day for Sophie and her team is lunchtime, when they all take a break together and catch up on non-work related things.

Work over and there’s often time for socialising in the evenings too. “During the week we go out quite a bit,” Sophie comments.  “There are so many exciting and diverse restaurants to go to in London, but we also cook at home too, for friends and family. My two ‘children’ (who are 18 and 21!) are living at home at the moment too and they also love cooking and entertaining.”

The weekends are just as busy, although Sophie’s focus shifts from her business to renovating the family’s house in the country. “It’s a huge project which will probably take the rest of my life!”, she laughs. “There is always so much to do so we are kept busy either in the house or in the garden, but just being there and escaping from the city is really therapeutic.”

“Quite often the whole family will come down for the weekend and we go on long walks, cook lunches and dinners and then settle in by the fire.”

Sophie draws a great deal of inspiration from her mum when making her house into a home. She says: “My mum is very ethereal and inspirational in the way she applies technique and colour. My own home is comfortable, uplifting and homely. My kitchen has bold pink walls, with open shelving packed with all my kitchen tools.

“My bedroom and home office have a softer palette of pastels that’s very calming, while my sitting room has lots of red and orange to create energy. I like to use colour to create the atmosphere most appropriate for the use of the room.”

Growing up in a very busy household means that Sophie takes great joy from entertaining regularly at home and is used to having lots of people around. “It’s great to have get-togethers and spend time with friends and family. I love cooking and I also enjoy decorating the table and making beautiful floral centrepieces. I think good food is important, but it shouldn’t take over the evening. Pies are perfect for this! They are easy as you cook them before-hand. Love is the most important ingredient!”

“I’m a keen cook and my favourite dish changes with the seasons. At the moment I am cooking lots with beans and pulses and root vegetables. They are my current favourites.”

With such a love of entertaining and cooking, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Sophie’s favourite room in her home is the kitchen. “It is the heart of our home and is a very creative space. I spend most of my time in the kitchen, whether it be cooking, having friends over for coffee, eating with the family or just relaxing and reading a book.”

When it comes to complete downtime though, Sophie admits she likes nothing better than enjoying a quiet night in with her husband, and indulging in a hot bath with delicious bath oils and candles. “I love sitting by the fire in a pair of cashmere tracksuit bottoms, hand-knitted socks and a big jumper!”

Article written by Kelly Lavender taken from January 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

The Vineyard, Berkshire

A Californian hotel hidden on the rural outskirts of Newbury, The Vineyard is the picture of luxury and a wine aficionados’ heaven.

Founded by the Californian vineyard owner Sir Peter Michael, the hotel combines tradition with contemporary touches. The interior is relaxed yet stylish, with bold colours, elegant furnishing and eye catching artwork, which adorns nearly every wall.

When we stayed we had the ‘The Judgement of Paris’ menu, named after the wine tasting competition in 1976 which saw Californian wine picked above French wine in a blind tasting. You can taste your way through the hotel’s extensive wine cellar and you might just discover an unexpected love of Californian wine. You can also take a tour of the impressive space, which holds around 30,000 bottles. Wine lovers will enjoy walking over the glass floor above the temperature-controlled cellars, and spying the very expensive vintage bottles.

Back in the restaurant, a selection of carefully crafted courses are matched with each wine, and the knowledgeable and passionate staff are always on hand to explain the origin of the wine or why it was chosen to compliment a particular course. It’s worth noting that although the wine is without doubt the star of the show, the food is really very good too. Think hand dived Orkney scallops with baby artichoke, aubergine and polenta or corn fed chicken with endive, toasted cauliflower and collonata. Yum.

We all know the saying ‘Hair of the dog’, but at the Vineyard this takes on a whole new meaning. Who knew the best way to shake off the wine from the night before is being wrapped head to toe in a red grape wrap? The Vineyard’s boutique spa also boasts a bar, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and circular swimming pool if treatments aren’t you cup of tea.

With luxurious bedrooms, a boutique spa and an impressive art collection, including Sir Peter Michael’s commissioned rendition of The Judgement of Paris, this hotel really demands a visit. Once you’re settled in an armchair by the fire, a glass of California’s best in your hand, we promise you’ll find it quite hard to leave…

Rooms start at £480 a night

The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU. Tel: 01635 899513


Ellie Walker-Arnott is a regular contributor to Heart Home. You can also find her over at London lifestyle blog  http://filterldn.co.uk/

Introducing Furniture Brand Matière Grise

Here at Heart Home we are loving furniture brand Matière Grise, inspired and driven by Isabelle Mortreuil. Matière Grise has been offering indoor and outdoor furniture collections defined by their simplicity, joy and industrial elegance.

Developed in 2005, this brand produces an array of contemporary pieces to update your home. Also perfect to add a bit of character to your balcony, terrace or garden. Offering simple lines, each piece comes in a choice of so many colors, 15 to be exact which make any space so much more fun and individual.

The perfect example to see this collection in its full glory is in the Suite Novotel, Accor - The Hague, Netherlands. As seen in the images, Matiere Grise’s furniture pieces play a vital role in making this space so contemporary yet so fun at the same time. Each piece is so versatile and perfect for modernizing a space. It’s all about simplicity and creating a joyful and peaceful atmosphere.

Some models from the Matière Grise collection are also available in aluminum for maximum durability. A Low aluminum table or steel dessert, shelves, chairs and consoles are just a few examples of what is available. You really are spoilt for choice!

Amongst the many fantastic collections, one of our favorites is the Helm collection. These are totally comfortable aluminum armchairs, with an excellent wear ability. The back cushion is made of outdoor fabric where its cover can be removed and washed. Helm will perfectly fit any of Matiere Grise table collections. 

It really is no surprise why Matière Grise has succeeded over the last 10 years in establishing itself as a permanent feature of the French metal furniture landscape. It really is about good design that portrays a good dose of sensitivity, for furniture that offers a high capacity of seduction.

Helm Collection

Helm Collection

Helm Collection

Helm Collection

Hotel Acor Suite Novotel

Hotel Acor Suite Novotel

Hotel Acor Suite Novotel

Hotel Acor Suite Novotel

This post is in collaboration with Matière Grise, words are our own.

Cordello Home Launches New Signature Collection

Cordello Home is delighted to introduce their new Signature Collection, a stylish and contemporary range designed to add a cheerful pop of pattern to the breakfast table.

Using a sophisticated blue accent hue, the Signature Collection comprises hand decorated fine bone china pieces, a round birch wood tray handmade in Sweden and a lambswool throw woven in Scotland.

The collection has the ritual of breakfast at its heart, celebrating the most important meal of the day. The fine bone china pieces include a cup & saucer, side plate, eggcup and teapot, whose chic geometric patterns are perfectly complemented by the inverted bold marine blue design of the round tray.

Completing the collection is a superfine Geelong lambswool throw, perfect for snuggling up with on a chilly autumn morning.

Kate Shaw is the founder and design director of Cordello Home, which launched in July 2014. Following a successful career in banking, Kate followed in her father’s footsteps and returned to her design heritage roots and, together with her husband, set up a global design agency that uses a distinctive heart in their logo. This in turn became the inspiration behind the Cordello Home brand.

Here Heart Home catches up with the lovely designer in question…

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m very passionate about things I believe in. I commit totally to whatever I’ve decided to do and have always worked exceptionally hard. I truly believe that you cannot expect anything without hard work. I am a little impatient though and cannot sit still, always challenging myself and those around me – I don’t want to be ordinary and I’m so inspired by other people’s achievement.

2. How would you describe your design style?

Eclectic! I love a variety of styles from mid-century to art deco, pattern and colour. 

3. Where do you find inspiration?

Interiors magazines, Instagram, Italy and generally when I’m travelling.

4. Name 3 things you cannot live without?

iPhone, 8 hour cream & good Italian coffee

5. Which is your favourite room in your home and why?

Tricky one, it’s between our kitchen, which has been extended and we planned it for about 2 years before we did it. But I also love my dressing room as it’s such a luxury to have a dressing table (from Nina Campbell) and a shoe cabinet (decadent!)

6. Name someone who has inspired you and how?

Paul Smith – from starting his working life in a warehouse to building his globally renowned business and still involved in every aspect of his business. He has created a true brand, one of quality and instantly recognisable from clothes to interiors. I also love his attitude – he has been quoted as saying “take it easy, grow gently and you’ll have a lovely life” - wise words to take onboard.

7. Currently you are listening to?

Communion album by Years & Years

8. What other profession would you secretly like to have sampled?

Long ago I really wanted to be a journalist

9. What’s your favourite meal?

Breakfast – eggs in any form, but particularly poached

10. If there were a fire what 3 things would you save from your home?

My husband (clearly!), my two cats and my Art Deco standard lamp 

11. If there was one person you could meet who would it be?

Jonathan Adler - at his home on Shelter Island please!

12. What is your favourite colour?


13. What is your star sign?


14. What is your favourite city to visit and why?

I love Miami as it has everything – fantastic history and wonderful art deco architecture, gorgeous beaches and fabulous restaurants. It can be relaxing as well as party central.

15. Describe your perfect weekend.

One where I don’t have to work… Saturday morning involves a lie in, gym session then a big brunch. A perfect Saturday night would be spent with friends at one of our local restaurants. Sunday is all about Sunday lunches with family and friends, and a relaxing afternoon catching up on my magazines, and on my iPad looking at property and interiors!

The Signature Collection will debut at Home London and Tent London in September 2015.

Comfortable Minimalism for Your Living Room

While we don’t all love strict Scandinavian minimalism, we are all familiar with the phrase less is more. With British homes getting smaller and smaller, a well-balanced space and furniture arrangements are becoming more of challenge. Due to less space being spare, multifunctional furniture and space-efficiency are becoming key selling points.

Utilising a maximum amount of space in your home doesn’t always come as a result of vertical and horizontal arrangements such as shelves or chests of drawers. Often using comfortable furniture to suit your needs can harmonise your space, and let you enjoy the furniture the way you want to. Utilising your space doesn’t always mean that you need to spend many hours on DIY projects either. Often all it takes is just to change up your furniture!  

Using bean bags in interior design may at first sound like something from the late 1990’s. However, fashion turns in cycles. Incorporating that lovely bean bag you have seen is not an impossible task anymore. Bean bags from BeanBagBazaar range, for example, introduces a wide range of soft functionality for your home. The items can transform your coffee table into a comfortable stool, for instance, or perhaps a soft book holder. Also, the company has more than a hundred colours and styles to choose from, which allows you to incorporate their functionality into your contemporary home stress-free. 

Incorporating fur throws and carpets into interior design has become considerably popular too, with the sheep skin thrown on the floor especially becoming almost a must for every home.

However, fur is utilised more functionally in industrial interiors to soften the look and introduce a home-like cosiness into the surroundings. Using fur bean bags for such rough loft environments can also eliminate a majority of problems faced with the traditional fur covers and throws. Furthermore, using fur bean bags can help save a load of space in your apartment and provide a comfortable seating arrangement in almost any space of your home. You can change it up to with double bean bags too, in order to introduce a more intriguing piece of furniture in your home.

Keeping on the topic of fur bean bags, these can also be used in the children’s rooms for sitting or sleeping arrangements to keep your kids happy. 

Whatever interior home improvement you make, bear in mind that keeping your abode cosy and functionally balanced with your choices of furniture will help you keep your head straight and relaxed. 

Ben Pentreath Adds More Quirkyness to Alternative Flooring

September is such an exciting time in the design world. London is buzzing with the Design Festival and new ranges and new products drop into our mail box on an hourly basis. It’s also the time of year when the best design collaborations are revealed, and one we’re really excited about is the collaboration between Alternative Flooring and Ben Pentreath.

Ben is one of the UK’s leading architectural and interior designers. He is also a great exponent of English style. His architectural practice has worked on projects from new housing developments for The Prince of Wales to private houses in the UK, Ireland and the United States. And now he is adding great British pattern to the Quirky B collection with three new designs called ‘Cube’ ‘Tetra’ and ‘Lattice.’  The twelve colourways are named after Georgian architects and fuse country-house with contemporary style. 

The designs create complex three-dimensional patterns that trick the eye and play with space, in a way, which create rich textures for the contemporary English interior.  Rooted in tradition, I am always surprised how fresh and modern these classical designs can be, and it’s been a real honour to work with the talented people at Alternative Flooring to bring this collection to fruition.’  Ben Pentreath.

Alternative Flooring is an award-winning CoolBrand that embraces a creative spirit and head of creative, Lorna Haigh, is delighted to have Ben Pentreath on board.

Alternative Flooring leads the way in the patterned carpet revival with Quirky B. Last year we worked with Ashley Hicks and Margo Selby and to have someone as influential as Ben Pentreath as our new collaborator is a masterstroke.  It is really refreshing to work with British designers from different fields as they all bring a new perspective to our flooring.’ 

Heart Home couldn’t resist asking a few more questions of Ben.

What sort of interior would suit them best?

'There is a hint of something smart about the carpets, but I hope they are relaxed enough to feel at home in a lot of interiors. The darker, richer colours would look beautiful in a book room, or library; the lighter and fresher tones, in soft greys, would be perfect for a bedroom or a country drawing room'.  

How and where are the products made?

'Alternative Flooring believes that creating carpet is a craft. The carpet is woven on traditional axminster looms in Salisbury in Wiltshire, where the making of carpets is a tradition that goes back through the centuries'.

How did you settle on the colourways for Cube, Tetra and Lattice?

'I worked carefully with Alternative Flooring on the colour ways.  Every carpet is woven to order on a number of looms that carry a series of colour ranges. So we worked together within those ranges to create a set of colour ways that had a unity, yet hopefully creating distinct and individual character to each piece'. 

Do you think carpet is poised for a re-emergence?

'It’s always hard to predict future trends, without sounding pretentious.  But having said that – if the future is soft and patterned, rather than hard and plain, then I’m in favour'

Ben Pentreath for Alternative Flooring launches on Alternative Flooring Stand C21 at Decorex, 20 – 23 September, 2015.

Twitter: @AlternativeFlr

The Slow Life Exhibition at Merci Concept Store

Ex-editorial adviser to Marie Claire maison and currently artistic director at Merci, Daniel Rozensztroch is one of the leading names in Paris design Industry.

This autumn, he invites us to discover “the meaning of things” through the “Slow life” exhibition. Inspiration, implementation and difficulties… Daniel reveals the exhibition secrets of THE Parisian destination store.

The exhibition is entitled « Slow life – Keep cool like is beautiful “; how did you come up with this idea?

Slow Life came throughout an observation that I made to myself. Like some people, I am very sensitive to dramatic events that punctuate our daily lives. They can strongly change our behaviour and influence our happiness. On one hand, I refuse to slide into a completely negative vision of our society. We need small daily pleasures to survive. Slow Life is made up of these small, simple and everyday pleasures that embody a selection of aesthetically pleasing objects that are simple and charming in nature, far from the world of ostentatious luxury and distracting gadgets. I strongly believe in moderation. I think that we are in a time where it becomes reasonable. Excess is no longer trendy; it adds nothing.  You realize that you can be happy by being “normal.” Perhaps in a few years we will need to express ourselves more strongly but today we need to get back to the basics. 

On what criteria did you base the selection of your products (colors, materials, brands…)?

First, we selected products based on their use. Then, we refined our search to the type of material with particular interest in natural materials such as wood, ceramic or concrete.

What was the most difficult part in implementation the project?

During the setup, we realized that people touched all the objects that were used to design the installation. We had to put up a barrier to protect them. It was a constraint that was eventually well integrated into the installation! 

Tell us a little bit about your home's design. 

My interior is a real mix of styles, with a clash of cultures and a predilection for mineral based materials. It is a kind of urban and contemporary industrial workshop. There are objects similar to those found in a Cabinet of Curiosities that sit alongside 18th century baroque pieces as well as very industrial objects. 

According to you, what makes Merci different from others concept stores?  

Merci stands out from other concept stores because it is a store where you feel at home. People come to walk around and discover simple things. The store imparts a desire to stay and is artistically managed in a very spontaneous, relaxed and sensible manner! 

Created in March 2009 by Marie-France and Bernard Cohen in a majestic loft, Merci is a Parisian concept store dedicated to Fashion and Design. Located in one of the trendy districts of Paris (“Le Marais”), it quickly turned into the reference of the Parisian destination shopping. With 1500 m2 split over three different floors (Hardware underground, Fashion at the ground floor and Household at the first floor) the store is undoubtedly one of the favorite places of design lovers who are visiting the French capital. So let’s shop some genius and unique pieces that you’ll certainly not find elsewhere and don’t forget to have a break in the Merci “Used book café”.

Merci concept store: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France (from Monday to Saturday).

Opening hours: 10 am – 7pm

New Autumn/Winter Collection From Graham & Brown

While summer only officially ends on the 23rd September, Graham & Brown are ready to move onto their Autumn/Winter collections. Launching their new range, it revives the traditional art of block printing to create a one-of-a-kind, jaw-dropping collection.

It’s time to ditch the light, summery pastel colours in favour of richer designs that add a degree of warmth and comfort to your home. As ever, Graham & Brown is here to help you make a seamless transition from one season into another.


Reviving the traditional art of block printing, their new Artisan collection is unlike anything that has been created before. Printed on fibrous material to give a subtle textured finish, this new collection combines old methods with new technology for a striking contemporary look.

With gorgeous metallic elements and a slightly distressed finish, you can achieve a luxurious look in your own home - one that replicates the bold colours of the autumn season perfectly.

The stunning motifs look fantastic on all four walls, but the new collection also features some classic striped designs and metallic backdrops for a more modest look. They may be strikingly different, but sometimes opposites do attract and you can create a true statement of decadence by mixing and matching each motif around the home.