The Tragedy of Landscape is a new exhibition curated by Antlers for Griffin Gallery, London.
The exhibition brings together six contemporary artists that re-approach notions of the Romantic Landscape within their practice. The show takes its name from a comment on the work of Caspar David Friedrich by David d’Angers:
“Friedrich! … The only landscape painter so far to succeed in stirring up all the forces of my soul, the painter who has created a new genre: the tragedy of the landscape.”
The exhibiting artists share a common interest in the landscape genre and – in their own way – all act to subvert our perceived notions of it. We are invited to look at what lurks behind the idylls that we are presented with and think beyond the anaesthetised, beatified view of the natural world; works that appeal to our notions of beauty will often allude to something more sinister when enquired upon further.
Many of the artists work directly with historical paintings and etchings, reworking them into new imagery in order to play on the fabricated, fictional nature of the original works and promote the fantastical.
Others use the Romantic Landscape as a motif – a departure point to re-examine our relationship with the natural world. Seeing their 17th / 18th Century counterparts as the first ecological movement and exploring how this is updated in a world where the idea of the sublime is as easily related to the onslaught of technology, as it is a mountain or waterfall.
Preview: Wednesday 11th February 6-9pm Exhibition Open: 12th February – 13th March 2015 Griffin Gallery, The Studio Building, 21 Evesham Street, London, W11 4AJ
There is always something so timeless about a shaker kitchen. It's contemporary simplicity always gives it that extra appeal. The best part of a shaker kitchen is that it is so versatile. It can look just as good in a country home as in a city flat.
You can never go wrong with a cream and white shaker kitchen. Always so popular and perfect if you're going after a timeless look. We are currently loving Wrens range of cream kitchens. However if you are feeling a little adventurous you can always go for a pastel toned kitchen. These can look so pretty and also cosy.
It is always so fascinating to see that the Shaker design originated from a religious movement that began in the 1770s during the American colonial era. The design tends to avoid any flourishes of style in favor of a simple and functional aesthetic. The simple and clean lines of Shaker cabinets lend themselves to placement in modern or contemporary kitchen designs, despite their traditional origin. And that is what we love about the shaker kitchen
Laura wanted to find the perfect home to provide an escape from her busy London life and whilst searching, she fell in love with an idyllic country retreat near the Dorset coast; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. It’s a Grade II listed stable block with an original cobbled courtyard, nestled in the grounds of a private estate. She and her fiancé, photographer Patrick Butler-Madden, moved in with their Maltese Terrier, Coco a year ago.
“We were looking for somewhere in the countryside near the Dorset Coast, but within walking distance of pubs and restaurants. I love period properties with character and Patrick wanted a light bright space. We were so lucky we found this house, it ticked all the boxes!”
Their luck continued; the property was in such good condition it didn’t require any structural work, allowing Laura to devote all her time to the interiors. Her thrifty ideas and eye for a bargain enabled her to complete the beach inspired décor on a modest budget. “We didn’t have much left over after buying the property “ she admits “but luckily there are some wonderful places around town to pick up some real bargains. I was also fortunate with pieces like the dresser in the kitchen, it was a family heirloom. I stripped and painted it myself, and now it fits really well with the coastal theme”.
Throwing themselves into the local way of life, the pair love nothing more than spending a Saturday morning at the Bridport antiques market (which sounds perfect for picking up those one off gems - £20 for a working 1920’s Singer sewing machine anyone?) Followed by a coastal walk, pub lunch, log fire, hearty dinner, with some home grown vegetables to boot.
The pair are great supporters of local businesses and employed some nearby hands to help with the painting and tiling. They also hired a local carpenter to complete the more unusual task of creating a dining table out of reclaimed scaffolding planks, and had the footstool upholstered in an old grain-sack. “It’s lovely and rustic” she smiles, “it also means we can mark it without worrying – it all adds to the character!”
Adding to her clever use of up cycling, it is apparent that Laura has a penchant for vintage. The floral fabrics, pastel shades and the romantic use of white are all evidence of this pretty theme. But before this courtyard cottage whimsically transports you back in time, sudden interjections of modern patterns and use of vibrant colour provide a contemporary twist ensuring that the old is brought back into the new.
“I like to work with a neutral palette and add splashes of bold colour with standout pieces. My favourite pieces include two brightly coloured rugs and a bright pink Nina Campbell armchair” she explains.
“Our favourite room is the kitchen/dining/sitting room; it’s such a light, brightspace and has a real wow factor; it’s not what you’d expect at all in a listed cottage; it really is the perfect escape from the city.”
Despite living deep in the country, Laura and Patrick are rarely without company; they love nothing more than hosting friends from London in their beautiful rural retreat. Perhaps they would consider extending this offer to the wider public - I’m sure they’d have plenty of takers!
There really are no limits to what can be achieved with a Stiltz Home Lift as one of their customers recently proved by turning it into an iconic red telephone box – an instantly recognisable symbol of Great Britain.
Before and after.
Having decided they wanted to buy a domestic lift for practical reasons, the couple initially looked at hydraulic lifts but found that it would have required too many expensive structural changes to the property.
Then they became aware of the Stiltz Home Lift – an innovative non-hydraulic through floor lift powered by an electric motor system that sits on top of the lift. The lift is a self-supporting structure, does not need to be fixed to walls, and travels via patented dual rails.
Because of these unique features it meant the lift can be fitted practically anywhere in the home. But the customer, based in Pennsylvania in the USA, wanted to make it fun and stand out when visitors came to their home.
So after purchasing what was needed over the internet, they fitted a K2 British red telephone box around the lift, minus the door, to make it totally unique to their home and give it that ‘wow’ factor.
The Stiltz Lift, more commonly known as home elevators across the pond, was fitted between their upstairs hall and first floor hall, in just one day. As can be seen from the before and after pictures, no doubt Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1880-1960), the designer of the red telephone box, would be proud.
I fed this cake to the fashion designer Julien Macdonald during an interview for my column in Harper’s Bazaar and he couldn’t believe he was eating something so tasty that was healthy too! This cake is packed full of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which help keep the skin looking young and feeling soft, because of the high avocado content.
5 very ripe avocados
150g agave syrup
150g coconut oil, melted
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ tbsp rosewater
finely grated zest of ½ lemon and 1 lime, to garnish
For the base:
45g raw almonds
150g dried dates
65g raw Brazil nuts
35g raw pecans
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
53g desiccated coconut
Line a 21cm round springform cake tin with baking parchment.
To make the base, put the almonds, dates, Brazil nuts and pecans in a bowl, cover with water and allow to soak for 1 hour.
Drain the water and put the soaked nuts and fruit into a food processor along with the melted coconut oil and desiccated coconut. Whizz until you get a crumb-like texture that sticks together when you squeeze it between your fingers.
Tip the crumbs into the prepared tin and press evenly over the bottom. Pop into the freezer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Peel and stone the avocados and squeeze the juice from both lemons over them immediately; this will stop them going brown. Transfer the contents of the bowl into a high-speed blender along with the agave syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and rosewater and blend until you get an extremely smooth texture.
Take the base out of the freezer and pour this filling all over it. Pop back into the freezer for another 30 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for another hour. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Carefully remove from the cake tin, place on a plate and garnish with lemon and lime zests.
Believe it or not, we all sleep for approximately one third of our lives. Although this may seem like one of those pointless statistics that makes us feel depressed about waiting at traffic lights for a year in our lifetime, this third is a rather important one. A good night’s sleep is key when it comes to your health and wellbeing. Not only does it serve your brain power, it also improves your general bodily functions, helping you to get more out of day and your overall life.
However, getting the recommended eight hours a night is often quite a challenge at the best of times, so just how can we make the most out of the hours we are comfortably asleep? Settling down with a mug of warm milk, counting sheep and listening to whale sounds are all common things that spring to mind first, but one important consideration that is often overlooked is the role of your bedroom design.
So, we thought we’d consult the experts at Hästens, the luxury bed makers have been hand making their luxury beds since 1852, and are passionate about improving the art of sleep.
Naturally, one way to ensure you get a better night’s sleep is to acquire one of the Swedish company’s super comfortable handcrafted beds but the following tips won’t go amiss either…
Avoid having a TV in the bedroom
Watching TV before bed can seem like a good way to wind down, however, it won’t help your brain to switch off. Moving pictures, bright lights and exciting plots can cause mental stress, which can keep you awake. It’s also a good idea to switch off iPads and laptops at least an hour before you retire to the bedroom for the same reasons.
Remove anything work related
Just like having a TV in the room, having a desk and a computer can also prevent you from switching off. If you work from home it’s a good idea to work in another room in the house as you may find that if you can see your workstation you might start thinking about work instead of drifting off.
Pick the right colour scheme
Choosing the colour scheme for a bedroom should be fun, it’s likely you will spend a lot of time in the room so you want to pick something you like, however, be aware that opting for a vivid colour scheme or busy wallpaper could be a big mistake. The bedroom should be a place for relaxing, so neutral and cooler tones will work better. If you want to add some colour, warm shades of reds and oranges can help you feel comfortable and cosy.
Keep the temperature cool
Contrary to common wisdom, it’s better to keep the temperature in your bedroom cool, ideally around 14°C – 18°C. The reason for this is because your body heat naturally warms the bed, so if the room is also warm you can overheat and find it difficult to relax.
Pick the right bed sheets
Having good quality bed sheets is essential and bed linen that can isolate heat and moisture is ideal for helping you get a better night. Natural fibers are are breathable so they create a good ventilation system and will help you stay fresh and dry while you sleep. When buying your bed linen make sure it complements the colour scheme and adds to the overall relaxing feel of the room.
Invest in bedside furniture
This might not seem that conducive to helping you nod off, however, a simple nightstand, positioned on each side of your bed will give you a subconscious feeling of balance and harmony as you fall asleep. Both sides should be identical to achieve the best effect.
Choose the right bed
Finally, choosing the right bed can make all the difference and is arguably the most important tip on the list. If you are not comfortable when you lie down after a long day then you are risking a good night’s sleep in favour of a restless night of tossing and turning.
Take your time when choosing your bed, try a few out and get a feel for them, try out the different positions you tend to sleep in and make a note of how each bed is different. A good bed is the first line of defense against the dreaded sleepless night so choose carefully!
In case you are not familiar with Bemz, they are makers of designer covers for Ikea furniture. The company was founded by Canadian expat Lesley Pennington in 2004 and by the following year, designer covers for IKEA sofas and armchairs were being made for customers worldwide. The fabrics are specially chosen for their high quality, natural materials and are all machine washable. The Bemz range was extended to include bedroom products in 2011 and made-to-measure curtains and products for kids’ rooms in 2013.
Next month they will be introducing the Respect collection which is produced using surplus textiles from the fashion industry and manufactured entirely without the use of water or dyes, all in an effort to reduce environmental impact.
The textiles in the new collection are manufactured in several stages. Leftover fabrics from the clothing industry are first collected and sorted by colour – grey with grey and white with white. The textiles are shredded and ground back down to their initial cotton fibres, which are then spun into yarn. To ensure a durable and high quality yarn, the cotton fibres are mixed with a small amount of polyester derived from recycled plastic bottles. Finally, the yarn is woven into a new textile, designed by Bemz: Waste is recycled into a beautiful, high-quality textile without using of a drop of water or dye, thanks to innovative technology and modern design.
“Our design team has been on the lookout for a high-quality, sustainable cotton fabric with a robust texture to add to our textile collection for a while now. At last, thanks to modern technology, we’ve found what we were looking for – an environmentally friendly textile that comes in a number of beautiful shades,” says Lisbeth Toivonen, Creative Director at Bemz.
Initially there will be six new fabrics. White, grey and black herringbone - beige, grey and black melange.
Available online from Bemz.
January is typically the month when most of us have a major clearout. Out with the old and in with the new so to speak. It gets the New Year off to a better start to feel organised and in control, especially around the home.
And it’s also a good time to assess our storage situation and to decide if we have enough. There’s nothing worse than not knowing what to do with things when having a tidy up!
There are lots of products on the market now that are designed to fit into small spaces. Those ingenious slimline shoe storage cupboards for example, that are just perfect for narrow halls and that can turn a practical storage solution into an attractive place to prop a few decorative items too. Or maybe you would prefer to choose some storage that is attractive in its own right as is this handy little chest of drawers above.
You can never have enough storage in the bedroom, and even with today’s fashion for fitted wardrobes, most of us can find a reason to squeeze in a bit more. Underbed storage makes excellent use of dead space and is the perfect place to store out of season clothes, extra bedding or even shoes again. Whilst an extra set of drawers is often needed for those smaller items such as lingerie and more delicate items.
The bathroom is another place that seems to accumulate clutter. All those bottles and potions especially in a family bathroom can very soon get out of hand and become a problem. It’s best to keep only the products used daily out on show and store the rest in an easy to reach cupboard. Provide a neat bin for the family to drop their laundry in and a slimline box that fits neatly in a corner for cleaning products and soon the bathroom will become a relaxing haven again.
And it’s always a good idea too to choose items of furniture that do double duty. A coffee table is the perfect example. If you choose one with storage, it’s not just a place to balance your mug but can also hide all manner of clutter in the living room.
And you’ll never have to waste time searching for the remote again!
All products featured are from House of Bath.
Florrie + Bill announce a new design in their geometric SS15 FLOCKTAIL collaboration collection with Flock Fabrics.
The new FLINT Flocktail is the sixth design in the Flocktail collection, featuring an angular monochrome pattern inspired by the beauty and geometry in architectural drawings, as interpreted by graduate designer Gyeongmi Shin. Each fully restored vintage 1950s Danish cocktail chair is upholstered in a crisp white linen and cotton blend fabric, digitally printed with grey and ink shades to form the beautiful Flint pattern.
The Florrie + Bill collaboration with Flock ensures the designers maintain their name on their designs – receiving a royalty for every metre of fabric sold.
Each vintage chair has been fully stripped back and restored to the original hardwood frame with a full coil sprung base unit and new horsehair stuffed seat.
The magazine opens with ‘Kaleidoscope’ a montage of images covering everything editor Katie Treggiden saw at the four design festivals covered. Next, some of those designs are explored in more detail in interviews, and features that delve into the making process and articles about the exhibitions they were seen at. Finally in ‘Opinion,’ long form essays offer context, insight and analysis, drawing on the main themes that came out of the four shows.
“Design has a tremendous power to make people’s lives better,” says Katie. “New designers still believe in the impossible – a crucial trait if design is going to help solve the problems, large and small, that we face today. Fiera Magazine exists to make sure their ideas reach a wider audience.”
And definitely the next best thing to actually being there.
Available to purchase online for £20 from the magCulture shop
Photographs: Yeshen Venema
Inspired by the Scandinavian designs of the swinging sixties, graphic designer Virginia Armstrong has brought her own eclectic touch to her family townhouse, with beautiful results.
As a designer and illustrator of colourful and contemporary, folk inspired interiors products you would expect Virginia Armstrong’s own home to be full of brightness and quirky features and that’s exactly the look that she has achieved in her ‘tall skinny’ 1960s built townhouse.
Situated in south-east London, practically a stone’s throw from Crystal Palace, the five-storey, four-bedroom house features a whole host of Virginia’s finds from the many vintage shops and flea markets that are close by, as she finds inspiration from the innovative design of the 60s, both at home and at work.
Virginia founded Roddy and Ginger four years ago and runs the business alongside her design and illustration work. She explains: “It all happens in my basement studio where I set up a screen printing table and started with a small selection of hand printed and handmade bags and screen prints. I gradually added to the product range and it has grown to include cushions, homewares and wallpaper. I am doing less and less screen printing now but I still handprint the prototype wallpaper before it goes into production and the textiles for the cushions. Right now it is the wallpaper that I most enjoy and I have just launched a new collection called Smalltown.”
A sprinkling of Virginia’s own textiles and wallpaper can be found around her home, which she has been busy putting her stamp on since moving there with her twins eight years ago. She says: “The house was quite shabby with finishes and décor dating from the 80s. It needed to be brought back to its original bright clean, modern, 60s aesthetic.”
Having previously lived in a crumbling Edwardian semi-detached house, it was the space and light that first attracted Virginia to her current abode. “There is very little in the way of ‘original features’,” she explains. “The rooms are boxy and simple but there is a lot of glass. I also liked the fact that it had an open fireplace in the living room, not often found in houses of this period.
“We took out a wall on the kitchen level to create a large open plan space - we had to loose the original serving hatch - renewed all the plumbing, installed an Ikea kitchen, laid solid oak floors throughout and finally painted everything white.”
The renovation project wasn’t without its problems though, as Virginia explains: “We had a firm of builders who went bust during the work and left us high and dry so finishing the job was quite a challenge, I think that counts as our decorating disaster story!”
But eight years on the agony of having to find new builders to complete the project is but a distant memory for Virginia and her family, who have most definitely made the house into a beautiful home. Virginia’s self-described ‘eclectic and thrifty’ style is apparent throughout, with bargain buys including Scandinavian glassware from a charity shop and an Ercol sofa and round white dining table found on eBay, all of which sit comfortably alongside more recent purchases including a set of Dutch Tornado shelves, bought as a prop for a photo shoot and sprayed white to make an attractive display area in the living room.
And Virginia’s favourite space? “The living room, it’s here that I keep all my latest finds. Favourites at the moment are my vintage rocking horse, chunky studio pottery and a number of chairs. It looks out on to a leafy balcony and then through trees to the London skyline; I never tire of that view.”
For more details of Virginia’s work visit
Palettes may be a bit jaded at this time of the year but this recipe is sure to wake them up again. A tasty salad of peppers, basil and crumbled feta cheese, mixed with cubed bread and a sharp zingy dressing.
3 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (or a mix), quartered lengthwise, stemmed, and seeded
Half a loaf of Breaditerranean* bread, ¾ inch cubed
12 oz. feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for brushing
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare a pan on medium-high heat. Brush the pepper quarters with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the peppers skin-side down until grill marks form on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the peppers and continue to grill until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, grill the bread, turning once, until nicely toasted on both sides.
- Cut the peppers into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, onion and basil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup oil, the lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
- Drizzle over the salad and toss to combine.
- Season to taste with more salt and pepper and let stand for 20 minutes before serving so the flavours blend.
- Serve with the crumbled feta on top.
Recipe created by Cranks and Richard Corrigan.
* one of a range of innovative new loaves of bread devised by Cranks and Richard Corrigan for selected Waitrose stores. The Breaditerranean is gloriously tasty loaf made with red and green peppers, olives, red onion and sun dried tomatoes. “It’s delicious as a toasted sandwich with Feta cheese or crumbled over salad”
This SS15 bluebellgray present a collection of fresh and exciting fabrics and cushions, adding to the complimentary pieces in the bluebellgray collections for a complete lifestyle offering. Building upon Fi’s best selling abstracts, the new Nevis designs, inspired by the colours of the Scottish Highland mountains, are bursting with a vibrant and unique colour palette in saturated brushstrokes that perfectly capture the original canvas.
This SS15 bluebellgray present a fresh and exciting collection of floral fabrics, printed cushions and co-ordinating plains. Inspired by the rainbow of wildflowers in HRH Prince of Wales’ Tetbury Meadow, the new season florals inject a dose of feel good design into the home. Featuring Fi’s signature, oversized, watercolour florals in a fresh and uplifting spring palette, the floral cushions sit perfectly alongside the new season Tetbury and Herbs fabrics.
Co-ordinating cushions in luxury fabrics and exclusive pompom and tassel trims are presented in a beautiful, matching colour palette, perfect for mixing with signature bluebellgray designs for a fresh and modern feel. These high quality linens, wools and velvets bring a new element to the bluebellgray collections to punctuate the prints in a fresh and bright way.
Dalvik and Impressionist Teal are born from a first time collaboration with Fi’s younger brother Calum, a student at The Glasgow School of Art; organic bursts of colourful scribbles and smudges add an exciting new dimension to the bluebellgray collections. Offering a completely new and exciting take on the bluebellgray abstract, Fi is delighted to have the opportunity to share this fresh take on the abstracts whilst keeping the original design process in the family.
Available on www.bluebellgray.com from early March
We want to share with you today this beautiful new nursery range from Danish company Leander. It adapts to children's needs as they grow, it's made from sustainable European Beech Wood, and it looks absolutely stunning.
High Chair, £159.
The wooden high chairs are designed to support your child’s back and aid their posture during mealtimes. It has a steady balance yet weighs just 5.1kg so is easy to move around and a matching safety bar (sold separately) can be added and adjusted as required. In true Leander multi-functional style, the high chairs are fully adjustable and grow with your child to become a normal adult chair.
Hanging Baby Cradle, £208; Tripod Stand, £99; Tepee Play Tent, £130.
This beautiful, pure cotton hanging cradle, offers an enclosed, safe space to soothe and relax newborn babies. The slight motion of the cradle replicates the feeling of being in the womb and encourages the development of your child’s sense of balance and motor skills. The cradle can be suspended from a ceiling, or purchased with Leander’s tripod to create a freestanding unit. A separate tepee play tent can also be used to convert the tripod into a fun playtime accessory once the cradle is outgrown!
Changing Table, £649.
The changing table comes complete with changing mat, storage drawer and a moveable shelf, meaning you can place everything you need within easy reach, and adjust the height to be suitable for mum, dad, grandma, and any other lucky nappy-changer! When no longer required, it can be transformed into a stylish desk for older children.
All of the Leander range is available from Cuckooland.
This new year Rose & Grey eagerly awaits the arrival of a brand new collection of stunning House Doctor DK products, available for purchase at the end of January.
Featuring a range of items, including on-trend geometric shapes and lots of stylish gold finishes, all these pieces promise to deliver a fresh and contemporary look to home interiors in 2015. Here is a preview of the gorgeous items as we are slightly obsessed with them!
Suitable for use with central heating as well as electric or water underfloor heating, the 4iE is a Smart WiFi Thermostat by Warmup that finds the best way to heat your home; this could save you up to £200 on your energy usage.
The 4iE thermostat automatically suggests smart ways for you to save energy, for example, what temperature you should set for when you are not at home and even when to turn the heating off early before you leave.
Additionally, the 4iE works in the background to find better energy prices for you, which could save you up to £383*, on top of the savings you get from your lower energy usage. Warmup is independent from energy suppliers, so its tariff search is not limited to any one energy provider.
The 4iE comes in two stylish colours, Onyx Black and Bright Porcelain, to perfectly match the decor of your home. The added option of adding a personalised background lets you match the thermostat to your style. Jam-packed with powerful algorithms, useful features, all packaged in an elegant design, the 4iE is a must have this winter.
Learn more about the 4iE Smart WiFi Thermostat.
* Between 1st Dec 2013 and 31st May 2014, at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas and electricity with uSwitch.com saved £383 or more.
Sometimes a recipe is just worth going to a little trouble for. We promise you won't be disappointed with this savoury twist on a great teatime classic. Just make sure you invite us round for tea!
Makes at least 8 scones.
- 750g ripe figs (discard any mouldy ones), stalks removed
- 2 vanilla pods, cut in half vertically and then in three lengthways
- 500g jam sugar
- 250g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 60g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 100g Comté, grated
- 1 free range egg, beaten
- 100ml whole milk
- 1 free range egg yolk, beaten
- First, make your jam: turn the oven to 80°C (60°C fan oven) and put a saucer into the freezer. Wash your jam jars and lids, rinse and dry, then put the jars on their sides into the oven for 10 minutes to sterilise them. Remove the jars and leave them to cool until they are warm, but not scalding hot.
- Cut figs into eights and put them with the sugar and vanilla into a large sauce pan over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and cooking gently until the sugar has dissolved and the figs are mushy. Turn up the heat and let the jam bubble for about 10 minutes. Test if the jam is at setting point by dropping a small blob on the cold saucer (from the freezer). Leave for a few seconds then push very gently with the tip of your finger - if the surface of the jam wrinkles, it is ready. Remove pan from heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- Stir to ensure the figs and vanilla pods are evenly distributed, then pour the hot jam into the warm jars (leave the vanilla pods in), immediately screwing a lid onto each jar - the heat will create a tight seal and help preserve the jam for 6-12 months.
- Now, make your scones: preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven).
- Mix the flour and baking powder together with a balloon whisk (to break up any lumps and aerate the flour), mix in the salt and sugar and rub in the butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Gently stir in most of the grated Comté (keep a little for the topping later). Beat the egg and milk together, add to the dry ingredients and mix everything together with a cutlery knife and then one hand to bring it all into a dough. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 3cm thick and cut into circles using a 4cm diameter cutter. Place the scones onto a greased baking tray and rest again for 10 minutes.
- Brush the scones with beaten egg yolk and top with the remaining grated Comté.
- Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool.
- Best eaten freshly baked, buttered, with a slice of Comté and a dollop of fig & vanilla jam.
Recipe courtesy of Comte Cheese.
Designer Yvonne Ellen has taken her hobby for sketching and vintage finds and combined them to create a quirky ceramic collection.
After graduating from Textile Design at Nottingham Trent, 29 year old Designer Maker Yvonne Ellen moved to London and started working as a Fashion Designer, but it wasn’t until she created a hand-drawn, bespoke vintage cake stand for a friend’s wedding that she started to consider turning her hobby into a business:
“I got lots of compliments and requests to make specific pieces so I started looking for more vintage pieces to illustrate onto” explains Yvonne. Not that this was a hard task: “I love car boot sales, fairs, charity antique shops, and seeking out interesting old crockery, it has been a hobby since I was young.”
During this search Yvonne looks for good quality pieces that she would be happy to have in her own home.” Once I have found something that I love, I then work out what will work best as an image. The size and shape of the dish, plate or cup will influence the design and how much pattern I will draw on” she explains.
Her pieces are adorned with contemporary, curious creatures that include a DJ-ing Owl and a pair of Partying Mice surrounded by beautifully intricate patterns. So why such whimsical animals? “I grew up in rural Oxfordshire and my Dad was an avid birdwatcher so wild animals were part of my childhood. I draw them wearing top hats or bow ties or with ‘human’ attributes to add a certain charm and charisma” she explains.
Yvonne currently lives in London with her boyfriend Craig and creates all her designs from home. She often sells her collection in markets and craft fairs as well as online on Etsy and Folksy. Although still a young business, her pieces are selling well and she has high hopes for the future: “I’d love to expand into a strong, recognisable brand that includes textiles and stationery”
Avenue de New York is a stylish project designed by Stephanie Coutas for a Spanish family based in Madrid who were looking for a genuine Parisian apartment close to Avenue Montaigne.
Situated in the heart of Paris, the main focus when designing the apartment was to prioritise the stunning views over the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, so the living room and open plan kitchen with dining room were designed to take advantage of the amazing views of the city skyline.
The centrally located three-bedroom apartment has a very striking entrance with a floor pattern in marble as well as a cosy living room with a fireplace and comfortable sofas. The colour palette thoughout ranges from dark grey to blue to light green to beige and is true to Stephanie’s signature style of creating a plush, elegant and warm space.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Stéphanie Coutas was brought up in Asia and spent most of her childhood abroad in stylish locations which sparked her passion for beautiful homes and interiors. She began her professional life in fashion before opening her interior design agency, 1001 maisons, in 2005.
All her designs feature clean lines combined with spectacular decor, nude tones with precious wood, dévoré velvet, Murano glass and shagreen.