Darlings of Chelsea Fulham Showroom to Relaunch

With the launch of their brand new showroom at Parsons Green in January 2019, designer sofa specialists Darlings of Chelsea have dedicated their old Fulham store to their beloved beds and sofa beds. The ‘Darlings of Sleep’ showroom will reopen on the 4th of January and will feature their finest beds and sofa bed designs - including the Andreas range, the Felton range, the Brendon Sofa Bed and the Corby Storage Chaise Sofa Bed.

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Starring traditional frames, modern fabrics and retro designs, Darlings have a diversified range to fit into different bedroom spaces, whether it be in a traditional mansion or a contemporary condo. So explore the relaxed, opulent store that has a feeling of serenity for customers to feel right at home.

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With the Fulham showroom just a 15 minute walk away from the Parsons Green showroom, it is particularly convenient for customers looking to invest in a high-quality bed and a luxurious sofa at the same time. 

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There will also be a 35% off sale promotion in January to facilitate any purchases in the New Year.

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Showroom Details: 9-13 Fulham High St, Fulham, London, SW6 3JH. T: 020 7371 5745

Opening Times: Monday - Thursday: 9.00am - 6.00pm, Friday: 9.00am - 5.00pm, Saturday: 10.00am - 5.00pm, Sunday: 11.00am - 5.00pm

A London Home That Mixes Scandi Style with Bold Artwork

This stunning maisonette in a converted Victorian townhouse has recently been renovated by Shanade McAllister-Fisher for a young professional couple enjoying a bustling city life. The property comprises of two bedrooms; a guest and master, bathroom and an open plan living space boasting spectacular views across London. Perfect for relaxing, dining, and entertaining friends with plenty of cocktails.

 Sofa - Bespoke design. Rug - Gobi Shaggy - Benuta. Coffee table - Rebar - Hay. Side tables - Marble nest table - French connection

Sofa - Bespoke design. Rug - Gobi Shaggy - Benuta. Coffee table - Rebar - Hay. Side tables - Marble nest table - French connection

We asked the designers a few questions about the project.

What was the client brief? 

In this case our clients wanted a relaxed, but entertaining space. They required an overall look and feel that could blend their two different personalities. One that would seamlessly mix the natural appeal of a Scandi design with a vibrant and fun collaboration between colour, shapes and texture. The result is a collection of spaces filled with interest, yet reassuringly relaxing.

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What was the scope of the job? Renovation, building work, or just decorating? 

The apartment was in a good condition so the main bulk of the project was centred around decoration and furnishing, however the rooms were consistently vanilla with little usable storage, so to provide greater impact we opted to include a significant amount of bespoke joinery to maximise space.

 Dining chairs - J77 - Hay. Table - Cubo - Another Brand. Light - Atelier Areti Two Spheres Ceiling light

Dining chairs - J77 - Hay. Table - Cubo - Another Brand. Light - Atelier Areti Two Spheres Ceiling light

Where do you go for inspiration when starting a new project? 

Every project is different but for this project the inspiration came from the owners bold artwork collection. This formed the basis for our gallery wall and helped influence a colour palette for the entire design. I consider art to be one of my most powerful allies when designing, so it was an absolute pleasure to pick through their pieces and add to their collection.

 Vanity unit - Noir Craft - Bathstore. Basin - Noir Square - Bathstore. Mirror - Patsy - Habitat.  Light - Solo Suspension Light - Intueri Light.

Vanity unit - Noir Craft - Bathstore. Basin - Noir Square - Bathstore. Mirror - Patsy - Habitat.

Light - Solo Suspension Light - Intueri Light.

Did the client have much input into the finished design? 

Absolutely, It was incredibly important to us that the finished project was collaboration. We worked particularly closely together to develop a scheme that created the right mood and feeling while allowing my clients personality to shine through.

 Pendant light - IC Pendant Light - Flos. Bedside table - Carson - Swoon.

Pendant light - IC Pendant Light - Flos. Bedside table - Carson - Swoon.

What aspect of the renovation are you most happy with? 

Personally I am really happy with the master bedroom. The depth of green against the natural sisal flooring, the wallpapered wardrobe detail created an incredibly harmonious and intriguing space, which was finished off with some beautiful globe lighting which is a consistent feature throughout the design. I also love the blush pink touches that add a feminine accent.

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What aspect of the renovation are your clients most happy with? 

My clients absolutely love the overall design but in particular we solved their lack of storage through the inclusion of bespoke joinery in the living/dining area. We designed it to be unobtrusive but dramatic using hand less doors, ribbed glass and timber details with the use of and a singular dark colour for cohesion and impact.










PARIS, new collection of the studio Ateliers J&J

Ateliers J&J  is launching a new collection : PARIS ! This new collection is presented this month in Paris at their showroom in the centre of Paris: le 114. In collaboration with the agency BASE DESIGN for Maison Debailleuil, the Ateliers J&J  declined one of their iconic chair with a serie of upholstery from KVADRAT. 

J&J Ateliers are manufacturers who are constantly thinking about production. their technical knowledge allows customers a certain flexibility and to go beyond their initial ideas.
Generally contacted for interior design such as bars, restaurants, shops or headquarters, their challenge is to work fast to set up a very efficient production system based on strong collaborations with their various suppliers.

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All Wrapped Up For Christmas

Nothing gets us more in the festive mood than wrapping the presents. With Bing Crosby playing in the background, the fairy lights twinkling and a glass of mulled wine within reach it’s an annual ritual to savour.

Contains Affiliate Links

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Why not get organised and create a dedicated wrapping station and then you don’t have to do it all in one go? Much less disruptive than commandeering the kitchen table. Keep wrapping paper and tags in baskets for easy access and it’s a doddle to tidy up afterwards. All the products above are from Garden Trading who also have a great selection of gifts - see below.

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Do you have a theme? We like to get creative and choose a different style each year. It doesn’t have to be patterned paper either. Sometimes plain paper is the best idea if you want your decorations to stand out.

All gift wrapping ideas and products above are by Ginger Ray.

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All gift wrapping ideas and products above are from the Night Owl range by Sophie Allport.

All gift wrapping ideas and products above are from Paper Tree.

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Large basket from a selection at Garden Trading.

Festive Holiday Wallpaper

Make the home more stylish and even more merry this season by going further with festive decor than ever before. This wallpaper design is perfect for people who want to give a room a touch of Winter Wonderland, but don't want to commit to a new wallpaper that's just for the holiday season.

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The wall design by MuralsWallpaper offers a tasteful option for holiday decor and is a wonderful way to get a more festive feeling at home during December.

Featuring a printed folk pattern of flora, prancing deer, frolicking foxes and little robins, the wall design was created by carving the motif out on a clay tile to create a print block that is coated with paint and pressed onto paper - a craft known as lino printing. 

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Not just for Christmas

This wallpaper is perfect for putting up in the dining room to enhance a fancy festive dinner table set-up, or in the living room as a beautiful backdrop for an evergreen tree.

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What's more, there won't be any desire to discard of this wallpaper when Winter comes to an end. The design also works well for any season thanks to its quaint Scandinavian style, inspired by traditional folk art. 

The wallpaper is available in charming sage, beige, slate blue and heather grey color ways.

Create Your Own Romantic, Nature-Inspired Festive Garland

Is there anything that says Christmas has arrived better than a homespun wreath?

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This Scandinavian-inspired Benni Brass Wreath ring from Rowen and Wren comes as a set of two and is an impeccable base (complete with brass ring and hanger) for creating a romantic, nature-inspired festive garland.

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Simply weave your greenery and feathers in, and attach and secure them with gardener’s wire. Don’t worry about being immaculate; there’s nothing more enchanting than a door adorned with cascading tendrils of twisting ivy and drying hydrangea heads.

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Hang your masterwork on the front knocker or alternatively bring the outside in and display it over the fireplace. What’s more it can be adorned with alternative flora and foliage throughout the year for seasonal displays in the summer months too.

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Sold in a set of two, one small - £26.

Bluebellgray Collaborates with Bute

We are so excited to share with you another fabulous collaboration from one of our favourite brands, Bluebellgray.

Bluebellgray have paired up with fellow Scottish fabric house, Bute to create an exclusive collection of contemporary cushions and footstools! Like Fi, Bute are continuously inspired by the surrounding landscapes and countryside in Scotland. Since discovering how effortlessly their prints sit with Bute’s vibrant colour palette, Bluebellgray just knew they had to collaborate.

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Colourist: Colourful abstract block shapes in super scale, watercolour brushstrokes create a contemporary statement, designed specially to celebrate the launch of Bluebellgray’s new flagship store in Glasgow.

Anna Jacobs Launches Meditation in Flying

Meditation in Flying is the latest design to be launched by artist and homeware designer Anna Jacobs and it’s become our new favourite.

 Soft bolster cushion, £65. Extra large shade, £240.

Soft bolster cushion, £65. Extra large shade, £240.

It was originally painted in pen and ink on watercolour paper which now works beautifully on cushions and lampshades. The new, more muted colour palette will no doubt appeal to a whole new generation of admirers.

 Linen cushion, £65. Medium lamp with black flex, £199.

Linen cushion, £65. Medium lamp with black flex, £199.

Anna says she was inspired by reading about an unusual sighting of a black swan in Norfolk and was intrigued by the strength, yet elegant grace of this flying bird.

The shades are handmade in Shropshire with a new generation tech canvas which makes them more hard wearing and easier to clean. The cushions are printed on cotton union and are hand-made in South East London.

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All products are available to buy online

Recipe of the Week: Artichoke & Olive Rösti

This vegan & gluten free recipe will impress your guests for the upcoming Christmas season.

Ingredients

500g Charlotte potatoes, scrubbed

1 tsp fennel seeds

2 shallots, finely chopped

280g jar artichoke hearts

3 tbsp Waitrose Green Olive, Lemon & Coriander Tapenade

60g Violife Vegan Mozzarella Flavour Block, finely grated

Coriander sprigs, to garnish

Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes.

Method

1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and boil for 5 minutes (no need to peel them first). Rinse in cold water to cool the potatoes. Coarsely grate into a large bowl and stir in the fennel seeds, shallots and seasoning. This can be prepared a day ahead.

2. Drain the artichokes, reserving 3 tbsp of the oil. Stir 1 tbsp oil into the potatoes. Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Place a 5cm round cookie cutter in the pan and put a heaped dessertspoon of the potato mixture inside the cutter. Pack down firmly with the back of the spoon. Carefully lift away the cutter and make more rösti circles with about half the remaining mixture, spacing them slightly apart. Fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a baking parchment-lined baking sheet and fry the remaining mixture in the same way using the remainder of the oil.

3. Spread a scant ½ tsp of the tapenade onto each rosti and top with a piece of artichoke. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, cover loosely and chill until needed.

4. To serve, preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Bake the rösti for 10 minutes until heated through. Garnish with coriander sprigs.

Recipe and image courtesy of Waitrose & Partners.

Naturally Festive - Christmas Wreaths That Will Last

Our pick of natural looking Christmas wreaths that will last until twelfth night. Whether you hang them on the front door, above the fireplace, or in every window, these wreaths won’t wilt and they won’t break the bank. All are under £50, and wrapped carefully, you can store them away and use them again for many years to come.

Contains Affiliate Links

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Mixed Pine and Eucalyptus Wreath with Twinkly Lights, £20, Dunelm.

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2. Paper Ivy, Mistletoe and Christmas Rose Wreath, £34.95, Paper Tree.

3. Leaf and Berry Wreath, £29.99, Dobbies.

4. Variegated Holly Wreath, £42, Gisela Graham.

5. Green & Gold Berry Wreath, £25, The Contemporary Home.

6. Broadwindsor Pine Cone Wreath, £14.95, The Farthing.

7. Frosted Eucalyptus Mix Wreath, £45, Cox and Cox.

Eye-Catching Cushions Guaranteed to Brighten up Any Home

Drawing inspiration from centuries old latticework of tradition al West African patterns, Dar Leone’ s new Oceana collection celebrates craftsmanship, heritage and culture. Staying true to the brand’ s love of geometric and historical African textiles, Oceana is designed to complement the brand’ s current collections and pieces.

Handmade in the UK, the collection includes hobo bags, makeup bags and cushions printed on cotton sateen available in 4 colourways. Prices range from £36 to £89.

Launched in 2012 by Isatu Funna, lifestyle brand and boutique Dar Leone handpicks pieces from across the globe, bringing them into the comfort of your home. A carefully chosen selection of unique everyday items, sourced from founder Isatu’s travels, are complemented by a contemporary range of products designed and handmade in London. All textiles are designed by the brand.

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We Wish You a Nordic Christmas

With Christmas preparations soon to be in full swing, here’s a little Nordic Christmas inspiration from Debenhams. Pared back decorations look sensational against plain white walls and simple furniture shapes. Lots of festive foliage and rustic wood bring the outside in, and soft rugs, cushions and throws add that extra layer of comfort that winter needs. Finish it all off with punches of black.

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Nkuku Hurricane Lamp - £60. Jute Baskets (2) - £26. Black Wire Star - £20. Blue & Gold Band Vase - £18. Nkuku Rectangular Lantern - £50. White Wool Tree - £15. Pre-lit 6ft Grandis Fir Tree - £250. Bark Tealight Holders - £10. Gold Glitter Stars (8) - £5. White Glitter Stars (8) - £5. Arlo Floor Light - £150. Grey Chunky Knitted Throw - £60. Grey Chunky Knitted Cushion - £25. Swoon Porto 2 Seater Sofa in Hunter Soft Wool - £999.

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Boston Large Extending Dining Table - £1,920. Boston Wooden Dining Chairs with Velvet Seat Pair (2) - £350. Boston Charcoal Carver Dining Chairs (2) - £399. Boston Large Charcoal Bench - £455. Wire Stags Head - £50. Blown Glass Hurricane - £32. Placemats (2) - £8.00. Nordic Smoke Wine Glass - £7. Nordic Smoke Flute - £7. Two Candle Gold Candelabra - £20. Eucalyptus, Pinecone and White Berry Garland - £30. Reactive Dinner Plate – £6. Reactive Side Plate – £5. Reactive Cereal Bowl - £5. Raw Edge Cereal Bowl - £5. Raw Edge Pasta Bowl - £6. Gold Cutlery (16 piece) - £35. Black Geo Baubles (4) - £16.00. Teal Faux Mohair Throw - £25.

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All from the Nordic Range at Debenhams.

A Quick Guide to Preparing Your Home for Christmas

Advertisement Feature

You probably think there is still plenty of time but Christmas will be here before you know it. To avoid rushing to get everything sorted in last minute and to be able to enjoy the upcoming festivities to their fullest, it’s better to start early rather than late. That doesn’t mean you need to start with Christmas preparations tomorrow but it may be a good idea to set a date and stick to that date.

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Make a plan

Before you start decorating your home, looking for Christmas baking recipes, that perfect Christmas tree, … make a plan what you need to do to make this Christmas unforgettable. Not only it will help you stay focused and avoid forgetting anything important, it will also help you appreciate the time before Christmas which is very magical as well.

Clean and clear

If you want your Christmas decoration to achieve the best effect, it is of key importance for your home to be clean and clear of clutter. So, if you have postponed cleaning that ugly stain on your carpet, storing away your camping gear or have any other unfinished “business” requiring cleaning or organising (or both!), you are highly recommended to take care of it as soon as possible. Remember, you can always call a professional cleaning company to do the cleaning for you if you are always running out of time for cleaning chores.

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Keep in mind that less is more when it comes to decorating

It’s not difficult to get carried away with Christmas decoration. But if you think that there can never be enough Christmas decor inside or outside your home, you are very much mistaken. Sure, your home may stand out but it won’t stand out in a good way if your over do it. So, when you start decorating, keep in mind that less is more when it comes to both inside and outside your home.

Create a festive atmosphere

You can have the most beautifully decorated home but in order to enjoy it, it is of key importance to create a festive atmosphere. How? That’s completely up to you and your personal preferences but if you need some ideas, what about some Christmas-themed music? Also, don’t forget about Christmas food. It’s is, after all, a very special time of the year and it requires a special food. Last but not the least important, be sure to have everyone involved and don’t worry if everything is not perfect. The most important is for everyone to have a great time.

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Give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect gifts

Finding the perfect gifts (at a reasonable price!) for everyone is everything but easy. And if you are doing it in last minute, you are in big trouble. Bear in mind that the best things are sold out very quickly, especially if they have an accessible price tag. Also, it’s not unusual to panic when running out of time and believe it or not, last minute gifts usually look just like last minute and don’t really impress anyone.

Strike A Pose With 80s Inspired T-Shirts To Support Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity

THROWBACK TO THE 80S WITH LIMITED EDITION PRINT AND RETRO T-SHIRT COLLECTION TO SUPPORT GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL CHILDREN’S CHARITY 

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) has joined forces with a group of leading illustrators and designers to create a limited collection of bespoke 80s inspired t-shirts and prints with all the profits going to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The 1980’s saw the launch of the Wishing Well Appeal, the first major fundraising appeal from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity which kickstarted decades of fundraising.  This year, the charity is celebrating thirty years of support with an 80s themed campaign. This includes the launch of a retro collection of thirty t-shirts and prints that have all been created with an 80s style.

Capturing the distinctive colours and style of the 80s, the t-shirt designs and prints feature illustrations by artists including Studio Anark, Anthony Burrill, Hattie Stewart and Risotto Studio.  Available in a range of sizes, the t-shirt collection will be on sale from Monday 12th November – 3rd December on the Everpress website as part of the charity’s Then.Now.Always campaign. The limited-edition prints will be available to buy via the GOSH Charity shop. All the money raised will go towards helping the hundreds of children who arrive at Great Ormond Street Hospital every day.

Thirty years on from the Wishing Well Appeal, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is still raising money to support the hospital’s most urgent fundraising needs which include pioneering research to find treatments for the most complex childhood illnesses, providing advanced equipment and supporting the rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital to provide state-of-the-art facilities to match the hospital’s world-class care.

T-shirts are priced at £20 each and prints at £30 with 100% of profits going to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

For the first time this year, the exclusive limited edition collection of t-shirts and prints will also be exhibiting and available to purchase at The London Illustration Fair from Friday 30th November – Sunday 2nd December.

To find out more, visit gosh.org/shop80s 

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About Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity:

Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals with the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists under one roof in the UK. The hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children from across the UK with the rarest, most complex and often life-threatening conditions. Our patients and families are central to everything we do – from the moment they come through the door and for as long as they need us.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity needs to raise money to support the hospital to give seriously ill children, the best chance for life. The charity funds research into pioneering new treatments for children, provides the most up to date medical equipment, funds support services for children and their families and supports the essential rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital. You can help us to provide world class care for our patients and families. For more information visit www.gosh.org

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How to Look After Houseplants During the Winter Months

On the whole houseplants thrive during the summer months when there’s lots of daylight and temperatures are more suited to their natural habitat. In the winter months however drafts, cold, and over-watering can kill off the hardiest specimen. So here’s our quick guide to keeping your plant pets happy until Spring arrives.

 Succulent (8.5cm), from £3.99, in turquoise Janice pot, various sizes, from £5.99; Chlorophytum (12cm), £5.99, in green puck pot, various sizes, from £9.99; Asplenium Crispy Wave (12cm), £6.99, in brown Atlantic basket, various sizes, from £3.49

Succulent (8.5cm), from £3.99, in turquoise Janice pot, various sizes, from £5.99; Chlorophytum (12cm), £5.99, in green puck pot, various sizes, from £9.99; Asplenium Crispy Wave (12cm), £6.99, in brown Atlantic basket, various sizes, from £3.49

  1. All houseplants require less water in winter. Make sure you're not letting your pots stay too wet, and your plants will thank you. Try cutting the frequency of watering in half, or just water if your plants look thirsty.

  2. The ideal temperature range for most plants is 20 to 26 c during the day and 15 c at night. They will survive at lower temperatures but they won’t thrive. Don’t whatever you do leave them on a windowsill behind closed curtains.

  3. Most plants will appreciate being moved nearer to a source of light during the shorter days, but make sure you keep them away from drafts.

  4. Houseplants will be dormant at this time of year so hold off with the plant food until Spring.

  5. Low humidity is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome during winter. If you have a humidifier in your home, move your plants to a spot where they will enjoy its benefits. Clustering your plants in groups will also help.

 Chair, part of Grace bistro set, £179

Chair, part of Grace bistro set, £179

Finally, don’t ignore them. Continue to check for dead leaves and any signs that your plant is in distress, but don't fuss over them or kill them with kindness. Keep an eye out for early signs of problems, which can still include insect pests, even in winter. But wait until the growing season resumes, before you re-pot them or start taking cuttings. Consider winter an off-season for your houseplants and let them rest.

 Streptocarpus 10cm pot from £6.99, Thyme common 14cm pot £3.99 or 3 for £10, Succulent mix including Echeveria 5.5cm from £2.99, Pansy mauve six pack £3.99 or 3 for £9, Trailing ivy (Hedera 9cm) £1.99

Streptocarpus 10cm pot from £6.99, Thyme common 14cm pot £3.99 or 3 for £10, Succulent mix including Echeveria 5.5cm from £2.99, Pansy mauve six pack £3.99 or 3 for £9, Trailing ivy (Hedera 9cm) £1.99

All images courtesy of Dobbies who have been inspiring gardeners since 1865.

Wall Murals Designed to Celebrate 100 Years of Bauhaus

2019 marks the centenary of the Bauhaus art school, established in 1919. To celebrate, MuralsWallpaper have designed a signature new collection that references classic Bauhaus shapes and colours, scaled up as murals in a modern interpretation of the movement.

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Dessau

These statement surface designs by MuralsWallpaper incorporate flat concrete textures inspired by Bauhaus architecture, and transform Bauhaus' iconic primary colour palette to tones that make them more accessible and ideal for modern home decoration.

The overlaying of colours and shapes that make up the murals are inspired by the colour theory work of Bauhaus' Josef Albers and by László Moholy-Nagy, a professor at the art school who explored perspective in his paintings.

 Neues Sehen

Neues Sehen

Featuring layered architectural shapes and shifting directions, the murals use minimal lines to present a contrast of sharp angles and soft, curved shapes. The simplicity of the geometric forms and colours come together to make a bold impact.

 Kreis

Kreis

These wall mural designs capture the dynamic, asymmetric forms of original Bauhaus exhibition posters, on a scale that is simply not possible using traditional on-the-roll wallpaper. 

From dedicated design enthusiasts to all who unknowingly experience the great influence of Bauhaus in the designs they see everyday, everyone can celebrate Bauhaus in a big way at home with these six murals - Neues Sehen (new vision),  Perspektive  (perspective),  Kreis (circle),  Bilden (form), Dreieck  (triangle) and Dessau (German city home to one of the three Bauhaus schools).

 Perspektive

Perspektive

The vision of Bauhaus paved the way for graphic design and the modern age. 100 years on, its incredible influence can be seen all around and continues to be explored in interior design.

 Dreieck

Dreieck

 Bilden

Bilden

How to Fully Embrace the Hygge Trend This Winter

Hygge - A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture) - Oxford English Dictionary.

And what could be nicer during the winter months than comfortable conviviality? Even better when it’s so easy to achieve.

Dine at Home

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Much more cosy than making all that effort to go out for a meal. Babysitters, cabs, and overpriced food, is all but forgotten when you invite friends over for dinner or better still, a long lingering Sunday lunch.

Have an Early Night

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It’s the simple pleasures that are the best. A bed piled high with pillows. A good book, a reading light and a cup of cocoa. Heaven.

Run a Bath

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Draw the curtains, run a hot bath, light the candles and turn on some music. It’s said that a bath before bed and a hot drink, is the best way to unwind at the end of the day and get a good nights sleep.

Layer Up

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Layer up everywhere with extra cushions and throws. Put on a box-set and hibernate until Spring.

That’s what we will be doing.

All images show the Homestead Range from Dunelm. (affiliate links)

Six Hotels with Show-Stopping Décor and Cutting-Edge Design

By their very nature, all Design Hotels™ members present interiors intended to inspire and awe. So, whether it be an urban retreat or a countryside escape, every one of the unique 324 properties in the portfolio offers thoroughly original décor that will inspire guests long after their stay is complete. With cutting-edge design and architecture combining as a vehicle for audio-visual storytelling, each of the following hotels display interiors that are show-stopping and authentic in equal doses.  

At The Flushing Meadows Hotel & Bar, a 16-room Munich-based bolthole, each accommodation is individually decorated by a series of local creatives and personalities, while a broad range of styles come together in the hotel’s public spaces. The result is a property that truly reflects the eclecticism of its shell — a 1970s former post office.

In Warsaw’s Autor Rooms, a Berlin Modernist-style building home to just four rooms, craftsmanship shaped by the city’s artists, architects, designers, curators reigns supreme. Here, inspired guests are offered the rare and welcome chance to take home their own little piece of the hotel, with the hosts open to connecting visitors with the creators of the many pieces that pepper the various rooms.

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At Le Collatéral in Arles, stunning interiors serve as a complementary backdrop to the installations, digital art, photos, and drawings on display in public areas. Striking the right balance of art and design, each area is carefully curated to provoke thought, without reneging on comfort.

The same can be said for Stamba Hotel in Georgia’s resurgent capital of Tbilisi, where an industrial former publishing house offers surprising levels of luxury and warmth, thanks to a combination of plush furnishings, carefully sourced fixtures, and harmonious palettes. Paired with salvaged fittings and restored materials, these components come together to shape a network of spaces that feel more like the home of a (very) cool friend, and are ideal for entertaining.

Behind its historical façade, the recently opened Hotel Pacai in Vilnius offers a unique duality of hard and soft, old and new. Roughly hewn walls and uncovered frescoes meet sleek marble and chic furnishings for a mood that exudes palatial glamour and offers plenty of ideas, both small and large, to take home.

Rome’s Elizabeth Unique Hotel — a centrally located restored 17th-century palazzo—is a riot of arched walls, lacquered wooden panels, reproduced antique wallpaper prints and canopy beds. With couture fabrics and carefully curated artwork setting the stage for this finely appointed, art-filled bolthole, the visitors run the risk of not setting foot outside to explore the wonders of the city.

Our list of swoon-worthy interiors is rounded up by Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, a cool merger of Danish classicism and Swedish sensibility set in a former music conservatory. This gorgeous combo produces a cutting-edge contemporary luxury hotel where star architect Gert Wingårdh’s attention to the smallest of details has resulted in a property that oozes both classic grandeur and Scandi minimalism.  

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Jungle of Love - Extract from Wonder Plants 2

Extract from Wonder Plants 2 - Your Urban Jungle Interior, by Irene Schampaert and Judith Baehner. Published by Lannoo.

In the greener part of the city of Baltimore, near the Hampden district along the banks of the Jones Falls River, an old cotton factory from 1870 was transformed into a luxury apartment complex. Today, it is more commonly known as Cotton Mill N°1. Hilton Carter, filmmaker, producer, and an interior decorator and plant specialist in his own right, found his dream loft there.

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Though it may look like a jungle, he did not place any of these plants at random. “I see a plant in the house as a design element,” Hilton continues, “and especially with bigger specimens, you can set the tone and make a room even more warm and inviting. But place a Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig) between a Monstera deliciosa (swiss cheese plant) and a Strelitzia (bird-of-paradise), for instance, and you can see something almost magical happen. That process of discovering and unravelling is something that I thoroughly enjoy spending time on.”

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And, to be sure, spending time successfully, as it resulted in beautiful arrangements throughout the apartment. The test-tubes wall is just one of the many eye-catchers. That’s precisely where all the new plants come to life: a solution for cutting plants that is as original as it is decorative. It’s another one of Hilton’s hobbies that has widely spread its roots.

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If you ask him about his favourite, there is no hesitation in his answer. “The fiddle-leaf fig was my first big acquisition; she’s been going strong for more than four years now. Together, we have navigated through lots of adventures,” he says with a fond smile. “My biggest concern is keeping her in tip-top condition.”

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That the Carter home abides by a tight schedule to care for the nearly 150 plants – yes, they have indeed been counted - should not come as a surprise. “A basic knowledge of the different plants is vital,” Hilton says. “Each plant comes with its own needs and its own specific treatment. I set my alarm so I know precisely when to water which plants.” And then it is just a matter of following your gut instincts. You can get quite far with tender loving care. Rest assured, even I lose the occasional soldier,” he jokes. It happens to the best of us.

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Wonder Plants 2: Your Urban Jungle Interior

by Irene Schampaert and Judith Baehner

Available on Amazon

All Aboard The Santa Express – Fun For All The Family This Christmas

Magical festive steam train rides return to Staffordshire for their 23rd year, with Churnet Valley Railway offering the ultimate seasonal experience for all the family on the Santa Express.  

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The Staffordshire heritage railway’s iconic and much loved ‘Santa and Steam’ event combines a ride on a steam train through scenic countryside with seeing Santa. On a variety of dates in the run up to Christmas Day, vintage trains warmly decorated with garlands and filled with Christmas cheer, make their way through the Churnet Valley. With a puff of steam and a blow of the whistle, 124 journeys are scheduled this season; the most the heritage railway has ever run.  

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Santa and Steam will run on both days on the weekends of 1st-2nd, 7th-8th and 15th-16th December, on Wednesdays 5th and 12th December, and daily from Wednesday 19th to Monday 24th December. The full timetable and pricing can be found on the Santa and Steam website.

Santa will well and truly have his work cut out this year as he welcomes children big and small aboard the train for an hour and 20-minute journey through the breath-taking Staffordshire moorlands.  With on board entertainment for the children including balloon artists making festive creations for children of all ages and sherry and mince pies for adults, the 2018  ‘Santa and Steam’ event is a great mid-week or weekend family outing.

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On offer will be a splendid selection of mystery presents. Santa and his elves make their way through the carriages spreading Christmas cheer whilst giving each child a wrapped gift.  The Santa Express departs from two stations, Froghall (ST10 2HA) and Cheddleton (ST13 7EE), both of which have tea rooms where visitors can purchase hot and cold food, including yuletide favourites such as Christmas Pie. Mementos including toys and a range of train-themed gifts can be purchased from the Signals Souvenirs shop at Froghall and a pop-up shop at Cheddleton.

Gregory Wilson, operations director at the railway said “this is one of our favourite, and busiest, times at Churnet Valley Railway.  Our Santa and Steam event is part of many families Christmas celebrations.  Kids of all ages tell us meeting Santa, riding on a steam train and getting a present is a perfect day out.” 

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Ticket prices start at £17 for adults, £12 for children over two years old and £7 for children under two years old. A 10% group discounts is available on groups of over 20 passengers and groups of 6-8 passengers can book a private compartment for £30. 

Churnet Valley Railway relies on a network of over 100 regular volunteers and there are opportunities to get involved over the Christmas period. This includes helping Santa and his elves with preparing presents, distributing festive refreshments, meeting and greeting passengers at each station and assisting with on-board duties.  For more information, contact enquiries@churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk or call 01538 750 755.