• Archive for May, 2011

    Villeroy & Boch

    by  • 27/05/2011 • Country style • 1 Comment

    Last week our Decorating Assistant Tamara was lucky enough to visit Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, to preview the new Villeroy & Boch collections for summer dining. A thoroughly enjoyable day on all accounts-not only were the new pieces delightful the hotel grounds proved to be a great source of inspiration for gardens everywhere….

    Farmhouse Touch Blueflowers range, prices from £9.95- £59, Villeroy & Boch

    Farmhouse Touch Blueflowers range, prices from £9.95- £59, Villeroy & Boch

    Le Manoir's impressive kitchen garden

    Le Manoir's impressive kitchen garden

    Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

    Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

    beautifully hand written labels at Le Manoir

    beautifully hand written labels at Le Manoir

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    Rooftop garden update

    by  • 26/05/2011 • Country moment • 1 Comment

    I’m happy to report  that our rooftop garden is still thriving. Despite the winds and rain our plants are coming on a treat - maybe it’s the Chelsea Flower Show effect!

    Our lettuce seedlings will soon have to be thinned out and transplanted to more pots, whilst the lettuce plug-plants are flourishing. We’ve given the runner beans taller canes to wind themselves around and the courgettes  are coming into flower, as you can see here in our photographs.

    Lettuce plug plants with cauliflower

    Lettuce plug plants with cauliflower

    Runner beans growing up canes

    Runner beans growing up canes

    Courgettes in flower with lettuce seedlings

    Courgettes in flower with lettuce seedlings

    Pelargoniums in flower

    Pelargoniums in flower

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    Sew an easy headboard slipcover

    by  • 25/05/2011 • Country craft, Country style • 0 Comments

    I thought you might like a sneak preview of this easy-to-make headboard cover from our latest (July) issue. Headboards can be tricky to cover, but this idea is essentially two rectangle shapes stitched together around three sides and hemmed: the kind of sewing project that I like! Just pull it in place over the headboard. We used a lovely fabric called River Flower, ref BP10056, from Country Homes & Interiors’ favourite GP & J Baker. If you’d like to have a go, click here for the instructions. Happy stitching!

    Adding a headboard slipcover allows you to tailor the look of your bed to your decorating scheme.

    Round the seams at the corners for a snug fit around your headboard.

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    Graham & Brown

    by  • 24/05/2011 • Country style • 1 Comment

    I took a trip to Blackburn to see British wallpaper manufacturer, Graham & Brown last week. From the south coast it took 5 hours each way! It was worth it to meet and see the inspiring designers who are creating new and exciting ways of decorating our walls – from wallpaper and paint to some great wall art. I particularly loved the designer Amy Butler’s collection and this stitched picture that would both look very happy on the walls of a country pad!

    Lacework by Amy Butler, £30 a roll

    Wallpaper Street canvas, £20

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    The Window Film Company

    by  • 20/05/2011 • Country style • 1 Comment

    What a neat idea. I love how window film can give a new lease of life to tired looking furniture and conceal nicely the contents of your cupboards! The Window Film Company have a vast range of different patterns to suit all needs and tastes. A nice little diy project for the May bank holiday weekend perhaps?

    Frostbite film, from £25. The Window Film Company.

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    Garden update

    by  • 19/05/2011 • Country moment • 2 Comments

    Good news from our rooftop garden. The plants and flowers seem to be taking to their new surroundings – seeds are sprouting and crops are growing. The garden is now irrigated, making watering less of a chore, and the slightly cooler weather has helped things find their feet rather than being scorched straight away!

    Of note this week, all the salads, seeds and plug plants, are well under way; the pea shoots are starting to climb their canes; the blueberry bush has pretty little flowers already in bloom; and the first strawberry fruits are ready and waiting for a little sunshine to colour them.

    If you’d like to join in and plant your own garden with some of the things we’re growing or even use our garden design, take a look at housetohome where you can download a plant list and a planting plan.

    Courgette plants with lettuce seedlings

    Courgette plants with lettuce seedlings

    Pea shoots with cauliflower plants in foreground

    Pea shoots with cauliflower plants in foreground

    Blueberry bush in flower

    Blueberry bush in flower

    Strawberry fruits and flowers

    Strawberry fruits and flowers

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    Pretty quilting projects

    by  • 18/05/2011 • Country craft • 3 Comments

    I love the idea of creating beautiful things from my favourite fabrics so when this new quilting book landed on my desk I felt really inspired. There are 35 gorgeous projects to try using techniques such as patchwork, embroidery, applique and quilting, of course. Each with easy instructions to follow – they are a must to make. I particularly like this decorative cafetière cover and cute cushion idea.

    Cute and easy quilting and stitching by Charlotte Liddle, £12.99, CICO Books,  01256-302699.

    Cute and easy quilting and stitching by Charlotte Liddle, £12.99, CICO Books

    Cute and easy quilting and stitching by Charlotte Liddle, £12.99, CICO Books

    Cafetière cover, Cute and easy quilting and stitching by Charlotte Liddle, £12.99 CICO Books

    Cafetière cover, Cute and easy quilting and stitching by Charlotte Liddle, £12.99 CICO Books

    Cushion cover, Cute and easy quilting and stitching by Charlotte Liddle, £12.99 CICO Books

    Cushion cover, Cute and easy quilting and stitching by Charlotte Liddle, £12.99 CICO Books

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    New herbal teas

    by  • 17/05/2011 • Country food • 1 Comment

    I’m a big fan of Jekka McVicar’s  award-winning herb nursery, which is in Alveston near Bristol. She’s going to be launching a brand new range of herbal teas at the Chelsea Flower Show next week and I’ll be stopping by her stand for a refreshing cup of tea. I’ll probably opt for ‘Jekka’s 3pm Tea’, a perky blend of organic hibiscus, peppermint, green tea and calendula, to give me a lift.

    Jekka's new Herbal Teas

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    Great Dixter

    by  • 16/05/2011 • Country moment • 7 Comments

    In need of a garden ‘fix’ this weekend, I visited Great Dixter, the home of the late Christohper Lloyd. I was rewarded with all my favourite May plant combinations – alliums, aquilegias, poppies, cow parsley, ox-eye daisies, clematis – all growing in the casual and free-form way that these gardens are so well-known for. Heaven!

    I’d love to know where your favourite garden is…

    View towards the house

    Self-seeders: Forget-me-knots, marigolds, ox-eye daisies

    Alliums galore! I am definitely planting more in my garden this autumn

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