When ultra-cool fashion label English Eccentrics launched a range of scented candles with St Eval Candle Company last year, candle-addicts, such as myself, rejoiced. Now a new scent has been added to the collection – Tiger Lily.

7 candles

These candles tick all the boxes; they have beautiful packaging – the pretty designs are reminiscent of Rob Ryan‘s quirky and delightful paper cuts – and they have wonderful scents with names such as ‘Eccentricity’, ‘Tea with the Queen’ and ‘Wintergarden’. At £25 each, they’re special treats but cheaper than the likes of Jo Malone and Diptyque, and the colourful boxes are much more fun! I love the fact that the scents are described very specifically on the boxes to conjure up a real mood – for example, ‘Eccentricity’ apparently smells like: ‘Riding in London’s Hyde Park on a spring morning, a fresh breeze of bergamot, petitgrain and herbs mixes with saddlery leather to create an eccentric, English cologne.‘ The ‘Tea with the Queen’ fragrance has a similarly epic description: ‘The table is set with fine linen and bone china. Scent from a vase of Devon violets mingles with freshly brewed Darjeeling tea. A delicate and perfectly regal aroma.‘ Love it!


The new Tiger Lily candle is described as: ‘a passionate bouquet of ylang ylang, known in the South Pacific as an aphrodisiac, and jungle hot tiger lily blended with tropical spices.’ I’ve had a quick sniff of a preview sample and it smells lovely! More to the point, it’s pink, which makes it a winner in my book. If you’re feeling crafty and fancy having a go at making your own candles, follow the simple instructions on the Ideal Home website. – Ellie


A new nautical interiors company launches today, and we love it! Runaway Coast is full of homeware and textiles inspired by the sea. Feast your eyes on these lovely images – they’ve put me in a really summery mood, despite the grey London scene outside our office window!

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Dainty buds bedroom

Check out the cute nautical fabrics at Runaway Coast, too. I like the patterned pebbles design best – it would be lovely as a tablecloth.

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If you’re a fan of nautical style, check out Ian Mankin for striped fabrics, Deckchair Stripes for deckchairs and hammocks, Garden Trading for accessories, and The Beach Hut Company for everything from bunting to fishing nets. – Ellie

Feeling fruity?

May 13, 2009

Apples and pears (not in a Cockney rhyming slang way…) are  popping up all over the autumn/winter 09 high street collections, so here’s a sneaky peek of things to come! We blogged about the tasty Tesco tableware with fruit patterns last week, and now we’ve seen these cute apple and pear accessories at the Next press show – they’re due to hit shops in September. I love it when a trend comes together!

applesI can’t help thinking that these apple-tastic high-street pieces might be inspired by Orla Kiely‘s iconic apple and pear designs, which are, of course, delicious:


Fruity finds elsewhere…check out the Keep Calm Gallery‘s print: AN APPLE A DAY, Cath Kidston‘s new £4 apple mug, and cute reversible fruity cushions from Couverture.

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fruityfun copyThose apple cushions are particularly tempting… – Ellie

Today I’ve been blown away by the beautiful retro fabrics from St. Jude’s. Designed by an eclectic range of artists and screen-printed in short runs, these quirky fabrics are all different, but compliment each other and look great together.


St. Jude’s has a gallery/showroom in North Norfolk and, if you’re lucky enough to be based near there, it looks as though it’s well worth a visit. If you’re a stationery addict like me, you’ll want to check out the gorgeous notebooks on the website, too:

Picture 25They’re almost too pretty to actually use! I love the retro furniture that St. Jude’s does, too. Check out this cute chair:

Picture 27Picture 26The people behind this company also run a gorgeous clothing shop called Old Town, where you can find lovely clothes made from 1940s patterns and quirky accessories, too. I like these little TEA badges:

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If you know of a small company that deserves to be shouted about, please email us: homeshoppingspy@ipcmedia.com. We always love to see interesting things that can’t be found on the high street! – Ellie

If you’re a fan of ceramics and country style, check out these pretty new pics from pottery guru Emma Bridgewater. All these lovely products will be available on her website soon.

Beakers, £3.50 - Emma Bridgewater (lifestyle shot)

Cutlery, from £4.95 for 10 - Emma Bridgewater

Happiness Half Pint Mug, £15.95 - Emma Bridgewater

Beakers, £3.50, and Polka Dot 1.5 Pint Jug, £29.95 - Emma Bridgewater

Having spent a few minutes day-dreaming about the Welsh dresser I will one day own, and which will, of course, be filled with gorgeous Emma B pottery, I’m off to sharpen all my coloured pencils and style them in a cute beaker. There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes…– Ellie

Entomology is the buzz word on the lips of designers this season – butterfly motifs swarmed all over the spring summer 09 fashion catwalks, and now insects are invading our homes, too.


Butterfly teacups, £30 for four; butterfly tealight holder, £10; Laura Ashley

The Laura Ashley design team has really embraced the trend, scattering butterfly patterns liberally across its entire summer collection – there are butterfly magnets, butterfly lolly pop moulds, butterfly lights, butterfly jewellery boxes, butterfly mirrors, butterfly lamp shades – you get the idea.

Picnicware, from £2.50 for a tumbler, Laura Ashley

Picnicware, from £2.50 for a tumbler, Laura Ashley

Butterfly lights, £22, Laura Ashley

Butterfly lights, £22, Laura Ashley

Susanne Philippson’s iconic Butterfly clock (£120 at Heals) has never been more popular, and Matalan has just introduced a similar clock for recessionistas with a credit-crunch-busting £18 price tag.

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Butterfly clock, £120, Heals

Chatting to artist John Dilnot at the recent Brighton Artists Open Houses festival, he told me that his butterfly and bug prints are selling particularly well at the moment. I’ve spotted John’s lovely entomological screen prints on the American Decor8 blog recently, too, so it seems the insect trend is going global!

Garden Pests print, John Dilnot

Garden Pests print, £110, John Dilnot

If you’re after the real deal, Bugs Direct sells framed butterflies and insects in museum-style cases…

Swallowtail butterfly in frame, £17, Bugs Direct

Swallowtail butterfly in frame, £17, Bugs Direct

…or you can just get the look with a striking cushion from Barker and Stonehouse instead.


Red admiral cushion, £75, Barker and Stonehouse

Designer Clarissa Hulse has designed a new Dragonfly pattern blind for Eclectics, which is really delicate and pretty – perfect for a bedroom:

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I’ve also been admiring this lovely butterfly print fabric from new shop Runaway Coast. (Look out for our Runaway Coast post tomorrow!)

Butterfly fabric, £34 per m, Runaway Coast

Butterfly fabric, £34 per m, Runaway Coast

If you’re not a fan of creepy crawlies, look away now – Queen of Posh GraffitiEmily Readett Bayley, has just launched a range of giant wooden bugs…

Beetle, £15, Emily Readett Bayley

Beetle, £15, Emily Readett Bayley

So, why are butterflies and other insects in vogue this season? Perhaps they’re welcome positive symbols for troubled times? Butterflies are seen as cheerful, carefree creatures, while other insects are usually tough, adaptable survivors. Insects have been around for 175 million years (ish!) and they’ll probably be around for another 175 million, so maybe they represent reassuring continuation in our ever-changing world? Whatever the seed for this trend was, I’m quite content to be surrounded by butterflies this summer. I’ve been admiring artist Tracy Bush‘s wall art for a while, and now I’m making my own version by cutting paper butterflies out of vintage magazines using a stencil and pinning them in an IKEA Riba frame. It’s budget art, but time consuming and now my house is full of paper butterflies! – Ellie

Paper butterflies by Tracy Bush

Paper butterflies by Tracy Bush

Quirky cushions

May 7, 2009

Spice up your sofa with these crazy cushions from French designer Laissez Lucie Faire. We’re fans of high street shopping at Ideal Home, but when you want something unique or a little bit different, shopping online is often the answer. I love the Matroyoshka doll designs!

laise21Imagine the impact one of these colourful cushions would have on a plain armchair! Or, if you’re feeling brave, you could mix several on a sofa for a really eclectic look. – Ellie