Putting a single bloom in a vintage milk bottle is the easiest and cheapest way to create a gorgeous floral display. I’ve always yearned for a few nice glass milk bottles, but since our milk now comes in plastic cartons from Waitrose, I thought I’d have to resort to eBay

Pedlars £9.95

Luckily, my in-laws still get milk delivered, so I asked them to bring me some ‘retro’ Dairy Crest milk bottles when they came to stay at the weekend. They think I’m completely mad. But I’ve put peonies in them already and they look stunning! For simple, stylish milk bottles, check out American shop Three Potato Four:

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Here are some more gorgeous milk bottles for you to feast your eyes on…this is turning in to a milk bottle appreciation post!

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Clockwise from top right: Three Potato Four; bottles available on Ebay; The Traditional Flower Company; Real Simple.

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I love the vintage milk bottles from Baileys too (above left) – and check out this cute milk bottle shot from a past Ideal Home issue (above right). Decanting milk is always a hassle, but it looks so lovely, it’s well worth the effort! Milk bottle tops are collectors’ items these days, too – I like the retro designs and lettering on them. How cute would these ones look in an IKEA Ribba frame for some bargain artwork?

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If you’d like to buy your own vintage-style milk bottle, Dotcomgiftshop has a lovely one with a glass stopper for £16.95. Check out the huge collection on Kenneth Keith‘s website, too. There are hundreds to browse through, but I don’t think his collection is for sale sadly…

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If you don’t have milk delivered, but want to display flowers in bottles, Belvoir fruit cordial bottles are perfect, too, and iced tea bottles from Holland and Barrett also look lovely. Here’s a snap I took recently in my dining room, with a peony in an old Belvoir bottle. It’s a ‘recessionista’ display! – Ellie

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Do I need another cushion in my life? Probably not, but these gorgeous limited edition designs from Lisa Stickley are so more-ish, I can’t resist!

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Hand-made and hand-printed, these cushions are made using Lisa‘s drawings and vintage linens. I love her scribble-writing, and the ‘Party’ cushion with a list of retro party games has got to be the cutest one.

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I got chatting when I visited Lisa’s shop in Clapham North recently and discovered she’s planning to open another shop soon – more details coming soon, so watch this space! – Ellie

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Mmmmm, check out this lovely display of vintage treasures in the studio of designer Lynsey Walters – these are her ‘collecting shelves’:

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If your own shelves aren’t as gorgeous as hers yet, you can buy a limited edition, signed print of this photo from her website. I’m a huge fan of open shelves…especially in kitchens. Yeah, they get dusty. But you get to admire your most beautiful things every day, and you can constantly rearrange and adapt the display if you get bored – great for a neurotic stylist who can’t stop ‘playing house’ like me!

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I’ve been drooling over blogger Yvonne Eijkenduijn’s open kitchen shelves over at Yvestown today, too. White shelving always makes colourful accessories look so fresh and pretty. – Ellie

I’ve just interviewed Bux Bailey, founder of the lovely Treacle bakery on Columbia Road, in East London. I was getting baking tips from her for a ‘Domestic Goddess’ feature I’m writing for the October issue of Ideal Home. While we were chatting, I got a chance to check out the lovely collection of products she stocks – as well as her fabulous cupcakes of course! Check out the cute badge she gave me:

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Bux sells vintage cookware and nostalgic kitchen bits and bobs, which are displayed in a charmingly quirky, laid-back manner – there’s an apron draped across a window like a curtain, and a broken 1970s TV used as a display case – everything is reused and recycled and nothing is pretentious. Among the vintage treasures for sale, I spotted glass cake stands for £12 each and a stunning Midwinter tea set. The kitsch 1950s kitchen cupboards Bux sells double up as great display cases for the shop, and she also stocks contemporary items from talented British designers which sit happily alongside the older pieces on offer. I noticed a great range of funky tea towels from Kent designer Lindsay Marsden AKA The Black Rabbit – she makes beautiful tea cosies, seed packets, prints, toys, egg cosies and cushions. 

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I love her work, but The Black Rabbit logo freaks me out a bit, as it reminds me of the disturbing Watership Down cartoon I was shown as a young child – I haven’t been the same since! Bux also stocks another of my favourites The Hungry Girls’ Cookbooks – beautiful mini recipe books from a trio of Melbourne friends – Rachel Pitts, Leah Holscher and Katherine Bird.

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Elsewhere, I noticed a collection of hilariously rude greeting cards from designer David Shrigley, and some stunning ceramics by Rachel Barker:

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I was relieved to hear that despite the failing economy, and the challenges small independent shops are facing, Treacle is thriving. Bux told me that cake is a ‘recession-proof product’. ‘People will always eat cake,’ she explained. ‘In fact, during hard times, people usually comfort-eat and end up eating more cake than usual!’ I suggested to Bux that perhaps some of her success is down to the current shift towards a back-to-basics, less materialistic way of life – perhaps the nostalgic charm of Treacle appeals in an era of homogenised high streets and greed gone wrong? Bux agreed: ‘Cake is one of life’s simple pleasures, and I think comfort and nostalgia is more relevant today than ever before. We keep things simple here – our milk is still delivered by the milk man, and my daughter Maya and I are going to pick elderflowers this weekend on my mum’s farm down in Kent to make some elderflower cordial for the shop.’ Bux told me she was brought up in a household where ‘Mrs Beeton’s book was like the Bible’ and she feels a lot of the information in such books is still helpful today. Stepping into Treacle is like going back in time – only ‘builder’s tea’ is served, the counter is a huge old-fashioned glass cabinet and the cupcakes wouldn’t look out of place at a 1940s tea party. I’m in love with this place! Just before I left the shop, I ordered an EAT CAKE AND CARRY ON print, which I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’ll look great in my kitchen! – Ellie

Treacle is at 110-112 Columbia Road, Shoreditch E27RG (020 7729 0538).  It’s only open on market days (weekends).

These funky maps of London and Paris from Bodie and Fou are prints of paper-cuts by Famille Summerbelle. They’re £45 each.

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Following on from yesterday’s post about maps, I thought these were perfect for today! I’ve got my eye on the London one! – Ellie

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Maps are EVERYWHERE

June 9, 2009

Geography is finally cool…check out this awesome world map wallpaper, £99.95 for eight panels, Stanfords.

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It looks fantastic in a home office here, but you could put it in a hallway or even a bedroom. Maps are big news at the moment – I wrote about the current obsession with globes a few weeks back (and I finally found a gorgeous vintage globe at the weekend in a junk shop for £8 by the way – hurrah!) and it seems geographical buys are everywhere I look!

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World Future Map, £75, Notonthehighstreet

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Bespoke map heart, £30, Notonthehighstreet

Bespoke map platter, £125, Bombus

Bespoke map platter, £125, Bombus

London underground map cushion, £39.95, Rockett St George

London underground map cushion, £39.95, Rockett St George

Although it’s not strictly interiors-related, have a look at the gorgeous bags and accessories over at Cloth Ears. The map bag below is just one of a great collection of purses and goodies – all made to look like vintage parcels and pieces of post. So cute! – Ellie

Paper planes bag, £54.99, Cloth Ears

Paper planes bag, £54.99, Cloth Ears

Feast your eyes, people! These beautiful new autumn/winter images from The White Company are so elegant, crisp and clean.

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Check out the white glass vases – so pretty, and they look stunning with single rose stems, too. – Ellie