20 GORGEOUS gift ideas

November 29, 2010

Advent is nearly upon us. One very organised person recently announced to me that she has ‘finished’ her Christmas shopping. I haven’t started mine. So, let’s get organised.

I recently compiled the Ideal Home Gift Guide, and jolly good fun it was too. We used some beautiful robins wrapping paper from Allihopa (Notonthehighstreet) which you can admire above and buy here, and I got the task of scouring high street shops, supermarkets and online stores for the best gifts for our readers. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. If you were sensible enough to pick up a copy of our December issue, you’ll be able to enjoy pages and pages and PAGES of gorgeous gifts. But here’s a little taster – 20 top online buys! Sadly I can’t set up links from every image because I’ve made them into stupid collages in PhotoShop now and I am what is known in the trade as ‘technologically-challenged’, but each image is labelled and I’ve put the links below. Alas, ’tis the best I can do.

Bowls, Roost Living; Calendar, V&A Shop; Cushion, Peak Princess; Chocolate tongues (!), Betty’s; Bird bath, The Balcony Gardener; Tea cosy, Emily Bond.

Needle case, The Contemporary Home; Alphabet purse, Alphabetbags; Hottie, The Fine Cotton Co; Personalised Cornishware, TG Green.

Candles, Jamie Oliver; Glasses, Jasmine Way; Bricks, Silver Cross; Print, Rockett St George.

Glass pots, Dotcomgiftshop; Orla Kiely casserole, BlissHome; Blanket, Anorak; Little mice, Notonthehighstreet; Platter, W2 Products; Compagnie de Provence set, Lifestyle Bazaar. Well, that’s given me a few ideas at least. (Anybody reading this who knows me, that ORLA KIELY casserole pot is VERY nice, HINT HINT HINT…) – Ellie

I know, I know, we’re spoiling you today. It took a lot of persuasion, a few bribes here and there and perhaps a little bit of cheek, but we have it. Le scoop: Lisa Stickley‘s new bed linen designs for Heals (launching on 8th December). Regardez:

HURRAH for Lisa who, despite a punishing schedule churning out Debenhams designs, craft books and beautiful handbags, still manages to come up with such a fresh, pretty collection. I particularly love the trees design (which would look oh-so-cute in a kids’ room with the new Harlequin Boutique trees wallpaper but that’s by the by…) and also the orange set below, which is called Tangerine Hankie Flower:

As the youngsters round my way say, this is bare good, innit. – Ellie

Going green (with envy)

November 24, 2010

If I had a home office (which I don’t – unless you count a lap top on the dining table…) it could (in an alternative universe or a parallel dimension) look a little bit like THIS:

This is the new ‘Forest Falls’ green paint colour from Dulux‘s spring/summer 2011 palette, and it’s GORGEOUS! Especially with a bit of fuchsia pink in front of it. Mmmm.

The desk is painted in ‘Kiwi Burst’. Two greens should never be seen…except here. Delicious!

I love this idea of painting a ‘shelf’ and a ‘lamp’ on the wall – great if you’re short of space! The owl cushion in this shot is from Donna Wilson, and the Thomas Paul plates can be found at Supernice.

Here, ‘Spring Breeze’ yellow and ‘Forest Falls’ green create a colourful dining room.

The case of the chameleon cabinet. What a great trick to make colourful accessories and bright flowers really pop. Love it. – Ellie

Primark Home. Oh yeah.

November 23, 2010

Hear ye this here, good citizens of blog world: there aren’t many places where you can find a funky cushion for under a fiver. But. Le Primarche, AKA Primarni, AKA the-shop-where-you-can-buy-a-pair-of-French-Sole-style-ballet-pumps-for-four-quid-OK-they’re-plastic-but-who-care’s-they’re-FOUR-QUID has finally begun to up its game, homeware-wise. And about time too.

This ‘Parisian’ postcard cushion (which seems to have taken a rather round-the-globe route, but let’s not nit pick) is pretty darn cool. And it’s just £3.50. Yes, you heard correctly. THREE POUNDS AND FIFTY PENCE.

This handsome chap costs just £6. Which ain’t much when you consider there are similar cushions elsewhere for £129!

These knitted hot water bottle covers are just £4 each (cute for Christmas presents! Just hide the label…) while the ‘London’ and ‘Floral Woman’ cushions are £3.50 each. Pop to Primark now to fight your way through the crowds (literally) to nab these bargains – I don’t think they’ll be on the shelves for long. But if you miss out, just remember, there will always be a million of those famous ‘faux fur throws’ to choose from. Ah, yes. – Ellie

Angie Lewin: GIVEAWAY!

November 23, 2010

Talented artist Angie Lewin has collected 80 of her nature-inspired prints, together with collages, textile designs, drawings and paintings from her sketchbooks, to create a beautiful book: Plants and Places (£25, Amazon) out this month.

If only you could get your hands on a signed copy of this lovely new book. For free. What’s that you say? HomeShoppingSpy is giving away five signed copies of this gorgeous book to five lucky people who leave their name and email address below as a comment? We are? Well, that’s jolly good news.

Angie’s work is inspired by the clifftops and saltmarshes of the North Norfolk coast and the Scottish Highlands. She depicts these contrasting environments and their native flora in wood engraving, linocut, silkscreen, lithograph and collage – and this book shows you her processes in real detail.

So, just leave your name and email address below this post as a comment and on Tuesday 30th November, we’ll put all the names in a hat and pick out five at random to win one of these lovely signed books. (Click here if you like reading Terms and Conditions. – Ellie

Ella Doran for Habitat

November 22, 2010

If you’re a fan of Ella Doran‘s colourful photographic accessories, you’ll love her new range for Habitat. She’s photographed vintage china plates and decorated melamine picnicware, cake stands and cushions with the pretty pictures…

Ella’s also designed some cute children’s picnicware. Grrr…

If you like the look of this, it’s due in store at Habitat spring 2011. – Ellie

Mon dieu, Paris-based textile designer Anne Hubert has been busy of late. If you haven’t encountered her work before (you might have spotted her Eiffel Tower tea towel and Bambi cushion at Rockett St George without realising it was from her studio…), you need to. As soon as possible.

Anne first came to my attention when she wrote ‘Customiser‘ (or ‘The Left Bank Look‘ as it was re-named for English speakers,) – a gorgeous collection of craft projects. Anne’s styling is so quirky and amusing – tea towels have never been so much fun! I love her new products, too – particularly the Moustache cushion. It’s genius:

La Cerise Sur Le Gateau (charmingly translated as ‘The Sherry On The Cake’ on the website – all the best cake contains sherry as well as cherry I find) has such a wonderful array of lovely things, all shot in such an imaginative way. I think it could become one of my favourite shops…

I’m loving the whole put-shoes-on-chair-legs thang. Instant anthropomorphisation. Tasty.

This last shot really is the cherry on the cake:

Mmm. Le lapin. Mon plat préféré. – Ellie

Make a cameo

November 17, 2010

Our clever intern Laura has been crafting for the Ideal Home website this week and made this beautiful Victorian-style cameo from a digital photo:

Want to make one yourself? Follow Laura’s step-by-step guide here. You could make one for every member of your family and arrange them in a group for a really striking display. Thanks, Laura! – Ellie

Old school RULES

November 16, 2010

Typing like a woman possessed today, frantically trying to finish features. I pause briefly, to bring you news of this stunning recycled ruler lampshade  (designed by Rory Dobner and spotted in Roost Living‘s upcoming spring/summer 2011 range)…

I bought a load of old rulers at a junk shop recently – and now perhaps they’ll have a purpose in life again. I’m sure my PVA attempts wouldn’t be a patch on the one above though! Vintage rulers, if you like ’em, are available at shops such as Present and Correct and on ye olde eBaye of course, as well as at a car boot sale near you…

Boston-based Malcolm Studio upcycles vintage advert rulers into smart storage boxes…

…while the home-owners on the US cover of the new Decorate book (by writer Joanna Copestick and blogger Holly Becker of Decor8 fame) prop vintage metre sticks up in the corner of their lovely living room:

I won’t dwell on this, but I much prefer the US cover to the UK one! Even the fonts are nicer on the US one! Sigh. Right, I’ve gotta dash. Skirting boards to paint – oh, the glamour! – Ellie

Doctor, Doctor

November 8, 2010

At the Cath Kidston spring/summer press show last week, I spotted this brand new retro First Aid tin, which will be available early next year.

The cartoons all seem to be First Aid related – apart from the football picture bottom left. But perhaps there is about to be a terrible Eduardo da Silva style accident!? The style of the cartoons reminds me a bit of the classic NO PETTING sign that used to be to in all public swimming pools during the 70s and 80s…

…which you can buy in poster and tea towel form at Pedlars these days. Lots of shops sell cute First Aid kits and tins – here’s a HomeShoppingSpy round up to save you shopping around:

1 = Slate tin, £16, Garden Trading. 2 = Keep Calm and Carry On Kit, £10, John Lewis. 3 = First Aid Tin, £7.95, Dotcomgiftshop.

4 = Retro Medicine Cabinet, £35, Rose and Grey. 5 = Vintage Beano Wild & Wolf First Aid Kit, £9.95, John Lewis. 6 = Ladybird First Aid Kit, £9.99, The Gifted Penguin. 7 = Pharmacie First Aid kit, £16, Debenhams. 8 = First Aid Box, £13.95, The Chic Country Home at Notonthehighstreet.com.

9 = Gisela Graham First Aid Box, £13.95, ToysandInteriors. 10 = Large Red Medical Storage Box, £29.99, The Contemporary Home. 11 = White First Aid Box, £22, All Up and On. 12 = Emergency Tin, £2.95, Dotcomgiftshop.

13 = Premier Secours Medicine Cabinet, £39, The Holding Company. 14 = Medicine Cabinet, £90, Country Cream. 15 = Medicine Cabinet, £50, Graham and Green. 16 = Thomas Eriksson Cross Medicine Cabinet, £595, Design Shop UK. Ouch! That’s a painful price! Let’s soothe the sting with this ‘get the look for less’ cross tin from Store, instead…

Nice to see this tin in it’s natural habitat here before it was captured and tamed. What’s with the ‘in-the-wild’ photography?! I suppose if you’re a scout or something…

I found a lovely vintage First Aid box (very similar to the one above) at a car boot sale for 50p recently! It contains some 1940s First Aid instructions, old bandages (not used!) and some wartime Air Raid advice pamphlets. It’s got much more character than the ice cream tub I used to store plasters in! – Ellie