Royal Wedding wardrobe

February 24, 2011

Imagine waking up to a big Willy every morning…

Words. Cannot. Express. How. I. Feel. About. This. Available in pink or grey from Spaceslide. I kid you not. – Ellie


Nathan & MissPrint team up

February 23, 2011

Oh, I do like a retro chair with sexy legs and I do like a 1950s-inspired dandelion print with a slightly-Scandi feel – especially when it’s in a fetching shade of mellow yellow. So, dear reader, I was THRILLED to hear that Nathan Furniture has teamed up with one of my East London favourites, MissPrint, to produce some very exciting upholstered treats such as this stunning Monty chair in Dandelion Mobile. Check it:

In the words of Veruca Salt, I want it now! But it’s £595, so I might just have to print out a picture and staple-gun it to my trusty Ektorp Jennylund. There’s plenty more retro deliciousness to be had at Nathan, so do have a peep if you’re that way inclined. – Ellie


Posh (plastic) plates

February 17, 2011

For years, our boring-but-practical melamine ‘picnic-ware’ has suffered. It’s shoved in the hardest-to-reach kitchen cupboards, unloved. Reserved for picnics and camping, it’s pulled out once or twice a year, used and abused (if it doesn’t melt beside the campfire, it gets scratched by sand or lost in the park…) then left to gather dust somewhere cobwebby and dark. But recently, melamine has had a make-over; It’s still cheap, but now it’s chic. In fact, some of it is so chic, it’s worthy of being hung on your wall with a sticky disc as art – I’m thinking of the likes of Thomas Paul at Supernice and the African-style French Bull range. Note to self: Melamine plates are fab for hanging because they’re light – very handy if you have plasterboard walls. Anyway, The National Gallery has cottoned on to all this, and has just released a collection of the poshest plastic plates we’ve ever seen…

…with portraits from the likes of Rembrandt and Cranach. You’ll find them all at Whitbread Wilkinson (AKA W2 Products) in May. Fabulous for a decadent dinner party. Perfect for your very own home ‘gallery’ – paint a wall dark grey or neon pink (?!) for a contemporary feel, hang them up, then try to memorise who’s who to impress your guests. The big platter is £12, dinner plates are £6 each and side plates £5 each. Just watch out for the eyes; You know they’ll follow you around the room… – Ellie

HOT TREND: Safari

February 17, 2011

Don your khaki trousers, grab a pair of binoculars and imagine you’re in a LandRover, not an office – today, we’re hitting the dusty savannahs to check out this season’s safari designs…

Think lions, zebras, elephants and giraffes…I love this cute wall decal from Decosticker. Working clockwise: a zebra chair from BHS (very Peter Stringfellow/Kat Slater), bargain faux-fur animal-print accessories (throw, cushion and picture frame) from Tesco Direct, and a tasty safari map cushion from our dear Africa-obsessed friends at Anthropologie

Any excuse for a spot of Turner Pocock wallpaper (top left) – this Zebra design is one of my favourites. Everything else here is from Anthropologie – I can’t help thinking the design team must have had an epic field trip to Africa – it’s difficult to find something that’s NOT safari-related there this season!

Let’s end with Sue Timney‘s stunning ‘Menagerie’ cushion – part of her new home collection for House of Fraser, hitting stores early April. It’s covered with brightly-coloured exotic animals and insects – a bit like Victorian engravings with a modern twist. I love this style – and once read a novel just because the cover had Victorian animal engravings on it. That’s how shallow I am. Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of Sue Timney’s range – there are monochrome cake plates, glamorous striped lamps and quirky Fornasetti-style ceramics. Not very safari, granted, but let’s sneak it in here anyway:

Now, THAT’S a cake plate. If you can’t get enough of Sue’s quirky style, and fancy dressing up as a barcode, don’t miss her current exhibition: “Sue Timney and the Design of Timney-Fowler“, at the Fashion and Textile Museum until 25 April. – Ellie

HOT SHOP: BHLDN launches

February 14, 2011

Normally, we wouldn’t get away with this sort of thing on here, but it IS Valentine’s Day, so let’s break some rules. BHLDN – the new vintage wedding shop from those clever Anthropologie people – is now OPEN.

Now, I don’t know what they’ve got against vowels, but let’s not nit-pick. This is a beautiful website with GORGEOUS products and we should all rejoice on this marvellous day. Dresses, gloves, accessories, jewellery – it’s possibly the most exciting wedding website ever. I particularly like the ‘inspirations’ section, which contains vintage wedding photographs found in a dusty trunk in Belgium…

What a wonderful tache. BHLDN is live now – check it out. I fear it’s going to be ‘vry, VRY tmptng’. – Ellie


Plenty of excitement here at Ideal Home HQ today because the lovely H&M Home picnic-ware and general ‘high summer’ nonsense has been released…

“Rupert was disappointed to see that Beryl hadn’t paid much attention to his ‘travel light’ advice before their epic Lands End to John O’Groats cycle ride.”

Ah ha, a bit of the old ‘more is more’ school of styling here… I’m wondering how the magical picnic people managed to transport all this gubbins on just two bicycles, but perhaps they spend their days balancing cupcakes on ladder steps etc rather than worrying about such things.

“‘Sod this styling malarky’, said Beryl as she whipped off her tangerine bikini for a spot of post-cheese-feast skinny-dipping in the North Sea.”

Why have one lantern when you can have nine? Why have one loaf of bread when you can have three? Glad to see my favourite grain sack designs have made it to the summer range – I love the picnic cloth – and it’s just £7.99!

“Setting up camp in Whitby Bay for the night, Beryl wasn’t impressed by Rupert’s ‘shelter’, but at least she still had her hang-in-the-wardrobe bottle holder to make it feel like home.”

Elsewhere in the high summer collection, there are are funky towels, cool cutlery design melamine trays and accessories with McDonald’s staff slogans. Have a nice day! – Ellie

Having a book day today! This one’s due to be published in September 2011 – yes, it’s the lovely (I expect!) Liberty Home Sewing Book. My prayers have been answered:

Good old Quadrille. This looks set to be a veritable Liberty-fest, packed full of sewing projects for the home, all designed to show-case the beautiful Liberty print fabrics. Elsewhere at Quadrille this year…Cath Kidston‘s been busy – following on from ‘Stitch!’, ‘Sew!’ and ‘Make!’, she’s launching ‘Patch!’– a collection of patchwork projects, as well as ‘Knit!’ and ‘Crochet!’ kits. The exclamation marks really motivate me…I feel as though Cath herself is barking crafting orders at me. Whatever next? COOK! BAKE! CAMP! DANCE! PLUMB?!

Another Quadrille highlight on the horizon (due out in September 2011 again) is ‘A Place to Live’, Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway’s ‘Manifesto for the Modern Home’ in association with Charlotte Abrahams. Described as ‘a call to arms’, this book contains essays, case studies and fact files, exploring the relationship between design, home and community. It calls for a new attitude towards design and ‘aims to kick-start a creative insurgency’ that will result in homes and communities designed to benefit all of us and change the way we live forever. Deep stuff. – Ellie

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s a little look at the latest Paumes offering – Paris Creative Couples. It’s full of 18 trendy young brogue-wearing couples – elegant Parisians with His ‘n’ Hers Apple Macs and fun-sounding job titles. A bit sickening perhaps – in the same way that commuting couples who snog at the station are – but if you can see past the pink love hearts, this is a beautiful book packed with inspirational interiors that are achievable with imagination and effort – not just bags of money…

“As the pigeons pecked at his head, which poked through the sky-light, David realised Cheri always gave him the smallest screen AND the worst seat…” This isn’t a quote from the book, by the way. As we’ve discussed before, it’s in Japanese, so you have to make it up yourself. This is the lovely attic flat belonging to Stylist and Designer Cheri Messerli and her OH, Creative Director David Rager. (Incidentally, you can see photos of their old home and a sketch Cheri did of David’s head on a dog’s body at over on The Selby.) Of course, I’m jealous of their ceiling beams and general gorgeousness. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Here’s the stylish parquet-floored flat of Aurélie Dorard and Romuald Stivine, creators of The Lazy Dog. I love the grey walls – doesn’t the blush (or are we calling it salmon pink? pale coral?!) painted mirror frame look fabulous in front of them? I also like the Elephant Grey vintage Eames rocker…and the vintage chairs…and the hanging wicker chair (just visible in the mirror’s reflection!)…and the wooden lampshade…and the advertising sign…and, let’s be honest, Romuald is rather nice, too…

You can pre-order this stunning book direct from Paumes using PayPal (here’s a link to a page that ISN’T in Japanese!) – or keep your eyes peeled at Bodie and Fou, or Ella Doran – two of the main UK stockists – as no doubt this new Paumes addition will be arriving soon! – Ellie


Cox and Cox: SUMMER 2011

February 7, 2011

So I’ve numbed my throbbing wisdom tooth pain with prescription painkillers and it’s time to take a five minute break from the never-ceasing-hamster-wheel AKA The Ship of Dreams. I’ll have a little gander at the lovely new Cox and Cox look book. Ok, so it’s A3, which means it doesn’t really fit into an A4 folder unless you fold it in half and crease all the pages, which is one of my Top Three OCD Pet Hates (along with books that aren’t sorted by colour – ongoing issue – and press releases with the subject line ‘SNEAKY PEAK’ instead of ‘PEEK’, thus implying some kind of secretive mountain…) – but, all is forgiven because the huge A3 Cox and Cox pictures are SO BEAUTIFUL. The bigger the better, as the actress said…

…enough of this drug-induced twaddle. Let’s look at what’s on offer. There are glass bell jars and elegant tin barn stars – remember Amish-chic? Le Trend De Puritan? You heard it here first. I know – the irony. They’d be LIVID. But they probably aren’t shallow enough to read a shopping blog…no offence, like…

I love these numbered cards – perfect for tables at a wedding reception , or just to sprinkle around your home in a decorative-yet-boyfriend-baffling way.

Keep your eyes peeled for graph-paper-patterned cotton ‘Doodle’ tablecloths you can draw on – presumably aimed at kids, granted, but I won’t tell if you won’t. Imagine the fun you could have…you could draw a chess board…you could play noughts and crosses surreptitiously under your napkin at boring dinner parties when friends-of-friends become intolerably dull droning on about politics or religion or whatnot and all you want to do is play Pictionary and get drunk…you could write nagging reminders to hopeless family members…you could even draw a plate and then put an actual plate on top of your plate picture. Like an invisible place mat. Crazy, I know. The possibilities are endless…

I particularly like these Japanese-print paper-wrapped votives – so pretty, even when your tealight’s not lit. I also like the delicate lace candle – made of wax with a sheet of antique lace embedded inside it, so when it’s lit, the pattern shows through – and the gorgeous Maroq garland…

Before I dash, there’s just time to sneak a PEEK at the best of the rest – including teeny-weeny Borrower-style cutlery napkin charms (get the look: raid the nearest dolls’ house) and the fabulous ‘Cheesy Feet’ pastry cutter. I kid you not. Over and out. – Ellie

NEW: Cannon et Ball paints

February 2, 2011

We’ve entertained ourselves with pretentious paint names before on HomeShoppingSpy. Ah, how we laughed. Well, I did. Probably alone. Who can forget Nacho Cheese (minging yellow), Celebrity (fake tan orange), or Dead Salmon (’nuff said)? Well, today I am thrilled to announce some exclusive news: there’s a new paint collection on the horizon and it’s the best I’ve ever seen. The Cannon et Ball range (not to be confused with any other famous paint brand, of course…) launches on March 1st.

It’s the latest creation from Siecle paints genius, Simon March. (Simon runs a very cool shop in East Dulwich, called COLOUR MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY, where he sells 60 gorgeous paint colours and, randomly, wooden Dutch clogs. Read more about that, here, or pick up our April issue. But that’s by the by.)

Shown here, hot off the press: “I thought I told you to wait in the car” – a pale grey, and “No Moral Value” – a hot, juicy coral. Elsewhere on the card, there’s a suspiciously familiar purple colour called “You’re taking the Liberty” – and a bright green (shown below on one of the afore-mentioned random wooden Dutch clogs) which is the first paint on the card and called: “Here begins the logic”…

Oh, how I’d love to paint my walls with “Easy to apply with a brush”, or “Difficult to explain in words”… those in the know (AKA interiors geeks) will pick up on subtle references to well-known paint cards and their, erm, marketing prose! My favourite Cannon et Ball names include: “Dog’s breath”, “I resent that snide remark”, “Get a room”, and “The colour with no name. (Barry).” Simon’s love of ‘period’ collections and paint companies who claim to be ‘historical’ is reflected, too, in his shade: “A room may have been this colour in the past.”

With names such as: “Accept me as something that works. (Magnolia)”, “Let it go, Doug”, “Though they did have a pile of sausage rolls” and “How can I take my work seriously when I myself don’t like it”, the Cannon et Ball collection is bound to be a massive hit. Each paint will be £34 for 2.5l, available from Siecle as from 1st March – Simon’s tying up the colour cards with butcher’s twine as I type. The best thing about all of this is: the fun never ends – every time somebody asks you what colour your beautiful hallway is, you’ll smile, as you reply with the truth: “I will not dignify that with an answer”. – Ellie