We’ve been sweating around London today sucking up the Autumn/Winter trends and gathering all the latest shopping news to keep Ideal Home readers in the loop. Check out these gorgeous new products from H&M Home

I love this new keys cushion, and the new dark grey colour of last season’s SEL DE MER design.

Check out the cool cushions with ampersands, hotel-style signs and big blooms…and the new monochrome silhouettes bathroom range of towels, shower curtains and bath mats…

I like the harvest-themed kitchen textiles and table runners. But the one thing I can’t NOT buy is the pale grey linen dressing gown!

I think the H&M Home offering gets better every season! – Ellie


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HOT TREND: Cassettes

May 10, 2011

Ah, the humble cassette tape. In case you’ve been living under a stone (or have better things to think about), FYI: The 1980s revival is in full swing and cassettes have never been cooler.

Exhibit A: The classic cassette wall sticker, from Danish style gurus at Ferm Living. (Did you know that Ferm means clever? Me neither.) Sure, I’d clocked the cool kids drinking out of old jars in the Hoxton Pony (or somewhere similar, probably, possibly, actually not really), wearing their retro-yet-ironic cassette tape jewellery. Yeah, I’d spotted the Hackney hipsters hanging out in TopShop, protesting, shopping, wearing their ‘Mix tape’ slogans on their skinny chests. Exhibit B: ‘Something retro on my necklace‘ from Truffle Shuffle:

But now this trend is creeping in to our homes, too. Press PLAY:

Exhibit C: (From the top) Monochrome cassette cushions and bags from the magical Mini Moderns; Evidence of indie-crafters going crazy for all things cassette-related on Folksy; Retro iPhone 4 cases and MP3 players from Accessory Bee and Littlewoods. Of course, the trend-hunters at Rockett St George are on the CASE already….

Exhibits D and E: Rockett St George’s arty prints from illustrator Hanna Melin. The one below can be personalised with your own ‘mix tape labels’…

Ah, cassettes. It’s impossible not to get nostalgic. They symbolise the pre CD, pre MP3, pre-GCSE era. As the Top 40 played, you’d hover; Listening, poised, finger at the ready to press RECORD and capture That Song on your tape. You tried to hit the STOP button before the DJ started speaking. You never managed this. You never actually caught the beginning or the end of any song EVER. But you persevered, and enjoyed sticking the pleasing little labels on it afterwards. You gave your new ‘mix tape’ a catchy name such as: ‘My Pop Music Album III (Ace of Base etc)’. You listed the songs and artists carefully on the little card in biro. Sometimes, you recorded yourself singing. Badly. Or you recorded your own ‘radio shows’ and made your little sister play all the jingles on a glockenspiel. Well, I did. Enough. Some designers have taken this trend one step further and are recycling (UP-cycling?) cassettes in to designer furniture and lighting. Exhibit F: The range from Ooomydesign:

Random DID YOU KNOW box: Apparently, when you see cassette tape wrapped around a lamp post or a tree it means a witch has recorded a spell or a curse on it. Hmmm. Moving on. Exhibit G: The Cassette Tape Closet:

You can find out how to make your own at Creativebarn. No, really. Obviously, this only applies to you if you’ve got oodles of time, a massive wooden frame thingy, some serious DIY skills and about a zillion old cassettes knocking about. And a lot of PVA, presumably. But before you hurry home to staple-gun cassettes to your coffee table, just remember: the 90s trend is next, so save a bit of space for CDs. eh. Or video tapes… – Ellie

(VHS notebooks, just in at Pedlars…)

Somewhere, on a soulless tarmac-covered, out-of-town retail park near you, waits a magical cave of wondrous home-related joy…

HomeSense is the sister of TK Maxx, but rest assured, there ain’t no comparison. Yeah, so every now and again TK comes up trumps and you stumble across a nice bit of Le Creuset or a bath mat you never knew you needed, but – it’s all so untidy. And homeware seems to be an afterthought, tucked away past the Calvin Klein pants, the peculiar soaps and the ‘decorative’ coloured olive oils with floating, erm, bits.

HomeSense is just homeware, no fashion, and although there are some great end-of-line products, there are also loads of new designs at low prices, as well as one-off vintage items that the buyers pick up on their travels. It’s a bit hit and miss – you have to pop in regularly to find the best stuff – and stock in every store varies, but it’s well worth a peep. I paid a visit to the Staples Corner store the other day and found Moroccan-style lanterns for under a tenner, pouffes for £29.99 and lots of affordable designer-style outdoor furniture, too.

I spent a long time playing with these hour glass timers – they come with natural, blue, pink or black sand and would look cool on a mantelpiece. The bird prints are gorgeous, too. I particularly like the bright, tropical-meets-tribal cushions and quilts in-store at the moment, all very Anthropologie SS11, and at such low prices…

I was amazed by the collection of blankets I saw, too. Row upon row of beautiful cashmere, angora and super-soft lambswool throws in a rainbow of colours. They could have cost hundreds elsewhere, but were all just £19.99 or less. Cue, the amateur photography…

I picked up a pale pink angora throw for just £8! Kerr-ching. There had just been a big delivery of vintage furniture from India, too, so I had a little look at that, then admired Tolix chairs for £39 each and French grain-sack-covered dining chairs for £99 each…

Note the little drawers! I resisted buying the metal E, although I WAS tempted. I might have to pop back for that bell jar, though. It was only £7.99…– Ellie

Little drawers

May 6, 2011

Are what I wear on a Friday night…

I’m actually talking about apothecary chests. Or haberdashery shop storage units. Teeny tiny drawers all labelled and vintage and LOVELY. I spotted the huge one above on my travels recently – complete with original German labels. ‘Watte’ apparently means cotton wool, so I presume this was originally in a chemist’s shop, but it’s being used to store tea nowadays. ‘Oh, where can one buy such a thing?’, I hear you cry…

You can find beautiful antique originals at The Old Cinema – the top one shown here is a vintage 1930s treasure. Beautiful. But, how can you ‘get the look’ when your budget is, well, less than £2000? You could head to John Lewis (bottom right) for cute numbered drawers with a galvanised zinc case for £60, or to your local HomeSense (bottom left), where little four-drawer units start at just £14.99 each! Here’s my lovely new HomeSense one, with labels I made using a Muji stamp set:

This brings me conveniently on to my next post, entitled: The Joy of HomeSense (OR, Where To Find An Angora Throw For Eight English Pounds, No, Really).  – Ellie