I do love a good apron. As soon as I get home I like to don my H&M sackcloth number. I feel more productive in an apron – I can bake a cake, paint furniture, clean the house, indulge in a spot of gardening. If you too have a thing for aprons you might like Gillian Kyle‘s rather fetching designs that would put anyone, faced with housework, in a cheery mood. Hailing from sunny Glasgow she takes inspiration from iconic Scottish food packaging including Tunnock’s Teacakes and Caramel Wafers (yum!), Scotts Porridge Oats and Creamola Foam (a 1950s soft drink that used to come in the form of soluble crystals – had to Wikipedia that one)!

The aprons cost £17.95 each and you’ll also find tea towels, bags and mugs to match. All available on-line from Gillian Kyle’s website. Happy browsing. – Alice

Love, love, love the new collection from Random Retail. Always a sucker for a nice cushion and these screen printed beauties (all handmade on the Isle of Wight) are simply tip top!

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Textile designer Joy Joliffe took inspiration from 1950s ceramics and her leafy garden to create these vintage prints. I love her attention to detail, even on the backs…

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

The three designs are called Four Rose Plates, Stalks & Leaves, Lines & Spots and cost £38 each (including a good quality feather pad). And if you have a hankering for yet another calico shopping bag, they’ve also relaunched these rather fetching, limited edition designs. Lovely stuff. – Alice

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Sorry it’s been a week since my last post. I’ve been busy gallivanting around the country shooting lovely reader homes for Ideal Home’s September issue. A little something to share with you though this fine Friday is House of Rym’s chinaware, available from Couverture soon. House of Rym founders are a Tunisian and Swedish duo who worked with Swedish designers Anna Backlund and Elisabeth Dunker to create this beautiful range of porcelain that I simply LOVE…

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

It’s delicate with clean lines yet whimsical with a natural woodland feel…

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Mmmm, don’t you just love the monochrome pattern on this teapot!? Feel’s a little Marimekko-esque crossed with Lisa Stickley

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

The blue and white lattice style pattern on the cup below reminds me of a modern take on Royal Copenhagen’s blue fluted design…

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Teapot, £59; cup, £12; saucer, £12; milk jug, £29.

Yet again, scrummy Scandi design at it’s best! Another something for the wish list. Keep an eye on the Couverture website come June. – Alice

For all you letterpress lovers out there, here’s a little Friday afternoon treat. Clerk Ink Well (based in, yep, you guessed it – Clerkenwell. Clever!) are Huw Griffith and Tessa Nicholson and they have a lovely 19th century Wharfedale letterpress. Huw is arty and Tessa likes words and so together they have come up with a few posters with fun slogans…

Clerk Ink Well, letterpress, letterpress poster, stationery, interiors, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Each print is hand-cranked through their letterpress and look at their lovely fruit wood printing blocks…such joy…

Clerk Ink Well, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Tee hee! I like this one…

Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

They use the finest handmade paper and hand mixed vegetable based inks. Prices start from £45 (unframed) and are available to buy from the Clerk Ink Well website. Bon weekend all et bon nuit (je suis suffering somewhat from post-editorial awards fatigue). Sigh. – Alice

I have always been a fan of Vanessa Arbuthnott’s printed textiles and her new Swedish Collection is my favourite yet with its ’50s feel and Scandi-twist. Friends, feast your eyes on her pretty patterns that are launching later this month…

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

With four different designs in the range you’ll find stylised birds, whimsical trees and flowers, pinstripes, spots and trailing leaves. I love the mid-century sludgy colour palette with cutesy, country  names including pumpkin, sweet pea, mushroom, lime and dove.

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, cushions, ideal home, alice humphrys

I love the retro orange paint colour used in this kitchen, it’s nice to see how she’s introduced vibrant colours that merge well with her softer signature shades…

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, retro, paint colour, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Ooooh now I could quite happily live in this shepherd’s hut decked out in teal and lime spots and stripes. It’s just the right size for me! Plonk me in a sunny field with chickens and bunting and I could invite all my friends round for tea and boiled eggs. Ah, the good life…

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, shepherd's hut, bunting, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Nissan Figaro, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

All her fabrics are printed in the UK on 100% linen that is handwoven in Scotland from Belgium yarn. But MY goodness that’s A LOT of cushions for a picnic and I certainly wouldn’t advise anyone to drive their Nissan Figaro quite like that! But HURRAH for Vanessa because this is a very fresh and pretty collection, just in time for spring. Prices start from £39 a metre. Keep an eye on her website later this month. – Alice

Spring flowers…

April 13, 2012

I’ve just spent a few days in the West Country skipping around like a sprightly spring lamb. The fresh air was wondrous and I was amazed by the amount of daffodils bloomin’ everywhere. In my attempt to bring a little bit of the country back to the city, I picked daffodils from my Mother’s garden and gathered whatever greenery I could scrounge from the local hedgerows, along the Devon lanes. I decided to display them in the many jam jars I have collected over the years, I normally use these as tea light holders but with a bit of ribbon they looked suitably pretty for my little floral arrangements that are now dotted ALL over my house…

Spring flowers, daffodils, countryside, Devon, Spring, flower display, country flowers, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Spring flowers, daffodils, countryside, Devon, Spring, flower display, country flowers, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Spring flowers, daffodils, countryside, Devon, Spring, flower display, country flowers, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

If you’re looking for a similar weekend project then this is all you need:

1. A selection of glass jars or any other interesting glass receptacles! If you don’t have many kicking about at home try The Jam Jar Shop for all sorts of shapes and sizes or raid your local car boot/charity shop for old glass bottles.

2. Scraps of ribbon, baker’s twine, brown string..whatever you fancy (I used a selection of ribbons in yellows/creams to keep to a co-ordinated colour scheme.

3. A selection of cut spring flowers from your garden, florist or supermarket and greenery.

For more country decorating ideas why not visit the Ideal Home website. Happy weekend. The sun is set to shine! – Alice

If you’re not yet familiar with Gudrun Sjödén she is a Swedish designer who has a bit of a thing for colour and pattern. She loves to layer it up in contrasting, clashing and clever creative ways. She’s also a bit of an eco do-gooder with a lot of organic cottons and a strong green ethos. Her fashion and homeware range has actually been going for 35 years with stores all over Scandinavia and Germany where she has a cult following. She’s now come to London and last night I went to the store opening on Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.

Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

It was a colourful affair that felt more like a garden party than a store opening. It was full of typically darn beautiful Scandi’s dressed head to toe in her collections, handsome men in floral aprons handing out canapés and summery drinks, fresh flowers in buckets and an enslaught of dedicated fans (where did they all come from!?) whom Gudrun greeted, one by one, on the door.

Think Anthropologie crossed with Designers Guild

I’m not sure I could pull off the bold, statement attire but the homeware I could happily live with. I loved the folky style rugs, ziz zag towels and gorgeous textiles and bedlinen inspired by meadows, wild flowers and sunshine…

Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
I love the zingy citrus shades that feel so fresh and countrified. My bathroom needs a bit of colour and these bath mats would do the job nicely…
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
Gudrun Sjoden store opening, Monmouth Street, Swedish design textiles, colour, pattern, hot shop, homeware, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys
You’ll also find shower curtains with trailing floral prints, table linen, cushions, curtains and rolls of fabrics that can be bought by the metre. If, unlike me, you’re not trapped in the capital, then fret thee not as you can also buy on-line. Hoorah and happy weekend! – Alice

Gabrielle is a designer who lives with her husband and little dog in a rural cottage in Surrey. She makes cards, cute notebooks and plantable bunting (!) amongst other things. Her business is called The Green Gables. She only uses FSC certified paper, works with local printers and suppliers, uses recycled packaging and all orders are shipped from her local village Post Office. Her cheery post card designs landed in my inbox this week and I love the simple illustrations that feature some of my favourite vintage objects…
The Green Gables, eco friendly cards, illustrations, vintage, stationery, homeshoppingspy, ideal home, alice humphrys

The Green Gables, Vintage Typewriter card, typewriter, vintage, illustrations, eco-friendly, sustainable, The Green Gables, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

The Green Gables, Vintage tea cup, typewriter, vintage, illustrations, eco-friendly, sustainable, The Green Gables, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

The Green Gables, Vintage suitcase, typewriter, vintage, illustrations, eco-friendly, sustainable, The Green Gables, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

he Green Gables, Vintage suitcase, typewriter, vintage, illustrations, eco-friendly, sustainable, The Green Gables, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

he Green Gables, Vintage suitcase, typewriter, vintage, illustrations, eco-friendly, sustainable, The Green Gables, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

They’re a mere £3.50 for a mixed set of 6 and if you don’t feel like giving them away then why not use as a mini piece of wall art? Lovely. – Alice

It’s not everyday you can walk into a shop and come out with a vintage jelly mould reinvented as a pendant lamp, a Mexican bingo set, moose shaped firelighters and a deckchair. But if you’re lucky enough to live near the market town, Corbridge in Northumberland, you can! (For those that don’t, you can of course buy online, phew!), Simon Young and Jenny Vaughan’s converted workshop (round the back of an old filling station) is a treasure trove of totally unique finds for the home. They named their shop RE after two giant metal red letters they bought in a Parisian flea market…

People, step inside and feast your eyes on these wonderful buys..

I would very much like these jolly, jelly mould pendant lamps. How lovely to hang a row of these above a kitchen table…

Vintage jelly mould pendant lamps, Re, jelly moulds, vintage, lighting, interiors, unique lighting, recycled, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Planning fodder for your Jubilee street party yet? Make sure you get yourself a set of these British Isles cookie cutters..

British Isles biscuit cutters, Re, cooking, bakeware, interiors, baking, british memorabilia, interiors, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Keep your teapot cosy with this cute pom-pom number, hand knitted in Northumberland..

Tea cosy, RE, knitted, artisan, homespun, interiors, kitchen ware, tea pot, tea, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

This red, white and blue twine will come in handy for any Jubilee/Olympic crafty projects…

Red, white and blue cotton string, RE, The Queen's Jubilee, craft, twine, interiors, DIY, homespun, ideal home, homeshoppingpspy, alice humphrys

Elsewhere there are gorgeous linen cushions, inspired by American flour sacks…

Sack cushions, vintage flour packaging, vintage, rustic, sack cloth, cushions, soft furnishings, sack cloth cushions, RE, Ideal Home, homeshoppingspy, Alice Humphrys

original 50’s and 60’s mixing bowls in pretty on-trend pastel shades..

Vintage mixing bowls, RE, kitchenware, vintage, 50's, 60's, retro, kitchenalia, interiors, baking, ideal home, homeshoppingpsy, RE, re-found objects, alice humphrys

and this ‘waste not want not’ fabric is sold off the roll, for £16 a metre. It’s 44cm wide perfect for a table runner. GREAT idea..

Table runner, RE, waste not want not, linen, kitchen linen, table linen, Ideal Home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Thank goodness it’s March! Spring had sprung and I’ve just bought 4 bunches of daffodils for £1 in my lunch break – hurrah! They’re currently bunged in a vase and just about surviving in our air conditioned office but what I’d really like to display them in is this…

Test tube holder, RE, vase, flower display, single blooms, Spring flowers, floral display, flowers, ideal home, RE, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

A test tube for each single stem. Ah Joy! Thank you RE. Delightful finds and next time I’m even vaguely heading oop north I’m going to take a detour and pop by. – Alice


Coastal style is always a big look for Spring/Summer. Every year at Ideal Home we’re inundated with ideas, products and everyone’s different take on the trend. It’s an easy look to live with; breezy blues, crisps whites, nautical stripes, distressed wood, driftwood accessories, fisherman’s lamps…you know the sort of thing! It’s always a treat though when smaller, up-and-coming designers interpret the trend in a new way. Abigail Edwards is a freelance stylist who recently launched her own collection of hand drawn wallpapers. Her latest Seascape design is simply dreamy..

Seascape wallpaper, Winter by Abigail Edwards, coastal, Spring Summer, interiors, wallpaper, wallpaper trends, abigail edwards, ideal home, homeshoppingpy, alice humphrys

Seascape wallpaper, Winter by Abigail Edwards, coastal, Spring Summer, interiors, wallpaper, wallpaper trends, abigail edwards, ideal home, homeshoppingpy, alice humphrys

wallpaper, coastal trend, abigail edwards, nautical, spring, summer, trends, coastal, beach-style, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Available in black (Winter) and soft blue (Summer), the rolling waves are so soothing to look at, I could get lost in them for hours. This paper would look gorgeous in a bathroom, a downstairs loo or even on a house boat (I actually used to live on one!)

Seascape wallpaper, Summer by Abigail Edwards, coastal, Spring Summer, interiors, wallpaper, wallpaper trends, abigail edwards, ideal home, homeshoppingpy, alice humphrys

Seascape wallpaper, Summer by Abigail Edwards, coastal, Spring Summer, interiors, wallpaper, wallpaper trends, abigail edwards, ideal home, homeshoppingpy, alice humphrys

At £59 a roll, the papers are all hand drawn by Abigail and printed in Lancashire at one of the few remaining traditional wallpaper printers in the UK. When she’s not busy styling she is working on two new wallpaper designs, tiles and even table linen. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Happy weekend all. Spring has nearly sprung!– Alice