It’s been a crazy day here at Ideal Home HQ as I tie things up before a two week holiday. I’ve had to set myself hourly deadlines, limit chat with colleagues and keep a steady supply of drinking water to hand. Before I go and enjoy sunnier climes on the Adriatic sea, I wanted to leave you with some very happy ceramics that I came across today from Pedlars.

I love these colour dipped plates! They’re so bright and sunny. They would look great hung on the wall or make meal times even more yummy! This is an exclusive collection for Pedlars designed by graphic designer, Gail Bryson and manufactured in Portugal where all the best ceramics seems to come from.

I think they’re pretty reasonably priced, starting from £19.95 for a set of four mugs. You will have to wait though as they’re not available from Pedlars until September. Right folks, I’m going to attempt to leave the office now. The air con is shutting down and making a right racket! I will be back blogging in two weeks, hopefully with a tan and a sunnier disposition after a good dose of vitamin D.  – Alice (notice how I’ve said ‘sunny’ 3 times in this post. I think I need some…)

It may be a grey and gloomy day but the new Autumn 2012 look book from Cox & Cox has arrived which is enough to lift anyone’s spirits (that, plus the fact that I’m off to sunny Croatia this week – yay!). Founders Fiona Cox and Lizzie Thornton-Allan have a great eye for practical and useful homewares. As a member of ‘generation rent’, I am often looking for ways to make my home more personal to me but I have to think carefully about what pieces to invest in as obviously I can’t rip out the kitchen, knock down walls or build fitted storage. So, it’s freestanding furniture all the way for me! Cox & Cox have some lovely offerings from their new collection that would do very nicely in a rented place. Here are 3 of my favourites…

French folding mirror, £75

The photography and styling is always so beautiful and gives me lots of ideas for displays around the house. I love this pretty mirror with folding shelf, it looks like a French flea market find. Perfect for the downstairs loo!

Vintage metal trolley, £145

This trolley on wheels would be great in my kitchen. Bread bin on top with wooden boards, filled Le Parfait jars on the middle shelf, vintage fruit crates on the bottom shelf for extra storage…

Wooden ladder shelf, £225

And finally, the ladder shelf. I’m looking for one for an alcove in my living room; a great substitute for fitted shelves and I love this natural unfinished wood that looks very coastal. If you’re also a Cox & Cox fan, keep an eye on their website later this month as there are tons of tempting buys. – Alice

Planning a camping trip in Wales this summer? You’d fit right in with this enamelware from Blodwen. I got a bit excited when I saw this! The classic navy and white has been given a wonderful Welsh twist, featuring the iconic ‘Caernarfon’ pattern that you normally see used in traditional tapestry blankets…

Blodwen has lots of lovely stuff. The founder, Denise Lewis, is passionate about supporting handmade Welsh craft. She designed this ‘Gwalia’ (Welsh for ‘homeland’) enamelware herself  and, although the enamel is sourced in Europe, the design and firing of the decals is all done in Wales.

1. Enamel jug, £35; 2. Mug set, £28 for 2; 3. bowl, £15.

Based in Cardigan Bay, you’ll also find woven baskets, wooden bowls, pottery, tapestry floor mats and homemade jam! Have a browse online at their delightful wares and the Gwalia is also available through Liberty. – Alice

For those wondering what Habitat have been up to of late, it’s been a bit of a year. After being bought out by the Home Retail Group (owners of Homebase and Argos) last year they have left us with only 3 London stores but thankfully, the UK website. From July this year, you will start to see an edited selection of the iconic homeware appear in over 200, slightly less iconic, Homebase stores across the country. Yes, it’s an unlikely pairing but as a result they’re launching a rather nice wallpaper and paint range that I previewed last week at their AW12 press show…

All designed in house at Habitat, there are 30 shades in the paint collection based on favourite colours taken from the Habitat design palette. The selection of neutrals and brights all have quirky names including ‘sprout’, ‘cumin’ and ‘dust’. The paint can be used on interior walls, metal and wood. The retro-graphic wallpapers are designed to compliment the paint range with 4 designs in 16 different colours. My favourite is the wood grain effect in mustard yellow…

The paint starts at £16 for 1.25 litres and £25 for a roll of wallpaper. If you live in London and can’t face a trip to Homebase they will also be available in the 3 London stores.

So, Habitat are busy and in addition to their paint and wallpaper the AW12 collections are pretty lovely too, with the comfiest sofa in the world and gorgeous tableware (post coming soon!) – Alice. 

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

Millions of people will be embracing all things Jubilee this weekend. B&Q have reported sales of 100,000 metres of union jack bunting and 3,100 gnomes (who buys those!?). 10,000 streets will be closed for celebrations and I’m gonna bake a Victoria sponge, eat it and wash it down with a jug of Pimms. Hurrah! For months leading up to this weekend we homes journos have been bombarded with patriotic memorabilia and homeware that’s not gonna be available for much longer, so buy it now! (Or wait til Tuesday when it’ll all be reduced). There’s a lot of tat out there but also some rather nice things that I felt worthy of a blog post. Here’s my pick of some of the best jooby booty. Have a jolly weekend! – Alice

Jubilee, Queen's Diamond Jubilee, homeware, patriotic, street party, bunting, The Queen, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys, B&Q, Sainsburys, Pedlars

1. Assorted vintage London postcards, £10.95, Rigby & Mac. 2. Queen’s Guard corkscrew, £45, Alessi. 3. Corgi apron, £22.50, Thornback & Peel. 4. God Save The Queen print, £210 (!), Pedlars. 5. British Jubilee ribbon, £4.99, Jane Means. 6. God Save The Queen shopper, £3, Cancer Research. 7. Union Jack wellies, £36.95, Joules. 8. Honeycomb tissue balls, £3.50, Papermash. 9. Queen egg cosy, £14.50, Poppy Treffry. 10. Press out London taxi, £4.50, Muji. 11. Jubilee teatowel, £12.50, Victoria Eggs. 12. Teapot, £12, Sainsburys. 13. London bus plant pot, £9.99, British Heart Foundation. 14. Trooping the colour tray, £20, Unique & Unity. 15.  Jubilee red & blue paper bags, £4 a pack, Not On The High street. 16. You Rule wrapping paper, £7.95, Nancy & Betty Studio. 17. Solar powered Queen and Corgi, £14.95, Pedlars. 18. Lizzie Allen directors chair, £89, Habitat. 19. Red striped straws, £3, Pearl & Earl. 20. Colour your own Jubilee bunting, £5.50, Art & Mable

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…

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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