After a two week break I’m feeling quite rejuvenated, sunny and actually a little excited to be back at my desk at Ideal Home HQ. On my return our new September issue had just arrived and if you haven’t yet bagged yourself a copy, it is packed full of stylish storage solutions and ideas to help organise your life (it’s in the shops now, hint hint!). One quick flick through and I felt overcome with calm and order. A little something to share are these two home office shoots our stylish stylists did. The first is from our Cash Clever feature on how to create a work area for less than £215…

Chair, £39, Ikea + Picture frames, £65.96, Ikea + 5 magazine files, £45, The Holding Company + Lamp, £60, John Lewis + Two jars, £4, Sabichi = £213.96. Bargain!

You may have also spotted this fab industrial style home office from our ‘Class of 2012’ decorating feature. I love the metal school-style cabinet from The Old Cinema and the lovely Conran desk for Marks & Spencer and there’s a place for everything with wall mounted storage ideas galore! No excuse for a messy desk. – Alice 
Advertisements

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. 

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

I’ve struggled to sleep this week under/on top of my 13.5 tog goose down duvet. Suddenly it’s summer and my bed is not ready! Having just previewed the new Bedeck bed linen range in collaboration with Joules, I’m now feeling a little inspired to sort out my bedroom, dig out the summer duvet and change the sheets. Although this is an AW12 collection, I think the country-style prints are suitable summery and are available from mid-August. Take a peek…

Joules bedlinen, Bedeck, AW12, Joules, country style, homeware, bedding, bedroom, preview, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

1. Sunbird cushion, £40. 2. Gold woolen beehive throw, £80. 3. Sunbird pillowcase, £15.

Joules bedlinen, Bedeck, AW12, Joules, country style, homeware, bedding, bedroom, preview, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Joules bedlinen, Bedeck, AW12, Joules, country style, homeware, bedding, bedroom, preview, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys1. Box stripe horse cushion, £40. 2. Ribbon stripe horse pillowcase, £20. 3. Ribbon stripe horse towel, from £10.

Joules bedlinen, Bedeck, AW12, Joules, country style, homeware, bedding, bedroom, preview, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Joules bedlinen, Bedeck, AW12, Joules, country style, homeware, bedding, bedroom, preview, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

1. Salcombe throw, £85. 2. Coastal boats Oxford pillowcase, £15. 3. Boats cushion, £40.

Joules bedlinen, Bedeck, AW12, Joules, country style, homeware, bedding, bedroom, preview, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Joules bedlinen, Bedeck, AW12, Joules, country style, homeware, bedding, bedroom, preview, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys1. Deckchair stripe Oxford pillowcase, £15. 2. Deckchair stripe towel, from £10. 3. Jade green beehive throw, £85.

I love the bright colours and cheery prints, all inspired by the British countryside and outdoor pursuits. Which one’s your favourite? – Alice