As from next week, you’ll find new Cath Kidston hard iPhone cases online and in-store…

I should probably get out more, but this makes me VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY excited. They’re going to be £24.95 each. If you’re an iPhone geek, check out the new app from Wallpaper magazine, too. – Ellie


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Wowzers! Have you seen the latest issue of Cath Kidston‘s catalogue-cunningly-disguised-as-a-magazine?! I thought my love affair with the holy CK was at an end, and I was suffering from EFOS (Extreme Floral Overdose Syndrome), but perhaps I’m not quite over the mighty Cath yet?! Check out this gorgeous green office with sexy desk, amazing vintage map, quirky retro accessories – grrrrr, baby, yeah!

I like the little London souvenir props throughout this shoot…(it was photographed in Palace Road location house for those that care – I’d know Jane’s bright green dresser anywhere!)…and I’ve fallen big time for the gorgeous new Britannia fabric which has been used to cover the armchair…so cool. Now, we don’t usually feature fashion on HomeShoppingSpy, us being an interiors blog and all, but since this is also a DIY themed shoot – and show-cases some of the beautiful Cath Kidston wallpapers – let’s make an exception!

Oh, if only I looked as glamorous as these young rosy-cheeked gals when decorating! The sad reality is that I wear paint-spattered Primark pyjama bottoms, an old T-shirt that used to belong to the other half (MASSIVE and MINGING), and a pair of 99p sunglasses instead of goggles because I am ill-equipped and also stingy. SIGH.

Now, I’m no kill-joy, but it appears these crazy girlies have got a bit distracted from the task at hand! Check out the new Cath Kidston floor tiles in the shot above by the way – woop woop! Phew, all this hopscotch and general merriment, not to mention the mere THOUGHT of actually decorating is SO tiring – tea time! Try the handle, love…

School-boy error coming up, brace yourselves…oi, wotchit, big foot…

OOPSY. Are you a Cath Addict? If so, you’ll LOVE this chintzy bathroom…so pretty, but a TAD too much for me!

And you’ll go weak at your flowery knees for this bedroom beauty…

I leave you with the PLEASING news that Cath Kidston has just launched a collection of seeds in pretty packets, which are perfect for propping up on a shelf in a shabby-chic shed. Like anyone actually HAS one of those. But you catch my drift. Over and out, blog buddies. – Ellie


HOT SHOP: PiP Studio

January 13, 2010

Fresh from the Netherlands, the Dutch answer to Cath KidstonPiP Studio is about to hit the UK. Think Greengate-meets-Rice…pretty florals, bright colours and a huge dose of vintage charm.

(Note the bell jar – ding dong! Really need to get over this.)  Launching in the UK this spring, PiP Studio products will be hitting shops such as Berry Red, Liberty and possibly bigger chains like John Lewis any time now.

Feast your eyes on this floral fest, lovely people…

Ooooh, I like that blue towel with the orange flowers – bit like a Hawaiian shirt, but in a good way!! Some cute cushions here, too.

There’s nothing like a spot of pretty china for a Wednesday afternoon…

I’ve just had a quick look at a new book, due out this March – Decorating with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. Now, I’m not really into the whole swirly damask LLB style (and there are some fairly hideous interiors in this book to be sure! Pebble-look carpet tiles, anyone? Or perhaps you’d prefer a floor-to-ceiling parkland vista wall mural?? Even circa 1990, surely these were a bit dodge…) but I was impressed by the simple step-by-step decorating ‘how-to’ section in the second half, so it’s our book of the week. If you’re a hardcore LLB fan, see our April issue to find out how to steal his ‘style’! – Ellie

Christmas style ideas

December 22, 2009

The obligatory tin of Quality Street chocs is open in our office, and all the strawberry ones have gone already, so Christmas must be just around the corner. Check out these lovely festive touches…egg nog, anyone?

This is cute and oh-so-simple. Use a white board marker pen to write a Christmas message to Santa on a wine glass, or use it to write your guests’ names on their glasses so they double up as place markers.

This stunning wreath is easy to make with floristry wire and pine cones sprayed white (my top tip!) with Plastikote spray paint. I love the little reindeer model in the middle – so effective.

Yes, this handmade stocking is lovely, but it’s the vintage ice skates that I really want. What a lovely, wintery look! Too late for this year now I fear, but I’ll make a mental note to scour car boot sales for a cheap pair in 2010. Not that I need any more vintage tat.

Slipping a fresh flower stem through a ribbon on Christmas morning is a lovely idea, but a faux floral corsage or silk flower would be much less hassle and last longer. Somehow, fake is never quite the same though, is it? It would be so romantic to receive a gift with a red rose tied to it! I like this idea of tying little candy canes and lolly pops to presents, too. Always a crowd pleaser…

Candles complete a Christmassy look. Go for long-lasting ones so you won’t have to dash around replacing them when you’re busy looking after your guests or relaxing by the fire (if you ARE the guest). I always fall for glass bottles of one sort or another, so these little numbered ‘candle vases’ from The Balcony Gardener are right up my street:

I couldn’t resist a few colourful Cath Kidston Christmas pics to finish off. Mixing bright colours together always creates a warm, festive look, and I love her cracker designs this year. From the number of cushions and crackers in this image, I’d say Cath’s got her work cut out Christmas-dinner-wise. Let’s hope she’s ordered a nice big turkey! – Ellie

Yesterday I popped into Mitsukoshi on London’s Regent Street to pick up some pretty origami papers and a tin of my favourite Kusmi tea. The tea is delicious, of course. But the real treat is the tin…

Picture 9This is author and stylist Selina Lake’s kitchen – she’s clearly a Kusmi fan – and no issue of Livingetc magazine is complete without a Kusmi Tea tin prop in at least one photo shoot. The brand was founded in 1867, and today has over 700 followers on Twitter – it’s thriving!

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kusmi_tea_packaging_design_3With Baroque-style funky-coloured tins, and delicious tea, it’s no wonder the Kusmi Tea collection is considered a style statement all over the world.

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Last night I went to the launch party of a new Homesense store in north London. We were taken there on a vintage Routemaster bus, sipping champagne – it was all very decadent! I have to say that I was REALLY impressed. I’ve never been to Homesense before, and I was kind of expecting it to be a bit like TK Maxx, but it was much better. There was loads of really beautiful furniture at tiny prices – I bought a fantastic, retro anglepoise chrome floor lamp for £69.99. I’ve just found the same model online for £225, so I’m pretty chuffed with my bargain buy! I also spotted Missoni blankets and Cath Kidston bedding at low, low prices so I’ll be back! – Ellie

THREE tea towel projects

September 4, 2009

We were chatting in the office the other day about the two types of tea towel in the world. (Oh dear.) The first kind is the manky, tea-stained, torn, faded, bought-in-IKEA-a-million-years-ago kind – the sort you use for drying up, washing the cat, wiping up mud, milk, sick etc. The second kind is the ‘decorative’ type – the colourful, stylish, gorgeous, never-used, never-washed, beautifully-made designer tea towel – possibly from the likes of Jme, To Dry For, or Cath Kidston – which is displayed at all times and is there to be admired. It is ironed. Cared for. Loved. Sometimes it is moved from one hook to another, but it is never, ever, EVER used. And woe betide any poor soul who attempts to use it.

an apple a dayIn my house, the concept of a purely ornamental tea towel is lost on certain folk – namely, the boyfriend, my visiting mother, and the naughty cats – so keeping a lovely tea towel in pristine condition is something of a challenge. That’s why the crafty tea towel makes from the October issue of Ideal Home magazine are so cool – by turning your favourite tea towel into wall art, a knitting needle case, or a cushion, you can preserve it much more easily. This ‘An Apple A Day’ one looks fab in a simple IKEA Ribba frame, while polka dot tea towels from Dotcomgiftshop make fantastic knitting needle holders.

knitting-needle-holderI like these cushions made from pretty tea towels bought at John Lewis. This idea would work well with Penguin Classics book cover tea towels, or vintage tea towels from holiday resorts, too.

tea-towel-cushionsIt’s the weekend, and I’m excited because Bethan and I are treating ourselves to a Eurostar day trip to Lille in France for La Braderie, Europe’s biggest flea market. We’re going to do some serious bargain-hunting, and we’ll take lots of photos and write a nice big post all about it on Monday. Just before I sign off, check out this gorgeous photo of Lisa Stickley‘s scrapbook:

lisa stickley scrapbookI always think that blogging is a bit like having an online scrapbook – but there’s nothing quite like the real thing. More on scrapbooking next week! Have a lovely weekend. – Ellie

Recession-proof Cath Kidston has defied the crumbling economy with her ‘kitchenalgia’ empire (apparently this is ‘kitchenalia’ blended with ‘nostalgia’, in case you are as confused as I am). This year she has sold more polka dot tea towels and chintzy fabrics than ever before and has smugly recorded profits of £4.6m, up from £2.9m in 2008.

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This is a big deal in the interiors industry. Other homeware brands have been hit hard by the recession – The Pier has disappeared. High street favourite Woolworths is a gonna (which of recent years was yawns-ville but in the past brought us such classics as the Ridgway Homemaker tableware collection) and MFI has tragically died. So, for Cath Kidston’s sales to rise from £19.2m to £31.3m is pretty impressive. She’s going from strength to strength and now has 27 stores in the UK and Ireland, with 10 new openings in the last year. And it’s not just us Brits who go crazy for her cute, floral style – she’s also huge in Japan and now has shops in Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama.

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There have been articles in both The Guardian and The Sunday Times recently charting Kidston’s amazing growth and discussing what the secret of her recession success is. Do women turn to her cheerful designs for comfort in hard times? Do her vintage patterns remind us of our grandmothers, idyllic childhoods and homespun rosy days? Is the CK lifestyle ‘a way to nest, but without all the hard work involved in nesting’? In the Daily Mail recently, Leah Hardy, a self-confessed Cath-addict summed up why she’s obsessed with the brand: “In Cath Kidston world, surrounded by my Cath Kidston things, I can believe I am the perfect housewife. I live in a mullioned rectory. There are perfectly behaved, rosy-cheeked children and well-trained dogs at my feet. Carrots are growing in my garden and there’s a homemade cake cooling in my kitchen. The reality, of course, is somewhat different. I’m a harassed working mother living in a South London semi, with cats and urban children, at whom I sometimes shout, especially when I’m on a deadline and they are fighting over the TV remote control. There are no roses around my door, I wince when my bank statements arrive and my ironing pile is a disgrace. In my retro-styled sewing box I have a Cath Kidston floral-print tin button box but I can’t remember the last time I sewed on a button.”

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So, Cath allows us to fantasise and escape reality. But can she peddle this dream forever? There have been rumbles in the press that she’s grown too big – that her ‘pinny porn’ has spread ‘like ivy’ – that fashion will turn against her as it did with Laura Ashley in the 1990s – that selling spotty bags in Tesco, phones for Nokia, tents in Millets and opening an outlet store in Bicester is a bit too much and somehow, well, chavvy. It’s like when you hear a song you like on the radio. Every day. Twenty four times. It soon loses it’s appeal and becomes a bit annoying. It’s overload. Controversially, a former Cath-fan recently referred to Kidston as ‘a bit of a tart’ in the Daily Mail. She explained: ‘Cath Kidston is everywhere now – and there’s nothing more annoying than finding your hidden gem is suddenly a cheap bit of costume jewellery available on every high street.’

While I’m sure Cath won’t relish being labelled ‘a tart’, she might be glad of all this convenient media attention, as there are rumours flying around that she’s planning to sell her empire… so, what do you think? Have you had your fill of sugary florals? Are you all Cath Kidston-ed out? Or are you a complete convert? Do the new CK  images here still give you a thrill? Will you be rushing out to buy the new Cath Kidston Roberts radio (above)? So many questions! Let us know what you think! – Ellie