Advent calendar: DEC 21

December 21, 2010

Our Art Director, Emma, spotted this edible Advent calendar at Biscuiteers… such a simple but lovely idea! OK, so it’s nearly Christmas Day now, but I might try to recreate this next year. After all, you know what they say: a biscuit a day keeps the doctor away. – Ellie

Advent calendar: DEC 2

December 2, 2010

Twinkle, twinkle, little star…summon all your strength. It’s time to pull on your snow boots, roll up your sleeves and tease open door number two on the virtual calendar. Voila:

OOH! It’s a beautiful rusty tin 30cm barn star with a very reasonable £12 price tag from mailorder company Live Laugh Love. American barn stars are all the rage at the moment. Perhaps it’s the Amish/Puritan trend that’s on the horizon for 2011? Or maybe it’s because Christmas is approaching and they’re timeless festive decorations that look beautiful all year round? I went to Sunbury Antiques Market on Tuesday (and took lots of photos of vintage tat as per, but sadly due to a lack of trains and a large quantity of SNOW, I have no access to PhotoShop at the moment so can’t share them yet…) and saw yummy mummies literally filling their car boots with barn stars galore – they were selling like hot cakes! One savvy French antiques dealer had obviously got hold of a job lot and was flogging green and white ‘vintage’ (although they were clearly made in China and more vintage-style than actual VINTAGE but hey) stars for £25 each. I nearly bought one. It was a close shave, but I resisted. – Ellie

Advent calendar: DEC 1

December 1, 2010

It’s cold, it’s snowing and it’s the first day of Advent. Time to don the fingerless gloves then, brave the cold and heave open the first virtual door on the HomeShoppingSpy virtual Advent calendar… …and what have we here? Why, it’s the pretty Alphabet teacups from Leaf. What a lovely start to the festive season. Perfect for spelling out festive messages and words such as “NOEL”, “JOY”, “XMAS” and, for the more adventurous: “THANKS AWFULLY BUT I ACTUALLY PREFER COFFEE TO TEA, SO SORRY TO BE DIFFICULT.” – Ellie

20 GORGEOUS gift ideas

November 29, 2010

Advent is nearly upon us. One very organised person recently announced to me that she has ‘finished’ her Christmas shopping. I haven’t started mine. So, let’s get organised.

I recently compiled the Ideal Home Gift Guide, and jolly good fun it was too. We used some beautiful robins wrapping paper from Allihopa (Notonthehighstreet) which you can admire above and buy here, and I got the task of scouring high street shops, supermarkets and online stores for the best gifts for our readers. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. If you were sensible enough to pick up a copy of our December issue, you’ll be able to enjoy pages and pages and PAGES of gorgeous gifts. But here’s a little taster – 20 top online buys! Sadly I can’t set up links from every image because I’ve made them into stupid collages in PhotoShop now and I am what is known in the trade as ‘technologically-challenged’, but each image is labelled and I’ve put the links below. Alas, ’tis the best I can do.

Bowls, Roost Living; Calendar, V&A Shop; Cushion, Peak Princess; Chocolate tongues (!), Betty’s; Bird bath, The Balcony Gardener; Tea cosy, Emily Bond.

Needle case, The Contemporary Home; Alphabet purse, Alphabetbags; Hottie, The Fine Cotton Co; Personalised Cornishware, TG Green.

Candles, Jamie Oliver; Glasses, Jasmine Way; Bricks, Silver Cross; Print, Rockett St George.

Glass pots, Dotcomgiftshop; Orla Kiely casserole, BlissHome; Blanket, Anorak; Little mice, Notonthehighstreet; Platter, W2 Products; Compagnie de Provence set, Lifestyle Bazaar. Well, that’s given me a few ideas at least. (Anybody reading this who knows me, that ORLA KIELY casserole pot is VERY nice, HINT HINT HINT…) – Ellie

Fabulous Christmas tree

December 14, 2009

Kelly Morrison, one of our readers from Aberdeen, sent us this picture of her mum’s gorgeous Christmas ‘tree’, inspired by our December issue. Isn’t it lovely? And so much more practical pine-needle-wise.

We always love to hear from readers who have been inspired by Ideal Home. I wish my own tree looked as elegant as this one! – Ellie