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

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I’m off on an extended break in Devon but just wanted to drop by and wish you a Happy Easter. I hope you’re all enjoying some quality chocolate. I’m gorging on these splendid treats from one of my favourite traditional sweet shops, Hope & Greenwood. If you haven’t yet eaten your body weight in Creme Eggs (my name’s Alice and I’m a chocoholic..) and fancy cramming in a few more calories, you can still get these on-line. Normal diet resumes next week…

Hope & Greenwood, Traditional sweet shop, chocolate, Easter treats, Easter chocolate, homeshoppingspy, ideal home, alice humphrys

Hope & Greenwood, Traditional sweet shop, Easter treats, Easter chocolate, homeshoppingspy, ideal home, alice humphrys

Donna Wilson is one busy lady and her homespun goodies just keep on a-comin’. Today I’ve been cooing over her new Spring 2012 collection and wanted to share with you a few highlights from her friendly ‘Woodland’ range.  Hand-made and printed in Stoke-on-Trent, Baby Burt is the newest addition to her egg cup family (joining the lovely Meg, Mog and Beardy Bob). Other bone china includes Fox and Grace the plates along with Bushy Tailed Squirrel and Grey Owl beakers. Too cute!

DonnaWilson, SS12, quirky china, knitwear, tableware, interiors, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Other items include this suitably named ‘Handy’ tea towel with bright red nails and bubbles!

Donna Wilson, Spring 2012, preview, new range, kitchen textiles, fine bone china, tea towel, egg cup, plate, Scottish textiles, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

More lovely tea towel designs include ‘Acorn Leaves’ and ‘Use My Tail’ and there are gorgeous folksy flower cushions…

Donna Wilson Spring 2012, textiles, kitchen textiles, tea towels, cushion, folk, squirrel, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrysKeep your eyes on the Donna Wilson website later this month for the full range and other happy creatures. Hurrah!

And as if she wasn’t busy enough, another piece of exciting news is a little collaboration with Rococo Chocolates. (I know, not entirely home shopping but it’s chocolate….so I can’t ignore..) Donna has created a limited edition range of hand painted Easter eggs, including her own take on the matryoshka Russian Doll called ‘Food Chain’: One little solid chocolate egg with an illustration of a carrot inside another egg painted with a rabbit, all contained within a larger egg painted with a fox. LOVE IT! Beautifully presented in pretty packaging – far too pretty to throw away.

Donna Wilson Rococo Chocolates, Chocolate, Rococo, limited edition, Easter, Easter chocolates, Easter egg, ideal home, homehshoppingspy, ideal home, alice humphrys

Donna Wilson Easter eggs, Rococo Chocolates, limited edition, chocolate, fair trade, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

For those that don’t know, this is SERIOUSLY good, ethically traded chocolate. Available this Easter from Rococo stores, donnawilson.com and other selected retailers. – Alice

Easter treats

April 4, 2010

Put down that chocolate egg, and feast your eyes on this instead…

If you spray some branches white to create an ‘Easter tree’, you can re-use them at Christmas for a contemporary bauble display.

If you want a cheap and stylish Easter centrepiece, fill a ceramic bowl with different kinds of eggs – you can buy duck eggs, hen eggs, goose eggs, quail eggs etc from Waitrose (or markets!) and they look gorgeous with a few feathers. If you live in the country, you can probably find these feathers yourself. If you’re a city gal like me, head to HobbyCraft for pretty feathers by the bag! Unless you want a pigeon-theme…that’s much easier…

Just before I go and eat my body-weight in mini eggs, have you seen the little plastic sweetie bags that Lakeland is now stocking? Perfect for little homemade treats, or decanting shop-bought goodies in to before passing them off as your own! – Ellie

It’s not a hard job…and nobody had to do it…but we did it anyway.

The Ideal Home team has been testing Easter eggs today from all the top brands, and believe me, it’s been one of our most challenging assignments to date. HO HO. (Or should that be CLUCK CLUCK?) Anyway…check out our top ten so you’re in-the-know when you hit the shops:

tesco-egg

Tesco Finest Triple Belgian Chocolate Egg

1: Gorgeous packaging, and top quality chocolate, we think Tesco’s egg looks posh but it’s great value for money at just £8.99.

milk2

Green & Black's organic thick shelled milk chocolate egg

2: Organic is the way forward – and this delicious, ethical egg is a sure winner. It’s rich and luxurious – and we love the dragonfly gift tag. It’s £4.99 at Fresh & Wild.

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'Le Caneton' chocolate duckling and eggs, Galler

3: Not strictly an Easter egg, but this is the cutest Easter gift we’ve seen in years. Somehow it’s impossible to resist biting the duckling’s head off  though (!) It’s £8.95, from Galler.

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No.1 Milk Easter Egg, Godiva

4: Gorgeously presented in a lime and aqua box, this chocolate egg is top notch. Hardly credit-crunch fodder at £25, but it’s great if you’re looking for an extra-special treat. It’s available at Godiva.

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Dr. Oetker Easter Egg Moulding Kit

5: Do It Yourself with this fun egg kit, £1.99,  Supercook. Kids will love this creative kit, and we had a lot of fun with it, too!

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Dark chocolate egg filled with crystallized ginger, Prestat

6: Everything about this egg oozes sophistication, and we think it’s eggs-cellent (sorry). With ginger and dark chocolate, it’s not too sweet – perfect for a dinner party, but not one for the kids or those with a sweet tooth. Find it at Prestat for £22.

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Chocolate tiles, House of Dorchester

7: Again, not really eggs as such, but we couldn’t resist these chocolate ’tiles’, £4.95 each, from House of Dorchester. Not the kind of tiles we normally feature in Ideal Home, but tastier!

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Valrhone Grand Cru and Single Origin eggs, Rococo

8: This pretty pink vintage-look box caused a sensation in the office, and the little ganache-filled mini eggs inside went down a treat, too. An 80g box is £9.25, Rococo.

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Extra Special Easter eggs, ASDA

9: Bargainous and glamorous – these massive eggs look like designer gifts, but they’re just £6.85 each, from ASDA. The white chocolate and berry one is our personal favourite in the range!

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Easter nests, Morrison's

10: Last but not least, these chocolate cornflake nests and mini eggs, just £1 for a pack of two from Morrison’s. We think these are great value for money, and handy if you’ve no time to make your own.

We’re all feeling a little sick now, so it’s probably best to wish you all a very Happy Easter and sign off! We’ll be back on Tuesday with more news and stories…  – Emily and Ellie

 

Good news for children under 12 who can get a free Cadbury’s Creme Egg when they say Happy Easter to Sainsbury’s staff at the Customer Service desk. Each store has a set allocation of Creme Eggs, which won’t be replenished, so get in quickly if you want one! The promotion’s on while stocks last or until Thursday 9 April 09.

 

'Well Doc, children keep eating me...'

'Well Doc, children keep eating me...'

Make sure children are accompanied by an adult. If your child wants a healthy alternative (really?) they can choose an apple or orange instead, although once stocks of Creme Eggs have run out the fresh fruit alternative will no longer be available. Find your nearest Sainsbury’s here  and check back to Ideal Home’s HomeShoppingSpy for more Easter news – Emily