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

3D craze hits homes

January 8, 2010

Have you seen the film Avatar? We’re going crazy at the moment for everything and anything 3D-related, and the interiors world is no exception. Tactile felt/paper/fabric wall coverings and home accessories with 3D elements and geometric patterns have been multiplying of late. Check out these stunning wall-coverings from Catherine Hammerton:

This 3D thang has been on its way for a while… we’ve all seen Selina Rose‘s lovely rugs and bespoke wall panels with butterflies and leaves that seem to fly towards you, and now architectural Origami-style 3D materials are the funky young textile designer’s staple – check out Kim Bassett’s work at Print, Tuft and Fold for example. The high street shops have cottoned on now, too – M&S has got a fabulous pouffe in its spring/summer 2010 collection, covered with 3D felt flowers, and textured 3D cushions inspired by scales, feathers, petals, leaves and knots are popping up everywhere now, from B&Q to Debenhams

Going back to Catherine Hammerton for a moment – have you seen her 3D fish scales wallpaper? It’s beautiful:

I’m going a bit off-piste now, but since we’re on the subject, let’s treat ourselves to a little look at her beautiful bespoke wallpapers and fabrics with postage stamps, flowers and other delicious little embellishments…

This tablecloth is so lovely, too…

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, the 3D trend, yadda yadda…SO, have you seen the lovely loop cushions from UK designer Rebecca Barton at Cush Lab? I love these:

I’m also smitten with the work of south London textile artist, Sam Payne. Her ‘Origami Landscapes’ are so serene and gorgeous:

And let’s finish with a peep at the work of Helen Amy Murray – stunning 3D textiles…

But how to ‘get the look for less’, as they say? Simple, get a lovely 3D leather floral corsage and pin it to a cushion you’ve already got – job’s a good ‘un. Have a lovely weekend. – Ellie

Like shoes, men and Maltesers, you can never have too many pretty vintage plates. But if, like me, you have stacks of lovely old china piled high, hidden away in cupboards, that you picked up for pence at car boot sales or in charity shops, but use once a year at most (!), then now’s the time to display a few of your favourites so you can admire them every day.

VINTAGE PLATE1I love the crafty plate projects in our new November issue. This quirky clock idea is super-simple and so effective. Mark the centre of your plate where the hole will be drilled, then put the plate face up on a sturdy surface, and secure with Blu-tack. Cover the centrepoint with masking tape, then drill a hole slowly using a tile/glass drill bit. Then fit a clock mechanism (£10.99, Hobbycraft). Voila!

VINTAGE PLATE2You can use vintage tea cups as pretty planters – great for inexpensive but lovely gifts.

VINTAGE PLATE3Use lovely saucers as photo frames. Cut photos to fit the base of saucers and glue them in place, then glue-gun hooks to the backs of the saucers and hang them with ribbons for a delightful display. You can find vintage china at Chinasearch, or Katy Potts Tea for Two. – Ellie

Putting a single bloom in a vintage milk bottle is the easiest and cheapest way to create a gorgeous floral display. I’ve always yearned for a few nice glass milk bottles, but since our milk now comes in plastic cartons from Waitrose, I thought I’d have to resort to eBay

Pedlars £9.95

Luckily, my in-laws still get milk delivered, so I asked them to bring me some ‘retro’ Dairy Crest milk bottles when they came to stay at the weekend. They think I’m completely mad. But I’ve put peonies in them already and they look stunning! For simple, stylish milk bottles, check out American shop Three Potato Four:

three potato four

Here are some more gorgeous milk bottles for you to feast your eyes on…this is turning in to a milk bottle appreciation post!

milk bottles

Clockwise from top right: Three Potato Four; bottles available on Ebay; The Traditional Flower Company; Real Simple.


I love the vintage milk bottles from Baileys too (above left) – and check out this cute milk bottle shot from a past Ideal Home issue (above right). Decanting milk is always a hassle, but it looks so lovely, it’s well worth the effort! Milk bottle tops are collectors’ items these days, too – I like the retro designs and lettering on them. How cute would these ones look in an IKEA Ribba frame for some bargain artwork?



If you’d like to buy your own vintage-style milk bottle, Dotcomgiftshop has a lovely one with a glass stopper for £16.95. Check out the huge collection on Kenneth Keith‘s website, too. There are hundreds to browse through, but I don’t think his collection is for sale sadly…


If you don’t have milk delivered, but want to display flowers in bottles, Belvoir fruit cordial bottles are perfect, too, and iced tea bottles from Holland and Barrett also look lovely. Here’s a snap I took recently in my dining room, with a peony in an old Belvoir bottle. It’s a ‘recessionista’ display! – Ellie

001 peonies


Feast your eyes, people! These beautiful new autumn/winter images from The White Company are so elegant, crisp and clean.

white co 2

white co

Check out the white glass vases – so pretty, and they look stunning with single rose stems, too. – Ellie

Wonderful white

March 13, 2009

When The White Company look book arrives in the office, it’s always an exciting day. These new spring/summer photographs are so airy and beautiful, we had to share them with you.



An all-white room with pretty accessories, fresh flowers and a flickering candle is a magical, restful space.


You might think white’s a difficult choice to live with – particularly if you’ve got children – but stylist Atlanta Bartlett, author of At Home with White, says she finds white ‘extremely practical’. Atlanta thinks the idea that dark colours and patterns are better because they don’t show dirt, isn’t right. ‘At least with white you can see exactly what needs a good clean, plus if something is really stained you can always resort to bleach,’ she says. I’ve been thinking about sanding my bedroom floorboards and painting them white for a while now. I think I’m nearly ready to take the plunge! – Ellie

Flower arranging with M&S

February 20, 2009

A group of us headed over to M&S HQ yesterday for a flower arranging master class and to see the new spring/summer collections. The press show had a summer fayre theme, complete with a Lucky Dip and a coconut shy – fabulous! I spotted a fantastic floral pop-up tent, which assembles in seconds. It will be out in April for £39 – what a bargain.


The flower arranging master class was good fun and we got to take our masterpieces (!) home with us afterwards. It was nice to get a sneak preview of the new flower collections from M&S, which are all grown in Britain. My favourites were the pretty pink peonies, shown here. This gorgeous image has inspired me to start collecting vintage bottles so I can recreate the look at home! – Ellie