I have some very exciting news! As from next week I can’t wait to share with you a brand new look for Home Shopping Spy. My wonderful art team and I (and our very patient, digital whizz-kids) have been creatively slaving away with lots of ideas, fonts, colours and backgrounds. The new design will be far easier to navigate, has a fresh feel and looks much more professional. There are going to be five new categories including Favourite Shops, Look What I Found and Latest Trends. The final touches are still being put in place but here’s a sneak peek screen grab for you. I really hope you like my new logo which I ended up drawing myself on an ipad using the Paper 53 app!

Stay tuned for the launch which goes live next week. – 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

Love, love, love the new collection from Random Retail. Always a sucker for a nice cushion and these screen printed beauties (all handmade on the Isle of Wight) are simply tip top!

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Textile designer Joy Joliffe took inspiration from 1950s ceramics and her leafy garden to create these vintage prints. I love her attention to detail, even on the backs…

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

The three designs are called Four Rose Plates, Stalks & Leaves, Lines & Spots and cost £38 each (including a good quality feather pad). And if you have a hankering for yet another calico shopping bag, they’ve also relaunched these rather fetching, limited edition designs. Lovely stuff. – Alice

Random Retail, festival collection, Joy Joliffe, cushions, screen print, mid-century, handmade, isle of wight, soft furnishings, living room, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Sorry it’s been a week since my last post. I’ve been busy gallivanting around the country shooting lovely reader homes for Ideal Home’s September issue. A little something to share with you though this fine Friday is House of Rym’s chinaware, available from Couverture soon. House of Rym founders are a Tunisian and Swedish duo who worked with Swedish designers Anna Backlund and Elisabeth Dunker to create this beautiful range of porcelain that I simply LOVE…

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

It’s delicate with clean lines yet whimsical with a natural woodland feel…

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Mmmm, don’t you just love the monochrome pattern on this teapot!? Feel’s a little Marimekko-esque crossed with Lisa Stickley

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

The blue and white lattice style pattern on the cup below reminds me of a modern take on Royal Copenhagen’s blue fluted design…

House of Rym, Couverture, porcelain, china, tableware, dining, Scandinavian design, collection, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Teapot, £59; cup, £12; saucer, £12; milk jug, £29.

Yet again, scrummy Scandi design at it’s best! Another something for the wish list. Keep an eye on the Couverture website come June. – Alice

For all you letterpress lovers out there, here’s a little Friday afternoon treat. Clerk Ink Well (based in, yep, you guessed it – Clerkenwell. Clever!) are Huw Griffith and Tessa Nicholson and they have a lovely 19th century Wharfedale letterpress. Huw is arty and Tessa likes words and so together they have come up with a few posters with fun slogans…

Clerk Ink Well, letterpress, letterpress poster, stationery, interiors, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Each print is hand-cranked through their letterpress and look at their lovely fruit wood printing blocks…such joy…

Clerk Ink Well, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Tee hee! I like this one…

Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Clerk Ink Well, Eat Your Greens, stationery, letterpress, letterpress print, poster, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

They use the finest handmade paper and hand mixed vegetable based inks. Prices start from £45 (unframed) and are available to buy from the Clerk Ink Well website. Bon weekend all et bon nuit (je suis suffering somewhat from post-editorial awards fatigue). Sigh. – Alice

I have always been a fan of Vanessa Arbuthnott’s printed textiles and her new Swedish Collection is my favourite yet with its ’50s feel and Scandi-twist. Friends, feast your eyes on her pretty patterns that are launching later this month…

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

With four different designs in the range you’ll find stylised birds, whimsical trees and flowers, pinstripes, spots and trailing leaves. I love the mid-century sludgy colour palette with cutesy, country  names including pumpkin, sweet pea, mushroom, lime and dove.

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, country decorating, cushions, ideal home, alice humphrys

I love the retro orange paint colour used in this kitchen, it’s nice to see how she’s introduced vibrant colours that merge well with her softer signature shades…

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, retro, paint colour, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Ooooh now I could quite happily live in this shepherd’s hut decked out in teal and lime spots and stripes. It’s just the right size for me! Plonk me in a sunny field with chickens and bunting and I could invite all my friends round for tea and boiled eggs. Ah, the good life…

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Swedish design, shepherd's hut, bunting, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

Vanessa Arbuthnott, Swedish Collection, textiles, hand print, mid-century, Scandi-style, Gustavian, Nissan Figaro, Swedish design, country decorating, ideal home, alice humphrys

All her fabrics are printed in the UK on 100% linen that is handwoven in Scotland from Belgium yarn. But MY goodness that’s A LOT of cushions for a picnic and I certainly wouldn’t advise anyone to drive their Nissan Figaro quite like that! But HURRAH for Vanessa because this is a very fresh and pretty collection, just in time for spring. Prices start from £39 a metre. Keep an eye on her website later this month. – Alice

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