Dotcomgiftshop does VINTAGE

September 8, 2011

Check out these rather lovely reproduction wall art prints from the new AW11 Dotcomgiftshop collection (AKA Rex International, so you’ll spot these products popping up all over the place soon, too…) They’re all £14.95 each – framed! Bargainous. Do you own a ‘cycle’?

I like this village flower show print so much – it would look good pinned up in my allotment shed (my courgettes aren’t going to win any prizes in reality sadly, but I can always dream…!)

There’s a cute dog one, too:

Elsewhere in the new range there are some very stylish glass measuring beaker ‘Apothecary’ vases – they’re really huge and £29.95 each. Have a peep at the linen-effect cushions and the zinc accessories, too…

Last but by no means least, there’s a set of six tiny glass school milk bottles in a crate for £8.95. As somebody who once packed a whole suitcase full of mini milk bottles in Germany, and as a hoarder of retro striped straws, you can see why This. Makes. Me. VERY. Happy. Take them out of the twee crate and line them up on a window sill, with a single bloom in each! Great for wedding drinks/favours, too! – Ellie

Ferm Living AW11

August 26, 2011

They’re a chilled out bunch, the Danes at Ferm Living. Not only do they close their offices for the entire month of August so they can all hang out beside the sea (how civilised), they also release their Autumn/Winter collections at the very last minute. Just to keep us all guessing. The new collection is finally out today – and it’s certainly worth the wait…

There’s new ‘Happy Harlequin’ kids’ wallpaper – tiny diamonds in a fresh AW11 Ferm palette of pretty pastel pink, tangerine and navy blue – and fun house-shaped ‘Village’ cushions that would look at home in a children’s room or on your sofa. Of course, there are plenty of new wall stickers to admire, including this cute rain cloud design…

…and the new accessories are a joy to behold…

1. Wooden cones. A bit like pine trees, they’d look cool on a window sill or mantelpiece; 2. Cork tablemats with funky geometric patterns. Yum; 3. Weird but cool diamond pouffes, with eight facets and a practically edible colour combo of mustard yellow, dark brown, navy blue, grey and tangerine; 4. Cute wooden candle holders; 5. The afore-mentioned ‘Village’ of cushions; 6. Awesome wooden wall lamps shaped like camper vans, trees and Bambi.

I love the new ‘Candleholder String’ with chunky wooden beads on a leather thread – it looks like a strand of DNA and you can move them around to change the order of the spheres or tie the string in a circle to get a different look. Very cool. I also like the ‘Wine Bottle’ candle holders, which would look fabulous lined up in a row down the middle of a dining table. There are even wooden bead Christmas tree decorations to admire. Check out the Ferm Living Issuu catalogue and their lovely blog for more information. Apparently, in order to find inspiration for this collection, Ferm took themselves, their designs and their house “…in to the Wild Woods, then climbed the trees, danced in the rain, laughed and felt like a bunch of happy campers.” They’ve definitely got the right idea, these Danes. – Ellie

Turkish delights

August 25, 2011

Ah, it’s been a while, friends. But I’ve blown the dust off the old WordPress dashboard and managed to locate the log in password lurking in the darkest corner of my holiday-addled brain. For the past few weeks, I’ve been pottering around Istanbul taking low resolution disappointing iPhone photos of cushion covers, admiring amazing architecture, loitering in markets and developing a serious apple tea (or elma çay) habit. Despite my best intentions, I returned to London with a suitcase packed full of beautiful Turkish home accessories, of course…

A metal tray and a set of six pretty little tea glasses were the first things that slipped in to my shopping bag as I tried (unsuccessfully) to haggle. Apple tea (which, if you have the powdered kind, is basically just sugar with four different e-numbers added – no wonder it’s so addictive) is drunk by everyone everywhere in Turkey, so, like typical tourists, we stocked up on a few boxes which will no doubt sit in our kitchen cupboard for the next ten years, alongside the suspicious ‘spices’ we picked up in Marrakesh.

Luckily, you don’t have to hang out in the Grand Bazaar to get the gear… 1. Idyll Home sells beautiful Turkish tea glasses and china saucers; 2. Dotcomgiftshop does a bargainacious hammered metal tray; 3. You can even get hold of the dreaded apple tea powder from Goodness Direct. Diabetics, beware…

The next thing I accidentally bought was a beautiful ‘Suzani’ quilt from Uzbekistan. Not strictly-speaking Turkish, but sold everywhere IN Turkey, so bear with me. Apparently, Suzani quilts are traditionally bridal dowry blankets – embroidered by hand by Uzbek women who start sewing when a girl is born and continue, with the help of family and friends, until her wedding day when the quilt is completed and presented to her. The bold, folk-style patterns and the bright colours are gorgeous – and every throw is unique so it took me about three hours to choose one…

Again, while it’s certainly cheap as chips to pick up a beautiful Suzani bedspread like this in a Turkish market, you can get the look in the UK, too… 1. Check out the Uzbek-inspired designs from the talented Niki Jones; 2. Shop at Yurdan for the real deal (but at highly-inflated prices).

Of course, no trip to Turkey would be complete without a visit to a mosque’s hammam – a traditional Turkish bath house where you lie on a slab of hot marble then get covered in foam and flipped about like a baby by a large Turk. It was all good fun and the full body massage was amazing – if a little painful at times. The hammam we visited had a whole room full of beautiful woven cloth towels (peştamalsin pleasing stacks – like some heavenly linen cupboard. Emerging like a mole, blinking in the daylight, weak, dazed and highly-polished, I marched straight to the local market and bought six for next to nothing.

Luckily, you don’t have to lie topless in a stone chamber having your shoulder knots kneaded by gigantic hairy elbows to get hold of a hammam towel, although they’re not cheap outside of Turkey. 1. Pop to L’Aviva Home to see a huge selection of designs and colours; 2. Head to Toast for beautiful loom-woven ones with knotted fringing. They’re Anatolian, dahling, yah, and you can even find traditional hammam olive oil soaps at tasteful Toast, too.

Luckily, easyJet is quite generous on the old baggage allowance front. – Ellie

Today, I’ve got campervan envy, BIG TIME…

Just out in the UK, My Cool Campervan (published by Pavilion) is the new book from the My Cool Caravan duo, Jane Field-Lewis and Chris Haddon. Tina Hillier’s photography is top notch, and the team has managed to find an amazing array of quirky campervans and campervan owners…think patchwork quilts, fold-out formica tables and fish and chips beside the seaside…

Oh, how I would LOVE a campervan. (And a bell tent, actually, but that’s a separate ongoing eBay search.) My favourite van in the book has got to be this fully-carpeted 1960s super-sleek pad:

Avocado green upholstery, walnut tables and rotating chairs? Yeah, baby, yeah!

As well as exploring the retro interiors and campervanning characters, there are some beautiful shots that show the real attraction of life in a van. Yes, apparently there’s more to it than sewing little curtains out of vintage fabrics and playing house with thermos flasks. It’s about the call of the wild – the open road – freedom – and being at one with nature, maan. Sigh.

Retro interiors fodder combined with escapist adventures – what more do you want from a book? – Ellie