Oh, woe is me. My IKEA Ektorp ‘Blekkinge White’ three-seater sofa is more like an Ektorp ‘Blekkinge Grubby Yellow’ three-seater these days with black cat hairs, muddy paw prints and red wine stains (!) to complete the overall effect of minging-ness. The practical solution of course, would be to buy a cover in a grey or a black – much more sensible – and I wouldn’t have to wash and iron the bloomin’ things every month. But Bemz has just created a range of loose-fit, linen shabby-chic style covers for the big IKEA ranges and I’m completely smitten with the white one…

These new pure linen covers are available for the Ektorp, Tomelilla and Nikkala sofa ranges as well as the Henriksdal dining chairs and, until Thursday, you can get 10% off all of them – which means I’m really tempted. My living room would look fantastic with a new, crisp, white linen sofa cover…for a few days, anyway! Have a lovely weekend. – Ellie

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The sun is shining, the Thames is sparkling and blue (HAH), the ice-cream van down by the Globe is playing SUMMERTIME at maximum volume and yet, in the office today, we’re already in the realms of November and I’m sourcing woolly socks. It’s a funny old world. ANYWAY, on a summery theme, here are some new shots from the very pretty Pale and Interesting, AKA, shop of Atlanta Bartlett, the lady who loves a bit of the old white paint:

This makes me wish my little hydrangea bush would hurry up and produce some flippin’ flowers so I can butcher them and stick them in Bonne Maman jars asap. Sigh.

If you’re loving the mercury glass votives in this shot, head to Dotcomgiftshop where you’ll find similar for £2.95 each. Then, pop to Cox and Cox for antique glass candlesticks. – Ellie

Wowzers! Have you seen the latest issue of Cath Kidston‘s catalogue-cunningly-disguised-as-a-magazine?! I thought my love affair with the holy CK was at an end, and I was suffering from EFOS (Extreme Floral Overdose Syndrome), but perhaps I’m not quite over the mighty Cath yet?! Check out this gorgeous green office with sexy desk, amazing vintage map, quirky retro accessories – grrrrr, baby, yeah!

I like the little London souvenir props throughout this shoot…(it was photographed in Palace Road location house for those that care – I’d know Jane’s bright green dresser anywhere!)…and I’ve fallen big time for the gorgeous new Britannia fabric which has been used to cover the armchair…so cool. Now, we don’t usually feature fashion on HomeShoppingSpy, us being an interiors blog and all, but since this is also a DIY themed shoot – and show-cases some of the beautiful Cath Kidston wallpapers – let’s make an exception!

Oh, if only I looked as glamorous as these young rosy-cheeked gals when decorating! The sad reality is that I wear paint-spattered Primark pyjama bottoms, an old T-shirt that used to belong to the other half (MASSIVE and MINGING), and a pair of 99p sunglasses instead of goggles because I am ill-equipped and also stingy. SIGH.

Now, I’m no kill-joy, but it appears these crazy girlies have got a bit distracted from the task at hand! Check out the new Cath Kidston floor tiles in the shot above by the way – woop woop! Phew, all this hopscotch and general merriment, not to mention the mere THOUGHT of actually decorating is SO tiring – tea time! Try the handle, love…

School-boy error coming up, brace yourselves…oi, wotchit, big foot…

OOPSY. Are you a Cath Addict? If so, you’ll LOVE this chintzy bathroom…so pretty, but a TAD too much for me!

And you’ll go weak at your flowery knees for this bedroom beauty…

I leave you with the PLEASING news that Cath Kidston has just launched a collection of seeds in pretty packets, which are perfect for propping up on a shelf in a shabby-chic shed. Like anyone actually HAS one of those. But you catch my drift. Over and out, blog buddies. – Ellie


Detling Antiques Fair

March 2, 2010

You sacrifice your lie-in and get up at crack of dawn in the dark. You lug around bags of heavy coins. You have to endure cold wellies, freezing fingerless gloves and muddy burger-van coffee. And let’s face it, it’ll probably rain. But bargain hunting at an antiques fair is well worth the effort if you want to pick up some quirky one-off items to make your home look extra special…

At Detling IACF over the weekend I spotted so many lovely things. Check out these gorgeous vintage sewing storage drawers (sadly a bit out of my price range!) and pretty ceramic lids for tooth paste and anchovy paste. How amazing would the sewing drawers look in a craft room? And the lids would make cute coasters…

Haberdashery fans beware: there was a great range of vintage fabrics, old buttons, lace and needlework tools. I bought a delicate tape measure for styling purposes (it only has inches on it!) and some pretty buttons to add to my collection.

There were plenty of wooden printer’s blocks, and lots of elegant bottles and jars, and I spotted a beautiful vintage paint-box. I was really impressed by the range of stalls (although in addition to the vintage stalls there were a lot of traders selling collectable china dolls, lobsters, Disney characters etc which weren’t really my thang) and it only took an hour to get to Detling from London by car. I came home with: a pair of wonky antlers, some Observers books, a bag of pretty stamps (for craft purposes!), some buttons, and an old milk bottle with ELBOW FARM written on it to use as a vase. The boyfriend was delighted as always (NOT) with the latest batch of vintage tat, but I managed to smuggle most of it in except for the antlers. He just doesn’t GET it. I showed him the antlers trend page in the March issue of Ideal Home, and pointed out that antlers are everywhere now, even in high-street shops he’s heard of like M&S:

But he still doesn’t seem to appreciate One-Horn-Big, and says he’s not living in ‘a trophy-filled hunting lodge’. We’ll see. Remember, he said he wasn’t going to live in ‘a 1950s flipping village fete’ but that Union Jack bunting’s been up for almost a year now… – Ellie

Vintage mirrors

January 15, 2010

Arranging vintage mirrors together on a wall always looks great. Sniff them out in charity shops or at car boot sales and collect a range of different shapes and interesting styles for a really striking display.

Yes, it’s a stylist cliche, (HOW can I get an accent? HOW?) but it’s so effective, particularly on a big boring landing/stairs wall. I always think this is a tricky spot in any home…it looks odd with a small piece of artwork in the middle of it, it’s tricky to wallpaper because of the height and the stairs, and it gets a lot of abuse as people brush against it all the time. Covering this pesky wall with quirky vintage mirrors is a great solution, and will make a poky, dark landing feel lighter and larger, too.

I have been collecting old mirrors for ages and this weekend I plan to finally screw them in place on my landing wall. It’s a good idea to cut out paper templates of your mirrors (or photo frames etc) and masking tape the paper shapes in place to get the right arrangement before you start drilling holes and making a mess, so I’ll be doing that first! Here’s a great pic from DIY Ideas:

I think the mirror display in this dark blue bathroom looks fabulous…

And in this soft shabby-chic living room…

And in this hallway, too:

If you’re after a smaller display, or happen to have a lot of old hand-held mirrors knocking around, this is a cute idea:

Have a lovely weekend. I’ll be back on Monday with a HUGE trend story for you! – Ellie

Pale and Interesting

September 29, 2009

Check out the scrumptious photography on stylist/author Atlanta Bartlett’s new mailorder website, Pale and Interesting. Shot at the Kent home she shares with her photographer husband Dave Coote, these images are fresh, pretty, and ooze shabby-chic charm.

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Picture 19There’s something so pleasing about this mixture of mercury glass accessories, glass bell jars and white tongue and groove panelling. By the way, tip of the day: for inexpensive tongue and groove panels, shop at EasiPanel. I love the plaster cast antique scissors plaque in this shot – a great gift for a sewing fan.

Picture 17Picture 24Pink peonies in pretty china teacups, zinc garden planters, white folding bistro chairs, linen cushions – this is text book English vintage style. Nothing new, but very lovely all the same.

Picture 22Picture 20The image below isn’t helping to cure my current obsession with old leather armchairs – if anything, it’s making it worse! Aren’t they lovely? And one day, they will be mine, mwah ha haaa. But for now, it’s time to wipe the drool off my keyboard and stop fantasising about chairs – it can’t be healthy. By the way, is anybody else watching Design For Life on BBC2 with Philippe Starck? Isn’t it HILARIOUS? I love the fact that every week he sets the students a vague, ‘invent something new and amazing that will change the world as we know it’ brief, most of which is lost in translation, and then they all go away and spend a week ‘brainstorming’ and panicking, then produce…well, very little…apart from some vague ‘ideas’ and a bit of tinkering with magnetic cutlery while Starck clings to his stunning girlfriend or bangs eeez ed against ze wall in despair. Top notch TV. – Ellie.

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I think it’s time we had a little ogle at this week’s Book of the Week and wallowed in some gorgeous photography for a while. Atlanta Bartlett’s new book Easy Elegance is a real visual feast, with lots of lovely shots from photographer Polly Wreford. Think clean white walls, elegantly-curved retro furniture and simple but gorgeous styling touches…

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easy elegance 5Mmmmm, so much eye candy here. Hanging the picture low down looks great and books and magazines stacked on the floor is always a hit with me – it’s something I have copied in my own home. The reality is that they get dusty, and it’s a complete nightmare when you want to read the one at the bottom of the pile…but who cares!  Aesthetics have to take priority over practicality sometimes!

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Black painted exposed brickwork – who’d a thunk it. But it really works here, and adds drama to the look. Glass cloches are a stylist’s best friend – you can fill them with dried hydrangeas and they always look elegant. Buy your own cloches from Hibbit of Oswestry to make a fabulous display. There’s so much I like about this book but I’ve got to highlight the simple ceramics – rustic, textured and lovely:

easy elegance4If you like these images, you can order the book for £16.99 from Ryland Peter Small. Definitely one for the coffee table. – Ellie