If only my house had the same look as the lovely new online lifestyle shop Rowen & Wren. Everything is wonderfully co-ordinated, beautifully styled and quite frankly all items are (annoyingly) utterly LOVELY. Obviously, there is an awful lot I ‘need’ to make my life more complete. So, in sharing with you a selection of their wares I found the editing process a tricky task in itself, as it’s all so darn delightful, but here are a few of my favourites from their new Spring collection…

Rowan and Wren, homeware, interiors, decor, bird cushion, Spring collection, online, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

I love this sunny hand printed bird cushion and the rustic glass houses below with handsome leather straps would be perfect for the alfalfa sprouts I’m encouraging to germinate on my kitchen window sill!

Rowan and Wren, homeware, interiors, decor, glasshouse, Spring collection, online, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Rowan and Wren, homeware, interiors, decor, tea pot, napkin, storage jars, coasters, Spring collection, online, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

I love the denim blues mixed with natural textures, the Swedish teapot with wooden saucer and the tactile earthenware jars/bowls with wooden lids/plates are such a good design, if not a little pricey (£108 each!). Eeeek, wouldn’t want to drop one of those.

Elsewhere, there are cosy Welsh blankets and note the sweet little Trook Hooks (made from wood wastage), now they’re only £9 each!

Rowan and Wren, homeware, interiors, decor, glasshouse, Spring collection, online, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Rowan and Wren, homeware, interiors, decor, notebooks, artisan, Spring collection, online, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

I’m a big fan of metal trunks and love this bottle green colour that I’ve not seen anywhere else…

Rowan and Wren, homeware, interiors, decor, metal suitcase, Spring collection, online, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

They have a really good range of furniture and lighting too.  Their collection is split into three different looks depending on your style. Happy browsing folks. Let me know what catches your eye and tempts you to buy. Have a sunny weekend and don’t forget the clocks go forward on Sunday. British Summertime here we come! – Alice

Plenty of excitement here at Ideal Home HQ today because the lovely H&M Home picnic-ware and general ‘high summer’ nonsense has been released…

“Rupert was disappointed to see that Beryl hadn’t paid much attention to his ‘travel light’ advice before their epic Lands End to John O’Groats cycle ride.”

Ah ha, a bit of the old ‘more is more’ school of styling here… I’m wondering how the magical picnic people managed to transport all this gubbins on just two bicycles, but perhaps they spend their days balancing cupcakes on ladder steps etc rather than worrying about such things.

“‘Sod this styling malarky’, said Beryl as she whipped off her tangerine bikini for a spot of post-cheese-feast skinny-dipping in the North Sea.”

Why have one lantern when you can have nine? Why have one loaf of bread when you can have three? Glad to see my favourite grain sack designs have made it to the summer range – I love the picnic cloth – and it’s just £7.99!

“Setting up camp in Whitby Bay for the night, Beryl wasn’t impressed by Rupert’s ‘shelter’, but at least she still had her hang-in-the-wardrobe bottle holder to make it feel like home.”

Elsewhere in the high summer collection, there are are funky towels, cool cutlery design melamine trays and accessories with McDonald’s staff slogans. Have a nice day! – Ellie

Styling highlights

October 19, 2010

Ever chuckled at random ‘proppage’ in a catalogue or magazine interior? Ever wondered WHO lives in a house like THAT?! You’ll love the American Catalog Living blog, which follows the “exciting lives” of Gary and Elaine, the “people who live in your catalogs”. Our super sub-editor Susie found this today and I had to share a few of the posts with you…

I think this blog deserves a permanent link on our blog roll…and it’s a great reminder for us to ‘keep it real’! – Ellie

Styling in the 1950s…

March 30, 2010

How times have changed. I thought you’d appreciate this vintage 1954 Ideal Home magazine, spotted by Ros in a picnic set at the back of an antiques shop:

The owner of this ‘pleasant kitchen’ obviously has a bit of a thing for vegetables…and tartan wallpaper…yum! – Ellie

Caravan cool

February 10, 2010

Oh, if only I had a 1950s caravan to play house in and decorate in a crazy, retro way…

Our lovely Book of the Week is My Cool Caravan (£14.99, Pavilion), and it’s packed full of inspiring interiors. This first one makes me want to sew some Cath Kidston bunting, fill a vintage thermos flask with tea and take to the road for an adventure!

I love the moody Ralph Lauren floral wallpaper and the pretty Cole & Son Hummingbird paper in this next caravan (which used to belong to Pearl Lowe apparently)…

Note the glamorous crystal light fitting in this interior – just because a room’s on wheels doesn’t mean it can’t ooze decadence!

This next caravan has an American country diner feel about it. NICE Coca Cola chairs…

…wooden panelling and checked curtains? yes, ma’am…

…and this retro Mike’s ‘drive in’ hot dogs sign is a thing of beauty:

The last caravan we’re going to take a peep at belongs to Shoreditch stylist extra-ordinaire, Emily Chalmers, who owns the appropriately-named shop, erm, Caravan

Now, here’s the thing. Her ‘caravan’ is actually a vintage French undertaker’s van! (Hearse Chic? Stop it.) But she’s made it look very pretty all the same…here are some more cute pics of it (borrowed from Casa Sugar):

To see all these gorgeous interiors and many more, place your orders now – My Cool Caravan is out later this month. – Ellie

Feeling all-white

January 16, 2010

New White Company collection ahoy! Mmmm, feast your eyes on these luxurious, lovely, light rooms. These are so beautiful, I’m breaking the habit of a lifetime and posting on a Saturday!!

I love the ceiling/roof in this bedroom – and there’s something so decadent about just having your mattress on the floor like this. I could happily while away a few hours reading the weekend newspapers in this gorgeous house!

Lovely neutral bed linen here – and note the little ceramic sparrow on the bedside table – TREND alert! Perching sparrow birds are EVERYWHERE this season. This one looks like he’s from Comfort Station or Caravan to me.

This location house (owned by photographer Paul Massey) seems to be in every magazine or catalogue I open at the moment, and has been on lots of blogs recently, too. It’s very lovely.

Cow hide rugs… yay or nay? They’re very popular at the moment, but I’m just not sure about them myself. What do you think? I love this kitchen shot – you can’t go wrong with white brick-style tiles:

I really like these rustic wooden bowls – sometimes the simplest things are the nicest. – Ellie

Emma Bridgewater LOVE

January 6, 2010

Warm the cockles of your heart today with these gorgeous shots from Emma Bridgewater‘s new spring summer collection…

Of course, the hearts pottery is lovely and perfect for Valentines Day gifts (nudge, nudge, wink, wink…) but it’s the vintage books I’ve fallen for. The King’s England series in shades of faded red – what could be more romantic? – Ellie


There are few books in the world as lovely as this. According to the blurb, reading it is ‘like opening Pandora’s box’, or delving into ‘Darwin’s cabinet of curiosities’. Both of these claims are true – Etcetera is the biblio equivalent of pottering around a junk shop you’ve stumbled across in a back alley of Paris – there’s so much to see, and so much to inspire. Court is a creative curator with a magpie eye – her home and styled shots reflect her passion for colour, texture and fascinating ‘objets’. She’s like a magical chef, throwing together unexpected and wonderful ingredients from the past and the present to create beautiful interiors where every object tells a story. And her penchant for all things Natural-History-related is oh-so-NOW…

I could wax lyrical about the typography and design – the old typewriter-style fonts, the gorgeous transparent vellum paper pages that are utterly decadent – but this is the kind of book you have to see for yourself and hold in your hands to fully appreciate.

Postcards, letters, tickets – Court refers to herself as a ‘keeper of collections, or a bowerbird’ (a quick Google-search reveals this is a black crow-like bird, probably the Aussie equivalent of a Magpie!) – and her extensive stash of ephemera is evidence of her hoarding nature. It’s all so beautifully presented. But you wouldn’t want to be her cleaner!

Among the interior shots, there are pages of to-die-for paint swatches (Court is a part-time colour consultant for Murobond Paints in Australia) with enticing titles such as ‘Tales of a Sea Gypsy’ and ‘Travellers and Magicians’. One paint colour is called ‘Moustache’. What’s not to love?

Etcetera is out in Australia and the USA already and it’s due to be published in April by Murdoch Books here in the UK, with a £20 price tag. The good news is, the April issue of Living Etc magazine (out in March) will have a cover-mounted extract from the book, so we can all get our hands on a slice of the pie before the publication date. Until then, here are a few more gorgeous pics to whet your appetite…because I just can’t resist! – Ellie


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…

easy elegance 6

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!

Easy elegance1

easy elegance 7

easy elegance3

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