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

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

If you’ve picked up our May issue, you’ll have spotted our little round up of Festival of Britain buys (on page 15) – products created to mark the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, 1951. After the dreary war years, the Festival was billed as a ‘tonic for the nation’ – a celebration of British design and creativity, centring around the Southbank area of London. The cheery anniversary designs (on display at the Southbank Centre shop from 22 April until 4 September) echo the optimistic spirit of the early 1950s, and are proof that we’re living in an equally exciting era for British design…

Lizzie Allen‘s Festival of Britain wallpaper (top left) is beautiful, but it’s £370 a roll, so perhaps I’ll be getting the tea towel (£10) or the tote bag (£15) instead! I love the little brass band, the pigeons, the collage-style sun beams – everything. We’ve ogled the Mini Moderns Festival wallpaper on here before, but I love the matching rug, too. I also admired ceramic Festival cake plates from Esther Coombs, and stylish Royal Festival Hall designs from People Will Always Need Plates. Let’s have a closer look at Lizzie Allen’s wallpaper design, some of the Festival of Britain paint shades from Fired Earth, and the lovely new book: A Festival on the River:

I think my favourite design of all is this silk cushion from RE, made using a vintage Festival scarf design:

Wayne Hemingway’s Vintage festival is coming to the Southbank this summer, too, and he’s curating an exhibition of Festival of Britain memorabilia which will be well worth a look if you’re in London. – Ellie


As we’ve discussed, we’re big fans of illustrator Charlotte Farmer’s quirky accessories…so we love this new tea towel from her, designed for Found:

It features a tasty apple cake recipe from the founder of Found‘s own ‘Breton nan’, Annie. There’s a little baking project for the weekend! – Ellie

Another H&M Home preview!

January 13, 2011

I can barely keep up with the designers at H&M Home – they seem to release a new collection of home accessories every few weeks! Lots of temptation in their latest offering…

I love this butterfly cushion – I think it’s been made using the Cavallini butterfly stamp set!

Other highlights include…a black cutlery silhouette tea towel (I’ve added it to the never-ending ‘turn-it-into-a-cushion’ list…), and some American-style seafood diner pieces including runners, place mats and seat cushions that are perfect for a spot of al fresco accessorising.

H&M has embraced the current trend for all things crochet/lace with Broderie Anglaise bed linen, frilly doily-effect cushions and delicate designs.

I really like the utilitarian striped tablecloths and runners with their product names and dimensions written across them: RUNNER 45 X 150. Maybe this is what was written on the blank template that the designer started with…so, lazy or genius? You decide!

There are some cheery nautical stripes going on too, and some Mediterranean-style painterly lemon and olive accessories. All very summery! – Ellie

Now, generally I’m not a fan of souvenirs, especially royal souvenirs (although I have a wonderful Charles and Diana plate which is so hideously tacky that it might possibly now be classified as kitsch and ironic? Perhaps…) but, with the big day mere months away, the first royal wedding themed souvenirs and photo shoots are beginning to pop up. I love these fun pics from Sainsbury’s:

No doubt Wills is crafting away even now – in between flying his helicopter and rehearsing his wedding vows – Kate probably has him chained to a desk, stamping away with his little Cox and Cox alphabet stamp set and his favourite selection of crown stamps from Ginger Pickles (no connection to his brother).

If you decide to throw your own wedding tea party on 29th April (and why not?! You don’t know them personally, I presume, but any excuse for a knees up, eh…), you’ll find hand-held paper flags galore at Sainsbury’s (£2 for a four-pack). You could even frame a photo of the happy couple and create a wedding-themed display…although this might be a step too far, even for a neurotic stylist such as myself…

Check out the recyclable paper cake stands, £4.99, also from Sainsbury’s – great for a party. If the likes of the now-notorious ASDA engagement mug don’t float your boat and you prefer to mark the occasion with some good old fashioned chores, make sure you take a peep at this new ‘I DO’ (shouldn’t that be ONE DOES?) tea towel from Swedish designer Maria Dahlgren at Cloudberry Living:

You could munch on some celebratory biscuits from Biscuiteers, paper a feature wall with the special PRINCESS paper from Graham and Brown, or buy an amusing plate from KK Outlet

And, despite the fact that it’s a spring wedding, it wouldn’t hurt to wear a pair of these cute Donna Wilson gloves. Just in case you forget what’s going on. Remember: your right hand is marrying your left hand. Erm…

If you’re on a budget, might I suggest you recreate this using a biro, straight on to your skin. It’s the royal wedding, after all. Let’s get involved. – Ellie

HOT TREND: snow globes

October 27, 2010

I know it’s not winter yet and it’s not exactly snowing. But, the clocks go back this weekend, and the lovely new December issue of Ideal Home has just landed on my desk – so it must be close! ‘Shake it like a Polaroid picture’ – snow globes are all the rage. Snow joke. Groan.

This new A3 Papermash print is by Clare Owen – who did a Paris one last year. They’re really sweet:

Kitsch woodland creatures in snow globes can be found at the lovely Lapin and Me

…while Mary Fellows (AKA Pintuck) has been busy screen-printing romantic snow globe prints:

Head to Laura Ashley for snow globe Christmas tree decorations (in a month or so, it’s still a tad early, surely?!) and you’ll find a stylish snow globe photo frame at Dwell. Illustrator Charlotte Farmer is a snow globe fan…

Charlotte’s ‘Shake it’ tea towel is available at New House Textiles. I like the King Kong one the best! – Ellie

Ooh, we do like a nice tea towel here at HomeShoppingSpy, as no doubt you’ve noticed by now. When I saw these lovely new designs from Charlotte Farmer on the New House Textiles site, I practically fell off my chair. Just when I think I’ve got all the tea towels I’ll need for my important-ongoing-and-possibly-never-to-be-completed-turning-tea-towels-into-cushion-covers-project (so far, I have a Lisa Stickley one, a Warbeck and Cox one and a Thornback and Peel one…) along comes another little gem for me to obsess over, Gollum-style. These are all lovely, but the spoons design is my preciousssssss:

I also really like the biscuit bags Charlotte makes (also stocked at  New House Textiles) – have a peep:

If you like these tea towels, check out some of our previous tea towel posts. This one‘s a cracker. Oh, how we chuckled when we wrote this one. But, if you don’t look at this one, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll regret it forever. – Ellie

NEW Jme treats

April 22, 2010

A big ginger cat, a family of sugar mice and row upon row of gorgeous Jme storage jars. Is this not the loveliest larder shot you’ve ever seen? This is what I aspire to, food-storage wise. A distant dream…

Now, if I tried to recreate this kind of shot in my own home, it would be an epic fail. Previous attempts to ‘style’ my EBD cats (Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) have not exactly gone according to plan. I love the way that on our Blog of the Week, My Friend’s House, the writer’s cat is simply referred to as ‘The Anti-Stylist’ – I think that sums it up purrfectly! But perhaps I could bribe them with sugar mice…

Love this tea towel shot with the bunny hanging out to dry. The DON’T FORGET TO EAT YOUR GREENS one looks fabulous framed as kitchen wall art. It makes me think of this lovely picture I ripped out of an issue of LivingEtc yonks ago, featuring a Keep Calm Gallery poster. Now, these are the kind of ‘greens’ I wouldn’t forget to eat…

I’ve made a few attempts to create a similar shelf display in my own home, but it’s always turned into a ‘temporary installation’ if you know what I mean. Basically, people tend to eat the props. Sigh. Anyway, back to the lovely Jme

This is a new gardener’s gift set which comes with a beautiful galvanised metal window box. I’ve been fantasising about having metal planters like this filled with white geraniums and white trailing lobelia – perhaps a project for this weekend if the sun keeps shining…

Today’s the day the teddy bears have their pic-nic…nice tablecloths!

Pretty scented Jme candles here…and beautiful vintage gardening books. Now, OBSERVE, if you will, the bottom left of this picture…the OBSERVER’S guide books. These are my current obsession and a post about these lovely little collectables will inevitably follow shortly! Right, time to finish Ideal Home‘s August shopping pages… – Ellie

Lisa Stickley and baking

December 16, 2009

Designer Lisa Stickley sent me a lovely little Christmas card which arrived this morning. It’s put me in an extremely festive mood – as has the snow that’s falling on London today! (Of course, it didn’t settle and so we basically now have the same mucky puddles we always do, but let’s try to keep things as lovely as possible here today. After all, we have just been listed in The Times…)

Lisa has been a busy bee of late, coming up with some fabulous Christmas tea towels and cushions. I particularly like the tea towel with a scribbled Christmas pudding recipe on it…

She’s also produced some retro cushions featuring 1960s photos of handsome chaps wearing bobble hats – a bit of a departure for Lisa style-wise, but they look great! It must be hard to look moody in a bobble hat, but the lads on the left and right are doing a jolly good job of it. On to other lovely things…the scarily fast approach of Christmas means I have an excuse to obsess about Bake it Pretty – an American shop full of gorgeous cake decorating bits and bobs…

I’ll probably have time to make some tree biscuits (yeah, right – got to at least give the impression that I live the dream I suppose…) but I think I’ll cheat and buy a ready-made, ready-iced cake, then decorate it myself rather than doing things the proper way. These little snow men would look fabulous on little individual iced Christmas cupcakes:

Right, I’m off to drink mulled wine at a German Christmas market. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. – Ellie