Halloween tricks and treats

October 31, 2011

It’s the creepiest day of the year – but are you gazing at your £1.99 pumpkin and wondering how best to carve it? Throwing a party and stuck for decorating ideas? Looking for some inspirational images to get you in the mood? Head to Housetohome.co.uk for all the latest Halloween ideas…

From decorating a party table, to creating a trick or treat display, the team at Housetohome has got it covered. You’ll even find a step-by-step HOW TO CARVE A PUMPKIN video.  – Ellie

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Today, Crown has launched a new paint range called Vintage, in association with Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. It’s a collection of 30 matt emulsions and will be sold in Homebase later this month (for £22.99 per 2.5l) coinciding neatly with the upcoming Vintage at Goodwood (well, actually it’s now at Southbank, London, cough) festival and the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. The colours are ‘inspired by music, fashion, film, art and design from the 1940s to the 1980s’ – I like their retro, groovy names such as ‘Chelsea Girl’ and ‘Free Love’, maan.

Here’s the 1970s-inspired ‘Bell Bottoms’ orange shade…and the 80s-tastic ‘Shoulder Pad Purple’ colour:

And, just for fun, here are Gerardine and Wayne (holding daffodils, of course) in what appears to be Paddington Bear’s house– 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

Louise Body: Paper tiles

April 27, 2011

Designer Louise Body has just released a new collection of ‘Paper Tiles‘ – gorgeous tile-effect wallpapers, featuring digitally-printed Victorian tile patterns combined with her own illustrations and designs…

Louise designed some similar wallpaper for the toilets at Decorex last year, and was inspired to explore the idea of paper tiles further. The new patterns are really stunning – and no need for the dreaded grout whitening pen!

These papers would look lovely in bedrooms, living rooms or hallways – proof that tiles aren’t just for kitchens and bathrooms.

Each 1m x 70cm panel costs £25 and you paste-the-wall, not the paper (always a bonus for those of us who are a bit DIY-challenged). – Ellie


HOT TREND: BEES

April 20, 2011

Bee-hold: the latest trend to hit the high street. I’ve bee-n flying about, keeping buzz-y, finding this season’s must-hive buys (groan, groan). But, to bee or not to bee? That is the question…

Let’s kick things off with this cute Honeycomb print from The Spotted Sparrow. (It’s well worth having a peep at The Spotted Sparrow’s card collection while you’re at it – 80s song lyrics combined with Victorian newspapers. Nice.)

Designers are buzzing about hexagonal honeycomb patterns, bee motifs and golden honey colours. (I can’t bee-lieve I get paid to write this.)

1 = Honeycomb pendant light, Dwell. 2&3 = Honeycomb patterned table lamp and votive, M&S. 4 = Bee cushion, Dwell. 5 = Vintage print, Roost Living. 6 = Tea cosy, The Gifted Penguin.

7 = Honeycomb chair, Next. 8 = Hexagonal wall stickers, Ferm Living.

My dad’s a bee keeper, so I asked him for some honey (as usual) and an insider quote about this important trend. “Buzz off…” he said, “…with your trend-related nonsense, and stop stealing ‘vintage’ things from our house.” – Ellie

I know, I know, we’re spoiling you today. It took a lot of persuasion, a few bribes here and there and perhaps a little bit of cheek, but we have it. Le scoop: Lisa Stickley‘s new bed linen designs for Heals (launching on 8th December). Regardez:

HURRAH for Lisa who, despite a punishing schedule churning out Debenhams designs, craft books and beautiful handbags, still manages to come up with such a fresh, pretty collection. I particularly love the trees design (which would look oh-so-cute in a kids’ room with the new Harlequin Boutique trees wallpaper but that’s by the by…) and also the orange set below, which is called Tangerine Hankie Flower:

As the youngsters round my way say, this is bare good, innit. – Ellie

See inside Anthropologie

October 22, 2009

Is there anything I DON’T want in this shop? Erm, no. London’s new Anthropologie did not disappoint when I checked it out yesterday. It was everything I hoped it would be – and more. The interior of the shop is fabulous in itself, before I even get started on the lovely stock! From the huge luxury changing rooms, to the gigantic whale hanging from the ceiling and the incredible living vertical garden wall with 18,000 live plants in it, this shop interior is by far the coolest London’s ever seen.

anthropologie londonThe plants in the vertical garden are watered by rainwater collected on the roof, and reminded me of an eco-house I saw in Paris recently. Every 12 weeks, a team of style gurus and creative set designers will put together a fresh interior look, so it’s going to be one of those shops you’ll never tire of. I spotted strips of vintage sewing needles on the walls, huge apothecary-style chests of drawers, china plate clocks and a curtain made of tea bags.

anthropologie london2Can I just say at this point that, tragically, just when I needed it most, my stupid digital camera failed me and the battery ran out at a crucial moment, so the images on this post are a mixture of PR shots and some snaps taken by the wonderful Wee Birdy, to whom I am very grateful!

anthropologie ukI spent hours browsing and had to be very restrained spending-wise. I basically liked/wanted everything I saw. It was good to see a mixture of American products and stock from home-grown designers such as Becky Oldfield (stunning Union Jack quilts) and the lovely Lisa Stickley. There were too many interesting home buys to mention, but highlights for me included: paint-by-numbers plates from Trey Speegle, cute stamp sets from Yellow Owl Workshop, gorgeous Tokyo Milk bubble baths, cook books from the likes of Ginette Mathiot, Alice in Wonderland drawer knobs, zinc letters, beautiful cards and notebooks, stylish chemistry-set style flasks, and coloured folksy aprons – straight out of Hansel and Gretel. The new folk trend has been embraced by Anthropologie in a big way – I spotted wooden mushrooms, ceramic owls, folk-style patchwork quilts and an unusual vintage-look book titled: ‘Mushroom Magick, a comprehensive guide to psychedelic ‘shrooms‘!

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anthropologie uk3Even the packaging is delicious at Anthropologie, and I was delighted to be given a little Nathalie Lete lily soap in my red-handled goody bag, which made it twice as nice! ‘Mon savon qui sent bon’…sigh. I’m already planning my next Anthropologie trip. – Ellie

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