Friday, 24 October 2014

Brit Decor: Shower Power / Mira Showers

1/ Moeve Brooklyn Herringbone towel £37.80 Amara 2/ Mira Beam divider panel £540 Mira Showers 3/ Round stand mirror £4 Matalan 4/ Mira Platinum dual wireless controller £153.60 Mira Showers 5/ 20z Cassia stone soap £7 The Conran Shop 6/ High Society Rockefeller tile £27.54 Fired Earth 7/ Scented candle £6.99 H&M 8/ Grey marble tumbler £12 BHS 9/ Hay Volet coat hooks £20 Selfridges

When devising any interior design scheme it's a huge plus for the designer to have a strong focal point to work with. Bathrooms can prove to be a particular challenge with potential limitations on space and balancing these with the need to create functionality and, of course, style. However, the pay-off from creating a dream bathroom is worth every second of the planning process! 

For many of us, a crucial part of modern bathroom living has to be the shower; it's fast, convenient and best suited to our busy schedules due to its 'wash-and-go' function. Therefore, choosing the right shower enclosure is crucial to the overall success of your bathroom. So today's focal point is brought to us via these stunning Shower units from Mira showers. My favourite enclosure (by a tiny margin) is the Beam divider panel (no.2 'above'), due to its clean simple lines and minimalist-look, but having said this, I also love the rather curvaceous lines of Mira's Beam alcove enclosure (no.2 'below'). 

Of course, with any strong design statement like these shower units, you need the accessories to create the perfect design statement in your bathroom, right? Based around each Mira shower enclosure I have created two trending themes to compliment these; Before Colour explores my continuing love affair with monochrome, which I have softened with stylish greys in a selection of clean and minimal lines. Then there's my Copper Cool palette, which in contrast to the monochrome styling exudes warmth and energy with earthy reds and shiny copper metallics - the perfect Autumnal palette!

I love the herringbone-meets-chevron design of these tempting towels from Amara (no.1 above) and for that added slick and techno-cool design feature, I couldn't resist including the slick Beam divider panel, also from Mira (no.4 'above'). The elegant hexagonal detailing on Fired Earth's beautiful High Society Rockefeller tiles (no. 6 'above') deliver a high-end finish to this scheme (I gotta get me some of these!). And on the subject of sharp lines, I love the black Cassia soap bar from The Conran Shop for those quirky design details that are oh-so important to the overall finish of any room. 

What is it about Copper that is driving the design world crazy right now? I only have to take a glance at this warm and glossy material to know why - it's simply stunning. If you are looking for a warm and inviting palette, this could be the one with these med-style Alicante terracotta tiles from Mandarin Stone (no.5 'below') which will also offer the perfect contrast to a pure white bathroom suite. I have to admit that I am pretty captivated by this copper toned glass mirror from Heals (no.8 'below) - for that unique design feature. For value interiors fashion accessories, there's the striking copper-effect metal storage basket from H&M (no.3 'below') because storage is another crucial factor to creating a successful bathroom. And for that luxe-feel, I am smitten with Habitat's clasp leather laundry bag (no.4 'below').

So which palette are you? Copper Cool or Before Colour?

1/ Copper soap dispenser £29.95 Dwell 2/ Mira Beam alcove (from £624) Mira Showers 3/ Copper-effect metal basket £6.99 H&M 4/ Clasp leather laundry bag £150 Habitat 5/ Alicante Terracotta tile (from £1.57) Mandarin Stone 6/ Scion Mr Fox towels (from £10) John Lewis 7/ Collier copper toilet brush £22 Habitat 8/ Menu Gridy Me Clear mirror £71 Heals

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Brit Decor: New Cool / Wool

Images (from top) 1/ Deas Og Mia 2/ My World Apart 3/ Scandinavian Deko 4/ Deas Og Mia

Here in my little corner of the world it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride in meteorological terms with an unseasonably mild start to Autumn. One minute I am following my human instinct to cosy-up, like I would in any normal October - preparing logs for the wood burner (and writing about it in my 'Basket Love' post), whilst the next minute I find myself placing the thick woollen sweaters back in the wardrobe for a currently unknown length of time...

However, in stylistic terms we can usher the new cool in interiors into our homes at any point in the year. Despite its sometimes Wintery connotations, wool now officially rocks, whatever the Season. I am currently obsessed with the new trend for super chunky knits (just check out the enormous crochet hook from the hip NY store Loopy Mango - all nine inches of it!). I love the architecture created by these, which can bring both structure and comfort to a home (see 'above') and there's now literally a colour to suit everyone. Tip: Try indulging in a rich colour palette of wools this Autumn by mimicking the colours of the rusting leaves outside.

In terms of colour timing, I tend to ebb towards lighter, brighter wools for Spring/Summer interiors and darker, richer tones for Winter, like this stunning Pewter Moss Stitch throw from House Envy (no.1 below). Or if you are missing the sight of the golden sun beaming down upon you, then consider a palette of yellow wools to add richness and energy, like the grey/yellow combo knitted cushion by Catherine Tough (no.2 below) or the insanely rich Mellow Yellow yarn (no.7) from the pinnacle of 'wool cool' - Wool and the Gang.

So my friends, do you want to join the cool gang...?

1/ Pewter Moss stitch throw £69.95 House Envy 2/ Knitted cushion grey check £62 Catherine Tough
3/ Knitted friend Bandit the Racoon £38 Not on The High Street 4/ Giant Crochet hook
$26 Loopy Mango 5/ Hand knit slipper sock £49 Toast 6/ Say my name beanie £62 Wool &The Gang
7/ Shiny Happy Cotton (Mellow Yellow) £9 Wool & The Gang

Friday, 17 October 2014

Brit Decor: Bakes/ Bacon & Maple Syrup cupcakes

All images / Mike Ahern

It's unusual for me to be torn between sweet and savoury as the former usually wins hands-down. However, last weekend I found myself craving both! A nice crispy bacon 'butty' is one of my all time favourite weekend snacks - the freshly cooked bacon always offers one of those comforting homely smells.

Another thing I love about bacon sandwiches is the speed at which one can be put together and then devoured (very handy for feeding unannounced guests at the cottage on weekends). So in the spirit of keeping things easy, speedy, and combing sweet and savoury, I decided to make some bacon and maple syrup cupcakes.

The fluffy sponges gently emit the mild spicy nutmeg and cinnamon flavours, which are offset perfectly by the sweetness of the caramelised maple syrup which coats the bite-sized bacon pieces and forms the central flavour of the maple frosting. Mixing bowls to the ready my friends!

Cupcake Ingredients:
150g unsalted butter (softened)
150g caster sugar
180g plain flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Caramelised bacon:
3 rashers bacon
Drizzle maple syrup

60g unsalted butter
4 tbsp maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
150g icing sugar

Here's how to make:
Preheat your oven to 180oc & line a 12 case cake tray.

Place the softened butter, sugar, baking powder, salt and flour into a bowl and one-by-one add each egg, mixing as you go along. Then add the vanilla extract,  cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together until you have a smooth and creamy batter.

Add the mixture to the cake cases and place in the oven for around 18 minutes.

Whilst the cakes are in the oven, take the rashers of bacon and drizzle with maple syrup until coated. Then grill the rashers on medium heat until golden brown. Leave to cool.

Once the cakes have been removed from the oven and cooled, prepare the frosting by mixing together all of the ingredients until these are smooth and creamy. Using a tea spoon, distribute the frosting onto each cake. Cut the bacon into small bite-sized pieces and place in each topping. Finally, drizzle some maple syrup over each cake and serve.


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