Friday, 25 July 2014

Brit Decor: Makes/ Cupboard Love Jars

All images/ Mike Ahern

Isn't it a great feeling when you turn a page in a book or magazine and there, right in front of you, jumps out a huge dose of inspiration? This pretty much summed up my own experience recently whilst I was perusing a 'Summer Homestyle' pull-out from Mollie Makes magazine, which featured a series of painted jam jars created by Hollie Becker from Decor8 and Leslie Shewring

I can still vividly picture the chalky collection of candy store-like colours married to the glossy-effect of the outer glass. Of course the real beauty is you can choose any size or colour whilst mixing and matching your way to accessory heaven. This is also a very eco-friendly way of recycling those unwanted food jars, hence the 'cupboard love' title of today's post; take an unwanted object, give it some love and create your very own unique interior accessory.

Naturally I had to include a touch of grey in my own trio of jars, which also happens to be my favourite one. I love the chalkiness of the grey - perfect for showing off some of those richer coloured flowers. This neutral-chic colour also looks great as a standalone object for those minimalist areas in the home - perhaps try mixing up a chalky white jar for the perfect partnering! 

Here I have used my jars to display some favourite florals from my cottage garden but I can also envisage at least one of these being used as a chic desk tidy!

How do you indulge in your own cupboard love project? With truly minimal effort! Choose a jar, simply wash it out thoroughly and add a drop of your chosen paint colour. Roll the paint around gently in the jar until the inner glass is completely coated then tip out any excess paint and leave to dry (this can take several days). 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Brit Decor: Into the Quiet Zone

Images (from the top) 1/ Sean Fennessy / The Design Files  2/ Houzz 3/ Casatreschic

After a ferociously noisy start to the previous weekend with angry electrical storms booming around the UK, I seemed inclined to gravitate towards some peace and solitude in the days that followed. In reality, many of us need some quiet time at various intervals, whether this is to escape from a stressful day at work or simply chill.

I tend to get my fix of calm in the solace of our cottage garden during the Summer months but I also see the importance of creating a 'quiet zone' of calm and tranquility in the home, somewhere for me to escape and relax, an uncomplicated design with plenty of pale neutral - my very own Switzerland!

I love the idea of a fuss-free kitchen like the one above, I imagine it would feel like working on a blank canvas with plenty of room for a clear head - perfect for dreaming up new recipes for Brit Decor Bakes! I'm a huge advocate of using open shelving in kitchens, its a great way of displaying your favourite crockery and glassware.

Simple monochromatic detailing can also be an effective tool for adding definitive detailing but for your quiet zone, keep it to a minimum adding flash points of contrast. Simple black & white stripes or a graphic black font on a print can bring just the right amount of interest to a scheme, without over-complicating, like this stunning bedroom in image two (above).

The third image shows us how a quiet zone can also become a centrepiece; an oasis of calm against a bustling Manhattan backdrop, in this instance. Try forming a cluster of neutral-coloured objects, light pendants, vases, etc in one area for interest and focus but go easy on numbers and don't over do it!

Check out some of my top 'get the look' picks below - it's a close call but I think my absolute favourite has to be the watercolour dreamy blue '1815' mug from Royal Doulton. Which is yours?

Shopping list: 1/ Long Olive wood chopping board £29.95 Handpicked Collection 2/ 'Do Small Things' poster £50 The White Company 3/ 1815 Blue mug £6 Royal Doulton 4/ Three Six Five single date calendar $20 ebay 5/ Kitson stool (set of 2) £89 Made 6/ 'Rest' cushion £83 Skandium

Friday, 18 July 2014

Brit Decor: Bakes/ Rocky Roads

All images / Mike Ahern

Sometimes it's too hard to resist whipping up a treat when all you have to do is follow the simplest of recipes, right? Rocky Roads are often my naughty snack of choice when I'm having one of those 'cupboard love' moments - rooting around in my kitchen cupboards looking for spare sugary ingredients. This is such an incredibly versatile treat too because you can add or subtract the ingredients that you like or don't, such as nuts, cherries or raisins, but the end result is always the same; a chewy crunchy workout for the mouth!

For this version I have broken the ingredients down to the minimum, just how I like it, but I'd love to hear how you like your Rocky Roads...

125g Unsalted butter
200g Digestive biscuits
300g Milk chocolate
150g Mini-marshmallows
A sprinkle of Icing sugar for dusting

How to make:
Melt the chocolate and the butter in a pan. Meanwhile, place the digestive biscuits into a small bag and beat with a rolling pin (you don't need fine crumbs, broken chunks are perfect). Slowly add the biscuit pieces and the marshmallows to the melted chocolate mixture.

Tip the entire mixture into a small tray or baking dish lined with greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Finally remove from the fridge and dust with icing sugar.


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