Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Brit Decor: Palette


Although I am a big fan of muted neutrals, there is no denying that even a dash of yellow colouring in a room really awakens my senses. Perhaps this is because yellow has so many positive associations; sunshine, daffodils, warmth, happiness and the list goes on!

I tend to view yellow as a very concentrated bold colour but it can also be muted into paler pastel tones for a softer effect. I have selected a collection of inspirational images (above) which shows how you too can create the 'wow' factor by introducing this fab colour to your home.

Below is my top picks of yellow accessories available in UK stores.

I hope you enjoy - be happy - think yellow!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Brit Decor: Teatime

IMAGE: LolasRoom
It is true, we Brits really do love our teatime! Like many others, my tea break is a tradition which I grew up with and it is now part of my every day life. I have very fond memories of morning tea or 'elevensies' as we called it, with my Gran and even my Great Gran. Together we would walk to the local bakery and pick out some lovely cakes to take home and indulge with a pot of tea. 

I would love to hear about your tea breaks and traditions!

Below is a recipe for chocolate marshmallow teacakes by Paul Hollywood, from the fantastic BBC Food website - a great resource for delicious recipes.

  1. Melt 300g/10½oz of the dark chocolate in a bowl set over a simmering pan of water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Melting the chocolate over a soft heat stops the chocolate from discolouring later on. Leave aside to cool slightly - you can’t line the moulds if the chocolate is too runny.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
  3. To make the biscuits, put the flours, salt, baking powder and caster sugar into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Add the milk and stir everything together to form a smooth ball.
  4. On a floured surface roll out the dough to about 5mm/¼in thick. Cut out six rounds with a 7.5cm/3in straight sided round cutter.
  5. Place the rounds on a flat plate or board and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Make sure the biscuits are perfectly round and well chilled, otherwise they might spread or shrink when baked.
  6. Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes. They do need to be hard, not soft as they form the base of the teacake.
  7. Remove the biscuits from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
  8. Coat the inside of the moulds with the melted chocolate. The thickness of the chocolate should be enough to make them sturdy but not too thick. This is best done with a spoon, using the back to run the chocolate around the moulds. If the chocolate is too runny it will mean that the top of the dome is too thick and the side too thin.
  9. Set aside to set. Do not put the domes in the fridge as the chocolate will lose its shine.
  10. Meanwhile dip the cooled biscuits in the remaining melted chocolate, covering them completely (you may need to melt more chocolate). You can either dip the biscuits in the chocolate or spread the chocolate onto the biscuits with a palette knife. Place the coated biscuits onto parchment paper.
  11. For the marshmallow, place all of the ingredients in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), and whisk with an electric hand whisk for 6-8 minutes, making sure it is smooth, silky and doubled in volume. Make sure it is very stiff, the consistency of whipped cream, so it will hold when piped - you don’t want it runny.
  12. Spoon the marshmallow mixture into a piping bag.
  13. Melt the remaining chocolate, and place into a disposable piping bag with a sealed end. Set aside to cool and stiffen up a bit, but not harden.
  14. Peel the biscuits off the parchment and place them onto clean parchment, flat side down.
  15. Pipe the marshmallow into each chocolate-lined mould just up to the top.
  16. Snip a 2cm/¾in end off the piping bag with the chocolate in it.
  17. Carefully pipe some chocolate on the marshmallow and a rim of chocolate around the biscuit base and swiftly place the biscuit on top of the marshmallow filled dome. Smooth the join with a knife.
  18. Leave the teacakes to set until completely cool and sealed together.
  19. Very carefully remove the completed teacakes from the mould – be careful of fingerprints on the glossy dome.
  20. Place on a plate and keep cool – but do not refrigerate, to make sure the chocolate keeps its glossy shine.

Brit Decor: Loves!

As you are all probably getting to know, I love to share inspired finds! So when I stumbled across these beautifully illustrated coasters from Thornback & Peel,
naturally I wanted to share them with you. 

I also love how you can mix and match the images - perfect for sharing mugs of tea with close friends on a rainy day.

I hope you find inspiration today! 

Monday, 29 July 2013

Brit Decor: Stripes

Yes I am into stripes big time at the moment, I'm even wearing a stripy sweatshirt whilst writing this article!

I have always found stripes very appealing in interiors - I love the way that stripes seemingly bring order to a scheme, or maybe this is because I am a bit of a compulsive obsessive when it comes to being tidy and organised? (I probably shouldn't admit to this!)

If you are looking for impact, then stripes are a great way of achieving this; monochrome for a slick urban feel, blues for coastal, and multi-coloured for a vibrant and uplifting scheme. Vertical stripes are most commonly used in interiors and help to create the illusion of height whilst horizontal stripes give a sense of width.

I have picked a small selection of stripy goodies below to give you a head start if you feel like following this trend and embracing stripes.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Brit Decor: Palette

I am always heartened by the discovery of another exciting online interiors shopping experience and so finding Starling Store was no exception. A simple follow on Twitter led me to their beautiful website, which features a hand picked selection of contemporary homeware and unique gifts.

This brand new store was founded by Nicola Eslick, who brings two decades worth of experience of scouring interior accessories in the likes of New York, Tokyo and Paris, to the business. Starling Store is sure to take off in a big way - definitely one for my little black book of interiors shops.

Above is a small selection of some of my favorite picks from the store, great for adding small bursts of summer colour to your home.

Good luck Starling Store!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Brit Decor: Loves

1. Moomin Plate 'Life is Hard' £5.50 Bloomsbury & Co 2. 65th Anniversary Mug, 'Night Sailing' limited edition £99.95 Designshop 3. Moomin 'Adventure' jar £62.50 Designshop 4. Moomin bowl 'Love' £23.95 Designshop
Okay I'm probably showing my age by mentioning these cute little characters from the 1980s children's animations but what the heck! I recently stumbled across Moomins home accessories whilst trundling through online stores and immediately found myself reminiscing about my childhood - those distant days of watching TV after arriving home from school and before starting the dreaded homework.

Whether you are a fan or not, these beautifully illustrated accessories would make a quirky addition to any home.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Brit Decor: Hallways

I always find hallways so interesting because they have such varied uses, often depending on size. Many hallways don't actually serve as a lived in room and yet most of us walk through these transient spaces every day as an essential link between other rooms and the outside world...a bit like a busy pumping artery supplying the building with life flow!

I love how you can generally gain a good first impression about the character of a house and its occupants just from stepping into the hallway from the outside. Therefore, it is fair to say that hallways are vital for creating good personal impressions and channeling guests into your home. 

At home I like to include some personal and quirky objects in my hallway to give visitors a sense of my personality and a taster for the style(s) that lie within the rest of the house. As with any room style sometimes has to be balanced with functionality i.e. where to store coats, bags, shoes...? But don't let this deter you from adding personal, stylised touches, which can be fused with clever storage solutions.

How do you feel when you first walk into your hallway? Good first impressions?
Does it serve you and your home well?



Monday, 22 July 2013

Brit Decor: At the Seaside

The searing British Summer heat is getting to me...but not in a negative way. Okay it's a little uncomfortable trying to sleep on a balmy Summer's night but the heat is constantly drawing me outside where I can take in the sight of masses of blooming flowers waving in the breeze, the bright & bold colours of Summer clothing. Even the nights offer inspiration too with the golden summery moon suspended like a cheery face amongst masses of twinkling stars, or watching the curtains float in the evening breeze.

Today with the humidity more intense than ever, I decided to head to the nearby coast for some cool breeze, sea and of course, ice cream! I had forgotten all of the sights and sounds of the great British seaside so it was great fun to reminisce and soak it all up. Oh and just in case you are wondering, no I didn't do that very British thing and escaped without sunburn today!

So wherever you are, I hope you get a window of opportunity (however small) to step aside and take in some inspiration, wherever you choose to seek it.

Happy Summer.

Brit Decor: Midsummer Daydream

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Brit Decor: Profile

This is a tribute to one of the UK's top interior designers, David Collins, who sadly died from a short battle with skin cancer earlier this week. 

Dublin born David, who designed countless interiors for luxury brands, graduated from the city's School of Architecture and went on to build a worldwide portfolio of works including the redesign of the Alexander McQueen boutiques and the Claridge's bar.

Earlier this year, Collins said in an interview with Business of Fashion, "I always tell myself, if I am going to do this job, how can I make it more interesting or make it different, that's what has driven my career".

Probably the greatest tribute to this talented designer is his outstanding work.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Brit Decor: Colour Palette

I've been inspired by the image above of the characterful old staircase and runner. I love the wear and tare which adds depth and I also like the thought that these stairs could tell a million stories about the people who have walked up and down them over the years. 

With today's palette I have translated the old 17th century look of the staircase into a more contemporary 'All Saints' style collection which would add raw drama to a scheme.

Look around and see what inspires you and think about how you might translate the style into your own home...

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Brit Decor: Featured Store

As you may have already guessed, I love to shop online for interior accessories! One of the great things about social media is how it enables us to come together and share inspiration, which is how I discovered online interiors emporium Rockett St George. Since then I frequently spot their products in many of the top British interiors magazines - testament to just how stylish these guys are.

This exciting store is currently going from strength-to-strength, having been ranked in the 'top ten best home online stores' by the Sunday Times, and no wonder! It offers a feast of design-led, quirky and vintage items, perfect for adding unique on-trend pieces to your home.

Above, I have selected a few choice pieces for those of you who might not be familiar with this brand - I hope you enjoy browsing their site as much as I do!

Thanks for the inspiration Rockett St George!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Brit Decor: Bathroom Shopping list

Brit Decor: Bathrooms

I love bathrooms - it's official! 

They can offer you a refreshingly cool shower on a balmy Summer evening or a warm and comforting soak in the bath on a freezing Winter's night. The bathroom is also a place where I can gather my thoughts and focus on the day ahead as I go through my daily routine.

Therefore, I like to see my bathroom as a mini spa packed with comforts and treats, with a rich hand cream and soap, some extra fluffy towels and a scented candle. 

So what is your style?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Brit Decor: Holiday escape

With the current abundance of sunshine here in the UK, it's no wonder that everyone around me is talking about holidays. There is something so uplifting about this time of year where I often find myself day dreaming that I am laid on a sun drenched beach or meandering through some cobbled streets on a far away Greek island...

Whether or not you are going to be a Brit abroad this Summer, you can still bring a holiday feel to your home. Here I've opted for a seaside blue and white theme with a Greek feel to it but you could add any colour to the mix so long as it is bold and beautiful! This will help to create your very own holiday escape interior.

I hope you find some inspiration from the shopping picks below.

1 Sanderson Paint, Royal Blue, £34.20 2 Lempi Drinking Glass 2-pack, £42 3 Paris cotton pendant shade, Habitat £65 4 Stripe linen cushion, £30 5 Plain linen cushion cover, £37.50
6 Marimekko In Good Company teapot, Heals £67 7 Rope knot doorstop (small) Salcombe Trading Company £50 Nature Stool, £105.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Brit Decor: Summer Styling 2013


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Brit Decor: Cool Kids!

IMAGES 3 Lonny / 4

Interior design isn't just for adults! 

There is so much inspiration out there if you are looking to decorate a child's bedroom and I have seen a number of accessories that are so 'on-trend' they wouldn't look out of place in a stylish adult interior.

A great starting point is to go for crisp white walls and layer the room up with colour as you go along. There are so many beautiful and vibrant kid's accessories to choose from that you will soon add a rich palette of colour. I think adding vibrant colour is vital as it will stimulate a child's mind and create a sense of fun. 

What I also love about decorating is that you can make it fun for your kids too and encourage them to be creative. A great idea is washable blackboard paint - it looks contemporary (for us adults) and it serves a great practical function for the little ones to doodle away until their heart's content.

I have also picked out a small selection of 'must-have' accessories below...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Brit Decor: Coastal Living

IMAGES: The Oyster Catcher / Unique Home Stays

I love stumbling across interiors finds such as this one and the timing is perfect now that we are all enjoying some warm summer sunshine and thinking about holidays.

The Oyster Catcher luxury holiday home is a Grade II listed former net loft situated on the picturesque little harbour side at Mousehole in West Cornwall.

So where do I start? I absolutely adore the light-reflecting neutral colour palette used throughout the cottage as this really does lift the interior space and creates an ethereal look. This, in combination with the plain natural linens, wools and rustic objects, creates a perfect seaside haven of interior bliss.

If you want to recreate this look, stick to a base palette of off-whites and pale greys, and for small swathes of darker, warmer colour, add in some natural woods such as a simple vintage chair, or a wicker basket - perfect for some rustic charm.

No wonder this little gem has already been listed in the Sunday Times' '50 Best Self-Catering Cottages'.

I am suitably inspired!

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