Thursday, 31 October 2013

Brit Decor: Halloween


Happy Halloween everyone! I couldn't resist going down the themed route today but in true Brit Decor style, with a little twist.

These amazing creative pumpkins (images 1 & 2) by the very talented Kelly at Studio DIY shows what happens when you think outside of the box and let your imagination run free. Look how deceptively sweet and yummy Kelly's doughnut pumpkins look!

My minimalist heart nearly skipped a beat when I saw the beautifully styled white pumpkin arrangement  from Sweet Paul Magazine and I love the 'minimal meets rustic' styling. It's official, Halloween is now a stylish event!

#Inspired



Images / (From the top) / 1&2 Studio DIY / Sweet Paul Magazine

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Brit Decor: Midweek Bake

Photography / Mike Ahern

Oh my goodness, how intensely delicious are these biscuits!? The perfect sugary treat for midweek if you are in need of some culinary inspiration to get you through to the weekend. Actually, who am I kidding - these gorgeous chocolate treats are really good for any day of the week, not just Wednesdays! 

I made the batch above to take to my Sister & Brother-in-Law's house as a little 'thank you for having me' gift and they went down a treat after dinner. Equally, I think I may make these again next time somebody visits for a cuppa - the sweet baked smell in the kitchen is enough to make anyone feel welcome and they are so quick and easy to make.

Ingredients:
25 g granulated sugar
50 g dark brown sugar
35 g unsalted butter
35 g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
185 g dark chocolate
15 g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to around 1750c or Gas Mark 3 and prepare two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Melt around 80 g of the dark chocolate together with the butter then separately mix the sugars, egg and vanilla until you have a smooth paste. Add this to the melted chocolate before sifting in the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Roughly chop up the remaining chocolate into chunks and slowly add to the mixture but keep several pieces to one side.

Scoop the mixture onto the trays using a teaspoon and sprinkle the remaining choc chunks over the top (be as tidy or as freestyle as you like!). Pop into the oven for 8-10 minutes and then leave to cool before transferring to the fridge. The insides should be nice and soft, which makes the perfect contrast with the slightly harder choc chunks!

If you make these biscuits, I would love to hear (or see) how they turned out...






Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Brit Decor: Love this...

All images / H&M Home

H&M Home appears to be founded on the same principle as their clothes wear range; contemporary and affordable fashion for all! H&M is just one of those great places I love to shop for both clothes and home accessories when I want to quickly add style without breaking the bank! Like my wardrobe, I tend to balance out a particular look with affordable fashion accessories combined with more expensive classics that will stand the test of time. 

H&M also has a fab styling team so I've selected these images, which show how applying simple techniques can transform your home into a style pad!



Monday, 28 October 2013

Brit Decor: New Bohemian

All Images / English National Ballet 1/ Gold Sequin Cushion £7.99 H&M 2/ Innermost Facet
Chandelier £6400 Heals 3/ Scrap Wood Wallpaper £199 Rockett St George


I am a huge fan of the ballet and a big supporter of the English National Ballet in particular, so you can probably guess how excited I am about going to see their production of Le Corsaire in November!! Already in the mood for tutu's and high drama, I have drawn inspiration for today's dramatic styling from these striking scenes, which were styled by Tom Sharp and the amazing Vivienne Westwood for a recent ENB publicity shoot.

If we are talking high drama with a Bohemian twist, then dark and alluring background colours will add a sense of mystery and depth to a room but be sure to add strong feature lighting for the perfect contrast and embellish with luxury items, ideally ones that emit a sparkle, like glistening treasures. 

In terms of value for money and impact, there is no beating the fabulous gold sequin cushion cover from H&M - be sure to position this near to a light source to accentuate the sparkle. The contrast this has with darker colours, such as the clever Scrap Wood wallpaper from Rockett St George is incredible!

I'm still rocking the Great Gatsby look ever since watching Baz Luhrmann's film earlier this year so I was unable to resist this glam Grande Gatsby cushion from Aura - the perfect look for a luxe party feel and talking of luxury, I spotted this embossed note book by Christian Lacroix at Heals, which makes me want to trade in my computer mouse for a pen right this minute!

Only last week I discovered the new and exciting lighting collection from The Electrical Shop (check out their blog here) and this cage light seemed perfect for bringing the Bohemian into the 21st Century.

Do you have a favourite ballet?  


1/ Concrete Pendant Light £77.95 Lamp&Light 2/ Grande Gatsby Cushion $49.95 Aura
3/ Christian Lacroix Paseo Embossed Notebook £16 Heals

1/ Cage Rose Pink Light £40 The Electrical Shop 2/ Satin Cushion Cover £7.99 H&M
3/ Arsenic Emulsion £66 Farrow & Ball

Friday, 25 October 2013

Brit Decor: Something for the Weekend...



Sometimes it's the 'Simple Thing's, so reverting back to a classic bake definitely constitutes one of my simple pleasures. Just the process alone is pure therapy, getting my hands dirty in sheer contrast to the somewhat sterile, butter free, computer keyboard that my fingers are used to - it's hardly revolutionary but it works for me!

Dorset Apple Cake really is a quintessential British bake and a great excuse to make a tasty treat for the weekend, enjoy with clotted cream for true authenticity but I decided to be good, on this occasion.

With a wet weekend ahead, this could be the perfect comfort food...

Here's what you will need...

1 large Bramley apple (approx 225g)
2 medium eggs, beaten
Finely grated zest of a lemon
125g self raising flour
125g of diced butter
125g caster sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp of baking powder

Here's how to make the bake...

Start by preheating your oven to 1900c / gas mark 5 and lightly grease a 20cm cake tin. Peel the Bramley apple and remove the core before dicing (use larger chunks for a more rustic feel).

Add sifted flour, mixed spice and baking powder into a mixing bowl, adding the diced butter to create fine breadcrumbs by rubbing the ingredients together.

Then stir in the sugar, lemon zest and the all important diced apple. Gradually stir in the beaten eggs to create a firm mixture and spoon this into the prepared baking tin and smooth out.

Cook for around 30 minutes and savour that freshly baked aroma!



Thursday, 24 October 2013

Brit Decor: Nordic Chic

Image/ Tarczi Csaba 1/ Stag Head cushion £20 John Lewis 2/ Sandblasted Spool side table £145
 French Connection 3/ Twist a Twill blanket £94 Story North

With a new and distinctive chill in the air, I always find myself going a little bit 'Nordic' at this time of  year. This isn't a deliberate thing, just something that I am naturally inclined to do when faced with colder outdoor conditions.

The Nordic style is very simple with chalky pastels, off-whites and with an emphasis towards natural materials such as beautifully sourced wooden furniture pieces effortlessly mixed with wool throws and animal skins. I love this type of laid back calming palette with a rustic-meets-contemporary edge.

I am fortunate enough to spot dozens of Deer most mornings during my commute to the office and they cut such elegant shapes against the country landscape so when I saw this stunning image by Tarczi Csaba, I knew there was a cool palette inspiration just waiting to be explored.

The graphic Stag head print cushion form John Lewis was too striking not to include and creates the perfect wintery Nordic feel, although for that genuine relaxed feel I always like to mix a graphic print with a plain colour to keep the focus on the print. The beautiful blonde wooden side table from one of my current favourites, French Connection Home,  is such a tactile piece and quite the little gem for adding texture, warmth and functionality. 

The geometric patterned blanket from Story North is by Danish textile designer, Tina Ratzer, and made from 100% Australian Merino wool from sheep reared on a holistic organic farm so these are happy sheep! With this look, comfort and warmth is paramount to good design.

So will you be heading north for your interiors inspiration this Winter...?


Images / Top / Paulina Arcklin / Bottom / Kaikucph







Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Brit Decor: Pick-me-up

Image / Mike Ahern / 1/ Red Lace Chair by Jo Gibbs £250 The Mint List
2/ Havet Red Cushion Cover £22 Quince 3/ Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer (Raspberry Ice) £389 Selfridges

I am having a 'foodie week' which I am firmly blaming on this very wet, windy and British weather. The week has only just begun and I am already in need of a sugary 'pick-me-up'! Isn't this alluring baked doughnut sweet with a capital 'S'? As if this wasn't tempting enough, adding this treat to a charming Peony Habitat plate (a past gift from two very dear friends) just made it look all the more delicious.

After polishing off this naughty doughy snack, I felt inspired to source some equally tantalising accessories to further brighten my mood and shun the gloomy weather outside. Take the very delectable Kitchen Aid with the rather cool name of Raspberry Ice - I would surely want to make cakes all day long if I owned this model! Equally, look at how the heartwarming mix of pinks and yellows on this re-styled vintage chair from The Mint List sings out, and I just want to sink into this vibrant freestyle design Havet Red cushion from Quince.

Just in case you are tempted to tuck into some fresh doughnuts, check out the fab book below by Rosie Reynolds, in which she gives the humble doughnut a mouthwatering makeover, including Maple Pumpkin flavour for Halloween!

Is it wrong to go for doughnut number two now...?

Doughnuts: A Classic Treat Reinvented by Rosie Reynolds
£9.00 Waterstones





Monday, 21 October 2013

Brit Decor: Inspired by...

1/ Rox blue cube footstool £65 Habitat 2/ Harlequin linen cushion £100 Clippings
3/ Eberson Aqua ombre rug £995 Designers Guild

Industrial chic continues to rock my world and this exciting interior trend has inspired many new and innovative collections, not least of all the Scala modular sofa range from designer, Rolf Benz. I wanted to include this setting on Brit Decor because it has all the detail and richness of a Renaissance painting  with a plethora of pattern, colour and texture - wow what a combo! Whilst there are a growing number a stunning graphic brickwork wallpapers available, it's hard to beat the raw texture and detailing created by the exposed brickwork, which is also reminiscent of the reddening Autumn leaves, don't you think?

The Scala design has an "urban serenity" and sits effortlessly in what would have once been a far from domestic setting. There is plenty to learn here from the sophisticated styling and soft industrial vibe. The colder, harder lines of the brickwork, pillars and the industrial height ceiling have been counterbalanced and softened by a plentiful supply of colour co-ordinated cushions and a beautifully tactile knitted throw, all of which co-ordinate perfectly with the Petrol blue Scala sofa. This rich and alluring blue has also been cleverly translated into the rich aqua colouring of the eye-catching rug. 

I am also hugely inspired by the leaning artworks and stacks of books, which serve to further enrich this relaxed and informal style. Try this at home folks - gather a handful of your favourite prints and photos (framed or unframed) and lean them against a wall for an instant gallery style feature. 

Using these Rolf Benz images as a focal point for my colour palette, I have picked some knock-out pieces to compliment this. Look at the stunning muted tones in the Harlequin cushion from Clippings. This type of multi-colour pattern always works well in tandem with solid blocks of colour and looks amazing against the Rox blue cube from Habitat.

Well that's my industrial dose of Monday inspiration, what's inspiring you today? 


All Images / Rolf Benz




Friday, 18 October 2013

Brit Decor: Sitting Pretty

Image / Houzz 1/ Eivor Kvist cushion £13 Ikea 2/ Metal Spun Pendant light £10 Asda Direct
3/ Lemon Yellow pillow £53.95 Zazzle

I have always wanted a window seat, perhaps there is a certain kind of cosy romanticism about them?

Fortunately I am lucky enough to have a tall window in the lounge which has a deep enough recess at just the right height for a seat. It's now just a case of finding the right textile accessories to transform the space into a little rectangle of style & comfort - great for reading or simply daydreaming on a sunny afternoon (at least that's what I am hoping for).

I didn't have to search far before I found some stunning window seat inspiration. Look how uplifting the above setting is with my favourite base colour of brilliant white, which serves as a catalyst in relation to the intense and eclectic cushion colours. I really do love the mix of bright patterns and bold graphics. Simply adding scatter cushions is probably one of the easiest means of creating a window seat - just scatter and go.

In contrast, the more subdued tones in Abigail Ahern's setting below, make for a gorgeous relaxed space with a distinctive urban casual feel. To achieve this look, opt for a neutral base cushion (preferably a seat pad) and add in one or two contrasting colours or patterns in slightly darker earthy tones.

If you are thinking about going one step further, the Coastal Style setting below actually turns the window space into a charming day bed with added built-in storage to maximise the functionality of this clever design. Don't you just love the porthole hanging mirror from French Connection home?

The final image shows that window seats can fit almost any interior space and it's not all about having a suitable recess and built-in seating. The relaxed rustic-styling is fantastic for adding a charming focal point and the ingredients are simply a chair and a cushion. For a truly rustic flavour, opt for pastel florals or pretty stripes (cat is optional!).

I have also thrown into this mix some inspiring ideas on how to achieve a similar look through simple accessorising and I hope that you'll enjoy the selection. Do you have a window seat, how does it work for you??

Wishing you all an inspirational weekend!


Image / Abigail Ahern 1/ Seat Cushion £7.99 H&M 2/Welsh Slate paint (2.5L) £30 Mini Moderns
3/ Harlequin Snug cushion £30 John Lewis

Image / Pure Beach Style 1/ The Anchor Sea Cushion cover £40 Amara 2/ Porthole hanging mirror £65 French Connection 3/ Zulpo cushion £24.50 Habitat

Image / All things bright... 1/ Lido Paint (2.5L) £30 Minimoderns 2/ Ingolf chair £35 Ikea 3/  Garden Stripe cushion cover £16 Cath Kidston 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Brit Decor: High Street Steal!


I instantly fell for this gorgeous yellow mid-twentieth century style Dalloway chair from 
Anthropologie. However, at £698 this modern classic creeps into the luxury price band so you might just be interested in Ikea's Trendig 2013 chair, which at £70 is a mere snippet of the cost. Okay so the black colouring of the Trendig may not be as uplifting but a quick lick of paint would create your very own bespoke piece. Pick a colour!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Brit Decor: The Lost Lanes



As many of you will know, one of my favourite pastimes is scanning the wonderful web for the latest  inspirational interior accessories. It's great to share new finds about the latest new kids on the block because this adds to a growing wealth of inspiration for us all to indulge in.  

Whether you are familiar with this new brand or not, The Lost Lanes, is now well and truly inked into my little black book of interior related notables and I wanted to share the reason why with you all!

Michael and Raquel are a husband and wife team living in East London.  Together they share a love for East London’s creative scene discovering new markets as well as hidden away boutiques, searching for all that is unique and inspiring.

Aware that East London is just a snapshot of creativity that exists in the UK, they began searching blogs and social media networks to get a taste of what else was out there.  They were encouraged to see a large array of beautiful items, all handmade, most made only to order but all unique and designed with passion.

Over a couple of beers in their local pub, escaping the winter snow, The Lost Lanes was born. 

“The Lost lanes seemed like an obvious choice.  With the burdens of a financial crisis, we noticed that the shopping lanes around Europe were changing.  More independent shops and boutiques are closing and bigger chains seem to be taking over. The Lost Lanes is aiming to give these independent designers their platform, we want to bring the excitement of discovering quirky shops in the Lanes direct to our customers.
Our mission is simple and clear: to only take on and showcase designers who are just that, designers, people who built their ideas from dream to concept.  We are proud of the community we are building, we are excited about The Lost Lanes and we hope that shows in the work that we do to promote them.” (Michael Wallace Co-founder)

I also heart The Lost Lanes cool logo too with its slightly vintage feel! So please go check them out here, including their fab Christmas shopping guide.


1/ Wipil phone case £19.99 2/ Geo Green cushion £40.50 3/ Geo Navy cushion £40.50
4/ Miss Badger coffee cup set £45 5/ Aztec Dragonfly Print £35 // All from The Lost Lanes



Monday, 14 October 2013

Brit Decor: Confectionery Colour

Image / Starling Store

Boy do I have a sweet tooth and yes, maybe I did indulge in one (or possibly two) sweet treats during the course of the weekend! Taste buds aside, since my early childhood I have always been captivated by the colourful art of confectionery, whether it's sugar-coated naked sweets in neatly aligned jars or beautifully wrapped chocolates, there is something very aesthetically pleasing about these colourful little gems.

This doesn't mean that I have abandoned my minimalist principles but I do think these candy colours make stunning accents when set against a crisp white backdrop, from the delicate powder-pale pinks of turkish delight to Willy Wonka brights, these colours look almost good enough to eat don't you think?

So with my sweet tooth well and truly aching for more, I have selected some of my favourite brights to  bring some confectionery colour style to your homes...



Images (clockwise from top) 1/ House Doctor 2/ Starling Store 3/ Bit of Sunshine 
4/ Modern Medusa Head


Image/ Kokopelia 1/ Habibi Side table £1,069 Nest
2/ Eleanor Pritchard Easterly Cushion £99 Heals 3/ P H 5 Pendant Lamp £475 Skandium

Image / Casadevalentina 1/ Verdigris Paint £30 Mini Moderns 2/ Hello card £2.75 Starling Store
3/ Ki Mirror £55.20 Clippings

Friday, 11 October 2013

Brit Decor: Into the Dark

Image / Graham Atkins Hughes 1/ Cosmos candlestick £21 Quince Living 2/ Liel table lamp £45 Habitat
3/ Welsh Slate paint,  £30 2.5L Mini Moderns

Depending on where in the world you are reading this from, have you noticed the darker mornings and evenings as we drift towards Winter here in the UK where the clocks will soon roll backwards? Although it sometimes pains me to crawl out of bed on a morning whilst it looks as though it should still be the dead of night, there are some visual benefits to be had, not to mention a large dose of inspiration... 

This is a great time of year for spotting dramatic cloud formations against dark and brooding cinematic skies both at sunrise and sunset. For me the coming months are all about contrast; light  and dark, warm cosy interiors versus the cold outdoors (I am reaching for my warmer sweater as I type).

Today I have handpicked a selection of images and corresponding accessories with the following criteria: The darker the colour, the greater the impact! If you are looking to create a softer look then use gradual tones that neatly blend together, whilst contrasting light and dark colours are the way to go if you want a to add a statement 'kick' to your surroundings.

Talking of clouds, I love the clever use of midnight blue below as a backdrop for the dramatic cloud print and the cloud-like paper lampshade, which tie in nicely with the simple white sofa (note how the cushions draw in the colours used elsewhere in the room).

So maybe next time you're looking at an early morning sky, try visualising your own inspirational colour palette.

Happy weekend everyone!



Image / Roche-Bobois 1/ Pedro low black spindle side table £135 Habitat 2/ Vate pendant lamp shade £7.50 IKEA
3/ Paisley Crescent cushion £45 Mini Moderns
Image / Oliver Yaphe 1/ Kiva cushion £20 Habitat 2/ Home Suite Home candle £3.99 H&M
3/ Black Blue No.95 £38 2.5L Farrow & Ball


Monday, 7 October 2013

Brit Decor: Green Tomatoes



After enduring a long and almost entirely desk-bound week, I cut free at the weekend to stock up on some Vitamin D in the beautiful Autumnal sunshine. 

As my regular readers will know, I have been consistently surprised by the abundance of Summer colour still on show in my garden, which I have been sharing with you as much as possible. However, there were a few more visual treats to be had on Sunday...

There are fewer colourful blooms now but an entire palette of luscious greens are still flying the flag for colour, none more so than the bright shiny skins of my final crop of tomatoes before they start to blush with red now that I have  brought them indoors to ripen. I was drawn to the vivid healthy greens of these homegrown beauties set against the rich petrol blue of my faithful old Habitat Prato bowl, part of a set bought over thirteen years ago!

As I always draw inspiration from the things around me, I felt drawn towards a green interior palette today and it's all down to those cheeky little tomatoes! My absolute favourite interior colour discovery has to be the fresh and uplifting English Leaf emulsion paint (below).

Did you find inspiration at the weekend?

Photographs: above / Mike Ahern / below / Sarah Kaye



1/ Kelby Green Cable Knit Cushion £40 Habitat 2/ Zingy Palm Print Linen Cushion £75 Culture Label 3/ Dipped Cushion in Emerald $49.95 Aura Home

Albany English Leaf Emulsion, From £12.30 Designer Paint


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