Thursday, 28 November 2013

Brit Decor: You've got mail...

Days like yesterday really do make me smile. When I received a large brown envelope with 'please do not bend' printed across it and a bold red & white coloured sticker, which read 'Lucie Sheridan', I knew my day was about to become a whole lot brighter!

Lucie, a talented illustrator and screen printer is based in Bristol and has created pieces for the likes of Heals, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and Penguin, to name but a few.  I love her simple but quirky style and so naturally I was absolutely thrilled to receive three of Lucie's amazing 2014 calendars hot off the press. Lucie has also produced a super-cool sausage dog print and fun textile designs, including some fantastic lampshades - all available via her online store.

Although I would love to be ultra greedy and keep all three,  I have decided to give a calendar away to one lucky reader via the Brit Decor Facebook page. To enter, all you have to do is 'like' the Brit Decor FB page - simple! The closing date is 6th December and the lucky winner will be picked at random.

A big 'thank you' to Lucie and watch out for her in 2014 #BrightFuture.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Brit Decor: Midweek Bake

Okay I know all of this sweet baking is becoming a bit of habit but how could I resist making these Malteaser crunch biscuits!? They are so easy to make and with minimal ingredients, plus I had the added bonus of relieving some stress using a vintage spoon to crush the Mateasers ready for the biscuit topping.

Here's how to make around 12…

220g of unsalted butter
170g caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 eggs
300g self-raising flour
135g of Malteasers

Preheat the oven to around 180 oc /Gas mark 4 and line two baking trays.
Mix the butter together with the caster and muscovado sugars until creamy then add the eggs and the vanilla extract until the mixture becomes fluffy. Slowly add the flour until the mixture is nice and thick.

Spoon or freestyle 6 blobs of the mixture onto each tray and bake for just under 10 minutes. Meanwhile crush the Malteasers up, leaving a dozen or so whole & untouched and place to one side.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and press the whole Malteasers into the soft biscuits. Then sprinkle over the remaining crushed chocolates.

Yes it really was that easy!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Brit Decor: Palette/Aqua

Accent colours are my favourite means of adding detailing to a room. They can alter the entire feel of a space and all through a mere flash of colour. Aqua blues and turquoises are definitely in the family of accents that I would call upon to bring a fresh and uplifting look to a scheme - think of the beautiful waters of the Azure or a the sugar sweet freshness of a minted candy.

The setting above shows the current trend in painted vintage dining chairs and I love how the vivid turquoise paint elevates the table setting as the centrepiece of the room. Note also how subtle flashes of vivid aqua blues in the wall print and the smokey green vase sitting on top of the drawers creates an extended palette of blues - perfection!

Here's a great way of adding instant impact to any table with these Vintage La Solana Tumblers £25.33  (no1). I also love the freehand waves in the stunning Turquoise Seaside pillow cover (no.2) £34.82, and both are from Etsy. The charming Doughnut Cat illustration from Pussies on Parade for $20 also shows how delicious turquoise and pink can look together.

Below, the Harlequin contour wallpaper from John Lewis at £46 (no.1) has the look and feel of a 1920's Deco style and the combination of turquoise and grey looks so sophisticated doesn't it? I was instantly charmed by the fun and quirky design of the Riskorn woven plant pot (no.2) at just £4 from IKEA, perhaps add a beautiful silvery green succulent plant to complete the aqua look. Finally and quite literally, the Creme De La Creme of today's selection is this letterpress greetings card at £3.95 from my favourite local stationer, Meticulous Ink. 

Which is your favourite colour accent?

Images / (top) Remodelaholic (bottom) Sonyayu

Monday, 25 November 2013

Brit Decor:ate Christmas #2

Has anyone else started feeling a little uneasy by the speed at which we seem to be hurtling towards Christmas!? I had an amazing time shopping my way through Bath last Friday with one of my oldest and best friends and the distinct scent of Christmas in the air would have been enough to send even the biggest of scrooges into a festive mood - it certainly spurred me into making a start on my Christmas shopping. The overhead street decorations sparkled as buskers sang their hearts out and final preparations were underway for the famous Christmas market - even down to spraying faux snow onto to the rooftops of the little market huts!

This idyllic festive atmosphere made me even more excited about sharing the second of my Brit Decor:ate Christmas series. Whereas in the first feature we looked at simplistic styling, today we're going bold and beautiful with colour burst picks from the high street. I was particularly inspired by the neon glow look currently electrifying The Conran Shop with their array of uplifting designs like the 3 tier dip dye red & white paper decoration (8) and the intricate colouring of the multi-colour blue ball decoration (9). 

As we have come to expect, IKEA delivers the goods in their typically bright and affordable style with these perfect candy coloured Snomys baubles (2) - perfect for adding some concentrated dashes of colour to a fir tree or garland, as are the glass star decorations (3) from Idyll Home. And with the current trend for pom-poms, I could not resist the colour swirl effect of the wreath below from Paperchase (6).

Have you figured out your style for this Christmas? Watch this space for the third and final in this series next week!

Image (top) Anthologymag 1/ Red & white Decoration £30 The Conran Shop 2/ Snomys baubles
£7.50 IKEA 3/ Glass Stars £14.95 Idyll Home 4/ Bentzen Balls £10 TwentyTwentyOne
5/ Gift wrap sheets, Geometric €14 Cachette 6/ Felt pom pom wreath £25 Paperchase
7/ Hand drawn tapes £2.50 Paperchase 8/ Multicolour blue ball decoration £45 The Conran Shop

Friday, 22 November 2013

Brit Decor: Dinner Date

Images (from top) / Etsy / Two Inspired Design / Sunday Suppers / Coquetissima / Wild Together

Long gone are the dreamy Summer days of eating Al Fresco, for us Brits at least, but I quite like the shift from outdoors to in. These cosy winter evenings make the perfect setting for a warm and hearty supper whether eating alone, with a special other half or a group of friends. So with the weekend nearly upon us I wanted to take a look through some table top styling - just in case you are thinking of entertaining…

The bold graphic prints which are currently featuring heavily in cushion textile ranges have been translated into table linen with the first image (above). If you opt for bold 'statement' table linen, try to incorporate crisp white dinner plates  and let your colourful linens do all of the talking. 

I am so into the look of the classic white Eames dining chairs set against a modern rustic table in the second image and such a great idea placing brightly coloured candles underneath a cloche for decoration!

Talking of rustic (one of my favourite dining styles), look at the amazing Autumnal setting in the third image down photographed by Karen Mordechai for the amazing Brooklyn based Sunday Suppers - a communal cooking centre which celebrates the traditions of food and community #SimpleThings. I really love the concept of suspending Autumn leaves above the table and the notion that you are dressing a theatre set - clearly the dinner table can be a stage too.

Equally dazzling but for completely different reasons is the uplifting colour-burst setting (fourth image down) which showcases the huge trend for dip-dye colouring with the deliciously pink tablecloth. The painted vintage chairs are also a feast for the eyes and I love the contrast between their painted tops and the natural wooden legs.

Finally, the simplistic 'free-style' look in the final image is great for those casual gatherings where the table becomes a boiling pot of  animated conversations amongst friends. Earthenware and natural materials work best here but keep it 'no-fuss' with plenty of dipping bowls and a help yourself format.

Wherever you are eating this weekend, I hope it's in style!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Bit Decor: Bookworm Chic

Images (from top) 1/ Indulgy 2/ Remains Simple 3/ Decoratrix 4/ Rum 21 5/ Red
6/ Grey & Scout

Lately I have been thinking about my own little creative space at home, once a bedroom, then a study and now…well my very own little hub of creativity. Small but perfectly formed (as I like to term it) I need to successfully pull all of the practical elements of the space together but in a way that will not compromise style.

One of the challenges I face is a growing collection of books, not all mine, which need to be stored, displayed and in some cases recycled. Book covers can be artworks in themselves from interesting typographic styles to captivating photos and illustrations so my first step is to select a handful of covers which I will be happy to give prominence to.

Today I have selected a great set of examples on just how creative you can be when choosing how to display books in the home. I do love how in the top image, books are intermingled with mini prints and objects rather like a curated gallery-style display. However, if it's order you are looking for, how stunning is the neatly arranged colour spectrum of books in the second image?

I am really inspired by the striking decorative bookcase in the third image down, which amazingly is a Billy bookcase from Ikea, lined with a simple wallpaper. This would be so easy to replicate at home with any number of wallpaper designs or for a true colour burst effect, try colour blocking  each compartment with a vibrant paint.

The final three images  really illustrate how books can also become an integral part of a room whether neatly placed in their own alcove or stacked into statuesque towers and topped with interesting objects (loving the fuchsia pink Aztec print rug by the way!).

Whatever your style, I hope you've found some inspiration today: Happy reading!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Brit Decor: Handmade

Does anyone else become overwhelmed with the urge to craft and create in the run-up to Christmas? Well no prizes for guessing that I have been busy rolling up my sleeves for a little bit of festive creativity!

I am usually drawn to striking graphic print cards and very nearly opted for the V&A Printmakers range but instead I decided it was time to explore the homemade option and release some creative energy…

My brief was to go for a handprinted look with something of a vintage 1930's feel (it's been a very 'Gatsby year' you know) so this Indigo blu rubber stamp really ticked the boxes. I wanted to keep the overall design simple and I loved the natural feel of these recycled postcards and envelops. In keeping with my vintage theme, I opted for a very traditionally festive red ink which offered the perfect contrast against the textured brown card.

There was something extremely satisfying and therapeutic about gently dabbing the stamp against the ink pad and then hand-printing it onto the card. The end result was exactly the look I was hoping for and I can't wait to start posting them out to friends!

Have you chosen your Christmas cards yet?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Brit Decor: P is for...

Image / I am the Lab 1/ Retro Baby Blanket £65 St Aidan's 2/ Pink Velvet Cushion £35 ArtStar
3/ Purple Glass Bottle £35 The Mint List

Image / Being Dreamy 1/ 12mm Grosgrain Ribbon £5.50 Pentreath & Hall 2/ Deer Cushion £48 ArtStar
3/ Drommar Cake Cases £1 Ikea

…Purple, plum, lavender, violet, pomegranate, mulberry…and the list goes on. Just some of these terms alone are enough to inspire me with their connotations of richness and delicious flavourings! My mind  easily wanders back to late Summer and the deep luscious purple juices oozing from freshly picked blackberries, a surprisingly intense colour considering the almost black exterior - just one of my favourite colours.

I am a huge fan of smokey shades of purple - those with a grey tint which can give a slightly urban feel. Equally, brighter and bolder versions can be so exhilarating, especially when contrasted against whites and creams. Take for example the rustic kitchen above, the wood stained doors look so incredibly rich with the blackberry wood stain and these are highlighted brilliantly against the off-white units. Also look at the vibrancy of the Turkish rug as the bright and playful colours almost appear to dance together - I love contemporary takes on classic designs!

Of course, 'P' can also be for pink in this palette as it serves as the perfect partner for purples - a great medium ground colour for extending the tonal depth of a purple scheme. Look how in the top image the dusty pinks work so beautifully with the rich plum colouring of the sofa and check out the geo-vases - I want them all!

I am also seriously tempted to snap up some reels of the divinely coloured ribbon from Pentreath & Hall - perfect for adding a luxurious feel to Christmas wrapping this year and how about the cheerful cupcake cases from IKEA!? Also from Pentreath & Hall is one of my favourite picks from this palette, the seductively smokey pink 'Parma' etched glasses and look at these alongside the striking design of the 'Evolution' cushion from the amazing Mint List.

Image / Design Sponge 1/ Saunders Pink Drawers £250 Xylo Furniture 2/ Evolution Cushion
£39 The Mint List 3/ Parma Etched Glass £6.50 Pentreath & Hall

Friday, 15 November 2013

Brit Decor: Bakes

Something for the weekend…I have wanted to make some red velvet cupcakes for too long to remember, so in a eureka moment I decided to roll up my sleeves and have a good old fashioned baking session this week. The deep rich red colouring of the fluffy sponge set against the pale cream frosting makes these little gems look so tempting and so it seemed only right to add some glamorous gold cupcake cases to complete the luxurious look! As with many of the Brit Decor bakes, I tend to opt for simple and speedy recipes and this one is no exception...

You will need:

60g unsalted butter
150g plain flower
150g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120ml milk
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
11/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar 
Cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

12 hole cupcake tray.

Preheat oven to 170oC or 325oC gas.

Place the milk and butter into a mixer and beat until light and fluffy before adding the egg. In a separate bowl mix the cocoa powder with the red food colouring and add the vanilla extract to create a thick red paste. Add this to the butter mixture and stir in. Gradually add the milk and flour before adding the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar - beat these ingredients together well.

Put the mixture into cases and place in the oven for 20-25 mins (mine were perfectly cooked in 20).

Cream cheese frosting:
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter 125g cream cheese

Gently sift the icing sugar and add the butter before mixing together and adding the  cream cheese -  beat until light and fluffy. I chose to sprinkle some freeze-dried raspberry pieces over the frosting and couldn't resist adding some cute little flags.

Enjoy your weekend friends!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Brit Decor: The Line-Up

It's official, geometric lines are still driving me design-crazy and thank goodness that the 'geo look'  continues to trend with a whole wealth of exciting new interior accessories! My latest inspiration is drawn from a beautiful series of works created this Summer by the Artist, Helen Booth

The works are entitled 'Cluster Series' and were created using a clever combination of oil, graphite, wax, Gesso on paper attached to wooden ply panels. The dark and brooding colours remind me of a typical British sky and the contemporary urban edge to these works of art really would look amazing when mixed with an industrial chic interior scheme.

Below I have selected some perfect partnering items which really rock this straight-edged look. I love the effect of the vivacious orange against the graphite greys of the Tamasyn Gambell cushion from Nest - the cream piping really finishes of the design doesn't it!? And I love the subtle glossy palette of the Hexagonal sorting tray from John Lewis - ideal for serving those Christmas nibbles to guests. If I was back at School right now, I would definitely be wanting the Hay wooden ruler from the 'too cool for School' Darkroom

Which is your favourite?

Background Image / Helen Booth 1/ Hay Wooden Ruler £10 Darkroom 2/ Gan Hand Tufted
Mosaiek Rug £1,058 Nest 3/ Geodesic Pillow Cover £ $20 Society6 4/ Hexagonal Sorting
Tray £40 John Lewis 5/ Tamasyn Gambell Cushion £60 Nest

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Brit Decor: Patriotic Palette

'Red, White and Blue' - such a classic colour phrase which holds so many patriotic connotations, particularly for us Brits and our French, American, Australian and many other friends who have these colours emblazoned upon their national flags. 

It is these national emblems, particularly the UK and USA's, which have helped to imprint this historic colour combo onto many of our minds and boy do these colours work well together! The blue and red hues provide a striking contrast whilst the white freshens and catapults its two partner colours right at you - no wonder this palette is also one of the most commercially successful.

Just in case you are still not convinced, here I have selected a striking selection of goodies with a slightly wintery feel about them. My favourite pick has to be the charming Alone in the Forest, illustrated tote bag (1) from the hub of designer talent that is Society6 (see what I mean about wintery!). Then there's the hilarious Typographic Tea Towel of Tongue Twisters (4) from the much talked about Stuart Gardiner Design, with gem phrases like 'We shall surely see the sun shine soon', which is much easier to write than it is to say out loud!

I love the dreamy blue look of the tie-dye effect silk cushion from Culture Label (3), a design which is currently trending very highly. Whilst there are no USA-style stars here, the Apex, 1961 rug (5) from twentytwentyone certainly has stripes in this knockout design.

Finally, I couldn't resist a little touch of Christmas with the Nordic style wooden Reindeer tree decoration from Habitat (2). How about mixing this with some blue decorations for your very own patriotic tree?

I salute you my friends!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Brit Decor:ate

1/ Natale Gold LED Fairy Lights £20 Habitat 2/ Bentzen Crystals £10 twentytwentyone
3/ Arran Cream Wool Bauble £3 Habitat 4/ Grey 9 Point Star £9.95 Idyll Home
5/ Cream Paper Christmas Decoration £10 Starling Store 6/ Driftwood Christmas Tree £48
Idyll Home 7/ Noah Cream Felt Reindeer £3.50 Habitat 8/ Set of 3 White Paper Decorations
£8 Rockett St George  

One of the great things about blogging is the editorial freedom that it brings me and so when friends and family make a special request for a feature, I like to make it a reality for them, simply because I can. So when my amazingly talented Sister recently asked if I could offer her some inspiration on re-modelling her Christmas decorations this year, I leapt at the task with elfish skips of joy! 

As luck would have it, shopping for Christmas decs is one of my very favourite things to do at this time of year and having built up quite a collection over a number of years, including a beautiful glass bauble from a recent trip to Venice, I love to treat myself to one or two new items each year - this way I feel like I am the curator of a growing collection. I also love the intricate process of un-wrapping each of the more delicate decorations after their year long hibernation and re-familiarising myself with each of the designs, especially some of the more sentimental objects like those passed to me by my Gran - it's the #SimpleThings.

With the growing number of temptingly good decorations to choose from each year, this festive period is the best yet! Therefore, I have broken down my selections into three different styles with the first being 'Simplicity'. True to my minimal roots, I love the simple elegance and sophistication of paper decorations which I am pleased to see are trending massively this year and these work really well in neutral tones mixed with greys for subtle contrast. With this theme it's more about texture and design than it is about colour but don't forget to add in some simple chain lights to add a magical sparkle to your scheme.

Which style will you be opting for this Christmas...?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Brit Decor: Oceanic Escape

Image / Area of Interest 1/ Salt water Cure Mug $15 Society6 2/ Fractal Geometric
Emporer Penguin Tote $22 Society6 3/ Savine Aqua Tye Dye Cushion £45
Designers Guild 4/ White Whale (set of 3) Stationery Cards $12 Society6

Today we are going on an oceanic adventure...just imagine a weathered cargo ship slicing through majestic white waves on a long mystery journey. I spent a rather fun chunk of time tweeting with friends last night about holidays and fun new journeys #interiorboysseekingsun, which led me to today's inspiration.

I love the array of colours and textures produced through the process of rusting, which is naturally accelerated on ships due to the constant exposure to salty air and water. So here are just a handful of beautiful goodies that I collected on my own journey of inspiration online.

I hope you are planning an exciting new adventure...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Brit Decor: Winter Med

Images (from top) 1/ Keltainen Talo Rannalla  2/ Vart Nya Hem 3Julie Hall 4/ House to Home
5Vart Nya Hem 6/ Heather Bullard 7/ Simple Splendid Things 8/ Eenig Wonen

If I wake up to more than two consecutive mornings of heavy rain, I begin to yearn for some sunshine as my vitamin D levels begin to ebb away. Therefore, I decided to look South for today's post in search of some inspiration from the beautiful blues and bright whites of the Mediterranean - yes Brit Decor is going 'Med-style'.

The abundance of sunlight in the Med intensifies the effect of the sugar cubed white washed buildings, something which I find so visually uplifting, especially when combined with the classic deep oceanic blues, the warm shades of terracotta roof tiles and the intricacy of the decorative ceramic tiles.

There is something so simple and yet so elegant about Mediterranean design, just look at the glorious vivid blue stairwell above, or the striking grey and white floor tiles, which provide all the detail you need for an elegant Mediterranean interior.

To create your own Med style, brilliant white is a 'must' base colour, mix in some fresh white and natural linens with a seagrass or coir rug, followed by some vivid deep blue accessories. Or for a contemporary twist, replace the blues with racy pinks like the Al Fresco scene above.

So here's my little ray of sunshine today, I hope that you find your sunshine too...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Brit Decor: Stocking Fillers

1/ Les Indiennes Sonata al Chiaro di Luna soap £6 Heals 2/ Beautannia Brighton soap £15
Heals 3/ Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini soap £15 Selfridges & Co 4/ Gianna Rose Atelier
Pug soap £20 Heals 5/ Les Indiennes Love Kills soap £6 Heals 6/ Aquamarine Camphor
Soap Stone Rock £32 Giftlab

As the hunt for Christmas gifts in now officially underway in my household, I have begun sourcing indulgent little stocking fillers and it was during one of these searches that I stumbled upon a forgotten  friend...

Soap bars were once a staple feature of every home in the early to mid-twentieth Century until they fell out of fashion and were superseded by liquid pump soaps. However, in 2013 there has been something of a renaissance in the world of soap manufacturing and the amazing array of scents, colours, textures and even shapes now available is really quite exciting!

My graphic designer's eye has also been drawn to some stunning packaging like the uber-cool Les Indiennes Love Kills soap with its striking skull design. Also, how cute is the Gianna Rose Atelier Pug soap - too nice to use!? And despite currently being in the midst of Autumnal fever, I found myself coming over very 'British seaside' when I spotted the vibrant colours of the Beautannia Brighton soap packaging.

Perhaps looking at this selection of stylish soaps today is rather apt considering the torrential rain that is currently beating against my window but I hope you are inspired by some of these treats. (Santa, if you happen to be reading today's Brit Decor, I'll have the 'Love Kills' soap please).

Monday, 4 November 2013

Brit Decor: Cocoa Chic

Image / Dusty Deco 1/ Accordian Ivory Pleated Throw £36 Habitat 2/ Walnut Low Side Table
 £410 Galvin Brothers 3/ Copper Glass Votive £2.95 Idyll Home 4/ Bitter Chocolate Paint
£30 Mini Moderns 5/ Modus Angle Armchair £1387 Nest

Simple styling can say so much in a room and this minimal 'cookies and cream' interior brought to us via Dusty Deco, speaks volumes to me. My favourite chalky base colours create a serene setting and in turn, these accentuate the rich cocoa-coloured accessories.

I love how this design incorporates a range of contrasting textures, from the silky smoothness of the suede modular sofa, the plush faux fur armchair, to the weathered rustic panelling. The result is a sophisticated collection of cocoa colours which take centre stage and look almost good enough to eat!

I have extended upon this slightly mid-twentienth Century scheme with my favourite shopping picks above. The slightly cube-esque Modus Angle chair from Nest shows how shades of red are the perfect partners for rich dark browns. Throw in a copper accessory or two like this glass votive from Idyll Home and you have a luxurious palette on your hands!

For a timeless furniture piece, look no further than the latest sensation currently taking the interiors world by storm - the very talented Galvin Brothers. Their Walnut low side table will make a statement in any room but looks particularly 'at home' in this cocoa-chic setting.

Here's to another week of feeling #inspired...

Image / Dust Jacket Attic
Image / Style Files

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