Colourful Beautiful Things to brighten your living space and make you smile Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:48:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Terrazzo – contemporary interiors trend Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:19:02 +0000 handmade porcelain terrazzo bowls by Sevak ZargarianTerrazzo is in the interiors spotlight again – and not just underfoot.  Traditionally associated with utilitarian floors, terrazzo in 2018 has been reinvented as an ultra-chic, versatile material to be used in all kinds of ways around the home.

So, is it a case of ‘move over marble’?  This classic material has been everywhere on the interiors scene lately, but is its rather more exuberant first cousin, terrazzo, about to steal the stage?

Getting its name from the latin word ‘terra’, meaning ground, terrazzo is said to have originated in 16th-century Italy as a way to reuse stone offcuts. Builders of the time created floors and outdoor terraces using marble chippings set into clay, thus creating the distinctive flecked appearance of terrazzo.

contemporary terrazzo from


Of course, terrazzo changed as new materials came along.  Now made with fragments of anything from marble to quartz, granite, glass and even metal, terrazzo comes in a huge variety of colour options.

black Marmoreal terrazzo bathroom furniture by Max Lamb and Dzek

Most recently, epoxy resin is being used as an alternative to the traditional concrete matrix.  This makes the finished product more expensive, but also smoother and more resistant to cracking and scratching.

Just take a look at this incredible bathroom furniture, above and below, using black Marmoreal, a collaboration between British designer Max Lamb and Dzek, a company that specialises in creating original architectural materials.  It uses oversized chips of Italian marble in stunning colours – and just how crazy gorgeous is it?

 terrazzo bathroom furniture by Max Lamb and Dzek

Marmoreal terrazzo kitchen floorBrussels townhouse, Victoria-Maria Interior Design, photo by Tim Van de Velde

Also from the Dzek website, the kitchens pictured above and below incorporate Marmoreal, this time in white.  The teal kitchen below with brass accents is making my heart beat a little faster, that’s for sure.

contemporary terrazzo kitchen worktop

London kitchen, project and photo credit – Play Associates

Luxe projects like these aside, on a more affordable level terrazzo in its latest contemporary incarnation is being used to create furniture and all manner of home accessories.  Which is great news for those of us who love the artisan look of this traditional material but aren’t likely to be installing a terrazzo floor – or bathroom – anytime soon.

Terrazzo can be poured into moulds, which means that just about any shape is possible.  And just as with classic marble patterns over the last few years, terrazzo designs are now also being applied to textiles and paper too.

So here are some of my favourite terrazzo furniture and home decor ideas for contemporary living spaces.

Cylindrical Terrazzo Pots by Daniela Rubino

Cylindrical Terrazzo Pot, Daniela Rubino Designs

Primo Terrazzo Tables by Another Brand

Primo Terrazzo Tables, Another Brand

Handmade Porcelain Terrazzo Bowl, Sevak Zargarian

Handmade Porcelain Terrazzo Bowl, Sevak Zargarian


Terrazzo MugWhite and blue Terrazzo mug, John Lewis, John Lewis

Terrazzo Bathroom Accessories, The Forest and Co

Marble and Soapstone Bathroom Accessories, The Forest and Co

Terrazzo Effect Fabric Drum Lampshade, Quirk

Terrazzo Effect Fabric Drum Lampshade, Quirk

Abstracted Terrazzo Rug, Anthropologie

Abstracted Terrazzo Rug, Anthropologie

Terra TableBlue Terrazzo Terra Table, Normann Copenhagen, Normann Copenhagen

Terrazzo Pendant Lamp, Bloomingville at Amara

Terrazzo Pendant Lamp, Bloomingville at Amara

Terrazzo Wallpaper, Wayne Hemingway at Graham and BrownTerrazzo Wallpaper from Graham and Brown

Terrazzo Wallpaper, Wayne Hemingway at Graham and Brown


Framed Terrazzo Coffee Tables, AnthropologieAnthropologie Framed Terrazzo Coffee Tables with pink sofa and grey concrete floorFramed Terrazzo Coffee Tables, Anthropologie

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Agate Cheese Boards (and other tableware) from Anthropologie Fri, 05 Jan 2018 12:36:50 +0000 Holy moly, who knew the humble cheese board could be so colourful and beautiful?  Well, these Agate Cheese Boards are from Anthropologie, so we probably could have guessed they’d come up with something pretty special. Or just downright pretty …

I can’t tell you how much today’s finds have lifted my spirits. These pictures feel like a particularly lovely form of colour and light therapy.

Which is particularly timely as the Christmas decorations are coming down this weekend.  Am I the only one who hates doing this?  The house seems so bare and drab afterwards, it always takes quite a while to readjust.

So these light-reflecting, jewel-coloured agate cheese boards with their opulent gold trim are just the thing to cheer me up.

Looking at these gorgeous colours and patterns, I realised I knew absolutely nothing about this semi-precious stone.  So I just did a bit of research – and ta da! a few fun agate facts:

Agate is a banded form of finely-grained, microcrystalline quartz”

“it consists primarily of cryptocrystalline silica, chiefly chalcedony, alternating with microgranular quartz”

” its name comes from the Achetes River in Sicily, where Agates were first found”

Agates can have many distinctive styles and patterns, but each Agate is unique in its own habit, with no two Agates being the same”

“most of the world’s agates developed in ancient volcanic lava”.

So there we have it, Agate 101.  And it turns out that the Achetes, or Drillo, River is close to one of the places we visited in Sicily last year, so that’s another connection to ponder and enjoy.

And, joy of joys, in addition to the agate cheeseboards there’s actually a whole set of agate tableware items, as you can see below.

Agate Serving Set

Agate cheese Knives

Agate Bottle Opener

Silvered Geode Coasters

I definitely will be buying a couple of coasters.  And the cheese knives are just so pretty … to be honest, I can’t see us using them for cheese in our house (a bit too dainty).  The bottle opener, on the other hand …

Also I think the cheeseboards could be used anywhere in the house, and would look amazing as kind of mini-trays to display small items.

They’d look gorgeous on a dressing table, bedside table or in the bathroom. Or even to brighten up a home desk while you work.  What do you think?

Images: Anthropologie

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Top 10 Blue Sofas – most wanted for 2018 Wed, 20 Dec 2017 16:16:55 +0000 Graham and Green blue sofas in contemporary room setting Recently I read that the term “blue sofa” had rocketed up the search results on Houzz, the interiors website.

I wasn’t surprised, as I’d also got personal experience of the popularity of blue sofas.  My next door neighbour just bought a teal blue sofa for her newly decorated lounge.  And when visiting a friend I found her deliberating over blue fabric swatches for her new sofa.  (Dark blue velvet was the favourite by a mile).

(FYI, the search term ” velvet sofa” has also increased hugely in popularity but I’m already all over that – I wrote about my Top 10 Contemporary Velvet Sofas a few months back).

All shades of blue, particularly the deeper hues, have been giving grey a run for its money recently.  This goes for both fashion and interiors and where the catwalk leads, interiors looks soon follow. Walls, kitchens, textiles and home accessories … it’s not just a blue sofa that people are looking to make part of their home.

It’s easy to see why.  Deep midnight blue is a beautiful, moody shade that’s a great alternative to dark grey, and looks particularly opulent in a velvet fabric.  Pale powder blue and sky blue are fresh, chic and optimistic.  And let’s talk about teal.  Infinitely versatile, it can either go heavy on the green or hug the blue side of the spectrum, offering a dizzying choice of turquoise shades for aqua lovers.

So to finish off 2017 I thought we would surf into the new year on this wave of popularity with a roundup of my Top 10 Contemporary Blue Sofas.   And I’ve already seen some great offers around for the post-Christmas sales – the ideal time to bag a canny bargain for an investment piece like a sofa.

But let’s get to it.  Here are my favourite contemporary blue sofas for 2018 (and beyond).  Just take a look, there are some absolute beauties – no wonder they’re so popular.

Top 10: Blue Sofas for the Contemporary Home

Contemporary blue sofa in midnight blue velvet

Juni Large Sofa from Barker and Stonehouse.  Shown in Midnight Velvet, and also available in Teal Blue.


Crumble 3 Seater Sofa in Turquoise Velvet
Crumble 3 Seater Sofa by Loaf at John Lewis, Clever Velvet Belize


A current favourite sofa is the very handsome Design Project by John Lewis No.002 Large 3 Seater Sofa, shown here in Mole Navy Fabric.

There are lots more blues to choose from as it’s part of their ‘Design Your Own’ sofa range, and there are bigger and smaller versions too.


Oh my gosh, how serene and elegantly plump is the Clarendon Sofa in Duck Egg Cotton/Linen mix (their best-selling fabric)?  It’s part of the made-to-order Sofa Tailor range from Brissi.  Not the cheapest, but it’s made by hand in the UK and comes with a 10 year frame guarantee and also free delivery.  This palest of blue sofas is a real heirloom piece and completely gorgeous.

Pale blue sofa by Sofas and Stuff in Knebworth Blue fabricLarge Bermondsey Sofa in Knebworth Blue.  Also available in a smaller size, and in Knebworth Navy as well as Midnight and Ocean Deep velvets.  Part of the ready for delivery Sofa Pronto range from Sofas and Stuff.


Jonah Blue Velvet Sofas from MADE

The Jonah 3 Seater Sofa in Blue Velvet – clean, contemporary lines with a retro vibe.

Habitat Hendricks Teal Blue Sofa
The Hendricks Teal Blue Fabric Sofa from Habitat. More blues include navy wool fabric and midnight velvet options.


New York Blue Sofa in velvet
The New York Sofa from Graham and Green oozes style and glamour.  Made to order, there are other shades of blue to choose from in velvet, linen and wool fabrics.


MADE Wes Scandi style blue sofaWe love the high, padded arms and Scandi-inspired clean silhouette of the Wes 3 Seater Sofa in Petrol Teal wool blend fabric from MADE.


Swoon Editions sofa in sky blue
And last but by no means least, the Catalan Sofa in Sky Blue from Swoon Editions looks clean, fresh and modern.  But how to choose from all the other shades of blue available?  It looks equally stunning in Agate Blue, Ocean Blue, Midnight, Indigo, Ink and Kingfisher – just take a look.


Images:  Stores and brands as credited above

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Skultuna brass candle holders – the London Collection Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:47:23 +0000 It’s a bit of a cliche, but at this darkest time of the year it feels like I just can’t have enough lights on and candles lit around the house.

Luckily, the festive season is the traditional time to festoon the house in fairy lights and find space for as many extra candles as possible.  This year there are some particularly gorgeous candle and tea light holders around and in particular I’m smitten by these (mainly) brass beauties by the Swedish company Skultuna.

Skultuna was founded as a brass foundry in 1607 by King Karl IX of Sweden, which apparently makes Skultuna one of the oldest companies in the world.

More than four hundred years on, it is still a purveyor to the Royal Court of Sweden and produces a range of brass and metal home accessories for everyday use and special occasions.

Top of my Christmas list would be any one of the London Collection of candle holders, which have beautiful cut outs that throw intricate, dancing shadows when illuminated.

On a much more practical note, they’re also constructed so that the body lifts off the separate base which makes inserting – and lighting – the candle or tealight a simple task.

Designed for Skultuna in 2014 by the internationally renowned jewellery designer Lara Bohinc, inspiration for The London Collection came from her travels.  The lines of the Lunar pattern is inspired by the highways in Japan, The Celestial is inspired by motions of the planets around the sun and the Feather by the wing strokes of birds.


Lunar Candle Holder in Brass

Feather candle Holder in Black

Celestial Candle Holder in Copper

Skultuna also have a range of the smaller and simpler (but no less stylish) Kin Tealight Holders.  They come in a range of metallic finishes and colours such as classic black and white but also a lovely Dusty Pink and a vibrant Azure Blue.


Set of 5 Kin Tealight Holders in Brass

Kin Tealight Holders, Dusty Pink

I think they’re all absolutely gorgeous, and my love affair with brass goes on, particularly when it lights up the home as beautifully as this on these short, dark days as we head towards the winter solstice.

You can shop all of the above and see more of Skultuna’s stylish and timeless home accessories online at Amara.


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A cosy, contemporary Christmas – Highland style Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:29:01 +0000 (This is a sponsored post in collaboration with John Lewis and contains affiliate links to products which, if purchased, may result in a commission payment.  All views my own).

John Lewis christmas decorations Highland Myths collection

Hurrah (again) for the folk at John Lewis and their seasonal Edits. Talk about making life simpler and easier for the time-squeezed shopper.

This time, of course, it’s the Christmas Home Edit, which is like having a personal shopper think of all the things you might need to get your home ready for the big day.  The convenience of having carefully selected items from across all departments together in one place – from cards to crackers, garlands to gift tags, guest towels to extra tableware –  means you can get guest-ready and feeling festive with minimum effort.

This season’s Edit is inspired by the Highland Myths collection, and is all about creating a cosy and comfortable feel around your home this Christmas using natural materials and warm, woolly textures.  The relaxed and welcoming kind of place you’d want to come back to after a bracing walk in the snowy Highlands!

Which reminds me of a particularly frosty visit we once had to Scotland over the Christmas period.  Every single branch of every single tree was entirely covered in sparkling ice crystals and, miraculously, the sky was clear blue and the sun shone every day.  It was an actual, real-life winter wonderland and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  And it was so lovely to come back to a snug, warm and welcoming house after a day’s walking.

John Lewis home textiles for a cosy ChristmasI also really like the mix of modern and traditional, along with the nature-inspired theme that they’ve used for this Highland Myths-inspired Edit, which John Lewis describes as “rustic and rugged, warm and woolly … Highland Myths is a contemporary take on a traditional Christmas”.

Influenced by the landscape, flora and fauna of the Scottish Highlands the colour palette and materials aim to create a natural, organic look.  So think wood, fur, feathers and wool along with decorations like pinecones, acorns and mushrooms from the forests, and creatures such as deer, snowy owls, woolly sheep (plus sheepdog) and cheery robins.

Of course, when it’s cold and frosty outside, it needs to be seriously cosy indoors and the Edit has all you need to make your home warm, comfortable and inviting for the festive season. Here are my favourite things to create a cosy, contemporary Highland-inspired Christmas.

Melbury Armchair with sheepskin rug from John Lewis

Where better to sit to open your presents than the beautifully crafted Melbury Armchair from the Croft Collection?  Ideally you’d be sitting next to a roaring fire, but if not you can still up the cosiness factor by adding a Sheepskin Rug.

Sheepskins are incredibly versatile for the wintertime.  As used here, they’re brilliant to make any kind of seating extra comfortable and cosy, but they’re equally useful on the floor.  If your bedrooms need a bit of extra hygge, then a sheepskin next to the bed is just the thing to prevent bare toes meeting chilly floors.

John Lewis bed linen in red brushed cotton checkTalking of bedrooms, I just love this cheery red Brushed Cotton Bed Set.  It looks like the cosiest, toastiest pair of flannel pyjamas ever, but in bedlinen form.  The ombre check brings the traditional plaid motif right up to date, and you can continue the contemporary look with the addition of the Croft Collection Cotton Chain Knit Throw, shown below in Charcoal.

John Lewis Croft Collection Cotton Chain Knit Throw in charcoal grey

Faux fur hot water bottle covers from John LewisFor making festive guests feel spoiled, I can’t think of anything more luxurious than these Faux Fur Hot Water Bottle Covers.  (They’d make perfect gifts too).

John Lewis Pimlico metal lantern candle holdersFor me the Christmas home is never complete without lots of candles, and this set of three minimal metal Pimlico Lanterns can be left unadorned or dressed up with more maximal seasonal additions (fire-proof of course!).

The colour palette of the Highland Myths collection is based on “rich russet hues”, which might sound very traditional but there are some distinctly contemporary interpretations.

John Lewis Christmas tree decorations in shades of copperIn particular I’m thinking of these glass baubles in shades of copper – very much an on-trend modern metallic.  These which will look really beautiful against the dark greys and blues that are such popular wall colours right now.

Or how about the Copper Pinecone Garland, shown below?

John Lewis Copper Pinecone Christmas Garland

John Lewis Christmas tree decorations from the Highland Myths collection

For a well-dressed tree with a contemporary twist, you could mix traditional baubles with these lovely modern Highland-inspired tree decorations.  I particularly like the Feathered Wreath, the Wooden Snowflake Tree and the furry Highland Doggie.

John Lewis Christmas decoration - Highland Hen glass baubleJohn Lewis Christmas tree decoration - Fluffy OwlLet’s not forget our feathered friends; here’s the playful Highland Hen Bauble and the Fluffy Owl Tree Decoration.

John Lewis christmas decorations - Pinecone and Star Tealight HolderThe natural wood textures of the rustic Pine Cone and Star Candle Holder would make the perfect addition to the Christmas dinner table, nestled amongst seasonal greenery.

John Lewis Christmas Crackers - Kraft White Holly CrackersWhilst we’re thinking about the festive table, I love the simplicity and natural textures of these White and Silver Kraft Holly Christmas Crackers.

Spencerfield Spirits Sheep Dip Gift Set with tweed covered flask and whisky miniatureFinally, here’s a little Highland-inspired gift idea.  Spencerfield Spirits produce award-winning small-batch whisky and this miniature bottle of their flagship ‘Sheep Dip’ whisky accompanies a cute, tweed covered hip flask.  Now that’s a good way to keep you warm on winter walks.

Well, those are the highlights of my own cosy, Highland-inspired contemporary Christmas.  I hope you found a few ideas for your own festive preparations and you can see the rest of the Edit here.

Oh, and if you’re planning any home renovations as you get ready for Christmas don’t forget the John Lewis Home Design Service.  It offers a range of services to make your life easier, from style advice in-store to help you refresh a single room, through to an interior design consultation in your own home to create a complete interior scheme.  What easier way to get Christmas all wrapped-up?

Images: John Lewis

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Haberdashery heaven – Sajou at Penelope Textiles Sun, 12 Nov 2017 12:51:47 +0000 Sajou lace thread - boxed set of Dentelle au ChinoisOh, what a selection of colourful, beautiful things I have for you today.  But first, a question. What is your favourite kind of shop?

I find it hard to choose between a great art supplies shop or an old-school haberdashery emporium.  Both have loads of colour and texture along with intricate displays of beautiful products.  Today, as you might tell from the title, haberdashery has won my heart.

Sajou Haberdashery Needle Sets for sewing ribbonI came across the French haberdashery Sajou via Etsy – which I recently discovered is a fantastic source of creative supplies as well as finished handmade products.  I was searching for coloured linen threads to make my Japanese stab-bound books and a new range of contemporary notebooks.

My first find was an Etsy seller who sold linen threads in small quantities – buying them as a whole spool is incredibly expensive.  After trying various linen threads I settled on Fil au Chinois Lin Câblé.  It’s used widely in the sewing of leather goods as well as for bookbinding and is apparently the choice of some of the top luxury brands, such as Hermes, to stitch their handbags.

Japanese Stab Binding on Sketchbook/Journal by Aqua Handmade BooksHere it is used on one of my handmade sketchbooks.

As is the way of things, one discovery on Etsy leads to another.  Before long I’d stumbled upon the extraordinary Maison Sajou, whose products are sold by the UK Etsy shop Penelope Textiles which sells antique and vintage textiles as well as Sajou haberdashery items.

Embroidery scissors by Sajou in decorative presentation boxI learned that Sajou is a long-established French haberdashery brand who, along with all kinds of specialist Fil au Chinois threads also sells about a zillion other beautifully packaged haberdashery items as well.

Here’s some background, taken from Penelope Textiles:

Sajou was created in 1828 by Jaques- Simon Sajou, selling haberdashery for embroidery, tapestry, lace, crochet and weaving. His pattern albums are sought after to this day by collectors worldwide.

In 2005 the Sajou brand was purchased and revived by avid collector; Frederique Crestin- Billet. Many of the old designs have been faithfully reproduced and there are some new designs that have been added in the Sajou style.

Sajou produce haberdashery items made in France to the highest standards (in some cases even produced on the original old machinery). Perfect for gifts and collectors, and for those of you unable to resist a quality that is seldom found in today’s mass produced haberdashery products.

Sajou Lace Thread - Cream Fil Dentelle I discovered another connection between Maison Sajou and Fil au Chinois.  Both are French companies dating back to the 1800’s and, like Sajou, Fil au Chinois has also been revived in recent years through the work of dedicated people who didn’t want to see the history, tradition and craftsmanship of these heritage brands die out.

For example, Fil au Chinois Lin Câblé literally means “cabled” linen, as it’s produced by three individually twisted threads then being twisted together a second time to form its distinctive cable, or corded, structure.  The thread is also waxed, by passing it through a starch bath containing beeswax.  To finish, it’s then brushed with horse hair and stretched.

This intricate process and attention to details creates an incredibly strong but also very luxurious thread that’s an absolute joy to work with.  It’s waxed – but as the wax is absorbed into the thread’s structure, not at all sticky –  it comes in delicious colours that always make me smile, has a subtle but luxurious lustre to it and produces brilliant stitch definition.

So it makes me very happy to know that a long tradition of craftsmanship has been rescued and that the business is flourishing.  (If you’re interested, you can read more of the story on the Fil au Chinois website here:

I could go on and on, but I think that’s enough haberdashery geekery for one article!   I’ll leave you with just a very small glimpse of some of the beautiful Sajou products sold by Penelope Textiles.  At the end of the piece I’ve also added a link to the French website for Sajou in case you’d like to learn more about their history too.

Sajou thread winding cards with butterfly motits

Sajou thread cards with vintage style printsOne of my happiest new finds are these colourful card winders, like the ones above and below.  They’re sold as blanks, or with thread wound on to them, as a way to buy small quantities of thread rather than a full spool.

I think they’d make the most fabulous Christmas decorations, either hung on the tree or strung on ribbons as garlands.  And there are dozens of gorgeous designs to choose from.

Colourful Sajou thread cards with vintage style printsMixed designs of Sajou thread cards with vintage style prints

Sajou haberdashery - mixed sewing threadsSajou haberdashery sewing kit in presentation boxSajou embroidery scissors in Eiffel Tower shape with decorative tassselsSajou haberdashery set of buttonsSajou Fils au Chinois lace thread full set in presentation box

Many thanks to Penny at Penelope Textiles for kind permission to use her very beautiful photographs

Maison Sajou:




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Get guest ready: dining table & chairs special offer from MADE Tue, 07 Nov 2017 10:20:25 +0000

How are your plans for the festive season coming along?  Progressing well, I hope, and maybe like myself you’re in the middle of taking stock around the house.

When we think about all the friends and family we’ll be welcoming into our home, and around our table, the list of items to buy/replace can seem never ending.

Which is why I think it’s so important that this time of year is about making considered purchases.  About investing in pieces that make our homes work better for us, as well as for our visitorsAnd that make us happier and more comfortable for the long-term, not just the twelve days of Christmas.

Easy to say, of course.  At this point, your shopping list is probably as long as both your arms.  And possibly a leg too.

Luckily, many savvy retailers appreciate this and are offering some fantastic seasonal deals.  So I’ve been taking a look at the best, and most useful, of these offers in the run up to Christmas.

Let’s start with that annual highlight – the much-anticipated Christmas lunch (or dinner).  If it’s a new dining table that’s top of your must-buy list, then today’s offer is for you.

Online contemporary furniture and homeware brand MADE are offering £100 off when you buy a dining table and two pairs of dining chairs.  That’s a great deal, especially when their beautifully designed furniture is so reasonably priced anyway.

Best of all though?  You can mix and match a dining table with whichever style of chair you like (and there are some real beauties).  Your average cookie cutter table’n’chair dining sets these very definitely are not.

So, here are my top picks from this tasty seasonal dining table and chairs offer:

I sometimes think that smaller dining tables are overlooked in the style stakes.  Not so, the Safia Round Wooden Dining Table with its striking, sculptual bent plywood legs and rich walnut veneer.  And how sophisticated does it look with the Safia Dining Chairs upholstered in gorgeous Pine Green Velvet?

This contemporary update of the classic kitchen table will look at home in any kitchen/diner, traditional or modern.  The Betty Extending Dining Table is a beautiful example of well-crafted ‘modern rustic’ and also comes in a white or all wood finish.

The solid oak Jenson Extending Dining Table was designed by Tim Fenby with “a Scandinavian-refectory look in mind”.  Seating a generous six, it will extend to accommodate eight people.   It’s shown above with the extremely comfortable looking Stig High Back Carver Dining Chairs in Dusk Pink (which are also available in Grey).

More small dining table style points for the luxurious Belgrave Extending Dining Table, above, in dark stained oak.  Its lines are substantially opulent but still elegant, and it’s shown above with the Lex Dining Chair.  To create the “modern luxury” look you could team it with these gorgeous velvet Lule High Back Carver Dining Chairs, below, for ultimate comfort and sophistication.


I love the ‘floating’ design of the very contemporary Buren Extending Dining table in HPL and Ash.  Its lines are clean and simple but it has a lot of character too.  Shown with Lex Dining Chairs in Graphite Grey.

The brass detailing of the Edelweiss Extending Dining Table and Edelweiss Chairs is genius.  Understated but totally swoonworthy, it elevates this simple design to a whole new level of Scandi-inspired chic.

To finish I couldn’t resist another very contemporary design, the Boone Dining Table, above and below.  It features a sleek yet warm concrete top and powder coated metal ski legs and I just love its slim lines and proportions.

You can keep the look understated or add colour like below, with these stunning, jewel-bright Lule High Back Carver Dining Chairs in Mineral Blue and Emerald Green.


Do take a look at the whole range of MADE dining tables and chairs for yourself though.  This is just a tiny flavour of the dining tables and chairs that are part of this offer, which runs for the next week only.

P.S.  Now that seating is sorted, don’t forget to check out MADE’s range of tableware and glassware to go on your lovely new table.

Around this time last year I wrote about their beautiful, turquoise artisanal Nara Stoneware Dining Set and drop dead gorgeous matt gold Newberg Gold Cutlery Set (seen above on the Boone Dining Table).

It’s just perfect for the contemporary Christmas (and all year round) table.  And I’m very happy to see it’s still available – let the feasting begin!

Posted in collaboration with MADE, all views my own



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Cosy sheepskin beanbags from Cox and Cox Sat, 04 Nov 2017 10:52:14 +0000 Cox and Cox Sheepskin Beanbags in Grey, Ivory and Blush PinkNow that it’s officially winter we’re in full snuggle mode here at CBT HQ.  So for the next few weeks I’ll be looking at ways to make your home snug and cosy for the winter season, as well as getting guest-ready for the festivities ahead.

Today’s objects of desire  – luxuriously snuggly sheepskin beanbags – tick both boxes.  Just looking at the pictures makes me want to grab a book and a cup of coffee, and sink into them for an hour or two to forget the dreary, rainy day outside.

These cosily stylish sheepskin beanbags are also a brilliant solution for extra seating when you have a house full of guests.  (Admittedly maybe most suitable for the younger ones, or those whose knees and hips are up to low level lounging).

I can imagine these sheepskin beanbags being fought over during the festive season for post-meal relaxation and film-watching sessions.  They’re easy to drag around and adapt to different seating arrangements as numbers fluctuate.  Moving them from room to room is a doddle too.

Luxe Grey Curly Sheepskin Beanbag from Cox and CoxThe Luxe Grey Curly Sheepsking beanbag above is manufactured in the UK exclusively for Cox & Cox, with a covering made from distinctly curled Australian sheepskin.  It also features a non-slip grey leather base and hidden zip closure and the internal mesh bag is generously filled with beans for ultimate comfort.

Sumptuous Sheepskin Beanbag from Cox and Cox in IvoryThings are about to get even cosier – for peak snuggle how about the Sumptuous Sheepskin Beanbag?  Again made in the UK, this supersoft 100% sheepskin has the most incredibly luxurious long pile and has the same non-slip, leather base.  Pictured above in Ivory, this long-haired sheepskin beanbag also comes in Blush and Grey, shown below.  They’re like little, fluffy woolly clouds of hygge, aren’t they?

Sumptuous Sheepskin Beanbags in Cream, Grey and Blush from Cox and Cox

Double Sheepskin Beanbag in Mink from Cox and CoxFancy some snuggling for two? No problem – there are Double Sheepskin Beanbags too, in Ivory and this rich Mink colour above.

Sheepskin rugs and cushions from Cox and Cox

Maybe you love the idea of adding some woolly cosiness to your home this winter, but beanbags aren’t your thing. Sorted – Cox and Cox have a stunning range of sheepskin home accessories, including rugs of all sizes, cushions and seatpads.  You’ll find them the whole range here – they’re all absolutely gorgeous, and very, very hard to resist.  What would you go for?

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Get stunning contemporary lighting for less this winter Fri, 13 Oct 2017 09:56:57 +0000 MADE Madison Table Lamp with navy blue metal shade and dark wood base #contemporary lighting #tablelamps

I’m not a winter person – but it’s not the cold that’s the problem.  It’s the short, dark days.  So now the days are really drawing in it’s time to sort out the lighting at home for the coming season.

Good lighting is the difference between an atmosphere of warm, relaxing cosiness – or harsh, cold drabness (no matter how fab your decor).  Not what you want in the wintertime.

So, my lighting to-do list.  Replace an outdated ceiling fitting in our bedroom, and find a neat, contemporary metallic floor lamp to add gleam and texture to our kitchen/diner.

Contemporary lighting from MADE.COM Right on cue, in my inbox from MADE: would I like to share with you their latest offer for their contemporary lighting collections?

Perfect timing.  Investing in some new lights suddenly feels very doable with their generous £30 off when you buy two of their lights.

With my own shopping list in mind I’ve taken a tour through their latest lighting collection, and here are my top picks.

Contemporary lighting for ceilings

Successful lighting in a room calls for layers of light and shadow, so let’s start at the top with ceiling lights.

MADE.COM Tangle contemporary chandelier in brass and clear glass #contemporary lighting #contemporary chandelier #brasslighting

You know how much I love brass, so no surprise I’ve got my eye on MADE’s Tangle Brass Pendant Light, above.  As you can see it looks brilliant over a dining table, but will work perfectly in other places too.

The Silvia contemporary fringed chandelier in black and chrome has been scaled down for smaller spaces and given an edgy, contemporary twist with its fringing of fine metal chain #contemporarylighting #modernchandeliers

Then there’s the Silvia Chandelier.  A take on the classic chandelier, but cleverly scaled down to fit modern homes and given an edgy, contemporary twist with its fringing of fine metal chains.

The Plume Pendant Lamps in clear or blue glass by MADE are the perfect partner for the Plumen designer energy-saving bulb #Plumenbulb #Plumenshade #glasspendantlightThe low-energy Plumen bulb is close to my heart (I invested in their Kickstarter campaign) and these coloured glass Plume Pendant Lamps provide the perfect partner.

Contemporary floor and wall lamps

The Chicago Copper Floor Lamp casts a warm, relaxing glow with its gold-lined shade. The perfect statement floor lamp for contemporary living spaces #contemporarylightingLet’s move on to floor and wall lamps now, which provide the mid-level layer of light in a room. A MADE best seller, the Chicago Floor Lamp was inspired by Hollywood film studios. The aged copper frame and gold-lined shade have such a beautiful warm glow, don’t you think?

The Bow Chrome Floor Lamp, part of the stunning contemporary lighting collection by MADE.COMThe Bow Chrome Floor Lamp creates striking, sculptural curves as well as casting a warming pool of light exactly where you need it with its large, articulated shade.

The Obie Brass Floor Lamp is perfect for small spaces with its compact footprint and versatile adjustable height and lamp #smallfloorlampsThe brass version of the Obie Floor Lamp, above, is probably the one for me, though.  Its small footprint and neat, delicate profile is perfect for smaller spaces and it also comes in chrome and copper.

The black and brass Ogilvy Swing Arm Wall Lamp is the epitome of contemporary Deco Luxe #contemporarylightingideas #walllamps I’m coveting the Ogilvy Swing Arm Wall Lamp, above, and wish I had a project where I could use it (*eyes walls wistfully*).  It’s part of the Ogilvy Collection of black/brass or grey/copper “Deco Luxe” floor, table and wall lights – all fabulously stylish.

Contemporary table lamps

And finally table lamps, which cast a low-level pool of light into a space to complete a room’s lighting scheme.

Get the opulent "modern luxury" look for less with the beautiful marble and brass Faye Table Lamp by MADE #contemporarylighting #tablelamps #marble #brasslamps You know I’ve been writing about the opulent, “modern luxury” trend in interiors?  Well, here’s how to get the look without breaking the bank.  The Faye Table lamp mixes brass and marble with a clean, modern aesthetic.

Designed in collaboration with French designer and interior architect Margaux Keller, there’s a whole gorgeous collection to choose from, as you can see below.  Utterly swoonworthy and an absolute steal at these prices.

The Faye Contemporary Lighting Collection teams marble and brass with clean, graphic shapes. Get the 'modern luxe' look without breaking the bank #marble #brasslights #brass

Madison table almp with navy powder coated steel shade and dark stained wooden legs. Read how to get stunning modern lighting for less this winter The Madison Table Lamp is another sophisticated mix of materials and finishes.  I love how the matt navy powder coated shade teams with the dark stained wood legs.

Well, I could go on and on – and on.  But I’ll let you explore the rest of the MADE lighting collection for yourselves.  Their prices are always extremely reasonable, but this offer gives you an even more brilliant way to get beautiful, contemporary lighting for less this winter.

The offer is only until 23 October, and gives you £30 off for any two pieces over £49.  Let me know what you choose.

Images: MADE

Posted in collaboration with MADE, all views my own



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Newton Paisley textiles and wallpapers – illustrations of endangered beauty Mon, 09 Oct 2017 15:34:22 +0000 At the Decorex interiors show last month I spent several happy hours in a vast hall crammed full of the most gorgeous textiles, wallpapers and interiors products imaginable.  I absolutely love these events, but sensory overload does set in and after a while I found myself wandering with slightly glazed eyes.

All of a sudden – zing!  These extraordinary wallpapers and textiles by Newton Paisley seemed to jump right out at me.

I just had to stop, stare – and smile, of course – at the sight of ‘Cactus Mexicanos’ in the very colourway pictured above, with its gorgeous pinks on their fresh chartreuse background.

I soon found out that these intricately drawn catci come in other, equally delicious colourways including the blush pink and slate grey shown above and below.  I never tire of seeing how different colourways change a design, sometimes subtly, other times much more dramatically.

It also turns out that the story behind the products is as fascinating as the designs are beautiful.

They’re based on the exquisite hand-drawn illustrations of conservation biologist Susy Paisley, who I was lucky to chat with briefly, and each design tells the story of neglected and endangered species from around the world.

Even better, I learned that the sales of these textiles contribute to the preservation of the fragile and vulnerable habitats depicted.

For every metre of fabric sold, 100 square metres of wild habitat is preserved through Newton Paisley’s collaboration with the World Land Trust.

There are eight different designs available.  After the cacti I’m particularly drawn to the Carolina Monarch design, above, after having read ‘Flight Behavior’ by one of my favourite writers, Barbara Kingsolver.

The book centres on the extraordinary migration of the Monarch butterfly, which gather in vast numbers on their summer feeding grounds in the Carolinas and then fly south to the forests of Mexico where they overwinter.

Sadly, the plants featured along with the butterflies in Susy’s design, which provide the nectar for energy for this epic journey, are being depleted to critically low levels by herbicides.  Which of course means that the numbers of Monarch butterflies is declining alarmingly too.

Newton Paisley introduced their first collections of printed linens at Decorex last year and were back to celebrate their first anniversary with the launch of their newly printed wallpapers.

Apparently although Susy’s first love is textiles, demand for wallpapers featuring the same designs was enormous – and so the wallcoverings range was born.

If you’re as entranced as I am by this story, you can learn more about Susy’s beautiful work and also shop online for textiles and wallpaper at

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