Archive for the ‘Seasonal’ Category

Make your father’s day: top ten picks for 19th June

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

This Father’s Day, 19th June, is a chance to show your dad (or granddad) how much you appreciate them. We’ve picked out our top ten gifts to make their day special.

1. Sheesham wood desk tidy, House of Bath

Desk organiser, now £35.97

Elegantly hand-crafted, this solid sheesham hardwood organiser means tidying your desk is a doddle. It has three letter slots and an upright space, plus a movable slider that separates documents and expands to fit your burgeoning paperwork. Tuck your pens and stamps into the drawer and everything right at your fingertips. Was £59.95 now £35.97 from House of Bath.

2. Rugby mug, Sophie Allport

Rugby mug, £10

This fine bone china mug makes a great gift for rugby fans, and features illustrations of rugby balls, shirts, tackling and try scoring players and rugby posts with ‘Try!’ written on the inside rim. Bound to brighten up every cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, it costs £10 from Sophie Allport.

3. Indoor allotment,

Indoor allotment, £23.99

This cute indoor gardening kit contains everything you need to create and cultivate your own herb garden, even if you live in a flat. The Indoor Allotment even features a picket fence and a garden shed, making it a perfect miniature English country garden! The shed roof is removable, and the door opens to reveal a little gardening kit inside including herb snips, soil pellets and seed packets for growing basil, coriander and oregano plants. £23.99 from Getting Personal.

4. Guitar BBQ set, Kikkerland

Guitar BBQ tool set, £20

Rock out at the grill with this guitar shaped BBQ set. Made from stainless steel with pine wood handles, it’s perfect for releasing that creative spirit. Approx £20 from Kikkerland.

5. Portable mini BBQ, Annabel James

Portable mini BBQ, £54.95

To go with those shiny new tools, how about this portable mini suitcase-style portable barbecue. Versatile and lightweight, it is ideal for camping or festivals alike. Comes emblazoned with the words ‘The Adventure Begins’, and arrives boxed in a smart presentation box to make it easy to wrap. £54.95 from Annabel James.

6. Personalised trowel and fork set, PrezzyBox

Personalised trowel and fork set, £19.95

These sturdy tools are painted in a bright, hard-to-lose green while their handles  can be personalised with the name of your choice, up to 20 characters. Ergonomically designed for ease of use, these tools are the ideal gift for any gardening enthusiast and cost £19.95 including personalisation from PrezzyBox.

7. aMove bluetooth speaker, KREAFUNK

AMove bluetooth speaker, £89.99

For gadget lovers, how about this aMove portable speaker? This clever device plays via Bluetooth with a built in microphone for answering phone calls and powerbank to charge phones. Perfect for everyday use, from everything from outdoor dining, to exercising in the park or on long drives, the rechargeable battery allows a working time of 20 hours with a USB and AUX cable included. £89.99 from Designer Homeware.

8. Kissing stags large washbag, Anorak

Kissing stags washbag, £14.95

At last, a wash bag that’s big enough! Made with a coated printed cotton outer and waterproof inner liner, these bags have two compartments inside  and measure an oversized 33cm x 33cm so you can fit ‘proper sized’ toiletries inside. £14.95 from Clare Loves.

9. Droplet bottle opener, RED5

Free standing bottle opener, £9.95

A sophisticated free standing design that marries form with function, this is a bottle opener that’s good enough to have on display. Made from zinc with soft rubber feet to protect your surfaces, it was £24.95 now just £9.95 from RED5.

10. Personalised kindling box, Monty’s Vintage Shop

Personalised kindling box, £42

Use this vintage style box for kindling, magazines, odds and ends, as a beer crate…It  can be personalised with a name or house name. Perfect for traditional fireplaces and holding all that fire making kit, it has cut out handles at the side for easy lifting. £42 from Monty’s Vintage Shop.

By Sara Walker

Spring celebrations: Easter home decorations

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Easter is whizzing closer at a rapid rate this year – blink, and it will be almost upon so.

Of course, as well as the bonus of a legitimate reason to eat chocolate, it’s a good excuse to bring a few seasonal spring decorations into your home. Here are some ideas!

Gorgeous blossom spray of twigs and flowers - perfect for creating a stylish Easter or spring home decoration

In an ideal world, we’d all have easy access to a few suitable blossom sprays or branches to make into a DIY Easter tree. In reality, we don’t – but here’s the next best solution. The Easter blossom spray is available in two sizes and is great for use at Easter or for other spring home decorating. Just pop them in a vase or bottle. Priced at £24 from Ella James, you’ll be able to use it time and time again.

Super cute ceramic brown and white bunny rabbit decorations - ideal for hanging on an Easter tree

These look good enough to eat but, no, they’re not made of chocolate!

Bunnies have got to feature somewhere in Easter decorations, and what better way than in the form of these hanging porcelain rabbits. A set of four includes two sitting and two standing rabbits in taupe and white. They’re £14.50 per set from Cox and Cox.

Great idea for an Easter table decoration. Use this set of eight hanging speckled eggs in a bowl instead. Quick, easy and cheap.

The hanging speckled eggs are a good buy at only £4.50 for eight from Cox and Cox. They’re lightweight and made from plastic, and are finished with a simple jute string. Hang them on a spring branch or Easter tree, or put together a quick, easy and cheap table display by simply popping them into a bowl.

Gold and white metallic Easter egg decorations

Already got a metallic décor scheme? These gold and white Easter egg decorations would fit in perfectly. £3.50 from The Easter Home

Everyone needs a golden bunny for Easter! This cute glass one can be hung up on an Easter tree.

There’s also a rather cute gold glass Easter bunny available. £4 from The Easter Home.

This white tree decoration is perfect to use as an Easter tree. Bring it life with lots of colourful Easter decorations!

If you’re looking for an Easter tree to hang your decorations from, then John Lewis have this white one. It’s £15.

Love this elegant glass Easter egg decorations with speckled feathers inside.

John Lewis also have various decorations available, such as this elegant glass Easter egg decoration filled with feathers. £3.50.

Intricately designed handmade porcelain lace and daisy egg shaped hanging decorations.

There’s something special about hand crafted decorations. These gorgeous lace and daisy egg decorations are handmade from porcelain in Cumbria. The small sized eggs are £5.95 each from Amanda Mercer.

Display small Easter treats in style, with this gold bunny glass jar. Great for a table centrepiece, or even a gift.

Finally, why not fill up this large glass jar, with its gold bunny adorned lid, with mini Easter treats or decorations. It would work well as part of a table decoration. £19.50 from M&S.

Top 10 fresh and modern Mother’s Day gifts

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Just because you’re a mum, it doesn’t mean you lose your sense of style! We’ve come up with our top ten suggestions for fresh, modern Mother’s Day gifts that are guaranteed to make your mum’s day on Sunday 6th March.

From individual home style to more traditional gifts, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

1. Large swirl bowl, La Luna

This unusual swirl bowl was inspired by nature and created by La Luna, using inspiration from nature combined with the beauty of porcelain. It would look perfect filled with fresh spring flowers, as the centrepiece of a breakfast table or a gift in its own right. £41, available from IN SPACES.

2. Kivi tealight candle holder in green, Iittala

This simple tealight holder was designed in 1988 by Heikki Orvola for the Finnish design manufacturer Iittala. The chunky glassware multiplies the effect of the candle flame for a bright, clean result. Other colours available. £12, available from Cloudberry Living.

3. Riviera stripe mug, Collier Campbell

You might not be able to give your mother a trip to to the French Riviera, but these brightly coloured, modern mugs will bring a continental flavour to the morning cuppa. Ideal for cheering up grey days, they cost £8 each from Collier Campbell.

4. Sea urchin votive, Monty’s Vintage Shop

This is a really unusual white porcelain tea light holder, with texture of a sea urchin which creates a dappled glow when the candle is lit. Simple and understated, it would fit into any style and looks equally good when not lit. £22, available from Monty’s Vintage Shop.

5. Country heart map, IN SPACES

Give your mum a present that really means something with a reminder of a favourite holiday or dream destination. A high-quality print from an original illustration using a mix of digital and traditional methods. Each print is glazed and cut into a signature heart shape then mounted so it floats above the textured watercolour paper mount. Various countries available. £45 from IN SPACES.

6. Stemless Cognac glasses, Normann Copenhagen

These unusual glasses are a combination of form, function and pleasure and are designed to allow you to enjoy brandy at optimum temperature and volume. The shape of the glass rests perfectly in the open hand and the classic Cognac warming angle is mimicked whenever the glass is put down. On a flat surface it will roll gently back and forth, accentuating the deep colour of the Cognac and releasing its aroma. £35.50 for two, available from Rume.

7. Plaid with stars, HÜBSCH

Treat your mum like a star with this cosy, snuggly, fleecy throw. Ideal for keeping on the sofa to add that extra softness to your living room, or for adding cosy layers to the bed. Was £139, now £97, from At No. 67 Concept Store.

8. Teal crackleglaze vase, The Contemporary Home

Make a statement with this unusual vase in a modern shade with a slight metallic sheen. This would look lovely filled with architectural flowers such as lilies or globe dahlias. £45 from The Contemporary Home.

9. Moon quote print, Of Life and Lemons

This beautiful print features the phrase ‘I Love You to the Moon and Back’ using the different phases of the moon to illustrate the quote.  Available in different sizes, prices start at £14.50 for an unframed A4 print from Of Life and Lemons.

10. Wooden letter rack, The Contemporary Home

Even these days when the only personal post many of us receive is greetings cards and post cards, this natural wooden letters box will still find a welcome place in any home. Use it for filing, holding recipe cards or receipts – or even letters. £18 from The Contemporary Home.

By Sara Walker

10 Quick and easy DIY Christmas tree decorations

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Quick and easy Christmas tree decorations to make at home

If you’re only just finding time to think about Christmas decorations, never fear! There’s still time to create your own unique decorations, without needing to spend loads of time or money in doing so.

Plus, it’s a good way of helping keep your kid’s entertained. Take a look at these 10 inspiring Christmas decoration DIY ideas and have a go at making your own.

1. Make your own origami diamond decorations

How to make origami diamond Christmas tree decorations

Don’t these decorations look effective? At first glance they look too good to be homemade. But they are – and all you need a two pieces of paper and some glue. These were made by How About Orange and you can find a full step-by-step tutorial over at Design and Form.

2. Create your own colour-matched baubles

How to make your own Christmas baubles, simply and easily

Can’t find Christmas baubles in the exact colour shade you want? Why not create your own! Little Gray Fox has a fab tutorial on using paint to transform clear glass or plastic baubles into colourful shades. Great for getting your decorations to match your existing room decor.

3. Make multi-coloured sprinkle baubles

Rainbow sprinkles make fab baubles, who knew? Check out the simple and easy DIY tutorial.

If it’s a rainbow of multi-colours you desire in your decorations, why not try out this simple approach using candy sprinkles!

4. Make 3D paper ball ornaments

How to make your own 3D paper ball ornament

Put your creative paper folding skills to the test and have a go at creating these 3D paper ball ornaments. Hang them from a tree or pop in them on display in a bowl. How About Orange has the details on how to create them.

5. Use washi tape to update baubles

Who knew washi type could be so effective? Love these decorated bauble designs.

Who knew washi tape could be so effective on Christmas baubles? These gorgeous ornaments are made by Odessa May Society and look stunning. This a great technique for updating old and tired baubles.

6. Make button inspired ornaments

Fab idea for using buttons to make Christmas tree ornaments

If you’ve got a stash of old buttons, or can buy some easily at a craft store, put them to good use by creating decorations like these, from Live Love DIY.

7. Create glitter polka dot ornaments

Make your own glitter polka dot holiday ornaments

Grab some glitter and glue and have fun creating your own polka dot ornaments in your choice of colours. Take a look at Hello Glow for inspiration.

8. Make folded paper tree decorations

Folded white paper decorations

Follow the tutorial over at Design and Form and make these folded paper tree decorations. They’d work well alongside a simple Scandi or Nordic Christmas style.

9. Get crafty and make painted fabric decorations

Cute Christmas decorations - handpainted and made from fabric

If you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine and fancy unleashing your creative side, have a go at making these painted fabric ornaments. These are by Lana Red and she has an easy-to-follow tutorial on her blog.

10. Bake your own salt dough decorations

Colourful salt dough Christmas decorations to make at home (by Cassie at Back To Her Roots)

Have you tried salt dough before? It’s easy to make and quick to bake and you can create some unique decorations with it. These have been beautifully crafted by Cassie from Back To Her Roots and she’s put together a fab tutorial to help you make your own.

Happy crafting and creating!

Top 10 contemporary Christmas decorations

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Are you still using the same tired tinsel and boring baubles you’ve had since 1993?

Christmas decorations are about so much more than red and green glitter these days – there’s a wide variety of sleek, contemporary and different decorations out there, in tune with the modern home.

Why not update your festive theme this year with these top 10 picks?

1. Ceramic tangled web bauble, Swanky Maison

This handmade ceramic bauble is something a little different with its tangled web design. Every one is individually made and unique – making them the perfect adornment for your Christmas tree this year. Presented in a gift box, these would also make thoughtful presents. £20, available from Swanky Maison.

2. Holly twig and snow bauble tea light holder, The Farthing

The candle sits of this glass ‘bauble’, filled with faux holly twigs and snow for a Christmassy feel. An elegant table decoration for this year’s Christmas table or perfect placed on a mantlepiece. £9.95, available in a choice of three styles from The Farthing.

3. Mirrored prisms Christmas decorations, Monty’s Vintage Shop

A combination of brass and mirrors in these prism Christmas decorations means they reflect the tree lights or candle flames beautifully. With a retro, vintage feel about them, they’d work with any decor. Available in large or small, prices start at £9 from Monty’s Vintage Shop.

4. Ice Christmas tree decoration, Giselda Graham

This opulent Christmas tree decoration is made from clear cut acrylic giving it the appearance of cut crystal at a fraction of the price. This pretty little tree will catch the light from candles or tree lights and send sparkles across the room as it spins. £4.50, available from The Contemporary Home.

5. Driftwood Christmas tree with star, Idyll Home

This sweet Nordic style Christmas tree makes a lovely tabletop decoration for Christmas dinner and parties, or put it on a table in the corner of a room with little fairy lights if you don’t have space for the real thing. It would also look pretty in an outside location, sheltered from the weather. £27.50 from Idyll Home.

6. Copper flower/star decoration, Pluto Sweden

Beautifully simple and utterly Scandinavian, this stylish copper metal star is an unusual decoration that would look good hanging from the tree, mantelpiece or as part of a table decoration. £4.50, also available in other styles from The Scandinavian Shop.

7. Grey honeycomb paper balls, Ginger Ray

Create a festive, contemporary feel in the home with these paper honeycomb balls. Each pack contains one large and two smaller balls – mix them with fresh holly for an unusual decoration. As they’re made of metallised paper, they’re perfect (and safe) decorations for a house with small children. £6.99 for the pack, available from Ginger Ray.

8. Personalised family Christmas tree wall sticker, Spin Collective

No space for a conventional tree? How about this personalised Christmas tree wall sticker, measuring 105cm high?  Just personalise the bucket text with your own phrase for a decoration that’s unique. The sticker can be peeled off and repositioned, as well. £24, available from Spin Collective.

9. Partridge decorations, Giselda Graham

Create your very own twelve days of Christmas with these wonderful wooden partridge decorations in a vibrant folksy style. These come in a choice of three colourways so you can mix and match, and would look lovely as impromtu gift tags tied onto parcel ribbon. £5 each from The Contemporary Home.

10. White peacock bauble, Sass and Belle

An unusual round white bauble with peacock pattern and pearl detail, this hangs from a silver thread and will make sure all eyes are on your tree this Christmas. £4.50, available from Lisa Angel.

By Sara Walker

Norway Spruce realistic looking artificial Christmas tree from Balsam Hill

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

Gorgeous Balsam Hill Norway Spruce Christmas tree (reviewed by Fresh Design Blog)

Are you a fan of real or fake? Christmas trees, that is…!

Last year we had a real tree, but this year at Fresh Design HQ we’ve gone all artificial. It’s been a lot less hassle putting it up, there are no worries about pine needles dropping everywhere and we can re-use it again next year. The best thing though is that it looks incredibly realistic.

The tree is a 6ft Norway Spruce from Balsam Hill and it’s definitely the most real looking artificial Christmas tree that we’ve ever had. It’s got a narrow profile, so doesn’t take up too much room, but still retains the bushy feel of a real tree.

It arrived well packaged in three separate parts with a good set of instructions. Rather impressively, it also came with two sets of soft cotton gloves to wear when shaping the tree, a tree stand with rubber feet, some spare bulbs (and spare rubber feet) and a large zipped bag in which to store the tree after Christmas.

I’ve never had a pre-lit tree before, but oh my goodness, what a bonus! I’m not the greatest fan of putting lights on the tree and normally seem to end up thinking I’ve got them all evenly spaced, then standing back from it and discovering a large gap. Or getting in a muddle whist putting them on and ending up with the cables all twisted. Thankfully there were none of these lighting issues with the Norway Spruce.

Realistic looking branches on the Balsam Hill Norway Spruce Christmas tree

The three sections of the tree slot together, one by one. Each section was clearly marked and labelled, so it was easy to see what slotted in where. The branches are hinged and naturally fall into place as you undo them, although you do also need to shape them – that’s where the gloves came in handy!

Likewise, the light fittings were easy to follow too. Each section of lights plugged into sockets in the middle section, and then you simply plugged it into the mains to turn them all on. It was the simplest lighting of a tree that I’ve ever done!

I was aiming for a pure metallic Christmas decoration scheme this year – silver, gold and copper – but in the end decided that a bit of red was needed too, for an extra pop of colour.

There’s deliberately not too many decorations towards the bottom of the tree, as it’s too tempting for our cat! (So far, she’s been quite good this year, with only the occasional batting and grabbing of baubles….fingers crossed it lasts).

Whilst the base of the tree was fine, I added a dark willow tree skirt from Next to neaten it up and finish it off.

Realistic looking artificial Christmas tree from Balsam Hill

If you’ve not come across Balsam Hill before, they’re a US company who launched their trees to the UK market in 2011. They pride themselves on providing realistic artificial trees and are definitely successful in achieving this.

Compared to other companies, their trees aren’t cheap. But having bought cheaper fake Christmas trees in the past that most definitely didn’t look real, it’s clearly worth paying more for a quality artificial tree. You get the whole package too with Balsam Hill – the spare bulbs, gloves and storage bag are all useful extras.

The 6ft Norway LED pre-lit spruce tree has now sold out, but there are plenty of other trees in various sizes and shapes available, from slim line to big and bushy, pre-lit and unlit and even flatback trees for small spaces. Do check them out.  If you’re still not convinced, you can even order a branch sample kit to check out the quality for yourself.

There’s currently up to 40% off in their sale and free delivery to the UK and Ireland. So if you’ve not yet sorted out your Christmas tree this year, opt for the easy solution with Balsam Hill.

(Disclaimer: We were sent the tree to review, but all views and opinions are honest and our own).

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