Archive for the ‘Top 10’ 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

Light up your life: 10 outdoor lighting ideas

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

From LED to candles, nothing creates outdoor atmosphere like some strategic lighting. Drape strings of lights through the branches of trees, position lanterns and use tealights to cast pools of light onto your outdoor table.

Even if the weather’s not fine enough to sit outside, looking out of the house onto a lighted garden can look very pretty. Here are our top 10 picks.

1. Kamla garden lanterns, Red Lilly


Create ambience around summer patios for garden parties with these recycled glass lanterns. The wire holder has a vintage rust patina and can be spiked into the ground. The lanterns come as a set of two and are available in three different styles. £19.80 from Red Lilly.

2. Brass lanterns, MiaFleur

These stylish brass coloured lanterns will bring an atmospheric glow to your alfresco parties. Made from zinc with a brass coloured coating, and with a hinged glass door to protect the candle from the elements, this is a lovely way to light up the garden. Available in two sizes so that they can be grouped together to create an interesting contrast. Prices from £36 from MiaFleur.

3. Lighthouse 220, Menu

The Lighthouse oil lamp from Menu makes an unusual addition to those balmy English evenings (remember those?!) when you can sit outside with a glass of wine. Inspired by the lighthouses along the Scandinavian coast, the porcelain and steel lamp has a newly developed oil burner that gives a bright light. There’s also a unique filling system that makes it possible to replenish the oil from above so there is no need to take the lamp apart. £64.95 from Black by Design.

4. Oval loop lamp, Edge Company

If you don’t like the hassle of candles, this nickel plated mesh wire lamp is battery powered for light with minimum work. Available in two different designs, they’re also currently 50% off in the sale. Were £48 now £24 from IN-SPACES.

5. Aurora mood lantern, The Glow Company

Stylish and contemporary, the Aurora mood lantern creates a focal point in your garden with colourful light. A lightweight but sturdy lantern that’s IP65 rated for outdoor use, it changes through eight key colours and everything in between. Set to colour phase, colour flash or hold on your favourite colour for stunning mood lighting and even adjust the brightness of the colours depending upon your mood, all via remote control. £39.95 from The Glow Company.

6. Hallianna outdoor lighting garland, Out There Interiors

Contemporary outdoor lighting to brighten up a boring wall or illuminate a late night barbecue need not be twee. These functional, no nonsense bulbs are perfect for the modern exterior and will lengthen those summer evenings and barbecues with friends. £85 from Out There Interiors.

7. Bottle light, RED5 Gadget Shop

Don’t throw away your empty bottles – recycle them into lamps with these bottle lights. A cork based design holds a small yet super bright rechargeable LED for you to slip into your bottles.  Perfect for indoor and outdoor use, the lights create a cosy, improvised table feature and won’t be blown out by a gentle breeze. £9.95 each from RED5.

8. Miners’ lamp, Coastal Home

This traditional miners’ lamp is ideal for a table decoration or for hanging from a tree. Inspired by 19th century miners’ oil lamps and adapted for modern day tea lights, this wind proof enamel lantern creates a welcoming light on dark evenings. £11 from Coastal Home.

9. Grey stone effect lantern, The White Lighthouse

This grey stone effect candle holder with cut out stars, handle and glass inner is actually made from concrete, making it robust and giving it an urban twist. £12 from The White Lighthouse.

10. Brushed metal rectangular lantern, Hoi Polloi

This unusual brushed metal rectangular lantern would look wonderful on a terrace or dining table. Pop in a couple of pillar candles to enjoy an atmospheric glow. £66.99 from Hoi Polloi.

By Sara Walker

The future’s bright…10 gorgeous neon home accessories

Monday, April 25th, 2016

Now spring is here, why not add a bright splash of colour to tired interiors with these neon home accessories.

1. Neon tassel mini-garland, Meri Meri

Neon party tassels, £7.50

Ideal for garden parties or just for cheering up a tired colourscheme, this mini garland has 24 decorative tassels made from crepe paper and glittery paper in bright, neon colors and golds. Each tassel is stitched with metallic thread and attaches to a metallic gold cord. £7.50, available from Sisters Guild.

2. Neon vase, Barnaby & Co

Neon vase, £21

Imagine this ceramic cylinder vases with its neon drip print filled with tall, structural flowers like lilies. Hand made in fine bone china, it’s also available in neon pink and neon green. £21, available from Barnaby & Co.

3. Neon cup and saucer, Quince Living

Neon cup and saucer, £6.50

If just coffee alone can’t get you going in the morning, how about serving up your caffeine in this eye-popping neon cup? The ceramic is coated in silky smooth rubber for a really modern texture. It’s available in a range of colours including neon orange and neon pink, and costs £6.50 from Quince Living.

4. Neon pink Alice stool, Rose in April

Neon pink stool, £60

From French brand Rose in April comes this child’s Alice stool, in beech wood with water based paint.  The chunky design and bright colours are sure to appeal, and your child will have fun turning this stool into everything from a fairy carriage to a pet donkey in their imagination. £60, available from Sisters Guild.

5. Bloomingville outdoor BBQ in neon pink, Brynlee

Neon pink barbecue, £65

Bored of black barbecues? Fancy a splash of colour in the garden? Painted the brightest of pinks and shaped like a bucket, this bright barbecue will still fulfil its function while a little more individuality to the patio. £65, available from Out There Interiors.

6. Dachshund Dot Cushion, Red Lily

Dotty dachshund cushion, £36.50

A vibrant and humourous cotton cushion with a black dachshund print contrasting with bold crimson dots and embroidered details and star embellishments, this will cheer up a plain sofa or bed cover. Includes a duck down pad. £36.50, available from Red Lily.

7. Lotus mohair throw, Avoca

Bright mohair throw, £99.95

Made from 70% mohair and 30% wool, this bright throw is woven at Avoca’s mill in Ireland. In vibrant warm shades of pink, yellow and green, it’s the perfect thing to add contemporary colour and warmth to your home and would be perfect draped over your favourite sofa, chair or bed. £99.95, available from Iapetus.

8. VP3 brushed orange flowerpot table lamp, Verner Panton

VP3 brushed orange flowerpot table lamp, £319

An original design by iconic 1960s designer Verner Panton, the VP3 table light connects two semi spheres with a stalk to an upturned third which forms the base. Available in a wide range of colours and finishes, the perfect simplicity of the design means it’s still at home in any contemporary interior. £319, available from Rume.

9. Pink Leitmotif Z lamp, Viva Lagoon

Pink Leitmotif Z lamp, £29

This lamp, made from high quality metal that’s been coated in a bright pink shade, is a great combination of design and practicality. It’s perfect for use as a reading lamp on a bedside or side table, and would also work well as a desk lamp for your office or study. £29, available from

10. Butterfly sunset silk cushion, Laura Nicolson

Blue silk butterfly cushion, £62

This bright, glamorous cushion has etched butterflies fluttering across a sunset of deep colours. Designed by Laura Nicolson, the butterflies were inspired one summer’s evening in the Kent countryside. £62, available from IN-SPACES.

By Sara Walker

10 Tips For Maximising Space in Small Homes

Friday, March 4th, 2016

How to make a small space feel bigger

Living in a small home can be challenging but there are ways of maximising your house space through clever use of colour, storage and simple decluttering. Here are 10 tips to help you make the most of your options.

1. Keep it simple

Replace your curtains with blinds. Curtains look bulky and they can take up valuable space around the window area. Blinds are efficient, space saving and will give a room a clean and contemporary look.

2. Declutter your space

Those who inhabit small living spaces know that they can’t afford to be untidy. Get rid of any possessions that you don’t use, as these will cramp your living area.

3. Use plants to enhance your living space

Add plants to your home as a way of bringing the outside in.

Whether you have a pocket hanky size garden, or no garden at all, you can always create an illusion of extra space by placing potted plants on your window sills. Alternatively, you can train some roses or other climbing plants to frame your windows. Visit the Ashridge Nurseries website for inspiration.

4. Choose dual purpose furniture

Sofa beds and storage trunks that can double up as a table, are just two examples of furniture that can be put to very good use in a small home. As well as sleeping on the sofa, you can always store your sheets and towels in the built in space underneath. The trunk can act as a repository for computer games and other gadgets.

5. Create an optical illusion with paint

The design magazine House to Home suggests that the easiest way to maximise the space in your living room is to paint it in ‘soft pastel shades.’ This will ensure that the room looks inviting at all times. Don’t paint all the walls of a small room with dark colours unless you really do want to make the room seem even more cramped than it is.

6. Let in the light

Make a room feel bigger by hanging mirrors on the wall

A mirror hung on a wall near the window will maximise the amount of light that comes into your room, therefore making the space seem larger.

7. Enhance your recesses

Many older houses have a recess on either side of an old fireplace. Even though you may have opted for light colours for the rest of the room, try painting these alcoves in a darker shade to give your room more depth.

8. Be clever with storage

Very few houses are perfectly rectangular and many have odd spaces under the stairs or under the eaves of the roof. Design your storage to make use of these redundant alcoves. The website Homify has some great ideas about how to fit shelves into awkward areas.

9. Banish your bath

Baths can take up a lot of room. If you are trying to expand the space in your bathroom, install a shower – ensure you choose clear shower panels to maximise the room’s natural light.

10. Don’t crowd your rooms with furniture

Obviously, some pieces of furniture are essential. Too much furniture can make a room look overcrowded and full. Instead of investing in wardrobes and chests of drawers, use built in shelving and cupboards instead. Consider getting rid of your coffee table, it’s only an invitation for clutter. Try to only invest in furniture that will serve a purpose and enhance your minute living space.

-> Images courtesy of Pixabay

(This is a guest post)


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

Red hot: 10 red cushions for Valentine’s day

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Cute red heart shaped balloons

Whether you find it romantic or commercial, most of us would admit that Valentine’s day gifts can sometimes be a little…erm….impractical. This February 14, why not give a present that’s pretty, stylish and useful with these red hot cushions?

Red hot cushions for Valentine's Day

1. Raj ‘Royalty’ Applique Single Peacock Feather Cushion, Purvaai

The peacock is the favourite of royalty the world over, gracing terraces and courtyards, but nowhere more so than in India, to which it is native. Show your loved one how special they are with this striking crimson cushion, £38 including filler pad from IN SPACES.

2. Creek red cushion, Darlings of Chelsea

This simple but sophisticated square cushion has a strong geometric, zigzag design, suitable for contemporary decors. Made from 100% cotton and featuring classic piping round the edge, the pattern continues on both sides. Available in three colours, this cushion would add a level of texture to a leather sofa, or could be used to soften the seat of dining chairs. Was £59 now £53.10 from Darlings of Chelsea.

3. Isobel’s flowers red cushion, Hunkydory Home

Inspired by childhood memories and a love of Scandinavian design, this cushion features a striking retro floral print in an orangey red. Ideal for modern spaces to add a touch of retro design and a splash of colour. Includes fibre cushion pad. Made in Northumberland. £25 from Hunkydory Home.

4. Love you to the moon and back cushion, Artylicious

For a more traditional Valentine’s day gift, how about this cushion from Artylicious? Featuring the slogan ‘love you to the moon and back’, it’s printed on a soft faux suede fabric with an envelope back and packed with a plump cushion inner. £22 from Artylicious.

5. Ambala square rust cushion, Iqrup and Ritz

Bright red doesn’t suit every decor, so for something more muted try this pretty embroidered cushion, decorated with intricate Kantha work. It’s available in a number of different colours and designs, in square or rectangular shapes, from Iqrup and Ritz. Prices start at £59.

6. Velvet damask cushion, Danetti

A modern take on a vintage motif, this cushion has a classic damask design in cut velvet with a linen background. The fabric is a soft cut velvet with a subtle sheen and a linen ground and reverse, perfect for adding interest and texture, and the cushion comes complete with a feather inner and a zip for easy removal for spot cleaning. Available in two different sizes. Prices start at £29 from Danetti.

7. Snowflake cushion in red, Annabel James

For the perfect winter accessory, this cushion is made from Merino lambswool a reversible Nordic red and white snowflake design, with button and fringe detail. Made in England by Bronte, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of woollen blankets and throws. Renowned for their high quality, these throws are made in one of the longest established mills in Britain, where fine wools have been manufactured since 1937. Was £44.95, now £29.95 from Annabel James.

8. Eiffel tower cushion cover, Alhambra Home

Oooh la la! Evoke memories of a romantic weekend away with this cushion cover celebrating Paris. 100% cotton front and plain black backing. Available in four different colours. £21 for cover only from Alhambra Home.

9.  Lumimarja cushion in red, Marimekko

Winter blooms inspired designer Erja Hirvi to create this print of rich red berries. Made from luxury cotton sateen it will add a touch of luxury to a plain chair or sofa. £39.50 from Cloudberry Living.

10. Dandelion clocks cushion cover, Andshine

The funky 50s retro design of this cushion is printed by Sanderson, featuring stylised dandelion heads with seeds radiating from a central point. Ideal for contemporary interiors, it’s available in a range of different sizes. Prices start from £14 for the cover only from Andshine.

By Sara Walker

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