Chief's home

The village chief was a bit of a diva. (His glasses are bananas). He kindly agreed to meet me on a recent trip to Southern Sudan and posed in front of his home for me. Loving the chalk wall art.

Jelly bean rugs and Edinburgh flats

Conversation Pieces is a very good blog.
And when I saw the author's home in Company mag, it inspired me to set up this. Check out Zoe's description of toiling over this rainbow rug. And how she made it by stitching together two little bits of fabric she picked up for a bargain at Paper Chase. (Reminds me of lots of spilled jelly beans).

Can't imagine buying anything so big in London when I get my first place next summer. But one can dream...

Dali in Wonderland

Very excited! Just stumbled across Modernity. It's a Swedish furniture supplier with pieces that look a bit contorted and Dali-esque. Other that are like a trippy Alice in Wonderland set.

My friend Rachel who will probably think this is cheating. She's shown me around lots of furniture warehouses in Helsingborg with treasures like this if you rummage through the junk - all with much tinier pricetags. This is the lazy girl's option. And a wonderful one too.

My last taxidermy post, I promise

... but loving the unlikely Christmassy stag put together by that clever Michelle Ogundehin.

The uncoolest thing I could possibly post

Before I type this, I want to clarify that a) I am 25, not 75, and that b) I don't own a cat or fill out the 'doddery, eccentric spinster' box on the Census.

But I am rather partialled to this £7 National Trust lavender linen spray. I have to forcibly stop myself covering my clothes with it.

Note to self: This is not perfume.

Guess which supermodel lives here?

Another of The Selby's finest inclusions (like this one). I like this supermodel's mix of stag heads, scrubby whitewashed brickwork, studded armchairs - and utterly superfluous mannequins in her dressing room...
Can you guess who it is yet? No? Here's the answer...

Nice digs, Helena Christensen. Big fan of the industrial worktops and papery roses.

On the subject of weddings...

... this is a Midsummer Night's Dream wedding breakfast table (apparently), that I'd like to transplant into my back garden. Especially the hazy silverbirches and naked bulbs with their romantic orange haze.

Beware, the wax

I used to have tremendous fun lining up empty wine bottles, jamming skinny candles into them, then waiting for a waterfall of wax to cling to the glass. Until, that is, my oak table top became smattered with gluey lumps of dried-on wax. Beware Time to buy a real candelabra, I think.

Tip: Try Melody Maison for French, chintzy ones. Though steer clear of white. Too weddingy.

Moths are on vacation... my kitchen cupboards. Despite disinfecting and plugging all visible holes, the beasts are unsquashable. So ensued a tossup between planting mothballs in my bags of peanuts - or pouring my peanuts (and rice etc) into these glass clip lid jars. The jars won. £2 a pop from Tesco. Peanuts, indeed.

The perfect clash

To me, this is the perfect clash: Peeling industrial walls, ditzy upholstered armchairs with clean lines, abstract cushions and French boudoir picture frames. Not sure about the steel lamp. Make mine a porcelain butterfly birdcage...

More light art

After my little Gert post, here's another artist who turns ambientic (is that a word?) lighting into an art form.
If you can't see, it's a steely bird cage (with a loop up top to hang it) filled with tiny porcelain butterflies that light up.

All I want for Christmas is...

...Flap, the analogue wall clock slashed to £106 at Habitat. Am not ashamed of taking advantage of its liquidation sale/cull.

If Andy (Warhol) and Austin (Powers) were roomies...

...this would be their New York loft apartment.Actually, it belongs to the Creative Director of Barney's. Hyperactive Seventies popart.

Ambience and art

Part art installation, part functional lighting. One of Belgian light artist Gert's pared back, soft simple light fittings. They cast velvety glows and warm the harshest furniture.

PS: I interviewed his sister for
Homes & Gardens (Jan 2012 issue) about her light-drenched, white sanctuary. Will post what she said when it's out...

Monochrome and scarlet. (More Lacroix)

My final exravagant post, I promise - then back to DIY and thrift. But this Christian Lacroix set is a gaga mix of fake taxidermy, scarlet, monochrome and murals - not sure about the Victoriana costume on the rail...

Save v Splurge - Christian Lacroix

Chintzy, floral Christian Lacroix wallpaper on an icy powder blue.

Tip: Look out for the fabric version of this print - or better yet, order lots of free samples from Designer's Guild, then piece them together if you find the £240 per metre price too salty...

Lagerfeld's study

This is Lagerfeld's home library - the one in The Selby that I featured in my last post.
Jealous? Me? ...

Coffee Table Books

Four of the best interiors books:

1. The Selby is in Your Place
if you want to check out Karl Lagerfeld's ceiling-tall library

2. New London Style
if you want a picture book of chintzy, quirky, colourful and eccentric looks like this >>>

3. The Girl's Guide to Decorating
if you are a girl, if you have a tiny pad, if you like bold, statement spaces

4. Elle Decor: Style Substance
if you live in a cavern, think you have style and certainly have dosh...

Bunting - how to

I've stitched so much bunting, it fills a suitcase. Easy peasy to make (with a triangular template cut from a cereal box). Some sneaky tips:

1. Double sided bunting is neatest. Slip a triangle of card between the two pieces for a stiff creaseless finish.

2. Use a thick ribbon. Iron it in half then sew the top of the triangles into the crease.

3. As for the fabrics, the more clashing, the better...

teacups and teacups and teacups

Untreated, rough oak shelves. On top place rows of chintzy teacups and saucers. Simple.

Pressed in pebbles

Sorry for the awful quality iPhone pic - but it had to be included. This Vogue-featured sitting room of an architect and his fashionista wife has a patterned leaf-fabric sofa and a piece de resistance - smooth white pebbles pressed into the concrete. (Will scout for a better snap)

Sarah's sheep

Sarah Robertson has a minimalist white lounge. Apart from good lighting and a squashy corner sofa this is her only decoration. A wooden sheep with beady eyes and a fluffy white coat. Often mistaken for a dog when I wake up in the middle of the night on said sofa. Bah x

Middle class paint

It's a bit chi-chi (and I'm not a Dulux snob) but I'm pleased The Forest Bailiff cajoled me into buying Annie Sloan paint. Lovely chalky matt finish.

What NOT to buy.

Julien Macdonald's is to interiors what Kanye West's dress line is to fashion. Best avoided at all costs.

iPhone Exposure

Loving Emily Fishpool's photography collection of iPhone snaps.

Vintage nests

Off-the-beaten track shop Nest Vintage Living in the Cardiff suburb, Rhiwbina has vintage teacups, Thirties glassware - and cake tins for hire. Look out for the big selection of patterned ribbons too...

Peaches trifle

It does exist. My namesake: Peach trifle. Here's the recipe...

Winner - best wintry fragranced candle

Admittedly, I've only roadtested around 10 scented candles. But Darjeeling Mist from Tea Palace (£22ish) has the strongest, most lingering and sweet perfume aroma I've tried. Keeps a good strong wick and generous burn time.

Beats Body Shop's Jasmine and White Frangipani (too limp, faded away too quickly), and an aromatherapy candle from Banyan Tree (too overpowering, ugly over-dyed crimson wax), hands down.

Conversation pieces

This is one of the first photographs I stuck in my interiors inspiration book.

It's Francisco Costa's sitting room and the chair in the foreground is made entirely of curved, smooth buffalo horns.

I've seen many poor imitations but none as exquisite as this. Any good copies, let me know.

Foxtons estate agents

What I like about Foxtons - the London based estate agents that everyone complains is passionless and overpriced - is its website. Enormous, clear photographs and floorplans of properties, sometimes interactive.

In my weakest moments of procrastination, I've been known to trawl the Foxtons site for decor inspiration. And saved this colourful pad as my desktop for a time.


... Room Remedies. It's a teensy Scandanavian-themed homeware shop twenty steps from my front door. But it took me a year from moving to the area before I noticed it.

This grey door hook cost £8. The hooks you pop your coat on have white porcelain toppers.

Une cuillerée de chic

Supposed to mean 'a dollop of chic'. This tin shopping list board was a gift from the South of France. Terribly impractical. But tres chic.

Sweetpea sale...

Sale alert: Sweetpea and Willow in all its French country boudoir gorgeousness.

This bookcase - the reason I bought two double bookcases and stuck them together in attempt to recreate this gem - is slashed to £1,300.

Am restraining myself from posting all of their lovely sale pieces on here. And from buying them...

More magnified textures

and patterns... *see post below for why I'm blogging these strange specimens

Me and my magnifying glass

I have a collection of never-seen-the-light of day photographs that are all closeups of strange textures or patterns I've spotted on my travels.

One day I want to blow them all up and put them in frames in a big lofty kitchen, above shelves of unbranded glass jars that will contain all my food.

This one is a pile of fish at a market in Casablanca. The rows are very neat. The market was very smelly.

Not Cath Kidston

I like Cath Kidston as much as any other afternoon-tea-drinking, cake-stand-owning, lavender-smelling so and so.

But this Kidston-style fabric from Calico in Cardiff is a snip of the price of the real thing. And comes in a lovely sagey green too.

My love affair

It's a bit sad. But I was so terrified this fabric would be discontinued before I found use for it, I bought six metres of the stuff for around £250.

It lives in a long roll next to a cupboard in Will's bedroom. I've cut off a bit for my pinboard. The rest I'm saving to cover a sofa.

How to jazz up a cork pinboard

My attempt at jazzing up a plain cork pinboard with some special fabric and two olive coloured ribbons from a tiny gift shop in Rhiwbina, Cardiff.

My Aunty did it much better with Cath Kidston fabric.

Love handles

Glass and pewter handles. Fix nicely on Victorian dressing tables. A few quid from John Lewis.

What to do with a £20 Victorian dressing table

Another find. This rickety Victorian dressing table cost me £20. Fingers crossed there was no woodworm.

I glossed it black, replaced the drawer handles with these little glass ones. Sadly, it serves as my desk these days so I've covered the mirror with fabric. Don't think the pic does it justice.

Oh, and the jewel about the mirror is my locket. It fell off a necklace so I superglued it there. Inside is a pic of my sisters Amy and Mollie.

Thanks to my Nan

These scatter cushions are the byproduct of an over enthusiastic afternoon in Calico, a fabric shop in Cardiff.

Luckily, my Nan was at hand to sew these five clashing fabrics I bought into teeny tiny cushions for my bed.

The beach hut blue is my fave.

Nasty MFI drawers, an alcove and roses...

My attempt at jazzing up a nasty set of drawers and an alcove. Too cluttered, the melamine drawers are un-disguisable. The only thing that makes it sweet are these pastel pink papery roses that feel like velvet.

Hint: The Shepherd's Bush florist I found them in has closed. Try Wild at Heart (the florist in the door of Liberty), for velvety English roses that look all antiquey.

Genius - star-shaped ice cubes

As demonstrated at a greasy spoon in Tufnell Park.