New furniture & homeware finds | October 2016

October 21, 2016

New collection from Skagarek | New furniture & homeware finds - October 2016 | These Four Walls blog

It’s time for another round-up of new products and homeware collections that have appeared on my radar recently. There are some beauties this month, including a host of launches from Denmark and some exciting additions at brands based a little closer to home…

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Profile | VRAC Ethical Tea Shop

October 18, 2016

Profile | VRAC Tea | These Four Walls blog

I love taking a few minutes out of my day to savour a cuppa – a little escape ritual that calms a busy mind and instantly helps me refocus. Coffee was always my drink of choice, until a sample of delicious, beautifully packaged loose leaves by VRAC arrived in a parcel of goodies from The Future Kept and completely transformed my perception of tea.

Founded by Pauline Maniere, who hails from France but now lives in Lewes in south east England, VRAC sells a wonderful range of hand-blended teas incorporating local herbs and flowers, together with tea-making equipment and monthly tea subscriptions. I chatted to Pauline to find out more about her teas and the story behind them…

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Recipe | Creamy wild mushrooms on toast

October 14, 2016

Recipe | Creamy wild mushrooms on toast | These Four Walls blo

I love this time of year: pavements sparkling with frost, chilly evenings made for snuggling under a blanket with a good book, greengrocers brimming with autumnal bounty… It’s a time that calls for warming comfort food, and the latest recipe from Kym Grimshaw of On the Plate is just that. It’s packed with earthy mushrooms – my favourite of the season’s spoils – and it works brilliantly as both a lazy weekend brunch and an easy weeknight supper.

Here Kym has used wild mushrooms, which are at their very best at the moment, but a good mix of normal mushrooms works just as well. And if you want to add a little bit of extra indulgence, try grating a few shavings of Parmesan over the top.

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Introducing Happy + Co

October 7, 2016

Introducing Happy + Co | These Four Walls blog

I get all sorts of emails about new homeware brands, and to be honest a lot of them aren’t of much interest. But every now and then something intriguing pops into my inbox.

One such email recently arrived from just-launched Happy + Co, and it instantly made me want to find out more – it’s pretty hard not to be fascinated by a company which describes its products as ‘little splashes of happiness, designed to be noticed but above all to be loved’.

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Giveaway | Win luxury bedding from House of Fraser

October 5, 2016

Giveaway | House of Fraser bedding | These Four Walls blog

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Kate Parsons, and thanks to everyone who took part!

I always find that beds in luxury hotels feel a little bit more special than my bed at home: the linen is a tad crisper, the duvet softer, the mattress a touch more comfortable… If you agree then you’ll like my latest competition, as I’ve teamed up with House of Fraser to give away a double bedding set worth £265 from its Linea ‘Luxury Hotel’ collection.

The collection aims to recreate that hotel feeling at home, and includes bedding, mattress toppers, candles, towels and more. The set up for grabs (pictured) consists of a duvet cover and two pillowcases, all made from 500-thread-count cotton that’s blended with pima fibre to give softness and a delicate sheen.

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Home tour | A light-filled extension in London

October 3, 2016

Home tour | A light-filled extension in London | These Four Walls blog

I love seeing how period properties can be adapted through clever design, evolving to suit modern lifestyles without losing any of their character or charm. This wonderful example comes from jewellery designer Sally Vanderpump, who has transformed the ground floor of her Edwardian house with a contemporary extension that’s flooded with natural light. The result is stunning: a sociable, open-plan living space that seamlessly blends old and new, with plenty of room for cooking, entertaining and relaxing, plus a glass-encased window seat that provides the perfect spot for curling up with a cuppa and a good book.

I caught up with Sally to find out more about the project and the inspiration behind it…

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Investing in design classics

September 30, 2016

Investing in design classics | These Four Walls blog

As I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to appreciate the importance of investing in good design; I’d far rather save up for a classic piece that I’ll enjoy every day for years to come, than rush into buying cheaper items which won’t stand the test of time. In conjunction with contemporary furniture retailer Nest, here are five reasons why I think design classics are worth the spend – and why they aren’t restricted to those with deep pockets…

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How to care for linen

September 28, 2016

How to care for linen | These Four Walls blog

I’ll be honest: I’m not a big fan of housework, and I never thought I’d be writing a blog post about laundry. But like many people I’ve fallen for the wonderfully relaxed look of linen bedding, and after investing in sets for our bedroom and spare room, I’m keen to keep them looking their best. So, I’ve teamed up with London-based company The Linen Works, which stocks a beautiful range of linen in stylish, muted tones, to put together a few handy tips…

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A weekend afloat on a London houseboat

September 26, 2016

A weekend afloat on a London houseboat | These Four Walls blog

I’ve always fancied embarking on a canal holiday – pootling along with a glass of wine in hand, watching the world drift slowly by. I’ve also always been fascinated by houseboats, and on trips to Amsterdam and Copenhagen I’ve found myself peering through portholes for a glimpse of life on the water. So, when Chris and I were offered a night’s stay at The Palmer, a houseboat rental on Regent’s Canal in East London, we jumped at the chance.

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Recipe | Butter-baked corn & Kym’s ultimate potato salad

September 23, 2016

Recipe | Butter-baked corn & Kym's ultimate potato salad | These Four Walls blog

The latest seasonal recipe from Kym Grimshaw of food blog On the Plate celebrates an ingredient that’s synonymous with this lovely late-summer, early-autumn cusp: sweet, juicy corn on the cob. Here, Kym has given it a subtle chilli kick and served it up with what is quite possibly the best potato salad I’ve ever tasted (really!). It’s like sunshine on a plate and makes a wonderfully easy supper. And, if you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer yet, it’s also perfect BBQ fodder…

Read on for the full recipe, but first a little tip that I’ve picked up over the years: eat fresh sweetcorn as soon as possible after buying it, as the high starch content means it quickly becomes tough and loses its taste.

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