Sunday, 30 April 2017

Decorating with blue and white porcelain

I always think the best interior design projects layer texture, colour and natural materials in a way that has a look and feel that is as timeless as it is effortless. That said there is always something that gives certain projects an extra wow factor - not in a shouty way, but in a really understated, relaxed way. It's hard to put your finger on it because you only know it when you see it, but one of the tricks I love to use for an instant chic finish is to include some blue and white porcelain. There is nothing more timeless, nor quintessentially English, that blue and white pottery.

I absolutely love this shot of the beautiful home belonging to Paris Alma - follow her on instagram for some serious interiors envy.

For me, this Coopers Beach project by Carrier & Company is just perfect.

The perfect spot for tea in the window seat and although this dining table doesn't have any blue and white porcelain I do love the zinc table top a lot.

Another perfect project from Carrier & Company - this time the Forge River project. I've blogged about how much I adore Carrier & Company before so I won't go on too much - needless to say though I think this room has absolutely nailed the perfect balance of texture, materials and colour.

Burleigh pottery is one of my favourites - I own several different bits of tableware in the blue arden and blue calico - the designs are beautiful but also the quality is incredible. Apparently it takes 25 pairs of hands to create a single piece of Burleigh pottery, and each pot is meticulously hand-finished.

Also love Italian Spode. My mum actually just gave me some lovely plates which I've been using lately...

Perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner...

Here's a little glimpse into our Nickleby kitchen at the Humphrey Munson showroom in Felsted, Essex which has three large white and blue Chinese porcelain vases on the window sill. I love the balance of colours in this kitchen and the painted cabinetry looks so good against the Babington limestone floor tiles.

And last but not least, my friend Geraldine's lovely photograph of Purley Hall in Pangbourne which I spotted on her instagram (if you don't follow her you definitely should!)

I love the cluster of blue and white plates - it's such a striking way to display the collection. 

Have a great weekend all! x

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The DecorCafe Home & Garden Festival

This year The DecorCafe Home & Garden Festival is being held at Strawberry Hill House, Britain’s finest example of Georgian Gothic revival architecture, on Friday 5th May 2017 from 10am to 4pm.

Over the past four years, the DecorCafe Home & Garden Festival has a built a reputation for showcasing an inspiring and coveted collection of products and services from a curated selection of exhibitors.

What's On
As well as over 45 homes and gardens exhibitors, there is also a full programme of expert talks on interiors, gardens, food and wine, and business available throughout the day. I'm really excited to be involved with the brilliant event together with a wealth of amazing and inspiring experts - take a look below to see the full schedule:

10:45am - 11:15am: Meet the Media & How to Get your Business Noticed

I will personally be speaking on a panel together with leading interiors journalist Serena Fokschaner, and Group Editor of Time & Leisure, Fiona Shield which will focus on how to get your company to stand out from the crowd. I'll be sharing my top tips on how to raise the profile of your company through blogging and social media while Serena and Fiona will share their secrets about getting featured in the press from a journalistic and editorial point of view.

11.45am to 12.05pm: Transform your Home with Colour

How would you like to use colours to fundamentally affect your quality of life? Join Karen Haller, one of the world’s leading authorities in applied colour psychology, and discover how the science of applied colour psychology can tap into your emotions, creating responses and behaviours that promote wellbeing and a deep re-connection with your personal spaces.

12:30pm - 12:50pm: The Healthy Home - Eat to be the best you can be

Adjusting your diet and nutrition impacts your health and well-being and can help you to reach your full potential. Nutritionist Hilary Davies, shares her tips and advice to help you to reach peak performance at any stage of life. Hilary has spent over 25 years helping people to achieve their health objectives, from addressing specific problems such as thyroid conditions, auto immunity and digestive disorders, to more general concerns such as weight loss, stress, fatigue and depressed immunity.

1.15pm – 1.30pm: Sensational Summer Wine & Food Pairing

Refresh your knowledge, taste and learn more about wine. Discover delicious food and wine combinations for the summer with John and Sara Harrison, founders of family run wine company, Circle Wine, and enjoy tasting their suggested wine selections.

Drawing on their experience in procuring the very best of the best, whether it be fine, traditional Bordeaux or Burgundy or the latest New World wizardry, they will help you navigate the world of wine and taste some delicious alternatives, to suit a variety of preferences and budgets.

2pm – 2.30pm: Nicky Haslam shares his passion for design

Voted Interior Designer of The Year 2017, Nicky Haslam will be sharing his passion for Gothic design, inspiring us to create original homes with an insight into his own. There will be time after his talk to meet Nicky and ask any questions that you may have.

2:45pm - 3:05pm: Style your Garden with Sarah Speller

Inspiring you with new ideas to make more of your garden to enjoy throughout the Summer, garden designer and Chelsea Physic Garden trustee, Sarah Speller, will be sharing her knowledge about choosing plants to create the look and style you desire and new ideas for products to create a more personal room outdoors.

Sarah Speller is a garden designer who helps clients create beautiful, practical and functional gardens to be enjoyed all year round. She enables clients to identify their priorities and inspires them to make bold choices and have confidence in their gardening skills.

Date: Friday 5th May 2017
Time: 10am - 4pm
Address: Strawberry Hill House, 268 Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, TW1 4ST
Tickets: £15

For more info and to book your ticket: or call 0843 886 2424 - use the code decorcafe to receive 20% discount on tickets. Booking is essential to avoid disappointment as numbers are limited.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Making Pici Pasta

While I was in Tuscany last year and staying at the beautiful Borgo Sant' Ambrogio estate, we learnt to make pici pasta.

Pici is a hand rolled pasta and similar to fat spaghetti and originates from the Siena province of Tuscany. It's typically made using just flour and water although there is no hard and fast rule - some add a little egg or olive oil to help with the elasticity of the dough - you can blaze your own trail with this.

If you fancy making pici pasta yourself, this recipe from the Telegraph looks good and so does this Jamie Oliver spinach pici recipe here.

Essentially, you make the pici dough which is then rolled out in a thick flat sheet and then cut into strips. To roll the pasta you start in the centre of the strip and using both hands roll the strip between your palms moving away from the centre to either end. The end result is a sort of fat spaghetti that has a really rustic homemade feel to it.

Once the pasta was made away in the shade from the Tuscan sun, it was prepared the traditional way - Pici cacio e pepe which is pici with parmesan, black pepper and golden garlic. Simple and delicious.

I made this pici pasta pictured above with fresh pesto, parmesan and basil when I got back to England. Full disclaimer - I didn't make this pasta - I bought it in a deli before we left Italy! The dried pici pasta is much more uniform I think than the properly fresh homemade kind but it worked really well and was absolutely delicious. For pici pasta in London, head to Padella Pasta - their pici is the best in town!

Borgo Sant' Ambrogio, Tuscany

Last year I was invited to visit the region of Tuscany, courtesy of Italian Eye as part of their KaleidoTour experience - it was a while ago now, but when I look back at the photographs of the weekend I am whisked back there in a moment.

We stayed at the most insanely beautiful residence called Borgo Sant' Ambrogio - a historic Italian estate that has been in the same family for three generations.

So these are the views from the terrace - literally a breath of fresh air. I went on this trip bang in the middle of an extremely hectic time at work and I remember looking out at this view with a cup of coffee and feeling so relaxed. Quiet, private and remote, these views of the surrounding hills and lake below the estate were really breathtaking. 

The beautiful pool is located just below the main terrace at Borgo Sant' Ambrogio - such a beautiful spot - this is the kind of view you never get bored of. 

Alfresco breakfast - you can't really beat this...

As the day faded into the evening, the buildings were swathed in the most wonderful light during that perfect Tuscan golden hour.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and left on Monday morning, but even for just a weekend trip I felt so refreshed. We flew back into Stansted so I nipped into our Humphrey Munson showroom in Felsted when we got back and remember feeling like I'd been away for a week. 

To see more of this incredible estate, visit the website here or follow them on instagram here