Autumn Fair 2019

This week I visited the NEC for The Autumn Fair, which is an exhibition for buyers covering homeware, gifts, fashion, retails solutions, home decor and more.

HOME DECOR

It is a vast space and was packed with exhibitors from across the globe.  There was colour trend forecasting also on offer, with 4 distinct trends and co-ordinating colour palettes – Dome, Scarcity, Gorge and Ritual were the themes:

Moving through the exhibition, in which there were literally hundreds of stalls, the next stop was home decor and lighting.  There were some lovely companies showing.  Coach House were particularly elegant and had a wide range of styles with a strong emphasis in oversized lighting:

I discovered a new brand called One World, and love their oversized furniture and accessories:

Plus I found a fantastic lighting company called Light & Living from the Netherlands, featured below.  Every light was beautiful, and I love the mesh pendants (which incidentally a lot of brands featured so they will be a big thing in 2020).  Their lights were beautiful, although very heavy so the practical designer in me popped out as I pondered the way to hang them safely on a standard British light fitting..

So looking at trends for 2020 home decor, colour is definitely creeping back in, even if the sophisticated greys/blush combos and Hygge remain popular.  I am really happy to see some colour after years of pale greys though….

SUSTAINABILITY

On another positive note, there was a large emphasis from exhibitors on sustainability.  I spent ages talking to a Chinese manufacturer from the Shaoneng Group about their products made from sugar cane and bamboo waste pulp.  They apply it to disposable food retail products, but it could also apply to many other home items.  It is biodegradable, water and oil proof and much more.  A wonderful product, especially for take aways and similar food outlets.

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So definitely an interesting place to visit and see what is on offer, how it is made and what some companies are doing to help sustainability and recycling.  This month I also will be visiting 100% Design & The London Design Fair, so watch this space for more ramblings…

Gorgeous Candles…

Hello, I have been taking some photos for Muri Home candles, and thought I should share how delicious they are in terms of not just the look but the smells!

I am a bit of a candle freak to be honest, and dread to think what I have spent over the years on them.  Muri Home candles are available on Etsy, and are very reasonably priced at £18 each for a glass jar version – compared to similar quality candles by brands such as Diptyque and True Grace.  And they do not disappoint in terms of quality and scent.

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I like my candles strong.. so I can smell them even when not lit, and these ones definitely hit the mark.  I was a sent over three candles to photograph; Fresh Air, Freshly Cut Grass and Cactus & Sea Salt.  Once the lid its off the smell is really potent, which is a good sign of perfume levels I think in the candles.  The design is also really simple and so they suit any interior.

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There are several other fragrances available bedsides the ones I photographed; Rose & Neroli, Coconut Cream, Orange Blossom, Lemon & Lavender, Fig & Brown Sugar, Fig & Bergamot, Fresh Bread, Cinnamon Bun and Vanilla.  YUM!  They are also available really cute enamel mugs if you don’t want glass jars.  Definitely a great gift, or just be really selfish and buy them all for yourself!

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Fitted Cupboards & Shelves for Books

It’s been a bit quiet on the blogging front whilst I have been trying to plan how to fit the contents of a large house into a smaller one.  Books are the big issue this past couple of weeks – I have cleared the blockbuster paperback shelves and donated them to the charity shops, but still have a lot left that I re-read constantly including loads of penguin classics and art books.  Even after the purge,  I still have hundreds and really do not want to part with them  My tape measure and I are constant companions now, and I have spent days researching various options for bookcases and cupboards that I need to fit into quite wide alcoves in the dining room of our new house this summer.

They need to look something like this and fit the spaces perfectly.

Ikea hacking came to mind as a first option, with cunning combinations of shelves and mouldings – but I am not made on melamine, and even when painted it chips easily so I know it would drive me nuts spotting flaws on shelves.

I then got in several firms who build bespoke shelving units to quote.  Most were averaging £1K per unit.  Unbelievable!  For that I would get MDF, not even solid wood.

Finally I have found a firm online who can make solid wood ones to order for very reasonable prices. I supply all measurements and they make, deliver and fit.  It is millimetre perfect so is actually not scribed into the wall but removable.  I can move the shelves around to suit the book sizes, and they come primed and sprayed in any paint I want as well – all F&B colours or any RAL.  I am thinking plain white but I will paint the back beading a much darker colour to make things pop.

I am going for a combination of these library shelves below, but with doors not drawers on the lower part top hide the uglier books!  I just love the ladder – the unit will be 9ft tall so I think I can justify one!

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What do you think?  I am putting the order in this week… can’t wait!

A brief note about IKEA

Just a quick note today about the Swedish giant emporium that is IKEA.  I am preparing the house for an interior shoot this week, and thought I would pop by IKEA to pick up some spare tapered candles.  Just candles, don’t need anything else….


Am I the type of person in the world who enters the shop with such a simple intention, and leaves with what I came for? I am not.  By the time I had reached the checkout I had a trolley groaning with the following items, rationale had left me.  But I did that thing that all TRUE AND GREAT SHOPPERS DO… I made up some excellent reasons as to why I needed them:

  • Candles – what I came for.  A box of white tapered ones
  • Candles – nice big huge chunky ones, 4 of them, might be good at Christmas
  • Hallway sisal runner – mine is looking a bit jaded so a smart replacement
  • 3m long velvet orange curtains – great for the recently overhauled dining room
  • Plastic food bags – 2 boxes, useful for crafts, kids lunches and so on
  • Plastic food bag clips – to tie up the above
  • Tea towels- linen, very pretty and no doubt a bugger to iron so they will end up in a drawer and only be used once
  • King size bed sheet, they finally do UK sized fitted sheets, and in dark aubergine…
  • Two wool throws in charcoal, just snuggly and useful, but excess on top of the other 5/6 throws I already have…
  • Copper tray to put all the candles on, on trend as they say
  • Cream tin canister set for the kitchen- to hide things like cat medicine
  • Two small artificial Christmas trees – most lifelike and useful for Christmas
  • Boxes of Christmas decorations made from 3D brown paper – no time to make my own this year
  • Boxes of black Christmas tree baubles – great for the new dining room scheme
  • Black storage boxes to put things in, not sure what yet but I am sure they will be very practical
  • Table runners x 2 to sew together to make one long one for the Christmas table, but I forgot that my sewing machine is broken so they will no doubt end up in a drawer with the tea towels
  • A wad of paper napkins, to go with all the other ones I forgot I already had
  • Christmas wrapping paper – I don’t begrudge this as their lines are really nice and come with lots of different papers, ribbons and bags at a very good price.  Mind you I probably just blew the present budget for several people buying all the above.

IKEA is just one of those places where you grab things as you walk through it as they seem by cheap.  It is only at the till that you realise that you have spent a fortune on lots of things that will ultimately and probably end up in a drawer.

Does anyone else out there do this too, or am I just a retailers delight?!

Ta-ta for now…..

Heals – A rather fabulous shop

I was in London yesterday, whiling away the time whilst my eldest daughter was singing in a concert.  Heading to the Tottenham Court Road, I visited Heals, a fantastic furniture emporium which I have not been to for at least a decade.  A lifetime ago when I lived in London and was furnishing my first apartment,, it was THE place to get your cool, edgy statement pieces.  Happily, it is still just as cutting edge in design as I remember.

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The first thing I saw on entering was Abigail Ahern‘s flower shop.  These are the most realistic blooms and plants I have even seen.  The cactus’ especially intrigued my youngest daughter who was with me.  She could not believe they were not real and kept stroking them, with no spines and spikes to hurt her little hands.

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You can order these on-line if you cannot get to London from her on-line shop, and I guarantee they are worth getting.  They are amazing, and you would probably end up watering them by mistake.

We then headed into the shop where I was assailed by the most beautiful lights, they are like huge teardrops in hand blown glass.

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There are well priced selection of wall lights.

IMG_2320IMG_2321Then on to the scented candles to smell some delicious scents, and where the Tom Dixon candles are sublime, if not unbelievably pricey.543205Every item is chosen carefully to represent the best in design in Heals.  This new cinema chair is very sweet too…

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And I feel that the Pinner bed would look great in my spare room.  Like a modernist colonial upgrade.

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This is tableware called ‘Ink’.  Each blue and white motif evokes classic Delftware porcelain and 1950s Midwinter ceramics.

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I recommend a visit to anyone who loves interiors when in London.  And if not, the website is well designed and ships internationally.  A final swoon over Abigail Ahern flowers designed into a huge hanging beast of beauty….

 

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English Antique hunting mission

I am sitting in a very cool cafe in Tetbury, Gloucestershire today and about to start on a mission finding interesting antiques.  It is pouring with rain, so I think there will be less tourists about giving me excellent shopping space!


Tetbury is a beautiful town in the Cotswolds, famous for a myriad of Antique shops.  It is also local to both Prince Charles’ and Princess Anne’s estates, so I might even have a Royal spotting (although if they are wise they should stay indoors on this very wet and grey English day).


But first some fuel… A pretty jam jar of juice and a mega toasted sandwich.

 There is one main street in the town which is full of antique dealers’ shops.  The current vogue is mainly for rustic French furniture, prints and reupholstered furniture.  It is pretty pricey but some of the pieces are wonderful.

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Armoire
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China collection
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Prince of Wales’ Insignia
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I’ll have it all!

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I had already spent about £30k in my head in just one side of the street.  All of the dealers are very friendly and informative, and I did not have any negative experiences anywhere.

The shutters above are my plan for a bedhead, I just have to hope they are still there when I return in the near future.