Boost your home’s kerb appeal

After a weather-beating winter, it’s time to spruce up the appearance of your home, whether it’s to help sell it or just to make it look smart. The right styling can lure in buyers and help sell a home more quickly. But what are the best-dressed homes wearing this season? Here’s how to get the latest looks that will make you the envy of your road.

The Shutter Store California shutters
The Shutter Store California shutters

Wow your windows

Sure, double-glazing will add value to a home (at a large price to you), but it’s more important that your windows look smart and cared for if you want to boost your chances of a speedy sale.

Forget old-fashioned nets or fussy swag curtains, the look of the moment is wooden shutters. In fact, you can rate the desirability of a street by the number of homes with shutters – they’re a sure sign of a neighbourhood on the up. “Shutters are more flexible than other window coverings and can fit any shaped window even circular or triangular spaces,” comments property expert Sarah Beeny. “They are particularly popular at the front of a property as they look smart and, when you come to sell, will give your buyers a great first impression.

If you’re on a budget, the Shutter Store (www.shutters.co.uk) sells the most affordable shutters on the market – the catch? You need to measure and fit them yourself.

“Choosing attractive wooden shutters for the front windows also really improves the appearance of a building, creating a unified and stylish look to the exterior of a property,” says Mark Carter, founder of Shutterly Fabulous (www.shutterlyfabulous.com).

The latest trend that he is noticing is for wider slats that allow more light in, and while white is still the most popular finish, taupes, alabasters and greys are also proving increasingly popular.

And as for net curtains, window film is a quick, affordable and contemporary alternative – the Window Film Company (www.windowfilm.co.uk) even has laser-printed designs featuring birds and plants for extra interest, starting from £30.

 

Jeld Wen Elegance windows
Jeld Wen Elegance windows

A lick of paint

Where white or brown was once the preference for exterior windows, doors and masonry, a coloured finish is increasingly popular.

Premium window manufacturers are cottoning on to this trend and supplying fully-finished windows accordingly, ensuring that homeowners receive a beautiful product with a quality finish. Even PVC windows now come in a range of colours including grey and sage green – which is incredibly popular in the Cotswolds.

“The use of greys and conservation pastel green tones is proving popular, and even requests for royal green and blue are on the increase,” confirms Georgina Campbell, Head of Marketing at JELD-WEN (www.jeld-wen.co.uk) a manufacturer of timber windows and doors.

To make your home look instantly contemporary, even if it’s pebbledashed, Mylands (www.mylands.co.uk), who specialise in environmentally-friendly exterior paints, suggest a soft grey palette for smart sophistication. “Paint your front door in the charcoal-ish Mayfair Dark, choose a soft dove grey such as Sloane Square for the masonry and a mid grey – Mid Wedgewood – for the windows,” says Dominic Mylands, managing director of Mylands.

And in red-brick areas? “A green-based palette will work wonderfully and it will blend harmoniously with any exterior plants and foliage. You can choose softer grey-greens for more yellow stone.”

Marcus Barnett
Marcus Barnett

Plant for success

Don’t neglect your front garden or the space around your door – a couple of pots with the right plants can create a welcome.

“Structural evergreens always add oomph when planted in pots by the front door,” says Helen Derrin in-house designer at the nursery Crocus (www.crocus.co.uk). “In shady spots, you can’t go wrong with box or yew topiary clipped into cones or balls, while a pair of tree ferns framing an entrance will add real impact in a less formal setting. For sunny spots, try less structured olives or lavenders, which look modern and relaxed – and lavender offers the bonus of scent each time you breeze past.”

As for the pot, Derrin advises choosing something to complement your house – a contemporary home will suit a sleek metal pot, although terracotta is one of the biggest sellers at Crocus and is always popular as it blends into most settings.

But before you do a trolley dash around the garden centre, consider Chelsea Flower Show garden designer Marcus Barnett’s advice (www.marcusbarnett.com). “Be bold with your planting scheme but keep to a restrained palette of greens and whites such as striking forms of Buxus sempervirens mixed with white tulips such as Tulipa ‘White Triumphator’. A single highlight colour could be used which might complement the interior or pick out a subtle colour on the architecture of the house.”

Remember, just as fussy overly patterned interiors are a turn-off for buyers, your garden can have the same effect. Keep it simple and striking.

06jhc70 The Savills Garden.  Modernist architecture. Contemporary. Mies van der Rohe. Design: Philip Nixon and Marcus Barnett RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2006 Jerry Harpur Please read our licence terms. All digital images must be destroyed unless otherwise agreed in writing. Photograph by: www.harpurgardenlibrary.com Contact: Harpur Garden Library 44 Roxwell Road Chelmsford Essex CM1 2NB, UK

If you have more space, Barnett recommends herbaceous perennials to create impact through spring and summer: “Consider Echinacea, Helenium, Aquilegia or Valeriana mixed with Sanguisorba and Euphorbia species in a limited palette of colours.”

Sandtex
Sandtex

Jaw-dropping doors

Peeling paint, draughty gaps or plastic-looking PVC are not what buyers are looking for when you greet them. A wooden door, with polished ironmongery, that suits the setting, is perhaps the biggest change you can make to the front of your home.

Adding a stately shade can make a simple cottage-style door look more sophisticated, while a casual, bright hue can make a formal façade friendlier and more imaginative. “Traditional colours such as black, red and blue create a smart entrance, and look especially effective in high-shine gloss,” says Mylands.

“Our current best-sellers are Bay Tree in a satin finish, which is a pale lichen green and looks great against white, cream and natural masonry, and Pillar Box Red, which makes a bold statement,” says Mark Bannister of Sandtex Exterior Paints (www.sandtex.co.uk).

Window Film Company
Window Film Company

But if you want your house to look the height of “now” after the sage greens and pigeon greys that have dominated for the last couple of years, Mylands suggests the robust Burlington Arcade – an almost turquoise blue shade tempered with grey that he tips to be the next big colour.

As for door furniture, while the trend for minimal ironmongery is till strong – think a large ring knocker above a central round door knob – the dominance of chrome finishes is waning as antique brass, satin nickel and faded gold make a comeback. It’s about looking subtly sophisticated, and they require less polishing.

 

Original Style - Victorian Floor Tiles - Dorchester pattern with Byron border
Original Style

Path to perfection

Don’t neglect your path and wall or fence – most people will give your home a cursory glance as they drive past or look at the first image online. What does a broken or missing gate, crumbling wall or concrete path say about your home? And will it really entice people in? Repair any damage and improve what you can.

Block brick paving along a path looks smart and low-maintenance, while tiles add a chic look to contemporary home and will enhance the period character of older properties – something buyers love. London Mosaic (www.londonmosaic.com) sells traditional Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian designs on large sheets, which makes them easy to install.

If you like the traditional look but hanker after something more contemporary, Sarah McClement of Original Style (www.originalstyle.com) recommends choosing a monochrome scheme. “While our traditional tiles (browns, reds, greens) are consistently popular, we have noticed a real shift towards more simple black and white patterns, and also those with grey, over the last couple of years. Feedback from our customers suggested that homeowners love the period style but prefer a more understated look than some of the very traditional styles.”

Accordingly, the company has created a new range, including three new greys, of more simplistic and contemporary patterns, which launched at the beginning of the year.

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in the Daily Mail on 9 May

Recipe: Heart Healthy Blueberry Avocado smoothie

If you are feeling the need for a mid-week cleanse then NUTRiBULLET has the perfect recipe for you. Their in-house Nutritionist has put together the perfect antioxidant-packed blast that your heart and body will love.

Full of monounsaturated fatty acids from the avocado, shown to help lower our risk of heart disease, and antioxidants from blueberries, shown to help reduce the build-up of “bad” LDL cholesterol, this creamy concoction will keep your heart healthy and strong.

Ingredients:

Heart Healthy Blueberry Avocado

1 cup Blueberries
¼ Avocado
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1 tablespoon SuperFood SuperGreens
1 tablespoon Honey
1 cup Coconut Water
1 handful Ice Cubes

Instructions

Add all solid ingredients to the Tall Cup. Fill to the Max Line with liquids and blend until smooth, approximately 30 seconds. Add half a cup of Greek yoghurt for an extra boost of protein.

The one with the tents

Yes folks, we did it. Last week, we went camping en famille – after the rain and thunder had passed on Tuesday, that is.

At midday on Wednesday, with the car packed and an hour to till we were due to set off, we still didn’t know where we were heading to, other than a vague notion that Dorset might be nice.

A quick Google later and we were heading to Tom’s Field on the Isle of Purbeck. Except that we never actually got there. We’d been in the car for around two hours when we reached the New Forest and decided we might just stop there since it was 1. already tea time, 2. we hadn’t heard back from Tom’s Field, and 3. we already had that sinking feeling that the next day we would be heading to Peppa Pig World on the edge of the forest.

The children LOVED the wild ponies, bunnies, and cows in the National Park, which kept them both occupied while we put up the tent at Ocknell campsite – much windier in “real” conditions than the practice go in the garden had been.

Then we immediately chickened out of a camp fire supper in favour of Prezzo in Lyndhurst – well, it was already getting a bit chilly by 6.30 AND we were a bit knackered from the driving/tent-building.

Henry slept soundly in his travel cot and Floss loved her own bedroom cabin… and us? It was FREEZING. I don’t understand how the kids weren’t affected as I lay awake wearing ALL of the clothes I’d packed for the long weekend at once, with a scarf wrapped around my head and a picnic blanket over my sleeping bag. And in those cold, early hours of the morning, just before the dawn chorus kicked in, my paranoid mind was convinced that the toddler might get hyperthermia.

As the sun came up and the birds got louder, I finally got some sleep thanks to the temperature creeping up. But Gav was up before 7 and sat on a tree trunk outside reading and drinking tea that he’d made on the gas stove until the rest of us emerged nearer 9am.

Bleary-eyed and looking a bit bedraggled, we headed to Peppa Pig World – all in all, apart from the coldness and lack of a decent shower, our first night camping had been a success.

And it got better…

MORE TO FOLLOW (I’ll also add pics)

Don’t just recycle, Upcycle

Don’t let boring furniture bring you down – with a bit of imagination and some elbow grease you can upcycle it into something amazing in no time. Try these design projects out…

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.50.16

A Paul Klee-inspired dotty chest

Chalk paint creator Annie Sloan was inspired to create this chest of drawers after seeing avant garde artist Paul Klee’s watercolour, Polyphony (1932).

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.50.35

  1. Find a fairly modern chest of drawers to upcycle and paint the entire chest with Chalk Paint Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan in Paris Grey (from £5.95 a pot, www.anniesloan.com) to provide a good neutral background.
  2. Rip off large flaps from cardboard boxes and paint onto them. Then press the cardboard squares onto the cabinet to give a slightly uneven effect.
  3. When the entire area is covered, roughly apply the same colours onto some bubble wrap and press the ‘tips’ of the bubble wrap onto the surface of the chest of drawers to create the dot effects.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.48.25

Skateboard shelves

Upcycle That (www.upcyclethat.com) collaborated with Bacardi to turn these skateboard into a suspended shelves drinks cabinet, but we’d like them in our own home, too. Best of all, it’s dead easy to do.

  1. Take three old skateboard decks and stack them in the order that you want to hang them; add new grip tape if you want to freshen up the look of the decks.
  2. Working from the bottom of your lowest deck, thread one length of 1/8” aircraft cable (at least 4 feet long) through the pair of outer holes, where the wheels were once screwed in. Pull the cable taut to make a tight loop at the bottom of the cable and each side of the wire is even. Repeat on the other end of the deck.
  3. Unscrew the bolts of four 1/8” wire rope clamps and tighten them snugly around the cables above the skateboard.
  4. Measure 14 inches up the cable and mark the point with a marker pen on all four cables. Secure wire clamps to the spots, then thread the cables through the bottom of the next deck.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to secure the final two boards in place. Then measure 14 inches up again (or as long a length as you want your shelves to hang down from the ceiling), add four 1/8” wire rope clips (to form a loop) and secure with clamps.
  6. Drill four hooks into the ceiling and hang your shelves (http://www.upcyclethat.com/crafted-cabinets).

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.42.04

Crate storage

Old crates are a mine of creativity, Stack them on their sides to create a quirky shelving unit, like this one from Great British design brand Loaf, add wheels the bottom to make drawers, screw four of them together, each facing outwards to create a coffee table with shelving for magazines underneath.

You can pick up old crates in junk shops or buy these pretty, vintage-looking ones (from £12.50, www.pastellane.co.uk).

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.45.33

Create an interesting wall display with old fruit crates by first sanding down any splinters; then paint the inside back of the crate with two coats of Curpinol Garden Shades Forest Mushroom and Warm Flax. Lastly screw them together and fix them to the wall using shelf brackets and screws if you choose, in any configuration that you like.

 

 

pink-legs

Half-painted furniture

Brown wooden furniture looks old-fashioned, but completely painted wooden furniture can look a bit “Changing Rooms”. For a modern update, try “dipping” the legs of a chair or table in bright colours – use masking tape to get a clean finish and then sand and paint the lower half of the legs. Mix and match your chairs for a really contemporary look.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.57.23 Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.57.35

Or paint the top half of the chair – the seat and back of this retro British cult design Ercol chair have been sanded and then painted in Farrow and Ball’s St Giles Blue (£38, www.farrow-ball.com).

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.30.35

Jam jar mugs

If you haven’t heard of Sugru (£12.99, www.sugru.com), you soon will. The mouldable, play-dough like glue sticks to virtually anything and is great for repairs and for modifying and upcycling everyday items.

  1. Take an old jam jar, remove the label and glue and thoroughly clean and dry it.
  2. Bend a fork into a handle shape.
  3. Mould a ball of Sugru about the size of a ten pence piece into as round a sphere as you can. Mould a second one the size of five pence piece.
  4. Stick the larger ball of sugru onto the jar where you want the top of your handle to be then press the jar against a flat surface to flatten the ball; stick the small ball onto the base end of the fork handle.
  5. Press the fork handle onto the Sugru and leave it to set for 24 hours before using it – because Sugru doesn’t conduct heat you can use your mug for tea and coffee without the handle getting hot.

 

 

My favourite upcyclers

Like the look but lack the DIY gene? Then buy a unique piece of furniture from one of these talented upcyclers, instead.

Refunk’d

Ursh Stevens – whose fans include Theo Paphitis and Jacqueline Gold – upcycles pre-loved furniture and scrapyard finds into quirky pieces of art and practical-but-cool everyday items – shop mannequin standard lamp anyone? www.refunked.com

Florrie + Bill

British designer Amy Cawson takes vintage furniture – think mid-century Danish armchairs and Sixties’ G-Plan – restores it, and then breathes new life into it with modern fabric. www.florrieandbill.com

Trong Upcycling

Find Jez’ fab snowboard benches, golf club coat hooks and petrol can mini bars at www.remadeinbritain.com

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in Metro on 26 May

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 13.26.46

 

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Interiors: revamp your bathroom

… without replacing your bath suite!

Replacing a bathroom is a costly business, but you can transform the room you’ve got without changing the suite, for a fraction of the time and cost with these simple tips and tricks…

John Lewis, Lindsey Lang Leaf Cotton Towels, Grey, from £3.50 - £36 2

1 Change your towels

If your bathroom features plain, greying white towels or faded block colours, then inject some life into your room by updating them – it’s the easiest way to keep up with the latest bathroom trends. Right now, it’s all about a return to graphic patterns and expensive-looking textured towels with jacquard patterns or fringed edging. Try Lindsay Lang’s bold leaf towel range for John Lewis (from £3.50) or their Scandi-inspired Coastal Nordic Scene towels from £3 (www.johnlewis.com). We love House of Fraser’s bobble-trim hand towels (£10, www.houseoffraser.co.uk) and Sainsbury’s fringe stripe bath towel (£10, www.sainsburys.co.uk).

John Lewis Coastal Nordic Scene Towels, Slate, Slate John Lewis, from £3

2 Replace the taps and radiators

You can make a basic bath look modern and sleek in seconds with a simple change of the taps. Bathstore’s angular Blade deck mounted bath and shower mixer (£299, www.bathstore.com) looks contemporary without being so fashion-conscious that it would date quickly. Meanwhile, the Bensham bath and basin taps (from £99) will create some classic character in a soulless, bland bathroom.

Swapping your radiator for a heated towel rail is much easier than you’d think as it doesn’t require any additional wiring or plumbing, but they look so effective, as well as creating an efficient and stylish space to store the towels that you are currently using. You can spend as little at £59.99 for a modern white or chrome rail from Homebase (www.homebase.co.uk), or several hundred on a luxurious traditional-looking, ball-jointed chunky towel rails in brass and chrome from C.P Hart (from £887, www.cphartshop.co.uk).

John Lewis Medina Soap Dish, £12 John Lewis Medina Toothbrush Holder, £12 John Lewis, Medina Soap Pump, £16

3 Paint the tiles…

Literally. Instead of re-tiling the walls, use dedicated tile paint for an instant effect. Try Ronseal One Coat Satin Tile Paint (£19.98, www.diy.com) in Granite, a mid-grey stone shade, for a contemporary update that’s waterproof and mould-resistant. Best of all you don’t need to use a primer and the paint dries in two hours, so it’s a quick and easy trick to try out.

Camden_Blue image002

If you’re up for a bigger job, replacing the floor with patterned tiles will create a modern, directional look – Topp’s Tiles Victorian-inspired geometric Grosvenor tiles in monochrome shade (£59.60 per square metre, www.toppstiles.co.uk) add a stylish air, while their encaustic effect blue Camden Floral Lys tiles (£24.99 per square metre) look like they could have come from the much more expensive Fired Earth.

jars

4 Window dressing

Get rid of grotty, mildew-y fabric blinds or outdated curtains and replace them with easy-to-clean wooden shutters. “For bathrooms, where you want privacy but do not want to lose light, tier on tier shutters offer the perfect solution. With separately adjustable top and bottom panels you can open either section or open the slats to create the perfect alignment for your room. Alternatively cafe style shutters work well by covering only the lower section of your window, offering a balance between light and privacy,” explains Chrissie Harper, Operations Manager at California Shutters.

Their blue Classic Poplar wood shutters (from £177 per square metre, www.californiashutters.co.uk) add a pop of colour and look clean and contemporary – they’re perfect for a beachy, nautical-style bathroom, too.

hof baskets

5 Sort your storage

Adding new bathroom accessories, such as storage jars, laundry baskets and a towel ladder, will instantly organise your space and give it some personality. For vintage style with an industrial edge, head to House of Fraser for their Linea Maritime glass storage jars (from £12); go for a global traveller look at John Lewis (Medina soap pump, £16, and toothbrush jar £12); or add some dipped rustic woven baskets from House of Fraser or M&S.

Wooden Towel Ladder, £99.00, OKA

You can pick up a ladder shelving unit from M&S (£129, www.marksandspencer.com) in a range of colours, including a bright blue, which will clear your clutter away, while Oka has a wooden towel ladder for £99 (www.okadirect.com).

Step Ladder Shelving Unit £129

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 19 May

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Camp it up!

This weekend we bought a tent! Yup, me, ex travel-editor of Glamour, miss luxe hotel, boutique boltholer and five-star spa-goer, I am going camping.
Not even glamping, but real, genuine camping in my own tent, that I’ll have to pitch before I can sleep in it. So it’s not quite Bear Grills’ The Island, but it’s about as close to survival as my holidays have ever got – with added midges and mosquitoes thrown in.

The original plan was a camper van stay on the Isle of Wight but we left it a bit late and by the time we factored in the cost of the van and the ferry it wasn’t going to be cheap or comfortable or reliable (I speak as a former VW owner!).

So that’s how I found myself on the car park of Decathlon Surrey Quays at the weekend, weighing up the size and spec of varying shapes and size of tents.

The only trouble is, now we’ve spent as much on sleeping bags, mattresses, foot pumps, mallets, night lights, torches and other camping paraphernalia and the weather forecast for the week is thunder and hale! Thank you GB.

Our next decision is where to go…

Interiors: Into the blue

Move over grey, it’s time to embrace a new hue. Subtle, chalky blues are super-versatile and make a modern update on boring beige and grey

Joined and Jointed Inside Out Cabinet
Joined and Jointed Inside Out Cabinet

Inside Out cabinet in Freshwest, £495, www.joinedandjointed.co.uk

John Lewis Croft Collection Recycled Glass Vase, Blue, Height 45cm, £75
John Lewis Croft Collection Recycled Glass Vase, Blue, Height 45cm

Croft Collection recycled glass vase, £75, www.johnlewis.com

George Home whale cushion
George Home whale cushion

Whale cushion, £8, www.georgehome.com

Bisque radiators
Bisque radiators
Loaf Haze rug
Loaf Haze rug

Haze rug, £245, www.loaf.com

Tiger ovenproof dishes
Tiger ovenproof dishes

Large ovenproof dish, £5, www.tigerstores.co.uk

Neptune Buckingham mirror Aqua Blue
Neptune Buckingham mirror Aqua Blue

Buckingham mirror in aqua blue, £210, www.neptune.co.uk

Laura Ashley SS15, country casual range
Laura Ashley SS15, country casual range
ANTHROPOLOGIE Pratone Birdhouse
ANTHROPOLOGIE Pratone Birdhouse

Pratone birdhouse, £36, www.anthropologie.eu

John Lewis G-Plan Vintage The-Fifty-Eight, Large Sofa Tonic Charcoal Pewter Dogtooth
John Lewis G-Plan Vintage The-Fifty-Eight, Large Sofa Tonic Charcoal Pewter Dogtooth

G Plan Vintage, The Fifty Eight Large Sofa, £1450, www.johnlewis.com

H&M vase
H&M vase

Vase, £7.99 www.hm.co.uk

Loaf Cloud sofa
Loaf Cloud sofa

Cloud sofa with removable cover, £1,320, www.loaf.com

Farrow and Ball Stiffkey Blue
Farrow and Ball Stiffkey Blue

Stiffkey Blue  2.5L estate emulsion, £38, www.Farrow-Ball.com

Loaf Wobbler-ware crockery
Loaf Wobbler-ware crockery

Wobbler tableware in aqua, from £35, www.loaf.com

John Lewis Osborne & Little Peacock Wallpaper, Jade Metallic Cobalt, £105pr
John Lewis Osborne & Little Peacock Wallpaper

Osborne & Little Peacock Wallpaper, Jade Metallic Cobalt, £105 per roll, www.Johnlewis.com 

Tesco Watercolour Spot Cushion
Tesco Watercolour Spot Cushion

Watercolour spot cushion, £7, www.tesco.com

The Linen Works Parisian Blue bedding
The Linen Works Parisian Blue bedding

Parisian blue linen mini pillowcase, £14, housewife pillowcases, £30, and double duvet cover, £130, www.thelinenworks.co.uk

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 12 May 2015

Street food comes to Shrewsbury

I’m really excited to see the street food trend expanding outside London. And on 22 May, chef Marcus Bean is launching Eat Street in Shropshire’s medieval county town of Shrewsbury.

The pretty, bustling market town of Shrewsbury
The pretty, bustling market town of Shrewsbury

Among the eight traders that will be showcasing their street food will be seasoned street food favourites: The Beefy Boys from Hereford and London-based Dog Town London. They will be lined up alongside Shrewsbury’s Barkworths Seafoods, Eat Up’s big coffee van and Polly’s Parlour Vintage VW ice-cream van.

Add live music and entertainment and there will be a real festival vibe to the event. You can’t go home without one of Dogtown London’s Big Smokey hotdogs or a 12-hour smoked pulled pork bun.

Chef, and Eat Street founder, Marcus Bean in the kitchen garden
Chef, and Eat Street founder, Marcus Bean in the kitchen garden

Other flavours at the Eat Street Shrewsbury include wood fired pizza from the pizza Peddlers, hot dogs topped with chilli cheese from Dogtown London, fishy delights from Barkworths Shrewsbury Saint-Pierre stand, and ice-cream served from a vintage VW ice cream van called Florence.

* Eat Street, Shrewsbury will take place in the grounds of St Alkmunds church off Butcher Row, Shrewsbury on Friday 22nd May, 4pm-10pm. Entry will be free of charge.

For more information follow @eatstreetshrews on Twitter 

ALISON TYLER

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Sweet peas – the scent of summer

6.5.15_sweet_pea_header

 

 

I LOVE sweet peas – they’re so fragrant and fragile and the abundant with blooms. They make a fabulous cut flower and add height to and colour to any garden. And, best of all, they are dead easy to grow!

I received this email today from Sarah Raven, who stocks some of the most lovely heritage sweet peas that look and smell like the summers of my childhood, and I wanted to share it as it’s a goof-proof guide to growing sweet peas.

Until Sunday, she is also offering 15% off sweet pea seedlings and growing kit, so grab some now, and you’ll be enjoying fragrant, garden-grown cut flowers by August!

 

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Interiors: best of the (Wild) West

Take inspiration from the warm desert hues of sun-baked reds, dusty ochres and burnt oranges, throw in a bit of Native American pattern, add a cactus and you’ve nailed this season’s hottest look faster than you can say Spaghetti Western

 

Tesco Arizona Dining Table £399 Arizona Dining Bench £199 Arizona Console Table £249 Marseille Metal Dining Chairs Sulphur Yellow and Silver £39
Tesco Arizona Dining Table £399 Arizona Dining Bench £199 Arizona Console Table £249 Marseille Metal Dining Chairs Sulphur Yellow and Silver £39

 

George Home SS15 Desert Hanging feather dreamcatcher
George Home SS15 Desert Hanging feather dreamcatcher

Hanging Feather Dream catcher £5, www.george.com

Very Cactus Scape Cushion £12
Very Cactus Scape Cushion £12

Cactus Cushion, £12, www.very.co.uk

Habitat Altivo bowl
Habitat Altivo bowl

Alvito green and white patterned terracotta bowl, £25, www.habitat.co.uk

West Elm Embroidered Star Duvet set
West Elm Embroidered Star Duvet set

Embroidered star bed linen, £19-£119; Geo tile pillowcase, £29; Emmerson bed, £999; Reclaimed wood and lacquer bedside table, £299; Prism wool rug, from £99.95.  All from www.westelm.co.uk

Abigail Ahern Wild Bill sofa
Abigail Ahern Wild Bill sofa

Wild Bill two-seat sofa, £2000, www.abigailahern.com

Ikea set of three cacti
Ikea set of three cacti

Set of three cacti in pots, £4.50, Ikea, www.ikea.com

Graham and Green White Resin antlers
Graham and Green White Resin antlers

Roebuck antlers on shield, £60, www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Tesco House Rules Cushion £10

House Rules cushion, £10, www.tesco.com

Conran shop Medium Cactus Vase
Conran shop Medium Cactus Vase

Medium cactus vase, £36, The Conran Shop, www.conranshop.co.uk

Tesco Direct Idaho Large Sofa Leather Antique Chocolate;  Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle
Tesco Direct Idaho Large Sofa Leather Antique Chocolate; Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle

Idaho Large Sofa, Leather Antique Chocolate £949; Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle £399; Lausanne Armchair Horizontal Patchwork Brick £299; Arizona Coffee Table £199, Arizona Console Table £249; Arizona Side Table £129, Multi Bean Rug 120x170cm £120; Indiana Glass Ombre Table Amber Lamp £49; Green Bottle Vase Large £15; Chunky Knit Multi Reds Throw £25; Contrast Piped Yellow Cushion £8; Watercolour Stripe Cushion £8; Contrast Piped Green Cushion £8; Cactus Print Cushion £8. All from www.tesco.com

 

Mahout Lifestyle, Multi-Coloured Symmetrical Cotton, Dhurrie
Mahout Lifestyle, Multi-Coloured Symmetrical Cotton, Dhurrie

Multi-coloured symmetrical cotton rug, £285, www.mahoutlifestyle.com

George Home SS15 Desert Tufted arrow cushion
George Home SS15 Desert Tufted arrow cushion

Tufted Arrow Cushion, £15, www.george.com

Graham and green picture frame
Graham and green picture frame

Painted bone picture frame, £12, www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Habitat ZADAR horse objet black
Habitat ZADAR horse objet black

Zadar black facteted horse object, £18, www.habitat.co.uk

George Home Desert Bedroom
George Home Desert Bedroom

Desert Ikat double duvet set, £12; Ikat Cushion, £8; Tufted Arrow Cushion, £12; Copper Lantern, £10; Wood and Copper Effect Desk Lamp, £20. All from George Home at ASDA, www.george.com

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 5 May 15

 

 

 

 

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