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mydeco previews the OKA 2010 summer collection 23 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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OKA cottage

Image credit: OKA

Being a longstanding OKA fan, I am always excited to see what the new season has in store. Whether you live in the country or the city, their luxurious take on rustic wares has something to suit pretty much every home and garden. This season, with Ben Fogle as their new ambassador, it was refreshing to see that they have moved towards a younger, more contemporary aesthetic, with bright colours and modern designs. British garden lunches are about to get very stylish…

Coral plates OKA

Image credit: OKA

I was particularly taken with their coral chinaware (pictured above), featuring simple white plates with a raised coral border in a lovely deep red. The coral centerpiece, in the same red, would also make a young, fresh addition to any summer lunch.

I also fell head over heels in love with their Mediterranean-style textiles, with warm cornflower blues on a simple white background, taking you straight to a world of margheritas and hazy summer siestas.

OKA blue and white cushions

Image credit: Candida Balfour

And last but not least: the garden furniture. Practical but stylish, the OKA team have honed their outdoor collection to perfection. Don’t worry – the trusty staples are still there, but this season’s new additions are a must for anyone wanting to jazz up their garden in time for Easter. The best-selling rattan garden furniture, the Luccombe range, now comes in a warm pale grey, looking wonderfully weathered straight out of the warehouse. We love the new East Hampton double sunbed, which is as stylish as a sofa, with matching pale grey cushions. (Ideal for those hazy siestas). An added bonus – it is water resistant.

East Hampton sunbed OKA

Image credit: OKA

And last but by no means least, the new parasols should be top of everyone’s list. Big and beautiful, they put every bog standard garden umbrella to shame.

OKA parasols

Image credit: Candida Balfour

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Exclusive: Kirstie Allsopp on the joys of quilting 16 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog, Interviews.
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Image credit: mydeco

Just in time for the much talked about Quilts exhibition at the V&A this month, I caught up with homemade home domestic goddess Kirstie Allsopp about the joys of quilting.

How are you involved with the exhibition?

I will be giving a talk at the V&A about quilting tonight at the Director’s Circle Dinner – I am so excited. I literally cannot wait to walk through the doors and see the exhibition.

It all started when we visited this amazing quilter in Devon, called Jo Colwill.  She is a premier quilter and teaches the craft; that’s what really sparked my interest.

Why do you think the exhibition is important?

Quilts are really special in that each one has a narrative behind it; they magically combine history, artistic talent and skill. Looking at a quilt, you can pick up clues about the circumstances in which it was crafted – the economy, current design trends, what was squandered, what was recycled…

I have always had a huge respect for skilled needlewomen.

V&A quilt

Image credit: Bishops Court quilt, 1690-1700. Unknown maker © V&A Images

Why do you think quilting has had such a revival lately?

I think quilts have always been popular to buy, but somewhere along the way we lost touch with making things. Women today work, and they feel out of touch with the act of creating something. I think there’s a new demand for doing things which ground you in family life.  If you’re on a train miles away going to a meeting, for example, and you are sewing or quilting, it transports you to your family and your home.

That’s another reason quilting is so popular: it’s portable. You can do it anywhere.

Also, if you look at the evolution of the quilt in America, it started very much as a community project, and I think this still lives on today. People love groups – I have worked with a few crafts groups – knitting, sewing etc – and everyone there is so happy to socialise as well as learn. You come away with so much more than just a skill.

Do you quilt? Honestly?

At first I was daunted by the size of them, I won’t lie. But that changed when I worked with Angel, from London-based design shop Tobias and the Angel. She taught me how to make quilted lavender cushions, and it was such fun and really easy. Small quilted things like that make great presents for the home.

Do many men quilt, do you think?

I have only ever seen one, but I am sure there will be more!

WIN the final Alice in Wonderland prize: an Undergrowth ice cream bowl 11 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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Today’s prize – and sadly the last – is this saucy ice cream bowl by design boutique’s Undergrowth, worth £45:

To win, go to our Gifts for Alice page and look for the item with the ‘we love’ logo. Then, hunt for that prize in one of our amazing Alice in Wonderland images on mydeco’s Facebook Fan page . When you find the hidden prize, just tag the image with your name.

Get hunting and good luck!

Exclusive: Celebrate Mother’s Day with Sophie Conran’s best bulb tips 9 March, 2010

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Image credit: Candida Balfour

To herald the arrival of Spring,  and prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, myself and a handful of keen florists joined Sophie Conran at the Clifton Nurseries for a crash course in using bulbs, courtesy of The Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Centre.

Image credit: Candida Balfour

Having the least green fingers of anyone I know, I was dreading falling behind at the first hurdle. Luckily, Sophie was the perfect teacher, and for once I saw gardening and planting bulbs not as rocket science, but as a hobby I could really see myself getting into… Aided, I am sure, by miniature Hummingbird cupcakes and champagne before midday.

Image credit: Candida Balfour

The ideas Sophie presented were pretty much foolproof: take some bulbs, untangle the roots, plant them in soil or gravel in your container of choice and watch them bloom.

If you are using a transparent container, gravel is a great alternative to soil. I for one had no idea that bulbs could grow without soil, but apparently they do just as well in gravel.

If you are using a basket or china pot (my favourite suggestions were a souffle dish or tea cup – a wellington boot was even proposed) normal potting soil will do.

Sophie’s top tips: use the firmest bulbs, cover soil with moss for a stunning final touch, and use old tea bags or gravel to keep moisture in.

The end results were very encouraging. My irises, surrounding a centrepiece of white tulips, bloomed just as they should have, surrounded by green, bouncy moss.

I can now officially garden!

Image credit: Candida Balfour

WIN today’s Alice in Wonderland prize: a birdcage wall sticker 9 March, 2010

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Today’s prize is this fun birdcage wall sticker from Abode Living, worth £35:

To win, go to our Gifts for Alice page and look for the item with the ‘we love’ logo. Then, hunt for that prize in one of our amazing Alice in Wonderland images on mydeco’s Facebook Fan page . When you find the hidden prize, just tag the image with your name.

Get hunting and good luck!

WIN today’s Alice in Wonderland prize: a white baroque wall clock 8 March, 2010

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Today’s prize is this stunning white baroque clock from dotcomgiftshop, worth £29.95:

To win, go to our Gifts for Alice page and look for the item with the ‘we love’ logo. Then, hunt for that prize in one of our amazing Alice in Wonderland images on mydeco’s Facebook Fan page . When you find the hidden prize, just tag the image with your name.

Get hunting and good luck!

Stay ahead of the game: how to bring the hottest new fashion trends into your home 8 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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Last fortnight, it was Fashion Week around the world once more, which means another round of jaw-dropping fashion shows and new trends to get your head around. Because we know how fast the design world moves, and how overwhelming it can be to see bikinis on sale before it has stopped snowing, we have curated four shop-by-style guides to help you bring the hottest  Autumn/Winter 2010 trends into your home in time for Spring, and stay well ahead of the game.

1.      Ruffles

Image credit: Very Magazine

Playful label Moschino’s A/W collection rocked the ruffles trend with a Western vibe. The good news is, ornate textures are actually easier to work into the home than into one’s wardrobe, and eliminates the rather large risk of looking like you’ve joined the circus.

Cushions are one of the safest ways of channelling romantic textures, and 3D ruffled flower designs are big this season. We particularly like this rose cushion from John Lewis:

Image credit: mydeco

For a little more luxe, a bold but stylish option is a textured wall panel. This set of four by Batali will add a touch of the ornate to any colour scheme.

Buy the complete Ruffles look, curated by our stylist Jenny, here.

2)      Sequins

They’ve been around for a while and judging by Roberto Cavalli’s A/W collection, they’re in it for the long run. But remember, sequins and metallics don’t have to be about head-to-toe, wall-to-floor bling: small touches of sparkle can instantly revamp your home and add a touch of contemporary glamour without looking over the top. Armani’s A/W collection featured dark green pearlescent crocodile skin coats with simple black fur lining for a downplayed feel.

Appliqué cushions and crystal glass accessories provide a quick and easy twinkle, while textured accessories create a youthful, optimistic vibe. We just can’t resist this sequinned cushion from B&Q – at a fiver, it’s a total steal:

Image credit: mydeco

Buy the complete Sequins look here.

3)      Warrior

Image credit: Very Magazine

Think Russell Crowe as Robin Hood meets Joan of Arc. At Versace, fur came in electric blues and oranges, while at Gucci kept it natural in pale greys and taupes. Tassles, shearling jackets and medieval-inspired accessories are all big news next season, and the raw, rough textures make the trend great for your home.

Faux fur throws and leather cushions are timeless ways to channel your inner warrior. We love this rough, tough leather armchair from House of Fraser:

Image credit: mydeco

Buy the complete Warrior look here.

4)      Animal motifs:

At Blumarine, zebra print was a strong player, proving that the trusty animal print is here to stay. It has gone through many an incarnation lately – fluorescent green and pink leopard, gigantic cheetah spots, glittery zebra…  you name it.

An exciting extension of this, and a perfect way to funk up your home, is the animal motif. Animals of all shapes and sizes are cropping up all over the high street: perfect for spring and Easter decorating. You can either go retro, with simple silhouettes and folk-inspired patterns, such as this hare notepad by Helen Minns:

Image credit: mydeco

Alternatively, embrace modern brights with a more contemporary design such as this flamingo chair by Jimmie Martin:

Buy the complete Animal look here.

WIN today’s Alice in Wonderland prize: lavender bods from The Black Rabbit 7 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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Today’s prize are these adorable lavender filled bods from design boutique’s The Black Rabbit, worth £4.50:

To win, go to our Gifts for Alice page and look for the item with the ‘we love’ logo. Then, hunt for that prize in one of our amazing Alice in Wonderland images on mydeco’s Facebook Fan page . When you find the hidden prize, just tag the image with your name.

Get hunting and good luck!

WIN today’s Alice in Wonderland prize: a hand-painted gold and china cup and saucer 6 March, 2010

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Today’s prize is this china and gold cup and saucer from Watts London, worth £24.95:

To win, go to our Gifts for Alice page and look for the item with the ‘we love’ logo. Then, hunt for that prize in one of our amazing Alice in Wonderland images on mydeco’s Facebook Fan page . When you find the hidden prize, just tag the image with your name.

Get hunting and good luck!

WIN today’s Alice in Wonderland prize: an antler coat rack from Abode 5 March, 2010

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Today’s prize is a set of antler-shaped coat hooks from Abode living, worth £53:

To win, go to our Gifts for Alice page and look for the item with the ‘we love’ logo. Then, hunt for that prize in one of our amazing Alice in Wonderland images on mydeco’s Facebook Fan page . When you find the hidden prize, just tag the image with your name.

Get hunting and good luck!