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

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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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

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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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

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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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.

Kelly Hoppen joins forces with B&Q 8 March, 2010

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Kelly Hoppen's plain, neutral wallpaper range for B&Q

Image credit: B&Q

Hooray! Kelly Hoppen hits the high street on the 1st March with her new collection of wallpaper for B&Q.

Hoppen follows in the hallowed footsteps of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Sophie Conran and Linda Barker who have also added to B&Q’s designer wallpaper range.

There are five fab designs to choose from, ranging from a pretty Vintage Flock to a graphic Hicks design (seen above).   We are loving their subtle, textured quality and how well they work in both a classic or contemporary interior.

They cost £19.98 per roll and are available online at mydeco now….hurry, hurry!

Kelly Hoppen's new range of plain and neutral wallpaper for B&Q

Image credit: B&Q

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

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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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!

A Sneaky Spring Preview! – design boutique Friday Favourite 5 March, 2010

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With spring now upon us, now is the perfect time to revive your home with a few new treats (or maybe even a treat for mum) this Mother’s Day.

Keep an eye out for one of our new design boutique additions, joining mydeco in the next few days. We are so excited about getting designer Heart Zeena on board that we couldn’t wait to give you a sneak preview!

Image credit: Heart Zeena

From cute birds to pretty hearts, these wonderful cushions are a sure way to brighten up an old sofa or a boring bed.

Or how about bringing the freshness of the outdoors in with these lovely heart shaped lavender bags?  I absolutely adore them, they are so cute and smell amazing. Hang them up in your wardrobe or place them in your chest of drawers to make your clothes smell lavender sweet.

Image credit: Heart Zeena

Make sure you keep your eyes open for Heart Zeena’s products making and appearance amongst the other design boutique treasures in the next couple of days.

Exclusive: mydeco chats to Oscar nominee Dave Warren, Art Director of The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus 5 March, 2010

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The Oscar buzz is building up in the office this week. The stars, the glamour, the dresses! From a design point of view we were really curious to see which films were nominated for best Art Direction.

Dr parnassus Oscar Nominated Film Set

Image credit: Liam Daniels copy right Poo Poo Pictures Productions Ltd.

So… we were absolutely thrilled to snag an exclusive interview with Dave Warren, the Oscar nominated Art Director of The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. Nominated for its incredible dream-like sets, the film is quite literally a visual feast.

In between jetting from Rome to LA (it’s a glamourous life) we caught up with Dave about the inspiration behind the art direction of the film.

Best of luck for Sunday!

Dr Parnassus Oscar Nominated Film Set

Image credit: Liam Daniels copy right Poo Poo Pictures Productions Ltd.

What was your biggest inspiration for the set design of the film?

Terry: It always begins and ends with Terry – he is the fount of all reference and the first point for the ideas. Some of the ideas he has are so outlandish and random that you can only look at them in the context of Terry’s movie-making.

How important is drawing to you vs. computer animation? Do you always start by sketching?

Yes, always. I still think the flow of eye to hand gives you a better first instinct for proportion and depth. A wise art director once told me that the first instinctive sketch you make of an idea will usually be your best. I think that the computer gives you polish and flexibility – but sometimes options, or ‘choice’ can be self-defeating, they merely extend the process – have the confidence to stand by an idea at the inception.

Dr Parnassus Oscar Nominated film early sketches for set design

Image credit: early sketch by Dave Warren

What were the main challenges you faced?

Always quantity and time. A great film adage is that you have the factors of Cheap, Good, and Fast. You can only ever have two of these – never three! On Parnassus we had to struggle through being Fast, and Cheap – but then to stay Good as well, that is where the work is.

Dr Parnassus oscar nominated film

Image credit: Liam Daniels copy right Poo Poo Pictures Productions Ltd.

How much of the design was planned beforehand and how much did you get to create / imagine from scratch?

Terry had made an enormous package of work and references himself, and with Imery Watson. I followed through this stuff to begin with – some hadn’t been conceived yet, some of it just needed expanding and augmenting, other sequences were added later in the shoot. Without Terry’s work we would have been dead in the water from the start, but even then, the artistic workload was enormous, not just conceptual demands but practical art direction as well, where you eat away time just communicating with the other departments. We had to split it somewhat. Anastasia Masaro, the Canadian designer, took care of the shoot and builds in Canada. We had Daniel Auber concept three Imaginarium sequences for us too, which eased the workload.

image sketch from Dr parnassus oscar nominated film set

Image credit: early sketch by Dave Warren

How closely did you work with Terry Gilliam?

I would say very closely – but you would have to ask him actually. I was on Parnassus longer than any film before or since, so I must have done something right. He draws, and I draw, so we automatically reach for the paper to solve any problem- I think that helped create the working relationship.

Dr Parnassus Oscar Nominated film set

Image credit: Liam Daniels copy right Poo Poo Pictures Productions Ltd.

Which part of the film are you most proud of?

Well, the Wagon – as a piece of art direction, it came together beautifully – but that is down to a team of craftspeople around it. I always have a soft spot for the monastery exterior – it was a great miniature. The monastery also was a set which was cracked in one sketch.

Who are your design icons?

Ha! After Terry…. the first two designers I worked for are masters of their art: Dante Ferretti, and the late John Box. They are so different in approach but I learnt so much from them. If I could go back in time it would be to meet Michael Powell, Alfred Junge…. John Bryan, film makers from a simpler time- but they had the same basic challenges we have today- How to make a frame look great for a price.

Dr Parnassus Oscar Nominated Film Set

Image credit: Liam Daniels copy right Poo Poo Pictures Productions Ltd.

How are you feeling about the Oscars on Sunday?

Luckily I  have been too busy to be worried, skeptical, elated, awestruck or anything else. I’ll probably be working on the plane…..

What is the design of your own home like?

Unfinished….. with a lot of books about the place, and a lot of wood. I find metal too cold to sit on.

Dr Parnassus oscar nominated film

Image credit: Liam Daniels copy right Poo Poo Pictures Productions Ltd.

We’ve been so inspired by the incredible set designs that we’ve created our own Buy The Looks inspired by the film. View the looks below

Dr Parnassus Oscar Nominated Film Set

View this Buy The Look

Dr Parnassus Oscar Nominated Film Set

View this Buy The Look

For more information on the film, please see the support site.

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

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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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!