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Cookie Girl launches new cupcake book 23 March, 2010

Posted by mydecoblog in Book reviews, Ellie's blog.
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The sweet-toothed residents of Notting Hill have loved her from their first delicious mouthful and she now has the likes of Annie Lennox, Take That, Russell Brand (‘I’m in love!’), and Grecian Princesses amongst her fanbase. Even Scrooge will be licking his lips before Christmas. No, it’s not Mother Theresa’s cook whisking up good cheer, but Cookie Girl taking the world of baking by a buttercream storm.

Cookie Girl and her new cupcake book

Image credit: Ebury Press

Otherwise known as Xanthe Milton, (above, left) Cookie Girl started off by donning Alice in Wonderland-esque costumes and knocking on the doors of Notting Hill. To cut the story short, since then her success and popularity has risen as perfectly as her delicious cakes. (I’ve gobbled a few myself so this analogy is spot on, believe me).

She’s just launched her very first book, EAT ME! – a self-confessed ‘stupendous, self-raising world of cupcakes and bakes’. mydeco got in touch to ask her about the launch’s Alice in Wonderland theme: ‘I couldn’t think of a better venue than the Paradise By Way of Kensal Green pub with its over sized lampshades and whimsical interior; it was just magical and fitted with the book’s fairy tale style.’

delicious Eat Me! cupcakes by Cookie Girl

Image Credit: Eat Me! cupcakes from Ebury Press

‘At the launch I read a couple of pages of scene setting [from the book] which made people realise that this was no ordinary recipe book,’ enthused Xanthe. And it really isn’t – from the cocktail inspired (pina colada, margarita), to desert inspired (tiramisu? Yes please!) to seasonal Easter nests – there are 80 delicious and imaginative recipes to drool over.

‘What made it extra special was having so many people there that know me as ‘Cookie Girl’ from back in the days when I was knocking on their doors selling them cookies,’ she added. ‘It felt like we had all been on this journey together.’

chic cakestand by Undergrowth Design at design boutique

Image credit: Undergrowth Design at design boutique

When you embark upon your own cupcake journey, make sure the presentation of your delicious wares do the Eat Me! recipes justice. mydeco has a huge selection of cute and stylish cake stands and our design boutique cake stands, (above, by Undergrowth Design) are my favourite.

mydeco catches up with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen 25 January, 2010

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Image credit: Plank PR

At the B&Q press day, not only did we browse the new collections and scoff a tasty array of muffins: we also caught a second with the man who made home improvement trendier than a skinny decaf soya latte –  Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen himself.

When asked what the next hot trend is for 2010, Laurence feels that this year is more about an attitude than a trend.

“The makeover and ‘improve, don’t move’ motto are seeing a big revival. We’re all poor and fat, we all have winter blues, and with a pot of matt emulsion you can basically change your life for £16. And the best thing is, it’s so easy. You start after lunch on a Saturday, and you’re done by the time Dancing on Ice starts”. (Bonus).

“Improving the home provides a quick fix adrenaline rush. The future’s bright, the future’s orange, turquoise, teal…” It seems, with a bit of organisation and DIY prowess, the future can be whatever colour you want it to be.

And what should we be investing in for the home this year? Antiques.

“The antiques market is really slow at the moment and the great thing is that a one-off antique is never compromised in value, and no one else will have it. Don’t be nervous of mingling styles and incorporating a quirky, unusual antique into a contemporary scheme.”

Finally, what does the decorating doyen think of wallpapered ceilings? For the moment, Laurence says, he is a dispassionate observer. “The trend is most prevalent in hotels and restaurants at the moment, with experimental textures such as zinc, or embossed patterns. It will happen, but it might take a while. And if it all gets out of control and I think it looks pants, I will step in and stop it before it’s too late.”

Paper yours with caution…

Laurence’s new book, Decorating with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, is available in shops from March 5th.

Exclusive: All David Linley wants for Christmas 24 December, 2009

Posted by Annie Deakin in Annie's blog.
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Image credit: David Linley

With days to go, David Linley is dreaming up his ideal Christmas. I caught up with him last week to quiz him… The furniture maker son of Princess Margaret has done his shopping at Daylesford Organic, is heading to the country for festivities and looking forward to unwrapping presents under the tree; he’s rather hopeful there might be a subscription to Country Life magazine. Earlier this month, Linley launched his new book Star Pieces – The Enduring Beauty of Spectacular Furniture.

Like most fathers, all Linley wants for Christmas is something handmade by his children. “They’re very inquisitive and creative.” He says of Charles, 10 and Margarita, 7. “I’d love something that my children have designed and made themselves.” And what do you know; the history of furniture design is repeating itself in the Linley household.

Friday’s News: Gentlemen prefer Prada, Elten pops-up in Brompton and the unhappiest Christmas tree 4 December, 2009

Posted by katiehodgkiss in Daily news.
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the mydeco office – yesterday we put up our decorations (complete with a very elegant singing Santa) and this morning we’ve been enjoying the soothing tones of Wizzard. Despite all this festive excitement, we still made sure we had time to scour the web for today’s best design stories which are listed below for your literary pleasure.

mydeco’s pick of the top three stories:

1.Cool Hunting: Gentlemen of Bacongo

Image credit: Cool Hunting

Dandy fashion may be making a comeback in the U.K., but for a group known as Le Sapeurs, dressing-up to the nines is a way of life. Don’t let the French name fool you: these gentlemen are not strutting down the temperate streets of Paris, but a much more unlikely style capital – a small shanty town in the Congo. In his new book, photographer Daniele Tamagni examines this contradictory world of designer clothing and abject poverty.

2. London Design Guide: Thorsten van Elten pop-up shop

Image credit: London Design Guide

It would seem that retailers everywhere are capitalising on the thrill of novelty, as pop-up shops continue to thrive worldwide. London’s latest transient offering comes from Thorsten van Elten, whose pop-up store will be open until 13 December in the Brompton Design District. Despite bearing a distinctly unoriginal name (‘Thorsten’s 12 days of Christmas’), the store does offer some innovative gifts. This plant cup by Gitta Gschwendtner is my favourite.

3. The Telegraph: Britain’s worst Christmas tree

Image credit: The Telegraph

Being forced to wear clothes that are two sizes too big because ‘you’ll grow into them’ is often one of childhood’s most traumatic memories. It is understandable, therefore that the residents of Sacriston, County Durham were slightly incensed when the council fed them this very line in response to complaints about the town Christmas tree. At just 4ft, the fern is dwarfed by the 15ft frame provided to decorate it, but councillors are insisting that one day ‘the tree will be as strong as the community.’ If global warming doesn’t kill it first, that is.

The best of the rest:

Daily Mail: Google property portal threatens online housing market

Daily Mail: Vote for Witney: David Cameron’s constituency is an affordable option

The Times: Noughties Property: the ups and downs

The Times: Kenwood Place luxury flats may show te direction of the property market

The Times: Wanted: an artist with £5m and a penchant for Kensington

The Telegraph: Homebuilding & Renovating Awards 2009: The winners

The Telegraph: Tractor Ted property for sale

The Telegraph: Property market: power of the bike

Design milk: Coco mini bar

dornob: Wholly concrete home foundation

That’s all from us this week, but we’ll be back on Monday, fresh and ready for another week of daily news. (Or we might be grumpy and hungover, but either way we’ll have plenty of new design stories for you).

Friday’s News: DIY abstract art, fortress of almost-solitude and portraits of a president 13 November, 2009

Posted by katiehodgkiss in Daily news.
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Good day mydeco followers! It’s Friday 13th, but I have decided to disregard this mother of all ridiculous superstitions and look on the bright side of life. Friday may not have the best track record in terms of unfortunate events – stock market crashes, crucifixion (though not necessarily in that order), but it is also the end of the working week. So banish your fears, sit back and allow us to ease you into the weekend with today’s best design news..

mydeco’s pick of the top three news stories:

1. dornob: Ikea gone insane

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Image credit: dornob

We are greatly indebted to Picasso. Nowadays should you end up with a bizarre haircut or accidentally spill paint all over your coffee table, it doesnt matter – you can just claim that it’s ‘abstract’. This seems to have been what furniture designer Wiyono Sujipto had in mind with his latest project, UNIKEA. Following the great manly tradition of refusing to use the instructions, Sujipto assembled these Ikea flat-packs with nothing for guidance except his own aesthetic taste. Shockingly, the results are pretty good.

2. Inhabitat: Circular Hakka Houses create self-sustaining communities

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Image credit: Inhabitat

If you thought your neighbours were bad, then prepare to gain some perspective. In the Fujian province, China, the Hakka people have been dealing with armed warfare over local resources since the 17th century. These giant circular structures provided a solution however, functioning as a fortress against unwelcome intruders and creating self-sustaining micro-communities in the process. Known as Tulou, these tiny towns have space for temples, livestock and armories. You’d have to be on your best behaviour though, as I’d imagine gossip would spread quite quickly…

3. Cool Hunting: Design for Obama

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Image credit: Cool Hunting

Periods of political upheaval have produced some of the most famous poster images in history. However, propaganda is not as visually inspiring as it used to be, so it was lucky that graphic design student Aaron Perry Zucker created Designforobama.org during last years U.S. presidential elections. The website encouraged visual communicators at all levels to submit poster designs supporting the Democratic candidate, and unsurprisingly received a phenomenal response. What was surprising however, was Spike Lee’s proposal to turn the best crop of submitted images into a book, which finally came into fruition last week. Now available to buy from Amazon, Design for Obama features 200 poster designs, along with a short bio on each artist. Follow the link for a taster.

The best of the rest:

Cool Hunting: Thrifty conversations on design

Cool Hunting: Open Studios

Moco Loco: A tap for the times

Moco Loco: Paper shoes

The Telegraph: Design notebook: share in a chair

The Telegraph: Repossession numbers lower than feared

The Times: Why can’t I sell my home?

The Times: The new ideal home is a combination of old and new

The Times: Switzerland’s big tax savings are attracting wealthy Britons

The Times: Ashwell Court, Buckinghamshire is an £2.25 million Gothic fantasy

And so we reach the end of another week., and another segment of daily news. Before you put your brains to bed for a well-deserved rest over the weekend, why not leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on our stories?

AUNTIE KATIE WANTS YOU.

Have a good weekend!

Take the V & A collection home 15 July, 2009

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V & A Museum

Image credit: V & A Museum

Every time I visit the V & A Museum, I leave with my head swirling full of ideas and inspiration. That’s why I’m particularly excited about a new series of books celebrating patterns, created by Rose Design.
Featuring some of the museum’s most enduring and popular patterns, the books are entitled Indian Florals, Digital Pioneers, William Morris and The Fifties. A valuable source of inspiration or the perfect gift… for yourself. I’ll be first in line when the collection is published on July 28.

PS. Look out for this gorgeous series in the September edition of Elle Decoration, out August 1.