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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.

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Brazilian design at Silvia Nayla 9 October, 2009

Posted by katykimbell in Uncategorized.
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When I think of Brazil I think of wild samba beats, sugary caipirinhas and colourful carnival madness. What doesn’t spring to mind when I think of that fabulous country is its reputation for innovative interior design. Italian design- yes, Scandinavian design –most definitely and even French design gets my seal of approval, but Brazilian design? Hmm…

In 2007, Daniela Martins and Silvia Nayla set out to change our perceptions by introducing the British public to the greatness of Brazilian design. The enterprising duo opened Silvia Nayla – a shop and interior design service on Notting Hill’s Westbourne Grove.

So on Wednesday night, I braved the rain and headed to the Silvia Nayla store to attend an evening of art, design and fashion. The event was held in order to ‘promote education and enterprise in some of Brazil’s most vulnerable communities.’

brasilian stool

Image credit: Phyllis Walters

Sadly my first impressions were not great – The shop was simply crammed with an overwhelming range of furniture, abstract paintings and frankly tacky fashion accessories. Shiny, big and brash is the only way I can describe what I first saw on display. Desolado!

But first impressions can be deceiving. Once I had delved through the tat, there were some genuinely promising things on display. I saw a fantastic chair from the iconic designer Sergio Rodrigues and some quite interesting abstract paintings by Saul Vilela. There was also a genuine sense of enthusiasm about the charitable project and so gradually I found myself warming to the designs more and more.

brasilian-stoolx2

Image credit: Phyllis Walters

If I had to pick out one outstanding designer, it would be Hugo Franca whose statement pieces of wooden furniture are pictured above. Franca’s rustic work starts and ends with a tree, as he chisels away at salvaged wood, and celebrates its natural forms, cracks and holes.

The flamboyance of Brazilian design obviously works well in its native country, but it may take a while to crack the English market. If Silvia Nayla focuses on quality over quantity, it might just be the place to convert us.

House with the blue door is up for sale 30 September, 2009

Posted by katykimbell in Uncategorized.
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If I said that 280 Westbourne Park Road was up for sale it would probably mean nothing to you. If I said that the house with the blue door from Notting Hill was up for sale, you may get a teeny weenie bit excited.

So without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  The iconic house made famous by the highest grossing British film ever made, has just gone on the market for a stonking £2,500,000.

notting-hill-house

Image credit: London Brick Work

If you think that this celebrated property still resembled the shabby and slightly chaotic house that was made famous in the film, you’d be strongly mistaken. Some snappy editing came into play, and the house that we all know belonging to foppish William Thacker (Hugh Grant) and his skinny Welsh flatmate Spike (Rhys Ifans) was actually filmed on a separate set.  Sneaky, eh?

Prospective buyers may be relieved to discover that instead of facing a filthy kitchen as they enter the famous threshold, they will actually be standing in a magnificent converted chapel. In the real world, (that’s the world where nice English boys don’t get to fall in love with Julia Roberts) the house boasts a 1,000 square foot reception room, a galleried mezzanine and a charming courtyard garden.

Back in the day, the house actually belonged to the film’s screen writer Richard Curtis and his lurvely wife Emma Freud. But shortly after filming, the godfather of British rom-coms, decided to cut his losses and leave, selling the house for a measly £1.3 million. Ouch!

notting-hill-blue-door

Image credit: London Brick Work

When the new proprietors of the famous house were hounded by Japanese tourists tapping at their door with their Nikon cameras, they decided that the only way to get some peace and quiet was to sell the blue door at a charity auction.  A black replacement may have brought them some anonymity but we were hardly fooled!

Now they have left, our eyes are peeled as to who’s going to snap up this fabulous property. Who knows if they’re lucky some beautiful hollywood star may come knocking on their black (not blue) door.

Take a snoop round Elle Macpherson’s pad that won’t sell 19 June, 2009

Posted by mydeco in Uncategorized.
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Got a bit of a crush on Elle Macpherson? We understand; she always looks so damn good. And now we can have a sneak peak into her London home as estate agents have leaked photos to the press. This is the kind of thing that gets the mydeco team huddling around my desk.

elle_500px

Ok so nitty gritty first – her seven storey house is Victorian in style, was built in the 1850s, boasts six bedrooms, five bathrooms and a 36ft long kitchen. Having bought the house in November 2006 (woops, that’ll be the peak of the housing market), she is now trying to flog it but like so many homeowners, is struggling to shift it. Last summer, she popped it on the market for £9.5million but after failing to receive any decent offers, the mother-of-two dropped the price to £8.95million in January. As if that wasn’t enough of a kick in the teeth, she has just slashed it to £7.5million – a whopping 21% reduction on the original price.

Macpherson, the epitome of glamour herself, has spent tens of thousands of pounds restoring several of the grade two property’s original features and redesigning to her own style. From the pictures, we’ve gathered that Elle opts for a classy and expensive approach to interior design. Staying away from an overly eccentric colour scheme, the model sticks to pure whites accompanied with earthy colours . This really is impeccable, understated luxury.

The pièce de resistance in her beautiful home is the ultra modern kitchen which boasts stainless steel accessories and bang-on-trend lacquered surfaces. It would be hard to suffer from SAD in this glorious kitchen, as sunlight streams through the bay windows to further enhance the enormous open space. We also love the bricked tiling in the bathroom that dons connotations of the London underground, (without the grubbiness) and works beautifully against the simplicity of the pure white bath.

elles_house_500px

It is in the living room that Macpherson experiments the most. The bold red carpet really warms up the place and compliments the abstract art on the wall. The jury is still out as to what we think of the leopard print arm chair? But after all the controlled luxury elsewhere, we commend Elle for embracing her wild side!