Thursday, 28 November 2013

White Out

It tends to be Swedish houses that give me the biggest dose of house envy.  This one is no exception and once again I'm reaching for the white paint. Despite being fully white it somehow feels remarkably cosy.  It's 5.30am as I write - the smallest Cub still firmly believes that the early bird catches the worm - and I can't think of anything more heavenly that climbing into that dreamy looking bed right now.

The photos are taken from Lantliv Magazine

Sunday, 24 November 2013

DIY Christmas Wreath

I love a wreath.  I love them all year round but especially at Christmas when I make loads to hang off every door and window in the house. I went to a heavenly florist this week who was selling the most beautiful wreaths and charging £145 for them.   They are so simple to make and you can buy the ingredients for very little so I thought I would share a project from my book 
'The Art of Handmade Living' teaching you how to make them.

"Wreaths have Christmas connotations and florists and decoration departments start selling them in early November to encourage our festive spirit. Of course, I love nothing more than having one on my front door—but I also use wreaths for year-round decorations. The twig frames shown here last for ages—you just need to replace the flowers and leaves when they start to fade and change your look with the season. In France, we made autumnal wreaths using pliable off-cuts from the vines and either left them as plain circles or entwined wild eucalyptus into them.
They also make wonderful table decorations instead of a jug of flowers. A summery one could be filled with roses and herbs, with candles planted in the center or nudged in between the twigs.
Of course, there is no need to keep to flowers, although dried hydrangeas are ravishing. Let your imagination run wild. Depending on the season, you can incorporate apples, grapes, pomegranates, oranges, chilli peppers studded with cloves, pine cones, or bundles of cinnamon sticks. Other decorative items such as shells, feathers, baubles, and little birds can usually be incorporated with clever wiring—and if all else fails, there’s always Superglue!"


At least ten 120-130cm lengths of ash, beech or willow twigs, stripped of their side branches.
String/green twine/raffia cut into 1 metre lengths.
Seasonal flowers with stems as long as possible.
Other decorations of your choice.
Florists wire cut into 15cm lengths


1. Take four or five twigs firmly in one hand, as if they are a bunch of flowers, and wrap string or raffia around the base of the bunch several times and tie in a firm knot.

2. Add another bundle of twigs near the top of the first bunch, securing it in the same way, then bend the twigs around in a circle. (It can take a few attempts to get this right.)

3. Wrap string or raffia around the frame several times and tie in a firm knot to hold the twigs together securely. Do this in several places.

4. Thread in long-stemmed flowers and leaves, weaving the stems in and out of the twig frame.

5. To attach decorations such as shells (with holes drilled in them) and Christmas baubles, center the decoration on a short piece of florist’s wire, twist both ends of the wire together two or three times just above the decoration, wrap the wire around the frame, and secure by twisting the ends together again 

6. To attach fruit such as apples or oranges, skewer the fruit with a short length of florists wire, then wrap the wire ends around the frame, then twist them together to secure

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

If it's good enough for Gwyneth...

I've always liked Gwyneth Paltrow.  And I've enjoyed her website Goop for as long as I can remember.   I was sent her annual Christmas present guide last week and was so excited to find my brother Ned's wonderful company Not another bill nestling in the middle of it all.  She is of course absolutely right; There are few better presents you could give - or be given - this Christmas.  Not that Im remotely biased.

And then if I needed any more persuading, she had also included my friend Vanessa Barneby's incredible bespoke wallpaper in the mix.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Miracle Dust

It seems that no one really likes their own hair.  Even people who I think have really good hair seem to be desperate for someone else's.   I for one am constantly battling with mine.  It's definitely going through some sort of mid life crisis as I write and I am completely baffled as to what it is that it needs.  Lots fell out six months after each of the Cubs's arrivals and I was just about back on track again when hey presto, we're back in meltdown city again.  I've tried everything.  Mousses, sprays, serums, dry shampoo and nothing really works. It's permanently flat, limp, dull and frizzy.
It hasn't answered all my prayers but I have recently found a small pot of treasure to fill in the gaps - quite literally- while I continue to hunt for the holy grail of the hair kingdom. 

It's called Expanda Dust made by Unite and its purpose is to 'add volume and texture with just one puff'.  The bottle is so light it feels empty - and all you have to do is sprinkle a few bits of this magical iridescent powder where you want it - i.e. the flat, limp bits, leave for a few seconds, juge it up and as if my magic you instantly have full on Hollywood volume.  I've got to go to a hen party as Pamela Anderson in a few weeks and I now have absolutely no need for the wig part at all.  All I need to concentrate on now is slipping into that lovely red swimming costume...

Monday, 11 November 2013

J Crew Love

Every week Chaz and I while away many an hour working out how we are going to spend the forthcoming £80 million lottery winnings that we are obviously about to win.  It's always pretty identical to the week before; A month in the Maldives, a house in London, a swanky new car... A cleaner, new curtains and a whole new, big, shiny, massive wardrobe for me. I often then have to choose only one shop to spend my share of the winnings. Until now, it's always been Chloe.  Hands down, no questions asked.  I then went to the J Crew shop that's just opened on Brompton Cross. I love you Chloe but I'm moving on.
People have been raving about J Crew for years and I now get it.  I could quite happily throw out my whole wardrobe and start again here.  It's full of the most exquisite treasures I've seen in a long time.  Jewelled sweatshirts, cashmere in every possible colour in every possible shape; Printed, pouffy, party skirts; metallic brocade trousers, sparkly collared cashmere overcoats...  And the shoes. I've written about these before but all lined up together, words cannot explain their beauty.
The slight problem is the price tags.  They are supposedly three times more expensive here than they are in the States. Lying in bed last night I was trying to work if it was actually cheaper to buy a flight to the US, stock up over there and come home again.
But then I suppose if I've got £80 million to play with, who really cares?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

My new book

It's not out until March but here is the cover of my new book!

The Art of Living with Nature
 is published by CICO books
 and out in March 2014