I love a good root around an antique fair or boot sale and there is nothing better, as far as I am concerned, than spending a day in the middle of the beautiful Cheshire countryside picking my way through some of the finest antiques and vintage treasures, sourced from the UK and Europe.

If like me, this is your idea of heaven, then The Decorative Home & Salvage Show is an event not to be missed. It is such a treasure trove of beautiful decorative pieces for the home and garden, with something for every taste. From French Shabby chic, to rustic country and industrial reclaimed and salvage. You will find furniture, fabrics, bric a brac, lighting and clothes.

The event runs for three days, Friday through to Sunday and there is literally something there for all the family to do such as fairground rides for the children and plenty of good food and beverages available on site, it’s a great day out.

Copious cups of tea and cake to keep you fortified while you shop.

As an interior designer and stylist and complete salvage hunter obcessive, I know there will always be something to catch my eye. From the perfect rug that I’ve been looking for to must have props such as beautiful textiles, linen covered books and tiny wee vintage shoes, perfect for styling a children’s shoot, everything is there and as is often the case when you go vintage shopping, there’ll be that one item that you weren’t looking for, but that you suddenly can’t live without.

Today was no exception and I came away armed with beautiful crockery and glass ware, something a stylist can never have too much of? Some of my favourite traders were there, displaying their stalls like true visual merchandisers. I’m always impressed by the amount of effort that goes into the displays, you really do feel like you’re walking into your favourite shop.

Nicky at Homeward has a great eye for colour and mid century design. You can also find her at The Treacle Market Macclesfield and here.

Paul & Lucy Vintage specialise in industrial salvage and have some really wonderful pieces for display and props.

Smug Fox had one of the loveliest stalls that caught my eye for it’s mix of vintage furniture and beautiful homewares. These little pink ladders came home with us for our daughters bedroom, which i’ll use to display fairy lights to add a scandi look to her bedroom.

Antique Ideology have a great mix of painted furniture, mid century designs and industrial salvage and you can also find them here.

The event is at Cheshire show ground and entry for the weekend is only £5 per day.The best of the three day event is that if you live relatively closely, as I do, you can always go back again tomorrow and do it all again.

For further details of future events organised by Arthur Swallow go here.

 

 

There is currently a definite 1970’s revival in design, not just in fashion but in homewares. Our love of everything hand crafted and homegrown, such as house plants and macrame are just a few of the trends that show no signs of going away. We are definitely having a bit of a “Good Life” moment and so I was delighted when Denby Pottery sent me some of their new Studio Craft range of  glazed table ware to style. My first thoughts were this is so Tom and Barbara and I instantly loved that feeling of nostalgia that it gave me.

The four natural tonal shades of browns and creams and speckled surfaces, take me straight back to my child hood. Those days of well made British design that was built to last. Brands that our parents always invested in such as Ercol, G Plan & Denby were good solid house hold names that were bought to endure the years, not like some of the throw away design that comes and goes, almost faster than the paint can dry in our newly updated schemes today?

The Studio Craft collection of Denby pottery is tactile and robust and perfect for everyday use. I was always told buy best and buy once and there is no better or more ecological way to invest in pieces that become part of our families daily life and eventually part of our family history.

All words, thoughts and opinions as well as photography are my own. This is not a sponsored blog post.

 

 

 

There was a time when the very mention of the word fake flowers or plants, sent a shiver down any serious interior lovers spine. Fake flowers and plants were nasty and very cheap looking and could only ever be used, god forbid, in desperate situations, such as out of focus in the background of a styled shot or surrounded by real foliage to disguise the fact the said flowers were indeed faking it.

Fast forward to now and with the help of maverick designers such as Abigail Ahern, who has championed the use of fake while also elevating their purpose in the home with her superior selection of plants and flowers, we are flooded with amazing, “are they, aren’t they real?” There is an explosion of blooms and foliage, succulents and cacti, now available from High Street stores, leading online retailers such as Cox and Cox and Rockett St George and even supermarkets.

 

A selection of faux plants from Abigail Ahern

Some of the best that I’ve seen and indeed invested in for props and Barlow towers are as cheap as £6 a pop. The quality of the faux plant or flower, is no longer represented by the sky high price tag.

 

 

These two are from ParLane which I bought at Barnshaw Smithy in Cheshire. They are such amazing quality and only around £10 per stem. When you think that you can easily pay that for one house plant or small bouquet of flowers, which if you’re anything like me, will only last for a couple of weeks, they seem cheap in comparision.

This all year round ever green branch was bought from Moth in Didsbury Manchester.

 

Spot the difference. Two of these plants are fakes and were bought for just £6 each from Sainsbury’s.

So what do you think about faking it? Are you convinced by these faux favourites of mine or not?

You know I always love to hear from you x

 

 

 

Can you successfully wear gingham after a certain age, I ask myself, without looking like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz? It’s a serious question as the rails of every High Street store are chock a block with the stuff. Gingham is the fabric Du Jour.

I”ve tried and tested a few key pieces which I think work, for me, anyway. Paired down with a white or grey accent colour and minimal accessories, I’d quite happily step out in these and have my Doris Day moment!

Side Button Skirt by Madewell

Bow Gingham Blouse – Mango

Double Cuff Shirt – Topshop

Gingham shirt dress – Zara

Gingham Cropped Trousers – Asos

What’s your take on it? Loving it or too cutesy? It’s always good to hear your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

I am so excited to be revisiting Barcelona this summer, after a 20 year hiatus. I’m sure there will be some change to the city after the massive success of the Olympics which was held shortly before our first visit. I know some of the areas that were redeveloped for the Olympics are now chic and trendy? Our visit is very short, only two nights, mainly to revisit the David Bowie Is exhibition which we saw at the V&A a few years ago. It’s due to leave Europe after Barcelona, so it seemed a fitting birthday gift for Mr B, who is a huge Bowie fan and like so many of us, has been left with a void after his passing and a renewed interest in everything David Bowie was. So this exhibition and Barcelona should be a great few days away without the kids. I always say kids, one of them is 22 now but the youngest who is 15 is staying with a friend for the duration of our trip, so we can indulge our Bowie passion uninterupted. She came with us to the V&A and moaned the whole way round so this time will be a treat.

So even though we are only away for two nights, I always like to stay somewhere well designed, instagram worthy, shall we say, but without blowing the budget out of the water. My friends tell me this is a great strength of mine and I’m always given the task of finding our accommodation when we go on our girls mini breaks, they tell me I never disappoint and always come up with the goods, because their nice like that? My weapon of choice is booking.com and I use their review filter to sift the wheat from the chafe. Reviews of less than 8/10 are filtered out and then I go for lowest price first and location is always a considered option. If you’re only some where for a few nights you need location to be key? You need to hit the ground running and then be in the best area for the coolest bars and restaurants to avoid public transport journeys or expensive taxis in the evening, cutting into your precious time.

So if you to are considering a short break in Barcelona, these options are worth a closer look? One is our hotel of choice, another two of them would be equally perfect. I booked our hotel mainly for the location. El Born seemed more bohemian than Exiample, where the other two budget hotels were located, although Exiample is a better choice if you want a larger room and a better nights sleep, as the area is less condensed than El Born. The final two hotels are on my wish list for when money isn’t a consideration. A girl can dream? If money isn’t your consideration, these two are pretty damn fine hotels in my opinion.

 

Chic & Basic – Born

This is our hotel of choice based on location and budget. As I’ve said the rooms are small, as are many of the rooms in Barcelona and especially in the El Born district, but it is right in the heart of the old part of Barcelona where many locals live and the night life is authentic and lively.Chic and Basic have other similar hotels and a selection of apartments, in various locations throughout Barcelona. The hotel have bikes that you can hire, which we intend to take out for a cycle along the water front. There is a communal area in the hotel for drinks and breakfast, although this does not come included in the price, as is quite often the case now with most city hotels.

Casa Bonay

This beautiful 19th Century neoclassical building, a former family home of the Bonay family, has been sensitively renovated, with lots of original features and tiled floors preserved. This centrally located boutique hotel, in the exiample area close to lots of the main attractions of Barcelona, has been brought up to date with modern furniture & textiles and invites guests to make the most of their stay at Casa Bonay with a cocktail bar, restaurant and cafe. Some rooms have outdoor seating areas and showers on the balcony, which is a perfect way of finishing a busy day in the city?

praktik Bakery

A strange choice I know for somebody with coeliac disease to consider a hotel within a bakery, but the rooms are so well designed and the location in the exiample district such a good choice, that it would seem churlish to deny Mr B fresh pastries in the morning? To be honest, I couldn’t imagine anything nicer in the morning, than being woken up by the smell of fresh bread wafting through the hotel? This small chain of Praktik hotels have another 3 locations throughout Barcelona, all with a cool modern interior.

Soho House

The Soho House members group have recently opened this hotel in Barcelona and used the colours of the landscape to decorate the interior beautifully. The exposed brickwork and terracotta and nude pink tiles and textiles throughout are the perfect choice for this Catalan outpost.

Cotton House Hotel

This former building was once home to The Cotton House of manufacturers headquarters and the grand structure and interior of the building have been brought up to date with a sense of luxury and indulgence. From the grand library, to the elegant conservatory and the rooftop pool, every part of the hotel has been considered beautifully to form part of the Marriott Luxury Autograph collection. Simply stunning!