English Gardens

This weekend is the RHS flower show at Tatton Park in Cheshire. This is an event I have always wanted to go to but never yet made it for various reasons and I’m hoping this year will be the exception. I have been told by various gardening friends, that it is not to be missed and as my garden is in need of some TLC and inspiration, I really should make the effort to go.

My type of garden is the type that needs little attention but has lots of impact. I like gardens that invite you in and have secret corners where you can hide for an hour (or three) with a good book, undisturbed. I also love to see a mix of planting with architectural salvage and objects picked up along the way, such as pebbles and drift wood. What I really don’t like is perfection ( and that counts for almost most of my style, myself included!)


My kind of gardens & lovely English cottage planting


A path made from pebbles. I’d love to create something like this in our front garden leading to the door but I think it would be my life’s work.


For the best selection of architectural salvage, I have found in the North West, try Ribble Reclamation in Preston.



Arley Hall in Cheshire is very near to Tatton Park and they have wonderful gardens with a small garden centre on entering where you can buy some of the plants they have in their garden.



If you’re lucky enough to be in Cornwall this summer, The Lost Gardens of Heligan are some of the best gardens I have ever visited, with so many different types of garden, there is something to suit everyone. They grow some wonderful plants which again you can buy from there. These beautiful black poppies are just stunning.



Also in Cornwall are the sculptor, Dame Barbara Hepworth’s home and gardens, featuring some of her work and her studio, still left as it was the day before she died. It’s a fascinating insight into the life of an amazing talent and such a peaceful tranquil place. 




For more of Barbara Hepworth’s work visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park where as well as work by Henry Moore you can also marvel at these giant rabbits by Sophie Ryder.Don’t forget to take your bike as there are miles of pathways for you to follow and a fantastic cafe for a reward at the end of your day.





Baileys Home & Garden

I’m probably preaching to the converted and everybody that reads this blog has more than likely already heard of Baileys Home & Garden or visited, but as they’ve just won the Telegraph best home wares retailer 2012 award, it has reminded me of what a fantastic interior shop and all round retail experience visiting them is, so I thought I would post a blog just in case any of you haven’t heard of them.

The shop or should I say, series of barns, is located just outside of Ross on Wye, in a beautiful rural part of the country. It is home to all things recycled, nostalgic and well designed. Not only can you buy a sofa or a 1930’s style bathroom, you can also pick up items that you never realised you needed but suddenly can’t live without, such as vintage french jam jars and wire stationary trays.

After the shopping experience, you can’t leave without trying the culinary experience in the Tabernacle Tearoom, which is a very cute, corrugated steel structure, completely kitted out in recycled materials and industrial salvage.


The Tabernacle Tearoom


Baileys Loft sofa, which has to be sat on to be believed. Probably the most comfortable sofa ever!


Now that’s why I needed those jam jars



Baileys sell a great collection of vintage style lighting and switches as well as lengths of plaited cable to complete the look.


Congratulations to Baileys, who so deserve their award, I’m only sorry I
don’t live closer but my bank manager is probably slightly relieved!


Caramel Baby & Child Home Collection

As a stylist, I am very often asked to design and prop children’s bedrooms to showcase products such as bedding or nursery furniture, so I was delighted to hear that caramel Baby & Child, based in Notting Hill London, have just launched their own Home collection.

The collection comes in three colour stories. There are fine cottons and ticking stripes in blue & yellow with nostalgic florals, soft merino wool blankets in neutrals, inky blue & jade green and reversible artisan quilts, made in France, in contemporary jewel colours. All compliment the solid wood nursery collection of furniture.



Lee Broom’s new retail design for Coast

I am a huge fan of the interior designer Lee Broom and love the way he manages to combine luxury with historical references, while his tongue is firmly in his cheek, genius.

I was interested to see then what he had done with the flagship store for the clothing brand Coast, which is slightly conservative and let’s say safe?

The beautifully delicate colour scheme marries perfectly with the period architectural references and flooring, but this store is very much a 21st century design, like I said, genius!


The brief was to give the customer lots of space to move around the store and for the changing rooms to play an important role. Lee was keen for the space to emulate a high end retail store on Bond Street or Mayfair and I think both client and designer must be delighted with the end result.

Hope Street Liverpool

I’ve just spent the weekend in Liverpool with Mr B where we stayed at The Hope Street Hotel, which is a lovely boutique hotel in a part of the city I never knew existed. I suppose most people visiting Liverpool head to either Albert Dock or Liverpool one, for the shopping, but this area, slightly off the beaten track is well worth a visit. Hope Street runs between the cities two cathedrals and the surrounding roads have all been preserved in their original state, with rows and rows of Georgian houses, complete with iron railings, stone steps to the portico doors and paneled shutters at the windows. Until about 10 years ago it was a very run down area of the city but when Liverpool became the city of culture, the area was regenerated and is now something of a cultural quarter, home to some of the cities best restaurants and bars as well as the Philharmonic Hall and Liverpool’s Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) who Paul McCartney is a founding member of.




The London Carriage Works is part of the Hope Street Hotel and is an award winning restaurant and bar.



60 Hope Street is home to another excellent restaurant on the street



Across from the Hope Street Hotel just further up from the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is the pan Asian restaurant and bar, Host.



Falkner Street runs off Hope Street. It was here, at no 36, that John Lennon shared his honeymoon flat with Cynthia and Brian Epstein lived in the basement flat of the same house. Falkner Street is so well preserved that it is used extensively for filming period dramas and films such as Sherlock Holmes.


The Quarter is a restaurant, bar & deli on Falkner Street and is the hub of this area of Liverpool.



This installation on Hope Street by John King is called “A Case History” and pays homage to many of the notable people and institutes of Liverpool, naming them on metal plaques.