I, like many of you, am saddened by the downward spiral that M&S seem to have got themselves into. Apart from Bra’s and pants, nothing in their fashion range has appealed to me for a long time. However they have excellent food offerings, and their interior products and furniture are stylish well made and well priced.
With the changing season as we move towards Autumn, we instinctively feel the pull towards a cosy, welcoming space to withdraw into.
Whether your interiors preferences are inspired by rich colours, warm tonal shades or restful neutrals M&S Autumn Winter collection offers simple stylish updates for any home to create that perfect retreat from the busy day.
Contemporary designs are blended with classic influences to create a timeless collection that will give your home enduring style.
Decorative accessories and statement textiles offer an instant interior refresh alongside modern upholstery and furniture designed with on-the-go family living in mind.
Seasonal colour highlights of peacock tones, sea foam and teal are paired back with an accent of warm nectarine to kick off the new season. Classics are re-imagined in casual shapes and textures, while layered textiles and metallic accessories offset easy living with a soft, modern glamour.
Decorative florals adorn plush velvets for a new take on maximalism, while delicate blush corals are paired with deep aquamarine and petrol tones for a bold yet sophisticated interior.
Underpinning the colour stories for the season, this new take on cleansing neutrals creates a stylish canvas on which to layer your favourite pieces- creating an oasis of tranquil, that will always remain timeless. Yet again it feels as if the Scandi look is a strong influence.Casual layering and relaxed textiles in calming tones of ecru and warm grey make for easy styling and create a war, serene palette for the home.
This Autumnal story of rich mulberries spans a jewel-toned palette of deep boysenberry, rich oxblood and delicate heather.
Highlights of dark charcoal and black give this classic colour story a contemporary feel, while statement prints in casual fabrics are juxtaposed with marble and brass accents for a glamorous feminine collection of seasonal pieces.
This week I attended a fascinating panel discussion, on the latest trends and interior developments created by the Sainsburys and Argos design team for Autumn Winter 2019 The event was chaired by Kate Watson Smyth, from ‘Mad about the house’
The teams work together but Argos tends
to sell more furniture, the smaller accessories are sold in Sainsbury’s.
There are five key trends this season. They
reflect the different ways in which we live today: often renting, flexible
living, traveling so we only live in our
homes for part of the week. Sometimes letting out our places as Air B&B and
often living in quite small places . Some of us have remote working styles, which
may mean we work from home.
Trend 1. Japanese
inspired, called Kanso Living. This
is for a home that is neat and uncluttered. It has a monochrome base.
‘Black, white and grey are
psychologically known to offer protection, safety and a sense of space whilst
at the same time being very calming. This minimal pallet lowers the emotional
Although there is no colour as such,
there are many textures and patterns. Included is a ladder shelf unit that looks
good, saves space and you can take it with you when you move.
From the head of design “We did lots of mark making in the studio and then
translated those marks into different
kinds of surface design using a range of scales from quite large on bedding to
teeny tiny on ceramics.’
Trend 2 Highland Lodge. I would describe this look as modern country with touches
of rustic wilderness, such as pale oak furniture and country touches including images of flowers
and animals such as hares on ceramics and textiles. A favourite in this range
is light washed oak furniture, including a beautiful four poster bed that
retails at just £400
This collection has muted colours that
are excellent to use in the UK where they fit in with the prevailing blue light rather than warm yellow as found in
Mediterranean countries. These blue
based tones help us to reconnect with nature and bring the outside in, they fit
in well with the grey story that has been popular over the last 5 years
Trend 3 . Apartment Apparel This is a very vibrant and exciting collection, it is the Sainsburys Argos take on the centenary of the Bauhaus . There are some exciting juxtapositions of colours, including a much coveted harsh orange velvet sofa which, by the way, is child friendly.
Table-ware is playful and brave with a pallet of mustard and oak that work with a deep navy that runs throughout the collection. The mid century styling helps make small spaces feel bigger.
The pop of colour in this collection attracts
the eye and makes the shopper curious about the pieces.
Heller ‘Strong colour creates emotional energy and the volume is turned up, we see colour before we notice
anything else. To work, these colours need a warm yellow base and also need
yellow lighting. This is a party place for extroverts.’
Trend 4. Palm Luxe
With it’s grey soft pale pallet , this
look is quite glamorous. There are lots of metallic although mainly silver.
Inspired by beautiful hotel lobbies. It is opulent and nods towards
preciousness. It is quite a showy look influenced by old Hollywood glamour. It is aspirational and
has the feel of a cocktail party with soft music playing.
expert on the panel pointed out that this is a look that will stand out in the rental
market and also appeals to those who love Show Homes. It happens to be a very
instagramable look, that is very easy to shoot.
Trend 5. Loft living This look includes
loads of natural wood.
Sainsbury/Argos sponsor new designers
exhibition each year and choose a winner from those presenting their work. This
collection was designed by a winner and has taken two years to come to
Designed very much with the young of today in mind who live much more
minimally than their parents did, with far less in the way of possessions. They
may be working from home and so the solution is a desk storage bedding
collection that is all encompassing and super flexible for easy living. It is
a continuation of the successful industrial
modular look with contrasting textures carried over from last season.
Many of the pieces are multi functional
such as the desk/ dressing table which is easily packed away if more space is
As well as these key looks there is also a quite sophisticated non gender stereotype children’s range.
I was lucky enough to attend The Royal Horticultural’s Chelsea Flower show this week. I got there at 8am, opening time and headed for my favourite section The Artisan gardens. I am not going to write about the large corporate sponsored gardens as so much has been written by others about them. Instead I am going to talk ARTISAN
Three gardens particularly stood out, The Finnish Summer Garden that was inspired by the biodiversity of Finnish Meadows and Woodland. The garden was designed by Taina Suonio a Finnish landscape designer, horticulturalist, environmental biologist and researcher in the Fifth Dimension- Green Roofs in Urban Areas research group.
The garden comprises clear Nordic lines and includes a 100 year old weather beaten barn wall made of granite. The cascading water feature reminds visitors to the garden about the relationship the Finns have with their roots in the country and the much-cherished respite by their countless lake-side, riverside and seaside cottages. The garden included many Finnish forest flowers and herbs.
The Donkey Sanctuary Garden celebrated the 50 years of transforming the lives of Donkeys. The designers were Annie Prebensen and Christina Williams.” We have a real fondness and appreciation for these hard The working animals, so were delighted to be asked by The Donkey Sanctury to design an Artisan Garden to explain ‘why donkeys matter’ The garden demonstrates how owning a donkey means access to clean, fresh water for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world. Set in an arid location a shelter near a well provides some shade. A dripping bucket hangs above the well and colourful planting surrounds it. The planting in the garden includes plants typical of dry regions, including Eryngium bourgatii, Iris germanica and Lavendula angustfolia. The colour palette is claret, purple and silver
The Camfed Campaign for Female Education won the Artisan Garden Gold Medal.
The designer of the garden is Jilayne Rickards
‘ I wanted the garden to reflect CAMFED’s strong commitment to supporting girls in eduction and the vibrancy of rural communities in Zimbabwe. It is a powerful message of how, by educating girls, we can tackle gender inequality and poverty, and break the cycle of poverty for good.’
At the heart of the garden is a classroom which is surrounded by plants and trees and edible fruit, leaves and roots that provide vital nutrition, particularly for mothers and school children.
The crops, which have been developed by scientists backed by UK aid, are also enriched with key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and iron, to tackle “hidden hunger” in developing countries.
The plants include bio fortified varieties of maize, beans and sweet potatoes and are in a garden which, unusually for Chelsea, evokes a rural Zimbabwean school yard – complete with dusty red earth, a black chalkboard and orange trees.
If like me you are interested in craft and design there are some first class designers showing in the artisan section of the show. There is a Dyers Studio set up by ex RCA student Lola Lely. She uses plants and natural materials to create dyes, pigments and paints.
Charlie Whinney Wood & Steam celebrates what is possible using locally sourced green wood and eco-friendly steam-bending processes to create beautiful works that enrich your life.
Ceramic artist Corrie Bain is a British ceramicist based in Barcelona . she studied ceramics at Edinburgh college of Art. Her ceramics are inspired by microscopic imagery of seed pods, pollen and fractals. They are made from hand built porcelain clay.
Botanicla, Applique Artist Natasha Hulse creates handmade fabric artworks for interior products such as bedheads lamps and cushions. She celebrates the beauty and phenomena of Flora found in British Woodlands, English gardens and the effect that nature has on us in our home.
As well as the artisan sections, one of the other visual joys of the show was the Alitex green house styled by Selina Lake. She always designs her spaces to feel like somewhere you want to spend time.
My all time favourite, innovative and very comfortable seats in a variety of designs by Cacoon are on sale. Every season their chief designer Nick McDonald comes up with new designs, so watch this space.
As I finish writing this piece, I must not forget the Chelsea Pensioners who are still very much in evidence in their smart red uniforms.
The show is still on and the weather is good. so if you can get in, do go and visit.
Dunelm have pulled out all the stops and come up with some lovely home wear product for the end of this year and going into next year. They are even selling artificial cacti, flowers and plants. They had a very personable and enthusiastic Anna from Jar and Fern running a terrarium workshop, although she admitted to me this was the first time she had used fake cacti. The results looked pretty impressive.
The Cinnabar collection includes both soft furnishing and ceramics.
The textures used throughout their range are imaginative and beautiful, they include printed , woven and appliqued textiles.
Now is the time of year that companies and those who supply retail outlets put on their trade shows, so that Journalists, Bloggers and Influencers can shout out to the world what is new and what will be available in the shops in the autumn. Oliver Bonas had their show yesterday and in the heat of July, amidst silver tinsel and warm fabrics we transported ourselves forward to the autumn and beyond to Christmas.
Texture and pattern are still a strong trend and velvet is a fabric of choice. It is still being used on furniture and upholstery and on even lamp shades.
2. Fringing, introduced last season, is still with us in clothing, fashion accessories and again on lamp shades. We are not talking the old fashioned silky kind, but something far more rustic, looking, made from from linen, jute, string.
3. Deep colours are popular often decorated with rich patterns. The patterns are used on all surfaces including ceramics. Think midnight blue and forest green. The patterns are sometimes embroidered. More often than not, the motifs are formed of loose freehand marks, very omega workshop in inspiration.
4. Metallics continue to be popular in interior accessories. Raffia is being used to make lampshades.
5. There are some very interesting and unusual shaped glass lamp bases.
6. Animals continue to be popular as decorative motifs. Cats of all descriptions are still very Oliver Bonas popular. They are used by OB on ceramics, fabrics and even door mats.
7. Tassels are still around and are used on cushions and fashion accessories.
8. Carrying on from OB’s spring summer designs, ceramics are still a riot of pattern, shapes and colours.
9. Unusual and fun Christmas gifts. OB have come up with some original gift ideas particularly for the person that you have no idea what to buy. Like this funny note book. They also are selling reusable water bottles with neoprene covers.
10. A great range of strong fashion looks, with accessories including bags, hair slides and throws. This dress was such a hit with those attending the show that I think will be sold out as soon as it reaches the shops.
30 projects to transform your collages into wall art, personalized stationery, home accessories
In Creative Collage, author Clare Youngs reveals the secrets of collaging, one of her favourite crafts.
As she says in her introduction
“Great artists who made collage part of their lifetime’s work have always inspired me. Although the techniques have been used since the invention of paper in China around 200 B.C.E., the word “collage” was first used in connection with art by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century, when the technique became an important part of the Modern Art movement.”
In this book Clare teaches you about the kinds of paper you can use, such as maps, tickets, photographs, typography and magazine pages, and how to add texture, use layering and make use of geometric designs. Some of Clare’s amazing collages are included for inspiration, and she explains how she chose the materials and composition for each one.
“We can stand back in awe at the work of great artists, but in fact collage is something that anyone can enjoy. It is inexpensive, you don’t need a lot of equipment, it frees your mind, and allows you to release creativity within you that you didn’t even know was there. Great things happen when you let go a bit—what’s not to love?
Clare then presents a collection of projects that offer unique ways of displaying and using collages even making 3-D collages, such as a découpaged chest of drawers and a family photo wooden block house. She explains how to use collage on fabrics and ceramics as well as a lamp shade and place mats.
Along with helpful prompts to give you ideas for collages, this book provides all you need to get started with this personal, expressive craft.
Her other books include Folded Book Art, A Year in Crafts, Colour Yourself to Happiness, Book Art, Mobile Art, Wall Art, Make Your Own Woodland Creatures, Letter Art and Folk Art Needlecraft