Swedish Design Icons: Marianne Westman

Born in 1928 in the Swedish Province of Darlarna (home of the Dala Horse), Marianne Westman is a Swedish textile and ceramic designer.  Westman’s career really began when she joined Rörstrand, a porcelain factory, it was here she produced perhaps her most iconic design ‘Picknick’ in 1956.

Such was her success she became known as  ‘Porslinsmamma’ (china mum) in the factory. Westman’s designs are timeless – superb in their simplicity, often depicting or inspired by ordinary items and surroundings. They’re beautifully executed pieces of art but applied to everyday useful objects. Making functional fun. How very Scandinavian.

You can still get hold of some of the original pieces, Etsy has a fair amount in stock. But thanks mainly to Almedahls (a Swedish textile company) plenty of her designs are still in production today. Röstrand have also reconnected with her too, recently re-launching her ‘Mon Amie’ range – in the same year she celebrated her 8oth birthday in fact. So obviously there is a lot still to choose from, but here are a few of my favourites…



1. Picknick Chopping Board £14.97 (Sale), 2. Pomona coaster 4-pack $26, 3. Almedahls Mustard Körsbärsträdgården Scandinavian Fabric £29.95 p/m, 4. Belle Amie pot stand blue $30, 5. Karringen mot Strommen Tray $32  6. Mon Amie Jar $42, 7. Picknick oil cloth £26.50p/m


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Alternative Valentine’s Day Cards


*Translation: Love yourself

A Yorkshire style ‘Happy Valentines’ from Hello Walls! In case you want to spread the love a little further we’ve complied our favourite alternative (no soppiness allowed) Valentines cards…


1. I want to stroke your beard £2.10, 2. Calculator Boobies £2.95, 3. this card has no purpose £2.02, 4. You’ll Do Card £2.00, 5. Just The Way I Am £2.87, 6. You da bomb card £2.20, 7. Inhaler £2.69, 8. I Dig You £2.40

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Etsy Picks: A Night at the Opera



We don’t know much about the music, but there’s no harm in playing dress up. See the full treasury on Etsy.

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Before & After: My Living Room. My haven.

Liz's living room after

The living room has perhaps been the most involved of our renovations so far. Thankfully we chose this as our first project when we were still very much in the honeymoon period of home-ownership (a brief period in which you have a relentless amount of enthusiasm for decorating and you don’t mind rolling your sleeves up after work and getting stuck in to a bit of stripping, plastering or painting and everything seems to progress so quickly – it’s just like the happy-couple, first-home, trying-to-flog-you-paint adverts. Honest.)

I had definite ideas for this room, and it meant starting from scratch, which in turn meant parting with a lot of cash.  So perhaps the biggest requirement of the revamp, was that whatever we created had to be timeless, it had to be something we’d never get tired of – we only wanted to be spending that sort of money once so it had to be right.

Here’s the results. If it were a painting I’d title it ‘A Victorian, with a Sage-Coloured Bonnet, Lost in Mid-Century Copenhagen.’

And it would sell for millions obviously.



Liz's living room before and after



Liz's living room before and after


Under the cut:
In detail how and what we managed to achieve, whilst still in the hazy throes of first home bliss…

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Etsy Picks: Après-ski


For anyone looking forward to a skiing trip this winter, check out our cosy collection over on Etsy

Posted In: Etsy Picks, Lifestyle
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Our favourite: Draught Excluders

I’m sure it’s colder inside my house than it is outside sometimes. Admittedly we could do with investing in new doors – both external and internal (our house suffers from wonky door syndrome – they’re either too short because we’ve removed the original thick garish carpet or, due to the age of the house, the door frames are angled at such a degree that we can no longer close them properly). But I’m cold now and doors are expensive. So if, like me, you need a quick, cheap but stylish fix then take a look at our draught excluder picks (I mean who can resist Monty the dapper slug?!)

And if you’re still feeling the cold check out Our Favourite: Blankets and Throws



1. Dapper Slug – Monty £28.00, 2. Custom length chevron door stopper £10.17+, 3. Proud Fox Draught Excluder £16.17 – sale price, 4. Buckwheat filled draught excluder £17.45, 5. Clouds Scandi fabric £22.00, 6. Mr Fox retro draught excluder £22, 7. Isabella Draught Excluder £27.99

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Christmas Gift Ideas For Cyclists

I love my bike, I’ve even got the bell to prove it. But a bicycle lover needs accessories, and if they’re anything like me they’ll love anything vaguely related to the sport.

Safety can be stylish and Cyclechic has a fabulous selection of helmets, that would make even those of us who are particularly precious about our hair styles forgive the inevitable ‘helmet-hair’ condition. Practical presents are good but there are plenty of other stylish cycle related gifts out there too. Here’s my pick of the best lycra free gifts for the bike nut in your life…

And whilst we’re on the subject of transport you might want to check out Kath’s gift ideas for stylish commuters…


I love cheese and bicycles

Cheese And Bicycles Side Plate £25


Crane Suzu Bell £10.50, Snowflake Spoke Reflector £5.99, Brick Lane Bikes Cycling Gloves £14.99




Bicycle Yellowstone Fabric Bag £10.50,  Washbag Pedal Power Bicycle £25



Merino Bicycle Bobble Hat £34, Sawako Furuno ladies bike helmet Leopard £84



Bicycle inner tube small feather earrings  £4.50, Glam Bike Chain Necklace £36, Woodcut Bicycle Necklace £12.47



Reflective bow by night in red £14.99, Lflect reflective shoe flap £18



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Etsy Picks: Deck the Halls


Get kitted out for Christmas. View our favourite fancy festive Etsy picks here.


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Our Favourite: Egg Cups

How do you like your eggs in a morning?…

Personally I like mine boiled and served with buttery toast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not do it in style and invest in some fancy egg-cups? Whether it’s just for you, your kids or perhaps a ‘special overnight’ guest you really want to impress – here are our favourites.

More on over on our pinterest board…


1. Bloomingville Isabella Egg Cups £3.95 each, 2. Set of Egg Cups £15.00, 3. Rob Ryan Egg Cups £15.00, 4. Tom Butcher Ceramics egg cups £4 each, 5. Car egg cup £20, 6. Bordfolk’ Egg Cups £12.50, 7. Greengate Egg Cup Zoe £4.50, 8. Beardy Man Egg Cup £11.50, 9. Blue Owl Egg Cup £16.99

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Uk Holidays: Shepherds Hut Chic

There was once a time when holidays were our only extravagant expenditure but after having recently forked out the equivalent cost of a two week trip to Barbados to sort out a damp problem, that certainly seems like a distant memory now. Consequently we’ve had to be a little more strict with our holiday budget this year. So I’m sorry New York – it just wasn’t meant to be.

Instead we turned our attentions to the UK, and discovered this little gem on Air BnB…

Shepherds hut bostcastle

My hut and me

It’s the perfect retreat for couples, you’re actually next to the farmhouse where the owners live but the hut is positioned so you feel as though you’re in the middle of nowhere. The view is spectacular and uninterrupted – green rolling hills tumble down towards the sea,  only on an evening do the distant twinkling lights of Boscastle village remind you that you’re in fact sharing this land with others.

View from the hut in boscastle

Room with a view

If you were only going for a long weekend there would be no reason to leave, separate to the shepherds hut sleeping quarters there is a bathroom and a kitchen equipped with a stove, table and sink (a fridge can also be found in the barn behind – I’d fully recommend filling it with food from the local, award winning, Boscastle farm shop).  But if, like we did, you are staying a little longer then do venture out – it’s in a superb spot for exploring the North Coast of Cornwall with places like Tintagel, Port Isaac (of Doc Martin fame), Polzeath, Padstow (or ‘Padstein’ as they call it down there) all within easy reach.

The hut itself has been tastefully decked out, it has a farmhouse feel to it with shabby furniture, checkered duvet, wicker baskets and an incredibly effective log burning stove. Occasionally you’ll get a visit from the owners dog too, who completes the farming lifestyle experience nicely (and also poses incredibly well for pictures…)

So if you need an escape/relaxing retreat then I’d definitely recommend it.  It’s the most stress-free holiday I’ve ever had and was a pretty good antidote to our decorating woes too.

Shepherds hut interior The Shepherds hut sleeping quarters


Paul and dog. Posers.

Paul and dog. Posers.



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