Our Favourite: Vases

I’m pretty awful at flower arranging.  My strategy of hacking at the stalks and jamming them in a clear glass vase is probably not the best, but no matter how much time I invested in flower arranging classes, I’d never get near to the skills of someone like Amy Merrick.  Plus if I was going to dedicate my spare time to learning a new skill, there would be a good number of things further up on the list (plumbing, speaking foreign languages, wrestling, etc.).  So my new strategy is to veer away from the simple glass vase and get something more interesting to stick my flowers in.  That way, even if my arrangements are lacking in imagination, at least the vase will be stylish.

Here are a few of my favourites, for more have a look at our Pinterest board.


1. Green Glass Vase £6.99  2. Tribal Collection Round Ball Vase £19.99 (£3.95/ collect in store)  3. Serax Milky Medium Blue Vase £25 (£5.95 p&p)  4. Two-Tone Zinc Vase £30-£35 (collect in store/ £3.95)  5. Metal Small green top copper vase £20 (£4.95 p&p)  6. LSA Flower Table Arrangement Vase £16 (+£3.95 p&p)  7. Ferm Living Hexagon Brass Vase £38 (£4.95 p&p)  8. Stitch Ceramic White porcelain vase £16 (collect in store / £4.95 delivery)

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Gift Ideas for Hosts With The Most

I’m not really convinced about the term ‘hostess’ gifts. It’s a bit 1950’s / Stepford Wives-ish and makes me think of the dubious ‘hostess’ badge that was on offer when we were Brownies in the early 90’s. I recall that it consistented of Liz and I making tea and sandwiches for adults, whilst holding polite conversation. Somehow I don’t think that the badge was on offer for the guys over in scouts…

In my mind host/hostess gift is basically a ‘thank you for feeding me / putting me up’, and the generosity of the gift is usually relative to the amount of time you’ve intruded on their hospitality. Take note: if you are someone who intends to stay a couple of days and is still crashing on your friend’s couch 6 months later, you owe you some serious gifting (or, you know, maybe some rent).

Booze, usually wine, is the obvious answer, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Plus it can be hard to buy for someone with an intimidatingly well stocked wine cabinet.   It also helps to get a bit creative if you’re staying for a longer stint and want to splash out to treat your hosts who may have saved you a hotel bill. So here are a few alternative ideas, and you can find the full Pinterest list here.


1.  Day of the Dead – Tequila Añejo 50ml £12.50 (+£6 p&p/collect in store) 2. Whitby Bone China Mug – Indigo £8 (£3.25 p&p) 3. ARV BRÖLLOP Serving stand with lid, clear glass  £15 (collect in store only) 4. Chocolate & Macadamia Biscuits £9.95 (in store/ £4.95 per delivery)  5.  Jersey Pottery Sardine Run Small Jug £19 (in store/£5.95 p&p) 6.  Raspberry Infused Gin £18.50 (+£6 p&p/collect in store)  7. Garden Recipe Cards £14.50 (£5.95 p&p/collect in store) 8. Pitt Cue Co. – The Cookbook £10 (free p&p) 9. Sinatra Stoneware Green reactive glaze platter | £30 (+£4.95 p&p) 10. Marbleised Servingware (Oval) £24 (in store/£8 p&p) 11. Amber vase £5.49 (+£4.79 p&p)

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Gift Ideas: Wedding Presents for Couples

Wedding season is nearly upon us again, and I generally stick with my golden rule of wedding gift giving which is: get the couple stuff they’ve asked for. 

Whether they’ve gone to the trouble of compiling a gift list, or are just asking for donations towards their honeymoon or a charity, heeding their instructions is always a safe bet.

That being said, you do get some couples who don’t ask for anything in particular and often, even with those couples that do, you sometimes want to find an additional something extra to go with their registry gift or donation.   This is when you encounter the nigh on impossible task of buying a gift that is genuinely suited to a couple, and doesn’t just default to the taste / preference of the member of the couple you know best (very easily done).

Homeware is generally not a good idea for risk of duplication, and also risk of subjecting a friend/family member to your taste, which they might have to politely live with until they can plausibly blame destruction on cats/kids/movers.

Here are a few alternative suggestions:

For the honeymoon….

White and Brown leather passport covers

1. For regular jet setters, leather passport cases are stylish and also practical, as they stop passport getting so creased and bashed that airport security look at you suspiciously: Left: Leather golden stars passport cover approx £15  Right: vintage leather passport cover with free personalisation approx. £24


Rolled grey stripe towel

2. These stylish Hammam  beach towels (approx. £16) are ideal for those honeymooning in a beach-y destinations (they’re also very lightweight so good for suitcase packing).


Cover of national geographic traveller magazine

3. A subscription to National Geographic Traveller magazine to inspire further travels (if you have Tesco clubcard points saved you can buy it with just £8 of vouchers)

[See more gifts for travellers, foodies and homebodies under the cut….]

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Our Favourite: Cake Stands

Warning: cake stands are frivolous and non-essential items of kitchenware.

In buying one you generally have to accept that (unless you’re an exceptionally keen baker) they won’t come out of the cupboard all that often. I would argue though, that the satisfaction you feel when you match a well turned out cake / tart with a stylish cake stand and present it to an audience is more than worth the investment.  Below are a selection of our favourites…

favourite cake stands

1. Amara | Ivalo Pastries/Cheese Dome & Ash Base £33 (£3.95 p&p), 2. IKEA | AKTAD Serving stand, red £14 (in store only), 3. Divertimenti | ASA Black Footed Cake Stand £32.95 (free delivery), 4. ZARA HOME | Bird Cake Tray £29.99 (delivery free to store or £9.99), 5. Toast | Cake Stand £42 (in store / £4.95p&p), 6. Habitat | BANQUET CLEAR Glass Glass footed cake plate £25 (in store / £4.95p&p), 7. John Lewis | Le Creuset Cake Stand £46 (free in store / £3 p&p), 8. David Mellor | Design Fine French Porcelain Cake Serving Stand £35 (£5.95 p&p)

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Our Favourite: Jugs

My first attempt at this post opened with the line ‘I have a huge weakness for jugs’, but I could imagine Ste sniggering as a typed that out. It is very true though: jugs are my kryptonite. Rustic, earthenware ones in particular I find difficult to resist, or beautifully crafted, simple ceramic pieces. There’s something about the jug that really exhibits the craft of the maker, and they can add colour or texture not just to your table, but also to your home if you put them on display

Of course Ste doesn’t feel quite the same way and has an unfortunate tendency to inject rationality into the purchasing process. ‘What are you going to use that one for?’, ‘err…milk?’ ‘Don’t we already have, like, three milk jugs’ ‘well this one’s a bit smaller, perhaps it would be the cream jug, plus one of those three jugs you mentioned is actually a custard jug’ ‘We never make custard’ ‘We might one day…’

In an ideal world all of these would adorn my kitchen shelves :

Round up of different images of jugs

1. The Oak Room | Handpainted Bohemian Sunshine Jug £8.99 (+£3.95 p&p)  2. Toast | Eve Milk Jug £18 (in store / £4.95 p&p)  3. Scandinavian Design Center | Amanda Milk Jug – White-aqua £16 (+£5 p&p)  4. Scandinavian Design Center | Höganäs jug 0,5 l – apple red £27 (+£5 p&p)  5. Rachel Barker Ceramics | Madras Small Jug £18.95 (+£1.33 p&p)  6. Rime | Jansen + Co My Milk Jug – Grey £16.50 (+£4.95 p&p)  7. Scandinavian Design Center | POP jug – turquoise-orange – Sagaform | £18 (+£5 p&p)  8. Michael Taylor Speckled Blue Glaze Medium Jug 50cl £25 (+£5.95 p&p)  9. Habitat | Marne Greys Stoneware Medium grey jug  £10 (+4.95 p&p/in store)

See many more of our favourite jugs and pitchers on our Pinterest board

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Our Favourite: Teapots

I finally decided to replace my trusty white pound shop teapot the other week. It wasn’t a bad looking teapot; it could even get away with being pegged as a ‘minimalist’ design, but it failed on one of the fundamentals of teapot design – the pour. I replaced it with a For Life ‘Trunk’ teapot in grey, which both complements my new nail varnish, and manages the feat of pouring without dribbling tea all over the table.

The selection below were all on my shortlist. I’ve tried to select those with positive pouring reviews, but even if I can’t promise a non-dribbler, I can guarantee they’ll look rather splendid on your shelf…


1. Heals | Falcon enamel teapot £20 (+£4.95 P&P) 2. Heals | Marimekko hennika teapot blue £67 (+£4.95 P&P) 3. Whittards | Cast Iron Brown Teapot £30 (£3 p&p – free delivery over £35) 4. Habitat | Porcelain teapot £18 (+£4.95 P&P) 5. Scandinavian Design Center | Blossom teapot £32 (+£5.00 P+P), 6. Maxwell & Williams | Cafe Culture Teapot 400ML Verde £12.50 (£4.95 p&p) 7. House of Fraser | Denby Malmo Bloom teapot £48.30 (sale price) + £3.00 P+P 8. Teapigs | Acorn teapot £26 (+£3.50 P&P)

See more on our teapots Pinterest board.

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