• Darwin-inspired bird spotting

    by  • Monday, April 6, 2009 • 0 Comments

    I went to the Natural History Museum yesterday to see the Darwin Big Idea exhibition, which was of course fascinating – I thoroughly recommend a visit before it ends on 19th April 09. It’s inspired me to go on the hunt for wildlife furnishings today and I’ve just come across Wesley Barrell’s charming new collection of bird and fish cushions:

    Fish cushion, £65, Wesley Barrell

    Fish cushion, £65, Wesley Barrell


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    Bird Cage Cushion, £60, Wesley Barrell

     

    And how gorgeous are these bird wallpapers from The Little Greene:

    Gt Ormond St parchment, The Little Greene

    Gt Ormond St parchment, The Little Greene


    Gt Ormand St parchment detail

    Gt Ormand St parchment detail

    I also bought a Bird House Painting Kit yesterday in the Natural History Museum shop, but  I’m slightly concerned that with my artistic skills I’ll scare away the birds in my garden, as opposed to encouraging them…hmmm…

    Bird House Painting Kit, £9.79, NHM

    Bird House Painting Kit, £9.79, NHM

    I’m going to paint it and put it up in my garden this Easter weekend, so I’ll let you know if I get any ‘big ideas’ whilst bird spotting. In the meantime, as I’m sure you’re not holding your breath, check out the garden ideas section of the Ideal Home website and our top garden tips in the latest issue of the magazineEmily 

     

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    Raymond Blanc speaks out

    by  • Thursday, April 2, 2009 • 0 Comments

    Yesterday I went to Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons for the launch of chef Raymond Blanc’s new cookware collection, designed with Anolon.

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    The range, which is due to hit the shops in August, consists of new Anodized Clad cookware with a special sandwich-style construction (an aluminium core with a stainless steel interior and a hard anodized exterior) for excellent durability and cooking performance. Another highlight from the new ‘Raymond Blanc by Anolon’ collection is a cast iron range – elegant deep casserole pots and grill pans which, we were told by an Anolon rep, are ‘set to rival Le Creuset’.

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    Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons – Blanc's heavenly hotel in Oxfordshire

    Raymond’s passion for his range was clear – he is certainly not just slapping his signature on a product. He described how he has been involved with the design process at every stage and even mentioned a few ‘minor alterations’ he wanted to make to a new knife collection they’re still working on.

    Raymond revealed that he has several exciting projects in the pipeline – he’s about to start filming a new cookery TV show for the BBC, and he’s planning to open two ‘Maison Blanc’ hotel restaurants, one in Winchester and one in Henley. When asked about the future of food in the UK, Blanc was passionate.

    ‘We need to reconnect with home cooking,’ he said. ‘There are so many cookery shows on TV, but the British still cook very little as it’s seen as too much effort.’

    ‘I think the economic situation will mean that knowledge and ethics will drive our consumer decisions,’ he predicted. ‘Over the past few years we have been shallow about many things, including food. People cared about what it looked like, not where it came from or the ethics behind its production.’

    He believes that over the next few years, quality and ethical values will become more and more important. ‘We will be making decisions about food based on environmental issues, and there will be more emphasis than ever before on farming and organic standards. This can only be a good thing,’ he concluded. – Ellie

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    Michelle Obama and Sarah Brown spotted!

    by  • Thursday, April 2, 2009 • 0 Comments

    Ooh look -  it’s the First Lady Michelle Obama and ‘First Lady’ Sarah Brown enjoying a cup of tea using the gorgeous Sophie Conran at Portmeirion china range! The new ‘best friends’ were visiting Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre, where Sarah Brown is the patron, and stopped for a cup of tea and piece of cake to help celebrate the centre’s first birthday. Maggie’s is a place for anyone affected by any type of cancer – including family, friends and carers – to get information, practical advice and emotional support – what a great place to visit…Emily

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    The Ladies at Maggie's

     

    Patron Sarah Brown pouring a cup of tea or is it coffee?!

    Patron Sarah Brown pouring a cup of tea or is it coffee?!

    The classic Sophie Conran for Portmeirion white collection, teapot £33.00, teacup & saucer £13.25, creamer £11.25, covered sugar £11.25)

    The classic Sophie Conran for Portmeirion white collection: teapot £33.00, teacup & saucer £13.25, creamer £11.25, covered sugar £11.25

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