Archive: Mar 2014

  1. Have a very vintage Mother’s Day with Mary Berry

    Leave a Comment

    From tea dresses to tea parties, we all love a little bit of vintage – and if you want to capture that classic look in your home, who better to inspire you than queen of old-school style Mary Berry? And if you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift, look no further: we’re even offering you a third off when you buy online this week.

    One of Britain’s best-loved bakers, Mary Berry has brought her extensive know-how to a stylish kitchen and tableware range exclusively for Sainsbury’s. It’s no surprise that her years of experience have resulted in a fabulous retro collection, so take your pick from these traditional pieces and give your home – or your mum’s – a touch of vintage chic.

    The Mary Berry Collection: a selection of kitchenware including tins, a ‘Keep on baking’ plaque, a chopping board, bowl and cookbook stand

    To set the scene for all your great bakes, start with a cute plaque to personalise your space. Add blue, off-white and wood kitchenware – check out the tins so mum can keep her creations fresh until you next visit – and a cookbook stand for reading recipes as you go. We also use ours for our iPad when we’re following recipes online: not very vintage, but definitely useful!

    Mary Berry wooden sign, £6; Mary Berry biscuit tin, £8; Mary Berry set of 3 cake tins, £15; Mary Berry oak chopping board, £15; Mary Berry ceramic bowl, £20; Mary Berry cookbook stand, £15.

    The Mary Berry Collection: a selection of kitchenware including tins, a ‘Keep on baking’ plaque, a chopping board, bowl and cookbook stand

    When it comes to serving up your baked beauties, a cake stand is a must: it will really add a sense of occasion – just right for a Mother’s Day tea party. Modern vintage doesn’t have to mean ditsy florals, so get a pared-back, antique-inspired look with a striped tablecloth – this one has a real countryside feel. Finally, make sure you have all the necessary cutlery for a truly refined celebration: no matter how delicious the cake, use a cake slice and cake forks – no diving in face first! Mum will definitely approve.

    Mary Berry cake stand, £15; Mary Berry 2-pack cotton tea towels, £6; Mary Berry 4-pack cake plates, £12; Mary Berry ceramic teapot, £15; Mary Berry teacup and saucer, £8; Mary Berry ceramic handled cake slice, £8; Mary Berry cotton tablecloth, £20. S.

    Tea-time tip

    Wondering what to serve at your Mother’s Day celebration? Check out this vintage tea party guide now.

  2. Expert picks from executive editor Susie Steiner


    It’s official: spring is here! And with it comes our new range of furniture and accessories for you to check out here on Home Ideas. To celebrate, we’ve asked Susie Steiner – executive editor of our homes magazine, launching this month – to choose her new-season must-haves.


    1. Touch of sparkle

    “This shimmery number brings a touch of Gatsby bling.”

    Silver sequin cushion, £15, online and instore

    2. Tidy tumbler

    “A pared-back, fuss-free addition to your bathroom.”

    Blue dipped tumbler, £4, online and instore

    3. Light the way

    “Got a taste for the exotic? With a candle glowing inside, this lantern conjures hot foreign climes.”

    Large Moroccan-style lantern, £25, online and instore

    4. Shades of grey

    “This ripple-effect dinnerware is the ultimate in quiet rustic – very ‘below stairs’ at Downton Abbey.”

    Grey ripple-effect 12-piece dinnerware set, £50, online and instore; grey ripple-effect mug, £4, instore

    5. Bowled over

    “White on white is always very cool, and I love the beaten-through texture.”

    White metal bowl, £10, instore

    6. Good wood

    “This would not look out of place in a Manhattan loft.”

    General Store stool, £75, online

    7. Laid-back living

    “Place by window. Accessorise with lamp. Proceed with daydream.”

    Large Botanical sofa, £599, online

    Will you be choosing from Susie’s picks – or have you found your favourite already?

  3. How to choose your lighting


    The changing clocks promise us extra sunshine hours, but there’s no guarantee you’ll feel benefits indoors – ask yourself these questions to make sure your living space stays light and airy whatever the season.

    Are you making the most of the light?

    A good spring clean can make a real difference to your windows – give the glass a rub down on the inside to get rid of any light-blocking dust. Now clear your windowsill of any ornaments, and think about using mirrors and lighter furnishings to make more of the rays.

    When do you need light most?

    Different rooms will receive light at different times, so plan your lighting accordingly. South-facing rooms enjoy hours of excellent light, but if your room faces east but you tend to spend time in it after midday, you’ll need to put in some extra effort. ‘Layer’ your lighting so that you have a mix of overhead, freestanding and task-specific lights for different activities – plus a few candles to switch the mood.

    What do you need light for?

    The right lamps can revolutionise how you use your home. Place desks in good natural light for day and add an angled lamp for when you’re working late; make dining tables look inviting with a pendant lamp above; and if you love to craft or sew in the evenings, equip your favourite chair with a freestanding light to create a cosy hobby space.

    Tip of the week

    Lighter evenings mean more time outside – start getting equipped for all those al fresco evenings with some brightly coloured fairy lights.


    Three key pieces

    Red tripod lamp shadebutterfly candleLeona rattan shade


    Red tripod lamp shade, £25; butterfly candle, £3.50; Leona rattan shade, £25


  4. All about… getting more from small rooms

    Leave a Comment

    Just because you’re short on space, doesn’t mean you can’t be big on style! Colour schemes, furniture and clever storage solutions can all make a big difference to a small room.

    Easy illusions

    There are lots of clever tricks that create the illusion of more space. Light, neutral colour schemes are great for opening up small rooms, and soothing, even tones will help to create visual continuity. Savvy accessorising can transform a small space too. Try floor-to-ceiling curtains, carefully placed mirrors and lights in dark corners to give the impression of more square footage.

    English Vintage

    Dual-purpose pieces

    Stylish items with more than one use can be lifesavers for snug spaces. Daybeds are conveniently versatile – doubling up as a sofa during the day and a guestbed come night. Go for discreet but practical storage with a beautiful chest of drawers or trunk, which make it easy to keep your small space clutter-free and will also work as a coffee table.

    Use vertical space

    If you’ve run out of room, just look up! That valuable space right below the ceiling is perfect for installing bookcases, wall cabinets, bunk beds or extra shelves. Make the most of versatile space, and use it to keep household clutter out of sight.

    Tip of the week: Foldaway furniture is a smart way to bag more space. Tables, chairs, desks and even beds can be stacked up and stored away, leaving invaluable extra room.

    Three key pieces

    Gatsby coffee trunk Boho mirror daybed

    Gatsby coffee trunk, £299; Boho mirror, £25; daybed, £298