Archive: Jun 2014

  1. Be inspired: chic ideas for houseplants

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    Stepping into our Sainsbury’s spring/summer press launch, journalists were met with a vibrant display of potted plants. We’d filled trifle dishes and other glassware with bright green herbs and placed them down the centre of a long table: it was the perfect way to set the scene for the new season.

    amy-polaroid_200x210Since then, I’ve spotted more and more houseplants in homeware magazines – I used to think of them as a bit old-fashioned, but with a little creativity you can do something really interesting with them. Here are my tips for using houseplants in your home:

    1. Indoor landscape – Don’t just use plants to fill space: instead, think about the whole effect, as you would in a garden. I think plants are especially effective in bathrooms or studies – rooms that often need a bit of personality.

    2. Higher or lower – I love it when plants are used at different levels: you could place your plant in a wicker basket on the ground, another plant on your coffee table and a trailing plant up high on a bookcase. You could also look at fixing wooden boxes and crates to your wall to showcase your plants.

    3. Make a feature – We have loads of home accessories that would work well with plants at Sainsbury’s. Our glass cloches can be placed over humidity-loving plants for a mini greenhouse effect, or small plants can be placed inside this large rope lantern – or why not place a cluster in this small metal basket?

    4. Pick a plant – My favourite plants to use in the home are herbs. I love that burst of colour and fragrance you get from them, especially basil. If you just want something stunning for your home, an Indian rope plant is a favourite with home stylists. Place it high up so it’ll drape down as it grows.

    What are your top tips for using houseplants in your home? Let us know in the comments

    Tip of the week

    Terracotta pots aren’t just for outdoors. Bring some in and use with your houseplants – a weather-beaten edge and faded colours will only add to their appeal.

    Three key pieces



    Small metal basket, £10;large glass cloche, £15, see instore; teal glass lantern, £22

  2. How to sort out your garden for summer

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    Having a garden is a wonderful luxury, especially at this time of year when the sun’s out and all anyone wants to do is relax outdoors. That’s why I feel bad for taking my own small back garden for granted: every year I promise to make more effort, but before I know it barbecue season is here and I haven’t uprooted a single weed! This summer, I’ve been following an action plan to keep it in trim…

    Sort out your garden: foxgloves and other tall plants in a planted border1. Make a list – It might sound odd that my first tip doesn’t involve any actual gardening, but I’ve found making a list of my outdoor goals really helps me get on with things. The Sainsbury’s gardening journal is divided into handy sections so you can keep track of what you’ve planted, what you’d like to plant and what you’ve learnt for next time.
    2. Cut that grass! There’s a trend in gardening for homegrown ‘meadows’ filled with long grass and wildflowers, but you can’t just let your grass grow and hope for the same idyllic effect! Now the weather is drier, there’s no excuse not to haul out the mower (unfortunately).
    3. On bended knee – It’s growing time for weeds as well as flowers, so I know I need to don my Sort out your garden: a trowel, fork and gardening gloves with a wicker hampergardening gloves and grab my trowel and fork. Kneeling on an old blanket makes it more enjoyable, as does a decent playlist on
    my iPhone.
    4. Total ecosystem – If you’re getting rid of the long grass and weeds, you might also be uprooting insects, which are vital for attracting birds and keeping the lifecycle of your garden ticking over. Create a ‘bug hotel’ filled with nooks and crannies for them to live in with bricks and old straw, and remember that Britain’s struggling bumblebees love flowers: full marks if you’ve already planted lots of beautiful blooms.
    Sort out your garden: a bright flower growing in a garden5. Reward yourself! Some people adore gardening for its own sake, others do it for the sense of satisfaction when it’s all finished. If you’re like me, you’ll need another incentive too, so start planning the garden party you can have when it’s all shipshape. At the very least, enjoy a well-earned cup of tea at the end!

    What will you be doing in your garden for this summer?

    Main image: wicker hamper, £15; enamel twine tin, £5; enamel tray, £8; enamel mugs, £2.50 each; flask, £10; plate and bowl, £2.50 each. Inset image: trowel and fork, £8.50 each; gloves, £8; wicker basket, £15


    Tip of the week

    Don’t have a garden of your own? Community gardens near you are always looking for volunteers.

    Three key pieces

    Watering can

    JournalBird houseWatering can, £20; gardening journal, £5.99; small bird house, £8

  3. Father’s Day favourites: what he really wants!

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    It can be easy to get stuck in a rut with Father’s Day gifts: I know my dad’s certainly had enough chocolate and DVDs from me to last a lifetime! This year, I wanted to do it differently, so instead of thinking of him in ‘dad’ mode, I thought about who he chooses to be when he’s simply hanging out at home. To give it a go yourself, start by looking at where he spends most of his time.

    If he’s usually… out in the garden

    If your dad’s always outdoors, then you’re in luck: from a barbecue for his famous burgers to a goal for a kickabout with the grandkids, you can make sure this is his best summer yet. I know my dad would also enjoy using a wall-mounted barometer to impress us with his weather predictions – and no, he doesn’t know there’s an app for that now…

    Landmann Piccolino portable barbecue in turquoise- available in store to 18th June 2014Football goalHonest Gardener Barometer

    Landmann Piccolino portable barbecue in turquoise, £29.99 (until 18th June); Plum premium wooden football goal, 6x4ft, £129.99; Honest Gardener barometer, £16, see instore

    If he’s usually… relaxing at home

    Father’s Day favourites: a dad relaxes with his family in front of the TV

    Does your dad love nothing more than pottering around the house? Then I reckon he’d appreciate a few creature comforts this Father’s Day, including a digital radio to provide a soundtrack to his downtime. An accessory such as a cushion could make a great addition to that room he’s so proudly finished painting, or why not give him what he really wants: more time to spend in his favourite place. With this 10-in-1 trimmer, he can keep himself looking groomed in the comfort of his own home – bliss!



    Father’s Day gift ideas

    DAB wooden radioClippersCushion

    Red NE-3111R DAB wooden radio, £29.99 (until 24th June); navy blue pleat cushion, £8; BaByliss for Men 7235U 10-in-1 Grooming System, £29.99

    If he’s usually… cooking in the kitchen?

    Dad cooking in the kitchen
    For those dads who consider themselves a bit of a master chef, there’s no better indulgence than a wine cooler: I know you might have to club together with your siblings to buy it, but it’ll be worth it for the wow-factor. A simpler way to show he’s in charge is to treat him to his very own apron – or give him a classic cast-iron pan, which will help him turn out perfect steaks every time.
    Where can you usually find your dad when he’s at home – and what would make him love it even more?


    Father’s Day gift ideas

    Husky HN6 slimline wine cooler, £99.99 (until 2nd July); Griddle panApron


    Husky HN6 slimline wine cooler, £99.99 (until 2nd July); striped apron, £3.99 (while stocks last); Cook’s Collection orange cast iron griddle pan, £15 (until 10th June)

    Tip of the week

    Still stuck for inspiration? Come instore and discover our special Father’s Day collection, including retro Dad’s Army chocolate, socks and mugs!