Archive: Jul 2014

  1. Be inspired… go glam on a camping trip


    I love camping but here’s the thing: I also like my home comforts! Pitching a tent is more popular than ever thanks to music festivals and ‘glamping’, but style and camping can still be awkward bedfellows. Here are my top glamping tips (that won’t cost the earth) for camping in style and comfort:

    Camping bedding for comfort - pillows, duvet and inflatable matressWhen it comes to bedding, indulge!

    Who says you have to take a sleeping bag?! I always take proper pillows, our king-size goose down duvet, and our double-height, queen-size inflatable mattress to make bedtime ultra-snugly and luxurious. Extras like this make all the difference.

    Go for solar-powered lighting

    I love fairy lights – they’re an inexpensive way of making your tent look pretty and sparkly. Instead of relying on an electric hook-up or endlessly buying batteries, Solar Metal Star String Lights are an economical and eco-friendly way to light up your tent.

    Striped Picnic Blanket, Orange and Pink Cushions, Solar Coastal Lanterns, Table Runner and Acrylic JugCreate a space to lounge

    It’s easy to create a relaxed spot on the grass infront of your tent. I’ve invested in cushions, a plastic-backed picnic rug and low-level folding tables. Outdoor ranges from camping shops can be expensive and sometimes look a bit drab. I’ve found Sainsbury’s a great place to start this year, with lots of affordable pieces in funkier colours and designs.

    Prices in main image, from left to right: Hot House Folding Table, £12; Pink & White Striped Picnic Blanket, £8; Orange and Pink Cushions, £8; Solar Coastal Lanterns, £9; Table Runner, £10; Acrylic Jug (comes with stacking cups, not pictured), £10. All available instore.

    Tip of the week

    You don’t have to slum it! I always take a camping kettle, stove and cafetière on my trips. Shell loves the outdoors and is a seasoned camper. She writes for Camping with Style, the blog for comfy campers with tips, advice and reviews on campsites and camping kit.

    Three key pieces

    Solar Coastal Lanterns Solar Metal Star String Lights Hot House Large Platter

    Solar Metal Star String Lights, £11.25; Hot House Large Platter, £6 (see instore); Solar Coastal Lanterns, £9.

  2. How to… dine outdoors in style

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    I love hot summer days when I can eat outside without having to scrutinise the sky for brooding rain clouds! With all this beautiful weather, I always make sure my outdoor tableware matches up. Dine alfresco in serious style with a few simple tips:

    My alfresco life-savers

    Much as I love fresh-air feasting, it usually involves a lot of toing and froing from the garden to the kitchen. This is where trays and platters come in really useful, so I always have them handy for transporting plates, glasses, food and drinks outside. Fewer trips indoors means more time to soak up the sun!

    I’ve got things covered

    I’m a bit of stickler for keeping bugs away from food, and I think a glass cloche makes a really stylish protective cover. (Just make sure it’s not in direct sunlight). I wouldn’t be without a lidded pitcher either – perfect for keeping buzzing insects away from refreshments.

    Cheers to long, hot days!

    I love raising a glass with friends on a hot summer’s day, but I’m not going to risk using my best glassware outside. Sipping in style is still a must though, and I’m a big fan of chic, outdoor drinksware like this Hot House Double Injection Cocktail Glass (pictured above) and this Memory Lane Highball (pictured below).

    Prices above, left to right: Honeycomb Hanging Decorations, £3 for 3; Paper Plates, £2.25; Candy Stripe Treat Tubs, £3 for 8; Sunshine Cocktail Napkins, £1.25 for 20; Flourish Antique Rose 6 Litre Watering Can, £20; Extra Large Platter, £6. All from our Memory Lane range (see instore).

    Tip of the week

    I relish the relaxed vibe that comes with eating outside, and I think this caddy (pictured below) is great for bringing cutlery, condiments and napkins to the table with a serving of laidback style.

    Need some tableware for the garden? Take a peek at our Picnic and Garden Party Pinterest boards for ideas.

    Three key pieces

    Honest Gardener Large Glass ClocheMemory Lane HighballHot House Water Hyacinth Caddy

    Honest Gardener Large Glass Cloche, £15 (see instore); Hot House Water Hyacinth Caddy, £10; Memory Lane Highball, £2 (see instore).

  3. How to… keep the kids busy this summer

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    I’m always thinking about play as a toy buyer, but with the summer holidays around the corner, finding fun things for kids to do is a must! Here are my top tips for keeping them busy:

    Expand their minds

    The power of play really expands children’s minds, and I get quite passionate about this! Any toy that helps develop the mind and gets a giggle at the same time is a great option for mums and dads to consider. I love our Alphabet Puzzle, as it challenges little heads as well as being great fun.

    Ask the kids

    If you’re treating them to a toy, but you’re overwhelmed by choice – just ask them what they love. A few years ago we had children on hand as expert helpers in one of our stores before Christmas. They helped out customers who were stuck on what to buy for the little ones in their family – and they definitely weren’t short on ideas!

    Get crafty

    For those wet summer days, craft games are ideal for keeping little ones occupied. These Galt Toys Fairy Sparkle Mosaics (pictured top) are brilliant for making glittery collages, while Play-Doh is a much-loved favourite with kids who love getting creative.

    Play outdoors

    With a few well-chosen toys for the garden, kids will spend hours playing outside. This Sand & Water Table (pictured below), comes with a bucket, spade and rake so little ones can get busy building moats and sand castles to their hearts’ content.

    Prices, top image: Galt Toys Fairy Sparkle Mosaics, £7.99.

    Tip of the week

    Outdoor games are a great way to get them outside when the sun’s shining. Whether they’re playing cricket, swingball or getting soaked with water pistols, they’ll be getting lots of fresh air without even noticing.

    Three top picks

    Sainsbury's online - Wooden cricket set Sainsbury online - Grow & Play Alphabet PuzzleSainsbury's online - Sand & Water Table

    Wooden cricket set, £12; Grow & Play Alphabet Puzzle, £6.99; Sand & Water Table, £25.

  4. This week we love… accent colour

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    It’s easier than you think to bring some of that summer spirit into your living space, and brighten up your home. Thankfully it can be done without the need for overalls and a paintbrush! With a few small changes, you can give your home a vibrant update in a matter of minutes. Here’s how:

    Garden shades

    I’ve got a real love for greens in all shades this season, and this green velvet cushion adds a botanical twist to your living room or bedroom. Try matching with cushions in different shades of moss and teal for a cohesive look.

    Subtle splashes

    Inject colour into your home in small but stylish ways. I love glass tumblers that boast a single stripe of colour for example. Simple but chic, they look just as good on the table for a laid-back lunch, as they do for evening entertaining.

    Brilliant brights

    With summer upon us, it’s a great excuse to get your picnicware ready for the garden. These drinking glasses (pictured below) in shades of emerald, flamingo and hibiscus give relaxed alfresco evenings a colourful, exotic twist.

    Small is beautiful

    Candle holders are an easy way to dot colour around the home. A few well-chosen ones will look great clustered together on a table. Pop fragranced candles inside to add a delicate scent to your living space.

    Statement pieces

    I’m a big fan of statement armchairs for creating big bursts of colour, and this botanical armchair combines an elegant silhouette with a rich shade of grape. For extra detail, add a cushion or checked throw for a striking visual contrast.

    Tip of the week

    Give your bedroom a quick colour makeover by updating your throws, bedlinen and cushions in similar shades for a coordinated look.

    Three key pieces



    Green plain velvet cushion, £6; red hurricane lamp with candle and sand, £8; cocktail glass, £2.50, see instore.

  5. Be inspired: set your table like a stylist


    Whether it’s for a special celebration like a birthday, or simply because you fancy a change, a few simple touches can really make a difference to your table. When I styled the dining shoot in Sainsbury’s Home Ideas magazine, I used a few tricks to give it a fresh, seasonal feel.

    Table-setting ideas: table laid with plain dinnerware and green glass vasesTwine time

    Homemade decorations will give your dinner table a lovely personal feel. For an eye-catching napkin ring, take a napkin, roll it up, then loosely wind a length of twine around it. Next, simply tuck a sprig of greenery underneath – a burst of small blooms looks sweet and pretty, a single flower head is more dramatic and herbs give an earthy, organic feel.

    Luggage tags

    For a different look, brown paper luggage tags make lovely place settings with your guests’ names on – but if you don’t have any to hand, you can always cut tags out of coloured paper or tea-stain some white paper for a vintage look. Make a hole using a hole punch so you can thread them withTable-setting idea: A selection of white dinnerware with a floral and butterfly print in black and turquoisestring or ribbon and tie them to cutlery or drinking-glass stems.

    Colour mix

    If you’re using plain crockery, make sure your accessories bring energy to your table – a pop of colour will really wake things up. I used vibrant green bottles and glassware for the shoot, which worked with the wood for a natural look. Alternatively, try tableware with an on-trend botanical print and just a hint of colour.

    What are your tips for making your table look special?

    Susie Clegg is an interior stylist and writer.

    Prices, top to bottom: Grey ripple-effect 12-piece dinner set, £50, see instore, Simplicity cutlery, set of 16, £15, see instore; white cotton napkins, set of 2, £4; white cotton tablecloth, £22; wine glasses, £2.50 each, see instore; Botanical dinner plate, £3.50; Botanical side plate, £3; Botanical cake forks, set of 4, £8.

    Tip of the week

    Dining outside instead? Check out our blog post on picnics, parties and barbecues and look out for our ‘Go al fresco’ Instagram competition, coming soon!

    Three key pieces

    White Coupe 12-piece dinner set,

    Botanical 2-tier cake standtall green glass bottle

    White Coupe 12-piece dinner set, £25; Botanical 2-tier cake stand, £10; tall green glass bottle, £12.