Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. From picnics to parties: 3 outdoor ideas to try


    Pretty picnic

    As the weather starts to get warmer, everyone wants to get out and about – suddenly Facebook is full of people enjoying the sun! If you want some photos to be proud of, make sure you set the scene: this picnic look is a fun, fresh and girly mix of summer colours and patterns, perfect for a bite to eat in the park right through to ‘glamping’.

    Whether you’re heading off for a posh picnic or to a music festival, the wicker hamper is just right for carrying your snacks and lending a little vintage charm. And if you’re simply staying in your garden to enjoy the sunshine, you can still capture that sense of summer adventure with this quirky bicycle ornament (below).

    Get the look



    Bicycle decoration, £10; wicker hamper, £15; coloured solar ball string lights, £12. Find all these instore


    Relaxed barbecue

    Sometimes, you want to keep things simple and classic, and that’s where this stripy dinner range really comes into its own. I love the mix of blue and white, it reminds me of family camping holidays in France.

    The large platter makes a great centrepiece, whether you want to cover it with cured meats and crudités or pile it high with sausages straight from the barbecue, while the bowl will hold more than enough salad for everybody. Why not mix in a few contrasting pieces of tableware too? It all adds to that summery feel.

    Get the look


    Salad bowl stripe, £3, see instore; large drum barbecue, £30; goblet, £2.50, see instore


    Party time

    You know summer’s really started when you can schedule an outdoor party without having a rain-safe ‘Plan B’ – I wouldn’t advise that yet though! Provided there are no showers on the horizon, these paper honeycombs are just the job – they’ll add a pop of colour to any location. I’ll definitely be using them for all my summer parties.

    Stripes are everywhere this summer and this outdoor tableware offers a quirky take on the trend with a pretty shade of pink. I’m going to mix and match this range with other prints as well: polka dots would add a playful edge, for example. For another twist, try using a watering can as a vase like we have in this picture – it’s such an easy idea, and one you could try inside too. Roll on the summer!

    Get the look



    Flourish Antique Rose watering can, £20; paper honeycombs, £3; extra large platter, £6. Find all these instore

    Tip of the week

    Why not light the way to your garden party with outdoor candles? A large lantern either side of your path or doorway will create a real sense of occasion.

  6. Win on Instagram with #SainsburysHomeHacks now!

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    Addicted to Instagram? Love making your home your own? We’ve got a competition that’s made for you! Show us the ways you’ve gone beyond the ordinary in your interiors and you could win £100 worth of Sainsbury’s vouchers in our #SainsburysHomeHacks competition.

    First, you’ll need to take a photo of your best home customisation or ‘home hack’. It could be a crate used as a bookcase, or filled with plants as we’ve done here – anything that shows your imagination! Then follow these steps for your chance to win:

    How to enter

    i) Visit the Sainsbury’s Instagram account
    ii) Upload a photo of your home hack
    iii) Tag your photo with @Sainsburys and use the hashtag #SainsburysHomeHacks

    Your photo will be added into our competition, which closes on 4th June 2014 at 12pm – please see our terms and conditions.

    The prizes

    Our favourite entry will win £100 worth of Sainsbury’s vouchers and two runners-up will receive £20 worth of Sainsbury’s vouchers.

    Be inspired!

    Don’t forget to check out the other #SainsburysHomeHacks creations on the hashtag, and look out for our favourites board on Pinterest! Here’s a little inspiration to get you started…

    Make, update and customise: A covered stool; labelled and re-used jars; a fabric-covered pin board; plants in trifle dishes and a lantern; books as a table leg, and a chalkboard-painted wall

    1. Cover all

    Covering a piece of furniture can be easier than you think: a stool is a good place to start, as there aren’t too many tricky angles. Alternatively, try covering solid objects with wallpaper, magazines or pâpier-maché – read our ‘how to’ here.

    2. What’s in store?

    Storage can add personality to your home, whether you buy a beautiful kilner jar or simply wash out an old one. Fill them up with dried goods or different coloured jams, then add your own handmade labels.

    3. Pin up

    Never have anywhere to store your jewellery? Stop leaving it in tangled heaps and try creating a display board instead. Just take a memo board and cover it with fabric, then push earrings into it. Necklace can be strung from the corners or added with thumb tacks.

    4. Seed of an idea

    When it comes to plants, it’s time to think outside the pot! Trifle dishes and glass lanterns make a more interesting home than ordinary terracotta, and will turn your plants into the focus of your room.

    5. By the book

    Got piles of old books you’ve already read? If you’ve made the switch to e-readers but don’t want to give away your favourites, try integrating them into your interior design: a stack of books could make a handy table leg, for example.

    6. Chalk it up

    Chalkboard paint allows you to make a statement anywhere in your home. Write a note, a shopping list or simply a doodle of the day – you can easily change the design to suit your mood.

    We can’t wait see your #SainsburysHomeHacks!

  7. Study in style: three ways to work smarter at home

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    Settling down to revise or tackle paperwork isn’t everyone’s favourite task, but a stylish update can make it that little bit easier. Here’s how you can create a study that’s easy on the eye – complete with a craft idea for you to try.

    Stylish storage; a selection of box files with home-made labels to keep important documents in1. Store it away

    Storage is the key to keeping all those ugly papers organised and out of sight, so think about box folders, shelving and under-desk storage. Wicker baskets are great for storing old magazines, while a simple drinking glass can be a neat place to store pens and pencils.

    2. Make your own labels

    Once you’ve stashed away all your desk clutter, you could try creating fun labels for your folders and files using neon masking tape. It’s matte so it’s easy to write on with any pen, and even a chalkboard pen wouldStudy lighting; a classic desk lamp sits with a lemon metal case and a selection of pencils work to write (and wipe off) what you’ve stored inside. Why not choose a mix of orange, pink and yellow labels to colour code your filing around revision topics or types of bills? This mix of floral folders and fluro tape feels really fresh for summer.

    3. Choose your lighting

    Good natural light is a must for any study, but be sure to add a desk lamp for after-hours working to avoid eye strain. An angled lamp is a style classic that allows you to position the brightness right where you need it – but try not to stay up all night!

    What’s your secret to a stylish study?

    Tip of the week

    For a printed twist on Susie’s neon labels, cut an oblong of re-used wrapping paper just a little larger than a plain white label to create a border. Stick your plain label over the top, then fix to the spine of your folder.

    Three key pieces

    Clear soda glassRed chrome angled desk lampWhite dipped wicker basket large

    Clear soda glass, £1.50; red chrome angled desk lamp, £7.80; large white dipped wicker basket, £10

  8. Good Housekeeping cookware: tried and tested!



    On my first day as Acting Cookery Editor at Good Housekeeping, we undertook the challenging task of blind-tasting mountains of chocolate Easter eggs – all in the name of choosing the very best! The Good Housekeeping Institute has been testing and evaluating consumer products since 1924, so our Tried & Tested mantra is at the heart of everything we do – including our new Good Housekeeping range created with Sainsbury’s. You can browse and buy the collection by clicking here.

    Working to our shared values, we’ve come up with perfect cookware at an affordable price and while it’s been hard to pick my favourites, I have come up with a top three.

    Good Housekeeping cookware: steak with griddle lines, potatoes and salad


    Good Housekeeping cookware: cast iron grill pan with steak bar

    Best for steaks

    I know a bad workman (or chef, as the case may be) blames his tools, but making food look perfect to photograph on our Good Housekeeping magazine shoots would be mighty tricky without the best kitchen equipment. The Good Housekeeping cast iron grill pan with steak bar has been lugged with me on every summer shoot to ensure I get the perfect griddle lines for the picture: the steak bar ‘lid’ has been designed with griddle grooves so that, once heated, it weighs down and sears the top of food, too. I’m also a fan of the lip for pouring off excess fat, which will help keep things lighter if you’re calorie counting.


    Good Housekeeping tip: This pan has been made of cast iron so it can reach a high temperature – therefore, be patient and wait for the pan to get really hot before griddling meat or vegetables. Always oil the food rather than the griddle, and for the best charred griddle lines on your meat, don’t be tempted to move it round the pan!

    Good Housekeeping cookware: metal mixing bowl, saucepan and electric weighing scales

    Best for baking

    Goodhouse Keeping non-slip mixing bowl

    If you think a bowl’s a bowl, think again! Whipping up the number of cakes that we do on the Good Housekeeping Cookery Team, I recognise the virtues of a good mixing bowl – and this set of small, medium and large stainless steel bowls ticks all the boxes. They’ve been designed with a non-slip base ensuring easy use on all surfaces, as well as a generous depth that ensures my batter stays in the bowl – rather than flying out all over my cookbook! I’ve also been loving the addition of handy markers on the bowl’s inner side for speedy measuring. These days you’ll rarely see me using any other bowls in the GH test kitchen, unless the others are already covered in cake mix!

    Good Housekeeping tip: Plastic bowls are notorious for absorbing grease, which is the known enemy of egg whites. To whisk up your whites to maximum volume, use a stainless steel bowl like these – or a glass or copper one – and make sure both beaters and bowl are scrupulously clean of grease and fat.

    Slow cooking meat for flavoursome stew

    Good Housekeeping cookware: cast iron casserole dishBest for slow cooking

    I love slow cooking. Nothing beats stepping away from the casserole and letting the magic happen, safe in the knowledge you are going to take all the credit for doing next to nothing! I’ve found the Good Housekeeping 2.85L round cast iron casserole dish is a perfect size when cooking for two and to store in a small kitchen like mine at home. If you’re feeding a crowd and space is no object then the luxurious 4.75L round cast itron casserole dish is a winner. These dishes are designed with unique nodules on the lid so that, as moisture from the food rises, droplets of condensation drip off the nodules back into the dish for the juiciest, most tender stews ever!

    Good Housekeeping cookware: assorted knives and a chopping board with measurements



    Tip of the week

    Love international recipes but tired of trying to turn different measurements into metric? The Good Housekeeping wooden chopping board features useful conversions, exact width measurements for julienne vegetables, and ruled lines for cutting perfect-sized pastry – all printed on the sturdy wood.


  9. Bank holiday room makeover – be inspired and win!


    Bank holiday room makeover: five ways to transform your table, including flowers in bottles, a candle holder as a place setting, lavender tied to a serviette, mixed vegetables on a wood plaque and a cupcake under a small glass cloche.

    You may not be jetting away this bank holiday weekend but you could transform your dining room into a French-style haven with these quick tips. On my blog at Tincture Ltd I’m always on the look-out for fabulous things, so I couldn’t wait to use Sainsbury’s products in this fragrant lavender makeover, which is perfect for entertaining or even as a wedding look.

    1. Start by choosing lavender-inspired pieces from the Sainsbury’s English Vintage range and lots of lovely lavender.
    2. Create a floral centrepiece with different-sized lavender bottles and glasses filled with flowers along a table runner.
    3. Place lavender optic jar tealight holders in the centre of each set of dishes as table settings.
    4. If you prefer, try making your own floral table setting. Dip white card tags into tea and leave to dry, before writing on your guests’ names. Tie the tags to fresh lavender. Finally, tie the lavender sprigs to folded napkins with purple raffia.
    5. To evoke a sense of Provençal cuisine, display heritage tomatoes, purple artichokes and French garlic in one of these wire heart baskets or on a text wooden plaque, laid on its side as a board.
    6. For dessert or as an extra decoration, place the cover of an oh-so-pretty lavender & geranium cloche candle over a cupcake – this is also very practical if you’re eating outside, as it will keep bugs at bay and prevent food drying out.

    To create this look, I used: tin heart jug £10; large vintage lavender bottle, £5; medium vintage lavender bottle, £4; small vintage lavender bottle, £3, see instore; wire heart baskets, £15; lavender optic jar tealight holder, £3; text wooden plaque, £12; lavender & geranium cloche candle, £3 Et voilà! All finished. Hope you enjoy your own room re-style projects this weekend.

    Win Grand Designs Live tickets!

    Has this post left you feeling inspired? Leave a comment below to say what home improvements you’ll be doing this bank holiday weekend and you could be randomly selected by Sainsbury’s to win five tickets to Grand Designs Live, courtesy of BRITA.

    If you’d like the chance to be the lucky winner, remember to be quick – you only have this weekend to enter! This prize draw closes on Friday 2 May 2014 at midday.

    Please see the terms and conditions

  10. How to sleep better – plus win a bedroom look!


    What do you look for in a great night’s sleep? Serene colours and a declutter can create a restful atmosphere in your bedroom – but when it comes to the finer details, everybody’s different. From light levels and background noise to the firmness of your mattress or pillows, what lulls you off to sleep is as unique as you are.

    Choosing the mattress that’s right for you can seem complicated, so I’ve put together a quick guide on what to look out for – and if you leave a comment below to say what you need for a great night’s sleep, you could be in with a chance of winning all the homewares pictured above! Just see our ‘How to enter’ section.

    Spring support

    The most common spring system in a mattress is the open coil or open sprung, which is available in a range of tensions to produce different support. If you like a firm mattress, try the 12.5 gauge – the firmest type of spring.

    Two’s company

    In a shared bed, a mattress should provide support to both of you: if one of you is heavier than the other, then the bed can sag and you’ll both to roll into the dip! A pocket spring mattress features individual pockets of springs that make sure the surface stays even.

    Have your fill

    While springs provide support, fillings ensure comfort. Generally, the more springs and filling, the more comfortable your bed will be. You can also choose memory foam: combined with open coil or pocket springs, this breathable material moulds to your shape, relieves pressure points and can even promote better circulation.

    How to enter

    So, what do you look for in your perfect bed? And what else guarantees you a comfortable night? Let us know what you need for a great night’s sleep and you could be our randomly selected winner! Your prize will include all the homewares pictured above – please see our terms and conditions for full details.

    This prize draw opens at 10am on Thursday 24 April 2014 and closes at 9pm on Thursday 8 May 2014.

    Three key pieces

    Ashby dove grey night stand

    teal square button cushion

    teal faux mohair throw

    Ashby dove grey night stand, £298; teal faux mohair throw £20; teal square button cushion, £8.