…it would be rocking these ridiculously beautiful accessories – in fact I have a mind to just get them for myself… or for my baby…!

Adding to its pet product collection DOnG at Milan Design Week this week, Japanese accessories brand Sfera is launching new products designed for dogs and those who admire them. In the collection are exquisite copper and brass dry food caddies, handcrafted walnut wood brushes and dog toys, woven dog beds and brass trimmed dog beds, handmade dog bowls and kidskin and calfskin collars in stylish hues.

Chowtime_junior Donut-dog-bowls CucciaSnooze-Junior- SproutBrush Bone-&-Branch-dog-toys Sleigh-dog-bed CeramicDogBowl Sainte-Anne-dog-collars

What is it about Spring and its charged tendrils which permeate sneakily under thresholds and curl through the cracks in windows to make us feel restless and impatient for the new. Is it a natural instinct of re-birth and renewal that resounds in our bones like in animals and plants?

A literal sweeping of cobwebs, I am all about the Spring update. It is the bane of my husband’s life that there is a constant flux of homeware products in our household – I am forever buying new glassware and tableware [luckily for me he breaks a lot of it] and if something hangs around for more than two years and is looking a bit knackered [cheap bedside tables i'm looking at you] out it goes.

I believe it’s not my fault and re-invention is in my blood. Every Spring since I was a child my grandmother in Calcutta has re-painted her entire home, re-upholstered her furniture and updated her soft furnishings including curtains for a new season – now that’s my kind of lady!

So in homage to a new season, here are five of my Spring essentials that will go a long way to make your home feel refreshed even if you can’t afford an entire image re-haul.

FermLivingPlanters

I have had my eye on Ferm Living’s mid-century style Plant Stands since their launch this Winter. I’ve always had an issue with plant pots cluttering up window sills, especially since we have a lot of blinds and this very retro and elegant way of displaying plants seems the perfect solution. The Plant Stands come in two heights priced from 30 Euros. The Brass Hexagon Pots are sold separately and priced from 36 Euros.

ToastStonewarePlate

Tableware is my Achilles’ heel and frankly I don’t have enough of it to my liking. The Eve collection at Toast is constantly evolving in seasonal hues and although pricey at £28 for a Dinner Plate, these large plates look great as serving dishes. With a juicy matt pink top glaze and partially glazed underside it’s just the right amount of pretty to brighten up a buffet table at a gathering.

PBTeen

As much as I like things, the frequent rotation of items [by this I mean the inexpensive fun stuff, textiles, crockery and decor] at home means we never feel cluttered – because we live in a flat, I work really hard to make sure that we do not have more of what we can use. Bedding is one of those things – I buy one set of bedding that I really love and wash, dry immediately and use it to death. Bedding, thrifty and fun from Ikea or a splurge from John Lewis is the perfect Spring rejuvenator. Nothing better than sliding into clean new sheets. On my wishlist is this beautiful Metallic Stripe and Dots Set from £22 at Pottery Barn Teen [who ship to the UK]. Part of a collection inspired by whimsical vintage Americana by US stylists Emily Current & Meritt Elliot I love the simple graphic layering of the ever popular dots and stripes in a subtle metallic finish.

 

Version Retocada

I usually have very pared back taste but often an update deserves something crazy to add to the mix. I love a new water pitcher for the warm months, it just makes my day seeing something pretty and eccentric dotted in the middle of a sophisticated spread. This pretty and playful Leaf Jug is 29.99 at Zara Home made of luminous green glass with raised leaf details it makes me want to clap my hands in glee! I must have it! Great value as usual at Zara Home for such an original piece.

Anthropologie

Finally, there is a strong division of camps that think wind-chimes are either super beautiful or super creepy. I am of the opinion that they evoke memories of lazy summer days in English gardens with a tinkling sound carried down through the thick summer air from a neighbouring garden – or beachside bars on exotic holidays as the sun sets and the evening air passes through the trees - essentially all things good. Anthropologie have an array of beautiful chimes in store this season from stoneware and jute Teaflower Chimes priced from £18, to exotic Manali Charm Bells from £14 in varying metal shapes.

Each season when I dive into a new trend forecast I am overtaken with a new design obsession, this season I’m all about the conceptual ceramics…

I love Los Angeles based ceramicist Ben Medansky’s sculptural pieces. Working with terracotta, Medansky’s highly usable tableware is irreverently detailed with architectural features like clay spring handles and rhythmic spike protrusions. Imperfections in glazes and a delightful half and half dip reveals slivers of tan terracotta underneath.

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Californian ceramist Giselle Hicks‘ vessels remind me of the kind found in Vermeer paintings, generous in size, beautifully crude and in darkly luminous shades. Made using a ‘coil and pinch’ technique, the mottled textures on each surface are finger prints left from the pinched forming process which is then softened by the thick, opaque glazes applied to the surface. I never thought I would be drawn to a red vase, but the one below is just perfection!

GiselleHicks

I am obsessed with Michele Quan’s ever changing series of stoneware bells which hang from beautiful hemp rope and have knockers made from reclaimed walnut. The new ones are decorated with slick hand-painted graphic stripe patterns – how stunning are the  burnt umber coloured set?!

She has also updated her collection of surreal eye plates with irises filled with stars…

Michel-Quan

Lastly I have had my eye on the playful mugs of Recreation Centre for ages. I love the contrast of the graphic squiggle and dot patterns against the traditional glazes and pottery work. Beauties!

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You may have heard me mention that we are expecting our first baby in May. From what I gather from others in the know, it is inevitable that our lives will be turned upside down from that day and not return to anywhere far from chaos for at least 20 years! With this in mind I have spent all of January in a whirlwind of activity, tying up loose ends, getting paperwork in order and doing two years of accumulated spring cleaning in our flat.

I know that what we all love most is a good before and after project of organisation. I know I do – even to look at another person’s space going from mild chaos to organised on my computer screen leaves me with a satisfied feeling. So with that in mind I am totally going to put my shameful cupboard insides out there for the world to see and show you how excited I am that they are fully transformed.

I had two spaces at home that were totally stressing me out – our hallway cupboard which since we moved in two years ago was a haphazard dumping ground for duvets, bed-linens, table linens and medicines, toiletries and odd bits of hardware. It broke my heart that i had so many beautiful linens which were never organised properly and we could never find any medicines we wanted because they are all piled up on top of each other in impractical plastic boxes.

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The second area was my bedroom cupboard, when we cleared out the spare room for the nursery all of my overspill which had been in there was hastily dumped in the bottom of my cupboards. I also knew I had to simplify my wardrobe – get rid of a lot of clothes and shoes and just make the most of what i had and access it really easily. It turned out that all of my life’s organisation solutions came in the form of the PP Storage System from Muji.

Muji

The storage system is an elegant and functional collection of frosted Polypropylene boxes and drawers that can be stacked in any arrangement. I ended up using the PP A4 3 Drawer Unit for both of my cupboards – stacked and arranged side by side.

Oh to organise and I have the means to organise with is indescribable! Our hallway cupboard was transformed! No more scrambling around in the dark, things falling onto you while you are searching for something else. Medicines, candles, table linens and miscellany all arranged in easy to reach pull out drawers! Larger items like towels now have room to breath and stay neatly stacked and I used some lovely Cotton Linen Underbed Storage to zip up unsightly stored duvets inside. Yay! I love my hall cupboard now!

Hallway

The wardrobe – all my luggage, fancy purses and rarely used items have to date been piled on the top shelf and two rails held many clothes in the main area [the image above shows clothes after a substantial reduction]` and the bottom of the wardrobe was storage for my many shoes which I had at one time organised in see through show boxes but weren’t really functional as they weren’t particularly stackable, all had lids and it was an effort to get to a pair that might have been at the bottom of the pile. The rest was debris from the clear out of the spare room!

Now, just using the 3 drawer units, my shoes all fit in easy pull out drawers [this depends on what size shoes you have of course but I have managed to squeeze my husbands large shoes in the same boxes in the cupboard next door] my purses and scarfs that were piled on the top shelf also pull out and make is SO easy to put an outfit together. Yay! A tidy home really is a tidy mind and has put me in good stead to face whatever the rest of the year may bring!

Wardrobe

BrakigCollection

This month sees the launch of Ikea’s stunning new limited edition collection BRÅKIG –  a result of a collaboration between IKEA and the creative Danish collective ArtRebels.

The collection comprises of thirty products – clever storage solutions – [my favourite are the sturdy storage boxes in geometric patterns and covetable pastel colours - £7 for a set of two] small sized furniture [super cute table trays retail at £20] to textiles [cushions from £5 and rugs £100 each] and harlequin print china and wallpaper.

Influences from Danish design and a love of Copenhagen are shown in the choice of techniques, materials and design. Natural materials such as plywood and pine are coordinated with misty pastels and sharp, graphic designs.

With a baby on the way in May and a nursery to decorate, I am beyond excited about such an affordable and stylish collection to hand at my local Ikea store… I have already begun to collect the pretty storage boxes and have my eye on the footstools and rugs…

The collection being limited, it doesn’t appear on the Ikea site – maybe it will later this month, but you can read more about BRÅKIG here. Rumours are that the collection will be in store till August but i’m not hanging around!

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