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As much as I love the buzz of a luxury splurge, who can say they don’t prefer the thrill of a bargain? Over the past few years we have been spoiled by national supermarkets launching their own homeware collections which have made food shopping for people like me a feverish pleasure.

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With a new Head of Design and beautifully themed collections, affordable. My picks from the collection all come under £50 and honestly I could not tell the difference in quality between these products and a more high end brand – the ceramic glazes appear handcrafted, textiles are beautifully tactile and glassware thick and luxurious. I cannot wait to ‘splurge’ on more in the collection.

Above: Dip Dye Utensil Holder £6, Stoneware Fish Platter and bowl £7.50 each. Below: Tie Dye Cushions £10 each, Hurricane Glass Lanterns £10 and £12.

If you can’t wait till your next food shop, take a look at the catalogue online here

TescoCushions TescoLanterns

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.

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As julie love boat pokies 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.

 

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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.

Plain English New Paint

I read a lot of historical fiction, especially atmospheric books set in 18th and 19th century England. Tales of lonely Gothic Manors in the English countryside and their curious inhabitants, or imposing London townhouses with their cast of secretive bustling characters. For me, it’s always the descriptions of the interior of the homes that fascinate me, more so the basic and utilitarian downstairs rooms, the sculleries and pantries and staff quarters – be they cosy or dismal.

Resonating with my gothic obsessions is British kitchen company Plain English’s new imagery of their ‘Spitalfields’ kitchen painted in a new paint collection developed in collaboration with Interior Decorator Adam Bray. With names like ‘Rice Pudding’, ‘Dripping Tap’,  ‘Boiled Dishcloth’, ‘Pretty Pickle’, ‘Draughty Passage’, ‘Inky Nib’, ‘Scullery Latch’ and their new colours Buy Tramadol [seen here] ‘Tea Break’. ‘Airing Line’, ‘Time for Tea’ and ‘Wash Day’, they conjure up narratives just as delicious as any one of my books [especially Scullery Latch!]. The image below is of their new colour chart in the brand’s Marylebone showroom.

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The brand’s Spitalfield’s kitchen has always been my favourite because it was inspired by 18th century middle class merchant houses of Spitalfields in East London located very near to my home. I love the styling of the rooms – practical but oh so pretty – with washing lines of utilitarian garments strung up in indigo and linen hues – vintage crockery that populates the beautifully bare cornflour blue dressers and industrial fixtures that quietly gleam on the walls and ceilings. Perfect kitchens for daydreaming of the past.

Plain English New Paint Plain English New Paint Plain English New Paint

I noticed I had quite a collection of creatures in my home the other day… here is a small selection.

- A pair of brass mice candlesticks, a hand-me-down from an eccentric animal loving Aunt in Calcutta.
- A stork that keeps watch of my treasures from Anthropologie
- A gulping guppy I couldn’t resist in a sale and a tiny tortoise that held my 30th birthday gift from my best buddy, both from Anthropologie
- A roaring bear bottle opener bought in Boston three years ago from Urban Outfitters we are yet to fix it to the wall but I like how it watches over us from its current position atop the kitchen rail.
- A weighty fish lock bought by wedding guests during our wedding in 2013 in Bombay from Bungalow 8

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On Monday I visited London’s first design show of the year HOME London, which after being launched in 2012 is steadily making it’s way to being the definitive venue for homeware brands to showcase their wares in the UK. It’s a good chance to catch some the international brands that will show at Maison and Milan like Marimekko and Ferm Living but also explore out smaller independent makers from the UK.

Here are some of my highlights…

The print-work of Fanny Shorter caught my eye, influenced by her childhood  of English holidays, frequents visits to the V&A, the Natural History Museum and National Trust properties –  her work is a striking contemporary take on vintage English patterns.

Fanny-Shorter

Ceramist Sue Ure, presented a collection of beautiful pastel ceramics in chunky and modern silhouettes interspersed with highlights of black. I loved the delicate imperfections of the glaze and the gentle gradients of colour. Especially attractive were the sugar jars and pourers with stick handles on the lids finished with coloured dot details!

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