Embracing Colour // Be Bold by Emily Henson

Before you think I’ve gone mad let me explain.  I know I am normally drawn to subtle greys and monochrome tones but if you scratch the surface you will find that I do love being bold.  My home may not be bright orange, pink and green like the cover of this fabulous book but I think I’ve made some bold choices, such as dark blue walls, funky patterned rugs and cushions and a black ceiling in my bathroom.  Being bold doesn’t necessarily mean bright and this book shows this off to perfection.

It is definitely a matter of perception, I absolutely love this book for its individuality of the homes featured, the home owners are not afraid of making a statement be it through vivid paint or boldness that lies in the details, patterned wall papers and creative layering of accessories.

Emily Henson is one of my favourite stylists and I do own a few of her previous books but I do think this one, along with Modern Rustic, is my favourite.   Be Bold is about embracing this free spirited look and shows us how to translate it to any home, you just have to take that leap of faith. Like the title implies interiors for the brave of heart.

The first section of the book goes into detail with easy ideas to recreate some of the looks in your own home, the second half discovers homes with adventurous, spirited styling that will inspire you to decorate with confidence.  These interiors are for those who love colour and pattern or for those who want to give it a go but are a little scared of the results.  These homes will definitely make you embrace the notion that the bright pink paint you love will make your hallway sing, or those tiles you have your eye on can not only go on the floor but up the wall too, break the rules and have fun!

Of course I am drawn to the homes featured that have more muted tones, the deep rich blues, the blacks and the greens with added accents of a geometric print or rug.  One of my favourites is interior designer Anne Geistdoerfer’s Parisian town house for its rich hues and clever designs.  Also the elegant apartment of Theo-Bert Pot and Jelle van de Schoor in the Hague, eclectic with a sophisticated mix of accessories.

It has opened my eyes again to the possibility that not everything has to be painted white, my next decorating project is my hallway and landing and my mind is a whir filled with colour, I’m taking inspiration from the pages of this book so watch this space!

Another perfect book to go on your Christmas list for sure, you can get a copy here from Ryland Peters & Small it will make a stunning addition to your interior book collection plus will never let you reach for the white paint again when inspiration has faded, its just the boost needed to get creative.




Made of Wood // A Review

This book is the perfect book for this time of the year, filled with warm inviting homes that feature wood in many forms and styles and I adore every single one of them.  I can never resist a book written by Mark and Sally Bailey their effortless style and ability to fashion anything out of things they find fascinates me.  I have long been an admirer of their store Baileys Home in the heart of Herefordshire I have visited once a few years ago which is definitely not enough, I need to go back.  I have of course got a few things in my home from them, purchased over the years from chapel chairs to mirrors, Parfait jar lights, our loo seat oak of course and yes even my kitchen sink!

When Ryland Peters & Small asked if I would like to review Mark and Sally’s new publication Made of Wood I jumped at the chance.  I love wood but didn’t really realise how much until I read the book, I started to look around my home and truly noticed all the pieces I have that make our house a home, from Victorian striped pine doors to a French window shutter mantle shelf, hand made bath panels from scaffolding boards and painted floor boards in all the bedrooms, old tables and chairs and the list goes on.

The versatility of this wonderful material is endless and the book focuses on it in all its glory the warmth it brings to a home making it feel grounded either through a homes structure or the items curated within it.

“Made of Wood is a celebration of recycled pieces, age old crafting techniques, clean modern lines and global influences as well as art and tableware with a handmade feel.

The first half of the book Wooden Elements explores the many ways in which we can use wood in our homes, sculpted, left in its natural state, roughly sawn or smoothly planed, recycled or painted.  The second half of the book Wooden Stories contains 12 case studies, each one offering a glimpse into the homes of people who have used this most ancient and versatile of materials in creative and inspiring ways.

Living with wood brings tactile comfort to every day, warms any interior, and will give your home a sense of soul that is so often lacking in this age of mass production.”

I wish I could live in each and every home in this book, each so different from the next but with the one continuous link between them all that being the material that makes them special, wood.  Mark and Sally have such a way with words you understand their passion behind what they do and why, also the elements that make their homes so evocative and inviting from the Welsh Farmhouse to Whitecross Farm both homely and unique.  They believe that surrounding yourself with natural materials is a way of achieving a balanced and peaceful atmosphere in the home, wood being a principal element for harmony and I couldn’t agree more.  It is such a versatile element you can create almost anything from it with many finishes in its raw state, painted or polished, rough, recycled or reclaimed.  I would love to clad the outside of a house in it but that’s another story.

One of my favourite homes featured is The Plough to me its simply perfect with a pared back feel, no fuss just simple and honest, things have been chosen for their patina or sculptural qualities and elements have been left alone and untouched to reveal the history of this beautiful home that once was a pub.

This is definitely a book to invest in, you can get a copy from here directly, it would make a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself.  To own a copy to pick up and indulge in whenever you feel like, it will make you feel warm inside and inspire you with ideas to transform parts of your own home with wonderful wood.


  • Images 4, 6, 7, & 9 kindly supplied by the publishers Ryland Peters & Small, taken from the book Made of Wood written by Mark & Sally Bailey and photographed by Debi Treloar


Relaxed Coastal Style // Sally Denning // BlackshoreStyle

Every once in a while a book comes along that fills you with emotion, ones that conjure up a sense of calm and tranquillity, each page turned is a delight, drawing you deeper into the homes featured plus the inspiration of the coastal elements applied from colour palettes and textures, weathered wood and bleached linens.  I have a deep pull towards the sea, I don’t quite live right next to it more’s the pity but I am very lucky that I am a short drive away from it and get my fix as often as I can.  Now, where ever I am I can be transported to the shore when I relax and read Relaxed Coastal Style by Sally Denning.
This beautiful book will definitely be coming on my holiday with me to be read and re read whilst away in France, lucky for me I will be by the sea so its perfect.  I love the way the book is laid out in parts throughout, Coastal Elements guides you through how you can create a coastal interior picking up on simple design techniques and colour palettes that would suit your home. From weathered and bleached to dark and moody all of which can be found by the seashore, pale sandy beaches to inky stormy skies the palettes can be replicated through decor and accessories.   Then we get introduced to the Coastal hideaways, the homes that are situated right by the big blue ocean, from a Norfolk beach shack to a Coastguards house in Kent to a Mallorcan hideaway and a cottage on Cape Cod filled with vintage charm.  I don’t think I can choose a favourite as each one has a certain element that I adore but will most certainly be picking up little design influences to use in my own home.
I can wax lyrical about the book for ever but I am lucky enough to know the author Sally through being friends on instagram for quite some time.  I am in awe of her work, style, her eye for detail and she also has the most fabulous instagram feed BlackshoreStyle.  I asked Sally how the book came to fruition and this is what she said :


“I have been an interiors stylist for over 20 years and for a major part of that, styling and writing for interiors magazines in London. Now freelance, I have  always wanted to do an interiors book but if the truth be told, getting a Book proposal together had always been put on the back burner because normal work and life seemed to take over! One day, I was sitting in my car (the glamour!) working as the wifi had gone down at home as usual (!), and an email popped into my inbox from London publisher Ryland, Peters and Small asking me if I would be interested in styling and writing a coastal book for them. I didn’t realise that they followed my Blackshore Style account on Instagram, but this was one of the reasons that they gave me the commission as they seemed to like my style. Of course, I jumped at the chance, so thrilled that they believed in me, and chuffed to bits that they approached me to do it.


There was quite a bit of travelling involved to capture the images and a solid three weeks of shooting. Myself and the photographer, Ben Edwards travelled to the East Coast of America, Mallorca, mainland Spain, Cornwall and Norfolk to shoot the book with long days shooting, but in fantastic places by the sea. Dreamy actually and the sun shone too – we were so lucky! After all the images were taken, I started to write the book. I wrote it last Autumn, and each day lit the woodburner and sat at my laptop typing away – a process I really enjoyed as I haven’t done much writing since my magazine days. Then layouts and proofs started to come through earlier this year. I worked very closely with the publishers Art director and designer, working on every single page to make sure it looked as good as it could to fit their house style. I hope I’ve done the book justice and thank each and every person who has spent their hard earned cash on a copy. I’m forever grateful and honoured to have been able to create an actual, real life book!”
So if you don’t own a copy of Relaxed Coastal Style then where have you been, every coffee table in the land needs a copy so you too can be transported to the shore and be inspired to create that effortless simplicity that life by the sea brings.




* with thanks the Sally for letting me use her images alongside my own in this post.  You can get a copy of the book here.


Say it with Flowers // Wreaths

This beautiful book was kindly sent to me from Katie and Terri who are the duo behind WORM London.  This is their first publication and I hope not the last.  Filled with inspiration to create fresh, foraged and dried floral arrangements based on wreaths.

The simple steps guide you through the equipment you will need and the different wreath structures you can use.  All the projects in the book are relaxed and simply constructed and there are no rules, it is a base to have fun and create beautiful displays that reflect the seasons.  Within each chapter of  fresh, foraged, dried and festive there are many arrangements you can indulge in from wild spring wreaths to rustic wall hangings that will bring joy.

What I love about this book is the imagery: so fresh, vibrant, simple and inspiring it is a wonderful addition to have in my collection and will be read over and over.

Wreaths is now available to buy from all good bookshops and online.   It is a must buy if, like me, your home feels empty without flowers.






Design Elements // Childrens Books

I know before anyone asks if I’ve gone mad then the answer is most certainly NO!   Children’s books in all their colourful, imaginative, educational other world inspiring glory are full of design.  Can you see the connection?   I wonder how many times you have read a book to your little one and studied the art work, I know I have.  Pondering questions of what inspired the illustrator and how they came up with their brilliant concept that will be treasured at bed times by so many small people.  Even to the point of connecting with a child so much that this is what they end up doing themselves when they grow up.

Design is everywhere you look and I was fascinated when I was asked to take a look at three new very unique children’s books based on their design ethics. The books in question are Handstand by Lisa Stickley,  An Animal ABC by Alice Pattullo (to be released on 13th October 2016) and a re telling with a twist on a classic tale Sleeping Beauty: a mid century fairy tale illustrated by David Roberts and retold by Lyn Roberts-Maloney.  Rather than me review each one I thought that I would ask the author illustrators about their creations as they know far more about design than I!

1. Where did the design influence come from when putting the book together?

Lisa ~ I wanted to create a ‘fresh air’ feeling for this book so I embraced the naivety and simplicity of coloured pencil and oil pastel often used in my work. Combining this with mono-print and injections of colour by way of collaged pattern I hope it evokes a feeling of unfussiness and ‘only just cut grass’, which is exactly what I think of when I remember ALL of the handstands I used to do when I was little. Books on Saul Steinberg, David Hockney and William Scott were regularly perused when I was creating Handstand too.

Alice ~ I’m generally very inspired by mid-century artists and illustrators like Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman….I could go on! All of these artists crossed the (invisible) line between ‘art’ and commercial illustration and I like to think that I am doing this with my own work now. I am also very interested in the print aesthetic of 1930s/40s lithographed children’s books, like the Puffin picture books (of which a few of these artists produced designs for). I particularly love the limited colour palettes which force an ingenuity when it comes to layering colours – so you make the most out of the few you have. I wanted to adopt this technique and stick to just 4 colours throughout the whole alphabet, emphasing different colours in different animals to make it look like I had a wider array than I really did.

David ~ It came from the idea of how the culture of the 1950s envisaged the future. Sci-fi films, robots, comics and cartoons were all an influence on the look. I also looked at furniture, fashion, surface patterns and textiles of the period. Russian architecture was also an influence as it seemed to have a futuristic look to it.




2. Who or what inspired you as a child?

Lisa ~ I was always a maker and a doer from a very early age, with huge encouragement from my aunty who is a great sewer and knitter. When I wasn’t cart wheeling myself around the garden I would be painting, playing at shoe shops, baking cakes or making things.

When I was a young teenager I remember having a Dryad mini screen-printing kit, and my first print being a ‘flower power’ type flower in two colours on a white pair of shorts! I used that little screen for years after that, and ended up printing some of my very early labels with it onto cotton binding tape.

My art teacher at secondary school was also a huge influence. She was the most wonderful lady and I remember how she would sit at her desk before class sharpening all her coloured pencils with a penknife. She used to set up the most fantastic still life compositions for us to draw and opened my eyes to the world of Art and design. I had found my happy place.

Alice ~ I was brought up in a creative household. My mother is a textile artist (who has also actually just released a book with Batsford – ‘Textile Collage’ by Mandy Pattullo) and my father is an architect, so I guess they were the initial inspiration that led me down a path towards a creative profession. Myself and my brother were always encouraged to draw and paint and be creative at the kitchen table and were regularly taken to galleries and museums. I remember a visiting a particularly influential exhibition as a young adult of Shirley Hughe’s work – seeing her sketchbooks and inspiration and how they translated into her picture book work was really pivotal in pushing me in the direction of ‘illustration’ as a career.

David ~ I was very much inspired by music, particularly Kate Bush. I also loved fashion and dressing up.



3. Can you tell me a little about your design background?

Lisa ~ I trained as a printed textile designer at Central Saint Martins and The Royal College Of Art. Having originally founded Lisa Stickley in 1999 (from my bedroom, using the original Cash’s labels my mum used to sew into my school socks, and subsequently said screen printed ones above) I was lucky enough to sell my first ever products to Paul Smith, Designers Guild and The Cross. Since then I have collaborated with the likes of Burberry, Harrods, Liberty, Tate, Selfridges, Heals, Boots, Debenhams, John Lewis and Japanese stores Ships, Hankyu & Isetan.

I opened my first shop in 2007 in South London, which, behind the scenes, doubled up as a bustling print studio and creative hub. I have designed and developed lifestyle brand concepts, and have produced and sold home-wear product and accessories all over the world.

Alice ~ Other than my childhood as explained in the previous questions, I studied a foundation at Newcastle College which was brilliant (I’m saddened to hear that a lot of universities aren’t looking for this as a pre-requisite any more and that many of the foundation courses across the UK are now being cut altogether) – It was a really encouraging and explorative year – although you have some art education at school – it by no means is reflective of what you could be studying in higher education and foundation really provided a glimpse of this and again helped me understand that I wanted to pursue illustration, in particular more concept driven work. I went from here to study BA Illustration at Brighton University, with a brief stint in the US at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Upon graduating I continued working on self initiated projects which would generally manifest themselves as a series of screen prints which I then showed to various shops and galleries around the UK that I particularly liked and thought my work would sit comfortably in. From this my first few illustration jobs actually came from people seeing my prints in the right place at the right time really – and a lot of my commissions generally have come from word of mouth to begin with. That in itself is humbling that people want to share my work. Now in an age of the internet, I find a lot of my commissioned work actually comes from other people’s pinterest boards which is almost the same thing! I now have an agent for my illustration work, Central Illustration Agency as well as continuing to produce self initiated screen prints, such as the ABC series.

David ~ I left school at 16 and I went to art college with the intention of becoming a costume designer but I found I had a keen interest in fashion design and textiles so I went to study for a BA in Fashion Design at Manchester Polytechnic. Whilst there I did a short course in millinery which I fell in love with and so on leaving college I went to Hong Kong and worked as a milliner and a fashion illustrator. I returned to the UK and found work with the milliner Stephen Jones but I’d always at back of my mind had a secret wish to become a children’s book illustrator. I did a short course at the City Lit in children’s book illustration which led to my first children’s book in 1997.




4. Is anything in your home’s interior reflected in the book?

Lisa ~  I think being a designer you never really switch off from the ‘day job’ so your work and style often seeps into everything else in your life too. I think I have quite distinctive handwriting and that aesthetic is part and parcel of our home too… albeit a lot more untidy of late having two very little ones running around the place! An eclectic mix of pattern and simplicity is quite a big part of the look and feel of Handstand, which runs true at home. For specific and quite literal inspiration, book two (out in spring 2017) includes quite a big chunk of my eldest daughter’s toy collection, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Alice ~ No! Can’t really expand here!

David ~ Yes, I have one of the robots. My personal style is more 1930s and 1970s so I don’t have many 1950s pieces.



5. Do you have any words of wisdom to children who are passionate about design?

Lisa ~ Explore, experiment and don’t be afraid to try all sorts of styles and techniques. Happy accidents are the best way to learn and discover new things. If you are passionate about what you are doing then do LOTS of it and keep going. Draw draw draw, and look look look, these are the fundamentals of design and will give you the best grounding to become a good designer.

Alice ~ Words of Wisdom? Just to be aware of your environment and history and to make sure to keep drawing and observing.

David ~ Be indulgent.



Many thanks to Lisa, Alice and David for being so generous with their time to answer my questions.  Also to Ruby for being my model even though she is a little older than the books are aimed at she poured over them looking at every detail.  My girl devours books, draws like a demon and has an imagination that makes my head spin.


This post was in collaboration with Pavilion Books, with thanks



Yes I am currently slightly obsessed with all things monochrome but deeply in love with grey even down to it being the colour of choice for my own hair. This book is superb it channels and inspires the beauty of the subtle palette that seems to be dominating my thoughts at the moment.  This is, bible-like, sitting by my bed for me to have my fix when I’m feeling a little off course; it brings with it calm and serenity.

At the weekend I dyed a lovely linen sheet grey and it is now the starting point to a room refresh.  Our kitchen is green and even though I like it, it’s looking a little tired so it’s the next space to be repainted in the spring.  We are having a new back door installed so I thought while that is happening why not paint the walls too and update the blind at the same time and I can’t wait.  I’m going for a fresh look so the cooler side of the grey spectrum is my choice for the walls, I’m thinking Ammonite by Farrow & Ball, with a darker grey linen blind.  I’m hoping that the colours will unite perfectly and give the space a cohesive look.

The beautiful tones of this muted shade are creeping through my home unifying it as one space, from blankets to bedrooms, it’s simplicity shines out.  If like me you have a need for all things grey, a perfect place to visit is S2 20.  This stunning on-line store is streamlined to perfection, the collections are at their monochrome best, simple items for your home that will bring that touch of modernity and cool.

S2 20

Images via S2 20

Pale & Interesting

Images here

If this post resonates with a yearning for a change in you, come and be inspired with my pinterest board pale & interesting which is full to brimming with the pared back style and lots and lots of grey!






Maker Spaces


This week I was fortunate enough to attend Emily Quinton’s Maker Spaces book launch and pop up shop in the fabulous contemporary home ware store West Elm on Tottenham Court Road.

This book is rather close to my heart as one of the maker spaces in the book under the chapter ‘homespun’ is my partner in crime Vicky Trainor of whom I am exceedingly proud.

Emily quinton

This inspirational book is full of talented folk that use their creativity on a daily basis; and how their chosen profession reflects in the spaces that they live.

Donna Wilson

Sarah Hamilton

Emily quinton

An excerpt taken from Ryland Peters & Small explains the ethos of Emily’s first book to perfection.

Creative interiors from the homes and studios of inspiring makers and designers.


Motivated by her own love of making things and enthusiasm for creating spaces that make her happy, Emily Quinton discovers the important link between makers and the home and work spaces they inhabit. She believes that creative work is affected by the space around us – the colours, the light, the design and the objects. Guiding you through a range of case studies, illustrated with stunning photography by Helen Cathcart, this book explores the clever style decisions made by the makers and the inspiring ideas that have gone into such beautiful and personal spaces. Also included is a section on making a living out of your creations, with tips from each of the makers about turning a hobby or passion into a successful business. Gorgeous interiors and advice for inspiring makers; this book will make you want to craft and create every day!

Emily kindly let me have some preview images from the book to share with you and you can purchase a copy from these links below.



As this post is going out I shall still be in London enjoying myself to the full so all the tales of my few days away in our capital city will be documented in an other post in a few weeks.

All images provided via ~ Maker Spaces by Emily Quinton, photography by Helen Cathcart, published by Ryland Peters & Small rrp £19.99




Essentially French ~ Josephine Ryan

This is one of my favourite books.


I say one as Josephine Ryan has written a handful which I also pour over.  Essentially French has a distinctive look all the images in this book are unique, compelling and beautiful.  Split into three categories of simple, elegant and eclectic each section filled with homes that relate to the title.

Images Page-020




Each home be it a house in London, Parisian apartment or Provençal farmhouse are all owned by antique dealers who all share a passion that epitomise French style.  All with very different looks but one key element joins them; that being each piece of traditional French furniture featuring in their homes.




It makes me dream of that holiday home that I would adore to own in France, one day maybe once rich and famous!!   If there is only one book that you invest in this season make it Essentially French.



Images Page-020

Josephine herself is an antiques dealer and stylist, her shop Josephine Ryan Antiques & Interiors is in Clapham, London.

Josephine Ryan

Find her wonderful take on style with her distinctive eye over on pinterest and the website, they are a joy.

Jane x

Everythings Coming up Cabbages & Roses …

I have a huge soft spot for Cabbages & Roses.  Over the years my home, wardrobe and book shelves have accumulated more and more of their lovely cushions, clothes and beautiful books.

I whole heartedly agree with the Cabbages & Roses 5 core values ~

beauty, simplicity, longevity, integrity and sustainability

This seasons clothing range is soft, fresh and everlasting, their short film evokes a slower pace of life, one that all of us crave, the lookbook makes you want to own every garment .


Images ~ Cabbages & Roses Spring Summer 2012 Lookbook


Christina Strutt’s books are most definitely a favourite of mine, I go back to them time and time again.  The restful interiors and sublime photography have a calming effect, showing you that mixing and matching well loved objects and time worn linens create a warm and welcoming home with a nod to reusing, recycling and environmental ethics.

Cabbages & Roses

My copy of the Guide to Natural Housekeeping lives in my kitchen, I have taken to using many of the recipes for cleaning products for my home, lemon dusters are fabulous and it’s amazing what a bit of bi carbonate of soda can do!

Their fabrics, wallpaper and furnishings are timeless …

Cabbages & Roses ~ Website

Cabbages & Roses ~ Facebook

Cabbages & Roses ~ Pinterest

“LIVING LIFE BEAUTIFULLY. Cabbages & Roses is a British retailer of beautiful fabrics, homeware and clothing”


Jane x

Farrow & Ball

I have a book that I went back to over the Easter holidays.  It’s sumptuous, rich and full to the brim with wonderful images all regarding Farrow & Ball and the passion it brings to those who use it in their homes.  From city chic apartments to country houses and cottages it shows you the depth, character and charm that colour can create in very individual homes.

Their colours are so unique every wall in my house is covered with their paint, from pea green to blackened and few more in between.

Farrow & Ball


All White

All White

In Neutral

In Neutral

Softly Softly

Softly Softly

Bright & Beautiful

Bright & Beautiful

Dark & Handsome

Dark & Handsome

All images taken from Farrow & Ball ~ Living with Colour ~ Ros Byam Shaw

Are you a Farrow & Ball aficionado too?

Jane x

Book Launches & Easter Treats

We went, we unpacked, we saw, we nattered, we giggled, we had a super day at Selina Lakes Pretty Pastel book launch, we packed away and then had to drive home through sleet and snow!

Pretty Pastels

Find the book here

The Linen Garden

The Linen Garden

The Linen Garden

Sesame and Lilly

Sesame and Lily

Love Lane Vintage

Love Lane Vintage

All in all the weekend passed in a fuzzy blur of lovely, many new friendships forged and gorgeous things admired.  I treated myself to a few bits and bobs and arrived home full of inspiration and joy.


Flower Corsage & Lavender Heart ~ Bird Brooch


…. and around the corner Easter crept up quietly on me, thank goodness for mini eggs!

Happy Easter

Jane x

It arrived …

and I disappeared for a while ….

Bringing Nature Home

This book is truly beautiful, the colours, the settings styled in a way that makes every arrangement sing.  There are no more words really, well maybe one, jealousy!   I want to be this good or maybe to be given a chance to be.  If anyone has any lucrative styling job offers send it in on the back of a postcard ….

The Book











Jane x

Books, Books & Books

My Christmas list (yes I still write one at the ripe old age of 38) is looking a bit threadbare this year.   I can honestly say my life has been enriched enough this past year with wonderful new friends and the odd car boot find that I have no need for much.   I sat pen in hand hovering over the page for what seemed like an age and all I could come up with was books and the obligatory bottle of Chanel No 5!

I have my health, my family and friends and the house is going to start looking resplendent in the next week with decorations and the heady aromas of festive cooking.  The holidays are nearly here so if my list is a little sparse so be it.  I will be happy with cuddles and laughter all wrapped up together and the warm glow that will arise watching Ruby open her gifts on Christmas morning.

Just in case you were wondering what books are on the list, here you go ….

Jane x