Healing Wonder // Magic Organic Apothecary

This post is a dream for me to write, hand on heart I use a MOA product every single day be it the magic of green balm or the soothing qualities of the fortifying green bath soak.   I don’t know why I haven’t written about this wonderful brand before as it’s been in my bathroom cabinet for quite a few years now.  I definitely need to be shouting rather loudly about it as I most certainly couldn’t be without it and I think if you don’t already know about MOA then you most certainly should.

It all starts with the humble herb yarrow or it’s Latin name Achillea Millefolium, I grow it in my garden but it can be found up and down the land growing in hedgerows all across the country.  This simple but beautiful plant holds amazing properties for healing and repair that go back centuries   It is steeped in history and folklore for it’s healing powers but has been slightly over looked in modern day skin care, until now.

I talked to Charlie the owner of MOA about how it all started and what plans she has for the future.

It all began after my first child Jemima was born, she suffered with horrible eczema as a toddler and so I started to look into the petrochemicals being prescribed and began to realise the scary long term effects of using these creams on a daily basis. Although I was lucky enough to have been brought up with home cooked meals, becoming a mum had opened my eyes to a more healthy plant based diet and I was more conscious about what we put in, and on our bodies and what to avoid!

I inherited a love of gardening and plants from my Father and Grandmother and had become really interested in herbology and was introduced to a humble herb named yarrow (Achillea Millefollium), this powerful, ancient healing herb has so many properties and I was astonished to find that very few skincare products contained this miraculous ingredient, despite being a favourite amongst many herbalists.  I was also particularly charmed and inspired by the wealth of magical folklore surrounding our plants and flowers. I draw all the illustrations and design the packaging and have always been fascinated by myths and magic and so these old tales have become an important part of the MOA brand. I am constantly inspired by nature and I love being outdoors appreciating the shifts in seasons and all the different flora and fauna that emerge throughout the year.

Our original product, The Green Balm harnesses the powers of our hero herb yarrow – Achillea Millefolium, it takes its Latin name from Greek hero Achilles, who legend has it, used it to heal his soldiers wounds after battle.  With its simple nourishing base and tea tree, nature’s powerful antiseptic, it creates a powerful healing synergy and can be applied to soothe a lengthy list of skin complaints from eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, bruises, minor burns and it also makes a wonderfully balancing facial cleanser, ideal for acne and problematic skin.  My whole family use it for everything at home, we have pots all around the house!  In the beginning I worked alongside a herbalist to create our organic Green Balm, but now I have gained more experience, I start the initial formulations at home and bounce ideas off my small team and my family.  The yarrow is grown at an organic farm in Somerset, which is where I grew up, I try and get down there to sow the seeds as I love the creative process of making a product from start to finish.

We already have new ideas in development for 2018, I am impatient to get them out there, but the process is so long and we are all so busy juggling the rest of the business, so it takes time.  All our newer products are all vegan and we are also looking at ways of becoming more eco, using less plastic and recycling our bottles somehow. So looking forward to revealing our next product launching this April”

I like to take care of my skin and my evening routine involves MOA, to relax and de stress I always take a bath using either the fortifying green bath potion or the dreamy mineral soak.  When I need to focus on my breath and relax my limbs then green bath potion is my preferred choice.  The heady scent of peppermint and detoxifying fennel help enormously, this revitalising herbal blend makes your skin tingle and is also brilliant if you are feeling a little under the weather.   If I’m wanting to wind down ready for a good nights sleep then the therapeutic qualities of a salt bath using the mineral soak is perfect.  The scent of lavender oil eases your mind and the antiseptic lemon peel gently brightens the skin.


I finish off treating myself to Hello Sunshine an energising zesty body oil hydrating and purifying my skin, the citrus sweet notes of antibacterial lemongrass and marjoram essential oils awaken the senses, kick-starting circulation providing essential minerals, antioxidants and vitamins to protect and tone.  It truly is sunshine in a bottle and makes me feel fabulous.

Of course green balm gets used for everything especially on a daily basis for keeping my hands and feet soft and subtle.  Ruby my daughter uses it as facial cleanser which helps enormously with her teenage skin.  I’m also starting to use Aphrodite facial oil to help ward off premature ageing especially my neck and to smooth fine lines around my eye giving my skin a radiant glow.

So yes I would be totally lost without my MOA products they make my skin feel alive.  Plus the added gravitas of the products being cruelty free by carefully selecting organic and botanical ingredients that improve overall well being.  Also creating mindful and conscious packaging using recycled board and vegetable inks for printing, everything that I hold dear in my every day life.

If you love MOA as much as I do or want to give it a try Charlie has generously given me a discount code for my readers to use to get 25% off all products until 30th April using TEA25 at checkout.  Let’s start the green balm revolution together!


  • With thanks to MOA for gifting products for the purpose of this post.


Let The Light In // Curtains & Blinds

Curtains and blinds are quite an investment when it comes to dressing each window of your home but worth the thought and effort put into getting it just right.  I would love to be able to have a large expanse of windows where I could leave them bare with an out reaching view of fields and hills but unfortunately I don’t have that, I have small windows and neighbours who may not appreciate seeing into our house when taking a bath!

I’m not one for fussy colourful curtains, although they may create a cosy feel, I find them a little restrictive. I like soft linen draping beautifully, Roman blinds and muslin to screen but let in the light. All my window dressings are there to mask the windows as well as being practical for the space. A clever trick to make a room look bigger is to keep the colour palette of walls and window dressing similar, soft calming colours and simple clean lines work to perfection.

If curtains are too bulky but you still need to keep the heat in or distribution of light to diffuse bright glare then blinds are the perfect option, we all love sunshine streaming into our homes but don’t like the consequences of furniture fading and perishing.  There are a myriad of options out there, the technology is rather mind boggling.  Did you know that you can get remote control blinds that you can set to rise and fall according to the daily sunrise and sunset.  Also to be able to remotely control the blinds via your mobile or tablet so great when you are away from home.  These blinds would work brilliantly on windows that are high up that you can’t reach to draw manually.

It depends on how much light you like to disperse into a room throughout the day, I like waking with the sun so have chosen to have fine linen curtains in the bedroom to let in that dappled glow but I know that black out linings are rather popular for those who struggle to sleep or work shifts.


When it comes to bathrooms it’s more about privacy that controlling the light.  Sheer fine muslin or a simple blind works brilliantly, keeping the space clean and bright with minimal fuss, especially with this being a highly humid environment you need something that is easy to keep clean.

Kitchens are similar to bathrooms,  you need that extra bit of privacy but over  fussy curtains don’t work especially near sinks or cookers, they hold cooking smells and can get grimy very quickly.  Cafe shutters are a good option but  simple adjustable blinds are equally viable.

There are many minimal styles to choose from but I’m sure the right one is out there for you.  I hope that these tips and looks have inspired and will help if you are quibbling about how to dress your windows at home, well it may have reduced the choice just a little bit!


Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 131415 & 16



Can You Have Too Many Bags? // Village England

The answer to the above is absolutely not!!  Especially if you own a Village England variety, you really do want them all.  I like a bag that is big enough to cope with all my stuff but one that is equally stylish but will stand the test of time.  Nothing too faddy or in your face but with a touch of quirkiness that compliments my personality, if that makes sense.   It can be a tricky business choosing the right bag especially a very well made one that isn’t cheap and nasty.

Village England are quite unique, their core values are ones of sustainability, striving for better in this age of consumerism and mass production.  They use the most amazing full grain natural leather, luxuriously tactile and buttery but exceedingly hard wearing.  Simple designs that are quite timeless and effortless to wear, all expertly crafted to the highest standard.  Also clever touches such as pockets on the inside and beautiful heavyweight cotton sateen lining, details like this make all the difference.

What is most important to them is not just the bags but the people behind the brand through the design to the leatherworkers who craft the final product, all manufactured in impeccably ethical surroundings by partners who share their core values.  The vision is to be able to trace every bag to the farm it came from, which is an ongoing process that I am sure will be met along with the commitment to improving the health of the UK leatherworking industry too.

Along with their wonderful ethics Village England bags are rather beautiful, yes I definitely agree that a bag can be beautiful, I have a Belthorn and it makes me smile every time I leave the house and has courted quite a few compliments whilst out and about with me too.  It’s the finer details that I love about these bags, from the subtle clasps and fastenings to the small detailed difference throughout each design.  The capsule collections work very well so you can choose a bag the suits you and the purpose it is intended for rather easily.  The colour ways of the leather are stunning too obviously my go to black has a wonderful sheen right through to sumptuous reds and vivid royal blues.

Last year saw Village England launch new categories such as a fine selection of jewellery, purses, pouches and interchangeable straps to work alongside the leather goods.  Also the introduction of a canvas tote bag that is a collaboration with the women’s charity ABC Nepal.  Each bag is made by a woman who has been a victim of trafficking and exploitation who are now vocationally trained in sewing and fabric work by the marvellous team at ABC.  All profits from the sale of each tote goes to ABC Nepal, you will also find the name of the bags maker written on a card attached to the bag.   All these things add up to making a big difference.

So next time you are thinking of investing in a new bag please do take a look at Village England, they come highly recommended by myself on so many levels.  It’s good to know a bag isn’t just a fashion accessory it is so much more.


  • with thanks to Village England for gifting the Belthorn for the purpose of this post

The Perfect Night Sleep with Leesa

I think you all know by now that I love my bed. I like being asleep, I like sitting with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning waking up slowly, and on a weekend spend hours sat there watching the clouds out of the window or reading books.  So yes I really really do love my bed.

I’m quite lucky when it comes to sleep simply because I can get to sleep very quickly and stay asleep most of the night for at least 7-8 hours; annoying right?   I do think that routine is a big factor. I stop work at 6pm, eat a healthy home cooked meal most evenings, relax and unwind in a warm bath, ignore all technology in the evenings and often read a while before sleep, usually I’ll be in bed before 10pm and never have mobiles or laptops in the room.  Simple things really that are conducive to switching off and relaxing before bed.   I’m also a stickler for preparing for the next day, clothes ready and everything tidy so there is no running around like a crazy thing in the morning!

All this aside you can do all of the above and still not get a good night sleep if your mattress is wrong, get that bit right too and slumber is guaranteed.  Our old mattress was getting up to its recommended change date of 8 years (it was still in good condition so we donated it to the British Heart Foundation rather than put it in landfill).   I have heard many good things about the Leesa mattress not only on the comfort front but their environmental credentials too, so was rather excited to give it a whirl to see if it makes any difference to my sleeping.

Firstly can I tell you when the box arrived I was quite astounded that something that will go on your bed can possibly fit into it.  It’s a lot easier carrying a box up stairs than negotiating every corner and trying not to cause any damage to the house or yourself in the process.  Positioning the compressed roll is quick and easy then it’s the fun bit, slicing open the packaging and watching the Leesa mattress appear before your eyes, truly amazing.  I made a little video for you to see how darn easy it really is.

Now for the techy bit which is also rather fascinating. The Leesa mattress was designed to help you get a better night’s sleep, what makes it different from others on the market is the top layer of Avena foam.  It is a responsive material that allows airflow through the mattress for a cooler night’s sleep and provides just the right amount of bounce for freedom of movement.  There are two more layers in the unique combination of foam that make up these mattresses. Joining the Avena are memory foam and support foam which adapts to your body providing optimum support and comfort.  All the mattresses are also made in the UK and not shipped in from abroad.

The next important factor and another reason I wanted to get involved with Leesa is their ethical programme.  If you are not happy with your purchase the mattress can be returned within a 100 day period and will be donated to a local charity.  Their One-Ten programme also donates one mattress from every 10 sold and the One Earth programme sees a tree planted for every mattress sold to help off set their carbon footprint.   All of this is exceptionally close to my heart and highly commended.

So after all that information the big question, did I sleep well?   The answer is a rather resounding yes.  I can’t tell you how comfortable it is, you feel like you are lying on a cloud that supports every curve, not an ache anywhere when I woke in the morning.  The down side is that you really don’t want to get up when the alarm goes off its simply too good!


  • with thanks to Leesa for providing the mattress for the purpose of this post


Unique & Handmade

I think you are all aware now that I like to find those special one of kind companies to shout about, ones that hold dear to what I believe in, how I like to shop and that I love to recommend to the similarly minded folk who are my readers.

I have recently been introduced to Emma & Louise. This on line store is exactly what I have just been talking about. Bringing an inspirational collection of carefully selected hand crafted objects for the home and selected fashion accessories, all made in the UK by talented female designers and craftswomen.  From jewellery to storage, throws to handbags, tableware to stationery, every item loving created to bring an extra dimension for you and your home to cherish.

This wonderfully unique store is based on creativity, the creativity of women who’s beautiful hand crafted original pieces fill the site offering distinctive gifts that should enrich your homes.  Each craftswoman has her own unique identity but each one supportive of the other, together in one authentic marketplace.

Emma & Louise is passionate about creating a true community of talented artisans.  Each product you will find in the store has a story, the details behind the maker and the inspiration behind the items crafted, making each piece unique and personal, not something mass marketed and soul-less.  I love the thought, when I reach for my mug to make coffee first thing in the morning, of the hands that have sculpted this wonderful piece of clay into the vessel I cherish drinking from each day, or the candle that I light on an evening giving off its distinctive scent and who loving poured the wax into each glass jar.

The beautiful pieces featured in my post today conjured up winter for me.  The simple pleasures of these colder months to make a pot of tea, serve it in a hand made ceramic mug, place it all on a serving board, light the heavenly scented candle and curl up with a book whiling away a happy hour in sheer contentment.  Taking the time to appreciate each piece, the tactile nature of the cup in your hand, the smoothness of the wood and the intoxicating aroma of the candle.  All simple pleasures that need to be enjoyed.

I’ve been a fan of Join for some time, made in small batches in a garden studio in East London.  Pebble is an intoxicating candle a blend of bergamot and black pepper, inspired by childhood memories of skimming stones on a Cornish beach.  I simply love the masculine aroma it exudes, my favourite kind.

I am so pleased I found Pottery West on Emma & Louise, ceramics being a weakness of mine. These guys make the most exquisite pieces, small batch and wheel thrown with an emphasis on simple, ergonomic form and tactile functional glazes.  Their sheer earthiness is stunning, the Brut pourer and large Brut mug are now used every day and bring a smile of joy.

One can never have too many wooden boards, they are eternally useful for many things, this walnut serving board is no exception.  Made from a single piece of walnut hand carved by Rosie Brewer in Devon.  Each board is different, carved and sized by hand making it even more special when placed as a centre piece on your table.

I do hope that you can find the time to explore this truly unique store, helping you find that perfect gift or treat for yourself and to find out a little bit behind the women who make these simply authentic hand made pieces for you and your home.


  • With thanks to Emma & Louise who provided the items for this post


Lighting the Way with Kovac Family

My passion for simple design is growing constantly along with sourcing brands that hold sustainability within their hands to create wonderful products that move forward with technology but keeping their integrity and ethos focused on the environment around them.

I can’t deny that I have been an admirer of Kovac Family for a very long time, such simple elegance in everything that they do.  The Sweden based multidisciplinary company is run by Camilla and Christopher Kovac, designing and running their business as environmentally friendly as they possibly can.  All their products are made in Sweden using sustainable materials and sold exclusively in their showroom and online store.

Their ambition is to create products that have the smallest impact possible on the environment by sourcing the materials needed and producing them locally.  The challenge was to be able to create something using a minimum amount of certified environmentally friendly materials as possible and also have the capacity to be easily recycled.

Their collection is simply called Numbers, each product named after the number of parts used to construct each form, yes as simple as that!   The inspiration behind it all comes from nature itself, the question asked is, how can we make this better in all aspects to improve the every day life and our environment, a question we should find ourselves asking every single day.

The versatility of these stunning lights is wonderful, the shape mimicking that of a shell can be placed anywhere, as well as hung creating a focal point where ever it is positioned.  They come with either 3 or 5 metres of cord giving you plenty of options to drape and hang to perfection.  I had great fun placing this stunning Ebonized Oak 25Lamp around my home, I think it’s final resting place with be hanging low over my kitchen table creating a delicate pool of light and added wow factor.

14Lamp is the new design, smaller than the 25Lamp but perfectly formed and still as striking, they would look fabulous hung low as bedside lights, hmmm now there’s an idea!

Each light be it oak, ash, waxed, striped, dip dyed, freckled or whitened comes delivered flat packed in a box smaller than one you would get a pizza in!   You ingeniously fold out the pieces to create the iconic shape, total genius.  Such simplicity in it’s beauty, bringing sustainability to our homes with clever design is something we should all strive for.


  • with many thanks to Kovac Family for the Ebonised Oak 25Lamp







A Considered Home

For a long time now as a family we have made a conscious decision to improve the way we live, taking into account every aspect of our daily life.  It takes no time at all to assess the every day things we do and make small changes to be more sustainable in our homes.

Arhaus featured a tip of mine in one of their infographics, quite proudly I could have given quite a few but this is the one I chose.

Arhaus are leading the way in sustainability striving to make the home wares industry more environmentally friendly for all as you can see above.  They make many of their products with organic fabrics and materials, including their earth-friendly sectionals.

So how can we make a difference, I say start small and build from there, the impact of just changing your your light bulbs to energy efficient ones has a massive effect, they don’t need to be utilitarian looking either the technology out there today is amazing, all my light bulbs are low energy led squirrel cage designed so look fabulous and use hardly any electricity.  As a family we made a choice to use a green energy company to supply our gas and electricity, they source all of their electricity from renewable sources and off-set the carbon emissions from the gas they provide.  We also have a smart meter which helps us keep track of the energy we are using.   Another great tip is to time yourself in the shower, it’s amazing how much water you can be saved by using what you need rather than squandering it.

When it comes to cleaning and washing think about the products you are using,  I use eco-friendly ones even down to my washing powder, no harmful chemicals involved at all.  I don’t have a tumble drier either, clothes dried outside in the fresh air is the best way, just takes a little more time but uses no energy other than what nature provides.  On those inclement days clothes airers in doors do just fine.

As a consumer try and think about the ethical benefits of all the items you buy for yourself and your home, even down to the clothes you wear, the bedding you sleep in, the towels you dry yourself on, the paint you use for your walls, the furniture you choose to have in your home.  Each and every one  of these small things add up to a larger picture, it’s not rocket science but a little time and effort can help change things for the better.  There are many wonderful companies out there today that are trying very hard to make a difference to how we live putting a great emphasis  on ethical values.  It’s the little changes we make that will most certainly have the biggest impact in the future.

I could go on and on, going into greater depth on each subject but for now, change your light bulbs, sleep in linen sheets, don’t use too much water in the shower and stop using that tumble drier!


  • Images 5, 7 & 9



The Natural Way to Paint // Bauwerk Colour

When it comes to decorating I like to try out new ways of doing so, exploring new ideas and colours, mixing it up a little rather than playing safe.  I have been a huge admirer of Bauwerk Colour for a long time, first seeing them in Hans Blomquist’s book In the Mood for Colour so it has been a privilege to be able use their paint in a room in my house.  Being able to introduce new environmentally friendly products into my home is becoming increasingly important to me and if I can then pass on this knowledge to others then I’ll be overjoyed.

It was a little daunting using this paint as it is totally different to what I’m used to. When you open the tub the consistency is like water but if you follow the instructions carefully it’s not so scary after all, it’s rather easy and very therapeutic.  I found my rhythm and the walls were covered in no time.  It was strange painting walls with a large brush but sweeping strokes are needed to get the effect you want.  Because the paint is made with clay, minerals and natural pigments it dries quite quickly so you can’t got back and go over where you have been which took a while to get used to. You just keep going with your strokes, not worrying whether you’ve missed a bit, this will get covered on your next application.  As long as you don’t load your brush too much and make each application stretch as far as you can the process is rather simple. Also keep stirring the paint to stop the pigment settling, you just can tell when you need to do this.

Once I got used to the whole process three coats were applied quickly and the finished effect is rather fabulous.  Yes you can see the brush strokes but that is part of it’s charm, it gives your walls depth and texture and I absolutely love it.  A friend on instagram said once I use Bauwerk I will never look back and I think she is right!   It has totally transformed the room, watching it change colour with the light is quite magical. I find myself drawn to this space to sit for a while and take it in, it was a room I hardly noticed before.

The joy of Bauwerk is their vision and ethos being able to produce modern lime paint in harmony with nature, they source the finest pigments to develop the most beautiful colour palette in collaborations with superb stylists such as Hans Blomquist and Lynda Gardener.   Established in 2000 in Australia they now supply in Europe which is great for us.

The environmental benefits from using Bauwerk paints are exemplary, here is why.

“We make our paints, following our belief that buildings and homes should not be disconnected from the materials they are built from. To create paints that are natural, that work with and are part of a building or home.

Especially important to us, is our environment, our paints are beautiful, do not harm the environment in their manufacture and disposal, and most importantly do not harm our health.

Bauwerk lime paints are made from natural materials which is different from being a conventional low or zero VOC paint-which just means it is made from plastics but with one toxic part removed leaving all the rest.

Our paints work differently, working with nature we make them with clay, minerals and beautiful natural pigments. You can paint without fumes, wash-up and disposal is safe and non-polluting, we leave no toxic chemicals in the environment in the production of our paints.

We use 100% green power in our production.”

If we can make our homes more natural without causing harm to our environment but in turn creating beautiful places to live in then I highly recommend investing in wonderful companies like Bauwerk.


The Joy of Tiles with Mandarin Stone

I have a thing for tiles, I simply love them, all their textures, patterns and shapes.  I have a collection of tiles that I just keep and display because I think they are beautiful.  One of the leading companies in the country to supply every tile option you can possibly imagine is Mandarin Stone.  These guys definitely know a thing or two about this fabulous medium and I am lucky enough to be writing about them today and I got to play with a diverse selection of their stock to create mood boards in my favourite colour palette for this post.

Mandarin Stone have just this week launched their new website making it even easier to browse and select the right tile for your particular need.  I know when I next carry out a big job in my home (the bathroom) they will certainly be the ones I will entrust to guiding me through the process, helping me choose the correct tile without making any costly mistakes.The attention to detail that Mandarin Stone go to to constantly bring the best range of tile to their customers is outstanding.  The extensive nature of their range and the versatility that is on offer leaves me quite speechless, always striving for new and innovative designs and sourcing the very best in interior design, constantly on trend.

A great pride runs throughout the company with the comprehensive knowledge and experience that they offer to ensure the right material is used for the right project be it linking your interior with your exterior using outdoor stone for a seamless finish, to tiny mosaics for the down-stairs loo.   Big slabs of marble for a sleek bathroom experience, or the perfect geometric monochrome decorative porcelain tile for the kitchen.  You can get wood effect, concrete look, stone effect and glazed, you name it they have it and virtually the entire range is in stock at their Monmouth warehouse (or should I say large industrial estate!).  This means that the majority of the stock can delivered within the week as you’d be surprised at how ordering tiles is one the things people forget to do and then need them in a hurry!

What I love most about Mandarin Stone other than their aesthetics in interior design and their ethos is that they are a family run business with their headquarters still in the rolling hills of Monmouthshire, Wales.  Here is a little bit more about how it all came to be.

“I never dreamt that selling a few slate tiles out the back of my estate car 29 years ago would lead to the Mandarin Stone we see today. In the early years we supplied predominantly tile shops and distributors until we opened our first showroom in Bath back in 2000. Nearly 20 years later, we now have 10 inspirational showrooms throughout the UK.  Alma Small, Founder & Managing Director

“Our over-riding passion for natural stone stands firm and there is little that we don’t know about this undeniably beautiful material. Our collection has grown considerably over the years, from tried & tested favourites, to brand new discoveries, meaning our selection of natural stone is unrivalled. Never ones to stand still, it has been our introduction of man-made porcelain tiles in more recent years that has allowed us to be at the very forefront of interior design, presenting the most innovative and exciting wall and floor surfaces to the UK market.”

So I shall keep planning for my bathroom revamp but it may take me sometime to choose as the selection is mind boggling, like a child in a sweet shop.  Will it be Carrara C Honed Marble or Cemento White Polished Porcelain, maybe with a quirky patterned and decorative tile as a basin splash back, who knows the world is my oyster with Mandarin Stone.


  • With thanks to Mandarin Stone for supplying the tiles for use in the mood board images


The Unique Lily by Jessica Zoob

To own an original piece of art is a rare thing but something that I whole heartedly recommend everyone should aspire to have no matter how big or small.  Something unique to you that will bring years of joy when you look at it, a future heir loom if you will.

I am lucky to call artist Jessica Zoob a dear friend, her work is breathtaking, filled with emotion, passion and the most beautiful colours.  I had the privilege to visit Jessica’s studio earlier this year to view her most recent collection and to take a look at a new idea that she was working on at the time: printing a selection of original paintings onto metals.

These rather special limited edition artworks are so very different to anything I have ever seen, to take an original painting and print it onto copper, brass, or stainless steel with a white ink layer is quite something, this amazing technology directly fuses the ink onto the metal giving the colours a wonderful depth.  The metallic highlights seep through to create a truly beautiful and unique piece.

I shall let Jessica explain why a print is more than just a copy of an original below and you can find out more about this stunning collection on her website.

I decided to create this collection when I discovered the innovative method of printing high quality images of my work directly onto metals. This offers a completely different and creative outlet to my primary working method of painting with liquid oils. I found this hugely exciting!

Although creating a print involves reproducing an image, a fine art print is so more than just a copy of an original. This project has been a close collaboration with my print studio the DPC in Greenwich, a team of highly skilled technicians. My metal lily prints will never be mass produced. A limited number (editions) of only eight of each lily on each metal have been produced. They will only be sold directly through me, from my online store. As a result they are true works of art.”

Now the wait is over the Metal Lily Print Collection launches on Thursday 16th November and will be available to buy from Jessica’s online store.  I am also honoured to be able to give my readers a 10% discount (plus free shipping in the uk) if you choose to purchase one of these unique pieces, all you have to do is use the code teawithruby10 at the checkout.  The perfect Christmas present for the one you love don’t you think?



The Sofa Dilemma

The sofa is one of the comfiest places to relax other than under the duvet so you have to get it right, it’s a big financial cost too, so any wrong choices can be a bit of a disaster.  All that being said it’s one of the pieces of furniture that I struggle with when choosing, it took me a very long time to pick or current sofa and I worried that I’d made the wrong choice for weeks on end.  Luckily for me it works for us and it’s comfort and elegance works in my current scheme.

So where do you start when contemplating that large investment piece, does the decor dictate the style and fabric choice?  Are you restricted with space or budget or does the sofa itself make you decide on everything else around it?

Only you can be the one that answers any of these questions but personally I found a lot of research helped me with my decision.  My one piece of advice is don’t buy straight off the internet, visit a showroom have a good sit on the one sofa that catches your eye, take the family and have you all sit on it as if you were at home.  Also invest in a piece that will last, don’t cut corners, try and buy one at the top of your budget because it will hopefully be made to last quite a few years.

There are so  many styles on the market but my favourites are the less in your face pieces, I like muted tones, wool fabrics that you can layer up with cushions and throws, clean lined but comfortable.   I wish I had the space for a modular model where we could all lay out but alas my living space isn’t so big.  I had to go compact in style but fabric choice was definitely no other than my own. I’ve always wanted a plain wool sofa and so that’s what I have.  I was ever so tempted by velvet but was scared that in every day use it would get a little worn far too quickly. The jewel toned velvets that are available are stunningly beautiful, maybe one day I will have a space for an occasional sofa that doesn’t suffer the rigour of everyday use.

Another hard wearing fabric choice would be leather, these fabulous leather sofa designs by the unique online store PIB are superb with a touch of a vintage vibe.  Buttery leather tones that will wear well with age.  I have a leather chair that we bought many moons ago for this very reason, an investment that will last a life time.

If money were no object a bespoke piece would be a dream, handmade to perfection to your specifications, I shall carry on dreaming about that one, or maybe one from here, my favourite designers.

So if you are currently looking to make that switch from old and tired to brand spanking new, hopefully some of these styles might take your fancy, happy sofa shopping.


Images ~ 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12


Simple Aesthetics with Murmur

I love it when I come across a brand that has all the right aesthetics that resonate with me and my style.  Let me introduce you to Murmur a lifestyle and interiors brand that I know you won’t be able to resist when you see their beautifully designed products.

Murmur is more than just a home ware brand they want to capture a renewed desire for hand crafted simply designed pieces, bringing with it a fresh approach and attitude to how we live today.  Their ethos is simple based on one that is influenced by Scandinavian and Japanese design; elegant natural materials are paired together with geometric patterns inspired by batik style dyeing techniques.  Texture and colour palettes marry together perfectly but by then adding in a simple stripe or pattern, layering each piece becomes effortless.   The combinations simply work beautifully creating a coherent home.

Each product has been designed in house at their Northern Irish studio space.  Pieces have been sourced and hand crafted by the talented design team who have travelled from India to Scandinavia to gather inspiration bringing together this collection, making sure each piece can be mixed and matched to create harmony for your interiors.

From soft cotton bedding in soothing tones to beautiful cushions and throws.  Adding texture through cotton, linen and wool layering in a mixture of scale, pattern and colour palette to create a haven of comfort.  Their ceramics collection of Portuguese stoneware will add that artisan twist to your dining table.  Organic shapes with hand finished details coming in three complimentary shades are designed to be mix and matched creating a unique look.

I have a selection of their stunning towels, so soft and lightweight make bathing a great pleasure.  They bring a little bit extra to my bathroom, the deep geometric pattern of the Japanese floral towel contrasting with the small print of Hama towel adding texture and tone to my all white room.

I can’t stress highly enough that you should pay Murmur a visit to bring a little of that pared back style into your own home.


  •  with thanks to Murmur for gifting the towels in this post





Design Classics with Fenwick

I find in today’s world we are so used to browsing and shopping on the internet that we forget to go into stores to really look at products in the flesh, to touch and feel something before making a purchase.  I am very guilty of doing this for ease and time saving but sometimes you are reminded and surprised by what you can get on the high street.

I had the opportunity recently to work with the department store Fenwick in Newcastle.  To my shame I don’t go to the city very often and I really should as it’s only half an hour away!   I shall also confess I’m not normally a department store kind of girl either but this is definitely about to change.  Visiting Fenwick opened my eyes to what this elegant store has to offer in the interiors market, walking around slightly opened mouthed spotting brand after brand that I covet. I had been totally oblivious that it was all there under one roof.  It was like visiting the directory of Elle Decoration!

From chic Italian designs to Scandinavian and Danish classics I was mightily impressed.  Did you know that BoConcept have an interior design service in house, you can come away with Eames and Vitra chairs and Natuzzi Italia sofas.  Hay has a capsule collection in store including their iconic paper porcelain range.  There is also the trend setting Danish design brand house Stelton, their Emma kettle being big on my wish list.  I even spotted Georg Jensen stainless steel pitchers.

I came away buzzing with excitement, knowing I was going to create some work for them using some of these innovative brands both in my own home and on a shoot to be featured in an in house magazine which you can browse through below.

So if you are looking to add some new pieces of furniture or accessories to your home I highly recommend a visit to Fenwick there are some amazing offers taking place in store with their Autumn home event up until 10th September.  Seek out good design that will enrich your home for the better, contemporary innovative pieces for sustainable modern living.


  • With thanks to Fenwick for gifting the items in this piece.  Other images as follows  1, 2, 3, 4 & 5






Inspired by the Sea

 Influenced by the sea to create beautiful textiles that resonate with the ever changing big skies and sandy shore lines must be a joy but for Camilla Thomas that is exactly what she does. Tidal Sands is Camilla’s first collection, the designs of each piece have been woven inspired by the light, movement and structure of the unique coast of the beautiful island of Anglesey in North Wales.  The aim was to capture the essence of what it feels like to be part of the very fibres of each piece.

Camilla has always enjoyed being creative from being small, free hand knitting, stitching and making projects, it was only when she decided to turn that hobby into a working practise did she realise that she had to narrow the field down and focus on one discipline that she was passionate about.  It was while at university that weaving came to the fore, the realisation that making a fabric from the starting point of yarn and loom was fascinating and totally immersing.  The slow intricate nature of the weaving process with the added element of experimentation can bring surprising results even after careful planning.  Using a hand operated loom brings Camilla a sense of connection to each piece she creates and a constant reminder of the historic routes that this craft has.

 Like me Camilla believes in simple living, investing in pieces for your home that you can cherish, handmade not mass produced, products that you can touch and feel a connection with.  To have a beautiful throw that you can curl up in when the day is ending is one of life’s simple pleasures especially when the seasons start to slowly change from Summer into Autumn.
The capsule collection of Tidal Sands are made using natural fibres, particularly Merino lambswool which add that luxurious softness, lightness of touch but with warmth.  Samples are hand woven by Camilla but are turned into the finished throws and cushions at a family mill in Lancashire that has been weaving for over a hundred years.  Each piece is unique with wonderful titles such as Sea Fret, Sea Front and Sea Glass, the colour palettes flow from subtle greys to pale blues with a contrasting burnt orange band at the bottom edge connecting sea with sand.  Slight difference in the patterns  mimic the impressions left behind on the soft sand as the tide goes out or the tracks left behind by a tractor after it’s pulled the boats to shore.
My favourite piece from the collections is the Penmon, with it’s bold black stripes inspired by the lighthouse after which it’s named.  Camilla created this throw to raise money for the Air Sea Rescue services on the island of Anglesey, following their rescue of one of her closest friends from a fall on the rocks at Penmon Point. This throw has a special price point and all proceeds will go to the charity.
If you want to see the stunning collection for yourself Camilla will be exhibiting at all three Handmade in Britain fares this Autumn (Kew, Edinburgh and Chelsea) find the dates below. If like me that’s too long to wait then the collection is available here.  I highly recommend that you do, each piece is a future heirloom that will bring something extra to your interior.
As the nights are starting to draw in I can’t wait to have a soak in the tub, pour a glass of wine and snuggle under my throw with a good book, sheer bliss.
*  With thanks to Camilla Thomas Textiles for gifting the pieces for the purpose of this post.  Here are the dates for the Handmade in Britain fairs, links above.
Contemporary Craft Fair Kew / 12th – 15th October 2017
Contemporary Craft Fair Edinburgh / 27th – 29th October 2017
The Contemporary Crafts & Design Fair Chelsea / 10th – 12th November 2017

Let in the Light

It’s Summer and there is nothing nicer than throwing open the doors and windows to the garden letting in a warm breeze and dappled light.  I’m lucky that I have French doors but I don’t like their design, the frames are dark and PVC as are all my window frames.  The light reduction it causes due to heavy frames is quite remarkable.  We replaced both our entrance doors last year for bespoke alternatives and it has made a huge difference to the light in the hallway and kitchen.

We dream of self building one day, creating a contemporary light filled home with large floor to ceiling windows, open spaces leading from room to room letting in maximum light but with all the right green credentials making the house self sufficient when it comes to energy saving.

For now that is still a long way off so we are considering updating our nasty frames for better version to maximise the light and stop the heat escaping.  Maybe a side extension to create more precious space off the kitchen with skylights to focus the light over that specific area.  It’s remarkable what choice you have today when it comes to updating your windows, Roofwindows.co.uk are a super place to start with a huge range of innovative well priced windows by Solstro to choose from with an excellent advice service on hand so you make the correct decision.

Another great way of maximising light in a small dark space is internal glazing, replacing heavy wooden doors with glass ones, if privacy is an issue frosted window film is a great alternative than etched glass.  Painting your walls in paler colour tones helps lift the space,  placing mirrors opposite a window also bounces light perfectly.  Even down to choosing lightweight fabrics rather than heavy drapes when dressing your windows or maybe if you are lucky and not overlooked perhaps no curtains at all.

For now I shall keep saving to replace my brown PVC horrors and keep dreaming of my white, bright contemporary house with floor to ceiling windows!

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13

  • This post was paid for by Roofwindows.co.uk