January Moments

Hello January you funny month, I must admit I find you rather perplexing if I’m quite honest.  I never want the sparkle of Christmas joy to leave so I find leaving one year and stepping into the next a little strange, especially with the noise I seem to have noticed more from social media this week about goals, year planning, resolutions, self promotion and so on.  I am a gentle person, not one to rush or shout about myself very much.  I like writing my blog for myself and hopefully a few of you like it too.  I am lucky to get to work with some amazing folk along the way too, considered brands that I whole heartedly support in every way.

So no resolutions coming your way from me, I’m happy as I am most of the time, of course I have those days where you want to change the world and everything in it including yourself but who doesn’t.  I have a lovely home, a loving family and things around me that make my little space a happy one.   I find that January is a month to hibernate a little, do those things in the short light hours that we have to rejuvenate a little, read, sleep, relax, take walks outside in the cold, swim, have warm baths, look after your skin, eat hearty well cooked food and cuddle lots.

I wrote a similar post last year here, nothing has changed much but the sentiments still stand.   So 2019 is a blank canvas in front of me, who knows which colours and brush strokes I will make, who I will work and connect with.  Maybe I should shout a little louder about my talents and what I can do but for now I’m going to let January just be simple, what will be will be, tomorrow’s another day.

Jx

 

The Art of Giving with Edge and Company

Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest girl it the world doing what I do, meeting the talented, amazing people that make my everyday so special.  I would like to introduce you to Edge and Company a well being and lifestyle store selling ethical and innovative products for the home and outdoors with a twist.  This wonderful new company crowd funded to get it off the ground with great success.  All the products you can purchase are handmade, crafted in the UK and worldwide by people living with disabilities, mental health issues and addiction and homelessness, who find it very challenging to access and maintain employment.

Edge and Company have an ethical buying policy which to you and me means we can filter their product range by their five categories, Organic, Upcycled, Eco Friendly and Made in the UK, a simple and effective way of finding the things that are most important to you when shopping.  Along with the filters you can find what you are looking for in the categories, Well Being & Lifestyle, Pantry, Homewares and Art & Culture.  Everything in its place from soap pebbles and ceramics to chocolate and coffee there really is something for everyone.

I absolutely love their tag line Radical Giving something we should take into account every time we invest in something new.  The reasoning behind Radical Giving is that every product sold will help to support organisations that are striving to break perceptions and social stigma, to help build acceptance and provide employment opportunities for  people living with life challenges.

Milly and Steve kindly sent me a gift box that showcases some of their wonderful suppliers, they know me well and chose some of my favourite things to keep me cosy over the holidays, from the toastiest slippers, to candles and hand blended herbal tea to add a little calm over the festive season.

The slippers have been a huge hit and my husband wants to steal them NAUSENI’s handmade felt slippers take their inspirations from the rich cultural heritage and dramatic natural landscape of Nepal.   The brand was founded in response to the Nepal Earthquake of 2015, with a mission to empower women by providing skill development and income generating opportunities for those affected by the Earthquake.

I love candles in any shape or form, these 100% naturally sourced beeswax dinner candles will have pride of place on my Christmas table made by Camphill Village Trust who provide a home within a supportive community for  people who have are living with a range of different disabilities.   The Calming hand poured candle will help me unwind and relax with its heady scent of jasmine, lavender, rosewood and bergamot, it will be perfect when I’m taking a well earned soak in the tub.  Made in collaboration with Beacons Creative who also produce beautiful soaps  all hand made made by people with learning difficulties providing them with a secure environment and employment.

I love a good cup of tea and I can’t wait to try this calming blend by Hackney Herbal who are a social enterprise promoting well being and healthy minds through herbs and nature based activities. The scent as you open the bag is intoxicating and I’m savouring the moment to make a brew.   I also fell in love with the perfect ceramic pot because you all know that ceramics are my weakness.   Hand thrown and glazed by Studio 360 a creative space for those recovering from mental illness.   This beautiful pot has found a home on my table and I found the perfect winter plant to put in it, this tiny white cyclamen fits in wonderfully well with my natural theme this year.

So if you haven’t quite found that elusive Christmas gift yet please do take a look at Edge and Company I’m sure you’ll find that special something, not only will you be giving a loved one a unique gift but also a boost to someone that has faced challenges in their daily life which makes all the difference in the world.

Jx

A Simple Christmas with Rowen & Wren

It is universally known that I adore Christmas, I don’t peak too early but I do like adding little bits and bobs here and there throughout the month of December, more of a celebration of Winter than the festival itself.  I decided a few years ago to go simple, pare back the baubles and let fairy lights and nature be the stars of the show, along with a few hand made, natural decorations that quietly shine without being too ostentatious.

One of my go to places to source those extra beautiful items are Rowen & Wren, their capsule Christmas collection is just that, hand selected pieces that bring the festive season together in harmony, from champagne flutes to  their antiqued brass Christmas tree stand, a delicious array of candle holders, stunning folk wrapping paper and brass bell garlands.  You will find everything you need to create that home spun simplicity with ease, from table to tree and everything in between.

My tree will be looking resplendent in their tree stand again this year, an investment piece that will be used for many years to come, with recycled glass baubles taking pride of place on the tree’s branches exuding hand made charm.  The table will be set using elder wood slice place mats to add that rustic feel to my table, making my black plates and cutlery stand out amongst the many candles and pine foliage.

I’m even simplifying my wreaths this year, I’m going to use the Benni brass wreath rings, Scandinavian in style with added touches of greenery bound around to create a subtle but effective look to my front door.  On the plus side once the festivities are over I will be able to remove the foliage to compost and use the rings over and over again.

Once all the decorations are in place, the wreath on the door and the lights are all twinkling, I’ll be able to curl up on my sofa after a lovely soak and keep my feet warm wearing the softest alpaca socks by Tom Lane.  There is nothing nicer than lounging around over the holidays in a dressing gown and socks, book and mug of hot chocolate not too far away.  I can feel my shoulders dropping at the thought of it and my feet will thank me for it too.

I know its a couple of weeks away but I simply can’t wait, I’m desperately looking forward to Christmas this year and I hope that, with a little help from Rowen & Wren: a 10% discount code TEAWITHRUBY to use at the checkout valid for a month, so will you.

Jx

  • With thanks to Rowen & Wren for gifting the products for the purpose of the post

How to Live with a Small Bathroom // Monochrome Dreaming

Confession time, I dislike my bathroom but neither have the funds or the space to do anything about it at the moment.  The thought of being bathroomless fills me with more dread than living with the one I have currently got.  I would simply adore my home to be glossy magazine worthy but that just isn’t going to happen with my dodgy 80’s taps and strange wooden dado rail that grace my walls!  We have ripped up nasty laminate and painted everything in hard wearing blackened by Farrow & Ball which blurs the lines to this tiny tiny 2 m² space.  The saving grace is the suite is white we’ll just ignore the acrylic bath with old lady grab handles.

I have added little touches that make it a nicer space to be in and I do love having a long soak.  We have a super slimline cupboard from Ikea that hides all the bathroom essentials and keeps the surfaces clear.  With the shower being over the bath we replaced the shower head and attachments to a simple stainless rose, pipe and control panel so no extra fuss. We have just added a sleak new shower screen from the new Elle Decoration Noir range for Bathstore that has stopped the leaks and is perfect for what we need.  All other touches give it a cohesive look that makes you ignore the crappy tiles and dodgy dado. A beautiful oak loo seat from Baileys if you can call a loo seat beautiful and an oak loo roll holder from Workshop Living , soft linen towels by Rowen & Wren, and a super Hunter & Jones Berber style cotton bath mat that is sumptuous to step onto after a lovely soak. The next small change is happening late Summer as we have bitten the bullet and are replacing all the windows for grey aluminium ones, more window less frame so should make a huge difference to the quality of light.

So you don’t really need that glossy magazine bathroom, you can make little changes and add thoughtful accessories to make your bathroom into a relaxing place to spend quality moments for that all important bath to rejuvenate and collect your thoughts.

I know exactly how I would transform this space if I could, monochrome would be the colour scheme, I find it works so well in a bathroom especially one as small as mine. I gather inspirational images all the time but always come back to the same look.  Streamlined fixtures, clean lines, no fuss and I’d definitely fit in a feature tile somewhere by Mandarin Stone, I have one leaning up behind my sink to help me visualise how it could be, one day.

So for now I shall live with my little tired space but shall dream big via my Pinterest board.

Jx

Images 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16

 

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.

 

Jx

 

* 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.

 

Ryan’s Daughter a Stylist’s Dream

Many moons ago before Tea with Ruby was even a seed of a thought I poured over interior books and magazines and still do to this day.  I’ve always loved the laid back French style, muted colours, slubby linens, soft buttery ceramics weathered and worn wood.  One of my well thumbed books from this time was Essentially French by Josephine Ryan.  Never in a million years did I ever think I would get to visit her beautiful shop let alone call her a friend.

Roll on a few years and here I am writing about Josephine and her new venture Ryans Daughter. Opening the shop again to the public after a few years away seemed the right thing to do, serendipity as you will as this was the original premises of her first shop.   Times have changed but Josephine’s effortless style and eye for detail is ever present, bringing in new stock such as mid century modern pieces to sit elegantly alongside the pared back French antiques.  As the shop evolves supper clubs will be held on an evening bringing new life to this magical place.

Complimenting the home wares and antiques curated by Josephine, floristy and plants are being expertly designed by Sascha Rothing bringing another layer to the surroundings.  The entrance to the shop was exquisite, the floral displays drew you in and made you want to explore.  Once you enter it truly is a feast for the eyes every where you look you find another wonderful object that you never knew you needed!

Working with stylist, designers and bespoke clients Josephine brings her knowledge of the business to elevate the interiors and homes of many a lucky home owner.  Along side the shop she owns a property in France that has graced the pages of many interiors magazines and books, its surroundings in the French country side lend itself for retreats and workshops a like.  Taking time out to find peace and tranquillity amongst the most beautifully furnished home must be such an experience.

Visiting Ryans Daughter was a rather special moment for me and I sincerely hope that you all make a trip to Abbeville Road in Clapham to see it for yourself too.  Situated on the prettiest street not far from the common I couldn’t think of a better way of spending an afternoon amongst the splendour of this true gem of a shop.  Follow Josephine and the shop on instagram for all their updates.

Jx

  • All images my own of the shop, Josephine’s house in France found here and the dining room image here

 

Make Waste Beautiful with Brabantia

We all need them so why does your household waste bin need to be ugly and something you want to hide?

I’m not lucky enough to have an integral bin hidden away in a fitted cupboard and I didn’t want a nasty cheap looking bin to sit lurking in the corner of my ktichen so I chose something that was aesthetically pleasing and large enough that it only needs emptying once a week.  As a family we try very hard when it comes to waste management, everything is sorted and recycled to the best of our ability, plastic waste has been reduced hugely but sometimes you still need the dustbin for things that just can’t be recycled.

Brabantia waste bins are leaders in modern, contemporary, sustainable waste bins that come in all shapes and sizes but most they all are design led and technologically savvy.   I have my eye firmly on the Bo Touch bin which not only combines beautiful design credentials with easy waste separation with clever removable inner buckets to keep everything in its place.  It is designed to fit perfectly against a wall and with its stylish legs you can clean around it with no hassle.  The plus side is that the design is modern and contemporary coming in a range of colours that make it hard to resist.

Their newIcon pedal bin is greener than ever, these sustainable bins are made of 40% recycled materials and after use 98% of the bin and packaging is recycable how amazing is that.  Not only is this fabulous pedal bin nice to look at it’s green credentials are punching above their weight.  On top of all that for every newIcon pedal bin purchased you will be supporting The Ocean Cleanup helping towards its mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

After choosing the handsomest waste bin to compliment your style and taste you have to empty and clean it, this is one of those jobs you and your spouse bicker about right, who’s turn is it this week!    Instead of using harsh chemical laden concoctions why not use natural ingredients to keep everything clean and smelling rather pleasant.  Bicarbonate of soda removes unpleasant odours.  A spray infused with distilled vinegar and lemon will keep your bin sparkly and clean with no impact on the environment what so ever.

So next time you think a bin is just a bin think again, lets make waste beautiful.

Jx

Images 2, 4 & 6, all others taken my myself or Brabantia

 

Sweet Pea Joy with The Real Flower Company

We are well into the swing of Spring now after the longest Winter I can remember.  The warmth is is slowly starting to make its presence felt and the garden is starting to shoot up at a phenomenal speed in all their fresh green glory.  One of my go to flowers that I plant every year is sweet peas, their delicate beauty and scent can’t be beaten.

When The Real Flower Company got in touch wanting to send me a stunning bouquet of their finest English scented sweet peas I jumped at the chance as it will be many a month before I can cut and display any that I grow.  Their sweet peas are grown on a farm near Chichester, West Sussex.  During Spring and early Summer English scented sweet peas are abundantly incorporated into their bouquets.  I can honestly say I’ve never had a display of such scented flowers before, it is intoxicating. The combination of the heavenly scented ivory sweet peas and wonderfully fragrant lavender is a treat for the senses.  Amongst these two subtle favourites, mint, ivy and other seasonal herbs bring that extra layer, creating not only a beautiful display but making the room smell delicious.

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the images for this post, it was a treat opening the signature green box and untying the floppy satin ribbon then playing about with how to display them.  I like a bouquet to look a bit wild so once I removed the binding and trimmed the stems it was fun messing the order up a little bit so the lavender and herbs trailed over the edge of the jug I chose.

The passion behind The Real Flower Company is a simple one, to bring beautiful, natural, scented flowers and foliage back into the market that seems to have lost its way when it comes to real flowers, alongside promoting their sustainability and provenance.  They are passionate about sent and  carefully curate a collection of the worlds finest scented rose and flower varieties.  They know the provenance of each and every one of their flowers as they grow them all themselves at their base in the South Downs National Park in Hampshire.  All their blooms are grown as nature intended with respect for wildlife, the environment and full of scent.  Did you know that currently many cut flowers on the market have been genetically modified to have their scent gene removed and only 12% of the cut flowers sold in the UK are grown here.  Quite a shocking statistic that The Real Flower Company are trying to rectify.

So go on I think we all deserve to treat ourselves to beautiful home grown flowers knowing that we are contributing to bringing back scent and varieties that have been lost through mass production over the years.  There is simply nothing better than a display of blooms to cheer one’s soul at this time of the year.

Jx

 

 

 

Cabin Escapes

Winter mood, makes me turn to all my wonderful interior books that are filled with homes that encapsulate the cabin vibe, Scandinavian style at its cosiest.  This time of year makes me want to disappear into the woods to my fictional cabin and weather out these darker months before Spring returns in a cocooned state of happiness.

I wonder if like me you feel exactly the same, piling up the blankets and throws, snuggling up in your chunky knit jumpers and warmest slippers creating that little bit of cabin style in your own home.  So settle yourself down and dream with me. Bring on all the wood, texture, sheepskins, blankets, tactile concrete, picture windows with cushion-strewn seats and the obligatory log burner with neatly stacked log pile.

Simple pleasures of a layered bed to sleep in, a warm inviting bathroom to thaw out in after being outside in the forest, the squishiest sofa to curl up in with a warming mug of hot chocolate to indulge in and more wood, more and more!

The best publications to give you that cabin high and ones that I turn to at this time of year are Elle Decoration Country and The Scandinavian Home by Niki Brantmark,  let’s escape together.

Jx

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

 

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.

Jx

  • 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!

Jx

  • Images 5, 7 & 9

 

 

Working with Wool // Solidwool

Wool a natural commodity,  a sustainable resource, one that is plentiful but so very much underused and under valued.  Can you believe that one sheep’s fleece commands a shockingly low price of 40p.  This is where Solidwool come in, this innovative brand are championing a new way of working with wool in a diverse and contemporary environment.   They are modern day manufacturers of a by product of sheep farming, turning it from something unwanted into something beautiful and unique.

The items designed and made by  Solidwool can be considered in place of Injection Moulded Plastics and fibreglass. Wool is used as the reinforcement, bio-resins as the binder. Their manufacturing methods are designed to have the lowest environmental impact that they can.

The Hembury collection is simple, clean lined and practical, a design with longevity in mind, a range of everyday products for the home or creative space.  With a chair to sit on, a table to rest your book and coffee on and placemats to make your dining table more stylish the collection is just right.  The beauty of the wooden legs of the chair and table contrasting with the dark smooth Solidwool top are a master stroke, tactility in the utility with sustainable values.

I spoke to Hannah, one half of the Solidwool team and asked her about their vision for the business, where it started and where they see their vision going in the future.

About Solidwool

We started Solidwool to find a new way of working with wool, in the hope that we could bring some wool manufacturing back to our home town, create fulfilling jobs for ourselves and maybe a small team of people.

We were inspired by our home town and an old industry in decline. Buckfastleigh was once a thriving part of the woollen industry but it had grown quiet since the key manufacturing had left.

We learnt that the coarse wool from hill-farmed sheep had dramatically lost its value in recent years. Historically used in the UK carpet industry, the demand had declined and the wool was now considered worthless, a by-product of sheep farming.

So we started to play, to turn the way we have always worked with wool on it’s head. To take the unwanted and make it beautiful, give it value once again.  The end result is what has become Solidwool.  A strong, beautiful and unique composite material. Think of it like fibreglass, but with wool.

The Hembury Collection came from this. We had a material and wanted to create a product to showcase the material.

Currently, we use wool from the Herdwick breed of sheep. This wool is wiry, dark and hard. An itchy scratchy type of wool. It’s also one of the lowest value British wools. Once a major part of a shepherd’s income, the wool sells for about 30-40p per kg. It costs more to shear the sheep than they get back in sales.  When used in our products the Herdwick wool is beautiful. It produces a dark grey composite with the lighter guard hairs standing out.

What’s Next

At the beginning of the year we moved into a new factory space in the centre of Buckfastleigh, in one of the old disused woollen mill buildings. The space is amazing, light and airy. We’ve been busy fitting the space out in a manner fit for a modern manufacturing company, whilst working out what that is!  For us, 2017 is about working on the next generation of Solidwool technology. Really getting to grips with understanding the material and its capacity. Once we have done this we will be expanding our range of furniture.

We also hope to begin sourcing our own wool direct from farmers. Currently we source wool that has gone through the British Wool Marketing Board auction system. This system works, but buying direct from farmers, enables us to be more transparent about our supply chain. It also means we can pay above market price for the wool we source. Giving part of the value we create back to source.

We are also playing with lighter wools, such as the Scotch Blackface sheep on Dartmoor. It is another lower value wool, but can be used with a coloured resin to create a material which is very similar in appearance to coloured fibreglass.

So if you are on the hunt for a unique piece of contemporary furniture with a sustainable twist then please do take a look at Solidwool.  Just think how cool your kitchen table will look surrounded by the Hembury chairs, I know I am!

  • With thanks to Solidwool for providing the images for this post

Ceramics

I have a confession, I’m a little bit obsessed with ceramics in all it’s guises.  I’ve had a good clear out of old crockery, mugs and bowls that are no longer used or serve any purpose, even most of the vintage china has gone.  Clearing out and starting again feels good and I’m starting a curated collection of beautiful ceramics and pottery.

I have a few pieces of old that have come back into the foreground but it was a Parkwood pottery mug by Lane that started me on this path and obviously my need to clear out and feel free from clutter.   I have recently invested in some new dinner plates from Minor Goods which have the most beautiful glaze.  I don’t want matching I want mix and match but all within the same hues of stone through to deep blue.

I am fascinated and in awe of those who use there hands to create objects that have been born from the ground and turned into useful, practical objects and art forms in their own right.

I love the tactile nature of ceramics, the different methods and stories applied to each piece that make that certain mark or colour.  There is nothing better than wrapping your hands around your favourite mug or bowl and the comfort it brings, like saying hello to an old friend.

There are many artists out their that I admire greatly who turn, sculpt and manipulate wonderful pieces using their hands, Sue Prkye, Pip Wilcox, Sarah Jerath and Jono Smart to name but a few.

Follow my ceramics board for more inspiration.

Signature

Image 1, 2 and 3 my own 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 sources highlighted.

 

Simply Baileys

IMG_20140329_093416 I first came across Baileys many moons ago just after we got married and set up home, it was whilst pregnant with Ruby that I made my first purchase from them and the love affair began.   I used to pour over their beautiful catalogue and now I can’t help mooching through the divine pages of their website.   My house has many items from Baileys from our loo seat to the kitchen sink (honestly it came from them!).  My latest buy is a customised  bell jar light for our caravan awning. IMG_20140313_100411 A few years ago I organised a fabulous family holiday to Hay-on-Wye unbeknownst to Robert, it was a ruse so I could page homage to the Whitecross Farm buildings, Ross on Wye.   We did have a wonderful week, Herefordshire is such an unspoilt part of the world and I fell head over heels for the beauty and peace of this county. Anyway one of those halcyon days was spent like a giddy child on Christmas day in Baileys barns, loft and sheds.  It truly is a Mecca of a store every where you look your eyes are met with items that you just want to have.

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Every surface is piled very tastefully with things that are useful, unfussy and practical with an overall simple design.   You find yourself coming away with things such as white jugs (every home needs one), lemon squeezers, vegetable brushes, soft linen tea towels and vintage garden chairs thrown into the mix, what could be better.

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Mark and Sally Bailey have a successful succession of books under their belts too.  Simple Home is one of my favourites, it has well turned pages that I refer to when I want to feel a sense of calm and reassurance reminding me of the joy of sustainable living in the very fast track world of ours.  It is a beautiful book to own it comes highly recommended and I can’t wait for their fourth book to be published.

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I’m an avid reader of Freunde von Freunden they have just posted an interview with the Baileys, go take a look here, it gives you a rounded image of and an urge to go back to  the store.   Now that our caravan’s arrival date is creeping ever closer a holiday in Herefordshire may need to planned but until then the website will have to do.

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 Image by fvf

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All images from Baileys ~ My InstagramFreunde von Freunden

…and of course my piggy bank is saving up for one of their 1930’s bathroom kits oh yes indeed one day the loo seat will to be part of the gang!

 

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