a way of life...

Year: 2018 (Page 1 of 4)

Green&Black Wardrobe

For a long time I have been pondering what colour would spice up my rather beautiful, but tired, wardrobe that greets visitors when they arrive in our hallway.


Neptune provided inspiration with their seasonal offerings in their Autumn/Winter 2018 Directory. Revisiting an existing paint shade, Chestnut, and pairing it with Nutmeg, sparked my imagination. 

Nutmeg and Chestnut

With our bold striped Crucial Trading carpet running the full length of the staircase in the back ground and our crazy orange and cream spotty carpet from Ikea on the in the foreground, using these Neptune colours to tie the scheme together seemed a no-brainer.


Our first task was to dismantle the wardrobe and to add an undercoat to ensure the top coat would adhere to the surface. This was no mean feat as I’m sure you can imagine.

We left the undercoat to try and applied the first coat of Nutmeg eggshell that same afternoon and left it to dry overnight.

The following morning I was up at the crack of dawn to apply the second and final coat. Using a sponge roller actually made the task much quicker and easier and again I allowed a 12 hour drying time to ensure that the paint had gone off completely.


Once all the elements were put back together I was stunned and delighted with the results as we now have a truly smart piece of furniture which smacks you in the face when you enter our home.

My only residual concern is that it it represents a bar of Green&Blacks’s dark chocolate which is an absolute favourite of mine!

Now that our hallway is neat and tidy, this weekend I have enjoyed adding some seasonal decoration in anticipation of the festive celebrations.

Gathering some branches from our golden beech tree and cutting the dead heads from our climbing hydrangea I have added some seasonal dressing to our lovely new cupboard.

Seasonal dressing

Our final task is to paint the entrance vestibule with Chestnut emulsion but for the time being I am basking in the glory of completing this initial restoration.

Christmas Is Coming

It’s a sure sign that Christmas is coming when you walk into a bar and there’s a tree suspended upside-down from the ceiling.  The one below was seen at The Bugle in Brading on the Isle of Wight last weekend.

Full marks for novelty, although maybe not so many for practicality.

The Bugle, Brading

The first of December spurred me on to buy our family Christmas tree. Having seen this room set at Neptune in Guildford I decided to buy a table top Nordmanniana from the Farm Shop Lyne.

I was taken by the simplicity of the decoration of this tree and by the glass vase in which it had been planted. Both struck a chord with me as I have spent much of 2018 aiming for a more pared back interior in our cottage.

Container grown Nordmanniana

Here you can see a close up of our tree along with some of the snow globes that I have made for the craft fairs that I have been attending this season. The one shown below is my most recent addition.

“Bringing the tree home” snow globe

Using a glass yoghurt jar, a miniature truck bought from Hobbycraft, and a mixed bag of bottle-brush Christmas trees bought on-line, I created a minute replica of these Ikea filled vases that I saw for sale at the Country Living Christmas Fair last month.

Giant truck snow globes

The homecoming truck laden with an oversized tree has been a popular image over the past few years. It seems to have been particularly prevalent this year and, with this in mind, I couldn’t resist buying this M&S bedding set which depicts the  tree being brought home on the roof of the family car.

M&S bedding set

I waited for the rain to stop today, and for the sun to emerge, before taking photographs of this lovely set along with our little tree and a selection of snow -globes.

Winter wonderland

Aside from snow globes and homecoming trees another popular decoration this year is the humble pom-pom. They have adorned everything from handbags to jewellery and have now been seen being used in Christmas decorations.

Handcrafted snow globes

The wreath shown below was one of my favourites and was spotted in the Giraffe & Custard gift shop in the Rectory Mansion, Brading.

I am now really excited about next weekend as I hope to plunder our loft and revisit my ever expanding supply of decorations. That said, I hope to honour my paring back strategy and use a mixture of fresh foliage and simple baubles.

I look forward to sharing the end results with you and hope that this blog has inspired you to start thinking about the season and the delights that come from the preparation for the big day.

Happy decorating!

Christmas Food & Craft Market

‘Tis the season of the Christmas Fair and I am pleased to announce that Langdon Hyde Design will be taking part in the festivities.

Next weekend Bourne Valley Nursery will be hosting its Christmas Food & Craft Market on Sunday, November 18 between 10am and 3.30pm.

I am delighted to say that Langdon Hyde Design will have a stall selling handcrafted gifts and decorations under the banner of The Edit by Langdon Hyde Design.


Raindrops on roses

And whiskers on kittens

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things

Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels

Doorbells and sleigh bells And schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Silver-white winters that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things¹

Snow Globes With Ribbons

The Edit at Langdon Hyde Design’s pop-up shop may not have all of your favourite Christmas things but it will have:

Snow globes with ribbons

and fairies with crowns

Lanterns like houses to glow all night long

Gold and white fir cones

to hang from the tree

And a selection of gifts for your family

Warm woolly hats

for the young and the grown

Hand-painted furniture to go in your rooms

Candles and prints

and cushions as well

Langdon Hyde Design will have these to sell

A few of my favourite things…


Please come along as we would love to see you

For directions and more information go to https://www.bournevalleygardencentre.co.uk/static/contact-us.html

¹”My Favorite Things” is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music

Green With Envy

I am loving this season’s trend for dark moody greens.

Farrow & Ball introduced nine new colours to their range of paints and Banca featured heavily in their launch.

Described as a “protective olive green” and named after Japanese tea leaves “its sober tone creates rooms that feel calm and serene”.

Nine new colours from F&B

Marks & Spencer have embraced this mood with their range of Meghan floral print bedding which “is perfect for traditionally-designed bedrooms or adding a burst of colour to plain décor”.

Meghan Floral Print bedding

I chose this quilt cover and pillowcase set to add some drama to my own bedroom. It ties in beautifully with the two atmospheric Loch Fyne prints that are above the bed. It also forms a close connection with the monochrome en-suite bathroom.

Bath painted with F&B Railings

This black and white floor has been a favourite of mine ever since it was laid more than 10 years ago but it was only this year that I took a leap of faith and painted the bath in F&B’s Railings eggshell.


Taking a lead from the colours of the flowers on this bed-set I teamed it with these scatter cushions. The cream and blue ones were from Laura Ashley and the acid green velvet cushions were from Cox & Cox.

Autumn Winter trend 2018

Clothing trends have also embraced these seasonal greens with names such as bottle, pine, and evergreen.

Again M&S were right on trend with this ankle skimming skirt, whilst Zara followed suit with these printed tops, and Hush this figure hugging dress.

I also discovered some gorgeous Christmas decorations and costume jewellery in this fabulous shade.

I trust you are now green with envy and will head straight to your High Street to indulge yourself in this AW 2018 trend.

Pumpkin Soup

Our pumpkin crop was a big success this year. Brought on early by the long hot summer our first, and biggest, pumpkin was ready for harvesting in August.

Encouraged by our budding gardener, Finlay, this was our second year of growing these giant vegetables from seed, and it was far more successful than the first.

Keen to show Finlay the benefits of growing his own food we decided to turn some of our later crop into soup. We selected two of the smaller pumpkins as they didn’t look as though they would make very impressive lanterns, and set to work.

We combined two recipes to come up with our final concoction:


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 800g pumpkin, peeled and roughly diced
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Half a teaspoon cumin powder
  • Half a teaspoon mild curry powder
  • 150ml double cream
  • Fresh bread to accompany


  1. Gently heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in thick-based saucepan.
  2. Once the oil is hot add the onion and garlic, frying them on a gentle heat until the onion softens.
  3. Add the diced pumpkin to the pan and cook until it starts to soften, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is very tender.
  6. Add the cumin and curry powder and stir in.
  7. Pour the cream into the pan and bring back to the boil.
  8. Remove from the heat and purée with a hand blender.
  9. For an extra-velvety consistency pour the soup through a fine sieve.

    Garlic and onion ready for the pan

Peeled and diced pumpkin

Extra-velvety pumpkin soup

I’m pleased to report that everyone enjoyed their autumnal treat even though our Indian summer prevailed and temperatures were unusually high for this time of year.

Unicorns and Superheroes

If you are looking for an alternative to unicorns and superheroes then take a look at Romo’s showroom at The Design Centre, Chelsea Habour. Situated on the first floor of the North Dome,  they have an area dedicated to children’s décor.

Instead of pastel coloured ponies and muscle bound macho men,  here you will find images of child-friendly characters, leafy trees, and stretched yellow limos.

A diverse range of wall  coverings, fabrics, and soft furnishings, provide a fantasy backdrop for the new born through to their older siblings.

Children’s décor at Romo’s showroom

Whimsical bugs and butterflies spread their wings amongst the summertime flowers in this magical garden (below). This scene conjures up a warm summers day, alive with the hum of insects in the air, pollinating the enticingly colourful plants.

Woodland creatures tentatively explore the forest floor as a gentle breeze awakens the sleepy forest.

Alongside these scenes of this summer idyll sit Frann Preston-Gannon’s illustrations of different animal habitats.

From the lush and exotic Amazon rainforest, to the frozen Arctic, your child will meet exotic creatures of the jungle through to penguins and polar bears that swim beneath the frozen seas.

Punchy pops of colour and circus like beasts provide a vibrant edge to this carefully curated corner. This desperately dark blue cupboard bursts into life when its doors are flung open to reveal its sherbert pink interior.

Conjuring up stories of faraway lands it will fire up the imagination of the young traveller.

Illustrator Christopher Corr’s fabrics and wallpapers will take the intrepid explorer from the pink city in India, island hopping around the Med, to the hustle and bustle of the night time city scape of Manhatten.

Villa Nova have collaborated with these three illustrators, Yuval Zommer, Frann Preston-Gannon and Christopher Corr to create their Picturebook collection. The end result is a host of  fabrics, wall coverings, and accessories which bring to life the fantastic world of the story book.

Let the story commence…

London Design Festival 2018

London Design Festival 2018 hit the streets this week. With events taking place across the capital from Sunday through to Sunday this is a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the up and coming trends and to gain first hand knowledge from some of the biggest names in the business.

I don’t often find myself in the presence of some of the world’s most famous interior designers but this week has been an exception and I’m still having to pinch myself!

To kick off the week I visited Decorex at Syon Park in Isleworth. Arriving early, parking was easy and foot traffic light.

Some of the big names were either at the show in person, or had been commissioned to design some of the installations.

Taking centre stage was the well attended bar designed by Freddy van Zevenbergen of Lambart & Browne. A lifelike peacock, black feather chandeliers, and a giant Silent Pool gin bottle set the scene.

Lavish bar designed by Lambart & Browne

Another well known name having a presence at the show was Annie Sloan.  Launching three new paint colours and a a bookazine entitled The Colourist the stand stood out from the crowd.

The Colourist

A common theme at this year’s Decorex was craftspeople in action. The Odd Chair Company and Pigmentti, an artisan decoration company, were two of the four making an appearance as part of the renowned In The Making feature areas, where four invitation-only spaces demonstrate how products are made, finished, and decorated.

The Odd Chair Company

Pigmentti demonstrating bas-relief Marmorino

This show never fails to exhibit a diverse range of interior styles and products. Whether you favour minimalism or maximalism there was something for everyone.



One of my last ports of call before leaving the show was the Dupenny booth. These cheeky designs, the creations of Emily Dupen, adorn wallpapers, fabrics, and gifts in a truly original fashion.

Dupenny Illustration & Design

Next on my agenda was Red’s Smart Women Week at Carlton House Terrace in London. Hosted by Hearst magazines it promised to be an enlightening show. Amongst the speakers that I went to listen to were four of the most current names in the world of interiors.

Participating in the networking breakfast, Sophie Robinson (BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge), Linda Boronkay (Design Director, Soho House), Jemma Ahmed (Director or Global Insights, Etsy), and the infamous Kelly Hoppen, educated the audience in the art of growing your interior design brand.

Red Smart Women networking breakfast

Armed with an insight into the success of these four ladies I hopped in a black cab to arrive in time for my next seminar at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.

Focus/18 is a major part of the London Design Festival and provides access to the vast number of showrooms at DCCH. It also incorporates daily talks, demonstrations and guided tours.

With limited time to spend attending the festival I am always keen to attend at least one of the hosted conversations and this year my choice was Giles Kime interviewing legendary designer Nina Campbell. Sharing secrets of an illustrious career spanning fifty years I felt very privileged to be in the same room.

Much of the talk and images related to her newly published tome,  Elegance & Ease. Needless, to say I could not miss this opportunity to buy a signed copy by the doyenne herself.

After quaffing a quick glass of bubbly to celebrate the book launch I headed back out of town to reflect on a fabulous day.

Autumn Art Scene

It’s not often that I take time out at the weekend but when the opportunity presented itself to me this morning I thought why not? Yes, I had a hundred things planned, and yes I had made a 6am start to work on my current projects but, that said, I thought some time out with my other half might be good for the both of us.

Jumping in the car we headed for the great British seaside at Hastings. This is one of my favourite seaside destinations as I can recall happy memories of family holidays and days out.

Today we bypassed the hustle and bustle and instead wound our away along the coast through St. Leonards and onto Bexhill-on-Sea.

Here we pulled into the car park of the De La Warr Pavilion and promptly paid our dues to stay for no more than two hours.

We immediately headed towards the beach and enjoyed the warm autumn sunshine diluted by the crisp sea breeze. We huddled together in the shelter of a waterside café and ordered hot chocolate and warm cheese scones.

With our appetites sated we wandered along the prom engaging in the atmosphere provided by the independent traders selling their wares from their concrete kiosks.

Needless to say I was drawn to MHRetroFurntiure where we found Martin Hendry purveyor of funky mid-century miscellany. Specialising in brightly coloured cabinets decorated with sassy posters he was a definite favourite.

Our next stop was the pavilion itself where we unwittingly walked into an exhibition of works by Alison Wilding. Entitled “Right Here and Out There” her monolithic creations mimic the container ships on the horizon.

The sunlight streaming in through the gallery windows lit up the sculptures and bounced off their high gloss surfaces and through their translucent shapes.

After a brief tour of the gift shop we walked towards the town centre where a continental market was in full swing. Topped and tailed by the Bexhill motoring club an array of vintage and classic cars caught the eye of inquisitive passers by.

Concluding our brief encounter with Bexhill-on-Sea I have to admit that I had not expected it to have such a prominent autumn art scene nor to embrace such a variety of individual artisans.

Driving home I felt that our visit underlined the importance  of getting out and about to see how the rest of the world is performing and to ensure that my work remains fluid and fresh.

Shades of Summer

The summer of 2018 has seen extended periods of above normal seasonal temperatures. Rising to the mid-30’s for days on end, sitting out in the afternoon sun has been particularly uncomfortable.

With this in mind, when my daughter-in-law and her mum came for afternoon tea I made a camp under the shade of the apple tree.

Shifting my heavy teak chairs from their normal “sundowner” location at the front of the house I placed them under the leaf-laden branches. I manoeuvred a matching café style table and covered it with a cloth made from an Ikea gingham fabric.

Coordinating cushions, and pink, white, and turquoise bunting completed the “soft furnishings” and provided the perfect backdrop for a delicious cream tea which was served on white china plates and in Joules mugs.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the consistently warm weather over these past few weeks as it has enabled me to make full use of the garden and, as a consequence, made the house seem so much bigger.

Although the soaring temperatures seem to have come to an end, and the days are getting noticeably shorter, I gather fair weather is forecast until October. I relish the thought of a mild autumn and shall continue to enjoy alfresco dining for as long as possible.

I hope you do too x

Faux Fever

This stunning flower arrangement was the centrepiece at Tunsgate, Guildford this week and it inspired me to write this blog about faux flowers and house plants.

With the emergence of plants being a decorative addition to the home many high street and on-line stores have a wide selection of artificial flowers and house plants.OKA, in Guildford, is a good example as they have some of the most lavish displays. For example these gorgeous magnolia boughs (above) and these enormous white hydrangeas mixed with lambs ear leaves (below). 
On a more modest scale Marks & Spencer have a comprehensive range of “evergreen” house plants and flowers. 

One of my favourite high street and on-line stores, Neptune, use faux foliage blended with real flowers for dramatic effect in their room settings.

This is a trick that can easily employed in one’s own home changing displays to match the season.

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that I enjoy growing and cutting my own blooms for indoor decoration. That said, I too have permanent arrangements of realistic looking silk flowers to add colour and texture all year round.

This permanent mix of cornflowers, lavender and scabious adorn a dressing table whilst the freshly cut blue hyacinths add an evocative scent in the spring.

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