a way of life...

Month: January 2020

The Savill Garden

A visit to the Savill Garden visitor centre earlier this week ticked all my boxes.

A lovely stroll in the tranquil wooded gardens, followed by a nice cup of tea, and finally a wander round the gift shop. What’s not to like?

This architectural gem was designed by Glen Howells Architects, Buro Happold and Engineers Haskins Robinsons Waters.

It was opened in 2006 by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Not unlike the shop at Wisley Gardens in Surrey it is stocked with colourful homewares and children’s toys and books.

Soft furnishings by Weaver Green

Seasonal silk blooms mingle with an assortment of environmentally friendly soft furnishings.

Pastel pinks and cool greys provided a clear direction for my post-festive house styling.

The Savill Garden gift shop is open from 9.30am to 6pm during Summer, and 9.30am to 4.30pm in Winter – every day apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Blue’s The Hue

Monday has received some very bad press this past week. It is perceived as one of the most depressing days of the year due to the post-Christmas blues. We are given to believe that credit card debt, festive weight gain, and the long wait to the next pay day adds up to “Blue Monday”.

Personally I would rather not dwell on the negative aspects of the new year but embrace what it has to throw at us.

Pantone has announced this year’s colour as Classic Blue and, as such, my mailbox has been full of positive spins on this timeless tone.

Classic Blue evokes a sense of stylish serenity...

The Announcement

Pantone’s 2020 colour of the year is Classic Blue.

Pantone announced that its 2020 Color of the Year is Classic Blue, a shade reminiscent of the sky at dusk. “It’s a color that anticipates what’s going to happen next,” said Laurie Pressman, the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, which selects the Color of the Year.

The Selection Process

The Pantone Color of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences.

This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.

Houseology have described Classic Blue as

A timeless and enduring hue, Classic Blue is elegant in its simplicity, from dusky skies to indigo oceans, Classic Blue evokes a sense of stylish serenity. Cool, calm and confident, Pantone’s Classic Blue hue is a universal favourite, a shade sure to make an impact on fashion, interior design and textiles alike…

Garden Trading

Pantone’s 2020 Colour of the Year is Classic Blue. A calming, confident hue used to create a foundation to build from in this new decade. Whether you’re ready to go bold or prefer a muted outlook, we have a blue for you.

Here’s how Garden Trading suggest you use blue hues in your home:

Extend to exteriors; blue works just as well outdoors to add a welcoming brightness to your home
Colour pop; just a hint can bring colour to any room
Tactile textures; ease into adding blue without the commitment
Go bold; choose a feature wall and dive right in
Mix it up; pair with warm neutrals and soft woods for a more muted look


Discover our best-loved blues

Stone Blue No.86
Dix Blue No.82

Today’s bright blue skies go a long way to bringing cheer to this otherwise bleak time of year giving a whole new meaning to The Blues!

2020 Trends

My inbox is currently full of trend predictions for the coming year. Colour, style, and material, are the focus of many of the big names.

Here are some of the highlights…


Farrow & Ball Key Colours for 2020

  • Duck Green
  • Sap Green
  • Mouses’s Back
  • Ammonite and Purbeck Stone
  • Stiffkey Blue
  • Treron and Pigeon


Rockett St. George Top 6 Trend Predictions for 2020:

1. Natural Texture

Brilliant for bringing the beauty of the outside in, a new approach to natural textures reveals coloured marble, dried flowers, and organic textures and materials.

2. Grown Up Glamour

A trend that’s never far from our minds! Grown-up glamour embraces a maximalist approach to décor where pattern reigns and there’s no such thing as too many trimmings.

3. Forever Furniture

We always try to make better eco-friendly decisions in the home. This year it’s all about ‘buy once, buy well’. Invest in key pieces that you will love, forever more.

4. English Eccentric

Expect to see confident interiors that approach colour and decoration with some serious drama. Anything goes, so if you love it, then it deserves to be celebrated in your home.

5. Far Eastern Influence

The timeless design principles of traditional Japanese design are renowned for finding beauty in simplicity. We’re predicting a huge rise in eastern influences in 2020.

6. Home Comforts

Staying in doesn’t necessarily mean missing out. From throwing a dinner party to curling up in front of the fire, there’s something incredibly inviting about staying in.


As well as a stream of email updates the High Street is rife with gossip about up and coming launches.

Word on the street is that Neptune are going to spice it up with a new colour to be released in the Spring.

That’s as much as I can say at the moment but I’m sure whatever hue they choose it will work seamlessly with their back catalogue thus adding a new dimension to their signature style.

Watch this space for the big reveal or keep abreast with Neptune’s news at https://www.neptune.com/about-us/journal/

The Ultimate Interior Design Sale

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

This week sees The Ultimate Interior Design Sale being held at the Design Centre Chelsea.

Running from Monday January 6th to Saturday January 11th it is open from 9.30am to 5.30 pm every day except Saturday, when it opens from 10am to 2pm.

The doors are open to everyone from Tuesday January 7th and today, Thursday January 9th, it is open until 8pm.

For more information go to https://www.dcch.co.uk/the-ultimate-interior-design-sale-2020/

If this isn’t a great start to 2020 I’m not sure what is….

Happy shopping!

2020 and beyond…

I’m pretty sad to see the back of 2019 as it’s been a pretty good year for me. (More about that in blogs to come).

I wonder how 2020 will shape up with all the promise of a new decade?

My Christmas Amaryllis burst into flower as the old year ended and the new one began. I hope this is a sign that we will all be blessed with a happy, healthy, and prosperous future in 2020 and beyond.

I briefly ventured into town at the weekend, and whilst not tempted by the racks and racks of reduced price garments, I was struck by this beautiful window decoration in Anthropologie.

It made me think that I may have to start collecting odd bits of wool during the coming months so that I can create this myself for next Christmas!

Happy New Year everyone!

My Favourite Winter Recipes

I love to experiment with new recipes and also to revisit some of my old favourites. On the run up to Christmas, and during the holiday period, I have had the opportunity to host a couple of special evenings and here I would like to share with you two of the recipes that contributed to their success. The two I have chosen compliment each other perfectly as the first requires 4 egg yolks and the second requires 4 egg whites.

Toffee Vodka Ice Cream (serves 4)


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons warmed maple syrup
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 tablespoons Toffee Vodka
  • small pieces of vanilla fudge (optional)


  1. Beat the egg yolks in a warmed mixer bowl for about 5 minutes until they have expanded as far as possible
  2. Slowly drip in the warmed maple syrup and carry on beating for further 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly whip up the cream with the vodka.
  4. Fold the two mixtures together adding small pieces of vanilla fudge if desired.
  5. Put the cream mixture into a plastic container and freeze for at least 12 hours.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop serve straight from the freezer.
  7. Use within 3 days as it may become a little rubbery after time.

This recipe was based on John Tovey’s Honey and Brandy Ice Cream from his book Wicked Puddings.

Blackberry and Apple Soufflé (serves 4)


  • Melted butter and caster sugar to dust the moulds
  • 100g mixture of diced, peeled and cored apples
  • 100g blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Icing sugar to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C
  2. Brush the base and sides of 4 x 250ml soufflé dishes, or coffee cups, with melted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar, tipping out the excess. Chill until ready to use.
  3. Mix the cornflour with 2tsp cold water.
  4. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples, put them into a saucepan with the blackberries and half the sugar, to taste. Put on a medium heat and cook until the apples are soft.
  5. Process in a food processor until smooth, strain through a sieve, them tip the fruit into a small saucepan.
  6. Stir over a low heat and bring to the boil.
  7. Stir in the cornflour mixture and cook until thickened.
  8. Remove from the heat but continue stirring until the mixture is cool.
  9. Beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  10. Gradually add the other half of the sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  11. Add a third of the egg whites to the fruit purée, mixing well with a metal spoon, then add the rest of the egg white and gently mix it in until it is one uniform colour.
  12. Spoon into the dishes and smooth the tops.
  13. Bake in the over for 12-14 minutes, until well risen and starting to colour.
  14. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

This recipe was taken from The Abinger Cookery School’s Chalet Cook Book in association with Fish & Pips.

I would like to think that both of these desserts are mouthwateringly divine and are great for weekend entertaining!

Winter Wonderland

This Christmas I have had the most fun creating a Winter Wonderland for my nearest and dearest.

And here the story begins….

As we approached the log cabin snow was falling onto the pine trees, filling the air with anticipation.

Garlands of fairy lights illuminated the entrance whilst lanterns hanging from the wooden beams provided a warm glow.

Sheepskin rugs strewn over wicker chairs and cushions piled high on wooden trunks beckoned us into this magical setting.

Here we feasted on tasty aprés-ski delights starting with baked Camembert served with crunchy green apples, carrot, celery and crusty ciabatta. This was followed by a warm chocolate dipping fondue accompanied by fluffy marshmallows, juicy red strawberries, stiff white meringue peaks, and home baked cookies. Lastly, my own toffee vodka ice-cream was consumed with rich mince pies.

Bellies full, we raised a glass to the season, and relaxed into this resplendent moment pleased with ourselves for creating a very memorable evening.

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