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September 30th 2014
Mushroom lasange Hero

On The Menu: Liberty London Girl’s Mushroom Lasagne

Sharing a delicious recipe from her new book, take a peek at Liberty London Girl’s Mushroom Lasagne…

Taking her first step into the world of publishing, Sasha Wilkins (otherwise known as Liberty London Girl) has so far taken us on a whirlwind journey of fashion and life as former fashion editor on her blog, but at long-last Sasha shares her love of good food and entertaining in her brand new cookbook. Serving up a host of delicious recipes from Sunday lunches to alfresco dining, we couldn’t resist her take on the classic lasagne, ideal for the winter months ahead…

 

Edited Lasange

There’s very little I dislike more than a parsimonious vegetarian lasagne, redolent of school dinners, filled with lumps of watery vegetables, metallic tomato sauce, a white sauce that has been all but sucked up by the pasta and topped with a few cheese scrapings. If you’re going to bother with lasagne, it should be thick, luxurious and wholly satisfying. There are three or four different versions in my arsenal but my absolute favourite is this mushroom one, using lots of different types of mushroom. (There will be no watery courgettes, inappropriate root vegetables, pappy aubergines or insufficiently cooked-down tomatoes on my watch.)

 

SERVES 8

 

For the Slow-Cooked Tomato Sauce

 

- slosh of olive oil

- 1 large onion, chopped

- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)

- 3 x 400g tins tomatoes (my optimal combination is 1 tin of whole tomatoes, 1 of chopped tomatoes and 1 of cherry tomatoes)

- passata (optional)

- large squeeze of tomato puree

- 1 tsp sugar

- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Lasagne

 

- 1.5kg mushrooms (I like mixed flat, white and chestnut)

- 50g butter

- 3 tbsp olive oil

- approx. 10–14 lasagna sheets

 

For the cheese sauce

 

- 50g butter

- 50g plain flour, sifted

- 500ml whole milk

- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

- 250g Cheddar, finely grated

 

For the topping

 

- 150g Cheddar, finely grated

- 100g fried breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs (optional)

 

Edited Size

 

METHOD

 

1) First make a tomato sauce so that it is happily simmering away (for a minimum of 45 minutes) while you get on with the rest.

 

2) Put a nice big saucepan (I prefer wider to higher, as it cooks down more quickly) over a medium-high heat and add a generous slosh of basic olive oil. When it’s hot, tip in the onion, turn the heat right down, and sweat (i.e. slow-cook in oil) until translucent, pushing it around from time to time. This takes at least 20 minutes. Cook the onion too hot and fast and it will brown and caramelise. You want the onion to be soft and colourless. (You want it nice and soft because once it hits the tomatoes it won’t get any softer.) Add the garlic, if using, 5 minutes before the onion is done.

 

3) Then pour in the tomatoes, add a big slug of passata (if you have it), the tomato purée and sugar. Get it to simmering point (slow bubbling), then turn the heat to low-medium and leave to simmer away, uncovered. Do keep stirring regularly as the sauce has a nasty habit of catching; turn down the heat if you think it is boiling too fast. I also use a splatter guard, as it bubbles away like a tub of volcanic gloop and you will end up with tomato-sauce splodges everywhere, otherwise. After about 20 minutes, break up any whole tomatoes with the back of a spoon and continue to cook. After about 45 minutes, add salt and black pepper, to taste. Check the seasoning and add a wee bit more sugar if you think it needs it. Allow it to cook for a little longer – I reckon it takes a total of 1 hour to reduce properly and become sweet, thick and unctuous.

 

4) Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms into thirds, then across into cubes. Put a large frying pan over the heat with the butter and oil and, when the butter has melted, tip in the mushrooms. Don’t let them cook too quickly: the trick is to soften the mushrooms without them losing their plumpness. When they are cooked, take off the heat and put to one side.

 

5) For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (this is to stop your sauce burning) and beat in the sifted flour. Add a ladleful of milk and whisk in. As it thickens, carefully add in another measure of milk, and so on. Add in the mustard and the Cheddar and beat together with a wooden spoon until the Cheddar melts. When the sauce has thickened enough that it coats the back of a spoon without falling off, take it off the heat.

 

6) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Pour a ladleful of cheese sauce over the entire bottom of a large gratin dish. Then add the first layer of lasagne sheets. (You may need to break some to ensure they fit neatly.) Over this add a thin layer of tomato sauce. Then a layer of mushrooms, followed by a layer of cheese sauce. Next: a layer of lasagne. (Try to keep the layers as thin as possible.) Repeat until the dish is almost, but not quite, full. Make sure that the topmost layer is lasagne sheets spread with a little cheese sauce.

 

7) For the topping, strew over the Cheddar, then the fried bread crumbs, if using. Bake in the oven for about 35–45 minutes.

 

Taking pride of place on the Laura Ashley bookshelf, Sasha’s book is the ultimate guide for dinner party success. Not only including her tasty collection of tried and tested recipes, Sasha lets us in on a few insider tips, from her favourite places to brunch, her ultimate dinner party playlist (genius) to the best ice-cream sundae shops around the world. What can we say? Sasha is a girl after our own heart.

 

Friends, Food, Family by Sasha Wilkins (Quadrille, £18.99) Photography: Lisa Linder.

 

Browse the Laura Ashley tableware range here.

September 26th 2014
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A DECORATIVE TOUCH WITH WALLPAPER: HEDGEROW CUPBOARD

Blogger Lizzy gives her second hand cupboard a decorative touch using our new season wallpaper…

When decorating your home, wallpaper is a fabulous way to inject both colour, print and texture into your space. Thinking outside the interior box, we love experimenting with the creative ways you can use wallpaper. Taking pride of place in our new Hedgerow collection, the autumnal inspired Oakshaw wallpaper gave a unique, decorative touch to a set of cupboards in our A/W14 lookbook. Complimenting the neutral colour scheme, the unexpected way in which the wallpaper was used gave the cupboards a new distinctive look…

 

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Inspired by our new collection shoot, blogger Lizzy (What Lizzy Loves) decided to transform her second-hand cupboard to fit in with her new home interiors. Armed with a pot of Laura Ashley paint, wallpaper and knobs, Lizzy set off on her upcycling project and we were very impressed with her crafty efforts…

 

Before pictures

 

‘Made from reclaimed wood, I’ve had my cupboard a fair few years after buying it second hand. It’s quite large and rather chunky, so despite thinking it may it may not suit the decor in my new house, I decided to give it an decorative overhaul that would suit the soft neutral colour scheme that I have chosen for my kitchen and dining room.

 

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The cupboard had a waxed finish, so I began by using a sugar soap spray to remove all oils, waxes and grease to leave a clean surface. The whole cupboard needed a light sanding and then wiping down. Next I used the Laura Ashley emulsion paint in Pale Twine to paint the outside of the cupboard, only one tin was needed for the three coats.

 

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Like the A/W14 lookbook, I chose the Oakshaw wallpaper in truffle to upcycle the cupboard doors, I think it’s absolutely beautiful – I do love acorns! As the panels on the doors are grooved, I cut a template from card which I then covered with wallpaper, using wallpaper paste to stick the cardboard on to the cupboard doors.

 

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For the panels on the inside of the doors, I used a 100ml sample pot in the Truffle shade. It was actually a little darker than I wanted, so I mixed some of the Pale Twine with it until I was happy with the colour. I then wallpapered the inside too, this time directly pasting the paper onto the wood.

 

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And finally, as a finishing touch I added a pair of ceramic Hannah door knobs!

 

Door knobs

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I’m so pleased with how it turned out! It took a good few day’s hard work, but I now have a unique piece of furniture for our new home with great plans for it as a larder.’

 

How amazing does Lizzy’s upcycled cupboard look? Such a clever way to turn an unwanted piece of furniture into a statement piece. Take a peek at Lizzy’s blog here – and don’t miss her Laura Ashley chair that was given a new lease of life here.

 

Browse the Laura Ashley range of wallpaper and paint on the website here.

September 23rd 2014
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5 TIPS: PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR AUTUMN

Transform your home into a warm and inviting setting as the season changes..

As evenings draw in and we begin to find ourselves wrapping up warm, the autumn months are finally upon us. Beat the chill and prepare your home for the new season ahead with our five simple steps and transform your abode into a cosy, inviting retreat…

 

Pantry Perfect

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Think spring clean come autumn, throw open those kitchen windows and let the fresh air in as you work your way through dusting and cleaning as you go. Clear out your cupboards and recycle anything past it’s sell by date, making a checklist of what needs re-stocking. Give your pots and pans a good deep clean (not forgetting the ghastly oven) and organise all your tableware in a nice orderly fashion. What seems like a chore now will certainly be worth it come the festive period, dare we say…

 

Banish the Clutter

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Following the age old saying of a ‘tidy home, a tidy mind,’ inject a little organisation back into your home and restore everything in it’s rightful place. Tackle each room as you go (even the garage and attic if you’re feeling keen) and de-clutter as you go. Get the entire family on board and make sure to donate old toys, file important paper work and reward all your hard earned efforts with clever storage solutions like our wicker baskets, the perfect addition for any room.

 

Snuggle on Down

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As the temperature begins to drop, switch over your summer bedlinen for a thicker duvet and invest in a luxurious quilts to get cosy under the covers. Layer up your living space with soft furnishings and introduce an autumnal colour palette with plush cushions like the knitted Elsham Knitted Cushion or the rustic Summer Palace Cranberry cushion scattered on your sofa. Reach new levels of comfort with a snuggly throw or blanket, perfect for snoozing in front of roaring fire.

 

Recipe for Success

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Nothing beats a hearty meal come the evening in the colder months, we’ll be craving any home-made dish that leaves us feeling warm and content. From soups to strews, we’ll be turning our attention to the delicious seasonal veggies now on offer. So why not branch out and try something new, make a list of your must-try recipes and cook up a feast of autumnal delights, starting with our tried and tested white bean, root vegetable and pesto soup recipe.

 

Beat the Chill

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Locking in the heat and keeping out the chill couldn’t be easier with our fail-safe options. Simply moving your furniture away from the radiator and allowing the warmth to circulate will make the most of your heating, keep pesky draughts at bay with an old fashioned draft excluder and finally, now is the time to invest in good quality curtains to prevent heat escaping.

 

We hope our top five tips will help you on your way to making your autumn months a littler cheerier. If you have any suggestions you would like to add, please leave them in a comment below!

 

Come take a look at our new A/W14 interior collections in our digital lookbook here.

September 19th 2014
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ROOM MAKEOVER: BEFORE & AFTER WITH THE HUNTED INTERIOR

Laura Ashley USA shares this thrifty room makeover…

Here at the UK Laura Ashley HQ, we often have a peek to see what our friends over the pond are up to on the Laura Ashley USA blog, and we were thrilled to stumble across this thrifty makeover. They teamed up with Domino Magazine, a go-to destination for design inspiration. Tapping into blogger and top interior designer Kristin Jackson of The Hunted Interior, they asked her to re-imagine Laura Ashley in her home. We absolutely loved the results!

 

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Before

 

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Interior designer, blogger and busy Atlanta mum, Kristin Jackson, needed a spot for the family to gather and eat. The family breakfast nook was a bit undressed for the occasion. Kristin’s mission was to create a modern breakfast room with a chic mix of Laura Ashley accoutrements, taking inspiration from traditional florals and practical, modern pieces.

 

The Inspiration

 

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Summer Palace Duck Egg Wallpaper | Hydrangea Duck Egg Curtains | Honeysuckle Traill Camomile Yellow Fabric | Eaton Stripe Duck Egg Fabric | Polka Dot PVC Cotton Fabric

 

The wallpaper sets the tone for space where one pattern leads to another to create a relaxed family space. A statement Chinoiserie style wallpaper brings a fresh contemporary element to the space. Kristin chose Laura Ashley Summer Palace Wallpaper in Duck Egg.

After 

 

 

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Kristin is a masterful stylist, layering simple stripes in serene palettes with more vibrant florals and punchy prints. She created custom cushions from Laura Ashley fabrics, and also shown is our special edition archive print Pelham mug! The banquette seat is covered in our Polka Dot PVC Fabric in Linen— both pretty and practical for the inevitable spills to come. The window is framed with a traditional floral fabric, Hydrangea in Duck Egg, but adorned by a surprisingly modern trim for an unexpected pop.

 

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Kristin’s reminagined space echos the delights of a garden with its scrolling florals,beautiful birds and bold pops of colour. The perfect marriage between classic and contemporary don’t you think?

 

We loved Kristin’s update to her breakfast area! What do you think? Don’t forget to take a peek at the Laura Ashley USA blog for more interior updates with Domino magazine.

September 17th 2014
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SWEET DREAMS: TIPS FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S REST

Get a good night’s sleep this September with our top tips and tricks…

With September well underway and summer behind us, the stress of returning to work after the school holidays begins, and getting a good night’s rest becomes more difficult. Our minds are now starting to race about work and life pressures, the weather is beginning to make us feel chilly in bed, and let’s not get started on the Christmas panic setting in! A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health and wellbeing (8 hours please!), so we compiled a list of top tips to help you sleep safe and sound this ‘Stresstember’…

 

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Honeysuckle Trail Camomile Yellow Bedlinen 

 

Eat well and exercise often

 

food

 

Yes, we’ve heard it 100 times, but a good night’s sleep can be aided by eating well and exercising often. We know how difficult it can be to exercise when it’s frosty outside and the fireplace looks oh-so inviting, but just think about how much better you’ll feel once your finished! Not only is exercising and healthy food good for your night’s rest, but it improves your general wellbeing too. So next time you make an excuse about your diet, think about the whole picture.

 

Be comfortable

 

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Large Vintage Cotton Robe | Lace Trim Sleep Vest

 

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Plain Dye Pillowcases | Microfibre Pillows

 

A good piece of advice for catching some zzzz’s is to make sure you’re completely comfortable in bed. Whether it helps by investing in a quality pair of jim jams, a new pillow, or some brand new sheets, being completely at ease in bed is crutial for dropping off.

 

Relax

 

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Bath Towels

 

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Toile Cotton Bedlinen

 

Trouble switching off? We’ve all been there! Try some herbal tea to help you relax, lavender tea or camomile works well and is a lovely warm drink to have before bedtime. Avoid watching TV in or before bed as the bright screen lights can impede on your body’s ability to fall asleep. Have no plans for the evening? Why not run a hot bath and relax before starting a new day. Soaking in the tub is a great way to switch off and helps relax your muscles. Crawl into bed straight after, read a chapter of your book and you’ll be fast asleep in no time!

 

Have a regular sleep pattern

 

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Serena Cotton Bedlinen

 

We’re all guilty of having a ridiculously long lie-in come Sunday morning, but this can actually make you sleep badly when it comes to the working week. If you can, try and keep a regular sleep pattern on the weekend, don’t sleep in until twelve (you’ll miss the day!), and if you’re not going out make sure you don’t go to bed too much later than you normally would.

 

Make your room inviting

 

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Emily Ivory Double Bed and Mattress Set | Summer Palace Bedlinen Set

 

Ever thought that maybe the reason you’re not getting a good sleep is because you don’t particularly like your bedroom? Why not give it a complete refresh this autumn! Invest in some new bedlinen to inject some colour into your room,  or go all out and get a new bed! Finishing touches can help brighten up a room too, like a quirky lamp or a fresh bunch of flowers. Get rid of all clutter with our range of storage boxes, and focus on making your bedroom a tranquil space to relax and sleep in!

 

There you have it, our top tips for having a good night’s rest! Now’s a great time to get your room comfy and inviting with up to 50% off beds and mattresses. We’re feeling sleepy already! Now, where’s our pillow? Zzzzz…

September 16th 2014
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NEW HOME STORY: HEDGEROW

Our cosiest home story yet for autumn / winter 2014…

Introducing Hedgerow, our brand new home story for Autumn / Winter 2014.  As the seasons change and the days get cooler, we long for a cosy atmosphere to welcome us at home after a tiring day at work, and our new collection certainly does just that. This inviting collection brings the outside in, with beautiful foliage prints and a warm palette of neutrals and golds inspired by the autumnal landscape…

 

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As the evenings draw in we’ll be taking inspiration from our Hedgerow story and cosying up the home. This collection is perfect for laid back living in Autumn / Winter, when everyone wants to relax indoors next to the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee. We’re definitely getting excited for the colder weather…

 

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Our favourites in the collection include these country-inspired accessories, from this ceramic leaf ornament to these British Larder tea-towels that create a lovely home-made ambience in the kitchen. Hedgerow is a collection that works in any room – from the bedroom right through to the lounge, helping to create a home you never want to leave!

 

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We can completely see ourselves relaxing by the fireplace and enjoying the cosy atmosphere! With warm lighting and a cosy duvet, you’ll want to stay right where you are come Saturday morning! If the full collection is a little too much for your liking, why not inject bits of Hedgerow into your home with the use of statement accessories or furniture pieces? Take a peek below at our top picks…

 

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British Larder Utensil Holder | Edwin Natural Padstow Sofa |  Shetland Truffle Cushion | Oakshaw Truffle Floral Wallpaper | Ceramic Leaf Ornament | Copper Effect Metal Jug | Cranbourne Wool Throw

 

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Do you like our new Hedgerow collection? What are your favourite pieces? We’d love to know! Visit our Pinterest Hedgerow board and get pinning your favourite bits!

September 10th 2014
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INTRODUCING OUR NEW PERFUME: NO1 NOIR

Introducing our new scents for men and women, No1 Noir…

Drumroll please…we’re very pleased to announce the launch of our new fragrance! Following the success of our No1 perfume, we have created No1 NOIR for women and our first ever mens fragrance NO1 Pour Homme! The scents have been developed with designer AzziGlasser with warming tones, perfect for the transition into the colder months. Beautifully packaged, these scents would make the perfect gift for any Laura Ashley fan…

 

 

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No1 NOIR

This floral fragrance incorporates elegant notes of Neroli, Cherry Blossom and Muguet in the heart, with a soft freshness on top of Tangerine and Yuzu enhanced with the warmth of creamy Sandalwood, Cedarwoodoil and a Vanilla Musk accord. Ideal for day or night, this fruity and fresh scent is designed for any occasion, ideal for a important meeting or even a special dinner… ooh lala!

 

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No1 POUR HOMME

An aromatic and woody fragrance, the No1 Pour Homme has a fresh formulation combined with top notes of Poivreand Elemi, heart notes of Marine Molecules, Oakmoss and Clarysageand a base of Vetivert Java, Sandalwood and Black Musk. This fresh scent is the perfect everyday cologne for both the younger and older gentleman. Will you be treating your dad or partner to this newbie?

 

We’re so excited about trying out these new products! Have you ever tried any of our perfumes? What kind of scents do you like best? We’d love to know.

 

 

HIS & HERS:

Fancy winning a pair? We’re giving away six pairs on Twitter, including the scent for men and women. The perfect present, or even as a treat for yourself and loved one! Simply follow and RT to win before 10pm on the 12th September.

September 9th 2014
roommakeover

AUTUMNAL ROOM REFRESH WITH FROCK ME I’M FAMOUS

Forget the Spring clean, it’s all about the Autumn refresh!…

Forget the Spring clean, it’s all about the Autumn refresh! This season we’re throwing out our old dusty storage boxes, bringing in new thicker bedlinen, and changing our colour theme to suit the changing weather. We’re all about the finishing touches – just a few stand out pieces here and there can truly transform your room into a proper retreat. Joining us for an Autumnal room refresh is blogger Hayley from the fashion and lifestyle blog Frock Me I’m Famous, who decided her bedroom needed a little ‘spruce up’ for the new season…

 

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A few months back I decided that it was time my bedroom needed a little refresh – nothing too drastic just a few changes here and there to spruce it up. Bedrooms are our happy places, which is why it’s important to have it how you envisioned it looking, and then go that little bit further to make it exactly how you want it. As I’m self employed I work from home a couple of days a week so it was important for me to keep the office side of my room separate, however I still wanted to add lots of homely touches to the new look…

 

 

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GET COSY > Shalford Satin Stripe Cotton Bed Linen and Pillowcase

 

Previous to decorating my room I had two black walls and two white ones, this time around I picked up a couple of tins of paint and decided to go completely white on all four walls as it makes my room so much lighter which  makes it look a lot more spacious too. When it came to choosing my bedding I opted for the Shalford Satin Stripe Cotton Bed Linen and Pillowcase in white also as I like to have a blank canvas for bedding and then dress it up with cushions, throws and accessories.

 

 

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GET STYLING > Truscott Cotton Reverse Quilt in ‘Pewter’ 

 

As I mentioned I’m a fan of ‘dressing’ when it comes to bedrooms, so whether that’s a picture frame, throw, fancy curtain tie backs – anything that makes the room a bit more personal to your style. As the ends of my bed frame had a bronze finish I thought the Truscott Cotton Reverse Quilt would compliment it perfectly (which is has!). For the daytime I double this throw up and drape it over the end of my bed, however in the winter it will be great acting as an extra layer of warmth (hurrah!).

 

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GET ORGANISED > Willow Under-Bed Storage

 

This Willow Under-Bed Storage is the perfect storage for my room as it slots under my bed out of the way but if I fancy leaving it on display as a room feature it also looks the part too. It’s a generous size and will be great to store clothes, beauty products or even paperwork and gadgets. I can’t wait to put mine to use!

 

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So there we have it, my Autumn bedroom update! If you’re trying to refresh your room on a budget like I did then I would keep it simple with paint, curtains and bedding as you can always brighten the room with pops of colour through decorative accessories. For me it’s always the finishing touches that ‘make’ a room – Laura Ashley do some beautiful glass trinkets, padded clothes hangers and some amazing lamps so be sure to make them your first port of call!

 

Thanks to Hayley for these tips! Do you change your room each season? How do you make it inviting? Let us know…

 

September 8th 2014
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MONTHLY BLOGGER CRUSH: SEPTEMBER

Unveiling our latest blogger crush, The Lovely Drawer…

As the nights draw in and going out into the cold seems like a grueling task, we’ve started to take a little bit more inspiration from craft bloggers and stay indoors. Armed with all the tools, we’re finding ourselves curled up on a Sunday afternoon trawling through our favourite DIY blogs and giving some tutorials a go. Recently, we were thrilled to stumble across  The Lovely Drawer, a super crafty blog penned by the lovely Teri. Teri is a freelance designer, illustrator, and stylist, as well as blogger who’s captivating updates make us want to reach for the closest pair of scissors to try to remotely match her skills.

 

With fresh content and stunning crisp photography, The Lovely Drawer has become our one stop blog for all things creative. Not only does Teri dabble in DIY, but also lends her hand at cooking! We for one are drooling over the baked cinnamon sugar donuts and maple carrot, apple and bacon soup recipes…yum! It’s no suprise then that Teri landed this month’s title of blogger crush of the month. We sat down with the lady in question to find out all about the inspirations and history behind The Lovely Drawer…

 

£50 room makeover

 

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How did The Lovely Drawer come about?

 

The Lovely Drawer came about two and a half years ago when I was hoping to create an online scrapbook to document my projects and inspirations outside of my in house design job. Very quickly I realised that I enjoyed keeping it even more than I thought I would. The practice of creating more often didn’t sap my inspiration but instead gave me so many more ideas and having the freedom to try out different things meant I was able to hone my style and eventually focus the purpose of the blog. Because it started as a bit of fun (you can tell by the terrible photos back then), with no calculated intentions, it developed quite organically until finally I started using the tag line ‘Style inspiration and DIY ideas’. This summed things up and gave me more intentionality in what I was posting. It took me a long time to think of myself as a blogger because first and foremost I’m actually a designer, however the two things have mingled quite nicely together. I’ve just kept at the blogging and near enough all my collaboration and design opportunities have come through that. I wouldn’t be a full time freelance designer now if it wasn’t for those opportunities.

 

 

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What’s your favourite part about running the blog?

 

My favourite part about running the blog is just the amount of creativity it allows me. I love dreaming up an idea or project in my head and then seeing it come to life. It’s so interesting to look back and see where my head and skills were at over the life of the blog. It also gives great freedom in realising ideas quickly. You can think up a project, execute it the next day and have the post out the following day if you felt that strongly about it. You just can’t move that quickly in most industries. There’s usually a long winded design and costing process, printing takes time and you’re always working seasons ahead. Obviously that’s necessary for those environments but I love that blogging bypasses those limitations. It’s taught me to always be ready with ideas and I’ve learnt to work at a much quicker pace.

 

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What’s your favourite part about running the blog?

 

My favourite part about running the blog is just the amount of creativity it allows me. I love dreaming up an idea or project in my head and then seeing it come to life. It’s so interesting to look back and see where my head and skills were at over the life of the blog. It also gives great freedom in realising ideas quickly. You can think up a project, execute it the next day and have the post out the following day if you felt that strongly about it. You just can’t move that quickly in most industries. There’s usually a long winded design and costing process, printing takes time and you’re always working seasons ahead. Obviously that’s necessary for those environments but I love that blogging bypasses those limitations. It’s taught me to always be ready with ideas and I’ve learnt to work at a much quicker pace.

 

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What inspires you to write?

 

Everything inspires me to write posts. Sometimes something hits me and sometimes little pieces of inspiration build up to create one big idea. I’m a visual magpie so I love Pinterest and interior magazines but lots of the time I’m just looking around when I’m outside, whether that’s in nature or surrounded by shop windows. That’s often the best way to get original ideas.

 

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What are your bookmarked blogs?

 

My bookmarked blogs is a tough one as I could go one forever but number one is always Sugar and Cloth. Ashley’s DIY projects are so creative and I fall in love with her colour palettes over and over. I also love Emma Dime for her flawless aesthetic and fun mix of content. Her images never disappoint. Fall for DIY is a bookmark for beautifully slick and yet playful DIY ideas. The kind of things you genuinely do want to own! Passion Shake for amazing home and interiors inspiration. That girl must spend a whole lotta time on Pinterest but I’m more than grateful. Almost Makes Perfect for her gorgeous and yet simple DIYs in muted colour palettes that would work so well in anyones home or wardrobe. I often think, ‘I can’t believe you made that’. Paper & Stitch for all round inspiration and lovely DIY ideas. Everything Brittni touches seems to turn to gold. Finally, Oh The Lovely Things has amazing round ups collating all the best DIY projects, recipes, shop items in one place. Clemence has impeccable taste. I could go on but we’d be here all day!

 

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What’s your must have item from Laura Ashley?

 

My must have item from Laura Ashley would definitely be the Pineapple Champagne Table Lamp. It’s such a fun yet stylish piece and I love the colour. I would probably have fruit themed everything if I could.

 

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Be sure to bookmark The Lovely Drawer for crafty DIY tutorials and yummy recipes!

 

Who would you like to see as the next blogger of the month? Have you got a favourite blog we’ve overlooked? Do let us know…

September 5th 2014
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CHOOSING THE PERFECT WINDOW SHUTTERS FOR YOUR HOME

We caught up with Marie from Thomas Sanderson to give us some top tips on choosing the right shutters for your home…

Finding window shutters to suit your home can be a tricky task, especially with so many different window styles and sizes in your home! With this in mind, we invited Marie the Campaign Executive from Thomas Sanderson, to answer all your tricky conundrums so that you’re well on your way to picking those perfect shutters…

 

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Cafe Shutters

 

How do I know that window shutters are right for my property?

 

Window shutters offer a huge level of versatility and style in both classic and contemporary properties so work for nearly every home. If you are looking for a stunning architectural finish with smart clean lines then shutters on their own are a fabulous solution, but if you want to add a cosy warm feel then shutters work equally well dressed with curtains.

 

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Bay Shutters

 

What are the practical benefits of window shutters?

 

Window shutters offer tonnes of benefits that not many people know about. They offer excellent shading, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The privacy & light control is a big bonus, the shutters louvers allow you to tilt for optimum levels. Customers also like the amount of security they provide, as they are a perfect deterrent as potential intruders cannot monitor if you are not at home. Window shutters also offer great noise reduction, keeping your home quiet from the outside hustle and bustle. Plus, they’re guaranteed to last! All our shutters come with a minimum 5 year guarantee.

 

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Tier on Tier Shutters

 

How do they work in windows that aren’t a standard shape & size?

 

This is a question lots of customers ask, however there are window shutters to suit almost any window.

 

Bay Windows – Shutters work fabulously in bay windows, giving you the ultimate shading solution when you need it without interrupting your window sills – so you can still enjoy the beauty of your window with a styling that complements its architectural features.

 

Sash Windows – Enhance your sash windows with two shutter panels, one for the top and one for the bottom – giving you the perfect option of having half open for the daytime to let the light in and closed at night time to give that warm cosy feeling.

 

Shaped Windows – If you have arched, round or angular windows and dread the thought of dressing them, shutters are a perfect solution. They really can bring out the natural beauty of the shape and make the window a real feature in the room.

 

Large Windows – For large expanses of glass Guide & Glide shutters that run on tracks are a great option and make a fabulous design statement. Designed to fold back at either end of the room discreetly when opened, they offer a truly versatile shading solution.

 

Overlooked Windows – If your property is overlooked or you are looking for privacy without blocking out the light, then Café shutters which are just fitted to the lower half of the window are a perfect choice.

 

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Shaped Shutters

 

Many thanks to Marie for sharing her top tips with us! You can view the stunning collection of Laura Ashley window shutters here.

 

Have you entered our competition with Thomas Sanderson? You could win a room makeover worth £5,000! The competition ends 15th September so there’s not long left to be in with a chance of winning. Enter here, or view more details here.