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April 17th 2014
Will hero

BRIGHT BAZAAR: THE BOOK

Our go-to blogger for all things colourful, we talk to Will from Bright Bazaar about his new exciting book…

When man of the moment Will, at Bright Bazaar revealed his exciting plans to write his first interiors book, Laura Ashley H.Q was overcome with excitement. With a keen eye for detail, a love of colour and all round creative flair, Will is a man after our very own interior hearts. Taking over the Laura Ashley blog on many occasion with his expert knowledge, we have watched in awe as Bright Bazaar became the UK’s leading interior blog. We instantly knew his first venture (of many, we hope) in the book world would not disappoint..

 

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Scandi brights in a Norwegian dining room. 

 

Taking us on a vibrant tour of homes across the world, Will’s book aptly titled ‘Embracing colour to make-you-smile style’ focuses on his passion for all things bright and colourful. Sharing his love of decor, Will’s book is the ultimate guide for introducing colour into your home, dishing out an array of expert tips – all whilst taking a peek at some of the most beautifully decorated houses we’ve clapped eyes on. From soft and delicate pastel hues to the bold and bright, Will takes us on a journey of ten key colour palettes, talking us through the inspiration behind each look and discussing how to add these colourful accents to your space.

 

Having been lucky enough to natter to Will on a number occasions, we were delighted when we had the chance to sit down with the man himself and talk all about this new exciting chapter in his life…

 

Tell us Will, how did the book come about?

 

I have always wanted to write a book, however working full time and writing my blog I just didn’t have the time. Around three years ago when I went freelance, an editor from Jacqui Small publishing got in touch with me and asked if I was interested in writing a Bright Bazaar book. I had been thinking about it for a while and already had a few ideas, so I sent them my proposal and within twenty minutes, they came back saying they wanted to do it!

 

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Using artwork and bold coloured cushions in Will’s living room in his home in London. 

 

Looking at your blog, it’s clear that colour is a big influence. Was this something you knew you wanted to write about?

 

Definitely. My blog has always focused on my love for colour and I felt that no one had approached it in the way I wanted to. Many of the existing books on colour are very scientific, which is great if you want to know the history of colour, but decorating should be fun! I tried to create a manual for decorating that was a bit more exciting and for the every-day decorator.

 

There are some amazing locations included in the book, which was your favourite to shoot?

 

Oh gosh, it’s so difficult to choose! I loved Jonathon Adlers amazing Shelter Island home in the Hamptons, which features in the book’s Outside Living section. Taking a peek at his outdoor pool area, it was really interesting to see how he made the most of his outside space and essentially made it an extension of his home. We also shot in an amazing farmhouse in the middle of Northern Spain. It was a crazy set-up as there were horses everywhere and none of the locals spoke English!

 

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A farmhouse bedroom in Spain.

 

Where do you find the inspiration for your own decor?

 

Like the book, I take a lot of inspiration from my travels. I’m very lucky that my work takes me all over the world and I’ve always got my camera on hand to snap a colourful building or anything that catches my eye. When I return home I always look back through my photos to see if a colour scheme carries through or whether I was drawn to a particular shade. In-fact my pink and yellow office was inspired by the candy coloured houses in Spain I spotted whilst I was on holiday a few years back.

 

If you could only give one tip for someone who was looking to introduce colour into their home, what would it be?

 

First and foremost, take it slowly. There’s this idea that you need to choose your colours straight away. You wouldn’t go on holiday without planning where you are going to stay or where you might eat. It’s the same principle as decorating, you can’t just click your fingers and have a completed scheme overnight, it’s about letting that phase evolve.

 

It’s all about building up a palette from other parts of your life rather than just focusing on interiors. Try to think about what colours you are naturally drawn to. Bright Bazaar encourages you to think about other times or events in your life where you capture colour well, perhaps in an amazing outfit or the flowers you chose for your wedding day, then draw your inspiration from there.

 

Finally, what’s next for Bright Bazaar?

 

Next on the Bright Bazaar adventure is an American book tour. I’m really excited to meet all the people that have been reading Bright Bazaar for years! With dates lined up in a number of different cities, I’ll be blogging all about my experiences along the way…

 

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Will’s living room in his home in London. 

 

We think you’ll join us when we say a big congratulations to Will! With such a passion for all interiors and creative flair, we wish him all the best for his new venture.

Don’t forget to bookmark Will’s blog Bright Bazaar here, take a peek at his book here and for more details on his US book tour click here.

 

April 16th 2014
HERO2

THE PRINT WITH A PAST: MAYHEW

We reveal the inspirations behind our NEW Mayhew print…

Taking pride of place in our spring/summer home collection is the newly reworked print, Mayhew. An ornate tile design in a duck egg hue, Mayhew was discovered in our exclusive archive by our Home Design team and underwent a redevelopment process for an updated, contemporary look.

 

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We went behind the scenes to talk to Laura Ashley’s archivist Holly to find out more about this print with a mysterious past…

 

Holly tells us… 

 

‘Our Mayhew print was originally  inspired by an antique printed wallpaper sample, featuring an ornate octagonal tile design in browns, ochres, black and grey with a high gloss finish. With a strong rococo influence in the design, we think it was originally intended for a floor tiling pattern. Making its way into the Laura Ashley archive back in 2012, it was only last year that the Design team recoloured and updated the print for a more modern look.’

 

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Mayhew Fabric / Mayhew Wallpaper / Operetta Storage BoxesMayhew Cushion

 

Newly reworked in our fresh duck egg blue colourway, one of our most popular shades, the Mayhew print is timeless design that is still highly relevant today. A versatile design that works well in any room, we asked the head of our Design Service Kerry to reveal her top tips on using the Mayhew print in the home…

 

Create a Statement 

The Mayhew wallpaper is perfect for a statement feature wall, whether behind your bed or sofa it’s the ideal opportunity to add a bold focus to the room. For a softer statement, why not use the wallpaper to frame a window? It still adds a striking statement, but you can tone the overall look down by dressing the window with a simple plain fabric (like Dupion Silk Duck Egg) for your window treatment whether it be blinds or curtains.

 

Create a Balance 

When decorating a room that has a dado rail, use this as a divide to break up the print. Use Mayhew on the bottom half with the complimentary Duck Egg paint above, this will also create a great backdrop for low level furniture.

 

Create a Tile Effect  

A great wallpaper option for the bathroom, the cool duck egg colour will compliment any theme, whilst the pattern will create a tile-like effect with its geometric pattern.

 

Browse the Mayhew print collection here.

April 11th 2014
HERO1

SPRING TIME FLORALS WITH LOBSTER & SWAN

Jeska from Lobster & Swan shows us her Laura Ashley spring garden setting…

Happy Friday to you, the weekend is almost here and I have been enjoying our home and garden under rays of glorious sunshine these past few days. Living minutes from a cliff edge, all the blossom and blooms are slightly behind around here, so with a little help from Laura Ashley and some favourite items from their spring collection – I have managed to fill my rooms with flowers and make a shaded reading spot under our pretty apple tree.

 

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Geranuim Pale Cranberry Red Linen Fabric / Peony String Lights / Straw Floral Trim Clutch Bag 

 

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Geraniums are flowers that always make me smile, don’t you just love their joyful bright neon colours? When I saw this new fabric design I knew it could add a fresh feel to our outdoor seating, so I whipped together a cover for the back and a cushion for the seat – stuffed with feather pads, it makes the metal bench a much comfier place to sit and under the shade of our lovely apple tree, I think it’s my new favourite place to read.

 

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Geranuim Pale Cranberry Red Linen Fabric / Straw Floral Trim Clutch Bag 

 

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Peony String Lights

 

As I said we are still waiting for the explosion of pink and white blossom to arrive, so I added a splash of pink ruffled prettiness up in the branches with these battery powered Peony String Lights, they add a delicate rosy twinkle to the back yard when the sun starts to fade on a clear evening.

 

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Rose Print Canvas Trainers 

 

Almost too pretty to wear, aren’t these floral canvas shoes just the sweetest things for your feet? I teamed them with my most threadbare and beloved pair of boyfriend jeans and a simple white t-shirt for daytime exploring, but they would look equally great with a crisp white dress or flowery skirt for people who aren’t afraid to mix patterns!

 

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Ditsy Rose Print Shirred Top Dress

 

This pretty ditsy rose print has been used to make a capsule collection of items for the new season (check out the swimming costume!) and I fell for the super cute cotton summer dress with bandeau top and a frilled hem, pretty and easy to throw on over those jeans I’m always wearing and under a slouchy cardigan – plus it rolls up really small to fit in your bag for an impromptu beach cover up. I always seem to be wearing the wrong thing on hot days, so this will be going everywhere with me this summer.

 

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Straw Floral Trim Clutch Bag 

 

Lastly, for days when you want just a hint of floral – this matching ditsy print and straw clutch bag has the same pretty pattern as an accent on its fabulous bow and I love the little tag that comes on it explaining that it is a vintage print from the Laura Ashley Archives.

 

Browse Jeska’s top spring picks…

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Ditsy Rose Print Shirred Top Dress / Peony String Lights / Straw Floral Trim Clutch Bag / Rose Print Canvas Trainers / Geranuim Pale Cranberry Red Linen Fabric

 

How amazing does Jeska’s garden nook look? The perfect spot for a picnic.

 

Don’t forget to follow Jeska’s blog Lobster & Swan and on twitter here.

April 9th 2014
POM POMS

SETTING THE SCENE FOR SPRING: POM POM CHALLENGE

Bring a snippet of spring indoors with our Paper Pom Poms…

Now that the long winter has finally passed, it’s time to freshen up your interior and spring-over your home. Calling in a helping hand from three of our top interior bloggers, we set them the challenge of transforming a corner in their home into a vibrant setting for spring with our suitably sweet Pom Pom decorations

 

Laura at We Made This Home

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Having a picnic is one of my favourite things to do at the moment especially in the garden when the sun is shining. My Laura Ashley paper pom poms added a ruffled charm to my vintage inspired picnic. I layered lots of blankets and cushions to create a cozy little spot in the garden and hung the paper pom poms from a branch above. I also used an upturned apple crate for a little makeshift table, with a handmade patchwork tablecloth made from vintage Laura Ashley fabric. I completed the look with some floral teacups and a pot of tea!

 

Charlotte at The Tea Drinking English Rose

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I could not wait to get these pretty poms out the packet and release their pretty scalloped frills. These sweet pastel poms are perfect for jazzing up any spare corner of your home or every square inch of the local WI hall for your Easter jumble sale and cake stall.I live in a lovely old town house with the highest of ceilings, so it was a little difficult for me to start pinning these lovely puffs of paper up, so I decided to play around with them and think of different ways you could decorate with these in your home. I tried placing them in and around old crates instead of hanging them, this would make a wonderful centre piece on an Easter table filled with chocolate nests and bowls of bright coloured foiled eggs. I hung them from every possible handle, hook, and doorway. Or you could try tying them to a piece of ribbon to create a pompom style garland.

 

Charlotte at Anknel and Burblet

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Having literally only just moved into our new house, the pom poms were a lovely addition to our house which still feels bare. I made the pom poms with my daughters and we hung them up from the double-hung victorian windows – very simple. When we moved in, the first thing we did was paint Edith’s room in a pastel pink hue, which looks rather angelic with the pom poms. As our house is beginning to get cosy, the pom poms provide a lovely decorative focus while we settle in.

 

How wonderful does each corner look? It’s fascinating to see how our three bloggers were inspired to create such different settings, all equally enchanting. We would love to know in the comments below how you would style our pom poms…

 

Don’t forget to bookmark the lovely bloggers that kindly took part in our challenge: Laura at We Made This Home, Charlotte at The Tea Drinking English Rose and Charlotte at Anknel and Burblet.

Browse our Laura Ashlely Pom Poms here.

April 8th 2014
Wall Art Hero

ARCHIVE COLLECTION: WALL ART

Add a floral accent to your space with our NEW Archive Wall Art collection…

With each season comes the arrival of our brand new interior collections. With our Laura Ashley designers working hard to experiment with different designs and the latest trends, they often retreat to our famed archive in search of rediscovering past prints and patterns. With a wealth of fabrics and wallpapers carefully stored away, it is quite the treasure trove. This spring/summer we are delighted to reveal our collection of Archive Wall Art, inspired by the floral prints in our archive.

 

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Summer Palace Print Canvas / Lilac Chrysanthemum Canvas / Trailing Rose Canvas / Peony Bouquet Canvas 

 

Based on original designs, these beautiful floral designs have been translated onto a range of eight  made-to-order wall art canvases. With prints such as the elegant Summer Palace to the traditional Gosford floral design, there is a style to suit every taste.

 

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Gosford Print Canvas / Birds of A Paradise Canvas / Impressionist Flowers Canvas / Pink Geraniums Canvas

 

Wall art is the perfect way to add a stylish impact to any room, transforming an empty space into an attractive focal point. Whether it adds a finishing touch to your room or acts as a standout accent piece, wall art can bring together the overall look and feel of your space.

 

Here are our top tips for displaying your wall-art:

 

- Look for unique ways to display your artwork. If you don’t have a spare wall or enough space, it can look just as striking when resting on a mantelpiece or propped up on a bookshelf.

 

- Think outside of the box when it comes to deciding where to hang your wall art, why not make a focal point in unexpected places like in your bathroom or up a staircase

 

- Understand the space you are working with. Take time to think about the size and proportions of the wall art you are looking to display, so that it easily slots into your interior.

 

- Why choose only one canvas, when you can have a cluster? Transform your plain wall into an artwork of its own with a cluster of canvases. Simply pick a theme and choose varying sizes of art to create an entire wall feature.

 

- Another factor to consider when selecting your wall art is the colour scheme you are working with. If your space has a neutral palette, wall art can be the ideal way to introduce colour into your home. However, if your room has a strong colour scheme, make sure to match the hues in your art for a streamlined look.

 

What do you think of our new Archive Wall Art Collection? We would love to know in the comments below.

 

Browse the Laura Ashley Archive Wall Art Collection here.

April 1st 2014
Hero

MONTHLY BLOGGER CRUSH: APRIL

Introducing Cat at Take Courage, the blogger that’s taking us on a never-ending adventure…

With the lighter evenings and milder mornings, we are delighted to welcome the arrival of April. As the seasons change, we are taking full advantage of the sunny skies and planning adventure filled weekends. A lady that has most certainly inspired us to do so, is our latest blogger crush. Let us warmly introduce you to the wonderful Cat, blogger at Take Courage.

 

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Out of the many bookmarked blogs we have on our reading list, Take Courage is a blog that instantly transports us to an exciting adventure in every post. Take Courage is penned by Cat, a twenty-something, hard-working solicitor living in the capital. She fills her weekends dutifully taking her readers on a tour of her many favourite hidden spots of London – with a few city breaks thrown in for good measure. A tourist in her very own city, we follow Cat’s life through the lens of her beautiful photography. Which may we add is shot by her talented boyfriend, who goes by the name of  The Texan.

 

With a passion for treasure hunting, a love of the ukuele, and not forgetting her trusty feline side-kick Lily, it’s about time we stepped into the wonderful world of Take Courage…

 

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How did ‘Take Courage’ come about?

My boyfriend, the Texan, and I have always enjoyed taking photos and discovering new corners of London. However, we didn’t really have a channel through which to share our adventures with our friends and family back in Texas – so, we started Take Courage as a way to keep in touch. Over time, however, lots of incredible ladies (and some fellas too!) in the blogging community also started to read and support my little blog, and in the space of three years it has grown beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

 

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What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Take Courage is very much a collaborative project with the Texan – although I may be the one in front of the camera, the Texan is an integral part of the process and blogging
has become “our thing” that we do together. I don’t think this is unique -I follow dozens of amazing blogs which couldn’t exist without a patient and long-suffering partner behind the lens. I think that’s what I enjoy most about blogging – doing something I love, with someone I love. Blogging has certainly brought us closer together, even if we do occasionally argue about the best way to take a photo!

 

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What inspires you?

I’ve tried really hard to set Take Courage apart from other blogs by focusing heavily on the quality of our photography. This is certainly not something that came naturally to me – you just have to look back through Take Courage’s archives to see how far we’ve come! I’ve found that studying the work of other photographers has definitely improved my ability to capture a moment in time, in a sensitive and not-so-obvious way. You’ll
often find me in The Photographer’s Gallery behind Oxford Circus, taking inspiration from those who really know what they’re doing. I keep a running list on my iPhone of photographers that inspire me, and try to
emulate what they did many decades ago. At the top of my list are Cecil Beaton and Jacques Henri Lartigue – their dream-like images take you to another place; that’s what I’m constantly trying to achieve and sometimes, just sometimes, it actually happens!

 

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What are your top bookmarked blogs?

I have lots of favourite blogs so this is a very hard question to answer! If I had to pick only three, I’d say:

Rosaspina Vintage  - Ale is so incredibly talented. Not only does she have an amazing blog, but she is also an artist, animator, illustrator and designer - there’s nothing this girl can’t do! Her photos and vintage-inspired outfits are just perfection.

Messyla – Another amazingly talented lady, La’s blog is one of the prettiest and most creative out there. If the Texan didn’t protest, I’d have her beautiful pastel-coloured crochet garlands hung all over my little flat!

Human Sea – A London-based blog like mine, I have followed Human Sea for years. Dulcie’s collection of vintage clothes makes me green with envy.

 

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What is your must-have item from Laura Ashley? 

My first ever vintage purchase (many, many years ago now) was a yellow floral Laura Ashley dress – I wore it to death! And it’s clear that Laura Ashley hasn’t lost its floral roots – this floral stripe linen dress
is just perfect for spring and would look gorgeous teamed with a vintage cardigan and strappy clogs. The ideal outfit for an April picnic in the sunshine!

 

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Be sure to bookmark Cat’s blog Take Courage, to ensure you never miss her latest adventure!

March 31st 2014
Jazz Hero

BARRI & BELLE BATHROOM MAKEOVER: PART 2

Mother & daughter blogging duo Jazmine & Barri refresh their bathroom with Laura Ashley…

Earlier in the year, we set mother and daughter blogging duo Jazmine and Barri (Barri & Belle) the challenge of reinventing their bathroom. Tired of the shabby green shade and it’s lacklustre appearance (see the before pictures here), the ladies set about transforming their dull bathroom into relaxing retreat, where they could unwind come evening.

Phase one of the make-over included switching up their colour scheme, introducing a range of soft neutral hues to create a bright and inviting space. With the second part of the bathroom refresh focusing on finishing touches, Jazmine and Barri invited us on a final tour to see the finished look…

 

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Kubu Waste Bin

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Set of Three Bud Vases / Ridged Glass Lidded Storage Jar / Rhubarb and Vanilla Gift Set 

 

Which accessories did you choose for your bathroom and why?

J: We wanted our bathroom to remain pretty simple, so we stuck to simple accessories. The glass jar, cream hooks and light pull are all ever so practical, but also add a feminine touch to the room. I couldn’t resist choosing the floral eye mask for my pampering evenings, too!

B: We chose the glass jar as we knew it would be great for storing my homemade face and body scrub – it’s so much more attractive than a tub or plastic pot! Initially we planned to use the wicker Kubu Waste Bin for it’s intended purpose, but thought it would be better suited as a little storage solution for our toilet paper.

 

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Roses Eye Mask / Emmeline Pair Of Cream Wall Hooks

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Truffle Paint / Chalk Pink Paint / Pale Twine Paint

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Frances Clear Glasses Pull 

 

How do you feel the accessories complete the look?

B: The colours of our bathroom are very subtle, so the wicker Kubu basket and glass jar compliment the neutral tones perfectly, whilst the splashes of pink from the hand cream and soap brighten up the sink area.

J: For us it was all about focusing on little details and a pretty colour palette, so the accessories we chose certainly help complete the look. Using some Laura Ashley paint samples, we painted a couple of framed mirrors we found in a charity shop to bring all of the tones together. Displaying flowers we bought from Battersea Flower Station was the final touch – overall I like to think we have created something quite lovely!

 

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Roses Eye Mask

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Ridged Glass Lidded Storage Jar / Rhubarb and Vanilla Gift Set 

 

Are you happy with the finished bathroom look?

J: I just couldn’t be happier! It’s simple, slightly feminine and feels so much more cosy than it did before. It certainly makes getting ready in the morning and winding down in the evening much more enjoyable having such a beautiful space!

B: I’m so pleased with the finished look! Our bathroom is finally a place where I can relax and chill out, it’s definitely my happy place. Thank you so much for helping us redecorate our bathroom, Laura Ashley! We are the happiest girls around.

 

Such an amazing transformation! The perfect example of when refreshing a space in your home, it doesn’t need to be costly or time consuming. A simple lick of paint with a few finishing touches can transform any room, whether you’re looking to enhance space or even if you experimenting with a different look – it can be done.

 

What do you think of Jazmine and Barri’s bathroom make-over? We would love to know in the comments box below.

To bookmark the Barri and Belle blog, click here.

For expert tips on how to make the most of a small bathroom, see Laura Ashley interior designer Kay’s blog post here.

March 28th 2014
wallpaper factory hero 2

FILM: Laura Ashley Wallpaper Process

We have been producing our own much loved wallpaper at…

We have been producing our own much loved wallpaper at our factory in Newtown Wales since Princess Diana first opened it’s doors in 1987. In this short film we take you behind the scenes to see where we produce over 1.3 million rolls of wallpaper per year…

Shop Laura Ashley wallpaper HERE

 

March 27th 2014
easter cupcake kit

HOP ON THE EASTER CELEBRATIONS

Now instore and online: NEW Easter accessories

The long Easter weekend is the perfect opportunity to get the family together and have some fun with the little ones in your life. In-keeping with the chocolate extravaganza, why not try your hand a spot of baking? Poppy from our Home Department has already taken our Easter Cupcake Decorating Kit for a test spin with her scrummy mini egg cupcakes above – it appears we have a new head office baker on our hands! With the ingredients neatly stored in our Cupcake Mix Jar and a little help from our Mini Baking Kit, getting you’re bake on couldn’t be any easier.

 

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Easter Baking Set / Cherry and Almond Flavoured Biscuits / Easter Chick Marshmallows / Easter Cupcake Decorating Kit / Chocolate Cupcake Mix Jar / Make Your Own Chocolate Bunnies  (All available in-store)

 

Feast your eyes below on our adorable new range of Easter accessories!

 

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Easter Paper Bunting / Set of 3 Paper Pom Pom Decorations  / Whitby Check Lined Basket / Hetty Bunny Soft Toy  / Easter Egg Hunt Kit / Jar of Mini Chocolate Eggs (All available in-store)

 

Easter wouldn’t be complete without an Easter Egg Hunt (with the help of our handy Easter Egg Hunt Kit). Don’t forget to hop on the celebrations with our bunny bunting, Easter Egg Baskets and Tasty Treats. Not to mention our decorative sugar coloured paper pom poms.

Shop our full range of Easter accessories and sweet treats HERE

March 26th 2014
paint hero

FILM: OUR BESPOKE PAINT PRODUCTION

A privy look at our paint production process…

Have you ever wondered how our paint is produced? Or perhaps how the colours are mixed to achieve the perfect hue? We produce over 365,000 tins of paint in our factory in Wales a year – which is approx. 7,000 tins per week! With the recent introduction of garden and kids paint we have even more to shout about. We felt it was high time we took a film crew into our paint factory, to see how the unique recipe for each colour is blended on site. Take a look below at our Laura Ashley paint production in process…

Shop our full range of paints HERE

Shop our new Kid’s paint here HERE

Shop our new Garden paint here HERE