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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

March 24th 2014
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KAT THAT GOT THE CREAM MOTHER’S DAY PICKS

Blog Kat Got The Cream gives her Mother’s Day pointers…

We invited Kathryn Sharman from lifestyle blog ‘Kat got the Cream’ to pick out her favourite Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Mums are brilliant; new ones, older ones and especially grand ones! I’ve only really appreciated what my mum did for me now I’m one myself and it can often feel like a thankless job. So, Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to do just that – say thank you to one of those special ladies in your life and treat her to something nice. But it’s not just about buying a token gift (though I’m sure she’d be touched). It’s about the thought behind it too. Show your mama some love with these Mother’s Day gift ideas. And (if all else fails) a card, a kiss and a cup of tea will also do the trick!

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1)     Soft Touch Pointelle Neck Cardigan

This pretty cardigan (also available in pink) would suit any age and taps into the current pastels trend nicely. Take her out for lunch somewhere nice so she can show it off.

2)     Southsea Stripe 3-tier Cake Stand 

A square cake-stand makes a nice change and the stripes are really fresh. Why not bake or buy some cakes to go with it and invite friends/siblings over for a surprise tea party?

3)     Silk Butterfly Print Large Square Scarf 

This will brighten up any outfit and look even better as a head scarf worn on an open-top bus ride around one of her favourite cities.

4)     Pink Enamel Photo Frame

Mums can never have too many photos. Dig out a funny family snap or even better get everyone together for a secret group portrait and present it to her in a nice new frame.

5)   Aviary Garden Small Make-up Bag 

This cute make-up bag is one for bird-lovers of all ages. Pop in a bottle of her favourite perfume or a new lipstick as an extra treat.

6)   Platinum Effect Rim Vase

Yes, she’s probably got a few vases already but this one is for the bunch of flowers you’re going to pledge to buy her every month. And if you don’t live near enough, you could set up a floral subscription service like this one from Bloom & Wild.

Kat got the Cream is a UK lifestyle blog written by Kathryn Sharman featuring fashion, design, vintage and home. http://www.katgotthecream.com

March 21st 2014
HERO

Set your Easter table with Homemaker magazine

Homemaker Magazine shares it’s ideas for a stylish Easter celebration

Set the scene this Easter with a touch of handmade. Tap into your crafty side and hop on the celebrations with our buffet of DIY decs. Create mini bird nests, print onto duck eggs and whip up a ten minute display to place on a windowsill or sideboard, all in one afternoon.

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Duck eggs

 

You’ll need:

- White duck eggs

- Black ink-pad

- Mini alphabet stamps

 

Using black ink, carefully stamp individual letters onto the egg shell to create inspirational words. Set aside to dry and then display as a table centrepiece.

 

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Bird Nests

 

You’ll need:

- Coconut hanging basket liner

- Small feathers in yellow, natural and white, Hobbycraft

- Natural twine and darning needle

- Shredded paper

- Small twigs from the garden

- Decorative eggs

- Small polystyrene eggs

 

1. Pull a length of coconut fibre from the liner and wind it into a nest shape. Thread the darning needle with a length of twine, then weave it in a circle fairly near to the base. Pull up the twine to secure the nest shape, then tie the two ends together.

2. Push small twigs into the coconut fibres; line the nest with an assortment of feathers in your colour scheme, shredded tissue paper and then a couple of eggs to finish. Use as a table centrepiece, or pop one on each plate to create a pretty place setting for each person.

Frame on a windowsill

 

Art display

You’ll need:

- Cream wooden frame

- Music tissue paper

- Turquoise paper

- Twig from the garden

- Small polystyrene eggs

- Coconut hanging basket liner

- Small feathers in yellow, natural and white

- Cream spray paint

- Spray adhesive

- Hot glue gun

 

1. Find a small twig from your garden, let it dry out, then spray the twig with cream paint – it may need a couple of coats. Whilst the twig is drying, using the spray adhesive, stick music tissue paper to turquoise paper. Cut to fit the back of the frame.

2. Dismantle the frame, removing the glass, and re-assemble with the music paper. Stick the sprayed twig into the inside edge of the frame using a hot glue gun; you may find you have to position and stick extra pieces of twig to create a pleasing shape. Finally, make a tiny nest from coconut fibre, place a few feathers into it along with an egg covered in music tissue paper.

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Create beautiful lunch settings for your guests to really set the scene. First, we started with Laura Ashley’s Seaspray Fabric Placemats, then we personalised each napkin with pretty ribbons and a hand-stamped tag, and finally displayed delicate daffs in sweet milk bottles.

 

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Want more? You can find the rest of this series (plus so much more!) in issue 17 of Homemaker, out today. If you like the sound of Homemaker magazine, don’t forget to subscribe! Why not treat yourself to three issues for only £6 by clicking here.

Browse the Laura Ashley range of Easter goodies here.

March 20th 2014
curtains hero

FILM: OUR BESPOKE CURTAINS & BLINDS

Go inside the factory and meet the conscientious people who make our curtains & blinds…

The attention to detail and craft that goes into each and every one of our bespoke made to order curtains and blinds is second to none. In this short film, meet the highly talented people that invest their time and talent into making items, which are entirely unique to our customer, in our factory in Wales…

Shop Made To Measure Curtains here
Shop Made To Measure Blinds here

March 18th 2014
BEDROOM MAKE-OVER HERO

CANDY POP’S LAURA ASHLEY BEDROOM MAKE-OVER

Natasha from blog Candy Pop gives her bedroom a spring make-over…

Natasha Denness is a photographer, blogger and collector of old things based in Oxford. Her blog Candy Pop is the place where she shares photographs of her home, her adventures and some of the things she finds along the way. Her home, interior styling and photographs can be found in many publications ranging from Mollie Makes magazine to the Rough Guide to Digital Photography…

Spring is my favourite season – everything seems fresher and brighter, particularly after the winter months. I enjoy the longer days, the open windows, the sprouting of tiny snowdrops and the smell of cut grass.

This time of year always motivates me to have a little clear out. I am a bit of a hoarder, so I find it is invigorating to have a spring clean and give all my unused and unloved items to the local charity shops. Life would be pretty dull without a few new things to cheer up my home, and a little redesign need not be expensive or time consuming. So when the kind folk at Laura Ashley asked me if I would like to makeover a room using products from their current collection I couldn’t wait to get started!

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I decided my bedroom would be the perfect place to receive a Laura Ashley makeover. For me Laura Ashley embodies elegance and luxury, just what every girl needs in her bedroom!

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Josette bedlinen in duck egg / Josette Embroidered duck egg cushions

For my bed I chose the stunning Josette print bed linen in duck-egg blue, with its elaborate flowers and swags it reminds me of a French chateau or English stately home. It looks gorgeous teamed up with the matching embroidered cushions, perfect for those cosy nights in and lazy weekend mornings.

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The Josette design is also available in wallpaper and lots of pretty accessories, and so I selected the lavender scented hearts to hang from my vintage light fitting. I have to say they smell absolutely divine!

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And finally I styled my dressing table with the ornately designed Beth photo frame and the fresh linen and jasmine scented candle. Both look lovely sat among my vintage treasures, and it was great to find a frame to display my Grandma and Grandad’s wedding photo.

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You can find Natasha blogging over on Candy Pop, pinning on Pinterest and uploading pretty snapshots of her adventures on Instagram.

March 17th 2014
design service hero

FILM: DESIGN SERVICE: MR & MRS DAVIES

Mr & Mrs Davies Design Service experience…

As you may well know, Laura Ashley offers an Interior Design Service, helping you interpret your ideas and vision to create an inspirational and distinctive interior, finished to the highest quality standards. One of our regional designers Kay Cullen recently worked on a large project with clients Mr & Mrs Davies, based in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. We caught up with Mrs Davies about her delightful Design Service experience and how working collaboratively with Kay helped turn their once derelict cottages into a stunning string of holiday homes…

Interested in having a consultation of your own? For more information on our Design Service take a look HERE or call 0871 2231 555 to book an appointment / make an enquiry.

To enquire about staying at the Ty Mawr Collection (Mr & Mrs Davies’ luxury cottages) in the Brecon Beacons (Wales) call 01874 665 414 or visit their website here.

March 13th 2014
WALLPAPER GUIDE HERO

DIY GUIDE: Wallpapering

DIY gurus Alison and Jo reveal their guide to wallpapering with ease…

Changing the interiors in your house is one of the most satisfying ways of putting a personal stamp on your home. If you are planning an interiors refresh, wallpaper can certainly create a striking impact, especially if print and pattern are to play a part in your décor. DIY gurus Alison Winfield-Chislett and Jo Nehari talk us through their fuss free approach to wallpapering…

 

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Laura Ashley range of wallpapers

 

For all DIY projects, the end results often depend on the amount of effort that goes into the preparation. What type of prep you carry out depends on the surface of your walls, let’s talk through some of the most common bases:

 

  • Painted plaster – Wash down the walls and use a scraper to get rid of any flaky paint, filling any cracks and holes with filler, before sealing the surface of the wall with paste.

 

  • Fresh plaster – Paint over with water-based paint and leave to dry. Allowing two weeks for lightweight plaster to dry, and up to six weeks for sand and cement to dry before papering.

 

  • Plaster board – If unpainted then paint with a sealer and apply lining paper.

 

  • Old wallpaper – Strip off any old wallpaper with a steam stripper, make sure to do it in sections of about a metre at a time so it doesn’t dry out. Be careful not to use too much steam or it will seep into the plaster permanently.

 

  • Skirting boards – Use decorators caulk to fill the gaps in between the wall and the skirting boards so you can achieve a neat finish.

 

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Hydrangea Duck Egg Floral Wallpaper

 

How much wallpaper do you need?

Wallpaper roughly comes in rolls of 10 metres long, by 53cm wide. To start, measure the height of walls making sure to add on an additional 150mm to allow for trimming. With the total length calculated (taking note to subtract areas of window and doors) this should indicate the total area of wallpaper required. A standard roll covers approximately 5 square metres, so dividing your total wallpaper figure by five will specify how many rolls of wallpaper will be required. If you’re using printed wallpaper, add an additional 10% to the wallpaper total to allow for wastage in matching up patterns. Take a look at Laura Ashley’s handy wallpaper chart to help point you in the right direction.

 

Where to begin?

Choosing a window as your starting point, make sure to measure a 25mm trim to overhang the window; this excess will then be trimmed to reveal a neat finish. Then using an off-cut from the roll, use this as a measuring guide and mark the wallpaper widths all around the room using a spirit level to see where your wallpaper will line-up.

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Aviary Garden Apple Green Wallpaper 

 

Cutting and Pasting

Firstly mix your paste in a bucket, ensuring that it’s not too sloppy. Then cut two lengths of wallpaper to get a feel for it, resist the temptation to cut all lengths until you are confident of your measurements. Next brush the paste on the wallpaper, working from the centre outwards. Let it sit for a few minutes so that it slightly absorbs the paste, this will allow the paper to settle tightly on the wall as it dries. Taking the pasted wallpaper to the wall, slide it into place using a clean brush. Make sure to leave an extra 3 inches spare at the top, this excess wallpaper will then be trimmed later to reveal a clean line.

 

Notes

- Be careful to wipe away any excess paste before it dries

- Don’t be tempted to take a full roll around a corner, it will only crease or create a void. Trim the paper to about 25mm wide after the corner and overlap.

- If you find air bubbles, make a small cut into the wallpaper to release the air and then smooth over with the brush.

- Did you know that you can order Laura Ashley wallpaper swatches to help you visualise your interiors? Find out how here.

 

If you’re looking to improve your DIY skills or in need of a place to start, Alison and Jo’s book ‘The Girl’s Guide to DIY‘ will fast become your new go-to guide for all things home improvement. Covering all the basics, from painting and decorating to using power-tools with ease, it’s jam-packed with top tips, techniques and trade secrets – our copy takes pride of place on our bookshelf!

 

Browse the Laura Ashley wallpaper range here.

 

If you have any wallpapering tips, then please be sure to leave them below in the comments box…

March 12th 2014
upholstery film

FILM: OUR BESPOKE UPHOLSTERY

Go behind the scenes at our Upholstery Factory…

Our beautiful bespoke range of Laura Ashley upholstery is a true labour of love. Our upholstered furniture is made in a dedicated factory in Long Eaton (Britain) by a team of highly skilled craftsman and machinists, synonymous with the local area. Let us take you behind the scenes at our factory and see the time and craft which goes into each and every one of our Laura Ashley upholstered pieces…

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Did you know that our made to order upholstered furniture comes in a choice of over 100 different fabrics in over 50 different shapes? Take a look HERE for more details.

March 10th 2014
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IT’S ALL HOMEGROWN: ABEL & COLE TWITTER GIVEAWAY!

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Abel & Co to offer one lucky follower a twitter treat…

Serving up an organic home grown treat, our friends at Abel & Cole have teamed up with us to offer one lucky twitter follower one of their famed veg boxes. Jam-packed full of seasonal vegetables, Abel & Cole work very closely with family farms to bring you the best of the crop. Delivering a weekly stash of hand-picked veg and fruit, it’s never been easier to get your five-a-day!

 

If you fancy getting your hands on this healthy bundle of seasonal veg, a copy of their must-have cookbook and our country-inspired Farmers Market panel, read on…

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Filled to the brim with hearty veg, say hello to the Abel & Cole Medium Veg Box.

 

Simply pop over to our Twitter page and tweet:

Enter our @AbelandCole #GIVEAWAY! RT+Follow @LauraAshleyUK to #WIN a box of #organic VEGGIES+our farmers market panel

Get tweeting, fingers crossed and good luck!

 

Winners will be announced on the 17th March 2014, follow @LauraAshleyUK to find out if you’re a winner!

Terms and conditions apply: Prizes are not transferable and non negotiable. There is no cash alternative. Winners of prizes will be notified as soon as possible after the end date. The prize draw is open to all legal residents of the UK (mainland only). All entrants must be over the age of 18 at the date of entry. The eligibility of any entrant is at the sole discretion of Laura Ashley Limited. Employees, families or agents of Laura Ashley Limited and/or any of its associated companies are not eligible to enter the prize draw. An eligible entrant must be an individual and must enter via the Laura Ashley Twitter page @LauraAshleyUK