Kylie Minogue in leopard print

Last week Kylie appeared at the opening of ‘Ghost’ the musical in London in this effortlessly stylish outfit, a simple leopard print shift dress, a leopard print handbag and black heels. Leopard print is big again this season, go for neutral and monochrome colours.

Here are some similar dresses on the high street to re-create the look from blackdressboutique.co.uk.

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Create cosy layers with these wool throws for sofas and beds

Create a cosy, warm feeling in you home with these gorgeous knitted throws, in soft luxurious wools which give you sofa or bed a homely hand-crafted look. Go for a textured look with chunky knits and hand knitted cable styles like the ones below from John Lewis, or super soft and luxurious cashmere and lambswool throws.

Here are some more throws that create a super cosy feel from throwsforsofas.me.uk

http://images.productserve.com/preview/3100/154286711.jpg http://images.productserve.com/preview/2194/129868520.jpg http://images.productserve.com/preview/1203/119643420.jpg http://assets3.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/445/879/normal_throw_dryer_hi.jpg http://assets0.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/425/757/normal_blackerfolded.jpg http://images.productserve.com/preview/1402/121380413.jpg http://www.ecocentric.co.uk/acatalog/560-119-01.jpg http://assets2.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/132/587/normal_t9g_lavender_throw.jpg http://images.productserve.com/preview/2364/113836514.jpg

 

Take a look at Liberty

Liberty

Liberty’s iconic ranges of unique designer clothing, accessories, homewares and fabrics are all available through their website, so if you don’t live in or anywhere near London like me, you can still browse through their luxurious products. This week their new arrivals for autumn include these stylish new collections…Left to right: Muabba, Sea NY, Acne, Eddie Borgo, Liberty London, Alexander Wang.

How to create a sophisticated pink bedroom

When I suggested to my husband that we decorate our guest bedroom in pink he thought I had gone mad, but a pink bedroom doesn’t have to be childish, you can create a feminine and sophisticated feel with very soft pale pinks combined with metallic silvers and greys with tactile fabrics like velvet and silk. You could go for a vintage look with a pretty antique eiderdown and a french style antique headboard. Why not choose some special silk fabric to create a focal point for some stunning curtains or cushions. The trick here is not to go all pink and to choose some pretty co-ordinating colours and lots of pale white, cream or grey to create a good balance. Here are some ideas I have collected together…

Pink Bedroom

Pink Bedroom

Pink Bedroom

Pink Bedroom

Pink Bedroom

Here are some suggestions that would be a good starting point to base your scheme around…

http://www.bedeckhome.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail2/450x450/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/d/u/ducwymomul_3.jpg http://www.lauraashley.com/content/ebiz/lauraashley/invt/couturebl/couturebl_pink_medium.jpghttp://www.monsoon.co.uk/content/ebiz/monsoon/invt/80226965/80226965_s1.jpg http://assets2.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/443/368/normal_quilt_2.jpg?1306230453 http://assets1.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/340/504/normal_IMG_7056.jpg?1288594633 http://assets2.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/271/718/normal_P1016765.jpg?1286979107 http://www.grahamandgreen.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/small_image/225x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/B/G/BGS5751_M1_6.jpg http://www.sweetpeaandwillow.com/images/exclusive-colonial-strw-cream-closeup.jpg http://www.designersguild.com/_assets/images/aw10/peony-scented-candles-main.jpghttp://www.monsoon.co.uk/content/ebiz/monsoon/invt/80211298/80211298_s1.jpg http://www.collettewardinteriors.ie/img_library/products/standard/RossanamainL.jpg http://www.decorsupplies.co.uk/WebRoot/Eclipse/Shops/decorsupplies/4E00/C267/26FF/C019/CECD/0A33/6589/5BD6/75016__1_m.jpg http://s7v1.scene7.com/is/image/JohnLewis/231322297?$list4$

I’d better stop there, I could go on forever.

 

My sunny herbacious border – a work in progress

I just thought I’d share some shots of my garden this summer as see if anyone has any comments on how to improve, I’m always looking for new ideas and combinations of plants that work well together. Here I’m concentrating on a long border down the south facing side of my garden, other areas are still a work in progress, hopefully I will be sharing those with you next year when they are a bit more developed.

The main challenge in my garden is that the soil is very dry and sandy as we live quite close to the beach, and this south facing border bakes all day so anything even slightly delicate just shrivels or gets mildew. This years disaster was the delphiniums at the back, the flowers looked okay peeping over the top but the leaves were covered in mildew.

Salvias front left also succumbed to the dreaded mildew, I have replaced these now with gaura tutti frutti, we’ll see how they fair next year. One lonely orange poppy there too, these were in profusion slightly earlier in the year and added a real splash of colour, but I’m not sure whether to replace these with papaver “Perry’s White’ for a more harmonious look.

Time to relax at home with the perfect cup of coffee

Enjoying a perfect cup of coffee in your own home requires a bit of skill and a good coffee maker. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a barista you will need to invest in a good coffee machine.

Filter coffee machines are very easy to use, the water drips through a basket of ground coffee to infuse in a pot, a hot plate keeps the coffee warm underneath. Here are some suggestions from JustCoffeeMakers.co.uk

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Espresso and cappuccino are considerably more expensive but produce a much stronger and richer coffee. Water is boiled in a chamber which builds up pressure and steam which then forces the boiling water through into the coffee, and the steam is used to create froth.

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Coffee grinders are also important to give you the best flavour, here are some ideas from JustCoffeeMakers

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Main types of coffee:

Cappuccino – 1/3 espresso, 1/3 hot milk, 1/3 frothy milk
Latte – with added hot milk. Normally ratio is 1:6 espresso: hot milk.
Macchiato – espresso with a little touch of milk
Con Panne – espresso with a dash of cream
Mocha – hot chocolate with a dash of espresso
Americano – hot water with a dash of espresso

Coffee machine

Tips for the perfect cup:

Crema – this is the pure coffee extract you find on the top of an espresso. Resembling the head you’d find on a glass of stout, it’s full of rich aroma and leaves a lingering flavour. A test of a good ‘crema’ is to put a little sugar on the top. It should take time to fall to the bottom.

Tamping – after filling the filter holder with coffee gently tap the top of it, levelling off the coffee, before locking the holder into the machine. This makes sure the water filters through evenly. Top machines feature an in-built tamper.

Frothing the milk – for perfect frothing you can use any type of milk as long as it’s fresh. It’s the protein that makes the froth, and this diminishes after about 4 days. Always use a stainless-steel jug and fill it to just under half full with cold milk. When it’s too hot to touch at the base the froth is ready. Give it a couple of taps to get rid of any bubbles, and then gently spoon the froth onto your espresso.

How about the perfect accompaniment to you perfect cup, here are some real indulgences, left to right: dark chocolate selection from Hotel Chocolate, chocolate raspberry cupcake from Waitrose, candied orange biscuits from John Lewis

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Treat yourself to a special vintage tea set

Nothing says English summer elegance quite like afternoon tea with a vintage style china tea set, with cakes and pastries displayed beautifully on a cake stand, a large pot of freshly brewed tea and a leisurely gathering of friends or family. I’ve been collecting my tea set for a little while, from charity shops and other vintage finds from various websites, it’s somewhat miss-matched which is all of it’s charm and makes it easy to add to, and replace in case of accidents.

There are now so many places to find vintage style tea sets online, and teatimecakestands.co.uk is a great site that combines them all into one easy to search shop so that you can find that exact piece to complete your set. Here are some of my favourites…

http://images.productserve.com/preview/2194/49876473.jpg http://images.productserve.com/preview/2194/100870196.jpg http://assets0.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/451/773/normal_HB_cup_and_saucer.jpg http://direct.tesco.com/pi/Enlarge/2/AW10209-9062TPS766864.jpg http://assets0.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/467/652/normal_Teacup_green_2_ls.jpg http://direct.tesco.com/pi/Enlarge/5/AW10209-9415TPS766869.jpg http://assets3.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/449/442/normal_F_F-cake-100b.jpghttp://assets3.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/410/981/normal_Cake_Stand_Hi_Res.jpg http://assets3.notonthehighstreet.com/system/product_images/images/000/240/207/normal_Cake_Stand_Cat_008.jpg http://direct.tesco.com/pi/Enlarge/7/SS11209-4317TPS831228.jpg http://www.havens.co.uk/media/images/products/mwS310221.jpg http://images.productserve.com/preview/1203/147653351.jpg