WELCOME TO MINFORD
Beautiful Pale Pink Bedding. And It's Not Linen.
Some people think that being an interior stylist is a glamorous job full of trips abroad styling cheese boards and fluffing cushions. SOMETIMES it is. But more often than not you’ll find me in a giant shopping center. The Westfield staff practically know me by name.
A couple of weeks ago I was trawling the shops looking for cushions and bedding for a client. I ambled into M&S’s home department, by this point pretty weary from slogging about and if I had been sitting on a chair (or bed), I would have fallen off it.
Out of the corner of my eye I spied the most fabulous pale pink blink and you’d think it was the one Conran used to do duvet cover. Same double seam stitching, same muted palest pink colour, same washed crunchy feel, just a different price. At £6 a pillowcase the shelf was immediately cleared and I was off to the till with my arms bulging.
I thought it only right to give my new purchases a trial run before I started banging on about it to you guys. As you can see from the pictures it’s a definite thumbs up from me. I had a wonderful nights sleep and this morning when I woke up it was looking even better. No starched crispness here people. We’re getting into relaxed holiday mode and so is my bedding.
School’s nearly out and it’s this time of year that I start to focus on more practical holiday plans rather than which Marant dress I’m intending to waft around France in. I’ve got a week of camping to think about and then a holiday where lunch is on the beach everyday.
I feel I can say with confidence that I’ve got my picnic gear down (for proof, see above image of my haul). It becomes my holiday ritual to pack and unpack it ready for each outing.
First up I’m all about the good old fashioned wicker basket. I bought the one in the picture above years ago and painted it (surprise, surprise) grey. I can’t remember where I got it from but I spotted this gorgeous one from The White Company which is rather conveniently in the sale.
I love my Falcon enamel plates. They are pretty much indestructable. The dream is to mix both blue and red edges for a bit of a ‘poor man’s Astier de Villatte’ vibe.
I swear by my trusty Opinel folding knife. My absolute picnic essential.
The Tablecloth Towel
You may have seen my post earlier this month on summer towels, well here is where they really do come into their own. I use this as a towel and then whip it out as a beach tablecloth at lunchtime. If you’d like to go for a picnic rug as you’re off out in the English countryside then my favourite pick is a vintage Welsh blanket. I’ve found this beauty and this one on Etsy.
Clearly holidays are about drinking rosé at lunchtime and I’m afraid doing it out of a melamine or a tin cup doesn’t quite cut it. Enter the cheap and sturdy utilitarian tumbler set Wrap them in your towel/tablecloth so you won’t worry about breaking them and pair them with a glass bottle.
A Final Word
In my yearly search for updating my picnic stuff I have come across two treasures in John Lewis. First up is this Leon Cool bag and finally these melamine cups if you don’t fancy Peppa Pig beakers for the children.
Lastly the greatest tip I ever did receive about how to camp well was to buy a cheap clothes rail and hang everything from there. No more damp clothes!
Slip Onto Something More Comfortable
When I stumbled upon this picture of Tine K ‘s sofa this week I immediately thought don’t mind if I do thank you very much. Just so low key and chic, not to mention practical. It then dawned on me that the designers I have chosen to feature of late, from Rose Uniacke and Axel Vervoordt to Vincent Van Duysen, all share the love of a good old slip covered sofa. It’s easy to imagine why, it’s a seriously versatile piece.
There’s the 1970s Baleric Island interior where it’s plonked on a stone floor with indoor plants. There’s the English country pile version where it’s covered in a mass of linen ticking stripe cushions. Rose Uniacke uses it in spaces with an antique table or two. And then come the Belgians who keep it calm against pale grey peeling walls. And, if that hasn’t got you seriously interested then check out the home of designer and New York boutique owner Maryam Nassir Zadeh.
No Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic to see here my friends. Just super cool minimal floppy linen loveliness.
Galvanise Your Garden
I can’t think of an interior stylist on the planet who won’t have a galvanised vintage dolly tub with an olive tree plonked somewhere in their outdoor space. These pots are a stylists best friend.
I am in the fan club myself for a few reasons: they’re an interesting alternative to terracotta that would be the usual go-to for garden pot plants and they weather beautifully.
The vintage dolly tubs are like gold dust. So if you’re at an antiques market and miraculously see one without a sold sticker on BUY IT. I’ve found 2 on Etsy if you’d rather not leave your sofa.
If, like me, you’re in the ‘grey is great gang’ and can never get enough of the shade then consider galvanising the rest of your garden with metal tabletops, chairs and outdoor lighting.
My stash of watering cans in the sun in the garden. If you’re in the market for a vintage galvanized watering can I found three in this etsy shop.
Garden Trading Swan Neck Light . Vintage Galvanised Dolly Tub and also here. These and these are probably the best I’ve found as far as a new get the vintage look version goes. Cox & Cox 3 Aged Zinc Planters . Metal Chair . Galvanised table (not strictly for outside but I like to put mine in the garden).
How To Style Flowers On A Mantlepiece
One of the major plus sides of my job is that at the end of a shoot I often get to bring half the contents of a florists shop home with me (actually half of the flower market in Vauxhall which I will have visited at some ungodly hour that morning). Sometimes, I’m tired so they just go in a big zinc bucket and sit in the kitchen, but yesterday morning I decided to channel my inner Constance Spry and have a bit of play.
I thought I’d show you how I decided to style them. The idea here is to demonstrate that you don’t always have to plonk everything in a big vase. You can go all out with a mantlepiece and if someone comes over to ask who got married, so be it.
Here are my tips to nailing the composition
1.) You don’t have to buy lots of flowers to create a really beautiful effect. A collection of single stems can be just as dramatic.
2.) Consider hacking off the odd tree branch or shrub. Don’t just stick to flower stems.
3.) Use a whole mishmash of vases. Play with different shapes.
4.) You don’t always need to stick to a vase. Use a bottle or a water carafe.
5.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, always have an odd number.
If you want to ‘try this at home’, here’s a selection of vases I’ve put together.
Shop similar vases: Cox & Cox Recycled Glass Vase . House Doctor Set of 3 Grey Handblown Vases . House Doctor Large Bottle Neck Vase . Vintage Hungarian Handblown Bottle Vase 3 sizes available . Garden Trading Recycled Glass Bottle