WELCOME TO MINFORD
Clever Sales Shopping
In the spirit of getting organised in this brand spanking new year, (HNY BTW!!) I’ve been plotting out the next coming months of Minford and hatching exciting plans. Today was designated for a special post on what to buy in the January sales and then all the discounts started before baby Jesus had even hit the manger and I scrapped the idea. I just assumed by now, post-Christmas, that there would be nothing good left. But I was wrong. It turns out this is still the best time for interior shopping.
These sales should be used to stock up on classic pieces or essentials that you will always need in your home and are guaranteed to get plenty of use out of.
Here is my selection of the best bargains out there at the moment. I have the trestle legs already so frankly a bit miffed you lot get to get them in the sale! I’ve decided that the Berber rug is a very useful acquisition I’ve had my eye on it for some time and the 30% has finally tipped me into clicking buy. You can’t go wrong topping up the white linen supply. To be honest I think bedlinen is the greatest purchase you can make in the sale. I have the Toast tea towels so what a bargain with over 50% off. I’m on the prowl for good new towels. I’ve given up on white for the moment they just go grey eventually anyway. Ohh and who knew Anglepoise went into the sales??!
- Nyborg Berber Style Wool Rug – 30% off
- Malta Bath Sheet in Supima Cotton – 30% off
- Habitat Black Steel Trestle – 30% off
- Jacquard Weave Tea Towel – 50% off
- Anglepoise Mini Wall Light – 15% off
- Linen Works White Linen Bedding – 20% off
Merry Christmas From Minford!
2016 by all accounts has been a
shite strange old year full of political shock, the death of too many icons and the over kill of copper accessories. But not to be all doom and gloom, there have been some good bits. Namely, launching Minford and not having the public laugh me off the internet. And so for that, I thank you. For those who have started following me and regularly reading the journal, thank you, thank you.
One of the highlights of my year was travelling to Norway and styling this beaut of picture on a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere at 8pm at night. To say I was cold isn’t even close – think three pairs of everything – but what a total joy it was. Truly unforgettable.
But now, as another year is nearly done, I am going to go a lie down in a dark room and not blog until 2017. After I’ve returned from my hibernation on January the 9th they’ll be more interior how-t0s and tips. If there’s anything you wish a stylist would answer drop me an email.
Until then, Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
Photo: Knut Bry
Taking Style Tips From The Church
Yes you read that headline right. Today our Style Hack comes from a vicar who told me exactly where to find the best church candles.
Down the backstreets of Westminster, practically behind the Abbey itself, there’s a shop called Watts & Co. This is the place that takes care of all clergy stock – they head there to buy robes, dog collars, the wafers and importantly, church candles in every size you could imagine. Forget Ikea multi-packs. This is the real deal. When I ventured there myself I waited in line with two nuns stocking up too! For those who aren’t in London – rejoice! – Watts & Co sell online.
The sanctuary candles (as seen in the image above) are encased in plastic not glass. It sounds awful but looks amazing trust me. With a burning time of over 200 hours each they’re amazing value too. You do have to buy a box of 20 but I didn’t think twice. Great for Christmas and the winter, great for outdoors in the summer, and brilliant as presents. Watts also sell a huge selection of classic church candles, all handmade in the UK using blended beeswax.
Now if that’s not Good News I don’t know what is.
Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my favourite interior designers whose intoxicating mix of neoclassicism and leopard print carpets never fails to inspire me.
Madeleine Castaing, who was born in 1894 and died in 1992, lived an extraordinary life of style. A woman after my own heart, she owned a decorating and antiques shop in Saint Germain for over 50 years. She was a queen of the flea markets, known for not only her eclectic interiors but her eccentric dress sense too. Her brilliant body of work earned her the description of France’s grande dame of interior decoration.
I first came across her when her fabrics and wallpapers were re-launched a couple of years ago. In the showroom where I’d gone to see the pieces firsthand, was a book titled The World of Madeleine Castaing, full of big glossy pictures and tales about her life. Later, having bought the book and read it from cover to cover, I realised that she used many of the tricks that stylists and designers use today. She was just majorly ahead of the curve.
These are the three lessons gleaned from her decades of experience.
It’s all in the mix
I like to say “It’s all in the mix” and that was certainly Madeleine’s mantra also. Not only did she mix a huge variety of styles and periods of antique furniture but she loved a bit of ‘high low’, pairing the inexpensive with the valuable. She liked to mix cheap materials such as rattan and horn with fine antique English furniture.
Stick to a colour palette
She loved colour but stuck to a tight range which helped to add a coherence to her eccentric schemes. “I use three colors: red, sky-blue, and the green of the gardens,” she once explained. She mixed these colours with white and black.
Always have something a bit wrong
The best stylists, be it in fashion or interiors, always add something a bit wrong and it’s what elevates a look from the ordinary. Madeleine was definitely aware of how to do this well. “Sometimes you need a bit of bad taste!” she’d say. You may think of leopard print as bad taste but she made it look sophisticated. Who doesn’t want a leopard print carpet after gazing at one of her rooms? Jean Cocteau certainly did.
The Case For Navy
For anyone feeling totally uninspired by festive party attire this year, join the club. It’s either a massive case of CBA or there just isn’t anything out there to get excited about. A friend of mine is equally in my what-the-hell-am-I-wearing-this festive-season boat. She brought a velvet top the other day and texted to say it arrived and was so disgusting she couldn’t even bring herself to try it on – “nails down a blackboard” I think was her actual wording.
Anyway, I thought I’d share my two latest successful purchases in case they are of interest.
1. A navy silk shirt. Don’t call it a blouse or I’ll feel like my mum. It’s a fantastic cut. Great price. It’s my new go-to top for a suggestion of dressed up without making too much of an effort. I wore it in my Christmas table post and have been asked where it was from so thought I’d give it a mention.
2. Navy platform sandals. These babies may just be rescuing my Christmas party crisis. They’re a dead ringer for a Miu Miu but a fraction of the price. If I’m feeling brave I might wear them with a sock. If not, a dark red pedicure but either way they’re new and they’re velvet so that’s a win win as far as I’m concerned.
So the sequins are staying in the drawer this time.