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Hygge: The Only Way To Survive Winter

It’s unlikely this is the first time you’ve heard about Hygge.  Personally I first found out about the whole idea on a pilgrimage with some girlfriends (me and three girls known to ourselves as ‘the pottery four’) to visit a ceramic studio called Tortus in Copenhagen at the beginning of this year. Whilst we were there the very well travelled Katie explained to me what Hygge was one chilly evening as we sprinted to a restaurant in the freezing cold.

It transpires there is no literal translation for the word but it essentially means ‘cosy’. The Danes, when faced with bitter winters and dark days, developed the idea of embracing all things snuggly. Think slippers, blankets, a shit load of candles whatever the time of day, and always lighting the fire. It’s Backgammon and hot chocolate. And, if you want to be really (wanky) into the whole thing you could always do some mindfulness colouring at the same time.

Basically it’s the Scandi way of not descending into the depths of despair and depression for five months of every year and I love it (a little strong perhaps but I’m definitely on the S.A.D spectrum).

Given my tendency towards the Debbie Downers in the winter months I have already started planning my ideal Hygge for making this winter a more cheerful one. First stop are these Toast slippers of pure fur joy.

Photo: Sarah Maingot

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  1.  Toast Sheepskin Slippers
  2. Oka Chyangra Goat Hair Rug
  3. The White Company Cashmere Bed Socks
  4. Daylesford Botanical Geranium Candle
  5.  Heal’s Merino and Cashmere Herringbone Throw
  6.  Festoon Lights

In Love With Linen

I’ve got a thing about linen sheets. They’re just so pleasing. Unless you lived rather an extraordinary childhood it seems unlikely that you grew up with them and I think this only adds to the allure. It gives them a grown-up, special, holiday feel. Best of all they’re no longer just a crisp Irish affair in the expensive bit at Peter Jones. Washed bed linen now comes in the most divine, chic muted shades. What’s more, they get better with every wash and frankly if you can’t be bothered there’s no need to iron them. Sound good? Oh and before you scream “coloured bed linen! Are you mad?”, hear me out. Rather than go matchy matchy with an entire set, style your bed with a pair of pillows in a beautiful faded colour. Trust me, once you’ve strayed, it’s hard to go back.

Below are a selection of my favourite colours, starting with wallet friendly options from H&M and La Redoute and ending with more dreamy offerings from Larusi. The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive, the softer, and often better the choice of colours.

Photo:  Emma Lee

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  1. The Linen Works Parisian Blue Pillowcase
  2. The Conran Shop Oxford Linen Pink Pillowcase
  3. H&M Washed Linen Pillowcase
  4. Larusi Salmom Pre-Washed Linen Pillowcase
  5. Merci Old Pink Washed Linen Pillowcase
  6. Linen Me Ice Blue Washed Pillowcase
  7. Cologne & Cotton Dusky Heather Line

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The Alternative Dinner Party Gift

If I am off out to a dinner party, the last thing you’ll find is me on the doorstep holding a bottle of red. I am rubbish at picking a decent wine. ‘Legs’ and ‘Body’ for me have nothing to do with grapes from sunny climes and I find the whole thing mystifying. Not to mention boring. But I am, *pats self on back* great at bringing an unexpected surprise to my hosts. My favourite trick is to arrive with a beautiful box of matches and candles instead. It screams ‘thoughtful’ even if you’ve got it stockpiled in a gift drawer to take to every friend you ever eat with. Ever.

‘Presenting’ is my regular guide to the alternative gifts to buy for those who like out-of-the ordinary treats. Keep an eye out for more in this department.  Obviously not mentioning a certain word beginning with ‘c’ and ending in ‘s’.

Archivist Elephant big box of matches and Broste Tapers set of ten candles in coral from Trouva.


Why The Laundry Room Is My Favourite Space

About a year ago we totally renovated our house to accommodate the ever expanding Minford brood. All three children were sharing a bedroom and it was all getting a bit ‘squash and a squeeze’. You may have assumed I was going to bed at night dreaming of ensuite bathrooms and marble topped kitchen counters. No. I went to bed at night obsessing about a laundry room. Years and years of hanging up washing on every available radiator, chair back and banister had turned me into a kind of laundry freak.

It was the smallest room in all the house plans but in my mind it was the most important and the one I dreamed about the most. The endless piles and piles of washing created by three young children. No where to hide it if it hadn’t all been folded away. No where to dry it if it was raining.

I am now the extremely proud (and frankly smug) owner of a tiny laundry room and downstairs loo. It has been totally life changing and I’m not afraid to say it – it’s hands down my absolute favourite room in the house. So if by any chance the above resonates with you and you’re not of the employs a full time housekeeper kind, here’s a few additions you may like to add to your laundry room/ cupboard/washing machine shoved in the corner of the kitchen, to make the daily business of washing a more joyful one.

Zara does a cheaper version of the basket on wheels but it’s not quite as good on a space saving shape. Still it’s a goodie.

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  1.  Laundry Storage Basket
  2. Alape Bucket Sink
  3. Sheila the Maid Clothes Airer
  4. Meadow Flowers Fabric Softener
  5. Soap on a Rope
  6.  Industrial Storage Trolley

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THAT Gucci Ad

I am constantly on the lookout for inspiration for a shoot or story. Often I have found that it doesn’t come easily from flicking through interior publications. Instead it is their cousin, the fashion magazine, that invariably does it for me.

I had thought that I would resist the temptation to mention my love for Gucci as frankly everyone seems to share the same sentiments right now. However, I TOTALLY changed my mind when my new Vogue dropped onto the doormat and I opened it to find this image from their SS17 Resort collection.

I genuinely gasped. Firstly, it is one of my major life goals to end up entirely eccentric in the cutting garden (that I will own) dressed in a skirt suit and loafers. That in itself makes the image perfect for me but I just love everything else about the scene. The achingly beautiful English garden and countryside, the mad floral prints, the bonkers granny gardening with her grandchildren – one all blondy curly curls and the other a teenage goth naffed off about being there. Then there’s that boater that I am obsessed with. Kudos to Gucci for taking a risk and putting ‘Glamour granny’ Vanessa Redgrave in a major fashion campaign with wrinkles and creases.

When I then found out it was shot at Chatsworth House my joy was complete. It’s one of my favourite places in the whole world and recently owned by another ‘girl crush’ the wonderfully elegant and eccentric Debo Devonshire. I went there last year and nearly fainted when I walked into the bedrooms. Chinoiserie, de Gournay rooms of exuberant, pleated and tasselled heaven.

Below are some of my favourite images from the campaign. I am loving the wear your grandma’s curtains vibe.

Mixing leopard and pattern was a trick of famous interior designer Madeline Castaing.

So in future, if you’re stuck for some inspiration for your home, remember to always check your fashion mags to spot ideas for your latest interior ventures.