Hi there I'm Jack

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Natural Curtain Company opens a new store in Chelsea

My partner and I are thinking about getting some new curtains and with so much choice on the market it isn’t an easy task to make a selection.

A friend of ours recommended a company called the Natural Curtain Company and I was pleased to hear that in addition to all of their fabrics being 100% natural all of the fabrics that they sell are made in Britain.

In addition to curtains and roman blinds, The Natural Curtain Company also now offers made-to-measure roller blinds, cushions, bedspreads and table linen, as well as a comprehensive offering of curtain tracks and poles.

Apparently they have just opened a new store in Chelsea, but in addition to their store they offer an online service with a step-by-step illustrated measuring guide, as well as  easy-to-follow measuring up animation videos that are also available online to demonstrate how to measure up curtains and Roman blinds. (something I for one definitely need)

Visit their web site at www.naturalcurtaincompany.co.uk

The showroom’s address is:
31a Chelsea Wharf,
15 Lots Road,
SW10 0QJ.

The Natural Curtain company also offer a making-up service, offering customers the option to use their own fabrics for made-to-measure curtains, roller blinds and Roman blinds. In addition to providing readymade curtains in a select number of fabrics and in a choice of three sizes and three linings – allowing customers to specify the exact length they'd like at no extra cost.

I’ve managed to get hold of one or two images of their products on display in their showroom, and thought Id share them with you.

I intend to visit their new store in the near future but if you get the chance to get there before me let me know how you get on.

Until the next blog then……………


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

New autumn and winter trends for your home from John Lewis

Re- Styling your home can mean difficult decisions need to be made about the look you are trying to create and hours can be spent on the high street looking for “that look”. Why not head down to John Lewis before going anywhere else. John Lewis has created some great ideas for the autumn season which are both affordable and stylish.

This season’s main contemporary trend is Refined Puritan. This look has a strong emphasis on craftsmanship and they describe it as their antidote to “Stuffication” allowing you to simplify your home which may have been suffocated with too much stuff for too long. For me this trend is best described as understated luxury with a combination of natural and geometrical elegance.

This new trend includes some beautiful fabrics and wall coverings, a personal favourite of mine being Mayflower Clementine (see image below). In addition they have available in store some stylish pieces of furniture including designs by Mathew Hilton and Magis Steelwood.

Below are some of the accessories / lighting that are available in the Refined Puritan range, I particularly love the Oslo pendant, the design has a mixture of both a Scandinavian and an industrial influence.

Creating the right look in your home can be enhanced further by introducing texture and one of the best ways to do that is through Carpets and Rugs, its so difficult to choose a new carpet because of the large selection there is available, patterned, twisted, looped or velvet all create their own distinct effect. In my home I have a Crucial Trading Rug which I love. Why not visit the Crucial Trading website, you will find an online tool that helps you to compare the different designs available.

Crucial Trading have a passion for creating natural floor coverings that are a design statement in their own right. Unlike other products for your home, their natural floor coverings offer an all-round sensory experience, from softening the sound to scenting the air – and, of course, the pleasure that comes from feeling their materials underfoot.

Visit their on-line Gallery to see their collection. Or pop into John Lewis where you will see Crucial Trading carpets, floor coverings and rugs on display.

The second contemporary trend from John Lewis for the autumn season is called Reborn. This light hearted and feel good trend makes the most of bright colours and pattern and a strong retro feel.

John Lewis have been collaborating with Lucy Turner who very creatively transforms carefully selected vintage pieces of furniture and incorporates brightly coloured selections of laminate resulting in a wonderful marquetry effect.

Below are some of the accessories available in the Reborn range, I particularly love the Bold & Noble British Isles map print.

I hope my blog has given you a few ideas. Re-styling your home can be fun. So why not pop into John Lewis for some inspiration and check out their autumn trends – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Below are just a few more images of products available from John Lewis.

Until the next blog then…..


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Father's Day to remember

Father's Day is coming up fast this Sunday 19 June. In this weeks blog, rather than hunting on the high street to purchase that special gift for Dad, I thought I would make the suggestion of purchasing an experience.
I don’t know if you have discovered Groupon yet, but this website is packed full of ideas at discounted prices to purchase that special experience.

Click on this Groupon link to register and search for that perfect gift for dad.

Another great site to get a bargain experience is Lastminute.com explore their website and discover exciting, original and their downright irresistible gift experiences range. They  have something for everyone whether you're an adrenaline junkie, water-sports fanatic or like the slower pace of life! Theyalso have driving experiences, experience days as well as their exclusive 'do something' vouchers if you can't make up your mind

Live theatre, of course is a great experience, and it is a great way to treat dad - and yourself at the same time.

Not a week goes by without me and my partner visiting the West End in London to take in a show, and there are some really great shows on at the moment.

Here are my recommendations for treating Dad. I have seen recently seen all three of these shows, and anyone of them would make the perfect gift for Fathers Day.

Million Dollar Quartet

Million Dollar Quartet will take you back to 1956 to a special night when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history. Inspired by the actual event that took place on 4 December 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis, this fantastic musical features over 20 of the greatest rock ’n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits ever written including: “Blue Suede Shoes”, “I Walk The Line”, “Fever”, “Great Balls of Fire”, “Hound Dog”, “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On”

War Horse

The First World War is the backdrop for this tale of bravery, loyalty and the extraordinary bond between a young recruit and his horse. Young Albert's beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France at the outbreak of World War One. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to the trenches to find him and bring him home. Treat Dad to an unforgettable journey through history with the awe-inspiring War Horse.

We will Rock You

We Will Rock You is the head-banging, toe-tapping musical based on the songs of Queen and features 31 of their greatest hits including “I Want to Break Free”, “Somebody to Love”, “Killer Queen”, “Under Pressure”, “Don't Stop Me Now”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “Another One Bites the Dust”, “We Are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.Set in a completely globalised future where everyone listens to the same music, wears the same fashions and thinks the same thoughts, rock ‘n’ roll has been effectively banned for centuries. But legend has it that somewhere instruments still exist, waiting for a hero to play them

If you don’t live in London, why not check out whats on at your local Theatre. There are some great shows out there to be seen.

The Pub

Finally, if your budget is tight, or you’ve left it too late to book anything why not take your dad to the pub and have a couple of drinks together, I guarantee your dad will love spending some quality time with you.

I hope my blog has inspired you to thinking about Fathers day.

Until the next blog then…..


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Brighton - A great place to shop

Last weekend I visited Brighton, although I’ve visited Brighton on numerous occasions, I decided to have a leisurely stroll through the famous Brighton Lanes and explore the shops.
If you're looking to put a creative edge into your shopping, The Brighton Lanes offer a shopper’s paradise of independent shops and boutiques.

Brighton Lanes' historic quarter is a fabulous maze of twisting alleyways, offering an extraordinary mix of antiques and jewellery shops nestling alongside specialist contemporary and designer boutique fashion.

Crammed with quaint and wondrous shops and funky restaurants and cafes, the Brighton Lanes are best wandered lazily and explored as you find them. You'll often find buskers livening up the streets, making the Lanes a great place for the battle worn shopper to grab a coffee and soak up the history to the sounds of some live jazz.

Brighton is by far my favourite place to go shopping – as well as being well-equipped with the likes of Debenhams, BHS and M&S, there are a wealth of small, independent gift stores scattered around The Lanes and North Laine where you can find some unique, unusual and incredibly quirky gift ideas.

Here are my top five.

Pure South  Meeting House Lane, The Lanes

I absolutely adore this shop. Not only is everything in here beautifully hand-made, but this is where you’ll find the most imaginative use of recycled materials ever – from (surprisingly nice) handbags made of old car tyres and number plates, to “Africa Time” clocks made of tin cans.

Any gift you buy here will be one of a kind. I love all their little animal-themed ornaments including elephants, zebras, and giraffes made from hand-carved wood or recycled glass. They’ve also got the most adorable jewellery made from intricately bent wires threaded with little beads, with pieces starting from as little as £4.

Evolution  Bond Street, North Laine

Although, technically Evolution is a chain (with 17 stores nationwide) you’d never guess it from the feel of the place. This place epitomises Brighton with items ranging from Buddha statues to rubber ducks.

Evolution is the perfect place to find gifts as their prices are fantastic. They’ve got hand-made jewellery from as little as £2 or £3 or statues, wall plaques and cushions from about £6. They’ve also got a discount shop on Western Road, Hove, where you’ll find a mass of bargains for under a fiver such as candles, wind chimes, sun catchers and photo frames.

Purple Heart Gardner Street, North Laine and North Street

There are now two Brighton branches of this cute little independent shop chain – one on Gardner Street and one on North Street, Puple Heart's slogan is “unique gifts for unique people” which is exactly why they’re in this list. Everything in here is just a little bit quirky and utterly delightful.

I love this place because it reminds me of a kid’s playroom – a colourful, higgledy-piggledy mix of things like fancy dress bits ‘n’ bobs, cake decorating materials and delicious-smelling candles. They’ve also got a wall full of pigeon holes containing lots of tiny gifts that would be absolutely perfect for those girly gifts.

Pussy Kensington Gardens, North Laine

If your feeling a bit down, then a browse in this shop is sure to put a smile on your face. You probably won’t find anything in here that’s remotely useful (apart from their funky see-through dome umbrellas) but you’ll sure as hell find some hilarious little gifts.

Although a lot of what they sell seems to be dominated by their Moomin range of bits and bobs (great if you love the Moomins, of course) you’ll also find an array of must-have coffee table books, brilliant Modern Toss merchandise and great novelty gifts like hamburger phones, YMCA ducks and the ‘Periodic Tablecloth of Swearing’.

The Brighton Bead Shop  Sydney Street, North Laine

If you’re feeling a little more creative and fancy trying your hand at making a few of your own gifts, then visit The Brighton Bead Shop. You’ll find an enormous choice of beads made of wood, plastic, glass plus threads of leather, cotton and delicate wire – there’s enough variety to make something to suit anybody’s taste and to fit any budget.

Worried you aren’t creative enough to give it ago? No problem, the shop assistants are more than happy to help and the shop even runs beading classes every now and then which they advertise in the window. You never know, you might just discover a hidden talent as well as giving someone special a unique, personalised present.

Hope you enjoyed reading this weeks blog, and your inspired to visit Brighton in the near future to experience a unique shopping experience.

Until the next one then….


Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Visit Columbia Road Flower Market and Shops

I visited Columbia Road Flower Market in London a couple of weeks ago to purchase my plants for my window boxes, those of you who haven’t experienced Columbia Road Flower Market really should pay a visit, forget Covent Garden, this is where you'll find all your flowery needs met. Yes, the flower market is a historic part of London and if you want to see a bit of real working London this is a good a place as any. You'll see Pearly Kings and Queens there too! Since I've moved to London, the market has been my go-to for a Sunday afternoon wander. Get there about 2pm ‘ish and you'll get all the bargains too. You’ll find a huge selection of annuals, bedding plants, shrubs, house plants and cut flowers at a fraction of the price of most Garden Centres.

But that's not all, I love this market because it is on a fabulous street with over 60 independent shops and cafes on it. There is a wonderful sweet shop, cupcake shop, and vintage tea china store to name but a few. If you fancy taking a break from the market for a warm brunch or cup of tea/coffee, are tons of cute little cafes to pop in to along the road as well.

It smells amazing in the afternoon, when the flowers have been out all morning - making it just wonderful. Yes you'll find bigger flower markets in other cities but this one is London’s and it makes me proud. I'd choose this gem over any other commercial garden centre for price, advise and supporting real London businesses.

The atmosphere of the whole market is simply adorable, as well as Columbia Road itself. All the shops along the road are independently owned and so lovely. You’ll also find street entertainment most Sundays. So bundle up warm, grab a coffee, and get ready to face the crowds on Columbia Road. It's worth the trek, I swear!

Now I’ve finished creating my window boxes, over the next few days, I plan to create my own hanging baskets. Drama and lavish extravagance is what I love about hanging baskets, with their lush cascades of foliage and flowers. They're a great opportunity to experiment with imaginative combinations, including houseplants, and escape from run of-the-mill bedding options. – I cant wait for my next trip to Columbia Road to choose my plants for my hanging baskets, I know that there I will be able to find the variety I desire.

Check out the website for the Columbia Road Flower Market and shops, the website provides directions to Columbia Road and also a brief history to this historic part of good old London town.


Hope you enjoyed reading this weeks blog, until the next one then…….


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Choosing a New Sofa

Buying new sofas and chairs is a major investment and it can all seem a little bit daunting. You need to be delighted with your choice, and with so many different options available, you need to take some time to think about what’s best for you and your home before you buy. Internet shopping is a great way for you to consider your purchase and not act on impulse. In this week’s blog, I want to tell you about an on-line company called Sofa.com.

Sofa.com’s aim is to offer the best value, high-quality, beautiful and comfy sofas (and beds) in the UK, combined with the best customer service in the industry. That may sound a little earnest perhaps, but that really is pretty much all you need to know about them.

So far they have sold nearly 20,000 sofas and they receive tons of feedback from happy customers.
One key difference between sofa.com and other retailers is this: buying from them is entirely risk free – if, for whatever miniscule, titchy reason you don’t like your sofa, call them within two weeks, and they will come straight round and collect it – you lose nothing.

Below is an extract from their web site with 10 reasons why to choose them….

  1. Exceptionally well made, stylish and comfy sofas.
  2. Great value; a fraction of the price of similar high street sofas.
  3. You are buying what counts – the sofa – not expensive shops and national marketing campaigns.
  4. Seriously beautiful natural fabrics bought direct from top European mills to keep costs down.
  5. Four week delivery, though often much quicker if in stock.
  6. 100% free returns, no quibble, no problem, and we’ll remain chums.
  7. Delivery is usually free.
  8. Our own delivery service that is second to none.
  9. Most sofas dismantle for total ease of access.
  10. Because we’re great, we care, and we love you.
What’s the deal?

Sofa.com sells very high quality sofas, the type of sofas that would cost between £1,300 and £2,500 on the high street.

Their sofas cost half that. Why? Simple – they don’t waste lots of money on shops, brochures and expensive marketing campaigns. They focus all of their attention and money, into what really counts – your sofas. So it’s the SOFA that you’re buying – not all those other bits that you can’t sit on.

Three important things that make a great sofa:

Sofa.com believe that that the following three ingredients are the most important things when making super comfy sofas. But, if you would like to find out more about how your sofa is made, Sofa.com invite you to call them on 0845 400 2222.

1. Super-tough beech wood frame.

Their hardwood frames are made from European beech trees. This makes them tough and built to last. Lesser made frames may be cheaper but will not last as long. They also come with a 5 year construction guarantee.

2. Super comfy, easy plump cushions.

Sofa.com use the best cushion fillings money can buy. In effect they are a thick duvet stuffed with white duck feathers, which in turn is wrapped around a piece of top quality squidgy foam. The feathers give that lovely feathery feeling and the foam also feels good, but more importantly “returns” when you stand up, and reduces plumping time. The result is a really comfy cushion that you don’t have to keep on plumping.

3. Beautiful fabrics

Sofa.com believe there is no room for compromise in this department! So, they’ve gone direct to the best mills in Europe to find you the very finest natural fabrics; Pure Linens and Cotton mixes from Belgium, Velvets from Florentine mills in Italy. The good news for you is that they buy these fabrics direct from the mills, bypassing all middlemen, meaning that you really can enjoy the most luxurious fabrics for refreshingly little (if these fabrics were to come through the fingers of a middleman, they would cost at least twice the price, significantly upping the overall cost of your sofa).

What else?

  • Most of their sofas dismantle for easy access
  • The majority of their sofas have loose covers
  • Zips we only use the best, YKK. This costs them more, yes, but is there anything more annoying in the whole wide world than a broken zip?
  • Tailoring – a bit like the difference between a cheap suit and a well-made one
  • Attention to detail – we all know that if you look after the little things…
They also have a great selection of scatter cushions, when ordering on line, simply select the size and the fabric and they will do the rest.

Check out Sofa.com’s website to see their full range of Sofa’s and Beds, believe me you won’t be disappointed with the choices that they provide. http://www.sofa.com/

So why not be “fine and dandy” in your home with a new Sofa from Sofa.com

 Until the next blog then……


Friday, 13 May 2011

A Unique Shopping Experience

You know when you just stumble upon that shop that draws you into its doors because it has something different to offer. Maybe it’s because its contents are unique and not the same old things you see on the high street. It may be the way that the items are displayed or it could be the friendly welcome that the shop assistant gives you.  What ever it is, you’re hooked and will always go back time and time again and recommend it to your friends and family.

Well in this weeks blog I want to recommend two great places to shop. Caravan in Shoreditch and Drink Shop and Do in Kings Cross both offer a very different but unique shopping experience.


Emily Chalmers, the very talented and lovely owner of Caravan, and author of several interior design books notably, Flea Market Style, has her own unique style.

The white-washed shop is warm and inviting with curated touches of vintage treasures, candles in delicate votives, and fresh flowers tucked here and there alongside the store merchandise. Caravan features a variety of delightful pieces, some of which are quirky and fun some pretty and elegant, and some modern and functional. And much of what Emily carries is exclusive to Caravan; you can also pick up a signed copy of one of Emily's books: Flea Market Style, Contemporary Country, or Table Inspirations. Head over to the shop and get some Caravan Style, or why not visit her on line shop online shop. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

3 Redchurch Street
London E2 7DJ
United Kingdom
+ 44 (0) 20 7033-3532
Tuesday - Friday: 11-6:30pm, Saturday & Sunday: 12-6pm

Drink Shop and Do  a design shop and cafĂ© bar selling products from emerging designers alongside vintage furniture and home wares.

Everything is for sale: from designer crafts, vintage tea sets, 1950's dressers and unusual tables and chairs, to hand-made cakes, ice creams, specialty teas, kitsch finger sandwiches, bottled beers and cocktails.

They are open for lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails and offer different things to 'Do' like 'Play with Clay 80's Style' and 'Dot to Dot to Disco'. These are mostly free and require no skills whatsoever. Check out their Website to so see what “Do” activities are going on.

They are tucked away just 2 minutes from Kings Cross station in an old Victorian bathhouse. Why not visit Drink, Shop and Do for a coffee and a slice of cake and browse the goodies for sale.

Drink Shop and Do
9 Caledonian Road,

Kings Cross
United Kingdom
+ 44 (0) 203 343 9138