Monthly Archives: February 2012

Raise It Up

I like embossed items (I’m still hankering after that embossed cherry purse I showed you recently), but embossed card has a particularly luxurious feel to it and the raised design begs to be stroked. These square hand embossed cards by Lino King Cards are wonderfully luxurious but are a snip at £1.50 each.

They are brightly coloured on the outside with a serene grey inner and come with a contrasting envelope.

You could choose the cream or mustard yellow floral design:

Hand Embossed Coloured Cards, Floral Set - Lino King Cards

The green or grey pattern design:

Hand Embossed Coloured Cards, Pattern Set - Lino King Cards

Purple, blue or brown circle design:

Hand Embossed Coloured Cards, Circle Set - Lino King Cards

Or bright yellow, red or turquoise flower design:

Hand Embossed Coloured Cards, Flower Set - Lino King Cards

Can’t choose? Then buy all ten designs for £13.50, which is what I’m going to do. I hope I can keep the stroking to a minimum so they’re not all grubby by the time I send them to people. If I can’t bear to part with them I may group three or four together in a frame as a bit of inexpensive art.

Have you seen any nice embossed things recently?

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Ginger Cat Hankering

Our hankering for a ginger cat four months ago led us to rehoming these gorgeous ginger brothers.

Biggles & Scott

The friendly vets at Vet4Life have featured Biggles and Scott’s story on their website. If you live near the Teddington area and need a vet, I can recommend Ian and the veterinary nurses at Vet4Life, they are so friendly and helpful. Even the cats agree!

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A Melange of Maps

I bought my husband these vintage map cufflinks with the location of where we got married on one cufflink and where we honeymooned on the other, as a six-month wedding anniversary present (sickly newly weds!). Since then I’ve been hankering after some map things for our home.

Philippa Stanton makes these beautiful vintage map lamps. Choose from Isle of Wight & Solent, Brighton, Rochester & Chatham or various areas of London for around £44 including the base or ask for a bespoke lamp with the area of your choice.

Vintage Johnston's 1930's Map Lamp featuring The Isle of Wight and The Solent - 5ftinf

These coasters and placemats by Scarlett Willow Ltd. can be personalised with the postcode of your choice in the centre and as an older or more modern style map. They start at £40 for a set of four coasters. A nice idea for a house-warming present.

Personalised Map Coasters & Placemats by Scarlett Willow Ltd

I love this blanket box from Flutterbug Interiors, the UK map decoupage design includes the interior too. This size is £89 or a smaller size is £55.

Uk Map Decoupaged Storage Box - Flutterbug Interiors

The Origin of the Unit artwork by Terror Dome is really gorgeous, each member of the family is made from a map of where they spent their childhood. The family of four version is £57 and comes framed in a shadow box. It can be personalised further based on number of family members and what mix of girls and boys are in the family.

Origin of the Unit - TerrorDome

I’ve always hankered after a dressmaker’s dummy and Grace & Favour Homes do a lovely range. With most of them starting at £175 they’re not cheap, but this decoupaged London map mannequin is really stunning.

London Map Mannequin by Grace & Favour Home

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Picture Perfect Necklaces

Iluxo have used cameras as the inspiration for these cute necklaces, the tops slide off but instead of film inside they are hollow so you can use them as lockets to store a little photo or object. Made from unvarnished bamboo the designs have been etched and cut using a laser.

I’m really hankering after this Polaroid SX-70 inspired camera necklace.

Polaroid Camera Necklace Locket - Iluxo

This Leica M3 Camera Locket Necklace is so detailed.

Leica M3 Camera Locket Necklace - Iluxo

Or maybe you prefer this Rolleiflex Camera Locket Necklace?

Rolleiflex Camera Locket Necklace - Iluxo

All come with a gold or silver-plated necklace for $35 and delivery from San Francisco to the UK is a little under £4.

What would you put in it?

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Dresses Fit For a Church

After I wrote about the beautiful Junkaholique dress, a lovely reader asked me to keep my eyes peeled for a shorter dress suitable for her daughter’s christening. I’m not altogether au fait with what a mother should wear at a christening but I’ve found a few dresses that I think  are smart and elegant but not too sexy for the church. If you’re attending any spring or summer weddings they’ll work for them too.

This navy lace pencil dress from Dorothy Perkins is really pretty and only £30, there are also grey, blush and lavender versions.

Navy Lace Pencil Dress - Dorothy Perkins

I think this bubble pink Suzie Wong draped silk dress is really special and teamed with a little shrug might be perfect for a spring christening or wedding. On ASOS at the moment it’s down from £365 to £125. With the draped front you could eat several plates from the buffet and not have to hold your tummy in all day.Suzie Wong Draped Silk Dress-ASOS

Ele Horsley’s Jubilee Dress is very elegant, I love the floaty sleeves and the square buttons on the waist band. At £210 it’s not cheap but it’s timeless and no-one else will be wearing it.

Jubilee Dress-Ele Horsley

This dress by Oasis is £65 and is available with a pink or blue skirt and belt. The back has a lovely draped section and although it has a shorter under-skirt I think the longer pleated over-skirt keeps it suitable for a church.

Pleated Drape Back Dress-OasisWith the Sophie dress Coast give you monochrome, a halter neck, bow (which I thought was a butterfly) and ruffles. What more could you want? A discount? That too, it’s half price at £75.

Coast Sophie Dress

This tie neck knitted dress is my wildcard choice from Anthropologie. The style is demure but the colours make a bold statement and I love the forties feel to it. It’s £128.

Tie Neck Knitted Dress - Anthropologie

Now I’m not really one for hats but I think this would look great with a wide-brimmed hat. I know hats are traditional at weddings but do people wear hats to christenings?

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Copper Load of These

My friend mentioned the other day that she was looking for a copper light fitting for her living room, I knew I’d seen a nice one but couldn’t remember where. Then I found all these beauties. I’m hankering after them now.

This curvy Copper Shade was the light I had in mind, designed by Tom Dixon and available from The Lollipop Shoppe at £340.

Tom Dixon Copper Shade - The Lollipop Shoppe

The Void Light also by Tom Dixon is a bit softer and I suspect gives a cosier light, topical too as it was designed with Olympic medals in mind. This one is £310.

Tom Dixon Void Light - The Lollipop Shoppe

This suspended perforated copper lamp has more of a rustic style and the perforations would give a lovely effect on the walls. It’s £154 from The French House and they also have a similar wall lamp.

Perforated Copper Lamp - The French House

Innermost’s Bubble LED Spot Pendant is really stunning and designed to look like an earring, the cheapest I’ve seen it at just under £285 is at Lighting Styles in four finishes. But Innermost have three more versions where they have combined different colour bubbles on the same pendant if you’re after something a bit bolder.

Innermost Bubble LED Spot Pendant - Lighting Styles

More traditional is this hammered finish copper pendant light by Country Living for £84, I think it would look great hanging low over a dining table.

Traditional Copper Pendant Light by Country Lighting

Yes these are for outside, but consider your garden as another room for a moment and imagine a couple of these Globe oil burning torches round the patio. If we get a freezing summer you could huddle round them for warmth. You can get one from The London Garden Trading Company for £35. They also do a cylinder version that is more of an Olympic torch shape.

Globe Oil Burning Torch by The London Garden Trading Company

What colours would you team with these lamps? I may have to go and redecorate…

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1930s Junkaholique

I was going to write about sideboards this morning. But oh my gosh. This dress!

1930s yellow satin bias-cut dress - Junkaholique

We all know I have Art Deco aspirations but this 1930s yellow satin dress has me hankering like crazy, but alas, my hips aren’t going to fit in this unless I shave some bone off them. The colour is absolutely beautiful, maybe it was the glorious weather we had yesterday but it doesn’t seem unseasonal either.

This 1930s cherries purse also caught my eye and I won’t need to worry about it fitting me. I love embossed leather and the fact that they’re embossed cherries pleases me greatly.

1930s leather 'cherries' wallet - Junkaholique

Both are fromJunkaholique at £78 and £45 respectively. There are so many beautiful things on their site, I’m hankering after almost all the accessories they have.

Which is your favourite?

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The Case-Book of Sherlock Hankering

This year Sherlock Holmes has been a regular fixture in my life. But now the BBC’s series has ended and I’ve seen Guy Ritchie’s latest Holmes offering, I miss him. I’m hankering for more of the consulting detective.

I pretended it wasn’t me that was missing him and bought this Wordsworth Library Collection of The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes for my husband. As the name suggests, it is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories in one book with Sidney Paget’s wonderful original illustrations. Nearly 1500 pages of Holmes and Watson should keep me going.

The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes - Wordsworth Library Collection

I love this book entitled ‘Elementary, My Dear Watson’ written and beautifully illustrated by Amber Whitney. It’s an ABC book so is really meant for kids but it’s so lovely, I’d definitely have a read before letting any kids get their hands on it…

Elementary, Mr Dear Watson - Amber Whitney

Also entitled Elementary is this typographic print by Typaprint on Folksy, a modern take on the classic Holmes silhouette.

Elementary! A2 Typographic print - Typaprint

Maybe I could bring the stories to life and host a Sherlock Holmes night, I could assign characters with these wine glass charms. Although the person who gets 221b Baker Street might not have much to do… I’ll take that one.

Sherlock Holmes Wine Charm Set - Winslow Rye

I can remember being terrified as a little girl at my Granny’s house watching The Hound of the Baskervilles on television, it certainly didn’t help my fear of dogs. Oh dear, this is bringing it all back to me.

Which Sherlock Holmes story is your favourite?

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Hawksmoor at Home

Hawksmoor serve the best steak I have ever tasted in their three restaurants in London – Covent Garden, Spitalfields and Guildhall. I mean it’s melt-in-the-mouth amazing.

We went to the Covent Garden restaurant a few weeks ago as a treat for my husband’s birthday and it was glorious. We started with cocktails in the bar area from their extensive list, it took about 10 minutes to choose as the descriptions were all so wonderful. In the end I went for a Hawksmoor Fizz and my husband was won over by the description of shipwrecked oak barrels that the brandy for his Shipwreck Sour was aged in.

The decor of the basement restaurant is stunning, with dark wood parquet floor, leather chairs and solid tables it is what I imagine a gentleman’s smoking room to be like (but with no smoke). I almost expected to smell sandalwood when I walked in. There’s a beautiful row of mismatched sliding doors that separates off part of the restaurant and had me hankering for our own version at home.

When I booked the table I mentioned we were celebrating a birthday and the staff were so friendly and gave us each a glass of Prosecco and my husband’s pudding on the house. Ordering is slightly different here if you are having steak. You choose from the different cuts available on the day and order and pay by the weight so that everyone at the table eating steak shares the same cut of meat. Be warned, if you start ordering the Chateaubriand it can get expensive quickly, but there’s also an express menu so it is possible to spend much less.

We had a fabulous birthday lunch, the highlight for me (apart from the steak) was the peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice-cream. Heaven in each salty, nutty, creamy, caramel mouthful.

This was our second visit to the Hawksmoor but for us it’s the kind of place we’d only go to as a real treat. But now Hawksmoor have put their recipes in a book ‘Hawksmoor at Home’ I can try to recreate the dishes at home.

Hawksmoor At Home

Don’t think it’s just steak in this book, the recipes are so varied and there’s lots of information. The sauces are inspiring, the Stilton Hollandaise recipe is at the top of my list to try. As I’ve mentioned before I’m quite scared of cooking seafood but the guides on preparing seafood in this book are clear and not at all scary looking. The cocktails sound delicious and there is a whole chapter on trifles.

So far I’ve made the Potted Smoked Mackerel which was very fishy but creamy too and had a nice tang of horseradish. The pickled cucumber to go with it is really simple but tasted wonderful and cut through the buttery fish perfectly.

You can order Hawksmoor At Home for £20 and all proceeds go to Action Against Hunger. It says on the website that shipping is ten days but mine was delivered within four days.

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Splendid Stamps from Yellow Owl Workshop

I’ve written about the LCD card from Yellow Owl Workshop before but I had to mention their stamps. There are some nice scenic stamp sets which would be great for kids but there’s lots of grown-up stamps too, I’m particularly hankering after the ones in their stamp activity kits section.

Make sure you take all the credit for your culinary creations and label your food gifts with this lovely red ‘From the kitchen of…’ stamp set.

From the kitchen of stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

If you like to share a good book but also like to get them back, stamp your books with this bright green stamp. That owl will give any greedy book borrowers a stern look.

Book plate stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

Or stamp your own place cards, gift tags or noughts and crosses game. These are all $19.50 and include a natural rubber stamp mounted on a maple block, ink pad and coordinating coloured pencil. I may have to explain the mix-tape gift tag to my younger gift recipients but I’m really hankering after this one.

Mixtape stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

Yellow Owl also have some cute place stamp sets. London features stamps of Big Ben and a double-decker bus, and just look at the Paris one below with the Eiffel Tower and café table and chairs. There are also sets for New York, San Francisco and Italy.

Paris stamp set = Yellow Owl Workshop

If you want to have a go at carving your own stamp Yellow Owl Workshop sell a kit to help you do just that. It comes with a Print Workshop book autographed by the author Christine Schmidt, a lino cutter and blade set, rubber block to carve your stamp from and an array of envelopes, cards and gift tags for you to show off your stamp creations. If you’re not confident carving freehand there are some templates included to help you. All this for $40 which I think is pretty good.

Carve a stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

What stamp would you create?

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