What’s new with Bamboo? My top picks.

Bamboo, cane, rattan whatever you to call it, it continues to look good in the home bringing a light airy feel. I remember bamboo furniture from the 1970’s before it was shunted off to the conservatory.  So, it’s good the see bamboo taking its place front and centre of the living space once more.  There are some great pieces to bring both a natural and casual feel, plus pieces crafted to give elegance. Yes elegance with bamboo is very doable.

Thought I’d take a trawl through the virtual high street to see what I liked and share it with you to see if you like it too.  Here are my favourite picks with the reasons I love ’em.

This Curved Rattan Bed Frame is from Anthroplogie’s US site just tucking in under $2000 for the king size.  If I could afford (I can’t) I would be making that purchase now…. it would look great in my bedroom.  Well maybe not as the bedroom is now but I would certainly put the effort to getting it look great. If you want to see the bed frame in all its glory check out Ave Style bedroom reveal

Anthropologie rattan bed

Next is a timeless staple rattan chair can be placed in any room of the house, living room, bedroom, bathroom making it a very versatile and movable piece.  Give it your own style with a cushion or two.  This is the  Agen Rattan/Bamboo chair from good old IKEA and at £22 you can’t go wrong.  If you’re looking for a house warming something for someone just starting out on their own this would make a special gift. Better than a set of glasses and something they will keep for a long long time.

Ikea Rattan Agen Chair

What about this little Miroco Rattan Bench from Oliver Bonas £295.  It would sit nicely in the hall, we all need somewhere to perch when we are struggling to put those shoes on. Equally it would make a statement in a modern kitchen for that extra bit of occasional seating around that communal table.  Again a bit of cushionating ties it in with your decor.

Oliver Bonas Miroco Rattan Bench

Now I do like a little coffee table, so useful and as it happens I picked this little gem up at a local antique street market, cost me £5 and I’ve been using it a lot.  It’s very light so can easily be moved to wherever coffee arises. I think that’s one of the things I like about this type of material is it’s so easily moved.

bamboo table

Here’s a more modern take from Maisons Du Monde  £68.99,  the small coral colour coffee table in the foreground with the curved bamboo tripod legs.

maisons du monde rattan coffee table

So there is more to bamboo than patio furniture, the the odd piece nestles rather well into most decors, with enduring potential to happily blend alongside the trends of the future.

Hope you enjoyed my whistle-stop tour. What’s your experience of bamboo been?

Bamboo, rattan , cane furniture

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A walk in the Derbyshire dales, Wye Dale and beyond

Ever feel you need a bit of an uplift, I sometimes do, and going out into the countryside never fails to do the job, rain or shine.  It was an exceptionally hot weekend up here in the North of England. Being out in the garden or the local park is great but getting into wide open spaces is even better, and living in Derbyshire as I do there’s a lot of open space right on my doorstep.  So, I thought I’d share with you a favourite walks I did on the weekend in case you’re craving a bit of open space too.

Now I’m not difficult to please when I go out for a walk:

  • I like a few ups and downs in equal measures.  Not so fond of flat walks.
  • I don’t like to see a soul, except for Mr Husband of course. The odd passing walker is absolutely fine but being in a long line and waiting at stiles is not good in my books. OK, I concede I may be a bit selfish when it comes to walking.  I avoid the popular walks especially on the weekend, when it’s just too busy for me.
  • I also love a walk  long enough to justify a bit of a packed lunch.  A couple of homemade sandwiches, yum.

So you see I am easily pleased…….wouldn’t you agree??

This walk I’m going to share ticks all those boxes.  I’ve walked it a few times but on the weekend I decided to walk it backwards, you know starting at the end and ending at the start.  It’s funny how different a walk is when you walk it in the other direction. I’ll give location and stats details at the end, but for now just enjoy the walk.

The walk begins in the Topley Pike layby overlooking Wye Dale and Chee Dale. Why I love this walk is it has huge variety of terrain and generally…. stuff.   Much of the walk is high up on the hillside where you have far reaching views over rolling green fields divided by grey dry-stone walls characteristic of the region.  Very inquisitive black and white cows are dotted throughout.

Soon the walk took us across a wildflower meadow, which a couple of weeks ago was full of buttercups but this weekend a variety of flowers, grasses and cow parsley had taken over.

wild flowers

We were next walking through sheep territory, too steep for cows

…….before a sharp decent into Chee Dale.  A perfect setting for a sit and a drink while spotting the wildlife.  There’s something so soothing about a running stream, don’t you think?  As I mentioned this was an exceptionally hot day and the large horned cows put on the hillside to manage the grass had also made their way down to the River Wye to have a paddle.

long horned cow in river

A butterfly posed for me on the bridge

butterfly on River Wye

Ducklings played in the gentle rapids

ducks in river

and a Grey Wagtail sat still enough for me to take this picture.

Grey wagtail on River Wye

After a short wildlife spotting rest we crossed the river

river

….and slowly took the path up the other side of the valley.  Luckily this was a shady part of the walk.  Eventually we popped out in the little village of Wormhill.

The walk took us to the rear of the farms of Wormhill, across more high-topped open fields.  We then took a bit of a loop up from the head of Monk’s Dale up the wide grassy floor of Peter Dale.  On reaching Dale Head it was steeply upwards again towards Hargatewell before dropping back down into Wormhill again.

This time we took the path through Old Hall Farm and walked in the direction of the quarry in the distance.  It gives a great view of an industrial landscape. This picture was taken from the starting point of this walk.

quarry

There was now an overall downwards push back to the Wye Dale with open fields to one side and thankfully tall trees on the other, which meant we were in shade……we were very hot and desperate for a cold drink, I knew we had a steep finish. To be honest my desire to take photos had waned somewhat by this point.

After a steep downwards path we were back at the bottom of the dale and thankfully there was a bike hire hut where they had a few ices for sale.  I can’t remember the last time I had an ice lolly but I was ready for this one.  The final climb up to the top where the car was parked was not as steep as I remember, I think I was in ‘head down and get up there’ mode.  The drive home is less than 10 mins so we were soon relaxing.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my meander and it’s inspired you to get out and explore a remote spot where you live.

Walk in the Derbyshire Dales Wye Valley wild flowers

The details

The walk starts from Topley Pike layby (Latitude, Longitude: 53.249, -1.833) on the A6 heading from Buxton to Bakewell.  Take the footpath to Blackwell, then down to Chee Dale. Ascend up to Wormhill and navigate paths to the meeting of Monk’s Dale and Peter Dale. Head up Peter Dale to Dale Head then navigate paths to Hargatewell before following the road back to Wormhill.  Take the footpath through Old Hall Farm and follow it towards, and then adjacent to the quarry and back to Wye Dale. Finally cross the bridge over the Monsel Trail and back up the dale side to the layby.  This gives you an idea but you will need to fine tune the details on a map. I used OS Landranger 1:50000 Sheet 119 Buxton, Matlock and Dove Dale.

The Fitbit Stats: 10 miles, 240 active minutes, 117 flights of stairs. Total time of walking, stopping and enjoying 5 hours 15 mins.

 

Explore the World of Wedgwood

Was out and about on the weekend, and ventured to The World of Wedgwood. I’ve been meaning to go for sometime but just not got round to it.  Well last weekend was a rainy day (nothing new there) so needed to go somewhere undercover and this was perfect.  The factory site has been recently redeveloped and has a very contemporary look and feel and with blue sky would have looked even better.

wedgwood shop 5

I took a look around the museum, which led you on a journey from the first ceramic production at the Etruria works in 1759 right through to present day, follow the link if you want more history.

World of Wedgwood

Being someone who likes to experiment it was fascinating to see all the original trial samples for achieving the colours and finishes.  If you’re looking for design inspiration these kinds of collections are a must.  It was interesting how some of the oldest pieces were more in line with today’s tastes than those of the early to mid-1900 when from my point of view design appears to have lost its way a little.

I was especially surprised by the contemporary look of the plain kitchen everyday ware, off-white in colour it wouldn’t look out of place in any modern apartment – I looked for a picture on the online collection, but can’t find it, hmmm. Note to self…. take more notes!

Of course there was the opportunity to make purchases in their flagship store, which as you can see above was a visual feast.  And if tea is your thing, then in amongst the wares is a tea bar (they call it the Tea Emporium) where you can order from a vast array of speciality teas, all served in Wedgwood china of course.  For something a bit more special there is a elegant modern tea room serving afternoon teas.  Take a look below at the creature made of plates and cups, it was huge and very impressive.

wedgwood bull

 

We choose a bite to eat in the Dining Hall, which used to be the canteen for the hundreds of factory workers.  Unlike the refined shopping and tea areas they had retained the industrial feel in the decor of Dining Hall.  The food was delicious, a lot better than what the factory workers were given I think.

I did make a purchases from the pop up retail store on the site, some everyday dinner plates, only 6 – they were actually Royal Doulton, (Hemingway, Knotted) but as I learnt they are all part of the same group now (Fiskars) so didn’t feel too guilty and with 25% off it would have been rude not to.

Hope my little visit has whet your appetite, you can get all the details from the World of Wedgwood site.

In case you didn’t know Stoke-on-Trent is home to many British Ceramic factories so, if you are in the area you can tour factories from the likes of the Moorcroft, Emma Bridgewater and Middleport Pottery home of Burleigh, who incidentally are the makers of the dinner service bargain I picked up in Lancaster not so long ago 😍😍😍.

Burleigh ware

 

 

Design enhances science

Having had a long career in science, I love it when science and design come together. An instance of this I was reminded of the other night while watching the BBC Horizon programme (I do like a good documentary).  In case you didn’t see, it was all about the moving of the Halley VI Research Station, a global earth, atmospheric and space weather observation centre in Antarctica. Check out the British Antarctica Survey website if you’re interested in reading more.  By the way that is where I have got these fabulous pictures from – no I’ve not been lucky enough to have taken these myself on my phone camera.

The Halley VI British Antarctica Survey Research Station

Halley VI Antarctica Research Station

Halley VI Antarctica Research Station

The Halley VI Research Station was put into operation in 2012 and I imagine the primary design aim was for the structure to be 100% practical for the job in hand, allowing robust scientific research to be carried out in extreme conditions AND giving the Station the ability to be relatively easily moved across the ice and out of danger (it’s on massive skis).  Film maker Natalie Hewit documented for Horizon, the moving process that occurred earlier this year.

However, in addition to ticking the practical boxes you can see the design aesthetics were not ignored.  They could have just produced square uninspiring blocks, but instead they choose to produce a science inspired design using vibrant colours.  I love the modular approach, suggesting growth, and when viewed from above it reminds me of a schematic chain of sugars, but maybe that just my constant craving of carbohydrates.

Halley VI Antarctica Research Station

Carbohydrate chain

I would imagine the occupants get a great uplift when viewing this structure whether the sun is beaming or a blizzard is ripping through the landscape. Unfortunately the Halley Station is not occupied at the moment due to the uncertainty of the ice shelf stability. Hope they get back in soon.

I think both the design and work undertaken at the Halley Station is awe-inspiring. Is this somewhere you would like to visit? ☃️☃️☃️

 

Get the perfect pouffe on a budget

This is a short post to provide some very light relief today. Just had to share with you the fabulous pouffe I bought the other day, with my groceries.  I know, I just popped in for some daily staples but couldn’t resist as it ticked all my ‘What I look for in a Pouffe’ boxes

  • the right height for the feet
  • nice and big to stably hold a tray if needed
  • sturdy fabric, you put your feet on it don’t you know
  • round, round, round, always beats square for me
  • needs to look good

This is what I found, they actually call it a bean drum, to me it’s a timeless Monochrome Geometric Design Pouffe and yes it’s from Aldi.

Enjoying the data as I do, here are the stats. Kirkton House Zig Zag Bean Drum  60x60x30cm £29

 

Adli black and white geometric pouffe

I tried to put together a montage of similars for you to browse but struggled to find any comparable in size and price,  but here’s the best three I could find.

pouffes asda , maisons du monde

So the lesson here appears to be it’s always worth checking out the grocery store to see if they have any home furnishing bargains, but remember food is always the priority. One cannot live on decor alone.

You may have seen my Facebook post about this last week when I bought the pouffe.  I use Facebook  for quick ‘of the moment’ info.  I’ve also begun a Pinterest Board with a wider range of stylish pouffes for you to browse if that’s your thing.  Why not give them a follow.

DIY – How to make a ‘family’ kitchen rug

I want to share with you my attempt at being creative, I do try my best.  This is a rug I made from the off-cut of sisal matting used to carpet our VERY small entrance hall.  I bought it online as it was the best price but even buying the smallest piece I could, it still left a substantial bit left over.

Now my kitchen floor has tiles, which I was not going to change, just too expensive and too much hassle for me.  However, I get cold toes very quickly so I put two and two together and made…… well you be the judge of that.

So where does the family come into this little story. Well, I made it at the time The Son was just about to move out (again) and was finally sorting out his stuff. I don’t enjoy nagging but really, I sometimes despair 🤦.  In the ‘things to chuck’ bag was a very old and worn pair of jeans and me, always looking for ways to recycle thought I could keep a piece of him in the house. Creepy I hear you think, but really I was just being practical as I need something hard-wearing to edge my rug.  I then raided Mr Husband’s drawers and found an old pair of his jeans (from the 1970’s me thinks).  Two sides of the rug was to be Mr Husband’s legs and the opposite sides The Son’s legs, from the jeans of course.

Here’s some pictures, you will see this is not a craft master class.

 

 

Now if like me you have limited craft skills here are the details.  With the aid of a sewing machine I joined and hemmed the cut denim.  Is it just me but I find sewing quite stressful and just pray I can get to the end of what I need to do without the bobbin running out, I know I need more practice. I then with the aid of a glue gun, stuck the hemmed denim to the rug edges front and back.  The back edge I also taped to give a bit of extra fixing.

To my amazement two years later this has all stayed intact despite extensive wear and tear as this is the route to and from the front door.  To be honest the denim is getting a bit dirty so now might be time for some fresh fabric.  Maybe this time something from The Daughter’s wardrobe.

Let me know if you’ve tried similar 😘

 

Explore Leek, Staffordshire UK

I was out and about on the weekend to do some much needed shopping.  It was a sunny Saturday so I thought I’d take a trip to Leek, which is about 12 miles from where I live. It’s a little old market town nestled in the Staffordshire moorlands.  The surrounding scenery and walking opportunities are stunning if that’s your thing and Leek would be a great base for this.  It’s also a great place to have a good old browse around the architecture, covered markets and local independent shops, of which there are plenty. So if you’ve never been to Leek and your passing that way it’s worth a stop, maybe for a bit of lunch.

Here are a few pictures I took during the day to tempt you.

This is the Nicholson War Memorial dedicated in 1925 and just a taster of some of the eye-catching structures. The town is stuffed with architecturally and historically interesting buildings both public and private, dating back to the Victorian and earlier periods…. you can read more on the Wikipedia page.

Nicholson War Memorial Leek

The old market square holds an antique / bric-a-brac market every Saturday with many bargains to be had, including the old bamboo side table I bought  (see it later).  The square is surrounded by independent shops and cafes, which seemed to have multiplied enormously since my first visit about 3 years ago.

leek market square

Alcove provides an eclectic mix of home wares and it was here I once bought a very nice hook for the kitchen. I always pick up a loaf of bread at the  Live Love Loaf  bakery, why wouldn’t you? This time it was tomato bread, which went perfectly with Mr Husband’s homemade hummus.

There are two undercover markets as well.  One is just off the market square with butchers, fishmonger and a greengrocer to name but a few.  The second, Gettliffe’s Yard is tucked away at the other end of the high street and houses independent shops with a focus on crafts and decor. There’s a great space at the end with restaurant seating so you can sit under a glass roof, getting the sun but avoiding the cold, which is always good in my books. A hidden gem of a place

The trip was finished with lunch at the Cock Inn, a Joules pub with a long and engaging brewing history, where I sampled a glass of the Joules pale ale  – it not often we can sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the weekend, but its highly recommended. And to finish here’s pics of the bamboo sidetable and the bread and hummus 😘😘😘

Hope this may have inspired you to explore Leek and spend a few hours of happy wandering 🌞🌞🌞

Capture