Archive for the ‘bookmarks’ Category

Bookmarks: Decorating with Colour

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

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Farrow & Ball 'Decorating with Colour' book by Ros Byam Shaw with photography by Jan Baldwin

This is one of our favourite books at the moment – we’re dipping in & out of it all the time!

brightly coloured home office

It’s entitled, Farrow & Ball – Decorating with Colour.

title page from Farrow & Ball 'Decorating with Colour' book by Ros Byam Shaw with photography by Jan Baldwin

It’s beautifully written by Ros Byam Shaw with stunning photography by Jan Baldwin.

mahogany paintwork

We tour around Europe, visiting some truly gorgeous homes that incorporate Farrow & Ball products into their decorating schemes.

log pile

There’s no doubting that Ros is an expert when it comes to this much-loved British brand, this being her second book in collaboration with them!

mosaic of painted doorways

Her first book concentrated solely on English houses, but in this tome we’re also treated to peeks inside the homes of Farrow & Ball lovers in France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Denmark, Norway & Switzerland.

pair of purple upholstered armchairs

There’s a great variation in the types of property & spaces featured – from country farms to urban villas. They have broadly traditional, rustic country and contemporary styles – but in truth they’re truly eclectic, their owners skilfully mixing items from many styles & eras.

room with white-painted wooden rafters

They’re furnished with antique, vintage, retro and industrial pieces.

red kitchen wall with white area painted unevenly with a roller

In addition to having owners with great taste, they all have one more important thing in common…

exterior paintwork

…the magic touch of Farrow & Ball.

Arcana table and chairs

We love Farrow & Ball ourselves – the tradition, the integrity, the colours, the eccentric names!

Contemporary chapter from the Farrow & Ball 'Decorating with Colour' book by Ros Byam Shaw with photography by Jan Baldwin

This book is a must for anyone who shares this love – or for anyone who likes beautiful interiors.

Royal Welcome chapter from the Farrow & Ball 'Decorating with Colour' book by Ros Byam Shaw with photography by Jan Baldwin

We like the fact that each photograph is accompanied by a short descriptive passage that helpfully includes the specific paint shades used in each space.

doorways

The author also shares each owner’s story, the property history, architectural highlights and details about certain pieces of furniture & art works.

wide open shelving

The book is divided up into broad sections which cover the decorating principles relating to Classic, Contemporary and Country.

neutral paint colour charts

Towards the end of the book there’s also practical information about products, finishes and colour groupings that work well together.

Neutral Territory chapter from the Farrow & Ball 'Decorating with Colour' book by Ros Byam Shaw with photography by Jan Baldwin

The author also takes us inside her own home – and a beautiful home it is too – with a modern, country, rustic style. We love the house and could really relate to the section where she talks about the challenge of a poorly lit space – in her case, an inner hall. She plucked up the courage to paint this space in Farrow & Ball ‘Mahogany’.

walls in hallway painted black

It’s counter intuitive, but as Ros points out, the darker shades create atmospheric & dramatic spaces – and actually make them look bigger. She says that it still gives her a thrill every time she enters. We’ve been toying with the idea of painting our landing area & upstairs lounge space in a dark shade. This section of the book has finally convinced us to go for it!

john name and green art glass on a shelf

We know what we’re going to paint – and when. There’s just one last question to resolve though – Mahogany, Tanner’s Brown, Pelt, Off-Black, Pitch-Black or Downpipe??  We’ll flick through the book once again to look at how the various shades look in real life.

Dark Drama chapter from the Farrow & Ball 'Decorating with Colour' book by Ros Byam Shaw with photography by Jan Baldwin

This book comes highly recommended. It’s a comprehensive guide – and will be an endless source of inspiration.

[This review is brought to you in collaboration with Farrow & Ball]

Bookmarks: Pie

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

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'Pie' book by Genevieve Taylor

Today’s Bookmarks review features Pie by Genevieve Taylor. What a treat as we love a good pie… who doesn’t?

foreword in 'Pie' book by Genevieve Taylor

We haven’t met the world’s lone pie-hater yet either!

game pie

Buttery pastry & rich fillings – tasty, hearty & homely. What’s not to like?

salmon encroute

You can, of course, find bad examples – the infamous petrol station pie springs to mind – cold, pale, soggy & bland. A very poor substitute for the wonderful offerings in this book.

apple pie

They’re not difficult things to make. A bit of preparation maybe, but once they’re in the oven, they look after themselves. No last minute running around. Just the gorgeous smell of bubbling fillings &  pastry browning to heighten the appetite.

double crust pie

This book expertly guides you through the whole process.

lamb filo pie

There’s an early chapter covering pastry – different types, methods, techniques & tips.

different pastry recipes

Then lots of examples of what to do with it.

suet pudding

Hot pies, cold pies, sweet & savoury pies.

smoked gammon pie

Pies from Britain & the rest of Europe , North Africa, America and the Caribbean.

leek, bacon and cheese quiche

It features meat & vegetarian options.

Greek pie

Some very traditional pies such as steak & ale, cheese & onion and raised game. Others are far less familiar – Tunisian egg pastry pie, creamed celeriac & Serrano ham tartlets, greengage & ginger strudels.

steak and ale rough puff pie

There are a hundred recipes in all, so you’ll never run out of ideas!

lattice pie pie

The wonderful photography by Mike Cooper is sure to inspire you. The pies are beautifully staged with wooden boards, old knives, vintage enamelware, tins & crockery. The lighting is superb and the images really live.

summer tartlet

Recipes are clear & concise – each neatly fitting onto its own page so there’s no turning backwards & forwards.

Moroccan carrot tart tatin

When it comes to pie, home-made is definitely best so this book is a must for any kitchen shelf. Pies can provide the perfect meal for a relaxed family gathering, a light lunch or a dinner party.

weekend pies

We defy you to read this book and not want to get baking.

smoked salmon tarts

So what’s keeping you – there’s pie to be made!!

stargazy pie

Pie is also available from Hive and Amazon.

Here’s a little preview of the first pie we tried from the book. It’s a leek, blue cheese & wild garlic pie – an interesting combination of ingredients that could all be locally sourced… and truly delicious which is the most important thing. Blog post with recipe to follow in a couple of days!

blue cheese with wild garlic pie

[Many thanks to Bloomsbury for this review copy]

Bookmarks: My Vietnamese Kitchen

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

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cover of "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book with dried noodles, pak choi, lime, chilli, ginger and garlic

My Vietnamese Kitchen is the most recent, successful undertaking of Saigon-born Londoner, Uyen Luu.

title page of "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Amongst other things, she’s a prop stylist, photographer, film-maker and supper club host.

fried fish recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

It’s a gorgeous book – full of culinary delights with striking colour and flavour combinations.

breakfast chapter from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

A distinctive feature is the wonderful photography and superb staging of ingredients & prepared dishes.

rice roll recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

It really makes the food live!

omelette soup recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

The first section covers the wide variety of herbs, spices, rice & noodles that are staples – then moves onto chapters featuring breakfast, soups, snacks, noodles, lunch & dinner and sweets.

herb photo from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Recipes are clear & easy to follow – a quick browse and you’ll want to get cooking at the first opportunity.

beef stew recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Uyen’s mother is a great influence – and there are many family dishes, methods and memories. She also draws in the culture & ceremony of food in Vietnam.

sticky fingers chapter from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Compared to say Chinese, Indian or even Thai food, Vietnamese cuisine is not the most widespread or indeed available outside its own borders. Uyen makes the cuisine very accessible – the book really conveys the fresh, healthy & exciting range of fare.

pork belly recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Whilst dishes are distinctly South East Asian, there’s also a French influence in places. Don’t these filled baguettes look irresistible? A perfect illustration.

sandwich photo in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

The book is a real insight into Vietnamese tastes, lifestyle & customs – and we can thoroughly recommend it as cookery course, travel brochure or food styling guide. You’re also sure to get some interiors inspiration too!

skewer recipe in "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

Also available on Hive, Amazon and our A-store

avocado ice cream from "My Vietnamese Kitchen" cookery book

[Many thanks to Ryland Peters & Small for this review copy]

Bookmarks: The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

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TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales book with a teddy bear and lit candle

This edition of The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen edited by Noel Daniel is a sumptuous collection of the author’s work.

TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales book cover

The book opens with a detailed biography which is truly fascinating.

The Heart and Soul of the Modern Fairy Tale

In describes how Hans rose from humble origins to become one of the most famous authors of the time – much celebrated by society – even fêted by royalty of the day.

The Little Mermaid illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

His father was a shoemaker but had taught himself to read and unusually for the time actually owned a cupboardful of books. He could actually provide his son with “story time” – probably a rare treat for children of the time.

The Swineherd illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

His mother was illiterate, but strongly influenced by the verbal story telling tradition of the region. She was actually deeply superstitious and firmly entrenched in the world of Scandinavian folklore where creatures such as goblins, trolls, witches & spirits roamed.

Thumbelina illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

You can see how the combination of these two important role models would lead Hans on his path to literary fame.

The Princess and the Pea illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Hans himself became a voracious reader and spent much time alone immersed in books. He also had a puppet theatre – no doubt a magical world where he developed story lines & characters, made costumes, adapted language & voices.

The Nightingale illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Another important influence was actually his local asylum! His grandmother tended the garden there and Hans often accompanied her. He would sneak off to the spinning room – the social heart of the place, where old women of the town would tell tales to amuse themselves whilst spinning. It was full of gossip & exciting chatter for a small boy – a place where he could get wrapped up in the oral tradition of peasant folktales. In this world even inanimate objects had their own minds & special powers. An ability to anthropomorphize objects became a hallmark of his work.

The Ugly Duckling illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

He was actually very ambitious and craved recognition. We like this quote of his: “Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg”. A true statement of intent.

The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

His stories have become classics, much loved by successive generations – The Ugly Duckling, The Princess & The Pea, The Tinderbox, The Snow Queen, The Darning Needle, The Little Match Girl – to name but a few.

The Darning Needle illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Each tale has its own dedicated chapter. The title page has a few introductory words encompassing a short overview, origins, influences and other little snippets related to that particular story. Then follows the tale itself with accompanying illustrations.

The Little Match Girl illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

This collection of tales is again illustrated by a wonderful array of artists. The artwork is stunning throughout and everyone will have their own favourites. It might even change with each reading!

The Little Match Girl illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Josef Palecek (The little mermaid), Einar Nerman ( The Swineherd), Katharine Beverley & Elizabeth Ellender (The Snow Queen) are some that particularly caught our eye.

The Snow Queen illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

The Snow Queen illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

The Snow Queen illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

In fact we loved the Snow Queen so much we’ve included 3 illustrations. They were done in the 1920s. The stark black & white with flashes of red is just stunning.

The Tinderbox illustration from TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

 The book closes with artists’ biographies; again well researched & very interesting.

Artist biographies in TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

We reviewed companion publication, The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm last year – it complements this Andersen collection perfectly!

TASCHEN's Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales and Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales books

A wonderful book for adults & children alike – you never know where “story time” might lead!!

The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen is available from its publisher TASCHEN, Amazon and Hive.

[Many thanks to TASCHEN for this review copy]

Bookmarks: Style your Modern Vintage Home: A guide to buying, restoring and styling from the 1920s to 1990s

Friday, September 13th, 2013

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Style Your Modern Vintage Home book with vintage crocheted blanket and bright yellow goose neck desk lamp

Today’s ‘Bookmarks’ review post has a slight twist – and quite exciting to be honest. Well,  it’s not everyday that your own home stares back at you as you turn the pages!

Sarah's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

We’re one of a few houses to be featured in  Style your Modern Vintage Home: A guide to buying, restoring and styling from the 1920s to 1990s.

Our home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

It was written by fellow vintage dealer & blogger, Kate Beavis of Your Vintage Life – and of course we’re very flattered.

Our home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

We’d been looking forward to our copy arriving for weeks and not just because we’re in it. We were also very keen to see how other people style their homes using vintage finds.

Paloma Faith into page in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

Kate managed to bag the chic & stylish Paloma Faith to write the intro – and following it is 150 pages of interior eye candy!

mosaic of vintage homewares in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

It’s packed full of wonderfully decorated homes with vintage pieces from the 1930s all the way through to contemporary retro designs.

Annie's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

Kate features seven different homes across the UK and interviews each of the owners…

Carla's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

…including little snippets on how we achieved our ‘looks’ (ooooh listen to us!! :-) ).

Heather Linnitt's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

Another of our online vintage chums, Heather from Eclectic Chair, is one of the others featured. We’ve long admired the bold & individual decor of her home.

Heather Linnitt's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

We shouldn’t really single one house out though, as they all look great.

60s and 70s chapter

The chapters are broken up into decades with a short introduction about the social history of the time.

vintage kitchenware

Then further sub-divided by room covering topics such as ‘cooking utensils’, ‘furniture’, ‘lighting’ and ‘storage’.

50s tableware

The distinctive looks, shapes & materials of each decade are described & classic pieces from the various eras are highlighted.

50s kitchen

 There are also useful styling tips, cleaning & restoration advice and cautionary notes on avoiding pitfalls.

Heather Linnitt's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

Some of the houses completely recreate the atmosphere of a certain decade…

Anna's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

…others use vintage pieces from various eras for an eclectic look.

Annie's home featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home

Being vintage lovers, it goes without saying that even Kate & Adam’s kids’ rooms are given the treatment!

child's play room with shelves of vintage toys and games

The vintage exterior isn’t ignored either – how to furnish, use and improve gardens and outdoor areas is also covered.

Our garden

At the back of the book you’ll find a directory of places to go to buy vintage homewares in the UK, US and online – and books, magazines and websites to read up on vintage. Great for both old hands or if  you’re just setting out on your vintage journey.

Get Kate’s book on Amazon or Hive