I am a freelance interiors journalist, working for a range of UK magazines. Click here to view my portfolio of published work.
Click here to order my book Chic Boutiquers At Home, published by Ryland Peters and Small, October 2015.
Click here to order my book Design Bloggers At Home, published by Ryland Peters and Small, May 2014.
You can SEE A PREVIEW of one of the homes featured in the book on The Guardian website, there was a lovely feature about it in The New York Times, and it's been featured in many other titles, including You (The Daily Mail), Stella (Sunday Telegraph), Elle Decoration, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes & Antiques, Grazia, Marie Claire, Mollie Makes, Good Homes, Redbook (USA), Country Living (USA), Red - Hearst Home (Italy) and Psychologies.
See our London home in Homes & Antiques.
See our Cotswold wedding in Elle Marriage (Japan), Mollie Makes magazine and on the Liberty blog.
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These rather lovely hand-painted wooden birds belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Now, they’re propped up on a shelf in our home. They’re labelled, rather smartly, as: Some Indian Birds – and I’m relieved to see that they’re ‘approved by the Government of Mysore’, which sounds awfully official. I love the coral-coloured paper box almost as much as the birds themselves. Now I know what ‘The Southern Red Whiskered Bulbul’ looks like. Just in case.
This year, I managed to catch the wild garlic before it flowered and went bitter. (Last year’s attempt was a sad hashtag foraging fail, which involved ‘grassy’ meals, much scraping-out of jars and a fair amount of swearing.) Luckily, my savvy mother-in-law knows a secret foraging spot in a Cotswold wood, so, at the weekend, my team of un-willing volunteers and I merrily filled several carrier bags with fresh leaves. I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s excellent recipe, which includes walnuts instead of pine nuts and – instead of tasting weird and semi-poisonous like my previous attempts, it’s delicious! It’s best stirred through pasta or smeared on bruschetta, but you can use it for seasoning other dishes, too. It’s basically potent garlic flavour, captured in a jar. Thank goodness it’s actually edible for once.
I do like a rustic utensil. And, what with bearded ‘Barn the Spoon’ a-whittlin’ away over in East London, Hachet and Bear carving cute coffee scoops down in the south-west and Herriot Grace spooning around in Canada, I’ve had a growing desire to give spoon whittling a go…
After all, how hard can it be? (Pretty hard, it turns out.)
And so it was, on a cold, winters day, a group of us gathered together in a manger (we really did) for a festive spoon whittling session.
Despite the best efforts of our excellent and experienced carpentry tutor – the sort of chap who bodges chairs for fun in the forest, hand-crafts all his own woodworking tools and can knock up a set of ladles in a weekend – I managed to shred my hands to ribbons fairly early on, but gaffa-taped them up so as not to ‘stain the spoon’. (This is not best practice, but it did the trick).
We were using locally-foraged walnut, which is a hardwood, and, well, pretty hard to whittle. We started off by splitting a log in half, drawing a rudimentary spoon shape on the flat surface with a pencil and hacking off the edges with an axe. Then, we got down to whittling.
It took a while. After four hours I had created a sort of club, which, to be honest, looks more like a hair brush than a spoon. It is definitely a ‘work-in-progress’.
Now it’s in the freezer, to keep the wood fresh until my hands have healed and I’m ready to finish it. It’s completely un-usable at present, but it has been the source of much merriment among my dear friends and family. So that’s nice.