What to sow and grow in May


It’s always around this time of year that I start to get green fingered. I think it must be something to do with the weather. As soon as it starts to warm up I always come up with grand plans of what I’m going to do with the garden, of what I’ll be planting and of how many varieties of fruit and vegetables I’ll be sowing and growing! The trouble is where do you start? Let’s start with some veggies!

May is probably the last month for sowing Brussels sprouts if you want them ready by the end of the year. The same goes for cauliflowers and cabbages (except for next spring’s early varieties). Sow them all indoors or out, depending on the weather. Some can be sown in a temporary seedbed and transplanted later in the year when space becomes available. Although leafy vegetables like kale and spinach can all be sown outdoors now but do prepare to cover them on cold nights. Runner beans, salad leaves in spring onions can all be sown outside now too.

For something a little sweeter then you can opt for rhubarb, melon (you may need a cloche if it’s still chilly), or strawberries – just don’t forget the cream!

Natasha M-J


Curve Appeal


Kitchens that feature sweeping lines and gentle arcs are gathering momentum and becoming an increasingly desired design style. Curved kitchen units provide an unusual focal point in a kitchen and a tactile appeal that invites you to touch and feel its smooth design.  Sleek and curvy units are also a fantastically ergonomic solution to designing a kitchen that feels inviting and comfortable to manoeuvre for every member of the family.


Curved kitchens are particularly well suited to open plan or broken plan living spaces as their soft appearance evokes a relaxed atmosphere and an uninterrupted flow which helps to blend the different ‘zones’ in an open home.


Islands that embrace the curve appeal can bring a real WOW factor to your kitchen. It may be a dramatic and expansive arc or simply a rectangular unit with rounded edges at one or both side that subtly introduces the curved look.

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Images from Woodstock Furniture.

Julie R

Gorgeous gardens in an unforgettable setting – RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show


You’d have been forgiven last week for thinking that someone had forgotten to tell the powers that be that it was actually Spring! I am a fan of British weather and have learnt to always be prepared (by carrying sunglasses AND an umbrella!). I have to say though it’s wonderful that the sun is set to make a comeback this week. As the warmer weather kicks in my thoughts always turn to summer. Summer plans, Summer shows, Summer holidays – with maybe a Pimm’s or two along the way!


Talking of Summer shows, one of my favourites has to be RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. For gorgeous gardens, fabulous florals & fantastic shopping in an unforgettable setting, Hampton Court it has to be! The show is open from 10AM – 730PM from Tuesday 3rd July – Saturday 8th July and 10AM – 530PM  Sunday 9th July. A special preview evening is taking place on Tuesday 2nd July from 5PM – 10.30PM where you can be among the first to enjoy the stunning show gardens alongside live music and fireworks! There is a preview video of the preview evening  below to give you an idea of what will be taking place :


RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is more than just a flower show. It brings together some of the greatest garden designers and innovators whose creations are things of beauty we can all enjoy in a truly magnificent setting.


I for one can’t wait!

Natasha M-J



Tetrad – Anything else is just a sofa!

Empire Sofa & Empire Stool

Tetrad are the designers and creators of beautifully hand crafted upholstered furniture. They have produced the finest quality sofas, chairs and stools for over 45 years in both fabric and hide from their Lancashire base and factory. Famous for its exceptional quality washable loose cover models and fixed cover pieces, the Tetrad collections offer endless choice and the perfect combination of style and fine craftsmanship to suit any interior. Their expert craftsmanship and the pride they take in their beautifully hand-crafted furniture, have elevated them to an industry leading position.

Tetrad’s collaboration with Ralph Lauren  is a perfect celebratory partnership which explores the fusion between classic British design and the epitome of the American dream represented by Ralph Lauren. Pictured above is the award winning Gatsby sofa featured in Ralph Lauren Signature fabrics. These statement sofas are sure to provide a focal point in any room that they adorn!


All Tetrad sofas, chairs and stools are made to a terrifically high standard with hardwood frames which are built to last, coupled with a variety of suspension options and covered in high quality fabric or hide thus giving you both choice and fine quality. Tetrad understand that your furniture is not just functional but also very much a central feature of your home, their team of designers work tirelessly to develop new designs and ranges which will suit all tastes and fit any home!

Natasha M-J


Clean Burning Wood Stoves Cut Health Costs


As a leading manufacturer of wood stoves and fireplaces, Jøtul has pioneered the development of clean burning wood stoves since the early 90’s. For as many years, the company has worked actively towards governments, environmental and branch organizations nationally and abroad, in order to spread the importance of clean-burn.

Today many municipalities in Norway, but also abroad, fund replacements of older woodstoves with new clean burning stoves.

“It’s important for us to inform not only the governments and organisations of the importance of clean burning wood stoves, but also the consumer. That new clean burning wood stoves reduce particulate emission with up to 90% and use over 40% less wood due to higher efficiency, helps the consumer make an economic, healthy and environmentally friendly choice”, say René Christensen.

Jøtul supports the recently released independent report “Cleaner wood burning cuts health costs”, written by Sintef and Norwegian Energy for the Norwegian Directorate of Environment.

Faster replacement of old stoves, better maintenance and several other measures can provide a climate benefit while reducing health costs from wood burning with several billions a year. These are the estimates of the recently published report Norwegian Energy and SINTEF made for the Directorate of Environment.

In conjunction with the Directorate of Environment’s work with short-lived climate forcers, ie emissions that for a limited period contributes to warming or cooling of the atmosphere and air pollution, we have studied measures for cleaner fuelwood.

Six initiatives were assessed

The report examines six different wood burning initiatives and how they by 2050, can reduce emissions of short-lived climate forcers.

  1. Forced replacement of older stoves (sold before 1998) to newer stoves.
  2. Forced replacement of older stoves to newer and the best wood and pellet stoves.
  3. Improved combustion technology for those with newer woodstoves.
  4. Maintenance and repair of newer wood stoves.
  5. Electrostatic particle purification of newer wood stoves.
  6. Improved regulation of draught with fluegasfan for newer wood stoves.

Climate and health

Woodburning emit components such as methane, carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, sulfur and particulate matter (particles). Particulate matter consists of black carbon, which has warming effect, and organic carbon, which has cooling effect. All emissions affect the climate, and several of them, especially particulate matter, have health effects. The report was primarily made to calculate the reduction in emissions, which can be achieved by implementing the six initiatives. In addition, the authors estimated socio-economic profitability including measures the health effect.

Climate in the short term

The initiatives reduce the climate impact of Norwegian emissions in a 10-year perspective. This is equivalent to about 2 percent of the warming from Norwegian CO2 emissions. Yet, longterm the climate effect is limited. The reason is that short-lived climate forcers only stay a short time in the atmosphere, and CO2 emissions from wood are considered climate-neutral.

The health benefits can be significant

The report also shows that the initiatives have big health-related impact. Woodburning accounts for about half the emissions of particulate matter in Norway.  In addition to road traffic, woodburning is one of the main sources of bad air in cities and towns on cold winter days. By implementing the initiative “Forced replacement of old stoves to newer and the best wood and pellet stoves”, health costs can be reduced by over a billion kroner in 2025.

Based on calculations health-related benefits for all initiatives will increase until 2050, under the assumption that the extent of initiatives increase. According to the estimates all initiatives will be socio-economic profitable.

Estimates, not precise estimates

The authors of the report have used established valuation factors, ie health benefits specified in kroner per kilo aerosol emissions, to calculate the value of the health effects of these measures. It is not possible to conclude on how much and how consumers will heat with wood in the future. Whether how considerable reductions in emissions the initiatives will give, nor the value of health-damage. Such assessments can therefore never be completely precise, and are only estimates based on the best available knowledge.

Greater health benefits in the big cities

The calculations above are for towns with up to 100,000 inhabitants. If the initiatives are implemented solely in locations with more than 100 000 inhabitants (Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Drammen, Fredrikstad), estimated health benefits per kilogram aerosol emissions, are estimated to be more than seven times higher.

Municipalities have several instruments

The report describes some existing instruments to reduce emissions from wood burning. Funding to replace old stoves found in individual municipalities and these can the report be expanded and strengthened. In addition, support is provided to implement measures to improve maintenance, electrostatic particle purification and improved restriction. The municipality may regulate emissions from wood-burning if there is a risk of violating pollution regulations minimum particulate matter. The report notes that the prohibition of the use of older stoves can be considered either permanently or intermittently and / or areas with high particulate matter levels.

Tetrad: A Fresh Perspective


The Ruffle Sofa in Viola with scatter cushions in

Custard Linen Mix, Bloomsbury Brushed Cotton & Varese Rose Velvet.

The FF collection from Tetrad, bursting with colour, texture and magnificent shapely designs, has expanded its offering of models and fabrics. The fresh and vibrant pieces which make up this range are distinctly different to the brand’s acclaimed classic and heritage collections, yet beautifully demonstrate Tetrad’s growth as a company and finesse for design diversity. Its expansion is testament to the popularity of this beautiful collection. 

Ruffle Bloomsbury

Ruffle Snuggler in Bloomsbury with Scatter Cushions in Viola Velvet & Varese Rose Velvet.

Firstly, let’s talk fabrics. There are many ways to uplift your living space but introducing fresh and fantastic new fabrics into your décor is one of the simplest ways to redefine a scheme that inspires and delights. Tetrad have added three gorgeous new fabric choices to the FF Collection: Brushed Cotton fabric is now available in eight colourways, Linen Mix available in seven and Velvet in nine shades. Inspired by Pantone’s colour of the year choice for 2018, these stylish new shades of violet and dusky pink tones pay homage to the colour of the moment with elegance and sophistication.

Ruffle Corner 02

The Ruffle Chaise Sofa in Dusk with Scatter Cushions in

Viola velvet, Bloomsbury brushed cotton & Custard Linen Mix.

An exciting new model has also been introduced to the FF collection: The Ruffle Chaise Sofa, a generously proportioned and wonderfully sumptuous modern piece sure to be the design anchor of any living space.  

 As with all furniture by Tetrad, the FF group appeals to those in search of craftsmanship, with every element thoughtfully designed and lovingly produced. The collection will charm those in favour of a vibrant palette and innovative shapes.

Beth D

Outdoor Living at its finest with Apropos

If there is one thing that’s certain, about living in Britain today, it’s that we can never be truly certain of the weather that’s heading our way. While you won’t be able to stop us talking about it, come rain or shine, a soggy set of garden furniture does tend to put us off making the most of our outdoor areas. With our not-so-great British weather stopping us from venturing into the garden most of the year, Apropos aim to provide a practical and beautiful solution with this exciting bespoke offering. Glass and ‘thermally broken’ aluminium verandas provide a stunning and practical addition ensuring the outside temperature has no effect on the ambient temperature inside. Transforming your garden into a versatile space and extension of your home that can be enjoyed year-round.

Apropos Outdoor Living carries with it the outstanding reputation and heritage of Apropos Conservatories, specialists in the design and creation of bespoke structures in glass and aluminium; renowned ‘Architecture in Glass’ experts. Apropos’ cutting edge outdoor collection has everything you need to embrace outdoor living in style. Featuring verandas, glazed garden rooms and canopies, each incorporate innovative features such as invisible fixings which optimise function without sacrificing on form. It’s these detailed fixtures that ensure rainwater drains freely out of site, ensuring that your frameworks remain rust free and low maintenance whilst your structure stays in prestige condition. Garden rooms are created with impressively slim sight lines providing almost entirely uninterrupted views of your outdoor space. Clever features are also found in the sliding doors; double rollers and cleats deliver reliable and smooth operation, allowing you to open your glazed garden room with just the push or pull of a single panel.

Veranda 1
Whichever outdoor living space you choose from Apropos, you can be confident that its attention to detail, using only the finest materials and craftsmanship, delivers enviable style alongside peerless performance, ensuring you can be up close and personal with everyone’s favourite topic of conversation, without suffering the usual consequences.

Easter Craft Ideas

easter egg words

The Easter holidays are almost upon us and we need to keep the children occupied with more than just chocolate eggs! They love crafting don’t they? I know mine do. Ok so you may be finding stickers and/or sparkly things on your things for days following but their proud little faces when they make something themselves make it all worth it don’t they?

We have put together a few ideas of things you can make that are Easter themed. These projects for suitable for all ages from beginners to people who are feeling a little more adventurous! Let’s start with an easy one (this may be slightly messy but it’s a relatively simple one!). Take some eggs, poke a small hole in one end and drain the eggs out. You must rinse them out and wait for them to be completely dry, then you have a perfect canvas to work with! Children can paint bunnies or chicks or funny faces on their shells. If you have time then add some wool hair and even a hat!

For an Easter themed rice krispie cake, and to rid the house of the last of the Easter chocolate, replace the rice krispies with shredded wheat and pop a mini egg in the ‘nest’ for a easy snack that children and adults will love. These could be a great gift for neighbours too! If you like to send out Easter cards then this is another great thing that the children can get involved with. Hand prints make the perfect bunny shape and will provide a lovely keepsake.


One of my favourites (and this one most definitely has to be done outside, and away from Grandma’s favourite rose bush unless you want to be struck off the Christmas card list forevermore) is something we call egg smash canvas. This is a real hit with children and it’s a great activity for both younger and older ones. Carefully drain eggs as above and once dry fill them up with paint. To seal, use tissue paper and carefully glue over the top of the eggshell. Take all your eggs outside and set up your canvas and then comes the fun part! You throw each egg at the canvas and watch the paint splash over it as the shell smashes. Each canvas will be totally different and children just LOVE this one!


If you do decide to do any of these, we would love to see your pictures!

Happy crafting.

Natasha M-J


Interior Trend Watch – Geometrics


We love pastels. Pink, Lavender, baby blue – all of them! They have been popular in interiors for a long time, and with good reason. Calm and subtle tones create calm and subtle living areas – on this we wholeheartedly agree. But you know something? Now is the time to mix things up a little. Bold is back. Although we love muted tones, now it’s time to inject some personality and pizazz back into our interiors and geometrics are just the perfect way to do that!

Before you panic and rid yourself of every pastel tone within reach, we are not suggesting that you transform your home into a mish mash of geometric patterns and designs on every surface and furnishing, but rather introduce some geometric pattern which will provide a beautiful contrast.

Geometric Wall

It is a very versatile trend that can be adapted to suit any room and budget! You can go all out and opt for a bright and funky wallcovering which creates an impact as soon as you lay eyes on it or you could go for a more subtle approach and go for a geometric print rug and triangular cushions. As with any interior trend, the most important thing is that you love it. If you are unsure about it and still really want to try it then my advice is to start small – triangular cushions are easier to put in the back of a cupboard than entire wall coverings after all!

Triangular cushions

Natasha M-J

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