My little boy recently broke his leg and while I was hunting around the bookshop for things to entertain him, I came across this lovely book I thought I might share with you. It’s called Spot it! by Delphine Chedru (ISBN 978-0-8109-0632-7)
My son Charlie usually likes to choose books with dinosaurs, dragons or pirates and the story is very important of course, but I also like to choose books for him that I feel have a really strong visual element as well (let’s face it, I spend so much time reading these books I might as well enjoy them too eh?). I really like this book because of its simple, graphic quality and bright colours but I know Charlie will also love to search the pages and spot the hidden creatures. Can you find them?
Sometimes a cushion is just so beautiful you have to buy it, regardless of whether you need any more or whether there’s even room on the sofa. Lorna Syson’s cushions are definitely those kind of cushions.
Lorna’s range of cushions and wall decorations are hand-made in her London studio from eco-friendly textiles. In fact she can trace the provenance of her fabrics from source to shelf, making them easy on the conscience as well as the eye. The range is characterised by beautifully printed, laser cut and manipulated suedes and fabrics with contrasting textures and colours. So while you may not be able to justify a new sofa right now, surely one more cushion won’t hurt?
Like most sensible, law-abiding people I like my tea and you know I’m partial to a nice knitted tea cosy from time to time, so imagine (if you can) my glee when I discovered Cosy Tea, which cleverly combines the two in a perfect package. Let me explain.
Inspired by the recent renaissance in knitting, Cosy Tea has worked with local knitters to create patterns that fitted with its teas and are proudly displayed as a key part of the wonderful packaging (the knitter’s name and stitch used is even referenced on the side).
The idea is that Cosy Tea evokes the comfort of the traditional English tea cosy and doesn’t it just? I love the trad/modern twist of this new brand of tea, which has bags of personality and makes me smile before I’ve even put the kettle on and taken a sip.
That said, once I did get stuck into sampling the tea I wasn’t disappointed, for ‘while the look and feel of the tea is important,’ says Cosy, ‘the taste is paramount’. Absolutely!
Cosy Tea make 8 varieties including Breakfast, Earl Grey, Rooibos & Vanilla, Chamomile, Lemon Green, Blueberry with echinacea, Peppermint and Jasmine Green. I have to admit that I haven’t tasted the green varieties (as they just aren’t my cup of tea I’m afraid) but here are my thoughts on the ones I’ve tried so far.
Rooibos with vanilla
There’s a lovely smell when you open the pack and once brewed to a satisfying creamy brown colour (I always add milk to Rooibos) the taste is wonderfully caramel-like. Put it this way, if a herbal tea could come anywhere close to emulating the taste of banoffi pie, this is it. This is the best Rooibos I’ve ever tasted and I’ve a tried a few. The added vanilla makes it quite a sweet drink so I would finish off a meal with this when I was too full for pudding. Drink it curled up on the sofa in front of Antiques Roadshow after Sunday dinner.
I loved the mellow comforting flavour of this tea and, as my friend Molly pointed out, it almost has a hint of licorice flavour and not at all ‘grassy’ as I think some cheaper chamomile can taste. This tea is great for chilling out after a manic morning or a caffeine overload. Drink it during your afternoon tea break, probably with a bit of cake on the side (and as Cosy Tea recommends, ‘definitely no under-fives’).
This tasted fine but didn’t knock my socks off. I detected no real difference to any other peppermint varieties I’ve tried and so was slightly disappointed as I drink a lot of mint tea and was hoping for something special. It’s perfectly nice though and I would slug back one of these with a few pieces of chocolate.
Sadly this old man was not quite sprightly enough for me but this might be because I prefer Lady Grey and a bit of a citrus kick. I expect this would please Earl Grey traditionalists especially drunk black with a slice of lemon.
Blueberry with Echinacea
I do like fruit tea but I think the tendency is, with some brands, that they can become too sharp and all end up tasting the same (a bit like bitter ribena or bland fruit cordial). This blueberry tea has a lovely soft fruity flavour and never starts to taste astringent. This would do nicely as a breakfast tea if you wanted to ease yourself in gradually (especially on the weekend). I’d have it with croissants or fruit toast or maybe later in the day with a buttered scone. Lovely!
Have you tried Cosy Tea yet? For more information take a look at www.cosy-tea.com
If you’d like to know about the clever people who designed this packaging check out www.penciluk.co.uk
This is just a quick one to show you what arrived in the post for me this morning: this gorgeous vintage button necklace, hand-made by designer Georgia Coote, which I was lucky enough to win in a recent giveaway of hers.
Georgia kindly included one of her own hand-made cards as well as a few bonus goodies such as a key fob, pocket mirror and some badges, all covered in her own beautiful graphic prints. Her designs are also used to cover textiles, stationery, ceramics and wallpaper.
But back to that lovely necklace. As you may know, I love buttons, especially vintage ones, so the challenge for me was choosing my favourite. Georgia creates a range of one-off necklaces in different colours and styles and each one is unique. In the end I had to plump for Nora, because I loved the colours and the shape and style of the buttons used. What do you think?
And here’s a pic of me, pleased as punch, wearing my new necklace. Thanks Georgia!!!
NB: I look really tired in this photo (I blame the small boy with the broken leg and a distinct shortage of Touche Eclat in the house, but at least the necklace is working it eh?)
If you’re thinking of buying an inspired little something for your loved one this coming Valentine’s Day then how about this gorgeous heart-shaped collage by Hello Geronimo?
Oh how do I love this, let me count the ways.
1, I defy anyone not to be cheered on some level by the name Hello Geronimo.
2, I adore things made out of buttons and found objects (I will never understand how anyone can have a phobia of buttons – or Koumpounophobia to give it its proper title, but let’s just say I am a buttonphile and leave it at that).
3, I have a softspot for anything collage-like and this is one of the best examples I have seen.
4, While artworks like this can be bought ready-made I like the idea that you could possibly substitute some of your own favourite buttons or badges to truly personalise it.
5, This is a great way of introducing a new objet d’art into the house under the guise of buying a romantic present for your other half (but really we all know it’s a gift to yourself).