All is calm, all is bright.

Candles have been used at this time of year for centuries, traditionally at the Winter Solstice to light the dark days as a reminder of the Springtime to come. It’s uncertain when candlelight became so entwined with Christmas, but since the middle ages a softly flickering flame has been used to represent the star of Bethlehem and advent crowns and candles remain symbolic as a reminder of the Christian belief of Jesus lighting the world.
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light is also celebrated in the Winter and lit candles remain a symbol of love, prayer & hope at this special time of year.
With all the seasonal images that we associate with Christmas-candles on Victorian trees, choirboys carolling by candlelight & mantelpieces & tables adorned with finest silver candlesticks & candelabras-what better time to swathe your home in the beautiful glow of candles?!

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Consider us your onestop Christmas shop for all things beautifully lit! We’ve got it all covered-everything from aforementioned traditional silver candlesticks to more contemporary hanging tealights and candleholders. Our Moroccan inspired range of mosaic tealight holders look stunning mixed and matched or teamed up with a little ceramic house light for a truly Christmassy feel. So if you’re searching for a stylish and elegant candlelit glow to light up your festive home-you’ve come to the right place!

Mighty Metallics

It has run and run, but the metallic trend in interiors is one that is definitely here to stay.
Metal has always been present in our homes, but the current look has moved well away from solely kitchens and bathrooms and embraces every interior space.
When copper began flooding into our style consciences a couple of years ago, it had the possibility of being a fairly one dimensional accent to inject sparingly into one’s decor, but along with all good fashions with staying power, this one has evolved seamlessly to include a range of softly burnished metals such as gold, brass, bronze & pewter.
No longer the exclusive domain of taps and kitchen appliances, metallics are absolutely everywhere- wallpaper, furniture, lighting or accessories-there really is something for every taste, whether you favour a contemporary or more traditional look. A copper wire basket-fashionable and funtional, a beautiful brushed copper lamp in classic anglepoise style, elegant serving spoons for your table or exquisite rose gold jewellery-it’s such an easy look to achieve.

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It is easy to see why this particular trend isn’t going anywhere, especially at this time of year when the darker days see us leaning more heavily on interior lighting that creates an inviting atmosphere. The natural qualities of these gently aged metals are warm and reflective, bouncing light around to produce a delicate glow perfect for Christmas. Copper and gold tealights and candle holders are a great example of this along with our beautiful bronze star fairy lights.

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Any metallics instantly inject an element of glamour and elegance to a space, but the best way to bring them into your home is to start small with one or two key pieces that can be moved around. Balance your statement pieces with a range of different textures to maintain balance-metallics look amazing combined with the softness of wood, wool, concrete, ceramics etc and a striking industrial look can be accomplished by mixing a medley of different metals together in the same space.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to add a little lustre and shine to your life.

All above products available at http://www.primroseandplum.co.uk/

Embracing Autumn

 

It’s here! With the clocks retreating an hour at the end of the week, there is no escaping this beautiful season of mists & mellow fruitfulness-Autumn has arrived! So for those of you resisting, clinging desperately to the last remnants of summer-it is definitely time to put away the sandals & salads & begin to think about getting cosy!

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The zeitgeisty word on everybody’s lips currently is the danish ‘hygge’-with a spate of recent books and articles on what it means and how you can bring a little nordic conviviality to your own life.
Essentially hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the word the danish use to describe the feeling that we associate with family, friends, food & pleasure-the general aura of cosiness that is created when we take the time to appreciate the good things in life.
Norwegian chef Signe Johansen describes the guiding principal of this as simply, “making the most of the short time we have on this planet-jettisoning the anxieties and clutter of modern living to free up your time and energy to make the most of life.”
It’s clearly no coincidence that the the awareness of ‘hygge’ has struck as the seasons change & we all begin to feel the need for a little warmth and comfort in our lives. Johansen describes the Nordic attitude beautifully when she says, “Rather than fight the long, dark winters, we’ve learnt how to embrace the cold, how to prepare for it and how to find joy in being indoors when it’s miserable outside.”
And with that final thought, here are a few of our ideas to help bring a degree of hygge to your home-the addition of a few key pieces are all you need. A luxurious faux fur beanbag or log basket. A decadent sheepskin rug or throw & some beautiful handthrown bowls for warming servings of soup & of course it goes without saying, a smattering of soft candlelight from a choice of seasonal tea lights and candleware-it’s time to get snug!

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Above items all available at http://www.primroseandplum.co.uk/

Additional photos taken from pinterest

Signe Johansen from The Sunday Times Eat! Magazine.

Through the Looking Glass …..

The longer days and hints of sunshine have been focussing our attention on light and how we can get more of it into our interiors-for us, it’s all about mirrors!

A strategically placed mirror isn’t only a clever additional light source, but can bring a myriad of new dimensions to a space. A mirror will instantly brighten any room, creating depth and an illusion of space that can amplify the size of it’s surroundings. If you have spent hours perfecting the mood lighting in your favourite milieu, a mirror can turn this up a notch as the light it reflects won’t distort and preserves the original character of the atmosphere that you are trying to achieve. When used with the rules of Feng Shui, mirrors can create a perfectly harmonious environment, whether it be opening up a narrow, dark space or reflecting a beautiful object to magnify it’s nourishing power in your life! Mirrors can be magical!

So, now we know that you need a mirror in your life, do you need it to perform a function or simply speak for itself? If you want your mirror to be a statement piece, think about the detail. Is it in keeping with your existing furnishings or will you be working the room around it? A beautiful mirror intended as a focal point needs adequate wall space to create balance and when hung proportionally in groups, mirrors can make a striking visual effect-art with light.

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If however, your mirror has a job to do, think carefully about where to hang it. A room benefitting from the afternoon sun can be further enhanced by hanging on a south facing wall opposite the window and likewise, if your bedroom is awash with light in the morning, use a mirror to heighten this. Hallways and dining rooms are lifted with the light of a mirror which can look particularly effective when mixed with a chandelier or the soft lighting from wall sconces and candles. You can even bring the garden inside by using a large mirror directly opposed to french doors.

imageThe trickery is endless-a vertical mirror hung in a tall room or a horizontal mirror hung in a long room, help to achieve equilibrium and with the right tilt on a full length bedroom mirror you can even achieve a more flattering silhouette!! And on that note I will leave you with the wise words of Coco Chanel, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”

Easter Elegance

image  Happy Easter!

Many of us would like to inject a subtle, elegant nod to the season in our homes at this time of year without getting too chocolatey!! Here at Primrose and Plum, we have the perfect stylish accents to accessorize your nests beautifully. Our Rabbit Head Wall Art is a particular favourite new arrival – our very own Easter bunny! Made of solid resin, he makes a striking statement and of course, isn’t just for Easter!

imageWe are also very excited about our Goose Feather Lampshade – so chic and beautiful – we think you’ll agree this gorgeous pendant looks simply stunning wherever you put it, but lends itself wonderfully to a bedroom or lounge. The simplicity and elegance of these pieces speak for themselves without any dressing up – delicate and eye catching additions to your Easter home, but bold and versatile enough to see you right through all the seasons.

Spring Palette

Unless you’ve been walking around with your eyes shut, you’ll have noticed that the hottest colour combination for Spring this year is pink and blue. When Pantone announced Rose Quartz & Serenity as it’s 2016 colour of the year, forecasting the colour trend we’d all be following, it certainly had more than it’s fair share of detractors! Something about the pastel hues as a duo brought to mind babies, christenings, nurseries and divided critics into lovers or haters.

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Taken as individuals, Rose Quartz has a sense of calm, gentle, reflective femininity and Serenity does promote an airy, weightless sense of space. The overwhelming feeling produced by their pairing is that of perfectly balanced yin and yang, warm and cool, feminine and masculine which translates into a tranquil sense of order and peace. These colours actually complement each other beautifully, whether it be in nature, fashion or interiors, but what they do very cleverly within the home is create an equally balanced, gender neutral space. We are particularly enjoying pink with a contrasting greyer hue this spring.

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imageLuxurious sheepskin rug

If you are tempted to try it out for yourself, it’s not a look to go chintzy with! Keep the look streamlined and clean for a contemporary feel and you can’t go wrong-not a baby shower horror in sight!

Marmalade

If you like to make the most of seasonal produce, now is the time to channel your inner Paddington!
Beautiful Seville oranges are only around for a fleeting couple of months over the winter and will be over by the end of February. The most satisfying way of using this elusive fruit is by making your own marmalade, a delightfully therapeutic way of spending a wet, grey afternoon!
The easiest and in our opinion, most delicious recipe is the Riverford Organic version:

Ingredients

1.5kg Seville oranges.
2 lemons
2.5 litres cold water
about 2kg granulated sugar.

Method

With a sharp knife, peel the skin from the oranges and lemons, leaving as much white pith on the fruit as possible. Chop the peel into 3mm strips and put in a large pan.
Line a large bowl with a piece of muslin, leaving plenty to overhang the sides of the bowl. Cut the oranges and lemons in half. With your hands, squeeze the juice from the fruit over the bowl, dropping the leftover squeezed fruit (pith, pips and flesh) into the muslin.
Lift the muslin out of the bowl, gather the sides and squeeze any remaining juice into the bowl. Tie the muslin together with string to keep the fruit in and form a bag.
Place the muslin bag in the saucepan with the peel. Add the squeezed fruit juice and 2.5 litres cold water to the pan.
Heat until boiling, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours, until the peel is tender. Put a few saucers in the fridge to chill.
Remove the muslin bag and squeeze all the sticky juice from the bag into the pan. (An easy way to do this is to put the bag in a colander and use a spoon to press it out).
Measure the contents of the pan in a jug (include the shreds and liquid). Return to the pan and add 450g sugar for every 500ml liquid.
Gently heat for 15 minutes, until the sugar crystals have dissolved. Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 15 minutes.
Test that the marmalade has reached setting point by putting a teaspoon of the liquid on a cold saucer and gently pushing with the back of the spoon. If the liquid starts to wrinkle, setting point has been reached. If no wrinkling happens, keep boiling and re-test every 10 minutes. Turn off the heat as soon as you reach setting point.
Skim any scum from the surface. Leave the mixture to stand for 15 minutes. Stir gently, then carefully spoon into warmed sterilised jars (use a jam funnnel if you have one). If using screw top lids, put the lids on while the marmalade is still hot and turn upside down for 5 minutes to sterilise the lids (or boil the lids for a few minutes and leave to dry before use). If using cellophane, put a wax disc on the marmalade while warm, then seal with cellophane and an elastic band.

Riverford also do a handy marmalade making kit including all the fruit you need & this recipe.
So what are you waiting for?! Go forth and make marmalade!

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Burn’s Night

As we hurtle towards the end of the month, January 25th brings us Burn’s Night, in celebration and remembrance of the Scottish bard, Robert Burns.  Many restaurants and pubs provide themed nights at this time of year, but we think the nicest way to remember Scotland’s national poet is to have your very own Burn’s night supper!

Begin your festivities with a reading of ‘Address to Haggis’, Burns’ very own ode to the centrepiece of the meal or ‘The Selkirk Grace’, a prayer that Burns recited at a dinner hosted by the Earl of Selkirk.

An excuse to dust off the family tartan & listen to your favourite bagpipe tunes(!!), your supper should begin with a traditional Scottish soup or broth such as Scotch or Cock-a-leekie, followed by the star of the show (‘Great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race!), the haggis itself accompanied by creamy mashed tatties and turnips.  To finish, a bowl of Cranachan or oat cakes & cheese, all helped down by your finest ‘water of life’, Scotch Whisky!

Speeches, (Address to the Lassies & Reply to the Laddies), toasts, readings of Burns’ work and general revelry follow, rounded off by a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne – sounds like a fabulous night of celebrating that we should all be participating in, Scottish or not!!

Copper Wire Basket – New This Week!

We’d like to introduce you to a beautiful, new addition for 2016 – our copper basket! The trend for copper accessories looks like one that is going to run and run and a couple of carefully chosen pieces can make a striking addition to any room.

This particular piece combines style and true functionality due to it’s myriad of uses …… it does look especially eye catching, as you can see, filled with fruit, but could be used in the kitchen for any fresh produce, veggies, bread, etc. For those of you with an open fire or wood burner, it would make an unusual kindling or log basket. A stash for soft toys or magazines at the end of the day or a handy place to store freshly rolled hand towels, loo rolls or products in the bathroom – it’s uses are endless!

Copper Basket with Lemons

Welcome to 2016!

Ta Dah! 2016 is well and truly upon us and here we find ourselves half way through the month already!!  If all those grand New Year resolutions are beginning to wear a bit thin, we’ve put together a few ‘be kind to yourself’ ideas to take the pressure off and make your goals a little more achievable!

DELICIOUS JUICE

I know, I know, the ubiquitous juice recipe! Everybody else is doing it, so why on earth should you?!  We’re going to follow the herd on this one instead of bucking the trend by encouraging you to tuck into a doughnut …. trust us – this is a really easy way of injecting a pure shot of goodness, the side effects of which are not only the widely acknowledge health benefits, but an enduring feeling of smugness, even if you only consume rubbish for the rest of the day!

Juice 2Here at Primrose & Plum, we’ve been trying really hard to make juicing a daily habit, but if you manage once or twice a week it can only be a good thing.  You don’t need fancy equipment – if you already have a juicer, great.  If not, a blender or smoothie maker will do much the same job.  You can experiment with ingredients and consistencies, but here is one that we really love.

The Protein Boost – Will have you buzzing for hours!

A handful of spinach, mango, raspberries and blueberries
1 x Avocado
1 x Orange
A few cashews
Water

All taste even better served in our beautiful glassware!

GET ORGANISED

Right up there with eating clean and exercising more has to be getting organised and ditching the clutter in most people’s resolution plan.  This doesn’t have to be drastic, in fact most experts would suggest starting small, especially when so many of us have a problem letting go!  All getting organised really means is making little habit changes to our daily routines to make things run more smoothly.
PostBasket02Nobody can deny that the amount of junk mail that comes through the letter box on a regular basis is ecologically unfriendly and can end up accumulating in unsightly piles.  The trick is not to let it past the doormat!  By simply placing a basket or box in keeping with your furnishings by the front door, any unwanted correspondence can be instantly deposited ready for recycling.

An absolutely brilliant way of getting children involved, particularly at this time of year when an influx of Christmas pressies have Pencil Potmade their way into the house, is encouraging them to sort through old toys that they have grown out of or no longer use.  As long as they are not broken, clean and in a usable state, they can be passed on to younger cousins/friends or taken to a local sure start centre or charity shop for somebody else to enjoy.  Even if it’s something as a simple as a place to pop your magazines and newspapers or an old tin or jam jar to store your pencils – it doesn’t have to be expensive or ambitious.

Lots of tiny changes can add up to a totally 2016 new you!

GET OUT & ABOUT

Canary Wharf Ice Rink
For those of you determined to fly in the face of the instinct to hibernate, there are some fabulous things to get out and do in January.  It’s not too late to get your skates on if you missed one of the outdoor ice rinks over the Christmas period.  Canary Wharf and Broadgate rinks are both open until the end of February.  Our only word of advice is to take a dry pair of trousers for anybody liable to spend more time on their bottoms than practising their pirouettes!

York & Albany

And finally, a place that we’re desperate to try as it’s cleverly tapping into our desire to eat great food with great friends in suitably stylish and seasonal surroundings is the York & Albany Winter Chalet.  Just the right amount of twinkle and winter luxe!