Month: June 2015

catesthill-summer-dining-laura-ashley-1

Styling a relaxed summer dining table

Summer has finally descended on London and back from a weekend in Brittany, I’m feeling refreshed and relaxed. Now that the sun has finally reared its head, long balmy evenings and (almost) cloudless weekends call for gathering friends and family for al fresco picnics, relaxed dinners and outdoor barbecues. Around this time of year, I like to forgo formal dining settings and complicated meals involving hours slaving over a hot stove – I’d rather be outside or at the table. In the summer, I take my cue from our neighbours across the channel, France, Italy and Spain, and prefer a tapas-style form of summer entertaining – it’s quick to prepare, easy to eat and best of all, delicious. So when Laura Ashley suggested styling a summer dining table, it was perfect timing (plus, with posts like these you get to eat the props, win, win!). I wanted to create a relaxed, French vibe so chose this coastal-inspired, blue and white checked tablecloth – it has a lovely Gallic charm, with it I picture little French brasseries in Provence or Italian trattorias on the …

catesthill-urban-jungle-bloggers-plant-colour-pop-1

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Plant Colour Pop

This month, Igor of Happy Interior Blog and Judith of JOELIX.com have tasked the Urban Jungle Bloggers with making our plants pop with colour – #plantcolourpop! This time they wanted to see just one plant to contrast it with the #plantgang edition last month (which I sadly missed out on due to a super hectic May and June – boo!). At first I was a little daunted by the task, what, colour – I don’t do colour! Surely, grey counts as a colour right…?! After some thought, at one point considering pinning up some colourful wrapping paper onto the wall, I found these cute vintage Japanese paper decorations in a small shop in Exmouth Market. They definitely have the ‘pop’ factor, and just that little bit of colour so it doesn’t make me completely freak out! The first plant I photographed was a new cactus I bought the other week from Columbia Road Flower Market. It just screamed out to me, it is SO cute – I think it looks like it’s a teeny hand, with the nodules on the top. It’s so small I put it …

Five tips for taking better iPhone photos

Five tips for taking better iPhone photos

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and lately I’ve found myself sharing more and more on Instagram than any other social media network (find me @catesthill…) – sometimes an image just seems to say enough. It can portray emotion and feeling, it can capture a moment in time and can really inspire your creativity. I certainly don’t know what I did before mobile phones had cameras, how would I have snapped that pretty flower, that shadow falling nicely on that building or a coffee that I’m sure the whole world wants to see?! And although a lot of the photos on my blog are taken with a digital SLR (Nikon D40X), mobile phone cameras are so good nowadays that you can create lovely, clear images on-the-go. The other week mobile network Three kindly invited me on a #PicPerfectWithThree mobile photography masterclass to learn how to make the most of my smartphone camera. On the day we were lent an iPhone 6 to try out and received some top tips for taking better photos from the lovely photographer …

catesthill-temple-tree-bon-ton-10

Travel: Bon Ton and Temple Tree, Langkawi, Malaysia

Aloha and welcome to my tropical-themed third post on my trip to Malaysia! This time we’re on the island of Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands at the northern tip of the country, near the border of Thailand. Think crystal clear waters, clean white beaches and mountains dense with jungle. It’s also been duty free since 1986… Our destination on Langkawi: Bon Ton and Temple Tree, a duo of boutique hotels built on an old coconut plantation just north of the island’s longest beach. Bon Ton is made up of eight antique stilt houses brought in from Thailand and painstakingly reassembled by Australian owner Narelle McMurtrie. Temple Tree, meanwhile, is a collection of classic Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian houses from all over Malaysia that are divided into 20 rooms. It certainly didn’t feel like any old resort, where you could be anywhere in the world – both hotels have an authentic, relaxed feel, with their architectural details, antique wood furniture and friendly staff. Oh and the cute feline friends – Bon Ton and Temple Tree help fun a shelter for stray cats and dogs. …

valerie-objects-cutlery-4

The Cutlery Project by valerie objects

Have you heard of new Antwerp-based design label valerie objects? Made up of Axel Van Den Bossche, Frank Lambert and art director Veerle Wenes, valerie objects shapes its collection by working with designers, architects and artists with the aim of translating the signature works of these creative minds into tangible objects. ‘Pride of place with always go to authentic thinkers, to pieces that have been carefully thought about, designed and fashioned by intelligent hands,’ they say. One such piece of work is the Cutlery Project, a collection of knives, spoons and forks designed by Netherlands-based Jinhjyun Jeon, Maarten Baas, Studio Simple and Studio Wieki Somers; Belgian designer Muller van Severen (above) and Japanese designer Koichi Futatsumata. The result is six quirky sets of cutlery that surprise and delight. Which is your favourite? Maarten Baas Koichi Futatsumata Studio Simple Jinhyun Jeon All images: Valerie Objects

catesthill-at-mine-1

at{mine} – a new online community for home and design lovers

I love sneaking a look inside people’s homes; I can spend hours trawling through Pinterest, flicking through interiors magazines, or my favourite past time – walking down a lovely row of Georgian terraced houses and peering into their big windows, checking out what’s inside and how the owners have decorated their living rooms (no really!). If you’re anything like me then, you’ll love new online community at{mine}. Set up by founders Ia Bergman and Helena Benelbas, both former executives at Goldman Sachs, it was previously only visible to beta members (you might remember April’s Styling the Seasons was created in collaboration with at{mine}), but has now fully launched to the public. Together in one place you’ll find like-minded people, creatives and bloggers opening the doors to their homes and sharing decorating and interiors tips. Members can upload photos, tag the sources of the products and be inspired by other real interiors. You can find me at{cate st hill}. Say founders Ia and Helena: ‘When visiting homes of friends and family, inevitably someone would say ‘I love this, where did you get it …

catesthill-soft-pink-scandinavian-interior-1

I wish I lived here: soft pinks in Sodermalm

I’ve talked about my new-found love for soft pink before (and it’s not going away any time soon) – the colour looks great used sparingly in rooms to give warmth and femininity, without being over-the-top girly, and this lovely Sodermalm home is a case in point. I love the little touches of peachy pink, from the textured, multi-colour rug, to the vintage blush lampshade and Japanese-style teapot. It’s styled by Emma Wallmen and photographed by Anna Malmberg, what a dreamy team. All images Fantastic Frank

catesthill-penang-travel-guide-5

Travel: Penang, Malaysia

This is my second post about my trip to Malaysia, this time focused on dreamy George Town in Penang – a charismatic array of architectural gems, from intricate Chinese shophouses and clan jetties perched on the waterfront to opulent colonial mansions and winding historic lanes. Named after King George III, George Town was founded in 1786 by Captain Francis Light, a trader for the British East India Company. In 2008, the heart of the town was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, and for good reason, it was the most photogenic stops on our trip, as this LONG post attests to. Around every corner there was a pretty shopfront, with instantly instagrammable tiling and doorways, or a flower festooned rickshaw slowly gliding by, or a piece of Banksy-esque street art just asking to be posed with. In fact, street art is wholeheartedly embraced in George Town, they even have festivals where murals are specifically commissioned, and part of the fun is walking around trying to spot all the unique pieces (and sometimes even queuing to get a snap …

catesthill-styling-the-seasons-june-4

Styling the Seasons: June

It seems like ages since I’ve done a Styling the Seasons post, I sadly missed out May’s – something about getting a book finished and then going on holiday made May breeze past in a blink of an eye (!) – but I’m back with these beauteous peonies for one of my favourite months! So, what does June mean for me? Well, I’m still desperately trying to cling onto the calm and tranquility from my holiday in Malaysia – we spent two weeks relaxing and recharging after a stressful few months, and as work and city life begins to pick up again, I’m trying to keep in mind those moments of peace, when the hardest decision we had to make was where to lay our towels, and where the sound of the sea could gently lull us to sleep. Hence the calm and lightness in the images here, I’ve simply styled my dining table with a lovely soft French linen table cloth to give it a summery feel. Alongside is a soothing cup of tea, because there’s nothing …

bert-may-barge-living-1

Barge living with Bert & May Spaces

While browsing the showrooms, stalls and pop-up exhibitions of Clerkenwell Design Week at the end of May, I came across a barge in the middle of St John’s Square just as it was starting to drizzle with rain. I quickly nipped inside, having come out without an umbrella, and was greeted with a warm and cosy sight – a Scandinavian style hideaway complete with wood burning stove and soft Moroccan rug underfoot. What I had found was Bert & May Space’s first barge, a collaboration between designer and stylist Laura Fulmine, RaT Architecture and Bert & May (you might recognise Bert & May’s name, they create the most gorgeous handmade and reclaimed patterned tiles and wood floors) that aims to demonstrate that living afloat can make great financial and social sense. Super stylish and sophisticated, these aren’t the bright-red barges I remember from my childhood watching Rosie and Jim, they’re sleek, black, and very, very liveable. Designed to make the maximum use of the space, but without compromising on design, the barges come as either …