Thursday 30 October 2014

Book Review: Modern Country By Caroline Clifton-Mogg

How could I resist sharing this book review, with a title like Modern Country: Inspiring Interiors For Contemporary Country Living? And written by one of my favourite authors, Caroline Clifton-Mogg too. The answer is, of course, that I could not!

There's a bit of a twist to Modern Country, which is that all the images, perfect as they are, come from the archives of Cote Sud, Cote Est, Cote Ouest and Cote Paris, and Maison Francaise Magazine, which are owned by French Media group Cote Masion.

This French archive material gives the book a different feel from many of the interiors books of this kind currently lining on the shelves of my home.

For starters, many of the homes shared is a full tour, as it would be if you were reading the magazine, so we get to see how these homes work as a whole, rather than distinct parts. 

Modern Country by Caroline Clifton-Mogg

One of the things that I absolutely adore about Modern Country Style is that there are so many variations of the same look. I never tire of it and this book demonstrates why. Modern Country, as presented in this book, has a different take that is hard to completely pin down. It certainly leans, on the whole, to the contemporary side. And the country notes that are there are very rustic. The homes are from throughout Europe, which gives the images a slight continental twist.


The book is divided into four sections, all featuring delicious homes galore. The first looks at the appeal of different locations, from up in the mountains to down by the sea.


The next part looks at different architectural styles: new builds, barn conversions and country house renovations.

Modern Country book review by Fresh Design Blog

Then we comes to a whole section that examines the effect of different materials, whether stone, concrete, brick or plaster. The writing of Caroline Clifton-Mogg in these pages is particularly good, bringing the pictures fully to life.


The final chapters take one area at a time and show how to apply the Modern Country look in all its wonderful pared-back warmth.

All in all, Modern Country is a book that will develop and build on your existing tastes, stretching and pushing the boundaries of  the rustic contemporary look.

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Tuesday 28 October 2014

Book Review: The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley

And, after that massive Zoella Fan Girl moment *blush*, let's get back to our Modern Country Garden series, with a book review of The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley.

The Cut Flower Patch

If you'd love to grow more of your own flowers in amongst your Modern Country Garden but the whole idea feels either incredibly daunting, or a big ol' chore, then The Cut Flower Patch should be on your Christmas letter to Santa (have you been good this year?!).

Book: Cut Flower Patch; photo Jason Ingram. Gardenista

The first thing that grabs you is its matt, textured front cover; you just want to reach out and feel it. The picture on the front is reassuringly down-to-earth and simple. 

It's stylish enough, with the designer wellies and vintage enamel bucket full of freshly picked flowers to be enticing - but simple enough with the every-day variety of flowers and jeans-and-top outfit to know that this could be you next year if you follow the advice glitteringly encased within.

And that's the beauty of this book. utterly achievable but full of wisdom that'll change your gardening life and, consequently, your home. The Cut Flower Patch is a book that should be on your Modern Country Christmas list.

The Cut Flower Patch begins with a planning section, complete with sample garden layouts. I love that, instead of diving into the tempting flower possibilities, the book encourages you to slow down, stop a moment and consider your end result. It can be all too easy to end up with a cobbled-together Growing-My-Own attempt that is nothing but an eye-sore, so this section is well worth feasting upon.

And then we come to temptation city! Page after glorious page of delicious flower varieties: bulbs, corns, tubers, annuals, biennials, foliage and fillers. We're given a photo of each, and recommended varieties, along with plant care advice, including advice tailored to the cutting and arranging of your own flowers. This section alone is worth the price of the book. It explain what you should expect from each plant in cut-flower conditions, and, just as importantly, how to eke out extra days of vase life. 

After a foray into making and caring for your cutting patch, we're led into a real fanfare: Showing Off! Full of lovely and easy ideas about presenting your pickings in the best possible light. It also includes Louise Curley's thoughts about foraging for useful material - perfect for those of you with very little garden space.

Did you notice that I sneaked Christmas into this post? Oh, yes I did! Over the next month, I've ideas a-plenty for stockings and presents that you might like to write on that letter to Santa. 

Bank managers, look away now: To buy your own copy of The Cut Flower Patch by Louise Curley, click on the link!

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Friday 24 October 2014

The Best Night's Sleep In A Modern Country Bedroom!

You can see from my previous posts on Zoella's flat, that it's the bits and pieces you choose to add that makes a house your home. And where better to begin that process, of cosifying your space, than your very own bedroom? A place of sanctuary from the busy world outside...or, indeed, from noisy chatter downstairs!

This weekend, with the clocks going back, I wanted to focus on creating a quiet, restful haven in our Modern Country bedroom. I absolutely adore our room but I find that bedrooms need regular tweaking to keep them fresh and sparkly.

Since these treasures have been in place I've been sleeping like a princess...and feeling like one too! 

Let me share my sleep-inducing finds with you! (I've included links so that you can check out the very same products yourself, if you'd like.)

First of all, I absolutely recommend replacing your pillows if they're a little on the tired side. My new one is John Lewis Siberian Goose Feather and Down.

Even the cotton casing is beautiful! But a beautiful pillow needs a beautiful pillow case and this one is a winner. 

It's made of pure silk, and, let me tell you, those rumours are true that if you sleep with a silk pillowcase then your bedhead days are hugely reduced. 

I want our bedroom to feel like a sleepy feast for the senses, and the next two items go a long way in that department. This candle by Neon smells incredible. 'Complete Bliss' by name, complete bliss by nature!

It's official description is 'Moroccan Blush Rose, Lime and Black Pepper...a fresh modern twist on rose'. And, seeing as rose is one of the first 'Country' scents I think of, this is surely the most Modern Country candle of them all!

Next, this Beauty Sleep Concentrate by Neal's Yards Remedy has become a much looked-forward to part of my sleeptime ritual. 

To me, it smells of lavender and patchouli and wood smoke and incense, and lures me to the land of dreams time and time again, whilst working its magic on my skin at the same time. Multi-tasking indeed!

My new cotton eye mask keeps out every last chink of light. It has a waffle pattern on the front, and the texture is mesmerising against the subtle lustre of the silk. My top tip is to avoid any hint of synthetic materials against your face. Sweaty is not a good look!

And last but not least, my new Newgate alarm clock! Have you ever seen a sweeter timepiece? It's like a little Alice In Wonderland clock. Has it drunk the Drink Me potion, I wonder!

It's called the Newgate Mini Bell (only 8cm high!) and is a complete bargain at £7.50.

So, this weekend, with a whole extra hour to indulge in refreshing, relaxing and rejuvenating shut-eye, what are your favourite steps for the perfect night's sleep?

Good night from one Modern Country Bedroom to another!

All image: Modern Country Style

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Thursday 23 October 2014

Comparre Zoella's flat with the apartment next door!

Guess what? I've found another identical apartment to Zoe Sugg's (YouTube's Zoella) old flat address in Brighton. It's been done up very differently, which just goes to show that you can have the best bones in the world but it's what you do with them that counts.

Let's compare Zoella's old apartment with this one, located next door in King's Gardens, Hove.....

From the outside, there's very little difference..

Kings Gardens Kings Gardens, Hove, BN3
Zoella's old flat on Brighton seafront

Zoella's old apartment flat in King's Gardens on Brighton seafront
The house next door, which was on the market for £635, 000

Here are the two living rooms. Don't forget that this is a mirror image of Zoella's apartment so the fireplace is on the other side.

Zoella's old living room
Zoella's living room in her old flat

Lounge Kings Gardens, Hove, BN3
The living room next door

The two balcony areas are very different. In Zoe Sugg's flat, the eaves areas have been closed up and cornicing has been added. Also, placing the desk to one side gives unfettered views of the balcony, and sea beyond, which is one of the main selling points of Zoella's apartment.

Zoella's office
Zoella's Office space

Dining Area Kings Gardens, Hove, BN3
In the flat next door, the balcony space is used for dining

In Zoella's old address, the living area is very large and open plan. In the flat next door, the dining area is changed to an impressive master bedroom. It is true that the bedrooms in Zoe Sugg's apartment are on the small side but I think that the enormous wow-factor of the living area makes up for that.

Zoella's old dining room
In Zoella's old flat, this is the dining room...

...but in the flat next door, this same area is the Master bedroom.

Here are the two floor plans so you can compare for yourself.

Zoella's old apartment's floorplan
The floor plan of Zoella's apartment flat

The floor plan of the flat with the next door adress to Zoella

I hope you've enjoyed these in depth home tours of Zoella's old flat. Which do you prefer? Zoe Sugg's apartment or the home next door? Both have a prestigious seafront address but a very different inside.

Images via Hamptons (Zoe Sugg's apartment) and Mouseprice (the flat next door)

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Wednesday 22 October 2014

Zoella's Brighton Flat: Apartment Home Tour: Get The Look!

After sharing Zoella's (that's YouTube's Zoe Suggs) Brighton flat home tour, I thought I'd show you some images of the apartment, to show what lured me in. It looks very different with all Zoella's lovely bits and pieces in it, doesn't it? I'll share where to buy lots of the items...

Zoella's Office

The yellow desk lamp is from John Lewis.

Zoella's Living Room

Zoella's gorgeous squishy-squahsy sofa is from Raft. The giant floor lamp is from Edited. The rug is from Heal's. It's the Scion Mr Fox in yellow.

Beautiful metallic fireplace. I love the large glass and brass candle holders placed on the arth.

Some of Zoella's cushions came with the sofa, others are from Niki Jones, Nikki McWilliams, and CushionsOnline.

Zoella's Dining Area

You can buy those gorgeous Eames replica chairs from Lakeland Furniture.

Zoella's Bedroom

The throw, yellow and grey, and panda cushions and are from Edited. The bed is from Made.

The multi-coloured dresser and jewellery drawers are from Oliver Bonas.

Zoella's dressing table is a vintage 1970s G Plan piece.

The Big Spoon, Little Spoon pillowcases - just right for Alfie and Zoe - are from Not On The High Street. 

You can see from this rather more intimate home tour of Zoella's apartment / flat address that her home interiors are not quite my usual style but, nevertheless, don't you agree that they're 

All images: Zoella

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