Much as I love to be cosy at home, it feels good to throw open the French doors to the garden and let the air in. (And to dry my washing outside. Brief pause to appreciate the lovely Instagrammers who share my obsession. Honestly, when it’s warm-ish and sunny I start prowling the house for things to wash.) Whilst I am unlikely (in the near future anyway, with small children and work to contend with) to find time for a good old-fashioned Spring clean, I do think it’s worth casting a critical eye over your home and seeing where you can add some seasonal tweaks. I do love a so-easy-it’s-almost-cheating Spring home update.
If the thought of house plants puts you in mind of a sad Spider plant lurking in the corner, or a wistful fern in the bathroom, or a regimental row of cacti – then get thee to Instagram. A quick search for #plants on Instagram raises over 11 million ideas; or opt for specifics (e.g. #houseplants, #indoorgarden). All looking very gorgeous and lush and do-able.
A great pot will make even the simplest plant look chic – I particularly love something a little bit ‘grand’ to throw the plant into relief – try something in copper or these beautiful marbled planters from Wood/Grey.
Clockwise from top left: Iria hanging planter, £35, La Redoute; gold plant pot, £8.99, H&M; hanging gold terranium, £32, Oliver Bonas; black marble planter, £12, Wood/Grey; wired pineapple stand, from £32, Anthropologie
Okay, so you’re not a house plant kind of girl. I hear you. Neither am I, truth be told. My capacity to murder even the hardiest is remarkable. (Not, however, as remarkable as my husband’s. He went to the garden centre and asked for the toughest pot plant they had. Was duly given one and informed, by the charming French assistant, that ‘e is very ‘ardy’. We dubbed the plant Thomas (Hardy), obviously. Thomas soon entered terminal decline.) Flowers, however, are another matter. Flowers I do well. So much so that my six-year-old has them on her bedside table, too.
I pick up flowers pretty much everywhere. Top pick would be from the flower stalls on my local high street: they’re usually the best value and the best informed as to what’s in season and ‘good’ today. My florist insiders tell me that M&S and Waitrose are the best supermarket options. For a treat, I love Bloom & Wild for beautiful, seasonal, affordable but special flowers, or – the dream – the Spring Whites bouquet by the talented (and lovely) Ruth and her team at All for Love.
Keep an assortment of vases handy (and jam jars. I’m a sucker for the Bon Maman jars. The White Company is my go-to for beautiful, simple glass vessal; or for a statement vase, M&S and H&M Home usually come up trumps. (Don’t forget teeny vases (like this one fromThe White Company) which can hold just a single bloom – and can be dotted anywhere you fancy.)
Clockwise from top left: Pink vase, £19.99. H&M Home; Green vase, £12.99, H&M Home; Riad basket, £26, Yonder Living; Luddington vase, £20, The White Company; Alfia vase, now £31.60, M&S; Ikala vase, £35, La Redoute
Change up your china
If you have oodles of space, you probably have different sets of china for different occasions. But whilst I have plenty of cups, the confines of my cupboards have always dictated that I am limited to one dinner service.
After years (and I do mean years) of using plain white china – some of which is now chipped and a little bit sad, we bought a new dinner service last weekend. (I know. The excitement is nearly too much.) I gave the decision some careful thought – before settling on this set from M&S, which manages to work with the non-chipped items in the existing set (I prefer a bit of mix and match); fulfils the solitary stipulation made by my husband “not white”; and reminds me of a set my parents had when I was young. Oo, it also has 20% off. (Thanks to lovely Sarah for alerting me.) Zara Home and John Lewis also have excellent collections – and dip into Anthropologie to pick up statement pieces which you can mix in with your usual collection Hint: it’s always worth a peruse at sale time.
The best cups and saucers (you know, the fine china your grandmother would love) I have come courtesy of the extremely talented David Herbert – and are inspired by classic Bloomsbury designs.
Clockwise from top left: Porcelain cup, £6.99, H&M Home; Dinner plate, £8 (currently 20% off), M&S; White/palm leaf set, from £3.9, H&M Home; White/palm leaf cup, £3.99, H&M Home; double monogram mug, £12, Anthropologie; Matisse’s Garden 1 cup and saucer set, £42, Bloomsbury Ceramics; Porcelain bowl, £5.99, Zara Home; Fenella Smith plate, £19.50, John Lewis
Change your bed linen
Obviously, you change your bed linen regularly. Heaven forfend that we would suggest otherwise. But whilst winter is the time for lush, heavy throws (you were getting your hygge on, right?), when Spring arrives, you’ll need something lighter. One of my best “sensible” (rather than indulgent) home buys was an all-season duvet. Lose the heavier half and then add some new bedlinen – even new pillowcases (or cushions) will do the job.
Clockwise from top left: set of two pillowcases, £23, La Redoute; Scenario bedding, from £45, La Redoute; Alphabet cushion (A-Z available), £12, Next; tasselled cushion, £19.99, Zara Home; Laurent bedding, from £26, The White Company; Pom pom cushion, now £23.60 (was £29.50), M&S
Images: Pinterest; Holly Becker Decorate with Flowers; Bloom and Wild; Country Living