Summer shopping ideas: indoors, outdoors

Summer shopping ideas: indoors, outdoors

Let's hear it for house plants, outdoor cooking and British craftspeople who make good things out of wood and wool. Not to mention scented candles that really DO fill a room with fragrance.

Fill your home with plants

Fill your home with plants and improve your indoor air quality. Spider plants, succulents, palms and ivy all do a great job to absorb CO2 and generally purify the air as well as giving a sense of living in the midst of nature. Pictured above: interior of a special place to stay - Crane 29 high above the harbour in Bristol. It's cargo crane that's been transformed into an eyrie by glamping specialist Canopy & Stars helped by B&Q and you can stay in it between now and September.

*click on images in the article to see them in larger format with caption info.

Hossein Rezvani is the designer of exquisite rugs that offer a contemporary take on the intricate designs of ancient Persian silk carpets. So good news to hear that you can have a little bit of Rezvani taste in your home at a fraction of the price of a carpet because he's launched a luxury scented candle collection, presented in sophisticated black glass. Hand-poured and made from vegetable soy wax and pure essential oils, we're entranced by Persia 001, a scent of musky floral base notes with a hint of Damascene rose and exotic fruits... £65 and well worth it. 

And sticking with candles, if you're a fan of tealights why not make them look a million dollars by putting them in Georg Jensen's wavy stainless steel Cobra votives - £45 for two, available at John Lewis.


Cobra tea light holders by Georg Jensen, stainless steel, £45 for two at
New from rug designer Hossein Rezvani, the exquisitely fragranced Persia candle, £65
Vintage poster from specialist dealer antikbar
Hand carved salt pinch pots made from British hardwoods by Alice Blogg, £18
Mint dipped seagrass belly basket from Olli Ella, £29 - perfect for kids' toys
Set of two, Butterfly and Flowers glass bottles - use for flowers or as a water carafe. £12.95 at Live Laugh Love
Crinkle Pot, recycled paper plant pot holders from Hen & Hammock, £9

For homewares with more rural and rustic charm, well we're big fans of pinch pots over salt and pepper pots, which invariably get clogged and cease to work. Bridport furniture designer maker Alice Blogg has some great handmade tableware and cooking utensils. Her pinch pots in locally sourced sycamore, oak or ash cost £18 and are a stylish addition to your tabletop.

Capacious baskets are always useful... fill them up with whatever needs tidying away. Children's furniture brand Olli Ella has some pretty seagrass belly baskets dip-dyed in a choice of colours - medium sized basket costs £29.

Pinboards are a must if you're forgetful or mislay papers... pin those tickets straight away and you won't forget to go to the play. Springy eco-friendly cork is the perfect material for a pinboard and we like the World Map board from Red Candy...a good way to help children learn about where countries are. £21.50

And if you like following a map, designer Snowden Flood offers beautiful bone china teacups and teapots (made in Stoke on Trent) screen printed with her map of the River Thames. Sip tea and let your mind wander through the capital.. Cup and saucer £30. And talking of London, AntikBar has original posters produced from the 1980s for London Transport's Art On The Underground programme. Prices from £40

From Sweden, the Freedesk. It rises up so you can work standing up. Which is so much better for our health. It's fairly pricey at around £220 ex shipping.
World Map cork board from, £21.50
One for Londoners - bone china tea cup and teapot screen printed with map of the River Thames by Snowden Flood. Cup and saucer £30, or set £125.
Pretty nifty..Uuni portable pizza oven for al fresco dining
Sky blue overcheck Polo picnic wood rug, woven in Wales, by Tweedmill, £69.95
Follow Me rechargeable LED lamp by Spanish brand Marset, around £135
Making drying up a joy..Daisy Bees linen tea towel from Ulster Weavers, £7.50
Bugs need houses to...Insect hotel, £14.99, made from wood and bamboo from

The outdoor life

It is summertime and that means heading outside to bask in sunshine ...unless it's raining that is. Brits have long been a nation of BBQ-ers, but now it's time to vary your outdoor cuisine thanks to a portable oven that makes rather good pizzas. The Uuni 3 is a portable oven than runs on wood pellets that reaches 500 degrees C in 10 you can cook pizzas in 60 seconds. It's lightweight for those tramps across the dunes and costs £199. A carry bag costs an extra £25.  

Butterflies, bees and bugs

Butterflies feature on a set of two glass carafes available at live laugh love, which can be used for flowers or for serving water/soft drinks. Daisies and bees adorn a charming linen teatowel - Daisy Bees is available at Wayfair. And for those of you who don't recoil in horror at the mere sight of an insect but rather want to encourage insect life, then the Insect Hotel from Alfresia would be a welcome gift from you to them. Made from wood and bamboo, it costs £14.99.

Portable desk

We're all being told about the need to do more things standing up... sitting down being terrible for our health. The Freedesk from Sweden is a portable desk on risers so you can put it on your desk or table and raise it to the height you want to work at while standing; or you can take it outside to work in the garden. It's a nice looking, and surely very useful piece of kit...the only downside being it's fairly pricey at around £220. Freedesk ships to the UK. 

Outdoor lighting

Lots of good portable LED lamps are coming on the market so we can all enjoy being outside when the sun goes down. We've tested the pretty Follow Me lamp (around £135) by Spain's Marset - you charge it up with a USB cable and you'll get a good five hours of light from it. Another goody is the Lumio light that looks like a notebook and fits in a pocket.. but open it out and the polycarbonate pages come to light. Available at Conran Shop, the small version costs £140.