Summertime: August shopping

Looks like covid means it'll be a staycation this summer  - in which case why not do some work on your homestead and help those retailers struggling to stay in business?

Chalk Pink Linen tablecloth

No doubt if you have a garden you've been spending lots of time in it... and as hot weather descends, al fresco dining is going to be about as good as it gets on the summertime/holiday/easy living front during these corona days. So if you're getting those four or five friends over for lunch, make the table look a bit posher with a linen tablecloth. Pictured above: European linen tablecloth, stonewashed, £85 from Chalk Pink Linen

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2020 has been a hard year so far and Covid-19 looks set to mean restrictions will remain on our ways of life for some time yet. The UK economy has of course been badly hit by people being confined to barracks, so if you're in the fortunate position of not having spent every penny on food, you might feel like spending, if not exactly splashing, a bit of dosh on a few things for your homestead. 

You'll certainly need a good light for those balmy garden evenings...Dutch studio Weltevree has developed Guidelight, a rechargeable, portable LED light. Recharge it with a USB cable and you'll get a good five hours light from it. £94.99 at Trouva. Quite expensive, but it's sturdy and you can take it camping, glamping, or hiking when the world opens up.

Global garden furniture player Scancom has launched its DuraOcean Nassau garden chairs, made from plastic fishing nets retrieved from the world’s seas. Each injection-moulded chair uses 3.5kg of recycled net plastic for  the seat while the legs are made from FSC-certified eucalyptus wood. Scancom has teamed up with Cornwall’s Eden Project, to be a seller of the chairs, and the latter will donate five dollars from each chair it sells through its retail outlets to charities which protect the oceans. The chairs come in a greeny-blue colour and they’re manufactured at Scancom’s plant in Vietnam, which has ISO 14001 accreditation for environmental management. Set of two chairs at Eden Project or Robert Dyas £179.


 new Artisanal range from Bert & May, £150 psm
Scribit art robot art for walls
Bamboo fibre breadbin from Natural Elements
DuraOcean Nassau fishing net plastic chair
nanimarquina rugs
Preserved flowers, hydrangea, at dowsing & reynolds
Recycled rubber tyres make great planters
Forester wood and steel wall clock, £66 at Artisanti
PomPom LED string lights with wool pompoms
Gedigo reindeer leather oven gloves

Tiles, outdoor rugs and clocks

Bert & May’s new Artisanal collection is inspired by things we Brits yearn for...Mediterranean skies, turquoise waters and local Spanish flora. It includes three striking new designs in a Spanish-inspired palette, with patterns reminiscent of the encaustic tiles long produced in southern Europe. Use them outdoors on inside and enjoy their crisp colourways and designs, which work together or on their own. Formentera azure blue and white tiles are 15x15m. £150 per m2 or £6 per tile (ex VAT).

Again, quite an expense but if you're into your outside space, a designer rug is surely a must! Leading Spanish designer nanimarquina is now producing some of her most popular designs made from recycled PET, which means you can leave them outside all year if you want and just hose them down every now and again. The Oaxaca is one design that's moved into the eco plastic zone, find it at Go Modern, £1,340.

One relatively inexpensive product that can bring a wall to life, not to mention help with your punctuality, is a clock. Lovely clocks are made by UK maker Newgate, and there are plenty of clocks made from sustainable materials including cork, reclaimed wood and stainless steel. Dutch brand Zuiver offers the former (find them at Cuckooland) while the Forester reclaimed wood and metal clock at Artisanti gives an elegant rustic look. 

Scribit: your draw-on-the wall robot

Enjoy a new artwork daily if you want - Scribit does the drawing, which you erase when you want a new visual delight. Scribit attaches to the wall using two guidewires attached to nails and you can program it from your phone. Choose from 100s of drawings, maps, cartoons, abstracts etc. Scribit kit costs around £500. This really does sound fun, and cool!


david mellor design heavy glass bowl
Louis Poulsen Panthella lamp
Organic cotton fruit and veg bags Tabitha Eve at Wearth London
East London Parasols, £399
Geneva Vanderzeil's Home Is Where You Make It , Murdoch Books
Flat, a real rattan tub chair, £325 at Cox & Cox

Fine design from Finland

Finnish design isn't something we hear too much about in the UK, but Gedigo is a brand that would like to get to know us. They make simple modern furniture and accessories using wood and reindeer leather - a by-product of their meat industry. The Gedigo Oven Glove (£70.32) is a splendid piece of kitchen PPE that will protect hands from heat. Made from reindeer leather, it would surely be an ideal Father's Day gift for the gung ho dad who likes cooking and barbecuing.

A good read

Making your place comfortable, functional and attractive can be done on a very limited budget if you're prepared to put the time in. Geneva Vanderzeil's latest book Home Is Where You Make It (£11.99, Murdoch Books) shows you how to do all sorts of creative things to make your home look and feel much nicer, from painting wooden spoon handles to using avocado stones for dyeing dreary old white cloth offcuts and turning them into pale pink napkins. She takes you through room by room, offering ideas that are genuinely do-able by the vast majority of us who feel we can't do anything practical.

Choose real rattan for in/outdoor furniture as it's one of the sustainable natural fibres, while strings of LED lights look pretty at night, especially if you can hang them outside. Keeping with gardens, the East London Parasol Company has beautiful designs for those who want to invest in a hand-made, hand-painted twill parasol to protect them from the sun. For a designer lamp you can carry anywhere, Louis Poulsen's produced its classic Panthella lamp in an LED rechargeable portable form. Charge using a USB cable, battery life 5 hours. £148 at Glass Domain.