Hooray for May...


Hooray for May...

 

According to old superstitions, it is unlucky to marry, buy a broom or wash a blanket in May, so with all that free time, what could we be getting up to?

Figura bespoke kitchen design

Figura bespoke kitchen design

Figura have been working in partnership with La Cornue, based in France for many years now.  We are the main dealer for the South East and London.  This Château range cooker was recently installed for a client in London. Its character is so befitting alongside this Louis XIV mantle, which Figura also sourced.  Every La Cornue is bespoke, if you are interested in having one commissioned for your project please get in touch.

V & A Paint Collection

The world’s leading museum of art and design has just announced a luxury interior paint range inspired by its own interior colour scheme.

People will now be able to bring the palette of the Museum into their own homes thanks to a selection of 40 distinctive colours inspired by the V&A’s unique architecture and decorative interiors.

V&A Classic Paint Collection

V&A Classic Paint Collection

London Craft Week

London Craft Week is an annual event that showcases exceptional craftsmanship through a journey-of-discovery programme featuring hidden workshops and unknown makers alongside celebrated masters, famous studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands. Events take place from 3rd - 7th May.

Some of our highlights include:

Setting the Table at David Mellor Marylebone

To celebrate the opening of David Mellor’s new Marylebone shop, Creative Director Corin Mellor brings together iconic pieces by some of the finest craftspeople the company has worked with to create a unique table setting.   This curated table setting juxtaposes pieces by some of the finest modern makers, side-by-side with the company’s beloved cutlery and kitchen knives. 

Gunnel Sahlin Glassworks: Exploring Materiality, Colour and Form  

Gunnel Sahlin, one of Sweden’s leading contemporary designers and glass artists, exhibits a collection of dynamic and colourful glassworks at Notting Hill’s Vessel Gallery in association with Sweden’s oldest arts and crafts association, Konsthantverkarna, Stockholm.

Gin at Sipsmiths

At the forefront of London’s craft gin movement, distillers Sipsmith invite guests to enjoy a G&T and learn more about the history of gin in London and the origin behind the company’s handcrafted distilling processes. Each guest can enjoy a fully tutored tasting of the Sipsmith range.

Lighting the Square by Tom Raffield

Commissioned by Grosvenor for London Craft Week, Tom Raffield’s sculptural steam-bent light forms cover the trees of Orange Square, creating an installation which highlights the skills and traditional manufacturing techniques employed by Tom and his craftsmen from his woodland workshop in Cornwall.  

Dinner at The White Horse, Hascombe

The White Horse is an attractive 16th century pub in the village of Hascombe nestled in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just 8 miles from Guildford and at the crossways of numerous footpaths, cycle routes and bridleways including the Greensand Way.  

Originally a coaching inn, The White Horse retains its old world charm with timber beams aplenty, oak and brick floors and wood fires to warm you on cold winter days.  The beer garden to the rear of the pub is a haven of tranquillity in the summer months while the front terrace, facing due west, is a lovely spot to enjoy the setting sun with fabulous views across fields of grazing sheep or cattle and the unspoilt hills beyond.

As a Free House, they offer an excellent and varied selection of beers and ales while their wine list provides a diverse range of both old and new world wines.

Sorrel and Paul are the new owners.  We caught up with Sorrel this week who kindly suggested this delicious looking lamb dish from their menu.  She was also very excited about finishing the garden and outside terrace area, which has new seating...just in time for some alfresco dinning this summer.

Braised Shoulder of Leith Hill Lamb, Spiced giant cous-cous and Smoked Aubergine

Braised Shoulder of Leith Hill Lamb, Spiced giant cous-cous and Smoked Aubergine

Their award winning Head Chef Daniel Britten told us that "The kitchen team at the White Horse is looking to create something a bit different and unique to this beautiful part of the Surrey Hills.

With the Dining Menu menu changing on a regular basis, his focus is on sourcing fresh ‘in season’ produce from local Surrey and West Sussex farms, cheese makers and fruit and vegetable growers and South coast fish, championing the artisans and their produce to help make our menus flavoursome and interesting through the changing seasons."

Big Bluebell Watch

Bluebells will soon be blossoming across Surrey and Sussex, carpeting our woodlands in a magical sea of iridescent blue. Species like bluebells thrive in ancient woodland. They are our richest land habitats, yet they are not properly protected. The Woodland Trust are looking for people to be part of their most accurate bluebell survey ever which will help to monitor the status of the UK’s bluebells over time and will help to secure the future of native bluebells and their woodland home.

Get involved with the Big Bluebell Watch at  http://www.woodlandtru.st/8eQ35

You don't have to go far from the Figura showroom in Chiddingfold to see them in the woods approaching Dunsfold. Other best places to see them locally are; Little Wix Woods, Hatchlands ParkKew GardensSheepleasThe Wilderness Hampton Court PalaceWinkworthCucknells Wood, Shamley GreenFrensham Common.

Asparagus Season

The beginning of May marks the start of the British Asparagus season, which lasts until the end of June.  Dubbed the Usain Bolt of the vegetable world, British Asparagus can grow up to 10cm in one day.

Growing British asparagus is a labour of love. Each spear is harvested by hand when it reaches just the right height.

A cool, crisp spring, not too wet, not too dry means that we should be on course for a great crop this year.

Figura Bespoke Kitchen Design

Figura Bespoke Kitchen Design

A British Asparagus Association have suggested a recipe for rustic British asparagus tartlets with goats’ cheese, sun dried tomatoes and rocket, which sounds delicious.  Rupert from Taurus Wine has also suggested a rather outstanding wine to accompany it too (see below).

Taurus Wine Recommendations

Being asparagus season, we asked Rupert Pritchett from Taurus Wines for his recommendation to go with the rustic asparagus and goats cheese tartlets.

Château de Cheverny

Château de Cheverny

 

This brilliant and quite rare, Pascal Bellier Cheverny 2015 from the Loire would be a perfect match for the strong flavours of the goats cheese and sun-dried tomatoes because the 80:20 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay can cut through the saltiness of the cheese. This blend creates a wine that’s more akin to a Pouilly Fumé or Sancerre – but luckily for us gluttons, a lot cheaper! Asparagus is infamous for being hard to match wine with, due to the way to alters your palate after eating it, making even water taste ‘sweet’. The freshness of this wine works well with the asparagus, though, its bone-dry and unoaked characteristics along with its citrus kick, complementing the tart’s ingredients perfectly.

P.s. fans of Tin Tin look closely at the label… the château was used as the inspiration for Captain Haddock’s Marlinspike Hall! The château itself is open 365 days a year and is apparently one of the best to visit in the Loire.

As soon as I asked Rupert for a wine match for the rich and smoky (thanks to those smoked aubergines) lamb dish from The White Horse, Hascombe, he came up with this.  The dish needs something rich and slightly smoky too and the Meerlust Rubicon 2012 (£24.99) from South Africa is just right. It’s a subtle smokiness though, and along with the ripe plum, cedarwood and intense spice flavours, it’s a great match for the slow-cooked lamb and that lovely spicy cous-cous. 

Start of the festival season

By now, spring is well under way with warm weather and some sunshine. Why not head outdoors to enjoy open-air theatre, cultural celebrations and flower shows as this years festival season gets started. Highlights for May include; Chelsea Flower Show, 'On The Town' at Regents Park Outdoor Theatre, The Affordable Art Fair, 'Twelfth Night' at Shakespeare's Globe and the award winning Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival, London Craft Week. So there is plenty to keep you busy.

Our favourite picks of the unique and handcrafted from the interiors magazines this month...

From left to right

Carola Van Dyke: Franz the Dashsund Cushion, David Hart: Hopper Table Lamp, Matthias Kaiser: Ceramics, Molly Mahon: Buti Cotton Fabric

Niels Bak Rasmussen: 'Hang on Honey' light pendant, Osborne & Little: Savoy Braids, John Lewis: Leckford Border Cushion, Designers Guild: Emerald Plate

Matthew Williamson: Plumas Cushion, aha: Oxford Storage Set, Sue Pryke: Teracotta Jug, Arjan Van Dal: Ceramics

Buying an equestrian property

We chatted to Katherine Watters at house. about the considerations when looking for an equestrian property. "One aspiration that I hear time and time again from buyers in the countryside is that they want to be able to see their horses from their kitchen window. Whether it be for a family with a paddock for a pony, or a professional rider wanting extensive stabling and facilities, there are a few things to bear in mind. Check the soil type, clay in the winter is difficult to manage and may mean that horses can’t be turned out during the winter months if the ground becomes too waterlogged. Check the fencing; post and rail is best and make sure there are no oak trees in open pastures – acorns can be extremely poisonous to horses. Lastly, check the driveway width and access to the property – many people get carried away without checking whether they can turn their horsebox/trailer around."

It is often hard to get the correct balance between the human accommodation and the horse accommodation. Katherine has seen many properties with 5 star equine facilities with the human equivalent sadly lacking in comparison. One property which doesn’t disappoint though is recently launched Upper Highfield Farmhouse, on the edge of highly favoured Thursley, which ticks about every box there is. A pretty farmhouse, extensive secondary accommodation providing excellent potential for holiday lets / extended family, a home office barn, courtyard of stables, floodlit full sized sandschool, tennis court, pretty gardens and grounds of approximately 9 acres and best of all, hacking directly from the property. It is available for sale at offers in excess of £2.5 million.