Style guru and shopping expert Melissa Penfold chooses a few favourites from our Coastal Nesting collection and shares her tips on creating this laid-back luxe look at home. 

Here’s 4 ways to create a look I love – the new laid-back luxury.

1. HARMONY: Start with a pale neutral you love, and stick with it.

2. GO FOR TEXTURE: This look is based on rough surfaces like linen, wood, canvas, wool, stone and leather that lend themselves to a relaxed low-key vibe.

3. USE DIFFERENT WOODS: The ‘collected look’ is far more natural and less contrived than if everything is a perfect match.

4. MIX STYLES:  Scandi, beach, mid century, rustic, vintage. A combo of periods, styles, looks, and materials is key to creating this easy, ‘layered’ look that reflects ‘you’.

And here are my picks from the collectiom – click to shop

(Left): This year’s strong, statement tables in timber are a lesson in geometry that takes them to a more high-impact place.  Raw, bare, light or dark, the best are in wood shown as it is found. No more grain obliterated by layers of lacquer; it’s all about real, solid wood.  For me, this table ticks every box and scores top points! (Right): Baskets are one of my fave, go-with-everything accessories. They are a quick way to relax a space and give a room a little extra charm.

(Left): A beautifully-contoured seat that will hug your body as well as upping your style credentials. A great find that wouldn’t look out of place in the best houses in Denmark, Norway, France, London or Belgium.  Fab. (Right): This rug is a great example of bold pattern used in a fresh way. It spells comfort and style, it won’t overwhelm furniture and it will give a bland space individuality.

(Left):  Black and white art is the most wanted piece for your wall this year: it goes with most interior styles – mod to trad – and  will instantly update your look.  Plus ‘animal’ art ranks as one of the most popular subject matters in a recent US study of what’s trending in art right now, which makes Hattie the elephant spot on for the mood of the moment.  Perfect for adding character, individuality, and a focal point to any wall. Love Hattie! (Right): You can never have enough seating. I am always coveting chairs.  This design is chic, practical and suits every room as well as heavily resembling the kind of vintage 70s pieces sold at one of my fave US stores, Therien, where they famously mix vintage, antique and contemporary pieces – this is a hot look right now.

(Left): Raw timber furniture has been trending in interiors for many, many seasons now, and there’s good reason: it’s authentic, and makes everything else look right. You could try this table as a desk, console, even kitchen bench. I have a very similar table in our country house teamed with antique chairs that accommodates all our family and friends. But you could also try this one as a drinks table pushed against the wall, and lined up with bottles and row upon row of tonic water bottles, tomato juice, Campari and several back-up bottles of spirits. Or in a hall piled up with glossy hardcover books, and a big painting hung above it. (Right): A perfect Danish-style dining chair is the new ‘it’ seat of interiors: use it for dining, either side of a console, as a desk chair, anything!

Left): Twig furniture is having a major moment. It’s feelgood, simple, unpretentious stuff that will instantly add warmth, even soul to your rooms. And this little beauty will make a great partner for beds, bathtubs, armchairs and sofas. (Right): The most stylish interiors right now unite the humble and high-end, with a mix of contemporary interior design and simple robust charm featuring pieces like this gorgeous bed. It’s a worldwide trend that’s been shaped by leading Belgian architects and designers.

Sign up for regular style advice from Melissa at or follow her on Instagram @melissa_penfold

Explore the Coastal Nesting event now.

Posted in   StylingTags  0 comments

Shades of grey

16 Mar '15

Karen McCartney is the first to admit she’s very happy in a tonal palette of neutrals from stone to chocolate, passing by a fair amount of grey on the way. Here she finds interiors where grey is the star, and explains why they work.

Image – Tine K Home

Grey walls don’t need to be even in colour and this example with subtle gradations adds to its character. The pairing with shaded greenery in a subtle sage complements the green tonally and adds softness. Wooden furniture, whether in raw timber or painted white, keeps the look natural while maintaining a clean Nordic style.

Image – Les Fifoles

Grey metal boxes with a burnished surface sit in front of a distressed pale blue wall. The hit of pink in the simply displayed flowers is both a burst of colour but also animates the setting and creates a moment of charm and quiet.

Image – Hannah Lemholt for Love Warriors

Here it is the grey of time-worn timber in the stools and floorboards that imparts a calm tonality. The room has soft grey walls which the white ceiling and Noguchi table lamp throw into contrast. The symmetry of the images adds to the sense of control and restfulness with the images on the wall framed by the lamp and the open weave plant container.

Paris apartment designed by Sarah Lavoine

This rather spare and modern space still manages to convey rich design ideas through the use of materials and pattern. The grey wall has the appearance of stainless steel and the artwork echoes the sheen of the supporting wall. The sculpture on the console is a small organic flourish in an otherwise restrained arrangement. The treatment of the floor is a flash of exuberance making you want to see more of this Parisian apartment.

Image via sfgirlbybay

Tonally compatible – the dull grey of the floor and the chalky finish of the muted navy wall create a textural atmospheric space. Into this the stack of cushions adds softness and expands the colour palette to include a pale blue and a rust. The timber bench, and artful branch add to the rusticity, while the metal lamp with industrial overtones sharpens the look up.

Image via Pinterest

Sometimes the most effective decorating trick is to keep to the one shade but add in different elements. Here the look is at once playful and controlled. A series of small paintings in a mix of rectangular and ovoid shapes are perfectly symmetrical and are positioned directly above the delicate upholstered seat. The chandelier fills the the top of the frame with an intricate glass shape that takes on the grey tone of the space yet adds another texture and dimension.

Inspired to go grey? Explore grey furniture and accessories…

Posted in   Colour, PinterestTags  0 comments

If you missed The Living Room last night, you absolutely must catch up on Tenplay to see UK design duo Colin & Justin make over the Alphonse family’s Sydney living room. While there’s nothing wrong with a bit of retro charm, the family had not updated their living space for decades and didn’t know where to start. Scroll down to go back in time to the ‘before’ situation, then see what Colin and Justin did in just 24 hours, with a team and a dream. We provided all the furniture and accessories, and the boys did some DIY furniture using striking wallpaper. If you love what you see, shop the look in our special Colin & Justin Collection

What were your first impressions of the space?

It felt like the 1970’s had vomited across the entire house. And it felt like Dr Who had transported us back in time – talk about a time warp. The look was definitely from a bygone era and not appropriate for the modern family. Imagine the set of Six Feet Under in sepia and you’ve got the idea…

What was the one thing you knew had to change?

The layout – there’s open plan and then there’s living in the hallway. Come on!  Holy moly – the room had way too many doorways and windows and there were no full walls towards which anyone could gravitate. Our remedy? We closed over one massive double portal and then constructed a chimney breast.

The family hadn’t updated the space because they didn’t know where to start. What’s your advice on approaching a room update?

Start now – be ruthless, throw out items you don’t like, get rid of duplicates and bin any broken pieces. As you purge, hold onto the things you really love and incorporate them into your new style. A clean slate will free your imagination, making it easier to dream up your new look. Simple, right?

How would you describe the new look?

As sunny as the Aussie climate, as blue as the flag and steeped in rich heritage. Our yellow and white paneled combo adds warmth and character, while the patterned blue elements add an extra visual layer. As is the case with any Colin and Justin scheme, it’s all in the ‘balance’ when it comes to using colour.

What made you decide on this colour scheme?

Your lovely country, for starters, and the fact that the lovely family who presided over this visual carnage were so deserving.  Their décor just wasn’t warm and exciting, however, so we felt compelled to ‘correct’ their space and complete their familial picture with an environment that properly reflected them.

What’s your favourite feature in the new scheme?

The old gold chairs that we radically rebirthed thanks to new grey linen upholstery and painted black frames. In their new incarnation, they look like Moooi chairs but cost a fraction of the price.  Yup, we LOVE to upcycle or repurpose.

 Shop the look in our special Colin & Justin collection today.


Posted in   Home toursTags  10 comments

Anna Gare has spent 25 years in the food world, and is best known as a judge on Junior Masterchef and the presenter of The Great Australian Bake-Off. Her range of retro kitchen and cookware is available in today’s sale event and, thanks to, we’re sharing her recipe for Pear & Rhubarb Crumble, from her book Eat In (published by Murdoch Books). 

My friend Tansy inspired this recipe. She is an excellent home cook and the only dessert she ever makes is rhubarb crumble. There’s something homely and humble about a sweet and tart crumble.

Ingredients (serves 6)

Crumble filling:

50 g (13⁄4 oz) unsalted butter
165 g (53⁄4 oz/3⁄4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) trimmed rhubarb (about 2 bunches), washed and cut into 3 cm (11⁄4 inch) pieces (see Note)
6 pears, peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges each (see Note)
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 a vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
185 ml (6 fl oz/3⁄4 cup) white wine (or verjuice for a non-alcoholic version)
vanilla-bean ice cream, to serve

Crumble topping:

150 g (51⁄2 oz) cold unsalted butter, finely diced
110 g (33⁄4 oz/1⁄2 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
150 g (51⁄2 oz/1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
100 g (31⁄2 oz/1 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
30 g (1 oz) flaked almonds


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

To make the crumble filling:

Heat the butter and sugar in a wide heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until melted and the mixture just starts to bubble together and caramelise. Add the fruit, cinnamon and vanilla bean and seeds to the saucepan, stir to combine and cook over low heat for a few minutes. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes, or until the fruit is half cooked. Pour into a 30 x 20 cm (12 x 8 inch), 2.5 litre (87 fl oz/10 cup) capacity baking dish.

To make the crumble topping:

Rub the butter, sugar and flour together in a bowl with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a crumble consistency. Stir in the almond meal and flaked almonds until combined.

To assemble and cook the crumble:

Sprinkle the crumble over the fruit mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crumble is golden on top.

Serve hot with a scoop of good-quality vanilla-bean ice cream.

Note: You can use whatever fruit is in season for this. Softer fruit needs less pre-cooking time and requires less wine as it will not reduce as much.

Find more of Anna’s recipes at 

Shop Anna’s retro kitchenware from our special collection

Posted in   Eatlove, Temple & WebsterTags  0 comments

Karen McCartney shares her advice on styling your way to shelving glory. Above, the Muuto stacked shelf system.

If you think shelves are for a few random books, CDs, unruly stacks of magazines and a ceramic mug filled with old pens (no ink left but the casing is just that bit too good to put in the bin) then you have another think coming. The shelf is the new sideboard when it comes to showcasing your styling abilities and it certainly moves things up a notch in terms of complexity.

I live in a Sixties house with rather elegant original timber shelves running the length of the living space, and true to the Sixties aesthetic, they have an in-built linen covered light as an integral part of the design. These shelves define the space and so there is a degree of pressure for them to look the part. Before writing this, I deconstructed what it is about them that works, and what could work better. Here is my advice.

  1. Keep a tonal theme running through all of the objects, be they artworks, ceramics or books. My choice is neutral – black and white softened by timber pieces and frames.
  2. Arrange things such as ceramics in groups – odd numbers work better than even ones.
  3.  If coloured book spines are too bright turn them to the back of the shelf. Impractical yes, but art requires a bit of manipulation.
  4. Ensure that it is personal and meaningful to you. I have a strange white figurine made by my daughter in year 4 alongside an intricate glass piece.
  5. Leave space for things to breathe – don’t feel you have to fill every inch of space.
  6. Space items over the shelves to balance the visual appeal. Put heavy books near the base, ceramics on higher shelves and artworks and photographs in the middle.

One of the most successful styling tricks for shelving is to display a collection en masse. Check out Pinterest to see just how good a grouping of cream jugs in different shapes and sizes, bowls stacked in pastel shades, or a sea of book spines arranged tonally, can look.


Posted in   StylingTags  0 comments

We love showcasing the work of local artists in our Australian Art Series, and we’re excited to have Lisa Madigan as our newest featured artist. She describes her Reverencia collection as being about “the serene, the divine, the broad, the subtle”, and the highly textured works are painted in oils on round board, and beautifully framed in copper by Lisa and her husband. We talked to Lisa about her love of nature and texture, and about her complementary work as a florist and stylist. Lisa also has a very enticing Instagram feed (follow her @lisamadigan), from which most of these images were drawn.

Tell us about your creative journey, and how you came to painting?

I’ve painted forever. It’s always been something that has been absolutely natural to me. I grew up in galleries so I was always around opening nights and exhibitions, meeting artists and seeing their studios. I was often with a brush or a pen in my hand but equally being wide eyed and observant, gulping up new adventure and exploring different avenues of expression. There has always been a lot of contemplation in my life, memories have always been vivid and experience deep set.

I had a natural draw and determination to be, essentially who I am, an artist, I’ve always felt I’ve known my calling from a very early age and painting, communicating creatively and providing experience is very much home to me.

I studied art at school – I had an experience where an art teacher threw out a series of my paintings, so I ended up changing to a school where my creativity and the arts were encouraged and supported, in tandem with a strong academic drive, which I loved. After school I studied design and there have been plenty of other experiences weaving throughout my creative path, always leading to and from my studio, my constant. Everything is connected.

Where do you do your best work – tell us about your studio or painting space?

I have a working studio at The Cottage in Kangaroo Valley where I have worked and lived for the past 8 years. My husband and I have just moved back up to the northern beaches so I’m currently setting up a new studio space here too. Clarity is so important for me whilst I work, so white walls and good natural light are very much staples, along with fresh air and a sense of calm.

I would have to describe my studio as an ordered chaos, a neat mess. I’m in such a focused space while I’m working that it’s important that I know where everything is and have it just an arm’s length away. I work quite a lot on the floor too so there are always tubes and tins and rags at ground level. It’s raw and open and such an incredibly special place for me of solace and momentum.

I’ve always been quite private in my practice. I like to shut myself completely away from any distraction. To me, painting is an incredibly personal and private process, it’s quiet and meditative, even in the moments of fierce motion, there’s always a sense of ease and flow whilst still propelling the work forward.

How would you describe this collection?

My work always stems from an element of nature, that both within and without, experiences we collect and also absorb from our surrounds and internal whispers, then of course my filter and interpretation of such. My works are always grounded but also ethereal. It’s about dancing between those two notions of being earthed and also being part of what’s beyond. Sensory, considered, raw and gritty, open and free.

The titles always give an insight into something a little more personal in the pieces, a hint at the greater nuances and personalities of the works, but they’re of course always open to what an audience sees in them and feels from them too.

This particular collection is titled REVERENCIA and is very much about diving into that which we revere. The serene, the divine, the broad, the subtle. Moments of rich luxury, moments of open clarity. Elevating the momentary to the grand and the grand to but a moment of connected pleasure and passion. Fleeting but forever.

How do you hope people will feel when they look at your work?

Because my paintings are so tactile, often the first response is that people want to touch my work, or they describe it as delicious. There is very much an element of ‘scrumptiousness’ and that’s important to me. I always want to create works that are raw and real and beautiful, so that ‘yummy’ quality is important but the depth of subject and substance and timelessness is equally as important.

Tell us about your creative process.

I am constantly collecting moments and sensations, making notes and writing, observing and projecting. My writing is like the germination process where I start to crystallise the work before I pick up a brush. It might be somewhere I’ve travelled that sparks a concept or sensation that I feel the need to capture, a particular glint of light, or a shift in the seasons.

Inspiration is constantly with me and that flow of always being sensitive to space and time and experience, being who I am and having that constant drive to create is not something that can be switched off.

I then refine and distill and develop the thread and narrative of each individual collection and of course each individual piece as it comes to fruition in the studio. There’s always a free fall moment when time ceases to exist in the actual creation, that’s the focus and where the magic happens, like setting sail and steering my own course then allowing the wind to fill my sails.

Your Kangaroo Valley cottage (now available to rent) is a play on neutrals and texture. Is this a theme for your creativity generally?

This has always been an enticing palette for me and texture is something I’ve been drawn to instinctively and intuitively. I base myself in nature and I’m comfortable around raw, elemental things. Ultimately I’m working with the elements when I’m painting so it’s working with that alchemy and majesty and beauty.

It’s always been important to me to have a balance of things that are luxurious and impeccably well crafted, sharp and shiny, delicate or fine and things that are raw and stunning and created by nature. That play and contrast is a beautiful thing, the soft and the strong, the hard edged and the gentle.

The cottage itself has always had an ever shifting form, evolving with the seasons and new discoveries, still very much in line with my aesthetic, but I love for it to be fluid and adaptable, to weather, breathe and keep engaging in an ever slightly new light.

Your works are paintings in oils on circular pieces of timber. What do you like about this medium, and shape?

I have wanted to work in a round format for a long time, but it was hard to get my hands on the right frames until recently. The circle is such a universal symbol and it’s a beautiful way to work because there is no edge and no end. Of course I equally love working on linen and timber frames, ultimately each piece is always a new story and diving into these, whatever the format, is home.

I do a lot of knife work on my paintings and build a lot of texture. Often the process in the studio itself happens quite quickly so I’ll be working wet on wet with oil paints. I usually work on a single piece at a time, and build a collection that way. They stand on their own but there is always a common thread throughout each series.

How did you come to decide on the copper frame, and how is this applied?

My husband and I make the copper frames ourselves. I wanted something with an elemental aspect that would finish off the works beautifully. The frame can patina over time or you can buff it up to have a high shine.

What is your approach to colour?

My palette is quite broad and I’m equally happy working with soft and strong colours, and finding that balance between the two. The neutrals are very much a signature for me but it really depends on each collection and where the inspiration is coming from as to how the colour comes through.

This series revels in something a little bit deeper and there are some rich tones but there is the lift of the lighter works too.  Again there’s very much this dance of light and dark, the ever shifting aspect of balance and harmony.

How does your art practice relate to your other creative work as a stylist / florist?  Which way do you find the inspiration flows?

Coming back to that knowing, that calling and unstoppable drive to create, to make the world a more beautiful place, everything stems from the same place. My environment work comes from the same realm, there has to be substance, palpable, delectable substance.

It’s beautiful for me to create spaces and experiences for people, through floristry and weaving stories through settings and having the vision to tie an event or a place or a moment together. Creating our Sydney Kinfolk dinners is always a treat as is working with beautiful clients who are after something unique. Bringing a broader vision to life is almost like welcoming people to walk into one of my paintings, it’s multidimensional and transient and experiential and I love that.

How do you feel when your work goes out into the world?

I love my work going out into people’s homes and public spaces. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s quite humbling. It’s always a delight for me to share my works and it’s incredibly special when it connects.

Visit Lisa’s website, where you can sign up for regular updates about upcoming exhibitions, or follow her on Instagram @lisamadigan 

Browse our online gallery of Lisa Madigan’s work.


Posted in   ArtTags  0 comments

Portait by Sam McAdam-Cooper.

Stylist and editor Vanessa Colyer Tay is known for her beautiful  and considered styling, and her trend-spotting ability is showcased weekly in Sunday Style magazine. We asked her about the beauty of barely-there blush as we share a few of the gorgeous examples we spotted on her Pinterest boards. You can also follow Vanessa on Instagram @miss_ness_tay

If a room laden with soft tones like blush were a person she would be humble, nurturing, huggable and calm – it’s for this reason I love working with this subtle colour palette. To me, it’s important for some areas of the home to feel like an escape from the distractions and busyness of our outside lives. The great thing about interiors is that you can adapt them to provide the energy that you’d like feel more of in your life.

Image – Sam McAdam-Cooper. Styling – Vanessa Colyer Tay.

A patterned wallpaper in blush hues complements grey bedding and a myriad of small scale pattern. The chosen wallpaper from Love Mae ‘hugs’  the room, making it a beautiful space for a little girl to rest in.

Image – Sam McAdam-Cooper. Styling – Vanessa Colyer Tay for Inside Out.

Introducing a small hit of something a little less coordinating like bright yellow will take blush out of the eighties and into the now.

Image – Tim Robinson. Styling – Vanessa Colyer Tay. All fabrics including chair, lamp and accessories from No Chintz

The key to using soft tones like this in upholstery is to add in some complementary detailing like a brightly coloured piping. I personally find that working with soft colours in upholstery is a great alternative to white because it adds warmth, ages gracefully and feels part of a refined colour scheme. Soft tones like this also provide a solution to people who are interested in using colour but would prefer to avoid anything too bold.

Image – Susanna Vento via Remodelista

I love this easy DIY (by Finnish stylist Susanna Vento) for a little girls room, or in an overall white room to add in a small dash of interest. By positioning your dash of colour at the top of the pendant, when installed it will be very subtle and should offer your room a lovely layer of extra detail.

Paintings by Esther Stewart 

Australian artist Esther Stewart has a knack for mixing colour – look to her work for inspiration or use it to adorn your walls. Geometric lines paired with blush will offer a slightly more masculine take on this often over-feminised colour.


Image via Instagram @miss_ness_tay

Using vessels with graduated colour is the perfect way for a ‘neutrals only’ stylist to include a hit of this remarkable hue. Vessels by Anna-Carin Dahl, from Elevate Design.

Inspired? Explore a blush palette in today’s special collection.

Posted in   ColourTags  0 comments

If it’s true that your bedside table says a lot about your personality, make sure yours says all the right things. If you need a refresh on the furniture front, or a new lamp or scented candle, our Bedside Revival sale event is here for you. Here on the blog, Karen McCartney finds some creative ideas for stylish bedside bliss, in many shades of grey and white.

Image – Sharyn Cairns

This image sums up the the calm, restrained style of modern Scandinavian design. The bedside table has an ample surface for decorative and practical needs and the hanging bedside light frees space up further. The height of the table is perfectly in tune with that of the bed adding to the measured quality of the room.

Image – Emily Laye via Emmas Designblogg

This arrangement uses a simple country stool to great effect. The Fifties lamp, in black enamel, and the irregular stack of magazines add a casual atmosphere in contrast to the neatly made bed.

Image – French Connection

This idea of two bedside tables, which differ slightly in height, makes for a graphic arrangement. It means that although the surface might only fit the base of a lamp the second table can be used for books, clocks and even a glass of water!

Image via Pinterest

For those of you who love a bit of industrial charm, this is the perfect side table. Its simple, open construction keeps it visually light and the addition of wheels gives it versatility. From a style perspective it adds a touch of the factory floor to an otherwise white, pretty room. The hanging calico basket is for the baby – we presume.

Image (and print available from) –  One Must Dash

This look combines a certain Scandi-chic with a Japanese simplicity. The low bed demands an equally low solution to the bedside table. Add a delicate artwork, propped for a casual look and a small white fixed light to the wall for permanent illumination.

Image via Pinterest

There is something charming about this bamboo table as the only clearly defined element in a soft sea of white bedding. It is brought into line with the room’s feminine stylistic direction by the display of delicate leaves and multiple candles.

Image – Heidi Hallingstad

There is something casual and chic about the use of a simple black timber chair as a bedside table. It works well with the neutral colour theme of the room and should you have an extra dinner guest it can revert to its original purpose.

Style your own bedside scene with our Bedside Revival sale event 


Posted in   Bedroom, StylingTags  0 comments

The Easter table

06 Mar '15

The Easter bunny paid an early visit to the T&W studio and left us with table styling ideas and a sweet treat to try. 

With Easter only a few weeks away, we created a gorgeous tablescape to inspire your own celebration. Starting with a neutral base – a textured white cloth – our creative team built up layers of soft colour and texture with china, glassware and tulle-covered decorations. Explore the details here, and don’t forget Jono Fleming’s recipe for mini donuts – a new tradition we’d be happy to adopt.

Pretty personal

Ribbons are an easy way to add pretty colour, a satin sheen and soft curves to each setting, as well as an opportunity to personalise each place.

Hanging garden

A bare branch provided a sculptural display, adapted for the season with colourful polystyrene eggs (try craft shops for similar). A large tulle-covered egg adds softness to the scene.

DIY to try

Stylist Adam Powell created a table feature using an old book. He removed the cover and spine (leaving the binding intact) and folded each page into a triangle, then fanned them out to make a circle. The colour of slightly aged pages worked perfectly with the palette and the angled form contrasts with the organic shapes of the hand-cast cloud plates.

Delicate beauties

Because everyone knows tulle-covered eggs aren’t enough, we also suspended tulle-covered balloons over the table. An elegant orchid is a failsafe styling trick.

Glazed Mini Donuts

Donuts are back, according to Jono Fleming, and these homemade beauties allow for some creativity and innovation. If chocolate eggs aren’t enough, create a new Easter tradition and tweak the glazing favours to suit your taste or your table setting.

Ingredients (makes about 30 mini donuts) 


¾ cup of milk
2 packets of 7g yeast
2 tablespoons caster sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
pinch of salt
4 ½ cups plain flour
220g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
3 eggs, lightly beaten
vegetable or rice bran oil, for frying


½ cup of icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon of milk or flavoured topping


In a small pot, heat up the milk to a tepid temperature (not too hot or you’ll kill the yeast when you add it) and then add the two packets of yeast and the 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and mix until combined. Leave the mixture for 10 minutes until the mixture is frothy.

In a large bowl, add the butter and flour and using your fingers, mix the two together. I use a pinching action to mix, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar and mix until combed. Then make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture, and eggs. Mix until completely combined and then knead on a floured surface for 5-10 minuets. By the end, it should be quite a light, soft dough. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover in cling wrap and allow it to rise for about 45 minutes. By that stage it should have doubled in size.

After 45 minutes, unwrap the dough and punch a little bit of the air out. Cut the dough into pieces and then roll it out, on a floured surface, till its about 5mm thick. Using regular circle cookie cutters, cut out a large circle and then the centre hole, the size is up to you.

In a deep frypan, add enough oil to come about 5cm up the side of the pan. Vegetable oil is a good option for frying as there’s no strong flavour. I also like to use rice bran oil because there it has a much higher heating point and the oil won’t burn. Heat over medium heat and when the oil is hot, drop in 3 donuts at a time (don’t overcrowd the pan). This part happens very quickly, so pay attention! When the donuts start to turn a golden brown, flip them over and fry the other side. It should only take about 2 minutes to cook each set of 3. Using a slotted spoon, put the cooked donuts on a paper towel or cooling rack and leave until they are cool.

To make the glaze, simply mix the icing sugar with a tablespoon of milk. That will create an simple sugar glaze, similar to that of a Krispy Kreme donut. If you want to add other flavours, substitute the milk for 1 tablespoon of blended up strawberries, or try combinations that are a little different – watermelon, apple, the possibilities are endless. Then once the donuts are cooled, simply dip them into the glaze and allow the sugar to harden a bit before eating. This is the perfect time to get the kids in the kitchen and help decorate, drizzle different colours over to make patterns or add sprinkles and fruit on top to give your donuts some pizzazz.

I served my donuts on a spun sugar nest to make them a real dessert centerpiece. If you’d like to follow suit, use this online tutorial.

Plan your Easter feast with the help of our Pinterest board

Posted in   EntertainingTags  0 comments

An artfully arranged shelf is a thing of beauty – and the make or break element is art. Whether large or small, colourful or graphic, art adds character and personality to your vignette. When paired with books, plants and the things that matter to you, it tells your story in a stylish way.

We gave stylist Adam Powell three different shelves and a table full of framed art and accessories to find out how to approach the task. Watch the video above to see how he did it, and read on for a few extra tips. We’d love to see your styled-up shelves – post a pic on Instagram using the hashtag #twshelfie, and we’ll share our favourites!

1.  Hexagonal shelf

  • Small wall shelves are more about decoration than practicality. Adam hung art around them and treated the whole display like a gallery wall.
  • Draw and repeat the colours from your art or décor to create a cohesive look. Adam chose orange books and flowers to tie in with the art, and the warm colour also works beautifully with the timber shelves.
  • Add flowers or foliage from your garden for a budget-friendly styling device with impact. A trailing plant is a nice contrast to all the straight lines on display.
  • Edit often – stand back often to assess how your styling is going. If it feels wrong, take something out and try again. It’s all about finding a balance of sizes, heights, colours and textures.

2.  Floating shelf 

  • Leaning or propping art against the wall allows you to layer several pieces for a casual yet collected feel. Include your own photographs with art acquired over time.
  • Pull out a shape, texture or motif to repeat. Adam picked up on the triangle motif from the largest artwork and repeated it with the marble pyramid and candles. He also repeated the stone texture several times – in the planter, the marble and the geode.
  • Add a finishing touch – here the high contrast geometric ball adds a welcome pop of colour. Add, subtract, keep styling until you’re happy.

3.  Freestanding Shelf

  • Balance the size / weight of your options, and move larger items to the bottom shelves. This basket fits in with the other styling choices, and it’s also a useful storage option.
  • Pick a colour palette and stay within the same colour family. Adam picked books with blue, green and neutral coloured spines to work with the art.
  • Look at the unit as a series of shapes. Adam broke up the vertical lines of the book stack and frame with the vintage ceramic boat for a slightly more organic feel.
  • Box frames work best on freestanding units, as they can stand alone.
  • Include a mix of textures to keep your display interesting – here sleek frames and glass are contrasted against sculptural driftwood, rope and barnacles.

Inspired? Shop for shelves, art and accessories today.

Posted in   Styling, VideoTags  0 comments