Liberty:The History From Welbeck Publishing Group

For anyone with an interest in the history of shopping, or just a love of shopping in general, Liberty is a name that will be greeted with more than a touch of reverence. Located in London just off Regent Street, the store is famous for its mock Tudor facade and its beautiful printed fabrics that have been a luxury fashion staple for more than 100 years. Now, in a stunning coffee table book, by Marie-Therese Rieber, the history of the store, and treasures from the archives are explored, with stunning photographs and advertisements that will totally delight any fashion fan this Christmas.

The book is hard cover and has 160 pages and 250 images, making it a real feast for the eyes. It has been produced in collaboration with the store, which it describes as the ‘ultimate boho emporium’. There is also a lot of information too, this is not just a picture book, so you find all about the stores origins through Arthur Liberty, about the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement which Liberty was closely linked to, and of the origins of the Liberty print, and in particular, the now iconic Liberty scarf ( I have a vintage 1960s one that I managed to source through eBAY and now wear tied around my straw bag each Summer.). There are also chapters that look at the fashion of liberty, not just in terms of clothing, but also in terms of homewares, many with an Art Nouveau aesthetic. All are illustrated with both new and archive photographs, mostly in beautiful colour, to make this book a really beautiful piece of art in itself.

I love the use of items from the archive that have been lovingly photographed and reproduced, these include original Liberty posters and Vogue magazine covers. The book also comes right up to date, showing how those beautiful prints are still relevant in 21st century fashion.

If you have a fashion lover in your family, then this could be the perfect Christmas gift. Otherwise, just buy it yourself and pour over it, luxuriating in its absolute beauty.

Liberty:The History costs £25 and you can find it here.

What You Should Invest in Before Winter Hits

As experts warn this will be the coldest winter in 30 years, now’s the time to start getting prepared. From warming thermal clothing to crucial home essentials, here you’ll discover some of the top things you should invest in before winter hits in the UK. 

Flannel sheets

Make sure you get a great night’s sleep this winter and stock up on flannel sheets. Not only are these bedsheets extra-warm, they’re also super comfortable too. 

You won’t need to worry about getting too hot as these sheets are extremely breathable. They’ll also last for years if maintained properly. Compared to standard cotton sheets, flannel sheets are much more durable. This is largely because you’ll only use them during the colder months. So, stocking up now is an investment for not just this winter, but for future winters too.  

Thermal clothing

To beat the cold winter days, invest in thick thermal clothing. Whether it’s thermal socks, vests or a thermal t-shirt from a company such as Damart, you’ll be able to stay warm no matter how cold it gets.

You could even invest in thermal clothing for the evenings, such as thermal pyjamas. Having a good selection of thermal clothing will ensure no matter what the occasion and how cold it gets; you’ll be able to stay toasty warm. 

Space heaters

As the weather turns colder, we start to rely more upon our heating. This can often cause it to pack in completely. Don’t get caught out if your heating does cut out this winter, ensure you have space heaters on hand.

The most common space heaters are electric powered. However, if you’re worried about the cost, there are alternative powered models available. Make sure you take the size of the room into account as some heaters are best suited to smaller spaces.


You’ll also want a good collection of blankets available. These can be used to drape across you on the sofa, to place over the bed and to keep leather furniture warm and comfortable. You can invest in cotton, wool or fleece style blankets. They also come in a wide range of designs, ensuring there’s something to match your interior. 

Draught excluders

The key to keeping the home warm in winter is to eliminate any draughts. You can pick up affordable draught excluders which can be placed behind doors. You’ll also want to consider sealing any gaps around the doors and windows. This will make it feel significantly warmer.

These are just some of the best things you can invest in to stay warm this winter. With the weather expected to be colder than we’ve experienced for decades, it makes sense to be prepared. 


Grand Designs Live At The NEC Birmingham

On Friday I paid my first ever visit to Grand Designs Live. The huge show was held at Birmingham’s NEC, and is a spin off from Kevin McCloud’s popular TV series where people create their own homes, often to unique and innovative designs. The show is brilliant for anyone interested in making changes to their own homes, even if your designs are on the smaller side rather than a grand design.

The live show is essentially a bit of a trade fair, which has anything and everything to do with home renovations and improvements. On entry through a tunnel you emerge with five destinations in front of you including a section on kitchen’s and bathrooms, a section on outdoor space, interiors and building. There is also a design arcade that is full of weird and wonderful design ideas. Each section also has cafes designed for comfort stops – there is even a rather wonderful Campari bar if you prefer your comfort stop to be of the luxurious kind.

Around the show there are also design projects, with my favourite being the delightful under the stairs project, where designers have been tasked with thinking of how the often dumping ground area under our stairs can be turned into living space (in one case even a small home gym). I loved the ideas that were definitely thinking outside the box, and showed how no space in the home should be dead space, especially if space is an issue in your home.

I loved the fact that green issues were being addressed, through looking at greener energy and more ecologically sound design, to the stores that featured items from reclamation yards that had been re-purposed to create something new and often spectacular.

The Grand Theatre space allowed you to meet and listen to Grand Designers from the show in a series of Q&A’s hosted by Kevin McCloud. The session I attended was with Patrick Bradley who built his dream home from shipping containers, and has now branched out into architecture, creating homes and extensions across Northern Ireland. It was interesting to hear how cheaply he had created this stunning structure (less than £140,000) and also how it had led to him finding his soon to be wife Victoria Howard, who had travelled from South Africa to meet him after viewing the programme.

Grand Designs Live is the ultimate destination for those interested in home design, those who want to renovate their current homes, and just those who seek a little inspiration for their home and decor.