Monday, 27 February 2012

From Stockholm With Love...

Stockholm is fast becoming one of my favourite cities, not only for the seasonal perfect weather and clean air, the constant tread of beautiful people and the truly amazing food (more on the food later, but I must point out that fish for breakfast has not tickled my fancy since returning home surprisingly!).  However, I love Stockholm last but not least for their stand out homeware brands, and I don’t mean Ikea!  I have always been a fan of Swedish fashion design, Acne is right up there on my must-have list and other Scandinavian designers such as Malene Birger are my go to brand for any occasion, so here at Butterfly Lane we were not disappointed with what this city had to offer in the homeware design stakes either.

We visited the abundant homeware stores, and trawled around the large, and the small, of what the city offered and we found the selection at NK (the Swedes equivalent to our Harvey Nic’s) to be truly wonderful and vast.  My favourite discovery was the ceramic specialists Paradis Verkstan who make amazing vases, bowls and candle sticks in pretty and neutral colours.  The pumpkins and onions are my stand out choice; they would look amazing sat on a kitchen worktop or dresser.  

Images:  Paradis Verkstan 

After a hard day interior design shopping I cannot recommend the Sturebadet Spa enough.  It’s the cities luxury pool, gym and spa and was once the haunt of Greta Garbo and is still a favourite of the rich and famous today.  The pool and spa area is so luxurious and steeped in history; it’s a real treat.  

Image:  Sturebadet Spa Pool

Food is always in the forefront of my mind and Stockholm has so much choice, I could have easily had an eating tour of the city that lasted for months!  But here are Butterfly Lane’s two favourite restaurants that we tried and tested during our visit.  All the restaurants were so inspiring for their interior design concepts, I hope they inspire you too.

Restaurant B.A.R:   This cosmopolitan eatery was a buzz of energy.  The brain child of the two award-winning chefs and gastronomic visionars Henrik Norstrom and Peter Johansson, their philosophy is simple:  the closer the producer, the fresher the produce.  The fresher the produce, the better the taste experience.  I particularly liked how they have a fish market within the restaurant, so you choose your fish, chat to one of the chefs about how you want it cooked and five minutes later it arrives at yor table.  Amazing!

Matthias Dalgren at The Grand Hotel:  Ok, so this was a real treat, voted one of the top restaurants in the world, located in the stunning Grand Hotel, the restaurant is split in to informal and formal dining.  All I need to say is that the food was incredible and the service was perfect, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.  Even though it has been awarded two Michelin stars it lacked the portentousness and stuffiness that I hate, please go if you’re in the city!  I would also recommend finishing the evening with cocktails at the hotels Cadier Bar, it’s old school decadence at its best.

The cafĂ© culture in Stockholm is brilliant and the cakes are to die for!  Here is an image of the mouth wateringly gorgeous selection I tried to resist, but failed miserably every day!  It’s a very good job that Stockholm is a great walking city, as I needed to burn off the extra million calories I devoured during my trip!

Image:  Design Sponge

I suggest walking around the Djurgarden Canal at Gardet, it is so beautiful and peaceful and has a wonderful restaurant Villa Kallhagen on the water’s edge (here I am talking about food again!), with stunning water views, open fires in the winter, a stylishly neutral interior (very Butterfly Lane) and an incredible Swedish buffet, what more would you want?  This is really family friendly, laid back and well worth a visit. 

I loved the Swedish cake selection so much that I bought a wonderfully traditional Swedish baking book at the airport on my way home to bring some Swedish cuisine in to my own kitchen.  It’s aptly titled Swedish Cakes and Cookies by Sju Sorters Kakor and has some amazing, indulgent recipes.  My favourite and fool proof recipe is for the divine and traditional Appelkaka (Apple Cake).  The book is available on Amazon for £8.00 and I highly recommend it for some Scandinavian treats!  X

Saturday, 25 February 2012

It's A Dog's Life

This is one for the dog lovers amongst us.  Bill & Eddie are my new found and favourite dog outfitters for my beloved pup Maggie, with a whole host of doggy lifestyle products available to buy online.  Selling everything from Bristol glazed ceramic bowls, super stylish leads, home baked organic treats and quintessentially British tweed dog jackets that will keep her stylishly warm and dry during walkies.  Their ethos is that even our dogs belonging should look great in our homes and here at Butterfly Lane we whole-heartedly concur. 

Owner Amy explained her philosophy on their website ‘’So fed up were we of hiding our dog bowls every time a friend dropped by that we decided to get out there and find products to be proud of.’’

My unashamedly spoilt furry friend received a special present from Bill & Eddie in the post this week (well, courtesy of moi!).   A pretty, floral liberty print collar and lead, perfect for her leap in to Spring!  It was delightfully wrapped, almost too good to open!  Thank you Bill & Eddie, you have one happy owner on your hands…and one stylish looking dog!  We will definitely be back for more…X

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fashion Week: Animal Instinct

Fashion Week has hit our capital and it is great to see London alive with creativity and beautiful things for AW12.   I know, I know, you’ll be happy to see the back of this Winter and focus on some al fresco, sun drenched dining…but surely it’s great to have a sneak peak in to the trends for next Winter!  This morning Mulberry took centre stage with a spectacular show, with amazing winter-tastic clothing, and I wouldn’t say no to the new ‘Del Rey’ bag either, any colour, I don’t mind!  The collection was really textural with hand knits and different types of fur, but unfortunately we’ll have to wait until July to get our hands on the collection, so why not infuse this in to your homeware now to be one step ahead of the fashion pack.  Although maybe try a slightly lighter colour palette for the Spring.


Images:  The White Company 

With Mulberry taking inspiration from the film ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures, here are my top picks of well er, not so ferocious creatures to stylise your home with.  Animals are a big trend in homeware at the moment, and worry not this doesn’t mean using real fur or hanging a real stag head from the wall!  Here at Butterfly Lane we are not so cruel! Simply add a cool stag print tea towel in your kitchen, these from  Thornback & Peel are particularly cool, or why not use this bull toilet roll holder from Graham and Green, or my particular favourite is this amazing stag hook from Parlane which has already got pride of place in my downstairs loo!

Some of these animal inspired beauties will be available to buy at Butterfly Lane soon, so watch this space. 

Have a great Fashion Week everyone!  X

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Personally, I'm not overly fussed about Valentine's Day, the less said about sitting trapped in a restaurant eating an overpriced set meal the better.  But saying this, is it always nice to receive a card from your beloved.  Mine read 'We Go Together Like Tea and Biscuits', he knows my penchant for anything sweet all too well, hence him being armed with a lovely selection of the most stunningly packaged macaroons I have ever seen from Laduree.  They have now almost all been devoured!

Men take note, you can send flowers any day of the year, for absolutely no reason at all, you don't have to wait until 14 February.  Being sent flowers is right up there on my most favourite list, there is always room for flowers in my house!  A pretty bunch of flowers really does lift your mood, whether it's a bunch of daffodils, some cuttings from your garden, or something rather wonderful from The Real Flower Company.  They really do the most stunning arrangements, I suggest you check them out.  I particularly love how they are delivered in hat boxes, how divine!  X

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Spring Fair: Trend Watch

After spending some time at the Spring Fair this week, I was so excited to look at the upcoming trends for SS12 and of course super excited for discovering some beautiful homeware pieces for the Butterfly Lane launch...and I wasn't disappointed!  I stocked up on amazing sparkling glassware, timeless lighting and elegant ceramics, along with some country kitchen classics (I am a sucker for a quirky chicken!).  We saw a few stand out trends for the season ahead, one being a strong influence of pineapples and palm trees which I've wistfully named our Club Tropicana trend!  Don't worry, this trend isn't as gaudy or brash as it might sound, instead it featured elegant lamps with delicate palm leaves, cream sculptured bookends carved in to the shape of pineapples and my personal favourite, silver palm inspired candle holders.  Tall, dainty and oh soooo stylish!  You'll have to watch this space because all of these items will soon be available to buy online at  I can't wait for you to see everything...X

Friday, 3 February 2012

Neutrals The Word!

Taupe, beige, cream, stone, putty, call it what you will, I love this colour palette!  Trust me it is not boring to invest in this colour scheme, these tones are the ideal backdrop for bolder statements in design to showcase furniture, fabrics and home accessories.  

Don't get me wrong my love of neutral based shades occasionally goes off piste...well ever so slightly.  I'm loving a cool shade of grey at the moment, in fact I have just painted one of my bedrooms in Farrow and Ball's Elephant Breath with a toning accent on the chimney breast of its warmer sibling Skimming Stone.  The cool shades against the heavy beams looks so light and airy, I love, love, love the final result!  I now just need the Stockholm furniture range by The White Company (here's hoping), the fabulously quirky lamps by Brissi, some crisp white bed linen, a textured throw, a few scatter cushions and hey presto, a bedroom of calm sophistication completed!

For my next project I want to focus on a more warmer finish...

I love my house to be a place of calm and as Spring approaches I especially love the idea of a cool, clean looking space, with walls awashed in this subtle neutral palette.  Bliss!  Please do not mistake my desired neutral colour palette to be an easy option or a design cop out, slapping on a few coats of magnolia this is not!  My neutral back drop will be the perfect setting for deeper, more luxurious tones and textures, I'm thinking...deep crushed velvet sofas in mushroom, heavy draped curtains in taupe with hints of black to give it a sharp stylish edge, along with elegant walnut furniture and finishing off with sparkling crystal light fittings and glass vases full of luscious fresh flowers.  Wish me luck!  X