Category: Interiors

Summer dining – it’s all about the drama

My favourite thing about the summer is eating outdoors. I have a pinterest board dedicated to outdoor spaces… I think the smell of the outdoors and the fact that in some lovely climates a bit of a chill sets in and you need a pashmina or a wrap as the evening goes on is just the way I love to live.

So how do you create a beautiful setting for a lovely meal, no matter how simple, to share with special people? Well given you are under the puffy clouds or the stars the volume of space is so vast you’ve just got to go all-out with the drama.

You could get away with a simple rustic set up and very homey feel, but you definitely make your guests feel more special if you do it beautifully. You can create the drama and a special ambiance with lighting – fairy lights in the trees, r with candles if you don’t have landscape lighting. Textiles and accessories are often the real show-stealers for me. Setting the mood with beautiful plates and serving bowls also makes the food taste better I think. Bright happy colours for a daytime gathering or more muted tones in the evening this time of year Foliage and flowers will do the rest. Below are some tables I will take inspiration from – one thing on a practical note however – no matter how beautiful you make your table if your seating isn’t comfortable your peeps won’t want to stick around. And that for me would be a tragedy. The highlight of the meal is the lazy time after everyone has eaten that people linger at the table over their coffees or cognacs. In Spanish we call it the “sobremesa” the “overtable” … Without a decent dose of that, no latin gathering can be considered a success.


(A few of) My Girl Crushes

I should have posted this a few weeks ago for international women’s day. But I missed it. So I shall post it now and can tell you a little about just a few of the women I admire and whose work I follow. I could add some of my other girl crushes in the music world like Stevie Nicks, Lisa Stansfield, Julia Fordham, Georgia Middleman, Aretha Franklin …. the purpose of my blog was to share some of the beautiful things I come across and think about, and those women’s music, although beautiful, is not so easily captured in a blog.

Frida Kahlo, I love for so many reasons I don’t know where to begin. Her creative talent, her irreverence, her freedom of spirit and her resilience… and some of the other women I am highlighting this week share similar traits. I don’t know much about the personal lives of some like Cassandra Ellis but she has a passion for textiles, from what I can tell that is much like my own, but her knowledge and understanding of textiles is something I hope to one day have. Katherine Hooker makes clothing that is classic and timeless but individual and luxurious in the fabrics and style. I’m looking forward to having her make me something I will cherish. Sheila Bridges is a woman I have admired and followed for years now. I LOVE her style!! Her interiors are classic and timeless with the boring and predictable taken out. Her personal story is admirable and I hope to see her work for a long time to come. Tracy Reese – well I just love her clothes. Admittedly, most of the pieces I have owned have been from her ‘Plenty’ label, but she uses beautiful fabrics with an ethnic or global or anywhere appeal that is my kind of thing. Serena Crawford is the kind of interior designer I’d like to work for/with when I am a grown up! The portfolio on her website is full of the kind of Southern Hemisphere spaces and interiors that I grew up in and I long to recreate rooms like that for “northerners”. Large spaces that are elegant, mostly because they are luxurious in the simple textures and comfort, not because they are full of expensive pretentious stuff. It is the volume of the spaces and the life you imagine living in them that makes them aspirational. And the last lady, but definitely not the least, is Malene Birger. I fell in love with her clothing a while back and since then it seems she has cropped onto my radar more and more, and now I discover she does interiors. Her London apartment is monochromatic in a Scandinavian way we might expect, but her use of texture and world textile and globe trotter type finds makes her appeal broad and very NOW.


Below …. the woman…….&……..her work.

World fabrics and their place in my heart – I mean space.

My stash is on my mind a lot at the moment and I am eager to carve out some time to do something with it all. The pictures below are the sorts of textiles that make my heart beat a little bit faster… no all pretty fabrics do that. These ethnic, vibrant, exciting handmade, rich-in-history fabrics make my wanderlust and need for exploration come to the surface, and make my heart do a little jig. Not all my stash is like this but a lot of it is, and I would surround myself with things like this all the time, but I found some pictures online that show how you can incorporate some of these gems into your space in a meaningful way, without turning your home into a boho chick 1960’s lovechild’s den throwback. From Vietnamese sheets, to Indian threadwork and embroidered pieces to ikats, suzanis and african block prints, there is a place for all of them in a contemporary (and realistic) home. The interiors photographed below all have something special about them and as I wonder what I will do with my stash I think my biggest challenge is choosing between all the possibilities. For now I will continue to trawl through Pinterest,  explore Instagram and all the wonderful places the web allows us to visit from the comfort of our gadgets. It’s a bit like being an interiors peeping tom, and I’m afraid I can’t apologise.

Space Glorious Space!

So the question of space has been on my mind a lot recently. I have been wondering about the fact that in our personal and professional lives TIME is the ultimate luxury – well in our homes and work spaces the ultimate luxury has to be SPACE. And so, as I feel I never have enough clear open space, and as clutter and stuff is something I battle with daily I am forever saying to myself, and anyone who will listen, – “I need more space”. But is that really true? Is it more the case that I need to de-clutter and use the space that I have more efficiently. I should probably be clearing visual clutter so it feels more open and available, usable and free-flowing. And then the cynic in me says…”sure all those houses in the interior magazines are gorgeous but there is not a shred of real life in most of them” They are picture perfect de-cluttered manicured gems, and I want that!

– but it may just take a lobotomy in my case!



Pantone Greenery 15-0343

So the Pantone colour of 2017 is just a thrill!

Apart from finding it in all sorts of places in nature, some pretty clever people have been making interesting products that allow you to live with it around you with varying degrees of commitment. From Malachite wallpaper for a living space or a bathroom, to wall paints for entire rooms or just a detail, tiles to accessories. I love it any way it comes. But the fact that it blends well with the trend to have indoor plants again just sings to my nostalgic 70’s girl heart! Macrame plant hanger anyone??

From the ridiculous to the sublime….

So in my last post I was wondering what on earth is going to happen to the interiors of the White House once You-know-who and Melania get their hands on them… Well the results could be as ridiculous as the characters themselves. So in this post I wanted to share with you pictures of some of the gorgeous pieces I saw at a very indulgent day at the Decorative Antiques and Textile Fair at Battersea Park this week.

You can see even more pictures on Instagram alexandrahuntdallison


I am coveting the tables from Lee Wright antiques, the textiles Molly Hogg was showing and the brass crown vases from Sjostrom Antik, amongst many others – here are links to a few:













“Single girl” – Denyse Schmidt


“Haze Kilim”, by Kaffe Fassett

I lived up the road, well 4 hours up the road, from the capital of quilting, Paducah Kentucky, for over 10 years. In that time I taught myself how to quilt and have been in love with the art form ever since. Of course, being in the south of the US the use of Quilts as a means to communicate in secret along the underground railroad – the system of safe houses that helped free slaves to the north as they escaped their southern masters – was a large part of what you saw in museums and exhibitions. It is fascinating and humbling to see the resourcefulness with which beautiful quilts were created by enslaved women and girls with very few resources and limited supplies.

But the quilts that I find myself drawn to now, from an aesthetic point of view, are the modern ones that have been created with the huge palette of fabrics now available to us by amazing artists that have chosen fabric as their medium. There are several celebs that I have followed for years, Kaffe Fasset, Denyse Schmidt, a husband and wife team that call their designs Fun Quilts, Willyne Hammerstein with her Millefiori Quilts that aside from being striking visually, are a masterpiece of precision and engineering. Of course there are many many quilters that create absolutely stunning pieces. Many are twists on an old theme or a traditional pattern. Some have come up with extraordinary new designs, that at first glance are, yes visually very pleasing, but if you understand what is involved in the construction of a quilt top and then the actual “quilting” itself, are absolutely genius! The cleverest are tricks played with colour and shapes and contrast that take a real artist with vision, planning and exquisite craftsmanship to produce. For some of us a life long challenge to pursue.

See more:

Which came first lighting or the mood?


I had always focused on the soft furnishings and colour palette of an interior and lighting was not high on the list of things that caught my eye. Recently I was on Pimlico Road with some friends soaking up the eye candy and stumbled across OCHRE! Their organic, sculptural light fixtures have forever changed me. Their signature piece, which hangs over a dining table is called seed pods but remind me more of sperm… even sexier(?) It got me to thinking, which comes first the mood or the lighting. What do you think?

Too much velvet is never enough…






I’m hoping this velvet trend continues for a while, both in interiors and fashion. You can never get too much of this gorgeous fabric, and the colours it is cropping up in – just magic!