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The 5th Wall

How many walls does your room have? Four? That’s what we thought too, but in the last year we’ve seen lots of designers introducing a unique new ‘wall’ space into their décor… The Fifth Wall, aka the ceiling. It might sound a little out there, but we promise you’ll be seeing a lot more of this method in the future, which is a simple process of adding wallpaper to your ceiling just as you would your walls.

Papering overhead may seem like a tricky process but it’s a lot easier than you might think, and depending on which wallpaper you choose, you can either paste the paper or paste the ceiling to make it easier still. But why would you? We’re glad you asked…

The benefits of papering your 5th Wall

Wallpapering your ceiling can add more dimension to a room, giving a lighter or cosier impression, and it can also act as your feature wall if you want to keep your vertical walls bare. Wallpapered ceilings can also play with your perceptions depending on the design of the print.

We’ve used the wallpaper from our Dreamscape trend to demonstrate this, as it has a dreamy, cloud-like look that goes well in a ceiling setting. The wallpapers from this range have an under-layer of vinyl which makes them perfect for covering slight imperfections, and can be used in any room.

Choose from a heavenly blue cloud print with a discreet sprinkle of glitter. Or opt for a moodier design with shades of violet, amethyst and hints of metallic shimmer.

How to prepare and apply wallpaper to your ceiling:

It might seem more challenging because you’ll be hanging straight up instead of straight down, but we’ve put together a simple guide to help you get started:
Measuring is key

  1. Measure the dimensions of your ceiling with a metal tape measure;
  2. Use our roll calculator to calculate how many rolls you’ll require;
  3. Measure 53cm out from the edge of the ceiling;
  4. Using a pencil and a spirit level or folding yardstick mark out the width of each wallpaper drop on the ceiling.

Have your tools to hand, and we recommend having a second pair of hands to help you with the application.

You will need:

  • Wallpaper brush (or a long-handled roller if you’re pasting the ceiling)
  • Ladder (and someone to hold it steady)
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Metal tape measure
  • Scissors and a sharp blade
  • Spirit level, folding yardstick or a long piece of string
  • Hanging brush
  • Damp sponge
  • Pasting table (if pasting the paper)
  • Long-handled brush

As explained earlier, there are two types of wallpaper application:

Paste the Paper
A more traditional method is to paste the paper on a trestle table.

  • Measure the length required (allow for a 5cm overlap on either side);
  • Unroll the wallpaper on your trestle table;
  • Apply the paste to the back of the paper;
  • Allow time for the paste to soak in.

Paste the ceiling
This application is faster than the traditional method, and will save space as you won’t need a table.

  1. Measure the length required (allow for a 5cm overlap on either side);
  2. Apply the paste evenly onto the first section of the ceiling – too much paste will drip.

Hanging the wallpaper
Now you can get going with the application. This is when you’ll need an extra pair of hands.

  1. Fold your paper 2/3 at one end and 1/3 at the other;
  2. Carefully climb the ladders, leaving at least 10cm between the ceiling and your head;
  3. Using the shorter end of the roll, hold it up against the edge of the ceiling and in line with the pencilled line you drew earlier;
  4. Once you’re sure the first piece is in the correct place, spread out the paper slowly from the middle outwards, pushing any bubbles out through the side of the paper;
  5. Unfold the remaining piece of roll and with a long-handled brush, your helper can hold up each section for ease;
  6. When you’ve placed your first piece on the ceiling and pushed all the bubbles away, score along the edge of the ceiling with a blade and use your scissors to cut the overlap away (where it joins with the wall);
  7. Wipe paper with a damp sponge to remove any excess paste;
    Continue with your next piece of paper, aligning it against the previous piece.

Ready to try out this up and coming trend? Let’s find you a fabulous new wallpaper > 

DIY Gifts: Lavender Hearts

If you’re handy with a needle and thread, why not treat some lucky sew-n-sews to a soothingly scented homemade gift? Our lavender hearts make lovely gifts that can be hung around the house or popped into clothing drawers to keep their garments smelling fresh. They cost around £1.30 per heart, but we like to give them in groups so they can be used as a family.

Materials:

  • Cotton poplin fabric (£6/m)
  • Dried lavender (£2.99/100g)
  • Toy filling (£3.50/250g)
  • Buttons (£4.50/jar)
  • Ribbon
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle

Time Taken: 30 minutes
Cost: approx. £1.30 per heart

How to:

  1. Draw out a heart pattern or download and print our Heart Template. Glue them to some card to make drawing around them easier.
  2. Fold your fabric in half with the right sides together and pin to secure. Draw around the heart template and cut each of the hearts out with pinking shears. Make sure to keep your two pieces of fabric together or your hearts might be different sizes. We used pins in each of the hearts to hold them together while we cut.
  3. Cut your ribbon to the desired length, fold in half and stitch or glue to secure.
  4. Sew your hearts together making sure the ribbon is stitched in too. Leave a small gap for filling the hearts.
  5. You can then either fill your hearts completely with dried lavender or use a small amount of toy stuffing to give the hearts more of a cushion feel.
  6. Sew up the small gap you left to fill and you’re done!

Start your sewing project today with everything you need right here > 

DIY Gifts: Sewing Jar

If your friends and family are crazy about crafting, they’ll love this handy homemade gift. As any budding crafter knows, holding onto those tiny bits and pieces is key to a smooth running project, so having a lovingly made home for their hobby essentials will go down a treat.

Materials:

  • Kilner preserving jar (£3)
  • Small amount of cotton poplin fabric (£6/m)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Toy filling (£3.50/250g)
  • Card/Felt
  • Ribbon (£3.50/roll)
  • Gift tag (£1.50/pack of 12)
  • Sewing kit products to fill the jar: scissors, thread, ribbon, measuring tape, pins
  • Optional: Rustoleum spray paint

Time Taken: 20 minutes

Cost: approx. £10-£15 per jar – depends on products put into them.

How to:

  1. Using the inner section of the lid of the jar, draw a circle on the fabric about a cm and a half larger than the lid.
  2. Roll a handful of toy filling into a ball and sandwich this between the fabric and the jar lid. The easiest way to do this is to lie the outer lid on a flat surface, place the fabric on top, followed by the toy filling. Push the inner lid onto the toy filling and lift the outer lid. This will push the toy filling out to create your pin cushion. Pull the edges of the fabric to tighten.
  3. With the hot glue gun, secure the fabric to the base of the lid.
  4. To cover all the edges, glue a circle of card to the back of the lid.
  5. Fill your jar with any sewing products you want to. We’ve used some embroidery scissors, a measuring tape, black and white thread and some hand needles.
  6. Add a bow and gift tag and you’re ready to give your gift
  7. Optional extra: spray the outer part of the lid with Rustoleum spray paint in a complementary colour to add more colour to your project

Get your crafting essentials here > 

DIY Gifts: Infinity Scarf

Cosy gifts are a classic at Christmas, sitting at the crossroads of actually warming (seasonally appropriate) and heart-warming too (always appropriate). Our infinity scarf how to shows just how simple it can be to make a meaningful gift, and it can be completely customised to your family and friends’ tastes by the material you choose to use.

Materials

  • Half a metre of fabric per scarf (£6/m)
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread

Time Taken: 10 minutes
Cost: £3

How to

  1. Lay out your fabric and fold it in half. Pin it in place and sew along the pinned edge using a sewing machine.
  2. Turn your fabric inside out so that the seam is now inside. You should now have a tube!
  3. Tuck one end of your tube into the other. Make sure your tube doesn’t get twisted in the process. To neaten the edge, fold the outer layer under to hide the raw edge and pin in place.
  4. Sew a straight line to complete your scarf, and it’s now ready to be gifted!

Shop our haberdashery department to start your scarf project > 

Winter Sleep Sanctuary: Sleeping in the Cold

First it’s autumn into winter, then winter into deepest darkest winter, and with the changing seasons comes a tricky balancing act of sleeping comfortably. You can think you’ve got the formula just right, then a sudden dip in temperature can take your nights from fine to frosty, but we have lots of lovely layers to help you get tucked in for a season of seamless sleep. Here’s how we handle it…

It’s been a cold day’s night

Soft layers like blankets and rugs add flexible cosiness while the temperature varies.

Keep a blanket over the foot of the bed for easy grabbing and layering in the night without having to leave the bed, and they’re easy to throw off if it’s unseasonably mild (or the heating kicks in). A rug is a must have for easing yourself out of a cosy bed in the morning – you don’t want to start the day with a case of cold-floor toe shock!

A thicker duvet and a textured throw will get you ready for cooler nights

Lots of people look forward to getting their winter duvet out because apart from the added warmth you need during the cold parts of the year, they can feel thicker and heavier and therefore more luxurious. Your winter duvet doesn’t necessarily need to be thicker, but it should have a higher ‘tog’ rating – somewhere between 10.5 – 15 tog. Add a textured throw into the mix for added luxe appeal in look and feel.

The sun is still out there, but room darkening blinds will cut out the glare

We still get those days where the sun shines bright, and when they arrive you want to enjoy them on your own terms, not be abruptly woken by them. Our room darkening blinds reduce light by up to 50% more than a standard Venetian blind, so you get to enjoy a sleek looking window without the light leakage.

Use temperature-smart curtains to stay warm in cold weather

A sumptuous pair of drapes will help you wrap your home up warm, especially if they’re our clever temperature smart ones. The lining is designed to create a barrier over your window that helps bounce warmth back into your room and cold temperatures out (where they belong!).

Calming scents and a gentle glow are great for feeling snug and soothed

It’s not all about the practical, physical bits. Getting yourself in a relaxed mood before bed and introducing a tranquil routine can help you wind down for a better night’s sleep. Calming scents and gentle candlelight are easy and simple ways to bring relaxation to your evenings, and will help you feel much more cosy and snug.

And if you catch a cold?

There’s only so much you can do to protect yourself from catching a cold, and having a cosy place to rest up and get better will hopefully help you feel better. There’s one thing we recommend as well as plenty of bed-rest, and that’s a cup of golden milk. Made with turmeric, a cup of golden milk before bed will provide a natural (and tasty) anti-inflammatory.

Golden Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 120ml of milk ( or unsweetened dairy-free alternative)
  • 1 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup (optional)

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Strain into a mug and top with a light dusting of cinnamon.

Shop for your winter sleep sanctuary right here before it gets too chilly.

5 Steps to a Quick Kitchen Makeover

Your kitchen is a bit like the engine room of your home – it’s where everyone comes to fuel up for the day ahead and where they come to wind down at the end. It’s also a highly functional space out of necessity, so it doesn’t always get lavished with the same attention and beautiful furnishings that your living room or bedroom gets.

The thing is – you should love your kitchen just as much! We all spend lots of time in our kitchens preparing packed lunches and cooking family dinners, so there’s no reason not to turn it into a beautiful place to be. If you don’t do it for your own enjoyment alone, do it to show off when you’re entertaining (however infrequently). There are always those times when someone pops their head behind the door to see if they can help hand out nibbles or top up glasses, and those relaxed late night clearing up chats when everyone else has left the party, why not give it a quick and easy refresh to give you more hosting confidence?

5 quick and easy ways to refresh your kitchen

Floating shelves provide stylish open storage

A great addition to any kitchen for so many reasons, floating shelves work in any size or shape space to provide much-needed storage that makes everything really easy to find, and because everything is on show you’re much more likely to feel compelled to keep them neat and tidy.

Statement lighting gives everything a fresh look

Any strong décor look uses varied levels and complementary lighting, and a statement light fitting is the perfect combination of the two. Make sure the style of the light fits your overall look, but try pushing it a little further with something really eye-catching to create a focal point. Even if you don’t go for an artsy design or extravagant chandelier, any new light or shade will automatically make your room look different because the lighting level will change.

Refresh your flooring with pre-glued tiles

There’s no looking back once you discover our incredibly easy to apply self-adhesive floor tiles. They have all the benefits of ‘proper’ tiling but the application process is so simple and mess free! You just peel off the back and they’re ready to go – all you need to do is trim them down where necessary and they will very quickly and easily transform your floor.

Self-adhesive wall tiles are easy to apply

We said there’s no looking back and we mean it! It’s not just your floors that can benefit from a self-adhesive tile makeover, our wall tiles offer the same transformational effect too. They’re quick and easy to apply and are fully wipe-cleanable making them super practical for those inevitable food splashes.

Add stylish statement bar stools

You can easily turn your breakfast counter into a breakfast bar with the help of a couple of stylish bar stools. You’ll use them more than you think once they’re in situ, for breakfast (obviously), for the kids to sit and do homework while you make dinner, and for hosting guests in a more sociable way while you put the finishing touches to your party nibbles.

DIY Gifts: Homemade Chilli Oil

The foodies in your life will love receiving chilli oil for its tasty and versatile applications in cooking and dining, and they’ll love it even more if they know it’s been lovingly created by you. It’s easy to make but looks impressive, so will give your recipient’s kitchen added shelf appeal.

Ingredients:

  • Kilner bottle (£3)
  • Ribbon (£3.50/roll) – enough for approx. 10 bottles
  • Gift tags (£1.50/pack of 12)
  • Olive oil
  • Dried basil
  • Dried chillies
  • Dried rosemary

Time taken: 10 minutes
Cost: approx. £5 per bottle

How to:

  1. Choose your ingredients. We have gone for chilli, rosemary and basil. But you could also go for garlic, lemon or coriander. All of these ingredients need to be dried.
  2. Add your dried ingredients to the Kilner bottles and fill with olive oil.
  3. Leave to infuse for 4-6 weeks, taste testing along the way and gently shaking the bottles to mix.
  4. When ready to gift, add a ribbon and gift card.

Dotty’s Cheese Scone Recipe

We all know the kitchen is the heart of the home, and sharing home-baked treats is a great way to show your family and guests how much you care. Dotty, who you might recognise from our autumn TV adverts, loves to make her signature cheese scones when she’s entertaining friends and family, and has spent years perfecting her recipe which we’re very honoured to share with you now!

Dotty’s Cheese Scones

15 minutes prep

15 minutes cooking time

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb self-raising flour
  • 4 tsps baking powder (level)
  • 1-2 tsps mustard powder
  • 4 oz fat (Dotty always uses Stork)
  • 6 oz finely grated cheese (Dotty recommends freezing old end bits as you go)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 pint milk (approx.)

Method:

  1. Sieve the flour into a bowl, then add the mustard powder and baking powder.
  2. Rub the fat in (using your fingertips) until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the cheese.
  4. Bring the dough together with egg and milk, adding a little at a time so it doesn’t get too dry or too wet.
  5. Roll out the dough to an even height of 2cm.
  6. Use a stamp to cut out your scone shapes, stamping straight down. Don’t twist them!
  7. Brush an egg and milk mixture over the tops of the scones to glaze.
  8. Place in a preheated oven at 190 degrees / 180 fan oven / gas mark 5.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown, then remove and allow to cool.

And before you disappear to the fridge to create your own, Dotty has one more piece of wisdom on the topic… Be suspicious of cheese scones with cheese sprinkled on top!

Try your hand at Dotty’s cheese scones with the help of our bakeware here.

Banana Oat Pancakes by Mason Cash

If you fancy a change from your standard pancake mix, and something with a healthier feel, Mason Cash’s banana oat pancakes are the ones for you. Fire up the hob, break out the frying pan, and flip out over these fruity numbers for a brilliant breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 240g rolled oats
  • 250ml almond milk
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Blueberries and honey for serving

Method

  1. Add low calorie spray to a large skillet and place over a medium heat.
  2. Using an electric whisk combine all ingredients in a Mason Cash Mixing Bowl.
  3. Add a ladle of the mixture to your pan, cook for 2-3 minutes (or until bubbles), then flip and cook for a further 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. Top with blueberries and honey. Serve!

Get some flipping great baking bits here > 

Guinness Bread by Mason Cash

Mason Cash Guiness Bread

The baking aficionados at Mason Cash have taken the humble (but fantastic) loaf and turned it into a beer infused savoury sensation just by simply using Guinness and butter instead of water and olive oil. To taste it is to love it!

Ingredients

    • 500g strong bread flour
    • 375ml Guinness
  • 7g sachet fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30g butter, melted

Method 

  1. Add the flour, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Mix together creating a well in the centre of the bowl; gradually pour in the Guinness and melted butter and mix to form a rough dough.
  2. Tip the dough mixture onto a work surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes or until smooth and springy.
  3. Allow the dough to rise in a lightly greased airtight container until doubled in size.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 220C, 390F, gas mark 6. Once the dough has risen, knock the air out of the dough and shape.
  5. Place on a baking tray and leave to rise a second time for approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Place onto the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.

Refresh your bakeware here >