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House Curious

Lifestyle and interior shop. Social workshops for the creatively curious.

PIMPED UP FETA CHEESE TWO WAYS

Sommer Pyne

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This recipes is super easy and a great summer addition to any table. You can either add it to a cheese board for a casual affair or it goes great with grilled meats and salads. I’m all about making my life easy and this is perfect because it has the wow factor with minimal effort. The beauty of this recipe is that you can pimp it several ways with your favourite herbs and spices. Here are a couple of examples but you could pimp it with Middle Eastern spices or go for something spicy, add nuts or fruit. Below are my two go to flavours:

Lemon thyme with red wine & bay leaves salt

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Ingredients

Good quality feta cheese

Fresh lemon thyme

Lemon and rind

Nicolas Vahé Red Wine and Bay Leaves Salt

Nicolas Vahè Rapeseed oil or good quality olive oil

Cracked pepper

Method:

Place your feta cheese on a serving plate sprinkle the salt down the middle of the cheese and sprinkle around the plate. Next, add the thyme by removing leaves from the stalk, chop finely and sprinkle over the cheese. Grate the lemon rind over the cheese and then squeeze half of the lemon juice. Drizzle the rapeseed oil over the cheese and the plate, adding a sprig of thyme as garnish. 

Basil, sun blushed tomatoes with olives

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Ingredients

Good quality feta cheese

Fresh Basil

Olives

Sun blushed tomatoes

Niclas Vahè Garlic Olive Oil

Cracked pepper

Lemon

Fresh chilli (Optional)

Method

Chop the fresh basil, olives and sun blushed tomatoes.  Arrange on top of the feta cheese and then drizzle the garlic olive oil. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top, add fresh chillies if you like a kick and cracked pepper.

And that’s it. Add some crusty bread, wine and you’re good to go. Sometimes the simplest things in life give you the most pleasure.

Enjoy, Sommer x

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HOW TO CREATE THE PRETTIEST GARDEN PARTY

Sommer Pyne

 Styled by Sommer Pyne

Styled by Sommer Pyne

Summer is in full swing and it's perfect BBQ weather and a great excuse to throw a garden party. If you’ve been following me on the gram you’ll know that I turned 40 and I’m milking it for all it's worth. I’m not just having one big party I’m doing several small things across the year and on my actual birthday I hosted a garden party with a small group of friends. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to throw a party with maximum gorgeousness, then here’s how you to it.

 Styled by Sommer Pyne

Styled by Sommer Pyne

Think about a theme and then base your colour scheme, flowers and any other decorative ideas around this. It can be really loose so don’t over think it too much. It could be as simple as your favourite colours, Spring or festival vibes. I find having a theme helps give me a starting point to focus on. I’m Australian so I wanted to have a little nod to my roots but done in a very tasteful way. Nothing snooty just a beautiful laid back affair with lots of botanicals.

You’ll need the following...

1. Wooden pallets to form a low table. 

You can get really creative and stack them or just use a single layer like I’ve done here. They come in lots of different sizes, but the ones I used are 120cm x 100cm. The number of guests will dictate how many pallets you need but roughly speaking you can fit 4-5 people per pallet. You can buy pallets online if you google them or if you’re after free pallets head to your local Big Yellow Storage and I’m sure they will be happy to off load them to you. They usually have plenty lying around and they hold on to them for about a week and then they pay for them to be collected, so you’ll be doing them a favour.

2. Sheets, towels or blankets

Firstly lay 4-6 sheets down in a row (the number of sheets will depend on how large your table is) and make sure there is enough sheet sticking out on either side to sit on. I allowed about 70cm each side. This is your base and now you need to layer. Place either towels or picnic blankets around the edge on top of the sheet. I used these cool stripy towels from H&M, which were really good value and were perfect with my setting. I then added cushions so people could lounge on them. I used a variety of cushions from House Curious and some extra large ones from Sainsburys. 

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3. Botanicals and foliage

This was the most fun for me as I love flowers and I managed to find the most beautiful Australian botanicals that were perfect for my Australian theme. I had a mixture of eucalyptus, monstera, banksia and some other exotic flowers. I also bought lots of extra foliage and palm leaves. The best place to buy your flowers are from a wholesaler or flower market as it can get quite pricey or see what you can grab from your garden. I always go to The New Covent Garden Market when I'm doing an event but make sure you go super early to get the good stuff. 

I used palm leaves as my place mats, but you could also use banana leaves, or use a roll of craft paper instead. It’s all about the layering! I used two large glass vases from House Curious as my centre piece and filled them with my gorgeous Australian botanicals. I placed the large vases of botanicals in the middle of the table and then used branches to weave between the vases to complete the centre piece. 

4. Ice buckets filled with icy cold rose is a must.

Place ice buckets on the pallets so people can help themselves to the bubbles and rose. This gorgeous ice bucket above has just landed at House Curious and is the perfect accessory for summer parties.

5. Mix your plates

I used a mixture of plates from our Nordic Sand and Palm print range available here. No need to be matchy matchy, head to your local charity shop and get a selection of different plates. Gone are the days where everything has to match.

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6. Extra-large balloons with tassels

Extra large balloons are great for adding that extra wow factor and they are very Instagram worthy. If price isn’t an issue you can get some great balloons from BonBon Balloons who also deliver. Or if you’re a bit thrifty like me you can buy extra-large balloons on Amazon for a steal. I also found DIY tassels from here. If you’re the craft type you can make your own tassels from scratch, which I did for my daughter’s birthday one year. It’s time consuming so if you’re time poor don’t do it. Here’s a link to a YouTube video on how to make your own.

7.    The little extras

Weave tea lights in and around the foliage and dot lanterns, fairy lights and festoon lights around the garden to add a summer warm glow for when the festivities carry on into the night. 

8. Props and games

I used a large Fortnum and Mason picnic basket as a decorative piece, but I also filled it with some games, sunscreen and picnic blankets. I love a bit of tipsy badminton!

To see more of the festivities of the day head to my instagram highlights.

A BBQ is perfect for this kind of setting and again makes for a chilled affair. I was lucky enough to have Anna Barnett do my catering for my birthday bash. After all it was my 40th so I wanted to relax and enjoy chatting with my friends. We had seabasss, slow roast lamb, BBQ corn, scallops, delicious salads and the most incredible cheese board. Our guests were asked to fill their plates up and we all gathered around my makeshift table feasting and chatting in the sunshine. The icing on the cake was live music by Steve. If you want to create that extra special touch to an event then Steve is your man! We spent the afternoon grazing on our large cheese board and my lovely friend made expresso martinis for everyone. We partied on into the night and I was a very happy 40 year old. Now that’s how you put on a garden party! If you found this interesting or helpful in any way please comment below and share your garden party tips with me. Don't forget to tag me on instagram if you use any of these tips to throw your own party. 

Sommer x

MY SPRING TRENDS

Sommer Pyne

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Spring is on it's way, and it brings a fresh new energy. Do you feel it? I feel just that little bit lighter and brighter and it’s much easier to jump out of bed in the morning. It’s as if we’re peeling away the dark heavy layers of winter and throwing them in the bin. I feel really inspired at this time of the year, especially when it comes to my interiors. I have an urge to clean, sort and breathe new life into my house. This usually means a trip to the New Covent Garden Market to buy more plants, changing linen, new cushion covers and cleaning out my cupboards etc. I’m not massively into following trends but here are a few loves that have stood the test of time or should I say that I think are still going to be relevant this Spring:

 Photography by Gavin Smith

Photography by Gavin Smith

Botanicals: Our love affair with indoor plants is as big as ever. As you probably know I love filling my house with greenery and bringing the outside in. I think plants are the best accessory for a dramatic impact or filling a sad empty corner, instantly breathing life into a room. Hanging plants look incredible and can add so much drama to a room. I had these metal grids created to hang plants and it literally made my heart skip a beat. My fav plants are tropical plants such as a fiddle leaf figs, bird of paradise and banana trees. The planters you use to house your plants are also just as important. I like to mix mine up by using baskets, oversized concrete pots or even wrap the plant pot in craft paper with string for a more rustic look.

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Bold prints: The botanical love affair spills over to homewares and fashion with bold tropical prints and lush green florals. I also think that we’re becoming more confident in our interior choices and playing it less safe. Geometric and tribal prints will also be featured in homeware this season. Go on go bold this Spring!

 Photography by Gavin Smith

Photography by Gavin Smith

Spa bathrooms: You only need to glance at Pinterest to see that luxury spa style bathrooms are as popular as ever. In fact, that was my inspiration for when I designed my master bathroom. I wanted to create a sanctuary; a place that I could truly relax from the craziness of the outside world (and hide from the kids). Think large deep baths, marble, muted grey large tile slabs, rain showers. Displaying your beauty products and hand soaps on a tray gives you that luxury hotel feeling. If you don’t have the luxury of designing a bathroom use accessories and treat yourself to a Love salt bath, put on a facemask, light candles and put your favourite music on. Just make sure you lock the door!

Textures: I personally feel that having a mixture of textures is your home is important to create a well-balanced home. Mixing textures, patterns and different materials is the way forward. Layering is key and for me this is the trick to making a room feel finished. Think velvet cushions, throws, sheepskin, trays with candles, fluffy rugs under furniture, books stacked on tables. Wood and other natural materials such as concrete and marble help you feel more grounded. Leather is also a material that is popular this year; think destressed leather dining room chairs, bedheads and bespoke upholstered leather sofas. I’m saving up for some leather chairs in the dining room.

 Photography by Gavin Smith

Photography by Gavin Smith

Mix metals: Gone are the days when you must stick to one type of metal. For a more modern approach mix stainless steel with brass or gun metal grey with gold. In my kitchen, I have used stainless steel cabinets mixed with brass handles and my light switches from Buster and Punch also use a mixture of metals. So be bold and mix it up.

 Photography by Gavin Smith

Photography by Gavin Smith

Colour trends: The colours that I think have stood the test of time and feature throughout House Curious are a combination of dark inky grey and blues, earthy natural tones and my fav at the moment, muted pink and green. Maybe it’s time to paint that reception room Railings or Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball. Weave in pinks and greens with soft furnishings or if you’re brave use these gorgeous pink tiles from Topps Tiles in your bathroom. I did this for a client recently and it looked amazing. I tend to use lighter tones of grey like Blackened in the hallways to connect rooms but there’s no hard and fast rule. I've seen hallways painted in olive green or deep rich blues and greys that also look amazing. Painting rooms has the biggest impact on transforming a room but you can always introduce different colours through accessories and decorative objects. 

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