Launching the Veg Patch: Delicious new tableware from Bertioli

Well, we do love a tasty mealtime, and now for some tasty tableware! The busy bees at Bertioli have just launched their new series of prints, the Veg Patch. They are making the whole dining experience a delicious affair. Inspired by Thyme’s kitchen garden, the delightful linen tablecloths and napkins have been meticulously and lovingly drawn by Thyme’s founder Caryn Hibbert.

"I’ve always loved drawing and painting, but as I pursued a career in medicine, they became something of a childhood memory.  It was only a few years ago that I started drawing again, picking up a pencil and rediscovering a passion that I had forgotten... I’ve since painted many of the wonderful plants in our gardens at Thyme, but the Veg Patch range is a particular favourite. I love how our vegetables are uniform and jumbled in equal measure – making for fabulous subject matter – but also because cooking has always been so central to Hibbert family life."

CARYN HIBBERT, FOUNDER, THYME

Field to fork

The collection displays veg patch favourites, such as radishes, carrots and onions, bean flower and runner beans. Picked daily from their own veg patch for the Ox Barn’s menu, Thyme enjoys a field to fork ethos.  How perfect then, to create their own tableware from such an integral part of Thyme and Bertioli's raisin d'être.

Veg Patch Linens | Bertioli by Thyme | L-Shaped | Lorfords

The collection includes linen tablecloths in the following lengths: 260cm, 320cm, 380cm and 450cm. The collection also includes napkins, with the tableware packaged in matching “book bags”.  There are plans for tea towels and aprons in the future. Rumours also abound of a range of crockery and one of wallpapers and upholstery fabric… more to follow when Bertioli has done some more digging on that front.

Bertioli is a family affair

Thyme and Bertioli's ethos is to create products and a wonderful environment, that can tell stories of the natural world evolving through the seasons. The name Bertioli is a reference to Caryn Hibbert’s maiden name.  Her father, Michael Bertioli was pivotal in the restoration of the historic barns and buildings that make up Thyme; her mother, Patricia played a formative part in Thyme’s chef director, Charlie Hibbert’s culinary journey.

Sustainability

Made from sustainably grown French linen (with an entirely European supply route from flax to loom), Caryn’s original prints have been delightfully transposed onto this exquisite collection of tablecloths, napkins and placemats.  The designing takes place in Caryn’s studio at home, before the production brings the pieces to life in Lithuania.  There is full transparency on the production process of the Thyme table linens and the production is certified by OEKO-TEX® to ensure there are no harmful substances used.  All the fabrics are digitally printed, leaving minimal run off of dyes.

Veg Patch Linen | Thyme | Bertioli | L-Shaped | Lorfords

Order your tableware

The full Veg Patch collection is available in The Piggery and Balcony Room boutiques at Thyme and for order and delivery on bertioli.co.uk. The tableware and ceramics in the Thyme boutiques have been chose for their links to the nature, food and entertaining.

To find out more about what's happening at Thyme, click here.

Picnic tips and heavenly burrata from Thyme’s Charlie Hibbert

Charlie Hibbert, our Thyme chef correspondent, is mad about picnics. With a fascinating French political association, the pique-nique was brought to England by escaping 'high-society' from the Revolution. In 1801, the Pic Nic society was formed in London where extravagant gatherings required each attendant to bring a dish and six bottles of wine! After dinner there was singing, dancing, gambling, and a play... somewhat less innocent and 'genteel' than the countryside connotation we now have!

Concentrating on the food, Charlie keeps to the original spirit by erring on the side of excess when it comes to catering for them, but he likes to keep things simple to reduce any potential stress from prepping.

  • Go for crowd-pleasing tucker – photographed, you’ll see grilled chicken & homemade mayo (always a winner), courgettes, fennel & burrata (recipe below with photograph by Romas Foord for The Times), potato & roasted radish salad, Victoria sponge, Eton mess and a crusty sourdough loaf with lots of salty butter.
  • Don’t prepare anything too oily or runny – it’s bound to drip or splodge.  If you’re taking olive oil (and I’d strongly recommend it), decant a little into a jam jar or small Kilner bottle.
  • Use the freshest possible seasonal produce – the flavours and aromas will definitely enhance your bucolic feast!
  • Always pack good serving utensils.
  • Keep lids or foil for leftovers.
  • Don’t forget salt, pepper, bottle openers and a bin bag.
  • Don’t forget the vegetarians & vegans!
  • Wine and water need to be served cold, so bring your freezer blocks.
  • Take a dog bowl for your dog (if you have one) – they need water too.

Charlie’s courgettes, fennel & burrata

Burrata, Courgette and fennel | Picnic recipe | Thyme | L-Shaped | Lorfords Antiques

(Image: Romas Foord) 

Charlie says "This summery dish is exactly what I want to eat on a warm day. Creamy burrata, crisp vegetables, bitter leaves and salty almonds, all good things.  If you can’t get hold of burrata, you could use a good buffalo mozzarella."

Serves 4

A good handful of blanched almonds (Valencia almonds are best), roughly chopped

2 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil

1 clove of garlic, peeled & grated

½ a lemon, zest (for the almonds) and juice (for the dressing)

2 courgettes, peeled with a vegetable peeler into strips

1 head of fennel, cut into thin strips with a spiralizer or knife, put the fennel in iced water until you are ready to assemble the dish (this keeps it nice and crunchy)

A good handful of bitter leaves, like rocket, nasturtium leaves or something similar

4 balls of burrata

Best extra virgin olive oil

Maldon salt flakes & pepper

Fry the almonds in a pan on a medium heat with the vegetable oil until they start to turn golden. Just before they are ready to come off the heat, add the grated garlic, a couple of grinds of black pepper and the lemon zest, and toss through the nuts. Carefully tip the almonds out of the pan onto a paper towel to drain.

If you can keep the dressing, almonds and rest apart until you get to the picnic – that’s the best way round, so nothing goes soggy.  Just remember to take a good sized bowl with you to mix and serve it in.  When you’re ready to serve, dress the courgette and fennel with plenty of lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and gently combine with the bitter leaves. Tear the burrata open and season. Tumble over the courgette and fennel, scatter over the almonds and dress with a little olive oil.

 For more recipes, please click here.

Charlie’s lunch and dinner menus at Thyme reflect all the goodness to be found in the gardens at Thyme, so if it really is too soggy to picnic and you happen to be in the Cotswolds – bag yourself a table at the Ox Barn for a lazy lunch.

A cautionary tale… the murky world of Instagram hacking

Written by Jon Woods, Marketing Manager at Lorfords Contemporary

Google tells us... "Instagram is considered to be the best social media platform for engagement or your ability as a brand to connect with your followers. It's visual, simple and it attracts the younger generations more than other social media platforms. The perfect marketing tool”.

This is all true. But what happens when your account is hacked? How perfect is it then?

Unfortunately, last month Lorfords Contemporary's account did get hacked. We received a seemingly innocent message asking for us to support a follower who had entered a competition. All that was required was for us to vote by clicking a button. Within seconds, we lost all access to our account.

So, what do you do in a situation like this? Research has established that an Instagram hack happens every 39 seconds. You would imagine there would be a standard procedure to deal with these problems. Don’t do that.

The first step

Obviously, our priority was to ensure that our followers and trusted partners were safe, and their privacy stayed intact. Our first port of call was to get in contact with Instagram, and their parent company Meta, to report that we had been hijacked and ask them to retrieve our account for us. Seems simple! Unfortunately, we ran into a brick wall pretty much immediately.

The main method Instagram uses to retrieve accounts is using facial recognition; rather difficult when all your pictures are of lovely furniture, so this wasn’t an option for us. We then tried to speak with someone rather than a machine but again our efforts came to nothing. After bombarding Instagram, Facebook and Meta with numerous messages, this is when it felt that the computer said “No!”. We really were getting nowhere. This was confirmed when Facebook commerce support acknowledged our situation and said we may not be able to gain access to our account again. We did however, get the account frozen. This meant no posts or messages could be sent. A small, but important, win.

The dead end

Having reached a dead end through the proper support channels, we started to investigate other options. Seemingly, the most hopeful avenue appeared to be to employ the services of an ethical hacker, they advertise themselves as the saviours of those who own jeopardised accounts. We opened into a dialogue with one of these ‘good’ hackers. However, as the conversation evolved, it all seemed a little too dubious for us, so we rejected this approach.

With no real alternative available, and with growing frustration at our lack of social media presence, we made the difficult decision to start afresh. We know it will take time to rebuild our following, but it’s the hit we have had to take. We are now in the process of getting our old account shut down. We did this because we believe we are doing what is best for our trusted customer base and the future of our business.

Anyway, as far as we are concerned this matter is now behind us and as we now start to look forward, we are thrilled to share all the new and exciting things we have coming up over the next few months.

Please do follow our renewed fully secure account @lorfords_contemporary to discover our newest offers, collaborations and business developments.

Rant over!

Jon

Marketing Manager, Lorfords Contemporary

L-Shaped barbecue tips by Charlie Hibbert of Thyme

Charlie Hibbert at Thyme has been telling us his secrets for success when it comes to barbecues.  Check out these barbecue tips, they will make your summers sizzle.

  • If you have a choice between lumpwood and briquettes, go lumpwood every time – it gives a much more natural aroma
  • Woody herbs like rosemary and thyme make brilliant basting brushes and I love olive oil for basting. Don’t pour olive oil or extra marinade onto meat, fish or veg when cooking, as it will cause the flames to flare up and burn what you’re cooking
  • Treat your meat, fish or veg with the same respect for the barbecue as you would in your kitchen. Bring meat & fish up to room temperature well in advance.  Go easy on the salt in marinades, as it draws out the juices from the meat or fish.  And, if it’s convenient, keep an oven on a low temp to keep everything hot until you’re ready to serve… there’s nothing worse than people finishing their food when you’re still sweating over a hot grill!
  • Wait for the coals to go white and then always close the lid. It will stop your coal burning away in 10 minutes and will also smoke your food as it cooks
  • Blanch your sausages by putting them into a pan of cold water, bringing it to the boil and boiling for 3 minutes. Drain and then put onto the barbecue to cook. This will start the cooking process and will also seal the meat, so that the sausages don’t burst during cooking
  • If you want something to have a hint of barbecue, but it’s too delicate to put onto the grill directly, you can wrap it in tinfoil and put tiny pin pricks all over the foil for the barbecue taste to infuse
  • When cooking chicken joints on the barbecue, make a sticky marinade for the chicken or simply season with salt & pepper. An hour before putting the chicken on the barbecue, put it into a low oven (around 100°C) in its marinade so that its three quarters cooked before going onto the barbecue. This will result in juicy, tasty, tender chicken.  Smaller spatchcockedpoussins do really well on the barbecue
  • Any root veg wrapped in tinfoil and dropped into the fire pit after the most intense part of the barbecuing has been done make a lovely late treat
  • Cook your steaks, bangers or burgers steadily until rich, aromatic and browned, and then turn gently just once. Use long handled tongs rather than a fork that may pierce the meat and allow valuable juices to escape

BBQ Tips | Thyme Ox Barn | L-Shaped | Lorfords

  • It’s all too easy to overcook on a barbecue, leading to charred, leathery or dry meat. Excessive flames turn the oil to carbon, leaving an acrid taste on the meat… so avoid. To ensure even cooking, use the 60/40 method.  Cook the meat for 60% of the time on the first side, then turn and cook for the remaining 40%.  As soon as the meat browns, move it further away from the heat source so that the inside can cook before the surface burns (exceptions are thin cuts).  Raise the rack so that it is about 30cm above the charcoal – at this height the temperature should be perfect
  • Knowing the meat is how you like it is the most difficult part of barbecuing. A good thermometer will ensure that everything is cooked to perfection.  Guides below:

 

    • Beef – medium rare: 54°C
    • Lamb – pink: 58°C
    • Pork – juicy: 65°C
    • Poultry – safe to eat: 75°C
    • Bangers: 75°C

Lamb | L-Shaped | BBQ Tips | Lorfords Antiques

  • Once the meat is cooked to your liking, rest it.  During resting, the temperatures will continue to rise as the juices in the middle move to the outside and it becomes warm, moist and tender all the way through.  To rest your meat, put it on a rack so that it doesn’t lie in its own juices.  Cover with tinfoil and leave in a warm place for up to 20 minutes.  It’s always better to over-rest meat than under-rest it!
  • Salads and grilled veg are an essential part of the process… make sure you’re full prepped on that front before you start cooking because there won’t be time for that afterwards.
  • Serve a crowd-pleasing pudding at a barbecue, because you won’t have time or the will to start making a fussy pudding during the evening.I always do a fruit pavlova or an Eton mess
  • Take time over laying the table and making it look good (but leaving plenty of room for all the different dishes).Then get everyone to sit down and eat together… barbecues can be very piecemeal if you don’t inject a little organised chaos and the sharing part is what I love about a barbecue

You can try Charlie Hibbert’s food at the Ox Barn at Thyme and in the not-too-distant future, at the re-furbished Swan at Southrop (we’ll be bringing you more about that in a future edition) www.thyme.co.uk/eat or take one of Thyme’s cookery courses: www.thyme.co.uk/happenings/cookery-classes

To check out some of Charlie Hibbert's mouth-watering recipes for L-Shaped, please click here.

Interior designer Alice Leigh on handcrafted interiors, delicious chutney and the V&A

As we chat with interior designer Alice Leigh, she is fresh from completing a countryside project that perfectly matched her ethos and allowed her to enjoy every moment. A project full of handcrafted pieces is one that excites her. And a delicious mix of old and new, contemporary and antique is what stands out within Alice’s style. She has an eye for natural materials, bold shapes and local craftsmanship.

A huge fan of British crafts, Alice is a keen supporter of local talent. “I think the more we can support homegrown craft, the better.  I’ve noticed a big movement in this direction, especially with Brexit, closely followed by the pandemic. Imports have become trickier over the last few years.  Now is as good a time as any to be supporting our homegrown talent.”

Her considered designs are undisputed. So we wanted to know what makes Alice tick. A long soak, as it turns out, and a bronze sculpture she tracked down on her honeymoon. Read on...

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The last thing I bought and loved was a framed textile by the Marrakesh lifestyle company Lrance. I love finding new and interesting pieces, mixing and matching, commissioning special pieces too.  Getting to know the artist makes the process so much more meaningful.

The place that means a lot to me is where I grew up in North Wales.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a bronze sculpture from our honeymoon in Mauritius - they were sitting on tables in the restaurant and we tracked down the local artist.

The best books I’ve read in the past year are the Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller and ‘If in doubt wash your hair’ by Anya Hindmarch - a brilliant guide to juggling work and family life!

The podcast I’m listening to is My Life in Seven Charms by Annoushka Ducas. Annoushka is a jeweller and in the podcast she talks to inspiring women about collecting charms. She explores their unique ability to evoke memory and meaning.

In my fridge, you’ll always find chutney - it goes on everything!

Some of my best ideas have come while I’m in the bath. My bathroom is my favourite room in my house – I take baths very seriously!

The thing I couldn’t do without is my ear pods – and much to my children’s amusement, I lose them on a daily basis!

The moment that changed everything for me was getting my first job in Design with Lavinia Dargie (Dargie Lewis Designs) and staying for 10 years.

An indulgence I would never forgo is a good coat to hide a multitude of sins underneath, especially in a hurry on a school run.

The last piece of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a beautiful linen dress from Wiggy Kit.

My favourite building is Somerset House in London.

I am excited to see more earthy terracotta colours and natural hues being used in design projects. They can look really wonderful in limewashed paint finishes.  The company Bauwerk specialises in these natural limewashed finishes, which react with the air on application to create wonderful matt, stone-like results which look amazing.

I am inspired by the V&A! I find it jam-packed with inspiration. I’m also lucky to live close to the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour and they have a fantastic programme called ‘Conversation in Design’ where I always pick up top tips. Living in London, I get very inspired from just walking amongst old buildings that have a foot in the past and the future.  I love to see how decorative details stand the test of time and how modern craftsmanship can continue that story.

My favourite Lorfords Antiques piece is currently a Swedish Flatweave Rug by Ingegerd Silow. I love a mid-century Swedish flatweave rug - their patterns and colours are always so adaptable to many a room.

I keep coming back to the Lorfords Contemporary Elmstead Sofa. I am a huge fan of it, I love their style and comfort. I recently placed two of these in a reception room of a very elegant stucco-fronted London Townhouse and covered them in a lovely teal wool from Tissus D'Helene.  

Alice Leigh Design | L-Shaped | Lorfords Antiques

(The Elmstead Sofa from Lorfords Contemporary. Alice Leigh Design. Image by Rachel Smith)

One of my favourite sustainable materials is rattan. It's hugely sustainable and there are a few wonderful suppliers championing the craft in the UK.  It works well in both traditional and contemporary projects adding both character and timelessness to a room. One of my absolute rules is to include antique and salvaged items that are not only sustainable, they add a sense of authenticity to a project.

An indulgence I would never forgo is a good coat to hide a multitude of sins underneath, especially in a hurry on a school run.

The best advice I’ve ever received is don’t sweat the small stuff.

(Alice Leigh Design | Images: Jonathan Bond)

For more information on Alice Leigh, please visit her website.

To read more interior design articles, please see our interview with Sims Hilditch here.

Natural Cotswolds lifestyle meets Greek island fashion

Our friends at Bertioli have launched a clothing collaboration with Greek clothing designer, Flora Sardalos. Whilst on the Greek island of Samos, Camilla Hibbert, head of brand and retail development found one of Flora Sardalos’s dresses. It was love at first sight!

Flora Sardalos x Bertioli Collection

Camilla and Caryn (mother and daughter duo) worked with Flora to create three classic Flora Sardalos styles adorned with three prints. Hand-painted by Caryn Hibbert, the designs are inspired by the orchards of Greece – the iconic olive, a pretty almond blossom and a wild iris.

Now available in the Thyme Boutique, these limited edition dresses are ideal for summer. They beautifully show off the Flora Sardalos style of billowing sleeves and voluminous fabric whilst maintaining 100% cotton.  The exquisiteness of these dresses has one transported instantly to a Greek terrace, overlooking the deep blue Aegean as the sun sets over the horizon.

Camilla Hibbert, head of brand and retail development at Bertioli and Thyme says "I'm always on the lockout for interesting collaborations with designers. Then when I was on holiday on the island of Samos, I fell in love with Flora Sardalos's dresses. We persuaded mum (Caryn Hibbert) to draw native Mediterranean plants - olive, almond blossom and wild iris - and with Flora's wonderful billowy, sunny designs, we are thrilled with the resulting micro-collection she did for Bertioli."

Flora Sardalos x Bertioli | Lorfords Antiques | L-Shaped

Luckily, we don’t have long to wait until Bertioli’s homewares receive a taste of Greek nature too. Each print will be created into matching linen table cloth and napkins, bringing the essence of the Greek countryside to your own dining rooms. These will be launching in September.

Click here to view the Flora Sardalos x Bertioli collection. To read more about the Bertioli collection, please click here.

World Environment Day: Sustainable interiors with natural paint

Sunday 5 June 2022, World Environment Day, is the biggest international awareness day for the environment. It is led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and held annually since 1974. The event has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach, with millions of people from across the world engaging to protect the planet.

Protecting the environment and understanding our short roles as trustees of the natural world is important to us here at Lorfords. We are on our own journey to become as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. Antiques, by their very nature, are reusable and eco-friendly. They are pre-loved items, regularly passed from generation to generation and often made from natural materials.

We work closely with like-minded brands, with a mission to create products that are for both people and planet. And none more so than our friends at Edward Bulmer Natural Paint who create beautiful paints backed up by ecological principles.

Edward Bulmer, founder of Edward Bulmer Natural Paint, has put 30 years’ experience into creating his paint brand. He is a self-confessed ‘eco-worrier’ (yes, worrier) with a drive to create paints that drastically reduce plastic pollution, carbon emissions and poor air quality. His mission is to change the paint industry with a solution for regenerative manufacturing based on ecology. The protection of nature’s biodiversity is at the core of all their product development.

As it is World Environment Day this week, we asked Edward and his team to take over our blog and tell us all about the natural paint world. We wanted to know what we should be looking out for and how we can help make our homes as sustainable as possible. So, over to them!

Edward Bulmer Natural Paint

Edward Bulmer | L-Shaped | Lorfords Antiques

Eco-friendly paint?

When choosing paint, it’s becoming evident that the contents might not always be exactly what it says on the tin! Many claim to be ‘eco-friendly’ or contain low levels of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) but when you look further, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Greenwashing is a big issue in the design and paint industry and at this present time it’s so important to get the facts right. We have noticed a rise in the practice of greenwashing which is extremely misleading for consumers. Like whitewashing, it is a device used to deflect ‘heat’, in this case to give the impression that something embodies an intent to be ecologically or environmentally responsible – the term many use is ‘eco-friendly.

Basically, paint is called eco-friendly when it is water-based, despite almost all paints containing resin binders that are forms of acrylic, vinyl or alkyd – all polymers that are derived from petro-chemicals. Also, all paint is water based, that is how paint is made! So, while the world’s governments now accept that using fossil fuels, fossil sources and petro-chemicals must be reduced to be eco-friendly and address the climate emergency, the paint and coatings industry is not keeping up.

We have always strived to give our customers as much information as possible for them to make an informed decision. We are the only paint brand on the market that uses plant-based binders. The alternative is a polymer derived binder, which is full of micro-plastics and other nasties. We use our plant-based binder to bring all our natural ingredients together and then inject this base white paint with a combination of our mineral and earth pigments.

 

Antiques

Using antiques in your home is the ultimate upcycling and celebrates vintage pieces that are unique and beautiful. Antiques are often made from natural materials which then change and evolve over time. Edward often thinks about antiques and paint in the same view. For example if you think about a wonderful piece of antique furniture, most people will enquire about how it should be looked after. If you have bought a lovely old house, isn’t it the same thing? Therefore, using natural and carefully created paints should be an easy decision!

To find out more, please read our interview with Edward Bulmer here.

Sign up to the Edward Bulmer Natural Paint newsletter to get 10% off your first paint order.

 Visit: www.edwardbulmerpaint.co.uk

Follow: https://www.instagram.com/edwardbulmerpaint/

Meet us at our NEW Showroom: 194 Ebury Street, London, SW1W 8UP

Jubilee party recipe: Strawberry shortcake with lemon curd

Since the Platinum Jubilee Pudding Competition made the headlines recently – a trifle made with lemon Swiss roll and amaretti was crowned winner – we asked Charlie Hibbert at Thyme what would be on his list of winning desserts.

Choosing a favourite was tricky.  Dessert tuition was intense in the Hibbert household, and one that has become a perennial favourite is Granny’s meringue cake – the perfect vehicle for seasonal fruit throughout the year, served with lashings of cream.  Chocolate mousse, crème caramel, lemon cream puff and all the tarts (quince, custard, Tatin) were all serious contenders, but it was his strawberry shortcake that won the day.

He thinks that the Queen would rather enjoy eating this.  Nothing says Great British like strawberries, and we have a sneaking suspicion that Charlie may be right.

Charlie Hibbert at Thyme’s strawberry shortcake

Serves 4 (freeze any spare shortcake mix for future use)

For the shortcake

  • 200g butter
  • 125g caster sugar with a little extra to the for dusting
  • 125g plain flour
  • 200g blanched almonds
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Method

  • Grind the almonds in a food processor until reasonably fine – around 1 ½ minutes.  Don’t worry about a few chunky bits… they add to the texture.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
  • Add the almonds, lemon zest and flour into the butter and sugar and slowly mix together to a uniform consistency.
  • Using a couple of pieces of greaseproof paper underneath and over the top, roll the mixture into a round “sausage” (or two), about 4cm in diameter, wrap in the paper and allow to chill in the fridge for about an hour.

Next...

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (normal) | 160°C (fan) | gas mark 4.
  • Once chilled, slice the roll into 1cm slices and arrange them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  • Place the tray in the oven and allow the biscuits to cook for 8 minutes, or until they each have a lovely golden ring on the outer edge of each shortcake.  Remove from the oven and scatter with a little caster sugar, then leave them to cool.

For the lemon curd

  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 3 large eggs

Method

  • Fill a small pan a third of the way full.  Place it over a medium heat to come to a simmer.  Put all the ingredients except the egg into a heatproof bowl and place it over the pot.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together.  Once the butter has melted in the other pot, quickly whisk the eggs into the rest of the ingredients. Using a spatula, keep stirring the mix until it has become thick and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Transfer the lemon curd into a container and cover with a square of greaseproof paper to prevent it forming a skin, and allow it to cool completely.

To finish

  • 200ml of double cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 1 punnet of strawberries, stems removed and strawberries halved
  • 1 tub of vanilla ice cream
  • (And a dusting of icing sugar and a couple of edible flowers if you fancy)

Place a small dot of cream on the plate and push a shortcake into it.  The cream will stop any slipping.  Next add a small spoonful of cream and a scoop of ice cream.  Arrange the strawberries around the ice cream, then top everything with a spoonful of lemon curd and an extra spoonful of cream.  Finish with a second shortcake to complete the sandwich, dust with a touch of icing sugar, adorn with a flower or two and serve. Et voilà, your strawberry shortcake may be served.

 

Assuming that other British favourite – the weather – is on side for the Queen’s Jubilee, the Ox Barn terrace at Thyme will be swinging into action.  Tables on the terrace are not bookable – they’re available on a first come, first served basis, but prioritised for people who’ve booked in to dine.  Open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Sunday, book the Ox Barn at www.thyme.co.uk | 01367850174 | reservations@thyme.co.uk

 

To see other delicious recipes, please click here.

Anna Greenacre: Sculpture curator at Asthall Manor’s ‘on form’

For over 20 years since its inaugural show, on form has captured the imaginations of visiting collectors, professional artists and local naturalists.

Asthall Manor’s owner Rosie Pearson started something incredible in 2000, which has grown into the extraordinary exhibition we see today.  It is more than just an outdoor gallery. It is a series of installations that speak to us without words, connecting people to their surroundings and allowing them to experience the captivating tension between garden and stone.

Every other year, sculptures have adorned the gardens at Asthall Manor for on form since the turn of the century. In 2016, the exhibition expanded into the river meadow for the first time, cutting meandering paths through the wild grassland and giving visitors surprising long-distance views of the sculpture. It was also in the same year the ballroom and indoor spaces were furnished in collaboration with Lorfords Antiques for the first time.

Since 2006, on form has been curated by Anna Greenacre. We caught up with Anna as she prepares for the 2022 exhibition which opens on 12 June and ends on 10 July.

on form sculpture exhibition | Asthall Manor | Lorfords Antiques

Anna, you have been curating on form since 2005. How do you create a new dynamic at each event?

“There are so many factors involved. Primarily, it is about creating a balance between new sculptors and previous exhibitors, and also finding new ways of showing the work within the landscape and the buildings. It is always one of my fears that we might not live up to the last exhibition, but somehow we do and I believe this year is no exception.

As a team we are always looking for fresh ideas and this year we are really excited to be showing 35 sculptors at Asthall, 6 of whom are coming from Europe.”

You have a reputation for thoughtful placement that is sensitive to the relationship between sculpture and landscape. How will you bring the landscape alive for this exhibition?

“Thank you! Creating a sense of fun and surprise for our visitors is one of my top priorities. I want to find spots which make the sculptures zing both in isolation and in relation to other exhibits and their surroundings.

The natural world of the garden both contrasts with and complements the carved stone. Sculptures bring contours, texture and intrigue whilst the garden’s plants and trees have a lovely way of softening and framing each piece. The combination will, I hope, provoke thought and conversation as well as simple aesthetic enjoyment.”

Asthall Manor has been the permanent home of on form. The beautiful and intriguing house and gardens must feel very familiar to you now, you must know every nook and cranny?

“I really do! Once the process of creating a new exhibition begins, I start dreaming about the placements of sculpture, quite literally. We have giant maps of the garden, river meadow and churchyard, and of the interior spaces in the church, office and ballroom. These are a wonderful visual aid.  And when I get stuck or overloaded with ideas I walk through the familiar but still magical landscape and imagine the sculptures in situ.

I try to be mindful of scale, stone colours, the play of  light and shadow, and the relationship of the sculptures to the garden and Cotswold architecture.”

What can visitors expect from this year’s exhibition?

“350 stone sculptures to enjoy for a start! I don’t know of any other show which installs hundreds of stone sculptures for just a month. We have giant clouds, origami animals, a feast of vegetable-inspired sculptures and so much more, both figurative and abstract.  We want to delight, surprise and engage our visitors and because of our “do touch” policy our visitors are encouraged to stroke, smell, and feel the ancient surface of each stone. This multi-sensory experience affects people in deep-rooted and unexpected ways which can be really quite emotional.

Alongside the exhibition itself, there will be Garden Talks as well as walks with sculptors, gardeners, the curator, and geologist Philip Powell plus painting workshops with Kieran Stiles. There’s lots going on." 

This year, you are creating the sense of a sculptor’s studio in the Ballroom which is an exciting addition to the exhibition. Will this be an interactive area?

 “Yes, we are paying homage to the intensely physical and dusty life of the stone-carver.  On my studio visits over the last 6 months, I have been collecting hammers, chisels, models, buckets, gloves, shells, seeds,  postcards,  and even a marvellous pair of size 12 boots to help create a sense of what it is like in a studio. There will also be the ubiquitous wood burner stove, chipped mugs and all-important tea and coffee!” 

And finally, what are your top tips for choosing a sculpture for one’s own garden?

"First, ask yourself what you want the sculpture to do. Should it draw the eye down the garden, break up the space or simply be something to look out on?

Don’t assume it needs to go in the middle of your lawn or patio. Sculpture works well in flower beds, on a garden table or against a wall or hedge.

Scale is important, but small gardens don’t have to mean small sculptures. A large piece can add a sense of energy and fun to a space.

Think about light. This is especially important for wall reliefs. In the right place, the sun can act as a natural spotlight.

Enlist friends or family to help you work out the best spot. Think about views from a distance, but also about being up close. Stone is tactile, and sculpture is made to be touched; make sure it’s accessible."

on form sculpture exhibition | Asthall Manor | Lorfords Antiques

Paul Vanstone, Circular Passion, Portuguese marble, 270 x 180 x 40

Information

To visit on form, you can book tickets here. Ticket bookings are essential (unless you are a season ticket holder).

  • on form 22 - Asthall Manor, Asthall, Burford, OX18 4HW, 12 June to 10 July
  • Opening Times: 11am to 6pm Wednesday to Sunday (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
  • Ticket Price: £12.50 | Season Ticket £25 | Disabled & Students £6 | Free - Under 12s, Carers, over 90

What’s On

A series of special events, from stone-carving workshops to dance, will enhance the on form experience. Please refer to the events page for updates on this programme.

https://www.onformsculpture.co.uk/whats-on-list/

An absolute must is the Potting Shed Café, in Asthall Manor’s walled garden, featuring food inspired by the vegetable garden. Adding another exciting element, there is also the Madhatter Bookshop in the swimming pool pavilion.

World Whisky Day: A cocktail recipe perfect for summer entertaining

Celebrating World Whisky Day - Saturday 21 May 2022

Celebrated globally by whisky lovers everywhere, World Whisky Day is a great excuse to shine a light on our delicious locally distilled spirits. With that in mind, our friends at Cotswold Distillery have created a cocktail recipe for you to enjoy at home.

Nestled in the heart of the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, Cotswolds Distillery has been producing outstanding natural spirits since 2014. Their head of mixology, Ollie Morris, has created The Strawberry Tree cocktail which can be enjoyed anytime, of course, but most especially on wonderful hazy summer evenings.

 

THE STRAWBERRY TREE

60ml Cotswolds Signature Single Malt Whisky

15ml lemon juice

15ml maple syrup

4 x strawberries

Top up with soda

Method

Hull & cut strawberries into quarters. Muddle in a shaker, add the whisky, lemon juice and maple syrup. Shake and fine strain into hi-ball.

Top up with a splash of soda, stir and serve.

For extra decoration, add slices of strawberries for the perfect finish.

 

To find out more about Cotswolds Distillery, please click here.

To check out Lorfords' collection of barware, please click here.

How to create timeless, English style with Sims Hilditch

In conversation with Louise Wicksteed at Sims Hilditch

Ahead of her collaborative project with Philip Mould gallery, we caught up with Sims Hilditch design director Louise Wicksteed, who gave us an insight into her interior design must do’s (and don’ts). We chatted about the Sims Hilditch style, their ethos that distances itself from trends and the benefits of using local craftspeople.

Louise, we have been admiring your work for so long! Where do you begin when working on a new project? And how would you describe the ‘timeless, English style’ that you are known for?

"Thank you! Well our aim is to create interiors which will stand the test of time using the finest materials and makers, both physically and in terms of enduring style. In all projects we begin by examining the building’s heritage and natural surroundings, considering how we might incorporate this sympathetically into our design.

Repurposing and reusing antiques and our clients’ existing furniture is a great way to nod to timeless English style. This gives pieces that are often steeped in English history a new lease of life.  Additionally, paints by Farrow & Ball tend to work well in traditional and contemporary English homes alike. We love their range of timeless whites. These work well as a beautiful backdrop to more punchy shades which can be used on furniture and joinery, such as De Nimes."

Your renovations often reveal natural, handcrafted pieces.

"Yes, we love to feature natural materials which are locally sourced in our interiors. Reclaimed wooden and stone flooring work well in kitchens, hallways and boot rooms and sisal carpet is great for sitting and bedrooms. We also retain much of a building’s existing material where possible if it has historic value."

Sims Hilditch | Lorfords Antiques | L-Shaped | Interior Design interview

You work on a wide variety of renovations, from manor houses to town houses full of natural character. How do you recommend adding character to a younger property?

"The key to creating character in a home is to ensure the interior feels that it has evolved over time. Layering an interior using a variety of textures, patterns and colours is a great way to achieve this. Each element works together to make the room burst with life. Incorporating antiques into a newer home is also a key consideration, as they bring gravitas and history to the design."

Family life is often at the forefront of your home renovation designs. What are your key essentials for creating a family space that also works for entertaining?

"An open plan sitting, dining and kitchen area is the ideal solution for creating a social space designed for entertaining. In many traditional homes, the kitchen is often cut-off from the rest of the house, making it difficult to host guests or socialise with family while preparing a meal. Knocking through the wall between a kitchen and sitting/dining area and sectioning off each space with a kitchen island is the ideal solution. Placing stools at the island creates an informal space for guests or family members to sit before the meal is served."

Open Plan kitchen by Sims Hilditch | Lorfords Antiques | L-Shaped

What do you focus on when designing a contemporary feel whilst retaining or adding character?

"The key to creating a contemporary style in a home while retaining character is to choose a carefully balanced blend of sharp lines, metal finishes and punchy colours and pair these with a selection of antiques. This might include artwork, furniture or even family heirlooms like a grandfather clock. The challenge here can be to maintain a curated, layered look while avoiding clutter."

It often pays to ‘go bold’ but it can be hard to know where to start. What are your tips on creating eye-catching interiors without overwhelming the space?

"Accent colours are a great way to be bold in your interior, without overwhelming it. A sofa upholstered in a bright colour, or lampshades and cushions in a yellow, red, or pink bring life to your interior in pleasing statements when threaded throughout a room with a neutral backdrop. For those tempted to be brave and opt for contrasting colours in a room, we recommend using the colour wheel for guidance. Typically, colours which sit on opposite sides of the colour wheel are contrasting but work well together (like blue and orange).

Sims Hilditch | L-Shaped | Lorfords Antiques | interview with interior designer

Do you have any tips for bringing light into a room and at the same time, attempting to create a cosy, warm feel?

"Layered lighting allows a variety of moods to be created in one room. This tends to be made up of floor, wall and overhead lighting. We often attach all light fixtures in a sitting or entertaining room to a 5 amp dimmer switch. This can be controlled from a single point, allowing the mood of the room to be altered easily."

What do you find inspires you the most when you start working on a project?

"Design inspiration comes from all around us. In particular, the English countryside, a building's history and heritage inspire our designs."

Do you have any favourite antiques pieces that you have used in any recent projects?

"We repurposed a beautiful commode in our Chelsea Townhouse project, into a vanity for the downstairs cloakroom."

What is the best way to add handcrafted pieces to a home?

"Hand-painted wallpaper and or tiles is a great way to incorporate handcrafted items into your interior. We love to use wallpaper by de Gournay and tiles by Marlborough Tiles. A great way to champion handcrafted pieces, is to research local artists in your area and incorporate their art into your home. This might be a painting of the landscape of your local area, or some beautiful ornaments or crockery that speaks to you in some way. A plate wall is a lovely way to display crockery."

Sims Hilditch | L-Shaped | Lorfords Antiques | hallway

Our furniture brand Lorfords Contemporary produces traditionally constructed and upholstered furniture in our Cotswold studio. Made in Britain with sustainability at the core, do you feel that handcrafted British furniture is the future?

"Absolutely. At Sims Hilditch, we champion the highest quality in terms of the products and materials we use. We love to work with companies that share these values.

Small artisans and independent brands are often made up of smaller teams who are passionate about their brand. They are incredibly knowledgeable about what they do, making them real experts in their field. These handcrafted techniques are steeped in history, so it is important to support these artisans. These skills could die out if there is no longer a demand. What’s more, these techniques often produce the highest quality pieces which will last for generations."

For more information on Sims Hilditch interiors click here.

To read more from L-Shaped on interior design, please click here for our interiors section.

*Images courtesy of Sims Hilditch.

Bertioli tableware inspired by Great British nature

“Nature is our muse. It is a source of constant inspiration.”

(Image by Helen Cathcart)

It was a delight to be able to sit down with Milly and Bell, two very talented and eco-conscious women. Milly Hibbert is head of brand and retail development at Thyme* and Bertioli, while Bell Hutley is a London-based artist and designer. Known for her darkly romantic aesthetic and use of colour inspired by nature and folklore, Bell was the perfect partner for mother and daughter team, Milly and Caryn Hibbert, when designing their new tableware range. This talented team are driven by their love for the environment around them. And with that, their hope to preserve nature's fragile eco-systems for generations to come.

Bertioli is a brand inspired by nature. Caryn and Milly design simple yet beautiful products for everyday living that inspire connection with the land and nourish both people and planet. The Bertioli & Bell Hutley collaboration was born from a shared desire to tell the story of nature’s pollinators and to celebrate their magic. This collection of limited edition tableware, illustrated by Bell and Caryn, and designed by Milly, celebrates these vital partnerships between flora and fauna.

A trip down memory lane

The species that their designs have focused on are indigenous to Great Britain, as familiar to us as a farmyard scene or rolling green hills. The Tiger Moth with stingy nettles, Dragonflies and Water Lilies and Sea Buckthorn for the Brimstone Butterfly surround us here in the British countryside. We know them well; spending many youthful hours skipping after moths and butterflies whilst (mostly) avoiding the nettle patches.

Their beautiful and natural designs will create an element of nostalgia for many of you, whilst reminding us too of the here and now. Our responsibility is to protect these delicate species and the nature that surrounds us, whilst being lucky enough to enjoy the beauty in these locally designed homewares.

 

So Milly and Bell, tell us a little about how the Bertioli & Bell Hutley collaboration came about.

Milly – “We had admired each other’s brands for a while. I knew of her designs and Bell, likewise, knew of Thyme and Bertioli. We messaged each other and we were looking at stocking a few of Bell’s products in the shop as we felt her illustrations would go really well with our lines. But it became clear that we could do more. The creative sparks flew and we aligned quite quickly.

Bell then came down to see us here at Thyme* (in Southrop, Gloucestershire) and our processes aligned really well – from a brand and personal perspective, there is a real passion for nature so the collaboration felt really natural. The design process became one team and we flowed really well.”

 

The tableware designs are beautiful, can you talk me through the inspiration for the designs?

Milly – “We used what we had in the gardens and farm here to be inspired. Seeing the butterflies flutter past the window here at Thyme felt like we were on to something. We came up with a number of ideas and then settled on our final three pairs.”

Bell – “It was really nice to be able to design tableware around botanicals and species that have had a bit of a bad press. Nettles and moths - they don’t really have the best reputations! So hopefully we are giving them a new lease of life through our designs.”

Bertioli & Bell Hutley | Dragon Fly | Tableware | L-Shaped | Lorfords

Image by Helen Cathcart

The botanical habitat designs beautifully complement the species you focus on- Tiger Moth, Brimstone Butterfly and the Dragonfly. How did you come up with the idea to design these as eco systems?

Milly – “With all our products, they are about inspiring a collection with, and a love of nature. There is also a bit of creative license. They are not scientific drawings but a meeting in the middle of creativity and nature. We hope to engage people in the stories of the botanicals and species. We came up with the three pairs and started with what we could see here at Thyme. Bell did some sketches first, and then we added our sketches and it grew from there.”

Brimstone Butterfly | Bertioli & Bell Hutley | Lorfords | L-Shaped

Image by Helen Cathcart

Milly, Bertioli have a commitment to “1% for the planet”, please tell us a little about that?

Milly – “We wanted to give back to what has inspired us. ‘1% for the planet’ is a big global movement, there are a number of brands who have signed up to it.  It is a community of likeminded businesses who give 1% of revenue to environmental causes. This figure allows us to donate significantly, whilst also allowing our business to grow, and ultimately therefore, to donate more. We can choose which organisations and charities to work with and we have worked with a number of them.

This year, our focus is on working with a project close to us - the West Oxfordshire Bird Project. We also work with Plantlife, who work across the country to educate and enable people to preserve meadows as the UK’s most bio-diverse habitat.”

 

Your mission - to consolidate the idea that in nurturing nature, we nurture ourselves – is one that we all feel a connection to. It’s a mission that works for both Bertioli and Bell too, which is why this collaboration works so well. So, what’s next for Bertioli, and Bell Hutley?

Milly – “We have got many things in the pipeline. I’d love to build on what Bell and I have created here together. In the meantime, we have a few launches in the pipeline – stepping into the interiors world is next. Our ambition for Bertioli is to create a whole collection of connections to nature in the home. We want to take that into all parts of the home – wallpapers and upholstery fabrics, in addition to homeware and beauty. It’s important for us to build on the relationships we’ve created with like-minded brands.”

Bell – “My aim is to continue telling stories through art. Anything beyond the canvas, whether it’s a tablecloth or lampshade, I’m always trying to create new ideas. I love interiors but I’m also writing a children’s book and creating collections around that. I want to push myself and my creativity through the storytelling. I’d love to continue working with like-minded and inspiring brands, I learn so much from it and feel incredibly lucky to be working in what I love!”

 

To browse or find out more about the Bertioli & Bell Hutley tableware collection, please click here.

*Bertioli is the sister brand of Thyme. Nestled in a Cotswold village, Thyme is a quintessential English country destination. A collection of restored 17th Century farm buildings, houses and cottages, Thyme is a boutique hotel, with on-site restaurant and spa.

More about the Bertioli & Bell Hutley collaboration

In recent years, the fragility of nature has been put at the forefront of conversation, with species decline and habitat loss at the heart. One of the key concerns has been around the health of pollinators and the crucial role that they play in every ecosystem.

With this collaborative collection, we bring together the distinctive illustrations by Bell and Caryn to celebrate pollinators and highlight their relationships with both common and unique plantlife. This will hopefully inspire conversation around the table and a deeper connection to nature.

“Bertioli’s mission is to consolidate the idea that in nurturing nature, we nurture ourselves.” Caryn Hibbert.