Sunday, 6 February 2011


I was lying in the bathtub this evening and for a change I was reading a magazine...normally when I am in the bath in the evening I make phone calls I love to soak and chat. Tonight it was too late to call anyone, I've finished my latest library book ("The Riverman" by Alex Gray) so I picked up the latest Homes and Interiors Scotland Magazine and started to read.
Homes and Interiors Scotland was always a magazine that seemed to concentrated on modern, generally city properties and although I like a spot of modern I am not convinced that modern reflects Scottish interiors. Well Homes and Interiors Scotland has changed, a lot and lying in the bath tonight I grabbed the previous issue and had a more thorough read of that one too I realised it was a FANTASTIC magazine these days and I stepped out of the bath quite inspired with sample ideas and colour schemes all winging about in my little brain. Now this is something that hasn't happened to me for ages, magazines haven't given me a rush in years and there was a time that I would genuinely be excited by the arrival of a new issue of a magazine.

I had become pretty jaded by interiors and lifestyle mags. "World of Interiors" Magazine can be wonderful, but some months is so obscure it bears no relation to anything and it is an expensive dud when that happens. Conde Nast's "House and Gardens" is too posh; "Homes and Gardens" is too samey and safe...all Farrow and Ball, all middle middle, all very clean. Finally Country Living...and just to put this in perspective Country Living is a very different magazine in UK than it is in USA - championing causes, keeping it green, discussing farming and genuine country life and  I loved this magazine for years but do you know, I am bored of it. No not is a magazine that just leaves me deeply dissatisfied. The artfully arranged piles of old books on an objet trouvais with a single flower in a jam jar..well we don't have enough space for that and if I did I would forget about it and the flower would die and the jar would get knocked, the water would seep and drip and the books ruined; I know I was going to get hens...and I haven't because....because I lost momentum and I  was trying to knit my own muesli, make compost jam and have indoor outdoor living that doesn't involve waves of mud and no laptop but I FAILED.....let's face it I am just NOT Country Living material. I don't think I can be bothered and while I love living in the country I am not really very good at all that stuff. I think I just like the country because my family and I can have privacy. Not to say I don't admire those that are good at sister in law Katie Whitson is fantastic at it and tells it well on her blog sharing her jamming, gardening, revamping and her felting business as well as pigs, hens and wellie boots all done with a dash of style...

Vintage Squirrel

So this got me thinking about the fact that we used to look forward to a magazine and now...not so much. I was talking to a colleague the other day about how we used to constantly be looking for ideas in books. This was prompted by the studio clear out this week where I sorted out our books and rediscovered some wonderful books...I also found the yellow pages and some maps and a whole lot of other reference that I never use ....and I realised that for me all that is redundant for the most part because of Google.
I never get a calculator I punch the sum into Google; I never use the phone book I punch it into Google. I look for inspiration...yup you guessed it by Googling. Google Reader makes me happy...keeping me up to date with my favourite blogs. Blogs inspire...bloggers are far more likely to inspire me to make jam than Country Living Magazine these days. And it's not just inspiration that I head to the laptop for, I know that I turn to the computer before almost anything if I need  help or advice. So where do I look?

If I need to fix my boiler, learn to tile a splash back, find out if my plumber conned me or what the best exterior gloss on the market these days is I go to Ultimate Handyman Forum

The Nicest Politest UK DIY Helpsite EVER!!

If I want  help with something to do with decorative painting I head for a decorative painting forum. I am a moderator on Talk Faux the most approachable decorative painting forum on the net that will help anyone from the beginner or keen diyer to the seasoned professional

The Most Approachable Decorative Painting Forum EVER
There is a forum for everything...and if you want to repair something there is someone out there ready to help, a parts list for your appliance and the instructions to replace the part SOMEWHERE online.

But I had forgotten how good a really good interiors magazine or book today I ran out and did a search (on-line of course) and bought this

and back to where I started...what was it I loved in the new issue of Homes and Interiors Scotland? Well there was the gorgeous limey, yellowy slightly dirty green chair that colour that I want to use for my kitchen, and some fab antlers mounted on coloured mounts ..I have some antlers and I want to do some wild coloured mounts for them

and a write up of the latest interiors books and the wonderful Tricia Guild, founder of Designer's Guild has a new book out and fabulous colour schemes in it ...I NEED that book

Tricia Guild
 and decadent wallpaper in a bathroom in Orkney

So maybe we should change our perspective...if you are locked into magazines, check the net...if you are addicted to blogs, try the forums and if you are happy herding hens in a purely Country Living fashion, welllll you are probably not reading this anyway because you are too busy and for those who think..."I don't know how she has time to go on the net all the time?" I give up a lot to do so. I give up TV (no hardship), but I also give up housework and not only that I give up to my husband doing housework....that's tough

Cait Whitson
Carte Blanche Decorative Painters


  1. So true- I think it is important to view all- blogs, magazines and books. Whenever I am at a loss, I grab a few books and am amazed all over again.

    However, I don't watch much TV. No time!

  2. Absolutely Ann...I think I had just got tunnel vision. There is a lot on the net but sometimes you miss out some really great stuff by not widening your search. I am always telling my son to look at books for school research, I need to do as I say as well.
    I am a big radio person, I listen to BBC radio 4 which you can't get except on-line and there is nothing really like it on US is so much better than TV...plays, soaps, debate, foreign news, documentary...never a dull moment so that's my replacement for TV and because I listen to the news I often forget to get a newspaper and ya know....we have some great newspapers too and I should every now and again say "all change" and spend a week reading papers.

  3. I've been enjoying Homes & Interiors Scotland a lot more recently. For a while it seemed too full of glass and chrome and frighteningly clean, minimalist, trendy houses for my taste, but I think it's much better these days. There are usually some interesting features on artists and exhibitions. I've been buying Country Living since it started but I was just commenting recently on my blog that I'd found it rather stale recently, although Katie and I did agree that the February issue was a lot better.

  4. Diane there is a new editor which I think has made a huge difference to the really is packed with a variety of stuff and it's all Scottish which I love and while Sandra the previous editor was a great girl it was all just as you desrcribe.
    We have had a few mentions in the mag and hope to push for more when we get the website finished(when when).
    Gave up on CL a while back but I still snaffle it if I am at my Mum's..and Interiors too..and have a good flick.