It seems like summer is officially on its way out, but don’t despair. Autumn is the time of cosy jumpers, hot chocolate, and curling up for a serious Netflix binge. It’s also a great time for making home improvements (because let’s face it, you’ll probably be hanging out at home a bit more). Here are some top tips to make your home your favourite place to be this Autumn…

Warm up your lighting

Make your living space cosy with filament light bulbs that emit a softer, warmer light. These bulbs can be bought in most good hardware stores and large home improvement shops as well as online from loads of independent retailers. They aren’t very expensive and they last a really long time. Or, you could get some fairy lights and string them around your windows, sofa or side tables for a snug glow (they’re not just for Christmas, honest!)

Autumnal wreaths

Impress your neighbours with a bright autumnal wreath. You can buy them pre-made in flower markets and from homewares shops, but why not get crafty one afternoon and create your own. There are even wreath making workshops in London, such as this one that includes tea and snacks.

Add a little sparkle

Bronze and gold interiors are really in this autumn. Go all out with throw cushions or tableware or just add a hint of sparkle with bronze or gold candle holders or place mats. This year all the major homewares shops from Ikea to John Lewis have a great selection of sparkly things for your home.

Fall furs

Add a bit of Nordic style to your home with fur blankets, throws and cushions. Make your home study a bit more comfy or make your living room a Hygge dream. But be warned, you might never want to leave the house again.

Go rustic

Rustic simplicity can be incorporated into your home in lots of different ways whether through simple wooden furniture or cast iron or clay kitchenware. The great thing about rustic homewares is they even look great even in minimalist homes, creating a cool contrast. Give it a try.

Watch this space for more home and garden tips and tricks this autumn and winter.

We love amazing homewares. There’s nothing quite like having a home to call your own and being able to find fun, unusual and beautiful things to fill it with. In London, we’re so lucky to have so many talented independent makers who produce unique items: things you genuinely can’t find anywhere else. Here are a few of our favourites…

Hokolo

Hokolo, led by designer Jen Taylor, is all about bright and bold patterns and colours. Hokolo’s fun designs include stackable ceramic mugs, throw cushions and crockery as well as furniture and fabrics. And they sell gift cards, just saying.

20 Seventh Letter

April Christopher first got into print design while studying at Nottingham Trent University. Now based in London, her brand 20Seventh Letter is all about style and luxury. All materials are sourced in the UK and April’s unique prints are all made in London. Her homeware products range from cushions to wall paper, but she also makes little luxuries too including cute coin purses and make-up bags.

Olive Jennings

We love the simple functional Scandi-inspired designs of Olive Jennings. As well as durable furniture, such as this side table made from plywood and metal, she also works with concrete to make industrial styled beautiful small homewares including coasters and hanging planters.

London Cloth Company

The London Cloth Company is London’s first micro-mill. They make high quality materials created on restored shuttle looms from the 1870s. Most of their work is bespoke but they offer a small range of blankets and wool by the meter on their website. And if you’re on a bit of a budget (or just looking for a little house warming gift for somebody) they also sell mugs featuring prints of some of their classic wool blends.

The Botanical Boys


The Botanical Boys are Ben and Darren, who got into terrariums big time after moving into a garden flat in East London in 2009. They transformed the dilapidated garden of the flat into a thing of beauty – gaining attention from national newspapers along the way. Now, they create gardens on a mini-scale: terrariums, which mean anyone can enjoy plants in their house whether they have outside space or not. As well as selling complete terrariums on their website, they also run workshops so you can learn how to do it yourself.

The London Refinery

Lucy Heale uses all natural essential oils and soy wax to make luxurious candles inspired by moods. Scent blends including ‘Inspire’ and ‘Relax’ are available in different sizes. Based out of Ealing, everything at the London Refinery is hand made and they run candle making workshops around East London – you can even hire them for private events.

Being veggie or vegan can be tricky when it comes to picking a restaurant, especially if you’re with your meat-eating friends. But East London is an absolute cornucopia of meat-free venues. From bottomless vegan brunch to vegetarian burger feasts, hop on the overground to Hackney or get a bus to Shoreditch and you’ll be in veggie heaven. Here’s our list of some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in East London…

The Field, London Fields

Tucked away in a railway arch opposite Netil House, The Field is inspired by “casual plant based eating”. It’s a vegan restaurant, mostly, but there’s a catch. They also serve meat. The overwhelmingly vegan menu can be supplemented by meaty, eggy or cheesy extras for an additional cost. But with such incredible dishes as Killer Tomatoes, Roasted cauliflower with vegetable jus and caramelised yeast and deserts like Sweetcorn custard tart with lions mane, who needs extras? Vegans can take their determinedly meat-eating friends and show them what vegan cooking really has to offer. And don’t miss bottomless brunch at weekends – two courses and bottomless prosecco and/or mimosa for £35pp

The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green

Well known among locals, you’ll find The Gallery Cafe on Old Ford Road next door to York Hall. A cosy casual cafe, busy with freelancers on their laptops on weekdays and families enjoying the large back garden at weekends. The cafe is exclusively vegan and serves top quality coffee from local roasteries. As the name suggests the Gallery Cafe is a gallery too. Art works for sale are on display from exciting London artists and several evenings a month the cafe comes alive with a variety of events from live music to book clubs and film screenings.

Mildred’s, Dalston

Mildred’s has a very colourful history. Established in Soho in 1988, founders Diane Thomas and Jane Muir readily admit their ambition to open an exclusively vegetarian restaurant was risky. But the risk paid off and today they have no fewer than four restaurants across London. Mildred’s in Dalston is bright and light, with outdoor seating and chilled vibes – it’s a great way to step away from the hustle and bustle. From brunch to dinner you can choose from an abundance of vegetarian and vegan dishes including burgers, currys, small plates and a great selection of vegan deserts.

Redemption, Shoreditch


Redemption in Shoreditch serves up a various vegan offering from brunch-happy pancakes to healthy protein packed plant-based burgers. Their weekend day menu mixes up the usual brunch classics and spans breakfast to lunch – early risers can go for a smoothie bowl or party animals can rock up for energy boosting pasta or a restorative salad, all from 10am. The evening menu features creative vegan dishes such as pulled barbecued jackfruit, watermelon and thai cucumber salad and a great selection of deserts completely free of animal ingredients.

Biff’s Jack Shack

Aside from having one of the catchiest names on this list, Biff’s Jack Shack serves pretty mean vegan food. They’re on a mission to make vegan friendly junk food and show the world that veganism isn’t all kale and chia seeds. The shack pitches up at markets across London, including Broadway Market every Saturday, to serve hungry people burgers and fried “chicken” all made from jackfruit – a savory fruit from South East Asia that Biff says has a uniquely meaty texture.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional pub or a secret cocktail club, Angel has more to offer than you might expect. Away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Shoreditch or the City, Angel has loads of great bars and restaurants, whatever your style…

Gallipoli

Gallipoli offers a Turkish and Mediterranean menu and has a cosy family-run mood, with hanging lanterns and mismatched framed prints all over the walls. They know how to bring the party too, offering belly dancing performances for birthdays, hen dos and other special occasions alongside a special party menu. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, their lunch offer isn’t to be missed if you work nearby. Turkish Tuesdays, anyone?

John Salt

A chilled cocktail bar open late, John Salt has the look and feel of a 90s loft apartment with events to match; play Mario Kart on Retro Gaming Night and inflict your guilty pleasure tunes on your mates on Bring Your Own Vinyl night, all while tucking into chicken wings, onion rings and juicy burgers (veggie and vegan options too). Their cocktail menu offers all the classics alongside some more unusual creations, such as Wasabi Kick and the Juicy ‘Dillemma’.

Ladybird

Opposite Islington Green on Upper Street, Ladybird is a speakeasy featuring four separate rooms and bookable bar booths for special occasions. You’ll find a long cocktail list, including sharing pitchers, sours and prosecco by the glass. Happy hour runs Sunday – Friday 5pm – 9pm, making the Ladybird a great choice for either a big party or a cocktail before dinner.

Oldroyd

Self-titled restaurant Oldroyd is the brainchild of former Polpo top-dog Tom Oldroyd. The daily changing menu draws its focus and inspiration from seasonal British ingredients given a European twist, with dishes such as beef tartare with smoked eel mayo, cuttlefish with squid ink bortolli beans and sides including grilled sweetcorn with lavender butter. Oldroyd is at 344 Upper Street.

Vivo

Looking for that summer sun trap to catch some rays with a glass of wine? Vivo’s the place for you. Beautiful Italian food in a casual setting, Vivo also has a deli counter. Catch up with friends for a cocktail, a light bite, lazy dinner or lunch on the go at this gem of Upper Street – find it at 57/58.

Prawn on the Lawn

Prawn on the Lawn is something of an institution in Islington. A fishmonger and seafood bar, for sea food lovers it shouldn’t be missed. The menu includes small hot and cold plates, to be enjoyed with a glass of something from the brilliantly paired wine list. For bigger groups (or bigger appetites) there’s also platters including crab and lobster and whole fish by the kg. The menu changes daily, dependent on the catch, so you know it’s seriously fresh.

Milennial pink has been a popular shade in home decor for quite some time now, ever since Pantone samed Rose Quartz their colour of the year in 2016. Since then, rose gold hit us in a big way, and this evolved into a more subdued, blush colour that has been dubbed ‘milennial pink’. And now it’s everywhere. It’s a perfect shade for interior design, as it mixes well with neutral colours like grey and white.

Of course, completely redecorating your home can be time consuming and expensive, so if you want to just dip your toes into this trend, here are some subtle ways you can inject the colour into your home decor.

Make your sofa blush

Adding cushions or throws to a light coloured sofa is a fast and easy way to give it an upgrade.

Give your succulents a new home

Succulents are another huge craze that hit interior design a while back, and have stuck around ever since. The colour combination of the dark green and pale pink is a perfect contrast, and will add a youthful vibe to the room. Plus, succulents are an inexpensive and low-maintenance plant  – they last a long time, and don’t need regular watering.

Accessorize

Adding a few pink accessories in the kitchen can make a big difference, especially if they’re kept on display. Swap tired and dirty pots, pans, utensils and mugs for some new pink ones for an instant upgrade.

Add a feature wall

Milennial pink is the perfect shade for a feature wall as it’s not too bold to go out of fashion quickly, or clash with any other colours in the room. If you’re looking for a way to make a lasting impact on the room without taking a big risk, this will completely transform it.

Beef up your bedding

Similar to the cushions and throws in the living room, easy upgrades can be made in the bedroom simply by switching up your bedding. The bed is obviously the focal point of the bedroom, so any changes made here will make an instant impact. Switch to a pale, blush pink duvet cover and accessorise with white and grey cushions (bonus milennial points for geometric patterns).

Accent tiles

Perfect for either the bathroom or the kitchen are accent tiles. Brighten up the splashback area of your worktop with some milennial pink tiles, or maybe add a feature section behind the bathtub.

Small rooms are usually seen as a bit of an interior design nightmare, with not enough space to fulfill their decorating potential. This doesn’t have to be the case though; small rooms can still look stylish and spacious, with just a few tweaks. Here are our top tips for maximising space…

Pale colours

Lighter colours will open up a space, and make it seem a lot brighter. The best colour to go for is therefore white, but soft pastels will also help create the effect.

Paint the ceiling

One of the key ways to make a space look bigger is to attract attention upwards. Painting the ceiling a different colour or applying wallpaper will draw the eye upwards, giving a feeling of more height.

Hidden storage

Of course, it’s important to declutter (even if you aren’t trying to maximise your space). Hidden storage spaces like hollow coffee tables are key – keeping things out of view will free up more space in the room, making it appear less cramped.

Avoid heavy curtains

And if possible, make them the same colour as the walls so that it all blends together seamlessly. The best option is blinds, as these can be neatly rolled up out of the way during the day.

No rugs

Floor space is essential – rugs tie a room together, which is great for bigger rooms that need to feel more cosy. For smaller rooms however, rugs should generally be avoided.

Mount the TV

If it’s a living room that you’re trying to enlarge, putting the TV on the wall will free up some crucial floor space and create a sleeker effect.

Spread the light

Consider having a few different small light sources dotted around the room, instead of one large overhead light. One big overhead light creates a top-down effect, and highlights the centre of the room – which makes it seem smaller. Spreading the light out will illuminate the whole room, therefore making it seem more spacious.

Furniture with exposed legs

Exposed legs create a gap between the furniture and the floor. Creating gaps = creating space.

Get away from the wall

In the same vein, keep some furniture (e.g sofas) away from the wall slightly. The gap effect will make everything seem a lot less crammed in.

Less is more

The fewer items of furniture you have in the room, the better. Opt for larger but fewer items, instead of lots of little decorations.

Floor to ceiling shelves

As mentioned previously, one of the key ways to make a room look bigger is to draw the eye upwards. Floor to ceiling shelves will elongate the room, and if the contents are neatly organised, it will give an overall minimalist effect.

Keep some furniture low down

The rest of the furniture, however, should stay lower to the ground. Keeping furniture lower down allows for more exposed wall space.

Clear furniture

Glass or lucite furniture don’t take up too much visual space, and give an overall de-cluttered and contemporary effect.

Ditch the door

A bit of a bold move, but if it’s a communal room that you’re decorating (e.g a living room), removing the door altogether and creating an archway will open it up a lot more.

And of course, mirrors

We couldn’t forget the age old effect to making a room look bigger – mirrors. Reflections create more light and the illusion of a bigger space.

 

Your hallway is the first thing you and visitors will see when you enter the house – so it’s important to get it right. Make guests feel warm and welcome with our ten top tips for jazzing up the space.

Make an impact

Dividing up your wall with a band of colour will add interest to the hallway, especially if it’s a strong contrast. Tip: paint the skirting board the same colour for both a smoother look, and to reduce the appearance of scuff marks.

Raise the temperature

If you’re struggling to decide on a paint colour, opt for a warmer shade that will make guests (and you!) feel instantly at home. Don’t go for anything too bright or garish, or it might be a bit overwhelming.

Clutter control

Hallways often become cluttered, being used as a dumping ground for shoes, coats, and umbrellas etc. Opt for some clever storage to make sure this area stays neat and tidy – seating with cushions both looks inviting, and is practical for shoe changing.

Put your best foot forward

As this is the part of the house that gets the most footfall, it’s important to invest in some strong flooring that won’t wear too easily. Tiles are the best option as they can be cleaned easily (think muddy walks and wellies, and you’ll instantly remove the carpet). Wood-effect porcelain tiles will give you the rustic, homely feeling of having wood flooring with the ease of tiles.

Add a runner

Draw the focus upstairs and add a bit more interest to the staircase with a central runner (it’s also great for covering any scuff marks).

Flower power

Seasonal flowers are a great way to set the tone and make your home feel clean, fresh, and colourful.

Mirror, mirror

As hallways can be quite narrow and dark, mirrors are a great way to open up the space, with their light-reflecting surface adding a bit of brightness and making the room seem bigger. Of course, it’s also handy for last-minute appearance checks before you leave the house!

Be scent-sational

There’s nothing worse than entering a house and being hit with a bad smell. For the ultimate first impression, make sure your home is smelling sweet and pop a reed diffuser on the cabinet.

In honour of Pride month, we interviewed David Gwinnutt, Senior Valuer at our Islington office. As well as being a prominent photographer that was recently featured in the National Portrait Gallery, David was voted no.16 on The Independent’s Pink List of top 100 most influential gay men for creating the Pink Jack.

What inspired you to become such an active ambassador for the LGBTQ community?

Despite growing up gay in the 60’s & 70’s, which was a much more prejudiced era, I was extremely fortunate and had a fairly easy time. I never doubted that being gay was OK. I always thought it was pretty cool, especially around the time of punk, when being different was a badge of honour.

What was your inspiration for the Pink Jack, and what was the response like?

I was trying to express my positive experience of being accepted, as well as my pride for being British. I think British people are really cool, especially when it comes to being gay. For example, on my travels as a young man, I’d find myself chatting to people and eventually they’d ask, ‘so have you got a girlfriend?’ and when I said ‘no I’m gay’, they’d always say, ‘oh we know someone who’s gay and he’s really nice!’. I realised that most people in the UK are cool with it on a personal level, it’s just some haters and bigoted press that try to spin it another way.

You’ve also designed a flag for the World Cup, and LGBTQ people attending in Russia. How did this come about?

I recently got in touch with the FA to see if I could help with their campaign to rid homophobia from the game. Through them I met Di Cunningham, who heads the LGBTQ England Supporters Club. Di asked me to create a design for them to take to Russia. I jumped at the chance as I’d had some ideas already.

For me, these designs are about celebrating the similarities between gay and straight people, not highlighting differences. With all the recent issues about homophobia in football and the lack of visible gay players I felt I wanted to challenge the more negative stereotypical perceptions about gay people (that they are weak, can’t catch a ball, can’t play football, etc). So I took the core element of the England badge, the Three Lions, which represents all the strong elements gay people are supposed to lack, and give them a gay twist. After all, what’s more fearsome than a rainbow lion?

Where did you first develop your passion for photography?

David’s portrait of Cerith Wyn Evans

In the studio of artist Brian Clarke in Moorgate, where I was crashing on the sofa and being a general layabout and freeloader. He had lots of photography books and I was fascinated by them. I thought I understood it as an art and felt I could do it.

My mum got me an Olympus Trip Instamatic camera, the one David Bailey advertised, and I started taking pictures. I did a series of images of a shower hose laid out in the bathtub looking all arty with the organic natural line of the hose in contrast to the more rectangular non-organic shape of the bath. Brian saw them and said he thought they showed potential and he encouraged me to take it further. So I applied to art school and went to Hornsey School of Art, which coincidentally is not far from where I’m now working.

What would you say are the most important or prevalent issues affecting the LGBTQ community today?

There’s still a lot of prejudice, whether it’s being rejected by your family or being hanged in Iran. I, or any LGBTQ person, can still be legitimately killed in Nigeria just for being who we are. There’s a long way to go for basic human rights around the world but in the UK, which is more culturally liberal, it’s mad to think some kids still can’t come out to their parents without fear of being abused or made homeless.

What advice would you give to a young person struggling with coming out?

Start slowly, and tell maybe just one very trusted person. And never think that it’s a negative thing.

With famous artist Maggie Hambling

How much have attitudes changed towards LGBTQ people in the past 20 years?

Hugely! We have equal rights at work – you can’t be sacked for being gay. We can get married and we’re more visible and therefore ‘normalised’ on TV. I meet gay couples on property viewings who have their adopted kids with them and I see gay couples holding hands or kissing around Islington. What’s weird is that I see this is society moving ahead of me, as I’m from a different era. I can enjoy it and enjoy seeing it, but it’s moving forward regardless of me and it gives me hope for the future.

The past couple of years have seen a massive resurgence in eco-friendly shopping, and a dedication from many to start living a more sustainable lifestyle. If you’re looking to live more green- where better to start than at home? We’ve scoured the internet for our top picks of ethical homeware…

Soy Candle, Be Good Shop

Vegan friendly, chemical free, and made from 100% natural soy wax, this Nathalie Bond Organics candle fills your home with the sweetest scents, totally guilt-free. Even the container is green – the candle comes in a recycled glass jar, and is handmade in the UK.

Shop here.

Deep Sea Lampshade, The Maker Place

Designed and handmade in Kent by illustrator Emily Jepps, this beautiful screenprinted lampshade is made from 100% organic cotton. It’s also suitable for both pendant and lamp bases.

Shop here.

Geo Vessel, Secrets of Green

Secrets of Green’s geo vessels are individually handmade from sustainable and responsibly sourced plywood. They ensure that waste is kept at a minimum and use non-toxic paint and varnish.

Shop here.

Ceramic Coasters, Lusophile

This set of six ceramic coasters are hand crafted from pure white clay, and individually hand painted. The colours are perfect for a fresh, spring look – a perfect addition to any coffee table.

Shop here.

Organic Cotton Duvet Set, Ethical.market

Ethical.market’s duvet covers are fair trade, ethically sourced and produced in good working conditions in Jaipur. Staff here are on permanent contracts, with pensions and many additional benefits. They’re made from 100% organic cotton, and are of high-end hotel quality – so both your body and conscience can rest easy.

Shop here.

Stainless Steel Straws, Buy Me Once

Straws are one of the most widely consumed types of single use plastic, which many people and businesses are opting to stop using. Introduce this into your home with these stainless steel straws, which are BPA free and non-toxic (with no metallic taste!). They also come with a handy cleaning brush, and are dishwasher friendly.

Shop here.

Chai Organic Soap, The Future Kept

Made by the London Fields Soap Company with a beautiful combination of essential oils and black tea, this bar smells good and does good. It’s palm oil free, vegetarian, and 98% organic. It also comes in plastic-free packaging, and is manufactured in Hackney.

Shop here.

Linen Cushion, Aerende

Each of Aerende’s cushion covers (designed by Rosie Birkett) combines style and sustainability. They’re made from upcycled velvet and linen, and are cut and sewn at home by refugee women who have been rehoused in the UK and are receiving support from the Refugee Council (more info about this here).

Shop here.

Hexagon Mirror/Terrarium, House of Kind

These mirrors can also double up as terrariums or storage for make-up/jewellery. Each one is designed and made by an independent artist (called Fiona), and is handcrafted using glass and copper, which can be recycled and reused.

Shop here.

The bank holiday weekend is fast approaching. Whether you’re throwing a barbecue, cocktail party, or just looking to get your garden ship-shape for summer – we’ve got some tips to quickly fix up your green space.

Take a seat

Updating your seating area with new cushions or a parasol can give it a fresh look, especially if you add a pop of colour. Don’t forget to scrub down the tables and chairs, too.

Hang out

Hanging baskets are back into fashion in a big way. Opt for a traditional basket, or a more trendy terrarium for a quick floral fix without having to get your hands too dirty.

Light it up

As the evening draws in, nothing adds a more homely vibe than some tealights. Reuse some jam jars for a free and planet-friendly option.

Spruce up the shed

If your shed’s looking a bit worse for wear, don’t let it ruin the atmosphere. Have a declutter and a spring clean, and give the outside a lick of paint – we’d recommend a soft pastel for summer. Once the inside’s spick and span, and depending on how many power tools you own, you can even decorate indoors to create an additional seating area.

Loving lavender

Lavender provides the perfect scented backdrop for summer evenings outdoors. If you don’t have time to plant some, buy a few sprigs and wrap them in string. Add this to a jar or basket for a summery centrepiece that looks and smells good.

Don’t forget the front…

Take a photo of your front porch, and you’d be surprised to see how many little details you notice as you go past every day. Make sure you tidy up, mow any lawn space you have out the front, and decorate with a pot plant or a new welcome mat.