Viva Italia!

If there’s one place on earth where I’d be willing to queue for hours amongst other holidaymakers in passport control, it’s Italy. A nation brimming with culture, vibrancy, stunning architecture and mouthwatering cuisine,  Italy is a country that I long to visit.  Indeed, on this sunny afternoon in London town, it’s easy to imagine myself basking in the Italian sun. For those of us Brits who dream of la dolce vita, thanks to Alexander Francis, we can in fact live the dream on home turf. Offering a beautiful range of outdoor furniture, each piece is inspired by the Italian way of living, bringing the contemporary and stylish design that they do so well across the pond to the UK.

A one-stop shop for conservatory and outdoor furniture with an Italian twist, the design team at Alexander Francis have exclusively designed the entire range as a sophisticated collection that’ll add pizzazz to any home. In being made from PE Resin Rattan, each piece is constructed using the finest materials, meaning that it’ll be a long lasting fixture at your casa. With a host of furniture to choose from, whether it’s a sofa set, day bed, sun lounger, dining set, bar set or bistro set that takes your fancy, you’re mind and soul are bound to be whisked away to Italy whenever you may be seated upon your Alexander Francis furniture.



Arabian Nights

As the days get longer and the temperature starts to rise, we can see that summer is on the horizon! Therefore, there is no better time to start dressing your home for the summer season. With the addition of our newest client Bohemia Design, we are loving the Moroccan look!

Moroccan style is all about rich lighting, vibrant tones and bringing the outdoors in, and these Moroccan Leather Pouffes from Bohemia Design are perfect for this.

Available in a range of colours and styles from fresh summer hues, traditional oiled leathers and kilim rug designs, they are the perfect home accessory to update your living space.

You can also adapt this exotic theme for the garden with jewel toned lanterns, colourful plant pots and canopies, to add an authentic touch, reminiscent of a Moroccan Bazaar tent.

Here is a pick of Moorish-inspired delights that are perfect for creating that real Arabian look.

1)      Moroccan Shopping Souk Basket; Bohemia Design; £12

2)      Kilim & Leather Boots – Yasmina; Bohemia Design; £125

3)      Moroccan Leather Pouffe – Burgundy; Bohemia Design; £85

4)      Bohemia Moroccan Drum Pouffe Dark ; Bohemia Design; £89

5)      Moroccan Babouche Slippers ; Bohemia Design; £20

6)      Moroccan Drum Pouffe Oiled with Kilim; Bohemia Design; £114

7)      Mini Glass Lantern Moroccan Style – Pink; homehomehome; £4.95

8)      Lisbeth Dahl Rose Pink Glass Bowl; MOLLIE & FRED; £19.99

9)      Cream Lantern Decoration; Gifts From Handpicked; £10.95

It’s good to eat in season, so we’re told. This in mind (and as the ethical, green types we are here at zero2one) I thought it fitting for us to share with you a delicious idea to celebrate the upcoming British Asparagus season.

As the the season starts in May and runs through to June the countdown is offically on.

Thanks to Valentine Warner and www.british-asparagus.co.uk for this tasty number.

British Asparagus and Crab Tart


Cooking time: 80 minutes
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

You will need 25cm loose bottom tart case

You’ll need:

1 packet short crust pastry
1 egg, beaten for brushing the case
2 bundles of British asparagus
50g butter
1 small onion very finely chopped
1 ½ tsp tomato puree
1 generous tsp Dijon mustard
300g soft fresh brown crab meat
300ml single cream
2 medium eggs
A heavy grind of black pepper & salt to taste

What to do:


Pre-heat the oven to 190°c


Take a tart case & roll out the short crust pastry nice and thin. Tuck neatly into the case whilst leaving the sides hanging down all the way around. Scrumple up some baking paper, this will help you fit it over the pastry, pour in some baking beans so the pastry is well weighted down.


Put the case on a baking tray and cook in the oven for approximately half an hour until the visible overhang appears to be turning a rich golden colour.


Remove from the oven, take out the paper & beans and put the tart back in for a further 5-6 minutes, in order to crisp up the bottom.


Remove from the oven and whilst still hot paint the entire of the case with a beaten egg.
Taking a small paring knife shave around the rim of the case detaching the overhang, this makes good bird food.


Cut the asparagus spears in half. Bring some salted water to the boil, drop in the asparagus and when the water starts boiling again cook for no more than 1 ½ minutes, drain, cool in cold water, drain again and thoroughly dry in a tea towel.


Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the onions slowly, this should take 10 minutes or so until they are totally soft and pale gold. Stir in the tomato puree and mustard and cook gently for a minute or so more.


Add the brown crab meat, followed by the cream, salt & pepper, stir it all together
Take off the heat and beating the entire time break in the 2 remaining eggs, beat in well. Leave to one side.


Scatter the asparagus into the pastry case, pour the crab filling over the top, gently return the tart to the oven & cook for approx 25-30 minutes. When the tart is nearly done, give the tray a little shake, the filling should wobble faintly in the middle. It is important to take the tart out at this time as it will go on cooking, you want the filling soft rather than overset.


Either eat warm or at room temperature.

Asparagus fans: why stop there? Our much loved client Richard Bramble will help kit out your kitchen in time for May. Visit his Asparagus Emporium online to see how one artist single handedly took on this powerhouse of nature. Bon appetit!

Asparagus Porcelain Oval by The Richard Bramble Collection




Mum’s the Word

Mother’s Day is just over a month away, and we’ve been busy answering requests all week for fabulous gifts to spoil that all-important woman.

Our clients have literally hundreds of fantastic gift ideas to treat all types of mothers – from young to old, modern to traditional – but here are just a few of our favourites…

1. Handmade Polaroid Happy Mother’s Day Card, Ellie Ellie 2. Hope and Glory Soap Gift Box, Treat Her 3. From You To Me Dear Mum Lifetime Journal, Gifts From Handpicked 4. Large Flower Jug, Sweet William 5. Animal Print Satin Cosmetic Bag, MOLLIE & FRED 6. Orla Kiely Enamel Plant Pot Holder, The Gifted Penguin 7. Personalised iPhone Case, Giant Sparrows 8. Ultimate Pamper Hamper, GettingPersonal.co.uk 9. ‘Simply the Best’ Personalised CD, MixPixie


Like fish and chips, Ant and Dec and Marks & Spencer, the bathroom and I are a natural fit. All are  partnerships where co-existence is a fundamental facet of their very being. Indeed, the bathroom is my haven; sans la salle de bain, I’d be swimming in a sea of shallow sadness. Lucky for I, Zero2one’s latest client is Click Basin, a specialist bathroom basin store selling a range of high quality wash basins, sinks, oak bathroom cabinets, basin taps and basin waste, tap and basin sets that are sure to take the interiors world by storm. In 2012, as editorial teams across the country ask the mirror, mirror ‘pon their bathroom wall, ‘who is the fairest of them all?’,  ‘Click Basin‘ is the response that’ll be uttered by said reflective glass up and down the nation.

2012 is all about style statement-making in the bathroom, where desirable pieces make the bathroom a truly serene sanctuary away from the hubbub throughout the home. Click Basin’s stunning collection partners luxurious style and high quality with functionality , practicality and affordability, making the range all worthy statement pieces that’ll be showered with oodles of praise. Thanks to their innovative designs, Click Basin’s cabinets and basins are suitable for contemporary and traditional settings within rooms of all sizes. Be it a cloakroom, en- suite or grand master bathroom, Click Basin have the perfect style for all.


Venice Lamp; House Couturier

I discovered, as I tore the wrapping paper off of my modest pile of Christmas presents last December, in and amongst the slippers and Maltesers and Topshop clothes I’d gifted myself, a little postbox red t-shirt. The t-shirt had been emblazoned with a rather large typographic design and read something similar to ‘Titanic – Belfast – April 1912’.

I was amused and a little puzzled as to why this t-shirt ended up in my Christmas stocking for I didn’t ever recall giving off the impression of a die-hard cruise fan, or even history buff. My mother (for it was my mother who had purchased and wrapped this little treasure with me in mind), jumped in to try to explain: “It’s the centennial! Now everyone will know you’re from Belfast.”

Chaucer Chesterfield Sofa; Darlings of Chelsea

Err Ok. Between us citizens of Belfast there has always been a good bit of debate as to whether or not being the architects of the most famous sinking in history is something to be shouting from the rooftops. That aside, there has always been interest in the Titanic, and this year undoubtedly hype will be ramped up further with the centennial in April, the opening of the imposing Titanic museum in Belfast, and general fixation with all things early 1900s.

At zero2one we are familiar with how trends develop and progress. Everything is linked, details unveiled on the catwalks in 2011 is destined to filter into the Wonderful World of Interiors several months down the line. Hype, events, exhibition openings can all influence  how people choose to decorate their homes. With this in mind, I have taken the liberty to scout a few suitably Titanic products from our clients (and  no, alas I’m not sporting that little red t-shirt as I type).

Toni Table Lamp; Gong


New Year, New Clients

Top Drawer is the leading UK event for showcasing the latest in design led gifts, lifestyle and fashion accessories. So parting with the knowledge that a handful of zero2one clients were exhibiting at the bi-annual event, I was positively glowing with not only the excitement of an afternoon out of the office, but meeting some of our favourite people.

I was really excited about what new and exciting products the style icons of the homeware world might be displaying and was thrilled to see that a lot of stands were filled with bright vibrant colours and pretty and intriguing products.

After drooling over many items which I have now added to my dream home wish list, (girls, please take note) I went off to visit Sweet William, Giant Sparrows, and White Rabbit England to see their wonderful displays. After a quick walk and talk with Jo from Found Home Store, I went to meet our latest client to hop onto the zero2one PR train; FEBRONIE.

Formed in 2010, Febronie Dessage-Bonnet decided to set up her own self-titled brand FEBRONIE by using her multicultural upbringing, travels around the world and love of fabrics and materials to inspire her to create a collection of holiday and lifestyle essentials for the beach, bathroom and the home.

The Fouta is her signature product and an essential holiday companion: it is a beach towel, a bath towel, a sarong, a throw, a tablecloth and a picnic blanket. It is absorbent, lightweight, washes brilliantly and is available in a wide variety of colours. Febronie’s bright and colourful collection has seen her cast her net wider into designing kaftans, panama and fedora hats, bags and bathrobes and this year she has also created a collection of foutas and kaftans for children.

As FEBRONIE have already picked up a celebrity following in Pippa Middleton who was seen wearing her brown felt fedora hat, I am sure that Febronie will be the name rolling off many more celebs tongues by the end of the year and I can’t wait to see what other designing delights she has in store.


image courtesy of socialitelife.com

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