Saturday, 20 July 2013

Decorating with abigail*ryan Wallpaper...

I'm really having a rather large amount fun imagining what I would buy and collect if I was designing a room from scratch with each of our Wallpaper, Fabric and Cushions as the basis... though I don't think there's ever anything better for an authentic and interesting home than to collect pieces slowly through your life and treasure and re-imagine them in different places and groups in your house, it's fun to think what big pieces you might add if money were no object, or you were designing for a client...

So... without further ado, this is what I would create around our Cosmo Margarita Wallpaper!

I really wanted to accent and bring out the deep olive green/chocolate brown line-work which featured strongly in the Cosmo illustrations, and thought the  Olive Velvet sofa, and chocolate Spindle lampshade would do this beautifully, all the while setting off the matching Margarita Cushions. I really wanted to add a touch of eclecticism, so added the vintage Tretchikoff print, and instantly loved the flash of turquoise along with the green-grey and yellow which tones well with the paper. I emphasised this even more with the addition of the incredible paper-mache Chandelier (okay, I want this for my kitchen, too!) and the pineapple wall sconce. And what about that rug? Oh my! I really could happily live in this scheme, and if we didn't have two dogs, that velvet sofa would be mine. I'm hoping we can find something similar in leather soon.

Hope you're enjoying this little decorating imagining project. What do you think you might add to this scheme? Could you live with this layered and eclectic look?

Shopping List - Clockwise from top: Ceramics, Tortus Copenhagen / Pineapple Wall Sconce, Abigail Ahern / The Chinese Girl, Vladimir Tretchikoff (for vintage and modern reproductions, try eBay) / Spindle Floor Lamp, Habitat / Sofa (I found this on a google search but there's no original source, let me know if you know where this is from!) / Overdyed Grove Rug, Rugs USA / Pyrite Painting, (the incredible) Carly Waito (framed, I am imagining, in a vintage gilt piece) / abigail*ryan Cosmo Margarita Cushions / abigail*ryan Cosmo Margarita Wallpaper / Serena Chandelier, Stray Dog Designs.

Happy weekend to all!


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

abigail*ryan in Image Interiors & Living Magazine...

A few months ago, we travelled down to Dublin to meet with the super lovely and talented Nathalie Marquez Courtney, who, in addition to being an amazingly talented photographer and blogger, is the Deputy Editor of our favourite Irish Magazine, Image Interiors & Living... we were excited to be interviewed by Nathalie, and photographed by her for this feature, assisted by her (equally talented and lovely) partner Ben Keenan, and were delighted when we saw the spread in print!

Make sure to check out Image Interiors & Living online (they featured our new Rose Flamingo Cushions), Nathalie's blog, which is firmly in my Bloglovin' feed, and her Pinterest feed, too. All gorgeous.

Big thanks to for the feature!

abigail*ryan in Roco Mag...

Just a quick post for today to tell you that we were kindly featured in the new issue of the wonderful online quarterly Interior Design publication, Roco Mag... we are on page 84-85, and it's such a lovely spread! Big thank you to Roco's charming editor, Rachael, for including us.

Do click through and enjoy this Summer's new issue...


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Decorating with abigail*ryan Wallpaper...

This morning I was writing a piece of copy for a Northern Ireland Interiors magazine about Wallpaper trends and ideas for decorating with Wallpaper, and it got me thinking... well, it got me plotting, actually.

Since our new Wallpaper arrived, we've had big pieces of it pinned up on various walls in our home, and will soon be decorating throughout our home, ourselves. I thought I would pull together some decorating and accessorising ideas for each of our four papers, and today, I've started with Rose Flamingo.

Personally, I absolutely loves the maximalist look! I believe in collecting special pieces of art or ceramics on your travels and incorporating them, and celebrating them, in your home. I love layering colour and pattern and love clash and contrast as much as I love matchy-matchy. Pulling together a colour story is so much fun, because, let's face it, colour is so much fun! I chose these pieces today thinking how well they would fit in to my existing kitchen/diner (where we also work) and yet, help emphasise the strong aqua and vintage coral, along with the crisp white, in our Flamingo Rose Wallpaper and matching scatter Cushions!

What do you think? Is this a colour scheme you could live with... what would you add in to the mix?

Clockwise from noon: Rose Garden Cushion / Aqua Wire Baskets, Carolyn Donnelly at Dunnes / Flower Knob, Anthropologie / Fox Knob, Anthropologie / Toadstool Plate, Anthropologie / Zuiver Coral Orange Wire Stool, Achica / Teal Cast Iron Casserole, Le Creuset / Aqua gloss Storage Trolley, Ikea / Coral Latte Bowls, Anthropologie / Ercol Nesting tables, Anthropologie / Staffordshire Spaniels, Jonathan Adler / Rose Windrose Cushion / Rose Florimetric Cushion ... and of course, Rose Flamingo Wallpaper.

p.s. our cushions will be in store in early September. If you would like to pre-order, get in touch.

Abigail @ a*r

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Introducing: Hamish...

Meet Hamish... the newest addition to the Bell family, and abigail*ryan HQ.

We picked him up on Sunday, the day he turned seven weeks old, and brought him home from his litter of seven to start his new life with us, and Angus. He is a Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu cross..

Angus doesn't really know what to make of him, and is quite grumpy and cross with us, and moody in general (I'm not sure if he really realises Hamish is a dog, because he's been so lonely and keen to see other dogs, that's the main reason we started thinking about getting him a chum!). But, he's coming around with a lot of love, and after doing lots of reading, we're making sure to do all the right things to cement and reinforce his top dog status. I think they will be best of friends by the end of the week!

It's so SO warm in Belfast (gorgeous weather), it's just a tangle of wriggly squiggly overly warm pups crashing out to sleep away most of the day in a shady spot... Hamish is doing brilliantly, using his training mat like a pro, and eating and drinking like the greedy one of seven he is. He's an absolute dote, and pretty much follows me around like a shadow every moment he isn't sleeping.

Anyway, enjoy these first little snaps. And Hamish, we love you already.

Friday, 5 July 2013

BOXA Box Scheme for Northern Ireland...

Good, home cooked food from sustainable, traceable sources, is something we really care about here at abigail*ryan... we're both keen home cooks (sweet and savoury), and, for a long time now, have been committed to only buying free-range / outdoor reared / organic meat and as much locally grown produce as we can (I often buy the savers/everyday vegetables packs, because it's from UK farmers, and they use their out-size and unusually shaped produce which was, in the past, rejected by the supermarkets and a drain on farmers profits)...

A lot of the time, we can't afford to buy the free-range organic meat we want to (chicken, especially) so it's simple. We don't. We always buy Free-Range eggs, though, without exception. We feel quite strongly that the only way to fight the ethically devoid meat industry is to vote with your wallet... buy good meat when you can, and if you can't, then don't invest your pennies in to cheap meat and give the supermarket bosses that old excuse of 'there's a market for it!'. You don't have to eat meat every day. But that's just us, and our views!

ANYWAY - for a long time, we've been trying to find a box scheme (initially for Veg) in Northern Ireland, as we thought it would be a good way to support local growers, eat seasonally, potentially save a little money, or at least know the money we were spending was doing more good... a few weeks ago, Ryan came across the BOXA scheme, run by Rita Wild.

Rita works with Northern Irish farmers, together doing all sorts of good things to produce organic free-range and delicious meat boxes, buying and raising the animals from infancy through to slaughter in the best environment possible. The  meat is then flash frozen in to family pack bundles, of mixed cuts, and it's even insulated with wool rather than nasty polystyrene! They do all sorts of boxes, from Beef to Pork, recently adding Free-range Chicken, Fish and more... you can read all about Rita and the good work she does over on their facebook page >

Today we took a trip down to Helen's Bay near Bangor to pick up Ryan's Mum's box (she had ordered a Beef Box, with extra cuts, and a Pork Sausage Bundle - it's BBQ weather, you know!). We went along to have a nosey, and to pick up some organic Veg, which we were told was sold from the little farm shop... BOXA also deliver all over Northern Ireland, but Rita is at the farm for a pick-up window for those local enough to stop in themselves.

I couldn't help snapping some photos of the gorgeous Gardens and Crops growing everywhere, of course I got carried away with the flowers... but it was a lovely wee day out, and Ryan's Mum is very excited to try her meat! Children would love it too, as there are chickens on site, horses and lots of fruits and flowers growing to look at, and a little picnic bench too. Blogger Belfast Mummy also recently wrote about the BOXA scheme, so you can read her post too to find out a little more from another perspective! Belfast Mummy, Clare, mentions that the sausages are 85% meat, which she felt left room for a lot of fillers... however, as you struggle to find sausages in the supermarket that have much over 69% meat, we think 85% is amazing, and 'fillers' doesn't mean bad ingredients, necessarily, and certainly not in this case...we've done a bit of research, and, in fact, most top chefs recommend that sausages have a mix of breadcrumbs, herbs, seasoning, or a little fat in them, otherwise, the sausages are too dense and dry. So, for us, 85% meat sausages are something we are VERY happy with. Again, everyone is different...

REALLY glad there's something like this happening in Northern Ireland, so I wanted to give it a big shout out here! Well done Rita for all your good work with BOXA. We look forward to buying boxes from you in the future ourselves...

Abigail xo

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Elderflower adventures...

So... we seem to have caught the preserving/canning bug! Perhaps it's some deep seated need to hunker down and stock the stores now we're newlyweds, and staring our thirties in the face, but I'm fairly sure it's mainly because we're greedy gourmands, and like delicious food - all - year - round! ;)

It all began to simmer a bit in us a year or so ago when Ryan bought me "Canning for a New Generationwhich was beautiful, but I didn't have much time to sit and read it (until now)... and recently, our friend Claire showed us an amazing book she had bought by Diana Henry, called "Salt Sugar Smoke", which is DIVINE (and beautifully styled by the super talented Laura Edwards), and really got our juices going - we found a copy ourselves for a song in TK Maxx, (where we get all our best home bargains!).

We're planning a Summer Garden party in August, to celebrate my big 3-0, and wanted to make all sorts of delicious food and drink for our guests. The idea of making yummy infused syrups and spirits for our drinks, and elderflower cordial or champagne from our huge Elderflower bush at the back of the garden seemed not only a budget friendly option, but a creative, inspiring and fun option, too! So - we've made a start...

So far, we have raided Lakeland (hello, cooks/foodie heaven!) stocking up on some huge mason jars, and started a Strawberry Gin, a Rhubarb & Vanilla infused Vodka, a Rhubarb Sharbaat, and a Vin de Myrtille (blueberries, to you and I)... it's been so much fun, and we love watching the jewel toned colours deepen and infuse each day.

Today, we waited until the rain subsided (yes, I know, there might just be an indoor summer party the way things are shaping up this Summer!) and squelched up the garden to pick the just blossomed Elderflowers. A quick shake off, and they were placed in a bowl with three unwaxed lemons, cut in to slices, after their peel was removed with a peeler, also included in the bowl... then, we brought 1.5KG (yes, I know! wow) of sugar to the boil with I.5L water, and then poured the hot syrup over the flower heads and lemons. It all fitted perfectly in to my big antique baking bowl, and then we stirred in 75g of Citric Acid. Everyone says you can get citric acid in any chemist, but I couldn't get it in a large Boots, so went to my local independent chemist, where I had more luck.

All we have to do now is cover the bowl, and leave in a dark place for 24 hours, before straining and decanting in to jars tomorrow! I think we are going to hot process our jars so they last longer than five weeks, and then we are done... it will make litres and litres of delicious summer drinks, not bad for the price of a bag and a half of sugar and a few lemons, egh?

Have a go while the Elderflowers are still in bloom... they're everywhere once you notice them!
Happy cooking,
xo Abigail