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Discover the hidden delights of Wiltshire.

Our members represent a rich community of independent local businesses providing quality and unique products and experiences.

Find local artisan food & drink, unique gifts, art, local shops, events, places to stay & things to do in Wiltshire.

  • The Swan

    Head chef Pete and his wife Emma lived in Enford for 12 years before the run down, village-owned pub came up for tenancy. ...»

  • Pod & Pip

    If you love flowers but are looking for something different, Pod & Pip combine unusual flowers to make arrangements that feel more special....»

  • Sticks & Stones

    Sticks and Stones is a stylish, lifestyle shop wrapped around a cosy and relaxed café alongside the Woodborough Garden Centre, ...»

  • Suzie's Kitchen

    A Kenyan upbringing with memories of campfire cooking on safari, and parents working in the catering and restaurant trade...»

  • The George and Dragon

    After a long career at Soho House, Chippy Day craved a better life in the country so bought the George and Dragon in Rowde in 2004....»

  • Marlborough College Summer School

    In 1978, thanks to an air traffic controller’s strike, the presenters from the BBC “Holiday” programme had to cancel their planned trip to Spain ...»

  • Marlborough College Summer School

    In 1978, thanks to an air traffic controller’s strike, the presenters from the BBC “Holiday” programme had to cancel their planned trip to Spain...»

Caring for fresh cut spring flowers

S. Williamson-Jones

21 February 2017

This time of year we are seeing an abundance of spring blooms appearing in shops and florists windows, brightening our day and putting a smile on our faces. But, how is the best way to care for these flowers? Here's a quick checklist to help you make your tulips, daffodils and ranunculus last even longer.    Tulips Tulips keep growing after they have been cut and can grow up to 2 inches, so it's a good idea choose a vase that covers at least half the height of the tulip stem, this will help stop them nose diving onto the table! Don't clump them together too tightly or squash them into the vase as this can damage the stems. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle and make sure they have plenty of cold water, tulips like a lot of water. They are also photosensitive so keep out of direct sunlight or heat as they will wilt faster once the blooms have opened up.   Daffodils As the same with other flowers ensure you have a clean vase with clean water to place the daffodils into. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle and place them in the water, daffodils however last longer in slightly shallower water. Daffodils release a substance harmful to some other flowers  which reduces other flowers longevity, so they are best kept to themselves in arrangements. If you would like to mix them with other flowers however, you can leave the stems to soak overnight in a vase/bucket of water before mixing with other flowers. The soaking helps to release some of the harmful substance. Don't cut the stem again though before mixing with other flowers though. Hyacinths also release a sap which can shorten the life of the other flowers.     Ranunculus Remove all the leaves from the bottom stems carefully, as the stems can be quite delicate. Cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife or scissors so that you don't damage the stem. Cutting stems at an angle helps the flowers draw the water up more easily. Keep them in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. Change the water regularly and allow them to have a good drink. I you want to use them in a bouquet you may need to wire their heads to stop them drooping or just go for the wild, natural look!     Hope you have found this Blog useful and now have some tips to help make your beautiful Spring flowers last even longer! Enjoy!   Sarah Williamson-Jones, Pod & Pip


Be bold & colourful in interiors

Sam Bertram

10 March 2017

There’s no doubt Spring incentivises us to inject new life into our homes. The signs of life, colour and longer days makes us re-look at our whole environment. We spoke to Henrietta Gillespie from Balmain & Balmain, a local Wiltshire company making bespoke sofas and chairs, about interiors latest trends.  What trends are you currently seeing in interiors?  ‘Colour is definitely making a comeback which I love, as it’s great fun making sofas with bold or colourful designs. Until recently there was a lot of beige and cream but people are becoming more adventurous. There’s a desire for something a bit different – most people are tired of seeing the same in their friend’s houses and they’re looking to stand out. Even the paint companies are promoting big colour. It doesn’t mean you have to live in a room that’s black or red but there’s an acknowledgement that colour in a room is good, so people are being bolder with the shades they choose. It’s interesting because interiors are becoming more linked to the fashion industry. Every six months there are new fabric books, and colour often follows those used by fashion designers. I love the challenge of finding something different and slightly extraordinary and some of our recent sofas have had bold patterns with orange, greens and yellow.’ So, what happens when you get a brief to create a bespoke sofa or chair? ‘People mostly come and visit me at my office in Wilton near Marlborough – occasionally we do orders over the phone. Most who order over the phone have sat on one of our sofas and sought us out and we can always send them samples. Although the furniture is made in our workshop on the Wiltshire / Dorset border, we have examples of all styles at our office so people can see them and try them out. We also have loads of fabric books for inspiration.  We discuss all the different options and then I go and find the fabric they’re looking for. I have lots of contacts especially in London and plug into them to find special pieces that aren’t run of the mill. Once the fabric is agreed we start putting together the components in our workshop. We start with the Beech wood frame and then the coil sprung unit with the sprung front edge. Fine plywood goes over the arms so they don’t sink away and then the felt padding is applied followed by the rubberised horse hair. We then put the fabric on top and do the sewing and piping. Everything is done by hand and it’s a real skill and quite a process – even cutting out the sofa takes a day! All our furniture is delivered by us to its final home.’ What would you like to see happening in interiors? I would love to see more people making things. We have become consumers of mass market goods so it’s more difficult to find craftsmen who actually make stuff. In days gone by you would get a painter in and they would mix the paint themselves. Our handmade sofas and chairs are built to last. We do a lot of recovering of our own furniture as the foundations and structure of the sofas lasts a long time, but after a while our buyers might want a fabric update. We’re a small business offering an extremely personalised service so we’re always at the end of the phone if our customers need anything.'  www.balmainandbalmain.com


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