Ellie Tennant is 26 and lives in Wandsworth, south west London. She’s an interiors journalist and stylist for Ideal Home magazine and writes the HomeShoppingSpy blog. Domestic Sluttery had a nose around her home at her favourite things.
1: Pretty peonies
Peonies have always been my favourite flowers – a bright coral-pink bloom like this one can brighten up a whole room, so I treat myself to one a week. They’re fabulous flowers for ‘chiconomic’ displays because you only need one for a stunning effect. It’s better to spend £2 on one gorgeous flower than £2 on a big bunch of boring carnations! I’m addicted to elderflower cordial, so I use Belvoir fruit cordial bottles as vases, or vintage teacups from car boot sales and charity shops. I also collect pretty iced-tea bottles from Holland & Barrett – they have lovely labels.
2: Penguin paper
I’ve got a huge stash of old Penguin classics. I love the look of their covers, so I was excited to find some Penguin wrapping paper recently (£2.99 per sheet, Shiny Shack), which I’ve used to line the drawers of my marble-topped vintage wash stand. I like this paper so much, I’m considering buying lots of sheets and using them to wallpaper an alcove.
3: Retro books
Words like ‘splendid’ and ‘tip top’ always make me smile – I can’t resist retro children’s books. They’re hilarious to read, always handy props for photo shoots and they look cool on a book shelf, too. You can find similar books at places like Steptoes Antiques, but if you’re on a tight budget like me, visit your local car boot sale – these 1940s books were just £1 each.
4: Matryoshka dolls
I’ve always had a thing for nesting Russian dolls. My dad bought this set for me in Moscow, and I love their cheerful faces and cute strawberry decorations. Russian doll patterns are a huge trend in the interiors world at the moment – check out the What’s Inside print by Hazel Nicholls at the Keep Calm Gallery. It’s at the top of my wish list.
5: Vintage postcards
I’ve been known to spend hours sorting through boxes of old postcards and letters at flea markets such as Les Puces in Paris, or Alfie’s Antique Market in London, much to my boyfriend’s chagrin! I love reading the messages on them. These pretty cards are two of my favourites, and they sit propped up on my desk so I can admire them every day.
6: Scented candles
There are no designer labels in my home and I’m a thrifty flea-market girl, but I just can’t compromise on candles. Jo Malone, Kenneth Turner and Diptyque candles are all expensive, but they cannot be beaten – they smell wonderful thanks to the high levels of essential oils in the wax and I find that they last a lot longer than cheaper candles, too. My favourite scent at the moment is Lime Blossom by Jo Malone. It’s fresh and clean-smelling, but not too sweet.
7: Decorative letters
I found this big letter ‘E’ in an antiques shop a while ago and it sits on top of my bedroom mirror. If you’re looking for lettering, try Emily Readett Bayley, or Morello Living. A few letters or words scattered around a house can look good, but people get addicted. Having ‘SLEEP’ in the bedroom, ‘EAT’ in the kitchen and ‘WASH’ in the bathroom is a bit too much – it’s as if you can’t remember what your rooms are for!