13 ways to work sorbet shades into your home this spring

Pretty pastels will make brightening up your space a breeze, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

Top of the colour charts, the pulling power of pastels never fades.

Serene, easy-on-the-eye hues and mellow effects can collide beautifully together. And in their low-key statement way – especially in the world of interiors – pastels are the never-boring neutrals in a wash of bold brights.

A clever tool to combine with eclectic furnishings, decos and romantic accents, a palette of plush pastels can be imaginably designed as a glamorous backdrop. Use them to draw in more light with paint choices, or turn up the volume and artfully place them among your hothouse of florals, or alongside dark furnishings for dramatic contrast.

Let’s see what’s turning heads on this season’s pastel parade…

1. Slow Coach Sofa in Nordic Blue Brushed Cotton, from £1,345, Loaf

Neutrals and pastels are natural bedfellows, and a pillow-soft sofa in pale blue, built on strong Scandinavian Birch, will sit like a dream against a blank canvas.

2. Round Ruched Velvet Cushions, £45 each, Graham & Green

Funny how a plush velvet cushion shaped like an expensive macaron works like a sweet treat in any space – and picture perfect in pastels.

3. Elinore Gold Swivel Base Accent Chair, £299, Next

A chic 1930s-style cocktail chair to pimp up your boudoir, or set the tone for a creative corner, style with a brass standing lamp to complement the glitzy metal base. Drinks trolley optional.

4. 4 Piece 200ml All Purpose Glasses – Set of 4, £38.91 (was £40.99), Wayfair

Team pink crystal with blue, and just imagine how much lovelier your favourite glass of rosé or pinot grigio is going to taste in these glammy goblets.

5. Resplendence Blush Wallpaper, £65 per roll, Graham & Brown

Wallpaper with the wow factor – with these striking teal peacocks perched amongst pale yellow blooms, you can evoke an exotic private garden to call your own. A fabulous take on luxe living for less.

6. Zuiver Luigi Table Range – Square and Round Side Tables available in Pink, White and Green, £159 each, Cuckooland

A little Italian flair within arms’ reach… A sociable side table is just the ticket as we head into ‘spritz season’, and need something stylish to place our refreshing spring cocktail and bowl of olives on.

7. LeBonCandles Full Twist Set of 6 Soy Wax Candles, £32, Etsy

Funky and fun, twisted candles are all the rage and we’ve got a crush on this cute set.

8. Set of 3 Summer Fruit Abstract Art Prints A4, £59, Claude & Leighton

A tempting trio that really hits the spot, these abstract prints in sorbet shades work like a dream with bleached wood and Scandi style furniture.

9. The World Is Your Oyster Print, from £15 for A4, Eleanor Bowmer

And of course, a clever styling trick is to tie a scheme together with a kittenish print for maximum impact.

10. Geode Wave Wallpaper – Classic Paste The Wall Mural, from £32 per square metre, Wallsauce

To kick things up a notch or two, a show-stopping colour palette of coral and turquoise with gold foil effect reflections will add extra pizzazz to any space, and make anything you put next to it look like a room set worthy of a starring role.

11. Sadolin Superdec Peachy Punch Paint, from £19.99 for 1L, Buypaintsonline

With everyone stepping into springtime, spruce up your outdoor space with a peachy paint shade. This satin opaque wood protection is suitable for windows, doors, conservatories and cladding.

12. George Home Outdoor Metallic Shell Plastic Tumbler – Set of 2, £6, Asda Direct

You can almost taste the tipple and feel the sand between your toes with these cute as candy tumblers. Just made for sundowners.

13. Seymour Sloth Hanging Planter, £14.50, Red Candy

A foliage favourite, your growing collection of houseplants will welcome this quirky, new addition with open arms.

Pints and pillows: Perfect pub stays around the UK

Support our hospitality industry by booking a weekend break at a local inn, says Sarah Marshall.

As we edge closer to a relaxation of restrictions, the demand for UK staycations has skyrocketed, with many people opting to holiday locally this summer.

Self-catering stays are rapidly filling up, but there’s still room at some of the finest inns dotted around the country; serving good brews and comforting grub, many pubs also have accommodation for weekend stays.

Forming the backbone of British communities, welcoming ‘locals’ offer an opportunity to get an insider take on both secret spots and well known locations. So, whether you’re looking for a dog-friendly getaway in the country, or a laidback escape closer to town, these are some of the top taverns for a short break.

1. The Bell in Ticehurst, East Sussex

Dating back to the 16th century, this multi award-winning inn is a home-from-home with a dash of quirky design. A silver birch tree runs through each of the seven bedrooms, while four garden lodges huddle around a firepit. Design themes range from country pile to work of whimsy, with one room featuring a ceiling of roses. Use it as a base to explore Hastings, Tunbridge Wells and Rye, or stay inside and make use of the handmade Somnus mattresses and supply of delicious cookies. Rooms from £110 including breakfast.

2. The Westleton Crown, Suffolk

Featuring all the genuine charm of a traditional coaching inn, but with a modern contemporary spin, The Crown is located on the edge of a quintessential Suffolk village green. The 34 en-suite bedrooms and public areas feature designs inspired by the local wildlife and landscape, encouraging visitors to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Close to both Southwold and Aldeburgh, the dog-friendly property is ideal for ramblers, who can relax with a selection of real ales, or sip wine on a pretty terraced garden. Rooms from £150 with breakfast.

3. The Peat Spade Inn, Hampshire

Situated in the scenic village of Longstock at the heart of Hampshire’s Test Valley, The Peat Spade Inn is a charming country pub with guest rooms set in an historic peat house. Activities in the surrounding area include fishing for brown trout or salmon, which can be taken back to the pub’s kitchen where chefs will cook up a feast. Nearby Stockbridge is one of the top fly-fishing sites in the world and the award-winning Museum of Army Flying is only a 10-minute drive away. Rooms from £99 with breakfast.

4. The King’s Arms, Dorset

A gourmet stay in the heart of historic Christchurch, this charismatic and cosy 20-room Georgian boutique hotel has hosted monarchs and musicians during its 300-year history. Famous for its literary links to Thomas Hardy, it’s been described as a jewel on the Dorset coastline. Fully restored, the property overlooks the Stour River and Norman-era ruins, and is a short walk to Christchurch Quay. Serving meals made with locally-sourced ingredients, the Jetty restaurant attracts foodies from afar. Rooms from £105 with breakfast.

5. Black Horse Inn, North Yorkshire

With roots extending to the time of William the Conqueror, this rustic inn is filled with wooden beams and natural stone floors. Careful renovations have given the property an elegant overhaul, with 14 en-suite bedrooms decorated with luxurious fittings and mod-cons. Dining is top class in the AA rosette restaurant, but there’s also a traditional English pub atmosphere at a bar stocked with a good selection of real ales. The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a 40-minute drive away. Rooms from £139 with breakfast.

6. The White Horse, Chichester, West Sussex

A contemporary take on an old-fashioned inn, this fabulous property is upbeat and fun. The 15 bedrooms are filled with steamer trunks and mid-century furnishings draped with sheepskin rugs and woollen throws, making the place feel like a 21st century rural retreat. Famed for their food, the kitchen sources game and fish from local suppliers, offering a true taste of the South Downs. Combine countryside with coast by taking a trip to nearby Chichester Harbour, or go horse riding along several trails. Rooms from £119 with breakfast; up to two dogs are welcome for an additional £15 per night.

All properties can be booked through Stay In A Pub (

How to build a raised bed in your garden

There has never been a better time to grow your own vegetables, but not all of us have a plot to do it. So, if an allotment is a no-go and you don’t want to dig up your lawn, a raised bed could be the answer.

You can make them as big or small as you require, buy or build your own, install it wherever you like, and then all you need to do is get planting.

They’re a great way to remodel your garden, are easier to manage and are also a good option for new-build gardens, where soil quality can be a problem.

First things first, you need to choose a suitable location for your raised bed, says Marcus Eyles, horticultural director of Dobbies Garden Centres. “This will depend on the plants you want to grow. If it’s for shade-loving plants, then it will need to be in the shadier parts of your garden.

“If it’s for vegetables, it must be in an open position that is not under trees and ideally in full sun or only partial shade. This location would also apply to most flower beds, as they require plenty of sunshine. To stop the raised bed from becoming waterlogged, the ground must be well drained.”

What you’ll need

To build your raised bed, you’ll need sleepers (if you’re going to build your own), or a wooden or metal kit if you prefer a ready-made option. You’ll need some tools too – a hammer, spade and screws, nails or bolts. Then you’ll need membrane (to keep the weeds out), top soil and peat-free compost to fill.

“You can buy everything you need at your local garden centre,” says Eyles. “You’ll also be able to shop online, but when it comes to materials, I always recommend buying in person, so you can see and feel the quality.”

Whether you build your own or buy a kit is all down to personal preference. A bespoke one can be tailored to fit your space, notes Eyles, and advises you consider the style of your garden when deciding. “Sleepers are chunky and robust for larger beds. Ready-made kits are lightweight, easier to transport and great for beginners.” It’s also worth noting beds built from pressure-treated and heavy-duty products like sleepers, are likely to last the longest.

If you opt for a kit, setting up your raised bed can be done and dusted in a few hours. Building your own with sleepers is likely to take about a day, depending on the size of your space.

Step-by-step guide to building a raised bed

1. Measure out the space required.

2. Level the area, removing any debris or grass.

3. Ensure the soil you are building on is free of perennial weeds.

4. Put the boards, panels or sleepers into position and attach them together with the appropriate fixings.

5. Ensure the corners are right angles.

6. Lay the membrane to stop weeds coming through, and then fill it with top soil and peat-free compost mixed together. You’ll need two thirds top soil to one third peat-free compost, says Eyles.

What can you grow in a raised bed?

Eyles suggests growing ericaceous plants (from the heather family), as you can fill the bed with the acid soil they love; alpines and/or herbs, as they like free draining soils; or vegetables. Salad leaves, spinach, kale, beans, peas, potatoes, carrots, courgettes, radishes and onions are all pretty straightforward for beginners to grow.

Why not get the kids involved, too? “All of these are easy to grow and great for children to start from seed, so young gardeners can watch and learn how they grow and produce their crops during the season, from start to finish,” he says.

For more expert advice and seasonal trend insights, listen to the Dobbies gardening podcast, available on iTunes and Spotify.

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