Black Friday: Where to get the homeware goodies

Here we go, ladies and gents – we’ve started our descent into Black Friday. Are you ready?

I’ve never gone in for the crack-of-dawn trip to the shops, or jostled my way through an angry crowd for a sound bar, but I am partial to a mild online frenzy in the privacy of my own home.

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With a lot of retailers starting their offers early – like, now – there’s more of a chance to get ahead. And there’s good news for interiors fans too, as HotUKDeals has revealed that while tech items were on average 31% cheaper last year, less traditional products like home items were discounted by up to 50%. Kerching.

So here’s a round up of homeware deals that are live now, or due to hit on Friday. Happy shopping!

Amazon is the King of Black Friday, having sold more than 7.4 million items on the big day last year. Its deals are live now, and will end just before midnight on Black Friday, covering home accessories, tech, beauty products, fashion and toys.

Argos has already started its 13 days of Black Friday deals, covering tech, toys and home. The home sale offers up to 50% off a mixture of practical items (vacuums, slow cookers, washing machines, fridges, tools) and fun stuff (sofas, dining tables and chairs, Christmas trees and Christmas lights/decorations).

You can also save 25% when you spend £150 or more on indoor furniture, using the code FURN25.

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Above: HOME 2 Water Hyacinth Cubes (£14.99), Christmas tree decorations (in a range of colours) (£4.99), Salter dashboard body analyser scales (£14.99), Breville Blend-Active Pro Blender (£25.99).

B&Q already has a number of deals on and will do until 1st December. They’re probably not the most fun items, but if you’re looking for a shower, or urban concrete floor tiles, or a towel warmer (come on, it happens to the best of us) get in there!

Debenhams has its Black Friday deals live online already, to appear in store tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd). They have up to 30% off bedding, 30% OFF ALL YANKEE CANDLES and up to half price on furniture like this with an extra 10% off:

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House of Fraser will be running deals on fashion and home items, and recommends you sign up to its emails to find out more before Friday. It’s revealed a few items in advance, though – its Sienna champagne saucers (set of six) will be half price at £30, and the 3-piece copper pan will be down from £220 to £150. LUSH.

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John Lewis will reveal offers on homeware, electricals and technology at around midnight on Thursday, with more being launched “as we respond to competitor promotions”. Very mysterious, John!

Matalan has its up to half price sale in-store and online now, but is revealing one homeware offer every day from today. Today, it’s the Dorchester Light, down from £69 to £19, but it looks like they’re only offering a limited number of each. Here’s the daily deal.

M&S is another one playing it slightly cool – but it does have a Black Friday landing page ready to go. Last year it reduced sofas, bedding and towels, in fact, I remember trying to get towels last year and everything but face cloths was gone, so PREPARE. Click here for towels and here for bedding.

And all is well. Let me know if you find any bargains!

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Have you tried.. Maisons du Monde?

If you’ve been lucky enough to visit chic European cities like Madrid, Munich or Paris, you may have come across Maisons du Monde.

It can only be described as interiors heaven, located all over France, Belgium, Italy and more – and now in London. Have you seen the TV adverts? Get ready.

We spotted a store when we were on holiday in Bologna and, having browsed some of their accessories online in the past, made a beeline for it.

They’ve basically spotted and ‘done’ every interiors trend to perfection, from little tea light holders and quirky teapots to printed fabrics, sofas, wardrobes and oven gloves. You could buy a tea towel from there and it would be cool.

Pricing varies from product to product, with vases from £4.99 to £119.90, chairs from £69.99 and rugs from £159.90. I can’t vouch for quality, as we had a flight to catch and zero suitcase space to stash our favourite items, but it certainly seems to stack up against interior stores that we’re more familiar with in the UK.

Here’s what we saw in Bologna (still in love with that angular teapot) and a couple of picks available now. Have you been before? Let me know what you think!

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Wooden mail sorter, £69.99; Metal pineapple box, £12.99, Blush silk bedspread, £99.99; Udaipur room divider, £199.90; Mauricette fabric and solid birch vintage chair (in a range of colours), £79.99; Copenhagen/capri pots (from a range), £8.99.

Check them out at maisonsdumonde.com/UK or find a store.

Found: Retroland in Armley, Leeds

This goes out to the vintage lovers…

A workmate mentioned Retroland to me on Friday, so in our ongoing quest to pimp up the house with a few character pieces (despite fast running out of space..), we went for a look.

The first point to note is that you will spend a lot of time looking around… for it. Sat nav will get you to Forge Lane, but on a rainy day in October, this lane looks like the end of the World. Just keep driving right until the end, and you’ll see a little raised door on your right hand side.

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Once parked up, prepare yourself for a true Aladdin’s Cave. It’s two massive warehouses full of furniture, old clothes, accessories, rugs, mirrors, artwork… everything.

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It has, as you’d expect, that promising smell of old furniture and fabrics, and the sheer volume of stuff can be a little overwhelming. I can’t decide whether you’re best to come here with an idea of what you want, or a completely open mind. You could definitely do with having a good look around, then going away to mull it over, as there’s a lot to take in.

Here are a few of the bits that jumped out at me, including several huge, incredibly heavy old safes (maybe need a few more wads of cash around the house before investing in one) and the crazy floral chair. Many were reasonably priced but some of the trendy styles are marked up, so don’t expect a bargain every time:

Top tips:

  • Wrap up! The whole place is very cold, so layer up and enjoy browsing
  • Take cash with you, as they don’t take cards
  • Be prepared to rummage – there must be some items that haven’t seen the light of day in years
  • Check the wardrobes! A lot are crammed full of clothes and fabrics
  • Check their opening days and times before you go – they close in Winter

Find Retroland at Scotch Park Trading Estate, Forge Lane, Armley, Leeds, LS12 2PY.

Let me know what you think if you decide to go!

11 foodie gifts for every craving

If your office is anything like ours, there’s a lot of food chat. There’s chat when you eat it, order it, can’t eat it (sob) or would like to eat it.

In PR, foodie essentials include burgers (energy for late night event coverage), avocado (to make up for weekend diet slippage) and prosecco (most of the time).

But based on hot ass trendy foods at the moment, you could go for anything from egg, to cupcakes to fancy flavoured gin.

If you’re buying a gift for a foodie friend, or getting ahead with planning for a small religious day in eleven weeks’ time, here’s some inspiration. I’ll take that burger:

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Egg cup buckets, Lakeland; Popcorn candle, GourmetCandle at Etsy; Prosecco phone case, Redbubble; Gin doormat, iwantoneofthose.com; Coffee candle, Yankee Candle; Burger phone, EBASE at Amazon; Novelty cake rubbers, Paperchase; Avocado hand cream, John Lewis; Tea caddy, Williamson Tea; Lola’s Forever, WHSmith.

What to expect: Matalan Homestore

Those of you who live in and around Leeds may have heard this week about Matalan Homestore. It opened in Knaresborough on Wednesday, and is the first Matalan store where you can go and look at their furniture range in person.

For me, this is perfect. You can never quite tell the exact shade of a wooden table, or the quality of sofa fabric, without seeing it in person, and you can’t always shell out hundreds of pounds on something you might end up re-packaging and sending back.

We had a quiet day planned today so decided to take a look, and were really impressed with the furniture and everyday home items – there’s loads to look at. Here’s a quick tour…

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In terms of prices, you’ve got some options. Throws start at £5 and cushions at £6, but naturally as you go for more styled up, larger or embellished items like this (LOVE) floor cushion, you can go up to £30. You could easily accessorise a small room with about £50, though, if you stay focused!

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Furniture isn’t the cheapest you could find, but is definitely good value. We liked the Industrial Edge range (shown in the photos above), which features the metal detailing, re-engineered wood and mismatched elements that go down a treat at the moment. You’ll get a set of two side tables for £219 and a coffee table/TV stand for £329, going up to around £750 for the larger chests. The ever-popular large tripod lamp is still around but is a similar price to other high street retailers at around £150.

We were good today and walked away empty-handed, but I’d definitely come back if we needed ANY MORE BLOODY ACCESSORIES. I’ll be back a little closer to Christmas to stock up on some excellent festive items – faves below!

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Fancy a visit? It’s at St James Retail Park, Grimbald Crag Way, Knaresborough, HG5 8PZ. Plumpton Rocks is not far away, either, if you like to follow your interiors splurge with a walk!

Win: Rabbit lamp from Red Candy

This competition has now closed and the winner will be contacted shortly. Thanks everyone for taking part!

Who doesn’t love a bunny?

Back in the day novelty plastic lamps were for children’s rooms only, but recently we’ve opened our hearts to fun accessories as long as they’re:

  • Perfectly ironic
  • Beautifully styled

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Now we can go wild with pugs, foxes and yes, an angry pink hippo on our bedside table. Excellent.

To celebrate the bloody good fun side of interiors, and the fact that it’s Friday, I’m giving one reader the chance to win the white rabbit lamp from Red Candy.

To enter, tell me where you’d put the lamp in the comments below.

You can also retweet the competition tweet by @a1ex_b (and mention your handle when you leave your comment below) and subscribe to the blog, each of which will earn you an extra entry.

One lucky entrant who comments before 12 noon on Friday, 9th September, will win the white rabbit lamp. The winner will be picked at random and contacted on or before Monday, 12th September. If no response is received within two weeks of initial contact, an alternative winner will be selected. The lamp will be sent first class to the address provided and there is no cash alternative. View the full range of table lamps here at Redcandy.co.uk.

Good luck!

4 exquisite little home gifts

For those of you who don’t know me and haven’t heard the constant whingeing about it, I recently turned 30.

As everyone says, it’s not that bad. And thumbs up to my friends, family and colleagues who came up with some beautiful gifts. As I love them so much, I’d thoroughly recommend:

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Customisable notebook from Papier, £12.99
Available in all sorts of prints and designs, these are just gorgeous. And another one for those who know me, my name is not Alex Jones. Following some slight family confusion around the customised element, Papier have kindly offered to send me a replacement with my actual name on it!

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Jo Malone Home Candle, £42
As if this needs any introduction. You can’t not feel special with the candle, box and beautiful bag popped onto your desk. I have the same scent in a perfume and can’t wait to fill the house with soft girlyness.

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New Look photo frame, £12
I’d seen this one lunch break and in a fit of frugality, walked away without it. Luckily, although it’s not on the website, it’s still in store. I will be filling it with a nice photo but actually really like the little meme too.

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Navy round table, Pig and Sally

This is the re-loved table I spotted in Wetherby’s Decoporium, and then obsessed over for weeks. The next time we went it had gone, so it was a lovely surprise when Paul took me into the garage and he had it! The sneaky swine 🙂 This is now in our bedroom and just needs a few bits to liven it up.