I have a weakness for ceramics - in particular beautiful textures, contrasting glazes and organic - even slightly wobbly - shapes. Bowls, pots, plates or mugs that have that rustic, earthy feel of the hand made and well crafted.
No two cups are the same in my house, with a collection of mugs and beakers from all over the world that I always buy in twos, but I'm forever breaking one in our Belfast sink. If only the handle breaks off then they usually get a cactus put in them.
I would love to have the pages of Monty's filled with artisan pottery and my first venture into commissioning a series began when I found the wonderful work of Jude Allman.
Jude works in her own studio making small batches of 10 or 20 pots at a time and I had already bought myself one of her pouring jugs after falling in love with the rustic design.
"My aim is to make simple handmade pots that are a pleasure to use"
The pouring jug has a gorgeous indigo glaze (indigo being another love of mine), speckled stoneware clay and a fantastic texture created by the sgraffito technique.
I'm thrilled with the beaker version that Jude created for us and have kept two for myself - one for my cup of tea and one for my cactus! To see more of Jude's wonderful work, take a look at her Flickr profile which is full of gorgeous pieces.
You can't help escaping all the talk about bringing warm metallics into the home at the moment. Whether it's copper, gold or brass, interior trend writers are focusing on a variety of ways to introduce this theme to our rooms. I have always loved the patina of unpolished antique brass and the warmth of copper. Just a few elements dotted around a room can add another layer of interest and texture.
We've been really excited to add some great pieces to the site this week, that fall into this trend but certainly don't take themselves too seriously!
Big Crocodile Hook £14, Pair of Mini Crocodile Hooks £8, Leopard Knife £10
Necklace Display Hand £22, Hand Cupboard Knobs £6, Bracelet Display Hand £15
Turtle Knobs £6, Elephant Hook £14, Arrow Hook £12.50
They can be the hardest people to buy for and despite asking for a precise list of what they want, we rarely get one. Buying Christmas presents for men needs a bolt of inspiration lightening so here are just a few ideas from Monty.
Glass Domes £16
Inspired by antique display domes from the Victorian era, with a few handsome cactus or succulents inside these glass domes make fabulous presents for chaps. Of course they can be filled with any treasure of their choice to show case and with their black wooden bases they look super stylish in an office.
Garden String and Scissors £14
A constant best seller, the rustic wooden bobbin is wrapped with a seemingly endless length of hardy garden or household string and comes with a nippy pair of scissors too. Functional, useful and a bit different - it can always be wrapped with your own choice of twine if this ever runs out!
Grizzly Bear Bottle Opener £16
A great gift for the old man cave, this heavy cast metal bear has conveniently left its mouth open so it can pop the top off a bottle. It can be wall mounted so it's never lost in a drawer and is suitable for man caves, cabins and household bars!
Big Knit Blanket in Stormy Grey £48
As well as being the softest blanket on the planet, it is also in a wonderful moody grey colour and, we think, a superb price. In our household it is essential to have a snuggly blanket on the sofa to keep off the chill and we all have one -man, woman, child or dog. This one has the added bonus of being in a more manly shade of grey.