Ask Antonia

PUBLISHED: 14:45 28 June 2011 | UPDATED: 19:37 20 February 2013

Ask Antonia

Ask Antonia

Essex Life interiors expert Antonia Edwards answers your questions

Im looking for some contemporary cutlery to give someone as a house-warming gift. Where can I find something a bit different?


You wouldnt normally think of your knife and fork as potentially decorative, but there are plenty of sets that are guaranteed to bring some drama and personality to the table.
A couple of stylish designs in the Pied a Terre range at House of Fraser include the luxurious black Persia Onyx 24-piece cutlery set for 130 (pictured) and the Peacock 24-piece set for 95, where each piece is etched with a unique peacock design. Visit House of Fraser at Lakeside, West Thurrock (0844 800 3737).
For something even more decadent, take a look at the Midas 24-piece gold-plated cutlery set by Seletti. For 155 from Heals (www.heals.co.uk) its a guaranteed talking point at dinner parties.
Lastly, if youre after something classic with a modern twist, Id look at designs by William Welch at Studio William. The elegant Olive set is stainless steel with a mirror finish and has an asymmetric Larch design, influenced by traditional 17th century horn handle cutlery. Its available at John Lewis. Call 08456 049 049 to find out more.


Id like to set up an aquarium in our living room. Where can I find a free-standing tank thats modern and stylish?


Fish tanks arent a commonplace feature in most of the interiors we see in the glossy mags, but this may be set to change. A company called biOrb have brought out a stylish range of fish tanks that go one step further than your conventional rectangular designs. The range includes the BiOrb PURE, a slimline cylinder which comes in clear or blue tint, and the BiOrb LIFE which has high gloss curves (pictured above) and comes in three colours Chilli Red, Piano Black and Ice White. The tanks use special ceramic media which has a surface area equivalent to the size of a football pitch to provide biological filtration. All biOrb LIFE aquariums are also supplied with an LED light that automatically replicates a natural 24-hour light cycle. Check out www.reef-one.com for local stockists.
If youre looking for somewhere to purchase fish or fish keeping equipment, Id recommend Swallow Aquatics (Rayleigh 01268 781265 and Colchester 01206 242521) who can offer expert advice on maintaining your aquarium.


Ive several picnics and barbeques planned this summer. Can you provide some inspiration on fun, al fresco picnicware?


Strawberries and cream, crisp salads and sizzling sausages are high on the agenda in July. For practical and colourful picnicware, here are some affordable ideas for an al fresco feast.
If florals are you thing, Cath Kidston always brings out a winning range of charming picnicware, such as the Daisy melamine range of jugs, plates, bowls and tumblers. For a garden party feel, the gorgeous English Rose paper napkins (pictured) are the perfect accompaniment to cupcakes or cucumber sandwiches (visit www.cathkidston.co.uk).
From colourful trays to carry your Pimms on to polka dot cutlery by Sabre, Simply Living (Colchester 01206 367333) has plenty of summer dining treats on offer. In particular Emma Bridgewaters Dancing Mice melamine range of picnicware would go down a storm with the children.
Last but not least, spice up your ice cold cocktails with some novelty ice cubes. Marks & Spencer are doing a silicone fish ice cube tray for just 3.50 that is worth looking out for at www.marksandspencer.com.

0 comments

More from Homes & Gardens

Thursday, October 25, 2018

James Merriott continues his watercolourtour of the county in a village which has more beauty than most, despite the impression of its name

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

With one of the warmest and driest summers on record, this year has been a difficult one for gardeners. Susie Bulman from The Beth Chatto Gardens at Elmstead Market shares some top tips for plant survival, even in these conditions

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Whatever style of carpet, rug or runner you need, we’ve got tips for choosing a style, brands to try and how to care for your new carpet

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Whatever style of carpet, rug or runner you need, we’ve got tips for choosing a style, brands to try and how to care for your new carpet

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Essex Life showcases a chic collection of top places to stay which, while close enough to home, still offer an idyllic escape. Here are 12 great staycations in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Hertfordshire

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You can’t beat that feeling of walking over the threshold of a brand new home that has only been lived in by you. Essex Life showcases a selection of some of the local developments offering you exactly this opportunity

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search