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Book Reviews
  • Posted on October 19, 2016

    Life Unstyled blog tour

    We’re all a little bit guilty of showing the best version of our lives on social media. The perfect instagram snap of your lunch that doesn’t show all the washing up. That adorable story about your kids shared with facebook friends that omits the screaming match they had 5 minutes later. But Emily Henson’s gorgeous new book Life Unstyled provides a bit of an antidote to this. Yes, these homes are beautiful, but more importantly they’re lived in. We celebrated with a launch event at Anthropologie, after Emily led a workshop for making papier-mâché lampshades!

    There was also a wonderful blog tour visiting some of our favourite interiors blogs. But don't worry if you missed it, because we've gathered all the links together. So grab a cup of something warming, and settle in for some cosy reading...

    Lobster and Swan started us off with a gorgeous review admiring “Emily’s manifesto for creating a stylish home that is beautiful but lived in”, and showcasing some of her favourite pages from the book. Including this bath of our dreams, surrounded by real bathroom clutter. Read her review here.

    Over on Makelight, Emily Quinton shared some lovely autumnal shots of the book reflecting its ‘cosy and homely’ style which had us feeling all hyggelig. Take a look at her post here.

    Another gorgeous review followed at Décor Art UK declaring Life Unstyled the most relaxed interiors book she’d ever seen. Read the full review here.

    Heart Home Magazine shared a lovely extract from the book, focusing on a tranquil home in Brixton. Find the full preview here.

    Last but not last, we finished up the week at My Warehouse Home with a selection of their favourite shots from this ‘cover-to-cover delight’, and tips for creating the look in your own home too. Read their post here.

    What a lovely week! For more real life interiors inspiration, pick up a copy of Life Unstyled by Emily Henson now, available here.



    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, event, Book Launch, Emily Henson, photos, 2016

  • Posted on September 20, 2016

    The Creative Home blog tour

    With autumn’s arrival and that New School Year feeling that we can never quite shake (despite it being rather a few years since we were attending school), we’re turning instead to our new interiors books. If we can’t have Mary-Janes and new stationery, maybe we can have new décor instead. That seems like a fair trade, right? Last week we hosted a blog tour for one of these new books, The Creative Home by Geraldine James, and seeing what our favourite interiors blogs thought was so inspiring. Nearly as good as a new pencil case.

    Look at the lovely blogs we had taking part:

    We started things off with a lovely post on My Warehouse Home who shared some of their favourite spaces, and ideas on recreating these looks in their own home. “Whether you live in a compact city apartment, a warehouse conversion or a country cottage, The Creative Home by Geraldine James features countless spaces to inspire a thoughtful and distinctive approach to interior decoration.” Read their full review here.

    Next up we visited Heart Home Magazine for an exclusive extract from The Creative Home on displaying collections. Read it here.

    Next up, DécorArt UK declared the book her “autumn’s must-have” and shared some of her favourite shots from the book, including the kitchen above. Read the review here.

    Emily Quinton shared some beautifully autumnal shots of the pages she found most inspiring over on Makelight, and of course, we had total stationery envy! She summed up the book rather beautifully with “the owners’ hearts at the centre, building a home that suits them and all they love and treasure”. You can see her post here.

    Last but not least, we visitied Little Green Shed who shared some favourite spaces, and the main takeaway: never be afraid of individuality. And also this bathroom of dreams.

    Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got some shelves to rearrange…

    The Creative Home by Geraldine James is available here.




    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, Book Launch, photos, home, 2016

  • Posted on April 20, 2016

    Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

    Author Fiona Bird was on BBC Radio 4 Midweek today talking to Libby Purves about her latest book Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside, life on South Uist and seaweed, and it was a fascinating chat; you can catch up here. Fiona is hugely knowledgeable about seaweed and the many things you can use it for (she even dropped off some seaweed shortbread at the office!) so we thought we’d share some of the seaweed-y wisdom to be found in this amazing book, along with a super easy craft project. Over to Fiona…

    Seaweed and its amazing uses

    Macroalgae is a really useful weed. You can pop seaweed in the bath, cook with it, or use it in craftwork. Plan a visit to a herbarium, where you will be able to see beautifully preserved plants and seaweeds—our ocean flowers—and find out the best ways to preserve a seaweed’s shape and color.

    Collecting, Drying, And Storing

    If you are not planning to use your seaweed fresh from the seashore, then it can easily be dried and stored for using in recipes or other projects later on.

    Collecting Seaweed

    There are a few rules to bear in mind when collecting seaweed from the seashore for use at home:

    Don’t pick storm-cast seaweed for cooking; only use seaweed that is growing.

    Do use a pair of scissors to cut seaweeds from their holdfasts at low tide on a clean beach. (Remember to take scissors with you when you visit the beach.)

    Don’t cook with floating seaweed or seaweed that grows at the top of the shore near drains. Sea lettuce and sea grass like growing here—instead, pick these seaweeds from rock pools at low tide.

    Do wash the seaweed in the sea so that any hidden “visitors” can find a new home locally. You should also rinse the seaweed in cold water when you get home.

    Do use a separate bag for each type collected, as this will make it easier to sort out your seaweeds when you get home.

    Drying Seaweed When you get home, wash the seaweed thoroughly. Rinse it in   cold water and squeeze out as much of the water as possible. A salad spinner is helpful here—spin the seaweed around, just as you would if preparing salad leaves.

    Next dry the seaweed. Lay the pieces of seaweed on a tray lined with newspaper or some paper towel—making sure that they aren’t touching—and leave to dry on a sunny windowsill. You could also pop the tray in a warm airing cupboard. On a sunny day, you can dry larger seaweeds such as sugar kelp by pegging them on a washing line. You can also dry seaweed on trays in a low oven or even in a food dehydrator if you have one. Some people dry seaweed in a hot oven, but you must be eagle-eyed if you do this and make sure that the seaweed does not burn.

    Storing Seaweed When you have dried the seaweed, cut it into manageable lengths or grind it in a food-blender. It is easier to grind a little at a time, pop it in an airtight container, and then repeat the process until you have used up all of the seaweed. Shake the containers when you remember and use the dried seaweed as a flavoring, just as you would herbs or spices.

    No-sew Seaweed Bath Sacks

    These easy-to-make bags make a lovely seaside vacation memory or gift. Younger children can practice knots as they tie the sacks. Soak the bath sack in your bath water for 5 minutes before you use it, unless, of course, you want to spend a long time in the bath. As the seaweed rehydrates, it releases a gel that has skin-softening properties.


    4 Dried seaweed, cut or broken by hand into short lengths

    4 Jelly bag, pop sock, or a leg of pantyhose (tights), cut below the knee

    4 Ribbon, for tying (optional)


    Stuff the dried seaweed into the jelly bag, pop sock, or section of pantyhose and then tie a knot (and a ribbon, if using) tightly at the top to make a sack. You can use colored or patterned pop socks or pantyhose if you wish to make your bath sacks look really pretty.

    Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside by Fiona Bird is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Craft Projects, Featured, Interviews, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, school holidays, kids, photos, nature, activities for kids, 2016

  • Posted on March 24, 2016

    Crafting With Mason Jars blog tour

    We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that we love a bit of upcycling here at CICO Books towers. Whether you’re the sort of person that looks at a wooden crate and thinks ‘Hmm, what can I turn this into’ or you prefer to work on a much smaller scale, we’ve got books with great ideas for you. Latest to add to your upcycling bookshelf is Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester Van Overbeek. This is Hester’s second book for us, after Furniture Hacks last year (you can read more about that book here) and it is absolutely packed with ideas for upcycling the humble glass jar.  We celebrated the launch with a lovely blog tour last week. Just look at all the blogs we had taking part.

    We started the week with Apartment Apothecary who shared some of her favourite projects from the book, including this lovely oil lamp.

    Day two saw us pay a visit to Clare Nicolson’s blog, Full Time Fiesta where she’d had a go at making the Wall-Mounted Vase. How lovely do the flowers look against her block colour backdrop?

    Photograph by Clare Nicolson

    A Playful Day reviewed the book on Day 3 of the blog tour summing up: For me, this is the joy of Hester's book: a project for everyone’ and celebrating with a blood orange cocktail – a delightfully seasonal take on one of Hester’s picnic ideas. So lovely!

    We followed this with a look at Tinkered Treasures favourite projects from the book, including the totally instagrammable picnic in a jar. We know we’ll be doing a lot of this over the summer!

    Last but by no means least, we finished up a beautiful blog tour with a post at Claireabellemakes, who followed Hester’s instructions for making your own mason jar candle. How gorgeous does Crafting With Mason Jars look when it’s lit by candlelight?

    Photograph by Claireabellemakes

    We’ve had a lovely week celebrating a beautiful and innovative book and are looking forward to seeing some more makes from this book! Just to tickle your creative tastebuds, our most recent #MakeOnMonday was Hester’s tutorial for the Coffee Cup Jar – perfect for summer camping trips! Find the project over on our MAKE YouTube Channel.

    Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester van Overbeek is available here. Unless stated otherwise, all photographs are by James Gardiner.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with handmade, upcycling, video, photos, blog tour, 2016

  • Posted on March 2, 2016

    Shades of Grey on tour!

    Assuming you haven’t been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that magnolia is out, and grey is in! And never mind 50, according to the introduction of our new book Shades of Grey, by blogger-extraordinaire Kate Watson-Smyth, there are 500 shades detectable by the human eye! So, it can be a bit of a minefield. We celebrated the publication of this lovely book recently with a blog tour and a launch at the swanky MADE.com show room on Charing Cross Road.

    Very Lovely launch venue, with some beautiful grey pieces of course.

    Naturally we needed 50 Shades of Grey

    We also embarked on a gorgeous blog tour visiting five of our favourite blogs and websites, with sneak peeks and Q&As throughout the week.

    We started things off on Luxpad by Amara where Kate was talking all things grey, and offering advice on how to introduce grey into your home. They illustrated their Q&A with some of the gorgeous photography from the book, including this beautiful kitchen:

    Katy Orme at Apartment Apothecary followed this up with a fab review: “filled with brilliant advice, inspiring images and Kate’s witty writing style is the cherry on the top” – we can’t help but agree!

    On Wednesday Swoonworthy posted a super review and a peek at some of her favourite images from the book, including this lovely sitting room – how much do you want to curl up on this gorgeous sofa?

    The Chromologist featured a second interview with Kate, in which we learned what Kate likes best about this most elusive of colours.

    Finally, we finished up over at The Lifestyle Editor who was definitely ‘seduced by the stunning interiors in this book’.

    What a lovely week! Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to paint our house grey!

    Shades of Grey by Kate Watson-Smyth is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, Interviews, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, event, Book Launch, photos, blog tour, 2016, grey

  • Posted on February 17, 2016

    Modern Pastoral blog tour

    Modern pastoral interiors are about embracing the pared-back lifestyle of living in the country, taking nature as the main point of inspiration…[using] colors, textures and details to create a home in which to unwind - a retreat from the rest of the world

    So begins the blurb of our new book Modern Pastoral by Niki Brantmark (blogger at My Scandinavian Home); this was certainly a sentiment celebrated in last week’s blog tour. Five beautiful blogs shared some of their favourite images from the book, and we’ve rounded up the best of the tour here in one handy post so you can revisit them again and again!

    We kicked off the tour with a lovely post over at Lobster & Swan who said “Modern Pastoral is basically my rustic dream book...filled with beautiful examples of rustic living adapted to modern life”. We love this cushion!

    Our second stop was with Emily Quinton on her new blog, Make Believe. As always, Emily had photographed the book beautifully, and we loved the pairing of the rustic colours on Niki’s book with peachy yellow tulips.

    photo by Emily Quinton

    The middle of the week saw us pay a visit to Little Green Shed where Modern Pastoral was declared an ‘interiors dream’. Lou also included one of our favourite images from the book – this gorgeous outdoors shower!

    We finished up the week with lovely reviews, illustrated by more of James Gardiner’s photographs over on Décor Art UK and SF Girl by Bay, who appreciated the ideas in the book for bringing a small part of nature into your home.

    Wow! What a week! It has certainly inspired us to get back to basics with our interiors, and as lots of the blogs pointed out, it’s so easy to do, whether it’s just displaying some pebbles from a favourite beach, or that wood burner you’ve always wanted! If you’re feeling similarly inspired, make sure you settle down with a nice cup of tea, and simply click the links to read all the posts.

    Modern Pastoral by Niki Brantmark is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, Book Launch, photos, nature, Scandinavian, 2016, rustic

  • Posted on October 21, 2015

    Chic Boutiquers at Home on tour!

    “Small businesses tend to be more original, ethical and interesting. Let’s support them by shopping from them whenever we can, from small retailers we know and we know we can trust, for durable, long-lasting, well-made products with ethical origins. That’s pretty darn chic.” Ellie Tennant

    Last week we celebrated the publication of Chic Boutiquers at Home by Ellie Tennant with an international blog tour of some of our favourite blogs, including homes from both this book, and Ellie’s first book Design Bloggers at Home. With this pedigree we knew it was going to be a good tour, and we had a poster to match!

    We started the blog tour off at two homes featured in the book. First off, was Lobster and Swan – that gorgeous navy wall on the cover is from their home (we’re more than a little bit jealous!) Jeska said “A must read for interior decor snoopers everywhere and anyone thinking about starting an online business.” And our second day took a look at the Dutch home of Le Souk owner Danielle, on her blog The Style Files. We just love this fireplace!

    Next up we crossed the Atlantic and visited SF Girl by Bay: “the concept only makes perfect sense me — if you’re truly fond of a shop’s look it’s only natural you may love the look of their homes, too.”

    This was followed by a post on VosgesParis who appreciated the accessibility of the ideas featured in the book, as well as the final chapter in the book which offers a kind of ‘How to…’ guide. “The book is packed with plenty of ideas to use in your own home and a wealth of tempting new shops to explore…[and] the final ‘How to Launch Your Own Online Shop’ chapter is crammed with invaluable practical advice’.

    Over on Happy Mundane, blogger Jonathan Lo chatted to Ellie about the book, and included some of his favourite images.

    Finally, we finished up a gorgeous week with My Scandinavian Home and a peek inside the Copenhagen home of Kristina Dam.

    What a week! We had a blast, and hope you did too. Make sure you click through to read all the blog posts and if your appetite has been well and truly whetted, Chic Boutiquers at Home is available here.

    All photographs by James Gardiner

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, Book Launch, photos, blog tour, Lobster and Swan, 2015, Scandinavian, Ellie Tennant, Chic Boutiquers

  • Posted on September 16, 2015

    Selina Lake Winter Living

    Brrr! It’s feeling properly autumnal now, but just as the weather seems to have given up on summer altogether, we published the perfect book to bring some cosy style to your home during the colder months. Last week we celebrated publishing Selina Lake Winter Living with a tour of some of our favourite blogs. So, pull up a chair by the fire, grab your favourite blanket and warm yourself with these gorgeous reviews!

    We started things off over on Lobster & Swan with a first look at Selina’s winter inspiration: “You’ll be giddy with fresh ideas to transform your home into an inviting, cosy and uplifting space”

    Next Emily Quinton reviewed the book on her blog Makelight: “The photography by Debi Treloar is stunning as always and of course Selina's styling and ideas are as beautiful as ever. This book really celebrates the joy of Winter.”

    On Wednesday, Home Little Home gave readers a peek at the mid-century rustic section of Winter Living and declared it “the perfect interiors book to curl up with this season”.

    An enthusiastic Décor Art said: “I’m ready to skip autumn. That’s how much I loved this book!” including one of our favourite photographs from the book in their review. How lovely are these hanging knitted socks?

    Such Pretty Things appreciated Selina’s use of “her signature romatic, vintage style to create rooms so warm and appealing that you will literally want to climb into the pages”.

    And last, but by no means least, Little Green Shed finished up the tour with a lovely review and a giveaway. If you’re quick, you’ve still got time to enter! Head over here to read the review and see how you could be in with a chance of winning!

    What a lovely cosy week! For more wintry inspiration, make sure you pick up your copy of Selina Lake Winter Living now! The book is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with winter warmer, interiors, Selina Lake, Book Launch, photos, 2015, winter living, autumn

  • Posted on August 11, 2015

    Furniture Hacks blog tour

    Last week we celebrated one of our newest books with a wonderful blog tour. Six of our favourite blogs hosted Furniture Hacks by Hester van Overbeek, telling us all about their top projects, trying out some of Hester’s hack ideas and all-in-all inspiring us to Do It Ourselves! Just look at all the gorgeous blogs we had taking part!

    The week was kicked off in style with Emily Quinton on Makelight. Emily is shortly moving home and she said that Furniture Hacks has got her really excited about making stuff for her new home. She loved this super quick and easy cutlery update – you just need nail varnish!

    Our next stop was this review on Décor Art UK, illustrated by some of Hester’s lovely projects. 

    “The book offers heaps of advice and good tips on starting a new project”

    Claireabellemakes appreciated the range of projects for all and any abilities, from a geometric chest of drawers achieved using washi tape, to a shelving unit for the living room. And a special shout out for Kermit the cover star too!

    “A perfect book for getting off Pinterest and staying inspired.”

    Next we headed over to Growing Spaces, where Heather had a go at the lovely garden candles. How pretty are her tealights?!

    On Friday we stopped at Crafty Queens who reviewed the book in English AND Dutch! Perfect for Hester! Carmen also shared some of the hacks she’s already done in her own home, head over to her blog to check them out.

    Last, but very much not least, we finished up our tour at the Little Green Shed where the mantra “with a little budget and a slice of imagination anything can be achieved” rings true. Her favourite project was the dip-dye curtains (and don’t they look divine with that shade of Annie Sloan chalk paint?!)

    What a lovely week! Don’t forget to visit Hester’s own blog too for more Furniture Hacks-goodness!

    Furniture Hacks by Hester van Overbeek is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, handmade, Book Launch, upcycling, photos, 2015, DIY, hacks

  • Posted on April 13, 2015

    Maker Spaces blog tour

    Emily Quinton’s family motto 'Create something every day', along with her interest in how creative lives are lived in the home and in the studio, has provided the inspiration for Maker Spaces. She explores the important link between makers and their home and work spaces, looking at homes and studios inhabited by creators around the world, all illustrated beautifully by Helen Cathcart's gorgeous photography. We celebrated the publication of this beautiful and fascinating book with a blog tour visiting a range of interior and craft bloggers, all of whom relished the insider peek into the secret worlds of designers and makers. Look at all the fab bloggers we had taking part!

    Some of the bloggers felt inspired to share their own ‘maker spaces’ and we’ve created a pinterest board here to show you all!

    We started things off on Lobster & Swan, who observed ‘a calming place to retreat to is also essential to most makers’ process…and Emily’s book captures this perfectly. So if you’re looking for ideas of how to incorporate some home comforts into your own studio or workshop, this is the perfect book for you’.

    Next we headed over to Happy Interior Blog where the book was perfectly matched to the crockery!

    This was followed by an interview with Emily over on The Lifestyle Editor, who said ‘If you have ever been curious about how other creative style their homes, or what their studio and work space look like, then this book is a must-have…to satisfy the curiosity in all of us!’ We couldn’t agree more!

    Stops on Modern Craft Workshop, My Scandinavian Home and MadePeachy shared some of their favourite images from the book, and My Scandinavian Home summed up our feelings perfectly with “Whenever I hear the words 'illustrator', 'artist', 'set designer' I pretty much know their home is going to be fab’.

    Yvestown loved that each maker was given their own pages within the book, and shared some photos of her own ‘maker space’ with her review, including some gorgeous shot of her basement studio. Such beautiful light!

    Next we visited Such Pretty Things who loved seeing how different makers had designed their spaces to meet their needs, and the value placed on the importance of ‘surrounding oneself with the things that inspire them and feed their creativity – the things that give them joy’ – such a lovely way to put it!

    Last but by no means least, we finished up with Décor Art UK, whose favourite chapter of the book was the last – Making a Living, noting ‘creativity takes courage… and it starts right where you are. Meet some of the most exciting modern makers and adopt the wonderful author’s motto – create something every day – Maker Spaces will inspire you in more ways than you can think of!’

    What a fab way to finish! We’ve loved this blog tour journey and if you’re feeling inspired, make sure you head along to the book launch and makers' pop-up shop at West Elm! You can see all the details of the event over here.

    Maker Spaces by Emily Quinton is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, Interviews, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, decorating, Book Launch, photos, 2015, creative, events, Maker Spaces, makers

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