British Brands: Home & Lifestyle

Bethany DeanStarred Page By Bethany Dean, 11th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Shopping>High Street Shops

A summary of the home and lifestyle brands which represent heritage, nostalgia and quintessential Britishness.

The British Nostalgia Trend

In 2013 the home and lifestyle market is all about make do and mend, a return to homely comforts, feminine florals and Union Jack imagery. These are some of the go-to places where you can buy British-inspired goodies to adorn your home and bathroom.

Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston opened up her shop in 1994 selling beautiful handmade items reminiscent of her childhood, made with bright fairground colours, ditzy floral print and scraps from her sewing box. In 2013 Cath Kidston is a powerhouse brand, equally trendy amongst grandmothers, yummy mummies and their kids, selling everything from knitted cottage tea-cosies to hand cream, cardigans and dresses.

The most popular items of Cath Kidston's are her day bags - made with durable wipe-clean oil-cloth, they bridge the gap between gorgeous and practical. The range includes backpacks, ticket holders, weekend bags, wallets and purses. The Cath Kidston fashion range includes womens' and children's (to date, there is no mens' department) and features tea dresses and adorable knits, as well as pretty shoes and scarves. Cath Kidston's beauty range, from hand cream to bubble bath and lip balm, is all infused with a rosy, floral scent reminiscent of an English flowerbed. Her shops are located in several lucky cities across the country.

Milton & Manor

Labelling themselves as 'a farmhouse creation', Milton & Manor came about when a couple restoring a Herefordshire farmhouse couldn't find the fabrics they wanted to adorn their new home, so started manufacturing what they wanted themselves. This company specialise in beautiful prints featuring British countryside wildlife, including pheasants, ponies and ducks.

Their products include metres of linen fabric in a wide range of prints, kitchenware, cushions, lunchboxes, flasks, upholstered footstools and welly bags. Brochures are available - free - on request.

Forever England

Specialising in quilts and bedspreads, Forever England features an understated, elegant floral range ranging from standing lamps to children's pyjamas, bedlinen and bags. In conjunction to their three outlets they also exhibit at many county shows, and the diversity of the products on their website means you could furnish almost an entire house with bits and bobs from their collections.

Their colours aren't as bright as Cath Kidston, and there is less emphasis on nostalgic scrapbook images, more watercolour-esque hues and florals. They have a much wider range than Milton & Manor, encompassing bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and gifts, but lights and cushions are the limit as they do not offer paint or wallpaper.

Laura Ashley

From a heydey in the 90's, Laura Ashley has persisted as one of the 21st century's most recognisable English heritage brands. Famous for her floor-length lace-adorned tea dresses of the 80's, right through to the doily, floral, frills and pink explosion of the 90's, Laura Ashley now offers fashion and furniture, as well as gifts, to a discerning and grown-up market.

The prints are a lot more toned-down nowadays, and most of the furniture is plain, well-made and elegant in a flat or town home. There is little of the rustic muddy-boots charm of Milton & Manor, or the hands-on wipe-clean practicality of Cath Kidston, but their massive range yields more than its fair share of British loveliness.

Their fashion caters to a more mature market, with elegant solutions to classic wardrobe staples. Laura Ashley, due to its long heritage, is a mainstay at charity shops however, and beautiful vintage pieces can be picked up for a bargain - and still compliment any contemporary buys you make. They have outlets all over the country.


Exclusively dealing in soaps and perfumes, talcs and creams, Yardley is a beautiful accompaniment to the fashion and home decor outlined above. With a long history of manufacturing toiletries, Yardley has gained an impeccable reputation amongst its many admirers. As soon as you touch one of their products you can feel the quality: their talcs leave your skin soft and smooth, and their creams are moisturising and non-greasy, a result of their formulas being developed over the company's impressive 400-year history.

Their signature scent is lavender, although the company offers rose, daisy, peony, lily and violet alternatives to all their products. They can be found in Boots and other major pharmacies and retailers.


British, Cath Kidston, Clothes, English, Fashion, Jack Wills, Joules, Manor, Shopping, Tweed

Meet the author

author avatar Bethany Dean
Author of the Rose Prince, available on Kindle and in paperback. | @bethanyrdean

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
13th May 2013 (#)

this is wonderful dear Bethany..such nostalgia so many beautiful things...thank you

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author avatar Susan Jane
13th May 2013 (#)

A delightful article to read, Bethany. Being an Aussie, Laura Ashley and Yardley are the only brands I recognise. The others are so gorgeous as well. Great star page.

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author avatar Bethany Dean
14th May 2013 (#)

Thanks so much you guys! I love these brands, I'm glad you do too!

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author avatar Songbird B
14th May 2013 (#)

What a great article and some new companies here that I haven't come across before, so highly informative too Bethany..Lovely page\0/x

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author avatar Rose*
17th Nov 2013 (#)

Those Cath Kidston bags look lovely

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