India

Why You Should Covet A Kantha

We talk about our love of kantha a lot at ibbi: and what’s not to love! Kantha quilts, kantha throws, kantha blankets, kantha cushions..they’re all truly unique vintage goodies, made in the brightest happy colours: timeless textiles to treasure forever. So what makes them so special?

Kantha is a type of Bengali embroidered quilt- the word kantha refers to a running stitch which has been widely used in Bangladesh and West Bengal for centuries. Our Kantha throws honour ancient traditions, using layer upon layer of softest,  time worn saris which are carefully stitched together with close rows of delicate running stitch. Each kantha is fully reversible and a labour of love, with quilts taking between 45 and 50 hours to create. And how to use? Well here are just a few suggestions and a few reasons why you should covet a kantha:

Kanthas are made to lay, drape and fold: and as they’re made from pure cotton they make the most spectacular bed blankets, adding fabulous colour to any neutral sleep space. Kanthas are made for sofas too: drape over the arm of your sofa or tuck in around the seat cushions for an instant new upholstered look

Whether you’re dining indoors or al fresco, kanthas make the very best tablecloths ( they’re pure cotton so easy to maintain). Blues are beautiful for Spring and Summer and reds are perfect for festive tables. Thicker kanthas make the best picnic rugs around. For small dark corners of your home, simply drape a small kantha over a side table, add leafy plants or bright vases of fresh cut flowers and dull corners will be transformed

If you’re a whizz with the sewing machine (or know a friendly seamstress) kanthas made the prettiest cushions and because they’re fully reversible you’ll have two stunning designs to choose from. Kanthas are perfect for small cushions for your bed or sofa and they make great floor cushions for teenage/student rooms. We also love to use kantha to upholster footstools: they make perfect statement pieces to suit any home, whether your preferred style be traditional or modern.

Just take one look at the stunning stitching that goes in to every vintage kantha throw and you’ll realise why they should be reassuringly expensive. They should have a good weight to them too: ours are made from 6-8 layers of sari cloth which means they’re super warm but not overly bulky.

To see more, take a peek at http://www.ibbidirect.co.uk.

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Safe Travels In India: Our Top Tips For First Timers

unspecified-949 unspecified-948 unspecified-947 unspecified-945 Breathtaking, beautiful, bamboozling India: a country where we spend many glorious weeks each year, meeting with our suppliers and discussing our various product ranges. Spring is such an amazing time to visit India, so just in case you’re heading off there for the first time sometime soon, we thought we’d share out top five travel tips which have been so helpful to us over the years. It can be an overwhelming, sometimes daunting place to visit..but it’s magical too. Read on..

  1. Be realistic about what you can achieve during your trip and don’t try to cram too much in to your visit. Seeing places slowly means you’re less stressed and you’ll gain a far greater, deeper understanding of the land and its people.
  2. An iron clad constitution you may well have, but remember the tap water is never ever safe for drinking. Bottled is always best ( avoid singing in the shower too). And play safe by only eating fruits that you’ve peeled yourself. Avoid salad and ice cream too. And if you do have issues..and need to rehydrate.. remember it’s half a level teaspoon of salt and 6 level teaspoons sugar to 1 litre of clean water.
  3. Hand sanitiser is a great idea and use frequently particularly after climbing in and out of cars and tuk tuts or after handling money.
  4. We always stick to a pure vegetarian diet when we’re in India. Not only is it unbelievably delicious but undercooked veg is never going to be quite as harmful as undercooked meat. If you’re eating out head to the restaurants or street stalls that are heaving with locals (always the best barometer as far as hygiene standards go)
  5. Be courteous and always ask permission before taking someone’s photograph. More often than not the subject will be extremely jovial and highly delighted with your request..but not always. Frustrations boil up easily in India.. but so often can be avoided.

So there we go! And our final tip: check out Fiona Caulfield’s ‘Love Travel’ guides. We live by them. Each book is cloth bound and hand made in India and is essential reading for any visitor planning a trip to India. These guides detail all manner of local recommendations far from the tired tourist path. For those who search for the authentic.

Fiona’s Love Travel guides are available now at http://www.ibbidirect.co.uk

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Fiona Caulfield’s ‘Love Travel’ guides. Essential reading for those heading to India.

 

 

 

Simple But True: It Always Looks Better By Candlelight!

ibbi100 candle for blog 2Simple but true: everything look better by candlelight! Whatever the temperature this summer, whether you’re dining on the beach, in the garden or round the kitchen table, our ibbi 100 candles clustered in the centre of your table will add lots of lovely gentle light and bags of simple style. The candles are still available at just £3.50 and all profits from this product go straight to the Magic Bus charity (supporting some of India’s poorest slum children from childhood to livelihood). You’ll also be supporting the fabulous work of the Asha Niketan ‘Home of Hope’ in West Bengal where the candles are made. The candles sit in simple hand made terracotta pots and are either unscented or Indian Basil scented. ibbi 100 candles: £3.50 plus p&p: available at http://www.ibbidirect.co.uk

Travel, ibbi Style..

rickshaw 2The moment summer arrives and the weather warms up, isn’t it great to be outdoors? There’s nothing quite like finding a free day to grab your friends, your kids, a couple of throws, a pile of cushions and a basket of delicious picnic goodies and head off to the beach, the river or the park for a little al fresco dining and some long overdue hours of outdoor fun. And the ultimate stylish transport as you set off to relax and enjoy the great outdoors for the day? What better than a vintage cycle rickshaw straight from the streets of Jaipur! Our ibbi rickshaws are the real McCoy and have have been meticulously restored in the UK using genuine Indian bicycle parts . All have retractable canopies and new ash canopy frames. It’s a great workout (who wants to be in the gym in the summer anyway?) but if the thought of exercise doesn’t appeal, our rickshaws look equally gorgeous (if you’ve the space) parked in your conservatory or hallway. Cover with pots of brightly coloured geraniums for a splash of extra colour. They’re ideal for weddings too!

Our rickshaws start at £1,250 plus delivery. Each one unique. Do get in touch at info@ibbidirect.co.uk if you’d like to hear more.

Available at http://www.ibbidirect.co.uk

rickshaw heavy duty

 

 

 

Happy First Birthday..to ibbi online!

Cupcake decorated with chocolate frosting and a green candle

Happy First Birthday to…ibbi online! Yes, we can’t believe http://www.ibbidirect.co.uk is one year old today and what a year it’s been. We’re now sourcing  collections of home accessories from India, South America and South Africa and it’s been a frantic and fabulous first twelve months! We think there’s only one way to celebrate such an occasion: and that’s with lots of cake, a glass of fizz and a present, from us, to our very first ibbi online customer: Scottish based artist Silvy Weatherall.  (If you’re not familiar with Silvy’s work could we suggest you sneak a peek at http://www.silvart.co.uk to discover more about her breathtaking painting, photography and sculpture. Her decorative feather mandalas have to be seen to be believed). Silvy: a present is on its way to you!

So a huge thank you to all our supporters and customers. It’s been an amazing a year and an amazing journey so far.. and it’s great to have you with us.

Claire, Anna and Eliza

the ibbi 100 update: love is in the air

 

IMG_6963Let’s face it: it’s not often you can add romance to your life for £2.50 but this month our ibbi 100 product can help you do just that! Put the kids to bed,  put the dog to bed , put the cat out, put some old fashioned romantic Henry Mancini on and settle down to a simple peaceful candlelit supper. An ibbi 100 candle is just £2.50 and when you buy this product you’ll not only have a romantic night but you’ll also be supporting the fantastic work of the Asha Niketan ‘Home of Hope’ where the candles are made. The candles sit in simple terracotta pots and come either unscented or Indian Basil scented. All profits from this product go to support the work of the spectacular Magic Bus charity in India.

Available now at http://www.ibbidirect.co.uk £2.50 plus p&p

 

the ibbi list: June

Welcome to our ibbi list for June!

Claire and Anna unpacking some of the latest ibbi collection at ibbi HQ recently

Claire and Anna unpacking some of the latest ibbi collection at ibbi HQ recently

This month we’re dipping: in to great reads, great art, delicious Summer cocktails and scrummy places to eat . And as we’ve got new collections arriving all the time now, we thought we’d take a moment to recover from the past few weeks of unpacking our fabulous deliveries and do something a little more relaxing..so we’ve been ‘test driving’ our new charpoys (traditional Indian beds) from Jodhpur for you too.

So after the work’s done this month, we hope you have a moment to relax, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the great outdoors and perhaps find time for a Summer cocktail too (why is it that they taste so much better outside!). We hope you have a great month.

Claire, Anna and Eliza


 

READ: ibbi’s Top Five Great Summer Reads

summer-reading

We do hope you find the time to enjoy one of these..and if you’ve lots of time try all 5!

 

1. Akhil Sharma: Family Life

An absolute must read. Brilliant, discomfiting story of the American dream gone horribly sour

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald: Tender Is The Night

Talented, charming young psychiatrist marries fragile heiress: the story of their exotic lifestyle and the seeds of destruction that lie within.

3. Amitav Ghosh: Sea Of Poppies

Terrific novel set against the backdrop of the Opium Wars in 19th Century India.

4. WM Thackeray: Barry Lyndon

18th Century adventures of a clever, unprincipled member of the Irish gentry as he tries to better himself with little money and bags of charm

5. Stephen Hilton: More Human

Truly spectacular ideological eclecticism from David Cameron’s former Strategy Director, who discusses how change is possible to create a more local, more accountable and more human way of living. Perhaps doesn’t sound fascinating..but truly it is.


 

SEE: Eric Ravilious

eric ravilious
This show is dedicated to the watercolours of British designer and illustrator Ravilious. In a short career of only 20 years he mastered the techniques of the Old Masters yet the intricacy and scale of his works reflect his belief that watercolours were finished pieces and not simply sketches to paintings in oils. His landscapes reflect his love of the English countryside and simple studies of geraniums and carnations in the greenhouse use fabulous forms, colours and textures. As wartime approaches we see military vessels on the high seas and the desperate gaiety of  wartime picnics. It’s all intelligent, emotional and hugely enjoyable stuff from start to finish.

At the Dulwich Picture Gallery London SE21 7AD  until August 31


 

EAT: Dishoom

We think the best dining experience in London: Dishoom

We think the best dining experience in London: Dishoom

Even when the sun shines and the temperature rises there’s still something truly delicious about a great curry and if this Summer you find yourself in our great Capital city could we suggest you pop on down to Dishoom, undoubtedly, we say, the very finest, relaxed and enjoyable dining experience available in town. A Bombay style café with vintage decor and retro ceiling fans , Dishoom is open from breakfast to dinner. The menu is loosely styled on Irani café food and offers all manner of mouthwatering goodies such as birianis, bhel (crunchy puffed rice with tamarind chutney) rajma-chawal and a black dal to die for too. It’s very busy in the evenings but you can book for breakfast and lunch. Dishoom has very kindly offered ibbi a £30 voucher so just be the first person to get in touch with us and we’ll happily send that out to you.

Dishoom: 12 Upper St Martins Lane London WC2H 9FB

http://www.dishoom.com


 

DRINK: Strawberry and Basil Margaritas

Strawberry Margarita

Always looking for great Summer cocktail ideas we love the combination here of  fresh strawberries with beautiful basil. These margaritas come together in seconds and are utterly delicious. You’ll need:

4 oz tequila

half a punnet fresh strawberries

2 oz fresh lime juice

8 fresh basil leaves

1 oz simple syrup

lots of ice

The Making:

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until the ice is crushed. Pour in to 2 margarita glasses. Finish with a sprig of fresh basil or a fresh strawberry and just taste the Summer!

 

 


WEAR: GLASS JEWELLERY BY MARINA AND SUSANNA SENT

fabulous colourful jewellery designed by the Sent sisters

fabulous colourful jewellery designed by the Sent sisters

 

As we’re always on the look out for something new and unique we love this jewellery: recently discovered in Venice. Marina and Susanna Sent are sisters with close family ties to the Murano glass works (both their grandfathers worked in the sector) who’ve chosen to break away from traditional products and focus on minimalist glass statement jewellery. Spectacular pieces in a huge range of beautiful vibrant colours.

Check out at http://www.marinaesusannasent.com for details


 

ibbi STYLE: The Joy Of The Charpoy

Relaxing on his charpoy: the leader of a Bishnoi village close to Jodhpur whom we met on our travels earlier this year

Relaxing on his charpoy: the leader of a Bishnoi village close to Jodhpur whom we met on our travels earlier this year

After a hard day in the office, kitchen, garden or car (no doubt taxiing your kids around) there’s nothing like a quiet hour’s relaxation in the sunshine.  That rug on the lawn always looks appealing, but why is it you’ve only just got yourself settled on the lawn when the damp dog has to come and say hello and then dry off right by your side? So this Spring we decided to get busy testing all manner of outdoor seats, swings, chairs and beds , to get us all a little higher off the ground. And whilst in Jodhpur earlier this year we were delighted to find what we think are the most beautiful and most comfortable outdoor beds around: the charpoy or traditional Indian bed. Over one and a half billion people around the world apparently sleep on charpoys. In India they come outside during the day to be sat on and then go back inside at night to be slept on. Our charpoys have original carved legs and new woven webbing and they easily accommodate 2 adults (with probably enough room for a wet dog too). Please do get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Available at http://www.ibbidirect.co.uk


 

and lastly: something ibbiotic..

Egg

How do you like your eggs in the morning? There’s fun available for all the family on the last Sunday in June in Swaton, Lincs, UK at the World Egg Throwing Championships. All details available at http://www.eggthrowing.com

And believe it or not there’s the world Toe Wrestling Championships in Derbyshire, the Swamp Soccer World Cup in Scotland and the World Worm Charming Championships in Cheshire this month too…

Aren’t those strawberry and basil margaritas somehow so much more appealing..