Make it soft, and I mean everything. Don't be concerned about colours & patterns, here everything goes. Make your own fort & display remnants & quilts picked up on your travels.
I love this wallpaper with the movement of these horses with the wind in their manes. Masks from a party supplier provide cruelty-free hunting trophies.
Collect lots of sari fabric – cut or use as is for ends of beds, over windows, as tablecloths, sofa covers or even as picnic rugs.
In Delhi, outdoor barbers' shops are as simple as a chair, a mirror on a wall and, hey presto, it's a salon. Apply the same treatment to your outdoor shower.
Bamboo stick blinds, not too different from the blinds you see everywhere in India, don't only have to cover windows but can soften an unsightly wall or fence.
Gypset style is a hybrid of jetsetting (although I prefer the term globetrotting) & gypsy. I love this look and embrace it regularly. It is forgiving, loose, casual. It's about collecting fabrics & remnants, carpets & scarves & draping them on your walls, lamps , beds, floor & yourself. It is reflection of a life well travelled and much enjoyed.
Throughout India you see leftovers from the British Empire. I love the mix of both countries – pull in an old fan, add a carved marble elephant and lounge around for the afternoon.
Nothing else sets the mood like candlelight & flowers, scented or not. Use floor-standing candlesticks for a more extravagant effect.
Mix the simple with the special. The silver metal chair with plain white upholstery sits in front of a peacock & flower motif. If you need to have a quieter moment, opt for a neutral palette but keep the embellishment.
The wonderful roadside houses & shops make for a very colourful streetscape. Use the painted finish patterns; paint a 'panelled' dado or a stencilled tree of life.
Cut out colourful patterned paper in triangles and attach to branches to replicate the effect of bunting, like I saw at the Jaipur literary festival.
Use a collection of vintage trophies for flowers, decorate with a rosette wall and feel like a winner! It was polo season in Jaipur when I was there – I had to see a game; that's where the inspiration for this came from.
Mix up your textures, and keep India's history in mind. I have put a walnut traditional British colonial table with handcrafted silver metal screen. A swathe of bold print linen emblazoned with floral motifs dictates the colours in the space.
My India Recommendations
Love Jaipur, Rajasthan by Fiona Caulfield Not only does this book, with the most beautiful fabric printed cover, come in a fabric bag, but the handmade paper it is printed on is heavenly. The content & points of interest are fantastic. Open it at any page and off you go on a new adventure. I have bought many of these books as gifts.
The Romance of the Cashmere Shawl by Monique Levi-Strauss Discovered while visiting the Craft Museum in Delhi. A great word & picture reference on the history of textiles (and great for French museum collection information).
British Campaign Furniture: Elegance Under Canvas by Nicholas A. Brawer One of my favourite types of furniture. Things that fold, are made of canvas, wood & leather, with swathes of netting, and needing trunks & steamships to transport to exotic locations, with staff to construct. You just sit with a G&T. What's not to love!
Civil Lines, Jaipur 302001 Rajasthan, India
Guest house with rooms set around gardens, and run by the lovely Begum Fauzia Ahmad Khan and Aimaduddin Ahmad Khan. Dinner is served at 8:30-9pm – the food makes you view Indian food differently and, quite frankly, ruins you for anyone else's. there's always an interesting bunch at the table, including writers, directors, politicians, high commission staff, designers etc. Very old salon style.
9 Ksheer Sagar Hotel Motilal Atal road Jaipur
For your handmade bespoke jodphurs, breeches & riding jackets.
Jaipur 2nd floor, KK Square Above Crosswords bookshop C-11 Prithviraj Rd, C-Scheme
If you need some salad and a non-Indian food break, go here, it's worth the wait. Definitely try the cake – it will get you through the Jaipur traffic.
Jaipur Literature Festival
I was lucky enough to coordinate my january dates to Jaipur with this. A very casual low-key vibe, pop in & out as you please. It is free and held in the grounds of the beautiful Diggi Palace where you can also stay. Small & intimate with a pop-up Full Circle store (best bookshop in India). After a couple of days you feel free to start up conversations and introduce yourself to people who interest you. This is where I had my picture taken and put in the Jaipur newspaper social pages.
These giant 3D zodiac charts & sundials make it seem as if you're walking in a de Chirico painting. The architecture, light & shadows at this astronomical observatory are beautiful & mesmerising.
Laxman Dwara City palace Jaipur
This was a last stop in Jaipur on the way to the airport and is a must. Lightweight towels, khadi scarves, kerchiefs – superior in quality, which is reflected in the price. I left with a lovely stack of things.
Tune in next week as I take off on a new adventure.