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Spotlight on lampshades: Bolder is better when selecting lighting

Voice Of EU



Affordable and chic, lampshades are a great way to add instant style to your home.

Whether you introduce a dramatic pendant shade, a moody wall light or a cosy table lamp.

Gone are the days when muted hues and standard drum shades ruled the roost — now vibrant patterns, unexpected materials and sculptural shapes provide the perfect pep-up.

Switched on: Jenny Velvet shades, £25 each, John Lewis. Lampshades are a great way to add instant style to your home

Switched on: Jenny Velvet shades, £25 each, John Lewis. Lampshades are a great way to add instant style to your home

Paired perfection

Swapping table lampshades is a great way to contemporise a tired base. To make the right pairing, a good rule of thumb is that the height of the shade should be about three-quarters the height of the base.

Opting for a shade half an inch wider than the base on both sides will help keep the whole piece looking balanced. 

A recent upswing in the popularity of statement shades means there’s more choice than ever.

Oversized rattan and raffia pendant lamps are trending, welcomed for their relaxed, naturalistic look. Check out Made’s Haroon Layered Lampshade, £79 ( with its contrasting trim for a simple, yet tailored, finish. In the same series, its Haroon Wall Light, £35, combines raffia with a rose-pink velvet trim.

‘Introducing a raw, organic element into your interiors is so on-trend this season,’ says Arteriors’ Laura Hadad.

‘Woven shades have timeless appeal and add texture. We’re also using materials such as shells and wrapped brass to change up the look.’

Go Bright 

Whether for wall, ceiling or table lights, colour and pattern is making a comeback this year.

‘We are craving pattern-on-pattern and bright, positive hues,’ says designer Rosi de Ruig, whose lampshades are all handmade using materials sourced mainly from Britain.

The Pink & Red Viennese Curl marbled shade, £75, works well as a wall lamp or on bookshelves.

Rosi de Ruig's Joy of Print mint green shade, £80

Rosi de Ruig’s Joy of Print mint green shade, £80

The key is to have fun. ‘People tend to take more risks with them than they do with paint, wallpaper or a sofa,’ says Pooky’s Rohan Blacker. 

‘Think about whether you want the light to diffuse through the fabric or to pool down underneath the shade.

‘If the latter, go for a shade in thick card or a metallic. Otherwise choose lighter fabrics.’

We love the Grey And Pink Palm tapered shade, £33, by Matthew Williamson for Pooky, with its feel-good fronds.

‘Shades in velvet and cotton, and those that are lined, will let less light through, giving more of a cosy and romantic ambience,’ says Emma Deterding of Kelling Designs. ‘Conversely, linens and silks have a brighter, airy feel.’

Jewel tones, such as the Jenny Velvet shade, from £25, at John Lewis & Partners, are big news, while there’s also a revival of pleated paper lampshades.

‘In all forms, from floor lamps to desk lights, they are a nice alternative to a plain shade and are softer than glass,’ says Topology’s Athina Bluff. 

Try Anthropologie’s Harriet Pleated Floor Lamp, £228, for a pleasing blend of softness and silhouette.

Get crafty

Trims, tassels and hand-painted additions will take lampshades to new heights.

‘More is more,’ says Jules Haines, whose designs use leftover textiles and offcuts to reduce waste in the interiors industry. 

‘We are seeing frills, bows and pleats popular in the Eighties reappearing in our homes. It’s so easy to make a lampshade more interesting by adding a tassel or trim.’

Perfect your craft skills at her beginner’s lampshade making workshops, £65, this summer in a converted barn in Kent.

‘I’m all about the table lamp; add one to your kitchen sideboard or your home office desk, it creates a more relaxed, casual atmosphere.’

If you need wall lights, but want to avoid the mess of wiring them in, think outside the box. 

‘Many now come with cords and plugs,’ says interior designer Kim Stephen.

‘Running the wire down to the nearest socket can look quite charming, especially if you change the flex to something decorative.’

What your home really needs is… a hammock 

Just the sound of the word ‘hammock’ may make you feel like taking a nap.

But, if you can stay awake, you may be interested to learn that this type of bed, a summer 2021 must-have, came to Europe after the 16th-century Spanish conquest of Central America.

The region’s peoples wove the bark of the hamak tree into lengths of material which they hung in their homes. Subsequently sailors became the biggest fans of hammocks until the Fifties.

Stretch out: The colourful Ibiza-style Aruba Juniper (pictured, £63.10) from Simply Hammocks

Stretch out: The colourful Ibiza-style Aruba Juniper (pictured, £63.10) from Simply Hammocks

Your home needs a hammock because on a fine afternoon you can sway gently while sipping a cool drink.

If you prefer the traditional approach, you can sling your hammock, such as the colourful Ibiza-style Aruba Juniper (£63.10) from Simply Hammocks, between two trees, using rope fixings with carabiner hooks at £37.10 each.

But a hammock suspended from a frame is less hassle. Options include the Charles Bentley Wooden Arc Hammock, a cream cotton canvas model which is more long Edwardian summer’s day than Balearic cool (£279.99). 

Whichever hammock you choose, you are guaranteed to chill out. 

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Johann van Graan non-committal on prospect of Conor Murray return

Voice Of EU



Johann van Graan was somewhat less than adamant that Conor Murray will make his seasonal re-appearance in their United Rugby Championship (URC) fifth round match away to the Ospreys next Saturday night, which is just two weeks out from the first of Ireland’s November test series, with the All Blacks to follow a week later.

“He might possibly be involved next week,” said the Munster head coach after their latest act of escapology to beat Connacht 20-18 at Thomond Park on Saturday night.

Might possibly?

“We’ll see how the week goes. We’ve taken our time with his recovery, so if he comes through the week then we’ll make a call at the back end of the week whether we’re going to select him or not.”

Van Graan assured us that Murray is not injured.

“No, he’s good. He had non-23 training on Friday so really looking forward to getting him involved.”

Van Graan wore the smile of a relieved man after Connacht had pushed them to the wire with a clever, fired-up all-round display in a spicy derby, during which the lead changed hands five times.

“I think if you look at the table, it’s three Irish teams at the top. Connacht are always such a big team in the interpros and you’ve got to give credit to them. Last season they beat all three of the Irish teams away.

“That’s why the players and the coaches and the supporters, and everybody involved loves an interpro, because that’s what you get. It’s not a classic but for the purist it’s a battle.

“That’s what the game is about and that’s why Irish rugby is in such a good place because they have got four top teams and some very good players across the four teams. That was a grind from our side, and proud of the way we finished that with that try and the conversion,” he said in reference to Diarmuid Barron’s 78th minute try and Joey Carbery’s nerveless conversion.

His counterpart, Andy Friend, was left with immense pride in his team’s performance mixed with acute frustration at their infuriating inconsistency and key mistakes, not least at restart receptions, but also the key decisions that went against his team.

Most notable of these was the failure by TMO Brian MacNeice and referee Chris Busby to spot that Tadhg Beirne was clearly in front of the ball before hacking on Rory Scannell’s crosskick in the build-up to Chris Cloete’s 39th minute try.

“I’ve got to be careful here,” he said when asked if he felt Connacht don’t receive a fair rub of the green from officials. “I’ve been here three and a bit years, mate, and if it’s a 50-50 I rarely see it going our way.

“I know that, but listen we’ve got to keep pushing our limits and making sure that we’re trying to be as squeaky clean as we can with things. I’m just…. to me, that try and the missed offside there – that’s inexcusable. Whether it’s Connacht or somebody else, I don’t know, it’s just inexcusable.”

To compound his frustrations, nor does the URC have channels to go through.

“We don’t have a referees’ manager, so I’m assuming that URC will be looking at that and hopefully something happens to the TMO that missed it. But it doesn’t help us, mate.”

Putting his own team’s errors into perspective, Friend highlighted their lineout pressure, strike plays, kicking and defence.

“On the whole the majority was really good, there’ll always be elements we need to work on. Otherwise we’d be out of a job.”

With next Saturday’s home game against Ulster at the Aviva in mind, Friend said: “What we will use is that we know we’re a good football side.

“We’ve just pushed a good Munster team who haven’t looked like losing a game this year and have played some really good rugby.

“We’ve turned up at their home field, where we beat them last season, knowing full well there was going to be a kick-back and we pushed them all the way to their limits.

“So, we know we’re a good football side. Our blip last week (against the Dragons) was a blip. We just have to make sure we never drop to that again and we keep our standards high.”

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Irish man (24) who drowned in swimming pool in Marbella is named

Voice Of EU



A 24-year-old man who drowned in a swimming pool near Marbella in Spain has been named locally in Co Clare as Irish Defence Forces member Gerard McMahon.

Authorities responded to a distress call at 10.25am on Friday. The alarm was raised by friends who found Mr McMahon lifeless in the pool.

Spanish authorities are treating the death of the holiday maker as a “tragic accident”.

Mr McMahon lived in the Killaloe area of Co Clare. Local priest Fr Jerry O’Brien confirmed he had met the family of the young man and expressed his sympathy on behalf of the community.

Ogonnelloe GAA posted a tribute to Mr McMahon who was well known and liked in the community.

“It is with profound shock and sadness that we learned today of the sudden passing of our young member and friend, Gerard McMahon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, Pat and Carmel, his sister Bríd, and all the McMahon family at this extremely difficult time.”

The club Facebook page posted a picture of Mr McMahon from 2016 when he and his team mates won the Division 3 League.

Scarriff Hurling also paid tribute to Mr McMahon who played for them at juvenile level. “Always with pride, great skill and giving all to the team and club.”

Meanwhile, local Fine Gael councillor Joe Cooney said the family of the young man were in the thoughts and prayers of the community.

Mr McMahon was a Private in the First Infantry Battalion in Renmore Barracks in Galway. St Patrick’s Garrison Church posted a message on Facebook asking for prayers for Mr McMahon and for his “family and comrades”.

A postmortem was expected to take place over the weekend at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Malaga.

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VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Don’t waste energy switching

Voice Of EU



For years, Money Mail has urged readers to regularly switch energy supplier.

It wasn’t the most glamorous money-saving tip, but sticking with your existing provider meant you were almost certainly overpaying. 

And the return on this straightforward, mundane chore was lucrative, with households saving hundreds of pounds a year. But for now, you should forget all that.

The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices. And the market remains incredibly volatile, with experts struggling to predict what will happen over the coming months.

Stick with it: The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices meaning it not longer makes sense to switch  providers

Stick with it: The energy crisis has caused an unprecedented rise in wholesale gas prices meaning it not longer makes sense to switch  providers   

This means suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, are just not able to offer competitive fixed deals.

Some comparison websites are still running an energy switching service, but there are only a handful of tariffs listed. 

And, as we reported last week, some would cost the average household almost £3,000 a year.

So for now, your best course of action is to stay put.

If you are coming to the end of a fixed deal, roll onto your supplier’s standard variable tariff. 

These default deals are protected by the energy watchdog’s price cap — £1,277 a year for the average gas and electricity user — until April 2022. And there are no exit fees, so you are free to switch away the moment better deals return.

For those who signed up to ultra‑cheap deals a year or two ago, there is no getting away from the fact that your bills are going to rise. 

But locking into a new fixed deal now could mean you’re hit with even higher energy costs over the cold winter months.

To avoid adding to any confusion, Money Mail has temporarily removed all energy tariffs from our Best Buys tables. 

But rest assured, we are tracking the market closely and will update you as soon as something changes.

Suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, can't offer competitive fixed deals

Suppliers, many of which are at risk of going under, can’t offer competitive fixed deals

Tip top!

While on the topic of rising bills, a big thank you to everyone for their top energy-saving tips after I publicly scolded my husband, Chris, last week.

Money Mail reader Molly Clark suggests leaving the oven open after cooking so not to waste the heat, using candles for softer lighting and ditching the dishwasher in favour of a good old-fashioned washing-up bowl. 

Another reader, Robert, goes a step further and washes his dishes with cold water. 

A small squirt from a 29p bottle of diluted white vinegar along with a dash of washing-up liquid on a little green fabric scouring cloth used in circular motions will ensure they are squeaky-clean, he assures me.

But I was most taken by Julie Priest’s suggestion of a fridge alarm that will go off when the door is left open.

Amazon has one with a ‘repeated siren’ mode — and if that doesn’t teach Chris to close it, I don’t know what will.

But at £21.99, I might stick to nagging for now.

Keep those tips coming!

Many see a monthly subscription, such as Netflix, as essential (pictured: Netflix's Squid Game)

Many see a monthly subscription, such as Netflix, as essential (pictured: Netflix’s Squid Game)

Need for Netflix

It’s fascinating to see how our spending priorities have changed since the pandemic.

Take the popular streaming service Netflix. Once a luxury, a monthly subscription is now considered essential, according to a report by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association published yesterday. 

One pensioner commented that their partner’s quality of life would just not be the same without it.

Another man from Wales said that he had not realised how important dining out was for ’emotional well-being’.

But as the cost of living soars, experts fear people could cut back on pension saving. With many already failing to put aside enough for the lifestyle they want in retirement, this could prove disastrous.

So if you have spare cash leftover at the end of the month, consider using it to give your future self a better life.

It could be me…

Inspired by a colleague, I bought my first ever EuroMillions lottery ticket last Friday. It was a rollover with a juicy £174million jackpot, and I was feeling lucky.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. But what fun I had daydreaming about what I’d do with such a windfall. 

And since no one scooped the prize money, I figured there was no harm in having one more go in last night’s record £184million draw. Who knows, I could be a multi-millionaire by the time you read this.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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