Welcome to our monthly newsletter, providing you with the latest events and courses, trend forecasts, new sources, and answers to your interior design problems.

'In a difficult environment people are less interested in frivolity and embellishments but value excellent construction and attention to detail. Objects need to be beautifully made but also practical.  And people will be staying at home more - so home cooking and home comforts will replace lavish nights out'. Top designer David Linley

David Linley has just launched his new website. Along with the luxury furniture and accessories for which he is known, it features the new beautifully designed kitchen accessories he has designed with Tom Aikens. www.davidlinley.com

This month don't miss

Exhibitions, sales, fairs, courses and events you should know about.

Late Night Christmas Shopping Party (4 Dec. 5-9pm), Gray’s Antique Market, Davies Mews, London W1. An opportunity to shop here after hours, visit some 200 dealers, and take a look at the River Tyburn, which runs through the Market. Gray’s will also be open every Saturday in December. By invitation only, but call 020 7629 7034 and you’ll be sent one for free. www.graysantiques.com

Bankside Winter Festival (12-21 Dec), Bankside Riverwalk, London SE1. To celebrate the frost fairs that took place on a frozen Thames hundreds of years ago, there will be a Frost Fair Parade and guided walks, a winter market, a procession of traditional Thames cutters, husky dog sledding, festive food and mulled wine. www.visitsouthwark.com

Christmas Delight (until 22 Dec), Covent Garden. A special programme of entertainment, music and shopping. The famous Market Building will be decorated with hundreds of energy-efficient LED lighting tubes. It will host both traditional and cutting edge music events, and a pop-up Shop Of Delight will offer spend-thrift Christmas ideas, showing people how to make, bake and sew their own gifts. Money will be raised for Crisis, the charity for homeless people. www.crisis.org.uk For more info visit www.coventgardenlondonuk.com or call 020 3047 2555.

Choosing the Chintz ! (until 22 Feb), Geffrye Museum, London E2. A look at the respective roles of men and women in furnishing the home, from 1850 to the present. Plus the museum’s period rooms decked out in festive style (until 4 Jan). See their website for more info and a delightful online advent calendar. www.geffrye-museum.org.uk

Designer Style: Home Decorating in the 1950s (until 6 Sept 2009), Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA), Middlesex University, Cat Hill, Barnet, Herts T: 020 8411 5244.This exhibition draws on MoDA’s own collections to show a wide range of wallpapers and textiles from the 1950s.  There will be work by well-known artists and designers like Lucienne Day, Graham Sutherland, Cawthra Mulock and Jacqueline Groag. Plus lectures and practical workshops planned for next year. See www.moda.mdx.ac.uk

Magnificence of the Tsars, Ceremonial Men’s Dress of the Russian Imperial Court, 1721-1917 (10 Dec-29 March), Victoria & Albert Museum. Explore the splendours of Imperial Russia through garments which have survived wars and revolutions. www.vam.ac.uk

Dazzle (until 10 Jan), London National Theatre, Olivier Foyers, South Bank, London SE1 9PX. A contemporary jewellery showcase, with dazzling work by over 80 leading designer-makers from all over the world. Everything is for sale. 01580 852 503 or 07774 261682. www.dazzle-exhibitions.co.uk

The Sculptor’s Art in Silver (until 31 Jan), The London Silver Vaults, London WC2. A selling exhibition of silver statuary reflecting English pursuits and passions from the 1800s to the present and an excuse to visit the warren of 30 silver shops located here. www.thesilvervaults.com

Sources of the month

Clifton Nurseries tell us that the big news in trees this year is the Cork Bark Fir which smells Christmassy but doesn’t drop its needles. (They will deliver one to you, decorate it, AND take it away when the festivities are over). Clifton also do lovely wreaths – traditional, scented, and even edible ones, as well as festive Christmas window boxes. www.clifton.co.uk

You can, of course, do ALL your Christmas shopping on TheHouseDirectory.com… You’ll find decorations in all styles: painted wood from www.emilyreadettbailey.com, contemporary from www.muji.com, rustic zinc stars from www.gardenboutique.co.uk. Also polka dot crackers from www.emmabridgewater.co.uk; beeswax candles from www.ochreandocre.com; a twinkly Christmas stocking from www.coffeandcream.co.uk; red striped table runners from www.scandinavianatmosphere.com; festive embroidered cushions from www.jaconstantine.com; beautiful (and everlasting) Christmas flowers from www.bloom.uk.com; and plenty of ideas for presents from www.okadirect.com, www.wheredidyoubuythat.com and all the other eye-catching companies on our website !

A very inspiring new shop has just opened in Notting Hill Gate. The elegant Jensen & Ballantine is the perfect place to go for old-fashioned Christmas decorations and toys, pretty china and glass, all displayed in lovely painted cupboards. 1 Ladbroke Road, W11. Tel:020-7229 3738. www.jensenandballantine.com

Ask the Experts
Selected from our free Q&A service.

Where can I find one of those old-fashioned kitchen towels on a roller? Are they still made?
A. Yes, have a look at the website of Period Features www.periodfeatures.net. They have a simple utilitarian roller towel holder in oak which can be screwed on to the wall – it costs £24. They also supply the cotton/linen mix towels that fit on to it; they are £9.50 each and are made in one of the last few remaining towel mills in the UK.

Q. I am looking for a chest with a padded fabric-covered top that can be used
as a filing cabinet. It would be a piece of furniture that wouldn’t look like a
filing cabinet and could sit in a living room. Thank you for your help !
A. Clock House Furniture manufactures a ‘storage ottoman’ to any size. It can be made to store filing rails, arch files or other stationery. They also do an ‘ottoman chest’ with a drawer on one or both sides. www.clockhouse-furniture.co.uk

New Book

London Transport Posters: A century of art and design
b(Lund Humphries) celebrates a century of outstanding graphic design commissioned by the Underground, London Transport, and its present-day successor, Transport for London. More than 250 eye-catching images are drawn from the London Transport Museum's collection of over 5000 posters and artworks. Order it for £27 from www.ashgate.com