Every now and then you come across something so brilliant that you can’t stop thinking about it and you want to share it, so today I want to tell you about this fabulous wallpaper by Poodle and Blonde that I have been recommending to everyone since I saw it last week. I’m practically stopping people in the supermarket to tell them about it.

food babies in blossom cushion by poodle and blonde
styled by lynsey fox: food babies in blossom cushion by poodle and blonde

Here it is in cushion form, although I first spotted in in the wallpaper. So, at first glance it seems like a typical chinoiserie style with storks flying around and lots of lotus blossom. But look more closely. The birds are actually carrying little boxes of Chinese takeaway.

food babies in camel wallpaper by poodle and blonde
food babies in camel wallpaper by poodle and blonde image styled by lynsey fox, shot by samuel wiles

The idea came about when co-owner Whinnie Williams (who founded the site with Kierra Campbell) was thinking about the myth of storks carrying and delivering babies and from there it was a short leap to the idea of them delivering takeaways. And so Food Babies was born. Whinnie spent three weeks hand-embroidering the original design on silk which was then scanned to give the impression of real silk panels on your walls.

food babies in blossom by poodle and blonde
styled by lynsey fox, shot by samuel wiles; food babies in blossom detail by poodle and blonde

Here is a detail so you can get a better impression of the pattern. It also comes in lagoon and ivory and, in addition to the wallpaper, you can buy the bolster cushions and fabric by the metre in either linen or velvet. Now I have said before, many times, how I think it’s so important to have a bit of fun with your interiors.  I appreciate that it’s an expensive business decorating a home, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it all terribly seriously. This is a perfect example – and there are others coming up below- where you can incorporate a bit of fun and a joke into a scheme.

food babies in lagoon wallpaper by poodle and blonde
styled by lynsey fox and shot by samuel wiles: food babies in lagoon wallpaper by poodle and blonde

I would very happily have this in the bedroom but since I’ve just redecorated that’s probably not for now. That said, perhaps I might use the fabric to make some blinds…. or a bedspread.

Now I said I would show you a few more wallpapers that also have more to them than meets the eye so here you are. First up is Paisley Cresent by the ever-talented Mini Moderns.

paisley crescent by mini moderns in concrete
paisley crescent by mini moderns in concrete

At first it’s a giant traditional paisley pattern. It also comes in tangerine, pale verdigris (mint), and shades of blue. But look more closely. Zoom if you’re reading on a phone and you can see that the patterns are actually made up of bicycles and neat rows of suburban houses.

paisley crescent in verdigris
paisley crescent in verdigris

Isn’t it great? This is for those who might not feel that a more chinoiserie style fits into their home so this is a more traditional pattern which might suit you better.

paisley crescent by mini moderns
paisley crescent by mini moderns

But we’re not done with these yet. I’m not sure what to call them – are they trompe l’oeil? They do deceive the eye but nothing is hidden. It’s all there if you just take the time to look closely. Anyway here’s another from Timorous Beasties. They have taken the traditional Toile de Jouy style and infused it with a bit of their native Glasgow and, in a second design, with a bit of London.

glasgow toile by timorous beasties
glasgow toile by timorous beasties

As you can see, from a distance this is consistent with the original toile de Jouey fabrics of Napoleonic France, with the traditional balance of floral, architectural, and human contexts. However, look closely and this is a more urban version showing the underbelly of the city with images of drug and alcohol abuse framed in the context of some of Glasgow’s most famous architectural landmarks and public spaces.

There is also a London version. This description is from Cimmerman UK, where you can buy both versions: “It was designed from a love of London and a love of the old toiles that were produced in pre-revolutionary and post-industrial France, in the small town of Jouey in the 1770’s.

london toile wallpaper as seen in an interior design scheme by Daniel Hopwood
london toile wallpaper as seen in an interior design scheme by Daniel Hopwood

“The London Toile was designed using the same techniques as the originals by separating the drawings, producing extra depth and texture by overlapping, and leaving gaps in the artwork to create more tones when the inks overlap one another. Some imagery in the original Toiles was sinister; they depicted scenes that were then ‘contemporary’, but we now see as traditional.

london toile wallpaper as seen in an interior design scheme by Daniel Hopwood
london toile wallpaper as seen in an interior design scheme by Daniel Hopwood

“There were [in the original designs] scenes of the factory at Jouey, and other rural scenes of workers relaxing, drinking, dancing, and womanising. Timorous Beasties have not actually changed much in their concept, but have updated the references to make them more contemporary and more urban.

Lastly we’re going to The House of Mischief. To an orchard of pretty trees with low hanging fruit… or is it? It’s called Skulls and Angels. Zoom in if you can or click here.

skulls and angels wallpaper by house of mischief
skulls and angels wallpaper by house of mischief

And finally. A traditional damask… might think….

damasutra by house of mischief

Well I will say that it’s called Damasutra. And if you want a closer look… then click here and don’t choke on your toast if you’re reading this at breakfast. And if someone is reading this over your shoulder on the bus then they got the shock they deserved.

Poodle and Blonde images styled by Lynsey Fox and shot by Samuel Wiles.


Tags : chinoiserie stylehand-embroideryhidden detailhidden messageLondon toilemini modernspaisleyPoodle & BlondeThe House of MischiefTimorous Beastiestrompe l'oeilwallpapers
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I understand I will be accused of humourless political correctness, but as a mixed race woman whose Chinese son has had to endure years of ‘takeaway jokes’ from ignorant people who equate one of the great cultures of the world with fast food, I don’t actually find anything witty or admirable in the stork wallpaper. I am quite intrigued by the Singapore take away owner cited above though – maybe in that specific setting the wallpaper would be amusing but otherwise, no.

  2. Yes yes yes!!!! Love this post!
    I have just this week recommended the food babies wallpaper to a client in market Yarborough, Leicestershire who runs a Singapore takeaway business from her home.. it is perfect!
    Her takeaway is called yellow bird so extremely fitting…

  3. We have had wallpaper with a hidden message since 2015. I took advice from Ashley Sutcliffe at Live Like The Boy in Colne, Lancashire. We have the “We had everything” wallpaper designed by Rob Ryan and manufactured by Mini Moderns.
    I may have mentioned this before.
    Great post, very interesting.

  4. Ha I love the idea of installing one of these in a downstairs toilet and waiting for guests to notice 🙂 the damasutra is hilarious!! Love the storks carrying takeaway too.

  5. The stork is my favourite , beautiful and witty. Would make a lovely nursery wall or baby duvet cover . Everyone knows that when new baby arrives with inevitable exhaustion and sleepless nights an account with the local takeaway is a must! Love it !

  6. Oh my gosh, I love the Chinese takeaway pattern! It is hilarious and entirely beautiful! I think I need to buy it.

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