A little homeware update

A little homeware update

I supposed this post goes slightly hand in hand with the fact that it was my birthday yesterday. Perhaps I have become a slightly more “adultier” adult? Anyway, as D was already pretty well installed into our home when I moved in, but we’re slowly making updates to little things in the decor (next stop is a new bed for us, whoopee!)

Here is a few of my favourites in case anyone is interested.

  1. Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole Dish

Le Creuset is one of my absolute favourite places to buy cookware from. We have a few things that I have picked up over the past few months. However, this one is particularly special as I saved up vouchers I got for various work awards in order to buy this and it took me months so I was delighted to finally get this. I chose the Marseille Blue version to tone in with things we have already.

If you’re balking at the thought of paying more for one of these babies consider that my parents have Le Creuset cast iron cookware from when they were first married over 30 years ago so it’s price per use is actually decent.

2. John Lewis Croft Collection Colander

Apart from the fact that this is ridiculously pretty this probably isn’t an exciting purchase. our colander was won in a raffle by my parents and needed replacing so I picked up this one as I couldn’t resist the floral pattern. I look forward to using it.

3. Cole and Mason Spice Carousel

As a keen cook I am loving my new spice carousel. This was a wonderful belated Christmas gift from my parents on Monday. We are both pretty taken with how it looks and I am enjoying being able to season our meals without having to delve into our cupboards for herbs and/or spices. Thanks parents!

4. Various pictures from On the Wall

On the wall is an independent shop on Boar Lane in Leeds which specialises in selling vintage prints, art prints and posters from cult and anime films. We have recently updated our bedroom (and have more to go into the kitchen and bedroom) with various framed pictures. This has given our bedroom such a refresh and it feels so much more ours now. Also, taking older pictures down has made everything feel more spacious and I feel like have made a stamp on our home as a couple more now. (Next post will include the print with the t-rex on it!)

5. Chicken egg basket (and heart fruit bowl), Matalan

Matalan has some great finds in its homeware section. I was really excited to find both of these. They both cost less that £10 too which was pretty cool for something I had been angling for for a while (the fruit bowl is not pictures as mine is currently housing a few sad looking apples and kiwis). I do prefer finding home things from a variety of places as it really feels more like your own home and not a direct copy of a catalogue.

6. Rose Gold Photo Frame and Mug, New look

I can’t actually find my exact mug on the New Look website but it must be said, New Look have some fantastic home finds currently. Whether you’re decorating your first university room or casually sneaking girlier kitchenware past your boyfriend, don’t forget New Look if you want to add a few feminine touches.

Homemade Christmas Wreath

Homemade Christmas Wreath

I wish I could pretend I had a grand plan about making my own decorations this year. I am so far from organised sometimes when it comes to planning blog posts (and also how our home will look) its unreal. However, in a fit of Christmassy enthusiasm last week, D and I may possibly (definitely) have bought too many baubles for our little tree.

Anyway, credit goes out to D for suggesting that I used out smaller ones last year to “fashion some kind of wreath”. I think it looks pretty good. Very rustic and homemade, but pretty cute. As a bonus I wasn’t slaving for hours or struggling with a hot glue gun making this.

Anyway if you want to make something similar you will need:

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A plain natural rattan wreath (mine was the 30.5cm one from Hobbycraft)

Approx 25 small baubles (or other little Christmas decorations)

Craft wire

At least 60cm festive ribbon

A suction hook to attach your wreath to the door if you don’t have a knocker (see here)

 

If your baubles have any string attached, cut this off. You won’t need it and you can use the loops on your baubles to attach it to the wreath with the wire. Cut about 8cm wire and tightly twist it around one of the sticks in your wreath. Add your bauble and twist the wire to hold it in place on the wreath. Twist the wire all the way along and tuck the sharp ends into the wreath so nobody’s finger gets cut on it.

Although this looks best if its not exactly even (it adds to the homemade charm) try to make sure the baubles are relatively evently spaced and the colours aren’t grouped together too much; unless that’s what you like best, but you may need more decorations to achieve this effect.

Once the wreath is nicely covered in baubles tie your ribbon to it around some of the sticks in a bow.

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The good thing about this is that although it looks pretty natural it can be used year after year.

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I hope you’re all starting to feel nice and festive. Have a good day.

I started a herb garden – proof that even if you’re an absolute beginner you can learn the basics

I start this post with a confession. I am the worst person with plants ever! When I was housesharing I forgot to water my flatmate’s spider plant while she was away for 2 weeks until 2 days before she returned home. Whenever I had to water my mother’s peas when she went away it would get dark and then I’d remember I’d neglected my duties. I do not possess a green fingernail, left alone green fingers.

DSC_0441Still, things change and our garden is looking far less neglected for having some flowers. I also started a herb garden. I go through so many fresh herbs cooking, my parents have a decent herb garden and its so much nicer and so useful just being able to take cuttings from outside.

DSC_0442I bought the beginnings of my herb garden already grown and repotted them, as you can be. I took the advice from my parents and D’s mum. Things like mint take over so keep them to separate pots. Currently I have chives, rosemary, thyme and oregano but I am hoping for mint and sage too.

DSC_0443As you can see I also took advantage of the availability of bedding plants and I got mostly violas and French marigolds. I admit this was partially as they were cheapest (there’s no point buying the expensive stuff when there’s no guarantee I won’t kill things). To be honest our garden already looks better – despite the neglected bits with the flowers and leaves brightening stuff up.

DSC_0444DSC_0445I also planted some sunflowers and tomatoes using those handy kits (aimed at children) that you can find in most supermarkets. Following the instructions maybe I can hope for a tomato or two at some point?

DSC_0440Gardening in the sun is actually pretty soothing and I sort of realised through doing it, it’s not really something to be avoided or afraid of. Once you have a few things planted it makes everything look so much prettier and cared for. Plus, once the hard part is done most of the work is watering and a bit of weeding. I look forward to sitting outside with D holding a nice glass of wine over the summer.

Fingers crossed I don’t forget to water everything!

Keeping your food at its best for longer

I’ll start this post with my hands in the air; I am probably not the most domestic food blogger who ever lived. However, lately something made me start organising our food cupboards and fridge to see what was actually in there. It all started a few weeks ago when we had to buy cereal canisters for rabbit food as one of ours ate their way into a large food sack causing a telltale trail of kibble from the conservatory back to the rabbit hutch. Then the lovely people at Fresha sent me a sample and I started storing fruit and veg in the food bags. (FYI, Fresha bags are a wonderful invention which keep your fruit and vegetables at their best for way longer, they’re also reusable and seem to stop my kitchen smelling of banana).

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So I basically realised that if you keep your cupboards more organised you’re more aware of what you have in and you stop yourself buying the same thing with every shopping trip. You also minimise the risk of food spoiling by getting damp (or hungry pets getting into stuff). The more food you buy and don’t eat the worse it is for the environment and the more money you waste spending money on food that goes in the bin

So here are my best learned food storage rules so far:

1. Proper storage of fruit and vegetables is your friend. Fruit and vegetable storage bags, banana trees and fruit bowls all help keep things more fresh. Make sure you don’t hang onto rotting things as they impact on the freshness of your surrounding produce.

2. Keeping dried foods in plastic boxes and jars looks much tidier, helps you to store more in your cupboards and stops you repeatedly buying spaghetti when you don’t actually need to.

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3. Store your cakes and biscuits separately. Cakes cause biscuits to soften and biscuits cause cakes to harden. My heart actually aches when I have to discard cake as I love it so much.

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4. Keep a cheese box. This stops you from finding random old bits of cheese in the back of your fridge but it also prevents that cheese pong you get when you have been to the deli (or in my case this weekend the Wensleydale Creamery)

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5. If you eat meat, every couple of days go through your fridge and check nothing is coming to its use by date. If it is, either freeze it or cook with it as soon as you can. Nothing says “I love you” like a nasty case of food poisoning from old chicken.

It turns out, I quite like being organised in one place in my house.

As an entertaining side note here are a couple of photographs of our mischievous pets who inspired me to be more organised.

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Also a big thank you to Fresha and the nice PR lady who sent me the sample without whom I would not have written this post. I was sent my first pack of Fresha bags free of charge but they can be purchased for £3.99 for 20. I will be buying more.

Home bit part 2

I thought I’d post a little update on things in our home. We were lucky enough to be given a few things around the Christmas period and I thought I’d have a wander round the house snapping things at random that made me smile last Tuesday. We also had to buy a Dyson ball vacuum cleaner and a freezer after I broke our last one (I am fully aware that puncturing a hole in a freezer chipping away at an ice buildup doesn’t exactly scream domestic Goddess). Nevertheless, the aforementioned purchases were possibly the most exciting purchases of the lot. You know you’re getting old when you get excited that your bagless vacuum is picking up way more sawdust from your pets than the previous model you had.

1. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Print

I bought D this for his birthday back in August and it has been sitting around for months waiting for one of us to frame it. I actually found the perfect sized frame in Asda. While it’s easier and equally NICE to buy pictures and prints already framed, sometimes its fun to choose your own frames for things, especially more specialist prints. If you have something that’s an awkward size or shape and you don’t want to trim it down; you can always mount it on coloured card and buy a bigger frame to make it look more finished off.

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2. Billy the Kid lyrics print

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As I have mentioned a few times D is a music journalist and I am lucky enough to have opportunity to go along to so many gigs and shows I wouldn’t normally see. One of our loveliest evenings was watching Billy the Kid at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds where D picked up this poster after interviewing Billy. Again, I framed this with a plain glass frame from Hobbycraft. (We also ended up naming our girl rabbit Billy!)

3. Cake stand from Asda

DSCN2342It has become a bit of a running joke with my friend Ed that D and I go to Crown Point in Leeds rather a lot. I have been eyeing up cake stands since I first began blogging and I was always put off by lack of space. Luckily this is slightly less of an issue now, which means that cakes now sit in pride of place on the table when I bake, or if we have a special meal.

4. Salt and pepper pots from Austria

DSCN2344My wonderful parents picked this lovely pair up for me when they were on holiday in Austria. As we’re a bit pet mad in this house these fit right in. Cute little things like these are a perfect way or adding a bit of fun into your house without adding too many gimmicks (in my opinion).

5. Debenhams owl oven glove and Rosie’s Pantry dessert spoons

DSCN2345My friend RC got me these lovely items for Christmas and as a belated birthday gift. I think you can still buy the spoons but the poor owl is no longer available online. RC’s real name is actually Rosie so it is highly appropriate. These are the sort of things I would think twice about buying myself due to practicality, so getting them as a gift is a real treat.

6. Egg cups from Asda.

DSCN2347Can you see now why Ed finds it so hilarious that I frequent Asda Living in Crown Point so much? They do some lovely things at very reasonable prices. Possibly I shouldn’t go back for a little while though, at least until I’ve learned where other homeware shops are…

7. Tassimo Machine

DSCN2337They say Scientists run on caffeine and unfortunately I’m no exception. Since D gave me this for Christmas I can barely keep my eyes open until I’ve had my morning caffeine fit. Plus, look how pretty and blue it is! I am saving myself a small fortune by not buying coffee from the show at work; this is so easy to use. I’d recommend one to anyone who enjoys coffee and is pushed for time in a morning.

Home bits part 1

I am moving house which means that this blog is officially moving kitchens. As part of this D and I are updating his current home so it is more to our taste and can store all of our accumulated possessions (apparently this girl can shop!) This is a list of some of my current favourites:

1. Joseph Joseph index chopping boards – my wonderful brother actually got these in May for my birthday. Not only do they look really cool, they also help you work more hygienically in the kitchen. Style and substance is always a winner. Available at various stores including Debenhams, John Lewis and Lakeland.

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2. Terry Pratchett Turtle and Elephant Myth poster from Quantum Prints via Etsy. Putting pictures and prints up around your home can really personalise it without too much effort. We are both avid readers and D is a particular fan of Terry Pratchett.blog image

3. Bathroom storage unit from Ikea. As we are both hideously untidy we really need things that make us put stuff away properly. Fortunately this goes well with the bathroom decor and D proved pretty handy with flat pack furniture. He did suggest that as I am a full foot shorter than him I should use the lower shelves and he gets the high ones – he’s a cheeky one.

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This is literally one of the few tidy places in my house right now. Sorry mum!

4. Bathroom hamper from Argos. I was adamant on having somewhere to store my household linens and this was the cheapest option. I’m pretty delighted that it actually looks pretty stylish in real life.

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5. Coloured wine glasses and shot glasses from Asda Living. Clearly we have our priorities right.

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6. Kitchen timer from Debenhams. Our kitchen is being redone in a few weeks hopefully so we have chosen a lot of cream things.

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Here’s a selection of things we currently like (obviously being in possession of 2 X chromosomes I am more bothered about some of these things than him):

7. This beautiful mirror from BHS. Mirrors are excellent at making spaces look bigger and this one is also like a window which makes me inexplicably happy.

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8. Egg holder from Traidcraft. This one is all my choice I’m afraid. I doubt D cares where the eggs are kept but I find this adorable.

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9. Giraffe print from CoulsonMacleod via Etsy. Giraffes are my absolute favourite animal and this is just adorable.

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Now if somebody could find me a fruit bowl I would be more than grateful! I’ll post an update in a few weeks, hopefully with pictures of our home in order.