Things I’m Loving Lately: { July }

This post should really be entitled “Things I’ve Loved Lately: July”, since it’s well and truly August now!! However, with a holiday and house move taking up much of July, I have scarcely been able to find any blogging time at all and boy have I missed it!  The good thing is we’re now all settled into our temporary digs while we continue with the search for a new home, so I’m back and ready to share lots with you lovely people.

July was officially the coldest one in over twenty years here, but I was lucky enough to spend the first fortnight of it in sunnier climes and in an effort to brighten up these rather wet, murky days, I have pulled together some fresh and summery July loves for you. (more…)

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Home Tour Series {July}: A Cool Calm Space in Oslo

Welcome to my “Home Tour” series where I want to share with you homes that really inspire me and hopefully inspire you, too!  There are so many talented people out there who have created the most amazing living spaces to suit their needs and in doing so, have come up with some really clever ideas that we can adapt to use in our own homes.  And who doesn’t love a nosey into someone else’s house?!

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Summer Sales Edit: How to find the best bargains

It’s the perfect time of year to get out there and peruse the summer homeware sales whilst there are still bargains aplenty to be had.  I have tried to take the weary slog out of sales shopping for you with a wee round up of some of the better bargains still there for the taking.  However, should you decide to take yourself off to snap up some cut price must-haves for the home, remember a few key points to make your sales shopping a success…

1) Don’t fall into the trap of buying something solely because it’s a real bargain.  Do consider how much you really love an item for what it is and how it will work in your home, whether it will sit well within your general home decor style and, for slightly pricier items, is it a timeless design that will still please you in years to come?  There’s no sense in buying that brightly patterned turquoise set of designer cushions at this late-ish stage in the summer only for them to be packed away again during the colder months in favour of your darker, autumnal homewares, and not brought out next Spring because you decide you really do prefer lemon yellow after all…

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Stealing a little French home style

We’re just back from a pretty amazing holiday in the South of France and as promised in my last post, I wanted to share some of my French decor loves with you and show you how you can steal some gorgeous style ideas for your own home.  For those of you who have been following my Instagram feed lately, I have posted a few little snippets of things I just loved for their laid-back simplicity and rustic beauty, both key aspects of the French ‘look’.

Homewares

I just love the glassware in France.  Possibly most well known of all French glassware brands is the original Duralex ‘Picardie’ – tough glass tumblers that are widely available on the high street (try here).  Popular because of their sturdy, yet elegant design, they are also very inexpensive and are perfect for relaxed everyday dining.

duralex-picardie-tumbler2

Image source: One Quality, The Finest (more…)

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Things I’m Loving Lately {June}

There are so many great and hugely readable blogs out there that I enjoy following (and no, they’re not ALL focused on homes and interiors)!  I read all sorts of subjects from family life to fashion in your forties (not quite there yet but it’s becoming far too close for comfort…) and at some stage I would like to include a post of my own on blogs that I particularly enjoy and that you might enjoy, too!  One lovely (and local!) blog I dip into is Life at the Little Wood. It is both visually and contextually a gorgeous blog; Emma’s style of writing is very easy to read and to relate to and her photography, particularly of her simply stunning home, is beautifully captured.

Anyway, it was recently during one of my escaped moments to Little Wood from the daily humdrum of life that I discovered a lovely little feature Emma has been running with on her blog which has been designed to make us sit back and contemplate some of the little things that we have come across, indulged in or simply appreciated on a month by month basis.  The feature – “Things I’m Loving Lately” – is a fun way for bloggers to link up and share their new discoveries and home and fashion finds with their readers (and fellow bloggers of course)!  The idea is to share what you’re loving based around four main themes: Beauty, Fashion, Home and Food and is basically akin to a group of girlies having a chat over a coffee and catching up on what’s new. And who doesn’t love that?!

I thought it was a pretty cool and inspiring idea for a monthly feature and one I’d definitely like to link up with, so I have put together my very own list of ‘Things I’m Loving Lately’ for June and I plan to collate another at the end of each month going forward.  I hope you enjoy reading them! (more…)

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Recipe: Chocolate Muscovado Banana Cake

Bananas in our household are in constant demand.  What better healthy, filling snack to give the kids or chop into yogurt or muesli for an easy breakfast.  Sometimes, however, we buy a stash of the yellow lovelies expecting them to be gobbled up quickly as ever, but then they seem to morph themselves overnight from a perfect state of sunny ripeness to a blackened, pungent unidentifiable object which festers in the bottom of the fruit bowl, suddenly unloved and unwanted.  That is, until I discovered this amazing recipe by the wonderfully creative cook, Nigel Slater, which is just perfect for using up this overripe fruit.

It’s not your average banana loaf, rather it sits halfway between a bread and a cake; good enough spread with butter alongside a cup of tea at breakfast time, even better with a strong black coffee in the afternoon, thanks to the indulgent chunks of dark chocolate marbled through it.  I love the deep caramel flavour imparted by the muscovado sugar, but go darker for a more treacly taste.

You’ve got to try it, it’s so easy and tastes so darn good!

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Styling: Plate – Ikea (similar here) / Placemat – similar here / Knife – vintage

You will need:

  • Plain flour: 250g
  • Baking powder: 2 tsp
  • Butter, softened: 125g
  • Muscovado sugar: 235g
  • Ripe bananas: 400g (peeled weight)
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
  • Eggs: 2 large
  • Dark chocolate: 100g
  • 1 loaf tin, approx 24cm x 12cm x 7cm deep, lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.  Sift the flour and baking powder together.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.

Lightly mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork (you don’t want too mushy a mixture), then stir in the vanilla extract.  Beat the eggs lightly with a fork then add to the creamed butter mixture.  Introduce a spoonful of flour if the mixture begins to curdle.

Chop the chocolate into small chunks and fold them and the bananas into the butter and sugar mixture.  Gently fold in the flour and baking powder.  Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 50 mins – 1 hour.  Check the cake is ready by inserting a metal skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean the cake is done.  If there is any sign of wet cake mixture, return to the oven for a few more minutes, covering the surface with foil if necessary to prevent further browning.

Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 15 minutes or so, then loosen the sides with a rounded knife and carefully lift it out of its tin and onto a cooling rack for a little longer, before removing the baking paper.  Serve in thick slices with a mug of something hot.

Enjoy the weekend!

K x

Recipe taken from Nigel Slater: The kitchen diaries part ii

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Bookshelf Styling

Even when the weather is taking a turn for the better in the early summer months, in this corner of the world there’s still the certainty of the odd rainy afternoon or chilly evening when you are best staying out of the garden and tackling an indoor job instead.  So here’s the perfect task for you: restyle a bookshelf.  It’s creative, it gives your room’s overall look a wee refresh and you can declutter old books and magazines along the way.  Practical and fun too – what’s not to love?!  And it’s not only the simple restyle of a bookshelf that you can put your mind to; there are many spaces in the home that can be easily converted into a little book nook or library corner, too.  That awkward area under the stairs, at the end of a landing, on the side of a chimney breast or under a bay window seat all make for perfect book storage spots.

I’ve collated some interesting and ingenuous bookshelf ideas to inspire you further.  So without further ado… (more…)

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House Moving Madness

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that we’ve been house hunting these past few months, but frustratingly, to no avail!  This is partly because we are searching for our ‘forever’ home (really no intentions of moving again…) and the house just needs to feel like it’s our place and one where we can’t imagine being anywhere else or finding anything better.  This alone piles the pressure on us in finding the right place, yet as time marches on, we find ourselves in the unsettling position of being on the verge of moving out of our current home and into… where?  Rental accommodation?  My mum’s spare room?  Our new tent?!  With three little ones and a cat in tow?!  Each option has its pitfalls, yet there are positives to be had too (ok maybe not with the tent thing)! and we will need to decide which is best for us whilst the search for this forever home continues.  A friend of mine who rented long term until recently, told me last week that for her family, renting somewhere not only allowed them the time to find their perfect home, but more importantly, took away the immediate stress associated with moving house and made life just that little bit easier.  Ok, so nobody wants to spend countless years churning out rent fees, but they honestly viewed it as an investment in their mental well being and better that than panic buying a new property which turns out to be the wrong house.  This is, I’m sure you’ll agree, an unhappy and unhealthy position to be in.

So times are becoming stressful but we must take each day at a time as the saying goes and not let worrying about what might never happen get in our way.  Happy positive thoughts all the way!  Treat it like one of life’s adventures!  Mmmm.  Not easy.  The blogging is a bit of an escape for me from the this house moving madness, somewhere to channel my thoughts in other ways.  Surely that’s healthy for the mind and makes me an easier person to be around during these uncertain times.  On the plus side, I am really excited about the prospect of a new project and being able to share our progress on making a new place our own over the coming months, even years… I am quite certain I will be spending countless hours devouring decor ideas on the likes of Pinterest and Houzz.com and I look forward to bringing these ideas together to create my own look.

At least now you’ll know what I’m preoccupied with if the blog goes quiet for a bit, but I won’t be far away and will keep writing new posts when I get the chance.

Are you planning a house move for the future? Or have you recently moved and have some top ‘survival’ tips to share?!

Back soon!

K x

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Ready? Get Set! Decorate! How to kickstart a decor scheme

One of the questions I often hear from people wishing to redecorate in their home is “where do I start?”  Deciding to redo a room is one thing, but the actual process of doing it is quite another.  However, don’t fret, help is at hand!  There are a number of ways to approach redecorating, whether it is a complete room overhaul you’re embarking on or a straightforward refresh job.  Here I hope to impart some useful tips to get you started down the right track…

Consider your colour scheme

Choosing the base colour of your room scheme is the first step in deciding how to redecorate.  Most of us have a particular colour that strongly appeals to us, so opt for something you love as you are more likely to use varying tones of it throughout your home, thus creating a more harmonious, linked up overall feel.  Do consider the views out of the room into the hallway, landing or an adjoining room, as it creates a better ‘flow’ to the space if the colour palette is of a similar or complementary tone.  Moving from a duck egg painted living room into a deep mustard yellow hallway will only serve to make your home feel disjointed and incohesive.  The whole space needs to appear connected and flowing therefore it is important to think of the home in its entirety when decorating.  Perhaps the colour you opt for is based on an existing carpet or piece of furnishing that you cannot change and therefore must incorporate into the design.  Similarly, you may own a painting that is a real statement piece in a living room – pick one or two colours from it and use them to build up the interior decor scheme. (more…)

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Picture This: Create a Gallery Wall Display

I love a good picture display.  Whether it’s a jumble of beloved family snaps or an impressive art collection, a display of interesting photographs, sketches, paintings or even postcards adds a large dose of personality to your home, and if done right, injects a certain element of cool.

For many of us, the prospect of designing and displaying a picture or photo gallery is daunting to say the least.  Where to buy the frames?  What to put inside them?  How to arrange all said frames so they look, erm… right?  Well, I’m pleased to inform you that this can be a really straight forward and fun project that can deliver a BIG impact at a small cost.

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