While we were away camping on the North Yorkshire coast at the end of August, we decided to rise early on the Sunday morning and pop along to a local car boot sale which was sited in a huge field outside a pretty little village. Now, I do love a browse around anything with stalls, be it a farmer’s market, craft fair or church fête, but rummaging through other people’s second hand loot? I’m in absolute HEAVEN! I wish we could have had a bit longer there to potter about the place; car boots, foldout tables and even patches of grass were crammed full of vintage treasures, books, antiques, rickety old chairs, baskets and boxes, jewellery and other collectable trinkets amongst many other things, but with the kids in tow, sadly it just wasn’t possible to wander around too long. That said, I did manage to spot some little homeware finds that I’m pretty chuffed with (and all for the princely sum of £5)!…
Hello and an official welcome to Autumn! It’s been a while since I wrote a ‘Spend vs Save’ post, but with so many gorgeous new Autumn homewares arriving into stores, it’s really hard to resist a spot of seasonal shopping, isn’t it? There are plenty of exciting new trends emerging, too. From that cosy, tartan-bedecked highland retreat look to the ultra-luxe geometric forms of an Art Deco setting, there is definitely something for everyone out there.
However, one trend that I think truly defines Autumn and therefore has a much broader appeal, is the Woodland one. Who doesn’t love textile prints inspired by owls and autumn leaves or felt foxes on cushions? The woodland trend is once again huge this year and is as prevalent throughout the higher end labels as it is on the high street, so it really boils down to what you are prepared to spend on key pieces for your home. With this in mind, I’ve done a little window-shopping for you and come across a few home accessories that really rock the trend in different ways; some contemporary, others with a more traditional feel. Read on for my must-haves!
To round off the summer holidays, we’re taking the children off on a camping trip to North Yorkshire over the August Bank Holiday which we are all very excited about as the kids will get to spend some quality time with their Yorkshire cousins. Never one to miss a shopping opportunity, I’ve been looking at our camping gear and deciding what we simply cannot do without (doesn’t everyone need a new set of designer enamelware in their lives?) Ok… maybe not quite, but there are lots of fantastically practical (and fantastically pretty) camping accessories to be had if you shop in the right places. The trick is to find stylish items that are also realistically practical for use in the ever changing summer weather we are ‘blessed’ with. Whether you choose to rough it out in a one man tent, live it up in a yurt or get cosy in a glamping pod, there are new suppliers of cool camping kit out there with the right gear just for you.
There are fewer easier ways to breathe new life into existing furnishings and doors than to add a set of brand spanking new doorknobs or handles. Be it a newly painted chest of drawers, a little door on a bathroom cabinet or a tired set of kitchen cupboards, carefully chosen doorknobs and handles will professionally finish off a home makeover project and completely revive and rejuvenate a previously unloved piece of furniture. Here are some inspiring examples of where new doorknobs have been totally transformative, along with some of my favourite finds and where to source them……
If there’s one room in the home I love to spend time planning and decorating, it’s a child’s bedroom. I think it’s the overriding feeling that you have so much freedom with it; you can really go to town on the decor and have a lot of fun in the process! It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a boy’s den or a little girl’s sanctuary – with sufficient doses of imagination and creativity you can produce some fabulous results (and not necessarily with the price tag to match, believe me!)…
Like it or not, the Autumn/Winter season is almost upon us! By September, homeware retailers will be full of the promise of cosy nights in by the fire curled up on your favourite armchair with the rain lashing against the windows. I have to admit, I absolutely love the onset of Autumn and everything associated with it, the latest offerings of cosy homewares not excluded…
I recently picked up a copy of the M&S Home catalogue for Autumn ’15 and it appears that as with their forthcoming AW15 clothing ranges, they are spot on trendwise with their homeware collections, too. Plenty of Danish influence which is pretty hot on the homeware scene (and set to stick around) and also lots of rich colour combinations (such as berry and teal), Boho luxe and Art Deco style….
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?!
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…
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’.
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.
Image source: One Quality, The Finest…
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!
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!
Recipe taken from Nigel Slater: The kitchen diaries part ii