It’s always refreshing to find a new destination for fabulous homewares and I was not disappointed when I came across the new ‘Home’ range at Hush. Better known for its gorgeously chic yet simple womenswear, the Home collection at Hush is a new concept which encompasses lifestyle products such as throws and blankets, fragrances for the home including delicately scented candles, as well as loungewear and a small selection of beauty products. An exclusive collection still in its infancy, this collection of pieces is reflective of the qualities that in my opinion define the Hush brand: simplicity, understated style & easy living. I really hope this collection of pieces continues to develop and grow as I think it has incredible potential with these qualities at the fore….
A little bit of everything from shopping and gift guides to travel and food.
I recently took a look around my local Dunnes Stores homeware section and am pleased to report some lovely little finds in the Carolyn Donnelly ‘Eclectic’ collection – as the name suggests, this is a range of products for the home with a certain quirky, handcrafted vibe. Although an Irish department store, Dunnes has started to branch out into the UK, however they do deliver outside of Ireland, so pop over and check out their website’s entire homeware section here. For now, here are some things that caught my eye from the Carolyn Donnelly range……
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)!…
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.
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….
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…
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
The biggest colour trend for 2015 has without a doubt been blue. Every shade, from cobalt through to cornflower, from indigo to azure, has adorned the catwalk and interior showroom alike. It really is the ideal colour to bring your home into summer with its connotations of clear Mediterranean skies and glistening turquoise waters. The high street stores are crammed full of an almost overwhelming choice of blue beauties for your home, but with a little background knowhow you can become wise to the best buys out there. One of the oldest and cleverest little tricks high street retailers have is to offer designer looks at competitive prices, so here’s a round up of some blue homewares you can find whether you’re on a spending splurge or an unbudging budget.
I love baking, especially over the weekend when life is a little slower paced and blissfully free from the rigidity of routine. Being a self-confessed foodie and coming from a family of foodies, the weekend’s meal plan has always been of great importance to me! I like to make something a little different from the norm for breakfast or I’ll cook with my other half on a Saturday evening. It’s a good time for us to chat about the week ahead and enjoy a glass of wine while we’re at it.
From time to time I may share a recipe or two on the blog, but I will also take the opportunity to display my baked wares in some of my favourite tableware and any new pieces I pick up along the way. Where possible, the source of any items used for food styling will be noted….