Tips for decorating a caravan | Painting and wallpapering the interior

I regularly receive emails from fellow caravan enthusiasts with questions about Dolly 1 and, more recently, Dolly 2. Very often, they’ve stumbled across my blog posts — or Pinterest pins — and ask for tips on decorating a caravan. I’m asked what kind of paint we used on the walls and cupboards and what we used to hang the wallpaper. So finally, I’ve decided to make a little list of tips for decorating a caravan interior. It’s super simple and the look that can be achieved is fabulous. I’m going to split the content into various posts — painting and wallpapering the interior, then all the fiddly bits like sinks and fittings, the upholstery and, finally, revamping the exterior. There’s way too much content for one post — and there’s also a LOT of photos!! So here goes… Decorating a Caravan » Part 1 Painting Woodwork and veneer covered walls: In most older caravans — and even bright shiny new ones — the interior seems to be a sea of brown (or worse, orange) wood. In some cases it’s real. In a lot of cases it’s chipboard; covered in a plastic wooden-look coating. The doors in both our vans have been solid wood but the surrounds… Read More

Tasty Crushed New Potato Salad with Créme Fraîche, Lemon and Dill

Mid July. What kind of images does that conjure up to you? Sweltering days and balmy nights. Paddling pool in the garden and alfresco dining. Barbecues and cocktails. Or grey skies and thunderclouds? Over the weekend the sun did a bunk and it didn’t resemble summer in the slightest. I had one of my oldest friends come to stay and although I had envisaged the sun beating down as we had a long, lazy lunch in a beer-garden somewhere, we ended up huddling indoors as the rain beat down outside. But even though it’s not paddling pool weather every day, we can still enjoy delicious summery food when the rain stops play. I wanted to share a little potato salad recipe that I’ve been making recently. A bit different from the norm — the dressing is made with a blend of créme fraîche and mayonnaise; which makes it a bit lighter than usual. It also uses dill — rather than chives or spring onions. Dill is definitely not to everyone’s taste but I love it. It’s such a fresh and fragrant herb and it goes so well with potato; it definitely shouldn’t be kept just for fish. Although this simple… Read More

Sticky Glazed Chicken Drumsticks {Featuring Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened with Honey}

My favourite kind of food is the sort that you eat with your fingers. Lip smacking, finger licking, tasty food that can be shared with others. Simple food that isn’t formal or pretentious. The kind that works for picnics and family barbecues. We have a favourite recipe that we bring to the table every year but I just thought I’d share it here on the blog, as it’s just had a little facelift, thanks to a new product that’s recently hit the shops. It’s a Sticky Glazed Chicken recipe and two of the key ingredients are ketchup and honey. But those clever bods at Hellmann’s have just combined the two, which means their Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened with Honey works perfectly! No need for two separate ingredients. I love the fact that this new ketchup is sweetened only by honey. Plus it contains 30% less sugar than regular tomato ketchup too and has 36% more tomatoes, which means more of the good stuff and less of the bad.  It’s made my Sticky Glazed Chicken Drumsticks even easier to make and even more delicious (if that’s possible!). Here’s what you do. HOW TO MAKE STICKY GLAZED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS FEATURING HELLMANN’S KETCHUP SWEETENED WITH HONEY You will need: 6-8 chicken… Read More

Operation She Shed | #5 The Build {Painting The Interior}

Part 5 of Operation She Shed is all about painting the interior. I said from the start that these posts weren’t going to be that sexy — and I wasn’t kidding — but in order to see the butterfly, you have to begin with a dull old chrysalis. Or something like that. Anyway. Just to put this post into context, we’d already boarded and insulated the shed — you can read about that here. Because my She Shed is — as it’s name would suggest — a shed (and not a room in an actual house) we decided against having the walls professionally plastered. But in order to tidy up the joins and all the screw holes in the plasterboard — and make it look half decent — I used plasterboard tape. It’s like a wide mesh self-adhesive tape — perfect for reinforcing joints and repairing cracks in plasterboard. You stick it over the fissures and then can use a filler to smooth over the mesh. This is the perfect solution if you’re not going to skim over the walls with plaster. Once you’ve sanded it you can barely see where the joins once were, then you’re ready to paint. I filled with my favourite filler. It’s called Toupret and is available… Read More

On life lately {and why making Easter bonnets is good for the soul}

I began this blog 4 years, 5 months and 8 days ago. To the day. When I started writing I had no idea that it would become such a permanent fixture in our lives. Or be the bearer of so many amazing and wonderful experiences and life-changing opportunities. It was just an online diary, to share my thoughts and feelings. A cathartic escape, if you will. But over time, it’s become the keeper of our big family milestones and ordinary moments. A place to document the boys’ early years; for them to look back on when they’re a little older. I don’t tend to write about sad or negative things on here. This is my happy place after all. But when life-changing things happen, I do occasionally cover them on the blog. I wrote about the time my dad was gravely ill and rushed to hospital — and about losing our furry faced child Widget. I wrote about the death of my grandad and losing my nana. So whilst this little corner of the internet is mostly about the good things, it does occasionally bear witness to the bad too. Accidents Will Happen If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may not know that I fell on… Read More

How to make a turbo gin and tonic

I’ve spoken often about my love of gin. I’ve created a little gin bar at home; made sloe gin, gin cocktails — including a little one called The Jubarb; a gin and rhubarb cocktail, perfect for balmy summer evenings. There’s been such a resurgence recently, it’s definitely the drink of the moment. Which is great for a gin-head like me. Instead of being faced with the limited option of Gordons or Bombay Sapphire (if you’re lucky); and I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with either but it’s always nice to have a little more choice. These days even the tiniest, most rural, watering hole or restaurant has a good selection of artisan gins behind the bar. So where I’ve tried a myriad of different types of gin — containing various different botanicals — generally speaking I drink it very simply. With tonic and ice. And lemon, lime or cucumber; depending on what suits. So imagine my excitement, reading an article a few weeks ago,  that declared that there was a new kid in town. The turbo gin and tonic Gin, tonic and coffee. Coffee? Whaaa?? Cue mucho excited discussion between me and Mr D, debating on which would be the best of our gins to try this… Read More

Operation She Shed | #4 The Build {Boarding & Insulating}

Part 4 of ‘Operation She Shed’ — and this time round I’m talking about boarding and insulating. Now, I warn you, this isn’t going to be the sexiest post in the world. The pictures are not the best quality and the content is more function than form. That said, I never intended to just show a finished garden office, so it’s important to show the ‘before’ as well as the ‘after’. Plus I really wanted to show all the work that has gone into creating my she-shed and demonstrate that you can create an amazing garden building from scratch — without having to to buy a very expensive off the peg version. In my last post we’d just erected the structure. It was a very basic once it was up it and looked, essentially, like a very large garden shed. Which it was. But to take it to the next level — away from your common or garden shed to garden office — requires a little bit more than a lick of paint. First task: insulating. We used the same kind of insulation that is used in lofts; it almost looks like the inside of a teddy bear — a thick woolly material… Read More

Mini Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic and Chilli

As I’m typing this, the rain is beating down on the roof and it’s the coldest, greyest  winter day imaginable. The sort of day for staying indoors; lighting a fire and cosying up on the sofa with an emergency blanket and a film. The kind of day that calls for steaming mugs of hot chocolate. I really struggle during the winter months. Endless grey days play havoc with my usually bright and happy spirit and I definitely turn to food to cheer myself up. This is potentially bad — when there are cakes and chocolates in the house it’s definitely bad — my restraint is poor; particularly when my mood is low. The Christmas chocolates barely even lasted until the new year. When faced with the temptation of Quality Street and Matchmakers my strategy is to eat them all as quickly as humanly possible, so they’re no longer an issue. That’s ridiculous right? Who does that?? Although, chatting to a couple of girlfriends over the festive period, it seems that I’m not alone. Although the best way of ensuring that I don’t end up piling on the pounds over the winter is to eat healthily but — especially on cold days like this — comfort food is… Read More