The times they are a changing; new beds, new theme

We were talking last night about buying the boys some new beds. The little cotbeds that have served us so well, up until now, are beginning to look a little ‘pinched’ — for want of a better word. There is still a little bit of room, between their feet and the end of each bed; but not much. It seems like yesterday when we bought them. I remember thinking that 4 years seemed like ages away, when the lady in the shop said that they’d probably last until the boys went to school. But in the blink of an eye my babies are grown. We’re preparing for them to start school in just 6 weeks time and the little cotbeds have been outgrown. *sobs* But anyway. I think we’ve pretty much settled on the idea of bunkbeds  but it’s got me thinking about redecorating. I’ve always loved their room; white and brights. The perfect combo for little people. As they’re a little older, I think now’s the time to lose the colourful wallpaper (maybe?) and try to think of a theme that will carry them through the next 4 or 5 years. My godson is now 10 and he’s recently… 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

A week at Bosinver in Cornwall

After our St Mawes adventure in February, we followed it up with another trip down to Cornwall in May. This time to Bosinver, near St Austell. I wrote a little post saying that we’d booked to go, back in September of last year, and we’d been looking forward to it for the best part of 8 months. That said, when you book so far in advance you can’t always guarantee the weather and even though the days leading up to our holiday were warm and dry, the week that we were there was not. It rained and rained. Perfect weather for ducks in fact. But the wet weather didn’t dampen our spirits and my three boys and I had such an amazing time. Bosinver Farm is almost like a little village in it’s own right. There are 20 separate dwellings on the site; everything from chocolate box cottages to a state of the art eco-house. I’m going to write a dedicated post about the accommodation. I was lucky enough to check out a few of the houses whilst I was there and they’re so beautifully presented they definitely deserve a little write-up of their own. Plus I took far too many… 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

Regaining my mum style and my sense of self

Mum style. It’s a term that gets bandied around a lot these days doesn’t it? Women pushing against the ‘frumpy mummy’ stigma and trying to remain cool and fashionable, with little ones in tow. Personally, I don’t feel as though I’ve ever been particularly ‘fashionable’ — even when I was in my teens and twenties. I like fashion and I love clothes but being a slave to the high-street — or cutting edge trends — has never really been high up on my list of priorities. But one of the things I do notice about my style since I had the boys, is that there seemed to be a list of things that suddenly became off-limits. I stopped wearing very pale colours. I had my colours done a few years ago and weirdly white was on my list of shades never to wear — but suddenly other pale colours like cream, ivory and stone also got shelved when I had the twins. Long necklaces too, because they always got tugged by tiny, grabbing hands. Anything in a lacy or delicate fabric that could pull — or damage easily — also got put to one side. I didn’t wear too many clothes that needed dry cleaning either; why would you when they’d… Read More

Through the Looking Glass | Decorating with a garden mirror

Our garden has been amazing over the last few weeks. I’ve never seen so many blooms on the rose plants before and the alliums that we planted last year have been flowering for the first time. I’ve spoken about our garden many times on the blog. It’s a decent size — not too big, not too small — surrounded by mellow, red brick walls. Those Victorians really knew a thing about garden design didn’t they? Even the most modest space takes on a grand feel if it’s enclosed by a wall. And also gives the sense of being in a real-life ‘secret garden‘. That said, because the walls are eight foot high — and and some cases feel even higher due to the ivy growing above them — some areas of the garden can feel quite dark. One way to add a little bit of light to a dark corner is by using a garden mirror. A strategically placed mirror will illuminate even the gloomiest corner and also give tantalising glimpses into other areas. A Room with a View Another reason for adding a garden mirror — as well as giving the illusion of space and adding light — is… 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

Stairway to heaven {how to create a gallery wall up a staircase}

Since we decorated just before Christmas last year, the majority of the walls in our home have remained bare; and most of our framed pictures have been stacked up on the floor, waiting to be rehung. We used to have a ‘stairway photo gallery’ going up the staircase. Dozens of black framed, black and white photographs — in various shapes and sizes — containing the smiling faces of our friends and loved-ones; plus memorable places we’ve visited (or lived in) over the years. But after taking them all down I decided that I was ready for a change. We visited a really cool hotel last year and they had a gallery wall up a staircase. It was really impactful. Instead of a large collection of small pictures, the pieces they’d used were really large. So I decided to do the same up our stairs. I searched on Google for how to arrange pictures on staircase walls — and also on Pinterest for inspiration — but most of the gallery walls on there had a theme; either by colour or frame style. There always seemed to be a common thread tying all of the pieces together, plus there were lots of tips on creating a gallery wall but, more often than not, they were very contrived and the pictures… Read More