Friday, 28 August 2015

Spring Clean Your Life

I am not one of those people who loves cleaning but I do Like to be in a clean house. I do, however, love spring cleaning as it does not feel monotonous like regular cleaning because you are doing jobs that you don't normally do, plus you get the smug satisfaction of all your hard work whilst you look around the room with a self congratulatory glass of wine on the go. This year I am embracing the joy of spring cleaning your life. The truth is that by the time spring comes round we have lost that New Year vigor we had in January. By the time spring comes around we are in a panic that the half way mark of the year is almost upon us and down in the dumps about failing on some of the resolutions that we set ourselves. I like many other have been reading the wonder book, The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying - Marie Kondo. It is claimed that if you employ the Konmarie method you will never need to tidy again.

I cannot wait to employ her methods in my house when I move back to Yorkshire, there are boxes that I have not unpacked since I left my first husband over 10 years ago, they have sat in garages, moved from place to place and remained taped shut, I need to fix this. Yes I know it is not Spring but I started to think of spring cleaning as a concept and thought how can I use the idea of spring cleaning to give myself a good old mental tidy. So that is exactly what I did and here is what I did.
1. Trick your mind. It is easy to feel as though you are stuck in a rut and let's be honest daily life cannot be new and exciting all the time that is just not practical. As much as you can move your rooms around. Change the pictures on the wall, re configured your furniture as much as is feasible. Your home is the place where you need to feel safe and secure it should not be a prison. Making the place feel fresh should not put you under financial pressure to revamp. Simply swapping the room pictures are in and changing lamps around can make a huge difference.
2. Half Your Lists. We are all guilty of putting ourselves under too much pressure, be that career goals, relationship goals or the fact that we made a New Years resolution list that is longer than War & Peace. Get out a black marker and cross at least half of the stuff off your list. It is great to have goals and make plans it is what drives us but they should not be a weight around your neck.
3. Sort Out Your Wardrobe. Although you could look at this as regular tidying it is not because having clothes that make us feel bad about ourselves makes us feel bad, simple really. Words cannot express my loathing for the endless magazine articles that are around at this time of year asking us if we are beach body ready. Oh please why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media and worse still pay over the odds for these publications that are filled with adverts. Go into your wardrobe and empty it of anything that you don't feel great in, that you bought because a magazine made you feel you should or that you have been holding onto in case you decided to stop liking food and want to starve yourself. I have large breasts and kept buying things that did not suit my shape, no more! Sell what you get rid of or donate it to charity.
4. Remove The Negative. Marie Kondo states that we should only have items in our home that bring us joy, that is the method she uses to sort through our clutter. If an item does not bring you joy she tells you to discard it. I thought I would employ the same philosophy to people.This may sound harsh but it is probably the most important thing we can do to make ourselves healthy. If you are on Facebook look at your friend list and start deleting. Scary I know, remove those who you have no idea who they are, those you met once, those who are just really negative people but you accepted their friend request because you have a mutual friend and you were not sure of the etiquette. Once you start you will probably be able to remove more than a third. Why? You need space in your life for great people and people that matter. Stop engaging in toxic relationships, that covers friends, lovers and yes even family. People in your life who make you feel bad about yourself every time they speak to you. For years I would continue to allow friends who were that in name only treat me badly. Make horrid comments about the way I look, my mental health, my family background, my race as I wanted to see the good in them and did not think that I deserved better. But I did, and so do you, you all do. You will be better off without them, trust me.

5. Accentuate The Positive. Now let's have a look at all the great things in your life and fabulous people you do have around you. It be all too easy to fall into the 'woe is me trap'. We all have bad and good in our life. I have started a journal of 5, everyday before bed I think about the day and write down 5 happy things. For example yesterday I wrote; The sun came in the window and looked pretty, Sebastian and I made cookies, Sebastian giggled, The dog slept on my feet, I drank spicy hot chocolate. Sometimes we need to focus on the little things and realise we have goodness in our lives. Give a shout out the the great people in your life. send a card or letter to a friend telling them what you admire about them.

I hope you enjoy your mental tidy as much as I have. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Make Your Own Coasters

wooden coaster diy
I have all sorts of scraps in my home; scraps of fabric, scraps of thread, scraps of wool and scraps of wood. I had some scraps that I had been using as sanding blocks, you know the wood that you wrap sandpaper around when you are sanding. The wood scraps were so nice that I decided they were due for an upgrade.
how to make wooden coasters
you will need;

scraps of wood
acrylic paint
polyurethane varnish
sandpaper
set square & saw
wooden coaster diy
method;
  1. Square of your scraps of wood using the set square and saw.
  2. Sand the wood until they are super smooth.
  3. Paint the edges of your wooden squares in different colours.
  4. Allow to dry.
  5. Cover all of the wooden blocks in a layer of varnish.
  6. When the varnish is dry sand with a fine grade sandpaper, wipe and then apply a second coat of varnish.
  7. Once it is dry the coasters are ready to use.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Garlic Butter Beans - Recipe

Butter bean salad
I hate when people think that salad means a bit of lettuce and a few tomatoes, whilst I love those things salads are so much more interesting - or at least they can be. This recipe is inspired by a Maltese dish called Fażola bit-Tewm but I changed it, because that is what I do.

you will need;

425g can butter beans
1 cup flat leaf parsley
4 spring onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
3 cloves garlic
6tbsp olive oil
garlic butter beans
method;
  1. Chop your fresh herbs.
  2. Finely slice the spring onions.
  3. Crush the garlic cloves and lightly fry the garlic cloves in 1tbsp olive oil. Add the spring onions and remove from the heat.
  4. Mix the fried ingredients in with the butter beans, the rest of the oil and herbs.
  5. Season as required.
See you are done, so simple to make and a very interesting, tasty salad indeed.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Micro Holiday - A Mini Dordogne Guide

Dordogne Travel
So we went and did it and left Paris to explore the South of France, The Dordogne to be exact. It is a travel guide but a small one as we only spent a long weekend in the region so barely tipped the iceberg of what this wonderful area has to offer. Believe me when I say what we saw has made us want to go back for a second visit.
Dordogne travel guide
what to see in the dordogne
dordogne
Despite being a whistle stop tour we managed to explore 3 small towns. Lanouaille, Perigueux and Boulazac. The region is located between the Loire valley and the Pyrenees. 
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
So here are a few things that the Dordogne is famous for; food, beautiful historic villages and ex pats. It is not hard to see why the region is a place where people want to retire to it is simply stunning. Fields filled with sunflowers as far as the eye could see. Restaurants litter every tiny cobbled street.
dordogne
Small medieval villages sit within walls tucked into the landscape as you drive on long stretches of country roads.
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
Périgueux is quite a large town but the old centre is small but packed full of restaurants and food shops. The tight cobbled streets are a pleasure to explore with a large beautiful church.
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
I am such an advocate of using airbnb and here is why; we stayed for a very small price in a beautiful location. The family had turned half of their barn into a self contained flat. We could use the entire garden, there was a small pool and chickens, Sebastian loved the chickens and the garden, we even ate fresh hazelnuts from the tree.
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
Lanouaille is a village with barely 1000 residents, we were attending a wedding there, more on that later. It is so small that we may have missed it if we were not required to be there but we are so happy we were required to be there as the town is chocolate box pretty and the epitome of what you envisage when you think of a rural French village.
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
dordogne
Boulazac is a beautiful small town on the river, idyllic and well worth a visit. It was such a beautiful holiday and Sebastian had an amazing time and even took his first photograph. The blury one you can see below.
dordogne
dordogne

Monday, 17 August 2015

Amara Blog Awards 2015!

AMARA Interior Blog Awards
I am thrilled and moved that I was once more nominated for the AMARA Interior Blog Awards. Last year I received the honor of being Highly Commended in my category of Draft/DIY my badge is displayed proudly to your right in the sidebar. It means so much to me that one or more of my readers took the time to nominate me again, so to whoever you are a big thank you.

To get shortlisted and be in with a chance of wining I need to get lots and lots of votes, so I suppose I should tell you how to vote for me. You can use the vote now button on the right sidebar or you can click this VOTE NOW LINK, (it is in capitals to show you how important this is to me.) Also research has shown that encouraging others to vote for me and sharing the link on social media makes you smart and sexy, who am I to argue with science?

I don't just want to tell you to vote for me without telling you why I think you should so here comes the sales pitch. I have been nominated in the Craft and DIY category and my blog is simply brimming with that stuff. Examples of some of the wonderful things I make are in this very post and can be found on the blog. You can look at the archive pages if you don't believe me; INTERIORS, DIY, WEEKEND PROJECTS, CRAFT/DIY, HOME. Also if you look at my HOME TOUR you will see that these projects are not going to slow down as I am embarking on a new adventure, buying a new drop saw and polishing the nail gun.
I create crafts and DIY for the home for all tastes and budgets. I am an advocate for upclycling and I ran a column in Reloved Magazine talking about it as well as appearing at the award winning Festival Of Thrift Festival, presenting on Channel 4s Sumperscimpers and The Ideal Home Show. But I am about more than thrift at the heart of everything I do is creating unique homes by rolling up your sleeves and making it your own!
You had the sales pitch now here comes the sob story. Last year through to circumstances beyond my control, but I will hint to you that Eurostar was involved I was unable to attend the awards. That meant that I did not get to meet the other wonderful bloggers in person, missed out on getting my highly commended in person and worst of could not collect my goodie bag. In the 19 wonderful months my baby has been with me I have only spent two short dinners away from him. I would not change my life he is my world but Cinderella would like to go to the ball so please vote. Here is the link in capital letters again VOTE HERE PLEASE.