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Monday, 11 November 2013

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Built to last

When we first moved to the UK we came with just 20 Kgs of luggage each. We found a flat and settled in quite quickly, but as you can imagine starting from scratch is a daunting and very expensive experience, we didn't have much extra money so we spent hours stalking Ebay, comparing prices to make sure we got the cheapest possible deal. Five years on and things are showing signs of wear and tear. We've decided to replace things slowly and get good quality products that are built to last. One of the first things that needs replacing is our vacuum cleaner, whilst she has served us well she has been forced into an early retirement as she has been overworked in the construction site we currently live in. Things are slowly coming together and very soon we hope to be getting new carpets laid.

The Dyson brand has always appealed to me, the ball design is intriguing and I've read so many fantastic reviews on them. Our last vacuum cleaner was an upright model, we choose it whilst living in the flat as it seemed easier, we didn't think ahead and so battled vacuuming the stairs when we moved, this time we are going to go for a cylinder model, will make things a lot easier. 

I've got my eye on the Dyson DC39 Multi Floor completecylinder vacuum cleaner with extra tools. It self adjusts across all floor types, which is a great feature to have, especially for a quick clean up of the kitchen floor after I’ve been baking, I have a knack of getting flour everywhere!

My husband suffers terribly from allergies so I’m hoping that having a decent vacuum cleaner will ease some of his suffering.  It will also be a fantastic tool in my arson in a few months time when I suddenly have the urge to nest and clean everything in sight!
Who would ever have thought that I’m excited at the prospect of cleaning!  

This is a sponsored post, however all content is my own and of my own opinion.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Crisp autumn breeze means time to go shopping!

The last few days I’ve experienced an autumnal chill in the air, reminding me that summer is coming to an end and we have cooler days ahead. I love living in the UK, I love how there are four distinct seasons, each one bringing with it different ways of doing things, different activities and memories.

This year is going to be a particularly memorable Autumn as Josh has just turned one, he’s walking confidently and loves being outdoors, I can’t wait to go to the park and watch him kick big piles of autumn leaves about. Can you tell I’ve been daydreaming? I think I’ve got the scene picture perfect. Josh, daddy and I laughing and giggly; whilst a willing family member takes a few snapshots.

Unfortunately I’ve hit a bit of wardrobe crisis at the moment, my normal clothes are a little snug and maternity clothes are too big, a very frustrating place to be! I came across these parkas on the New Lookwebsite and they look fab for my situations. I’m really tempted by the JadeGreen Elephant print, but I’m not sure how versatile it would be, its perfect for fun in the park but maybe a little too fun for a trip into town. The sensible me says to go for the stylish Navy Cotton Twill Hooded Utility Jacket as I’ll get a lot more wear from it and it will go with most of my current wardrobe already.

Also on the New Look website is a Maternity Black 3 pieceStarter Pack, at only £14.99 it looks like a great buy and perfect to make my transition into maternity clothes. I have always loved shopping at New Look, I got the majority of my maternity clothes at New Look when I was pregnant with Josh and am looking forward to doing it again this time around. I found the underbump jeans very comfortable and a great fit and loved the cute and quirky slogans on the maternity t-shirts. 

This is a sponsored post, however all content is my own and of my own opinion.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Motivation to declutter and a super stylish desk

When we were packing and moving, what seemed like an endless supply of stuff, I came to realise that we have way too much. I was very overwhelmed and shocked by the amount of stuff that Vincent and I have collected over the last 5 years. I have decided that as I unpack boxes I will be ruthless in getting rid of the excess clutter. I will try and sell what I can on sites like Facebook, Ebay, Amazon and Music Magpie, the rest will go to the charity shop.

As motivation to declutter I've been looking online for ideas for the new house and also how to declutter.

I like rooms that are bright and airy, Vincent is very into the minimalist style, we don't often agree on furniture and decor, so when we do find something we agree on we usually snap it up.

I'm making a pinterest board of how I would like to decorate our new home office. See my board here.

I came across this desk on the John Lewis website and it appeals to both Vincent and my taste, it represents my desire to be clutter free and to enjoy the space we are in without being weighed down with clutter. I specifically like the fact that the desk does not have any drawers to house clutter. I would like to get a filing cabinet to store all our paperwork(colour coded of course!)

I like the decor of the study in the John Lewis website and would like to do something similar but with my own quirky spin on it.

I would like to have a big poster made, something like this:

I am hoping that by using the Pinterest board and having a vision of what I would like to create I will find the decluttering process to be easy.

This is a sponsored post, however all content is my own and of my own opinion.

Moving: a hindsight guide, 12 tips to moving, decluttering and saving money

Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do, so being prepared is essential if you want things to run smoothly.

 1) Plan the layout of your new home and get rid of all excess/unsuitable furniture. A good place to sell your unwanted furniture is your local Facebook selling page, ebay or the traditional classified adverts of the free paper.

 2) Start packing as soon as you can, mark each box clearly with the room and contents. I recently saw a good idea on Pinterest, prepare a "packing kit", with all the necessary tape, scissors, markers, stickers, etc. in, this saves time that would otherwise be wasted looking for these things

 3) Ask your supermarket for boxes, try and get a variety of sizes.

 4) Vacuum seal bags are great for transporting duvets, pillows and blankets.

 5) Be ruthless when decluttering. Especially when it comes to your wardrobe, if it doesn't fit, no longer in fashion or you haven't worn it in the last year get rid of it: it doesn't have a place in your new life. You can sell your unwanted clothing on Music Magpie . I unfortunately didn't do this before my move and wasted precious time and space moving suitcases of clothing I don't think I'll ever wear again. Music Magpie is a really easy website to use, and after a few clicks they will give you a quote for your unwanted items. You then post your items to them and wait for the cash to roll in. Music magpie don't take everything, so you'll still need to make a trip to the charity shop with the remainder.

 6) A great place to sell unwanted books is Amazon, unusual titles will obviously sell for more than common titles.

7) Cd's, DVDS and games can also be sold to Music Magpie. We have so many cds, but we don't listen to them, we usually listen to music on Spotify, we hire DVDs and games from Lovefilm, so as soon as I find the box of CDs and DVDs I'll be sending them off to Music Magpie.

 8) Pack your kettle and a few cups, tea bags and sugar in an easily accessible box. As well as a stock on easy to eat snacks to sustain you on the moving day.

9) when you arrive at the new house, make setting up your bed a top priority, you'll be glad you did at the end of the day when you are exhausted and just want to crash.

 10) organise a redirection service with Royal Mail, as mail is redirected to our new address phone the sender to inform them of your new details.

11) When you leave your old house for he last time be sure to take meter readings for the gas and electric and contact your supplier ASAP with the readings. I took a photo of the readings with my mobile phone as I knew if I wrote them on a scrap paper it would get lost in the chaos of the move.

 12) Give notice on your broadband, phone line and tv a month in advance.

 This is a sponsored post, however all content is my own and of my own opinion.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Morocan Chicken Tagine: Daring Cook(Brine and Roast)

Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

All-Purpose Brine:
Makes 4 cups of brine enough for about one pound (½ kg) of meat
This is the brine to use for most cuts of meat and poultry that will be roasted.
4 cups (1 litre) of cold water (see note 1)
¼ cup (70 gm) table salt or ½ cup (70 gm) Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
optional 2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm/1 oz) sugar (see note 2)
optional 3-4 peppercorns, a few springs of herbs, a garlic clove or two, a knob of ginger etc. (see note 3)
1. Heat 1 cup of water to boiling point add the salt and stir until all the salt has totally dissolved.
2. Place in a non-reactive container (glass, plastic, stainless steel, zip-lock bags etc). Add the remaining water and stir. Make sure that all the salt has dissolved. Wait until the brine has reached room temperature.
3. Add your cut of meat make sure that the meat is completely submerged (that is totally covered in the salty water) if need be you can weigh down the cut of meat with a clean plate (etc). If using plastic bags make sure that the meat is totally covered in brine and make sure that is bag is locked securely.
4. Cover the container with plastic wrap to prevent odours contaminating the flavour brine or the brine leaking.
5. Place the container into the refrigerator for the soaking time suggested by the guidelines above.
6. If desired you can air-dry your poultry (usually over night) in the refrigerator if you wish to have crispy skin on your bird. It is best to pat dry your brined item (inside and out) with paper towels before cooking.

I made double the brine solution.

Once the chicken had sat overnight in the brine I took it out of the solution and allowed it to dry out a bit in the fridge.

Grate an onion and combine with some freshly grated garlic, ground ginger, black pepper and saffron. Cover the chicken and place in the tagine with some stuffed green olives. Roast the chicken in the tagine.

 Morocan Chicken tagine served with cous cous, tomato relish and roasted cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.

The brining was well worth the effort and made for a tasty, moist chicken and is something I will definately do again.