Tuesday, 30 June 2015

5 great ideas for children's bedrooms

Probably the most exciting room in my house is my son's bedroom. How better to relive your own childhood and perhaps indulge in having the room that you really wanted as a child and of course create your child's perfect space for play and sleep.

1. Cosy Book Nook
Encourage reading by having a cosy reading space for your child and for looking at books together. I have used inexpensive spice racks for our little shelves and rotate the books by season. Book nooks in closets also work well, a snug area for a children's library and to leaf through books. Add colourful cushions, bean bags and blankets for comfort. I would have loved one as a child, almost like a den for imaginative play too. 
Children's colourful book nook
Image source: Caro Inspiration

Sprucing up my bathroom window with Blinds Supermarket

Even though I have lived in my house a while, I still hadn't updated some of the window dressings and one of these was the bathroom window blinds. Looking a bit tired and bent at the edges, my black Venetian blinds were well past their prime. Fortunately I was recently able to choose some new ones from Blinds Supermarket and I was seriously spoilt for choice.
 Blinds Supermarket Venetian-blinds

Monday, 29 June 2015

St Ives on a lovely sunny day

St Ives rooftops Park at the top of town and meander down the hill past many a Cornish pasty shop. Huge pasties filled with potatoes, swede, meat (although a vegetable one for me), lunch sorted. The narrow streets weave and wind until you reach St Ives harbour and its quaint buildings. 

Pension planning with Nutmeg

Before having my son I used to work for a large financial company and was fortunate to have a great company pension, the future seemed sorted. However in the last few years, my life has changed dramatically. I was made redundant whilst pregnant and now I home educate my son who has complex learning needs. I'm officially self employed and have limited hours I can work and it's all a bit of a juggle to be honest with making sure I can both earn an income and help my son with his speech and learning. At some point, sooner rather than later, I need to think about our future. It's a big deal and a worry.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Red Cross Garden Southwark

On my latest trip to London on a muggy day I was pleased to be shown a welcome breath of fresh air in Southwark to spend a little time. The Red Cross Garden is nestled down a quiet back street and is a glorious spot to find a bench and soak up the atmosphere.pink-roses

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Father's Day weekend

Father's Day

We had such a busy weekend from going to Peterborough Heritage Festival to visiting my Dad for whom not only was it Father's Day but it was also his birthday on the same day. Lucky Dad.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Popsicle trend

The Popsicle trend from Graham and Brown I just love, love, love!! If you remember last month I started as a brand ambassador and looked at the Northern Rose trend. Well this month it's all about colour and having a bit of fun with your home interiors.

I adore colour, I'm not a neutral person. I have to have colours from brights to pastels everywhere, well maybe with a white background. But these pops of colour make me feel incredibly happy and they always have done.

As a child of the 80's,  I think the wonderful neons were a large influence and the toys I played with were such a colourful bunch from Care Bears to My Little Pony. My childhood was one big pastel colourfest, stripy playsuits, funky roller skates and jelly shoes.

Dolly mixtures, Tooty Frooties and Neopolitan ice cream. Collecting colourful pencils and erasers, and lunchboxes and pencil cases with rainbows on them. A huge influence and aside from a few beige years after leaving home, trying to be 'grown-up' I then reverted back to my colourful ways....
nostalgic popsicle trend

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The London look

After recently returning from a blog conference in London I have been inspired by all the wonderful city sights from the Underground to Big Ben. I'd not been to London in such a long time and now I feel like creating a little capital love in my home. Here are my ideas for bringing a bit of London Town to your abode.
London Home Styles 

Make some London artwork
Craft a bit of city life into your own person piece of art like a shadow box with all your mementoes in making a collage of your trip. Maps too are a favourite of mine and I'd like a touristy map framing to remind me of the places I have seen. I've also seen glass jars filled with tube tickets as a quirky shelf decoration 

Transport Inspired
Take inspiration from the many ways of getting across London from the iconic buses to the London Underground. Metro tiles inspired by the latter have been popular for years and are timeless. Whilst white are the usual choice, how about the bold red or green like the tube stations. 

Source: NOTH

Vintage transport posters are a bright addition to a wall in any room, you can pick them up from transport museum or top of my list of items I really want is a framed Routemaster London bus blind in my living room above the fireplace. 
London Underground Piccadilly Circus
Retro furniture
Looking around London I enjoyed poking around junk shops and the markets such as Portobello Road, looking at retro and classic pieces of living room furniture that would be ideal to create a townhouse look imagining pretty Notting Hill and its pastel coloured exteriors and rambling flowers. Very eclectic with a mix of contemporary and antiques, 70's coffee tables, upcucled painted bookshelves and a leather fireside armchair.

 photo 98d60848b279702ea0b49d6fe5cfc5bf_zpsytsgqqac.jpg
Union Jack crazy
How could I have a home without a Union Jack or two dotted around the home for a touch of the patriotic. Cushions, bunting, storage boxes and if you want to have less of a statement how about a few British style mugs or a nod to tea British with tea towel in the kitchen. 
Image source: Emma Bridgewater
Children's London
My son's room deserves a little bit of London too and we have a few books on his shelf such as the classic This is London by Miroslav Sasek, with its beautiful illustrations of the famous London landmarks. A shelf can be decorated with London souvenirs and my favourite are these exceptionallt cute wooden toys of Big Ben, red buses and postboxes. I think I would be pinching these for the living room shelf too.
Source: London in a bag

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

C.P. Hart showcase their new website for bathroom design

Last year I worked with the luxury bathroom supplier C.P. Hart and was impressed by their quality designs and products for both traditional and contemporary bathrooms. So when I heard they had a new website I was keen to investigate and see how it functioned.

Products are easily selected from the menu with clear pictures making for a very visual experience. All the bathroom items you would expect from basins to baths are there plus accessories and a super handy sale section if you are looking for a bargain. Best sellers are listed which is a great way of looking for inspiration and seeing what is on trend with other C.P. Hart customers. Each item is then further categorised for ease of use, so if you are looking for a corner basin for a small space or a designer washbowl for a trendy minimalist look, it's easy to locate what you want.

The range of products is extensive, all types of baths, showers and components and bathroom furniture which offers a whole new way to think about bathroom design and the practicalities of storage and space. Free standing vanity units are very classy and there is also the option of made-to-measure Italian designed pieces.

The products are also categorised further by collections. This is a great idea so when perhaps you find a particular item and want to see what else is available in a similar line. For instance if you like the Admiral range, taps that are modelled on a ship's wheel with five prongs, you can clearly see the different types available for your dream design, whether that's a mixer tap or a wall valve. So this helps when you have a particular idea in mind but need to fine tune your final bathroom selection.

Additionally you can search the website by brand too. This functionality will allow you to clearly see all the fixtures or fittings by a particular brand name such as the elegant Duravit range or the shiny accessories and taps of Samuel Heath.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

In the northern hemisphere the longest day of the year is celebrated at Midsummer, when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, the Summer Solstice.

Many people get together to worship the rising sun and welcome summer, a time of fertility and life. A time of bounty and being grateful for all that the fruits of summer has to offer. Fires are lit, a symbol of passion and creation and flower crowns worn, woven from meadow blooms and birch, particularly in Sweden.

There are many rituals and customs and you can learn more about the Summer Solstice at TheCircle where you can seek spiritual guidance at this mystical time of year. Known as Litha to Pagans, the Solstice was a time when villages built bonfires, called 'setting the watch' to keep the evil spirits away. It was also thought that if you stayed up all in night in a stone circle you would see fairy folk, one for me to try as I am Fae obsessed.
Flower crown
Image source: Flower Crown Shutterstock

Friday, 12 June 2015

Off to London

I'm off to London this weekend for Blogtacular, I'm both excited and anxious. Tonight I've been packing and hopefully I have my outfits sorted.

I had to buy a new case as on the recent hen weekend the handle pull on mine fell off - to much laughter. So I bought a shiny new purple case that will be perfect for whizzing across London with. I'm taking a few outfits but it's looking likely that I will wear this spotty dress that I picked up from Dorothy Perkins. Skater dresses are my favourite style and I could happily have a wardrobe full of them. I'm probably going to team it with some sparkly gold flats from Matalan - has to be flats for lots of walking.

purple spotty dress

Thursday, 11 June 2015

The June garden

white lilac in June Finally there is glorious sunshine, the washing is dry on the line  in a couple of hours and the plants are soaking up the rays and flowers are blooming. It also means I'm watering all my pot plants, seedlings and allotment quite a lot. I got home one day to see my sunflowers keeling over, so it was time to pot on the next size until they are ready to be planted out at the allotment. I'm nurturing them this year  as up until now I have had little success with them and will not resort to using slug pellets. Yes, the pests are still about and I'm finding those evil tiny slugs in my mini greenhouse each morning, hiding their slimy selves in the nooks and crannies of plant pots.

The best summer cakes

A pot of tea and a slice of cake in the garden, sat on wrought iron chairs at a little table listening to the hum of the insects and the quiet murmur of people in their own little green oasis.

But what sort of cake to bake? The allotment plot is starting to offer bushes laden with currants and raspberries, strawberries in raised beds and big fat gooseberries. Summer cakes should surely feature fruits and maybe fresh cream too. Here are my 5 cakes for the ultimate summer bake off.

1. Victoria sponge
The classic cake for tea parties and summer fayres. I make this cake by simply weighing 3 or 4 eggs and then using the exact same weight of self-raising flour, butter and caster sugar with a dash of vanilla essence. Fill with whipped cream and add some fresh home-grown strawberries or raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar. Named after Queen Victoria, a true British cake that's part of our history.
Victoria sponge cake
Picture credit Victoria Sponge Shutterstock

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Gallery: Buildings (of the pea green variety)

green peapod junction Wales Some buildings make me smile.  And how could this one not......?
Green, corrugated fun in a traditional Welsh barn.
PeaPod Junction, such a quirky name for a gift shop and you will find it in Cardigan Bay, Wales near Cwmtydu cove.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

5 furniture items for a British home

British home style, eclectic, traditional, rustic and makes me think of stately homes, Victorian terraces or country cottages. Here's my 5 choices of furniture items for quintessential British interior design no matter the size of your castle.

Planning a vintage summer tea party

planning a tea party vintage-cupcake-casesWith the weather being so unpredictable, showers then sunshine, we have needed some activities for indoors. Since my son is cake mad, really cake crazy, we thought we would bake some cupcakes using my latest pretty paper cupcake cases. And how lovely and quirky they are! 72 pastel cupcake cases with a charming vintage childhood illustration on the bottom and a sweet pattern around the sides. They would be perfect for an afternoon tea party.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Sunday Snap: Love will tear us apart

Ian Curtis Joy Division Memorial A little sombre this week.

A brilliant musician.

An icon.

Tragically committed suicide at the young age of 23 back in 1980.

Ian Curtis of Joy Division.

His grave at Macclesfield Cemetery.

Every time I walk by I am amazed at how much love is shown.

Beauty in sadness.

Forever 23.

Ian Curtis shrine Ian Curtis Joy Division Macclesfield

Sunday Snap

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The three Queens of Liverpool

Queen Elizabeth Sunday afternoon in Liverpool, the city of culture and vibrancy and this year part of the celebrations for the 175th anniversary of Cunard ships. There's a whole programme of events and we were there to see the Three Queens meet in the Mersey. The ships Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth sailed in formation and the ocean liners then performed a series of a manoeuvres in a spectacular occasion.

Friday, 5 June 2015

10 ways to make the most of your outdoor space

The sun has got his hat on this week and I'm wanting to celebrate the approaching summertime and make the most of my outside space, particularly the patio area. Time to spruce up ready for outdoor living and hopefully have a pretty space all set for having alfresco teatimes, entertaining and just some quiet sunny relaxation.

10 tips for making the most of your outdoor space:

1.Firstly you need a place to sit whether it's a formal bistro set or an informal bench and picnic table. Whatever the size of your space, from large garden to courtyard, somewhere to unwind when you get home from work or entertain at the weekend is a must. Give wooden furniture a lick of fresh paint, I love cool and fresh sage green or go bold with many of the colourful outdoor paints available. Spray paints for metal furniture can create some exciting combinations. Don't forget the good old stripy British deckchair too!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Courtly drama and love in the garden

Bulb planting Bolsover Castle garden Inside the castellated walls at Bolsover Castle is the Fountain Garden, a circular grassy area bordered with an array of plants to reflect 17th century planting styles. Bulb plants had been introduced into English gardens by the 1630's and so tulips are generously planted with a backdrop of wallflowers and fruit trees.Fountain Garden Bolsover

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

U is for Ugly Duckling

swans and cygnets on the river

A unexpected walk by the river so I only had my camera phone and the zoom, well it's poor quality and grainy but how could I resist showing you.

 U is for Ugly Duckling 

My Favourite Place

Cafe Môr Freshwater West Pembrokeshire

A little trailer parked up in the carpark at the stunning Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire. Amongst the campervans, a gem of a foodie heaven known as Cafe Môr, for the surfers and beach day trippers.

Local food and welsh seafood delicacies. Laverbread made from seaweed, gathered from the shore and dried, a popular product of South Wales.

A whole host of seaweed goodies, like Sea Black Butter or Laverbread Pesto that you can take a pot of home.

Or maybe a crab roll or a beach burger, washed down with home-made lemonade as you walk along the wide sandy beach and watch the surfers ride the waves.
Freshwater West Pembrokeshire, South Wales

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Sunday Snap - the Runcorn Bridge

The Runcorn Bridge, or Silver Jubilee Bridge, spanning the Manchester Ship Canal and the estuary of the River Mersey.  It crosses what is known as the Runcorn Gap, connecting Runcorn and Widnes, extremely industrial areas and the gateway to Merseyside.

It stands 80ft high to allow for the passage of ships along the Ship Canal and opened in 1961.

I always marvel at bridges, such great feats of engineering allowing for the safe passage of what is now more than 80,000 vehicles a day.

Parallel is the Runcorn Railway Bridge, I must admit that I prefer that bridge, built in 1868, railways are far more exciting than roads. It's a beauty too and I need to work out where to stop and take a picture of it safely from. And it has a story associated with it involving the Saxon Queen Ethelfleda ....but I'll save that for another time.

Sunday Snap

Monday, 1 June 2015

Caravan cooking

Mini pies for a rainy day in a caravan

I took my bundle of home grown rhubarb from the allotment and some new pie tins to the caravan in Cornwall. A perfect time to do a quick bake that would last us a couple of nights, a money saver, rather than buying desserts or feasting on chocolate. Gorgeous seasonal produce instead.
Using my new mini pie tins I made a rhubarb pie. Two wonderful metal pie tins by Nordic Ware and a plastic reversible pie top cutter for two different types of lattice styles. 7 inch in diameter to make a great size pie to share for lunch or if you are really hungry, one to yourself. I will be using these for all sorts of savoury pies too from cheese and onion to a steak pie in autumn. 

Unbelievably cute and great to take along to a party or get together. I'll certainly be using these again and again. They are great for our family as I'm vegetarian and often need to make two meals at dinner time to keep the rest of the family happy too. 
mini pie baking kit
cute vintage caravan
My rhubarb pie turned out really well and was devoured with thick, yellow custard. Perfect caravan food after a day out walking. 

Do you like to bake pies? Any ideas for other flavours I could bake in these mini tins?

I received the lovely pie tins in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own and I thought these were super.

Could you be living on #BritainsBrightestStreet

My father has been umming and ahhing for ages now about investing in solar panels. A few houses local to him have had them installed and he's had a chat with neighbours about how utilising solar power could reduce his energy bills. He's certainly interested, as hearing how much he could save, it sounds like a sensible option.

Perhaps he needs to consider entering the SunEdison search for #BritainsBrightestStreet competition who are looking for  5 – 20 houses on the same street who want to save money whilst benefiting from solar energy. This great community minded initiative will offer the lucky winners free installation of solar panels and 10 years’ worth of SunEdison’s Energy Saver Plan for free, which means savings of approximately 45% off electricity bills during this 10 year period.

Along with this saving, the street awarded #BritainsBrightestStreet can also nominate a local community project or a school that they think deserve free solar panels installed. More community minded positivity and I can think of many, such as my son's autism group that would benefit from energy savings. 

Backing onto my allotment site, many of the houses have solar panels installed and it has made me also consider having them when I finally find our forever home. I studied environmental science as my Degree and renewable energy was a huge part of that where we learnt all about the technologies involved and their benefits. As a home-owner, there are Government incentives to generate your own energy by way of solar panels, with money saving on energy bills and  a tariff that offers payment for excess energy transferred to the National Grid.

SunEdison are the world's largest renewable energy development company and are the first company in the UK to offer this type of solar energy saving plan to homes requiring neither no upfront payment or installation cost. Perhaps like my father, the initial cost had put you off so this is really a wonderful option. You will save money on your energy bills and improve the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)  rating of  your home which could increase house value.

The geek in me loves that SunEdison have a  monitoring platform that you can view through web browser or mobile device so you can see how much energy you are producing. By consuming energy when your solar panels are producing, you'll save even more money. So for instance doing your laundry or running the dishwasher when the system is producing solar energy.

The #BritainsBrightestStreet campaign sounds like such a great opportunity to reignite some community spirit too by getting together with neighbours to enter and see if you can join in on a super energy saving plan that is better for your monthly budget and the environment too.

I'm working with BritMums and SunEdison talking about the #BritainsBrightestStreet search campaign. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit http://bit.ly/1ID0enl for more information about #BritainsBrightestStreet search.