Sunday, 31 July 2016

Degustabox June: BBQ treats and summer snacks

Degustabox June 2016

BBQ Box time from Degustabox, a summer filled mix of snacks and drinks to accompany a get together. A great selection from fruity ices, lager and popcorn and we used nearly all the products so a winner from us.

Branston Spicy Tomato Relish £1.65
Super on burgers and hotdogs, livens up any BBQ food. We used it on all manner of food to jazz it up. 
Branston relish
Sacla Pesto £2.79
Single serve mini pots of basil pesto with Grand Pedano cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese and pine nuts. Really handy and I added to pasta to make a quick meal.
Pesto Pots Sacla

Smooze Mango and Coconut £2.50
These are delicious, freeze them at home, made from natural flavours with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. Suitable for vegan and gluten free too. Gorgeous taste and one I would seek to buy again for a refreshing summer treat.
Coconut fruit ice

Belgian Butter Biscuits by Destrooper-Olivier £1.10
Moreish! Really moreish. Ah these are beautiful, eat by themseves or make a huge ice cream sundae and stick them in the top.
Belgian butter biscuits

Miracle Noodles £2.79
Holds hands up - haven't tried as none of us like the look of them! However, they are a low calories, soy free, gluten free, vegan, non gmo, Kosher Shirataki there we go!
Miracle Noodles

Bakedin miracle Mug Brownie £1.50
A mug brownie, never have much luck with mug cakes but this was ok, tempting and chocolatey, ideal to have in the cupboard as a sneaky treat.

Butterkist Yoghurt £1.49
Nearly all eaten by my son so we can clearly say they were a winner. Butterkist Popcorn covered in yoghurt makes a snack that you can't put down. 95 calories per serving but it is very hard to limit yourself to just that!
Butterkist Yoghurt coated
Zeo £2.75 (see main picture)
Cloudy lemonade for summer's drinking. Very, very sweet and the kick of a sherberty flying saucer sweet. Made with 98% spring water and blended with lemons, cane sugar, beet and a dash of Stevia. A bit too sweet tasting for me.  A 250ml serving has only 28 calories.
Heinz Amoy £1.99
Coconut milk is great and so versatile; we use it in curries, stews and making homemade soup. Sourced from plantations in Thailand it is made from fresh coconuts. A staple product for the cupboard.
Coconut Milk

Haywards Pickles £1.89 
I have always been a pickle lover, Silverskin onions for an evening with the cheese and crackers.
Silverskin Onions

Schwarz Burger Mix £1.49
An excellent product, we tried the American Smokehouse Homemade Burger Mix. It's a liquid mix that you add into your minced meat when making burgers. I'd add this to a chickpea mix for vegetarian burgers too. Such a simple product but it makes a big difference with the spices and seasoning already prepared to make the best BBQ burger ever.
Burger Mix by Schwartz
homemade burgers

King Star Crafted Lager £1.70
I'm advised that this was a refreshing crafted lager, me I just like the blue tin.
King Star lager
Degustabox offer a monthly food subscription box sampling new foodie products on the market for £12.99 a month, a fantastic way to sample new things and for the surprise element! The code BLDEG15 will fetch you £7 off your first box.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Where would my perfect home be?

Have you ever seen your perfect home but it's just not the right time to make that move? Happens to me all the time and I insist on putting myself through this torture by having a good look at all the new properties in my chosen area that go up for sale each month.

I found the ideal home this week, the right road, the right size house, so perfect. It's something about the curb appeal of a house that does the trick and the one I've seen looks a little like this: 1930's with a porch, a pretty painted front door and bay windows.

1930's house
Image source: House to Home
Interiors-wise I am usually seduced by a spacious kitchen with room for a dining table and bi-fold doors that open into the garden so I can see what mischief my son is up to (and the dogs too). The open plan space is just what I want for family life with a range cooker and Shaker-style units, homely and lots of workspace for cooking. 
open plan kitchen
Image source: Ikea
However, I'm not moving yet but when I do, hopefully it will be on the wamer days and I can use these Summer Moving Tips. It may be raining but on a hot day, these tips are useful and recommend the removal as early in the day as possible before it gets too hot and lots of water to stay hydrated. Plus activities for the kids - most important!

For the moment I'm happy in the lush greeness of Cheshire but every time I visit London, I gaze longingly at the town houses with their window boxes of geraniums and picture perfect fronts. To live in the city for a while would be wonderful, experience the culture and the constant stream of life. I'd be at Borough Market and Columbia Road Flower Market for my blooms on a Sunday morning. 

I fell in love with this house in London with its gorgeous green door, iron work and leafy frontage, whoever lives there, well I am so envious. I would trade in and use a London Removals company to get me there as soon as possible. Nearby here are garden squares which we visited recently and the community feel in London was so much more than I expected.On a summer's day I adore the streets of London and if I had the money I would definitely give living there a try.
green door London house

London garden square

*Collaborative post

Monday, 11 July 2016

Timeless British home appeal

Summer is the time I invest in updating the home; whilst the days are long and light I get the paint brushes out and spruce up the rooms, start on the list of jobs and add a few accessories. I also tend to buy any furniture in the summer so I've got sunny days to redesign a room and match up any coordinating fabrics and paints. Next on my list is to smarten my snug room up where the wood burner is. The sofa desperately needs replacing, it was second hand anyway and the walls need repainting in my usual antique white. I'd like the room to show my love of the British Isles and have been looking for some inspiration.

There's always the one piece of furniture that is timeless in a room and The Original Sofa Co Ltd with their handcrafted Chesterfield sofas and chairs offer that perfect solution. As a lover of all things British, the Chesterfield is the ultimate iconic item for a relaxing room with a classic quality style. The Original Sofa Co craft their Chesterfields using traditional techniques, coil sprung seats, fully tacked and hand dyed. Their expertise produces an extensive range of sofas and I love the Signature Collection such as the Wilmington Chesterfield in light tan. This would really suit my homestyle and remind me of my childhood as my parents had a very similar sofa.

I'd team the sofa with some cosy cushions and a throw for a laid back look. The British theme would give me a lot of scope and I've just found these cushions from Asda Living that would go perfectly with the scheme. Tan leather is gorgeous and a flexible colour to work with though the seasons and the finish on this one with the gold studs and legs is a smart sofa to invest in.

Chesterfield sofas look stylish in both contemporary and more traditional looking homes and from those made by the The Original Sofa Co you will find the colour and the style that you require, whether you need a single chair, double sofa or suite. One element of the company that I particularly like is that they restore preloved sofas and in their own words these sofas are 'seeking a new home to write the next chapter of their story'.

Items such as this Chesterfield Club chair are restored, retaining their vintage character and patina of the leather so you have a unique piece of furniture for your home. I could imagine curling up in this chair with a stack of my travel books and a mug of tea.

For more information and to browse the beautiful sofas and chairs, look at The Original Sofa Co website and they also have showrooms in Newcastle and London, with a concession recently opened in Harrods. 

*Collaborative post

Friday, 1 July 2016

How to bring Summer into your home

Summer days are heavenly. There is something inexplicably uplifting about long, hazy afternoons and mild evenings, something that seems to refresh and reinvigorate. Few things provide such simple pleasure as sitting in your garden after a long day at work, a glass of wine in one hand and a good book in the other. Just picture the scene: bees buzz all around you, the air is heavy with the perfume of flowers, and the sun is warm on your cheeks.

Now imagine if you could bottle this feeling up and bring it inside? If you want to give it a go, then here’s how to do it…

1: Colours
Summer days have their own special colour palette: the soft yellow of sunshine, the fresh green of grass, the dusky pinks and purples of wild flowers, and the bright white of unsoiled clouds. Bringing these into your home is easy, and even if you’re working on a budget, you only need a little money to get you started. Simply cover your furniture with dust sheets, invest in a bucket or two of paint in your favourite summer-toned hue, and invite your friends around to help you out. Don’t forget to brighten up your windows and doors whilst you’re at it; just remember to use suitable products for these areas, such as those available from Mighton.

 painted garden furniture Image source: Shutterstock Garden Furniture 

2: Florals
Once your home has been treated to a fresh coat of paint, you need to add some summery accents, and floral patterns are ideal. Try choosing a new bedspread for your boudoir, some flowery curtains for your lounge, and a few delicately stitched cushions to complete the effect. Pale, diaphanous fabrics are best, as they provide a light, breezy aesthetic to go with your theme. Flower-shaped fairy lights can also be a nice extra touch, and you should be able to get hold of them without breaking the bank.

 floral furniture Image source: Shutterstock floral furniture 

3: Scents
Last but not least, try bringing the smell of summer into your home. Bouquets of flowers will help you to achieve this, and if you’re loathe to splash out, then spend a day on the hunt for wildflowers, or take a look through your garden to find some beautiful blooms. To complete the effect, treat yourself to a scented candle or two. Yankee retail the most deliciously scented and long-lasting choices, and they will make your home smell like a summer paradise.

 wild flower vase
Image source: Shutterstock wild flower vase

Follow these three simple tips today to create a home filled with all of the exquisite, uplifting splendour of summer.

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