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Weekend Picks

Friday, 24 April 2015

It's been a busy week at work, preparing for a couple of inspections next week. But once I get out of the office I've been enjoying the bright, lighter evenings and spending as much time as I can with this lovely ball of fur ♥

I've now made some headway in the garden, sorting out the shed, cutting the grass, weeding & pressure washing the paved areas. This weekend I'm planning to buy some bedding plants for my patio pots and clean up the BBQ so it's ready for action!

Here are my best link picks from the last few days...

: : Shoot
These photos of Londoners & their dogs made me smile!

: : Wander
An introduction to travel sketching shows another fun way to document your trip and complement your photography

: : Nourish
Make the most of your downtime with these 9 fabulous ways to get the most out of your Sunday

: : Nest
This Art Deco renovation gives me loads of decorating inspiration!

: : Inspire
Keep yourself going when the chips are down with these 21 ways to create & maintain a positive attitude

Happy weekend folks!


Mid-week Inspiration

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


The Power Hour

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Today I want to share a quick tip with you, which I came across in the course of my reading over the last few weeks (can't remember exactly where, sorry!).

You may or may not be an organised person, but however you are I'm sure you always have an ongoing 'to do' list, things it takes you ages to get round to, or a pile of paperwork that you just can't face sorting out. In short, non-urgent stuff that drops to the bottom of your priority list, but hangs around in the background of your life bugging you.

Enter the power hour. The idea is that you dedicate just one hour a week to tackle those annoying little tasks. You blitz your list for 60 minutes only and get as much of it done as you can in that time. The time limit motivates you as you know you're not going to be there for hours, and you get stuff done. Winning!

I've given it a whirl over the past couple of weeks and it's been pretty effective.

What do you think about the power hour? Would it work for you? Have you got any other tips for seeing off tasks you've been meaning to finish for ages?


Mid-week Inspiration

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Choose how you see life


5 Top Spring Cleaning Tips

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

If you're in the UK you'll be enjoying the beautiful spring weather we've been having over the last few days ~ I know I am!

When sunrays start filtering into the house and the first whiff of warmer air comes along, our thoughts turn to clearing out and freshening up our homes, ready for the longer summer days. We get all enthusiastic and spend hours cleaning and sweeping away the winter's cobwebs.

Yeah, right!

If you're anything like me, the intention is there, but the will and/or available time just isn't. I want it all sorted. Now. Minus the hassle of actually doing very much.

I can't promise you won't have to do anything, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve, which will help you get things spruced up a little bit faster and without having to put quite so much elbow grease into your chores.

Today I'm partnering with Currys to bring you some cleaning tips which will help you transform your home this spring, with minimal effort.

5 Top Spring Cleaning Tips

1. Burnt Pans & Blocked Plug Holes
In a word: soda crystals. Soak pans overnight with a couple of spoonfuls in warm water and all the burnt stuff will just fall away the next morning. Pour the crystals into your plug holes and wash down with boiling water to clear any blockages. Cheap, but so effective! Available in supermarkets.

2. Microwave
Loosen the gunk inside before wiping easily away by popping half a cut lemon in a bowl of warm water and blitzing on high for 2 minutes. Works like a dream!

3. Pet Hair
Oh, I know this one well, after many years of a black cat and a cream carpet! Get your rubber gloves and a bowl of warm water. Dampen your gloved hands and draw them firmly over the carpet. Any fur and hair will come away easily. Collect a pile and then simply vacuum up. Make sure you've got fairly robust gloves otherwise you'll wear through the rubber very quickly.

4. Bottles & Vases
Get the last bit of grime out of narrow glass vases by popping in a few grains of rice or barley, some detergent and warm water. Swill around and rinse ~ simple!

5. Toilet Bowl
Get that last lingering bit of limescale out of the bottom of your loo by pouring in a can of Coke and leaving over night. Clean as normal in the morning, et voila!

Oh, and before I go, I just have to share THE best cleaning product I've ever found. It works great, not only on glass & mirrors, but also on stainless steel ~ no smears or marks remain. So versatile, I love it!

What are you best spring cleaning tips? 
Got a hack you'd like to share and save us all some time?

For more handy tips, visit the Currys TechTalk blog


Weekend Picks

Friday, 10 April 2015

She's back!

My last ditch attempt to find Jade paid off on Good Friday when I received a call from a lady saying she thought she'd found her.

I'd decided to widen the search area on Thursday evening before we went away for Easter and put up posters in two more streets, in the complete opposite direction to the way we assumed she'd gone.

The lovely lady described some more things to me about Jade that I hadn't mentioned on the poster ~ she was wearing a bell and her back feet had brownish patches of fur on them ~ then we were almost sure it was her. She's been in the lady's garden for 4-5 days and although she'd given her a few scraps of beef, she hadn't realised that she was a lost cat, seeing as she had a collar on and her coat was shiny: until she saw my poster! Once we suspected that it was Jade the lady fed her and let her go into her shed as she was too shy to go into the house.

As we were away for 4 days, I called a good friend of mine, who lives nearby and is experienced in cat matters, and we arranged for her to go round to the house the next morning. By the wonders of FaceTime we were able to confirm that it was indeed my baby! I just couldn't believe it, we'd found her after 13 days! My friend kindly looked after Jade until we got home on Monday evening when we were finally reunited. Needless to say we are so grateful to everyone who helped and supported us. Big bunches of flowers were the order of the day! We're pretty famous in our area now ~ through Jade's antics we've connected with lots of our neighbours who we might not otherwise have met so soon. One elderly lady at the end of our street was overwhelmed with emotion and hugged me when I went round to tell her she'd been found!

Sadly our joy was short-lived though. I took Jade to the vet on Tuesday morning to get her checked over. She'd lost about 0.5kg and the vet found a lump under her chin, which is very likely a tumour. We think it might be why she went off on her little adventure. Needless to say, we are devastated. She's 21 years old and has been with me for 14 of those (she was a rescue cat from Battersea). There have been many tears since Tuesday, but the support I've felt from friends and my online community has been incredible, you've all been amazing!

We're not sure what will happen next or the timescales involved. Jade's had some medication to make her comfortable. She's eating and drinking well and has perked up a lot since we got her back. She's already regained almost half the weight she lost during her travels and is moving around the house, sitting with us and purring. We are going to give her as much love as we can and keep a close eye on her to make sure she's not in any pain. In the meantime, I'm so grateful that we've found her and that's she's safe, and not afraid or alone anymore. I'll keep you posted.

I'm now looking forward to having a nice 'normal' weekend, doing a few things around the house, but mainly resting and nourishing body & soul. 
Here are my best picks from the past week...

: : Shoot
This timelapse video of a year in a vineyard brought back memories of when I lived in Bordeaux...

: : Wander
It's time to start getting out & about again. These 10 grand London houses seem a good place to start. We've been to all of them apart from numbers 2 & 7!

: : Nourish
I'll soon be trying these 3 delicious weeknight recipes using yogurt

: : Nest
When a treehouse is truly a tree house ~ love this combination of modern & ancient

: : Inspire
It's been a tough few weeks. These 5 ways for a perfect spring weekend are on my wellbeing list!

Have a great weekend

P.S. Don't forget there's still time to win a £20 Pixum photo voucher here!


Three Veggie Asian Recipes

Thursday, 9 April 2015

You may remember that a few weeks back I enjoyed an evening learning about Asian cookery. I wrote about the tips I picked up here.

Today I'm sharing the recipes from that night ~ all veggie and dairy-free.

This one is so easy and makes a great starter

Serves 2

1 large courgette 
Juice of 3 limes
1 tsp chopped chilli
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp garlic paste

1. Peel half the courgette into ribbons using a standard vegetable peeler
2. Marinade for 3 minutes in the remaining ingredients
3. Chop the rest of the courgette and fry until just soft
4. Arrange both parts of the courgette on plates and top with a few spoonfuls of marinade
5. Serve

Perfect for a light lunch or something a bit more substantial if you like

Serves 6-8

1 lemongrass stalk
4 lime leaves

Juice & zest of 1 lime
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp galangal paste
1 tsp finely chopped chilli
1 tbsp soy sauce

1 pack dried egg noodles 
1 small baguette
1 small bunch of coriander

1. Add the stock ingredients to 2 pints of water & bring to the boil
2.  Add the egg noodles and cook as per pack instructions
3. Meanwhile, make the crostini by slicing the baguette into rounds, drizzle with oil and bake in the oven until golden
4. Serve the noodles, topped with a crostini and sprinkled with chopped coriander

This was my favourite dish of the night ~ yummy chickpeas in a creamy sauce

Serves 8

400ml coconut milk
4-6 green chillies
½ diced onion
5cm grated ginger
2 tsp garlic paste
1 small bunch of coriander
2 lemongrass stalks
1 lime
8 lime leaves
1 tsp galangal
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp palm sugar or honey
4 cans of chickpeas

1. Make a curry paste by mixing the cumin, coriander and chilli, galangal, ginger and seasoning with a little water
2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan, then add the diced onion and cover with a little water to steam
3. Add the curry paste and heat through
4. Add the coconut milk and all other ingredients, except the coriander & lime, and simmer
5. Blitz the coriander & lime together with a little water to form a paste
6. Add the chickpeas to the curry and stir in the coriander & lime mixture
7. Serve with rice 

Do you have any favourite Asian-inspired recipes? Please share in the comments below!