Light up your Life

Saturday, 29 January 2011


I chanced upon this frame which housed an old, invaluable and damaged print. So, I turned the print around and made myself this posh tac board. It literally cost pence to make.
In another shop I spotted this 'butterscotch' handbag which is patent leather and was made by Clark's of England (still with original label attached by thread). What is soooooooo cute about this little find is that there is a mirror inside one of the pouches, still in its original tissue blanket, along with a one penny piece in a further zipped pocket (obviously placed by the purchaser for good luck). The inside is meticulous which tells me the bag has never been used and I presume from the evidence that it was bought as a present. I will treasure it always and the penny and the mirror will remain right where they are.


Further great ideas for Valentine gifts from inchmark take a look...

the purl bee

I found this fabulous website check out how to make these fabulous Valentine pins...


Ooh la la! I stumbled upon these amazing heart-shaped mugs at Unfortunately the link to their manufacturer was broken so if anybody out there knows where I can purchase these I would be very grateful if they would let me know.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Decorate the Plate

Tonight I decorated the plate with Yorkshire pudding, pesto chicken, mashed potato, stir-fried brussel sprouts with lemon and parmesan, stir-fried mixed vegetables and onion gravy. Can you tell that I opened the oven door too soon on the Yorkshire puddings?

Shabby Chic

I thought I'd give the porch bench a shabby chic makeover. The cushion covers cost £1.99 in a local charity shop, the beautiful cotton and lace coverlet was £1.49 and the cute, little jug cost a mere 50 pence. The flowers were a gift from my brother-in-law's new girlfriend. I can't decide whether to have the cushions on either side (bottom) or together on the left (top). Let me know what you think. Any comments would be gratefully appreciated.

More bedroom inspirations, all from house beautiful.

Mood Board

Curtains Ikea

Bear Hill Interiors


Periwinkle Bedroom
I've been looking around for inspiration for my bedroom. Lots have things have inspired me, I particularly like the looks above. As I have a chimney breast and fireplace very similar to the one in the photo (above) it would be great to create a similar look to this one. However, my budget will not extend to the gorgeous lights shown so I will be hunting around for a similar but much cheaper version. Watch this space...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

From little acorns big things grow...

Wow! Check these out at
After all, an acorn isn't just for autumn.

Orla Kiely Stairs

Dare to be different with this Orla Kiely design staircase. I found this on Lauren's blog; she's over at

Bedroom Blues

My bedroom desperately needs decorating but that will have to wait until the long evenings return. Meanwhile, to cheer myself up I have purchased a 'new to me' duvet set from a local charity shop. The set is from Next and would initially have been expensive. I was able to purchase the duvet cover and 4 pillow cases for just £4.99. The cushion was 50 pence and the red pashmina was £1.25. This will do until hubby and I feel suitably inspired.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Decorate the Plate...

with Jamie Oliver's take on cooking brussel sprouts. Above is my version of Stir-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan. Amazing!


50g streaky bacon or pancetta diced
1 tbsp of olive oil
3 cups approx. of brussel sprouts (roughly chopped)
1 lemon
salt and pepper (as desired)
2 tbsp of grated parmesan
1 knob butter

In frying pan and over a medium heat, warm olive oil and add the bacon. Stir until bacon begins to crisp. Add sprouts and cook until they begin to wilt but are still crisp - they will go very green - 8-10 mins. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pan (keeping the zest) and add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and toss with butter, lemon zest and parmesan cheese.

Please let me know what you think of this recipe. My family love it.

Decorate the Plate

This simple dish of cottage pie decorated our plates tonight.

Joy to the World

It can be very bleak in England at this time of year. Our lives can seem veiled by darkness and the ability to think positively becomes harder and harder as we long to step into spring. Yet, little feelings of delight can be found when we turn an ordinary task, or event, into something extra-ordinary. Here are twenty ways that I found brought joy into my little world:

1. Light the log fire or wood-burning stove, sit back watch and dream...

2. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner by candlelight

3. Make a fresh cup of coffee, rather than an instant one, and soak up the aroma

4. Celebrate all things family by having a family lunch and tell everyone it is a
'Family Festival'

5. Go through your CD collection and play a long-lost favourite while you wash up

6. Paint your nails a lovely bright colour then watch your favourite TV programme
whilst they dry

7. Lie on the sofa with a soft blanket and watch a favourite film

8. Make something for dinner that brings back happy memories of your childhood

9. Pare down one room by removing clutter and giving it to your favourite charity

10. Turn a tiny corner of your home, that you walk past regularly, into a beautiful,
bright nook that fills you with pleasure every time you look at it

11. Go for a walk and try to spot 10 wonders of winter

12. Phone a friend that you haven't spoken to for a long time and arrange
to meet for lunch

13. Visit your favourite blog and publish a great comment

14. Tell a friend why you value her friendship

15. Put a little note in with a family members' packed-lunch

16. Ask yourself if it's really worth worrying about then write it down and bin it

17. Offer to do a good deed for an old person in your neighbourhood

18. After you put your lipstick on, blow yourself a kiss in the mirror

19. On very dreary days do the shopping in your favourite outfit

20. Clean your favourite mirror then look into it and smile

Let me know about any ideas you have that have brought joy into your life on bleak days.

Tin Jelly Moulds

Dare to be Different with these jelly-mould lights from

Monday, 24 January 2011

Return of the Mac

I love a Rain Mac. This gorgeous red one is £65.00 in Selfridges, however, I was able to purchase a lovely cream mac from Dahlia just after Christmas for £25.00. Dahlia can be found at 8 Fouberts Place, London W1 or check it out at The camera is charging so maybe I can get a photo of the mac tomorrow.

Dare to be Different

Bear Hill Interiors (Top) regularly use coverlets instead of duvets in their designs. The look is sleek and sophisticated and includes a paring down of pillows. Maureen Bower's blog shows images that reflect this look too. I think I might browse the charity shops to see if I can find a coverlet for my bed; so that I can step into spring with a new look for my bedroom. I reckon I will go back to snuggling under my duvet next winter though. Let's see what I can find meanwhile...

Tayah's Pudding

My father-in-law sent me this picture of Tayah's pudding. Thanks Keith.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Get a Load of...

these cushions for little munchers. Aren't they divine? All munch cushions are handmade.

Get a Load of...

these exquisite tweed cushions from Munch. You can find them at

Family Festival

I love my family and my husband's family. As often as possible we have get-togethers. Sometimes it is just my husband's family (In-laws Day), sometimes just mine and sometimes we have both families together. Today was 'In-laws Day'. This is a day when all of my in-laws visit us for lunch. It was a great day!

We did a spread that included a double portion of Ludi's Chicken, a range of steamed vegetables as well as a range of roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes and tzatziki. For pudding my son, James, made our favourite, easy-peasy 'Tayah's pudding' (named after my niece). This was followed by cheese and biscuits, Christmas cake and coffee.

They all loved Ludi's Chicken by Tessa Kiros (from her book Falling Cloudberries).

My camera charger is still in the loft so I have no pics to show you. What I do have, however, is the recipe for 'Tayah's Pudding':

4 large bananas
450ml fresh double cream (roughly 1 pint)
1 whole packet of ginger biscuits (Sainsbury's own have a lovely chewy texture or McVities)
225ml single cream (approximately 1/2 pint)

Whip the double cream until very thick
mash four bananas (I use a potato masher)
fold the banana mixture into the whipped cream
place the mixture in a serving dish (glass if possible)
crush the packet of ginger biscuits until there are no lumps (I use a food-processor for this with the blade attachment, if you don't have one put the biscuits in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin)
sprinkle the crushed biscuits over the banana and cream mixture

I serve this dish with single cream but you don't have to; it is fine as it is.


I make this dish just before people arrive, so that the bananas still look fresh when it is served and it does taste lovely when it has been chilled in the fridge for an hour or so.

Why don't you have an 'In-laws Day' and serve up this simple but delicious pudding. Let me know how you get on; I would love to hear from you.

Through the Lens of...Flora Hanitijo

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sur La Table

If you are into cooking then you will love these measuring cups from Sur La Table and, if you have the time, check out their new Le Creuset set in fennel. Well, I can dream can't I?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Dare to be Different

Boskke, a New Zealand-based company, has done just that. Just look at these fabulous upside down plant pots called 'Sky Planters'. I'm luvvin' it!

Handbags and Gladrags

Today I spent most of the day cleaning and, although it was bitterly cold, I opened some windows to kill off any dust mites. I love fresh air, it makes everything seem so much crisper and cleaner. In between all of this cleaning I have done three washloads. I cannot believe how much washing I do; every time I turn around the laundry basket is full to the brim again.

So, I am going to carry out a bit of research on how to reduce the amount of washing to be done. Any good tips will appear on my blog.

Meanwhile, I am unable to upload any photographs because my wonderful hubby has accidently put my camera charger in the loft along with all the Christmas decorations.

For the moment then, I cannot show you my lovely leather handbag (£6.00) or the
1970's, maxi, lurex dress that I purchased for £4.00 in a charity shop. The dress fits like a glove and I am going to have to find somewhere nice to go so that I can play 'dress up'. Let me think...

Monday, 17 January 2011

Dare to be Different

Re-Gifting is very popular and has become more and more acceptable, particularly if the gift you give is person-specific.

This year I have already purchased 'new to me' items from Charity Shops that I could never in a million years have been able to afford from brand new. Included are some designer bags and clothes; items that are so nice that they are like dreams come true. So I was thinking if I can find things I adore...then maybe I can find things that other people adore.

So here goes. I am now on the hunt for a birthday present for my husband, who was a Valentine's day baby, my niece and my sister, who also have birthdays coming up soon. Let's see what I can find over the next few weeks...

Little Tree

little tree

by: e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

Just couldn't resist this close up...

One day I may just have a small glass of Hock.

Dare to be Different

Something different for your mantle piece. I bought these glasses in a local charity shop the other day - they were sitting in sets of 4 around the shop. When I moved a large serving dish (which I wanted to buy too but you've got to stop somewhere) I spotted the red-stemmed glasses and knew I had to have them. Immediately, two women came up to me and commented on how beautiful they are with their crystal-style grapes, they had spotted the green-stemmed glasses but did not think they were worth buying. I just knew I had to have the red ones and their counter-parts, otherwise it would have been like splitting a family. The lady at the desk told me their story...

She had donated all three sets which she had bought in Germany when she lived there. They were made to clebrate the Rhine Valley Wine Festival and are specifically Hock glasses.

Little German Hock glasses you are perfect Christmas decor. I will treasure you forever, you have a permanent home here on my mantle with your wonderful stems, dancing flames and delicate reflections.

Sunday, 16 January 2011


For some time now I have been thinking about creating a personal motif for my blog. Afterall, Dear Daisy Cottage brightens the dullest day with her amazing 'Home Tours', Decor8 presents 'Twelve Corners' of absolute delight and Creature Comforts excites us with her 'Daily Inspirations'.

Very rarely are we able to provide something uniqe and interesting - it's nearly always been done before. Well, after much deliberation I think I have finally come up with a motif I can call my own. 'Dare to be Different' is a facet that will focus on something that is completely outside the box and not simply a trend.

I am going to try something of my own so watch this space...

Friday, 14 January 2011


This is my favourite perfume, bought for me, by my lovely hubby, for Christmas. For years I have been wearing Oscar De La Renta, which I loved, but it was time for a change and, after much deliberating, I decided on Nina Ricci - no doubt when this has run out I will be falling back on my old favourite though.

Bags for Life.

Don't you just love cute little bags? As you can see I couldn't resist these little cuties afterall they were only £1.99 each - bargain!

A Friend Indeed

My very dear friend, Pauline, is such a good cook. Yesterday she popped round to bring me some of her delicious Christmas cake - made in September and nurtured 'til late December. It tasted soooooooooo good that I ate every crumb. Thank you, Pauline.