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A Mini Garden Makeover

Over the summer, we gave our front garden flower beds a little revamp and before it gets all cold, dark and dead-looking, I thought I would share our simple improvements.

I feel I should firstly start with the incident that caused us to need to makeover our front garden. The house next door to us was empty for a little while and before the new neighbours moved in, they had a complete clear-out of the very overgrown front garden. Unfortunately, the gardeners got a bit carried away and along with next-door’s weeds and dead plants, they also pulled up all of the flowers and plants in our garden leading to me writing several angry emails to various garden companies until I was offered an apology and compensation for the cost of new plants!

In retrospect, our front garden wasn’t looking that great and although we lost some nice plants, they also pulled up a lot of weeds, in particular a rather invasive climbing plant that we could never seem to get on top of!

Here is the long flower bed in our front garden a few weeks after the gardeners had visited with a lot of weed regrowth. We (I roped in my parents to help!) began by pulling all of the weeds up to create a blank canvas then laying down a good layer of topsoil.

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My Dad then secured this lovely little white picket fence to separate our front garden from our next-door neighbours’.

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Then it was time to get planting. I’m no Charlie Dimmock so cannot give a proper list of plant names but I do know we now have a jasmine tree, several hydrangea bushes, some osteospermum daisies, some ferns and a yellow poppy plant amongst other things.

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After nightly watering and weeding, things seemed to flourish and this is our garden at the end of October. I love how the little pink flowering plant hangs over the side of the wall and how alive and colourful everything looks…the bees seem to love our new flower beds too!

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Latest Purchases #90 – Dotcomgiftshop

Happy Saturday! Ian is working today so I snuck back to bed this morning with brioche and tea to read a few chapters of my new book and plan to spend the day baking, blogging, pottering and doing a little bit of marking.

A little while ago, I made another order at Dotcomgiftshop (which does the most amazing sales!) Here are a few things I picked up…

First up a fun new print for the kitchen. I like the retro style of this picture and of course the celebration of all things pudding! I was going to ask Ian to hang it this weekend but after almost falling out hanging some other prints midweek I think I may need to butter him up first!

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I have phases where I find cross stitching really relaxing to do as I watch TV (it stops me constantly checking my phone too!) and this ‘Home Sweet Home’ print is a very sweet project to have lined up.

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This metal sign made me giggle. I plan on hanging this in our utility room by the washing machine when we finally decorate it.

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I really like this next item – a pastel green herb house. I saw a similar style in IKEA recently and almost bought it but thought this was a little more unique. It comes with six plant pots with blackboard-painted signs for you to add the name of your herbs on. We always have fresh herbs on the go so this will be a lovely way to grow and display them.

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I can never have too many notebooks and this pretty pink and gold design is a happy addition to the collection.

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I also picked up this pencil box to try and keep my desk tidier at work.

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I love making my baking efforts look a little bit better by using pretty cupcake cases.

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I had to bin my old flask recently as it was leaking so this is a good replacement…perfect for filling with hot chocolate when we go on an autumnal country walk!

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We always need tea towels and I thought these apples and pears designs looked very Orla Kiely-esque.

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Clearly influenced by the same designer, I bought a new jar for storing our teabags.

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Napkins.

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Despite Ian telling me we don’t need any more tins, I couldn’t resist these pretty ones and they all fit inside the big one so they aren’t taking up too much room!

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Some washi tape in pretty gingham designs.

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Some metal candle holders that I plan on hanging in the garden next summer.

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Finally, my most middle-aged purchase (which I am secretly really excited about) is this little gardening set as my knees really hurt when I have to kneel down to dig and plant stuff!

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Sunday Catch-up #17

It has been another good but busy week. School has been rather stressful but my parents have been staying with us and it has been lovely to come home and find some DIY jobs completed and dinner cooked for us!

This week I have been…

Making: Mondays a little easier with Nasi Goreng and a cold beer

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Going: to Pilates

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Wearing: pink and glittery nails

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Eating: a rack of ribs with mojitos at Turtle Bay in Bath

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Drinking: cream soda…mmmmm

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Reading: the next book in the Ladies Detective Agency series

Watching: The Island (and cheering on the girls!)

Buying: candles!

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Planning: the long weekend we have coming up…we’re off to Liverpool

Cooking: courgette arancini from scratch

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Baking: nada

Writing: birthday cards to friends

Favouriting: Alice’s Thailand adventures…I’m desperate to visit!

Working on: getting more sleep

Trying to decide: where to eat out this week…somewhere new or an old favourite?

Wishing: I could stop leaving things to the last minute!

Enjoying: an evening drink in the sun with my family

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Needing: a face mask tonight as my skin is so dry at the moment

Feeling: tired after a busy weekend and long drive home

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Giggling at: this little guy catching some rays on the table

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Room Revamps

My recent post on my new yellow wall (read it here) got me thinking about quick room revamps. You know, an piece of furniture, some artwork or a splash of paint that can give a room a new lease of life.

Whilst researching colour scheme and furniture for our newly decorated guest bedroom, I couldn’t help finding things for other rooms so thought I would share a few items.

A new rug can make a real statement in a room. I am growing fond of chevron and geometric print rugs and when I found this lovely grey and white one, I knew it would be perfect for our living room. The muted colours mean the pattern is not too loud but I think it is still a statement piece when you walk in to the room.

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We have recently had new neighbours move in which has given me a kick up the arse to get some blinds fitted in our kitchen and upstairs landing…it only took us three years!

I love the look of wooden blinds but didn’t want to lose any light in these two rooms and I’m not a fan of net curtains either. I think these William Morris inspired blinds are the perfect compromise. They are ‘semi-privacy’ blinds so offer just enough privacy without losing any sunlight. I really like the pattern on these and plan to have these fitted in our bedroom too.

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Two simple room additions that have completely transformed the spaces! x

Sunday Catch-up #15

Why is that holidays always seem to fly by so much quicker than a normal working week?! After a very busy Easter weekend, this week has been much more productive. I have been glued to my laptop getting work done and cooking up a storm in my kitchen. I am back to work on Monday so enjoying my last day of ‘freedom’!

This week I have been…

Making: a big jar of overnight oats with chia

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Going: to get my hair cut and coloured

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Wearing: sunglasses, finally!

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Eating: my lunch outside on the picnic bench

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Drinking: Brooklyn Beer

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Reading: the next instalment in ‘The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’ series

Watching: the recap programme on Game of Thrones to refresh my memory ready for the new series

Buying: these beautiful copper lamps

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Planning: our weekends for the next few months

Cooking: a delicious chorizo and kale hash

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Baking: nothing this week 😦

Writing: non-stop…blog posts, reports, lesson plans, proposals, research notes

Favouriting: this eyeshadow eyeliner tutorial…a really subtle way to wear a flick

Working on: putting the finishing touches to our guest bedroom

Trying to decide: if it’s warm enough for a BBQ lunch today (I don’t think so but Ian is determined!)

Wishing: I had discovered this flavour earlier

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Enjoying: how bright my new yellow wall is when the sun shines on it!

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Needing: some pamper time with my girlfriends so we have booked a spa day for a few weekends time – lunch, facials, massages….we cannot wait!

Feeling: very pleased with myself after creating a near-perfect dupe for my favourite pasta dish

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Giggling at: the little dog down the road who keeps escaping and trots off along the road on its own adventures!

A Splash of Colour

Not content with redecorating one room during this holiday, I was itching to add a bit more colour to our bedroom.

I wrote about our bedroom makeover here when my Mum and I transformed it from a metallic turquoise and patterned wallpaper mess into a crisp white room with grey and yellow accents. I still love this colour scheme but was browsing Pinterest for some ideas and came across the idea of adding a pop of colour around the window.

I was wary of painting on our beautiful white walls but decided to just go for it and I bought a sample pot of the brightest yellow I could find in B&Q (Narcissi if you’re wondering) and slapped on two coats.

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It is quite a shocking shade but there is such a tiny amount of it that it doesn’t look too outrageous and when the sun shines it adds a beautiful golden glow to the room. This was my view from my bed earlier this week:

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This mini-makeover only cost a couple of pounds but has really revamped the room – I would recommend it if you are a fan of white walls but want to add a pop of daring colour.

Sunday Catch-up #13

You will find me with a big smile on my face for the next few weeks as it is half term! Whilst I love my job, I love the holidays just as much with the chance to switch off and unwind. Not that I will be doing too much relaxation – work is already underway to redecorate our guest bedroom, I have had a good catch-up and lunch date with work friends, my parents have come to stay and I have a trip to London, a wedding and more coffee dates with friends to fit in before school starts again.

This week I have been…

Making: some really tasty salads

Going: for lunch dates with friends

Wearing: old clothes as I end up covered in paint after approximately 20 minutes of decorating

Eating: this amazing crumble cooked by my brother’s girlfriend – thanks Tess!

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Drinking: coconut water – I’ve got a real taste for it again

Reading: endless interior design websites

Watching: the Cameron/ Milliband interviews

Buying: new rugs, blinds, paint, bedding and accessories for the guest bedroom

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Planning: my next wedding outfit

Cooking: this amazing chicken and quinoa salad

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Baking: nothing this week…trying to be good!

Writing: shopping lists

Favouriting: Milly’s New York trip – so many little things added to our to-do list!

Working on: putting all the clocks, watches and various kitchen appliances forward an hour

Trying to decide: if I will be tempted by the latest ASOS and Body Shop sales (spoiler – 2 orders placed!)

Wishing: this blister on my painting hand would disappear #DIYproblems

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Enjoying: having my Mum and Dad to stay

Needing: to book a cut and colour soon

Feeling: very happy at the thought of not having to get up at 6:30am tomorrow morning

Giggling at: Gogglebox, standard

Recipe – Tom Yum Noodle Soup

We have been having a lot of soups lately. Today’s recipe is by no means an authentic, traditional Tom Yum soup (I don’t think the proper version has noodles in it) but it is my version and one that is quick and easy to make yet packed with flavour. It is really more of an aromatic broth and has a hot yet slightly sour taste.

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The noodles are optional and I enjoy this soup both with and without them. You can even do the super trendy Pinterest thing and take this to work in pretty mason jars…yeah, I did that!

I love using baby corn in this recipe and also had some pretty heritage carrots to add in the mix. Some greens, like sugar snap peas, work well and then a handful of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime really finish it off. You could also throw in some prawns, chicken or beef but I like to keep this veggie.

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Ingredients

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A jar of Tom Yum paste

A handful of bite-sized vegetables (I used sugar snap peas, baby sweetcorn, orange and yellow carrots)

A strip of dried egg noodles

Fresh lime

Fresh coriander

How to make it

  • Half fill a saucepan with boiling water
  • Add a generous teaspoon of Tom Yum paste and stir well

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  • Add the vegetables and simmer for 5-10 minutes

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  • Add your noodles to the pan and allow to cook for another few minutes until softened

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  • Serve with a squeeze of lime and plenty of fresh coriander

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Latest Purchases #72 – Nail Dotters

Hello and Happy Saturday! I had the longest lie-in today which I very much needed after trying to adjust to getting up early again for work. I was fine for the first three days but Thursday and Friday were a real struggle!

Ian is running the Bath Half tomorrow so we are busy carb-loading today…I am being a good wife and supporting him wholeheartedly with this (ha!)

He is running for Cancer Research UK and it just so happens that it was a year ago this week that my Mum finished her final round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer the previous August. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and I am so proud of Ian for doing this. If you wanted to donate then here is the link

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Right, onto today’s post and I wanted to share one of my nail art tools. These nail dotters were a couple of quid on ebay (you really don’t need to invest in a brand) and are so handy.

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I received a pack of five and as you can see, each end has a small silver ball of various sizes to allow you to vary your nail dots.

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They are so simple to use as dotters and here are a couple of looks I have done with these tools:

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They have also proved to be really handy when placing sequins or nail decals on my nails too when tweezers are just a bit too fiddly!

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If you want to try your hand at some really simple nail art then a pack of these dotters will give you lovely polka-dot nails for very little effort.

Our Drinks Trolley

When we redecorated our conservatory, we were left with an awkward space where we needed a piece of furniture but I wasn’t too sure what…fast forward to an impulse purchase at IKEA and this white and silver drinks trolley came home with us!

I love the idea of having a little drinks cart to allow any guests to just help themselves to a drink meaning you don’t have to be rushing around and waiting on people all night. By having your spirits on display I think it also eradicates the chances of those weird bottles we all end up buying on holiday…watermelon schnapps anyone?!

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Here is the trolley in all its glory. Whilst it does have wheels, I can’t see myself ever using them and this is very much a stationary piece of furniture!

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As you can see, there are three shelves with a very handy sliding tray hidden underneath the top shelf.

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Ian’s parents very kindly bought us this huge Kilner jar which proved to be perfect for serving Pimms when we had people over last summer. It is quite large but pretty enough to be on display all year round and is another great way to allow people to just help themselves…I’m sounding like such a lazy hostess!

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I decided to use the bottom shelf for our large bottles of spirits, the middle shelf for small bottles and cute glasses and the top for more glasses, straws, stirrers and our cocktail shaker.

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Getting this trolley sorted and looking pretty has inspired me to start looking for some new cocktails recipes…any recommendations?! x

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