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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Creating a Memo Wall

I had a blank wall in the kitchen that I wasn't sure what to do with. I had a couple of ideas; should I paint it with blackboard paint? or put up a large memo board maybe?

Jack then had an inset day and I asked him if he wanted to go to the cinema, but he declined, instead wanting to go shopping and for a coffee. I needed to get some paint from Homebase so off we trotted. If you've never been to Homebase for anything other than painting & decorating equipment then you need to pay them a visit, as their homewares department is amazing. There is a great range of clocks, signs, pictures, lighting and cushions, and all at great prices.
Homebase accessories

There and then, whilst walking around, we decided that we'd create a memo wall, made up of a few smaller memo boards / blackboards. We found a heart shaped magnetic memo board (bottom right), a magnetic blackboard (bottom left) and a couple of signs. We then nipped over to Dunelm where we found a wire 'HOME' memo board for half price (top left), and then on a quick visit into Sainsburys we spotted the blackboard with shelf and hanging hooks (top right).

Creating a Memo Wall

I measured the wall and marked the size out on our dining table, and then positioned everything where I liked them to see if it would fit, and how it all looked.

 Creating a Memo Wall

Once I was satisfied with the positions I drilled some holes and positioned the screws for hanging, and voila, I had a memo wall - never will a party invitation go missing again!

Creating a Memo Wall Creating a Memo Wall Creating a Memo Wall Creating a Memo Wall

Of course, with all the fab cushions in Homebase, I had to pick up at least one.

knitted home cushion

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

One Pan Egg Ratatouille

This year I'm continuing to work with British Lion Eggs as a 'Shortcut Eggspert', where I'll be sharing my own family recipes using eggs. We eat a lot of eggs as a family, and I'm particularly partial to one or two for breakfast, and if the husband is in charge of dinner (which doesn't happen very often) you can guarantee that it will include eggs as they're quick and easy to cook.

The brief for the first challenge of 2015 was to cook something 'quick and healthy' with eggs as a main ingredient. As I'm trying to shed a few pounds at the moment this challenge was an easy one for me, and I chose to make something that is great as a lunch for one, or served to the whole family (just increase the quantities accordingly).

One Pan Egg Ratatouille

One Pan Egg Ratatouille
- serves 1

olive oil
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1/3 courgette, sliced
1/4 red pepper, sliced
1/4 green pepper, sliced
1/4 aubergine, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
tsp dried thyme
4 mushrooms, sliced
cherry tomatoes
tbsp tomato puree
tbsp hot water
1 egg
  • Heat a little olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan
  • Add the onion & fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the courgette, pepper, aubergine, garlic & thyme
  • Fry for approx 5 minutes, stirring regularly
  • Add the mushrooms & tomatoes & cook for a couple of minutes longer
  • Mix together the tomato puree & water & stir into the pan
  • Make a well in the middle of the vegetables & crack the egg into it
  • Place the pan in a preheated 180C oven and cook for approx 10 minutes, or until the egg is cooked to your liking
  • Serve in the pan to save on washing up!

One Pan Egg Ratatouille One Pan Egg Ratatouille One Pan Egg Ratatouille One Pan Egg Ratatouille

Here are my previous #shortcuteggsperts recipes :

Chicken & Egg Fried Rice
 photo chickenfriedrice2jpg_zps3673282f.jpg

Omelette Fajitas
 photo eggfajitas3jpg_zps58217fb8.jpg

Roast Dinner Tart
 photo roastdinnertart4_zps712fd6d6.jpg

I was provided with vouchers to cover the cost of ingredients used

Monday, 26 January 2015

Tropical Dairy Free Rice Pudding

I'm not much of a fan of rice pudding, but the husband loves it. He doesn't have it very often as it's one of those desserts that contains quite a lot of sugar, and when you've added an extra blob of jam on top the sugar content starts to really add up.

I've recently been using quite a bit of coconut milk in cooking, as an alternative to dairy cream, and this rice pudding has coconut cream as well as a very small amount of coconut palm sugar for extra sweetness and flavour, although the dried fruit alone adds enough sweetness in my opinion.

This is a great alternative to original rice pudding for those cutting out dairy for whatever reason, and also trying to cut back on sugar. You can add whatever dried fruits you like, but together the pineapple and coconut milk give it a tropical taste.

Tropical Dairy Free Rice Pudding Tropical Dairy Free Rice Pudding
Tropical Dairy Free Rice Pudding Tropical Dairy Free Rice Pudding

You can find the full recipe here

This recipe has been commissioned by Great Brtish Chefs

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Organising a Desk Space for a Teen

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Every new year, as soon as the Christmas decorations have been packed away, I start on the annual declutter. So far furniture has been moved around in the lounge, wardrobes have been cleared of unwanted clothes and a plate rack has been bought to house some of the kitchen sideboard overspill. I have to admit that decluttering is not one of my favourite pastimes and I can always make excuses for not doing it, but when a cupboard or a room has had some magic worked on it I feel so much better.

At the weekend I ventured into Hanna's bedroom, which is something that I need to take a deep breath before doing. You see, she seems to have inherited the family 'hoarding' gene, something that has been passed down through generations of females in our family. My Mum is a huge hoarder, but she's lucky as she also possesses the tidy gene. Everything has a place and she knows exactly where that place is, whether it be a ribbon saved from a gift in 2001 or some bubble wrap that she's picked up on a visit to ours. I, on the other hand, like to keep things just in case they might come in handy one day. Unfortunately when that one day comes along I can't usually remember where I've put it. Thankfully I remembered where some small ingredient pots that I saved a year or so ago were, as they did come in very handy recently when Sam started cooking at school - what else would I have put 1 tsp of baking powder and 1 tbsp of olive oil in!

Hanna has definitely inherited the untidy hoarder gene, and she has drawers full of 'stuff' - what 12 year old keeps a stack of old tv guides next to her bed or uses a tissue box to keep pens in? She also has lots of trinkets which all have a little story behind them - she likes to call them her 'memories', whether it be a pencil or eraser bought on a school trip, or a shell or keyring from holiday.

Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen

There is a small desk next to her bed, but until recently it was cluttered with ornaments, papers and a disused tv and dvd player. I decided to clear the desk and make it into a place where she would want to sit to do her homework, rather than on the floor. I ventured into WHSmith to see what I could find to pretty up her desk and keep it organised.
whsmith stationery whsmith stationery

Despite the downstairs of our local store not being particularly large, they have a really good selection of stationery and office supplies. There are loads of pretty themes but you really need to look around the whole shop to see everything as there are so many different displays and offers.

whsmith stationery whsmith stationery

I found a small area towards the back of the store that had some items for half price, where I picked up a lovely set of drawers. Although one of the back corners of the drawers was damaged it wasn't in a place that was noticeable so I snatched up the bargain. I also found a magnetic wipe board, a half price magazine file, some pencils, a cupcake notebook and 3 for 2 on other stationery items. I noticed that the drawers had a 'buy one get one free' sticker on so I went back and picked up a Laura Ashley magazine file for myself, for free!

 photo magfile_zpsf5c4f574.jpg

I couldn't wait to get everything home and set up the desk as I knew Hanna would love the items I chose, and all for a bargain price of £22 (including my freebie magazine file).

Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen Creating a Desk Space for a Teen

Decluttering and organising your home is often not as bad as you think, and it makes for a happier home. Do you plan to organise your home in 2015?


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