Design Classic – Welsh Blankets

Around two years ago I started subscribing to Mid Century magazine, and amongst all the amazing articles and home tours, I spotted my first Welsh blanket.

Its funny, I showed a magazine to my Mum and mentioned how much I liked the blanket in the picture. Her reply was something along the lines of “ugggh, we’ve had all that type of stuff before and we were glad to get rid of it!!!”

Sometimes she just does not get my love of good bad-taste! If you are interested, here is a B+W Instagram snap of a vintage blanket that used to belong to my grandparents that I now own and love. One persons trash is another persons treasure eh!

At the time I had no idea that the blankets I was admiring were specifically Welsh blankets. A craft industry product which still to this day are woven in local Welsh mills and are so bloody expensive! Have you seen how much these bad boys go for on eBay? Or brand new?

One day I might treat myself to one. In the mean time here is a visual treat of welsh blankets looking damm fine in other peoples houses.

image from design sponge

image from design sponge. I love this sneak peek!Image from thedesignfiles.net. Another dreamy blanket from another dreamy home tour.Image from thedesignfiles.net. Another dreamy blanket from another dreamy home tour.Image from themodernhouse.net anther amazing holiday let!Image from themodernhouse.net an amazing holiday let!Image from themodernhouse.net. An amazing holiday let!Image from themodernhouse.net. Another amazing holiday let!

Want to feast your eyes on more tasty bedrooms? Then check out my Pinterest board where I lost a few hours down the internet rabbit hole one rainy Sunday afternoon!

Chocolate Weetabix Slice

Once upon a time, back in the noughties, there was a young (ish) girl called Helen, who once she had her kitchen decorated, started to discover the joys of cooking and baking and she (finally) came over all domesticated. She started to buy and collect recipe books, read food blogs, and she collected lots of recipes that she had torn out of magazines and printed off the internet.

Fast forward six years later to January 2014, where Helen finally got around to making one of the recipes she had printed and had stuck into her (still) unfinished craft project of a homemade recipe book.

She made a recipe she printed from the internet that she thought sounded intriguing. It was for a chocolate, cakey, slicey type thing with Weetabix™ as an ingredient. Helen did not know what to expect when she made this slice, but when she made it she was so pleasantly surprised that she decided to blog about it!weety sliceRight, thats enough heartwarming story telling. Im going to stop blogging about myself in third person and talk straight.

Its hard to describe the taste and texture of this slice, but I would say its somewhere between a  chocolate Hobnob biscuit and a rocky road slice. Plus this is so easy and fun to make (I enjoyed the crushing the Weetabix part! I am easily entertained!) Go on, give it a go, its a good way to have your Weetabix!!

I have made this tray bake twice now and both times Rob and I have practically inhaled it. I have tried and tried to find the original link for this post, but with no luck. All I know is that it was from an Australian site back in 2008 and if you Google for similar recipes, they all seem to be from down under. Scrap that, I found it! I have posted the original recipe on here with a couple of small changes.

weety 2Ingredients
60g dark chocolate
110g butter
1 tablespoon (20ml) golden syrup
3 Weetabix (about 48g total)
100g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) desiccated coconut
110g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour

Chocolate Icing
140g (1 cup) icing sugar
10g (1 tablespoon) cocoa powder
5g (1 teaspoon) butter, softened
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
6g (1 tablespoon) desiccated coconut, for sprinkling on top of slice

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter together over a low heat, stirring frequently. When melted, remove from heat.

In a bowl crush the Weetabix by breaking them up with your fingers, add the coconut, brown sugar and flours and stir until combined.

Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Firmly press the mixture into a slice baking tray lined with baking parchment using the back of a spoon and brute force.

Bake slice for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180º.

Next make the chocolate icing while slice is baking.

Remove from oven and cool for one minute before spreading with icing. Sprinkle with extra tablespoon of coconut.

Allow slice to cool to room temperature before cutting into pieces to serve. Store slice in an airtight container. Suitable to freeze.

Chocolate Icing
Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into a medium bowl. Add butter and milk and stir until smooth. The icing should be quite thick at this stage; however, it will spread easily when placed on the hot slice. This part is a bit tricky, but persevere. If you want to skip this part thats fine. The first time I made this I did not bother with the icing. It does not add much, it only makes it a bit sweeter really, if thats your thing.

The Ever Evolving Shelves of Kitschen Glory

I like to mix things up and restyle our tat objet d’art from time to time.

Here is how my kitchen shelves currently look…

kitchen shelves 3

With lots of Pyrex, my kitschy animal collection, three retro Andy Warhol soup tins (only 50p each in Morrisons!) and a Lord Nelson sugar canister. I would like to collect the full set. Only it might take a while as they are so expensive!

Here is the previous incarnation…shelvesAnd before that….new kitchen 1I think I might need a third shelf!

Some Stuff I Like

Below are some things that I don’t need, but I would like to fill my house with.
You know, just to clutter pretty it up a bit.

house wish list

 

 

Polyvore is such a great way to waste time is’nt it!

My set I created says the following about me – I am a crazy plant lady who since she has learnt how to keep houseplants alive (by actually watering them) wants to fill her home to the brim with them, who wants to put a bird on it, likes yellow and extremely expensive coffee tables. And doesn’t really have an eye for visual layouts.

A Kitchen Helper

Last year I purchased an item that I hoped would make my life easier. I bought myself a magnetic blackboard for the kitchen.

Not exactly a revolutionary purchase I will admit. But wait until you read what I had planned to use it for, its a game changer!

My plan was to attach it to the side of our fridge and write on it exactly what I had stashed away inside our freezer.

Like most people, I am terrible at remembering what I have in my freezer. When I am food shopping I buy things that I have already stockpiled. Plus I am forever forgetting to get meat out of the freezer in advance for our meals, so often make a mad dash to my local supermarket to buy some fresh chicken breasts or sausages etc when I already have some in the freezer.

How stupid is that eh? Nevermind that I only live a ten minute walk from my local supermarket chain (so handy!) The whole point is that I am needlessly spending money each month on things I already have. And because of my disorganisation, food stuffs stay in my freezer for much longer than is recommended. I have a ready meal lasagne that has been lurking in the bottom of the freezer for around two years. Oppsy! Its slowly getting freezer burn and less and less appetising. And now that I have mentioned it on my blog, I am never going to get Rob to eat it!

What a waste of a crappy lasagne. I hate wasting food. And I really hate ready meals.

I cannot claim that the freezer chalkboard list is my idea. I totally copied Hannah from Seeds and Stitches. I saw on her blog, or was it her house tour on Apartment Therapy, or on her Instagram account? (OMG I have made myself sound like such a stalker in that sentence!!) She had sanded down her fridge freezer and painted it with chalkboard paint to write her meal planning lists and what she had inside her freezer on it.

Image from apartmenttherapy.com

Image from apartmenttherapy.com

What a simple, but genius idea! So I got my thinking cap on and started making plans to make my own version. For about 10 seconds I considered painting our fridge freezer, then I came to my senses and started Googling for an easier alternative. I am far too inept and lazy for all that sanding and painting! Plus a black fridge freezer would look a bit pugly in our kitchen.

While researching for lazy girl alternatives I did consider sticking a sheet of chalkboard vinyl to the front of our unit, but in the end I bought a plain magnetic chalkboard from Amazon and stuck it to the side of our fridge.ff 2So far, so good. This list is really helping both Rob and I plan meals better, and I am finally denting my frost bitten meat stash!

I am loving the chalk marker pen too, its much better than traditional chalk, which I always manage to snap when I use it!ff 3So the moral of this unnecessarily long blog post is – if you are as disorganised as I am when it comes to food in your freezer, get yourself a chalkboard! And read Hannah’s blog, its great!

Dining Room Tour

I am so excited to share this room tour on here! Our dining room has been decorated for a while now and I have just been waiting for all the finishing touches to be completed – like finding the right clock for the room, the framing and hanging of our prints. Oh, and the carpet to be fitted!

The dining room was one of the first rooms we decorated back in early 2010 and we finally carpeted this room in December 2012!

Now that the cold, hard, paint splattered, dusty concrete floors are a distant memory, its one of my favourite rooms in our house. Plus it has turned out exactly as I envisioned it!

I started to plan this room back in 2008, around the time that Rob and I started talking about moving. I knew in my next house that I wanted my future dining room (if I was lucky enough to find a house with one!) to have a black, white and yellow colour scheme, a vintage sideboard and Eames dining chairs. Over the next few years the room has evolved into something resembling my initial ideas, but with much more colourful (and better) curtains!

When we moved into our house, the dining room was wallpapered with a horrible beige squared patterned paper and had cheap and nasty, badly laid fake beechwood laminate flooring.

Back in 2010, I had no idea that I was going to become a world famous blogger(!!!). So I have no photos to show how things used to look. I managed to find the photo below showing the stripped walls (begone you horrible 90’s wallpaper!) through the kitchen doorway and one more photo of the work in progress.

dining room beforeAt this point I had already purchased the vintage yellow lampshade and we had bought our new-old table. I won the table on eBay for the grand total of £10! Its a vintage Nathan or MacIntosh teak table from the 70’s (I think).

For that price the table had its fair share of wear and tear and Rob did start to restore it by sanding it down etc, but we soon discovered that it was made from teak veneer rather than solid wood and Rob’s efforts unfortunately did more harm than good!

Luckily the table was only a tenner so we weren’t that bothered. We did say that at some point we would find a replacement. But almost four years later, we have become rather fond of our table despite its imperfections. Its sturdy and well built, just the right size for the room, and will extend to seat six people if I felt so inclined to host a dinner party. You know, when hell freezes over and all that!dining room before 2Here is the dining room right before the new carpet was laid.
before2And here it is in its full glory photographed the best I can on a dark January afternoon!dining room 1dining room 2dining room 3dining room 5dining room 6dining room 7dining room 8
And finally, a peek into the room through the kitchen doorway. A much better view than the first photograph in this post eh!dining room 9Source list
Lampshade – vintage from eBay
Sideboard – vintage from eBay
Table – vintage from eBay
Tretchikoff coasters – eBay
Tretchikoff Print and Velvet Underground poster – eBay and framed using online made to measure framers
Chairs – cheapo Eames DSW reproduction chairs from… you guessed it, eBay!
Clock – TK Maxx
Plants – Aldi & Morrisons
Plant pots – Homebase
Curtains – John Lewis
Curtain pole – Argos
Ipod dock – HMV
Teak deers on sideboard – Various charity shops
Dunny on sideboard – Present from Rob, Kid Robot limited edition with Swatch
Placemats – House of Fraser (with about 90% off, because I can’t imagine there is a huge demand for bright yellow placemats!)

Edit 10/01/14 – Since I wrote this post Hell has froze over! Does this mean I have to host a dinner party? 

2014 Resolutions

I know these type of posts are boring to read, especially if your Bloglovin/Feedly account is full of them right now. And I do apologise for that.

But Im still going to indulge myself and write one! Sorry!

Last year I did a resolutions post and wrote the following –

  1. Keep blogging. For as long as I enjoy doing so.
  2. Go to Glastonbury in the camper van.
  3. Get the camper van through its MOT.
  4. Read more books. I read so little in 2012. Blame it on the distraction of the Internet.
  5. Broaden my baking horizons.
  6. Lose some weight. Hmm…. not sure how that’s going to work with #5!
  7. Finish as much of the house as we can.

And whoop whoop, I managed to achieve most of them! All except for no. 5 as I had to stop eating so much cake to achieve no. 6! Thats why I make easy resolutions, so I can feel a bit smug proud a year later!

For 2014 I want to do the following –

  1. Read more books. I read more in 2013 than 2012, but I still do not read as many novels as I used to. I indulge in too much brain rotting internet and telly, me thinks.
  2.  Plan meals better. Ever since we fixed up our kitchen almost 1.5 years ago (gulp) I have been a little slack with this. I need to up my organisational game.
  3. Do not put things off. Just get on and do it. I am a champion procrastinator (and Rob is not much better). This includes housework, work stuff and things on the to do list. So thats everything basically.
  4. When it comes to blogging, I want quality not quantity on here. I am not going to take part in anymore blogging everyday challenges. I want to keep on improving my photography and writing on here.
  5. Keep on losing weight. I lost half a stone last year (and have since put some of that back on over  the Christmas period. PLEASE STOP RAINING WEATHER SO I CAN GET OUT THE HOUSE!!!) It would be nice to lose a little more. If not, no pressure, I just want to be more active with more walking, swimming and cycling.
  6. Bake more bread. I did not make many cakes last year, but I started to experiment with 5 minute bread with mixed results. I want to start doing it again and bake more traditional loaves too. If this fails, then bite the bullet and buy a bread maker as I hate supermarket bread, homemade tastes much better (if do I say so myself!)
  7. Be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my lot right now. But In the past Ive had periods where for various reasons I have not been. It is easy to stress out, to moan and to want what you perceive other people to have. Easy, yes. But such a stupid waste of energy. I want to keep on appreciating my house, family, friends, jobs and life in general.

    Image from hdwallpaperszon.com

    Image from hdwallpaperszon.com