NEW HOUSE / Open Plan Kitchen

posted in: HOME | 2

OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATA

I’ve been meaning to get the first of these posts up since we moved in but I wanted to get settled enough for the rooms to look at least semi-finished before hand. Today I spent the entire day (literally 6-7 hours) organising cupboards, unpacking still packed boxes and cleaning the kitchen so it seemed like the logical place to start. We’re living with some furniture that doesn’t ‘go’ for right now while we find/save for replacements but we all love a good before/after, don’t we so consider this our ‘before’

OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATA OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATA OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATA OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATA OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATA OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATA OPEN PLAN KITCHEN DINER SNUG STRATAFor those of you just joining us we bought a new build with my parents 3weeks ago. The snug area off the kitchen/diner is their ‘living room’ for now but we’re hoping a conservatory will replace that in the not too distant future. In the meantime my Dad is building an outdoor mancave which I’ll also be sharing progress on in the next week or two. So the bookcase and the TV area will stay as is for now but we’re switching out the table, chairs and the bar stools as soon as we can. Long term we’d like to change the worktop and add a fully tiled backsplash all the way around the kitchen units but that’s way down the line.

It’s so tempting to wait until everything is finished to share rooms in your home but 1. when is it really ever FINISHED and 2. I love seeing the transformation steps in other people’s rooms so here we are.. next stop, living room!

Baking In The New Year / Mega Moist Orange Drizzle Cake

posted in: FOOD | 1

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Today was the last day of the kids holidays and I have only just managed to sit down .. is it terrible that I’m looking forward to them going back tomorrow? Actually, I don’t care if it is.. I am! I tried to pack in as much as I could in our last day – partly to tire them out so they’d get a good nights sleep, they’re always knackered after the first day of school – and baking is always a hit. I thought I’d try something other than the usual sponge cake so we pulled out an old favourite my Grandma used to make, Orange Drizzle Cake. I kind of guessed at the recipe, adding to my usual 4,4,4,2 method and it turned out to be the MOST moist (shudder) cake i’ve ever made.. not IDEAL to sandwich together and would possibly be better in cupcakes but crumbly and delicious all the same.

For those of you still without a staple cake recipe in their arsenal 4,4,4,2 is easy to remember and adapt. 4oz of sugar, butter and self raising flour and 2 eggs. I doubled that for this cake and added the zest and juice of one orange to the cake itself and more juice to the buttercream filling and to make the icing. For a little drier cake (one that is easier to get out of the pan in one piece) I may skip an egg or use less in the mixture but this is manageable.. just not the prettiest, perfectly formed cake I’ve ever made, hence no picture.

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I baked the two tins at 160C for around 20mins and they were good.. this is the first time I’ve used our new oven for this kind of thing so I was nervous but the transparent door is an absolute godsend, I don’t know how I ever lived without one!

The ‘drizzle’ comes in with the icing once you’ve sandwiched your cakes together, you need a decent amount of (not too thick) icing sugar mixed with orange juice to pour over the cake so that it ‘drizzles’ down the sides, the perfect amount of icing if you ask me. I don’t like too sweet a cake and a thin layer of sugary icing is just right.

And finally at half past 8 Milo has stopped jumping back out of bed, Ella is getting her school stuff ready and I am sitting down with a cup of tea and my first slice and I can confirm, it is delicious!

New Year, New Me?

posted in: LIFE | 3

img_0428Not quite. I do love a resolution but I tend to be my most motivated to improve myself or change what’s not working in September.. perhaps I’m still stuck in the academic calendar but my start feels freshest when the kids go back to school. The weather tends to still be at least mild and we’re ready for a change of seasons.. in January it’s FREEZING! (who wants to pop out for a run with the icy roads and bitter wind? Not me!) and Spring feels like an eternity away. I do try to re-evaluate my blogging goals at this time of year, however.

I’ve never quite managed to carve out any consistent structure for my internet job when it comes to my working week, in January I always think ‘this is the year’ but so far.. no luck. This year it’s even trickier as we just moved in to a new house with my PARENTS and their dog. So my distractions (and the noise levels) have doubled. I’m yet to sit down and film a stack of videos as I would have done by now if we were back in the old place after Christmas and I think I’m putting it off, assuming it will be too challenging so my main goal right now is to find a new routine and just GET ON WITH IT. I’m listening to ‘Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight (also wrote the great ‘Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F*ck’) and it’s excellent for those perpetually disorganised folk like me who need a digital kick up the arse for the New Year.

I have LOVED audiobooks this past year and although I’ve dabbled with self help I ultimately found the best advice and life coaching often comes in the form of a memoir. People sharing their life (or often half life) stories, how they grew to be the person interesting enough to be writing a book about themselves can be very inspirational. Amy Poehler and Tiny Fey were obvious favourites but if you’re looking for a long haul ‘read’ I’d highly recommend Nick Offerman’s ‘Paddle Your Own Canoe’ for some timeless life lessons and stories from an incredibly humble man who happens to be famous – and married to Megan Mullally. A hybrid I enjoyed recently that would be very appropriate for right now would be ‘The Year Of Yes’ by Shonda Rhimes. She challenged herself to say yes to more (all, really) opportunities that came her way and shared how it may or may not have changed her life.

All in all I don’t have a set list of to do’s right now.. I will work on one because I think it’s good to have some goals to remind yourself of throughout the year but for now I just want to get back on the horse and find the most productive way of working in my new situation without running myself (or my blog) in to the ground. I tend to flit between YouTube/Blogging year by year and I definitely feel more enthusiasm for my blog at this moment so we shall see where that takes me but the beauty of internetting for a living is that the work can alter to fit my mood/interests.

One thing I do try to reinforce at New Year is that if I’m not enjoying something anymore, I don’t have to keep doing it. That may sound too black and white in a grey world, I mean I hate the school run but I have to keep taking the kids, right? But I CAN change my morning routine to make the whole process a little easier. If you’re unhappy in a situation that you COULD change with a little risk/work, why wouldn’t you take that leap? As they say, life is short..

I hope you’re all enjoying your (for most) last day off and aren’t too horrified at the thought of returning to work tomorrow, Oh and.. Happy New Year! – albeit a little late

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