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Spring/Summer 2018 interior design trends from Crown Paints ❤️

I still cannot believe it is December, in a few weeks when all the Christmas festivities are over we will be ringing in the new year. I do very much hope that 2018 is a fresh start for the world we live in, and I very much hope this beautiful world looks forward to days of peace and happiness.

As you may know this year was a big year in our household, now my living room as a beautifully enlarged living room and my home is complete. We have the space we so wanted and a lovely large dining table to dine around.

But I think it is true to say that once you start decorating or building your home, you start getting ideas. How can I add more to my home? What little changes can make my home even nicer?

I attended Crown Paints press event a few weeks ago, and they have some wonderful ideas and colours for those of you wishing to add something new to your homes in 2018!

Crown Paints – Spring/Summer Colour Influences – 

Crown Paints has been manufactured in Britain since 1777, starting out in a small independent print shop in Darwen, Lancashire, where its headquarters remains.

A lot has happened over the last 200years, but it is still their mission to empower homeowners to realise the potential of colour. Paint is not just about home decoration, it’s about using colour to turn an ordinary space into something personal.

Crown Paints has a fantastic team of colour influencers who have put together the trends for 2018. Consultants, specialists and designers who have colour at the heart of everything they do and inspire people to decorate their homes with colour.

Crown Paints Trends for Spring/Summer 2018 – 

Linear – 

“This trend is about working with the simplicity of straight lines, keeping to slim black outlines in furniture and lighting as well as on walls gives a new and sophisticated look, a modern elegance.” Judy Smith (Crown Colour Consultant)

Provocative – 

“Brave, bold and provocative. With big blocks of colours and strong geometry that’s breaking free from the restriction of the walls.”  Justyna Korczynska (Crown Design Studio)


Bloom is the romantic token of nature at its most magnificent, with fresh floral tones on a long spectrum from lively greens to deep seated pinks and purples. This artistic interpretation picks out the wide brush strokes on an abstract canvas, combining all the fresh colours of a beautiful English garden.

Verdict – 

I found the Crown Paints Spring/Summer colour influences absolutely inspiring and refreshing. I could see so many possibilities, so many ways to transform rooms in our homes beyond just floral wallpaper, or champagne coloured paint.

If you are looking for fresh ways to brighten up your homes, or a specific room, have a look at what Crown Paints has to offer.


My current favourite period drama ❤️ Howards End 🎬

As the nights grow longer and the weather grows colder, there is nothing I enjoy more than snuggling on the sofa with a cosy blanket to watch the latest period drama mini series on the television.

I don’t know what it is I love most about period dramas, but for me they are just pure indulgent pleasure. They take me back to an era where there was no technology; no televisions, iPads and wifi. To a time where great big homes were filled with the sounds of piano music and chatter.

I love seeing the costumes, the ladies dressed in there long petticoated dresses, the gentlemen dressed as smartly as all gentlemen of that era should be, in top hats and formal wear.

Downton Abbey has always been a favourite of mine. The grand home filled with traditional customs and formalities. The amazing costumes and the storylines are always so entertaining, you are at the edge of your seat waiting to see whatever happens next.

Howard End –

The current favourite period drama is Howards End, a dramatisation of the famous book by E.M. Forester. A story about how different classes can become intertwined in love, lies and death. The rich Wilcoxes, the gentle Schlegels, and the lower middle class Basts.

It is wonderful to see how stories are weaved together and how the characters are formed by very famous authors to form an unforgettable story which works wonderfully on the pages of a book, and is just as attractive on the television screen.

Howards End is frequently said to be E. M. Forester’s finest work. I have not seen the previous dramatisations of the book, but this one is very good.

Matthew Macfadyen, who you may remember from the series Spooks, makes a fine Mr. Wilcox, extremely manly and head of his family. After the death of his beloved wife, he falls for the beautiful and very fair Miss Schlegel.

I love movies of course, but there is such a fun anticipation in awaiting these mini dramas.

Howard End ended with its final episode yesterday on BBC1. It was a four part drama, each episode took us through the lives of these three families whose stories intertwined as one.

If you have missed it I strongly recommend watching it soon, maybe get it on catch up tv, or on iTunes, and devour it all in one sitting with a big steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Extra Virgin Olive & Chai Oil 💙 a healthy & yummy addition to your daily meals 😋

I think that if you asked me which kitchen staple I could not do without, it would have to be my favourite go to Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I use it in everything! Cooking, drizzling on salads, and even just poured in a bowl to dip fresh bread into.

Not only is olive oil super healthy it needs to taste fantastic too. But I am always willing to try new things and could not wait to try this new ‘Olive & Chai Oil’ which is on the market.

The Product –

Andean Sol brings you healthy and nutritious superfoods from the Andean region of South America – a wild and remote expanse of diverse cultures and landscapes.

From the sun-baked foothills and windswept Altiplano to the peaks of Patagonia, the Andean region offers an abundance of unique and wholesome foods.

Andean Sol only supplies superfoods that is sourced directly from local farmers and cooperatives in South America. This ensures traceability and the highest quality product at all times. They proudly commit to reinvesting 5% of profits back into the communities in which they work.

Andean Sol Extra Virgin Chia Oil not only tastes amazing – it contains approximately 64% omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), the highest of any known plant based sources of omega-3. The chia oil is cold pressed so that it retains the maximum level of nutrients, active substances and flavour possible. The result is a delicate, vibrantly golden coloured oil that has a delicious light and nutty taste.

Verdict –

I haven’t really used too much chai in my cooking but I am sure you have all heard about the benefits of using chai.

I found out some great facts about chai on the Andean Sol website,

“New scientific research on chia seeds showed them to be an impressive plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, the lack of which in the modern diet contributes to numerous diseases including cancer and heart disease. In addition to being an impressive source of omega-3s, studies showed chia seeds to be high in antioxidants, dietary fibre and plant protein.”

So what better reason to incorporate chai into your daily diet. My boys aren’t always keen on eating seeds when they are visible in foods, but the olive & chai oils are a perfect way to get the benefits of chai without them being visible.

To give the oils a go with my family I decided to make this super yummy recipe using Extra Virgin Chai Oil in place of my regular Olive Oil. And it tasted just as yummy, actually a bit lighter in taste than using regular Olive oil. So a great healthy addition.

Courgettes cooked in Extra Virgin Chai Oil with dill & parsley

Ingredients – (enough for 4)

– 4-5 medium sized courgettes

– 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh parsley (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh dill (finely chopped)

– 2 tables spoons Extra Virgin Chai Oil

– Sea salt & black pepper

– 2 cups warm water

– 1 large onion (finely diced)

Method –
Prepare all the ingredients and set to one side.

Mix together in a large bowl the parsley, dill & garlic.

Peel and slice the courgettes in long thin strips.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the chopped onions and cook over a low heat until cooked and caramelized.

Lower the heat. Line the pan with a layer of the sliced courgettes. Like you are lining a lasagne dish with pasta.

Like making lasagne add a layer of the parsley dill mixture over the courgettes. 

Next another layer of courgette strips.

Then another layer of the parsley dill mixture.

Continue until all the ingredients are used up. Add the water. Sprinkle on salt & pepper. Now leave to cook over a medium heat until the courgettes are soft to taste.

Enjoy cold with a dollop of yogurt! 😋

Find out more about these oils on the Andean Sol website –


Murder on the Orient Express 🎬 a movie review

I have always enjoyed a good murder mystery, be it a movie or a book I cannot put down until the very end, when we find out who did it.

Agatha Christie’s unforgettable detectives Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot have been a part of my life since I was about ten. I remember how exciting it was sitting in our cosy family home living room, the fire buring and us all eagerly anticipating the notoriously intelligent Hercule Poirot to solve the murder mystery.

So when I saw one of my favourite Agatha Christie novels was coming back to the big screen remade with a whole cast of wonderful actors, I could not wait to see it.

The Movie –

A lavish trip through Europe quickly unfolds into a race against time to solve a murder aboard a train.

When an avalanche stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks, the world’s greatest detective — Hercule Poirot — arrives to interrogate all passengers and search for clues before the killer can strike again.

Verdict –

The first thing I must ask is, have you been lucky enough to see the original version of this movie?

The one starring Albert Finney as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Well if you haven’t I believe you will find this version quite pleasing as naturally you will have nothing to compare it to, and you will not know anything about the twists and turns in the storyline.

But, if you have seen the original, I think you might be slightly disappointed. Sadly even with special effects and the high tech filming stamdards of today, the original wins hands down for me.

It is still definately watchable and entertaining though. The cast is a strong one, with Dame Judy Dench and Johnny Depp making memorable appearances. Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot however takes a little more time to get used to.

In one word I found him a bit ‘annoying,’ although he was clever and witty, as Ms. Christie wanted him to be, he is also too overly clever, making others upset along the way.

So all in all a movie that can entertain as the story is of the best quality, in a style only Agatha Christie can write. But if you have seen the original wait, and watch it on dvd.

My favourite winter soup ❤️ Red Lentil & Bulgur Soup

The nights are getting much colder and the days much shorter. I find the perfect way to warm up in these wintery months is with a big bowl of thick wholesome soup. Lunchtimes for me are now a bowl of soup and nothing else. Not only are they superbly filling they are so good for you.

I like thick soup that are like a meal in a bowl. This is my go to soup this winter! It is very similar to my Spicy Red Lentil soup recipe but thanks to some great tips from family & friends, Ive added a few ‘extra’ ingredients which make it yummier, healthier and just so good.

So here it is, super easy to make, I make a huge pot of it at the weekend, then just heat up batches as needed through the week. My boys love it so much they eat at least two bowls each in one meal. Yum yum!

Red Lentil & Bulgur soup!


– 1 cup of Organic Red Lentils

– 1/2 cup bulgur wheat

– 1 cup Passata or freshly chopped tomatoes

– 2 small onions (finely diced)

– 4 carrots (peeled and finely diced)

– 2 tablespoons Olive oil

– 1 knorr Chicken pot stock

– 1 teaspoon of brown sugar

– Sea salt, ground black pepper & chilli flakes to taste

– 1 teaspoon of ground cumin



Place the lentils, bulgur, carrots, onions and tomatoes in a large saucepan.

Cover with enough water so that all ingredients are covered. Boil until all the ingredients are soft to the taste.

Leave to cool then with the use of a stick blender mix the ingredients into a purée like consistency, make sure it is lump free.

Add enough warm water to make the purée into a more soup like consistency. Add the olive oil, chicken stock, sugar, cumin and sprinkle on a little sea salt & pepper. Mix over a medium heat until all ingredients have dissolved.

Sprinkle on chilli flakes, dried mint and serve with warm crusty bread.

Enjoy! xxxx

The Christmas Chronicles ❤️📚 by Nigel Slater 

I love cookbooks. Its not that I cant cook, I definately can. But I love finding out about new recipes, discovering new meals to try & prepare for my loved ones, and for you lovelies ofcourse.

Nigel Slater has always been one of my favourites. I love watching him on television. His recipes are simple and definately manageable at home, and he has a calming manner which I find so relaxing to watch.

So when I found out that Nigel Slater had a new book out for Christmas I just had to review it for you all.

The Book –

From the BBC1 presenter and bestselling author of Eat, The Kitchen Diaries and Toast comes a new book featuring everything you need for the winter solstice.

The Christmas Chronicles is the story of Nigel Slater’s love for winter, the scent of fir and spruce, ghost stories read with a glass of sloe gin, and beeswax candles with shadows dancing on the ceiling. With recipes, decorations, fables and quick fireside suppers, Nigel guides you through the essential preparations for Christmas and the New Year, with everything you need to enjoy the winter months.

Taking you from 1 November all the way to the end of January, The Christmas Chronicles covers everything from Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year to Epiphany. Throughout the season, Nigel offers over 100 recipes to see you through the build-up, the celebrations and the aftermath. Here are much-loved classics such as goose and turkey (and making the most of the leftovers), mincemeat and the cake; recipes to make the cold months bearable, like ribsticker bread pudding with Comté and Taleggio, salt crust potatoes with blue cheese and goat’s curd, and hot-smoked salmon, potatoes and dill; as well as bright flavours to welcome the new year, including pink grapefruit marmalade, pear and pickled radish salad and rye, linseed and treacle bread.

Packed with feasts, folktales, myths and memoir and all told in Nigel’s warm and intimate signature style, The Christmas Chronicles is the only book you’ll ever need for winter.

Verdict –

It’s my birthday tomorrow, and this was one of my birthday gifts. It is just perfect. Not too big and bulky, or filled with endless pictures, like some cookbooks. 

What makes this so much more than a cookbook are the memories. So many wonderful memories of the festive period.

A definate Christmas gift for that special ‘cook’ in your life.

Available on Amazon & in all major bookshops now.

Paddington 2 💙❤️ a movie review 🎬

One of the things we love to do as a family is go to the cinema. Now the boys are a little older the range of things to do have changed. But when a movie the whole family will enjoy comes out we are all very excited!

Paddington Bear has always been a sweetheart of mine. Ever since I was a little girl I loved the books and the cute cuddly bear to bits. Its so nice to see Paddington get the recognition he so well deserves yet again, he is a definite hit with my boys.

We watched the first movie when it came out, so seeing the second installmemt on the big screen was a must!

The Movie –

Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

One fine day, he spots a pop-up book in an antique shop — the perfect present for his beloved aunt’s 100th birthday. When a thief steals the prized book, Paddington embarks on an epic quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy’s big celebration.

Verdict –

Paddington 2 has a fantastic cast, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonville, Julie Walters, Brenden Gleeson, Jim Broadbent to name but a few.

The movie lasts 1hr 43mins but we loved it so much we could have easily watched an hour more.

Set in beautifully shot parts of lovely London it is a captivating story with Hugh Grant making the evil Pheonix Buchanan character so funny and yet charming, in a way only Hugh Grant can.

My boys, aged 9 & 7 were not bored one bit, a fantastic movie for mummies, daddies, grand parents, kiddies & everyone really!

A great day out!

Paddington 2 is out now in cinemas Nationwide.

Christmas gifts delivered to your door ❤️🎁 by Prestige Hampers!

It’s that time of the year, planning gifts for the ones you love.

The buying of gifts is a definate art. And I think that this year edible gifts will be the most popular.

Who wouldn’t want a beautiful array of yummy Christmas treats to enjoy over the festivities. After all Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry!

The Gift –

Prestige Hampers specialise in just that, wonderfully luxurious hampers filled with delightful goodies for the whole family to enjoy.

I was sent the most amazing hamper, a breathtaking Union Jack wooden case which is a show stopper in itself. But when opened your are surprised even further. As you unpack the case you find some delicious drinkable and edible Christmas delights.

Celebrate Christmas with this British inspired hamper. This hamper is filled with the very best traditional beverages and gourmet food produces to make the festivities that much better. All of these delectable treats are beautifully presented in a large Union Jack suitcase for the ultimate patriotic finishing touch.

Mulled Winter Punch 75cl
Elderflower and Rose Presse 75cl
Red Velvet Crunch Biscuits 150g
English Breakfast 40g
Milk, White and Dark Chocolate Classics 120g
Shortbread Festive Shapes 60g
Vine Fruits Christmas Pudding 112g
Iced Fruit Cake 400g
Dark Chocolate Bar 60g
Mackays Christmas Marmalade 113g
Mackays Christmas Preserve 113g
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Yorkshire Crisps 100g
Handmade Smoked Oatcakes 125g
Union Jack Wooden Case

Verdict –

All I can say is if I received this for Christmas I would be one very happy mummy! The packaging, the delicious delights inside, the drinks; all just so perfect!

The chocolates, biscuits, preserves, very generous bottles of festive drinks will be savoured with delight in the coming months.

I think any family or friend receiving this or any of the other hampers this Christmas would be over the moon with delight.

To order your hamper for the ones you love, don’t delay, and head to the Prestige Hampers website now –




A Quiet Passion 🎬 a movie review

I have always felt an emotional closeness to Emily Dickinson. Ever since living and studying in Amherst, and visiting the Dickinson Homestead, where the great poet spent her whole life.

Amherst is a beautifully quaint New England town outside Boston. It is home to some great educational establishments such as Amherst College and The University  of Massachusetts. It was in UMASS Amherst I studied for my Masters degree and where I discovered Emily Dickinson’s poetry & wanted to find out more about her life.

So I was very excited to watch A Quiet Passion, a movie about the life of the great poet herself.

The Movie –

A Quiet Passion is a 2016 biographical film directed and written by Terence Davies about the life of U.S poet Emily Dickinson. 

The film stars Cynthia Nixon as the reclusive poet. It co-stars Emma Bell as young Dickinson, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff and Keith Carradine.

Verdict –

If I could have produced and directed a movie about Emily Dickinson I do not think it would be any different to A Quiet Passion. It is like stepping back in time to Amherst in the 1800s. To a time when no televisions existed, there was no wifi, there wasnt even a radio to pass the time. 

The Dickinson family was one of privilege and they lived in a comfortable house in a pretty town. But the control over the family by Mr & Mrs Dickinson can be felt throughout the whole movie.

Time was passed playing the piano, cooking, gardening, and for Emily writing was her forte. She shared the beautiful homestead withher beloved sister Vinnie and handsome brother Austin, and her stern father & invalid mother, who hardly ever left her upstairs room. 

Life was not easy for Emily, who remained unmarried until her dying day at the age of 55. She felt a huge sense of loyalty towards her father & mother which prevented her & her siblings from leaving home. Her brother Austin even as a grown married man chose to live right next door to the homestead. Vinnie & Emily never left home.

The movie is a masterpiece in that it shows the good with the bad. Its shows the pain Emily felt, battling her demons and her illnesses.

A Quiet Passion is a movie all writers, lovers of poetry need to watch. It is depressing at times. I had to switch it off twice, but came back again.

Cynthia Nixon is the perfect Emily.


Available on dvd now.

❤️🏡 What makes my house a home? ❤️🏡

Anyone who knows me, be it my wonderful friends or my lovely family, will know how much I adore my home. For me a home has always been a haven, a place for friends and family to come together and enjoy time together.

So when I came across this wonderful assignment set by Furnish Your Home, to answer the simple question, “What makes your house a home” I just had to enter, as I feel so strongly on the subject.

What makes my house a home?

I am a stay at home mummy, and have been for the past 10 years. My eldest son is going to be 10 this year, so over the past decade I have given all my energy and channelled all my love into making my house a home for my children and family.

The house we now live in has been our home for the past five years, prior to that we were lucky enough to live in central London in a much smaller apartment which we rented, but that too was an apartment filled with love and enjoyment.


I have always believed that ‘homemaking’ is a talent you are born with. Of course it can be learnt, but I am lucky enough to come from a family who have always given importance to where they live.

Freshly baked cakes 

The smell of freshly baked cakes can transform your house into a home. I read recently that estate agents wishing to sell houses do just that! Fill the house with yummy smells of cakes & coffee to make it more homely. And in turn make it more attractive. 

You don’t need a huge mansion to make a home, someone who is a homemaker can transform a tiny studio into a cosy haven to relax in and unwind, with a few accessories.

When we were growing up my mother was our homemaker. Our childhood home was always filled with smells of freshly cooked meals, the sofas were always soft and fluffy enticing you to sit in them and enjoy your surroundings. Our home was always the home friends wanted to come over to after school or at the weekends because they always knew there would be a comfortable atmosphere and delicious home cooked food on hand.

Sunday roasts 

In my home today I am the homemaker. One of my biggest joys is preparing our Sunday roasts. It is normally just the four of us – my darling husband, my two boys and me. But when we are lucky enough to have friends or family visiting I love cooking for everyone, nothing gives me more pleasure than having a huge roast dinner around our dining table. More the merrier.

We just recently extended our living room, and now we are lucky enough to have a huge dining table that seats up to eight. Every Sunday I ensure the table is set immaculately, and the delicious scent of roast beef or lamb fills the whole home, roast potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshire puddings. What makes me happiest is watching the ones I love enjoy the dinner I prepared.

Fresh flowers, blankets & candles

Other ways in which I create a home are with the accessories. Candles, blankets, flowers, soft comfy sofas and photographs in pretty frames of the ones we love.

What more could life be about but enjoying your surrounding and making the most of life.

Beautiful china 

I love collecting china of different colours, sizes and full of beauty. I love going to antique makets in search of vintage cups, plates & bowls to add to my homes homliness. Just last month in Amsterdam my mother & I bought some lovely antique soup bowls for just one euro each. 

I find eating & drinking from china with a story so much more interesting. 

So if you are looking for inspiration to make your house more homely head over to Furnish Your Home for some great furniture & ideas –