• Recipe: Turmeric Golden Milk

    turmeric golden milk recipe
  • Review: Prochef Large Deep Roasting Tray

    prochef roasting tin review
  • Review: Sistema KLIP IT Food Storage Containers

    sistema food storage boxes
  • Giveaway: George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces Book

    George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces Book

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Recipe: Turmeric Golden Milk

Golden Milk hit the headlines last year as a heath boosting alternative to coffee made with the bright yellow-orange spice Turmeric which is commonly used in curries and sauces. It comes from the turmeric root and has been used for its medicinal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties for thousands of years.

Arguably, the most powerful aspect of curcumin (the active chemical in turmeric) is its ability to control inflammation which is why I have recently added it to my daily supplement regime to help prevent flare-ups of my repetitive strain injury problems in my wrists.

Turmeric has a peppery, warm flavour and a mild fragrance which makes it perfect for making into a soothing drink. Golden Milk is a great way to get the benefits of Turmeric daily without feeling like you’re taking medicine. Here is my favourite recipe:

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk or other milk alternatives
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder (This may stain blenders, counter tops and skin so be careful!)
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar or other sweeteners (You can add more or less depending on your tastes)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Heat your milk either in the microwave or in a pan
  2. Place all of the other ingredients in a cup and mix well
  3. Add a small amount of hot milk to the spice mix and stir to make a paste
  4. Slowly add the milk little by little until you have a fragrant, golden milk
  5. Enjoy!

Note: There are many variations of the Golden Milk recipe including those with other spices such as ginger and pepper, so why not experiment and find your favourite combination?

turmeric golden milk recipe

Review: Prochef Large Deep Roasting Tray

Making batches of vegetables and meat in big roasting trays is the most efficient way of cooking up lunches for my husband to enjoy during the work week. I used to use a big glass tray but unfortunately, our dog recently decided to try and grab some food from the kitchen counter for herself and smashed the glass tray, making a big mess in the process!

Looking for an alternative I took a look on Amazon and came across the Prochef large deep roasting trays which I decided to give a go. I was attracted by the durable non-stick surface, cost (£5.11) and size coming in at 37.5cm long, 27.7cm wide and 6.5cm high it makes the perfect roasting tray for a batch of roasted vegetables big enough to last for 5 days.

The trays are part of the Everyday Bakeware by Prochef and are described as being perfect for roasting vegetables, meat, and lasagne as well as for baking cakes and puddings. The Prochef roasting trays are safe up to 230C/475F or gas mark 8 and can also be used in conventional.

The trays are made of a high-quality carbon steel and are coated with a non-stick coating, allowing for even heat distribution which is key when cooking a large batch!

I have found that the roasting trays are perfect for my needs. They are light in weight, just the right size to hold a good load of veggies and clean up nicely in either the dishwasher or in the sink. The food is cooked evenly and they have certainly made it easier to prepare my husband’s lunches. The bonus is that if they drop on the floor they don’t smash.

I award the Prochef large deep roasting trays 5 out of 5 stars and will be using them moving forward to keep the kitchen running smoothly.

prochef roasting tin review

Review: Sistema KLIP IT Food Storage Containers

When it comes to thinking ahead and preparing meals for his work day, unfortunately, my husband often falls behind and then complains to me that he wasn’t able to eat lunch during the day. Having had enough of his complaints I decided to prepare bulk meals for Vlad to take to work with him so I no longer hear such complaints!

I decided to purchase some new food storage boxes because despite having a large collection of Tupperware in the cupboard I couldn’t for the life of me find enough matching boxes and lids to make 5 days worth of lunches in one go.

After browsing for an alternative I came across the Sistema KLIP IT food storage containers  on Amazon and decided to get some 1.2ltr boxes for Vlad’s main meal with smaller 1ltr boxes for a salad.

I chose the Sistema range based on the description of them being compact modular stackable food storage containers with an airtight seal perfect for dry food storage. They feature the distinctive Sistema KLIP IT easy locking clips which made it fast and easy to securely apply the lid.

They are also Dishwasher, microwave (without lid), fridge and freezer friendly which make them perfect to use for Vlad’s lunches. They are also leak-proof which is perfect for salad dressings and sauces.

The 1.2ltr boxes are ample big for storing sandwiches and pasta dishes or in Vlad’s case meat and vegetables, with the smaller 1ltr boxes holds an excellent amount of salad to accompany the main dish.

The box lids hold fast and do not open accidentally in Vlad’s bag en route to work, no-one wants to discover their lunch has escaped into their bag!

When it comes to washing and storing the boxes they are easy to pop into the dishwasher and stack nicely in my cupboard. I have a pile of boxes and a pile of corresponding lids so hopefully, I will be well stocked for future requirements!

The Sistema KLIP IT food storage containers have proven themselves to be the perfect solution to on-the-go lunches for my husband and I no longer hear complaints of being hungry! I award them 5 out of 5 stars and will be using them for the foreseeable future.

sistema food storage boxes

 

Giveaway: George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces Book

In his book architect, writer, lecturer and TV presenter George Clarke combines the eccentric and the inspirational with practical information directly from his own award-winning projects throughout the UK and abroad.

Creative Director of George Clarke + Partners George is passionate about the way architecture can transform our everyday lives with an aim to make architecture and design popular and accessible to everyone.

In Amazing Spaces, George showcases how small spaces can be adapted into really workable, amazingly unexpected living areas. The book will appeal those who dream of a getaway as well as those wishing to make the most of the space at home or in the garden, such as converting a basement into a casino.

The book showcases over 20 previously unpublished home, garden, holiday and work spaces as well as advice and style tips, the book features.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below to win a signed copy of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

‘Prize supplied by Truedor, specialists suppliers of composite doors .’

How the Internet has guided my life #BroadbandAndMe

I remember when I wrote my University personal statement I started it with the sentence ‘I was born with a keyboard attached to my hands, ok maybe not literally..’ and looking back over the 30 years of my life I have to admit that most of that time has been spent attached to a computer both personally and professionally.

I was lucky to grow up in a technologically forward thinking family with both my late maternal Grandfather and my Mother being keen on computers, my first being a Commodore Amiga which was released a year before I was born on which I learned to play educational games and made a life-long connection with computers.

I was also lucky to have attended a primary school which boasted a room of BBC Microcomputers on which we spent time learning how to program LOGO and played fantasy style games where you met various characters along a journey and made decisions which affected the gameplay.

Every year or two we would get an upgrade to our home computer, which my sister and I originally shared, before getting our own computers (hurrah!) so we could play games (I was addicted to the virtual pets game; Pets from Ubisoft as well as the Sims which I still play today!), and learn how to use Microsoft Office and other packages. Does anyone else remember playing Winnie the Witch and Where in the world/ time is Carmen Sandiego?

My love for computers grew exponentially when my parents decided to connect to this new-fangled thing called the Internet in the mid-90s which opened up a whole new world of online gaming, online messaging, chat rooms, learning resources etc. It was through playing the popular online virtual pet game Neopets that I first started to learn HTML in order to make my profile look pretty. Any child born in the 80s will remember the comforting buzzing of a dial-up connection going through.

Ultimately my love of computers and the Internet led me to my career in digital marketing, having studied Computing & Design before starting out in a junior position in a London agency and working my way up to managing a team before going freelance – one of the many benefits of working in a digital industry. Of course, I am also a blogger and put my computer skills to work here every day.

The Internet is obviously a major part of my life now that I work from home, it is my connection to my clients and the key to my livelihood! I am not the only one that relies on a stable Internet connection, in fact Talk Talk Business recently conducted a survey to find out more about how people use their internet services and here are the results:

  • 70% of people said they had a broadband connection at work, such as business broadband from TalkTalk and 61% agreed that they use the internet daily for work purposes.
  • 77% of those surveyed have noticed a change in the way businesses are run as a result of the internet with 35% saying their job is totally reliant on an internet connection – like me!
  • When asked what they use the internet for most, personal emails (26%)  and staying in touch with loved ones (19%)  were the most popular choices.
  • A huge 90% said they use the internet to keep in touch with family, while only 67% said they use it to contact colleagues and suppliers.
  • Finally, 86% agreed they are reliant on a broadband connection for recreational purposes.

I am very thankful to my late maternal Grandfather and my parents for starting me off on my journey in computing from such a young age. Computers and the Internet have gone on to shape my life through work and recreation. How has the Internet guided your life?

computer

10 Safety Tips for injury-free DIY

With the weather getting better you might be considering doing some upgrades to your home or garden this Summer, but did you know that more than 200,000 people go to A&E in the UK each year after being injured doing DIY, maintenance or gardening at home? Shockingly there are around 5,000 deaths as the result of a home accident so make sure you take the time to ensure you are safe!

Ladders were to blame for around 7,000 people being admitted to hospital in 2013/2014 with an estimated 4,000 admitted following accidents involving furniture. Accidental poisoning and exposure to harmful substances made up around 3,000 hospital visits in the same period. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents states that the two of the biggest factors in DIY accidents causing death and injury are over-ambition and lack of knowledge.

If you really want to get some DIY done this Summer, don’t panic. There are some simple rules to follow to make sure you and your family will be safe. Here are my top 10 safety tips for injury-free DIY.

  1. We already know that being over-ambitions can be dangerous so if you’re planning on doing a job which should really require a competent, qualified tradesman then don’t do it yourself! Anything involving gas or electrical work should be referred to a professional.
  2. Keep children and pets safe when you’re undertaking a project; keep them far away from DIY areas which could harm them.
  3. Think ahead! Make sure you have appropriate clothing such as safety workwear for tough jobs or those requiring power tools. Essentials include safety goggles, gloves and dust masks when working with potentially hazardous materials such as glass or spray paint.
  4. Always wear sturdy shoes when mowing the lawn and keep your feet and hands well away from the mower blades!
  5. Tools can only work safely if they are well looked after so keep them clean and in good condition. Be sure to give each one a quick look over before you use it. It is worth investing in high-quality equipment as this will be safer and will probably do the job quicker.
  6. Tools often come in protective packaging to ensure safe transport, I recommend keeping your tools in their original containers which will keep them secure during storage.
  7. When you are not using electrical appliances and tools make sure you stop and unplug them to make them safe.
  8. Low shelves and pots on the floor can be enticing for children. Place all tools, paint and chemicals out of the reach of children while in use, or in storage.
  9. It should go without saying that you should take extra care with sharp cutting tools, never use them when you are in a rush, always cut away from you and make sure to cover or store blades when not in use.
  10. If you are using adhesives in your DIY follow the instructions very carefully, especially the instant type as you don’t want to end up going to A&E to have something unglued from your hand!

For more advice see the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website.

DIY safety tips tools

Review: Vistaprint Return Address Labels

Since rekindling my love of stationery thanks to my Bullet Journal, I have also rekindled my love of corresponding with new friends from around the world via the post. I now have a collection of penpals both in the UK and abroad and I usually send out a batch of letters once or twice a month when my responses come in.

Part of the fun of having penpals is trying out new cards, envelopes and decorations to go along with the words and I always like to include my contact information on the envelope to save my penpal from having to look up my address before sending a response.

Up until recently I have been using a lovely personalised ink stamp to apply my information, however, since I have started to make my own patterned envelopes it can be hard to see the ink stamp through all the colours and shapes so I decided to look for an alternative and came up with good old fashioned return address sticky labels.

Many people use address labels regularly to simplify their mailing progress and express some personality in their mailings. Address labels are a simple tool for making corresponding a little faster and easier as well as displaying a professional touch.

I also find them useful because both my name and my address are a bit odd, so having neatly printed address labels means there is a lower risk of one of my penpals making a mistake and the letter going astray.

I decided to get my return address labels from Vistaprint who offer a simple process:  browse the designs or upload your own, add your details and voila the resulting labels are sent out to you in the post a few days later. The address labels are sized at 68 x 21 mm and printed at 300 DPI onto self-sticking sheets.

I went for a simple, clean white and purple ink blot template design which appeals to my minimal style and my favourite colour! As I have a good number of penpals now I wanted to make sure I ordered a decent stock of return address labels and as the value gets better the more you order I went for 420 labels for £20.97. 

I was very excited to see the labels when they arrived and I was not disappointed. They are certainly a quality product with perfect printing on sticky-back paper which is pleasant to the touch. The colours are vibrant and my contact details are distinct and easy to read. They are also easy to peel off, stick onto an envelope and they hold fast, which is important!

I am very happy with my return address labels from Vistaprint and would certainly recommend them to anyone looking to make their mailings a little faster and precise. I award them 5 out of 5 stars and will probably consider purchasing some matching personalised stationery in the future!

return address labels

Recipe: No-churn Matcha tea ice cream

I bet I am not the only one who has a fancy ice cream maker hidden away at the back of a kitchen cupboard too afraid of the complicated instructions to use it.

When I recently fancied some homemade ice cream I decided to go for an altogether faster and easier no-churn method which only uses a few ingredients and only a couple of steps to create a delicious ice cream.

I decided to make a green tea ice cream having been sent some lovely Ceremonial Grade Matcha tea from Dream Matcha. Matcha is a green tea that has been stone-ground into a fine powder which has been used in Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries.

Matcha tea has many heath benefits. It contains a unique, potent class of antioxidant known as catechins which have potent cancer-fighting properties, it also boosts the metabolism, detoxifies the body, provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium and calms the mind and relaxes the body.

I have made plenty of Matcha lattes over the last few years since being introduced to the green tea, however, I have never made an ice cream! For a no-churn ice cream, condensed milk is the secret weapon to make a creamy, smooth treat and not at all icy. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients

  • ½ a 397g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 600ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4tsp matcha tea (to taste)

Method

  1. Put the condensed milk, cream, vanilla and 2tsp matcha into a large bowl.
  2. Beat with an electric whisk until thick and quite stiff – like clotted cream.
  3. Taste your mix and add another 1 or 2 tsp of matcha to taste. I went for 4tsp as I really wanted a good blast of matcha flavour.
  4. Use a spatula to scrape the mix into a freezer-friendly airtight container (I used an old, washed out ice cream tub) and freeze until solid.
  5. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving and enjoy!

no-churn matcha ice cream

Review: Lunch at John Lewis Winebar Bluewater

On a recent retail therapy session with my mum to Bluewater we decided to stop for some lunch, not wanting something too big we headed for the John Lewis wine bar to feast on their personalised platters.

Located in the basement, the John Lewis food hall from Waitrose is an emporium for food lovers, boasting seasonally sourced and speciality foods with meat, fish, cheese and wine specialists on hand to answer questions on provenance, cooking techniques and food and wine pairings.

The wine bar offers a selection of wines by the glass or bottle, cold drinks and speciality beers alongside gourmet platters made up of all the fabulous produce on offer in the store.

Sitting down at the tall bar stool seating we browsed the options on the menu. The platters come in two sizes; Small Platter (£5.95) is made up of 2 deli items, 1 salad, 1 sauce, 1 bread. The Large Platter (£9.95) includes 4 deli items, 1 salads, 2 sauces, 2 pieces of bread. You can choose to share with friends or just be greedy and have it all to yourself!

The menu is made up of cheeses, meat, fish and vegetarian options paired with salad, sauces, bread and a choice of butter or oil and vinegar. Here is the current menu:

Deli Items
Cheese Meat Fish Vegetarian
Manchego Italian Salami Smoked Salmon Houmous
Blue Stilton Parma Ham Sundried Tomatoes
Cheddar Honey Roast Ham Mixed Olives
Brie Beef
Goat’s Cheese Chicken Liver Pate
Salads Sauces Breads And choice of
Babyleaf salad Tomato Chutney White Sourdough Butter
Coleslaw Wholegrain Mustard Date and Ginger Sourdough Oil & Vinegar
Mayonnaise Pain de Campagne
Caramelised Red Onion

I went for a large platter made up of blue stilton, brie, sundried tomatoes, mixed olives, coleslaw, white sourdough and pain de Campagne with butter. I was very happy with my choice; all of the produce was of top quality, the portions were a generous size and served on an elegant platter. I enjoy trying the different items in different combinations which makes this a really fun meal.

If there’s something that you really love on the menu then you need not look very far to purchase some to take home with you as the produce is on sale in the food hall. I love the caramelised red onion chutney and could easily empty the shelf!

I would certainly recommend popping into the John Lewis Winebar at Bluewater for a break from shopping and to refuel. Being able to pick what you want on your platter makes it a bespoke experience which is great for people with dietary quirks like me. I can’t wait to go back and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Lunch at John Lewis Winebar Bluewater

Coloured Rugs for Every Room

Picking a colour scheme for your home can be tough, with so many different things to consider from the walls, the furniture and even the little extras such as rugs. If you’ve sorted the majority of your interior design and you’re looking for the best way to complement your home’s décor with home accessories, there are a few things to think about.

Rugs are a guaranteed way to add character and personality to your home, allowing you to build on your existing décor. It’s important to make sure your rug fits in seamlessly; making a decorative impact without looking out of place. No matter which room it’s going in, a rug should enhance the interior design and really bring it to life.

While it may be down to personal preference and your own taste, it’s true that different colours will have numerous effects on the finished room and this should be taken into consideration. With that in mind, here is somewhat of a guide to help you choose the best-coloured rug for the various rooms in your home.

Neutral Rugs

A neutral colour palette is often favoured by many households as it has longevity and has somewhat of a timeless elegance about it. Neutral colours encompass a whole palette of shades, from beige to tan and even darker shades of brown. However, the neutral shade that is often forgotten about that works beautifully with so many other colours, is grey.

A grey rug can blend in effortlessly with a number of colours, adding a calming and grounding element to your interior design. Grey is the colour of compromise; it is neither black or white, but a functioning shade in between the two. A reserved but effective colour, grey rugs are versatile and can work beautifully in multiple rooms from the bedroom to the living room. Incorporate pattern for a subtle room, or stay plain if your décor is already vibrant enough.

Bright Rugs

Of course, we don’t always need to opt for neutral in our homes and sometimes bright is better if you’re hoping to make an impact. Pantone has already revealed its colour predictions for 2018 and they’re an eclectic mix of bold shades. Iridescent or pearlised colours are tipped to be popular.

Choosing a brightly coloured rug for your room can ensure it is the focal point; the masterpiece that draws everyone in. Next year’s colour palettes include fun colours paired with subtle hues for an eye-catching combination, which could be perfect for brightening up your dining room or bedroom.

Red Rugs

Red is known as a very intense, strong colour that can represent a number of emotions. A warm colour, it can be incredibly energising when used in interior design. Deciding to use a red rug in your home can attract the most attention out of all the colours, making a lasting impression every time you enter the room.

Recognised as a stimulant, the colour red may be best kept out of the bedroom where you go to relax and sleep! There has been some suggestion that it can increase your appetite, so try a bold red rug under the dining table.

With so many meanings behind the colour red, including extreme anger and passion, red may need to be used sparingly which means it could be the perfect shade for a simple rug, instead of splashed up the walls!

Green Rugs

When you think of green, your mind may wander to numerous places; peacefulness, feelings of content or even nature. This is why green is becoming a more and more popular colour in interior design.

With so many shades to choose from, you can mix different hues for a striking effect, choose a muted olive for a subtle appearance or even go bold with a lime green if that should take your fancy. The beauty of green is that it isn’t overwhelming, instead bringing a sense of the outdoors inside and bringing a sense of freshness into your home. A green rug could add that element of tranquillity that you’ve been missing.

With this in mind, green is a suitable colour for spaces such as the conservatory, which will no doubt welcome the extra insulation!

 Blue Rugs

Blue is a common colour used in interior design, and it’s not hard to see why. It evokes feelings of calmness; reminiscent of the sky and the sea, again it’s a very natural colour. Blue has often been deemed beneficial for the mind and body, steadying our emotions.

For this reason, blue should ideally be used in spaces you use to relax and unwind; such as the bedroom or even living room. Creating a serene environment for you and your family to enjoy, a blue rug can make the room more inviting and comfortable.

Coloured Rugs for Every Room