Archive by Author

Thai Recipe Cards Gift

20 Jun

This post comes courtesy of my friend and flatmate Badger.


Her brother’s wife is Thai and the most amazing cook, Badger says going to visit them in Thailand for family holidays is no hardship at all! Last holiday the family were all going to take a Thai cooking course but the price was just too expensive for all of them. Instead, her sister-in-law asked them all what dishes they wanted to learn to cook and took them to the market to buy ingredients.


Back at the house they took turns in the kitchen learning how to cook our chosen dish. Badger wrote down all the recipes and instructions so she could make them later.

When her mother’s birthday came round later that year she wanted to make her something a little more thoughtful and with more effort than the normal present she would buy. She came up with the idea of creating recipe cards using the notes she’d made in Thailand. Using free fonts and images that she found on the internet Badger designed them then printed them out in colour. She covered them all in sticky back plastic to keep clean in the kitchen, punched a hole in the top corner and tied them all together with ribbon.

Hannah: This was the gift that kept giving! Badger’s sister-in-law made a gift of her knowledge and skills and Badger used her creativity to make something out of that experience for her mother. Hopefully Mrs Badger will make us all a gift of dinner using the cards!


Scrabble Picture Bride’s Gift

18 Jun

Here’s another idea from my friend ‘Badger’.

Inspired by something she’d seen on Not on the High Street she created a picture from pictures of scrabble tiles for her friend’s hen party gift. She wanted to create a scrabble board using words that related to things to do with the hen party so she’d have something to remember it by.

She found tiles on this website Fuzzimo and used Paint and Microsoft Excel to create it. It was very simple but took some time to make everything fit in and look like an attractive patten. Finally she bought a frame from ebay and put it all together.

Wooden Cigar Box

16 Jun

I bought this box from a house clearance shop for about £10. It was a bit shabby and so I had the intention of using it to practice decoupage on.


I gave it a good sand, and painted it white inside (I still need to replace the hinges). But then, before I painted it I had a rethink. It had actually scrubbed up quite well and so instead of painting it I varnished with a dark stain.

Now the dilemma is do I leave it as it is or do I still stick on the butterflies I found and cut out of a piece of wrapping paper?

Perhaps just on the side?

What do you think?

Vintage Fashion Fair London

13 Jun

On Sunday I visited The Vintage Fashion Fair in Camden, London. They run an event once a month with stalls selling clothing and accessories from all eras. This is a fair for dedicated vintage fashionistas. The clothes were excellent quality but also quite pricey so I would have needed to really fall in love with something to put my hand in my pocket.

The Dress Circle had some of my favourite things. I loved this 50s Hawaiian dress and this tortoiseshell handbag and thought very hard about buying them but managed to resist. They can’t be found online but you can catch them at some of the other vintage events around the country (list at the end).

How cool is this hairdryer? I didn’t ask if it works!

Katie’s inner 80s child would probably like this pink leather skirt.

Find some of the vintage fashion stalls mentioned here at the following events:

14-18 June – Rockabilly Rave, Camber Sands –

13 – 15 July The Vintage Music Festival, Northampton –

16 – 22 July – War & Peace Show, Kent – (don’t be put off by all the military stuff apparently there’s lots of fashion

25-27 – Twinwood Festival, Bedford –

14-16 September – Goodwood Revival

Win a Set of Lifestyle Books

11 Jun

We’ve reviewed most of these books on the site and now you can win a set for yourself. Just sign up to our mailing list between now and the end of June to be in with the chance of getting your hands on all five books – 82 Modern Style Ideas to Create at Home, A Girl’s Guide to DecoratingHow to Make Jewellery With Tatty DevineMiss Hope’s Teatime Treats and The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art.

Thanks to the publishers Ebury Publishing, Hardie Grant and Murdoch Books for the review copies and thanks to Katie for donating one of her own.

Book Review: The Wah Nails Book of Nail Art

4 Jun

Nail art is huge at the moment, even royalty are doing it (Princess Eugenie had Union Jacks on her fingernails at the Epsom Derby on Saturday!) but who better to bring out a book on the subject but Sharmadean Ried, the founder of WAH Nails.

Sharmadean opened her first WAH Nails salon in Dalston in London in 2009 and the brand’s popularity soon caught the eye of national retailers, leading to a pop up shop in Selfridges and a permanent space in the Oxford Street branch of Top Shop.

The book takes the WAH style and shows you how to do it yourself. There are 25 projects, starting with their original leopard print design, each with a step by step illustration.

This comic book style is one of my favourites.

The cover gives the impression that the book is aimed at teens but the design inside is a funky scrapbook style which I think has wider appeal. I’m dying to give some of the projects a go but need to invest in some nail-art pens to do the more intricate parts of design. I’ll share the results when I do.

The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art is a very cool book which teaches you the WAH techniques and designs and gives you the inspiration to start doing your own nail art.

Thank you to the publisher @hardiegrantuk for sending us a copy.

Upcycling a Footstool

1 Jun

Ages ago Katie kindly gave me this lovely footstool that once belonged to her grandmother. I’d been looking for one to do up for a while and this was exactly what I’d been looking for. It’s already been well used in my house but I finally got round to doing it up.

I started by stripping off all the old fabric and padding and giving the whole thing a good clean. I found fabric I liked in Fabrics Galore (Wandsworth Road, London) and wadding in The Crafty Sewer in Tooting.

I cut the wadding to size and lightly secured it on the footstool top with glue. Then I wrapped the fabric around it and got out the trusty staple gun. Halfway through it was obvious that the wadding wasn’t up to the job so I cut a second piece and layered them together. I’m still not completely happy though so any tips from furniture restorers on where to find proper wadding would be much appreciated. It does the job well enough for now though so I finished stapling the fabric securely round the top with a firm even stretch across the top.

I wanted to keep it dark wood but freshen it up, so the next step was to give the wooden base a good sand and a new coat of varnish. This was more difficult than I thought because some of the vanish came off easily and other parts were more difficult so it too a lot of elbow grease to get an even tone. You can still see the grain but I like that.

Two coats of varnish and the footstool is finished. Thank you Katie!

Jubilee Tea Party

30 May

If you haven’t made your plans for the long bank holiday yet why not have a jubilee tea party and take tea like the Queen in proper china cups.

Millie Wilkins China Hire is doing a special hire offer of a tea set for six – one teapot, six cups and saucers, six side plates, sugar bowl and milk jug – for just £15. Collect yourself for free (central London) or have it delivered on Saturday (within M25 only) for £20.

Contact for more details or visit their page on Facebook Millie-Wilkins-Vintage-China-Hire.

Live: Fast Fashion

25 May

How simple is this wardrobe update? Pop a corsage on your top and it instantly creates a new look. Mix and match different corsages with various tops, dresses, coats and jackets for lots of choices.

As modeled and designed by the lovely Alice. I think this works particularly well because the pretty bright red flower she’s chosen really contrasts with the monochrome polo neck.


Jubilee Farmers Market in Truro

14 May

I’ve just been to the Daphne du Maurier Festival in Cornwall for work but had a day or so to myself so a friend and I took a trip to Truro via the Lost Gardens of Heligan (beautiful and well worth visiting). Going away involved lots of lovely restaurants and hotel and B&B breakfasts but after a while I started to crave something a bit simpler. Hey presto, we discovered the Jubilee Farmers Market in Truro with all sorts of lovely ingredients for a picnic.

We bought local apple juice, a wholemeal loaf that we asked the baker to slice for us, basil and garlic olives, tomatoes, some delicious smoked stilton and mackerel pate with organic strawberries and handmade slab of dark chocolate to finish.

Prices weren’t incredibly cheap but the quality of the food was amazing so we gathered our wares and headed for the beach.

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