Etsy List: National Garlic Day

April 20th, 2015

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'National Garlic Day' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

The US has some crazy ‘National Days’. Last month saw National Get Over It Day, National Earmuff Day and National Everything You Think is Wrong Day.

But I’m claiming today’s National Garlic Day for the rest of the world! Garlic enhances food… no, it enhances life! It tastes great and is good for your health too.

The UK is a nation of garlic lovers; we have an annual Garlic Festival in August down in the Isle of Wight where there’s a long tradition of growing the aromatic bulb.

Later on today I’ll be make a batch of wild garlic butter – we have a small patch of ramsons behind our house that is ready to pick!

National Garlic Day
Curated by H is for Home

5 space-saving tips & techniques for the small office

April 19th, 2015

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Home office under eaves with trestle table and hammockimage credit: Gals n’ Guys

Whether you’ve converted the laundry room at home into a professional environment or rent a small office elsewhere, it’s essential to make the most of every foot and inch. There are many things you can do to make even the tiniest room organised and fully functional, so take a look at these clever space-saving tips and techniques.

Purpose-built storage units with red doorsimage credit: Mike Mozart

  1. Hire a storage unit

If you’ve got a lot to do and very little space to do it in, hiring a storage unit for business purposes could be ideal. These safe, secure facilities are not only a great place to keep furniture, electrical goods and stock but they’re also suitable for keeping large filing cabinets and other bulky items which can take up a lot of room. Believe it or not, many small UK firms even operate partially or completely out of a storage unit, so there’s plenty that can be done with this bit of extra space.

Nick Keppol's minimalist home officeimage credit: Nick Keppol

  1. Embrace the minimalist look

Squeezing too many things into a small room can look cluttered, disorganised and untidy, so when arranging your office think carefully about what you need and what you don’t need. Embrace the minimalist look by getting rid of anything that looks ugly or out of place and invest in an array of space-saving furniture such as corner computer desks, mobile cabinets (which can be stored underneath desks) and chairs with hidden storage.

Contemporary home office with clear desk and chairimage credit: Found Associates

  1. Choose your technology carefully

If possible, you should also opt for technology that doesn’t take up much room such as lightweight laptops and tablets rather than heavy desktop PCs as the latter require a large surface area to work properly. PCs also tend to make a lot of noise and give out plenty of heat which might make a small room warm and stuffy, so bear this in mind when purchasing IT equipment.

On a similar note, it’s also worth getting hold of a double-duty flat screen that can double up as a TV and a computer monitor. A large screen is ideal for work and play and will allow you to flip between a spreadsheet and your favourite TV programme.

 small home office with large collection of orange and white storage boxesimage credit: Juliette Byrne

  1. Use as much wall space as possible

When it comes to storage, it’s also essential to think vertically and use as much wall space as you possibly can without turning the room into an eyesore. Tall bookcases, for instance, won’t take up much floor space but they’ll give you plenty of room to store important files, documents, literature and paperwork. Shelves are also easy to put up above desks and such like and will help keep things a little more organised.

home office with black-painted chalk board wallimage credit: John Donkin

  1. Chalkboard

If you don’t have a spare meeting room or floor space to place a presentation flip board – fear not. Simply cover one wall in chalkboard paint and you’ve got yourself a doodle pad and focal point that won’t take up any extra room at all. It’s ideal for note making and if you ever have to explain something to a member of staff you can put your artistic talents to good use by drawing diagrams on the wall. Perfect!

It’s relatively easy to turn a small office into a practical dynamic environment, so why not give these handy tips a go?

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Charity Vintage: Midwinter Chequers

April 18th, 2015

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Vintage Midwinter Chequers tea cups & saucers for sale by Wigan & Leigh Hospice on eBay for Charity(end 26 Apr, 2015 14:54:15 BST)

Midwinter Chequers was designed by the famous Sir Terence Conran in the 1950s. You don’t often come across examples of the pattern for sale on eBay, but when you do, it almost always sells. A lidded butter dish recently sold for £80 and a platter a whopping £101!

These cups & saucers are being sold by Wigan & Leigh Hospice* in 3 separate lots; a pair of saucers, a cup & saucer and another cup & saucer. They’re all described as in ‘good’ condition. The saucers have a starting bid of £19.99 and the cups & saucers £24.99 each.

*Wigan & Leigh Hospice aims to provide specialist palliative care services on as broad a basis as possible and at the highest quality achievable in both the hospice and the community, thereby aiming to enhance the quality of life of individuals with a life-threatening illness.

Gimme Five! Collar & lead sets

April 17th, 2015

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Selection of dog collar & lead sets

It’s National Pet Month, so we’ve commissioned our Weimaraner to edit this week’s Gimme Five! offering. Over to you Fudge!

I’m into fashion – but only up to a point. I’m not into diamanté or metal studs or anything like that. I like to look trendy but not be too bling. I’m a down-to-earth, practical lad; I like to keep warm, keep dry and keep safe. So my entire wardrobe consists of a Drizabone coat (warm & dry) and a collar & lead. For me, anything more than squiffy bandana is too dressed up.

Luckily, with the fur I have, accessories in almost any colour suit me well. For day to day wear I tend to opt for black – classic and unassuming. I also like red, mossy green and orange.

My current collar & lead combo is looking past its best – I blame all the walks out in the wind and rain – it’s weather-beaten and beginning to disintegrate. I’ve had them for years and I think I’m due an upgrade anyway!

  1. Ancol round sewn leather collar tan: from £5.95 | Ancol leather lead 100 x 1.9cm: £8.50, Pet-Supermarket
  2. Orange & olive collar & lead set: £44.95, PetsPyjamas
  3. Doggy Things plain leather dog collar, black: from £4.99 | Hurtta outdoors jogging leash: £18.90, BestPet
  4. Outhwaites gun dog rope slip lead, olive: £9.98, PetShop Bowl
  5. Ruffwear Knot-a-Collar dog collar: £21.13, | Ruffwear Knot-a-Leash dog lead: £30.31, Monster Pet Supplies

Cakes & Bakes: Express rolls

April 16th, 2015

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Freshly baked express rolls in a tea towel lined basket | H is for Home

I’ve nicknamed these dinner rolls ‘express rolls’.

Express rolls ingredients | H is for Home

From start to finish they take 60 minutes or less to make.

Express rolls wet and dry mixtures | H is for Home

What other people call them depends on where they are or where they’re from. To me, they’re bread rolls…

Express rolls dough | H is for Home

To people from ‘up north’ they’re barms, barm cakes or muffins.

Express rolls dough cut into 16 pieces | H is for Home

 If they were a bit wider and flatter they’d be oven bottoms or oven bottom muffins. If they had a crusty top they’d be cobs.

Express rolls dough balls | H is for Home

 Other people may say nonsense to all those terms and call them baps or buns.

Proved express rolls dough balls | H is for Home

Whatever you chose to call them, they’re soft and delicious straight out of the oven.

Cooked express rolls being given a butter glaze | H is for Home

They’re perfect little rolls for having with a bowl of soup, making an afternoon sandwich or as mini-burger buns.

Cooked express rolls separated | H is for Home

It’s a foolproof way of speeding up the proving process that I’ll definitely use again in the future!

Pin this recipe for later

Express rolls
Yields 15
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 525g/18½oz bread flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz granulated sugar
  3. 1tbsp dry active yeast
  4. 1½tsp salt
  5. 175ml/6 fl oz water
  6. 155ml/5½ fl oz milk
  7. 60g/oz butter, diced
  8. 1½ tsp lemon juice
  9. 20g/oz butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 85ºC/180ºF/Gas mark ⅕
  2. In the bowl of an electric food mixer, gently combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt making a well in the centre
  3. Add the water, milk and butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and heat in a microwave on high for about 1 minute
  4. Stir to partially melt butter and to make sure it's softened
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the well of the dry mixture and add the lemon juice
  6. Attach the dough hook before setting the mixer on low, gradually increasing to medium-low
  7. Mix for about 3-4 minutes until the dough is smooth & elastic
  8. Cover the bowl with cling film/Saran wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes
  9. Grease a 30cm x 23cm (13" x 9") baking tin
  10. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into an evenly level square, about 20cm²
  11. Cut into 16 equal(ish) portions and shape into 15 balls, using the excess dough from the 16th piece to add to smaller rounds as needed
  12. Put the dough balls into the prepared baking tin
  13. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the dough with water
  14. Put the tin in the oven, close the oven door and turn the oven off
  15. Allow the rolls to rise in the oven for 20 minutes
  16. Remove the rolls from the oven and preheat to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5
  17. Bake in for 15 minutes until the tops have turned a golden brown
  18. Remove from the oven and brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter
  19. Serve straight away or allow to cool before storing in a cool place in an airtight container
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