We’ve finally managed to find a place for some vintage Ladderax modular shelving that we’ve had stored away for a few months. A very large, very heavy vintage industrial unit has been sold, freeing up a large space in our lounge. We’ve now got lots of more versatile storage space available – and somewhere for our vinyl collection and record player at long last. We’re big fans of Spotify combined with wireless Sonos speakers dotted about the house, but you can’t beat the tactile experience and warm sound of vinyl sometimes.
Number 2 in our list comes closest in appearance to Ladderax. It has a mid century modern feel – simple and pared back in style with a combination of black metal and wood – very pleasing to our eye. Number 1 has acres of shelf space and a couple of drawers to hide things away too – neutral in colour and a good budget option. And I’m completely in love with the multi-coloured Cubit system – the various size options and graduated colours provide endless possibilities.
- FJÄLKINGE shelving: from £10 for a shelf, (£290 for combination shown), IKEA
- Tower shelving system: from £65 for a shelf (£1,056 for combination shown), Heal’s
- Multi-coloured library shelving: from £24 for a CD shelf (£4,306.77 for combination shown), Cubit
A couple of weeks ago I noticed a bunch of saplings for sale outside the entrance to our local supermarket they were all priced up at £5.00 – bargain! I had a look at all the labels and amongst the apple, pear and cherry trees I spotted a single Victoria plum tree. I thought to myself that I’d return a bit later on in the day to buy it.
Needless to say, I popped back mere hours later and it was gone – I lost my chance! Anyway, a couple of days ago, I was back at the supermarket to pick up a couple of things and there were a couple of plum trees back in stock. I picked one out on my way in – I walked all around the shop with it – I wasn’t going to miss out again.
It said on the label that it’s self-pollinating (self-fertile), however, I did a bit of research online and apparently having other compatible plum trees nearby helps improve fruiting. ‘Compatible’ simply means another variety that flowers at the same time.
I’m torn between ‘Black Amber’ and the dual ‘Bleue de Belgique’/’Reine Claude d’Oullins’. The former only gets to 1 metre tall – perfect for a small garden like ours. However, the latter gives you two completely different varieties on a single tree; again, a good option for our limited space.
- Plum ‘Black Amber’ (mini fruit tree): £12.99, Van Meuwen
- Dual plum ‘Bleue de Belgique’ + ‘Reine Claude d’Oullins’: £17.50, Bakker
- Plum ‘Opal’: £24.99, Thompson Morgan
We’re off to visit some friends in the Lakes soon. We’re only going for a weekend, but we’re really looking forward to revisiting one of our favourite places… and favourite friends!
We have a massive duffel bag on wheels that holds about a 2 weeks’ holiday worth of clothes, shoes and toiletries. However, we could really do with something smaller like a couple of overnight bags. Something that doesn’t encroach upon the dog’s domain in the back of our estate car. He travels heavier than we do – he has his bed, blanket, 2 food bowls, travel-size bag of food, towel, raincoat, lead and – unfortunately in his old age – prescription medicines. He needs so much paraphernalia, it’s like having a toddler!
- UU Family travel tote: from $45.66 USD, AliExpress
- Hand-crafted yellow overnight bag by Freeload Leather Accessories: £255, Notonthehighstreet
- ASPINAL OF LONDON Harrison leather overnight business bag: £695, Selfridges
Over the past couple of weeks, Justin has cleared the room we once upon a time used as our home office. It had gradually become filled with shop stock and packaging materials. Back when we first moved to this house, we had a piece of clear, toughened glass custom made to fit in a corner of that room. It’s meant to be a desk top – large enough to take a computer, printer and desk lamp. I even had a circular hole made in it to thread through all the cables.
Now that adequate space has been made, the glass top can come out of hiding and be used. However it needs a pair of table trestles on which to sit. Just one small problem – Justin thinks vintage industrial wooden trestles would work best in the room, I think contemporary metal. Here’s three of the latter modern examples I’ve thrown into the mix – he can then show me his favoured options. Let battle commence!
- Lerberg trestle: £5, IKEA
- NIC small black steel trestle: £40, Habitat
- Pack of 2 Tréma chrome-plated steel trestles: £319, La Redoute
It’s Easter in a couple of weeks and this year, Justin’s birthday falls during the bank holiday weekend. I’ve already got him a present however, I’m thinking about getting him an additional one. One of these luxury, ethical Easter eggs will be just the ticket!
- Booja Booja large almond & sea salt caramel Easter egg – 138g: £26, Ethical Superstore
These wonderfully presented handmade Easter egg gifts are created by artisans in Kashmir, India using papier-mâché and hand painted with truly unique designs before being hand packed in Norfolk with Booja Booja’s melt in the mouth superior quality and award winning, dark chocolate, almond and sea salt caramel truffles. A truly beautiful and ethical Easter egg gift for the vegan in your life.
Booja Booja is a UK company with a refreshingly different mindset to its competitors; it strives to be minimal, renewable and of course beautiful! All of Booja Booja’s products are organic; free of dairy, wheat and gluten, are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and are GMO free.
- Dark chocolate Easter egg with chocaviar 75%: £50, Venchi
Dark chocolate Easter egg coated with delicious 75% Chocaviar pearls with an elegant jewel gift inside.
To uphold ethics, Venchi buys its raw materials directly from the local community, guaranteeing a fair price that not only ensures the community a stable present and future, but also encourages research and development of the best extra fine cocoa varieties.
- Ostrich egg – dark: £75, Hotel Chocolat
Dark ostrich egg is made with half 70% dark chocolate with almonds and a dash of salt, and half 70% dark chocolate with hazelnuts and another sprinkling of salt. Served with a tray of 27 chocolates – pralines, truffles, caramels, patisserie and more – plus six golden eggs hidden inside the box for you to hunt, all in all this comes to more than a kilo of chocolate!
Engaged Ethics is the name we coined for our direct programme to create sustainable cocoa growing communities. It differs from most other ‘trading fairly’ programmes as it goes beyond simply writing out a cheque and standing back (which is still a great deal better than doing nothing!) It’s a roll-up-the-sleeves, take risks, long-term approach, which has led to a remarkable set of results so far.
My (only) pair of trainers are coming to the end of their life. I’ve had them for at least 15 years and the soles are worn down to the thickness of paper and the fabric is splitting across the vamp where the toe joints bend. They’re a pair of all-black Nikes and I’d like to replace them with something fairly similar.
I don’t like trainers that are too high-tech – you know, those made with colourful space-age material, aerodynamic shape, computer-engineered soles and all that. I just want a pair of old skool sneakers. ‘Sneakers’ must be an old fashioned word – my spell-check tells me it doesn’t exist!
I know exactly what I want from my new pair. I’d prefer if they were low-tech canvas or hemp. They need to be black all over, I don’t like black uppers with thick white sidewalls. This kind of style is so They can be worn with jeans, skirt or dress – really versatile.
I usually prefer the look of Pumas over other brands. However, I’m tempted by the £90 Nikes – they’re completely customisable. You can choose the material; the colour of the base, quarter, swoosh, laces, outsole and sidewalls; style of the tongue… you can even have customised text printed to the underside of the tongue!
- Old Skool Lite: £55, Vans
- Suede Classic+ trainers: £58, Puma
- Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski iD skateboarding shoe: £90, Nike