Do you celebrate Halloween? We’re a kid-free household so it’s not at the top of our agenda on 31st October. That’s not to say we don’t get the neighbourhood kids knocking on our door expecting Halloween treats!
No one wants to be known as the local Scrooge (mixing my festivities there!). So everyone should have a selection of sweets to hand over to eager witches, warlocks, mummies and pumpkins… and their patient custodians.
- Halloween Chupa Chups (pack of 14): £1.00
- Pumpkin marshmallows in a bag, 180g: £7.50, Fortnum & Mason
- Halloween treats selection jar: £19.79, A Quarter of…
Coffee is our morning brew of choice – double shot, flat white for both of us (soya milk, no sugar, for me – cows milk, sugar for Justin). I must confess, our first mugs of the day are usually instant (the horror!). Fiddling about with coffee machines when you’re only half awake is frustrating.
When I win the lottery (once I start buying a ticket!) I’ll travel ’round the world… and buy a top of the range Jura Bean-to-Cup. It’s the height of luxury having a coffee machine that you can control remotely from your phone. Pre-program your preferences into its memory and, at the touch of a button, it can grind and brew you your perfect cuppa… just to reiterate – that’s a double shot, flat white with soya milk, no sugar, if you’re asking!
- Dualit Multi Brew 84440 espresso coffee machine – chrome: £199, ao.com
- Sage Barista Express coffee machine – stainless steel: £ 599.95
- Jura E8 Bean-to-Cup automatic coffee machine: £1,195.00, John Lewis
If you don’t have a massive budget and want to add some decorative touches to a room, a few tassels or pom-poms are a quick and easy solution.
There’s a huge variety of homewares that can be given the tassel treatment – curtains to cushions, bedspreads to beanbags.
Tassels can be pared back & natural or colourful & fun. They work with lots of different styles; from luxe to ethnic, modern to classical.
- Metallic key tassel – silver/gold: £2.49, Terry’s Fabrics
- Pocah multicoloured cotton cushion 45 x 45cm: £45.89 Maisons du Monde
- Selina table runner: £118.00, Anthropologie
If, like me, you’re an avid home baker, you’ll know that there’s always another piece of kitchen kit that you really, really need in your quest for perfection. Assorted tins, bannetons, scrapers & cutters, a grignette, a peel, baking stone or steel… the list is never-ending.
I’ve been watching lots of YouTube videos to hone my dough kneading technique. I’ve noticed how effortless it looks when people handle & shape their dough using marble pastry boards; especially those really loose, wet ones like ciabatta. It’s also good for (as the name suggests) rolling pastry. That sealed it, my next bit of baking equipment is going to be one of those marble pastry boards – the larger, the better.
- Typhoon marble 40x30cm rectangular work surface protector: £16.00, Tesco
- J by Jasper Conran – white marble pastry board (42x28cm): £30.00, Debenhams
- Marble board – dark or light colour by Marbletree (60x40cm): £69.00, Notonthehighstreet
A theme that’s gaining in popularity at the moment is jungle style. Sometimes you just want to open your front door and step into a fantasy world – at least some of us that live in a cold, rainy Pennine valley do!
I really like a rainforest vibe; it’s relaxing, exotic and fun. You can easily set the mood with sound – a recording of soft rain falling on to broad-leaved trees, fast-moving waterfalls and the shrill of cicadas… We sometimes play soothing rainforest soundscapes via Spotify through our Sonos speakers to help us fall asleep.
A feature wall papered with a bold jungle print helps bring a tropical vibe to a room. Dot a few big architectural houseplants such as palms, ferns and rubber plants around the room and it’s almost like being in the Amazon!
I just love these playful lights – available in black or white – of monkeys striking different poses. A group of these simian pranksters would make a brilliant talking point!
- Authentic Natural Sounds – Rainforest (1 track on 1 CD): £2.19, musicMagpie
- Savuti Dark Petrol Multi wallpaper: £80 per roll, wallpaperdirect
- Seletti monkey light: from £169, Amazon
I won’t lie, I find most modern radiators hideous! If we ever build our own home from scratch, I’d install under-floor heating and do away with radiators altogether. They really get in the way of the positioning of furniture.
In an old house (like our current one), I’d love to rip out all the boxy, white radiators and replace them with beautiful cast iron Victorian style ones. That would be a hugely costly and messy operation; a quicker & easier option would be to invest in radiator covers.
We’re completely in love with the bentwood slatted example above (#3) – and they’re available in a huge range of colours and patterns.
- Radwraps magnetic radiator cover: from £25.61, Amazon
- Modern radiator cover: from £76.80, 3D modular
- Oak radiator cover: from £252 for 90cm length radiator, Cool Radiators