We’re currently… slowly… getting our home office spruced up, cleared out and fit for work. We’ll tell you a little bit more about that tomorrow. Anyway, like the rest of of the rooms in our house – we never seem to have enough storage in there.
In the kitchen and bedroom, storage needs are primarily big cupboards and drawers; office requirements are a bit different. Shelving is the main demand with rows of (matching) box files – the tax office demands that self-employed people keep records – bank statements, receipts, invoices and the like – for at least 5 years. Even with a lot being kept online, it’s still a lot of paper to store!
I’ve always liked a tidy desk, free from piles of detritus – it keeps me sane. The best way to achieve this is to keep everything in office wall storage; off the work surface yet still within easy reach. I’d happily give wall space to all three of the modular options above which range from £36 to over £200 for the combinations shown. I love having a visible place for everything, no opening and closing drawer after drawer searching for the paper clips or the stapler, the scissors or the tape measure.
- Mystic modular wall storage: £8.99 per module, AliExpress
- Urbio Perch Biggy magnetic modules: from £3.82 for a Bitsy Organiser (this combination £94.79), The Container Store
- Vitra Uten.Silo by Dorothee Becker from Vitra: £225.25, Clippings
Last week, we featured online tea offers; this week, it’s only fair to investigate a few coffee subscriptions available. We only drink one or two cups each per day, but we like them to be made using good quality beans. Favourite of ours are full-bodied espresso beans – and decaf espresso beans for evening consumption.
- Coffee-Direct: from £5.99 per 227 sample bag (save 15% when bought on subscription)
Probably the one of the three that has the most choice – there are 16 different Espresso roast coffees alone! Coffee-Direct explain:
At the checkout you have the option to choose to receive your order periodically, at any frequency that suits you. What’s more, once your subscription is set up, you’re able to amend, skip, pause or delete your subscription at any time.
- Coffee REAL: subscriptions – £36 – £328 (3, 6 or 12 month coffee subscriptions, 6 – 52 bags of beans)
Coffee REAL is a company with a charitable heart. 10% of the purchase price of their espresso blend goes directly to the Born Free Foundation – and, even better, the blend is made from 2 top coffees that originate in areas where Born Free run wildlife projects.
- Skinny Coffee Club: from £24.95 (28 day, 8-week and 12-week day/night programmes)
Well, I never knew that you could drink coffee in an effort to help you drop a dress size or two! According to their blurb:
Skinny Coffee Club is ideal for those looking to lose weight, fast. It’s tasty, organic and designed specifically to raise your metabolism, burn fat, fill you with energy throughout the day and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
There’s only 63mg of caffeine and 6 calories in each cup. Skinny Coffee is comprised of ground coffee, ground green coffee bean extract, green tea extract powder, Garcinia Cambogia, Siberian ginseng powder and spirulina powder. I’ve no idea how much like traditional coffee it tastes but there are thousands of reviews on their website posted by satisfied (slimmer) customers!
Working from home, we drink a lot of hot beverages during the day – the kitchen is less than 10 paces away from where we sit at the computer. We tend to have one or two cups of coffee in the morning, then switch to loose leaf teas for the rest of the day.
We drink all sorts of tea – black, white, green – depending on the time of day or what we’re eating. I also cook with tea leaves occasionally.
We tend to buy our ‘everyday’ tea (Yorkshire Tea) at the supermarket,our ‘special everyday’ tea from Fortnum & Mason, our usual brand white tea from Amazon and green and jasmine teas from a Chinese supermarket in Manchester.
Tea subscriptions were made for people like us. We’re always up for trying new ones that you wouldn’t normally find in the supermarket. What kind of tea(s) do you drink?
- Teabox: from £39.70 for 3 months
- Silver Lantern tea: from £36 for 3 months
- Fortnum & Mason: from £45 for 3 months
We’ve finally put up a notice board in our slowly-coming-along home office. We’ve collected some lovely postcards over the years and can’t wait to display them. They’re currently sitting in a pile because we don’t have anything to stick them up with – we don’t have any push pins.
Why have plain, run-of-the-mill drawing pins when there are so many quirky, eye-catching examples out there from which to choose? I love the bumble bee ones, but perhaps they’re a little too cute. The cast concrete computer keyboard keys are really fun and would be perfect for an office environment.
- Pack of 20 bumble bee push pins: £4.50, Etsy
- Pack of 20 dart push pins: £9.99, Amazon
- Concrete keyboard push pins – set of six by PASiNGA: £9.99, Notonthehighstreet
A couple of months ago, we planted out a few packets of tomato seeds, including some that were sent to us by Heinz. Fast-forward to June and we have about 3 dozen plants that are fast outgrowing their pots and need to be planted out on our allotment.
Last year’s crop was very disappointing; some of it was down to the weather, but if I’m being truthful, they were a little neglected and were in dire need of some tomato supports.
We’re really impressed by the plant halos (#2). They’ve had lots of good reviews and it’s claimed that they can boost your yield as it encourages two sets of roots to develop.
We didn’t really think about using tomato grow bags on the allotment, the tomato plants have always gone into beds – in which case frames #1 or #2 would work well. However, if planting into the ground isn’t an option – or you’ve had good results with grow bags, there’s currently an offer on a set of halos with an eco-friendly reusable grow bag for £17.00. We don’t have a greenhouse ourselves, but we might actually try one on a windowsill to test and compare results.
- Tomato support cage: £7, Wilko
- Tomato plant halos (set of 3): £10.95, Harrod Horticultural
- Fold-a-frame: £19.99, Suttons
What glorious weather we’ve been having – day after day of brilliant sunshine! It’s a bank holiday weekend, there’s only one thing for it BARBECUE!
If, like us, you only have a small garden or patio, bucket barbecues are a much more practical option than one of those super-duper barbecue grills. Much as we’d love one kitted out with quadruple gas burners, rotisserie, warming cupboard and instant ignition – we’d have no room for table and chairs… or us!
The Hema bucket barbecue (#1) is so affordable, we could buy two and have one each. One for Justin’s steak / burger / rack of ribs and the other for my vegetable skewers and veggie sausages. I’m not best keen on them being cooked side-by-side.
My favourite is the Fortnum & Mason eau de nil number. It’s not dissimilar to the budget Hema example and is almost 3 times the price. By way of justification, I really like the detailing of this one and the fact that you can lift the grill off by the handle – vital when my kebabs need rescuing quickly from certain cremation! Oh, and call me shallow… but I do love the classic F&M logo too.
What’s your favourite barbecue food?
- Bucket barbecue: £15, Hema
- Gentleman’s Hardware barbecue bucket – black: £26.91, Amazon
- BBQ bucket in Eau de Nil: £40, Fortnum & Mason