Charity Vintage: Midwinter Stylecraft coffee set

August 16th, 2014

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vintage 1950s Midwinter Stylecraft coffee set for sale on eBay for Charity by & on behalf of Lindsey Lodge Hospice(ends 21 Aug, 2014 20:37:49 BST)

This 1950s Midwinter Stylecraft coffee set is definitely something very special! We can’t seem to find any images or reference to the pattern online or in our vintage pottery books. That makes it a pretty rare thing! The coffee set consists of 6 cups & saucer with coffee pot all in very good condition. This fabulous mid-century modern set is up for sale by Lindsey Lodge Hospice* based over in Scunthorpe.

Its starting bid is only £4.50, and surprisingly no one has had a punt yet. What are you waiting for? Get over there and bid!

*Lindsey Lodge Hospice exists to provide a range of specialist services to people with cancer and other life limiting conditions in North Lincolnshire. They aim to enhance the quality of life and to support the patients and those who are dear to them.

Gimme Five! Clear umbrellas

August 15th, 2014

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Selection of 5 clear umbrellas | H is for Home

Classic sunshine & showers all this week – the weather doesn’t know what it’s doing from one minute to the next. You don’t always want to be wearing layers of waterproof clothing if the rain only lasts ten minutes, so a nice umbrella is the perfect solution. I like a clear umbrella myself, so I can pull it down low but still see where I’m going. Here are five of my favourites from around the web.

  1. Birds on a Wire dome: £14, BHS
  2. Bubble: £25, Hunter
  3. Stella McCartney: £37, Selfridges
  4. Mood Dots parasol: £35, Radley
  5. PVC dome Enchanted Dotty print: £17, Totes

Simple home made paneer

August 14th, 2014

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Cubed home made paneer | H is for Home

I’m a regular stalker of the discounted shelves and fridges in our local supermarket. I’m very strict though, I only ever pick something up that I would have bought anyway. On a recent late evening trip to Morrisons, I saw a 4-pint bottle of whole organic milk for 89p down from £1.84. We don’t generally use full fat milk, and we never buy it in such large quantities, but I knew that I wanted to try making home made paneer.

Paneer is a simple curd cheese – similar to cottage cheese, mascarpone and quark – that relies on acid rather than rennet to form. From earlier research I knew that only full fat milk really works – and you need a fair amount of milk to make a big enough portion of paneer worth the process. You also need the acid which separates the curds from the whey. This can be in the form of natural yoghurt, citric acid, lemon juice or vinegar.

The process was like a doing a school science experiment. Heat the milk in a big saucepan, add the acid, stir and the alchemy of the separating liquid from solid happened instantaneously! I knew it was simple to do – but didn’t realise it was that simple. Why hadn’t I done it before? Paneer costs about £7 per kilo in the shops – when you can actually get hold of it that is!

We used some of it when making a curry and some of it like you would ricotta, in a spinach & paneer lasagne. We saved the whey and used it in place of the water when making a dhal. It made the dish slightly sweeter, creamier and tastier.

Here’s how I made it…

Simple home made paneer

Simple home made paneer


  • 4 pints/2 litres full cream milk
  • 150g plain natural yoghurt
  • 2tsp white wine vinegar
  • or 1½tsp powdered citric acid
  • or 1½tsp lemon juice
  • ½tsp salt


  1. Sterilise a large piece of muslin, cheesecloth (or a lint-free glass cloth like I used) by putting it into a pan/heatproof bowl and covering it completely with boiling water from a kettle
  2. Using tongs, remove the cloth from the water and spread it over a metal colander
  3. If you plan on using the whey, put the colander into a large mixing bowl so that all the liquid can be collected
  4. Put the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan and heat to boiling stirring regularly to prevent it burning
  5. When it begins to bubble, add the yoghurt and vinegar turn off the heat and stir. The curds should separate from the whey
  6. Set aside until cool enough to handle
  7. Pour the contents of the saucepan into the cloth covered colander
  8. Remove the colander from the mixing bowl, put the colander into the kitchen sink and carefully rinse the curds
  9. Sprinkle evenly with salt
  10. Take up the corners of the cloth into your hands and twist & squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible
  11. Form the cloth into a block shape - ( I put the cloth into a DIY 'mould', a plastic container that some mushrooms came in that I punched holes in the bottom of )
  12. Weigh it down with something heavy ( I put a jar of dried split peas into an identical mushroom container and popped that on top )
  13. Put the paneer on to an under-plate and refrigerate with the weight still on top for about half an hour
  14. The paneer is ready to cut into cubes to be used or can be removed from the cloth, covered in clingfilm/saran wrap and left in the fridge for up to 5 days

Redecorate without redecorating: 5 Quick tips

August 13th, 2014

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Bedroom of Marc and Edwina Boase in Brighton taken from their feature on Design*SpongeImage credit: Daniela Exley via Design*Sponge

So, this is the holy grail of all interior design; how to redecorate without actually redecorating. But just in the same way that a new pair of shoes makes Carrie Bradshaw feel like she has a whole new outfit, and the same way that a new supercharger makes Lewis Hamilton feel like he has a brand new car, there are some quick and cost effective ways to help you spruce up your home.

Our sitting room

Cushions and Throws

It’s truly amazing what a few cushions and throws can do for your home. If you want to build up depth and textures in your interior design, make sure you layer, layer… and layer some more. Not enough pennies in the piggy bank for some new fabric? Not to worry. Old curtains, bed sheets and upholstery offcuts can all be recycled to create your new cushion covers. For sewing newbies, here are 3 ways to make a cushion cover.

Orange feature wall in our kitchen

Paint a Feature Wall

An easy way of refreshing the look and feel of a room is to create a new focal point. A feature wall is quick and simple to do: a new lick of paint and you’ll have a whole new space. If you want to save money or you want to be more eco-friendly, you can even make your own home-made paint. Vintage industrial storage drawers in our sitting room

De-Clutter Your Home

Sometimes the quickest way of improving your home décor is to de-clutter and keep it looking clear & tidy. Throw away anything you don’t need, use old materials for recycling / up-cycling projects, and make sure you have ample storage around the house. For a range of storage units, chest of drawers, blanket boxes or display cabinets, visit the Fortune Woods website.

branch being used as a curtain poleImage credit: The Burlap Bag

Update Your Window Furnishings

Windows are key features in every room. You’d be surprised at how a new curtain fabric, a fresh tieback or an imaginative curtain pole makes a world of difference. Visit UKTV to find out how you can make your own curtain tiebacks to save money.

Before & after painted chest of drawersImage credit: I create… with love

Paint Inexpensive Furniture

French colonial, English country cottage, shabby chic, mid century modern; there are so many different interior design looks you can create simply by painting an old piece of furniture. Buy second-hand furniture from a flea market or car boot sale and give it a new lease of life by painting it your desired colour. You can refresh the furniture regularly with a new coat of paint and edit your accessories / cushions to match.


World Dolls Series: Ireland

August 12th, 2014

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World Dolls Series: Ireland book front cover

We’re back touring!

World Dolls Series: Ireland book showing J Giplin illustrator information

We’ve crossed the sea to Ireland in our World Dolls Series – a charming collection of children’s books produced in the 1960s.

World Dolls Series: Ireland book showing Patrick carrying his shillelagh

Our guides for this leg of the journey are Kathleen & Patrick – two dolls who once stood side by side in a Dublin shop window. There’ll certainly be no misbehaving on this trip – Patrick has his shillelagh at the ready for anyone who steps out of line!

World Dolls Series: Ireland book showing Irish tweed

Gorgeous illustrations once more – this time the work of J.Giplin from the Birmingham School of Design.

World Dolls Series: Ireland book showing Irish round towers

We’re taken on a journey through pretty country landscapes…

World Dolls Series: Ireland book showing Giant's Causeway

…eating hearty home cooked food as we go.

World Dolls Series: Ireland book showing Irish bread

What’s not to like?

World Dolls Series: Ireland book showing Irish barm brack

Across the channel to France next time!