Wednesday 31 August 2016

A few tips for Interior DIY

As you've probably noticed, we've discussed some living room design ideas before and if you didn't already know, we're also moving house again. But since we've come out of the flat, we've always wanted to do a bit of decorating to make our house feel like a home, specifically with regard to injecting personal taste into a newly rented house. It's been great fun to set about making a home our own, and there's certainly more opportunity for design than in the ground floor flat! But it's also become clear that there are inevitably some hiccups that come with personal home design.... Or at least, there can be a learning curve sometimes! In our case, we've managed to get a lot done. That being said, there's always more to do, and it can be tough to tell when you're done. But along the way we've realised some fundamental truths of home DIY and decorating. And while not all of them apply directly to us, I can point to a few different pieces of advice I wish someone had shared with me!

First of all, I had no idea how inspiring the internet could be when it comes to design! Of course it's common knowledge that there are endless design blogs and visual examples online. However, the variety in styles and the exceptional details you can pick up are something you might not notice until you get into it personally. Plenty of platforms are useful - Pinterest, Houzz, House Beautiful, etc. but the different ideas for each type of room at House & Garden are particularly helpful. We wanted to focus a great deal on our own style, but rest assured finding inspiration online does not sacrifice your personal taste! You certainly don't need to choose any specific layout, furniture, etc. you see online, but it gets the wheels turning.

Another general tip is that home design can require a little bit of DIY savvy. We haven't undertaken any major remodelling or construction projects as it's a rental, the only thing we've done is assembled a few palettes into garden furniture. But even when the idea of building a coffee table or designing new shelves or something of the like comes up, I've wondered about what would be required. Given that my own DIY expertise extends about as far as knowing how to hammer a nail, I looked into some more advanced tools and techniques for when such a job comes up. Looking through quality tools with the latest technology, both in Screwfix's assortment of power drills and other tools and other DIY advice articles, it became clear that these jobs can be made easy. With a few items in place: DeWalt drill, some sanding tools, and all the little screws and bolts and the like you can do a little bit of DIY carpentry to further your personal influence on the home environment.
We've also realised the value of colour, even if that may sound silly. The right combination of wallpaper, furnishings, and decorations, from a colour standpoint, can really give a room its personality. And while wallpaper is perhaps the easier solution, the option to paint a room is also one that appeals to a lot of people. The trouble is, many (specifically me!) would be nervous to undergo this sort of job independently. But interior house painting tips are not hard to find, and I'm told it's relatively simple once you get the hang of it. I've wondered about practicing in a smaller space (shed maybe?) and from there gaining the confidence to paint a room at some point and have the most control possible over colour combinations.
These are just a few of the things we've learned or thought of during the process of home design. The fun thing is that it's really a never-ending process, and a new DIY effort, we're quickly finding, can always have a nice effect.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes

If you’re a fan of peanut butter and if you’re like me and try to encorpoate it into pretty much anything and everything, then these super simple cupcakes should be the next thing you (attempt?) to bake! They’re pretty foolproof and don’t take much work, or washing up! 

I did bake mine in a cupcake maker which means that you get the same size cupcakes and the same density amongst the batch which is nice if you’re looking to take photos or present them to other people. If you don’t really care about the aesthetics, just follow the recipe below and oven instructions... You’ll be thanking me later! 


Cakes (make approx 12-15)
115g Butter 
75g Caster sugar
40g Brown sugar
2 eggs Medium
115g Self-raising flour
2 tbsp crunchy or smooth peanut butter (i used smooth for a fluffier texture!)

Method - Preheat oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas mark 4.

 Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon 2–3 minutes until well mixed. Place dessertspoons of the mixture in 12 paper cases or greased bun tins.
Bake for around 20 minutes until soft and springy to touch. Cool on a wire tray.

50g Chocolate chips to sprinkle
110g Butter, softened
250g Smooth Peanut Butter
250g Icing sugar
3 tablespoons milk, as needed

Method - Place butter and peanut butter into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in icing sugar. When it starts to thicken, incorporate milk 1 tablespoon at a time until all the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. When the cakes are cool, pipe the icing onto the cakes and sprinkle with Chocolate Chips. I also added a tbsp of Reeces topping to the icing to give it a chocolatey look! 

Friday 5 August 2016

Purrfect Gift Box and Subscription

By now, you should have all realised that I bloody love our cats. I was always a Dog person, having grown up with dogs since I was born but when we moved into the new house, we wanted to get a pet for Millie and as we work full-time, a dog seemed like a selfish option. So, we went to look at a cat and ended up with these pair. You can read a little more about where and why we got them here. 

Now, we all love a subscription box right? Well, so do our kitties! There are so many varieties of subscription boxes for pets but this Purrfect gift box has a mixture of treats for your kitties and you! You can choose one of 4 subscription options:
(Lite) £15.95 per month gets you 2-3 gifts per month
(Standard) £20.95 gets you 3-5 gifts per month
£22.95 gets you 2-3 gifts per month PLUS gifts for Kitty
£27.95 gets you 3-5 gifts per month PLUS gifts for Kitty! 

You can use code NYA20 for 20% off your first subscription! 

Back in May, I got this amazing gift box full of treats for both me and the cats - they are all full sized items too which is great! There is such a variety of items too, not just a couple of the same bits and pieces. This box was full of treats including:
Handmade Cat necklace
Handmade Cat inspired Buttons
A cat print Scarf
A fleece blanket for the cats
A new collar
Treats for the Cats

The handmade element of the jewellery is beautiful. I probably wouldn’t wear it myself but Millie has been loving it and has been wearing it with her dressing up bits. I think she’s going to be a cat lady when she grows up! And the collar is so cool - the colours go together perfectly and there’s also a tiny little cat charm on there too! We definitely need to get another for Henry so they can match! 

If you love the element of surprise that you get from subscription boxes and if you love your cats just as much as I do, this is the perfect little treat for both you and your fur balls! 

Head over to My Purrfect Giftbox to check out the subscription options and you can also buy the items in this box over on their shop too!