Saturday, 9 April 2016

Dream Bathroom - is it about to happen?

After 17 years of living with our perfectly functional yet "delightfully old fashioned" bathroom (which was designed installed for an 80 year old gentleman), finally we are going to bite the bullet and UPDATE IT!   woooooooohooooooooooo!

Just take a look at the glorious detail of this tile - I'm just thankful that there is just the one and the rest is at least (boring, clinical) white....

So I have been mulling over how to create the luxurious boutique hotel bathroom style that I want, but on the limited budget that we have.....

Enter the wonderful Tile Mountain who have a fabulous range of bathroom and kitchen floor and wall tiles at incredible prices.  

I really am not a fan of the ubiquitous (and utilitarian) Metro tile that seems to adorn every redesigned kitchen and bathroom I enter at the moment, so I'll be heading for large tiles in my new bathroom design which are found in all the most luxurious hotel bathrooms I've seen.

This Dark Emparador tile would be fantastic - our bathroom faces north so will never be filled with natural light so I'd rather go for a moody look with bright task lighting over the bathroom mirror so hubby doesn't cut himself shaving!  
Photo courtesy of Tile Mountain

 This Ribera range also appeals a great deal - I love the detail on the tiles which appear to be like natural riven stone

Photo courtesy of Tile Mountain

And finally, for the floor, I'd continue the warm moody feel with these Premium tiles, again from Tile Mountain - hope you noticed that I am half way to styling a great bathroom already with my orange towels in existing bathroom picture above!  ;)

I love using Pinterest to bring together home decor ideas so headed over to make a new board for my Dream Bathroom.  I decided to take a look to see if Tile Mountain had a Pinterest board too for inspiration, and sure enough, they do - you can see it here.    Whilst browsing, I saw this fab burnished metal effect large format tile that I'm sure would be suitable for both floor and walls in my new bathroom - perfect!

 Happy Days!  We're on the countdown to the builder arriving now so I'd better make my final decisions on which tiles to have soon!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Mediterranean Sunset

My favourite time of day in the Mediterranean has to be around sunset.  I love watching the sun disappear below the horizon, cool drink in hand after a busy day messing about in boats and snorkelling in warm waters.  Nothing beats sinking your toes into still-warm sand watching for the green flash.

This is one of my favourite sunset photos from the Med - taken on holiday to Greece a couple of years ago.  Olympic Holidays offer a huge range of holidays to Greece and Cyprus to suit all budgets so you can get to see Med sunsets like this too  :)

Why not show Olympic your Mediterranean sunset too?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Welsh Haggis

We love leeks in the T household, they are much gentler on the palate than onions and are so quick to cook.  We have them at least twice a week in one form or another!  

I'm always devising new recipe ideas to include leeks, and having just come back from a fabulous holiday in Scotland, I was inspired by all the delicious haggis that I ate when I was there (yum!).  Now haggis isn't for everyone, I'm sure most people are put off by the ingredients list, so it got me thinking about how I could make something like haggis that would appeal to everyone, young and old alike.

Hence, the birth of Welsh Haggis!  Incredibly simple to make, it tastes delicious and the texture is very like Scottish Haggis.  Even better, it's a one pot dish, so less washing up!

Welsh Haggis

2 large leeks, finely chopped
500g minced lamb
200g good quality black pudding, crumbled
Worcestershire sauce
200g cooked rice
plenty of freshly ground black pepper

First, sweat down 2 chopped leeks in a little oil for 3-4 minutes until softened. Then add the lamb mince and cook gently until browned.  Stir in the cooked rice and the crumbled black pudding, combine well.  Add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and LOTS of freshly ground black pepper.  Season lightly with salt.

You can serve it hot just like this but I like to make it the day before, allow the mix to cool and then shape into little Welsh Haggis balls!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Feeling stressed? Get a relaxation mantra!

So, I live in the most beautiful place in Cornwall, I have a job I love, a wonderful husband and fabulous family life.  What could possibly cause me stress?

Well, quite a lot it would seem!  There doesn't seem to be a day goes by without some little (or big!) thing creeping into my psyche and disrupting the state of joyous happiness that should reign.  Stupid things like just missing the ferry and knowing you've got to wait 30 minutes for the next one, being sat next to Mr Loud on the train, the grocery delivery missing the one thing I really wanted......the list goes on.  Silly, petty things that really cause havoc in your mind and get blown up out of all proportion.

So I decided that I needed to take a step back and to stop these silly irritants spoiling what is otherwise a lovely, happy existence.  What I needed was a Relaxation Mantra that I could use when I felt the ire and stress rising inside me.

One evening, I did some research on line about mantras and realised that just any old saying would not work for me, it had to be something that I really related to and would nip the negative feelings in the bud.  And it had to make "sense" - I'm a very logical person and something wishy washy wouldn't cut the mustard with my precise mind!

So here it is - my Relaxation Mantra

I (stupidly) do get stressed about the little stuff but these words and image really help put the issue into perspective. When I start to get stressed, I close my eyes and visualise this beautiful photo (which I took on a fabulous relaxing trip to Ireland - we could all take a leaf out of the Irish book on how to live a laid back life!) and think "Will it matter a year from now?".  Mostly, of course it won't!  It's like a weight has been lifted!  I love the fact that the person is moving out of the photo too - another visual telling me to "just move on" and to forget the current irritant.

So, do you have a relaxation mantra?  I'd love to hear how you use yours and how successful it's been.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Autumn's Best Bits

It's official - I LOVE autumn!  The beautiful colours as the leaves change from green to golden hues of red, orange and brown.  Mother Nature's harvest of blackberries (delicious pies & crumbles), sloes (mmmmmm, sloe gin for Christmas), hips and haws, acorns, super shiny conkers (brings back fun memories of childhood games) and chestnuts to roast on the fire. Oh yes, finally I can light the fire again and gaze into the crackling flames as I warm my frozen toes - bliss! Carving pumpkins for Halloween and enjoying fabulous firework displays on Bonfire Night. Really, who couldn't love Autumn?  Don't get me started on those gorgeous misty mornings when the landscape is transformed into a magical mysterious place lit by the late rising sun.

So when Sykes Cottages blogged asking what our favourite things about Autumn were, I was obviously spoiled for choice. However, my absolute favourite thing about Autumn is kicking through piles of rustly golden leaves when we walk the dogs on crisp mornings just as the sun is rising. This fun act takes me back to when I was a child and life was oh-so-simple and never fails to brighten my mood and make me smile.  Seriously, if you are feeling a bit low, pull on your wellies, get out into the woods or park and go kick up some leaves. I promise that you laugh and smile and will feel so much better afterwards!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

One man's trash is another man's treasure

With Building Regulations regularly being updated, it is getting more and more important to reduce waste on your building project.  I was fascinated to watch Grand Designs last week when the programme followed a Code 6 home build that required there to be virtually no building waste on site (as well as a raft of other stringent sustainability requirements).  This led to careful ordering of building materials and reuse where possible. Interestingly, however, building to this standard meant that the owner was permitted to build her home in a woodland setting outside the village planning boundary. Proper industry training from companies like will ensure that our future construction specialists will become more aware of the need to reduce waste which has to be good for the environment.

In the meantime though, on the majority of building projects there is waste and excess to some degree. We recently had a small extension built and were left with about 20 bricks over. Some of these have been put to good use in the chicken pen to keep their water bowl off the ground, and others are holding down the tarpaulin that is over the wood pile cut this year.  But I got to thinking how could I use them in the house.

My first moment of inspiration was when I realised that the holes in the bricks must be just the right size for tealights.  Luckily, the bricks were clean so I just gave them a good brush off and sealed them with a couple of layers of matt varnish.  I love the natural colour and surface, but you could also decorate them with paint, or even decoupage to really personalise them.  To fill the holes so the tealights don't drop through I used a little expanding foam.

We have lots of books dotted around the house, and they are always toppling over on the shelf, so my second idea was to make bookends from the bricks. I painted the bricks with acrylic paint in bright colours and then added some witty titles using an indelible marker.  Voila, no more wonky books!

I love recycling and upcycling so now have my thinking cap on for uses for some leftover rooftiles - watch this space  :)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

What's my favourite movie soundtrack?

I have what some might term as an "eclectic" mix of all-time favourite films, including Gone With The Wind, The Usual Suspects, Toy Story 2 and Grease, but right up there at the top of the list is Top Gun and this is almost certainly down to the brilliant soundtrack.  I remember going to see the film at the cinema when it first came out with some mates just after I left college and being awestruck with the amazing flying which was accompanied by an awesome, all engrossing soundtrack.  And I promise it had nothing to do with Tom Cruise!

From beginning to end,  Harold Faltermeyer's wonderfully evocative "Top Gun Anthem" makes you sit to attention and instantly brings back memories of being on the edge of my seat in that cinema watching the film.  Kenny Loggins' fantastic rock track "Dangerzone" reminds me of the excitement of the flying - I remember feeling like I was actually in the plane with those guys as the roar of the jet engines soared around the theatre.  The same can be said for Larry Greene's "Through The Fire" - heart in mouth stuff as the F-14s zipped around the sky. Faltermeyer's haunting "Goodbye Goose" still brings a lump to my throat today the memory of that moment in the movie is that strong.

On a lighter note, I adore the 60s tracks used in the film.  The very funny scenes with "You've lost that loving feeling" with Maverick being horrified the next day when he discovers his quarry was to be his teacher Charlie Blackwood, and "Great Balls of Fire" when Maverick and Goose are playing the piano together at the diner. They still bring a smile to my face.  :)

And who could fail to love Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" from the seduction scenes, maybe a bit cheesy, but SO much of the time, and every time I hear it, even today, I am reminded of the film.

In fact, writing this has made me decide to get my DVD out of the box and sit back on the sofa with a glass of wine, a bowl of popcorn (and a box of tissues for that "Goose" moment) this evening for another viewing.  Now I just need the Bose Cinemate 15 Sound Bar whose Acoustimass subwoofer with its powerful bass will recreate my cinematic experience from all those years ago......