LIVING ROOM MAKEOVER INSPIRATION


One of my New Year's resolutions, apart from saving money to travel lots, is to decorate my living room. At the moment, because I only moved in four months ago, it's a bit of a mix of basic/budget pieces. I haven't really invested in any money in there as it's not overly awful, but it just doesn't have my stamp on it like, say, my bedroom does.
 
I'm kind of obsessed with Scandinavian interiors at the moment and seem to be pinning nothing else, so I've started to gather some inspiration from the high street as well some key investment pieces. I'd like to properly invest in an arm chair and a sofa - I love this beaten vintage inspired one from Furniture Choice, and if you follow me on Facebook you'll know how much I've gone about this sofa from Ikea. If I'm going Scandinavian then I might as well head to Scandi-mecca.
 
In terms of accessories, I really like the eclectic mix in these images I've pulled for inspiration, with varied textures, finishes, wood teamed with metal and greenery everywhere.




 
Below are some pieces I've picked out from the high street, I especially like the mix of the metallic cushion with the striped. The coffee table I've chosen couldn't be further from my usual style but I really like it. Funny how your taste can change as you get older.


1. Winston two-Seater Sofa £849.99 Furniture Choice 2. Cushion Cover £3.99 H&M 3. Lovbacken Coffee Table £60 Ikea 4. Shiny Copper Vase £19.99 Zara Home 5. Dracaena Janet Lind £8 Ikea 6. George Home Peach Alarm Clock £5.00 Asda 7. Metallic Cushion Cover £12.99 H&M 8. Stocksund Two Seater £425 Ikea

FIVE TASTY WINTER LUNCHES

Breakfast is always a quick bowl of cereal, elevensies is fruit (biscuit), yogurt (biscuit) or a cup-a-soup (with some biscuits) and dinner is some concoction from what I've got in the fridge - usually including chicken kiev in some way. But lunch, lunch is a toughie. I'm sick of shop bought sandwiches or boring tomato soup. Especially now winter's set in. We all want something warm and tasty when the cold arrives - and I don't just mean food.
 
So I thought I'd put together five easy recipes for quick lunches. The difference with these recipes are most of them are pre-made, some in batch, so it's a case of making time out of your day to have something a little bit more delicious when the clock strikes 12pm.

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients
 
3 small butternut squash, about 1.6kg (3 ½ lb) total weight
about 2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
25g (1oz) butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 large sticks celery, sliced
2.5cm (1 inch) root ginger, grated
1.1-1.3 litres (2-2 ¼ pints) vegetable or chicken stock
sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
 
Instructions
 
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F /Gas 6.
Cut the butternut squash in half length ways, scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and discard. Arrange the squash halves cut side up in a roasting tin just big enough to hold the squash in a single layer and drizzle over the olive oil. Season each squash half with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Pour 150ml (1/4 pint) water around the squash. Cook in the preheated oven for about 1 ¼ hours, basting occasionally, until the squash are very tender. Allow to cool.
Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion, carrot, celery and grated ginger. Cook for 5-10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the stock, rosemary and seasoning, bring to the boil then partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
When cool enough to handle scoop the flesh from the squash and add to the pan. Blend the vegetables in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth. (If you use a food processor, it is easier to process the vegetables with a little of the liquid, adding the remaining liquid to the processed vegetables to make the soup).
Taste for seasoning and serve hot with crusty bread.
 

Smoked Ham, Kale and Olive Frittata Cups
 
Ingredients

6 large eggs
¼ tsp sea salt
¾ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
¼ tsp ground ancho chile (or other chili powder)
1 cup finely chopped kale leaves (stems removed)
200g organic smoked black forest ham, cut into bite size chunks
¼ cup sliced green olives
¼ cup sliced kalamata olives
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
 
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 12- large muffin pan with reusable silicone or parchment paper muffin cups.
Place the chopped kale leaves, pieces of ham, both kinds of olives, chopped rosemary and minced garlic in a large mixing bowl. Stir with a spoon until all the goodies are well distributed. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs, salt, pepper, ancho chile powder and whisk vigorously until slightly frothy. Pour that over reserved kale and ham mixture and mix well.
Divide this egg mixture between the 12 prepared muffin cups. Do not fill the cups more than ¾ of the way to avoid spillage.
Cook for 22-25 minutes , until eggs are set and tops start to color slightly.
Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing frittata from cups.

*image source

Rainbow Quinoa Salad
 
Ingredients
 
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 red onion, chopped
7-8 sweet peppers, chopped
1 cup broccoli
1 cup corn
1 can black beans, rinsed
Juice of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Handful fresh basil, chopped
 
Instructions

To make quinoa, rinse and soak for about 10 minutes in warm water. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan and drain quinoa and add to boiling water. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn heat off and allow quinoa to sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Allow quinoa to cool before adding in the rest of the salad.
Meanwhile, sauté onion and sweet peppers with just a bit of olive oil until onion is translucent and peppers are soft, about 3 minutes. Add mixture to cooled quinoa then add broccoli, corn and black beans, mixing well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Add to salad and toss well. Once salad is coated, add fresh basil and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. 



New York Bagel
 
Ingredients

Whole-wheat Bagel
600g pastrami, sliced
6 tsp mustard
60g Emmental cheese, cut into slices

Instructions
 
For the preparation of the New York Style Pastrami bagels cut the bagels down the middle and toast. Place on one side 10g Emmental cheese and give all halves with sliced ​​side up into the oven and grill until the cheese is melted. Remove the bagels from the oven and spread the half without cheese with 1 teaspoon mustard. Spread on the side with the cheese 100g pastrami, put the one half with the mustard on it, bite in it, and enjoy.
 

 
Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Cheddar Patties

Ingredients
 
1 large sweet potato (approx 600g)
2 cups of frozen broccoli (defrosted)
56g of cheddar cheese (2xHEa’s)
salt and black pepper
Frylight or Pam spray
 
Instructions
 
Pierce sweet potato with a knife and microwave in the oven for approx 8 mins (needs to be nice and soft, so may need a little longer than this).
Cut in half and scoop out all the potato and place in a large bowl.
Chop up the defrosted broccoli into smaller pieces and mix into the potato along with the cheddar cheese.
Season well with salt and black pepper.
Form into 6 equal sized patties
Preheat oven to 200c or 400f
Spray a baking tray with some Frylight or Pam spray. Place patties on tray and spray over the top with more Frylight or Pam Spray.
Bake in the oven for approx 30-40mins, turning over half way through cooking time, to make sure they are golden on both sides.
Make in batch so you can freeze and then defrost when needed. To reheat, place in microwave for 1 minute 30.

 

DIY WATERCOLOUR MARBLE CUPS

I've spotted this little DIY on a number of blogs recently so thought I'd give it a try and see if I could create this watercolour marbled effect on some cappuccino cups and saucers.

I didn't obviously want to spend too much as this was just a practise so I got these porcelain cups from Wilkinsons for £4 each (with the saucer included), and got to work this afternoon. 


There are only three key ingredients, if you like, to this DIY - nail varnish, an old tub or bowl and warm water. Fill the tub with warm water - note, not hot water as the nail varnish will sink - and pour drops of the varnish into it. I used this gorgeous metallic teal colour from Collection.

You can use two colours to create a different effect, just use the end of a paint brush or pencil to swirl the colours into one another.


Once you have a pattern of varnish on the surface of the water dip your cups (or whatever it is you're marbling) and pull out, leaving to set to the side. I have to warn you, this can get really messy, especially when you decide you don't like your first attempt and use nail polish remover to start again like I did. 




What do you think of this DIY? Something you'd give a try? It takes some practise but I think it's definitely worth it once you see the final effect. 

TROUBLES OF A NOT SO GROWN UP GROWN-UP


I remember when I was 21, looking waaaayyyy into the future at October 4th 2014 and thinking, wow, imagine being 30 - that's such a grown-up age. I envisioned by the time I'd reached the ripe old age of 3-0, I'd be married with at least one child. Called either Olivia or Alfie. I'd be driving a nice shiny car and I'd be paying a mortgage - as well as putting a portion of dollar into something called a savings account. I know, I don't know what one of those things are either. Yet, here I am on a Friday night watching Big Bang Theory, eating a Terry's Chocolate Orange and feeling so far from "grown-up".

I rent. Even if I wanted to buy, I haven't got the money saved for a deposit. Or the solicitors fees for that matter. Never mind going to the bank to talk about getting a mortgage. The answer would be no anyway. Unless I wanted a shed for £500. And even then I'd need a guarantor. 

I don't know where to put windscreen wash in my car. I don't know where my fog lights are. I didn't even know the reason my car wasn't going as fast as it once did was because the mat was stuck right underneath the accelerator pedal thing. My dad had to come and "fix it" for me.

I've never been to a McDonald's Drive-thru. I mean, I've had thirty years of Big Mac's, believe me, but I'm scared to go through the Drive-thru in case I speak to the wrong part or don't park close enough to the window, or drop my money out of my car and then hold the traffic up as I clamber out to pick up all my spare change. I just don't think nuggets are worth it.

I've never changed a baby's nappy. Never, ever. I get scared of even picking the little blobs up in case I drop them. Plus, I speak to them like we're on the same level. Most of the time we are.

I don't have "a scent". You know those grown-up women who wear Chanel No.5 and are perfectly polished. Well, I wear paper freebies I've ripped out of magazines. 

When the waiter asks what wine I'd like, I usually say the house wine. I don't really know anything but Lambini. But what I do know is that aint wine. 

I can't look in my cupboard and whip up a sauce from nothing. I once put stock, paprika and honey together to try and make some kind of glaze to put on pork. Don't ask. 

I thought grown-ups were supposed to be out of puberty and have spot-free skin. I seem to be trapped in a 15 year old's body, small breasts and spots included, except with an arse of a plump 55 year old. When the hell do pimples disappear?!

I still have to ask my mum how I buy car insurance. And contents insurance. And how I sort a pension. And whether she can lend me £50 a week before pay day. You see a pattern emerging.

So as I sit here, flicking through endless crime dramas, documentaries and crap like Downton Abbey to reach ITVBe (hello favourite channel ever), I ask myself, when does anyone ever really feel like a "grown-up"? Do you?

I HEART FASHION // A UK HIGH STREET FASHION AND LIFESTYLE BLOG © - DESIGNED BY SMUK THINGS