Add a bit of REAL flavour to life

Though I don’t particularly want to advertise freely for a big company like Swartz, their flavour shot advert is amazing and It makes me want to cook with only those fresh ingredients and not the artificial flavoured things they sell. Which I guess is the opposite of what they are trying to do with this ad but hey ho.

The Sound of Taste from Grey London on Vimeo.

I also wanted to include their making of video which is just as amazing and great to see the actions behind it. The only shame is all that wasted food! Hope the crew took it all home.

The making of ‘The Sound of Taste’ from Grey London on Vimeo.

So although this is an advertisement for fake flavour I implore you all to use the fresh, natural ingredients that are naturally given to us by Mother Nature, cos hell they are tasty!
Lorna
X xxx

DIY Decorate: Lacey Lampshade

DIY Lacey LampshadeWhen it comes to decorating the bedroom always falls by the way side as it’s not a public room in your house. You always want to get your living room and kitchen in order first and then something else crops up so you always push back doing up the bedroom. So I am determined to bring a bit more life into our drab bedroom and to start off I made an impacting lacey lampshade to set a romantic tone for relaxation and comfort. I have seen a lot of people on pinterest make these white chandelier type shades but most were made using waxed paper rather then the lace I used. I wanted lace because I already have lots of it ( thrifty as always) and it is very romantic, light and serene. Plus a mini disclaimer that my room is not green I just really want to paint it that when it’s done but for now we have to live with this horrible peach and gross border. Sorry for the terrible photo shop. lol.

DIY lampshade before and afterYou will need: Lots and lots of lace, square of cardboard just larger then a dinner plate, white thread, hot glue gun, white string

1. First you need to cut lots and lots of lace circles a little smaller then a jam jar, I would estimate about 400. That sounds a lot but they don’t take long to make when you fold over several pieces of the lace and cut from there.

2. Stitch the lace pieces together with a straight stitch on the sewing machine and make sure you leave a long piece of thread at the end of each piece. For the centre piece you will need approximately 10 with a length of 10 circles, 20 with a length of 8 circles, 30 with a length of 5 circles.

3. You will then need to cut your hoops for the frame. Make 3 different sizes with each 1.5cm width, 1 a dinner plate, 1 a side plate and 1 slightly smaller. The smallest one you need to make sure it is bigger then the bulb in your lamp fitting so that it is not touching otherwise it might burn while on.

DIY lampshade step by step

4. When you have the hoops cover them by using strips of lace and wrap around securing each piece with a little hot glue.

5. Once you have the hoops and lace lengths you can construct the shade. Use 4 equal pieces of thick thread or string to attach the smallest hoop to the medium hoop and then 4 more from the medium to the largest hoop. You want to position then at the middle points around the hoop, like north, south, east and west.

6. You can then attach the lacey lengths. Start with the smallest hoop and attach the lengths of 10 till full. The medium hoop attach the lengths of 8. The largest hoop add the lengths of 5. Flip the lampshade the other way around and your are almost done

7. Use the string or thick thread to attach the largest hoop to the light fixture. The lampshade is quite light so its should hold in place and not sag. You want to have it attached far up into the light fitting so the bulb is encased within the smallest of the hoops.

DIY lampshade romantic bed lookThere we have it! I love the way it floats when the window is open and how stunning it looks as a feature piece. My only wish would be that it was a little darker in the room when the light is on but it still looks fabulous. Hopefully get cracking on the rest of the room to make it more friendly and relaxing.

Lorna

x xxx

Simple Soup, Grains, Veg and Stock

Soup Glorious Soup!Soup is a wonderful thing. Its good for you, keeps the cold from your toes when it’s winter and it’s super thrifty. You can put just about anything into soup and it will come out tasting fantastic and for me this is the perfect meal for the end of your shopping week when your running low on fresh produce. Me & H get our veg box delivery on a Thursday so by Wednesday we normally only have a few bits and bobs left over to make dinner from. A brilliant but healthy way to bulk up this veg into a soup is using a wide selection of grains as your base. Add the produce as a lighter edition to the filling flavours of the grains. You can get a generic dried ‘soup mix’ from all food shops and supermarkets for around £1 or less which normally include pearl barley (I bloody love it), red lentils, split peas, a mix of beans and peas. They are cheap and filling but the perfect way to use up those rogue carrots or sticks of celery that may be languishing in the chiller of the fridge.

Selection of Veggies for Soup

Ingredients Serves 2

2 generous handfuls of soup mix, 500ml of veg/chicken stock,1-2 garlic cloves, A selection of veg I used 1 Carrot, 3 small sticks of celery, a bunch of radishes and a random tiny piece of fennel leftover.

1. You will need to soak the soup mix overnight or throughout the day. 8 hours should be enough time.

2. Cook the soup mix in plenty of water for 30-40 mins on a rolling boil. You will need to skim off the impurities off the top of the water and discard throughout the cooking process.

3. Meanwhile dice the vegetables and slice the garlic

4. Once the grains are cooked you can create the rest of the meal in two ways. One just on the stove or one in a slow cooker.

Lovely Grains for Lovely Soup beautiful fresh vegetables5. For on the stove: Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy based pan over a medium heat. Once warm add the garlic and veg and slightly brown if you want. Add the grains in with any of the remaining cooking liquid plus the 500ml of stock. Gently heat to a simmer. You can then cook the veg to your liking. I like them pretty crunchy so I generally heat it through just to warm the veg and not really cook them

6. For in the slow cooker: I like using the slow cooker as I can prep the meal the day before and then I just have to turn it on when I am home. I turn the heat on for the slow cooker and add a little bit of oil into the bottom, when it is warmed I add the garlic to slightly cook through and mellow the flavour. I add the veg, the grains with cooking liquid and the stock. I can then pop the cooker on throughout the day or when I get home

warming, guilt free comfort food

This is such a simple dish but I really enjoy the flavours and that I get to use up any left overs I have. You can use whatever vegetables you have left at the end of the week and create some thing wholesome and tasty for you and your family. If you don’t cook the veg in time and that onion is getting pretty manky, fear not, here is a post on composting. Also check out this little review I did on this Soup Maker to get inspired to make more soups!

Lorna

x xxx

In the World: Something Happy

Sometimes It can feel really dark out there in the world, enough to make you want to crawl back into bed and sleep till forever. The news is just doom and gloom and it can make me feel really low. At the moment news about financial crisis, the prevalence of rape culture in the UK and the treatment of LGBT people across the world especially Russia have made me really miserable and despair a little for humanity BUT and it’s a big BUT, there is good in the world and I need a little reminder every now and then that there are many people who do great thinks for people and the planet. So here are few wonderful stories and things that brightened my day a little, plus it appears the sun might be coming out too :D Click on the photos for full story.

A homeless man spent the last of his money on a lottery ticket, won and will use his winnings on a programme for addicts and women who suffer from domestic abuse.

 

This monkey hugging it’s saviour! enough said.

This guy explains how we should deal with climate whether it’s true or not. This is a scientific but simple way to display the facts that neither climate change activists or doubters can have a problem with. Worth a watch.

Fairtrade at 20. Charting the successes of this wonderful organisation but also what it’s goals for the future should be

If you’ve not seen despicable Me 1 or 2 you should! It is such a good happy family film. Me and Harry are obsessed and the best part is the minions!

Lorna

x xxx

 

Vegan Lasagne

Vegan Lasagne looks so tasty up close even better in your mouth

I’m becoming more and more interested in both vegetarian and vegan food at the moment. The ethical and environmental reasons behind switching to a non meat/ animal product diet are vast and I really do support them. But on a wholly selfish note, eating more fruits, veg, nuts and grains improves your health and wellbeing considerable and even more so when you avoid processed foods that contain chemicals and toxins. A switch to a veggie/vegan or even a mostly veggie diet can be hard but as I have said in several other veggie recipes, you can use a much loved ‘meat’ recipe and turn it into a veggie delight and ‘trick’ yourself. A perfect example of this is my veggie lasagne, a simplified version of a recipe from Emily @ This Rawsome Vegan Life which uses fewer ingredients. Some of the wonderful but unusual ingredients Emily suggests may be harder to find for those those of us who may not follow a strict vegan diet .

Vegan lasagne 'pasta' 'mince' 'bechamel'

Ingredients, Serves 2

For the ‘Pasta’

1 Medium Courgette

For the ‘Mince’

1/2 a head of broccoli, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp dried basil, sprinkle of pepper

For the ‘Béchamel sauce’

1 Cup of sunflower seeds (or any other nuts or seeds), 2 tbsp Tahini, 2 Garlic cloves, 1 tbsp lemon juice, water to loosen

Vegan Lasagne for one

1. Blend all the ‘béchamel’ ingredients together, in the vegan community they call this nut cheese. Blend to a rough paste adding a little water to loosen, you don’t want it too sloppy more like a rough pate.

2. Chop the broccoli into tiny pieces so the little buds are basically little green grains, this will be your ‘mince’ In a bowl mix the broccoli with the chopped tomatoes, basil and pepper

3. Slice the courgette length ways, using a mandolin is best, cut off the ends if you want them to sit flush against your baking dish.

4. Layer! Courgette, ‘Mince’, Courgette, nut cheese, repeat till your baking dish is full

5. Bake for 30 mins on gas mark 5 or enjoy raw!

Vegan Lasgne with courgette pasta, broccoli mince and nut cheese crunchy topping

Pretty simple recipe really for a quick and delicious dish. It definitely matches a ‘regular’ lasagne on flavour and I was so pleased by the textures as well as taste. The top with nut cheese came out really golden and crunchy making it even more appetising. I used the left overs to make myself a single serving for my lunch, the photos are of this meal and I made it a circular little stack by cutting slices rather then lengths of courgette. This is a great recipe to experiment with too, you could swap the sunflower seeds for any other seeds or nuts and the broccoli with maybe cauliflower or minced carrot and onion. The choice is yours, just make it a healthy one ;)

Do you have any favourite meaty meals you’d like me to turn veggie? just ask

Lorna

x xxx

Look Local: Jacob’s Chop House

This Friday a new restaurant/bar is opening in Oxford, Jacob’s Chop House. A new venture for the owners of Jacobs Inn and Jacob & field’s Deli, both in Oxford and both successful small businesses. By the looks of the food and drinks on offer the  Chop House is set to be a tasty success as well. I would love the opportunity to go down for the opening and try some tasty  meats but alas a trip to Oxford is not on the books at the moment :( Since this isn’t a review post the reason I would like to share with you this particular place is that the co-owner Johnny commissioned me to make the aprons for all the staff starting there this week. For me this was a really special moment to do my first custom order other then for friends and family and was able to get my products in a public arena. Although I am very proud, this isn’t a post about blowing my own trumpet, I wanted to share the order with you as I think It is a really important step for my business, their business and the implications it has for all independent businesses.Jacob's Aprons

I believe strongly in the power of small business over huge corporations and love the fact that with the purchase of my aprons, two businesses have cut these huge multi nationals out of the loop. This has allowed one independent maker (i.e. Me) to produce an ethical product and service for another independent business (i.e. Jacob’s). For the handmade and independent business movement it is our ability to stand alone in the economy without major funding and questionable policies that will see more small companies thrive and more people gain a job, that is both worthwhile and pays well. Supporting each other is just as important as promoting your own products and services because the more consumers who shop in a more conscious way the more space there is for the little guy or gal to succeed.

jacob's menuJacob's menu pt 1For small businesses it’s all about being seen. Why would I not want to promote another independent business. The Chop House are offering grilled British meats, fish and veggies with some tasty beers and wines to wash it all down. Though I’ve not been, their pub offers meats that are reared on site and their own homemade chorizo and their deli provides local and seasonal fresh produce all year round. What is not to like! I wish the team all the best of look in the future and look forward to when I can finally make it to oxford and sample their wares myself.

And remember, support your local independent businesses where ever you are

Lorna

x xxx

p.s. Photos courtesy of Jacob’s Chop House restaurant

DIY Decorate: Pieces of Art You Never Knew You Had

Klimt 1Klimt 2I have been trying to bring our little home together, finding a place for everything so everything can be put in it’s place but when money is tight the decorative parts you would love to add to your home fall by the way side as you focus on essentials and necessities. That said it doesn’t mean you can’t decorate at all you just have to be a little bit creative about it. I have recently brightened up a few spots on some bare walls with pieces of art I already had, no purchase necessary and they are beautiful!

Free art in the home

I had a big white wall in my living room above my bookcase/sideboard and knew I wanted some beautiful art to fill the space. My dream would be two quite large posters that had a similar frenchy feel as the huge Parisian theatre poster we have resting on our mantel piece. At the moment I have settle for four square Klimt paintings (frenchy feel, but Austrain really) which are actually from last years calendar. I have always kept my calendar to use for other arts and craft pieces so it naturally fell into why don’t I use them whole as pieces of art, I mean that’s what they were originally intended as.

Craft room art- a page out of a book

Incidentally I used the same calendar to cover the front of cardboard boxes that I use for storage in my craft room, which makes my shelves pretty and organised. (I’m sure you will see them in a craft room tour once I get it organised) The walls were a bit lacking before I added a wall hanging which I use sort of like a pin board but I managed to add extra colour with this beautiful photo of spools. This was a page in a Martha Stewart craft book and since I know I will never give it away (it’s great for inspiration) I didn’t mind cutting a page out of it. The back of the page has some acknowledgements on it, which truthfully I haven’t read so it doesn’t matter to me. Many of us have beautiful ‘coffee table’ books as I call them so why not use them to decorate your rooms, when you can enjoy them all the time out in the open.

newspaper art

Another great place to look for free pieces of art are magazines and newspapers. Sometimes they have big page spreads which you can definitely  use as big pieces but even little photo can be used in small frame. I found this nice little picture of a City of Sheffield sign and I have the perfect frame for it. Nice little edition to our new Sheffield home me thinks

Any more ideas for free pieces of art? please leave in the comments

Lorna

x xxx

3 Fruity Toppings for Toast

fruit on toastI would definitely say that British breakfasts are boring for the most part. On weekends we indulge and do a proper meal, a full English is a staple of the Saturday after the Friday night before and a continental mish-mash of a brunch is satisfying to graze on during a lazy Sunday morn. The rest of the week appears to be a combination of the same sad cereal, bread and butter or for the lucky but unhealthy a bacon or sausage sarnie from the cafe next to the bus stop. One of Britain’s favourites is toast for a quick warm meal but it normally doesn’t really have that many calories or nutrients to really set you up for the day unless it’s got a tasty topping! Here are three easy ones to start with.

chocolate banana on toast

1. Chocolatey Bananas

Serves 1 Ingredients: 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, 1 banana, 1 tsp coco powder,1 cup of soya milk, a handful of flaked almonds, some toast

Melt the coconut oil in a pan with the coco powder and when warm add in the banana cut into slices. The pieces will start to sizzle, mix gently to get the banana coated in the oil. When fully combined add enough of the soya milk to make a chocolatey sauce. Heat till warm. At the same time toast the almond flakes in a pan till golden. Make your toast, top with the chocolate banana mixture then sprinkle over the almonds. Delicious!

Amaretto Apples on Toast

2. Amaretto Apple Sauce

Serves 1 Ingredients: 2 medium eating apples, 1tbsp butter, 1/2 tbsp demerara sugar, 2tbsp Amaretto liqueur, some toast

Melt the butter in a pan and add the apples chopped in to bite size pieces (you can peel or leave the skin). Stir the the apples till they start to colour. Add the sugar, mix until melted. Add the amaretto and warm through. Though only optional I think it adds a luxurious treat to breakfast and works really well with the apples. Pile on to toast and enjoy.

tomatoes on toast

3. Tomatoes on Toast

Serves 1 Ingredients: A good handful of cherry or plum tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, a small handful of parsley, salt and pepper, 1 garlic clove, some toast.

Tomatoes are fruit you know! Simple chop the tomatoes into quarters or smaller for larger ones, add to the oil once heated in a pan. Allow them to reduce down, season and then add finely chopped up parsley at the last minute. (Optional for Garlic lovers) Slice a length off the garlic clove, and while holding the uncut edge, rub the cut edge all over one side of your toast and add a splash more olive oil if you wish. Add the tomatoes and you’ve got one more tasty breakfast to start your day.

Simple recipes that only take 5-10 mins to make but will give you something just a little bit more inspiring and more nutritious to get your ready for the rest of the day. Why not try one tomorrow morning.

Lorna

x xxx

Happy Shopping with 10% Off

shop on blog

You can now buy all my products directly from me via the blog. Simply click on the Shop Life button to find the shop, how to buy and all of my store policies. Hopefully this will make it easier for those of you who don’t shop on Etsy or Folksy but I highly recommend checking them out since they have such a great array of designers and creators to explore. As a little thank you for your readership and as a little incentive for the new shop I offer a gift of 10% off from now till the end of February.

happy reader coupon

Enjoy and Happy Shopping

Lorna x xxx

Winter Wishlist

winter wish list This January has given me time to get organised around the house, de-cluttering and find a place for everything and everything in its place. The process has made me think about new items I’d like to fill my home and something I want to update. Part of organising in January is to do with improving health and de stressing. I am not ill very often but have a fair amount of problems with allergy induced asthma in day to day, so part of my January clear up was to get on top of cleaning and remove said allergens so I would really like some new fancy anti allergy pillows to help me sleep. Another tip I’m trying to employ is adding lots of house plants to help purify the air and would like a huge palm in the bedroom.  I want to add lots more art to the house too and have found some amazing  abstract pieces, like this blue one, which I would love to have in my home. Trying to be more green I would love to replace my makeup brushes with some long lasting bamboo ones (I hardly wear makeup so they would last me for years as well) and swap my glue sticks to a eco friendly alternative.  My only need* on the list is a facial exfoliator, the winter months have  made  my skin dry and dull, I would like to glow :D

1,2,3,4,5,6

Lorna

X xxx