Thursday, July 31


The minute I finished painting our living room in the most beautiful deep navy blue (which I'll show you one day soon), I started to obsess about what colour to paint the adjoining dining room.  I'd originally wanted to wallpaper it, and perhaps still will one day, but I think my husband and I would be debating which one to use until 2024, and let's face it, it's a much bigger commitment, so paint it was to be, for now at least.  I'd knew I wanted something, well, full-on, and considered an acid yellow, or a lime green, but neither were right, so I took to Pinterest (again) for inspiration.  I was drawn to beautiful sea greens, so off I went to buy another few sample pots from our local paint shop.

The perfect aqua green came in the form of Grecian Spa 3 by Dulux.  It's so bright it glows, and I adore it.  It's a super happy colour, and it's a great backdrop for all my bits and pieces on the sideboard.  Not a colour for the faint hearted, neutral lover, that's for sure...

Speaking of sample pots, I have an obscene amount of them in the cellar. I buy so many that it's become a running joke with all the staff at our local paint shop. I'm not particularly proud of this fact, as they're not cheap, and I often wonder about starting some kind of swap/share scheme. Is it just me??


Sunday, July 13

Kitchen Storage Jars

I debated whether to write this post - it's not the most exciting thing on earth to dedicate a whole post to, but I figured if it was a big enough deal to me, that I'm surely not alone. After all, canisters on the kitchen worktop are on show all the time - like ornaments or jewellery for the kitchen. And they should be pretty, right?

I've been searching the internet high and low, day in and day out, looking for some nice storage jars to replace my eleven year old ones.  I know they're eleven years old because they were wedding gifts.  I loved them for many years, and they suited the kitchen in our old house perfectly (stoneware kilner jars from Nigella Lawsons range, in pale blue and cream).  They don't fit in with the new kitchen design, and as my dream carrara marble worktops are nowhere to be seen in the forseeable future, some lovely new storage jars will go a long way to making me happy.  Yes, I really am that shallow.

I was very surprised when I couldn't find anything I liked straight away.  I was also surprised that so many of them caused me to get rather frustrated and yes, even angry. What I had figured would be a half hour browse and purchase, became an endless, frustrating and time consuming search.  Have I completely imagined the storage jars of my dreams, with brass detail or perhaps a bit of marble?  I feel like I've seen them, yet nothing that remotely fitted the description was anywhere to be found.  All the obvious places disappointed.  Have you seen the storage jars of my dreams??!  WHERE ARE THEY?

So, I had to admit defeat (I stress, that this does NOT happen often), and change the search criteria to this:

A contemporary or classic design, in black, green or neutral colours.

I didn't want anything retro, and I certainly didn't want them personalised.  I don't want anything personalised.  Unless it's a Smythson notebook or a Mulberry handbag (there are of course exceptions to every rule).  I also don't want cute, but yes, there is a cute owl jar below, and I love it.  As I said, there are exceptions to every rule.

Oh, and a note to kitchen ware companies and department store buyers: not everyone wants TEA / COFFEE / SUGAR emblazoned across their storage jars.  Or BREAD written on their bread bin whilst I'm at it.

From the (literally) hundreds of storage jars I've sifted through online, these are the winners.  I wish I'd looked at Habitat much earlier in my search, because they had the best overall selection.  I would quite possibly give my right arm to fill my kitchen with nearly everything from Anthropologie (this is not new news), and I was pleasantly surprised by Debenhams selection too (worth a look, though not included here).  Here are my top six.

1. 'Tira' Large Storage Jar - £20.00 Habitat
2. 'Tira' Medium Storage Jar - £15 Habitat
3. Kahala Large Stoneware Jar - £10 (on sale) Habitat
4. Large Ceramic Pineapple Jar - £35 Mrs Butterworths (I happened to get this for my birthday last week! They only have the small version left, but you can try Graham and Green too)
5. Anchor Jar Medium - £10 (on sale) Habitat
6. A Real Hoot Canister - £48 Anthropologie

I'd really love to hear from you if you've seen any contemporary designs perhaps with brass or marble lids. Seriously, they must be out there somewhere, and I have room for more...


Wednesday, July 2

Matcha Matcha Matcha

I've been boring anyone who will listen with tales of my new found matcha obsession. For those that don't know what it is, matcha is finely ground, premium grade, green tea leaves, so it comes in powdered form and it's a beautiful shade of green. I've bought it in both tins and sachets, and once opened it's best stored in the fridge.

You can find all sorts of information on the internet about it's amazing super powers, and you may want to do some research before you dish out for some, because it's not cheap, but boy, is it tasty!

Speaking of tastes, we have five of them - sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Umami is a Japanese word that translates as 'pleasant savoury taste', and matcha is umami. It has a subtle earthy flavour, but don't let that put you off - it's sooooo good!

Traditionally, you would drink matcha mixed with a small amount of boiled water, like a shot of espresso. But I wanted to share a couple of my less traditional 'recipes' with you, as I've had so many people asking me about it.

Iced Coconut Matcha Milkshake

This is my favourite.  I've been averaging three of these a day lately - when I like something, I REALLY like it.

1/2 - 1 tsp matcha powder
2 tsps pure maple syrup
150 mls coconut water (do your research and don't buy one with any ingredients other than pure coconut water)
150 mls milk / almond milk / soy milk / whatever milk you fancy

I have a tea whisk, so I add my matcha powder to a small bowl first and whisk it up with about a tablespoon of water.  Transfer to a tall glass, add all your other ingredients and stir well.

Hot Matcha Latte

1/4 - 1/2 tsp matcha powder
1 tsp pure maple syrup
200 mls milk / almond milk / soy milk/ whatever milk you fancy

Whisk the powder with a tablespoon of water in a small bowl, then transfer to a mug. Heat milk - don't boil it, who wants a skin on their latte?!  Not me!  Add hot milk and stir well.

Easy Peasy Green Tea Ice-Cream

I know, you really can't call any of these recipes, and this one is stupidly easy...

I made this a few years ago, after I'd promised Edie some Green Tea Ice-Cream for her birthday dessert.  I bought an ice-cream maker and everything, but didn't realise that the inner bowl of the ice-cream maker had to go into the freezer first, and it wouldn't fit in our stupid little freezer. Don't get me started on that.  So in a panic, I thought I'd give this a try and it tastes exactly the same as the stuff you get in Japanese restaurants.  Result!

1 tub good quality vanilla ice cream (I like the Yeo Valley one in an oval tub)
2 tsp matcha powder (add more to taste)

Leave the ice-cream out of the freezer to soften - about 20 minutes.  You don't want it runny, just soft enough to mix.  Transfer the ice-cream into a large mixing bowl, add the matcha powder, and  mix with a metal spoon until the colour is consistent.  You might want to use more or less matcha powder, so taste as you go.  Once you're happy with the flavour, pop it back into it's container and into the freezer to firm up again.  Et VoilĂ !

You'll notice that you seem to end up with much less ice-cream when you put it back into the tub. Two reasons for this.  One is that you've probably eaten half of it because it's so delicious, and the other is that they tend to whip lots of air into it so it looks like you're getting more than you are, and the air dissipates once it softens.  The cheats.

So that's it for my matcha concoctions for now.  I tried matcha pancakes the other day, but they're not quite there yet, but I'll give you the recipe once I've perfected them.  I can also see a Matcha Martini in my future...

Let me know if you try any of these, I'd love to know what you think.  How do you have your matcha?

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