Summer sale finds

At this point in sale season, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s not a whole lot of pretty/tasteful/lovely things out there, but you’d be wrong. There are still some gems out there, if you have the time to look. I spent a few hours sale-surfing this morning and found these fantastic items – I bought the cushion and the teapot (oops). If you want to treat yourself too, you’ll need to be quick – the arrival of autumn/winter stock is just around the corner.

1.Anthropologie Amaryllis Finials door knob 2.Not on the High Street Ella pendant light 3.Rockett St George Architects’ Print storage desk 4.John Lewis Jansen & Co teapot
5.Laura Ashley cream lace-edged two tier cake stand 6.MADE Rubens wingback armchair
7.Ikea Medalj pot 8.Pip Studio white quilt 9.H&M Home linen cushion cover

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Pastures new

We bought our flat six years ago, so I’d completely forgotten what it was like to house hunt until my friend decided she wanted a change. Rather than buy straight away, she has decided to rent for a little while, to see if she likes the area before plunging knee-deep into property ownership. I was really excited about the prospect of helping my friend to find somewhere to live. In my mind, that meant walking around our beautiful city and finding the best places to eat cake whilst we milled over property to rent in Edinburgh on the Strutt & Parker website.

Excitedly, she found one in the south of the city. Ok, so it’s not so close to me, but it’s a part of town I’m looking forward to discovering with her … there’s many more cakes to be eaten and cocktails to be drunk! What have you been up to recently?

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The wedding to-don’t list

If you’re anything like me you always have a to-do list. I find it therapeutic to write down everything I need to do and methodically work my way through it. Or at least in theory that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Naturally, planning a wedding is one of the busiest times of your life. All of the organising that comes with the big day demands list after list after list. But now I’ve been there, done that so to say, rather than write a post about all of the things you should do, I’ve decided to write a post about the things you shouldn’t do. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and now that I have the power of it in my hands, I’m spreading a little wedded wisdom. Here goes.

1. Don’t underestimate just how emotional a day it is. Even the most grounded among us will find it a little overwhelming.

2. Try not to miss a thing. Look around you, process the fact that all of your guests are there for you and don’t take it for granted.

3. On the run up to the big day, don’t spend your life wishing the wedding will come around more quickly. You’ll discover when your day does arrive that the time goes far too fast.

4. Don’t stress about the small stuff. Something will invariably go wrong on the day – nothing is ever perfect – but remember the real reason why you are doing all of this.

5. Pleasing everyone is impossible. Throughout the whole process you’ll find yourself pulled in so many different directions. Remember who the day belongs to and make sure you both do what you want to do.

6. Don’t let everything rush by. Take a moment with your new wife or husband to let what you’ve just done sink in. Otherwise it could all turn into a blur.

7. Don’t let the planning get in the way. All the extra time spent with friends and family is precious.

8. Don’t worry about how you are going to look. Yes, this may sound crazy, but regardless of all the little niggles you might have in your mind about your appearance, nobody else will notice. In fact, everyone will think you looked more beautiful than ever before.

This sums up how I felt about our wedding and are just a few pieces of advice I would give others. What would you add to the to-don’t list?

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A taste of the Med

The weather has been glorious recently. A great British summer can be a hit or a miss, but this year the sun most definitely has its hat on. When the weather is this glorious it always reminds me of holidays spent in the Mediterranean, soaking up the sun and eating all of the glorious food that comes with it.

Maybe I can’t visit the Med right now, but there’s nothing to stop me bringing a little bit of the Mediterranean to my kitchen by preparing these three delicious dishes, all inspired by Lidl’s Sol & Mar range. All of the products I used to prepare this food are available in Lidl stores across the country.

Mediterranean dining is all about keeping it simple – hours of cooking in the searing heat isn’t going to cut it. So what I have here are three simple dishes that really capture the taste of the Mediterranean.

The first is a salad. And no, salads don’t have to mean green leaves and vegetables. Why not try combining chunks of juicy watermelon with feta cheese and mint. It’s refreshing, moreish and there’s not a lettuce leaf in sight.

For the meat lovers among you, elevate your meatballs from tasty to delicious by throwing a handful of pine nuts into your mince when you are making them. Serve them with a classic sweet tomato sauce, lightly spiced with smoked paprika.

In my house it’s not Mediterranean if it doesn’t come with chorizo – it’s one of my favourite ingredients and it makes everything taste better. My dish of braised chickpeas with chorizo is the perfect accompaniment to fish or grilled chicken, or if we’re eating tapas-style, this is one of a selection of dishes I serve. Here’s what you need to make this delicious dish:

1 tin of chickpeas (roughly 400g)
1 garlic clove, crushed
100g of chorizo, chopped into small pieces
300ml chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sweet paprika
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
A handful of parsley
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Crush two small cloves of garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.

Drain and rinse one tin of chick peas, place them in a small pot and cover with chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

Whilst the chick peas are cooking, add the chorizo and the smoked paprika to the garlic and sauté for five minutes – this will draw the flavour out of the chorizo and make it really tasty.

Drain the chickpeas and add them to the pan with the chorizo. Combine all the ingredients together and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over a little parsley to serve.

There you have it, three delicious dishes that will instantly transport you to the Mediterranean. All you need to do now is sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy.

This post is sponsored by Lidl.

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