20 Feb 2017

Review // Chalkola Markers

Something that is clear about me is that I have a love of all things creative and when the team at Chalkola got in contact asking if I wanted to have a play with they chalk markers I jumped at the chance. We received two fantastic sets to have some fun with -  The Party colour set and the Earth colour set.

Which means we had a good selection of colours to have some fun with. Maxwell has loved drawing pictures with the pens on a mini chalkboard. They are so vibrant and easy to use. They work great on Non Porous Surfaces only like Chalkboards, Whiteboards, Glass, Plastic, Windows. But test in a small area first. They work just like dry erase markers and wipe away with a cloth.

Chalk markers as a medium have high density Chalk Ink, due to which New markers take 2 to 3 mins prep time – Once used the ink flows smoothly. The ink dries quickly and wipes away easily too. Plus washes off hands and clothes easily ( Always a bonus with small ones about.)

We set about thinking of ways of using the pens around the house.

I love being organised and having a meal plan in place for the week - it really does make things run much more smoothly. And the place to have the meal is on the fridge. The pens worked great on our black fridge - but as the colours are so vibrant they would work on a white fridge too.

 I bake a fair bit and the goodies often get placed in a tin. I am also very forgetful and when I get asked when was this cake made I stare blankly at my husband. Scrawling on the lid what he cake are, and the date I baked them eliminates this confusion. Also they would work great when sending in cakes to school and stuff.

 And in true classic use of the chalk markers I have a re-purposed photo frame in our hallway I painted the glass with chalkboard paint. I use it during the year to add signs or notices. As our biggest dude turned 7 at the weekend I whipped up a birthday sign for him. Chalkola do say that some people experience issues using the pens on chalkboard paint as the ink once wiped away leaves a slight ghosting but its fine by me.

You can order your own pens via amazon and you can get a 20% discount by using the code 20OFFSTR - Chalkola Party Colour pen set - Earth Colors Pen Set 

I have also tried using them out on the washing machine (please turn on when you get in) - wifi code on the glass doors in the kitchen (great when you have guests round). I would really recommend them if yo want something fun to give the kids to do that is wipe clean. They work great on mirrors too.

16 Feb 2017

Rug Room Revamp with Safavieh & Wayfair

We are renters. Me and hubby have been renting for years, we don't have the scope for a deposit. It's just one of those things. Being renters it does mean putting your mark on a place can sometimes be tricky. They are usually neutral bases that allow most people to see the potential of their new homes. Which works for renters as it means what we bring into the place we know will fit with the interiors, but does mean that rooms can sometimes look a little lackluster.

There are are various ways you can add your stamp into a place. Cushions and soft furnishings is one method we use and artwork or photo frames is another. Our previous places have not really had a large enough space to allow for a rug but I am starting to see the versatility of adding a rug to your room to create a personality and also break up the neutral carpet (as well as protecting the carpet below, that is a bonus)

Rugs allow you to add colour and pattern to a room without having to wallpaper or paint. Since having a rug I've also found the kids are more likely to sit or lay on the floor on the rug. Maybe that's something to do with schooling! (Everyone sit on the rug now! A common phrase heard).

Rugs range in size and price which allows you to find something which suits your budget. Wayfair offer a range of rugs from a small size (70cmx 140cm) up to the largest size (201cm x 301cm) Also offers you the opportunity to introduce different textures or explore more creative offering in a small scale. Whether that means an interesting colour combination, a pattern that is different or a material you wouldn't usually consider.

Adding a rug to a room is a quick way to revamp a room (Yes painting a room takes considerably more time and effort than browsing and clicking an order online) You able to play about with styles and find something which works with your existing furniture.

Wayfair offer various solutions to suit all types of rooms. Adding a bright colour rug to the kids room to turn a pale base of a room into something fun for the kids. Something like this which offers a dual purpose to adding colour to the room, and providing an area to play on  - a Snakes & Ladder rug by Brook Lane Rugs

There are a wide range of styles and patterns on offer. From a bold geometric style like this by Safavieh in a deep chevron. Adding this bold pattern to a pale room would allow you to have a focus and style to the room. The navy colour would work well with grey, yellow or whites.

However if like us you have a sofa in a deep colour - ours is a deep chocolate brown, with the curtains also in the same deep brown - picking a rug that compliments means that we picked a neutral rug with slight pattern. This rug we got from Safavieh is lovely and soft, with a slight pattern. Its lighter than the carpet we have. I'm still playing around with the best positions to place the rug but I am loving the slight pattern for hiding all the kid relating mess!!

And I am slightly in love with this new wooden platters I got from Wayfair also.

Check out Wayfair they offer some great hints and tips on picking a rug and how to care for your rug once it is in your home. Go forth and be inspired to try something a bit different - pick a style and colour to decorate for season and bring some colour into your rooms.

7 Feb 2017

Valentines Meal with Aldi

February. The love month. When shops get stocked with roses, chocolates and cards. And I love a reason to head out for a fancy dinner but that's always not on the cards being two busy parents. Plus the eldest son of ours happens to have his birthday a few days after valentines so factoring in the cost of a special dinner out can sometimes not be a reality. Therefore I have put together a quick 3 course dinner with the help of the great value products at Aldi all for under £25. Plus it's a meal you can prep and cook in no time meaning more time to sit with the significant other.
With my £25 I bought the following.
  • Mixed Antipasti 
  • Salt & Pepper Crackers 
  • Steak medallions
  • green beans 
  • new potatoes 
  • 0% Greek yoghurt 
  • dark chocolate 
  • milk chocolate 
  • blueberries, strawberries and raspberries 
  • Prosecco

All the things I needed to make our Valentine's dinner. I did add from my cupboards butter, mixed peppercorns and garlic. All to make menu of :
  • Quick lazy antipasti 
  • Steak with peppercorn butter sauce. Smashed garlic potatoes with green beans 
  • Berry pots with Chocolate mousse. 
What I liked about my quick lazy menu is that I was able to prep bits during the day.

The starter is a super simple and was literally assemble all on the plate when husband got in from work. This allowed us to nibble on these while wrangling the children into pj's and such. So not so much a formal sit down starter. More of a grazing start to the meal.

The main I parboiled the potatoes earlier in the day. I did the whole bag and leftovers went into the fridge for another dinner later that week. When cooking dinner I sliced them before frying in a little oil until crispy with garlic cloves crushed and green beans trimmed and thrown in too. These were able to cook away while I pan cried the streak before adding a little butter, cornflour and peppercorns to the pan to make a buttery sauce to accompany.

The dessert was made much earlier in the day and left in the fridge to firm up during the day. Mixing a combination of melted dark and milk chocolate with a little honey and Greek yoghurt. This was spooned on top of chopped berries and topped with a single strawberry dipped in chocolate. A naughty but nice combination.
All served with a glass of prosecco on the go. And we were able to eat the dessert in jamas. While curled up on the sofa! Pretty romantic if you ask me.
I did film a little vlog alongside this if you fancy having a watch. My vlogging skills are still being worked on!

There we have it. Check out your local Aldi as they will be having all sorts of Valentines special deals including a rather impressive array of floral bouquets.