Recipe of the Week: Nordic Heart Waffles

Let's all start Valentine's Day with this lovely breakfast idea from The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell. Because after all, February 14th falls on a Sunday this year so there is no excuse.

Extract: 

These heart-shaped waffles are eaten all over the Nordic countries. We use a special heart-shaped waffle iron, giving the waffles their distinct shape, which you can get online, but it’s also possible to make using a non-stick griddle pan.

 Nordic waffles

Ingredients:

2 eggs

350 ml whole milk

100 ml Greek yogurt

350 g plain flour

100 g caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or use seeds from 1⁄2 pod)

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

100 g butter, melted, plus 50 g, for brushing

Vanilla skyr/quark and tart berries topping:

300 ml skyr (Icelandic cultured dairy product) or natural quark

1⁄2 vanilla pod, seeds only

2 tablespoons icing sugar

200 g mixed fresh berries

Strawberry jam and vanilla cream topping:

300 ml whipping cream

1⁄2 vanilla pod, seeds only

1 teaspoon icing sugar

MAKES 10–12

In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk and yogurt. Add all the dry ingredients and finally, add the melted butter. Whisk until you have a smooth batter, taking care not to over-beat. Leave to stand for at least 15 minutes before using.

Heat up the waffle iron and brush it lightly with melted butter. Add enough batter to the waffle iron to almost cover the surface (but not quite, or it will overspill), close the lid and cook until golden brown. This will take a couple of minutes. Repeat until all the batter is used. Note that as when making pancakes, the first one of the batch is never as good as the rest! Eat them immediately or they’ll go soggy.

For the vanilla skyr/quark and tart berries topping, whip the skyr or quark for 1 minute with the vanilla seeds and sugar. Serve a dollop with each waffle and then sprinkle the berries on top. Note that skyr and quark are naturally sour in taste and you may want to add extra sugar to taste.

For the strawberry jam and vanilla cream topping, add the cold whipping cream to a bowl. Add the seeds from the vanilla pod and icing sugar. Whip until peaks form. Serve the cream and jam in bowls next to the waffles and let your guests help themselves (usually a tablespoon of jam per waffle is sufficient). During strawberry season, we omit the jam and serve it with freshly macerated strawberries instead. Other times, we replace the strawberry jam with cloudberry jam – a much tarter jam that perfectly complements the sweet vanilla cream.

The traditional Norwegian waffle topping is brown goat’s cheese (brunost or geitost), which is available in speciality stores across the world. The distinctive brown colour comes from the milk sugars which are boiled (along with cream and whey), turning them into caramel. To serve, thinly slice slivers of the brown cheese and add to your waffle as soon as it comes out of the waffle iron, so that it melts slightly before eating.

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The Scandi Kitchen by Bronte Aurell

Published by Ryland Peter & Small

Photography by Peter Cassidy

 

Top 3 Reasons : Why You Must Not Ignore Bathroom Mould?

Mould within the home can be quite unsettling due to its unpleasant appearance and concern over what it could be doing to you and your family's health. One place mould tends to take hold quickly and easily is the bathroom. But is mould really that bad? Yes it is and here are the top three reasons why it's important you don't ignore bathroom mould.

Bathrooms 365

Bathrooms 365

1. Health Risks

There is no doubt that mould, which is a form of fungi, can be harmful to human health and this is the number one reason why you should never ignore mould in your bathroom or in any other room within your home for that matter. Mould is thought to give rise to coughing, wheezing and respiratory ailments as well as causing more severe cases of asthma and allergic reactions. Those with compromised immune systems are at even greater risk from mould as it can make their condition worse. Some moulds are more sinister than others, but when it comes to mould and your health the dangers must never be under estimated: it is imperative that you don't delay in addressing your mould problem.

2. Musty Smells

No one enjoys rooms that smell bad and when mould is present that's exactly what you'll get - a musty smelling room! If the mould and subsequent smell is left to fester away in your bathroom then the same bad odour will begin to permeate your bath towels, window curtains and other such materials within the room. Track down the cause and take action today to rid your bathroom of mould and that annoying smell.

Bathrooms 365

Bathrooms 365

3. Property Damage

Mould grows by way of producing spores and it is these spores that become airborne and find their way onto a variety of surfaces and locations. When mould takes hold it can cause damage to the surfaces it grows on, such as rotting your wooden flooring, plaster walls and even your carpet. In addition, mould can cause unsightly stains and even be responsible for damaging the structure of your home if left unchecked. Ignoring mould can lead to costly repairs that will grow ever bigger if mould is left to run rampant in your home, so don't ever ignore it thinking and hoping it will go away because it won't.

The best way to deal with mould is to prevent it occurring in the first place. Mould quickly and easily grows in warm and damp environments and if those environments lack light then all the better for the mould. The bathroom is repeatedly warm and damp but you can prevent mould building up here by following a few simple steps. Always use the exhaust fan when running the shower and even leave the window ajar to give the warm air another exit point to travel out through. Always hang up damp towels in a fashion that will allow them to dry reasonably quickly. Even going to the extent of wiping over the walls, door and floor of your shower enclosure after use will be a big help in reducing damp. Letting as much light in as possible will help prevent mould build up too so be sure to draw back the curtains or put up the blind each day.

Bathrooms 365

Bathrooms 365

Lastly, cleaning your bathroom regularly and addressing the first signs of mould with an appropriate cleaning agent will ensure you will keep your home free from mould over the long term. And that means you will enjoy fresh air and keep you and your family free of the bad health effects that mould can incite, which makes all the effort to keep mould away worth it.

A Guide by Bathrooms 365.

Modern Rustic By Emily Henson

All modern rustic schemes glory in teaming the rough with the smooth, but bohemian rustic blends in a little colour, pattern and detail, too.  That rustic staple, wood, still features, but it is matched with pale white walls or even painted brickwork, for a fresh contrast.  Bold statements such as a wall clad in dark reclaimed wood create plenty of gritty drama, while bohemian elements, from textiles to trinkets, add pockets of intriguing detail and gentle humour.  Junk-shop furniture brings some pre-loved character to each space and there is delicious pattern and colour to enjoy in the form of folksy, embroidered fabrics, vintage wallpaper and quirky, decorative objects.  The result is a rustic look that is organic, cosy and welcoming.

This sideboard was bought for £20, stripped back and personalized with patterned wallpaper.

This house, built in the 1960s, was stripped of its reproduction coving and carpet by its owners, who then clad walls in reclaimed larch, to bring the natural world inside. The wood came from trees blown down in Kew Gardens during the hurricane of 1987.  

In this colourful den, a gorgeous feature has been created by papering the inside of old drawers and mounting them on the wall.  Surprising and creative, these decorative drawers add both a rustic note and a splash of colour and pattern to a plain background.  They are also the perfect display space for quirky finds and favourite objects.

This bed canopy is made from reclaimed larch, also used to clad the living room walls and kitchen cabinets in this house.  Here, it is installed horizontally to match the width of the bed.  The chandelier adds a touch of glamour that works nicely against the rough timber.

Hanging necklaces and accessories from a peg rail allows you to see and enjoy your jewellery collection when not wearing it.

Modern Rustic by Emily Henson and photographed by Catherine Gratwicke is published by Ryland Peters & Small.

Top Tips for Maintaining a Long Distance Friendship

If you or a close friend is soon moving away and you’re worried about how it will affect your friendship, this can be a really upsetting experience, and can put a huge strain on your relationship. However, luckily, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Staying in touch with people far away is certainly not as difficult nowadays as it used to be, as this infographic proves:

To prove it and to help you along, we’ve put some top tips together for helping you both maintain a long distance friendship!

Get connected online

There are countless sites and applications that can help you stay in touch with friends and loved ones at the touch of a few buttons on your phone or computer. There’s a whole world outside of the most popular options of Facebook and emails, such as Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime. Therefore there are ideal options for when you’re at home, at work and when you’re out and about on the move. 

Visit each other when you can

Of course, nothing will really beat seeing each other in person. Though it might not be practical or even possible to see each other fairly frequently, you could aim to meet each other a few times a year. You could alternate going to each other’s houses, or if you’re really far from each other, you could meet in the middle too.

Make sure you make time for each other

When you’re not around someone for a while, it can be easy to put them towards the back of your priorities. However, you’ll need to work harder to keep a long distance friendship alive and well maintained. Therefore it’s a good idea to schedule some time in, even if it’s just a quick call every couple of days, or sending a quick email on your lunch break at work, for example. 

Go for the old school options

As well as using all of the technology at your disposal, why not take the old fashioned approach and put pen to paper? Receiving something through the post that isn’t a bill is always nice, too! Sending a letter to someone is a really great way of showing you care, as it takes a bit more time and effort. 

Little gifts go a long way

Likewise, sending your best friend a little gift (no matter how little) through the post now and again is a really sweet way of showing you care, and showing that they’re still an important part of your life. It’s a great way to keep things like personal jokes going, too!

Garden Decking: The New Generation

Choosing garden decking can be a bit of a minefield, particularly when there are so many choices on the market. Just choosing a colour can be difficult enough; deciding on the best type of material for your project can be positively baffling, particularly if you’re not familiar with the various options.

In recent years, there have been many exciting new developments in the decking industry. Manufacturers have been responding to the demands of their customers by producing products that not only look great, but are also capable of withstanding the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

Before you build your new deck, it’s extremely important to plan the project properly. It’s particularly crucial that you put some thought into your choice of material before getting stuck in; you want a deck that will serve its practical purpose for years to come, whilst also retaining the vivid, detailed appearance that attracted you in the first place.

Capped composite decking is a fairly new development, but it has already become an incredibly popular choice amongst homeowners due to its resilience and durability. Here are the main advantages of capped composite decking:

It Looks Great

Capped composite decking comes in a fantastic selection of colours and styles, making it suitable for those who are looking to capture an authentic wooden look as well as for those who would prefer implement a sleeker, more contemporary design. Some products even blend the best of both styles; for example, capped EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking from TimberTech combines a stylish, muted grey palette with a natural wood finish:

EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

As well as enabling you to create an attractive design, capped decking also ensures that your carefully assembled deck will cope with the elements, along with the inevitable impact of regular use. Protected by a moisture-resistant polymer sleeve, capped composite decking is great for the changeable and damp conditions we’re accustomed to here in the UK. It’s also great for families and clumsy dinner guests, as the sleeve prevents spills and stains from seeping into the material.

It’s Versatile

Thanks to its durability, shade variety, and low-maintenance properties, capped composite decking is also extremely versatile, making it suitable for all kinds of different projects. 

EasyClean Terrain+ Silver Maple decking

EasyClean Terrain+ Silver Maple decking

Take, for example, the deck pictured above (again created using TimberTech composite decking). This deck isn’t simply a platform for garden chairs and plant pots; it is a cosy garden seating area, and it’s assembled entirely out of capped composite decking. Whether used as an adornment for a water feature or as a stylish and functional patio step design, there is virtually no limit to the ways in which you can use this type of decking, and you can always rest assured that your boards will not warp, splinter or tarnish.

It’s Easy to Maintain

Even the keenest gardeners and DIY devotees don’t want to spend unnecessary time on the upkeep of their deck, which is what makes capped decking ideal for both the everyman and the outdoor living enthusiast. Not only does it not require the tedious and time-consuming process of staining and sealing, it is also extremely easy to clean, requiring no more than the occasional wash and sweep.

EasyClean Terrain Birch decking with EasyClean Terrain Elm framing

EasyClean Terrain Birch decking with EasyClean Terrain Elm framing

This means that even the lightest-coloured boards (such as those pictured above) are easy to keep clear and grime-free without much effort, allowing the deck to remain an asset as opposed to a hindrance and adding character to your garden without being a drain on your time and money.

A Light Filled Garden Maisonette in London

This beautiful two-bedroomed maisonette in West London has so many things that we love. It's two floors are spacious and filled with light for a start, but it's also filled with a mixture of period detail, a modern kitchen with floor to ceiling windows, mid-century furniture, and quirky art. Come on, what's not to love?

It's currently  for sale via Domus Nova and its central London location means it's a tad on the pricey side but look at what you get. A sensational double reception room with parquet flooring, a eat-in kitchen with a terrace overlooking the garden, a master suite with its own dressing room and doors onto the outside space, a guest bedroom and bathroom and yes, a garden.

We're loving the adjoining sitting and dining rooms and the way the sunlight is playing across that beautiful floor. We also love the way the period  details (hello,ornate cornicing and fireplaces) sit alongside the modern lighting and radiators. And if you need any convincing that this space is mean't for entertaining, just look at that winerack!

I don't think we'd complain about cooking and washing up in this kitchen would we? Or at having to take breakfast here?

Well, we can dream.

Currently to be found via Domus Nova.

Bluebellgray Launch Free Downloadable Screensavers

Here's a Friday treat for you lovely readers! This month, one of our favourite brands, Bluebellgray launch free downloadable screensavers for desktop and mobile. Bright, fresh watercolours created by designer and founder Fi in the Scottish studio bring a little feel good design to the everyday.

Fi says, ‘I really wanted to give something back to all our lovely followers who have been on the journey with us for so long and screen savers seemed perfect. We all spend so much time looking at screens, why not add a little piece of art to make us smile?’.

So go on, brighten up your day! Available to download on www.bluebellgray.com

Books: The Vintage Home by Judith Miller

The following is an extract from The Vintage Home by Judith Miller, published by Jacqui Small.

Clutter-free Zones

Minimalist rooms provide a quiet retreat for busy people. Bare, white walls and a few simple pieces of furniture do not allow for clutter or collections – just a peaceful space where it may be possible to find a Zen-like calm.

Hallmarks of the style are plain walls, occasionally interrupted by a painting or two; tall, built-in cupboards to hide the necessities of life; doorways with no doors to allow the light into every corner; large windows with simple blinds to draw at night or create a diffused light; and plain floors occasionally softened by a large rug.

In these large, airy, stripped-down rooms, the furnishings either become part of the cool, white experience or are made the focal point. Wooden furniture based on vernacular designs provides a gentle contrast with the plain walls, while large white sofas and shelves blend into the background. However, bold or colourful, contemporary pieces can be used to add a splash of unexpected texture or colour and prevent the overall effect from appearing sterile. By paring rooms down to their necessary elements, minimalist interiors offer a tranquil atmosphere that can provide an escape from the hubbub of daily life.

© Tim Beddow

© Tim Beddow

There is no denying that John Pawson’s interiors are minimalist. However, his use of warm white walls, natural wood surfaces and simple wooden furniture makes them welcoming rather than austere. Here, the dining room leads on to the kitchen at the back of the house with a wall of floor-to-ceiling cupboards opposite the fireplace. Hidden storage is the key to living in a minimalist environment. An open door in the wall of flush cupboards in the dining room reveals shelves for storing bottles of wine and water.

© Luke White

© Luke White

In a large, industrial space, a white Lazy Working Sofa by Philippe Stark with integrated tables and lamps at each arm takes centre stage beneath a window in the living room.

© Andrew Wood

© Andrew Wood

Ingenuity is in demand when you need stylish yet practical storage. In this house by Guy Peterson in Sarasota, Florida, a plasma screen is mounted above a custom-built metal-clad unit that pulls out, opens up and houses all the entertainment equipment. To add to the architectural feel, the top of the unit is fashioned from a concrete slab.

© Andrew Wood

© Andrew Wood

Simplicity is key to the effective design of this bedroom. A long sideboard provides essential storage, but also doubles as a place to display favourite objects. The pair of identical mirrors that hang above adds an illusion of space.

The Vintage Home is available to buy (£30) from Quarto Homes.

Designer Spotlight: Taz Pollard

With her quirky, bold ceramics being described by others as “a little bit naughty”, Taz Pollard is quickly gaining fans. Quietly unassuming and introverted, this has taken Taz by surprise. “I don’t know quite how it happened!” she admits. “I live in a little north Devon bubble and no one really knows about my work down here, but when I go to London it’s a whole different ball game and people seem to understand where I’m coming from.”

Taken by her grandparents at an early age to craft centres, Taz cites gazing up at a potter at work as her earliest inspiration. From there followed a traditional route from a GCSE in pottery, right through college and then on to do a BA at university. After taking a break to get married and have children, Taz then returned to the craft, completing her Masters and it’s here where she found her own voice. Modern, fresh and vibrant, Taz’s quirky use of paint splash effects has won her many fans, as well as the occasional telling off. “I have got into trouble with a few traditional potters, which I kind of like actually. It appeals to my sense of humour!” Taz has also recently enjoyed a whirlwind of accolades, from being shortlisted for the Confessions of a Design Geek bursary, to being chosen for the New Designers ‘one year on’ award, and seeing her products grace the shelves of Heals, Future and Found and The Southbank Centre.

All this success feels a million miles away from where she works in a log cabin on the edge of Exmoor. Here, Taz is surrounded by a wealth of traditional artists: “There are many traditional potters in north Devon and I’ve learnt an awful lot from them, but I also wanted to find my own voice and work with more contemporary colours and materials.” While her work isn’t overly subversive, it is a little cheeky and plays with the notion of making everyday objects extraordinary. Drawing inspiration from Tudor pottery, which at the time was considered a disposable commodity, Taz skillfully plays with notions of old and new, mixing materials with clay that you’d not expect, such as rubber. “Plastic bottles are mostly seen as just something you use in your everyday life, rather than being considered extraordinary objects. But by putting these everyday objects into a different framework and situation they can be seen in a different light.” Perfect for those of us who are a little wary of injecting bold brights in a large way, Taz’s extraordinary objects offer the chance to bring a pop of colour to an otherwise neutral space.

Like any artist, Taz thrives on new ideas and has an innate compulsion to create. “The best bit is when I get an idea, get really excited by it and I have to go and make it right away. It’s quite a weird compulsion where I have to get the idea out of my head.” The process can’t be rushed, and both of the techniques Taz employs - slipcasting and throwing pots - each demand a lot of time. A recent piece which Taz enjoyed making was a baluster jug: “It was one of those crazy ideas I had that may not have come to anything, but I really enjoyed adding the graffiti element to the traditional form.”

Taz has achieved so much in a relatively short space of time, but she’s not resting on her laurels. With more to come, including a limited edition range for Mockbee & Co, and a potential collaboration with textile designer Charlotte Nash, there’s a lot to look forward to. And while she isn’t able to reveal it all to us just yet, it’s clear that the future is looking neon bright for Taz Pollard.

Words by Ruth Garner, photography by John Russell taken from the February 2014 of Heart Home magazine.

Salmon with Rocket and Crème Fraîche Dressing

What's not to love about salmon? It's tasty, quick to cook (so ideal for mid-week suppers) and nutritious. It's a favourite go-to ingredient for the Heart Home team and we're always on the look out for new ways to serve our favourite fish so were delighted with our latest recipe of  oven-baked salmon with a rocket and creme fraiche dressing. 

Serve with new potatoes, courgettes and radishes and a sprinkling of chives for a Michelin star quality dinner in no time.

Serves 2:

Ingredients:

2 salmon fillets

150ml crème fraiche

Handful of chopped parsley

300g new potatoes, washed and halved

1 pinch of salt

2 courgettes, top and tailed

2 radishes, top and tailed

A large knob of butter

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season

½ lemon, to zest

Method:

Place the salmon fillets on a baking tray in the centre of a preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the courgettes and radishes and set them aside for later.

Boil up a pan of baby potatoes – leaving the skins on for extra rustic texture.

Once the potatoes are done, drain and dollop a knob of butter on top. At this point, if you want to get really cheffy, you can add some thinly sliced chives.

Ribbon your courgettes and radishes, adding only the courgettes to a griddle pan on a high heat. Make your mark by pressing down gently for char-grilled stripes.

For the dressing, mix the crème fraiche and rocket in a bowl, adding a pinch of salt and pepper, finishing with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon

Mix together the potatoes, char-grilled courgettes and sliced radish and toss before serving onto your plates. Top this with salmon and drizzle with the creamy dressing.

Recipe courtesy of The Saucy Fish Co.

Creative Ideas for Using Paving Slabs in the Garden

With a little creativity and a dash of inspiration, paving slabs needn’t be anything close to boring. Quite to the contrary in fact, as to treat your garden as something of a blank canvas with which to work is to open up a world of exciting opportunities for improvements.

From paths to patios to points of interest for the garden, there’s really very little that can’t be done with an order of paving slabs and a serving of elbow-grease.

So for those with the desire to try something a little different though perhaps in need of an inspirational nudge, here’s a quick introduction to just a few beautifully creative ideas for using paving slabs in the garden:

Chessboard Effect

TB_20_3.tif

First up, why not consider interspersing standard stone paving slabs with green grass squares, in order to create a beautifully impressive chessboard effect? In fact, you need not stick with plain stone paving slabs as you could use almost any colour or design to come up with a uniquely attractive finish.

A Circular Centrepiece

Why not get well and truly creative with the curve stones and create yourself a stunning circular centrepiece for the garden? The resulting feature could be used either as a simple aesthetic focus point, or as a beautiful base for a patio set and summer grill. And when it comes to the various colours, styles and finishes on offer, the opportunities are endless!

Easypave has a huge selection of patio paving and slabs to choose from to suit all gardens and if you’re looking for some inspiration then have a look at their circle patio design ideas.

The Prettiest Path

If you’ve been giving thought to improving your garden with the installation of a path, why not get a little creative with its design? Paths can be as vibrant, colourful and genuinely beautiful as you like, perhaps mixing together paving slabs of multiple sizes and colours to create a uniquely pretty effect. 

Marvellous Mosaics 

Another fantastically creative feature for the garden is that of a mosaic, created using beautifully coloured tiles or paving products and framed using high-quality paving slabs. The real beauty of the outdoor mosaic is the way in which you do not have to follow any specific pattern or rules – totally random and 100% unique results are usually the very best results!

Half and Half

Try to remember that when it comes to improving your garden with paving slabs, there’s nothing to say you have to go all-in or not at all. In this example, the slabs have simply been positioned in such a manner as to create an elegant and minimalist pathway to an equally elegant summer seating area. 

A Second Life

Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that with a little creativity and effort, even broken paving slabs of any given specification can be brought back to life as something beautiful. In this instance, a variety of paving slab bits and pieces have been brought together to create a functional and fabulously stunning outdoor living space. 


New Collections From Christian Lacroix Maison For Designers Guild

For its 2016 Art de Vivre Collection, Christian Lacroix Maison invites you to embark on a journey to the sources of French style, available from Designers Guild. With “Incroyables et Merveilleuses”, the House reviews one of the most eventful eras of History: the French Revolution. A collection in homage to the Incroyables and Merveilleuses, who had the courage and audacity to wear the colours of their styles and convictions. Now more than ever, a wind of liberty blows through interior decoration, as an invitation to overcome diktats, following the example of those bold forcomers.

These are wonderfully eclectic collections from the renowned House of Lacroix; an assemblage of exotic and quirky imagery that nevertheless translates into yet another must have collection for devotees of Lacroix!

Two collections: prints and weaves including wondrous digitally printed linens, cottons and cotton chintz; jacquard weaves, velvets and embroideries. Also the most marvellous wallpapers with unmistakeable Lacroix images in signature colours including three fabulous panoramic panels.

"Maison de jeu”, a mix of antique playing cards, that plays with superstitions and vanities, as a thousand talismans printed on cotton velvet.

"Maison de jeu”, a mix of antique playing cards, that plays with superstitions and vanities, as a thousand talismans printed on cotton velvet.

 Éclats de Roses - Nacre

 Éclats de Roses - Nacre

Christian Lacroix SS2016 Incroyables et Merveilleuses by Richard Powers - 3_3.jpg

Traditional Country Cottage Turned Luxury Bolthole

The Cable Hut nestles between the remote beaches of Abermawr and Aberbach in South Wales, and is half traditional stone cottage and half corrugated iron hut. It was originally built to house the first telephone lines being laid across the Atlantic Ocean, but 100 years later and after a storm hit the Pembrokeshire coast leaving it abandoned, this unique dwelling captured the hearts of a passing couple who have lovingly transformed it into a luxury self-catering cottage.

This romantic Welsh cottage stays true to its roots as a cable hut, featuring exposed bulbs, iron furnishings and flashes of fire station red. The coffee table is even an old wooden cable reel – utterly inspired!

There is an open plan sleeping and living area with a cushy sofa and king-size cast iron bed dressed with plump pillows in pillar box red. The bathroom with its walk in shower sits down from the kitchen and the deep slipper bath takes prime position below the window. What could be nicer than a hot soapy bath while gazing out at the ocean? And the underfloor heating ensures the hut is a cosy hideaway protected from the elements in any season.

We love The Cable Hut as it offers complete seclusion from the outside world in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It´s our secret hideaway where we can just switch off and unwind from everything.

Says property owner John.

But if you need to get out and about, there are secret beaches to explore and the crystal clear waters of the Pembrokeshire coast which is just 400 metres from the front door. Adrenaline lovers can push themselves to the limit scrambling and diving from towering cliffs into blue lagoons and kayaking through hidden coves with a local coasteering guide. All the while on the look out for dolphins, seals, puffins and choughs among other rare breeds which return every year. 


Much too energetic for us at Heart Home. We'd opt for a romantic rendezvous, enjoying the privacy of the sheltered courtyard or a roll around in the wildflower garden. After all, Valentines day is just around the corner.

The Cable Hut is available for short holidays via Unique Home Stays. (Tel: +44(0) 1637 881183)

Introducing The Extended Blot Range From SS16 At Habitat

We're feeling ever nostalgic of long summer days here at Heart Home HQ! We simply cannot wait for alfresco dining. Even if the wait may be a little long there are some gorgeous tableware pieces already available to get excited about! Introducing the extended Blot range from SS16 at Habitat. We absolutely adore this collection, its nautical feel has a certain mediterranean vibe going on. The blot range has been updated to include a jug, serving bowl and platter. Designed by Habitat's in-house team and made in Portugal. The blot range is made from stoneware and is decorated by hand making each piece unique. 

So for the time being, no need to book a holiday, Simply create a summer abode in the comfort of your own home.

Blot Overhead copy.jpg
301BLOTplatter35cmoh_451341.jpg
301BLOTjug_451338.jpg

 

Blot blue patterned serving platter £32.00, Blot blue patterned serving bowl  £30 , Blot blue patterned Jug £30.00.

The Importance Of Knowing What You Breathe At Home

Winter is here and we definitely know how to enjoy the season! Not everyone gets to do that though, especially among people, especially children, who have asthma, rhinitis or allergies. 

Often times, we attribute the onset of these conditions to the cold temperature. However, that is not always the culprit. Changes in the temperature of the air we breathe and our habits due to the cold is a bigger cause for these conditions. This is the reason why we need to understand the air we breathe to keep us safe and healthy.

uHoo, an indoor air quality sensor you place at home that helps you understand the air you breathe to prevent these ailments, created the nifty infographic below to give you a better understanding of what goes on in your homes during winter. Check it out and breathe healthy!

Do check out uHoo to learn more about how you can reduce allergens at home and help prevent yourself and your child from getting an asthma, rhinitis or allergy attack this winter season and, of course, all year round. Also get a chance to win a uHoo by joining this giveaway!

For the giveaway, here are the details:

  • Giveaway open worldwide
  • The giveaway will run until February. 
  • There will be a weekly winner. (Weekly amazon gift certificate worth USD 50)
  • At the end of the giveaway, one winner will get a uHoo worth USD 299.

Banana Date Cake with Walnut and Honey Glaze

We originally published this recipe last Christmas in the Heart Home magazine - combine traditional dates and walnuts with not-so-traditional bananas in our moist and flavoursome festive treat - but we think it's too good to save just for once a year! And let's face it, who needs a reason for cake!

Ingredients for the cake:

175g softened butter, plus extra for the tin

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp cinnamon

100g light muscovado sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

3 tbsp clear honey

2 overripe bananas (about 350g with skins on)

100g stoned dates

50g chopped walnuts

For the glaze:

2 tbsp clear honey

25g butter

50g walnut halves

Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3

Method:

Butter the base of an 18 cm Bundt mould or round cake tin.

Put the flour, cinnamon, butter, sugar, eggs and honey in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Mash the bananas and chop the dates. Stir into the cake mix with the walnuts. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 40–50 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, put the honey and butter in a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring until the butter has melted. Boil briefly, for about one minute, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts. Leave to cool until thickened and opaque. Spoon over the top of the cake and leave it to set.

Recipe and photographs by Jurgita Vaskel.

How To Do Cosy Monochrome With Atkin And Thyme

Coco Chanel famously quoted: 'Black comprises everything. So does white. They possess absolute beauty. They are in perfect harmony.'

Golden and brushed brass tones are arguably just as timeless as monochrome, so coupled together, it's understated chic!

A monochromatic decorating style works perfectly for rooms of all shapes and sizes, by way of white walls to reflect light and black accents for added definition. Mix and match textures within the same colour palette to achieve harmony and depth. This is why we are loving this styled entrance from Atkin and Thyme.

The Anatolia Distressed Wool Patchwork Rug  with its vintage, overdyed pattern is perfect for adding interest and tactile warmth. Golden and brushed brass tones are big news for 2016, their timeless appeal weds well with equally eternal monochrome. The Madison Console Table  combines angular, brass plated lines with a dusky shade of charcoal, proving a sophisticated and versatile piece of furniture. Illuminate these finer details with warm lighting; a stylish glass table lamp, like the Genie  with its hand blown glass base will further liven up the interior.

Other products that work well on this trend is the geometric Eclipse 3D Cushion. The Otis Button Back Linen Armchair is also another fab buy as it is finished in natural linen that counters its statement and contrasting zigzag side and back panel.

Heart Home Shop: Candles & Scents

Winter is all about snuggling up in our cosy abode and creating the perfect atmosphere to beat the winter blues. With the days still getting dark early it's the perfect time to light up our collection of candles and scents. There is just something so relaxing having many lit up candles in our homes. As we know Winter can be a depressing time for many, so lighting and scent can play a positive role with our state of mind. 

So here we've put together a lovely collection of pretty candles and scents from the Heart Home shop, to help you ease into total relaxation mode. It's all about switching off in the evenings and enjoying some 'me' time!

How to Renovate Your Staircase in 6 Steps

We spend a lot of time running up and down our staircases and probably don't give them the attention they deserve, but they play a major role in the look and feel of our homes. There are so many staircase designs around nowadays that we can find ideas almost everywhere. So, depending on our design styles and the style of our home, we can go for a traditional staircase or a contemporary one.

A popular trend is for having a glass staircase, but this choice is something subjective and you need to take into account if glass is really the choice for you.

George Quinn staircase, Urbana staircase collection

There are also many ways of improving a staircase. You can decide to replace it with a new one altogether, or if you have a small budget, you can decide to renovate your old one.

Damien Reilly, Staircase Renovation Specialist at George Quinn, has created some very handy tutorials showing us how to renovate each stair part. The tutorials can help both professionals (carpenters and joiners), and people that love DIY.

STEP 1: Plan

Planning is crucial if you want to renovate your old staircase, says Damien. Start by deciding if you want to change just your newel posts, handrails and spindles or if you want to refurbish your steps and risers also. Then, select a design and order your new stair parts. One of the places that you can use is George Quinn’s stair parts website. If you are a carpenter, or if you have a design in mind, this manufacturer can also build bespoke staircase parts.

STEP 2: Replace the steps and risers

Start your renovation project from the steps and risers. If you have a carpet on the stairs, remove it. Then, cut your steps and risers to size and test-fit them. Tip: install the first and the second riser first; install the first step after. Carry on installing the next risers and steps and cover any gaps with mouldings.

STEP 3: Renovate the landing area

Some staircases have a landing area. If that’s the case for your staircase, Damien recommends using winder steps and winder steps’ extensions to renovate it. Calculate the number that you will need by measuring the landing from the back to the front (add 30 mm to this measurement for the nosing of the winder step). Just as you have done previously, measure, cut and test-fit these parts and then install them. Start with the front portion of the landing, and use a winder step to cover it. Hide the margins with mouldings.

George Quinn staircase, Erne stair collection

STEP 4: Replace the newel posts

If you haven’t done so already, remove the old handrails, base rails and spindles from your staircase. After this, you will have to cut your old newel posts. When doing this, keep in mind that there is a minimum legal height requirement when installing the handrails (the next step from the project): 900 mm from the pitch line up the post.

Carry on installing the new posts: if they have a dowel, bore a hole in the centre of the remaining newel base. Use glue and secure them by fixing a screw through the base and the dowel. To hide the gap between the base and the new post, use a newel base connector. 

STEP 5: Fit the handrails and the base rails

Another positive aspect about renovating your old staircase (besides saving money), is that you can choose between having a staircase with spindles (made of timber, or fused with metal), or having a glass staircase. Both of these are available solutions and Damien explains that, depending on your choice, you will need to order appropriate handrails and base rails.

After you have ordered them, you will have to do 2 cuts: a first cut to the angle of your stairs, and a second one to length. You can then install them, starting with the base rails. Make sure to fit these correctly and to centre them. Otherwise, it will be difficult when installing the glass panels or the spindles. You can secure them in place with screws or brads.

 George Quinn staircase - Corby collection

STEP 6: Install the spindles or the glass panels

Spindles’ installation: first, calculate the number of spindles that you will need for your staircase (2 per step). Take into account that there is a legal requirement saying that the distance between spindles should not be higher than 99 mm. Second, cut the first spindle at the angle of your stairs and install it. Don’t forget to leave spaces between the spindles – cover these with fillets (you should have received these when you ordered your handrail).

Glass panels’ installation. For this step, Damien gave a solution for panels that will fit into the handrail and base rails. Keep in mind that there are all types and designs of glass panels and their installation may vary. First, calculate the number of panels that you will need: divide the length of the base rail to 350 and you will get this number. Just as in the case of the spindles, the distance between the panels must not be greater than 99 mm. Second, proceed to installing the panels, but don’t forget to measure, cut and install fillets to create the spaces between them.

Below, you can see a finalised staircase renovation project done by Damien Reilly.

If you prefer a video version of the steps involved in a staircase renovation project, you can watch this next tutorial.

To view the full video tutorials, click on: staircase renovation videos.

Buy stair parts.

Sue Timney for Marks & Spencer

Lovers of a monochrome look might be interested to know that Marks & Spencer are launching a new collaboration next month with renowned interior and product designer, Sue Timney. As a designer with over 30 years experience in the industry, her 48 piece collection celebrates her passion for exotic imagery blended with her signature bold, black and white style.

Silhouette Plate, £29.50 (set of 4), Tea, Coffee and Sugar Canister, £12.50, Stripe Plate, £9.50.


The new Kitchen and Dining range will incorporate plates, bowls, teacups, mugs, glassware, aprons, tea towels and table linen and each individual piece has been specifically designed to work together as a complete collection. In fact we think these stunning pieces will work with any interior scheme.

Graffiti Plate, £9.50, Bowl, £7.50, Mug, £7.50.


Historical architecture and contemporary Brit style are two elements that I love to intermix and these are the key influences behind my first collection for Marks & Spencer. Grafitti based on my free-style painted brush strokes, sit together with classic vase silhouettes and the synonymous stripy Sue house style.”  Sue Timney

Stripe bowl, £7.50, Champagne Flutes, £29.50 (set of 4).


 
This will be the first collection from Sue Timney for M&S as part of an ongoing collaboration and will be available in-store from February.