larder dreams

It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. My favorite sweet treat brought home by my hubby, getting into my pyjamas on a Friday night, clean sheets, and anything that is organized. We already know my love for glass jars and boxes of all shapes and sizes. So it should come as no surprise that I have always dreamed of having a larder or pantry. Ohhhh just the thought of all that organization makes my heart skip a beat.

I have been using these two images for inspiration:

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The cupboard that we intend to make into our future larder currently holds our freezer. We have a tall larder fridge in our kitchen and a smaller under counter freezer, which we shoved into this large cupboard. Until now, I had just piled things on top of the freezer that were extras or just bigger items. Because we have no shelves in our future larder yet, we were using two of our kitchen cupboards to hold all of our food.

I have already laid out my plans for Alex. Detailing the shelves I want him to build to make my dream come true. However, with everything else needing done in this house, my dreams of a larder are not really on the top of that list. So I took matters into my own hands. Is it perfect? God no. Does it work? For now. Does it make me giddy? Totally.

So here is what I did to solve my immediate food storage issue.

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The freezer used to be turned toward the left. It was a huge pain to open the door, then the freezer door, then squeeze my butt in the tiny cupboard, kneel down and then try my best to see inside the dark recesses of said freezer. I really thought it would be too big to turn outward especially because we now have a gas pipe running along that back wall. But I measured and it said it would work. So I shimmied the freezer around. Then, that piece of wood on top? That’s the top of an old wardrobe. I saved it because I figured I could find a use for solid wood somewhere! This created a few inches more counter space on either side, which we really needed.

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You can see that we have a good 12″ on the left there which will be perfect for some nice deep shelves one day. For now I am keeping all of our grocery bags and bigger items that are not used often down there. It is kinda wasted space just now, but I can reach down there easily and still use it. We have lovely brick walls in this cupboard too. I painted it white in there forever ago, but it really needs a second coat, but I am going to wait until I know for sure what we will do in here for the long term. One day larder…one day you will be better 🙂

So now it gets a little odd. See, we have night stands in our room that have 3 drawers each. We also had a bed that was second hand and well, broken. After rolling to the middle of the bed every night for weeks and then waking up with Alex’s side crashing down something had to be done. I took two drawers out of each night stand and used these to prop the bed up. Hey, I know it is a little ghetto but it worked! We got a new bed shortly after (hooray) and as I went to put the drawers back I decided I preferred the night stands with one drawer and a nice cubby underneath. I have plans for those bad boys, but that is another project!

Now I had 4 drawers just hanging around. I have seen tons of stuff on Pinterest where people use drawers like shelves and so I figured I would hang on to them and use them somewhere. Well today is the day my friend! When I start ripping things apart with no plan, this is where my mind leads. I threw the drawers on top. Instant shelving.

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Ha! Oh and don’t mind the back of the larder door. It still needs to be painted. Usually nobody sees the back of that door but me 🙂

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Now for the fun part. Loading all my goodies inside!

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Oh my goodness. I can see what I have. I have room. It reminds me of a little country store with small wooden shelves. I know this is very far from my dream. And I also know it will get better once we build shelves and utilize every inch. But this made me so happy. This was also the day before my weekly shop and I still had room once all my purchased were put in. I still have a kitchen cupboard that we use to store the girls snacks and cereal so they can access those things freely. It is the little things! Now I need to start buying cute jars 🙂

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monday things

1. Obviously Scotland does not celebrate Thanksgiving, so I usually make our meal on the Saturday after. We gorged ourselves on food and I made way to much, as usual. Things not pictured: turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, gravy, and of course the marshmallows on those sweet potatoes!

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I always make a pecan pie, but I add chocolate and coconut to ours. Oh so good! Alex said I need to make a pie every weekend now. The one I made last Saturday didn’t even last until Monday! So, I made another pecan pie on Friday. It is now Sunday and there are only two pieces left. Maybe we need to back away from the pie train.

2. I am nearly done with our Christmas shopping! Ahhhh! I wanted to get Sara Bear a pram for the doll she is getting and decided I didn’t want to get a cheap fold up one, as was my plan, because I am not sure she will use it to often. However, she has been going on and on about wanting a pram so fine. Umm, how come I never knew that decent doll prams required you to sell a child in order to afford one? Oh my word. It is for a doll yes? Not a human? After a solid 7 hours of searching I finally settled on one from Tesco Direct that was on sale from £50 down to £20. I would have bought her a nicer one but I wanted to get her a changing bag, clothes, and a bed for her doll too. We shall see how long this pram fascination lasts before I drop over £70 for one, lets just say that.

3. TV talk: The only thing I can really think about now is Walking Dead. Oh man oh man. Whyyyyyyy? I spoke to my mom last week (she is an episode ahead of us being in the US of A) and I was explaining how anxious I get watching it every week. It is like I am on the verge on a panic attack every time. I almost don’t want to watch it because then I can pretend everyone is still alive and well. All she said was, ‘well, if that is how you feel then you definitely won’t like what’s coming.’ Oh how right you were mom. Oh how right.

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A lot of shows stop for Christmas although I am not sure why that in tales a two month break, but whatevs. So, we have stock piled a few things like Blue Bloods which started a few weeks ago here. Also, we are going to finally start watching Breaking Bad. Very exciting times here 🙂

Oh and also, anyone watch Masterchef Australia? Anyone? OMG if you don’t, you need to get on that! Our favorite cooking show by far! It goes on for months so we like, know these people right? I started crying a few weeks ago when people were sent home because my word they are like my friends at this point so every week now is tear fest. We were watching the finale last night and Alex said all serious and slightly concerned, ‘it sound’s like Lyndon has a cold…is he alright?’ Oh this just shows how well we know these people! Anyway if you do watch it were you disappointed with the winner? We were. Very. Ugh.

4. A little sneak peak at the colour and painting progress downstairs:

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Love the colour!

5. I was meant to go to Edinburgh with a friend on Saturday to visit the German market and well, get a little crazy. But I started not feeling to great on Friday. By Saturday it wasn’t any better so we didn’t go. I was quite bummed 😦 I took a nap yesterday, went to bed and slept a full 13 hours last night, and I am already feeling tired again. Good grief I can sleep! We are really hoping to make it this Saturday instead!

6. I have mentioned my love for Essie Button before, but can I just say how happy I am that she is doing Vlogmas? Loving every video! It is making me want to do a vlog. Maybe. One day 🙂 I do still want to do a house tour…so maybe I will get on that.

Hope you all had a great weekend! 🙂 Check back in on Wednesday for a house update post!

monday things

 

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1. Our windows are all done! Hooray! Having workers in your house for a week straight is tough. Especially ones that create mess and chaos. I did not want to hang up our new curtain rod in the living room until the new frame was painted, so Friday night we took the classy route and nailed up a black sheet. Oh yes. We did. 

2. Someone in the States told me they were running a marathon (like everyone else around me it seems). But then they went on to explain that it is a zombie marathon. Say what now? Umm yeah. Apparently it is the thing. That is one sure fire way to make me run anyway. And have a full blown panic attack, followed by a life threatening heart attack. See I have a huge fear of being chased…or hunted. I cannot play hide and seek with my own children. Alex teases me sometimes by running up to me from behind and gets his giggles from seeing me jump around screaming like I have fire ants in my pants. After a little research into this zombie thing I discovered that they have similar things here in the UK. The most popular is the 2.8 Hours Later event where you get chased by zombies, at NIGHT, while trying to find the asylum: aka safe zone. This takes place in a city such as London or Edinburgh. I can’t think of a single thing more terrifying than this. The awesome thing is you can volunteer to be a zombie and go to their zombie school. Now that I could do! 

3. My friend turned 30 the other week. I sent her this. Teeheehee.

4. A few months ago I stumbled upon a new blog. Essie Button. Then I discovered her YouTube channel. I spent days watching every video and I am now convinced I need more make up in my life. I recently went to Boots and spent an hour just playing around with their makeup. Can’t. Get. Enough. I have also never been a lipstick girl. Because I never wear it, when I do I feel like I am about to go work on the corner. However, Essie has made me want all the lipsticks. All of them.

5. I few months ago I read Wool by Hugh Howey. Oh man it was so good! And not at all what I would normally read. The third book in the series, Dust, has just came out and my mom tried to send it to be through Kindle. It won’t let me download it for regional reasons which is super annoying. Think I am going to break down and buy it. If you have not read Wool, get on it!

6. Speaking of books, I also just bought Immoral: Tales of a Vampire Hunter. I read it in one day. Awesome read! Can’t wait for the next one already.

7. I always crave sweets on a Monday. Maybe it is my way of coping. Who knows. This german chocolate pecan pie sounds perfect. Oh man.

8. Alex is off work today, but the girls are in school. I think we are going to order some breakfast and enjoy some time together! Happy Monday! 🙂

drama

funny girls quote drama

I firmly believe that when I was younger I would subconsciously flock to drama like a moth to a flame. Then I would moan and cry about all the drama in my life. Well uh, duh! Now that I have grown up (HA), I hate drama. Hate. It. I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I got enough of my own issues to deal with. I mean, really. This is why I have become somewhat of a hermit. A home body. I like to keep to myself. I am in my fortress. Nothing can get me here! However, sometimes drama just comes knocking on your door. Oh hello…you.

We were so excited on Thursday because Alex had a 4 day weekend and we were planning the perfect mix of staring at walls, and blog worthy house projects. Then drama came a knockin’. We have had some family ‘stuff’ to deal with the last few days. Everything is ok right now, but we are trying to be there for the people involved. It has been hard.

So, I wanted to pop in and say hi, and I am here (kinda). As a result of getting nothing done this weekend I also have nothing to really blab about to you guys either! This week you can look forward to me ummming and ahhhhing my way through the days. 🙂

I will just share with you something I saw on Rants From Mommyland yesterday. Oh my goodness this is me to a T. Every word. This is how I react to most situations, because I just cannot deal with drama like a pro. Made me giggle and nod along in agreement. I am not alone. Hooray! Should be cheering that fact? 🙂

new look

It all started because I wanted a little change. 3 hours later, I have emerged from the vortex that is blog design and uploaded my new header! Same old blog, just a fresh new look. Hope you all like it 🙂

watercolour maps

Happy Friday! Oh I am so happy it is the weekend. The first full week back at school has been exhausting for everyone involved. I plan on being in pyjamas from 6pm tonight until Monday morning! 

I just wanted to pop in and tell you about this awesome website. A week or so ago, Charlotte from Living Well on the Cheap, posted about this site and it is http://maps.stamen.com. You can view maps in watercolour! It is so beautiful, I just wish I would figure out how to create a decent sized print. You can search anywhere in the world to view. Warning: highly addictive and time wasting ahead!

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a little grid of framed images? You could do places you have lived, your home town, where you got married, where you vacationed, or went on your honeymoon. I love maps, but having them be abstract and colourful is even better! Only you will know the true meaning, which is awesome. How many more times can I say awesome in one post? 

Here are some images I pulled so far.

Where we live now.

 

My home town, and where we were married.

Our old flat.

So neat! I am in love with the watercolour maps! A few more hours playing around and maybe I will figure out how to print larger images!

 

 

bloglovin

As most people are aware, Google Reader is saying ta ta to us all on July 1st. I have always used Google Reader and love it’s simplicity. I also do not like change. Not with this kinda stuff anyway! So I have been playing around with a few different ways to keep up with the blogs I love and so far nothing has grabbed me. 

Today on A Pretty Penny, Keira posted about Bloglovin. I figured it was worth a shot as I still had not found my fit. 5 minutes in and I am loving it. I love love love the sidebar that shows how many unread posts I have for each blog. I don’t know about you, but I like to read one blog at a time, and save my favourites for last. All the other places I have tried made it a jumbled mess. Ugh.

 

 

See? Nice and simple. If you are still looking for a place to import your Google Reader blogs to, try Bloglovin! It may be the perfect fit for you too. And if you would like to follow my blog through Bloglovin, just follow the link below!

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Now I doubt I will even notice Google Reader is gone. 

for the love of jars

I have a love for all receptacles. Jars, boxes, and containers of any kind really. I am fairly positive I get this from my mom. I save jars and it is a small problem really. Recently, I was at a cupcake bar with a friend, where I preceded to limit my cupcake order from 4 to only 2. Surprising. I then read the menu wrong and thought they had flavored green tea water, so I ordered that thinking awesome! She then asked what flavor I wanted and I looked at her like she was speaking Latin  What flavor? Uh, green tea? I ended up going with pomegranate and elder flower and as it was presented to me, my eyes got all big and bright because there were in these awesome bottles! Immediately I said to my friend to make sure she doesn’t finish it all so we can take the bottles with us. How gracious of her to know how I am and just nod along with my scheme. Now they have been soaked and scrubbed and I have two cute little bottles I can use as bud vases. Although, I would love to find two spouts and use them for oil and vinegar. I have issues.

Fortunately, I am married to a man who knows my issues and keeps his eyes peeled for any containers that I would appreciate. So when we found ourselves in TK Maxx the other day he presented me with a gorgeous teal jar and my heart skipped a beat. Then I found an awesome square one! It was like a jar fest just for Eileen. When I decided that was enough, I turned the corner and there sat another tall glorious jar and I knew she was coming home with me too. Want to know what was even better? They were all marked down to £3 each. Holla!

The moment we got home we scraped the stickers off and gave them a good scrub. As they were drying I told Alex I wanted to take the doors off of the cupboard above the cooker one day and fill my jars with flour and whatnots. Next thing I know Alex was taking the doors off the cupboard. And the fun began!

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Hello messy. I find that I use more spices when they are not hidden away and I really miss the spice rack I had in our old flat. Eventually I would like to get new containers for my spices too but we are doing baby steps here. Buying 30 teeny tiny jars would probably make rainbows shoot out of my ears. So I emptied the mess, cleaned the cupboard, cut 3 pieces of wood to fit the right side, attempted to sand them and got a few splinters, figured I would paint them anyway when I did the cabinets so gave up, made little steps inside for my spices to be layered, filled my jars, and enjoyed this space of beauty. Ahhhhh.

 

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I think I  may deal with the holes from the hinges but I am not sure what would bother me more. White filled holes, or just holes? I am nowhere near painting the cabinets so I will see what bugs me more until then. Oh and look what else I got!!

 

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Oh my goodness does that just make you giddy? I have been wanting a nicer jar for my utensils and really wanted a le creuset one but uh hello, expensive! I saw one a few weeks ago marked down to £20 but it was pale pink. I did stand and think about it but decided no. It wasn’t what I wanted so I let it go. Then Alex found this one! It had a lid which I will keep safe in case I ever want to use it for something else but guess what? It was marked down to £10! No hesitation here. This was the moment I told Alex to go get a trolley while I stood by my jars like a protective momma.

 

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It is the little things peeps. My walls may still look like Freddy Kruger used to live here, but here in this little area, I smile. Every time I have walked in the kitchen I have paused. We have spent so much time doing repair work it is so nice to finally be putting in little touches that make it our home.  And that little jar holding my baking powder? An old coffee jar I couldn’t part with. See? Issues.

Anyone else love jars like I do? Or has any other odd loves? Have you added anything small to your house that made it feel more like home? I would love to hear what you guys love! Happy weekend! 🙂

weekly menu 2

Is anybody else super annoyed that all the good tv shows are ending? Omg we must have had 5 shows that have wrapped up for the summer, and I am feeling so sad and lost without them! We don’t watch a lot of tv through the week, but we record a few shows which we look forward to watching on our Friday night date nights, which basically consists of pyjamas the moment the girls are in bed, a bottle of wine, and all of our shows. Super fancy. Grey’s Anatomy finished a few weeks ago and I am still freaking out over the last episode. I thought I was going to pass out watching it! At one point I was holding my face, and my breath, when Alex told me to calm down. Oh man, I don’t know if I can handle the wait until it comes back! Then we had to watch the end of Blue Bloods, Revenge (oh my word!!! What in the H was that for a season finale? I can’t take it. Alex had a moment of excitement the other night when he thought we had Revenge. Then he remembered it is over. It was a sad moment.), and The Following. I know there have been more, but I just cannot focus. Now we are waiting for Game of Thrones to end this week (what the what happened last week? I gasped out loud more than once.), Modern Family, and The Middle. I hate summer. Boo. But, we have started watching Hannibal. Anyone else? Or better yet anyone else have an idea what is going on?!? It is so crazy and freakishly confusing. We are loving it! Only Hannibal can make eating people look so delectable and civilized.

So weekly menu 2 (no people eating involved here). I love to cook. A lot. But like everyone, I have weeks where I just do not want to feed all these people. This was one of those weeks. I have been feeling tired, lazy, and just not very creative so our menu is full of quick and easy meals to make things a little easier on this momma. I do our shopping on a Thursday which is why our menu runs from Thursday-Wednesday.

Thursday: Fish sandwiches with coleslaw. Birdseye just came out with fish burgers, which are really yummy. We had them on a bun with mayo, lettuce, and a cheese slice ala McDonalds. I also make my coleslaw. Shred up cabbage, carrots, and onion. Make your dressing using 1/4c light mayo, 2tbs vinegar (i like apple cider vinegar for this), a squeeze of lemon, 2tsp of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. The key is to use your hands to squeeze the coleslaw as you mix. This helps to release the juices and really get the flavour going. I suggest making this first so it has time to sit in the fridge and get all yummy.

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Friday: Nothing! The girls went to stay at Papa’s as we had an engagement party to go to. Awesome.

Saturday: pizza. Yep, just the frozen kind. As I said, we went to a party the night before. Enough said.

Sunday: turkey meatballs with spaghetti. I make my meatballs just like the turkey meatloaf. Just add some basil, oregano, and italian seasoning to the mix. Shape into balls and drop into your sauce to cook. My sauce was super easy. Sauté some onions in olive oil, add garlic, and my secret is a spoon full of caramelised onion chutney. The sweetness helps with the tartness of tinned tomatoes so there is no need to add sugar. Dump in 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, season with basil, oregano, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Thin out with a little chicken broth as needed. As mine bubbled away for over an hour, I added a bit of broth twice. Just to make sure it didn’t end up to thick.

Monday: roasted chicken thighs with mashed potatoes. I just coated my chicken with olive oil and used the left over seasoning from my chicken kebabs. Then I covered with foil and baked for 45 min. Take the foil off and cook a further 15 min to crisp up the skin. Have you seen the new stir in Philadelphia sauces? They are on sale for £1 right now and I had bought the garlic and herb one to try with fish. I used a little in my mashed potatoes though, and oh my that was a good idea.

Tuesday: ravioli and salad. Finally Tesco carries frozen ravioli. In the states it is common place to get it frozen, and it tastes amazing. I find all other ravioli to mushy and or slimy. Not good. But this? Oh this is amazing. It is four cheese ravioli, cooks in 3 minutes, and it has the perfect texture you would expect from well cooked pasta. Dump on some sauce and call it a meal. It is also only £2 and one bag is more than enough for us as it is very filling. I paired this with a salad and used our new favourite dressing. This stuff is amazing. We have made two batches and I need to make a third. The vinegar is just enough for my tastes (as I usually like it quite strong) and the girls also love it! Score. Please try it! I used an old jar to make mine for easy shaking and storing in my fridge. Also I just used whatever mustard we had to hand which was Coleman’s american style mustard. Very close to a dijon with a hint of spice.

Wednesday: oven baked fish with new potatoes. We love basa fish from Tesco. You get four large white fish fillets and it is usually on deal 2 for £6 which is a great deal for good fish. It does not taste fishy at all, and it also has a more meaty texture which I prefer in a fish. Usually I would just squeeze over a lemon and bake, then serve with salsa on top and rice on the side. But, today is quite chilly and rainy so I want it a little more comforting. As I mentioned I got the new Philadelphia stir in sauce in garlic and herb. I am going to squeeze a lemon over my fish, bake for 10-15 minutes, add the garlic and herb sauce, and then bake a further 10-15 minutes. Just boil some potatoes, toss in a little butter and steam some broccoli. Sorted.

What are you guys eating this week? Trying any new recipes or enjoying any old favourites? I would love to hear any new ideas!