Monday, 30 January 2017

life lately

I love writing about the everyday moments, the things that make life our own, the things we wish we could capture and relive forever, which is why (after deciding at the start of the year to no loner write about each weekend) I've instead vowed to do a blog post (once a month) recapping the things we've been up to lately...
 
January has been a longgggg month; I'm so pleased it's finally over and while I hate wishing my life away, the month seems to drag every year but this year has been particularly bad, which I think I can blame on the terrible weather.
Sooooo many days have been dull, grey and miserable, so I've hardly seen any sunlight, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, although the last week or so the mornings have been lighter. I did enjoy the day of snow we got mid-month, although I would have preferred it had it come at the weekend! I'm looking forward to lighter and longer days throughout February!

January has been pretty quiet, which was nice after the chaos of Christmas and New Year.

But we have has some fun. We took Hubs' mum and step-dad out for an Indian as their Christmas treat; we never really know what to buy them at Christmas and in traditional parent fashion they always insist we don't buy them anything! So as they were away on a cruise for Christmas this year, Hubs and I decided it'd be nice to take them out for a meal as our gift, combined with the opportunity to spend some quality time with them.

We finally bought a bird feeding station and set it up in the garden...
The birds have so far failed to locate this buffet, which is a shame, but I think it's because there's not much else around to tempt them, so come springtime we'll be focusing on getting some plants and trees into the garden.

The one thing that makes January a little more bearable for Hubs and I is his birthday on the 26th...
As a Thursday this year, we didn't do much on his actual birthday (just a nice tea followed by pudding), but we had friends visit for the weekend; and we even went out for breakfast, which always feels really extravagant for me, as I only really eat out for breakfast on holiday and at special occasions.

We've also spent some quality time with Izzy this month :)

And finished off the Christmas chocolates...

I guess January could have been worse.

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

35

This cutie turns 35 today...

I'm sure 35 feels old. 

I bet he wishes he could go back to the days he was worried about turning 30. I know he wishes he could drink like he could when he was younger, and eat that way too ;)

I've spent over 12 years of my life loving this man and I have no plans to change that fact any time soon, which is why I hope the sting of turning 35 today isn't too painful. I hope my presence, presents and love lessen that sting somewhat.

And I hope he has a great day and knows just how loved he is, 
not only by me but by everyone who meets him.

Happy birthday, Tom

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

3 tv shows you should be watching

It's a well-known fact that I love way too many TV shows...
So, while I'm not here today to encourage you for the one-hundredth time to watch Supernatural, I am instead here to share with you three new shows that I'm L-O-V-I-N-G so you can watch too!

1. Designated Survivor
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Designated Survivor tells the story of 'a low-level Cabinet member who becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession'. Ten episodes have aired in America so that's all you can see on Netflix but they are soooo good; I watched them over Christmas and was distraught as the last one ended, knowing I have to wait until March for more! I can't work out who did what and who I can and, more importantly, who I can't trust and that's why I love this show so much - when you think you've worked out a plot line, something comes along to knock you back down to square one, but in a good way. I don't usually watch political shows like this but I'm really liking this one!

Designated Survivor is currently available on Netflix.

2. This Is Us 
The only show to make my list actually airing on UK TV and not Netflix, This Is Us follows 'a unique ensemble, as their paths cross and their life stories intertwine, from sharing the same birthday, to so much more than anyone would expect'. I don't want to give too much away for those who've not watched yet, but seriously, this show is SO. FREAKING. GOOD. It's about relationships, about family, about birth and death and everything in between, and I really love everything about this show and its complex, real characters.

This Is Us airs on Tuesday at 10pm on Channel 4.

3. Shooter
Finally,  Shooter (starring the gorgeous Ryan Phillippe - not the film with Mark Wahlberg) is a conspiracy thriller that tells the story of 'Bob Lee Swagger, a highly-decorated veteran who is coaxed back into action to prevent a plot to kill the President'. Again, I don't want to give anything away, so all I will say is you need to watch this show. I was watching episode two when Hubs came home from wherever he'd been and he was hooked; we had to watch episode one again so he could catch up and now he's desperate for more.

Shooter is also currently available on Netflix
with new episodes added each week.

Have you seen any of these shows; what do you think?

Friday, 13 January 2017

jobs around the house: January

I've always envied people who always seem to have a clean home.
I have to confess, before Hubs and I moved into our new build in September 2015, our previous home was not clean... tidy yes, but bit clean like I wanted. We'd accumulated so much stuff during our almost eight years living there, I thought we'd run out of room. Truth be told, we just hadn't had a good clear out, nor had we kept on top of essential home owner tasks - you know, the ones no one tells you you need to do but you're expected to know! So when we moved, I adopted the mantra 'a place for everything, everything in its place' and while I may not follow this to the letter 365 days a year, my home is more organised and therefore cleaner than ever before.

So today, I wanted to share with you five jobs you can do this month that'll help you on your way to having that clean, tidy and organised home we all dream of owning...

1. Deep clean the oven
After all the celebrations and festivities of Christmas and New Year, I'm sure your oven is looking a little worse for wear; don't worry. January is the perfect time to give it a longed-for deep clean. There are numerous products out there that should make the job easier, or you could even hire a professional to do the job for you. For around £50, you can have your oven cleaned within an inch of its life, bringing back its sparkle and giving you what looks like a brand new oven!

2. Test your smoke alarm
Owning and maintaining a smoke alarm in your home saves lives; in fact, you're twice as likely to die in a house fire in a home with no smoke alarm than in a home that does have one. So, firstly if you don't have a working smoke alarm fitted, get one this month! If you already have a smoke alarm, you should be testing it monthly - I know, I don't either, so the best advice I've read there is to check it the two times a year when you alter the clocks for Daylight Savings :) You're also supposed to change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year alarm, after which it's advisable to get a whole new alarm), so in-between scrubbing your oven, or making a brew for the professional scrubbing it, why not change the battery and ensure your family are safe.

3. Appliance maintenance
Another job I regularly forget about is cleaning and maintaining my white goods; January is the perfect time to run a cleaning product or natural alternative through your washing machine and your dishwasher. It's also the ideal time to dust the coils at the back of your fridge freezer to help it run more efficiently.

4. Prevent frozen pipes
The cold temperatures of winter can wreak havoc on our homes, so anything you can do to lessen winter's effects will stand you in good stead. The first step is to drain water from outside taps, hoses and sprinkler systems (if you've not done so already); next check water supply pipes in unheated areas such as lofts, basements and garages, as well as under kitchen and bathroom cabinets - pipes in these areas should be insulated with proper products.

5. Declutter & organise 
The arrival of a New Year inspires many of us to have a good clear out and get rid of things that we no longer want, as well as finding places within your home for your Christmas gifts and/or anything your purchased in the January sales! To maintain a tidy, clean and organised home more easily, it's vital to have a specific place for everything.

Home Etc
Life With Munchers

Happy Friday!

Monday, 9 January 2017

styling the seasons: winter

Now that the twelfth night has passed, I hope you have all taken down your Christmas decorations.

I don't know about you, but my home can look and feel bare once the Christmas decorations have come down, and while I am happy things are fresh and clean, it can be a little depressing, especially with the gloom January inevitably brings with it. So today, I want to share with you how I've styled my home post-Christmas to ensure there's plenty of excitement to starve off those January blues, while embracing this particular season...

1 | Keep the rain, mud and snow out with high quality, durable door mats at every entrance/exit.
Also, make sure shoes are removed at the door and slippers are worn throughout the house; not only will this keep your toes toasty on cold nights, it'll also ensure dirt and grim from outside stays outside - make sure you keep outdoor shoes off carpets at all costs! You could even invest in this or this.

2 | Create a cosy home by adding layers and texture. 

During winter especially, bare tables and sofas are too stark, so add a table cloth and runner, as well as throws, cushions and blankets to your sofas and chairs. Layering textures throughout your home (at any time of the year) makes it more inviting. If, like me, you've not got carpets downstairs, then you'll know how cold your home can feel at times, so the winter time is the perfect time to throw down some high quality, faux fur rugs for added warmth.

3 | Keep the fire stoked, or the central heating on (even if it's on low to 'tick over'). 
There's nothing better when it's cold and dark outside than the crackle and glow of a fire. Colder outdoor temperatures can make even the warmest home feel cold, so ensure you, your family and your home stays comfortable, cosy and inviting by ensuring it's warm.

4 | Add accessories, such as candles and plants/cactuses.
I burn a different scent for each season (just like The White Company #notanad) and fill the rest of my candle holders with unscented tea lights to ensure just one scent fills my home. Plants look good in your home at any time of the year but when outside is so barren and bare, it's nice to see touches of greenery throughout your home - just don't forget to water them! I also have different cushions for each season, which my hubby thinks is a little excessive, but I love swapping the cushions when a new seasons rolls around!
 
5 | Sneak in snippets of spring with bunches of fresh flowers. 
I've already bought my first bunch of daffodils and my first bunch of tulips for 2017 and while it may be too early for spring, seeing these little yellow flowers brighten the corners of my home makes me smile, on even the darkest, coldest, earliest morning!
Home Etc
Life With Munchers

Do you change your décor with the season?

Friday, 6 January 2017

plan the perfect party

On New Year's Eve, Tom and I hosted the first party in our new home.
We've had small gatherings before but this was the first time a significant number of people would be in our home at the same time - it was a tad daunting to say the least. I had numerous nightmares which included: no-one turning up, not doing enough food and even red wine being spilt on my 'oatmeal-coloured' sofa. However, things went off without a hitch and a good time was had by all, so I though I'd share with you my five top tips for planning and hosting a party in your own home...

1 | Do a clean through the day before - not only will this make everywhere shiny and sparkly for your guests, it'll make the post-party clean up easier and quicker. Make sure you pay particular attention to the toilet and don't forget to clean up high (lampshades and door frames) and down low (skirting boards and under furniture).

2 | Stick with simple but effective decorations - balloons, a nice table cloth and table confetti, party poppers and matching serving dishes will give your home that 'party' look without costing you a fortune or the need to redecorate! As you can see, I went with gold balloons and a gold table cloth, and used white serving dishes with a black slate cheeseboard. As it was a New Year's Eve party I left my Christmas decorations up, which added an extra element to the party décor.
If you're a talented crafter, you could even DIY your decorations - I'm sure there are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube you could follow; you definitely don't want advice or tips from me on that front :)

3 | Create a party playlist - using either Spotify or your iPod, compile a playlist of songs that'll have the party going all night! Start with some easy listening tracks (mainly for background noise while people arrive and catch up with people they've not seen for a while) then move the tunes on to songs that'll have your guests boogieing the night away - don't forget to include Auld Lang Syne for midnight celebrations if you're throwing a NYE bash!

4 | Make sure you have every guest's favourite drink available - from soft drinks for those designated drivers (don't drink and drive, kids) to red, white and rose wine, and cans and bottles of larger for the beer drinkers to an array of spirits for everyone else, providing a varied selection ensures everyone is happy. Alternatively, you could request everyone brings their own booze when sending out invitations.
We provided a shit-ton of drinks and beverage choices at our party but still found people brought their own!
#winwin

5 | Serve finger food - not only will this make the party preparation easier - no big meals to cook or prepare - it also makes the clean up easier too. Serving finger food means you shouldn't need to provide cutlery (one less thing to wash up afterwards) and it also means you won't look cheap offering guests paper plates and plastic cups.

Planning and hosting a party for your loved one doesn't have to be stressful or expensive;
just make sure you're organised and follow my top tips :)

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

weekend #53

The last weekend of 2016 was a wonderful one.

Hubs and I hosted a New Year's Eve party on Saturday night for friends and family so the majority of the day was spent preparing for a gathering of our nearest and dearest...
We had soooo much food and soooo much drink; I think we went a little overboard, but I guess it's better to have stuff left over than for people to leave hungry. I didn't take any photos during the party as I wanted to be in the moment and just 'live' the remaining minutes of the year. As the clock struck midnight, we all stood mesmerised by London's fireworks (on the TV), which I thought were amazing this year. The final guests left around 2:15am, so we did a little bit of tidying before hitting the hay at 3am.

Understandably, we weren't good for much just a few hours later when we woke, so we spent the first waking hour or so of Sunday relaxing in bed with a brew...

...before coming downstairs to tackle the rest of the tidying up!

Every New Year's Day we meet my parents for a walk around Bradgate Park, and despite the wind and the rain, this year was no exception...
Our evening was spent at Tom's mum's house, eating even more food and having a laugh with family.

As our last day off work, Monday was the designated day for taking down the trimmings and getting the house straight again after the chaos of the past ten days...
One last shot of her in all her glory!

I think Tom gets real pleasure from chopping up and disposing of our Christmas tree. Top tip: bring your garden bin inside and chop the tree down in the house - this limits the area in which needles drop :)

Everywhere looked so bare but fresh and clean once the decorations had been put away for another year...

And that's it, my last weekend recap post for 2016 and part of 2017.

I have decided not to continue these weekly recap posts for 2017; instead, I'll probably do a monthly 'life lately' post to keep you all updated on our goings on. My thinking is that it'll make blogging about extra special weekends more fun, for both you to read and me to write :)

Here's to a short week going quickly!