Archive: Jan 2015

  1. Stylish ways to declutter your home

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    January is all about fresh starts, and having a bit of a clear out is always on my agenda. But it’s also the time of year when I find myself accumulating even more possessions. Between all those new Christmas gifts and the January sale items I just had to have, keeping a clear deck seems to be a bit harder at this time of the year. Making a few small changes is a good place to start – rather than deciding which much-loved possessions to keep out and which ones to pack away, I’ve decided to start by simply sorting out the day-to-day clutter that’s hard to avoid.

     

    Order in the house

    Over time, I’ve learned that if I want a neat and tidy home, I’ll need plenty of storage. If something doesn’t have a home, it’s not going to get put away and will likely be sitting around for months. Storage trends for 2015 are less about stocking up on utilitarian items to stash things away in (things like clear plastic tubs and bulky boxes) and more about finding attractive items (such as antique style glass jars and woven wooden baskets) that will not only hide away that everyday clutter, but will look beautiful in their own right.

    Glass jars

     

    Bedroom bits and bobs

    I find that it’s the jumble of smaller possessions – the kinds of things I use on a day-to-day basis – that create the most clutter in my home, especially the bedroom. I’m thinking of all those tangles of jewellery, the travel miniatures I’ve collected throughout the year, and quite a hefty collection of those spare buttons you get when you buy new clothes. These are the kinds of things I always find strewn around my bedroom collecting dust. I’ve sorted them all out and will store them in clear, vintage-style storage jars and reflective trinket boxes – never let it be said that beauty can’t be practical!

    Storage boxes

     

    Pull the plug on bathroom clutter

    The bathroom is the other clutter magnet in my home. It’s pretty much the smallest room, is used by everyone and expected to store all kinds of different things. Keeping it neat and organised takes a bit of effort so I’ve introduced a few tiny but beautiful storage solutions to keep everything to hand. They’ve sorted out that daily clutter but because they’re nice to look at, I don’t feel like I’ve compromised on style.

    1. Mirror trinket box, £6 | 2. Woven wood basket, £10 | 3. Patterned wooden hooks, £12 |
    4. Medium storage jar with oak lid, £7 | 5. Set of 3 rush weave baskets (available in selected stores).

     

  2. Packed lunches with punch!

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    Like most people I always start the new year with high hopes for boosting my budget. And also like most people, I usually set myself unrealistic goals that I’ve got no chance of achieving.

    This year, though, I’m going to do away with drastic changes and instead commit to making small changes that will make a big difference over time. And one of those small changes is to take a packed lunch to work every day – I dread to think how much money I’ve spent over the years. I’ve invested in some clever containers so I won’t have to deal with squashed sandwiches, soggy salads or leaky soups, and am thinking outside the box when it comes to deciding what to put inside the box.

    Soup

    What’s great about soup is that it’s cheap, easy and filling and you can make it from pretty much anything you have to hand. I never run out of ideas – there are so many recipes to try that I never get bored and tend to experiment with seasonal produce.

    This winter, I’ll spend a Sunday making a batch of this parsnip and apple soup and freeze it in individual portions to take to work. I use an airtight container that goes from freezer to microwave, with a steam vent in the lid to allow hot steam to escape when I’m reheating.

    Sandwiches

    Waldorf sandwich

    It’s all too easy to stuck in a sandwich rut. While there’s nothing wrong with a classic, I tend to go for fillings that have a bit of an unexpected twist, like this chicken Waldorf sandwich. When it comes to transporting it from home to the office, I swap cling film for a sandwich cube, which holds it together perfectly.

    Salads

    Mixed bean antipasti salad

    It’s easy to think that salads are just for summer but there are so many things to make with seasonal winter vegetables. If I have time the night before, I’ll toss cubes of pumpkin or squash in a little olive oil and a sprinkling of warming spices such as cumin, chilli and cayenne pepper, then roast in a hot oven until tender and caramelised. In the morning, I’ll mix it with spinach leaves or kale, olives and feta cheese and take along a red wine vinaigrette to dress it with.

    On days when I’m pushed for time, I keep it really simple with an assembly salad made with ingredients I always have knocking about in the storecupboard or fridge, like this mixed bean antipasti salad. It’s worth invest in an airtight container that has a separate pot to store dressing in so you can add it just before you’re ready to eat.

    I save even more money when I take my own breakfast into work with me. I not only avoid those early morning coffee shop pit stops on the way in to the office, but it fills me up so I steer clear of the vending machine come mid-morning. Cereal pots are great – they have separate sections to store the milk and come with a spoon, too.

    Three key pieces:

    Klip Lock to go salad box Cereal pot sandwich cube box

    Klip Lock to go salad box, £5.50; sandwich cube, £4; cereal pot, £3.