Author Archives: The Hankerer

Display Space

I’ve written about bell jars before, our one got smashed recently so I was on the look out for another and found these unusual display cases from I Love Retro. They are a bit more unusual, I’ve only really seen them in shops, but I would love one at home.

Have you got a special book that you could display in this low display cabinet, open at your favourite page perhaps? Jewellery would look wonderful too and would mean you can easily see all your collection without it gathering dust. This is £99.

I Love Retro - Display Cabinet Low

This rectangular cabinet could hold something quite large and there’s also a square one. Both are £119.

I Love Retro - Display Cabinet Rectangular

Or make your own snow globe with this more unusual round bell jar, it is also available with a dark base. The small one is £29 and the large £39.

I Love Retro - Large Round Glass Bell Jar White

I’m going to re-home some wedding nick knacks in one, what would you display in yours?

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The Cheese Shed

It’s not that I forget birthdays. More that I remember them at the last-minute and, more often than not, procrastinate when it comes to posting the gift. So I do a lot of gift buying online and my latest online gift saviour is The Cheese Shed who specialise in West Country cheese.

My husband and I honeymooned in that part of England and we ate a lot of local cheese while we were there, some of which is among the best cheese I have ever tasted, so I had high hopes for these cheesy gifts. I was not disappointed.

The Cheese Shed offer 16 different gift boxes to choose from starting at £25, with names such as Nothin’ But The Blues and Some Like It Raw. The Big Softy below is making me dribble on my keyboard…

The Cheese Shed - The Big Softy

If you want to spend a bit more you can upgrade to one of the four hampers, a cheese subscription or gift vouchers. You receive an email when your gift is delivered, which I think is a nice touch to stop any worries.

If you haven’t got a sweet tooth or don’t like cake (what? It could be possible!) then look at the beautiful cakes of cheese that The Cheese Shed create. They are wedding cakes but would be stunning at any party, and are better value than most wedding cakes at £67 for one that feeds 20-25 people.

The Cheese Shed - Tyneham Wedding Cheese CakeIf you have specific cheese tastes or like trying out different combinations you can have a go at creating your own cheese cake masterpiece using the interactive cakebuilder. I warn you though – I have just spent almost an hour building different cake variations.

Would you prefer cheese, chocolates or flowers in the post?

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A Bit Tinny

There’s a bar near me that has an amazing ceiling adorned with metal ceiling tiles. I hadn’t seen them for sale anywhere in the UK, but Rockett St. George now stock them in three different styles. There’s an ornate floral version.

Rockett St George - Tin Ceiling Tiles - Floral

A traditional design.

Rockett St George - Tin Ceiling Tiles - Traditional

Or a fancy trellis tile.

Rockett St George - Tin Ceiling Tiles - Trellis

The ceilings in our house are too low to have these; but I think I may find a place for them in the kitchen I’m planning, maybe around the base of the island or as a splash back. If you like the style but not the shiny tin, you can prime and paint them too. They are 61cm square and each tile is £19.

These Moroccan style coasters from I Love Retro would compliment them perfectly.

I Love Retro - Set-of-moroccan-style-coasters

What would you use them for?

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Bright Buttons

I saw this sofa by Graham and Green with contrasting colourful buttons and had a bit of a swoony moment. Isn’t it handsome?

Graham and Green - Bath Button Back Sofa

It was rather out of my price range so I decided to emulate it by getting a couple of pieces of our existing furniture recovered in a similar fashion. I ordered some cream faux leather upholstery fabric & some sample swatches of bright velvets in yellow, duck egg, purple, orange and fuchsia to use for the buttons. Here is our old chaise lounge…

chaise longue

…and here is a footstool that we picked up in a second-hand shop a couple of years ago. I used a local upholsterer who did a far better job then I ever could.

footstool

We had a bit of a splurge (but still half the price of the version I was inspired by) on this two-seater Chesterfield style sofa bed from Designer Sofas 4 U and added the same colourful buttons. This is a great company who have an excellent sale section where you can often pick up a leather two-seater sofa for around £500. The sofas are handmade in the UK and they will make bespoke sizes. Their colour range is really extensive or you can send them your own fabric to use.

Chesterfield sofa

What do you think?

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Sweet & Salty Lamb

I was hankering after a bit of comfort food and after playing around in the kitchen, I came up with this lamb dish. Lamb is my favourite meat and I think it tastes really good with the sweetness of the sweet potato and peppers cooked in coconut oil that contrasts with the salty feta and peppery spinach.

Lamb & sweet potato dish

To make enough for 2-3 people you’ll need:

  • 6 lamb chops
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 2 tsps coconut oil
  • knob of butter
  • lemon juice
  • half a pack of feta cheese
  • half a bag of baby spinach

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Put the coconut oil and butter in a baking tray and in the oven to melt, when it is hot carefully add the sweet potatoes and peppers and stir to coat the vegetables.

In a separate baking tray put the lamb, season and add a squeeze of lemon. Cook both baking trays for 30-40 minutes, until everything is cooked and the  lamb fat is starting to crisp.

Put the raw baby spinach on plates, add the vegetable mixture and crumble the feta on top and serve with the lamb and a decent grind of black pepper.

If you cook it, let me know what you think!

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Butterfly Kimono

I was at my friend’s house recently and saw a beautiful dusky pink embroidered satin fabric folded neatly on her kitchen side that made me stop whatever I was yapping about and exclaim “I love that!”. My friend unfolded this beautiful kimono in its full glory and I’ve hankered after it ever since.

Butterfly kimono back view - Lunn Antiques

Based on a 1920s Japanese design, Lunn Antiques have brought it back to life.

Butterfly kimono long - Lunn Antiques

Available in a short or longer length for £58 or £63.

Butterfly kimono - Lunn Antiques

I’m very lucky that my generous friend has satisfied my hanker and given me one as a gift! I just need some fluffy pink mules to set it off with now.

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Gourmet Gin & Tonic Popcorn

Before I gave up sugar at the end of last year, Santa left in my stocking this gin and tonic flavour popcorn by Joe and Seph’s Gourmet Popcorn.

Joe and Seph's Gin & Tonic PopcornI can usually take or leave popcorn but, oh my word. This stuff is amazing. Seriously, if you like a nice G&T, you will love this. They taste of smooth, sweet caramel and right when you’re thinking that they don’t taste of G&T at all, the juniper & quinine tang hits you. And then you want more.

Joe & Seph have created some amazing sounding flavours. Madras curry with black onion seed and lime? Cheese on toast? Irish Cheddar & Paprika? Caramel, Mirin, Soya & Sesame? Oh, how to choose!

Joe and Seph's Cheddar and smoked paprika Popcorn

There are some good gift packs and you can brand your own packets if you buy in bulk, they’d make excellent wedding favours.

Prices start from £4 and there are discounts for buying six, as if we needed an excuse to buy more…

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Sugar Highs & Lows

On December 31st I decided to conduct a little experiment with my diet to cut out as much sugar as I could. I still have fresh fruit but no longer have fruit juice, dried fruit and, as much as possible, anything with added sugar (which is hidden in everything!).

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Fuelled by desperation as my baby doesn’t sleep well and I’m perpetually tired, I started to wonder if the sugary drinks and snacks I was increasingly reaching for was part of his sleep problem. As I’m breast-feeding, he eats what I eat after all and I was willing to try anything to get a bit more shut-eye.

A secondary reason for reducing sugar is that I have rosacea on my cheeks, which means I look quite rosy and spotty. As karma for being a smug clear-skinned teenager, this came on in my late twenties and I’ve noticed that my diet definitely affects it and I wanted to see just how much by.

I thought I ate relatively healthily. I don’t have caffeine or fizzy drinks but I did drink a lot of fruit juice and Nesquik, and cakes were an everyday staple of my diet. As a treat my husband would bring me sugar mice from the old-fashioned sweet shop on his way back from work. When I first reduced the sugar in my diet I knew I would feel it and I had some pretty bad headaches & much grumpiness in the first week. To add insult to injury my family kept forgetting and offered me things I was trying to avoid. But more than a month into my experiment and since the sugar withdrawal lessened, I can see some real benefits.

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The biggest and most immediate change was my son’s sleep, he had previously woken around nine times each night but he very quickly woke only three or four times. This may still sound like a lot, but believe me when I say I almost wept with joy after the first night. On the occasions when I slip up we certainly know about it at night.

A slower change that has become more and more noticeable over my low sugar month, is my skin. The redness of my cheeks has greatly reduced and the texture of my cheeks is much smoother. It has made a bigger improvement than anything I’ve tried over the last five years, including antibiotic creams and laser treatment. I would say it looks about 80% better and almost unnoticeable with make-up.

Another really big difference and one that I wasn’t expecting, is how much better I feel in general. My energy levels are higher and more constant and mentally I feel more level and alert. I’ve also lost a few pounds in weight.

Despite all the benefits I do have some sadness about the sweet treats I’ll be missing, but I am definitely extending this experiment to the longer term.

How do you feel about sugar? Would you give it up?

If you’re interested in finding out more there is a lot of useful information over at Happy Sugar Habits & A Life Less Bullshit.

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Wild Horses Couldn’t Stop Me…

Wild horses couldn’t stop me from writing about this next hanker. I’ve written before about the horse wallpaper I’ve hankered after for years. But Bill Skinner’s wild horses jewellery range has surpassed even that hanker. Here is the bracelet in rose gold.Bill Skinner GAlloping Horses

Isn’t it magnificent? The ruthenium version is in the sale at £57 instead of £95. It also comes in gold and all three do up with a magnetic clasp.

Bill Skinner Galloping horses RutheniumBill used to do a necklace of the same design but sadly they are no longer on his website. If it’s a necklace you’re looking for, the bee and honeycomb range is amazing too.

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Homemade Baby Blankets

The big gap in posts was because I was busy creating a little person but a few months on I’ve got my hanker back and so it is fitting to recommence with a baby related hanker!

Inspired by the quirky baby blankets I wrote about by Carousel Belle I decided to try to make my own. How hard could it be? Well certainly harder than hitting ‘Add to Basket’, but not too hard. I may have lost a few hours looking at colourful cottons and soft plush fabrics on Plush Addict and hanging around my local fabric shop. But eventually I chose retro lions;

baby blanket lion

Colourful pigs; and baby blanket pigs

Faux cow hide to match the nursery wallpaper.

baby blanket cow

I sewed the two pieces of fabric together wrong sides facing leaving a small gap so I could turn them right side out and sewed up the edge. I had a bit of an issue with the plush fabric stretching in the machine so had to redo some of the stitching to correct the wonkiness. They’re certainly not professional quality but I’m pleased with how they turned out and the cow one is a bit of a favourite with baby already.

Plush Addict have gorgeous fabrics and some good value remnant packs to start out with if you fancy having a go.

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