Thursday, 31 December 2015

Goodbye 2015, It's Been a Pleasure.

As 2015 draws to a close, I thought I would look back on the highlights of what has been a crazy little year. 

In January, me and Toby moved into our first house together with our little Pepper dog. We left our parents' homes behind and whilst we are really close to them, we haven't looked back since. Despite it being hard work both of us working full time and running a house, I wouldn't have it any other way. My favourite thing about living in our home is decorating our own space and making it unique and ours. See some of our projects here

This year I've also embraced my inner geek and been proud of my crafty ways - if I can make it myself, then why buy it! I've made Christmas gifts, Christmas cards, decorations, upcycled furniture, done lots of DIY (or watched Toby do lots of DIY...) and worked on my culinary skills. 

Another highlight was our break to the Lakes with my Mam, Dad and Bramble. We stayed in a lodge and it was lovely to spend some quality time with them. We went on lots of walks, some of them long and very challenging. We played games and cooked bbq's for tea every night whilst supping beers and wine. Bliss. 

Christmas was perfect this year too. Our first Christmas in our house did not disappoint. We cooked Christmas dinner for my Mam and Dad which was everything a Christmas dinner should be - too much. We visited family, had family visit us and drank copious amounts of wine and prosecco - cue bad heads Boxing Day. 

And of course, starting this blog. I've only been blogging since November but already love the whole process. It allows me to document my creative hobbies so I have a memory bank to look back on and it also allows me to share these memories with you guys who read my blog. I was a bit nervous about starting this blog, as in some ways I'm not a very confident person and I doubted anyone would want to read my ramblings, but at the end of the day, I blog because I enjoy it and if anyone would like to read my posts along the way, that's just a lovely added bonus - so thank you! 

Of course, 2015 hasn't only been full of highlights. It's had it's fair share of disappointments and challenging times, but who's hasn't?! So here's to a fab 2016, let's see if we can top this year! 

What have your 2015 highlights been?

KT xo. 
Monday, 21 December 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.

I've already done one post on the Christmas decorations we've bought for our first Christmas in the house (see it here) but as I'm feeling so darn festive, I thought I'd treat you to a second one! 

This one is more about how we decorated the house, rather than the decorations themselves. We decided to make a big night of it and had a party food tea, drank lots of mulled wine and prosecco and surprisingly managed to decorate the house well in our merry little state. 

Here's a looksy - see if you can spot the Schnauzer... 

What do you think?

Do you go for a traditional decor or more of a modern look?

KT xo.
Saturday, 19 December 2015

Homemade Christmas Cards.

So being the MASSIVE geek I am, I decided to make life hard for myself this year and make my own Christmas cards! The thought of scrawling Christmas greetings in what feels like endless amounts (slight exageration - I don't have that many friends..) of generic Christmas cards bores me so I thought I would spice this year's offerings up a bit. To be fair, they didn't turn out half bad... 

What do you think?

KT xo.
Saturday, 12 December 2015

Five Things You Should Know Before Painting a Chalkboard Wall.

After perusing Pinterest and random blog posts about chalkboard walls, we decided that it was a necessity to have one in our house. It would be a cool place for guests to doodle and for us to leave notes for each other, as well as plan out weekly teas and to do lists. Here are some of my fav's I spotted on Pinterest. 

One. / Two. / Three. / Four.

So now, number 26 is host to two eye catching chalkboard walls - one in the kitchen the full length of the wall and one in the office room, complete with a painted frame. They do look good but I wish I'd done a bit more research beforehand rather than just browsing at all the lovely, chalky designs people had put on them... 

So without further ado, here's five things you should know before painting a chalkboard wall. 

1. You need to 'season' the chalkboard first. 
Before you use it, you need to chalk over every inch of the wall and then wipe it off. This will make it easier to write on and wipe the chalk off going forward. 

2. It makes a mess of your floor. 
Chalk is a messy substance - the dust gets everywhere, mainly in a thick puddle under the chalkboard on your nice new carpet, so be prepared to hoover - a lot!

3. Chalkboard pens don't come off. 
This might seem obvious to most of you but I wish it was as obvious to me before I decided to write all over my brand new chalkboard wall in chalk pen. I can still, even after endless amounts of scrubbing, see the word Pepperoni (my nickname for Pepper, our dog) underneath Wednesday night's tea.

4. In fact, the chalk doesn't come off that well either. 
It takes a lot of effort to scrub even the normal chalk off the wall therefore our weekly tea menu has been the same for the past two months.  

5. Your handwriting will never look as good as the boards on Pinterest. 
..well mine won't anyway! It was the cool, chalky designs I looked at that attracted me to painting a chalkboard wall. I had all sorts of ideas from cool writing, to pictures and quotes on the board, with the aim of mixing it up every week. In reality, it's difficult to write in chalk so once I was pleased with the design I'd done, it stayed there.. for a very long time. 

Appreciate that this is a bit of a negative post. Painting a chalkboard directly onto your wall does look very, very cool. It's just in hindsight, I perhaps wouldn't have done the main one in such a prominent place in the kitchen. My advice would be to buy a chalkboard to display instead. That way at least you will be able to remove it when the fad is over, plus it will be a lot easier to write on and clean. 

What do you think?! 

Has anyone had a go at a chalkboard wall? 

KT xo. 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas Time in the Highlands.

Today's post is all about the festive things to do in Edinburgh this Christmas.

Christmas Markets.
If you're visiting Edinburgh over the Christmas period, you cannot miss the Christmas markets which are running from 20th November 2015 to 4th January 2016. They span from the Mound, along East Princes Street Gardens Terrace and around the Scott Monument playing host to many sellers from all over Europe. Crafts, food, gifts and artwork are among the portfolio of items on offer and there really is something for everyone. The market has a magical, festive feel to it and is perfect those of you wanting to embark on a market haul or even for someone wanting to purely 'window shop' whilst sipping mulled wine

We bought a fab Christmas decoration to add to our collection which was a wooden reindeer attached to a long spring which we are going to hook from the ceiling! 

The Castle
This iconic, historic building plays centre stage in the Edinburgh cityscape and looks beautiful by both day and night. We didn't have the chance to go into the castle as we didn't stay in the city long, but this is a definite on my to do list when we visit again!

Ice Skating and Rides.
In and amongst the Christmas markets are two ice rinks and a whole host of different rides including the Big Wheel, the Star Flyer, a Reindeer Ride and Carousel. My personal favourite was the Carousel bar where you could purchase drinks and sit at tables on a rotating carousel!

Festive Lights.
As well as all the attractions, the city itself was decorated with many a Christmas decoration. I think one of my favourite parts of the trip was seeing all of the festive lights in and around the city whilst braving the cold and hopping from pub to pub. 

One particularly spectacular light feature was the Virgin Money Street of Light. Virgin Money have lit up Edinburgh's Old Town by constructing an installation of 26 archways consisting in total of 60,000 lights which light up the Royal Mile at specific times throughout the day. You can walk under the arches to see the luminous architecture from different angles. 

Photo taken from here. 

What's your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh?

KT xo.
Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Huxley, Edinburgh.

We only stayed in Edinburgh for one night but in that time we managed to visit The Huxley twice! This bar and restaurant is situated at the end of Princes Street and provides a great view of the castle if you can nab yourself a window seat! 

The first time we visited we had a drink and some food. I opted for the classic grilled burger which came with cheese, iceberg lettuce, gherkins and Huxley burger sauce. It was one of the best burgers I've had, albeit a bit messy, and the chips were perfect too. Toby opted for the BBQ beef briskett sandwich which came filled with crispy onions, black pudding and montery jack cheese.  Both meals came in cool basket trays as you can see below which gave it almost an American diner feel. 

We decided to come back the following day after battling the hustle and bustle of shopping to have a relaxing drink in the bar. I think what I loved the most about this bar was the quirky decor inside. They have managed to create a cosy, welcoming feel with comfy sofa's and lots cushions in little alcoves whilst combining this with a predominantly industrial style decor. My favourite parts of the decor were the the light fittings which used glass bottles for light bulbs attached to intricate, raw pipe designs, the array of different seats from tweed to cow hide and of course the gallery walls filled with fun cartoons of dogs and what I presume are the owners own guide dogs. 

I would highly recommend this bar if you are in Edinburgh. It was one of the best we visited.. and we visited a lot! 

What do you think?

KT xo. 
Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Hilton Hotel Review, Edinburgh.

Photo taken from the Hilton website.

This weekend we visited Edinburgh for a night to explore the Christmas markets, do some Christmas shopping and visit as many pubs as possible! 

We stayed in the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel on Bread Street. Hilton's are always excellent hotels and this was no different. We received our warm cookies on arrival and ate them on the huge king-size bed in our room. When we booked, we opted for the King Guest room which had a king-size bed, sofa, large flat screen TV and desk. We were also lucky enough to have a castle view from our window which was fab. 

We checked in at 2 p.m. and then went for a look around the shops and Christmas market. On the night, after we had been out for a meal and drinks, we had a last drink in the hotel bar which was situated next door. We were however disappointed that the Sky Bar which boasted an amazing view of the castle was only open on the first Thursday of every month. We hadn't realised this however when we decided to search the top floor of the hotel in a fairly tipsy state for the bar with no avail. The hotel bar was great though, albeit a bit quiet but it was a Sunday night!

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel which was beautiful. We opted to pay an extra tenner to have breakfast with our stay. There was all sorts to choose from the buffet and you could go back as often as you liked. There was the option of a full english breakfast, or a continental breakfast - we opted to have a full english and had two rounds to set us up for the day!

I think the only downside to the hotel was it's location which seems a bit of an odd thing to say as the view of the castle was amazing. It's just that the road the hotel was on was a bit rundown and out of the way. Albeit, it was only a short walk into the centre of Edinburgh,  the immediate proximity of the hotel felt like you were on the outskirts of the city. 

Overall, it was a great hotel, reasonably priced and close to all the main attractions so I would definitely stay here again. 

Have you stayed in Edinburgh before? Where would you recommend staying?

KT xo.
Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Wreath Making.

I love having a mooch out in the car close to Christmas to look at everyone's Christmas decorations. We like to spot the houses that have gone totally OTT with millions of lights and a full on reindeer parade outside their front door! I also love seeing the more traditional Christmas decorations such as a festive wreath hung on the front door. This year we agreed to have a wreath and some lights outside our house and rather than buy a wreath from a shop, of course, I decided I wanted some input into making it!

I couldn't find a foam wreath where you put everything on it from scratch so I bought this plain green wreath from Hobbycraft and some bits and bobs to add onto it! The big ribbon was from Hobbycraft along with the flower arranging wire. I decided to buy some festive potpourri from Next for a fiver as I could add the oranges and acorns to my wreath and use the rest to put out in the living room to create a festive aroma - plus it was cheaper than buying everything seperately. My friend Danni kindly gave me the little robin to add to my wreath which was the perfect finishing touch! 

First of all, I pulled all of the green branches out so the wreath looked less flat. I added the big, red ribbon using the ties which were already attached to it and centred it at the top of the wreath. Next I arranged a few dried, orange slices on the wreath by piercing them with a piece of the wire and tying it around the wreath. I did the same with the acorns and finally positioned the robin, centre stage at the top of the wreath. 

I decided against putting the other ribbon on the wreath as it was a bit too much. Instead, I used the ribbon to tie bows on a plain garland I had bought from Wilkinsons for £3. 

Finally, I attached the wreath to the front door using a hook from B&Q which came with a sticky tab for putting it up. Make sure you clean the door before putting it up and leave the hook for a few hours before putting the wreath up. 

Very pleased with the outcome! Do you have any Christmas decorations outside your house? 

KT xo.