Number Twenty Six

The story of two Teessiders and a Yorkshire Schnauzer turning their first house into their first home, one DIY project at a time.

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.
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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.
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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. 




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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.
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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. 
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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.

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Slow Cooker Mexican Soup.



This slow cooker Mexican soup is perfect for a cold Winters night, especially one of those night's when you know you won't want to come home from work and start making tea from scratch! I found the original recipe for this on a blog a while ago and could kick myself as I didn't save it. Since then I've tried to remember the ingredients and adapted this quite a few times into something that's probably far from the original recipe no doubt! Anyway, this meal has quickly become one of our favourite teas in this house so I thought I would share it with you in today's post. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves Four) 
Two chicken breasts. 
400g tin of mixed beans. 
400g tin of chopped tomatoes. 
400g tin of broth.
200g of salsa. 
Two tbsp of sunflower oil.
One small onion finely chopped. 
One tsp of garlic powder/one clove of finely chopped garlic.
Four small tortilla wraps ripped into small pieces.
One tsp of chilli powder. 
One tsp of cumin seeds. 
One tsp of cayenne pepper.
Nachos (as many as you fancy).
Grated cheese (as much as you like).
Sour cream to garnish.  

Add all of the ingredients into your slow cooker, minus the grated cheese, nachos and sour cream. Depending on how long you're leaving it for, you should either set the slow cooker on high for six hours or low if you plan on leaving it longer. We're out all day at work so we end up leaving it for about 10 hours altogether on low. 

Just before the end of the cooking time, remove the chicken breasts and using two forks, shred the chicken before placing the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker. 

Serve in bowls and garnish with nachos, a blob of sour cream and grated cheese. If you like some extra kick, pop a few chopped jalapenos in too. 








So good, the Schnauzer wanted some...

Hope you enjoy - let me know how it turns out. 

KT xo. 

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