Friday, 25 February 2011

Money for old rope

Who knew you could do so much with rope? With just a little imagination, a few bits and bobs and a little time you can make an original necklace, a bracelet and even a doorstop for next to nothing. 

Check out the tutorials featured below and be sure to have a fun-filled DIY weekend!

1.    Bracelet by Honestly wtf
2.    Necklace by Love Maegan
3.    Doorstop by Design Sponge
4.    Necklace with brooches by The Brokeass Bride


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Discover the world

If you like travelling, maps or are addicted to scratch cards, you’ll love today’s find.

It’s a map of the world which is initially uniform in colour. However, using a coin and a little skill, you can scratch out the countries you have visited from it. Each country reveals a colour, its capital city and main towns. A quick revision of world geography is never a bad thing, is it?

It makes a perfect gift for travelaholics since it provides them with their own visual “captain’s log” to see how many countries they still have left to explore.

We also like the packaging; it comes in a lovely illustrated cardboard tube in the form of a scroll.

You can buy it from the Spanish shop, Curiosité or at I want one of those (warning: be careful with these shops, they are addictive :)).


Friday, 18 February 2011

Go bananas!

This is another really easy recipe. It’s for banana bread, which is a good thing to bake when you feel like making something healthy. Granted, this recipe contains chocolate but you can substitute that with nuts or dried fruits. We all know which is better though ;)

4 bananas, mashed
225g (8oz) brown self-raising flour (alternatively, you can use normal brown flour and add a teaspoon of baking soda, which acts as a raising agent)
110g (4oz) margarine
50g (3oz) sugar
200g chocolate (or e.g. 110g sultanas and 50g dried apricots, according to preference)
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 190-200°C/375-400°F/Gas Mark 5-6
Rub flour and margarine together to the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add all other dry ingredients.
Mix in bananas and eggs.
Put into a greased loaf tin lined with baking paper and bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes.
Leave to cool and turn out onto a wire rack.

This takes such little time and effort that even our friend Marta will triumph with it!


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Pick 'n' Mix: Gifts made of wood

Today is launch day! We'd like to introduce you to our new Pick 'n' Mix section. Every month, we'll open a wee window to the little treasures we go fishing for on the Internet, and they'll all have one feature in common. In this first post, we've kept to a very natural selection that adds a touch of warmth to any setting - six products made of wood that have won us over because of their design or originality. We hope you like the idea!
1.   Pine Muuto Lamp, the perfect contrast to a technological desk.
2.   Engraved birch coasters, a sophisticated touch for your afternoon tea.
3.   Wooden blocks sporting personalised messages from Wood & Wool Stool.
4.   Owl clock by Decoylab, you won’t miss your cuckoo clock with this one.
5.   Oak Danish birds, the head tilts to the angle you prefer.
6.   Bring the forest indoors - vases carved from tree trunks from Souk Shop.


Friday, 11 February 2011

Culture vultures take note!

Feel like perusing New York’s MoMA or Madrid’s Reina Sofia but don’t live in either city? Well, St. Google has come up trumps with its latest undertaking - Google Art Project. From the comfort of your own home you can search the site for your favourite artworks and wander around some of the world’s most famous art galleries. 

You can even zoom in on paintings to see the brushstrokes in amazing detail and listen to audio tours. Choose from the Van Gogh Museum to the Tate Britain and many more in between.


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Get passionate about fruit

I’ve never been that into Valentine’s Day, heart-shaped balloons or special red boxes of chocolate but there are other little gestures and original ways to show an appreciation for Cupid around this time of year.
We loved Twig & Thistle’s suggestion and had to share it with you. It’s fun, virtually free of charge, very healthy and involves just a tiny detail that will make a memorable surprise. Their little fruit stickers contain messages that play on words to make the apple of your eye start the day off with a smile :).
Simply download them here, print them on sticker paper, cut out and get sticking. There are stickers for apples, oranges, bananas, pears, passion fruit, berries and one general design that can apply to any fruit.

If you plan on trying this out, let us know what reactions you get!


Friday, 4 February 2011

Soda bread - easy!

If you’ve never made your own bread before, making soda bread is a good way to start. It’s very simple and will give you the confidence to try other bread recipes. This one doesn’t involve yeast so there’s no waiting around for the dough to rise and you only need to knead the bread for 2 minutes maximum.

  • 170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 170g/6oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 290ml/½ pint buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.

  2. Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.

  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)

  4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.

  5. Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.

  6. Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

    Have a go and let us know how it turns out!

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