Devonshire Woman

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Managing The Mess: Easy Ways To Declutter Your Family Home

Most couples love the idea of bringing children into the world and starting a family. The only issue is that many people don’t realise just how much that move is going to affect their lives. That is especially the case when it comes to the tidiness of their homes. Like it or not, within a couple of months of having a baby, you’re going to discover that children make a LOT of mess. Worst of all, the problem will only get worse as they begin to grow. For that reason, all mothers need to consider some of the tips below if they don’t want to lose their minds.

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Buy furniture that contains hidden storage

The first and most straightforward step you can take related to all future furniture purchases. While there are lots of methods you could use to create extra storage in your living space, this is the most natural strategies to follow. There are lots of furniture specialists on the market who sell items that contain hidden storage space. If you get some of those products for your home, you will manage to hide a lot of the clutter away from view. In most instances, you’ll find the following items that contain storage:

  • Beds
  • Sofas
  • Armchairs
  • Coffee tables

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Create a playroom for the little ones

Some parents decide that enough is enough after cleaning up after their children in the lounge a few hundred times. That is when the adults realise it makes sense to attempt to contain the mess in a single room. Of course, you won’t want to force your child to stay in their bedroom all day long. So, you might have to lose that guest room or home office if you wish to use this suggestion. Just create a playroom where your loved one can make as much mess as they like without causing you any headaches. Decorate the room using stencils of their favourite Disney characters or something similar.

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Pay for a cleaning professional

If all else fails, nothing is stopping you from hiring some professional help. That is especially useful if both parents have to hold down full-time jobs. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to clean and tidy your house after arriving home and cooking food for the family. Thankfully, that service is not going to break the bank, and you can usually find cleaners for around £10 or $12 per hour. Just make sure you hire someone with an excellent track record who works for an established brand. That way, you shouldn’t have to worry about the potential for theft or damage.

After reading that information, all parents should feel like they can breathe a sigh of relief. When all’s said and done, keeping on top of things at home when you work and have small children is not unlike rocket science. It’s difficult, time-consuming, and you’d rather spend your time doing something else. That is why the last tip is probably the most valuable one on that page. Whatever you decide, just set the wheels in motion as soon as possible!

Vegetarian Food in Bournemouth

This past weekend i went away for a girly weekend in Bournemouth. We had a great weekend which mainly consisted of eating and drinking of course.

I travelled to Bournemouth on a National Express coach as it was half the price of the train (which would have had 2 changes). It was such a comfortable journey and not only was there wifi onboard i also downloaded their entertainment app and watched ‘Bridesmaids’ each way! I had a few embarrassing laugh out loud moments onboard watching it.

We stayed in an air bnb about a 25 minute walk from the centre, it was a lovely walk along the seafront to the town, so of course we started the weekend in style, drinking wine out of a plastic cup on the seafront.

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk Bournemouth Sea Front

 

Moving onto the food, this is the first weekend away since i went vegetarian. Although i would like to try a more plant based way of eating soon, i took the pressure off myself and went for vegetarian rather than making my omnivore family (who were actually more than happy to eat veggie too) look for vegan food (however the vegan options were on hand in so many places).

On the Friday, we all arrived at different times so decided we would get take out delivered. We opted for a pizza hut delivery so i shared a veggie supreme, which included fresh spinach, mixed peppers, red onions, sweetcorn and mushrooms. The pizza was delicious, loaded with veggies and not a lot of cheese – how i like it. Unfortunately i did not get a photo, by that point it was 9pm and we were starving so hoovered it up, but it looked just like this except we opted for thin base…

Pizza Hut Veggie Supreme

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On the saturday, we had a simple breakfast at the air bnb and then headed out. Our chosen activity for our girly weekend was to try out an escape room. It was good fun albeit a bit basic, we managed to complete it in 26 minutes!

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk Cyantist Escape Room Bournemouth

 

 

Once we got out of the escape room, we went on the lookout for lunch. As we were going to be going out for a big meal on the evening, we only wanted something small (& cheap) for lunch. We found The Brasshouse. It had all your normal pub grub on the menu, however rather than the bog standard ‘bean burger’, they offered a Beetroot and Quinoa burger with hummus, such a nice change. I substituted my chips for a side salad. The burger was a vibrant purple and delicious!

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk The Brasshouse Bournemouth Beetroot and Quinoa Burger

After lunch we had a little walk around the gardens and met some really colourful birds.

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk Bournemouth Gardens Avery

A girly weekend by the sea wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream on the beach!

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk Bournemouth beach

We walked backed to the air bnb, there were some great views of the pier on the way back.

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk Bournemouth Pier

We did over 20,000 steps on Saturday so i knew i had earned my evening meal and i wanted a vegetarian feast!

Before going out for dinner we went for a few cheeky cocktails, well we were on our holidays!

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk Lost Paradise Bournemouth Cocktails

We booked a table at The Real Greek and we were not disappointed. Firstly the staff were lovely and very helpful in helping us select what to try. I shared the Peloponnese platter with 2 of my cousins and added a couple of mezes to bulk it out. This restaurant is a vegetarian (& vegan) paradise, so many options to choose from. In our platter we had…

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk The Real Greek Bournemouth

  • FLATBREAD (vegan)
  • DOLMADES (Vine leaves stuffed with rice, tomato and
    fresh herbs. Served warm) (vegan)
  • CHICKPEAS (REVITHIA) (Chickpeas with handfuls of herbs, olive oil
    and lemon) (vegan)
  • HOUMOUS (Our daily home blend of chickpeas, rich
    in tahini and delicately spiced with cumin
    and fresh chilli) (vegan)

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk The Real Greek Bournemouth

  • TIROPITAKIA (filo pastry parcels with creamy
    leek, spinach and feta filling, handmade
    daily) (vegetarian)
  • NEW POTATOES (Delicate, nutty and tossed in olive
    oil and lemon juice) (vegan)
  • GRILLED HALLOUMI (Succulent grilled, squeaky cheese!) (vegetarian)
  • GREEK SALAD (Classic, hearty and rustic, with tomatoes,
    cucumber, peppers, Greek olives,
    red onion, feta and olive oil, finished
    with Greek oregano from Mavrouda,
    Thessalonik) (vegetarian)
  • FALAFEL (Our signature recipe falafel, served with
    a spicy yoghurt and tahini dip, pickled
    cabbage, tomato & onion salsa and
    sprinkled with sweet paprika) (vegetarian)

I love having tastes of lots of foods rather than one big dish, so i was in food heaven. Although it probably doesn’t look a lot, it really was and i was totally stuffed. In fact we all were that we opted to go back to the air bnb, get in our pj’s and play games rather than go out boogie-ing, when did we get so old?

On Sunday, we all had to pack up as our weekend was over already. Rather than have breakfast we opted for a brunch so headed back to a cafe we had seen the previous day that was offering a very nice sounding veggie breakfast. The place was called Blue Hill Cafe and i opted for the Veggie Breakfast, there was a choice between 2 vegetarian sausages or halloumi, which i opted for, scrambled egg, baked beans, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and toast, i also added spinach to mine.

www.devonshirewoman.co.uk Blue Hill Cafe Bournemouth

It was nice to have a healthier veggie breakfast, it was very filling and not greasy. I will be recreating this breakfast at home very soon!

So as you can see, i had a lovely weekend of eating and drinking. The thing i have noticed about being vegetarian is how tasty and satisfying food is. I do not get half the bloating issues that i used to get and i feel so much healthier and lighter, even when eating out like i did most of the weekend. I think the vegan options really opened my eyes into how much easier it can be to try to be plant-based. Even the cafe where we had brunch offered a vegan brunch which i think is fabulous.

I am going to continue being vegetarian as i feel so good on it, in January i am going to do Veganuary and in the meantime, keep trying more and more plant-based meals as i feel so good eating this way.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what i ate in Bournemouth, let me know if you like these kinds of posts, i love food and sharing what i find.

Creating a Home Office That Will Promote Productivity

If you are one of the few lucky people fortunate enough to, either partly or fully, work from home then you may have noticed that it’s easy to get distracted when attempting to work. Your everyday surroundings carry a mental weight to them which you then associate with other activities which you suddenly find the need to do. These might be either productive activities like cleaning or sorting out your taxes but usually, it’s just making tea for the 6th time within the hour.

Without a proper change in your environment it’s often hard to get in a concentrated working mindset unless you are very strong-willed or have incredible self-control then chances are you’re going to need some sort of help in maintaining your work ethic.Setting up a home office or at least a proper workspace of sorts works wonders in this case. It helps mentally separate time for work and time for everyday activities.

Source: Pexels


The Right Desk

Ideally, you would want your home office or workspace to be in a separate room altogether from your everyday living space, if that is out of the question then dedicating a chunk of a room will also do the trick. In order to properly plan out how space will be used it’s good to start with the right desk, considering the age we live in chances are it will most probably be a computer desk. If you are not familiar with computer desks then you may want to look at tips for choosing the right computer desk. Picking the right computer desk can be crucial for optimal working conditions as well as looking out for your health. The right desk height combined with the right chair is essential to maintaining the correct posture while sitting down in front of the computer for hours on end.

Prioritise the functionality of the desk rather than the aesthetic because in the end, you are trying to create a workspace rather than a showroom. Space for a keyboard can either be essential or near useless depending on if you’re planning on using a desktop PC or a laptop. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t completely rule out a keyboard tray even if you are going to be using a laptop as your primary PC. Many people use a wireless or USB keyboard with their laptop because of wanting to preserve the laptop keyboard for a long as possible or just due to preference for different key switches which are available on mechanical keyboards. The option of having a full keyboard rather than a laptop keyboard which usually has no numpad amongst other things is also quite appealing to someone who is used to a full-board setup for a keyboard.

The Right Chair

People have different ways of resting their arms or and hands while typing. From keeping your arms completely midair and typing from the air, to having their elbows resting on armrests and wrists planted and everything in between. When considering what kind of chair you want for your home office, you need to consider several factors which include whether it has wheels like a typical office/computer chair? Does it have armrests and if so if they are adjustable? While a lot of these factors are pure preference, some are objective positives, being able to tilt back your chair can prove to be very comfortable at times as well as beneficial for your back and having armrests which can be adjusted to your liking will be very much appreciated by your arms after a long time at the desk.


In the end, having some sort of preference initially will help you pick the perfect workspace for you, don’t be afraid of going and trying out existing setups in furniture shops because you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time in front of your new workspace.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Pie

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that since April this year I went vegetarian. I will write another post about that soon and my reasons why. So since then, i have been getting more and more creative with our dinners and I have to say, my boys are loving their food and thriving.

I first tried going vegetarian about 9 years ago, but I remember returning to meat as the vegetarian food available and also the recipes that I had to hand were so bland and there wasn’t much variety. Fortunately now, being vegetarian/vegan has never been easier. I actually never planned to go vegetarian this year but the food is just too good not to eat, I would even say that I actually eat more vegan than vegetarian.

Last week, the weather started to get colder and I fancied some warming, comfort food. So let me introduce to the sweet potato and chickpea pie that I made. (I apologise now for the standard of photos, I am not a food photographer!)

The pie was quick and easy to make and was well received by all the family (not a crumb was left on our plates).

I sauteed one red onion, 1/3 orange pepper and 1/3 yellow pepper in a frying pan with a little rapeseed oil.

Sauteed vegetables to go into the pie

I then made a Morrocan spice mix using whatever I had in my spice rack. This is what I put in the mix:

Morrocan Spice Mix
  • smoked paprika
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • all spice
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • ground chilli (small amount)

Once I was happy with the mixture of spices, I added this to the sauteed vegetables and let it cook for 1-2 minutes more.

The thing I am finding with vegetarian/vegan cooking is you need to get creative and add lots of different flavours. Recently I visited Lidl and picked up some of these jarred roasted peppers and sun dried tomatoes. I rinse them, chop them up and add them to whatever I am cooking for another level of flavour.

roasted red peppers to go in the pie

This is the easy part, in a large saucepan add 1 tin of chickpeas, 1 container of passata, the sauteed, spiced vegetable mix, the roasted peppers/sun-dried tomatoes and finally add 2 medium (or 1 large) sweet potato.

filing for the sweet potato and chickpea pie

I gave it a good stir and covered. I cooked the pie filling on low until the sweet potato was almost cooked (about 20 minutes).

ingredients cooking on stove for sweet potato and chickpea pie

Once the mixture was cooked through, I transferred the mixture to an ovenproof dish and added some premade shortcrust pastry. This was baked on 180 for about 30-35 minutes.

baked sweet potato and chickpea pie

I wasn’t following a recipe and hadn’t made this before so I was a bit nervous about how this would turn out. Fortunately, it was really tasty and we all enjoyed it. As it was a healthier pie as far as pies go, we served the pie with chips and peas.

served up sweet potato and chickpea pie

The best thing about cooking healthy meals from scratch is watching your children savour every bit of them. It makes all the time spent in the kitchen worthwhile.

This sweet potato and chickpea pie will definitely be going in our family recipe notebook as a keeper.

Brixham Fishstock 2017

Welcome sign for Brixham Fishstock

Every September, Brixham hold their yearly Fishstock festival. It’s like a mini food and drink festival right next to the beautiful harbour.

Stalls at Brixham Fishstock

There are lots of lovely food stalls and of course, you can buy fish that is fresher than fresh, straight off the boat that morning. You could also learn how to dress a crab!

Fish market at Brixham Fish Stock

Inside the fish market, (where normally in the early hours, there is a hive of activity, where buyers come as far as London’s top restaurants to purchase the freshly caught fish) there was a lovely array of stalls selling local crafts and produce. They were also showing a demonstration on how nets are created, they made it look very easy.

Fish market at Brixham Fish Stock

There were lots of informative stalls too, the boys loved learning about all the sealife and undersea landscapes that surrounds the Devon and Cornish coast.

We then had the chance to look around one of the local crabbing boats, William Henry II.

Crabbing boat William Henry ii at Brixham Fishtock

The skipper of the William Henry II explained all about how the boat works and also some tales of his time working at sea.

Skipper on Brixham Crabbing boat

Myself and the boys ventured down the steep stairs to the living quarters of the boat. The boys were so intrigued by how everything had to be secured as we explained to them that it can be really rough out at sea.

Inside crabbing boat at Brixham Fishstock

The next level down was the engine room, it was a bit too steep and enclosed for my liking but i enjoyed watching the boys venture down and explore all the mechanics of the boat.

In the engine room of Brixham Crabbing Boat

Here was the view of the harbour from William Henry II crabbing boat.

View of Brixham harbour from crabbing boat

As well as the stalls and the tour of the crabbing boat. You get a chance to enjoy the gorgeous views of Brixham harbour. I love looking out to sea here, it is always so protected because of the breakwater, which is also great to walk across.

Brixham Harbour

At Fishtock they also do some great cooking demonstrations. If you want to know how to prepare and cook fish, this is the place to learn!

Cooking demonstration at Brixham Fishstock

If you’re lucky, you may get to meet a real life Brixham pirate… we did!

Pirate at Brixham Fishstock

Fishtock was a great day out, there were lots of activity stalls and fun things for the boys to do. The tour of the boat was especially fun. I think maybe next year we will attend in the day with the boys and then return sans kids to experience some of the food stalls and gin bar. There was also live music too so i think the evening right on the harbour would be a fun night out.

See you again next year Fishstock!

Charity Shop Haul #1

I cringe when I think back to my teenage years when I would get so embarrassed when my mom would go in a charity shop, what if my friends saw? Oh, the shame! I would wait outside (and when I say outside I mean about 50 yards down the street) annoyed that my mom would do this to me.

The funny thing is now I am a grown up adult myself, I flipping love charity shops! I realise now that there was no shame, my mom could afford new clothes but she just loved getting a proper bargain, and I totally get that now. I could shop on the high street if I wanted but I love getting a bargain too. So I save money, recycle to stop any more clothes and nik-naks ending up at the landfill and for the first time in my life have a wardrobe full of clothes that others would be envious of!

I thought I would share with you some of my recent bargains found in the charity shops. I think this could become a regular feature on my blog as i find it almost impossible to walk down our high st in my little market town, without having a good look round at least one charity shop.

Dresses

dresses from charity shop haul

On a recent trip to birmingham to visit my parents, i ventured into the charity shops that used to fill me with such cringe when i was younger. My mom and I had a great time looking round. I picked up 2 dresses for a bargain £2 each! The dress on the left is a Dorothy Perkins and i just thought it was really cute. I’m going to wear it as a tunic dress over leggings and knee boots in the Autumn, but it would be a cute summer dress too with sandals. The dress on the right is a Misguided dress. I love how vibrant the colours are in it. I have a wedding coming up in October so think i’ll wear it to that.

Day Look

day look from charity shop haul www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

I just love the outfit i have pulled together for a casual day look, all from charity shop bargains! The jeans are Topshop and were £3.99, i can not see any signs of them being worn either. The brown leather boots i got a while ago, they were as new but i have been wearing them quite a bit, they cost a massive £1… that’s right, Clarks leather boots for a quid! The cute coral and white top is from La Radoute and cost me £2.50 and the bag is a Mataray (Debenhams), it was brand new when i got it and cost me £4. Outfit total = £10.49!!!!

I will dig out some of my other charity shop bargains and show you some more hauls soon. I really love the thought that i am not causing more waste by recycling clothes, i’m also probably the best dressed that i have ever been 🙂

I’m also going to start sharing my love of other ways to save money and even get free stuff over the next coming weeks. I love being frugal and motivating others to save money too. Hope you enjoyed my first charity shop haul.

Kitchenspiration At Its Finest

The kitchen can definitely feel like the hub of a home, wouldn’t you agree? It can often be the room that the whole family congregates in at certain points of the day. It maybe in the morning where you drink your morning coffee and the children eat their breakfast before heading out on the school run. It might be in the evening when everyone has gotten home, one person is preparing tea, maybe children are doing their homework, and everyone is generally discussing their days. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that when it comes to decorating your home, the kitchen can be very high on the priority list.

However, there is no shying away from the fact that also the kitchen can be one of the most expensive redecoration projects you take on in your home. Have you priced up a full kitchen recently? Which is why I thought I would share with you some of the inspiring ways you can add some flair and style to your kitchen, making it a project that can be done within a budget. Whatever you decide to set.

Change the doors not the kitchen

We all know that a fully fitted kitchen can be expensive to replace, even if you are quite handy and can fit it yourself. But, half the expense is the kitchen shell that is already fitted in place, and the worktops that have been added. However, if you like the positioning of the cupboards and the layout of your kitchen, and it is in good condition, then there really is no need to replace these parts. This is when you could revamp your kitchen simply by changing the cabinet doors. Maybe you like a more modern look or something more rustic. This change alone could even make your kitchen appear to have been replaced entirely.

Add some colour

Colour is one of those things that can add a huge change and atmosphere to a room for a very little price tag. A quick paint of the walls can make a kitchen feel different and completely changed. Colour doesn’t need to just stop at the walls though, you could maybe paint the original kitchen doors or upcycle some of the furniture you have in there to create a different look.

Treat yourself to some new kitchen gadgets

Sometimes a few small changes here and there is enough to keep our changing demons at bay. So you may want to consider replacing some of the smaller gadgets you have in your kitchen. Perhaps a new microwave or kettle and toaster set, for example. There are always beautiful collections available. You may even want to make your kitchen function better with some added gadgets and things like water softeners. This can help to reduce damage caused by hard water to things like your washing machine or dishwashers, for example. Websites like Best Spy can showcase some of the best ones to consider. Small changes like this can make a big difference to our kitchens, how they look and how they function.

Just make one significant change

If you do have some room in the budget for something a little more extravagant, then consider making one significant change. Something like the flooring, or adding or replacing tiles on the walls can have a huge impact on how your kitchen looks, without the need for replacing the whole thing in its entirety. Kitchens work well with many floor types including tiles or vinyl, so there is sure to be an option to suit all budgets.

Replace older appliances

Whether they are integrated or freestanding, when was the last time you bought your washing machine, your fridge/freezer or your dishwasher, if you have one? Many of us make these purchases and then forget how quickly time can go by. Often, older appliances aren’t as energy efficient, which can mean a saving can be made to your bills when replacing them.

Have a move around

Finally, moving things around can often be all it takes to make a kitchen feel like it has been changed in some way. Rearrange the way you have things on your surfaces and countertops. If you have a family area in your kitchen add a table or a sofa, or change the layout of it to suit your needs. While you at it, give the kitchen a good deep clean and declutter the cupboards. You may be surprised to find old tins of food and things you no longer want or need lurking at the back of them.

I hope this has inspired you to make some changes to your kitchen.