Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Fancy dinner party.

After two weeks in the house and on a night when Kieran was working away, I bravely decided I would cook a meal for 5 friends. I don't know what I was thinking! My cooking experience is limited but armed with a book called 'quick and simple recipes' and about 4 hours I thought I couldn't go wrong!

I went to Dunelm and bought a posh table cloth and real napkins (no kitchen roll for my dinner party!) and set about setting the table.

The wine glasses and chargers are from Marks and Spencer and the champagne glasses were from TK Maxx. I thought it all else failed, at least my table looked good!

To start, I made cajun chicken strips with a yogurt lime dip. These were so easy to make and absolutely delicious even if I do say so myself!


4 chicken breasts
4 tablespoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 tablespoons of thyme
one teaspoon of salt
one teaspoon of black pepper
3 crushed gloves of garlic


low fat natural yogurt
1 lime
1 teaspoon lime coridal


Add paprika, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic to a bowl. Cut chicken into strips (I got 18 strips from my 4 breasts so enough for 3 each if serving 6). Add chicken strips to bowl and mix around to coat the chicken.

Once the chicken has a healthy covering of the seasoning, lightly cook in a frying pan with just a drop of oil. I cooked both sides for about 4 minutes on each side but it depends how thick you cut it. You should know when it's cooked all through.

For the dip, add a the teaspoon of codial to about 400g of the yogurt. Squeeze in the juice of the fresh lime and grate the rind into the mix. Chill in the fridge.

I warmed my strips through in the oven and served with the chilled dip.

The main course was homemade carbonara but my pan was not big enough for the spaghetti, the sauce was bland and I wasn't pleased so I still need to perfect this! Dessert was simple - fresh strawberries!

Would I do a dinner party again? Yes, but I will cook things that can be prepared in advance and then simply warmed through as I think this will relieve some of the stress. I am however cooking my first ever roast over Easter for my mum so fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Dramatic Dining.

When it came to the dining room there was a bit of disagreement. The previous owners had used it more as a TV room and this gave Kieran the idea that he was going to get a sports room. I really wanted a fancy dining room so friends could come over and eat and in the end, I won!

The room was bright red. And I mean VERY red. The photos only show the remaining red wall but when we came to look around they also had a red leather sofa, red curtains, a red rug and even a bright red TV stand. It was all a bit... red.

The things we loved about the house were the super shiny wooden floors (treated laminate apparently) and the fancy light fittings which they agreed to leave. They also left all of the blinds and since most rooms have two windows, this was a big help.

The only thing I wanted to change about this room was the red. I found some really nice wallpaper in Homebase called Peony and as this is the name of my wedding dress, I felt it was fate. My clever Dad put the new paper up for me and me and my Mum built the table (from Homebase during their 20% off weekend). I also build the sideboard (from Very) and I am very proud of this - I am a flat pack queen!

The curtains are from Very too but are unlined. We decided this didn't matter since we had blinds. The heart tea light holders were a moving in gift from some friends and are from Next. We also swapped the light fitting with the one in the living room as we felt this one was more dining room. The bargain of the room has to be the £12 floor lamp I found in Homebase that was a perfect colour match.

Another perfect colour match was the Morrissey artwork we bought as one of his shows. We hadn't intended to put it up in the dining room but the colours went so well and most people seem to think it was the inspiration for the room even though it was just luck. I also like that it is something of Kieran's so the room feels more like ours.

In case anyone was wondering what was on the sideboard, they are snowglobes. We collect one from every place we visit so have them from Great Yarmouth to New York and even one from Twycross Zoo!

So that concludes the dining room! What I love is because our living room is on the next level, we always eat in there rather than taking food upstairs. As there is no TV we actually enjoy talking to each other over breakfast and dinner and it's become my favourite room in the house!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Kitchen Colour Pop.

We were lucky when we got this house that very little needed doing to it. In fact, we could have moved straight in. However, we did want to put our own stamp on the house and so took some time to put our touches into place.

One of the rooms requiring the least work was the kitchen. As all of the appliances were fitted (an absolute God send since we had zero budget to shell out for fridge, freezer, washing maching etc.) we only really need to add our own kitchen accessories.

Next have a great home range and the kitchen accessories were right up my street. There were hearts galore with a rustic edge - my dream kitchen! However, due to the abundance of hearts all over the house, Kieran overrid my decision and claimed the kitchen as a heart free zone! He preferred a stainless steel look but I felt this was a little too butch and as I was to be the one spending most of the time in the kitchen (Kieran is far from Gordon Ramsey) we came to compromise.

No pastels, no hearts but not all stainless steel. I added my own little colour pops in clashing fashion to brighten up a plain kitchen.

The kitchen was a big selling point to the house and as you can see its modern, quite big and very functional. I had been buying little bits and bobs since we had the offer accepted in November and so by the time we actually got the keys, we had almost everything we needed.

The inspiration for the kitchen actually came from Wilkinson's! Their homeware was very affordable and two weeks in is going strong! They had lots of mix and match colours so I got my tongs, fish slice, whisk, bottle opener, pizza cutter etc from there.

I also got this knife set which everyone seems to comment on and then are surprised when I tell them it's from good ol' Wilko!

We really shopped around for a good deal on all the bits and bobs as it's surprising how quickly it can all add up. The toaster was a great deal at The Range, the kettle from Marks and Spencer and the bread bin (which included biscuit tin, coffee, sugar and tea pots) were from Next.

The only problem we seem to be having with the kitchen is the smoke detector right outside which I seem to set off EVERY night! I've cleaned the oven to make sure it isn't smokey, I shut the kitchen door, I open the back door but the damn thing is soooo sensitive! However, I should be glad that it's doing its job!

Obviously these pics were taken pre piles of washing and ironing! When you wish for your own house - think carefully!!