Sure As Eggs

Lately we've been trying to eat more healthily.  We've been eating a lot more salad, grilled fish etc and also tried to cut down on carbs, which I have to say I'm finding difficult!  Potatoes, rice, pasta, bread etc have for me, always been an essential part of every meal on a daily basis! Trying to cut them out has been really difficult!  We've also started trying to eat more eggs. They're packed with protein, full of nutrition and amazingly versatile and to be honest we don't eat enough of them. In fact according to British Lion Eggs the limit on egg consumption has now been lifted as it's known the cholesterol they contain doesn't not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol.  

We were recently sent this Severin EK3157 Egg Boiler, which was handy as we all know I'm pants in the kitchen! This electric egg boiler seemed like the foolproof way to achieve hard or soft boiled eggs and if I can work this little baby anyone can!

The electric egg boiler is pretty small and able to cook up to six eggs at a time with just one small container of water.  Add the eggs, water and then set the timer to the required setting and leave it to do it's thing.  It'll let you know when it's ready by beeping continuously.

The first egg I tried was on a medium setting which seemed to come out quite firm with a soft, but not runny, yolk 

I tried cooking another egg on the lowest setting and this resulted in a much runnier yolk.  Perfect for dippy egg and soldiers, except no carbs means no soldiers!

Whilst on the British Lions Egg website I noticed their sister site packed with 100s of recipes.  I actually can't believe how many different meals you can make with eggs! In fact, I can't believe how versatile the simple omelette is!  I'll definitely be trying out the carb free omelette fajitas and Liz McClarnon's Thai style stuffed omelette! Visit omelette recipes to see exactly what I'm on about and tell me which is your favourite!

*Sponsored post.


The World Of Coco Design

Don't you just love it when you stumble across something new? This week I've discovered Oxfordshire / Stratford based company Coco Design

With over 10 years in the interior design industry they decided to hang up their hard hats and create a home collection inspired by urban and rural settings. Their chosen colour palette means their collection will be at home almost anywhere. 

Spring Chickens


Their collection is painstakingly created through a 3-stage process of sketches, hand cut stencils and finally hand painted with recycled emulsions. Nothing goes to waste. One of the many things I like about this company! Although this is a relatively precise process, each piece is unique with visible brush strokes an additional and intentional feature 

Do you own any handcrafted, unique artwork?


Upcycle Furniture With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I've wanted to try Annie Sloan chalk paint for ages. If you haven't heard about this miracle paint here's a brief description from their website. 

1. Chalk Paint® is the BEST paint for painting furniture by a long way 
2. No need to prime or prepare 
3. Extremely low VOC so it is good for the environment 
4. You can use it on any surface, indoors and out (the outside of our shop was painted in it -- perfect!) 
5. You can use the paint by diluting it with water to make a wash to show the wood grain 
6. The colours are mixed intelligently and the website shows how you can adapt your colours for your use 
7. It's a girls' paint, but boys can use it too 
8. It's flexible so you can be creative and change your mind 
9. It allows your walls to breathe so it is perfect for cottage walls 
10. You can use it as an impasto (thickly) - leave the lid off to thicken 
11. We've been making it since 1990 so it's tried and tested 

The deciding point for me had to be No.2. No need to prime or prepare? Hmmm I was a little sceptical about that statement but with so many people raving about this product I was willing to put my doubts aside. For those of you who have ever painted furniture you'll know how much time goes into preparing and priming! It's a lot of effort to say the least! 

I already had a project in mind. This 6 drawer chest of drawers which I'd picked up recently from a second hand shop. Although I quite liked the wood stain it was scratched and the colour didn't really go with the grey and purple tones in our bedroom.


After carefully removing the handles I set to work using a soft brush. The paint goes on thickly but a little really goes a long way. Handy considering the £18 price tag for a 1 litre tin. As recommended by the stockist we watered down the second coat before applying, which makes it a lot smoother to apply. 

There are lots of finishes you can go for. Shabby chic, two tone, rustic, crackle effect, etc but in all honesty I prefer a smooth block colour finish to my furniture. After allowing the paint to dry I rubbed in some clear wax. This protects the paintwork and adds a slight sheen to the overall finish - Note - the paintwork was touch dry in around 30 minutes but I waited until the following day before rubbing clear wax into the drawers.

Annie Sloan - Paloma - Clear wax

I love these original handles

My overall thoughts?

I have to say, I'm really pleased with the effect and although the paint was expensive I've still got well over 3/4 left in the tin! Not bad considering there are endless uses with this paint. With that in mind I decided to give a cheap terracotta plastic pot a coat.

However, if you are looking for the exact colour in the tin I would recommend giving your furniture a quick once over with a primer or some white-ish paint.  It goes without saying that the colour underneath is bound to change the overall shade you end up with.  If the shade isn't quite right don't worry, you can easily mix it with any other Annie Sloan paint to achieve the right shade.

Would I use this paint again?
Most definitely! I love how versatile this paint is. You can water it down, mix it and literally paint any surface with it.  It dries so quickly without any stickiness and hardly smells compared to other paints.  The only problem I have with this paint is deciding which colour to get next!

Have you tried Annie Sloan Chalk Paint? Have you got a project in mind you're about to work on? I'd love to see what you're working on.  You can tweet a photo of your project to me at @agirliknow


Contemporary Lamp Giveaway

It's giveaway time!  Everyone knows lighting is key to any room. There's nothing that can ruin the tone of your room more than a stark ceiling light; or worse, lighting so dim you feel as if you've reverted back to candlelight! To overcome this I'm a big fan of lamps.  There's an abundance of them in our home.  In fact, come to think of it there's four in our living room and I'm contemplating a fifth! You see great lighting can complete your room and set the scene or as some would say, 'um-bi-uhnce'.

Some of us aren't fortunate to have floods of natural light within our home which is where clever and decorative lighting comes to the rescue.  Choosing the right lamp will complete your overall design scheme, just like the right pair of shoes would complete your outfit.

I've teamed up with Out There Interiors and giving away this large, white, contemporary table lamp to one lucky reader of A Girl I Know.  This bold lamp will certainly make a statement in any hallway or lounge.  In fact I'm a little bit jealous that I can't enter the giveaway myself!

If you haven't heard of Out There Interiors I would definitely recommend you take a look.  Known for their quirky and quality assured designs, I love how they describe themselves as 'furniture people - not arrogant people'  In fact I'm slightly obsessed with this Fuschia Pink French Chest of Drawers. Which would make a great feature in any room!

Anyway, back to the giveaway in question! To be in with a chance of winning this oversized lamp worth £140 just enter via the rafflecopter form below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Favourite Finds At The Ideal Home Show

For the first time in 106 years (!) the iconic Ideal Home Show exhibited at Manchester's Eventcity.  If you've visited the event at London's Earls Court, you'll know it's a pretty grand affair and a chance for many designers to exhibit new gadgets and concepts. Although the Manchester event wasn't perhaps as grand a scale as its London counterpart I didn't come away disappointed or drained!  These shows can turn into an all day event and with so much to take in and with a lot of ground to cover, you can feel pretty tired from it all.

I managed to cover most of the show, although with eight dedicated sections I skipped the insanely long queue for the Ikea goody bag, which I'm a little bit gutted about!  The main sections which interested me were the Interiors, Home Improvement and Show Home sections.  With over 10 years in the property development industry and with a few show homes under my belt I was interested to see which design trends we'll be seeing more of.

Here are my Top  Five Favourite Finds...


Although mural wallpaper isn't actually new this stand was crawling with visitors!  I suspect the price has something to do with it as most of their wall murals were priced at £25.  The one which really caught my eye was this comic book inspired wallpaper.  It measures 1.58m x 2.32m however I would guess you can cut this down to size or buy more sheets for a larger area. This would be perfect in my sons room and see him well into his teenage years.

If comic books aren't your thing then other designs are available such as stunning cityscapes or brick effects.  If you're looking for a feature point in your room or perhaps a subtle backdrop then I would highly recommend checking these guys out.  Here's an added incentive with a discount code, GD2014.

Img: 1wall
Img: 1wall
Img: 1wall


It does exactly what is says on the tin, it's a magnetic paint.  The great thing about this company is that you can combine their paint with their sketch paint, thus creating a magnetic whiteboard anywhere you want!  Home or office this ingenious paint is perfect for busy homes, children's rooms or to help you stay organised at work.  I had a quick go on their board and I can tell you the magnetic strength is quite strong and more than capable of holding your paperwork etc to the wall.  Check out their site for more technical details and range of products.

Jam Jar Lights

These handmade, custom lights certainly caught my eye.  They're not the kind of thing you'd find on the high street which is exactly how the designers of these quirky lamps want it.  Their lighting is an eclectic mix of iconic Kilner jar lights to fabric cables and hanging pendants.  If you're looking for something unique and handmade these lovely folk are perfect for you.

 Img: Jam Jar Lights

Img: Jam Jar Lights

John Lewis 150 Years

For those of you who live in a cave, John Lewis are currently celebrating 150 years in the business.  I love the colour palette they're currently using to mark their anniversary.  This room set, appropriately named The Anniversary Room, has been inspired by their heritage and uses a combination of retro prints and modern day living  They've come a long way since 1864!

George Clarke

Of course I had to include the swoonworthy George Clarke in all this! Lovely bloke, incredibly tall and I managed to form at least one sentence without drooling. Winner!

So there you have it. My top 5 picks from the show. Did you manage to get to the Ideal Home Show this year?

* Just so you know although I had courtesy tickets to the show all thoughts and favourite finds are my own!


Spring Into Vintage

Last year I blogged here about a vintage fair organised by one of my good friends over at The Vintage Suitcase. I love popping along to their fairs, not because I completely biased, ok maybe I am a little bit, but more so because the atmosphere is always amazing.

She doesn't just arrange a few stalls in fusty room.  She hand picks the best venues to suit the needs of the traders, customers and sets a scene. A scene where Northern Soul, Motown and 60's hits are the backing track to this day, because going to a Vintage Suitcase event is like going on a daytrip. Except there's no need to pack your sandwiches because she's even got that covered by way of a pop up tearoom!  After you've whiled away a few hours browsing the stalls and chatting to the ever-so-friendly traders, sit yourself down and enjoy some delicious homemade cake that's available.

What I love most about these events apart from the nostalgia and the buzz of finding a vintage gem, is the joy of stumbling across somebody new.  A trader who specialises in something I haven't seen before.  Last year it was Molly Felicity Designs and her photographic bunting.  This year I was excited to discover two fabulous traders by the names of Lamplight Design and Peacocks & Pumpkins

Lamplight Design specialise in handcrafted signs, amongst other things, however the signs were what really grabbed me. I could definitely imagine them somewhere at home or maybe at a vintage inspired wedding.  In fact I'm fairly tempted to place an order however I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to restrain myself at just one sign!

Peacock & Pumpkins is run by textile magpie and artist Alison. Her handcrafted lampshades made from vintage fabrics really caught my eye. Not only are these beauties available to buy, you can also try making your own at one of Alison's workshops.  Perfect if you're looking for something bespoke for your home.

I spent the rest of the day trying to resist the nostalgia there was on offer but I didn't exactly do a great job. In fact I left the fair to find the nearest cash machine just to I could carry on shopping! There were just too many temptations, as always, but I'm saving those for another post!

Just in case you've never been to a vintage fair, here's a few snaps from the day...

Oooh and did I mention it's not just me who thinks The Vintage Suitcase are pretty downright fabulous? It turns out a lot of other vintage seekers do too as they're up for Breakthrough Business Award at the National Vintage Awards!! If you've been to one of their events or you think you could happily spend the day mooching around their vintage fairs, why not pop over and give them a vote.  They're two of the hardest working ladies I know who create these events in between full-time jobs and child rearing!  That deserves a vote in itself!


The Ideal Home Show Goes North!

I used to love going to the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court and when I lived in London I'd go nearly every year.  After moving up North I got out of the habit of going and it didn't seem like there was anything else in the area that was on the same scale, until now!  This year, for the first time ever, the Ideal Home Show will be held at Manchester's Eventcity, 6th - 8th June.

If you've never heard of the Ideal Home Show this event can only be described as one of the most iconic home events in the UK.  It's built its reputation on home innovation and has been a launch pad for numerous household products that we take for granted, such as the electric kettle or toaster. Know those items well? Yep me too!  

Founded in 1908 the show was originally launched by the Daily Mail as a way of increasing it's marketing revenue but it soon established itself as a yearly social event.  Going to the Ideal Home Show really is a day out.  In fact for some people, they'll visit again the next day, it really is that large a scale!

In the 1920's visitors would have been awed by the full size 'Tudorbethan' houses that had been built or the full gardens which had been constructed.  During 1957 visitors were treated to the first fitted kitchen to go on show.  Whole villages were built throughout the 1970's and 1980's and by the 1990's up and coming architects were invited to enter competitions to have their innovative designs constructed at the show.  You see it really is the show of all shows!

The event is usually split into seven show areas, which you can also read more about here: -


No house is complete with the finishing touches that make it a home.  Here you'll find top brands and beautiful products to add those final details.

Home Improvements

Whether you are embarking on a huge transformation or just making a few changes, Ideal Home Improvements can provide you with everything you need for the job.


If you're planning a new patio, looking for the perfect furniture set, or to turn your garden into that extra ‘outdoor room’ to relax in and enjoy, then Ideal Gardens has it all.

Food & Housewares

Browse the fantastic food stalls, try samples from across the world and find those culinary gems to make any dish even more delectable, all in Ideal Food.

Plus in Ideal Housewares discover some of the latest kitchen gadgets to help prepare food like the pros as well as make everyday household tasks easier.


Whether you are gadget savvy or just a beginner, there's something for everyone, from entertainment, gaming and household goods, to energy saving items that make your home eco friendly. Plus experts will be on hand to share their expertise and knowledge on gadgets and gizmos so you can equip your home with the latest technology.


Indulge and relax at the various beauty and cocktail bars, browse the latest products and pick up hints and tips on this seasons fashion trends.


Here you’ll find a dazzling array of must-have items, perfect for styling your home or as gifts for friends and family that you simply won’t find on the high street.

Super Theatre

Representing each section of the show, the theatre will host talks and demonstrations from the nation's most loved home experts. With everything from gardening advice to renovation and planning tips, the theatre will be the ultimate place to pick up the tips and tricks to improve your home.

Plus, interior styling advice, technology know-how and even some of the nation's best chefs giving some culinary tips for your dinner parties at home.

We're also treated to a celebrity line and this year these six famous faces will be representing various sections.

So if you're looking to update your home or searching for the next up and coming product then this show really is for you. Oh and failing that there's always the champagne bar!!

Tickets for the show can be purchased here or why not enter my competition to see if you can win a pair first.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Heating Just Got Clever

Technology is everywhere and over the last few years it's really evolved.  Essentially, when it works correctly, it's there to make our life easier.  

If someone had told me 10 years ago I'd be able to do the weekly shop from my phone, read the news, make video calls or even programme the Sky box, I'd have laughed in your face! My phone was for calls, texts and playing snake, my good friend.  Technology has moved on and for that I'm grateful - although I do miss playing snake!

As a busy working mum I have a million things to remember.  My phone is full of reminders, there's a lot of list making going on and post it notes are a daily feature in my life.  You get the drift and I suspect I'm not alone.  If I'm right then you're also probably the kind of person who comes home from work to realise you overrode the heating that morning and guess what? It's been on all day!  As soon as you open the door your greeted by a blast of heat similar to that of a furnace and you mentally tot up how much 9 hours worth of heating will cost.  A home that was empty I might add! You would cry however the air is so warm tears evaporate as soon as they reach the skins surface.  If this is you then Honeywell Evohome could be the answer to both our prayers.

What Is Evohome?

It's an intelligent heating system that controls the heating in your home, room-by-room, wirelessly. This means that for busy people like you and me, we can heat the rooms we use instead of the whole house, using a touch screen panel that connects to your internet. And guess what? There's even an app available on iphone and android! AMAZING!

This is perfect for busy homeowner whose plans constantly change on a day to day basis.  Can you remember to change the settings on your timer everyday? I can't! Life is busy.  Decided to work late one night? Re-programme your heating to switch on just before you arrive home.  Woken up early to a frosty morning and realised you forgot to put the heating on?  Switch it on using their smartphone app and hide under the duvet until it's warmed up!

Not only can we heat just the rooms we're using, we can control when they're heated whether we're at home or not.  This could potentially save you 40% off your heating bill.  With energy bills forever increasing perhaps this device is worth installing. Honeywell have a handy system planning tool to help you figure out which rooms you'd like to install, how much it's going to cost but more importantly how much you're going to save.  This tool is so simple I swear a 2 year could figure it out.

So if you're a busy person where one day varies from the next, perhaps Evohome is worth the investment.


We're On The Road To Somewhere

As you most probably know I'm a sucker for vintage homeware.  I'm like a magpie, except instead of being drawn to something shiny, I'm drawn to old and quirky!  I find it nearly impossible to walk past a charity shop or flea market without going in and I love upcycling some of my vintage finds. 

Vintage clothes on the other hand is a different matter.  Although I really appreciate vintage clothing, I find it quite difficult to find clothes that fit me properly.  Shapes and sizing have really changed over the decades and vintage sizes usually tend to come up a lot bigger.  This makes it trickier to find something when you're not even sure what size to go for.  I can't tell you how many times I've come out of a changing room broken hearted because the garment was either too big or too small, and guess what? No other sizes available. Wahhhh.

Luckily for me there are fabulous shops such as Rivers And Roads, who specialise in vintage inspired fashion and they have plenty of sizes to go around!

Rivers And Roads is a one person Manchester based outlet, who have made it their mission to find you quality fashion you'll want to keep forever.  And they're right, because since they sent me this Swan Song Top it's the only thing I've wanted to wear! I'm really impressed with the quality of the shirt, the material is really thick and all the buttons are sewn on really well, possibly hand stitched, I'm not too sure.  Either way the buttons don't appear to be going anywhere soon.  I also love how the pleats on either side of the shirt are intentionally different widths.  This brand have obviously paid attention to detail  and I can't tell you how many compliments this shirt has received!

Shirt - c/o Rivers & Roads
Wide legged trousers - River Island
Black skinnies - Warehouse
Dolly shoes - New Look

As well as this rather awesome top, Rivers And Roads also have a whole other heap of vintage inspired clothes and accessories. Here are just a few of my favourites...

So, like what you've seen so far?  I hope so because Rivers And Roads are offering my readers (that's you) 15% off any purchase valid until the end of April.  Just enter the discount code AGIRL2014 at the checkout. Happy shopping. x


Bespoke Wedding Stationery

If you follow me on Twitter and if you read this recent blog post, you'll know I'm getting married.

Although I'd already got an idea of what kind of theme, etc we were going for, I wasn't prepared for the thousands of suppliers and choices that were available! There is every imaginable style going. It's daunting to say the least.

We'd been hunting for some wedding stationary for a while and hadn't been able to find anything we like on the high street, when Paper Themes offered us a chance to review their bespoke Save The Date cards.  We actually weren't thinking of having Save The Date cards, as we're trying to keep costs down, but thought it would be a great way to trial their service. I have to say I'm really pleased with the quality and design and we'll most likely be ordering our wedding invitations from them! Winner!  The cards and envelopes are quite thick and a really good quality and, although we didn't have to pay for them, the price seems reasonable at £1 each.  I should also add the envelopes are self-adhesive, which is handy if you've got a lot of cards to send and our cards arrived really quickly!  I don't know about you but once I order something I'm pretty impatient and want it straight away!

The have lots of styles available but their website is really easy to navigate and you can soon narrow down your search.

One of the other things I love about this company is that their invitations and stationery are designed and manufactured in the UK (Shipley, West Yorkshire to be precise), so it's good to know you're helping to support British manufacturing when you're ordering from them.

Our vintage style cards

Bespoke Save The Date cards
 Bespoke Save The Date cards
Bespoke Save The Date cards

Although Paper Themes specialise in bespoke wedding stationery, they do so much more, including table decorations, wedding signs, balloons, cake accessories, DIY kits, personalised posters and wrapping paper as well as invites and cards for other special occasions such as baby showers, etc.  In fact the list seems endless so you should probably go check Paper Themes out for their full range.  They'll even send you some free samples!

Have you ever had any bespoke stationery printed?


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