Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

Are You One of the 7 in 10 People Who Is Miserable About This Problem?

uk homeowners title image woman on sofa behind magazine

SO IT TURNS OUT 70% OF BRITISH PEOPLE ARE TOTALLY UNHAPPY ABOUT THE SIZE, DÉCOR AND/OR LOCATION OF THEIR HOMES.

Yes I said 70% and that’s not all.  Apparently, a whopping 84% live in a constant state of wanting to change something, with refreshed paintwork, new furniture and replacement of curtains topping the ‘homeowner list of desperation’! Almost half of the people questioned in the 2015 survey commissioned by a home interiors company said they felt they’d never be happy in their abode because of financial limitations. 

Dear. Me.

Then there are issues such as gardens that are too small, parking issues and noisy neighbours. I’ll get onto the garden issue in a minute. As for parking, it is in fact the one area we’ve always been lucky in (mainly because neither of us is willing to live anywhere where you have to drive around for half a day just trying to park when you get home). Regarding neighbours…let’s just say I’ve been considering writing a note to the ones who moved in 18 months ago, to thank them for turning our home into a prison that I can’t wait to leave (but there are’t enough blood pressure tablets in the world to get me through writing that note).

 

 

NOW, THIS SURVEY HAS GOT ME THINKING ABOUT TWO THINGS:

Firstly, the reasons for this rather sad state of affairs:

– Maybe the ‘not exactly cheap’ housing market makes it virtually impossible for most of us to own our dream home? Well we know this is more of a certainty than a maybe don’t we? To be honest, I’m surprised that the percentage of people citing financial issues wasn’t over 50%.
– Could it simply be that Brits are miserable and prone to complaining? Joke! I can honestly say that having lived in two other countries apart from the UK, this is not just a British thing (yes I know I’ll probably have to dodge a cyber bullet over that one).
– Maybe in some cases, it’s more a lack of confidence or ability to visualise simple decorating or design options that could transform one’s living space.

uk homeowners woman looking out of window

 

Secondly, the fact that whilst I no longer own a property in the UK, THIS Brit is a statistic!


Yep I am seriously unhappy with my home. Why? Must I go into all the depressing detail? My head hurts just thinking about it. Let me see:

The three lacklustre unfinished terraces that make me almost cry every time I look at them

two of which to our absolute delight [sarcasm] we can’t get planning permission to do anything on! As mentioned, one of the points discovered by the survey was people’s frustration with their garden and I must say this is truly one of my  biggest disappointments too. I didn’t grow up with a decent garden and have always wanted my kids to have a good outside space and frankly, living in a three terrace house with two utterly useless terraces is like a cruel joke.

The kitchen.

At the risk of sounding all ‘woe is me’, I have never known the pleasure of having a kitchen I loved with décor or furnishings to my taste or really decent appliances. Our first house here had an enormous kitchen that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself in. The kitchen in our current house is the pole opposite.

Hubster’s and my bedroom.

It. Is. Tiny. It’s like a cruel joke because the master bedroom in our two previous houses were ridiculously big. Yes, you’ve guessed it: our two previous homes were rental and it’s just so typical that the house we now own has a shoebox for a master bedroom and the kids’ bedrooms are in fact bigger than ours. What kind of a numpty gives their kids a bigger room than them? I hear you ask. The kind of numpty who likes having the one bedroom that has the ensuite bathroom. That reminds me:

Shall we talk about the bathrooms for a minute?

Actually, let’s not because I may cry all over my keyboard in frustration; let’s just say all three bathrooms were clearly installed and plumbed in by somebody who had no business being in possession of plumbing tools or going anywhere near a bathroom.

The lounge [deep inhale].

Where do I start? In a nutshell, I always thought the lounge would be the crowning glory in this place. Let’s face it, the living space is the first thing people see when they come to your house and is also the place you spend the most time in (well in my case that happens to be the kitchen which I’m destined to be buried in, given how I never seem to leave it). Frankly, we’ve never had the chance to do the lounge up to the standard we would have liked. The solid walnut dining table, über large alcantara sofa (which were both part of the ‘grown up’ furniture we bought from a beautiful store after the birth of our first child) and more basic bits (from a certain Swedish retailer, ahem) all combine to create an ‘eclectic mix’ that is frankly starting to hurt my eyes and my very soul (yes I’m feeling very sorry for myself right now).  It just doesn’t go together and I am honestly desperate to redo the lounge: paintwork, furnishings and all.

uk homeowners post image of oak nest of tables

  • This is where it gets tricky. Goods of any kind are ridiculously expensive in Malta and the price of furniture is enough to make your heart stop. I can’t deny I’ve actually been toying with the idea of using a UK furniture company whose nest tables (like the ones pictured), book cases and coffee tables I rather like the look of. I could then have the various bits shipped over. People do it all the time (!) and it’s actually become a lot more affordable than it used to be. 

Okay, that was a large nutshell but the lounge is a topic never far from my brain. That 7 out of 10 data was an eye opener for me. I’d rather not be a statistic for much longer so it’s time to get decorating and furnishing, methinks.

Wish me luck! 

Collaborative post.

 

ARE YOU HAPPY IN YOUR HOME?

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Italian sausage and bean fusilli

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This dish has officially taken over as our favourite pasta dish. I actually don’t know how I’ve only just discovered this combination of ingredients! As the children are growing, portions are getting bigger, so the rich tomato sauce I’ve been doing for years is no longer substantial enough. This sausage and bean fusilli does the trick as it is heavier and packs more of a protein punch than the simple neapolitan version. For a meat-free option, simply substitute the sausage with an extra can of beans.


This is What You Need:

2 tbsps olive or rapeseed oil
2 tsps dried Italian herbs
1 large red onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic
500g Italian sausage, chopped
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes OR 1 tin of tomatoes and 100ml fresh cream
1 heaped tbsp sundried tomato paste
1 cup of red wine (preferably full-bodied)
400g can cannellini beans
fresh basil leaves (optional)
parmesan cheese

400g fusilli or pasta of your choice

ingredients

FOR THE FULL RECIPE CLICK HERE

 

Salmon and Vegetable Pie

This salmon and vegetable pie is inspired by my tuna and spinach pie, that I’ve been making for yeeeears. I’ll write up the recipe for that too. This is easy to make and you can just vary it as you wish, depending on available ingredients and your mood! The tuna one is possibly my kids’ most favouritest bestest meal (not counting pasta…they’ll eat anything with pasta).

 

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THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED:

dried herbs such as tarragon/thyme/mixed

1 onion

1 to 3 tsps English mustard or 1tsp mustard powder

100ml (ish) vegetable bouillon

generous dollop of cream cheese

100g to 200g frozen spinach (optional)

frozen or fresh mixed vegetables

200g tinned salmon

ingredients

 

GET MY FULL RECIPE HERE!

Roast Chorizo Chicken

THERE ARE ROASTS AND THERE ARE ROASTS! I do love a good old traditional joint of meat with loads of veg, yorkshire pudding and heaps of broccoli cheese etc. But that tends to be a labour of love and more of a cold Winter Sunday affair. THIS CHORIZO CHICKEN DISH however, is a superb alternative when you are craving the comfort factor of a roast but want one that takes half the time…and uses half the pots and pans. Oh yes that’s right: it all goes in one tray! 

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THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED:

couple of lashings of olive oil (not pictured)

sprinkling of dried oregano

3 red onions

whole head (less if you’re not wild about it) of garlic skins still on

8 to 12 large chicken drumsticks, skin on, washed and drained

at least 250g spicy (or regular if you’re not a ‘heat’ fan) chorizo

a generous handful of good sized carrots

 at least 5 medium to large potatoes

salt and pepper as desired

This quantity gives me leftovers as my kids are not big eaters. As with all my recipes, adjust measures according to your needs.

ingredients

 

GET MY FULL RECIPE HERE!

Creamy Bean and Bacon Soup

Bean and bacon soup is probably my favourite soup of them all.

It has just the ‘right’ amount of heaviness to fill the belly up nicely and the creamy texture is wonderfully cosseting on a chilly Autumn evening. It’s great when the weather turns but you’re not quite ready for something as hearty as my Leek and Potato soupI use the maximum of the quantities shown below as I like to have some left over for lunch, after serving a family of five the night before.

 

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This is What You Need:


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (not pictured)

2 to 3 large onions

2 or 3 sticks of celery

2 x 400 g cans of borlotti beans or correct dry equivalent soaked

150 – 200g bacon

700ml to 1 litre chicken stock or Swiss Marigold Vegetable Bouillon

handful of fresh parsley (not pictured)

ingredients

GET MY FULL RECIPE HERE!

 

Linked to:

Cuddle Fairy

Multicolour Vegetable Rice

I hesitated to even write up this multicolour vegetable rice dish as I call it

as it’s hardly a ‘recipe’. (Actually we call it the colourful veggie thingy at home but I had to come up with something vaguely professional for the site!) This is perfect when you need to rustle up something midweek and can’t face doing anything complicated. Frozen food alert: as the emphasis for many parents is on minimal fuss meals, (especially once school life kicks in), this features a ready-to-use assortment of mixed vegetables (but it is a good rubbish-free one with no unnecessary colourings, thickeners or other yucky whatsits).

 

What You Need:

 

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2 tbsps olive or rapeseed oil
2 onions, finely chopped
300g CHECK brown rice (preferably basmati but long grain is alright too)
750g approx frozen mixed vegetables (I use Mexican bean combination rather than mediterranean variety)
1L vegetable bouillon (less or more as required)
2 eggs (optional)
200g can tuna in sunflower oil
cheddar cheese, as much as you like (I use a boat load…not pictured)

 

Grab My Full Multicolour Vegetable Rice Recipe Here

Linked to:

Mama’s Spaghetti Marinara

My spaghetti marinara is probably nothing like an actual Italian mama’s one! I’m sure there is a whole art to how the Italians make this and the real thing must surely involve sea food bought from an actual fishmonger and not from the supermarket frozen food section! Still, this is a brilliant weekday storecupboard/freezer meal for when you need to get dinner on the table quickly and it is really easy to make.

Grab my Mama’s Spaghetti Marinara recipe here.

 

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It’s been a while since I linked up to the fab recipes linky run by two of my good blogging buddies Trista of Domesticated Momster and Becky of Cuddle Fairy.

So I’m linking this to:

Cuddle Fairy

Summer Couscous

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GRAB MY RECIPE HERE!

Couscous is such a versatile grain. This is a filling dish that you can have fun trying out with different ingredients. I’ll be adding a Winter variation but for now this is my Summer version!

This simple recipe is really good if you’re on a low carb diet. I come back to it when my tummy (and my purse) need a break from quinoa 🙂

GRAB MY RECIPE HERE!

Linked to:

Domesticated Momster

Start the Day Banana Smoothie

banana-smoothie

 

I hardly ever make smoothies because I can rarely find combinations I really like. They either end up too sweet, too sour or just don’t taste right!

For me this banana smoothie is just perfect. It’s super filling, incredibly nutritious and best of all, it is absolutely brilliant in the morning if you’re not a big sit-down-and-eat-breakfast person or you have kids who are the same. My lot love breakfast but they are the slowest eaters on earth who would give most tortoises a run for their money (alright, maybe not the best phrase to use there but you get me!). So this is a great way to get something down quickly and it keeps everyone going for at least a couple of hours. (You could even make it the night before and refrigerate to save time in the morning.)

GRAB THE RECIPE HERE