Monday, 24 October 2016

Beautiful Property Features From Decades Past To Preserve In Your Home

Living in an older property that has been beautifully restored can feel like a privilege. While most of us would never dream of giving up our mod cons, the echoes of lives gone by in older properties can be just wonderful. 

Sure, modern houses are more energy efficient, open plan, and have enough electric sockets in the right locations. But you can’t visit a period property and fail to ben mesmerised by its character and charm.

My Aunt and Uncle live in an absolutely stunning farm house in the Surrey countryside, which is well over 200 years old - it is truly breathtaking, but takes an exceptional amount of work in it's upkeep. It is a labour if love for sure - but I know one thing, there's nothing more wonderful than snuggling up at Christmas time in front of their huge fireplace surrounded by beams and low ceilings. It's truly a magical place and we are blessed to be able to join them there each Christmas, we also held our wedding reception in their huge barn back in 2012.

Our Wedding reception back in 2012 - held in our family's barn

Here are just a few of the best bits of British housebuilding in the last 150 years:

Best bits of Victorian houses
A Victorian house is a description given to the style of property that was typically built from the mid-1800s and into the Edwardian period. Typically these large houses were gothic-looking with high ceilings. Ornate fireplaces and tiling are important features to preserve for the true Victorian look. The Edwardian period saw the introduction of installed plumbing and wiring, but these would nbo longer be up to standard. Floorboards should be protected against woodworm and other problems and then sanded and coated with a varnish. Other features to add original Victorian style to your home would be to add chandeliers and ceiling roses.

Victorian House

Best bits of 1930s houses
By the 1930s many houses were built with a bathroom inside the house, rather than in the back garden. The properties tended to be smaller than years gone by, and better quality construction was used. Bay windows and chalet bungalows became popular. Homeowners with lots of money had the most attractive designs on large suburban plots. For those interested in the pre-war era, these properties are perfect. Look out for those that retain their second reception room and gabled porch.

Best bits of Post-War houses
Once World War II was over, there was an explosion of house building. Many home properties in London were flattened by the bombing. Others were simply condemned. Houses were built in terraces, and almost all had a good sized garden. These were filled by tenants with beautiful flowers and an abundance of fresh vegetables from their veggie patches. All houses were built with electricity services, and many had small, simple fireplaces for coal burning. If you live in a post-war house you'll enjoy a good sized garden and most likely some additional outhousesyy that many of these properties came with.

60's 70's home

Best bits of the 60s and 70s houses
The 1960s and 70s saw the rise of the big building firms. Entire estates were planned to offer modest terraced and semi-detached housing. With these houses you need to watch out for cracked lintels and other signs of hurried building, as a lot of these properties went up fairly speedily and without as many rules and regulations as the building trade has today. Gas fittings were installed as standard in most houses. This made it possible to do away with fireplaces in all bedrooms. Light was a really important factor too: many of these properties enjoy enormous picture windows, almost the width of the room. Some designs were quite ‘space-age’ in style. The modern style of the time was unlike anything seen in the previous decades. Some custom properties are extraordinary in their appearance. Look for original kitchen furniture and funky weatherboarding designs.


We all have a favourite era when it comes to properties. And many of the houses built today include some features of the designs that were popular back then. The older properties may have been updated for today’s standards but restoring a period feature could add value to your home and will certainly help it to stand out from the rest.

Love the house you’re in.

Monday, 17 October 2016


If you follow my social media channels as well as my blog you may well know that I'm currently working really hard on my health and fitness - I'm super determined to lose my baby weight, tone up, and feel fitter and stronger. 

In order to achieve all of that I'm seeing a personal trainer once a week, doing loads of power walking, drinking plenty of water and counting calories using MFP this time concentrating on the quality of calories I'm eating (fresh, from scratch, natural, plant-based foods as much as possible) as well as keeping track of the numbers. I'm wearing an activity monitor each day to track my steps, calories burned and sleep - which is very interesting.

Knowing that Connie is our last child is making me even more determined to reach my goals and then maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle - knowing that I don't have to put my battered body through pregnancy and childbirth again is a weight lifted, and makes me feel excited for what I now might be able to achieve with my body going forward. 

One of the things I'm particularly interested in trying out to help boost my weight loss and general all-round fitness is spinning classes, so I was excited to see that my local leisure centre has has an amazing redevelopment, which includes a very impressive cycling studio - you'll find me in there soon, giving it a whirl, so watch this space...! 

Thanks to the lovely people over at Robinson Pool & Fitness I have a super special competition for my lovely local followers based here in Bedford...

Robinson Pool, Bedford

To celebrate the official opening of the £1.3m redeveloped premium facilities at Robinson Pools & Fitness located on the edge of Bedford Park, I have teamed up with Fusion Lifestyle, leisure provider and registered charity and Bedford Borough Council to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a three-month centre pass!

Robinson Pools & Fitness has amazing new facilities including a brand new fitness suite with all the latest equipment, a fantastic new studio which will hold over 100 classes a week, a new indoor cycling studio, a dedicated INTENCITY HIIT training studio, and a new Bickels Yard Café and Bar. So whether watching sport this summer has inspired you to get fit again, or you’ve over indulged on holiday, you’ll be able to try out all the latest facilities for three months for free.

Fusion Lifestyle Gym, Bedford

If you aren’t lucky enough to win but still want to come down and check out the centre they will be celebrating the official opening with a family day THIS Saturday 22nd October. Once the formalities are over you can try out a class in their new indoor cycling studio or take a HITT class in the new INTENCITY studio, give the fitness suite a whirl, or take a dip in the pool...

For your chance to win a three-month pass to Robinson Pools & Fitness answer the following question using the Gleam app below:

How many classes does the centre run a week?

win 3 month pass to Robinson Pool & Fitness, Bedford graphic

Robinsoon Pool Giveaway

Good luck lovely Bedford folks! 

Mrs B 


Competition closes at 11:59pm on Saturday 22nd October. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Pampers Club: Where Every Poo is Rewarded! #pooface

Turn nappies into Rewards and Savings with Pampers

I'll be honest – changing nappies isn’t exactly my favourite part of my day! I've genuinely changed 9 nappies today alone! But, Pampers have come up with a great way to turn the moment when you spot that familiar #pooface into your favourite time of day...they’ve recently launched an exciting new rewards app called Pampers Club – it’s free, easy to use and guess what…it rewards you every time you buy Pampers! Hooray!

Here’s how it works:

For every £1 you spend on Pampers nappies or wipes, you’ll receive 10 Pampers Club points with the app! You can register here ( then all you need to do is buy your Pampers as you usually would, both in-store and online, then take a photo of your receipt using the app, and start watching your points grow! 

To get you started, you’ll receive 500 bonus points after scanning your first receipt!

You can choose to exchange your points for different types of rewards and savings, and guess what – there are things for both you and your baby! Rewards include everything from Pampers coupons and toys, to a 3 month subscription to Mother and Baby magazine!  

So now when you see that #pooface, you know that stocking up on Pampers means more points, for more rewards!

I just wish they'd launched this sooner - I wonder how many Pampers we've bought over the last 3 years? A LOT is the answer!

We'll definitely be making the most of the new reward scheme here at Chez Bishop, that's for sure! 

Pampers Club app

Pampers Club app - receipt scanning

Pampers Club app - redeem points

This is a sponsored post. 

I ❤️ NY Bake Box: Banoffee Whoopie Pies *REVIEW* & *RECIPE*

Some of you might remember that I am an official ambassador for Bake Box - the bakeware subscription box that is delivered to your door every other month. 

If you'd like to hear more details, prices and see how I got on with my first two boxes you can read my review here and here.

The fruits of my labour from my last Bake Box was this amazing polka Teddy Bear Cake which I baked with Bert shortly after Connie's arrival. It was such a fun cake to make and turned out to be a proper could I top that? 

Mrs Bishop's Teddy Bear Cake using her Bake Box
The fruits of my second Bake Box - A Teddy Bear cake baked with The Bertster. 

Well, this month (September) I decided to choose a crowd-pleasing recipe from the box, one that I knew would go down a storm with various 'taste-testers' who I was seeing over the course of a few days last week: three lovely friends, my Mum, Sister and Stepdad and of course, Liam and Bert. 

This month's box theme was 'I ❤️ NY' and the box included:

-Whoopie pie mat
-Mini doughnut mould
-3 New York themed cookie cutters: Yellow taxi, Statue of Liberty and I ❤️ NY t-shirt
-Giant cupcake cake mould
-Chocolate work sheet
-Blue food colouring gel 

Plus six recipe cards:

-Giant USA Cupcake
-Chrysler Cheesecake
-I ❤️ NEW YORK Cake
-New York Biscuits
-Iced Mini Doughnuts
-Banoffee Whoopie Pies

Contents of the 'I ❤️ NY' Bake Box
Contents of the 'I ❤️ NY' Bake Box

The recipe I chose to have a bash at was Banoffee Whoopie Pies, and I used the whoopie pie mat which came as part of the latest Bake Box. 

This was my first attempt at a whoopie pie recipe - I've seen a real influx of these in recent years - much like the beloved cupcake a few years ago, they seem to be to new 'in-thing' in the UK baking scene...if you haven't come across them before a whoopie Pie is a hybrid/mix between a scone, biscuit and a sponge cake. These little cake discs are sandwiched together with combinations of delicious fillings - in this case: cream cheese frosting, sliced fresh banana and caramel. WIN!

"Whoopie pies are favourite with New Yorkers when they meet friends for an espresso or Americano. They're available in a rainbow of colours and flavours and these banana and salted caramel ones are so easy to make using your whoopie pie tray." Bake Box

Banoffee Whoopie Pies by Mrs Bishop using Bake Box

(makes 9)


For the Whoopie Pie shells: 

-125ml buttermilk
-1½tsp lemon juice
-125g unsalted butter, diced and softened
-175g caster sugar
-1 egg, beaten
-275g self raising flour
-2tbsp milk
-150g chocolate chips (I used milk but dark or white would work too!)

For the filling:

-75g unsalted butter
-100g full fat cream cheese
-275g icing sugar
-1tsp vanilla extract
-2 bananas, peeled and sliced 

For the caramel drizzle:

-200g caster sugar
-2tbsp double cream
-100g salted butter, cut into small cubes


Making the whoopie pie shells...
  • Preheat the oven to 180℃ (fan 160℃)/350℉/gas 4. Lay the whoopie pie tray on a baking sheet.
  • Stir the buttermilk and lemon juice together. In a mixing bowl, beat the b utter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, sieve in the flour and stir in with the milk. Finally, add the buttermilk mixture and fold in with the chocolate chips until evenly mixed in. 
  • Weigh your total batter and divide that number by 18 (mine was 52g per shell). Weigh out spoonfuls of your batter and place into the cups of the tray until your first 6 are ready to bake. Bake for 10-12 minutes until spongy to the touch and golden brown. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before lifting off and placing on a wire rack to leave to cool completely.
  • Wash and dry the whoopie pie mat (important - to stop sticking!) and use the remaining batter to bake more shells the same way - you need 18 in total. 
making Whoopie Pies for the first time
Baking whoopie pie shells

Making the filling:
  • Beat the butter until it is pale and creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until it is evenly combined with the butter. 
  • Gradually beat in the icing sugar on a slow speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and beat for a further 5 minutes.
  • Spoon the filling into a disposable piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle (Wilton 5M is best) and pipe the filling over the flat side of one half of the whoopie pie shells. Add the banana slices and place the other half shells on top. 
Making the caramel drizzle:
  • Heat the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat until melted. Boil, without stirring, until a rich caramel colour. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Warm the cream in a small bowl in the microwave and pour it into the caramel in a thin, steady stream. 
  • Add the butter and stir until it has melted. Put the pan back over a low heat and whisk hard to dissolve any lumps of caramel. Pour the caramel into a bowl and leave to cool.
  • Drizzle the caramel over the whoopie pies using a teaspoon or piping bag. 
(I chose to drizzle my caramel inside the whoopie pies rather than over the top to make them less messy to eat!) 

Assembling Banoffee Whoopie Pies
Time to fill my whoopie pies with deliciousness...

Assembling Banoffee Whoopie Pies
Banoffee - the best flavour combo in the world??

Assembling Banoffee Whoopie Pies
Caramel porn. Not even sorry. 😂

Banoffee Whoopie Pies
All ready for their lids...

Banoffee Whoopie Pie
T'ah D'ah! Banoffee Whoopie Pie ready for devouring! 

All of my taste testers absolutely loved these whoopie pies - most of them had never tried one before, so it was cool to take their whoopie-pie virginities and see them enjoy the fruits of my labour. 

Unfortunately for me, I was in the final days of my #SugarFreeSeptember challenge so I couldn't try them *SOBS*...absolute dedication to the challenge - I didn't even lick my finger when I was making the cream cheese frosting, if that's not willpower then I don't know what is? I'm rest assured they were very tasty and so I will definitely be making them again soon so that I can have a taste. 

Another fabulous box from Bake Box, six brilliant recipe cards (I can't wait to have a go at all of them - mini doughnuts next!), really high-quality bakeware which make exciting additions to my baking cupboard and just an all-round fun time...I wonder what my next box will have in store?

Do let me know if you have a go at baking these Banoffee Whoopie Pies: use the hashtag #MrsBishopBakes so I can see how you get on...

Mrs B


Banoffee Whoopie Pies by Mrs Bishop using Bake Box
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

Disclaimer: I was sent this Bake Box in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

What's in my Degustabox? September.

Have you heard of Degustabox?

It's that time again...we've just had our exciting Degustabox delivery and I'm excited to share with you this month's contents, it's a good'un! 

Hartley's Lunchbox Jellies x4
Tesseire Strawberry & Raspberry Squash
Say Yes...Sour Cream Bread Chips
Mrs Crimbles Gluten Free Mushroom Pasta
Metcalfe's Popcorn Thins (Milk Chocolate)
Emily Fruit Crisps - Banana 
CA Sparkling Fruit drinks x2
CIRO Steam Xpress Berloti Beans x3
Get Fruit Mango bar
Chia Seeds packets x2

September 2016 Degustabox

I loved that most of this months box contained healthy foods - and so many that contained zero refined sugar - which was pretty useful considering I'm in my last weeks of #SugarFreeSeptember. 

September 2016 Degustabox

Bert and Liam have gladly devoured those foods that did contain a bit of sugar already, such as the Metcalfe's Popcorn Thins and the sour cream Say Yes to No bread chips. Bert and I shared the Get Fruity bar with our lunch on the day the box was delivered and it was delicious! 

Things like the Mrs Crimbles ready-meal pouches are so handy to have in the store cupboard for a quick meal with zero work when I'm in a rush, or an easy dinner option for Liam when I'm out and he's cooking for one, and it's also great to have cooked beans on hand (like the tinned Cirio Berlotti beans in this months box) as I use them in so many dinner recipes: I'm sure it won't take me long to use them up. 

September 2016 Degustabox

Liam was well chuffed with the four pots of Hartley's jellies - as we buy these every week in our food shop - they're so low in calories and they make the perfect sweet fix to end the meal with, minus the guilt. So the four new pots will just mean we won't need to buy as many when we hit the supermarket tomorrow night. 

Emily Fruit Crisps - Crunchy Banana

My absolute favourite item in this month's box was by FAR the Emily Fruit Crisps - Crunchy Banana. They are INSANE!! The only ingredients in them are banana and palm oil, they taste amazing - sweet, crunchy and super-bananaery! They are reminiscent of the sweet banana chips you can get in the health food aisle, except that they are crunchy and crisp-like instead of so hard that they could break your teeth!! Plus they don't have any extra sweetener added to them, like banana chips do. 

They were so nice that I immediately went online and ordered 12 bags!! I cannot wait for them to arrive, yum yum - pure snacking heaven for me. 

If you'd like to know more about Degustabox then head to their website or social media channels...

Degustabox social media channels
I'm excited to see what will be in our next box! 

If you'd like to give Degustabox a try for yourself then receive £7 off your first box with this offer code... 

Use Code BLDEG15 to receive £7.00 off your first Degustabox! 

*We were sent the September 2016 Degustabox in exchange for this honest review*

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

25 Cushions You Didn't Know You Needed...


Why am I drawn to cushions so much? I currently have 5 in my living room and countless cushions in each of the 3 bedrooms in my house - I think they're such a fun and quick way to add colour and character to a room, and they're useful too (as long as you go for big, plump, duck down numbers - my fave to snuggle into!) 

My husband and son both HATE them. They find them pointless, annoying and always in the way: they chuck them on the floor and I spend my life picking them up and giving them a good plump. 

Sound familiar? Surely I'm not the only one fighting the cushion war at home?

I'm currently in the planning stages of a big re-decoration of our living room, and during the process I have (of course) been looking at cushions that I might choose to accessorise my new living room scheme with. While I was browsing I found so many amazing cushions in all sorts of price ranges which would suit a variety of interiors/styles, and I thought I'd share them with you today. 

Obviously, where you choose to purchase accessories for your home is very much budget-dependent. You could of course splash the cash and buy designer cushion covers, or you can source cushion covers online at best prices in places like Yorkshire Linen's e-store

In this collection I've tried to include something for all tastes and budgets. 

Which is your fave? 

25 cushions you never knew you needed


Sofia Chenille Cushion - Teal
Icons Shaped Cushion - Wink

Hayes Spot Cushion, Slate

Stag Embroidered Cushion, Navy

Enjoy Today Slogan Cushion H&M

John Lewis:
Scion Mini Mr Fox Cushion, Orange/Beige
Little At Home John Lewis Anchor Knitted Cushion, Blue
Orla Kierly Linear Stem Cushion (Persimmon Sunflower)
Morris & Co Strawberry Thief Cushion (Indigo)
John Lewis Sheep Cushion

John Lewis Miko Floor Cushion (Saffron)
John Lewis French Knot Seagulls Cushion
John Lewis Nordic Houses Cushion
Scion Snowdrop Bicycle cushion

Voyage Expressive Thistle Cushion

Voyage Rory Cushion (Cow)

bluebellgray portree cushion

Joules Chevening Cushion, Blue

Laura Ashley :
Laura Ashley Garden Birds Cushion

Amara Living:

Watermelon silk cushion
Nikki Jones Concentric Cushion
Cath Kidston Antique Rose Cushion

Nikki McWilliams:

Nikki McWilliams Malted Milk Cushion

Bouf Typewriter cushion

25 cushions you never knew you needed Mrs Bishop
^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^

So, what do you think? Is my taste too ecclectic for you? Too colourful? Kitsch? Or are you lusting after some of my choices too? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Mrs B


This is a collaborative post.