Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Bishop Abode: Master Bedroom

It's time for another peek into our home here at Chez Bishop! I hope you all enjoyed seeing our nursery in the last #TheBishopAbode on to the master bedroom. 

This was the first room we decorated when we moved into our house in 2011- before redecoration it just had plain white walls and lots of lilac accessories. It was very girlie, plain and pretty boring - not our taste at all. It felt so good putting our own stamp on the room and I love it just as much now as I did back then. 

Our main 'feature' of the room is our monochrome wallpaper...

Little Greene's 'Hampstead Ink' wallpaper is our 'feature wall' in the master bedroom. 

As soon as I saw this paper I fell in love with it, luckily Hubby loved it too and he did a grand job of putting it up along with help from my lovely Father in Law. Good job boys! 

Hampstead Ink was love at first sight! 

Our master bedroom isn't the biggest bedroom in our house - we decided to make this room the 'master' as it had brilliant in-built storage and is positioned at the front of the house, which is where I prefer to sleep. The larger bedroom is our guest room/Bert's big boy room, which fits both a double guest bed as well as Bert's single bed. Our master bedroom is plenty big enough for Liam and I, we'll even manage to fit in the swinging crib by my bedside when Baby Girl Bishop arrives in the summer....exciting times ahead. 

Fresh flowers and delicious smelling candles, this grown up space is all about rest, relaxation and recuperating from the stresses of daily life. (Oh, and playing PlayStation 4 if you're hubby!)

We were at a loss as to how we should decorate/dress the wall space above our bed...for a while it was blank while we searched high and low for the right piece of artwork, canvas etc...we couldn't find anything that was right. Then I had a brainwave! I remembered these fab wallpaper samples I'd collected when searching for our bedroom wallpaper, and dug them out (I'm so glad I saved them!) I had various size/colour way pieces of the brilliant 'Brighton' wallpaper by Harlequin, which fitted perfectly into this cluster of black IKEA frames... I was so chuffed with how it turned out - the perfect finishing touch to an otherwise very blank wall. 

Although the framed paper isn't the same design as our main feature wall wallpaper, I think the bold black and white house design with a splash of colour compliments the room really well. 

A little cluster of art above the bed...

It was important to us not to have a totally monochrome bedroom - we love colour and chose to add a big bright splash to this room using designer bedding from Debenhams... 

We use our bedding to add a big splash of (my favourite) colour to our otherwise monochrome bedroom. (Please note that I clearly don't iron my bedsheets...! I so don't have time for that!)

Just as important as looking lovely, it is vital for me that our bedroom space is practical and easy to keep tidy...I really like things to be organised and try hard to ensure that everything in my house has a set home - thankfully, this room has oodles of storage from four massive under bed drawers, two large chest of drawers, two bedside cabinets and a very cool built in walk-in-wardrobe...

Our Master Bedroom... (*notice my gorgeous new Boden breton top hanging on the built in wardrobe*)...I can't wait to wear it post-baby #2. 

The in-built wardrobe houses all of our hanging clothes, underwear, shoes, scarves, bags, holiday cases etc... it is literally like a mini Tardis and really helps to keep the clutter hidden away. I also have a jewellery hanger affixed to the wall to store all of my big/clunky costume jewellery and the door hooks on the back of the bedroom door are home to our dressing gowns. 

We have a large window at the foot of our bed which lets in loads of natural light, and to the left of the window we have put up a fun vinyl wall sticker which houses our clock...

Vinyl Grandfather clock wall sticker and my nursing chair...all ready for our new addition in the summer! 

Bedside tables are a funny thing aren't they...the drawer in mine is full of the most random things from hair bands and lip balm, to kindle chargers, pens, coins, tissues, and various receipts etc! I have a good clear out of the drawer every few months...for those who are complete 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S' addicts like me, it is my version of Monica's secret cupboard...! 

I do love me a bit of bedside table.

I use this mini rose gold mirrored chest of drawers on my bedside table to house all of my favourite jewellery. I always make sure there's room for my glasses, phone, baby monitor, kindle and a glass of water as well as my bedside 'house' lamp, which was a wedding present back in 2012. I try as much as I can to keep things simple and uncluttered. (And instead shove random things into the messy drawer! Ha!)

The final corner of the bedroom to share is our little alcove space which is a recent addition... 

Bedroom alcove

Hubby recently turned a second cupboard in our bedroom into this alcove chest of drawers space. This is basically my dressing table and the chest of drawers stores all of hubby's folded clothes. We added houses cut out from wallpaper remnants to the shelf above to make it a really fun space and to ensure it ties in well with the rest of the room. All my lotions/potions etc are stored on the top and it's where I stand and get ready each morning. 

As you can hopefully see we've poured a lot of love into this humble space, and hopefully we'll be happy with it's design and decor for many years to come...

I'd love to know what you think of our room...I hope you enjoyed this little nose round our home and stay tuned for the next instalment, coming soon! 

(Next in my series #TheBishopAbode I'll be sharing my Biscuit/Afternoon Tea themed kitchen/diner.)

That's all for now folks...

Mrs B

Home Etc

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Happy Homes: How Clean Is TOO Clean?

A day full of housework, tidying, spring cleaning, organising...nesting in general has got me thinking about our homes, our cleaning routines and how different people maintain very different levels of cleanliness when it comes to their homes. 

Before children, I had a very regular routine when it came to my housework and chores, and I think my house was pretty clean and tidy. I'm a big organiser: I love nothing more than throwing things out, reorganising cupboards/drawers/wardrobes and implementing filing systems! (I know, a bit of a weird thing to love!) But since having Bert I've had no choice but to become a little bit more realistic about the time I can spend on dusting, hoovering, cleaning and organising. 

Juggling a toddler, working part time from home as a freelance social media manager, blogging, and trying to keep a home is no easy task...I have to be organised, spend my time wisely and I try to be super-productive as often as possible. Sometimes, my housework falls by the wayside and other things need to take priority. It was hard at first to 'let go' and not worry about a few crumbs on the floor and dust on the mantle, but it turns out a little bit of dirt won't do us any harm... 

I don't deny that we all want to live in a germ-free, tidy home, right? But is there such a thing as being TOO clean? And could all that dusting, hoovering, polishing and mopping be putting our health at risk? Well, before you reach for the polish or whip out your nitrile gloves, let’s delve a little deeper into this issue...

The Importance of Hygiene 

Good hygiene is essential, which is why many of us grow up being encouraged to brush our teeth twice a day, clean our clothes regularly and wash our hands before eating and after going to the loo (amongst other daily routines). Looking after your personal health and keeping your home neat and tidy is extremely important as it helps prevent disease causing germs such as colds, flu, tummy bugs, salmonella and E-coli from spreading, which, of course, is a good thing – but should we put a cap on how often we clean or is maintaining a sterile environment the way forward?

Hygiene Hypothesis 

Well, believe it or not, getting rid of every single germ (or trying to at least, as this is virtually an impossible task) could actually weaken your immune system according to the hygienehypothesis which was first proposed back in 1989 by Prof David Strachan. It’s thought that a lack of childhood exposure to harmful germs and infections has led to a rise in allergies although other factors such as a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet have also been put up for blame.

While the hygiene hypothesis does seem to make logical sense, the idea that we should live in a messy, germy muddle is not correct or attractive. Good hygiene protects everyone from getting sick and is something to be practised on a daily basis. Exposure to germs such as the norovirus or E.coli can be life-threatening after all, so it’s better to take precautions around the home and clean on a regular basis to ensure everyone stays fit and well. That said, we should not be afraid of a bit of dirt here and there as when our bodies become exposed to some nasties they quickly build up a resistance and learn how to fight infections.

How Clean is TOO Clean? 

It’s probably fair to say that your house can never really be ‘too clean’ as germs will always exist even if you try your best to get rid of them and you’ll also be exposed to immune strengthening bacteria outside of the home.

However, there’s absolutely no need to become erratic with your cleaning habits to the point you are following behind people with a mop. Compulsive scrubbing, spraying and bleaching could instead expose everyone in your house to a cleaning chemical overload which can also lead to allergies such as asthma and eczema. Of course, natural products such as lemon juice and baking sodacan help leave your property sparkling, but try to find a happy medium and don’t spend every second cleaning.

So it’s all about finding the balance. While you don’t want to live in a dirty environment, you don’t have to become obsessed with keeping things sparkling either. A lesson I've definitely learned since becoming a mum. 

... Nesting or not, I must remember that a little bit of dirt won't do my family any harm!

Mrs B


This is a collaborative post. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Present Ideas for the Over 50's Man...

Your Dad’s always been hard to buy for but now he might be proving even trickier now that he’s over the age of 50. It’s safe to say, once Dad’s reach the big ‘5-oh’ they have everything they want, they probably reply ‘nothing’ when you ask them what they want as a gift and so they end up receiving useless, novelty stuff that just sits around in drawers or on shelves because they have no real use or desire for it.

Avoid giving a rubbish gift this year - here are some great present ideas for the Dad over 50: 

For those on a budget

Trip to the cinema
Okay, a trip to the local cinema might not feel like a budget option as they charge a small fortune to let you into a screening but it’s a great gift, especially if your Dad has been waiting for a certain film to be released. Offer to pick up the popcorn and drinks too, to really make it a treat.

Personalised homeware
Does your Dad have an office he likes to retire to at the weekend to work on a personal project or just to read a book? Then dress up his space with some personalised homeware, such as a cushion with his grandkids' faces printed on it or a photo mug featuring a whole family photo. It’s something he probably doesn’t own already and he can easily make use of it. PhotoBox has some great photo printing options available.

For those with a little cash to spend

Foodie Dads
You can grab subscription boxes now that are hand delivered to your door, featuring everything from geeky merchandise to ingredients for meals. If your Dad likes dabbling with new recipes in the kitchen then check out this list of great food-based boxes offering everything from hot sauce to Thai food. Most are around £15 a month and you can sign up for just one box or a three-month subscription.

For those who want to splurge – he’s worth it

Compact record player
Does your Dad still have a huge collection of vinyl 70s classics that he wishes he could play? Then pick him up one of these great record players that he can pop on the sideboard and croon along to on a Saturday afternoon.

Experience days
Does your Dad have a bucket list that he’s yet to tick off? Is a thrilling experience such as race track driving or a trip in a hot air balloon on that list? Then make his dreams come true and sign him up for an experience day you know he’ll love. Red Letter Days or Virgin Experience Days are the best places to go when it comes to affordable gifts and you can sign him and your Mum up for the treat or make it a parent/child sort of deal.

When it comes to present ideas for men over 50, stick with one of these ideas and ensure he has the best time unwrapping or experiencing your gift! 

This is a collaborative post. 

Decorating on a Budget: Making the most of your money...

Up-cycling is fashionable. This is great news for those who are living on a budget and have to be careful how they spend their money. Just because you’re hard up and need to make sure that every penny you spend is spent wisely, you don’t have to skimp on creativity and old furniture that’s crying out for a smart new makeover can be found everywhere.

Planning your decorating project

Once you’ve committed to decorating your home, allocate a budget to your plan. You may want to throw away some items of furniture that you detest but are wary about consigning these items to the skip. You may find that your tastes change and you could want this furniture at a later date. Instead of throwing these items away, why not source your nearest self storage facility to keep currently unwanted items of furniture and other possessions safe?

Choose your paint wisely

You will want your paint to stretch as far as possible and you won’t want it to start peeling the following year. You don’t have to buy the most expensive paint on the market to achieve perfection. Go to your local DIY store and ask for advice. Many shops will do a deal if you buy over a certain quantity of paint, they’ll also mix up the colours for you if you explain the effect that you’re trying to achieve with your paints.

Look after your brushes

Remember to clean your paintbrushes after use; why waste money on new brushes simply because you haven’t bothered to look after your existing ones? An article in TheDaily Mirror suggests that if you clean and freshen up any surfaces that look faded or tarnished you may find that you don’t need to paint them at all.

Haunt second hand shops

Many charities have fantastic second hand furniture sections. Instead of buying new wooden furniture, sharpen up your upcycling skills. You’ll discover that after stripping away layers of old varnish you’ll have a wonderful piece of furniture that you can paint, and then add stencils or decoupage in order to create a refurbished item of furniture that’s perfect for your decorating project.

Material remnants

If you’re trying to incorporate some new cushion covers, lamp shades or other fabrics into your home, you will be able to afford them by going to the remnant box of any good department store that sells fabric. The remnants that you’ll find may be slightly damaged or simply out of fashion. Simply create your own style with these unwanted pieces of material. The MoneyAware website suggests that you can transform your bedroom by simply adding some fabric to your bed’s headboard.

Even if you don’t have the largest budget in the world, as long as you have ingenuity and the energy to shop around, you’ll find that you can create a decor for your home which equals that of the world’s most expensive and sought after interior designers.

This is a collaborative post. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

WIN 'The Beatrix Potter Collection' 3 Disc DVD Set This Easter...

2016 marks 150 years since the birth of Beatrix Potter, one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors, who has captured imaginations around the world with her beautifully illustrated tales. To help celebrate this significant landmark anniversary Beatrix Potter fans everywhere can now enjoy a special boxed set collection of stories on DVD – The Beatrix Potter Collection which is released by Abbey Home Media today, Monday 7th March!

This superb three DVD box set, with a running time of 231 minutes, features the complete collection of the classic Peter Rabbit episodes which lovingly recreate the enchanting Beatrix Potter stories. With timeless animation and wonderful music, children and adults alike will be enthralled by mischievous Peter and his friends including Benjamin Bunny, Mrs Tiggy Winkle, Jemima Puddle Duck, and Pigling Bland.

Based on the original and authorised editions, the stories feature the characters that have won the hearts of generations, and makes a perfect gift in time for Easter.  

The triple DVD boxset includes the following 9 beautifully animated stories based on the Peter Rabbit Books by Beatrix Potter:-

The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse, and The Tale of Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Jeremy Fisher and other stories:
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Jeremy Fisher, The Tale of Mr Tod: The Further Adventures of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, and The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town-Mouse

The Tale of Pigling Bland and other stories:
The Tale of Pigling Bland, The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding and
The Tailor of Gloucester

My little man is building up quite a Beatrix Potter collection! 

Bert and I were lucky enough to be sent an early copy of this DVD set and we've been watching it non-stop for the past week and half...Bert is already a huge fan of Peter Rabbit: he watches the new animated version on CBeebies as well as having copies of all of Beatrix Potter's books, and his own cuddly Peter Rabbit which was bought for him a newborn. He's really enjoyed these animated tales, and the real-people/real-animal interludes that run between (starring Niamh Cusack).

I was especially chuffed to learn that it was these specific editions of the tales featured on the newly released discs, as I owned the very same version of The Tailor of Gloucester on VHS as a child and it was my  absolute favourite! I must have watched the video  hundreds of times! I still know most of it off by heart and so I found watching it with Bert really emotional. It bought back such strong memories from my own childhood...I was so pleased to see Bert enjoying the wonderful stories just as much as I had at his age. 

The new triple DVD has been especially handy this week as poor old Bert has come down with Chicken Pox and so we've been stuck indoors, riding out the Chicken pox storm...Beatrix Potter has kept us entertained and our spirits raised!

The kind people at Abbey Home Media have given me an extra copy of The Beatrix Potter Collection to giveaway to one of my lovely readers - so all you need to do to be in with the chance of winning your own copy is use the Gleam app below! 

Best of luck everyone! 

Mrs B


WIN 'The Beatrix Potter Collection' on DVD

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

RECIPE: Winter Beef Stew and Ginger & Marmalade Sponge from A Taste of Gracewell

Today, I'm bringing you two more fabulous recipes - three recipes in a week...I'm really spoiling you! 

Today's recipes are by Gracewell Healthcare as part of their Taste of Gracewell campaign. I tested the recipes last night and couldn't wait to share them with you all...

For those of you who haven't heard of Gracewell Healthcare, they create warm, luxurious and comfortable care homes all over the UK, staffed by highly professional and motivated teams who pay attention to the smallest detail to deliver the very best, personalised care.

Gracewell champion the lives of elderly people through excellent care and delicious food – many of their residents have specific dietary requirements so it’s essential that all residents are presented with tantalising meals to keep them interested in food.

Gracewell have just released their care home residents’ all-time favourite recipes cook book and they kindly sent me a copy. I couldn't wait to get stuck in and try a few of the recipes for myself. It is also worth noting that all of the recipes featured in this cook book have been created my Michelin star chefs - no pressure then!

Between 5 – 13th of March, Gracewell will be hosting their annual Taste of Gracewell campaign where they'll open up their care homes across the UK to allow the public to come in and try their delicious food...what a great way to get a genuine taster for the type of care you could expect if moving into their residential care homes, or if you're moving a loved one into their residential care. 

 My local Gracewell nursing home in Chingford is also taking part in this event. 

Okay, so on to the recipes! I decided to try making their Winter Beef Stew, followed by their Ginger & Marmalade Sponge. These recipes appealed to me as they seemed like really hearty winter comfort food, just the sort of thing hubby and I enjoy, plus they used ingredients I absolutely adore like rump steak, bacon, red wine, ginger and marmalade - yummy! 

Winter Beef Stew by Gracewell Healthcare

Having tested this recipe last night, I can 100% vouch for how wonderful it is. The whole house fills with the most incredible aroma and the flavour is insane considering its fairly humble ingredients list. I was new to using rump steak for a stew, but now I've tried it, I'm not likely to go back to braising steak in a hurry - by using a rich cut like rump you get an intense beefiness that you just can't get with a tougher cut of meat. The chunks were like butter after two hours in the oven, and you could eat the stew with just a spoon. 

I will add that I decided to halve the amount of bacon to 250g, which helped to reduce the calories a little (which is helpful when you're planning to tuck into a sticky pudding afterwards), and it still tasted amazing! I also upped the amount of button mushrooms to 100g, rather than 70g as that's the amount I had in the fridge! 

It made plenty for four people (we've frozen two portions for a quick dinner next week) and I would happily now use this recipe as my 'go to' beef stew from now on. 

I love the unctuousness of this warming dish! And the gorgeous claret colour the wine gives! 

A very civilised dinner thanks to Gracewell - Winter Beef Stew and a cheeky glass of red! 

Ginger and Marmalade Sponge (served with custard) by Gracewell Healthcare

To follow the hearty stew I made this beautifully easy sponge, served it warm, with the heated marmalade poured over the top and smothered it in custard! 

What is not to love?

Again, it turned out totally delicious thanks to a foolproof recipe by Gracewell. It made four great sized portions - we're even having the second half for our pudding again tonight (totally worth every single calorie!) and I can't wait. 

Simple store cupboard ingredients create this ultimate comfort sponge!

The sponge incredible does the glistening warm marmalade look?

If you could resist this tempting sponge pudding then you're a stronger person than me! 

Ready to dive in...

The day is always brighter when there's pudding involved. 

If you're a fan of marmalade and tart desserts then you'll love the sharpness of this pudding - if however, you've got rather a sweet tooth then I suggest pairing it with ice cream, or Chantilly cream for extra sweetness. We had ours slathered in custard which was equally good!

If marmalade and ginger aren't your thing then you could add lemon zest and juice to the sponge mix instead of stem ginger and top with warm lemon curd instead of marmalade  - I'm totally trying this variation soon! 

Overall, I was so chuffed with the outcome when testing these two recipes - if these are anything to go by then the other recipes in the book will be just as great! I'm looking forward to trying more of them soon. 

What are you having for dinner tonight?

Mrs B