Ideal Home Show: Inspiration overload

As you'll have seen from my Show Gardens at the Ideal Home Show post this year I've been along to the Ideal Home Show for the first time in may years. Before going I planned to share posts on some garden bits and some house bits and I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of inspiration that I'd get in a relatively short amount of time.  So as I sat reviewing and editing my photos this week, I've revised how and what I'm going to share with you into a few more posts than I originally planned. That means the posts for the next few days will have an Ideal Home Show slant.

Today's post is a little photo-heavy but it's also a reminder of just how much and how varied the stands at the Show are; plus it's a way of me keeping a little part of them as even if I'd bought everything I liked there I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have wanted (or been able) to carry it around all day! Or in truth, been able to afford it.

I love this chest and it's imperfect finish, MOH doesn't. I like how it looks lived in, he wants to give it a good rub down and repaint it... Sadly I've got nowhere to put it so while I like it, it's not something that's ever going to be a realistic purchase, well not right now anyway...

I also like the eclectic mix of frames, pictures and mirrors in the next few pictures. The glass frame memory keepers are a great idea and something I've looked at before. And while I like this, and I do want a picture wall in our study the one I have in mind is a little bit more coordinated, as I want black and white pictures in black frames - which I think will give a different look entirely.

Artwork is something I struggle with though. I'm fine with collecting pictures, memories and our photographs for the black and white picture wall I mentioned above, but I want something more than this in our main living room so I was keeping an eye out for anything that grabbed me.  I saw lots of lovely prints - including the cow one, but nothing that I'd want to hang on our living room wall and look at every day.

Although since the Ideal Home Show I have made progress in the "Art for the Living Room Wall Department" - well when I say I, I mean the Royal I, and MOH has spotted an abstract picture that doesn't offend me and looks as if it will be a good match for the style and colours of our living room.  I'm waiting for that to be delivered so let's hope it works out.

Throughout the whole show you were bombarded with colour - from the jewel-like lights above to the various knobs on show, see below. I thought this was an ingenious way to display the knobs but also looked very pretty and would pretty any piece of plain furniture - who says you just have to add two functional knobs, why not add more?

I was very taken with these candles, the wax is like little polystyrene balls and you add the wick to the top. Their burning time is much extended apparently and I think they also look effective alongside some roses and in a wooden box. If I had a coffee table (which we don't and it's not something we're getting mostly because I'd walk into it everyday and because I don't think it suits our living room) then this would definitely be on there. Don't get me wrong in the right space a coffee table is absolutely the thing to have, but I don't think it'd work here and would quickly collect all of our other junk!

At this next stand I was like a butterfly high on nectar, flitting from one display to the next and not working out which I liked best. Which was a shame really as this was a stand that I could have bought quite a bit from, but because there was so much choice and so much to choose from in the end I walked away, after quite a few longing looks and perhaps a few strokes of the wooden things.  Soon though I might be brave enough to look them up online!

I like things to have a place and for them to be in that place. MOH if he's reading this is probably rolling around the floor laughing at this as he thinks I'm messy (I don't always agree!) I like things to be in their own space, but am happy with higgledy piggledy-ness so having a system like this of boxes on a wall - aptly named Box On A Box - would be perfect for me. They're something I'm going to investigate for our spare room, where I want to store my shoes and MOH wants to store his records to see if something like this would work for us (and our price range).

In the garden section I discovered these patterned numbers and letters, if only I could think of a use for them then I know I'd be happy with them. I still haven't but aren't they pretty?

In fact in the garden section I was drawn more to metal objects, the lamps below would look great on the patio with candles in - hmm there's an idea, we've been thinking about how to get more light on our patio - ideally we wanted something solar powered, but I'm sure I could work something out.

And how useful would this camper van cooler be? Whether it's for beer, fizz or soft drinks, it's a fun way to keep drinks cool and slightly more stylish than a garden trug or dustbin. Water features too were plentiful and this stand had just about every type you could imagine and probably more.

I love the silver ball type, and one day in one garden I'll have one. So far the only water features I've managed in my garden's has been a leaky bird bath and a plastic crate which has filled up over winter! I'm sure I can do better than those.

And this would be the water feature to end all water features, although I'm not sure I'd want the maintenance that comes with them. But I think every hot tub should have a rubber duck having seen them bob along, and around and around here!

So as I said at the start, inspiration overload - and there's still the show homes and the room sets to come. But not today, as I'm off out into the garden to do some more pottering about...

A Mag A Month: Good Food magazine, March 2005

This month my mag of choice has been Good Food from March 2005, which has a young Jamie Oliver and a young Gordon Ramsey on the cover - and despite being March the main feature is "Winter Warmers - what you want to eat right now." There's also AWT for those who remember him, or Antony Worral-Thompson for those that don't who used to present Saturday Kitchen between 2003 and 2005 when James Martin took over. I hadn't realised James Martin had done it for so long, although it's rare I get to watch it these days.

This looks a well thumbed magazine although I don't seem to have actually cooked many of the recipes - I guess I was happy just flicking through looking at them. There's an interesting article on "Essential spice" which has many recipes I'd still like to cook including Four-spice lamb curry (the spices are chilli, ginger, coriander & cumin), Cardamom rice brûlées, Crumbly cinnamon & chocolate squares as well as cinnamon-spiced hot chocolate. Sadly none of these recipes are available on the BBC Good Food website so I can't share them here.  Equally as sad was that as I was eating healthily this month I swerved those sweet recipes and having only recently cooked a lamb curry I gave that one a miss too.

One of the recipes that I had cooked before was the Lamb, black pudding & mustard hotpot and strangely I'd bought some lamb in the butchers before Easter along with some black pudding with this recipe in mind - it must have been in my subconscious somewhere as it was only last night that I realised it was in this magazine...

I did get to cook this Speedy Fish supper though, and it was very tasty.  I couldn't help but add some mediterranean style vegetables too and that worked well.  I did smile though as back in 2005 it seems that chorizo was a relatively new ingredient as there's a "Good Food Know-How" box explaining it's a paprika flavoured pork sausage from Spain. I suspect ten years on and most people know that, but it goes to show how food tastes change and really what a small world we now live in.



Also in this magazine:

  • Gizzi Erskine was working at Good Food following her graduation from Leiths, her recipes were due to be featured on the magazine cover the following month (and I've probably got that one too) - but didn't she do well?
  • I was tempted by the Spiced bulghar, chickpea and squash salad which looked both tasty and relatively healthy, but MOH scrunched his nose up at this and reminded me that after a (much) earlier attempt at bulghar wheat we'd renamed it vulgar wheat. I'm sure it's not as bad as we first thought as I think our tastes have changed and I'm sure if I'd put it in front of him it would have disappeared. I'd like to think I'm a better cook now too...
  • Jamie's bread recipes tempted me too - the potato & rosemary bread and the tomato bread were both screaming eat me - and sadly I think I would have done just that had I cooked them. And blown the healthy eating again.  Hmm, these are going on my To Cook list (I don't have one, but I think these should be on it)
  • 2005 was also the year that Masterchef went large with John Torode and Gregg Wallace taking over as presenters, and I think we know how successful that's been. Ten years on and they're still there, the format changes a bit each year and there's now a professional and a celebrity version too, so I'd say it's a major success.

So very little cooking from me this month, I'm hoping that'll change next month when I'll be jumping forward and using the Good Food Magazine from April 2006.

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