Spring and new routines

Spring is a season that brings with it hope, new life, renewed energy and lots of colour and there's no mistaking the Spring cleaning that many people get the urge for at this time of year. It sort of makes sense doesn't it?  There's been elements of Spring cleaning here - and more to come, no doubt - but I'm not the expert cleaner in this household, so I often contain myself with a bit of Spring rearranging. And there's a fair bit of that going on right now. 

Our eat the freezer challenge

We've currently got two fridge-freezers. When I say currently it was supposed to be a temporary thing, as the fridge-freezer I brought from my old house surely wouldn't last very long. For many years it was on our top floor and we used it for the cats' food, as they ate in their room and it saved having their "stinky" food (as MOH rightly called it) in the main fridge. It was also good for for cans of drink and as an overflow fridge space, and we've just got used to having it.

Well, that fridge-freezer is still going strong. We've lived here fifteen years this year! It's now in the conservatory, and well, it's not the look we're after, so we're restarting our eat the freezer challenge to get down to just one, because that's more normal right? 

Already I've rearranged some of the contents between the two as it makes sense to find space for the things we use regularly - such as bread rolls and bagels mainly - in the fridge-freezer in the kitchen. Now we're aiming for as many meals as possible to involve something from the freezer. I'm sure at some point it won't work, or we'll end up with some very odd combinations.

I'm also trying to use less of the fridge space and that's meant sorting through many of the opened bottles that were on the top shelf. It was amazing what I found, but probably best not to go there!

Getting my spray paint out

The lighter evenings are also a good incentive to get crafting again, especially for those crafts, like paint spraying, that need to be done outside. During the winter months I find that hard as I only have the weekends to complete that in, so if I've plans for the weekend that knocks that out too. I've a project in mind for the garden involving a pallet, some spray paint and Sugru, the mouldable glue, and now all I need to do is work out what colour using the new PintyPlus paint chart.

This is only one of the pages of the paint chart, and I'll freely admit I was way more excited than I should have been when I received this. I've loved using the chalk paint spray, but I'm really looking forward to using some of the bolder colours.  Definitely a case of watch this space!

A refreshing and decadent feeling cuppa

Another of my new routines takes place when I remember to leave work on time and arrive home before MOH on bright and warm days. It feels super decadent to get out my posh tea and my new Charles Viancin Tea Magnet and Infuser Set, to give it its proper name. I was sent this to review a while back and it's only now that I'm using it regularly. For me there's something about the brighter Spring days and proper tea and the ritual of brewing loose leaf tea.

charles viancin silicone camellia magnetic tea infuser

The tea goes into the metal drum, and when your tea has brewed enough you use the magnetic camellia stem to remove the drum and place it onto the camellia leaf, to avoid mess. It's dishwasher safe and the accompanying information says they'll never tarnish or lose their colour.

I'm a big fan of silicone in the kitchen and you'll most likely remember the daisy lids, the poppy trivet and the cute vegetable bottle stoppers from the same company. This works equally as well and while I like using it home for my early evening treat, I can see it being equally useful at work and am quite tempted to have one on my desk too.  I think drinking loose leaf tea, whether it's white, black or floral gives me the feeling of being more healthy than I actually am, which brings me onto...

Time to get into shape?

Over the winter months it's much easier to disguise an extra pound or two, but I know that deep down I'd like to tone up a bit. That'll partly come down to eating more healthily, and getting out on the bike again, but I think there probably needs to be more than that and a sustained effort. I'm toying with the idea of daily routine of press-ups and sit-ups and now I've typed it here maybe it'll happen. It probably should, but as you can see I'm still talking myself into it. I know that I'll want to see instant results, but I also know that it's going to take more than a day or two of healthy eating and a fitness routine.  

I've started with the willpower thing during Lent, by giving up cakes from the cafe at work. That may not sound much, but the cakes are huge (and lovely) and very tempting. It's a start, but it won't be enough on its own, so I need to convince myself - and to actually do something about it - while there's time to actually make a difference.  

I know it makes sense, I'm just still getting my head around it. How do you convince yourself a new routine is a good thing, let me know your tips, I think I could do with the extra motivation!

And pottering in the greenhouse

I've not done much pottering yet, but I'm hoping too. I need to get some seeds sown both for the allotment and some flowers for the garden too. We're having a bit of a do in the garden in June and of course I want the garden (and the house) to look its best. No doubt it won't be long before the greenhouse is full of seedlings and I'll be running out of space, but what a problem to have!

What's on your list of Spring jobs?



* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.


A poppy trivet - with a heart - from Charles Viancin

You'll know I'm a fan of silicone kitchenware. I've already tried - and regularly use - the daisy lids and the cute vegetable bottle stoppers, and today I'm sharing a poppy trivet.

Once again it's from Charles Viancin and I like its bold poppy design. The texture on the leaves and the centre of the flower is great. I think it looks great against my dark quartz worktop. And, who doesn't like a poppy?
A Charles Viancin poppy trivet

It differs from the daisy lids in that it's much more flexible. Infact I'd say it's screw-up-able, look:

soft and scrunchable silicone trivet

It works as a trivet - as you'd expect - for hot pans and dishes just out of the oven.

Silicone trivets are ideal for hot tins from the oven

And it also works well as a pot holder. Remember my Munchkin Pumpkins from Sunday? Well they didn't last long. Until Sunday evening's tea to be precise. And very tasty they were too. They also provided a colourful reminder that this trivet is also useful for grabbing things out of the oven. 

This charles viancin poppy silicone trivet also doubles up to get things out of the oven

It's harder - but not impossible - to take out a bread or cake tin using it, but trays like this are a breeze to get hold of. And as it's on the worktop, it means I don't have to rummage in the drawer below the oven while the oven timer happily beeps away!

The other thing I like about this trivet is that for a month around Remembrance Day in November, Charles Viancin donates 10% of all sales from the Poppy range to the Royal British Legion. I like that a lot.


This is a collaborative post but all views and opinions are my own.

Home Etc

Cute vegetable bottle stoppers from Charles Viancin

These cute vegetable bottle stoppers are relatives of those pretty daisy silicone lids I showed you back in April. They're part of the new Farmer's Market collection by Charles Viancin which features artichoke, tomato and aubergine designs. And like the lids they're 100% air and liquid tight, although I haven't been quite brave enough to turn these completely upside down to check.

I had three empty bottles with those Grolsch-type stoppers, which I always had to think about before opening. Invariably I'd have the bottle the wrong way round or try and move the wrong piece. And so the bottles, which we brought back from France in 2009 full of fruit juice - I know it was then as I've recently found the photos, but that's another story - remained empty.

With my 2016 in 2016 challenge MOH kept pointing at them as obvious contenders to be chucked out, but I was less keen. I knew one day they'd come in handy, and I was right.

artichoke tomato and aubergine bottle stoppers
Charles Viancin bottle stoppers
Vinegar bottles are now easy to spot in the cupboard too.

This weekend MOH prised the Grolsch-type stoppers out of the bottles and after a good wash in soapy water and sterilise in the oven (the bottles, not MOH) they were ready for my vinegar. There's white wine vinegar under the artichoke, cider vinegar under the aubergine and red wine vinegar under the tomato. 

It's easy now to see when I'm running low, I thought I'd worked out the perfect way to remember which was which. And it was probably good - red wine vinegar under the tomato, but I was also pretty sure I'd forget quite quickly.  

Maybe not as quickly as when I close the cupboard, but probably not too long after. So to avoid all of that - and trying to work out which was cider and which was white wine - I added some handwritten labels, I know it'll make it easier in the end.

And they make me smile every time I open the bottle cupboard which is right next to the hob.

There's lids too

Like the Marguerite daisy range, the Farmer's Market range has lids too. The tomato lid - or couvercle - comes in four sizes ranging from 15cm to 28cm, the one shown below is the largest size which I've used to cover a salad bowl. There's artichoke and aubergine lids too but they're 28cm and 20cm sizes only respectively.

tomato silicone lid by charles viancin

The silicone lids are food grade silicone and ensure an air-tight and water-tight seal which keeps food fresher, can be used outdoors and prevents spills during cooking. I've used this lid in the microwave but it's also hob safe, oven safe and freezer and dishwasher safe. I like them because they're a much prettier alternative to cling film which I rarely use if I can avoid it.

The tomato lids, while giving the same benefits as the daisy lids have one thing that's different. Can you see it between eleven and twelve o'clock, so to speak in the photo below? Yes a small gap in the design which I think you could easily use to hang them up. 

charles viancin silicone lid

So if daisies aren't your thing, perhaps these veggies might be. What do you think?


This is a collaborative post with Charles Viancin but all views are my own.