Monday, February 06, 2012

Currently inspired by...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sarah's House 4 - First Impressions

One of the TV shows I currently have programmed to record on MySky is Sarah's House (Season 4).  It's an interiors show from Canada where designer, Sarah Richardson, buys a home from plans in a new subdivision and transforms it from "a builder's beige box to the home of your dreams".  I first came across Sarah and her little helper Tommy (he cracks me up) in Sarah's 101, which also aired on Sky TV down here.
The latest episode I've seen (Episode 3) is where Sarah and Tommy decorate the hallway and I must say I am rather smitten by the end result.  The paint colour around the door, which was also applied at the other end of the hallway, is called "elephant" and I love the combination with the parchment colour on the side walls, the dark wood and the citrus accents. 
To be honest, I love every detail of this - the strip of marble tiles by the door, the train print over the credenza, the combination of the floral print upholstered chair with the zig zag print cushion and THAT rug, which believe it or not is from Ikea. I LOVE that rug and yet again lament the fact that we do not have Ikea in NZ!
Now, if you wish to find out more about Sarah's House and even watch episodes check out  If this post hasn't already tempted you, maybe the Image below of some gorgeous wallpaper also featured in the "First Impressions" episode will do it for you instead!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Adventures with Veggie Patches and a Thai Basil recipe

One of the great things I've discovered about having our own veggie patch is that it makes us more connected with nature. We're now more mindful of what is in season. There was a time when I'd have thought nothing of buying peppers (or capsicums as they say here) in the middle of winter, particularly back in Ireland where food is relatively easy to ship in from all over the world year round.  Now I'd actually feel a twinge of guilt, and of course with prices trebled or even quadrupled when fruit and veg is out of season, I'd feel it in my pocket too!  Adventures with veggie patches do sometimes mean an overabundance of a particular fruit or vegetable. Recently, we experienced this with courgettes. Our one plant was tireless in rapidly producing courgette after courgette, some a foot long! It was somewhat overwhelming, but also a great opportunity to go on the Internet and discover lots of new recipes for, you guessed it, courgettes.  Did you ever hear of courgette muffins? I certainly hadn't, and to be honest thought courgette muffins sounded a bit odd. They worked out great though, a little like banana bread or carrot cake.  Check out the recipe here.

Something we currently have an abundance of is Thai basil.  'Himself' tried adding it to one of our standard weekday dinners, Thai green curry, but it didn't quite work for me. A search on the website yielded this recipe and having tried it successfully last night, I think it's definitely a keeper. I substituted 3 spring onions for the shallots but otherwise I stuck exactly to the recipe.  The combination of flavours (lime, fish sauce, chilli, lemon grass and of course Thai basil) was really interesting - spicy and fresh at the same time. I can see myslf serving this up at a relaxed summer dinner party on the deck...oh yes, thats if summer ever really gets going this year in NZ!

Chicken and Cashew Nuts with Thai Basil a la Stylish Irish

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 Best: Stylish Home Bars/Vignettes

I love my vignettes around the home. Even better when there's a functional aspect to the vignette - pretty for pretty's sake AND useful! This must be why I like beautifully styled bars arranged on tables, trolleys, sideboards and even shelves. Alas, I don't have quite the right spot in my home for such a bar right now but when I do, here are the 10 best pictures I'll be inspired by:

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

My Top 5 Summer Salads

You might not know it from the recent weather in Auckland but it's summer time down here and that means lots of barbeques.  It's the done thing to "bring a plate", usually a salad, along with some beer or a bottle of plonk.  I have to admit that at first I was a bit overwhelmed and resorted to buying salads from the deli counter at the supermarket to bring along.  I did however find myself sheepish upon arriving with my plastic tubs when everyone else came with with plates of what seemed to me like dazzling displays of domesticity!  How much can change though in 4 years (yes, we're here 4 years this March!).  Now I have a list of Top 5 salads that are easy peasy to whip up for summer barbeques.  What's even better is that with our veggie patch, more and more of the ingredients can come directly from our backyard!

So, here they are - my current Top 5 summer salads.  Click on the titles for links to the recipes.  
This one comes courtesy of NZ celebrity cook Annabel Langbein.
We had a fantastic crop of beetroot this year and my favourite way to use it is definitely roasted.  Yum!
You simply can't go wrong with this classic.

Penne tossed in Green Pesto
Not strictly a salad but works well served cold so why not?  It's been fantastic making fresh pesto from our own basil.  This is the recipe I use.

last but not least

Beetroot and Greek Yoghurt Salad
You'll have to wait until next time I make this for a photo but it is super easy and always gets lots of complements.  Just take some canned beetroot chunks and mix with as much Greek yoghurt as to your liking - for 2 cans of beetroot, I generally go for between one half cup and one cup of yoghurt.  Lightly toast some sliced almonds andtop. Et, voila!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Unveiling our future home

Finally, FINALLY I have some images generated by our architects of what our villa extension will look like!  It's so exciting to be able visualise it - it makes it so much more real!  There's still a long way to go.  We're just on the brink of applying for our resource consent from the council and then there's building consents to worry about not to mention saving, saving, saving to make our dream come true.  But let's just enjoy this little milestone for now.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I'm back

After a month long sejour from blogland, I'm back.  I hadn't really intended on going off the air so to speak and don't really have a good excuse either. Perhaps I wasn't feeling very inspired or maybe I've been a bit lazy in the evenings after work.  Anyways, to settle me back into the blogging way, here's three things that are currently delighting me.

1. Fresh strawberries from our garden each morning on my muesli and yoghurt

2. The 3-d image of our future extension (more on this soon!)

3. My swarovski Havaianas (who can resist a touch of bling?)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Glimpses of Summer in our Garden

Pear Tree Blossoms

Lemon Tree Blossoms 
Blue Skies (and an air display)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Inspiration Station: Guest Bedroom

Oh dear, oh dear!  Here's the state of what we currently refer to as "the spare room":
Yes, it's currently a dumping ground, a place where we dry clothes and store odd bits of furniture.  I'm determined though this summer to turn it into a gorgeous guest bedroom.  Not sure yet how exactly I'm going to go with this, but here's what's inspiring me lately when it comes to bedrooms:

Stripy Rugs

Interesting Headboards

Black & White...

... with Pops of Juicy Colour
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