Best of: Boxset binge TV.

The end of the year is nigh… By the end of the week we’ll be in the very last month of 2016 (And we all know how quickly December goes.) This year, too sum it up simply, will be known to me as the year of the box set, I have literally done nothing but watch box sets. All year long! I did a similar post last year, and I thought i’d have another little re-cap of  whats I’ve been binge watching this year.

House of cards, Series 4.

Frank and Claire underwood. One of TV’s most ruthless power couples. And one of my favourite programmes. It took me a while to get into this, mainly because I thought a politics based drama would be way over my head. Well…. Its bloody amazing. Gripping, shocking, and I won’t lie, totally made me see the recent election in a whole new way. Don’t be put off by its theme, its not hard to follow – Frank underwood screwing everyone over on his quest to get to the top. And his wife being just as ruthless. The most recent series did not disappoint. I’m very excited for the next series in 2017.

 

The walking dead, Series 6.2 & 7.1

Well. What can I say. The second half of series 6 started with the aftermath of Glen falling into a crowd of walkers, and continued all the way up until the groups first meeting with new bad guy Neegan. I won’t name his next victim, just incase you haven seen it yet – though to be fair if you don’t know now, you obviously just don’t care. We’re now 6 episodes into the first half of series 7 and its all kicking off. The walking dead was always one of my favourite shows, but the new world has changed it somewhat, it is still a fantastic programme, one that always has you on the edge of your seat. I’m just taking a while to adjust to the new way of things.

 

Vikings, Series 1-4.1

If historical accuracy and an abundance of bearded men is your thing, well Vikings is the show for you! I had heared so many good things about this show, but it took me at least 5 episodes to ‘get it’ Its not a typical drama, its more natural, with a slower pace when building storylines. However when it kicks off, it all kicks off. I particularly love how women are portrayed in this, no damsel in distress forced to wed if she wanted to be a part of society. Nope, those viking women had complete freedom, perhaps not complete equality, but they had a choice with everything. Legendary leader Ragnar Lothbrok’s wife Lagertha in particular is one kick ass warrior.

 

Game of thrones, series 1-6.

c9lzmv4d3mgzpnyntz7s

I refused to watch this programme for so long. I once watched a couple of minutes, I can’t remember for the life of me what happened… I just remember it being disgustingly gory. Its odd, as someone who loves The walking dead, to be put of a programme because of its gore. However this is exactly what happened. This year, I finally gave in to Sam’s incessant nagging at me to give it a proper try, and I became completely addicted. For two months I watched nothing else. Binge watching at its best. Stand out characters from the latest season for me were Ramsay Bolton (played by the brilliant Iwan Rheon.) and of course  Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinkladge) Who has been fantastic since the very start. Odds are, I’m one of the last people in the UK left to catch up on this, so this entire paragraph will no doubt be irrelivant to most of you.

 

Sons of Anarchy, series 1-7

sonsofanarchyssn1

It very rarely happens, having a full from start to finish series to watch. But this exactly what happened when we decided to have a try of SOA, from the get go we sat engrossed in the drama. It was all very chaotic, sad (Opie *Cry*) and up until series 7 extremely entertaining. For me though, the last series just fell short, the programme had clearly ran its course, but it all just seemed sort of rushed.

 

Hand of god, Series 1.

I don’t know many that have seen this programme, If you haven’t I urge you to watch it. Theres only one season out so far, but what a season it is! Pernell Harris is a corrupt judge who suffers a breakdown and believes God is speaking to him, guiding him to save his son (who shot himself and now lays in a coma.) Ron Perlman is fantastic as always. You can find it over on Amazon prime.

 

Preacher

preacher-poster-2

I’ll be honest with this one, though it was quite entertaining, I didnt really get it, it didnt leave me engrossed like a good boxset should. Having said that, I will be watching the second series, soley for the character 0f Cassidy (Played by Joe Gilgun – Fun fact, My high school English teacher is his mum!)

 

The fall

This is such a strange programme. I’m a lover of crime drama, Gillian anderson is fab as quietly spoken but fierce Stella Gibson & Jamie Dornan plays creepy serial killer Paul Spector unnervingly well. But something about it just makes me feel so uncomfortable, maybe its the constant grey tones (it is set in ireland) or maybe its him stalking his victims before brutally murdering them – probably the latter.- The finale played out on BBC 1 last month, and right up to the end, It just made for uncomfortable viewing. – Though I guess thats actually a great thing considering its genre.

 

Mr Robot, series 2. 

mr-robot-key-art

Elliot, my dear Elliot. *Sigh* Series two, if you haven’t seen it yet is AMAZING! Better than series 1, and that rarely happens with programmes. This series focus’s on the fall out from bringing E-corp down and Elliot’s ongoing battle with mental illness. Tense from the very first episode, but it is addictive viewing.

 

 

The blacklist. Series 1. 

I can’t write too much about The blacklist, because I’m only on season 1, so i don’t actually know much. What I can say, is that its bloody brilliant! If any of you are familiar with The Office (US) he plays a character in that called Robert California, a brilliant but short lived character, who i’m convinced is an early version of Reddington. I’m loving this programme SO much right now.

So thats my year of viewing summed up in one post. 2017 is already looking amazing for box sets, Game of thrones (series 7), House of cards (Series 5), Vikings (Series 5), just to name a few.

What have you been watching this year?

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Christmas decoration Inspo.

ONE MONTH TODAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS. I REPEAT, ONE MONTH TODAY!

I’ve been fighting an ongoing battle with myself for the last fortnight. Its still too early to put up the Christmas decorations, but I WANT TOO! It started with the christmas adverts, then the present buying, the films are slowly starting to filter onto the TV & now the christmas songs. There’s so much temptation to get those decorations out. I won’t do it though, I will remain strong until the 1st December.

Having said that, I can still plan and shop for christmas decorations. This year we have done a whole lot of house updates, from the giant new TV unit, to the full kitchen makeover, theres lots of new spots to be decorated this year, which means of course I need to get planning.

I figured a lot of you would be in the same position, wanting to out-do last years decorations, wanting to create the perfectly decorated backdrop to your family Christmas? well, I’ve put together a little collection of mood boards especially for you, hopefully it’ll help give you some ideas on how you want to decorate this year.

 

Naturals:

screenshot-2016-11-17-10-35-44

The natural look is always a firm favourite of mine, bringing the beauty of wintery nature indoors. Beautiful.

1- Hello Nancy.                              4- Dear lillie blog.                                      7- Star ornament £4 (Matalan)

2- indeed decor.                            5- Pine cone garland £12 (Ebay)

3- decoration love.                       6- Natural lantern £27.99 (Wayfair)

 

 

Bright & Quirky. 

screenshot-2016-11-17-10-58-59

Fancy something a little more quirky? Bright, colourful, a little bit different. This is the perfect style to add a little fun to your Christmas.

1- Disfunctional designs.                     4- Pinapple bauble £9 (Lisa angel.)

2- Red online.                                        5- Fenton & fenton. 

3- Selina lake.                                        6- Festoon lights £34.95 (internet gardener.)

Scandi modern.

screenshot-2016-11-17-11-15-52

Simple and oh so sophisticated. Monochrome with a little metallic is the perfect way to channel your inner Scandi-modern Christmas.

1- Faux antler wreath £25 (cox and cox)      4- Planate deco

2- Forever love.                                                 5- Pinterest. 

3- Copper baubles (NOTHS)                          6-  Monica wants it. 

Dark & Moody

screenshot-2016-11-17-14-19-09

One of my favourite styles this year. This style is also the perfect way to pay homage to the original start of Christmas decorations in the UK, the victorians started off our love for festive decor, they where also known for there love of moody interiors. – Little history lesson for you there – Go classic this Christmas.

1- Homify                                        4- Tesco.

2- Style Juicer.                               5- Dust jacket – attic. 

3- House to home.                        6- Brown dress with white dots.

Traditional.

screenshot-2016-11-17-14-33-18

Nothing really beats a traditional Christmas look, its one that will fill us all with warm memories and excitement, bring out your inner child with these old classics.

1- Perpetually Christmas.                           4- One kind design

2- Eat well 101.                                             5-  Nutcracker £20 (Christmas time uk)

3- Decoration love.                                      6- John lewis. 

This post has just pushed my excitement through the roof, so much so I might have to ditch my decor date and start putting up some little bits this weekend. is it Christmas yet?!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Childhood nostalgia: Chocolate cake with mint custard.

Anyone who’s anyone will remember this dessert from school! It was loved by everyone, well almost everyone.. you always got those fussy kids that didn’t like ‘green custard’ like its not the best bit.

Making up the chocolate cake was easy, making up the custard however wasn’t. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get it to taste right, it was never like they used to make it at school. Well, that was until I spoke to a dinner lady who gave me the big secret. It isn’t actually custard, more of a sweet white sauce flavoured with peppermint!! Three trials later and I have it perfected.

So, here’s what you need:

For the cake. 

-175g softened butter

-175g caster sugar

-125g self raising flour

-75g cocoa powder

-3 eggs

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the custard.

-300ml whole fat milk

-1 tablespoon of plain flour/cornflour

-2 heaped teaspoons of caster sugar

-Roughly 2/3 drops of peppermint extract (stick to two, add more if needed.)

-Roughly 3/4 drops of green food colouring (again, stick to a little, add more if needed.)

 

And here’s what you need to do:

First, we need to make up the cake. This is the very basic of chocolate cakes, you have to remember schools in the 90’s (as they are now) have limited funding for school meals, so for authentic tastes, we’re keeping it fancy free.

For most cakes, I tend to mix wet ingredients then add dry, but for some reason, this chocolate cake benefits from just having all ingredients thrown in a bowl and whizzed up. I told you we’re keeping it fancy free.

3

2

Once your cake mixture has been mixed, pop your oven on, preheat to 180 (fan). And grab a rectangle baking tray. Butter your tray and line the bottom with baking paper.

1

Now pour in your cake mixture and pop in the oven, middle shelf, turning your temperature down to 160 (fan) for around 15 minutes.

4

5

Once your cake is fully cooked (use the skewer in the centre method to test) take out of the oven and put aside.

6

Now its time to make up the mint custard. This method is very simple, however it is very easy to get it wrong. So here’s what you do. Pour about 50ml of your milk into a saucepan, on a medium heat until it starts to bubble. Very quickly put your table spoon of flour in and whisk it all together. You want it to create a clumpy milk/flour mix.

Very slowly, trickle the rest of your milk into the saucepan, whisking the entire time until you’ve used all of your milk. Tip in your sugar and continue to stir.

Very quickly, your sauce will thicken, you’ll notice straight away, so take the pan of the heat and continue to whisk. The hard part is done.

8

Now, add your peppermint extract and your green food colouring, again giving it all a good whisk. If your custard gets too thick, simply pour in a little more milk to thin out.

9

Your favourite childhood dessert is ready to serve…

10

11

…And devour. Relishing in the memories each mouthful brings back.

13

14

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

£30 Rustic farmhouse table upcycle.

As many of you know, i’ve spent the past couple of months updating the kitchen/dining area. As of last month it was “finished” But a recent trip to Ikea this weekend forced me to realise it wasnt. Nope, not at all. Whilst strolling through the kitchen section of our local ikea, I fell in love with almost every dining table there. This of course made me realise just how shabby ours looked in the newly decorated dining side of the kitchen. Re-cap below.

1

 

After spending at least ten minutes stroking a very beautiful “Farmhouse” rustic wood topped one, longing to have the space to fit it, I realised… I could just do what I always do, and make my own. We headed over to the table leg section (yes, this is a real section of ikea, its for those who want to mix and match their table tops with the bases.) but at £40+ for a very basic (kind of ugly) one, I planned to just up-cycle what I already had.

So, this is how it went.

First, I took a trip to Savoy, purchasing 4 of their 9″ wide, 1″ thick redwood boards (135cm long) I chose redwood, because I knew the finished table top would be being stained, I wanted the very best grain. Link for that is here.

£25 lighter, I headed home and got started. First things first, dismantle the old table top from the table base.

3

 

Ready for step two. Painting. I popped the old table top underneath the table legs to prevent messiness, easier than laying plastic sheeting. I decided on black. Bold, dark, beautiful black. As you can tell, there is already SO much white in this room, I just knew the drama of this table would add some welcome personality. I used Matt black emulsion (Yes, just a normal wall paint. And other than giving it all a quick wipe down I didn’t do any prep either. Naughty, naughty.) I just couldn’t be bothered having to go back out to buy table leg specific paint.

4

5

 

Now that the painting had finished -and was being left to dry, all that was left to do, was to make up the table top. But before any actual construction could be done, I needed to prep my planks. Giving all edges and corners a whip over with the sander. This not only made the edges less likely to dig in you, but it also gave a smooth finish & a lovely groove in between planks.

6

 

Prep done, now it was time to fix those planks together. To do this, I laid each piece of wood topside down on the floor, then screwed three blocks of wood (leftovers from these planks, chopped up) in three rows down the tabletop. I’m not really sure if that’ll make sense?! but there’s a picture here to help you understand.

7

 

One thing I had to do with this, is make sure the rows of planks stayed inside the circumference of the table frame. (I did remember and the end result was that the top slotted perfectly into the frame. I popped a couple of screws back through from the frame to the top to secure, and viola!

8

 

Last on my list for this project was to stain. I knew i wanted a lovely warm rich colour, but not as dark as the old one. Which brought me to ‘Golden Oak’ by littlefair’s,  also from Savoy.  I have used this stain before, so I knew it had a lovely finish, it also goes on so smoothly (I used a paintbrush.)

photo-16-11-2016-13-59-51

9

 

Layering on two light coats, until I had the exact colour I wanted.

10

 

It was everything I wanted it to be!

11

12

 

I had a little root around the internet, once i’d finished. Just to see how much a ‘ready made’ table like this would set me back, here’s what I found.

£295 - Etsy.

£295 – Etsy.

 

£449 - Home & Furniture

£449 – Home & Furniture

 

And mine in comparison, cost:

£25 – planks

£7.95 – wood stain

£0 – Black paint (I already had that in.)

Total cost: £32.95

 

17

I finally managed to find one of those 3-in-1 light fixtures as well… after months of searching, I finally picked on up from Ikea for £4!! Quite the bargain, I’m sure you’d agree. Though they need some more faffing around with, i’m not completely happy with those shades, nor about how they are actually hanging. But i’ll get there.

16

14

13

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

Autumn staple: Jam roly poly

You all know by now I’m a sucker for dessert, extra points if its nostalgic. So obviously a recipe for Autumn staple: Jam roly poly, just HAD to be put up on here. I can’t believe it took me so long to be honest. Its a firm favourite in our house, though I have to admit I have been known to just pull one of Aunt bessies finest out of the freezer. *Shame on me!* I think it was the suet that always stopped me from just making up my own, its never something I just have in.. Well for a while now, its something I make sure to always have in, if its not making up steamed puddings, its going in dumplings! it is stew season after all. Anyway, less about stew. Jam poly poly is SO simple to make, its a ‘shove all your ingredients in a bowl’ recipe. The longest part is the cooking, but even then you just leave it to do its thing. so no real effort. And at the end you get to smother a deliciously sweet dessert in warm, creamy custard. The whole thing is best devoured by candlelight, whilst the rain batters against your windows. Oooh Autumn. I do love you.

Anyway, heres how you can make it too.

 

Here’s what you need:

-250g self raising flour.

– 50g cold butter

– 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

– 50g suet (contrary to what you’d think, shredded beef suet from the supermarket is fine.)

-150ml full fat milk,

-1/2 jar of jam, flavour of your choice. I’ve gone classic with raspberry.

-Custard/ice cream to serve with.

 

1

 

And here’s how you can make it. 

First, put your flour, cold butter, and vanilla into a blender and pulse together until there is no more solid pieces of butter remaining.

2

Next, pour your flour mixture into a mixing bowl, adding your shredded suet and milk.

3

Use a knife to combine everything together. You want it to be quite a sticky dough.

4

Now its time to prep for putting your roll poly in the oven. First, place two racks into your oven, on the bottom place a large baking tin half filled with boiling kettle water. Put your oven on 180 (fan) and close the door.

11

Next, lay out two pieces of tin foil. You can do this with them side by side, or just crossed over like I have. then place over a piece of baking parchment.

5

Sprinkle a dusting of flour over your parchment, before dropping your dough down. Give it all a good roll out until it’s roughly the thickness of a £1 coin, maybe a tiny bit thinner.

6

Now, slather over your jam, using the back of a spoon to spread. The key to getting this pudding right, is jam, lots of jam. The dough is quite a heavy suet pudding dough, so it needs lots of fruity -sweetness to balance that out. If in doubt wether you’ve put enough on, always put more on.

7

Once you’ve finished the last step, you can now roll your pudding up. Because you rolled your dough out on greaseproof paper, you’ll find this fairly simple. But to be safe just roll it slowly. Giving all the ends a good pinch together when you’ve finished.

9

Next, fold your paper/tinfoil up, scrunching the edges together to seal. You don’t want to ‘wrap’ the roll poly up. It will expand when cooking. So just loosely pull the pieces together, leaving lots of room inside the foil. Also it helps to make sure all the edges of your foil are sealed, this will keep the steam in and help your pudding rise better.

10

Now, pop it in the oven, on the shelf above the tray of water, for roughly an hour. Its not something that will need to come out of the oven straight away, so if you like, once your hours up, you can simply turn off your oven and leave until your ready to serve.

13

Serve when you’re ready.

14

15

Slather in custard, and enjoy.

17

The perfect pudding for any cosy Autumn night.

20

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Home life project – November edition.

This months Home life project, was all but forgotten about, until 11am on Sunday morning, I was slogging it out at the gym when i realised. Ooops. In my absolute defence though Izzy picked up some sort of Sickness bug on Friday, so the entire weekend has been spent cradling her and trying to get her to nibble on toast and sip water. Not really HLP worthy.

Anyway, I did manage to grab a few images, but not enough to actually link up to the home life project linky. But I thought i’d post them anyway. There’s only four.

 

So there we are. Not my best HLP. But I WILL do better next month, especially since the Christmas decorations will be up… Hello twinkly light backgrounds!

Here’s the link for Novembers Home life project, here you can find people that actually remembered to have a go this month.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.