Category Archives: Home

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

Like most people, the heart of my home is my kitchen table. We eat together around it, we do homework and our work at it, we paint, we draw, we sew, we argue and we make up. Our kitchen table gets a lot of action and it shows. Our beautiful wooden table is scratched and worn. Three years ago when the boy was a toddler we got a wipe clean tablecloth from Wipe Easy Tablecloths and it was a godsend and a real game changer.

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

This spring I decided it was time to give my kitchen table a little update. So I turned once again to Wipe Easy Tablecloths. I wasn’t sure what to go for, my kitchen is light, airy and neutral. Virtually any pattern of tablecloth would work well, I wanted one that wasn’t too busy, but with a bit of a pattern. 

I went on their website and managed to narrow it down to just a few choices, after giving it some thought I plumped for the confetti oilcloth tablecloth. It has pretty pastel polka dots on a neutral background. I had hoped it would look lovely in my kitchen and brighten the place up a bit for spring.

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

The tablecloth I liked is 135cm in width, so I just had to measure our table and order the length I needed. It was really easy to order using the website and a roll containing my tablecloth was delivered the next day. 

I love my new tablecloth. It looks really smart and it’s brightened up the room a treat. I don’t think you can beat an oilcloth tablecloth for everyday use. With a house full of messy boys and the constant rigours of family life, it really protects the table underneath. Cleaning up after crafts, painting or just a messy dinner is so much easier too.

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

Wipe Easy Tablecloths have a huge range of oilcloth, PVC and vinyl designs to choose from. You can easily find a tablecloth to suit your style and they’re really reasonably priced. Ours cost just £33 which is great value, especially as I’m expecting to have it on the table for several years.

I’m very happy with the design I’ve chosen. I think it’s light, bright and just the right amount of informal for our busy family kitchen. What do you think?

Note: I was sent this tablecloth for review purposes from Wipe Easy Tablecloths. All images and opinions are my own.

Review: Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set

Scented candles are something I use a lot at this time of the year. To me there’s nothing better than filling my house with festive fragrances in the run up to Christmas. I’m a little bit fussy about what I choose though, too often cheaper candles can be quite sooty and not scent my home effectively. I’ve been trying out the Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set and I’m impressed with these little wax cubes.

Review: Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set

The Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set comes with a stylish ceramic wax warmer and 16 little packets of scented wax. The wax warmer is really contemporary looking and I’ve decided to put it in my whiter than white bathroom, because it blends in really well.

The wax warmer comes in two parts, the bottom is open on two sides and has a place to put your tealight. The top part of the warmer fits on top and you just put the wax cubes in the small basin on the top and the melt pretty quickly, releasing their lovely scent.

The Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set includes two little packets of each of the following festive fragrances –

  • Christmas Time
  • Christmas Spice
  • Robin Red Breast
  • Cocoa & Log Fire
  • Frankincense and Myrrh
  • Mistletoe & Wine
  • Festive Tree
  • Snow

Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set

I melted one little packet and it was enough to fragrance the upstairs of my house. The “throw” on these little wax cubes is quite impressive. The throw of a candle or a wax melt means how it smells when it is lit and how far the scent travels within the house.

I think they would make a lovely present for candle lovers (I ordered one last night as a gift for someone). I think the little wax cubes are very sweet and there are probably hundreds of different scents to choose from on the website. So whatever fragrance style you enjoy, there’s bound to be something to suit you.

Review: Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set

I’m very taken with my Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set and I will enjoy using it over the next few weeks, before thinking about changing my wax to something fresher and more spring like.

The Pick n Melt Christmas Gift Set is currently available for £12 on the Pick n Melt website

I was sent this gift set for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Five ways kitchen towel can keep your house clean!

Kitchen towel is a real household essential. It’s great for mopping up spills and for cleaning up after children and pets. It’s so essential, a roll of kitchen towel is one of the first things we pack when we go on a self-catering holiday. Here are my five ways we use kitchen towel to keep our house clean – it’s so versatile we wouldn’t be without it!

Five ways kitchen towel can keep your house clean!

Damp dusting – I’m allergic to dust, so when I do dust my house I have to damp dust. To me damp dusting makes more sense than just moving the dust around. To damp dust, just dampen your kitchen towel and wipe over the dusty areas, then you just dispose of the dusty kitchen towel. No dust has been flicked up around the house, I’m not sneezing and everything looks clean and tidy.

When I’m cleaning windows – Kitchen towel is great to use for cleaning your windows with. Just damp them and use with some window cleaning spray – there will be no streaks just shine.

Fat fighters – Tipping cooking fat and grease down the sink is a big no-no. If your sink or drains get blocked it can cause all kinds of problems. To combat this problem, I put a couple of sheets of Plenty Kitchen Towel in my pan (once it’s cooled obviously) and leave it for a few hours, the towel soaks up the fat. I then just put the soaked kitchen towels in the bin. No fuss, no mess, no blocked drains.

Condensation killer – If your windows suffer with condensation in the winter, one old fashioned but excellent tip is to dab of washing up liquid onto your kitchen towel, wipe it all over your dry window and that will help to prevent condensation build up. 

Bye bye cobwebs – If you’ve got high ceilings or hard to reach places to dust, slightly dampen a piece of kitchen towel, put it on the end of a sweeping brush and carefully dust the cobwebs off your ceiling or hard to reach corners. The damp towel will stop the dust from floating down onto your face and your corners will be cobweb free. Result! 

Five ways kitchen towel can keep your house clean!

Over on Facebook, Plenty and their hero Juan Sheet have got some great giveaways running for the first 12 days of December. Just answer the simple riddles each day to be in with a chance to win one of the Plenty #12DaysOfPlenty prizes. To enter, hop on over to the Juan Sheet Facebook page.

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DIY: Painting tiles – How to freshen up your home

Christmas is fast approaching and it’s the time of the year when many people are looking at their homes and thinking about a quick fix to spruce it up ready for filling the house with friends and family over the festive period.

THinking about painting tiles?

If you want to refresh your kitchen or bathroom, but re-tiling seems too expensive or time consuming, painting tiles can be an easy and cost effective solution. If done correctly, it can produce some impressively stylish transformations – here’s a guide guide to show you how.


The majority of tiles can be painted, however there are some which cannot. For example, it’s not recommended to paint tiles which will be exposed to running water on a regular basis. The high levels of moisture in showers or directly above baths means these aren’t the best environments for repainted tiles. However, if you’re simply trying to refresh an old splash-back on your wall, then painting tiles is the perfect solution.

painting tiles


Before you put a paint brush anywhere near your tiles, they need to be squeaky clean. A bit of elbow grease may be required to deep clean and de-grout tiles, because paints adhere better to surfaces which are spotlessly clean. Slightly abraded surfaces are also ideal for painting, so go over the tiles lightly with sandpaper before you start.


Using the right primer, such as Johnstone’s “Any Surface Primer”, is key when it comes to the success of your paintwork. It’s quick drying, it sticks to even the trickiest of surfaces to create a base for both gloss and satin finishes.


Here’s the fun bit – painting tiles in the stylish colour of your choice. Johnstone’s kitchen and bathroom paint comes in a range of shades, from pastels to bolds, which will completely transform the space.

Top tip: use masking tape to protect the surfaces next to your tiles – or the newly painted tiles themselves if you decide to re-grout.

Or if you’re looking to spruce everything up quickly with minimal fuss, you could look into getting a new acrylic splashback.

Have you ever painted tiles? How did it work out for you?

How we brightened up our home with a Litecraft Floor Lamp

It wasn’t until the clocks went back at the end of October that I really appreciated how dark my living room was, and that first night of early darkness was a bit of a shock to the system. Clearly we needed to make improvements to the lighting at home. Our old table lamp just wasn’t cutting it anymore, so we opted for a new floor lamp from Litecraft.

We wanted something stylish and contemporary without being too avant garde and challenging. I also wanted a light I could work under. Our old lamp had always been too dark to use to read by, or do any close work like sewing. I’ve known for a couple of years we needed something better, a light you can’t really see with isn’t really that helpful.

There were lots of different styles to choose from, but we thought this chrome tripod lamp with the mocha coloured shade would fit the bill. I think it strikes the right balance in my living room. It blends in well and looks at home, but it’s still an aesthetically pleasing lamp.

litecraft floor lamp

Ordering online was easy, the website was easy to search and navigate and my lamp arrived really well packed and wrapped in bubble-wrap. All we needed to do was screw the leg pieces together and put the lamp shade on. It took no more than a couple of minutes. 

The mocha shade really works well with the colours in my living room and importantly, you can see what you’re doing of an evening. The shade is well made, it’s not flimsy and it’s obviously made with good quality materials.

You switch the lamp on with a foot press switch, a chunky switch which lives on the floor. It is 151cm tall and the shade is 44cm in diameter. It’s a lovely, bright, clean and contemporary looking lamp and a fine addition to my home. I’m really pleased with it.

litecraft floor lamp

We’ve had the floor lamp in our living room for a little over a week now and the difference it’s made to us in the evenings is significant. We are no longer sat there with the “big light” on, the room feels much cosier, but it’s now much lighter, so much so I can now sit and read and sew if I want to. 

This beautiful floor lamp from Litecraft was £179, but I’ve noticed on the Litecraft website that it has been reduced to under £81 and delivery is free. I think £81 is a really good price for such a good quality light and lamp shade.

I’m as pleased as Punch and I know this will be a part of our living room for many years to come.

Note: We were sent this lamp for review purposes, all images an opinions are our own.

Review: Voluspa Maison Candle

As autumn turns into winter I like to fill my house with festive smells. Cinnamon and spruce are my go to scents at this time of the year. I think scented candles, especially in the run up to Christmas are a simple way of creating a cosy and festive atmosphere in the home. We were sent the Voluspa Maison Candle scented with spruce cuttings to put to the test, but what did we think?

Voluspa Maison Candle

The two wick Voluspa Maison candle comes in a beautifully decorated tin, so you can take it wherever you go.  The “Spruce Cuttings” candle is made from royal Colorado blue spruce cuttings, so when you light this candle the room is filled with an authentic spruce fragrance. The tin is also useful for keeping your candle dust free. I always find you can never adequately dust your candles, so a candle with a lid or cover is always welcome.

All Voluspa scented candles are made with without phthalates, parabens and sulfates. This lovely two wick scented candle is made from 11oz of coconut wax and has a burn time of around 50 hours.

Voluspa Maison Candle

The “Spruce Cuttings” Voluspa Maison Candle would be a lovely candle to have in the same room as your Christmas tree, enhancing its natural tree fragrance. The candle has a good throw – meaning that it fills the room fairly quickly with fragrance. I’ve had it lit downstairs this morning and I can still smell it upstairs. A good throw is generally an indicator of a good quality candle.

Voluspa Maison Candle

The Voluspa Maison Candle costs £20 which compared to other high end candles of this quality is good value. It’s made with high quality ingredients and the tin looks lovely and is the kind of thing I’d keep and keep bits and bobs in afterwards.

The Maison “Holiday” range includes several different festive fragrances including Cinnamon Ceylon and Copal and Visions of Sugar Plum, as well as a selection of different candle types including gift sets.

Voluspa candles are available on their website and from a range of retailers including House of Fraser.

Review: Finding Dory Bedding from Character World

This summer, one of the big kids movie hits was Finding Dory. We’ve had a lot of chatter and excitement in our house about this forgetful fish since the film was released. Imagine his little face when I handed him some Finding Dory Bedding from Character World! 

Back when I was a child there was no such thing as character bedding. My bedding was plain and fairly unexciting. Now I really love character bedding and I really enjoying picking out new sets for my son. I always think that new bedding is a quick and fairly inexpensive way to give a bedroom a fresh look. 

This new Finding Dory Bedding really works well with my son’s bedroom. We painted it last year with a dark blue feature wall which we stuck glow in the dark stars on. The blue works with most things and this aquatic themed bedding is no exception.

Finding Dory Bedding

The Finding Dory Bedding is brightly coloured and good quality, the bedding feels soft, not stiff like some bedding can be when you first take it out of the packet and it is made from 100% polycotton. This bedding is also reversible so you are able to choose one of two designs to have as your bedding, which the small boy loves.

One side has got a picture of the Finding Dory characters and is mainly a blue colour. The other side of the cover is a white background with different coloured fish. I’d actually have the shoal of fish side as my bedding. It’s colourful and fun.

The pillowcase has “Making a Splash” written on it and it works with both sides of the bedding.

The boy couldn’t wait for us to make his bed up with the new bedding and got into bed as soon as he could so he could enjoy it. I was delighted with this accidental side-effect – an early night!

In addition to the Finding Dory Duvet Set, we were sent a Finding Dory Hooded Towel (which is perfect for round the swimming pool on holiday) and a lovely Finding Dory cushion to go on his bed with him.

Finding Dory Bedding

The Finding Dory bedding from Character World has been a big hit. I’ll be looking out for other character bedding from them, because the quality and colours are excellent and it washes really well. You can’t really go wrong.


Disclosure: We received the Finding Dory bedding for the purposes of writing this review, all opinions and images are our own. Contains Amazon affiliate links.

Review: Funky Polychrome Light from Paladone

Now that the nights are drawing in I’ve realised that I need better lighting in my office at home. So when Paladone offered to send me a Polychrome light to review, I knew it would be put to good use. 

The light is a stylish light bulb shape with different mood settings. The light is powered by micro USB, although you can put batteries in it too. The clever thing is, when you plug it in to the USB it overrides the batteries, so they last a bit longer. It also means that when you unplug the USB you’re not suddenly plunged into darkness.


The light has different mood settings. Press the the light down once and the colour changing light begins to change through a sequence of colours. If you find a colour you’re particularly fond of, you can press it again and it will stay on that colour. Press the light again to turn it off. Simple.

This isn’t the kind of light you can use to read under, but it does create some lovely, calming ambient light. I have it on a side table next to my desk which my son can see from his bed at night, he’s told me that watching the light helps him to fall asleep. 


Although it’s not a light for working with, I do enjoy having it in my work room. It does cast some lovely shadows and it has helped to increase the light levels in my office to a level I can work with. Every little helps.

It’s a really innovative light, stylish and a real talking point. It would work just as well in a child’s room as a nightlight, as in a contemporary office space or a teenager’s bedroom for example.


A video posted by HodgePodgeDays (@hodgepodgedays) on

The Polychrome light costs £19.99 and is available directly from the Paladone website and from selected retailers. I have a discount code for the Paladone website which is valid until 31st October 2016. For 20% off enter SHOP20 at the checkout.

Note: I was sent this light for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Back on my feet – the physio who changed my life

Three years ago I was having rehab with a remarkable physio. I’d spent 8 months flat on my back waiting for, having and recovering from two spinal surgeries and he was helping to teach me to live my new normal. Nothing would ever be the same again, but he gave me the confidence to be a better version of me, if not physically but at least mentally. He was one of the many stars of the NHS who helped me rebuild myself again.

My physio encouraged me to not think about what I couldn’t do anymore, but how I could do things differently. He appealed to my problem solving, determined side and he really believed in me. Over a period of weeks he had me doing normal things most people take for granted. Hanging the washing out, loading the dishwasher, pushing my small son to the end of my road and back in his pram and sitting for incrementally longer periods. It was all exhausting, but the few months I spent under his care cemented the foundations for how I now live my life.


Although I don’t allow my disability to define me, every physical move I make is carefully calculated and internally risk assessed. The numbness in my feet and legs means I have to focus extra hard when walking down the stairs, I can’t really lift anything heavier than a couple of tins of beans and taking a bath or a shower means lots of health and safety checklists have to be scrolled through in my brain before I get the shower gel out.

Currently my bathroom doesn’t have any adaptations, but I know that at the very least it could do with a couple of sturdy grab handles. Not being able to feel the soles of my feet (everything feels like I’m stood on a sponge) means that baths and showers pose a slippery threat I won’t be aware of until it’s too late.

I know that when the time comes for us to upgrade our bathroom that a walk in shower with a seat would be very useful. There are lots of companies such as Premier Bathrooms who offer stylish bath suites and walk-in showers these days which I’ll be checking out when the time comes.

There’s nothing I can do to get the feeling back in my feet and legs. I know that rest helps if it suddenly gets worse, but how I am right now is the best I’m going to get. I’m pleased that my fantastic physio worked hard with me and pushed me to the point that if you didn’t know my medical history, you would probably think I was completely fine. And I am completely fine with that. 

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Taking Gas Safety seriously: protect your family

When I was pregnant with the small boy, I like most expectant mothers started nesting. It wasn’t enough for me to decorate the nursery, we had everything painted. The bathroom ripped out and replaced and a new boiler fitted. We hadn’t planned to have a new boiler, it’s just that on our annual gas safety inspection the Gas Safe Engineer condemned both it and the gas fire. Oh dear.

Since then I’ve been especially on the ball when it comes to booking our annual gas safety check. Every summer we get our boiler and central heating system checked over and serviced. Summer may seem an odd time to get it done, but I’d rather ensure that everything is safe and sound while we’re not really needing central heating, than wait until winter kicks in before finding that our boiler is kaput. 

It’s not just your boiler which needs an annual check and service, but all gas appliances in your home, such as gas fires, ovens and hobs and anything else you may have in the house. Although you may not store your gas BBQ or any camping gas in your home, and they are unlikely to fall within the remit of your annual gas safety check, you should take care to ensure they are stored safely and that they are regularly checked over for damage or wear and tear. 

Horrifying stories about carbon monoxide poisoning appear too regularly on the news for my liking. I often think how vulnerable we were when I was pregnant and the boiler was spewing out harmful gases we couldn’t smell, and may never have known about until it was too late.

to ensure the gas safety of your home you should –

  1. Get your boiler and gas appliances checked annually.
  2. Ensure they are checked by a qualified Gas Safe Engineer.
  3. Get a Carbon Monoxide Alarm and fit it, it could save your life.
  4. If the alarm sounds, turn off your gas supply and seek professional advice.
  5. If there is a problem call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999

Having your boiler and gas appliances checked annually by a qualified gas safety engineer is a simple thing you can do to ensure the safety of your family in the place they should feel the safest – your home.

gas safety

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