Category Archives: Lifestyle

The best scented candles for Christmas

November 22, 2017

The best Christmas scented candles | These Four Walls blog

Even if you’re not ready to put up the Christmas decorations yet, it’s never too early to start getting into the festive spirit. As I mentioned yesterday, the welcoming glow of candlelight is a vital ingredient for me at this time of year, and there are plenty of scented candles which evoke the joys of mid-winter – everything from silent, snow-dusted forests to warming spices. Here are a few of my favourites…

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A simple Christmas

November 21, 2017

A Simple Christmas | These Four Walls blog

Christmas is suddenly just around the corner (is it just me, or has this year flown by?) and I’m in the process of putting together lots of festive posts for the coming weeks, all based around the theme of ‘A Simple Christmas’.

For me, this time of year is about slowing down and enjoying little pleasures: frosty morning walks, cosy afternoons by the fire, laughter-filled feasts with family and friends, the wonderful aromas of pine needles and mulled wine filling the air… With that in mind, I’m taking a less-is-more approach to Christmas – no glitzy decorations or throwaway presents, just lots of festive foliage and flickering candles, with a focus on natural textures and muted colours.

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Our wedding

November 13, 2017

Our wedding | These Four Walls blog

Despite my normal camera-shyness, I’ve been longing to share some photos from our wedding back in May. I’ve had to wait until now because, excitingly, it was featured on a couple of wedding blogs and I wasn’t allowed to post anything beforehand, but now I’m free to reveal all! And for anyone planning their own wedding, I’ve added a few tips that we picked up along the way.

Chris and I both wanted our wedding to be elegant but also relaxed and intimate, and that set the tone for every decision we made. Being the minimalist that I am, I was also keen to avoid anything fussy or overly formal.

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Recipe | Smokey bacon, carrot & lentil soup

October 30, 2017

Recipe | Smokey bacon, carrot & lentil soup | These Four Walls blog

With the clocks going back, the evenings growing darker and the weather getting chillier by the day, I’m craving comfort food at the moment – and what better than a big bowl of warming soup?

The latest seasonal recipe from Kym Grimshaw of Bristol-based food blog On the Plate is just the ticket. I normally find carrot soup a bit too sweet for my liking, but here Kym has paired it with smokey bacon and lentils for added flavour and a bit of extra bite. It’s incredibly quick and easy to make, and it tastes absolutely delicious. Just add a big chunk of crusty bread (smothered in butter, of course), a snuggly blanket to curl up under and a good book, and voilà! The perfect autumn treat.

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Foraging in the Forest of Dean

October 18, 2017

Foraging in the Forest of Dean | These Four Walls blog

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days, but I’ve been in southern Sweden, discovering the wonderful design, food and scenery of the Skåne region. More on that to follow soon, but first I have a find from home turf to share with you: beautiful Forest of Dean hotel Tudor Farmhouse.

The Forest of Dean is only an hour north of Bristol, but for some reason I’ve never spent much time there. So, when Tudor Farmhouse asked if I’d like to join a small group of bloggers and journalists (including the lovely Lottie from Oyster & Pearl) for one of their autumnal foraging breaks, I jumped at the chance to explore the area. I soon realised I’ve been missing out. This sprawling oak woodland – the oldest in England – is utterly magical, with mysterious glens, twisting tree trunks, haunting mine ruins and roaming wild boar. It’s said to have inspired the works of Tolkein, and more recently it’s been used as a location for the Harry Potter films.

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How to create a terrarium with Fiskars

October 2, 2017

How to create a terrarium with Fiskars | These Four Walls blog

As you might have gathered from some of my previous posts, I love plants. The only problem is I’m not actually very good at caring for them, and my low success rate when it comes to keeping greenery alive has put me off trying anything new. So, when I was invited to join a group of lifestyle and design bloggers at a terrarium-building workshop with TV botanist and author James Wong, I jumped at the chance.

The event was organised by Fiskars, one of the world’s oldest companies, which was founded in Finland all the way back in 1649. It’s perhaps best known for its iconic orange-handled scissors, first designed in 1967, but it also makes a huge range of gardening tools.

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Recipe | Chilli sweetcorn fritters

September 29, 2017

Recipe | Chilli sweetcorn fritters | These Four Walls blog

For me, few things say September like juicy, sun-ripened sweetcorn. When my brothers and I were children, buttered corn on the cob was one of our favourite seasonal treats – we used to love opening those foil-wrapped parcels, still hot from the oven, and munching the golden kernels inside as melting butter dripped down our chins. We even had special corn-shaped skewers to stick in the end, though they didn’t stop us from making a total mess of our clothes and the table.

Sadly, dodgy orthodontic work during my teens means I now struggle to eat corn off the cob (and whole apples – they make my teeth move!), so sweetcorn fritters are a handy substitute. This version from Kym Grimshaw of Bristol-based food blog On the Plate is super-easy and adds a spicy kick with chilli, coriander and cumin. Just pair with eggs and smashed avocado, and voilà – a quick and delicious early-autumn brunch or supper.

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Recipe | Nduja, pepper and bean stew

August 25, 2017

Recipe | Nduja, pepper and bean stew | These Four Walls blog

The latest recipe from Kym Grimshaw of food blog On the Plate is classic comfort food with a spicy twist. It’s made with nduja, a fiery pork sausage from the Calabria region of Italy which has quickly become one of my favourite ingredients. I love its rich flavour, its soft crumbly texture and its versatility – you can spread it on toast, top pizzas with it, or use it as a base for stews and sauces. Here, it adds a wonderful kick to a hearty yet super-easy supper – perfect as balmy summer evenings give way to the chill of autumn.

Nduja is becoming widely available outside Italy, but if you can’t get hold of it then Kym tells me you can use cooking chorizo instead. The resulting dish will still be super-tasty, but it won’t have quite the same depth of flavour as the nduja version.

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A visit to Kilver Court in Somerset

August 17, 2017

A visit to Kilver Court in Somerset | These Four Walls blog

Living in Bristol, I’m lucky enough to be within easy reach of Somerset, one of my favourite English counties. There’s so much to love about it: the vast horizons and bird-filled wetlands of the Levels, the pretty harbour towns and grand old piers of the coast, the rolling hills of the Quantocks and the Mendips… But no matter how many times I visit, there always seems to be somewhere new to explore.

My latest discovery is Kilver Court, a designer outlet village on the edge of Shepton Mallet, which I visited on my way down to At the Chapel a couple of weeks ago. I’d actually driven past it several times over the years, but I’d never stopped to have a proper look – I’d just assumed that it would be like any other outlet village: packed, chaotic and full of flashy brands that just don’t appeal to me. How wrong I was! It turns out Kilver Court is an outlet village with a difference – several of them, in fact.

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Recipe | Cherry Bakewell overnight oats

July 28, 2017

Recipe | Cherry Bakewell overnight oats | These Four Walls blog

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m not really a breakfast person during the week. Despite the old adage that it’s the most important meal of the day, I tend to grab a smoothie and go, rather than sitting down to eat anything like I should. But this recipe for overnight oats from Kym Grimshaw of Bristol-based food blog On the Plate might just persuade me to break my bad habits.

Firstly, it’s easy-peasy and takes no time at all – you just bung everything in a jar, leave it overnight, and it’s ready by morning. Secondly, it’s delicious AND healthy, with a lovely creamy texture and a big dollop of juicy summer fruit. Finally, it’s inspired by cherry Bakewells, and as I grew up near the Derbyshire town of Bakewell where the classic almond and jam dessert supposedly originated, it seems appropriate. Just don’t ask me the difference between a Bakewell pudding, a Bakewell tart and a cherry Bakewell, as I have absolutely no idea…

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