Category Archives: Lifestyle

Alfresco summer dining with The White Company

April 21, 2017

Alfresco summer dining with The White Company | These Four Walls blog

During the colder months, I often feel like I’m living life at a million miles an hour – racing from one weekend to the next, with the days in between rushing past in a blur of deadlines, meetings and paperwork. But as summer approaches and the weather warms up, I always make an effort to slow down and embrace little everyday pleasures: morning cuppas by an open window, lunchtime strolls, even a picnic every now and then.

As the evenings get lighter, one of my favourite treats is dining alfresco. There’s something about eating outside that makes even easy weekday suppers seem special, so as soon as work is done for the day, Chris and I turn off our screens and head out into the garden. There, we linger for hours over food and wine, listening to birds and planes soaring overhead, watching the light slowly fade from golden to rose-pink, and chatting about life, the universe and everything.

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Recipe | Artichoke, garlic & cannellini bean soup

March 24, 2017

Recipe | Artichoke, garlic & cannellini bean soup | These Four Walls blog

It’s a strange time of year, don’t you think? There are signs of spring everywhere, but the weather is still catching up. One minute it’s freezing cold and I find myself craving hearty winter comfort food; the next, the sun appears and I want to tuck into fresh, new-season greens.

Luckily, the latest recipe from Kym Grimshaw of food blog On the Plate is perfect for this in-between stage. It uses artichokes – a taste of spring, though the preserved ones recommended here are available year-round – and it’s warming and satisfying, with a wonderful hit of roasted garlic. It works brilliantly for lunch or supper, or as a starter – just add crusty bread and a glass of crisp white wine…

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Our engagement photos on the Cornish coast

March 7, 2017

Our engagement photos on the Cornish coast | These Four Walls blog

For a blogger, I’m rather camera-shy – I set up These Four Walls back in 2014 and I could probably count on one hand the number of photos of myself that I’ve posted since then. But I couldn’t resist sharing a few images from our engagement shoot with talented film photographer Louise of Taylor & Porter, who I recently interviewed and who will be capturing our wedding in May.

The shoot took place in February on a wild and windswept Cornish beach, almost a year to the day since Chris proposed. We chose the location because we both love spending time by the sea (such a wonderful escape from our busy city lives), and because its rugged beauty echoes that of Iceland, where we got engaged. It was a magical afternoon – Louise put us at ease from the moment we arrived, allowing us to relax and take in the incredible scenery around us: the crashing waves, the pristine sand, the glowing sun sinking slowly behind the cliffs.

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Recipe | Rhubarb & honeycomb porridge

February 17, 2017

Recipe | Rhubarb & honeycomb porridge | These Four Walls blog

During the week, I’m not really a breakfast person. I tend to wake up early, do a bit of blog work, and then grab a quick coffee or a glass of orange juice before dashing out to my day job. At weekends, though, it’s a different story. For me, Saturday and Sunday mornings are precious downtime, when I often laze in bed for hours with a good book. Delicious food is essential, of course, and so I’m particularly excited about the latest addition to my ongoing recipe series with Kym Grimshaw of Bristol-based food blog On the Plate.

This is porridge, but not as you know it. Here, healthy and nutritious oats are topped with a couple of added treats: zingy roasted rhubarb and sweet, sticky honeycomb (which is a lot easier to make than you’d expect, and can be prepared the night before). Over to Kym for instructions…

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Review | The Emma mattress

February 15, 2017

Review | The Emma mattress | These Four Walls blog

Chris and I have a dilemma which I’m sure many couples share: he sleeps on his front and prefers a soft mattress, whereas I tend to sleep on my back and prefer a firmer one. We’ve always ended up compromising with something in the middle, which means that neither of us is ever truly comfortable. So, when I was asked to review the Emma mattress, which is designed to suit every body type and sleeping position, I agreed straight away.

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Profile | Taylor & Porter

February 3, 2017

Profile | Wedding, portrait and editorial photographer Taylor & Porter | These Four Walls blog

When I first told a friend that Chris and I had got engaged, her immediate response was: “Oooh, you’re going to find choosing a wedding photographer really tricky!”. She was right. Doing what I do means I’m very picky when it comes to images and styling, and I spent ages trawling wedding blogs and photography websites in a bid to find the right person. Then someone suggested Louise of Taylor & Porter – one look at her ethereal, radiant and beautifully crafted work, and I knew the search was over.

Cornwall-based Louise specialises in wedding photography, couples’ and family portraits, branding and editorial shoots. Her images are incredibly inspiring and have been featured on wedding and lifestyle blogs numerous times – most recently a romantic and moody spread on Once Wed. I was instantly drawn to the way she captures light, atmosphere and detail, and the way her photographs tell a story. She also uses film – something which I’ve wanted to try for a while, but which I’ve always found a little daunting having started photography in the digital age. I chatted to her about her background, her approach, and her tips for those of us who want to give film photography a go…

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Recipe | Sausage & kale orecchiette

January 20, 2017

Sausage & kale orecchiette | These Four Walls blog

It’s time for the first recipe of 2017 from the talented Kym Grimshaw of food blog On the Plate, and I’m particularly excited about this one as it uses my favourite pasta: orecchiette.

I first sampled orecchiette (Italian for ‘little ears’) on Rome’s Piazza Navona at the age of 17, when I was travelling around Italy between school and university. It was served with butternut squash and grated almonds, and it was one of the tastiest things I’d ever eaten. I kept an eye out for it once I got back to the UK, but it was fairly hard to find back then. Luckily, it’s a lot easier to track down nowadays, and it has a wonderfully meaty texture that works brilliantly in hearty winter dishes. This one uses sausages and kale, and it’s delicious. Over to Kym for the details…

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A minimalist approach for the new year

January 6, 2017

A minimalist approach for the new year | These Four Walls blog

Does anyone else find themselves craving calmness and simplicity in January? As soon as the madness of Christmas is over, I can’t wait to tear down the decorations, clear out the clutter and focus on what really matters.

I’ve always been drawn towards minimalism and pared-back design, but this year I want to streamline my life as well as my home. My aim is to get rid of anything that I no longer need or love, and make more room – and time – for the things I’m passionate about. For everyone with a similar goal, here’s my plan – illustrated with a bit of minimalist eye candy for inspiration…

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Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas | These Four Walls blog

Well, what a strange year 2016 has turned out to be. On a personal level, it’s been wonderful – it started with a road trip around Iceland and a surprise proposal, and ended with a couple of exciting new projects (more on those to follow soon). On a global level, it’s been turbulent and troubling, and I can’t help facing 2017 with a twinge of trepidation.

Next year is going to be a big one in many ways – I’m getting married in May, and I’m planning some major changes which I hope will allow me to spend more time focusing on the things I’m really passionate about. In these increasingly dark times, I’m also determined to choose hope over hatred and do whatever I can to help counter the rising tide of intolerance and prejudice which seems to be sweeping the globe.

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Last-minute Christmas gifts

December 20, 2016

Last-minute Christmas gifts | These Four Walls blog

If Christmas has snuck up on you and you’ve suddenly realised that you’ve only got a few days left to buy any remaining presents, then you’re not alone. I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks that I haven’t taken much note of the date, and most of my friends and colleagues seem to be in a similar situation. But don’t worry: you can still pick up plenty of lovely last-minute gifts from my shop.

All the items shown here are available for Christmas delivery so long as you order before 22nd December. You can buy them right here by clicking on the images below, or head over to my shop page to browse the full collection. It’s brimming with home accessories, books, candles, bath treats and the like, all handpicked from some of my favourite Scandinavian brands and independent British retailers. The shop is powered by Showroom, so it’s safe and secure to use, and there’s full customer service on hand should you need it.

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