Picking a new kitchen floor

The kitchen is one of the rooms in the house where I spend a lot of time. I love cooking and baking and I have a big kitchen with lots of space. It has a light airy feel with white units and a wooden ceiling. The space is often filled with clutter as I am cooking and in the corner of the room the ironing pile mounts, waiting for me to tackle it at the weekend. Unlike cooking ironing is not one of my favourite jobs.

KitchenThe kitchen is filled with memories. I remember my son helping me cook when he was younger, proudly showing off the cakes he made. It was the room where my son met our dog for the first time, we hid him in the kitchen and sent my son in to get something. He walked in, saw the dog and just stopped still in surprise. They have been great friends ever since and Eddie is a big part of our family.

EddieRecently I noticed that the floor was starting to become a bit worn. It is not surprising as the kitchen gets a lot of use and we all walk though it on a regular basis. The dog goes out into the back garden though the kitchen and often comes in with muddy paws when it is raining. I have been thinking about getting a new kitchen floor and thought that either stone effect vinyl flooring or wooden effect flooring would look nice. Vinyl is easy to clean and hard wearing so is ideal for a kitchen floor.

Kitchen Floor



I am having difficulty deciding which style floor to go for. I have had a good look and narrowed the choice down to four different styles. The wooden style floor matches the ceiling so I know that the colour would work. I am not sure if the same style on the ceiling and floor would work or if it would make the room look smaller. I also picked a stone effect floor in a light brown. Again it is the same colour as the ceiling but the stone tiles are different and I love the pattern. I really like the way the stone effect tiles look and chose another two patterns which are a contrast. I like the black tiles but I am not sure how they would work with the white cupboards. My other choice was white stone look tiles which are also nice. Which do you think would look the best? It would be nice to get some help in deciding.

Fortunately there is no rush and while I decide I think I might do some more baking. A cup of tea and a raspberry and pecan scone may help me make a decision.

Raspberry and pecan sconesThis post was written in collaboration with Carpetright and I baked the scones myself.

British Street Food Awards, Newcastle

I love attending events that involve food and when I found out that the northern heats of the British Street Food Awards were happening in Newcastle I went along. The event was taking place in the Boiler Shop in Newcastle, which hosts the monthly Boiler House Steamer Events. The British Street Food Awards involve four regional heats where various street food traders from the region cook up their signature dish. Two winners from each region are chosen, one by public vote and one by a guest judge and they go though to the final heat in London. The northern heats were celebrating the best street food from Scotland and the North and I was looking forward to finding out more. British Street FoodEntry into the British Street Food Festival was £5 which included a drink voucher and a token allowing you to cast your vote for the best food. Sharps Breweries were providing the bar and there was also a secret bar for those in the know. I was lucky enough to find this bar but that is another story.

Sharps Secret Bar We wandered around having a good look at the food stalls on show before we made the all important decision about what to eat. Newcastle was well represented with stalls from the Fat Hippo, Papaganoush, Scream For Pizza, Claw Hide and Riley’s Fish Shack. To add to the mix there was Kukoos from Bradford, Bangwok from Leeds, Fire & Salt BBQ co, Bangers and Bacon, both from Manchester, and the Pickled Porker from York. If you fancied a dessert Crema Caravan from Edinburgh or Ginger’s Comfort Emporium from Manchester could oblige.

British Steet Food Festival British-street-food-7 British Steet Food Festival British Steet Food Festival British Steet Food FestivalAs you can see the choice of food was difficult, there was so much on offer. My son decided to try a pulled pork slider from the Pickled Porker. I think he was rather taken by the ferret in a flat cap and the little china pig on display on the counter.  The slider was pronounced delicious.

Pickled PorkerPickeled PorkerFor dessert he tried Crema Caravan which did a selection of different flavours of crème brûlée. He chose the original flavour and was delighted when a blow torch was whipped out in order to brûlée the top. The dessert was gorgeous, rich and creamy.

Crema CaravanaBritish Steet Food I chose a wrap from Papaganoush but was hungry so I didn’t take a photo. It was lovely, filled with flavoured salad and smoky meat. We debated trying an ice cream from  Ginger’s Comfort Emporium but didn’t in the end.

Ginger's comfort emporiumThe winner of the northern heats of the British Street Food Awards was Riley’s Fish Shack. When I first arrived they were not quite set up and then there was a really big queue so I didn’t get to try them. I really liked the sound of their mackerel wrap. I did spot them at the Jesmond Food Market when I visited so will have to pop back there next month to see if they are there.

Riley's Fish ShackWith plenty of food, drink and music the British Street Food Awards was a lovely day out. I shall look forward to seeing who wins in the final.



Out and About July Round Up

I can’t believe it is August already, the Summer is flying past. Luckily we had some sunny days in July which gave everyone the chance to get out and about. It looks like everyone had some interesting adventures which I really enjoyed reading about.


Image Credit: The Diary of a Jewellery Lover

Mel from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover had some exciting adventures when she went on a California and Vegas road trip. Her trip bought back memories of my visit there years ago and it was lovely to see up to date pictures of some of the places I remember from them. The elephant seals on the beach were just as I remember. She has some great tips for places to visit so pop over and have a read.

Eileen at ET Speaks From Home had some lovely days out with her family. First she visited Lego Explorer at the Birmingham Sea Life Centre. This looked like a lovely day and her children had great fun trying to find the lego creations hidden in the marine displays in order to become an official Lego Explorer.

Lego Explorer

Image Credit: ET Speaks From Home

Eileen then went to the JCB Maize Maze at the National Forest Adventure Farm. The maze is made entirely of maize and in the shape of a JCB digger and involves three miles of paths. I bet that is great fun to explore.

JCM Maze

Image Credit: ET Speaks From Home

Eileen also found the time to visit Drayton Manor. Her family had a lovely day exploring all the new rides and visiting the zoo. I have never been to Drayton Manor but it does look like a great day out.


Zoe at Splodz Blogz is always out having exciting adventures. This time she took us up The Shard to see the view. It looks spectacular and well worth the trek. I loved the fact you could see HMS Belfast clearly, somewhere I would love to visit.

Image Credit: Splodz BlogzTo complete her adventures in London Zoe took a ride on an inflatable boat on the Thames. It looks great fun and I am sure it was a thrilling ride. It is also a lovely  way to see a different view of London and take in some of the famous landmarks.

Image Credit: Splodz Blogz

Image Credit: Splodz Blogz


Claire at Yet Another Blogging Mummy was also active getting her sons out riding their bikes and finding out about the Balance Bike Championship Series.

Image Credit: Yet Another Blogging Mummy

Image Credit: Yet Another Blogging Mummy


Cheryl at Madhouse Family Reviews went for a lovely stroll along the prom at La Panne in Belgium. It looks a lovely beach and there was plenty to discover, from statues to tightropes to walk on and friteries or chip shops. The day was finished off with a visit to the ice cream parlour and some lovely ice creams.

Image Credit: Madhouse Family Reviews

Image Credit: Madhouse Family Reviews

 All About Eats has been very busy getting out visiting places this month. She paid a visit to Amble’s Harbour Village which is somewhere I want to visit soon. It is still being built and it is interesting to see a glimpse of what it will be like when it is complete. She finished the day with a lovely lunch at the Coquet Tea Rooms.

Image Credit: All About Eats

Image Credit: All About Eats

 All About Eats also visited Tynemouth and took some lovely shots of the beach with Tynemouth priory overlooking it. She also dropped into Tynemouth market and bought some gorgeous cupcakes from Ellie’s Cupcake Kitchen. I haven’t been to Tynemouth market for ages and must visit soon.

Image Credit: All About Eats

Image Credit: All About Eats

Finally All About Eats popped along to Morpeth on market day discovering some lovely food stalls where she got some delicious preserves and macaroons before stopping for tea in Micahs Tea Rooms. It looked like a lovely day out.

Image Credit: All About Eats

Image Credit: All About Eats

Galina from Chez Maximka had a lovely day out at Witney Carnival. With a range of colourful floats, pipers, pirates and mermaids there was plenty to see as the parade went by.

Image Credit: Chez Maximka

Image Credit: Chez Maximka

I managed to visit two lovely places this month. First I explored Newcastle Castle and found out a lot about the history of Newcastle. It is a really interesting place to visit and we spent a while looking around before we reached the top and found some gorgeous views across Newcastle.

The Black GateI then visited Souter Lighthouse in South Shields which was the first lighthouse to be lit using electricity. It is a really atmospheric place to visit and going inside is like walking back in time. The lighthouse can be seen along the shoreline standing proud at the top of steep cliffs.

 Souter lighthouse

Out and About Linky

The out and about linky is a linky for places of interest you have visited, restaurants you have eaten out at, days out with the kids or holidays. Anywhere that gets you out and about. It is co-hosted with Chez Maximka followand stays open until the end of the month. If you have been anywhere recently why not link up? We love to find out about your adventures.
Rules of the linky

You can add up to three posts per month to the linky below. Please make sure they are no older than three months old and feature somewhere you have visited.
Tweet your link using #outandabout, if you include @ali991 and @maximka25 we will retweet for you.
Do pop along and comment on a couple of other posts in the link up and share the love.
We would love it if you could add the #outandabout badge to your post so that other bloggers can find us.

Your posts will be tweeted at least two times during the month and added to the out and about pinterest board

Dragons and Fairy Dust

A bedroom makeover

When we moved into our house it was fully decorated and we decided to live with the decor while we settled in. It was not really our taste. The bedroom was yellow which was bright and cheerful, but not very restful. For me a bedroom should be a soothing oasis of calm where you can relax and get a good nights sleep. Recently we redecorated and chose a colour scheme that was much more soothing. We chose to use two types of wallpaper, blue at the bottom and cream with a blue design at the top. To separate the two we used a blue patterned border. On the wall is a print from our honeymoon in Italy, it is a picture of Florence and it goes perfectly with the wallpaper. It also acts as a reminder of a lovely holiday exploring Italy. The look was completed with blue curtains and matching blue bedside lights. I think we created a lovely restful feel to the room. What do you think?

BedroomThe one thing that prevents the room being a perfect retreat from the stresses of life is the bedding. Our bed covers have seen better days and sadly our bedlinen is looking rather mismatched and worn. Finding two pillowcases that match is difficult these days and it makes the room look untidy.  As I discovered when I used a throw to add a new look to my spare room a room can be given a makeover quite cheaply. In this case adding new bedlinen is a simple way to update a room. You can add the wow factor to a room by using a brightly coloured duvet or bedspread or create a calm feel by matching the duvet colour to the existing colour scheme. Cushions can be used to add colour accents to the bedding and create a cosy atmosphere. They make the bed look inviting, suggesting you to lie down and linger for a while. My room was long overdue a new look and I was delighted when Yorkshire Linen offered to help give my room a boost. I had a browse to see what might match my room and these are the selections I came up with.

Dream Bedding


An important part of choosing sheets for me is to choose a cotton mix. Cotton is lovely and cool against the skin and more importantly keeps you cool on hot days and warm in the winter. Polyester sheets tend to stick to the skin. I choose two bottom sheets in plain white cotton and decided to add the colour accents with duvet covers. I wanted to keep the calm feel of the room rather than adding a bold statement so chose two different duvet covers, a grey spotted one and a blue one. This allows me to create a different look and feel to the room by changing the covers but both match the colour scheme and keep the room restful. I finished the room by adding a Elvie Duck egg cushion as I felt the pattern added a touch of interest. In total the sheets came to just under £75. For two different bedroom looks I think that is money well spent and I should be able to get a relaxing and restful nights sleep. What would you choose to give your bedroom a different look?

I am taking part in a blogger challenge and will receive the products in return for writing this article, my opinions and home decoration are my own.

My Blogging Best Friend and National Friendship Day

National Friendship Day is a day worth celebrating. As you go through life you find many friends. Some of these have been friends for years and you know that when you see them you will just pick off where you left off. I have two friends from my school days who are like this and when we meet up we chatter for ages. When I started blogging I gained a number of good friends. I have never met these ladies but we support each other online. I am sure if we got together we would have a great chat. When Lands’ End asked me if I would like to surprise my best blogging friend by sending them a gift from their range I knew instantly who I would pick. Zoe from Splodz Blogz inspired me to start my blog in the first place. It seemed only right that I pick a treat for her.


Image Credit: Splodz Blogz

Before I tell you which item I picked for Zoe let me tell you a little bit about her. Zoe is a firm believer that life is all about the journey and loves going on adventures. From small adventures like going geocaching or taking a long walk in her local area to big adventures like going on a tour of the USA on her motorbike, she is always active. She regularly shares her adventures on our out and about linky and it is a pleasure reading about what she gets up too. Whilst I would never dare do a bungee jump (eek) I do share her love of getting outside and finding places to explore locally and beyond. So what item did I pick for Zoe?

Lands End

I decided this Women’s Storm Raker Jacket would be the perfect choice. When you are out on adventures you need a waterproof jacket to protect you from the rain. This jacket looked ideal, with zips and buttons and a hood it looked like the ideal jacket to keep Zoe dry while she is out and about. It is on the way to her and she should receive it soon. I hope she likes my choice.

Are you celebrating National Friendship Day? How are you going to surprise your friends?