Shopping for bathroom accessories

A couple of years ago I got a new bathroom. I was lucky enough to win the suite and when I got the bathroom fitted I was really pleased with it. I had much more room in the bathroom and more storage space. The other day I opened the bathroom cabinet and the mirror fell off.  Luckily it landed intact so I was not cursed with seven years bad luck. The cabinet was old, it had moved with me from house to house and I was quite surprised it has lasted this long.  I managed to make a temporary repair to the bathroom cabinet with some sellotape and started looking for a new one. I also noticed that my bath mat was seriously worn, there were holes starting to appear. It seemed a good time to give my bathroom a new look with some bathroom accessories.

Bathroom Accessories

Luckily Homebase have a great range of bathroom accessories and I managed to find the perfect bathroom cabinet. It needs to be the right size to fit on the wall next to the window where space is limited. This restricts my choices. The double door mirror cabinet was perfect, not only did it fit in the gap it had enough space inside to store away perfumes and lotions. If I don’t have somewhere to put them away they take over the bathroom windowsill.

To replace my bathmat I found a striped bath mat in duck egg. I love the blue tones in this mat. Blue is a colour that works really well in bathrooms. It is the colour of the sea and sky, ideal in a room with connections to water. The bathmat is a good size as well, which is important as it stops my son getting water all over the floor when he has a bath. New towels are always a good idea, as they get older they get worn and lose their softness. Homebase have a selection of different sizes in a range of colours. I chose some face clothes, hand towels and bath sheets in blue which matched the bath mat.

One thing that has annoyed me for a while about my bathroom is that the string for the light switch does not have a light pull. I found a range of different light pulls and chose a wooden one that matches the door on the airing cupboard. This will make it much easier to find the light switch in the dark.

I also found a laundry basket in a nice shade of blue which looks like I can put a lot of laundry in it. The bin and toilet brush holder also matched as well as the soap dish. I am fed up with cleaning soap residue off the side of the sink so hopefully the soap dish will solve that problem. A set of scales will help me track my weight and I can find out of the slimfast challenge is working. My final touch was a wicker decorative fish which I thought would look nice hanging on the wall.

I think adding these accessories will give my bathroom a fresher feel as well as updating it for a reasonable price. It will also be nice to open the bathroom cabinet door without risk of being hit by a mirror! Does your bathroom need new accessories? What would you add to your bathroom, do let me know.

This post was written in collaboration with Homebase but the opinions are my own.

Vegetable pasta with butter and sage sauce

At the weekend we made a trip to the coast. There is something about the sea air that always makes me feel tired. A walk near the shore in the sunshine is rejuvenating, but as soon as you get back in the car tiredness hits and sleepiness kicks in. After a long day out the last thing you want to do is to cook something complicated. A meal that is ready quickly without much faffing around is ideal and this simple vegetable pasta with butter and sage sauce was perfect. It just involved a little chopping, a little frying, boiling some pasta and adding some sauce. The finished meal as well as being quick was bursting with flavour.

Vegeable pasta

I had recently been sent some Giovanni Rana sauces to use as a base of creating recipes, without using pasta. So far I have failed in that challenge, my first recipe was a chicken and bacon tortelloni salad. This salad is a taste sensation and perfect for wowing lunch guests. This second recipe also makes use of Giovanni Rana fresh pasta, creamy mushroom and ricotta ravioli from the Simply Italian range. I also used Gionvanni Rana butter and sage sauce to cover my pasta so all I had to do was warm it though. A simple no effort meal but full of taste.

giovanni rana sauce

For the vegetables in the pasta I chopped some onions, garlic, mushrooms and red and yellow peppers. I gently fried these until they were soft. Whilst they were cooking I placed the pasta in some boiling water for a few minutes. After draining this I mixed it with the vegetables and the warmed sauce.

Vegetable Pasta

The finished meal was quick, easy, filling and tasty. The sauce is gorgeous, lovely and creamy with a hint of sage bursting though. I served the pasta with a mixed side salad which was the ideal accompaniment. My son loved the meal as well and plates were cleared in no time.

Vegetable pasta

Vegetable Pasta with sage and butter sauce recipe

Vegetable pasta with sage and butter sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 onion
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 4 mushrooms
  4. 1 red pepper
  5. 1 yellow pepper
  6. Giovanni Rana mushroom with creamy ricotta ravioli
  7. Giovanni Rana butter and sage sauce
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Chop the mushrooms and peppers into small pieces.
  3. Gently fry until soft.
  4. Add the ravioli into a pan of boiling water and cook for three minutes.
  5. Drain and mix with the vegetables.
  6. Gently warm the sauce in a pan and pour over the pasta.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/

Ideas for using Giovnanni Rana sauce without pasta

When I received the Giovnanni Rana sauces I was tasked to create recipes using them without pasta. When I tried the butter and sage sauce I was struck by its lovely creamy taste and it struck me it would work perfectly with leeks instead of white sauce. I tried this theory out when I made a roast chicken for Sunday dinner, it was delicious. My husband commented that it was the best sauce ever.

chicken-sage-sauce-2It is much easier to just warm up and pour over a sauce when you are making a Sunday roast rather than making a white sauce from scratch. This one is so tasty it is ideal. It would also be lovely served with a leek pudding.

The Giovanni Rana  porcini mushroom and cream sauce just cried out for steak. I admit it is not the most imaginative use of mushroom sauce in the world but it was the perfect pairing.

Steak in mushroom sauceThe sauce was filled with flavour and mushrooms, just the way I like it. I cooked the steak with some onions, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and just poured the sauce over the top. It could be served with chips or salad for a lovely meal. The mushroom sauce would also be perfect in a steak pie, adding heaps of flavour.  I have a couple of other recipes using the sauces planned soon, but Galina from Chez Maximka has come up with seven lovely meals that use Giovanni Rana sauce. I love the look of the lemon sole in tomato and basil sauce.

I was sent the Giovanni Rana sauces and a voucher in order to create the recipes. My opinions are my own.

 

Chicken and Bacon Tortelloni Salad

One thing I love about warm weather is the chance to eat more salads. I love plates filled with different types of lettuce leaves, cherry tomatoes, diced carrots, cucumber and other vegetables. It is fun to experiment with dressings and create different tastes. Salads are so verstalie, they can be a light meal, a side dish or a filling and satisfying meal. It all depends on the ingredients, the weather and the time of day. I have experimented in the past creating a chicken and raspberry salad and my favourite side dish is a tomato vinaigrette salad.

Recently I created a new salad that was a revelation. The chicken and bacon tortelloni salad was a lovely mix of crunchy bacon bits, barbecue chicken, tortelloni pasta, salad leaves and tomatoes served with a ranch dressing. It was bursting with flavour and perfect for lunch on a sunny afternoon. It would also be an ideal side plate for a barbecue on a warm bank holiday Monday.

Chicken and Bacon Tortelloni SaladToretelloni is a stuffed pasta that usually contains cheese. I had recently been sent some gorgeous fresh pasta sauces and fresh pasta from the Gionvanni Rana range in order to create some recipes. Giovanni Rana is a legendary pasta pasta who is famed for his lovingly made ravioli and tortelloni from Verona. He has just revealed his new range of Simply Italian and Indulgence sauces which are crafted from authentic recipes. Choose from Tomato and Basil, Sun Ripened Tomato and Mascarpone, Pesto, Butter and sage sauces from the Simply Italian range and Porcini Mushroom and Cream or Creamy Carbonara in the Indulgence range. This week I will be showcasing a series of recipes using the sauces. Before I starting using the sauces I had to try the pasta and my salad contains Italian cured ham and cheese Gionvanni Rani tortelloni.

Gionvanni ranaThe salad is simple to put together but does require a little bit of cooking and leaving things to cool, so it is best prepared ahead of time. If you are feeling really clever you can make your own ranch dressing but I just used shop bought dressing. The pasta is easy to prepare, just boil a pan of water and drop the pasta in for around three minutes. Drain the water and leave to cool. The pasta is fresh so it is faster to cook and more tasty.

chicken and bacon saladThe bacon then needs to be cooked. I used pancetta but you can also use bacon rashers and snip them into small pieces. Fry the bacon gently until it is lovely and crispy and then place on some kitchen roll to absorb the fat and leave to cool. I must admit I cheated with the chicken and bought a pack of ready cooked chicken with barbecue sauce on the outside. If you want to prepare your own chicken would be lovely to dip the chicken in olive oil and roll in fresh herbs before roasting it in the oven. The chicken can then be shredded and the herbs would add a lovely flavour.

chicken and bacon saladOnce everything is cool the salad can be put together. I used a bag of mixed salad leaves, added some cherry plum tomatoes and mixed these with the chicken, pasta and bacon bits. The final touch was to serve with some ranch dressing. The resulting salad was delicious, the pasta worked perfectly with the bacon and chicken to make a perfect lunch. The fresh pasta was gorgeous and full of flavour, the filling of ham and cheese perfectly complementing the rest of the meal.

Chicken and Bacon Tortelloni Salad

Chicken and Bacon Tortelloni Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 400g chicken breast slices with barbecue sauce
  2. 4 rashers of bacon or 1 250g pack pancetta
  3. Pack Giovanni Rana Italian cured ham and cheese tortelloni
  4. Mixed salad leaves
  5. cherry tomatoes
  6. ranch dressing
Instructions
  1. If the chicken is not ready cooked roast it in the oven until it is done.
  2. In a pan cook the bacon until crispy, and leave to cool. Cut into small pieces
  3. Put a pan of water on to boil and cook the pasta for three minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
  4. In a big bowl mix together the mixed salad, cherry tomatoes, pasta, chicken and bacon
  5. Serve with ranch dressing
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
Link up your recipe of the week

 

Beef Fajitas with Guacamole Salsa

I love Mexican food, it is so easy to make and tasty. I have been experimenting quite a bit recently with different Mexican dishes, from Mexican party food for Cinco de Mayo and a lovely filling Mexican Chilli beef. One Mexican dish I do love is fajitas. I really like the way you can cook the meat, wrap it in a fajita and then add lots of different toppings to suit you. I usually have a range of different salad ingredients, salsa, sour cream and other toppings in dishes so everyone can add what they want.

Normally when I make fajitas I buy the ready made kits that contain everything. Recently Old El Paso got in touch and asked me if I would try their range of separates. These are not kits but a range of sauces, totillas, condiments and spice mixes that allow you to bring Mexican flavour to your meals in your own way. In order to test them out I decided to try making Beef Fajitas with Guacamole Salsa.

Beef fajitasNormally when I make fajitas I use chicken. Chicken fajitas are an ideal way to use up left over chicken from a Sunday roast and are really quick to make. Beef fajitas are just as tasty however and make a nice change. To make the fajitas I used three products from the Old El Paso range, tortillas, sour cream topping and garlic and paprika seasoning mix.

Old El PasoThe beef was cut into thin stips and marinaded in a mix of the Old El Paso garlic and paprika seasoning mix, lime juice and honey.  This made a very rich and tasty sauce. So tasty that my son commented that he really liked the sauce. Normally when I make fajitas I just use the spice straight from the packet but will definitely start combining it with other things in future. The beef was fried with red and yellow peppers and the marinade and was ready to put in the fajitas.

beef fajitasTo top the fajtias I made salsa. I chopped up tomatoes, avocado and red onion, mixed them together and added lime juice. This made a quick and easy topping that perfectly complemented the beef fajitas.

beef fajitasWhen topped with the Old El Paso sour cream topping the result was really tasty. I will definitely be looking at using these standalone Mexican products in future, it gives much more scope for experimentation.

Beef fajitasBeef Fajitas with Guacamole Salsa

Beef Fajitas with Guacamole Salsa
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Ingredients
  1. 1 old el paso garlic and paprika garlic seasoning mix
  2. 3 tbsp lime juice
  3. 1 tbsp honey
  4. 500g beef sirloin steak
  5. 1 tsp oil
  6. 1 large onion
  7. 2 red/yellow peppers
  8. 8 Old El Paso supersoft flour tortillas
  9. 1 bottle Old El Paso cool sour cream topping
  10. 1 medium tomato
  11. 1 avocado
  12. 2 tbsp red onion
  13. 2 tsp lime juice
Instructions
  1. Combine the taco seasoning mix with the lime juice and honey in a baking dish.
  2. Cut the beef into strips and add to the baking dish. Stir and leave to marinade for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  3. To make the salsa, peel the avocado remove the stone and chop into pieces. Peel and chop the onion and chop the tomato. Combine in a bowl with the lime juice.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the beef and marinade and cook until done. Remove from pan and leave to rest.
  5. Add the red pepper and onions to the pan and cook until soft.
  6. Place the beef back in the pan and cook for one minute.
  7. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 45 seconds.
  8. Add the beef to the middle of each tortilla, top with salsa and sour cream.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
 I was sent the Ol El Paso ingredients in order to make the recipe but my opinions are my own

Radox Creamy Range – Transform your mood

How would you like a simple way to change your mood, allowing you to feel calm, romantic, rejuvenated or pampered? Radox are offering a way to do just that with their new Radox Creamy range. Each product in the range contains two active natural ingredients specifically chosen to transform bodies and minds and they are bursting with fresh scents to lift and transform your mood. You can choose to feel calm, feel rejuvenated, feel pampered or feel romantic and each bottle contains the scents to help create the mood in your bathroom.

 Radox creamy rangeThere are four products in the range which offer a range of moods and fragrances, you are sure to find one that will suit you.

Feel Calm

Feel Calm lets you create a calming shower sanctuary. Blended with jojoba oil and soothing camomile it will relax you as you shower, soothing away tensions of the day.

SunsetI always feel calm when I watch the sunrise or sunset. There is something soothing about the way the colours spread across the sky. Each one is individual, some are red, some are golden and each is special. I love watching the colours get stronger and the shapes in the clouds as the sun hits them, then seeing it slowly fade away. Watching a sunset is a great way to relax and makes you forget your troubles.

Feel Romantic

Radox Feel Romantic contains romantic scents of orchid and blueberry will leave your skin feeling loved and remind you of romantic moments in your life.

VeniceIt makes me think of my honeymoon in Italy where we took a ride on a gondola. It is romantic being taken under the bridges, listening to the water lapping around you and feeling the sun on your head whilst looking at the beautiful buildings around you. One day I will visit Italy again.

Feel Pampered

Feel Pampered is a creamy blend of shea butter and ginger to keep your skin soft, supple and moisturised whilst making you feel special.

Whitley Bay LighthouseI always feel pampered when we take a trip on a Sunday afternoon and get dinner out. Whether it is fish and chips by the seaside or Sunday lunch in a country pub it is lovely to be with the family and not have to cook. It gives me a great feeling of contentment.

Feel Rejuvenated

The last in the Radox Creamy range is Feel Rejuvenated which contains orange oil and vitamin E to leave you feeling energised.

King Charles SpanielI always feel rejuvenated when I have been out walking with my dog. There is something about his enthusiasm, he loves to explore the undergrowth and if he sees a bird will happily chase it, then wonder how it flew away. We always discover new things when we are out and the exercise and fresh air makes me feel more alive.

Radox Creamy Range

I love the Radox Creamy Range, the scents are gorgeous and they add an instant lift to my mood. The products are kind to my skin and make it feel softer and moisturised. The products are available in most retailers RRP £2.15. Which of the range would you pick up and why?

I was sent the Radox Creamy range in order to take part in a blogger challenge and write about my experiences of feeling calm, rejuvenated, pampered and romantic. My opinions are my own.