Friday, 29 August 2014

Cooking On A Budget - Chickpea & Lentil Coconut Dahl

Ever since I started juicing I have given up eating meat. I still cook meat for the family but I'd like to introduce more vegetarian recipes into their diet, so I've been busy looking for tasty meals that they will enjoy, that are on a budget. I love chickpeas, lentils and Indian food, so this recipe is perfect. The kids love it too, even my fussy teenager and Hubby who doesn't like spicy food. It is really mild so if like me, you like more of a kick to it then add a finely chopped chilli. This recipe is super quick and easy.

Ingredients - Serves 6 - Approx £1.50 per person.
  • 1 x 400g tin lentils
  • 1tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove, crushed
  • 3tbsp tikka curry paste
  • 2 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin reduced fat coconut milk
  • 200g Spinach
  • 1 Lemon, juiced  


1. Fry the onion and garlic with a dash of olive oil for a minute or two in a large pan. 
2. Stir in 3 tbsp of your curry paste and cook for a few minutes, stirring into the onions & garlic.
3. Add the lentils and chickpeas.
4. Stir in the coconut milk.
5. Bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes.
6. Stir in the spinach, season and add your lemon juice. Serve with brown rice & naan.


Helen and Camilla’s Credit Crunch Munch. This month hosted by maison cupcake

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Philips SpeedCare Steam Iron Review - The Steam Through Sundays Challenge

I must admit ironing is not my most favourite of household chores. I find it far too time consuming when I'd rather be outside doing something fun with the family, so when Philips set me a challenge to 'Steam though Sundays' by swapping my regular iron for a Philips SpeedCare, which would save me enough time to have a family day out on Sunday, I jumped at the chance to take part. I do love a good day out.  

The Philips SpeedCare, is a steam generator iron with a 1.2L water tank and maximum steam ready within 2 minutes, and it claims to cut your ironing time in half! How could I pass up on a challenge that could potentially give me more time to spend with the Family. Besides, I've never actually owned a steam generator before so I was keen to find out if they really are better than a regular iron.

The iron itself is attractive. Its main colour is purple which appeals to me and it is surprisingly light in weight, I expected it to be much heavier but it doesn't weigh much more than my old iron. To be honest the reason I have never bought a steam generator iron is because I thought it would be too big and bulky to store but it is actually quite compact and stores away neatly in my cleaning cupboard.

I really like:
  • Refill Anytime - I don't have to wait for the iron to cool before I can refill. A big time saver
  • Safety Lock - The iron has a safety lock on the main base which stops the iron moving off the base.
  • Calc Clean System -  Cleaning & descaling the iron is really easy with a light sound 'clean reminder' so no chance of any nasty scale stains on my clothes.
  • Steam Pressure - It has powerful steam pressure of 140g/min which means effortless decreasing.
  • Vertical Pressing - I can steam iron items that are hanging, great for my blazers and coats.
  • Steam Ready in Two - I love that it heats up for steam in two minutes. Great for my sewing projects which requires me to be back and forth on the iron.

Bottom Line - What Do I think? I love it and I will never go back to a regular iron again. I have ironed loads of stuff since receiving the Philips Speedcare, including a pair of long, heavy curtains which became crease free in no time and I found it particularly great when I ironed my sewing projects as I could have the iron set up all day and just flick the on/off button between cutting and sewing. Because the iron heats up so fast, it saved me lots of time. Big thumbs up from me!

What did I do with the time saved on ironing? Well, as my ironing sat neatly pressed it left me some spare time, so we spent the day in London with the Family visiting The London Bridge Experience & Tombs. Having lunch along my favourite spot on The Thames and spending quality time away from the ironing board was so much fun. The London Bridge Experience was not only really creepy (great for the teenagers) but interesting too, as we learnt all about the history of London Bridge and what life was like in London during the history of the bridge. My extra time saved from ironing was well spent and the kids loved our day trip.

The Philips Speedcare Steam Generator Iron is on special offer at Ideal World for £99.99

*We were sent a Philips SpeedCare Steam Iron free of charge for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are always honest & unbiased.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

B&W Photography Project - Our Ancestors Home

I'm really into 'family history'. Not sure if it's because I was raised in the Mormon church, and genealogy is something that everyone from church does or it's just because I enjoy knowing where our ancestors come from and what they did. It fascinates me. 

A couple of years back we went to visit the place where Hubbies family once lived. A tiny village in Essex called Stisted, it is full of English charm and tranquillity and we all felt a huge connection to the place especially as we entered the church where Papa Syders Great, Great Grandparents were married and his Great Grandmother was christened. We even spoke with a local who remembered the Syders in Stisted. It blew me away.

Anyway, my B&W photo this week is of the family home of my Husbands Great Grandmother. The house that she was born in, sits in a pretty spot overlooking the church. It is truly gorgeous and I imagine a lovely place to have been raised.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Home on A Budget - Build An Airing Cupboard

My house is quite small. I'm not complaining because I love living here, I love my little old coastal house with its original 1930's doors and art deco fireplace. It feels more like home than any house I have ever lived in during my twenty five years of marriage, but I do lack storage and having an airing cupboard is something I really miss since downsizing. I'm always on the look out for space saving ideas so when Hubby suggested building me an airing cupboard over the stairs I jumped at it. We are yet to add a door or maybe a curtain, but it is great having a proper cupboard for my bed linen and tablecloths instead of having them shoved at the bottom of my wardrobe. I love it.

Hubby began by framing the cupboard and the interior shelving with 3x2 stud work that he bought from a local builders merchant for around £1.70 per piece for 2.4 metre lengths. He then added slated shelving, which was a roll of old bed slats. He found a left over piece of plasterboard from a previous job in his shed and he used that to box the cupboard in.

Voila, An airing cupboard on a budget!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow

As our hot summer begins to cool down, I wander around the garden and admire the blooms that are left. I still have a few Petunia's, Lobelia's and Geranium's in their pots, once looking so vibrant, they now look as though they are struggling to survive. The Sedums however, are thriving and so are my Japanese Anemones which tells me that Autumn is well on its way. I must admit I am enjoying the cooler weather


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Gallery - World Photo Day

The Owl And The Girl

I'm such a photo addict and I'm often accused of being a little obsessive and excessive as I snap away, often taking ten shots of the same picture. The reason I take so many shots of the same photo is because of photos like this. I have ten of these photos but only one of the owl looking straight into my Granddaughters eyes. It tells me a story of curiosity, from both the owl and my Granddaughter. Both just as intrigued as the other.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Black & White Photography Project - My Special Place

I took this photo back in 2008 when I lived along the coast in North Devon. I had just started blogging so my photography obsession had just started to take a hold. This is my favourite spot in the whole world and I would sit here every day, taking our youngest Daughter straight from school. It was a place of reflection and calm and I always insist that North Devon helped to soothe my grief after losing Mum. It is a special place and it changed my life.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

My Himalayan Honeysuckle

Himalayan honeysuckle is one of my favourites in the garden at the moment. It has an oriental look to it with long hollow bamboo stems and clusters of burgundy flowers that hang like bunches of dark red grapes.

Quite invasive, it has claimed my summerhouse but I'm reluctant to cut it back because I like how it hides my little retreat, giving me the feeling that I'm completely hidden away once I step inside.

To be honest I had never seen this plant before, until about five years ago when my neighbour passed me a cutting over the fence. I had no clue what it was but planted it anyway and it has been such a joy to have in the garden. It has even self seeded a couple of times in other parts of the garden. I love it. 



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

At Home With The Syders

This is how I like our home to be. Full of friends and family and if there can be a campfire and marshmallows in the middle of them all, then I'm in heaven.

I love my garden. It isn't perfect, in fact this year it has been a bit upside down while I change things around. But, I jump on any opportunity I get I like to entertain out there. These photo's show exactly how I'd like people to think 'At Home With The Syders' really is during the warmer months and during the winter cosying up around the Tv while a fire roars in the background. Bliss.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Uncommon Goods - A Review

I love filling my home and hideaway summerhouse with quirky items. To find a new business who sell items that are a bit different is something that really appeals to me. I know my friends and family appreciate gifts that are unusual, a thoughtful gift that is hand crafted or personalised usually goes down very well. I know I love to receive those type of gifts. 

Uncommon Goods is a New York based company, founded in 1999. They are passionate about providing their customers with unique designs that have been hand crafted in harmony with the environment. Products that are kind to animals and people. They supply the customer with unique personalised gifts, gifts for women, baby gifts and gifts for men.

Uncommon Goods appreciate artists, they respect them as a valued workforce paying them 50% above minimum wage. Half of what they sell is made by hand and a third of their products incorporate recycled and/or upcycled materials. My kind of company. I just love their ethos.

In their words; "At the core of our company is a great respect for the integrity of the creative individual and the belief that it is our responsibility to use our business to impact the world in a positive way."

I was sent a beautiful hand crafted wall hanging, lovingly made by husband and wife team Gerren and Morgana Lamson (Satchel & Sage). Made in Austin Texas, the image is silkscreened by hand onto a sheet of walnut-stained pine. It is truly gorgeous and I totally adore it. A pretty, romantic quote, it's meaning "The path to love may lead you along unexpected trails."  so simple, yet so special. I really like that I can read a little about the artist. A very nice touch.

*I was sent a hand crafted wall hanging free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have received no financial reward. My opinions are completely unbiased and honest.


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