Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Friday, 15 July 2011
I'm a huge fan of picnics and of taking advantage of good weather to sit with friends and family, have a natter and watch the world go by.
Like most things in life a tiny amount of preparation can ensure you have a wonderful time and can relax knowing everything has been taken care of. Here are my tips for stress free perfect picnics.
Pack plenty of plates, cups and cutlery. If its for a special occasion take china tea cups. Drinking pimms out of a pink china cup makes you feel like you are back in childhood playing with your dolls and makes something simple become something luxurious (do pack them well though or there will be tears before bedtime)
Pack a rug but also take some scatter cushions and if you have room a parasol and stand. This will ensure you can lounge around like something out of Manet's Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe (nakedness optional)
If your picnic is going to go through to early evening take some storm lanterns along or even just some jam jars with tea lights in. Your sunny hideaway will turn into a magical fairy garden in an instant.
Take a cool box for your wine and soft drinks, plenty of wet wipes, bug spray and suntan lotion and some entertainment, games, the papers, a sketch book, bin bags and a large floppy hat. Now you are ready for the perfect picnic.
Posted by Perelandra Beedles at 10:41
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
You will need:
Selection of plates
A 3 Tier cake stand fixing (these can be found on ebay and many online craft stores they usually cost about £6)
A fully charged cordless drill with a tile drill bit. This is important, as a normal drill bit will break your plates.
A tape measure
Probably the most time consuming part of the process is sourcing your plates. Charity shops, car boots and jumble sales are great for this. Remember the plates don’t have to match; in fact it can look prettier and more unique if they don’t. I always try and tie the plates together in some way whether it be a theme (birds, flowers or toile for example) or by complimentary colours but this is entirely up to you.
You will need a dinner plate for the bottom, side plate for the middle and either a saucer or teacup for the top. Be warned very occasionally if a plate has a hairline crack or is especially delicate it will break when you drill it so this is not a project to do with your grandmothers irreplaceable dinner service.
Make sure your plate is clean and dry. Take your tape measure and measure the diameter of the plate and use your pen to mark the middle. This will act as your drill guide.
Time to put on those safety goggles. Before I start I put a little bit of water in the plate to keep the drill bit & plate cold. Always drill your plate somewhere it won’t slip and where you are not going to drill into something precious underneath. A workbench is ideal but if like me you don’t have one of these put it on the grass in your garden. Slowly drill where you have marked the middle until you have gone all the way through. Repeat until all three plates have holes in the centre. It’s worth noting that the glaze on some vintage plates makes it impossible to drill through. When this happens just choose another plate.
Start with your bottom plate. Put your washers on and then poke the bottom screw into the plate. Put a soft washer on the topside of this plate and then apply the cake stand fitting. Repeat until all three fixings have been attached. For your top tier you can either opt for a small saucer or for a more Alice in wonderland feel put a china cup on top. Perfect for putting pretzels or lollypops in.
Hold the most magnificent tea part with your new cake stand taking centre stage.
Sunday, 3 July 2011
Once upon a time working from home was shorthand for waiting in for a washing machine to be delivered. Fine for a one off but impossible to do full time. Now with broadband, laptop’s, Skype and robots (ok I made that last one up) having a home office is fast becoming the smart way to eliminate time wasting travel and work in a more flexible way. Its practical, its cheep and for working mums its often an ideal way to continue a career in-between the tyranny of the school run.
Working from home may seem like the answer to all your prayers and swapping the inane chat of work colleagues for Woman’s hour is in itself a thing of joy but it’s worth remembering that the pros of working at home are also the cons.
Not having to leave the house may mean less time wasted on the dreaded commute (no more listening to the tinny beats of an overloud i-pod on the train or scraping ice off your windscreen at 7am on winter mornings) but it will mean you have to discipline yourself to ignore household obligations and get down to the task in hand. Procrastination in the form of the ironing pile is not unheard of and daytime telly has to become a no no. Watching the Wright Stuff is not “research” it’s skiving.
So how do you change your mindset from duvet dayer to office worker?
One of the easiest ways is to create a workspace that screams productivity. If you are lucky enough to have an entire room to devote to your office this is an easier task-keep all family life out as much as possible (no Lakeland catalogues nestling next to the report you need to read) and once the door is shut behind you consider yourself at work. Give yourself scheduled breaks and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by what next door is doing in the garden or by poking people on facebook.
If you are having to work from the kitchen table or in the space under the stairs (like Harry Potter with a laptop) try and ensure your working area is free of any other household clutter and invest in some file boxes so all paperwork can be neatly stored away. This will be your saving grace once the family come home and your “hot desk” becomes unrecognisable under that particular brand of debris, which can only be created by children. Like space junk but stickier.
Educating others that being at home is not the same as being available is possibly one of the greatest hurdles to overcome. You may find at first that friends think its fine to drop over for coffee -its not. You are not Starbucks despite what the squashy sofa and magazines strewn everywhere might suggest. Keep that kettle switched off.
Working from home does allow a certain sense of personal freedom and this can be harnessed to great effect-if you are having trouble with a particular problem or need to formulate a plan of action being able to step outside into the garden for a few minutes to clear your head can make all the difference and with no outside distractions you will be amazed how more efficient you will become. Try and remember to get dressed occasionally though-padding around in your dressing gown may be liberating to begin with but meeting clients wearing reindeer slippers may not give the right impression.
Copyright Betty Pamper 2011
Posted by Perelandra Beedles at 18:35