In a mission to make our house feel like a home, I have been shopping and have an exciting Home Haul to show you..

home haul, dunelm, homesense

On my birthday a couple of weeks ago, myself and Mum went on a shopping spree to Dunelm and Homesense. I received money for my birthday and decided I wanted to buy some home accessories to make the house more cosy. As my birthday is only a couple of weeks after Christmas, I don’t really need or want much for myself and have been wanting to buy stuff for the house for a while but have never got round to it, or know what to get to be honest. Finding inspiration and different looks online has become a new hobby.

Quite often I like to browse Instagram and Pinterest for Home Inspiration and watch other videos doing a home Haul. I have recently got into more interior posts. Ranging from house renovations to adding a soft furnishings like a throw to the sofa. I love browsing other people’s pictures and getting ideas and thinking more out of the box.

We only brought our new corner sofa from DFS the beginning on January and love the comfort from all snuggling on the huge sofa. We only had our previous sofas a year, but we have struggled getting comfy and as they were two seaters, it was hard to get comfortable. The corner sofa now, is perfect for families. This is the small version but it is so huge and perfect for our needs. We wanted grey this time too, previously we had green. I had seen numerous pictures of grey, blush pink and copper together and adore these colours.

The sofa came with matching cushions, but I wanted to brighten the sofa up and make more feminine and add extra comfort. I opted for fluffy cushions and found the most amazing blush pink Mongolian wool large cushion in Homesense. Mum brought me this as an addition for my birthday present. I am obsessed with my cushion. It compliments the grey beautifully and is perfect for the large corner section and as duck feathers the cushion is extremely comfortable. I decided to order online at TK Maxx matching smaller cushions to spread along the sofa.

For the lounge I brought a collection of small items in a Home Haul, such as an artificial succulent which adds colour to the sideboard. Homesense is amazing for candles, they have such a large collection. I went for a Mountain Air candle in the sale when I went back again with Antony. The candle is a double wick, and grey colour wax with a copper lid. Perfect for the colours of the lounge. The fragrance is an aftershave type scent, not too overpowering but leaves the room delicately fragranced.

I recently uploaded my first Home Haul on my YouTube channel which you can see below the items I purchased in more detail. If you like my video then please subscribe, it would mean the world to me

 

I can’t believe how just a handful of decorative items added to a room can make the house feel so much more cosy. You know when you play The Sims and add extra decorations to their homes and it will lift their mood, I am feeling the same.

We were lucky when we move to our home in 2016, as our house was decorated in neutral colours and we have the perfect blank canvas. We are going to be decorating this year and I will document the changes. Long term we want to look at extending to make more room and possibly converting the garage.

For now though, having a Home Haul has been productive and certainly added a home feel to our house. Plus this has given me a new hobby going on the search for new items, prints, and frames.

Have you recently purchased anything for your home? Have you plans to decorate this year?

Stacey

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I was challenged by Panasonic to do a post showing food prep tips and how we save money with our food shopping. For this challenge I chose to shop at Aldi. Read on for some of the meals we managed to make last week. See here for an excellent range of Panasonic microwave oven. I particularly like the look of the ovens that boast Turbo Steam.

 

Aldi Food Haul

Normally I will do our weekly food shops online using Tesco, mainly as I get clubcard points and it is easy to plan and not go over budget. For this challenge I decided on going to Aldi. We have a newish store about 15 minutes away which I popped in recently for a top up shop and was so impressed at the quality and prices. This occasion I didn’t have a plan of dinners and went freestyle as I went round the store. I also done some stocking up for Christmas and Half Term in addition to food for meals. This came to a total of £77.07 and has lasted us 2 weeks for dinner as a family of four point two children.

I try to make ingredients go into different meals to be cost effective and less waste. Some tips and examples of ingredients I can make go further and use on multiple meals. I try to plan this when food planning. This is the base of me deciding which meals we will have for the week. Chicken I find extremely versatile and can be made to go in so many meals.

  • Sweet Potatoes: Chips, Wedges, Sweet Potato Dahl, Soup, Jacket Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato Mash, Crisps
  • Chicken: Chicken Nuggets, Chicken and Leek Puff Slices, Chicken and Stuffing Sandwiches, Chicken Curry, Risotto, Casserole
  • Bacon: Risotto, Chicken wrapped in bacon, Macaroni Cheese, Omelette, Quiche, Carbonara

These ingredients are in most of my weekly shops as they are so versatile and can make so many meals. A good tip of making meals go further is go on a health kick, pack it out with salad. This way you use less main meal which means the meal will go further. If possible I try to do leftover boxes, wether these are for lunch or for freezing for another day. Again this eliminates the waste and makes more meals. If I am using white potatoes and have a few left I will make a mash for a lunch or one of the kids in the freezer. One of my favourites is to add tinned tuna and salad cream to the mash.

 

On working days with work and picking up children for childcare we are commuting for a good hour until we arrive home. Then is the rush of walking the dog, homework, spellings, bathtime, children in bed and cooking dinner so we tend to have quicker meals on days we are both working. Rowan goes to nursery and Josie goes to after school club which they have a tea meal and a cooked school/nursery lunch so both tend to just have a snack when home.

Non working weekdays I have found it easier to sit the kids down earlier for their dinner and we will have ours when Antony is home or after the kids are in bed. Then we make sure to eat as a family weekends. Below I have listed some of the meals we had from this shop:

Thai Chicken Stirfry

As we don’t normally go to Aldi we went for some different meals than I would normally plan as a treat. First up we had Thai Chicken Stirfry (£2.99). The Stirfry kit contained chicken and vegetables plus a Thai sauce. The chicken was quite big chunks which to make go further I cut these smaller. Then I served with Microwave Rice which I had in the cupboard. This meal took me under 10 minutes to prep and cook and was so filling and went down well with the hubby.

Aldi Thai Chicken

Rosemary and Garlic Lamb Chops, Parmentier Potatoes and Asparagus in Bacon

Next I done Lamb Chops in Rosemary and Garlic (£3.49) with Parmentier Potatoes (£0.90) with a side of Asparagus (£1.35) wrapped in Streaky Bacon (£1.39). I only used a few rashers of bacon and the rest went into more meals. Considering I done this on a worknight, again it only took 25-30 mins from prep to finish. This was no doubt my favourite meal. The lamb was done to perfection. I chose to oven cook these rather than grill and smoke out the house.

Chicken Wrapped in Bacon, Double Cooked Roast Potatoes and Sweetcorn

Another meal which was on a non working day was one of our favourites as a family. Chicken (£5.35) wrapped in Bacon. This was the same streaky bacon used previously. The extra chicken we used to make chicken nuggets. With this meal we had roast potatoes and sweetcorn, the kids had homemade chips and beans. For the childrens dinner I cooked their chicken first. Josie wanted bacon on her chicken like us. Rowan has trouble chewing so I just done him chicken, he shares his chicken with Bibi the dog and Pickles the cat as they are huge sized chicken breasts. The potatoes I used for the chips went on to make our roast potatoes and the rest went on for a tuna mash for the following day.

I cooked ours for Antony coming home whilst the kids ate their dinner. I had previously parboiled the potatoes which I forgot to set a timer and ended up over parboiling. So being a clever housewife, I still roasted them then a few minutes before serving I cut them up and sautéed them with some Parmesan. Another quick dinner trick, cook frozen roast potatoes and do the same as above once cooked. You can really spruce them up to make a scrumptious accompaniment to your meal.

We also have planned Sweet Potato Dahl and a hard boiled egg side which makes enough for dinner, lunch and a frozen couple of batches. Gammon Steaks with homemade sweet potato chips/wedges and fried egg. We will also have Risotto which is brilliant for left overs, I always use Parmesan and will use the last of the bacon and frozen leeks from the freezer. I also brought soup mix which I pack out with red lentils also used in the Sweet Potato Dahl to make this go further. Overall I was very impressed with Aldi and will certainly be going again.

I enjoyed trying different meals and was amazed at the price difference. The quality of the fruit and vegetables was amazing. This was a plus from online ordering as you can choose the ones you like the look of. As with Primark and Homesense, Aldi is on my Wishlist for sites that I wish done deliveries.

Do you plan your meals? Have you any tips for meal prepping like a pro?

Stacey

 

*** Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All words and pictures are my own.
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