Month: January 2017

Rocky Mountain Flapjacks (Starbucks Flax Bars)

Seeded flapjack recipe | Hello Victoria

My first job after high school was working at Starbucks. It was a pretty great job because the hours were good, the people I worked with were friendly, and you got an insane amount of free coffee per shift.

People have always raved about the Starbucks oat bars (flapjacks here in England), but there was another bar that they used to carry that was my favorite. The coffee shops where I lived used to serve what they called a flax bar (flax seeds = linseeds), which had all kinds of seeds as well as some great citrus flavor. I’m not sure, but I think it wasn’t available everywhere except maybe the west coast of Canada, because I can’t seem to find a copycat recipe anywhere!

Seeded flapjack recipe | Hello Victoria

So I did what any sane person would do – I read ingredient lists online for a company that used to produce them for the local Starbucks (they still make them for their own store). That way, I would know exactly which seeds they contained, and in what order (to determine quantities). Then, I took a flapjack recipe from a friend and altered the amounts of oats/seeds it contained, adding a bunch of citrus zest! (more…)

Shopping the Sunbury Antiques Market

Shopping the Sunbury Antiques Market | Hello Victoria

One of the things that Richard and I looked forward to doing after coming back from Greece (while we still were on holiday), was to visit the Sunbury Antiques Market. It’s a twice weekly market located at the Kempton Park Racecourse, and features over 700 vendors both inside and outside.

We’re both huge fans of eclectic spaces, filled with a mixture of antique and new pieces, and were hoping to find some furniture or accessories for our flat. One of the best and worst things about this flat, is that the woman who sold it left a few pieces of furniture behind; it’s great since we can take our time finding the right pieces (and the money to pay for them), but it’s also kind of frustrating as the furniture is bland and boring. We pretty much need everything for the flat – sofa, coffee table, rugs, dining table, chairs, bedside tables… you name it, we need it.

With over 700 stalls, we were hoping to at least find something to take home.

Shopping the Sunbury Antiques Market | Hello Victoria

Alas, we found only a few small items, no furniture. But despite our lack of finds, we still had a good day out in the rare English sunshine. There was so much to see – we didn’t quite realize just how big the market was until it just kept going, and going… and going! There was a huge selection of everything from antique jewelry to old farm tools, with a lot in between. I found an amazing little antique painting (like tiny), only to find out that it cost £250!?! I thought maybe it would be £50 but never imagined so much! (more…)

DIY Striped Doormat

DY striped doormat | Hello Victoria

Please excuse the photos, there is no natural light in our hallway, and I can’t really pick the carpet…

Now, as much as I can (and will!) change the inside of our flat to my liking, I’m not allowed to do anything to the common areas of our building. I wish. I would love to give the hallways and stairs a fresh coat of paint that isn’t cream, update the carpet on the stairs, create some sort of funky mail box system, and dress up the entryway… etc. etc.   sigh   daydreaming…

The only thing I can do, is add a cute doormat outside our front door (and a funky wreath)! I searched around for a while, trying to find something I could buy that I liked, but to no avail. The one doormat that I found and loved, was unavailable in the UK and too expensive to buy online. However, it was a simple striped design that I thought I could recreate.

Modern striped doormat inspiration | Hello Victoria Blog

Striped doormat inspiration via Houzz

I searched online for tutorials about painting your own doormat, and from what I could tell, it just meant taping off your design, and either spray painting or dabbing on paint with a brush. I ended up going with the latter to save myself having to prep an area for spray painting. (more…)

Visiting Lindos by Boat

The hillside town of Lindos, Rhodes | Hello Victoria

The hillside town of Lindos

Last post about Greece, I promise!

On our final day in Rhodes, we managed to book a day trip out to visit the town of Lindos by boat. We had tried to arrange the same excursion earlier that week, but it had been booked solid by the time we made up our minds to go.

Luckily for us, since our flight left late on our last day, we were able to pack first thing, check our bags, and spend the day in Lindos before our flight back to London. Seeing as how we would have had to check out early that day anyways, it worked out quite perfectly!

Boat trip to Lindos, Rhodes | Hello Victoria
I wish our boat looked like that…

Now, I will say, the whole ‘boat trip’ part wasn’t exactly how I imagined it would be. For some reason, when we booked it through our Thompson Cook hotel representative, I was imagining a small boat with like 15-20 people. No, no, no, it was a ferry of a boat with like 100 people, or more!

Not only that, but our bus group got there almost last, which meant that all of the seats out in the sun or on the deck, were taken. We ended up by a window below deck. Now, this suited Richard just fine, as he burns easily and wouldn’t have wanted to be out in the sun, but if I’m honest, I spent the first 30 minutes to an hour feeling kind of ripped off…

See, I had imagined the boat trip there to be one where I laid on the deck and got a tan, enjoying the warmth of the sun… not stuck inside. But, then that 30+ minutes turned into hours (who knew it took so long to get to Lindos?!) and before long people were dying to take our seats out of the blistering sun! Turns out being last meant we actually got the good seats (for those who dislike hours in the sun) (Me = cat laying in the sun rays through the window). (more…)

Making Sloe Gin

Making our own sloe gin | Hello Victoria

Now I’m not sure if it’s just because I’ve never been much of a drinker, or if it’s because it’s not very common in Canada, but I had never heard of sloe gin before coming to the UK. Apparently it’s something that lots of people enjoy around Christmas, as sloes usually ripen in October, and it takes a minimum of 2 months to make sloe gin.

Well, we’re doing things a little differently around here! I actually bought Richard 1lb. (454 g) of sloes on eBay for Christmas! He had been looking to make some in time for the holidays, but couldn’t get any for a reasonable price in the markets. I can’t tell you how fun it was to see him open it on Christmas morning (along with the swing top bottles), as he had been so confused up until that point. He didn’t understand why his present was living in the freezer…

Making our own sloe gin | Hello Victoria

Making the sloe gin is quite simple, and really only takes time. The sloes are meant to be picked after the first frost, to split their tough skins; as our sloes were frozen since they were picked, their skins had already split, but we pricked them with a toothpick anyways. Simply fill your sterilized bottles with the sloes, as well as a couple spoons of sugar, and fill to the top with gin. Shake up the bottle and store someplace away from direct sunlight for at least two months; turning it every day for a week, and then every week for at least 2 months. (more…)

Mushroom + White Wine Risotto

Mushroom and white wine risotto | Hello Victoria

I know that I should really be trying all of the recipes that I already have saved on Pinterest, but for some reason I keep adding new ones. I’m pretty sure we all have the same problem, no?

I found this recipe after racking my brain for something new to make for dinner – I had recently bought a box of arborio rice and been itching to finally try my hand at making risotto. Mushrooms are one of my favorite things to eat, and while I don’t enjoy drinking white wine (red all the way!), it does add a wonderful flavor to the dish.

The instructions for the recipe were really easy to follow, and worked out beautifully. I’m pretty sure that if he didn’t want to take some for lunch the next day, Richard would have finished the whole pot!

Mushroom and white wine risotto | Hello Victoria

The only things I changed were the amount of cheese I added (less than it called for, as I didn’t want to use too much expensive cheese!) and more mushrooms. I had bought waaay more than necessary by accident, but figured another cup wouldn’t hurt. (more…)

Old Town Rhodes

Old town Rhodes | Hello Victoria

One of the two day trips that we took while staying in Rhodes, was to the old town. A walled part of Rhodes set along the water, it’s the oldest inhabited medieval town in all of Europe!

Bougainvillea in Old town Rhodes | Hello Victoria

beautiful bougainvillea vines growing all over the place!

We spent the day roaming the streets (getting lost a few times), looking in the shops, and enjoying some halloumi and greek beer! (I’m pretty obsessed with halloumi, as evidenced by its constant appearance in my fridge.) I quite enjoyed some of the older architecture, as well as all of the bougainvillea growing around the city. (more…)

Installing a Plaster Ceiling Medallion

One night while discussing the flat, I mentioned to Richard that I thought it would look reeeaaally cool to have a ceiling medallion in the living room. Something that looks like it’s always been there, and then contrast it with a really modern chandelier. Surprisingly to me, he actually agreed! We both thought that it would tie in very well with our 1920’s building, and seeing as how they took out the original fireplaces etc. to convert this all to flats, it would be nice to add back some character.

We found our medallion at B&Q, and thought it would be absolutely perfect. It’s technically a few years older in style than our building, but it’s pretty close to being historically accurate. We really liked that it was actually plaster, rather than the plastic/foam ones you find most of the time.

Installing a plaster ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

The plaster, however, created some problems with installation that wouldn’t be there if we had picked a simple foam one. This thing is heavy!! Unlike the other kind, we had to actually screw this into studs while the adhesive cured.

Studs eh? In a converted building from the 1920’s? Good luck finding those, while missing all the random electricals… (more…)

First Days in Rhodes, Greece

Traveling to Rhodes, Greece | Hello Victoria

Now seeing as how Richard and I both had three weeks off from work, we didn’t spend the whole holiday painting! A week of that was more than enough, so we jetted off to relax a little on the Greek island of Rhodes.

When it comes to our vacation styles, we both enjoy visiting places with lots of cultural stuff to do… but this trip was all about doing nothing. Richard’s work means he sometimes has to go away for huge chunks of time (he was about to go away for 6 weeks), so we saw this as a great excuse to go somewhere and just relax in each other’s company.

what we woke up to each morning… sigh

Rhodes, as we discovered, doesn’t look like the Greek postcard we had in mind. Most of the older architecture on the island could be described as medieval in style, so it’s not the island to visit if you want to have lots of pretty photos of little white hillside villages with blue accents (darn). What it does have are cheap flights and lots of all inclusive beach-side resorts!

We spent our week at the Ixian Grand, which was in a nice quiet location. No one ever came to bother us at the beach, selling trinkets, and the water was beautifully clear and warm. I’m pretty sure we spent half our vacation just sitting under umbrellas, reading books, and drinking piña coladas. (I know, I know… that’s not a Greek drink… but I am a sucker for the combination of pineapple and coconut.) (more…)

Dark + Moody Bedroom Inspiration

Dark + moody bedroom inspiration | Hello Victoria

navy bedroom via Design Sponge

I’m normally a fan of very light and bright spaces – shades of pale grey and blue tend to be where I gravitate – but I think I’m slowly converting to the dark side. Or, at least when it comes to my bedroom.

Dark + moody bedroom inspiration | Hello Victoria

charcoal bedroom via Design Sponge

I first got inspired by the impact that a dark bedroom can have when I saw San Fransisco blogger Jordan Ferney’s black bedroom. While most everyone in the blogging world was painting their whole house white, she had created this eye-catching space by painting all her walls and trim in the softest of blacks. (more…)