Hague Blue Bedroom

Bye bye bright and airy bedroom…

Painting the bedroom | Hello Victoria

Helloooooo drama!!

Hague Blue bedroom | Hello Victoria

While Richard was away for work, I decided to tackle painting the bedroom. As discussed in earlier posts about dark bedrooms, and my plans for this room, we had chosen to paint it Farrow + Ball’s Hague Blue (using Valspar paint) a few months before, and I am so glad about that decision. The paint has such a lovely teal-y green undertone to it, that makes it feel warmer (in my humble opinion) despite how dark it is.

Now painting without Richard meant lots of time spent on a ladder, with no one to see if I fell… but the worst part of doing it alone, was not having a vehicle! Unfortunately Richard took it with him when he left… not that it really mattered as I still haven’t learned to drive on the left side of the road! (more…)

Currently On My Wish List

I’m pretty sure that Richard would agree, I spend waaaay too much time on my phone, browsing stores. It’s not like I have the money to buy any of the things, but I often find myself saving pages and items for some mythical-future-influx-of-cash.

I figured that since I’m not going to buy any of these items anytime soon, perhaps I should share them with the world, and someone else might give them a good home.

First up we have Anthropologieoh how I love thee! I can’t help but stop in their stores every chance I get. Great stuff and such inspiring window displays!

spoon rest // barside bowl // textured indira cushions

I haven’t been looking much at their clothing lately, but that wood spoon rest would be amazing. We still don’t have one in the kitchen yet, and I like the warmth that wood brings. The marble bowl could be used for food, or organization, and those textured pillows would be so fun on our bed (along with some indigo accents)! However, I doubt Richard would be a fan of the tassel-y bits. (more…)

Authentic Chicken Korma

Authentic chicken korma recipe | Hello Victoria

Who doesn’t like a man who can cook?

One of the best things about Richard is that he not only enjoys cooking, but is quite good at it too! Since I am a baker by trade, he told me that he won’t bother trying to get really good at baking/breads/etc. – that’s my thing. But he does want to have something that he’s better at than me, something that our future kids will request (“dad’s —-“).

To that end, he has decided he will work on being the best at Asian cuisine. Right now, he’s focusing on Indian curries, and bought the cookbook Rick Stein’s India. You should have seen how excited he was when it arrived! It’s a really great cookbook, full of truly authentic dishes. The best part is that it’s not like recipes you find online, where you’re using store bought pastes or spice mixes – this book has you grinding cardamom pods, making your own coconut cream, etc.

Rick Stein's India - Authentic chicken korma | Hello Victoria

So far, we’ve made three recipes from the book, and are excited to try more! (The masala chai tea is quite delicious!) (more…)

Plans for the Bedroom

View of the bedroom from the hallway

There are a few rooms in our flat where I know exactly what I want to do – the two most solidified in my mind are the hallway, and the bedroom. The hallway is easy to figure out because it’s such a small space. Add a single piece of furniture, some artwork, a mirror, a few accessories…. and bam! Done!
The bedroom is similar in that it is dominated by one piece of furniture – the bed. It takes up so much of the room that it becomes simple to determine the items required to finish the space. In here, I’m thinking lots of texture, and a sort of nomadic world-traveler sort of vibe. (Is that a vibe?!)

Plans for a cozy and inviting bedroom | Hello Victoria

The room has two large windows with great moldings, but they let in a lot of early morning light

Plans for a cozy and inviting bedroom | Hello Victoria

Here is the bedroom just after we moved in. The bed frame was left behind by the previous owner, and the little tables beside the bed are stools that Richard brought home from Nepal. They’re just temporary, but they were a great solution to our lack of… well.. anything(more…)

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…)