DIY origami diamond

Because we’re still decorating our house, it means the Christmas decorating will probably get done on Christmas Eve.

But there are two festive decorations already up. They’re these gold paper origami diamonds I made a few days ago at a workshop at Saltaire design shop Rad Studio.

DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration

Rad Studio is a fab little shop that I’ll be sharing more about soon. When I was there, I took the opportunity to take some snaps of their lovely products and I’ll be chatting with owner Ali (whose taste is bang-on-the-money in my opinion).

The origami diamond workshop was the first class they’ve put on and it was perfectly judged – we were taught something unique, we were served beer, buns and chocolates and for all this and materials we paid just £8.

If you fancy learning a new skill this week, you can learn how to make and take home a Christmas wreath at Rad Studio on Wednesday – for only 20 quid.

Anyway, back to the diamonds.

It was a pretty straight-forward make but I reckon I need a little more practise to get a really neat diamond. You’ll see mine look a little scruffy where some of the corners don’t meet up perfectly.

You just start with a square piece of wrapping paper or similar in a design of your choice. These are the instructions…

DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration

One of the most important things to remember is to start with your paper pattern facing up (so the design ends up on the outside) and make your folds as neat and firm as possible.

DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration

You will end up with two of these shapes which I thought looked a bit like Madonna’s iconic conical bra!

DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration

You then glue them together (UHU glue is the best apparently) and, once dry, you can hang them by sewing a length of cotton into the top point.

I love them! I hope I get chance to make a few more before Christmas.

DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration DIY origami diamond paper Christmas decoration (4)

What do you think? Have you been doing much crafting for Christmas?

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds

After our evening with Jamie, we headed to one of Leeds’ newest restaurants.

It was opening night at Cabana Brasilian Barbecue and while I’d not been able to make the launch the night before, they’d kindly offered to shout me and a friend a meal some other time. So, perfect.

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds

As most people round here know, Leeds already has a Brazilian barbecue restaurant, and Fazenda has a good reputation. I went as part of a group a few weeks ago. Now the meat was varied, plentiful, cooked to perfection and served with aplomb, carved straight from the skewer onto your plate. I could have happily eaten from the salad bar alone for a week without getting bored.

But it’s quite expensive, and the meat supply never ends. These kinds of places tend to overface and overwhelm me a bit, while giving me guilt pangs. I have a social conscience, so the gluttony of the developed world concerns me, and I’m not really one for eating until I feel sick or get the meat sweats, but then I’m from Yorkshire, so I don’t like not getting good value either. Dilemma.

I wondered if Cabana would be a similar experience but as soon as you enter you realise – like the rest of Trinity Leeds‘ food offer – it’s very laid back. It’s equally suited to a lunch break from shopping or an evening meal with friends. And rather than an unlimited food supply you simply choose your starter, main meal and sides as you would anywhere else.

It’s decked out in what I’m calling ‘surf shack chic’ – upcycled wood cladding, festoon and fairy lights, haphazard posters, patchwork denim upholstery and corrugated metal.

Cabana is another example of a chain established in London that has chosen Leeds as its first base outside of the capital.

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds

We started with a cocktail – the Cabana colada – and a fruity mocktail – the bacana berry, and ordered street food (sharing) starters of parmesan chunks and wild honey and guaca-molho, homemade guacamole with corn chips.

We went with the zingy lime and garlic chicken skewer and half a rack of sticky barbecue pork ribs. We had sides of sweet potato fries, baby gem salad and Brasilian homeslaw. (The difference with their coleslaw is it has mango and cashews and I want this in every helping of slaw I have from now on).

We couldn’t fault any of it: the meat was juicy and tasty, we particularly loved the slaw and fries and the food came lightening quick and served with big smiles.

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds Cabana Brasilian Barbecue, Leeds

It’s definitely another of Trinity’s restaurants I’m happy to recommend and I hope it does well – I have a feeling it will.

Need to know: Cabana is at Unit 4.02, 430 Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5AT. It’s open 11am-10pm Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm Friday and Saturday and 11.30-9pm Sundays.

Pandora Wishes launch, Leeds

A few days ago, I was named best friend in the world.

The award-giver was my friend Emma, a pretty huge Jamie Redknapp fan. I’d been invited to an event in Leeds that the Redknapps were attending, and I’d got her along as my plus one.

It was the launch of Pandora‘s winter Pandora Wishes campaign, backed by celebrity pairings Jamie and Louise Redknapp, Marvin and Rochelle Humes, and friends Jameela Jamil and Rick Edwards.

The idea is that you create a Pandora wish list that can be shared with friends and family in the hope that you will get what you want under the Christmas tree.

Making a wish list also puts you in with a chance of winning your favourites, a £500 voucher plus one of the celebrity couples’ ‘ultimate’ wishes – a holiday in the Maldives, VIP tickets to a summer festival or a spa weekend in the south of France. The competition runs until 19 December.

Pandora Wishes launch Leeds with Jamie and Louise Redknapp Pandora Wishes launch Leeds with Jamie and Louise Redknapp Pandora Wishes launch Leeds with Jamie and Louise Redknapp Pandora Wishes launch Leeds with Jamie and Louise Redknapp Pandora Wishes launch Leeds with Jamie and Louise Redknapp Pandora Wishes launch Leeds with Jamie and Louise Redknapp

Jamie and Louise were promoting the campaign at Pandora’s Leeds store, along with Xtra Factor presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford.

They spent a good amount of time in the shop having selfies with us and chatting. After the initial flurry when they arrived we were pretty cool and casual about it by the end of the night and were just standing near them dead normal, as you do. I’m not really one for celebrity man crushes but Jamie looked very dapper (is that a ‘mum’ thing to say?) in his three-piece navy suit and Louise’s outfit – a rust leather pencil skirt and loose jumper – inspired both Emma and me to attempt to recreate her look for a girls’ night out a couple of evenings later.

Sarah-Jane interviewed the couple about gift-buying – which ended up being funnier and more risqué than anyone imagined – then took to the decks for a DJ set.

Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford Pandora Wishes event with Jamie and Louise Redknapp and Sarah-Jane Crawford

We were served with Peroni, prosecco and delicious canapés and struck a pose in the photobooth before browsing Pandora’s beautiful jewellery.

Like pretty much everyone, I own a Pandora bracelet – I have a double wrap woven leather one with a couple of charms – but had become a little tired of their products and bemused by the long queues I see outside their shops throughout the year.

Recently Pandora has piqued my interest again, and it’s largely because I’m a sucker for stacked rings.

With a bit of birthday money in my pocket, I couldn’t resist buying something on the night and a ring it was – this silver and cubic zircona feather ring (£70).

Pandora feather ring

Do you like Pandora jewellery? Or would you prefer to adorn yourself with Jamie Redknapp?

Kitchen accessories

Earlier in the week I shared our finished kitchen.

Although I had a few reservations about choosing grey – mainly about whether it’s a colour fad – I’m glad I dug my heels in and went for it. It’s a fair responsibility because I knew my husband would be putting in hours and hours of work and I wanted him to like the end result as much as me.

Good news: he loves it. He thinks – and I agree – it’s the best room we’ve ever done, particularly when you consider the big changes that had to come about. I think we make a pretty good renovating team and I’m so proud of what he can do and the care he takes over getting the finish just right.

It’s not completely finished. I’m looking to have a few open, wooden shelves and we’ll have to get a blind up. I’m thinking Laura Ashley Wallace for the fabric, as it has the colours I’d like to bring in, especially red and turquoise blue.

The beauty of grey is that – while it looks great with crisp white and natural wood – it also sits comfortably with bright colour. In fact, I think grey needs splashes of colour around it to make it looks its best.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking with the accessories I’ve added to the kitchen so far.

Kitchen accessories Read More →

Kitchen reveal!

Renovating our kitchen has definitely been a labour of love. It’s been seven months of labour, but we’re completely in love with the outcome.

As is invariably the case with DIY and renovation projects, it’s all taken longer than anticipated. Our original estimated finish time was about two months ago, and although I’m calling this a ‘reveal’ there are still some tiny finishing off jobs to do in the kitchen. The dining area bit (behind the camera) is still a chaotic dumping ground and we’ve only just started on the living room this weekend.

But I didn’t want to wait any longer to show you this bit.

Kitchen renovation reveal. Ikea Veddinge grey kitchen with wood worktop and white subway tiles

Let’s remind ourselves of where we’ve come from. Read More →

Blogger lunch at Mill Kitchen

After enjoying the blogger walk around Bingley, we decided to make meet-ups a regular thing.

So it was a sunny Sunday that Jen, Fran, Natalie and I got together again, at the Mill Kitchen in Farsley, Leeds. This time we were also joined by Nadine, another Fran and Daisy.

The venue was Jen’s recommendation, and what a good one it was.

Blogger lunch at Mill Kitchen, Farsley, Leeds, West Yorkshire Blogger lunch at Mill Kitchen, Farsley, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Read More →

Weekend in the Lake District

Last week there was bad news again.

The kind that makes you cry, gasp for breath and feel scared and bewildered. The kind that makes you want to run for the hills and hide out for a bit.

Coincidentally, we were due a weekend in the Lake District for the Mr’s birthday (and mine which was a couple of weeks ago), though we felt little like celebrating.

But we talked and walked, wrapped up warm, arm in arm. We took in deep clean breaths. We raced in the hotel pool, whooping like kids.

I stood at the edge of vast expanses of water, feeling tiny, letting the enormity of the world shrink my problems and the stillness of the water calm my soul. I gazed in awe at nature, its huge hills and endless beauty, and reminded myself how miraculous life is.

Coniston, Lake District, Cumbria, England, UK Read More →

Trinity Kitchen 1st birthday

You may recall how gushing I was when Trinity Kitchen first opened.

Last month Trinity Leeds’ street food hall celebrated its first birthday and it seemed only right to show up and wish it many happy returns.

Oh, if I must also eat while there and listen to singer and ‘show-woman extraordinaire’ Em Brulée, so be it :)

Street food and music at Trinity Kitchen first birthday, Trinity Leeds Read More →

Deck the Halls with Matalan

For the first time in a long time, this year I’m feeling festive long before the 23rd of December.

I think it must be because, for the first time in ages, we’re having Christmas at home and cooking for 10.

So Christmas has become our absolute deadline for making sure the downstairs renovation is done. Our schedule is slipping slightly (still finishing the dining kitchen, when we should be on to the living room) but my husband reassures me it’s all in hand.

With no presents bought and half the house a building site, I should probably feel mild panic with six-and-a-half weeks to go until the 25th and several weekends accounted for between now and then. But I seem to be still in that blissful, it-will-all-work-out-perfectly-and-look-pretty phase.

If you are too, you might fancy joining in with Matalan‘s #DecktheHalls competition. I always think Matalan is pretty good for well-priced homewares, and Christmas decorations especially. (Not averse to their clothes either, as you’ll have seen in this recent outfit post).

For the competition, you have to create a Pinterest board with your favourite Matalan Christmas items and you can win some of the products you have picked. When your board is done, tweet @Matalan with your board link using the hashtag #DecktheHalls to be entered. There are ways of joining in on Facebook and Twitter too.

My living room is yet to be decorated at all, so I have a completely blank canvas upon which to plan my Christmas style.

Scandi-style red and white Christmas living room Read More →

Avenue 32 A/W wish list

I’m afraid that, on my budget, and with the money we’re ploughing into the house, designer clothes just cannot be justified most of the time. But I always like to look and dream so when Avenue 32 asked me to compile a wish list for autumn winter, I was happy to oblige.

With a good mix of established and emerging brands, Avenue 32 is a good place to look for luxury online. It’s not all at completely-out-of-the-question prices, particularly at this time of year, when I have a bit of birthday money burning a hole in my back pocket, I might want to spend more on a special outfit for an occasion or Christmas party and loved ones might be looking to treat me. I think I’ll just print this off and leave it hanging around the house throughout December :)

Avenue 32 autumn winter 2014 wish list

// JW Anderson anchor sweatshirt, £215 / Florence Bridge silver tinsel dress, £175 / Cedric Charlier long pink coat, £820 / Alexander Wang black studded rockie bag, £675 / Estelle Dévé gold unison bangle, £375 / Rag and Bone wine wool fedora, £165 / Dominic Jones white gold alopias earrings, £165 / APC tan demi lune bag, £295 / Maria Black rose gold detour ring, £75 / 10 Pamela Love gold lapis telepathy ring, £75 / 11 Chinty and Parker navy lambswool stars jumper, £285 / 12 Petit Bateau stripe top, £60 //

My picks are influenced by my limitless appetite for jewellery, the need for cosy sweaters, coats and hats for the colder seasons and the possibility of a couple of parties round the corner.

What do you think to my choices? Do you like to treat yourself to a designer label from time to time?

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