Tiddler and Fox News

Simple Life

  • Vintage Style Kitchen Ideas

    I'm currently house-hunting and have already seen about 15 houses, none of which have made me feel at home - yet!

    Vintage Style Kitchen Ideas by Tiddler & Fox

    It's always the same, you know as soon as you walk through the front door that you've found the one. 

    But I'm happy to keep looking and of course, I'm happily thinking about all the decorating I'll be doing and new furniture I'm hoping to find. It will all come from a flea market or auction of course!

    I don't think I will be able to find the stunning character cottage that I'm looking for just yet - budget won't stretch to that for now but I'm hoping to find a house that still has a soul and that will look ok full of rustic pieces and all the second hand and vintage stuff that I'm amassing.

    And I'm hoping for a kitchen that will allow me to go the whole hog in terms of cottage/rustic style. I currently rent so my interior design aspirations have been somewhat curtailed for the past few years but watch out new house wherever you are, you will be getting the full treatment!

    Over the past few years I've completely fallen in love with rustic and vintage style and the kitchen will likely be the first area to be changed. Naturally I've been filling my Pinterest account with kitchen ideas first and finding other images of things I love, like this dresser.

    Not just the colour (which is stunning isn't it?!) but the idea of the open shelving to display china and vintage pieces and the traditional cottage look too.  I know I'd be happy with something like this in my home. 

    Blue welsh dresser, country cottage kitchen

    I love open shelving, the idea of being able to see easily where everything is and not having to delve into cupboards all the time.

    My current kitchen is a bit cramped in terms of storage so I'm looking forward to having something like this:

    Rustic Kitchen Shelving

    Plus all that lovely vintage ironstone too of course....

    I've got my eye on a large cupboard I've spotted (I'm not telling where!) but it would give me the option to do something like this:

    Rustic Kitchen Storage

    Which is just stunning, plus it's practical, plus it would make me super organised. For once. 

    I'm feeling drawn to a romantic looking kitchen if I can get it but as I said, that may have to wait for a while but something like this would make me very happy!


    Romantic Country Cottage Kitchen

    Not sure I can afford the French Chateau just yet but I can dream.

    A more achievable aim would be a cosy corner for dining, something along the lines of this pretty kitchen diner:

    Rustic Kitchen Diner, Country Cottage Look

    Good lighting, comfy seating, a great practical eating area, what do you think?

    Next up, the living room!

    Tell me what you think of these ideas and how you've achieved the vintage look in your own kitchen.

    Until next time x


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  • Hello Autumn

    This has to be my favourite time of year, its a time to slow down a touch and prepare for winter, rejoice in the changing seasons and the changing colours. The air is fresher and seems full of life to me.

    Hello Autumn blog post by Tiddler & Fox

    I love the promise of chilly weather, lighting the fire and settling in for those long winter evenings. I find I'm more productive and happier to be on the sofa making something, writing a newsletter or whatever needs doing each day without the pressure to be off somewhere as I do on summer evenings.

    I still walk as much as possible, I walk all year round and prefer it in the colder months as I don't get as hot and sweaty! Much more pleasurable.

    For me, its a time to get the crockpot out and try a few new recipes, I just love the smells radiating around the house all day. The simple pleasure of looking forward to a healthy and hearty meal that has taken little effort but after 8 hours of cooking tastes amazing.

    I've added a few new autumnal recipes to my Pinterest Autumn board to try, let me know if you try anything new this season, as I'm always looking for new and exciting things to eat.

    Autumn Recipes

    Now is the time to read all those books and magazines that have been piling up and catch up on blog posts that I haven't had time to read.

    This is also a busy time for retailers and I'm busy behind the scenes preparing for Christmas but making sure I slow down for a bit before the rush begins!

    There is one thing that make autumn just the best time of year though....no more flies or midges!!

    Let me know what you love about autumn and if you look forward to winter. Until next time x


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  • My Summer Holidays

    I'm not usually one to bang on about the things I get up to (mainly because its not much!) but having just been on holiday with my family, I thought I would do a quick post on the wonderful week we had on Tresco, in the Isles of Scilly. 


    My Summer Holidays blog post by Tiddler & Fox


    It's one of those places that although its only 25 miles or so off the coast of Cornwall, it is easy to feel that you are a million miles away. What with the interesting journey to get there (car, plane, minibus, jet boat, mini van) it feels as if you have travelled halfway around the world so it's no surprise that when you arrive you feel that you definitely made a switch from real life to somewhere otherworldly. Yes the water really is that colour #nofilter.


    Tresco Island


    As a family we have been many times as my parents own a time share on the island and have done for about 15 years, so its a place we know and love and it never fails to get us to relax and enjoy just 'being'.

    My nephews have only been once before but they love being outdoors and there is no better place for small boys with boundless energy, to be. The beaches are sublime, very clean and allow for games, swimming and lots of treasure hunting (half a ton of sea glass and shells later...). Throw in a morning's kayaking, visiting the Abbey gardens, lots of walking, chatting and reading and we were very content.



    On an island that is 2.5 miles long by 1 mile wide, there is obviously not going to be lots of shopping, but worth a look is the gallery and Lucy Tania gift shop, or places to eat and be entertained....but that is the point. It's a return to a simple existence where, to be honest for the Goymer family, we spend most of our time trying to decide what to do in-between meals!

    We love the quiet pace of the island and the dark starry skies at night, the walking and the great food to be had in the Ruin Beach Cafe and the New Inn pub, both of which we ate at throughout the week plus homemade meals at the cottage. Plenty of wine and beer and we are happy bunnies.


    So, if you are tempted to go, the best place to find all the information you will need is on the Tresco Island Estate website. You'll find out how to get there, where to stay and eat and all the things that there are to do on the island. Plus how to get to the other beautiful islands if you fancy a day trip to explore.

    Bryher has the wonderful Hell Bay Hotel which serves some of the best crab sandwiches you'll ever taste, for starters, plus they have their own gin!

    But for now I'll leave you with more photos of our stay...with a caveat attached that without a doubt we had the best weather we have ever had there with wall to wall sunshine all week - but thats rare!

    Tresco Island




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  • The Best Things in Life

    I've recently started a series on my Instagram account entitled The Best Things In Life, (we are only on number 2 by the way but there are plenty more to come!) and I've received quite a few responses already.


    The Best Things in Life by Tiddler & Fox Blog


    The idea is that the best things in life are the really simple things, not the big gestures and things that cost a lot of money but stuff that does actually make you smile more often than not, things that can make a difference to your day with no money expended - number one in the series was: skirts with pockets.


    The best things in life by Tiddler & Fox


    Plenty of people agreed with me on that one - I'll basically buy any skirt that has pockets as it's just such a delight to find them! Number two was: the sound of the cork coming out of the wine bottle....again, many agreed.

    It's the promise of a relaxing evening to come, of good company, or just a quiet evening at home enjoying wine and a film. When I started to think of things to add to the list, it was difficult at first to come up with ideas - the skirts with pockets thing just popped into my head one morning and that got me to thinking about these things. Once I got going though, the list was easy to write.


    Best things in life No 2 by Tiddler & Fox


    I have spent a lot of my life looking for fulfilment in all the wrong places when actually its the simplest of things, experiences, food, company you keep and so on that make the biggest difference to our lives and we often find happiness in the smallest and least likely places. It's important to recognise when we do have those moments and to savour them. They can add up to real contentment if you allow them to.

    Number three in the series (to be posted soon) is: an unexpected gift from a friend. And that is because I've had a few recently. Lovely things from lovely people when I least expected anything, and boy does that make my day and even my week!


    Best things in life No 3 by Tiddler & Fox


    How awesome to know that people you care about, care about you and want you to know that. Special bonds are created that way and I do make sure that I return the thought and am often looking out for little things that I think my friends will like, or even just sending them something I've seen on Pinterest or tagging them into a Facebook event that I think they would be interested in going to. Small gestures but with a big impact. 

    How do you find contentment in life and what are the small things that make the biggest difference to you? Let me know in the comments and follow along on Instagram too and let me know if you agree with my list!

    Until next time (I'm off to smell the roses in the garden!) x

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  • Ideas for a Simple & Spooky Halloween

    This year has passed by so quickly and the end of October is here already and with it, Halloween. I've been thinking about how we can celebrate in fairly simple ways, as I don't have lots of time or cash to spend, so here a few simple ideas to help those with not much time but you still want to do something fun:

     Ideas for a simple and spooky halloween by Tiddler & Fox

    Each year I usually do a carved pumpkin for my nephews.

    In 2014, I took the first image below as inspiration for my pumpkin, which was received well - not a mean feat when they were 3 and 4 years old! (Image by Removeandreplace.com)

    And the following image, with the carrot nose, inspired last years pumpkin which they loved too. (Image from Buzzfeed)

     Pumpkin Carving by Tiddler & Fox

    Pumpkin carving ideas by Tiddler & Fox


    This year I'm not sure I'll have the time to do one but might just be able to squeeze in a small one. Maybe something like these easy to make but stunning ideas by Design Love Fest?

    Ideas for Pumpkin Carving 2016 by Tiddler & Fox

    Now the boys are older, their parents will take them out trick or treating around their home village so we won't be getting together on the day, so we are having an early Halloween this week instead. Which is why I'm not sure a pumpkin will get carved in time! My eldest nephew will turn 7 next week too so there are preparations for that as well and Bonfire Night to think about - phew - it all comes at once!

    Halloween is not a huge celebration here in the UK and we tend not to go overboard but I think it's still nice to recognise the day and do something, so when the family comes for dinner this week, I will be making these stuffed peppers by My Honeys Place:

     Halloween Food Ideas by Tiddler & Fox

    And these gorgeous cupcakes by CookingClassy.com

     Pumpkin Cupcake by Cooking Classy

    You can find lots of Halloween inspiration on my Pinterest board 'Halloween' for these pumpkin carving ideas and recipe links, plus lots of other decorating and food ideas  - click here

    I hope you have a great time, whatever you are doing and have plenty of treats and not too many tricks!

    Happy Halloween by Tiddler & Fox


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  • Last week I talked about the simple pleasures of autumn and I hope you enjoyed the read and possibly picked up a few ideas? This week I thought I would share some comforting recipes with you, some are tried and tested and some are new to me that I will be trying this season - enjoy!

    Lovely Autumn Food - Recipes for Comfort and Family by Tiddler & Fox Blog

    A huge favourite in this house is Simple Beef & Vegetable Casserole - this is a slow cooker recipe and is best done this way as the flavours develop beautifully over time:

    Simple Beef & Vegetable Casserole


    1.2 Kg Braising steak chopped into chunks

    50g Plain Flour

    Olive Oil

    2 medium onion cut into wedges

    2 medium carrots chopped coarsely

    2 stalks of celery chopped coarsely

    1 medium parsnip chopped coarsely

    1 medium swede chopped coarsely

    3 cloves of garlic - less if you prefer!

    70g tomato paste

    400g canned chopped tomatoes

    250ml beef stock

    2 dried bay leaves

    Handful of fresh thyme


    Coat the beef in the flour and shake of the excess and add to a frying pan with the olive oil. Fry off in batches until browned all over, then transfer to the slow cooker.

    Heat a little more oil in the pan and cook the onion, carrots, celery, swede, parsnip and garlic until it starts to soften. Add the tomato paste and stir, transfer to the slow cooker. Add the tinned tomatoes and stock to the slow cooker and stir the mixture together and add the bay leaves and thyme. 

    Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with a green veg and mash or just in a bowl as it is!


    Italian Chicken with Cream Cheese and Spinach

    A BBC Good Food recipe that never fails and is extremely tasty, you can find the recipe here

    Italian Chicken by BBC Good Food on Tiddler & Fox Blog


    Sausage & Cannellini Bean Hotpot

    I mentioned this in an earlier blog post as being one of my top 7 go-to meals and it remains one of the tastiest easy dishes you can do! Here it is again:

    Serves 4


    8 sausages of your choice

    2 large red onions cut into wedges

    2 garlic cloves

    Pinch of dried chilli flakes

    Fresh rosemary

    300g can of cannellini beans, drained

    150ml chicken stock

    160g spinach.


    Fry or grill the sausages until cooked through completely, set aside. Add onions to a pan and cook for 7-8 minutes, add garlic, dried chilli flakes, and rosemary and cook for two minutes. Add the cannellini beans.

    Cut each sausage into 3 or 4 pieces and add into the pan and add the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add the spinach and some pepper and stir through to wilt the spinach then pile into serving bowls. Enjoy!


    Butternut Carbonara

    This lovely looking recipe is in the latest Tesco Free magazine and you can find the details for it here. I'm hoping to try it out very soon! Yum....

    Butternut Carbonara recipe by Tesco on the Tiddler & Fox blog


    And a lovely sweet recipe now, just perfect for this time of year and simple too, doesn't get much better!

    Apple & Blackberry Cake

    A recipe from Woman & Home, you can find the details here (doesn't it look so good?!)

    Apple & Blackberry cake by Woman & Home on Toddler & Fox blog


    Happy cooking....and eating!

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