My hygge home

It’s official! I now live in an adorable, old house surrounded by beams in a quite little town just outside of Oxford overlooking spires, pretty old houses and at night the cutest of sunsets.

Moving from a London Kensington flat was not an easy decision for us, moving from a city that had everything. Parks, coffee shops on every corner, jobs and friends to somewhere alien and new.

The decision came after Jon’s contract ended at the Natural History Museum in London. Even though I had been offered a wonderful job at Kew Gardens, we decided that the only real reason we were staying in London was to be in London!

But, truth be told, since both of us had more or less done everything we wanted in London and Jon’s contract had come to an end we decided it was time to move elsewhere (with good train links back of course)!

Where to go?

The big question we had to ask ourselves, was where do we go? We seriously discussed Norway as an option and also Australia, but because my Norwegian isn’t good enough and Jon has already used his work holiday visa in Aus we decided (for now at least) to save up and live in the idyllic county of Oxfordshire!

Firstly, can I just say how shocked I was at what you can get for your money outside of London! I feel like a princess in a castle (I suspect I literally could be if we moved to Scotland or Wales). It’s been incredible and I haven’t missed London much at all, and it isn’t like it’s difficult to go back.

My home

Having a home is so important and I feel you can be at home anywhere as long as you’re made to feel welcome, relaxed and at ease. Well, that is exactly what we felt moving into our new home. It’s big, bright airy and full of character. So I’m going to share a few of my hygge home comforts with you!

Candles

If you go back through my blogs, you’ll see I’ve dedicated an entire blog to candles!

Woodwick candles and Green & Black Easter eggs!Candles are incredible and no home should be without them! Here I’ve got our Green & Blacks Easter eggs (gifted by Jon’s lovely Mum) with my Wood-wick candle that crackles like an open fire and smells like fresh ocean air! It’s blissful!

Fairy lights & Fluffy Blankets

img_7621As I type this, I’m sat snuggled under my pink Zara Mohair blanket watching Jon play on his PS4 with the fairy lights glittering away in the background.  I find fairy lights so soothing and relaxing. They bring a small amount of happiness to a home that wouldn’t be there otherwise, so why would you want to be without? I even have cute little fairy lights round the top of the bookshelves in our hallway, LED of course as I wouldn’t want to burn the books!

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Wooden beams with fairy lights and a Lego dinosaur!

Pictures

 

So many homes don’t have pictures hanging on the walls and I don’t understand why! Blank walls are for conference rooms and swimming pools, not homes! There is nothing more sterile than a vastly empty wall. Even though we’ve only been in a matter of days, I’ve already insisted we hang our pictures up and here is a small selection for you to see the difference a picture can make!

img_7611At the top we have Jon’s map on the left and a picture of Milly on the right. To the left of the map we have a feature opening which is entirely glass and almost a picture of the hallway in its own right. You can also see the next picture (Wrendale Hamster) which we have next to the stairs in our hallway!

 

It’s really not expensive to get pictures for your home. You can get personal ones like we have on our side table, or of our dog Milly, or more fun and general ones like the map or hamster. The Wrendale hamster is actually a birthday card from my parents that I had framed and the map Jon got in a charity shop for £6. I really think they look great and work well with the characterful home we’ve found ourselves in.

Kitchen

It’s true, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Without a decent kitchen you really don’t have a home and therefore it’s essential, I think, to have a warm welcoming kitchen for you after a day at work.

I always make sure there is some nice bread in the bread bin and some homemade goodies for Jon in the cake tin!

On my cook-book rack I like to keep fun books such as this Pride and Prejudice themed cook book, once belonged to Jon’s Grandma. I do however use it when cooking as it’s a great way to stop your book getting dirty and covered in oils and sauce!

Since I share my home with someone who loves to cook, Jon has a lot of say about where things go in the kitchen. If it were up to me I wouldn’t have all the oils out, but he likes them there so it’s where they stay! I do still get to squish my Wrendale tea coffee and sugar pots, and a spice rack into the scene!

The little things

This is something I’ve written a blog on before. The little things are what really make a house a home. These could be gifts from loved ones, funny photos or memories in handmade cushions or even just those little touches you like!

I personally love glitter, magical things and anything that takes me away from reality somewhere I can relax and dream! Here are two little touches I’ve picked from our new home to share with you.

img_7618The first picture is of a cluster of mushrooms made by Jon’s dad, these are really sweet and special to us different ways. To me they remind me of my Grandad as he used to turn wood in a similar way. But for Jon they are a solid connection to his Dad which is really special and sweet. I just love how they sit on the old beams. It’s as if this little bit of wood was made to hold them!

Whilst this is, theoretically, a Christmas decoration. I like to keep it up throughout the year. It’s a beautiful reminder of history and the past. These balls made from paper used to be all over people’s houses at Christmas time in the 1920’s and I think should come back into fashion! My Mum bought me this in 2017 for our London flat and I just love all the detail and golden edges. It’s so sweet!

If you have a new home and want some inspiration, feel free to get in touch above it visit me on Instagram @lucyblackall. X


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my new hygge home! Please follow me to keep up-to-date with my blog and future posts! X

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Toasty warm drinks!

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been so put off any type of dairy (even lactose free, as I am lactose intolerant)! I read an article a few weeks ago about dairy and someone wrote that pus is in dairy and quite honestly, true or not it just makes me feel sick every time I think about milk now. I have been veggie my entire life and don’t often opt for dairy as it makes me quite unwell, but over the years lactose-free substitutes have become readily available and made life a little easier. Alongside this there is (at the moment anyway) a huge interest in being vegan, which for me is fantastic! I walk into a supermarket and am met with about ten different types of milks (or mylk) made from all sorts of weird and wonderful items, (I mean cow boob milk is gross the more I think about it).

Anyway, this blog isn’t about my dilemma with dairy, it’s about warm drinks and the fact I have been drinking as many as possible these last few wintry weeks. One of my favourite since Christmas has been mulled (hot) apple juice. As much as I love a warm tipple now and again, I do prefer my drinks alcohol free for the most and this is just heavenly after a long day at work.

Think Cinnamon, cloves, oranges and mixed spice

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Warm Mulling Syrup

My wonderful friend Emma made me a few different yummy treats as a gift. Mulling Syrup being one of them. I like to drink mine with apple juice from Innocent

I found a wonderful recipe on BBC good foods which you can find below:

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  • 250g caster or granulated sugar
  • 2 oranges halved
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ nutmeg freshly grated
  • small piece ginger sliced

Mix all in a pan with 1 litre of water and voila! I love to then use it with apple juice instead of wine, but I am told wine is equally as good!

Bubbly chocolate in a cosy little mug 

There is nothing I love more than hot chocolate. Everyone thinks you need to have it with warm milk, but I think its much tastier with coconut milk, soya or even just plain hot water.

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Deliciously Ella 

Another thing you need to watch out for if you want a vegan hot chocolate is the powder (if you use instant). Make sure it doesn’t have lactose / dairy or whey in it and you’ll be good to go. One of the best ones I use is goody coco from Lidl. If you want something a bit more up market that doesn’t contain refined sugars and rubbish is to use raw cacao date syrup and cinnamon.

However, for me I most recently discovered sweet free from choc shot which is full of goodness and yummy, but it does taste a little different from normal hot chocolate which I think is a good thing in many ways. It takes the edge off the sugar cravings so if you’re going refined sugar-free then even better! I also think it’s a fab thing for weight loss as its very low in calories coming in at under 15 calories a tsp!choc

I do love my warm drinks if you hadn’t guessed already and I think they are one of the best ways to beat any situation good or bad. If I am feeling down to sad a hot up of tea, mulled apple juice or hot coco. I remember when I was younger and used to get upset or sad the one thing that I could always make myself feel with was probably tea. So next on the list is the magical and famous tea!

There are so many types of tea, some people argue that there is really only one true type which is English Breakfast / Assam or the type you have with milk. For me there are quite literally hundreds of types. Enough for me to start an entire blog on (or Tea-sta-gram page?)! When I worked for Danone Waters I made friends with a great guy who ended up going to work for Tetley. Thanks to him I have lots of types of tea in my cupboard that I got to try before they went out on sale in shops! It really does pay to be a tea lover and know someone in the tea business.

Tea cures everything, good bad or happy

For this very reason, I have decided to end my blog with a selection of mearlgreyy favourite teas starting with earl grey!

Earl grey is a normal black tea with bergamot orange and citrus fruits mixed in together with a little lemon and grapefruit thrown in. It is floral and delicate which makes it a perfect tea for people who don’t like the strong darkness of a builders tea.  It’s a mixture to me of both herbal tea and normal tea. You can drink it with milk, lemon, straight or if you’re a bit odd cold.

Next on my list is the standard chamomile tea. My mum had an enormous bag of this chamomileteain the tea cupboard at my parents house and she gave me a pot full. I love it. All you need to do is sprinkle a few buds into a cup add hot water and drink. It’s a relaxing tea that is full of goodness. It is an anti-inflammatory for the skin, soften lady pains and induce sleep. A few things I am sure you can relate too!

 

Another favourite of mine is Blackcurrant and Vanilla. You can get these from Lidl. 5201350_31They are super posh, so don’t be fooled by the whole ‘Lidl’ thing. They are so yummy and taste great.

Another type of tea you can try is mixed fruits, Tetley do a huge range of teas which are fantastic. Some are full of vitamin C and for colds and flu, others are fruity and just for flavour so I would recommend going over to their website and checking them out!

 

However, don’t feel like spending lots of money of these teas, as they can get pricey. If you have time and want to know exactly what you’re drinking then you can make your own teas with dried flowers, fruits and all sorts! It’s very easy, you can air dry them over time or on a low heat in the oven if you don’t have a dehydration machine!

Continue reading “Toasty warm drinks!”