Getting creative, Home & Lifestyle, In the home

Project: Up-cycled checkerboard table

So I bought this table in Ikea a while ago thinking it would come in handy for when my nieces are over to play or eat at and the grey colour fit nicely in the newly decorated hallway.  I knew when I bought it that I wanted to do something to it to up-cycle it.  Now I know this isn’t the true essence of up-cycling, it was a new piece of furniture rather than something old or second hand but I thought it would be an easy project to ease myself into the concept.  I have lots of ideas for other projects further down the line too so watch this space!

What you will need:

  • Ikea ‘Lack’ table – prices are between £5 and £10 depending on which finish you go for
  • White vinyl
  • A cutting machine – I used a Cricut Mini. You can use scissors but need a very precise hand 🙂
  • Tape measure

Firstly, I decided to go for a checkerboard design keeping it relatively simple for my first attempt. I measured the table and worked out what size my squares needed to be to make an even pattern.

Checkerboard table

Then, I used my Cricut Mini to cut squares and triangles the right size for my design.

IMG_3891 IMG_3892 IMG_3889

I started the design by sticking a row of triangles onto the edge of the table, followed by the squares.

Checkerboard table

I continued the design until the whole table was covered and this was the result 🙂

IMG_3893 Checkerboard table

This was a pretty quick and easy project and you could do which ever design you wanted.  There are tonnes of images available on the Cricut Mini so you could put pretty much ay design you wanted to on there from Disney for the kids to snowflakes for Christmas or pumpkins for Halloween.

The good thing about using vinyl is that its quite easy to remove so if you get bored of the design after a while, take it off and do something else 🙂

Happy creating!

D x

Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle

Review: Betty Crocker Cookie Mix

Product: White Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix

Price: £1.35 Tesco 

I never really use pre-mixed cake mixes, I love baking so it feels a bit to me like cheating!  However saying that, there is definitely a market out there for people who don’t have a huge amount of kitchen equipment or store cupboard full of baking goodies at home and want to give it a try.  I don’t bake a lot of biscuits, I’m more of a cake girl so thought I’d start off with this premix from Betty Crocker for White Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix


Everything you need is in the mix, you just need to add water which is a huge bonus.  From opening the packet to the oven was around 10 mins so they were super quick to make.  This mix does only make 8 though so if you are a family of four or more you may want to consider buying a couple of mixes 🙂

The instructions are really simple to follow, empty into a bowl, add water, mix, divide into 8 balls and cook.  Couldn’t really get any simpler than that!

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Bake for 10-12 mins at Gas mark 5, my oven is pretty slow normally so I left them for the full 12 minutes. Then, (fanfare du du du duuuuur) 8 freshly baked cookies in 22 minutes flat 🙂

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix Betty Crocker Cookie Mix

They tasted pretty good too!  They had a good amount of chocolate chips in which I was surprised by and had that great gooey cookie texture that you get from fresh cookies.

With these cookies I think I would definitely consider keeping a couple of packs in the cupboard for unexpected visitors or when you just get that cookie craving!  They are also so quick and simple that they would be fab to do with the kids.  Nothing better than cookies straight out of the oven 🙂


D x

Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle

UK Coffee Week 7 – 14 April

So this week is National Coffee Week!  I don’t actually like coffee (although I do love the smell) so it may seem weird that I’ve decided to write a whole post about it but I was reading about the great initiative behind UK coffee week – Project Waterfall.

Project Waterfall in association with WaterAid is an initiative to provides clean drinking water to communities in the Mbulu district in Tanzania, one of the big coffee growing regions of Africa. Some of the big coffee shop chains such as Starbucks and Caffe Nero are supporting the cause as well as smaller independent ones to try and raise funds to lay necessary pipelines and infrastructure to support these communities to be self sufficient. 


To get involved you can take part in the 5 bean challenge, by completing 5 tasks to support project waterfall. You can then be entered into a prize draw to win coffee related prizes.   More details available on their website.

Or Nespresso lovers can support coffee farmers in Rwanda anytime by buying their refill pods from Fine Coffee Club.  20% of the price of the Rwandan coffee pods goes straight to supporting the Rwandan Farmers Coffee Company .


So coffee lovers everywhere, when you next order your half fat, tall, extra hot, extra foam mocha or what ever is your coffee of choice in Starbucks, take the opportunity to support the coffee growing communities of Africa.

D x

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: The highs and the lows

It’s been a while since my last diary post and a lot has happened in the last two weeks!

At the end of March I completed my Sport Relief three miles and raised a final total of £267.40. Thanks so much to all who sponsored me and to the family who came down on the day to cheer me on. It may have only been 5k but it was tough! A new course, first morning run and it was pretty warm too. I didn’t get the best time but I did it and was really proud of myself. I even got my first bling!



I learnt a few things from that run.  Firstly, running in the evening and running in the morning is different.  My body is not used to running in the morning – must fix that.  Secondly, the crowds do help encourage you to carry on – even when you feel like you are about to pass out across the finish line, you do it with a smile on your face because they are cheering you on.

I’ve done a few 5k’s since then including the big one – my graduation run from the couch to 5k programme.  Last Tuesday us newbies went to ‘big school’ and joined the Leighton Fun Runner club night for our first run with the club members, and it did very much feel like your first day at a new school!  All the older (more fit) kids scoping out the newbies and vice versa.  We all huddled in a corner and tried not to look out of place surrounded by a sea of well tuned runners in club uniform.  We all headed out together to do our graduation 5k, there must have been about 100 runners in total.  Us newbies headed off first – not sure how long the big guys waited before they chased us down but I managed to hit about the 3.5k mark before they all started flying passed me.  They were great though – offered words of encouragement one even shouted “Love your blog” as he zoomed by!  But it must have spurred me on because that night I smashed over a minute off my best 5k time!   Still a way off my target of under 30 mins but I am getting there 🙂

Unfortunately though, after the extreme high of Tuesday night, I came back down to earth with a bit of a bump.  When I got home my ankle was the size of a balloon. I had been feeling some tenderness around the ankle bone but nothing too bad but after putting ice on it that night and still being pretty swollen the next morning I decided it was best to get it checked out.  I didn’t want to see the doctor as they’d just say rest it and then would probably go round in circles before anything actually got dealt with so decided to check out the local physio, Brecon Clinic.  I did try and get a run in on Thursday night but after about 2k I had to throw in the towel.

So I hobbled off to physio on Friday.  I’d never visited a physio before so wasn’t sure what to expect but certainly wasn’t expecting what did happen!  An hour of assessment, poking, pulling, electrocuting, stretching, cracking and god knows what.  But my ankle did feel loads better at the end of it!.  It turns out that I have some hip and foot jouint issues which is causing problems for my tendons, causing the foot to swell.  The physio gave me some exercises to do, told me to ice it twice a day and take ibuprofen and then rest until my next run on Tuesday.  Hopefully it will not hinder my running progress for too long.

I’ve got to admit, I never thought I would say it but I’m really missing running.  I’ve felt great physically and mentally since I started back in January and the last few days have been a real downer 😦  Having to stop has certainly made me realise what a difference it has made to me and I can’t wait to get back to it.  Keep your finger crossed for me for Tuesday!

D x