Month: May 2017

half filled house

Why You Should Care About Interior Design

I never much cared for decorating, nor was I bothered about having a super-aesthetically pleasing home because it was simply not a priority. I wanted to spend my time and money on travelling, handbags, shoes and eating out considerably more often than I should have.

I simply wanted a clean and minimal home that functioned for studying, cooking, starting businesses and hosting nights in with my friends – and that really didn’t require much consideration as far as I was concerned

Only recently – when I decided to sell my first home – have I started to enjoy the idea of having a beautiful home. The up-and-coming sale process coupled with a little inspiration from friend and up-coming interior stylist Saskia Dooley has lead me to interior design enlightenment!

Why do I suddenly care so much about the detail? Why have I suddenly taken a liking to house plants and rid my entire new-build house of it’s offensive magnolia walls? It’s because I realised that I actually do care about interior design. 

Here are some reasons why you should too:

You Can Get Help.

Even if you’re not sure where to start and you’re struggling to piece together inspiration – there is hope! The professionals can help you. If you were unsure how to change the oil in your car, you’d see a mechanic. If you were unsure how to fix a broken boiler you would (I certainly hope) call I plumber.

It follows that if you’re not sure how to make the best of your home, you can consult an Interior Stylist!

You Can Start Small

Start with a blog. Reading tips and studying the stunning visuals of a design blog is a sensible place to start, and better yet – it’s usually free!

Most credible Interior Stylists will have a blog.

img_0484

Unsure where to start – try Saskia’s blog – halffilledhouse.com – the title of which was inspired by a move into her first home – a new build which has been lovingly and carefully furnished over time (but for at least a few months was less than half filled).

You SHOULD Love Your Home

Many of us will never be completely satisfied with our houses. We might want a bigger house with more character  and a walk-in wardrobe. 

For most of us, the ‘dream house’ will remain exactly that – a fantasy at best. That’s not to say you can’t make the most of the house you have by turning into an environment that you feel proud of – a place you LOVE to come home to!

For years I put off decorating on the basis that I was going to move anyway so might as well save my time and money for renovating whatever house I was to purchase next. What actually transpired is that I enjoyed our current home less.

We recently decorated with a view to improving the appearance prior to sale and I realised I should have done it much earlier so I could have enjoyed the benefit of the light, bright and fresh environment we had created.

It Might be Cheaper than You Think

It’s possible to spend a little bit and get a lot in return. A good interior stylist will take your budget and max out it’s potential, knowing where best to save and where best to splurge. Similarly, popular trends and hashtags such as #ikeahack lend themselves to creative uses of typically inexpensive furniture that has been somehow altered or re-purposed to make it fit for purpose in a stylish home. Check out these hashtags on Instagram for inspiration and make your pennies stretch further!

Make Small Spaces ‘Bigger’

With house prices rising and wages typically not growing at a rate to match, many of us will find ourselves struggling to afford the living space we perhaps grew up accustomed to.

Clever interior design can make a huge different to the perception of space. That under-stairs cupboard where you chuck your vacuum cleaner, a bucket and your muddy trainers could quite easily be transformed into a walk-in larder by someone with the right creative vision – like this project:

halffilledhouse

Add Value!

One should never overlook the power of fresh neutral paint, stylish accessories and the removal of irrelevant clutter. If you’re thinking of selling your home, get a second opinion as to whether you could add value with a little interior styling. It could be worth thousands!

Happy Home Styling!

F x

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Quick Blueberry ‘Cloud Eggs’

If you’ve browsed Instagram aimlessly at any point in the morning over the last few months you may have stumbled across the phenomenon that is ‘cloud eggs’.

These are basically baked whipped egg whites with the yolk plopped in the middle – a somewhat extravagant and slightly laborious way to prepare an egg, but photogenically pleasing therefore attractive to food snappers globally.

Does anyone really have time for that in the morning? I certainly don’t, which is why I decided to throw together my own fluffy and fast (and sweet and fruity), totally unrelated version of cloud eggs!

Ingredients:

cloud eggs

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (or a handful)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (or sweetener if preferred)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Tools:

  • KitchenAid or alternative electric whisk (you can use a manual whisk, but it will not be quick!)
  • frying pan

What to do:

cloud eggs - blueberry 1

  1. Whisk eggs and sugar until the mix is thick and fluffy (not quite as thick as meringue mix, but 2/3 as thick)
  2. Heat coconut oil in pan to low/med heat
  3. Add egg mix to the pan and flatten the mix
  4. Sprinkle the blueberries on top
  5. Cook over a low heat for 2-5 minutes, then break up and turn over
  6. Cook for another 2 mins, turning when necessary
  7. Chuck it on a plate and eat it!

The Macros:

Estimated macros for this meal are as follows:

Protein: 22g

Fat: 5g (if cooking in coconut oil)

Carbs: 18g (if using sugar)

Calories: 210

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICAEW New logo 2017

ICAEW Women in Business & Leadership Event

Last week I attended my first ICAEW event, hosted by Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants. The event was aimed at women in finance and business and special guest Penny Haslam spoke about how she delivers concise and compelling content, confidently.

Personal and professional development is something close to my heart. In my biggest moments of doubt – including my ¼ life crisis – the common theme was that I lacked challenge and therefore was no longer forging forward at the pace I preferred. 2017 has been the year where I’ve broadened my development horizons. I’ve opened up my diary, said yes to almost every invitation and met some brilliant and inspiring people as a result. My first ICAEW event was no exception.

 

Pizza, Tea, Biscuits and a dose of Confidence

I walked into a hotel conference room full of accountants and made a bee-line straight towards the tea and biscuits, obviously. I was attending with two senior finance professionals from my team and one of my fellow KPMG alumni (now friend and fellow networking group member) who had first alerted me to the event. I scoffed my first biscuit, wondering whether it was chocolate or toffee flavour – or both. Whilst I was musing as to how easy it would be to replicate the recipe, we were escorted into a smaller room set up with 3 round banquet tables and a projector.

We took a seat at the back table, immediately grabbed the free 4-colours-in-1 ball point pen and ruffled through the materials in the shiny clear plastic wallet in front of us. The title for Penny’s talk was ‘Gain the Expert Advantage and Lift Off In Leadership’ – quite an intimidating and powerful title.

Penny Haslam Gain the Expert Advantage Vimeo

Click on the image to view the key note speech

When Penny took her position at the front of the room, the audience warmed to her immediately. Perhaps this was because she manages to appear confident and knowledgeable whilst also seeming approachable. Perhaps it was also something to do with the fact that I had progressed through my teen years seeing her face on the BBC and therefore felt like I knew her a little already.

Penny talked us through her broadcasting career and life since leaving the BBC before the big question came…

“Who in this room considers themselves to be an expert?”

No hands were raised in the audience.

Penny pledged that she would do her very best to change that and in the 1.5 hours that followed she covered a variety of topics, delivered some harsh truths and equipped the room with some tools to take away and deploy in our personal and professional lives.

The session was engaging and not at all studious and CPD-like. Audience participation was high – something which is particularly rare when the audience is made up of accountants!

At the end of the session, with pizza reduced to crumbs and tea and coffee cups empty, Penny asked the question once more.

“Who in this room considers themselves to be an expert?”

I found myself raising my hand without hesitation. I surveyed the room and noted that everyone else had done exactly that. Modesty is something most Accountants (and the British generally) are built on, so the mere fact that any hands were raised was indicative of how we can change the way we perceive ourselves, and therefore how others are likely to perceive us.

So it was good then?!

Personal and Professional development is something that requires constant work. I appreciate it doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend your Thursday evening and add to that the looming pressure of maintaining your CPD file and it’s easy to feel like you’re at the Malmaison due to some misplaced feeling of obligation to the institute or to ‘tick a box’.

I certainly thought the event was a valuable use of my personal time, but what did others have to say?

“It was really informative. Penny was really engaging and the skills shared were really useful! I’ll definitely go on to use these in the workplace.”

Rebecca Trebble, Senior Finance Manager, Shop Direct

The course was very interesting, we learnt lots of great tips. There was lots of interaction which kept everyone feeling engaged, motivated and inspired. I will definitely be attending more courses in the future. “

Stephanie Lucas, Senior Finance Manager, Shop Direct

Having attended my first ICAEW event I can now say that it was more than a box-ticking exercise. In fact, I’d strongly encourage anyone not already doing so to attend events like this – what do you have to lose?

F x