Why my Bake Off dresser is the icing on the cake

There are three things that the latest series of The Great British Bake Off has influenced:

1) My choice in lipstick

2) My view on men wearing aprons

3) My latest upcycle

It was a subconscious decision to paint a knackered old pine dresser bright sky blue, but when it stood in place - like a giant, fondant covered cupcake ready for a baby shower - I knew there was more than a bit of the Bake-Offs about it. 

It was inevitable for a weak willed interior junkie such as me, that all this BBC candy coloured cabinetry would get me in the end. (It was either going to be that or the predictable Paul Hollywood crush and frankly it's just better this way).

Now as we are all well aware, baking is sexy again. Everyone's at it. Bun wars are rife, flaky pastry envy is a Thing and bread consumption is very much back in vogue. But all this comes at a cost and, to my husband's dismay, in our case, it came at the expense of a clean white minimalist kitchen.

You see, there comes a point in your baking journey when packets of chia seeds and fat juicy dates start hogging your cupboard space and you realise that a kitchen dresser could come in very handy. 

Now, the kitchen dresser situation can go two ways and I was keen for mine to be more of a Candice than a Mary Berry if you know what I mean?

The difference is ALL in the styling. 

My bright blue painted dresser

My bright blue painted dresser

Here's my recipe for creating a show-stopping piece of kitchen house candy, whilst avoiding all notions of middle aged twinset and pearls.

1) Be brash about your colour choice

Go as bold as you dare. Remember last week when Candice went all 'nude' on us? Oh the disappointment. Followed by the stark realisation that; if this is what a colour pop of lipstick can do to a face, what can an in-yer-face piece of painted furniture do to a room?

Sky blue has always been on my fave colour spectrum. In fact, this old stoneware tea pot kicked off my first ever vintage collection of Poole Pottery, also in this sweet 'n' tasty shade.

Vintage teapot from my collection of all things sky blue (Did someone say hoarder?)

Vintage teapot from my collection of all things sky blue (Did someone say hoarder?)

So, when the spray paint guy, desperate to get the damn dresser out of his workshop, pushed me to make a colour choice, I finally ripped off a sky blue corner of a copy of the Evening Standard magazine and waved it in his face.

"This will go with everything", I said... Well think of it this way, when has a bright blue sky ever looked out of place?

2) Use the top of the dresser to prop up pictures. 

If room height allows, go up a bit to knock out the safe proportions of the unit. A propped up picture is an easy way to achieve this and also an opportunity for you to display your favourite pieces of art. Better still, add a few framed prints and overlap them slightly... I don't know why, but it works.

3) Add greenery.

I know you know about shelfies and Ivy plants etc. but me not mentioning the importance of greens here would be like forgetting to prove during bread week. Doh!

4) Jars

Get de-cant happy and enjoy the added texture and subtle interest brought to your newly geeked up kitchen by nuts, seeds, grains etc all in different shaped jars.

Try Wilko, for airtight Kilner jars with clip lids and be sure to raid the charity shops for some retro styles as well.

5) Vintage vinyl


OK so it's confession time. The real reason I HAD to have a kitchen dresser was because I needed somewhere to put a Crosleys record player.

Crosleys record player £160  Urban Outfitters

Crosleys record player £160 Urban Outfitters

Oh, but have you seen the selection on offer from Urban Outfitters? A million swoons and then some. 

I went for the cream leather gold trimmed carry case and it works a treat with the bright blue backdrop. But imagine it sat on top of a blush pink sideboard too... I mean, pass me the cupcakes, it deserves a baby shower all of its own.  

Don't tell him, but I'm treating the House Candy Husband to 16 vinyl records (one from every year of marriage) to mark our wedding anniversary this month. Too cute, I know.

Here's what romantic gesture he's bought me in return...

Wilko  alphabet letter mugs £1 ... Because everyone loves a geek, right?

Wilko alphabet letter mugs £1 ... Because everyone loves a geek, right?

Happy Monday all (Now there's a vinyl I need to buy) Pucker up and let me know how you have been inspired this week, Bake Off or otherwise. I'd love to know your news.

Claire x






Coveting the Cook Book Look

It wasn't so much the Quinoa Nori Rolls, as the white washed brick walls and mismatched pastel stoneware that got me into new age healthy eating.

Ok the shiny hair helped. And the ironic slogan T? This I can work with. What I'm saying is, for a terrible cook - a mum that only this week discovered you can add frozen peas and sweetcorn to a pan of boiling rice and increase your kids' vitamin consumption by 50% ... for me, there needed to be more inspiration for clean eating than just the food. 

So thank you beautiful, healthy, Ella Woodward a.k.a Deliciously Ella. Thank you for your glowing skin and your well stocked Kilner Jars, displayed artfully on rustic open shelves. Thank you for your Buddha Bowl, Your Creamy Sweet Potato Risotto and your excellent taste in vintage style crockery and glassware. 

Thanks to you, I too have a new found spring in my step that, yes, may have a lot to do with the youth enhancing properties of avocado, but also coincides with a wholly satisfying healthy kitchen update too. 

Here's my recipe for coveting the delicious, nutritious, clean eating Cook Book Look at home. 

Bon Apetit.

1) White walls

White walls and colour pops are  Deliciously Ella's  trademark style  

White walls and colour pops are Deliciously Ella's trademark style  

White paintwork gives a subliminal message in most of the clean eating cook books currently en-vogue.  It also works wonders in helping all these amazing rainbow coloured foods that you are about to discover stand out.

I'd like to think I was all over the white kitchen vibe way before Ella. My kitchen is big, but not super sized and whilst I've experimented with brights and shades over the years, I always come back to white.

You could go Coconut Milk white if you like, but not Semi - Skimmed white which is too, y'know, dairy. 

2) Open Shelves

Deliciously Ella's deliciously cool shelf situation

Deliciously Ella's deliciously cool shelf situation

You need open shelves to nail this look. Rustic wooden ones are ideal but if, like me, you're stuck with a couple of lengths of white MDF, worry not. Overcome this with a neat stack of serving dishes - mismatched is best. Shelves should be beautiful, but functional and with all the little side dishes and dips you are going to produce, it's good to have a collection of suitable bowls and plates within easy reach. 

Flowers on shelves is a new discovery for me and OMG. What a difference a few stems of fuscia can make in pulling this whole I-just-found-this-in-the-garden-and-made-a-side-dish-with-it look together. 

3) Chopping boards

A sample of my growing chopping board collection!

A sample of my growing chopping board collection!

A LOT of chopping is involved with actual start-from-scratch cooking. But that's cool because chopping boards have become my new favourite kitchen accessory. Not only do they look nice leaning against the wall on the work top, but they hide ugly plug sockets and annoyingly placed switches too. At last count I had 5 chopping boards on the go. Anyone with 5 chopping boards can rustle up a good dinner, right? 

4) Statement dresser

Pinspiration for my dream kitchen dresser

Pinspiration for my dream kitchen dresser

If you've got room for one, get one. A brightly coloured painted dresser with glass doors at the top is on my dream kitchen wish list.

In it, I will stack more of that gorgeous vintage crockery I can't hold back from buying and some cool linen table cloths for when I really want to show off. On it, a big jug of random cooking utensils will sit on a pile of the latest clean eating cook books and there will be a healthy green plant tumbling off the top. Chef chic? I got this.

5) Blackboard

My homemade blackboard 

My homemade blackboard 

Great for letting your guests know which particular culinary delight you are treating their tastebuds to today and also useful for noting down the name of those elusive Buckwheat Groats you need to locate at the health food store.  

I LOVE my blackboard and as you may have seen on Instagram, am not afraid of chalking out a motivational saying or two. In fact it's a great way to pass the time whilst you are waiting for your lentils to boil. I made mine from an old mirror and it was super simple. See my post archive for a quick and easy weekend makeover project. 

6) Storage Jars

Storage jars make even the boring ingredients look pretty

Storage jars make even the boring ingredients look pretty

I've become a bit obsessed with jars. You will find this happens when you start buying different dry ingredients that otherwise leak out of soggy paper packets and become welded to your kitchen cupboard. I pick up all different types of jars from market stalls and charity shops, making sure that they have a perfectly airtight lid. It's a good idea to put them through the dishwasher a couple of times on a high heat setting to kill any odours.

If you prefer to buy new, you can't go far wrong with traditional clip top Kilner jars. 

Kilner Jars from  Amazon

Kilner Jars from Amazon


7) Pretty plate presentation

It never fails to amaze me how people are prepared to part with pretty plates. They chuck out their chintzy glass trifle bowls, their fluted edge platters and their painted floral soup bowls. And they replace them with a white Wilko dinner service without a thought for the lost #instafood styling opportunities. You need to know that this look is as much about the presentation as it is about the veg consumption. We are buying into a lifestyle here foodie friends. Do. Pay. Attention.

Which reminds me of the parting quote Ella leaves us with at the back of her beautiful book. It says:




And what she clearly forgot to add was:


If you're on board with this concept, please do show your love by voting for me HERE in the Interior Blog Awards, hosted by Amara. Voting takes just seconds - which is way less time than preparing Cauliflower Pizza but with ALL of the happiness inducing effects.

Thank you and happy weekend all,

Claire x