Sunday, 28 August 2016

7 Totally Underrated Ikea Products

IKEA 365+ VÄRDEFULL Grater IKEA Grates effectively in both directions. Different sides for coarse or fine grating.


This grater grates, zests, and collects everything in a neat, easy to clean plastic dish, so no need to grate onto a plate

PLASTIS Dish-washing brush IKEA Sticks to sinks, tiles etc., thanks to the suction cup.

2. PLASTIS Dish-washing Brush

At 90p, this brush will clean your dishes AND stand up by itself with a silicone sucker, taking up practically zero surface space

STENSTORP Kitchen trolley IKEA Gives you extra storage, utility and work space.

3. STENSTORP Kitchen Trolley

Got a small kitchen? Same. This trolley is sturdy, and creates valuable extra storage and preparation space. No need to get an extension... for the time being, at least

SLÄT Egg slicer IKEA The egg slicer is easy to clean as the steel frame is removable.

4. SLÄT Egg Slicer

Lunch making will never be the same with this handy egg slicer - use it for avocados if you're that way inclined ;)
KVISSLE Cable management box IKEA Charge your mobile and MP3 player and hide the charger and extension lead under the lid.

5. KVISSLE Cable Management Box

Nobody likes messy cables, so tidy yours up with this cable management box. Blogger points: spray paint the top silver, and cover the bottom part in marble contact paper.

BESTÅENDE Detergent dispenser IKEA Helps you organise detergent or soap at the sink bowl, so you always have it close at hand when needed.

6. BESTÅENDE Detergent Dispenser

Don't like those mismatching, out of place Fairy liquid bottles? Decant said liquid into a simple glass dispenser and reuse again and again
TEJN Rug IKEA The rug is super soft, warm and cosy. Ideal on the floor or draped across your favourite armchair.

7. TEJN Rug

It may not be as fluffy as its older sister, SKOLD, but this rug is great for nonchalantly draping over your desk chair for extra warmth

Friday, 26 August 2016

How to Clean Copper Pots and Pans

How to clean copper pans by Jen Lou Meredith

'My life at home gives me absolute joy. There are some days when, as soon as you've finished cooking breakfast and cleaning up the kitchen, it's time to start lunch, and by the time you've done that, you're doing dinner and thinking, "There has to be a menu we can order from"' - Julia Roberts

This isn't my usual type of post. Don't get me wrong; I love cooking. I love finding a recipe off the cuff on the internet, buying all the goodies for it and cooking up a knock out dinner. I also love scraping together whatever's left in the fridge and making it into something amazing.

However - I hate cleaning. It takes too long, makes me all sweaty and tends to become and endless cycle (i.e. when I've cleaned the sink and realise that I've got a stack of plates by the cooker that haven't been washed up). 

Keeping my beloved set of copper pans clean is the worst. They seem to stain as soon as I use them, which makes maintaining their glorious coppery-ness a nightmare. After an evening spent scrubbing away with a sponge and more fairy liquid than you can shake a stick at, I decided to experiment with other household ingredients. Favouring a more natural approach (as chemicals didn't seem to make a dent), this was the method that worked the best for me:

1. Clean the copper surface of any food residue using your normal washing up liquid and hot water.

2. Slice a lemon into quarters. Take one quarter and rub the juicy side onto the copper surface in small circles. You'll see that the surface slowly begins to lighten. 

3. For any stubborn areas that won't lighten completely, shake a tiny amount of granulated table salt onto the lemon, then repeat your circles. This will act as a gentle abrasive.

4. Once the entire surface has lightened, thoroughly wash the surface with warm water and some washing up liquid so that all the lemon juice has been washed off. Dry with a tea towel.

Note: you may find that the surface will need a couple of cleans using lemons if it's really quite dull. My advice is to clean the surface using this method after every couple of uses. This will help maintain shiny copper!

How to clean copper pans by Jen Lou Meredith


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Beautiful Brows

We live in a world divided in two: good eyebrows and bad eyebrows. A good eyebrow, obviously, suits the wearer in colour and shape, framing the face and completing a look. A bad eyebrow, well - let's say that people have the right to their own opinions, but most of us can accept that a bad eyebrow is one that stands out from the rest of the features, but not in a good way. Perhaps it's the wrong shade, or perhaps it's far too bold. Either way, eyebrows can make or break a makeup look.

Thanks to celebrity makeup artists and their famous clients, the eyebrow has come to the forefront of beauty. Some of us are still carrying the remnants or the 90s waif of a brow, with our hairs overplucked to within an inch of their lives; whilst some of us have embraced a naturally full brow, perhaps laughing in the faces of those who bullied them in high school for this very reason *sticks hand up*. Regardless, a lot of us covet that perfectly fierce eyebrow look that we see so much on Instagram and E!, that the average British woman is now spending around £200 a year on brow products. It doesn't seem like much, but think about how many eyebrow pencils that could buy you!

Luckily, our favourite beauty brands have got smart and released brow 'kits' - the all-in-one face saviors that can be applied at home and taken on the go for touch ups. For example, Benefit has just this year launched a whole host of brow products aimed at making the idea of taming, shaping and defining eyebrows an approachable concept - even for the most makeup impaired of us.

One of my favourite kits at the moment is the Beautiful Brows Kit - a sleek, sturdy compact containing brow powder, highlighter, brushes, tweezers and stencils. It's so handy, that it has now become the UK's number one best selling refillable brow kit. Yes, refillable - so instead of buying the whole kit again, you can just purchase the powders and save yourself a wad of cash.

Open the shiny, white, rectangular compact and you'll find a brow powder that has been talked about across social media. It comes in five shades, and is the perfect consistency for creating even eyebrows in a style that suits the wearer. It's smudge proof, sweat proof, water resistant and long lasting (with the website claiming that it will stay put for 24 hours). I love using this powder, as it's not too loose, but I'm still able to create my signature bold look with a few strokes.

The highlighter isn't crazily luminescent; however, it is great for producing a soft contrast, and I like that it comes in its own separate pan and case, so that the powders don't mix.

The brushes are a bit of a waste of time if you want to go for a defined look. They're more suited to applying the product first, then you can go ahead and shape using your favourite angled brush.

I also don't tend to use the stencils, as I've always felt that these are more hassle than they're worth. I go by my own perceptions. The decently-sized, clear mirror is ideal for this.

If I were to improve this kit, I would definitely include a spoolie brush for combing out hairs, rather than the hard metal comb on the tweezers, and I would shape the brushes so that they're much thinner. Other than that, I love the formula of the brow powder and I would happily repurchase this by itself.


Monday, 22 August 2016

Afternoon Tea at The Ickworth, Suffolk

Afternoon tea is somewhat of a favourite past-time of mine - it fulfills my inner Marie Antoinette: pretty cakes, beautiful surroundings and oodles of tea. My best-loved versions are themed; the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea at One Aldwych in Covent Garden is perfect for chocolate lovers, while the Mad Hatter's tea at Sanderson is a whimsical dream (find more themed afternoon teas here). However, a simple afternoon tea is sometimes the best kind, with less showboating, more finesse.

The Ickworth, in west Suffolk's countryside, is a Georgian Italianate palace maintained by the National Trust. It features a restored servant's basement, walled garden, and a magnificently airy conservatory where you can enjoy afternoon tea looking out over the stunning grounds. I would recommend this place on views alone - especially when it's sunny.

I came here with my mum and sister for a girls' day out; we already had a table booked, which I secured about a week in advance. The conservatory wasn't busy, which contributed to a relaxing atmosphere. 

Taking place between 3pm and 5pm daily, the afternoon tea consists of the standard selection of crustless finger sandwiches, crisp-on-the-outside soft-on-the-inside scones with jam and clotted cream, and an adorable selection of cakes including meringue sandwiches, mini mousse ice creams and iced layer cakes. Enjoyable, simplistic and nothing out of the ordinary. This is complimented by a decent selection of teas - I had rooibos, followed by Earl Grey.

At £21.50 per person, I'm sad to say that I expected a little more than I got. The service was polite and available when needed, but we weren't taken through what was on our afternoon tea stands before we began, and were not offered more tea once it looked like we'd finished what we had. I would say that these are niggly little points, but it just makes afternoon tea that little bit more special when the hosts get it exactly right.

I might come here again just for the gorgeous aesthetic (everything is so pretty and white!), but it may be a while. I'd rather go somewhere new, than revisit.

Overall rating: 3.5/5


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Keeping It Faux

OOTD by fashion blogger Jen Lou Meredith
OOTD by fashion blogger Jen Lou Meredith
OOTD by fashion blogger Jen Lou Meredith
OOTD by fashion blogger Jen Lou Meredith
Sunglasses - zeroUV* // Top - H&M // Skirt - New Look // Bag - Primark // Shoes - New Look

Screw the LBD. There are a handful of pieces the modern woman needs in her wardrobe, but a black dress is, thankfully, no longer one of them. We all have our go-to pieces, but I can wholeheartedly say that I do not own, nor intend to own a little black dress. Why? Because it's the most boring piece of clothing that could have ever been dreamed up by the fashion designers of the past. We've had some amazing trend over the decades, from oversized pastel fur coats, to heavily cleated soles, to opulently embellished turbans. Where does a little black dress fit into all that? In the back of our minds. An afterthought, even. When we think of the word 'fashion', yes, we may think of the colour black - but a little black dress? Non, merci.

If I'm feeling ill, or as if I can't really be bothered to make an effort to dress up for a party/dinner/wedding reception, I'd rather not go to said event, than reach for an LBD. How cliché. How incredibly dull. How unenthusiastic.

A little black skirt, on the other hand, is something I would always like to keep handy. This is a truly versatile piece that can be endlessly accessorised and interchanged with colour, monochromes, textures and well-thought-out architecture. Think cashmere knits in winter, plain white tees in summer. Shoes? Trainers, heels, platforms, brogues (if you've got the balls), but please, no sandals. This is not 2004 and you are not a Valley girl.

Wear it dressed up, wear it dressed down, wear it with edge, wear it with sex appeal, wear it with pride. Long live the little black skirt.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Super Simple Skincare for No-Nonsense Beauty Lovers

Malin+Goetz skincare by Jen Lou Meredith

When the beauty market is as over-saturated as it is with endless options in terms of products, brands and trends, it's easy to treat skincare like books - you judge them by their covers. I'm guilty of buying skincare because I like the packaging; maybe it's sparkly gold with a simple black font, or maybe it's futuristic, crimson red and has a angular bottle - we've seen them all, but we should really read the blurb (or the small print, if we're talking skincare) when making the decision of whether to purchase or pass.

One of my favourite brands for no-nonsense packaging is Malin+Goetz, a New York City born brand known for its gentle, hydrating formulas ideal for those with dry, sensitive or allergy prone skin. Its packaging is not glitzy, fancy, glamorous or even expensive looking - it does what it says, and it does it well.

Malin+Goetz covers skincare for the face and body, hair care, candles and perfumes. Their products are colour-coded to make them easier to identify, so instead of fussy packaging, these products are simple and cohesive and, in my opinion, look better on your bathroom shelf than a mish mash of various products from different brands.

Having recently opened two new London boutiques, one in Monmouth Street in 7 Dials, and one in Upper Street in Islington, the brand has released a quirky version of its '1 oz essential kit' featuring popular phrases from the UK and USA. This can only be bought at its London stores - so I'm afraid it's currently unavailable online; however, I'm giving my lovely readers a chance to win their very own set in a super special giveaway! Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post...

Malin+Goetz skincare by Jen Lou Meredith
Malin+Goetz skincare by Jen Lou Meredith

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 5 August 2016

How to Decorate Like a Kardashian (On the Cheap)

Decorate like a Kardashian by Jen Lou Meredith
credit: unsplash

When I'm lucky enough to stumble across a Kardashian/Jenner home tour, I can't help it - I'm hooked. Not because of the people occupying these homes, but because of how each room is glamorous, chic and insanely well thought out, down to the last fresh flower in its hand cut crystal vase.

Yes, these homes were made for TV. You wouldn't be able to walk through my front door and find a spotless, white, high pile carpet, a ten thousand dollar chaise and mirrors, like, literally everywhere; however, it's not a bad thing to want to emulate this level of style in your own (read: affordable) way.

It's clear that the Kardashians use interior designers (although I have seen Khloé independently picking out unique pieces of decor for her Calabasas mansion), so I'm taking inspiration from the geniuses behind these coveted homes, Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Jeff Andrews, and translating their style into both affordable and investment pieces for your home. See below for my picks of the best high street pieces to nail that Kardashian look.


Decorate like a Kardashian by Jen Lou Meredith
1. H&M Tray, £19.99
2. Debenhams Candle Holder, £17.60
3. Scandinavian Design Centre Vase, £11
4. Ikea Tejn Rug, £10
5. Baytree Interiors Cake Stand, £16.95
6. Debenhams Decanter, £16.80
7. Books Please Chanel Book, £15.95
8. Next Velvet Cushion, £16

Decorate like a Kardashian by Jen Lou Meredith

1. Zara Home Golden Mirror, £49.99
2. ArabianHomeDecor Moroccan Lantern, £30
3. QVC Faux Peony Bouquet, £45
4. Next Glass Jar, £30
5. Habitat Side Table, £35
6. Oliver Bonas Trinket Pot, £22
7. House of Fraser Diamond Paper Weight, £23.60
8. Very Bean Bag, £47

kardashian home photography credit: architectural digest
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