Summer Kitchen Cleaning Tips

kitchen_cleaningThe best thing to do in new season is to refresh your kitchen. This particular summer make sure to add your own family’s fridge to the cleansing list. Here are several reasons why:
The majority of us know that several easy and simple steps - clean, separate, make, and refrigerate - complement way in maintaining our family members safe plus free from meals borne ailments. But, are you aware that mold, germs, and splatters in the fridge can place you and your family in danger? Maintaining the clean fridge is just as essential as preparing food to the appropriate temperature or even keeping your own ready-to-eat food items separate through raw meat.
Here are a few easy refrigerator cleansing tips:
  • Clean refrigerator splatters immediately, specifically those through raw meats juices. Touch: Defrost meat in a protected container around the bottom corner to reduce splatters.
  • Wash the interior of your fridge with a clear sponge plus warm soapy water, wash with clear water, plus dry having a clean towel. Don’t miss the racks and compartments!
  • Regularly clear the fridge and refrigerator handles -- they are handled the most.
  • Place an opened up box associated with baking soda pop in the back of the particular refrigerator in order to combat smells. Hint: Exchange the box each 3 months.
  • Dust the front barbeque grill to allow free of charge airflow towards the condenser for optimum cooling plus efficiency.
  • Unplug the fridge and clean the condenser coils with a brush or even vacuum.
Selecting through food items each week can also be an important part of maintaining the clean fridge and avoiding food paid for illnesses. Examine the expiration times, and get rid of expired, spoiled, or ruined food. Whenever in doubt, toss it away!
While it is important to frequently clean your own refrigerator, a lot of us put off cleaning the inside, dusting the front barbeque grill, and cleansing the condenser coils. This particular summer cleaning tips provided by the best cleaning company will make refrigerator cleaning very important!

Mr Selfridge


I am loving the new series of Mr Selfridge so far. It almost makes me want to go back to a now very distant past when I too worked in retail. But then I remember that my boss looked nothing like Jeremy Piven. And I certainly didn’t earn enough cash to look as glamorous as the shop assistants of Edwardian London! – Rachel

Quilts and Tulips

PicFrame (1)I’ve been feeling pretty dreadful for the past 2+ weeks, and finally my body seems to have come to a crashing halt, leaving me only fit for snuggling up in a quilt, watching TV and reading a little. I’m currently waiting on a blood test result for glandular fever and trying not to feel too frustrated by being confined to the sofa. Fortunately, my Mum knows just the way to cheer me up: keeping me in supply of brightly coloured tulips and getting me the latest Jane Brocket quilting book, Quilt Me! I’ve very much enjoyed Jane Brocket’s other quilting and knitting books, and this one is inspirational in showing a creative use of different fabrics and needlework in making beautiful quilts.  - Miranda

Flower Arranging


I’m tired of winter now; the damp greyness is beginning to grate, and I am longing for sunshine and daffodils. The display of gloriously beautiful flowers outside Liberty’s that I walked past this weekend almost had me believe that Spring had sprung; I wish I’d picked up a bouquet to take home with me. Instead, I think I’ll do a Jane Brocket and pick up a hyacinth from the garden centre. Very Provincial Lady. – Rachel

The Night Circus


This is such a magical book. Perfect for brightening up these cold winter days! – Rachel

Feel Good Food

Laur_9780307987211_epub_004_r1Giada de Laurentiis

If you’re entering 2014 determined to try to eat a little healthier, then I highly recommend Giada’s Feel Good Food as a cookbook filled with low calorie, but inspiring and tasty meals. The recipes are interspersed with Giada’s anecdotes and beauty tips which are fun to read. I’m curious to find out whether applying an olive oil ‘shampoo’ to my hair really does work! - Miranda

Wolf of Wall Street


Well, I have to say that this week’s Cinema Club outing was a big success. I much preferred Wolf of Wall Street to American Hustle; Leonardo DiCaprio has outdone himself and puts in a brilliant performance. Despite being three hours long, the time flew by, and I was completely absorbed in the lavishly debauched lives of the characters. Having said that, it’s certainly not one to watch with older relatives – it’s an 18 for a reason! You have been warned! – Rachel

Angie Lewin

3894_listI’m a huge Angie Lewin fan and would love to be able to afford one of her beautiful prints. In the meantime though, the Yorkshire Sculpture Parkgift shop is offering lots of affordable products featuring her designs, from cards, to napkins, mugs and this gorgeous bag. Perfect as birthday presents or for a little treat to yourself! Miranda



This cookbook is brilliant! Full of easy to make, but far from run-of-the-mill, recipes, it’s a sure way to help you brighten up your weekday meals. I’m dying to try the kale carbonara, shrimp wonton soup and salmon pita burgers with tartar sauce. Yum! – Miranda

Ruby + Ed

Screen shot 2013-11-03 at 1.30.57 PM

A fantastic birthday gift of these adorable slippers from some lovely friends drew my attention to the fabulous Ruby + Ed. How perfect are their range of super cosy, super cute slippers for the start of winter? I’m already inseparable from my pair and think I should start a trend for wearing slippers around school….  - Miranda 

Monk’s House Revisited

374257_604879641423_1750969302_nDining table at Monk’s House

I am so excited because today my Mum is picking me up straight from work and whisking me off for a relaxing night and day in Bloomsbury territory. We’re staying at the Ram Inn in Firle, which is where we stayed with Rachel on our trip to Charleston and the surrounding area last April. I’m so looking forward to the cosy bedrooms and roaring fireplace! I’m also very much looking forward to revisiting Monk’s House, as well asCharleston, especially as I was given this lovely book about Virginia Woolf’s beautiful garden for my birthday.  - Miranda

Cover Up


If you still want to feel like you’re reading a good old fashioned novel when you’re really devouring the latest bestseller on your Kindle, you should pick up one of these. Don’t they look beautiful? And they’re handmade in the UK, too, no less. – Rachel

Autumnal Reads

(c) John Croft; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Girl Reading, Harold Knight

Currently, I’m rereading Persuasion, my favourite Jane Austen novel, which I always associate with this time of year. I had fun thinking of some other great autumnal reads: Halloween Party by Agatha Christie, Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell, Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery, The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff and Busman’s Honeymoon (I love Harriet’s autumnal wedding) by Dorothy L. Sayers. Do you have any favourite seasonal books? – Miranda 

Tuesday Poetry


I found this lovely poem while looking for some poetry to teach my students. I love the feeling of cosiness Mansfield creates.

Camomile Tea

Outside the sky is light with stars;
There’s a hollow roaring from the sea.
And, alas! for the little almond flowers,
The wind is shaking the almond tree.

How little I thought, a year ago,
In the horrible cottage upon the Lee
That he and I should be sitting so
And sipping a cup of camomile tea.

Light as feathers the witches fly,
The horn of the moon is plain to see;
By a firefly under a jonquil flower
A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.

We might be fifty, we might be five,
So snug, so compact, so wise are we!
Under the kitchen-table leg
My knee is pressing against his knee.

Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,
The tap is dripping peacefully;
The saucepan shadows on the wall
Are black and round and plain to see.

Katherine Mansfield

Prize Winning


If you’re interested in the Booker Prize, the winner of which will be revealed next Tuesday, then you might like to watch these videos where people argue the case for their favourite shortlisted novel. I’m going to try and read all of the shortlisted books this year; dabbling in the latest offerings of the literary world has been surprisingly stimulating! – Rachel

My Birthday Wishes


I have just discovered a wonderful independent press, called Little Toller Books. They republish books about rural life and local history, and their carefully chosen selection of titles are all absolutely irresistible. Adrian Bell’s Apple Acre and Through the Woods by H E Bates are particularly calling to me, though I’d also love their newest publication, Barbara Jones’ The Unsophisticated Arts. I think quite a few of these gorgeous books will be winging their way to me over the next few months! – Rachel

Red Dress

Screen shot 2013-10-06 at 9.36.58 AM


Slowly but surely, I am decorating my bedroom. The above Johnny Hannah print is the only thing on my walls at the moment, but it makes me smile every time I look at it. I love Johnny’s quirky designs and bright colours and own a couple of his smaller prints too. I can’t wait to get them framed! I’ve also been lusting after this print for years. Oh dear, having wall space is a dangerous thing! - Miranda

Pumpkin Spice


At this time of year, I miss living in America. Americans have ‘fall’ sorted, with their lovely arrangements of pumpkins and gourds on their doorsteps and all manner of cinnamon spiced foods. Thank goodness for the internet. I think I’ll be having one of these. And I need to get some of this shipped over. And maybe I might be naughty and get this. Who says you have to be the birthday girl to treat yourself?! – Rachel

Designer Crush: Evars + Anderson

As the masterminds behind the San Francisco Bay Area's Peninsula-based firm Evars + Anderson Interior Design, Nancy Evars and Dimitra Anderson are always striving to create projects that are fun, fresh, and one-of-a-kind. Blending bursts of color with unexpected touches of classic design, the business partners and seasoned style pros lead a team dedicated to designing distinctive spaces for their loyal list of clients. When they're not garnering national attention with features in national publications like Better Homes And Gardens, Evars and Anderson are dutifully answering our Designer Crush questions. Check out their answers below!

1. Who is your biggest role model?

Dimitra: My mother for her selflessness and dedication to our family. Her work ethic was incredible given the many obstacles she had to overcome as an immigrant. Read More...

Industry Insider: Interior Design Society's Designer Of The Year Awards Announced

Last evening the IDS (Interior Design Society) celebrated their fifth annual Designer Of The Year Award winners. Receiving a record number of entries this year, the lucky few were chosen by a selected panel of expert judges that included Deb Barrett, Mitzi Beach, Leslie Carothers, Patti Carpenter, Tobi Fairley, Susan Inglis, Joe Ruggiero, Barbara Viteri, Jackie Von Tobel, and Amy Wax. Congratulations to all of the winners! 

For more information about each project, visit IDS' website.  Read More...

Secret Sources: Vanessa McBride’s Bay Area Spots

A self-taught interior designer, Vanessa McBride prides herself in her ability to create her own set of design rules. Mixing an unexpected blend of modern lines and artifacts sourced from her East Asian travels, Vanessa has a layered aesthetic that sets her apart from other Bay Area designers. Vanessa originally pursued a career in social psychology, but her passion for design never wavered, and she took a sabbatical from graduate school to work at ABC Carpet & Home. She broke into the design world as a project design assistant at Tucker & Marks Interiors, later honing her skills at Ann Lowengart Interiors and Suzanne Tucker Home. Finally, Vanessa settled in Larkspur and founded her own firm, Vanessa McBride Design, in 2014.

One of Vanessa’s recent projects was completely remodeling her own home. Located in the Larkspur Marina with gorgeous views of Mt. Tam and the lagoon, the home’s setting was irresistible, but its interior was dated and unfit for a busy family of four. Inspired by the natural landscape, her Balinese artifacts, and her husband’s passion for surfing, Vanessa gutted the space, turning a house with...