Bespoke handmade picture frames

Bespoke handmade picture frames from King & McGaw | Nursery decor | Saar Manche print | Double Merrick print | Apartment Apothecary

A little sneak peek into the nursery.

I’ll be honest and say I get a lot of emails from companies that sell prints and posters online and they want me to feature them on the blog. One of the main reasons I turn them down is that I know how much of a pain it can be to find frames to fit prints and if you want to get it done properly it can cost a lot of money; far more than the value of the print itself in most cases.

Well, I have a brilliant discovery to share with you today that I hope you will be as excited about as I am. When King & McGaw got in touch I was a little sceptical that their new bespoke handmade framing service would live up to its name but it did – and more. It is not often that companies exceed my expectations but this is one of those occasions and the fact that the service is cheaper, yes cheaper, than the off-the-shelf frames I would normally buy is just amazing.

Let me tell you how the service works. You can either order an art print from King & McGaw (so many cute kids prints!) and choose to buy it framed or just buy a custom frame for a print you already have at home, which is what I did. I have two prints that I want to put in the nursery and I needed them to be framed but as per usual, they were sitting on the side and at the bottom of my to-do list. I had looked online and neither print is standard sized and I wanted them to have a mount, which makes the whole thing so much more complicated. So, King & McGaw’s online bespoke framing service is perfect! All I had to do was put in the exact dimensions of my prints, choose the colour and style of frame and add a mount if I wanted one. Within a few days along came a perfectly wrapped parcel (the last time I ordered a frame it arrived smashed to pieces) with two beautifully handmade frames, still smelling of paint. It was like I had been to the framers.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to framing pictures I always have to do it down on the floor…

Bespoke handmade picture frames from King & McGaw | Nursery decor | Saar Manche print | Double Merrick print | Apartment Apothecary

The frames are beautifully handmade and very easy to add your own prints to. A really lovely and handy feature is that each frame comes with its own little hanging kit…a great touch.

Bespoke handmade picture frames from King & McGaw | Nursery decor | Saar Manche print | Double Merrick print | Apartment Apothecary

I ordered a solid wood slim frame with a satin black finish and mount for this lovely Saar Manche ‘Mother and Daughter’ illustration for the nursery.

The quality and finish of the frames couldn’t be better and to see the prints fitting to perfection is so satisfying. And here are the finished results with the newly framed prints in situ…

Bespoke handmade picture frames from King & McGaw | Nursery decor | Saar Manche print | Double Merrick print | Apartment Apothecary

Bespoke handmade picture frames from King & McGaw | Nursery decor | Saar Manche print | Double Merrick print | Apartment Apothecary

I also ordered the satin black slim frame for one of my favourite Double Merrick prints to go above my new little desk space squished into the corner of the nursery.

Bespoke handmade picture frames from King & McGaw | Nursery decor | Saar Manche print | Double Merrick print | Apartment Apothecary

Bespoke handmade picture frames from King & McGaw | Nursery decor | Saar Manche print | Double Merrick print | Apartment Apothecary

I have always said that it’s a good idea to add touches of black to any room to help ground the scheme and create a bit of contrast and picture frames are a great way of doing this. However, I have a few more prints that I plan to get framed by King & McGaw and I would love to try their white limed ash frames and the oak frames, too.

The one thing that I could find fault with – if you can call it that – is that the ‘slim’ frame isn’t quite as slim as I would like it to be but I suppose with handmade wooden frames there is a limit to how slim you can go compared to metal frames, for example. Other than that the service was faultless and the products are amazing. This will be the only place I buy frames from now on and I promise this is not just late pregnancy emotional gushing!!!

Katy x

*This was written in collaboration with King & McGaw.

Festive baking with AEG

Christmas came early for me last week after a trip to Taste of London: Festive edition to take part in such a fun baking masterclass to try out the new AEG Mastery Range. There were twinkly lights, Christmas trees, champagne whilst we cooked, festive recipes, and now a couple of AEG appliances on my Christmas list (Jules, I want this and this) – I’m ready, I’m telling you.

Now, even if you are not quite ready for Christmas chat, you may want to know more about some of the wondrous kitchen appliances I used on the night led by GBBO finalist Richard Burr (he kept a pencil behind his ear – do you remember?) and Gluts & Gluttony founder, Kathy Slack. I have long dreamed of designing my ideal kitchen and when I watch videos like this one of all the super clever appliances, storage solutions and accessories it makes me realise just how much is possible. During the class I was lucky enough to try out AEG’s new MaxiSense Pure induction hob as well as the Steamboost Steam Oven, which are part of the Mastery Range, as well as some of their small kitchen appliances so let me tell you a bit about them…

Festive baking with AEG spiced sausage rolls with cranberry chutney using the new AEG mastery range

Expertly led by Richard and Kathy they set us to work on one of Richard’s recipes for spiced sausage rolls, filled with orange, sage and chilli – yum! – and a cranberry chutney.

Making the sausage rolls themselves was super easy and after a little mixing and rolling they baked perfectly in the Steamboost Steam Oven as the steam browns and crisps, which is exactly what you want with pastry. However, I couldn’t quite work out how we were going to make an red onion based chutney in the small amount of time we had because it literally takes HOURS to properly cook onions in my kitchen.

Firstly, we all need to be using a stick mixer for chopping our onions. Seriously, it’s life changing. The AEG stick mixer is so quick and so powerful so my worst kitchen chore is no longer an issue. Also, I have only recently realised that blending onions almost to a puree for the base of sauces makes the cooking process so much quicker if you are short on time and it’s particularly good for cooking for a baby who can’t yet chew bits of onion.

Anyhoo, it turns out the only reason it takes forever to cook sauces in my kitchen is because I don’t have an induction hob. The new MaxiSense Pure induction hob that we used during the class is flipping amazing – we cooked that chutney in about five minutes. It heats so quickly, cooks so evenly and is super easy to control. It’s sleek too as it is completely black when not cooking. I WANT!

Christmas spiced sausage rolls recipe

So here are the finished spiced rolls with the delicious cranberry chutney (you need to make the chutney – it’s really, really good).

Festive baking with AEG spiced sausage rolls with cranberry chutney using the new AEG mastery range

Ingredients for four sausage rolls:

100g puff pastry
75g unseasoned sausage meat
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
Zest of half an orange
10g sage leaves roughly chopped
1 egg
Flour for dusting

For the chutney:

1 small red onion
170g fresh cranberries
100g caster sugar
Zest of half an orange
2tbsp red wine vinegar
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Black pepper to taste

Method to make the sausage rolls:

1. Put the sausage meat, salt, chilli and sage into a bowl and zest half an orange over the mixture, mix thoroughly with a spoon.

2. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the puff to 10x20cm.

3. Shape the sausage meat into a ball and cover in flour, then roll out on the floured surface to 20cm long.

4. Lay the sausage meat onto the puff and paint one edge (of the puff) with beaten egg.

5. Roll the pastry over the sausage and seal onto the egg coated edge.

6. Cut the sausage into four equal pieces and brush with the beaten egg. Slash diagonally with the paring knife and bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees (fan).

To make the chutney:

1. Finely dice the red onion and soften over a low heat in the saucepan until translucent.

2. Take 40g of the cranberries cut them in half and set aside.

3. Tip the remaining 130g of cranberries into the pan (with the onions) over a low heat and add the caster sugar, salt, vinegar, cayenne and the remaining zest of the orange.

4. Stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has melted then turn the heat up (to a medium heat) and continue stirring until the cranberries burst (about another 5-10 minutes).

5. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining uncooked cranberries.

Festive baking with AEG spiced sausage rolls with cranberry chutney using the new AEG mastery range

Ok, now I get to talk about all the twinkly lights, star decorations, champagne and canapes! Christmas is nearly here, people!!! The event has got me very excited.

Have you got any good festive recipes you can recommend? Or maybe plans for a new kitchen in the new year? I’d love to hear more…

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with AEG.

WIN £250 to spend on blinds or shutters with Luxaflex!

I’m so pleased to have been sponsored by Luxaflex this month and even more pleased that they are offering one of my lovely readers a brilliant prize. How would you fancy £250 to spend on any blinds or shutters from Luxaflex? It’s totally up to you which product you go for and you could hopefully get it all fitted just in time for Christmas. If you need a bit of inspiration have a look at a post I wrote with Luxaflex last week here.

Twist shades from Luxaflex | Making the most of your windows | Luxaflex blinds | Apartment Apothecary

Twist shades from Luxaflex

To be in with a chance of winning this fab prize all you have to do is pop over to Luxaflex to browse their different products (I really like the clever design of their Twist shades), choose your favourite and complete the rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open until November 29th and the winner will be announced back here on November 30th (T&C’s apply*). I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!

Katy x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and conditions: The prize is a gift voucher of 250GBP from Luxaflex® Blinds. There is no cash alternative. All steps listed above must be followed to ensure the proper qualification into the giveaway. Open to mainland UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Luxaflex® UK. The giveaway closes on 29th November 2016. The winner will be chosen by random and contacted by email. The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 7 days or a new winner will be chosen. The winner’s name will be available on request. Voucher only redeemable against Luxaflex® products through one of their registered Luxaflex® Gallery, Inspiration or Select showrooms. Voucher to be used within 12 months of issue date. If product is returned a voucher is given to the same value of product purchased. Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions. This does not affect your statutory consumer rights.

Morning rituals with my Emma Bridgewater retro radio

Blueberry smoothie recipe | Emma Bridgewater radio | Morning rituals | Apartment Apothecary

I am such a morning person (come the afternoon, forget about it) because I love the light, the quiet of the early hours and that great feeling that the whole day is ahead and the possibilities it could hold. Since being pregnant I have been taking the mornings a bit more gently: staying in bed a bit longer, listening to the radio whilst eating breakfast. I wanted to share with you my favourite morning smoothie recipe today, as well as showing you this gorgeous new Emma Bridgewater designed VQ radio; two things that got me through the rough mornings of the first trimester of pregnancy and that I have been thoroughly enjoying during the more relaxed mornings of the third trimester.

Blueberry smoothie recipe | Emma Bridgewater radio | Morning rituals | Apartment Apothecary

VQ have collaborated with Emma Bridgewater to design five new radio patterns for their Retro Mk II radio. I chose the Blue Daisy pattern as I love blue and white and it goes perfectly with my collection of blue and white crockery – perfect for long, leisurely breakfasts whilst listening to Radio 4. The Retro Mk II radio also has a lightening dock or it’s possible to connect with Bluetooth so I can play tunes from my phone, too, perfect for kitchen discos in the evening whilst cooking dinner.

Blueberry smoothie recipe | Emma Bridgewater radio | Morning rituals | Apartment Apothecary

For exclusive access to a pre-sale for the Retro Mk II on Tuesday 22nd November from 5pm visit QVC here.

The five new Emma Bridgewater designs will be available as a special offer on the QVC shopping channel on Black Friday, November 25th. To get exclusive access to a pre-sale for the Retro Mk II on Tuesday 22nd November from 5pm you can visit QVC here. As well as that QVC have launched a poll so that you can vote for your favourite pattern. Which style would suit your home best? Vote on your favourite by scrolling to the bottom of this post.

Blueberry smoothie recipe | Emma Bridgewater radio | Morning rituals | Apartment Apothecary

Smoothie recipe

The radio is the perfect addition to the kitchen to keep me company early in the morning whilst making breakfast. It’s super easy to tune into my favourite radio stations and the sound quality is great.

Here is the recipe for my favourite smoothie that is perfect for a good dose of energy plus I sneak some spinach in there so it’s extra good for you.

Serves 2:

  • 1 banana
  • 50g oats
  • A small handful of your favourite nuts (I use pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and brazils) or 1 teaspoon of nut butter
  • 75-100g of frozen blueberries (so much cheaper and easier to have bags of frozen fruit as this time of year when they are not in season)
  • 50g of frozen chopped spinach (again, such an easy way to keep spinach as fresh leaves go off so quickly)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 500ml milk (any type you prefer)
  • Optional extras: 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of raw cocoa nibs

Blueberry smoothie recipe | Emma Bridgewater radio | Morning rituals | Apartment Apothecary

Once I have had my smoothie I am ready to tackle my to do list and the radio never leaves my side during the day as it can run on batteries so can travel around the flat with me. The pretty, delicate daisy pattern and retro styling of the radio looks great with a vintage decor as well as being fresh enough for a more modern room. I use it on my desk, in the kitchen, on the dining table and it has a great alarm system so it’s good to have next to the bed in the morning, too.

Blueberry smoothie recipe | Emma Bridgewater radio | Morning rituals | Apartment Apothecary

Don’t forget, vote for your favourite design below and don’t miss the sale starting on November 22nd at 5pm! Happy weekend!

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with VQ.

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them

I’ve always said that lighting is one of the most important things to get right in your home but also one of the things that people struggle with most. All too often I go into rooms that are badly lit and no matter how beautifully decorated the room is, no matter how comfortable or welcoming, if the lighting is wrong it will ruin the entire room and make it an unpleasant place to be.

Generally, I have achieved good lighting in my flat but there are five areas that need a bit of attention and I have called in the help of the experts at John Cullen Lighting to give me a bit of guidance. Hopefully, you will find their advice useful too…

Problem one: Dressing table

Me: What would be the best way of lighting my dressing table?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Dressing table lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: You could consider backlighting the mirror with a linear LED like Contour HD24 for an even glow. This would involve mounting the mirror slightly off the wall with a smaller timber frame, and then attaching the Contour to the back of the mirror facing towards the wall. It creates a lovely soft wash of light and will illuminate your face with minimal shadows. If you can’t chase new wiring, consider linking this to a plug and locally switching from a 13 amp socket.

As standard, a downlight and a table lamp are a great way of lighting a dressing table area. The downlight should be tilted to angle towards the mirror and bounce the light back onto your face, whilst the table lamp gives a more even glow of light to help reduce shadows. Make sure your lamp has a lovely pale shade in soft fabrics to help maximise the light. Or use pendants in frosted glass for a real decorative wow factor, as well as a good even light to your face.

Problem two: Hallway

Me: We currently have spotlights in the hallway, which are very practical but they can be quite harsh. Is there a way of creating softer lighting that feels more welcoming when guests arrive into our hallway, especially at this time of year as we begin the festive period?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Hallway lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: Consider adding mobiles to soften the overall spotlights. This one from Skandium adds a real architectural note, whilst the antennae create exciting shadows and reflections on the walls.

Firstly the simplest solution is to change the switch to a dimmer so that you can set the right tone for the rest of the house from the front door. This will also enable you to soften the overall brightness for more mood and atmosphere. You could also swap your downlights for directional spotlights and wash the walls with light rather than the floor. The feeling of moving along a run way will be instantly softened and help highlight areas of interest to a visitor, rather than the floor. For example you could tilt a downlight to the blackboard door to add a focus to the hall.

It may also be possible to add glassware below or relatively near your downlights, so the light reflects through the glass creating wonderful shadows and reflections over the walls.

Problem three: Converting home office to nursery

Me: We are in the middle of converting our home office into a nursery so the lighting needs to be completely changed and I am getting rid of the main pendant light over the desk. How can I create soft lighting in the nursery, especially considering that I will need to do night feeds in there and I won’t want too much light as that will wake up both me and baby?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Home office lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: Coffers (where the central part of the ceiling is raised up, and a small outer sections remains lower) give an excellent atmospheric light source. With a linear LED tape such as our Contour HD24, giving an even wash to the ceiling, you are spared all focussed downlights and therefore an almost glare-free light. Having this dimmed would allow for a very soft light which shouldn’t keep you or the baby too alert when feeding during the night.

Having a light source at low level is the best way to avoid a light source disturbing you. Fittings recessed into the walls at skirting height, or using a linear LED under a piece of furniture, keeps brightness away from the eyes. LEDs are also pretty much heat free, so there would be no issues once baby starts crawling!

Problem four: Open shelving in kitchen

Me: I recently added open shelves to our kitchen and removed the wall cupboards that had spotlights attached to the underside to illuminate the kitchen worktop. Can you recommend a way I can light the shelves and the worktops? There are currently spotlights on the ceiling.

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Kitchen open shelving lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: Spotlights in the ceiling will help with the general light in the space, but won’t do much to help with task lighting the worktops. Although you’ve removed the wall cupboards, it is possible mount Under Cupboard Lights under your shelves for a task light source. You could use an Eyelid or Flat version, and if you didn’t want to see the lights, perhaps add an ‘L’ section of metal at the front of the shelf to hide them from view.

Our linear Contour LED strip also work well under shelves. They can be hidden in a similar way to the under cupboard lights with a downstand at the front of the shelf, or recessed into the shelf using a metal profile.

You could also consider uplighting from the same shelf that you underlight, for a boost of general light and a dramatic back-lit look to items on the top shelf.

Problem five: Dining table

Me: We have a ceramic pendant light hanging over our dining table. Can you recommend the perfect bulb to create a soft light whilst we eat?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Dining table lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: We are all a little bit in love with LED Squirrel lamps at the moment. They come in all shapes and sizes, with Edison screw and bayonet options, and are a really beautiful option now that standard GLS lamps have been discontinued. In essence they stretch the standard coiled filament out until and layer the stretched filament in longer and broken lines, for a lovely and relatively glare free glow. A good make is to buy them from Tala.


Thank you so much to the team of lighting experts at John Cullen Lighting. Such brilliant suggestions and I can really visualise how everything you have advised will make a massive difference.

What lighting issues do you have?

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with John Cullen Lighting.

**All images of my home by Katharine Peachey (except dressing table image). All other images by John Cullen Lighting.