Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Free {or cheap} activity ideas for friends and family

This week I am working late shift - this means I get to work until midnight, but I can enjoy the mornings at home!

On Monday morning, Stefano and I went hiking and brought Canito with us. The day was hot but we were blessed by some clouds and we managed to walk perfectly without much effort.

The whole activity lasted 2  1/2 hours and even Canito was tired by the time we reached home (he was tired but we were shuttered!).

There is a path that connects two small towns (Venta Melchor and Alcaidesa). People can easily walk through it and enjoy the view of the Mediterranean sea.

During our walk, we reflected on how many free {or cheap} things we could do as a couple, without spending a fortune - it may especially work for couples with kids!

Hiking is one of these activities: you get to spend a day (or few hours, like in my case) in the nature: doing something healthy and spending time with your loved ones without a PC or television that reduce the time of conversations.

poor quality pictures....but Stefano isn't trying to fly away, there is Canito running towards him :)

How many times have you simply stayed at home or gone to restaurants because there was nothing better to do, or you had no better ideas? We did it sometimes!

We realised that due to laziness or lack of ideas, there have been days where we stayed home instead of going to the beach because we weren't even considering the idea. We'd rather spend the afternoon at home instead of taking the car and going to an amazing beach 40 minutes away!

That day, while sweating like a pig enjoying the hiking and the view, I promised myself that I had to make a list of all the activities I could think of and keep it in the house. This way we can check the list to get some inspiration {and I won't forget all the activities I thought about, since I have them black on white}.

If you think you have the same problem, or you just want to save some money, come up with a list of your own. Some ideas are:

- Hike in a natural park: find a natural park near your home and plan a day or few hours out!
- Pic-Nic on the beach/park: prepare a basket full of food and bring your dogs and kids to a  nearby park or beach and enjoy the day;
- Play some sports like soccer or freesbe in the nearby park;
- DIY spa treatment: make some natural scrubs and enjoy a relaxing day at home. Family with kids have two options here: 1. kids can join the fun as well, if they are old enough 2. ask a friend or family to care for your kids for just few hours;
- Movie {at home} night: pick a good movie, prepare pop corns and make the room resemble a Cinema :) you can do this as a couple, family or night-in with friends;
- Play some board games: if you are looking for a fun night-in this is a good option. We have some board games and lately we have been playing Monopoly Hotel and Carcassonne;
- Puzzle night: this is highly reccommended for families with kids!
- Visit a free museum or look for local festivals around your city/town: many times we simply don't look for this stuff because we think we live in a small town. If you look closer though, you will always find some local festival or a gallery show for free/ low price entrance.
- Do a photoshoot: this is fun for the kids and good practice for photo amateurs;
- Call some family or friends and organise a dinner {at home}: everybody can cook something and you can spend the night playing games. Also, if you have a playstation/wii available, you might try some competitions [we have ping pong, beachvolley...they are super fun!]

What ideas did you come up with?

Until next time,

Monday, October 7, 2013

Organised places, organised minds: Walk-in closet organisation

Few weeks ago I opened my drawers on the blog {here} and today I will open the door to my walk-in closet.

My closet is nothing special, it's not big nor small but I am (now) trying to keep it organised in a different way.

Few days ago you would enter in my bedroom and be shocked by the lack of harmony in the closet - basically you would have found this:

What was the problem?  I think I have few:

1. too many clothes - some of them I didn't wear in years;
2. no organisation whatsoever;
3. laziness - always ignored the closet.

I simply couldn't stand watching at my closet anymore and I had to take action.

1st action ::declutter::

I have checked all my and Stefano's clothes and picked the items I wanted to donate. This action has filled 2 big bags of clothes.

Do the same and donate all the clothes that no longer fits or that you have not wear for a long time.

2nd action: ::seasonal clothes only::

When I swapped clothes at the beginning of this summer I had left some long sleeves shirts and jumpers because "Summer hasn't really kicked in and I will store them later".. which I didn't do and they have been in the closet for the whole summer season! It is true that summer is ending, but it is still too hot for those shirts to be there, so I moved them away and let the other clothes breathe some fresh air. If you are asking how many clothes I took out, I'll say 2 medium size boxes... This time I will really make the change when time is right!

3rd action ::hangers::

If you look around for closet organisation projects, you'll see that one of the most popular tips is too buy same kind of be honest, I had so many hangers ( some actually new) that I didn't want to spend more money on them - since I'm trying to control my spending habits, I decided to skip this tip and I simply grouped the hangers in order to give some sort of organisation:

Coloured hangers for shirts and work dresses;wood hangers for "smart" dresses and jackets.

4th action ::coloured closet::

I think that the best organised look is given when things are gathered by their colour. Obviously our clothes are not all the same colour and they probably have different shades of colours so it is not easy to gather them in one single bulk. I tried my best to make small groups with similar colours and style and hanged them together {I hope it does look organised to you as it does to me}.

5th action ::tha art of folding ::

This Ikea piece of furniture shouldn't really be there...but I bought it before moving into this house and I wasn't going to spend more money on my closet :)

I had also bought 4 ikea blue boxes and then organised the top row with baskets and paper boxes:

The blue boxes mostly contain jeans and homewear while shirts are nicely folded in the baskets.

I have used some personalised tags so Stefano knows where his staff is :), but the most important thing is folding!

If clothes are folded neatly, you will gain a lot of space. Stefano owns many sport shirts and I managed to fit them all in this pink box {he hates the colour though}:

I fold the shirt in a long band and then roll it neatly until I have a small square.

6th action :: the art of storing::

I always had problems storing belts and bracelets. I own too many -that's for sure - and I never had them stored correctly.

I have organised my bracelets in a box, and used some cartons to make the base:

Now they are perfectly organised and I can choose what to wear withouth ransacking a bag full of bracelets.

The belts are also stored in a box, but tidily folded into a box organiser:

I also need to store scarves...and they are all hanging behind the door [I have used an IKEA organiser...can you tell I love IKEA?]:

Stefano's belts are also organised in a small box {since he only owns 3 belts}:

7th action ::decor, decor, decor::

You can have the best organised room in the whole world, but it will never feel yours until you don't personalise it!

I have used our initials for my closet decor. Some time ago I bought the letter S and D and covered them with some tissue paper - I was going to buy the letter &, but then I decided to make it myself with some hayware and painted it in yellow (I already had the colour).

This is the final result:

Ta - chaaan!

How have you organised your closet? Share your tips in the comments!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pumpkin pound cake ..starbucks wannabe..

Since the last 2 days I have been receiving hundreds of repins for my fall decor post - it makes me so happy and wanted to let you know that I am very grateful + 100% motivated to do more and better :)

Now let's go back to the nitty gritty....Did you know you won't find any canned pumpkin here in Spain (nor Italy for that matter)? I clearly didn't know that!!!

Let me tell you: few days ago, I found an amazing recipe for a Pumpkin pound cake copycat from starbucks. I was so excited and really wanted to bake it until I received a big punch in the face: I realised (after 3 days of hard research) that the main ingredient [Canned Pumpkin] isn't stock here in Spain.......................What the heck?????

So it was goodbye to "Sturbucks copycat" and Hello to "Wannabe Starbucks Pumpkin pound cake" {because I don't give up so easily}

Here it is:

.......I used fresh Pumpkin!

If you have the same problem (or simply don't like canned pumpkin), feel free to use my recipe:

I can ensure you that the cake was as good as the original! I brought it in the office and my colleagues loved it :)

The original recipe can be found at somethingswanky :)


Until next time,

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chicken Pumpkin curry

It's October! I looked at my calendar this morning and almost spat the coffee I was drinking when I realised it was already the 1st of October...where have the days gone?? 

And here I was, feeling stupid about baking Halloween biscuits "too early" doesn't sound so early now!

Yesterday, I have baked a Pumpkin Pound cake {I'll post it tomorrow - I was too excited to show you the plate I'm going to share today} but since I couldn't find any canned pumpkin - no canned pumpkin available here in Spain - I had to use the fresh one and ended up cooking too much pumpkin!

I didn't want to waste it and I decided to make a pumpkin day and cook dinner with pumpkin too :)

Stefano and I are foodie, and one of the things we love is Indian food: that's where I got inspiration from and made a Chicken Pumpkin curry:)

Mind you: I love indian food but I have never cooked it myself from scratch!

This dish was easy, quick and VERY good! 

If you like indian food, this dish is a MUST DO - click on the following image and print the recipe:

I hope you like it!

Until next time,

nap-time creations