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June 23rd  
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Summer’s finally here, and at Cosy Home we’re thinking about dragging out the trusty barbecue and getting to grips with all that tempting summer food – chargrilled vegetables, marinated meats and fish skewers.

The first step, though, is to remove all the spiders, dust and associated debris that always seem to accumulate over the winter! Here’s our lowdown on cleaning your barbecue ready to use again this summer.

Top barbecue cleaning tips

As a starting point, keep in mind that you should never use harsh or chemical cleaners such as oven cleaner, as these leave a residue which can taint food as well as damaging the barbecue itself.

Ideally, you will have cleaned the barbecue at the end of last summer before putting it away. But if you forgot (or never got around to it), you’ll still be able to get a good result now with a little extra elbow grease. If you’ve got a lidded barbecue, there’s a shortcut you can use.

Take an old metal dish (metal pie plates are ideal), half fill it with water and put it on the grill. For a gas barbecue put it over one of the burner jets, and for a conventional barbecue put it over the heat source.

Light the gas and or use a couple of charcoal bricks and some kindling to make a heat source, let the barbecue heat until the water comes gently to the boil and close the lid for a few minutes to let the inside steam clean. When opening the lid, be very careful as steam may rush out and scald.

Turn off the gas jet first and stand behind the lid as much as you can, and let the unit cool down to just warm before cleaning it.

Giving the grill a good, regular clean is essential unless you want greasy, burnt-tasting food. Image: Pixabay

Now for the elbow grease.

Use a wire brush to remove as much debris as possible, then use a pan scourer and some washing up liquid to clean the grill and inside of the lid. If the grill isn’t too big, you could also try running it through the dishwasher. You can also buy special scrubbing stones for really caked-on dirt.

A pan scourer will help you get that grill sparkling again. Image: Pixabay

If your gas barbecue has a removable grease tray, take this out, scrape out any fat residue and clean the tray with washing up liquid and hot water.

Once dry, line it with foil and grease absorbing granules (available from BBQ suppliers or online) to make the job simpler next time. Don’t take the burners apart unless it’s recommended by the manufacturer, just clean them with a damp cloth.

Clean and sparkling, ready to start cooking again. Image: Pixabay

Now, tackle the outside. Brush off any loose dirt (and dead spiders) with a soft brush, wipe the whole thing with hot water with a squeeze of washing up liquid added them use a soft cloth to dry. Don’t use pan scourers or anything abrasive, as this can scratch enamel surfaces.

If your barbecue is mounted on a wooden trolley, now’s the time to treat it with wood preservative as well. Refer to the manufacturers’ instructions for what to use, as some products are flammable and not suitable for use near heat.

Finally, put everything back together and spray the grill with cooking oil to make it easier to clean next time. If you don’t already have one, barbecue covers are a great investment for keeping everything clean (we can’t guarantee it will stop the spiders though, sorry).

Now all that’s left to do is put on your apron and break out the sausages – hurrah!

By Sara Walker

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June 16th  
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Scandi style cosy home ideas from Nordic House

Add a touch of relaxed Scandi style to your home, with this inspiring furniture and accessories from Nordic House.

1. Spruce up the plants in your conservatory or patio with a rattan planter. Available in large or extra large, from £40.

2. Treat yourself to a gorgeous large layered floating candle – it almost looks too good to burn!  £29.95

3. For a laid back living style, use this freestanding decorative bamboo ladder as a towel rail or storage rack. £80

4. Decant your cooking oils and vinegar into these stylish white and blue ceramic bottles. They’re available in three designs, from £12.95 each.

5. Add pattern and texture to your home, with a large carved wall panel. Simply hang it on your wall, or get creative and make it into a headboard. Available in several designs, finishes and sizes, this one is £185.

6. Ensure you’ve always got scissors when you need to cut string, with this useful vintage bobbin set. It’s perfect for all your gardening and planting needs. £14.95.

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June 10th  
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Enchanted butterfly wallpaper

If you like the idea of butterflies or dragonflies flitting across your walls, or birds flying overhead, then you’re not going to be able to resist the Enchantment wallpaper collection from Arthouse.

Midnight blue metallic Arthouse wallpaper

The collection lives up to its name perfectly, with designs that will enchant and charm you. Aren’t the owls perched on branches divine?

Dragonfly wallpaper design

The wallpapers are enhanced by the addition of metallic finishes and a dusting of glitter, ensuring the wings and other details are set off effectively.

Just look at the detail:

Glitter flitter metallic finish wallpaper

Plus, with a choice of both pale and vibrant colours, there’s likely to be something for everyone.

The Enchantment wallpapers are available from various retailers, including Wallpaper Direct, and prices are normally under £20 per roll.

 

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June 4th  
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We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo. How about you, you, you? You can come too, too, too – we’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo.

And what’s more, we’re going without even leaving the house, thanks to these top ten picks for a zoo-themed bedroom – we’ve zebras, elephants, tigers and giraffes to spark young imaginations.

1. Orange giraffe print, Indira Albert

Giraffe print, Indira Albert

This simple monochrome giraffe print will add a splash of colour to walls without making the room look fussy. Printed on heavy weight fine art paper with a matte finish, it costs £25 from artist Indira Albert.

2. Lion cushion, Cloth Ears

Cheerful lion face cushion, Cloth Ears

Perfect for lazy days just ‘lion’ around, this cute cushion would look great on a bed or chair and isn’t at all scary for younger children. With appliqued detail, rik rak edging and button eyes, it comes complete with a cushion pad. £21.59 from Cloth Ears.

3. Elephant lampshade, Hunkydory Home

Elephant drum lampshade, handmade to order from Hunkydory Home

This cheerful drum lampshade for ceiling fixtures is handmade to order, and  features funky white elephants against a sunny yellow background. It’s available in a range of other colours as well, and there are matching cushions available. £38 from Hunkydory Home.

4. Pink elephant bookend, Susan Bradley

Pink elephant bookend by Susan Bradley

No, you’re not seeing things – this really is a pink elephant. This simple silhouette bookend is great for keeping books tidy on a shelf or desk against a wall, or buy a pair for more flexibility. £18 each (per bookend, not per pair) from One Brown Cow.

5. Zebra roller, Clare Loves

Zebra roller ride on toy, Clare Loves

Roll up, roll up! Your little one will have hours of fun on this zebra ride-on roller toy, which is built to last with solid rubber runners on the wheels for a quiet, floor-friendly finish. Made from beech plywood and solid beech timber, it’s suitable for children aged 12 months and above and costs £99 from Clare Loves.

6. Tiger felt rug, Aspace

Cute ‘tiger skin’ felt rug, Aspace

Don’t worry – no tigers were harmed in the making of this handmade felt rug! It’ll add a real focal point to any child’s bedroom – in fact, we quite fancy one in the living room. £65, from Aspace.

7. Artesana Alpaca leopard, Just for Baby

Leopard baby toy, knitted from Alpaca wool, from Just for Baby

For younger zoo fans, how about this hand knitted leopard made from fine alpaca wool? Hard wearing and well made, it’ll put up with a bit of rough and tumble. £28.99 from Just for Baby.

8. Giraffe print, Alice Peto

Giraffe print by Alice Peto

This lovely three giraffes print is by Alice Peto, an artist and illustrator  based in London, and makes a happy reminder of a trip to London Zoo, or indeed any other zoo with a giraffe house. Available from English Abode, £120 unframed.

9. Felt animal head, Mini Eden

Felt giraffe head from Mini Eden

Go wild for this wall-mounted felt giraffe head. The friendly, non-scary face means it will appeal to younger children, and it’s great for bringing a bright splash of colour to the room. £63, available from Mini Eden.

10. Vintage wooden baby hook, Gisela Graham

Pink wooden elephant hook, Gisela Graham

This cute pink elephant (yes – more pink elephants! OK, we’re a tiny bit obsessed) hook is designed for use in nurseries, but we reckon it would also look great on the back of a bedroom door for hanging coats or dressing gowns. £6, available from The Contemporary Home.

 

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June 2nd  
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Nothing says ‘cosy home’ more than books, and we’ve found the perfect way to add some literary style to your surroundings with our pick of the top ten book-themed home accessories. Happy reading!

1. Book clock, Getting Personal

Book clock, £20.99 from Getting Personal

An ideal addition to your bookshelf or library table, this chunky book clock is bright and cheerful and would make a perfect present for a ook lovr. £20.99, available from Getting Personal.

2. Mary Poppins book art, IN-SPACES

Mary Poppins print artwork

This book artwork features a quote from children’s classic Mary Poppings printed on a vintage book page. The frame is handmade in England by a local family business using ethically sourced wood, and can be either hung on the wall or stood on a bookshelf. £25, available in a range of other books as well, from IN-SPACES.

3. Conceal vertical book display, Umbra

Conceal vertical book display, £14.50

Here’s a really ‘novel’ idea. Many of us have beautiful coffee table books on display, but they can get in the way. Now, you can hang them on your walls with this special holder. This means you can show your books off, while still keeping them handy for reading. £14.50 each, available from Red Candy.

4. Bookshelf wallpaper, Mineheart

Bookshelf wallpaper for the perfect library

If you can’t afford a proper library, here’s the next best thing. This wallpaper features antique books on wooden shelves to give a room a really cosy look. £70 per 50cm x 250cm roll, available from IN-SPACES.

5. Pride and prejudice cushion cover, Literary Emporium

Pride & Prejudice cushion cover, £18

Unleash your inner Elizabeth Bennett this natural cotton cushion cover featuring a book page extract from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
The extract features Mr Darcy’s famous declaration of love to Elizabeth. Screen printed in the UK, the cover measures 40cm x 40cm (no pad included). £18, available from the Literary Emporium.

6. Vintage books pattern paper, Purldeco

Self-adhesive book design wallpaper

This quirky printed self adhesive wallpaper is custom made to the customer’s exact measurements. It’s ideal to add interest to a study, or  as a cover on a door, cabinet or any flat surface. The image is printed on a self adhesive wallpaper material which is easy to apply, and can be removed and reused. Prices from £45/square metre, available from Purldeco.

7. Oscar Wilde inspirational artwork, Literary Emporium

Oscar Wilde quote print, £11

This starry sky print features the famous Oscar Wilde quote, ‘we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’. Designed with a inky watercolour effect, this star print would make a lovely addition to a library or study and is a perfect gift for a book lover. Supplied unframed, £11 from the Literary Emporium.

8. Alice in Wonderland mug, Sophie Allport

Alice in Wonderland mug, £10

Everyone’s favourite classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll celebrates its 150th anniversary throughout 2015 and British designer Sophie Allport has created a limited edition collection of homewares to commemorate the occasion, based on the original colour artwork. The collection will include a range of stationery, fine bone china, children’s bags and kitchen textiles, and launches on the 1st June 2015. We like this mug, £10. For more information, visit the Sophie Allport website.

9. Poetry books teaport, Carters of Suffolk

Poetry book teapot, £69.99

This beautifully detailed teapot depicts a stack of leather bound poetry books, by classic British and European poets such as Rosetti, Keats, Byron and others . It’s hand made and hand painted in Suffolk, and costs £69.99 from Carters of Suffolk.

10. Personalised Pride & Prejudice print, Jonny’s Sister

Personalised Pride & Prejudice print, £20

Ideal as a wedding gift or birthday present, this artwork features a couple silhouette filled with a transcript from Pride and Prejudice and has a quote from the book below. It’s personalised with a couple’s names, and comes mounted and framed. £20 from Jonny’s Sister.

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May 30th  
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Now the evenings are lighter and the days are warming, we’re opening up the doors and windows of the Cosy Home house to let a bit of spring sunshine in. These quirky, stylish, practical or downright adorable door stops will help stop doors slamming when windows are open, and let light through the whole house.

1. Dog doorstop, Annette’s Allsorts

Labrador doorstop by Annette’s Allsorts

Seriously, how cute is this little Labrador puppy doorstop? Available in a range of different colours and fabrics, it’s handmade in England and comes ready to use. £18 from Swanky Maison.

2. Scottie dog doorstop, Gisela Graham

Scottie dog fabric doorstop

Here’s another dog doorstop, this time a Scottie. With detailing to give it a crafty homemade feel such as over-sized visible stitching, this would make a great gift for any dog lover. To make it even more attractive, it’s currently reduced from £30 to £12 at The Contemporary Home.

3. Pheasant doorstop, Sophie Allport

Pheasant doorstop by Sophie Allport

Made from a pheasant design cotton fabric, this game bird doorstop has a leather white collar, beak, tail and red eye detail. It’s filled with  small marble and alabaster chippings that are a bi-product of the stone industry to give it plenty of weight, and costs £32 from Sophie Allport.

4. Cat doorstop. Primitive Angel

Handmade fabric cat doorstops by Primitive Angel

These cat doorstops are the cats’ whiskers! They come in a choice of homespun fabrics with a stitched appliqued heart, embroidered rustic whiskers and ‘MEOW’ stitching. Weighted with wheat, they’re scented with French lavender and can be personalised if required. £18.50 from Primitive Angel.

5. Lighthouse doorstop, Coastal Home

Wooden lighthouse doorstop/wedge from Coastal Home

If you prefer a slightly more understated wedge-style doorstop, how about this hand carved wooden red striped lighthouse version? Painted in a distressed finish, it’s made from sustainable softwood and painted with water based paints. Designed in the UK by British artists and produced in Bali under fair trading conditions. £9.95 from Coastal Home.

6. Sac de sel doorstop, B&Q

Grey ‘sac de sel’ doorstop from B&Q

Add a little French chic to your home at a budget price with this sturdy doorstop from B&Q. With a faux leather handle, it will complement any decor. £7 from B&Q.

7. Waves doorstop, Caslon & Co

Cylindrical ‘Waves’ doorstop by Caslon & Co

Made in the UK, this cylindrical doorstop is sand-filled for sturdiness and weighs a hefty 1.5kg. Made from natural cotton, it’s available in two colourways. £25 from The Tab Collective.

8. Farmhouse chicken doorstop, Laura Ashley

Rustic farmhouse chicken doorstop by Laura Ashley

Chick chick chick chick chicken, lay a little egg for me. This rustic chicken-shaped doorstop almost looks realistic enough to be settled down on an egg by your door! Quirky and great fun. Was £22, now reduced to £13.20 in the Laura Ashley sale.

9. Wooden bird doorstop, Design by Timber

Handmade wooden bird doorstop/wedge, by Design by Timber

If you like your doorstops simple, this little handmade wooden bird wedge may fit the bill. Made from oak and designed and made in the UK, it costs £20.95 from Design by Timber.

10. Owl doorstop, Getting Personal

Children’s fabric owl doorstop from Getting Personal

This cute, colourful owl would be an ideal addition to children’s bedrooms. Made from natural linen, it’s hand decorated and comes unfilled – the stockists recommend using rice as an effective, safe and child-friendly filling. £19.99 from Getting Personal.
By Sara Walker
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