Organising Your Feet

The Works always seem to have lovely wooden boxes in stock. I got this one there but could not for the life of me find a link to it.

In my excitement I put the masking tape on before taking a picture of the box naked

Anyway, I thought it would be the perfect size and shape to keep the most commonly used feet handy and close to the sewing machine. At the moment, all my feet are kept in a biscuit tin in a wardrobe all the way across the room. If I want to change feet I have to….dun dun duuuun…GET UP! O the horror!

So I got out my tin of trusty black board paint and got busy painting the lid (inside and out) and the tops of the inside dividers.

I give it two layers of paint and let it dry completely before priming the surface with some plain white chalk. I labelled the sections using normal chalk but I’m pretty sure I have a chalk pencil somewhere round here which would look a lot neater but this will do for now.

*sigh* no more getting up for feet!

The best bit? It’s just the right size to slide under the extension table…..aah, simple things!

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Organising Your Feet

Cheat’s Mars Bar Ice Cream

Mars ice cream bars are delicious…except that fatty, cheap tasting chocolate coating. O, and the ice cream:caramel ratio is all wrong. So after the success of my Cheat’s Salted Caramel Ice Cream I thought I’d have a go at recreating the flavours of a Mars bar.

This is what I did….

Ice cream Ingredients 

  • 500ml tub of ready made custard. I used Waitrose’s essential one because it isn’t too sweet.
  • 40g Horlicks. Or ovaltine or other malted milk powder.
  • 10-30ml boiling water from the kettle.

I mixed the Horlicks with enough hot water to make a paste with no lumps.20160616_190823 I added in a little custard, stirred it about and added it back into the custard to ensure it spread through properly. At this point it tastes quite sweet but don’t worry, the freezing takes the edge off the sweetness. I put the custard mix into the ice cream machine and let it do its thing. If you don’t have a machine you can use a shallow plastic tub with a lid and whisk it up every hour till it’s set.

Meanwhile, make ganache 

  • 40g chocolate
  • 40ml double cream

I really don’t like big chunks of chocolate in ice cream so I decided to make a ganache instead. I used 60% dark chocolate but use what you fancy. Chop it up small and place on a bowl. Warm the cream in the microwave for 15 sec or so. Pour onto the chocolate and stir till smooth.

Ganache….consider making extra to eat with a spoon while you wait…or put on a sneaky bit of toast

Let it cool a bit. If you want choccy chunks use slightly less cream and pour thd warm ganache onto a piece of silicone or greaseproof paper. Roll it up into a tube and pop it into the fridge until the ice cream is done.


20160616_194601When the ice cream machine is done, layer up the ice cream and ganache in a freezer proof tub until they are all used up. Cover thd surface with greaseproof paper.

When it’s time to serve let the ice cream ripen for 20 mins in the fridge so it scoops easily. Top with caramel sauce or dulce de leche.


If you wanted to make this as a fancy pudding, you could use silicone moulds to set the ice cream in and use the ganache and caramel as drizzles.

Cheat’s Mars Bar Ice Cream

Life hack: loyalty cards

These days it’s seems like everyshop has some sort of loyalty card. It’s great for saving money but puts a real (literal) strain on your wallet. So I stole this idea off my friend Claire,  who saw it on pinterest.

you will need


  • A hole punch
  • the ring bit from a key ring
  • a stack of loyalty cards

All you have to do is punch a hole in the top corner of each card.

Try to get the holes in approximately the same place on each card

You want to avoid punching the magnetic strip or any chips or code numbers. You might end up doing some upside down or back to front but that’s no big deal. I like to organise mine in catagories to make them easier to find:

  • Supermarkets
  • coffee shops/ food and drink/pubs
  • chemists/health and beauty
  • department stores

Then carefully I thread them onto the ring. If I have any paper cards I use plastic hole reinforcement stickers so they don’t tear off.

There, job done, all your cards are easy to find and not clogging up you wallet/purse. And everytime you go into a shop, the assistant will say “ooooh, that’s such a good idea!” And you’ll leave feeling a little bit smug 🙂

Life hack: loyalty cards

Ikea Magazine Rack Hack. Or how to organise your magazines

Every few years I will try to bring some organisation to my life. Unfortunately,  cleaning, tidying etc are my least favourite things to do. I can’t bear to chuck anything away. And quite frankly it’s just as well this time!


I found a load of these Ikea magazine racks in various stares of disrepair hidden away in cupboards all around the house. Some needed a little glue and TLC, all needed a good dust.

I wanted to paint them to start with but I’m planning an overhaul of my sewing space and I’m not sure what the new colour scheme will be so I thought I’d go simple.

Blackboards seem to be all the rage these days so I decided on a little blackboard panel on the front of each file. I used this cheap and cheerful paint from wilko.

First I wiped the wood down with a dry cloth. I only realised after I’d finished the first few that I should have given the front a light sanding to give a nice smooth surface….o well, I did that to the last lot. I used masking tape to mark out the area I wanted to paint.

Regular masking tape and that fancy painter’s masking tape

I used a non-bristle brush to paint on a thin layer, left it to dry for an hour then painted on another thin layer.

First layer on…you can see some streaky bits all right

This gave a good, even coverage. I let it dry overnight before removing the masking tape.

Tape off….nearly done

Although it didn’t say on the instructions, I’d read somewhere else that you’re supposed to prime the surface before you start writing all over it. I used the long edge of a piece of chalk to cover the black surface then buffed it off with a clean, dry rag.

Priming the blackboard surface


Job done!

All done!

Now only another million things left to sort out!


Ikea Magazine Rack Hack. Or how to organise your magazines

Life Hack: Hotel Toastie

This is a trick I learned when I worked at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. This particular hospital is in the middle of a massive campus and there’s just no way to nip out to the shops without having a car or a spare hour.

It’s also perfect for days like today where I find myself alone in an isolated hotel with a pretty uninspiring sandwich. This is how to turn it into something a bit fancier.

You will need

  • An iron and ironing board
  • a sandwich that would taste better hot. Some sort of cheese is always good
  • butter
  • knife
  • about 2 feet of foil. Ask at the restaurant/bar


  1. Gather your supplies. 20160518_191800Put the iron on medium and let it heat up.
  2. unpack the sandwich and thinly spread the outsides with butter.20160518_192015
  3. Wrap the sandwich in foil. I find the best way is to roll it up and gently scrunch the open ends together.20160518_192034 Don’t fold them in.
  4. Put the foil parcel on the ironing board and apply the iron.20160518_192057 Leave it for a few minutes then carefully turn it over. Don’t leave it unattended.
  5. Continue for 5-10 minutes or until you can hear sizzling noises.
  6. Carefully unwrap and enjoy.
    Crispy and melty

    It will be hot so you may need a towel to protect your hands.


Life Hack: Hotel Toastie