blog, Collaborations, LIFESTYLE

5 Tips to Create the Perfect Cheese Board (*In Collaboration with SPAR NI)

Hi there!

Can you believe how close we are to Christmas already?…Where has this year went to? I am slowly starting to think about the big Pre-Christmas decoration house clean and getting the social diary organised. Our social life normally revolves around food (!!!) and we rarely have a gathering in Rose Cottage without a cheese board making an appearance…any excuse eh?!

Cheese boards are a quick and easy way to impress your guests and there is something on there to suit everyone’s tastes; So here are my top 5 tips to make a simple cheese board for this festive season:

Tip 1 : Buy a wide selection of high quality food.

Your local SPAR store is packed with goodies to make entertaining this Season as simple as possible. Head there and pick up a variety of produce including cheeses, crackers, fruit and dips – keep in mind colours, as you want to make your board as interesting on the eye as possible.

Tip 2: Pick the perfect board.

Board shape will dictate the way you style your food. If you have a bigger gathering, be creative with what you use to display your food on; I have used a wood effect floor tile sample before which is a cheap and effective alternative.

Tip 3: Start by positioning your food on the board with the biggest items first.

I place my cheese and bowls before anything else, these take up the most room – you will tuck everything else into the blank spaces later on! I like using bowls to hold things like dips, pesto and smaller items; plus the height and round shapes helps break up the cheese board and makes it more fun to look at. I always choose to serve cheeses in a variety of shapes to add visual interest. SPAR have a fantastic range of cheeses in store, our favourite being the Wensleydale and Cranberry which is perfect for this time of year especially.

*Remember cheese is best served at room temperature which means you should take it out of the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

Tip 4: Place your crackers/ breads and meat around these.

Make little piles of crackers and put bread on its side to add height to your cheese board. Don’t forget to have some cutlery, especially knives close by to allow your guests to easily add extras on top.

Tip 5: Use fruit, nuts and sweets as fillers.

This is where the magic happens!! Filling the gaps in your cheese board is what really gives the professional and finished feel. Also these are the little extras which keep people coming back to the cheese board for more!

And lastly enjoy! As I said before, it’s any excuse here in Rose Cottage to crack out a cheese board and with SPAR stocking such fab produce, it couldn’t be any easier.

Be sure to tag me and SPAR over on Instagram if you make one using the tips so we can droll over it too!

Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!

blog, Collaborations

What a Year it’s been! (*In Collaboration with Progressive Building Society)

Hello there!

Well what a year it has been at Rose Cottage with the lockdowns having brought many ups and downs for us. The big increase in family time together has been so lovely and we’ve really soaked up every bit of wee Harry; the memories made with him will never be forgotten. As Ash works in non-essential retail he has been off for over 6 months of the last year!! (I remember him taking 3 weeks off for our wedding and he thought that was far too long!) Ash absolutely loves his work and is counting down the seconds until Friday when he returns!

However, what the last year has also brought us is uncertainty in employment, sleepless nights and then redundancy. I managed a day centre for Adults with Learning Disabilities which closed due to Covid and didn’t reopen. I won’t lie, it was a rough time, but one thing which helped us through the uncertainty was our ‘rainy day fund’ which we started together when we got married. In 2013 we never would have imagined what would be ahead of us in 2020/21 but knew having a little put away in a nest egg could see us right if needed. I remember going to our local Progressive Building Society and the staff being so helpful and encouraging when we chatted through the range of saving accounts available to us.

Thankfully, my period out of employment didn’t last too long and I was able to add to our Savings with a redundancy payment, which has allowed us to start on the exterior of Rose Cottage. The plans are big (!!!), and we are starting with fencing our entire outside space, levelling the garden and putting in some hedging as the initial stage. More savings will be needed to complete the entire process and we plan to continue to save long term for the future and the rainy days.

Saving for the outside hasn’t taken us quite as long as for the inside. I suppose not being out and about as much has helped. I’ve really cut down on impulse purchases and resisted the temptation to spend money on things I don’t really need. As parents, Ash and I really want to instil these same values in little Harry, just as out parents did with us. The money we are putting away for wee Harry now could make such a difference to him in his adult life.

If this last year has taught us anything, it’s to prepare for the unknown; I would really encourage you to consider saving a little bit each month from your monthly income. Have a chat with the staff at your local Progressive Building Society or go online to find out about all the Saving Account options; they will keep you right with which one would be best for you.

Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!

blog, Collaborations, INTERIORS

The Power of the Humble Rug (*In Collaboration with Kukoon Rugs)

Hi there!

Second blog post of 2021 and it’s still only January! (Touching my forehead to make sure I’m feeling ok!!!) One of my goals is to be more present over here this year…we are off to a great start!

So, lets talk rugs…

I have seen in Rose Cottage just how effective popping a rug down can be at transforming the look and feel of a space – it is safe to say I am a total rug convert! For many, rugs can seem like a bit of an afterthought; but for me, I feel it can be the making or breaking of a room. It anchors and grounds furniture and room layouts, provides colour, texture and warmth as well as adding layers to soften and draw the eye.

Here are some tips on how to choose the perfect one for your home –

1. Go big or go home!

My number one tip is to go as big as possible when choosing a rug. This will give your space a luxury feel and instantly make the room appear bigger. Putting too small a rug down will cause it to get lost in the space and create a ‘floating’ rug look, where it is in the middle of the room with no furniture near it.

2. Pick the perfect spot

Rug placement is absolutely vital to the overall look of your rug in a room. As a rule of thumb, your rug should ground your furniture – place the front legs or feet onto the rug and the back legs off.

See an example of this below and how much better the layout looks with the larger rug and furniture’s front feet placed on top of it – rather than ‘floating’ in the middle.

3. Create a focal point

Use the rug as a focal point – whether that’s choosing something bold or slightly more neutral. A rug will help draw the eye, even if its not to the rug itself but to the overall area. A rug is also a great way to introduce a different or a pop of colour to your room – so don’t be afraid to experiment!

4. Design from the rug up

When you find a rug that you really love – design your room around it. If you pick a statement rug, you can chose to go with more neutral furniture and décor – letting the rug speak for itself; or you can use some of the tones and patterns from it throughout the room.

5. Match your lifestyle

Don’t invest in an expensive rug if your lifestyle doesn’t depict it… kids and animals mean that light coloured, hard to clean rugs are a big no no.

My recent (very early) Spring Living Room update came together after falling in love with this huge 240x330cm rug from Kukoon Rugs, which I have linked here –

They have also generously given Home at Rose Cottage followers 10% off using the discount code rosecottage10

If your room is lacking something, why not try adding a rug?

Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!


Upcycling a much loved piece of furniture

Hello there!

And a very Happy New Year! 2020 was definitely not the year of the blog over here (!!!!) but I am really hoping this will change in 2021.

I am kicking off the new year with an upcycling project which has been on my to do list for months! This little chair was given to us a while back by my Mother-in- Law; it originally belonged to Ash’s Granny. I absolutely love having furniture in our home which previously belonged to someone else; it normally comes with a story which makes it so much more special. This chair just needed a lick of paint and some new cushions to make it feel right at home in Rose Cottage.

This is the chair before I got my hands on it…

As you can see it needed some love and wasn’t in keeping with our home décor style.

I started by giving it a good wipe down with some Thieves Household Cleaner and an old cloth.

Once it was clean, I painted it with Ronseal 2 in 1 Primer and Paint in Pure Brilliant White. What I love most about this paint is that you don’t need to do any preparation… Hence why the majority of the furniture in my house is painted using this! It goes on so well and takes no time at all. I gave the chair frame 2 thin coats of paint.

I chose to cover the cushions with Emma Bridgewater fabric (surprise surprise!!!), which makes them tie in to the rest of the décor perfectly!

Now there’s a beautiful spot to read a book if ever I seen one…

Are there any upcycling projects you are hoping to get ticked off the (never ending!!) list this year?

Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing!

blog, Collaborations, LIFESTYLE

Autumnal Shoot (In Collaboration with Christine McIlroy Photography)

Hello there!

What a crazy old time we’re all having eh?! I popped a few videos up on my Instagram the other day which we had created during the first lockdown; it made me think about how as a little family we have created some of the best memories during such a wild time.

When the gorgeous Christine from Christine McIlroy Photography got in touch to see if we would like some family photos taken, I jumped at the chance! I want to remember this time when a lot of other things were taken away from us…we clung to each other. We didn’t need anything else, just each other’s company.

I will absolutely treasure these photos and look back on them with such fond memories of 2020. Thank you so much Christine for capturing our little family perfectly!

I honestly could not recommend Christine more! Not only was she fab with little Harry but she really put us all at ease and captured our family dynamic and personalities perfectly!

You can find her here –

On Instagram – Click here

Facebook – Click here

Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!

blog, Collaborations, INTERIORS

Autumn Update in Collaboration with Bronte by Moon

Hi there!

I am back!!…From my longest (and most unintentional) blogging break ever! I feel like I’ve really neglected things over here and am now on a mission to correct it; starting with telling you all about my latest collaboration! I received the most beautiful pure new wool throw and two cushions from Bronte by Moon, which feel right at home here in Rose Cottage. I have been adding autumnal décor around the house since the end of September and these pieces have complimented the living area perfectly.

Bronte throws and cushions are lovingly made using the finest materials available, ensuring a luxurious soft handle. Their mill has been producing quality wool fabrics since 1837 and I feel honoured to have pieces from their Bronte By Moon collection in Rose Cottage. The Moon Mill is based in Guiseley, Yorkshire and they are now one of Great Britain’s last remaining vertical woollen mills. The soft colours in this throw and cushion set would fit perfectly into your home at any time of the year and carry you throughout the seasons.

How stunning is the fringing and button details on the cushions?

You can check out the full collection via their website using the discount code AUTUMNJM for an amazing 20% off!

Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!


Styling your kitchen worktops

Hi there!

Hope you are all enjoying the frosty cold weather?…it puts me into full on faffing mode and the latest place in Rose Cottage to get hit is the kitchen worktops! When I share my kitchen over on Instagram I always get lots of compliments on the styling of it so thought I would share a few tips over here on how I put it all together. The tips are nothing too complicated but they sure are effective…

1. Separate your kitchen into sections

Think about your worktops in smaller more manageable areas, rather than as a whole. Concentrate on one area at a time, make sure your really happy with how you’ve dressed it before moving onto the next.

Think about whether the area will be for practical use or simply decorative; or it could be a mix of both! It’s useful to have certain appliances close to particular cupboards eg mugs near the kettle (especially handy on busy mornings!!). Keep this in mind when choosing what appliances you will need in each worktop section. Also most appliances will need plug sockets so give this consideration too!

2. Start with a blank canvas

I always clear the space I am working on before deciding where anything will go. It helps see the full size of the space and will make it easier to experiment with different accessories.

3. Give the area a good clean

Use the opportunity to give the area a good scrub; clean the worktop itself, the wall/ tiles behind and any appliances or accessories you will be using.

4. Think about things you might want to hide

I am not a fan of seeing plug sockets in my kitchen so often use chopping boards, platter plates and framed prints to hide them where i can. I also hide the plugs and leads of appliances using the same techniques.

5. Add height, colour and texture

Setting appliances and accessories on top of chopping boards can help create a feature and add height.

Adding hooks from the cupboards above is a great way to incorporate accessories without taking up counter space.

6. Accessorise, accessorise and accessorise!

The majority of the accessories in my kitchen are Emma Bridgewater, I am a massive fan and enjoy the country kitchen feel they give. Think about mixing colours, textures and sizes when using accessories, adding plants and flowers too.

Have you any great tips on how you style your own kitchen? I’ll love to hear them!

Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!

blog, Collaborations

Autumn photo Shoot (in Collaboration with Cathy Dwyer Our Wildest Days Photography)

Hi there!

I thought I would pop some of the images from our photoshoot with Cathy Dwyer up here for you all to have a little nosy…They are just too gorgeous not to share!

Cathy was a joy to work with; she put us all at ease and her photography style is so different which really makes her stand out from the crowd!

We could not be happier with how the photos turned out and they will be proudly displayed here in Rose Cottage!

You’ll find Cathy on:

Instagram: Here

Facebook: Here


Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!


Everything you need to know about appearing in an Interior Magazine

Hello there!

If you follow me over on Instagram you will know I’ve had a photographer in today taking some photos of Rose Cottage for a local magazine.  We have featured in one before just over a year ago, so it was a pleasure to do it again!  My inbox has been flooding with messages asking about the experience so I thought it would be easier to put all the info into a blog post.

Here’s everything you need to know about appearing in an Interior Magazine (in my own experience!!!)

  1. You don’t always need to be asked

From the messages I’ve received, everyone assumes you always get asked to feature; but, this is not always the case! If you think you have a beautiful home you can contact the magazine yourself, send over some images and ask to be considered.


2. You will most definitely feel like a dirty bruit

Because you become this mad cleaning person, who wants to clean everything in sight, you will find masses of dirt in places you didn’t even know existed!…Queue thinking you could grow spuds behind your sofa!


3. You will spend alot of time faffing

Painting over toothpaste splatters, delicately positioning potatoes in a crate and karate chopping cushions will only be a few crazy activities you will undertake in preparation.


4. Hiding anything that is even remotely ugly

This may include bins, tv buttons, multi-coloured plastic toys and even family members; which leads me on to….


5. Bailing your family out

You most definitely will not want any small people hanging about on the day of the shoot (Kids and expensive camera equipment will not mix) so I recommend getting rid of them as soon as you can – a week before the shoot is just about perfect!!


6. You will become the most awkward and out of place thing in your own home

Trying to keep out of the way of the photographer is hard, especially if you don’t live in a big house.


7. You will be out of money

You will convince yourself your home needs to be able to feed the 5000 and have more fresh flowers than chelsea flower show.


8. The experience will be as enjoyable as you make it

Take your time, enjoy your home and soak it all up!


As always if you have any questions, please get in touch!

Hope you enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy writing!



Bathroom Storage

If you are a lotions and potions type of gal like me, then bathroom storage is definitely something you need to have a good think about. When I was giving my bathroom its recent makeover, storage was top of my list!

For me, a space looks clean and tidy when everything has a home.  I like to have as many of the bottles and containers out of sight as I can and this Ikea Shoe Cabinet was the perfect solution.  It makes life easier to have all the toiletries in one place, plus stops all the “where is my….??” questions from the Hubby!!!


The top drawer is filled with all our smaller bits and pieces.  I added some lids from old perfume boxes into the drawer as dividers to keep everything tidy and from sliding around.


The bottom drawers pull out from the top and allow you to slide bottles down into the sections.  This makes sure they are stored upright and won’t spill.


I then added some baskets below for other smaller items like skin care and wee Harry’s bath toys.


The only other piece of storage I have in the bathroom is a small basket (from EBay).  I put my cleaning bits into the bottom and toilet rolls on the top.

For me the bathroom looks so much tidier with all the ugly bottles hidden away.  I then keep a few of the prettier things out on display.


I really hope this has been helpful and given you a few ideas of how to great creative with storage in your own home!

Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!