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!

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!

Collaborations, INTERIORS

How to create a cosy home for your family (In Collaboration with Pilkington Glass)

Hello there!

Happy New Year!

With the temperatures falling dramatically over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been peaking out of Rose Cottage each morning hoping for some snowy scenes! This time of year the oil bill seems to go through the roof with heating on pretty much 24/7, but I cannot help but love the colder weather!  For me, there is nothing better than being snuggled up inside, roasty toasty under a blanket, in front of the fire, and it being icy cold outside.

In the Winter, your home tends to become your sanctuary more than any other time.  Coming home from work to a cosy house, making dinner and then surrounding yourself with candle light and early nights.  Home is definitely where the heart is, but even more so at this time of year, so I thought I would share with you my favourite ways to beat the chill and make your home feel extra cosy:

Pick the Right Windows

Make sure the windows you have are working overtime to do everything they can to keep as much heat in as possible.  If you are thinking of replacing your windows, consider a glazing that will reduce heat loss – for example a glass from the Pilkington K Glass range or Pilkington Optitherm range is ideal glass for inner pane of a double glazing unit to keep the heat in.  Alternatively, Pilkington Energikare is a double glazing unit which not only reflects heat back into the room it also allows free heat from the sun to pass through the glass, known as passive solar gain.  As well as being more energy efficient, the correct windows can have a great impact on the aesthetics of your home.  Even upgrading just the glass in your windows to the latest low-e glass and retaining the existing frames can also help to give extra warmth to your home especially in the Winter. 

Stock up on the Home Comforts

Get the fancy candles out (the ones you keep for the visitors!!) and light them to create a soft ambient glow.  Pop on your silky PJs and the cashmere socks to lounge in front of the roaring fire.  We typically spend more time at home at this time of year so why not invest in some items to make coming home that extra bit special.

Go for the best bedding

I don’t know about you but I really struggle to get out of bed these mornings…especially when it’s so warm and cosy under the sheets!  This time of year calls for early nights and lazy mornings so make your bedroom a place you never want to leave with beautiful bedding and thick down duvets.

Bellies full of the Yummiest Food

Salads just don’t cut it when the temperature drops; instead chose healthy, hearty recipes such as cottage pies, stews or anything with a ton of carbs!! Hoke out your slow cooker, pop it on in the morning and come home from work to some yummy home cooked goodness.

Think about Thermal Insulation Glass

Replacing the heat loss through your windows can be expensive so why not install some energy efficient windows like these ones from Pilkington.  It’s so important to try and keep your carbon footprint small where we can and one step can be to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

If you have any other tips on how to keep your home cosy I’d love to hear them!

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




Collaborations, INTERIORS

A Festive Project (In Collaboration with Ronseal)

Hi there!
There is nothing more I love than having a little project on the go…and thankfully my Dad is always on hand to help bring the crazy ideas to reality! Ronseal got in touch and challenged us to create something for Winter using some products from their range. I’ve had some wooden Christmas trees pinned on my Pinterest board for quite some time and now was the perfect opportunity to get them one out of my phone and into Rose Cottage! 
When planning the project I knew I would be using both wood and metal, so chose the Ronseal stays white 2 in 1 primer and paint in gloss pure brilliant white.  This paint is super easy to use as you don’t need a separate primer and only 1 coat is required. It’s also drip resistant so is quick to apply. 
Here’s what we used:
1 tin of Ronseal stays white 2 in 1 primer and paint in gloss pure brilliant white
4 lengths of wood 
Metal tree stand
Wooden log
Baubles and fishing wire to decorate 
Firstly we cut the wood to size. The larger triangle is 5ft by 3ft and the smaller triangle is 4.5ft by 2.5ft. 
Then screwed them together into 2 separate triangle shapes.
I painted the metal base and wooden triangles with the Ronseal paint which glided onto both surfaces like a total dream! I used an old rag to rub a little bit of the paint off to give a more white washed look. 
We then assembled the trees, screwing them on the base log using a small wooden slice to separate the triangles; Then set it into the metal base.
I dressed the wooden tree using some glass baubles hung with fishing wire.
We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out and spending time with Dad to complete it was just lovely! 
What projects have you been up to over the festive period? I’d love to hear them and give Dad something else to add to the ever growing list of Rose Cottage jobs!!! 
Hope you enjoyed reading, as much as I enjoyed writing!

Collaborations, LIFESTYLE

Gift Different (In Collaboration with TKMaxx)

Hi there!
Can you believe how close we are to Christmas?!…Where on earth did 2019 go to?! This is my absolute favourite time of the year; getting the house all decorated, heading to parties and carefully choosing special gifts for friends and family!
When buying presents, I love nothing more than heading into TKMaxx and not knowing what range of goodies I will be able to pick up! It’s no surprise that it is Europe’s leading off-price apparel and homeware retailer as it sells such a huge assortment of big names and designers, top brands, up and coming labels and one of gems.  Everything in store is up to 60% less than the RRP and has significant savings compared to the prices you find in department stores or on the high street.  Because each store receives several deliveries every week containing thousands of items, stock is always fresh and changing, which means theres always something new in store to discover!  Whenever I find something I love in TKMaxx i’m always sure to grab it there and then, as nothing sticks around too long!!
Not only is it a fab store for picking up gifts at this time of year but it always has items for every occasion!  TKMaxx set me a challenge to head into my local store and pick up as many amazing gifts as I could for under £50.  I immediately though of my friend who has had a rough year and how I would like to pick up some nice items for her and make up a little gift hamper.  What better way for her to start of the new year, than with a selection of goodies to help her relax and look after herself!
Firstly, I got her some of the softest slippers I have ever felt!  I tried these on for size and honestly they are like walking on air!  I hope that when she gets home after a hard day and slips these on, they will instantly make her feel better.  In store they have the most amazing selection of slippers for men, women and children and this pair were a total steal at £12.99!

Next up, I bought her some PJs with little doggies on them.  She has a little dog who gives her much comfort, so I thought she could put these on and snuggle up on the sofa with him.  These PJs have such a luxury feel to them and will be so soft on the skin and at only £12.99 whats not to love?!

I also got her a glass water bottle.  Keeping hydrated is so important for staying healthy and doesn’t water always taste so much nicer from a glass bottle?? I picked this up from the clearance aisle in the home department, when an item has a red sticker in store I always grab it extra fast!!  £12 – Such great value!

And lastly a beautiful relaxing candle and room spray.  These will be great for her unwinding in the bath and before bed time – £12 for both. I could spend hours in the candle aisle in TKMaxx, and if I go missing in store you’ll always find me here!! 

Not only is it fab to get into your local TKMaxx store for a good nosy about but they also have an online store – which is full of amazing product categories at great value and with amazing savings.  Let me know what treasure you are able to pick up in your local store?

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

Collaborations, LIFESTYLE

Transforming my skin (In collaboration with Revilo)

Hello there!

The lovely team at Revilo got in touch to see if I would like to try out some of their products.  I jumped at the opportunity as my skin has been in bad need of some love and attention of recent.  The company was founded by a Husband and Wife duo who are from Ireland;  with Lucy having over 20 years experience in the luxury spa industry, I felt in very safe hands when explaining my main skin concerns.  They recommended I try the Skin Refiner Nano with a box of ampoules for purifying and clearing.


The Skin Refiner Nano is an award winning, non-invasive skin care enhancement device. It is now available in Ireland and the UK for the first time exclusively through Revilo Products. It has been sold in Germany, Austria and Switzerland already.  It is similar to micro-needling, however unlike micro-needling there is no downtime and no needles; just a gentle disposable Silicone tip and is completely pain free with instant results.

The Skin Refiner Nano creates invisible Nano channels in your skin increasing the absorption rate of your skincare products into your skin from approximately 30% up to 70% that’s why it works so brilliantly.  As you get older collagen begins to break down in your skin resulting in lines and wrinkles, however the Skin Refiner Nano is fantastic for anti-ageing as it naturally stimulates your collagen giving you plumper, firmer, radiant skin. (What’s not to love eh??)  The Skin Refiner Nano uses disposable ampoules filled with hyaluronic acid and powerful natural ingredients that work at a deeper level because of the nano channels created making your skin visibly plumper and glowing with hydration.  Hyaluronic acid is known for replumping and hydrating skin.  The hyaluronic acid contains 4 different molecular sizes to hydrate your skin at different depths. The smaller ones go deeper and the large ones stay near the surface.


There are three ampoules to choose from depending on your skin’s needs. One for Anti-aging one for Pigmentation and Redness Reducing (sensitive skin) and one for Purifying and Clearing (oily acne prone skin).  As I previously mentioned, I went for the Purifying and clearing one, as acne is my main skin concern.

And here are the results!…


To say I am pleased is a massive understatement!!!  I could not be happier with these results and they were achieved in just over 2 weeks!  It has massively reduced redness, prevented further breakouts, and left my skin feeling plumper and more hydrated. 

As an added bonus, all of the products are vegan, gluten free, not tested on animals, free from mineral oils, free from chemical fragrances, microplastics, harmful emulsifiers, dyes and artificial preservatives, with just the minimum of packaging.

Want to have amazing skin in only a couple of weeks too?! The lovely team at Revilo have very generously offered me a 10% off discount code along with free P&P – Use the code JILLBF at checkout via the website here.

If you have any questions at all please get in touch!

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!