IKEA Project 4: Kitchen – Organising the Pantry!

September 28, 2015 | Personal, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I can’t believe this is the last of my IKEA collaborative posts! Big sad face. It’s been so fun, I don’t even know where the last 4 months have gone.

For this last challenge we were tasked with doing something fab in the kitchen. Yeaaahh kitchen! I love cooking. Well, I used to anyway, before I had a fussy toddler who throws my lovingly homemade meals on the floor, preferring a peanut butter sandwich over 8-hour slow cooked lamb tagine. Phht.. whatevs, his loss.

Instead of cooking for this challenge though, I decided to attack a problem area in our kitchen – the pantry. Uhh, the pantry. In my head, the perfect pantry is a gorgeous walk-in number, with plenty of shelves to hold rows of jars with little labels and scoops… like these:

dream pantryLeft: Emerson’s Pantry via Apartment Therapy  Right: NEAT Method pantry via Arianna Belle

Ahhhhh, perfection.

Back in reality though, our pantry is just a large cupboard in our kitchen, with 4 very deep shelves. Don’t get me wrong – I’m in no way complaining.. our last apartment didn’t even have a ‘pantry’, just a few small cupboards we’d deemed good for food storage. So the one we have now is actually pretty amazing.

Exceeeppptt.. we had no order. It was madness! Just look at this embarrassment… try not to shudder.

Pantry disgrace

Finding anything took a lot of time, and we would buy double-ups of things because we didn’t realise we had them in the first place.

Pantry disgrace Pantry disgrace

Uhh, look away! Needless to say this pantry needed a makeover like, yesterday.

So off to Ikea I went. And I bought about 50 (not kidding) of their 365+ food containers in all 3 sizes. And I got some very strange looks. And Arlo was super embarrassed by all my containers and got angry and loud. But I was excited because I was going to have an organised pantry!

I particularly liked the 365+ containers because they have a flip lid on one end, making it easy to pour the contents out without opening the whole lid. Win!

Then when I got home, I unpacked the pantry and repacked it into my wonderful new containers, labelled them all and stacked them back into the shelves in all their organised glory. I’m glossing over this part because it actually took a while and was a bit messy, especially with a toddler thrown into the mix. But we got there, and it was absolutely worth it!

Bask, in my pantry…

Pantry perfection

And side-by-side:

Before and After

Perfection! And, no surprises – it’s SO MUCH EASIER to find things now!

Pantry perfection

The bread-making box.

Pantry perfection

High-use foods.. rice, cous cous, quinoa…

Pantry perfection

And on the top shelf I even managed to get some baking ingredients in that were previously stored elsewhere!

It’s still not like those spectacular Pinterest pantries I started the post with, but it’s the greatest pantry I’ve ever had – and I love it. I’ve found that when I organise things around me, in our house, I feel a bit like I’m organising my brain.. I feel better, lighter, clearer. Less highly strung. And it was the same with the pantry, it’s a happy place now :)

So a huge thank you to Ikea for making my life easier in the kitchen – and the rest of our house for that matter. We’re big fans over here, and I feel so lucky to have been able to work with them on this series. Thank you!

IKEA Project 3: Dining Room – DIY Painted bowls

August 24, 2015 | DIY, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I can’t believe we’re already at the 3rd challenge! I’m just loving these tasks so much -It’s really fun to take a critical look at certain areas of my home and think about how they could work better, or what small things I could do to update the look.

For the last two Ikea tasks, I’ve done more of a space makeover (see those here and here). For this challenge though (dining room!) I wanted to focus on something a bit more specific, something we use in our dining room every day. So, instead of a room makeover, I’ve done a bowl makeover!

DIY painted bowls

I’ve been wanting to get some simple white bowls for a while now, and when I saw the IKEA 365+ bowls I thought they were perfect. Simple, classic, and – S$3.50! Can’t go wrong, seriously. Well, until I decided to get all crafty and freehand paint on them in the pursuit of cute custom ceramics… there was some serious room for error there.

I decided to face my fear of ruining these poor bowls though, and I’m thrilled that I did! I love how they turned out. It wasn’t too hard either, in fact I found that even if my lines and patterns weren’t perfect, it didn’t matter – it still looked good as a whole. PHEW.

And you can do it too! Here’s what you’ll need to make your own DIY painted bowls:
– Light coloured ceramic pieces of your choice (could be mugs, bowls, plates etc.)
– Porcelain paint pens* (or pots) in colours of your choice
– Some paper towels or an old piece of card to blot the pen on

*I used Marabu Porcelain Painter Pens (in dark blue 293) available at Art Friend for anyone following in Singapore. In future though I’d probably try and find pots of porcelain paint and use a very fine paintbrush as I found the pens a bit streaky and unreliable.


Step 1.
First things first – the paint should not be applied to any surface that you plan to put food on. Best to keep it on the outside.

You’ll need to make sure your ceramic pieces are clean and dry. Then, have a read of the instructions on your paints and doing a small test of the bottom of one of your pieces. I bought 3 colours but ended up not loving the green or pink, so good to do a test!

DIY Painted Bowls

Step 2. 
I started by drawing a few rough sketches to get a feel for the patterns I might want on my bowls. Better to go in with a bit of a plan I reckon! Once you’re happy with your ideas, you’re ready to start painting! Or you can wing it, that’d work too :)

The paint dries fairly quickly, but can be wiped or scratched off if you notice a mistake soon after it’s been made.

Note: I discovered that the more detailed the pattern you create the better. When it’s really detailed, you tend to only see the overall pattern, and not the place where the pen started running out, or your flower wasn’t quite perfect. Larger drawings will require more accuracy. Also – thicker, thinner, lighter, and darker lines might seem like a mistake, but actually overall it just gives it a nice painterly feel! So don’t stress if it’s not perfect :)

DIY Painted Bowls

Step 3.
What you do next will depend on your paints – once they were finished, mine had to air dry for a few hours and then be oven baked.

That’s it! Now they’re ready to be used, and are even dishwasher safe. Brilliant!

DIY Painted Bowls IO6A0540 DIY Painted BowlsDon’t they look nice set up for breakfast? I can totally see a big mound of ice cream sitting pretty in these bowls too (though I’ll take ice cream in any bowl really!).

For some more beautiful ceramic painting tutorials (seriously, they’re gorgeous!) have a look at Delia Creates and Funnelcloud.

I hope you’ll give ceramic painting a go too! Be brave! :) x

IKEA Project 2: Living Room – A nook for Arlo

July 27, 2015 | Personal, Shop, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I was so excited when I heard that the Ikea theme for this month was Living Room! It’s the most used area of our house (maybe after the kitchen) and is where we tend to gravitate to at all times of the day. It’s where guests relax, where we eat some of our meals, and where Arlo plays most of the time.

Earlier this month, after 4 years in our old place, we moved apartments to a bigger, brighter space (happy dance!). I’m so excited about the possibilities for our new space (particularly the living room) and wanted to rush out and buy a bunch of stuff as soon as we moved in to make it more homely. But I stopped myself, and have instead decided that I really shouldn’t rush into this decorating project.. I need to live with the space for a month or two before deciding exactly what we want and need.

Here’s our living room before we moved in, and as it is now – not finished or perfectly styled, but a work in progress.

Living Room

But what about the Ikea challenge?? Well, even though the ‘adult’ area of the living room is still under maintenance, I’ve managed to finish another little part of it that’s just as important.

Adjacent to our living space above, I’ve created a little nook for Arlo. At this age, he doesn’t seem to like to play in his room and wants to be out where we are, so when I saw that this living room had a cut-out nook in one wall I thought it’d be perfect for Arlo. That way, I can keep his toys condensed in one area, but he still feels like he’s part everything happening in the living room. Here’s the before and after…

Nook for Arlo

We already had the Kallax bookcase, so I bought some perfectly-fitting baskets to put Arlo’s gazillion toys in (down nice and low so he can pull them out himself), and added the little kitchen because, well, it’s cute. So far his favourite thing to do with it is to open close, open close, open close the doors. Open close.

Nook for Arlo

On top of the shelf I used a bamboo basket to hold some balls, added some artwork that used to be in his room, and repurposed an old bathroom basket to hold a few rattles that he’s grown out of (that are too cute to be stored away in a cupboard).

Nook for Arlo

So far he loves it! Once he’s started playing with everything it quickly becomes a big mess, but I like that he can reach and explore things on his own, and that it’s easy to clean up at the end of the day.

Nook for Arlo

And if I step back a little, you can see a few other little corners of our new place, with stuff still waiting to be unwrapped and unpacked. It’s kinda nice seeing all our possessions in a new space.. :)

Nook for Arlo

So there we go.. I know it’s not exactly a re-do of our living room, but I love that Arlo now has a little space of his own, where he can keep an eye on me, and I can keep one on him.

These are some of the pieces we used from Ikea (which, btw, is a brilliant place to grab kids toys.. they’re fantastic!)…

Get The Look

1. KALLAX Bookcase  2. MULA Shape Sorter  3. BRANÄS Baskets  4. DUKTIG Felt Veges  5. DUKTIG Play Kitchen  6. GADDIS Basket  7. NIPPRIG Boxes  8. SPARKA Ball.

Cooking up a storm

.. and if you missed my first post in this Ikea series, you can find that here.


My new JORD Wood Watch!

July 6, 2015 | Fashion, Inspired by..., Loving..., Wear it!

Disclaimer – JORD kindly gifted me this watch to wear, test, and become acquainted with. However, all opinions are my own :)

Check my new watch! A friend of mine has a wood watch that I admire every time she wears it, so when the lovely people at JORD got in touch about reviewing one of their watches,  I jumped at the chance! I mean, just look at this beauty…

Jord Wood Watch

Jord Wood Watch

After a (very) lengthy peruse of their shop, I chose to go with the Ely Series in Natural Green and Maple, and was blown away – not only by how cool the watch itself was, but oh my – the packaging! It comes in it’s own little wooden box, complete with protective cushion, extra links, and a cleaning cloth. It feels very.. thoughtful.. and I like that.

Luckily for me, it arrived just hours before I was due to head to Melbourne for a girls weekend (best time EVER!), which presented the perfect opportunity to test this baby out. Melbourne is freezing at this time of year, so I pared it with jeans, boots and a navy pea coat which worked beautifully. Somehow it kinda added that little bit of natural earthy-ness and warmth (as strange as that may sound).

Jord Wood WatchJord Wood Watch

So fun! Thanks to JORD for letting me test out the Ely – I love it :)

You can find loads of other designs and styles (for both men and women!) over in the JORD shop – the lovely folks there even offer a sizing service so your watch will arrive ready-to-wear.. how cool is that?!

…And because no post is complete without Arlo making an appearance, this is how photoshoots go down in our house these days ;-)

Arlo v. Watch

Wooden Watch Men

5 DIYs To Try (+4 for the kids!)

July 5, 2015 | 5 DIYs To Try

Hey guys! Are you all having a nice weekend? For everyone in the US – Happy 4th for yesterday! :)

We’re spending most of the weekend (well, while Arlo’s napping anyway) packing up our apartment for the move in a couple of weeks. Let’s be honest, not much packing gets done with an 11 month old around.. so we’re starting early and giving ourselves plenty of time. Still, not a load of fun really.

So instead of packing right now, I’m taking a break to look at some other much more interesting things – like DIYs to try! How great are these?
DIYs to Try

1. Dishwasher Safe Hand Painted Dishes from Delia Creates  2. Spring Garden Mantelpiece from Design Sponge  3. Citronella Candles from Sugar and Charm  4. Flower arrangement from Atilio  5. Copper Candles from The Merry Thought.

And because there are such sweet Kids DIYs around at the moment, I’ve put a few of my favourites together below too :) Kids’ stuff is always so cute!

DIYs to Try for Kids6. Bag of Rhymes and Finger Puppets from Ukkonooa  7. Summer Straw Necklace from Say Yes  8. Make-A-Face Apron from Mer Mag  9. Sky Blocks from Lovely Indeed.

I hope you guys find these as inspiring as I do! Have a happy weekend :)