About Nicole

Who am I? In short, I am a translator, wife and mother of two who has experience in cooking, DIY, gardening, bringing up kids (in no particular order), that's the one good thing about getting older. I am not a great spender, I don’t like waste and I am not keen on ready-made meals and restaurant food as my motto is: "I can do it better and cheaper". What can I do for you? Share with you the experience I have collected over the years so that you can turn it to your advantage. We all want to make our own mistakes but sometimes, it is nice to learn the easy way through others.

Wheat intolerance – Rice flour Crumble

You don’t need to make crumble with wheat flour. Having a friend who is wheat intolerant, I had to study the problem and I found that rice flour works just as well when making crumble. Use the same proportions: 1 part butter, 1 part sugar and 2 parts rice flour plus whatever par-cooked fruit such apple, rhubarb etc.

 

How to design and tile a shower floor in a wet room

That tiling task was not as bad as I thought it would be. First, I had many sleepless nights worrying about it and did a lot of planning.. I used a 120cm x 90cm shower former and 60cm x 30cm porcelain tiles. Please note, they are all multiple of 30 which I think helps when tiling the shower former.

1. Work out where to place your tiles to get the most pleasing end result, laying them on the floor as accurately as possible and making sure you would not end up with very small pieces of cut tile along the edge.IMG_3329 (1024x683) Below, you can see what Continue reading

Chocolate and caramel cheesecake

Follow this picture guide to make this easy and delicious chocolate and caramel cheesecake. Perfect for dinner parties as it is best prepared the day before. Serves 6-8.IMG_1725 (1024x683)

  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter melted
  • 100g good quality dark chocolate (I use 70% cocoa Lindt chocolate)
  • 300g Philadelphia cheese
  • 100g granulated sugar (vanilla scented or add a couple of drops of vanilla essence)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 200ml double cream (or 1/2 double cream, 1/2 yogurt)
  • 1 tin of Carnation caramel

Continue reading

Use cheap pears to make upside-down pie / tarte Tatin

IMG_3125 (1024x683)

If you see a packet of pears at reduced price at your supermarket, grab it! They are usually quite hard and tasteless (that’s why they are on sale) but they make the perfect ingredient for an easy-to-make delicious upside-down pie or, as we French people call it, tarte Tatin. In fact, Continue reading

How to grow a pine tree

I went to Italy last October and picked up 2 pine nuts that had found on the ground. I crushed the shell of one with a large stone and ate the nut inside and put the other one in my pocket. When I got home, I decided to try and grow a pine tree so I placed the whole shell in the freezer for a few days (one week maybe) to make the seed “believe” it was winter. Then, I took it out of the freezer and loosely wrapped the shell inside some very wet cotton wool, pouring water on it regularly to ensure it never dried. After a couple of weeks, the shell started to split.

cone pine 10-28

A couple of days later, Continue reading

Ways to reuse sliced bread plastic bags – fresher tea bags

reuse plastic bread bag 750g tea packet

 

Tea bags are cheaper to buy in large packs but they would take too much space in the food cupboard for day-to-day use. So, I fill a handy-size container with a few handful of tea bags and, to keep the remaining tea bags fresh, I place the pack inside an old sliced bread plastic bag sealed at the top. To give you an idea of sizes, you can fit a 750g pack of Yorshire Tea tea bags inside a Hovis bag.

Used fresh lemon slices to clean your sink

reuse lemon slices from drinks

Don’t throw out fresh lemon slices that were used in drinks or any left-over fresh lemon. Keep them in a separate glass by the sink and use them to wipe the sink and prevent any build-up of lime scale. They are antibacterial too!

Also use fresh lemon to Continue reading

Keep spare buttons safe

When buying new clothes, you will often get a small plastic bag fixed inside the garment containing spare button(s). Don’t just pull it out and store it in a drawer or throw it out. Take a needle and threat and sew the spare buttons to an inside hem, somewhere out of the way which is not going to be annoying on your skin. You don’t need to make it look neat because it is out of sight anyway. You never know, you might need that spare button one day!IMG_1250 (1024x683)

How to get your Tomtom out of its protective case

WP_000436

Having problems getting your Tomtom out of its protective cover or pouch? or any other device in a protective pouch for that matter? All you need is a length of ruban (or even a thin length of plastic bag, why not!), long enough to be pushed into the pouch and leave you enough grip to pull your Tom tom out when needed.

How to pick up brick dust from drill

how to pick up dust

 

I used to place my vacuum cleaner’s nozzle next to a hole being drilled to suck up any brick dust and prevent it from falling down. This was not ideal though because the motor filter is not suited to very fine dust. Now, I would like to share with you a great new tip, a much better way to pick up brick dust that cannot damage the vacuum cleaner.

Use a dust pan (because it has a wide brim and a nice handle!), place a wet kitchen towel over it and locate the dust pan right under the hole being drilled. The falling brick dust will be collected by the wet kitchen towel. When finished, simply put the kitchen towel in the bin. Try this tip and let me know what you think!