Yardbird Belfast has given me Chicken Fever!

Yardbird in Belfast is a restaurant who have taken to heart the culinary advice of, 'do one thing, but do it really well'. They serve chicken, and that's that, but they are bloody amazing at it.

Nestling just a stone's throw from The Merchant Hotel, Yardbird can be found inside & upstairs of The Dirty Onion pub. 

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The cosy, first floor eaterie is family friendly, with kids eating free at the weekend (one free child's meal per full paying adult). Their menu is straightforward, well priced and can all fit on one table mat.

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The main question is 'how much chicken can you handle?', then it's a choice of sides including skin on fries, corn cobs with garlic butter, coleslaw and an avocado salad to die for. I also went for a quarter chicken, and should you visit on a weekend you can try their lunch special of 1/4 plus side for only £5. They are also trialling a chicken burrito, which we are coming back next Saturday for, we loved Yardbird so much.

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A whole chicken straight from cooking. Yardbird only serve free range birds, sourced from Crossgar here in Northern Ireland.

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The free kid's meal- not bad at all!

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Golden corn cobs with hot, liquid garlic butter poured over them at your table.

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Two stuffed and happy boys.

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They also have their own special sauces, a hot version and a BBQ one. You can buy bottles of them to take home too.

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We also had the chance to try the dessert menu. Leave room for these because they are out of this world. Apple pie, lime cheesecake, or a hot brownie with fresh cream or icecream.

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As I said, we are going back this Saturday for another chicken feast. Maybe we will see you there?

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Christmas Stocking Sized Science Kits

Science kits from Interplay UK, priced around £12.99 We tried the Secret a Spy Workshop. My son, who has just turned seven, quite enjoyed making the periscope, but I've a feeling he'd actually have more fun with the girl-orientated packaged sets, such as the bath bomb maker. I'd like to see the science kits less gender specific, as girls should be encouraged to be super scientists too, and not just for making make-up and beauty products.

Anyway, not a bad price for a Christmas present for a cousin, niece or nephew. 

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Up-cycle Empty Glass Beer Bottles, Turn Them Into Something Amazing

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The truth is, unless you’re a seasoned carpenter, it’s probably a lot harder than most people realise. But if you’re a fan of this amazing interior design craze, you can start little and work your way up.

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Okay, so upcycling old furniture is a pretty big project; it takes a lot more than just a few pieces of a wood and a glue gun to create something green and spectacular. Upcycling seems to be the new black at the moment and just about every eco-warrior is doing it right now –but is it really as easy as it looks?

One of the easiest upcycling projects (you’ll be surprised at just how easy) can be done with just some simple leftover beer or wine bottles. So if you’re wading through the rubbish after a house party or cleaning up after a barbeque with friends, be sure to stash away all that unwanted glass.

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Here are some fun and funky ways of upcycling beer and wine bottles:

1. Upcycled Wine Bottle Planters

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This is great news for green-fingered friends. You can easily transform the remnants of your Friday night Sauvignon Blanc into something cute and quirky for your garden or greenhouse. You will need a jig to hold your bottle in place and also a blowtorch to cut the glass bottle in half. This green blogger swears by his crème brulee torch for creating a seamless slice.

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2. Wine Bottle Garden Torches

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Light up your garden with some gorgeous upcycled wine bottle torches. This simple DIY project on Design Sponge shows just how easy it is and there’s absolutely no glass-cutting involved if you’re not so confident with a blowtorch. You’ll need to head to a home improvement store for some basics; Teflon tape, a copper top plate connector, some nuts and bolts, some wood screws (if you’re mounting to wood), a long torch wick, and some torch fuel.

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3. Beer Bottle Chandelier

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The beer bottle chandelier is surprisingly easy to make and a fantastic upcycling project for someone who’s looking to redecorate in the home.

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4. Beer Bottle Lantern Lights

For summer garden parties, a delightfully kitsch way of decorating you garden is using pretty outdoor lanterns. All you will need in terms of fuel or energy are some simple (and inexpensive) tea lights. For this project, you can use any kind of glassware including empty jam jars if you don’t fancy using beer bottles. Simply drill a small hole in the bottles so you can string them together with rope and hang from your wall or from a tree in your garden.

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If you don’t know where to start with using power tools, this video is a great place to start.

Volpe & Volpe's Batty Dinner Plate

A creative collaboration between Volpe and Volpe Founder Trish Scorgie and renowned ceramic artist Robert Dawson, the Last series re-imagines traditional British china designs adding a curious and contemporary twist to create modern day collectibles.

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Highlighting the fragility of nature and drawing on traditional British ceramic manufacturing techniques, the Last series of four preservation plates blend old natural history prints of animals and birds with a floral design from a long forgotten dinner service creating designs which make them relevant for today.

The Last series of four designs is available at £45.00 each or £160.00 for the set of four (one of each design).

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Volpe and Volpe will make a donation of 5% from the sale of each plate to the corresponding supportive charities:-

Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats

Bat Conservation Trust www.bats.org.uk

The Last series of Preservation Plates also includes Cuckoo, Hedgehog and Wolf designs - available from www.volpeandvolpe.com

Donations from the Cuckoo plate will go to - B.T.O (British Trust for Ornithology) http://www.bto.org/uk

Donations from the hedgehog plate will go to - British Hedgehog Preservation Societywww.britishhedgehogs.org.uk

Donations from the Wolf design will go to - John Muir Trust www.jmt.org

Personalised Party Invitations from TinyMe.co.uk

Tiny Me have taken the hand cramp out of writing dozens of birthday party invitations for me this year. I featured their smartly designed school name tag labels two years ago, and the illustrations to choose from are similarly crisp, clean and professional.

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There are dozens of templates to choose from, boys', girls' or unisex, as well as options to include your own photograph within the design.

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Once you choose the perfect template, you then have a choice of colour swatches to pick, to further customise the invitation.

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Invites are sold in packs of eight, with the option to add envelopes and/or magnets to your order for a little more. They really do look smart and you can avoid the hand cramp of writing out the party address and RSVP telephone number a dozen times.

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My son chose this monkey print design, which matches his school stickers & labels which he loves. Turn around for us was around a week from ordering, so bear this in mind when judging when to place an order. What design would you choose? Check out the Tiny Me full party range online now.

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The Retro Home: Five Bathroom Makeover Ideas

Creating a retro theme in the home is a piece of cake once you have the know-how. Just like Oh So Lovely bloggers, Stef and Erin advocated in their recent post about retro-modern styling, it’s all about prints, patterns and lovely little accessories. But fabrics and pretty accessories just aren’t practical when it comes to your bathroom, so how do you achieve the same look without breaking the bank?

Transforming your bathroom into a luxury retro retreat is simple if you know a few easy tips and tricks. And here are 5 great ideas to get you started.

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1. Get on board with the upcycling trend

It seems that everyone is upcycling at the moment (yawn, right?) but upcycling is great not just because it’s beneficial to the environment and because it’s bang on trend, but also because it’s the cheapest way to inject a little retro styling into the home. For instance, this upcycled bike has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind vanity by designer Benjamin Bullins.

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2. Get retro monochromatic tiles

This look is so chic and so simple to achieve, and it can do wonders for your bathroom in an instant. If you can’t afford to renovate the whole bathroom, start with this simple trick and add an element of drama without having to change anything else other than your tiles (view black and white tiles on this website). Finish off with simple black and white bathroom décor.

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3. Update your bathroom with an art deco mirror

For small decorating budgets, the easiest and most affordable way of updating your bathroom is to add a simple yet effective art deco mirror. You can find art deco mirrors from antique shops, charity shopping sites, flea markets and auctions and you can usually find great bargains if you know where to look. The art deco look is 20s and 30s inspired and can be defined by its application of geometric shapes. For more art deco bathroom inspiration, take a look at this post from HousetoHome.co.uk.

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4. Use retro colours to celebrate the decades

Bold reds and blues just cry the fifties, and bright pantone shades such as hot pink or vermillon orange signify the screaming sixties. Injecting colour into your bathroom is easy and this can be done with a simple vase of pretty flowers, a new lick of paint on a feature wall, or by painting your bathtub or bathroom vanity.

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5. Opt for antique gold or bronze for bathroom taps

For the ultimate retro look, steer clear from modern taps and finishes. Stainless steel and chrome are uber-modern in the home, so for a more vintage or retro look, choosea stylish antique gold finish, brass or bronze taps. You can tie the look together with a gold, brass or bronze soap dish or soap dispenser, or some nice antique door handles.

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