We caught up with the lovely Sarah-Jane from @justalittlebuild to discuss all things from staying at home with the kids and home renovations to finding out her favourite recipe and holiday destination (I know we are all dreaming of the days).
What’s your three favourite activities for the kids at home?
My first activity has to be home baking – what’s not to love! Everyone gets stuck in and everyone enjoys the end product.
‘Family movie nights’. The children help pick the film, Matt lights the fire and I get out the popcorn, chocs and sometimes even the sweeties!
‘Creative crafts’. The children are given a topic, for example, ‘Space’ and their task is to make something that could exist if it was in real life. They do this using recycling items, glue, paint etc. We then do a little ‘show and tell’ with the whole family.
What’s your tips for creating a happy home?
- Get rid of clutter and free your home of items you either do not need or do not love.
- Start appreciating the little things in life.
- Slow down in the evenings. My days are typically full to the brim with lists, tasks and to-do’s so when the evening comes round (usually around 6pm as I am cooking the children’s tea), I need to mentally switch off and have some downtime to just be present and be with my family.
- Do the unexpected! Why not put on a fancy meal, mid-week, for just yourself and your other half? Surprise them when they come home and put a smile on their face.
What would a usual day look like for you?
A typical day (what’s that right now?!) would usually be…
Wake up around 6.30am (the children are itching to get out of bed then but stay in until 7am). I usually go downstairs, let out the dogs, empty the dishwasher and then go back up to make beds, draw curtains etc. The children get dressed, have breakfast and then it’s the school run.
When I’m back I feed the cats, chickens and ponies and then make myself a cup of tea and some breakfast.
As I am self-employed, much of my work is communicated via email or telephone so most of my morning is spent getting on of all correspondence. Leat House is a holiday rental business so there are lots of do with the management side of that – linen orders, bookings, maintenance etc.
In the afternoon, I tend to tackle any projects that I am working on whether it is on brand collaborations, photography, blog writing, press events, digital marketing etc.
And then before you know it, the children need collecting from school so my focus moves back to being a mum and all hands to the deck with food preparation, homework and bedtime routines…!
What’s something we might not know about you?
I was once (when I was 16!) ranked 29th in the country for showjumping within the BSJA.
If you could invite three people (past or present) to your home for dinner, who would it be and why?
Ok, I’m going along the lines of fantasy here…!
Ryan Reynolds (my celebrity crush)
Jodie Comer (in total awe of her after watching Killing Eve)
Michael McIntyre (to make us all giggle and have a good time)
What was the most challenging thing when it came to renovating your home?
Mistakes! I hate them but they are inevitable (unless you are an absolute pro!). Not only can they cost you more money but they make you feel pretty rubbish when you know, it was your mistake in the first place!
What was the most rewarding part about renovating?
“We did this”, “We made this our home”. When it all finally comes together there's that overwhelming feeling of achievement.
How is the renovation at Leat House coming along?
It’s almost there… works have sadly halted due to the current pandemic but I am grateful that the house is watertight and in its final stages. Carpets went down last week so that’s great to see!
This or that…
Sweet or savoury? Savoury
Summer or winter? Summer
Night in or night out? Night in
Cream or Jam on your scone first? Jam
Mauritius - we have only been there once but had the most amazing time at Long Island Beach Hotel.
It’s actually one of my own - Salmon Tagliatelle with Broccoli, Cream and Rose Wine. The whole family loves it! I have shared it a few times via my Instagram stories and received lots of recipe requests for it but I am yet to have created a comprehensive recipe. I think this could be a good time for me to share one with you all (in light of the current situation I couldn't get my hands on any tagliatelle, so settled for spaghetti instead).
150g broccoli, cut into small florets
x1 shallot (chopped)
x2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
x2 salmon fillets (skins removed and cut into chunks)
350g fresh wholewheat tagliatelle
125ml rose wine
200ml double cream
½ veg stock cube
Fresh dill, finely chopped
Melt the butter in a wide-based pan on a medium heat. Once melted fry the broccoli florets. I like to cook them this way as it gives them a lovely caramelised flavour.
With the broccoli partly cooked, add the shallots and garlic.
Next, add the salmon chunks. Season with salt and pepper and add a sprinkling of dill. I think searing the salmon in the pan before adding any liquids gives it a little more flavour and saves you having to poach it separately.
Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of boiling salted water. I like to use fresh tagliatelle as it tastes that little bit nicer and cooks quicker.
Add the rose wine to the pan with the salmon, broccoli, shallots and garlic. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
Reduce the heat, stir in the cream and crumble in half a stock cube. Add your cooked tagliatelle along with a little pasta water to loosen the sauce, taste for any further seasoning and grate in a little parmesan.
Serve with a sprinkle of fresh dill and some more grated parmesan.
Memory in your home?
Riley’s Ranch cowboy party. We like a party and we like dressing up so Riley’s cowboy-themed party was pretty cool!
Instagram accounts you follow?
My current 5 faves cover interiors, renovations, food and happiness…
@mytinyestate (love their renovating updates)
@buildingthemushroom (Tiff always brings laugher to her feed)
@kerrylockwood (great styling tips)
@studiomcgee (dreamy interior design)
@earthyandy (love her lifestyle and her recipes)
If you've ever thought about home renovation or taking on a little project then follow Sarah-Jane's Instagram account @justalittlebuild or her blog www.justalittlebuild.com, we can't be held accountable for any home envy though!