Greek Style Tuna Stew

Greek Style Tuna Stew

I have absolutely no idea if this dish has any Greek roots but it just reminds me of those oh-so-wholesome stewy-fish dishes that you often find in Greek tavernas. The ones located right next to the sea, with a bamboo awning, covering you from the hot sun as the water laps at your feet. The ones where the fish is so fresh, you’ve just watched it being caught.

Unfortunately, despite pretty close to the Adriatic now, we’re not good at fishing and so our tuna was of the frozen variety. But handily in cubes – so perfectly cut already for a stew or a skewer on the barbecue. I like nothing more than a good stew, where everything is tossed into one pot or pan and allowed to just bubble away and get on with things, and this is pretty much what this dish is.

INGREDIENTS

  • tuna – we used frozen cubes, but if you fancy cutting up fresh tuna, that’d work just as well, if not better
  • two large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • two peppers, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • one fresh chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely
  • two large cloves of garlic, crushed or finely sliced
  • one large onion, roughly chopped
  • chopped fresh tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • chilli flakes
  • veggie (or fish, if you prefer) stock
  • a glug of white wine
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh parsley

METHOD

  1. Sear the tuna cubes (sprinkled with sea salt) in a skillet, with olive oil (just a couple of tablespoons) on a high heat, for about 3 minutes, turning all the time so that all sides brown. Set aside on a plate.
  2. Boil the peeled and cubed potatoes.
  3. Saute the garlic, onions, peppers and fresh chillies until soft. Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes.
  4. Add the boiled potato cubes and roughly chopped fresh tomatoes, with about two cups of veggie stock (or fish stock), and a splash of white wine.
  5. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the liquid begins to turn to a light broth consistency.
  6. Take off the heat and add the browned tuna cubes and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Leave for about three minutes for the the tuna to begin to soak up the broth.

Serve with crusty bread or sourdough, or as we did, warm pitta breads. Summer in a bowl…

 

Country Life

Country Life

Although I grew in the semi-rural North East of England, it’s been a long time since I’ve lived in a house and looked out of the windows and seen fields. The move to Manchester in 1985 lasted until we left in 2017. Thirty two years of city living – and suddenly in Match 2017 we found ourselves in our stone house in the Istrian hills. And, we’ve not looked back. We realised pretty quickly, because we had to start making contacts and navigating our way through a whole new life, that although the nearest supermarket was about 20 kms away, it took more or less the same time to get to it as it could to drive from our house in West Didsbury to Sainsbury’s in Cheadle. But this journey now takes us through medieval towns and past vineyards and to the Adriatic coast. Not the A34…

So, three years on, how’s country life?

Well, it is pretty amazing. We have four distinct seasons now, as opposed to Manchester seasons which largely merged into one. Spring is wonderful here – a switch really does flick. The pattern seems to be a couple of weeks of heavy and sustained rain in April and then all of a sudden, the greenery explodes. By June, Spring gives way to the hot, mostly dry, Summer. Although, we do get intense downpours, accompanied by ferocious thunderstorms – but these are usually gone as quickly as they arrive. Early harvesting happens here – we’ve just had a week of real country activity in the fields next to our house. Combine harvesters arriving first thing and hay bales in place by early evening. The landscape changes a lot in the summer as local farmers make the most of the glorious weather conditions. The weather starts to markedly cool down towards the end of October, but we can still have days when we eat outside. It’s always a sad sight when the greenery begins to drop – but we do a have couple of weeks, when nature puts on a real show of colour, as the reds and oranges take hold. Winter can be cold and damp and wet – but it can also be pretty spectacular. Days and days of bright blue skies and sunshine. And, perhaps what I like the most and expected the least, snow. Deep, deep snow. Making the house look like  very Alpine. The added bonus of woodburning stoves makes our house in the country very special at this time of year.

SPRING

SUMMER

AUTUMN

WINTER

So, country living. From being city dwellers, with every convenience on our West Didsbury doorsteps, we seem to have adapted pretty well. Although if our current plans come to fruition, we may be moving back to the city. That’s what our nearest town is called by some people around here – although with a population at the last census of 850, we don’t think we’ll be feeling too overcrowded and hemmed in….

 

Property For Sale In Istria…

Property For Sale In Istria…

Renovated Property for Sale in Istria

In March 2017 we moved lock, stock and barrel to Istria, in northern Croatia and set about renovating a very traditional stone house. Fast forward three years, and the big renovation is complete :

  • Completely new and updated kitchen
  • One bathroom gutted and completely remodelled, wet-room style
  • Second bathroom totally renovated with new sanitary ware
  • Internal cellar gutted and now utilised as an additional living room
  • Living room and dining room (with an uplit internal well chamber with a reinforced glass cover) completely renovated
  • Three bedrooms decorated to a very high standard
  • Additional land (including a small house with potential for renovation/development to the rear) acquired
  • All boundaries established
  • Garden to the front created, with various zoned areas

It’s now the house we always imagined it would be, and whilst we’re still pottering around, now doing the “nice” bits of DIY, we’re thoroughly enjoying our new home in the sun. But – and it’s a big but – we’ve got itchy feet. Because we’ve seen another property. It caught our eyes when we first moved here, but it was nothing more than a bit of minor flirtation as we had our hands full with getting to grips with our stone house. But, over the months and now years, that minor flirtation has grown and we have to be honest and say our heads have been really turned.

The reasons behind our decision to make a move…

The property we have our eyes on now, is so very different to our current home. Although we’ve renovated it in a very contemporary way internally, the exterior is still quite traditional, built as it with Istrian stones and with the traditional Istrian red roof. The new property is absolutely at the other end of the spectrum. In fact, it’s not even a house, It’s a former industrial unit, sitting on one level, and with only partition walls internally, making open plan living something more of a reality.

We do genuinely love our stone house, and we had absolutely no intention of renovating it to sell it, but sometimes opportunities present themselves and they feel like they are meant to be. With the help of people we’ve got to know here – builders, electricians, plumbers, stonemasons – we’ve created what we know to be a very unique property.

Living here full-time…

We live here full time and have very quickly adapted to the Istrian way of life. It’s a slower pace of life than back in the UK, but we are so close to so many wonderful places, that in normal times, we can still have a similar kind of life to the one we had in Manchester. Larger supermarkets are about 30 minutes away, Pula and the airport about an hour. The border to Slovenia is 10 minutes away, and Trieste less than 40 minutes. The sea on each of side of the peninsula can be reached from our house in less than 45 minutes to the east and about 25 minutes to the west. We can be in Ljubljana, the uber stylish and trendy Slovenian capital within an hour and a half. Venice is two hours away, by motorway – or by catamaran, if you prefer.

Anyone who wished to purchase our home and make it a full time move as we have done, we’d be on hand to offer support and guidance and share our valuable network of contacts and expertise.

Holiday home/rental potential…

The house has been renovated to an incredibly high standard, because it is our home. This would mean that it would literally be ready for any new owner to just turn up and unpack their suitcase, if bought as a holiday home. Much of the furniture is included in the sale, simply because we’d have to dismantle much of it, to get out of the house. Our website details what is included and what is not.

The small house to the rear of the main house, is also included in the sale. This is NOT currently habitable – it is what we call one of the abandoned houses of Istria. However, it could be renovated or demolished and rebuilt, either as an annexe or joined onto the main house. We have chosen not to have a swimming pool, but this could be the ideal space for one…

The rental market for holiday homes in Istria is huge. With good marketing, our property could be a great source of income. We have considered doing it ourselves, but we think our industrial unit will take up all of our time going forward and so we have made the decision to move on and pass our home into the hands of new owners, who we know will fall in love with it it, as we have. And, if you don’t believe us about how amazing, see what family and friends who’ve visited, have to say.

Safe Viewings

The world is now a very different place to how it was a few months ago, when we designed our website and suggested how viewings could be done, in person. Like everyone the world over, we’ve had to rethink how we do things, and so can now offer the following…

We are currently preparing a virtual tour of our home, where we’ll walk you through the house, room by room and the outside area. We hope to have this online by mid July 2020. If this then whets your appetite, we’d suggest that you drop us an email via the contact form and we can arrange to delve deeper via Zoom or FaceTime or WhatsApp. We’ll also be able to answer any questions you have in real time.

We would still welcome serious viewings in person, but we would obviously insist on all safety measures being adhered to, including the wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser. In a move that is just not us, because we are very much “people people”, we’d also request, sadly, no hand-shaking and no touching of anything around the house. As the visit would be relatively short, we would ask that our bathrooms not be used. We are so very sorry that we need to ask these things, but we would much prefer to be safe than sorry…

To make an enquiry, or to request further information, please complete the contact form on our website or email helen@escapetoistria.com

The Well Room : the original well is now situated outside the front door and the chamber has been drained. It has been fitted with a triple layered reinforced (safety) glass cover and is uplit.

 

The Shed Has Arrived…

The Shed Has Arrived…

For the first time this year, we made the trip to Pula. Normally, we’d by now, be making fairly regular trips to the airport to pick up and drop off visitors, but this is no normal year. Our first trip, done with a bit of trepidation, was to Bauhaus and Pevex, our equivalents of B&Q, to purchase the garden shed, paint, plants and assorted garden accessories. We paid a fair bit more than we were expecting to, but just thought sheds here might be more expensive than back in the UK – and as we didn’t want to add to the cost with paying for delivery (approx 70 euros), it was monkey-gripped onto the top of the car and driven back. On unwrapping it, we realised why it was more expensive than we had anticipated – it wasn’t a shed, like the ones we’ve had previously. This was desribed as a Dutch Log Cabin and the wood was clearly much, much better quality. Being a very impatient person, I didn;t like the fact it had to be unwrapped and all of the panels and wood laid out, to acclimatise, for two days! However, I was persuaded that we do this right. So, progress has been much slower than I anticipated, but we’re getting there.

First job, once the wood had acclimatised, was to seal the slats which would form the floor, with a moiosture proof sealant. Lukcily, the weekend was quite hot, so drying was rapid.

The idea had been to position the shed at the far end of the concrete patio, facing the new kitchen window. But, as soon as we placed down the floor to assess the size, we remembered that this part of the garden is on the long to-do list. When it rains heavily, water pools in this area, and we need to drill in drain holes, so we decided against this position, opting for the right hand side instead.

The wall which we’ve been considering for ages, is no longer going to be a wall. We thought we’d made a decision and were going to fo for a boundary wall made of those geometric patterned blocks, which everyone had in their gardens in the ’70s. Much as we do love this idea, we decided that if we are going to sell the house, this kind of wall might not be to everyone’s tastes and so we’ve decided that with a few more potted bamboos we can create a thick natural wall – which we can then take away with us, eventually.

By Sunday evening, we’d managed to get this far – but are back on it again today. Once the roof has been installed and the door fixed, all gaps will be caulked before undercoating and topcoating. And then – accessorising…

 

Garden Renovation

Garden Renovation

The garden area at the front of the house has not really been renovated, as such. It’s certainly been tidied up and areas of it do look a whole lot better, but apart from the addition of garden furniture and potted plants, that’s about it. We did have big plans for it, but then bigger plans – as in selling the house and moving onto  our next renovation project – came along, and it now longer makes sense to spend a lot of money on a garden design that a future owner might not like and just rip out. We’d rather leave a potential owner with more of a blank canvas.

But, as we’ll be going nowhere very far this summer apart from the garden, we’ve decided that a mini-makeover is in order. At the weekend, we repotted and relocated plants, created a potting table for the tomato seedlings and generally did a big clear up. We’ve decided that we’re going for a shed, but this will be customised and shabby-chiced up so that it looks a bit more rustic and vintage style. Along these lines…

I’ve also finally discovered a shop nearby which sells all sorts of wonderful things, that so far I’ve not been easily able to source – old terracotta pots, old industrial and farming bits and pieces, spades, wheelbarrows, watering cans. The kind of stuff that people here would just discard once they’d become redundant, but which I need for our garden. Like they say, one person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. So I’m going to spend a nice day, at the end of this week, hunting out some accessories for the garden, along these lines…

Image : Mari Potter // Unsplash

Image : Mari Potter // Unsplash

Image : Annie Spratt // Unsplash

Image : Annie Spratt // Unsplash

Image : Annie Spratt // Unsplash

Image : Annie Spratt // Unsplash

Image : Jørgen Håland // Unsplash

Image : Jørgen Håland // Unsplash

Image : Annie Spratt // Unsplash

Image : Annie Spratt // Unsplash

Image : Lou Ashley // Unsplashed

Image : Lou Ashley // Unsplashed

Image : Alex Blajan // Unsplash

Image : Alex Blajan // Unsplash

Image : Sue Hughes // Unsplashed

Image : Sue Hughes // Unsplashed

Image : Philip Moore // Unsplashed

Image : Philip Moore // Unsplashed

The weather is looking particularly summer-like this coming weekend, so I’m hoping by the end of it, we have a rustic shed, painted in a pretty pastel, with a table and chairs outside, meaning that we can treat ourselves to an early evening cocktail…

Smoked Salmon & Leek Pasta

Smoked Salmon & Leek Pasta

We’ve been getting very good at using nearly everything we buy food-wise, and reducing our waste massively, and raiding the back of the cupboards for forgotten tins and packets. Most of the meals we’ve been making recently have been proper lockdown larder efforts, using generally what we have. When we do go the supermarket now, we plan ahead and often buy things which we would have considered luxuries in the past, meaning that if we don’t have all of the ingredients in, we have most and can usually find a substitute. This was once such meal this week.

The leeks were quite old and looked a bit ropey and past their best. Previously, I might have looked at them and decided they were too old and binned them. But this time, they were trimmed and a few layers peeled away – plus I kept the ends and these are sitting in water, sprouting, almost ready to planted up. Equally with the packet of smoked salmon – it was bang on its use-by date, by rather than thinking I’d get chronic food poisoning, I decided to be very brave and risk it 😉 I’ve also started buying mascapone cheese to use in sauces, rather than cream, so had a fresh tub of this in the fridge. And, as we always have pasta and white wine, we were good to go…

INGREDIENTS

  • Tagliatelle
  • Olive oil
  • Sliced leeks
  • White wine
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Small tub of mascarpone cheese
  • Smoked salmon, cut into slices

METHOD

It couldn’t be simpler. Sautee the chopped leeks in the olive oil, until soft and then add the tub of mascarpone cheese and a glass of white wine. Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle. Add a pinch of chilli flakes (and black pepper, according to taste). Simmer gently, until the the tagliatelle is cooked. Add the chopped smoked salmon to the cheesy, winey leek sauce and stir. Drain the tagliatelle and add to the sauce. Serve immediately.

The leek mixture is gorgeous once the cheese and wines and chilli flakes have been added. I didn’t add any additional salt as once the smoked salmon was added, for our taste, that provided sufficient saltiness.

A really quick & easy dinner dish, packed full of flavours.

Looking Back on Lockdown

Looking Back on Lockdown

Like the rest of the world, we’ve been living the Covid-19 lockdown, here in Istria, since March 17th. This was the day the country offically started staying at home, although we were feeling the effects before this date. Being so close to northern Italy, we were directly impacted pretty early on. We often travel to Trieste to do supermarket shopping, but when things started getting very serious in Italy, we stopped doing this. We were due to fly to Berlin in early March, but again, we decided against going, especially as the flights were from Treviso. And it’s just as well we didn’t go, as lockdown in Italy came in fully during the time we would have been away, meaning we could potentially have been stranded in Treviso.

From mid-March, schools, bars, restaurants, hairdressers, sporting facilities, theatres etc and shops deemed to be “non-essential”, closed. Everything literally stopped overnight. Supermarkets were still open, but we cut down on the trips out to them. Before restrictions became even tighter, we did a couple of “big shops” – but, it was immediately clear that people here, were taking things very, very seriously. Social distancing was absolutely respected, many people were already wearing masks, numbers allowed in to the supermarket were limited, and hand sanistisers and gloves were all readily available. Staff were all wearing masks and gloves, and the till area was wiped down after every customer. While all of this was happening in Istria, we watched aghast, at the slow response by the government in the UK, and listened to friends and family telling us that it mostly seemed to be like “business as normal”.

Things happened very quickly in Croatia, as the government responded with speed. By Monday 23rd May, travel restrictions had been introduced. To travel outside of your own municipality you needed a permit – this was quite a simple process and our neighbour helped us with the translation side of things and the permit was emailed back quickly. But, you had to state exact day of travel and purpose and ensure that you took the permit with you as police roadblocks were in place. By the following week, this had become even stricter as only one member of the household was allowed to travel. It was decided that I wouldn’t be that person, as unchecked, my shopping would have consisted of “treats” only 😉 This continued for two weeks, with the local administrative body doing the permits, but as lockdown continued, by mid-April, we had to apply for e-permits which were handled by a higher authority. Again, it was a relatively easy process, but it was becoming very clear that the situation was extremely serious.

So, how’s Lockdown Life been in Istria?

In many ways, not a great deal has changed for us personally. Over the last seven or so weeks, we’ve only left the house to go to the supermarket and to have the cars MOTd. Unlike in the UK, there’s no deferring these annual tests and we had to do both cars last week. We were a bit wary at the thought of being out & about, but as we’ve come to realise, people follow the rules here. There’s no flouting and everything is done by the book. So, it wasn’t anywhere near as risky as we feared – social distancing once outside of the car, one car at a time, hand sanitisers, perspex barriers. And, to be honest, it was nice to be out of the houseand actually see other human beings!

Our house is in a small village, up in the hills in northern Istria. Most of the properties are owned by people who live abroad, so until March/April time, we don’t tend to see a lot of people. Most restaurants around here, don’t re-open until late March/early April, so we live a pretty self-sufficient life anyway, meaning that lockdown hasn’t been a total shock. We’re in regular touch with family and friends and we’ve kept our website design clients, so always have contact with people. Now that we have fixed line broadband, we’ve also got UK TV, so can keep up to date and keep abreast of what’s going on.

We’re lucky that we’ve been able to use lockdown time very productively. Prior to being largely confined to home, we’d decided to sell our house, because we’d found another renovation project and via a website we designed, we’d tentatively started to market it. We’d put in a couple of low(ish) offers, which were rejected, to get the ball rolling on the other property and had a further viewing. It’s all obviously now on hold, but we’re using this time, to get the website completely finished, get the house on external property abroad websites and focus on the last bits and pieces in the house, ready for when we can get going again.

We also completed, just the week before lockdown, on the little property and additional land behind the main house, which will be included in the house sale. As our builder can’t come round to make it safe, we’re chugging along doing what we can to tidy it up. New boundaries have also been established and lodged at the Land Registry, so we’re making plans to fence off the whole house, front and back, to give us more privacy.

Lots of smaller jobs, which have been on a long list, for a long time, are being ticked off. Painting jobs are being tackled. A bit of decoupage has been going on, transforming a couple of doors and some shelving…

The window sills in the new kitchen have finally been tiled and grouted – a job which was always put off as it inevitably involved the tile cutter, but both windows have been done and they do look great. I also managed to get my “window shelf” – something I’ve been hankering after for while, since spotting something on Pinterest. This was much resisted by the shelf-putter-upper because he said we then wouldn’t be able to open the window. Yes, we would – the shelf could just sit on blocks and be lifted off when we wanted to open the window. He now likes the potential of an indoor herb garden…

We’ve also rediscovered our kitchen and are now much more likely to ensure that what we buy, we use. I’ve become less likely to discard fruit and veg which maybe doesn’t look as fresh it did when we bought it, and meals are being cooked from scratch. Bread is being baked & we have vegetables and herbs planted up.

Even though we are lucky enough to still be working from home, we do feel that we have more time to be doing more things for *us*. We’re catching up on films, and series we’ve been meaning to watch but never seem to have got round to. It’s taken us until now to get the brilliance of Peaky Blinders and I’m a bit bereft that we’re onto the last series – but rather than binge watching now, we’re restricting ourselves to two episodes on a Saturday evening. Which is how we know it’s a Saturday.

Earlier this week, we received the news that Istria County has been officially declared Coronavirus free, as no new cases had been reported for the previous 16 days. However, the relaxation of regulations is still measured and controlled. From Monday 11th May, bars and restaurants will be allowed to re-open IF they have outdoor terraces and if social distancing measures can still be maintained. We definitely won’t be rushing off to a local bar or a restaurant, but we are heartened that things like this can start to happen. We are horrified by what we see happening in the UK – and just wish we could transport all family and friends to Istria where it is safe.

So, for us personally, lockdown has been a time for planning and preparing. We know that even though we are in a different country, and a country we are still getting used to, we are very lucky to be here. And, hopefully, one day soon – although goodness knows when that will be – we’ll be able to welcome family and friends to our little slice of paradise, again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti with Anchovies & Onions

Spaghetti with Anchovies & Onions

This is another perfect lockdown larder recipe. If you love anchovies, you’ll definitely have a tin or a jar or two of these in your cupboard, and everything else is pretty standard stuff standard stuff which most people will have in. It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe, which I did adapt slightly as I didn;’t have absolutely everything, but it turned out fine.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6 so adapt accordingly)

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon soft light brown sugar
  • 12 anchovies (or 1 x 60g / 2oz can in olive oil)
  • 15 grams butter
  • tiniest pinch of ground cloves – didn’t have cloves so omitted these
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 125 millilitres full fat milk
  • 500 grams linguine (bigoli, bucatini, perciatelli or other robust pasta) – just normal, bog-standard dried spaghetti
  • 1 bunch freshly chopped fresh flatleaf parsley – no fresh parsley, unfortunately, the one thing I think it could have benefitted from
  • Salt & pepper

It’s another very easy recipe. We did follow it to the letter, but I’m sure you could do it even quicker by just mixing the onions, garlic and anchovies into the cooked spaghetti, but the creamy sauce did make all of the difference and elevated it a little from just a pasta dish, to one with a bit of a wow.

METHOD

  • Finely chop the onions & garlic and cook, in a little oil until soft, then add the brown sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes
  • Chop the anchovies into very small pieces and add to the onion/garlic mix, until they start to disintegrate, then stir in the butter (and the pinch of ground cloves at this stage), followed by a tablespoonful of water
  • When it is all combined, gradually stir in the milk, and when it is a puree, take the pan off the heat
  • Cook the spaghetti and when done drain, then tip the anchovy & onion sauce into the pasta, mixing it round so that the strands are coated
  • Season according to taste
  • Mix the roughly chopped parsley into the pasta, keeping some aside
  • Serve in warm bowls and sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top

 

Stinky Baked Cheese

Stinky Baked Cheese

There’s nothing more mouth-watering than a strong baked cheese, served with warm crusty bread. It always seems a very decadent way to eat, but in reality, it’s not – it’s just hot cheese. What makes it decadent is what you do with it, and the kind of cheese you use. I think the stinkier the better – we’ve used some cheeses that are so overpowering, they’ve had to sit outside until we’re ready to bake them. But, a good old fashioned brie or camembert is as good as any, especially as these are so widely available.

How We Do Our Stinky Cheese

It’s so simple. The cheese (with rind) is baked in its wooden box – this should ensure no spillage, but just to be on the safe side, you could wrap the box in foil. The oven temperature should be 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4 (fan oven 160C) – no higher. Score across the rind on the top of the cheese and push in sliced garlic (or small cloves) and small sprigs of rosemary. Splash white wine over the top, and if you fancy it with a bit of a kick, add a sprinke of chilli flakes.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, by which time you will have a gooey, oozy cheese, packed full of flavour. My favourite way to eat this is dunking in warm crusty bread, accompanied by a dry, white wine. Super delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

Decoupage Doors

Decoupage Doors

Decoupage or découpage is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and other decorative elements. Commonly, an object like a small box or an item of furniture is covered by cutouts from magazines or from purpose-manufactured papers.

Our internal doors are the pretty basic DIY store four panelled ones. They are on the list to replace, but we’ve not got round to bit of the list yet. They have all been painted a very soft pale blue satinwood and new handles have been fitted, so are OK for the time being. However, over a couple of rainy days we were sorting our holiday box – the one where receipts and tickets and maps get chucked at the end of a trip, always with the intention to do something with these memories. Sorting them all on the concrete table in the Well Room, it suddenly came to me – why not use them to decoupage the inside of the downstair’s bathroom door?

Materials Used

In my usual gung-ho way, I just decided that I knew what I needed (listed below), so if you’ve not done this before yourself but fancy giving it a go, perhaps check online in case I missed out something crucial. Although to be fair, I’ve gone on to decoupage other surfaces in the same way, and they’re all fine.

  • Paper Maps
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Scissors
  • Small paint brush
  • Clear varnish
  • Small sponges (one to smooth out any airbubbles and the other to dab away any errant wallpaper paste)

I decided to use just the maps, cut up, as was finding it too fiddly to try and place tickets, receipts etc in a pleasing pattern as they were all different thicknesses and looked too messy. I laid them out on the table first of all, and could see pretty immediately they weren’t going to work, so made the decision to cut up the maps. This made creating a pattern so much easier. I applied the wallpaper paste (and only make up a small quantity as you don’t need a lot) in sections and so was easily able to slide the map pieces to the edges of the door, so there was no messy overhanging. The panels were a bit more tricky, but I quickly realised that by scoring a line in the corner of the piece to be used, I achieved a neat fold. It did quite lot longer than I thought it would, but once all secured in place, it looked as I had wanted it to and so was worth the effort. Because the door is a bathroom door, and so obviously affected by steam and moisture, I applied four coats of clear varnish. It was completed a couple of months ago, and all of the pieces are still firmly secure. No peeling or coming away, so the more coats you can apply, especially in a room like a bathroom, the better.

Our downstairs bathroom is quite small and there isn’t really the space for magazines etc – and to be honest, I couldn’t stand the clutter. So, for those who like a bit of reading matter in the small room, there’s a door full of maps to be explored.

I have since done a bit more decoupage on a few other surfaces and have to say that I definitely found the pages of a book to be the nicest to work with. I would never normally destroy a book, so chose a book that we had a couple of copies of. And one that i thought would get more reading if if was randomly decoupaged on the back of a door…