white building on hill

    Shutters have become a common feature in many homes across Britain. Whether they’re used to keep noise out, insulate the house, add extra security or are there purely for decorative purposes, there are so many great reasons why the UK is embracing this trend.

    Even the history of plantation shutters is pretty interesting and below you can find everything from where they originate from to what they were initially used for.

    Many people associate traditional plantation shutters with the deep south in America. Although this is where they did gain their popularity and unique style, they actually date all the way back to ancient Greece.

    Believe it or not, in Greece, the very first shutters were actually made of marble. Although this made them incredibly strong and durable, they were very difficult to work with and therefore didn’t appeal to the masses.

    The simplest form of shutters were designed using stone slabs which were mounted on a pivot. They were then developed into a shutter which was constructed with fixed louvres and made out of marble.

    Over time however, wood was used to improve the design and functionality of plantation shutters and as a result, they gained in popularity. The did in fact become so desirable that they were even an important royal accessory when King Louis XIV of France insisted on having them.

    It wasn’t until the idea of shutters spread to the Mediterranean that their form began to change. Wood completely overtook marble as a more suitable material and movable louvres were introduced to allow varying amounts of light and ventilation into a room. Typically made from undecorated boards, shutters would simply slide into slots on the window frame. For those who couldn’t afford wood, they created their own shutters by tying bundles of reeds together.

    In the medieval period, shutters were used to keep out wind, rain, insects and birds. They were often a distinct feature used on the inside of windows and were decorated individually to provide a unique touch to homes.

    By the 18th and 19th century, the concept of shutters made its way over to America. As many people are already aware, the southern states particularly embraced this trend. They integrated shutters into large plantation manors which is where they got their name from.

    Thanks to the invention of the steam engine and the rapid industrialisation of society, mechanisation entered Victorian working mills. This meant that shutters became more sophisticated so rather than just blocking out light and heat, they could also be used to deflect rain.

    Shutters were originally designed to control light and ventilation and also offer protection. Although they are very much still used for these purposes, today, modern shutters also serve a more decorative function.

    black shutters

    Shutters have come a long way over the years as they are now available in various shapes and sizes and can be created using several different materials. The design flexibility they offer means that they can be created to fit any space in both the interior or exterior of a building and they are now used in a host of different countries all over the world.

architects working

Unless you have hired an architect, and put them in charge of all aspects of the build, including a guaranteed, capped budget, you may be in for a huge shock when the bills come rolling in.  Employing an architect to be your building manager is a very expensive option.

Here are ten things to consider before you extend, after you have all the appropriate planning consents.

1. Permitted Development.

While most sensible people would seek planning approval, or acknowledgement that planning permission is not required, alas some people don’t even get this far.  They assume that their extension falls under “permitted development rights.”  Always check with the local authority first.  If, for example, you are looking to add a conservatory to a new build, the “permitted development allocation” is likely to have already been used up and you will need planning permission. You need to be extra careful if your property is listed. Permitted development rights do not apply to listed buildings, so any extensions will need both planning and listed building consent.

2. Building Regulations

Even if you do not need planning permission for your extension, you must get building regulation approval. These set out minimum requirements for structural integrity of your building extension.  They also cover key aspects of the build from damp proofing to ventilation and energy efficiency.  With the exception of a shed, summer house or child’s play structure in the garden, most types of building work is covered by building regulations and need to be compliant. These include:

  • Any extension, including conservatories.
  • Loft or basement conversions.
  • Removal of internal or external walls
  • New or replacement windows.
  • Rewiring
  • Drainage alterations.
  • Chimney and fireplace alteration eg installing a wood burner into an old coal fireplace.

3. Loo Laws!

Once upon a time there was a law which said you had to have 2 doors between a lavatory and the kitchen. Due to the open plan way in which we live, this is no longer the case. The revised regulations say that all WCs need to have suitable ventilation and a hand basin.

The Building Regulations for a shower room are similar in terms of access and ventilation.  Shower rooms can fit in to surprisingly small spaces.  For a basic shower room you only need a space of 900mm wide by 1.8m (or 2.6m if it is to include a WC and basin).

4. Lofty Business (Minimum ceiling heights and wall thickness)

While you may be surprised to hear that minimum ceiling heights are not covered in building regulations. All that is required is that, in rooms with sloping ceilings at least 50% of the floor area should have a normal ceiling height (which is considered to be 2.1m). The main issue is that to make a loft room qualify as a living space the floor may need strength­ening and the roof will need to have at least 150mm of insulation, plus a 50mm clear air gap.  This may bring down the ceiling height and needs to be factored into your calculations.  Access regulations are also very strict.  Believe it or not, there is a minimum size of a bedroom. If you are losing a useable bedroom, or reducing one in size to gain another in the loft, you may find out that you have lost more than you have gained.

5. Open Plan Living – Remove Your Walls

If you want your extension to blend into the existing house you have to think about how this will work.  Avoid creating “through rooms” as they end up feeling like cluttered passages.

Think carefully about how you live your life in the modern age.  Do you need spaces which are closed off from the rest of the house?  Naturally bathrooms need walls as do bedrooms but downstairs?  Which spaces actually need to be enclosed?

I would argue that if you can have a utility room, that is an ideal room to close off as even the quietest washing machines and tumble dryers are noisy.  I would argue for at least one enclosed reception room, be that a snug or an office where parents can hide from their noisy children or conversely put the noisy children into the enclosed space.

In general as families grow and age, the spaces required change.  Very young children may need more floor space in a certain area so that parents can keep watch while they do their chores. Older children need space to do homework around the kitchen table.  Dumping space for endless school bags and sports kit.  Once grown the children’s clutter goes, even if the children don’t. They are large, their friends are large leaving little room for you on your own sofa!

Dividing space is easy using furniture, however using bi-fold shutters to temporarily close off areas of the ground floor is a good way to go, especially around kitchens.  Pot plants and open book cases are another good way to break up a room but keep in the light.

6. Beware of Removing Trees

You do not want to fall foul of the Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) laws. Even if an extension does not require planning permission you cannot alter or even prune a tree that has a TPO on it without permission. Altering a tree that is protected by a TPO is a criminal offence and can result in hefty fines.

7. Estimates and Quotations – Don’t get stung

If you are asking for a job to be done, always get a quotation and not an estimate.  A quotation is a written document with a definite price and once agreed constitutes a legal agreement.  An estimate just a contractor’s guess. Even if the estimate is given in writing it is not legally binding. Make sure that your quotes are:

  • Itemised, showing each activity in detail with the associated cost.
  • Not any caveats which might involve extra expense.
  • If VAT is included.
  • Be clear about the term “provision for” (see below).
  • Check if they are using their own employees, if they are using external contractors ensure you have the builder’s guarantee covering their external contractor’s work.
  • Time: Quotations should have a schedule of works showing how long each phase of the build will take, as well as how much that section of work will cost. Don’t pay upfront for any section of work until the previous one has been completed.

8. Beware of provisions and mission creep

A kitchen can cost anywhere between £5,000 and £500,000. If they have an £8,000k provision for the kitchen units, check on the quantity and quality of units they are expecting to install. Confirm if that includes the cost of the work tops and white goods. Granite work tops cost a lot of money, if you find you suddenly need to find an extra £5,000 at the end of your build for work tops, it could be devastating if you have not left enough aside to cover this.

9. Storage… Never forget it!

Most architects are, or appear to be, minimalists by nature. While they view buildings as living breathing spaces in their own right they have an “uncluttered” perspective of how each room can be used.  That’s lovely if you are a minimalist sort of person. However, if you have young children or children full stop, clutter arrives in truck loads.   When you are looking at the beautiful drawings from your architect or designer always ask for more storage than you think you would need.  Ask them to consider clever storage solutions too to make the most of smaller spaces.


10. Go Green

We all know that energy costs are supposedly low at the moment, although nobody seems to feel the effect. We have the most expensive fuel costs in the whole of Europe, so when extending your home, seize the opportunity to make your whole home more energy efficient. It is not only better for your pocket, but better for the environment too.


For many the idea of a summer salad is a culinary delight, however for me, at this time of year, it is a necessity.

As you may recall, last Wednesday was a lovely, warm sunny day, with temperatures reaching 23 degrees in some parts of the country. So as soon as the working day was done, I’d agreed to meet some friends for a spot of alfresco white wine. Naturally that meant changing into something suitably summery – which is when the horror struck.

I can’t pretend that I hadn’t noticed that my work trousers and skirts were feeling a little snugger than I’d like, however we all know that dry cleaners and tumble dryers shrink things! Who am I kidding? The wonderful winter comfort food of rich soups and that extra roast potato with the Sunday lunch has taken its toll and I need to do something about it, (other than sulk that is!)

So, just in case you are feeling a little bit like me, I thought I’d share a few salad ideas which will boost energy and make the wobbly bits slightly smaller.

When you eat a salad, you can almost feel your body saying “thank you” but your mind (if it is anything like mine) is silently screaming “dull, dull, dull”.  After all, a salad is usually just a bowl of lettuce with either poached chicken or tinned tuna which doesn’t taste of much unless you cover it in yummy dressing.  Alas salad dressings are often loaded with all those calories, which we are trying to avoid. So I have been determinedly researching salad additions which taste nice, are healthy and interesting.

As we all know, Olives are good for us. They are deemed to be one of the world’s healthiest foods and don’t contain too many of those dreaded calories (approximately 110/100g and who can eat 100g of Olives in one sitting?) They are high in fibre and also contain lots of minerals which are hard to find in many vegetables.  If you chop them into quarters, they add a wonderful zing to a salad.

From Olives to Oliver, Jamie Oliver that is. He has a wonderful Beetroot, Pear and Feta Salad (just go easy on the feta).  When most people think of beetroot they think of that nasty stuff in a jar at the back of your cupboard which looks like something left over from Halloween and tastes of pure, bitter vinegar. However don’t dismiss the humble beetroot because, if prepared well as per Jamie’s recipe, it is delicious.  Added to which is it an anti-oxidant, which will boost your body’s white blood cells and also contains something called glutamine, which does wonders to your intestinal tract.

If you want a little treat, add ¼ of an avocado.  They are what’s known as a superfood. Yes, I can hear you scream, avocados are naturally high in fat, but it is mostly healthy, monounsaturated fat that is essential for plump, youthful skin. They also stimulate production of anti-wrinkle collagen – which when you get to my age is a bonus, so together with vitamin E, makes them the best food to eat for a healthy complexion.  When you think that you’d have to eat 2 whole medium sized avocados to have the same calorie intake as a Mars Bar, it’s a pretty good deal!

Finally, there is the ruby red of the pomegranate. Once considered as a medical fruit, the pomegranate is high in fibre, low fat and packed with vitamins. If you have never tried one, then you must do so, at least once – soon you will be considering it as a must-add to give some sparkle to a salad.  It has a very distinctive taste which varies with ripeness, so do try some on the back of a spoon before you toss hundreds of seeds into your salad.


Soon I will be swinging open the shutters in my lounge, without fearing that the neighbours will think that I’m wearing spray-on clothes.  In the mean-time, if you have any great salad ideas, I’d love to hear from you, however if you would like to talk about some gorgeous solid shutters like mine, then please do look at the web site and let us know which style you would be interested in – they are 50% off till the end of April so do hurry!

child smelling sunflower

Spring has sprung, at last. So it is time to don your wellies and venture into your gardens and patios in earnest, as April is planting season.

For those with green fingers, here is a list of which plants, fruits and veg to sow or plant now and which to sow in green houses or kitchen window sills.

Flowers for the greenhouse and window sill

Let’s start with the king of flowers – the sun flower. Ideal for those with children as they grow quickly, grow tall and have wonderful showy flowers in July.

Nasturtiums are one of my favourite and most uncelebrated flower. They are great for ground cover with their distinctive leaves and abundance of small delicate flowers varying from yellow through to orangey/red. However if you are looking for something a bit more showy, you can’t go wrong with petunias.

Marigolds, Salvias, Cosmos and Snap Dragons (Antirrhinums) are also great to add seasonal colour to your borders and plant pots. For those who like Busy Lizzies (Impatiens) April is the last sowing month, so you’d better get down to the garden centre or go online to Thompson Morgan or similar seed company.

Flowers to be sown direct

The best seeds to sow directly into the garden at this time of year tend to be the hardier wild flowers as many other varieties suffer if we get a snap frost. The Poppy is a wonderful and easy plant to pop into the ground now. To make life easier, you don’t even have to “plant” the seeds, simply sprinkle them onto the tilled ground. Most garden centres sell packetss of mixed wild seeds, which are great to plant now.

There is a wide variety of bulbs, corms and tubers which can go into the ground now as well. Gladioli  offer a huge burst of colour in late summer and early autumn but need to be planted in April and May for maximum effect.

Fruits and Vegetables

When it comes to veggies I tend to be a bit lazy, often choosing to buy plug plants or seedlings. Carrots, for example have such tiny seeds, it takes a lot of work to sow, then split them out and replant, so I generally nip down to my local garden centre and buy the seedlings there.

For those who love to work with seeds, then now is the time for nearly all the root veggies (carrots, potatoes, beetroots, parsnips, onions, garlic etc). All the beans and peas can be planted at this time of year too, as can broccoli and cauliflowers.

Strawberry plants are as tough and hardy as they come, so take a look at any you planted last year to make sure they have not got dozens of runners zapping the mother plant of its fruiting potential. Speaking of fruit, now is the time to plant raspberry and blackberry canes too. However, do be aware that if you are hoping for some fruit this year, you need to buy autumn fruiting varieties, or you will not see the results of your labour until next year.


We love to offer tips and hints on how to make the most of your home and garden. At Purely Shutters, we take as much pride in what we see when we open our window shutters, as we do in the shutters themselves. Happy planting!

yellow daffodils

It is spring at last.  The snowdrops have been out for a good few weeks, a blaze of colour is promised and there is the slightest hint of warmth in the air.

I should be “over the moon” with joy, but I’m not, for after the crocuses have arrived, it is the turn of the daffodils. Daffs seem to last forever in my world as I am allergic to them.

Generally speaking, daffodils are considered “allergy-friendly,” since these heralds of spring with their showy yellow flowers are generally pollinated by insects rather than the wind. As daffodils produce less pollen, and symptoms such as allergic rhino-conjunctivitis and asthma aren’t commonly associated with them. So, to be honest, I am not sure if it is actually daffodils that I am allergic to, or some sort of airborne pollen/allergen which arrives just as the daffs burst into life. Yet it is a family joke now.  As soon as the daffodils start to bloom I will look like panda bear if I dare to wear mascara.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Hay Fever and “daffodil-it is” were part of the reason that I became attracted to shutters in the first place.  When I was younger, a friend of mine had a house with beautiful plantation shutters and parquet flooring.  It was stunning. There was not a curtain in sight because her brother had very severe asthma. When I went to play at their house I didn’t seem to sneeze at all. Adding living room shutters to the home makes your interiors a place of comfort and socialisation, rather than a sneeze-attack waiting to happen. Unlike fabric curtains, window shutters can help to reduce the impact of dust and pollen allergies in the home as they are extremely easy to clean. Simply vacuum the louvre slats to remove any dust or pollen forming on the shutters. 

If your shutters are coated or painted, dampen a cleaning cloth in soapy water (a very mild detergent is perfect for this), and clean the louvres and shutter frame once a month. Use a dry cloth to wipe away the soapy residue. It’s important NOT to use any heavy detergents or bleach as this may damage the shutters! In addition, if your shutters are made from timber, apply a little bit of wood polish to a dusting cloth once a month and go over the louvres and the frame of the shutters to give them a more thorough clean.

If you are interested in our wonderful range of Solid Shutters, get a quick quote and please do contact one of our surveyors. They would be delighted to discuss the benefits of our range, especially for those who do have allergies. For the sake of clarity if you suffer from any form of allergy, you need to get expert medical advice. Shutters on their own will not cure you from your affliction. However, those who do suffer from airborne allergens will find that shutters are a better option than fabric based window dressings which tend to trap more dust and pollen. So when pollen levels are high, you can reduce pesky hay fever symptoms with  some stunning hardwood shutters!

Wooden tier-on-tier bay window shutters in a beige living room.
putting decorations away

The odd thing about Christmas is, that no sooner has the indigestion inducing excesses of the “big day” worn off than the decorations suddenly seem obsolete. Almost as if their sell-by date is up within a few hours of the Christmas turkey being carved.

For the next few days we look at them wistfully and wonder when they should be taken down. Some believe that it is “bad luck” to still have decorations up after Jan 6th, which is odd as in many Catholic cultures that is when they open their gifts. January 6th is Epiphany, the day when the Wise Men / Three Kings / Magi arrived with their gifts. In pre-Victorian times Christmas decorations stayed up until the last day of January as they added winter colour to houses and a welcoming scent of fresh pine, to block out the human fragrance which was somewhat unpleasant give the fact that indoor plumbing had not been invented!

As soon as we take down the decoration and dispatch the tree to the loft or the local council tip, the Dyson comes out to clear away the last remnants of pine needles and flecks of tinsel or glitter.

After all the clutter and sparkle of the festive season has been removed, our homes often feel a little bit drab. The urge for a big tidy and a spot of spring cleaning takes hold. The dust and cobwebs which you managed to miss during the festive spruce up seem to be staring down at you, mockingly.

The good news for those who have window shutters is that when this strange cleaning bug takes hold, plantation shutters are very easy to clean, which makes them ideal for people with dust or pollen related allergies.

Most vacuum cleaners come with a wide variety of attachments, the best one to use on plantation shutters is the soft brushed upholstery cleaner.

Fully close the slats and gently vacuum both sides, then fully open them and repeat the process to makes sure you have cleaned the section where they overlap.

If you do not have the right attachment on your hoover, there are a number of excellent products which have been specifically designed to clean plantation shutters. Do make sure you use a soft headed brush so you do not scratch the surface of the slats.

So there you have it, Plantation Shutters are not only a highly desirable window dressing, creating an atmosphere of opulence and elegance but they are also good for people with allergies as they are very easy to clean.

hoovering sofa

Purely Shutters have a wonderful range of Plantation Shutters in a wide variety of styles to suit all colour schemes, locations and needs.  The Worcester Range, for example, can be stained to any wood finish you desire or painted to suite your décor scheme. Why not take a look and imagine how wonderful your home would look and feel, using Purely Shutters bespoke service.

dog asleep under xmas tree

Oh it’s that time of year again, where in pubs and coffee shops up and down the country you will be hearing the real v fake tree debate being earnestly discussed.

During the depths of the “age of austerity” in 2011, it was estimated that as few as 1:5 homes had a real tree. This year, if the newspapers are to be believed, 2014 is set to be the year of the real tree.

Once upon a time, artificial trees looked a bit like giant green upturned lavatory brush, but then again they were invented in the 1930s by the Addis Brush Company. Since then there have been vast improvements in the look and style of artificial trees, so why are we returning to the age old family tradition of selecting the perfect tree?

Each option has its own place on the naughty or nice list, so while you debate, here is something to consider.

Artificial Trees – The Pros and Cons  

  • Price: A good artificial tree may cost 20-30% more than a real tree, but it can be used for many years, thereby making it a good investment over time.
  • Guilt: For many people, their sole reason to invest in an artificial tree is the thought of cutting down a new tree each year – It can put a damper on the holiday mood.
  • Convenience: no watering, no shedding, it is not going to scratch the roof of the car on the way back from the garden centre.
  • Storage: I have yet to meet anyone who can fit their artificial tree back into the box that it came in. Then you have to store it for 11 months.
  • Dreadful environmental impact: Artificial trees are typically manufactured with metal and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a petroleum-derived plastic. Therefore, they are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable, so they will sit in a landfill for centuries after disposal.
  • Not supportive of the local economy: approximately 85 percent of all artificial trees sold in the U.K. are imported from China.

Real Trees – The Pros and Cons 

  • Aesthetic appeal: They look nicer, even the cheaper grade 3 trees do.
  • Scent: They fill your home with that wonderful aroma of fresh pine and make it feel Christmassy.
  • Recyclable: Christmas trees are recycled into mulch and used in landscaping on bridle paths and playgrounds.
  • Supporting the local economy: According to the Forestry Commission about 6 million people in the UK will buy a real tree, over a third of which have been locally produced.
  • Wonderful environmental credentials: Christmas trees 18 people with the oxygen they need for every ache grown. A single farmed tree absorbs more than 1 ton of CO2 throughout its lifetime.
  • Transportation: To get them from shop/farm to home before you put it up and then taking it to the tip at the end.
  • Shedding: They fill up your hoover with needles.

The Verdict?

Drumroll please – They may shed needles on your floor, they may cost more than you’d like each year but Real Christmas trees win hands down on the environmental credentials, they support the local farming community and at the end of the day, they still look nicer.

I suppose we might be slightly biased, at Purely Shutters we love real wood.  All of our plantation shutters and solid shutters are made from eco-friendly sources.


It hit the headlines a good eight to ten years ago and by all accounts it’s still going strong. This latest craze has become a great hobby for all kinds of different people who swear by the relaxing and stress relieving sounds of their knitting needles clicking away.

Surprisingly, knitting has only been around for the last 1,000 years and was originally known in Old English as ‘cnyttan’. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that wool was used rather than silk or cotton. Of course many of us have grown up with either our mother’s or grannies knitting, which quite probably stemmed from their knitting efforts during the first and second world wars.

Men, women and children were encouraged to knit for the nation and slogans such as ‘If you can knit, you can do your bit’ brought them on board. Requests for knitted ‘comfort items’ such as mittens, scarves and socks came in thick and fast from the front line. During WW1, Lord Horatio Kitchener created an innovative sock design which is still used by many manufacturers all around the world today.

His seamless toe pattern meant socks were much more comfortable to wear and they quite possibly reduced the occurrence of trench foot, saving many lives. But knitting patterns were also deemed quite risky during WW2 and The Office of Censorship banned people from posting knitting patterns abroad in case they contained coded messages; I guess you could never be too careful!

In today’s world, knitting has become an extremely sociable event with knitting circles and clubs popping up all over the country. You can even go on knitting and crocheting holidays where you can combine your zest for travel along with your favourite past-time. Arena Travel has a great selection to choose from, including a Northern Lights Cruise and a Shetland Isle visit, where you can learn more about the famous Shetland Isle wool.

If you fancy giving this craft a go, why not leave the needles in the shop and use your arms instead. This latest craze in the world of knitting uses your arms to create all manner of types of scarves, necklaces and blankets. If you think I’m joking, search on YouTube for arm knitting for beginners videos, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is!


And finally it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t give a little mention to the latest charity craze that has swept the nation over the past couple of years, Christmas Jumper Day. Save The Children introduced this great fund raising event in 2012 where wearers of Christmas jumpers donate either £1 or £2’s to the charity and wear their favourite woolly to work or school. If you don’t yet have your jumper, why not create your own and start knitting? Or maybe you could start with knitting a winter warmer for your pet. After all everyone has to start somewhere!

I think I may shut out the winter nights behind my lovely solid shutters, make myself a hot toddy and have a little look at Christmas woollies on-line.


The rain is lashing down against my windows, the wind is howling and there is a distinct nip in the air. I’ve opened my plantation shutters to sit and watch, warm and snug. Oh autumn has certainly arrived with a vengeance; however, I am happy as a Christmas Pixie! 

My house has become flooded with the welcoming scent of spiced apples and booze soaked fruit. What better way to hide from the torrents outside than to begin the Christmas festivities. I kid you not; it really is that time of year already.   As my grandma delighted in telling us – a good Christmas pudding needs 2 months to perfect. She always made her fabulous fare during mid-October, and every week she added an extra egg cup of brandy to it. That and making the Boxing Day Chutney is a family tradition I thoroughly enjoy. 

Alas, my Grandma’s recipe is long gone, so each year I try a different Christmas pudding recipe. Nigella’s was utterly fabulous last year. The year before was Delia’s turn which was also very good. 

This year I have been so inspired by The Great British Bake-off, I am going to give Mary Berry’s a whirl https://www.lovefood.com/guide/recipes/17866/christmas-pudding-recipe. Although I won’t be adding Grandma’s shillings, I will be adding the extra dousing of brandy!

Yet the aroma, which has made my house feel so very festive, is her wonderful Spiced Apple Chutney. It’s terribly easy to make:


  • 100g/4oz onions, chopped small but not too finely
  • 450g/1lb apples, chopped again, small but not so small they dissolve.
  • 50g/2oz sultanas, raisins or chopped dates
  • Level teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ Level teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ Level teaspoon paprika
  • ½ Level teaspoon salt
  • 200g/8oz granulated sugar
  • 200ml -cider vinegar (Malt vinegar will do at a push)


  • Put everything into a heavy bottomed sauce pan.
  • Slowly bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved, then reduce the heat down to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 1½-2 hours, stirring from time to time to stop the chutney sticking to the pan. (have a good sniff while you do it – ummm)
  • You know it’s done if your wooden spoon leaves a channel behind it that when stirring rather than immediately fill with liquid – da dah! It’s done.

Now all you need to do is pop pretty Kilner Jars and leave it for 2 months to mature – ready for the cold cuts on Boxing Day. You can even decorate them with pretty labels, like those from the Hand Picked Collection.

There, another little treat from the Purely Shutters team, helping you to make your home feel even more homely! 

Struggling home through the wind and rain makes this time of year seem very bleak.  However once inside, there is nothing better than lighting a few scented candles and flopping on your sofa whilst enjoying your favourite restorative beverage. Their delicate light, welcoming flame and subtle aroma brings a little burst of pleasure into the sitting room whilst the thoughts of the horrid weather retreat into the far corners of your mind till morning.

Candles have such a wide range of uses; integral parts of worship ceremonies like Diwali form the centre piece on a dining table; they fill the air with mood-enhancing aromas; even the years are denoted by the number of candles on a birthday cake. Of course, if the power goes out, candles may become an alternative to electric lights.

These elegant mainstays of the interior designer’s decorative arsenal are also a cost effective way to ensure a house feels instantly more appealing. Minimalist sculptures, elegant chandeliers, hurricane lanterns or simple tea lights, their beauty and simplicity are almost ageless.  There are plenty of styles to choose from, which will match your home perfectly and they make ideal, inexpensive gifts too. You will find some stunning designs at https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/ or for the more budget conscious, you can buy glass candle saucers from as little as 45p each from Ikea.

With Halloween being just around the corner, why not carve a pumpkin and pop a candle inside for the ghoulish effect. As messy as it is to do, it is a lot of fun whatever your age.

At Purely Shutters, your safety is important to us, so please heed these tips: 

  • Always put candles on a stable surface away from anything that might make them fall or that could burn.
  • Make sure the holder is fireproof (believe it or not, some aren’t!)
  • The holder should be big enough to contain any dripping wax and sturdy enough not to tip.
  • Keep wicks trimmed to 5 to 7 mm (1/4 inch)
  • Use a snuffer to put them out.
  • Above all, never fall asleep when candles are burning and make sure an attentive adult is in charge.

Why not close your window shutters against the world and enjoy a tranquil peaceful evening.

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