My Blog List

Sunday, 29 July 2012

A short break

The CK dress is packed and ready....I'll be away from the blog for about 10 days as we're off to Andalucia, Spain for a short break. See you soon :)

Friday, 27 July 2012

Around home

I'm writing an interiors feature for the local magazine this month, and the theme is the recycled home. It made sense to take some photos in our house, as pretty much everything in here is second hand or handed down.
I had a major decluttering session last night, which was quite sobering, as I realised just how much 'too much stuff' I really have. Roll on that September sale! 

The white tulip table has been with my husband's family for years and recently found a new home with us. 

Our garden room is a mish mash of Ikea furniture and second hand bits. Lots of home made cushions from vintage fabrics in here. In fact, I have an overflow of cushions....

Enough china to feed the five thousand. The lavender cake is adapted from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's madeira cake recipe, I've always wanted to put lavender on a cake and it was good (yes, past tense now, it lasted all of half a day).

Photographer Lesley Anne's photos will be much, much better, but it was fun doing these shots today.
I remembered our house when we first moved in about 15 years ago and it looked like this: a symphony of brown and swirly, lots of artex and a cork wall above the fireplace!

Same corner, different style!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Little feet

Last night, my mum popped over and said she'd found my first baby shoes in a cupboard and would I like them? I think you can probably guess the answer to that question. 

So cute (is it okay to say that about your own shoes?).

I prefer to think of these shoes as 'vintage,' rather than 'antique,' however. I'm old, but not that old!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Boot loot shoot

I arrived at the car boot sale full of anticipation, as it was a sunny morning and I'd managed to get there in reasonable time, although my friend John who has a stall there always tells me I am never early enough! At first, I could not see beyond the baby clothes and plastic toys, but once I started hunting and rummaging in earnest, a few treasures came my way. I love this vintage letters game (and the stripy Avoca scarf that I spotted for a £):

A chunky old wicker basket, which I managed to fill full of embroidered linens. I bought a large cardboard box of pretty old hankies for £1, and it included a set of exquisite white linen ones hand embroidered with the letter 'A.' I haven't finished going through them all yet, but they are lovely.

Some more pastry cutters:

Books, which I admit that I bought just for their look...(the background is a pretty tray).

Yet another tablecloth....
A large pine shelf, which needs a good overhaul and a few other bits and pieces. Then it was home to a bit of r&r on the old canvas camp bed which I bought in May and have not had chance to try out yet.

A really ingenious design, I think it's probably from the 1950s and it can't have been used, until today, that is...

I hope everyone managed to enjoy a bit of summer today. I'm going back outside for a barbecue now.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

One summer's day....

I was at the Oundle Food Festival bright and early, handing out copies of our free local magazine. The sun was out! It was warm and everyone was in a mighty good mood, after waiting days and days for a glimmer of summer. There was clog dancing, folk music and even some zumba taking place...

Wandering around with the magazines, tasting some delicious homemade raspberry and elderflower ice 
cream, local cheese and salted caramel and cashew nut rocky road...not a bad way to spend the morning.

I might try this strawberry vodka with my next soft fruit haul. 
My blog has become very foodie recently. I am hoping to restore some vintage content tomorrow
because for the first time in a long while, the local car boot sale is not cancelled. Hope to see you then.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Peach pie

I have a short breather between the last magazine going to press, and the next one beginning again. I was planning to do some furniture painting outside but surprise, surprise, it's pouring again, so I decided to cook something. Peach pie came into my mind. No recipe in my many baking books, but I found a Nigel Slater one online. Amazingly, in a nearby village we still have a thriving old fashioned greengrocer and I had bought some 'doughnut' peaches, i.e those pumpkin shaped ones, the other day, so I was all set.

I'm no good at making pastry, but this recipe was a little different: you just cream butter and sugar, and then fold in an egg and flour, and some lemon zest, and it's done. This is the pie before the lid went on (orange zest is added to the peaches). Forty minutes in the oven, and it's ready.

I'm pretty sure this won't hang around long tonight.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Sweet peas and vintage tins

Stopped by at my friend Tracey's shop Foxtail Lilly today and bought a tin with beautiful sweet peas on it, and a bunch of the real thing from her cutting garden. My tin looks at home with some others from my collection.

Tracey has an amazing table in the shop (not for sale, don't blame her!). Serious table envy.

I was on my way to look at some holiday cottages which have just been renovated. I am doing a short article for the local magazine that I edit. It was such a positive story, it's nice to hear those, and the owners were rightly very proud of what they had done with two tumbledown barns.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

This weekend

I celebrated my son's 17th birthday, spent time in the garden, visited my father in law in Norfolk, made a cushion and went to a barbecue (admittedly, this did involve scarves, wellies and large coats, but it was still very nice)...


I hope you enjoyed yours, whatever you did....

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Raspberry and redcurrant cordial

Parts of our garden have turned into a No Man's Land as I've lost the battle against the weeds. But interestingly, our fruit bushes seem to love being treated mean and always come up with a good crop, no matter what life throws at them. My redcurrant bush has lots of fruit on it, but the birds have noticed this too, and they've been tucking in. Time to rescue a few berries for ourselves. I saved a recipe for Raspberry and Redcurrant cordial from last month's Country Living, and thought it sounded amazing, so I thought I'd have a go. First, the harvest.

No, that isn't Photoshop, it really is a scrap of blue sky that you can see between the branches.

They are like little red jewels. Each stalk has been nibbled, so I was just in time to pick them.

In the pan with 450g of raspberries. Heat and break up the fruit slightly, then strain through a muslin lined sieve.

I did this for about half an hour or so over a bowl. You need to push the fruit quite a bit to get all the juice out. It's precious - the recipe is quite fiddly and doesn't make a lot.

Then add 300g sugar per 500ml of juice, and a teaspoon of citric acid. You can buy it from Boots, but you may have to convince the pharmacist that you're not a drug dealer (even if you are a middle aged lady in a very unthreatening pink smock and Birkenstocks!). Heat the liquid until the sugar is dissolved and then bottle. 

 Isn't the colour intense....ruby red.

The taste is absolutely incredible. I can imagine this in a cocktail, too.