Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Sweet April...

Happy Easter! (albeit ever so slightly belated...)

I love Easter, the colours, the re-emergence of life at this time of year, the family get togethers', the time off (!) and of course the chocolate....cant forget that now...

As for all the seasons, I like to decorate (or faff about) with things to reflect the time of year, and Easter is no exception. This year I haven't gone the whole hog, just a few things here and there. This outdoor topiary wall mounted decoration lights up at night (LOVE solar gubbins) but during the day was a smidgen bare, so a few multi coloured mini eggs (faux) were dotted about in usual faffing fashion.


As well as a simnel cake for easter Sunday, (which got sliced and distributed before any camera action could take place) I made some Easter bark.... simply made by layering melted milk chocolate, topped with white chocolate and bashed mini eggs on top (real this time...)


This pasta caught my eye in TK Maxx of all places...way too pretty to smother in Bolognese sauce though...


Perfectly timed for Easter, the pots on the patio have decided to show their springtime colours. The trees are covered in blossom, the roses are shooting and the wisteria is on its way (hopefully to flower for the first year too). The tulips are by far the prettiest right now though, despite a damp, dreich morning the orange of this one still shone amongst the drizzle...


More autumn looking than spring, the thick fog that had hung around a few weeks back made for some lovely glistening spiderweb shots...


Close up it reminds me somewhat of a delicate crystal strand, like chandelier droplets...nature really is beautiful...even in the rain...


Speaking of rain, it ever so kindly held off for a bit whilst mooching about for the day in Edinburgh...


When it did start to mizzle, there was an afternoon tea at a posh hotel to enjoy anyway! It was my birthday and also that of one of my aunties, and tea came with a candle in cakes for us both...just lovely...


I'd heard so much about the Dome in Edinburgh, so a visit was in order for a cocktail (or two...) and what a spectacular place it is...


It was really busy, but it was a Saturday afternoon (and Grand national day) so I think everyone and their gran were out and about in the city... Looking forward to visiting at Christmas as this place apparently excels at Christmas d├ęcor...and just a wee bit of a sucker for that kind of thing I am...


 
Travels didn't stop with Edinburgh that week either, a visit to Cambridge made my heart sing. Again mentioning Christmas in April, I love Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve, mulled wine, lights twinkling, fire on, slightly tipsy and singing at full volume is what its all about for that particular hour...


The Chapel however, was closing 20 minutes after I got there, so never got to go inside, but next time...definitely...


Walking about the grounds of the colleges was like taking a step back in time...walking amongst the ghosts of eras gone by... This spot especially made me feel as though I could be walking through a page of one of my favourite books...Goodbye Mr Chips...


Back at home, where else but in the Huff House are a few weekend hours spent (ok, more than that..)
T'other half has said many a time before that my standard 'dress' for the Huff House is my 'duvet' (ie dressing gown), so I made an apt little plaque to hang up in there... honestly, this sooo could be me....

There's a list the length of my arm of projects to start and finish; like Caroline Zoob embroideries to frame, a wedding gift cushion to make, bunting to eventually sew together...it goes on....


But for now though, that elusive sun is shining, Easter and its festivities has been and gone, but long may the wonderful weather continue that was enjoyed over the holiday weekend...


Now I've the choice of a little bit of gentle gardening, some more crafty bits to get on with, or my book calling my name to read outside in the sun...?

(yep, it's the book calling...)

 
BH x

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Colourful Early Spring

Colour!

At last, Spring is here. Granted we've got the coldest day so far forecast for next week, hail stones of biblical proportions today, but spring is at last here!!


 
 
Daffs galore in the garden, and with the sun shining are more golden than ever..



So nice I could sit outside; in the direct sun is beautiful, when it clouds over - freeeezing..


This basket was a CS bargain, but needed lining, so this weekend saw the machine get a dusting off and a fat quarter put to use...

 
Also ran up a little heart... just because...


Now fabric is back in my favour, I have at last tried hexies, and am hooked!


There's also been a bit of activity using my Caroline Zoob book, but I'll save that 'til next time!

BH x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Happy Spring!



Spring has sprung!
And very nice it is to see, it's been a very long time coming. We are not quite yet at the Spring equinox (11 days to go still), but already skies are bluer, clothes chosen are less heavy and bulky and are a bit lighter and spirits generally brighter..

So lovely to see colour appearing; whether it be blossom on trees, tulips in the florist...or even this row of pastel coloured cottages which are not too far away from here...they suit spring!



Seeing crocus bulbs blooming in the churchyard was a lovely colourful scene, typically countrified with the vicars bicycle propped up outside...


An amaryllis I received at Christmas has eventually decided to flower after much cajoling and pandering to. Today its got three large trumpet shaped red blooms and a second stem is about to flower...it's huge...


The door was flung wide open this morning, while the sun streamed in and the smell of bacon frying wafted out...a bit of a Sunday morning essential really, especially after one or two vinos the night before...


With the spring sun shining this week, it showed up the protective layer of muck on my car that has been looking after the paintwork most of the winter...so a trip to the car wash revealed the sparkly blue underneath I almost forgot was there...


Nice shiny car and sunshine means top off and a drive to nearby Bayberry Hollow...this place is gorgeous...a former pub that has been transformed into a coffee shop and shabby chic haven..


Always have to have a scone whilst there...this time butterscotch and pecan...


There is always goodies galore and inspiration by the bucketload there, so after this trip my rustic, shabby chic loving inner was stirred and after an hour or so in the Huff House this was the result. A little gold frame was Annie Sloaned, sanded down in places, and a little scrap patchwork sewn and put inside...


The sunshine today meant a little bit of time spent outside sowing some seeds... I've not got a garden plan, never do, just would like lots and lots of colour for this summer...


Despite the golden ball in the sky putting in an appearance, it was still a wee bit cold, so afterwards a hot bath, a pile of magazines and chocolate beckoned... I've no willpower so I succumbed easily...


Lets hope this spring will now be a long and sunny one!

BH x

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

My Favourite Winter Warmer - The Co-Operative Recipe Competition

We all know the feeling; a busier than busy day, freezing cold outside and desperately in need of a hearty plateful of stick-to-the-ribs food that can be made quickly and easily when you get home. There isn't much that fits the bill better in my opinion than a good old fashioned toad in the hole.

A lot may gasp in horror at the thought of making this from scratch as some people have mixed results with the traditional Yorkshire pud recipe. This however, is my favourite easier than easy recipe that has never failed me and can be whisked up and in the oven before you can say "freezer aisle" and therefore an ideal recipe to enter into the Co-Operative  Winter warmer recipe competition. (click on the hyperlink if you'd like to enter your recipes too)

So gather up some simple storecupboard ingredients, and get cracking...


You'll need:

1 cup plain flour and 1 tbsp SR Flour (the SR gives it the extra 'boost' and it'll come up extra, extra fluffy)
1 cup milk (I use semi skimmed)
3x eggs
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
sprinkle of sea salt

4 sausages of your preference - I like to use vegetarian sausages, but you can use any kind you like

a suitable pan; I use a 7" square cake tin

Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees/200 degrees fan, then add the oil to the pan. Put in the sausages and pop into the oven to cook for 15 minutes.

Next, sieve together the cup of plain flour with the tbsp of SR flour, add the three eggs and the cup of milk. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and give a good whisk 'til nice and fluffy.


After 15 minutes, the pan with the sausages in the oil should be nice and hot, so carefully remove from the oven and pour in the batter mix. This should sizzle when you pour into the oil to ensure you get a good fluffy rise from your pud.


Put back into the oven to cook for another 40 minutes and you will then have one huge, fluffy toad in the hole to warm your cockles.


This recipe really does produce ginormous puds!


 
The recipe works perfectly for individual Yorkies for Sunday lunches as well.


I usually serve with mashed potato and onion gravy, but an accompaniment of any root veg or roast potatoes is just as comforting on a chilly winters night.

 

All that's needed for the rest of the evening is a comfy spot on the sofa in front of the fire , a throw to huddle under and the telly remote control...warm on the inside and warm on the outside...

Bliss...
 

 
BH x

 *This post is my entry into the Winter Warmer Recipe competition at www.coopelectricalshop.co.uk*
 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Deepest Winter


So now, here we are in the deep, slow depths of winter. There are a few promising signs that spring is nearing - the nights are getting lighter for a start - at long last, but lets not fool ourselves into expecting an early, glorious spring - last year we again had snow at Easter!
Things have been busy as ever round here despite the sloth of this time of year; so when I spotted this cushion I heeded the advice. (Geordie to English translation for those not fluent: Do calm oneself and take a seat)

The result - I've a week off work! Couldn't have chosen a better week actually, the weather has turned colder and the rain is turning to snow. Time to hunker at home...


Although the days may be that little bit longer now, but it doesn't mean they've lost their grisly grey hue. To shed some much needed light, there's a plethora of fairy lights lit about the house and enough candles to warrant the heating not being switched on...


The sofa has been one of the main places I've plonked myself, with something crafty, something sweet and something to watch... I'm in love with these little critters, so have enjoyed repeated sophisticated, mature DVD viewing...

 
Picking up a seasonal read to get into... and the joy of finding a hidden bar of deliciously divine limited edition Dairy Milk from Christmas to accompany...

 
 

When I said the weather had changed, we had the first snow of the winter. Not bad going getting to February here without having the amount of snow we've had previous years. The longer days mean the solar gubbins in the garden stay on longer of an evening too...always nice to see...


Some of the roses have flowered all the way through from last summer, which is highly unusual. The cherry blossom is out on in the garden too, but with a covering of the cold stuff it's unlikely they'll fruit this year now....


How heavy that snow did fall! A proper blizzard last night which came from nowhere - clear skies one minute, then big, fat flakes falling from the heavens. It did make the Huff House look all cosy, if a bit Swedish cabin-like (not a bad thing though - I love the Scandi look!) (also my gadget phone must have a really slow shutter to produce these 'stripes' of snow)


If  not ensconced upon sofa, I have been in the aforementioned Huff House happily faffing away. At the weekend there were a few bargains picked up, a lovely little wooden tray from a CS, vinyl to cover the Huff House benches (floral, v.pretty and only 79p a roll) as well as some paints and pens to tart up (technical term) an old picture frame (more on that in a bit)


After vinyl-ing the benches, out came the Annie Sloan paint (- honestly, one tin goes on for ever of that stuff,) and the little tray went from plain pine to antique white. Made a little reversible laminated liner to go in the bottom too.


A lovely little project, also handy to keep a few things nearby...namely Raspberry Ruffles...what a weakness for those I have...


The paints and pens were to use on this frame, using these two hearts for inspiration...


Definitely more 'shabby' than 'chic' but I quite like it. Not a smidgen near the standard when made in person at the Crafts House though!! A little cross stitch inside, frame now hanging on the wall in said Huff House..


So a few more days off to enjoy and plenty more to keep me occupied...may even reacquaint myself with the sewing machine as its been quite some time since we met.

BH x