Saturday, 8 November 2014

All Hallow's Eve & Gunpowder Treason & Plot


It may not be all too apparent, but I am fond of faffing. By faffing I mean specifically tarting up my little world for the changing seasons and indeed any holiday/occasion/celebration that is an excuse for a party/get together/foodfest/wine.

Two such occasions came together in the past week in the form of All Hallows Eve and Bonfire Night.

Hallowe'en I've always loved. I adored ghost stories as a child, (still do)  and remember one of the first books I ever bought (ie with my own pocket money when I was about 7 - I was always reading as a child - always got books given as gifts -loved them!) was 'The Haunting of Cassie Palmer'. There was even a telly show on kids tv as I recall... Anyway, point being I've always been a sucker for the spooky.

This year, the weather was perfect for trick or treating  not me personally - not quite that bad) but the rain normally puts a stop to the local ghosts and ghouls calling round, but this year as well as being unseasonably warm, had moonlit skies fit for a witch... (again not me...although I do have a broom...)


An excuse for more candles and subtle, inconspicuous LED colour-changing jack o'lantern decorations on the mantlepiece...


The teapot got the hallowe'en treatment. Lovely mum has been busy with the old knitting sticks and this fab witch is one of the products - I just love her!


The huff house didn't escape either. See, told you I had a broom...


Couldn't resist the 'welcome' sign for the huff house doors...


Sophisticated arm candy got an airing. Actually forgot I had this bracelet; wore it with a long sleeve black t-shirt and jeans (I do match my clothes to my jewellery - instead of the sensible person doing it the other way round.. I buy clothes to match shoes too...)


Try as I might, I just cant seem to get this finished. At least it is only the witch left now to stitch. I think - but bits keep appearing I've missed...


I have bought an aptly named 'charm pack' of the below fabric pieces to make the above into a patchwork cushion when (eventually) finished. It hasn't arrived from the states yet, so looks like it will be Hallowe'en 2015 when it will all come together as a finished article...


A few days later on Bonfire Night, the weather had turned. It actually felt properly autumnal - then absolutely freezing as the frost came...

I made t'other half stoke up the chimnea so we could sit outside and watch the fireworks. There were candle lanterns dotted about outside, sparklers, jacket spuds, a few beers and a small drop or two of wine..


Its funny how the smell of a sparkler immediately takes me back... the old olfactory system can bring those distant memories of Bonfire Nights gone by to the forefront of the mind with a such a thud.


The tatties got a bit chargrilled to say the least, but were the tastiest ever spuds because of it. That and a tub of spready cheese helped...


Plenty fireworks going off to watch and enjoy too; we look over a valley so we could see loads, all from our patio and sat close to the warmth of the fire...


A bit of a frosty bite appeared in the air as the fire died down and the fireworks got fewer, and I have to say, a really good bonfire night was had!

BH x

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Pumpkins Aplenty...




One of my favourite things about Hallowe'en and autumn is the lovely orangey-ness of the pumpkin! Just LOVE them!

I'm so pleased the whole Hallowe'en thing haseventually filtered over here from the US in such a big way now. I remember hunting down pumpkins back in the 90's when it was only M&S that stocked them. Before then it was a humble turnip that my beloved Gramps would spend ages carving into a jack o' lantern for me. I can still remember the distinctive smell of a candle burning a turnip from the inside... ah, memories... sigh.....

This post is therefore dedicated to the humble orange orb and all its forms that I've encountered so far this autumn...

Nothing screams Hallowe'en and autumn more to me that a giant pile of pumpkins and scattered golden leaves on the ground...


I've made pumpkin soup in the past from the innards of a carved pumpkin, but after spotting this tin of pumpkin puree, another recipe came to mind...


Mini loaves of the sweet variety. This is based on a banana bread recipe, swapping the banana for pumpkin and adding a bit more nutmeg and cinnamon. The kitchen smelled rather nice with these baking!


Vanilla frosting on top and the obligatory handful of sprinkles and they were ready.. I have to say these were really tasty. Murder on the old diet but worth it!


There's decorative pumpkins dotted about the house too. This one is a glass pumpkin bought in a little shop in Cyprus a few years ago. It's sat here on the old sewing machine next to the aptly-named-for-the-season 'coffin top'.


I actually had a go at making my own too. Glass blowing is something I've fancied trying for absolutely ages and when the chance arose to make a glass pumpkin, my name was put on the list 'toot sweet' (unlike my mug which I'm far too bashful to publish here, so a headless action shot it is :-)


Once blown, coloured and shaped, they have to be gradually cooled down so they don't crack and here is a veritable patch of cooling glass pumpkins (I made two; one of which is in the centre). You can see the glass is still hot here as its still quite opaque.


Here's one of the finished pumpkins in situ in their translucent glory. Cant tell you how pleased I am with the way they turned out! A new crafty love has resulted.


One of the nicest candle fragrances I've found in a while is 'Pumpkin Caramel Swirl' by Bath & Body Works. They are 3-wick candles and only one jar when lit fills the house with a gorgeous scent - highly recommended these are...

Lovely Mum bought me the below candles from a Christmas fair in Glasgow recently (yep, its the time for fairs again..). So nice they are I am reluctant to light them...


A bit of cross stitching has been unearthed. A long time project this one; it has more air miles of its own than some people..

The skeleton is stitched in glow-in-the-dark thread and the pumpkins in variegated oranges... I so wish I could get the hang of stitching onto linen as the finished look is soooo much finer than with aida... However this has taken about seven years so far, so the chances of re-starting on linen are somewhat slim to say the least...


More pumpkin edibles, this time cookies to decorate (meant for kids, but hey-ho)


Pumpkin chocolates...sooo meant for adults, or by that I mean me...


Hallowe'en M&M's meant for t'other half and peanut butter Reese's pumpkin...erm, again for me...


First time I've seen Hallowe'en decorations on this scale at the shops... the most ginormous pumpkin I've ever seen!


Hope a Happy Hallowe'en was had by all!

BH x

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Season of Mellow Fruitfulness...


Autumn is to me, the most beautiful of the seasons. The colours, the light, the atmosphere...just love it...
 
Last week I was away with work (again) and an early morning walk (post massive fry up) around the hotel grounds was gorgeous. A chill in the air, damp underfoot, early morning sunlight streaming through the golden leaves and a wrap slung around my shoulders..(very nice before a mammoth 7 hour meeting - yes 7 HOURS...)

 

The colours are perfect right now, it may still be on the warm side during the day, but that hasn't stopped me digging out all my autumn gear in anticipation of the soon to be cooler days..


In the summer I bought a ball of wool (Sirdar 'Aruba') which is a "scarf in a ball" as they call it. Not being much of a knitter, it required much you-tubing for me to get to grips with the stuff. As you can see, its not your straightforward normal wool...


It was easy enough once you grab the old knitting sticks and get the hang of it, I managed to knock this up in one afternoon.

The colours are lovely browns, russets and burgundy's and it looks really nice with a chocolate long sleeved t-shirt dark blue skinny jeans and boots. It's such a warm day today though, I doubt I'll be wearing it later!


One autumn thing I can wear right now is this nail polish bought earlier in the year. I'm really into keeping my nails polished to within an inch of their lives at the moment, and this one is my current favourite.
Subtle metallic browns, flecked with copper and gold - looks very nice indeed when the sun hits it (inner magpie well and truly hooked yet again)


On the crafty front, autumn always inspires me - as does Sandra's amazing creations at the fantastic Crafts House. A couple of weeks ago it was the Autumn Workshop, and what a brilliant afternoon it was...

Heathers and chrysanths decorated the tables, as well as cake stands brimming with treats and dainty china teacups...


A beautifully decorated gift bag at everyone's place containing all of the afternoons projects, some chocolate and a little 'wish' glass bottle with a creative message scrolled inside...beautiful!


First project was a little diary to decoupage, lots of papers to choose, stamps to ink and shapes to glue.

Next was my favourite - a block pumpkin - I love this!

Painted, stencilled and stamped, with a gold embellished leaf at the top...

Third project was a little owl, you can see him a bit further down...

Huge thanks to Sandra for another amazing afternoon - we all loved it! xxx


Always on a crafty roll after a trip to the Crafts House; I made a pumpkin out of a witches broom...


I made one a few years ago, but to this one I added orange battery lights and some wire vine tendrils..


Managed to find some 'munchkin pumpkins' in the supermarket for the first time too...obviously had to have some - they look so good! (to plonk on a shelf, not to carve though - too diddy)


A weakness of mine is anything made with peanut butter, and as a result I don't normally buy it 'cause I eat it (if you know what I mean), so when anything does enter the house all lovely and peanut buttery, I try to make it last, (especially when its all autumn colours and displayed in cute little glass jars) but t'other half thinks nothing of eating my displays and then me having to try and find more to refill my almost empty jars with. (Reeses Pieces are getting like hens teeth to find - too delish obviously!)

Can you see the little owlpeeking - he was project no.3 at the autumn workshop...


Conkers and candles feature quite a bit round here at the moment, conkers for their seasonal-ness and also to ward off the army of super-arachnids that are supposed to be coming indoors to devour the population this year (ok slight exaggeration perhaps; maybe one or two people have been bitten according to the media, but I take no chances..:-)


Yesterday morning saw a quick flash of the duster (so quick it may not have happened), plenty autumn Pinterest pinning, another visit to the shops for an essential tin of 'Libbys' pumpkin' (will show you the results another time), an essential magazine and a feet-up-sit down...

 
By night I'd barely moved, apart from to fetch the prosecco and light more candles!
 

I think that's what autumn weekends are for though?!

BH x

Saturday, 11 October 2014

A Change of Scenery...



A few weeks ago t'other half and yours truly escaped for some much needed R & R as well as some proper sunshine.

I know this summer was a scorcher, but sometimes you just want to bask in 90 plus degree heat with the only thought in your mind being 'shall I go and get another drink or not'...


We headed off for some September sunshine; no crowds and 5* pure luxury... absolute heaven...


Developed quite a fondness for this...cant get it at home for love nor money, but I have a terrible fondness for anything lemony - and this is as tangy as tangy can get


Also ate my body weight in Magnums...bliss on a stick...


Strawberries and cream being the favourite I think.
Got to grips with a book called 'The Lemon Grove' and had high expectations for it, but was a bit disappointed in it if I'm honest...another Magnum perked me up after my 'book disappointment' though...


A new Chanel polish called Tutti Frutti leapt into my hands to wear on my jollies and is the perfect holiday colour for fingers and nails...not even napalm would cause it to chip, highly recommended...


The resort we stayed in is set around a bay with a little heart shaped island that you reach by crossing this little bridge...


Some very nice bars and a beach club with very posh sun loungers the size of sofas... also do a rather nice G&T there... (sampling purposes only, of course...)


You can also catch the water ferry to different local areas from the island, and we hopped on it to go to the market in Arguineguin... I do love a Spanish market...(my boat fear subsided too - although perhaps not the best word to use in that context..) calm waters, clear skies...just gorgeous..


In Anfi of an evening, there was also a market set up in the square where you could mooch around after sampling the restaurants and bars - which we of course did... (swordfish, mojitos and an Abba tribute one particularly (just) memorable evening...)


A few small purchases of the wearable and sparkley variety came home with me... a gorgeous blouse from a boutique that sold nothing but white embroidered clothes in the Scandi style I so love. Also picked up a gorgeous long sleeved crochet top (so nice to wear with skinny jeans and boots...)


The main place I parked myself was in the jacuzzi on the balcony. Yup, overlooking the sea, watching the water ferries and jet skis whilst whiling away the hours in a whirlpool...


All with an accompanying chilled bottle of my absolute favourite Freixenet..


T'other half is well trained; he knew when to get another bottle opened!


I took a few magazines to read for a bit of autumn inspiration, bit of a contrast whilst sat in swirling bubbles overlooking a sparkling sea (nice housey magazine 'Style' turned out to be too; I found it not as poncey as some interiors magazines tend to be)


Did an unbelievable amount of swimming in the freshwater pool, (the other pool not pictured was a heated 'normal' pool). In a desperate attempt to burn off the smoked salmon I ate every morning and cool down the 'warm glow' caused by the bucks fizz at breakfast too...

Sigh, I could get so used to this view from our balcony, especially on a weekday...


It also proved to be an ideal place to watch Septembers 'Supermoon' which looked stunning hanging low in the sky and reflecting off the water in the marina...


It was so different to our usual holiday haunt of Cyprus; we loved the change of scenery, the quite different type of holiday and the different people...just perfect...

In a villa you cant get to 'people watch' and here you could - loved it! I could so easily understand how the creator of the 'Benidorm' TV series came up with the idea (although we were I think the only Brits, mainly people from Nordic countries there).

Anyway, now back home with topped up vitamin D reserves....bring on autumn now...!

BH x