Friday, 31 July 2009

hello again...

So here I am, back from the land of chocolates. We had a great time, though it passed too quickly. In truth I didn't indulge too much, though it would have been so easy as there are so many yummy looking things to eat!

I did actually eat this cake!

After being in Belgium I feel inspired to start baking delicious looking cakes...

paul cakes

The weather was gorgeous, the hotel fantastic and we managed to do some touristy things like eating Belgium waffles and visiting the Grand Place. So all in all a lovely trip!

So here I am back home again and before I forget, I said I would pick a comment from this post to do a little giveaway of the Zine from Sprouthead and some other bits and pieces. So without further ado the name I picked, (using a very scientific method of giving you all a number!) was number 8 which is the lovely Catherine. {Catherine if you email me your address I'll make sure a little package wings its way to you...}

Saturday, 25 July 2009

fifty posts and some freebies...

Yay! today is my 50th post - so I decided to cheer you up with some freebies of sorts. Thanks to Ali from Domesticali I got this cute little box through the post from Graze full of yummy goodies to, well... graze on, free of charge, (yep you heard me of charge Woo Hoo!. The bad part is that you have to be in UK to qualify, {sorry all})


I want to share the foodie love and so if you use this code 8G1N2T6 and go to then you too can get a free box of nibbles through the post and there's not even any postage! My box came with chilli almonds, black pepper cashews, a dried fruit mix called apple strudel, (which was to die for - who knew dried fruit was this delicious) and 'rock the casbah' - a nut, seed a fruit mix -yum! There are about 130 choices of nibbles and you can either choose your own or pick a nutrition pack, (mine was a post workout pack). Also if any of you do take up this offer then the kind peeps at Graze give me a discount off my next box! (double yum!)

My other freebie is really thanks to the postal service. I ordered this lovely little zine from Sprouthead from Etsy and thanks to a postal hitch, she was worried I wouldn't receive it, so sent another out.
sprouthead zine
{Such lovely drawings and the poem is sweet}

She very generously said that if both turned up I could keep them. Amazingly they did both turn up and so I emailed and said that as they were so lovely I thought someone else should benefit from her work and that I would do a giveaway on my blog. So...leave a comment, no matter how random on this post and I'll pick a name on Friday (31st) and send you the zine, (I'll also put in some other random goodies). Enjoy your weekend - I am probably sampling Belgiums finest chocolates at the moment! ;)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

celebrations and packing...

Today is M's Birthday and so we are spending the day partly doing lovely things and partly rushing around like mad people, as we are off to Belgium tomorrow to have a few days enjoying a city break, (also combined with helping a relative move from Belgium to London - we are helping to bring some boxes back).

097 copy

As we are super busy today we will be continuing the birthday fun over the next few days - after all as the land of chocolate beckons, it would be rude not to partake don't you think?!

I'll be away until about Friday next week but have {fingers crossed} scheduled a post for Saturday which will have a give away of sorts! I'll see you when I get back as I don't think I'll have time to go online, as I'll be too busy sampling the chocolates! ;)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

pata, homemade sunshine and a run...

Well, for a first attempt at homemade pasta over the weekend, (see here)it wasn't the worst in the world but I think it may need a little refining! The pasta was just a bit too thick but still, it tasted ok with my homemade pesto! (Now I understand why people have pasta machines lol, instead of just rolling it out!)

home made pasta

On the plus side, although it's been raining and grey today,(almost like a winters day) I cheered myself up with some homemade sunshine in the form of granola and juicy English strawberries - yum!


Now I'm about to go for a run in the mist and drizzle, as over the weekend I entered a 10k run which is on the 6th September - yikes! Enjoy your evening!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

I've been tagged!

Thanks to the lovely Hanna from Craftykin who tagged me, so here goes...

What is your current obsession?
mmm I think that would be wanting to try and shoot some film instead of digital just to have a play around really...

What are you wearing today?
Um a pair of black linen trousers a blue top and my converse.

What's for dinner?

Ha! Well, it's supposed to be fresh pasta,with pesto,(both homemade)but this will be my first time making fresh pasta so let's just wait and see. On the plus side I've just made the pesto, so worse case scenorio we're having it with dried pasta!


What would you eat for your last meal?
Wow, this is difficult, I think if it really was my last meal then I'd want to be somewhere lovely like the beach, eating hot salty fish and chips.

space to think

What's the last thing you bought?
A banjo case for M's birthday

What are you listening to right now?
Right now? As in this second? Nothing actually but I'm totally loving the sound of Keren Ann at the moment

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

If I've only got an hour then probably to see the Grand canyon - it looks so amazing when I've seen it in films - I can't get over how amazing and huge it looks!

What do you love most about where you currently live?

I live in a rural area, so just the fact that I'm surrounded by hills and greenery and it's so lovely to get out and about in nature - very relaxing.


What is your favorite colour?
Mmmm I think I would have to say blue, though this changes all the time I do have a soft spot for blues.


What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?

Probably the little black dress that I got married in, it was a pretty laid back affair!

Describe your personal style?
Pretty relaxed, usually with converse or flip flops! Oh and I love vintage clothing as well.

What were you doing ten years ago?

Living at the seaside and training to be a homeopath. I did work as a self employed homeopath for a while but couldn't get enough business as I live out in the sticks. I still use it though for friends and family.

If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on?
As I've just recently got into running, I think the Garmin Forerunner looks pretty neat. It measures your pace, distance and heart rate and you upload it to your computer to see pretty graphs on what's going on when you're running!

What are you going to do after this?

Maybe potter around the garden if the rain holds off.

13th july/2008 - Gardening (while the sun is actually out!)

What are your favourite films?
I love films that are a little quirky or inspiring, I loved Juno, Son of Rambow, Marie Antoinette for the look, oh and I've recently watched Man on Wire which was totally 100% amazing.

What inspires you?
Wow, so many things - nature, patterns, creativity in all forms, the little things that other people don't always notice.

dew drop shimmer...

Your favourite books?
So many I'm not sure how to choose. I loved Audrey Niffeneggers - The Time Traveler's Wife, I love Miranda July's collection of short stories - No One Belongs Here More Than You for their quirky charm. I have a soft spot for Benedicta Leigh - Unlock, And Remind Me Of The Sea - for the lovely title and the fact that it was the book I was reading when I met M. So many others, I could go on all day...


Do you collect anything?
Um no!

What makes you follow a blog?
Lovely photography and a sense of somethng inspiring or creative.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did today?
Well it's only just after lunch so there's plenty of the day left! Maybe chilling out this morning reading the Sunday papers.

What is your favourite smell?
I love the smell of fresh oranges, sweet peas, new books, cut grass, oh and I love the smell of fresh laundry...


What is on the top of your to do list?
So many things! Sort out my photographs is pretty much at the top, as I need to get some printed.

Tell me a random fact about yourself.

I don't own a TV and haven't had one for the last 8 years, ever since we moved to a rural area. Firstly because we were decorating and the reception around here is rubbish and then we realised we'd gone nearly 4 months without a tv and hadn't missed it. We always said we'd go out and buy one as soon as we missed it and here we are 8 years later!

The rules:
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people.

So anyone who would like to play...consider yourself tagged!

Friday, 10 July 2009

weeds and wonders...

Since my last blog offering things have been pretty busy... The weather has been crazy, one minute lovely and hot, the next thundery showers and so everything in the garden has been growing like crazy including the weeds! Actually I have a bit of a soft spot for weeding as I find it quite therapeutic, (a bit like vacuuming which is my favourite household chore lol!) and some weeds just look really lovely!


I also did my 5k run on Sunday for Cancer Research and amazingly it didn't rain, though it would have been quite welcome at one point! The funny thing is I've discovered that I really enjoy running, (not that I'm super fast)- just being outdoors and running is a great way to just be in the moment, without a thousand things filling your head.

I also watched this incredible documentary called man on wire. Really - you need to go check out the trailer, it was amazing, breath taking, poignant and awe inspiring and is about a young frenchman who in 1974 planned to do a high wire walk between the Twin Towers. Wow...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

simple things that make the heart sing...

Yay! Once again the lovely christina of Soul Aperture is hosting a simple things day today, go and take a peek! Here are mine...

My creation

* Walking in the garden after the rain when everything is still
* Ordinary love - you know the day to day stuff rather than grand gestures
* Sitting somewhere comfy with my embroidery and just going with the flow...
* Baking - especially making cupcakes at the moment! (coconut ones - yum!)
* The fairy lights around my bed which shine like stars in the night
* Dreams of flying when you can float and swoop to your hearts content!
* The view at dusk from my sitting room window with my clematis silhouette
* Bubbles! Hands up who doesn't smile when they see them!
* The moment you go through the sand dunes and finally see the sea - yipeee!

what are yours?...

Monday, 6 July 2009

a little bit of madness and baking...

For the past week here in the UK we've been lucky enough to have some really nice weather, the flipside of this has meant I haven't spent much time in front of the computer and so haven't been blogging - ooops! It couldn't last though and now we have humid and showery weather - so I'm back again!

One thing which has been driving me mad this week, is trying to get to grips with colour profiles - (* insert loud scream here*) as I've been doing some tester photo prints, (from a lab) to put in my Etsy shop and they're not turning out the same as what I can see on my screen, so I'm having to keep tweaking. I know the answer is to have my monitor profiled but the idea of spending money on software to do this when I keep reading conflicting reports about how good this is, is driving me nuts! Truthfully my brain is fried with all this knowledge - who knew that I would become so geeky as to want to try and understand this stuff!


Never mind, I'm sure it will all become clear, (at some point!) and I guess I'll just have to keep tweaking! After filling my brain with monitor profiles etc etc... I managed to soothe my frazzled brain with some baking - cupcakes to be precise. It's just as well I'm doing more running these days, as I have a thing for cupcakes at the moment!


Oh and bread also. Delicious bread that smells so comforting...

bread and paper...

For those who asked about a recipe - here it is in a nutshell - it really is so easy.
Firstly, let me say I have no problem with doing things the easy way if it tastes good, which is why I use dried yeast as it's so quick, (as only one kneading and proving is required). Makes one large loaf.

500g / 1lb 2oz strong bread flour (I use half white, half wholemeal)
25g/1 oz butter (I never weigh this, I just guess and scoop some with a teaspoon)
1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 and a half teaspoons fast action yeast or 7 g sachet (check on the yeast you are using, you may have to adjust the flour amount a little)
300ml/ 10 fl oz warm water

I use a food processor with a dough hook and put the flour, sugar, salt and butter in and whiz for a few seconds, (if you are doing this by hand you rub in butter to the flour then add salt and sugar) then add the yeast (and whiz) then add *** the water until it comes together into a dough, ( about 4 mins in the machine) and voila!

***Usually at this point I add extras such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds - whatever I have really, in whatever quantity - usually a handful of each but this means you need to increase the water so you can mix it into a dough.

I then take it out and knead it by hand for a couple of minutes and then pop it into a greased tin, shake a little flour over the top, cover it with a tea towel and leave it to double in size.

Once this is ready I pop it into a pre heated oven, (removing the tea towel!) at 230c (450 F, gas mark 8) for roughly 30-35 mins. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Remove from tin, (resisting urge to gobble up) and leave to cool.

As I said, so super easy - it usually takes me about 15 mins from the start point, (ie weighing out) to the point when it is in the tin ready to be doubled in size. Sometimes I ring the changes with herbs, sundried tomatoes, seeds etc - just remember that if you add anything to the basic recipe you may need more water.
Result yum! - fresh baked bread and it smells so delicious when it's baking. Eat and enjoy :)