Thursday, January 26, 2012

What is the meaning of this?

Back in the days of yore, flowers were used to convey messages - isn't that a sweet idea? When Kate married Prince William last year she chose lily-of-the-valley to symbolise the return of happiness, Sweet William for Gallantry, Hyacinth for constancy of love, Ivy for marriage, wedded love, affection and friendship as well as myrtle the 'emblem of marriage'.

I had a look online to see what my favourite flowers meant...

Hydrangeas ran amok in the suburban front gardens where I grew up. Out of this context they look dreamy and magical - did you know that the colours range from pink to blue depending on if the soil is acidic or alkaline? I googled their meaning: Thank you for understanding, frigidity and heartlessness. Ha!

Photo borrowed from here.

My Mum grows these roses which are the exact same colour and smell as pink marshmallows. I can imagine the smell of them now - it reminds me of birthday parties in the back garden when I was little. Mum - do you know what kind of rose bush it is? The flowers are really delicate. Apparently a pale pink rose means grace and joy. I'll settle for that.

Photo via Pinterest

Got the photo here.

Peonies are so soft and pretty! They convey a message of Bashfulness and...shame? Really? Maybe they mean it like in a sort of modest, 'don't look at me kind of a way?

Hey since I'm marrying an Irishman maybe I should have some shamrocks in my bouquet? They symbolise lightheartedness, sounds about right.

If you want to have fun with flower meanings, I did my research here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pear & Walnut Loaf

Better late than never! This cake is packed with goodness - wholemeal flour, brown sugar, juicy pears and walnuts. It's even better a day or two after you've made it (I find that with most cakes that use fresh fruit). Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it yourself...

Two small-ish loaf tins lined with greaseproof paper
175g Butter softened
150g Dark brown sugar
3 Eggs
150g Plain wholemeal flour
100g Ground almonds
500g Ripe pears peeled and diced
30g Walnuts chopped

Grease and line your tins and pre-heat the oven to 160c. Using a blender or a wooden spoon (blender!) cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then gently fold in the flour followed by the almonds. When the mixture is just combined fold in the pears and walnuts. Pour into your loaf tins and sprinkle with a little more sugar. Bake in the pre-heated oven for around an hour. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting in slices.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cosmic Rumtopf

Earlier in the week the doorbell rang and the postman delivered a package wrapped in brown paper. A big thank you to my mystery benefactor! ;)

Friday, January 13, 2012


Well this week has zoomed past? This weekend I am planning on making a pear and walnut loaf (hopefully this will go well and I'll have a delicious recipe to share here afterwards!) and visiting my Mum for tea and cake and a rummage through the attic. We've got a couple of wedding dresses stashed away up there so are planning on shaking off the dust and seeing if there's anything that could be re-worked for my dress! I'm keeping an open mind about my dress - it might end up being short, long, home made or designer. I've never had a picture in my head of what my 'dream wedding dress' would look like which makes this part of the planning process quite fun!

Photo via Cup of Jo

There is one thing I'm certain of though...I am going to get myself an absolutely fantastic pair of shoes!

Photo via Ruffled Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oxfam Bargains

Whilst strolling around Devises at the weekend we popped into the local Oxfam. It's sad but I seldom bother looking in the charity shops in London these days, everything is so overpriced. This time I picked up this glass trinket dish (£1.99!) and these ceramic dogs which are now gracefully adorning the mantelpiece.

My advice for Charity shop trawling is:

1) Get out of town - In the future I'll save up my charity shop pennies for when I'm visiting friends out of town.

2) Be open minded - Especially with ornaments. An item might not look great in the surroundings of the shop but try to imagine it in your home.

3) Be decisive and go with your gut! If you're drawn to an item and it's only a couple of £ then go for it! I've left behind things that I've kicked myself about afterwards. You only get one chance!

Maybe next time I'll follow my own advice. For Christmas I received a lovely River Cottage Preserving hand book. Whilst looking through it on Christmas day I stumbled across a recipe (well more of a method really) for making Rumtopf - a German desert which is made by adding layers of various soft fruits to a big ceramic jar as and when they come into season throughout the year. Every time a layer of fruit is added to the pot so is a large quantity of rum so that the fruit always remains submerged. After several months of maturing and fermenting the fruit becomes completely soft and saturated with rum whereupon it can be eaten as a delicious compote! (if you're German that is, my Mum says if you're English you'll most likely lift the lid to a pot full of mould, perhaps Rumtopf making is in the genes!). Anyway my very good (and half German) friend Anna dropped in on boxing day and guess what she got for Christmas - a Rumtopf pot which her Dad found in a local charity shop. I thought about what a lovely preserve this would be and vowed to make it myself. When I saw another Rumtopf pot on the shelf of the Oxfam in Devises guess what I did? I thought 'oh how wonderful, just what I was looking for' and then put it back on the shelf and walked away.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fresh Air

We've just got back from a lovely weekend in Devises - Wiltshire visiting our friends Kate & Martin in their new home. The weekend was filled with good food, lots of ales and some lovely walks.

Kate and Martin's home is full of lovely items and antique furniture. They've decorated with some beautiful, strong colours by farrow and ball which has inspired us to do some re-decorating in our home too (more on this to follow!).

Devises is a really pretty town, full of unique ancient and unique buildings.

We had a rowdy night out at the local pub enjoying the local Ale - The Wadworth Brewery still deliver their kegs by shire horse and cart.

We were really lucky with the weather and took the opportunity to visit West Kennet Long Barrow - a 5,000 year old burial chamber and the stone circle at Avebury.

Thanks for a lovely time Kate and Martin! Hope to visit again soon!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Whilst staying with my Mum over Christmas I came across these Pantone colour specifiers from her graphic design days. Pantone make everything these days from mugs to mouse mats - sometimes I think they've spread the brand a little thin.

It's nice to see it in its original, functional form. My Mum explained to me that back in the day, once you had come up with your design and were ready to go to print, you attached these little colour swatches to the finished work, then the printers would know exactly which shade to mix up by following a specific recipe, so that the colour they came out with at their end was the exact colour she had chosen at her end.

My first thought upon looking at these books was WEDDING PLANNING! But they would be great tools for making mood boards or any kind of design even if they're not going to be translated into printing ink

Photo from Love My Dress

Photo from Love My Dress

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Toby Is 1!

Sweet cat is 1 year old this month! So crazy to think he was just a twinkle in his Daddy's eye this time last year, or a little peanut kitten in his Mums tummy at least. He was a tough kitten to track down - every breeder we looked at had a waiting list. Then we found a breeder who's customer had put their name down for a kitten but decided at the last minute that they were not quite ready. We were delighted! Only problem was, the breeder lived in Glasgow. A few weeks and a 20 hr round trip in the car Toby was home.

Our lives are so much richer for having him here - every night he sleeps on our bed, sometimes getting up in the night to stand on my shoulder like a mountain goat whilst sniffling my ear. Every morning while I'm in the bathroom getting ready two furry little arms come reaching under the door, ready to whisk away a stray cotton wool ball or pair of pants (I know now to keep my fingers well away). During the day he sprawls out on our bed and sleeps, getting up in the evening and tearing around the house doing gymnastics.

We'll be having a little Birthday party for Toby towards the end of this month, a cat party if you will!


Have you tried Tea Pigs tea? I'm drinking one of their camomile teas now and keep having to lift the bag out because it looks so pretty - lots of little camomile flowers blossoming in my cup. Are you a tea drinker? What's your tipple?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bath Time!

I had been in a bit of a post Christmas slump for the last couple of days - probably something to do with the miserable weather and the return to work. I decided to pull myself out of it by taking a scalding hot bath with some lovely, natural bath products whilst allowing myself to dream of all the exciting things 2012 has in store for us - like booking time of to go to Wales for a friends wedding in April. Here are some of my favourite bath time treats...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp! And surely I'll be mine! And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne

I've started 2012 with a fairly hefty hangover and with the usual 'healthy eating' resolution well and truly broken  (anyone else have Bodeans for breakfast?) however I can't help feeling really positive and excited about the year ahead. I'll be making a whole host of resolutions, the details of which I won't bore you with here. My main resolution however is to try to make something more of this blog.

I started blogging as a way to focus my thoughts and ideas, to try to inspire myself and inspire others about crafting and homemaking. I found it harder than I imagined - as I didn't have a clear goal or direction it was sometimes difficult to move the blog forward. Now after nearly two years I feel that I've got a clear idea of what it is I'm trying to achieve - over the next 12 months I'm going to be spending more time here developing my writing, projects and communicating with other bloggers.

Pink flowers from weheartit