My Favourite Decor Books

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Here's to a simpler 2012!

Dear friends, thank you so much for visiting my blog over the past few months, I've loved receiving your comments!  

Here's to all of us, to a more peaceful 2012, to a less stressful life, to enjoying the simple things, to 'less is more' in terms of material things, to a greener way of living, and to contentment, which is not reliant on the external, but an internal state of being.



Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Tasty treats for the holidays

This is an old recipe of mine for Macaroons, they are not the same as the delicious iconic Macaroons from the very famous Laduree, but they are equally delicious and slightly chewy...




Recipe:

200g Ground almonds
250g sugar
2ml vanilla essence
2 egg whites
Water for brushing
Whole almonds for decoration

Mix the almonds, sugar and essence together.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks.  Mix with the almond mixture until thoroughy blended.  You should be able to make small balls and place on a  tray lined with baking parchment.  Flatten the macaroons slightly and place a whole almond in the middle.  Brush with water.  Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10-15 minutes until golden.

I think a good expresso would go down well with these -enjoy!





Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Rus en Vrede (roughly translated meaning rest and peace...)

Wonderful to have a house full of people coming and going....but equally wonderful to have everything 'back to normal' after the festivities...I do so enjoy the days leading up to Christmas and then the GREAT DAY itself, but I LOVE the peace and tranquility of the days that follow...there's no more rushing around trying to get things done...

 
 



I shall enjoy the next few days leading up to New Year and will leave the mad rush for the sales to those who cannot help themselves!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Madelief Giveaway

Dear friends, as this year draws to a close....before you sign off, visit Madelief blogspot for some inspiration on interiors, homebakes and beautiful photographs...



The essence of Christmas



Well dear friends, we're nearly there...today is Christmas Eve....time to wind down, take a deep breath, sit down with loved ones.....laugh a little, forget about Christmas day lunch, the table, the presents and whether or not your guests will enjoy the new dessert recipe....in the end it's not about how much was spent on the gift, but the time you spend with the loved one you are buying the gift for.  It's not about cooking the most elaborate Christmas meal, but enjoying quality time 'breaking bread' at the table with family and friends.  Time to reflect on 2011, the highs the lows, the inbetweens...and to look forward to a healthy and peaceful 2012!

Wishing you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

May the PEACE that surpasses all understanding, envelope your family this Christmas!







Thursday, 15 December 2011

still painting fruit

I wish I had time to paint EVERYDAY, because I've heard practice makes better paintings (don't want to use the word perfect!)  but unfortunately with Christmas LOOMING, I think I might need to take a break and concentrate on 'getting things ready' for the Christmas weekend....needless to say, these are 'oranges' as if they need any introduction....



and I don't know about you, but I still have a few pressies to buy....why do I always leave it to the last minute???

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Cheer

When the children were little I used to bake a lot of Christmas biscuits like Lavender Heart biscuits or Ginger biscuits and I thought I would pass it up this year as the children are getting older, I thought they wouldn't notice, but unfortunately they have and I've been reminded by my eldest to start baking!!

So I spent this afternoon baking these delicious honey biscuits, shaped like hearts.....time to snuggle up on the sofa in candlelight with your loved ones with a cup of cocoa and some home bakes....



 I don't think I'm off the hook yet, more baking awaits me!


until next time....

Friday, 9 December 2011

Wild at Heart!

More table ideas - too much to chose from and so little time....a while ago I came across this delightful florist in London - WILD AT HEART www.wildatheart.com - they have lovely ideas for centre pieces for your table as well as wreaths...

Really love these candle cloches

 A lavender wreath

 Crown candle holder

Lantern candle holder

I especially love the aged look of the candle holders don't you? - photos of course are from their website.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tradition!!

Christmas time always make me think of the traditions we have as a family, traditions created by past generations or perhaps something that you have started in your own family... do you have certain traditions at Christmas time?

For many years now, our family have Prawns on Christmas Eve...we love all seafood...and so my husband will go to the fresh fish market and buy the largest prawns he can, fresh from the sea...he'll stand in the kitchen cleaning the prawns (which take hours!) leaving the heads on, and sometimes the girls will help him too...in recent years our son helps him. The  prawns are usually barbequed or put in the oven for literally a few minutes until pink and plump.  Served with plain basmati rice, garlic and lemon butter and a peri peri sauce the prawns makes for a real feast with a simple green salad.

Although eating seafood is not limited to Christmas time, our family really love this tradition and can't wait to get stuck into pulling the heads of the prawns and devouring those plump delicacies....piles of shiny pink shell piled high on a plate with contented shiny faces all round make for a happy tradition!

Eating a meatless dish on Christmas Eve is also shared by the Italians from the South of Italy, when they celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as The Vigil...seven different seafood dishes are eaten at the meal.  This celebration is to commemorate Vigilia de Natalia, for the midnight birth of Jesus.  This tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve goes back to the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat and dairy products on a Fridays and specific holy days..(a bit of a history lesson here!)


The wonderful thing is, we never know when something we start doing with our family become the traditions of future generations.

until next time



Friday, 2 December 2011

Shades of Grey

I LOVE colour, I've told you all before, but somehow I'm being drawn to use grey as my main colour on my Christmas table...I've found some beautiful grey candles which are quite unusual but grey is definitely my colour of choice this festive season

(Coxandcox.co.uk)

A beautifully pressed tablecloth...with handsome vintage cutlery
(Bluebells and Lavender)


Napkin rings and freshly pressed napkins

(Bluebells and Lavender)

A beautiful crystal candlelabra
(Glitterboxfavours.co.uk)

crystal glasses

A few tealights to add sparkle
(Ella James Living.co.uk)


and if you really like sparkle - perhaps a few crystals to add the extra shine

(goweddingfavours.co.uk)

Flowers for the table which blend in with the subtle grey tones of the table.

(AmyMerrickFlowers)


No table would be complete without home made crackers for your loved ones


 (Bluebells and Lavender)
(Bluebells and Lavender)

and what about some tiny silvery grey organza bags of sugared almonds for your guests....
(Bluebells and Lavender)

Viola!
An elegant and refined dining table without too much clutter!


until next time....

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

National Portrait Gallery

As a lover of paintings, the National Portrait Gallery send me regular updates on what is showing.... for all those of you interested in LUCIEN FREUD'S PAINTINGS - there is an exhibit planned for 9 February to 27 May 2012.


Freud's paintings are often brutal and raw, with exquisite brushwork.

Quote below from the NPG website:

Lucian Freud (1922 – 2011) was one of the most important and influential artists of his generation. Paintings of people were central to his work and this major exhibition, spanning over seventy years, is the first to focus on his portraiture.
Produced in close collaboration with the late Lucian Freud, the exhibition concentrates on particular periods and groups of sitters which illustrate Freud's stylistic development and technical virtuosity. Insightful paintings of the artist's lovers, friends and family, referred to by the artist as the 'people in my life', will demonstrate the psychological drama and unrelenting observational intensity of his work.
Featuring over 100 works from museums and private collections throughout the world, some of which have never been seen before, this is an unmissable opportunity to experience the work of one of the world's greatest artists.


Have a great day! 
(it's raining in good old England, but I LOVE THE RAIN!!!)

Five a day?

In between work and a million other things mums do on a daily basis, I'm trying to paint - emphasis on trying because I know I'm not there yet, and many years ago, an art teacher told me I had no clue about colour, so here's hoping I haven't got all the values mixed up....why Five a Day?  Well here in England, we have a healthy living incentive to try to get children and adults actually to eat five fruit and veg per day - no, not five fruit and five veg, just a mixture of them, but five a day....so I had these lovely Granny smith and a rather yellow Golden Delicious!


Monday, 28 November 2011

Christmas Spice

It’s that time of year again Christmas Fever ...it’s upon us …the stores all have enormous Christmas trees decorated to the hilt, baubles and tinsel streaming everywhere… and it’s time to think about Christmas Dinner…and what to make and if like me…you like to mix up the old tradition of turkey then you might like this recipe:

Rum and Raisin Sauce
(I know...I've started with dessert!!)


This is an 1998 Martha Stewart recipe found in one of my Martha Stewart LIVING magazines which I’ve used for years now… (I know!!!) - it’s very festive, oozes rum and great over vanilla ice cream….because it’s an American recipe, I’ve adapted it to UK so you don’t have problems finding ‘corn syrup’ etc…so this is my take on it:

½ cup dark brown sugar (Muscovado sugar)
1/2 cup corn syrup (UK golden syrup)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup dark rum
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup dark raisins

I usually soak the raisins in the rum and leave to stand for about 2 hours so that the raisins absorb some of the rum.


********

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and golden syrup.  Set over medium to low heat and stir until well combined and the sugar has melted.
Remove from the heat, add the butter, rum and raisins, stirring until the butter has completely melted and the raisins are plump and juicy. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature over the ice cream.

It keeps really well and can even be frozen a couple of weeks before Christmas and reheated to serve warm.

It makes a great home made Christmas gift too!


(Don't you just love these little jars - I found them at The Hambledon in Winchester)







Bon Apetite!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas Table Decor



I've still got a couple of weeks to think about how I'm going to decorate my Christmas table - I know you are thinking about it too....we need inspiration don't we?  I like having a different table each year and I think I might have gone through all the usual colours....

Here's some inspiration for all those of you who want to do something different:

Feminine and pretty....

A turquoise Christmas Table


Pretty in Pink ...


(photo verdigrisvieblogspot)

Dark and sultry

Ice white like this....




Your mantlepiece....

Or you might like this one...



I really love the linen table cloth, the table arrangements and decor but I think it might be a little crowded ...what do you think?


A rustic Christmas table at it's very best
(photo from The InsideStory blog)


For Christmas decorations and table decorations with a difference visit: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/ 


Lots to think about......
how are you decorating your table this year...let me know.


till next time....

Saturday, 19 November 2011

BELDECOR GIVEAWAY

Bine, of BELDECOR  a beautiful blog in Germany has a lovely book GIVEAWAY...just post a comment on her blog and you could win this lovely decor book.