My Favourite Decor Books

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Hi everyone and welcome to new followers, thanks for joining me on this journey!

A few days back I was browsing one of my favourite blogs and came across a French Macaroon recipe and thought I would try it out!  I'm always eager to try something I've never attempted before, and I'd been checking out this recipe post for months!

The recipe called for colouring PASTE, but I only had liquid food colouring, which I thought wouldn't make that much of a difference, especially since I was only using the stem of a teaspoon to dip in and give the egg whites a slight colour...and maybe they flopped because I opened the oven to check on them??? What was I thinking?

As you can see the liquid food colouring which was RED, didn't make any difference to the egg white, and perhaps me opening the oven to check also didn't help...I think it was the food colouring that did it though....

Undeterred and forever optimistic, I went to another of my foodie blog favourites - Ruth Clemens from The Pink Whisk, who was the runner up in the first Great British Bake Off! 
 She gives a step by detailed step of how to achieve the perfect French Macaroon!  here  I rushed off to buy proper colouring paste in pale pink and pale green and egg whites in a carton, found at Waitrose!  Who would have guessed?? (No wonder children don't know where eggs come from!)

The egg white mixture with the colouring paste....whoops a bit too much colour!

macaroons on bake o'glide

The macaroons!

Well, I followed the recipe word for word and they are not quite perfect, slightly too large for my liking, and I can see that the mixture needed to be smoother before putting into the piping bag.  And they cracked and were slightly damp inside, so perhaps a bit more baking required, but much better than the first try.

Clearly French Macaroons are an art and
  need lots of love, patience and practice to turn out the perfect macaroon!

I'm about to make my third batch, hopefully these will turn out better ...I will not give up!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Monday, 20 August 2012

Southern inspiration

Hi everyone, have you been enjoying the lovely weather we've been having?  I hope the weather where you are is as nice as it's been here in the south of England....unfortunately that's about to change over the next few days...but it was lovely while it lasted...

Just one beautiful photo today...I love it....the zebra skin rug, the glass coffee table, the photos and wall art...I could get comfortable in this room couldn't you?
pic from Lonnymag

Have a great Monday!


Friday, 17 August 2012

Actions and consequences

Hi everyone, This is not my usual interior post but I thought I would share this with you.

  As most of you know, I've recently acquired a bicycle.
 Since receiving this lovely gift from my husband for my birthday, I've enjoyed several long cycle rides, either alone or with my husband.  Cycling has given me a different kind of freedom, and one that I enjoy immensely!

We have several bicycles at home, but none as lovely as my vintage look bike!  Now my daughter gyms and  recently asked to use my bicycle.  Of course I didn't hesitate but I did mention that if my bicycle was stolen, she would have to replace it.  This statement was met with a rolling of the eyes and a flippant laugh!  Oh Mum, nobody is going to steal your bicycle!!!  You know what's coming next don't you???

Amidst the celebrations of the Olympic closing ceremony on Sunday night, my iphone rang out desperately. In between sobs my daughter explained my bicycle had been STOLEN!!!

I was as calm as a sleepy kitten, which for those of you who know me, is extremely unusual in such circumstances!  My husband went off to collect her and I waited patiently at home. I knew she was feeling awful at this point.  

I didn't see my daughter that night.  She was too upset to talk, and so she slipped away to shower and retreated to her bedroom.  The next morning I waited patiently for her to approach me.  She was clearly distressed.  She apologised and said she would buy me a new bicycle....

At this point I wanted to crumble and hug her and tell her it's all right, she didn't need to buy me a new bicycle, I would buy it....but something inside told me that this is all part of becoming a wiser human being and if I do this, she loses out on a valuable life lesson.  So I thanked her and gave her a mummy hug.

Perhaps at this point I should say that my daughter is 21 years old, a full time uni student and has been working part time since she was 17 years old.  

In our family, we've taught our children that every action has a consequence.  If the choice was a good one, the consequences are always pleasant.  Sometimes they don't listen to good advice and decide to go ahead anyway and they inevitably have to live with the consequences of that action albeit a minor unpleasant one. This is how we learn about life and these experiences are part of what makes us stronger and wiser...

So tell me, good people, how do you deal with actions = consequences?

Or perhaps you don't believe actions have consequences at all...

What would you have done in similar circumstances?  

Leave a comment, I'd love to know.

Have a great weekend, I believe the weather down south is going to be HOT!!!

PS:  I've already ordered my new bicycle and hope to pick it up on Saturday, so a bike ride along the beach is on the cards!!


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Amerigo Vespucci

Hi everyone, another one of my 'whatever else' posts and what beautiful weather we are enjoying, blue skies and lots of sun!
Which means time to enjoy the outdoors and whatever it has to offer!

Saturday we spent the day exploring this beautifully crafted Italian Naval Training ship which was docked in Portsmouth Harbour for a few days. This Italian Naval ship was named after a Florentine nobleman, Amerigo Vespucci, who was born on 9 March 1454, a prominent explorer of the New World, and is the oldest sailing ship in the Italian Navy.  

Her motto was taken from the notebooks of Leonardo de Vinci:

Non chi comincia
ma quel, che persevera

Not he who begins,
but he who perseveres

 The ship was designed by Lt Colonel Francesco Rotundi of the Corps of Naval Engineers and was built and outfitted in the Castellamara di Stabia-based Naval Royal Shipyards (near Naples, southern Italy).  She was launched on 22 February 1931.

In July 1931 she sailed for her first training    cruise in Northern Europe.  Of course the ship has been refitted several times since she was first built.  In the year 2000, the ship was fitted out to accommodate female crew members.  

 During their first year of training the naval crew embark on a 27 day journey visiting different naval ports.  Their visit to Portsmouth was part of their first year trip.  Since 1930 this ship has delivered annual sail training programmes, except for the war in 1940 and during refitting.  

This is the 'engine room'when the sails are up

Have a lovely week!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Lavender Heart Cookies

Hi everyone, thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post.  I thought I would do a recipe post and give you one of my most favourite and foolproof biscuit recipes.

Lavender Heart Cookies

The recipes is from a South African Magazine called Food and Home Entertaining, and I remember when I bought the magazine many years ago it was so expensive, but I just had to have the lavender biscuit recipe!

As I've always grown lavender it was a great way of using the beautiful blue flowers and the fragrance is divine!

My daughters also love the recipe as it's not as sweet as some biscuits, like chocolate chip...which incidentally they also love...

So here's the basic biscuit recipe and you just need to add a few fresh or dried lavender heads (2-3 teaspoons) which you've crumbled between your fingers or pulled off...I've used fresh and dried both successfully and I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't love the fragrance and the taste!

250g butter, softened
300g castor sugar
2 jumbo eggs, whole
2.5ml vanilla essence, or you can use 1 tsp vanilla paste, whichever you have to hand
500g plain flour
15ml baking powder
1ml salt

Preheat oven to 180C.  Line baking sheets with baking parchment.  No need to grease. The recipe says it makes 60-80 biscuits, I've never managed to make that many, but you'll probably get about 40...

Cream the butter and sugar until light and pale yellow in colour.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add the vanilla essence/paste.

Before the next step is where I usually add the lavender...I probably add about 2-3 teaspoons but feel free to add more if you want a very intense flavour.

Sift together the dry ingredients and fold into the butter mixture carefully to form a soft dough that's firm enough to roll out.   Wrap the dough in clingwrap and allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (don't let it get too cold otherwise it's hard to roll out and cracks!)

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 4mm.  Cut out heart shapes using your heart shaped cookie cutter.  Carefully lift the biscuits onto the baking tray leaving sufficient space between each one (they don't spread but a 1cm between is good)  Bake for about 12-15 minutes.  As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, sprinkle with castor sugar and leave to cool.  Ovens do vary so I would say between 10-15 minutes until golden.

(how cool is instagram!)

They make a lovely homemade gift, especially when wrapped in a cellophane bag with a ribbon, or a pretty box...they look so pretty they're an absolute scene stealer on a tea tray!

Happy baking....