Wednesday, 29 October 2014

STYLING THE SEASONS


I've just discovered on Instagram a new group called #stylingtheseasons and was instantly drawn in to the beautiful vignettes. You can find out all about it here and join in on your blog, on twitter and Intagram. This month it's all about the autumn leaves and pumpkins for me and my Instagram posts all have that rust colour about them!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

PIE MONTH


October is officially pie month in our house, the turning leaves and colder weather make us hungry and when the nights draw in it is far more comforting to eat pie than salad! I love making pies, they are quick and easy, and I find a great way of hiding leftovers and vegetables for my inconsistently fussy children! This one is chicken and leek, my favourite and so quick to make (I do cheat and buy pastry for speed). What's your favourite filling?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY


We live in a valley surrounded by beech woodlands which at this time of year change their plumage to the most beautiful golden-brown. The low Autumn sun illuminates them and challenges us to make the pilgrimage up the hill for a walk in the crunchy leaves.

We pack a blanket and a flask of hot soup and set off looking for treasure, or in this case mushrooms. We found a clump of the most beautiful magpie ink caps and lots of mud to get our wellies stuck in - which let's face it is more fun than anything else. Who needs play centres and expensive entertainment when you have mud?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

PLANNING CHRISTMAS ALREADY


I'm not a very organised person and each year Christmas just creeps on on me, resulting in last minute panic as all the things that I planned on doing or making just haven't happened! This year I have decided to keep things simple and to start planning now so I can relax and enjoy Christmas this year, well that's the plan anyway.

So, my first purchase this year is a set of Christmas biscuit cutters to make gingerbread baubles for our Christmas tree, inspired by this image on Pinterest. I am going to ice them with the boys and make an edible Christmas tree!

Monday, 6 October 2014

40 things

Every year I write a birthday list of things that I want to do over the next 12 months. I've been writing them for the past seven years after being inspired by the wonderful Hula Seventy, who is the best list writer I know. This year the list is longer than ever full of loads of things I'd like to do, although I still do visit the old lists from time to time as there is plenty I still have to finish!
  1. make a tipi in the garden with peas
  2. go ice-skating at Somerset House
  3. produce a Bradshaw & Sons yearbook
  4. make Stan a tipi ✓
  5. open an honesty shop
  6. grow heritage tomatoes ✓
  7. make the most amazing gingerbread house ✓
  8. go camping in the bell tent ✓
  9. learn how to sew knickers ✓
  10. make bread once a week ✓
  11. build an insect hotel
  12. go to The Good Life Festival ✓
  13. find the perfect sofa ✓
  14. design & make our own temporary tattoos 
  15. wild swim under Welsh waterfalls
  16. learn to play the ukulele
  17. make marmalade ✓
  18. take the boys fossil hunting in Dorset
  19. visit Petersham nurseries 
  20. teach Ted to play scrabble ✓
  21. hire a vintage car 
  22. grow dark dahlias in the garden ✓
  23. organise all my photos & print them out
  24. make a sock elephant 
  25. discover the holloways and green lanes of Dorset
  26. eat at Flat Iron London
  27. make elderflower champagne ✓
  28. paddle a canoe
  29. organise a Polaroid safari
  30. bake fortune cookies ✓
  31. find a glass cabinet for the boys museum of treasures
  32. watch the Perseid meteors & learn to identify some constellations 
  33. go on more walks in the countryside & illustrate them
  34. make a shadowbox
  35. runaway with the circus ✓
  36. learn to make cider
  37. make lots of pine cone firelighters 
  38. practice yoga regularly 
  39. visit the deckchair cinema
  40. follow my dreams 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

MAKING FRUIT LEATHER


Having been given a load of windfall apples this week the babe and I set about making fruit leather; a tasty, chewy and healthy snack. We used about 5/6 bruised apples to make the jewel-like piece above, but the recipe below is for a larger baking sheet size piece.

Ingredients
10 desert apples (or other fruit such as blackberries or strawberries)
1 lemon
1 cup of natural caster sugar (approx.)

Method

  1. Turn on the oven to its lowest setting.
  2. Finely chop the apples and juice the lemon. 
  3. Add the apples and lemon juice into a big heavy bottomed pan with the lemon juice. 
  4. Cook the apples on a medium heat until they turn soft and squishy, add a splash of water if you think they will catch. 
  5. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand held mixer or as we do, just mash with a masher! 
  6. Add the sugar to taste and simmer - you may want to use more or less sugar depending on the tartness of the apples. 
  7. After a few minutes any excess moisture should evaporate leaving you with a thick gloopy pulp.
  8. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the mixture thinly on top. 
  9. Put on the lowest shelf of the oven and leave over night to dry out - 9+ hours, or if your oven is as temperamental as mine do it during the day so you can keep an eye on it! 
  10. In the morning the leather should be sticky to touch but underneath it should be lovely and glossy and should peel away from the paper quite easily. 
  11. Cut and roll into strips and keep in the fridge. 
These are really fun to make and you can have fun experimenting with lots of different fruit. Perfect to pop in your pocket as a tasty treat on an autumn walk through the leaves. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

NATURE NECKLACE


My little Stanley sausage fingers made this necklace with his godmother this week, which I have been wearing with pride today. Conker necklaces rock!

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