Saturday, 29 September 2007

Super Scrumptious Day

What to do when it is cold and rainy, and you have a day stretching out before you? Why, go visiting of course! And what a scrumptious visit it was....thank you NaNa!

Because I am still tiring easily, I treated myself to the bus into town rather than my usual trot. When I got in, it was cold but dry, and I remembered that my Mum and Sister were probably going to be in town, and lo and behold, they were! So we shared coffee in Marks and Spencer, and then oohed and ahhed over the Christmas Wrapping paper! Yes, Christmas, I know! And I am torn. You see, for me, starting to organize now makes it so much more enjoyable for me come December. But, then I do make all my own Christmas cards, and quite a few of my gifts. And while I love to look at papers and craft items at this time of year but I HATE to see shelves PILED with mince pies and things that will go off before December! And really, do we need to buy Advent Calendars in September? And why are so many of the things in huge groaning big jumbo sizes? I would like to think it was for families getting together and visiting, but I wonder if it is just a little bit of seige mentality? But really, I am not a Christmas Scrooge, I am not. I am eagerly scanning the magazine stands for the Christmas issues....but only because they show us how to make things, and making things take time!)

But, I have digressed, I am afraid! After a lovely cup of coffee, I hopped on a bus through to Maldon, where it was warmer, but raining, ugh! Happily, Sally Greens, the most delightful greengrocer is just next door to the taxi rank, so I scurried in to buy a jar of blackberry jelly (to be enjoyed with scones for Michelmas!) and thenceforth into a taxi which took me off to visit my lovely friend, who lives in a scrumptious house in the middle of the countryside.

I wish, wish, wish, you could take a peek with me. Maybe one day you will get to see, as my lovely friend is thinking of maybe starting a blog too....but let us say that her home is a haven of vintage scrumptiousness, and her and her equally lovely husband have put so much work into rennovating the home, that they have really earned the scrumptiousness of it all! Really, you have to love anyone who will make you a cup of tea on their fabulous aga, and then offer you not one but two cakes, and not make you feel in the least bit guilty for accepting readily!

It was such a lovely way to spend a day, and time sped away all too quickly. When you have a friend who you are really in accord with, time does just seem to disappear. And oh, I must tell you about the goodies she gave me! Lovely wife that she is, she had gathered some 'new wife vintage housekeeper' goodies for me! All done up in pink rustling tissue paper....a clear spatula, with little red hearts! A fabulous washing up brush, all pink with a great big flower on it! A tea cozie and matching peg bag! A just-the-right-sized mixing bowl, in fabulous blue with cream insides! A floral mug that is the twin of hers, so we can have a cup of tea together when our housework is done, even when we are not together! Oh, and a jar of utterly gorgeous rose petal jam! I felt ever so spoiled, and I am looking forward to getting home tonight so I can spread my new treasures about our little flat.

You will be pleased to know that I did not arrive empty handed myself. I took a baby sock bouquet that I had made. Now I know it sounds a little strange, but really, it is rather fun. You take some baby socks, and fold and roll them so they look like (a rather stylized!) rose bud, insert a florists wire into the back of the rose bud, and cover with florist tape to secure. The idea is that new Mums often get given lots of flowers, but they die, and here are some flowers that wont die, and can be dismantled and put through the washer to yield half a dozen pairs of socks!

I hopped on a bus back from the countryside to Maldon, another one from Maldon back into town, and then the bus back from town to home again, and settled down with a nice cup of tea to think about what a lovely day it had been, before making some dinner. The more I think about it, the more I think that visting, and being at home to visitors is just a lovely, scrumptious thing!

Nature Ramble Nurture Bramble

Hello there....

...well I have been away so long I wonder if I am coming back to say hello to anyone! But that is the nature of blogging, I suppose. You post, you publish, you send your words out there, and hope, just hope that someone reads them. And when they do, and when you are left a kind comment, it makes you tingle all over thinking, wow, someone reads what I write!

But I cannot expect to have people visiting and reading if I am not here! It is like never being at home to visitors when they call. But I do have an excuse...I have been laid low, extremely low by a vicious virus. Which brings me to the 'nurture' part of my post. If your child was ill, if they had a cold, were coughing and spluttering and hot and cold, would you shovel them off to school? If your husband were suffering in this way, would you dispatch him to the supermarket, then expect him to cook dinner? I rather think not. But when it is ourselves who are afflicted, somehow we just keep pushing ourselves, and it is really not good for us. We must nurture ourselves. In the words of Jan Struther, if I cannot be a shining example, let me be a terrible warning!

I did not go to work Monday before last, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or even Thursday because I was just too poorly. Couldn't even knit, didn't want to read, and bah to a cup of tea! But Friday dawned, and it was my early start, and I felt a bit better, so I went in. And felt terrible. And was so, so tired by the end of the day. But I felt it was my duty! And then on Sunday, I had a sore throat which pricked at me all day long. I went to bed early, for to be ready and rested for work on Monday....but woke in the night with the most terrible pain in my ears, got out of bed for painkillers and promptly fainted. It was a horrible night, and in the morning I just barely made it from the car (my lovely mother-in-law drove me!) to the nurses room. Where I was told I had a virus, and that I really should not have gone back to work so soon. And this time to stay away until I was really better.

A hard lesson! And I am still learning, as I am 'better' in that I am not ill anymore, but I am so, so tired. My body is telling me that I must take care of myself. Isn't it funny how as women, we tend to nurture everyone else when we are sick? So this is my plea- I hope all you are enjoying the most scrumptious autumn possible, and none of you get sick at all- but if you do get a cold, then take to your bed! Make hot honey, lemon and ginger drinks! Rub a bit of violet salve around your nose so you don't get rudolph nose from too much wiping! Sleep! Take care of yourself, please!

Now, Bramble. Today is Michelmas Day, which is the day that the Devil was thrown out of Heaven by St Michael, and landed in a Blackberry bush, or so country legend tells us, which is why blackberries are no good to be eaten after this date! (We are not ever so very religious in our house, but we do love these little customs!) So at lunch time, my ONE mission (instead of my ususal five or six...I am nurturing, remember!) I am going to buy some scones from the delicious bakers stall in our food market, to go with the blackberry jelly that I got from the grocers yesterday. And for dinner tonight there will be steaming hot cups of tea, scones just warmed through with a little cream and blackberry jelly....and of course, Strictly Come Dancing.

Next, Nature. Where I have been out of action for the past two weeks, I have not been out of the house very much. And now that I am out and about again, I can really see how we are slowly but surely emerging into Autumn. It is like a beautiful dance, where every chilly breeze that casts a few more beautiful bronze leaves into the air to twirl to the floor is another step. I do love Autumn. I know I keep posting about it, but really, how scrumptious is it?! Utterly! My mission for next week is to do a little internet research, and find if there are any walks being organized near me, so we can go to the woods and see all the amazing colours of the turning leaves.

And now, the Ramble. Well a lot of this post has been ramble, but I am hoping you may be pleased to see me back, and have a lovely cup of tea to hand, so will forgive me! Now, I was rummaging in a drawer last night, when I happened upon some printouts. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I realised they were from a long ago blog that I had forgotten all about....I cannot find it online anymore, but it was a blog where I posted more about my crafty endeavours. So, next week I will be posting, in honour of this long ago blog, my super easy and super quick pattern for a crochet shawl to snuggle in, my recipe for a truly delicious banana cake that is very economical as it is best made using elderly bananas, and maybe one or two other little bits thrown in for fun as well!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

A Break From Routine...

...I was awoken at an early hour this morning by dear Carl, telling me that the washer on the shower has broken, and so he was running me a bath instead of my usual morning shower.

Although I could happily live without the inconvenience of getting a plumber out, the unexpected break from my morning routine. Although I like the pattern and rhythm to my mornings, it is so easy to slip into automatic pilot and miss the details.

So this morning, I was to be found steaming away in a hot bath, which I have decided is a very pleasant way to start the day, particularly if you are feeling a little coldy, which I am. I whiled away a few minutes with my new Nigella Express book, and then sat in my dressing gown with a bowl of warm apple, plum and blackberry frangipane pudding for breakfast. At first glance, perhaps not the most healthy of breakfasts, but I really did put an awful lot of fruit into the pudding, so maybe it is not so bad after all! (If you fancy making it, and it really is scrumptious, go to and then fetch your pinny!)

Oh, and I am pleased to say that Carl and I have been married for one month today! Hurrah!

Hoppity Skip Jump All The Way Home

Today is one of those days where I am perfectly happy in my work. I have a spring in my step which is not just down to my high heeled shoes, and a sparkle in my wake which is not just the glitter that was left on my desk to welcome me back to work. I can shelf tidy happily for hours, not minding how out of order the books are. I have a smile playing on my lips all the time.

And why? I have a delightful evening ahead! When I get home, I will be welcomed for the first time by the ‘Welcome Autumn’ wreath that I made and put up on my door at the weekend. (Pictures to follow once camera batteries recharged)! Then I am going to set my whistling kettle to boil for tea, whilst I tie on my Cath Kidston pinny and get to baking. I am making a blackberry, apple and plum frangipane pudding. I found the recipe last week, and we went blackberry picking on Sunday. Then I shall be curling up on my sofa this evening to watch the new episode of Nigella Express. My lovely friend Lisa may come to visit, in which case I shall feed her full of frangipane pudding, and if she doesn’t, I shall retreat into a hot bath for an hour or so.

Now, why can’t all Mondays be like this!?

Today I Am Wearing...

...My new skirt, that I got for a bargainiferous £5 in Marks and Spencers on Saturday. It is just above the knee length, in a colour that beige sounds too boring to describe, but camel too fashionable! I am wearing it with nude high heels (perhaps nude would have been the right word for my skirt!) and a duck-egg blue cardigan. I like to think of this as my if-Nigella-were-a-librarian look!

Scrumptious Saturday

Although planning our wedding was lovely, it did take up a lot of time. When you throw in that I have to work every other Saturday, I had not had a Saturday off just to play for far too long! (I am sure a little peruse of my blog will prove me wrong, but it feels like forever.

We wandered into town on Saturday, met my Mum and Dad and had a cup of coffee. We had a look around an exhibition of local scenes by local artists, and then I wandered off on my own for a while. First, I spent some long-hoarded book tokens on the new Nigella book. I also had a £10 off voucher from the Times, so it was even more of a treat! Then I wandered in and out of some charity shops, but did not find anything that called to me. It was nice to have the time just to browse, even if I didn’t find treasure today! My next port of call was the craft shop, as I wanted a heat gun to do embossing with on my Christmas cards. (Which of course meant, when I got home, I had to try it out)!

I picked up a chocolate brownie from a stall at the farmers market, and phoned dear Carl to see if he would like to join me for lunch to celebrate four whole weeks of being married! He did, and we went to a place that I had thought was far too trendy for me…but served an excellent steak sandwich! And so to home, where a happy afternoon was spent embossing with my new heat gun, reading, and sipping lots of tea.

I also spent a little time knitting….I have not knitted for a while. Mum gave me a bag full of vintage knitting, crochet and sewing patterns, and I spotted one for coathanger covers. Laugh if you must, but recently I have found myself drawn to such things more and more! And they always seem to cost so much in the shops. Besides, I rather like the idea of working from a vintage pattern. I chose blue and cream wool, so I can do all blue, all cream, cream and blue stripes, and maybe even cream and blue spots! The pattern also shows how to crochet little flowers to decorate them with, or I may just break out my daisy-maker, or felt scraps. It is a happy business indeed, spending time making something so frivolous! Talking of happy fripperies….my next Autumn project is going to be little marzipan acorns, with melted chocolate and vermicelli for the acorn ‘cup’……

Friday, 7 September 2007

Scrumptious Breakfast

Breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day. It never takes long to make, and I can have just what I fancy, as in the week, at least, I have my breakfast alone.

Whatever I have must always be accompanied by a nice, hot cup of tea. I have been enjoying greek yoghurt with berry compote recently, but as autumn creeps a little closer, I find myself wanting to start the day with something warming and cheering.

So now it is the time for toast that makes a crunch that echoes the scuffling through the leaves that I will do on the walk to work; for porridge with a swirl of golden syrup; for a boiled egg with soldiers; and maybe for a treat at weekends, smoked salmon scrambled eggs, or apple pancakes with rosehip syrup.

But this week, I have been revisiting an old fall favourite- it uses the apples that are becoming abundant, is quick and easy, but tastes like a real treat!

Take a pretty little bowl, and shake into it slightly less museli than you would normally have. (And please choose a good museli, not the kind that is like dust)! If you feel like it, stir through an extra sprinkle of raisins, and then stir in enough apple juice that it is nice and moist, but not so much that it is swimming. Grate half an apple, and muddle through. Top with a dollop of plain yoghurt, and dust with a whisper of cinnamon.

Take yourself off with your breakfast and a cup of tea, sit somewhere peaceful to enjoy, and as you eat, think of all the lovely things to come today...

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


Imagine my delight when I walked to work this morning, and felt a teeny, tiny, but utterly scrumptious nip in the air! On the walk in, there were fallen leaves to scrunch through, and I had in my bag some greengages! My toes are postiviely srunched up with excitement- because Autumn is coming!

I was going to write about how fantastic September is, but look! Midori has beaten me to it! Visit her at and read her delightful post, 'September'. All she says is what I feel. I love the back-to-school feeling, the contradictory starting-anew-but-starting-to-hibernate-too feeling. After nearly a month off, I went back to work on Monday, and it felt like a new school term. I wore my new pumpkin orange dress (from Sainsburys) with thick black tights, and took with me a brand new fountain pen to write out dewey numbers with. And what is going back to school, without homework?

But now I am a grownup (!) what fantastic homework I shall have! I want to knit hot water bottles, bake myself jacket potatoes, eat plums and greengages, perfect my hot chocolate recipe, and make a 'welcome autumn' wreath for the front door. I want to eat porridge for breakfast, and carve pumpkins and make sloe gin, and spiced plum butter. I want to find the perfect hot chocolate nail polish for my fingers, and deep inky purple for my toes. I want to start making Christmas cards (I design and make about 150 each year, so it is ok to start this early, I promise!), and to knit coathanger covers that I found in a 1940's craft booklet. I want to make pasta, and go to apple day, and scrunch my way through a great many leafy walks. I want to finish stitching my halloween bell pull for the front door, and to curl up and watch black and white films in the afternoon, and so much more!

Much more pleasing than the homework I used to have at school! I shall also visit lovely Alison at to look at her Autumn puttery treats and get some more ideas for lovely Autumn projects.....vanilla coffee and shortbread, anyone?