Sunday, 31 October 2010

Unashamedly girly...



I don't usually go in for really girly-girly pink flowery things, but I saw this bedding set and I just couldn't resist. It's so Cath Kidston-esque, but it's from Tesco and it was £12!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Rain!



This morning was lovely and sunny, but now it's decidedly dark out there (even though the clocks don't go back until tomorrow) and it's chucking it down! The herbs on the windowsill seem to be enjoying it, though...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lyme...







On the last day of my little Westcountry mini-break, Mum and I went to Hugh F-W's River Cottage Canteen for lunch (I had roasted beetroot and pumpkin salad with Ticklemore goat's cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds and apple balsamic dressing, which was gorgeous) and then we went for a wander around Lyme Regis - I made sure I had a scoop of my favourite Lovington's rhubarb and custard ice cream!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Poppy thermometer...



The rug in front of the Aga always used to be our dog Basil's domain. Now Basil is sadly no longer with us, Poppy has taken up permanent residence. In the morning, when the sun's streaming through the back door, she'll be at the cooler end of the Aga. Come the evening, she'll be stretched out in front of the hottest ovens!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Caramel apple jam...



Mum and I went all rural and made some lovely caramel apple jam from a recipe I'd spotted on Sally's blog. We didn't bother with pectin, as apples are full of pectin themselves - we just boiled it for about 20 minutes. It's set perfectly and everything!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Weekword: Joy



This week's Weekword was chosen by Sally at Sowandsew. I took this photo of my sister eating a burger - and she was truly joyful at this particular moment, because my mum had found gluten-free rolls that were actually soft and light and didn't taste like stale bricks! I don't think she'd eaten a burger in a bun for a very long time - I think you can tell!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Birthday cakes!

Having a birthday on a Monday isn't ideal, especially when you have to go to work! But luckily my family had thought of that, and this amazing box arrived at the office...



Inside were 20 beautiful cupcakes with the most delicious cream cheese icing - gorgeous!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Presents!



It's not even my birthday yet, and already I've got all sorts of lovely presents! I've got two bottles of wine, a Moquette doormat, a really cute Union Jack dog doorstop and a Marimekko bag that was full of Finnish food (including rather a lot of Moomin liquorice!)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Birthday night out...



On the first of my birthday weekends (I do like to stretch my birthday out for as long as possible - this year will involve five birthday events, some in London and some in Somerset) there was a night out in Soho, lice not included!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Weekword: Temptation

This week's Weekword was chosen by Mandyland - and it's a good one! In June I decided I was just too heavy - I wasn't overweight, but I was heavier than I'm comfortable with. I knew I'd been 'treating myself' to things like cake and cheese and pizza and wine far too often, and I'd been using running as an excuse to fill my face with pasta at every opportunity. The upshot being that I was 11 stone 3 and Something Had To Be Done. I'm not one for denying myself and I'm not one for obsessive calorie counting, so I signed up to a website called Food Focus which does all the hard work for you. It gives you a daily net calorie goal based on your height, your starting weight, your activity level and how much you want to lose per week. Then you log the food you eat (there's a huge database of foods and you can add new foods to your own personal list of favourites) and the exercise you do, and you can keep track of whether you're meeting your calorie goal. Since I started I've lost around a pound and a half a week and am now at 10 stone 1 1/2, just a pound and a half off my ultimate target of 10 stone!

Obviously, while I'm not denying myself the odd treat, I am being more careful than I used to be - which means resisting temptation! Most of the time my willpower is pretty strong - but then every now and then something like someone bringing amazing raspberry macarons to work happens, and I can resist no more...! Luckily everything's good for you in moderation, especially macarons.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

More adventures in SF baking...



As you may have gathered, my sister can't eat gluten or dairy. So every time she comes to stay with me, I try a new experiment in SF (that's Suze-friendly) cookery. This time it was a spiced pumpkin and walnut bread adapted from this recipe on Joy the Baker's blog. I used half Doves Farm plain flour and half cornmeal, and as the recipe was vegan anyway I didn't have to worry about butter substitutes. It's gorgeous and the recipe makes two loaves so I've got plenty left over!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Squishy squash...



I had the end bit of a butternut squash in the fridge, so I roasted it, stuffed it with a mix of brown rice, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, courgette, toasted pine nuts, mint and feta and popped it back in the oven to brown. It was gorgeous - perfectly autumnal!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Eightiestastic!



My friend Jess had an 80s birthday party...complete with Thatcher cake!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Weekword: Senses









I've been so busy this week that it was really difficult trying to come up with something for this week's Weekword, which was suggested by Christine at Silver Linings 4 Me. In the end, I decided to use my night out in Piccadilly as inspiration, because going to one of the touristy bits of London certainly is an assault on the senses! So we have a delicious apple and melon martini to represent taste, me in a phone box (geek alert: it's actually the prototype of the original K2 phone box, which stands just inside the entrance to the Royal Academy) to represent sound, the interestingly textured panelled wall of the Royal Institution's Time and Space Bar to represent touch, and Piccadilly Circus in all its glory to represent sight. Trying to represent smell in a photo proved slightly too challenging!

The next Weekword will be chosen by Mandyland, so pop over there if you want to join in!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Lucozade E



As part of the Story of London month, Ealing Civic Society organised a talk on Iconic Factories of West London. Geek alert! It was really interesting, though, and was mainly about the massive Art Deco factories that were built along the Great West Road and Western Avenue. Gunnersbury Park Museum had lent the society a couple of artefacts for the talk, and one of them was a letter E from the famous Lucozade sign that used to adorn the Great West Road.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Holographic!



I'd seen a few mentions of Gosh Holographic nail varnish and I'm a sucker for a trend, so when I spotted one lonely bottle in Superdrug I snapped it up. I'm usually rubbish with nail varnish and very rarely wear it, but this is actually really easy to apply!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A bit of sunshine...



The weather's been awful just lately so it was lovely to get a little bit of autumn sunshine!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Tube strike survival kit...



Today we had a Tube strike, so I made sure I was prepared! I was all set to walk to work if necessary (it's only about five and a half miles) and even though reports said my bit of the Tube network was running normally, I wasn't taking any chances so I brought my trainers and map and easy-to-carry rucksack just in case. Thankfully in the end I didn't have any problems whatsoever - I felt quite bad listening to the people at work who commute from the other side of town (or from parts of west London with no Tube service today) describing their hellish journeys!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Sloes...





One of the first photos I posted on this blog was of the 2009 sloe gin bottling - and now we've picked this year's sloes and they're in big jars with lots of gin and sugar!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Carnival!



Carnival is a pretty big deal in Somerset, but none of my London friends seem to have a clue what I'm talking about when I mention it! This weekend was Ilminster Carnival and it was great fun despite the rain!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Weekword: Ten



Domestic Scribbles chose this week's word - ten.

My first thought was, seeing as October is the tenth month and it's also my birthday month, to find a photo of my tenth birthday. My mum always used to make wonderful cakes for our birthdays, so I confidently assumed there'd be a photo of me blowing out the candles on a fantastic birthday cake. Unfortunately, 1991 was the year I chose a local swimming pool for my birthday party, and we only have a few photos of a soggy-looking me! So here's a photo of me aged ten instead.

Sticky spicy apple cake...



My parents have a bumper crop of apples at the moment, so they're going into every sort of cake and crumble you can think of! This one was gorgeous - plenty of nutmeg and a crunchy sugar and honey topping.
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