Sunday, 20 December 2015

wreath making

With weather like this, it's very difficult to feel festive. No matter how many parties you go to or mince pies you eat it's tricky to feel like it's mid winter and that Christmas is literally around the corner. So in a last ditch attempt, Nat and I went to a wreath making workshop at The Royal Exchange in the City and it was wonderful! Filled with seasonal colds and wrapped up in cashmere (a terrible decision as it's been so mild lately) I met Nat under the beautiful ceiling of a very festive Royal Exchange. 

We sipped mulled wine and nibbled on crumbling mince pies whilst enjoying the crafty festivities unravelling before us. From calligraphy master classes from Smythsons and table dressing demonstrations by Sophie Robinson we couldn't help but feel a flicker of festive cheer. 

As you all know, I love flowers and want to own a florist shop when I'm older so tonight's activities were practically made for me! Jamie Aston is a fabulous florist based in London (the City and Marylebone) and he led our floral extravaganza. 

We were set with the task of creating a wreath using wax-dipped roses, apples, orange slices, cinnamon sticks and pine cones. I could barely contain my excitement, especially when we were given a can of snow to spray over our creations! 

Using wire and a bit of elbow grease we transformed our blank wreaths into beautiful creations. Everyone's were different and made with a lot of love. Nat and I enjoyed chatting to Jamie about maybe attending another masterclass at his school in the new year. So watch this space- I might well end up with a florist shop one day! 

After some final tweaks here and there these were our final results: 

A wonderful evening with one of my greatest friends; a giggle a minute and the perfect way to get that last minute festive tingle. I am now home for Christmas as my office is being refurbished (a lovely Christmas present in itself!) so have been set to work to transform the farm into a festive retreat- I don't need any more tempting! 

Fingers crossed for a last minute cold snap! 


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

a merry little home

This year has crept up on us and alarmingly it's already December, how that has happened I do not know, but one thing is for sure, it's Christmas! This weekend The American and I went on a hunt for our Christmas tree. It's our first Christmas in the new house together, and though we won't actually be there (or together) for the 25th, we thought we'd make the most of it and get our tree nice and early. 

Neither of us have a car in London as it seems totally pointless when all we do is work during the week and stay in and around SW18 at the weekends, so we needed our tree to be nice and near as carrying would be the only way to get it home! Having tracked one down  we tried to get it home in one piece, and with us still being together by the end of it... I got arm-ache, he got a bit flustered so it ended up him marching on ahead with a seven foot tree on his shoulders and me trailing behind carrying the wreath. Ooops. 

We were very lucky to have been given a stack of decks for the tree the previous weekend on our trip home (thanks D&D!) so we were well supplied for an evening of decorating. The tree went up remarkably quickly and I was left in charge of dressing the tree.

We played Christmas songs and lit candles, all whilst cooking a belated Thanksgiving dinner - a multitasking power duo! It was a busy Saturday indeed. But look! Our tree is glowing and we are totally in love with it. 

I love real trees and can't imagine having any other kind. Just make sure you top it up with water so it doesn't drop needles within a few days. This one is a non-drop variety and, though we know it's very early for a tree, we are going to take very good care of it so it can see us through until the new year when we will be reunited after time away with our families.

I'm totally smitten with our little home, the sofa and armchair are the most beautiful things ever, I literally can't get enough of them and we're slowly getting there with all our pictures and soft furnishings. 

I hope you're enjoying the festive season, work parties and all! Keep your eyes peeled for a recipe post up soon!


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

a frosty weekend

A weekend at home is a rare occasion for me now. I can count on one hand how many times I've been back this year, not out of not wanting to but simply because time and life passes by at an alarming rate. Therefore, it is always so wonderful to leave the city behind and hibernate in the comfort of our farm.

The American and I headed home for three days, a real luxury! Friday was spent catching up with my Granny and walking the dogs, Saturday a day out with my parents and Sunday spent walking (again) and eating Mrs. B's roast beef.

Here are a few pictures from our frosty time away.

Friday was spent hiding in trees and chasing dogs:

Whilst on Sunday we made the most of the sun and went to the pool behind the hill: 

I'm suddenly feeling decidedly Christmassy! We're getting our tree this weekend so stand by for a festive post! 


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

sloe gin

A few weekends ago I headed back to the countryside for a sloe(w) few days. I hadn't been home since July and so it was much overdue, I left The American at our flat building our wardrobe and drawers so both of us had a weekend to ourselves. 

I arrived late on Friday night and headed straight to bed. I awoke on Saturday to blazing sunshine and a crisp autumnal breeze. Home always looks beautiful but I think the countryside looks even better in the autumn light. 

Mum and I hopped over to Broadway for a morning of shopping and catching up over cake. Broadway is my absolute favourite place and we are so lucky to have it on our doorstep. It's lined with chocolate box houses, little shops and tea rooms. If you've never been I suggest you go as soon as possible. The Lygon Arms is the hotel to stay at; a real Cotswold treat.

But enough of Broadway, this post is all about sloe gin! 

^^ this is Berry, a very apt name for a dog to pick sloe berries with! 

My uncle was also up that weekend so we all went for a walk with the dogs and took advantage of the hedgerows that were bursting with sloe berries. Everyone is writing about sloe gin right now but here is my recipe.

The recipe is very simple and works on a 1/3 sloe berries, 1/3 gin (cheap stuff is fine) and 1/3 sugar basis. 

My uncle recommended putting the sloes in the freezer overnight to save you from pricking them as this is a long and boring process. Lay them out on a plate or flat in a bag and once they start to defrost they'll go all mushy - perfect for getting the juices!

Next very gently heat your gin and allow the sugar to dissolve (I didn't actually do this part as was short of time, it will still be delicious though). Don't let the gin get too hot otherwise you'll be enjoying a virgin sloe cocktail later on in the year!

Finally, simply pour your gin solution into a large container (a lemonade bottle is fine) and funnel in the squashy berries. Give it a good shake and leave for 6-8 weeks. Though my uncle recommends leaving it for longer, for a better brew! If you have an airing cupboard that's always good too. Over the coming weeks I'll pop back to my little brew and give it a stir now and then to make sure all the juices are mixing well. 

Whether you decant it into smaller bottles as Christmas gifts, take it in a hip flask next shooting season or simply enjoy with family at home, sloe gin is a Great British tipple. Mix it up with tonic for a twist on your old favourite or add a dash in a glass of Champagne for a really luxurious drink.



Friday, 23 October 2015


Whenever I go home Mum and I always like to spend some girly time together. We usually head further out into the countryside or take a shopping trip to Cheltenham. However this time, we made the short journey to Broadway, my very favourite town in the Cotswolds. 

After stopping off to see the hounds, mum told me there was a shop I would simply love. We ambled up the golden high street and stepped inside a renovated Georgian house at the end of the road. This was OKA; an interior design showroom of the most delicious proportions. I was literally in heaven. 

OKA is the brainchild of Annabel Astor (Sam Cam's mummy), selling everything you need for the home, from faux florals and hand-stitched napkins to carved furniture and woollen blankets. The flagship store is in Broadway and is one of a handful of showrooms spread across the south of the country (Yorkshire is lucky though and has one in Harrogate). 

It's like walking through your dream home, laded with beautiful furnishings in rich colours and highlighted with object d'art and curiosities.

Don't you just want to come home to this?! If I had all the money in the world, I'd straight up buy this showroom. The house itself is beautiful and it's scented throughout with the most heady of aromas. Seeing as The American and I are furnishing our home right now, I went a little snap-happy. Though really, I should drag him away from the big smoke for a weekend and let him see it in person. He's already eyeing up one of the rugs...

I fancy having a dinner party around this stonking great table, you're all invited:

We wandered up the old wooden stairs and peeped into the bedrooms and looked down on the drawing room.

Mum spotted some blown-glass tumblers so we spent the next 20 minutes deciding which patterns we liked best and went with a quirky array in raspberry pink in the end. 

I think it's safe to say mum knows me well (it's her birthday today! Happy birthday Mrs. B!). I adored coming to visit OKA in Broadway and will be back before Christmas.

If you're in London there are showrooms in Chelsea, Notting Hill and Parsons Green. If you live further afield, take a look on their website for more locations. 

Apologies for a rather interior-focused post but I just had to share it with you!

I have a recipe for sloe gin for you this weekend - keep your eyes peeled for the perfect winter warmer.

Happy Friday!