Thursday, 31 December 2009

**Happy New Year**

Nothing new today, I just thought I would wish all of you, a few hours early, a very
*happy new year*

So, out with the noughties, in with the tens. Isn't it weird to be talking about the 10s? For me it always refers back to the previous century. It's the decade my great grand-father was born, the first world war started, etc...I guess we're gonna have to see what History will be written in these 10s.
For now, be merry, enjoy, and see you in 2010!

Friday, 18 December 2009

at long last

Today is indeed a day I've been waiting for for ages! And not only is it the end of term, we have also been blessed with some *snow* over the last couple of days. I finished work at lunch time, and for the very first time in what feels like for ever, I've enjoyed some home time with daylight. Then I snuck out to finish my Christmas shopping (or so I thought!) and came back to prepare a nice dinner that will, for once, not be rushed.
I don't know about you, but I've been feeling Christmas-sy for a while now, and it seems like there's just no time left at all to do anything before next week. Luckyly in those moments, I rely on good old Nigella to show me the way! And this year again, she did not disappoint. By some miracle, I found an hour of free time this week to prepare those little marvels for my colleagues to enjoy over has been a winner!

**Nigella's Puddini Bonbons**...ummmmm!

What do you think? Aren't they the cutest things you've seen this season? These beauties are a bit fiddly, but are definitely worth it! The recipe is so simple it's crazy not to try them...

* Mix together some leftover Xmas pudding (400 g.) 2 spoonfuls of Golden Syrup, 60 mil. of sherry and some bain-marie melted dark chocolate (125 g.)
* Put on a pair of food gloves, if you want, to start forming your truffle / bonbons. They should be bitesize, and you should get about 30 out of the mix. Place them on a tray with cling film or baking sheet.
* Cool them in the fridge for an hour or so. Then melt your 100g of white chocolate to make the snowy effect. It can't be too hot nor too cold - not good tips on how to decide that I'm afraid!
* And for the final touch of glam, cut up your glacé cherries for a holly effect. Leave to cool, and try not to eat it all on the same day!!

I really hope you try this recipe, it's an absolute hit! I didn't have any leftover pudding, so I just steamed a new one - just the same really.

And I can't resist leaving you with a picture of my tree. I bought it just round the corner last week-end, and I just love it!
I couldn't believe how expensive they are...but hey, 'tis the season to overspend I guess! And what a lovely thing to look at in the evening.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

advent and other things

Now that's a moment I've been waiting for for a loooooong time! back in October I visited Berlin and fell in love with this lovely matriochka in the famous KaDeWe department store...isn't she to die for?

This is such a transgression - I honestly can't remember if I've ever even had an advent calender before....but this one was just so pretty, I had to have her! And the chocolates inside are amazing, nothing like the grotty tiny pieces you get in supermarket ones.

I've also been meaning to show you the pouches I made with the much awaited magnetic snaps. Here they are - I just about remembered to sanp them before their own owner came to get them!

As you know at the moment, normal daylight is a bit of a utopic thing, so I have to apologize for the horrible pics! here's another one...I was made up with those pouches, as I made my own pattern. And today before I bid them goodbye, I even had the satisfaction of a colleague asking me for a copy of said pattern so she could try and have  ago at it (yeah!)
Well, I'll leave you on this modest note. I have so many things to say, but life has been really hectic the last 2 weeks, and it doesn't look like it's gonna stop for the next fortnight again. If I have a minute or two, I'll post this week-end to tell you all about it.


Friday, 13 November 2009

An amateur clutch bag

After many agonising days, the impossible has finally happened. No, my boss hasn't decided to pay me the same salary and go part-time. Despite the biting cold, we haven't been snowed in either (although there is sill hope for this one to happen soon, fingers crossed).
No, the good news is, my magnetic snaps have finally reached me. Which means I can start making those again from next week. Of course, the bad news is, I can't get started straight away. The annoying thing with my job is, I have to give up a Saturday a year, and that's tomorrow. Boo hoo!!
Well, at least I have the pleasure of knowing that next week-end I'll be doing what i like best, and that in itself is worth quite a bit, isn't it?

For this clutch I have made my own pattern, getting inspiration from Tone's small purses and using(or trying to use) some of Keyka Lou's tips. You'll probably also recognise Saidos da Concha's style there.

Do you like it?
More to come very soon - hopefully!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

So...I' jumping on the train here and anwering Alice's call for photos of our "work places" in action. As I am no longer seeing the day light (leaving before the sun rises, coming home when it's way dark!), you'll have to make-do with some pitiful night-time coloured pics. The rule wants me to nominate three people to show theirs - I can only suggest the lovely

*Cristina (no blog yet)*    *Posie*    and      *Bliss Cocotte*

That way, everyone gets to represent their corner of the world.
Oh man, isn't the whole darkness when you're home get on your nerves too? Lucky for us there's True Blood on TV, gorgeous stews, books, and the conforting feel of a blanket on your knees!!

Friday, 30 October 2009

fab fabric # 3

Another day, another one of my new fab fabrics. This one's a paisley-like red, and I'm loving it before Christmas! As with the others, I have a few ideas what I would like to do with it, but nothing definite.
In other news, I am having  abit of a crisis with my regular supplier of magnetic snaps, and as a result I cannot finish my purses until I get my new ones. Say, where does everyone get theirs from? I've just ordered a batch from ebay, but surely there must be a good, reliable supplier? I'd appreciate your input on that.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

that feeling

Like a lot of you these days, I am currently working on several Christmas projects, some for me, some for people who have put orders in. It's a great feeling to be on holiday and be able to work at your own rythm, with nothing to disturb you mentally. I feel so much more creative and patient when on holiday, I wish it happened more often, but then again, I don't think I'm alone on that one, am I?
So, this past week I've been busy looking after my man by preparing some nice healthy dinners. That is, until last night, when I got tempted by the devil aka the cupcake book.

So, ater a bit of hesitation (twenty seconds or so), I chose the iced version of walnut cakes. It was my first ever icing, and it turned out all right. I was surprised how easy it actually was! Her's what the cakes looked like...yummy!

I divided the mix into two, and put walnut in half, as per the recipe, and poppy seeds in the other. They were real nice!
Otherwise, here's a little preview of what I've spent most of my day on today...but more on that later this week! See you soon.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

fab fabric # 2

Another lovely print I found last week...What do you think? I love the mix of blue, pink and red at the moment.

Monday, 26 October 2009

fab fabric # 1

I'm really making the most of having free time this week, and went to purchase new fabrics. Here's a Cath Kidston-esque one I picked on Saturday. What do you make of it?
Or better still, what would you use it for? I'm thinking another cute little purse, but your inspirations would be welcome!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Festival of lights

What I love about Berlin's quite hard to say, really. First of all, the people are absolutely lovely - and I really mean that. They smile at you, and make you feel welcome in their town.
Here's a few pics to give you an idea. I haven't gone for the too obvious places, to let you have a different impression. And there's an exclusive first pic of me on this blog!!
The "school bag" in Berlin, illuminated by all the pretty lights during this month's Festival of Lights.
We were SO lucky to be there the very weekend of the re-opening of the most important museum. This museum houses the most amazing collections I think I have ever seen. It was in a very very bad shape after being hit during WW2, has undergone a super renovation, and is now a World Heritage site . It opened its doors last Saturday for the first time in 70 years, and we were blown away by its treasures.
One of the many memorials to the Jews - a maze of cement blocks with olive tree canopy.
The Zoo station - not as tough as in Christiane F., but still a bit...
It felt kind of vibrant all the time, even though it's nowhere near as busy as central London. The city is clearly marked by its history,and in every neighbourhood there is a reminder of eras gone- the good, the bad, and the ugly!
But that's OK, and altogether I think all of us contribute to a great and humbling experience.

Friday, 23 October 2009

comfort food

After escaping for a few days, and judging by the settling cold over here, I could not resist trying this lovely dish, as made last week by the very talented Alicia from Posie Gets Cosy
She got her recipe from this website, although both of us altered it slightly. It is really quite straight-forward, and the result is absolutely yummy!
The savoury biscuits were a treat, and this is just my kind of comfort food.

Here's a simple how-to:
* Roast 3 or 4 chicken breast in the oven, let them rest when cooked, and chop up in small chunks.
* Gently fry a chopped-up onion in a knob of butter until translucent. (After about 10 minutes, I added a couple of chopped-up celery branches). Add some flour to make a roux, season and wet the lot with about 3/4 l. of chicken stock, adding it gradually to thicken the lot. Finally, add cream.
* Blanch 2 or 3 roughly chopped carrots for 2 min.
* In your serving dish, mix the drained carrots, two handful of frozen peas, the chicken, a handful of chopped parsley, and finally mix in the sauce.
* Put in the oven for about 15 min whilst you prepare the biscuits.
* Now, in the proper recipe, you should use a mixer, but I don't have one, so I did it by hand - easy enough! Mix some flour with butter until you get crumbs, than add "half and half" (I'll be honest, i didn't have a clue what that is, but my friend Google helped me, simply dilute some cream in a little milk) until you get a pastry-like result. Add more chopped-up parley, season.
* Spread your pastry and cut out some disc shapes. Brush them with egg yolks, and put them on top of the stew.
* After another half hour in the oven, you have this yummy stew!

Just what you need this time of year...and it's easy to make.
(sorry for the photo - it was really nice when it came out of the oven, but the smell was too overwhelming, and we just had to eat it right away, so you just get to see what was left over!)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

simple lunch

A simple lunch for one, and if you're careful enough, you can spot the placemat I made a while ago - not my finest hour, but I still like it and use it every time I eat...

It's nice to be back home after a few days away. Berlin has been VERY exciting. I'll say more about it later. For now I'm preparing to do a bit of sewing, and cannot wait to try out some new ideas I've had. Unfortunately I have had no time to look for fabric shops in Berlin, I hope I haven't missed out on too much...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

good things

There is nothing more comforting than to receive a nice big bunch of flowers to keep you happy for days. I'm sharing those with you, as I'm going away for a few days. Yes, I know, I'm on holidays AGAIN!! People get so annoyed at teachers - especially those who share our lives, but not our long periods off work!
Back to to the holiday theme, my little excusrsion to this fantastic place was not really planned, but Mr Yummy and I loved it the first time we went, and it just felt like the right time to have a cheeky few days together. I wonder if I'll find some nice fabric shops there? Does anyone know?
Otherwise, I have found another addiction these anyone else hooked yet? I know it's been showing for some time in the US. I've only seen two episodes, and can't wait for the rest of the series.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

tea and biscuits

Well...a rather posh version of tea and biscuits!!! Last weekend one was invited to High Tea at Fortnum and Mason's and one enjoyed some delicious cakes in lovely surroundings. If you ever fancy it, I strongly recommend it, it was the most pleasant afternoon tea I've ever had. The staff was very nice, we were greeted to the grand piano being played - but it does come with a high price tag, so it is definitely a one-off indulgence...but hey, after a tough week, one needs a treat, right? And who can resist tea and biscuit? Really?

that time of year...

Well, this is it. No going back now. The cold is slowly but surely settling in, and it is undeniably autumn. Which is fine by me, really, only I have to get up early and come home when the sun comes down, so I don't get to see much light in the day. I can't bear to think what happens when we turn back our clocks in a couple of weeks' time.
Does anybody else get anxious about it? I'm trying not to think about it too much, but can't help it. They say in Switzerland (at least I think it's Switzerland) people pay to have luminotherapy! Judging by how dark it felt this morning, some of us may need to book sessions soon...

But enough of this grumpy stuff; really I do love autumn, and here's why...

* I get to start knitting a scarf, like every year (and hope that, for once, I won't give up!)
* I start making early plans for Christmas presents for family and friends
* I can snuggle up in bed for hours without feeling the least bit guilty
* Any excuse for cooking a stew / cake / almondy biscuits etc...
* Anywhere you look it's like fireworks in the trees

Say, do YOU like autumn? What is it about it that makes us love it?

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

plum tart

Thanks to a generous colleague, I was very lucky to bring home some gorgeous plums this week. Look at those beauties!
And the finished product isn't bad either, what do you say? Yummy!!!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

pasta mia

A while ago I was telling you about my felt fun period. And as I'm really quite a greedy person, I've found a nice way of combining the two, but without the calories to accompany my dishes: farfalle and ravioli!

This is a recent thing, but I've also been known to make a cake or two when I first started sewing. Sadly, a lot of them have found new homes before I could picture night even say they "sold like hot cakes"!
Luckily I still have apicture of my very first (bless, I was so proud of my efforts!)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

I don't like school...

( I don't like school!
Plus, you can see I've got loads to do
So I've decided to stay on holiday...)
Ah...if only I could do the same!
I always love the illustrations from Luciolland, especially the Miss at the start of each month. (English readers, you might have seen her work in Jamie Oliver's cute!)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

A nice day out

Last week I have been out and about in London, going in and out of museums, and admiring the views from all the city's famous spots. Such is life when you live in a popular capital these days!
I think I have had more visitors since I moved here a year ago than in three years of living in the Midlands!!
But sometimes it's worth it, just to take a different look at things you tend to take for granted, or just to rediscover the beauty of an art piece. I've always been very fond of Giacometti, but what a pleasure to see those again at the Tate Modern!

We've also had a nice time in Brighton, going through little streets covered in paintings / graffiti / street art. Take a look for yourself...

And, of course, no visit to Brighton would be complete without walking around on the Pier.

That was nice! Unfortunately all good things have an end, and I'm back at work hoo! Don't you all find it hard to go back to the office?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Homemade blackberry cheesecake

So, as planned, I went blackberry hunting the other day, and managed to bring 800g home!
Look at the beauties...

So I made my spiced cheesecake with them for my visitors...yummy!! My visitors are still around at the moment, so I'll post the recipe later if you want it. Here's a piece of the finished product - we were in such a hurry to eat it, I forgot to take the picture of the whole cake!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Simple lunch

While I can still enjoy the little summer pleasures...

A small salad, some lovely and addictive blue cheese, Italian ham. Yummy!
And I just love using my dwarf tray! It's a rare pleasure as Mr Lavender doesn't like it...too girly and naff for him.
In keeping with the late summer theme, I'm going "hunting" for some blackberries later - hope there are some in the bushes, I am dying to make my spiced blackberry cheesecake!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Look at this adorable clutch! I have to say, I am really quite happy with this one, it turned out really nicely.
It is my first experience with sewing a bow, so I think i still need to refine my technique, but it looks good enough for a first try.

(Oh! listen to me, blowing my own trumpet!)

Well, if you like it, let me know, I'd love to hear your suggestions.
Whilst I was making it I had some cringing problems with the tension on my machine - I hate when this happens, don't you? I ended up having to walk away for a bit - thought I was going to go crazy!! Then once I re-threaded and checked my bobbin, it turned out to be fine. The end result was worth it!

Monday, 17 August 2009

School bag #2

Here are the latest additions to the "school bags" (that is, back to work and/so treat yourself bags!). First of all, a smaller version of the bag presented last week, but with the same gorgeous lining I purchased last autumn in varying colours.

Then there is my take on stars and stripes, with a lovely dentelle ribbon I brought back from France last year. If you are lucky enough to go on holidays in the countryside over there, do not hesitate to go and look around a car boot sale - there are some amazing finds!!
Each bag comes with *Yummy Lavender* in a little sachet, and is closed with a vintage button. They are great fun to make! The pattern is from this book, an amazing source of inspiration.

Friday, 14 August 2009

School bag#1

I know, I know...this looks nothing like a school bag! At least now one for kids - but in my view every respectable lady should have a new bag for going back to work after the summer holidays. This one is velvety on the outside, has a cosy flowery lining, and of course, comes with its trademark *Yummy Lavender* lavender bag, so no matter what you put in there, your bag is sure to smell lovely day in day out for a long time.

Watch this space for more school bags to come in the next few days.
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