Wednesday, 30 October 2013


A spooky carved pumpkin face awaits you at the back door... dare you enter the house of horrors???
Actually, our "horrors" are all away at their grandparents having a lovely time for some of their midterm break. So we are home alone. My boss asked me if it was all sex n' drugs n' rock and roll seeing as there are no children in the house. Sadly not. But we did visit the rather sweet town of Hillsborough and the F E McWilliam Gallery for a brush up on our Irish Cubism. By the time we'd done that and had a sandwich there was honestly no time for anything else...

Saturday, 26 October 2013



Sunrise this morning at about 8.20am. There was the tiniest amount of pinkish rays of light on the kitchen dresser and then as the earth changed position it was gone. It's always a treat to catch a glimpse of something subtle and this was extra specially nice before all the bedlam of children (in holiday mode) and breakfast. A moment of peace.

P.S. What are you doing this weekend? I'm off to make pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. It's a bit of a tradition, a family thing, to all sit down together for breakfast at the weekend. To spend our first meal of the day together and maybe re-connect a little after a busy week and before the hoo-ha of the weekend. Traditions. A good thing.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fairytale living

Once, in a faraway land, there was a wicked Queen who had three young, handsome princes. The young princes were prone to lots of loud and rough play which, on a good day, could take place in the palace garden far from the ears of the Queen. But this weekend it was raining so the princes were forced to stay indoors. The wicked Queen had to put up with lots of crying and moaning as the princes 'playing' turned to fighting. The wicked Queen got more and more fed up until finally she exploded and insisted that the three princes sat down-quietly-and made Christmas cards. "What?" they all cried, "but it's October Mum, er, your wicked Queeness." "Nonsense," said the wicked Queen and she set about chopping up all of last year's Christmas cards so that the princes could glue and stick to their hearts content...

The little princes spent approximately 15 minutes in peace and harmony making Christmas cards for their friends until the fighting broke out again and the wicked Queen had to open the Gin.
The End

Thursday, 17 October 2013

To my sisters (part three)

Village Bakery 8.5x11

Cafe au Lait

Fancy Food Fight 8.5x11
And so (my dear sisters!) the third and final part of your Christmas print selection... Kelsey Garrity-Riley peoples her illustrations with round faced, rosy-cheeked little folks who all look so very happy! I was very lucky to get a rather beautiful silk scarf designed by Kelsey from Fancy French Cologne before they closed shop. Anyway, if this pleases you tootle over to her Etsy shop to see what you might like.
Zodiac Dance Party 8x10

Greenhouse Garden 8.5x11

Sunbathing 8.5 x 11

Sunday, 13 October 2013


October brings some benefits-we are very well fed. Our tummies are filled with hearty stews and casseroles, chilli con carne and roast chicken, golden pastried pies and buttery mash, fruit cake and apple cake. At this time of year when it's dark early and there's a bit more comfort eating going on it's worth having a little something up your sleeve to transform the humblest of pear/apple puddings or that old trusty standby - vanilla icecream. Below is a recipe for the most delicious and easy butterscotch sauce courtesy of Nigel Slater. Needless to say I've made it more than once (blush-oh the shame of it, I know the page number it's on in 415 if you must know) and it's very popular with all ages in this house.
50g butter
100g soft brown sugar
100g golden syrup
drop or two vanilla extract
150ml cream

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a small pan and melt gently, then bring it to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat and let it bubble for a few minutes. Add the vanilla extract and then the cream. Stir well and then pour into a jug. As it cools it will thicken.
The photo shows it with apple sponge- a plain sponge dotted with sliced apples before being baked. It's a simple but pleasing pudding.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Autumn bliss part two

It's the International Mushroom Festival this weekend so here's a flavour of what's in the little spinney behind our house. I have to admit to complete mushroom ignorance when it comes to identifying them so none of these chaps will be making it into the frying pan...Isn't that blue one just beautiful? I hope you have a lovely weekend whether you're mushroom picking or not.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Autumn leaves

October is really kicking in-it's much colder here-the wood stoves are burning, the garden is dying back and the spiders have been busy. They have covered the yew trees in web, weaving it densely, creating a wrapped effect- perfect for the spooky season.

Autumnal walks are so nice, don't you think? I love the leaf litter at the side of the road and the burnished hedges and the low lake- it's water hasn't risen much yet but in winter, after the rain, the level will rise and we won't be able to walk quite so far around the edges. I like this. I like that although the landscape in which we live doesn't change in any dramatic way, the details, the smaller picture does- each season there is a subtle difference, there to be noticed if you look.

Friday, 4 October 2013

To my sisters (part two)

So, this is part two of your Christmas print choice (dear sisters!). Amanda White's naive collages are beautifully detailed and show the houses of writers and poets - Wordsworth, Keats, the Brontes, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Derek Jarman all feature. Perhaps you have a favourite novelist or poet you think fondly of? Look at Amanda's Etsy page and choose their house...

I think my favourite is this one of the winter foxes leaping over the garden of Haworth Parsonage, the Yorkshire home of the Bronte sisters- doesn't it make you wish for snow, crackling fires, cinnamon scented cakes, cashmere scarves and the time to read Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre?