Friday, 28 November 2014

Playing with the Queen of Hearts

When winter settles in, I like to be all cosy and snug at home, particularly in the evenings. I like to shut the world out, draw the curtains and light the candles, especially when we have people over to dinner. Serena and her partner came over a couple of weeks ago and we had some fizz and nibbles before sitting down to eat properly.
This one is a firm favourite from my tapas cookbook. Cheese and olive bites, with a bit of a kick.
You'll need 4 oz each of chilled butter, plain flour, hard cheese (they suggest Manchego, I use mature cheddar), 2 oz black pitted olives and half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender, then roll them into a ball, cover in cling film and put in the fridge for 20 minutes. This makes it much easier to use in the next step.

Next, take about a walnut sized piece of the dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten it on your palm. Dust your hands with flour so it doesn't stick.

Then simply place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 200 Centigrade.

Allow to cool or not as you please, and then eat, eat, eat. Try to remember to allow your guests to have some too.

Then last weekend, we went over to Eloise and Patrick's for a lovely evening of food and chatter. They live in a fabulous house, which they have styled beautifully, so it's a real treat to spend time there. I spend my whole time just drinking in the surroundings. Eloise is a talented and successful designer and I seemed to have dressed to fit her latest work, both in terms of the colours and the geometric print.
Images copyright of Eloise Renouf

Q went all art director on me and suggested this Queen of Hearts picture using the reflection in the mirrored dining table. That's a 1960s Dollyrockers dress I snaffled from Second to None in Walsall. Vix pointed it out and said somebody needed to buy it, to save her the bother. She's a good 'un, because it looked amazing on her.
I love that combination of yellow shoes and pink tights, which mirrors the velvet curtains with pompoms I made. I consider myself a junior apprentice to Queen Helga of the Divine Colour Schemes.

This weekend we're off to a Thanksgiving party, where there will be more lovely food and friends to catch up with. I was pondering what to wear, when the perfect dress arrived in the post. I'll show you next time. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all and thank you all so much for your lovely wishes for my birthday. xx

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date

Two weeks, near enough. I've been Missing in Action. Dealing with all sorts of drama.

There was the 50 page booklet which needed to be designed at the last moment, the car breakdown, the family escapades, the tenant problems, the tax returns, the this, that and the blah blah blah.

I didn't even have time to say to the Universe, "I don't have TIME for this". And that's one of my favourite phrases.

It shouldn't happen to a blogger. But sometimes it just does.

So anyway, 12 short days ago, three young ladies woke up and said to themselves, 'Hey ho, hey ho, it's off to shop we go'. We're on a self-appointed mission to find treasure in the charity shops of this Kingdom, one town at a time. This time is was Burton-on-Trent. If you want to hear about the history, Vix is the authority. If you want to know about the charity shops, Curtise has that covered.
So instead I'll present to you the themes of the day. Firstly, of course, there was glamour. Here's Vix, looking like Priscilla Presley in the most amazing jumpsuit, and there's Curtise looking like a sexy Principal Boy in her short dress and boots.
We also visited the Animal Kingdom. My little pony to remind us of Krista and a rather imposing bull.
 Curtise, making overtures to a ladybird.
Is that a T-Rex I see before me?

No, it's the perfect cape.

From Welsh Wales, the first of the countries we visited. After that we went to Sweden for this fabulous bag, Austria for a Dirndl with the cutest label...
...and New York, New York in the US of A!
I stayed mainly in Switzerland, land of my birth exactly 48 years ago tomorrow! 
We tried on hats, we drank alcohol, gave an old man the thrill shock of his life, we chatted, shopped and laughed and laughed and laughed.

These two, what a lovely pair.
When shall we three meet again? And where? And who else is coming?

Friday, 7 November 2014

Sometimes in a daydream

Sometimes I just like wandering round my house and taking photos. Rampant wanderlust aside, I'm a home bird at heart.

I often think it would be quite fun to be an interior stylist. Putting things together to look pretty. Obviously I'm ignoring the whole getting up early, travelling and lugging things about part of the job.

But of course, that's the beauty of daydreaming, you cut out the bits you don't fancy.
I've finally sewn those pompoms onto that chair. As we all know, pompoms make everything better.

We stayed in a gite over the summer, which was decorated in black, white and grey in a very spartan way. There was no pleasure in being there. I pined for colour and cosiness and visual interest.

I got that little pink bowl in Sienna market, in Tuscany. Whenever I go abroad I treat it like the Grand Tour, finding knick knacks to bring back. Who am I kidding, I do it on day trips here in the UK too!

So, when you are daydreaming, what do you think it would be nice to do for a job?

By the way, you're a clever lot! Apparently the difference between a cloak and a cape is that a cloak is longer and has a hood, whilst a cape is shorter and doesn't.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

A cape or a cloak: that is the question

This new to me Kinky Melon cloak caused something of a stir last night when it sailed forth on its maiden voyage to a Halloween Party.

Once the questions of whether I had come as the Snow Queen, Belle from Beauty and the Beast or Lucy from Narnia had been discussed and decided (I forget the outcome), and whether I wanted any more Paprika Pringles had been resolved (no, thanks, my mouth is on fire), the really important question was asked.
My Kinky Melon wonder, a purple woolen garment with arm holes, zip up the front and a chinchilla trimmed hood. When I first got it it was much wider across the shoulders, causing me to look rather Henry VIII in it. Since that wasn't the look I was hoping for, I dismantled the mantle and reassembled the ensemble. Now I feel like a princess in it!

Was it a cloak or a cape?!
These photos were taken on my return. Still awake past midnight! That's a pumpkin-coloured paisley empire line maxi dress I bought on our blogger's trip to Sheffield and that necklace is my Mum's from the 1980s. 

Not as easy a question as it sounds.

Was it to do with length? Was it to do with arm holes? Nobody knew.

Mobile phones came out. Research occurred. An answer was put forward, which makes sense, but it would be no fun just telling you, so do you know what the answer is?
Here we go, 1968, England. A small chunky Snow Princess with a bad haircut is holding court. 'I want the chariot with the red wheels!'

I sometimes wonder if my tastes now are simply about recreating my childhood. Look at my mum's shoes. I'd wear them any day of the week.

Early 1970s, Kuwait. Little Red Riding Hood is hanging out with a pixie, a clown and Cleopatra. She's holding a hen basket which I would kill to still have now and wearing a red tell me!