Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Teacup - Green Mint.

One day last month I was feeling a bit sad, I'd had a bit of a rubbish day and so Ed surprised me and bought me a month's subscription to Tea Horse. He knows me too well because there are few things in the whole world that would make me more happy than great quality tea being popped through my letterbox. I love Tea Horse, especially the simple icons that accompany each tea, that aid you on your way to brewing an awesome cuppa. 

The Green Mint blend is a mixture of gunpowder green tea and mint. When I opened the little pouch it was housed in, I was hit by the most amazing minty smell. Whatever dried mint tea you have smelt in the past this will smell a million times more delicious. I infused this blend with the Tea Horse filter bags (which are like empty tea bags with one end open) and I was really impressed with them, they were a great alternative for when I am feeling too lazy to use my teapot. I followed the instructions and brewed the tea in water that was 80 degrees for 3 minutes. 

Now this tea is special! I have drunk a lot of green tea and mint tea but this fusion is fragrant, light and refreshing. The green tea is just there supporting the mint flavour whilst not being dominated by it. The mint is so fresh and almost sweet, it didn't have any of that bitterness that some mint teas threaten as an aftertaste. It is also perfect to drink after a sizeable meal and it can even quell indigestion, what more could you ever need from this refined little tea blend? Absolutely beautiful!

What teas have you been drinking lately?


Monday, April 29, 2013

Pearls & Swine - Avant Garde, Haute Couture Millinery.

I am super excited to be featuring some of the latest pieces from Pearls and Swine today. I have been a big fan of Bink's creations for a good few years, it is always a joy to see her new work pop up in my Facebook feed. These three pieces are some of my favourite yet! I am in total love with the first piece with the skull and feathers, it has everything you could ever need on your head, in my opinion, just beautiful.  

Headwear & Styling - Pearls & Swine.
Model - Gemma Lou.
MUA - Jane Armstrong MUA.
Hairstylist - Jessica White Hair Artist. 

Headwear & Styling - Pearls & Swine.
Model - Gemma Lou.
MUA - Jane Armstrong MUA.
Hairstylist - Jessica White Hair Artist. 

Headwear & Styling - Pearls & Swine.
Model - Gemma Lou.
MUA - Jane Armstrong MUA.
Hairstylist - Jessica White Hair Artist. 

Hope you enjoyed peeking at these unique creations, if you have a special occasion coming up then pop over to Pearls & Swine and aquire a unique piece that will make you the belle of the ball. 

What a lovely start to the week. Hope you have had a productive Monday <3


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Planting Our Future Food.

Ed and I have been working hard at the allotment this weekend, I thought I would show you what we have been planting and what is growing. It is so exciting to see the first few plants poking their heads out of the soil. 

The garlic and the salad leaves have survived through the harsh weather. The salad seeds even had a heavy snow on them a couple of days after I planted them, so I was really surprised to see they were growing. I planted my sweetcorn in toilet roll tubes, sweetcorn gets very grumpy if you disturb the roots of young plants so by planting them in toilet roll tubes it means you can plant them straight into the ground when they have been hardened off. The pea shoots and mustard white are a chic edition to salads and they are so cheap to grow, you can even grow these on windowsills. (All the seeds shown were covered with compost after these photos were taken otherwise the seeds would not germinate.) I also planted a row of peas outside, some rocket, spinach, turnips and lettuce. Can't wait for us to have our first salad from our allotment!

Hope you have had a wicked weekend, we are off to a BBQ in a bit *yey*.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nettles and Dandelions... for Lunch!

Ed and I have been really busy at the allotment today, planting seeds, digging over beds and fertilising them to get it all ready to grow lots of tasty vegetables. We didn't really have a lot in for lunch today so I decided to have a quick look at what the allotment already had on offer!

I snipped off a little punnet full of dandelion flowers and then donned my gardening gloves to gather some nettle tips. You want the lovely young leaves at the top of the nettles, the older leaves can be a bit fibrous. I also picked some random onion-things we have growing on one of the raised beds, at first I thought they were spring onions but they had a garlicky hit so I wonder if it was green garlic. If you are brave enough to try this and don't have green garlic then you can replace it with a clove of garlic or a few spring onions. 

So to make my weedy lunch I washed the nettles and picked the dandelion petals from the stems. I washed them really well then sautéed the nettles and chopped green garlic in a knob of butter (this will take all the sting away), on a medium heat. I added a little salt then waited until the nettles had wilted, you will know they are ready because they will reduce in size by about half, then I put the dandelion petals in. I cooked this for another 5 minutes then added a portion of rice noodles to the pan and mixed it all together. 

This was so delicious! Ed couldn't believe that I made this from weeds, that are free and easy to find. If you want to try this yourself a couple of things to remember are, nettles are best picked in the spring and autumn, when they are far away from flowering. Only pick these two plants if you are sure what they are, don't pick them if they have had pesticides or weed killer on them and don't pick them if they are at dog peeing height (for obvious reasons). 

Enjoy <3


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eat, Drink and Play Bingo - Vintage Postcards.

These are the last of my tiny postcard collection, I am on the hunt for some more though! The top one is my favourite because I think this person was an absolute character that loved to eat, drink and play bingo. Plus I am pretty sure Ilfracombe was were my parents honeymooned. It looks really beautiful there, maybe in the summer Ed and I will voyage there in Doris. 

I found the second postcard a little hard to decipher, but that is part of the fun with these. I am a bit sad that I have come to the end of showing you these. I can't wait to rummage some more out of the past.

Hope you have some exciting plans looming for the weekend <3


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stitching Love, Mushrooms and Strippers!

I thought I would share my recent-ish embroidery projects with you today. I really love embroidery, I find it the perfect way to relax.  I have taken the true love heart and the fan dancer from Embroidered Effects by Jenn Hart, if you are new to embroidery this book is amazing, not only does it teach you lots of the basic stitches but it also has loads of iron on transfers to play with. The little mushroom is based on a drawing from a graphics book I borrowed from the library. I copied the design onto my fabric using some grease proof paper and my Sulky iron on transfer pen.  

My next embroidery project involves stitching some place mats, I bought 6 for £1 from this little antique shop I stumbled upon the other week. I need to decide on a theme, at the moment I am thinking pin ups and vegetables. Who wouldn't want to eat their dinner off a placemat with those two things on?!

Hope you are having a great week <3


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Teacup - Camomile Flowers.

I always thought camomile tea was a bit gross. I forced myself to drink it for a while when I first found out that I was gluten intolerant because it is suppose to be very good for inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and at that point, mine was in a pretty bad way. So I bought camomile tea bags and really tried my best to drink them, but they were just bitter and had a funny, sweet after taste. 

A couple of weeks ago when I was in my local deli choosing some new tea, I decided that the loose camomile flowers were so pretty that I would give them another chance and I am really glad I did.

This tea is exactly what drinking flowers should taste like, it has this wonderful earthy body to it, which is followed by a sweet, honey like after taste. To concoct an amazing cup of this tea simply put 1-2 teaspoons of camomile tea in an infuser and submerge it into some hot water, then leave it for 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you like your brew. Camomile is probably my favourite tea at the moment, I especially love it in the afternoons when I need that slight lift to escort me into early evening. Delicious and the perfect drink for these early Spring days.

What teas have you been enjoying lately?


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Doris' Maiden Voyage!

Ed and I set off on our maiden voyage in Doris on Friday, we were a little bit nervous as this was the first big trip we had ever done in her. Ed has worked so hard on Doris since we got her in January, she was in really good condition for a 30 year old van but there were plenty of niggles that needed ironing out. We couldn't have wished for a more perfect weekend, the weather was absolutely stunning and Doris was super comfortable, it has definitely given us wanderlust. 

We went to Wells-next-the-Sea, it is a popular sea side resort on the East coast of the UK. Wells is one of my favourite places in the whole world, for me it has everything a sea side resort could have to offer, beautiful beaches, a quaint harbour, places to go crabbing and amazing local food shops. We found a little Deli in the town called Wells Deli, I had a Laksa there, it was one of the best I have ever had AND it was only £4.25! We did a lot of cooking in Doris because the local produce in Norfolk is second to non in my opinion. The local butchers even cured their own bacon... treacle bacon! I discovered there are few things better in life than fried, treacle bacon in gluten free granary bread. 

Saturday night was pretty epic, we found this boat called The Albatros which has been converted to a bar and has live music over the weekend. This was probably the coolest venue I have ever been to, it has a well worn, comfortable, shabby chic style to it with real ale! It has even made it into the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. The live music was a mixture of blues and americana and this little venue rocks when the guitars start up. I think this will be a regular haunt for Ed and I when we are camping in Wells. 

What a great weekend, 220 miles under our belts and many more to go, I'm missing camping already.

Hope you have had a lovely weekend <3 


Friday, April 19, 2013

Kitchen Glamour - Citrus Tea Bath Soak.

To celebrate it being Friday again I thought I would share how to make a natural, vegan bath soak that will leave you feeling refreshed and rather delectable. This recipe is really easy and once you have the idea you can play around with what you put in your bath soak. Bicarbonate of soda is one of the important ingredients, is what's known as 'Baking Soda' in the USA (it took me a while to decipher what the UK equivalent was.) You can find Bicarbonate of soda in the home baking section of most supermarkets. Bi carb softens the water, I have put 6tablespoons in and it seemed to do a nice job but you will have to experiment because the water hardness in your area is probably different to mine. Start with 6 tablespoons and adjust as you feel fit. 

I have used loose leaf tea because that is what I have in the kitchen, but this is the perfect recipe to use up those herbal teabags you may have lurking in your cupboard. You need about 10 teabags for a herbal bath, what better way to use up those old health kick remnants? You could also use teabags you have used over the past couple of days as well.  I have used green tea because it is full of antioxidants and will give your skin a subtle glow. Camomile because the fragrance is relaxing and it is gentle and soothing to the skin. It is very rare but some people are allergic to camomile so if you are one of these people do not put it in your bath.

Citrus fruits are as yummy for your skin as they are for your insides. Citrus is packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E. Using citrus fruits on your skin can freshen, moisturise and rejuvenate. This is mainly because of the alpha hydroxyl which is a natural exfoliator, this means that citrus will cleanse, unblock pores and it will help you to get rid of  those pesky old dead skin cells.   

So once you have all your dry ingredients together, chop the citrus fruits up. This can be as neat or as rough as you like. Next go and get an old pair of clean tights (I usually have loads of these lingering in my underwear draw because I just can't throw some of them away). Now you can either use the foot end or if there is a hole there, just chop a good length out of the leg and tie a knot in one end. You will need to put everything, apart from the Bicarbonate of soda, into the tights. I put the section of tights over a pint glass because it helps me fill the tights up with the rest of the goodies, it also will catch any of the juice because you don't want to waste that! When it is full of all of the ingredients tie a knot in the top. Put the bath sausage under the running water of your bath and pour  the Bicarbonate of soda on top, the water will turn a rather impressive orangey green. I used a pink grapefruit so the colour may be less dramatic if you use a regular one. Now all that is left to do is to pretend you are in a cup of herbal tea and glow about how very gorgeous you are. You can also keep the section of tights and wash it to use it again for another soak, good huh?

Hope you have some lovely baths <3


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Holidays from the Past - Vintage Postcards.

Spring has sprung, it is so close to camping season I can actually smell the damp grass and the cooking gas. So with that in mind here are the second couple of vintage postcards from my modest collection. The first post card is one of my favourites, it is just sooo pretty. 

Hope you have enjoyed taking a peek at these little fragments of people's lives. They just make me want to go on holiday. 

Hope you have got some wicked plans for the weekend looming. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mr & Mrs Bikes.

Ed and I love our bikes! We have been biking to work the past week and it has been wonderful, I find it a nice way to wake up which has really surprised me as I don't really like exercise that much. I won my bike on eBay last year, it was about £40 and I was over the moon when I found out that it was mine. Ed gave my bike a really good going over and bought some spiffing white rimmed tyres for it. Ed's bike is really special to us because it belonged to my Grandad. He passed away a couple of years before I was born and since then his bike has been kept safe in a garage waiting to be ridden once more!

Ed had been looking everywhere for a cool, vintage bike that wasn't horrendously expensive. When mum found out she rung up and asked Ed if he would like it because she knew he would take care of it and get it back in good working order. So Ed became the owner of this beautiful Triumph, he has fixed it up, bought white tyres for it and he even cleaned the bell and got it ringing again. 

Ed and I love the fact that these bikes were both made in Nottingham. My Grandad's Triumph must have then been taken to sell in Shropshire. The sticker is still on it from the shop he bought it from in picture 3. Mum thinks that the shop was called Hannetts which I think fits with what is left of the sticker. And now it has returned to Nottingham to have lots of frolics with my sparkly blue Raleigh. 

We heart our bikes sooooo much <3 I hope you like them too.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Teacup - Tea Pigs Chilli Chai

This week I have been drinking Tea Pigs Chilli Chai. This tea is a full bodied assam with beautiful exotic spices and a warm chilli tickle at the end. I didn't really know what to expect from chilli chai, but I am a huge chilli fiend so I just had to try it. 

I drank this tea black to start with, the cardamon and cinnamon were the pioneers trekking out of this tea onto my taste bugs. The chilli was very mild at the end like a warm cuddle. The second cup I had with milk and I think this was my favourite. I also found that if I left the tea temple in whilst I drank the tea it had much more of a chilli punch *yum*. This tea is definitely one to try if you want something a little bit warm and exotic to brighten up a dreary day. 

Hope your week is rocking <3


Monday, April 15, 2013

My Three Favourite Cook Books.

I'm a bit of a foodie, well that is the posh way of saying that I love food and eating. I can't say I am one of those people who read cook books in bed at night but then again I do own quite a few. I would love to build up a collection of old cookery books, especially ones from the 70s because they are so bad that they are good! I also have my eye on the Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management that resides on my mum's bookshelf. When I moved to Nottingham I tried to hide it in a box of books I was taking, she knew me too well and before I went she rummaged through and repossessed it. So anyway these are my three favourite cook books at the moment: Gok Cooks Chinese by Gok Wan, The Vintage Tea Party Year by Angel Adoree and The Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal. 

My affections for these books are all very different. Gok Cooks Chinese is full of mouthwatering pictures of dishes that I would have been far too scared to attempt. I have a couple of other chinese recipe books and I look at the tasty pictures then look at the humongous list of ingredients and give up. But Gok's book is very different, his recipes are based on a meagre larder of Chinese essentials and if you follow the instructions the food looks just as delectable as the pictures and tastes better than any takeaway! Ed cooked salt and pepper pork from this book the other night and it was out of this world good. 

Now where to start on The Vintage Tea Party Year, its just perfect in my opinion. The content is superb, the layout is beautiful, the illustrations are treats for the eyes. Angel Adoree will aid you through everything you need to know to pull of an exquisite vintage gathering from decor to hair to cocktails, oh and the recipes are pretty amazing too! I own the Vintage Tea Party book too and I just love every page these books have to offer. If you love vintage and you don't own this book you are seriously missing out!

I will probably never be able to cook anything out of The Fat Duck Cookbook, not to its full extent of deliciousness anyway. I would like to have a go at the chilli in there one day though. I have wanted to eat at The Fat Duck restaurant for years, but it is a serious investment to go there, it being a couple of hundred pounds for a tasting menu. But a girl can dream and this book is the perfect aid for that. 

What cook books are your favourite? 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Allotment Treasure Hunt.

I managed to score some free pallets and lengths of wood to make some potting tables in my greenhouse earlier this week. So today was the day to knock it all into shape. Ed took apart most of the pallet (which I used for the legs) but then he had to do emergency repairs on the greenhouse because it was so windy the polycarbonate sheets were just flying out. He frantically cut some lengths of cane to wedge in the frame, which seemed to work pretty well. I took the rest of the pallet apart and got creating. I had to saw a couple of inches off the longer pieces of wood so the bench was at a nice working height. I was really pleased with the end result, I am finally nearly ready for the growing season! 

We have a bit of land at the back of our allotment which is very overgrown and there is a lot of rubbish that has been thrown there by previous tenants. We are slowly working to clear this area, it will be lovely when it is cleared but it will take a while. These are some of the things that we found today. The toilet is probably my favourite find, the colour is amazing, proper retro. We are pretty sure there is a matching bath in the chaos, but we are nowhere near pulling it out yet!  

Hope you have had a great weekend, even though I bet you haven't found any toilets!