My NOT ON THE HIGH STREET shop is now officially open!

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It’s here! How exciting!

I now have a very professional looking shop open with NOT ON THE HIGH STREET!

You can find the shop here, which is full of my vintage stamp jewellery….it’s all hand made by me and every piece is totally unique! Look out for more treasure going onto the shop soon though….I intend to launch my treasure charm necklaces there very soon!

Hope you like!

Ems x

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Something from the weekend: Treasure hunting, archery and more gardening

I do love it when the weekend starts early, and it certainly did this week! My dear friend Vixie came to visit Hitchin on Friday and we happily spent the entire day moseying around together! We hit the Antiques and Collectables market hard…spending hours there in fact! Then it was to the local vintage shops and charity shops until we were all shopped out! We both came away with lots of fabulous treasures and it was so lovely to catch up with her.

On Saturday morning we took a drive out to Chick Sands for a lovely long morning walk with the hounds….it was a beautifully crisp and bright morning and I do love exploring that place! Once home we scoffed belgian waffles for breakfast and then I spent some time in the garden, readying it for winter!

In the afternoon we set off to nearby Knebworth where we were having the first archery lesson of our beginners course! The course was a gift for Adam’s birthday and lasts four days. It’s with a great local club called the Green Dragon Bowmen (how cool is THAT?!) and they shoot right out front of the stunning Knebworth House. We started with a warm up and then the very basic techniques, just shooting at paper plates to begin with! After tea and biscuits we carried on freestyle shooting, with some great teachers who are members of the club. We had an amazing time and soon saw some progress….as well getting rather achey to boot!

We spent the evening relaxing in front of the telly, watching Buffy after a naughty dinner of pizza….a much needed rest after the day’s adventures!

Sunday morning saw another lovely walk over at Radwell, then it was back home to do some housey things before heading back to Knebworth for our second class. We progressed to proper targets this time, and further away too….my first few arrows didn’t even make it far enough, let alone hit a good place on the target! Still, with more help from our great teachers, we carried on progressing, and by the end of the day Adam was looking like a proper archer and getting some really impressive shots!

It had rained on us during our lessons so we were keen to warm up back at home with a cup of tea before heading back out again to walk the dogs. Adam’s Mum had been gardening for us whilst hound sitting so it was great to see what she’d been up to too! We now have a large new flower bed to play with, and soon will be able to grow veggies there!

Our afternoon walk saw lots of pretty rainbows and great skies, then it was back home to indulge in a take away curry as we were too shattered to cook! It was more vegging out after that, then very soon to sleep after a super tiring weekend!

Ems x

New items in my Etsy shop!… The Capy Collection

Just thought I’d update you about some new items I have up on my Etsy shop for sale now! I’ve been drawing Capybaras for ages now, as they are Adam’s absolute favourite, but when a friend told me I should really try to sell them I wasn’t sure how popular they’d be! It seems though that lots of people also think that capybaras are truly amazing, so they’ve gone down very well so far!

I’ll be making lots more capybara-based treasure before too long I’m sure, but in the meantime, here is my Capy Collection…..

‘Capybaras in Love’ Espresso Cup and Saucer Pair, £35

‘Monsieur le Capybara’ Pint Mug, £15

‘Mr and Mrs Capybara’ Salt and Pepper Shaker Set, £15

‘Partybara’ ‘Capyccino’ Cup and Saucer, £15

Hope you like!
Ems x

Something from the weekend….Foraging, gardening, making and treasure hunting

I had such a lovely weekend! The weather really does help of course, and all the sunshine hours make such a difference!

I spent a lot of the weekend gardening….the front garden has been transformed after many hours of hard work and is benefitting from having been totally dug over and filled with plants! I can’t wait to see it all bloom, although I guess I have to wait til Spring for that. Still, it looks better already and has tidied up the front of the house no end.

We did some great foraging too…..we picked loads of blackberries and elderberries from the local common, as well as some sweet pea pods and honeysuckle berries I’ll be planting for next year. We also raided the back garden, and came back indoors with stacks of apples, more blackberries and greengages too. There is a medlar tree that is also looking rather full, but I think we have to leave those a little longer before harvesting them.

We spent an absolute age rinsing the elderberries, plucking them off their stalks, rinsing them again and then bottling them….I hope it’s going to be worth it! We made one bottle of elderberry schnapps and one bottle of spiced elderberry liqueur….can’t wait to try them! I made jam from the greengages, and it was probably my most successful yet….it tastes yummy and is the perfect consistency so I’ll have to share some tips soon!

As is traditional, we also visited the antiques market on Friday and the car boot sale on Sunday….I picked up some great treasures to use at the wedding and the place was really buzzing in the fine weather. It was also the crafts and  farmers market on Saturday, and we dawdled around there awhile, spotting some great new stalls too.

Other than that, it was a weekend of domesticity, relaxing, cooking endless amounts of marrow, walking the dogs and watching more Buffy. Bliss!

Here are a few photos from the weekend…..

Ems x

Foodie Friday: The Copper Beech Tea Room

I do love a quaint little tea room, and when we recently found this charming place I knew it would become a firm favourite. In fact, we took my Mummy there last weekend for her birthday, and she just adored it too!

The Copper Beech Tea Room is actually part of the Copper Beech Art Gallery, which is just a short drive away from Hitchin, Letchworth or Stevenage in Little Wymondley. The gallery sits within an oak-beamed barn on a working farm, and hosts both resident and guest local artists, as well as workshops….. you can learn cake decorating, painting in many styles, mosaicking, lino printing, hand applique, gilding and lots more! The owner actually spotted the self-made dinosaur necklace I was wearing, and once we got chatting about what I do invited me to bring some of my work along for her to see and perhaps sell!

We love having a wander around the gallery as we wait for our drinks to arrive, but then it’s time to settle down in the darling little tea room!

Nothing matches in the cosy little cafe….there are charmingly mis-matched chairs, tea cups on totally different patterned saucers and art work of all styles on the walls. One wall is dominated by a gorgeous large dresser, upon which stand various home made cakes for you to gape at! The menu is great for us…nearly all veggie, but plenty varied to boot. There’s a quorn spag bol, toasted ciabattas with your choice of fillings, pasta dishes and soup. For just £7.50 you can get any drink of your choice with any main meal, and for £10 you can also choose a cake!

On our most recent visit I opted for the mushroom bake, which is a seriously yummy sort of pattie with loads of cheese inside and all crispy and breadcrumby on the outside. All the main meals come with delicious home made coleslaw, pasta salad and a nice leafy salad (which I am happy to say is not dominated by rocket or raw onion which often spoils a side salad for me!). Adam and Mummy had toasted ciabattas, both of which were devoured! We can also really recommend the (pictured) stuffed mushrooms (with with parmesan risotto or with goats cheese and onion marmalade) as well as the goats cheese puff which we’ve had on previous visits.

Tea for one comes in a pretty little tea pot, whilst my hot chocolate was served in a huge mug topped with stacks of cream and hundreds and thousands! The meals are way too big to be able to tackle a cake straight afterwards (especially as the cake portions are massive too!) so our waitress kindly wrapped up our two slices of pineapple cake and slice of apple cake to take home! We made the right choice too….the huge portions made a nice pudding about an hour after we got home, and then stretched to pudding after our supper too! Both cakes were amazing to boot….seriously tasty and moist, just like a home made cake should be.

We’ll definitely be going again soon and couldn’t recommend the place enough….it may be small but it’s certainly perfectly formed, and beats the in-town chain lunch haunts hands down!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants: Back to School with Not On The High Street

This week I got the very exciting news that I’ve been accepted to join Not On The High Street, and I’ll be opening up a little Under A Glass Sky shop there very soon! Naturally, I’ve been using this as an excuse to spend ages browsing this lovely site, snooping around and window shopping…..And what with it being that time of year (not to mention my stationery obsession) I’ve been very much led down the ‘Back To School’ path. And that’s despite not actually having been to school in some time now!

Still, a girl can still hanker after some fancy new stationery can’t she? Here’s my picks….

Personalised Pencil Case, by TILLYANNA, £8

Well this literally has my name all over it! And not only was this lovely pencil case clearly *made* for me, but it also stipulates it’s to carry my ‘creative kit’….which means I could fill it with all kinds of marvellous things!

Pack Of 12 Personalised Colouring Pencils, by ABLE LABELS, £6.50

And to fill that personalised pencil case? Why, a set of personalised pencils of course!

‘Stuff I’m Likely To Forget’ Notebook, by BREAD & JAM, £13.50

Another thing *clearly* made for me! I just have to keep list upon list, lest I forget where I’m coming from and what I’m doing. And there’s nowhere better to keep all those lists than a super cute note book like this one.

Personalised ‘From The Kitchen Of’ Stamp, by PRETTY RUBBER STAMPS, £12.50

I love stamping things. I used to have a self built toy post office as a child and would merrily stamp anything that sat still for long enough. This one would be great for home-baked gift giving….and you know, just anything that sits still long enough.

Rob Ryan For Alphabet Bags Initial Tote Bag, by ALPHABET BAGS, £16

Of course, one always needs a pretty new bag to carry one’s pretty new things in. I adore Rob Ryan and these initial book bags with his darling paper-cut initials on make me smile.

Bunny In The Field Paper Clip Holder, by KIKI’S GIFTS AND HOMEWARE, £15

And now for the pièce de réstistance…. I am just crazy about this little bunny rabbit! He cleverly gathers up all your paper clips, and he’s silly cute to boot. I want him on my desk this instant!

Are you allowing yourself any ‘Back to School’ time extravagances? What type of stationery really floats your boat?!

Do keep an eye out for my Not On The High Street shop….my vintage stamp jewellery should be live on there in a week or so!

Ems x

Tuesday Tutorial: Jewellery Picture Frames

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I actually first made these to display my jewellery in at a pop-up shop I was exhibiting in, but once I’d brought them home I thought they’d just be perfect for keeping my own collection all tidy! I have a beautiful big jewellery box, and a big hat box that’s crammed with jewellery too, but despite all that my things invariably end up strewn across the fireplace in the bedroom!

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I have my flavours of the month, then they get buried underneath the next favoured few, and before too long I’ve forgotten what I have! This way though I get to show off several pieces at once, keep them all de-tangled and then just swap them back into the jewellery box when I want a change!

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These are super easy to make, and only took me moments. They’re cheap to put together too (I made them using bits and bobs I already had at home!) and don’t take any special skills!

What you will need:

  • Picture frames (broken, or with the glass and backing removed)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Small cup hooks
  • Drawing pins
  • String
  • Mini pegs
  • A bradawl tool, if you have one, or something sharp and pointy if not! (Please be careful!!)
  • White tack or picture nails

How to make:

1. Along the top edge of your tallest frame, measure the inside edge and mark out where you’d like each hook to go using the pencil

2. Using the bradawl, start off a hole at each mark

3. Screw your hooks into the holes, ensuring they all end up facing the same way

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4. Along each side edge of another frame, measure out and mark with a pencil where you’d like a string to cross, leaving a good 5cm in between each

5. Push a drawing pin into each mark

6. Tie string across and between each set of drawing pins

7. Attach pegs to the strings

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8. Now they’re ready to go on the wall, either suspended on nails or just attached with white tack (like mine!)

9. Hang long necklaces from the hooks, and rings, brooches etc. from the pegs

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10. Stand back and admire your work!

Ems x

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Some Bank Holiday Baking: Foraged Fruit Crumble

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Few things give me much greater pleasure than foraging for sweet treats and then cooking them up on a lazy weekend! Earlier in the week we went to a nearby hot spot for soft fruits, and whilst the Victoria Plums and Greengages weren’t ready yet, we did get a great haul of blackberries and apples!

As far as I’m concerned, by far the best way to use up such things is in a crumble, so today I baked one up to round off the roast dinner we just yummed up! Here is how I make it my favourite way….

Ingredients

  • About 300g blackberries
  • About 600g cooking apples
  • Stevia or caster sugar to taste
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Extra spices and sugar to sprinkle on top

How to make it

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 190 C / 375 F / Gas Mark 5
  2. Core and peel your apples, and chop into cubes
  3. Chuck the apples into a pan and cover with boiling water
  4. Add a good couple of table spoons of Stevia or sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
  5. Simmer for about five minutes, or until the fruit starts to soften, then add the blackberries
  6. Simmer for a further minute and then drain the water from the fruit right away
  7. Have a little taste to decide if you need more sweetening, and add more Stevia or sugar as you like
  8. Rub together your flour and butter (I start this off in my Kitchen Aid for speed)
  9. Stir in the sugar and spices, and mix well
  10. Pour your fruit into a casserole dish and cover with the crumble mix
  11. Sprinkle over some extra sugar and spice, and pat with your finger tips gently to make the surface bumpy
  12. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes, and remove once the crumble is golden on top

I like mine with custard, but of course ice cream or creme fraiche is yummy too! If you prefer your fruit nice and firm, just skip the fruit stewing stage as it will have enough time to cook in the oven….I just like it nice and soft though underneath the crunchy crumble!

Have you managed to forage any goodies this summer? What are you making with them?!

Ems x

Muddling Through: The Manhattan

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Good evening and welcome to my first proper post in ‘Muddling Through’, a beginners guide to cocktails, written by a beginner.

As my introduction said, I’m going to be focussing on classic cocktails (at least for now) and few are more widely known than the Manhattan. This also seemed a rather apt choice as it’s one of Ems’ all time favourite cocktails.

Invented in The Manhattan Club, New York as early as the 1870′s (though it seems no one can say for sure) the drink has changed very little since then. As with the Martini the only real change seems to be a gradual decline in the amount of Vermouth added! That said, with these kinds of drinks there are a great many variations and the Manhattan in particular is popular with bartenders who enjoy injecting a little of their own style into their drinks. For simplicity though I’m going to stick with the most basic. Don’t however let my use of the word ‘basic’ fool you in any way! The Manhattan is a very sophisticated cocktail and when done well is a truly great drink!

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The Manhattan

Ingredients

  • 2 Measures Rye/Bourbon Whisky
  • 1 Measure Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 Dash Bitters

Depending on how sweet you like your drinks you can simply increase or decrease the amount of Vermouth added (I’d suggest increments of 1/4 measures).

Method

  1. Combine the Whisky, Vermouth and Bitters in a mixing glass/cocktail mixer half filled with ice.
  2. Stir together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Yep, that’s it! So if you read my introductory post you should see why I told you to treat yourself to the good stuff! With drinks like this you’ve not got much to cover the taste of poor quality alcohol, so best not to risk it!

Rye is the more traditional Whisky for use in the Manhattan, but as I’ve found American Whisky sparsely stocked in UK supermarkets to say the least (there is so much more to life than Jack Daniels and Jim Beam!) you’re unlikely to find a Rye outside of the Internet, or if you’re lucky a very well stocked off-licence! In which case you will be more than fine with a good Bourbon.

As for Vermouth, if you can find yourself a bottle of Vermouth Rosso you can add an extra level of depth to your Manhattan by adding up to half a measure. Again depending on how much Vermouth you want to add in total and how sweet you want it, you’ll either add it or replace some of your sweet Vermouth with it.

Finally feel free to experiment with different Bitters if you can get hold of any. Orange is good, and I’d also recommend Cherry….lots of Manahattan recipes include burnt peel or a cocktail cherry.

For anyone interested, here’s how I’m currently making my Manhattan at home:

  • 1 Measure Pikesville Straight Rye Whisky
  • 1 Measure Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon Whisky
  • 1 Measure Cinzano Vermouth
  • 1/4 Measure Vermouth Rosso
  • 5 Drops Cherry Bitters

In all honesty I’m making it this way as I’m not in love with the Pikesville (it’s also my first Rye), so once that’s gone I plan to try another Rye and if I like it may end up making my Manhattans with just that. You never know, which is why it’s good to experiment to find what you like as the flavours and sweetness in a drink like this differ from person to person!

However you end up making your Manhattan, I hope you enjoy it and let me know about your experiences!

Until next time!

Adam

Wednesday Wants: Tatty Devine AW13

It’s here! It’s here! The new Tatty Devine Autumn Winter Collection is here! And as a matter of no surprise whatsoever, I want it all!

The collection is all loosely based around a 60s psychedelic solar system theme, but of course there are some twists! I love all the pearlescent Perspex and the darling little sprinkles of glitz. It’s all super fun, just as you’d expect, but wearable to boot, as usual.

Here I go with my current for-runners though…..

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Head In The Clouds Rainbow Necklace, £95.00

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Head In The Clouds Brooch, £60.00

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La Luna Moon Small Necklace – Opal, £40.00

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Planet Brooch – Amber, £40.00

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Planetary System Statement Necklace, £150.00

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Psychedelic Heart Ring, £25.00

You can see the rest of this wonderful collection here…. What’s your favourite piece?!

Ems x