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

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Something from the weekend….a picture-worthy few days

I’m always snapping away on my phone, truth be told, but this weekend seemed to give me more in the way of picture opportunities than usual. It was indeed a lovely weekend, filled with fun but relaxation too. Anyway, I thought I’d share my instagram feed by way of summing it up…..

Friday night started the weekend with cocktails, as it always should…..

…..we played Guess Who…..

……and then Adam beat me at Triv!

Saturday began with a lovely long dog walk……

…..we headed to Barton Springs for a nice change…..

…..and the sun shone for us rather splendidly!

We found a darling little tea room and gallery for lunch…..

….where they serve an epic Hot Chocolate…..

….and yummy tea on quaint mis-matched china…..

…..as well as lush lunches like the stuffed mushroom on toast that I went for!

Once home we set about hanging our new treasure, the huge antique map of London that looks rather marvellous on our lounge wall…..

….and after that it was an afternoon of snoozing as it all got too much for my boys!

Another lovely walk on Sunday morning, this time at the stunning Chick Sands woods….

….I love all the little dens people have built there!

After a yummy breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes (the last left in the freezer after my Mum’s visit!) we pootled around the market and car boot sale, where I picked up some little treasures….

…..and where my favourite stallholder gave me this incredible menu from the 60′s!

We finally took the tour of the museum opposite where we live in the afternoon….

….and took part in a Victorian lesson where we had to practise reading parrot-fashion…..

…..did maths in old money on slate….

….and worked on our handwriting with a dip pen!

The rest of the day was more relaxing, eating and watching of Buffy. Bliss!

What did you get up to?

Ems x

Something from the weekend…..cakes, walks and rummaging

It was a close call, but the rain didn’t dampen my weekend….

On Saturday morning I pootled around the house, cleaning and tidying whilst Adam walked the hound….Friday hadn’t gone as planned so it was good to catch up a little. Then after a nice big brunch (Adam poached some very yummy duck eggs for us!) we made our way into London, leaving the pooch with his Grandma Liz (that’s Adam’s Mum!).

We made our way to friends’ Richard and Tara’s flat in Farringdon, Tara and I leaving the boys to get up to mischief whilst we headed into town for our friend Brigitte’s hen do! First of all we took in a lovely afternoon tea at a hotel on the Strand, then went bowling at the fun All Stars Lanes, before we had a big dinner together. We didn’t go in for the traditional Hen stuff (L-plates and penis straws etc!), but chose instead to honour the occasion by all wearing fascinators in light of the fact that the Bride and Groom have requested no-one wears hats to the wedding!

As the pup had a sleepover at his Grandma’s, Adam and I managed to get a nice lie in before we went to pick him up. Then after a late breakfast, we took a turn around the Sunday car boot sale at the Market, then went along to the second Great Hitchin Rummage Sale at Bar Ab nearby. Lots of local shops had taken up a pitch there, in what is sort of a one-day pop-up shop….and some of our favourites were there to tempt us with the rummagy loot….Jolly Brown and Red Eyed Dove had a stack of goregous vintage treasures, whilst Mamacita’s Cakery (new to us) were selling a table full of dreamy looking sweet treats. We picked up several of the latter’s offerings, then made our way home to yum them up!

Because there are so many cupcakes and such being sold on similar stalls at the moment, it takes a lot to impress us….we’ve really only tried one stall’s cakes and been truly wowed (how we miss Flavour Town at Old Spitalfields now that we’ve moved!). However, the amazing yums by Mamacita’s Cakery really did impress us, and we scoffed a Dulce de Leche cupcake, a Mexican wedding biscuit and a ‘bronze’ biscuit (each) in close succession! Definitely will be trying more of their treats!

To walk off the gluttony, we took the hound to the common for a nice jaunt, then went back to Adam’s Mum’s for a dinner of fajitas, followed by some of her amazing freshly baked scones (with clotted cream obviously!).

Back at home we had a relaxed evening on the sofa. I finished off a little drawing project for a competition (Oasis’ new butterfly collection cover photo) and then had the customary early night!

Hope you had a lovely weekend too!

Ems x

Something from the weekend…..piggies, parades and blue skies

Isn’t it amazing what a bit of mild weather and blue sky does for the soul?! Like most of Britain, we enjoyed a rather more seasonable weekend, and made the most of it by getting outdoors and, er, lazing about!….

Our morning walk on Saturday was just glorious. We’d been expecting rain, but when we saw the sun out we couldn’t wait to get outside, and took ourselves off on a lovely jaunt about the local countryside. Cooper enjoyed the warmth and getting a nice long walk, whilst Adam and I loved the sun on our skin and the welcome fresh air. We took in a visit to the nearby pig table at Charlton, walked past the summer hunting lodge of Henry VIII and negotiated a couple of horses who happened to be taking up part of the path we took!

We breakfasted back at home after that, and then, wanting to be outside some more, headed out into town for a little shopping. There was a bric-a-brac stall in the square at which I picked up a lovely little vintage typewriter, and later on we also met with the Sikh New Year parade! I’ve never seen the Vaisakhi festival before, but I love that it’s such a big thing in my new town. We met lots of lovely people in the square as the parade approached, and were given sweets and chips and samosas and a yummy spiced hot drink! The parade itself was wonderful….there was a stunning float and lots of people with swords and gorgeous bright costumes….I must learn more about it all as it was so lovely and happy and exciting. What I loved most though was the brilliant music…. local carnival band Toque Tambor played, as well as the amazing Dhol Foundation (who I’ve seen lots before and even hired for a couple of weddings!), and I was still tapping my foot to the beat as we returned home and the parade eventually came around and passed our very own house!

It began to rain shortly after that, so I spent the rest of the afternoon being quite lazy on the sofa, and mainly trying to sort out my new phone. I’ve taken an upgrade but spent HOURS backing up my old handset (I had over 13,000 photos on it!!) which was all rather dull, but needed doing. We had Chinese takeaway for dinner and watched Hitchcock’s Sabotage afterwards, then made our tired ways to bed.

Sunday morning began with another sunny walk, then we had the obligatory root around the car boot sale at the market place. Adam’s Dad joined us and we sat for a while having a coffee with him too….it was so nice to be able to sit OUTSIDE the cafe with our drinks, not least because it meant we could have Cooper with us!

Once home, we didn’t want to head indoors yet as it was just so gloriously sunny….so, we dragged out a couple of chairs and a table, as well as the hound’s bed, and sat out in the garden for a while. We used the time to do a little wedding planning, and also plan some socialising over the next few months.

I made a yummy vegetable broth for supper and we sat and watched X Files on the sofa afterwards….we are now onto Season 7 after a little break to watch Walking Dead and Magic Users Club (as well as New Girl which we are still waiting for the next episode of!). Then it was the usual Sunday evening early night.

Lush weekend! How was yours? Hope you caught some sun and blue skies too!

Ems x

Something from the weekend… Lights, rain and packing

Well it really IS getting rather Festive now!

Our weekend started with a very Christmassy Friday, as we spent the evening in the Market Square for the Hitchin Christmas lights switch-on! There were stalls from lots of locals, with vintage fashions, yummy foods and delicious drinks on offer, as well as carol singers and whatnot. I’m very impressed with the wonderfully large tree that has been put up in the square, right in the centre of town and only a few minutes walk from our home….and at 7pm we all shouted a count down as the tree lights were switched on for the first time!

The place was packed with people and it was all terribly jolly, so we continued the fun by inviting the friends we’d met up with back to our place for hot Winter Pimm’s. I love having the house full of guests….it’s so much cosier when there are more people around!

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On Saturday I was due to host another stall at the Riverside Craft and Farmers Market, but owing to the fact that it’s an outdoor market and I’m still not feeling very well (not to mention the weather forecast!) I reluctantly decided not to go. Instead we braved the wind and rain for a little bit, to head back to the market square for the Hitchin Food and Wine Festival. It was no good browsing all the stalls on our empty tummies though, so Adam took me to the wonderful Halseys tea room where we feasted on a gorgeous brunch (bubble with fried duck egg and mushroom for me, homemade baked beans on toast for Adam). I love how busy and cosy it always is in there, and their food is brilliant.

Duly fed, we met up with some friends and wandered about the food market, sampling some fabulous beers and chilli sauces, and lusting after all the hot dishes of mulled sausages and venison chilli on offer! There was a fair turn out despite the rain, but we didn’t last long and returned home to get warm and dry.

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We spent much of the afternoon setting up the Wii Adam bought in the Amazon Black Friday sale, and playing the bowling game on it. Then for dinner we headed over to Adam’s parents’ where his Mum had cooked up a roast lamb with stacks of yummy veggies. After chatting over dinner and putting the world to rights, we headed home to watch an episode of X Files before bed.

After the obligatory Sunday morning lie-in (and a rather large brunch of fried egg sandwiches!) we popped out for a bit into town, first to the car boot sale where I picked up a darling little bird painting for just 60p, and then on a few errands to get the last few things for our holiday. Once home we set about packing for our trip, whilst drinking tea and singing Christmas songs. Then before we knew it, it was dinner time and we went back over to Adam’s Mum’s for her amazing baked pasta dish (as we hardly had anything left in to eat and didn’t want to shop just before we leave!).

Back at home I had a lovely Skype chat with my dear friend Michelle in the States….it was wonderful to catch up with her and just natter away for a bit. Then it was another couple of X Files episodes before an early night ahead of our journey!

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How was your weekend?

Ems x

Something from the weekend….our first overnight guests!

I’m still feeling pretty pantsy all told (hence the late posting of this), but we just *had* to have lots of fun this weekend because we received our first overnight guests! Dear friends Matthew and Siobhan made the journey up from London to spend the weekend with us, straight from work on Friday. It was so lovely to catch up with them, and host them in our new home.

I had spent much of Friday cooking, so that I didn’t need to do too much whilst our guests were here. But we scoffed some lovely cake that Siobhan had made first of all (apple, pear and almond…yum!) along with a pot of tea, then it was a tour of the house before a supper of cottage pie. We had some of Adam’s wonderful dark chocolate and banana loaf for pudding, and then he made us Mint Juleps and Espresso Martinis whilst we chatted the evening away!

On Saturday morning, I served up a big kedgeree breakfast to set us up for the day, and then we took the short walk to the amazing Eric T Moore bookshop. Matthew especially loved the place, and at more than one point we lost him and thought he may just spend the entire weekend there! I picked up some yummy rosemary bread and brownies for lunch from our favourite local bakery, Quotidian, then we toured our guests around town. I had surprisingly managed to remember quite a lot of the things we’d learned on our recent Hitchin History walk and the Ghost walk, so I shared lots of random bits of information as we browsed a few shops.

After that, we took them into St Mary’s church, which is right in the centre of town and the largest church in the county. It’s pretty opulent and really rather impressive! Then we stopped in on the market on the way home, clean forgetting that we had bought brownies already and picking up some obscenely huge cream cakes for later.

I had made Sweet Potato soup with ginger, chilli, lime and coconut for our lunch, which we yummed up alongside the delicious Quotidian bread. Then it was off out again, and over the road to the British Schools Museum where there was an exhibition for the local art club. We saw some wonderful pieces, all at very reasonable prices too!

From there we took the little walk around to Adam’s parents’ place to pick up the dogs, and then from there we walked over to the old Priory grounds for a little stroll. Newton was rather nervous, as he always is this time of year, due to the gun shots of nearby pheasant shooters, but we managed to pay a visit to the Charlton Pig Table and say hello to our piggy friends!

It was a lazy supper on Saturday, as we headed over to our brilliant local pub, The Half Moon, for some lovely beer and pub grub. The pub dog ‘Moon’ was unusually friendly and spent lots of time sniffing around our table for any bits of food (which we weren’t allowed to give to her) and a little affection. Then back at home we gorged on the cream cakes we’d bought and sat around drinking liqueurs and playing board games.

On Sunday morning we continued the gluttony with a breakfast of Belgian waffles with bananas and maple syrup, then attempted to walk it off a little with a pootle around the market and the car boot sale. It was great to get there at a reasonable hour again as the traders really don’t all hang around! I picked up some very lovely miniature playing cards, a wonderful old book of pianforte music and a stunning children’s tea set from the 1940s!

Once home again, we just about had time to conclude the complete tour of the house by showing our guests the cellar and the garden. It was a beautiful day out, so lovely to see the garden all autumnal and sunny. We picked a big handful of fresh bay leaves for Matthew and Siobhan to take home, then made our way to the station as they needed to get back into town for lunch.

Adam and I spent the rest of the afternoon on another walk with the dogs, before heading to Adam’s parents’ for a supper of fajitas. Then it was home for more X Files and an early night. Rather blissful weekend!

Wednesday Wants…… Hornsea Pottery Fauna

I’ve recently developed an obsession for Hornsea Pottery, and especially their Fauna range. As you may have seen, I snagged a gorgeous piece at a recent vintage market, and ever since that I’ve been hunting for more!

In fact, I’ve managed to find a lovely bunny version, as well as a super cute squirrel to make a little set….can’t wait to find a place for them in my new house (will be sure to share photos!).

I just adore the cutesy creatures and the whimsical designs. I want them all!

Anyway, as is my new habit, I’ve created a treasury on my Etsy to show my appreciation! And here are a few of my favourites…..

Hornsea Fauna Royal Vase, £25 from RevolverVintage54

Vintage Hornsea Fauna Rabbit Posy, £6.50 from daisysteps

Vintage Hornsea Fauna baby Lamb Bud Vase, £12.81 from Violet Syrup Vintage

Hornsea Pottery Foal Vase, £10 from Pratts’ Patch Vintage

Set of Two Gorgeous Vintage Fawn Posy Vases by Hornsea Pottery ‘Fauna Royal’ c. 1960 – 1967, £18 from FerretsandFlamingos

You can see my whole treasury here, and I will of course keep adding to it!

Ems x

Treasure hunting at the Capital Car Boot

If you read my weekend post yesterday, you’ll know I had rather a lot of fun finding treasures at the Capital Car Boot on Sunday. I’ve only recently heard about it, and rather sadly this Sunday was probably the only chance I’ll get to go….although who knows!

The car boot is on every Sunday in Pimlico, come rain or shine! It’s really an awful lot better than the other car boots in London I’ve been to….it has lots of variety, but only ‘proper’ car boot stalls (no dodgy dealers!). Most of the sale happens in the car park of the venue, with lots of the sellers literally selling out of their car boots…..there are some other sellers inside, as well as refreshments available.

We had a great time there….well over an hour in fact….and it’s a nice area to potter around in afterwards, with the Tate Britain nearby, as well as some lovely pubs about. I’d definitely recommend it to the intrepid treasure hunters, who like me, enjoy a good snoop about a bunch of random stuff….and I’m sure even the die-hard car-booters enjoy a good barter and bargaining there!

I snapped up a whole load of treasures, all at a bargainous price….and I thought I’d share with you here!……

Pillow cases in a lovely Toile Pattern…..

…..and matching duvet cover for one of our new spare rooms

Super cute tortoise sweater

Amazing Gentleman’s travel set

A whole load of treasure I found in a big heap of random stuff on a gingham cloth!……

…..including a lovely string of pearls……

….a Snow White charm…..

…..some tiny wooden skull beads…..

…..a tiny wooden die…..

…..a pretty pearly jewel…..

….a little secret treasure keeper charm…..

…..all wrapped up in a little Woods Ware ‘Beryl’ sugar bowl!

It’s worth following Capital Car Boot on Twitter and/or Facebook, as they give passwords to gain free entry with each week!

Happy treasure hunting!

Ems x