Wednesday, 19 April 2017

An Easter Monday Stroll Through Blakeney, North Norfolk...

There can be nothing better recommended to blow away the cobwebs of carbohydrate induced inertia,  than a pleasant post lunch stroll through the gorgeous streets of the North Norfolk coastal village of Blakeney.

Perfectly restored brick and flint houses, tastefully faded old wooden doorways, clusters of what were once fishermans cottages, and a panoramic view over the Blakeney salt marshes provide a picture perfect and genteel backdrop for the traditional Easter pursuit that is known as 'Looking At Other People's Houses'...


...It also provides a beautifully co-ordinated colour chart of what I imagine to be Farrow & Balls finest...

...It all made me want to immediately bound home and rethink the colour of my front door...

Mmmmm...a light 'Bone' or perhaps a more dramatic 'Stiffkey Blue'...?

...Even the quaint village Stores was picture perfect...

Such welcoming facades, which I suspect look quite magical lit by lamplight in the evening...

Some - equally as splendid - faded grandeur...


...As well as a few secret doorways...

...Small alleyways,  populated by gravel roads and beautiful, neatly kept cottages...

Each garden beautifully tended...

...And many that I'd gladly move into straight away if asked...

Our impeccably decorated lunch spot...

The view on the way back to the car...

...And if you fancy a longer stroll, there are numerous nearby coastal walks - perfect for a spot of dog walking, crabbing and bird watching, or simply just to walk off the sticky toffee pudding that somehow found itself sitting eagerly on your plate at lunch - begging to be eaten whilst shamelessly lavishing itself in cream right in front of your very eyes...Not all so restrained after all!

Until next time,

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Monday, 27 March 2017

Hurrah For The First Outdoor Lunch of The Year!

It was certainly a long time in coming, but FINALLY just a week after the first day of Spring, the sun decided to put it's hat on and come outside for an ENTIRE WEEKEND of blue skies and sun rays!

Now, I for one had been ready and waiting for this moment for weeks...If not months.  I didn't even care that the actual temperature didn't quite live up to the visual spectacle of a cloudless sky, and  golden sun.  What mattered was that it was suddenly time to come out of hibernation, escape the cocooning comfort of being indoors, and start breathing in the fresh air again!

In celebration of the weather, I decided to enjoy a weekend of gardening and outdoor eating - especially as it gave me the opportunity to make use of my gorgeous new Laura Ashley acrylic serving dishes and picnicware.

As you know, I'm a huge fan of vintage and decorative antiques, so one of the joys of decorating and accessorising for any occasion is mixing up the old and the new to get my own unique eclectic style.  I particularly love things that have an air of nostalgia or a hint of the retro about them, and this particular line of Laura Ashley home accessories has all of that with it's Murano glass inspired floral shapes.


Coupled with my chippy painted farmhouse table and mismatched vintage chairs the whole scene looked fabulous against the crispness of the Laura Ashley Whitby check tablecloth and matching garden Whitby seat pads in a seaspray grey/green – the perfect mix of shabby and chic!

And if you're wondering what we had for lunch, my simple menu and a quick recipe can be found below - Enjoy and HAPPY SPRING!! 

EASY SPRING LUNCH MENU!

Prawn & Lime Mayonnaise Sandwiches
Green Salad topped with sliced pears, walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
Halved peaches with crème Fraîche and honey


Paula’s Easy Prawn & Lime Mayo Sandwiches
150g Jumbo King Prawns, chopped into small chunky pieces
Handful of chopped coriander (or flat leafed Parsley if preferred)
1 half of a chopped sweet red pepper
1 half of a chopped sweet yellow pepper
1 chopped celery stalk
Half chopped small cucumber
Salt and Pepper to taste

4 x Brioche Hotdog buns

For the Lime Mayo sauce:
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1 teaspoon runny honey
Pepper and salt to taste
Pinch of paprika if you like a spicy ‘kick’ to your filling.

Method:

Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl, add chopped prawns and diced vegetables to create a thick and chunky, but not too runny filling and spoon equally into buns. Serve with a leafy salad of your choice – in my case with the addition of sliced pears, walnuts and pomegranate seeds – yum!



















Until Next Time!


Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Laura Ashley, all words, opinions and views expressed are my own.

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Monday, 27 February 2017

Bringing The Spring In!

Well, I for one have felt like January was the longest month on record, with February coming a close second - and despite what my husbands says - No - I have never said that before, and certainly not on an annual basis, at precisely this time of the year....


Obviously, it's simply the weather that causes this feeling of time dragging on, as in England we long for Spring days filled with sunshine, longer daylight and a garden that suddenly comes alive.  I actually look forward to the first days of January, where the promise of exciting new beginnings and the potential for a fabulous new year are at their height, so I know that it's not the months of January or February per se that are at fault...

In fact if both of those months were filled with a constant stream of crisp Winter sunlight, then they would be  an absolute dream...

...And so, in order to combat this (Okay - I admit it - yearly...) feeling of Winter ennui, I like to inject a bit of Springtime magic into the house a few weeks early, and plant up some vintage post with Spring bulbs and flowers...


I adore filling the house with cut flowers, but at this time of the year, they can prove to be expensive and/or hard to find on an ongoing bases, so I find that Spring bulbs fill the gap quite nicely until the country blooms of choice are back in abundance...

I am a quite the planter addict and the vintage variety are naturally my pot of choice.  Unusual vintage vessels are a particular love of mine and they sit beautifully alongside my more conventional original Constance Spry vases and various other antique planters...


Victorian Jelly molds are a delightful option in lieu of a conventional planter, as they tend to have the most beautifully sculpted shapes, ridges and designs that are often equally as pretty as the flowers inside...

...And so a day of planting ensued at the weekend...





...and as a result, I now have a house filled with happy flowers, soon to open buds, and a feeling of Spring promise... Have I ever told you how much I LOVE this time of the year?



...And if you'd like to see me actually buying the vintage jelly molds and the planting up in action, please take a look on my YouTube Channel Here!


Until Next Time!































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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

My St. Valentine's Day Table!

I must admit, that after many, many overpriced, forced romantic, sleeping sitting up, hour and a half slot allocated, table placed in overspill tent out back, unsatisfactory Valentine's meals at fancy restaurant...


...In recent years, we've tended to leave the £150 'Romantic' Set menu's based around a heart shaped chocolate souffle to the younger crowd....

Now, if this makes me sound a bit "Bah Humbug" about romance, really I'm not...

I LOVE the idea of celebrating St. Valentines day, I just prefer to make it a family and friends occasion, and to leave the romantic dinners for the other 364 days of the year...

So here is my pre-prepared St. Valentine's table for a family supper this evening...


The plates are the gorgeous Schiap style that I found in the sale at OKA.  They're bolder than my normal choice of white, cream or pastels, but I think that they add interest and are a sophisticated change to my usual French creamware.


My trusty hand blown, Dee Puddy green glasses are out again in force, and you can't go wrong with a vintage French soupier full of roses and  a regiment of vintage brass candlesticks - candlelight is a good choice for ANY occasion.


So there it is, and if you'd like to see me actually setting the table in 'live' action, then you can see it on my YouTube channel HERE!


...And finally, in this high pressured day and age of "50 Shades of All Things Romantic" and in keeping with my aversion to all things that are too 'forced' romantic on Valentine's Day, the only thing trussed up in stockings tonight will be the of Paupiette of chicken in a wild mushroom sauce that I shall be serving for dinner tonight...sorry Darling!!


Until Next Time,






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Monday, 23 January 2017

A Cheerful January Lunch Table!

I have to admit to the fact that January is not exactly my favourite month....

After weeks of over excited preparation and planning for Christmas - covering precise details from everything to how the decorations will look, and carefully co-ordinating the wrapping paper so that it looks beautiful under the tree, to the most giddy project of all - deciding how the Christmas lunch table should be presented....   (Including making sure that the turkey has an all over tan, is dressed beautifully, and complete with enviable, albeit edible, accessories -   I used to work at a fashion magazine - I look at everything in this way!)   All of which brings with it such a euphoric sense of urgency and purpose, that when the season has passed, I'm often left longing for another event or sense of occasion to plan for.

And so...Bring on the post Christmas Great British Sunday lunch!


Now, call me obsessed, but apart from the fact that I absolutely love a delicious and traditional Sunday roast - be it chicken, beef, pork or lamb - I'm not picky - I also love the whole pomp and ceremony surrounding setting the table for this very British of Sunday traditions...

I love knowing that the children see it as more than a grab and run meal...after all, who can grab and run with three courses, unless of course the plan is to run to the nearest sofa for a snooze...

...The weather may be miserable and freezing cold outside, and the sun hardly hits the sky before it starts to set again, but whilst everyone feels the need to snuggle up and make the most of staying indoors, these slow and leisurely Sunday lunches will be celebrated and enjoyed with friends and family at the end of each Wintery week.


We'll sit at the less formal family room table (where we can seat more people) and we'll chatter away, have a laugh, and tell bad jokes, and basically, catch up with each others lives in a way that doesn't often happen during the rather more hectic mid week...

The New Year is also an opportunity to use my cheerful and colourful china from places such as Susie Watson and Emma Bridgewater.  Less grand than my formal settings at Christmas, in pretty, fresh, pastel shades that hint at the promise of Spring...




Of course in my opinion, no table is complete without candles being included somewhere - regardless of the time of day.  Hence, I am a serial candlestick buyer, and this time I used my clear glass column ones, which apart from looking elegant, also give the illusion of semi transparency, so that we don't feel the need to dip, dive or look around them in order to speak to each all of the time...


I also love to add some flowers or greenery as a centrepiece if possible... 


...And although, these will usually leave the table when the hot dishes are placed down, it still makes everyone happy to see the dressed table before being seated and while we're enjoying our pre-lunch drinks and nibbles...


These images were taken just before we sat down to eat...I'm afraid that once the food appears, my stomach takes over and the camera gets put down in favour of wielding a knife and fork.

And for those of you who might be wondering, roast beef was the order of the day - dressed in a seductively flavoursome gravy and accessorised by some frivolously puffy yorkshire puddings!


Until Next Time...








Thanks to www.arhaus.com for inviting me to show a post Christmas tablescape.  This is NOT a sponsored post.



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