Sunday, 17 June 2012

Star Chart

I don't know what the weather was like where you are but here in Edinburgh it is shocking. Cold, grey and wet. The kind of weather that requires wellies and thick jumpers. Hardly June at all. It meant that all well made plans for Saturday went out the window and we spent the afternoon curled on the sofa with the heating on {IN JUNE!!}. Not only did it give me itchy feet and end up with me changing the layout of the blog {hope you like?} instead of doing my pile of marking but I also spotted this fab star chart during my idle blogging that afternoon and now can't get it out of my head. It was a bit on the small side and now having googled some of the larger, vintage start charts I can't get them out of my head:

{all via here - he documents moving the same print around his apartment}

The smaller charts are ok but don't quite pack the same punch. There are plenty of them on etsy {like this one} if they do float your boat. I found this poster copy of the original print that would be perfect; shame it is slightly out of our budget right now. One for the wish list!

What do you think?

Love B x

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Eat: Chocolate Mousse

So, as I mentioned, my lovely friend Alice provided the pud to go with the mushroom lasagne overload I was telling you about earlier this week. It was delicious. Even after an obscenely {amazingly} rich main, I couldn't help but inhale the lot. The raspberry coulis helped a smidge, cutting through the rich chocolate with a sharp sweetness. I insisted she share this with everyone and voila. Hope you enjoy as much as we did:

Delia Smith is my culinary hero and I always turn to her recipes before anything else, as the well loved/splashed pages of my copy of her book will tell you. Jamie is another favourite in our flat – his chicken satay or curries from scratch have definitely been staples this year. But my search for a quick chocolate mousse ended with Nigella. I had considered her talents as doe eyed looks at the camera and flurries of silk dressing gowns rather than cooking excellence, but this recipe has been popular with friends, and so maybe I will have to peruse some more of her recipes...

Chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis

Carefully separate 4 eggs and hang on to the yolks. Whisk the whites in a clean bowl until just stiff – this took longer than I thought but keep going to get as much air into them as possible as it will make the mousse lovely and fluffy. Slowly heat 240ml of double cream in a saucepan until it is just about to boil. Finely chop 240g of dark chocolate and stir into the cream until melted. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture and whisk together. Gently fold a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon, trying not to knock any of the air out. Fold in the remaining egg whites and then spoon the mousse into little pots (I used those little Gu glass ramekins but wine glasses would also look good). Chill in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. These measurements make 7 full to the brim ramekins, so use smaller pots or double the mixture if you are catering for more people. 

As a finishing touch, decorate with a couple of raspberries and drizzle over raspberry coulis. To make the coulis simply whizz up a punnet of raspberries (200g ish) with a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar in a food processor.


The next dessert I’m going to try is Delia’s profiteroles, I’ve been promised they are quick yet impressive!

Sounds good right? I am adamant that Alice needs to embark upon her own culinary blog because I am just as happy to read about it as I am to eat the results. If you agree, please do chime in with a comment or two.

Love B x

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Outfit Swap: Whistles

outfit swap

I absolutely adore this outfit from Whistles. The colour combination is lovely - perfect for lazy summer days - and the shoes are to die for. I'd love to be able to afford the whole thing but it's just not going to happen. So instead, I've played around and put together a look that I think is pretty similar. It was just about as close as I could get without using any of the original clothes. It'll more than do! AND I can afford all of it - double hurrah!

What do you think?

Love B

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Home TLC

Last week was half term and I was determined to make the most of a week off. On any given day I have a list as long as my arm of tasks that need doing - from the mundane to the aspirational. Painting the flat was definitely under the title of aspirational. Our landlord {or the previous tenant} was a great fan of bold, primary colours - something which I just can't get on board with as the background for a room. I can deal with it in our living room and kitchen, where the bright red and green have grown on me, but other areas of our home needed a bit of TLC.


Our affectionately labelled 'rumpus room' was one such spot. Totally neglected, it was a dumping ground for anything not needed immediately or without a proper home. Someone had done half a paint job on it many moons ago and we hadn't touched it since we moved in. It was filled with a hodge podge of furniture and knick knacks and so, on a particularly grey afternoon, I set about trying to make it a bit more functional and easy on the eye.

I used crown's fashion for walls paint in 'etiquette'. Naff name, nice colour. It's a blue grey that we finally managed to compromise on. Genuinely, I was concerned WW3 was going to erupt over paint the night before. Everything I picked was apparantly 'greige' or 'mouldy hummus'. Go figure! Anyway, considering I was painting over bright red, it unsurprisingly needed two coats but after that the coverage was brill. I was too lazy focused to prep the walls so had noone to blame but myself. It's a small room, a box room really, with no natural light other than that which comes through the two doors to the room, so apart from embracing it's cave like qualities and painting it navy blue, the only way to lighten it was to go with a light colour. This one is perfect - it definitely takes on a greyish quality which means it doesn't have the sickly sweet nature of a baby blue. Perfect!

Cue much shuffling of furniture and the final result is pretty lovely, in my humble opinion. Granted it is still a storage room first and foremost - the bikes now live in there for example - but it opened up other space in the flat for us to play around with, which was brilliant, and it is also finally pleasant enough that I could sit in there and craft if I wanted too. Poifect.

I spent any drying time finally planting our window boxes {til now, the plants have just been in their pots, oops!} A mix of lavender, basil, mint and rosemary makes for a delicious smelling, attractive and dare I say practical English country garden right on our window sill. Certainly makes for a nicer view anyway. Next up, just need to make that cushion for the seat!


Monday, 11 June 2012


How great are these prints from notonthehighstreet?!

I love them! They'd look perfect in our kitchen. The website, in general, is filled with lovely goodies to pep up your home. I could spend hours looking at the art section in particular!

Love B x

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Eat: Wild Mushroom Lasagne

We had some friends round for dinner last night and having been completely stumped about what to make, we stumbled across this recipe. We had originally been thinking light and summery, though this recipe {and the weather} turned out to be neither.

It is chock-a-block with cream and cheese but was utterly delicious. It was incredibly rich though so I would probably make one or two adjustments if I made it again. Firstly, oil and butter to start? I ignored that straight away - not necessary in my book. I'd probably substitute cream for creme fraiche - I think the tang of the creme fraiche would actually be a welcome balance to the strong mushroom flavour whereas the cream and cheese was a bit ott.

I used a mix of Taleggio cheese and gouda because a) Taleggio was really expensive in our local supermarket and b) I thought it might be yet another strong flavour. I thought it was delicious but if you aren't a fan of strong cheeses there would be no harm in just using a mild, melty cheese {like emmental or gouda for example} just for texture alone.

Finally, I used normal mushrooms and a bag of dried mushrooms that I soaked for extra flavour. Delicious if you love mushrooms but if not, stick to just run of the mill button cups and you'll get enough flavour without it being overwhelmingly strong. The sauce cooks for long enough that it can't help but develop flavour as it reduces so there is no concern about it not being tasty.

We served it as small portions with a rocket side salad and red onion garlic bread. The side salad in particular {with tomatoes, cucumber and balsamic vinegar and oil dressing} was a great shout as it balanced out the richness of the lasagne well, cutting through the rich cheese and cream sauce.

It was a lovely evening - with good company, good food and good wine. As with all our get togethers, I love cooking and everyone else chips in something else, whether it was wine, cheese or pudding. My lovely friend made a delicious chocolate mousse with a raspberry sauce which I will share with you later next week.

The rest of today will be spent moving very little {I'm still full!} and getting myself ready for going back to school. The last 4 weeks start tomorrow and I'm sure they'll fly by in a whirlwind of reports and lesson plans.

What did you do this weekend?

Love Bx

Friday, 8 June 2012

All dressed up...

I am a total sucker for a pretty package. Ask the boy - I wander around fancy food halls, delis, even M&S and Waitrose at the risk that I will be a) lost for hours and b)will come out spending a small fortune. All because of a pretty package. In my mind, I am curating a pantry of beautiful things ensure my cupboard is both well stocked and attractive to boot. In reality, I am lured in by those clever creative types who know just how to tap into my psyche..sneaky devils. Doesn't make a ha'penny of difference though - I still do it!

When I was flicking through links on another lovely blog, What Katie Ate, I was instantly drawn to this one on package design. Just look! I've spent far too long on it already but here are some of my instant favourites.  If you've got a couple hours to kill, can I suggest you have a look. Even if you aren't as much of a sucker as I am, it's still fascinating to see how ideas about a brand or concept are taken and created into a finished product. Like the Tesco's fish range for example...
This post is a bit image heavy but I just couldn't pick. Too. Much. Choice.

Love B x

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lemon drizzle cupcakes

Lemon drizzle cake is huuuuugely popular in our house. Sandy is mad keen on it and any cake that I can pass off as one of my five a day {no comments, please} wins in my book. I hadn't baked in ages so whipped up a batch of these alongside a large loaf cake to take into the staff room. I doubled the quantities in this recipe here and made around 17 cupcakes and a large-ish loaf cake, so you should easily get 12 muffin sized portions out of this.

The cakes are lovely - they have just the perfect lemony kick to them from the drizzle on the top, though I would probably add more zest into the mix next time. Although not exactly following the recipe, I mixed mine all in one {as in all the ingredients in my mixer at once} and simply added a teaspoon of baking powder to them. They were still incredibly light and airy {Rather than heavy and stodgy like cake can be} so I would ignore the mixing stages, do it all at once and just keep them on low in the oven. Watch them like a hawk! I took the chance to finally use my new Emma Bridgewater cake tin too. Lovely jubbly.

Nom nom nom.

Love B

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Did everyone have a lovely Jubilee weekend? Thank you monarchy for a doubley long Bank Holiday. The fact it was matched up to our half term too was perfect - it's been lovely hanging out with people for that little bit extra time. Just a shame all weekends can't be 3 or 4 days ;)

Anyway, we 'celebrated' in a way that a little unconventional {/not much of a celebration at all}. Along with two of our close friends we set about climbing Ben Nevis! We drove along from Edinburgh - a good 3 hours drive - and the views were breathtaking. No instagram needed. It was beautiful. Driving through mountains that can only be described as awesome {in the original use of the word} I reminded myself of how stunning the scenery in Scotland is.

For those of you not in the know {aka me and Lisa. Who had to ask various questions over the two days we camped} it's the tallest mountain in the UK, checking in at a casual 4,409ft above sea level. Being neither mountaineers nor nutters, we took the well trodden pony route up alongside dozens of others who had all had the same idea on what was a lovely sunny bank holiday weekend. Plodding along as I was, trying to keep one foot in front of the other, it was still lovely to pause occasionally and take in the incredible views. It was like looking at something from Middle Earth {sneaky LOTR reference...}

We couldn't believe how under prepared some people were - wandering up in converse and leggings with seemingly little protection against the elements. Did seem much of a big deal until we rounded one corner and were faced with the first, of many, huge patches of snow. Proper, thick snow. In June. Shows how cold it was up there. Great fun though!

When we did make it to the top - sub 3 hours {whoop} - it was nothing short of berluddy freezing. We snapped a few cheeky photos before grabbing some lunch and heading back down the mountain before my face and fingers fell off. 

We had such a great time camping too. It's a good feeling to know that we've achieved something and really made the most of our time off together - though it is only 5pm and I feel like I could go to bed as I write this! Hanging out with great friends, drinking plenty of good red wine {as a reward of course} and climbing a bloody big hill. Pretty good way to spend the jubilee weekend I reckon!

The question is, what do we do next?

Love B

Monday, 4 June 2012

Italian chicken

Another favourite dinner of ours is Italian Chicken. I had ordered it when out for tea one evening with my cousin and Aunty and ever since, the 'pub grub' meal has worked its way into our diets. It has finally been adapted to fit into a more healthy eating pattern but if you're not particularly fussed, or you're in a rush, it can easily be made using pre-prepared chicken and sauce. Though for the extra bit of effort you get a delicious meal. The first time we made it in this incarnation it was actually Sandy that did the cooking and it was delicious!

I started off by blitzing some bread into crumbs in our food processor.  I like to add paprika and chilli to the mix to give it a bit of a kick and I use Weight Watchers {or a Nimble equivalent} bread to keep it low in calories. Next, dip a chicken breast in beaten egg until covered before rolling your chicken in the  breadcrumb mix until it has a thorough coating.

Pop that in the oven on around gas mark 5 or 6 for about 20 minutes or until cooked through {which will obviously depend on the size of the chicken pieces}.

For the sauce, I simply heated 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, a glug of olive oil, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, garlic salt, pepper and basil over a gentle heat until it started to thicken. That probably takes the least amount of time so do that last.

{basil from our new window box. Oh hiya 'The Good Life'...}

At one point I got a bit carried away, trying to prepare tomorrow's dinner too and ended up nigh on melting in our kitchen. 20degree heat + 3 pans on the hob + the oven on was just too much to handle. Meanwhile, once the chicken has been in for about 15-20 minutes, you want to slice up some {low fat} mozarella and layer it on top to melt. Hungry yet?

We serve ours with a bed of puy lentils which add just about the right amount of carbs and starch to balance out the meal. If you want to do it that way, the lentils would be the first thing you'd need to cook as they take for-e-ver. Otherwise, this dish would go well with any fresh, steamed vegetables that still had a bit of crunch!

And then we rounded off dinner with a bowl of cherries and this. A Sharon fruit. Have you ever had one before? Apparantly they are a type of persimmon. I have to admit, I preferred the cherries. The Sharon fruit was far too sweet for my liking - really similar to a mango.

Love B

Saturday, 2 June 2012



I had hoped to still be in a blissful state of snoozing at this time on Saturday morning but seeing as my brain refuses to switch off, I may as well blog. It is finally half term - hurrah - and I'm looking forward to a week of relaxation {and doing all the jobs that I never seem to have the time for otherwise!}. Before the little jobs take over, however, it's jubilee weekend! 

I love any excuse to make a cake and celebrate so the Jubilee weekend is right up my street. Plus I think the Queen is quite sweet really. In fact, if the K Mid thing didn't give it away, I quite like the royals. There is something so quintessentially British about it all. I refuse to be drawn into debates about "the spending of tax payers money yada yada yada" and instead I'd rather focus on some other, lovely, quintessentially British things. Like Victoria sponge cake and afternoon tea. Or Rounders {which I have now spent more hours of my life on than I can count}.

We're off to catch up with Sandy's family and some friends. Can't wait. Fingers crossed for some nice weather so the tea and cake can be enjoyed outdoors!

Love B x

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