Monday, 9 February 2015

life happens

Life seems to be going at a pace these days.  "The hours go slow, but the years go fast" -  well, not around here.  The hours, days and weeks are flashing before my eyes.

With a husband away with work, often, it can feel like the hours are running away on some days.  This weekend saw me in full chauffeur mode.  Delivering my son to judo and drum and a movie trip.  And having friends collect him for a go-karting afternoon.  Shopping with my daughter for her Valentine's party decorations and making Valentine's cards for her class friends.  Dog walking in the pouring rain in full waterproofs too many times.  Grocery shopping, cooking, and all the usual household duties.  Single parents that do this day in day out, my hat goes off to you.

I woke up Sunday to news that a longterm colleague of my husbands had died on Saturday night.  Suddenly, and whilst away on business at a company meeting in another country where my husband was also in attendance. Shocking, sad and heartbreaking for his family.  How unbearable for them to wake up on their Sunday morning and their world come crashing down.  I haven't stopped thinking about this sadness since.  I could hardly speak about such tradgedy with such a huge lump in my throat and tears rolling down my cheeks.  You can never know when the last conversation, hug, kiss, FaceTime chat, I Love You will be.  I have a heavy heart every single time my husband leaves on a trip.  It will be heavier from now on.  Life is fragile.

All We Have is Now!

I watched some of the Grammys (I couldn't make it until 11.30pm!!).  Things that struck me….  I really love Ed Sheerans song "Thinking Out Loud" (I sing it very very loudly in the car, often!).  Madonna's thighs!  I'm never going to warm to Kanye West's music or him.  Annie Lennox was fabulous and I loved her black sequin jacket (and am delighted I decided to keep a dark blue sequin jacket I recently ordered!).  Strange hair / hats going on.

Chalkboard paint eggs ♥


I am ready for spring and bought a few bunches of white tulips to try and hurry it along.  At the same time, I'm doing a snow dance in the hope that a huge dumping of snow will fall this week on Mount Hood so my kids and their friends get, finally, a decent snowboard lesson.  It's been the worst snow fall we've experienced and its pretty grim up there.

Happy Tuesday.




Thursday, 5 February 2015

rosemary seasalt shortbread (with honey brie frosting)

I tore this recipe from a magazine before Christmas and its been hanging around my kitchen ever since. The scent or rosemary with the salt sounded so delicious, and well, shortbread too of course!  How could I resist. So today, while both kiddos had play dates (oopss, I mean 'hang out' for the 12 year old!) and it was a grey wet afternoon and walking the dog in full waterproofts wasn't very appealing, I decided that today would be perfect for a spot of afternoon baking.  I had to do a quick trip to the grocery store for some Brie for the frosting, but it was worth it.  Here we go….


 Cookies:

I cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons dried rosemary, plus extra for trimming
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon course sea salt
1/4 cup of fig preserve

Frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces Brie, softened
1 cup powered sugar
2 teaspoons honey

Cookies:  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together for approx 3 minutes.  Add the egg and continue mixing for another 1-2 minutes.  Add vanilla, 3 teaspoons of rosemary and flour and mix until a thick dough forms (I switched to a dough hook attachment for this part).  Divide the dough in half, and roll into two logs about 3 inches in diameter each, wrap in cling wrap and pop in the freezer for 1 hour.


Preheat oven to 375 F.  Remove dough logs from freezer and slice into 1/4 inch thick round slices.  Place parchment paper onto a baking sheet, and lay out the cookie slices.  Press a tiny pinch of rosemary (or a couple of leaves if fresh) together with a few grains of salt into the top of each cookie.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until just before they barely start browning on the edge.  Remove from oven to cool.

Frosting:  In a stand mixer with whisk attachment whip cream cheese until smooth.  Add butter and continue mixing for 3 minutes until smooth.  Add Brie and whip for another 3 minutes until smooth.  Add sugar and mix until smooth. Add honey and mix until creamy and smooth.




Frost each cookie with a dollop of the delicious frosting and garnish with a smudge of fig preserves.






Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea and a good book.
Enjoy!




PS - the recipe stated 10-12 minutes to bake, but I found 15 minutes worked for me!

Friday, 30 January 2015

croissant day

National Croissant Day is today 30th January!  Hooray!  I'm happy to oblige and indulge!

Two Christmas's back I gave my wonderful Huzz a Croissant Making Course with Sur La Table here in Portland.  He's a fabulous artisan bread maker and I thought croissant making would be another string to his bow.  How thoughtful of me!

Oh how delicious are his butter croissants.  Flaky, light, buttery….mmmmmmmmm!  Yes a little time needs to be taken, but the smell of croissants baking in the morning, and the delicious buttery warm taste.  Bliss.

And yesterday I found out that today was National Croissant Day!  Hint hint Huzz!







Friday, 9 January 2015

january brings ...

As many yoga classes as I can squeeze in - from yin to power yoga and back again. 
Yoga, chiro and the odd massage have been working a treat on my stiff back these past few months.

Sorting.  Tidying.  Donating.
I love a good clear out.  Stuff thats been hanging around gathering dust.
I have a mix of things that go to a 'nearly new' sale store and I get 50% of the sale price back
(which usually goes on purchasing more stuff from the store)
And then much more that goes to a chartiy store.

Planning a vacation and a weekend getaway.
Looking forward to some sunshine in the spring already.

Enough snow at Mount Hood for the kiddos to have some great snowboarding lessons.
They begin this evening.  Snowboarding on the floodlite mountainside.
I will on the other had been enjoying a bowl of chilli and a glass of wine!

Rearranging some furniture and thinking about painting a few walls.
This year is the year to refresh the walls.
White. White and more White!

Trying out a few new recipes.
These are on the list so far.



Balsamic Roasted Beets


Cardamom Rose Gin and Tonic

Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Herb Frittata #food #breakfast #eggs


Lavender Vanilla Bean Palmiers are a simple yet elegant cookie. Make with fresh puff pastry or leftover scraps.

What's on your January list?

H A P P Y   W E E K E N D


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

homemade super fluffy marshmallows

Over the Chrismtas holidays we had plenty of time to hang out in the kitchen baking, roasting and making sweet treats.

I'd heard that making marshmallows was easy and once tried that there would be not going back to the jet-air-puffed ones we'd always store bought.  And it's true!

These are the lightest, fluffiest marshmallows I ever did taste.  The kiddos have been loving them floating in their hot chocolates this winter.  We also had a few dipped in melted chocolate - they didn't last long enough to be photographed!

This recipe worked perfectly, although next time I will switch out the corn syrup for honey instead.  And I've also just come across a recipe which includes evaporated milk and orange which I'm sure will be delicious.  I'll report back.









Wednesday, 31 December 2014

happy new year

Let the countdown begin

Let the poppers pop

Let the fizz sparkle

Let the new year in with open arms
push pop confetti {perfect for a surprise party!}
Wishing You

H E A L T H
H A P P I N E S S
L O V E
L A U G H T E R
A D V E N T U R E
F U N


H A P P Y   2 0 1 5   T O   Y O U

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

have a jolly holly christmas

Merry Everything



Wishing you all good things for Christmas.  

May you receive something delightful in your Christmas stocking.

And your days be merry and bright.



E A T   D R I N K 

&

B E   M E R R Y


H A P P Y   C H R I S T M A S

Friday, 19 December 2014

all that glitters

I can't resist a little sparkle at this time of year (any time of year really but more now).  Whether it's on a cushion, a new tree ornament or a splash of sequins on a party outfit (not head to toe though!).

Sparkling A line midi skirt

I'd wear this fabulous skirt with a simple black top, and high high black heels.

Sequined cross pillow Crush Cul de Sac
Grey and Sequins perfection.
Use #glitter and leaves to make this #fall garland. #DIY
A beautifully simple craft idea to add some pretty sparkle to your home.

Jewelled Flats

Gorgeous navy sparkling flats.  Now on sale!


Glitter #holiday Joy painted sign. Plus create your own sign with a free cut file.

Hope you have a sparkling weekend.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

the countdown has begun …..

There's been a lot of fun going on.  My son Luca turned 12.  Whaat!  TWELVE - that's nearly a TEENAGER!  How?!   His gaggle of mates have grown so fast this past year, there was no I was having them at home to celebrate.  An afternoon of indoor rocking climbing and boldering kept them busy and wore them out.  Followed by lots of this cake!!


We had a family birthday dinner at our favorite pizza restaurant in Portland - Pizza Scholls - pizza heaven!  Ordered too much.   Ate too much!

We hosted our 3rd annual family Christmas drinks for our neighbors - 21 adults, 16 kids and 1 dog!  Busy, loud, chaotic!  Yep, the lot.  Fun to have everyone over, no babysitters required, and everyone walking home afterwards - thankfully as the Spiced Rum cocktail certainly hit the spot!

I love the house right now.  Christmas decorations sparkling all around the place.  One tree looking fabulous and glittery in silver and lights, the other with every kind of ornament collected over many years, crafted etc - with hardly a green branch in sight!!











I am like an elf, hiding away in the guest bedroom, to be found under roles of wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons and tissue paper!  Everyone knows this room is out of bounds (although if I were them, I'd have been taking sneaky peaks just like I did as a child!).  Shush don't tell.

We took the kiddos to see Walking With Dinosaurs and had a great time.  Ruby couldn't decide if they were real dinosaurs or not!

We've seen our first Chritmas movie - The Penguins of Madagascar - I laughed out loud many times.  Great lines.

We are counting the days until Christmas holidays.  The kids break up on Friday.  Everyone is in need of lazy mornings, no alarms going off at 6am, movie watching, feeling festive and doing little.  The countdown has begun!

H A P P Y   T H U R S D A Y



Sunday, 7 December 2014

all i want for christmas

I'm sure I nearly broke the internet this pastnweek with all my online shopping!  As most of our gifts go to family and friends over in the UK, internet shopping is the only way to go to avoid crazy shipping costs from the US to 5000+ miles away!

So now everybody else is taken care of (including doing all Santa's work for him too!), my thoughts turn to a few things that caught my eye during my shopping marathon.  Maybe a certain someone will read this post!


nails inc. London 'Snowflake' Nail Polish (Limited Edition) 




(I smelt this on my best friend and itwas wonderful)





Fiddle leaf fig - I'm going to place one in the living room area, by the window.

A tall beautiful Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in a big white pot.




Modern, eye-catching and sure to be a conversation starter.

Dwell Shiny Urchin Sculpture decoration


H A P P Y   M O N D A Y





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