Friday, 31 January 2014

Afternoon Tea

I decided to treat myself to afternoon tea yesterday. It was cold and wet outside and I always find baking cheers me up. 
 A homemade Victoria sponge,
 a cup of Earl Grey tea
 and a pretty vintage embroidered tablecloth.
I sandwiched the sponge with my homemade blackcurrant jam made from fruit grown on my allotment last summer
 and freshly whipped double cream.
 I bought the vintage glass cake stand from a charity shop a few years ago for a few pound
 as well as the pretty green and gold cup and saucer.
The 'Royal Albert' side plate was another find and shows the very pretty'Greenwood Tree' design.
The sponge recipe can be found here and always turns out well 
 I found the white linen tablecloth & the vintage embroidered tablecloth in a local charity shop a couple of weeks ago for £1 each. I'm so glad I popped in!
 Every time I look at the beautiful embroidery I think of all the hours of work that's gone into it.
Time for another cup of tea I think.
Hope you find time to cosy up this weekend and relax.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Flowering Quince

I saw this beautiful flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica) on a country walk two weekends ago when we had a day of sunshine in between the constant weeks of rain. Although it is a Spring flowering shrub I don't recall seeing it in flower quite this early before. 

One of my early 'garden' memories as a child was of this plant that my Dad grew against a sheltered border in our garden. I think I probably liked the bright pink flowers! I also remember being fascinated by a fig tree which we passed on our walk to school. Funny how memories like this stay with you.
We also saw these Hellobores which looked stunning in the sunshine 
and a pussy willow with its furry catkins beginning to appear. 
Surely a sign that Spring can't be too far away!
Our walk from Shoreham took us along very muddy lanes until we reached the pretty village of Otford where we had coffee in the pub garden. Otford has some lovely antique and craft shops as well as tearooms but as we had my brother's dog with us (and were very muddy) we didn't visit on this occasion.
Our walk then continued past Otford Methodist Church
 and through the graveyard
where we chanced upon the grave of Thomas Maldwyn Pryce, a British racing driver from Wales famous for winning the Brands Hatch Race of Champions, a non-championship Formula One race in 1975. He was tragically killed in the South African Grand Prix in 1977 aged 27. He met his wife in Otford in 1973. How very sad but what a tranquil resting place.
 We then walked back through more mud (trying to stay upright in places) but the views were worth it!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Thrifty Finds

I found this adorable little china owl moneybox recently in a charity shop for 50p. I think it's probably 1950's but not sure. 
Behind the owl is one of my favorite antique books which I picked up years ago from a boot sale.
I just love the cover illustration showing daisies with their delicate pink tipped petals. It's title is 'Flowers' and it's from the 'Shown to the Children' series of books. Not sure when it was published but a similar one on the seashore I have seen is dated 1910.
 An illustration from the book showing Greater Stichwort.
 I was given these two lovely craft books when I was in my teens by a neighbour who was a retired school teacher. She knew I had an interest in art and I love looking at the illustrations.
 Both were issued by the Board of Education. The 'Simple Pictorial Illustration' was published in 1912 and 'A Guide to School Handicrafts' is a second edition published in 1923.
 I love this colour illustration. 
 Wood block designs.

I picked this book up yesterday on jams and preserves in the charity shop for £2. 
 I was particularly interested in some of the more unusual recipes which I have not come across before like this 'Tomato and Pineapple Jam'.  I'll let you know how it turns out when I give it a try.
I treated myself to toast and homemade apple and raspberry jam this morning instead of my usual porridge. One of my favorite homemade jams though is a lovely sharp blackcurrant that I made in the summer when my bushes on my allotment fruited for the first time. Something very satisfying about growing your own produce and preserving it. 
Back to healthy porridge tomorrow!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Frosty Oak Leaves

I went on a lovely long walk in the woods again this morning.
Still very muddy from all the rain we've had but it was lovely to see the sunrise.

Saw these pretty frosted oak leaves glistening in the sun.
Beautiful long shadows cast over the heath. 
I even managed to get in the garden today to sweep up leaves and begin to tidy up a little and had my lunch sitting in the sun.
Hopefully if the weather stays dry I can get down to my allotment over the next few days and start some digging.
Hope everyone has a good weekend.