Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fabulous Tartan / plaid surprise

I have been casting my eye over the stunning tartan that is trending everywhere at the moment in clothes & interiors. Even though I have absolutely no Scottish roots, I still love the classic, timeless look of tartan, especially the more modern colours that are so very cosy for Winter.

Some weeks back, while browsing various interior d├ęcor sites for ideas, I saw a competition in Country Homes & Interiors on tartan's & decided on the spur of the moment to enter. We have all done it - entered & thought 'if only ... '

I forgot about it but have still been putting ideas on a pinterest-tartan-interiors board.

Yesterday a courier rang the bell with a parcel. I signed for it - not expecting a parcel - & Ms M (who is visiting from Dorset) & I opened the parcel. I was surprised (having forgotten about the competition because I never win anything) & at first thought  'ooops, did I accidently click BUY on the various tartan fabrics I was watching on Ebay?'

Thankfully we found the note from Country Homes & Interiors advising of my win & including the ready made curtains & two cushion covers.

I am so happy with the unexpected win that I am still grinning like a Cheshire cat & will soon be unveiling the new Winter look thanks to this fabulous prize. 

Thank you so much Country Homes & Interiors - Winter has just become a whole lot brighter & my home a whole lot trendier!

Have you ever won anything unexpectedly? Please visit again soon to see the Tartan update!

Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Birmingham ....

Hi my lovely followers - always pleased to log on & see who has visited & left me some comments.

On my way back from  London I have to change trains in Birmingham for home & being the second largest city, it is always a favourite place.

Early morning, prefect time to get the camera out again as the city comes to life & before it is filled with people ...

As much as I love people, I just don't like photos where there are too many random people distracting from the view. Who else is like this?

Coffee time first then off to enjoy some familiar sights

Iconic symbols of commercialism & religion meet at the Bull_Ring,_Birmingham

The very modern Selfridges_Building,_Birmingham

The Birmingham Bull "At the main entrance to the west building stands The Guardian, a 2.2-metre (7 ft 3 in) tall bronze sculpture of a turning bull. It was created by Laurence Broderick[38] and has become a very popular photographic feature for visitors to Birmingham"

Nelson standing tall

We will fight for the right to be FREE -

The juxtaposition between the shiny commercial Selfridge Bull ring on the left & St_Martin_in_the_Bull_Ring church on the right

The beautiful Birmingham Town Hall in early morning light - the fountains switched off so the reflections are particularly beautiful ....

Queen Victoria looking rather disapproving over the City

My day started ....

and ended with a train trip ...

On my familiar trip home I could sit back, enjoy the lovely rural scenery & some of the pretty stations - knowing that as much as I enjoy the bustle of London & Birmingham, the rurals of Shropshire are what energises me ...

Thank you for reading my blog - I hope you have enjoyed the visit too ...

Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The joys of Annie Sloan chalk paints

Like many others, I have an eclectic side. I like to mix old & new, vintage with modern high street, IKEA (yes .....) with Royal Worcester to make my home my own!

I confess that I am not afraid to get out the paint to change & modernise items so that they fit in with what we already have at home. 

These are some of my painting efforts:

When I bought this original Lloyd loom chair for my bedroom, it was a vile, dated dusty pink colour so I  used  Farrow & Ball paint to freshen it up but I found that without lots of prep of the surfaces, the results were disappointing & the paints took a long time to dry & had strong smells.
A pink Lloyd Loom chair refurbished with Farrow & Ball cream paint

ikea-hacks - a dark dated chest of drawers, 2 vintage headboards & an Ikea pine cupboard were all repainted for our spare bedroom. They are all various ages yet once updated they sit comfortably together to create a calm environment.

Some time back, I had been seeing lots of reports of Annie Sloan chalk paint on various blogs & it seemed like a dream - no prep necessary & it covers all surfaces - that sounded too good to be true.  However, it took sometime to find a local stockist in Shropshire but once one opened in Shrewsbury, it unlocked a new world.

I bought my first tin of Annie Sloan & read up on the technique needed but I remained sceptical about the hype - my desk was my first effort.

my-space - my vintage ladies desk where I do my writing ...


a-very-elegant-graphite-mirror was our next project with my daughter for her bedroom

However, the teacher in me always wants to know more - to try the more difficult finishes that give the 'French looking' results I want so I have become impatient with my efforts ...

As luck would have it, some facebook networking revealed a new, local supplier at maws craft centre - the stunning  Belle Maison Vintage shop BelleMaisonVintage on facebook. Her work is simply stunning - really inspirational painting & techniques so I knew I had to visit.

She is confident in all the techniques she uses & will be offering lessons in Annie Sloan painting soon. I will be there ....

In the meantime, I am enjoying another new-bust I found at her shop

It goes perfectly with my current lovely lady - what do you think?

So I am hoping to perfect some new techniques so that I can progress to the finishes I want which appeals to my creative side. I know in the meantime I will be sourcing some things I want to paint.

Are you a painter? Do you customise things? Please share a link to your projects!

Thanks for stopping by, always pleased to welcome you to my blog & home!

Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The City of London at night

I love the buzz of London; an exciting, vibrant city with stunning architecture that I sadly don't visit often enough.

While daughter was enjoying her dinner, I took my camera for a walk.

Night photos are not really my forte & walking the streets alone is not my preferred time but I kept to well lit routes & just enjoyed the time when The City changes from work to pleasure ....

I really love London visits & am hoping next time I will have loads more time to spend tramping the streets, exploring & of course taking photos.

Thanks for stopping by, I always enjoy your comments,
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 20 October 2013

London calling ....

Hi everyone

Sorry that I have been absent but London was calling last week & that is a call that could not be refused!

StacySparkle needed to be in London for a formal dinner so we met up at her university to make our way from Shropshire to London - with some time to spare only to find at the last minute that our booked train was cancelled due to a tree on the track at New Street Station ...

I know - when you really have to be somewhere & that announcement comes on, your heart really sinks! Virgin Trains directed us across to Moor Street Station where we managed to board a later Chiltern Trains to London.

Nice enough but it was bringing us into Marylebone Station at rush hour instead of our original Euston Station at an earlier time.

We calculated our time & with 2 tube changes across rush hour London, we would just about get to the hotel to change then make the 3 blocks back to her event.

So plan B was hatched with some lovely co-travellers. She changed into everything except her evening gown, then 2 lovely ladies found a mirror for her to do her make-up while another helped out to curl her hair on the train. A business lady who was working on her laptop worked out exactly which tubes we needed & from which lines so that we were ready when the train stopped in Marylebone.

A rush to the busy tube stations to join the crush of those starting their homeward journeys, do our 2 changes, find an obliging taxi driver to give us directions to our Apex-london-wall-hotel, a quick 20 minute change then off to the very plush Grocers Hall for her ....

She looked stunningly elegant in her elegant Coast dress & jacket - perfectly elegant & conservative for the event.

She met up with me afterwards & we did some photos then off to our hotel for some much needed rest.

My littlest one had become a confident young lady - perfectly at ease in a very formal setting & knowing she looked good!

How proud we are as parents when our fledglings are able to take on challenges & new situations with ease & poise!

Thank you for stopping by; I always enjoy your comments.

Dee ~♥~

Monday, 14 October 2013

Applesauce cake

Apple season - what a joy. Although I have no apple trees of my own, I have been enjoying the generous apples given by friends & family. So many interesting varieties from pink & sweet to some tart ones ...

I always skin, peel & lightly stew some chunks & slices to use over the winter because they freeze so well.

I came across this fabulous blog debs dust bunny & she shared her almost-grannys-spiced-applesauce-cake recipe. I had never heard of an applesauce cake but when I read the ingredients, I knew I would like it as it has all those lovely winter spices of cinnamon, ginger & cloves; they combine to fill the house with a comforting, familiar smell.

I also knew that I had some applesauce in the freezer so that was our Sunday treat!

Quick & easy to make (especially as my foodies did it - thanks guys)

Finished & ready on the sideboard for slicing ....

We had run out of cinnamon by the time we made the icing so used allspice instead.

The proof is always in the eating & with cold rainy weather, we couldn't wait for it to cool properly (so the icing started to melt) before tucking in with a cup of tea.

The verdict - it is simply heavenly, something that could easily be served as a pudding if the need arose. It was quick & easy to make & really yummy.

Thanks for sharing your recipe Debs, it is most definitely a 'keeper'

Thanks for stopping by, your comments are always appreciated
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Celebrating apples ....

It is that time of the year again - the nights are drawing in & we all look for comfort food.

What more do you need than to head out & pick some of the wonderful apples that are about or just try some different ones at the supermarket or farm shops.

There are so many local varieties that are just much nicer than the few that the supermarkets stock.

While in Dorset, I picked some off the family apple tree & just knew they were perfect for a traditional Dorset Apple Cake

My friend has an orchard at her lovely Stone Cottage & we picked some apples for cooking & collected the fallers for the pigs to enjoy at our local farm shop - too precious to just waste or leave to rot ...

Lots of different varieties, colours & flavours - perfect for Autumn cooking

These are some of our recent apple recipes

I always cut up lots of apples when there are so many about, peel & gently cook them, then freeze them in manageable portions to use over winter in cakes, for apple sauce or to combine with other fruits for crumbles.
So folks - try some home-grown / local apples to celebrate our magnificent Autumn fruits & please share your recipes so we can all try something new.
I always enjoy your feedback & comments & your links mean I can return the visit.
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Street photos in Ludlow

As many of you know, I am seldom without my compact Sony handbag camera or my large Canon 40D with my 24-105 lens.

I love nothing more than to wander about taking photos of towns & places I visit.  My visit to the pretty south Shropshire town of Ludlow with friends was no exception. These are some scenes I captured around town ...

I love the beautiful colours of these bottles

I am always striving to improve my food photography

Autumn colours on the market

Hot chocolate time ...

Fabulous Tudor buildings

My photography bugbear - street clutter - signs, boards, vans, scaffolding ... not good for photos ...
Do you have a particular subject you enjoy photographing? Animals, like my friends cats, are hard because they just don't pose long enough.  Do you take photos of places you visit?
Thanks for stopping by, I always enjoy your feedback
Dee ~♥~