Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Everyday... #100happydays

#100happydays

Goodwood special edition Pretty Nostalgic waiting on the doormat after our weekend away : : Catching up with a good friend over a dirty burger : : Happy to have my feet up after a productive evening : : Lunch prep : : Patchwork in the park over lunch : :  Reading my favourite magazine in the park : : Loving the colour of the sky on an evening walk after a busy day : : Giggling on the phone with my best friend : : Award : : Crochet, pjs and House... perfect way to end a day : : Eeyore ready to welcome our weekend guests : : Cozy happy place after a long busy day : : Friday night treat for the painters and decorators : : Tidy garden thanks to my dad and hubby : : Delighted with the work we got done on the house over our busy weekend : : Cloudporn on a lovely evening in Tynemouth celebrating a friend's birthday

Thank you for the good luck and house selling tips on my last post!  We really managed to get a lot done this past weekend, the house and garden are looking so much more fresh... it kind of amazes me that a bit of tidying and a few coats of paint have made such a difference.   All just in time too, we had a lovely chap round this evening to value the house, which was fascinating and really positive.. we need to book a few more valuations, do a touch of research and have a big conversation, but it sounds as though we're in a really good position.  Happy days indeed!

Lots of ordinary, everyday, homely pictures from the last two weeks... we've been busy, we've been at home... it's been nice.

Hoping that your days too are filled with beautiful everyday moments...

Happy Autumn...


Friday, 19 September 2014

Horlicks and Malteaser Ice Cream

Horlicks and Malteaser Ice Cream

There's a sweet little cafe, right on the sea front, near where I live, called Beaches and Cream... isn't that just a glorious name?  It's perfect if you fancy a bite to eat with friends, breakfast, brunch and lunch, all home cooked, simple, delicious food....  But my favourite part of Beaches and Cream?  The ice cream parlour, where they serve Beckleberry's ice cream.

Oh my word, one of the best North East ice cream companies there is, if not the best.... and my favourite flavour, yep, Horlicks and Malteaser!  It's devine, but unfortunately, due to the huge array of flavours Beckleberry's create, it's not always on sale, so.... I made my own to tide me over when Beaches and Cream are out...

I've used chocolate horlicks, mostly because I wasn't concentrating when I went to buy it, but shush...i'm going to act like it was my intention all along, so just forget what i said ok?!  Because, oh boy, is that stuff good, the ice cream tastes just like melted malteasers, but, you know, frozen, it's soooo rich, creamy and tasty, which is good because you don't need a lot in one go, the bonus being... a tub will last longer... Yay!

Horlicks and Malteaser Ice Cream

60g Cream cheese
Pinch salt
500ml Milk
90g Chocolate Horlicks
1tbsp Vanilla essence
3 tbsp Cornflour
250ml Cream
150g Golden caster sugar
2 tbsp Glucose
120g Malteasers

Lightly beat the cream cheese and salt together until lovely and smooth, then set aside.

Whisk just 2 tablespoons of the milk with all of the cornflour until that too is smooth, and set aside.

In a nice heavy bottomed saucepan mix the milk, cream, sugar, glucose, horlicks and vanilla. Bring the pan to boil and then turn down to a simmer for 4 minutes.

The next step is very importamt for lump free ice cream... remove your pan from the heat... very important... and whisk in the cornflour mixture.  When it's throughly incorporated, put it back on the heat and whisk for one minute until the mixture thickens slightly.

Then slowly add the milk mixture in to the cream cheese, whisking until smooth.  Put a piece of clingfilm right on top of the custard to stop it forming a skin and refrigerate over night.

The next day, set the mixture churning in an ice cream machine and while you're waiting, lightly crush about 1/2 to 2/3 of the malteasers, to leave a good mixture of crushed and whole, for a super crunchy surprise.   When the ice cream is done, empty it in to a large bowl and qickly fold through the malteasers, transfer to a freezable container and pop in the freezer.

When you're ready to tuck in, take the ice cream out of the freezer for a few minutes, to soften before you serve, and enjoy!

Horlicks and Malteaser Ice Cream

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I made this ice cream a wee while ago, (the photos have been tough to sort through, I ended up with about 30 or so usable shots from the 250+ that i took - that'll teach me to use my hubby's camera when I don't understand the settings!) and now summer is all but gone and with it the ice cream season*.   We have had a few last hurrahs lately though, a day or two of glorious sun here and there, and while Autumn is definitely on it's way (especially today), I really wanted to share something that wasn't just a photo round up today, so I've decided that this is a sort of crossover kind of ice cream... a good bye to summer but with a nod towards the anticipation of autunm...  

You know those days when you're enjoying a late summer stroll by the beach, the sun is bright but there is a slight chill in the air and you start daydreaming of curling up under a blanket with your knitting and a hot drink? Those are totally the days when you should eat this ice cream!  Yep that's where i'm going with this, trying my best to make ice cream in autumn acceptable.**  Did it work?!

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We are going to be doing a lot of getting-our-house-ready-to-sell activities this weekend, the garden will be cut back and tidied up, walls painted, boxes packed and shipped off, dust bunnies chased out from under the furniture and little fixy uppy jobs done.  It's bittersweet.

What are your plans for the weekend?




* Who am i kidding, like i don't eat ice cream all year round!?
**again see above, ice cream is acceptable aaalll of the times!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Twenty Five... #100happydays

#100happydays

Blue sky after a long lonely day : : Time spent with a best friend is always silly and happy : : Road trip : : Love you Green Man : : Van-Etten-Selfie : : Sun setting on the last day of the festival : : Nice to be home : : Broccoli and Stilton soup made by Tim : : A day of happy moments none of which have photos : : Happy mail makes for happy days : : Knits and scarves working their way in to my wardrobe again : : Happy mail from Little Bohemian Butterfly : : Wonderful afternoon at Claude's house warming : : Fab day att he beach with good friends : : The view from my childhood bedroom window : : Three shot latte : : Enjoying being safe at home after a long tiring week : : Happy afternoon of happy mail crafting : : Playing with yarn for the first time in months : : Sneaking in mid day colour with crochet at work : : A delicious meal with my family : : Loving my blanket more and more with each colour : : Touristy day spent wandering the city with my parents : : A cozy evening by the fire with good friends and fine wine : : Blackpool day trip with the best of friends

Twenty seven days in twenty five pictures... we had a visitor from Scotland, a weekend in Wales, boxes to pack, a party to attend, visitors from Birmingham, a trip to Essex via Yorkshire, a birthday to celebrate, more boxes to pack, visitors from Yorkshire and a trip to Lancashire...

We also had to say goodbye to a family member, I struggled over knowing where to write about this, if at all, and while it may seem strange to mention it here in an update on a challenge about finding happiness, I think that this is the perfect place.  We only recognise and appreciate the good times when we've experienced the sad.

Betty was a wonderful lady, warm, kind, full of laughter and interesting stories, and so creative... she had an eye for colour and design and amongst other artistic talents was an amazing potter, tailoress, and photographer... maybe if she'd know about this project she would have enjoyed taking part just as much as I am.  She will be missed.

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I love this mosaic... the way it fades from cool blues in the top left, through earthy tones to warm pinks in the bottom right... the way big events and every day happy moments are all covered.  And while I will not have 100 pictures from 100 days when I reach the end of this challenge, seeing so many pictures together like this, I'm thinking that a framed collage might be making it's way on to my wall when I'm done... a beautiful reminder of a time when I chose to recognise the happy.

I hope you've all had a nice relaxing sunday and are ready for the week ahead...


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cutting and Sticking: Magazine Scrapbook

Cutting and Sticking: Magazine Scrapbook

Gosh!  I think this August was the most busy we've ever had, stuffed full to the brim with events and trips... but made even more crazy by the fact that every spare moment has been spent packing and tidying our house ready to put it up for sale... yep, that's the big news around here... we're moving! Exactly when, is still in question, but we're headed to the North West of England, to Manchester, or at least hopefully somewhere nearby.

Cutting and Sticking: Magazine Scrapbook

And what does this have to do with cutting and sticking?!  Years worth of magazines piled up in my craft room, that's what!

I've never been able to bring myself to throw them away because I knew they contained things I wanted to see/read/do but then... I never actually got round to looking for, reading or doing any of them... so in a flash of inspiration one night, I started to flip through and pull out anything that caught my eye, be it a recipe, pattern, idea, article, interview or just a pretty picture that sparked my imagination.  Everything got cut out and stuck down, in no particular order, with a note to explain my thoughts....

Cutting and Sticking: Magazine Scrapbook

And boy, let me tell you, am I enjoying it!  This is my first foray in to any kind of scrapbooking and although I've been lusting after all things scrap for sometime, (and I do hope to start documenting trips and events properly using the photos and memorabilia I've collected over the years) this old school version, this cutting and sticking, feels to me like a wonderful start.  It's very freeing not to have a plan, just to plonk things in, a lot of what is holding me back with real scrapbooking is the fear of it not being perfect... but while this is a very different kettle of fish, it's made me realise how much I like being able to look through a collection of images, how life isn't perfect and I quite like things that are imperfect, and how maybe, starting really is the biggest hurdle!

Cutting and Sticking: Magazine Scrapbook

Cutting and Sticking: Magazine Scrapbook

I love my magazine scrapbook, it's sort of like an analogue version of Pinterest, a handy source of interesting and inspiring images and words.  Even now, before I'm half way thorough adding the images I've cut out, I'm loving flipping through it... it really gets the creative juices flowing and my little brain is simply buzzing with ideas.  I know that I will be more likely to look at this book than I ever did my poor old pile of magazines, and I've freed up some space in to the bargain.

Cutting and Sticking: Magazine Scrapbook

I now longer buy as many craft and home magazines as I once used to, but I know any future ones will be given the same treatment and then passed on to a family friend, (who luckily doesn't mind the missing pages!) leaving me to treasure the parts I love.  What do you do with old magazines?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

One Little Month... August

One Little Month... August
sunset, smoothie, pot bellied pig, ice cream, cake, Lola, sunset, piglets, more piglets, sunset, Tim, breakfast, clouds, ice cream, pastotto, clouds

One Little Month is about the little (and sometimes big) things that have made me happy during the last month.

August was about fitting in little moments of joy around the big things that happened, that caption up there pretty much sums up my resting thought process... all I wanted was tasty food, pretty skies, and best friends... but there were also a lot of cute piglets for some reason... life is strange... roll with it...

I'll be sharing more soon about what has been going on around here lately, but right now I'm just trying to catch up...

I hope August brought you some joy,


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Balanced... #100happydays

#100happydays
Chocolate, Lime and Rum cake for a friends 40th : : A beautiful evening sky to cheer up a dusty day of packing : : Griddled courgette and giant couscous salad : : Pretty new paper for a pretty new craft project : : My Always : : Podding Peas, my favourite vegetable : : Putting the world to rights over drinks with a good friend : : A wonderful late afternoon walk to blow away the cobwebs after yet more packing : : An evening dedicated to getting cozy

I just love the way this mosaic has turned out, with the black and white photo of me and Tim framed by the colourful pictures from the rest of my week, also strangely and especially, because I know it's book ended by two weekends, it seems very balanced, and balance is something I need right now.

Things have been very topsy turvy lately, the very happy mixed with the very sad, but I'm just continuing to plod along and deal with things as they happen, trying to enjoy the happy when we have it... which in turn does help me deal with the sad when we are hit with it... I hope i'm getting the balance right...

Wishing you all a little balance and a happy week...


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Prawn and Pea Pastotto

Prawn and Pea Pastotto

We've been enjoying a lot of beautiful fresh summery meals around here lately, gorgeous salads with soft boiled eggs, giant couscous with griddled courgettes, pitta bread filled with homemade slaw and haloumi, oh, such delicious colourful food that makes my heart flutter!  

This is another one of my most recent and favourite combinations... Prawn and Pea Pastotto... which is pasta, made risotto style...  As the pasta cooks, it creates a silky, light sauce full of flavour, just right for summer and of course you can add almost anything you like to this dish, it's super versatile, just like risotto!

Prawn and Pea Pastotto: Ingredients

Ingredients... amounts are subjective... just go with what feels right!

Tiny pasta shapes
Olive Oil
Stock
Prawns
Smoked Salmon
Peas
Tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Small knob of butter (optional)
Basil leaves

This is more of a guide than a real recipe...

Add a glug of oil to a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat, add your pasta, heat through for 30 seconds, turn down and then add a splash of stock and stir until absorbed, keep adding the stock, a splash at a time until almost cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile chop the tomatoes and salmon roughly.

When your pasta is almost ready, add in your peas and some more stock, keep adding the stock a tiny splash at a time until the pasta is just perfect, all the liquid is absorbed and your peas are cooked.  Then remove the pan from the heat, add in a splash more stock, the butter if using, or olive oil if you prefer and stir through.

Add the tomatoes, prawns and salmon, stir and serve topped with a twist of seasoning and the basil leaves.

Enjoy!

Prawn and Pea Pastotto:  Podding Fresh Peas

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Blogland friends... I'm so sorry that I've not been around to visit you all for a while, things have been pretty crazy around here this week and will continue to be so for the coming weeks, for oh so many reasons... I'm determined that I will catch up on everything you have been doing though, as I love visiting you all for a good dose of inspiration and creativity, but please excuse my absence for now...


Have a beautiful weekend!