Sunday, 30 October 2011

~Happy Hallowe'en~

Hope everyone has a lovely Hallowe'en. 

My local pumpkins were £2.25 for all three, and still attached to clods of Yorkshire soil! Cleaned up and painted with acrylics they remain intact so that I can roast them afterwards and make soup!

~Nostalgia - Tupperware~

I love a bit of nostalgia - whether it's memories jogged by music, certain smells or old household objects.  Thrifting probably follows on from that I suppose. As a child I loved wartime stories and studying fabric and costume through the years. And, as a child of the 70s, Tupperware is something that triggers lots of childhood memories for me. A while ago my Mum got me 2 yellow harvest Tupperware canisters at a car boot sale, and I was lucky in Hornsea last week and managed to get a larger orange canister for 20p...
A great price luckily - search  'vintage tupperware' on eBay and take a look at what they sell for. They are in good condition, with lids that fit well in the trademark Tupperware ridged fan shape that I remember so well. I'm saving them in my caravan stash for tea, coffee and sugar storage.
So to satisfy my nostalgic brain, I did a little bit of reading; and Tupperware, the iconic durable and flexible plastic, was invented by Earl Silas Tupper in America in the 1930's, and came over to the UK as a Party Plan selling idea in 1960. My Mum did Tupperware parties in the 1970s and I particularly remember having the Busy Blocks...
...which had a letter of the alphabet on them and contained a corresponding green plastic figure. Many hours of simple fun in the early 1970s! My Mum and Nana being keen bakers I also have fond memories of the Tupperware pastry mat...
and children's party food of sausages and cheese& pineapple on sticks being served in this Tupperware dish...

I often look at L and J, and wonder what strange, insignificant or iconic objects, foods and smells my children will remember associated with their growing up. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

~Betty Hula Review~

I've recently been sent some Betty Hula products to try; namely their Champagne & Spice and Rum & Blackcurrant Shea Butter Moisturising Creams. Betty Hula are a Yorkshire-based company selling a limited range of beauty products handmade using traditional techniques. The finest quality and fairly traded natural ingredients are used, such as shea butter, aloe vera, coconut oil, cocoa butter and Vitamin E. I was interested to try these as I've got quite dry and sensitive skin prone to dermatitis, and some creams actually smart when I use them. Betty Hula recommends that their creams relieve stretch marks, scarring, dry/sensitive skin, combination skin, oily skin and can be used to sooth sunburn.
Both of the moisturising creams come in 200ml tubs for £14.99, as seen above.  I reviewed a smaller sample pot. I loved the retro- 50's- glamour style of the bright packaging and would enjoy seeing it on my bathroom shelf. My teenage daughter also admired the packaging and general style of the Betty Hula website, so I think the products have fairly general appeal. Both creams had strong fragrance on first opening and I was initially dubious, wondering if the fragrance would irritate my skin, and be too overpowering. The Rum & Blackcurrant initially smelled too fruity for me, but once on the skin it mellowed and settled to a lovely buttery and marzipanny fragrance. My favourite was the Champagne & Spice; just up my street fragrance-wise and complimentary to other perfumes I wear. This too mellowed and smelled deliciously buttery on the skin, and gave gorgeous long-lasting fragrance. Consistency was slightly lighter than a body butter.  I applied it to my face, and also to newly-shaved legs - the ultimate test! It was easily absorbed, left no sticky after-feeling and my skin did feel nourished and smooth afterwards.  I would use this product again. The creams are available at Sainsbury's (and online retailers see here) and you can also order direct from Betty Hula, with free P&P for UK orders. They come in 200ml pots for £14.99. Considering the ingredients, it's a comparable price to other quality creams on the market. I'm a frugal lady, but I do like to treat myself, so I would splash out and keep this 'for best'... and hide it from my daughter!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

~Simple pleasures - seaside~

A couple of days in my Mum's caravan at the Yorkshire Coast to blow the cobwebs off - and it was certainly windy enough for that! The Environment Agency had issued a flood alert for the North Sea coast at Bridlington - the waves were huge and fantastic to witness, crashing and booming on the harbour walls.
My simple pleasures of the last 2 days...

Walking on the beach with my family including this little chap...

...although we could have done with goggles when the wind whipped up a desert sandstorm.

...Cobblestone buildings in the Yorkshire Wolds - I love looking at them it's the 14th Century church in Hornsea...
and last but not least...

sitting snug in the caravan under my favourite feather duvet, knitting a pair of lacy wristwarmers accompanied by one of my favourite noises - the sound of the North Sea.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

~Saturday Thrifting Bric a Brac~

Despite wanting to attend Leeds Corn Exchange Cornucopia food festival today, due to being semi-hibernatory and tired lately I couldn't muster up the energy. Have had a quietish day, food shopping and a mooch around 3 favourite charity shops.
Today's finds are mostly bric a bric in nature- the best 3 are below...

Imperial Bone China Trio £2 - Local charity shop
 And this teaset; it's incomplete, but has a cake plate, milk jug & sugar bowl - love the Autumnal colours...

Ridgway Pottery Queen Anne Bone China teaset £3 - Hospice charity shop
and last but not least, a Boden linen jumper - slightly snug for me in a size 10, but good for layering...
...for the grand sum of 50p, I've left the price tag on to prove it! Like a lot of you fellow thrifters, I find you can still get some astounding good-luck-bargains,  though pricing is very hit and miss. It must depend on which volunteer is sorting and pricing that day and I also find that different charity shops are good for sourcing different things.  This jumper was hanging on the rail next to a washed out long-sleeve New Look
t-shirt for £2.50!?! Bizarre, but that's half the fun isn't it...

Friday, 21 October 2011

~And the winner is! Treacher Creature Giveaway~

There were 13 entries to win Mr Mouse....Drum Roll......And the winner is.........

Autumnal Skies who was number 5 in the comments list. Would you please email me at and I'll get him to you as soon as possible.
Many thanks for all your lovely comments x

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

~Hallowe'en Giveaway~

Thanks for the great comments and lots of interest in my Haberdashery Heaven post, both here and on Twitter. Never mind a global recession; us crafty folk know what's important to debate - trimmings, mother of pearl buttons, crochet lace and ribbon! Brilliant.
The only thing that could surpass the divine subject of haberdashery is another giveaway.
On my visit to Me & Mrs Fisher, I purchased this cute seasonal chap...

Pictured on my sewing table is Mr Mouse and his pumpkin, lovingly crafted in Yorkshire by Dawn at Treacher Creatures available at Me and Mrs Fisher.  See here for more gorgeous examples of her work on Etsy too. Dawn makes unique sock animals and crocheted Amigurumi. Follow her on Twitter as @DSquiffy He'd make a lovely pincushion but I don't think I could bear to put my pins in him...
To have a chance of winning him...please leave me a comment below before 10pm on Friday and become a follower of my little blog.
That's all....Good Luck!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

~Haberdashery Heaven~

I took part in a Twitter chat this week about the lack of Haberdashery in department stores these days...Of course I know shopping habits have changed - and I buy ribbon, buttons and fabric online like the next crafty-person- but nothing beats a leisurely mooch and touchy-feel around an inspiring haberdashery. Some crafters in the South West can't find decent supplies and it has to be said Hobbycraft did reply and say they were looking at the situation. However, personally I love independent shops.  And I have to say I don't mind a market hall haberdashery stall for basics - but choice is limited and often not the style or quality that I'd like. It's a bit like grocery shopping - I get basics from one place and shop around. I like to buy vintage buttons from a certain charity shop in Wetherby, thread, tape and basic supplies from here and wool from Wool and Buttons here.  In York and Leeds we're lucky in that we have the famous Duttons for Buttons and Samuel Taylor, as well as my new favourite Haberdashery Heaven in the previously blogged-about Me and Mrs Fisher. This little treasure trove, called Sunday Nest, is part of Liz and Hannah's emporium and is accessed through Narnia-esque doors from the tearoom, up the stairs and next to where the craft workshops take place. Gorgeous, gorgeous things - I heart♥ily recommend it!
Some of my purchases .....
I also bought a lovely mouse and pumpkin pin cushion which I will feature in a Giveaway tomorrow.
If you visit York make sure you pop into Me and Mrs Fisher.

Friday, 14 October 2011

~A *Pear* of Recipes~

A quick post to share some recipes for the welcome Autumn glut of pears. The recipe for the Italian Pear Cake I baked for Leeds Clandestine Cake Club can be found on this coffee website and is attributed to Anne Willan's Perfect Italian Country Cooking.  I thought it had coffee in the recipe until I realised it was a cake to eat with coffee...
The only addition was some amaretto when caramelising the pears.
Tomatoes optional! Lovely served warm with craime fraiche.
I tweeted last night about Pear Vodka too...I tripled the quantities of the recipe below as it only makes 1 kilner jar's worth and I wanted more!
Pear Vodka Recipe - Peel and dice some pears and measure quantity in a jug to about the 500ml mark. Mix 30ml brandy and 250ml vodka, add to clear kilner jar with 125g sugar. Add the pears - they should be submerged. Keep in a cool pantry/garage for a good few weeks, then strain into sterilised bottle through muslin. 

I use Ikea vases, like this Snartig at 59p
SNÄRTIG Vase, clear glass Height: 18 cm
and buy wine corks to seal them.
I'm saving my Pear Vodka to have as an aperitif for Christmas Day.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

~I ♥ Lavender Hearts~

Earlier this week I found out I'd won Daffodil & Snowdrop's lavender heart giveaway.  I don't win stuff. I just never do. Well, apart from first prize for my chutney 2 yrs ago in a local horticultural show, and before that a year's supply of Jordan's toothbrushes and dental floss in 1984 in Just 17 magazine.

My gift arrived...

...beautifully wrapped and so pretty.
Cheered me up and made me smile after a long day...
(It will have a home (soon) in my caravan. Ssssh!)
Thankyou to Em at Daffodils & Snowdrops, one of my very favourite blogs. I covet the photography and like the style of writing (and the blog in general) - and it has one of the nicest headers too - really effective.
Thankyou again! May more of Lady Luck come my way!

Monday, 10 October 2011

~Cake, cake and more cake in Leeds...~

Just a quick post to pay homage to the Clandestine Cake Club held in Leeds tonight, hosted by Lynn Hill.  It had an Italian theme as was held in La Bottega Milanese in The Light, on The Headrow, Leeds - an Italian espresso and cake shop (see here for a recent review in Yorkshire Evening Post).
My cake all ready to go....

An Italian pear cake - the pears were caramelised in butter, sugar and amaretto. The cake was a dense one made with plain flour - recipe to follow later...
My first beverage was a skinny latte - how ridiculous and pointless in the face of such colossal calorie intake!
Some of the cakes....

Clever creative people....

My 2 favourites taste-wise - this pistachio & raspberry cake (lovely) and Italian tricolore cake (flavours were really intense and fruity).

J (left) gladly accepts the cake from Lynn (right)
 and as you can see, my guest (best friend J), was really chuffed to win Lynn's fab Lemon Drizzle Cake in the raffle for Marie Curie proceeds.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

~Weekend ramblings, pictures & lots of links!~

Greeted on Friday night by a lovely parcel from Seasalt - a mini jute bag as a prize for enering their photo competition!  (I added the padded fish as a seaside touch!) Thankyou lovely Cornish Seasalt!

Nice quiet Friday evening watching telly and knitting...finished another tea cosy!

This morning I got up really to go to York Car Boot sale with my friend and fellow thrifter Donna. (Donna has a lovely Yorkshire based business called Sugar Pie Lemon Drop selling clothes, jewellery, gifts and accessories.)
Thankfully we were alerted by my friend Jo that the races were ON so the car boot was OFF. Thankyou Jo!
(Jo is another creative and clever lady and has a fab York-based business, called Hello Lola, selling handbags and accessories.)
So back to bed for me with crumpets and lemon curd and a big mug of tea!
I decided to go have a mooch around the St. Gemma's Hospice Autumn Fair in Leeds which started at 10am. Fantastic event again, with some quality stalls with great Christmas present ideas and craft supplies.

I bought these corsages from Butterfly Garden who sells on Folksy...
                .....and these glass jars from the Hospice shop, which are now the home for my 2011 Sloe Gin!

1 pint of (Aldi) Gin, 8oz caster sugar and plenty of sloes (I freeze mine, then they are nicely macerated and pop when they defrost).
At the Autumn Fair I chatted to Margaret who I met at Clandestine Cake Club (@MaggyAnne on Twitter) who is a gardener and florist and had a really pretty stall with her plants, flowers and handpainted signs - check out her fab blog here.
Leeds Clandestine Cake Club is on Monday so these sugar-paste tomatoes (no they are not strawberries) are a sneak preview of my Italian-themed cake...

I had lots of (real) free veggies in the garage too, home-grown and given to me - so spent a couple of hours soup-making...parsnip with mango chutney, and winter vegetable with fresh herbs.

 I can feel winter coming and need to fill the freezer!
Have a lovely weekend x

Monday, 3 October 2011

~Autumn Harvest~

Is it Autumn? Or Summer? Or Sprautumn? (My primroses are flowering again!) I like things to stick to the rules sometimes, so I am out of kilter with this warm weather. And it makes me grumpy because I don't like being too hot whilst working and commuting. One of my clematis has flowered consistently and confusedly since June; and looks as knackered as I feel at the moment! Have had a sort out in the garden this week and not done too badly considering my plot is tiny. Small vegetables are the order of the day when you've got lots of containers, pots and troughs.
Day off Thursday may involve a bit of chutney making!
Thanks for your lovely comments about my Macmillan tea party, I appreciate your kind words x

Sunday, 2 October 2011

~Time for (afternoon) Tea - 2nd event! for Macmillan ~

What a busy weekend...After baking on a hot Friday afternoon I welcomed very generous guests to my kitchen (and garden) where we had alfresco tea and cakes, with all proceeds from the afternoon tea and the raffle going to Macmillan Cancer Relief. I loved the Fountains Gold  cheese sandwiches with homemade (and homegrown) green tomato chutney. Dry cure ham sandwiches were delicious with homemade piccalilli too...Fine Yorkshire fayre!

St. Clements drizzle cake with candied lemon peel...
Mini Victoria sponges...

Scones with cream & local tayberry jam and cherry bakewells...
Pretty vintage china...
Crocheted doilies in pinks and greens...
A lovely time was had by all - and we raised £130.86 for Macmillan.

Many thanks to my friends, family and work colleagues, and special thanks to my lovely friend J for helping on the day and being prepared to wear an apron and a flower in her hair!