You know I have a policy of saying yes to the fun opportunities which come my way. It took me longer than it should have (oh but what if I’m too busy in April?) to say yes to a day of fun, food, photography and friends.
It turns out a day away from my desk is exactly what I needed.
Ten of us headed down to a shoot house in Sussex called Walnuts Farm with the aim of capturing images for our blogs. I took four projects to photograph which is just as well because I spent all of the rest of my time chatting rather than capturing the beautiful surroundings.
I haven’t tackled my blog photos in this way before but I really found getting a group of shots nailed incredibly satisfying. It also means I have a couple of recipes and a big secret sewing reveal to post over the next couple of weeks as well as the wreath and chair (24 hours left on the giveaway!) I posted last week.
It does feel good knowing I have posts queued up for what is set to be my busiest month ever. I could be tempted to do this regularly!
Being in such beautiful surroundings really made me think about my home. I’ve mentioned a few times that we have only done what really needed doing in our house and the rest is on a vague one day list.
I’m looking at our home with new eyes and thinking about what I can do now instead. I have a few projects in mind for this summer not to mention the culmination of Project Garden so stay tuned for some interior developments!
As you can imagine having a group of friends with blogs makes for lots of fun. Igor made this cute collection of pink using some of my props (and props to The Hambledon for hooking me up, more on that soon) alongside the gorgeous drinks Heather brought for lunch.
I was really interested to see the different way people approached their photographs. There was lots of Instagramming and if you search for the #farmbloggers hashta you can find everyone’s photos. I could swear I didn’t spot Lottie with the camera once but boy did she capture some beauties.
Such a perfect day; working away at my favourite hobby, relaxing over a bring & share lunch and chatting like there was no end in sight. We even got silly for the last photo of the day – a fully propped and chickened up group shot.
Oh yes, this is the kind of day we should say yes to. A day of friends and creativity which leaves you filled up.
We have been on the hunt for new dining chairs for a while as the legs were literally falling off ours. I had settled on the idea of having a mix of styles after finding a Windsor Wheelback chair in a charity shop.
As I started to scour eBay and the local second hand furniture shops I was contacted by Metro Furniture. I have long admired the beautiful lines of Eames furniture and with so many reproductions around they are definitely a big favourite in interiors at the moment.
I chose one in powder blue after a lot of deliberation – 11 colours, which would you choose? While I love my wooden chairs when it comes to sitting for longer than a meal my back can’t cope with them. The moulded seat of an Eames DSW chair is so much more comfortable to sit in. I am tempted to take it up to my desk!
I couldn’t accept a chair without asking for one to giveaway so hold onto your hats – I’ve got a Rafflecopter going on! If you fancy your own Eames DSW in your choice of 11 colours then this is the giveaway for you.
If you’re on email or in RSS click through to the site or select the giveaway tab on Facebook to enter. You can enter up to seven times in a variety of ways. It ends at midnight on 17th April.
Good luck friends x
I was at my local flower wholesaler’s (if you’re in Winchester go out to Dutch Masters – they are fabulous) buying Spring flowers for bouquets when I spotted some willow wreaths beside the till.
As I was heading out for a day of blogger fun and photography the next day I thought I would grab one to add to my pile of projects to photograph. More about our day of bloggers and photography in a later post.
I have added step by step instructions to the bottom of this post so you can make your own.
The wreath is based on a straw ring and has willow branches strongly wired at the base and tied in place with string. This is a great structure for securing flowers in and you can get away without wire for the flowers if you need to.
The great thing about a wreath like this is a few flowers go a long way. You could easily achieve this with a mixed bunch of spring flowers.
I have used: anemones, daffodils, tulips and my favourite Billy Buttons! The wreath has pussy willows within it which add a different texture into the mix.
I took the ribbon from my Solstice wreath (which was still hanging, dried out on the wall) which I simply tied in a knot and topped with a bow.
I really love how cheerful this looks on my door and when the flowers wilt I can replace them with a fresh bunch. Wouldn’t it be the perfect way to greet guests visiting this Easter?
How to Make a Spring Wreath
One straw or metal wreath ring
A bundle of willow twigs and pussy willows
A roll of strong florists wire
A bunch of spring flowers
Fine florist’s wire
A long piece of ribbon
- Cut your willows into lengths of about 30cms.
- Take a small bundle of the twigs and lay them over your base sticking out at an angle.
- Make sure your base is well covered and wrap the strong wire around the bottom of the twigs several times to anchor it in place.
- Repeat this working backwards around the ring, finally tucking the last bundle under the first.
- Use the string to tie down the protruding twigs.
- Trim any which are sticking out.
- Trim your flower stems to around 15 – 20cms and slide them into the wreath.
- If any are droopy insert florists wire into the stem to give them some stability.
- You may want to secure your flowers with wire to ensure they don’t drop out when the wreath is hanging on your door.
- Fold your ribbon in two, allow about 20cms (or what suits you) to hang it on your door, tie a knot and then use the tails to tie a bow over the knot.
- Hang with pride and welcome Spring in!
I am an unashamed fan of the roast. It is my enduring favourite dish of all times, other dishes may hold my attention for a while but week in week out the roast dinner in all of its delicious forms has my heart.
I recently picked up a shoulder of lamb at our local farmer’s market thinking I might slow roast it with beans. I looked through a few recipes online for slow roasted shoulder of lamb and this beauty by Tom Kerridge caught my eye. The combination of slow roasted meat and boulangere potatoes was too tempting and I decided to work it into the meal I was planning.
Slow cooking food has to be better for the soul, doesn’t it? Whether you’re pottering around the house or returning after a long walk the embrace of the aroma is incredibly comforting. Not only is it uplifting while it cooks, it’s incredibly easy on the preparation leaving you free to swoop in at the last minute with some steamed veg.
I love serving this on a large platter in the middle of the table where everyone can help themselves. It lends itself to sharing and particularly to Easter celebrations.
I have used a half shoulder from our local butcher to cook this for the five of us. I rubbed the herbs on the night before to give it time to soak up the flavour but you could just as easily rub them on while the meat sits before cooking.
We had enough left over for a shepherd’s pie and the succulent slow roasted lamb was incredible cooked in this way. I recommend buying more meat just for the leftovers!
The potatoes aren’t outshone by the tender lamb; they are rich and flavoured with the lamb. They stand up to the slow cooking without losing their shape and have a wickedly fatty edge.
This really is a once in a blue moon dish for a truly indulgent yet laid back roast dinner.
Slow Roasted Shoulder of Lamb Cooked Over Boulangere Potatoes Recipe
1.5 – 2 kg Lamb Shoulder
1 large sprig of rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
A pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp of olive oil
6 – 8 large waxy potatoes (I have used King Edwards without too much crumbling)
2 onions, finely sliced
1 small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
500ml of chicken stock
- Score the skin of the lamb.
- Take the rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and oil and pound in a pestle and mortar until you have a green oil.
- Rub the oil all over the meat and leave it to rest overnight (if possible).
- Heat the oven to 160°C, let the lamb come to room temperature while it heats.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into 5mm slices and pat them dry with a tea towel.
- Toss the potatoes with the onions, rosemary and pepper to coat.
- Layer the potato mixture in an oven proof dish.
- Pour over the chicken stock.
- Place the lamb on top, skin side up and put into the oven.
- Cook for 3 – 4 hours.
- Remove the dish from the oven and place the lamb on a plate to rest, covered with a tea towel.
- If the potatoes aren’t browned you can turn up the heat and return to the oven for a few minutes.
- Use forks to pull the meat apart and serve with Spring vegetables.