31 July 2012

Car Boot Buys & my painted bowl

I was hoping to do this post yesterday but it wasn't meant to be! 


Whilst doing my sewing yesterday my laptop decided to play silly buggers (I like to watch/listen to Vlogs whilst I sew you see!). It kept crashing so I gave up with it. Then my sewing machine tension went all wrong and I gave up with that. It was a complete 'blah' moment. All is well now as the handy dandy boyfriend re-did my laptop and the sewing machine is back to normal...thank goodness!!


Anyhoo....


We had a lovely weekend. When Ian got home on Friday evening, we made a dash to the shops and bought some naughty snacks (biscuits, milk shake..you know the drill!), then we rushed back and plonked ourselves in front of the TV till 1 am and watched the Olympic opening ceremony. Whilst watching I managed to get a load of my crochet squares made up so it was half productive ; )


I thoroughly enjoyed it and it made me feel so proud to be British. The James Bond scene & Mr Bean were my favourites. As each country came out towards the end I really began to question my geography knowledge, I hadn't heard of quite a few! Please say I wasn't the only one!!!


On Saturday we got up early and headed off to a car boot sale. We hadn't been to one in ages and the weather was lovely so we thought why not? You never know what you will find in those places! We managed to come away with a few treasures....




The OH spotted this Moroccan style candle holder. It's very different and has a vintage feel to it and for £1 we couldn't say no.


This jug caught my eye. My mum has a nearly identical one and I have been wanting to find something similar for ages.




The guy wanted £3 for it but I decided to be brave and haggle for the first time & managed to get it for £2. Not bad at all!


We also spotted this vintage watering can. They wanted £8 for it but Ian got it down to £5. It has a little rust inside but we will try to fix it up. If not then I think it will look cute as a plant pot or something.








That afternoon I picked up the bowl I painted from the weekend previous. What do you think?






It came out a little 'washy' but I love it! I'd definitely recommend pottery painting, it was so much fun to get creative with paints!


Happy Tuesday xXx

26 July 2012

Seeing the Olympic London 2012 Torch

Yesterday was when the Olympic Torch relay was in my area.


I have to admit I'm not overly bothered about the Olympics and I was thinking about giving the relay a miss, but when I found out it would be passing my nan & grandads house I knew it was too convenient to miss!


We got there nice and early to avoid traffic. The weather was gorgeous and there wasn't a cloud in the sky! At first the streets were empty but soon enough people gathered. As we were waiting patiently we all messed around (with the encouragement of the police) to do a Mexican wave up and down the street...great fun! There was a real sense of community spirit (which is rare is my area) and to be honest it felt great.




As we stood outside we found out that the torch changeover was going to be happening in front of us...how exciting! Unbeknown to us we stood in the best place.








We managed to get our photo taken with the torchbearer, so lucky! That's definitely something to tell the grandchildren one day..heehee! The lady holding the torch was lovely, she said to me she felt really famous having her photo taken.


My brother pulls the funniest of faces. I don't think he really knew what was going on as it was such a rush. Bless him!
A few minutes later a man came running along with his torch, he looked absolutely knackered. I think he had a physical disability and he did amazingly well. Everyone said how well he did, he must be so proud of himself.




The torch was lit.






And off she went. 




It was a great thing to see and we were so lucky to be standing where we were. Being part of this event has helped a little with my opinion towards the Olympics. I'm not a sporty type but I will be watching the opening ceremony tomorrow. Will you?


Gemma xXx

24 July 2012

Painting with my Bloggy Friends

This past Saturday I met up with my bloggy pals Gem, Gem and Julie. We had planned to meet up at a nearby pottery painting cafe.



I was really excited to catch up with them. We got on so well the first time we met and I knew this time would be just as lovely.




There were loads of things to choose. I wanted something that would get used in our 'one day' house so decided to go for this...




I'm not sure if it's a quiche dish exactly but it has the frilly edges like one. I can see myself using it as a serving bowl or maybe a fruit bowl.




Once everyone had chosen and got their paints sorted we settled down and had a good chat whilst concentrating on our painting. Julie recently got married and the other two Gem's are engaged so as you can imagine there was lots of wedding talk! 


I decided to keep my bowl simple with a faint turquoise colour and some little white polka dots.






I can't wait to collect it this weekend, so exciting : )





After we finished our painting, we had a quick bite to eat then had a good look around the shops (High street, Charity and Junk shops!). Nothing really stood out to me but once we got to the junk shops there were lots of things that caught my eye. There was lots of wooden furniture that would looked so pretty with a little DIY but I didn't ask how much they were...I hate to imagine!


I ended up purchasing this 'vintage' milk bottle...I say vintage but I think it's from the 70's (shows my age..ha!). I liked the look of it anyway and had seen it going for quite a bit in other places so had to have it for £2. 






After we said our goodbyes I had a lovely relax at home in the garden with Ian (Have I ever told you how much I love that guy?). We have now been blessed with some gorgeous weather so I am making the most of it : )






Chilled wine and some yummy food is a must!




 Overall a fab weekend!


Gemma xxx

19 July 2012

Bake Store Brownie Kit Review AND a Discount Code!!

I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to review a 'The Colourful Brownie Baking Kit' from the new online shop 'Bake Store'. I absolutely love to bake so this was something I was super excited about.


Bake Store is a family owned company who have a passion for baking. They aim to offer quality baking products that can be used again and again in our own homes. They go the extra mile with their customers by sharing their own recipes and use their own experience to aid customers in perfecting their home baking experience.


It wasn't long before my package arrived which I was very happy about, I couldn't wait! When I opened the box I was greeted with green and purple tissue paper that I had to unwrap to get to the goodies inside.It felt like I was opening a present!


So this is what I received. A very colourful and fun package.











The brownie pan was of better quality than I expected it to be. It's made from 
heavy duty commercial steel so you can tell it is made to last. And if something happens to go wrong with it, it has a 20 year guarantee. The silicone utensils and the plastic measuring spoons have a 5 year guarantee. Score!





I was a little skeptical of the silicone utensils at first. I really didn't know what to expect quality wise, I guess I imagined them to be a little too 'floppy'. 


I was pleasantly surprised to find them sturdy with the right amount of bend. I liked that the mixing spoon has a hole in the middle as it made it a lot easier to get all the ingredients distributed.


I loved how the mixing spoon and spatula has a pointed corner, so it gets all that mixture that is stuck in the side of the bowl when mixing. It also aids when getting *every last bit * of brownie mixture out of the bowl. That is very handy!  



The only negative about this is that there wasn't anything left in the bowl at the end for me : (..heehee!








After the brownies came out of the oven I used the handy dandy Cake Taster to make sure it was cooked to perfection.


I used Bake Stores own recipe. You can find it below!



Chocolate Brownies
 Everybody loves a chocolate brownie and after trying a few different methods, I find this is the best recipe. I always get good results and they are soon all gone. Don’t forget you can change the walnuts for chocolate chunks (or glace cherries or fudge pieces) depending on who you are sharing them with.
 Makes: Up to 24 depending on how large you want to cut them!
 Ingredients:
200g / 7oz of butter or margarine
450g / 1lb of caster sugar
4 level tablespoons of cocoa powder
175g / 6oz of plain flour
Pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
100g / 3 ½ oz of chopped walnuts (or chocolate pieces etc.)

1) Line a medium (23cm square roughly) baking tray or brownie tin with a sheet of Bake-O-Glide
2)   Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4).
3)   Put the butter or margarine in a bowl and melt (If you have an AGA then you can just stand the bowl on the top, otherwise put somewhere warm or heat in a pan on the hob on a low heat and watch to make sure it does not boil)
4)   Put the sugar, cocoa, flour and salt into a mixing bowl and give them a good stir to make sure they are all combined
5)   Break the eggs into another bowl and beat with a fork or whisk
6)   Pour the melted butter in with the sugar, cocoa and flour and give this a quick stir
7)   Then add the beaten eggs and vanilla and mix all this together so that you cannot see any dry bits of flour. Try not to get too vigorous with the stirring here as you don’t want to get too much air mixed in. You really only need a spoon or spatula as a food mixer can make this combine too well and you will get brownies that are more cake-like than the sticky but crusty topped treats you are aiming for
8)   Fold* in the chopped walnuts (or whatever else you want to use if anything)
9)   Pour everything into the baking tray or brownie tin and slide into the middle of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes (for an AGA use the baking oven for the same time or for a two-oven AGA the roasting oven but reduce the time to 25-30 minutes)
10 When done the brownies should have a firm top and a tester or skewer stuck in should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then cut into squares and enjoy
 *Tip: Folding
This is just mixing but gently. The best way is just to work on the basis of making a figure of 8 with the spoon, using the edge, and turn the bowl as you go. You will need to scrape off the edges of the bowl a few times to get all the ingredients too.

Equipment:
Scales
Spoon / spatula
Brownie tin / baking tray
Bowls
Whisk
Measuring spoons
Skewer
------------------------------------------------------




All in all this a great set which produced a great Brownie. I was genuinely surprise at the quality of the products and I can see this set being used over and over again. Bakestore.co.uk is definitely a company I would use again and recommend to others!


On that note, they have been kind enough to offer a 10% discount on your entire order to all my readers, which includes free UK mainland delivery. Simply register for an account and when at the checkout use code 'GEM10'. This code runs until the end of September 2012.



Thank you Bake Store!


Gemma xxx

16 July 2012

A little before and after...

Just a little post today to show you a small before and after.


As you know I love Katie Daisy prints. I really enjoy receiving my order but her added business cards are an extra bonus. They are a perfect size to frame!



I bought a simple wooden frame from a pound shop and got a paint sample.




Tadaa! 




I think the turquoise really brings out the colours in the print. I was originally thinking of painting the frame white but I think the pop of colour adds something.


I love cheap DIY's. Perfect!


Gemma xXx

13 July 2012

Walks, Cake and Crochet.

A few weeks ago we went on a lovely walk in some local fields. As we live on the outskirts of London it is very built up here, so to find some local fields is such a great way to pretend we live in the countryside (Yes, I am a saddo like that!).


I brought the camera along on the off chance of seeing some beautiful things and we did.




Love my pretty spotty wellies in contrast to the OH's big manly ones.



Wild Flowers were everywhere


This space would of been perfect for a picnic if it wasn't so chilly!



We followed this fence line...



And found these beautifully coloured horses



I really want to learn how to use the camera properly. Close - ups are easy, the camera does it all for you. 


It's other kind of photos I want to learn how to take. I would like to go on a photography course to get to know what each of those settings do and how to use them properly! Watch this space.


Pretty purples and yellows.



We came across a big pond, it was so peaceful.





I really enjoy walking in fields as you feel so refreshed afterwards and you can spot some beautiful things along the way. It's the simple things! I can't wait to go back but I can imagine it will be so boggy now.




It was my mums birthday last Monday and I made her that white chocolate & lemon cake i'm always bashing on about! It is scrummy.




I put together a little hamper as her gift. As every personalised hamper should be, it was full of her favourite things. A Vanilla candle, some body scrub, body lotion, chocolate, mini cans of Coke and some perfume. She was one happy lady : )






Crochet wise i've been busy too. I'm aiming to make 4 squares a day to make up the new blanket I want to make. I'm using wool that I have already, to buy all the wool mentioned in the book would cost a lot!



I like pastel shades and I've seen a lot of ice cream colours used in some of the gorgeous photos on instagram, so pretty!





17 out of a few hundred. Mad!


I hope it will be finished in time for next Spring.


Happy Friday all : )


Gemma xXx

10 July 2012

In the rainy garden.

With all this rain we've been having the garden has gone wild! 


For anyone that doesn't know by now, Ian & I started 'growing our own' a few years back. At the moment we use walls in my parents garden but once we have our own place we hope to grow as much as we can (space permitting of course!).


Some things are doing well. We have Raspberries, Apples and Plums. The Broad beans, Mange Tout, Carrots and Parsnips are also flourishing.























I can see some homemade raspberry jam being made in the near future!


 Some things are struggling. The courgettes are getting moldy and are falling off when they are tiny. I think it's the damp weather. The sweet corn isn't very tall either.



 Flower wise we have some sweet peas, Californian poppies, a few unknown flowers and some small Dahlias.









 Before and Afters...





































They are so pretty and dainty!
A little moan now.


I've heard of winter blues but at the moment i'm getting summer blues (if that's such a thing!). There is a huge lack of warmth and sunshine here in the outskirts of London. I can hear rain as I type this and it's getting me down. Summer isn't my favourite season but I love to relish in the BBQ's, S'mores, Bonfires, Paella, Picnics and hazy evenings. I was going to make a summer list but at the moment it feels pointless!


This time last year we were in the midst of planning our Floridian holiday and that makes me feel sad. We aren't jetting off anywhere this year as we are saving saving saving. Sensible but boring. 


I'm living vicariously through other bloggers gorgeous summer holidays. I'm so jealous!


Can any international readers with glorious sunshine send some our way?? We'd appreciate it!


Gemma xXx

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