Saturday, 30 March 2013

Egg rolling & Sledging

Last Sunday a group of us from our church community went egg rolling & sledging in the park by our house. Egg rolling you ask?! We all decorated hard boiled eggs and found the biggest hill to roll them down. There were prizes for the best decorated, worst cheater (someone bought a rubber egg!), the egg that survived the roll, etc etc. You get the picture...I think!? I guess there were quite a few people who wondered what we were doing!
We finished the egg rolling off with a whole lot of sledging! It was a good day with good people. 

Although we had a wonderful day in the snow I am thankful that it's nearly melted. I need sun already!! We've booked two weeks off work at the end of June/beginning of July but I don't know where to go yet! Leave some suggestions for me. I need sun, sand & good food.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

We are on the move

So, it's official. We'll be moving out of our first home together from the first week of June. I don't feel much at the moment but I know when we get nearer the time it will be hard on my emotions. 

We saw this place on the market before we got married. We looked at a lot of places but knew we couldn't hold anywhere since we were traveling for three months for our honeymoon so we waited until we got home to look at a place seriously. 

We lived with my parents for two months after being married (once we'd got home from travels) before we settled on this place. By the way, living with my parents was fun. I guess because both of us lived with parents until we got married it didn't feel much different other than that Sam was allowed in my bedroom! Haha!
I had huge expectations for my first home so when I saw this place on the internet I immediately discarded it thinking it was too small. I wanted somewhere where we had a spare room & a big kitchen because I was eager to have a place I could host people comfortably and visitors could stay the night but God knew before I did that we could still do that in this place - we would just have to be more creative!

Two months at my parents, nowhere feeling perfect for us and feeling eager to settle down & start our married life just the two of us I gave in and we made an appointment to see this apartment. 
It was a 'walk-in-and-know-immediately' moment for both of us. It was completely empty but I could see exactly what I wanted to do with the rooms. We asked the estate agent if we could have a moment to talk and went into what now is our bedroom to do a little 'this is the one dance!'                                                       
We gave our offer to the estate agent & a few weeks later it was ours!
NB: We rented this place but you can always ask for the rent to be cheaper - it works!

We moved in the first week of December 2011 and enjoyed our very first Christmas together, just the two of us.

Even now it's still feels like a novelty to come home to the same place every night and wake up next to him every morning. I hope I'll always feel that.

Because it's a rental property we couldn't do much to the place other than add our own furniture and put up a few photos. I resisted the urge to paint walls and put up shelves - my time will come! It still felt very much our place though.
We've made some great memories here in our first home. We've led church small group with up to 18  people curving around the sofa into the kitchen but  still having some great God moments and intimate prayer time. A good few celebrations with people filling the dining room, lounge & kitchen. A Lord of the Rings marathon, visitors sleeping on a blow up double mattress on the floor, two very special Christmases, many dinners with guests squished in between the wall & dining table & much much more!

God knew exactly what we needed, much more than we trusted and we had the first home of our dreams!
This house had a window in the lounge that provided us with glorious sunrises & sunsets, snowy trees, dancing leaves & crazy thunder storms & the tree outside our window looked beautiful in all weather.
A gated-fenced off area where multicoloured flowers & ivy grew to create curtains of real beauty.
The gravel on the drive told me exactly when my sweetheart was arriving home from work & the clang of the side gate told us to get the kettle on for visitors!

It didn't matter where you were in our apartment we could speak to each other from every room. 

We have laughed, we have cried, we've napped, danced & sung. Been hot, been cold, had cuddles, had fights, said prayers, read books, watched films, been creative & been lazy in this home.

We're going to enjoy our last three months here then go off onto another adventure down the road.

Thank you for the special memories Hole Lane. You were super cute & beyond good to us.

Our new adventure to where we are moving will be documented in the near future. All I'm saying is that I now get to pick out paint colours! Let the creativity loose!

Friday, 15 March 2013

DIY: Bottle top magnets

This is such a simple DIY to do. Sam loves trying different beers/ciders and we decided a while ago to start collecting the tops of the ones we've tried and turn them into magnets. We wanted to get a magnet from every place we've visited so why not add to the collection of the drinks we've tried too!
They make for lots of special memories of places we've visited (some we're collected on honeymoon), pubs we've come across or celebrations we've had.

You'll need a collection of beer/cider bottle tops, magnets (I bought mine here - I have to point out they were cheaper when I bought them so maybe shop around) and you'll need a glue gun.

Simply glue the magnet onto the bottle top. Don't forget to glue it on backwards so the magnet faces upwards. That might sound obvious but I wasn't concentrating the first time I did it!

They looks so cute and retro. Makes for a great conversation starter, adds a little colour & interest to a room & they are fun! Can't wait to add more to the collection.

What do you collect as little memories??

Monday, 11 March 2013

Great British Bakewell Tart

This is the first time I've made this British classic. What seemed like a complicated dessert to make turned out to be super easy. I'll be whipping this up a lot more in the future!

The pastry crust was delicious and the filling so soft. Topped with flaked almonds & lemon icing drizzle. Yum! It turned out just like the picture too - how often does that happen! I made this for Sam's parents for mother's day but it was consumed too quickly for me to take a photo of it sliced.

From 'The Great British Book of Baking'.

For the sweet shortcrust pastry: 175g plain flour, pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, 115g unsalted butter, 1 medium egg yoke, 3 tablespoons raspberry jam. For the topping: 60g unsalted butter (soft), 60g caster sugar, 1 medium egg, 30g self raising flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 50g ground almonds & few drops of almond essence. For the icing: 100g icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or flavouring, 1 tablespoon of cold water. Flaked almonds to decorated.

- To make the pastry by hand, sift the flour, salt & sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the diced butter and rub with your fingers until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
- Use a spoon to mix in the egg yolk and make into a firm dough. If the mix is too dry & crumbly stir in a little water a teaspoon at a time.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

I used a 22cm loose-based flan tin.

- Roll out dough on a floured surface into a circle and then line the flan tin, cutting off any excess.
- Prick the base with a fork and then spread the base with the raspberry jam.
- While you make the topping heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4.
Put a baking try in the oven to heat up - you will put your tart on top of this so it cooks the pastry underneath evenly.

- For the topping, put sugar, butter, egg, sieved flour, baking powder, ground almonds and almond essence into a mixing bowl. Beat well until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon on top of the jam and spread evenly.

- Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes until pastry is light golden brown and the filling is firm to touch. Remove from oven & leave to cool.

- Mix icing sugar with lemon juice & water to make a smooth runny icing. Pipe or spoon icing over the tart in a random/zigzag pattern and then scatter with flaked almonds.

- Served gently warmed or at room temperature with single cream.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A little alone time

So I went AWOL right!? 
It's obviously been a while since I posted. I've been going through a lot recently & blogging has not been made a priority, which I'm really sad about. I love blogging so I know when something is really up with me when I don't do it. 
I've been doing 35+ hours at work in the last few weeks - now, pipe down, I know many of you out there do a whole lot more but I don't and it takes up a lot of my craft & personal time. I'm up and at work for eight-thirty and home about seven then I just want to flake out in front of the tele or get straight to bed because I'm on my feet all day without a break or sometimes we're off out to a church meeting/event and suddenly life has passed you by and really you've done nothing even though you've done so much! Rant over.

That's mostly why I've been MIA! Sam & I had a date night a month or so ago and chatted about our life currently. Cutting a long & refreshing conversation short we decided we need to cut down on some of the things we were doing outside of work & focus on just the two of us for a while. I think we know what we want that to look like but it still needs ironing out a little before I share on the blog, but currently a little quality time & planning our future is what is good for us now. 

The weather has been so nice recently, work even allowed us to have the doors wide open to let the fresh air & sun into the shop since we couldn't enjoy it to the full. I need sunshine & a holiday! Desperately. The search is on!

In other news, I've spent a lot of good, healthy & spirit-uplifting time with my parents, we are most likely moving house at the beginning of June, I've eaten far too much cake in recent weeks & I'm looking forward to buying a new handbag because mine fell off my shoulder a few days ago while I was out! I'm asking for a refund.
But that's all for another time!

Ready to be up & running & crafting again!