Sunday, 28 September 2008

After the Party

Sunday night, another weekend gone in a flash and I have that horrible, all too familiar, sick in the pit of my stomach feeling at the thought of back to work tomorrow.

Thank you for Mr. Bloom's birthday wishes which I passed onto him. We had a lovely party with our family - unfortunately I was so busy trying to be the perfect hostess that I forgot to take any photos. I thought instead you might like to see a bit more of my 'best' china. I use brightly coloured china for everyday, but for best I prefer something more subdued.

Some pieces are flowery are some are white with gold. Over the years I have acquired and relinquished many pieces of china, but always held on to the gold patterns.

The floral pieces have pretty pansies, unusually in this pinky-amber colour.

Between the two designs I have 7 complete cup, saucer and side plates, plus extra side plates and saucers and a few larger cake plates. I also have this pretty jug, which I searched high and low for before the party, finally concluding I must have imagined I had one. The next day I found it tucked away in my china cabinet in the front room!

I have six of these larger plates with pinky peach roses and a gold border. I'm always on the lookout for more similar pieces to add to the 'set'.

The colours tone in very well with my pinky-amber glassware.

Not many roses left in the garden now, so I cut the stems short and popped them into a couple of long-stemmed liquor glasses.

Mr. Bloom did rather well in the presents department:

If Mr. Bloom won the lottery, two things he would do is keep chickens and buy an Aston Martin. For now he has to make do with pottery and pictures! The other book is 501 Must-Visit Cities, so we wouldn't be short on ideas for places to go either. If we visited one city a month it would take us the next 42 years to visit them all - hmm, maybe a bit ambitious!

I almost forgot about the cake - it turned out rather tasty.

I got the recipe from Gluten Free Cookery by Peter Thomson, published by Hodder and Stoughton ISBN 0-340-62098-6.

Almond Sponge Cake

4oz (100g) butter or soft margarine
7oz(200g) sugar
4 large eggs
7oz(200g) ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond essence

1. Beat the sugar and eggs together until they double in volume.
2. Mix in the butter and then the ground almonds and almond essence.
3. Place the mixture in a greased 8 inch/20cm sponge tin lined with non-stick baking parchment.
4. Bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 4 (350F, 180C) for 30-45 minutes when the top should be golden brown and the sides shrinking away from the tin.
5. Stand for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire tray to cool.
6. When cold, cover with a white icing and decorate with angelica strips and glace cherries.

I used an electric whisk to mix the ingredients to get as much air in as possible but even so the cake doesn't rise as much as a sponge made with flour. I made two to sandwich together. It also doesn't hold together so well, so I cut into slices before filling. I forgot to put the almond essence in, but it still tasted nice. I filled it with plum jam and whipped cream rather than icing as I didn't want it to be too sweet.

Aside from Mr. Bloom's party I have rather a lot going on at the moment and have once again fallen behind with answering comments and emails, which doesn't sit well with me. I do love reading your comments but find myself stressing if I can't respond to them promptly. So until I can catch up on things, I have decided to switch off comments on my blog. To everyone who I owe a comment or email, I will try to catch up this week!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Just Chintz

A while back I posted about my small collection (3 pieces!) of chintz. Well, a couple of boot sales later and it has more than doubled.

Firstly a part set of 2 small, 2 large plates a jug and a sugar bowl. I did a little whoop of joy inside when I found these for a couple of pounds. I like that they are only part-chintzed, white space is good - not so overpowering.

Also this tiny pot, it may have had a lid once, I'm not sure, but it's very cute anyway.

I've re-arranged my kitchen shelves to accomodate my growing collection. Most of it is on here, though I'm not sure if it's not chintz overkill.

I also re-arranged my little white shelf, I thought there was too much pink before (if that's possible), I like it much better now.

It's Mr. Bloom's birthday tomorrow and I've invited all the family round. With the house being in turmoil we haven't entertained for a long time, so I've been busy getting out all my mismatched china...

... and glass...

... put out some mismatched chairs in the front room, and creatively concealed the mess in the dining room beyond...

I've managed to make the front room presentable (the curtains still aren't hemmed but I've put 2 armchairs in the window so you can't see), can't do anything about the carpet at short notice.

So lots of cleaning done today and then a bit of fluffing. I've baked half a cake - I only have one cake tin so have to bake in 2 batches. I'm trying a new recipe for a wheat-free sponge, part 1 has come out OK, I think I'll do part 2 and the icing tomorrow as it's getting a bit late for me now. If it tastes nice I'll post the recipe.

Oops, and I still have to wrap some presents - I wonder where they are - best get going!

Lucy x
p.s. does anyone know why my links are coming out underlined, they didn't used to, is it because I changed template?
p.p.s actually, I have just noticed they are only underlined in Edit mode, so ignore above question!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Light Matters

Having shown my poodle lamp in the previous post, I must confess to having a bit of a thing for lamps and shades. Thought you might like to see some others I have around the house (if you don't like lamps you might not wish to read on as that's all there is in this post!) You might have seen some of these before, but being a thrifty girl I do like to get value from my pics.

I love the style of this pleated shade, a car boot find but not so sure about the colour. I added the fabric roses which are actually a hairclip, I think the shell pink goes so well with the green and lifts an otherwise quite drab colour.

Matching plaster lamps on bedside tables, £3 the pair, they had really ugly (to me) orange and brown drum shades which I replaced with pretty pleated pink ones, they don't match but the lamps do so that's OK. The lamps have the sweetest chubby cherubs on them.

There was a glipse of this lovely cut glass lamp in my last post, here's the whole thing.

A shabby french wall light which I just can't find a place for in the house, I won't give up though, one day I will. I'm going to use it as a candle holder rather than a lamp as the thought of cutting grooves in walls does not appeal to Mr. Bloom.

A few lamps double up as display for brooches and necklaces.

This cute pink desk lamp is no more - I dropped it one day when I was re-arranging, it's in 2 pieces now, though I do have it's twin in blue (somewhere in the loft...).

This naughty lady who caused me so so much embarrassment - though we've made up now.

I do love the soft glow a lamp gives to a room and some days I can't wait for it to get dark just so that I can switch the lamps on - and I'll bet I'm not the only one!

No need for lamplight this weekend - glorious sunshine - well, here, anyway. Not yesterday, when I went out for the (wet) afternoon with my mum and dad, not last (wet) Sunday when I wanted to go to the car boot, but today, when I have to be indoors making these.

A thrifting opportunity during the week yielded this lovely:

I love it but it's quite large and I don't have anywhere to put it, I've hung it in the hall but it doesn't look quite right there.

So I'm not sure whether to keep it, maybe I'll take it to the V&HFair...

Ah well, back to work, see you soon!

Lucy x

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Hooray for Rain!

I didn't go selling at Castle Coombe Boot Sale today. Watching the wet weather reports all day yesterday I agonised over whether to go or not. (It's only held once a month so it's not like I can just go next week instead). Last month a dry day was forecast so we went, it rained and all my stuff got wet! Yesterday the weather report showed clouds and no rain, but when it started pouring about 7pm last night I decided not to go.

I got up this morning and it wasn't raining - cloudy and damp, yes, but no rain. All morning I agonised over whether I'd made the right decision. I just hate that 'agonising about something' feeling - if you're not careful it can spoil the whole weekend. Then about 11am it started to rain - hooray - agony over, weekend saved! Mind you, it might not have been raining there, 15 miles away, still, I won't think about that. (If anyone did go and it didn't rain, please don't tell me!)

Instead, Mr. Bloom and I took a trip out to Devizes to an indoor boot sale that I've been thinking I might try instead. It's in a small market hall and only holds probably no more about 20 pitches. Mostly dealers, I'm not sure my real car boot junk would quite fit there, the jury's out at the moment. Devizes also has an antiques arcade a few doors down from the market which opens on a Sunday too.

I hadn't planned to buy but just happened to find these lovely things.

A cute porcelain hand ring holder, a vintage Avon perfume bottle, a pretty lampshade and a round lace tablecloth which I've been after for ages. The weekend's humming now! Though where am I going to put them...

The perfume bottle I managed to squeeze into my bathroom cabinet.

The hand just fitted this tiny space on my bedroom cupboard.

The shade was perfect for this poodle lamp which I've had for some time.

The tablecloth - well that's for another post!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A little sun and sea in Sussex

Not so long ago, though it feels like forever away now, Mr. Bloom and I took a short break. We did have a lovely time and managed to pack a lot into a few days - we were lucky to get a bit of sunshine too. Top of the list of course, was thrifting, but we did squeeze in a little sightseeing and taking in of the sea air. As holiday posts can get rather long-winded, I though I'd just give a pictorial precis.

Pretty quayside appartments spotted in Chichester

Arundel has some lovely antique shops and an impressive castle

This cottage is so pretty but I'm not sure I'd want a garden like that!

Clock towers snapped in Lewes

I loved the cheqeuered steps and planters outside this restuarant.

A visit to Brighton Pier and the Pavillion were obligatory.

I'd like to say we stayed here, but nothing quite so Grand for us!

Some friends we made on a walk in the country.

I wish we could have stayed longer, but I'm sure we'll be back that way some day. As for the thrifting, well I did pick up a few things...

Fabrics and flowers, including some beautiful millinery poppies on a vintage hat.

A lovely vintage talc tin, compete with talc, and an old Avon perfume bottle.

My favourite purchase has to be these gorgeous lace panels - 4 of them. They don't have a home yet but I'm sure I will find one, I'm thinking I might pin them around the top of my wardrobe.

In a way, I'm a bit relieved that summer has ended as there won't be quite so much thrifting tempation in the way of car boot sales and days out. I've run out of room to put anything so I think maybe this autumn and winter I'll be making space. Then I can start all over again next year! :-)

For anyone who is in the vicinity, Castle Coombe boot sale is on again this weekend- I am planning to go selling, so long as it doesn't rain!