Thursday, 28 February 2013

Local Beauty Hero

I like to think that beauty wise, I'm pretty low maintenance.  I have a highlight or two and a weakness for prettily packaged products but as far as treatments go, they've become more necessity based nowadays.  Pre-Cubs, Chaz and I used to live next door to a beautician and I'd often find myself in there on a weekly basis.  Now I'm less au fait with the inside of a salon, I'm slightly more demanding when I do have an appointment.  It's taken until now - over a year, to find and befriend a local salon.  And now I've got one, as shallow as it may sound, I feel that little bit more settled here.  I've waded through a few places since we moved and after quite a few mishaps that I've chosen to forget about,  Enhance in Woodstock has come out as my one. It's very tiny, with only two therapists but does the best nails, hot waxing and facials this side of London.  And on a monday they have 20% off all their treatments.  What could be a better way to start off the week?

They also are offering my readers a 20% discount for the whole of March - just quote Willow Rose when you call.
5 Park Street, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
01993 815 815

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Birthday Cubs

One of my most favourite birthday presents was this picture of the Cubs my Mumma - artist extraordinaire Kate Corbett-Winder - painted for me.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Gold Lion

My latest love is making me wonder whether I've been spending a bit too much time with the small cubs and not enough time with people my own age.  Since seeing these painted metallic lions on I've been siphoning off any of their toys that I feel would look good wearing a nice coating of metallic gold.  We went to Toys 'R'us yesterday and came back with slightly more plastic creatures than I'd meant to. I'm thinking they'd look quite special all pretty and painted arranged in huge box frames on the wall..  

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Crafty Name Cards

Chaz is throwing me a surprise 30th party.  All I know is what time I have to be there and that it's in London.  And that the theme is 'Masquarave'.
He's also planned a small girly lunch for before the party, again, I have no idea how/where/what/when. I was desperate to do something creative yesterday and was allowed to slightly join in the planning by making some name place cards for the lunch. 

The inspiration 


Acrylic paper
Computer and printer
Fine glitter
clear drying glue

Downloaded the (free) font Coneria Script from
Write the names, choose the colour and size of font you want.
Print on thick acrylic paper.
Cut out each name.
Cover the cards in tiny specks of glue, using the paintbrush.
Sprinkle glitter all over.
Let dry and then shake off the excess glitter.
Et Voila!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Double Divine Cake

Just in case you're wondering, this cake is actually called that; I did not make up the name.  It's a Mary Berry recipe that was in a Sunday paper last weekend and I havent stopped thinking about it ever since.  It's also the one that's being turned into a ladybird/caterpillar hybrid next week.  So I'm going to have a practice run today - maybe without completing the insect transformation -  just to check that it works out ok...

  • 190g (6½ oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 level tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150ml (¼ pt) sunflower oil
  • 150ml (¼ pt) milk
  • 200g (7oz) Belgian white chocolate
  • 150ml (¼ pt) double cream
  • 1 x 125g tub full-fat cream cheese
♥ Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line with greased greaseproof paper the bases of 2 x 20cm (8in) straight-sided loose-bottomed sandwich tins.

♥ Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the syrup, eggs, oil and milk, mix with an electric hand whisk and pour into the tins. 
♥ Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertips. Turn out on to a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool.
♥ For the icing, break the white chocolate into a bowl. Heat the double cream in a pan until hot and pour the hot cream over the white chocolate to melt it. Stir until melted, then set aside to cool.
♥ Spoon the cream cheese into a bowl, gradually add the white chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Set aside to cool a little until thick enough to ice.
♥ Spread half the icing on one cake, sit the other cake on top and spread the remaining icing on top to give a pretty finish.

PREPARE AHEAD The cake is best made on the day but will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
FREEZE It freezes well not iced or filled for up to 3 months.
AGA Bake on the grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven with the cold sheet on the second set of runners for about 20-30 minutes.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

One week to go...

Trying to make the most of still being in my twenties for the last few weeks hasn't really been going to plan.  Not that I really knew what I should be doing; Staying out all night/going on wild, spur of the moment trips?  Wearing something cooler perhaps...

I did actually buy an especially teenage mini dungaree dress last week. Although I'm quite concerned it looks more Annie than Alexa... And I've woken up with a nice rash on my face, which could be mistaken for teenage acne if it needed to be.  
The biggest Cub's latest obsession is a TV character called Sporticus.  Half my day is spent pretending to be on the phone to him,  while the rest is spent following orders to 'jump about and dance' like him.  After being made to copy one his  head stands at 6am on Sunday morning and landing not quite perfectly; I've barely been able to move.  I used to be able to run for miles and recover in seconds.  And now, I just cant do it.  So I think I'm going to give up before I've really even started.
They do say everything changes when you turn 30. People who can usually eat whatever they like, whenever they like, suddenly can't. As if my magic, over night, one too many sticky toffee puddings and 'poooooof!', you're the size of a house.  

So instead of panicking I'm going to embrace it.  Or maybe just let it pass me by.  I'm going to concentrate on making a Mary Berry, white chocolate birthday cake.  Of which Cub Senior is insisting is for him and must be half caterpillar, half ladybird...

Monday, 11 February 2013

Wallpapering. Again.

My best and typically not sure where it's from.

We've only got a couple more rooms in the house to do up now.  I kind of wish there were more;  that I'd been patient and hadn't done everything so quickly, all in one go.  Chaz is pretty good at trusting me to make decorating decisions.  Even after turning upstairs into a jungle and painting our bedroom a seriously dark blue.  Next on the doing up list is the downstairs loo.  If there's ever a room for a crazy wallpaper, this is surely it.  The problem is, is that the walls are already covered in a perfectly nice beetles from Farrow and Ball.  I'm trying to compile a collection of ones that are too wonderful for him to resist.

Osboure and Little Penguin covers

Barneby Gates Stars and Fresco Birds

Mr Perswall Library.  Colourful Knowledge.

Brooklyn Tin Tiles

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Helebore Heaven

This week I've moved on from the re-housing of primroses to the  picking of Helebores.  My garden is full of them.  Definitely one of the highlights of my new life in the country.  

Yesterdays's creation - Helebores with spring branches wrapped in raffia.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Spring Visions

I've been feeling quite green fingered recently and spent most of last week repotting primroses and hyacinths into pretty pots and tea cups. My lovely friend Charlotte, who works for the best florist in the world - Scarlett and Violet, taught me a simple trick which makes store bought plants look they're from another (very chic) planet. 

If you're potting into terracotta pots, simply snip off the tops of the plastic pot and plop them in.  You can then add some more soil or even better, some moss, onto to hide any of the joins...

Christmas cyclamen.

Last weeks efforts.   Primroses, narcissi and hyacinths.