Sunday, 27 December 2009


Hoping you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Due to various mishaps with blogger on my phone I wasn't able to blog any Christmas wishes before the day.

We had a very relaxing Christmas with family in Kent, lots of good food, conversation and presents. And I did quite well at Christmas Day Scrabble for a change!!

I am now settling into a lovely long week before I have to be at work again, I am hoping to bring you lots of new things on the jewellery front.
I'll also be starting a very special sale in my Etsy shop - watch out for some wonderful discounts later in the week, up to 50% off.


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Monday, 21 December 2009

Last Minute Gifts!

If you are in the U.K. and still looking for a lovely gift to give this Christmas there is still time to order from my shop, hurrah!

Order dates for first class have passed but I can send orders via Special Delivery Next Day to reach you in time for Christmas. Contact me via my Etsy shop or at if you'd like to add extra postage on to your order. Special delivery will cost £5 (converted to $8 in my Etsy Shop).

The last date to order for this is the 22nd December, I will ship your gifts on the 23rd to arrive 24th.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

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Friday, 18 December 2009

White Christmas?

Certainly looks promising. I went mad and took many many pictures of the snow today, I expect to be entertaining you with many more if this lovely weather continues.

I am certainly making the most of the macro function too!

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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Last Posting Dates - UK

Hello everyone!

Just a quick note to remind you that if you are in the U.K and would like your gifts by Christmas please order by the 20th December for all my shops (Etsy, Folksy and All Things Original).

I'll still be shipping out until the 22nd but your gifts may not arrive on time.

Contact me if you'd like recorded or special delivery.

Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Vanilla Marshmallows

One of the things I do this time of year is try a recipe that I have never tried before, something sweet, so I can give the end product as a gift.
Really, this is not very wise considering I am planning on giving these things as gifts, and should they go wrong I would have to rush out to the shops at the last minute!

I've made fudge in the past, truffles and some disastrous too vinegary red onion marmalade.

This year I thought I'd try marshmallows, I'd seen them on River Cottage a few months back and they looked too delicious not to try. I love sweets but the shop bought marshmallows are always disappointing.

Boiling sugar, mince pies in the background!

I used the River Cottage recipe but tweaked it a little to my taste.
I didn't go for the beetroot but instead prepared some vanilla sugar ahead of time (2 weeks in a tub with a couple of split vanilla pods) and also infused some spent vanilla pods in the hot water before I added the gelatine.

The vanilla taste comes through very well, I'd love to try other things next time - maybe infusing with fruit tea.
You also don't need a mixer for this but you do really need an electric whisk to save your arms, and obviously the thermometer is a total must.

I took my marshmallows out of the tin after about 3 hours but I left it on a powdered board overnight to set further, this makes them a lot less sticky to cut into pieces.

These take an afternoon to make but they are definitely worth it, they are nothing like the shop bought variety at all. I can't wait to hear the verdict from those receiving them! I will of course be keeping some for myself, for coffee dunking purposes.


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Back on Folksy!

Just to let you know I'm back on Folksy!

My shop has reopened with lots of goodies, and all in UK pounds for my UK customers :)

Order by the 20th December to receive your gifts by Christmas.


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Friday, 11 December 2009

Etsy Christmas Special!

A special for my blog readers this weekend!
15% off and free shipping!

In my Etsy Shop
Enter 'Weekend Special' in the notes to seller box during checkout and I'll refund the discount via PayPal.

Merry Christmas!


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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Christmas is here..

The tree is up..

I do love this time of year, and I especially like seeing the tree up and our assorted decorations.
This year I've a few handmade additions -some lovely fabric decorations from summersville and a beautiful clay dove from Emma Passey (which has a perilous future if the cat continues to climb the tree, it may be moved!).

We also bought a smoking man from the Black Forest, you put a little incense cone where his belly is and little smoke comes out his mouth!


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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

roast tomato soup with tiny toasties

I wonder what percentage of tomato soup is made on a dreary Monday evening?

Yesterday was no except, rain, wind and getting dark early. I normally crave soup or stew on days like that, this time it was a rich tomato soup. I'd noticed several of my favourite food blogs had come up with tomato soup recipes recently along with the traditional American addition of grilled cheese (or cheese toasties) - which I'd never had before with it.

I like to roast my tomatoes for soup, it really brings the flavour out and turns not so special supermarket tomatoes into something wonderful. When I'm making a quick and cheap lunch soup I roast canned chopped tomatoes instead of fresh ones.

Roast Tomato Soup with Tiny Cheese Toasties

For Soup
6 large tomatoes - peeled (with a vegetable peeler or boil and peel skins off)
2 fat cloves of garlic
approx 200ml of chicken stock (I had some in the freezer that I'd made a couple of weeks ago)
1/2 red onion
splash of double cream

For Toasties
French stick

(You can also experiment with gruyere, emmental or even something like double gloucester)

For the Soup

Cut peeled tomatoes into quarters and add to a roasting tin with the cloves of garlic (keep the skins on the garlic, you want them to roast inside and become sweet and flavoursome) and a drizzle of good olive oil. Roast on high on the top shelf for approx 10 - 15 mins.
When they are ready mush them up with the back of a spoon. Take out the garlic cloves , remove skins and chop roughly.

Fry diced red onion in a little olive oil and butter until soft, add in garlic cloves followed by tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Blend and then stir in a little double cream once off the heat.

For Tiny Cheese Toasties

Cut french stick into as many slices as you'd like toasties, approx 1 inch thick.
Add a little english mustard to one side of each piece of bread.

Fry half the slices, mustard side up, in a little butter until brown on one side. Remove from pan and do the same with the other slices - this time layering with thinly sliced parmesan and cheddar, pop the first set of fried slices on top. Cook slowly until the cheese melts. I found a lot of american recipes use a weight to help the cheese melt, I used my heavy casserole lid.
If the bread starts to brown too much and the cheese isn't melting remove the top layer and pop them under the grill to melt the cheese.

Ladle soup in to a big bowl and serve with the toasties. I guarantee this will warm you up from top to toe!


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Monday, 7 December 2009

Handm@de Cambridge

I'm back (and recovered!) from Handm@de Cambridge!

I had a lovely day at the fair and met some great people, I love to go to fairs to hear feedback on my jewellery. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and to the lovely Alice of Snapdragon Beads for her super duper organisational skills!

Whilst I was there I also did a little shopping myself at Saffron Barr, Little Button Nose and also this lovely dove from Emma Passey Design - its now sitting pretty on my christmas tree.

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Friday, 4 December 2009

Handmade Cambridge - 5th December

I'll be at Handmade Cambridge tomorrow!

Please come along and visit me. It is at Cambridge Guildhall (right on the Market Square, next to Lion Yard shopping centre) between 11am and 5pm.

I'll have a lot of exclusive pieces for the craft fair as well as some of my signature pieces.

There will also be lots of other lovely handmade crafts there too, a good place to do your Christmas shopping.

Hope to see you there!

PS - my etsy shop will be open as normal, and orders are shipping in normal time. :)

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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Perfecting Pastry with a Pecan Pie

I've never had much luck with pastry. My shells always shrunk or drooped in or didn't cook enough or cooked too much. My pies and tarts sometimes tasted ok but they never looked neat and tidy.

I usually blamed it on my oven, its not the best and it has trouble keeping the right temperature.

But I think I just didn't have the right recipe... or the right equipment. Yes I was guilty of trying to make a tart case with just a normal shallow cake tin.

I was almost about to give up and make a pastry case with a ready made shop bought shell (I know, shocking!) but I couldn't bring myself to buy it. Instead I bought myself a proper tart case and found this recipe for the great unshrinkable tart shell.

It was indeed a great recipe, not too much hassle, the only thing you need is patience whilst the pastry cools in the fridge and freezes in the freezer. It did shrink a tiny bit but it didnt slump or flop and it stayed in shape to give a lovely pecan pie.

I follow A LOT of food blogs on my google reader, but strangely none of them came up with a recipe for pecan pie - is it such a given that everyone should know how to make pecan pie?
I tweeted it and the lovely Alice of Snapdragonbeads gave me her Mum's authentic pecan pie recipe - (four large eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup crushed pecans, drop of sherry or bourbon mixed in, I also added cinamonn and a dash of maple syrup).

Whipped it up and poured it into my tart case, baked it for 15 minutes and voila!

Gorgeous! The pastry turned out so well, crisp and sweet and cooked properly all the way round.

(as you can see I also sprinkled it with caster sugar before baking, it didnt really caramelise but it does taste nice! I would suggest using icing sugar or not bothering!).

Watch this space for more tart recipes now that I have found the perfect tart shell!


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