We are now in the middle of autumn and we have been experiencing some unusual weather. However, we have also had some of the most sunning sunsets! The deep reds across the sky have been enough to stop us from what we are doing to sit and watch the colours change and the sun sets. On a recent trip out we were reminded of Harvest Festivals and we came across this cocktail that would make a great and seasonal Cocktail of the Week, Harvest Sky.
Traditionally harvest marked the end of the growing season and there was a social side to the harvest that usually culminated with parties and gatherings once all the hard work had been completed. Once the gathering of the food had been completed, things turned to post harvest to store and preserve the summer fruits and veg for the winter and maximising the shelf life. Many of these traditions still continue today with, particularly in religious services, but there are also many farmers who still make the most of the end of the harvest with a beer or cider!
For this weeks cocktail, you will need;
- 1 measure vodka
- 1 measure of chambord
- 2 measures of cranberry juice.
- Pumpkin spice sugar to rim the glass.
To make the pumpkin spice sugar add some pearl sugar to one table spoon of pumpkin spice in an airtight container. Shake it well and leave for 24 hours. For the cocktail, add the vodka, chambord and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and mix well. Take two small plates, add a small amount of water to one and pour the sugar to the other one. Take your glass and dip the rim into the water and then into the sugar, turning the glass until the rim is covered in sugar. Turn the glass up and carefully add the cocktail. There you have this weeks cocktail, the Harvest Sky.
The cocktail has a wonderfully spicy flavour that comes from the pumpkin spice that works really well with the chambord. It is a great drink to sip as you watch the magnificent sunsets we are having.
It might not quite be winter yet, but it is close enough! We thought it would be a great opportunity to have a look at Winter Living by Selina Lake a book we bought a few weeks back whilst bed bound with illness (the amazon app is a dangerous thing!). In the summer we bought our first book by Selina, Botanical Style and we loved it so with thought we’d give this a go.
Winter Living offer inspiration for making you home stylish through winter. It is stuffed full of gorgeous photography and countless ideas showing you how to turn your home into a romantic winter haven. This year there have been published countless books on Hygge, the Danish art of cosiness, this book has a broader scope but it definitely fall is into this category.
The book starts off by looking at winter inspirations before guiding through various winter styles. The first is ‘Homespun Charm’ a colourful style full of craft and vintage finds to create a warm and welcoming look. Next, it is onto ‘Faded Grandeur’ all about turning the tatty into the tasteful using rich textures and tones. The third style is ‘Rustic Retreat’ an earthy simple and natural look inspired by old barns and log cabins. Lastly is a look at ‘Winter Whites’ a clean and classic look inspired by snowflakes morning frosts and pale skies. The book finished up by taking a look at festive celebrations, after all, winter is party season! There is some great inspiration here on different styles to decorate for christmas, along with some great ideas for parties.
Our favourite look is definitely ‘Rustic Retreat’ but there are plenty of other ideas for us to steal once we find our new home. Winter can be a depressing enough time of year but this book reminds us that being inside can be cosy and snug, to create a haven at home to forget about how horrid it is out! It is a great addition to our book collection and we will no doubt be referring back for many winters to come!
You can buy Winter Living by Selina Lake here
Follow Selina’s Blog here
Hooray, we are on the mend! Hopefully, that is our illness out of the way now and we can start to enjoy ourselves. It is getting pretty busy between now and Christmas, we can’t believe it is only 40 days away, we better start getting organised. But first, let’s have a look at this week’s top five.
On Friday it was the annual day of Remberance for those who lost their lives during World War I, II and the more recent conflicts. We always pause and pay respects for the two minutes at 11am on Remberance day and Remembrance Sunday. A worthy thing to do as a frequent reminder of the few who gave their lives for us to live peacefully.
It is great to be able to get out and about again with Hettie. We took this snap on Sunday morning, it was a beautiful misty and mellow morning, and it was great to be outside to enjoy it!
In just over two weeks we are heading to Copenhagen for a pre-Christmas getaway. We are beyond excited and are busy planning what to do. There will be plenty of castles, history and culture. We’ll also be sampling the best of the city’s food and drink. We can’t wait! If you have any tips please let us know.
We love Christmas, really really love Christmas! To help with this year’s planning we have been buried nose deep in all our favourite magazines’ Christmas editions. We’ll soon be getting the decorations out for their annual audit and then it is Christmas all the way!
Continuing the Christmas theme we bought Jamie Olivers new Christmas cookbook. This Christmas Calum is cooking so any help is going to be very much appreciated. Jamie (along with Nigella and Delia) will be helping us out!
In these days of TV dinners, there is something special about sitting down to eat in a dining room. Having a separate room to eat in was a requirement on our ongoing house hunt. It is a room for entertaining in, but also just to sit together and have a catch up over supper. Inspired by our recent Havest Themed Dinner party we have created this Autumn Dining Room scheme.
Where to Buy | Autumn Dining Room
fig.1 Autumn Leaved Print Minted
fig.2 Pendant Light Lighting Lighting
fig.3 Autumn Leaves Plates Pottery Barn
fig.4 Plaid Napkins George by Asda
fig.5 Wine Glass John Lewis
fig.6 Rochelle Table made.com
fig.7 Rochelle Chairs made.com
fig.8 Wilton Mirror One World Trading
fig.9 Recycled Glass Vase Cox & Cox
fig.10 Sunflowers Vase Sainsburys
fig.11 Hunter Rug wayfair.co.uk
fig.12 Glazed Sideboard Maison du Monde
fig.13 Oro Antico Colour Courage
fig.14 Soft Grey Colour Courage
fig.15 Terra Di Sienna Colour Courage
Hello, so you may have noticed we’ve been a bit quiet of late? We’d like to pretend it’s because we have been really really busy, alas not. We have both been ill, with Rich doing especially well as he caught pneumonia! We’re on the mend now and will be up and running properly again soon. In the meantime let’s have a look at five things that have been keeping us chipper!
It is nice that people are thinking about us when we are not doing very well. Rich’s best friend Nikki sent flowers, a particularly lovely thing to do! And our Godson, Dexter (age 1 3/4), made us this wonderful get well soon card. It is the little things that brighten your day!
It has got pretty chilly in our part of the world of late. We have been bundling ourselves up to keep warm. It is also cold enough for the first fire of the season at Rich’s folk’s cottage. When you are feeling poorly there is nothing better than being snuggled up next to an open fire. Bliss!
Despite being cold it has been glorious clear weather around our neck of the woods. Being couped up inside means we haven’t been about to get out and enjoy the glorious colours of autumn. Having said that the garden has been a riot of colour so we have been able to enjoy it a bit.
We have a dilemma, Halloween is over so we really should be taking our autumn decorations down. But we are loving having these decorations about. In the USA they have the excuse to keep on going until Thanksgiving. We love thanksgiving so perhaps we should use that as our reasoning?
One advantage of being sick in 2016 is that due to Netflix we no longer have to put up with bad daytime TV. Firstly we got a little bit hooked on The Gilmore Girls which is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Since Friday we have been loving The Crown, a really heavyweight drama that is just pure quality!
Halloween music can be a bit tricky, everything ends up being a bit camp, which depending on what type of party you are hosting might not work. We had a think about this and spent dome time putting together our Halloween Jazz Playlist. To put this list together we looked through the classic standards, pulling out the best and diving a bit deeper to discover some quirkier, spooky tunes to add a bit of fun into the mix. If you are having a more sophisticated Halloween soiree this might be, right up your street? Get your costume on, grab a spooky cocktail and enjoy our Halloween Jazz Playlist here.
With Halloween creeping ever closer, the ghoulish activities start to take over. We have pulled out the ‘BOO’ candleholder and our pumpkin is going to be carved this weekend. We have also started to stock up on the treats for any trick or treating monsters that might appear at our door! Any excuse for a party also means a need for a cocktail. With that in mind, we decided to try our hand at making our own Halloween themed cocktail. For our creation, this week’s cocktail is the ‘Purple Monster’.
We have been making cocktails each week for six months now and hopefully something has started to rub off on our own skills in cocktail making. Here’s hoping our researching, mixing and sampling will pay off! Additionally, looking in the drinks cabinet we found some of the lesser-used bottles and tried to find a cocktail to make use of them. I am not entirely sure what we will be making from the Amarula, but the rest are suitably coloured to make something interesting! We found a few cocktails that used the ingredients we have, but none that we wanted to try leading us to give our own mix a go. Based on our knowledge of colours we started out to make a purple drink.
For this week’s cocktail, you will need;
- One measure of curacao
- One measure of spiced rum
- One measure of cranberry juice
- ½ measure of pineapple juice
Add the curacao, rum, cranberry and pineapple juice to a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Add some ice to a glass and pour the mix in. Nothing fancy to creating this week’s cocktail the Purple Monster.
The drink gives a suitable purple/black colour for a Halloween themed cocktail. The fruit flavours from the cranberry, pineapple and curacao do come through with the rum giving a pleasant kick. Sadly not a classic like the many we have tried, but with a bit of tweaking, we might have something!
As halloween draws closer, we decided that it would be time to investigate some spooky themed cocktails. As the books don’t seem to have many, we turned to the net and found a huge range of cocktails that were a variation of a basic. Most had something to make them looks spooky and needed dry ice or something similar. We did come across a few that we wanted to try and have a suitable connection to Halloween. Our first offering for our Halloween themed cocktail of the week is the devilish El Diablo.
The El Diablo cocktail first appeared on the scene in 1946 and appeared in the ‘Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink’ and was named the Mexican El Diablo. The book comes from the restaurant chain that was started in the 1930s as a Polynesian themed restaurant that is still going today. The restaurant has a pedigree of cocktail creation and the founder is credited as one of the possible creators of the Mai Tai.
For this weeks cocktail, you will need;
- Two measure tequila
- One measure creme de cassis
- One measure lime juice
- Ginger beer
- Lime for garnish
To create the drink, add some ice to the cocktail shaker and add the tequila, creme de cassis and the lime juice. Shake to chill the mix and pour into a glass. Fill the rest of the glass with the ginger beer. Once you add the garnish you will have the El Diablo.
The cocktail has a great halloween look and our gothic style goblets add to the theatrical nature of halloween. The ingredients work well and would make a great signature drink for a themed party. Though be careful, the ginger beer hides the alcohol and you could find your self blaming the devil for drinking too much! Maybe, that could be why the drink is called El Diablo.
Have you noticed our love of decorating with pumpkins yet? Big ones, small ones, blue ones, glass ones! It is turning into a bit of an autumn obsession. But it makes us happy so we’re not going to apologise. So we have decided embrace autumn and pumpkins for all it’s worth!
Our Autumn Porch
We are currently staying at Rich’s folk’s cottage whilst we are midway through buying a new house. They live in a very cute 17th Century cottage. The front porch is a tiny little doorway that we both struggle to get through without banging our heads. We have hit our head more times than is funny in this low ceiling-ed home!
Pumpkins and Chrysanthemums
To make the tiny front porch more autumnal we decorated with pumpkins and chrysanthemums. We also used our lovely autumn wreath that we found in Homesense and used some heathers, some hardy herbs and some old garden boxes and terracotta pots. Chrysanthemums were thought as criminally old fashioned for a very long time, but in recent years they have had a bit of a rehabilitation. In terms of Autumn colour, there really is no competition to the masses of blooms on each plant. Our local garden centre had a great selection of autumn shades to choose from, we opted for a soft purple and a golden yellow.
What do you think?
Do you decorate your outside for autumn, or just for Halloween? We love the colour and interest at the front door and have received many nice comments from our visitors and neighbours about our Autumn Porch. What do you think, let us know in the comment’s section?
The weekend went by in such a flash, sometimes it feels like we haven’t had one at all. The rain put hold to our plans to head out on an adventure but we still managed to fit lots in. Let’s take a look back at last week’s top five:
When we take Hettie, our dog, onto Horsell Common for her walks we’ve been noticing lots of people foraging for mushroom. It seems to be a bumper year. We know nothing about mushrooms (and in fact Calum is alergic) so we stay well clear. We assume this is a poisonous one as nobody has picked it!
We like nothing more than a Sunday pottering around a home or antique shop. On Saturday we headed to the Packhouse in Farnham. A treasure trove of antique, vintage and new homewares that we’d recommend visiting if you are in the area.
Our pumpkin obsession continues! We were actually looking for a blue pumpkin for use at our Harvest Dinner but didn’t have any luck. We stumbled across some this week, in Lidl of all places, it has now joined our autumn collection!
You can’t stop a cat from hunting! On Saturday afternoon we found Annie prowling around the garden. She had spotted a little field mouse that she was determined to catch. Luckily we intercepted her, rescued the mouse and sent it off for a happy life on the common. It was tiny and adorable, we hope it stays safe now!
On Saturday night we headed down our local for a few pints. It was raining outside so we may have stayed for one pint too many. Sunday Morning was a little bit slower than normal, but to make ourselves feel better we had sausage baps! All was good with the world!