I’m off on an extended break in Devon but just wanted to drop by and wish you a Happy Easter. I hope you’re all enjoying some quality chocolate. I’m gorging on these splendid treats from one of my favourite traditional sweet shops, Hope & Greenwood. If you haven’t yet eaten your body weight in Creme Eggs (my name’s Alice and I’m a chocoholic..) and fancy cramming in a few more calories, you can still get these on-line. Normal diet resumes next week…

Hope & Greenwood, Traditional sweet shop, chocolate, Easter treats, Easter chocolate, homeshoppingspy, ideal home, alice humphrys

Hope & Greenwood, Traditional sweet shop, Easter treats, Easter chocolate, homeshoppingspy, ideal home, alice humphrys

Happy flipping Pancake Day!

February 21, 2012

Wall prints for Pancake Day? Why not? I love yellow. I love lemons. I love Pancake Day and I love these prints brought to you from Etsy

Pancake day, etsy, prints, stationary, poster, lemon, yellow, cooking, graphics, retro, design, colour, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Pancake day, etsy, prints, stationary, poster, lemon, yellow, cooking, graphics, retro, design, colour, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Pancake day, etsy, prints, stationary, poster, lemon, yellow, cooking, graphics, retro, design, colour, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrysPancake day, etsy, prints, stationary, poster, lemon, yellow, cooking, graphics, retro, design, colour, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

Pancake day, etsy, prints, stationary, poster, lemon, yellow, cooking, graphics, retro, design, colour, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

From the top: 1 & 3. Amanda Katherine Designs 2. Lajlaj – Small Cute Things 4. Freya Art 5. Eco Print. 

Hope you’re all stocked up on eggs, milk and flour. What’s your favourite topping? If you’re stuck for ideas why not try this buttermilk with lemon syrup pancake recipe as seen on Housetohome.  – Alice

Home for Christmas

December 29, 2011

Christmas has been a bit too much fun for homeshoppingspy! I’m looking forward to returning to regular blogging next week. Meanwhile, here’s a few things I’ve enjoyed from a Christmas in South Devon:

Blackpool sands, South Devon, coastal walk, coast, beach, Christmas, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

1. A blustery walk along the coast to Blackpool Sands for pasties and chips on the beach!

Winter bike Christmas card, Etsy, Christmas, stationary, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrtys

2. I received this lovely Winter bike Christmas card, available from Etsy.

Toast, Dee Puddy, Nigella Lawson, BBC Food, Christmas, Devon, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

(clockwise from left) 3. Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Cup cocktail as seen in Stylist. Cherry brandy, sparkling wine and ginger ale (tastes like liquid cherry drops – amazing and very festive!). 4. Chocolate mince pies. I made these for a Christmas party and they went down a storm, visit BBC Food for the recipe. 5. Pretty crackers from Toast to complete our table setting on Christmas day. 6. To add a little sparkle we used these charming nativity scene tea light decorations from Dee Puddy. I hope you all have a fun New Year’s Eve. I’ll see you on the other side. – Alice

Happy Christmas! The Cotswolds are blanketed with snow and – apart from pushing various cars on icy lanes and shovelling snow from under spinning tyres – I’m having a lovely rest. Nipped out this morning to deliver bowls of Christmas chicken liver pâté; it’s so easy to make and perfect for post-Christmas leftover lunches of cold meats, cheese etc – so here’s the recipe in case you feel creative between now and New Year…

You will need: 220g/80z butter, 1 onion (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 450g chicken livers (trimmed and halved), 1tbsp brandy, 1tsp mustard powder, salt, pepper, dried cranberries to garnish. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer the pâté into ramekins or small bowls (I used 4-inch pudding bowls, 99p each in my local hardware shop) and decorate with a handful of cranberries. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill. Keep it covered with cling film once you’ve started to eat it, or it will dry out. You can buy chicken livers from good butchers or Waitrose. I’ve also been having fun making sugar mice for the Christmas tree using these wonderful silicone moulds from Lakeland

There’s a Victorian recipe for sugar mice, here. Happy Christmas! – Ellie

The elderflowers are out which means it’s cordial o’ clock. After my first disastrous attempt, I decided to try again. Being a bit OCD about pollution and the like (I’m sure I read something somewhere once about lead being absorbed by plants beside roads…?) I headed to rural Worcestershire this weekend to harvest the flowers. It all started so well – skipping merrily along the hedgerows, I filled my basket (well, a Tesco carrier bag, but let’s not spoil the image) with flowers and enjoyed the glorious sunshine. These pretty pics are from Laundry Etc – I wish my cordial-making looked this nice:

But, suddenly, out of nowhere, thunder began to rumble and the dream ended. It POURED with rain. Soaked to the skin, running through open fields, surrounded by flashes of lightening that were WAY too close for comfort, my Primark flip-flops broke (£1.50,#whaddyaexpect) and I ended up abandoning them altogether and pegging it bare-foot through mud, wondering if my cordial was CURSED. Thankfully, I survived (although the car seats are covered with mud much to the boyfriend’s chagrin…) and the cordial is now steeping in huge cloth-covered bowls.

There’s a fabulous recipe here if you fancy having a bash yourself. You’ll need: 900g granulated sugar, 50g citric acid, 2 sliced lemons and 25 elderflower heads. The method is here and you can find citric acid and all the glass bottles you’ll need at the Jam Jar Shop where the lovely Rosemary has arranged for HomeShoppingSpy readers to get a 10% discount on all orders – just enter the code JJSIDEAL at the checkout. Hurrah! If you haven’t got time to order online, you can re-use glass or plastic water bottles (sterilise them first!) and you’ll find citric acid at most independent pharmacy shops. – Ellie

…make a gin and tonic!

I love this print from Dear Colleen on Etsy – and I’m becoming more and more obsessed with bulldog clips on nails! I might include a little clips area on my bedroom wall for an ever-changing display of prints, postcards and photos. Anyway, weirdly, life did give me lemons recently – literally. For some unknown reason (well, they were on ‘two-for-one’ apparently) the other half presented me with 12 lemons the other day, so I decided to consult Delia and make some lemon curd.

It was the easiest thing I’ve ever made…give it a go! You need the juice and zest of four lemons, four eggs, 350g golden caster sugar, 225g unsalted butter, and one dessert spoonful of cornflour. See the method on Deliaonline.com. Not particularly healthy (not at ALL healthy, actually) but very, very tasty! – Ellie
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Styling in the 1950s…

March 30, 2010

How times have changed. I thought you’d appreciate this vintage 1954 Ideal Home magazine, spotted by Ros in a picnic set at the back of an antiques shop:

The owner of this ‘pleasant kitchen’ obviously has a bit of a thing for vegetables…and tartan wallpaper…yum! – Ellie

TREATS for Friday

March 5, 2010

Apologies for the lack of blogging action this week, chaps, but life has been very busy at Ideal Home HQ. To make up for our absence, here are a few LOVELY things to end the week with…

Perfectly pretty cupcakes from new Kent company Estella Cupcakes

Some cute new products from Brit mail-order company Patchwork Harmony, including vintage tiles, chair place-card holders, and stylish vintage children’s alphabet blocks…oooh, there’s nothing quite like a Malted Milk…

Pretty Mother’s Day rosette cards from Bluebell 33

Lovely retro Roberts radios in NEW colours: Leaf, Cocoa, Duck-Egg, Cassis, Saffron…

Lastly, Australian bed linen company KAS is launching in the UK this spring. Check it out…

Have a lovely weekend. I’ll be back on Monday with a very HAND-y post. – Ellie

Nutella? Cream cheese and salmon? Lemon and sugar? Whatever floats your boat! Pancakes are always a hit. Check out Delia Smith’s basic pancake recipe and get flipping this evening for a tasty supper.

Head to Good to know for fabulous pancake ideas, including Cadbury’s Creme Egg Chocolate pancakes!! – Ellie

Lisa Stickley and baking

December 16, 2009

Designer Lisa Stickley sent me a lovely little Christmas card which arrived this morning. It’s put me in an extremely festive mood – as has the snow that’s falling on London today! (Of course, it didn’t settle and so we basically now have the same mucky puddles we always do, but let’s try to keep things as lovely as possible here today. After all, we have just been listed in The Times…)

Lisa has been a busy bee of late, coming up with some fabulous Christmas tea towels and cushions. I particularly like the tea towel with a scribbled Christmas pudding recipe on it…

She’s also produced some retro cushions featuring 1960s photos of handsome chaps wearing bobble hats – a bit of a departure for Lisa style-wise, but they look great! It must be hard to look moody in a bobble hat, but the lads on the left and right are doing a jolly good job of it. On to other lovely things…the scarily fast approach of Christmas means I have an excuse to obsess about Bake it Pretty – an American shop full of gorgeous cake decorating bits and bobs…

I’ll probably have time to make some tree biscuits (yeah, right – got to at least give the impression that I live the dream I suppose…) but I think I’ll cheat and buy a ready-made, ready-iced cake, then decorate it myself rather than doing things the proper way. These little snow men would look fabulous on little individual iced Christmas cupcakes:

Right, I’m off to drink mulled wine at a German Christmas market. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. – Ellie