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

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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

Awright, crumpet?

November 20, 2009

It’s Friday. We’re all tired. It’s raining in London, and flooding in other parts of the UK. It’s very GREY. For some unknown reason, our office air con is set to somewhere in the region of freezing, so it’s also COLD. It’s the kind of day when you’d give anything to be wrapped up in a snuggly woollen blanket, wearing soft cashmere socks, sipping hot chocolate (or even better, a mulled wine!), beside a roaring fire, playing Scrabble and toasting crumpets. In fact, I just want to climb into our lovely November issue cover shot:

Crumpet toasting is an art which requires proper toasting tools – check out this lovely traditional extendable toasting fork, just £6 at Cox and Cox – perfect for toasting crumpets in the winter, and also useful for cooking sausages over a campfire in the summer months.

I’ve also got a few Grandpa’s Fireforks from Light My Fire – they just clip onto a fire poker or a stick, so you can easily store them and carry them. They came in handy recently when I dragged the OH to a forest for a bushcraft week of wild camping without civilisation (well, except for an Aero Bed, and a trip to Tesco, SIGH). Cox and Cox also sell a chestnut roasting pan, for £15:

We always roast chestnuts at Christmas by burying them in the ashes below the grate, but I suppose using a pan is much less messy! Are you feeling cosy yet? Thanks to these pictures and the steaming coffee that Ros has just delivered to my desk, I’m warming up slightly now! Check out this snug Scottish-style bedroom from our November issue and these cosy shots from our archives:

That’s all for this week, folks. I’ve signed up for a tray-making class with Ella Doran on Sunday to make some personalised Christmas presents, so I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m slightly concerned that everybody else there will be under 10 years old, having seen lots of photos of little kids making trays on the website, but surely, like pottery painting, there is no age limit (!?). My plan is to basically rip-off a Charlene Mullen design, but since drawing is required (not my strong point) it could go either way. Have a lovely – and hopefully a warm – weekend! – Ellie

Toast launches a recipe book

November 10, 2009

Fans of Toast will be pleased to hear there’s a gorgeous new Toast recipe book out. Toast founders Jessica and Jamie Seaton first met cooking expert Pamela Hunter Brown while they were in Ireland doing a three-week photo shoot for their AW09 ranges. Pamela cooked for the whole team and become a close friend – a Toast recipe book collaboration was soon underway, to be filled with Pam’s recipes for nourishing, heart-warming food. Sadly, Pam died unexpectedly in August, but Toast has continued with the project and created a charity book in her honour – Pam’s Recipe Book.

toast pam's bookThe recipes are all from Pam’s notes, a real A-Z of rustic, soul-food – perfect for this time of year. From roast pumpkin soup and ‘mum’s flapjacks’, to Irish brown soda bread and winter vegetable broth, it’s all designed to make you feel, well, Toast-y warm! The rest of the pages are filled with stunning photographs of the rugged Irish landscape, taken by Jenny Zarins, which conjure up the wild spirit of the countryside and make you feel as though you’re in need of a piping hot mug of soup! It’s a lovely book, £5.95, from Toast. All profits go towards medical charity. – Ellie

Sally and Mark Bailey‘s 26-year-old son Ben has just launched his own business, Curious Chocolate. I’m salivating over the lovely website already – it basically combines two of my favourite things…old letterpress printing and chocolate!

curious chocNow, we rarely talk about food here, but the Baileys connection and the gorgeous packaging means I’m willing to sneak this in! Inspired by a trip to an old Amsterdam letterpress workshop, Ben Bailey’s chocolate bars come wrapped in graph paper covered with fabulous fonts – a typography lover’s dream come true! My favourite has got to be the ‘Mouthful’ mint bar – how appropriate for me.

curious chocolate3The drinking chocolate in a rustic preserving jar would make a fabulous stocking filler, but it’s the jars of pretty chocolate-coated nuts and raisins that have caught my eye…they look like pebbles, eggs and olives! Very curious indeed!

curious chocolate2All this talk of chocolate, and nothing but a lousy, dry and slightly squashed satsuma on my desk, which I have been ignoring for about a week now. Sigh. – Ellie

The big day…

October 9, 2009

Everyone needs an extra splash of inspiration on a Friday, so with Ellie on holiday for her birthday, your daily dose of loveliness comes courtesy of me! It’s eerily quiet in at Ideal Home HQ today and I’m slinking off this afternoon too to help my lovely friend Emma choose a dress for her New Forest wedding next summer. Since she announced her engagement I have taken the liberty of bestowing upon myself the role of Chief Styling and Prettiness Consultant and have been emailing her links to wedding blogs for inspiration. In the past, I would have considered myself something of a mood board master, but no more! These wedding bloggers must certainly take that title – just check out some of these amazing offerings from three of my favourites…

Snippet 3

Snippet 1Snippet & Ink

100 layer 3

100 layer 2100 Layer Cake

Style me 1

Style me 2Style Me Pretty

Have you ever seen so many lovely images in one place? I can’t wait! – Bethan