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Red Gooseberry Jam

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This year our soft fruit shrubs in the garden were the best they had ever been and so this meant we had an over abundance of fruit;  I decided to make some jam with some of the red gooseberries.   With the loganberries I have left over I plan to make some cordial and will share the recipe on here too. davAs I like to use easy no fuss recipes with natural ingredients I settled on using the one I found on BBC Good Food.  As gooseberries have a lot of natural pectin, there is no setting agent required, just 3 ingredients of gooseberries, sugar and fresh lemon juice. I have shared the recipe below.

 

 

I used the BBC Good Food recipe and you can either click the link or use the copy from their page below.

bbc good food gooseberry jam

 

Once the jam was ready I poured it into the sterilised jam jars and made some labels using plain white paper and double sided sticky tape – I find it best to put these on when the jam is still piping hot in the jars as it seems to adhere better. davmde

I added a little tissue paper jam pot cover to the jars and secured with a piece of twine.  And that’s it!  Easy yummy jam to enjoy a taste of summer through into winter.

Thanks for reading.

Love Joanna X

 

Lavender & Lemon Drizzle Cake

dav

I make this lemon drizzle cake on a regular basis as it is my husband’s most absolute favourite but in summer I like to give it a little seasonal twist by adding a few pieces of lavender.

We recently visited Yorkshire Lavender while on holiday in England and I bought some plants for the garden together with some fresh bunches of lavender to dry and use at home in herbal remedies.

dav

So this is the lavender I used to bake the cakes today and here is the easy recipe.

Lavender & Lemon Drizzle Cake

3 eggs

6oz caster sugar

6oz soft margarine

6oz self raising flour

zest of 2 lemons

2 sprigs of lavender petalsdav

 

Mix all together in bowl using an electric whisk

Spoon into 2  x 1lb lined loaf tins and bake at 180 deg fan oven for around 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

While the cakes are in the oven, prepare the drizzle by squeezing the juice from the 2 lemons you used the rind from earlier and add enough icing sugar to have a pouring consistency – I would recommend around a cup and a half of icing sugar, this makes the cake so moist and yummy!

Whenever you remove the cakes from the oven, whilst still in the tins, use a metal skewer to pierce them all over right to the bottom of the tin.

Immediately add all of the drizzle and sprinkle over some more lavender petals as a decoration.

Once cooled a bit, remove from the tins and leave on a cooling rack until cool.

Slice and enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Love Joanna Xsdr

 

 

Bedroom Refresh with Laura Ashley

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As a long time Laura Ashley fan I was thrilled to collaborate with them again, this time  on a bedroom update using some key pieces from their collections.  It is so easy to update a room and give a completely new look on a relatively small budget by simply using new accessories.

The above candlesticks are Laura Ashley items I have had for quite a few years now so I gave them a lick of paint and tied some ticking bows around them to bring them up to date.pro-cam

This room was previously a brassica shade of purple with the silver grey bed and antique furniture being painted in Annie Sloan Paris Grey but I felt it was time for a change so I painted the wall behind our bed in Rosebud and ordered the agreed products from Laura Ashley.  I already had the Kubu baskets also from Laura Ashley and used these to display fresh flowers in some jam jars.

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The grey ombre pleated Lampshades were just what I had been looking for and I popped them onto my existing lamp bases.  I always use crisp white bedlinen but to accessorise this and dress the bed I chose the Nigella cushions in blush and Lizzy blush soft blanketand these are just the perfect items to add a bit of luxury and comfort.pro-campro-cam

The Josette range of items is simply timeless; I popped a print I already had into the mirror frame and used the ribbon the soft blanket  had arrived in to make a hanger for the frame – It now looks perfect hanging on the wall.  I also used the Josette tealight holder as a mini vase for some fresh flowers.

pro-campro-campro-camThe final pieces I chose were this gorgeous blush alarm clock which has a VERY loud ringtone and the Josette trinket box to place on my bedside table to pop my everyday jewellery into before bed.pro-cam

Many thanks again to Laura Ashley for providing these beautiful timeless items as part of the collaboration.

Thanks for reading,

Love Joanna X

Kate’s Floral Tea-party.

When Kate recently celebrated taking part in her First Holy Communion her mum Tracey asked if I could provide some décor and pretty pieces to decorate their dining room as they were having a small family celebration back at their home following the church service.

The Ditsy Floral partyware from Party Pieces was just right for what Tracey had in mind and so together we chose which pieces would work best. The products in this range are really good value for money with the quality of the products being first class. The Party Paper Cups and co-ordinating floral straws from the same range worked well with a Cath Kidston floral cotton tablecloth and matching runner I already had. The cute napkins edged with rose gold together with the alternating floral and polka dot plates completed the table settings to perfection.

As a centrepiece for the dining table, Tracey had purchased some gorgeous seasonal flowers; I placed the rose gold ditsy floral garland around the vase to add some glamour and sparkle.

On the cake and dessert table I used the Cath Kidston floral runner with some gold crackle mercury vases in which I placed some pretty white and pink silk hydrangea blooms by Jane Packer. I used a footed glass cakestand for the main cake paired with some tiered china cakestands for the little cakes. A set of rose gold string lights was placed along the front of the sideboard and that area was also now complete.

Lastly, no party I plan is complete without some personalisation so I made a little frame for Kate to place on her cake table and a keepsake KATE bunting to match that she could then keep and display in her playroom after the party was over.

Hope you have enjoyed seeing how Kate’s party was planned and displayed,

Thanks for reading,

Love Joanna X

This was a collaborative post in association with Party Pieces who kindly provided the partyware for this pretty event.

Summer Cordials. (Elderflower)

bstpro-camThere is nothing more refreshing in summer than a cool glass of iced cordial and it is so simple to make – here I used elderflower heads from the hedge that borders our front garden – just a few more ingredients, a large heavy based pan and a muslin cloth makes you a delicious home made cordial in just a short time. dav

Ingredients.

Around 45 small freshly cut elderflower blossom heads

6 unwaxed lemons

2 limes

750g sugar

 

Boil 1.75 litres of water in a large heavy based pan and gradually mix in the sugar until  dissolved. dav

Gently wash the elderflower heads and place them into a large roasting dish with the zest of 4 of the lemons and pour over the water and sugar, placing the 2 sliced limes and 4 sliced zested lemons on top of this. davdav

Mix everything together then cover with a clean linen tea towel until all the juices are absorbed and mixed well together – overnight or a full 24 hours if possible.

Pour over a muslin cloth into a large jam pan and leave to drip – the fruit will all be on the top of this cloth so you will have to peg the muslin to the sides of the pan using clothespegs to secure and avoid the fruit collapsing into the pan. After an hour the cordial should have all dripped through the muslin and  before pouring into sterilised kilner style bottles, squeeze and add the juice of the 2 remaining lemons to the cordial stirring through.

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This  cordial will keep for a few months in your storecupboard or fridge and is best enjoyed chilled diluted  with some tonic water, lemonade or just tap water, some ice          and a sprig of fresh mint.

Enjoy,

Love Joanna Xpro-cam

 

Kilner Ribbed Bottles

Kilner Preserving Bottle

Bronte Charm Floral Tumbler

Liberty Betsy Straws

Liberty Betsy Pinwheels

Similar Jam Pan

Portmeirion Botanic Garden jug

Libby’s Baby Shower

When Libby’s Mum Marlene contacted me recently to say that together with her daughter Leigh-Anne, she was throwing the lovely Libby a Baby Shower and could I help with styling this I immediately said Yes of Course! I love working with pretty pastels and what better opportunity to style an event using baby blue and pastel pink than a Baby Shower! I knew exactly which products I was going to use; the Pattern Works range by Neviti is so pretty and just perfect for such occasions.

A plain gold table runner worked perfectly with the co-ordinating pink and blue items with gold accents from the Pattern Works range.

I used some pretty pink satin and baby blue spot ribbons with gold lettering to make up a few pretty frames for the girls to display on the tables at the event – the floral print on the background paper is by Liberty and is the Betsy pattern.

The “Baby Shower” stickers I used on jars for flowers and straws are also by Neviti and can be found in many local and online retailers including Amazon

Cute musical carousels in pale pink and baby blue were also added to the tables creating a lovely feature for the guests to admire and some pretty vintage china was used for serving cocktails and mocktails.

The flower wall and balloons were by Thrill Events and Libby just looks totally thrilled to reveal that she was expecting a baby boy.

A few pink, white and blue silk hydrangea blooms completed the look and Libby, the girls and their guests were just delighted with the results.

Thanks for reading

Love Joanna x

Easy rustic planters.

We recently installed new fences around the perimeter of our home as the old ones were starting to rot. {I have a plan for some of the timber from the old fence that wasn’t rotten (watch this space) it’s an indoor project so will probably be later in the year} When I saw how many decent offcuts were left over from the lower part of the new fence I decided to make use of these by forming some rustic planters. These will be used for planting out some pastel dahlias.

I measured the smaller planks and ensured the line was even by using a square then my husband cut them to size for me using a chopsaw. These 16 pieces were to form the sides of the planters.

A local DIY store was closing down so we picked up these Arris rails for a couple of pounds and once cut to size they were perfect for forming the corners as they’re easy to attach the planks to. My husband uses the Ryobi tool system which is an amazing easy to use system with many tools featuring interchangeable batteries. For this particular build we used (yes, he let me near the power tools!) the cordless nailer and circular saw.

Once the sides were all nailed on a piece of OSB sterling board was nailed to the base and the edges trimmed off using the circular saw.

I am going to line the insides of the planters with some plastic compost bags I kept to the side (we are avid recyclers and simply hate waste) then pop in the compost and dahlias. Meanwhile here are a few snaps of what’s in bloom in the garden today.

These boxes were so easy to make and took under an hour making good use of what would otherwise have been scrap wood.

Would love to hear if you decide to give them a go – could just as easily be made from the timber of an old pallet.

Love Joanna x