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Monday, 23 September 2019

Autumn - New Beginnings


Autumn always feels like a time for new starts, new beginnings, there is always a change in the air so full of excitement, and I want to embrace all of it! The world looks so beautiful for these few weeks that I can't help but take a thousand pictures of leaves, sunsets and pumpkin decorations. My head is so full of recipe ideas, that I want to spend whole weekends in the kitchen. I want to decorate the house, buy baskets full of candles and walk through crushed leaves in my boots.

Autumn is the time that inspires me the most, so it felt only right to pick things up again today.

So...

Hi there, my name is Shelley and I used to write here. I used to share recipes, things I'd been buying, talk about places I'd been and things I'd been doing. Sometimes there would be chatty posts, and sometimes they would be posts full of pretty pictures to look at, and then, - well, I'm not sure what happened.

I think I simply lost my voice, and my creative energy, I didn't know what to say, or more so, what this blog actually was.

I got a little wrapped up in the fact that everyone wants a definite brand, an image, and if you're writing a blog it should be about one thing, it should have a theme, a direction. My blog started to feel a little off, it felt wrong. That horrible beast of comparison started to pop up constantly, and I felt I wasn't good enough. It felt as if it didn't have a place or a purpose and that sinking feeling of "well, no one will want to read my posts" would take over when I looked at the keyboard. I got into a bad head space with it all, I convinced myself that I couldn't post my recipes because I also talked about beauty products I'd just bought from Space NK, and then all that really happened was that I stopped posting anything at all.

I started this blog so I had a place to write, share and create...and that's all I want to do. I'm really not sure why things took such a heavy turn in my head, why I started to feel the way I did about it...but no more! I miss it, I miss this, tapping away at the keys, planning pretty pictures and talking to whoever want's to listen, about what I'd like to share. 

I know could have just started posting again today without even a mention of this, but I think it's good to take stock of these things. To realise they are happening, and make a conscious effort to make a change. It felt odd to be away for the best part of a year, giver or take a few days here and there, and to then start chatting again without saying anything,

So, at the very beginning of the season of change, lets start again. And on a Monday too, does it get more pleasing than that?

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Thursday, 25 July 2019

Easy No Churn Raspberry Ripple Ice-Cream

No-Churn-Raspberry-Ripple-Ice-cream
No-Churn-Raspberry-Ripple-Ice-cream
No-Churn-Raspberry-Ripple-Ice-cream

As I write this, it's not only the hottest day of the year so far, it's the hottest day on record for the UK...so if there is a time for ice-cream, that time is now!

We went berry picking again recently, and although it seems to shock everyone when I say it, I just don't care much for strawberries. I know, I know...shock horror! But I'm just not that much of a fan. I'm a raspberry girl, so as usual, we left with a ton. OK, maybe not quite a ton, but only because I'd have nowhere to put them. We always come away with a good amount, some we freeze, some we eat while they're fresh, and some we make things with. Things like this tasty ice-cream.

In this heat you don't want fuss, you don't want lots of prep work, so let me introduce you to the easiest no churn ice-cream you'll ever make. It's also ridiculously good! Sometimes things that seem too good to be true, really are just that good! The part of this recipe that requires the most effort is the raspberry sauce, and even that requires very little.

No-Churn-Raspberry-Ripple-Ice-cream

You will need...

300g raspberries
120ml water
170g caster sugar
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
600ml double cream
397g tin of condensed milk

No-Churn-Raspberry-Ripple-Ice-cream

Method...

-Starting with the raspberry sauce, so it has time to cool, add your raspberries to a pan and crush them with a fork or potato masher. Add the water and sugar and bring to the boil -stirring constantly so it doesn't stick or burn. 

-Mix your cornstarch with a little cold water and add it to the bubbling berry mixture. Then reduce the heat to simmer and let it cook down for as long as you like -the longer you simmer the thicker your sauce will be. Around 5 minutes will give you a thinner sauce but 20 minutes will give you a much thicker jam like sauce -I went for 20 minutes, it cooked down by nearly half.

-Leave your sauce to cool completely. This mixture makes more sauce than you will need for the ice-cream, but it keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge, and who doesn't like extra sauce on their ice-cream. 

(if you want to remove the seeds, just pass the cooled sauce through a sieve. I've had it with and without doing this, and it's fine both ways, so it's really up to you)

-When the sauce is cool, in a large bowl, add the double cream, condensed milk, and whip until it's thickened up. Just as you would whip double cream to soft peak stage. 

-In a freezer safe container, you now have to layer things up! Starting with a few spoons of cream, then drizzling over some sauce. I like to take a knife a swirl it through, just so you get that nice ripple effect. 

-When you're done, pop it in the freezer for at least 4/5 hours, but preferably over night. 

And that's you done! Super easy, very little effort required, and really creamy ice-cream to enjoy on these hot days! 

If you're in the mood for more ice-cream, I'll link my other recipes too. My favourite is the Nutella and Raspberry No Churn Ice-Cream, it's seriously good! But then again the Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake Ice-Cream is pretty great too. And that one uses the raspberry sauce, so why not go mad and make both!! 

I hope you're all taking care in this heat! And please remember your little animals and any elderly family members or neighbours that might be struggling in this weather. 

No-Churn-Raspberry-Ripple-Ice-cream
No-Churn-Raspberry-Ripple-Ice-cream



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Monday, 29 April 2019

New Lush Bath Bombs!!

Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb

I realised something quite shocking recently. Are you ready for it? Not everyone enjoys a bath!! I know -weird right? In fact, as I was listening to people talk about this on the radio, I found that some people find them quite disgusting. They even did a poll, and it turns out its around a 50/50 split.

There were some quite extreme views too, some even likening it to you basically being an ingredient in filth soup. Even if you don't enjoy a bath, I don't think it's a filth soup.

I love a bath. It's one of my favourite ways to relax if I feel I need it, and it's one of my favourite things to do on cold winter nights - followed by films and blankets on the sofa. And while I could go on and on about some wonderful bath products I love to use, which in fact, I might do in another post. I wanted to dedicate this one, to one of the best...the Lush Bath Bombs! A few weeks ago (I forget the exact date), Lush celebrated 30 years of the bath bomb, and while that in itself is crazy, the huge selection they're offering just now, is too. I believe it's over 70 different ones!

Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb

Our local store, Edinburgh, has been rotating them, they've been using Instagram to do polls on which ones should stay or go. When I was in chatting to the guys in store, they said they're planning to work through them all, but are keeping stock of the really popular ones. The less popular ones will still be in store, just not around as long.

We've been stocking up on them, over the last few weeks, buying the ones we like the most and trying to not use them. A very difficult feat, given that they smell absolutely amazing! We aren't going to keep them forever, but we wanted to build up a little stock pile of a few, just in case they aren't around as long as we'd hoped. So, because I haven't used any of these before, I can't give a review, so in stead I'll show you the ones we've been buying and lets all just agree -Lush Bath Bombs are never really a fail.

...prepare yourself for all the pictures!

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Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb
Lush-Bath-Bomb

I'm struggling to say which of these I like the most -they are just too good! Although, I have noticed that I tend to stick to the more citrus scents that Lush offer. The sweetest one we have here, is The Comforter, and that's Paul's. His favourite Lush product is The Comforter Bubble Bar, so when he found the bath bomb, he was very excited!! Not my favourite scent anymore, but one that I love just for nostalgia, is Blackberry 2018. If you've been a Lush fan for a long time, you might remember the original version of this. It was round, it had the word "BOMB" embossed on it, and inside was a little bit of paper, that said "BOOM", when the bath bomb had dissolved. It was the very first bath bomb...actually...the very first product I ever bought from Lush. So, it'll always be a favourite of mine.

We're going to continue stocking up on these until they've gone! But for now, I really need to find a basket or container of some kind to store them all in. Any suggestion?

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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Signs of Spring

snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house

Can you feel it?

It's still pretty cold and wet out there, and I mean...it's still February, so that's not real surprise. However, spring is most definitely on the way. Made abundantly clear by the appearance of these pretty little white flowers.

We spent our Sunday afternoon walking around a beautiful old estate, just outside of Edinburgh. Hopetoun House close the grounds are over winter, but they open them for one day around this time of year. At which point, everyone flocks to enjoy the first signs of spring. It was a pretty perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday. A nice walk, a few pictures, followed by lunch and coffee to warm up afterwards.

snowdrops-hopetoun-house

The grounds are beautiful, and just as lovely now as they are in summer. Paul and I realised that although we've been a few times, we've never walked around as much of the estate. I can't tell you how much I'd love a garden with huge trees, and stone walls covered in moss! We even found out that they have a little area where they've buried all the family dogs over the years. So lovely.

We watched deer grazing, and played with all the dogs that were actually 'walking' around, you know...how dogs are supposed to. Sookie has decided that she isn't one for walking in the wet, cold or mud, so she was carried the entire time. She also spent lunch on my knee. I ate delicious carrot and lentil soup, while she sat there looking very pleased with herself.

I won't go on too much more, I'll just let you enjoy these pictures, and share the promise that there will soon be warmer weather. Not that our parkas and boots give that impression.

snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house
snowdrops-hopetoun-house





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Sunday, 17 February 2019

The End of The Polaroid Project

The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project

Last year was a good one! There was a lot going on with the wedding and New York trip, but we also did a lot of fun things at home. One of my favourite things about the year was my Polaroid project. It captured a snapshot of every day, and as I mentioned recently, I was a little sad when it stopped.

I still now, two months after finishing, just before bed think "oh no...I haven't taken today's picture!", only to remember that I don't actually have to. It's a sad feeling, because it was such a huge part of last year. There wasn't a day or occasion that wasn't documented with those little pictures.

When I started it, I only had one rule...to make sure I didn't miss a day! I'm pleased to say, I managed just that, I didn't miss any...not one! Even we were travelling, I got one of us all on the plane, and a sad one of our feet and luggage, in the airport on the way home. Special days were captured too, birthdays and other occasions. I even started to plan certain shots, to plan what would work and be a good picture if I knew what we were doing that day. There were certain days of the year when I could see the picture in my head, like the day on the plane, when we left for New York. I knew I wanted a picture of us all in our seats. Or the day we got married, I knew I wanted a picture of us kissing, in our hotel room.

The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project

Taking the picture became such an important part of the day, and I started to take the camera with me everywhere we went, just in case the moment presented it's self for the perfect shot of for that day.

I also made the decision very early on, to date and number them. I knew, that when looking back, I'd want to know what number the picture was, but also the date, so I didn't have to try and work it out myself. Some even ended up with little doodles. Things like balloons on birthdays, hearts on anniversaries, or a pumpkin for Halloween.

As the year grew to a close, I started to consider carrying on, just making it a permanent part of everyday life, but chose to let it end as it was meant to capture 2018, and all the important wedding things. Also...because it would be quite an expensive habit to continue permanently. The year before I started, I stock piled some Instax film. Also, because everyone knew I was doing it, I got given quite a lot of film for my birthday, so I had plenty! Which was lucky as I wasn't only using the camera to take the 365 pictures of the year, I was still using it as I normally would. So, as you can imagine...I made my way through a lot of film!

The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project
The-Polaroid-Project

At the beginning of the year, I kept the pictures in an old Dior highlighter box. They are pretty small, and I couldn't envision how big the pile would be after 12 months, so for a while that did the job. Three months in, I transferred them to a brown kraft box from Paperchase. I love brown paper, we wrap most of our gifts in it, and the look of it with label maker labels makes me very happy. The twelve months fit perfectly in the box, and at the moment they are still in their little piles, month by month. I've had a few people say to me, why don't I tie them together, or put bands around each month? I don't know, I kind of like the idea of them becoming muddled together overtime.

So that's it, it's done and 2018 is now in a box. It's definitely something I'd do again, probably over another year when we have a lot going on, as a fun was to document it all. I really did enjoy the whole process. Numbering each one, and changing the Sharpie colour with the seasons was also very satisfying!

The-Polaroid-Project

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