Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Flat Peaches

I saw these in the supermarket this morning and had to buy them.  They are called 'Saturn' or 'Donut Peaches'. 

 I love peaches but let's face facts, this is never going to replace an original, hot from the fryer, Krispy Kreme donut! 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Cromwell's Grey Velvet - Wolf Hall Costumes

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by Tudor history.  When I found out that one of our favourite National Trust properties, BARRINGTON COURT, had a special display of costumes from WOLF HALL it was a sure thing we would be going to see it! 

Since these are theatrical costumes, you can get up close and photograph the beautiful details.  Something I was itching to do!

The attention to detail is astonishing!  Yes, there are a few cheats.  I don't think the black work on this chemise was hand embroidered but the construction of the gown appears to be historically accurate. 

The costumes for the main characters have many hand finished details. 

For example, eyelets and button holes are hand finished.  

The ladies gowns were put together with pins, just as they would have done in Tudor times. 

This allowed sleeves, bodices, and skirts to be mixed and matched.  

One can only wonder how long it took to dress a lady in those days.

This rose coloured gown, and the previous golden gown were costumes for Anne Boleyn. 

Bodice detail from the rose gown. 

As you would expect, the costumes for Henry VIII were the most lavish.

It's amazing seeing the costumes in the rooms where the scenes were filmed.  

Cardinal Wolsey's ghost seems to haunt the room which was used as his bedchamber. 

Detail of Wolsey's sleeve.  Do you remember that scene, the sexy one about Cromwell's Grey Velvet?

Here it is, complete with codpiece!

The Wolf Hall costumes will be on display until November 1st.   It is a 'must see' if you love Tudor history, fashion and Wolf Hall

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Branscombe Cottages

The previous post was all about Branscombe beach.  This one is all about the tiny lane lined with beautiful cottages that leads to Branscombe.   Notice how these cottages have almost no land in front of them but all are framed by brilliant flowers and shrubs.  Enjoy!

Monday, 13 July 2015

A Ship Wreck and The Sea Shanty

In 2007 a 62000 tonne container ship called the Napoli was wrecked and run aground at Branscombe beach.  It was like a scene from Poldark.  Scores of people flocked to the beach;  some just to see a real ship wreck, some to test their luck at looting some of the escaped cargo. 

It  made the national news.  The village was gridlocked with reporters, chancers, and gawking spectators.  To my Mid-Western imagination it was a little distressing and wildly romantic. 

Now the only thing left from the wreck of the Napoli is the giant anchor, but still people flock to the pebble beach at Branscombe. 

This area is part of the JURASSIC COAST.  Instead of flotsam and jetsam, you can find fossils.  

Children come equipped with buckets and spades for a Do-It-Yourself dinosaur hunt.  

If you look really hard you may see down to our part of the bay.  

Hundreds of hikers walk the coastal paths along this World Heritage Site. 

Andy and just like to come down for a spot of lunch and enjoy the view from the cosy interior of the Sea Shanty Tea Rooms.

CLICK HERE  for more information about the wreck of the Napoli and Brancombe beach. 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Slightly Soggy Sunday Morning Garden

I wake up early every morning...I mean, stupidly early, before the snails and slugs have a chance to slime their way back to their hiding places.  This is the back garden as I found it this morning slightly grey with a light mist still in the air.

Even Peter Rabbit looks a bit damp and bedraggled.

It seems that almost everything in bloom right now is blue or white.  

Except for the flowers that are coral or blush pink. 

It wasn't by design or forethought ... it just seemed to happen this way.

It may seem a bit bland and unexciting to those who prefer more vibrant colours but it will do just fine for me.  

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Americano Coffee Cake

The heat wave has passed, HURRAH!  It seems like ages since I've baked anything.  I didn't want to heat up the house by using the oven but now it's time to bake a cake.  

It's still too warm for a cake covered in mountains of icing so I decided to bake a 'naked' Americano Coffee Cake.  Three guesses where I got the idea. 


125 grams butter or baking margarine
125 grams caster sugar
140 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
2 eggs - room temperature
60 ml milk 
1 teaspoon vinegar
50 ml strong coffee made with 1 Tablespoon instant coffee powder

Heat the oven to 180C/350F.  Grease an 18 cm cake tin and place a circle of baking paper in the bottom of the tin.  (I used a 6 inch, loose bottom cake tin).

Place the milk into a jug and add the vinegar.  Set this aside for about five minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients. 

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder.  Place the butter or baking margarine on top of the dry ingredients.  

Now, add the eggs, vanilla, and 25 ml of the strong coffee mixture to the milk. Stir with a fork to break up the eggs.  Pour this into the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until you have a smooth batter.  

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes for the 18 cm pan, or about 40-45 minutes for a 6 inch pan.  Always begin checking your cakes a bit early.  Nothing is worse than over baked cake. 

Remember that little bit of coffee we have left over?  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved.  Remove the cake from the tin and brush this 'coffee syrup' over the top and sides of the warm cake.  

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar...strawberries are optional.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Rabbit's Potting Shed

I am a big Beatrix Potter fan.  I love her children's stories, which are just as entertaining for adult readers.  Most of all I love her illustrations.  

Charming as her characters may be, if you look closely you will see that each creature is anatomically correct.  Take a few moments to study these beautifully painted bunnies and you will see what I mean.  Most of all, I love the whimsical idea of a rabbit with a potting shed.  

Friday, 3 July 2015

Handy Website for Garden Lovers

Here's a very handy website for those of you who love visiting great gardens. You can search by county or by garden style.

There is information on gardening holidays and places to stay.  CLICK HERE to visit Great British Gardens.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Broad Beans

Gardener's are the most generous people.  Today my neighbour, Rita, gave me a big bag of broad beans and chard from her allotment plot.  They are gorgeous!

Thanks, Rita!