Category: home

Take five gingerbread houses……

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For a couple of years I have had this pin on my Pinterest board. I mentioned the idea of doing something similar as a family gathering to my sister, next thing you know she’d bought a great cutter set. Looked like I was doing the crazy idea this year.

I set about making the house’s – six in all – and used this recipe x 4. After baking the first batch and dragging Gav into the kitchen to help me we decided to cut the houses about a 1/4 inch smaller than the template. They spread so much during the baking process that the sides of the pieces were no longer straight so after baking and when the pieces had just come out of the oven we carefully, as the gingerbread was hot of course, cut the baked dough again with the template. That way we had uniform pieces to stick together. Gingerbread firms up quite quickly when it comes out of the oven so speed was key.

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We stored the pieces in airtight tins with some baking parchment in between each piece. When it came time to assemble them Gav helped again. It would have been impossible with just one person especially as we were doing so many. I used ‘royal icing’ icing sugar to which you added water and then piped the icing on the edges while Gav set the pieces together on the cake boards. It was quite the production line. As you can see we used a variety of tin cans, cups and anything we could to hold the pieces in place.

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The came the fun bit. We set out a variety of sweets and candy canes and chocolate fingers.

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And let them go……

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Gav and I were blown away by their creativity, focus and I guess a little competitiveness as there were prizes! But really who knew they had this in them?!

My Mum and Hannah’s creation. Cute Gingerbread man!

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My older niece Holly’s house – she was decorating on her own, everyone else was in two’s so go Hol!

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My nephew Josh and Sammy’s house –  they used a shimmer spray on those white chocolate buttons!

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My other nephew Adam and Natalie’s house. (Their’s is the top photo of this post too.)

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And finally my sister Bev and her husband David’s house.

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And this photo made my heart sing.

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I think they were kinda proud of themselves eh?

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Truly a magical afternoon of Christmas fun. Thanks you guys for joining in!

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Bloom 2016 – late summer meets early autumn (and a vignette series)

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I am absolutely of the opinion that this arrangement does not work but I loved it anyway. These were some stems I had left over from a big arrangement and they couldn’t be wasted so were popped into this lovely earthenware vase.

The phrase ‘vignette’ seems to have been cropping up everywhere internet lately. In fact I was unaware of its meaning in this sense until I read Emily Henderson’s blog post. I always thought they were just arrangements of stuff, but what do I know.

I thought I’d try my hand at this little style cluster with my vase of mismatched flowers…. See what you think.

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I think I liked the first one with the black vase best. Not quite in Emily’s league (I think she’d say there wasn’t enough shape variation!) but fun all the same and good to mix things up a little.

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A photo wall

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I love collections of photographs displayed on a wall. I have a few images pinned over here.

We used to have a more traditional wall of photos in the dining room before switched rooms and decorated. That was over three years ago now and I still hadn’t put the pictures back up.

I shall call my lethargy on this project lucky though because in the time it has taken me to motivate myself a new home decor item has appeared. Little shelves for displaying pictures etc. Gav was going to make me some but we found these at Ikea all ready to pop on the wall. Hoorah.

So that’s what we did.

I added photos to new frames and arranged them on the shelves adding a couple of canvas’s and our prized Manhattan movie poster. This wall is all about NYC, if you hadn’t already guessed.

I wasn’t sure about this wall at first. I fussed with the photos for a while then just left them. You have to be brave sometimes and just go with it.

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And after living with it for a week or so I love it.

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Another hydrangea wreath

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Remember this? Well here is one for this year.

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The blooms I used last year were from a lovely blue shrub in my Mum’s garden but this year for some reason the blue flowers faded too fast for me to harvest. Luckily my Mum’s neighbour has several Hydrangea bushes and was more than happy to let me have some of the flower heads.

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A different bush, a different colour. I really love the tones of blue and purple in these flowers. Last years wreath lasted well into the summer and I only dismantled it for fear of the dust gathering.

Hope this one stays the course too.

Le tour – photos from the depart fictif in Leeds

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Saturday morning my sister, H and I set off for the 5 minute drive and the 10 minute walk to take up our positions on the route of the Tour de France from Leeds to Harewood. It wasn’t too busy when we arrived at 8.15. We’re only little folk and needed to be at the front of the barrier! (H is stood on a fold away stool.)

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The ‘caravan’ of promotional vehicles started to come past us at 9am.

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It busied up by about 10.30 and Gav arrived then too.

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Then we knew they were coming because of the T.V helicopters and in the distance a first glimpse of a pack.

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It was really very exciting. This throng of athletes heading our way. We didn’t know what to expect would they come through fast or slow or in a group or singly.

Closer.

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Closer.

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And then they were just there. Within touching distance, all bunched up together filling the road from our side to the other and as far as we could see.

It’s always tricky in these circumstances when you want to get photos. I wanted to soak it up but get some pictures too. I gave up with oncoming shots because the ladies next to me were waving flags instead I went for the passing views.

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And whoosh, gone again.

They were followed by a huge assortment of cars all laden with bikes in racks.

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After watching a few club cyclists come through after all the cars we headed home to watch the real start from Harewood. It is a crazy business but we all may just have got the bug.

Le Tour de France, t’Tour de Yorkshire

Remember that yellow bicycle from last week?

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Well it is part of the display for the cycling calendar’s big yearly event and this year the tour is crossing the channel and getting all the way up north. Here is the route. Apparently the last time it came to these shores was 2007.

I am not a fan usually but when something like this comes so close to home I felt I had to jump on board and see what all the fuss was about. I was even more excited to find that the whole shebang is starting here in Leeds.  I just thought we were part of the stages but it STARTS here! Woop. (Although just a ‘parade’ through the city to the start point a few miles north of us.) I need to get out and plan the best place to stand to watch them all cycle by, we can walk to where the route goes by which is amazing, no traffic!

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It should be pretty easy to work out where to stand, just look for those bicycles there’s plenty of them.

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Looking forward to joining in the fun on Saturday.

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Around here

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I’ve been transferring stuff onto a ‘new to me’ laptop and am getting confused with what I’ve saved where. Anyway I found a bunch of photos from the last couple of weeks that I’d forgotten about! So thought I’d share.

Books for me and one for my Mum.

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On the way to school. Would you look at that I managed to brush her hair!

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Homemade very herby soup.

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This one was taken by Gav while he was out walking. He captured the moon for me.

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Deliciously bad for you breakfast.

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Out for coffee with Mum and my sister.

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I think these around here posts might morph into the old photo a day thing because to be perfectly honest I’m actually missing taking those shots and the challenge! And Gav made a request to bring them back too so we’ll see.

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A few shots of what’s going on this week.

Above is the Jasmin flowering away.

Seed audit.

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The potted Christmas tree back outside.

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Fallen over pots.

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Buddy napping.

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The mantel.

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Winter stems.

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A collection of things to put in Project Life. Bus ticket, little flags I made for the Boxing day buffet table, a thank you and a Christmas card and a Starbucks sleeve (for some reason, actually I know the reason – thanks sis! Gav says he’s Alex when ordering drinks at Starbucks hence the name on the sleeve……)

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Hamamelis coming into bloom.

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And my new lens…….

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(More on that bit of kit soon.)

Just a few things around here yesterday.

The letter M

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A couple of years ago I stumbled on a vintage shop in one of the student-y areas of Leeds. It’s a real treasure trove of stuff but not cheap.

After seeing so many initials used in interior design I wanted one too and I found this beauty. It has sat neglected ever since in a corner of the spare room. I think was worried it was too bold. But I decided it was time for the M to see the light of day.

It is a bit worse for wear but that shows it has lived! Wonder what word it spelled out?

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After moving some things about I settled on it sitting in the hall. But of course now we need a ‘G’ as he feels left out………..

An autumn mantel – work in progress

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Our poor old (new actually) fireplace has waited a long time to be finished and really it isn’t yet but we’re getting closer. I was inspired by all the ‘fall’ decorating going on in blog land and thought I could decorate our mantel a little with an autumnal air. (Yes, maybe the summer feeling is finally over…..)

I pinned plenty of swoon-worthy pictures of halloweeny and autumn feeling mantles and could have headed out to the shops for new bits and pieces to decorate with but I wanted to keep any costs down so hunted around for suitable items.

And the whole autumn thing gave me a really good excuse to gather acorns and conkers. Gav doesn’t understand how I find it hard to walk by a fallen conker…….. I brought a pocketful home the other morning. And then the next day when we went to the park I gathered some acorns too. Happy happy.

I tried out a couple of flower arrangements along with the conkers and a lantern.

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While messing about with these few things I remembered a pumpkin stamp I bought a couple of years ago and made a little garland to hang from the mantel. The envelopes had also been hanging around for a while and I liked the shape.

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Added a couple of different designs of washi tape for a bit of colour and hey presto.

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And then I couldn’t stop trying out different bits and bobs and see which I liked best.

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Gav said he liked the acorns best. But I’m not sure yet might just have to keep changing things up till I run out of combinations.

What I did like best though was that candle light.

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A bonus of autumn.