Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Beautiful Bowls

Check out these delicate dessert bowls I found in a Cambridge charity shop. They were meant to be all of £1.50 but the ladies in the shop thought Baby Biddle was so cute, they knocked 50p off! The little boy's chubby cheeks have mighty powers.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Harvest

This is such a lovely time of year. As we enjoy a warm, Indian Summer, the trees and bushes are laden with fruit ripe for picking, and the leaves are starting to change to a multitude of reds and yellows.

The rhubarb in our garden is still going strong - it's been producing delicious sour fruit since the Spring and way before the arrival of the little one. We enjoyed some stewed with ice cream on our return home from Cambridge on Thursday night.
On leaving Cambridge, Mrs Biddle Senior furnished us with a bag of apples from her glorious garden.
Since I've been watching The Great British Baker on BBC iplayer during night feeds, I've been itching to do some baking, so I used some of the apples today in a Dorset Apple Cake. I can't remember where I got the recipe (below) but it's yummy comfort food and a great use of autumn windfall.
Dorset Apple Tray Bake


INGREDIENTS
  • About 400g cooking apples
  • 225g butter
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Demerara Sugar for sprinkling on top
  • Juice of a lemon
METHOD
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180c/GM4. Butter and base line a baking tin.
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples. Squeeze the lemon juice over to stop them turning brown and pop on one side.
  3. Mix together all the other ingredients until smooth (except the Demerara Sugar)
  4. Spread half the mixture on the base of the tin. Arrange half the apples on top of this.
  5. Spread the other half of the mixture on top of the first apple layer, then arrange the other half of the apples on the very top. You will have four layers in total - mixture, apples, mixture, apples.
  6. Sprinkle Demerara Sugar over the top.
  7. Bake for around 45mins until golden and springy.
  8. Leave to cool for 10 mins, then turn out. Cut into bars or squares.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Carousel

There are a few themes I can never get enough of when it comes to prints and illustrations ... The Circus, Hot Air Balloons, Vintage Florals, and Fairgrounds. There's something so romantic and nostalgic about the fairground, conjuring images of girls in 50s New Look dresses flashing their knickers as they whirl around whooping, the sound of the Wurlitzer singing a tinkling jingle, and the faded magic of walks to the end of the pier eating fish and chips under the twinkling of festoons.
On our recent trip to France, we discovered this beautiful vintage carousel in the centre of Honfleur. It's placed in such a central location that it seems to be at the epicentre of the harbour quarter. We went to look at it every day, wondering whether Baby Biddle was old enough yet to perch on one of the horses (with the helping hand of mummy or daddy) and deciding it wasn't quite time yet. It made me think of the overture to Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Carousel. I could almost picture Billy Bigelow charming his way around the two tiers to the delight of pretty young things and making Julie Jordan blush.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Les Couleurs de la France

The Biddles are just back from a very jolly jaunt across the English Channel to visit four very good friends who now live much of the time in Paris. It was the first time we took the little fella abroad using his hilarious baby passport. He had a riot in the sweltering heat of Paris, then learnt to shout on the coast at Honfleur.

Like many Brits, we visit France a lot, and I'm always struck by the gorgeous faded colours everywhere - such a different palette to the UK. So here are some of the colourful things I saw during our trip. Descriptions of photos at the bottom.

one & two. Gorgeous greens on the Metro. three. Pretty blue bridge on the Paris canal. four, five, six. The Hotel du Nord, a ridiculously cool restaurant where we enjoyed a long, luscious lunch and escaped the heat. seven. View of the Muséum Histoire Naturelle from the beautiful and immaculate Jardin des Plantes. eight. The greenhouse next door to the Muséum Histoire Naturelle – I love that shade of green. nine. Sophie La Giraffe (or Saf Giraffe as we know her) visits her spiritual home. ten. Mais oui! eleven. Loving the display of hot air balloons floating over sand in Louis Viutton’s window on the Champs Élysées. twelve. The picturesque harbour at Honfleur. thirteen & fourteen. Vintage beach huts and sun umbrellas on the front at Deauville. fifteen. A prettily tiled table in a Deauville restaurant. sixteen and seventeen. The Salon de Thé in Honfleur – an English/French mash up. English tea cups with tiny French meringues. eighteen. Mr B dreaming of owning a little boat. nineteen. Crack me. You know you want to. twenty. Sewing in the cabin of the car ferry returning home.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sandals that make me smile

Do you know that feeling of becoming aware of something for the first time, then noticing it everywhere from then on? Well that's what happened with me and Saltwater Sandals. I'd never heard of these American classic summer footwear, then once I had, they seemed to crop up on just about every blog I follow. They looked so funky and retro and comfy - my perfect combo for a shoe. So I looked into British stockists and found a lovely pair of them in Navy in my size on Olive loves Alfie. I took receipt of a lovely parcel containing them this week, and they haven't left my feet since. They are so blooming comfy. Perfect for trekking round sunny Paris ... we're off for Baby Biddle's first foreign trip tomorrow (can't wait to track down gorgeous French baby boy clothes in Petit Bateau and Monoprix). And they make them in children's sizes too.