Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Discovering Homestuff With History

I needn't have worried myself about shopping opportunities when I left London. Cambridge is not only complete with the normal high street stores including an excellent John Lewis, but tucked away down small alleyways or back streets are a whole raft of wonderful independent shops.

As a Virtual Assistant we are often asked to shop on behalf clients, mainly for birthday or wedding presents so as you can imagine I was keen to move somewhere with all the amenities without having to resort to driving into London each time. My search for client shopping potential has been much fun though a little hard on my bank balance as I get waylaid...

One of my new discoveries is Homestuff With History who decided to make their Summer pop up at the lovely Burwash Manor into a more permanent affair. Lucky for all us customers who love something unique rather than the run of mill, they are now there to stay.

Homestuff with History is packed with furniture and vintage items that send me all a quiver. Unique items that have been shown a bit of love and are now ready to grace a new home. Successfully run by brother and sister team Matt and Kathryn Brown for over 10 years now, this new venture is bound to be a success. As well as all the enticing collection the staff are delightful too, happy to chat and advise.

I shall definitely be back and am over the moon with my little green glass bottle and fruit tray which I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Grantchester Meadows

We were blessed with a truly beautiful Autumnal day yesterday. The kind of day that makes Autumn the most beautiful season of the year. The kind of day when the golden, ruby and orange leaves glisten under the rays of the sun.

Since our move to Cambridge we've been wanting to walk through the Granchester Meadows so yesterday was the day. Not before having a quick bowl of pea and ham soup and a slice of Victoria Sponge at the Orchard Tea rooms to set us on our way.

A picturesque walk along the Cam awaited us along with families of ducks, canoeists, dog walkers and other people taking advantage of the warm weather to stretch their legs after fulfilling lunches. We didn't quite reach Cambridge itself, next time, but enjoyed the exhilarating stroll taking in our environment. How lucky are we to be living near such natural beauty!


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Vintage Fair at King John's Nursery & Gardens, East Sussex

My weekends are often spent seeking out the nearest Vintage fair or rummaging in second hand shops, I love nothing more than filling my house with old, pre loved items or books that have special stories to tell from their past. Thankfully the husband is just as passionate as me about rifling through charity shops so he doesn't mind the hours spent on this little obsession of mine.

As you're all aware this time last week I was on a Photography weekend with the gorgeous Emily Quinton, as part of our tuition we took to our cars to visit a Vintage fair at King Johns Nursery at the invitation of the gorgeous multi talented Jeska of Lobster and Swan. If you've never read her blog go take a look and fall in love with her exquisite taste and beautiful images. She and her husband Dean have just this week launched their new online shopping emporium, The Future Kept, filled with enticing handmade products with a conscious sourced from the UK and abroad, it really is a pleasure to navigate the meticulously handpicked collection.

It was a pleasure to finally meet them both and even more exciting to have found the prettiest eiderdown for Matilda's room on their stall, it fits perfectly with her vintage style fairy bedding from Their Nibs which seems to have disappeared? Anyone know what has happened?

The fair was one of the best I've attended, I could have spent a fortune but ever aware of the limited space in our rented cottage I had to restrain myself, though I did buy a new milk jug and a battered metal trunk still with it's tag attached which will house all our shoes in the porch.

Tucked away deep in the East Sussex countryside King John's is a delightful place to wander round and with 8 acres of garden there's plenty to admire, reminded me a little of my beloved Petersham Nurseries that I've been missing since being in Cambridge. Packed with inspiring home wares, garden ornaments, and all manner of plants it's definitely worth taking a detour here if you happen to be in the area. They regularly hold fairs too so keep an eye out on their website for future dates...

Thursday, 16 October 2014

My Mama's spicy Pumpkin & cannellini bean soup

Don't you just love this time of year? The rich colours, an abundance of colourful produce filling the markets and shops. One of my favourite Autumnal dishes is Pumpkin soup, the season for pumpkins is so short I spend most of October using pumpkin in just about every meal.

My Mother always made her Pumpkin soup at this time of year, in fact I spoke to her today and she'd made some yesterday for her dinner. Mine has a couple more spices that my Mother wouldn't use but I think it adds to the depth of flavour and warmth. It's super easy to make too and by roasting the pumpkin you cut out the laborious task of peeling and cutting up the tough skin and flesh that takes a lot of elbow grease and strong knife. I sometimes add an apple or a potato as well as a couple of chillis to increase the warmth.

We're having it tonight with a cheek Mont D'or cheese for afters...


1 Medium Pumpkin (roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until very soft and caramelised)
1 chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of ground cumin or more if you happen to like it!
3 tablespoons of light brown sugar (I used demerera today as that's all I had in the cupboard)
2 litres of vegetable stock
1 can of pre cooked Cannellini beans
Chopped coriander to serve.

Place the Pumpkin on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until very soft and caramelised. Let it cool for a few minutes. In the meantime gently warm the olive oil in a large saucepan then chop your onion and garlic finely and add to the olive oil. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the onion is nice and translucent then add the spices.

Cut your pumpkin into slices, the flesh should fall easily from the skin. Remove the seeds. Add the chopped pumpkin into the onions and give it a good stir. Sprinkle the sugar over the pumpkin, pour in the stock and season to taste. Let the soup bubble away for about 15 minutes then blend with a handheld blender. Pop in the cannellini beans to warm through and serve piping hot with a sprinkle of chopped coriander.

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A weekend of photography in Rye

Since the day Matilda was born the husband and I have only had a handful of nights away from her, this weekend was going to be a true test of endurance for me as I was not to see her or give her a 'huggle' from drop off at 8.55 until late Sunday afternoon. I admit panic began to set in when she begged me to come into the classroom with her for one last huggle. Of course I knew she'd soon forget and have a blast with her daddy, but this was about my feelings not hers. Needless to say she and the husband had a packed weekend of fun, barely noticing my absence.

It was the best reason in the world to be away from Matilda, a weekend with some super ladies taking photos, inspiring the creativity within each of us fuelled by good food and conversation. As well as all the wonderful learning achieved, largely thanks to one very special teacher Emily Quinton, we all opened up to share our lives, thoughts, ideas, ups and downs and our dreams for future ventures.

Removing oneself from ordinary day life for a couple of days to reflect and clear one's mind can have an thoroughly positive impact. I returned energised and ready to take on the world! I came away with a mind bursting with ideas, increased camera knowledge that will develop my style. Thank you to my wonderful co bloggers, I can't wait for our next reunion. Do go have a look at these ladies' work, I'm sure you'll be as inspired as me!

Here are a few images I took over the weekend at one of the most beautiful coastal houses I've ever had the joy of staying in, just a cough and a spit from the pretty village of Rye in East Sussex...there are more photos up on my Instagram so do pop over and have a look.