An Old House and Lots of Cheese

Today I spent the day visiting the idyllic town of Petworth in West Sussex.

First of all we had a wander around the crocked, winding streets of the town and explored some of the local shops. The town hosts a variety of antique shops along with a substantial number of independent cafes and a sprinkling of art shops.

One of the highlights of this little town is a beautiful deli called The Hungry Guest. Not only is it filled with an array of local produce and home baked goods, the highlight of this deli is a temperature controlled cheese room. I’ve never seen anything like it. You enter the cool room to and are immediately hit with the smell of cheese, a tad overwhelming if not expected! Before you then lies shelves of different cheeses, the selection was rather grand! Needless to say we came away with a pretty wide selection, along with some rosemary crackers, aubergine chutney, and some of the most decadent brownies I’ve ever tasted.

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After our visit to the town, we took a leisurely stroll around the grounds of Petworth House. We didn’t venture inside the house today, but the gardens were filled with beautiful snow-drops and many a gnarly tree!

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All-in-all, a lovely leisurely day!

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Petworth House. If only I were 200 years younger and a lot, lot richer!

Faye. x


A Belated Valentines, Soy Candle Tutorial.

Candles, candles, candles. A warm homely comfort, I nearly always have a candle lit in my bedroom, the flickering light and warm orange glow combined with a soft scent always makes me feel relaxed.

Having spent a lot on branded candles, I decided I would have a go at making some myself. I started out making a single cherry vanilla candle in a glass tumbler that had previously held another candle. (To get any wax out of an old candle holder, simply soak the container in hot soapy water for about 10-20 minutes and the wax should just pop out.) It turned out great! The smell is delightful and the natural colour of the soy wax makes it look sophisticated and subtle.

Following the success of my first candle I decided to make some as gifts. As Valentine’s day was coming up (and my boyfriend is also an avid candle user), I decided to make one for him, I also made one for my Mum as I was heading home for the week.

It’s super fun picking out the different containers and the different scents to suit different people. For a more manly candle I chose a mason jar mug with a spiced orange and lemon scent. My Mum got a pretty engraved glass jar with a patterned lid and the cherry and vanilla scent, seeing as it worked so well before!

These are great to make as gifts, they’re more personal (and cheaper) than a normal candle. Plus much more fun to make!

Enjoy!


Soy Candle Tutorial

You will need:

  • Containers for the candles.
  • Soy wax flakes. (I got mine from here)
  • Candle fragrance oil. (I got mine from here)
  • Candle wicks. (I got mine here)
  • Skewers
  • Microwave proof jug.
  • Double sided tape.
  • Scissors.

Step 1

Pick out your candle containers and scents.

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Step 2

Using the container, measure out 2 times the amount of say wax flakes that fit within it. (It feels like a lot but trust me it’s right!)

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Step 3

Place these wax flakes into a microwaveable jug and put to the side. Wash and dry the containers. Using double sided tape, stick the bottom of the wicks to the centre of the container’s bottom.

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Step 4

Use either a skewer or a bag clip to hold the wick in place at the top of the container.

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Step 5

Place the wax flakes in the microwave for 1 minute, and then in 30 second intervals, stirring between each. Keep going until all the flakes have melted completely.

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Step 6

Add a few drops of the candle fragrance oil to the melted wax until the scent is the strength you wish. (It always smells stronger at this stage than it will once the candles have set.) Pour the wax into the container.

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Step 7

Leave in a safe place for 24 hours until the wax has completely cooled and set. Cut the wick so it’s about 1cm above the wax.

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Step 8

Give as a gift or keep for yourself!

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Faye. x


Home Comforts. Red Onion, Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia.

Thursday’s are becoming my baking day recently. Today I wanted to make something savoury, and seeing as my Mum sent me back to Leeds with a bag full of rosemary from our garden I decided to make a focaccia with red onion, sea salt and rosemary.

This is the perfect bread to have warm with a bowl of soup, and it’s a great bake if you are ever entertaining. Plus it makes the house smell extra homely!

For my recipe I have used half white and half wholemeal flour, but you can make it the same with all white or all wholemeal flour and it’s just as good.

Enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 250g strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 300ml lukewarm water
  • 2 red onions
  • a handful of rosemary
  • extra sea salt for topping

Method:

Step 1: Add the flour, yeast and sea salt to a bowl.

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Step 2: Create a well in the centre of the mixture and add 2tbsp of olive oil and the 300ml of water.

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Step 3: Work this mixture into a dough with your hands, before placing onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes.

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Step 4: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling-film and leave to rise until roughly double in size. (This normally takes about an hour.)

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Step 5: Knock back the dough, before stretching it to fit in a 25x35cm oiled tray.

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Step 6: Leave the dough to rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180° fan, gas mark 6). Meanwhile, chop the onions into thin strips then sauté for around 2 minutes, just to soften. Then set to the side.

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Step 7: When the dough has risen, sprinkle over the onions, rosemary and drizzle with olive oil before topping with a dash of sea salt. Press you finger into the dough to create dimples in the bread.

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Step 8: Place in the oven and bake for 30mins until golden brown. Leave to cool and enjoy!

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Faye. x

A Childhood Favourite, Nutella Cookies.

Since my sister and I were younger (and still to this day), a firm favourite recipe of ours has been Nutella cookies.

We first baked them following a chocolate cookie recipe from a children’s cookbook, and since then we have adapted and baked them many a time! Our favourite adaptation by far has to be the Nutella version, and as I’m going home to visit this weekend, I thought it would be the perfect time to bake a batch and take them with me. I thought it would be a simple but great recipe to share as my fist baking blog post on here.

I’m usually about flavour more than appearance and I think these cookies look best when made a rougher, mine usually come out all kinds of shapes and sizes, but if you want a neater finish try rolling them into even balls at Step 5.

Enjoy!


This recipe usually makes about 14-16 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 90g soft light brown sugar (dark brown sugar also works)
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g Nutella
  • 2-3 drops vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 75g white chocolate

(This also works great as a nutty cookie if you omit the cocoa powder and swap the Nutella for peanut butter.)

Method:

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Cream the butter with both types of sugar in a large mixing bowl. You can do this with an electric whisk or by hand like myself.

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Step 2 Beat the egg, Nutella and vanilla extract into the creamed ingredients until fully mixed.

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Step 3 Combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Sieve into the Nutella mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

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Step 4 Cut the dark and white chocolate into rough chunks, then stir into the mixture.

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Step 5 Place 4-6 dessert-spoon-sized portions onto a lined baking tray, leaving space between to allow them to spread.

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Step 6 Bake in the oven for 14 minutes. Remove the trays and allow the cookies to set for 10 minutes (don’t worry if they feel a bit gooey at this stage) before transferring them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Step 7 Grab a cup of tea (or a beverage of your choice) and enjoy!

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Faye. x

Old and New, Book Binding.


Yikes my first blog post!

I’m still not entirely sure what to focus the main bulk of this blog on, I have a feeling it will end up involving lots of different categories. But for my first post I thought it would be good to share a little project that I worked on last year. I’m hoping that by going back to this project it will inspire me to pick up where I left off and continue it!


Creating and Binding a Book.

When I was working on my art AS level, I accumulated a huge selection of paper. I had handmade paper, tissue paper, plain, patterned, maps, cards and even leaflets that I had collected and un-lovingly left in an overflowing box.

So I began to look for projects that required lots of paper, and naturally I stumbled on the idea of creating a book. I wanted something that I could keep as well as something that would put the paper to good use, and creating a new art book seemed like the perfect solution.

I began perusing Pinterest for book binding tutorials and after confusing myself with all the complex instructions I found a great tutorial by JamesDarrow which was super easy to follow. (You can find that tutorial here.)

He uses plain paper in his tutorial but I figured it would be easy enough to substitute it for my not-so-plain paper. It was great fun sorting all the paper into the order that I wanted, I played about a bit with how many sheets of paper I would use in each signature as they varied in thickness. Eventually after a weekend of glueing and sewing I finished the book. Unfortunately as I made this before setting up my blog I have no photos of the process, I can however show you the finished product!

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I made this book with the intention of it becoming a sketchbook. I have repeatedly picked it up with the idea to draw / paint / create things within it, but every time I end up putting it down again. I think it’s because I’m so in love with the book and the whole process it took me through that I’m scared to put anything in it!

Hence why I decided to share it on this blog, I’m hoping that by doing so I will motivate myself to create art on the pages and hopefully share the work here as I go along.

Faye. x