Friday, 31 July 2015

Pass me the chocolate! #mamabakescakes

So I have decided to split #mamasblooms and #mamas bakes into two post as you guys having been enjoying sharing your pictures so much! I must say a Huge thank you on behalf of Nanda and myself as the support for this has been wonderful! We absolutely love seeing all the pictures and hope you are all enjoying everyone else's ideas also.

This week the bakes being produced really left my mouth watering. I made a chocolate brownie cake earlier in the week but after Raphael's birthday celebration last week I think we were on a sugar high as we still have a bit left! 

I don't know about you guys but I cannot wait until the 5th August as that is when the Great British Bake Off starts on the BBC. I ruddy love that show! In fact Rob and I both love it! I am hoping it inspires my baking and real inspires us all for #mamabakescake, I can't wait to see the show stoppers!

This week we seemed to have quite a few chocolate fueled cakes so I picked a few that look like they ready for sharing.

From top left to right:
@rvk_loves / @lissyagosto / @natasha_albertelli / @lizzieandgeorge

*Sorry Lissy and Natasha but it wouldn't let me link to you :(

The Cakes all look delicious!

Thank you for joining in again ladies. Here's to the next week of baking!

Post by Emily

Enjoying blooms and gaining inspiration #mamasblooms

So I have decided to split #mamasblooms and #mamas bakes into two posts as you guys have been enjoying sharing your pictures so much! I must say a huge thank you on behalf of Nanda and myself as the support for this has been wonderful! We absolutely love seeing all the pictures and hope you are all enjoying everyone else's ideas also.

This week #mamasblooms got some fantastic support from Bloom & Wild. This 'flowers through your letterbox' company have got the most beautiful selection of flower bouquets that can be posted straight through your front door! They come as single stems and with instruction notes on how to arrange them. It is a wonderful idea and even if you don't feel particularly creative the explanations are clear and easy to follow.
I decided to arrange mine into 4 individual jam jars and place in this lovely bottle carrier. The flowers selection is beautiful and I can't wait to watch them bloom.
Not only have Bloom & Wild shown their support to Nanda and I by gifting us both these beautiful bouquets but they are also going to follow along with #mamasblooms and at the end of August pick a lucky winner who will also receive a beautiful bouquet from them! So if you want to be in with the chance of winning one of these, keep posting you flower related pictures with our hashtag!!

On to this week and I have taken some lovely pictures of flowers in my life. My Instagram seems to have one nearly every day but I thought I would just select a couple and then share some gorgeous ones from this week.

This peach carnation and lily one was from Bloom & Wild

Like me, Nanda's home is always full of flowers too!

This week you have really inspired me with the selection, I mean wow! I felt that there were too many to choose just 4 so I have extended my selection (just a little) to share more.
I think we can all agree that flowers bring a calmness and joy to our lives and I felt that these pictures really showed that. Whether they are on the kitchen table or kept to the side, you
guys have displayed your flowers so beautifully!

From top left to right;
@mumtothreelittlemonkeys / @rubysummerscountryhome / @blossomingbirds / @flojoro123 / @johanna.hc / @homeheartharmony

Well done ladies, they were all inspiring!

Keep tagging and checking #mamasblooms as there are so many lovely pictures.

Post by Emily

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Summer pizza party with Garden Trading

I remember one of our earliest posts was about a pizza party we had with my family. Now, a year later we have lit the pizza oven again and reignited our passion for alfresco dining. It is crazy that we haven't had one this year yet but with our building project we have just spent all of our time doing that and the garden has been a building site so it just wasn't possible. 
Having been sent a few products from Garden Trading and the build completed and the ground looking tidier, this weekend has been the perfect opportunity to fire it up again!

The effect of eating these pizzas is somewhat unexplainable. There is nothing quite like making and cooking a pizza in your back garden. It is one of those; ''you have to try it to understand'' kind of things! I just love how passionate Rob is about it. It was the first thing he built when we moved into our home - I suppose the start of us building this ex-council house into something! 

I always had a passion for trying to make the set up for a party the best it could be, after years of having a table made out of a door and cut logs and using simple Tupperware or dishes to serve in, it is nice to pass into a stage of life where I now can dress table with beautiful table wear pieces that suit our style and home.
I have bought from Garden trading for sometime now. I think I have about 5 of their jugs for flowers around the house, countless zinc mini planters and a few extra pieces. It was lovely when they sent over some perfect garden party items to add to my collection.

Already being a fan of theirs; I was not disappointed. Garden trading suits me and how I like to organise parties. Easy sharing platters, soft colours and practical pieces is something that Garden Trading are excellent at designing. Thanks to a few pieces gifted to me from them, I want to share with you how you can have a practical and beautiful garden party!

This wine bottle carrier is perfect for holding oils and water all in one place; it's easy to carry through the garden or even display bottles in the house. Its gorgeous shade matches our styling and I love the wooden handles.

For me, nothing quite beats the smell of basil when cooking pizza. These little plants are fab as table decorations and these galvanised herb pots make the plants look really neat and smart.

What is great about garden parties is the sharing. I love just a big table of food where everyone can help themselves, everybody getting involved in making the pizza and people just enjoying the freedom of friendship fueled eating! These dip, nibble and share jars are a perfect example for the sharing philosophy. You can pop anything in them and just leave them open for all!

I suppose just sometimes pizza's aren't enough and having a bit of extra bread for dipping in balsamic vinegar and olive oil is needed. This gorgeous beech paddle board is almost the centre of the table, ready and waiting for everyone to grab pieces and dip away!

When it comes to table decoration, flowers always appear for me and these classic enamel jugs are the only vase I need! Seriously, I don't often stray too far from these and if I do I use these gorgeous cornbury glass votives as vases! 

For this party though, the glass votive is perfect as intended with a candle in for helping keep bugs away!
My 'GROWN IN THE UK' bucket is also great storage for occasions like this. Blankets work well as you can just roll them up and carry them out.

People definitely love to pick at parties like this. It isn't always about having your own plate, food that you can just take a pinch of can be social and easy. This table top serving tray is great for carrying around to all your guests.

I suppose one of the highlights of most parties is delicious ice cold drinks and as you could display them so nicely in this Bilbury galvanised table top planter, people will be ready to get into full party spirit.

Another thing that their enamel jugs are good for is storing cutlery to offer to guests. 

What I love about the Garden Trading products is that they feel wholesome; the wood, enamel and galvanised metal all are so nice to look at but also feel solid and like they are made to be handled and loved. They are for use in the home and by family, and I really love how their shades are so calming and natural.

A huge thank you to Garden Trading who gifted me the Bilsbury planter, beech chopping board, table top tray and wine bottle carrier. And a big thanks to Rob and my mum who have bought me all their other lovely products over the past couple of years!!

If you want to see all of Garden Tradings products then why not visit the website.

Post by Emily

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Big tutus, white trainers and walks by the Cathedral.

It's lovely that these two little ones are getting better at not having a pushchair. Jumping out for a quick errand is getting that bit easier, and even just popping to see daddy at his office is an easy task to do. 
I thought I would share a bit more of our summer fashion ideas. Everything I am wearing is older now but I have linked to new similar pieces.
Raph was sporting his new birthday shoes; I love Superga trainers, and in child form they are just the cutest little plimsole! Etta pretty much stole the show though as nearly every passer by commented on how beautiful her skirt was! You could hear "just look at that little girl" said as we walked past. This Angels Faces' tutu is just so full of tulle netting that it is almost overflowing with girliness!

Similar outfit to mine; WaistcoatJumperTrousersShoes
Raphael; shirt and trousers are Primark ( only available from store) Superga Shoes
Giulietta; top and hairband Joules instore/ tutu skirt / shoes from Primark

Post by Emily

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Keep Bees Alive

I am so pleased that this year our lavender has been so big and beautiful that some local bees have been keeping us company from morning till night! I have never seen our lavender so busy. I love it. I do not fear bees; if you leave them to it they do not bother you.
I was listening to Radio 2 the other day and heard a really interesting interview about the decline of the bumble bee. After looking into it a bit I have found that in the UK, due to changes in the countryside cropping techniques, bees are becoming more and more rare. 
This is all mainly to do with the more modern ways of planting and growing, so bees are not getting large opportunities to pollinate. With land where wild flowers would usually grow being used for crop planting instead, the bees are slowly dwindling in numbers.
So, why am I writing about this? Well as I have said, our lavender has been an actual hive of activity and the only way to help keep bees pollinating is to make areas in your garden that allow them to find a good source of pollen through the summer time.
If you fancy filling your garden with some good pollen and nectar rich flowers why not try out some from this list?
Bees love Purple flowers! (they see this colour most clearly, hence why my lavender is buzzing!)
Bees love tube shaped flowers like honeysuckle, snap dragons and fox gloves.
All of your blossoms are obviously key in pollination early in the spring.
Summer flowers like scabacious, sedum, aster, cornflower, wildflower, dahlia, erynigium, lavender, astilebe, campanular, delphinium, sweet pea and heather all attract bees.

Gardens are so important for bees but also, my garden wouldn't be as blooming if it wasn't for the bees! we help each other out!

I love having our bees around. The kids aren't bothered by them and they just watch them on the flowers. I think it's good as it gets them used to seeing them and rather than the usual scream of terror, they just get on with whatever they are doing! 
We also love honey in our house so if we can contribute in any way to the local honey makers stores then that is a good thing!

Get your garden blooming and help support the vital work of bees!

If you are interested in any more information, why not check out The British Beekeepers Association.

Post by Emily

Monday, 27 July 2015

New Block Shed - Self Build Part 4 - Roof, Cladding & finishing off

This stage of my self build is about getting read for the roof. First, I needed to put in a lintel for over the door & then put one extra course of blocks over the top. After this the wall plates could go on. The wall plates are what the roof rafters fasten to. Once these were bedded on concrete & screwed down the length of the shed on it was time to fit the rafters.


I ordered ones long enough to give a large canopy over the front of the shed to give a nice shelter for whenever you need to take quick cover from rain. Let's face it, it won't be from the sun as we can't get enough of it when it's here! Thanks to Dad (again!) for helping with lifting these onto the roof. 2x8" x 3.6m are fairly heavy so it's much easier with two of you.

As the pitch was very shallow (more or less flat), once the rafters were fastened down we put sheets of 12mm OSB boarding on top. Raph pretty much screwed every screw down, so thanks little man. At this point the building became very dark inside, but more importantly, nearly water tight!

I was going to then put mineral shed felt on the roof & tile it, but instead I found something called EPDM. This is rubber sheeting used on flat roofs. It is really great & just glues with a water based glue to wood & supposedly lasts about 50 years. After seeing it in the roof, we're not bothering to tile it which means I've got 400 (free & reclaimed) tiles left & 150 metres of batten I don't need. These things always come in for something though!

Then all that was left was the finish on the outside, guttering, painting, electrics & finishing inside.

The fascia & guttering was really easy to do but you need two of you for lifting the fascia as it was 5m long. I'm using cladding for the soffit so it flows all the way down the wall & I can put lights in it.

After this I put in the cables for the sockets & lighting, all installed around the outside so there are no cables inside & they will be hidden by the cladding. The power is fed by the socket on the pizza oven which is fed by an SWA cable from the house. I installed that when I put in the pizza oven years ago.

For the outside, it had to be cladding. I love cladding & it hides a number of sins in block work, not that mine is too bad. I bought new cladding for the front & right side, but for our neighbours' side I used the wooden cladding from the shed we took down. I managed to take it apart carefully enough that I could just fix whole panels to the wall & it really does look good. On the back, a friend of mine gave me some fibreglass sheets which were great where not really visible for water protecting the single skin blockwork. Gabe & Dad helped again with the cladding so thanks again to them. Then just some help painting from Raph & it's looking great.

All that was left was to hang a door donated by a friend, paint inside with white emulsion, make some shelving out of some donated doors & hang all the gardening stuff.

Post by Rob
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