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Christmas Birds

21 Dec

I’m afraid dear Beatrice, I’ve done it again. I simply cannot stay out of Liberty’s. I see it’s grand statuesque architecture, it’s glittering gems, it’s fine selection of treashurable delights, and I quite simply cannot walk away. With Christmas only a few days away I’ve only just managed to find myself in the festive spirit. After a rather lacklustre start to the season, even with this wonderful duvet of snow across the land, I’ve felt rather non Christmassy. However, the tree is now donned with baubles, the banister glittering with tinsel and twisted pine, the air full of festive scent. It’s not as stunning as Leonora’s perfect and decadent style I’m sure, but for this single bachelor it’ll do just fine. I was lacking some eye catching decorations for the Christmas tree, and as usual, Liberty’s winter shop came to my rescue. And though many think that this luxury shop may be a little extravagant, Christmas decorations are magnificently cheap.

With these two little birds now amongst my tree’s branches the entire ensemble has come together nicely. Whilst the gorgeous glittered fello was just £3 the dove now gracing the top of the Christmas tree was only £4. And whilst they make look stunning in my festive surroundings, they would be equally well placed as a little stocking filler in four days time.


Espresso Candles

16 Dec

Leonora, I know you’re one for homemade arts and crafts and do I hope you’ll be proud of my efforts. I’ve never made a candle in my life. In fact, I could hardly call myself a crafter at all. I like to eat. That’s my thing as you well know! However, whilst looking for some new vases in the local charity shop I stumbled across an espresso set for just £4.99. I know! I don’t even like coffee but I just had to have it. Anyway, I decided that I’d make a cheap homemade candle set, something quite cute that could provide a function but also look great in a kitchen, lounge, or even dining setting.

Making candles is extremely easy Leonora, I’m surprised you haven’t turned your graceful hand to it. I bought all the equipment from WhicksnWacks, a great little online store that had the items to me in just a few days. The entire lot cost me just under £13 and I have enough wicks and dye for more future crafting. It seems far easier to make your first candles in a ready prepared holder, such as these espresso cups, so that you don’t have to worry about getting the right shapes or having to pay for moulds.

Melting the wax was extremely easy, and then the dye block was simply grated into the liquid until I had the right colour. I warmed the cups first in warm water so that the china wasn’t cold. Working out how to attach the wicks was a little tricky as the first time I attempted to pour in the wax the wick simply floated to the top. However, I found that standing them upright in the cups and pouring a tiny amount of wax in, which was then allowed to harden, allowed the wicks to grip the bottom. I also used elastic bands to keep the wicks upright and straight as, when you pour the warm wax in, the wicks have a tendency to flop to one side.

Then it’s a simple case of allowing the wax to harden completely, cleaning off the cups from any excess wax which may have dripped, and fashion them into a perfectly placed piece of decor! I simply love them. Of course, they are my own little novelty as they’re the first I’ve ever made but they are both cheap and quick to make. Overall, each candle cost approximately £4 to make and that includes the extra’s that I can use again in addition to the plates and milk jug. I think it’s a fabulous thing to have made, and once I’m more adept at making such things they will be great Christmas and birthday presents. And, with the containers being recycled from charity shops, no two candle sets will ever be the same.

Hummingbird Bakery

15 Dec

Did you enjoy a cupcake today? I visited London’s Hummingbird Bakery, the branch on Wardour Street, and treated myself to a scumptious red velvet cupcake to celebrate National Cupcake Day. Glorious.

National Cupcake Day

14 Dec

Now Beatrice, before you start, I know that cupcakes are an American treat and that the English version is our own traditional butterfly cake. However, that doesn’t stop one enjoying snacking upon several when the time comes, especially when they are still warm from your AGA. And now that you’ve perfected the cake, I can happily say that I will continue to relish your cupcakes. Indeed, I enjoyed the perfection trials immensely!

Tomorrow, December 15th, is National Cupcake Day in the U.S. What a fantastic day to have! It’s just as well I don’t reside across the pond as I fear that this Algenon would be far too fat to fit into his braces. However, just because our American friends will be enjoying the experience doesn’t mean that we can’t either. Of course, I won’t be able to revel in the fantasticulously lovely Magnolia’s Bakery cupcakes, as seen on screen in Sex and the City, but that doesn’t put an end to my plan. London has a number of fantastic outlets, including Lola’s available in the Selfridge’s food hall and the famed Hummingbird Bakery. So, one way or another, I will be breaking from English tradition and enjoying an American holiday for one day. Please don’t scold me – and don’t tell Lady Shropshire, she’d be horrified

Iconic Garden Show Fire Presenters

7 Dec

Leonora! Beatrice! Whilst I know that we are all gripped by the devastingly yet compelling drama unfolding on Weatherfield’s cobbles, I must tell you of more awful news. Gardeners World has revealed that not only is Monty Don returning to replace Toby Buckland, but that our dear Alys Fowler has also been dropped from the show. I know Beatrice, reach for the gin, it’s appalling. What will we do without Alys and Toby?

Pass the gin, Toby & Alys have been cut

I cannot truly say that I’m not happy that Monty is making a return, after all, I was pretty unconsolable when he left the show in 2008. However, Toby took the reign in his hands and I thought did extremely well over the past few years. Alys, well what can I say, we all love her to bits! The only silver lining from this is that dear Carol Klein is to return, though why the BBC didn’t scrap imbecile Swift and keep Toby on causes one to wonder. All things change I suppose, but what with life on the cobbles falling apart and now this I think we may need to bulk buy gin for the ensuing week.


Period Drama for the Festive Season

5 Dec

I have the most exciting news! There is to be new period drama for Christmas Leonora and Beatrice! Whilst I was hoping for a marvellous return of Dame Judi Dench as Cranford’s Mattie Jenkins, I’m afraid my daring hope hasn’t been fulfilled. However, the BBC have revealed that Cranford writer Heidi Thomas is to reignite that iconic series Upstairs, Downstairs!

Returning to our screen for three hour long episodes, the first will aire on BBC ONE, Boxing Day. Original character parlour maid Rose (Jean Marsh) has risen through the ranks to housekeeper and now has a brand new collection of staff to help run her 1936 household. Keeley Hawes will be playing Lady Agnes, lady of the house. She’s that one from Spooks Beatrice, you know, the original woman from the first series and the No’7 actress who acted with Lady Shropshire’s son. And you know how we both love Spooks, even though you fall asleep without fail at the very crux of an episode!

I simply cannot wait. After the delectable Downton Abbey, which thankfully has been commissioned for a second series, we now have this wonderful iconic entertainement to settle down to after turkey and pudding. Dame Eileen Atkins will be Lady Maud Holland, Ed Stoppard as Sir Hallam Holland, and Claire Foy, the lead from Little Dorrit, Lady Persephone Towyn.

I know I could enjoy a festive marathon of previous drama in my collection – Little Dorrit, Bleak House, Pride and Prejudice, Cranford, and by a mix up of Christmas presents I now also own Downton Abbey – but I simply cannot wait for Upstairs, Downstairs. It’ll go marvellously with cheese and port.

Cheap Yet Chic Christmas Decor

28 Nov

Oh Beatrice,

That knitting bag really looks quite lovely. Whilst my knitting skills are well under par, I’m sure that you’ll be making a wild and wooly wardrobe in no time. But please, let it not negate your cake making delights!

I must tell you, you know how fond I am over Liberty’s. Well, though much of the shop is an extravaganze that even I cannot afford, their Christmas store is rather super. It’s delightfully themed to colour so you can find anything you might wish in a moment. Located on the highest floor, it’s beautifully presented, and they have everything you could want for from glistening white paper birds, to fur cones in the shape of squirrels. Squirrels I tell you! AND the most important thing, it is really quite, quite affordable. I bought some delightful pink fairy tree decorations for just £5 each, quite a reasonable bargain. There’s really nothing like emerging from Liberty’s, glistening bag in hand, to feel you’ve had a chic shopping spree.

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