Buns & Baking.

If I had to choose a favourite food it would be bread....
I (sort of) wish it could be cucumber or broccoli but I love bread in all its forms and really, who doesn't? 
Bagels, buns, brioches, loaves, wholemeal, rye, sourdough, cinnamon, fruit, milk....
the list & the options are truly endless.

I have a super-easy & fairly idiot-proof basic white loaf recipe which I make regularly in the winter but I'd like to be a little more adventurous with my bread making this season.
On my last trip to HomeSense, I bought a couple of cookery books, one of which was the wonderfully titled
  "The Book of Buns - 50 Brilliant Bakes from Around The World"

both items via HomeSense - 
they have an excellent book aisle & a gorgeous range of Spanish style serving dishes, I wanted them all! 

It features an international selection of delicious sounding bakes with buns from India, Bulgaria, Italy, Mexico, Germany, Armenia & Norway.
Ingredients featured include orange blossom water, cardamon, saffron, apple, coriander & rosewater.

So, this week I am going to attempt Italian Spaccatini - soft plain white buns - & Lebanese Sfoof - sweet buns made with cinnamon, orange blossom, anise & turmeric.

and as the book states at the beginning
"the joy of buns is the fluffy, soft squashiness of them"
that's good enough for me! I will report back....

This post has been written as part of an ongoing collaboration with HomeSense....
all thoughts, content, images & purchases are my own.

House & Home : Wallpaper Inspiration with Graham & Brown.

The bathroom is the one room in our house that is finished....
we moved it up one floor & it is a beautiful & calm space - made even more beautiful & appealing not only because it's all brand new but also because the rest of the house needs so much work!
It's a haven in more way than one.

I had a clear budget in mind for the bathroom & I stuck to it very firmly & didn't get carried away.
When I say it's "finished", it's 95% finished....is any room ever 100% finished/done/complete?
I chose the "big" stuff easily, it's the finishing touches that are taking ages, probably because in my head I have moved on to the next project.

It is a space that I absolutely love though & every time I walk into it, I am reminded of that.
It's exactly what I had intended - clean, fresh, light, contemporary & clutter-free.

Would I have done anything differently?
Just a couple of things possibly, one of them being wallpapering one of the walls.
It's an idea that I've seen a lot on Pinterest & something that I've never done before.

There isn't any colour in our bathroom & next time I think I might add some beautiful tiles, like those in the image above, or add wallpaper as in the image below
 This week is National Wallpaper Week & as part of my ongoing collaboration with wallpaper brand Graham & Brown, this month they asked me to pick a "mood"....
I chose "calm" since that appears to be one of my main criteria with all the rooms that I'm working on right now & something that I specifically focused on in the bathroom.

They have some beautiful wallpapers, I really "apple blossom tree" as shown above, it's subtle, pretty & calming. I also like their "aura grey" and "mirage grey".

Graham & Brown's "Cloud Nine", wouldn't this be wonderful in a child's room?

all images via Pinterest, wallpapers from the Graham & Brown website

House Project : The Hallway

The next house project that we will be working on is the hallway.
We plan to do all of this ourselves, barring any major disasters or problems.

The hallway is dark, unattractive, uninspiring &, as you can see from the photo below, we've done absolutely nothing to it in the almost two years that we've been in the house.

The plan  - painting the walls in two shades of grey, adding a radiator cover, large mirror, replacing the current light fixture, repainting the woodwork and dado rail.

We haven't decided what to do with the floor, mainly because we haven't yet taken up the carpet & checked what state the 30+ year old floorboards are in.
My husband loves the black & white floor tiles which would give a wow factor & would give the house back a more traditional look....I think they look fabulous but I am the one who is slightly more mindful of budget! 
I am also a big fan of sanded & varnished floorboards & think this could also work.

The main thing, as throughout the rest of the house, is to add light & a much fresher look - hopefully we will be knocking through the wall at the far end of the hallway or at least putting in a window and so that will give us more light from that direction.

The paint has been ordered, now we just need to get started!

the "before"....

all photos via Pinterest

Hello October!

My children have already been back at school for one whole month, it seems that every school year 
goes increasingly faster, this year is already feeling "fuller", I feel as though I might blink & it will be gone.

My son had a birthday a few weeks ago, he is now 10....
it's quite something when you realise that your youngest child has now reached double figures. Gulp.

The British weather continues to be its funny old self....
plenty of rain, which has you pulling out winter boots, scarves & coats....
and then, the most gorgeous days full of sunshine, Indian summer days which are the happiest of surprises when you wake up each morning.

We've finally had traditional Victorian shutters fitted in our living room...they are completely lovely & I am enjoying them every single day. Installing them was a process of trial & error for our carpenter, we don't appear to have a single totally straight or level surface in our home anyway - ahhh, the challenges of old houses. 

But the shutters now fit perfectly into the window recesses that would have been created when the house was built & the transformation is huge.
And slowly, we move forward....

My daughter is studying Photography this year & so far she is loving it.
I have today bought her a new camera.
I am thrilled that she is loving school this term, am wishing & hoping (and thinkin' and prayin') that this happy positive spell continues.

The purchase of the camera got me thinking though....
not only does she now have a more expensive camera than I have but at the age of 14, her phone & camera alone are most likely worth all than my childhood possessions added together.

I am big on books & not (at all) keen on screens....
my son's homework is still written out each week but later this year, he will participate in his class blog & some assignments can be emailed in to school.
There is something rather lovely about writing in longhand in an exercise book or notebook, pages that you can keep & savour.
A love of writing & reading are forever.

I'm old fashioned & traditional, I admit it....
but I also worry about reports that children these days can't spell or punctuate & are too attached to their screens....
maybe that's the result of having a teenager who is never off frequently on her phone, who knows?

This week I've begun reading every night before I go to sleep, having realised that these days it takes me forever to read anything.  Reading is my cure for anything, my piles of books grow bigger every week & the simple fact is that I'm happier when I'm reading.

In September a friend described me as "robust" & that's how I felt....and that's how I'm going to stay.

Plans for October....
well, I'm planning a return to (part-time) work during next year so am working on that & I want to do some studying too, I am going to be painting the hallway, hopefully our loft extension will finally begin, I am starting a regular power-walking routine & I want to plan a day-trip to Paris, anyone want to join me?!

  Happy October!
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