Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fiskars Garden tools - my wish list for Father Christmas!

Whilst visiting my parents a while ago I spotted bright orange plastic peeping out from  a corner of the garden room.  Naturally, I had to investigate!

I've bought Fiskars tools for years, they're reliable, long lasting, and bright orange, so hard to lose!  This was Fiskars' orange that I had spotted!

Mum showed me the long handles loppers and the secateurs she had acquired.  Mum's getting on in years and her hands don't have the strength they once had.  I was amazed at the lightness of the tools.

What makes them easy to use is the "Power Gear", which is essentially a ratchet.

As the majority of the tools consist of tough plastic, with only the blades (and screws!) being metal, the cutter remains remarkably light in weight:)

The secateurs are equally to be drooled over! 

Very lightweight and easy to use, but very effective.

So, Santa, if you're reading this - this is my grown-up Christmas Wish!  And yes, I've been a good girl:)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Design Your Own Cookies, the book to encourage you to branch out of your comfort zone!

Design Your Own Cookies by Rachel Cotterill will encourage you to bake delicious cookies, and go on to devise your own variations. 

Design Your Own Cookies (Design Your Own Baking)

Rachel provides 50 basic cookie recipes, both sweet and savoury, then encourages you to break the mould, and develop your own, personalised cookie.

You like chocolate chip cookies? Try adding peppermint oil to dark chocolate chips, or orange essence.  Perhaps instead of dark chocolate you might prefer white chocolate - maybe with some freeze dried fruit mixed in.

The basic recipes have been tried and tested - the wonderful permutations that are waiting are down to your imagination - go for it:)

TWELVE - we ate vegan, vegetarian and wheat free in Thornton - wonderful!

Wow! Four friends met up for a meal at TWELVE in Thornton. Four friends to challenge a chef! Me, vegan and wheat free, a vegan, a vegetarian and a wheat free vegetarian who really doesn't want to eat vegan. I hasten to add that we did explain this when booking, we didn't just turn up, that would be plain cruel:)

So, passing though the bar area,

and having walked past the mega magnificent wine rack

(you'll notice the ladder to the left to be able to access the top bottles!), we were shown to our table in this modern, stylish interior. The seats weren't as comfortable as I would have liked, offering no back support, but that was only a small niggle.

After we were seated bread was brought to the table, including two warm vegan gluten free rolls.  Butter was on the table in the shape of 12s, we asked for olive oil to dip our bread into, and were asked if we would like balsamic vinegar, too.  Thoughtful, and a lovely touch. 

Our starters were Carrot and Ginger Soup, served with a mini onion bhaji "lollipop", very pleasant

A Beetroot and Walnut Salad, very elegantly presented and tasty

And my choice, and one other, a Mushroom Fricasse, with grilled salsify, delicate and scrummy

All were delicious, and as you can see, beautiful!

Our main courses were a Thai Broth with Rice, well seasoned

Mixed Vegetable Risotto - I asked if there was any asparagus to add to the mix of vegetables, and some was provided:), this was a robustly flavoured rice dish with a basil oil dressing

Mushroom Risotto, delicately flavoured

And to my shame, the dish below whose title I can't for the life in me remember! Sorry:(  But doesn't it look great?

We were also served a small bowl of vegetables each

The vegetables were lightly cooked, and good, but I question the value of adding potatoes to vegetable selcection when rice is served - I would have preferred a green vegetable for interest and variety.  Again it's only a small niggle.

The dinner offer was for 2 courses and a glass of wine for £17.50, which, in my opinion, was excellent value for money.  We thoroughly enjoyed our meals and will certainly return - I wish I lived nearer to Thornton!

I made a point of asking to speak to the chef to compliment him on the quality of our meals.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

General Embossed Birthday Card

One of my favourite shops has been open five years today, so I decided to mark the occasion with a birthday card.

It's not quite the same as making a birthday card for a person's birthday, is it? Not much point in putting cake, or fancy clothes, or handbags on the front is there?

So I decided on the simple approach. I wanted to say "Happy Birthday", so that's what I did!

I made a tent fold card, with cut away lower corners, and embossed the front, then inked it with a sparkly blue ink, fading towards the centre. I then embossed a sheet of white card, and cut a tag out of it, I threaded dark blue and green ribbons through the tag before mounting it on the base card. I then stamped the Happy Birthday greeting onto blue paper with the same shimmery blue ink, cut it out and stuck it on the white embossed panel.  I trimmed the top of the card with self-adhesive fluffy ribbon.  

The result is simple, yet has an understated elegance which I like.  I hope Julie and Geoff will like it too, and will have many more happy years in Preston.