Monday, October 29, 2012

ages & stages

Some flowers are so beautiful, even when past their prime don't you think?
How apparent this was today when I was changing the flowers at the store.
If anything, the colour of this anemone was even more intense & more beautiful than it was last week when it was fresh & flush with possibility.
I whipped it from the vase, but then couldn't quite bring myself to throw it away - not just yet anyway.
Instead I brought it home, chopped the stem right down, & set it beside my bed, in a tiny old vessel.

It will probably only last another day or so, but at least I can enjoy it for just a little longer...

Amanda xx
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Is it serendipitous that at precisely the same time I treat myself to a copy of Sibella Court's lovely new book 'Bowerbird', which is all about creating beautiful interiors with the things that you collect, I am foraging on the weekend & come across an old box filled with the most amazing assortment of threads on old wooden spools?
I think so.

I love wooden cotton reels.
A simple, humble little object that is both tactile & colourful.
A collection that reminds me of learning to sew with my mother and grandmother.
(My grandmother, always a practical sort, would think it quite incredible that this ever-so-ordinary object was even remotely collectable.)
Many a junk shop expedition is rewarded with the discovery of a little wooden cotton reel amongst the plastic & the cardboard.
My new old spools have a mixture of threads on them, cotton, linen and some type of metallic thread.
And they're much bigger than the average cotton reel.
Quite quite lovely.

Serendipity, fate, chance.
Call it what you will, but I knew that old box was coming home with me, dust, dirt, 
rubbish... reels and all.

Amanda x
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Friday, October 19, 2012

happy (long) weekend

Well there's nothing like a busy week back at work & home to make a girl forget all about her holiday in a hurry!
Hurray for long weekends then.
Even if the weather isn't looking fabulous.
Quite possibly a good thing, as Eva & I have lots of 'crafty' things to make for her upcoming school fair, so if it's a little wet, so much the better.

Speaking of Eva, she's had an interesting week at school, with 'sexuality road' classes.
Conversation around the dinner table has been most entertaining.
She was quite excited to learn that no, her mother hadn't yet been through menopause, because that would mean that I could have another baby after all. (Oh, great idea.)
And Brunnel nearly choked when out of the blue, her serious voice enquired if he'd ever had a wet dream. Let alone her anatomical drawing which included terms for all those boy bits which included 'hairy potatoes' and other salubrious names.
Those nine year olds grow up fast these days!

Changing the subject then, my first peony of the season. No, of course I didn't grow it!
I bought one for the store.
Aren't they so impossibly beautiful?
All tight little buds at first, and then opening to a mass of feathery petals, 
gradually changing colour each day.
How to make a girl happy? Buy her a peony!

Have a lovely weekend.
Amanda xx

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Amanda & Katie

As of this moment, I don't know who loves Katie Quinn Davies more - me, or the rest of the family.
Despite my girl crush, it could actually be the family.
Tonight is the fourth night in a row that they have dined on a recipe from Katie's absolutely stunning new book, What Katie Ate - Recipes and other Bits & Bobs.
What's more, even my little fad, Eva, has literally lapped it up 
(once I explained that a caper wasn't remotely fishy, coconut wasn't hidden in anything & that, OK, she didn't have to have more than 3 pieces of rocket in her salad).
On Saturday night it was Lemon Chicken with Herbed Rice. Then on Sunday night it was Salmon and Baby Potatoes with Asparagus & Caper Dressing.
Last night, Orecchiette with Roast Tomatoes & Pecorino Cream Sauce, and tonight Sticky Chicken with Sesame & Chilli.

Here's my orecchiette. What do you think?
I promise, it tasted delicious.
Trying to photograph it? Not so easy, no matter how hard I tried to channel Katie's style.
I think this is where my admiration goes into overdrive. Because of course she not only wrote the recipes and cooked & tested them, but she also styled, and photographed everything.
Is there no end to this girl's talent?
And this is a seriously beautiful cook book, from cover to cover.
I like nothing better than simple, seasonal cooking, that suits our style of living, but when the recipes are also delivered in a beautifully crafted book that is both tactile & visual, then I'm smitten.
I've always loved Katie's blog, and regularly purchase Delicious magazine now that she is a contributor, and I promise, this book more than lives up to expectations.

What's next on the menu? I'm feeling like Julie & Julia, only it's Amanda & Katie.
Actually I'm sure tomorrow night it's Brunnel's turn to cook.
I might leave the book open at 'Katie's Panzanella' in case he needs a little inspiration...

Amanda x

P.S I'm adding this post to Jane's Post of the Month Club!
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Sunday, October 14, 2012


Even my Dad has been telling me that I haven't done a blog post since September 27th.
Missing in action.
Well you see, Brunnel announced yet another trip overseas for work.
This time to L.A.
I managed to persuade him that if he sat in the back of the plane, instead of where he would prefer to sit, up the front, then I could go too.
And then, well, you could have knocked me down with a wet bus ticket, when the man renowned for moths flying from his wallet, decided that the girls could come too, it being school holidays after all.
Believe me, that was a moment to be seized quickly before he changed his mind.
So, that's where we've been.
And we had a fabulous time.
We had two fabulous, fun-filled days at Disneyland, where we went on every ride possible.
I closed my eyes the whole of the way around that horrific roller-coaster, and screamed with the best of them at the Hollywood Tower of Terror. (What a fantastic concept!)
Eva chatted with her favourite Disney princess, Ariel, and literally could not believe her eyes when she saw Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty & Ariel all together at the Fantasyland Castle.
Mostly, we laughed - a lot. And especially when we saw the photos snapped of 
ourselves screaming in terror on some ride.
And then when Brunnel had to start work, we moved to Santa Monica, and that was Milly's cue to start shopping. Her eyes were literally out on stalks as she tried to stretch her spending money as far as possible. I had to admire her negotiating tactics, as she tried to persuade her father to cough up just a little bit more, for maybe just one more pair of Converse sneakers.
As for me, I so enjoyed the break, and I always relish the opportunity to see what's happening on the retail scene in the States.
The merchandising and the great service, as usual, didn't let me down.
(Just don't get me started on the coffee. You know I'm getting desperate when I resort to a 
vanilla latte at Starbucks!)
I always come home with ideas, even if they stem from a different arena to that of my own.
And after all, isn't that half the fun of getting away.

Amanda x
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