Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Shaw House Summer Fête.

I feel like I started off the month really well with my photography but have kind of drifted a bit as the heatwave has taken hold. Like, I took much fewer photos a couple of weekends ago when we went to visit Shaw House for their summer fête than I would usually - maybe it's that, or maybe there just wasn't that much there to take pictures of.

Shaw House is another new Newbury discovery and I must say I was a little disappointed with it. It could have been much more than it was, the fête itself was quite nice but didn't make as much of space as they it could have. There were lots of nice places to picnic if we'd planned ahead though and we were able to get a couple of Pimm's for just £2.50 each, and there were nice wigwams to max-relax in.

At one point I believe Shaw House was a fancy boarding school before health & safety regulations decided it couldn't be anymore. I first took notice of Shaw House when they held their open garden events earlier this year when it was signposted everywhere. We gave them a miss but will definitely check them out if they hold them again, especially after reading about Jenny from Sunny Sweet Pea's great open garden experience.

If we learnt nothing else from our visit, it was definitely driven home that Moon is a 21st century man.

In all fairness the café was cute and reasonably priced, we just didn't fancy being indoors when it was 28° out.

I'm kind of sad to see that most of the inside of Shaw House is now mainly used as conference rooms. I really see it as a shame, but then maybe there isn't all that much history there to tell.

I'd love to hear about any historic buildings near you, have they made the most of them there?

Monday, 28 July 2014

#MusicMonday :: JUNGLE

Jungle and their debut album 'Jungle' have been played nearly non-stop for the last couple of weeks.

They're completely different from anything that I would listen to normally but I can't get enough of them. They're perfect for dancing with myself while driving to work and getting motivated while at work. You really can't beat a good album to have a boogie to - they're calling themselves 'modern soul', so I suppose that's a thing.

I'm not as up to date as a I could be with a lot of music, I guess but I just had to share these guys with you.
Apparently they used to play gigs 'hidden' so they couldn't be identified, a little weird but intriguing. I was hoping to catch them on tour at the tail-end of this year as I won't be heading to any festivals but it looks like I'll be waiting a little while unfortunately though as the dates don't work out for me at the moment.

I first caught these guys while watching Glastonbury coverage last month and was instantly hooked. I feel a little guilty about this now given that I probably wouldn't have given them a chance if I'd managed to get myself to the festival and had actually been there.

What have you been listening to lately? Have you found anything new that you wouldn't normally listen to?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Blind Bloggers :: Drinking in the Dark

This heatwave is really something, I'm actually feeling a little guilty for complaining about being so warm when I'd been grumbling so much about how miserable it was before. It got to the point last Saturday where I had to spend most of the day having a lie down, not the way to make the most of any time off.

You can imagine given this severe over-sensitivity to all things weather-related that an invitation to take part in Lola Lo Reading's cocktail-tasting event last Friday was a welcome one... and you'd be right.

[c/o Phil Maclean Photography]

I was a little nervous about going to my first ever 'blogging event', particularly when going solo - this was my own choice given that I know me and I'd just stick to who ever I brought (Moon) rather than mixing, but it wasn't that kind of event and as it was quite a small group, I didn't find it too hard to make a bit of small-talk in between tasting.

Not being any sort of clubber any more, other than last year's work Christmas party, I've not really sampled Reading's night life the whole time we've lived in the area, it is very different going to a nightclub before its usual opening hours though. We were instructed that we would be sampling a variety of cocktails from the menu and be quizzed on our bartending knowledge - did I mention that we'd be blindfolded too?

I suppose the idea was that being blindfolded meant our other senses might be heightened and we'd experience a new sensation of taste while sampling. I'm a little sad to say you've not backed a winning horse and I very much came last in the quiz. My palette skills goes as far as 'if it's tasty, I'll have some more, please'.

I was actually pretty happy with some of the answers I did guess correctly though, and while they can probably forget their Digga Digga Doo cocktail, a concoction of rum and chilli (actual chilli, seeds and all!), there were quite a few cocktails that I tasted that I did enjoy. They also used a few ingredients that I was happy to see, including my all-time favourite, Passoa, and Chambord, a blackcurrant liqueur I discovered after our friend, Long, bought it for us as a house-warming gift (because it looks like a holy hand grenade).

My favourites were probably the Pornstar Martini and the Flamingo, because, at least by my book, you can't really go wrong with anything sugary and fruity.

The Flamingo actually marks a new season for Lola Lo, as well as being a brand new cocktail in a specially commissioned flamingo mug, 10p of each sale will be going to The Flamingo Foundation, a charity that provide valuable educations, health and community projects in both the UK and worldwide.

These lampshades were dreamy

Taking a couple of hours to sample some cocktails on a Friday evening was a nice way to round up the working week and even though I didn't win any prizes or get to take any of those neat cocktail vases mugs home, Lola Lo is definitely a place I'd consider for another evening of cocktails, this time full-size ones.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Smiling on Sunday.


It's been what feels like an absolute age since I've shared anything other than my weekends on here, I did have grand plans to do a bit more with this little space of mine but sitting at a computer all day makes me want to get as far away as possible from a screen once I get home and have time to do what I enjoy. It's a shame but I guess it's just how it goes and I've been seeing it more and more as the blogs I follow grow up with me.

Still, I like having this as a creative outlet and the Internet is a fun place to hang out on occasion so even if this doesn't become a regular thing, I thought it would be good to share a bit of love and some fun things I've found recently.

Books getting turned into films before they've even been published is something that doesn't really sit well with me. Don't get me wrong, I love films but usually enjoy the book counterpart better when it comes down to it. A trailer for a book is the neatest idea though and something people should consider more often. The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern is definitely on my to-read list, what can I say, I'm a sucker for good design and that cover and trailer just got me.

I love this sea bass bag from Don Fisher, it even has a boney fishy lining.

Cereal Magazine has been on my list of 'must subscribe' magazines for a little over a year now. I still haven't got around to it, but love reading their blog so much. With my current severe case of wanderlust and plans to actually, finally book a trip to Iceland for November, their photographs are really making me feel inspired.

Fritha from Tigerlily Quinn got engaged last week and her engagement story is lovely. It's a two-parter and I was on tenterhooks after reading the first half. I'm not quite at that stage where I feel ready to go through anything similar but I can't help but feel a little mushy.

I'm determined that once we move from our little flat here in Newbury that most of the furnishings will be nice, neutral wood. I think this make up station from iSkelter is a good place to start.

It's certainly wedding season, and like I said, I can't help feel mushy but this wedding shot by Rachel Thurston looks kind of perfect, right down to the homemade mini golf.

Must admit that I'm a little over the whole 'abandon porn' thing, but Kaylah from The Dainty Squid has always done it so well and this abandoned amusement park does look like a great place to do a bit of exploring.

Other links:

I hope that you enjoy the rest of your Sunday and that Monday isn't too hard on you.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Recipe: Blackcurrant Curd Ice Cream

You might remember a little while ago that I blogged a recipe for passionfruit meringue pie that was actually way more delicious than it looked. Well, the lovely people at Thursday Cottage sent a couple more of their tasty curds to try out.

I wasn't sure what else to do other than make another meringue pie but Moon and I were dead into making our own ice cream for a time so as well as having this tasty blackcurrant curd with yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, I had a brainwave to mix it into the mixture for our next batch.

We took a lot of inspiration from (the wonderful) Nigella for this one, but gradually as we've made more, we've adapted it a lot from the original espresso recipe. My favourite is still when we added blended strawberries, oh my!

You Will Need:
  • A container to store you ice cream - any tupperware should be fine, you could even use an old ice cream container

  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 1 Can of Condensed Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Blackcurrant Curd - or any curd or blended fruit

  1. Whisk your double cream into soft peaks
  2. Fold in the condensed milk and whisk again
  3. Mix in your blackcurrant curd - if you leave it, you'll have swirls of blackcurrant running through, like fancy Carte D'Or
  4. It should be a thick, creamy consistency by this point - spoon the mixture into your chosen ice cream tub and leave in the freezer for 6 hours or overnight

I just think this recipe is really great because it requires almost no effort aside from having the right sized container to bung everything in the freezer once you've finished, plus ice cream so...
I had hoped for swirls but it was so tasty that in the end it really didn't matter so much, sorry I didn't get a picture of the end result, I was too busy stuffing it in my face, hope you enjoy making it yourself though.

You might also like: