2 December 2016


With Christmas only 23 days away, 
it's got me thinking about our first Christmas at The Manor House.

We were deep in the middle of having the dining room renovated.
Finishing off the room, was getting less and less likely as Christmas drew closer. 
Our builders worked frantically to finish but unfortunately there just wasn't enough time to complete it.

 In a mad panic and knowing we were having lots of family to stay, 
what could we do to 'spice up' the dining room for the festive time?

Richard had the bright idea to get Alfie and Jemima 
to paint the walls with all the family members coming to stay.  

These were the results...

We had a fantastic family time, lots of food and games, laughter and happiness.  
It was a lovely Christmas.
The room felt cozy and warm and the paintings added a unique fun element.
It was a sad moment painting over the 'art' when the room eventually got finished but I'm glad we have these photos to remember what they looked like.

Our dining room looked very different last year at Christmas and with a few more members added to the family (Scarlett 6, Albie 3 and Boo 2), we managed to all sit down around the table and have another happy meal together.  This time, my super talented photographer sister,  Charlotte took this image to capture the magical moment.

29 November 2016


Sometimes when the day is a bit dull because the weather is awful and the skies are full of much rain and I'm thinking I wish we were on holiday in a sunny part of the world.... it's then that I have a reality check and realise how lucky we are to live in this house, whatever the weather.  

We have achieved so much with our home. 
We bought it knowing that it needed updating and renovating

The room that I favour most, has to be the kitchen. 
It's a room that we all naturally gravitate towards, 
whether it be to sit and read a book or listen to music or to make and eat food.  
It has an advantage that it's always filled with natural light (even on the darkest of days) - north, south dual aspect windows  
enhanced by any light bouncing off the white painted walls.  


I like to remind myself of what the room looked like when we arrived......



It's changed a lot!!

16 November 2016


It's still very Autumnal here
Leaves are slowly leaving their branches
and we're collecting numerous 'windfalls' from the orchard.


One particular tree has some lovely juicy red cooking apples.
We can't eat them quick enough before more fall. It's difficult to decide what to make with them as we have apples 'coming out of our ears', 

 but today I made three small upside-down toffee apple puddings.

They are perfect for a Autumn pudding and delicious with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Here's the gorgeous recipe -
 Instead of making three little cakes as I did, 
you can combine all the ingredients to make one larger size which shows off 
the pretty fan shaped apples.

Serves 6- 8
75g (3oz) light muscovado sugar
50g (20z) butter
3 red dessert or cooking apples, core removed and thinly sliced

100g (4oz) butter
100g (4oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
175g (6oz) self-raising flour plus 1tsp baking powder
zest of 1 small lemon

Grease a 20cm (8") deep cake tin and line the base. 

Measure the ingredients for the topping into a pan.  
Place on low heat, stir until just melted and pour into the prepared tin.  
Lay apple slices in a spiral on top.

Measure the ingredients for the sponge together into a bowl, beat until smooth.  
Spoon over the apple (the mixture is fairly stiff) and spread out evenly to cover.
Bake in a preheated oven 180C/160CFan/Gas 4 for about 40 - 45 minutes.
Leave to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin.
 Invert onto a serving plate, 
remove the paper and serve warm with custard, cream or crème fraîche.

Taken from Lucy Young - Aga Easy

25 October 2016


 Autumn has definitely arrived.

The nights are getting darker, 
we're noticing colder weather and the leaves are changing colour
from green to rusts, to yellows, and oranges.

 The leaves are beginning to drop in the orchard,

and in the garden by the house. 

Autumn evidence from the kitchen window.
We've harvested herbs that grow in the vegetable garden.....
rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram.
They're hung upside down to dry, afterwards stored for use throughout the winter season. 

And look there's two pumpkins!
Undecided yet, they'll either be put outside for Halloween night 
or made into a pumpkin pie.

17 October 2016


It's been a while since I've written here, 
so thought it might be good to come back with a look at our homegrown tomatoes.  
Yes they are green!!!! and yes they are on the window sill ripening....

but look there's one that is red...

and we're positive that with the lovely sunshine that we're experiencing, 
they'll all be red soon.
Can't wait to eat them!!!

23 March 2016


There are celebrations today at the Manor House. 
Jemima passed her driving test......yay!  

Not only did she pass with having had 12 lessons (and lots of help from mum and dad), 
she also only got 6 minors!!!!

The examiner said she was one of the best young drivers of her age that he had examined. 

So, so proud and pleased for her.

Love you Jemima x

18 March 2016


I've been following Remodelista for many years, getting daily updates on design ideas, amazing architectural projects, shopping and travel suggestions.  It's a very interesting blog which I'm addicted too. 

Today they focused on concrete worktops, a subject that I am passionate about as we have them in our kitchen.  I am so, so happy with ours, which is certainly 'The star of the show' in our kitchen! 
They have a solid, sturdiness mixed with a natural feel that no other worktop could provide.

Even over time the concrete will develop a patina with more use.  How good is this?

The only slight draw back with concrete, is that we have to be cautious about are squirts of lemon juice or spillages of white wine. Generally, washing off instantly rectifies this problem though. Because ours is polished concrete we add a waterproof sealant to buff it up every now and again...'rub it on, rub it off', a bit like on the film 'Karate Kid' if you've ever seen it?  
Once done, it shines like new again.

Concrete worktops don't have to be grey in colour, in fact when people walk into our kitchen this is normally the first comment they make.  Ours is a natural white.

If you're considering concrete worktops, I would highly recommend Lowinfo, this is the company that we worked with to produce ours. I have previously written a post about the process here
We are so pleased we chose concrete worktops.