Monday, 5 June 2017

Happy Choices...!

It's an interesting dilemma, the day ones daughter decides that she wants some input into the decoration of her own room.

When you feel that you have a distinct interior style of your own - mine being English country house chic, the idea of relinquishing all authority, and letting a thirteen year old have a free reign over the decor of even one room is a scary prospect!


I can remember designing my children's nurseries, and choosing vintage and retro items so carefully.  Everything was perfectly thought out and co-ordinated in pastels and cream.  A bit of faded chintzy floral, for the girls and muted pastel coloured spots or stripes for my son, all tied together with pastel chippy painted furniture and a few dark wood family heirlooms thrown in.  Their rooms conveyed a sense of vintage nostalgia and harped back to a fantasy past where childhood was quainter, and more innocent, and when girls wore smocked dresses and boys wore shorts until their 16th birthday - or so I imagined in my little fantasy bubble!!

The Girls Original Bedroom 
Decorating an infants bedroom  is one of the most exciting things to focus on during the loooooong wait for baby to arrive - and I relished the job.  Then for pretty much a decade, and with three children, the interior choices remained very much under my domain, with the occasional addition of a requested riding hat or rosette, a few pictures of foxes when one of the twins went through a fox obsession, and 'tastefully' vintage classic car memorabilia for my son  -  which thankfully was all in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the house.

I knew that one day the time would come when I would be hiding my nail varnishes, lipsticks and even my best shoes from my tweenie girls, but for some reason, it hadn't occurred to me that I would be dealing with daughters who had strong ideas on  interiors, and wanted to stamp their own identity on their surroundings...I wonder where they got that from...?


...Yet here we are, currently in the midst of organising and planning one of the girls' bedrooms at her request.  The YouTube generation has brought with it a distinctly modern 'white studio' look, full of neutrals and metalics, and a young girls bedroom must apparently now fulfil the multi functions of film location as well as chic teenage hangout, office/editing suite and luxe sleepover quarters...  The look, apparently,  must be light, airy and slick with a hint of glamour, and despite the fact that I don't tend to do 'slick' - I'm rather more of a lived in and worn sorta gal -  this is the look that my daughter aspires to, and at least she's not asking for black walls and posters of Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden!



Rather than clash heads, we have reached a middle compromise.  We jokingly call it 'Studio Vintage' - although I prefer the idea of Barbarella meets Jane Austen!  There will be lots of white, cream and neutral, with a bit of chippy paint  (hurrah) - in white or cream - (pink NO longer allowed Mummy!) - with metallic accents, which can be changed and moved around as tastes change.  It's still a work in progress, and is actually quite an exciting project for us to embark on together.

So far there have yet to be too many disagreements.  My daughter has seen a metal bed in a copper finish, based on an old fashioned hospital bed shape, while I would prefer for her to have a vintage, white painted upholstered French bed, however, we are both agreed on a white chandelier, and a painted white French armoire wardrobe.

Thankfully something else that we both love, and which adds a modern, yet comfortable touch to the room, is this fabulous Pebble Cushion in pure white from Happy & Co.


Made from recycled materials and a duck feather pad, It works because it adds some much need texture and softness to the flat background of neutral paint and 'harder' metallic accessories.  It is also quirkily individual enough, that my daughter feels it can be unique to her own more modern style... (what she doesn't realise is that I've been trying it out around the house, because I love its huggable, 'squeeze me' tactile appeal! )




Happy & Co are an up and coming homeware and furniture company that are new to me, which again appeals to the 'cool' factor for my daughter, although, we are both attracted to the fact that as well as providing extremely stylish products, they are also a company that believe businesses should be socially responsible.  So for each product they sell, 10% of their profits are invested into their  Happy & Co Farm in Cambodia. This provides much-needed jobs for the young men and women, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables for the whole community.  What's not to love - shopping while giving something back - such a perfect combination.

I also had a typical 'Mummy' response to the beautiful packaging that our cushion was sent in.  It came in it's own hardwearing cotton bag drawstring bag, with the stylish Happy & Co. logo,  which will serve perfectly as a laundry bag for my daughters newly finished room...although I'm sure that she may have a few rather more 'youthful' ideas for it!



Of course, there's still lots to do, paint and finish, but I think that we have a good framework to work with, and this little corner is a 'living mood board' for what's to come.  What's particularly nice is that Happy & Co. represents a wonderful medium where this mother and Daughter can meet in the middle and enjoy an aesthetic that covers both our style needs...and what could be Happier than that!


Until Next Time,



Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Happy & Co. all words, opinions and views expressed are my own.



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Friday, 2 June 2017

Tales From A Country Kitchen - Lemon Buttercream Sponge Cake!

Now, I make no claim to be a master baker, but several of you asked for my Lemon Buttercream Sponge Cake after seeing the image on my Instagram page! Well here it goes - and just to warn you, in my household we like our portions generous and our lemon cake zesty, so do adjust to suit your taste...  


I very rarely follow a strict recipe when baking - my mantra is 3 quantities the same and half as many eggs.  So for instance, if I were making 12 cupcakes I would use 8oz (225g) of each flour, butter and sugar and then 4 eggs.  If I were making a single layer sponge, then it would be 6oz (175g) of flour, butter, sugar, and 3 eggs.   This is purely my own version, and means that I can whip up quick batches of things without having to check recipes.   I am in no way stating that it is the best way - or even the correct way...but I will admit that it is "My" way and perhaps a 'Lazy' way - haha.  Enjoy!! 

FOR THE SPONGE CAKE;

10 oz / 275g Self Raising Flour
10 oz / 275g Softened Butter
10oz / 275g Caster Sugar
5 Eggs (Beaten)
Lemon Zest from 1 fresh Lemon
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line 2 (20cm) sponge tins with nonstick baking paper.

In a large bowl, blend together the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy.

Add the beaten eggs. 

Add the lemon zest and stir in.

Add baking powder to measured out flour.
Sift half the flour into the mixture and fold in with a spoon. Repeat with the remaining flour.

Divide the mixture between the lined and prepared tins.

Bake in the centre of preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer when inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake is springy to touch.

Remove from oven and leave cakes in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


FOR THE FILLING;


  • 500g icing sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter
Juice of 1 fresh lemon (I actually used the juice from 2!!)
Lemon zest from 1 fresh lemon

In a large bowl, beat the icing sugar, unsalted butter, lemon juice and lemon zest together until smooth, light and fluffy.



Take one sponge layer and spread half the lemon filling on it. Place the other sponge layer on top.

Spread the remaining lemon filling on top of the cake. Sprinkle on the left over lemon zest and dust with a little icing sugar.



    Now, make yourself a cup of tea, cut yourself a large slice and enjoy - and if you REALLY need to share - make sure you cut yourself an extra slice before they arrive!!

    Until next time,




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