• Archive for March, 2013

    Sunday morning make…Easter egg jar

    by  • 31/03/2013 • Country craft, Country food • 0 Comments

    Need a last minute Easter gift idea? A prettily presented jar full of

    chocolate eggs is a easy crowd pleaser. We show you how…

    Easter egg jar

    Fabrics, ribbons and card all from a selection at Hobbycraft.

    You will need,

    A lidded glass jar

    Complementary fabrics


    Stiff pattern card

    Large elastic band

    Chocolate mini eggs

    Tailor’s chalk

    A circular saucer and a small plate (of differing diameters)

    Pinking shears

    Hole punch

    To make place the saucer on the back of one of the fabrics, draw around with tailor’s chalk and cut around the circle with the shears. Repeat with the small plate on the remaining fabric. Cut out a label shaped tag from the patterned card using the shears. Punch a hole at the top with the hole punch. Fill the jar with mini eggs and screw the lid on. Place the smaller circle of fabric on top of the larger circle of fabric and position on top of the jar. Secure over the lid with an elastic band. Thread the ribbon through your label then tie in place over the jar lid.

    Read more →

    Lift your spirits for Easter

    by  • 30/03/2013 • Country craft, Country style • 0 Comments

    If its cold this Easter weekend then perhaps it worth considering staying at home with the family and using the time to cook up Easter treats, paint eggs or even plan refreshing changes for your décor ready for the onset of Spring. In our big Spring decorating story, p64-71 April issue (out now) we have lots of easy decorating ideas from Easter wreaths, to pretty baskets for Easter egg hunts as well as show stopping cakes decorated with daisies made from delicious icing, such as the one made here by Emma Morton-Turner. Click on the link to find out how to make it.

    In the magazine we also show how to refresh your home in time for Spring using the latest blossom design fabrics, with ideas for curtains, cushions, wallpaper and loose chair covers. Its amazing what an impact making simple changes, such as adding a fresh new colour to walls or choosing something as simple as a new lampshade can have on the psyche, helping to lift the spirits in the long wait for the arrival of Spring.

    Cake, Emma Morton-Turner. Birdhouses, The Contemporary Home. Cake stand, Ginger Ray.

    Cake, Emma Morton-Turner. Birdhouses, The Contemporary Home. Cake stand, Ginger Ray.

    Read more →

    Farmyard inspired homewares

    by  • 29/03/2013 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Cluck Cluck is a charming homeware collection by artist Victoria Hall, inspired by her childhood growing up on a farm surrounded by hens and cockerels.

    Victoria’s simple, yet beautiful ink drawings of her favourite farmyard birds adorn earthenware mugs, screen-printed tea towels, oven gloves and limited edition art work. We love the prints and cards that are all hand-finished with watercolour paints, to add a splash of colour, and feathers to bring them to life – perfect to decorate any country home.

    Cockerel mounted print, £30; Feather Oh La La card, £3; Chicken tea towels, £7.50; Chicken mugs, £14 each, all Cluck Cluck.

    Victoria sketches all her designs from the chickens she now has of her own, having returned to her country roots in Suffolk. See her work in progress below…

    Behind the scenes in the studio.

    Behind the scenes in the studio.

    Read more →

    Bunny biscuits (and happy hens)

    by  • 28/03/2013 • Country food • 1 Comment

    Hop to it: get your apron and crack on with some special biscuits for the Easter weekend – they also make a great gift if you’re visiting family and friends

    Did anyone see the Mary Berry/Paul Hollywood Easter baking special this week? I loved the iced biscuits they created even though the decorations looked a bit ‘technical’ to me – in my experience when it comes to piping out of icing bags it pays to keep things simple. I’ve just ordered some rabbit cookie cutters from Amazon in time for the weekend and I’m going to be using this recipe which takes only 10 minutes to prep and makes 20 biscuits…

    100g butter
    1 cup of caster sugar
    2 eggs
    2 egg yolks
    50g ground almonds
    2 cups of plain flour

    Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and egg yolks and mix. Fold in the almonds and flour until fully combined. Press the mixture into a greased tray. Place in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Turn out onto a sheet of baking parchment on a flat, cool surface. While still warm, use a cookie cutter to press out the shapes but don’t lift out until cool. Then start icing! Mix 100g icing sugar with 2 1/2 teaspoons of water or lemon juice until smooth (remember to keep some of the icing separate if you are going to use a different colour to add details), then transfer to a piping bag. These also make a lovely Easter gift packed in cellophane for children (and big kids too).

    *This recipe comes from the Happy Egg Co (thehappyegg.co.uk), who really care about the welfare of their hens, making sure their girls are happy and have the best conditions possible. They guarantee all their hens are cage free and provide them with sandpits for dustbathing, playhouses to perch on and more outdoor space to roam free in. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Remember to buy free range this Easter (and always, in fact)

    Read more →

    Make fabric envelopes

    by  • 27/03/2013 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    These simple pockets are great for craft-corner storage and feature in our polka dot trend feature that’s coming soon in the new Country Homes and Interiors May issue.

    We used pretty designs from Prestigious Textiles to make ours – but you could use any fabrics that you have about the house; it’s a great way to use up old offcuts that aren’t big enough to make into cushions.

    The instructions are easy to follow, so why not give them a go?

    Co-ordinate your envelopes by fabric design so you know what’s stored in each.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. Or, for more country crafts, recipes and room ideas, take a look at our new Country Home Ideas app.

    Read more →

    Elegant country bathroom

    by  • 26/03/2013 • Country style • 1 Comment

    The dream country bathroom should be a place to retreat to, have a good soak, and admire the view. If you have the space, indulge in a freestanding bateau bath (such as this beautiful Landmark design from Bathstore) as your focal point and create a feeling of luxury by positioning it at the heart of the room.

    The bath is a fabulous gunmetal grey that teams beautifully with chrome shower heads, taps and radiators. Continue the theme with statement wallpaper in a soft grey – this circular pattern adds a modern touch. A sage green washstand and wall cabinet with curved detailing break up the grey and provide a welcome hint of spring.

    Bateau shaped Landmark bath in gunmetal grey costs £2299; Ferndale Sage Green 600 unit and ceramic basin top, £499; Ferndale Sage Green portrait mirror cabinet, £179; all from Bathstore

    Read more →

    Join a creative workshop

    by  • 25/03/2013 • Country business, Country craft, Country food, Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Want to learn a new skill from talented and passionate tutors? Enjoy a day out at a beautiful venue and have a great lunch with like-minded people? Then take a look at this exclusive new programme of carefully selected creative workshops run by the Darling Collective…

    Ice biscuits like a professional with Nadia Stopnicer, £85

    The tutor Expert biscuit and cake maker Nadia Stopnicer of Pretty Tasty will teach you how to ice biscuits beautifully to a professional finish.

    The day During the day you will learn icing techniques and tricks, including working with royal icing, flooding and piping. You will also take some hand-iced biscuits home. Each participant needs to bring: a small offset spatula, a smooth board, an apron, a small bowl and a box to carry your biscuits home. Long hair should be tied back.

    Dates Monday 22nd April 2013, London, Clifton Nurseries; Monday 29th April 2013, York, The Parsonage; Monday 13th May 2013, Bath, Guyers House 

    Master the art of papercraft with Eloise Hall, £100

    The tutor London-based paper artist Eloise Hall will instruct how to create hand-cut paper collages using her favourite motifs including butterflies, dragonflies, birds and fish.

    The day During this event you will be able to make your own collage by choosing from one of Eloise’s templates, prepared shapes or creating your own paper designs. Your finished artwork will be mounted, ready to be framed and hung at home. Participants will be requested to bring their own scissors, but all other materials will be provided.

    Dates Tuesday 21st May 2013, London, Clifton Nurseries; Thursday 23rd May 2013, York, The Parsonage; Tuesday 4th June 2013, Bath, Guyers House. 

    Create your own bespoke wallpaper with Zoe Barker, £100

    The tutor Textile designer Zoe Barker creates beautiful printed fabric and wallpaper and will explain the fascinating history and design process of wallpaper during this one-day workshop.

    The day Zoe will talk you through how she creates her own wallpapers. You will then make your own design, creating a template piece, which can be framed and hung or (at an additional cost) left with Zoe to make into a repeat pattern, which you will be able to print onto usable wallpaper.

    Dates Friday 7th June 2013, London, Clifton Nurseries; Tuesday 11th June 2013, Brighton, The Grand; Friday 28th June 2013, Bath, Guyers House

    Make your own natural skincare products with Gail Francombe, £100

    The tutor Gail runs her own natural beauty and holistic wellbeing business, Goodness & Wonder. Spend the day with her and learn how to create your own natural beauty and skincare products.

    The day You will learn about ingredients and their usage, create your own products and make and take home a rose and marshmallow face cream, an orange and myrrh lip balm and a rejuvenating wild rose facial oil. Aimed at all levels, with materials and course notes provided.

    Dates Tuesday 2nd July 2013, London, Clifton Nurseries; Thursday 4th July 2013, York, The Parsonage;  Tuesday 9th July 2013, Bath, Guyers House

    Tickets include lunch, tea and coffee, plus your take-home makes. To book, please call 0870 961 9030 or email info@darlingcollective.com. For further details on the courses, including dates, times and course descriptions, visit darlingcollective.com.

    Read more →

    Sunday morning make…Easter cards

    by  • 24/03/2013 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Get ahead with Easter crafting and make these delightful handmade cards to give to loved ones.

    Easter cards

    Homemade Easter card made with A6 card and envelope pack, handmade paper, alphabet beads, coloured washi tape, readymade ribbon bows, buttons all from a selection at Paperchase

    You will need

    An A6 card and envelope pack

    Handmade paper – 2 complimentary colourways

    Alphabet beads

    Coloured washi tape – 2 complimentary colourways

    Readymade ribbon bows


    Glue stick

    Quick dry tacky adhesive



    To make, draw 2 egg shaped templates onto a newspaper and cut out – ours measured about 9 and 10cm’s in height. Position each template onto one of the handmade papers. Draw around and cut out the egg shapes to make one large and one small paper egg. Position and glue the smaller paper egg on top of the larger paper egg then glue both down on to the centre of the card using the glue stick. Cut a length of washi tape to fit the widest part of the egg. Stick across, neating off the edges with scissors. Using the quick dry adhesive, centrally position and glue a button onto the washi tape, then glue a readymade ribbon top. Finally spell out your Easter messages with the alphabet beads and glue these onto your card with the quick dry adhesive.

    If you like this idea we have lots more easy craft projects for you to try. And for more country recipes, crafts and room ideas, why not buy our new Country Home Ideas app?

    Read more →

    Screen printed designs

    by  • 21/03/2013 • Country craft, Country style • 2 Comments

    We’ve found a beautiful screen-printing design label called Silk & Burg, run by 32-year-old Marie Pedersen who grew up in Luxembourg. After spending a year in Berlin working in the design industry, she set up her own business designing and hand-printing wonderful products in her London studio.

    Marie uses a traditional method which gives her products a stylish touch and she draws inspiration from her heritage. She loves the process of preparing colours for printing. Local craftsmen and suppliers are used where possible and only water based inks and dyes make up the final product.

    Silk & Burg products add a splash of colour and personality to your country home; products include colourful patterned cushion covers, amazing framed prints and – our favourite – this quirky Victoria Sponge recipe tea towel.

    Written by Ellie Johnson

    Read more →

    Oh okay, just the one slice then…

    by  • 21/03/2013 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Lime cake with orange blossom and pistachios

    An exquisite new book launches today. Called Love, Bake, Nourish, it’s a stunning collection of cakes, puddings and sweet treats made using both natural sugars – such as dried fruit, honey and syrups – and ancient flours such as buckwheat and spelt, which are easier to digest and don’t come laden with the gluten you find in standard white flour. It’s by Amber Rose, who worked as a private chef for Sadie Frost for many years, who says “Amber’s recipes unite luxury with nature. Her cakes are truly delicious and original with tastes that awaken the senses.” This wonderful cake was inspired by a trip to Morocco, after wandering through the markets and heading back to her riad with a bag of limes, a small basket of orange blossoms and a desire for something sweet. Sounds wonderful…

    serves 10–12

    225g white spelt flour, sifted
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    80g ground almonds
    100g pistachios, toasted and chopped
    2 large free-range eggs
    250g honey
    250ml Greek-style natural yogurt
    150ml cold-pressed olive oil
    Finely grated zest of ½ unwaxed lemon
    Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lime

    for the syrup
    100g honey
    Juice of 1 lime
    About 2 tablespoons orange blossom water

    to serve (optional)
    Unrefined icing sugar, rose petals or orange blossoms
    250g Greek-style natural yogurt
    2 teaspoons orange blossom water
    2 tablespoons honey
    Handful of pistachios, chopped

    1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

    2 Place the flour, baking powder, salt, ground almonds and pistachios into a large bowl, then mix to combine. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the eggs, honey, yogurt, olive oil and lemon and lime zest. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and gently pour in the wet ingredients, carefully beating until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, level the top with the back of a spoon or a palette knife and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes.

    3 Meanwhile, make the fragrant syrup. Boil 150ml water and the honey in a small saucepan for 5–6 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the lime juice and boil for a further minute, then add the orange blossom water to your taste. Use a skewer or cake tester to make holes all over the top of the warm cake (still in its tin) and gently pour over the scented honey syrup. Once all the liquid has been absorbed and the cake is completely cool, remove from the tin and decorate with a little sifted icing sugar, rose petals or orange blossoms, if you have any. Serve on its own or with Greek-style natural yogurt with the orange blossom water and honey stirred through it and decorated with chopped pistachios.

    Love, Bake, Nourish by Amber Rose (£19.99, Kyle Books) is published today

    Read more →