• Archive for November, 2015

    Go wild with mistletoe

    by  • 30/11/2015 • Country moment, Country style, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Go wild with mistletoeHere at Country Days, we love to steal a kiss under this traditional Christmas plant. A folkloric sign of love and friendship, mistletoe grows on willow and apple trees but, sadly, due to the decline in apple orchards the quantity of mistletoe in Britain isn’t as prolific as it used to be. Gather sparingly if you see it growing wild in the countryside or head to a local market where you’ll find it easily. 

    Mistletoe will keep for two to three weeks after gathering as long as it’s kept in a cool place such as a shed or garage. Refrigerating cut sprigs until you’re ready to use them and spraying them with water daily helps to keep them looking fresh.

    Go wild with mistletoeWe like to tie it simply in the hallway. Or why not wind it into a wreath? Just bunch clusters of mistletoe sprigs together and tie securely to a wire or floral foam wreath. Other greenery such as fir and eucalyptus can also be used to add bulk; pine cones and even brussels sprouts are a nice way of adding colour and texture. Attach a piece of raffia or red ribbon to the top ready for hanging.


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    VIDEO! Make a fireside bucket

    by  • 29/11/2015 • Country craft, Country Videos, Modern Country Maker Videos • 0 Comments

      Welcome to the first video in our winter Modern Country Makes series! We show you how to make a chic fireside bucket to store your kindling, poker and other fire-making essentials, in readiness for chilly days ahead. This craft is certain to bring back nostalgic childhood memories of stenciling at the kitchen table… the simplest techniques are still the best! We paired a vintage-style metal bucket (ours is £20, Lilac Coast) with burnished metallic paint for a shimmery midwinter feel; a quick and easy way to bring a touch of elegance to your hearth. Thank you to Barbour, Celtic & Co, Falcon Enamelware, Etsy, Fred Aldous, Hobbycraft, Housekeeping Store, Hush, John Lewis, Liberty and White Stuff for all your help.

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – Christmas tree decorations

    by  • 28/11/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Ready_DobbiesHappy shoppers – clear the diary, car boot and enough space in the living room to welcome your first festive visitor! It’s the 1st December on Tuesday so time to hotfoot it to the local market and wrestle your way out with a bustling, gloriously pine-scented spruce!

    We’ve rounded-up an enchanting selection of dingly, dangly accessories to help you dress your tree in rustic, wintry loveliness with just a hint of sparkle!

    Bring the outdoors in with a calming scheme of emerald green, frosty silver, ivy, twigs and fresh berries. Dobbie’s beautiful Gardener’s collection is inspired by everyday tool shed items and nature – the perfect green-fingered styling dream! (Tree, above dressed with): Clear glass bauble filled with ivy, £3.99; Silver baubles, £3.99 for 12; Pinecone decorations, £6.99 per tub; Bird house, £3.99; Wheelbarrow decoration, £2.99; Hedgehog decoration, £3.99; Foliage star, £4.99; Robin bauble, £3.99.

    Ready_The Wedd of my DreamsDecorate branches with subtle colour pops for a touch of Scandi charm. These jolly honeycomb paper pom poms, £7.20 for a set of 2, from The Wedding Of My Dreams, can be hung from your tree or displayed in a lovely bowl. We suggest mixing the available colours in red, white, green and newsprint to create a cute-country effect for all to enjoy.

    Ready_Sainsbury'sCreate your very own Christmas wonderland with the help of Sainsbury’s Winter’s Tale collection – an icy palette of delicate white, grey and soft metallics. We love the combination of snowy and nature motifs with mottled frosty finishes – country chic has truly arrived! (Tree, above dressed with a selection): Natural star, £8; Winter’s Tale scene bauble, £4; Glitter bauble, £1.50; Porcelain shape, £6; Gold pine cone, £3 for 12).

    Vacuums at the ready – with a tree so prettily decked, hopefully we’ll all be able to forgive and forget about the constant sprinkling and ‘ouch’ of pesky pine needles!


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    Visit a Christmas market

    by  • 27/11/2015 • Country craft, Country food • 0 Comments

    The Country Brocante Winter FairShoppers may be buzzing with Black Friday, but at Country Days we’re dreaming of a homespun Christmas at a festive fair. Find original presents for friends and family, from artisan makes and handcrafted gifts to homemade treats, at three of our favourite Christmas pop-ups: The Country Brocante winter fair in West Sussex (pictured), The Three French Hens Festive Brocante in Kent, or the Selvedge Winter Fair in Somerset…

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    Chicken liver parfait

    by  • 26/11/2015 • Country craft • 0 Comments


    Nothing beats a really rich and smooth chicken liver parfait as the start to a meal for a special occasion.

    Serves 8-10

    350g unsalted butter
    500g chicken livers, trimmed
    2 tbsps brandy
    freshly grated nutmeg
    a pinch of ground allspice
    sea salt and ground black pepper
    600ml dish, greased

    1 Melt 200g of the butter in a pan, then leave to cool. Brush the dish with a little of the melted butter and set aside.

    2 Melt 50g of the butter in another pan, season the livers and fry them over a medium-high heat until brown on each side, but still pink in the middle. Add the brandy and flambé by carefully lighting with a match or flame to burn off the excess alcohol, then tip into a food processor.

    3 Gradually add the cooled melted butter, whizzing all the time, until you have a smooth mixture. Season with some nutmeg, allspice and plenty of salt and pepper. Strain into the greased dish. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Melt the remaining 100g of butter then pour off just the clear butter and discard any milk solids at the bottom of the pan. Pour over the parfait and chill until set. Serve with brioche toasts and fruit jelly.


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    Are you sitting comfortably?

    by  • 24/11/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments


    Brrr, we’re feeling the chill here at Country Days, but here’s a country living room scheme that’s guaranteed to make you feel warm and cosy on a wintry stay-at-home day.

    The key to this look is the classic neutral sofa with its sumptous feel and timeless appeal, and plump cushions that are perfect for snuggling up against. This sofa, the Chilmark in Textured Chenille Pavilion Grey from Willow & Hall, is super comfy and is even better if you have guests coming to stay at Christmas because it doubles as a sofabed. It’s also handmade in the West Country.

    This is a look that you can easily update to suit the season. Here, beautiful Voyage cushions create a cosy autumnal country feel, while a fluffy shag-pile rug underfoots emphasises the toasty factor. But you can easily ring the changes for each season simply by changing the accessories.

    Add to the opulent feel with an upholstered button-back footstool, and position a tray table close to hand to keep essentials within easy reach. Then all you need are the requisites for hibernating – a hot drink and a good book to curl up with!


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    Make rose hip tea

    by  • 23/11/2015 • Country food, Country moment • 0 Comments

    Make Rose Hip TeaNow’s the time to get out and about collecting rose hips. After the deep frosts this weekend, these red haws and heps (as they are also known) are really popping in the hedgerow. Here at Country Days, we like to head out with our favourite scissors and a foraging trug to gather the small red fruits of Rosa canina then head home to make rose hip tea.

    Wild food expert, Robin Harford of eatweeds.co.uk, explains how simple it is… ‘Rose hip tea is high in vitamin C and a refreshing autumn and winter booster. Rinse, dry and top and tail your rose hips. Dry out in a low oven, then blitz slightly in a food processor. Sift in a metal sieve to remove the tiny hairs, then store your remaining dried rose hips in a jar.’

    Brew up by putting 1-2 teaspoons of dried rose hips in a tea pot, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then strain into a cup.

    Natural, sweet and good for you!

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    Craft a tin can lantern

    by  • 22/11/2015 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_SLD008Upycled from old tin cans, these lovely lanterns cast a cosy glow; a beautiful addition to shelves, mantels and windowsills over the festive season.

    To make, peel off the labels and run through the dishwasher on a hot wash for a shiny finish. Fill with water and freeze. Draw a star or heart on paper and tape it to each tin, then use a hammer and nails to pierce the tin following the shape – the ice stops it denting. Let the ice melt then wash out the tins and create a handle using aluminium wire.

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