• Archive for December, 2015

    New Year’s Eve fizz!

    by  • 31/12/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ready-Cocktails

    The New Year is nearly upon us! If you’re hosting a party this evening or just having a few friends over to raise a toast to new beginnings, we’ve put together a couple of delicious sparkling tipples for you to try.

    However you’re celebrating, whether it’s a big gathering or a quiet night in front of the fire, we wish you a very happy new year and all the very best for 2016. We’ll see back here on 4 January.

    Ginger Sparkle

    Serves 1

    A rich, zesty version of a Royale, simply pour 2 to 3 tsps ginger liqueur (try The King’s Ginger, The King’s Ginger) into a flute and top up with chilled champagne or sparkling wine.

    Hedgerow 75

    Serves 8

    To make our country cocktail, combine 90ml blackberry liqueur or crème de cassis (try British Cassis), 120ml gin, 3 tbsps elderflower liqueur or cordial, and 4 tbsps lemon juice in a small jug and chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Pour a little into 8 stemmed glasses (champagne saucers look especially pretty) and top up with 1 bottle of chilled English sparkling wine (try one from Nyetimber), or Prosecco.

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    Serve warming drinks on Boxing Day

    by  • 26/12/2015 • Country food, Country style • 0 Comments

    Wecome guests on Boxing DayAfter a Boxing Day walk, come back to something rich and warm. Country Days loves to serve guests with sherry or wine from a rounded decanter complimented with little vintage bowls of mixed or spiced nuts. Arrange on a console table with pressed coloured goblets and tumblers, seasonal napkins and shimmering baubles. Then kick back and let the festivities continue!

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    Burn a yule log

    by  • 24/12/2015 • Country moment • 0 Comments

    Burn a Yule LogHere at Country Days, we love the charming ritual and superstition associated with the ancient Christmas custom of burning a yule log on Christmas Eve. If you want to join in the tradition this Christmas Eve, here’s what you do…

    Choose a tree with friends and family. In days gone by,groups of villagers would all head out and do this together. The oldest and the youngest would make the decision – oak was popular as it represents healing, strength and wisdom.

    Fell and chop the tree. People used to burn entire trunksbit by bit until twelfth night, but as fireplaces became smaller over time, pieces were shared out instead – and so the Yule log was born!

    Set the fire on Christmas Eve with the Yule log taking pride of place. Sprinkle it with wine and salt to make it feel welcome, toss a holly leaf into the hearth and make a wish as the flame catches.

    Keep it alight for as long as possible; to let it go out before Twelfth Night used to be considered bad luck!

    Throw the ashes onto your vegetable patch – they are deemed to have magical properties that ensured an abundant growing season!

     

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    Just-cut decorations for the Christmas table

    by  • 21/12/2015 • Country moment, Country style • 0 Comments

    Just-picked decorations for the Chrsitmas tableMake time this week to head out with your trug and scissors to snip fresh decorative foliage from the hedgerows. It’s ideal for creating thrifty festive napkins and placesettings for Christmas Day. Here at Country Days, we love simple rosehips – from the tight red ones to the more tomato-shaped orange ones – and winter berries from holly and pyracanthus.

    Just-cut decorations for the tableSimple sprigs of berries and green foliage tucked into a striped or gingham ribbon is a simple way to brighten up a plain linen napkin. Placed on chunky white tableware, this rustic look can be complimented with red candles in glasses.

    Just-cut decoartions for the Christmas tableOr why not style mini felt pots with berries and fir tree cuttings? Stacked plates and bowls with plain and decorated designs topped with a plaid napkin finish the look. Complement with red goblets and felt-cut mats.

    We would love to see pictures of your Christmas table. Please share them with us…

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    Craft a twiggy Christmas tree

    by  • 20/12/2015 • Country craft • 0 Comments

    Ready_Twig_TreesGive a mantelpiece a festive woodland feel with a rustic tree decoration, made from berried branches, willow and forest-floor bounty.

    Take 2 long, sturdy twigs and join together with a hot glue gun, then wrap around wreath wire for added support. Starting from the top, cut two short twigs of equal length. Keep going with the twigs getting gradually longer until you have two triangular shapes, as shown – make sure to leave enough trunk to push into a pot. Fix the twigs to the trunk using a hot glue gun, leaving a finger space between them. Leave to cool.

    Cover a terracotta pot with hessian and tie on twiggy star decorations with red ribbon. Push oasis floral foam inside, followed by your tree. Top with moss and berries, then decorate the twigs with red twine.

     

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    The Country Decorator’s shopping shortlist – Christmas crackers!

    by  • 19/12/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Ready_Cow&cowSeason’s greetings festive shoppers! The advent calendar is running out of windows and it’s our final shortlist of 2015…

    To end on a high and ensure that your Christmas is an absolute CRACKER, we’ve rounded-up our favourite edit of country-inspired Christmas crackers to nestle among the brussel sprouts and add that all-important finishing touch to festive place settings.

    Introduce calm among feasting chaos with understated accents of Nordic charm. These pretty luxury midwinter forest crackers, £40 for six, from Cox & Cox (above), detail a magical snow-filled landscape dancing with wildlife – just the thing to enchant diners and spread enjoyment around the table. Each beautifully made cracker contains a hat and joke as well as a lovely wooden gift.

    Ready_marksandspencerServe-up a touch of table-top country glam with bang-on-trend metallic details. These stylish illustrated mini luxury crackers, £15 for six, from Marks & Spencer, are elegantly decorated with red deer and rabbits – the perfect shiny flavour for celebratory candlelit dining. As well as the traditional gift, hat and festive fortune, each cracker comes with a handy place card.

    Ready_Thornback & PeelHave a holly jolly Christmas with this smile-inducing Robin & Holly cracker box set, £55, from Thornback & Peel. Lovingly handmade in Dorset, each cracker contains a hat, snap, joke and hand-printed Thornback & Peel handkerchief. Designs include turkey, partridge, robin, sprout stick, stag and pear – contagious seasonal cheer with a quirky twist.

    Here’s hoping that festivities go off with a bang! Wishing all of our lovely followers the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years. See you all in January to create a shopping list brimming with gorgeous modern country buys for a blossoming 2016…

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    Spiced marmalade-glazed gammon with clementines

    by  • 17/12/2015 • Country food • 0 Comments

    Ready_IPCIMMGLPICT000002717318

    A delicious baked gammon to eat hot with braised red cabbage or cold with a red cabbage coleslaw. For the glaze, use up the last of your homemade marmalade, or try a good quality coarse-cut shop-bought version.

    Serves 10 to 12

    2.5 kg unsmoked gammon joint
    6 tbsps coarse-cut marmalade
    25g light muscovado sugar
    1⁄2 tsp ground mixed spice
    1⁄2 tsp mild paprika
    500g clementines, halved
    Small bunch bay leaves
    2 sprigs rosemary
    6 cloves

    1 Place the gammon in a large pan, cover the meat with water, bring to the boil then discard the water.

    2 Set the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Place the gammon in a roasting tin and bake for 30 minutes per 500g. When cooked, remove from the oven and cut off the thick layer of skin.

    3 Mix the marmalade with the sugar and the spices and spread over the gammon. Add the oranges and herbs to the pan, and sprinkle with the cloves. Return the meat to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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    Feel festive with Thornback & Peel

    by  • 16/12/2015 • Country business • 0 Comments

    READY_group copyJuliet Thornback and Delia Peel launched their iconic business, Thornback & Peel, in 2006 after discovering a mutual passion for screen-printing. A florist and a set designer at the time, they decided to play on their love of the eccentric and surreal, printing designs with a dash of quirky British humour onto a range of homewares. Their festive collection extends to crackers, aprons, tea-towels and more – perfect for those looking to put an unusual twist on a traditional Christmas this year!

    What inspires your designs?
    We like to draw on British humour in our designs, updating classic ideas from old tales we loved as children. By playing with colour, form and scale we produce prints with a little charm from the past. Sources for inspiration include anything from Mrs Beeton’s Household Management and Alice in Wonderland to 17th century microscope imagery of the natural world!

    What do you hope to inspire in others?
    When thinking about new products we always return to the William Morris quote: ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’. We hope our designs are something you can delight in every day.

    Which festive design is your favourite?
    Juliet: For me it’s Robin & Holly. It’s a perfect pick for anyone who is the first to have their decorations up, cards sent, and always has the biggest tree possible!
    Delia: The Stag & Mistletoe design. It’s great for a Christmas romantic; lovers of country walks, open fires and kissing under the mistletoe of course!

    What’s next?
    We’ve been working on an exclusive collection for Fortnum & Mason featuring bees inspired by their own rooftop hives. This design is especially close to Delia’s heart as she’s just inherited a beehive. Our next collection is the launch of SS16. They’ve not been signed off yet, but we’ve had great responses!

    Describe your creative style in 3 words.
    Humorous, classic and timeless.

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    All is calm, all is bright

    by  • 15/12/2015 • Country style • 0 Comments

    Christmas country living room

    We’re dreaming of a white Christmas here at Country Days and this gorgeous country living room in soothing neutrals certainly fits the bill. With comfy seating and a handy coffee table, it’s the perfect place for a spot of present unwrapping!

    The backdrop of a soft limewashed panelled wall creates a Scandi feel that instantly puts you in the mood for Christmas. If you don’t fancy the hassle of putting up wooden panels and getting the paint brush out, an easy alternative are the wood-effect wallpapers that are currently in vogue.

    To offset the minimalist wall treatment, inject lots of glam. Choose a comfy sofa in an off-white and layer up with cuddly and caressable faux fur throws and fabulous wintry cushions – we’re particularly loving the grey reindeer felt design. A classically elegant glass-topped table lends an air of sophistication.

    Stick with the Northern Lights theme with neutral wrapping paper and white lanterns, and introduce an extra rustic touch by wrapping hessian around mini Christmas trees. (Rosie sofa, Sienna coffee table, star, throws, cushions and gift wrap all from BHS.)

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