Friday, July 25, 2008


It is late afternoon on what has been a cold, windy day - great for drying the washing I hung out earlier but not a day I wanted to venture out into for long. I did drive to the village to pick up essential ingredients from our excellent deli to make a tiramisu to take to our friends house tomorrow night. I didn't linger though and was in, out and back home within half an hour. I just wanted to be at home and after listening to weather reports on the radio I think I will be close to home all weekend as bad weather is on the way with winds of 100kms an hour predicted. I guess the fluffy girls (cats) will want to stay inside too and I will finally get to restock my Sweet Mary lavender heart supply as well as fulfilling a couple of orders.
While thinking about tiramisu making I thought it might be nice to bake my hubbie's favourite cake, well one of them though he does always take care to tell me that he doesn't really have a sweet tooth....
He likes this Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake, another good one from Nigella Lawson.

Preheat oven to 180C and butter and line a 23x13x7cm loaf tin.
Cream together 125g butter and 175g caster sugar. Add 2 eggs and zest of 1 lemon. Beat in well. Add 175g self-rairing flour and a pinch of salt. Fold in gently but thoroughly, then add 4 tablespoons milk. Spoon into prepared loaf tin. Bake in oven 35-45 mins until golden and cake-tester comes out clean. Puncture top of loaf all over with cake-tester and cover with syrup.
Syrup: About 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 100g of icing sugar which is heated gently so sugar dissolves and quite syrupy.
If you can wait, leave it to cool but I couldn't and just had to have a slice. By the look of our laden lemon tree I will be able to make a lot more of these luscious lemon loaves. Having a lemon tree is one of the many things I love about living in New Zealand. When we lived in the UK the only lemons available were from the supermarket and they were never as juicy or ripe as the ones that grow just outside our kitchen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Timeless Treasures

I bought this pretty Laura Ashley dress for my daughter's second birthday - she is now twenty one ! Over last weekend I decided to sort out a few boxes and came across lots of great memories in the form of my children's baby clothes and daughter's collection of dresses.
All of the dresses below, except for the Laura Ashley one were lovingly hand-made by my sister.
The fabrics and trims used are beautiful and the smocking is a work of art. And the great thing is that nearly twenty years down the track you could still put a child in these gorgeous creations and they would be much admired and appreciated.

The tiny knitted creations above and below were knitted by my mother who has doted on each and every grandchild in her family. Each grandchild received a fabulous handmade bear and lots of other soft toys and even though knitting wasn't her greatest love she did knit these treasures simply because I asked. From memory, the patterns were from a French knitting book, but other than that I don't know as I am not a knitter. I can sew but I can't knit!

I have been so busy lately making and sending off orders for my Sweet Mary lavender hearts that I thought it would be nice to make something for myself. An hour or two in Sweet Mary HQ and I had made a pair of flowery pillowcases to put on our bed. I had bought the fabric a few weeks ago in a Spotlight sale for only $3 a metre. I asked my husband if he had slept any better on the new slips but he didn't seem to understand what I was talking about - he is very tolerant of my flowery "thing".

Off to see the kids in Wellington this weekend - yeah! Our son will be 19 on Sunday - I really don't feel mature enough to have children of that age...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Personality Tests

I was tempted by the personality test that Nicola did on her blog - she picked it up on CurlyPop's blog. Here is what it says about me:

My personality type:

Warm-hearted, popular and conscientious. Tend to put the needs of others over their own needs. Feel strong sense of responsibility and duty. Value traditions and security. Interested in serving others. Need positive reinforcement to feel good about themselves. Well-developed sense of space and function.

Careers that could fit me includes:

Home economics, nursing, teaching, administators, child care, family practice physician, clergy, office managers, counselors, social workers, bookkeeping, accounting, secretaries, organization leaders, dental assistants, homemakers, radiological technologists, receptionists, religious educators.

If you want to do this test click on either Nicola or Curly Pops - I found it pretty close to how I see myself.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pretty Pictures

I cut my lavender hedge back in the autumn but it has started to bloom again. Its planted up against the house but not in a spot that catches much winter sun. Somehow its apt that this hedge can't stop blooming as I use so much lavender in my SWEET MARY lavender hearts. In preparation for my stall at the the Holly Hospice I have ordered in 6 kilos from a local supplier to add to my meagre homegrown supply. Now, I realise that 6 kilos sounds like a lot and believe me it is but if stored correctly it keeps well and its better than running out last minute.

I did take this photo about six weeks ago when my hydrangea flowers were turning these gorgeous shades of pink - I have a vase full in the house. I love these flowers and have always had a hydrangea or two or three in just about every NZ house I have lived in. Now they seem to be fashionable as I often read about them in magazines but they have always been a favourite of mine even when a friend in the UK disparagingly said they were so surburban!

And this is just another pretty picture - a friend gave me these plants with the ivy trained around the heart shape and I really love them. I bought the cute stars at a local shop called Now and Then, its my fav shop in Havelock North. Crab apples to the left for winter decoration and driftwood in the background collected from local beaches in the summer.