Monday, 30 May 2011

Elderflower picking

I hope you've all had a good weekend!

Over the bank holiday weekend, we did some elderflower picking. We have several elderflower shrubs around us. As I was in search of the very best flowers, it meant picking them from several different shrubs.

Alan was on hand to help me access those more awkward branches or clear paths full of stinging nettles...

Once home, I set about making some elderflower cordial. I didn't have any citric acid so doubled the amount of lemons I used. Will see how it turns out...

Another 24 hours to go and it will be ready. I made it last night and already the scent is so beautiful.
I can't wait to bottle it and try it out....

A bientôt!

Isabelle X

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A festival for coffee lovers!

Alan, Miss P and I went to Bath to attend a Coffee Festival. I have been looking to buy an espresso machine and thought that it would be the perfect place to get some advice and find out more about the different options.

The event is taking place today and tomorrow at the Bath Recreation ground right next to the Bath Rugby Club.

As we entered, we were offered a bag with with various goodies in.

I was looking forward to seeing Taylerson's Malmesbury Syrups as it is through their facebook page that I found out about the coffee festival being on this weekend.

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I attended this very interesting presentation from LavAzza on the history of coffee, the various types of coffees, coffee drinks and coffee makers. Miss P was not too interested in this so went to the children's area with Alan whilst I listened and learnt with interest. I have picked up some very useful tips!

Back to walking around the stalls

A selection of cakes and buns from the cheerful The Bath Bun stall

Get Cupcaked provided a selection of very imaginative cupcakes.

Fudge Kitchen had a fantastic selection of delicious fudge, unfortunately I forgot to go back for some before leaving.

It is not often that you can buy cakes which are wheat free and gluten free. When you do happen to see some for sale, they can often be quite bland and boring. However, Annette Blazier's stand was a real surprise and a treat. I chose an apple and strudel sponge cake, it was far from bland and boring. A resounding 10/10, really, really good! A very happy find. Although I do eat wheat, most of the time, I prefer to bake cakes and bread using spelt flour.

Alan enjoying the coffee wheat free and gluten free cake.

Teapigs were there too. I tasted the peppermint & licorice tea. So refreshing! They make very nice teas.

Charlotte Macey Textiles had pretty bags, cushions and gifts.

Plenty of chocolates, cakes and sweet treats to samples.

Polkadot Lane's stand was very eye catching with it's lovely blue and white handcrafted pottery. Several items have gone on to my wish list. I particularly like the heart dishes.

The biscotti Kitchen, I liked the way they presented their delicious biscottis.

Miss P took a shining to a little miniature lama made in Peru. On the way back home, she decided to name it "Coffee".

It was very nice to meet Mrs Stokes who provided a lovely vintage touch to the event with her selection of beautifully presented china.

Some of the goodies that I brought back. Coffee from Brian Wogan and syrups from Taylerson's Malmesbury Syrups. Brian Wogan were very helpful and provided me with a lot of useful information on the does and don'ts of buying an espresso machine, coffee grinders etc...I left there with a much clearer picture of which machine will suit our needs.

The festival is on from 21st to 22nd May, so you still have a chance to go tomorrow if are in the area.

A bientôt!

Isabelle X

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Walking to work

Although we live in the countryside, Alan is lucky enough not to have a long commute to work. He does not work in a town or a city. In fact it takes just over 10 minutes to drive to his workplace through the country lanes but most days Alan likes to walk or cycle there (6km).

This morning, Alan took his camera with him, so I thought I would share some of his photos with you.

When Alan set out at 7.30am, the skies were grey with the feeling of possible rain in the air. It didn't stop the sun from trying to make an appearance through the clouds.

Just before it began pouring down with rain, Alan managed to capture this beautiful shot of the dark menacing sky and the rainbow just below it.
This type of light is my favourite! A very dark sky, a ray of sunshine, it makes the the plants and trees look to very striking the shades of green look so much brighter. Very atmospheric!

The rain subsided and Alan continued on his walk until he reached the office he works in.

In the afternoon the sky had cleared and the sun was out so time to take more photos

A reservoir next to Alan's workplace

We are very lucky to be be surrounded by such beautiful countryside, there is an abundance of wild flowers and wildlife which we see pretty much every day.

Almost home...

Larry waiting to welcome Alan back home :-)

I will be sharing pictures of the school run which I do most days. Once again, all in the country lanes, not a single town in sight. I promise you some stunning scenery and views! That post will follow in the next week or so.

A bientôt!

Isabelle X