Sunday, April 29, 2012

it can be so easy to take cushions for granted

It emerged during the course of a conversation with Bono the other day that he has just the one cushion. "How can you possibly manage?" I asked, but it was clear that the whole cushion situation was causing him considerable angst so I let the topic slide.

When the issue becomes less emotive I'll tell him about Red Earth, which contains the most bona fide lifestyle I've ever seen under one roof.

part of my haul from Red Earth

Scottish Husband took a sweeping glance at the shop as we walked in and remarked that this was going to cost us money.  Even as he spoke, I was mentally assigning May's gin budget to pastel glasses, pink enamel milk pans and a new stripey bag, for though I already have too many bags I thought it would be sensible to have a bag in which to store the excess bags.

Entering into the spirit of things, Scottish Husband pointed out cloches, bought me the perfect cardigan and distracted the daughters with three-tier afternoon tea while I was rationalising the need for the patently unneeded.   What a good, good person. We paused at the cushion shelves, hoping to essay a little philanthropy, but Bono wasn't with us to say whether he prefers flour-sack fabric or zebra print. Choosing for others can be so challenging.  

I remind you that I am Queen of Fudge
Upon returning home, I added some Eau de Rose (Produit Gastronomique) to a batch of fudge.  It was a way of prolonging the idyll.

Terrified of Facebook has been in touch to say that she is terrified of Facebook but would like to win the soap giveaway nonetheless. Enter, enter, by all means, but no more than three times, and definitely no more than five. Just leave a comment on the giveaway post and I'll square it with our ethics committee here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

here comes the soap giveaway

Hajni of Mianra Artisan Soaps has offered to add to the General Goodness by sending one of her fragrant soap boxes to a Pretty Far West reader.  Since I first met her, Hajni has stormed up the international soapmaking rankings, and rightly so: her soaps are easily the nicest I've ever used.

Cleanliness: so important
The box above contains:

  • a Vetyver & Rose Soap cake slice enriched with cocoa butter and silk, with wild seaweed;
  • a Bath Truffle loaded with shea & cocoa butter, scented with frangipani;
  • a Lemongrass scented Bath Bomb;
  • a Cherry Blossom Cupcake soap
The winner's box will be freshly assembled in 3 weeks, when the current batch of soap finishes curing, and it'll contain a similarly appealing assortment.

A fresh soap cake, ready to slice. Imagine wearing it as a hat at the races: what clean, fragrant hair you'd have when it rained.

How to enter: like the Mianra Soaps page on Facebook, and then leave a brief comment here so that I can enter your name in the draw. To save you some typing effort, you can copy and paste the comment below, or wing it with your own equally considered remark.
Oooh, lovely soaps!! Beautiful blog! Fingers crossed I win! Must dash!! xxx 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


attractively displayed on a favourite cushion

This book was probably the talk of Blogtopian soirées when it came out in 2004, but I hadn't activated my lifestyle turbo-boosters back then and it passed right by me until now. But something so crisply titled, with that reassuring little Penguin logo, won't cost me my place among the intelligentsia, right? It'll be an antidote to my current reading, Joyce Carol Oates' melancholy 'A Widow's Story', which is like Emily Dickinson gamely striving to reach a wordcount target.   

very tasty; made it myself

When science, in years to come, discovers that eating uncooked yeast bread dough is the key to a long life, I shall be the only one of my generation left to gloat.

Vignette ingredients, glimpse of jolly sofa
In the wild rapture of having new shelves on which to put Stuff, it's only natural that one would pile on too much Stuff and have to edit it carefully into vignettes later. This photo predates 'later.'

But you're standing round wondering when I'll cut to the chase with the soap giveaway, right? That'll be the very next bus.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

this isn't reality, Anonymous

I recently deleted an anonymous comment. It was only my third such deletion ever, and 3 inappropriate comments out of the 7389 (so Blogger tells me) published isn't half bad.  Just to remind any other anonymouses out there (as that particular anonymous will have left in a huff), the Blogtopian Constitution (top left) affirms that everything is lovely, even if it isn't.  This here isn't reality, people, and mustn't be confused with it. Everything is always lovely, everyone is always sweet, and no one doubts that you made that jam yourself.

My homemade rustic-looking rhubarb crumble.  Lovely?

"So many posts!" readers will mutter in vexation. "Why is she issuing notelets from the moral high ground and showing us her new bathmat instead of writing about the important stuff, importantly illustrated, which she used to discuss so importantly and blessedly infrequently?"

I'm actually a busy, busy person, although you wouldn't think it from the amount of time I spend kicking round the www. Mind you, you mustn't judge my overall internet activity by the hours I spend camped out at your blog, as you'll have noticed from your stats. It's just that your posts are so fascinating that I know more about what you eat than what's going on with the grand prix in Bahrain, although I do strive to keep the flag of world affairs flying at dinner-party conversations, as though my opinions would vanquish evil.

Pink Daughter used some of her savings to buy a pink wig.  Lovely? 

It's a fleeting dose of the modern Urge to Share, I suppose, and I'll return to my sparse posting ways soon, but just see what came of it: dear Hajni from Mianra Soaps has been in touch, telling me that she is making me my very own custom soap to match my skies and petrol blue bathmat:
Enchanting Cherry Blossom and regal Iris harmonised by Jasmine, Rose, Lily of the valley and Freesia. The sophisticated base is made up of powdery iris, musk, precious woods and crystal amber.  
It sure sounds like moi, non? Now amn't I glad I took up blogging?

AND, and that's a capitalised AND, she has offered to do a lovely giveaway here, so watch this blogspace for an exciting opportunity to win your (votre) own package of her delights.   Do come back and enter, Anonymous; we can still be friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One Woman's Bathmat

These bright days, the evening sky is such a beguiling petrol blue that in a fit of romanticism I have bought a matching bathmat.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

jammy scones and chocolate whirls

From this big book

comes these ideas for scone variants:

jammy scones and chocolate whirls

next time I'll glaze them for added beauty

For the jammy scones, you make your usual scone dough, press a hole in the top of the scones before they go in the oven, fill with nice raspberry jam and bake.

 For the chocolate whirls, you press or roll the dough to about half the normal thickness, spread it with Nutella (or a blob here and there if it's difficult to spread), roll it up like a swiss roll and cut it into 1 cm thick whirls. Then bake as usual and keep them warm till the children come home from school.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

seven euro ninety nine cents

Scottish Husband says this bucket is one of his favourite things in the house. 
We keep the small sods of turf in it, for starting the fire.
The technical term for them
among fire-starting aficionados
is na caoráin.

He likes the bucket because it doesn't have FIRE
written on it, or TURF,
or Le Seau de Paris.
It just says seven euro ninety nine cents. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

turkey eggs, wedding cookies, and a giveaway winner

Off we went through the sunny hailstones this morning to meet Móna Wise for elevenses. While her children put mine to shame by eating all their salad leaves, I had a look at her soon to be published book, The Chef & I, a memoir and recipe book in which she persuades The Chef to marry her, opens a restaurant, adopts and fosters four children, and feeds everyone beautifully photographed food.

Those speckledy ones are the turkey eggs

Móna gave me turkey and duck eggs from her own flock, the height of lifestyle exoticism, as well as cranberry wedding cookies made by The Chef.  He'll be doing some more baking for the book launch in May, apparently.  Feels hungry, makes diary note.     

Pink Daughter hanging expectantly round the wedding cookies

After a few of those cookies, I had the strength to draw a giveaway winner, and the House & Home Pickit membership goes to Joanne of the eBoutique interiors online shop.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

the household sheet policy

A seachange in the household sheet policy is upon us.   For years now I've shunned the fitted sheet: it offended my sense of symmetry and was difficult to store in an orderly way.  How would I even pretend to iron it?

A glimpse of my linen cupboard. Odd how some colours prevail.

With age and weariness, standards lower.  I could feel the approaching rain in the stiffness of my bones the other day, and I sighed as I tucked in a flat sheet.

Already it is too late for you to type the words "moral decline" into the comment box: an order has been placed and a fleet of trucks has left a Fitted Sheet Emporium to drive day and night along the tulip-edged motorways of the continent toward the Irish ferry in Calais, cross the sea and rush westward to my house, Joe Le Taxi blaring from their radios.

They should be here by mid-week.  We can still be friends?
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