I promised to update you with my painting progress and I’m pleased to report that the arbour is now complete. I am thrilled. I really do have an awesome arbour! I should explain that it is not purely decorative but serves a practical purpose as well. It’s actually filling a gap, which, over time, had appeared in the garden hedge. Not only did this compromise our privacy but also left the plot exposed to inclement weather.
The idea for acquiring this garden shelter had been on my mind for sometime as the gap between the conifers and privet had become more pronounced and eventually formed a perfect arch. I had considered trying to infill the hedge with new planting but felt that the existing root structure would hamper my attempts. I knew that there were many styles of arbours available but when I found this beautiful design I knew that it would be perfect.
Made from pressure treated timber it echoed the exact shape of the hole in the hedge. Now assembled, painted and put in position I have a comfortable sheltered bench seat with storage.
Breakfasting in it Saturday morning, being bathed by the early morning sun, was the perfect start to the holiday weekend and as the summer progresses I imagine I am going to spend many a Sunday morning reading the papers in this calm and peaceful paradise.
The internal part of the shelter is painted in Plummet exterior eggshell by F&B whilst the other surfaces are left untouched . I look forward to this providing the perfect backdrop for the purplely-blue hues of my early Spring and Summer planting.
Go to www.wayfair.co.uk for a choice of arbours at competitive prices.
Whilst wandering around the High Street today in the dismal May weather I stumbled across this cheerful picnicware. Adorned with pineapples, flamingoes, palm trees and seahorses, I found it could brighten up the dullest days.
Seahorses, flamingoes and palm trees
Alongside it was this unusual Antique Floral Drink Dispenser with matching glasses which I was particularly taken with. It transported my thoughts back to those lovely, long, hot days that we enjoyed last year and made realise that summer is just around the corner.
Antique Floral Drink Dispenser & Glasses
The combination of the Tropical Floral plates, bowls and tumblers with the Antique Floral Glassware makes the perfect table setting for alfresco entertaining. Even on the rainiest days this dishwasher safe range of acrylic glassware and melamine place settings is elegant enough to grace the grandest of dining tables.
The pretty palate of blancmange pink dessert bowls, lime green side plates, and muted turquoise dinner plates, really does make it good enough to eat off. So don’t let the downpour put a damper on your dinner party as this range of stylish and practical picnicware really will bring the sunshine indoors.
For details of the full range visit http://www.marksandspencer.com/l/home-and-furniture/picnicware .
After my last blog I was asked to post the recipe for the Mocha Roulade that I was enjoying after my day of furniture painting. The recipe is a favourite of mine from the Dairy Book of Family Cookery first published by Ebury Press in 1983 on behalf of the Milk Marketing Board. As it had been a while since I last made this tea time treat I felt like a contender on the Great British Bake Off . The pressure was on right from the start as I had not left myself enough time and as a consequence the things that could go wrong went wrong!
So from my very recent experience here’s a few pointers to help you on your way…
- use good chocolate but allow plenty of time to melt it slowly as rushing it can ruin it
- leave time for the melted coffee chocolate to cool before adding to the egg and sugar mix
- allow sufficient time for the cooked sponge to rest under a damp tea towel overnight
- remember to turn out the cooked sponge onto sugared baking paper as this is used to roll the sponge up
- 15 ml (3 level tsp) instant coffee powder
- 100 g (4 oz) plain chocolate
- 4 eggs, size 2, separated
- 100 g (4 oz) caster sugar
- 300 ml (10 fl oz) fresh double cream
- 175 g (6 oz) white grapes, halved and seeded
- In a small bowl, blend the coffee to a smooth paste with 15 ml (1 tbsp) water. Break up the chocolate (into small pieces), put into the bowl and melt (slowly) over hot (not boiling) water. Cool.
- Cut a 30.5 cm (12 inch) square of non-stick paper, fold up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) all round. Snip into the corners, secure edges with paperclips to form a free-standing paper case. Place on a baking sheet.
- Whisk the yolks and sugar until thick and then stir in the cool coffee chocolate. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Spread into the paper case.
- Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) mark 4 for about 15 minutes, until firm. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave overnight.
- Remove the tea-towel, flip the roulade over on to a sheet of sugared greaseproof paper. Whip the fresh cream until softly stiff. Spread the roulade with the fresh cream and grapes (reserve some for decoration).
- Roll up, using the paper. Decorate with whirls of cream and reserved grapes. Serves 6-8
Tea time treat
PS I should mention that the roulade turned out just fine and tasted delicious but next time I will definitely allow more time x
Anyone who read my last blog would know that I was being very indecisive with regards to choosing a paint colour to revamp my garden furniture.
I had shortlisted three and eventually I plumped for Plummett, which wasn’t really that surprising as it had been my favourite all along. I did love the combination of the three colours I had shortlisted but didn’t feel that that was the look I was trying to achieve.
It was hard work, but all in all a day well spent. I was surprised that I actually managed to prepare, undercoat, and top coat, all in one day. I must admit there were a few highs and lows. The lowest moment being when the undercoat was a dreary shade of battleship grey which I didn’t imagine for one minute the top coat was going to cover successfully.
ahhh… time to relax
Fortunately, it was no problem whatsoever and I was really pleased with the end result. I even had time to enjoy a delicious piece of homemade mocha roulade along with a nice cup of green tea in my lovely Beverley Hewitt china. Yummy!
I won’t be relaxing for too long as I still have the newly acquired arbour to paint along with my sun-downer love seat. Watch this space…