a way of life...

Month: May 2020

Sewing Bee

I arose early this morning, around 6am, so that I could set about some sewing before my working day began.

Duvet covers and pillowcases are hitting the headlines lately due to Coronavirus and the necessity to sew face masks and scrubs. I can proudly say that I have made a number of masks from a patterned quilt cover for myself, my immediate family, and key workers.

Today, however, I wanted to make some cushion covers from a candy stripe pink and white quilt cover. I had had the idea that I could incorporate the fastenings already incorporated in the cover to act as popper fastenings on the cushions, thus saving myself some work.

I had in stock some 16″ square feather filled cushion pads that would be ideal for my plan.

I didn’t use a pattern as such as the stripes on the fabric made marking out the size with a tape measure really easy.

I decided to use pinking shears to cut out the covers as this would mitigate the necessity to oversew the raw edges.

By 7.30am I was the proud owner of two new scatter cushions which matched my recently painted bistro chairs beautifully.

As an added bonus the size of the finished cushion fitted the swing precisely too.

And all that achieved before breakfast.

I might make a matching table cloth next.

Happy days!

Star Shaped Flowers

Springtime has arrived in the garden big time over these past few days. The bees are buzzing around the blue and purple garden where the alliums are at their best.

As these plants are so easy to grow there is always an abundance in the borders and in the cutting garden as well. It’s no wonder the bees are attracted to them with their dozens of star shape flowers forming a single bloom.

I’m not a fan of formal flower arrangements, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but I can’t resist a few freshly cut stems from the garden.

Currently, I have a gorgeous storm lantern in my dining room which doubles as a vase. It sits on a little Ikea table which I painted and crackle-glazed with Annie Sloan products a couple of years ago now.

The alliums were an absolute gift as both their height and colour suited the room perfectly.

Since Christmas time this particular vessel has been filled with a mix of faux and fresh florals. I interchange these as the seasons change and tie them in with whatever colour scheme I have chosen for the dining table.

I wonder if you can tell which of the eucalyptus, pussy willow, and alliums are real and which are faux?


Use seasonal blooms when combining fresh and faux flowers to carry off the illusion.

No Cook Low Cal Tiramisu Recipe

No Cook Low Cal Tiramisu recipe – what’s not to like?

This recipe originates from a Pinch of Nom, who claim to be the UK’s most visited food blog. I actually bought their first book which includes 100 slimming home style recipes. This is definitely one of my favourites as it is really simple to make and only has 108 Kcal per serving.

There’s no cooking involved but you should allow 10 minutes chilling time before serving. The end result is a really tasty dessert which could easily be served at a dinner party.


Ingredients for Tiramisu recipe

  • 150g ricotta
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 tsp granulated sweetener
  • 8 sponge fingers, each broken into 3 pieces
  • 100ml strong espresso, cooled
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Method for Tiramisu recipe

  1. Put the ricotta, vanilla bean paste and granulated sweetener in a bowl and mix with a fork until smooth.
  2. Place three sponge finger pieces into the base of four 125ml ramekins.
  3. Add a couple of teaspoons of espresso to each ramekin and crush the sponge fingers down to cover the base of the ramekins.
  4. Top this layer with a layer of ricotta mix, then add three more sponge finger pieces, placing them towards the edges of the ramekin. There is no need to crush these down.
  5. Add another little drizzle of espresso and top with the remaining ricotta mix.
  6. Place the cocoa powder in a sieve and generously dust it over each tiramisu.
  7. Chill for around 10 minutes or until ready to serve.


If calories aren’t an issue then I would suggest using the whole of a 250g pot of ricotta rather than have any leftover. I also found that swapping the espresso for regular instant coffee doesn’t make a noticeable difference. You could also add a measure of Tia Maria to the coffee to ensure that the sponge fingers are lovely and moist. Top with a lovely sweet strawberry.


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