Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Visit to National Trust Standen

First of all, I apologise (to any reader that has stuck around this long!) for the lack of posts. I'm planning to do a summer sewing review post so you can see what been keeping me so busy! And now...
This week we visited Standen, which is a beautiful late Victorian house and gardens in Sussex. (Yes, on a weekday... the joys of homeschooling!) I used to quite dislike trailing around old houses and gardens which all looked the same to me, but in recent years I've come to love visiting National Trust properties. I hadn't used my camera for a while so decided to bring it along and I was pleased because there were lots of lovely photo opportunities. The sun was shining and I was able to learn a bit more about using manual setting on the camera. First we went to the kitchen garden, which was full of produce and beautiful flowers.

Flowers in the kitchen garden, it was fun to experiment with focus.

I was really pleased to take photos of the large white butterfly and wasp because I've been trying to get a close-ups like this for ages and never succeeded!

We went for a walk to other parts of the garden, including the orchard which had beehives, and my sister pointed this beautiful butterfly out to me. I'm trying to work out what species it is.

Fresh flowers and vegetables from the kitchen garden for sale.

We had a guided 'taster' tour of the house which was very interesting as we learnt about the Beale family who lived here, Philip Webb the architect who designed much of the interior as well, and Morris & Co. which designed much of the wallpapers and other furnishings. I really liked to rather unusual style from the Arts & Crafts movement combined with the feeling that it was a family home. I went back to take some pictures:

The billiard room, where the men got together on wet days.

Some of the crockery on display in the dining room.

All the bedrooms we saw had their own dressing rooms.

I liked the colours of this bathroom. There were only two bathrooms in the house, most people used a tin bath in their bedrooms.

Mrs. Beale and her daughters embroidered this fine screen from a Morris & Co. kit.

An example of the wallpapers in the house.

After a picnic we relaxed in the garden. This is the back of the house, and you can see the sandstone blocks which came from a quarry on the large estate. Also the lovely flowers everywhere!

As you can tell I really enjoyed the day out and loved the house and gardens, especially learning about the design element. Please comment if you enjoyed reading, and let me know what you think the red butterfly is!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Chocolate and Cranberry Bunt Cake {recommended recipe}

Recently I was pleased to receive a bunt cake tin from a friend, especially as I've seen so many beautiful ideas on pinterest. I found this recipe from All recipes UK but as it makes such a large cake I saved the idea until I had a crowd to feed! The recipe uses a lot of ingredients... 6 eggs in fact, but makes a very soft, moist chocolate cake which looks very impressive. I think the tin is this one from lakeland, it's very large, sturdy, and the cake came out well.

Mum suggested I add dried cranberries when we saw them in the shop, and I really liked the sweetness and texture pop that they added. I used all of an 150g bag of dried cranberries and drizzled 150g white chocolate over the top. Next time I'll try to use a better quality chocolate, and improve my drizzling. The cake stayed warm for quite a while, which made it even more pleasurable to eat but a bit more crumbly to slice. Everyone really liked the taste of the cake, and it looks pretty impressive so if you are making cake for a crowd, I would recommend the Chocolate Bunt Cake recipe.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Trip Up Town

Though I live in London, I don't often get to see 'the sights,' so last week my friend Grace and I took a trip Up Town to take photographs and enjoy the general atmosphere of a city summer. Its an interesting mix of people who work here and have a destination to get to, and those who are following a more relaxed sightseeing pace. Street dancers, artists and musicians add to the mix, as well as the contrasts of old and new archetecture. I enjoyed myself so much, that I'm going to try and take you on a tour through our photographs and words.

The view of the London Eye from the rather crowded Westminster Bridge.

'Big Ben' is a nickname for this iconic and ornate clock tower and is actually the name of the biggest bell inside it.

This area is full of monuments like this one which remembers the service of those who gave their lives for the freedom of our country.

Walking on to Trafalgar Square you see the Blue Chicken, a recent, quirky, and fun art installation.

These street dancers attracted a large crowd outside the National Portrait Gallery. For this photo I held the camera above my head and hoped it would turn out ok!

These street artist were completing the flags of many nations, and people would put a few coins onto their flag.

This is Trafalgar Square. This picture beautiful architecture, dazzling fountains and many sightseers, but I think it also gives an idea of the lovely atmosphere in the square.

 Perspective from outside the National Portrait Gallery looking down onto Trafalgar Square.

One of the many brightly coloured stalls at Covent Garden Market, just a few streets away.

We saw this cute cute truck in Covent Garden, Milo & Hectors Tremendous Ice Cream Sandwiches. I love the colours.

This guy was dressed up as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, with a tea party set up and a real doormouse in his teacup! 

To me this picture really captures the brightness and energy of London streets in summer.

Back in Trafalgar Square in the dazzling sunlight. Here I was playing around with manual focus on my camera.

A mounted guard on the famous Horse Guards Parade. I didn't realise the light had come out that way until later, but I like the effect it gives.

This statue on Whitehall remembers the service of the women during World War II, because although they didn't fight, they drove ambulances, worked in factories and supported the troops in many other ways for the war effort. It's such a beautiful monument.