Friday 18 July 2014

Brit Decor: Bakes/ Rocky Roads

All images / Mike Ahern

Sometimes it's too hard to resist whipping up a treat when all you have to do is follow the simplest of recipes, right? Rocky Roads are often my naughty snack of choice when I'm having one of those 'cupboard love' moments - rooting around in my kitchen cupboards looking for spare sugary ingredients. This is such an incredibly versatile treat too because you can add or subtract the ingredients that you like or don't, such as nuts, cherries or raisins, but the end result is always the same; a chewy crunchy workout for the mouth!

For this version I have broken the ingredients down to the minimum, just how I like it, but I'd love to hear how you like your Rocky Roads...

125g Unsalted butter
200g Digestive biscuits
300g Milk chocolate
150g Mini-marshmallows
A sprinkle of Icing sugar for dusting

How to make:
Melt the chocolate and the butter in a pan. Meanwhile, place the digestive biscuits into a small bag and beat with a rolling pin (you don't need fine crumbs, broken chunks are perfect). Slowly add the biscuit pieces and the marshmallows to the melted chocolate mixture.

Tip the entire mixture into a small tray or baking dish lined with greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Finally remove from the fridge and dust with icing sugar.

Monday 14 July 2014

Brit Decor: Weekend/ #Internationalairtattoo

All images / Mike Ahern

Planes on Brit Decor? Well just this once because I couldn't resist sharing my first ever viewing of the Red Arrows in a blaze of red white and blue at the International Air Tattoo during the weekend. I also love the iconic red, white and blue palette in these photos.

Following an invite from friends, this was my first ever air show at Fairford and I was unsure what to expect. I possibly even felt a tiny bit 'geeky' about attending but those thoughts were quickly obliterated the moment I saw the first aircraft skilfully manoeuvring its way through the sky above me amidst gasps from the crowds.

I can only describe the deafening roar of the fighter jets that followed, as they sliced their way through the sky overhead, as totally awesome. Perhaps predictably, the absolute highlight of the show (strawberry ice cream aside) had to be the Red Arrows with their supreme mid-air wizardry and iconic plumes of red white and blue smoke trailing behind them like colourful ribbons. Watching these guys actually gave me goose bumps in what was a very patriotic moment.

I hope that whatever you did over the weekend, it was awesome too!

Friday 11 July 2014

Brit Decor: Travels/ On a Canal Boat #2

 All images / Mike Ahern

So I'm back from a week on a narrow boating holiday in North Wales along the famous Llangollen canal. And I was definitely in good company with @simonwatsonpt, @micholoughlin, @rbreid1 and Rolo the adorable Dachshund.  We had all been contemplating a very relaxing slow-paced break, blissfully cruising along beautiful canals, which admittedly did happen, however, I don't think that any of us were prepared for the sheer hard work involved; mooring, navigating, cooking, negotiating locks, narrow boat traffic jams, and a magnificent aqueduct. In short, we all came home utterly exhausted and I was so glad to see my own bed again!

Our home for the week, a 60ft narrow boat was modestly decorated with few creature comforts, although the gas oven and heated shower were gratefully received by all. Anticipating this, before embarking on our holiday I had made sure to pack a few of my own home comforts such as a pillow (to add to those already provided), some of my favourite scent and a book 'My Greek Island Home', which I have been meaning to complete for such a long time, also its fresh blue and white cover brought a welcome splash of colour and pattern to my cabin.

Of course, in terms of my wardrobe for the week it could only be nautical stripes for me all the way, in fact, I wasn't aware just how many stripy T's I had until I began packing for the trip! However, my stripes were no match for Rolo's mini doggie life jacket, which pretty much stole the show all week and I can confirm that I now have a Sausage dog crush too.

Speaking of crushes, it feels so go to be back at the cottage again - Home sweet home.

Friday 4 July 2014

Brit Decor: Makes/ Origami Lampshade

All images / Mike Ahern

I've concluded that one of the financial perils of being a creative is the constant desire to create, style and then re-style my home on a regular basis. However, my bank manager will be pleased to learn that these makeovers are usually small and involve minimal but highly effective changes, which nonetheless create a big impact. 

Therefore, it came as absolutely no surprise to my other half when I announced my latest project; to re-vamp our home study (I think he's come to accept that this is the way I roll). For some time I have been feeling the urge to introduce a high energy colour wall to inspire and get my creative juices soaring whilst I'm rooted at my desk, and I think I've found my perfect colour-match! So over the next few weeks I will be sharing some simple 'make' projects and then incorporating these into the final room design.   

Accessories are a great way of achieving a fresh new look and I am increasingly finding that projects I can make myself offer a huge amount of satisfaction and self-reward. I decided to kick-off the design and make process with an origami light shade from a template in my favourite crafting book, Mini Eco by Kate Lilley - Can you remember my attempt at Kate's Geo-pots?

Getting the right shade is crucial for this particular scheme because like so many rooms, the light fitting is central and framed by the doorway as you look into the room, so it's imperative that I get this right. Whilst the measuring and scoring part of the origami making process was relatively easy, the careful folding of the card was rather fiddly, however, the frustration soon faded away when the paper structure finally concertinaed into its final and beautiful shape.

In order to keep the design and look of the shade as simple as possible, I opted for the moody  coloured 'Elephant Grey' electrical cable (pictured above) from HFS Specialities Ltd on eBay, which creates a very simple contrast with the off-white card. Be sure to use either an LED bulb or a maximum of 11 Watt bulb with this shade. Now I just can't wait to plough on with the rest of the redesign!

I would love to hear from you if you've recently made any Oragmi, was it challenging?

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Brit Decor: Travels/ On a canal boat

Image / Mike Ahern

I am about to set off on a short break with @simonwatsonpt, two dear friends and a Sausage dog! To elaborate a little further, we're all going on a canal boat holiday in Llangollen, North Wales. 

I have packed a selection of nautical striped clothing (how could I not?) plenty of my favourite navy blues and the famous cobalt shoes (Zara Man). There will of course be the obligatory boat themed notebook for jotting down inspiration (Paperchase) and I couldn't resist this cute little note card from Rifle Paper Co.

Apart from a brief day trip on a canal boat in 2013, I have no idea what to expect from this holiday. Between you and me, there are one or two reservations playing around in the back of mind, not least  'will there be a phone signal?' but hey, signal downtime is not always a bad thing. Because of the remoteness of this holiday destination, I'm going to have to face the challenge of shifting down a gear and quite literally letting the world sail by with oodles of time for relaxing, eating and friendship, which can only be a good thing.

So I'll do my best to post some holiday pics and updates via instagram depending on my phone signal, and there are one or two exciting posts coming to these pages whilst I'm away.

Miss you already guys!

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