Monday, 23 July 2012

The Shack

Hiding down our driveway is our gorgeous Shack.

It didn't used to look like this when it was a tractor shed!

We just always felt that with a view like this out of the window, it was a bit wasted on a lawn mower! 

So we made it dry  

and warm

and covered it with wood

and made it pretty.

We can now proudly present (well, as of Easter, ahem)

Our Games Room / Surf shack / laundry room. But how is this possible all within that space? You may well ask..

This is the interior of the Games Room.

We have a fabulous new table-tennis table,

complete with a selection of bats and balls;

a den building kit, with instructions, for you to take into the garden and create yourself;

a lego area for those who are partial;

oodles of toys in labelled baskets;

and for those with artistic flair

there are lots of colouring things to enjoy.

For the active, or those children who need more wearing out than others, try these 'nature spotting packs'. 

There are all sorts of things to discover in our adventurous garden.

and as if that wasn't enough,

there is a treasure hunt, a hedgehog hunt, a flower press 

AND a pirate Island activity that involves designing and decorating your own flag 

 then finding our secret island in the wood, claiming it as your own, and hoisting up your flag on the enormous pole!

After all that lot you might just want to collapse in a comfy armchair 

gaze at some calming Dick Bruna artwork

and read a book!

You see the door on the far right hand side? That is where the laundry is!

This is the other side of the Laundry, if you were accessing it from the outside.

I think my two favourite spaces in the whole of Pickwell 

are Amity and our Laundry!

Can you see why?

 I found these gorgeous, 'shabby chic' style tiles as a work-top, and they seem to go so well with the wood. 

Its only small but..

I think it has a really calming effect on you as soon as you walk in.

The smell of the fresh washing may also have something to do with the ambience too?

We have put some washing lines up, and boy, your clothes should dry quickly here.

Behind the Laundry and accessed from the drive is our Surf Shack.

This is a great space for boards/wetsuits/bikes and beach equipment. We have also put some bits and bobs in there for you to borrow while you are here.

Just outside the Shack is a brilliant recepticle for rinsing off those salty wetsuits before you hang them up to dry. 

 So. There you have it. The full guided tour of our little shack. We really enjoyed this project and i have to give lots of thanks and big up whoop whoop (i actually still think i am 16) to Mrs Tracey Elliott, as it was down to her hard work that all the Games Room activities came into being. Nice one Trace (hope you're enjoying France!) x

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Delicious Elderflower Cordial

Before the last of the elderflowers disappear, we have just managed to squeeze in a final batch of elderflower cordial. I thought I would share the recipe and a few pics in case anyone else fancied giving this delicious seasonal delight a go.
Millie-Grace  picking the elderflowers..... it seems like we have had a bumper crop this year.
The girls with 10 elderflower heads ready to go. Amazingly Molly joined in with the picking whilst wearing roller blades!
The ingredients are such wonderful colours with the yellow of the lemons and the white of the flowers. The smell is heavenly too!
Chop 3/4 lemons and peel the zest (I added in a lime as I found it lurking in the fruit bowl). Squeeze the lemon pieces as you put them into the pan and add the zest too.
Then in goes 1.5 lbs of sugar....
and 1.5 pints of boiling water.
Give it all a stir, put the lid on and leave it somewhere cool to steep for 48 hours. Next sterilise your glass bottles ready for the cordial. The easiest way to sterilise the bottles is to put them in the dishwasher.......but make sure you time it right to put the cordial into the bottles whilst they are still warm/hot.
To preserve the cordial I added 1oz of citric acid, which I purchased from our local brewing shop in Barnstaple called 'Brewing at Home'.
After 48 hours sieve the mixture through some muslin into a jug and then pour it into the sterilised bottles. Here is our finished product....yum!! We like to mix it with sparkling water as it makes such a wonderfully refreshing drink.....however it never lasts long in our house as it is far too scrummy. Enjoy!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Pete and Ursula are finally wed!

Our house and gardens are looking lovely at the moment.

We hold all our 'pre-wedding' meetings over the Winter so when the couple comes back for their wedding (which are only held in May-July and September) they are always taken aback at how beautiful everything is.

The lawn was cut, the strimming done, the roses pruned...

even our smoking area was looking lovely!

We were ready for the arrival of Pete and Ursula.

and boy did they bring a LOT of stuff! Ursula had been shopping...

This was the gorgeous card box. Note the butterfly theme.

The wedding colours were teal and gold. 

Ursula had bought the butterflies and threaded them into the wreath, along with the blue flowers.

The teal sashes on the chairs gave the room a lift. Craig (a potential son-in-law) was given the job of hanging gold hearts on all the lights

and blue flowers too. (i think he passed the test...Craig - now is a good time to propose ;))

Ursula had bought all sorts of things over the last year and personally sprayed them all gold!

Including these impressive candelabras. 

Here is the woman herself (still in pyjamas!) decorating the chairs.

I'm not sure anyone else has done this with the chairs before, this is a Pickwell first!

Take a look at this cake. This was the last time the cake looked like this...

Firstly, friends Paul and Ian decided to make the Groom more representative of how he actually looks...So they gave him a nice, neat bald patch (made out of icing)

As the night wore on and the drinks flowed, the cake people took on various guises..

this was the most 'polite' one i can publish. The others are on my *other blog ;)

Apparently Ursula and her sisters were trying to shield their lovely parents from seeing too many of the choice positions. 

Luckily both were present and correct for the time it really mattered.

Our chef Lee, did another fantastic job. The wedding breakfast was a delicious bbq 

with a whole range of

gorgeous looking salads 

and fresh, crusty bread.

The tables were laid very simply just as the Bride requested for the bbq lunch. Later in the day, Lee served up plump bacon sandwiches followed by pancakes with a range of very naughty fillings.

Ursula had designed some special napkins to have through the day with their name and wedding date.

The gold candelabras in the middle and sprinkles in the colour scheme tied it all together.

The weather forecast of torrential rain over Devon somehow missed us as  

guests (these handsome fellows are the Groom's sons and nephews) were able to spend the afternoon outside, playing croquet and tennis and drinking champagne.

The first dance kicked off the nights dancing and with the dulcet tones of 'the Soulman',

banging out 80's hit after 80's hit, the floor was always full. 

Guests were then treated to a wonderful rendition of 'At Last' by Etta James sung by the Bride to her Groom. He certainly seemed to enjoy it!

The Grease number 'You're the one that i want' ended the night on a high.

Ursula and Peter - i hope your married life is as colourful and bright and hilarious as your wedding weekend x

(Thank you to the wonderfully talented photographer Pete Cox for the more professional pics!)