Monthly Archives: May 2012

Lemon Drizzle Cake – Straight from the garden

Our little lemon tree at the bottom of the garden has been working over time and has produced an abundance of  fruit. Probably not surprising given the amount of rain that we seem to have had in Sydney recently.  So in homage to the lemon tree and the rain I thought I would make best use of the fruit and bake a home made lemon drizzle cake….so simple and yummy.

(lemons from my garden)

Lemon Drizzle Cake


225g Unsalted butter (softened)

225g Caster sugar

4 Eggs

Finely grated zest of one lemon

225g Self raising flour

For the Drizzle topping…...

Juice of one and a half lemons

85g Caster sugar


Heat the oven to 180 degree C (160 if you have a fan assisted oven)

Beat together the sugar and butter until pale and creamy.

Add the eggs, one at a time…slowly mixing through…

Sift in the flour.

Mix in the Lemon Zest

Pour mixture into a lined / greased loaf tin and level the top with a spoon.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling mix together the sugar and the lemon juice.  Prick the cake all over with a fork whilst still warm and pour over the drizzle mixture.  The nice will sink into the cake and the sugar will create a really nice tangy crust.  Leave to completely cool in the tin…. put on the kettle and serve up a slice or two for afternoon tea!

And hey presto…here is one I prepared earlier……….let me know how you go!!

…On with the colourful journey…….


Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Australia, Recipes, Uncategorized


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Polly Put The Kettle On – Teapot Style


True to my English roots I would say I am rather partial to a cuppa, I never really enjoyed coffee so I am not too good on the best coffee houses in town, and to be honest could not tell the difference between a flat white, or a soy cappuccino with extra froth or a macchiato. Now give me a Gun Powder Green or a Rooibos and I am your girl.

I have always had the philosophy that a good chin wag over a cuppa solves everything, you can have a good chat and put everything into perspective over a large pot of freshly brewed tea.  In fact I reckon that world wars could have been solved if the leaders just sat down with a pot of English Breakfast or Lapsang Souchong and a couple of shortbreads!!! (well maybe that is pushing it…. but you get my drift.)

Anyway….moving on from my world peace strategic plan (I am sure that the UN will be calling me in very shortly!)…. I thought it would be fun to have a little look at the world of tea and interiors….



UK wallpaper company Mr Perswall has these quirky kettle print wallpaper which are perfect for the trend of adding wallpaper with a little retro quirkiness into your kitchen… teamed up with a little blackboard paint these would make a really fun and funky kitchen.Mr Perswall  incidentally has a great interactive website to allow you to tailor the colours of the wallpapers, change the sizes of the images or  completely design your own.

…or maybe a more subtle suggestion of the teapot in the kitchen through these tea towels from Flower Press at Earthgirlfabrics, “Topsy Turvey Teapot” by Kathy Mellor

    'Topsy Turvey Teapots' tea towel from Kathy Mellor

…or this Elly Oak tea bowl from The Hand Made Store…. Too good to use? why not frame them up….

Oatmeal Linen Tea Towel - Pink Teapot

…..Snuggle up on the sofa……

………with these cushions from Tasmanian textile designer Tara Badcock…..

source the teacosyrevolution

Think outside the lightswitch……

….and upcycle grans old crockery into this fantastic light fitting…see my guide here.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.ussource…

or look at copycat crafts blog for a how to on making this lamp….

Make an Upcycled Teapot Lamp

 …or if you are not quite game enough to make yourself then take a look at french designer Gilles Eichenbaum‘s up cycled teapot collection…

In the Garden

The perfect spot to grow some herbs or delicate little flowers perhaps…..


…or get cosy with a cuppa after a long hard day or weeding with these biodegradable hesian cushion covers from Felt in New Zealand…….


Shelving the idea……

Pay homage to the humble teapot…..using varying shades of the same theme or colour….. or all white…
Love it lovemidori: Vintage teapot collection! Peg, drools~
….or my favourite more styled collection, perhaps you could tell a story of where the teapot came from coupling tea pots from india with indian fabrics and prints…….. So how do you take your tea?????
Coco Rochas' Teapot Collection

teapots & books--the perfect librarysource pinterest

…ok so below is more milk jug than tea pots (still loosely linked), but how striking does the white ceramic look against the dark background…..

If all else fails just remember……………..

on with the colourful journey………..

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Paper and Patience – Helen Musselwhite

There is something about the texture, colours and thickness of paper, which combined with a high level of skill and patience can be turned into something so very beautiful.  The intricate “paper sculptures” of UK artist and illustrator Helen Musselwhite certainly do not disappoint in this regard.  I cannot imagine the hours that go into each one of these pieces……, not to mention the steady and delicate hand!!!!

“Each piece combines the hand cutting, folding and scoring of a wide range of papers and card that are further worked on to create patterned and textured surfaces. They are then used to build scenes in box frames which are often complex and consist of many layers. This process means that each item of work is truly individual with no two pieces the same.Influenced by the natural world each piece is manipulated to become an intriguing place, a glimpse into another world of fiction and fairytale.”

You can purchase pieces from her website which is well worth a look or you can commission pieces.

All White

I love the all white pieces which rely on the shadow to bring them to life…………


….Bunnies in the Valleys….

Something for the children’s room…..

“Owl Town” is one of Helen’s more recent collection, very whimsical and playful…you can just imagine all the little characters of the owls…

…..but I think “Midnight Foxes” and “Beauties Butterfly” below are my favourites……How about you??

Glass Domes and Wedding Bells

For those of you planning a wedding, the glass domes below would be perfect for a centre piece at a wedding table, they will certainly last longer than a flower display, and would create the perfect talking piece.

On with the colourful journey………………….


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Plate Up

plate rack with cath Kidston and vintage plates

If you are looking for an idea to cover up the walls, or make a statement then look no further than your dinner plate.  If you are struggling with the diet then why not take away the vessel that holds all that keeps you from loosing those couple of extra pounds and relocate it to another use…. below are a few simple ideas to inspire….


A headboard with a difference ( although you need to place them a little higher than your head as you may be wearing your dinner plates during the night!)

Not just for the adult rooms, choosing colours to match you child’s room will also work well….just like the picture below, you can even mix it up with a bit of typography, by adding letter in the mix or even adding them to the plates themselves!.

The Kitchen

If you are struggling for cupboard space to store your best china then why not display it on the kitchen walls…. or use it to frame a window…..

You don’t just have to stick to the French shabby chic look….. below they have used brightly coloured retro plates to give a fresh vibrant retro look to a more modern style kitchen….

Colour Blocking

You can use the plates to accent one or two particular colours which match your room, whether it be a subtle and neutral white…….

…or if you are feeling a little blue……..

……..Or a little citrus zing……..


You can use it to showcase the things that you love, or your interests…. from a floral rose collection…..

…or inspiration and collections from your travels…..

…your love for wildlife, flora and fauna…….

Putting your words on your plate…

Use typography to say it on a plate…..

 …….you could put the alphabet on plates to circle the top of the walls in a childs room…. Such as Just Noey alphabet plates below

 Or for something a little bit different….Faking Plates

Whilst the following picture isn’t exactly plates… they have used fabric remnants and stretched them into embroidery rings.  The perfect way to use up old pieces of fabric, or get in a bit of up cycle to cover up the walls.  You could change the fabrics to suit your bedroom, stairwell or your children’s room…. love it, so simple!

If clutter is not your thing and you prefer the picture rather than the dusting then Netherlands based Studio Ditte have launched a range of porcelain plate wallpaper….. possible best used in small amounts…. but you would never have to worry about chipping your walls!!! And the wallpaper is washable!!! It is also available at Lark Store.


…. or these laser cut plates the ultimate in up cycling those plates which are beyond repair….. from Blue Missy
or these wall plates by Chik Design….The plates are ceramic plates cut with water jet…..
Hummingbird Plate Butterfly Plate Pear Tree Plate

Did you ever think that the humble dinner plate could be such a Styling tool??? …………..On with the colourful journey.


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Star spotting with a difference…..Glamping it up

Star Gazing – By Charlotte Bird

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star How I wonder where you are”…. As a child never was there a greater adventure than pulling out a tent and sleeping under the stars in the back yard.  Sticking a torch under your chin and telling ghost stories till you were too scared to sleep.  Convinced that the neighbours cats fighting is a wild beast akin to something from the book “Where the Wild Things Are” about to come and eat you and your midnight snacks, sending you scuttling back indoors…..but you were a brave adventurer for at least a couple of hours!!!

 Well it would seem that this childhood adventure doesn’t just stop in the back yard, and I am not talking about a simple tent in a designated park, or a caravan by the sea. I am talking about the new wave of five star outdoor luxury hotel “spaces” under the stars….. But be warned… to be a brave adventurer once again these do not come with a bargain price tag, but hey there is nothing wrong with a bit of blog daydreaming!!!!

Blue Mountains Private Safari’s

Starting closer to home “Blue Mountains Private Safaris provides an exclusive wilderness experience on Sydney’s doorstep. With access to a unique private campsite, your specialist safari guide knows the secret spots to find the wildlife and to explore the gorges and escarpments of the southern Blue Mountains. Sleep out in ‘Wild Bush Luxury’ in a traditional Australian swag but with a touch of style to add to your bush experience.”
Just like a five star hotel there is a choice of pillow and hot water, albeit in the bucket shower!  With the main focus of the hotel being on living with the wildlife, that is exactly what you get, forget an early morning alarm call, you get a dawn chorus from the kookaburras, or a kangaroo that has come down to the river bank to drink in the evening.  Ghost stories around the camp fire are an optional extra!!!
                     Eco en-suite  Lunch setting


Next Star Spotting point is perhaps not so obvious, this is a little James Bond…. you see it looks like your average Italian Villa ( well perhaps not so average!! but you know what I mean!), but as with Mr Bond looks can be deceptive….

L’Albereta in Erbusco, Lombardy, Italy, is Industrialist Vittorio Moretti family’s Relais & Châteaux hotel in the hills of Franciacorta.  The hotel has the Cabriolet Suite, which is situate in the tower facing Lake Iseo, as well as being surrounded by vineyards your “midnight feast”is prepared by the great Milanese chef Gualtiero Marchesi. (What about the vegemite sandwiches?) ……….. All great I hear you say,  but where are the stars????   Well fear not,,,,,,Press a button and the roof above the bed opens to the heavens. During the annual Perseid meteor shower (known here as the tears of San Lorenzo), the suite is particularly sought after: Legend has it that for every falling star, a wish will be granted. But the sky is beautiful anytime, and the nights can be full of the perfume of wild roses, jasmine, and gardenias…. I think if I made it for a night here my wish would have already been granted!!!

Kenya – Loisaba Wilderness Resort

Bag to the real rugged outdoors are “Koija” Star Beds and are part of an exciting new joint venture project that Loisaba has undertaken in partnership with the Laikipiak Maasai people from the Koija community.

Star beds at Loisaba

 Each Star Bed is handcrafted with awooden raised platform, and partially covered with a thatched roof. Homemade “Mukokoteni” (uniquely designed bed on wheels), can either be wheeled onto the open deck area for a night under the stars, or left under the shelter of the roof.The Star Beds are normally reached by one of many options; on foot, horse, camel or vehicle. There you go you do not get that at the Holiday Inn
 Star Beds
Spectacular sunset from one of our Star Beds

Lion Sands Resorts

A unique treehouse was built at the original site where Guy Aubrey Chalkley had climbed into the trees and set up camp to escape from predators roaming the plains below. The treehouse is a secure bush bedroom under the African stars, with all the comforts that a guest can experience at a five star safari lodge.

Guests are taken to the treehouse at sunset, where drinks and a delicious picnic dinner await them. They then enjoy the hours of African dusk relaxing and absorbing the beauty and sounds of the bushveld as it transforms from day to night, before turning in for slumber beneath the stars. As dawn breaks, guests are collected by their ranger for a morning game drive, followed by a delicious bush breakfast at one of the many animal and bird hides.

Star gazing for grown ups… getting the look….

Well for those of us who would like a little it of this at home….or in the Bush, here are a few romantic….although not necessarily practical ideas.  For those afraid of the bugs and the elements you may need to stick to the good old purpose made canvas…. Perhaps these ideas are more for a themed luncheon or afternoon tea…. but hey they look good (source apartment


A good use for those old sheets, just make sure those candles are citronella!!!….


I am not sure how the electric supply runs through to the lamp, and just make sure you do not roll off the edge in your sleep!!! ( health and safety may be an issue here – you may need a life saver vest!)



Hammock + string lights

If the bugs are all a little too much…. then why not bring the stars inside…..


The stars are made from wallpaper. Calming bedroom color.

Sweet Dreams…..on with the colourful journey………..


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Upcycle the Bicycle

Birdcycle by Methane Studios

As a kid I would spend hours cycling around the countryside of Cambridgeshire, then I found university and I fear the hills of Exeter meant that my bike would make it the four hour journey  from home tied to the back of the car….and at the end of term the four hour journey back (and yes may dad loves to tell that story, I am sure it even formed part of his wedding speech as father of the bride).  I had many an intention of beginning again when I got to Sydney and whilst it has graced a couple of circuits around Centennial Park, I fear it is gaining more antique status than mileage.  Every time I go with the intention to get out of the car and onto the saddle, that damn flat tyre just does not seem to fix itself!!!

So to reignite my passion for my two wheeled friend, I thought I would look at the ways in which the humble cycle, can become dare I say UpCycled!!


Benjamin Bullins is a New Orleans designer who loves to create new out of the old, his bathroom stand below could basically be the ultimate in “up cycle”, with the basket doubling up as the perfect towel rack.

Bathroom Design 01 Mixed Media

….or park it under the table perhaps…..
bicycle table / wheels glass / modern design / workspace workplace studio by jeanne
I also love the use of this bike in a Melbourne stationary store called Melbornalia.
DSC04027 800x532 HOT: Melbournalia Home, Level 1 Rear 126 Franklin St, Melbourne
 Or you could take some inspiration from Marin Camille and illuminate your room, with a be”spoke” (i know really bad pun) light fixture.

…..Go back to nature and make it into a planter for herbs or spring flowers…..
10 Incredible Ways to Upcycle a Bicycle ...
bicycle container garden

 Keep as a Cycle

For those who, prefer to keep the bicycle as god intended…… know for that exercise or transport purpose…..yet have limited space to store a bike, why not make it part of the art work. I suspect you would need to be pretty tall to reach the ones below, but at least you would get a little extra exercise up and down the ladder!
…or incorporate a dual purpose shelf to hold up your bike, such as this purpose built storage rack specifically for apartments.
rack bicycle Bicycle Storage Racks in Apartments

….. and don’t be upset if you like the planter idea, one clever spark has come up with a special planter just for your cycle…. so you can have the best of both worlds, with the wearable planter… not sure this will be a winner in the Tour de France but you never know (available on!!!.

Sunshine Yellow Bike Planter

Accents of Le Bicycle

And for those who prefer the “concept” rather than the “actual”…..

Chase and Wonder is a UK company who have taken the cycling concept to a new height with their”he rides above it cushion” and matching print.

Image of "He Rides Above it" 45cm x 45cm Cushion Image of Ride Above It

Ever wonder what to do with all of those inner tubes that burst from the overuse of your bikes??? Yes ok I have one burst inner tube which maybe I will get around to fixing one day, but the ingenious designers at the Foreign Accent Rug Store have won the 2011 Red Dot award for the initiative of recycling them into a rug which can be used inside or out….

Stuff the house….what about me…..

Australian company Polli have these very cute and very affordable necklaces in Penny Farthing and Tandem bike styles….

What ever you decide… just remember…….

On with the colourful journey….. just need to fix that puncture!!!


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Out of the Chicken Coop – Lisa Neimeth

Lisa Neimeth – source

In a converted chicken coop in the heart of San Francisco, Lisa Neimeth, together with her desire to create a useable piece of artwork, creates beautiful one of a kind hand made table ware.

The above bowl is a green cereal bowl… but I have to say that I think this is a little too special to put my cornflakes in!!

A Little Background……..

After a career change from social work and urban planning, and a couple of children along the way, Lisa followed her passion for clay, studying ceramics in college, as well as studying with Native American Potters. Lisa also uses her knowledge through her community development roots to absorb influences from a wide variety of her home land cultures and neighbourhoods.

“Everything inspires me. I am constantly taking note of colors in nature, food, in magazines, newspapers, fashion, street art and graffiti and love seeing colors put together unexpectedly. Traveling has been a big influence on my work as it heightens your observation skills and offers opportunities to experience things in a new way. I have traveled extensively to Mexico, Central and South America-infusing my vision with the collecting of folk art, perusing ancient indigenous sites and wonderful age old traditions of pottery.”

You just have to have a look at Lisa’s blog to see that these influences and shapes come through from everything and anywhere.

 “I get to travel a little bit each day to new neighborhoods with new people, sights, smells and images. I bank these images which often wind up on a plate. I have always been a collector- flea markets, the beach, the woods, the street , second hand shops, the desert–basically I am always on alert to pick up an object anywhere. The vintage objects I use a lot include broken off pieces from old tourist toys that one may have purchased early in the 20th century in Mexico- an old plaster bird or just an arm from a doll. I love to use old figurines-known as Charlottes who were used as good luck charms baked into cakes-whoever got the slice had a year of good luck! I also use a lot of found natural objects-textured branches, pods, berries, bones..I’ll press anything into a piece of clay and see how it looks!”


Lisa now has a new rang at Anthropologie which are available online.  Anthropologie, in an effort to show case more American artists into their constantly changing array of offerings, commissioned Lisa to do several different tableware pieces for select stores. With each of the nearly 600 pieces being made by hand Lisa classed herself as a “one woman plate making machine!!”  This means that although the designs are the same their unique handmade status means there are truly no two pieces that are a like, they are truly one of a kind.

Artful Dinner Plate, Striated Earth Artful Dinner Plate, Upward Blooms Red Ring Platter

Artful Dinner Plate, Perched Birds Artful Dinner Plate, Right Angles Leaf & Wing Serving Bowl

On with the colourful journey………….


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