Jubilee Fever

If you follow me on Twitter then you will know that I went a bit jubilee crazy.  With the Queen celebrating her 60th year on the throne, I took an extra day off from work and enjoyed five whole days of celebrating with my family.

On Friday afternoon, mum and I went into London to wander around (one of my favourite things to do).  We took a trip from Waterloo to Blackfriars Bridge to witness the biggest poster I have ever seen:

Whereas other countries often fly their flags (I see the American flag often shown on other blogs), the UK has a strange relationship with the St George Flag (English flag) and the Union Jack or Union Flag (the Great Britain flag).  Very rarely do you see them flown on buildings, unless a government building.  It has been lovely seeing bunting and flags and lots of red, white and blue adorning buildings in London.

Flags flying at Admiralty Arch.

And St James’s Park had the most stunning crown made from succulents:

I had bedecked the living room in red white and blue and took great pleasure in purchasing napkins, paper plates and cocktail sticks with flags on for a buffet tea which we had whilst watching the concert.  Oh yeah, and there was cake – tutorial and recipe on I Am Baker.

I went a bit crazy with the pom poms (just like the ones we did for Martha Mondays a year or so back).  I made big ones and small ones, tying the pom poms to garden sticks with the pipe cleaners.

Living so close to the River Thames meant that I got to see the boats getting into position before the pageant.  Mum and I stood by the Thames on Saturday morning and then walked along the towpath from Hammersmith to Putney to see more of the boats in the evening.

My view on the Jubilee:  Mainly, I loved it.  I loved the outpouring of love for the Queen and her family, I loved how Prince Charles spoke so beautifully about his mother and his absent father (Prince Philip was in hospital) at the concert and I thought that the whole event went very well.  The Queen was as gracious as ever and amazed by the crowds gathered.  The Mirror quoted her as saying ‘Look at all those people, Philip…look at them!’

There are great videos here:

Jubilee Pageant

Jubilee Concert Highlights

Thanksgiving Service

And it should go without being said, but I will declare that I am proud to be British and I loved having the opportunity to be so proud of my country and its history.

Did you see any of the celebrations on TV?

 

~ Pru

Clothespin Pinwheels & The Queen

My home is being bedecked in red, white and blue. I have always looked at my American friends with envy in July when everything is prettied-up with the national colours. But the Jubilee is rolling around the corner and so far I have made pompoms (small and large) and now pinwheels in red and blue.

I enjoyed this project chosen by Sara at Sassy Suppers. They are so whimsical. And I found that the card store had red and blue wrapping paper that had a white back so this was perfect.

I struggled slightly to get the drawing pin into the peg but it was so pleasing when they were done. They are currently brightening up the garden but I’m going to take then to the allotment to ward off the birds around the peas soon.

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I also wanted to share a couple of photos from last Tuesday. I took the afternoon off from work and mum and I headed to Richmond Park as the Queen was due to arrive in the afternoon. Friends, I saw the Queen! I have seen her once before, 23 years ago when I was only a nipper, and I barely remember so to see her now was remarkable.

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And even though the sky went from blue to black (and rain and hail) it was definitely worth it!

~ Pru

Merry Christmas

Morning!

Actually its evening as I type this.  I have taken to my bed and have the electric blanket warming me, as the West Wing (series seven) plays in the background.  I have twinkly lights on the garland that I made around my window and candles flickering away.  I’m starting to feel more and more festive.

I have enjoyed the last few weeks so much, lunches and dinners and chatting with friends and making time to say the things that I want to say all year around.  I love the time that Christmas gives to celebrate friendships and family.

Next week will be busy.  I’m working until Thursday evening and have fun things to look forward to, like a second Secret Santa lunch tomorrow, a trip to Harrods for a last minute gift, cocktails in town, and a few bits of baking still to be done.  Mum and I are still perusing the cookbooks and looking at ideas for buffet food which we do enjoy along with cheese and ham in the evening.  We have however started eating the Christmas cake that I made since the middle of the week and it is still soft and fruity and really, really good.

I am so pleased that I went with a green and white theme in my bedroom.  I have found it really calming but festive at the same time.  Do you like the garland?

The rest of the house is also decorated and we have changed things around this year with the garlands in different places this year, like along the stairs, and lights in the kitchen this year.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful start to 2012.  I’m going to be updating the site in between Christmas and the New Year and will be back with better posts from the beginning of 2012.  Thank you for visiting me here and for the kind comments that you have left me this year.  I have loved them all.

~ Pru

Glittered Pumpkins

Did I tell you that I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year? I have the day off as on the Friday mum and I are heading to Brussels for the weekend.  I’m perusing the Martha magazines and have already decided on the stuffing and I’m thinking of making whipped maple sweet potatoes.  I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and so what better way to celebrate than with a good dinner, and what will be the First Ever Roast Dinner I have ever cooked.  I’m pretty petrified.  It’s the timing that worries me.  But I think at my age its time to finally cook the dinner.

I hadn’t even started to think about decorations, but I now know that glittered pumpkins will form some of the decoration.  These are so pretty.  I have seen glittered pumpkins all over the blogosphere, but hadn’t thought to do them myself.  I am so pleased that Megan chose this as this week’s Martha Mondays project.  They are so easy to do.  I used a pumpkin that I had on my desk at work and was about to throw away (I used to think that pumpkins were for Halloween only).  And then I chose to do one of the gourds that we had grown at the allotment, and then my mum decided that two were not enough and so she went off to get more gourds, so we ended up with five in total.

When mum and I went to the Martha show nearly two years ago one of the giveaways was a 24 pack of glitter.  I have barely used it and was actually a little apprehensive about using the glitter on the pumpkin, but on I went.  I chose Fire Opal, Yellow Barite, Copper, Peridot and Carnelian.  I was surprised at how pretty the colours were and how fine the glitter was, and how little of it I actually used.  Which means, I’m already thinking up glittering projects for Christmas.  Yep, no fruit or vegetable is safe anymore!

 

~ Pru

Beef Bourguignon

It’s my pick for Martha Mondays and it fell on the weekend of my birthday, so I figured that I should pick some worthy of such an occasion!

Beef Bourguignon

I have loved the idea of cooking this dish for ages, but after seeing Julie & Julia I have wanted a good excuse to cook it.  For simplicity I chose the EveryDay Food’s version which can be found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/beef-bourguignon-edf

Here’s the thing though.  I don’t think it was any easier than any other stew recipe I have seen.  But boy it was good!

I took on board Julia Child’s direction not to crowd the mushrooms and to put the meat dry before cooking (two things that I didn’t know before and probably still wouldn’t have known).   And I stuck to the recipe except halving it all – we never have eight mouths to feed in this house.

Adding the mushrooms at the end of cooking. 

 Not the greatest photo I know (I only realised once I had eaten – and then it was too late).  We all enjoyed it in our house.  The gravy was thick and rich.  I will certainly be making this again.  I can’t wait to see everyone else’s results.

Looking Ahead

It is hard to believe that five days have already gone by.  In a flash.

My goals for 2011 are simple:

Redecorate my bedroom

I’m thinking of cream/gold walls, new bedding and maybe something special at the window.  I may also paint the shelves – possibly jade.  I’m not sure.  But certainly on a tightish budget with some handmade items too.

 

Cook more

I was so lucky to receive lots of cookbooks for Christmas including Tartine and Deserts by Pierre Herme.  Now it is time to cook from them.  And I also need to make more effort when I do cook ‘Aim Higher’ will be my mantra this year.

 

Celebrate more

 I turn 28 in a month’s time and I am already thinking about how I want to celebrate.  But I don’t just want to celebrate my birthday – I want to celebrate more day-to-day things. 

 

Watch the spending

 Turns out, I don’t need a grande latte most mornings or a new magazine once a week or a lot of the crap other things that I buy.  Time to curb the spending so that I can then afford the things I really need.

So, there they are.  I’m not mentioning health issues as this only sends me into a panic and then helps me no more than if I didn’t mention them.

What are your resolutions?

Christmas Wishes

 

Wow the month went fast!  I can’t believe that all the things on my list have been ticked off, presents have been wrapped, tagged and ribboned and the house is all decorated for Christmas. 

If all goes to plan we will wake up on Christmas Eve and walk Violet in the park and then grab some last minute things from the supermarket.  I am thinking it would be good to do a decent breakfast so bacon and scrambled eggs is on the menu.  Then a trip up into London for a walk along the Embankment (coffee in hand of course).  I am wondering if I can sneak into The Savoy for a quick look at the tree at the same time.  We will bring the presents down in the afternoon and as always we open one present and our family cards in the evening with a tea of crumpets and cakes.  Midnight mass will end what will hopefully be a perfect day.

With just the three of us, I am hoping for a nice relaxed day.  I can’t wait for present opening time after walking Violet and  a breakfast of fruit and croissants.  Our dinner will be curries (chicken, vegetable and fish) with all the extras.  And then more opening of presents and then hopefully relaxing with a good film. 

As I typed this, I was looking out the window at the snow covered green opposite, hoping for a white Christmas.  But snow or not, I am sure that Christmas will be perfect this year.

Merry Christmas everyone.  Thank you for your wonderful support this year.  I hope you have a great holiday.

Pru xx