Thursday, 21 November 2013

This weeks up cycle - cardigan lounge set for wee Bunny

This week has been the start of the real winter BRRRRRRRR'S, come 4:30pm the log burner is on at full blast and so are the cosy slacks.

For a while i've been searching for a super cosy, soft, quality and snuggly lounge set for the boys and especially little Arthur who has the most softest and sensitive skin, I did find a few, but I found was either £100 plus, utter dross or even worse, the unbreathable sweat inducing cheapo onsie's!

So I decided to make my own for them, starting today with a set for Bunny (Arthur). I found a wonderfuly soft and cosy cardigan in a charity shop, it was a ladies size 14, after a thorough launder  I rearranged the arms into trousers with an elastic waist and the front and back into a little cardigan with a blanket stitched neckline, hey presto Thursday's up cycle!

He seems to love it, I offered to change him for dinner and he point blank refused... so I'm guessing thumbs up all round!

I'm thinking of making a few more, starting with Archie's over the weekend, i have a super soft grey marl cashmere cardigan with his name written all over it!

Claire x

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Visiting Padstow - Rick Stein's seafood restaurant and vintage treasure!

While on our travels in sunny Cornwall we took a day trip to Padstow, it was a little soggy but as always oh so worth it... if you ever get the chance to visit Padstow please please treat your self to a long lunch at Rick Stein's Seafood restaurant, i first visited The Seafood restaurant with my brother in-law a few years ago (he and i sharing a mutual love for seafood) we ordered 2 glasses of champagne and the "Fruits de mer", people around us sighed and "aaaaaaahed" thinking we where celebrating an engagement or anniversary...this was more then a little awkward seeing as i value him as close as a blood relative but it was worth the moment or two of blushing! Have you ever tasted the true taste of the ocean? A collection of freshly caught sea creatures arranged perfectly on ice in the form of a towering volcano! A party to my senses.... I will always remember that lunch as one of the best 2 hours spent eating amazing food and sipping bubbles in my life!

On our way home we passed a vintage warehouse called Goose shed, nearly causing Adam cardiac arrest as I screamed STOOOOOOOP he did a perfect emergency stop and off i skipped towards a magnificently arranged display of vintage architecture and home wares.

Set over 2 floors Goose shed is a haven for a vintage home ware lover (thats me!) There's quite a masculine and industrial feel about the shop and everything's extreamly tactile you do find yourself smoothing dresser tops, opening draws and turning taps on reclaimed bathroom sinks.
With so much of their time quite obviously spent over each item cleaning, restoring and shabby chic'ing the price does reflect to popular belief and possibly because i am on a TV show called Superscrimpers, I'm NOT cheap.....i don't buy something because its cheap and i don't scrimp on quality, if i have to pay the right price because something is worth it i will...and this collection by the Goose shed is one of those places where quality really shows its self and you will be damed if you can find anything like any of there wonderful pieces anywhere in an antique shop or online auction site for any less! I very nearly came home with a stunningly cute feather filled vintage sofa and if i'd won the roof box debate Adam and I had before we set off for St. Ives we would have lobbed all of our clothes up top and i'd be coming home with a beautiful new bottom rester.  Needless to say I didn't win and I didn't come home with a new amazingly comfortable and chic sofa....Darn!

Take a visit to Goose shed's website or if you're passing pop in, so worth a look and i'll certainly be visiting next time we head down to Cornwall....WITH a roof box.

Claire x

Monday, 4 November 2013

Our half term break in St Ives

We celebrated Archie's first half term in our most favourite place in the world, St Ives, we flock down to our not so secret little hidy whole every year,  Number 2 the saltings, a wonderful little converted Fish cellar on Porthmeor beach. We have gathered so many wonderful and happy memories over the years and hope to carry on doing so for as long as the little fish cellar will have us!

You will find us Gay's mostly larking somewhere along Porthmeor beach, with rosy wind slapped cheeks and wellies full to the brim with sand, sometimes possibly looking little vexed due to the children insisting on diving fully clothed head first into the sea.... But non the less we are terribly happy there....... Nothing a quick wash in the kitchen sink and a change of clothes can't fix!

If you ever get the chance to visit St Ives, and if you haven't I strongly recommend you give it a whirl, spend a day strolling along it's beautifully cobbled streets and popping in and out of its vast number of galleries and vintage shops, you wont be dissapointed.

THE place to eat and sip coffee in St Ives is at The hub, its super cool decor and ubre trendy staff attract an array of coffee and craft beer lovers, its major plus is that it's child and dog friendly too, we visit nearly every day for a pre beach coffee and cake boost (try their divine lemon drizzle cake) or a post windy walk late lunch, i can highly recommend their devilishly good baked eggs with possibly a side of beans and burned ends, and maybe a mug of chilli each for the smalls..... a must if visiting.

I always feel a little wave of sadness upon leaving St Ives but happy to know we will be back soon.

Until next time Porthmeor! x

Friday, 18 October 2013

Toffee apples

Autumn means to me, beautiful scenery, puffs of smoke leaping out of chimney tops, woolly jumpers, crunchy leaves, morning mist and my favourite treat....TOFFEE APPLES!

Seeing the first pile of toffee apples teetering high on a shop shelf means the season has finally changed...I tuck my bikini and flip flops safely to bed and drag out my hoards of knitwear.....Let the cold commence!

Making your own delicious toffee apples is super easy and can be knocked up in under an hour, pop then in a picnic hamper and you will be dearly thanked on long autumn walk they are also a great way to keep the older children going long after bed time on bonfire night!

For this recipe you will need a sugar thermometer, you can buy these from any good hardware store, cook shop or supermarket and cost between 5 and 10 pounds.


6-8 Apples Braeburn or Discovery work best
100g Golden caster sugar
120g Demerara sugar
25g Butter
100ml water
2 tbsp Golden syrup
1 tsp Cider vinegar


Wash the apples thoroughly under very hot running water then dry with a clean towel.
Push a lolly stick or wooden kebab stick (sharp end removed) into the middle through the stalk end.
Line a baking sheet or a tray with parchment paper and lightly butter the surface of the paper.

Place a heavy bottomed pan, try and use a high sided pan if possible, over a low heat and tip in the golden caster sugar, the dermerara sugar and water, after the sugar has completely melted stir in the cider vinegar, golden syrup and butter. Pop the thermometer into the pan and bring the mixture to the boil and cook without stirring until it reaches 150 degrees celsius (hard cracking point) this will take a good 20 ish minuets but keep an eye on it, toffee burns really quickly if left.

Once you have reached 150 degrees celsius remove the pan from the heat and tilt the pan to one side. dip and swirl your apples until coated well then pop them on the baking sheet, allow to cool thoroughly before taking that first crunch!

To wrap them I simply cut squares out of some parchment paper and tied with a sandwich bag wire you could use a ribbon.


                                                                         Claire x x x

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Salted Pistachio Praline

My husband adores sweet and salty flavours together, his all time favourite treat is the salted peanut ice cream they make and sell at  Sundae's child, the most amazing ice cream parlour at the end of our street. 

This morning i made Adam a little bag of sweets to take to work tomorrow... something to munch on as an afternoon pick me up (but I'm pretty certain they will be gone before his morning meeting)

This is an extremely delicious, quick and easy recipe, about 15 mins from start to a little cooling time


150g Salted roasted pistachios, shells off and roughly chopped
5tbsp water
200g Granulated sugar
A handful or 2 of sesame seeds

Line a baking tray with some silicone paper

Pop a dry frying pan on medium heat and chuck in the sesame seeds, they will brown within a min or 2 so keep an eye on them, as soon as they start turning a light golden colour they are done, empty them out of the pan onto a plate and pop to one side

Heat the water and sugar in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat, slowly bring to the boiled allowing the sugar to dissolve, then raise up heat so it starts to bubble, it will turn an amber colour, don't stir the mixture but swirl the pan from time to time so that the sugar colours evenly.

Chuck in the nuts and sesame seeds and cook for another min, stirring so that everything is coated in the wonderful glossy sugar.

Pour onto the baking tray staying untempted to pop any in your mouth until it has cooled... I learned the hard way once...YOWSERS..... and leave to cool. 

Once cooled break into pieces and store in an airtight container

Enjoy x x x

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Im not sure wether this is "normal" but I feel a huge rush of excitement fill my brain whenever my eyes catch a glimpse of a stuffed full skip!

Allot of the furniture in our house has at some point in its life been in and dragged out of a skip of some sort and either cleaned up or up cycled.

I've found amazing treasures, like my latest find, this AMAZING chesterfield leather armchair, found simply but stumbling across a skip full of someones unwanted junk (as my mum always says, one mans junk is another mans treasure) 

So, there are some unwritten rules to skip diving, you can't just go jumping in your nearest giant bin in the hope of finding a pot of gold!...Here are my 3 rules, these should keep out on the right side of your neighbour and the law!

1) Don't go out actively looking for a skip or house clearance, chances are you won't find any, keep your new found hobby loitering at the back of your mind ready to expect the unexpected waiting around any corner.

2) ASK,ASK, ASK, ALWAYS ASK! The person who the skip belongs to may not want you digging around there old belongings, although chances are if you tap on there door and ask very nicely with a smile you'll get the nod.

3) Wear boots and gloves, I keep wellys and thick gloves in my car...not just for moments like this.....You never know when you will need them living in these 'ear parts..... Flip flops or Toms are not a great way to protect your pedicure from shards of glass or worse!

Lastly don't forget to share with your friends, you never know when they will return the favour. Skip diving may not be for you, and thats totally fine, saves all the treasure for me!!! 

x x x  

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Chocolate and beetroot brownies

When I was a wee squirt of a girl I HATED beetroot, I thought They.Were.The.Pits…. along with the noted and certified child hater brussel sprouts, I would not touch the things……alas time has passed and I hear my former self heaving with horror as I regularly tuck in to those delicious scarlet and emerald gems without a care for my scouring and disgusted inner teen.
I had a hoard of beetroot left over from last week, we were out all weekend so I didn’t get the chance to shove them in a roasting tin with a rib of beef and I’m certainly not one to rebel against tradition and have a roast on any other day then a Sunday…….so, come Tuesday my little basket of crimson baubles where going dangerously soft and needed using up fast!  
Their saviour came in the form of a bar of dark chocolate I had kicking about at the back of the cupboard and some well out of their sell by date and slightly too hard to cut vanilla pods that needed to be used before they came more of a hardened weapon then divine treat… Chocolate beetroot brownies….oh yes please, these will not only leave you satisfied with a giant chocolate slap, but, being wheat free and lighter in your belly will also NOT leave you longing for a brownie induced nap.
*To prepare your beetroot for this recipe you will need to nip the leave off of your fresh beetroot, the chuck them into a pan of water, bring to the boil and let simmer for about 45-50 mins, drain and leave to cool then using rubber gloves slip the skins off*

200g dark chocolate cubed
200g unsalted butter, plus a smidge more for greasing
300g beetroot, cooked and finely grated
3 eggs
1 vanilla pod
200g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
50g rice flour
I teaspoon baking powder
100g ground almonds



Lightly grease and line a rectangular tin that is about 30 x 20 cm (ish) then pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4.
Pop the butter and chocolate into a heat proof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water, allowing it to blissfully melt, make sure the water isn’t touching the bowl, then remove from the heat.
Put your grated beetroot into another bowl and add the eggs one at a time and then the sugar, cut your vanilla pod down the middle lengthways and using the back of the knife to scrape seeds of of the middle add to the bowl and mix well.
Sift the rice flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into another bowl (sorry for the washing up!) then mix in the ground almonds.
Stir the beetroot mixture into the melted chocolate mixture then carefully fold in the dry ingredients.
Pour the mixture into your baking tin and pop it in the oven for 35 – 40 mins, until it is just firm to the touch. Remember that brownies are supposed to be gooey in the middle so when you insert a skewer it will come out quite sticky…..just makes it all the more glorious!
Let it cool in the tin the cut into giant glutinous squares.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lemon and Earl Grey Shortbread

This is a MUST if you love Shortbread with a cuppa, it's all in one! Result!

I came up with this recipe after being inspired by someone i saw using bagged tea in cakes....I have to admit, it's divine, so gloriously subtle it's almost quite dainty!


175g/6oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
55g/2oz caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
115g/4oz butter, chopped into chunks
2 Earl Grey tea bags, tear open the bags to remove the tea, discard the paper bags.... I used Twining's
Unwaxed lemon zest, finely grated


Pre heat oven to 150'C/300'F/Gas mark 2.

Grease a 20cm (ish) tart or cake tin (TIP.... I keep a knob of real butter in my fridge so it's nice and hard, makes it so much easier and less messy to grease a tin and when you're done just lob it back in the fridge for next time).

Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, Earl Grey tea and grated lemon zest in a bowl, then rub in the butter, mix until it forms a soft dough, don't over work the dough or your end result will be like you're chewing on an eraser!

Press the dough into the greased tin, if you're not using a tart tin maybe use a fork to make imprints around the edges to make it look fancy pants.

Mark eight pieces with a knife and prick all over with a fork.

Pop in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the shortbread is firm and just coloured.

Leave it to cool a little in the tin then sprinkle with caster sugar. Cut the portions then remove and leave to completely cool on a wire rack.


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Paper heart garland, superscrimper style!


I showed this on Channel 4s Superscrimpers and also while I was hosting a talk at The ideal home show, they where shown as Christmas decorations but Truth be told, these adorable paper hearts are for all year round and I currently have my kitchen wall teaming with the beauty's, and the joy is, they take 5 minuets to make but look super complicated and you in turn super crafty and smart..... WINNER!

Here's what I did.

Cut 6 strips out of you some pretty paper (I used pages from an old dog eaten/unreadable book) you need to cut 2 of them at 12cm x 2cm, 2 at 10cm x 2cm and 2 at 8cm x 2cm.
Take some string that's about 15cm (ish) and fold it in half (making a loop)
now you need to make a sandwich with your string and paper, so, take your two 12cm strips and sandwich them either side of your string making sure the middle of the looped string is at the top of the strips and the cut ends of string are running towards the middle of the strips of paper.
 IMPORTANT...if you are using paper with writing on it, the writing needs to be upside down at this the top is effectively the bottom.....gettit!
now take your 2 10cm pieces and sandwich them either side of the 12cm strips, making sure the strips and string are all level at the top.
then finally make a sandwich with the 2 8cm strips.
grab a staple and clip the layers together, make sure your nice and firm so the string doesn't fall out!
NEARLY FINISHED! Now flip it over and pull down the 2 8cm strips so the ends meet together, then the 10cm strips, then the 12cm strips, making sure the ends are held together and lined up neatly like a deck of cards! Clip together with a staple.
give it a little jig and pull and your DONE! if my instructions are any good they will look like the picture above!
You can tie tonnes of them onto a long length of string and smirk with smirky smugness when your friends ponder with glee at your hand crafted garland......"oooh your so crafty arn't you" *side eyes*

Till next time x x