2010 - 2011

There was to be a look back at the year post, where we would recount tales from all the things that happened, but you know, because you were there with us.

and if you weren't, well stick around for 2011, it has the promise of being a fine year.

Also it is because i am up to eyeballs in juniper and thyme dumplings.

I am even getting out the fancy china tonight, Orla Kiely has nothing on Myott's "Malaga" collection.

Do you have resolutions? Mine list is long, be more organised, do more exercise, wear more hats - the usual things. I also intend to make time to be more creative in a non-floral way. I have stocked up on film for my camera collection, and dusted off the charcoals and watercolours.

and then there is the book. It is coming this year, quite soon.....

May your year in 2011 be full of happiness and the odd gin.


Do we have any marscapone?

said The Captain at 5.30pm on Christmas Day

"Of course we do!" Said The Mother Hen, somewhat indignant that her husband would call into question the contents of her Christmas larder.

The Mother Hen is Margot. Christmas comes in a van. Fast forward to 6 min 50 secs.

The marscapone was for the seafood dressing, an unusual and delicious inclusion from a recipe The Captain sourced.

Then The Other Miss Pickering delighted us with a Salted caramel chocolate tart. The recipe for which she has kindly given me. Be warned it is addictive, and you will need some strong espresso to go with.

175g Plain flour
15g Icing sugar
90g Salted butter, chilled and cubed
1 Egg yolk

300g Golden caster sugar
250ml Double cream
200g Salted butter
150g Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
¼ tsp Sea salt

Make the pastry,line a tart tin and bake blind.
Heat the sugar and a tablespoon of water in a pan and heat without stirring until it turns amber.
Add of the 200ml double cream, stir in 175g of the butter and simmer for a few minutes.
Pour into the pastry case and chill.
Melt the chocolate and remaining cream and butter in a pan, pour over the tart and sprinkle on the sea salt.
Chill for a few hours.

What of the turkey? Well, it is now residing in the freezer along with the bread sauce, 3 different types of stuffing, the pudding and various other accompaniments.

We will do Christmas when all family members are well and not residing in an Isolation ward. The importance of family has never been more prominent.

Like a court jester, The Hound raised spirits by donning a number of outfits. There are more.


Like a flower

waiting to bloom
Like a light bulb in a dark room
I'm just sitting here waiting for you
To come home and turn me on.

Garlands and table centres.

If "finding the time to take decent enough photographs of Christmas flowers" was a GCSE subject.

I would get a C+ an improvement on last year, but could try harder.

Was it wonderful? Did you get presents?


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

To each and everyone of you.

From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and supporting us throughout 2010.

Love as always

Miss P. and The Boy Wonder

We'll be back with garlands and flowers later, you haven't heard the last of us in 2010 just yet.



'Twas a few days before Christmas

and Miss P. and The Boy Wonder were busying themselves with weddings and making garlands, and eating chestnuts, and chocolate, and marshmallows, and toast, and cake. When it is minus outside the calorific value of all food is halved.

The wreath was of course for Mr Naylor the flower farmer.

The poodles? Well once upon a time Mr Naylor made comment on the sport that is competitive dog grooming, and Poodle Pam took umbrage, quite a lot of umbrage as it happens.


A Christmas wreath for a blogger

It's a Christmas Quiz.

Which "blogger" did i make this festive decoration for?

74 bonus points for knowing the significance of the poodles.


Christmas chez Miss P. and a call from America

I get my fill of spruce at the shop. Home is a calm oasis.

Fairy lights in the trees by the bed, and some old roses in a Coronation mug. That's all, the only room in the house that ever get's used at this time of year.

Making something for myself is just another thing to do

The blond blur in the 3rd image is none other than The Hound. A Hound with a belly full of 500g of the finest Serrano ham purchased from the Spanish food stall on the market.

I could have cried, he had obviously very carefully unwrapped the wax paper and feasted whilst my back was turned.

Just as the tears were welling, the phone rang, it was Small but Charming Jane, all the way from Virginia in the U.S of A. Can you imagine? She rang to say "chin up" "keep going" I was bowled over, completely bowled over. Now i know what she sounds like.

Friendship is the most marvellous of things.


The thick and thin of it all

Skinny wreaths the size of hula hoops, an adaptation of the original pink peppercorn and spanish moss number.

Thick wreaths dripping with all manner of edible things for The Stamford Hen. Orange slices, chillis and toadstools......

Also our pails of hyacinth have been given an super Christmassy scattering of snowflakes.

A glimpse of the chaos

Urns are filled to bursting with berries, spruce, and eucalyptus. The scent of pine, cinnamon, paper whites and hyacinth is intoxicating.

Chilli peppers and our old friend Rosa Rannuncular are firm favourites.

I keep gazing at the potted jasmines, the white pots, green moss and delicate trails of scented flower are an oasis of calm.

and the mistletoe has arrived by the crate load.

I am powered by adrenalin, i keep saying yes.

A 6ft garland by Saturday? Of course.

We will be open everyday now until Christmas, The Hound is readying the camp beds.


Fairy lights

Mother nature styley

Eating like a celebrity

They are always banging on about staying thin by eating litle and often.

They probably mean salads, and not my Grandmother's shortbread biscuits topped with Caramac, or a walnut tart from Hambleton Bakery, or hot buttered sourdough with chicken liver pate.



My obsession with foliage reaches new heights at Christmas, I am all about the berries, we have 7 different varieties of berry today. It's like Baskin Robbins, only with berries not ice cream.

If like me you would be tempted by the pink ones, that look like small pumpkins dancing, don't be. One look at them, and the berries Cha-Cha-Cha onto the floor leaving you with bare sticks.

Very expensive bare sticks.


I want to break free

from the red.

The Grand Prix, the amaryllis, the ilex.

One of my customers and I have decided that lilac and yellow is the new Christmas. If truth be told she is only doing it to annoy her traditionalist mother-in-law, and I love a bit of mischief, and it turns out the combination is really rather lovely.

In other news, I scored very very highly in the birthday present stakes, my Diana Camera, a beautiful necklace, and other luxury items.

We also found ourselves on my favourite blog. A site that oozes serenity, elegance and beauty, I wish I was capable of such creativity.

Also this Sunday it is the Stamford Christmas Festival. Festival is a curious term to use, translated it means the streets of Stamford will be filled with stalls, an actual ice rink, and cockneys selling chestnuts.

It also means that we will be open on Sunday, from 11am - 3pm.

Pop by say "bonjour!"

Bring roasted chestnuts.


Yesterday a man came into the shop to buy a house warming gift. Devilishly handsome, immaculately dressed, and nicely scented.

He left behind a single glove. From Banana Republic.

I shall marry the man that fits this glove.

Prince Charming where art thou?


Another year older

time ticks on.

and so the best thing is to drink, and eat, and walk around cities.

I had my 30th in the private dining room at E&O, and the manager from there now has a pub in Rutland. It seemed befitting to have the start of my 30 (plus a bit) birthday there.
Then yesterday a day in London, to SE1,to watch a divinely handsome man blow glass, to visit a Miro at Tate Modern, to sip Champagne cocktails at The Lobby Bar,and watch the skaters at Somerset House. To see St. Paul's all lit up, and gaze at the cityboys in 3/4 cashmere coats over pinstripe suits.

Tonight there is Champagne and fingers crossed a Diana.