A STYLISH AFTERNOON TEA WITH SPODE

We are half way through the summer and even though it should all be sunshine and picnics, the weather in the UK has had other ideas. So what do you do when it’s raining outside? You dust off your best china, bake some scones and have afternoon tea in your lounge of course! How quintessentially British of me. And did I mention that its Afternoon Tea week?

I’ve been a fan of Spode’s Italian Blue range of China for a long time. I was bought up on chintz and Chinoiserie (just ask my mother), so I can appreciate a good tea cup and saucer like the best of us. Especially one in a classic design like Spode’s Italian Blue range. I swear I must have been Italian in a previous life, as this range has my little vintage heart.

Spode is one of those iconic British brands which I’ve been a fan of of for a long time. Founded in 1770, this Italian blue collection was inspired by classical Italian architecture back in the 16th century when wealthy British aristocrats and those with new money would take off for months at a time to tour as much of the known world as possible. They’d bring back with them magnificent tales, and lots of sketches and paintings, which directly inspired Spode’s company founder Josiah Spode.

And now it’s in my kitchen cupboard looking pretty, and coming out for rainy days (and most days) like today.

Some of my favourite pieces from the collection include the huge 200th anniversary platter which I’m excited to host a big soiree just to use it and the Italian blue jug which also doubles up nicely as a vase.

I’m also slightly in love with the plastic sandwich platter which at £8.50 is a bargain and is even useful just to bring tea in bed in the mornings.

Blue Italian Sugar box   £44;   Blue Italian Tea cup and saucer set of 4   a £110;   Blue Italian Tea Pot   £102.50;   Blue Italian Cake   slice £15;   Blue Italian Cream Jug   £34.50   Blue Italian Jug   £42.50 (larger vase with flowers in) All from   Spode  .

Blue Italian Sugar box £44; Blue Italian Tea cup and saucer set of 4 a £110; Blue Italian Tea Pot £102.50; Blue Italian Cake slice £15; Blue Italian Cream Jug £34.50 Blue Italian Jug £42.50 (larger vase with flowers in) All from Spode.

Now back to the scones. I’ll be honest, I’m not the domestic goddess you might think I am. We actually have a compartment of our oven which has never been used. But, I do love baking (and eating cake) . So in case you fancy making some fruit scones, I’ve attached my simple fools proof guide. And both my husband and toddler will agree that they were rather very tasty.

Fruit Scone Ingredients

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 85g butter, cut into cubes

  • 3 tbsp caster sugar

  • 175ml milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • squeeze of lemon juice

  • 100g sultanas

  • beaten egg to glaze

  • Jam of your choice and clotted cream, to serve (I chose raspberry, naturally)

The Method

Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix with your hands.

Next I added the butter, and rubbed it in until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.

  1. Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet on a tray in the oven.

  2. Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and sultanas and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round tin about 4cm deep.

  3. Take a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. You may need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four.

  4. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.

  5. Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream.

Blue Italian Sugar box   £44;   Blue Italian Tea cup and saucer set of 4   a £110;   Blue Italian Tea Pot   £102.50;   Blue Italian Cake   slice £15;   Blue Italian Cream Jug   £34.50;   Blue Italian Jug   £42.50 (larger one with flowers in. All from   Spode  .

Blue Italian Sugar box £44; Blue Italian Tea cup and saucer set of 4 a £110; Blue Italian Tea Pot £102.50; Blue Italian Cake slice £15; Blue Italian Cream Jug £34.50; Blue Italian Jug £42.50 (larger one with flowers in. All from Spode.

And that’s it! I’d love to know what you think of my little afternoon set up, and if you try my Scone recipe, do let me know what you think? And… most importantly, are you a cream first then jam? Or jam then cream? It’s one of those things we can never agree on in this house.

A x

[AD] This post is part of a collaboration with SPODE. All styling, images, thoughts and opinions are my own.

CREATING A SUSTAINABLE KITCHEN WITH DUALIT

Dualit Classic   Kettle   and new gen   toaster  .

Dualit Classic Kettle and new gen toaster.

It's 5.30am at the weekend and my 14-month-old is full of the joys of spring. It's my turn to give the husband a lie in and I'm keen to get downstairs and start the day. Take on the world. carpe diem? or something like that. Anyhow, what better way to kick off the day than to make myself a cup of coffee and get that first caffeine fix using my new Dualit coffee bags.   

My Dualit   Classic Kettle

My Dualit Classic Kettle

Having tended to the wee man (not literally) and ensuring he is tucking into his brekkie (2 weetabix!!) in his high chair, I head to my Classic Dualit Kettle. Ah. There she is. In all her finery. What a beauty. It's not just the polished, stainless steel finish that shimmers in the early morning light that makes me love this kettle so much. It's the fact it's so darn quiet when the water is boiling. It's not like my old one that resembled a rocket launch every time I boiled it to make a cuppa. So, what makes it so quiet? well, the clever folk at Dualit have come up with a game changer patent; Whisper Boil Function. Don't ask me how it works, all I know is my quiet, serene, tranquil start to the day remains just that. By quiet, serene, tranquil I mean listening to bubba munch away on his weetbix and guzzle down his bottle of milk without taking a breather. That is the sound of one satisfied baby! 

Now the kettle has boiled (in under 1 minute) I pour the boiled water into my favourite coffee cup – A 70s retro paisley pattern and I enjoy the Dualit Coffee which give that intense cafetière flavoured coffee I love minus the fuss and time of using a cafetière. Time is precious with a 14-month-old on the loose and the less work I have to do the easier my life is. And did I mention the flavours? Today I am having the Dualit Sumatra Mandheling, but I’ve also had the Dualit Intense compostable coffee bags and the Dualit Decaf Blend. Game changer right there. These coffees are strong and rich in flavour and the coffee bags are all compostable making them more sustainable for the environment. They even come in recycled cardboard boxes which is refreshing in itself to not have wasteful packaging. Thanks’ Dualit for giving me a Barista style coffee ready in 60 seconds from my own kettle is an absolute revelation.

One final thing, and in my book a crucial thing to note. The longevity, sustainability and value for money which this Classic Dualit Kettle has been so smartly designed.  It has a replacement element that ensures the kettle perpetually makes my favourite coffee. Having a replacement element means that when it does eventually fail (after all the use it gets in my house) you don't need to chuck the kettle out. You just order a replacement element from Dualit and connect it up and you're good to go and carry on getting that caffeine fix!

Dualit classic Toaster and New Gen Toaster.

Dualit classic Toaster and New Gen Toaster.

Alongside my kettle I have been using my Dualit 2 Slice NewGen Toaster to make mine and little Jimmy's soldiers in the mornings to accompany our coffee, bottles of milk and Weetabix. This toaster has been with us since we moved into our house 8 years ago and bubba was just a twinkle in our eyes. The toaster, like the kettle has been designed with a replaceable element so you are on to a winner. Plus, like the kettle design, the toaster is also a design classic; curved stainless steel, retro, timeless design which is yet to fail me in its performance. No one makes a kettle or toaster quite like Dualit do. Built to last a lifetime and more sustainable for all of us. I’m sure we’ll still be talking about their timeless, clever design for many years to come.

 

Now, to cease the day! (carpe diem).

 

This post was sponsored by Dualit, however all opinions are 100% my own.

 

BRING SOME ART INTO YOUR KITCHEN WITH SARAH BODDY

Flamingo Glass worktop saver by Sarah boddy

As much as I love the latest fad trend, it’s also nice to add something more unique and individual into your home to mix up your style. Shopping online and on the high street can get pretty repetitive and samey if you don’t know where to look for newness, so it was so refreshing to be introduced to a brand I’d never heard of.  Today I want to introduce to you  Sarah Boddy.

Sarah has created a range of unique homeware from her own drawings, drawing inspiration on her Leicestershire country life surroundings, including her own flock of chickens. The range includes stationary, homeware essentials and even wall art inspired by the same collection of country animals which have been beautifully hand sketched.

The homeware collection includes oven gloves, aprons, tea towels, placemats, glass coasters, chopping boards, egg cups, glass worktop savers and cute teapots all designed with one of Sarah's trademark sketches.

My favourite sketch in the collection is the flamingo range. I've got the flamingo glass worktop saver which I keep on show over my oven when its not in use and it acts as a little piece of art in my kitchen, but I also love the bee collection . Now I’m guessing there aren’t many flamingos in Leicester but I blooming love a flamingo so this print definitely caught my eye since I love anything kitsch.

The prices at Sarah Boddy are certainly affordable; egg cups at £7, mugs at £11 and glass work top savers at £24. The perfect prices for gifting. It's a great website to grab some gifts for that friend who loves something a bit quirky.  I love that Sarah's designs are timeless and will fit with any kitchen style – not just your typical country/ shaker, although they would look pretty gorgeous in a country kitchen above an aga,  I also think they work well in industrial kitchens like mine. 

Here are my six top pics from Sarah Boddy. (Including my  flamingo worktop saver).

MY SIX TOP PICKS 

This sponsored post was in conjunction with the lovely people at Sarah Boddy. I would never consider promoting a product that I didn't love and wouldn't have in my own home.

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When home owners Helena & Martin moved to Chalfont St Peter, they took on a new project; A four bedroom detached 1970’s house with tones of potential to be a beautiful family home. The main focus was modernising the home with new fixtures, fittings and decor. First up, the kitchen. 

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